U.S. Declared Unprepared for Bioterrorism, President Responds
On Tuesday, the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction, Proliferation and Terrorism released a bleak assessment of the United States’ readiness to respond to a biological terrorist attack. After evaluating performance in seventeen areas, the Commission gave the White House and Congress the lowest rating possible for failing to develop rapid-response capabilities to control the spread of disease after an attack. Additionally, the report noted that the White House and Congress had failed to develop adequate vaccines or to establish a high-level security council to address the growing threat. The commission emphasized that the “consequences of ignoring these warnings could be dire.”
The Chairman of the Commission, former Florida Senator Bob Graham, said that he hoped the evaluation would be “a stinging indictment and a message to our national leaders.” Senator Graham also stated that government efforts “have not kept pace with the increasing capabilities and agility of those who would do harm to the United States….” In response, President Obama has indicated that he will use the State of the Union address to unveil a new plan to prepare the nation for a bioterrorist attack. The White House’s plan will attempt to redesign the way that medical countermeasures are produced to speed up the delivery of drugs in the event of a biological attack.