The Obama administration is failing to address the immediate threat of biological terrorism, says a bipartisan commission’s report quoted by USA Today. The report cites failures on biosecurity policy that Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction says has left the country vulnerable. The commission, created last year by Congress to address concerns raised by post-9/11 investigations, warns that anthrax spores released by a crop-duster could “kill more Americans than died in World War II” and the economic impact could exceed $1.8 trillion.
The government’s efforts “have not kept pace with the increasing capabilities and agility of those who would do harm to the United States,” the report says. “The consequences of ignoring these warnings could be dire.” Commission chairman former Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL) said, “The clock is ticking.” President Obama’s National Security Council has no senior political appointees with a biodefense background. “That was not the case in the Clinton and Bush administrations,” the report says. The report cites a funding shortage for a program to ensure there are enough drugs to respond to a bioterrorist attack. The Obama administration asked for $305 million in its fiscal 2010 budget request. “Insufficient by a factor of 10,” the report says.