Long after the deadly 2001 anthrax attacks, the United States is still unprepared to respond to the threat of large-scale bioterrorism, reports the Washington Post. In a report released Tuesday, a congressional commission gave the government mixed grades for how it has protected Americans from weapons of mass destruction. The report criticized the White House and Congress for failing to build a rapid-response capability for dealing with disease outbreaks from bioterrorism, or providing adequate oversight of security and intelligence agencies.
Within hours of the report’s release, the Obama administration revealed plans to fill gaps in the nation’s public health defenses with a series of initiatives to be announced in Wednesday’s State of the Union address. The proposals, which administration officials said had been in the works well before the report’s findings were known, will seek to speed up delivery of drugs in the event of a major attack, addressing one of the principal shortcomings identified by the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism.