A new report from a bipartisan think tank concludes that the nation is unprepared to deal with a biological attack despite a significant threat that terrorists will deploy germs to spread disease, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The “biodefense report card” warns that even a small team of people with college-level training could produce deadly biological weapons of mass destruction as a result of advances in biotechnology.
The report card grades the nation’s preparedness on several levels, from detecting deadly germs to dispensing medicines in the event of a disease outbreak. In the event of a small-scale outbreak, government leaders receive relatively good grades in preparing the nation to respond. But they get mostly D’s and F’s in their preparation for a large-scale attack with contagious organisms. Former Missouri Sen. Jim Talent, an author of the report, predicted that some of those in charge of protecting Americans from terror attacks probably will find those grades troubling. Talent, a Republican and adviser to presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, and former Florida Sen. Bob Graham, a Democrat, co-chair the Bipartisan WMD Terrorism Research Center, which produced the report. It is the successor of a high-profile, post-9/11 commission they led that examined threats of weapons of mass destruction.