I love this part of today’s “BW piece by Joby Warrick:”:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/29/AR2006072900592_pf.html
Current and former administration officials say that compliance with the treaty hinges on intent, and that making small amounts of biowarfare pathogens for study is permitted under a broad interpretation of the treaty. Some also argue that the need for a strong biodefense in an age of genetic engineering trumps concerns over what they see as legal hair-splitting.
“How can I go to the people of this country and say, ‘I can’t do this important research because some arms-control advocate told me I can’t’?” asked [Penrose “Parney”] Albright, the former Homeland Security assistant secretary.
I guess he could consider that whole “law” thing that such advocates are probably thinking about, but whatever.
FYI, Jonathan Tucker “dropped some relevant knowledge”:http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2004_10/Tucker.asp about the lab in question a couple years ago.
Yeah, that quote kind of jumped out at me also. On the one hand, I understand the need/desire for collaborative research between DHS, DHHS, and DOD. On the other hand, this excessive desire for “red teaming” and developing BW agents just to see if you can sounds crazy. There is definitely a middle ground here, where teh center ought to report annually on what it does without giving out technical details that would benefit non-state actors interested in such data.
While I see the point, there is a legitimate concern about developing countermeasures to some of these agents. It would be sad indeed if it were illegal to formulate cures or other defensive measures against BW.
The US has no need for any sort of BW program, but there certainly is a need for BW countermeasures. I’m not versed on the legal issue, but we need the ability to do defensive research.