Biological Terrorism

Biological weapons are just what their name implies: devices that use disease-producing microorganisms, toxic biological products, or organic biocides to inflict death or injury. The mail-borne anthrax attacks against U.S. citizens in the fall of 2001 demonstrated that every nation, even one as powerful as the United States, is at risk from terrorists using biological or toxin weapons. The attacks also revealed that the United States (like most other nations) did not have effective plans to deal with such an attack.

Terrorists have used bioweapons before. In 1984, the U.S.-based Rajneeshee cult used salmonella bacteria to poison citizens by spreading the bacteria via salad bars in restaurants in an Oregon town. In 1993 and 1994, the Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyō used biological weapons in and around Japan. Despite these attacks and repeated warnings from experts about the threat posed by biological weapons, the United ...

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