Civilian scientists are still trying to get used to the hysterical nonsense around “biodefense” that the homeland security apparatchiks imposed as Act I. in their Security Theater, bullshit that included indicting an artist and a respected scientist for shipping a harmless bacterium (see here, here). Meanwhile the Army has claimed the only serious bioterror attack on US soil with actual biowarfare agents was done by one of their guys. Whether it was the guy they fingered or not we may never know, since he conveniently is dead, but whether he was or wasn’t the claim has revealed they operate with the usual principle of authoritarian regimes: do as we say, not as we do:
US Navy and Air Force officials recently reported a suspension of work in their biodefense laboratories to allow a thorough review of safety procedures, following the Army’s announcement in early August that it would review security measures at the lab that housed the work of the late Bruce E. Ivins, whom federal officials believe played a role in the 2001 anthrax attacks.
Officials from the Navy and Air Force said they were temporarily stopping shipments of bioterror agents coming in and out of their research facilities, according to an Aug 22 report from the Associated Press (AP). The stoppage will allow the military branches to review safety rules, including how they are shipped through civilian delivery services such as Federal Express.
Navy and Air Force authorities also told the AP that they wouldn’t allow their employees to work with “select agents” unless they enroll in a special program that allows them clearance or their work is supervised by another employee who is enrolled in the program. (Lisa Schnirring, CIDRAP News)
That’s great. Federal Express? And their employees haven’t been trained? The Navy labs are the NAMRU labs in United States, Peru, Egypt, and Indonesia, the ones that handle bird flu viruses. The Army has 6 labs, the Air Force two. Given that the Homeland Security nutcases make such a big deal about the danger of these agents, they are now worried that ordinary people (and Congress) will draw the reasonable conclusion that what they are doing isn’t safe either. In order to make sure they can continue to do whatever they want with whatever they want and keep building the new facility at Fort Detrick (the site where the FBI now says a mentally unstable scientist worked with biowarfare agents for years without any body raising the least bit of alarm), these guys are putting the whole system through a security review to finally make sure everything is as safe as they told it was finally sure it was before they started making finally sure it was safe once again:
The interagency lab, which is under construction, will also house lab facilities for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Pat Fitch, lab director for the DHS lab, which is set to open next year, said officials hope to finalize safety rules by February and will ask the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to review them, the Frederick, Md., News Post reported yesterday.
Oh, good. They are asking the guys who sealed the door of their high containment lab with duct tape to pass on their procedures. I feel better now.