Biological Weapons: From the Invention of State-Sponsored Programs to Contemporary Bioterrorism

By Jeanne Guillemin | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 9

NATIONAL SECURITY AND THE
BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS THREAT

The September 11, 2001, Al Qaeda attacks on the United States and the anthrax postal attacks that soon followed together intensified Clintonera policies already in place for national security and defense against biological weapons. The federal intelligence budget rose again. The domestic preparedness programs in place throughout the United States received more support, as did funding for technological defenses, from air sensors to new pharmaceuticals. The great change after 9/11 was in the organizational scale of the Bush administration responses to this unprecedented foreign attack on Americans. The minor use offeree, that is, the 1997 bombings of Afghanistan and Sudan, was overshadowed by military invasion in the name of the war against terror, whether the threat was training camps or Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. The 2003 creation of a Department of Homeland Security far outweighed the diffuse, decentralized domestic preparedness project of the previous decade. Clinton's fortification of a few public health technologies was dwarfed by sweeping policies to incorporate US biological sciences into the campaign against bioterrorism.

Each of these expanded policy initiatives brought dilemmas concerning the flow of information and public trust in government. The invasion of Iraq was eventually followed by disclosures suggesting that the Bush administration manipulated intelligence data in order to convince Americans of the imminent threat of Saddam Hussein. The violent and costly military occupation that ensued further troubled public trust in the administration. The Department of Homeland Security from the very start faced the problem of relying on intelligence information to pronounce public alerts that were

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