Magazine article Security Management

Bioterrorism in Our Midst?

Magazine article Security Management

Bioterrorism in Our Midst?

Article excerpt

Perhaps nothing is more terrifying than the prospect of terrorists using a biological agent, but not all terrorist organizations are likely to unleash such a devastating weapon. At which groups should counter-terrorism efforts be directed'? That was one question before a panel of experts at the "Conference on Countering Biological Terrorism: Strategic Firepower in the Hands of Many'?" held this summer by the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies.

According to Jerrold Post, M.D., professor of psychiatry, political psychology, and international affairs at The George Washington University and an expert in bioterrorism, two types of groups pose the highest threat of biological attack: religious fundamental terrorists and right wing fanatics such as survivalist, racist, and militia groups. Part of the reason fundamentalist groups are so dangerous, Post says, is that they, unlike terrorist groups looking to influence an audience, see no need to attain public acceptance of their acts.

"The audience for a religious terrorist is God," he says. The threat is particularly grave considering the likely growth of fanatical religious millennial groups, he adds.

According to Post, a look back at biological terrorism in recent decades can help predict tomorrow's attackers. Groups previously involved in bioterrorism such as Aum Shinrikyo, Aryan Nation, the Minnesota Patriots Council, and the Order of the Rising Sun all fit into the categories of likely users of biological weapons.

Commander Ken Campbell of the U.S. Navy, who has conducted extensive research on which groups might use weapons of mass destruction to cause mass casualties, says a first step is to examine the group's ideology to see whether a goal is to destroy an existing regime. …

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