Magazine article National Defense

Intelligence Agencies Reach out to Scientists to Counter Terror Weapon

Magazine article National Defense

Intelligence Agencies Reach out to Scientists to Counter Terror Weapon

Article excerpt

The U.S. intelligence community has thousands of qualified personnel who analyze and collect data on weapons of mass destruction, but few experts in the sciences on which these potentially deadly technologies are based, said experts at a recent panel discussion.

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The National Counterproliferation Center, which resides in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, has hired a handful of experts to act as liaisons between the intelligence world and scientific community, said Lawrence Kerr, one of the advisers to the center and a holder of a Ph.D in cell biology.

"We have phenomenal analysts, phenomenal collectors, but we have to find ways of talking to the community so we can ask for their help and not threaten their mission," he said at an American Association for the Advancement of Science panel discussion.

The advisers do not analyze or collect intelligence, but seek ways to leverage the expertise that resides in the life sciences community.

"How can we have that understanding within the intel community where it is not resident?" he asked.

Understanding the bio-technology world is particularly important There are rapid developments, and virtually all the equipment for finding the cures for diseases are "dual use," meaning the technology can be used for good or evil. …

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