A special commission sees biological warfare as a real threat to American security and a Missourian who is a leader of that commission worries the country isn’t taking the threat seriously.
Former Senator Jim Talent serves as vice chairman of the bipartisan Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, charged by Congress to assess the threat of WMDs being used against the United States.
“The trend is not going our way,” Talent tells reporters in a conference call discussing the commission’s just-released interim report.
The commission issued its initial report in December of 2008. Talent says the commission expects an attack within five years and concludes that a biological attack is more likely than a nuclear one. The commission worries not everyone shares its concern.
“Our government as a whole has not become entirely comfortable with the idea that this is as significant a threat as a nuclear threat,” Talent says, “And, so, the way the government is structured to address these things, we’re just concerned that the bio-threat gets shorted.”
Talent’s greatest fear? Anthrax; combined with the Independence Day celebrations in St. Louis or Kansas City, St. Joseph, Springfield, Jefferson City, Cape Girardeau and terrorists get set to strike.
“They get a pick-up truck with one of those caps or shells on the back and then they just punch a hole in the top of it and stick up a cold-fogger and then they just blow this Anthrax into the air into the wind,” Talent says.
He says the Department of Homeland Security has envisioned such a scenario in New York, in which millions are exposed and as many as half a million die. Talent wants Washington to take the threat seriously and take steps to prevent it.
The commission will release a more formal report card in January of next year.