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Column: Ex-Senators Say We’re Still Not Ready For Bioterrorism Attack

Ex- senators Bob Graham, a Democrat from Florida, and Jim Talent, a Republican from Missouri, served as the chair and vice chair of the Congressional Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism.

Ex-Sen. Bob Graham/gov photo

Ex-Sen. Bob Graham/gov photo

By Bob Graham and Jim Talent
Washington Post Op-Ed Page

The two of us — at the request of Congress and in the service of two presidents — have for the past 30 months led a bipartisan effort to assess the danger of a WMD attack and recommend steps to reduce it.

In December 2008 the commission we led on the prevention of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism unanimously concluded that unless the world community acts decisively and with great urgency, it is more likely than not that a weapon of mass destruction will be used in a terrorist attack by the end of 2013 — and that a biological attack is more likely than nuclear. This conclusion was publicly affirmed by then-Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell.

Information has since come to light about the possibility that one or more nation-states may choose to provide sophisticated biological weapons to terrorist groups. The scenario that would result is not that of more than two dozen people becoming ill and five dying, as happened after the anthrax mailings in October 2001, but a much darker picture, as described in a November 2009 National Security Council document.

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