A top anti-terrorism for Homeland Security advised the agency to ditch a $3.1 billion upgrade of the nation’s system for detecting biological attacks because it would be unreliable, the Los Angeles Times reports .
Dr. Tara O’Toole, the agency’s undersecretary for science and technology, privately told Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano that the new version of BioWatch – called Generation 3 – can’t be trusted to detect anthrax, smallpox, plague or other germs in a biological attack, the Times reported, citing scientists familiar with the issue.
O’Toole also said the money would be better spent on accelerating the distribution of medicine after an attack by establishing computer technology between hospitals, large HMOs and public health agencies.
“Her position is, ‘Kill it,'” said a federal scientist familiar with O’Toole’s discussions about Generation 3.
Napolitano has taken no public position on the issue.