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Potential Anthrax Threat


Anthrax bacteria produce spores that can be processed to become easily airborne.

Mail-sorting machinery can easily aerosolize anthrax in envelopes sent via regular methods through the US Postal Service.

Anthrax spores can be spread in the air by missiles, rockets, artillery, aerial bombs and sprayers.

Anthrax can travel downwind for hundreds of miles.

Anthrax spores remain dangerous for decades.

During WW II the British experimented with anthrax on Gruinard Island . 40 years later, the island was still uninhabitable and had to be decontaminated.

Naturally occurring anthrax spores remain dormant in the soil for decades. Grazing animals can ingest them and become infected with the disease.

Anthrax can be produced in large quantities with relatively basic technology.

All of the technology needed to produce anthrax is considered dual use--meaning it has legitimate uses in the biological and pharmaceutical industries.

The technology is available on the open market with few controls to purchase.

Any country with basic healthcare or a basic pharmaceutical industry has the expertise to produce anthrax.

In the aftermath of the Gulf War, defectors forced Iraq to reveal that it had an extensive biological weapons program, including anthrax.

UNSCOM, the United Nations Special Commission, found evidence of anthrax-filled weapons in Iraq .

Although UNSCOM destroyed the Al Hakam production facility in Iraq , which had been used to produce anthrax, many experts feel that Iraq could rebuild its anthrax-producing capabilities easily.

UNSCOM discovered that Iraq conducted extensive aerosol dispersion tests using an anthrax simulant.

In 1992, Boris Yeltsin revealed that the former Soviet Union had a biological weapons program that dwarfed Iraq ’s by comparison.

Soviet expertise may be employed by potential adversaries.

Defectors revealed that the former Soviet Union had weaponized anthrax employed on missiles, bombs and artillery.

Defectors from the former Soviet Union stated that anthrax would have been used against US forces in a war in Europe .

Terrorist groups can also use anthrax as a biological weapon.

The Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo spent millions of dollars on the development of biological weapons and actually attempted to release anthrax in Tokyo .

Evidence surfaced after the Sep 11 terror attacks that Osama bin Laden’s Al-Queda organization attempted to develop anthrax as a biological weapon.

In the wake of the September 11 terror attacks, US citizens were intentionally exposed to anthrax.

Men and women from Florida , Virginia , Washington DC , New Jersey , New York and Connecticut contracted cutaneous and inhalational anthrax.

There were 7 confirmed and 4 “probable” cases of cutaneous anthrax; all survived. 11 people contracted inhalational anthrax. Of those 11 people, 5 died.

Congress and major media outlets were virtually shut down after being targeted with anthrax.

The anthrax outbreaks and subsequent scares and hoaxes caused panic.

Thousands of congressional staffers, mail handlers and media personnel needed protection using antibiotics and vaccination.

Delivering weaponized anthrax was as simple as putting it in an envelope and dropping it in a mailbox.

The letter sent to Senator Leahy contained enough spores to kill many people.

Spores leaked out of envelopes and led to anthrax disease or death in 22 people.

If there is a risk for inhalational anthrax associated with exposure to cross-contaminated mail, it is very low.

 Terrorist groups can also use anthrax as a biological weapon.

The Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo spent millions of dollars on the development of biological weapons and actually attempted to release anthrax in Tokyo .

Evidence surfaced after the Sep 11 terror attacks that Osama bin Laden’s Al-Queda organization attempted to develop anthrax as a biological weapon.  

Other Side of the Coin: How Anthrax has Been Over Dramatized by the Government and Media