biological weapons

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Report: Worrying Find Made in Blood of N. Korean Defector

Soldier has somehow become immune to anthrax

(Newser) - Blood tests on at least one of the North Korean soldiers that defected to the South this year have detected something extremely concerning, according to a South Korean TV channel. Channel A, citing an unnamed South Korean military source, says anthrax antibodies were detected in the soldier, suggesting Pyongyang could... More »

Afraid of North Korea's Nukes? It May Have Something Worse

Harvard report suggests biological weapons are the real threat

(Newser) - President Trump calls him "rocket man" —but what if the nuclear bomb we're fearing isn't what we should be afraid of when it comes to North Korea? At FiveThirtyEight , Michael Wilner makes the case that what we really should be worried about are biological and chemical... More »

Did Nazis Try to Weaponize Mosquitoes?

Researcher thinks documents prove Hitler's biological weapon ban was ignored

(Newser) - Were Nazi scientists planning to unleash disease-carrying mosquitoes on the Allies? It's a long-running debate, but one biologist thinks he's uncovered evidence that indicates they were. Klaus Reinhardt believes that the entomological institute at Dachau was actually working on weaponizing mosquitoes, National Geographic reports. As evidence, he cites... More »

NYPD Staging Fake Bio-Terror Subway Attack

Releasing harmless gas to track its movement

(Newser) - Don't worry: The gas the NYPD will be releasing into the New York City subway system in July is totally harmless. The "per fluorocarbons" will be released as part of a $3.4 million-dollar study looking at airflow in the subway system, with the aim of helping authorities... More »

US Snaps Up Huge Stockpile of Smallpox Drug

Experts question need for $463M anti-bioterror buy

(Newser) - More than 30 years after the World Health Organization declared smallpox eradicated, the federal government has spent $463 million on enough medicine to treat two million cases. The only stocks of the smallpox virus known to still exist are in heavily guarded labs in Atlanta and Moscow, but experts won'... More »

Israeli Strike Hit Syrian Chemical Weapons Facility

Meanwhile, Iran says Israel 'will regret' attack

(Newser) - Israel's airstrike inside Syria just happens to have damaged the country's top chemical and biological research center, though it wasn't the primary target of the attack, US officials tell the New York Times . A senior military official said Israel's actual targets were trucks carrying missiles and... More »

Media, Lawmakers Get 'Pathogen' Mail Threats

Powder found in letters threatening Congressmen, Jon Stewart

(Newser) - A mystery letter-writer is threatening to decimate Congress with biological agents. Letters, some of them containing a powdery substance found to be harmless, have been intercepted at the offices of several members of Congress, and at media organizations, including the Washington Post and Viacom, which received two letters addressed to... More »

Feds' $433M Smallpox Drug Contract a Controversial One

White House overrode experts, pushed for deal

(Newser) - Smallpox was virtually eliminated 33 years ago and already has a cheap, effective vaccine that exists in large quantities. So why is the Obama administration pushing so hard to spend $433 million on an expensive and experimental smallpox drug that might not be needed and might not work? Perhaps it'... More »

Iraqi Defector Admits Lying About WMDs

'Curveball' proud to have started war

(Newser) - When Colin Powell gave his speech at the UN in February 2003 insisting that Iraq had biological weapons of mass destruction, he relied heavily on intelligence from a source codenamed “Curveball.” Well now Curveball, aka Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, tells the Guardian that he flat out made all... More »

Al-Qaeda Working on 'Nuclear 9/11'

Terrorists working on dirty bombs, biological weapons

(Newser) - Al-Qaeda is actively pursuing the nuclear materials and rogue scientists necessary to make dirty bombs or worse, according to a series of documents released by WikiLeaks and published in the Daily Telegraph . In 2009, NATO security chiefs warned that al-Qaeda was working on “dirty radioactive IEDs,” and a... More »

US: Terrorists Could Steal Bio-Weapons From Indian Labs

Latest cables released by WikiLeaks also discuss Cuba

(Newser) - Today in WikiLeaks revelations: US officials fear terrorists could steal biological weapons including “bacteria, parasites, viruses, or toxins” from Indian laboratories with weak security, according to US diplomatic cables published today in the Guardian , the AP reports. One cable cites an expert explaining that security at most academic research... More »

US Grade for Bio-Terror Readiness: F

Feds 'failing to address several urgent threats,' commission says

(Newser) - The US is woefully unprepared for a biological attack—getting an “F” from a bipartisan commission on weapons of mass destruction. “While the government has made progress on preventing such attacks, it is simply not paying consistent and urgent attention to the means of responding quickly and effectively... More »

Al-Qaeda Preps Major WMD Attack on US: Report

Group said to be determined, methodical, and patient

(Newser) - Al-Qaeda's threat to attack the United Sates using weapons of mass destruction is not "empty rhetoric," a new study claims. The report, written by a former CIA official with extensive knowledge of classified files, says al-Qaeda is gathering the materials and expertise required to use chemical, biological, and... More »

'Biohackers' Create New, DIY Organisms

Feds try to asses threat from part-time Frankensteins

(Newser) - Katherine Aull is creating new forms of life in her closet. Armed only with jury-rigged equipment and some DNA she bought online, the 23-year-old is creating custom E. coli bacteria she thinks could help cancer research. Aull is part of a growing movement of “biohackers,” amateur biologists crafting... More »

FBI Missed Anthrax Clues

Investigators were fixated on wrong suspect

(Newser) - The FBI's obsessive focus on the wrong anthrax suspect caused the agency to miss some important clues pointing to Bruce Ivins, the Los Angeles Times reports. Records of key-card swipes show that Ivins, who killed himself last month before being charged, spent hours in a "hot suite" with access... More »

Anthrax Security Gap: 'Worse Than McDonald's'

Background checks failed to reveal scientist's mental illness

(Newser) - The case of anthrax suspect Bruce Ivins has raised fears about security protecting Americans from the world's deadliest germs, the Washington Post reports. The scientist thought to be behind the deadly 2001 attacks had serious mental health problems and expressed homicidal thoughts to his frightened therapist—but his supervisors at... More »

Emails Reveal Anthrax Scientist's Delusions

'Split personality' Ivins was being 'eaten alive inside'

(Newser) - Dozens of emails released by the FBI reveal that scientist Bruce Ivins was losing his grip on reality long before the deadly 2001 anthrax attacks, the New York Times reports.  The Army scientist and anthrax suspect, who committed suicide last month, wrote to a colleague in 2000 that he... More »

Ivins Had Anthrax 'Identical' to '01 Attack

Suspect sought to mislead FBI, released documents show

(Newser) - Army scientist Bruce Ivins is the sole person responsible for the 2001 anthrax attacks, and he had custody of highly purified anthrax spores with "certain genetic mutations identical" to the poison that killed five people, the Justice Department says. Ivins was unable to give investigators "an adequate explanation... More »

As Families See Evidence, FBI Set to End Anthrax Probe

How feds traced attack to Ivins is key question

(Newser) - The FBI began releasing details of its investigation into the 2001 anthrax mail attacks to families of the victims today, the AP reports, with information to be made public within hours on judge’s orders. The agency is ready to end its probe, with sources telling the Wall Street Journal ... More »

Anthrax Expert Could Have Cashed In on Panic

Ivins had share in patents for a vaccine

(Newser) - Bruce Ivins, the government scientist linked to the deadly 2001 anthrax mailings who committed suicide this week, stood to profit from a panic set off by the killings, the Los Angeles Times reports. Ivins, who was close to being charged by the FBI when he killed himself, was listed as... More »

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