Does this make you feel safer? The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has now expanded its investigation of the Defense Department’s handling of dangerous infectious disease samples.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expanding its investigation into possible mishandling and improper shipment by Defense Department laboratories of organisms that cause deadly diseases, including plague and encephalitis, U.S. officials said Thursday. Concerns about the handling of those samples led the Army to announce a moratorium on production, shipping and handling of toxins at nine labs last week. But officials did not acknowledge until Thursday that plague and encephalitis samples were involved.
When asked why the Pentagon didn’t disclose the new concerns about plague and encephalitis last week, Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said that officials were trying to be as forthcoming as possible “without alarming the public.” [emphasis mine]
In other words, the Defense Department withheld critical information because it made them look bad and illustrated how dangerous their mishandling of dangeous diseases has been.
Other than that, all is well!
Government marches on! The Defense Department has now admitted that the improper shipment of live anthrax samples was far more widespread than they originally told us.
“As of now, 24 laboratories in 11 states and two foreign countries are believed to have received suspect samples. We continue to work closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who is leading the ongoing investigation pursuit to its statutory authorities. The Department will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates to the public,” Defense Department said in a statement.
The Defense Department had previously reported labs in nine states and Osan Air Force Base in South Korea were impacted.
Words fail me.
Does this make you feel safer? The Department of Defense [DOD] has admitted it mistakenly shipped live anthrax spores to nine laboratories that are unequipped to handle them.
The facilities that received the samples did not have systems in place to protect lab employees against anthrax exposure because they were expecting to receive spores that had been killed with radiation. It is not clear how many people were actually exposed. The DOD says that 22 people in South Korea are getting preventive treatment, but it has not confirmed how many people in the United States are being treated.
The failure here was not just with the DOD. The labs that accepted the samples are also at fault.
A deal has been reached on a Department of Defense authorization bill that had included language allowing the military to hold U.S. citizens indefinitely without charge, both in and outside the U.S.
Not surprisingly for a modern journalist (who routinely miss the lead in their own stories), this article really doesn’t tell us whether that language is still in effect.
The Defense and Transportation departments have slammed the FCC over its approval of a new broadband service that they think will interfere with GPS.