WMD Panel Warns Of Biological Threats

The next U.S. president should put more emphasis on countering biological threats as part of a rethinking of national security strategy, according to early assessments from the leaders of a commission investigating the threat from weapons of mass destruction.

Both biological and nuclear threats are significant in their ability to kill hundreds of thousands, but a biological attack is easier to launch and harder to combat because many biological weapon components are widely available and have benign uses, said the commission’s chairman, former Sen. Bob Graham of Florida.

The Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism will hold public hearings during the run-up to the November election. The first, examining the nature of the threat, is to be held Sept. 10 in New York. The commission’s final recommendations are due in mid-November.

Multiple assessments of government progress against security threats are planned for release this week, timed to the seventh anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Their findings might pressure the next administration to overhaul the government’s national-security operations. A report from the Project on National Security Reform, a separate government-funded initiative analyzing the government’s national security apparatus, is due out next month.

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