“The power and the potential of a biological weapon is far more frightening than a nuclear terrorist attack. In part, because the construction is easier, and the effect, in many ways, is more devastating. Making these organisms is something that requires advanced biology, but there are lots of people who have studied advanced biology and the information is largely available to the public. And so, it’s like having an atomic bomb, but instead of having to make a new bomb each time, you just put this in a soup and it grows. So, the real threat of these things is that they’re easy to make. They aim right at life itself. And they have the danger of spreading beyond control.”
Nuclear Physicist, U.C. Berkeley
“The Russian biological weapons program during the Cold War was massive. By some accounts, they employed 60,000 people or more and had multiple large scale laboratories, including engineering laboratories producing delivery systems focused on spreading disease in large segments of our population. These weapons were designed not only to wage warfare against our military, but also our civilian populations.”
Former F.B.I. Biological Weapons Analyst
“This aircraft is actually quite difficult to fly because it is a tail dragger. There are not many tail dragger pilots in the country, people who have that training. It’s a very heavy aircraft. It’s heavy duty. It flies like a heavy aircraft. And we carry some pretty heavy loads on the airplane when we’re operating it. If you fill this aircraft full of water it’s extremely heavy and a high skill operator has to work it.”
Agricultural Aircraft Operator
“There are very few areas in the world of security where there is such a great gap between what’s conceivably possible and what’s actually been done. There have been few terrorist attacks to date, and many of those uses of biological weapons that we’ve seen in the past have not been very effective. The groups haven’t been very competent or they haven’t sought to do a lot of damage. On the other hand if one looks at the potential of the technology and especially where technology is evolving in the future, there could be serious cause for concern. The killing power of disease is unquestioned, and the ability to produce germs that might be disseminated is growing exponentially. One day it simply becomes an issue of which groups really want to pull off an attack.”
Government Advisor, Science, Technology, and Security Policy
“There’s been a huge amount of money spent on bio defense research; roughly $50 billion since the beginning of the administration of President Clinton. But some basic, basic science, such as what factors really dominate the deposition of small particles in the lungs, remains to be done.”
Infectious Disease Investigator
“When one is thinking about defenses against biological weapons, against pathogens, it comes back to thinking about how these things operate in nature. We constantly defend ourselves against them when they are simply infectious diseases. They’re — they’re susceptible to a lot of environmental stresses, and that includes one we introduced. So, such as if you want to purify some water that could be bacterially contaminated, say with a — with a water-borne illness, like cholera. You could — you could boil it to make it clean. You can literally put it on the stove and bring it up a boil and let the hot water go for a couple of minutes, and then when you’re done, there should be no viable bacteria in there, because when — when they’re heated like that, their proteins literally fall apart.”
Consultant, Global Health Security
Video Preview: “Small Town Terrorism” — A cult attacks a small northwestern with with salmonella poisoning. If it can happen here, can it happen anywhere?
Don’t miss Nat Geo Explorer “Inside Bioterror“ premiering August 31st at 10P et/pt.