Army's germ warfare report is called inadequate

THE BALTIMORE EVENING SUN

An Army report addressing the environmental risks of germ warfare research at Fort Detrick is "hopelessly inadequate," a counsel for a Washington public interest group has said.

The Army claims its work does not pose any significant environmental threats, but the Army has failed to go back and decide if the research was necessary in the first place, Andrew Kimbrell, of the Foundation on Economic Trends, said this week.

"Any risk is too high if the research is unnecessary," said Kimbrell, policy director and counsel for the foundation, which has long been concerned about the dangers of biological warfare research.

Officials at Fort Detrick, the lead laboratory for the nation's biological defense research program, defended the report, which was released earlier this month.

They said researchers at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Frederick are handling the sometimes deadly agents under strict safety guidelines. They contend the environmental assessment report is comprehensive and responds to the foundation's concerns.

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