Terrorists may use insects in bio-attack
Published January 2009
A new book highlights the possibility of terrorist using insects to spread deadly diseases; the author says that “It would be a relatively easy and simple process … A few hundred dollars and a plane ticket and you could have a pretty good stab at it”
As if we did not have enough to worry about. Terrorists could easily contrive an “insect-based” weapon to import an exotic disease according to University of Wyoming Entomologist Jeffery lockwood. Wired‘s Nathan Hodge writes that Lockwood is now promoting his new book, Six-legged Soldiers: Using Insects as Weapons of War. He told BBC Radio 4′s Today’s program that planning a bio-terror attack using insects would “probably be much easier” than developing nuclear or chemical weapons. Today does not post the transcript, but the U.K. Daily Telegraph quotes: “It would be a relatively easy and simple process … A few hundred dollars and a plane ticket and you could have a pretty good stab at it.”
There are those who are skeptical of such claims. Military historian Max Hastings was less-than-enthusiastic about Lockwood’s book in his review of it in this weekend Sunday Times. He did note, though:
The last section of Lockwood’s book is the most plausible and interesting, because it addresses the risks of biological terrorism in our own times. In particular, the author speculates about the consequences if terrorists were to broadcast Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that carries the yellow fever virus. The consequences of a yellow fever epidemic in America, where scarcely anyone is inoculated against the disease, could be devastating.
Hodge notes that U.S. biodefense labs have soaked up massive amounts of funding in recent years to deal with precisely this kind of theoretical threat. As New York Times‘s Eric Lipton and Scott Shane point out, though, the real question remains whether the boom in biodefense technology has made the US safer.
Let’s face the fact that if our enemies are experimenting with y. Pestis (Plague) then everything is in play!
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