2002 October 23 Wednesday
Will Saddam Release Smallpox?

Spertzel raises a nightmare scenario. Should the US attack Iraq without first stockpiling much larger quantities of smallpox vaccine?

"The problem with Iraq is not anthrax, it's not plague, it's not botox. It's smallpox," said smallpox expert Dr. Alan Zelicoff, a senior scientist at Sandia National Laboratories' Center for National Security and Arms Control in Albuquerque, N.M.

"I think it's very likely that's his ace in the hole. And if he were to be attacked, my personal fear is he would release smallpox by any of several methods and that would change everything. If that is what he does, he wins, there is no way out. Even if the United States had 300 million doses of vaccine, what about Europe and Asia? There's nothing there," he said.

But the United Nations' former chief bioweapons inspector in Iraq is certain that Saddam both has smallpox and has managed to weaponize it.

"My gut says they were beginning to work on smallpox and by 2002, they have it," said Richard Spertzel, a microbiologist who worked in the U.S. bioweapons program in the 1950s, then switched to biodefense. He is a veteran of more than three dozen trips to Iraq, from 1994 until inspectors pulled out in 1998.

If you want to know more about what the former UNSCOM inspectors think about Saddam's past and current capabilities then go to this post and click thru to all the other URLs

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2002 October 23 11:15 AM 


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