Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Report: Chemical, Biological, and Toxin Weapons

An updated Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service report entitled Terrorism: Background on Chemical, Biological, and Toxin Weapons and Options for Lessening Their Impact, dated December 1, 2004, is an informative 18-page introduction to some of the potentially horrific weapons terrorists could acquire and use.

The report introduces readers to the effects of these weapons, then moves on to a realistic assessment of the challenges faced by terrorists who would use them. The report continues with a brief discussion of the treatments available after exposure and then considers the potential impacts of chemical, biological, and toxin weapons. The report also discusses governmental and non-governmental approaches for preventing terrorists from having access to and using these weapons.

Finally, the report concludes with the potential policy options for the 109th Congress to consider which may reduce the impact of a terrorist attack using chemical, biological, or toxin weapons. One of these options involves considering how the media coverage of an event involving such a weapon can affect the event's outcome. A discussion of the competing aspects of media coverage of teror related events is The Brookings Institution forum transcript The Role of the Press in the Anti-Terrorism Campaign: The Anthrax Scare and Bioterrorism: Is the coverage informative or needlessly frightening?. The Radio and Television News Directors foundation has developed a media guide for bioterrorism reporting. It is available in hard copy for purchase or can be downloaded at no cost. This 51-page guide is entitled A Journalist's Guide to Covering Bioterrorism -- Second Edition.


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