There are currently more than 1500 terrorist
destroy property in order to advance a political
agenda. We must make every effort to protect American
require both state of the art measures to monitor
terrorist activities and the movement of materials
used for these activities, but also response scenarios
in the event of an actual incident. The United States
with terrorists and attempting to bring alleged
terrorists to trial. We need to support humanitarian,
political, and educational efforts to decrease the
measures to eliminate the production and deployment of
maintain a high level of vigilance to protect the
security of the United States.
terrorism. This FBI has been very effective in
been successful in finding the perpetrators of
terrorist activity and preventing many terrorist
incidents. The problem is that no federal agency can
be expected to find all of the terrorists, before they
World Trade Center and Oklahoma City are two examples.
In both of these incidents, conventional explosives
technology was used to kill people and destroy
property. There are current efforts coordinated by the
use these methods and intercept them before the
incidents occur. These incidents will continue to
require concerted efforts by national and
possible incidents that could lead to greater loss of
life. Those incidents would occur if terrorists used
of the effects of terrorists releasing various
Johns Hopkins University Center for Civilian
Biodefense suggest that the three most likely
biological agents that could be used include smallpox,
anthrax, and plague. There are several other bacteria,
viruses, and biological toxins that are also
considered candidates for biological warfare or
terrorism. On October 1, 1999 Dr. Kanatjan Alibekov, a
former Soviet military officer who was second in
command of their biological weapons division appeared
Soviet Union in 1992. He wrote a classified report at
and plague bacteria. He said that the Russians were
continuing to actively work on biological weapons.
This allegation was subsequently denied by Russian
officials. The most significant threat from biological
weapons currently has to do with the security of the
Russian supply of these materials. Because these
weapons are inexpensive to produce and deploy there
some states that sponsor terrorist activity. The World
Health Organization has estimated the lethality of
these weapons. The lethality of smallpox, anthrax, and
plague are given in the table below:
Case Fatality Rate
Treatment and Prevention
The Working Group on Civilian Biodefense has concluded
that of the total number of known biological agents
only a few would be suitable as weapons of mass
these agents are available. A 1993 report by the
Congressional Office of Technology Assessment
estimates that an aircraft release of 50 pounds of
anthrax spores over a large metropolitan area would
result in 130,000 to 3 million deaths. This is the
same magnitude of the expected casualties expected in
a nuclear attack. The main problem in the case of a
biological weapon attack is recognition of the illness
and taking the appropriate treatment measures. Some of
the symptom presentations are difficult to figure out,
and any delay in diagnosis can lead to further poor
outcomes and further spread of the illness. If the
attack is not announced, the only early sign may be a
large increase in serious respiratory disease in a
Nuclear terrorism is a consequence of nuclear
proliferation and advanced technology. As early as
1980, the Soviet Union and the United States produced
working suitcase sized nuclear weapons that could be
used for the purpose of terrorism. The United States
subsequently disposed of these weapons. Dr. Alexie
Yablokov gave testimony to the Research and
Development Subcommittee in 1997 and asserted that
these “suitcase bombs” exist and that many were
unaccounted for. The Committee Chairman,
Representative Curt Weldon said that in other contacts
as many as 132 of these devices were built in Russia
and that only 48 could be located. There was some
using it for weapons. The main problem that any
produce a weapon. There are currently nine countries
that stockpile weapons grade plutonium. They hold
approximately 250 Tons of this material. The largest
takes about 3-4 kg of plutonium to produce a nuclear
warhead. This stock can produce about 80,000 nuclear
The real current danger in terms of the nuclear threat
of terrorist “suitcase bombs” is the availability of
weapons grade plutonium to terrorists. It is estimated
that a few kilograms of this material could be
dollars. There are rumors that attempts to make these
purchases have already occurred. The availability of
plutonium for sale to terrorist organizations also
depends on the stability of a country’s economy. It is
thought that a destabilized economy increases the
likelihood of a transaction with terrorists. To
directly deal with this threat, Congress has initiated
and maintained various program since 1991 to assist
Russia in providing adequate security to nuclear
materials, assist in dismantling weapons that were not
necessary for its defense, assisting in converting
reactors from plutonium production to power
generation, and providing funding to research
facilities so that nuclear scientists and technicians
would not emigrate to other countries and provide
assistance in nuclear weapons technology. These
provisions are known as Nunn-Lugar after the senators
who sponsored the initial bill. They are also known as
Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) programs.
What Can Be Done at This Time
when terrorists will attack” using some of these
weapons. In spite of this level of concern by the
experts there are no visible initiatives at the state
and community level. In my opinion those initiatives
should include education and organization around
prevention and response to terrorist attacks. There
should also be more information available on the
importance of nuclear non-proliferation and assisting
Russia with improving the security of its nuclear
stockpiles and expert personnel. I would work on the
following anti-terrorism agenda if elected:
1. Rigorous support for Nunn-Lugar or CTR programs:
Preventing terrorist organizations from getting
nuclear material that could be incorporated into a
small device and imported into the United States is a
assist Russian in dismantling their offensive nuclear
weapons and supporting research by their current
nuclear scientists into other areas. These programs
have many documented successes, and the potential cost
is too high if we become less vigilant in this area.
There are signs that we are becoming less willing to
fund some of these measures. For example, the
installation of radiation detectors at all of Russia’s
border locations would cost several billion dollars.
Instead we have pledged a few million dollars, or
enough to put detectors at a few key locations. We
clearly need more resolve in this area. Another
possible advantage of these programs may be new ideas
on how to reduce and contain chemical and biological
2. Halting Production of Enriched Uranium and
Both of these elements can be used to build nuclear
weapons. The best way to assure more safety for the
United States and the rest of the planet is to press
for the cessation of the production of enriched
Uranium and Plutonium.
3. Support for Recommendations by the Working Group on
In the initial papers written by this group they
emphasize the need for increased medical awareness and
knowledge of these organisms and toxins. They also
prioritize more rapid diagnostic techniques, and
also recommend improved vaccines and increased
stockpiles and production capacities of the specific
vaccine. In the case of certain bacteria, antibiotic
resistance has been demonstrated in the same organisms
used for weapons. The Working Group recommends further
study of this resistance phenomenon.
4. Local Experts and Treatment Protocols:
The knowledge of what to do in a terrorist attack that
potentially involves weapons of mass destruction
currently exists in a few specialized facilities in
the country. This expertise needs to be disseminated
to local multidisciplinary teams and members of the
medical community. These groups need access to the
latest specialized information and potential hazards.
If elected, I will work very hard in this area to make
sure Minnesota has the local experts and they in turn
have access to the information they need to respond to
terrorist threats and actions.
5. Support for Current Counter Terrorism Efforts:
The FBI is currently the lead agency for these
efforts. They have been successful in intercepting
terrorists in this country and tracking down
terrorists who have completed an act of violence. An
active dialogue between this agency and Congress is
needed to make sure that this agency has the resources
and cooperation it needs to be effective in this area.
6. Preventive measures to Reduce the Risk of a
a high risk of attack in the next 25 years. So far
there has been very little discussion of what citizens
can do to prevent attacks and protect their families
and communities. This discussion has to occur. I do
not believe we can focus only on how to manage the
consequences of an attack after it has occurred. This
is an opportunity for involvement by all citizens. If
elected, I will push for these strategies and
encourage their dissemination to all citizens.
All of these measures are important priorities because
of the risks inherent in not paying attention to these
1. All About Virology on the WWW. Biological Weapons
2. Barnaby F. The plutonium problem: the Royal Society
sits on the fence. Med Confl Surviv 1998; 14:197-207.
3. Binder S, Levitt A, Sacks J, Hughes J. Emerging
infectious diseases: public health issues for the 21st
century. Science 1999; 284:1311-3.
4. Biological Weapons FAQ v 0.44
5. Diakov A, Goodby J. Minding nuclear fences. IEEE
Spectrum 2000; 37:54-58.
6. Feivson H, Blair B. How to lengthen the nuclear
fuse. IEEE Spectrum 2000; 37:40-43.
7. Forden G, Podvig P, Postol T. False alarm, nuclear
danger. IEEE Spectrum 2000; 37:31-39.
8. Franz DR, Zajtchuk R. Biological terrorism:
understanding the threat, preparation, and medical
response. Disease-a-Month 2000; 46: 125-192.
9. Henderson D. The looming threat of bioterrorism.
Science 1999; 283:1279-82.
10. Henderson D, Inglesby T, Bartlett J, et al.
Smallpox as a biological weapon: medical and public
health management. JAMA 1999; 281:2127-37.
11. Inglesby T, Henderson D, Bartlett J, et al.
Anthrax as a biological weapon: medical and public
health management. JAMA 1999; 281:1735-45.
12. Marwick C. Scary scenarios spark action at
bioterrorism symposium. JAMA 1999; 281:1071-73.
13. Mosher D, Bukharin O, Perry T. Minding Russia’s
nuclear store. IEEE Spectrum 2000; 37:44-50.
14. Stimson Center. Chemical and Biological Weapons
15. Sweet W, Kumagai J. The troubling state of nuclear
controls. IEEE Spectrum 2000; 37:28-30.
16. Additional Bioterrorism and Biological Warfare