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From owner-imap@chumbly.math.missouri.edu Tue Oct 1 07:30:11 2002
Date: Mon, 30 Sep 2002 11:50:11 -0500 (CDT)
From: Austin Kelley <austinkelley@hotmail.com>
Subject: [EMMAS] A U.S. Gift to Iraq: Deadly Viruses
Article: 145511
To: undisclosed-recipients:;


A U.S. Gift to Iraq: Deadly Viruses

From Austin Kelley, emmasdance list, 1 October 2003

A 1995 letter from the Centers for Disease Control lists all the biological materials sent to Saddam's scientists for 10 years

As the West Nile Virus spreads nationwide, some congressional leaders are asking whether the mosquito-borne illness could be linked to terrorism or to Iraq's bioweapons program. If so, a more troubling question may be whether Iraq's weapons efforts were unwittingly helped by U.S. scientists.

In a previously unreleased letter obtained by BusinessWeek, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention admitted that the CDC supplied Iraqi scientists with nearly two dozen viral and bacterial samples in the 1980s, including the plague, West Nile, and dengue fever. The letter, written in 1995 by then-CDC director David Satcher, was in response to a congressional inquiry.

The CDC was abiding by World Health Organization guidelines that encouraged the free exchange of biological samples among medical researchers—before Congress imposed tighter controls on biological exports in 1995, says Thomas Monath, who headed the CDC lab where the viruses came from during the period in which they were handed over. It was a very innocent request, which we were obligated to fulfill, recalls Monath. Plus, in the 1980s, Iraq and the U.S. were allies. Scientists say the West Nile strain that so far has killed 46 people in the U.S. is not the same strain provided to Iraq, and they find it unlikely that it could have mutated. They also question whether terrorists would even try to develop West Nile as a weapon when more virulent viruses are available.