Pentagon: No ‘root cause’ of live anthrax shipments
WASHINGTON, DC – A Pentagon report meant to uncover how live anthrax was inadvertently shipped to labs around the world has not identified a “root cause” for the problem.
Instead, the report released Thursday blamed “insufficient technical information in the broader scientific community” about how to make sure the potentially deadly substance was no longer live before it was disseminated to 86 labs in 20 states, the District of Columbia and seven foreign countries over the last several years.
The House Armed Services Committee quickly criticized the report for whitewashing the Pentagon’s role.
The committee issued a statement Thursday afternoon saying it was “dissatisfied with the timeliness and the level of detail in this report,” concluding “this reads like a report that spent more time getting scrubbed in the E-Ring than investigated in the field.”
The report also singled out as a “key issue” with Dugway Proving Ground, the Pentagon lab that sent out the faulty samples, that “the viability testing did not detect live (anthrax) spores in inactivated samples containing live spores.”
It added that workers in the Pentagon lab followed their own protocols correctly.
The amount of radiation used, the quality of the testing and possible contamination were cited as potential contributing factors.
Beginning in May, the Pentagon noted that a number of states and countries including the United Kingdom, South Korea, Australia and Canada had reported receiving questionable anthrax samples.
There have been no suspected or confirmed cases of anthrax infections as a result of the shipments, according to the Pentagon.