US WMD commission ranks Obama an "F" on preventing and coping with germ weapon attack against U.S.; Israel conducts drill training world experts on coping with calamity


Almost a decade after the 2001 anthrax attacks, a new report released Tuesday gives President Barack Obama a failing grade for not doing enough to prepare the U.S. for a biological terror attack.

The report, published by a bipartisan anti-terror task force, says America isn't ready to handle a biological threat.

It points to the government's poor preparation for the swine flu epidemic, noting the U.S. ran out of vaccine despite a six-month warning from health officials.

The report also says that no one in the Obama administration has the responsibility to protect against a bio-attack.

Former Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., co-chaired the panel along with former Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo.

"Each of the last three administrations has been slow to recognize and respond to the bio-threat," Graham said. "But we no longer have the luxury of a slow learning curve when we know al-Qaeda is interested in bio-weapons," he said.

Fox News reports: Specifically, the commission concludes that the Obama administration, like the three administrations before it, has failed to pay consistent and urgent attention to increasing the nation's ability to respond quickly and effectively to a germ attack that would inflict massive casualties on the nation.

The commission repeated its warning that unless nations acted decisively and urgently, it was more likely than not that a WMD will be used in a terrorist attack somewhere in the world by the end of 2013, and that the terrorists' weapon of choice would be biological, rather than nuclear.

The administration's lack of urgency was also reflected in its lack of priority on producing and distributing enough vaccines and other medical countermeasures for Americans, its reluctance to insist that hospitals have enough surge capacity to treat people who would be infected in a bioterror attack, and the lack of a national plan to coordinate federal, state and local efforts following a bioterror strike, the document asserts.

Ultimately, the commission chairman and vice chairman say, the "lack of preparedness" and "consistent lack of action" reflect "a failure of the U.S. government to grasp the threat of biological weapons."

Unlike its effort to prevent a nuclear attack, the Obama administration has shown "no equal sense of urgency" about preventing or responding to germ warfare that might cause comparable death and suffering, the commission concludes.

The report assigns 17 grades that it says highlight the issues of greatest priority in protecting Americans from WMD. The commission gave the administration a "D+" for its efforts to tighten oversight of high-containment labs in which experiments involving the deadliest pathogens are conducted. There were still far too many Federal, state, and local agencies regulating germs in sometimes conflicting ways, it states.

The commission also gave Congress a failing grade for failing to consolidate the estimated 82 to 108 committees and subcommittees that oversee some part of the Department of Homeland Security.

"Virtually no progress has been made since consolidation was first recommended by the 9/11 Commission in 2004," the report asserts.

The Obama administration disputed the findings of the report Tuesday, arguing that the president has accomplished a "great deal" in his first year in office.

Concomitant to the release of the report, Israel prepared for a germ warfare attack by staging its largest ever drill on emergency preparedness - as hundreds of emergency response experts from around the world attend a simulated biological attack on Tel Aviv.


(Video courtesy The Media Line)

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