Australia is refusing to disclose the siting of a new urban biodefense laboratory over fears of a targeted strike, the Adelaide Advertiser reports.
The “Physical Containment Level 3” complex, in operation as of this week, is the highest-security disease research facility in the state of South Australia, according to the newspaper.
The site is expected to conduct assessments tied to “risk group 3” pathogens, said Janice Fletcher, the state’s acting pathology director. That includes biological threats such as tuberculosis and Q fever.
“The lab will process around 9,000 TB samples per year,” Fletcher said. “[It] also has the capability to test for some other organisms, including a bioterrorism testing capability.”
A recently enacted state health law helped establish the rationale for the new Mycobacterium Reference Laboratory, which is intended to support responses to the most serious disease events the region may face.
State medical officials “recognized that we did not have a suitably rated containment laboratory for dealing with high-risk microorganisms,” South Australia Health Minister Jack Snelling said. He said the new laboratory can “operate at — or above — the level of leading laboratories in other states.”
In the past, authorities have had to send potential biological-threat materials to other Australian states for assessment, Snelling added.
“We have to be prepared to respond quickly to test and find solutions to anything from naturally occurring superbugs to the event of a bioattack,” he said.
What We're Following See More »
"American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers." The conversations centered around Paul Manafort, who was campaign chairman at the time, and Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and then a close campaign surrogate. Both men have been tied heavily with Russia and Flynn is currently at the center of the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."
Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."