Fed Shutdown Hampers Routine Inspections of Biothreat Labs

Global Security Newswire Staff
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Global Security Newswire Staff
Oct. 2, 2013, 10:02 a.m.

U.S. labor­at­or­ies that con­duct sens­it­ive re­search in­volving some of the most deadly dis­eases will not be reg­u­larly in­spec­ted by the U.S. Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol be­cause of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment shut­down that star­ted Tues­day, the Cen­ter for In­fec­tious Dis­ease Re­search and Policy said in an art­icle pub­lished Tues­day.

CDC spokes­wo­man Bar­bara Reyn­olds said Biosafety Level 3 and 4 fa­cil­it­ies, which carry out re­search in­to highly dan­ger­ous dis­eases for which there are no or in­suf­fi­cient rem­ed­ies, will not be routinely ex­amined while most gov­ern­ment func­tions are closed be­cause of a con­gres­sion­al budget battle.

Be­cause the dangers posed by dis­eases stud­ied at these labor­at­or­ies, CDC of­fi­cials are sup­posed to reg­u­larly in­spect them to make sure that all prop­er se­cur­ity and safety pro­ced­ures are car­ried out to min­im­ize the chances of an ac­ci­dent­al re­lease in­to the en­vir­on­ment or theft by a bad act­or of a patho­gen.

Ab­sent CDC in­spec­tions of BSL-3 and 4 labor­at­or­ies, there is a high­er chance of safety and se­cur­ity prob­lems go­ing un­dis­covered.

In 2012, it was learned that a CDC-op­er­ated BSL-3 labor­at­ory in At­lanta had ex­per­i­enced nu­mer­ous prob­lems with tech­no­logy in­ten­ded to pre­vent dis­ease particles from es­cap­ing in­to the air out­side the re­search space. Though no patho­gens were be­ing handled dur­ing the peri­od when the air-fil­tra­tion tech­no­logy was not work­ing cor­rectly, and thus were not at risk of es­cap­ing in­to the en­vir­on­ment, the in­cid­ent raised con­cerns about biosafety and about the ap­pro­pri­ate­ness of the CDC in­spect­ing it­self.

Spend­ing for the Stra­tegic Na­tion­al Stock­pile of weapons-of-mass-de­struc­tion med­ic­al coun­ter­meas­ures will not be im­pacted by the fed­er­al shut­down, ac­cord­ing to the Health and Hu­man Ser­vices Agency.

Much of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment ceased op­er­a­tions after mid­night Monday, when fisc­al 2014 star­ted on Oct. 1, as Demo­crats in charge of the Sen­ate and Re­pub­lic­ans run­ning the House re­mained at odds over a tem­por­ary budget to keep the gov­ern­ment run­ning. Demo­crats are re­fus­ing to heed the GOP’s at­tempts, in a House spend­ing bill, to end or lim­it Pres­id­ent Obama’s Af­ford­able Care Act.

House Re­pub­lic­ans have in­tro­duced sev­er­al dif­fer­ent budget meas­ures that call for con­tin­ue fund­ing at fisc­al 2013 levels through Dec. 15 for polit­ic­ally sens­it­ive and pop­u­lar fed­er­al pro­grams such as the Na­tion­al In­sti­tutes of Health, the Wall Street Journ­al re­por­ted. That strategy — in­ten­ded to pres­sure Sen­ate Demo­crats in­to ac­cept­ing a broad­er spend­ing bill that does not in­clude funds for im­ple­ment­ing the health-care law — will likely not go far, as the White House threatened to veto those piece­meal spend­ing pro­pos­als if they reach Obama’s desk.

What We're Following See More »
ISIS INVOLVED
Niger Attack Possible Terrorist Set-Up
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

"An emerging theory among U.S. military investigators is that the Army Special Forces soldiers ambushed in Niger were set up by terrorists, who were tipped off in advance about a meeting in a village sympathetic to local ISIS affiliates...The group of American Green Berets and support soldiers had requested a meeting with elders of a village that was seen as supportive of the Islamic State, and they attended the meeting at around 11 a.m. local time Oct. 4...Such meetings are a routine part of the Green Beret mission, but it wasn't clear whether this meeting was part of the unit's plan."

Source:
TRUMP’S COMMENTS AT ISSUE
Bergdahl’s Sentencing Delayed Until Wednesday
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The long-awaited sentencing of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was delayed Monday after a legal battle erupted over the word 'but' in President Donald Trump's most recent remarks about the case. Bergdahl's defense team argued that their client could not get a fair shake from the court because Trump, during a Rose Garden appearance on Oct. 16, at first said he couldn't talk about the case and then added: 'But I think people have heard my comments in the past.'" Trump has called him a traitor and suggested he should be executed.

Source:
FOLLOWING DHS’S LEAD
Pentagon to Scrub Kaspersky from Its Systems
5 hours ago
THE LATEST
STATE-CONTROLLED AIRLINE CONNECTED WITH TERRORISM
Trump Admin to Kill Boeing Sales to Iran
7 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The Trump administration is coming under increased pressure from Congress to kill a landmark deal between Boeing and an Iranian airline known for engaging in terrorism over concerns the Western airline company would enable Tehran's transfer of militant fighters across the region, according to multiple sources, who told the Washington Free Beacon the administration is likely to nix the multi-billion dollar deal. The Obama administration's nuclear agreement with Iran paved the way for U.S. aerospace corporation Boeing to ink a deal with Iran's state-controlled airline, Iran Air, which was recently caught using its commercial planes to ferry Iranian militants to regional hotspots."

Source:
PROBE CAME FROM INQUIRY INTO MANAFORT’S FINANCES
Mueller Investigating Tony Podesta and His Firm
12 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Tony Podesta and the Podesta Group are now the subjects of a federal investigation being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, three sources with knowledge of the matter told NBC News. The probe of Podesta and his Democratic-leaning lobbying firm grew out of Mueller's inquiry into the finances of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login