NBC Weapons: June 1, 2002


Increased interest in the effects of chemical and biological weapons has revealed an unpleasant, but not unexpected series of events from the 1970s. No, not reports of illegal testing of biological and chemical weapons. Rather, it appears that when prosecutors and Congress went after people (who had worked on developing and testing chemical and biological weapons) in the 1970s for illegal tests, lots of records of legitimate tests were lost when researchers destroyed records lest the witch hunt use those records to prosecute people for legitimate work. Since most of these tests were top secret type stuff, it was a relatively simple matter to destroy a lot of records and, as long as those involved kept quiet, who was ever going to know. The criminal investigations in the 1970s were concentrating on tests that used human subjects. But many tests used animals, or no living test subjects at all. Only the people running the tests knew the tests took place. Now a lot of that research will have to be repeated in order to increase our knowledge of chemical and biological weapons effects.


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