4 Nations Thought To Possess Smallpox
Washington Post; A1
U.S. intelligence reports have identified four nations that are believed to have stockpiled reserves of the smallpox virus. According to classified information the CIA presented to the White House and senior homeland security, public health, and national security officials, Iraq, North Korea, Russia, and France each may have an undeclared sample of the smallpox virus in their possession. Though the report's information, which was gathered by the CIA's Weapons Intelligence, Nonproliferation and Arms Control Center (WINPAC), is not decisive, the reliability of the data was ranked from "very high" to "medium." The disclosure comes amid growing national and international concern over the bioterrorist threat that could ensue as a result of a U.S. war with Iraq. The issue was the subject a special hearing convened by the National Security Council's Deputies Committee, which reviewed requests from the governments of several U.S. Middle East allies that have asked the United States for help in building their smallpox vaccine reserve before taking action against Iraq.