Bioterrorism: Introduction and Major Agents

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It is not if, but where and when. In light of the September 11 World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, biological terrorist acts in the United States seem more likely than ever before. We know there are people willing to die to kill Americans and we know that nations with a history of supporting terrorism have biological warfare (BW) capability. Some of the states capable of BW include Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Iran—all of which have close ties to transnational terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda, Armed Islamic Group of Algeria, and Al-Jihad of Egypt (Davis, 1999; McGovern, Christopher, & Eitzen, 1999; Sanger, & Kahn, 2001). The threat is not limited to these nations or groups, but all do present a clear danger. According to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, operatives of Al-Qaeda (the Osama bin Laden group) “have trained to conduct attacks with toxic chemicals or biological toxins” (Broad, & Peterson, 2001).

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