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PNAS Withdraws (For Now) Paper Which Could Aid Bioterrorists

:: Cindi sent a link to this story from NPR, which describes how a preview copy of a paper to be published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences was withdrawn after US government officials said that the paper contains information that could aid bioterrorists. The topic of the paper deals with what might happen if terrorists slipped botulinum toxin into the US milk supply?

NPR reporter David Malakoff said that after journalists were sent a preview copy of the paper, PNAS began to receive many questions from reporters and others they (the reporters) had called, including senior officials from the US Department of Health and Human Services. The Department asked PNAS not to publish the paper because the information in it might aid terrorists. For now, PNAS has agreed, but will review the paper again with a commitment to publishing it in the future.

The author of the paper is Lawrence M Wein of Stanford, who was surprised by the decision. Unable to talk about the content of the paper because it has yet to be published, he noted that the paper contains only information readily available to the public, which could help prevent a botulinum attack.

The NPR page provides a link to the audio of the 3'15" report.

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Comments

There was an op-ed piece in the NYTimes on Monday the 30th on this same topic by the same author.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/30/opinion/30wein.html

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