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File: 950925_0503br_90.txt
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Iraqi Biological Warfare (BW) Capabilities 

Filename:0503br.90
[   (b)(2)   ]


[   (b)(6)   ]


From: VP Task Force
To: ITF

Subj: Iraqi Biological Warfare (BW) Capabilities 

Ref:	(a) [   (b)(1) sec 1.3(a)(4)   ]
	(b) [   (b)(1) sec 1.3(a)(4)   ]

1. PURPOSE: To provide Admiral McConnell with DIA's assessment of 
the information [   (b)(1) sec 1.3(a)(4)   ]

2. MAJOR POINTS OF INTEREST:

a. [   (b)(1) sec 1.3(a)(4)   ]



b. Iraq does possess the BW agent anthrax but there is no evidence 
that they have developed or weaponized pneumonic plague. The 
Iraqis do have the technical capability to produce and weaponize 
the bacterium (Yersinia pestis) which causes plague. They also 
have the ability to produce antibiotic resistant strains of the 
organism. The plague bacillus is easy to grow but difficult to 
maintain. It is particularly sensitive to drying and, therefore, 
most likely would have to be prepared in liquid suspension and 
then kept frozen in bulk containers for filling into munitions 
immediately prior to use. This is possible but cumbersome. It is 
unlikely that filled aerial bombs would be stored with frozen 
agent. Bulk stored bacterial suspensions would more suitably be 
disseminated by spray devices or aerosol generators. 

c. We have no evidence to suggest that Iraq has developed a BW 
detection device which monitors protein levels or any other 
bacterial component or product. The Iraqis have the technical 
capability to detect protein, such as botulinum toxin, or protein 
components of microbial cells, such as bacteria and viruses by 
methods commonly used throughout the world in research and 
clinical laboratories. Detection of protein would not likely be 
possible in real time and on a continual basis by a field 
detection device connected to an alarm system. Air samples would 
probably be collected by sampling devices at various sites and 
transported to a field laboratory for analysis. Under the best of 
conditions, this process would require several hours. It should be 
noted that no country in the world has field equipment for 
detecting BW agents.

d. The pneumonic form of the plague is indeed the "aerosolized" 
form of the organism, is highly infectious, and could cause large 
numbers of casualties.

e. Antibiotics are the only treatment for plague as well as 
anthrax, however they must be administered early after exposure to 
be effective. Inoculation is also possible for anthrax, plague, 
and botulinum toxin - another BW agent we assess Iraq to have. 
However, any inoculation for a given disease can be overcome by 
exposure to very large quantities of infecting agent. It is 
undetermined how much agent would be required to overcome an 
inoculated person.

f. In general, BW agents require special storage and handling 
procedures, but each agent has its own unique requirements such as 
those discussed in paragraph 2b. Normally, refrigeration is 
required for all BW agents. 

3. VP task force POC is [   (b)(6)   ][   (b)(2)   ]
 



 

 



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