The News-Post’s editorial on Dec. 1 thankfully treats safety at Fort Detrick as important subject matter. I wish we could enforce this editorial’s expectation that Detrick be “as transparent as possible.” The recent breaches of containment (by deadly pathogens) are not the first at USAMRIID, nor are the problems with decontamination and disposal of hazardous waste, nor is the faulty inventory. CDC calls the latest a “systematic failure.”

We manage to find out about some safety lapses at Detrick — on this occasion, owing to the efforts of our local newspaper. But all the newspaper can do is “hope” (see related News-Post editorial on Aug. 14) “expect” and “encourage” transparency and more attention to safety. This chronic situation can only be rectified politically.

One simple improvement would be to drastically reduce Detrick’s public relations staff (whose function is to cover up rather than inform) and replace them with safety monitors. But this is one of many situations in our country that also require something more complex, namely the subordination of our military to the needs and interests of the citizenry, especially in neighboring communities.

Meanwhile, we are at the point at which the “national security” basis for secrecy is mostly about keeping information from Americans, thus undermining our protection, and has nothing to do with defending anyone.

Please recall that according to our government’s crafted account, the only bio-attack in our history came out of USAMRIID. The anthrax weapons of 2001 were produced at USAMRIID and distributed (mailed) by a scientist at USAMRIID.

Barry Kissin

Frederick

(10) comments

threecents

A couple of other issues with this letter: 1) Barry wants them to reduce their public relations staff, but he wants them to talk more to the public. 2) He wants them to hire "safety monitors". That statement shows he has no clue about safety at these types of military labs. They have multiple internal groups of safety and security monitors, and they have at least three external government agencies that do safety inspections.

barrykissin

Threecents (whoever that is) is happy to rely on "multiple internal groups of safety and security monitors" he says are already in place. But none of these so-called "multiple internal groups" did anything about "systematic failure" or to make unnecessary the shutdown of the USAMRIID labs since July 15. Regarding public relations, we don't need "more talk," we need straight talk.

threecents

Barry, When informed people, like Gabe and me, correct the libel you sent the FNP, it would be nice if you thanked us for setting the record straight, rather than digging in your heels. This is an example of why you have no credibility.

gabrielshorn2013

[lol] Like three said

public-redux

“Threecents (whoever that is) ...”

Mr. Kissin, Employing an ad hominem undermines your credibility. Focus on the ideas and not the person.

Dwasserba

Conspiracies everywhere (shiver)

threecents

Barry, Nowhere in the FNP article did it say that pathogens breached containment. Here is a quote from the article: "Breach is a “loaded word,” said Col. E. Darrin Cox, commander of USAMRIID. While there was a breach, there was no exposure, he said. No one was exposed to any of the agents or toxins." They have multiple containment systems, so a breach in one does not mean that any pathogens escaped containment.

gabrielshorn2013

You beat me to it three. There are multiple containment processes for each area. If one process step is not followed to the letter, it is termed a "breach". However, there are multiple backup systems in place that would also need to be "breached" in order for an escape to happen. An analogy. Just because someone accidentally guessed one of the combination numbers on a padlock doesn't mean that they will be able to open it.

FarrellKeough

If you wanna know what's being funded, start here...

https://www.niaid.nih.gov/research/biodefense-emerging-infectious-diseases

gabrielshorn2013

Great reference Mr. Keough. There is nothing "secret" or nefarious happening with the work at USAMRIID on these pathogens. This critical work is often published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Mr. Kissin seems to be binge watching too many episodes of "The X Files" or "The Blacklist".

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