22 May 1998: Link to White House anti-terrorism initiative

21 May 1998

From: "Paul M. Maniscalco" <paulm.maniscalco@worldnet.att.net>
To: TERRORISM@mediccom.org
Subject: US to Order Antibiotics for Bio-Terrorism
Date: Thu, 21 May 1998 11:21:38 -0400

AP White House Correspondent

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Warning of the dangers of terrorism, President
Clinton will order the stockpiling of antibiotics and vaccines for
civilian protection in the event of biological warfare, a senior 
administration official said Wednesday.

    Clinton will announce the order in a commencement speech Friday at
the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

    The main focus of the address will be about domestic threats such as
biological weapons, terrorism and possible penetration of the Internet,
said the official, insisting on anonymity.

    He said Clinton will direct that adequate resources be maintained
for civilians in case of germ warfare.

    Smallpox and anthrax are considered among the biggest potential
biological weapon threats in the United States. Both diseases incubate
for several days to weeks, making it hard to spot an outbreak even if
doctors recognized early symptoms, which can mimic the flu.

    Anthrax is treatable only when caught early and only the military
has a vaccine now. Americans are not vaccinated against smallpox anymore 
but about 8 million vaccine doses are stockpiled.

    Attorney General Janet Reno and FBI Director Louis J. Freeh told
Congress last month that U.S. cities and towns remain vulnerable to
chemical and biological terrorism despite recent efforts to improve

    "We need to make sure we have a significant stockpile -- and I don't
think we do -- of vaccines and other medications," Reno told members of
the Senate intelligence and judiciary committees.

    Freeh said an anthrax scare last February in Las Vegas served as a
"dress rehearsal" that taught some important lessons. Two men were
arrested Feb. 18 on suspicion of having deadly weapons-grade anthrax. The
charges were dropped five days later when the material was found to be a 
veterinary vaccine.

    An administration review of how the United States would respond to a
biological or chemical weapon attack from terrorists has been under way
for about a year.

    Concern swelled among U.S. officials in March 1995, when a Japanese
cult carried out a lethal nerve gas attack on the subway in Tokyo, killing
12 and injuring 5,000. Later that year, Iraq admitted having built a large
arsenal of biological weapons -- and had been ready to use it four
years earlier during the Gulf War.