Hot on HuffPost:

See More Stories

Biotech Lab in Malaysia Raises Security Concerns, Despite U.S. Connection

5 years ago
  0 Comments Say Something  »
Text Size
A ProPublica investigation published Tuesday raises concerns about a biotech laboratory being built in Malaysia that will handle deadly pathogens such as anthrax, plague, SARS and the Ebola virus.

The stated mission of lab, developed by the Malaysian government with the Maryland-based firm Emergent BioSolutions, is to produce vaccines against fatal and contagious agents that could be used in terrorist attacks.

But critics worry that the facility could be used for offensive, instead of defensive, purposes in a country that has been tied to several terrorist plots over the past decade. They question "the security, safety and wisdom of building such bio defense labs in areas where al-Qaida operates," ProPublica reported:
"The question for (U.S. officials) is, 'How can we ensure a 'responsible' biotech sector in places like Malaysia, which are Muslim and are cranking out capable and well-educated scientists and have the money to build state-of-the-art facilities?' " says Edward Hammond, who used to head the Sunshine Project, which monitors biosecurity efforts. Hammond has long criticized lax U.S. government oversight of facilities handling dangerous bio-agents. He said strategic imperatives have, by and large, trumped security concerns about new overseas labs.
Supporters note that Malaysia is making efforts to be vigilant against terrorism and that building such a lab with an American partner allows the U.S. government "to have some measure of influence and control on foreign 'biodefense efforts."

Reporters Bob Coen and Eric Nadler conclude that the risks and benefits of the lab are hard to weigh "until the (U.S) government lifts some of the limits imposed by trade laws and national security rules."

Read the full ProPublica report here.
Filed Under: Investigations, Terror

Our New Approach to Comments

In an effort to encourage the same level of civil dialogue among Politics Daily’s readers that we expect of our writers – a “civilogue,” to use the term coined by PD’s Jeffrey Weiss – we are requiring commenters to use their AOL or AIM screen names to submit a comment, and we are reading all comments before publishing them. Personal attacks (on writers, other readers, Nancy Pelosi, George W. Bush, or anyone at all) and comments that are not productive additions to the conversation will not be published, period, to make room for a discussion among those with ideas to kick around. Please read our Help and Feedback section for more info.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum Comment Moderation Enabled. Your comment will appear after it is cleared by an editor.

Follow Politics Daily

  • Comics
Featuring political comics by Robert and Donna TrussellMore>>
  • Woman UP Video
politics daily videos
Weekly Videos
Woman Up, Politics Daily's Online Sunday ShowMore»
politics daily videos
TV Appearances
Showcasing appearances by Politics Daily staff and contributors.More>>