Pentagon Sold Discount Equipment That Could Produce Biological Warfare Agents

After a U.S. auditors bought biological weapon-capable laboratory equipment from the Defense Department, the department suspended the sale of such items three weeks ago, CNN reported yesterday.

The Pentagon’s Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service had been publicly selling cut-price laboratory equipment that could be used to produce biological warfare agents, according to a draft U.S. General Accounting Office report.

The service sells surplus defense equipment, but it halted the sale of the equipment in question on Sept. 19 after GAO investigators formed a front company to purchase an evaporator, an incubator, centrifuge equipment and 300 to 400 biological protection suits, CNN reported.

“Many items needed to establish a laboratory for making biological warfare agents were being sold on the Internet to the public from DoD’s excess property inventory for pennies on the dollar, making them both easy and economical to obtain,” the draft report says.

The GAO front company spent “a little over $4,000” for equipment that the Pentagon originally purchased for $46,000, according to the report.

The equipment is largely available on the open market, but without the low price, according to CNN (Chris Plante, CNN.com, Oct. 6).

October 7, 2003
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After a U.S. auditors bought biological weapon-capable laboratory equipment from the Defense Department, the department suspended the sale of such items three weeks ago, CNN reported yesterday.

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