from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
October 25, 2001


While there is no evidence that Usama Bin Laden is responsible for the current anthrax attacks in the United States, there are indications that Bin Laden's network acquired anthrax and other biological agents in recent years by simply purchasing them from laboratories in Eastern European and Asia.

As reported October 24 in the New York Post, Bin Laden's agents are said to have ordered anthrax and other bacteria through the mail from the Czech Republic and elsewhere.

The NY Post article was based on a rather garbled account of the 1999 trial of members of Egyptian Islamic Jihad in Cairo that appeared in the March 6, 1999 issue of the London Arabic newspaper A-Sharq al-Awsat.

See "Bin-Ladin Men Reportedly Possess Biological Weapons," as translated by the CIA's Foreign Broadcast Information Service, here:

A related story, "Islamic Jihad 'Confessions' Described," also from A-Sharq al-Awsat and translated by FBIS, is posted here:

The reports (or translations) do not accurately distinguish between bacteria and viruses, or between gases and liquids.

Officials of the Czech Republic have vigorously disputed claims that anthrax, botulin or other lethal substances were obtained by Bin Laden from their country.

The Czech intelligence agency, known in English as the Security Information Service, maintains a fairly informative web site here:

Writing in the Village Voice, George Smith warns of anthrax misinformation. See "You Can't Iron Out the Anthrax":

The National Security Archive has just published a new collection of declassified documents on "The Nixon Administration's Decision to End U.S. Biological Warfare Programs." See:


Brian P. Regan, the Air Force signals intelligence analyst who was arrested last August, was indicted on charges of attempted espionage on October 23.

The indictment describes how Regan used Intelink, "the intelligence community's classified version of the Internet," to collect intelligence unrelated to his job responsibilities. And it notes his efforts to identify potential contacts in foreign embassies.

The text of the indictment, obtained from the US Attorney's Office in Alexandria, Virginia, is posted here:


Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

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