Fears of anthrax, smallpox, and plague pervade the American consciousness, fueled by reports that some of the plane hijackers involved in the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks had specific interest in crop duster aircraft that could be used to disseminate aerosols of pathogens. Because of this, the Nation is stepping up its defenses against bio-terrorism. Nevertheless, little attention has been given to agricultural bio-warfare and bio-terrorism or to the roles and responsibilities of the public and private sectors in deterring and responding to potential attacks. This point is exemplified in a General Accounting Office (GAO) report on combating terrorism released 9 days after the attacks of September 11. The report did not address threats to American agriculture, nor did it involve participation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This paper examines the threat of agricultural bio-terrorism and outlines a plan to counter this threat.
McNair Paper No. 65