Remarks by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff at the Stanford Constitutional Law Center's Germ Warfare, Contagious Disease and the Constitution Conference [April 11, 2008]   [open pdf - 65KB]

From the remarks of Michael Chertoff: "So let me talk a little bit about what we see as the major biological threats in the twenty-first century, what kinds of capabilities we are building in order to meet and mitigate those threats, and at least a little bit about some of the legal authorities issues that I think will arise in the context of an attack if we have one. I think this is a great opportunity to explore a fascinating and difficult set of issues that arise in the context of bioterror and also natural challenges arising out of the possibility of pandemics or very serious epidemics. Even though we're only eight years into the twenty-first century, I think we've seen a range of challenges in this country that are comparable to what we saw in the preceding century. And because of the interdependent, global nature of our society, particularly in the area of diseases, the ability of communicable diseases to spread rapidly from one continent to another, even as a natural matter, certainly heightens the risk if we should ever have the experience of the type of influenza that, for example, occurred in 1919. And when you add on top of that the increased capability for people to manufacture and weaponize biological threats into actual weapons of mass destruction, this merely compounds the problem."

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U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security: http://www.dhs.gov/
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