Pentagon: Broader technical issue to blame for Dugway live anthrax shipments

Posted at 2:17 PM, Jul 23, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-23 16:29:20-04

WASHINGTON – In a report released Thursday looking into inadvertent shipments of live anthrax spores from a facility in Dugway, Utah, to labs around the world, the Pentagon concluded there was no “root cause” of the problem.

The Pentagon report states, “insufficient technical information in the broader scientific community” is to blame for a lack of sound protocols for inactivating spores.

The report also states, “the key issue with [Dugway Proving Ground, the lab in question] is not that the irradiation procedures failed; it is that the viability testing did not detect live (anthrax) spores in inactivated samples containing live spores.”

It states workers in the defense lab followed their own protocols correctly.

The amount of radiation used, the quality of the testing and possible contamination were cited as possible contributing factors.

The House Armed Services Committee quickly issued a statement saying it was “dissatisfied with the timeliness and the level of detail in this report,” concluding “this reads like a report that spent more time getting scrubbed in the E-Ring than investigated in the field.”

Earlier this year, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Australia and Canada reported being recipients of questionable anthrax samples, along with 19 states and the District of Columbia.

There have been no suspected or confirmed cases of anthrax infections” as a result of the shipments, the Defense Department said at the time.