Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 05/2015

Strategic perspectives on the bioterrorism threat

Jim Talent

April 2015

American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research


One of the recommendations of the 9-11 Commission was that Congress focus on the danger of weapons of mass destruction proliferating to terrorist groups. So in 2007 Congress created a Commission to study the danger and report on measures that could be taken to minimize it. I was asked to co-chair the Commission with Senator Bob Graham of Florida. There were a total of nine members on our bi-partisan Commission. Shortly after our Commission was formed, we met with Senator Harry Reid at his request. Senator Reid explained his interest in the subject of our work, and encouraged us to highlight clearly those aspects of the WMD terrorism threat which we believed were the most significant; he urged us in the strongest terms to tell us what we thought Congress most needed to know about the danger. We did so in a Report released at the end of 2008 called "World at Risk."