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This highlights the power of denial measures. If producers of critical
equipment must insert an unobtrusive tracking device that sets off alarms
if removed, then signals from those devices could be centrally collected,
perhaps by the Interpol Preventing Bioterrorism Of¬ce, where they would
be linked to data about pathogen location. Altogether, a system would
emerge for tracking items that could be used for bioviolence, deterring
perpetrators who would fear detection of their covert activities, and sub-
stantially contributing to investigations of wrongful behavior. Tracking
equipment is not a perfect prophylactic against bioviolence, yet it is an
effective way to combine denial and interdiction measures against biovi-
olence threats.


To prevent bioviolence, it is imperative to interdict illicit preparations.
Interdiction of critical agents and equipment in transit to bio-offenders is
pivotal to denial measures. Interdiction of ready-to-use weapons is the last
opportunity to prevent catastrophe. Whether our concern is the circulation
of pathogens and equipment or the traf¬c in fully operational weapons,
law enforcers bear enormous responsibilities. They must stop wrongful
preparations before it is too late. Can they?
This question focuses on police capabilities, the scope of their legal
authority, and whether effective interdiction modalities have broad inter-
national application. Fortunately, this aspect of the prevention agenda is
receiving international attention. Interpol has assumed responsibility for
worldwide police training through a series of workshops, train-the-trainer
programs, publications and guides, and promotion of stronger national
legislation. In only a few years, the Interpol Program has demonstrated the

substantial bene¬ts of specialized cooperation and organizational com-
mitment. It will create a central information resource and reporting hub
that raises awareness of bioviolence threats as it facilitates communication
between experts and police of¬cials in nations that might not otherwise
draw on such expertise. Notably, Interpol is demonstrating that engag-
ing police on this subject need not threaten legitimate bioscience but,
on the contrary, is the best way to protect against inappropriate intru-
To effectively interdict: 1) national laws must authorize police to act,
and 2) law enforcers must have enhanced capabilities for identifying covert
bioviolence preparations.

Legislating the Crime
Law enforcers do not interdict legal activity. As mentioned earlier,
most States lack laws that criminalize unauthorized possession of lethal
pathogens or building an amateur laboratory. This has to change. Every
nation must enact laws to criminalize not only the act of bioviolence but
the preparations that are necessary to its accomplishment. If law enforcers
have to await the completed attack, then bioviolence preparations can
proceed without serious constraint. Prohibitions must reach preliminary
National laws should criminalize unauthorized possession of
pathogens, access to laboratories, and possession of critical equipment.
It must be a crime to: construct an unauthorized facility for working with
select pathogens, divert pathogens from a facility, transfer pathogens or
relevant equipment to someone who misuses them, or deliberately cause
pathogens to be released. If the only legal way to possess controlled
pathogens is to have a license, then possession of those pathogens without
a license must be, in and of itself, a criminal offense.
In addition, there are many legal measures for ensuring that law
enforcers can work with foreign counterparts by sharing information and
conducting investigations. But States that do not appropriately criminal-
ize behavior undermine international legal cooperation. This problem is
especially pronounced in States where proliferation and terrorism are most
worrisome. For this reason, both the United Nations Security Council and
the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) require States to enact nec-
essary laws, but most States have not met their obligations in full. This
noncompliance corrodes the foundation of bioviolence prevention pol-
icy, endangering everyone.

Right now, it is extremely dif¬cult to assess the gaps in most States™
implementation of measures to keep relevant pathogens and laboratories
secure or to interdict bioviolence. Even if a State has enacted regulatory
measures, it is practically impossible to assess whether those measures
are rigorously enforced, and, if unenforced, whether that in¬rmity is due
to inadequate capabilities or to more sinister reasons. Each State estab-
lishes its own criteria of compliance and thereby de¬nes itself as compli-
ant regardless of whether it has, in fact, implemented suf¬cient controls
to prevent a biocatastrophe. This circular logic is perilous.

The Dilemma of Pre-Attack Interdiction
Prevention demands that law enforcers act before there is an actual attack.
This is not how law enforcement usually works. Most criminal laws pun-
ish a crime only after it has been committed. Laws against murder do
not prohibit people from sharpening knives; only when a knife is violently
used will law enforcers ¬nd, apprehend, and prosecute the offender. We do
not investigate everyone who has a knife in order to identify persons with
malevolent intentions “ that would be a grotesque intrusion on personal
privacy. Just because somewhere, anyone in a broad community can com-
mit a crime, law enforcers do not investigate everyone to assess if someone
might have criminal intent. Society awaits the crime before authorizing an
However, the enormity of bioviolence™s consequences forces us to re-
examine how law enforcement operates. All crime is tragic, yet rarely does a
crime threaten consequences that could disrupt civilization. Bioviolence is
not a typical crime that causes an individual or small group to suffer. A bio-
offender could in¬‚ict a qualitative leap in devastation causing harm that
could reverberate around the world well into the future. Indeed, prevention
is so imperative precisely because it is insuf¬cient to punish bioviolence
after it has been committed. Law enforcers must, therefore, identify bio-
offenders as early as possible “ well before their plans materialize.
Here™s the dilemma: except in unusual cases, law enforcers will not
know where to look for covert preparations. The perpetrators will not self-
identify; they will do whatever they can to evade detection. Even if law
enforcers stumble onto evidence, it might appear to be an inoffensive ama-
teur lab. After an attack, inferring where preparations had occurred might
be easy, but that begs the question. The challenge is accurate pre-attack
identi¬cation. But how can law enforcers know what they do not know?

It is nonsense to tell law enforcers to visually distinguish a vial of lethal
pathogens from a vial of innocuous liquid. Neither is it reasonable to expect
a customs or border of¬cial to spot pathogens that might be carried in
a common perfume bottle. Consider the challenge of detecting micro-
organisms among more than two hundred million containers yearly trans-
ported by land, sea, and air. In the United States, homeland security per-
sonnel physically inspect less than 2 percent of all sea-shipped containers,
yet expanding those inspections is very expensive and a burden on trade.
Ports that inspect more shipments are at a competitive disadvantage. X-ray
equipment or scanners that might be effective for detecting other contra-
band are ineffective for detecting pathogens that emit no energy. Says one
analyst, “For some threats, such as biological and chemical or radiological
weapons, breakthrough technologies are not available.”18
This dilemma has been callously manipulated to justify ill-conceived
plans to escalate government eavesdropping or coercive methods to
extract information. Interdicting bioviolence is a complex challenge, but it
should not beget facile calls for broad intrusions on civil liberties. Today™s
threats certainly warrant highly selective information-gathering capac-
ities, but it is discouraging and ultimately debilitating for these threats
to be asserted as rationale for ill-tailored sweeps through innocent peo-
ple™s affairs. Instead, there are two re¬ned methodologies to consider: 1)
enhancing law enforcement™s ability to recognize the subtle clues of biovi-
olence, and 2) developing pattern recognition techniques.
One point is indisputable: only adequately trained and equipped police
can make effective use of even the most sterling information-gathering
mechanisms. Much of the following discussion calls for elaborately honed
systems to collect and analyze data, which entail advanced computers,
integrated electronic networks, and people who know how to operate
them. These systems must be implemented globally, which calls for a pro-
longed commitment to augment developing nations™ law enforcement.
At the root of efforts to strengthen law enforcement, therefore, must be
systemic and worldwide police professionalization.

Clues of Bioviolence
A bio-offender will likely leave a subtle trail that well-trained law enforcers
can track. Yet, it is unlikely that a single clue will be so revealing that
law enforcers can instantly deduce an illegal scheme. Multiple bits of
information “ virtually trivial by themselves “ must be assembled into
a mosaic of suspicion (see Box 5-1). Moreover, no one of¬cial domain will


1. Unauthorized surveillance of potential targets, such as hotels, entertainment
venues, trains, airplanes, water sources, of¬ce buildings, apartment buildings,
or food services;
2. Purchase or theft of pathogens or equipment such as dispersal or aerosolizing
3. Procurement or theft of suspicious items, such as growth agent, personal pro-
tective gear (latex gloves, suits, or gas masks), antibiotics, or literature on
4. Recruitment of scienti¬c personnel;
5. Establishment of a secret facility that could operate as a laboratory;
6. Acquisition of animals and cell-culturing media for testing;
7. Reports of “unusual” disease outbreaks from poison control centers or emergency
rooms (might indicate unintentional self-infection);
8. Reports of “unusual” environmental emissions or noxious odors not typically asso-
ciated with the area;
9. Unscheduled spraying by aircraft /helicopters or individuals, or unusual or unsche-
duled window washing or power washing, especially when crowds are present;
10. Unscheduled presence of individuals in dust masks or other protective gear;
11. Tampering or unusual activity associated with water supplies, building ventilation
systems, food supplies, or food distribution centers.

SOURCE: Bioterrorism Incident Pre-Planning & Response Guide, ICPO-Interpol (2007). See
also, Tracee A. Treadwell et al., Epidemiologic Clues to Bioterrorism, PUBLIC HEALTH REPORTS,
Vol. 118 (March“April 2003).

be able to gather suf¬cient clues. Diverse agencies with distinct respon-
sibilities for identifying bioviolence must share information. “The prob-
lem is not, to use the old saying, ˜¬nding the needle in the haystack,™ but
rather ˜passing a thread through the eyes of many needles buried in several
Science and public health communities must work with law enforcers.
Scientists understand what pathogenic agents might be used, and public
health workers can help distinguish a natural outbreak from a malevolently
released disease. Expert assessments by science and health communities
can help identify what to look for during investigations. Law enforcers, of
course, have to be able to recognize local changes (e.g., unusually heavy
traf¬c to a remote location, complaints of disturbances, etc.) and linkages
to other criminal activity. An informative lesson is the failure to identify
Aum Shinrikyo, the Japanese cult that attacked Tokyo subway commuters
with sarin gas in 1995. Aum left many clues that Japanese authorities failed

to recognize until afterward. Disparate police, public health, counter-
terrorism, and environmental of¬cials each noticed oddities but, unable
to effectively share that information, did not frame a coherent picture that
could have warned law enforcers to interdict Aum™s preparations. Those
authorities were not careless or lacking detection tools, but discerning
camou¬‚aged bioviolence preparations requires attentiveness to combi-
nations of unusual clues.
We can all be safer from bioviolence if police in every nation ef¬ciently
gather and share information with public health of¬cials who monitor
disease outbreaks. When there is reason for concern, the evidence should
be distributed to the appropriate authorities who, in turn, can refer to
international databases that track terror and criminal networks. These
communities and capabilities should work as seamlessly as possible. If so,
they could serve a critical triage role for diagnosing the circumstances that
deserve further attention.

Pattern Recognition
Pattern recognition is the process of deducing relationships about peo-
ple, organizations, and activities from broad data sources. According to a
U.S. government of¬ce, it is “the application of database technology and
techniques “ such as statistical analysis and modeling “ to uncover hidden
patterns and subtle relationships in data and to infer rules that allow for the
prediction of future results.”20 Small data pieces might seem innocuous,
yet patterns can be detected by identifying subtle linkages among hetero-
geneous pools of information from huge databases. Advanced mathemat-
ical capabilities, faster computers, and innovative software applications
are increasingly valuable to modern law enforcers who, to coin a phrase,
are drowning in information but starved for knowledge. Pattern recogni-
tion techniques enable law enforcers to near-instantly sort through heaps
of data to uncover evidence of criminality; they are widely used in tracing
money laundering and terrorist ¬nancing.
Key to bioviolence prevention is better tracking of the global traf¬c in
pathogens and bioequipment. The registration systems and census func-
tions discussed earlier will generate broad information about locations of
pathogens and laboratories as well as data about where and when critical
items are moved. Orders for transfers of materials or equipment as well as
all transport records are relevant. If GPS technology is af¬xed to sophis-
ticated bioequipment, if pathogens are marked, and if records are kept
about where these items are supposed to be, then movements of critical
items could be tracked through international commerce. Also informative

would be credit card records of purchases of critical equipment or mate-
rials as well as enrollment data for classes on how to handle dangerous
materials or operate equipment.
All this information should be linked with data about criminal net-
works and smuggling operations from police and customs ¬les. Other
useful data sources would be information from health-related and envi-
ronmental data sources concerning unusual outbreaks and patterns of ill-
ness. Pattern recognition involving sophisticated analyses of information
from these diverse sources should be designed to recognize anomalies or
inexplicable patterns. The evidence of something incongruous or devious
should alert law enforcers to clarify the situation.
Application of pattern recognition techniques to identify signals of
bioviolence preparations needs to be very carefully considered. Notably,
accumulating aggregate data is very different from conducting targeted
investigations on individuals. Indeed, in the United States, broad data
mining initiatives have provoked considerable public outcry as intrusive
of privacy. (Box 5“2 lists the principal U.S. data mining initiatives.) Privacy
concerns are especially intense here because bioscience will be under the
microscope; moreover, information will be compiled and analyzed glob-
ally. It takes little imagination to envision an ominous system where an
unaccountable “big brother” monitors bioscientists™ purchases, activities,
and communications on the off chance of discovering illicit activity.
Privacy protections are essential to uphold due process of law. For


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