US Crackdown On Bioterror Is Backfiring
This week, a respected biologist was led into a Texas courtroom. He faces no fewer than 68 charges and could end up in jail for the rest of his life. Has the FBI finally caught the anthrax attacker? No. Thomas Butler merely reported that 30 vials of plague bacteria had gone missing from his laboratory at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. Many of Butler's colleagues believe the justice authorities are making an example of him as part of a wider effort to ensure that scientists take more care with material terrorists might exploit. Whatever the outcome of the case, that effort is having repercussions that go far beyond the fate of one scientist. New Scientist has contacted more than 20 prominent figures in the US working in bioterror-related fields.