Biolabs or Bust!
Many people are terrified at the prospect of Donald Trump’s tiny fingers on America’s nuclear weapons button. Another terror in our backyards: the nation’s biological research labs, which handle deadly pathogens like ebola, anthrax and others. We discuss the potential for global disasters with a leading expert in nuclear weapons policy, and with a journalist who has investigated US biolabs for more than a decade.
Kennette Benedict is a senior adviser to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and served as Executive Director and Publisher of the BAS from 2005 until she retired in February 2015. She is a Lecturer at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. Her article, “Add Democracy to Nuclear Policy” appears in the Ploughshares publication, “Ten Big Nuclear Ideas for the Next President.” Also, see the BAS statement of January 2017 on moving the Doomsday Clock closer to midnight.
Previously, Professor Benedict served as the Director of International Peace and Security at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, working to reduce the threat from weapons of mass destruction and supporting an initiative on science, technology, and security. She has taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and at Rutgers University, New Brunswick and has published numerous columns and articles about nuclear weapons and disarmament, nuclear power, climate change, and global governance.
Alison Young is a member of USA TODAY’s investigative team and a past president of Investigative Reporters and Editors, a national journalism education organization. You can check the entire USA Today series on biolabs, including information on biolabs in every state, on the USA Today website.
Previously Young wrote a weekly watchdog column called Spotlight in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and covered the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the AJC. From 2003-2006 she was a member of the Washington-based national investigative team for the Knight Ridder chain of newspapers, and before that she spent 10 years as a reporter and editor at the Detroit Free Press, and also has reported for The Arizona Republic and the Dallas Times Herald. Her reporting has won numerous awards, including a duPont-Columbia Award, a Barlett & Steele Silver Award, the Hillman Prize, two Scripps Howard awards, two National Headliners, two Gerald Loeb Awards, as well as honors from Sigma Delta Chi and the National Press Club.