Project BioShield is President Bush's $6 billion proposal for helping pharmaceutical firms develop drugs to beat bioterror agents. And it is, simply put, a complete mess, National Journal reveals.
Paul Redmond had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day recently. It was the day that Redmond, assistant secretary for information analysis at the Homeland Security Department, testified before the House Select Homeland Security Committee about Project BioShield...Redmond didn't have an opening statement. He admitted he has only one person working under him to assess the bioterror threat. He said he isn't getting the information he needs from the intelligence community. His description of the bioterror threat was nothing more than what lawmakers had already read in the newspapers. And he wasn't prepared to brief them in a closed session. Redmond eventually made a plea for sympathy: "I'm trying to do my best at this point."Redmond's lack of preparedness on BioShield is evidence of a potentially grave weakness: Redmond's intelligence cupboard is largely bare, yet the department appears to have no trouble launching big expensive programs without having assessed what the country's highest-priority threats are.Despite this keystone kop approach, Project BioShield is "cruising through the House," according to the magazine.