Army Chief: Human Error Likely Not Cause of Anthrax Mistake

CBS DC

WASHINGTON — Human error probably was not a factor in the Army’s mistaken shipment of live anthrax samples to numerous U.S. government and commercial laboratories in the U.S. and in South Korea, the Army’s top general said Thursday.

Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, told reporters the problem may have been a failure in the technical process of killing, or inactivating, anthrax samples. The process in this case “might not have completely killed” the samples as intended before they were shipped, he said.

Odierno said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating that aspect of what went wrong at Dugway Proving Ground, the Army installation in Utah that sent the anthrax to government and commercial labs in nine states across the U.S. and to an Army lab in South Korea.

The general said he was not aware that such a problem had surfaced previously at Dugway.

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