WASHINGTON DC (The Last American Vagabond) — Last Friday, a group of Democratic Senators “demanded” that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Robert Kadlec, “accurately disclose all his personal, financial and political ties in light of new reporting that he had failed to do so previously” after it was revealed that he had failed to note all “potential conflicts of interest” on his nomination paperwork.
The report in question, published last Monday by The Washington Post, detailed the ties of Kadlec to a man named Fuad El-Hibri, the founder of a “life sciences” company first known as BioPort and now called Emergent Biosolutions. Kadlec had previously disclosed his ties to El-Hibri and Emergent Biosolutions for a separate nomination years prior, but had failed to do so when nominated to head ASPR.
Though The Post does note Kadlec’s recent failure to disclose these connections, the article largely sanitizes Kadlec’s earlier yet crucial history and even obfuscates the full extent of his ties to the BioPort founder, among other glaring omissions. In reality, Kadlec has much more than his ties to El-Hibri looming large as “potential conflict of interests,” as his decades-long career in shaping U.S. “biodefense” policy was directly enabled by his deep ties to intelligence, Big Pharma, the Pentagon and a host of corrupt yet powerful characters.
Thanks to a long and deliberate process to introduce biodefense policy, driven by Robert Kadlec and his sponsors, $7 billion dollars-worth of federally-owned vaccines, antidotes and medicines – held in strategically arranged repositories across the country in case of a health emergency – are now in the hands of one single individual. Those repositories, which compose the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), are the exclusive domain of HHS’ ASPR, a post created under Kadlec’s watchful eye and tailored over the years to meet his very specific requirements.
From this perch, Robert Kadlec has final say on where the stockpile’s contents are sourced, as well as how, when and where they are deployed. He is the sole source procurer of medical material and pharmaceuticals, making him the best friend of Big Pharma and other healthcare industry giants who have been in his ear every step of the way.
Kadlec assures us, however, that the fact that he now holds the very office he worked so long to create is merely a coincidence. “My participation in the ASPR project began at that time when I was working for the chairman of the Subcommittee on Bioterrorism and Public Health Preparedness…The bill was made law and the ASPR was created. It just was a coincidence that, 12 or 14 years later, I was asked to become the ASPR,” Kadlec stated in 2018.
It was all a random twist of fate, Kadlec asserts, that saw him occupy ASPR at this crucial moment in U.S. history. Indeed, with the country now in the middle of a WHO-declared coronavirus pandemic, Kadlec now has full control over the far-reaching “emergency” powers of that very office, bestowed upon him by the very law that he had written.
The story of how a former USAF flight surgeon came to have the exclusive dealer license over the single biggest stash of drugs in the history of the world is as disturbing as it is significant in light of current events, particularly given that Kadlec now leads the coronavirus response for all of HHS. Yet, Kadlec’s rise to power is not a case of an evil mastermind conquering a uniquely vulnerable point of the nation’s resources. Instead, it is a case of a man deeply enmeshed in the world of intelligence, military intelligence and corporate corruption dutifully fulfilling the vision of his friends in high places and behind closed doors.
In this third installment of “Engineering Contagion: Amerithrax, Coronavirus and the Rise of the Biotech-Industrial Complex,” Kadlec is shown to hail from a tight-knit group of “bioterror alarmists” in government and the private sector who gained prominence thanks to their penchant for imagining the most horrific, yet fictitious scenarios that inspired fear among Presidents, top politicians and the American public. Among those fictitious scenarios was the “Dark Winter” exercise discussed in Part I.
Some of these alarmists, among them “cold warriors” from Fort Detrick’s days of openly developing offensive weapons, would engage in unsettling anthrax experiments and studies while developing suspect ties in 2000 to a company called BioPort. As noted in Part II of this series, BioPort stood to lose everything in early September 2001 due to controversy over its anthrax vaccine. Of course, the 2001 anthrax attacks that followed shortly thereafter would change everything, not just for BioPort, but U.S. biodefense policy. With the stage set, Kadlec would quickly spring into action, guiding major policy changes on the heels of subsequent major events and disasters, culminating in his crowning as King of the stockpile.
The accidental madman
Robert Kadlec describes himself as having been an “accidental tourist” regarding his introduction to biological warfare. An Air Force physician who had specialized in tropical diseases, Kadlec would later say his interest in the field began when he was assigned to be a special assistant for Chemical and Biological Warfare to the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), advising then-head of Special Operations Command Maj. Gen. Wayne Downing, on the eve of the first Gulf War.
Kadlec would later state that he had witnessed firsthand how the military, immediately prior to the Gulf War, had “lacked the necessary protective equipment, detectors, and medical countermeasures including vaccines and antibiotics against the immediate threats posed by Iraq,” allegedly prompting him to want to better U.S. biodefense efforts.
While holding this post at JSOC, Kadlec was privy to the advice of William C. Patrick III, a veteran of the U.S.’ bioweapons program who had developed the U.S.’ method for weaponizing anthrax and held no less than five classified patents related to the toxin’s use in warfare. Patrick, who had left government service in 1986 to become a consultant, advised the Pentagon — then headed by Dick Cheney — that the risk of a biological weapons attack by Iraq, particularly anthrax, was high. Patrick’s warning prompted the U.S. military to vaccinate tens of thousands of its troops using the controversial anthrax vaccine “anthrax vaccine adsorbed (AVA).” Kadlec would personally inject AVA into around 800 members of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Kadlec would later note in Congressional testimony that no definitive proof of an alleged Iraqi biological weapons program was found during the war or afterwards, but nevertheless claimed elsewhere that “the Iraqis later admitted they had procured large quantities of a biological agents-anthrax and botulism toxin,” suggesting that Patrick’s warnings had had some basis in reality.
However, Kadlec failed to point out that these anthrax and botulism samples had been sold, with the U.S. government’s full approval, to Iraq’s Ministry of Education by a U.S. private non-profit called the American Type Culture Collection. Donald Rumsfeld, who was then an envoy for the Reagan administration and running a pharmaceutical company later sold to Monsanto, would also be involved in the shipment of these samples to Iraq.
Following the war, American microbiologist Joshua Lederberg was tasked by the Pentagon to head the investigation into “Gulf War Syndrome,” a phenomenon that studies later linked to the adverse effects of the anthrax vaccine. Lederberg’s task force argued that evidence regarding an association between the symptomology and the anthrax vaccine was insufficient. However, he would later come under fire after it was reported that he sat on the board of the American Type Culture Collection, the very company that had shipped anthrax to Iraq’s government between 1985 and 1989 with the U.S. government’s blessing. Lederberg later admitted that the investigation he led had not spent enough “time and effort digging out the details”. The taskforce’s findings were later harshly criticized by the Government Accountability Office.
Dr. Lederberg would prove to be an early, if not seminal, influence on Robert Kadlec’s outlook regarding the subject of biowarfare. The Nobel Laureate and long-time president of Rockefeller University was one of the fathers of bioterror alarmism in the United States, alongside William C. Patrick III and other members of a tight-knit group of “cold warrior” microbiologists. Kadlec and Lederberg would go on to collaborate on several books and policy studies throughout the late 1990s and into 2001.
Years later, at a Congressional hearing, Kadlec would say that Lederberg’s words “resonate constantly with me and serve as a practical warning.” Aside from Lederberg, Kadlec was also writing numerous books and articles with Randall Larsen, who would later hire the Medical doctor to teach “military strategy and operations” at the National War College, where Larsen’s close friend – William C. Patrick III – also taught.
A poisoned oasis
Many of Kadlec’s bioterror ravings have been preserved in 25-year old textbooks, like a U.S. Air War College textbook entitled “Battlefield of the Future” where Kadlec calls on the government to create a massive stockpile of drugs and vaccines to protect the population from a biological weapons attack, particularly anthrax or smallpox. In one chapter, Kadlec argued that stockpiles of necessary antibiotics, immunoglobulins and vaccines would have to be procured, maintained, and be readily available to administer within hours.”
Kadlec’s views on the matter at the time of writing were greatly influenced by his first tour as a UNSCOM weapons inspector in Iraq in 1994, where he was accompanied by William Patrick, among others. Kadlec would later return to Iraq in the same capacity in 1996 and 1998 in search of Iraq’s alleged stores of weaponized anthrax that Patrick had been so sure were there, but had never materialized.
After three visits, Kadlec would later confess that, despite what Kadlec called “the most intrusive inspection and monitoring regime ever conceived and implemented” by the UN, the UNSCOM weapons inspectors, including himself and William Patrick, “failed to uncover any irrefutable evidence of an offensive BW program.” Kadlec would later return to Iraq on two separate occasions following the 2003 U.S. invasion of country, again finding no proof of the program’s existence.
By 1995, Kadlec was already imbued with the bioweapons alarmism that had been championed by Lederberg and Patrick. That year, he fleshed out several “illustrative scenarios” regarding the use of “biological economic warfare” against the United States. One of these fictional scenarios, titled “Corn Terrorism,” involves China planning “an act of agricultural terrorism” by clandestinely spraying corn seed blight over the Midwest using commercial airliners. The result of the “Corn Terrorism” scenario is that “China gains significant corn market share and tens of billions [of] dollars of additional profits from their crop,” while the U.S. sees its corn crop obliterated, causing food prices to rise and the U.S. to import corn. Another scenario, entitled “That’s a ‘Lousy’ Wine,” involves “disgruntled European winemakers” covertly releasing grape lice they have hidden in cans of paté to target California wine producers.
Around this same time, in 1994, the relatively young Congressional Office of Technology Assessment or OTA, which informed policy decisions around questions of technological and scientific complexity on matters of national security, was cut by the new Republican majority that took both houses in the pivotal 1994 midterms elections. At the time of its defunding, Lederberg sat on the OTA’s Technology Assessment Advisory Council (OTA-TAAC), along with pharma industry insiders from Bristol-Myers Squibb, Lilly Research Labs and pre-merger Smith-Kline, and chaired one of its last study panels.
In OTA’s place, an independent, non-profit entity called The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies (PIPS) was co-founded by Special Consultant to President H.W. Bush’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB) and a former CIA program monitor, Michael S. Swetnam, who was reportedly “tasked with profiling Osama Bin Laden before the September 11th attacks were enacted.”
The defunding of the OTA and subsequent creation of PIPS transferred policy-making on what are, perhaps, the most sensitive issues of national security away from Congress and into a private foundation teeming with operators from the vast underbelly of the military industrial complex (MIC). Former military officers, DARPA scientists, NASA policy experts, FBI agents, CIA operatives and defense contractors like Northrop Grumman can all be found on their member rolls and in their boardrooms.
PIPS and its sponsors would shadow Robert Kadlec’s career in government from the very beginning and remain in close proximity to him today. One PIPS-linked individual would work particularly closely with Kadlec, Tevi Troy – a senior fellow at PIPS and an adjunct fellow at the much more polished Hudson Institute, itself a major funder of PIPS. Troy has long been integral in shaping Kadlec’s biodefense policy agenda, which would remain conspicuously static and unchanging throughout the career he was just beginning.
By 1996, talks had begun within military leadership regarding what would become the Pentagon’s mandatory anthrax vaccination program, a policy tirelessly promoted by Joshua Lederberg, who was involved in “investigating” the links between the anthrax vaccine and Gulf War Syndrome. The private talks took place in parallel with a public push to bring biological warfare to the forefront of American public consciousness. One particularly egregious example occurred when then-Secretary of Defense William Cohen went on ABC News with a five-pound bag of sugar, stating that “this amount of anthrax could be spread over a city—let’s say the size of Washington. It would destroy at least half the population of that city.”
At the same time, Joshua Lederberg was also advocating for the stockpiling of a smallpox vaccine, which the U.S. military also took to heart, giving a company called DynPort an exclusive multi-million dollar contract to produce a new smallpox vaccine in 1997. Soon after, BioPort, DynPort’s sister company, was formed and would soon come to monopolize the production of that vaccine.
By the time BioPort (now known as Emergent Biosolutions) had controversially gained control over this lucrative Pentagon contract in 1998, then-President Bill Clinton was publicly warning that the U.S. must “confront the new hazards of biological and chemical weapons,” adding that Saddam Hussein specifically was “developing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the missiles to deliver them.” However, there was no intelligence to back up these claims, especially after the failed attempts by weapon inspectors, like Robert Kadlec and William Patrick, to find any evidence of an Iraqi biological weapons program.
Despite the lack of evidence regarding Iraq’s alleged “WMD” programs, Clinton’s concern over a biological weapons threat was said to have been the result of his reading of “The Cobra Event”, a novel about how a genetically-modified pathogen called “brainpox” ravages New York City. The novel’s author, Richard Preston, had been advised on biowarfare and genetically-modified pathogens by none other than William Patrick. Patrick, then an adviser to the CIA, FBI and military intelligence, also participated in closed door meetings with Clinton on biological weapons, claiming that their use was inevitable and that the deadliest of pathogens could easily be made in a “terrorist’s garage.”
It is also likely that Clinton’s alarmism over biological and chemical weapons had been informed, in part, by a roundtable hosted at the White House on April 10, 1998. This “White House Roundtable on Genetic Engineering and Biological Weapons,” included a group of “outside experts” spear-headed by Joshua Lederberg and included several other bioterror alarmists, such as: Jerome Hauer, then-serving as Director of New York City’s Office of Emergency Management (who also was advised by William Patrick III) and Thomas Monath, a vaccine industry executive and chief science advisor to CIA director George Tenet.
Discussed in-depth at the roundtable were “both the opportunities and the national security challenges posed by genetic engineering and biotechnology” as well as “classified material relating to threat assessments and how the United States responds to particular scenarios.”
Robert Kadlec, despite being a Republican, remains very fond of Bill Clinton, perhaps because the former president was so attentive to the dire predictions of the “biodefense experts” who shadowed Kadlec’s own career. Kadlec credits the former president with doing a “lot of good things” and making important contributions to the advancement of the biotech industrial complex’s policy agenda.
Clinton would issue several executive orders and Presidential Decision Directives (PDDs) during this period, such as PDD-62, which specifically addressed preparations for a “WMD” attack on the U.S. and called for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), then-led by Donna Shalala, to lead the national response to a WMD attack. Fortuitously for Kadlec, PDD-62 also called for the construction of a national stockpile of vaccines, antibiotics and other medical supplies.
At the time, Kadlec was already evangelizing the public about a seemingly imminent, doomsday anthrax attack he was certain would strike at any second. As quoted in a 1998 article from the Vancouver Sun, Kadlec speculated:
If several kilograms of an agent like anthrax were disseminated in New York City today, conservative estimates put the number [of] deaths occurring in the first few days at 400,000. Thousands of others would be at risk of dying within several days if proper antibiotics and vaccination were not started immediately. Millions of others would be fearful of being exposed and seek or demand medical care as well. Beyond the immediate health implications of such an act, the potential panic and civil unrest would create an equally large response.”
Kadlec’s doomsday speculations about biological weapons attacks had caught the attention of Randall Larsen, the then-director of the National War College’s Department of Military Strategy and Operations, who hired Kadlec because he “had become convinced that the most serious threat to national security was not Russian or Chinese missiles, but a pandemic – either man-made or naturally occurring.” Soon after, Kadlec and Larsen would collaborate closely, co-authoring several studies together.
Meanwhile, their colleague at the National War College, William Patrick III was simultaneously working for the U.S. military and intelligence contractor, the Battelle Memorial Institute, where he was secretly developing a genetically-modified, more potent form of anthrax for a classified Pentagon program.
The bioterror intelligentsia
A year after hiring Robert Kadlec to teach at the National War College, Randall Larsen was also involved in the creation of a new organization called the ANSER Institute for Homeland Security (ANSER-IHS), and served as its director. This Institute for Homeland Security, first initiated and funded in October 1999, was an extension of the ANSER Institute, which itself had been spun off from the RAND Corporation in the late 1950s. The RAND Corporation is a national security-focused “think tank” with long-standing ties to the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations and the Carnegie Corporation.
ANSER’s expansion through ANSER-IHS was foreshadowed by the entry of “homeland defense” into popular political discourse within the Washington Beltway. The term is alleged to have first originated from a National Defense Panel report submitted in 1997 and is credited to Defense Panel member and former CIA officer with ties to the agency’s Phoenix program, Richard Armitage. Armitage was part of the group known as the “Vulcans,” who advised George W. Bush on foreign policy matters prior to the 2000 presidential election.
As journalist Margie Burns pointed out in a 2002 article, the need for “homeland defense” as a major focus of U.S. government policy, including the push to create a new “homeland security” agency, was dramatically amplified following its alleged coining by Armitage in 1997. This was thanks, in part, to a web of media outlets owned by South Korean cult leader and CIA asset Sun Myong Moon, including the Washington Times, Insight Magazine and UPI, all of which published numerous articles penned by ANSER analysts or that heavily cited ANSER reports and employees regarding the need for a greatly expanded “homeland security” apparatus.
One such article, published by Insight Magazine in May 2001 and entitled “Preparing for the Next Pearl Harbor,” heavily cites ANSER and its Institute for Homeland Security as being among “the nation’s top experts” in warning that a terrorist attack on the U.S. mainland was imminent. It also stated that “the first responders on tomorrow’s battlefield won’t be soldiers, but city ambulance workers and small-town firefighters.”
ANSER-IHS was created at the behest of ANSER’s CEO, Dr. Ruth David, who became ANSER’s top executive after leaving a lengthy career at the CIA, where she had served as the agency’s Deputy Director for Science and Technology. On ANSER-IHS’s board at the time, alongside David, were Joshua Lederberg and Dr. Tara O’Toole, then-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Bio-defense Studies who would later co-write the Dark Winter exercise.
Though first created in 1999, ANSER-IHS did not officially launch until April 2001. That same month, Robert Kadlec, at the National War College, sponsored the paper “A Micro-threat with Macro-Impact: The Bio-Threat and the Need for a National Bio-Defense Security Strategy.” That paper starts by citing several former CIA officials as well as Dr. O’Toole (who now works for the CIA’s venture capital arm, In-Q-Tel) as proof that a bioterrorist attack is “perhaps the greatest threat the U.S. faces in the next century” and that such an attack would inevitably target “Americans on American soil.”
This Kadlec-sponsored report also called for the creation of the National Homeland Security Agency (NHSA), the framework for which was contained in H.R. 1158, introduced a month prior in March 2001. The paper urged that the creation of this new cabinet-level agency be enacted “quickly, so the resulting single executive agent (identified from here on as the NHSA) can begin its critical work.” It also argued that this agency include “a deputy director position … specifically responsible for preparing and responding to a bio-attack.”
Other measures recommended in the paper included greatly expanding the national defense stockpile; creating a national disease reporting system; and the creation of real-time, automated bio-threat detectors. The latter would be initiated soon after the publication of this paper, resulting in the controversial Biological Aerosol Sentry and Information Systems (BASIS). BASIS was discussed in Part I of this series, particularly its role in “induc[ing] the very panic and social disruption it is intended to thwart” during and after the 2001 anthrax attacks that would occur months later. BASIS was developed largely by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, whose national security fellow – former Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) director Jay Davis, was then-chairman of ANSER’s board of directors.
Also notable is the fact that Kadlec’s April 2001 report cites the largely discredited yet still influential Ken Alibek on several occasions, including his allegation that anyone with internet access and a few bucks could produce and unleash weapons-grade anthrax with ease. Some of the nation’s top anthrax experts would discredit this claim, with the exception of William C. Patrick III.
This is likely because it was Patrick who had been asked by the CIA to “vet” Alibek after he had first defected from the Soviet Union 1992, making Patrick responsible for determining the credibility of Alibek’s controversial claims, including his incorrect assertions that Saddam Hussein had overseen a massive biological weapons program. Regarding their meeting, Patrick would later say “I won’t say we fell in love, but we gained an immediate respect for one another.”
At the time of Alibek’s defection, Robert Kadlec – who had been assigned to the Pentagon’s Office of the Secretary of Defense for Counter-proliferation policy after the Gulf War – would later recall during 2014 Congressional testimony having “witnessed the efforts to ascertain the truth behind the former Soviet Union’s BW [biological weapons] effort” that had intimately involved Alibek and Patrick. Kadlec would also note that “the fate of these agents [related to the Soviet Union’s BW program] and associated weapons,” including those described by Alibek, “was never satisfactorily resolved.”
Alibek’s shocking yet dubious claims were often used and promoted by Joshua Lederberg (who had debriefed other Soviet bioweapons researchers after their defections), Patrick and others to support their favored “biodefense” policies as well as the need for “defensive” bioweapons research, including clandestine efforts to genetically-engineer anthrax on which Patrick and Alibek would later collaborate.
Setting the wheels in motion
Just a few months before ANSER-IHS’ “official” launch, another organization with a related focus was launched — the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI). Created by media mogul Ted Turner and former Senator Sam Nunn in January 2001, NTI aimed not only to “reduce the threat” posed by nuclear weapons, but also chemical and biological weapons.
In announcing NTI’s formation on CNN, the network Turner had founded, Nunn stated that while “nuclear weapons pose the gigantic danger, but biological and chemical weapons are the most likely to be used. And there are thousands of scientists in the former Soviet Union that know how to make these weapons, including chemical, biological and nuclear, but don’t know how to feed their families.” Nunn continued, stating that NTI hoped “to begin to help, some hope for gainful employment for people that we don’t want to end up making chemical and biological and nuclear weapons in other parts of the world.” NTI’s mission in this regard likely came as welcome news to Joshua Lederberg, who had long advocated that the U.S. offer employment to bioweapons researchers from the former Soviet Union to prevent their employ by “rogue regimes.”
Alongside Nunn and Tuner on NTI’s board was William Perry, a former Secretary of Defense; former Senator Dick Lugar, for whom the alleged U.S. bioweapons lab in Georgia is named; and Margaret Hamburg, who was NTI’s Vice President overseeing its work on biological weapons. Margaret Hamburg’s father, David Hamburg, a long-time president of the Carnegie Corporation, was also an advisor and “distinguished fellow” at NTI. David Hamburg was a longtime close advisor, associate, and friend of Joshua Lederberg.
Both Sam Nunn and Margaret Hamburg of NTI, as well as top officials from ANSER, would come together in June 2001 to participate in an exercise simulating a bioweapons attack called “Dark Winter.” Nunn would play the role of president in the exercise and Hamburg played the head of HHS in the fictional scenario. Jerome Hauer, then-managing director of the intelligence-linked outfit Kroll Inc. and a Vice President at the military-intelligence contractor Scientific Applications International Corporation (SAIC), played the head of FEMA.
The Dark Winter exercise itself was largely written by Tara O’Toole (ANSER-IHS board member) and Thomas Inglesby of the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Bio-defense Studies as well as Randall Larsen of ANSER-IHS. Robert Kadlec also participated in the creation of the script and appears in the fictional, scripted news clips used in the exercise.
As detailed in Part I of this series, the Dark Winter exercise eerily predicted many aspects of what would follow just months later during the 2001 anthrax attacks, including predictions that threatening letters would be sent to members of the press with the promise of biological weapons attacks involving anthrax. Dark Winter also provided the initial narrative for the 2001 anthrax attacks, which held that Iraq and Al Qaeda had been jointly responsible. However, soon after the attacks, evidence quickly pointed to the anthrax having originated from a domestic source linked to military experiments. In addition, several Dark Winter participants and authors either had apparent foreknowledge of those attacks (especially Jerome Hauer) and/or were involved in the FBI’s controversial investigation into the attacks (including Robert Kadlec).
On the day of September 11, 2001, Kadlec and Randall Larsen were set to begin co-teaching a course on “Homeland Security” at the National War College. It’s course syllabus draws from quotes on the imminent threat of bioterrorism from Joshua Lederberg as well as Dark Winter participant and former CIA director James Woolsey, who called a biological weapons attack “the single most dangerous threat to U.S. national security in the foreseeable future.”
The course was also set to include its own lengthy use of the Dark Winter exercise, where students would re-enact the June 2001 exercise as part of an end-of-semester research project. However, given the events that took place on September 11, 2001, Kadlec never went on to teach that course, as he instead went to the Pentagon to focus on the “bio-terror threat” in the weeks that preceded the 2001 anthrax attacks.
The after (Anthrax) party
Immediately after the events of September 11, 2001, Kadlec became a special advisor on biological warfare to then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy Paul Wolfowitz. In the days that followed, Rumsfeld openly and publicly stated that he expected America’s enemies, specifically Saddam Hussein, to aid unspecified terrorist groups in obtaining chemical and biological weapons, a narrative that was analogous to that used in the Dark Winter exercise that Kadlec had helped create.
In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Dark Winter’s other co-authors — Randall Larsen, Tara O’Toole and Thomas Inglesby — personally briefed Dick Cheney on Dark Winter, at a time when Cheney and his staff had been warned by another Dark Winter figure, Jerome Hauer, to take the antibiotic Cipro to prevent anthrax infection. It is unknown how many members of the administration were taking Cipro and for how long.
Hauer, along with James Woolsey and New York Times reporter Judith Miller (who also attended Dark Winter), would spend the weeks between 9/11 and the public disclosure of the anthrax attacks making numerous media appearances (and, in Miller’s case, writing dozens of reports) regarding the use of anthrax as a biological weapon. Members of the controversial think thank the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), which included Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld among its ranks, also warned that a biological weapons attack was set to follow on the heels of 9/11. These included Richard Perle, then advising the Rumsfeld-led Pentagon, and Robert Kagan and Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard.
One would think that all of these well-timed warnings would have left this clique of government insiders the least surprised once the anthrax attacks were publicly disclosed on October 4, 2001. However, despite constantly warning of doomsday anthrax attack scenarios for a decade and advising the Pentagon on this very threat immediately beginning just weeks prior, Robert Kadlec would subsequently claim to have yelled, “You gotta be sh*ttin’ me!” when he first learned of the attacks.
Another pre-attack anthrax prophet, Judith Miller, would recall becoming distraught and despondent upon receiving a letter that appeared to contain anthrax. Her first reaction was to call William C. Patrick III, who calmed her down and told her that the anthrax powder contained in the letter “was most likely a hoax.” Indeed, Patrick would prove correct in his analysis as the powder in the letter Miller had opened was, in fact, harmless.
Kadlec quickly began contributing to the FBI’s controversial investigation into the attacks, known by its case name “Amerithrax.” Kadlec was tasked with following up on the alleged presence of bentonite in the anthrax used in the attacks. Bentonite was never actually found in any of the anthrax samples tested by the FBI, but claims that it had been found were used to link the anthrax used in the attacks to Iraq’s alleged use of bentonite in its biological weapons program, the very existence of which still lacked conclusive evidence.
This erroneous claim was first mentioned to Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz by Peter Jahrling, a Fort Detrick scientist, who claimed during a briefings that the spores “appeared to have been treated” with a “particular chemical additive” resembling bentonite. Jahrling then added that Iraq’s government had used bentonite to “suspiciously” produce bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), a “nonlethal cousin” of anthrax widely used in agriculture. “Everyone grabbed on to that,” Kadlec would later remember of Jahrling’s haphazard link between bentonite and a harmless, distant cousin of anthrax.
Tasked by Wolfowitz with shoring up evidence for the bentonite “smoking gun,” Kadlec would contact a Navy scientist that had accompanied him and William Patrick to Iraq in their unsuccessful efforts to find proof of Iraq’s biological weapons back in 1994, James Burans. Burans was unconvinced of the bentonite connection and other government scientists soon agreed.
Nonetheless, media outlets continued to play up the bentonite-anthrax claim as proving Iraq’s role in the anthrax attacks, despite findings to the contrary. By late October 2001, one nationwide poll found that 74% of respondents wanted the U.S. to take military action against Iraq, despite a lack of evidence connecting the country to either 9/11 or the anthrax attacks. A month later, Rumsfeld would draw up plans in consultation with Wolfowitz regarding justifications for initiating war with Iraq, including discovering links between Saddam Hussein and the anthrax attacks and initiating disputes with Iraq over WMD inspections.
While the Kadlec-advised Pentagon was seeking to link the anthrax attacks to Iraq, the NTI – headed by Dark Winter “president” Sam Nunn – kicked its agenda into over-drive, earmarking “$2.4 million in initial grants to finance scientific collaboration with scientists who once worked in the former Soviet Union’s covert biological weapons program.” NTI also set aside millions more for transforming former Soviet Union bioweapons labs into “vaccine production facilities” and “helping identify Western drug companies willing to work with former Soviet bioweaponeers on commercial ventures.”
Closed door investigation
William C. Patrick III would also become involved the FBI’s Amerithrax investigation, even though he was initially suspected of involvement in the attacks. However, after having passed a lie detector test, he was added to the FBI’s “inner circle” of technical advisors on the Amerithrax case, despite the fact that Patrick’s protege, Stephen Hatfill, was the FBI’s top suspect at the time. Hatfill was later cleared of wrongdoing and the FBI eventually blamed a Fort Detrick scientist named Bruce Ivins for the crime, hiding a “mountain” of evidence exonerating Ivins to do so, according to the FBI’s former lead investigator.
In the 1990s, Patrick had told associates of his desire to find someone who would carry on his work, eventually finding this person in Stephen Hatfill. Hatfill and Patrick’s friendship was close, with one bioterror expert calling them “like father and son.” Hatfill traveled together often and, on occasion, Hatfill would drive Patrick to his consulting jobs at the military and intelligence contractor SAIC. In 1999, Patrick would return the favor by helping Hatfill score a job at SAIC. A year later, Jerome Hauer, a friend to both Hatfill and Patrick, would join SAIC as a Vice President.
That same year, Hatfill offered Patrick another consulting job at SAIC and commissioned Patrick to perform a study describing “a fictional terrorist attack in which an envelope containing weapons-grade anthrax is opened in an office.” The Baltimore Sun would later report that Patrick’s study for SAIC discussed the “danger of anthrax spores spreading through the air and the requirements for decontamination after various kinds of attacks” as well as how many grams of anthrax would need to be placed within a standard business envelope in order to conduct such an attack.
Patrick’s involvement in this SAIC study is particularly interesting given that he was also involved in another project involving anthrax at the time, this one managed by Battelle Memorial Institute. In 1997, the Pentagon created plans to genetically engineer a more potent variety of anthrax, spurred by the work of Russian scientists who had recently published a study that found that a genetically engineered strain of anthrax was resistant to the standard anthrax vaccine, at least in animal studies.
The stated goal of the Pentagon’s plan, per a 2001 report in The New York Times, was “to see if the [anthrax] vaccine the United States intends to supply to its armed forces is effective against that strain.” Battelle’s facility at West Jefferson, Ohio was contracted by the Pentagon to create the genetically-modified anthrax, a task that was overseen by Battelle’s then-program manager for all things bioweapons, Ken Alibek. A 1998 article in the New Yorker noted that William Patrick, also a consultant for Battelle and Alibek’s “close friend,” was working with Alibek on a project involving anthrax at the time. It would later be revealed that access to the very anthrax strain used in the attacks, the Ames strain, was controlled by Battelle.
In addition, the FBI’s supposed “smoking gun” used to link Bruce Ivins’ to the anthrax attacks was the fact that a flask in Ivins’ lab labeled RMR-1029 was determined to be its “parent” strain. Yet, it would later be revealed that portions of RMR-1029 had been sent by Ivins to Battelle’s Ohio facility prior to the anthrax attacks. An analysis of the water used to make the anthrax also revealed that the anthrax spores had been created in the northeastern United States and follow-up analyses narrowed down the only possible sources as coming from one of three labs: Fort Detrick, a lab at the University of Scranton, or Battelle’s West Jefferson facility.
After Ivins’ untimely “suicide” in 2008, Department of Justice civil attorneys would publicly challenge the FBI’s assertions that Ivins had been the culprit and instead “suggested that a private laboratory in Ohio” managed by Battelle “could have been involved in the attacks.”
Patrick’s work with Battelle on creating a more potent form of anthrax, as well as his work with SAIC in studying the effect of anthrax sent through the mail, began around the same time that BioPort had secured a monopoly over the production of the anthrax vaccine, recently made mandatory for all U.S. troops by the Pentagon. As detailed in Part II of this series, BioPort’s facility that produced its anthrax vaccine was, at the time, rife with problems and had lost its license to operate. Despite the Pentagon having given BioPort millions to use for renovations of the factory, much of that money instead went towards senior management bonuses and redecorating executive offices. Millions more simply “disappeared.”
In 2000, not long after receiving its first Pentagon bail-out, BioPort contracted none other than Battelle Memorial Institute. The deal gave Battelle “immediate exposure to the vaccine” it was using in connection with the genetically-modified anthrax program that involved both Alibek and Patrick. That program then began using the BioPort-manufactured vaccine in tests at its West Jefferson facility. At the time, Battelle was also lending “technical expertise” to BioPort and hired 12 workers to send to BioPort’s troubled Michigan facility “to keep the operation running.”
At the time, a BioPort spokeswomen stated “We have a relationship with Battelle to extend our reach for people we are trying to attract for critical positions on our technical side. They’re also assisting with our potency testing as really sort of a backup. They’re validating our potency tests.” Reports on the BioPort-Battelle contract stated that the terms of their agreement were not publicly disclosed, but also noted that the two companies had “previously worked together on an unsuccessful bid to make other vaccines for the government.”
As previously noted in Part II of this series, BioPort was set to lose its contract for anthrax vaccine entirely in August 2001 and the entirety of its anthrax vaccine business was rescued by the 2001 anthrax attacks, which saw concerns over BioPort’s corruption replaced with fervent demands for more of its anthrax vaccine.
Rumsfeld saves BioPort
One of the post-attack advocates for salvaging the BioPort anthrax vaccine contract was Donald Rumsfeld, who stated after the attacks that, “We’re going to try to save it, and try to fashion some sort of an arrangement whereby we give one more crack at getting the job done with that outfit [BioPort]. It’s the only outfit in this country that has anything under way, and it’s not very well under way, as you point out.”
While Rumsfeld and others worked to salvage the troubled BioPort-anthrax vaccine deal, another recurrent figure in this sordid saga, Jerome Hauer, would also play a key role in pushing for increased purchases of BioPort’s most lucrative and most controversial product. In addition to being managing director of Kroll Inc. and a Vice President at SAIC, Hauer was also a national security advisor to HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson on September 11, 2001. It was also this same day that Hauer would also tell top administration officials to take Cipro to prevent anthrax infection.
Hauer played a key role advising HHS leadership as the anthrax attacks unfolded. After the attacks, Hauer pushed Thompson to create the Office of Public Health Preparedness (OPHP) within HHS, which was created later that year. It was first headed by D.A. Henderson, a close associate of Joshua Lederberg and the original founder of the Johns Hopkins Working Group on Civilian Biodefense, which included Jerome Hauer and Henderson’s protege Tara O’Toole. Hauer himself would come to replace Henderson as OPHP just a few months later.
Subsequent legislation, shaped in part by Robert Kadlec, would see OPHP give way to the position of Assistant Secretary for Public Health Emergency Preparedness (ASPHEP), a position Hauer would also fill. Hauer would use this post to push for the stockpiling of vaccines, including BioPort’s anthrax vaccine. Hauer and his deputy, William Raub, would then help push the Pentagon to restart vaccinating the troops, despite long-standing concerns over the vaccine’s safety. Soon after leaving HHS in 2004, Hauer would quickly be added to the board of directors of BioPort under its new name Emergent Biosolutions, a post he still holds today.
All systems go
In the aftermath of the anthrax attacks, Robert Kadlec’s doomsday predictions for bioterror incidents went into over-drive. “It’s not your mother’s smallpox,” Kadlec would tell the LA Times in late October 2001, “It’s an F-17 Stealth fighter – it’s designed to be undetectable and to kill. We are flubbing our efforts at biodefense. We don’t think of this as a weapon – we look naively at this as a disease.” As the article notes, this “stealth fighter” strain of smallpox did not exist. Instead, Kadlec – who now had Rumsfeld’s ear on issues of biodefense – expected that such a strain might soon be genetically engineered.
Of course, at the time, the only government known to be genetically engineering a pathogen was the U.S., as reported by the New York Times’ Judith Miller. Miller reported in October 2001 that the Pentagon, in the wake of the anthrax attacks, had approved “a project to make a potentially more potent form of anthrax bacteria” through genetic modification, a project that would be conducted by the Battelle Memorial Institute.
This was the continuation of the project, which had involved William Patrick and Ken Alibek, and the Pentagon moved to restart it after the attacks, though it is unclear if either Patrick or Alibek continued to work on the subsequent iteration of Battelle’s efforts to produce a more virulent strain of anthrax. That project was paused a month prior when Miller and other journalists disclosed the existence of the program in an article published on September 4, 2001.
After news broke of the Pentagon’s plans to again begin developing more potent anthrax strains, accusations were made that the U.S. was violating the bioweapons convention. However, the U.S. narrowly avoided having to admit it had violated the convention given that, just one month after the Dark Winter exercise in July 2001, the U.S. had rejected an agreement that would have enforced its ban on biological weapons.
The New York Times noted specifically that the genetically-modified anthrax experiments being performed by Battelle’s West Jefferson facility were a “significant reason” behind the Bush administration’s decision to reject the draft agreement and the U.S. government had argued at the time that “unlimited visits to pharmaceutical or defense installations by foreign inspectors could be used to gather strategic or commercial intelligence.” Of course, one of those “pharmaceutical or defense installations” was ultimately the source of the anthrax used in the attacks.
On the heels of the chaos of late 2001, Kadlec’s vision for U.S. biodefense policy was rapidly coming to fruition before his very eyes. The first enabling statute for the SNS was the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness Act of 2002, largely motivated by the anthrax attacks, which directed the Secretary of HHS to maintain a “Strategic National Stockpile (SNS).” The legislation had been the direct result of a process begun years earlier when Congress earmarked funding for the CDC to stockpile pharmaceuticals in 1998. The program was originally called the National Pharmaceutical Stockpile (NPS) program.
Kadlec’s role in directing subsequent developments in the SNS and other related legislative developments was considerable given that, in 2002, he became director for biodefense on the recently created Homeland Security Council. His work on the council, which he left in 2005, resulted in the Bush administration’s “National Biodefense Policy for the 21st Century,” which unsurprisingly echoed the recommendations of the paper Kadlec had sponsored at the National War College.
On March 1, 2003, the NPS became the Strategic National Stockpile program and was managed jointly by DHS and HHS after George W. Bush issued Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD-5). Two days before, Secretary of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge and then Secretary of HHS Tommy Thompson had presented the Project BioShield Act to Congress. It was a sweeping piece of legislation that established what would become a government money teller-window for Big Pharma, called the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), among other entities and powers, not least of which was moving control of the SNS away from DHS and closer to HHS.
Soon after BioShield was signed into law, BioPort/Emergent BioSolutions co-founded a lobby group called the Alliance for Biosecurity as part of its strategy to easily secure lucrative BioShield contracts. That lobby group saw Emergent BioSolutions join forces with the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Biosecurity, which was then-led by Tara O’Toole and advised by Randall Larsen.
With this framework in place, the Kadlec-drafted National Biodefense Policy for the 21st Century was used as the framework for Bush’s Homeland Security Presidential Directive 10 (HSPD-10), which further expanded BioShield, the SNS and other controversial programs. Project BioShield was made law in 2004 and, one year later, Kadlec joined Senator Richard Burr’s subcommittee on bioterrorism and public health. There, Kadlec served as staff director on the committee that drafted the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA), containing the specific policy directives for the roll out of Project BioShield and creating Kadlec’s future position at HHS.
PAHPA was passed the following year in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and established the statutory relationship between the various agencies enacted or included in the BioShield legislation. This includes delegating to the newly creation position of HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) to “exercise the responsibilities and authorities of the Secretary [of HHS] with respect to the coordination of ”the stockpile and to oversee the advanced research and development of medical counter-measures funded by BARDA, but conducted by Big Pharma. ASPR was also given the leadership role in directing HHS’ response to a national health emergency.
Serving alongside Kadlec in the White House throughout this entire process was Tevi Troy, a Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy; a role which made him the White House’s lead adviser on health care, labor, education and other issues with a special focus on crisis management. Troy, who had come up through the department of labor as deputy assistant for policy was already a Senior fellow at both the Hudson Institute and its satellite think tank, the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies (PIPS), where the real policy development work was undertaken.
Both Troy and Kadlec would exit the administration at the end of Bush’s first term and not return until the latter half of his second term. In the meantime, the wheels had been set in motion with the passing of Project BioShield and PAHPA and, soon after their passage, panic over a “Bird flu” outbreak began, which had spread first in 33 cities in Vietnam and then led to an outbreak of the poultry-killing disease that affected all of Eurasia, Africa and the Middle East. The outbreak sparked panic in the U.S. in late 2005, thanks in large part to over-the-top warnings made by Tommy Thompson’s successor as head of HHS, Michael Leavitt.
Despite the fact that Leavitt’s claims were wildly inaccurate, some administration officials benefited financially from the fear-mongering, such as Donald Rumsfeld, whose stock holdings in the pharmaceutical company Gilead netted him $5 million once the scare had ended. Part of the reason for Gilead’s jump in profitability resulted from the decision of the Pentagon and other U.S. government agencies to stockpile 80 million doses of Tamiflu, a drug promoted to treat the Bird Flu that was originally developed by Gilead. Rumsfeld had been the top executive at Gilead before joining the George W. Bush administration. Aside from those who benefited monetarily, the Bird Flu scare also gave a considerable boost to the biodefense “stockpile” agenda that Kadlec and other insiders supported.
Kadlec would return to the White House as Special Assistant for Homeland Security and Senior Director for Biological Defense Policy in 2007 to further solidify his eventual grip on the Strategic National Stockpile and the office of ASPR, along with his Hudson Institute/PIPS sidekick, Tevi Troy, concurrently appointed Deputy Director of HHS. This put Troy in charge of implementing the very policies enshrined in PAHPA and the departmental changes enacted as part of Project BioShield.
The Bush administration came to its inevitable conclusion as Barack Obama was elected and sworn in, early 2009. Kadlec and Troy, once again, left their government posts and disappeared into their private sector lairs. But, that same year, the first practice run for Kadlec’s freshly retrofitted SNS took place when the “Swine Flu” (H1N1) pandemic triggered its “largest deployment” ever, distributing nearly 13 million antiviral regimens, as well as medical equipment and other drugs nationally and internationally in conjunction with BARDA. Gilead (and Rumsfeld) again profited handsomely, as did other large pharmaceutical companies, which were eager to restock the SNS after its large-scale deployment.
The virus’ origins have been a matter of controversy for several years, alternatively identified as having sprung from pigs in Mexico or Asia. One of the last studies conducted in 2016 claims to have definitively traced the source to hogs in Mexico. Regardless of its true origins, interested observers were able to glean vital data from the exercise to prepare for the “next one.”
Departing HHS Deputy Director Tevi Troy soon took a gig as a high-powered lobbyist for the JUUL e-cigarette company, which had run into some regulatory barriers as a result of the Tobacco Control Act, which had just been signed by then-President Obama. Margaret Hamburg, founding member of the NTI, was then Commissioner of the FDA and stalled enforcement of the new regulations; a tacit non-enforcement policy had persisted at the FDA until the recent vaping flavor ban, which followed renewed health concerns raised by a 2018 NIH report.
Why a former HHS official would take up the mantle to promote the use of a product known to be injurious to health can be answered by looking at Dr. Troy’s close links with PIPS and the Hudson Institute. Couched in free-market rhetoric, these institutions are vehicles for the policy initiatives their billionaire funders want to see implemented, with its subsidiary think tanks, like PIPS, serving as satellites orbiting closer to the center of power.
As an adjunct fellow of the Hudson Institute and senior fellow at PIPS, Tevi Troy appears to play a pivotal role coordinating between the two. The Hudson Institute was founded in 1961 by former RAND military strategist, systems theorist and Dr. Strangelove inspiration Herman Kahn. After Kahn’s passing in 1983, the Institute was “heavily recruited” by the Lilly Endowment – the largest private foundation in the United States, by far – and became a magnet for the same radical conservative billionaire networks that patronize it today.
Among its biggest donors are familiar names like Microsoft, Lockheed Martin Corporation, The Charles Koch Foundation, Boeing and Emergent BioSolutions. In 2004, Lilly Endowment returned to Washington D.C., announcing it would “return to its roots of national security and foreign policy” as a result of the war on terror becoming an “overarching national concern”.
PIPS and the Hudson Institute would come to play a central role in Kadlec’s upcoming efforts to make biodefense a national priority with him at the helm of a vastly expanded office of ASPR. But, it would be a few years yet. Meanwhile, there was more to be done in the area of legislation, not to mention private enterprise.
Building on all previous versions of Kadlec’s original PAHPA, the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act (PAHPRA) of 2013 established two more instruments that strengthened his ultimate goal. First, the PHEMCE Strategy and Implementation Plan (SIP) was codified into law, which formalized the original legislation’s ties to the budget office and secondly, it streamlined the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) facility for the FDA to fast-track drug approvals.
Show me the money
Soon upon returning to the private sector, Robert Kadlec helped found a new company in 2012 called “East West Protection,” which develops and delivers “integrated all-hazards preparedness and response systems for communities and sovereign nations.” The company also “advises communities and countries on issues related to the threat of weapons of mass destruction and natural pandemics.”
Kadlec formed the company with W. Craig Vanderwagen, the first HHS ASPR after the post’s creation had been largely orchestrated by Kadlec. The other co-founder of East West Protection was Fuad El-Hibri, the founder of BioPort/Emergent Biosolutions, who had just stepped down as Emergent’s CEO earlier that year.
El-Hibri has numerous business connections to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where he and his father, Ibrahim El-Hibri, had once sold stockpiles of anthrax vaccine to the Saudi government for an exorbitant price per dose. East West Protection chased after the opportunity to fit the Kingdom with a custom-built biodefense system, but ultimately failed to finalize the deal despite El-Hibri’s connections. Instead, East West Protection sold its products to a handful of U.S. states.
Kadlec was the firm’s director from its founding until at least 2015, later selling his stake in the company to El-Hibri. Upon being nominated to serve as ASPR in the Trump administration, Kadlec failed to disclose his ties to East West Protection and El-Hibri and he has since claimed to only have been involved in the founding of the firm, despite evidence to the contrary.
Robert Kadlec’s forays into the private sector during this period went far beyond East West Protection. Kadlec’s consultancy firm, RPK Consulting, netted him in $451,000 in 2014 alone, where he directly advised Emergent Biosolutions as well as other pharmaceutical companies like Bavarian Nordic. Kadlec was also a consultant to military and intelligence contractors, such as the DARPA-backed firm Invincea and NSA contractor Scitor, which was recently acquired by SAIC.
Kadlec’s consulting work for intelligence-linked companies earned him the praises of spooks turned entreprenuers, including Steve Cash – a former CIA officer and founder of Deck Prism, itself a consultancy firm that retained Kadlec. Cash recently told The Washington Post that “Everybody loves Dr. Bob [Kadlec],” adding that he was a “national treasure.”
On Biowarfare’s eve
Kadlec had certainly been accumulating a treasure chest of power aided by some very cozy relationships in the consulting business and, by now, the stage had been set for a big push to create an official body within the halls of the legislature; an embedded consultancy firm, of sorts, to promote the designs of the biowarfare clique.
That year, Robert Kadlec put together a Blue Ribbon Study Panel sponsored jointly by the Hudson Institute and a PIPS subsidiary institution called the Inter-University Center for Terrorism Studies (IUCTS), managed by Dr. Yonah Alexander. Kadlec’s Blue Ribbon Panel was chaired by Senator Joe Lieberman and included the indispensable input of Tom Daschle, Donna Shalala and other members of the biowarfare policy club.
The study panel issued a report in late 2015 entitled “A National Blueprint for Biodefense” calling for 33 specific initiatives, such as the creation of a “biodefense hospital system” and implementing a “military-civilian collaboration for biodefense.” In addition, the panel recommended that the office of the Vice President lead a White House “Coordination Council” to oversee and guide biodefense policy.
An official body called the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense would be formed shortly thereafter with all the Blue Ribbon Panel members and many others like Commission co-chair Tom Ridge and, perhaps unsurprisingly, Tevi Troy and Yonah Alexander, who serve as Ex-officio members. Alongside them is Lewis “Scooter” Libby, former Chief of Staff to Dick Cheney and Senior Vice President of the Hudson Institute, which also happens to be the fiscal sponsor of the Commission.
In the acknowledgements, the panel’s 2015 report includes an homage to Robert Kadlec to whom they bestow credit for the achievement, which only “exists because of the foresight, forbearance, and perpetual optimism of Dr. Robert Kadlec. Bob understood that as much progress as had been made in the national effort to prevent and prepare for biological threats, it is not yet enough. He knew that with the right impetus, we could do much more, and he envisioned this Panel as a means to that end. We are glad he did.”
Kadlec mounted this last offensive while serving as Deputy Staff Director for Senator Richard Burr’s Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, a position he would hold until the eve of Donald Trump’s election in 2016. Trump would then nominate him to the office of the ASPR and Kadlec would be confirmed in early August of the following year.
Only one piece of the puzzle was left, but it wouldn’t be very long before Robert Kadlec would become the biggest capo of them all with a subtle change that was introduced in the 2018 PAHPRA:
Title III – Sec 301
1) DELEGATION TO ASPR.—Subsection (a)(1) of section 319F–2 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 247d–6b) is amended by striking ‘‘in collaboration with the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’’ and inserting ‘‘acting through the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.’’
Feature photo | Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Dr. Robert Kadlec testifies before a Senate Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on the coronavirus on Capitol Hill, March 3, 2020, in Washington. Andrew Harnik | AP
Whitney Webb is a writer and researcher for The Last American Vagabond as well as a MintPress News contributor and former staff writer. She has contributed to several independent media outlets and her work has been featured by The Real News Network, The Ron Paul Institute, The Zero Hour, and The Jimmy Dore Show, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism.
Raul Diego is a MintPress News Staff Writer, independent photojournalist, researcher, writer and documentary filmmaker.