Iraq got biological samples from Virginia, French firms

Germs used for weapons

sale OK'd by U.S. in '80s

March 16, 2003|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

WASHINGTON - Iraq has identified a biological supply house based in Virginia and a French scientific institute as the sources of all of the foreign germ samples that it used to create the biological weapons that are believed to be in its arsenal, said U.S. officials and foreign diplomats who have reviewed Iraq's latest weapons declaration to the United Nations.

The American supply house, the American Type Culture Collection of Manassas, Va., had previously been identified as an important supplier of anthrax and other germ samples to Iraq.

But the full extent of the sales by the Virginia supply house and the Pasteur Institute in Paris has never been made public by the United Nations, which received the latest weapons declaration from Iraq in December.

Nor was there any public suggestion that Iraq had depended exclusively on supplies from the United States and France in the 1980s in developing the biological weapons that U.S. officials say are believed to threaten troops massing around Iraq. The shipments were approved by the U.S. government in the 1980s, when the transfer of such pathogens for research was legal and easily arranged.

A copy of the pages of the Iraqi declaration dealing with biological weapons was provided to The New York Times.

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