Lawmakers Reaffirm Demand For Biowatch Data

Diane Barnes | Nextgov | January 31, 2013

The  Homeland Security Department has turned over "substantial" documentation in response to a congressional panel's request for records on a controversial biological agent sensor network, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not been similarly forthcoming in providing related information, two Republican lawmakers said in a Thursday letter renewing the call for data.

The Health and Human Services Department branch has so far provided none of the requested details on the performance of theBiowatch program, said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee head Tim Murphy, R-Penn.

The Los Angeles Times last year reported that the initiative, which incorporates disease agent scanners in more than 30 cities, had indicated possible biological strikes on dozens of occasions from 2003 to 2009. None of the cases involved an actual act of bioterrorism, but DHS officials have challenged characterization of the events as false alarms...