Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen
Wednesday, April 30, 1997 - 10:30 a.m. (EDT)

Q: The District of Columbia, where there was a suspected
biological terrorism event, turned out not to be one, but did that
offer any lessons about whether or not the United States is
prepared adequately to deal with incidents of chemical or
biological terrorism? 

A: That's precisely the reason we have instituted a program to
select some 120 cities in which we can help coordinate activities
that obviously have to be lead at the local level. But the
Department is now in the process of helping to integrate and
oversee the nature of how we can coordinate these programs, train
individuals, help them to identify what the toxins might be or the
chemical might be, how to deal with those who have been afflicted,
to remove them safely and to then treat them. 

All of that takes a good deal of planning. We are now in the initial
stages of that planning. We have a long way to go. But we have a
program underway that's being funded this year, will be funded
next year. And it's important that we proceed with it as vigorously
as we can.