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think the United States can and should set the kind of example in the world on these proliferation issues and as in so many areas the enforcement starts at home and our commitment to a comprehensive statute here effective in the United States gives us great credibility to urge others to be more vigilant than they have been in these areas.
Senator THURMOND. Congressman Morrison, this bill would provide tough penalties for those who knowingly develop any agent, toxin, or delivery system for use as a weapon of mass destruction.
Please discuss whether the penalties under this bill will deter reckless biological research and will hold scientists more accountable for their actions.
Mr. MORRISON. Well, obviously, this bill is not directed at legitimate research activities and we would hope that it would not interfere with legitimate activities and it has been drafted with that very much in mind.
During the course of this hearing and the hearings that we hope to hold on the House side, we should be assured that the enforcement draws that proper line and I think the knowing standard is an appropriate one for what are severe criminal penalties.
There may be regulatory provisions in addition, not so much in implementation of this legislation, but more broadly that we should be concerned about reckless conduct in the area of biotechnology generally.
And in fact, the gentleman from Wisconsin has been a leader on the House side in the Judiciary Committee in trying to develop those kinds of standards and it is an appropriate matter of concern, but we ought not to confuse the criminal penalties that are needed in the enforcement of this Convention with the regulatory provisions that ought to govern biotechnological research in general.
Senator THURMOND. Thank you very much. We are glad to have you with us.
Mr. MORRISON. Thank you.
Senator KOHL. Well, thank you gentlemen. It is very kind of you to come over. We
Senator SIMON. May I ask one question?
Senator KOHL. Yes, Senator Simon.
Senator SIMON. Unfortunately, I have a Foreign Relations committee meeting, so I am going to have to leave soon.
I am all for this, and as I indicated, I want to be a cosponsor, but I can just hear the arguments on the other side.
That list that you gave us, Bruce Morrison, that is a "do gooders" list if I have ever heard any.
Mr. MORRISON. We like "do gooders," do we not, Senator? [Laughter.]
Senator SIMON. You will be told, "There is no way of verifying this. You are asking for unilateral action on our part that we cannot verify on the part of others."
How do either one of you respond to that?
Mr. MORRISON. Well, let me just say that we have ratified this Convention. We have taken on ourselves two responsibilities. One is the direct responsibility of ratification which imposes on the Government of the United States actions not to engage in these
forbidden activities. And we have taken on ourselves already the responsibility to prevent this conduct within the United States.
The argument has been made that we already have statutes that take care of the problem, but as Congressman Kastenmeier has quite correctly said, they really are not coextensive with the Treaty and they do not have the kind of criminal enforcement mechanisms that are needed.
So I think the debate is over on the issue of competition and the issue is effective nonproliferation and we have to lead the way.
Senator SIMON. And if I could just add to that, in fact, if any Nation uses these weapons against us, we have an arsenal of all kinds of other weapons that we could use in retaliation if it came down to that.
Mr. MORRISON. And prevention is the key here, as in so many
Senator SIMON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and I thank both of
Senator KOHL. Representative Kastenmeier, did you want to respond?
Mr. KASTENMEIER. I would only say that I thought Congressman Morrison responded well to that question. It is also, I think, clear that we now perceive it in our self-interest that this be an effective treaty.
As the Senate bill indicates, there is a terrorism aspect to it and we have been concerned about recent developments in terms of the possibility that small countries could have this capability.
But in order to be credible in the world, we have to take this measure, this step not only for purposes of internal monitoring and policing, but to make ourselves externally credible for the purpose of making these demands on other countries and other signatories of the Convention.
I also think that the state of technology is such that we have to be extremely alert to the new capabilities that will exist in this country and worldwide and unless we take this step, we will fall behind and we perhaps will never be able to catch up in terms of truly preventing the possibility of biological warfare.
Senator SIMON. I agree.
Senator KOHL. Thank you, Senator Simon.
Once again, we thank you gentlemen for coming. You have been very helpful.
Mr. MORRISON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. KASTENMEIER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator KOHL. Senator Heflin, any comments you would like to make? Any opening statement?
Senator HEFLIN. Well, I would like to congratulate Senator Kohl, the Chairman, for his activities in bringing this legislation to the attention of the U.S. Senate and showing his leadership in it.
This I believe, is the first hearing that you have chaired. I commend you for the steps that you have taken and the way that you have handled this hearing. I would say that I have observed you since you have been here and you have performed admirably and we look forward to you continuing with those admirable qualities today at this hearing and throughout your entire Senate career.
So we congratulate you and we are enjoying working with you. Senator KOHL. Thank you, Senator Heflin.
Our next panel consists of three representatives from the administration. Ambassador H. Allen Holmes is Assistant Secretary of State for Politico-Military Affairs. He has been with the State Department for 30 years and he has often testified on chemical and biological weapons.
Ron Noble is Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the Justice Department. He is taking a breather from the Iran-Contra case to be with us today.
Thomas Graham, Jr. is General Counsel of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. He has been with ADA since 1970, and he kindly agreed to appear despite an extremely heavy travel schedule.
Gentlemen, thank you for appearing here this afternoon. I would appreciate it if you would limit your testimony to 5 minutes and your written statements will be made a part of the record.
Ambassador Holmes, would you like to begin?
STATEMENT OF AMBASSADOR H. ALLEN HOLMES, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR POLITICO-MILITARY AFFAIRS, DEPARTMENT OF STATE; RON NOBLE, DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, CRIMINAL DIVISION, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE; THOMAS GRAHAM, JR., GENERAL COUNSEL, ARMS CONTROL AND DISARMAMENT AGENCY
Ambassador HOLMES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I do have a statement, which I would like to submit for the record and I would like to make a few brief preliminary comments.
Senator KоHL. Fine.
Ambassador HOLMES. I am very pleased to appear before you today to discuss the foreign policy implications of biological weapons proliferation in the context of S. 993.
I would like to state from the outset that the U.S. Government is adamantly opposed to the development, production, or use of biological weapons and we are committed to doing all we can to eliminate them from the world's arsenals.
In this respect, we find particularly timely the efforts of the Congress to formulate domestic criminal legislation against those who would develop or produce biological weapons or assist foreign nations to acquire them.
Passage of this legislation would send a clear signal to the world that the United States is serious about controlling these deadly, abhorrent weapons.
I particularly wish to express our appreciation to you, Senator Kohl, for your efforts to originate and forward this legislation. We look forward to working with you and other members of the Senate and the House to bring to passage this important legislation.
We may have some suggestions for improving the language in various parts of the proposed bill, but I would defer to my colleague from the Department of Justice for specific comments on the substance of the draft legislation.
Now I would like to make a few comments on the general situation in regard to the proliferation of biological weapons. There are
two relevant international agreements, both of which have proven inadequate to prevent the proliferation of biological and toxin
The 1925 Geneva Protocol prohibits the first use in war of chemical and biological weapons, but not their development, production, possession, or transfer.
The 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention prohibits the development, production, stockpiling, acquisition, retention and transfer of biological and toxin weapons.
It is clear, however, that neither the BWC nor the Geneva Protocol has proven effective in constraining BW proliferation or for dealing with our very serious concerns about compliance.
The rapid development of technology in the biological field has also led to another set of problems for the Convention. Recent progress in biotechnology and genetic engineering increases the potential for break out from treaty constraints.
When the BWC was negotiated, only the United States acknowledged having biological weapons. Today, several countries are estimated to be working to achieve a BW capability.
Our information on which states are involved in BW programs is based on extremely sensitive intelligence sources and methods. The intelligence community can provide you a full description in closed session.
We are especially concerned about the spread of BW in unstable areas and about the possibility of these weapons falling into the hands of terrorists or into the arsenals of those states which actively support terrorists organizations.
To date, we have no evidence that any known terrorist organization has the capability to employ such weapons, nor that states supporting terrorism have supplied such weapons. However, we cannot dismiss the possibility that terrorists could acquire BW.
We must take vigorous action on the diplomatic level to deal with the problem of BW proliferation. In addition to ensuring that states party to the BWC fulfill their commitments not to acquire BW, we must persuade additional states to make that important commitment.
With respect to the Soviet Union, we have regularly raised concerns about compliance both through diplomatic channels and at the 1980 and 1986 BWC Review Conferences.
We are also considering whether export controls could help reinforce our efforts to prevent the acquisition of biological and toxin weapons by other countries.
Our preliminary impression, however, is that the problem of identifying BW precursors is so difficult that such an export control regime does not seem practical.
We must continue to strive to prevent BMW proliferation by reinforcing the moral, legal and political constraints against BW and where feasible, seek to prevent states from obtaining sensitive materials and technology for BW purposes.
This will be a particularly difficult task, and quite frankly, we do not have the answers yet on how to achieve this. We do know that it will require a sustained multilateral approach involving both U.S. leadership and cooperation with friends and allies.
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