N.J. congressman wants answers
By Jonathan D. Salant, Jul 20, 2019 |
NJ Advance Media for NJ.com – It sounds like the plot for a science fiction movie: A government agency decides to use ticks and other insects to spread disease and kill its enemies, only the ticks got out and infected the country’s own residents.
New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith says that may not be too far-fetched.
He’s won approval from the House to have the Defense Department’s inspector general investigate whether the Pentagon actually looked at using ticks stuffed with pathogens as bioweapons during the height of the Cold War beginning in the 1950s.
He said several books and articles pinned the blame on the Pentagon, and perhaps some of the ticks and insects got out and helped to spread illnesses, most notably Lyme disease.
“If this isn’t true, let’s put it to rest,” said Smith, R-4th Dist. “For the sake of public health we should demand these answers.”
House Democrats allowed Smith to bring up an amendment to begin the study, and then joined with Republicans in unanimously adding it to the legislation.
“We know that the government was doing other kinds of experiments during that time,” said Pat Smith, president of the The Lyme Disease Association. “Absolutely it needs to be looked at. The public needs to know if this has occurred.”