10 Years Ago Today… Saddam Anthrax Scare Puts UK on Alert
In case you forgot about this–
It was 10 years ago today that the UK was put on high alert due to threats that Saddam Hussein was planning a massive anthrax attack inside Great Pritain.
The Daily Mail reported:
SADDAM’S ANTHRAX PLAN TO POISON BRITAIN;
Blair Authorises Secret All -ports Alert
Daily Mail (london), Pg. 1
March, 24, 1998
SADDAM HUSSEIN is threatening to swamp Britain with deadly anthrax bacteria in bottles of duty-free perfume or drink. Tony Blair authorised a top secret all-ports alert after intelligence sources in Iraq discovered the plan. Whitehall sources admitted last night that the threat was being taken ‘very seriously’. Customs, Special Branch and undercover Defence Ministry teams were put on standby six days ago but news of the alarm emerged only last night when a secret Home Office ‘need-to-know’ document was leaked.
Dated March 18, it was sent to security officials manning all ports and airports, demanding extra vigilance, after intelligence sources in Iraq alerted the Government to the plot. It reveals that Saddam has plans to smuggle large amounts of anthrax into ‘hostile countries’ inside bottles that would normally contain spirits or cosmetics, as well as in cigarette lighters and perfume sprays.
It says: ‘Iraq may launch chemical and biological attack using material disguised as harmless fluids. Could officers therefore be alert for any items which might contain harmful substances. Particular attention should be given to containers of any size holding liquids with specific characteristics.’
Last night a spokesman for the Prime Minister said: ‘We can confirm that an all-ports warning was issued last week and that the document is authentic.’ He stressed, however, that no evidence has yet come to light that an anthrax smuggling operation is already under way although evidence is available to Whitehall ‘that a threat has been made and is being taken seriously’.
Ministers believe that the order would be given from Baghdad if the Western powers decided to launch military strikes against Iraq. Biological warfare experts stressed last night that the threat would be limited to people who came into direct contact with the bacteria. Without the means of spreading it widely through the air, the Iraqis would be unable to cause mass casualties.
In February of 1998 CNN reported that Saddam was working on unmanned aircraft capable of delivering chemical or biological agents.
Also… a February 1998 House of Representatives report claimed that Saddam Hussein had anthrax and other WMD’s.
You probably won’t hear about these reports in the news today.