Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) wants the Department of Defense to explain whether the Pentagon used blood-sucking insects for biological weapon experiments between 1950 and 1975, reportedly helping to spread Lyme disease across the country.
According to the lawmaker, whose research is based on the book Bitten: The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Weapons by Stanford University science writer Kris Newby, evidence brought forward by the book shows that bioweapon specialists used ticks to cause severe disability and even death.
“With Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases exploding in the United States — with an estimated 300,000 to 437,000 new cases diagnosed each year and 10-20% of all patients suffering from chronic Lyme disease — Americans have a right to know whether any of this is true,” he said.
“And have these experiments caused Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases to mutate and to spread?”
But despite the congressman’s concern, Phillip Baker, the executive director of the American Lyme Disease Foundation (ALDF), told reporters that the lawmaker is pursuing a bad lead, calling him “terribly misinformed.”
“[Smith] would be well advised to check the facts by consulting the experts on Lyme disease at the National Institutes of Health or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] for accurate and reliable information before proposing such legislation,” he said.
In order to fully assess the government’s role, or lack thereof, in spreading ticks carrying Lyme disease, Smith wants the DOD to investigate. If something proves that research did happen, his legislation states, the Inspector General should then produce a report detailing the scope of the program and hand it over to lawmakers in the House and Senate Armed Service committees.
According to Bitten, scientists working with the Pentagon infected several insects, deliberately dropping them from the air during certain tests. The book also claims that uninfected bugs were also released into residential areas so officials had a better idea of how they would spread.
While the claims made by Newby may appear far-fetched, Smith is willing to press officials to find out more, especially because President Richard Nixon banned research into biological weapons in 1969. So if this program was, indeed, in place, Smith wants to know who put it into motion.
Government’s Dirty Tricks
It’s incredibly disheartening to think that a government agency would be willing to take part in a program with the goal of exposing countless innocent people to potentially deadly diseases. And what is worse is that the U.S. government was involved in similar if not more perverse actions in the past, going as far as pushing “eugenics-friendly program[s] designed to combat alleged overpopulation” in other countries.
And more recently, the Barack Obama administration was using covert drone operations to kill Americans without any due process, putting the president in the position of judge, jury, and executioner.
While it is our hope that this bioweapon program is, indeed, the product of someone’s wild imagination, it would not be surprising to learn that the government truly took part in it.