Originally created 04/11/98

Biological weapons discussed at White House meeting



WASHINGTON -- President Clinton and a dozen top administration officials met this morning with biotechnology experts to discuss the national security dangers of biological weapons.

The group addressed use of a new inspection system to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention, which is designed to prevent the use of disease as a weapon of war, White House officials said.

The president also led a discussion of domestic and military initiatives to respond to threats of biological warfare, officials said.

The potential threat of genetic engineering was also on the agenda of the meeting, which was closed to reporters.

Participants included Frank Young, former head of the Office of Emergency Preparedness and former Food and Drug Administration commissioner; Craig Venter, president of the Institute for Genomic Research; Joshua Lederberg, Rockefeller University Nobel laureate; Thomas Monath, vice president of OraVax and former official at Centers for Disease Control; Lucille Shapiro, Stanford Medical school genetics professor; Jerome Hauer, director of the New York City mayor's Office of Emergency Management, and Barbara Rosenberg, environmental science research professor and director of chemical and biological projects at the Federation of American Scientists.