In a program code-named Clear Vision, the Central Intelligence Agency built and tested a model of a Soviet-designed germ bomb that agency officials feared was being sold on the international market. The C.I.A. device lacked a fuse and other parts that would make it a working bomb.
Project Clear Vision was executed between 1997 and 2000.
The Pentagon drew up plans to engineer genetically a potentially more potent variant of the bacterium that causes anthrax, a deadly disease ideal for germ warfare.
The project focused on building replicas of bomblets believed to have been developed by the former Soviet Union. These small bombs were designed to disperse biological agents, including anthrax
The experiment was changed publicly to assess whether the vaccine now being given to millions of American soldiers is effective against such a superbug, which was first created by Russian scientists. A Bush administration official said the National Security Council is expected to give the final go-ahead later this month.
The project was taken over by the Pentagon’s intelligence arm, the Defense Intelligence Agency.
Project Clear Vision was conducted by the Battelle Memorial Institute under contract with the CIA.
The Battelle Memorial Institute administers and supplies the Dugway anthrax proving facility in Utah where the only virtually identical Ames strain of silica-impregnated hyper-weaponized anthrax was found. According to Sunday’s Washington Post, “Dugway is the only facility known in recent years to have processed anthrax spores into the powdery form that is most easily inhaled.
A model was constructed and the agency conducted two sets of tests at Battelle. The experiments measured dissemination characteristics and how the model performed under different atmospheric conditions,