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Obama diverted funds away from pandemic defense program 'BioShield'

Ebola pandemic

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(NaturalNews) In recent weeks, Democrats have tried to deflect electorate anger against their party and the Obama Administration over its mishandling of the Ebola outbreak in the U.S. by claiming that opposition Republicans "cut funding" for Ebola-related research.

Much of the mainstream media has willingly gone along with these accusations, mostly through acts of omission -- by failing to point out that the president, a Democrat, must sign off on all budget appropriations bills for them to become law (unless they are passed by two-thirds majorities in both chambers of Congress over his veto, which has not happened since he has been in office).

However, the truth is much less useful for GOP opponents, and the truth is, the president -- as head of the Executive Branch's 430-plus federal agencies, departments and bureaus -- has diverted at least some of the funds appropriated for a bioweapon defense program established during the Bush Administration that would have gone, in part, toward combating the deadly virus.

As reported by The Daily Signal (DS), the program -- known as "Project BioShield" -- was established to develop "a more robust defense in the event of a bioterrorist attack on the United States." The Bush Administration set up a $6 billion fund to prepare the country for those kinds of threats, which included defending against a potentially weaponized version of hemorrhagic fever.

Other 'priorities'

A Daily Signal review found:

The Obama administration, however, has not used the range of tools and budget provided by the post-9/11 project, focusing instead on only three targets and diverting at least $1 billion to other priorities....

Almost five years ago, the Obama White House's own biodefense science board issued a warning that funds for the project "should not be diverted to support other initiatives, regardless of the merit of other purposes."

The board added that regular diversion of funds "raise doubts about the intention of the U.S. government to consistently fund the enterprise."

The administration's diversion of those funds was also called into question recently in a report prepared for Congress

The government's use of money from the program, Project BioShield, for other purposes also comes under question in a recent report prepared for Congress, which concluded, among other things, that only oversight from lawmakers would ensure that the money is spent "in a manner consistent with congressional intent."

The DS review found that, of $3.3 billion budgeted for the program over the past 10 years -- for the development of medical countermeasures to Ebola and at least 12 other "material threats" listed by the Department of Homeland Security -- at least 90 percent of that funding, or $3 billion, went to just three potential threats: anthrax, smallpox and botulism.

Under the Bush Administration, the project focused on a number of sources of potential bioterrorism, but Ebola was certainly one of them. In 2006, Michael Chertoff, who was secretary of the Department of Homeland Security at the time, described Ebola as a "material threat against the United States population sufficient to affect national security."

However, the Obama White House opted to take the deadly virus off Project BioShield's list even after the president himself named the virus specifically during his second State of the Union Address.

Thank Dick Cheney

Another piece of irony to this story: One of the Bush Administration's most reviled figures on the political Left -- Vice President Dick Cheney -- was actually responsible, in large part, for the creation of Project BioShield. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, Cheney was active in pushing for extra measures to protect the country from a wide range of potential threats. To address those concerns, the GOP-controlled Congress passed a law that created the project, allocating $5.6 billion to purchase, develop and store medical countermeasures -- vaccines, among them -- for use in case the country was attacked using a bioweapon.

Indeed, as reported by Bloomberg News, Cheney's initiative, and Congress' funding, led to the development of more than a half-dozen vaccines currently being tested:

At least seven drugs now being tested -- including some used to treat Ebola victims in the U.S. -- grew from biodefense measures first approved after Sept. 11. The National Institutes of Health budget for studying potential bioterrorism agents has grown to $1.6 billion from $53 million in 2001, according to Crystal Boddie, an associate with the UPMC Center for Health Security in Baltimore, Maryland.

So far, no one from the Obama Administration has issued an apology -- or a thank you -- to the former vice president.

Learn all these details and more at the FREE online Pandemic Preparedness course at www.BioDefense.com





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