Fear and the Unprepared: United States Bioterrorism Policy and the 2001 Anthrax Crisis

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Hillyer, Kehlar

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University of Guelph


This thesis utilizes a combination of relevant newspaper articles, reports from United States government agencies, and policies to examine the history of biological warfare to bioterrorism within the United States. Through these sources, the relationship between public perception/values and political policy and law become more transparent. Over a century-long arc, this thesis explores the role of fear in determining bioterrorism policy from the creation of biological weapons through use as a domestic terrorism agent. The choice blindness to cultural problems within the societal system and their connections to domestic terrorism inhibits the justice system from functioning at a higher capacity. Through my examination of the 2001 anthrax attacks, it is revealed that this event, magnified by the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers, had a significant impact on public perception of biological weapons and subsequently on bioterrorism policy and legal structures.



bioterrorism, anthrax, United States, George Bush, Bruce Ivins, terrorism, domestic terrorism, 9/11, new york, biological weapons, Fort Detrick, nuclear weapons, Steven Hatfill, policy