Rep. Christopher Smith (R-Hamilton) says there are credible assertions that government researchers at Ft. Detrick and Plum Island turned ticks into bioweapons.
Now the 20-term New Jersey Republican wants the government to investigate whether ticks were ever weaponized with Lyme disease or other hazardous pathogens.
Smith’s congressional colleagues agree with him.
Last night, the House approved an amendment sponsored by Smith that requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate.
This is Smith’s second bid to get his proposed law passed. In 2019, he sponsored a similar measure giving the job to the U.S. Department of Defense Inspector General.
The proposal never moved through the U.S. Senate. Smith said he was told the inspector general at the Pentagon didn’t have the bandwidth to launch an investigation.
Smith said that the government researcher credited with discovering Lyme disease, Dr. Willy Burgdorfer, was a bio-weapons specialist.
According to Smith, Burgdorfer’s files reveals that he and other bio-weapon specialists “stuffed ticks with pathogens in a quest to cause severe disability, disease, and death to potential enemies.”
“With Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases exploding in the United States—with an estimated 300,000 to 427,000 new cases each year and 10-20% of all patients suffering from chronic Lyme Disease, Americans have a right to know whether any of this true,” Smith said.
Smith wants the GAO investigation to determine if any diseased ticks were accidentally or intentionally released.
“Perhaps most importantly, can any of this information help current-day researchers find a way to mitigate—and help facilitate a cure—for Lyme and other tick borne diseases,” Smith asked.