You would think that, at least, a U.S. bioterror lab would know to lock its doors. But internal emails revealed repeated, potentially dangerous security lapses at one of the top bioterror labs that houses deadly biological agents such as anthrax and the SARS virus, ABC News reported June 28. The emails from the Centers for Disease Control describe multiple instances between 2009 and 2010 of doors within a supposedly secure facility in Atlanta being left unlocked, potentially allowing unauthorized access to the deadly strains.
In at least one instance, someone without the proper security clearance was found in a restricted area. One official said that while walking through a high security area, he found two doors unlocked and said it has become a common failure point, the emails said. CDC officials told ABC News the public was never at risk and the agency has addressed the concerns at the Atlanta lab.
A CDC spokesperson told USA Today the doors were just one layer of security at the labs and it would still be close to impossible for intruders to get their hands on the dangerous microbes. Earlier in June, USA Today reported the same facility was having difficulties with its air flow system, which is designed to keep potentially dangerous air from escaping into clean areas. Following the air flow problem reports, Congressional leaders in the House Energy and Commerce Committee launched an investigation into the safety measures at the $214 million facility.