Since the early 1990s, U.S. Army scientists at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah have made small quantities of weapons-grade anthrax that is virtually identical to the powdery spores used in the bioterrorist attacks that have killed five people, government sources say.
Until the anthrax attacks led to tighter security measures, anthrax grown at Dugway was regularly sent by FedEx to the Army's biodefense center at Fort Detrick, Md.,where the bacteria were killed using gamma radiation before being returned to Dugway for experiments.
The anthrax was shipped in the form of a coarse paste, not in the far more dangerous finely milled form, according to one government official.
Most anthrax testing at Dugway is done using the killed spores to reduce the chance of accidental exposure of workers there. But live anthrax, milled to the tiny particle size expected on a battlefield, is needed for some testing, the sources say.