Project Bacchus

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Project Bacchus was a covert investigation by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency US Defense Department to determine whether it is possible to construct a bioweapons production facility with off-the-shelf equipment.


The operation

Project Bacchus ran during 1999 and 2000 and investigated whether would-be terrorists could build an anthrax production facility and remain undetected.[1] In the two-year simulation, the facility was constructed, and production of an anthrax-like bacterium was successfully achieved.[2] The participating scientists were able to produce about one kilogram of highly refined bacterial particles.[2]


The secret Project Bacchus was revealed to the public in a September 2001 article in The New York Times.[1] Reporters Judith Miller, Stephen Engelberg and William J. Broad collaborated to write the article.[1] It is presumed that the reporters had knowledge of the program for at least several months; shortly after the article appeared they published a book that detailed the story further.[1] The book, Germs: Biological Weapons and America's Secret War, and the article are the only publicly available sources[citation needed] concerning Project Bacchus and its sister projects, Clear Vision and Jefferson.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Enemark, Christian. Disease and Security: Natural Plagues and Biological Weapons in East Asia, (Google Books), Routledge, 2007, pp. 173-75, (ISBN 0415422345).
  2. ^ a b MacKenzie, Debora. Anthrax in Florida and New York "the same strain"", New Scientist, October 18, 2001. Retrieved January 6, 2009.

Further reading

  • Tucker, Jonathan B. "Biological Threat Assessment: Is the Cure Worse Than the Disease?", Arms Control Today, October 2004, accessed January 6, 2009.
  • Miller, Judith, Engelberg, Stephen and Broad, William J. Germs: Biological Weapons and America's Secret War, (Google Books), Simon & Schuster, 2002, (ISBN 0684871599).
  • -- "U.S. Germ Warfare Research Pushes Treaty Limits", The New York Times, September 4, 2001, accessed January 6, 2009.
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