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Reports: Anthrax powder on Capitol Hill sophisticated, dangerous

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The anthrax spores in the office of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle had been chemically altered to make them more dangerous, according to scientists quoted in newspaper reports.

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The New York Times and The Washington Post said only the United States, the former Soviet Union and Iraq were known to have the necessary technology to make the high-grade, advanced form of anthrax powder.

William Patrick, the microbiologist who used to design germ warfare weapons for the United States, told the Times: "It's high-grade. It's free flowing. It's electrostatic free. And it's in high concentration."

Reducing static electricity would enable the anthrax particles to float in the air more easily.

"It's fluffy," Patrick was quoted as saying. "It appears to have an additive that keeps the spores from clumping."

Richard Spertzel, a microbiologist and ex-head of biological inspection teams in Iraq for the United Nations, told the Times: "There's no question this is weapons quality. It has all the characteristics -- fine particles and readily dispersible."


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