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Man suspected of having anthrax predicted attack

Harris told talk show Iraqis poised to strike

In this story:

February 20, 1998
Web posted at: 10:15 p.m. EST (0315 GMT)

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (CNN) -- A man arrested on charges of possessing what is believed to be the deadly toxin anthrax predicted on a radio talk show the day before his arrest that the United States would be the target of a major biological attack within two years.

Tuesday, Larry Wayne Harris, speaking on Talk America Radio Network's "The Buck Stops Here," gave a detailed description of what he said was a plot involving more than 200 "sleeper cells" of Iraqi students poised to unleash anthrax and bubonic plague bacteria on the American people.

"The odds of us making it through even the end of this century without a major biological incident are very low," Harris said.

Harris, 46, and William Leavitt Jr., 47, were arrested Wednesday night in a Las Vegas suburb after an informant called the FBI to report the two men told him they had anthrax. They are being held at the Clark County Detention Center.

Laboratory test results to determine whether a substance seized was in fact anthrax were delayed Friday. No reason was given.

Leavitt's attorney: Tests will be negative

Leavitt's attorney, Lamond Mills, said in an interview with CNN in Las Vegas he believes the tests will prove negative.

"On Monday, I think the test results will be in and show that it's non-toxic, and they're going to have to stand up and acknowledge that. And their case is going to be flushed," Mills said.

In the radio interview, Harris said he learned of a bacteriological threat against the United States because he was "heavily involved" in the training of Iraqis between 1985 and 1990 when he worked for a "corporation," an apparent reference to the CIA.

In the preface to his book, "Bacteriological Warfare: A Major Threat to North America," Harris claimed that he once worked for the CIA.

"I'm actually one of the scientists who was literally involved in training Iraqi microbiologists on how to conduct biological warfare defense," he said Tuesday.

Harris claims Iraqi students smuggled 'biologicals'

Harris said that after the 1991 Gulf War, he learned from a former Iraqi student he befriended that Iraqi "college students were now in the process of smuggling biologicals into the United States."

Harris then gave the radio audience a detailed descriptions of the methods the Iraqi students were using to grow the smuggled bacteria and distribute it to the "cells" around the U.S. for eventual attacks on U.S. cities.

"Anthrax, if you take a commercial paint sprayer and went up the Hudson River and sprayed it out into the air, you have a mist that moves over Manhattan," Harris said.

"People unsuspectingly walking in that area breathe in the deadly microbes," he said. "There's no smell. There's no taste. There's no boom. There's no bang. There is no indication."

The Iraqis were poised to attack at anytime, Harris said.

"They are here, and they are very able to hit us whenever they want to," he said. Harris claimed that a single individual with a single container of anthrax could kill between 400,000 and 1.3 million people.

Report: Harris admitted culturing anthrax

Back in November, Harris, a self-avowed white separatist, told U.S. News & World Report in an interview that he had cultured anthrax but did not plan to use it for any malicious purpose.

The magazine quotes Harris predicting that the Aryan Nations -- a far-right group to which he once belonged -- would strike at federal officials with biological agents if "they arrest a bunch of our guys."

They would "get a test tube in the mail," he said.

Leavitt, a businessman, who like Harris, is a licensed microbiologist, owns clinical laboratories in Logandale, Nevada, and Frankfurt, Germany, and is said to have been trying to develop a vaccine for AIDS.

His attorney, Mills, says Harris and Leavitt met at a scientific convention in Denver last August and discussed a joint project to develop a vaccine for anthrax.

Mills said that even if the lab tests are positive, federal officials "would have to prove that he knowingly was a part (of a conspiracy) to do something with that anthrax."

 
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