The troubling aspect of the report, says Thompson, is that a giant fermentation tank, which Iraq sought ostensibly to produce animal feed, may have been sold to a facility known to manufacture anthrax and botulinum. "The issue is not whether or not the sale took place, but how the equipment is being used," says Thompson. "That's for UNSCOM to determine." The latter, of course, will have to wait until the present standoff is resolved -- if, indeed, the fermentation tank still exists by then.
WASHINGTON: What exactly is biological warfare equipment, anyway? Since bio-weapons can be made in a beer fermenter, reports that Russia may have sold biological warfare equipment to Iraq are difficult to pin down. "Most of the equipment concerned has a dual use," says TIME's Pentagon correspondent Mark Thompson. "Even the United States sold Iraq biotoxins and other dual-use equipment before the Gulf War, and the Russians may have done so since."