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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release April 10, 1998
                        AND BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS
                           April 10, 1998

President Clinton will lead a roundtable discussion Friday morning on genetic engineering and biological weapons. He will be joined by a small group of outside experts and several Cabinet members.

The purpose of the roundtable is to discuss advances in technology and their potential implications for controlling and responding to the biological weapons threat. The President has a longstanding interest in these issues. This roundtable discussion will provide him with an opportunity to talk with some of the country's leading experts about both the opportunities and the national security challenges posed by genetic engineering and biotechnology.

In his State of the Union address, the President underscored the importance of preventing the use of disease as a weapon of war or terror by strengthening the Biological Weapons Convention with a new international inspection system to detect and deter cheating. This is one of the issues which will be addressed, along with domestic and military efforts to respond to biological warfare threats.

Participants in the roundtable include

Administration Participants:

Secretary of Defense William Cohen
Attorney General Janet Reno
Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet National Security Advisor Sandy Berger
Deputy Chief of Staff John Podesta
Deputy Secretary of Defense John Hamre
Under Secretary of State John Holum
General Joseph Ralston, Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Deputy National Security Advisor Jim Steinberg Major General Don Kerrick, Deputy National Security Advisor Kerri-Ann Jones, Acting Director,

Office of Science and Technology Policy

Outside Experts:

RADM Frank Young
Former Head of the Office of Emergency Preparedness, Public Health Service
Former Commissioner, FDA

Craig Venter
President, Institute for Genomic Research

Joshua Lederberg
Nobel Laureate
President Emeritus, Rockefeller University

Thomas Monath
Vice President, OraVax
Former Centers for Disease Control and US Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases Official

Lucille Shapiro
Professor of Genetics and Chairman of the Department of Developmental Biology, Stanford University School of Medicine

Jerome Hauer
Director, Mayor?s Office of Emergency Management for the City of New York

Barbara Rosenberg
Director of Chemical and Biological Projects, Federation of American Scientists
Research Professor of Environmental Science, State University of New York