Second investigation finds more safety problems at lab

A second investigation has detailed additional safety problems at federal health laboratories in Atlanta, including the use of expired disinfectants and the transfer of dangerous germs in Ziploc bags.

The new findings were disclosed Monday in a congressional committee’s summary of a U.S. Department of Agriculture report on the CDC anthrax incident.

The USDA report focuses on an incident last month at a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lab that handles bioterrorism agents. The lab was supposed to completely kill anthrax samples before sending them to two other CDC labs. But the higher-security lab did not completely sterilize the bacteria.

Dozens of CDC workers were potentially exposed to dangerous anthrax bacteria.

No one got sick, but a CDC internal investigation report released last week found serious safety lapses, including use of unapproved sterilization techniques and use of a potent anthrax in an experiment that didn’t require that germ to be used.


Bergdahl being returned to active duty, Army says

Six weeks after Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was freed from Taliban captivity, he has completed treatment at a military hospital in Texas and is being returned to active duty, Army officials said Monday.

In a brief statement, officials said Bergdahl had “completed the final phase of the reintegration process” and would “now return to regular duty” at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, the base where he has been receiving medical treatment and counseling.

But Bergdahl’s future remains in limbo until the Army completes an investigation into his disappearance in eastern Afghanistan in June 2009, when he was taken captive after apparently leaving his post without permission.

Bergdahl will work at headquarters of U.S. Army North, a command that oversees domestic defense.

Court vacates two charges against bin Laden aide

A civilian appeals court on Monday vacated two convictions of a former aide to terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden.

In a split decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit concluded a military commission lacked authority to convict Ali Hamza Ahmad Suliman al-Bahlul of two out of three charges.

Military prosecutors charged al-Bahlul with conspiracy to commit war crimes, providing material support for terrorism and solicitation of others to commit war crimes.

A military commission convicted him of all three crimes and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

In the decision Monday, the appellate court rejected al-Bahlul’s challenge to the conspiracy charge but vacated the other two.

– From news service reports

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