Politicians are calling for an investigation into whether the US government experimented with weaponised insects.
The US House of Representatives has asked for a review into whether the Department of Defense (DoD) “experimented with ticks and other insects regarding use as a biological weapon between the years of 1950 and 1975”.
The amendment was quietly passed last week and would require the government to admit if there was an experiment, what the scope of it was, and whether any insects were “released outside of any laboratory by accident or experimental design”.
New Jersey Republican representative Chris Smith, who brought the amendment, spoke during a debate on Thursday.
He said he was driven to act after reading a number of books and articles “suggesting that significant research had been done at US government facilities… to turn ticks and other insects into bioweapons”.
Noting the rising cases of Lyme disease, which he said stood at an estimated 300,000 to 437,000 new cases each year, and “other tick-borne diseases” in the US, Mr Smith said: ” I believe Americans have a right to know whether any of this is true.
“If true, what were the parameters of the program? Who ordered it?”
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He concluded: “My amendment tasks the DoD inspector general to ask the hard questions and report back. The millions of people suffering from Lyme and other tick-borne diseases deserve to know the truth.”
The amendment was added to a defence spending bill, but still requires action from the Senate.