Cracking open the Soviet biological weapons system, 1990

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Washington, D.C., May 6, 2010 - Internal documents reveal that in the final years of the Cold War the top leadership of the Soviet Union debated the cover-up of their illicit biological weapons program in the face of protests from the United States and Great Britain.

The documents, first disclosed in a new book by David E. Hoffman, The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy, are being posted in English translation today by the National Security Archive.

The records, along with other evidence reported in the book, show how the Kremlin rebuffed the protests from the West over the massive germ warfare effort. Even after a top Soviet scientist defected to Britain in 1989 and began to reveal details of the program, the Soviet officials decided to continue the concealment. The Soviet program was a violation of the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, which Moscow had signed....

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