The House of Representatives on Monday passed Congressman Chris Smith’s amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 which instructs the General Accounting Office to investigate the possible involvement of DOD biowarfare labs in the weaponization of Lyme disease in ticks and other insects from 1950-1975 .
Watch Smith’s remarks about the amendment during the House debate:
Smith has been leading the fight for a Lyme disease cure and treatments since the early 1990s.
His amendment is informed by the research of Kris Newby, an award winning science writer at Stanford University.
Newby’s book, Bitten: The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Weapons provides documented evidence that the suspicions of disease sufferers, their advocates, and treating physicians deserve investigation. The properties of the pathogen itself and its ally, the tick, appear to be part of our nation’s biowarfare studies.
With Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases exploding in the United States—there are an estimated 300,000 to 427,000 new cases each year and 10-20 percent of all patients suffering from chronic Lyme Disease—Smith has lead the charge for the federal government to provide more funding for research, surveillance, treatments and a cure. The amendment mandating a GAO investigation into possible use of ticks in the bioweapons program could shed more light on the massive increase in Lyme disease and its heavier concentration in certain regions in the country. Other questions the GAO is tasked to investigate include:
- what were the parameters of the program?
- who ordered it?
- how much did the program cost?
- where are the records?
- was there ever any accidental release anywhere or at any time of any diseased ticks?
- were any ticks released by design?
- did the program contribute to the disease burden?
Smith has a long record of fighting for people suffering from Lyme disease. His TICK Act enacted in December as part of the Fiscal Year 2020 omnibus appropriations bill calls for a national strategy to aggressively fight Lyme disease. The TICK Act (Ticks: Identify, Control, Knockout Act) (HR 3073) authorizes an additional $180 million to boost funding for Lyme research, prevention and treatment programs. Smith—who is the founding co-chair of the House Lyme Disease Caucus along with Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN)—said the bill provides $60 million over five years to reauthorize the Regional Centers of Excellence in Vector Borne Disease which have led the scientific response against tick-borne diseases. And the bill authorizes new CDC grants for a total of $120 million over six years, to build a public health infrastructure for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. The legislation is supported by more than 25 non-government organizations dedicated to combating Lyme.
Smith is undettered by his critics who scoff that this is a kooky conspiracy theory.
“They said they same thing about my work on Agent Orange, the persian gulf mystery illness, Autism and Alzheimer’s,” Smith said in a phone interview with MMM. “The bureaucracy has a culture of denial.”
“If the investigation concludes our government’s bioweapons program did not contribute to the proliferation of Lyme, we turn the page. If it did, hopefully this investigation and research will contribute to a cure.”