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No evidence of smallpox | World news | The Guardian

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No evidence of smallpox

Oliver Burkeman in Washington

@oliverburkeman

Fri 19 Sep 2003 21.43 EDT First published on Fri 19 Sep 2003 21.43 EDT

A team of US government scientists has turned up no evidence that Saddam Hussein was making or stockpiling smallpox.

"Team Pox", a six-member group hunting for laboratories manufacturing the deadly virus, found nothing more sinister than equipment covered in cobwebs, and nothing to suggest a smallpox programme, according to military officials involved in the project, who leaked the information to the Associated Press.

"We found no physical or new anecdotal evidence to suggest Iraq was producing smallpox or had stocks of it in its possession," one military official said.

In the run-up to the conflict, George Bush regularly used the smallpox example to drive home the immediacy of Iraq's threat to ordinary Americans.

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