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BARDA Returns With New Wrapping, New Approach to Secrecy

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  1. Freedom of Information
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BARDA is back. With a new name: Biodefense and Pandemic Vaccine and Drug Development Act of 2006. In a new bill: S2564. With a new structure: the proposed agency is now an “authority.” And with a new way to keep secret the information it develops on bioterrorism: Instead of excluding the authority from FOIA, the new bill by Sen. Richard Burr, R-NC, creates a statutory, B(3), exemption from FOIA for “specific technical data or scientific information” the secretary believes will “reveal vulnerabilities” to biological, chemical, nuclear, or radiological threats in our medical and public health systems. There’s also a blanket exclusion from the federal open meetings act. (4/18/06)