Dear Editor:

In the interest of fairness, accuracy and credibility, I would like to set the record straight regarding Terrance Moe’s “Letter to the Editor” Feb. 6 “Why is Trump hiding interactions with Putin?” which was a response to my letter from the week prior “A top priority for CDC should be health security.”

Quoting Moe “Mr. Gabl made a legitimate point regarding smallpox. Implicit in his argument, however, is the premise that a wall across our southern border could somehow protect us from domestic or Russian bioterrorism. Our porous northern border would provide easier access through which Russia or Russian intermediaries could export weaponized smallpox. 

In the event of a concerted bioterrorism attack involving smallpox, Russia would answer for it, not El Salvador, Guatemala or Honduras.”

Mr. Moe then employed this fictitious narrative involving Russia as a springboard to go off topic and wildly smear President Donald Trump as a treasonous Russian agent, “Moscow’s candidate,” under the control of Vladimir Putin based upon a slew of recycled conspiracy theories.

It is stunning to think that a lone mention of Russia in my letter could form the basis for Moe’s false narrative, especially considering its reference was not only a secondary element of factual background on the same level as the United States, but its use was part of the following public information that I merely quoted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“A bioterrorist attack could be caused by virtually any pathogenic microorganism. The agents of greatest concern are anthrax and smallpox. Today, there are only two labs in the world that are approved to have the smallpox virus for research. They are the CDC in Atlanta, Ga., and the Russian State Centre for Research in Moscow, Russia. There is concern that in the past, some countries made the smallpox virus into weapons, which may have fallen into the hands of terrorists or other people with criminal intentions.”

Similar to the military strategy of mutually assured destruction as it pertains to U.S. and Russia nuclear weapon arsenals, dire consequences would apply to unleashing weaponized smallpox as well. Regardless, the CDC’s specific reference to some countries is self-evident in the context quoted. 

Besides, the foundation of my letter clearly centered around inventive scenarios of terrorism such as the uniqueness of the 9/11 attacks that even brilliant minds tasked with thinking “outside of the box” never imagined. 

And when one considers that illegal immigrants from around the world are apprehended at the southern border, including from countries that sponsor terrorism, anything is now possible as the CDC realized in the wake of 9/11.

Frank Gabl

Prospect Heights, Ill.