Indonesia’s top intelligence agency has scrutinized the spread of a new strain of the avian flu virus that has killed thousands of ducks over the past few months, saying the disease could be a form of biological weapon used by foreign countries.
“My agency has been following this phenomenon since the beginning. We have to stay alert as the global development of biological weapons has been very fast. In the future, this kind of biological attack will be used in wars,” National Intelligence Agency (BIN) chief Lt. Gen. Marciano Norman said at the State Palace on Thursday.
However, an intelligence investigation had yet to find any proof that the current bird flu outbreak in some places across Indonesia was a form of biological attack or a test of biological weapons by foreign countries, he added.
“We are closely monitoring developments. We cannot jump to conclusions without strong proof,” he added. “We are asking relevant bodies with relevant competence to dig deeper into the new virus while we will back them up.”
Coordinating Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Minister Djoko Suyanto echoed Marciano’s statement. “Since the allegation came to us, we have formed a team to delve into it. The team comprises of BIN and the Health Ministry, among others,” he said.
Djoko agreed that it was possible that the virus might have been "engineered" for certain interests. “The allegations represent good input for us to stay vigilant to the possibility,” he said.
The government has asked regions across the country to begin taking measures to anticipate the new bird flu virus, identified as H5N1 clade 2.3.2.I suppose the bioterrorism angle is politically useful to BIN, but like General Norman I would expect strong proof. Until then, I don't believe a syllable of this.