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But auditors concluded, "The (Army Chemical Materials) Agency didn't have complete assurance that amounts recorded in the system were accurate, which increased its chances for heightened levels of program scrutiny by federal, state and international organizations that have a vested interest in the elimination of chemical weapons."
While the Aug. 26 report said a good job was done recording the amounts of most types of chemical munitions destroyed, auditors found discrepancies between how much nerve agent had been recorded as stored in one-ton containers, and how much was actually destroyed.
"They did not have effective procedures in place to ensure amounts destroyed were accurately recorded in the (electronic recording) system. Consequently, CMA didn't have complete assurance that amounts recorded in the system were accurate," the report said.
Auditors also said no reviews into discrepancies — even when some large ones of up to 20 percent for some containers were noticed — were conducted because rules and contracts only required them if records for all ton containers at one site were off by 5 percent after their destruction was completed.
Army officials have suspended most research involving dangerous germs at the biodefense laboratory at Fort Detrick, Md., which the F.B.I. has linked to the anthrax attacks of 2001, after discovering that some pathogens stored there were not listed in a laboratory database.
The suspension, which began Friday and could last three months, is intended to allow a complete inventory of hazardous bacteria, viruses and toxins stored in refrigerators, freezers and cabinets in the facility, the Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.
One scientist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment, said samples from completed projects were not always destroyed, and departing scientists sometimes left behind vials whose contents were unknown to colleagues. He said the Army’s recordkeeping and security were imperfect but better than procedures at most universities, where research on biological pathogens has expanded rapidly since 2001.