Monday, October 15, 2007

Chilling effect, indeed...

Tara posted a down-right scary article today at at Aetiology. I don't mean Halloween spooky goblins and ghosts scary; I mean scary as in getting sent to PMITA prison scary.

"...a University of Pittsburgh geneticist, Robert Ferrell, plead guilty to charges of failing to follow proper [Material Transfer Agreement] procedures in mailing [microbiological] samples, after being investigated initially for charges related to bioterrorism that were dropped... and another professor awaits trial.... Ferrell violated this [Material Transfer Agreement] agreement by sharing [Bacillus subtilis and Serratia marcescens] strains with Kurtz. Normally, this would be an issue handled between Ferrell (and his university) and ATCC; however, under the broad definitions of mail and wire fraud under the Patriot Act, the government stepped in and charged Kurtz and Ferrell with mail and wire fraud--felonies that, since they're being charged under the Patriot Act, could carry a possible 20-year sentence."

Has the government no sense of decency at long last?

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