Full coverage: BioWatch under scrutiny

Full coverage: BioWatch under scrutiny
A BioWatch air sampler in the Washington, D.C., subway. This unit is a prototype of next-generation samplers intended to be more reliable, but the new technology has also shown problems in testing. (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)
Since 2003, BioWatch air samplers have been installed inconspicuously at street level and atop buildings in cities across the country — ready, in theory, to detect deadly biological attacks. But the federal system has not lived up to its billing.
Homeland Security cancels plans for new BioWatch technology

The nationwide system for detecting a biological attack has cost more than $1 billion to date. It is still under GAO review.

Congress members voice doubts about BioWatch

Democrats and a senior Republican on a House panel endorse a GAO report that faults the government's management of the system designed to detect biological attacks.

Homeland Security faulted for BioWatch biological defense system

The GAO says the Department of Homeland Security has not established the need or effectiveness of a multibillion-dollar upgrade to the BioWatch system.

BioWatch upgrade apparently postponed

The Department of Homeland Security quietly postpones plans to buy technology for an upgrade of BioWatch, the nation's system for detecting biological attacks.

Early warnings on BioWatch

BioWatch scientists knew the biological attack detection system was prone to false alarms, records show — contradicting Homeland Security officials' assertions.

The biodefender that cries wolf

The Department of Homeland Security's BioWatch air samplers, meant to detect a terrorist biological attack, have been plagued by false alarms and other failures.