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An effective countermeasure, Mr. Baker writes, requires getting an accurate picture of all those involved in such research, including tracking their equipment and supplies, and gaining their cooperation in implementing “reasonable safety and security measures.” Here, again, Mr. Stewart sounds the alarm that business, privacy and international interests are likely to resist such regulations, which is “why it probably won’t happen, at least not until the ever-steepening curve of biotechnology produces a disaster.”

Such warnings about the nature of the evolving technological threats that our terrorist adversaries could exploit and the hurdles that need to be overcome to address them effectively make “Skating on Stilts” an indispensable book for those concerned about the government policy measures that are required to safeguard America.

Joshua Sinai is an associate professor for research, specializing in counterterrorism studies, at Virginia Tech (National Capital Region), in Alexandria, Va.