A flurry of e-mails and a possible about-face followed the US Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) announcement last week that it would issue a classified report on an unclassified brainstorming session about scientific openness. The meeting held in Washington, DC on Jan. 23–24, focused on bioterrorism and was hosted by the National Research Council (NRC), which gathered leading microbiologists for a remarkable unclassified session with the CIA's strategic assessments group.

Opening the doors to scientists without top security clearance was intended as a way of getting participation from top microbiologists who have had little or no contact with the nation's security establishment.

But last week, NRC's Kerry Brenner sent an e-mail to participants, passing along the message that CIA would be "assembling a short, classified summary" of the meeting, and touching off a torrent of questions from the scientists. Several had spoken at the meeting about the necessity for biosecurity consultation...

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