Two government agencies continue to bicker over how to protect US borders from agroterrorism and invasive species, which critics -- including a major congressional oversight committee -- say has left the country ill-equipped to handle either crisis. In 2003, antiterrorist legislation transferred control of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), which monitors the borders for agricultural pests and conducts much of the country's research relating to linkurl:agroterrorism,;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/23091/ from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). "I think it's just been disastrous," said linkurl:Peter Mason,;http://www.utmb.edu/pathology/profiles/?user=pwmason a researcher at University of Texas Medical Branch, who led the foot and mouth virus unit at linkurl:Plum Island;http://www.ars.usda.gov/main/site_main.htm?modecode=19400000 (the site where most animal pathogen research takes place) between 2000 and 2002, of the years since DHS took over control of Plum Island. The agency pumped a lot of money into research, he said, "but fragmented the research...
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