playing politics with biolabs

playing politics with biolabsfrom ap: The Homeland Security Department swept aside evaluations of government experts and named Mississippi – home to powerful U.S. lawmakers with sway over the agency – as a top location for a new $451 million, national laboratory to study some of the world’s most virulent biological threats, according to internal documents obtained by The Associated Press.

Mississippi’s lawmakers include the Democratic chairman of the department’s oversight committee in the House and the senior Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, which is expected to approve money to build the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility at one of five sites being considered. The two lawmakers said they were unaware of the Homeland Security evaluation system that scored the Mississippi site so low.

The disclosure is the latest example of what critics assert is the Bush administration’s politicizing of government decisions, such as efforts to steer science over global warming at the Environmental Protection Agency and hiring and firing practices at the Justice Department.