There are at least five (5) things that help weapons inspectors determine that someone has crossed the line into “black biology”:
1. Secrecy: If you’re doing legitimate research, it should be in the open, published, and open for review. If everything is in secret, you’ve crossed the line.
2. Size: If you need to study how a germ casuses disease you need to keep lethal forms of that germ in your laboratory. However, you don’t need massive quantities. If you are “stockpiling” large quantities, you ‘ve crossed the line.
3. Potency: To understand how these lethal forms of germs cause disease and to find ways to treat and prevent those diseases you must test them in animals. However, you don’t need to be working on ways to improve the lethality of those bugs. If you are, you’ve crossed the line.
4. Aerosol studies: This one is very tricky. If you are trying to defend against a BW attack then you need to be sure your vaccine or drug will work against the disease that is seen after an aerosol exposure (the most common way to attack with BW agent). So, you will need to do aerosol studies on a small scale. BUT, if you are working on ways to spread your germs the way we spread pesticides, you’ve crossed the line.
5. INTENT: This is the most significant and hardest to get at. What is in your mind, what are you trying to accomplish? If you can’t defend your actions under logical and legitimate goals that the scientific and government communities agree are important, you’ve crossed the line.