WASHINGTON -- After helping to lead the Soviet Union's germ-weapons program, Ken Alibek defected to the United States and began warning about the threat of a mass-casualty biological attack. Alibek also has sought to profit from the fear of such weapons of mass destruction, landing federal contracts or grants totaling about $28 million.

In 1992, Alibek began describing to the Central Intelligence Agency details of the biological weapons that he helped research and develop for the then-newly dissolved Soviet Union. The alleged magnitude of the program stunned U.S. officials.

In May 1998, Alibek told a congressional committee that the Russians had produced "hundreds of tons of anthrax weapons" and "tons of smallpox and plague." And by using genetic engineering, Alibek says, the Russians sought to "develop antibiotic-resistant" strains of various viruses. Alibek also raised the possibility that Soviet weapons scientists sold their expertise to regimes averse to the United States, such as Iraq and Iran.

In his 1999 memoir, Alibek wrote: "I am convinced that a large portion of the Soviet Union's offensive program remains viable despite (then-President Boris) Yeltsin's ban on research and testing."

In October 2001, appearing before a House subcommittee just a month after the Sept. 11 attacks, Alibek said some Russian biological weapons experts "have emigrated to rogue nations such as Iraq." He added that he believes some countries have secret stocks of smallpox, and that "well-funded terrorist groups are capable of purchasing the knowledge (needed to execute a biological attack)."

In March 2003, as the U.S.-led war in Iraq got under way, Alibek told an online forum: "There is no doubt in my mind that (Saddam) Hussein has WMD."

In April 2007, asked in an interview to reconcile his earlier statements with the failure to find smallpox or any other weapon of mass destruction in Iraq, Alibek said: "We need to look for the traces."

In July 2001, a company at which Alibek is an executive, Advanced Biosystems, wins a $3.59 million contract from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

In March 2004, a Republican committee chairman, Rep. James Saxton of New Jersey, upbraids the Bush administration's director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency on Alibek's behalf. "You need to be more on his side," Saxton said. The official, Anthony Tether, reassures Saxton, and releases grant money for Alibek's research.

In July 2004, Saxton and Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Redlands, work to insert earmarks in appropriation bills that steer millions of dollars to research led by Alibek at George Mason University and at a Maryland company he co-founded, AFG Biosolutions Inc.

From 2005 to 2007, Alibek's company won more than $1 million in small-business innovation research grants from the National Institutes of Health. One of the company's directors is a former aide to Saxton, and its Washington, D.C., lobbyist is Saxton's former chief of staff.