Wednesday, August 6, 2008

FBI: Bruce Ivins Worked Alone in Anthrax Attack

It sounds like good news: the 2001 anthrax attacks were the work of one man, Bruce Ivins. Dr. Ivins had:
  • Control of a flask of very pure anthrax spores
    • Mutations in those spores are identical to mutations in the anthrax spores that killed five people
  • All the equipment he needed to prepare the spores in the Fort Detrick lab
  • Time alone with the equipment
    • Ivins worked extended hours because " 'home was not good' and that he went to the laboratory 'to escape' from his home life," an affidavit says (CNN)
  • Given FBI agents the wrong bacteria samples from his lab
He had a few possible motives, including wanting to get more attention and funding for his research, hoping to cash in on being a co-inventor of a vaccine, or having a weird thing for Kappa Kappa Gamma girls.

Kappa Kappa Gamma girls?!

Given what may be some loose screws in Dr. Ivins' head, and the FBI's Keystone Cops fingering of Steven Hatfill, I can understand why some people are dubious about the latest claim.

What's different this time is that the FBI has evidence, not the 'I saw him with some guys at Charley's Place' testimony they had against Hatfill.

An example of the FBI's rather more detail-conscious approach this time is the list of items taken by FBI, from Bruce Ivins' home: Receipt for Property Received/Returned/Released/Seized"

In the News:
  • "Prosecutor calls researcher sole culprit in 2001 anthrax attacks"
    CNN (August 6, 2008)
    • "WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A federal prosecutor declared Army biological weapons researcher Bruce Ivins the sole culprit in the 2001 anthrax attacks Wednesday, after releasing a stack of documents from a "herculean" investigation that lasted nearly seven years. 'We are confident that Dr. Ivins was the only person responsible for these attacks,' Jeffrey Taylor, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, told reporters Wednesday afternoon.
    • "The Justice Department released the documents implicating Ivins in the attacks, which killed five people and sickened more than a dozen people.
    • "Authorities said Ivins committed suicide last week as federal prosecutors prepared to present the results of their investigation to a grand jury.
    • "Taylor said prosecutors are "confident" they could have proved their case against him.
    • "Ivins was the custodian of a flask of a highly purified anthrax spores that had "certain genetic mutations identical to the anthrax used in the attacks," according to the court documents unsealed Wednesday.
  • "Intended anthrax target has doubts about probe"
    CNN (August 4, 2008)
    • "WASHINGTON (CNN) -- An intended recipient of one of the anthrax-laced letters sent in 2001's anthrax scare said Monday he was "very skeptical" of the government's investigation.
    • "Former Sen. Tom Daschle, who was Senate majority leader at the time, said he is suspicious of the case against researcher Bruce Ivins because of the government "bungling" of Steven Hatfill's case.
    • "Hatfill, who was named by the Justice Department as a "person of interest" in 2002, was never charged and later sued the department. They reached a multimillion dollar settlement in June.
    • " 'Given their checkered past and the difficulty that they had in getting to this point -- the bungling of the Hatfill part of the investigation -- leads me to be very skeptical,' the former South Dakota senator said.
    • "Ivins, an anthrax researcher at Fort Detrick, Maryland, committed suicide last week before he was to have discussed a plea deal in the anthrax case with prosecutors, officials said....

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.