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Anthrax Evidence Getting Mixed Reaction

POSTED: 04:09 PM ET, 08/ 7/2008 by Derek Kravitz

A day after federal authorities opened some of their files in the anthrax investigation, scores of colleagues, friends, family and observers continue to weigh in on the credibility of the government's evidence and the guilt, or lack thereof, of Bruce E. Ivins, the Fort Detrick, Md., scientist accused of carrying out the worst domestic bioterrorist attack in the nation's history.

Families of the victims of the attack say they are satisfied with the results, with one widow contending that the new revelations bolster her lawsuit against the government. And some of the people who were investigated by federal agents early in the case expressed relief that the case appeared near to being closed.

A roundup of developments:

-- The Post interviewed a onetime counselor of Ivins, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. She said she was so alarmed by Ivins's emotionless description of a plan to kill a young woman that she immediately alerted the head of her clinic and a psychiatrist who had treated Ivins, as well as the Frederick Police Department.

Another woman, Nancy L. Haigwood, who was studying microbiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the mid-1970s, said Ivins took an obsessive interest in her sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma. She said Ivins's "intrusive" questions made her uncomfortable; that he was suspected of spray-painting her boyfriend's car and on a fence behind their house; and that she contacted the FBI in 2002 regarding Ivins's bizarre behavior.

Some Congressional critics told The Post that they wondered whether one man could really have carried out the elaborate attacks.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) called for a "full-blown accounting" of the $15 million investigation, which took nearly seven years and included multiple wrong turns, The Post's Carrie Johnson, Del Quentin Wilber and Dan Eggen report. Rep. Rush D. Holt (D-N.J.), from whose district the letters were mailed, called for hearings to address questions such as "why investigators are so certain that Ivins acted alone."

-- Some independent scientists, friends and colleagues of Ivins told the New York Times they remained skeptical, noting that officials admitted that more than 100 people had access to the supply of anthrax that matched the powder in the letters.

Two bioterrorism experts who reviewed the evidence at the request of The Times said the bureau would have to release "far more scientific evidence" to convince specialists.

Dr. Thomas V. Inglesby, deputy director of the Center for Biosecurity of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, said the search warrant affidavits offered only incomplete data on how the letter anthrax was linked genetically to Ivins's lab to the letters and almost nothing on the preparation of the powder.

Jonathan B. Tucker, a biological warfare expert on the staff of a federal commission for the prevention of terrorism with unconventional weapons, said the documents contained "a number of gaps and inferences."

-- On the other hand, some scientists familiar with the FBI's work told The Wall Street Journal that they found the evidence convincing. George Weinstock, an expert in microbial genetics at Washington University at St. Louis who was not involved in the investigation, reviewed the affidavit and said he believes the evidence is "pretty strong."

-- Martin E. Hugh-Jones, an anthrax expert and longtime colleague of Ivins, told The Los Angeles Times that the FBI's scientific evidence seemed thin, arguing that the bureau did not apply the rigorous tests employed by scientists checking their own hypotheses for weaknesses.

By Derek Kravitz |  August 7, 2008; 4:09 PM ET
Previous: Detroit Mayor Jailed for Violating Bond | Next: Picks of the Week: Freddie Mac's Woes, Pesticides and Deadly Bridges


Please email us to report offensive comments.

Had Steven Hatfill committed suicide, would they have wrapped up the investigation then?

Posted by: bluesky | August 7, 2008 5:02 PM

In answer to bluesky's question, you bet they would have.

Posted by: underwhelmed | August 7, 2008 5:05 PM

For more on what the US Govt didn't say in its evidence release ..


Posted by: | August 7, 2008 5:11 PM

Open Questions:

1. If the FBI was so sharp that they narrowed in on Hatfill right away, what made them so inept that they couldn't shift down the hall to Ivins until 7 years later?

2. Did Ivins do something to make Hatfill the prime suspect?

3. Is there a rational motive for spreading anthrax spores, or are we just saying Ivins was bonkers?

4. Why does the US give crazy people access to its anthrax lab?

Posted by: Mark30339 | August 7, 2008 5:41 PM

bluesky: But Hatfill didn't committ suicide. That is b/c he was innocent. He was under far more scrutiny and public pressure than Ivins. Hatfill would have gone to the end proclaiming his innocence.
Ivins on the other hand, through his many bizarre actions, and his ultimate suicide indicated consciousness of guilt.

Posted by: no tinfoil hat | August 7, 2008 5:49 PM

Faced with depleting his life's savings and leaving his family in serious debt trying to fight, his only option to "stop the madness of the persecution" was to commit suicide. His family had been offered bribes, terrorized by the FBI/US agents, ad infinitum.

So let us assume he is innocent. When the next anthrax attack comes, the US has lost one of the people who was working with vaccines/cures at the highest level.

Posted by: Gardener | August 7, 2008 5:56 PM

Other Questions:

1. How are they so sure that the person responsible worked at Ft. Detrick? Evidently, security was very lax up until 9/11. Could there have been a black-ops bio-weapons person who received Anthrax from Ft. Detrick?

2. What relationship did the therapist Jean Duley have with the FBI? Did they pay her? After all, they tried to pay Ivin's son $2.5 million.

3. Back in 2001, who in the government leaked information to the press (ABC), that the Anthrax letters originated from Iraq?

Posted by: whauck | August 7, 2008 6:36 PM

So this was "the worst domestic terrorist attack in the nation's history"? Have you already forgotten the Oklahoma City bombing? Idiots.

Posted by: Jeff McGuire | August 7, 2008 6:40 PM

Who will believe ANYTHING the government and it's employees tells us-----LIES, LIES and more LIES.

Posted by: USA Truth | August 7, 2008 7:05 PM

Hmmm...settlement with Hatfill is interesting. SInce when does the government ever settle with anyone and give them 6 million dollars? When they don't want there to be a lawsuit for some reason, pretty much. The whole thing stinks to high heaven.

Who says these folks weren't acting on some kind of secret orders,
with one being paid off not to talk and one who couldn't be
controlled being bumped? Not impossible.

Posted by: suliana | August 7, 2008 7:13 PM

With all the stuff they seem to have against the guy plus it was US goverment grade anthrax, what could possibly take 7 years to figure out? And how was this stuff treated so carelessly?
Ah, but isn't the real problem George Bush: everything in the executive branch stinks and it stinks like Bush.
Who was that Greek god that diverted a river to flush out the stables? Lots of poopies in the whitehouse, that's for sure.

Posted by: gerald berke | August 7, 2008 7:41 PM

How can this be the "worst domestic terrorist attack in the nations history"? What about Oklahoma City? Am I missing something?

Posted by: Joe Harrison | August 7, 2008 7:44 PM

Joe Harrison,
Great minds think alike!

Posted by: Jeff McGuire | August 7, 2008 7:46 PM

Joe Harrison: Thanks, you're right... we meant worst "bioterrorist" attack, not "terrorist". It's fixed now.

Posted by: The Editors | August 7, 2008 7:48 PM

I would assume that if someone had an uncomfortable encounter with someone in the mid-70s it would be unlikely they would still have any contact with them 30 years later, nor to think to call the FBI on them nor have any idea where they work 30 years later.

It's also rubbish the notion that suicide is indicative of guilt. Perhaps Hatfill was a stronger person who could withstand the pressure better.

Posted by: none | August 7, 2008 7:49 PM

These people who have commented here are as paranoid as Ivins. They see the government as evil, all powerful, all sinister, when in reality, the government is made up of people like you and me and the incidence of craziness is about the same as it is in the general population.

Of course, the above signed opinions are from anything but the general population. These paranoid ideations are from the Paranoid Internet Highway Patrol(PIHP)and these people never rest.

If it is something concerning the US government, Microsoft, or Walmart, they are out in force, seeing conspiracies and evil doers in every action.

Press on morons.....

Posted by: Eker | August 7, 2008 7:49 PM

The anthrax terrorist drama is better than any Charlie Chan who-dunnit thriller. First it was Mohammed Atta. No, no, no, it was Hatfil. Had to be Steven Hatfil. Then, and only then, when the FBI's case against Hatfil fell apart, well of course, we knew it all along, it was Ivins! We had him under surveillance all along.

In mid-October 2001 the FBI spread the story that Mohammed Atta had been in a Florida pharmacy and had "red hands" and may have sought medication for anthrax exposure, and other news sources claimed that he had earlier been in Prague where a go-between from Iraq handed him a flask of anthrax. "By far the likeliest supplier is Saddam Hussein," The Wall Street Journal wrote in an editorial on Oct. 18. James Woolsey, former CIA director, said almost the exact same thing in the Journal's adjacent guest column. After speculating about Iran's involvement, he said: "But by far the more likely candidate for involvement with al Qaeda is Iraq." Why search for a domestic anthrax terrorist when the government wanted to finger Iraq?

But just why would Ivins cunningly target the tabloid news media, known to release news stories prior to the major news media, news that could expose the 9-11 events as being planned and conducted by the U.S. government, not by foreign agents. Why would he target Democratic Senators who opposed the Patriot Act, and why would he send letters to NBC News? This appears to be an effort to hush the news media and the opposing political party.

If Ivins is the man, this sounds like a man who is being directed. Did the FBI drag their feet to leave the country in a state of terror so the Executive Branch could gain public support for The Patriot Act and other restrictions of freedom?

Connect the dots.

Posted by: Bill Sardi | August 7, 2008 8:30 PM
order Fioricet
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Posted by: order fioricet generic | August 7, 2008 8:56 PM

Eker, got anything informative to say? Name calling isn't very convincing to mature intellects.

Posted by: Gary | August 7, 2008 9:40 PM

Eker is another hate mailer. I say to him "sure you've got a headache, but don't take it out on her". Take Tylenol, or was that some other aspirin, Exedrin.

Funny how the official leakers (or are they plumbers?) find it necessary to mention the brand name of a product. Could it be that many people associate Tylenol with a poisoning case from way back when? Otherwise it's hardly important.

Achingly funny Chris Brown in Hamburg

Posted by: chrisbrown1 | August 8, 2008 12:21 PM

The Internet kook patrol is out in force today.

Why don't you Troofers do us all a favor and devote your boundless energy to something more important, like finding the murderer of George Reeves?

Oh wait, I got it. It's the feds! Them and the Rothschilds worked it up in the Pentagon.

Yeah, that's the ticket!

Posted by: Gerard | August 9, 2008 2:20 PM

Those who feel that the Ivins case makes no sense may find this site helpful:

If a thing makes no sense, that does not mean it does not have an explanation.

Posted by: Albert F. Pate | August 10, 2008 9:37 AM

one question (perhaps germane) why would an educated scientist suicide using Tylanol? It is a very unpleasant and unreliable way to go.

Posted by: Andrew | August 11, 2008 9:56 AM

Guys That Person pOSTED
Its this virus
It happens on google u go on a cetain page and when u paste it does that

Posted by: Hey | August 12, 2008 9:25 AM

The real terrorists are the FBI and heads of State but the media won't investigate them because the media is REGULATED by the government. This country is no better than China in that regard.

As Governor of Indiana, Evan Bayh perpetuated constitutional and civil rights violations in the following cases then crushed all attempts to publicize them. ( Including local TV stations 6,8,13 & 59, as well as the Indianapolis Star and Indianapolis Recorder ) State of Indiana v. Edwin L. Jones, # 49G069001CF007921, Edwin L. Jones v. Indianapolis Police Department et al, U.S. District Court Southern District of Indiana, # Misc 90-134, Edwin L. Jones v. Indianapolis Police Department, et al, 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, # 91-1594, . Edwin L. Jones v. Indianapolis Police Department, U.S. Supreme Court, # 91-7923. Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission Complaint against Attorney Ali Talib filed 9-18-92.


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