FBI Stands by 'Powerful' Evidence in Anthrax Case
The FBI had a strain of the anthrax linked to the deadly 2001 mailings that killed five people, but destroyed it after it apparently "did not meet the standards investigators set out in a subpoena," The Post's Carrie Johnson and Joby Warrick reported today.
Officials conceded that the destruction of the anthrax strain was a "misstep," saying that, in hindsight, they would have done things differently, The Post reported.
The revelation comes as FBI officials try to bolster their case against Army scientist Bruce E. Ivins, the prime suspect in the case who unexpectedly committed suicide last month.
The most convincing pieces of evidence presented at a news conference yesterday were details about Ivins's mysterious flask of anthrax bacteria. His special strain -- labeled RMR-1029 -- was "a mix of normal anthrax cells and four mutated varieties or genetic oddballs," The Post reported.
Only eight of more than 1,000 anthrax samples collected by the FBI in the years after the attack have the same makeup and all eight can be linked back to Ivins's flask, officials said.
Still, the FBI has had a difficult time making its case to a skeptical public and scientific community. A hair sample snagged from a Princeton, N.J., mailbox linked to the attacks turned out not to match that of Ivins.
Some Congressional critics have questioned whether one man could really have carried out the elaborate attacks.
But FBI officials continue to press their case.
"I don't think we're ever going to be able to put the suspicions to bed," said Vahid Majidi of the FBI Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate. "There's always going to be a spore on the grassy knoll."
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