The Case Against Ivins: DNA, E-Mails and a Poem
Federal authorities today unsealed some of the evidence collected against Bruce E. Ivins, the Fort Detrick, Md., bioweapons researcher who died in an apparent suicide after being told he was the prime suspect in the 2001 anthrax attacks.
The documents, posted on the Department of Justice's Web site this afternoon, include a volume of circumstantial and trace evidence. The file explains how investigators used advanced DNA testing to link Ivins to a particular strain of anthrax; documented his late-night hours in the lab directly before the letters were mailed; and found Web postings in which Ivins spouted his distaste for the media and other organizations, The Post's Carrie Johnson, Marilyn W. Thompson and William Branigin report.
Some of the more unusual revelations revolve around Ivins's e-mail exchanges with friends, which run the gamut from sincere letters about his struggles with mental illness and psychotropic medications to angry rants about the Sept. 11 attacks, language that investigators claim is close to that used in the anthrax-laden letters mailed across the country from a New Jersey mailbox.
In one e-mail from April 2000, he told a friend that he occasionally becomes "dizzy and get this unidentifiable 'metallic' taste in my mouth. (I'm not trying to be funny, (redacted name). It actually scares me a bit.)"
In another e-mail from June 2000, Ivins wrote: "Even with the Celexa and the counseling, the depression episodes still come and go. That's unpleasant enough. What is REALLY scary is the paranoia."
A few months later, Ivins wrote: "It's hard enough sometimes controlling my behavior. When I'm being eaten alive inside, I always try to put on a good front here at work and at home, so I don't spread the pestilence...I get incredibly paranoid, delusional thoughts at times, and there's nothing I can do until they go away."
In the next few months, leading up to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Ivins' e-mail exchanges include discussions about his work on creating an Anthrax vaccine. Then, four days after the Sept. 11 attacks, Ivins wrote: "I am incredibly sad and angry at what happened, now that it has sunk in. Sad for all of the victims, their families, their friends. And angry. Very angry. Angry at those who did this, who support them, who coddle them, and who excuse them."
In an e-mail on Sept. 26, 2001, Ivins wrote: "Osama Bin Laden has just decreed death to all Jews and all Americans" -- language that federal agents pointed out was similar to the text found in the anthrax letters that warns: "DEATH TO AMERICA," "DEATH TO ISRAEL."
One of the stranger communiques cited by the investigators is a poem Ivins wrote to a friend in December 2001:
"I'm a little dream-self, short and stout.
I'm the other half of bruce -- when he lets me out.
When I get all steamed up, I don't pout.
I push Bruce aside, them I'm free to run about!
Hickory dickory Doc -- Doc Bruce ran up the clock.
But something then happened in very strange rhythm.
His other self went and exchanged placed with him.
So now, please guess who
Is conversing with you.
Hickory dickory Doc!
Bruce and this other guy, sitting by some trees,
It's like having two in one.
Actually it's rather fun!"
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