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Ivins: 'I Know Who Mailed The Anthrax!'

POSTED: 05:01 PM ET, 09/24/2008 by Derek Kravitz

UPDATE (5:39 p.m.): Bruce E. Ivins, the Army scientist suspected of mailing the anthrax letters that killed five people in 2001, wrote several e-mails claiming he knew the identity of the senders, according to documents unsealed today by the FBI.

In the e-mails, which he signed "Bruce" and wrote from an America Online e-mail account with a user name of "KingBadger7," Ivins said he was planning to give information about two government scientists to his attorneys.

One of the e-mails (PDF), dated Sept. 7, 2007, contained the subject line: "Finally! I know Who mailed the anthrax!" In the e-mail, Ivins wrote:

Yes! Yes! Yes!!!!!!! I finally know who mailed the anthrax letters in the fall of 2001. I've pieced it together! Now we can finally get all of this over and done with. I have to check a couple of things to make sure...absolutely sure...and then I can turn over info. I'll probably turn it over to my lawyer, and then he'll turn the info over to the authorities. I'm not looking forward to everybody getting dragged through the mud, but at least it will all be over. Finally! I should have it TOTALLY nailed down within the month. I should have been a private eye!!!! -bruce

E-mails detailed in FBI documents after the jump...

Ivins apparently wrote the e-mail to himself, although the name of the recipient on the e-mail was redacted by the authorities. Other revelations from the newly released documents:

  • Before his death, Ivins went to an anthrax investigation Web site using a computer at a Frederick public library.
  • A hand-written list found in Ivins's trash two days after his death included e-mail addresses for The Baltimore Sun, The Washington Post, Sen. Barbara Mikuski (D-Md.), Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) and Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.).
  • Ivins was apparently fascinated with the reality TV show "The Mole" and, specifically, Kathryn Price, a Chicago law school lecturer and contestant on the show's first season.

Download this document | More FBI documents

Bruce E. Ivins, the Army scientist the FBI says is the sole culprit behind the 2001 anthrax-by-mail attacks that killed five people, apparently was barred from all government labs in March after spilling anthrax on himself and going home to wash his clothes before telling his bosses.

Ivins died in an apparent suicide July 29 as the FBI tried to finish its investigation into the "Amerithrax" case. Four months earlier, he spilled on his pants several milliliters of a vaccine strain of anthrax used on animals. He was preparing samples in a biological safety cabinet in a government lab at Fort Detrick, Md., according to a report (PDF) obtained by The Frederick News-Post through the Freedom of Information Act.

The News-Post reported that Ivins cleaned up the anthrax, walked across the street to his home, washed his pants with hot water and bleach and dried them. He then told a supervisor about what happened: "While cleaning the biosafety cabinet in B504 a few drops of diluted Sterne spores got on my pants."

Ivins was banned from lab work and given administrative duties for the "indefinite future," according to the report. In one part of the report, under a section titled, "Suggested procedure to prevent an injury or to by-pass hazard," Ivins wrote: "Don't clean up technicians' messes."

Ivins had previously complained to Army investigators about "sloppy" lab technicians, saying he hid incidents where he swabbed and bleached more than 20 areas between December 2001 and late April 2002.

The disclosure comes on the heels of a renewed push for an independent review of the FBI's case against Ivins, which has come under criticism from some lawmakers. A national commission on the anthrax attacks, a congressional investigation and hearings have all been proposed to review the bureau's 7-year investigation. FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III has asked the National Academy of Sciences to review the government's findings.

By Derek Kravitz |  September 24, 2008; 5:01 PM ET Hot Documents
Previous: Army Probes Possible Toxic Exposure in Iraq | Next: Lobbyists Camp Out on Hill, McCain Aide's Freddie Ties, Rangel's Ethics Investigation


Please email us to report offensive comments.

Sounds likes a defense motion, or excuse.

Posted by: Antrax sends thrills up pants! | September 24, 2008 5:55 PM

Sterne strain is attenuated and represents no health hazard when spilled on pants. Dr. Ivins knew this, and his reaction as a microbiologist is easy to understand. American farmers handle Sterne as a livestock vaccine every day, but don't have to report any spill or accident. Why should Dr. Ivins be barred from the lab based on this? Of course, he was sloppy, and the purpose of the biosafety cabinet is to keep microbes far away from the pants.

Posted by: Scientist | September 24, 2008 5:58 PM

library in fredericksburg? sure that wasn't frederick?

Posted by: novakind | September 24, 2008 7:04 PM

Novakind: Frederick it is, and we've fixed it. Thanks.

Posted by: The Editors | September 24, 2008 7:18 PM

Whats additionally scary is that Ivins mentions stabbing Kathryn Price in the eye with a pen. As it turns out Dr. Ivins brought a pen to one of his group sessions with a counsler and asked her to feel how sharp the pen was after telling the group that he wanted to walk the projects of Frederick and stab the first person who gave him a bad stare in the eyes with a pen! Also people forget that the counsler stated that he was going out in a blaze of glory...killing his co-workers. Later guns, stashed ammo, bullet proof vest and homemade body armor was found. How can his co-workers support him and not the counsler for probably saving their lives?

Posted by: mako | September 24, 2008 10:19 PM

Ivins wrote a second email to himself that detailed the reasoning behind his view on who emailed the anthrax letters. SO WHERE IS THIS EMAIL? Why isn't the FBI allowing us to see who Ivins thought did it? Because it is plainly obvious that he may have been right, and he was killed to cover up the crime. HELLO?

Posted by: Eric | September 24, 2008 10:32 PM

I cant believe anyone would believe this drivel from the F.B.I

Bruce Ivins is a scapegoat, used to close the door on an investigation that is going no where.

This silly charade illuminates the incompetance of these morons. They would rather slime an innocent man, drag his name through the mud, and close the book then face the true fact they have no clue as to who and where.

Pathetic. Hoover would demand blood.

Posted by: Homunculis | September 25, 2008 7:58 AM



Posted by: NEWSUCANUSE | September 25, 2008 11:46 PM

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