The Anthrax Files

By Ketcham, Christopher | The American Conservative, August 25, 2008 | Go to article overview

The Anthrax Files


Ketcham, Christopher, The American Conservative


[case not closed]

The FBI claims to have caught the killer. But so much evidence has been neglected or mishandled that many experts still have doubts.

SEVEN YEARS AFTER the anthrax attacks shut down Congress, sowed panic nationwide, killed five, sickened 17, and allowed neocon propagandists to variously blame al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, the FBI claims to have gotten its man. But the official story doesn't fully accord with the facts. Any reasonable assessment of the evidence suggests that the same powerful interests that might have been served by prolonging the investigation would have had a stake in finally bringing it to a tidy conclusion. That doesn't mean that the killer was caught

The acknowledged certainty is that the anthrax letters weren't the work of Islamiste or Iraqis. The attacks were perpetrated by someone with highlevel access to U.S. government supplies of the deadly bacteria. Ground zero of the investigation has long been the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, Maryland. But the lab had dropped from the headlines until recently, much as the FBI had seemingly allowed its investigation to languish.

The first week of August, the popular press got back in the game, reporting the apparent suicide of USAMRIID scientist Bruce E. Ivins, alleged to be the sole operator behind the anthrax letters. The Associated Press reported that Ivins, who is said to have killed himself on July 29 with an overdose of prescription Tylenol mixed with codeine, was "one of the government's leading scientists researching vaccines and cures for anthrax exposure." According to the AP, he was "brilliant but troubled." His lawyer, Paul Kemp, says that Ivins passed a pair of polygraph tests and that the grand jury investigating the case was weeks from returning an indictment. Yet within days of his death, the bureau announced that it was beginning the shutdown of its "Amerithrax" investigation. "Anthrax case a Wrap," blared the Daily News on Aug. 4.

In April, it was reported that the FBI had been focusing on as many as four suspects. Fox News identified them as a "former deputy commander," presumably in the U.S. Army, a "leading anthrax scientist," and "a microbiologist." The fourth suspect was given no description. Now the bureau is "confident that Dr. Ivins was the only person responsible for these attacks," according to the assurances of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia

The Ivins news came close on the heels of a far quieter announcement on June 27 that the FBI's investigation of the previous top anthrax suspect, Steven Hatffll, also a USAMRIID bioresearcher, ended not with a trial and conviction but with a $5.8 million settlement effectively admitting that the bureau had the wrong guy. Hatflll had been hounded by investigators for three years, his career and reputation ruined.

Ivins was subjected to similar treatment. According to the AP, he complained to friends that agents had "stalked" him and his family. They offered his son $2.5 million and "a sports car of his choice" to rat out his father. They approached his hospitalized daughter to turn evidence on him, plying her at bedside with pictures of the murdered anthrax victims and telling her, "This is what your father did." W. Russell Byrne, Ivins's supervisor at USAMRIID, told the AP that Ivins, 62, was emotionally broken by the FBFs behavior: "One person said he'd sit at his desk and weep."

Francis Boyle, a professor of law at the University of Illinois who drafted the 1989 Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act signed by President George H. W. Bush, advised the FBI in its initial investigation of the anthrax letters. Along with several other American bioweapons experts-among them Jonathan King, professor of molecular biology at MIT, and Barbara Rosenberg, who studied biowarfare with the Federation of American Scientists-Boyle warned early on that the spores issued from inside a U. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Anthrax Files
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.