Bruce Ivins anthrax, anthrax scare, scientist suicide anthrax
Robb Carr/AP
Frederick Police talk with a woman who they identified as Diane Ivins, the widow of
Bruce E. Ivins. (AP)

Questions Surround FBI’s Anthrax Case Against Ivins

August 05, 2008 11:36 AM
by Josh Katz
Some of those affected by the anthrax attacks of 2001 have been questioning the FBI's evidence against the alleged perpetrator, Bruce Ivins.

30-Second Summary

Federal authorities are expected to outline the case this week against Ivins to the families of victims of the 2001 anthrax attacks. However, many remain skeptical about the case as the evidence surfacing against Ivins is reputedly largely circumstantial, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Ivins, 62, died of an apparent suicide on July 31. Ivins, a prominent scientist who worked at the U.S. government’s biodefense research laboratories and assisted authorities in the anthrax investigation, had allegedly learned that the FBI was going to file charges against him.

But Dr. Kenneth W. Hedlund, the former chief of bacteriology at Fort Detrick, says, “I think he’s a convenient fall guy. They can say, ‘OK, we found him, case closed, we’re going home.’”

The FBI had reportedly connected the anthrax used in the attacks with anthrax found in Ivins’s lab. The Los Angeles Times, which broke the story about his suicide, also pointed to Ivins’s history of mental illness. The Associated Press also reported on Ivins infatuation with Princeton’s Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, located near the mailbox where four anthrax-laced letters were found.

But, in The Wall Street Journal, Richard Spertzel, head of the biological-weapons section of Unscom from 1994 to 1999, is doubtful that Ivins was the lone culprit, or even involved at all, because the anthrax strains from the attacks were too different from that available in Ivins’s lab.

Whether Ivins was the perpetrator or not, in an L.A. Times op-ed, Gabriel Schoenfeld argues that the anthrax case has been a failure for the FBI.

Headline Links: FBI’s case against Ivins raises doubts

Background: The anthrax scare, Hatfill, and the events leading to Ivins’s death

The attacks begin
Anthrax breach involving Ivins
Hatfill’s defamation suit dismissed
Ivins apparently commits suicide

Opinion & Analysis: The case against Ivins


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