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Columinist: Anthrax Probe Not FBI’s Prouder Moment

The long, drawn out anthrax investigation is sure to be sliced and diced by critics for years to come. Gabriel Schoenfeld of Commentary Magazine takes a shot.

Anthrax Suspect Bruce Ivins

Anthrax Suspect Bruce Ivins

By Gabriel Schoenfeld
Commentary Magazine

The FBI’s investigation of the deadly 2001 anthrax attacks was the most complex and important in the bureau’s history. Immense resources were invested in the search for the perpetrator, whose actions killed five people, sickened 17 others, sowed panic in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 and caused taxpayers to spend extraordinary sums on a crash program to protect the nation against the danger of biological terrorism.

Yet for all that, the “Amerithrax” investigation, as the FBI dubbed the case, dragged on for seven years and, until quite recently, got nowhere. If Bruce E. Ivins, the Ft. Detrick, Md., microbiologist who died in an apparent suicide last week, was indeed the perpetrator, the prime suspect was directly under the FBI’s nose for years, practically sporting a scarlet “A” on his forehead. If he was not the perpetrator, as many of his fellow scientists at Ft. Detrick are insisting, we’re back at square one.

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