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FBI Asks for Delay in Release of Anthrax Report by National Academy of Sciences

Anthrax Suspect Bruce Ivins

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The controversy surrounding the conclusion of the anthrax investigation is surfacing again.

The New York Times reports that the FBI has requested a last minute delay in the release of an independent scientific report by the National Academy of Sciences.

The delay prompted Rep. Rush D. Holt (D-N.J.), a critic of the probe, to proclaim that the bureau “may be seeking to try to steer or otherwise pressure” the academy’s scientific panel “to reach a conclusion desired by the bureau,” the Times reported.

Holt, a physicist, made the remarks in a letter Thursday to FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, the Times reported. He said he found the delay disturbing.

The Times reported that the F.B.I. has told the committee that it wants to turn over an additional 500 pages of investigative documents even though the committee had requested all materials back in April 2009 when it began looking at the science involved in the probe that eventually pointed to scientist Bruce Ivins, a microbiologist at the Army’s bio-defense research center in Maryland. For years, investigators had mistakenly focused on another scientist from that laboratory, Steven Hatfill, who ended up successfully suing the government.

Ivins killed himself in July 2008 before federal authorities could file criminal charges.

FBI spokesman Mike Kortan said the FBI “continues to work with the National Academy of Sciences to support their ongoing review of the scientific approaches employed in the Amerithrax investigation,” according to the Times.


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