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Tag: ft. detrick

News Report Questions FBI Theory That Anthrax Suspect Tried to Deceive Investigators

A U.S. Army scientist stands near the letters used in the 2001 anthrax attacks (Photo courtesy of FBI and ProPublica)

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

An investigative report published by ProPublica points to some flaws in the FBI’s conclusion that Ft. Detrick, Md. scientist Bruce Ivins was the culprit who mailed the deadly anthrax in 2001.

The investigation, conducted by ProPublica, PBS and McClatchy Newspapers, attempts to undercut a key theory that Ivins tried to deceive the FBI. The report points to samples Ivins provided from a flask in 2002 to the FBI. The FBI said tests failed to match the anthrax sent through the mail.

Later, the news report said, the FBI  took its own samples from the flask and found matches to the deadly anthrax letters.

Authorities pointed to that as a key piece of evidence against Ivins, saying he was intentionally being deceptive to hide his guilt. Ivins committed suicide in July 2008, just before he was about to be charged.

Rachel Lieber, the lead prosecutor in a case that will never go to trial, thinks that Ivins manipulated his sample to cover his tracks, the news report said.

“If you send something that is supposed to be from the murder weapon, but you send something that doesn’t match, that’s the ultimate act of deception,” the lead prosecutor Rachel Lieber said in the report. “That’s why it’s so important.”

But the news agencies report that they “turned up new evidence that challenges the FBI’s narrative of Ivins as a man with a guilty conscience who was desperately trying to avoid being discovered.”

“Records recently released under the Freedom of Information Act show that Ivins made available a total of four sets of samples from 2002 to 2004, double the number the FBI has disclosed,” the news report said. “And in subsequent FBI tests, three of the four sets ultimately tested positive for the” anthrax.’

The report suggested that the positive samples turned over to the FBI was proof that Ivins was not trying to deceive the FBI.

Paul Kemp, Ivins’ lawyer, said the existence of Ivins’ additional submissions discredits a key aspect of the FBI case, the report said.

“I wish I’d known that at the time,’’ he said.

The Justice Department has repeatedly dismissed any reports challenging its conclusion that Ivins was the culprit. The agency has said that the conclusion was based on multiple factors.

Read full report.

 

UPDATED: Report Says Army Could Have “Prevented” Anthrax Attacks in 2001 and Psychiatric Records Support FBI Findings That Bruce Ivins “Was Responsible”

Anthrax Suspect Bruce Ivins

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

And now for more on the anthrax controversy.

A court-ordered report by the Expert Behavorial Analysis Panel concluded the U.S. Army could have “anticipated” and “prevented” the deadly 2001 anthrax attacks, and that a review of psychiatric records of suspect Bruce Ivins “does support the Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s)determination that he was responsible.”

Ivins, a civilian Army scientist at Ft. Detrick, Md., who committed suicide before authorities could charge him, “was psychologically disposed to undertake the mailings; his behavioral history demonstrated his potential for carrying them out; and he had the motivation and means,” according to the Expert Behavioral Analysis Panel , which was created in 2009 to review Ivins and the deadly attacks. News of the report first appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

The Expert Behavioral Analysis Panel found that Ivins displayed unusual behavior — some that was dismissed as eccentricity — that should have led the Army to do a better mental health evaluation. It also said Ivins’ mental health professionals would have advised against it had they known he had a high level security clearance.

The report was welcoming news for the Justice Department and FBI, which has taken some heat from from skeptics who don’t believe that Ivins is the person who mailed the deadly letters that killed five people and sickened 17 others.

“The FBI appreciates the efforts, time, and expertise of the panel and its highly respected chair and members,” the agency said in a statement.”The panel’s analysis, findings, and recommendations provide important insight that will further contribute to the public’s understanding of the investigation into the deadly anthrax mailings.”

The report portrays Ivins was someone who had a “traumatic, damaging childhood” and an abusive one.

“Dr. Ivins grew up in a family in which there is ample evidence that his mother assaulted and abused her husband — stabbing him, and beating him and threatening to kill him with a loaded gun,” the report said. “It also appears she abused Dr. Ivins as a boy, and his father mocked him publicly as well.”

Some fellow scientists and politicians on Capitol Hill — along with Ivins’ attorney — remain skeptical that Ivins mailed the deadly letters that killed 5 people and sickened 17 others.

Read Summary of Report