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Tag: science

Powerful Bipartisan Committee Probes Serious Flaws in FBI Lab Research

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A powerful bi-partisan House committee is investigating serious flaws found in FBI labs, McClatchy reports. 

Leaders of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voiced “grave concern” about recent discoveries that the FBI came to erroneous conclusions on hair analysis that ended up being far from perfect.

“The scope of this catastrophe is almost impossible to believe,” wrote Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., adding that the recent discoveries are “shocking and obviously unacceptable.”

The lawmakers want to meet with Comey by May 22 for a hearing to determine how much he knew about the errors and when he found out.

The committee’s actions come on the heels of testimony that showed that at least 90% of the hair analysis cases analyzed by the FBI contained erroneous statements.

“We need to understand more about these cases,” Chaffetz and Cummings wrote.

Last month, Amy Hess, the executive assistant director of the FBI’s Science and Technology Branch, emphasized that the Justice Department and the FBI are “committed to ensuring that affected defendants are notified of past errors and that justice is done in every instance.”

GAO to Examine Science Behind Anthrax Investigation; Some Still Skeptical

Anthrax Suspect Bruce Ivins

Anthrax Suspect Bruce Ivins

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

By the FBI’s account, the anthrax case that triggered a wave of panic in this nation in 2001 with the death of five people, has been solved.

But not all are as convinced as the FBI that the real culprit is government scientist Bruce Ivins, who committed suicide in July 2008 before authorities could charge him.

So, as a result of a request by one skeptic, Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.), the Government Accountability Office will exam the science behind the FBI’s conclusion that Ivins was the guy, reporter Evan Perez writes in the Wall Street Journal.

The Journal noted that a separate review of the FBI’s work by the National Academy of Scientists will likely be wrapped up this fall.

FBI Appoints Ernest Reith to Science and Technology Branch

Ernest Reith/fbi photo

Ernest Reith/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Ernest Reith has been named associate executive assistant director of the FBI’s Science and Technology Branch.

The FBI said Reith started his career in 1985 as a regional analyst at the Defense Mapping Agency (DMA) in St. Louis, Missouri “where he developed and maintained geospatial intelligence databases of the Eastern Pacific Rim.”

He briefly entered private industry and later returned to DMA. Eventually, from 2007 to 2010, he served as the deputy director of InnoVision and was responsible for the day-to-day management of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

To read the press release click here.

Panel Dissecting Science in Anthrax Case One Year After Suspect Killed Himself

Suspect Bruce Ivins
Suspect Bruce Ivins

Bruce Ivins was named the sole suspect, but not everyone is convinced of that. The question is will the review of the science in the case shed some light on Ivins? It would be nice if it did.

By Dan Vergano
USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — A year and a day after the death of anthrax mailing suspect Bruce Ivins, a panel met here at the National Academy of Sciences to dissect the investigative science behind the FBI case against him.

“The committee will only review and assess the scientific information,” said Alice Gast of Lehigh University, head of the review panel. “We will offer no view on the guilt or innocence of any person or persons.”

Just such questions, however, surround the still-open case, said Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., who spoke before the panel, which met Thursday and Friday.

“This was the only documented bioterror attack on the U.S.,” Holt said. “Simply stated, the government suffers from a credibility gap that raises questions about the guilt of Dr. Ivins.”

An anthrax vaccine researcher at the United States Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases in Frederick, Md., Ivins died of a drug overdose July 29, 2008.

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