DID FBI CLOSE ANTHRAX CASE TOO SOON?
October 10, 2011
(NATIONAL) -- Some ten years after spores anthrax were sent through the U.S. Postal system that killed 5 people and sickened 17 others, there are doubts among some biologists and chemists about whether federal investigators got the right man in that case and whether the agency closed the case after brushing aside important clues.
Actual letters that were sent in FBI investigated anthrax case. CLICK TO ENLARGE
A new report in the New York Times says three scientists argue that some distinctive chemicals that were found in the dried anthrax spores, including the unexpected presence of tin point to a high degree of manufacturing skill, contrary to agency claims the germs were unsophisticated.
The scientists outline their concerns in a coming issue of the Journal of Bioterrorism & Biodefense, said the report.
The Times said it reviewed F.B.I. documents in the case that showed bureau scientists focused on tin early in their eight-year investigation, calling it an “element of interest” and a potentially critical clue to the criminal case and then later dropped a lengthy inquiry into that aspect of the case, never mentioned tin publicly and never offered any detailed account of how they thought the powder had been made.
In February of this year an independent panel of scientists announced it had determined that the FBI did not have enough scientific evidence to produce a conviction in the case of the 2001 anthrax attacks.
The National Academies of Sciences of the science used in the investigation.
The $1.1 million report, which was commissioned by the FBI, concluded that the man accused in the case, Bruce Ivins, could have carried out the attacks, but the science alone did not prove it.
In October and September of 2001, letters containing anthrax killed five people and infected 17 others. Recipients included NBC News, The New York Post, Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT).