The Anthrax Case

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Fort Detrick, MD, where Bruce E. Ivins worked.

Fort Detrick, MD, where Bruce E. Ivins worked. Source: Mark Wilson/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Source: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

It's tough to keep up-to-date on all the details coming out about Bruce E. Ivins, the man the Justice Department believes is behind the anthrax letters mailed shortly after Sept. 11 that killed five people. They've been quietly building the case against Ivins for nearly seven years, and believe the former researcher at the Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, who committed suicide July 29th, acted alone. It's a fascinating case and an incredibly involved investigation, so today we'll catch you up on all those articles you've been meaning to read about it with NPR's David Kestenbaum and Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), whose home district is where the deadly envelopes hit the mail. Got questions about the evidence against Ivins, or the man himself? Doubts about the investigation the FBI calls effectively closed, with Ivins' death? Tune in.



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The apparent suicide of this "loan mad scientist" seems just too convenient in light of the Valerie Plame/yellow cake; reporting in Mr. Suskinds new book about a possible forged letter out of the White House; Sec. Powell's assertions at the UN and Bush/Cheney's desire to go to war. Remember there was talk of roving chem. labs driving accross Iraq, etc.

Sent by Conleth Quinn | 2:10 PM | 8-7-2008

1. Some evidence against the new suspect is identical to that previously raised against Hatfill, namely that there was a connection to something named "Glendale" and that this explained why the letter had the word "Glendale" in the return address. To my mind this undermines this piece of evidence regarding the Glendale association.

2. Many news reports mention "mental illness" and the fact he was taking anti-depressants. For the sake of those currently taking antidepressants can you please stress that this is not an important fact at all. Many in the public have a poor grasp of depression and often link it with instability or derangement as a caller just mentioned.

Sent by Steve Noctor | 2:24 PM | 8-7-2008

Wall Street Journal - Richard Spertzel, head of the biological-weapons section of Unscom from 1994 to 1999, is doubtful that Ivins was the lone culprit, or even involved at all, because the anthrax strains from the attacks were too different from that available in Ivins's lab. How about this angle? Possibility of a team working on this project? Current approach takes the "lone-gunman angle" which according to the inspector is unlikely.

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Sent by Brett Cloyd | 2:31 PM | 8-7-2008

Anyone but me groaning at the irony of a member of Congress calling into question the competence of another government agency? Vote Libertarian!

Sent by John George | 2:34 PM | 8-7-2008

I'm astonished that no media outlet I've encountered has considered the following:

Why would a well regarded government worker such as Ivins commit such a crime? Perhaps anxiety over maintining his position?!?

In fact, the suspect, working in an anti-biological warfare lab, would be understdably concerned about his position given the attacks of 9/11. At that time, all the federal governments resources were targeting this new threat - not a relic such as a biological attacks.

Well, what better way did Ivins have to assure the government funding required was maintained (long enough for him to make retirement, perhaps?) than to target major media outlets and Capital Hill???

Sent by Ross, Philadelphia, PA | 2:37 PM | 8-7-2008

Either way the government appears to be negligent and inept. If Ivins was not the killer, the government's case falsely accuses him and is both irresponsible and the result of inept investigative methods. If on the other hand, Ivins was in fact the killer, how is it that mentally ill sociopaths are hired to work in high security biological weapons laboratories? Either way, it is another in a long series of black eyes for this government.

Sent by Mary Karen Wirein | 2:42 PM | 8-7-2008

The CDC is excellent at tracking a viruse back to the original source. It seems that the FBI is not trained in such methods. Why did the FBI not seek help from the CDC right away to help with tracking the anthrax virus.

Waiting 9 months after the fact to begin an investigation appears to be curious. Is there something to be gained in keeping the American people in fear for their lives and on the edge. Let us not forget that real people died while the FBI sat back and watched. If a serial killing was going around killing Americans, should the police sit back and wait for 9 months before they start tracking him/her down?
Thank for the discussion and the facts surrounding the case.

Sent by Beth Anne | 2:53 PM | 8-7-2008

It is understandable that the American public is so in the dark about the real investigative world, given the current television representations of same, but to have a congressman commenting on how important he is to the competent handling of this matter is absurd. Hopefully,everyone understands how important and wonderful the congressman is.

Sent by m sage | 2:07 AM | 8-8-2008

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