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Anthrax Case Solved?

The BBC reports US anthrax ‘suspect’ found dead

A top US scientist suspected of anthrax attacks in 2001 has apparently killed himself just as he was about to be charged, a newspaper reported.

The Los Angeles Times said Bruce Ivins, 62, had taken an overdose of painkillers. It said he had recently been told of the impending prosecution.

The FBI focused more on Dr Ivins after the leadership of the investigation was changed in 2006.

Another scientist at the Fort Detrick laboratory, Dr Steven Hatfill, who had been named a “person of interest” in the case in 2002, was exonerated of any involvement.

He sued the justice department, saying it had violated his privacy rights by speaking to reporters about the case.

In June, the US department paid Dr Hatfill $5.82m (£2.94m) to settle the lawsuit.

In 2003, Dr Ivins was awarded the highest honour for defence department civilian staff for his anthrax vaccine work.

Here is Dr. Ivins’s impressive biomed experts profile and the last patent he applied for in 2006.

Very accomplished individual, top man in his field, which why the bloody FBI should have seen major red flags in the December 2001 contamination incident reported in USA Today and the Frederick News Post time line on Fort Detrick’s 2002 anthrax breach.

Dr. Ivins did not act professionally or competently in either incident. He was not acting like a seasoned scientist who worked with things that can cause an epidemic. Death was literally in the air with some of the anthrax spores used in the attacks and Dr. Ivins was running around with his Swifter and a bottle of Clorox doing a spot of cleaning.

Thanks to the totally botched investigation by the FBI vis-à-vis Dr. Hatfill, we can never be sure, but there were major questions that should have been answered a long time ago by Dr. Ivins, and now we will never know.

8 comments

1 cookie jill { 08.01.08 at 12:37 pm }

Suicide….now….how “convenient”….

2 Bryan { 08.01.08 at 12:40 pm }

Almost predictable if you are a fan of stainless steel colanders, which are becoming more popular.

3 Kryten42 { 08.01.08 at 6:28 pm }

Curious that the Belgians were the popular choice for sudden *suicides* in fiction… I suspect that batten has passed. 😉

Also interesting that some of those crazy lefty blogs suspected Dr. Ivins was involved *way back when*.

I suspect that over the next few months before the election, there may be a spate of fatal accidents and sudden suicides.

And I have a nice new shiny stainless-steel colander too. LOL

4 Bryan { 08.01.08 at 8:16 pm }

Actually, I will be doing an update, as it turns out the guy was crackers and should have had his clearance pulled years ago.

5 Kryten42 { 08.01.08 at 10:49 pm }

I’m sure he was a nut, and I know that was reported years ago. Doesn’t mean his death is any less suspicious. Given the current administration, I am also sure there are many certifiable nutters in places they shouldn’t be. You can start at the top and work down.

6 Bryan { 08.01.08 at 11:26 pm }

I don’t think that the FBI threat would have driven to suicide, but he was facing possible commitment to a mental institution and mandatory retirement regardless. From what I’m reading his job was his life and you can’t do anthrax research outside of a secure government lab.

I’m getting the feeling that he wanted more emphasis on his area of research and his motive was to display the power of his “pet” disease to get the funding he wanted.

After reading the open source reports of the 2001 and 2002 contamination incidents I don’t understand why he wasn’t the prime suspect from the summer of 2002 forward.

His neighbors say he was a wonderful man, but he didn’t seem to get along with his brothers at all, and the people he worked with said he seemed stuck in grad school mode. I realize that research scientists are not exactly normal people, for a given value of normal, and he may have been more intelligent than most of them, but alarm bells should have gone off.

We will never know, but I take comfort in the fact that I don’t believe these people are competent enough to stage a realistic suicide like the KGB could.

7 LadyMin { 08.01.08 at 11:47 pm }

I’m still wondering what took so long to figure out who done it. There had to be a limited number of people with access to military grade anthrax.

And now conveniently the guy offs himself. I don’t know… it’s suspicious to me.

8 Bryan { 08.02.08 at 1:25 am }

That is a major question, why he wasn’t thoroughly investigated much earlier. It took me a few minutes on Google to locate all of the newspaper descriptions of his odd behavior.

In the 2002 incident it should have been obvious that he seemed to uncannily know where to look for contamination. That would have been time for a polygraph in every other secure organization in the US.

I don’t think you can but together a strong case this late in the process, too many records would have been dumped. In 2002 and 2003 it would have been possible to trace credit card receipts and possible trips to New Jersey, but this is too late in the game.

The guy may have been crazy, but he wasn’t stupid. You would need to work on his ego to get him to reveal anything useful, but you need to do it early.

The whole thing has been one screw up after another.