Talking Points Memo says that the FBI is closing the case about the Anthrax mailing and blaming Dr. Ivins for the attacks.
I’d mentioned earlier that I was skeptical about his guilt. I’m still a little skeptical.
Authorities said that in the days before the mailings, Ivins had logged unusual hours alone in his lab at the Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Md. They also say he threw investigators off his trail by supplying false leads as he ostensibly tried to help them find the killer.
As the FBI closed in on Ivins last summer, the 62-year-old microbiologist took a fatal overdose of Tylenol, dying on July 29, 2008. After Ivins’ suicide, FBI Director Robert Mueller said the investigation found Ivins was the culprit, and prosecutors said they were confident he acted alone.
I’ve been following the Dr. Ivins suicide and the FBI accusations against him for being the Anthrax killer. I’m pretty skeptical that the FBI got the right person.
First, it sounds like he just didn’t have the tools or specific knowledge to create the Anthrax letters. The accusations are only sound from the perspective of someone that doesn’t quite get the technology: he’s an expert in Anthrax Vaccines so obviously an expert in Anthrax and he knows so much more about it then nearly everyone in the world therefore he can make a weaponized version of Anthrax.
It’s rather like accusing me of writing a computer virus and because I know so much about programming and operating systems. Compared to the average person and from the average person’s perspective it make sense. But when you look at the virus, it was written in Java and I’m a C++/C#/Python person. Sure, I could learn Java but everyone around me would know I was learning Java.
Read this for a little more perspective:
Anthrax Vaccine — posts by Meryl Nass, M.D.: Did Ivins have the knowledge and access to produce weaponized, dry anthrax
It is unlikely that Ivins knew how to prepare weaponized anthrax, but not inconceivable.
However, the amount he would have had to process was larger than needed for his animal experiments. Each letter is thought to have contained 2-3 trillion spores. I can t recall his animals receiving more than about a million spores each. So roughly one million times as much anthrax was needed for the letters as for an animal experiment. Increasing the scale of fermentation should have been noticed. Drying anthrax would have been noticed, as there was no need to prepare any other anthrax specimens this way. Sudden use of a dryer for large samples would be suspicious. Post-drying processing for the letter anthrax likely took place; were the materials needed available to Ivins?
At the same time, I don’t think Ivin’s suicide is anything but a suicide. No conspiracy theory needed there. If the FBI had been hounding me for an extended period, telling my children I was mass murderer, and ready to indict me for murder, I’d be driven to despair and feeling pretty suicidal. What would you do?
I also don’t think there’s some Government conspiracy. The FBI agents in the investigation have just spent more money then any other investigation. Want to bet they are under a lot of pressure to conclude it? Have you ever been involved in a company’s most expensive project ever and there’s no sign of it being completed? Ever feel like cutting a few corners? Ever want to just get it over with?
Glenn Greenwald/a has a series of articles talking about it.
This is definitely a topic that deserves the best of your critical reading skills. You shouldn’t draw a conclusion (either way, including that he’s innocent) until long after all this evidence is reviewed.