The New York Times says the FBI’s anthrax case has “too many loose ends.” Find out where some of those looses ends might have originated in my novel CASE CLOSED. Sure it’s fiction, but many readers, including a highly respected member of the U.S. Intelligence Community, think my premise is actually “quite plausible.”
see related post …
* Questions arising from a reading of the Summary of the FBI Investigation of Dr. Bruce E. Ivins
Anonymous Scientist offers this summary …
It has been two weeks since the FBI announced the official closing of Amerithrax, its 8+ year investigation into the 2001 Anthrax Atttacks – eighteen months after the “suicide” of their prime suspect.
- Even the FBI’s head office wasn’t particularly proud of its anthrax detectives. It released the report suddenly with no fanfare, no press opportunities in the deadest of news dead zones–Friday afternoon at 4, the same day as Tiger Wood’s mea culpa. It was no contest.
- The media spent one breathless day on it and then it was over, we had closure. The biggest FBI investigation in history ended with a whimper and it wasn’t even on the mop-up segments of cable news debating parlors. The only real traction the story got was in the low precincts where Ivins’ off-hour interests in bondage, blind-folded women and sororities titillated.
While mainstream reaction was muted, a hearty band of skeptics came out swinging: They say the case against Dr. Ivins, which never has to be proven in court, screams reasonable doubt.
- There is no incriminating physical evidence.
- Ivins had even passed his polygraph.
- Narrative inconsistencies.
- Hearsay quotes.
- Scientific implausibility.
- Selective prosecution based on circumstantial evidence requiring an X-Files like leap of faith into Mulder and Scully-land.
Paul Kemp, Ivins’ former lawyer, thundered:”There’s absolutely no evidence he did anything…”
Rep. Rush D. Holt, a Democrat from central New Jersey, grumbled: “This has been a closed-minded, closed process from the beginning. Arbitrarily closing the case on a Friday afternoon should not mean the end of this investigation… The evidence the FBI produced would not, I think, stand up in court. But because their prime suspect is dead, and they’re not going to court; they seem satisfied with barely a circumstantial case. The National Academies of Science review of the FBI’s scientific methods in this case won’t be released until summer, but the FBI doesn’t seem to care.”
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D–NY) echoed Holt’s skepticism and called for a probe of the FBI’s casework.
But the cagey Sen. Patrick Leahy, one of the targets of the attacks and a critic of the FBI’s performance, held his fire. The Senator who’s told FBI Director Mueller directly that there was conspiracy and cover-up at the core of the anthrax murders had no comment and refused interviews on the topic. What’s up with that?
The best detailed blog-response came from Dr. Merryl Nass, named in the report as an activist critic who drove Ivins nuts while he was working on a controversial anthrax vaccine for the Army with the private company BioPort.
Forensically, the FBI was taken to task for sidestepping the crucial issue of ‘weaponization” of the attack powder, ignoring Army data and the FBI’s own admission of high levels of the additive silicon—a story we broke on this blog last July.
This failure to grapple with the hard science was picked up by Richard Bernstein in the New York Times and International Herald Tribune which followed veteran investigative reporter and author Edward Jay Epstein’s much discussed piece in the Wall Street Journal a few weeks prior to the closing of the case.
Bottom line, the FBI report did nothing to mollify leading mainstream opinion recently outlined by Salon’s Glenn Greenwald:
“The case against Ivins is so riddled with logical and evidentiary holes that it has generated extreme doubts not merely from typical government skeptics but from the most mainstream establishment-revering, and ideologically disparate sources. ”