Catherine Herridge writes for Fox News (10/18/11) …
- Ten years after a mail-borne anthrax attack killed five in the worst bio-terror attack on U.S. soil, there are new questions about the strength of the FBI’s case against the only suspect, as a leading expert on bio-terror attacks warned that budget deficits are likely to hinder the nation’s ability to respond in the future.
Sen. Susan Collins, the Senate Homeland Security Committee ‘s
ranking Republican, said the new head of al Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri,
had the right background to wage a biological attack in the coming years.
- Al-Zawahiri “has a medical background that raises concerns that he may have an even greater interest in pursuing chemical and biological terrorism,” Collins told the witnesses.
- In 2008, Army scientist Bruce Ivins was identified by the FBI as the lead and only suspect in their investigation.
- More recently, court filings have cast more doubt on the strength of the FBI’s case against Ivins, when it was shown his lab did not have the equipment needed to make the anthrax powder.
- Nor was Ivins the only army scientist with access to the source of anthrax believed to be a flask at Fort Detrick in Maryland.
- Rep. Rush Holt saw the FBI investigation up close because the letters were mailed from his New Jersey district.
- In a recent opinion piece published in the Asbury Park Press, Holt said the bureau’s investigation did not inspire confidence …
“As FBI Director Robert Mueller ultimately acknowledged to me,
the case against Ivins was almost entirely circumstantial.
The FBI has said it does not have any direct, physical evidence
tying Ivins to the attack.”
- Rep. Holt wants a special committee to investigate whether the U.S. is better prepared to handle similar bio-attacks in the future and why the FBI seemed to pursue the wrong leads in the anthrax case for so long — including scientist Steven Hatfill, who earned a $5.8 million settlement because the feds publicly identified him as a person of interest.
- National Correspondent Catherine Herridge’s bestselling book “The Next Wave: On the Hunt for al Qaeda’s American Recruits” was published by Crown on June 21st. It draws on her reporting for Fox News into al-Awlaki and his new generation of recruits – al Qaeda 2.0. It is the first book to fully investigate al-Awlaki, an American citizen, who was killed by a CIA-led operation in Yemenlast month.