Is it possible that Director Mueller, an intelligent man, doesn't know the FBI has failed to make its case against Dr. Ivins? And what does it mean if he knows but won't admit it?
NYT Editorial (10/17/11) …
- There was a strong sense of relief when the federal government concluded that a lone psychologically troubled government scientist mailed anthrax-laced letters in 2001, killing five people and terrorizing the nation.
- Now its evidence is looking increasingly shaky. There needs to be a new independent evaluation of the findings.
- Independent inquiries this year have raised questions both about the genetic analyses that traced the anthrax to Dr. Ivins’s laboratory and a web of circumstantial evidence.
- The government’s scientific case has been weakening for months.
- In February, the National Academy of Sciences warned that the genetic analysis “did not definitively demonstrate” that the mailed anthrax was derived from spores grown in Dr. Ivins’s laboratory.
- Last week, The Times reported that one of the leading anthrax authorities and two colleagues believe that distinctive chemicals in the mailed anthrax suggest it was produced by sophisticated manufacturing, which the scientists deemed far beyond Dr. Ivins’s capabilities.
- As for the circumstantial evidence, an investigation by PBS Frontline, assisted by ProPublica and the McClatchy newspapers, cast doubt on two elements that prosecutors had declared important.
- A contention that Dr. Ivins worked extraordinarily long hours alone at night in his laboratory just before the mailings looked less suspicious after the journalists found that he regularly worked late hours in other labs and offices.
- And a contention that Dr. Ivins tried to mislead investigators by submitting an anthrax sample free of genetic markers looked questionable after the journalists found that he had submitted other samples that contained the markers.
- Federal investigators insist that there is a vast amount of evidence supporting their conclusion of Dr. Ivins’s guilt.
- The Government Accountability Office needs to dig deeply into classified materials to judge how well the evidence holds up.
- Otherwise, Congress ought to commission an independent assessment to be sure there are no culprits still at large.
LMW COMMENT …
The Times is right that the FBI’s pathetic case against Dr. Ivins is beginning to publicly unravel, both as to the science and the circumstantial evidence.
What the Times does not say is that this case has always been perceived as weak to non-existent by those who refused to simply take the FBI’s assertions at face value.
What also needs to be said is that the FBI has purposely stonewalled all efforts to get at the facts, failing to answer Congress’s questions, withholding key documents (still!) despite FOIA laws which call for their release, and blatantly misrepresenting the evidence they have made public.
It seems increasingly clear that the FBI, desperate for a conviction after millions spent on its 7 year investigation, drove an innocent man to suicide.
For these failures, FBI Director Mueller
must be called on the carpet and held accountable.
I have been furious about the FBI’s behavior ever since watching the August 2008 press conference where they asserted, with no physical evidence, no witnesses, and (it turns out) no science, that Bruce Ivins was the sole perpetrator of the anthrax attacks. It was clear to me the FBI had not even proven that Ivins was involved, let alone that he was the sole perpetrator.
It seemed to me then, and still seems so today, that there are only 3 possible “actual” scenarios …
- The FBI has more evidence against Dr. Ivins but is, for some undisclosed reason, withholding that evidence … POSSIBLE BUT NOT SO LIKELY
- The FBI, despite the most expensive and extensive investigation in its history, has not solved the case and has no idea who prepared and mailed the anthrax letters that killed 5 Americans in 2001 … EVEN LESS LIKELY
- The FBI knows who did it (not Dr. Ivins) but is covering up the actual perpetrators, for undisclosed reasons …THE MOST LIKELY SCENARIO
Being a novelist, I wrote a novel, presenting what I (and others, including a respected representative of the U.S. Intelligence Community) thought was a plausible scenario of what might have happened. My novel CASE CLOSED has been published and is available in paperback and kindle formats on amazon.
Here is the first scene from CASE CLOSED (written in 2008),
where I have the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)
begin a re-do of the FBI’s failed investigation … something that now even the NYT is calling for
this is the opening scene of Lew Weinstein's novel CASE CLOSED