CASE CLOSED … what really happened in the 2001 anthrax attacks?

Archive for June 23rd, 2011

* Dr. Annette Hanson writes in Clinical Psychiatry News (6/21/11) … use of the psychological profile prepared by Dr. Saathoff’s EBAP to infer that Dr. Ivins was the anthrax mailer is problematic

Posted by DXer on June 23, 2011


Dr. Gregory Saathoff ... chair of the EBAP panel which issued the report concluding that Dr. Ivins was the anthrax mailer


 Dr. Annette Hanson writes in Clinical Psychiatry News (6/21/11) …

use of the psychological profile prepared by EBAP

to infer Ivins’s guilt is problematic

  • In March, a panel chaired by Dr. Gregory Saathoff, commonly known as the expert behavioral analysis panel (EBAP), released a report containing a summary and analysis of the investigation of Dr. Bruce Ivins, the suspected anthrax mailer.
  • The panel was convened at the request of the Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court, Royce C. Lamberth.
  • The full report containing Dr. Ivins’s previously confidential and sealed medical information is being sold online by the Research Strategies Network, a non-profit organization that consults to the Department of Defense and whose president is Dr. Saathoff.

After reading the redacted executive summary,

I felt compelled to review the work of the panel in light of standards

set forth in the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law’s

Ethical Guidelines for the Practice of Forensic Psychiatry.

  • Although the panel undertook the investigation with “no predispositions with regard to [Dr. Ivins’s] guilt or innocence and in fact without a focus on that issue,” it nevertheless concluded that Dr. Ivins was the anthrax mailer.
  • Dr. Ivins’s guilt has never been established in a court of law since he committed suicide in August 2008 and was never charged with the deaths of the five anthrax victims.
  • This pronouncement of guilt is not consistent with the ethics and traditional practice of forensic psychiatry.
  • The use of a psychological profile to infer guilt is particularly problematic, since this evidence is not admissible in most jurisdictions.
  • From an ethical standpoint, the sale of the panel report is particularly problematic.

Annette Hanson, M.D. …  is a forensic psychiatrist and co-author of Shrink Rap: Three Psychiatrists Explain Their Work. She is director of the University of Maryland forensic psychiatry fellowship where she teaches about many aspects of civil and criminal law including insanity, competence to stand trial, assessment of dangerousness, malpractice and child custody evaluations. She has evaluated and treated hundreds of mentally ill criminal defendants and has testified in murder trials involving the insanity defense. She has sixteen years of experience treating prisoners in a maximum-security setting. She lives and works in Baltimore, Maryland where she co-hosts the Shrink Rap blog ( and the My Three Shrinks podcast (


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