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

* Congressman Rush Holt: The FBI repeatedly bungled the anthrax investigation … I have introduced legislation that would create a special committee to investigate the anthrax attacks

Posted by DXer on September 18, 2011


Congressman Holt has been relentless in his attempts to get FBI Director Mueller to answer for the FBI's bungling of the anthrax case ... Holt needs the help of other Congressmen to get at the truth which Mueller clearly wants to remain hidden


Congressman Rush Holt – D,NJ – writes (9/16/11) …

  • I (have long been) concerned about the processes and professionalism of government investigators.

The FBI’s practices for taking evidence, I saw, were sloppy and even illogical.

  • One of the FBI’s first steps, for instance, should have been to examine immediately all of the mailboxes that fed into the Trenton mail facility where the letters were known to have been processed.
    • Yet nine months passed before the FBI swabbed public mailboxes and identified a contaminated public mailbox on Nassau Street in Princeton as the apparent source of the letter.
    • Only then did the FBI begin asking passers-by whether they remembered anything unusual happening at that box the previous fall.
  • For years, the FBI investigation focused myopically on Steven Hatfill, a bioweapons expert, even after it became clear that Hatfill lacked access to the strain of anthrax used in the attacks. Hatfill later sued the Department of Justice, and he settled for $5.8 million.

The FBI’s bungling of the case squandered five years of investigative time

while the real culprit or culprits remained at large.

  • Finally, after the better part of a decade of false leads and vague public statements, the FBI announced in August 2008 that it had identified a suspect: Dr. Bruce Ivins, a vaccine specialist who worked at Fort Detrick and who days earlier had committed suicide.

As FBI Director Robert Mueller ultimately acknowledged to me,

the case against Ivins was almost entirely circumstantial.

  • On the basis of this (circumstantial) evidence, the FBI declared that Ivins was the culprit, that he had acted alone and that the investigation into the anthrax attacks was considered closed.

Yet the FBI has said that it does not have

any direct, physical evidence tying Ivins to the attack.

  • Further investigations, including a report from the National Research Council, have cast questions on whether the FBI conclusively demonstrated that the anthrax used in the attack originated in Ivins’ lab.
    • Indeed, as the NRC report noted, multiple individuals had access to the flask that allegedly contained the attack material.
    • And Ivins had no experience in making, nor the proper equipment to produce, the kind of refined, easily aerosolized spores that were used in the attacks.
  • In Congress, I have introduced legislation that would create a special committee, modeled after the 9/11 Commission, to investigate the anthrax attacks, including our pre-attack preparations, the incidents, the public health response, the forensic response and the subsequent improvements made.
  • Such an investigation would help us understand what really happened, why and whether America has grown better prepared to deter biological attacks.

I believe that many of America’s most dangerous overreactions,

particularly the invasion of Iraq, which Bush administration officials

at first tried to link to the anthrax attacks,

can be traced directly to the panic induced by the anthrax mailings.

  • Our sense that terrorists were everywhere, that even an action as innocent as opening the mail could be fatal, set the United States on a path that will haunt us for years.



The FBI has clearly failed to solve the anthrax case, and is just as clearly trying to stonewall any attempts to get to the truth. FBI Director Robert Mueller needs to be brought on the carpet to explain his management of this case and to tell the American people the truth about the anthrax attacks.


3 Responses to “* Congressman Rush Holt: The FBI repeatedly bungled the anthrax investigation … I have introduced legislation that would create a special committee to investigate the anthrax attacks”

  1. DXer said

    “The anthrax-laced envelopes were sent to Senator Chuck Grassley, and Representative Rush Holt, Jr.”


    “I spoke with Kelly Souders, one of the executive producers and showrunners for the series, about what she remembers from the event herself. She told me, “It was almost like a dream. It was so far receded and so vague and foggy that I just have the slightest recollection of hearing about anthrax in the news.”

    Comment: NG perhaps should have found a producer who knew about the investigation.

    pssst: Senator Grassley and Rep. Holt were never sent anthrax-laced envelopes. The recipients were Leahy and Daschle.

  2. DXer said

    The Trentonian in an article today says of Rep. Holt:

    “With a PhD in physics, he’s one of the few members of Congress with the background to follow the scientific intricacies investigators grappled with in analyzing and trying to track down the origin of anthrax samples.”

    “Crucial to preparedness, he believes, are two essential tasks that have never been undertaken since that first wave of letters out in the mail on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2001.

    1. Finding out more detail on how the attacks were carried out.

    2. Finding out exactly how investigators were led astray by what proved to be false leads.”

  3. DXer said

    A decade on, legacy of anthrax attacks lingers in Mercer County and beyond

    Published: Sunday, October 09, 2011, 7:30 AM

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