Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Serious Doubt Cast on FBI's Anthrax Case Against Bruce Ivins

"It is hard to overstate the political significance of the anthrax attacks. For reasons I've described at length, that event played at least as much of a role as the 9/11 attacks in elevating the Terrorism fear levels which, through today, sustain endless wars, massive defense and homeland security budgets, and relentless civil liberties erosions."

"Yesterday, Rep. Holt re-introduced his legislation to create a 9/11-style Commission, complete with subpoena power, with a mandate to review the entire matter. "


For years, the FBI believed that it had identified the perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax attacks -- former Army researcher Steven Hatfill -- only to be forced to acknowledge that he wasn't involved and then pay him $5.8 million for the damage he suffered from those false accusations. In late July, 2008, the FBI announced that, this time, it had identified the Real Perpetrator: Army researcher Bruce Ivins, who had just committed suicide as a result of being subjected to an intense FBI investigation. Ivins' death meant that the FBI's allegations would never be tested in a court of law.

From the start, it was obvious that the FBI's case against Ivins was barely more persuasive than its case against Hatfill had been. The allegations were entirely circumstantial; there was no direct evidence tying Ivins to the mailings; and there were huge, glaring holes in both the FBI's evidentiary and scientific claims. So dubious was the FBI's case that even the nation's most establishment media organs, which instinctively trust federal law enforcement agencies, expressed serious doubts and called for an independent investigation (that included, among many others, the editorial pages ofThe Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal). Mainstream scientific sources were equally skeptical; Nature called for an independent investigation and declared in its editorial headline: "Case Not Closed," while Dr. Alan Pearson, Director of the Biological and Chemical Weapons Control Program at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation -- representative of numerous experts in the field -- expressed many scientific doubts and also demanded a full independent investigation. I devoted much time to documenting just some of the serious flaws in the FBI's evidentiary claims, as well as the use of anonymous FBI leaks to unquestioning reporters to convince the public of their validity