What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been: FBI Closes Anthrax Case, Fingers Ivins

February 20, 2010

(ChattahBox)—The Justice Department, FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service formally brought the unsolved anthrax terrorism case to a close on Friday, leaving many questions unanswered. But federal authorities have no new leads in the case that began in 2001, soon after the deadly terrorist attacks on 9/11. And they believe that Army scientist Bruce Ivins, who took his own life in 2008, is the sole person responsible for the mailings of the deadly agent to U.S. lawmakers and news organizations that killed five people, including two postal workers, and sickened 17 others.

The FBI report concluded:

“Earlier today, representatives of the FBI and Justice Department provided a 92-page investigative summary along with attachments to victims of the attacks, relatives of the victims and appropriate committees of Congress. This document sets forth a summary of the evidence developed in the “Amerithrax” investigation, the largest investigation into a bio-weapons attack in U.S. history. As disclosed previously, the Amerithrax investigation found that the late Dr. Bruce Ivins acted alone in planning and executing these attacks.”

After closing the investigation, the FBI released 2,700 pages of new documents about the case, which offers information about the psychological problems of Bruce Ivins, whose scientific career was sinking before the anthrax mailings. But once the nation was thrown into an anthrax panic, his expertise as a senior researcher at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases was suddenly in demand. The FBI documents also detail Ivins’ strange fascination with the sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma, which went on for decades, and even led to a stalking incident.

The extensive report points out that the nearly decade-long investigation led to thousands of witness statements and hundreds of thousands of investigator work hours:

“The Amerithrax Task Force, which was comprised of roughly 25 to 30 full-time investigators from the FBI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and other law enforcement agencies, as well as federal prosecutors from the District of Columbia and the Justice Department’s Counterterrorism Section, expended hundreds of thousands of investigator work hours on this case. Their investigative efforts involved more than 10,000 witness interviews on six different continents, the execution of 80 searches and the recovery of more than 6,000 items of potential evidence during the course of the investigation. The case involved the issuance of more than 5,750 grand jury subpoenas and the collection of 5,730 environmental samples from 60 site locations.”

Despite the titillating information on Ivin’s mental state, his attorney Paul Kemp is not impressed with the FBI’s conclusion that Irvin is guilty, which he says is based on circumstantial evidence and the fact that the scientist was emotionally troubled.

Besides the exhaustive evidentiary documents, the FBI also released a 92-page summary of its conclusions.

See Firedoglake-Emptywheel for more.


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