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  1. #1
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    Anthrax Attacks of 2001

    Anthrax Suspect Commits Suicide

    By LARA JAKES JORDAN and DAVID DISHNEAU

    WASHINGTON (Aug. 1) -- A top U.S. biodefense researcher whose brother said he was being aggressively pursued by the FBI for a series of anthrax-tainted letters that killed five people has apparently committed suicide.

    The Justice Department was about to file criminal charges against the scientist, Bruce E. Ivins, 62, a leading military anthrax researcher who worked for the past 18 years at the government's biodefense labs at Fort Detrick, Md., the Los Angeles Times reported in Friday editions. Ivins had been told of the impending prosecution, the paper said.


    Ivins died Tuesday at Frederick Memorial Hospital in Maryland. The Times, quoting an unidentified colleague, said the scientist had taken a massive dose of a prescription Tylenol mixed with codeine. A woman who answered the phone at Bruce Ivins' home in Frederick declined to comment.


    Only last month, the government exonerated another scientist at the Fort Detrick lab, Steven Hatfill, whose name for years had been associated with the post-9/11 attacks that traumatized the nation. Investigators had publicly named Hatfill a "person of interest" in 2002. The government paid Hatfill $5.82 million to settle a lawsuit contending he was falsely accused and had been made a scapegoat for the crimes.

    Investigators have been interviewing Ivins' family and co-workers since at least last year, and the pressure increased after Hatfill's name was cleared. Justice Department officials declined to comment.

    "We are not at this time making any official statements or comments regarding this situation," said Debbie Weierman, a spokeswoman for the FBI's Washington field office, which is investigating the anthrax attacks, said Friday.

    Tom Ivins, a brother of the scientist, told The Associated Press that his other brother, Charles, had told him that Bruce committed suicide and Tylenol might have been involved.

    Tom Ivins said Friday that federal officials working on the anthrax case questioned him about his brother a year and a half ago. "They said they were investigating him," he said from Ohio, where he lives, in a CNN interview.
    But he never talked to his brother about it: "I stay away from him," Tom Ivins said.

    A woman who answered the phone at the home of the third brother, Charles Ivins, in Etowah, N.C., refused to wake him and declined to comment on his brother's death. "This is a grieving time," she said.

    Henry S. Heine, a scientist who had worked with Ivins on inhalation anthrax research at Fort Detrick, said he and others on their team have testified before a federal grand jury in Washington that has been investigating the anthrax mailings for more than a year. He declined to comment on Ivins' death.

    The Fort Detrick laboratory and its specialized scientists for years have been at the center of the FBI's investigation of the anthrax mailings, which killed five people, shut down a Senate office building and postal center for months, and compounded Americans' sense of vulnerability to terrorism.

    An aide to Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who received one of the anthrax-tainted letters, said Friday that Leahy had not yet been briefed on the developments. Leahy, as Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, has the FBI under congressional oversight.

    Unusual behavior by Ivins was noted at Fort Detrick in the six months following the anthrax mailings, when he conducted unauthorized testing for anthrax spores outside containment areas at the infectious disease research unit where he worked, according to an internal report. But the focus long stayed on Hatfill.

    Dr. W. Russell Byrne, a physician who worked with Ivins in the bacteriology division of the Fort Detrick research facility for 15 years, said he does not believe Ivins was behind the anthrax attacks.

    Byrne of Frederick said he believes that Ivins was "hounded" by aggressive FBI agents who raided his home twice. He said Ivins was forcefully removed from his job by local police recently because of fears that he had become a danger to himself or others. The investigation led to Ivins being hospitalized for depression earlier this month, Byrne said.

    He described Ivins as "eccentric," but not dangerous.

    "If he was about to be charged, no one who knew him well was aware of that, and I don't believe it," said Byrne, who attended the same Catholic church as Ivins, who played the keyboards and led the church's musical program.

    Norman Covert, a retired Fort Detrick spokesman who served with Ivins on an animal-care and protocol committee, said Ivins was "a very intent guy" at their meetings.

    Ivins was the co-author of numerous anthrax studies, including one on a treatment for inhalation anthrax published in the July 7 issue of the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

    The Times said federal investigators moved away from Hatfill and concluded Ivins was the culprit after FBI Director Robert Mueller changed leadership of the investigation in 2006. The new investigators instructed agents to re-examine leads and reconsider potential suspects. In the meantime, investigators made progress in analyzing anthrax powder recovered from letters addressed to two Leahy and Sen. Thomas Daschle, D-S.D., according to the report.

    Besides the five deaths, 17 people were sickened by anthrax that was mailed to lawmakers on Capitol Hill and members of the news media in New York and Florida. The victims included postal workers and others who came into contact with the anthrax.

    In the six months following the anthrax mailings, Ivins conducted unauthorized testing for anthrax spores outside containment areas at USAMRIID the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick and found some, according to an internal report by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, which oversees the lab.

    In December 2001, after conducting tests triggered by a technician's fears that she had been exposed, Ivins found evidence of anthrax and decontaminated the woman's desk, computer, keypad and monitor, but didn't notify his superiors, according to the report.

    The report says Ivins performed more unauthorized sampling on April 15, 2002, and found anthrax spores in his office, in a passbox used for moving materials in and out of labs, and in a room where male workers changed from civilian clothing into laboratory garb.

    Ivins told Army investigators he conducted unauthorized tests because he was worried that the powdered anthrax in letters that had been sent to USAMRIID for analysis might not have been adequately contained.

    In January 2002, the FBI doubled the reward for helping solve the case to $2.5 million, and by June officials said the agency was scrutinizing 20 to 30 scientists who might have had the knowledge and opportunity to send the anthrax letters.

    After the government's settlement with Hatfill was announced in late June, Ivins started showing signs of strain, the Times said.

    Ivins was one of the nation's leading biodefense researchers.

    In 2003, Ivins and two of his colleagues at the USAMRIID received the highest honor given to Defense Department civilian employees for helping solve technical problems in the manufacture of anthrax vaccine.

    In 1997, U.S. military personnel began receiving the vaccine to protect against a possible biological attack. Within months, a number of vaccine lots failed a potency test required by federal regulators, causing a shortage of vaccine and eventually halting the immunization program. The USAMRIID team's work led to the reapproval of the vaccine for human use.

    The Times said Ivins was the son of a Princeton-educated pharmacist who was born and raised in Lebanon, Ohio. He received undergraduate and graduate degrees, including a Ph.D. in microbiology, from the University of Cincinnati.

    He and his wife, Diane, owned a small white home just outside the main gate to Fort Detrick, about two blocks from an apartment where Hatfill once lived.

  2. #2
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    Very interesting turn of events in this case. Hatfil seemd like a pretty good suspect (he "fit the profile" and there was at least one interesting references in the letters that had links to Hatfil) but they couldn't find any physical evidence. Its possible that the initial investigation stopped at Hatfil. There is a very good web site about the case( http://www.anthraxinvestigation.com/) that supports the "Hatfil is innocent" theme but offers no links to Ivins. I wonder if Ivins knew Hatfil and attempted to "frame" him with the letter. If he did, it was very subtle. Perhaps it will all come out now.

  3. #3
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    Kemo --- great link. Excellent and reputable resources there!


    I've got some concerns about what has happened here.

    Dr. Ivins was reportedly (subjective, by his lawyer) cooperating with the FBI.

    The FBI was stressing him for a year, parking a car with tinted windows outside his house throughout that year and raiding his house twice.

    He was seen by all as sociable, eccentric (liked juggling, even juggling lying down at work, apparently), was active in church and the community (I know, I know, the BTK was too).

    The "therapist" who saw him for 6 months in group and individual counseling was, in a court document, unable to spell the word "therapist", and struggled with the word "psychiatrist". She was not a LICSW and just had a Bachelor's degree (not a bad accomplishment, for sure, but not the best background for a social worker), some other training, an exam, and was required to be supervised --- i.e., she couldn't start her own practice. It appears her focus was on alcohol and substance abuse. I'm not sure she was qualified to deal with someone with the problems SHE said she was told he had by 2 eminent psychiatrists. I looked one of them up and he had a good education.... I don't know. I feel her interactions with the FBI throughout the period she was seeing Dr. Ivins might have effected her judgment. Although, once again, I'm not sure she was qualified to make or support any diagnosis.

    Also, I'm not sure Dr. Ivins had access to anthrax in the cake or powdered form, or the enhanced powdered form used in the October attack. Where he works is said to just have liquid anthrax. Co-workers, past and current, have denied that he had the experience to manufacture the form of anthrax used in the attacks.

    This is just the beginning of determining what has happened and I hope our government doesn't try to end this investigation prematurely. There's a lot to explore. The report that he killed himself using Tylenol with codeine seemed like something many people would do under constant pressure and observation by the FBI. There's no way to defend yourself with a team of lawyers, and if you could it would bankrupt you and cause endless additional stress! They humiliated this award-winning scientist by removing him from his place of work to commit him after the social worker called his lawyers and the police to say he was being threatening. That's probably what was required. But he was mortified and dishonored. I don't think we know enough yet.. Hope you guys keep this topic going!
    Last edited by GoodAim; 08-03-2008 at 02:43 PM. Reason: 2 typos

  4. #4
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    Ivins doesn't strike me as a likely suspect but his suicide is convenient to the FBI who no doubt would like nothing more than to get Leahy off their back. Personally I think we're looking for a Unabomber type of personality: a highly educated scientist with severe social impairments, not a depressed juggler/church organist.

  5. #5
    FREDERICK, Md. — The therapist for Bruce E. Ivins told a judge that as far back as 2000, the microbiologist now suspected in the 2001 anthrax attacks had attempted to poison people and that she was "scared to death" of him, according to an audiotape of the session that emerged Saturday.

    Social worker Jean Duley testified at a hearing in Frederick on July 24 in a successful bid for a protective order from Ivins. The New York Times obtained a recording of the hearing and posted it on its Web site Saturday.


    more at link below...

    http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs....WS08/808030399

  6. #6
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    An old story...

    Quote Originally Posted by close_enough View Post
    FREDERICK, Md. The therapist for Bruce E. Ivins told a judge that as far back as 2000, the microbiologist now suspected in the 2001 anthrax attacks had attempted to poison people and that she was "scared to death" of him...
    but didn't think it important enough to mention.

  7. #7
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    I spoke yesterday to a friend of mine who worked closely with Ivins during this time period. He stated that Ivins was an "odd duck" who resented the protocol required for animal and human testing of the anthrax vaccine - Ivins thought that he should have free reign in doing whatever testing that he felt necessary. My friend confirmed the possibility that Ivins had used the attacks to create an atmosphere of panic which would then make Ivins' work top priority and not subject to the usual limitations.

    My friend also told of how Ivins (as part of the initial investigative team)had "found" anthrax cultures in non-secure areas belonging to his co-workers (including my friend). He speculates that there may not actually have been contamination, but that Ivins was attempting to direct blame toward his coworkers in an effort divert attention from himself.
    Order the book "Searching For Anna" directly from [URL="http://www.lulu.com/conte

  8. #8
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    Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com (http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwa...08/04/anthrax/) has a very interesting seris of articles on the "anthrax attack". It seems the therapist, Jean Duley, had some issues of her own (including two recent DWI's), yet her statements that he was making "scarey threats" are the only real "evidence" against Ivins that has been make public. For whatever it is worth, his co-workers seem to belive he is innocent.

    In California, A Therapist is required to maintain absolute paitient confidentiality UNLESS threats are involved. In that case, law enforcement must be notified IMMEDIATLY. Does anyone know the Law in Maryland?

    More may come out and Ivins may very well be the perp, but I think we, the public, must remain skeptical until we have all the answers.

  9. #9
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    My friend stated that there were four people at the lab who were considered persons of interest because of access - Hatfill, Ivins and two others (My friend was questioned and polygraphed, then dismissed as a POI). He stated that Hatfill was probably not a good enough researcher to have pulled it off. One of the others was of middle-eastern descent and made frequent trips to Egypt. But out of all of the possible perps, my friend says that Ivins was the only one that he saw had opportunity and motive.
    Order the book "Searching For Anna" directly from [URL="http://www.lulu.com/conte

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kemo View Post
    Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com (http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwa...08/04/anthrax/) has a very interesting seris of articles on the "anthrax attack". It seems the therapist, Jean Duley, had some issues of her own (including two recent DWI's), yet her statements that he was making "scarey threats" are the only real "evidence" against Ivins that has been make public. For whatever it is worth, his co-workers seem to belive he is innocent.

    In California, A Therapist is required to maintain absolute paitient confidentiality UNLESS threats are involved. In that case, law enforcement must be notified IMMEDIATLY. Does anyone know the Law in Maryland?

    More may come out and Ivins may very well be the perp, but I think we, the public, must remain skeptical until we have all the answers.


    Especially since they went after Hatfill first and for so long. It makes you wonder if they are not just guessing.


  11. #11

  12. #12
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    Three days after the first Anthrax letter was mailed (but before any illnesses were reported) an unsigned letter was sent to the FBI warning that Dr Ayaad Assaad was likley to unleash a biological weopen. The letter was clealy written by someone with inside information on Fort Detrick, the Army's center for biodefense. Dr Ayaad Assaad was subsequentally cleared. This would suggest the Anthrax mailings were done by someone from inside Detrick.

    One of the Anthrax letters had a return address of the "Greendale School". The only Greendale school the FBI could locate was in the formeer Souhern Rhodesia where Steven Hatfil lived in the 1970's. I can't believe this was a coincidence. If it wasn't a "mistake" on Hatfils part, then it was a subtil frame. Apparently the FBI has cleared Hatfil. The mailer must have known quite a bit about Hatfil.

    From what I have been reading, the DNA match was EXACT only for the Anthrax strain that Ivins had access to. Only an expert in the field would know if this is valid. Apparently only about 10 people had access to this. They did not include Hatfil or Assaad. It was apparently common knowledge that the source of Anthrax could be identified by DNA. It is strange that Ivins would use a source that could be traced right back to him, yet this did not appear to cause any suspicion during the early ivestigation when Hatfil was the prime suspect. Possibly lax security existed at the lab and the FBI assumed that it was not unreasonable that someone without access managed to get hold of some. A second example of "evidence" against Ivins is that he "cleaned up" some alledged Anthrax that he concealed from his superiors againsts regulation. This again, aroused no suspition in 2002, when it came to light.

    The supposive motive is that Ivins wanted to test a vaccine in a real life situation, Yet the vaccine was never used during the peiod of the mailings. From what I can tell. there was very little for Ivins to gain. True, it would increase the importance of all anthrax research.

    From what I can tell. there is a lot more that needs to come out before there can be any resolution. See http://anthraxvaccine.blogspot.com/ for additional info.

  13. #13
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    Documents are released! Warrants, interviews, etc.

    http://www.usdoj.gov/amerithrax/

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    More to the story...

    There is very likely much more to the story than the FBI is telling. So many questions which probably will not be answered truthfully.

    Who actually turned this Irvins guy in? Or what non-FBI person or agency cracked the case? I do not believe that the FBI - all of a sudden - figured out that he was their guy after seven years of scratching their heads.

    Why did he know that arrest by the FBI was so close? - If suicide was his alternative to arrest.

    If he was the Antrax terrorist, why did he suddenly stop sending it out. Or did he stop?

    Lots of questions.

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    8 years since the attatcks...

    Bumping case up. It has been 8 years since the attacks.

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