Documents Link Ivins to Anthrax Attacks
Documents released today by the government offer some strong circumstantial evidence linking Army scientist Bruce Ivins to the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people.
Army scientist Bruce Ivins had sole custody of highly purified anthrax spores with “certain genetic mutations identical” to the poison that killed five people and rattled the nation in 2001, according to documents unsealed Wednesday in the government’s investigation. Investigators also reported tracing the type of envelopes used to send deadly spores through the mails to the lab where Ivins worked.
The scientist, depicted in the newly released papers as deeply troubled, committed suicide last week as investigators were preparing to charge him with murder in the attacks.
The documents were released as theheld a private briefing for families of the victims of the episode, and officials said the agency was preparing to close the case. More than 200 pages of documents were made public by the FBI, virtually all of them describing the government’s attempts to link Ivins to crimes that his lawyer has said he did not commit. Senate Sergeant at Arms Terrance Gainer, who attended a briefing for congressional staff, said FBI agents had told the group there was no evidence that anyone else was involved.
According to one affidavit made public, Ivins submitted false anthrax samples to the FBI, was unable to give investigators “an adequate explanation for his late laboratory work hours around the time of” the attacks and sought to frame an unnamed co-worker. He was also said to have received immunizations against anthrax and yellow fever in early September 2001, several weeks before the first anthrax-laced envelope was received in the mail.
I’ve paid only scant attention to the case since reports of Ivins’ suicide Friday. There’s been quite a bit of conspiracy theorizing on this, especially on the Lefty blogs, notably Glenn Greenwald’s. My guess is that these documents — or, perhaps, any evidence — won’t dispel that talk. Given how little lay readers, myself certainly included, understand the science and forensics involved here, the topic virtually defies intelligent public discussion.