One would think the FBI would have learned its lesson when it was fed misinformation to focus its investigation on "mad scientist" Steven Hatfill. The Greendale school connection indicated the source of the misinformation had Hatfill lined up as the patsy. But after Hatfill proved to be a tough nut to crack, the fallback plan was in need of another another fall guy. Drs. Perry Mikesell and Ayaad Assaad were earlier suspects and circumstantial evidence linked them to the case. In the Hunt for the October Anthrax "crazy doctor" the spooks found their sub-stitute: Bruce "Crazy" Ivins.
What's the misinformation the feds were fed this time? Lots, according to Meryl Nass:
-- FBI fails to provide any discussion of why no autopsy was performed, nor why, with Ivins under 24/7 surveillance from the house next door, with even his garbage being combed through, the FBI failed to notice that he overdosed and went into a coma. Nor is there any discussion of why the FBI didn't immediately identify tylenol as the overdose substance, and notify the hospital, so that a well-known antidote for tylenol toxicity could be given (N-acetyl cysteine, or alternatively glutathione). These omissions support the suggestion that Ivins' suicide was a convenience for the FBI. It enabled them to conclude the anthrax case, in the absence of evidence that would satisfy the courts.
-- The FBI's Summary states that "only a limited number of individuals ever had access to this specific spore preparation" and that the flask was under Ivins' sole and exclusive control. Yet the body of the report acknowledges hundreds of people who had access to the spores, and questions remain about the location of the spore prep during the period in question. FBI wordsmiths around this, claiming that no one at USAMRIID "legitimately" used spores from RMR1029 without the "authorization and knowledge" of Bruce Ivins. Of course, stealing spores to terrorize and kill is not a legitimate activity.
-- FBI claims that "drying
anthrax is expressly forbidden by various treaties," therefore it
would have to be performed clandestinely. Actually, the
-- The FBI report claims the
anthrax letters envelopes were sold in
--FBI emphasizes Ivins' access to a photocopy machine, but fails to mention it was not the machine from which the notes that accompanied the spores were printed
--FBI claims Ivins was able to make a spore prep of equivalent purity as the letter spores. However, Ivins had clumping in his spores, while the spores in the Daschle/Leahy letters had no clumps. Whether Ivins could make a pure dried prep is unknown, but there is no evidence he had ever done so
-- FBI asserts that Bioport and USAMRIID were nearly out of anthrax vaccine, to the point researchers might not have enough to vaccinate themselves. FBI further asserts this would end all anthrax research, derailing Ivins' career. In fact, USAMRIID has developed many dozens of vaccines (including those for anthrax) that were never licensed, but have been used by researchers to vaccinate themselves. There would be no vaccine shortage for researchers.
--Ivins certainly had mental problems. But that does not explain why the FBI accompanied Ivins' therapist, Ms. Duley (herself under charges for multiple DUIs) and assisted her to apply for a peace order against him. Nor does it explain why Duley then went into hiding, never to be heard from again
-- FBI obtained a voluntary collection of anthrax samples. Is that the way to conduct a multiple murder investigation: ask the scientists to supply you with the evidence to convict them? There is no report that spores were seized from anyone but Ivins, about 6 years after the attacks.
-- FBI claims it investigated
Bioport and others who had a financial motive for the letters attack, and
ruled them out. However, FBI provides not a shred of evidence from such an
According to the "Frederick Post" , Jeffrey Adamovicz, former chief of bacteriology who supervised Ivins' work at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases has his doubts as to Ivins' involvement:
"The evidence is still very circumstantial and unconvincing as a whole. I'm curious as to why they closed the case while the (National Academy of Science) review is still ongoing. Is it because the review is going unfavorable for the FBI?"A key issue relates to how the attack anthrax was prepared and how much time it would take to produce such highly refined spores.
"There is an assumption by the FBI that the spores could have only been prepared in the week before each mailing. This is a fatal error in logic. The only reason that I can derive why the FBI has proposed this is that it is the only period that helps provide circumstantial evidence against Bruce."
One such piece of evidence is a chart of Ivins' night hours in the lab, which spikes in September 2001. Gerry Andrews, another former chief of bacteriology at USAMRIID, said he "didn't think it was peculiar" to have a sudden increase in night hours and tried to stress to the FBI that the spike was irrelevant.
Ivins was in the middle of several projects in September 2001, some of which involved animals, so it made sense that he would forsake a conventional schedule and instead work when he could be most productive with those particular projects.
"The FBI, I think, is trying to give folks the wrong impression of the timeline" to make their case against Ivins more convincing, Andrews said.
Adamovicz agreed that focusing on Ivins' September 2001 hours was irrelevant, since the anthrax spores that were mailed out could have been made as early as 1997.
"The person would need to grow new spores from vegetative cells, concentrate them, purify them and dry them -- it's not physically possible" to do in the FBI's one-week timeline, Adamovicz said.
-- Andrews said it would take 25 to 50 weeks to create the attack anthrax spores if a scientist started with the samples in Ivins' lab.
"Bruce didn't have the skill to make spore preps of that concentration," which were two orders of magnitude more concentrated than the anthrax in Ivins' lab, Andrews said. "He never ever could make a spore prep like the ones found in the letters."
Another factor for the academy to look into is the genetic analysis that traced the attack anthrax to Ivins' anthrax. Andrews agreed with the FBI that the attack anthrax originated from Ivins' flask. But the FBI report states as many as 377 people had access to Ivins' lab, and samples of his RMR-1029 anthrax had been sent to 15 domestic and three international labs.
Adamovicz said no forensic evidence -- such as fingerprints or strands of hair -- was ever found that links Ivins to the letters.
Andrews said many of Ivins' motives, as outlined in the report, are based on false information. The final report states Ivins' project "had run its course at USAMRIID, leaving him potentially without anthrax research to do."
But Ivins was assured funding through 2005, Andrews said. The report also said that, because the anthrax research "was viewed as menial in nature and a waste of Dr. Ivins's considerable talents, there was a suggestion that he should begin work on Glanders research." Andrews said that was true, but those discussions didn't take place until late 2002, well after the anthrax attacks.In contrast to that stubborn Hatfill, Ivins was loving and caring, but like many brilliant people, was also "emotionally fragile in many ways."
"You pick on them enough, you bully them enough, you scare them enough -- and let's face it, the FBI can do that -- and they feel like they have nowhere to go". That was why Ivins killed himself in 2008, not because he was guilty and wanted to escape punishment. At this point, the government is just needing to see the case closed, and it's easier to accuse a dead man."
Ivins friends point out was an honest man and Ivins did pass an FBI polygraph. The FBI has not found any proof Ivins researched methods to fool the polygraphers.
They would like the case to be re-investigated but fear someone else might get railroaded and driven to suicide in another investigation.
But the BIG SECRET in the FBI final report was the "discovery" of a hidden message in one of the Anthrax letters. Some of the As and Ts "appear" to be bolded; the letters spell out the genetic code for three proteins, whose names could be abbreviated to PAT. Investigators said Ivins was obsessed with a co-worker named Pat.
After all the money spent, hours wasted and reputations ruined, the final misinformation about the Anthrax Mystery was fed to a gullible American media on the standard late Friday afternoon:
It was Ivins' PAT. See?