Tuesday, August 5, 2008

FBI Apologizes--CBS News

See what power reporting has? It can solidify a tower of Bullshit, or cause it to collapse.

The bloggers deserve a lot of credit for transforming the Ivins reportage, via impressive investigations and and logical thinking. Their work may have turned this case from one of conviction by innuendo -- into one that will receive a fairer hearing, and has even elicited an apology by FBI for the pathetic and improper leaks over the past 5 days. TIME reporters Amanda Ripley and Massimo Calabresi deserve kudos for telling it like it is:
While the FBI waits to formally release its evidence against Bruce E. Ivins, the microbiologist it claims to have linked to the anthrax mailings seven years ago, who killed himself on July 29, the public is getting a sneak peek — by way of federal leaks to the media. The leaks are piling up almost too fast to keep track of. Some seem damning, others perplexing, but the pause is creating a strange void — in which leaks are followed by rebuttals from Ivins' colleagues and his attorney (who steadfastly denies that his client had any role in the attacks) and then followed by more leaks. The result leaves neither Ivins nor the FBI looking good.
And CBS has it right, based on the leaky information so far available:
It is unclear how the FBI eliminated as suspects others in the lab who had access to the anthrax. It's not clear what, if any, evidence bolsters the theory that the attacks may have been a twisted effort to test a cure for the toxin. Investigators also can't place Ivins in Princeton, New Jersey, when the letters were mailed from a mailbox there.
So, the FBI caved, at least for today:
FBI official John Miller said that "what we have seen over the past few days has been a mix of improper disclosures of partial information mixed with inaccurate information and then drawn into unfounded conclusions. None of that serves the victims, their families or the public."
I'm going to sleep better tonight. And look forward to reviewing the evidence tomorrow.

15 comments:

George Washington said...

Dr. Nass,

Not sure if you saw the two recent statements by Colonel Anderson Refuting False Allegations Against Dr. Ivins

Mitchel Cohen said...

Thank you Meryl Nass (and also Glenn Greenwald at Salon.com) for exposing what appears to be an FBI frameup of Bruce Ivins.

I have yet to read substantiation of FBI claims that Ivins killed himself. I don't mean to be ghoulish, but do we know this for a fact? Have the details of how he died been published?

I ask because dozens -- literally! -- of world class microbiologists have died myseriously since Sept. 2001, with little about this in the mainstream media.

I am also suspicious of the U.S. government's fallback position in all of this, as clearly public interest has again been piqued and it won't be abated by the FBI's attempt to pin the whole Anthrax escapade on Ivins. Will their fallback position be "Yes, we were wrong, it couldn't have been anyone connected with Fort Detrick"? Will it be "The Russians did it" or "Iraq did it after all"?

And, when will attention be brought to bear on Jerome Hauer and his connections to Col. Thomas Monath and the scientists at Fort Detrick? Now, THERE'S a real story just waiting to be plucked.

Mitchel Cohen
Brooklyn Greens / Green Party, and
editor of "G", the newspaper of the NY State Greens

Arun said...

A letter by Daschle from June 2001 about the anthrax vaccine is being cited as motive.

http://www.courant.com/news/nationworld/hc-anthrax0806.artaug06,0,5888202.story

here

George Washington said...

FBI's E-Mail Evidence Against Ivins: Not Very Persuasive

George Adams said...

As a mechanical engineer ignorant about medicine I wonder: Why would a microbiologist like Ivins choose acetaminophen as a suicide agent? As I understand it, death is a result of liver failure, a prolonged process with substantial opportunity for intervention. Wouldn't Ivins have knowledge about and access to more reliable methods of self-destruction?

George Washington said...

Dr. Nass, here is an interesting article by Scott Creighton.

Anonymous said...

George Adams... I believe the slow agonizing death by Tylenol story is a straw argument... I believe the report said Tylenol with CODEINE. If you take enough codeine you OD and die.

Anonymous said...

Ms Nass,

When reviewing the released documents, please pay attention to the time sheets. Place in context with what was going on at the time with the commercial vaccine project. Please put in context with how long it would take to whip up a couple of batches of anthrax, one crude with a bacterial contamination, one "exceptional". I have spent many years in the lab myself and am interested in your opinion.

Kira said...

I hate to say it, but there is some [on the surface] convincing evidence against Dr. Ivins at The Smoking Gun ... docs uploaded today after FBI release:

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2008/0806081anthrax1.html

Anonymous said...

Dr Nass,

Remember that the White House was sued by Judicial Watch back in 2002 demanding to know why a full month before the anthrax attacks that the White House staff were taking Cipro.

"The American people deserve a full accounting from the Bush administration, the FBI and other agencies concerning the anthrax attacks," Judicial Watch Chairman and General Counsel Larry Klayman said in a statement. "The FBI's investigation seems to have dead-ended, and frankly, that is not very reassuring given their performance with the Sept. 11 hijackers. One doesn't simply start taking a powerful antibiotic for no good reason. The American people are entitled to know what the White House staffers knew nine months ago."

Anonymous said...

Dr. Nass:

I am so grateful to you for your contributions to this series of mysteries surrounding Dr. Ivins and the Anthrax attacks of 2001. A great many of us are now relying almost exclusively on the insights of bloggers like Glenn Greenwald and scientist/peers of Dr. Ivins like yourself because of our complete loss of faith in the objectivity and fairness of corporate media and our skepticism about the credibility and trustworthiness of politicized government entities like the FBI and Justice Department.

I wanted to ask whether or not you could possibly comment in your blog about the 2002 article by Laura Rozen in Salon.com, "Fort Detrick's Anthrax Mystery".

In light of the largely circumstantial case against Bruce Ivins that has thusfar come to light- I find myself deeply curious about whether any connections may have existed between Dr. Ivins and Dr. Ayaad Assaad (who, as I'm sure you are familiar, was an Egyptian-American identified via an anonymous letter to the FBI as a potential bioterrorist.) The conspicuous timing of the warning's arrival- arriving at FBI headquarters seemingly at almost the exact same time as Anthrax letters were beginning to arrive- suggests the possibility that the sender of the Anthrax may have also simultaneously sent a letter framing Dr. Assaad for the attack.

Many I know are also curious to better understand the roles/personalities/credentials/research disciplines of personalities like Marian Rippy and Lt. Col. Phil Zack- both of whom apparently had grudges (seemingly race-based?) against Dr. Assaad which led, it seems, to their eventual reprimand and departures from USAMRIID. One wonders whether or not Dr. Ivins had any working relationship with Dr. Assaad? It seems like there are a great many unanswered questions about these two individuals, "The Camel Club", and reports about their continued access to the laboratories and anthrax specimens.

If you have any insights about any of these figures, I think it would be uniquely valuable to the Internet community at large. If ultimately Dr. Ivins is found responsible for the attacks- then it seems only common-sensical that he must also have been responsible for sending the warning letters to the FBI about Dr. Assaad being a bioterrorist. If he did not- the question remains who did? And how could they possibly have coordinated their letter in perfect synchronicity with the arrival of anthrax-tainted letters (from, seemingly, a US strain) which intentionally suggested the author(s) were illiterate Islamic Fundamentalists.

Thanks again for your insights and generosity of spirit.

Clo said...

Have you seen this, and other news reports like it?
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7545398.stm

The "case is closed", they are saying, and Ivins is responsible! So, it looks liked they're "sticking to their story" after all, despite the wavering yesterday.

And what's with the stuff about the sorority???

George Washington said...

Dr. Nass,

Senator Grassley today called for a congressional investigation of the anthrax probe, saying there should be hearings rather than "the selective release of a few documents."

Kira said...

Gerald Posner on Keith Olbermann says the FBI's case is really weak.

Everything they have could have been manufactured to make Ivins the fall guy.

Kira said...

Anonymous,
Anyone who consumes alcohol should steer clear of Tylenol because the combination is very damaging to liver function.

If Ivins had been taking the Tylenol + Codeine along with his alleged alcohol consumption [1 liter vodka per day, according to the WaPo] his liver was probably shot all to hell.

It's possible his death was due to liver failure because of the drug/alcohol combination over time. I never saw info on how much Tylenol+codeine was ingested.
+

Too bad they didn't do an autopsy, eh?