Saturday, August 16, 2008

Scientific data so far lacking

Eric Lichtblau (NY Times) and Robert Roos (Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy ) have written two comprehensive articles discussing the scientific and other evidence that has been presented. Lichtblau also discusses a closed-door FBI briefing that took place on August 14. They conclude the case is found seriously wanting.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

While an understanding of the detailed techniques used by the FBI in tracing the mailed anthrax to the flask "monitored" by Bruce Ivins is important, there are simpler aspects of the mailings which could be used to suggest Ivins' involvement or non-involvement.

To my knowledge, the FBI has not released any examples of Ivins' writings. A survey of his personal writings might show that he consistently wrote dates in the form used on the anthrax letters: 09-11-01, or that he never used that format. If Ivins never used that format, it would suggest that he was not the letter writer.

While parts of the letters were disguised (block lettering, phonetic spelling of penicillin, an attempt to identify the perpetrators as Islamic extremists, etc.), the date at the top might well have been put there without much thought beyond linking the attack to those of 9-11. As a starter, if the writer of the letters had wanted to really make it appear that the source was non-American, then the date would have been written in the logical format used in much of the rest of the world: day-month-year. That it was not put in that logical format suggests that the attempt at disguisement did not extend to the date.

Is the 09 format for the month consistent, or not consistent, with Ivins' practice?

Elizabeth Ferrari/ San Francisco said...

Two important concessions from FBI in this article. One, they know that Bruce Ivins did submit the strain sample they requested but there was a mix up over the