Wednesday, September 24, 2008

FBI investigation did not analyze anthrax from biodefense lab

USA Today: The FBI never examined anthrax samples from the 2001 contamination event at (Ivins') biodefense lab, which he allegedly covered up after the anthrax mailings. Yet these samples should have been the first to examine once Ivins was deemed a suspect.


Anonymous said...

"should have been the first to examine"

Perhaps, if one thinks this was an investigation into the truth rather than the building of a prosecution case. The two can be the same, but not necessarily. The FBI are lawyers, not spies. The FBI culture is to get convictions and call cases closed, not to root out the mole.

The Ivins Spilling Anthrax in the Lab story has a great incriminatory cachet, if unimpeached. But it is a house of cards if examined closely. Ivins working with anthrax in a lab! Well, so what? He spilled anthrax! Well, so what, doesn't everyone have accidents, and why wouldn't he be working with anthrax after the attacks were known? He did not report the spill to his superiors! Ooh, serious, but so what? It would have been stranger if he did report it. C'mon, ever have an accident at work? If you thought you could handle it yourself would you report it? Do you want the demerits? The snobbish sneer from your superior? The black mark on your record, the restrictions of rights?

The Spilled Anthrax story only has use for a prosecutor if not examined too closely. That is why the spilled anthrax was not tested. What good could have come of it? It would only heighten attention to an incriminatory story that is only effective if left as vague innuendo. And if they tested it and found it was not the same strain, it destroys the innuendo's cachet. For example, Ivins lawyer would say, "Aha, but it's not the same strain!" The only cogent response the Feds could give is "So what, it doesn't disprove that he made the attack anthrax months before." Which begs the obvious retort to the Feds, why did you think it was dispositive of anything in the first place?

Testing the anthrax could only risk devaluing the incriminatory innuendo for prosecution purposes.

Elizabeth Ferrari/ San Francisco said...

There goes Keim's credibility:

"For Keim, the revelation in August that the FBI had shifted its focus to Ivins cast the omission in a new light. In 2002, he says, "I got the samples and thought, 'What a sloppy place.' But I'm starting to think Bruce was taking anthrax out of his lab and then covering his tracks."'

Right, Paul. I'm starting to think you're not the objective good guy you play in the media.

Elizabeth Ferrari/ San Francisco said...

Anon: He did report it to Arthur Anderson who was the Ethics guy. It was in the Wall Street Journal:

Their first card isn't even well placed.

Anonymous said...

I spilled some paper clips at work once, but I wasn't sneaking them out of the building.

And didn't he report the spill after he returned to work with the spill washed out of his clothes?

Ivins' remark on the report seems to indicate that he didn't cause a spill; he was contaminated by someone else's spill that he was cleaning up.