Sunday, November 2, 2008

NY Post: Scientists Slam FBI 'Thrax Probe In Bid To Clear Buddy 'Dr. Doom'

Susannah Cahalan's NY Post story provides a needed counterpoint to last week's Washington Post puff piece on the Bruce Ivins case. Who would have expected to find higher journalistic standards at the NY Post than at its Washington namesake?

New information in this story includes the fact that the FBI was renting the house next door to Ivins, the better to perform surveillance (and this establishes FBI harrassment, since surveillance is properly performed in secrecy mode).
"One of Ivins' former colleagues was being aggressively pressured to confess to the crimes just two months before Ivins killed himself on July 29, 2008, he told the Post. And he identified at least one other employee who was under the same pressure."
At risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, the available facts in this case point to only one conclusion: the Justice Department was desperate to "solve" (read bury) this case any way it could before the Bush administration left office. To accomplish this feat, the FBI illegally harrassed at least 3 Fort Detrick employees. Recall that Perry Mikesell, a former Fort Detrick scientist under FBI surveillance, began drinking heavily and died in 2002.

For Bruce Ivins, a scientist known to have emotional problems, being prevented near the end from doing his research and from socializing or speaking freely with his colleagues, and having spent a small fortune on attorney fees, suicide may have been a predictable result.

[On the other hand, worrisome questions about his death remain. These include the inexplicable failure to perform an autopsy, the alleged choice of poison--tylenol--by a scientist who had access to easier methods of suicide, and the failure by FBI agents (performing 24/7 surveillance in the next house) to identify Ivins' overdose in time to save him (a 16-24 hour window during which an antidote can prevent liver failure) make it hard to dismiss the possibility of negligent homicide or even murder.]

If DoJ actions helped push Ivins over the edge, was this because DoJ was required to provide cover for the letter attacks' real perpetrator? The extreme tactics used in this case suggest that government officials have something major to hide. They do not want this case to remain open, subject to investigation by a Democratic administration that might actually want to know the truth about who sent the anthrax letters, why influential Democratic Senators were targeted, and what the ultimate intent of the letters really was.


Barry Kissin said...

Thank you, Meryl, for your change in tone. Perhaps as a result of suddenly venting what you believe, but are ordinarily hesitant to express, you go to a place that even I have deliberately avoided, namely the unasked questions about how Bruce Ivins died. I will only except to your phrase that questions whether the DOJ had "a hand in the letter attacks." What you must mean by this question is: Has the DOJ been engaged in protecting the source of the anthrax letters?

The gigantic contrivances in the DOJ's case against Ivins, alone, reveal complicity on the part of the DOJ.

As for the actual source of the anthrax letters, I submit that the subject New York Post article ventures cautiously into exposing what I have called elsewhere on this blog, the "elephant in the room." I underline the following quotations from the NY Post article:

"[M]ultiple facilities outside of Fort Detrick were sent RMR-1029 for their own research, including government laboratories, the Battelle lab . . . In September, FBI Director Mueller conceded other labs and scientists had access to Ivins' anthrax, but would not disclose how the bureau had ruled out other suspects."

"In April 2007, the FBI sent Ivins a letter saying he was 'not a target of the investigation' and said it was investigating 42 people who had access to RMR-1029 at the Battelle labs in Ohio, Kemp [Bruce Ivins' attorney]said."

"[I]n September and October of 2001, Ivins was involved in 19 research projects, including . . . an outside project with a government-contracted lab, the Battelle Memorial Institute in Ohio."

I request that one or another anonymous contributor to this blog confirm the following: USAMRIID logs (in the possession of the FBI)reflect that pursuant to order Bruce Ivins was sending RMR-1029 to Battelle from the late nineties all the way into August, 2001.

The only other quote from the NY Post article I wish to highlight is: "Sen. Patrick Leahy, a target of the 2001 anthrax attacks, said at the Judiciary Committee hearings that he doubted Ivins, who worked at Fort Detrick, Md., could have acted alone and that he believes 'there are others who could be charged with murder.'"

Both Dr. Nass and I attended both the House and Senate Judiciary Committee hearings. Senator Leahy made his above-cited remark only after questing whether Ivins had anything to do with the anthrax letters at all.

But Senator Leahy's most important contribution flowed from his statement that the anthrax letters to the Senators were unequivocally a "weapon." Senator Leahy then made reference to the Sept 4, 2001 NY Times article that first exposed the existence of secret anthrax weaponization projects being managed by Battelle for the CIA in Jefferson, Ohio and for the DIA at Dugway. The Senator's question to FBI Director Mueller was a sequel to Congressman Nadler's question the day before. Nadler's question: How did the FBI rule out suspects at Battelle and Dugway? Leahy's question: Where else besides Battelle and Dugway was anthrax being weaponized?

It is no mystery as to why we have yet to receive any responses to these questions. (The reason has nothing to do with national security.)

Old Atlantic Lighthouse said...

Thanks for keeping after this important topic as the darkness seems to close in on it.

Elizabeth Ferrari said...

Is there any way to factcheck this article? If true, good news indeed.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Ferrari,

As I am a coworker of both Dr. Ivins and former coworker of Gerry Andrews, I can attest to everything he said to Ms. Cahalan as being true.

Art Anderson

Elizabeth Ferrari said...

Thank you, Mr. Anderson. Much appreciated.

If a suit is brought, I hope supporters will have a way to keep up with it and pitch in as we can.

Robert Mueller has indicated he expects to stay on in the new administration. I hope his plans are changed.

Ellen Byrne said...

Whoo Hoo! Way to go Art Anderson!

And Elizabeth, if a suit is brought I feel Meryl's blog will be our go to daily source. I so admire her for this forum. Her blog would make a best seller.

Worse than Watergate.

Anonymous said...

Yep, this blog is a daily stop for me. Sometimes multiple times per day. I don't understand why the newspaper in Ivins' hometown isn't covering the latest news dumps re the investigation.

Anyone know what's going on with the "therapist" who tried to get a protection order from the court? Haven't seen anything about her for a long time.

Ennealogic said...

It looks like is reprinting the story. Does that add a tad of credibility?

Elizabeth Ferrari said...

Hi there, ennealogic

I'm glad they're picking up this story. It's about time an accurate story gets as much play as the trash has.

Old Atlantic Lighthouse said...

Why do FBI agents and scientists get along with such difficulty?

"In The Teaching Professor (August/September 1993), John H. Williams of Pepperdine University provided a detailed profile of the characteristic attitudes and behaviors of both the typical A and the typical C students. He used the profiles to explicitly communicate his values and expectations, to help students better understand how their performance would be judged. He believed faculty could use the approach to help students take more responsibility for their own learning. "

# Students see that an A is not reserved for the truly gifted, but is a level that a reasonably bright and motivated student can attain. The path to an A is not vague, but the result of behaviors students can consciously adopt to increase their likelihood of success.

# Students learn that communication skills will be used to evaluate their classroom performance. This encourages those students with deficient skills to take active steps to remedy their situation.

4. Communication Skills. C students.

" not write or speak particularly well. Their thought processes lack organization and clarity. Their written work may require a second reading by the professor to comprehend its meaning."

6. Performance. C students.

" their answers indicate a cursory understanding rather than mastery of material."

7. Preparation C students

...are not always prepared for class. They may not have fully completed the assignment, have completed it in a careless manner, or hand in their assignments late.

7 years, and its still wrong.