The Frederick News Post covered the first meeting of the NAS panel to validate the FBI microbial forensics work. The panel was addressed by Rep. Rush Holt and key scientist Claire Fraser-Liggett, among others. Excerpts:
"If the technical and scientific procedures are as flawed as the nontechnical procedures, they certainly deserve a look," said Rep. Rush Holt, a New Jersey Democrat from whose district the letters were mailed.
Fraser-Liggett said the work to find a match began in late 2001, but the successful method was not completed until 2007, when agents began to seriously investigate Ivins.
"I was hopeful that perhaps genomics would provide sufficient amount of information to be able to track the material to its source, but I then, and have always, asserted that in no way did I ever believe that this kind of genomics-based investigation was ever going to lead to the perpetrator," Fraser-Liggett said.
"That was going to require much more traditional police investigation."
The 18-month academy study will affirm the validity of the investigative science but will stop short of explaining how the FBI sorted Ivins from the dozens of people who had access to RMR-1029, the strain of anthrax used in the mailings.