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August 06, 2008

Good Morning

Some introductions are in order, I知 sure. While Greg is on vacation he asked if I wanted to fill in on Rhymes With Right and I jumped at the offer. So who am I? I知 David M and I知 the Editor of The Thunder Run, a denizen of Castle Argghhh!, and a new contributor at Milblogs.

Having just been locked out of my own blog by Blogger, for reasons not yet fully explained to my satisfaction, I jumped at the offer, and here I am. Of course my blog has been turned back on by Blogger and I知 back to posting like normal at my regular home but that doesn稚 mean I can稚 help out a friend in need.

If you stop on over at The Thunder Run you値l see my style is a lot different than you are accustomed but I知 sure we値l get along nicely.

What am I going to talk about first? Bruce Ivins, the accused Anthrax Killer.

Yesterday Richard Spertzel, wrote in the WSJ Bruce Ivins Wasn't the Anthrax Culprit, where states his claim that Mr. Ivins couldn稚 possibly be the anthrax killer, or at least he could not have acted alone. Spertzel states in his case:

In short, the potential lethality of anthrax in this case far exceeds that of any powdered product found in the now extinct U.S. Biological Warfare Program. In meetings held on the cleanup of the anthrax spores in Washington, the product was described by an official at the Department of Homeland Security as "according to the Russian recipes" -- apparently referring to the use of the weak electric charge.

The latest line of speculation asserts that the anthrax's DNA, obtained from some of the victims, initially led investigators to the laboratory where Ivins worked. But the FBI stated a few years ago that a complete DNA analysis was not helpful in identifying what laboratory might have made the product.

He then ends with the very critical statement:

The FBI spent between 12 and 18 months trying "to reverse engineer" (make a replica of) the anthrax in the letters sent to Messrs. Daschle and Leahy without success, according to FBI news releases. So why should federal investigators or the news media or the American public believe that a lone scientist would be able to do so?

Why indeed? We致e seen this investigation turn into a scene from the Marx Brothers as one suspect Stephen Hatfill is hounded for years only to win a lawsuit against the government for their part in the botched investigation and now this, another scientist from Fort Detrick hounded by the government only this time the investigation ends in suicide.

Now The FBI is ready to consider the case solved but still open:

[A]fter nearly seven years much of which was spent pointing the finger at the wrong suspect the FBI is ready to end the "Amerithrax" investigation by outlining its evidence against Ivins, according to two U.S. officials. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case publicly.

And yet the profile of Bruce Ivins that is emerging is far from the psychotic murderer he is being portrayed as. Even as families of victims were to get the first glimpse inside the case at the morning FBI briefing, the Justice Department, is expected to ask a federal judge to unseal documents revealing how the FBI closed in on Ivins.

It is hoped by many that, that evidence will answer many questions in the bizarre investigation. And yet some of us will be looking at this information to see just what it is that linked Ivins to the murder plot and convinced the FBI they had their man.

As news reports indicate, the case may turn on a couple of key points, including:

An advanced DNA analysis that matched the anthrax used in the attacks to a specific batch controlled by Ivins. It is unclear, however, how the FBI eliminated as suspects others in the lab who had access to it.

Ivins' purported motive of sending the anthrax in a twisted effort to test a cure for it, according to authorities. Ivins complained of the limitations of animal testing and shared in a patent for an anthrax vaccine. No evidence has been revealed so far to bolster that theory.

Why Ivins would have mailed the deadly letters from Princeton, N.J., a seven-hour round trip from his home. In perhaps the strangest explanation to emerge in the case so far, authorities said Ivins had been obsessed with the sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma for more than 30 years. The letters were sent from a mailbox down the street from the sorority's offices at Princeton University.

Investigators can't place Ivins in Princeton but say the evidence will show he had disturbing attitudes toward women. Other haunting details about Ivins' mental health have emerged, and his therapist described him as having a history of homicidal and sociopathic thoughts.

As some are wont to say.developing.

Up next, Bruce Ivins the man.





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