28 December 2014

More Weirdness in the Anthrax Mailings

It's been a while since I've written about the issues with the FBI's investigation of the Anthrax mailings, and now it appears that the GAO report on this matter has attracted the interest of The New York Times:
A congressional inquiry into the F.B.I.’s scientific work on the anthrax mailings of 2001 has identified major gaps in genetic evidence that purportedly links the germs to Bruce E. Ivins, the Army microbiologist blamed for attacks that killed five people, sickened 17 others and shook the nation.

The Government Accountability Office study, requested in 2010 and made public on Friday, echoes earlier criticism from the National Academy of Sciences. In 2011, its expert panel found that the bureau’s analysis of the genetic evidence “did not definitively demonstrate” a firm link between the mailed anthrax spores and a sample taken from Dr. Ivins’s laboratory at Fort Detrick in Maryland, and more generally was “not as conclusive” as the bureau had asserted.

The G.A.O. had better access to F.B.I. records and deepened the genetic critique, finding that the bureau’s investigation “lacked several important characteristics” that could have strengthened its case. “A key scientific gap,” the 77-page report said, was the bureau’s failure to investigate whether samples of anthrax spores could naturally mutate enough to obscure their putative links to Dr. Ivins.
I think that it is more than likely that Dr. Ivins was involved in the anthrax mailing.

I know that the FBI was flailing wildly, and was looking for anyone that they could finger as the perp, and Ivins was the 2nd person that the FBI aggressively harassed, the first being Steven Hatfill, and it appears that in both cases, the FBI was hoping for a suicide to end their search.


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