Friday, August 01, 2008

True 'Persons of Interest'

The Los Angeles Times is reporting this morning that "A top government scientist who helped the FBI analyze samples from the 2001 anthrax attacks has died in Maryland from an apparent suicide, just as the Justice Department was about to file criminal charges against him for the attacks... ."
Bruce E. Ivins, 62, who for the last 18 years worked at the government's elite biodefense research laboratories at Ft. Detrick, Md., had been informed of his impending prosecution, said people familiar with Ivins, his suspicious death and the FBI investigation.
* * *
Ivins died Tuesday at Frederick Memorial Hospital after ingesting a massive dose of prescription Tylenol mixed with codeine, said a friend and colleague, who declined to be identified out of concern that he would be harassed by the FBI.

Superficially, it may sound like a plausible tale. But no evidence is mentioned other than "Ivins' recollections" about an unrelated lab accident "should have raised serious questions about his veracity and his intentions," according to anonymous sources "familiar with the investigation."

One also must remember how relentlessly F.B.I. and Justice Department leaders openly insisted for nearly seven years, on similarly thin suppositions, that Steven J. Hatfill was the anthrax attacker. That was another superficially plausible tale. But it was dead wrong, as $5.8 million in compensation paid to that scientist shows.

Even to this moment, Government officials have never taken that last step to explicitly admit they were wrong about Hatfill. It's been obvious to all, however, that the anthrax killer was still on the loose.

The hounding of Hatfill, an innocent man, was shameful, illegal, and ultimately deeply embarrassing to the F.B.I., the Justice Department, and the entire Bush administration. That it went on for over half a decade only renders the Government's actions even more grotesque.

How convenient, then, that in Bruce Ivins they now have another plausible "person of interest." Happily for them, unlike Steven Hatfill, Ivins happens to be dead and can't defend himself. Suddenly, it seems, anonymous Government sources are free to reveal that "federal investigators... ultimately concluded that Ivins was the culprit after FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III changed leadership of the investigation in late 2006."

"Concluded?" After "late 2006?" Are we now to believe that Ivins been a suspect for as long as a year or two?

We're not taking sides or making judgments, here. We're merely reminding you that there is far more proof in the public domain that the Justice Department's anthrax investigators are unworthy of belief than there is proof of the guilt of Hatfill, or Ivins, or the next unfortunate to become a sacrificial lamb on the alter of Government hubris.

As any competent investigator will tell you, that's the practical problem all liars face. Once one of their lies has been exposed, it's very difficult to believe anything else they may say.

That's why, for us, the F.B.I. and Justice Department remain the only real "persons of interest." Their "veracity and intentions" have previously been exposed. They have lost all credibility in the anthrax investigation.

8-01 am

Glenn Greenwald has more, from a different angle. Here's
our short version of what he has to say:

ABC News has for years known "'three well-placed but separate sources,' followed by 'four well-placed and separate sources'" in the Government who deliberately lied to link the anthrax attacks to Saddam Hussein. At least some of those sources are from the same lab where Bruce Ivins worked. Those lies were among the most influential in hotting up the public for an Iraq invasion.

ABC News is complicit in continuing to cover up for those "well-placed and separate" criminal liars. Both the liars and ABC News also have lost all credibility, along with the Justice Department and the F.B.I.

Read the entire article by Glenn Greenwald.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for raising questions about the investigation and Bruce's involvement in the case. What the media always fails to remember is that a person is innocent until proven guilty. At this time we are far from that point. As a friend of the family, we believe that Bruce is innocent. He was a good, kind man and will be remembered fondly by those who knew him.

Frog said...

Here, here. I was at a networking event in Frederick the day his death was announced to his co-workers, some of whom came to the event.

They were very passionate that Dr Ivins had been basically harassed into submission, and the resulting depression ultimately resulted in him taking his own life. I had the opportunity to blog it when I got home Wednesday night, but thought it would be in poor taste and probably not even that newsworthy.

Watching Matt Lauer on the Today show this morning reciting as if it was fact that Dr Ivins had created the anthrax in his own lab that was used in the letter "bombs" was absolutely infuriating. Especially after I had already heard enough testimony (in my eyes, at least) from people who knew him well.