US government points to dead scientist as 'lone anthrax attacker'

Friday, August 8, 2008

A photomicrograph of Bacillus anthracis bacteria
Image: Center for Disease Control.

The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has alleged that Bruce Ivins, a government bioweapons scientist, was the sole person responsible for the biological terrorism attacks in the USA in 2001 which came shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Ivins committed suicide July 29, 2008.

The FBI's conclusions, released in a press briefing by US attorney for the District of Columbia Jeffrey Taylor, has few facts but relies primarily on circumstantial evidence, reports the BBC's Kevin Connolly in Washington. But Taylor's statement asserts confidence in the FBI's findings: "Based upon the totality of the evidence we had gathered against him, we are confident that Dr. Ivins was the only person responsible for these attacks."

Primary amongst the evidence is the fact that all attacks used spores from flask RMR1029, which the government says was solely created and controlled by Dr. Ivins. The researcher was working on a vaccine for anthrax in 2001, and had been immunized against the disease.

In 2001 two series of letters were mailed to news media offices and Democratic US Senators containing two distinct grades of anthrax materials. They resulted in 5 deaths and infecting 17 others.

Ivins died on July 29, 2008 shortly after being informed of the charges being brought against him.



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