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International News : Fort Detrick, Md.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008/8/1 13:30:00 (2529 reads) News by the same author

Bruce Ivins, 62, of Fort Detrick, Md., charged with anthrax Attack, coincidently he helped FBI investigate said anthrax Attack.

Is that not the definition of inside job?

Meanwhile constitution free zone ...

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, the Los Angeles Times has learned.

Bruce Ivins, 62, who for the past 18 years worked at the government's elite biodefense research laboratories at Fort Detrick, Md., had been informed of his impending prosecution, said people familiar with Ivins, his death and with the FBI investigation.

Ivins, whose name had not been disclosed publicly as a suspect in the case, had played a central role in research to improve anthrax vaccines by preparing anthrax formulations used in experiments on animals.

Regarded as a skilled microbiologist, Ivins also had helped the FBI analyze the powdery material recovered from one of the anthrax-tainted envelopes sent to a U.S. senator's office in Washington, D.C.

Ivins died Tuesday at Frederick Memorial Hospital after having ingested a massive dose of prescription Tylenol mixed with codeine, said a friend and colleague who declined to be identified out of concern, he said, that he would be harassed by the FBI.

The death - without any mention of suicide - was announced to Ivins' colleagues at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in an e-mail.

"People here are pretty shook up about it," said Caree Vander Linden, a spokeswoman
for USAMRIID, who said she was not at liberty to discuss details surrounding the death.

The anthrax mailings killed five people, crippled national mail service, shut down a Senate office building and spread fear of terrorism in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.

The extraordinary turn of events came after the government's payment in June of a settlement valued at $5.82 million to a former government scientist, Steven Hatfill, who was long targeted as the FBI's chief suspect despite a lack of any evidence that he had ever possessed anthrax.

Soon after the government's settlement with Hatfill was announced June 27, Ivins began showing signs of serious strain. One of his longtime colleagues told the Times that Ivins, who was being treated for depression, indicated to a therapist that he was considering suicide. Soon thereafter, family members and local police officers escorted Ivins away from USAMRIID, where his access to sensitive areas was curtailed, the colleague said.

Ivins was committed to a facility in Frederick for treatment of his depression. July 24, he was released from the facility.

The scientist faced forced retirement, planned for September, said his longtime colleague, who described Ivins as emotionally fractured by the federal scrutiny.

A spokeswoman for the FBI, Debra Weierman, said Thursday that the bureau would not comment regarding the death of Ivins. Last week, however, FBI Director Mueller told CNN that, "in some sense, there have been breakthroughs" in the case.

FBI to reveal evidence in anthrax case
Information linking government scientist Bruce E. Ivins, who apparently committed suicide, to the deadly 2001 mailings is 'compelling,' a federal official says.
By Josh Meyer, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
August 6, 2008
WASHINGTON -- After nearly seven years of investigating, FBI officials plan to present evidence today to the surviving victims of the 2001 anthrax attacks that they believe proves a Maryland scientist launched the deadly mailings that gripped the nation in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"The details of the FBI's scientific research and accomplishments will validate the government's decision regarding the origin of the anthrax mailings," said one federal law enforcement official familiar with the evidence.
It is to be presented this morning to the families of the five victims who died and nearly two dozen survivors, who have been brought to Washington for a closed-door briefing at FBI headquarters. Later, Senate officials who were among the targets and reporters will also be briefed.
"The unsealed documents should answer the outstanding questions regarding the findings in this case," the official said.
An FBI agent's affidavit seeking a search warrant for Bruce E. Ivins' personal property that is nearly 100 pages long and summarizes much of the information that the bureau had gathered against him for more than a year is expected to be released.
But some survivors, relatives and lawyers representing Ivins said they had a slew of questions.
Among them: Why did the FBI focus for years on another scientist, Steven J. Hatfill, before shifting gears and fingering Ivins, a Frederick, Md., husband and father of two? And if the FBI and the Justice Department had the evidence to prove Ivins did it, then why didn't they charge him before he apparently killed himself last week?
"What troubles me is that Mr. Ivins wasn't indicted, and if he wasn't indicted, how confidant are they that they had the evidence and the information that they needed?" said former Sen. Tom Daschle, whose office received one of the letters containing the deadly spores when he was Senate Democratic leader. "The only thing that has changed is that he has committed suicide."
Daschle, who has been critical of the FBI investigation, said he welcomed the release of the investigative documents.
"I think it's important to give all of us [victims] and the American people information that they can share and some appreciation of the overall state of the investigation," Daschle said. "But I also think it's important, given the mistakes made in the past, that they are not jumping to premature conclusions."
Colleagues dubious
Even as the FBI lays out its case against Ivins, family members and colleagues at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Ft. Detrick, where Ivins worked for 28 years, will be gathering for a morning memorial service.
Dr. W. Russell Byrne, a friend and former supervisor of Ivins at Ft. Detrick, said that Ivins' colleagues were highly skeptical of the FBI's allegations but as scientists wanted to see what the agency had before making up their minds.
"All of us don't think he had anything to do with it," Byrne said. But he added: "I just have to see what they've got. You work mostly with scientists, and they say, 'Show me the data.' You look at what you've got, make a decision and then act on it."
Byrne said he was angry about what he described as overly aggressive FBI tactics.
Ivins "was being pushed to a breaking point. And it was attributed to the investigation, to the two searches of his house, taking his computer out," Byrne said. "I would hope that such actions by the FBI would be included in the reports" to be released today.
One of the nation's leading military anthrax researchers, Ivins, 62, died July 29 after taking an overdose of over-the-counter medication.
He had been told by authorities that they were preparing to seek his indictment on capital murder charges.
The federal law enforcement official said that even though no indictment was obtained, a federal grand jury had been hearing final testimony in the case and authorities had expected that Ivins would be charged within several weeks.
FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III plans to participate in the briefing of survivors and family members, the official and others said Tuesday.
After that, they said, the FBI and some Justice Department officials will participate in the congressional and media briefings.
All of them spoke on the condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to discuss the case.
FBI Assistant Director John Miller and Brian Roehrkasse, chief spokesman for the Justice Department, would not comment on the briefing plans or what kind of evidence authorities would present.
But both of them said that much of the media coverage since Ivins' death had been overly speculative and, at times, misinformed.
"What we have seen over the past few days has been a mix of improper disclosures of partial information mixed with inaccurate information and then drawn into unfounded conclusions," Roehrkasse said. "None of that serves the victims, their families or the public."
He did not specify which reports were inaccurate or misleading.
Much of the evidence that the FBI believes ties Ivins to the mailings is scientific, including advanced DNA fingerprinting techniques the FBI helped develop that matched unique sections of genetic code from Ivins' lab to the anthrax spores inhaled by the victims at a Florida tabloid newspaper, two TV networks and elsewhere in the fall of 2001.
"That will play prominently," a second federal law enforcement official said of the DNA evidence. That official said the evidence does not put the anthrax directly in Ivins' hands but traces it to a small circle of people with access to the same lab; he said other investigative information connects Ivins to the case even more strongly.
"Most people would find it compelling. That is the best word to describe it," said the second law enforcement official. Asked if the information would have been enough to convict Ivins, the official said: "It's hard to say."
The FBI also believes that Ivins borrowed freeze-drying equipment from a bioweapons lab that would have allowed him to take moist anthrax cultures and rapidly convert them into the kind of dry spores capable of being inhaled by humans, one source familiar with the investigation said.
Ivins is alleged to have committed suicide on July 29, 2008, by overdosing on acetominophen with codeine. He died while in custody under a suicide watch at Frederick Memorial Hospital.

When, where and how did Ivins die?
He died July 29 at Frederick Memorial Hospital in Maryland. (NPR) (By LARA JAKES JORDAN and DAVID DISHNEAU)

Ivins was committed to a facility in Frederick for treatment of his depression. On July 24, he was released from the facility, operated by Sheppard Pratt Health System. A telephone call that same day by The Times verified that Ivins' government voice mail was still functioning at the bacteriology division of USAMRIID.
The family's home is 198 miles -- about a 3 1/2 -hour drive -- from a mailbox in Princeton, N.J., where anthrax spores were found by investigators. All of the recovered anthrax letters were postmarked in that vicinity.
Willman reported from Los Angeles and Washington. Times researcher Janet Lundblad contributed to this report.,0,2864223.story?page=2

Kappa Kappa Gamma
Anonymous sources told the Associated Press[24] that Ivins reportedly was obsessed with the college sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma ever since he was rebuffed by a woman in the sorority during his days as a student at the University of Cincinnati.
Reports were leaked that anthrax spores were found, thus suggesting the letters were mailed from, a postal drop box located at 10 Nassau Street, less than 100 yards away from a building at 20 Nassau Street containing an office used by Princeton University's Kappa Kappa Gamma chapter to store property.
As of this date, leaks from the law enforcement community claim they have not been able to place Ivins in Princeton the day the letters were mailed. Katherine Breckinridge Graham, an advisor to Kappa's Princeton chapter, stated that there was nothing to indicate that any of the sorority members had anything to do with Ivins.

"Had he lived, authorities had planned to argue that Ivins could have made the seven-hour round trip to Princeton from the Fort Detrick lab in Frederick, Md., after work."

In the past year, the FBI has turned its attention to Ivins, whom a therapist said had a history of homicidal and sociopathic behavior. Social worker Jean C. Duley won a protective order against Ivins on July 24 after telling a judge the scientist was a homicidal sociopath.
Duley, 45, also has a minor criminal record, according to court records. She pleaded guilty in April to driving under the influence and was fined $500 and placed on probation for nearly a year. In October 2006, she pleaded guilty to reckless driving and was fined $580. A 1992 charge of possessing drug paraphernalia was dismissed.
Associated Press writers Geoff Mulvihill in Mount Laurel, N.J., and David Dishneau in Hagerstown, Md., contributed to this report.

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