The more we learn about the Ivins Anthrax investigation the more we see an attempt by the feds railroad an innocent man. In this case the NY Times questions the dubious tactics employed used by the FBI:
After four years of painstaking scientific research, the F.B.I. by 2005 had traced the anthrax in the poisoned letters of 2001 to a single flask of the bacteria at the Army biodefense laboratory at Fort Detrick, Md., according to government scientists and bureau officials.
But at least 10 scientists had regular access to the laboratory and its anthrax stock — and possibly quite a few more, counting visitors from other institutions, and workers at laboratories in Ohio and New Mexico that had received anthrax samples from the flask at the Army laboratory.
Does sound like a man who would murder people in order to make money. Certainly not the homicidal maniac he's made out to be:
Dr. Ivins had been a respected microbiologist for three decades at the United States Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick. He was a popular neighbor in Frederick, Md., a Red Cross volunteer and an amateur juggler who played keyboards for Sunday services at his church.
These are tactics used by totalitarian governments. The FBI is desperate and will apparently do anything to find someone to blame for an investigation they've botched from day one. It is a classic case of prosecutorial misconduct. It reminds me of the 1996 Olympics bombing case in where the FBI also falsely accused a totally innocent man of the crime, Richard Jewel. This is just as outrageous and frightening.
They had even intensively questioned his adopted children, Andrew and Amanda, now both 24, with the authorities telling his son that he might be able to collect the $2.5 million reward for solving the case and buy a sports car, and showing his daughter gruesome photographs of victims of the anthrax letters and telling her, “Your father did this,” according to the account Dr. Ivins gave a close friend.
As the investigation wore on, some colleagues thought the F.B.I.’s methods were increasingly coercive, as the agency tried to turn Army scientists against one another and reinterviewed family members.
One former colleague, Dr. W. Russell Byrne, said the agents pressed Dr. Ivins’s daughter repeatedly to acknowledge that her father was involved in the attacks.
“It was not an interview,” Dr. Byrne said. “It was a frank attempt at intimidation.”
Dr. Byrne said he believed Dr. Ivins was singled out partly because of his personal weaknesses. “They figured he was the weakest link,” Dr. Byrne said. “If they had real evidence on him, why did they not just arrest him?”
Another former co-worker, Dr. Kenneth W. Hedlund, who collaborated on anthrax research with Dr. Ivins in the 1980s, had a similar theory.
“The investigators looked around, they decided they had to find somebody. They went after all of them but he looked the most susceptible to pressure,” Dr. Hedlund said. “It is like prisoners of war: if they are harassed enough, they will be driven to do anything. But I don’t believe he would have done what they say he did.”
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Bruce Ivins was a Scapegoat in the FBI Anthrax Investigation