Raw Story – U.S. anthrax suspect commits suicide: report
A top U.S. biodefence researcher apparently committed suicide just as the Justice Department was about to file criminal charges against him in the anthrax mailings that traumatized the country in the weeks following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to a published report.
The scientist, Bruce E. Ivins, 62, who worked for the past 18 years at the government’s biodefense labs at Fort Detrick, Md., had been told about the impending prosecution, the Los Angeles Times reported for Friday editions. The laboratory has been at the centre of the FBI’s investigation of the anthrax attacks, which killed five people.
Mr. Ivins died Tuesday at Frederick (Md.) Memorial Hospital. The Times, quoting an unidentified colleague, said the scientist had taken a massive dose of a prescription Tylenol mixed with codeine.
Tom Ivins, a brother of the scientist, told The Associated Press that another of his brothers, Charles, told him Bruce had committed suicide. More…
From The Washington Post – Md. Anthrax Scientist Dies in Apparent Suicide
Grand Jury Was Preparing to Indict Bioweapons Expert for Role in 2001 Anthrax Attacks
Prosecutors were considering whether to seek the death penalty against Bruce E. Ivins, 62, who worked at an elite U.S. Army bioweapons laboratory in Fort Detrick, the sources said.
Paul F. Kemp, a criminal defense lawyer in Bethesda who has represented Ivins for the past year, declined to comment today but issued a statement that confirmed the federal investigation. He also asserted Ivins’ innocence.
“For more than a year, we have been privileged to represent Dr. Bruce Ivins during the investigation of the anthrax deaths of September and October of 2001,” Kemp said. “We assert his innocence in these killings, and would have established that at trial.
Color me surprised! I didn’t know that anyone in the government still had any interest in those Anthrax mailings.. And here they had a new “person of interest”! And now he’s ‘committed suicide’ and can’t answer any questions.. (Why is always suicide or a plane crash..?)
For those of you who don’t remember those Anthrax mailings of 2001,
refresh yourself here.
To start with, those mailings took place a couple of weeks after 9/11. Only three people received the “weaponized’ version of the anthrax (that was proved to have come from the Army lab in Ft. Detrick, MD). Those people happened to be Democratic Senators Tom Daschle and Senator Patrick Leahy, and Robert Stevens, who worked for the tabloid “The Sun” in Boca Raton, Forida.
From Wiki: His wife, Maureen Stevens, is suing the government for lax security, because she states DNA testing would prove the particular strain used in this attack comes from the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick. The case has been held up on grounds of ‘national security’.
Here is more on Mr. Stevens from Carpetbaggerreport from September 2006.
Anyone remember those embarassing photos that showed up on the cover of The Enquirer of Jenna Bush, falling down drunk with a cigarette in her hand, on top of another girl on the floor, at a fraternity party? The anthrax laden letter was addressed to ‘Photo Editor, The National Enquirer’. The Enquirer’s address was no longer any good, so it was forwarded to the photo editor of The Sun in Florida. Robert Stevens was the photo editor of The Sun.. (Both are publications of American Media, Inc.)
As for Daschle and Leahy? They were the two Democratic senators who were trying to slow down the passage of The Patriot Act so that people could have the time to study it and access its impact on civil liberties:
From Wiki: At the time Daschle was the Senate Majority leader and Leahy was head of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Both were identified in the media as holding up the proposed Patriot Act because of concerns that some parts of it would violate civil liberties.
The Patriot Act was introduced to Congress on October 2, 2001.
From Historycommons.org: The “anti-terrorism” Patriot Act is introduced in Congress, but is not well received by all. [US Congress, 10/2/2001] One day later, Senate Majority Leader and future anthrax target Tom Daschle (D) says he doubts the Senate will take up this bill in the one week timetable the administration wants. As head of the Senate, Daschle has great power to block or slow passage of the bill. Attorney General Ashcroft accuses Senate Democrats of dragging their feet. [Washington Post, 10/3/2001] On October 4, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman and future anthrax target Patrick Leahy (D) accuses the Bush administration of reneging on an agreement on the anti-terrorist bill. Leahy is in a key position to block or slow the bill. Some warn that “lawmakers are overlooking constitutional flaws in their rush to meet the administration’s timetable.” Two days later, Ashcroft complains about “the rather slow pace over his request for law enforcement powers. Hard feelings remain.” [Washington Post, 10/4/2001] The anthrax letters to Daschle and Leahy are sent out on October 9 and difficulties in passing the Act continue (see October 2001).
The Patriot Act was passed into law within a few weeks of 9/11 (October 26, 2001). The Patriot Act was written long BEFORE 9/11. Hardly anyone even READ The Patriot Act before they passed it.. Intimidation? If it was intimidation, the message came through loud and clear. The vote from the Senate was 98 FOR the passage of The Patriot Act. (Landrieu wasn’t there, and Senator Russ Feingold was the only Senator who voted no).
In all, at least 22 people developed anthrax infections, with 11 of them especially life-threatening inhalation variety. Five died of inhalation anthrax: Stevens; two employees of the Brentwood mail facility in Washington, D.C., Thomas Morris Jr. and Joseph Curseen; and two about whom their source of exposure to the bacteria is still unknown: Kathy Nguyen, a Vietnamese immigrant resident in the borough of the Bronx who worked in New York City, and Ottilie Lundgren, a 94-year old widow of a prominent judge from Oxford, Connecticut, who was the last known victim.
There is an entire timeline of this story on Wikipedia. Interestingly enough, the timeline includes the “suicide” of this microbiologist who died TODAY… Here are the later entries:
September 4, 2007: Senator Patrick Leahy states in an interview with Vermont blog Vermont Daily Briefing that he is unsatisfied with the progress of the investigation and that he believes that some government officials may know more about the source of the anthrax than has been disclosed “I think there are people within our government — certainly from the source of it — who know where it came from.”
On March 28, 2008, Fox News  released details of an email exchange between scientists at Fort Detrick. These scientists were discussing the formulation of the powder. The Fox News report stated: “But in an e-mail obtained by FOX News, scientists at Fort Detrick openly discussed how the anthrax powder they were asked to analyze after the attacks was nearly identical to that made by one of their colleagues.”
On August 1, 2008 the Associated Press reported that a top U.S. biodefense researcher committed suicide just as the F.B.I. was about to lay charges on him. The scientist, Bruce E. Ivins, 62, who worked for the past 18 years at the government’s biodefense labs at Fort Detrick, Md., had been told about the impending prosecution. The laboratory has been at the center of the FBI’s investigation of the anthrax attacks, which killed five people.
Boy, they’re really fast..
Well, I just want to include another little tidbit..
On the night of the 9/11 attacks, President George W. Bush and the White House staff went on Cipro:
From Judicial Watch:
In October 2001, press reports revealed that White House staff had been on a regimen of the powerful antibiotic Cipro since the September 11th terrorist attacks. Judicial Watch is aggressively pursuing the disclosure of the facts and the decision for White House staff, and President Bush as well, to begin taking Cipro nearly a month before anthrax was detected on Capitol Hill.
From Washington Post:
On the night of the Sept. 11 attacks, the White House Medical Office dispensed Cipro to staff accompanying Vice President Dick Cheney as he was secreted off to the safety of Camp David, and told them it was “a precaution,” according to one person directly involved.
And this included in an article from Slate:
The attacks were not entirely unexpected. I had been told soon after Sept. 11 to secure Cipro, the antidote to anthrax. The tip had come in a roundabout way from a high government official, and I immediately acted on it. I was carrying Cipro way before most people had ever heard of it.
Cipro is the drug (antibiotic) of choice for exposure to Anthrax. I still wonder how it is that the WH administration knew to start taking heavy doses of Cipro weeks BEFORE the anthrax attacks occurred.. Strange coincidence? I also wonder why the investigations into the Anthrax mailings stalled once the ‘weaponized’ Anthrax was traced to the government’s biodefense labs at Fort Detrick, Md.
So, I now find if terribly convenient now that the new “person of interest” in the Anthrax attacks suddenly commits suicide. Does that mean a neat and tidy (with a big fat bow) ending to this investigation? The Anthrax investigation was another loose end, where questions still hung in the air.. Too many people have been waiting to find the answers. Does this officially STOP the questions?
How tragically convenient.