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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

GAO to Investigate FBIs' 2001 Anthrax Investigation

ANTHRAX, HUMAN, 2001 - USA (06)
AmeriThrax: The FBI's Version; http://www.fbi.gov/anthrax/amerithraxlinks.htm


A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the

International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: 20 Sep 2010

Source: SecurityInfoWatch.com/The Frederick News-Post, Maryland [edited]

GAO to review FBI's Ivins investigation


Investigation will seek to resolve unanswered questions surrounding

the 2001 anthrax attacks. The Government Accountability Office [GAO]

has launched an investigation into the scientific methods used by the

FBI to determine that Fort Detrick researcher Bruce Ivins was the

sole perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax attacks.

U.S. Rep. Rush Holt, who represents the New Jersey district from

which the letters were mailed, requested GAO's involvement as early

as 2007, but renewed his efforts after the FBI announced it had

closed its Amerithrax investigation last February [2010]. Holt and 4

other lawmakers originally proposed a list of 10 questions for GAO to

help answer, including how the anthrax spores used in the attacks

compared to anthrax produced in this country and in locations around

the world, what amount of time and material would go into creating

the quantity of anthrax spores used in the attacks, and why the FBI

had not yet been able to close the case.

The FBI questioned Ivins, a researcher at the U.S. Army Medical

Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, throughout the entire

investigation, but named him as the suspect only after he committed

suicide in July 2008.

Many of Ivins' former co-workers and several lawmakers -- including

Sen. Chuck Grassley, one of the 4 who helped Holt pursue the GAO

investigation and who has been a vocal critic of the FBI's work on

the case -- are still not convinced the FBI adequately proved Ivins'

guilt. "The American people need credible answers to many questions

raised by the original attacks and the subsequent FBI handling of the

case," Holt said in a news release. "I'm pleased the GAO has

responded to our request and will look into the scientific methods

used by the FBI."

Specifically, the GAO investigation will seek to answer 3 main questions:

- What forensic methods did the FBI use to conclude Ivins was the

sole perpetrator, and how reliable are those methods?

- What scientific concerns and uncertainties still remain regarding

the FBI's conclusion?

- What agencies monitor foreign containment labs, and how do they

monitor those labs?

Holt had also requested that several House of Representatives

committees question the FBI's methods and results, and he has called

for a commission similar to the one that looked into the government's

response to the 11 Sep 2001 attacks. Neither effort has made much

progress thus far. "It's still a priority for him," said Holt

spokesman Zach Goldberg. "He continues to get supporters for it, but

it hasn't gotten traction in the larger Congress, which is certainly

disappointing. He still feels that this is something that needs to be

looked at for a variety of reasons -- that the families deserve

answers to a myriad of questions."

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, who represents Western Maryland, was not part

of the group that signed the letter to GAO but has been working to

get more answers since the FBI closed the Amerithrax case. "I welcome

the forthcoming investigation by the Congress' General Accounting

Office of a series of important unanswered questions about the FBI's

investigation," Bartlett said. "These questions have undermined the

credibility of the FBI's conclusions."

The GAO investigation will be the 1st congressionally directed review

of the FBI's case; another review, done by the National Academy of

Sciences, was requested by the FBI itself 2 years ago.

The NAS investigation is scheduled to wrap up by the end of [this]

year. In GAO's letter to Holt confirming it would look into the FBI

investigation, Ralph Dawn Jr., GAO managing director of congressional

relations, wrote that to avoid any overlap between the 2 groups'

investigations, they would 1st review the NAS study before

determining the scope of the GAO one. Goldberg said the GAO would

start its investigation soon, if it hadn't begun already. He said the

GAO hadn't announced a timeline for its investigation but said that

Holt wasn't worried about rushing things along. "Of course (Holt)

wants it to be comprehensive and not rushed in any way," Goldberg

said. "The important thing is that the questions get addressed."

[Byline: Megan Eckstein, The Frederick News-Post, Maryland)


Communicated by:


[The NAS committee has maintained an admirable silence and without

leaks. The release date for their report is not known but expected to

be sometime in the Fall and before Christmas. I suspect that this

efficiency is partly to blame for US Representative Holt's move to

get the GAO involved. We will not know the thoroughness of the NAS

investigation until its report is out. - Mod.MHJ]

[see also:

Anthrax, human, 2001 - USA (05) 20100424.1326

Anthrax, human, 2001 - USA (04) 20100324.0933

Anthrax, human, 2001 - USA (03) 20100305.0727

Anthrax, human, 2001 - USA (02): FBI case closed 20100219.0575

Anthrax, human, 2001 - USA 20100125.0281



Anthrax, human, 2001 - USA (03): NAS review 20090507.1707

Anthrax, human, 2001 - USA (02): evidence 20090227.0817

Anthrax, human, 2001 - USA: review 20090104.0033



Anthrax, human, 2001 - USA (12): comment 20080928.3074

Anthrax, human, 2001 - USA (11): review 20080924.3019

Anthrax, human, 2001 - USA (10): evidence 20080828.2696

Anthrax, human, 2001 - USA (09): evidence 20080819.2591

Anthrax, human, 2001 - USA (08): evidence, drugs 20080818.2566

Anthrax, human, 2001 - USA (07): letters, evidence 20080812.2492

Anthrax, human, 2001 - USA (06): letters, evidence 20080811.2488

Anthrax, human, 2001 - USA (05): letters, evidence 20080807.2428

Anthrax, human, 2001 - USA (04): letters, evidence 20080806.2412

Anthrax, human, 2001 - USA (03) 20080805.2406

Anthrax, human, 2001 - USA (02): letters, evidence 20080805.2392

Anthrax, human - USA 2001: letters, new suspect 20080803.2371]




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