Anthrax Suspect Was Eccentric, Respected

Colleagues say scientist was innocent; others recall dark side
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 1, 2008 4:54 PM CDT
Bruce E. Ivins, a biodefense researcher is seen in 2003, at Fort Detrick, Md. Ivins, the scientist who was developing a vaccine to combat anthrax, died Tuesday July 29, 2008, in an apparent suicide in...   (AP Photo/Frederick News Post, Sam Yu)
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(Newser) – Bruce Ivins, the government scientist who committed suicide this week as FBI investigators working the case of the 2001 anthrax attacks were closing in, was known as a quiet, introverted researcher, the Washington Post reports. One ex-colleague described him as "a well-respected scientist” although he “always seemed on the edge.”

But many colleagues say they believe the feds drove an innocent man to suicide. "The FBI has been hounding him mercilessly," said a fellow employee at an Army research institution. Said another: "If he could have developed something to help people, it would have made his day. He was in it because it thought it was important."