FBI's Methods Questioned in Anthrax Search

Used intimidation to home in on 'weakest link,' some argue
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 5, 2008 6:23 AM CDT
Frederick Police wait on the porch at the home of Bruce E. Ivins, 62, after he died of an apparent overdose of prescription Tylenol mixed with codeine, Friday, Aug. 1, 2008, in Frederick, Md.    (AP Photo/Rob Carr)
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(Newser) – Pressure is mounting for the FBI to publicly explain why its 2001 anthrax investigation focused on scientist Bruce Ivins, reports the New York Times, as some question the bureau's methods. Ivins simply “looked the most susceptible to pressure,” insisted one scientist. Bureau officials say they will make details public as early as tomorrow.

Carbon comparisons and genetic sequencing allowed investigators to home in on a single flask of anthrax at Ivins' Maryland lab. But to focus their search on Ivins required more traditional snooping methods, including interviews with his children that some say involved intimidation. “They figured he was the weakest link,” said one of Ivins’ colleagues. “If they had real evidence on him, why did they not just arrest him?”