FBI Tries to Dispel Anthrax Probe Doubts

But acknowledges 'spore on a grassy knoll' sentiment
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2008 7:50 AM CDT
An enlarged copy of an envelope addressed to Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., that contained anthrax, is shown during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The FBI revealed unprecedented details about its investigation of army scientist Bruce Ivins yesterday in a move to counter skepticism in the scientific community. The agency laid out how it brought together top scientists from the public and private sector to trace samples of the deadly anthrax of 2001 to Ivins, who killed himself before being indicted, the Baltimore Sun reports. Ivins' attorney again disputed the government account.

"I don't think we're ever going to put the suspicions to bed," said an FBI official. "There's always going to be a spore on a grassy knoll." Starting with more than 1,000 samples of the bacteria, the team compared the DNA of each strain with that of the toxin that killed five people. From there, scientists narrowed the field to eight samples, and then to a single flask in Ivins' lab. "Obviously, for us, the science is strong enough that we're disclosing it to you today," said the FBI official.