FBI Closes Anthrax Case

Bruce Ivins acted alone; critics still not buying it
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 20, 2010 8:55 AM CST
FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2001, file photo, biohazard worker Michelle Gillie, right, prepares to enter the office of Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., in the Longworth House office building on Capitol Hill in Washington....   (Kenneth Lambert)
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(Newser) – Wrapping one of its most vexing investigations, the FBI yesterday concluded that Army scientist Bruce Ivins acted alone in the 2001 anthrax mailings that killed five and unnerved a nation reeling from the 9/11 attacks. But the findings rang hollow for critics. "The evidence the FBI produced would not, I think, stand up in court," says a NJ Democrat whose district includes the mailbox used in the attacks. "But because their prime suspect is dead they seem satisfied with barely a circumstantial case."

Ivins killed himself in 2008 as prosecutors prepared to indict him for the attacks. He had denied involvement, and his family and some friends have continued to insist he was innocent. Among findings in newly released FBI documents:

  • Ivins was a troubled researcher whose life's work was teetering toward failure when the letters were sent. As the US responded, that work was given new importance, and he was even honored for his efforts.
  • Ivins had a bizarre, decades-long obsession with the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. The anthrax letters were mailed near the sorority's office in Princeton, NJ.
  • Investigators believe Ivins' use of highlighted block letters was part of a secret code with two possible meanings: pointing to a colleague or stating a specific dislike of New York.

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