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Archive for Monday, August 4, 2008

DNA led agents to anthrax suspect

August 4, 2008

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— DNA taken from the bodies of people killed in the 2001 anthrax attacks helped lead investigators to Bruce Ivins, who oversaw the highly specific type of toxin in an Army lab, a government scientist said Sunday.

Using new genome technology, researchers looked at samples of cells from the victims to identify the kind of anthrax Ames strain that killed them, the scientist said. They noticed very subtle differences in the DNA of the strain used in the attacks than in other types of Ames anthrax.

Spores taken from envelopes used to mail the anthrax, as well as from the sites where they were sent, also were scrutinized.

With that, investigators linked the specific type of anthrax back to Ivins' biological weapons lab at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Md., where he oversaw its use and handling for research.

"It had to do with the very specific characteristics in the DNA of the letters and what was in Bruce's labs," said the government scientist, who is close to the investigation. "They were cultures he was personally responsible for."

The scientist spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to reporters. A senior U.S. official on Sunday night confirmed the scientist's account.

The scientific discovery gave the FBI its first solid break in one of the nation's most high-profile unsolved crimes after years of pointing the finger at the wrong suspect. Combined with other evidence, the Justice Department is expected to close the case this week, concluding Ivins was the mastermind and sole criminal behind the attacks that killed five and sickened 17 others in the weeks following 9/11.

Ivins killed himself last week as prosecutors prepared to indict him on murder charges.

Dozens of other researchers in Ivins' lab also had access to the type of Ames strain used in the attacks, the scientist said, meaning the DNA alone is not enough to prove his guilt.

Comments

Boston_Corbett 6 years, 4 months ago

"A leak from such a lab would be enough to generate marshal law"....Is 'marshal law' where we get to dress up in those cool uniforms with big hats and stars and badges and ribbons and swords and guns and stuff? Yea!!!

Flap Doodle 6 years, 4 months ago

Tape up your back doors. There are meek mocks loose in the area!

billbodiggens 6 years, 4 months ago

Gee whiz, logrthmic, this is suppose to be a comment post not an op-ed. How about comments rather than simply republishing another article or blog.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 4 months ago

loggy, your hoof is already in your mouth. Stretch out & put a cool washcloth over your eyes.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 4 months ago

Remember Marshal Dillon? Something like that, but with bigger hats!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 4 months ago

Apparently, the grand jury was weeks away from issuing any indictments. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/04/us/04anthrax.html?_r=1&hp=&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&adxnnlx=1217855295-nhV6SfFI5wsvAB2WXI4J6g"The evidence amassed by F.B.I. investigators against Dr. Bruce E. Ivins, the Army scientist who killed himself last week after learning that he was likely to be charged in the anthrax letter attacks of 2001, was largely circumstantial, and a grand jury in Washington was planning to hear several more weeks of testimony before issuing an indictment, a person who has been briefed on the investigation said on Sunday.""Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation also have no evidence proving that Dr. Ivins visited New Jersey on the dates in September and October 2001 when investigators believe the letters were sent from a Princeton mailbox, the source said.The source acknowledged that there might be some elements of the evidence of which he was unaware. And while he characterized what he did know about as "damning," he said that instead of irrefutable proof, investigators had an array of indirect evidence that they argue strongly implicates Dr. Ivins in the attacks, which killed 5 people and sickened 17 others."Also, the credibility of the counselor who called him homicidal is suspect--http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/08/04/anthrax/

Mkh 6 years, 4 months ago

This entire thing stinks to high heaven....this "suicide" is questionable at best. The FBI is being incredibly blantant in this cover-up, running around offering millions to Ivins' kid to frame him. It's now known that this "DNA evidence" was not directly linked to Dr. Ivins and that several other scientists had access to it, who are not being questioned or suspected. Hmmmmmm.

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