A ranking Republican Senator has written to the Justice Department demanding to know why it quickly retracted court papers that called into serious question a key pillar of the criminal case against Bruce Ivins, the FBI’s prime suspect in the 2001 anthrax mail attacks.
Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, who has long questioned the legitimacy of the FBI’s findings in the case, wrote Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller this week, regarding a filing by Justice Department civil lawyers in July that noted that the Army’s biodefense center at Fort Detrick, Md., “did not have the specialized equipment in a containment laboratory that would be required to prepare the dried spore preparations that were used in the letters.”
In other words, the filing noted that Ivins’ lab, often referred to as the “hot suite”, did not contain the equipment needed to turn liquid anthrax into the refined powder that ended up being mailed to members of the Senate and reporters in the fall of 2001.
Ivins, who was found dead in 2008 from an apparent suicide at the same time the government was about to indict him, was identified by the FBI’s “Amerithrax Task Force” as the lone perpetrator of the attacks that killed five people and infected 17 others in the weeks immediately following 9/11.
The FBI based it’s entire case against Ivins on the fact that the microbiologist had access to the necessary equipment in the government lab at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases where he worked.
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Comment: This event is one of the many "mysteries" surrounding 9/11 and as with most of 9/11 remains shrouded. I'm not always a fan of Sen Grassley, but I do applaud his efforts to get to the bottom of a very serious issue.