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FBI asks for delay on anthrax report

Daschle_letterSM.jpgThe US Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has asked the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to delay releasing its long-awaited report on the 2001 anthrax attacks that created havoc in the country in the wake of the September 11 attacks. [The New York Times]

The NAS report, which was due out last month, according to the New York Times, examines the scientific evidence used by the FBI to accuse army microbiologist Bruce Ivins of perpetrating the attacks. Ivins committed suicide in 2008, before he could be formally charged with the crime.

Controversy surrounding the FBI’s evidence and handling of the case prompted the agency to ask the NAS to convene an independent panel to review the scientific evidence. The FBI filed its own closing words on the matter earlier this year.

The request to delay the report came after the NAS recently shared a draft copy with the FBI. The reason stated for the delay: an additional 500-page stack of previously undisclosed documents that the agency says is relevant to the investigation and now wishes to turn over to the NAS committee.

The move has prompted Representative Rush Holt (D-New Jersey) to accuse the FBI of possibly “seeking to try to steer or otherwise pressure” the NAS “to reach a conclusion desired by the bureau.” [Statement]

The NAS panel says it can extend its review as requested, but the additional work will cost the FBI another $50,000 on top of the $879,550 the agency has already paid for the study. [The New York Times]

Meanwhile, the Government Accountability Office in September began its own review of the case.

Image: Envelope in which the letter containing anthrax was sent to Senator Tom Daschle during the 2001 attacks/ Wikipedia


  1. Report this comment

    Watchmaker said:

    Folks may be interested to know that a new book “Microbial Foresnsics” edited by the FBI’s Amerithrax team, actually admits for the first time that the silicon content cannot be naturally occurring. This is a huge 180 from their longstanding position that it was all just an accident. The book can be perused for free at Amazon by doing a search for keywords like “silicon”.

    page 513

    “Thus if the estimates silicon concentrations in the Amerithrax spores are correct, they are not consistent with our current understanding of silica deposition or those materials must have indeed been produced under an unusual set of conditions. If the latter were true, the silica evidence might provide a significant bound on the credible growth and production scenarios that would be consistent with the prosecution narrative in this case.”


    page 516:

    “In the years after this was written, it became apparent that there were in fact, fundamental issues in inferential validation of sample matching protocols for biological agents. This concern arose from the National Research Council’s report on bullet lead analysis…….”

  2. Report this comment

    lewweinstein said:

    FYI … my CASE CLOSED blog (URL above) is a very complete and continually updated source of information on the anthrax attacks and the FBI’s failed investigation.

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