August 2, 2008

Was Bruce E. Ivins the anthrax terrorist?

If he wasn't, why did he commit suicide?
[T]o some anthrax experts.... his identification as a suspect fit a pattern they had suspected might explain the crime: an insider wanting to draw attention to biodefense....

Dr. Ivins was among the scientists who benefited from [the massive federal spending on research dealing with anthrax terrorism] as 14 of the 15 academic papers he published since late 2001 were focused on possible anthrax treatments or vaccines, comparing the effectiveness of different formulations.
Read the whole article. There's evidence that Ivins had murderous ideation, but maybe he declined into mental illness because of the suspicion that he was the terrorist. He was a suspect because he was one of the scientists with the knowledge that was needed to accomplish the attacks. If you were innocent and smart enough to be a high-level scientist, wouldn't you understand why you had to be investigated, suck it up, and deal with it? Isn't consciousness of guilt the most likely cause of the suicide and the murder threats that preceded it?
[Ivins] had bought a bulletproof vest and a gun as he contemplated killing his co-workers at the nearby Army research laboratory.

“He was going to go out in a blaze of glory, that he was going to take everybody out with him,” said a social worker in a transcript of a hearing at which she sought a restraining order....
I hope we hear the full story eventually.

41 comments:

Paddy O. said...

an insider wanting to draw attention to biodefense....

So, he was just a troll then.

Randy said...

As Ivins is dead, it is highly unlikely we will ever hear the full story. We will doubtless hear the FBI's version, though. Whether or not that version bears any resemblance to the truth remains to be seen. The last time they claimed to have got their man, it cost the American taxpayers a few million dollars. Fortunately, one cannot libel the dead.

Middle Class Guy said...

"He even worked on the investigation of the anthrax attacks, although this meant that he, like other scientists at the Army’s defensive biological laboratory at Fort Detrick, Md., was scrutinized as a possible suspect."


Contrary to what has been said, he was not originally singled out. All the scientists were scrutinized. There had to be something more to him for the Feds to pick him out of the pack. His mental problems were not new, thus that could have been the reason.

There is a very good possibility he was the terrorist. Time will tell.

Foose said...

Daniel Webster:

"There is no refuge from confession but suicide, and suicide is confession."

garage mahal said...

I'm a bit surprised at the radio silence from righties on the Knoxville shootings and the anthrax revelations. They're usually the first to want to talk about terrorist acts, especially on U.S. soil. Oh well.

downtownlad said...

Glenn Greenwald had the best post on the anthrax attacks the other day. and about how it was used to lead us into war on false premises. Of course the media is being delinquent on covering this, and the Bush Administration is obviously engaging in a cover up.

LutherM said...

I have a friend who used to be "a person of interest" in an investigation about alleged problems with some Federal Loan Guarantees.
No accusation was leaked to any newspaper, just to every bank and banker and government agency that he would ever deal with in the future.
The questions asked by the government were all arguably within the scope of protecting the citizens of the USA. My friend's chances of successfully suing the U.S. were "Slim and None, and Slim just left town."
So, after the passage of time, my friend has no recourse against the government, is out of pocket for lawyers' fees, and is not currently employed.

As for Dr. Ivins, it appears that many things can trigger the onset of depression. Being investigated by the U. S. Government, (accused of murder), seems like a powerful trigger for onset of the disease.
So try hard not to condemn Dr.Ivins. Anyone suffering from depression is a suicide risk, and, for them, taking their own life makes ABSOLUTE SENSE.
(If anyone wishes to learn how terrible depression feels, read William Styron's "Darkness Visible,a Memoir of Madness". Dick Cavett's recent two N. Y. Times op-ed articles touch on his own depression.)

As for the TRUTH about the Anthrax situation, we will probably never learn it.

Cedarford said...

Randy said...
As Ivins is dead, it is highly unlikely we will ever hear the full story.


As for the TRUTH about the Anthrax situation, we will probably never learn it.

Anytime there is a pile of dead bodies and a dead prime suspect, we always have people wanting to stand up and moan "now all the truth as to what ACTUALLY happened is forever lost".
As if that is somehow the wise and profound thing to say rather than the ignorant garbage it is when you have a dead perp but lots of evidence.
The suicide of the VT Killer or the combat death of Mohammed Atta on 9/11 still left no doubt who did those vile acts.


Lot of the usual posters deep into conspiracy crap.
Ignoring that the USA was days away from seeking capital murder indictments against Bruce Ivins.

His suicide doesn’t end that path. There are plenty of government mechanisms for iquiring, debating, trying, then assigning criminal and civil fault to a dead perp.

This should be a matter that is done in nearly full view (saving only high classified and intel sources & methods from the full public, not only disclosed in “private meetings with the Victim Families to Help Them Achieve Closure” as some have suggested.

Otherwise it just guarantees decades of the slimey Left like Greewald calling it an American leadership sactioned murder for profit, some calling it a false flag Russian ploy, others a false flag Zionist operation to commit us to taking out all the Zionist foes like a big, dumb manipulated Golem. Or decades of more “Mohammed Atta and the Anthrax” garbage, conspiracists that see it as all a big evil corporate scheme launched to get billions in biowar contracts - with agents of Big Pharma or NBC detection gear hawkers actually murdering Ivins and making it look like a suicide after 1st driving him psychotic….

Let it go to Grand Jury.

From there, a formal civil trial against his estate to establish guilt sounds best, even if his family has peanuts in assets. Closing this episode off is the object, not a few tens of thousands of dollars for “the poor victim families”.

Other options include the infamous “Bipartisan Political Commission”, or a perhaps more palatable National Moot Court heard by distinguished, retired, non-political judges, prosecutors (No Rudy!No semi-senile O'Connor with her asinine "tests"..). People with security clearances and heard and decided by a regular jury.

===================
Luthern - So try hard not to condemn Dr.Ivins. Anyone suffering from depression is a suicide risk.

If he did it, not only do I condemn him, I hope he roasts in hell.

somefeller said...

As the old saying goes, suicide is an admission of guilt.

Beth said...

I find it hard to think being under suspicion turned Ivins into a homicidal/suicidal personality. Stephen Hatfill, his colleague, was under suspicion for what, five years? It's only since 2006 that they started looking at Ivins, and in the meantime, everyone in that lab was also considered suspect.

William said...

What was so scary about the anthrax scare was that it took just one bright individual to sabotage a basic service of civilization....The sniper nut and his young companion in the Wash-Virginia area weren't even all that bright...There are so many moving parts, many with a zero tolerance for error, that keep civilization pumping out the goodies that it's a wonder it all hangs together-- especially when you consider how many would love to see it all fall apart....The guy that crashed his car into the airport in Glasgow was a brain surgeon. Given sufficient time and motivation, many brain surgeons could think up a nastier device than the one he used...It is pleasant to think that the apocalypse is a function of global warming and can be foreclosed by eliminating SUVs. But what if the apocaplypse is a function of some softly smiling madman who has discovered a whole new use for radioactive isotopes?

LoafingOaf said...

If you were innocent and smart enough to be a high-level scientist, wouldn't you understand why you had to be investigated, suck it up, and deal with it? Isn't consciousness of guilt the most likely cause of the suicide and the murder threats that preceded it?

I think it's equally likely that he offed himself because he was guilty or that he offed himself because he just couldn't handle being hounded, harassed, and investigated and this pushed him over the edge even though he wasn't guilty.

When you say a person should just "suck it up", well I don't know all that he was having to suck up and deal with. The authorities can be pretty hardcore and wicked when they're after you in a big case like that, and they have shown over the years that they sometimes give that treatment to innocent people.

That other scientist, Steven Hatfill, wasn't handling being a "person of interest" too well, either, and he WAS innocent. He sued and got millions of dollars because the government to egregiously violated him, were out to destroy his reputation, and violated his rights. So it must've been bad for him, and if he had sunk into deep depression over it he may have offed himself too.

I'm not saying I think the guy was innocent. I have no idea. But I think an innocent man might very well turn to suicide under those kinds of circumstances and not be able to hold on to try and vindicate himself in court.

Revenant said...

I'm a bit surprised at the radio silence from righties on the Knoxville shootings and the anthrax revelations.

I'd be surprised too, especially since it would mean I had fallen into a parallel universe in which Michelle Malkin, Hugh Hewitt, Ace of Spades, Free Republic, Townhall and Instapundit didn't actually cover those stories. But fortunately I checked, and I'm still here on the real Earth.

I'm sorry to hear about your unfortunate adventures in space-time, though, garage. Tell me, what color is the sky on your new homeworld?

Randy said...

I'm not saying I think the guy was innocent. I have no idea. But I think an innocent man might very well turn to suicide under those kinds of circumstances and not be able to hold on to try and vindicate himself in court.

I agree. If he was guilty, here's hoping he left a suicide note admitting guilt, preferably one that was not mailed.

Revenant said...

loafingoaf,

You're right that the feds can and do hound people mercilessly. It is easy to see how that could lead an unstable man to suicide (although Ivins' past behavior seems more HOMIcidal).

However, if the press is to be believed (a huge "if") the grand jury was handing down indictments against him. That suggests they had far more evidence pointing to Ivins than they ever did for Hatfill.

LoafingOaf said...

As Ivins is dead, it is highly unlikely we will ever hear the full story. We will doubtless hear the FBI's version, though. Whether or not that version bears any resemblance to the truth remains to be seen.

Maybe they were TRYING to drive him to suicide because they thought he was guilty but didn't think they had a strong case!

Here, read about Dr. Hatfill, who says the government was trying to destroy his life, and its taken him years to begin to clear his name: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/02/us/02hatfill.html

Why does the government have to leak to the media when they are investigating a "person of interest"? That clearly could push an innocent person to suicide. An FBI agent even drove a car over his foot and HE got ticketed for it!

I think the authorities should conduct more proper and lawful investigations before I'm gonna say suspects prove their guilt when they can't take the heat and kill themself.

LoafingOaf said...

However, if the press is to be believed (a huge "if") the grand jury was handing down indictments against him. That suggests they had far more evidence pointing to Ivins than they ever did for Hatfill.

Well, I guess all this is helping Hatfill clear his name, so maybe something good comes of it.

AllenS said...

Re Ivins: As the old saying goes suicide is an admission of guilt.

Re Edwards: Ducking into a bathroom and calling security to avoid reporters is an admission of guilt.

Beth said...

That suggests they had far more evidence pointing to Ivins than they ever did for Hatfill.

Hatfill certainly suffered under this investigation -- and it appears that the FBI's stubborn focus on him for five years was misfounded, and held up the investigation. But if Ivins was innocent, he had Hatfill's example of how to fight back; in light of that, I think his choice indicates guilt.

blake said...

There are so many moving parts, many with a zero tolerance for error,

Not so. It has considerable tolerance for error. It even has considerable tolerance for outright malice.

Where civilization is fragile is in tolerance for the low-level evil called corruption. That's what eats away the infrastructure, gives us broken roads and collapsing bridges and levees, and ultimately impairs the functioning of society.

At least, I think that's how Will Durant had it.

Pastafarian said...

I agree that he was probably guilty, and I'm not sure why conservatives would want to avoid this topic -- there were plenty of good reasons to go into Iraq without a linkage between Saddam and this act of terrorism.

In light of how Iraq is going right now, I don't know of too many conservatives who are running from the subject.

Do you know what I'm reminded of, by this story of a scientist in an often overlooked field who perpetrates a fraud to draw attention to his field, despite horrible damage that could be caused to other people and society as a whole by said fraud?

Climatologists.

So I, for one, find this to be an interesting topic.

Ann Althouse said...

"When you say a person should just "suck it up"..."

Be careful. I did not say a person SHOULD just suck it up. I was not telling anyone what they ought to do. I was expressing the belief that the kind of person who would be under investigation here, a very smart scientist, would be the kind of person whose rationality would get him through the necessary ordeal (if he were innocent). Those are very different things.

Methadras said...

Dr. Ivins was among the scientists who benefited from [the massive federal spending on research dealing with anthrax terrorism]

Sort of like the large spending on research headed towards global warming and climatology that is based on global warming? Yeah, you can see the hysterical parallels.

Methadras said...

downtownlad said...

Of course the media is being delinquent on covering this, and the Bush Administration is obviously engaging in a cover up.


CNN, Fox, all the alphabets, Reuters, shit, even Google news has reported on this. It must be hard negotiating the notion that your reality of having a pillow underneath your pelvis while you are biting the sheets gets in the way of the simplest premises of the truth. Also, since this is an obvious Bush cover-up, I'm going to give you at least a week to provide proof of this. Since it's so obvious that is. Hey, maybe with all the pillow biting you could stick a TV in front of your face while you start your next round of multi-tasking, you delusional drech.

Revenant said...

But if Ivins was innocent, he had Hatfill's example of how to fight back; in light of that, I think his choice indicates guilt.

He appears to have had a long history of mental instability. I don't think we can conclude that his suicide indicates guilt. Depression can lead to suicide even if there is no *logical* reason to expect bad things in the future.

Pogo said...

Guilty?
Impossible to tell from this information. But given the murderous type of discussions revealed by his therapist, signs point to yes.

A rational and balanced person can survive alot. Being hounded by the authorities even though innocent suggests the 'fight back' approach, or perhaps one might adopt a stoic frame of mind.

But many people are not rational, even scientists. Life can come to resemble Kafka's The Trial rather quickly.

Evidence plus suicide equals guilt.
Suicide without evidence equals escape. But from what? Guilt? Depression? Anxiety? Insanity?

If I've learned one thing in my short stay on this earth, it's that people are seldom heroes. The stiff upper lip rational attitude to false accusations requires an heroic mind. Few have this, in my view.

Very few.

Beth said...

I don't think we can conclude that his suicide indicates guilt.

Sure - but I'm deliberately saying "indicates," not "proves." I'm not of the "we'll never know" school, but a conclusion depends on the FBI presenting evidence and making a good case. Will they now that he's dead? I think they ought to.

AlphaLiberal said...

We need to have an independent investigation of the anthrax killings. It's just too weird that a US government scientist with hard right-wing views posed as an Islamic fundamentalist and poisoned Democrats and the news media.

"Why did he kill himself if not for his guilt" doesn't cover it. He could kill himself for other reasons or someone else could have killed him and made it look like a suicide. We don't have conclusive evidence and absolutely should not trust the Bush Justice Department for one second.

Meanwhile, "anonymous government sources" pushed the line that Iraq was behind the poison and, as Glenn Greenwald has pointed out, MSM like ABC News pounded the Iraq anthrax story.

Before someone puts words in my mouth, I'm not saying one thing or another happened. I'm saying it's not done and we need an independent investigation with full access to Executive Branch materials.

PatCA said...

His psychiatrist was scared to death of him and asked for a restraining order in 2000. Of course, the tape of the hearing could easily have been manipulated.

Anyone might ask, what other event occurred in 2000? Yup, the election of Satan...er, Bush. And a scant 18 months later, 9/11.

Building 7. I rest my case.

AlphaLiberal said...

The New Republic is also demanding that news outlets stop defending lying sources who told them the anthrax came from Iraq.

And, also, we're reminded John McCain was pushing the Iraq-anthrax line. Think a journalist will ask him about that? I wouldn't bet on it!

AlphaLiberal said...

Bonging and blogging, patca? That was a pretty weak attempt at ridicule. You need at least some logic. You're not really making sense.

LoafingOaf said...

patca: His psychiatrist was scared to death of him and asked for a restraining order in 2000. Of course, the tape of the hearing could easily have been manipulated.

Your story doesn't say that. It says a SOCIAL WORKER sought a restraining order on July 24, 2008, and at that hearing she claimed that others had diagnosed him as a homicidal, sociopathic maniac and that she, as a mere social worker, thinks that's true. She claims he was a revenge killer who was a homicidal maniac before the Anthrax attacks even took place. It's kinda odd that we'd have a scientist working with anthrax who was a deranged maniac, don't you think? Or maybe he wasn't a deranged maniac, but started behaving like a mentally ill person while being investigated because it was driving him to insanity? One article I saw said the FBI was purposely removing all the support in his life that would help a person psychologically deal with being the focus of an investigation. We also saw how the authorities were pulling every trick (some illegal, such as leaks to the media) on Hatfill - an innocent man - to destroy his life and reputation.

Another story I read on this said that the social worker recieved voice mails from him saying that she had ruined his life and because of her actions the authorities were going to prosecute him for murder. This doesn't mean he's guilty. It could mean he felt she had done something that would get him falsely prosecuted.

Again, I'm just playing devil's advocate. How do you know this social worker isn't a crackpot? She seems to make diagnoses she's not qualified to make.

All I know is I haven't seen any real proof that Ivins did the attacks. Maybe he did and maybe we'll see the evidence soon. Alpha's right that we need an independent investigation.

(BTW, you have a problem with your link. When people click on it, delete the "/" at the end of the URL and it'll take you there.

LoafingOaf said...

Be careful. I did not say a person SHOULD just suck it up. I was not telling anyone what they ought to do. I was expressing the belief that the kind of person who would be under investigation here, a very smart scientist, would be the kind of person whose rationality would get him through the necessary ordeal (if he were innocent). Those are very different things.

Sorry I didn't read you closely enough. But I saw a story that said the authorities were trying to isoloate him from things that would help give him support through the investigation. Now we're being told by the media that he was a deranged, homicidal, sociopathic lunatic all the way back in college. Isn't it odd that someone like that would be working with anthrax? And that his co-workers don't appear to be agreeing with the media portrayals of him?

If he was a homicidal sociopath going back years, he probably was guilty. But we've seen before that someone can be made out to seem like a deranged lunatic in the media when it isn't true.

Anyway, a full, independent investigation is required. And authorities who leaked stuff to the media about Hatfill (the last time the authorities were sure they had their man) should be exposed and prosecuted.

LoafingOaf said...

Here's an NPR discussion where we learn that Ivins' colleagues do not think his suicide is proof of guilt and that they saw nothing that resembled what the social worker described at the restraining order hearing last week. Click here to listen.

It also says they had taken Ivins' family members to separate locations to intensely interrogate them, and while doing so they told his children that their father was guilty of all these things.

PatCA said...

The article calls her a therapist and/or a social worker. She cites reports of examinations by psychiatrists who examined him and refer to him as a sociopathic killer--in 2000! Believe me, forensic psychs do not make these statements often, or lightly.

Whatever her degree was, the hearing and the evidence of his behavior PRE-DATE 9/11/01 and the anthrax attacks.

Yes, his suicide is no proof of guilt, and we may never know who did it, but the 2000 date of the hearing suggests that now linking this to Bush or the DOJ or Iraq is beyond ludicrous.

It's pointless for me to comment further, in jest or not, until you take off your tin foil hats, so carry on without me...

AlphaLiberal said...

Other views from people who knew Mr. Ivins:

"I really don't think he's the guy. I say to the FBI, 'Show me your evidence,"' said Jeffrey Adamovicz, formerly of the US Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases. "

"Jaye Holly, who lived next door to Mr Ivins until she and her husband moved to New York a month ago, said she could not believe that her former neighbour would endanger others for financial gain. "That's not the Bruce we knew. He was sweet, friendly. "

Doubts arise on FBI anthrax suspect

Loafingoaf makes a good point about the pressure of the investigation, itself. From this article:

"In tactics the researchers considered heavy-handed and often threatening, they were interviewed and polygraphed as early as 2002, and reinterviewed many times. Their labs were searched, and their computers and equipment carted away. The FBI eventually focused on Mr Ivins, whom federal prosecutors were planning to indict when he committed suicide last week."

More at the link.

Ivins could be a fall guy.

Revenant said...

It's just too weird that a US government scientist with hard right-wing views posed as an Islamic fundamentalist and poisoned Democrats and the news media.

What's weird about it? Who would you expect a crazy person with "hard right-wing views" to want to kill, if not left-wingers?

I'm saying it's not done and we need an independent investigation with full access to Executive Branch materials.

Feel free to say it. You're not going to get one.

Revenant said...

Isn't it odd that someone like that would be working with anthrax?

No more odd than the idea that a child molester could end up working with children. Unless there's a criminal conviction in your background all sorts of serious mental problems can go unnoticed.

And that his co-workers don't appear to be agreeing with the media portrayals of him?

Perhaps he was good at feigning normal social interaction; psychotics and sociopaths often are. Think Ted Bundy, for example. Heck, think of the average wife-beating husband who seems so normal to his neighbors and friends.

I'm not saying he's guilty, but the objections you raise are no reason to doubt the possibility of his guilt.

AlphaLiberal said...

Bush wanted to pin anthrax blame on al Qaeda, Iraq.

So, he didn't really care if the perpetrator was found. He just wanted to assign blame to help his goals; more war.

jOSE Zamora said...

Of course Bruce Ivins is a terrorist!
Only a guilty person (..terrorist) tends to become suicidal. Just look at him. He fits the discription. Very much like Bush! Another form of terrorist!

pirates920 said...

Stephen J. Hatfill be locked up in jail. Did anybody know that after the original attacks a fake white powder was sent in a letter to one of the senators. That letter was postmarked from England. And guess where Mr. Hatfill was training when that letter was sent? thats right England. And when the worst Anthrax epidemic occured in Rhodesia guess where Mr. Hatfill was hooked up with the rebel group that was responsible for that epidemic? Rhodesia.Hatfill had lived in Rhodesia for years after "leaving" the biochemical army lab and lived one mile away from a mostly white sub area of Rhodesia's main city. This area was called Greendale and had an elementary school called greendale. Does anyone remember that the rebels behind the Rhodesia epidemic were anti-white. the fake return adress on the original letters was a Greendale elementary school but only in New Jersey. And that Hatfill was perscribed a medication for treating anthrax in 02'.