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U.S. officials: Scientist was anthrax killer

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U.S. officials: Scientist was anthrax killer

WASHINGTON - The government's case was circumstantial but seemingly damning.Army scientist Bruce Ivins had possession of purified anthrax spores linked to the deadly 2001 attacks. He worked alone.

He submitted false anthrax samples to FBI officials to throw investigators off his trail. He tried to frame unnamed co-workers and threatened to kill anyone who wronged him.

When investigators asked Ivins about his "late laboratory work hours," the brilliant yet deeply troubled 62-year-old didn't have an explanation.

As the circumstantial evidence mounted, authorities said, they were certain they had the perpetrator of the five anthrax poisoning deaths that followed closely after the airliner terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Then, when investigators told Ivins they were going to charge him in the deaths, he committed suicide.

"We regret that we will not have the opportunity to present evidence to the jury," U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Taylor said Wednesday as court documents in the case were unsealed and the government made its case publicly.

Ivins was solely responsible for the anthrax attacks, the government declared, saying only he had custody of highly purified anthrax spores with "certain genetic mutations identical" to the poison used in the attacks. Investigators also said they had traced back to his lab the type of envelopes used to send the deadly powder through the mails.

Ivins' attorney, Paul Kemp, said the government was "taking a weird guy and convicting him of mass murder" without real evidence.

Taylor conceded the evidence was largely, if not wholly, circumstantial. Noting that Ivins would have been entitled to a presumption of innocence, Taylor nevertheless said prosecutors were confident "we could prove his guilt to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt."

Portrait of increasingly desperate man

The newly released court records depict Ivins, who had been troubled by mental health problems for years, as increasingly desperate as he confronted the possibility of being charged.

"He said he was not going to face the death penalty, but instead had a plan to kill co-workers and other individuals who had wronged him," according to one affidavit. In e-mails to colleagues, Ivins described a feeling of dual personalities, the documents said.

The FBI's investigation had dragged on for years, tarnishing the reputation of the agency in the process. Investigators had long focused on Steven J. Hatfill, whose career as a bioscientist was ruined after then-Attorney General John Ashcroft named him a "person of interest" in the case in 2002. The government recently paid $6 million to settle a lawsuit by Hatfill, who worked in the same lab as Ivins.

Taylor said investigators concluded in 2005 that Hatfill couldn't have had access to a crucial flask of anthrax spores.

The prosecutor called the flask the murder weapon in the worst case of bioterror in the nation's history.

Authorities say that language Ivins used in an e-mail days before a second round of anthrax attacks was similar to the messages in anthrax-laced letters received soon after by Democratic Sens. Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy.

In the e-mail, Ivins wrote that "Bin Laden terrorists for sure have anthrax and sarin gas" and have "just decreed death to all Jews and all Americans." The letters to Daschle and Leahy said: "WE HAVE THIS ANTHRAX . . . DEATH TO AMERICA . . . DEATH TO ISRAEL."

Private meetings with victims' families

Wednesday's documents were released as FBI Director Robert Mueller met privately with families of the victims of the attacks to lay out the evidence officials.

As for motive, investigators seemed to offer two possible reasons for the attacks: that the brilliant scientist wanted to bolster support for a vaccine he helped create and that the anti-abortion Catholic targeted two pro-choice Catholic lawmakers.

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Ignore.

Edited by Zepling
Deleting. . .

Mayor Quimby: I'll admit I used the city treasury to fund the murder of my enemies, but as Gabbo would say, I'm a bad wittle boy.

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Now I'm not conspiracy theorist but I don't know how much I wanna believe the press or the government right now. The guy's death and his whole back story about having psychological problems feels to much like a cover up to me. Why would they keep a scientist that stocks women and threatens to kill people and coworkers? Just doesn't make sense.


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All hail piggy, king of bacon ^)^

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yeah... and conveniently he's a little too dead to answer any questions...

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