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BREAKING: Anthrax suspect dies in apparent suicide

Apparently the Feds finally cracked it and the guy checked out as they where getting close. The LA Times has the scoop but they are getting bombed so I link you to a few syndicated sites: Link 1 Link 2

The dude had the cred for days and days.

Here's a cut from the LA Times piece:

Anthrax suspect dies in apparent suicide

One of the nation's top biodefense researchers has died in Maryland from an apparent suicide, just as the Justice Department was to file criminal charges against him in the anthrax mailing assaults of 2001 that killed five, the Los Angeles Times has learned.

Bruce E. Ivins, 62, who for the past 18 years worked at the government's elite biodefense research laboratories at Fort Detrick, Md., had been informed of the impending prosecution, people familiar with Ivins, his suspicious death and with the FBI investigation said.

Ivins' name had not been disclosed publicly as a suspect in the case that disrupted mail service and Senate business three weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The Maryland scientist had for years played a pivotal role in research to improve anthrax vaccines, preparing anthrax formulations used in experiments on animals.

Regarded as a skilled microbiologist, Ivins also had helped the FBI analyze the powdery material recovered from one of the anthrax-tainted envelopes sent to a U.S. senator's office in Washington, D.C.

Ivins died Tuesday at Frederick Memorial Hospital after having ingested a massive dose of prescription Tylenol mixed with codeine, said a friend and colleague who declined to be identified out of concern, he said, that he would be harassed by the FBI.

The death -- without any mention of suicide -- was announced to Ivins' colleagues at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, or USAMRIID, through a staffwide e-mail.

More as we learn it.


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Comments (17)

Did you read the comments o... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

Did you read the comments on the Kansas City article? Yeesh.

"Sounds like he knew too much and they offed him..."

"The government offed him and then set him up as a patsy..."

The black helicopters, tin foil, fire can't melt steel crowd rears its ugly head.

Remember Dr. Hatfield? They... (Below threshold)
Allen:

Remember Dr. Hatfield? They said the same BS about him, well he sued the feds, and won a nice chunk of change from us taxpayers.

Show the proof, and maybe it will stand up to light. But don't hold your breath.

"Show the proof, and may... (Below threshold)

"Show the proof, and maybe it will stand up to light. But don't hold your breath."

Don't hold my breath? Seriously?

So you don't think the fact that a person who worked in that field for 18 years and killed himself when the Feds simply informed him he would be prosecuted is any indication of his potential involvement?

The prosecution process would have been an opportunity for Ivins to exonerate himself. You know. Just like the same Dr. Hatfield you mentioned in your own comment.

Did Ivins leave a suicide n... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Did Ivins leave a suicide note? If so, did he confess? Did he give reasons for either the attacks or his suicide? Assuming Ivins was the source of the anthrax attacks, it's important to know how he was able to launch them undetected. If one can do it then others with access to even more deadly means can also launch attacks. Fixing the system should be the top priority.

From the Times:<bloc... (Below threshold)
Anon Y. Mous:

From the Times:


One of his longtime colleagues told The Times that Ivins, who was being treated for depression, indicated to a therapist that he was considering suicide.

Soon thereafter, family members and local police officers escorted Ivins from USAMRIID, where his access to sensitive areas was curtailed, the colleague said.

Ivins was committed to a facility in Frederick for treatment of his depression. On July 24, he was released from the facility, operated by Sheppard Pratt Health System. A telephone call that same day by The Times verified that Ivins' government voice mail was still functioning at the bacteriology division of USAMRIID.

The scientist faced forced retirement, planned for September, said his longtime colleague, who described Ivins as emotionally fractured by the federal scrutiny.

"He didn't have any more money to spend on legal fees. He was much more emotionally labile, in terms of sensitivity to things, than most scientists. . . . He was very thin-skinned."

From the known facts, one possible interpretation is that he knew he was caught and so he killed himself. Another is that in his depressed, suicidal and financially-strained condition, he was unable to face the prospect of a federal prosecution for something he didn't do.

I haven't seen enough evidence to convince me of anything, one way or the other, but after seeing how things turned out with Hatfield, I'm in no hurry to jumped to any conclusion without some solid evidence.

My last comment had blockqu... (Below threshold)
Anon Y. Mous:

My last comment had blockquotes around everything from the beginning up through "thin-skinned". The preview showed it formatted that way, but it didn't actually post that way. I have noticed previously that formatting will show up one way in the preview and then be different in the actual post. All I can say is Arrrrrgg!

My best guess is that he wa... (Below threshold)

My best guess is that he was going to be charged with lying to the FBI, a la Scooter Libby, and perhaps obstruction. It is possible though very unlikely that at this late date the FBI had enough evidence to arrest him, or anyone, for the murders themselves.

Perhaps Ivins was in a posi... (Below threshold)
groucho:

Perhaps Ivins was in a position to shed light on the details of why the anthrax was sent to Sens. Leahy and Daschle, both, coincidentally, key votes in the then impending approval of the initial Patriot Act. The gang of criminal reprobates currently in power have proven time and again that they are absolutely beyond any ethical or moral scruples when it comes to twisting and reshaping the government to fit their sick vision.

I'd really like to believe the best, but I put nothing past them at this point.

"I haven't seen enough e... (Below threshold)

"I haven't seen enough evidence to convince me of anything, one way or the other, but after seeing how things turned out with Hatfield, I'm in no hurry to jumped to any conclusion without some solid evidence."

I'd just like to add one more comment. Obviously, there is still a lot about Mr. Ivins we don't know. I'm not jumping to conclusions, and I do believe in innocence until proven guilty in a court of law. But; whenever anyone commits suicide just as law enforcement is closing in, I remain very skeptical (remember--being skeptical is much different than being convinced or concluding) of the person's innocence as an observer until proven otherwise. That's just common sense. I'm definitely interested in seeing all the evidence, one way or the other.

Don't forget that law enforcement is keenly aware of the Hatfield case, and I'm betting with that history and the fact that this is a high profile case, that they've learned their lesson and are carefully crossing their T's and dotting their I's.

I'm with Blogical. Given t... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

I'm with Blogical. Given the FBI's past track record on this case, Ivins stood to make a bundle if they'd screwed the pooch again. And don't give me any of that 'he couldn't afford legal help'. Lawyers would have fallen all over themselves to take the case on contingency for 30% of the 'winnings'. Hatfield got 6 million, you think they would not ask for at least double that if the case was botched again?

Hatfill, Hatfill, Hatfill, ... (Below threshold)

Hatfill, Hatfill, Hatfill, please, folks.

Chuck:Thanks! You... (Below threshold)

Chuck:

Thanks! You're absolutely right--I was referring to Hatfill, not Hatfield. Sorry for the error.

"The dude had the cred f... (Below threshold)

"The dude had the cred for days and days."

Paul, I'm sorry to be so simple, but I'm not sure exactly what you mean by the "cred". Could you please spell it out since I'm being so thick on this?

Thanks. And it's good to see you post a few lately.

Judging by how they handled... (Below threshold)
LenS:

Judging by how they handled Hatfill, the FBI probably just waited until someone among the various scientists with anthrax access in the US died (suicide, natural causes, car accident, whatever) and then tells everyone that this was the guy. Case closed since the dead guy can't defend himself.

The suicide does not point ... (Below threshold)
epador:

The suicide does not point towards guilt or innocence, only a depressed man who felt he had no better alternative, had the means available, and made the sad choice to end his life.

Telling someone who has just been released for a prolonged hospitalization for depression they are about to be charged with such a nefarious case would be near to homicide, regardless of their guilt or innocence.

The latest AP break on this... (Below threshold)
epador:

The latest AP break on this shows a therapist thought he was a serial psychopathic killer. That certainly narrows down the possibilities. If the leaked info is accurate, he's the bad guy.

Tom to answer you a few day... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Tom to answer you a few days later... I was making the point that he was VERY well established in his field and that his field was Anthrax.

The was clearly an expert in that field.

Could he have done it? I dunno. The more I read the skeptical I am. Time will tell.

I had had to make a bet I would bet against it but it's only about a 55% hunch right now.

It's an "easy" case for the FBI to prove. And that's a dual edged sword. By that I mean there are so many things we don't know proving any one of them pretty much nails him...

Can we prove he took the 200 mile drive that day?... Did he pay a toll or get gas with a gas card in the area?

Where the HECK did he make the stuff? It apparently required equipment his lab did not have. (so I've read) If they find that equipment in his basement he's pretty much the guy...

On the other hand, because there are so many easy ways to connect him to this, the failure to produce even one solid link will speak volumes.

Where DID he make the stuff?




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