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The Bruce Ivins Anthrax Case coverage, not so good.

By       Message Elizabeth Ferrari     Permalink
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Memo to the our print press: Stop believing your faxes from the FBI about the anthrax case. They’re just making you look really, really bad.

David Willman at the L.A. Times put out what is being called “an independent investigation” of the anthrax case and man, I’m so glad my life doesn’t depend on it.

“Records show that the FBI missed signs pointing to Ivins in the deadly mailings: He used a restricted lab at key times and failed to provide a sample or report a supposed spill. The investigation instead remained locked on a former Army researcher."


Where do we begin? Sorry, David. The FBI lied to you about Ivins’ samples. He turned in the right sample but the FBI screwed up the labwork, as was reported in the New York Times this weekend. Then the FBI turned around and lied about it on CSPAN. This is the Bush Justice Department, after all. You believed them?


Similarly, Bruce Ivins reported that spill to his Ethics officer right away:


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So, who was this “the Army officer that concluded that Ivins' stealth bleaching of his work area was related to the anthrax mailings”? Because I bet he’s a great spinner of tales.

This entire story has been one embarrassing peep show of the AP, the Washington Post and the LA Times caught with their drawers down. Or, with their palms out, it’s hard to tell which. May it's just a matter of bad journalistic proxemics.

While the FBI has been feeding their sorry, falling apart excuse for a case to their media mules, they've also gagged potential contrarians in Frederick and at Ft. Detrick. Thank God they have the public good at heart, no?

Let's be clear. Bruce Ivins can't be placed in Florida or in New Jersey, where the anthrax letters were mailed. He didn't try to mislead the FBI with his samples. He didn't try to hide a spill in his lab. He had no particular reason to target Tom Daschle or Pat Leahy and he didn't seem very concerned about anyone else in particular in the mountain of his communications that are now a matter of public record.

He was not a loner. He took week long vacations with his brother and his nephew every year. He was a married man with two adopted children, was liked by his colleagues and neighbors. He mentored young scientists and went to rest homes with friends to entertain people with his juggling. He was active in his church and was known to write songs that humorously celebrated his co-worker's promotions.

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No expert not connected to the government seems to believe he had the skill or equipment to produce the anthrax product that was mailed to the public.

The only thing left to tar Bruce Ivins with is his mental health issues. For which he sought treatment and talked about frankly with friends.

This whole story isn't adding up, is it? Good enough for government work and for their adjuncts in our print press.


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Elizabeth Ferrari is a San Francisco author and activist.

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