Sunday, August 03, 2008

Anthrax questions, con't

The FBI either stands to be heroes or the worst bunch of bungling keystone cops ever seen when this is all over. Maybe that's why my fellow right wing bloggers are pretending this story doesn't exist. Surely they haven't missed the blizzard of stories reminiscent of 2001.

The allegations are flying around like rush hour at O'Hare. From the NBC News "Deep Background" site:
Revenge killer:
“He is a revenge killer,” Ms. Duley told a Maryland District Court judge on the tape. “When he feels that he has been slighted, and especially towards women, he plots and actually tries to carry out revenge killings.”
There are a lot of smells in this ordeal, but this is perhaps the smelliest. Some questions:

1. Why would someone admit to planning a mass killing in a group therapy session? Is it possible he was just agitated and she misinterpreted or overreacted? Can anyone else at the therapy session corroborate her story? It might be reasonable to assume a man might purchase protection if he thought his co-workers were railroading him into a death penalty charge with the FBI looking for a new fall guy after Hatfill was exonerated, especially if he was "eccentric".

2. Revenge? For what? She suggests he wanted to get back at co-workers. Are we to presume they helped direct the FBI to him? Any personal issues there? Why didn't this happen in 2002? She also mentioned "women". Was there a woman at the lab he had issues with? If so, why? Does any of that prove he was the killer?

3. She said he had been "forensically diagnosed as a sociopathic homicidal killer". What does she mean "killer"? Did he confess to her? In this country he's innocent until proven a "killer". Did the FBI freak her out by saying he was the anthrax killer? What were the details of her cooperation?

4. Where did she get the poisoning story? If this was known to his superiors in 2000 it's hard to believe he would have kept his security clearance. Does his personnel file show anything? One thing we know it does show--he got the highest award possible 3 years later.

Seems we could use a bit more information on Ms. Duley. But aside from her there are several other questions coming to mind:

1. First they said the anthrax was potent and could have only come from a few labs around the world. Then they said it was garden variety. Now they are back to saying it had to come from the Fort. Was any missing or did he take strains to some outside location and brew it? How does that work? Surely the security cameras confirmed that none had been stolen because the FBI once dragged a lake in the DC area looking for brewing equipment. Where did Ivins brew it?

2. The FBI was set to look like the biggest bunch of keystone cops in the world with Hatfill out of the picture and no new suspect in his place. Was there any desperation involved in finding a new suspect? Perhaps we'll see when they release the evidence next week.

3. If he was indeed a threatening homicidal maniac as Duley said, what caused him to change his mind and kill only himself? No suicide note--did he use Tylenol to make it appear accidental in an effort to help his family? Why no autopsy?

The right might be on ignore mode, but the left is going apoplectic on this story, insinuating Ivins was killed to cover some Bush inside job. No doubt Waxman will soon be involved as well. Their main smoking gun is a story from liberal Richard Cohen of the WaPo who claims somebody instructed him to use Cipro right after 9/11 and before the letter attacks occurred. Good. grief.

As if there was no previous history with anthrax and toxic agents. Do they not remember Defense Sec William Cohen holding that bag of sugar? Or heck, the reason we bombed al-Shifa? Do they not remember our troops being vaccinated during the Clinton years? Are they oblivious to the top-level "mad scientist" we just killed, associated with al Qaeda's fledgling bio program? Apparently in their BDS that answer is yes. As a result their smoking gun is more like a novelty cigarette lighter.

That doesn't mean there aren't questions. Hopefully they'll be addressed by the Feds this week as they close the case. Maybe they won't--we can go from there. But before presuming him guilty let's not forget the work Mr. Ivins, Steven Hatfill and countless others have been doing on some very sensitive issues to keep the American people safe from bio attacks, long since lost in this shuffle.

MORE 8/3/08

Ms. Duley has apparently retreated to an "undisclosed location" according to her fiance, which will surely bring with it references to Cheney. But who can blame her? If the FBI has clear evidence they plan to release to the press Monday, which convinces most people Ivins was the killer, then the pressure on her will subside.

Meanwhile, the question of whether an autopsy was performed is still unclear:
Maryland's chief medical examiner, Dr. David Fowler, confirmed Saturday that the cause of Ivins' death was found to be an overdose of acetaminophen, the active drug in Tylenol; and that it was ruled a suicide based on information from police and doctors, according to the AP.

Kimberly Thomas, a forensic examiner with the Maryland Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, would not comment Saturday on results from Ivins' autopsy or confirm Dr. Fowler's statement.
The first paragraph suggests the ME ruled based on police and hospital officials, the second suggests there was an autopsy. Before thinking that's some kind of smoking gun consider how often the media has been wrong on this story, dating back to 2001 and proceed from there.

MORE 8/3/08

CNN is breaking a DNA story, saying they've matched DNA from a flask in Ivins' lab to the powder used in the letters. This was hinted Friday when they said there was "new technology" available to directly link the powder to the lab. The article also backs up Ed Lake's evidence theory (they needed to wait for the technology to make their case in court, which means the rest is probably circumstantial).

Some might point out Ivins himself was working with the evidence anthrax but even if some kind of cross-contamination occurred that still puts the origin in the lab. To a layman it seems like a bio facility of that nature would have enough security to notice somebody stealing or doing nefarious things but maybe not, since all it takes is a small container to do a lot of damage. Guess we'll have to wait for the real document.


LASunsett said...

Every generation needs an event that can propagate conspiracy theories, left and right. This appears to be the one for this generation.

Honestly, you raise a lot of valid questions here. But I am not confident there will ever be answers that everyone will be able to accept. No matter what info comes out now, there will be some that will not believe it.

Had there been an arrest and a trial, this would have a better chance of getting aired out and some semblance of a motive could be established.

As for my thoughts, the whole thing has stunk from day one. Today it's as murky to me as the day the story broke. We may never know the truth, due to the countless smokecreens that have been thrown already.

A.C. McCloud said...

LA, I suspect money is also part of the smokescreen, ie, litigation money. The victims families have to be looking at Hatfill's windfall and saying "hey wait". Now since the Feds are saying a govt official did the deed, it'll be interesting to see how much they admit.