Friday, March 05, 2010

Duley on Ivins

CNN's Anderson Cooper ran a feature last night on the mysterious therapist who was seeing USAMRIID microbiologist Bruce Ivins before he died, Jean Duley. FBI says Ivins was the anthrax killer, Duley said she's sure of it. I'm fairly sure but not as sure as she is.

But she was there, at least towards the end. And her testimony matches the circumstantial evidence. Yet CNN didn't make a big effort of pointing out her own troubles with the law leading up to her involvement and the possibility she got helped by helping. It would have been nicer had they had gotten the psychiatrist who called him homicidal and sociopathic rather than a therapist, although she seems to be telling an honest story (but I'm far from a body language expert).

While the evidence is convincing I still have a few nagging questions. For instance, if Ivins was emotionally unstable how hard would it be for him to hide his involvement from co-workers all these years? The constant back and forth of a professional life, eating lunch in the cafeteria and dealing with meetings and deadlines and such, all while assisting the FBI and working with infectious diseases while under emotional stress AND the stress of being the unintended murderer of five people--seems a hard task. I say unintended because there's a conventional wisdom that he did it as a patriotic gesture to help America withstand a bio attack and never intended to murder anyone. Does his involvement actually suggest he was more the vicious murderin' type all along and not a hero? It would be interesting to hear perspective from his colleagues and a few mental health professionals on that question.

Also, I don't see the double overwrites in the Brokaw letter quite the way others do. To me it appears that both "O"s in the "death to.." sentences are overwrites. There's clearly a double loop there. This seems crucial because if only one letter is off the code is off and the link to Ivins (and his pet peeves PAT and FNY) is weakened.

Anyway, whatever the case Ivins once asked the FBI towards the end how they could think he was the anthrax killer. Yeah, it's what a perp might say and it doesn't establish innocence by any means but I get the feeling he wasn't the boldest of individuals, which could perhaps explain that comment if it wasn't subterfuge.

He obviously had problems with women. The evidence suggests his marriage wasn't very strong yet they never pinned him with any lovers, hookers, etc, only women he harassed or communicated with over the internet. And when these women would object to his behavior he would back off. When the sorority house objected to his harassment, he backed off.

According to Duley he made plans to go out in a blaze of glory but telegraphed everything beforehand to his therapy group. Sorta takes away the surprise. Did he chicken out or was he announcing this in an effort to be committed permanently so more people wouldn't die (which leads back to the above question about noble intentions)? Instead he ended it all with Tylenol and didn't leave a note just months after being busted as a cross-dresser. It's sensitive and none of my damn business, but wonder what his wife thinks about all this now?

Some are lobbying for an independent investigation and that would be nice--just to nail down the science--but it's hard to believe there's enough support in Congress for keeping this sore subject alive. Even Glenn Greenwald, who was all over it in 2008 when Ivins was first announced and who said this late last year:
UPDATE: Marcy Wheeler notes that the FBI has become increasingly defiant towards requests that its claims be reviewed by an independent panel; of course, that couldn't happen unless the White House and Congress permitted it to.
..has not yet penned a Salon article about the closing of the case. Not sure if this means he's still working on one or whether he was simply overwhelmed with the circumstantial evidence, or whether he's lost all his vigor for Bush-bashing.

Because let's face it, most of the undercurrent for questioning the FBI's motives in fingering Bruce Ivins has been wrapped around the faint hope it was really a Rove-Cheney operation or perhaps something cooked up by Big Vaccine or Defense (just don't call them anti-government types).

MORE 3/8/10

Is it possible that Ivins was guilty but at the same time was not a lone wolf? In August 2008 his older brother Tom was interviewed by several media outlets. The guy sounded like a real winner--not sorry his brother was dead, calling him a wuss and figuring he was guilty. But here's how he put it:
"People around him used his position to do this," said Tom Ivins, who settled in Middletown after suffering a stroke. "I think it happened and somebody influenced him, making him think he wasn't doing wrong."
If he had not talked to his brother in 20 years how would he know this? Who was talking to him about his brother, and why were they mentioning a crowd rather than just him? Meanwhile, before the Ivins story broke Fox News had this story in early 2008 that stated the following:
The FBI has narrowed its focus to "about four" suspects in the 6 1/2-year investigation of the deadly anthrax attacks of 2001, and at least three of those suspects are linked to the Army’s bioweapons research facility at Fort Detrick in Maryland, FOX News has learned.
Unless this was disinformation designed to get Ivins to make a move--and admittedly that's a big likelihood--then the only conclusion is they had others under suspicion right to the bitter end. With all the circumstantial evidence pointing to Ivins it's amazing they could have been seriously considering anyone else.


Anonymous said...

The October 4, 2001 - October 8, 2001 emails show that Dr. Ivins knew that Stevens had died and so the suggestion he could have been responsible for the second mailings -- not intending to kill anyone -- is contradicted by the documentary evidence. The DOJ has refused to provide the 5 pages of contemporaneous handwritten notations detailing what Ivins did the lab. An expert (see 1/25/2007 302 interview statement) says what he was doing was a one-man job and would take about 2 hours. He was involved in an animal experiment requiring that observations be made on the health of the animals. No attorney should be heard to characterize evidence that they refuse to produce -- especially when so centrally relevant. The pages being withheld are a record of what he was doing when the DOJ attorney SPECULATES that contrary to the description being withheld he was actually powderizing anthrax. Given that the pages withheld relate to rabbits (see email after 3 days of challenges), and not mice as said by the DOJ attorney, a serious question is raised as to whether the writer even saw the pages. AUSA Kenneth Kohl was the lead Amerithrax attorney.

A.C. McCloud said...

Here's the problem, though. Everything the FBI has that has been confirmed is extremely damning to Ivins. If they were going to frame someone they couldn't have had a more perfect pigeon fall into their laps.

Yes, we're talking about a WMD attack here so it's hard for many to nail this shut without the direct evidence (especially those convinced it was Cheney), especially when the individual bits of evidence, when taken by themselves, can be explained.

For instance, the email he sent to CDC on the day the Stevens attack was announced could have been nothing more than an attempt by one of the leading researchers on the planet to gain info on a possible bioterror attack, considering he knew he might later be involved in trying to analyze the material. It's reasonable to assume that most of the staff at USAMRIID were acutely concerned about the possibility of such a thing after 9/11. But when taken with all the rest of the evidence it's one more thing that makes him look guilty.