Editorial: Is anthrax suspect guilty or not?
We need full disclosure in the anthrax case
An Orange County Register editorial
It seemed as if one of the more bizarre incidents of recent years – the sending of lethal anthrax powder, shortly after 9/11, to a few senators and newsmen, which led to the deaths of five people and injured 17 others – might have been on the verge of being resolved. FBI investigators had focused on one Bruce Ivins, an Army scientist who worked at the Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick in Maryland, and had access to anthrax and apparently the knowledge to convert it to powder.
Last week Bruce Ivins killed himself. Case closed? Maybe. But because most of the evidence pointing to Mr. Ivins seemed to be circumstantial, and because of the importance of the anthrax scare in creating the atmosphere in which it seemed logical to start a war against Iraq, the American people deserve to know everything possible about this case before it is considered resolved.
For starters, the FBI's record hardly inspires confidence. The government was recently ordered to pay $5.8 million to Dr. Stephen Hatfill, a medical doctor who also worked at the Ft. Detrick lab. The FBI and then-Attorney General John Ashcroft named him specifically as a "person of interest," he was harassed and badgered and had his life destroyed – and no charges were ever filed.