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Entries in Dr. Bruce Ivins (2)

Wednesday
Mar232011

Report: Anthrax Killer Should Not Have Had Army Security Clearance

FBI/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- An independent review of the psychiatric records of the alleged anthrax killer Dr. Bruce Ivins has revealed that the Army scientist should never have been given a security clearance or access to the deadly pathogen based on his psychological profile and diagnosable mental illness. The report also found that Ivins allegedly carried out the attacks for revenge following questions about his work with the anthrax vaccine.  The findings were made by the Expert Behavioral Analysis Panel, which was ordered by a federal judge to review Ivins’ sealed psychological records to determine if future acts of bioterrorism could be prevented.

“Dr. Ivins had a significant and lengthy history of psychological disturbance and diagnosable mental illness at the time he began working for USAMRIID in 1980 that would have disqualified him from a Secret level security clearance had this been known.” said panel chairman Dr. Gregory Saathoff at a Tuesday press conference in  Washington to announce the findings in the report. Dr. Saathoff is the executive director of the University of Virginia Critical Incident Analysis Group and associate professor of research psychiatry at the UVA medical school.

“Information regarding his disqualifying behaviors was readily available in the medical record and accessible to personnel had it been pursued,” the report concluded in its key findings.

The report also found in key findings that Dr. Ivins omitted key information during his security clearance process and that Army investigators did not follow up on conflicting information or review additional medical records that were available despite Ivins signing multiple waivers for his health records privacy.  
Information released in the report notes that Ivins was first treated by a psychiatrist in 1978 when he was a graduate student at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.   The report concluded, “Dr. Ivins was psychologically disposed to undertake the mailings; his behavioral history demonstrated his potential for carrying them out; and he had the motivation and the means.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb152011

Anthrax Attacks After 9/11: Was FBI's Suspect Really to Blame?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- It's a case that's been marked by controversy and mystery for nearly a decade: who was responsible for the deadly anthrax-laced letters sent after 9/11? On Tuesday, the National Academy of Science raised more questions.

A review panel said the FBI overstated the scientific evidence that linked the anthrax flask controlled by Dr. Bruce E. Ivins to the anthrax used in the 2001 attack letters. Dr. Ivins, a researcher at Ft. Detrick, MD., was identified by the FBI as the primary suspect in the case. He maintained his innocence until his suicide in 2008.

The cornerstone of the FBI case against Dr. Ivins was that the anthrax in the flask to which he had access -- labeled RMR-1029 -- had a unique make-up that identified it as the parent material for the anthrax in the attack letters. It took years of research for the FBI to conclude that the anthrax in the letters came from Dr. Ivins' flask, and they cited it as "powerful evidence" against him.

On Tuesday, Dr. David A. Relman, the vice chair of the NAS panel, said, "One cannot arrive at a definitive conclusion about the origins of the anthrax."

The review by the NAS concludes that while the anthrax in the letters was "consistent with" the RMR-1029 flask, that flask was not the "immediate source" of the spores used in the letters. The NAS found that one or more growth steps would have been required to produce the spores used in the letters. The NAS found that "the data did not rule out other possible sources" of the anthrax.

In addition, the NAS found the anthrax used in letters sent to New York locations -- including ABC News, NBC News and the New York Post -- had different physical properties from the anthrax in letters that killed several postal workers and closed down some Senate offices in Washington, D.C.

The FBI says it did not rely on science alone to close in on Dr. Ivins. Investigators said they also used circumstantial evidence, including late-night lab visits by Ivins and e-mail messages describing his psychological turmoil, to identify him as a suspect.

In response to the NAS review, the FBI issued a statement saying, "The committee concluded that it is not possible to reach a definitive conclusion about the origins of the B. anthracis in the mailings based on the available scientific evidence alone. The FBI has long maintained that while science played a significant role, it was the totality of the investigative process that determined the outcome of the anthrax case."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio