From the 2008 News Archive
9/11 Commemoration to Focus on FBI Anthrax Investigation
On Wednesday, September 10, 2008, the University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security will present its seventh annual program commemorating 9/11. This year's panel, "Did the Researcher Do It? The FBI's Anthrax Case Against Dr. Ivins" will feature experts discussing the investigation into the origin of anthrax-laced letters sent in 2001, and the recent suicide of Dr. Bruce Edward Ivins days after being informed by the FBI that he was going to be indicted for his alleged involvement in the 2001 anthrax attacks.
The panel will include New York Times reporter Scott Shane, who followed this story since its inception, and Dr. Claire Fraser-Liggett, head the University of Maryland School of Medicine's Institute of Genome Sciences who was instrumental in cracking the case by tracking the anthrax strain used in the letters to its source.
After anonymous letters containing powdered anthrax were sent to several members of Congress and members of the media one week after the September 11th attacks, the FBI launched a nationwide investigation to find the source of the letters, which caused five deaths and sickened 17 other recipients. The FBI called upon Dr. Bruce Ivins, a senior biodefense researcher and leading expert on anthrax, to assist in its investigations. Initially, and with help from Dr. Ivins, the FBI began to build a case against Dr. Ivins' colleague, another military researcher named Dr. Steven Hatfill.
But over the course of its seven year investigation, Dr. Hatfill was cleared and Dr. Ivins went from primary expert to prime suspect. On July 29, 2008, days after being informed by the FBI that he was going to be indicted for his alleged involvement in the anthrax attacks, Dr. Bruce Edward Ivins died of complications from an apparent suicide attempt. And while the forensic evidence points to a flask of anthrax kept by Dr. Ivins, many scientists and skeptics believe the evidence linking Dr. Ivins to the deadly anthrax mailings is inconclusive.
Please join us on Wednesday, September 10, 2008 in Room 107 of the law school at 12:10 PM as our panel of experts provides their unique and knowledgeable perspectives on the issues raised by the FBI, Dr. Ivins, and the 2001 Anthrax letters.
Bryan Pugh on August 25, 2008