Scientists Say Many Questions Remain In FBI Anthrax Probe

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calamity jane
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Scientists Say Many Questions Remain In FBI Anthrax Probe

Post by calamity jane » 08-11-2008 12:34 AM

A reporter yesterday asked United States Attorney Jeffrey Taylor what evidence -- hard evidence -- the FBI had against Bruce Ivins in the 2001 anthrax attacks.

"We have a flask that's effectively the murder weapon," Taylor said.

But this is not like Colonel Mustard in the library with the candlestick.

A lot of ambiguity remains because the FBI's investigation hinges on the complexities of microbiology and genomics.

And it's not just that we don't understand those details. The FBI did not release them.

What the FBI tells us is this: the anthrax started out in a wet, almost liquid form. Then somehow Ivins -- and only Ivins -- converted that into the fine, weapons-grade powder that was sent through the mail and killed five people.

That's an exceptionally elaborate process for just one person, said Brenda Wilson, a microbiology professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She did post-doctoral research on anthrax.

"I don't believe that he could do this all on his own. It does require more people than one," Wilson told TPMmuckraker.

"First you have to lyopholize it," Wilson explained. "Lyopholiziation is a drying process. But then after you dry it down, in order to make it weapons-grade, you have to do a lot of grinding and stuff -- it's like a milling process. And during the milling process you need to add substances to it, like sillica, that sort of coats the spores and makes them less sticky."

"People would notice what he was doing. People would be aware of him doing it. I know what people are doing in my lab. Even if he wanted to be sneaky about it, people would know that things were done."

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ibme
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Post by ibme » 08-16-2008 12:33 PM

There has been an epidemic of suicides involving people related to DC. Is there anything we can do to help?

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