Amanda Ripley

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Anthrax Update

11th Aug 2008 posted in General

Here’s my latest TIME article about the new developments in the anthrax case. The FBI has released a slew of documents related to the case. And they make a compelling case for why Bruce Ivins was a suspect in the attacks.

But just as revealing as the documents are what the FBI did not release. We still do not know any details of the mysterious and fantastic new science that the government says it used to link the anthrax used in the attacks to anthrax used by Ivins. We do not know what their search of his cars, home and other property (in November 2007) turned up. We do not know if he had a convincing alibi on the days the anthrax letters were mailed.

Once again, we have a rash of anonymous federal sources leaking information about these crucial questions, but not nearly enough straight-up transparency from the Justice Department.

I really wish we could have a trial in this case. Unlike many crimes, this one has enormous implications—for the many victims of these attacks, for counterterrorism policy in America, for deterring future bioterrorism attacks. But since Ivins committed suicide, our options for getting the truth are limited. Congressional hearings are a sure thing; an independent investigation would be better.