Skip to comments.Anthrax lawsuit against the federal government gets a boost from DOJ gross incompetence
Posted on 09/09/2011 11:22:20 AM PDT by Corky Boyd
There are times when government agencies exhibit sheer idiocy and ineptness. That happened this summer when Justice filed papers that, if true, undermines the entire FBI case against Fort Detrick scientist Bruce Ivins in order to win a lawsuit brought by the family of Bob Stevens, the first anthrax victim following 9/11. Bob Stephens was the photo editor of The Sun, a subsidiary of American Media (AMI) located in Boca Raton, Florida. He died after inhaling spores from a letter mailed to AMI containing powdered anthrax. The family is suing the government claiming negligence in the way anthrax was handled at Fort Detrick, resulting in Stephens death. The case is now proceeding after the FBI closed its investigation last year declaring Ivins the sole culprit.
What DOJ is claiming is the now deceased Dr. Ivins did not have access to the specialized equipment used to dry the cultured spores in order to weaponize it (make into a fine powder), this to absolve the Fort Detrick command that employed Ivins. Nice trick! The problem is access to this specialized equipment was the linchpin in the case to prove Ivins was the sole perpetrator. The government simply cant have it both ways....
(Excerpt) Read more at islandturtle.blogspot.com ...
Although it is not airtight, the FBI ‘case’ against Ivins is pretty strong. There is a lot of circumstantial evidence.
The methods used to culture and extract the spores are the stuff of standard microbiology and available in the scientific literature. I don’t know what ‘specialized’ equipment the DOJ alleges was needed, and that Ivins didn’t (according to their brief) have access to. Probably a spray dryer and a jet mill, maybe a freeze-dryer. None of which is necessary equipment - but it is nice-to-have equipment (from the terrorist’s perpective). Anthrax can kill things without any help from humans. That is its nature.
I suspect what happened here is that some tool of a liability lawyer was doing what lawyer tools do - throw up a BS defense and see if it sticks.
“Oh, well he would have needed special equipment, which of course he wouldn’t have access to in the normal course of his employment as an unsupervised, unaccountable rogue homicidally psychotic stalker of a microbiologist at the nation’s premier biological weapons research laboratory. No siree, we’re SURE of THAT. Nope, couldn’t be the Government’s fault. So if the Court please, dismiss this frivolous lawsuit by the grieving widow alleging negligence on our part for allowing a certifiably insane biological weapons researcher whose own psychiatrist took out a restraining order on him to continue working, unaccompanied and without supervision, on BSL 3 Category A biological agents late at night.”
Everyone in that chain of command at Detrick and USAMRIID ought to be in Levenworth making little ones out of big ones just for the sheer stupidity of letting this guy have access to that lab. And what the hell happened to the ‘no lone’ rule for special weapons? It used to be a prison offense, or worse, if you were caught violating it.
Why not just post it here?
I posted about as much as Free Republic allows. My blog posting is about 850 words and contains a graphic. If you know a way to get that much on a post, let me know. This is what I have been doing since I started my blog. I go to the blog category and hit post and then fill in the fields.
Is there another way to do this?
This is not a frivolous lawsuit. A person died because according to the FBI weaponized anthrax from the one of its labs was placed into envelopes by and mailed it to 7 different places. The FBI report specifically says Ivins, an employee of the government did it. That makes the government liable.
If you read my complete post in my blog, I am pointing out that Justice wanted it the other way, that Ivins could’t have done it so they couldn’t be sued. That is deceitful.
If you read further you will find I don’t think Ivins did it, I think it was more likely done by unknown Islamist terrorists.
But if the judge finds Ivins responsible, the government should pay.
Leave the excerpt button alone. It isn't for your blog.
Is there another way to do this?
Leave the excerpt button alone.
You misinterpret my post. I AGREE that a DOJ lawyer trying to make the case that Ivins was NOT responsible is a disgustingly perfect example of talking out of both sides of one’s mouth. It is deceitful, and the lawyers who came up with that tack are complete tools.
I never meant that the lawsuit was frivolous. I think Ivins very likely IS the culprit, and yes, the federal government is liable. The failure to manage his work and breakdown of any sense of accountability at Ft. Detrick were not just negligent, they were in my opinion criminal.
I have made a careful study of the facts of the case. There is a chance that the attack was from foreign actors. However, I am pursuaded that the weight of the evidence supports the contention that Ivins is the actor. Yes, the case is circumstantial, but enough circumstantial evidence can make a case. It is a fallacy to believe that circumstantial evidence is worthless, or that a conviction cannot be obtained based on it, if there is enough to reasonably exclude other possibilities.
The problem here is the microbial forensics needed to meet the Daubert standard. How do we get the proof that the b. anthracis used in the attack is derived from Dr. Ivin’s flask? That and arguments and misteps early in the investigation regarding the evidence collection, methods of analysis and ascertaining the adjuvants and techniques used to produce the powder, may have irretrievably tainted the scientific investigation. Were this to have gone to a jury, a good trial counsel may well have won an aquittal.
That however, is speculative. All I can do is look at the weight of the evidence with which we are presented, and the evidence leads me to Dr. Ivins. You see things differently. We agree to disagree.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.