Skip to comments.GAO to review FBI's Ivins investigation
Posted on 09/18/2010 7:25:47 AM PDT by Justice Department
The Government Accountability Office has launched an investigation into the scientific methods used by the FBI to determine that Fort Detrick researcher Bruce Ivins was the sole perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax attacks. U.S. Rep. Rush Holt, who represents the New Jersey district from which the letters were mailed, requested GAO's involvement as early as 2007, but renewed his efforts after the FBI announced it had closed its Amerithrax investigation last February.
Holt and four other lawmakers originally proposed a list of 10 questions for GAO to help answer, including how the anthrax spores used in the attacks compared to anthrax produced in this country and in locations around the world, what amount of time and material would go into creating the quantity of anthrax spores used in the attacks, and why the FBI had not yet been able to close the case.
The FBI questioned Ivins, a researcher at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, throughout the entire investigation, but named him as the suspect only after he committed suicide in July 2008.
Many of Ivins' former co-workers and several lawmakers -- including Sen. Chuck Grassley, one of the four who helped Holt pursue the GAO investigation and who has been a vocal critic of the FBI's work on the case -- are still not convinced the FBI adequately proved Ivins' guilt.
"The American people need credible answers to many questions raised by the original attacks and the subsequent FBI handling of the case," Holt said in a news release. "I'm pleased the GAO has responded to our request and will look into the scientific methods used by the FBI."
Specifically, the GAO investigation will seek to answer three main questions:
n What forensic methods did the FBI use to conclude Ivins was the sole perpetrator, and how reliable are those methods?
n What scientific concerns and uncertainties still remain regarding the FBI's conclusion?
n What agencies monitor foreign containment labs, and how do they monitor those labs?
Holt had also requested that several House of Representatives committees question the FBI's methods and results, and he has called for a commission similar to the one that looked into the government's response to the Sept. 11 attacks. Neither effort has made much progress thus far.
"It's still a priority for him," said Holt spokesman Zach Goldberg. "He continues to get supporters for it, but it hasn't gotten traction in the larger Congress, which is certainly disappointing. He still feels that this is something that needs to be looked at for a variety of reasons -- that the families deserve answers to a myriad of questions."
Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, who represents Western Maryland, was not part of the group that signed the letter to GAO but has been working to get more answers since the FBI closed the Amerithrax case.
"I welcome the forthcoming investigation by the Congress' General Accounting Office of a series of important unanswered questions about the FBI's investigation," Bartlett said.
"These questions have undermined the credibility of the FBI's conclusions."
The GAO investigation will be the first congressionally directed review of the FBI's case; another review, done by the National Academy of Sciences, was requested by the FBI itself two years ago.
The NAS investigation is scheduled to wrap up by the end of the year. In GAO's letter to Holt confirming it would look into the FBI investigation, Ralph Dawn Jr., GAO managing director of congressional relations, wrote that to avoid any overlap between the two groups' investigations, they would first review the NAS study before determining the scope of the GAO one.
Goldberg said the GAO would start its investigation soon, if it hadn't begun already. He said the GAO hadn't announced a timeline for its investigation but said that Holt wasn't worried about rushing things along.
"Of course (Holt) wants it to be comprehensive and not rushed in any way," Goldberg said. "The important thing is that the questions get addressed."
I see on your website that you’re an Ivins-did-it hugger.
Hey Ed, if I were you I would strongly consider postponing the writing of your second anthrax whodunit book, lest you be eternally embarrassed.
No, actually I'm a "facts hugger." I collect and analyze facts about the anthrax case. I've been doing it for over 9 year. The facts clearly say that Bruce Ivins sent the anthrax letters.
I'm not worried. First of all, it's not a "whodunit book." We know who did it. So, it's a "what happened" book. It explains everything in layman's terms.
Plus, it's going to take me months to write the book. The NAS review will certainly be done long before I finish. The chances of the NAS finding anything seriously wrong with the FBI's scientific investigation is about nil. The FBI used the top scientists in every concerned field. Since the top scientists worked on the investigation, the NAS has to use lower-level scientists. They're still good scientists, of course, but they're not likely to uncover any serious mistakes.
And the GAO will probably be using even lower level scientists.
The GAO's review won't even begin until the NAS review is done. So, the first question in the GAO's review will very likely be answered by the NAS:
The first GAO question: What microbial and technical forensic methods did the FBI use to conclude that Dr. Bruce Ivins was the perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax attack; how reliable and reproducible were those methods; and were the methods validated?
Those are the EXACT questions the NAS will address.
It's anyone's guess what the GAO will find about question #2, since there should be lots of concerns about mentally unstable American scientists secretly creating their own anthrax powders in government labs.
The second GAO question: What scientific concerns and uncertainties, if any, remain?
And question #3 doesn't have anything to do with the NAS review or with the anthrax attacks of 2001. It appears to be a balm to soothe Rep. Holt's anxieties that some evil foreigners may actually have been behind the attacks.
The third GAO question: What agencies, including intelligence agencies, are responsible for monitoring high containment laboratories in the U.S. and abroad; how do they monitor these laboratories; and how effective is their monitoring?
The GAO isn't even certain they can answer the third question, since it involves some very high-level security matters.
There’s no fool like an old fool
“The second GAO question: What scientific concerns and uncertainties, if any, remain?
And question #3 doesn’t have anything to do with the NAS review or with the anthrax attacks of 2001. It appears to be a balm to soothe Rep. Holt’s anxieties that some evil foreigners may actually have been behind the attacks.”
Rush Holt is not looking for “some evil foreigners”.
He’s looking for the truth of the matter.
And, of course, "the truth" is whatever fits his beliefs. If it doesn't fit his beliefs, then it isn't "the truth." Right?
Do you really believe that only people like Rush Holt are concerned about "the truth?"
The last thing "truthers" want is "the truth." They just want to argue their beliefs.
I guess this means you won’t invite me to your new apartment warming party?
By the way,”truthers” is the buzzword you should rise above
Either way, I look forward to the reviews by the NAS and the GAO. Presumably, they will be examining the FACTS, and I have nothing to fear from the facts. I've seen the facts.
“I’ve seen the facts. “
What you’ve seen is the FBI’s elaborate cover story to finally close the case, in which they’ve suffered years of embarrassment.
Remember Steve Hatfill remember Dr. Berry.
Holt graduated with a B.A. degree in physics from Carleton College in Minnesota, and holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in physics from New York University. The title of his doctoral dissertation is “Calcium absorption lines and solar activity: a systematic program of observations” and is available from University Microfilms International as document number 8127915.
Holt served as a faculty member at Swarthmore College from 1980 to 1988 where he taught physics, public policy, and religion courses. During that time, he also worked as a Congressional Science Fellow for U.S. Representative Bob Edgar of Pennsylvania. From 1987 until 1989, Holt headed the Nuclear and Scientific Division of the Office of Strategic Forces at the U.S. Department of State.
From 1989 until his successful congressional campaign in 1998, Holt was the Assistant Director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory at Princeton University, the University’s largest research facility and the largest center for energy research in New Jersey.
I remember Steven Hatfill. What you forget was that I said Dr. Hatfill was innocent from the very beginning. The FACTS said he was innocent.
What you totally IGNORE is the attempt to LYNCH Dr. Hatfill that went on for EIGHT months before the FBI was virtually ORDERED by Senate Staffers to check into the claims the lynch mob was making about Dr. Hatfill. During those eight months, the FBI stated over and over and over that Dr. Hatfill was NOT a suspect.
Check the facts: Click HERE
Dr. Berry was connected to Dr. Hatfill via Bill Patrick. That was his connection to the case and the reason that same lynch mob demanded that he be investigated.
You seriously need to look at the facts.
That's one of the truly amazing things about the anthrax case. There are people with Ph.D's and all kinds of fancy degrees who have the STUPIDEST beliefs imaginable.
The debates about the anthrax case aren't typically debates between people with advanced degrees and people with only high-school diplomas. The main debates are between people with Ph.D's. They are debates between Ph.D's who argue BELIEFS and Ph.D's who argue FACTS. That's what has kept me interested for nine years.
The fact that someone has advanced degrees means nothing when someone else with advanced degrees says just the opposite. That's when YOU need to look at the facts. That's when I look at the facts.
As it says in my book, some of the DUMBEST people I've ever encountered in my life have Ph.D's.
“You seriously need to look at the facts. “
Know the facts Ed, however, as the purveyor of the most comprehensive anthrax website, (and I’ll buy your new book when it comes out) you should not put this case to sleep on the basis of FBI “propaganda”.
“some of the DUMBEST people I’ve ever encountered in my life have Ph.D’s. “
"I guess this means you wont invite me to your new apartment warming party?"
Evidently those are the best arguments you have. You make my point for me. Thanks.
LMAO!! Put down the crack pipe.
Since when would a foul scumbag like Holt give a rat's behind about "the truth"?
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.