Skip to comments.Doctor Says FBI, CDC Ignored ‘Possible Lead’ in Anthrax Investigation
Posted on 11/13/2001 9:18:01 AM PST by spycatcher
A New Jersey doctor who wonders if he might have been the first person infected in the anthrax attack is still waiting for the FBI to talk to him about what he might know.
What makes his story potentially significant is that his symptoms appeared long before those who were infected by the letters mailed Sept. 30 actually a week before the terror attacks of Sept. 11.
At the time he had a sore with a black scab, followed by what was diagnosed in a hospital as meningitis. In an interview with ABCNEWS' Good Morning America, Dr. Jerry Weisfogel said he may have had a brush with the anthrax attacker, but the government has ignored his story.
Four people have died, one person is in serious condition and 16 others are recovering from anthrax infection, while at least 37 others have been exposed to the spores.
The FBI says it is pursuing more than 1,000 leads, including at least 100 that have taken investigators overseas.
Weisfogel works in the town of Kendall Park, N.J., which is near Franklin Park, the town found on the return address of the anthrax-contaminated letter that was mailed to Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D.
There's no Greendale school, which was given as the return address, but there is a Greenbrook school in Weisfogel's town, and it only goes to the fourth grade. The return address of the letter sent to Daschle said, "4th Grade, Greendale School."
"It obviously made me think that there may have been some local connection between where my office is, between what I had and wherever the perpetrators of the anthrax mailings are," Weisfogel said.
Could There Be a Cluster 0?
But Weisfogel said that, to his amazement, he had a hard time getting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to get interested in his case. They told him his case appeared too early to be connected, even when he suggested that his could have been the first case.
"That's exactly what I said," Weisfogel said. "I said, 'You have Case 1 and Case 2 or Cluster 1 and Cluster 2. How do you know there was not a Cluster 0?'"
Weisfogel said he originally diagnosed his black scab as a spider bite, but now he wonders if his mistake might not have been the same misdiagnosis so commonly seen in anthrax cases.
What's more, he said, he wonders if the bioterrorist responsible for the letters might have been in his office. "Have I come across patients from countries who might be doing this? Yes," Weisfogel said.
Weisfogel admits that there is no proof that anyone he treated had any connection to the rash of anthrax-contaminated letters received by lawmakers and media companies, but said it is "a possible lead" in a case in which investigators seem to have almost no leads, other than a trail of anthrax infections and spores all going back to New Jersey.
On Thursday, after the CDC became aware that Weisfogel was telling his story to Good Morning America, the agency tested his blood for anthrax antibodies. He was told it could be weeks before the results of the tests are in.
You are so correct.
How in the world could they not have figured out who's mailed the anthrax already?
Or do they know and can't say (Iraq).
No wonder the FBI is ignoring this guy, they have already determined it was the act of a domestic rightwing nut!
I thought he was diagnosed with pneumonia? Anyway does a person get the black scab with only with cutaneous anthrax or do the scabs show up also with inhalation anthrax.
By Janis Reid email@example.com
A man was recently was picked up and released by Cornelia police officers two weeks ago when he was discovered taking pictures of the railroad tracks at the Cornelia depot. Police Chief Bruce Wright said he did not believe the suspect was connected with terrorists. Travis Long/Staff
CORNELIA -- In a community where even an out-of-town vehicle doesn't go unnoticed by locals, reports connecting this Northeast Georgia town with international terrorism have come as a surprise to residents.
''It's all freaky to have it in your hometown,''said Dale Herbert, a Cornelia city employee, while he wired Christmas lights in the 100-year-old downtown area Monday. ''It makes you stop and think a little. I still can't believe they would come to Cornelia.''
Federal investigators can't believe it either, according to Susan Den Bark, media coordinator for the Atlanta FBI office.
Den Bark said Monday federal officials are not investigating any terrorist activity in Northeast Georgia, adding she has spent the last two days trying to track down the source of the information about the supposed terrorist visit to Cornelia.
A Friday report in an area newspaper cited Cornelia Police Chief Bruce Wright as claiming two men who tried to breach security at a Cornelia plant several weeks ago have recently been linked to terrorist groups by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Wright said Monday he had received information from the FBI that the two suspects, whose names were not released by police, had been picked up by agents in the Atlanta area as a result of the information he passed to the agency.
According to Wright, someone from the FBI said the two were in the country on false identifications and had been previously deported in 1998 for unspecified crimes against the United States.
The plant security incident was not the only confusing report to surface Friday.
In a separate incident, Cornelia police reported, a man was picked up and released by Cornelia officers two weeks ago when he was discovered taking pictures of the railroad tracks at the Cornelia depot.
According to Wright, Cornelia police searched the man's vehicle and discovered train schedules with information on hazardous chemicals and ballistic missile parts traveling through the area. Freight lines commonly carry hazardous materials, according to Norfolk Southern Corp. spokeswoman Susan Terpay.
Wright said the information on the suspect was also turned over to FBI agents, adding that he did not believe the man was connected to terrorists. Whether either incident was related to terrorists or not, Wright said he did not know why anyone would target Cornelia.
The confusion among authorities has only fueled talk of a terrorist connection on the streets of Cornelia.
''It's just curiosity more than anything,'' said Robyn Dafforn in front of Fenders Diner Monday afternoon. ''We just haven't heard enough about what's going on.''
Edna McGehee, whose family owns a clock-repair shop not 15 feet from the train tracks in Cornelia, said she found the news of the suspicious behavior both strange and surprising because she had not noticed anything unusual.
''There's just a lot of questions,'' McGehee said. ''I had friends who called to ask what was going on and I had to tell them that I just didn't know.''
It'd make a heck of a Freeper thread...
I would imagine what was best has left an we now see them on TV, working for private companies or writing books.
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