Friday, August 01, 2008

The Anthrax Suspect

One of the most mysterious and frightening events in the aftermath of the September, 2001 terrorist attacks were the mailing of letters to various politicians and media types containing anthrax. These "other" terror attacks killed some postal workers who were exposed to the bio-toxin. Surprisingly, these events disappeared down a memory hole, except for the reports of a payout to Steven Hatfill, who managed to get six million bucks from the feds for leaking his name as "a person of interest" in the events, based on nothing more than hearsay.

Tuesday, a man from the lab where tests on the anthrax took place committed suicide after he was informed he was to formally charged in the mailings.

The death of Bruce Ivins raises far more questions than it answers. Glenn Greenwald goes in to great detail, not only on the fear these mailings engendered in the wake of the attacks on New York and Washington, but the way they were manipulated, from the very start, in to a casus belli with Iraq. Now, it seems, they came from our own military research facilities. This is like a really, really bad Tom Clancy novel (I suppose that's redundant).

Greenwald also implicitly raises questions about the involvement of a major news organization - ABC, in this case - as well as federal officials, in continuing to cover up the sources of information long ago proved to be false. As now seems clear, it might well be Bruce Ivins himself pointed a finger of blame at Iraq (the notes inside the envelopes certainly helped; you can view one of them at Greenwald's blog).

I do not think speculation about such things is "wild" at this point precisely because Ivins' death raises so many questions that are, or should be, unsettling. They should not just be unsettling to a few liberal bloggers, or conspiracy nuts (I do not consider myself such a one, but this event certainly raises my hackles). These mailings, coming as they did so soon after 9/11 (indeed, I had forgotten until reminded of the chronology by Greenwald's post, that the first letter was sent on September 18, 2001), heightened a sense of vulnerability, that we were, indeed, not safe here at home from the depredations of terrorists bent on killing us. Of course, the sniper shootings in MD, DC, and VA later that same autumn in to winter didn't help, either (another event that has disappeared down that strange memory hole reserved for events we would rather soon forget).

I do hope that Ivins' death is not the end, but rather the beginning of some serious investigative work by competent journalists. Unlike the much-hyped "China spying" at Los Alamos Laboratories, that turned out to be a huge crock of stinking poo, here we have a civilian employee at a military facility dedicated to bio-weapons research being a soon-to-be-indicted suspect in the most blatant attempt at bio-terrorism directed at senior figures in government and the media. This story, as they say, has legs.

I do so hope someone teaches them to run.

I have about a thousand million questions. And none of the answers I think might be coming will be pleasant.

Virtual Tin Cup

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More