Sunday, 10 August 2008

FBI gets its (new) man [Anthrax 4]

The FBI released its information on Bruce Ivins, the alleged anthrax assassin Wednesday, and the holes punched in its explanation aren’t any larger because the Fibbies only held up half a bag to start with. The trusty feds claimed that the specific anthrax spores sent by mail exactly match the ones in Ivins’s jars at Fort Detrick, but they did not present the scientific evidence to buttress their assertion—they just asserted it.

This is the same FBI, let us recall, that insisted throughout 2002 in leaks to ABC’s Brian Williams and many others that Stephen Hatfill, NOT Ivins, was in fact the guilty party. Hatfill now has a tidy $5-plus-million settlement from the FBI (i.e. us) to compensate for those falsities.

Oh, and by the way, Saddam Hussein escaped to Argentina and has a nuclear weapon in his briefcase.

Once again, the reporters from the big networks and papers are gobbling this up like caviar on toast. Crazy Bruce was at it all along, and the Security Apparatus is here to snare him and his likes in the nick of time.

The other detail I just adore (cribbing from Glenn Greenwald at again) is that although the FBI insists Ivins logged out from his job at Fort Detrick September 17, 2001, to drive to Princeton, New Jersey, from where the poisoned missives were posted, their own report shows that he was back at work later that afternoon. Given that the letters were postmarked September 18, 2001, a date that would not have appeared on a letter mailed before 5 p.m. the previous day, Ivins would have to have mastered the Yaqui art of desdoblamiento to have been in both places, three hours apart, at once.

In fact, there is no evidence whatsoever that Ivins was ever in Princeton on the days the anthrax letters were mailed, and that’s pretty remarkable considering how careful you’d have to be in our snoopy, electronic age to leave no trace.

After a full week of the dribbling info and hushed head-shaking over the late Ivins, we still have had virtually no public discussion of the role of the anthrax caper in leading us into the tempting Iraqi quicksand. Not to mention the untold billions made by defense contractors, including more than a few who had access to the anthrax spores themselves.

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