The FBI claims to have caught the killer. But so much evidence has been neglected or mishandled that many experts still have doubts.
The first week of August, the popular press got back in the game, reporting the apparent suicide of USAMRIID scientist Bruce E. Ivins, alleged to be the sole operator behind the anthrax letters. The Associated Press reported that Ivins, who is said to have killed himself on July 29 with an overdose of prescription Tylenol mixed with codeine, was “one of the government’s leading scientists researching vaccines and cures for anthrax exposure.” According to the AP, he was “brilliant but troubled.” His lawyer, Paul Kemp, says that Ivins passed a pair of polygraph tests and that the grand jury investigating the case was weeks from returning an indictment. Yet within days of his death, the bureau announced that it was beginning the shutdown of its “Amerithrax” investigation. “Anthrax Case a Wrap,” blared the Daily News on Aug. 4.
In April, it was reported that the FBI had been focusing on as many as four suspects. Fox News identified them as a “former deputy commander,” presumably in the U.S. Army, a “leading anthrax scientist,” and “a microbiologist.” The fourth suspect was given no description. Now the bureau is “confident that Dr. Ivins was the only person responsible for these attacks,” according to the assurances of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.