Germ warfare scientist commits suicide as FBI was poised to charge him with anthrax attacksA top germ warfare scientist has killed himself after learning the FBI was about to charge him with waging the anthrax terror campaign that paralysed America shortly after 9/ll. [wtf they wrote 9/11 as 9/ll... how do you do that by accident? double L (el hebrew god)]
Five people, including a British journalist, died, and 17 others became seriously ill from contaminated letters posted in the weeks after the 2001 plane attacks that toppled [toppled? are you sure? that's what should have happened had there not been explosives present] the twin towers of the World Trade Centre.
The scientist, Bruce Ivins, 62, worked at the US government’s elite biodefence research laboratories at Fort Detrick, Maryland.
A renowned anthrax expert, he was working with the FBI until June this year on efforts to track down the source of the anthrax that was mailed to members of Congress and TV and newspaper offices.
But all the time Mr Ivins was covering up the fact that he was the mastermind behind the plot, FBI sources said today. [that literally cracked me up, "mastermind" give me a break!]
Baffled agents are still trying to find a motive for his behaviour. [because there isn't one, ejits it's your own government!]
Mr Ivins’ death seemed certain to clear the way for a massive lawsuit against the US government by Scots-born Mrs Maureen Stevens, the widow of 63-year-old Robert Stevens.
London-born Mr Stevens, the popular photo editor at the tabloid Sun, sister paper of the National Enquirer in Boca Raton, Florida, was the first to die as 30 anthrax-laced letters were posted around the country.
He opened a letter that dropped on his desk in October 2001 and breathed in the white powder as he held the letter close to his face to read its tiny writing.
Shortly afterwards, similar letters were sent to leading Democrat Senator Tom Daschle, top TV news anchormen Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw, and to the New York Post.
A secretary who opened one letter died, as did three sorting office workers who handled contaminated mail.
The terror campaign crippled the country as post offices closed and company sorting offices waited for experts to check their post.
Mrs Stevens is suing the US government for £25 million. Her lawyer, Richard Schuler, has long maintained that the strain of anthrax involved could be traced to Fort Detrich, headquarters of USAMRIID, the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.
But the case has been held up in court by government lawyers on the grounds of national security. [always helpful, "national security"]
Today the Los Angeles Times revealed that Mr Ivins, who had worked at the institute for 18 years, died in hospital last Tuesday of a massive overdose of the painkiller Tylenol.
The extraordinary turn of events came after government scientist Steven Hatfill, originally named as a suspect by the US Justice Department, was cleared in early June. Mr Hatfill was paid £3 million compensation after he launched a breach of privacy lawsuit.
Mr Ivins was never named as a suspect, but the FBI had questioned him early on in their investigation. He admitted then that he had conducted unauthorised tests for anthrax in his office and several neighbouring ones.
Experts said today that this should have alerted investigators, but Ivins explained that he feared anthrax found in letters around the US and sent to his department for analysis had not been kept in secure containers.
The FBI focused on him again when new director Robert Mueller changed the lead investigators 18 months ago and ordered them to go back over all the old inquiries.
Mr Ivins, who in 2003 was awarded the highest honour given to Defence Department civilians for helping solve technical problems in the manufacture of anthrax vaccine, became depressed and told his therapist that he was considering suicide.
A few days later he was escorted from his Maryland office by local police and his security passes were confiscated. He was committed for a month to a mental facility for treatment for depression. He was released on June 24. [implanted self-destruct programming in there probably]
The revelations about his state of mind are certain to trigger a series of inquiries into security at the Fort Detrick germ warfare centre.