August 1, 2008

Rogue Scientist

Everyone remember the anthrax attacks? How's this for an plot twist:

A top government scientist who helped the FBI analyze samples from the 2001 anthrax attacks has died in Maryland from an apparent suicide, just as the Justice Department was about to file criminal charges against him for the attacks, the Los Angeles Times has learned.

Bruce E. Ivins, 62, who for the last 18 years worked at the government's elite biodefense research laboratories at Ft. Detrick, Md., had been informed of his impending prosecution, said people familiar with Ivins, his suspicious death and the FBI investigation.

Ivins, whose name had not been disclosed publicly as a suspect in the case, played a central role in research to improve anthrax vaccines by preparing anthrax formulations used in experiments on animals.

Regarded as a skilled microbiologist, Ivins also helped the FBI analyze the powdery material recovered from one of the anthrax-tainted envelopes sent to a U.S. senator's office in Washington.

The government expert did it? The very expert who was brought in to investigate the anthrax? The man was part of the team that worked on the anthrax vaccine that our troops use. Its a closed loop. One man discovers the threat, counters the threat, and is the threat. Who watches the watchman indeed.

Glenn Greenwald has more.

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