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Special report:anthrax

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Special report: anthrax

Anthrax archived articles

 In this section
Washington post offices closed after anthrax scare

Anthrax suspect lied to get jobs

Walter Mitty life of anthrax terror suspect

Anthrax letters prepared under water, says FBI

Anthrax genetic code revealed

Flushed with embarrassment

Exhibition charts history of anthrax experiments

Troops shun anthrax jab

Anthrax vaccine found on beach

UK troops raise fears over anthrax jab

Universities dismiss terrorist lab threat


Hoax! (part 2)

Scientist denies anthrax link

Anthrax leads leave FBI baffled

'US scientist' is suspect in anthrax investigation'

Oliver Burkeman in New York
Wednesday February 20, 2002
The Guardian

The FBI has a suspect for last year's anthrax attacks, but is "dragging its heels" because he is a former government scientist familiar with secret state-sponsored research, a leading American expert on biological warfare said yesterday.

The man also sent a hoax letter to the US Senate from Britain and may once have worked in the laboratory to which his letters were sent for testing, said Barbara Rosenberg, director of the Federation of American Scientists' chemical and biological weapons working group. Quoted in the Trenton Times of New Jersey - based in the town to which most of the genuine anthrax mailings have been traced - Professor Rosenberg said that investigators had interrogated the suspect twice since October.

"There are a number of insiders - government insiders - who know people in the anthrax field who have a com mon suspect," she said in a speech at Princeton University. "The FBI has questioned that person more than once _ so it looks as though the FBI is taking that person very seriously." She referred several times to a potential perpetrator as "he".

From its public announcements, the FBI seems to be flailing in its quest to locate the perpetrator. At the end of January it doubled, to $2.5m (1.75m), the reward for information leading to a breakthrough in the case.

The letters, sent to US senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy, the New York Post, a television anchor-man, Tom Brokaw, and others, killed five people. They infected 13 more and forced many senators to evacuate their offices for more than two months.

Prof Rosenberg said the evidence she had pointed to a man who might have worked at the US military laboratory at Fort Detrick, Maryland. He would have been vaccinated and would have access to clas sified information about modifying the spores to make them stay airborne.

"We can draw a likely portrait of the perpetrator as a former Fort Detrick scientist who is now working for a contractor in the Washington DC area," she said. "He had reason for travel to Florida, New Jersey and the United Kingdom." She added that he had probably made the anthrax himself. "He grew it, probably on a solid medium, and weaponised it at a private location where he had accumulated the equipment and the material."

This raised the question "of whether the FBI may be dragging its feet and may not be so anxious to bring to public light the person who did this".

Her government sources, she added, were worried that a "quiet deal is made that he just disappears from view. This _ would send a message to other terrorists that they could get away with it."

Special reports
Attack on America
George Bush's America
War in Afghanistan

Anthrax cases so far
The full list of confirmed cases - updated regularly

Interactive guide
How anthrax is spread

The weblog
Weblog special: the best online reads on anthrax

The issue explained
15.10.2001: Anthrax cases in America

Useful links
Bayer's information page on Cipro
FDA paper on Cipro for anthrax treatment
Virtual Medical Group
Johns Hopkins Centre for Civilian Biodefence Studies: Anthrax
Extracts and photos from a lecture on anthrax
Arnot Ogden Medical Centre: Anthrax

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