Federal investigators probing the deadly 2001 anthrax attacks recovered samples of human hair from a mailbox in Princeton, N.J., but the strands did not match the lead suspect in the case, according to sources briefed on the probe.
Nearly seven years after the incidents, however, investigators have come up dry in their efforts to find direct evidence to place Ivins at the Nassau Street mailbox in September and October 2001.
Before you jump into any conspiracy theories, I must clarify my opinion: this was a botched investigation, not a conspiracy.
You may recall that the FBI and other intelligence and national security agencies were overwhelmed after 9/11 2001, and the letters were postmarked September 18, 2001, a week after the 9/11 attack. That much is clear. The FBI apparently wants to cover its blunder by stonewalling. As my Congressman, Rush Holt, said in this interview,
So far the FBI has stonewalled it. Every time any member of the FBI from the director on down, has come to either the panel I chair, or the Committee which I also sit, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, I’ve asked them this question, or this series of questions, and they always come with a statement prepared by – I guess by the Congressional Relations Department – they can’t comment, this is an investigation that’s on-going, and they’ve really stonewalled it. Stonewalled all of Congress, not just me.
You can read Rep. Holt’s statement on the anthrax investigation here, and you’ll find prior information at his website.
The Senate and the House both want answers. The WaPo reports,
Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee announced it will call FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III to appear at an oversight hearing Sept. 17, when he is likely to be asked about the strength of the government’s case against Ivins. A spokeswoman for Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), a vocal FBI critic, said he would demand more information about how authorities narrowed their search.
The House Judiciary panel, meanwhile, is negotiating to hold a separate oversight hearing in September with bureau officials, in a session that could mark the first public occasion in which Mueller faces questions about the FBI’s handling of the anthrax case.
The letters were mailed less than two miles away from where I’m writing this post. Congressman Holt’s own office in Washington was one of the few House offices contaminated. Five people died and seventeen others were infected.
We need more answers on just how the FBI has reached its conclusions.