Bruce Edwards Ivins (April 22, 1946 – July 29, 2008) was a microbiologist, vaccinologist, senior biodefense researcher at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in Fort Detrick, Maryland and a key suspect in the 2001 anthrax attacks.
He committed suicide prior to formal charges being filed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for an alleged criminal connection to the 2001 anthrax attacks. At a news conference at the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) on August 6, 2008, FBI and DOJ officials formally announced that the Government had concluded that Ivins was likely to have been solely responsible for "the deaths of five persons, and the injury of dozens of others, resulting from the mailings of several anonymous letters to members of Congress and members of the media in September and October, 2001, which letters contained Bacillus anthracis, commonly referred to as anthrax." On February 19, 2010, the FBI released a 92-page summary of evidence against Ivins and announced that it had concluded its investigation. The FBI conclusions have been contested by many, including senior microbiologists and Senator Patrick Leahy (Dem., Vermont) who was among the targets in the attack. While not outright rejecting the theory of Ivins' involvement, Leahy has asserted that "If he is the one who sent the letter, I do not believe in any way, shape or manner that he is the only person involved in this attack on Congress and the American people. I do not believe that at all." A panel from the National Academy of Sciences is reviewing the FBI's scientific work on the case.
 Early and family life
Bruce Ivins was born in Lebanon, Ohio to Thomas Randall Ivins and Mary Johnson Knight, as the youngest of three sons. His father, a pharmacist, owned a drugstore and was active in the local Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce, while his mother was the primary caregiver who participated in the Parent-Teacher Association. The family went regularly to Lebanon Presbyterian Church, although Ivins was later a Catholic parishioner.
Avidly interested in science, Ivins was an active participant in extracurricular activities in high school, including National Honor Society, science fairs, the current events club, and the scholarship team all four years. He ran on the track and cross-country teams, worked on the yearbook and school newspaper, and was in the school choir and junior and senior class plays.
 Education and career
Ivins graduated with honors from the University of Cincinnati with a B.S. degree in 1968, an M.S. degree in 1971, and a Ph.D. degree in 1976, all in microbiology. Ivins conducted his Ph.D. research under the supervision of Dr. P. F. Bonventre. His dissertation focused on different aspects of toxicity in disease-causing bacteria.
Ivins was a scientist for 36 years and senior biodefense researcher at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in Fort Detrick, Maryland for 18 years. After conducting research on Legionella and cholera, in 1979, Ivins turned his attention to anthrax after the anthrax outbreak in the Soviet city of Sverdlovsk (now known as Yekaterinburg), which killed at least 64 after an accidental release at a military facility.
Ivins had published at least 44 scientific papers dating back to May 18, 1969. His earliest known published work pertained to the response of peritoneal macrophages, a type of white blood cell, to infection by Chlamydia psittaci, an infectious bacterium that can be transmitted from animals to humans. He was the co-author of numerous anthrax studies, including one on a treatment for inhalational anthrax published in the July 7, 2008 issue of the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. He often cited the 2001 Anthrax attacks in his papers to bolster the significance of his research in years subsequent to the attacks. In a 2006 paper published in the prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, he wrote with his co-authors
Shortening the duration of antibiotic postexposure prophylaxis in a bioterrorism event involving B. anthracis by adding postexposure vaccination could greatly alleviate problems of noncompliance and side effects associated with prolonged antibiotic therapy. The value of adding vaccination to postexposure antibiotic prophylaxis should be considered in planning the public health response to bioterrorism events involving inhalational anthrax.
 Personal interests and beliefs
Ivins was a Roman Catholic. The Frederick News-Post has made public several letters to the editor written by Ivins dealing with his religious views. These were cited in the Department of Justice summary of the case against Ivins as suggesting that he may have harbored a grudge against pro-choice Catholic senators Daschle and Leahy, recipients of anthrax mailings. In a letter expressing his belief that Jews were God's chosen people, Ivins stated, "By blood and faith, Jews are God's chosen, and have no need for 'dialogue' with any gentile." Ivins praised a rabbi for refusing a dialogue with a Muslim cleric.
His pastimes included playing keyboard at his local church, Saint John the Evangelist; he was a member of the American Red Cross; he was an avid juggler and founder of the Frederick Jugglers. He played keyboards in a Celtic band and would often compose and play songs for coworkers who were moving to new jobs.
On the morning of Sunday July 27, 2008, Ivins was found unconscious at his home. He was taken to Frederick Memorial Hospital and died on July 29 from an overdose of Tylenol, an apparent suicide. No autopsy was ordered following his death because blood tests prior to his death made it unnecessary. A summary of the police report of his death, released in 2009, lists the cause of death as liver and kidney failure, citing his purchase of two bottles of Tylenol PM (containing diphenhydramine), contradicting earlier reports of Tylenol with codeine. His family declined to put him on the liver transplant list, and he was removed from life support.
Immediately after news of his death, the FBI refused to comment on the situation. Ivins' attorney released a statement asserting that Ivins had cooperated with the six-year investigation by the FBI and also asserting that Ivins was innocent in the deaths.
 Alleged involvement in 2001 anthrax attacks and investigations
The 2001 anthrax attacks involved the mailing of several letters proclaiming "Death to America... Death to Israel... Allah is Great", and contaminated with anthrax, to the offices of U.S. Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy, as well as to the offices of ABC News, CBS News, NBC News, the New York Post, and the National Enquirer.
 Initial investigative role
Ivins became involved in the investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks because he was regarded as a skilled microbiologist. Starting in mid-October, Ivins and his colleagues worked long hours testing samples to distinguish real anthrax letters from the numerous hoaxes that were sent out at this time. 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.
Results of the investigation were initially distributed to the public via ABC News claiming "four well placed sources" attesting to the fact that "trace amounts of the chemical additives bentonite" were found in the anthrax samples, and that this was the chemical signatures of Iraqi-made anthrax. It has been confirmed that bentonite was never actually found in the anthrax samples. While it is presumed that Ivins was one of ABC News' four sources, ABC News has refused to reveal their identities, which has contributed to the mystery of Ivins' role in the initial investigation and its widely reported findings.
 2002 Fort Detrick anthrax containment breach
In 2002, an investigation was carried out as a result of an incident at Fort Detrick where anthrax spores had escaped carefully guarded rooms into the building’s unprotected areas. The incident called into question the ability of USAMRIID to keep its deadly agents within laboratory walls seven months after the anthrax mailings.
A coworker told Ivins that she was concerned she was exposed to anthrax spores when handling an anthrax-contaminated letter. Ivins tested the technician’s desk area that December and found growth that had the earmarks of anthrax. He decontaminated her desk, computer, keypad and monitor, but did not notify his superiors.
 2003 Department of Defense commendation
On March 14, 2003, Ivins and two of his colleagues at USAMRIID at Fort Detrick received the Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service—the highest award given to Defense Department civilian employees - for helping solve technical problems in the manufacture of anthrax vaccine.
 2008 investigation
For some time, the FBI focused its investigation on Steven Hatfill, considering him to be the chief suspect in the attacks. In March 2008, however, authorities exonerated Hatfill and settled the lawsuit he initiated for $5.8 million. According to ABC News, some in the FBI considered Ivins a suspect as early as 2002. FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III changed leadership of the investigation in late 2006, and at that time Ivins became the main focus of the investigation. The FBI thought Ivins, who had complained about the limits of testing anthrax drugs on animals, might have sent the anthrax letters in order to test a vaccine he had been developing.
After Hatfill was no longer considered a suspect, Ivins began "showing signs of serious strain". As a result of his changed behavior, he lost access to sensitive areas at his job. He began being treated for depression and expressed some suicidal thoughts. On March 19, 2008 police were summoned to Ivins' home in Frederick, MD, found him unconscious and sent him to the hospital.
Late in July 2008, investigators informed Ivins of his impending prosecution for his alleged involvement in the 2001 anthrax attacks that Ivins himself had previously assisted authorities in investigating. It has been reported that the death penalty would have been sought in the case. Ivins maintained his security clearance until July 10; he had been publicly critical of the lab's security procedures for several years.
Dr. W. Russell Byrne, a colleague who worked in the bacteriology division of the Fort Detrick research facility, said FBI agents "hounded" Ivins by twice raiding his home and that Ivins had been hospitalized for depression earlier in the month. According to Byrne and local police, Ivins had been removed from his workplace out of fears that he might harm himself or others. "I think he was just psychologically exhausted by the whole process", Byrne said. "There are people who you just know are ticking bombs", Byrne said. "He was not one of them." However, Tom Ivins, who last spoke to his brother in 1985, said, "It makes sense ... he considered himself like a god".
The Los Angeles Times asserted that Ivins stood to profit from the attacks because he was a co-inventor on two patents for a genetically-engineered anthrax vaccine. The San Francisco-area biotechnology company, VaxGen, licensed the vaccine and won a federal contract valued at $877.5 million to provide the vaccine under the Project Bioshield Act. However, biological warfare and anthrax vaccine expert Dr. Meryl Nass has expressed skepticism of this purported motive, pointing out that "Historically, government employees do not receive these royalties: the government does."
On August 6, 2008, a federal prosecutor, U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Taylor, officially made a statement that Ivins was the "sole culprit" in the 2001 anthrax attacks. Taylor stated that Ivins had submitted false anthrax evidence to throw investigators off of his trail, was unable to adequately explain his late laboratory working hours around the time of the attacks, tried to frame his co-workers, had immunized himself against anthrax in early September 2001, was one of more than 100 people with access to the same strain of anthrax used in the killings, and had used similar language in an email to that in one of the anthrax mailings. Ivins was also reportedly upset that the anthrax vaccine, that he had spent years helping develop, was being pulled from the market.
 Criticism of the official findings
Paul Kemp, Ivins' attorney, stated that the US government's case against his client is not convincing. US Department of Justice official Dean Boyd stated that Ivins mailed anthrax to NBC in retaliation for an investigation of Ivins' lab's work on anthrax conducted by Gary Matsumoto, a former NBC news journalist. At the time, however, Matsumoto was working for ABC, not NBC. Also, Ivins passed a polygraph-assisted interrogation (also known as a "lie detector test") in which he was questioned about his possible participation in the anthrax attacks. Boyd responded by saying that the FBI now believes that Ivins used countermeasures to deceive the polygraph examiners. "There are clearly a lot of unanswered questions," said Iowa Senator Charles Grassley, who is calling for a congressional investigation into the allegations that Ivins was the anthrax killer.
Those who argue for Ivins' innocence claim that the anthrax used in the attacks was too sophisticated to be produced by a lone researcher without relevant training. "In my opinion, there are maybe four or five people in the whole country who might be able to make this stuff, and I'm one of them," said Richard O. Spertzel, former deputy commander of USAMRIID. "And even with a good lab and staff to help run it, it might take me a year to come up with a product as good." The spores in the Daschle letter were 1.5 to 3 micrometres across, many times smaller than the finest known grade of anthrax produced by either the U.S. or Soviet bioweapons programs. An electron microscope, which costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, would be needed to verify that the target spore size had been consistently achieved. The presence of the anti-clumping additive silicon in the anthrax samples also suggests a high degree of sophistication as specialists working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory were unable to duplicate this property despite 56 attempts.
Historian Kenneth J. Dillon argues that the anthrax in the letters to the senators was prepared, probably by Ivins himself, for a DARPA project as a replica of an ultrasecret Soviet technology revealed to the U.S. Government by Ken Alibek and other Soviet defectors, in an effort to develop countermeasures. The anthrax was then kept under lax security at a DARPA project at George Mason University where it was stolen by an al Qaeda sympathizer.
 Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and Wikipedia editing
|Wikinews has related news: Alleged Anthrax killer Bruce Ivins reportedly made edits to Wikipedia|
The FBI's case against Ivins has depended substantially on an extensive effort to document his personal problems and try him in absentia in the public eye. For example, Ivins was reportedly obsessed with the college sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma (KKG) ever since he was rebuffed by a woman in the sorority during his days as a student at the University of Cincinnati. According to The Smoking Gun, U.S. Government court documents stated that Ivins edited the KKG article in Wikipedia using the account name "Jimmyflathead"; he attempted to add derogatory information about the sorority to the article.
The FBI claims that because anthrax spores were found in a postal drop box located 300 feet (91 m) away from Princeton University's Kappa Kappa Gamma storage facility (where the Sorority keeps rush paraphernalia, initiation robes and other materials), that the anthrax laced letters had been mailed from that drop box. As of this date,[when?] leaks from the law enforcement community claim they have not been able to place Ivins in Princeton the day the letters were mailed. Katherine Breckinridge Graham, an advisor to Kappa's Princeton chapter, stated that there was nothing to indicate that any of the sorority members had anything to do with Ivins. Officials claim that the sorority link helps explain why the letters were mailed from Princeton, 200 miles (320 km) from the Fort Detrick lab in Frederick, Maryland, where Ivins worked and where it is claimed the anthrax was produced.
 Allegations of mental illness
On August 6, 2008, the FBI released a collection of emails written by Ivins. In some, Ivins describes episodes of anxiety, paranoia, and depression for which he was medicated; these are referenced in the summary of the case against Ivins. A clinical psychiatrist engaged by The New York Times to analyze the released documents found evidence of psychoses, but could not rule out that the possibility that Ivins was feigning or exaggerating mental illness for purposes of attention or sympathy.
 Allegations by Ivins' counselor
One of the most contested elements of the Ivins case involves the testimony of his former therapist, social worker Jean. C. Duley. Documents show that Ivins was ordered late in July 2008 to stay away from Duley, In her handwritten application for a protective order, Duley wrote that Ivins had stalked and threatened to kill her and had a long history of homicidal threats. However, in her testimony, Duley also stated that she had only known Ivins for six months.
Duley had been set to give testimony against Ivins on August 1, 2008. Ivins, however, had no criminal record, whereas Duley herself has a history of convictions for driving under the influence and charges of battery by her ex-husband. The charges forced her to quit her job, and attorney costs used up her savings, according to her fiancee. In a 1999 newspaper interview, Duley described herself as a former motorcycle gang member and drug user: "Heroin. Cocaine. PCP. You name it, I did it. According to an article originally appearing in the August 12, 2009 Fredrick News Post, Duley was under house arrest when she tape recorded Ivins' allegedly "threatening" messages. The Fredrick News Post also made a available a recording of the allegedly threatening calls, since apparently removed from the paper's website. According to Dr. Merrill Nass, summarizing the removed audio recording, "No threats are made or implied in the messages. More the sad ramblings of a broken man who felt betrayed."
In her July 2008 restraining order Duley alleged that Ivins "has a history dating to his graduate days of homicidal threats, actions, plans, threats & actions towards theripist" (sic). According to Duley, "Dr. David Irwin his psychiatrist called him homicidal, sociopathic with clear intentions" (sic) and she would "tetisfy with other details" (sic). She further alleged a "detailed homicidal plan" to kill his co-workers after learning he was going to be indicted on capital murder charges and stated that, upon hearing of his possible indictment, Ivins had purchased a gun and a bulletproof vest. Ivins was subsequently committed for psychiatric evaluation, and his home was raided by federal agents who confiscated ammunition and a bulletproof vest. He was released from his committal on July 24, five days before his death.
 Statement by Henry S. Heine
Dr. Henry S. Heine, a microbiologist who was Ivins' fellow researcher at the Army Medical Research Institute, told a National Academy of Sciences panel on April 22, 2010 that he considered it impossible that Ivins could have produced the anthrax used in the attacks without detection.
Heine told the 16-member National Academy of Sciences panel that producing the quantity of spores in the letters would have taken at least a year of intensive work using the equipment at the army lab. Such an effort would not have escaped colleagues’ notice, and lab technicians who worked closely with Dr. Ivins have told him they saw no such work.
Heine also told the panel that biological containment measures where Dr. Ivins worked were inadequate to prevent the spores from floating out of the laboratory into animal cages and offices. "You’d have had dead animals or dead people," he told the panel.
The FBI asked the National Academy of Sciences to review the FBI's scientific work on the case. The panel is chaired by Alice P. Gast, president of Lehigh University, is reviewing the FBI's scientific work on the case.
Heine said he did not dispute that there was a genetic link between the spores in the letters and the anthrax in Ivins’ flask, which led the FBI to conclude that Ivins had grown the spores from a sample taken from the flask. Heine pointed out that samples from the flask were widely shared. Accusing Ivins of the attacks, he said, was like tracing a murder to the clerk at the sporting goods shop who sold the bullets.
Asked by reporters after his testimony whether he believed there was any chance that Ivins had carried out the attacks, Heine, replied, “Absolutely not.” At the Army’s biodefense lab, he said, “among the senior scientists, no one believes it.”
- U.S. Patent 6,316,006 November 13, 2001 Asporogenic B anthracis expression system
- U.S. Patent 6,387,665 May 14, 2002 Method of making a vaccine for anthrax
|Constructs such as ibid. and loc. cit. are discouraged by Wikipedia's style guide for footnotes, as they are easily broken. Please improve this article by replacing them with named references (quick guide), or an abbreviated title.|
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- ^ Williams, David (August 2, 2008). "Anthrax scientist Bruce Ivins stood to benefit from a panic". Los Angeles Times. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-anthrax2-2008aug02,0,3650657.story. Retrieved 2008-08-01. "Ivins is listed as a co-inventor on two patents for a genetically engineered anthrax vaccine, federal records show. Separately, Ivins also is listed as a co-inventor on an application to patent an additive for various biodefense vaccines."
- ^ http://anthraxvaccine.blogspot.com/
- ^ "Prosecutor calls researcher sole culprit in 2001 anthrax attacks". CNN. August 6, 2008. http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/08/06/anthrax.case/index.html?eref=rss_topstories. Retrieved 2008-08-06. "A federal prosecutor declared Army biological weapons researcher Bruce Ivins the sole culprit in the 2001 anthrax attacks Wednesday, after releasing a stack of documents from a "herculean" investigation that lasted nearly seven years."
- ^ Johnson, Carrie, Del Quentin Wilber and Dan Eggen. "Government Asserts Ivins Acted Alone." Washington Post, August 7, 2008, p. 1.
- ^ Lipton, Eric. Doubts "Persist Among Anthrax Suspect's Colleagues." New York Times, August 9, 2008, p. 13.
- ^ Isikoff, Michael, "The Case Still Isn’t Closed", Newsweek, August 18, 2008.
- ^ a b c d Gugliotta, Guy, "FBI's Theory On Anthrax Is Doubted", Washington Post, Oct. 28, 2002.
- ^ Epstein, Edward Jay, "The Anthrax Attacks Remain Unsolved", Wall Street Journal, January 24, 2010.
- ^ http://www.scientiapress.com/findings/mailer.htm
- ^ Shane, Scott (January 3, 2009). "Portrait Emerges of Anthrax Suspect’s Troubled Life". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/04/us/04anthrax.html?hp. Retrieved 2009-01-03.
- ^ a b "FBI: Anthrax suspect Ivins obsessed with Kappa - The Daily Princetonian". http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2008/09/08/21306/. Retrieved 2008-11-19.
- ^ The Smoking Gun, "Inside The Anthrax Probe", (specific page), August 6, 2008.
- ^ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/Jimmyflathead
- ^ Westmoreland, Matt (2008-08-07). "Anthrax suspect's lawyer: Kappa obsession is not proof". The Daily Princetonian (Princeton University). http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2008/09/08/21306/.
- ^ Amerithrax Court Documents. United States Department of Justice
- ^ Lipton, Eric (August 6, 2008). "In Anthrax Scientist’s E-Mail, Hints of Delusions". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/07/washington/07ivins.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&partner=rssyahoo&emc=rss&adxnnlx=1218125001-wJyFaxC9VKLU0tlS97YHNw&pagewanted=all#. Retrieved 2009-01-05. "Richard G. Rappaport, an associate clinical psychiatry professor at the University of California, San Diego, who examined the court papers at the request of The New York Times, said Dr. Ivins appeared to exhibit psychotic characteristics. It was possible, Dr. Rappaport said, that he was faking his mental ailment, in an effort to draw attention to himself. But he said he wondered why Dr. Ivins had been allowed to continue to work for so long in a high-security biodefense laboratory."
- ^ who described her profession as "theripist". Gilbert, Sharon K. (2008-08-04). "The Curious Tale of Bruce Edwards Ivins". PID News. http://peeringintodarkness.com/?p=1182.
- ^ "Therapist: Anthrax suspect tried to poison people". Associated Press. http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gUJdPOpsQrhUamtiia6QWpZlMAsAD92ARUB00. Retrieved 2008-08-04. "Bruce E. Ivins, the late microbiologist suspected in the 2001 anthrax attacks, told his psychotherapist after learning he was about to be indicted that "he was going to go out in a blaze of glory, that he was going to take everybody out with him," she said."
- ^ a b Greenwald, Glen. "Additional key facts re: the anthrax investigation" Salon.com Aug. 4, 2008.
- ^ Goldstein, Amy, "Tales of Addiction, Anxiety, Ranting", Washington Post, Aug. 6, 2008.
- ^ Katherine Heerbrandt." The original article appears to have disappeared from the internet, but is referenced at the Anthrax Vacine Blogspot, Bruce Ivins' "therapist" accuser Duley was under house arrest when she colluded with FBI", August 12, 2009.
- ^ op. cit.
- ^ Template:Cite court document
- ^ "Therapist: Ivins described plot to kill colleagues". CNN. August 2, 2008. http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/08/02/anthrax.suspect/index.html?eref=rss_topstories. Retrieved 2008-08-02.
- ^ "Dr. Doom's Long, 'Derange' Trip", New York Post, Aug. 7, 2008.