Saturday, January 03, 2009

The NYT's summary of the the anthrax case

The NYT has assembled a summary of the case against Bruce Ivins, the bioweapons scientist accused by the FBI of being the serial anthrax killer.

The case is entirely circumstantial, no more or less strong than the case against another scientist previously fingered by the New York Times who was later declared innocent. Mr. Ivins seems to have been a fairly unhappy man with some deep flaws, but I'm beginning to think that's not unusual in the bioweapons community.

The strongest evidence in the case was a claim that the FBI could trace the anthrax to a water source localized to Mr Ivins lab. Given the FBI's established record of incompetence and pseudo-science a good lawyer would shred that claim.

Based on what we know so far, I doubt the FBI could have gotten a conviction. If I were on the jury, I would not have been able to vote for conviction on the relevant charges.

I would not be surprised to discover that Mr. Ivins was a murderer. I would not be surprised to learn he was innocent of these charges.

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