by Glenn Greenwald, Salon
… yesterday, the National Academy panel released its findings, and it produced a very unpleasant surprise for the FBI (though it was entirely unsurprising for those following this case). As The New York Times put it in an article headlined “Expert Panel Is Critical of F.B.I. Work in Investigating Anthrax Letters”: “A review of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s scientific work . . . concludes that the bureau overstated the strength of genetic analysis linking the mailed anthrax to a supply kept by Bruce E. Ivins“; while the panel noted that the genetic findings are “consistent” with the claim that Ivins mailed the letters and can “support” an association, the evidence is far from “definitive,” as the FBI had long suggested. The report, commissioned by the FBI, specifically concluded that “the scientific link between the letter material and [Ivins'] flask number RMR-1029 is not as conclusive as stated in the DOJ Investigative Summary.” This morning’s Washington Post article — headlined: ”Anthrax report casts doubt on scientific evidence in FBI case against Bruce Ivins” — noted that “the report reignited a debate that has simmered among some scientists and others who have questioned the strength of the FBI’s evidence against Ivins.”
… It is hard to overstate the political significance of the anthrax attacks. For reasons I’ve described at length, that event played at least as much of a role as the 9/11 attacks in elevating the Terrorism fear levels which, through today, sustain endless wars, massive defense and homeland security budgets, and relentless civil liberties erosions.
… That there’s so much lingering doubt about who was responsible for this indescribably consequential attack is astonishing, and it ought to be unacceptable. Other than a desire to avoid finding out who the culprit was (and/or to avoid having the FBI’s case against Ivins subjected to scrutiny), there’s no rational reason to oppose an independent, comprehensive investigation into this matter.
[read the rest, here]