Anthrax attacks still unexplained 

This week in the Wall Street Journal, Edward Jay Epstein explains why the September 2001 anthrax attacks have still not been explained, despite the most extensive investigation in the FBI’s history. He demonstrates why the FBI’s pinning of the crime on a chemical weapons scientist who committed suicide is utterly unconvincing. 

I blogged on this on New Year’s Day, citing an earlier version of Epstein’s article that appeared on his website. It seemed to me in September 2001 and it seems to me today, eight years and four months later, that there is a high likelihood that a state actor was behind the anthrax attacks.

A reasonable retort: why then was there no recurrence of the anthrax attacks after September 2001? (One possible answer: because those attacks did not kill nearly as many people or incite nearly the panic that the instigator intended.)

But I still think that my theory seems more likely than the theory on which the FBI based much of its investigation, which is that the attacks were the work of a disgruntled or disturbed U.S. scientist. To a hammer, everything looks like a nail, and the main business of the FBI is to track down domestic crime and accumulate evidence that can stand up in court. An investigation that leads to a state actor, however, raises other and disturbing issues. What to do about a state actor that attacks America is not the province of law enforcement but of the president and Congress.

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Michael Barone

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