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Amerithrax Investigative Summary
This Investigative Summary sets forth much of the evidence that was developed in the Amerithrax investigation, which is now officially closed. In the fall of 2001, the anthrax letter attacks killed five people and sickened 17 others. Upon the death of the first victim of that attack, agents from the Fed. Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) immediately formed a Task Force and spent seven years investigating the crime. The Amerithrax investigation is described below. In its early stages, despite the enormous amount of evidence gathered through traditional law enforcement techniques, limitations on scientific methods prevented law enforcement from determining who was responsible for the attacks. Eventually, traditional law enforcement techniques were combined with groundbreaking scientific analysis that was developed specifically for the case to trace the anthrax used in the attacks to a particular flask of material. By 2007, investigators conclusively determined that a single spore-batch created and maintained by Dr. Bruce E. Ivins at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) was the parent material for the letter spores. An intensive investigation of individuals with access to that material ensued. Evidence developed from that investigation established that Dr. Ivins, alone, mailed the anthrax letters. By the summer of 2008, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia was preparing to seek authorization to ask a federal grand jury to return an indictment charging Dr. Ivins with Use of a Weapon of Mass Destruction and related charges. However, before that process was completed, he committed suicide. Aware of the FBI investigation and the prospect of being indicted, Dr. Ivins took an overdose of over-the-counter medications on or about July 26, 2008, and died on July 29, 2008. Administrative and investigative steps taken in the past year toward closure of the investigation confirm the conclusion that Dr. Ivins perpetrated the anthrax letter attacks.
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