In addition to reigniting doubts, the report has also reignited calls for an independent investigation into the entire FBI case. Yesterday, Rep. Holt re-introduced his legislation to create a 9/11-style Commission, complete with subpoena power, with a mandate to review the entire matter. Sen. Grassley told the Post: "There are no more excuses for avoiding an independent review." Ivins' lawyer added that the report confirms that the case against his client is "all supposition based on conjecture based on guesswork, without any proof whatsoever." All of that has been clear for some time, and yesterday's report merely underscored how weak is the FBI's case.
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. The pithy version of the vital role played by anthrax was supplied by Atrios here and here; in essence, it was anthrax that convinced large numbers of Americans that Terrorism was something that could show up without warning at their doorstep -- though something as innocuous as their mailbox -- in the form of James-Bond-like attacks featuring invisible, lethal powder. Moreover, anthrax was exploited in the aftermath of 9/11 to ratchet up the fear levels toward Saddam Hussein, as ABC News' Brian Ross spent a full week screeching to the country -- falsely -- that bentonite had been found in the anthrax and that this agent was the telltale sign of Iraq's chemical weapons program, while George Bush throughout 2002 routinely featured "anthrax" as one of Saddam's scary weapons.
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.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Serious doubt cast on FBI's anthrax case against Bruce Ivins: