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Anthrax Killer's Equipment Found

The mystery of the 2001 anthrax attacks on government offices and the media has pretty much been forgotten, despite the fact that most of the evidence points to an inside job by a U.S. bioweapons scientist. Now Marilyn Thompson writes in the Washington Post that new evidence has been discovered in a pond in Frederick, Md.

One way to identify the anthrax poisoner would be to test his blood, because working with the substance causes spores to get into the body. Also, the question comes up about how he could have put anthrax into envelopes without becoming ill or killing himself. Now we know the answer: he filled the envelopes under water.

The FBI found a clear box with holes that rubber gloves could fit through, as well as plastic-wrapped vials that could have contained the anthrax. Divers to cut through the ice on top of a group of ponds in the city-owned park area in December and January and the FBI now plans to drain one of the ponds on June 1st to search for more evidence, in a project code-named Amerithrax. They also plan to test the sediment at the bottom of the pond for traces of anthrax.

Steven J. Hatfill is still a major suspect. He's a medical doctor and bioterrorism expert who formerly worked as a researcher at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Frederick. Attorney General John D. Ashcroft says he's "a person of interest" in the investigation. Hatfill worked as government operative in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) at a time when many guerilla fighters there were sickened with anthrax. He's an expert diver, has written an unpublished thriller about bioterrorism, and once lived in an apartment about eight miles from the ponds.

Is this taking so long because the government is protecting one of its own? Maybe we don't have the best FBI money can buy.

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