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Bruce Ivins was the anthrax mailer — psychiatrists say

March 30, 2011

Global Security, 24 March 2011: News broke Tuesday of a psychiatric report commissioned to evaluate the mental records and health of Bruce Ivins,’ the US scientist named by the Department of Justice as the anthrax mailer. The report confirms Ivins was a creepy, mentally unbalanced man fond of harassing a national girls’ sorority. These qualities fit the circumstantial case the FBI built against him as the perpetrator of the most famous bioterror attack in this country’s history.

The report is noted by the FBI here. And a redacted form of the executive summary of the “Expert Behavioral Analysis Panel” is here.

Curiously, while the mainstream media broke the story — the Los Angeles Times had it first — every major news article dealing with it obscured where it could be found.

This only underlined the media’s eternally grasping need to be the only official purveyors of all information.

In any case, the panel concluded Ivins should not have been hired by USAMRIID/Fort Detrick. He had a history of criminal and psychotic behavior dating back to his days as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of North Carolina.

While there he nursed an obsession with a women’s sorority and one member of it. The obsession arose when Ivins’ attentions were rejected by a girl from Kappa Kappa Gamma while he was at the University of Cincinnati. The rejection seemed to have curdled his entire life.

In the case of one sorority girl, which the report refers to as KKG#2, Ivins went so far as to steal her lab research notebook, an act of sabotage aimed at screwing up her work toward a Ph.D.

The panel concluded Ivins compartmentalized his life, showing himself only to be a benign eccentric, an antic clown juggler at parties and keyboard player at church, to professional associates at Fort Detrick.

Hidden was his dark side, obsessed with the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority to the point of engaging in criminal break-ins of sorority houses so that he could steal their papers. He also mounted a campaign of harassment which included forging a letter to the editor from one of the women he was fixated on. Subsequently published in a newspaper, it was done to publicly embarrass the woman.

This event “demonstrated Dr. Ivins’ deviousness and willingness to use others, as well as the United States Postal Service, to accomplish his stealthy retribution.”

So enraged with the KKG sorority was Ivins, reads the report, he chose to mail anthrax letters from a mailbox 175 feet from its office at Princeton in New Jersey as a symbolic gesture.

The psychiatric panel also concluded Ivins had “a specific plan” to shoot people in order to go out in a “blaze of glory” as the FBI investigation closed in. At this time, just prior to his suicide, his involuntary commitment to a mental ward “likely prevented a mass shooting.”

If you read the summary you’re left with the conclusion Ivins was a vile and very troubled man, totally capable of being the nation’s, ahem, finest bioterrorist.

And, directly, it’s another indictment of the culture of complacency at USAMRIID/Fort Detrick. It also calls out the obvious — whether any personal reliability programs the US bioterrorism research industry, massively built up since the anthrax mailings, actually work at all.

 

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