Last week, the Washington Post published a story
that appeared to finally tie Bruce Ivins to that New Jersey mailbox where the 2001 anthrax letters were mailed -- something the feds have been unable to do in their six-year investigation.
breathlessly reported in a story -- headlined "New Details Show Suspect Was Away On Key Day" -- that Ivins took part of the day off on Sept. 17.
A partial log of Ivins's work hours shows that he worked late in the lab on the evening of Sunday, Sept. 16, signing out at 9:52 p.m. after two hours and 15 minutes. The next morning, the sources said, he showed up as usual but stayed only briefly before taking leave hours. Authorities assume that he drove to Princeton immediately after that, dropping the letters in a mailbox on a well-traveled street across from the university campus. Ivins would have had to have left quickly to return for an appointment in the early evening, about 4 or 5 p.m.
But then Glenn Greenwald over at Salon
drilled down into the details
and found that the whole story didn't make any sense -- and that the timeline described by the FBI and the Post
may actually give Ivins an alibi, since the anthrax letter was stamped Sept. 18.
Now today's story in the Post
appears to propose a new theory
on when Ivins allegedly drove to New Jersey.
Investigators now believe that Ivins waited until evening to make the drive to Princeton on Sept. 17, 2001. He showed up at work that day and stayed briefly, then took several hours of administrative leave from the lab, according to partial work logs. Based on information from receipts and interviews, authorities say Ivins filled up his car's gas tank, attended a meeting outside of the office in the late afternoon, and returned to the lab for a few minutes that evening before moving off the radar screen and presumably driving overnight to Princeton. The letters were postmarked Sept. 18.
That's a big shift. But the Post
didn't play it that way. Today's story emphasized the incremental development that the feds recovered human hair
at the New Jersey mailbox where the 2001 letters were dropped -- and they did not match Ivins.
It's clear that the FBI's case against Ivins is less than airtight
. The main question at this point might be whether anyone is going to make the FBI cough up any more details
of its investigation. Skeptical scientists are clamoring
for more details. And there's movement from Congress, albeit slowly. The Post reports
today that the House Judiciary Committee is also negotiating to hold a hearing with FBI officials. That comes on the heels of Sen. Chuck Grassley's questions
for Mueller and Attorney General Michael Mukasey last week.
But the furor over the troubled investigation may be fading a bit. Former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD), who received one of the anthrax-laced letters in 2001, announced yesterday that he is satisfied that the FBI's investigation was "complete and persuasive
." Meanwhile, the AP
filed a story yesterday
dismissing some of the doubters as conspiracy theorists, comparing Ivins to Lee Harvey Oswald.