Anthrax and the Agency
April 10, 2002 10:18 AM   Subscribe

Anthrax and the Agency "Now that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has officially put the anthrax investigation on a back burner, it is time for Americans to think the unthinkable: that the FBI has never been keen to identify the perpetrator because that perpetrator may, in fact, be the U.S. Government itself. Evidence is mounting that the source of the anthrax was a top secret U.S. Army laboratory in Maryland and that the perpetrators involve high-level officials in the U.S. military and intelligence infrastructure." Granted, there's more than a few blips on the radar screen these days, but...whatever happened to this investigation? I'm no conspiracy theorist, but the case laid out in this piece gives me pause. Any other good theories out there?
posted by martk (21 comments total)
A good theory as opposed to the idea that the government mailed anthrax?

Do you think the government in its current incarnation would Survive something like that? Would the benefit outweigh the risk?

The simple fact is, if you act alone, or in very small groups, you are very hard to track down. Look how long it took to find the Unabomber.

Just because the media stops covering an issue that doesn't mean it goes away, i'm sure there are quite a few people in the FBI and other law enforcement entities that bang their heads on the little available evidence every single day.
posted by th3ph17 at 11:02 AM on April 10, 2002

I'm not a fan of alt.conspiracy either, but since it's pretty clear that the investigation isn't going anywhere, I have doubts as well.
Maybe these guys covered their tracks very well, but it just seems strange. Unabomber acted alone but he got caught anyway. And to kill he didn't use something as difficult to get as anthrax. So Unabomber was harder to catch than the Anthrax guy
And, oh, the Wiley "suicide" is very, very very fishy
posted by matteo at 11:04 AM on April 10, 2002

Umm... the Unabomber was at large for 17 years before he was apprehended. The anthrax mailings happened less than six months ago.

But bringing him up may be pertinent to this thread, as speculating that the US government might be responsible for the anthrax mailings is the kind of paranoid delusional thinking that Kaczinski specializes in.

Grab your tinfoil hats, it's going to be a bumpy night!
posted by evanizer at 11:18 AM on April 10, 2002

yeah, 17 years for the Unabomber. good thing the family turned him in or the g-men would probably still be floundering around trying to find him.
posted by zoopraxiscope at 11:32 AM on April 10, 2002

exactly evanizer.

kaczinski made his own wires and screws. he didn't brag out what he was doing. It took him a long time to do things.

the scale of the anthrax attack is pretty small really, and i don't think it implies some huge network...just focus and that similar esoteric, meticulous paranoia that kaczinski had.
posted by th3ph17 at 11:33 AM on April 10, 2002

drat, hit post instead of preview again....

IF anthrax would have shown up at every single state capital and major government center all within one week that would have hinted at a larger operation,[ and would have scared the living fuck out of the whole world.]
posted by th3ph17 at 11:35 AM on April 10, 2002

The Unabomber got caught after eighteen years. It's hardly been eighteen weeks since the anthrax attacks. And if his brother hadn't noticed similarities between old papers in his attic and the manifesto published in the NYT tipped off the Feds, the Unabomber would probably still be at large.

Further, the referring to Ft. Detrick as a "top secret U.S. Army laboratory" strikes me as very overdramatic. I'm sure that I'm a little biased because I worked there (for the NCI, not the Army) but it comes up as the first hit on Google for "army biological warfare", for crying out loud.

Time to bust out the tinfoil hats.
posted by jaek at 11:42 AM on April 10, 2002

Ok, so the entire US government were'nt involved in the Anthrax - but perhaps someone within the agency was. Naturally, any investigation trying to track down such a aperp would be very hushed indeed. It usually takes some time to find spies within spy networks. *hat on*
posted by dabitch at 11:56 AM on April 10, 2002

Here is Barbara Rosenberg's (from the Federation of American Scientists) Analysis of the Anthrax Attacks. And Salon had a more sober article about this recently (subsciption required.) Their theory was that a U.S. bioweapons scientist probably was behind last fall's anthrax attacks. I don't find that hard to believe, but I do find the theory that the government itself was behind it very hard to believe, if for no other reason than it would have picked lower profile targets.
posted by homunculus at 11:58 AM on April 10, 2002

And now for something completely dif't: One anthrax theory I haven't seen earlier is that its a warning from Iraq not to invade.
Last week, I read "somewhere" on the web in a major newspaper that the anthrax was coated and milled according to secret patents held by an american DOD researcher, who was named in the article, which I found surprising at the time. This would support the lone American psycho theory (though not at all implying it was the American research patent holder, mind you.)
Compare to this account
Its anybody's guess at this point, though my gut tells me it was somehow extra-national.
posted by BentPenguin at 12:52 PM on April 10, 2002

well they haven't had too good of luck trying to find Eric Rudolph, The "suspected" Atlanta Olympic Park bomber. He is still believed to be hiding in the North Georgia/North Carolina mountains. The (now former) FBI lead on the case is now working as a police chief in a small Georgia town.
posted by mkelley at 12:54 PM on April 10, 2002

Calling Oliver Stone. Calling Oliver Stone.
posted by mikegre at 1:28 PM on April 10, 2002

What I took away from that article is that even if the US government isn't behind the actual anthrax attacks, they might be purposefully dragging their feet on the investigation to prevent certain facts from coming to light. Like the fact that they've been violating international treaties by continuing to produce bio-chemical warfare agents. If the people behind the attacks were caught and brought to trial, then the US government's secret biological weapons manufacturing would be splashed all over the media. And that might make other countries very unhappy with us.

Summary: US goverment makes anthrax. Bad people steal it and use it against US citizens. Authorities don't catch bad people for fear of exposing US treaty-busting. Not really a conspiracy, more of a cover-up.

Does anyone have a spare tinfoil beanie, just in case?
posted by gutenberg at 2:56 PM on April 10, 2002

The oddest theory that I've heard that actually makes a bit of sense is that the goverment actually *does* know at this point who is behind it, but hasn't lowered the axe yet because, hey, who knows what else whomever did it might be brewing up next? That they might be monitering the person/group/etc. until the are positive they have gained all info they can get.

(shrugs) But then again, I get a kick out of conspiracy theories.......
posted by Windigo at 3:02 PM on April 10, 2002

BentPenguin: Last week, I read "somewhere" on the web in a major newspaper that the anthrax was coated and milled according to secret patents held by an american DOD researcher, who was named in the article, which I found surprising at the time. This would support the lone American psycho theory (though not at all implying it was the American research patent holder, mind you.)

PATENT VIOLATION! Now this is serious. Let's get the top American enforcement agency on this. Somebody call the RIAA. They might not convict the perps but they could at least get 1 million dollars!
posted by srboisvert at 3:32 PM on April 10, 2002

Not only is the article printed on Reynolds Wrap, it's already outdated. Newsweek reports in its current issue that the anthrax was too sophisciated to have come from Ft. Detrick or any other US government agency.
posted by aaron at 3:58 PM on April 10, 2002

Or so the Germans would have us believe!
posted by Coda at 6:45 PM on April 10, 2002

OK, so the anthrax is too sophisticated to be made by the United States military's bio-weapons development lab?

OK, WTF? Is that supposed to be some form of reassurance, because if it is, it failed like hell.

Seriously, that is the most fscked up thing I've heard since September 11th.
posted by dglynn at 6:51 PM on April 10, 2002

That's completely ridiculous. Only the United States and the Soviet Union have biological weapons programs capable of producing such bacteria. And the Soviets essentially stopped their program when their country, you know, ceased to exist. It's an advanced anthrax strain developed in the US in the past ten years, via an illegal biological weapons program. If this had happened in 1989, I'd suspect the USSR, since they always had a better germ program. But that was thirteen years ago. This is now. Their money dried up entirely, and we are the only ones left making the stuff.
posted by Ptrin at 1:02 PM on April 11, 2002

Newsweek reports in its current issue that the anthrax was too sophisciated to have come from Ft. Detrick or any other US government agency.

The Newsweek article says nothing to that effect. It says essentially that the FBI has no idea whether it's domestic or international terrorism. As mkelley pointed out they've no idea where Eric Rudolph is. And they took forever to locate James Kopp and Clayton Lee Waagner. Their inability to determine (or at least announce publicly) who's responsible for the anthrax letters leads me to believe that this is domestic in origin and the FBI is lollygagging.
posted by cowboy_sally at 2:27 PM on April 11, 2002

The unabomber didn't use anthrax.............he used stuff he made in his cabin....
posted by Settle at 2:20 PM on April 13, 2002

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