Bruce Ivins

There are two sides to every story. Judges rightly admonish juries to check out both sides before coming to a conclusion. Our entire system of adversarial justice is built on this principle. But under surveillance by FBI in the 2001 anthrax mailings case, U.S. Army scientist Bruce Ivins committed suicide. So only one side got to tell its version of the story.

Upon closing the case on February 19, 2010, FBI issued an Amerithrax Investigative Summary that concludes that Ivins was the anthrax mailer. The Summary contains serious errors as well as minor ones. It also omits crucial information. So, to ensure a fair outcome, we need to look at it through the eyes of a defense attorney, to make sure that the American people can check out both sides of the story before coming to a conclusion. Continue reading »

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On November 29, 2010 the University of California Washington Center hosted a seminar, sponsored by UCLA, on the 2001 anthrax mailings investigation.

At the first session, attended by 45, four panelists discussed the investigation itself, with the consensus emerging that FBI had made a series of errors and that its allegations against U.S. Army scientist Bruce Ivins lacked substance.   (The case has never been tried in court because Ivins committed suicide.)   The second session, for which 25 remained, analyzed the lessons learned and the broader implications of the case, which was the largest criminal investigation in American history.   Continue reading »

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kennedyUnfinished business in a nation’s history can undermine citizens’ trust in government and sense of participating in a meaningful collective life.

In the case of fatal moments such as assassinations and terrorist attacks, the damage adds to the impact of the attacks and helps the attackers achieve their goals of demoralizing the people and fraying the social fabric. Compounding the problem, government agencies and the media often show reluctance to reveal what they learn because they lack 100% assurance of its validity, because they fear the public reaction, or because they are covering up their own mistakes. As a result, people often believe that certain crimes remain unsolved or are even unsolvable when in fact they have already been solved but the information is being denied to the public. Continue reading »

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