August 5, 2008

Greg Cochran on anthrax

Greg Cochran says, in defense of the much maligned FBI, that in 2001 the technology didn't really exist to sequence the anthrax found in mailed envelopes in the fall of that year. As you'll recall, the Human Genome Project had spent years sequencing Craig Venter's DNA, not finishing until about then.

By the middle of the decade, however, genome sequencing technology had improved so much that the FBI could hire biotech firms to sequence the evidence, which traced the terrorist anthrax to a particular batch accessible only to about ten people at Ft. Detrick. (That's assuming that the initial inspection of the evidence at Ft. Detrick in 2001 didn't contaminate the sample -- which may or may not be a Big If.)

What we don't know yet is how solid the links are to Ivins as the One of the Ten. He sounds like he was always pretty eccentric, and was fairly crazy at the end. Still, one concern would be: what if the FBI picked out the most eccentric of the ten for surveillance, and that, rather than guilt, drove him around the bend? Anyway, we should know more pretty soon.

It might not be a bad idea to buy out the other nine people at the lab who had access to the terror anthrax and pay them all to take early retirement.

If the anthrax mailer's goal was to get America to pay more attention to and spend more money on defenses against bio-terrorism, he certainly succeeded: we've spent something like $50 billion since then.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

6 comments:

RKU said...

Well, so far the evidence against this "Anthrax Killer" looks even thinner than that against the previous "Anthrax Killer", who was paid $6M from the government for defamation.

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/08/05/anthrax/index.html

But since Ivins' probably won't sue, I guess the government can breathe easier...

rightsaidfred said...

>>>>If the anthrax mailer's goal was to get America to pay more attention to ...

Spies and terrorists have grand dreams that their actions will change the world, and they mostly have an unhappy existence punctuated by a few thrills. If Ivins was the culprit, he seems to fit this mold.

dearieme said...

"If the anthrax mailer's goal was to get America to pay more attention to ..."; the Global Warmmongers have been pretty successful too, without yet (I assume) killing anyone. They are all set to cost us all far more money, of course, in a way that will kill far more people.

neil craig said...

While there may not be enough evidence to convict we do know that somebody dunnit & if the anthrax identification is right the number of suspects is as limited as in the classic country house murder detective story.

He does look like the most likely suspect - Miss Marple would have known for sure but even in such stories the plot always requires the murderer to admit it. If he didn't leave a suicide note that is probably as close to an admission as we will get.

Robert said...

Here is another article on this. http://antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=13262

hardright@30 said...

I'm loving this blog today:

http://anthraxvaccine.blogspot.com/

It's written by a specialist in Anthrax who knew Ivins professionally. She's unconvinced.