The perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax attack on Congress likely was a government scientist employed at the Army's Ft. Detrick, Md., bioterrorism lab having access to a "moonsuit" that made it possible to safely process and manufacture super-weapons-grade anthrax, a bioterrorism authority says.
Although only a "handful" of scientists had the ability to perpetrate the crime, the culprit, or culprits, among them may never be identified as the FBI ordered the destruction of the anthrax culture collection at Ames, Ia., from which the Ft. Detrick lab got its pathogens, the authority said.
This action made it impossible "to pin-point precisely where, when, and from whom these bio-agents had originated," said Dr. Francis A. Boyle of the University of Illinois at Champaign.
Boyle, who drafted the U.S. Biological Weapons Convention of 1989 that was enacted by Congress, says destruction of the Ames anthrax "appears to be a cover-up orchestrated by the FBI."
Calls for comment to two FBI press offices in Washington, D.C., on this charge were not returned. Members of the Senate have been pressing the FBI for additional information on its investigation, thought to be ongoing.
If impartial scientists could have performed genetic reconstruction of the anthrax found in letters mailed to Senators Daschle(D-S.D.) and Patrick Leahy, (D -Vt.), "the trail of genetic evidence would have led directly back to a secret but officially-sponsored U.S. government biowarfare program that was illegal and criminal" in violation of biological weapons conventions and U.S. laws, Boyle said.
"I believe the FBI knows exactly who was behind these terrorist anthrax attacks upon the United States Congress in the Fall of 2001, and that the culprits were U.S. government-related scientists involved in a criminal U.S. government biowarfare program," Boyle said.
The anthrax attacks killed five people, including two postal workers, injured 17 others, and temporarily shut down the operations of the U.S. Congress, Supreme Court, and other Federal entities.
Boyle, a leading American authority on international law, said after the attacks he contacted senior FBI official Marion "Spike" Bowman, who handles counter-terrorism issues, and provided him with the names of the scientists working with anthrax. Boyle told Bowman the Ft. Detrick scientists were not to be trusted.
In addition to then destroying the anthrax, the FBI "retained every independent life-scientist it could locate as part of its fictitious investigation, and then swore them all to secrecy so that they cannot publicly comment on the investigation or give their expert opinion," Boyle said.
Boyle pointed out that Bowman is the same FBI agent "who played a pivotal role in suppressing evidence which in turn prevented the issuance of a search warrant for the computer of Zacarias Moussaoui, the alleged 20th al-Qaeda hijacker on 11 September 2001, which might otherwise have led to foreknowledge and therefore prevention of those terrorist attacks in the first place."
A self-confessed al-Qaeda operative, Moussaoui was detained on immigration three weeks before 9/11 when a Minnesota flight school reported he was acting suspiciously.
Boyle asked if Bowman received an FBI award in Dec., 2002, for "exceptional performance" because of his capacity "to forestall investigations, because of where they may lead?" He goes on to inquire, "Could the real culprits behind the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001, and the immediately following terrorist anthrax attacks upon Congress ultimately prove to be the same people?"
Because of its "bogus investigation," Boyle says, "the greatest political crime in the history of the United States of America since its founding on 4 July, 1776---the anthrax attacks on Congress, which served not only to deliver a terrorist threat on its members, but actually to close it down for a period---may remain officially unresolved forever."
"Could it truly be coincidental, " he continued, "that two of the primary intended victims of the terrorist anthrax attacks --- Senators Daschle and Leahy---were holding up the speedy passage of the pre-planned USA Patriot Act∑an Act which provided the federal government with unprecedented powers in relation to U.S. citizens and institutions?"
Leahy is incoming Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and may have a personal interest in holding hearings to learn who tried to kill him. An anthrax-laced letter to Leahy turned up in a search of Capitol Hill mail in the week of October 15, 2003. The letters sent to Leahy and Daschle were both postmarked from a Trenton, N.J.-area post office.
During its probe of the anthrax attack, the Justice Department identified Dr. Steven J. Hatfill, a biological defense scientist and one-time government employee, as "a person of interest." Dr. Hatfill, a medical doctor, took a post in 1997 at Ft. Detrick but left to work the next year for a private firm that helps the government create defenses against germ weapons. Dr. Hatfill repeatedly denied any role in the anthrax attacks and said he knows nothing about anthrax production, The New York Times reported.
Boyle's views are contained in his book "Biowarfare and Terrorism", published by Clarity Press, Inc., of Atlanta, Ga. His previously published titles include, "Foundations of World Order," "The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence," and "Destroying World Order." Dr. Boyle holds a Doctor of Law Magna Cum Laude and a Ph.D. in political science, both from Harvard.
In a forward to the book, Dr. Jonathan King, Professor of Molecular Biology at M.I.T. and a founder of the Council for Responsible Genetics, said the government's "growing bioterror programs (described by Professor Boyle) represent a significant emerging danger to our own population."
A harsh critic of Pentagon biowarfare activities, Boyle points out in inflation-adjusted dollars the U.S. spends more on them today than it did on the Manhattan Project to develop the atomic bomb in World War II. He has accused the Bush administration of diverting the bio-tech industry "towards biowarfare purposes" and of making corrupting payoffs to Academia to turn university scientists to the pursuit of biowarfare work.