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Current Assessment/State of the Field:




Budowle, B. “Genetics and Attribution Issues that Confront the Microbial Forensics Field,” Forensic Science International 146S, 2004:S185-S188.

  1. “Laboratory stocks may show less diversity than samples found in nature.”
  2.  “It may not be possible to uniquely identify a source based on genetics alone.”

Attribution, Law Enforcement


Markon, Jerry, “Case turns the Justice Dept. on itself,” Washington Post, P. A3, January 29, 2012.

  1. ”In documents deep in the files of a recently settled Florida lawsuit, Justice Department civil attorneys contradicted their own department’s conclusion that Ivins was unquestionably the anthrax killer. The lawyers said the type of anthrax in Ivins’s lab was “radically different” from the deadly anthrax. They cited several witnesses who said Ivins was innocent, and they suggested that a private laboratory in Ohio could have been involved in the attacks.”
  2. ”The documents were filed in a lawsuit over the October 2001 death of Robert Stevens, a Florida photo editor. His survivors accused the government of negligence for experimenting with anthrax at Fort Detrick; the case lingered in court until the Justice Department settled it in November.”
  3. ”Justice Department prosecutors and FBI officials said they stand firmly behind their conclusions that Ivins prepared and mailed the anthrax-laced letters, which killed five people and terrified the nation just after Sept. 11, 2001. They said the civil filings were legal hypotheticals designed to shield the government from a negligence lawsuit filed by the family of an anthrax victim.”
  4. ”The Justice Department initiated settlement discussions in August, about a month after filing its controversial motions, according to people familiar with the discussions. The settlement, finalized Nov. 28, paid $2.5 million to the Stevens family.”
  5. ”Federal officials denied any relationship between their filings and the settlement and characterized it as a victory, since the family initially sought $50 million and the government did not admit liability.”
  6. ”Byrne said Ivins didn’t have the technical skill to make the extremely fine powder and both said the Fort Detrick lab’s equipment could not have dried the anthrax so it could be turned into powder without contaminating parts of the facility.”
  7. ”Vincent B. Lisi, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, said in an interview that Ivins, one of the nation’s most respected anthrax experts, “absolutely had the ability” to make the deadly spores and that experiments by FBI scientists showed there would have been no contamination.”
  8. ”Katy Delaney, a spokeswoman for Battelle, did not respond directly to the government filings, but said ‘the Stevens case against Battelle was dismissed and the [criminal] investigation of Battelle has been closed.’”

Anthrax, Law, Law Enforcement, Lab Security, Attribution