Further review sought of 2001 anthrax mailings

Further review is being sought by the United States House of Representatives over the 2001 anthrax mailings that resulted in five deaths that was recently closed by the FBI.

An amendment to an intelligence authorization bill was approved this week by House members to require the government to further search for credible evidence of foreign involvement in the attacks, which sickened 17 people in the days after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

This House amendment comes only six days after the FBI close the case on the 2001 anthrax attacks, concluding that Bruce Ivins, an Army scientist, was solely responsible for the anthrax attacks.

New Jersey Democrat Rush Holt and Maryland Republican Roscoe Bartlett offered the amendment. The anthrax letters were mailed from New Jersey and Ivins, prior to killing himself, worked at Fort Detrick in Maryland.

Doubts about the FBI's conclusions have been expressed by both Holt and Bartlett.

At issue is the form of anthrax used in the attacks. The anthrax was almost entirely made up of dried, purified spores that wafted up into the air when the envelope containing them was open. Ivins' lab had the capability to dry anthrax spores but did not set up a system to aerosolize dried anthrax. Many doubt that Ivins would have had the time or privacy to do so, though investigators have suggested that, prior to the attacks, his multiple late nights working would have allowed it.