Scientists, colleagues of Bruce Ivins question his guilt

Multiple scientists and ex-colleagues of Bruce Ivins, who was accused of five murders by the Federal Bureau of Investigation via the 2001 anthrax attacks, remain convinced of his innocence over two years after his suicide.

The researchers said that Ivins, a mentally unstable but highly regarded microbiologist for the Army, was the victim of an incomplete investigation in which the FBI only tested a few workstations of the many researchers using the anthrax strain found in the letters. If Ivins is truly innocent, the researchers believe the killer may still be at large, STL Today reports.

"This was not an incidental finding," Martin Hugh-Jones, a retired professor at Louisiana State University and one of the world's foremost anthrax experts, said, according to STL Today. "The FBI had what I would call an institutional fingerprint. Whoever had that strain of (bacteria) has to answer to the investigators."

Hugh-Jones, who was acquainted with Ivins, said that Ivins lacked the expertise needed to create the anthrax powder.

Interviews with federal law enforcement officials and scientists and a review of recently declassified bureau records has revealed that the FBI decided not to fully test for the distinct bacterial contaminant. Ex-colleagues of Ivins like Hugh-Jones are convinced that the 27 year Army employee was innocent and that the FBI made an error in limiting its testing.

In order to have perpetrated the anthrax attack, Ivins would have needed to prepare the deadly powder, write “Death to America” on several letters and twice sneak away on six hour roundtrip drives to drop the letters into a Princeton, N.J. mailbox, STL Today reports. Additionally, none of the circumstantial evidence during the $100 million Justice Department investigation pointed to Ivins as the culprit.