National Research Council reviews FBI's anthrax investigation

A panel of scientists for the National Research Council, the main arm of the National Academy of Sciences, has reviewed the scientific approaches used by the FBI during the course of their investigation into the anthrax killings.

According to a National Academy of Sciences press release, the panel was created to determine whether the FBI reached a reasonable conclusion based on the evidence available and the scientific methods that were used.

Anthrax-laced letters killed ten people and injured 17 nearly 10 year sago. The FBI concluded that the man behind the letters was Bruce Ivins, a scientist at Fort Detrick. Ivins killed himself in 2008. The FBI believes he acted alone.

The FBI’s methods and techniques were questioned heavily by scientists and officials following the investigation, prompting the order for the review, reports.

The panel began the review process in 2008. The review was supposed to be made available in October 2010, but the release was delayed so that investigators could review it on security grounds. In December 2010, the FBI released more documents to the panel, prompting a further delay.

"It now appears that the FBI — which has consistently botched and bungled this case from the beginning — may be seeking to try to steer or otherwise pressure the NAS panel to reach a conclusion desired by the Bureau," Representative Rush Holt (D-N.J.) said, according to

Holt accuses the FBI of trying to influence the panel’s outcome through the postponements. The anthrax letters were mailed from Holt's district in New Jersey.

In response to Holt’s accusation, an FBI spokesman told that the FBI is working with the NAS to support the review.