Rep. Rush Holt skeptical that Ivins behind anthrax attacks

Despite new findings from a panel of psychiatrists about the mental state of Bruce Ivins, the scientist believed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to be behind the 2001 anthrax killings, Representative Rush Holt (D-New Jersey) is still skeptical that the culprit has been identified.

The independent report determined that Ivins had severe psychological problems and should never have been given security clearance or allowed to work with anthrax based on his psychological profile and diagnosable mental illnesses, reports. Ivins killed himself in 2008 as the FBI closed in on him as a suspect in the case.

Holt maintains that the FBI has not proved its case.  

“I think this just adds a little more circumstantial evidence that Ivins was the culprit,” Holt said, according to “I don’t think it cinches the case.”

The anthrax attacks, which occurred in the weeks following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, killed five people and infected a further 22. The letters were mailed from a box on Nassau Street in Princeton Borough, New Jersey. The postal center in Hamilton, New Jersey, was closed for four years after anthrax-laced letters were routed through its machinery, according to

Holt said that because the FBI rushed to conclusions in naming Dr. Steven Hatfill a “person of interest” in the case, there is little reason to believe in Ivin’s role in the attacks.

“If I hadn’t personally witnessed the FBI make so many false steps and jump to so many conclusions I’d be more willing to believe them,” Holt said, reports. “I watched as they hunted and harassed Hatfill for years only to decide that he had nothing to do with it. They jumped to a conclusion there, what’s to prevent them from jumping to a conclusion with regard to Ivins?”

Holt has introduced legislation in the House of Representatives that would create a congressional commission, similar to the 9/11 commission, to investigate the attacks. He said the commission would review the FBI’s findings in the case and also review security procedures in government laboratories.

“In addition to trying to see whether this case is solved, we need to draw lessons about our preparation before the anthrax poisoning and the lessons we’ve learned from it,” Holt said, according to