Anthrax suspect suicide: Burden on the Feds

The news today that anthrax researcher Bruce E. Ivins had committed suicide gave me a sick feeling, and brought to mind the Tom Wolfe novel Bonfire of the Vanities. For those who haven’t read it, in the book a man is accused of running down a fellow New Yorker and has his life turned upside down as a result. The truth is that someone else did it. Reading the comments of Ivins’ lawyer brought that back.

Dr. Ivins, who was a biodefense researcher at Fort Detrick, had been told of the investigation into the anthrax incidents, said his lawyer, Paul F. Kemp of Rockville, Md., who issued a statement insisting that his client was innocent.

“For six years, Dr. Ivins fully cooperated with that investigation, assisting the government in every way that was asked of him,” Mr. Kemp said. “The relentless pressure of accusation and innuendo takes its toll in different ways on different people, as has already been seen in this investigation. In Dr. Ivins’ case, it led to his untimely death.”

Without even getting into the Hatfill settlement, suffice to say that the burden is on the feds to prove Ivins’ guilt. His suicide does not.

The New York Times story is here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/02/washington/02anthrax.html?hp

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