Talk:2001 anthrax attacks

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Section: Ivins's "non-denial" denials[edit]

Hello. I have a couple criticisms of this section.

1)The first paragraph hardly fits in with the rest of the section. That paragraph MIXES interesting facts (the letters had been taped shut at the flap; there was a "take penacilin" warning in one of the two texts; no addressees were contaminated; there was a pharmacist's fold used for the powder in the envelopes) with speculation/inferences (the mailer didn't 'mean' to hurt anyone). Even if all the inferences are correct----far from clear!-----there's nothing Ivins-specific to any of them. Indeed people were making such speculations from October, 2001 onwards right through the Hatfill-as-the-main-suspect period and beyond. So, it hardly is a good indicator, in toto, that Ivins was the perpetrator. Maybe the paragraph can be retained for the overall article, but it seems a misfit for this section.

2)I've never heard/read------outside of this case-----the expression "non-denial denials" being used by police or prosecutors. I think it special pleading. Mostly what we have from the instances cited are partial or qualified denials. Some of those statements were elicited when an acquaintance of Ivins was wired and tasked by the Task Force with meeting and sounding out Ivins about the POSSIBILITY that he carried out the mailings while an alter ego took over and thus he, Ivins himself, might not remember it. That idea is what Ivins was rejecting when he said '"I do not have any recollection of ever have doing anything like that. As a matter of fact, I don't have no clue how to, how to make a bio-weapon and I don't want to know." IOW, when his alter ego generally took over, there would be some reminder (car keys left in car, near empty gas tank etc) but Ivins has no recollection of even such indirect signs from the fall of 2001. The "I can tell you, I am not a killer at heart" bit is also rejecting any murderous intent on his part and on the part of this 'crazy Bruce' who takes over for up to a few hours.

In addition, we know from David Willman's book that Ivins mixed these partial denials with categorical ones: to his wife, to his daughter, to just about anyone he conversed with about the case. And the last sentence in the subsection in question ( Ivins has "on occasion spontaneously declared at work, 'I could never intentionally kill or hurt someone.')sounds fairly categorical to me.

Thank you.Zzz rowley (talk) 22:11, 12 July 2016 (UTC)

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J Lo letter[edit]

The so-called "J. Lo letter"

Hello. The treatment of the so-called J. Lo letter here is entirely misleading and totally lacking in the spirit of NPOV. My objection isn't merely to the contents of the first sentence (one of 3) dealing with the J.Lo letter, but to the inclusion of that sub-topic in a section called "False leads". "False" suggests that it's unrelated to the crime(s) of Amerithrax/Bob Stevens' infection. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Details: Under "False leads" section: the first three sentences of the third paragraph read::

"Also unconnected to the anthrax attacks was a large envelope received at American Media, Inc. in Boca Raton, Florida (which was among the victims of the attacks) in September 2001. It was addressed "Please forward to Jennifer Lopez c/o The Sun", containing a metal cigar tube with a cheap cigar inside, an empty can of chewing tobacco, a small detergent carton, pink powder, a Star of David pendant, and "a handwritten letter to Jennifer Lopez. The writer said how much he loved her and asked her to marry him."[

The second and third sentences are fine (accurate descriptions) but the first sentence ("unconnected") is the exact opposite of the findings of the CDC and the (Palm Beach) County Health Department.

The CDC findings are here:

First Case of Bioterrorism-Related Inhalational Anthrax in the United States, Palm Beach County, Florida, 2001 - Volume 8, Number 10—October 2002 - Emerging Infectious Disease journal - CDC

First Case of Bioterrorism-Related Inhalational Anthrax in the United State... On October 4, 2001, we confirmed the first bioterrorism-related anthrax case identified in the United States in ...

Part of the CDC epidemiological findings:

Under the heading "Results" and subheading "Case investigation":

Workplace interviews regarding mail exposure showed that the index patient rarely handled or opened workplace mail, but co-workers recalled that he had examined a piece of stationery containing a fine, white, talc-like powder on September 19. The patient was observed holding the stationery close to his face as he looked at it over his computer keyboard.

Further down in the same CDC report under heading "Discussion":

The index patient’s infection most likely occurred from inhalation of B. anthracis spores following a primary aerosolization, i.e., spores released into the air after opening a spore-containing letter. This scenario is consistent with co-workers’ recollections that the index patient held a letter containing powder over his computer keyboard, as well as environmental samples showing contamination at his keyboard, an incoming-mail desk near his workspace, and his mailroom mailbox. //snip//


There was no subsequent contrary finding about the vector of infection for Bob Stevens. Though the CDC report didn't use the inside-Amerithrax jargon of "J. Lo letter", that's the only powder-bearing letter he was known to have opened on September 19th (one of the few times he filled for the correspondence editor who was absent that day).

The J. Lo letter's deserves a fuller, more accurate treatment in a section all its own, IMHO. Zzz rowley (talk) 22:22, 11 February 2018 (UTC)

Ivins' career length[edit]

Under the section Bruce Edward IvinsZzz rowley (talk) 19:58, 19 February 2018 (UTC) the first sentence of the first paragraph reads:

On August 1, 2008, the Associated Press reported that Bruce E. Ivins, 62, who worked for the past eighteen years at the government's bio defense labs at Fort Detrick, had apparently committed suicide.

The problem is with the (pseudo-) factoid "past eighteen years". I don't know whether that was in the original AP story-----the next footnote is to a NY TIMES story-----or whether the error is that of the writer of the sentence, but the facts are:

1) Ivins started working at UNAMRIID/Fort Detrick in early 1981.

2) He technically still worked there on his death in late July, 2008.

3) That's over 27 1/2, call it 28 years.

The same error is in the Wiki article on Bruce Ivins (same writer?)

Proposed rewrite:

On August 1, 2008, the Associated Press reported that Bruce E. Ivins, 62, who had worked for the past twenty eight years at the government's bio defense labs at Fort Detrick, apparently committed suicide.

(Note: I tweaked the verb tenses as well). Zzz rowley (talk) 19:58, 19 February 2018 (UTC)

No discussion of casualties?[edit]

Just noticing that there's no real discussion of the fatalities or injuries in this article. While the lead indicates that there were deaths and injuries, it's not clear who, how, or when. (talk) 20:41, 26 October 2018 (UTC)