Saturday, August 02, 2008


In the wake of the fall of the towers in 2001, there was another crisis, one that has surprisingly since faded from view, drifting off like weaponized dust over a battlefield. And that was the anthrax attack.

Here's the History Channel version - In the weeks following 9/11, packages of white powder showed up at media outlets as well as the offices of Democratic congressmen. Letters attached claimed islamic origin and identified the powder as anthrax, and in the ensuing weeks, five people died of anthrax, and 17 more were infected. A media outlet tied the anthrax to Iraq, and the incident became part of the drumbeat to war.

And then things quietly faded from view. Whiled everyone was shucking off their shoes at the airport, things seemed unchanged in the mail system. There would be an occasional mention among the other news, small notes in the back of the paper that the anthrax didn't look like it came from overseas. That it was domestic. That it came from the same place that was helping in the investigation, Fort Detrick. That they had a suspect. That the suspect was no longer a suspect and was suing. That they had a new suspect.

And now the new suspect has committed suicide. And that the coverage is now along the lines of "Well, I guess that wraps THAT up." (Actually, the headline in the Seattle Times was "Will Suicide Close Case on Anthrax?", to which the P-I answers: ""After Suicide, Feds Consider Closing Anthrax Case").

And of course it wraps up nothing. We don't know exactly the evidence (it is under grand jury). We don't know the motivations, though the general guess seems to be that the suspect wanted people to pay attention to potential bioterrorism by engaging in it. I'm seeing a lot of reports of the suspect's instability, but a lot of that evidence comes from SINCE the attacks, when he increasingly became a suspect.

And what's all this bit with ABC News rushing in with the Iraq link, then fighting any attempt to change it? And the various media and government types that were already popping Cipro (an effective anti-Antrhax agent) before the attacks began?

It is odd that there are heavy 9/11 conspiracy theories that want to tie in our government into the attacks (under the idea of qui bono - who benefits), challenging every fact and tossing every assumption under the microscope. Yet on a domestic attack, a Tylenol fright made more major, with a path leading back to our own doorstep, there is little or nothing to be said from either the outside or the inside. Or how we're going to keep it from happening again.

Move along citizen, nothing to see here.

More later,