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Attacks from the tinfoil hat brigade

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Dave Thompson

Nov 10, 2001, 7:02:40 PM11/10/01
I don't know where Bennet "Henry Bowman" Langlotz went, or if he's still
here as a lurker, but I thought he'd be interested in this.

He gave me shit for even suggesting that the anthrax attacks might have
originated from a domestic government hate group, or some tinfoil hat type,
so I hope he reads this.

It's looking more and more likely it was one of our own.

FBI profiles anthrax culprit

Gannett News Service
Republic news services
Nov. 10, 2001 12:00:00

WASHINGTON - The FBI increasingly is convinced that the person behind the
recent anthrax attacks is a lone wolf within the United States who has no
links to terrorist groups but is an "opportunist" using the Sept. 11
hijackings to vent his rage, investigators said Friday.

Based on case studies, handwriting and linguistic analysis, forensic data
and other evidence, authorities do not believe at this point in their
five-week investigation that Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network is behind
the anthrax attacks, FBI officials said.

FBI investigators said at a news briefing that they likely are looking for a
male adult with at least limited scientific expertise who was able to use
easily obtained laboratory equipment for as little as $2,500 to produce a
high-quality grade of anthrax.

In a related development, postal investigators said for the first time
Friday that other mail containing anthrax bacteria was probably sent to
Washington last month, in addition to the one letter that has been found,
the one sent to the office of Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D.

"We're thinking there may be one more letter and maybe more than one," said
Kenneth Newman, the deputy chief postal inspector for investigations.

The basis for that view, said John Nolan, the deputy postmaster general, is
that experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say it is
unlikely that a mail handler at a State Department postal center in Virginia
who contracted inhalation anthrax could have been infected by a letter that
had merely come in contact with the letter to Daschle.

FBI officials, in offering their most expansive public assessment to date of
their much-criticized probe, are hoping that the rough profile they have
developed of the anthrax culprit could produce a capture reminiscent of the
1996 netting of the infamous Unabomber.

In that case, an 18-year spree of bombings led authorities to Ted Kaczynski
only after his brother recognized his writing style in a long manifesto that
was released publicly.

In the anthrax case, the FBI is hoping its portrait of the perpetrator, as
an anti-social loner with some peculiar mannerisms in his handwriting and
speech, will help lead them to whoever mailed at least three anthrax-laden
letters that killed four people.

Authorities have offered $1.25 million in reward money, and leads from the
public "will play an integral role perhaps in identifying this individual,"
said James R. Fitzgerald, an FBI profiler who worked on the Unabomber case.

Even as authorities sought the public's help, Homeland Security Director Tom
Ridge acknowledged at the White House on Friday that progress in the probe
has been frustratingly slow.

"We're still no closer to identifying specifically the origin of the anthrax
and/or the perpetrators of that challenge that's confronted America," Ridge

FBI officials acknowledge that psychological profiling, the stuff of Silence
of the Lambs and other Hollywood fare, is at best a rough science. But they
insist they may have some telltale signs to follow by combining histories of
serial bombers such as Kaczynski with handwriting and chemical evidence from
three anthrax-laced letters sent in September and October to Daschle, NBC
anchor Tom Brokaw and the New York Post. The FBI said that a fourth letter
may have been addressed to a Florida tabloid publishing company where two
men became ill from anthrax and one died.

Investigators suspect, for instance, that whoever mailed the anthrax has
little contact with the public and carries deep-seated resentments, perhaps
against Daschle, Brokaw or the New York Post, but does not like direct

All three letters were postmarked from Trenton, N.J., but postal officials
indicated Friday that they have discounted their early belief that the
letters were mailed from a residential postal route in Ewing, N.J., just
outside the Trenton city limits.

Federal investigators have changed their theory about Teresa Heller, a West
Trenton mail carrier initially believed to have picked up a letter
containing anthrax somewhere along her postal route. Postal officials say
they now believe she contracted cutaneous anthrax from mail she delivered
that was contaminated elsewhere in the system.

They have broadened their search to a wider region in the Trenton area, but
FBI officials said there is no assurance that whoever mailed the anthrax
letters had any direct connection to that area. Fitzgerald noted that
Kaczynski traveled 1,500 miles to send several explosive packages.

Investigators believe the anthrax attacker has at least a limited background
in science, perhaps a Ph.D., a lab technician "or somewhere in between,"
Fitzgerald said.

Forensic analysis indicates that the Oct. 9 letter sent to Daschle was much
more highly refined than the two letters sent to the media on Sept. 18,
officials said.

That refinement process would require only "basic laboratory equipment,"
including a microscope, a centrifuge and a milling device. The equipment
would be available in many labs or could be purchased for as little as
$2,500, officials said.

Although early speculation indicated the highly refined strain of anthrax
could only have been produced in the United States, Iraq or Russia,
investigators now say it could be from anywhere.

One sign leading investigators away from the prospect of an Islamic
fundamentalist is the use of "Allah is great" to close all three letters.
Fitzgerald said the phrasing and the absence of Arabic text do not jibe with
past Muslim attacks.

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