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From: Otis Willie
Subject: FBI Resumes Probe of Florida Anthrax Building
Organization: The American War Library
NNTP-Posting-Date: Mon, 26 Aug 2002 16:14:13 EDT
Date: Mon, 26 Aug 2002 20:14:13 GMT
FBI Resumes Probe of Florida Anthrax Building
(EXCERPT) Mon Aug 26,12:30 PM ET, by Jim Loney
BOCA RATON, Fla. (Reuters) - The FBI ( news - web sites) said Monday
it was resuming an investigation of anthrax contamination in a Florida
building owned by tabloid publisher American Media Inc., looking for
the letter or other delivery vehicle that carried the disease and
fatally infected a man 10 months ago.
The AMI building in Boca Raton has been closed since becoming the
first to be hit in a series of anthrax attacks in October 2001 that
killed five people and caused fresh jitters around the country after
the Sept. 11 hijacked plane attacks on New York and Washington.
FBI officials told a news conference that new techniques of
investigation had prompted what they said would be a fresh probe
lasting about two weeks.
Hector Pesquera, special agent in charge of the Miami field office of
the FBI, said investigators were looking for how anthrax got into the
building. Unlike other sites where anthrax hit in 2001, "this is a
site where no letter has been found, no delivery vehicle has been
found," he said.
"All of a sudden there was anthrax in that building, there must be a
vehicle that introduced anthrax into that place."
The contamination infected photographer Robert Stevens, who became the
first person to die in the anthrax attacks. Another worker became
seriously ill but recovered. AMI publishes tabloid newspapers,
including the National Enquirer.
In addition to those who died after the mailings of anthrax-tainted
letters to media outlets in Florida and New York, and to politicians
in Washington, more than a dozen people were treated for deadly
inhalation anthrax or the less serious skin version. No arrests have
been made in the cases.
FBI officials believe it is possible a letter that carried the disease
into the AMI building is still there and said new techniques allowed a
more complete search.
They also want to be able to compare spores in the building with
anthrax spores found in letters to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle
and Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy.
"We are looking for large quantities of spores in order to chemically
characterize those spores and compare them against the spores found in
the Sens. Leahy and Daschle letters," said Dwight Adams, assistant
director of the FBI's laboratory division.
AMI president David Pecker said the building was the same as it was 10
months ago when employees were abruptly evacuated, with untouched
coffee cups and family photographs sitting on desks. "It's like it's
frozen in time," he said.
The FBI's announcement came as a former U.S. Army scientist
investigated by the FBI in its probe into the anthrax mailings said he
had filed ethics complaints against Attorney General John Ashcroft (
news - web sites) and others involved in the investigation.
Steven Hatfill, a medical doctor and germ warfare expert, said on
Sunday he had nothing to do with "this terrible anthrax crime" and
charged the officials with violating Justice Department ( news - web
sites) regulations by leaking information about him and calling him a
"person of interest" in the probe.
FBI investigators have twice searched Hatfill's house. The 48-year-old
was one of about 30 U.S.-based scientists identified by the FBI as a
"person of interest" in the probe.
In Boca Raton, Pesquera said in reply to a question that the new probe
at the AMI building "has nothing to do with Mr. Hatfill."
-- DEA Watch
The Voice of the Drug Enforcement Agent
The Voice of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Agent
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