“He was the first one to describe it as ‘energetic,’” says Lt. Col. Jeffrey Adamovicz. The former director of the bacteriology division at USAMRIID (the United States Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases) is recalling Bruce Ivins’ reaction to the anthrax strain that was sent in letters across the country following 9/11. Originally one of the experts called on by the FBI to investigate the attacks, Ivins—who was well known as an “extraordinary microbiologist”—eventually found himself the subject of federal accusations. In Frontline: The Anthrax Files, a joint report by Frontline, McClatchy Newspapers, and ProPublica now on PBS and online, the case against Ivins comes under renewed scrutiny.
The program suggests that pressures mounted inexorably at the time, meaning at the time of the attacks and in the five years following, as the case remained unsolved. This followed a mistaken case against Steven Hatfill, who sued and won $5.8 million for “invasion of privacy,” among other malfeasances. To illustrate the absurdity of the steps in the case(s), Hatfill’s lawyer, Victor Glasberg, remarks on the federal officials’ increasing desperation in making their case against his client, calling the draining of a pond in Maryland only “the most outstanding example of really looney tunes behavior.”