Anthrax Bruce Ivins Wins Highest Civilian Award From Defense Dept. In March, 2003

I'd love for somebody to explain this one to me. I know he was working on the anthrax vaccine, but who nominated Ivins for this award? This item has not been picked up by the press like it should have. C&L's Mark Groubert tells me via email:

On March 14th, 2003 Bruce Ivins, the alleged anthrax killer and anthrax vaccine inventor, was awarded the highest civilian honor of the Pentagon by Army Secretary Thomas White. Exceptional Civilian Service Award

The LA Times:

At a Pentagon ceremony on March 14, 2003, Ivins and two colleagues from USAMRIID were bestowed the Decoration of Exceptional Civilian Service, the highest honor given to nonmilitary employees of the Defense Department. "Awards are nice," Ivins said in accepting the honor. "But the real satisfaction is knowing the vaccine is back on line.

As David Willman reports:

Bruce E. Ivins, the government biodefense scientist linked to the deadly anthrax mailings of 2001, stood to gain financially from massive federal spending in the fear-filled aftermath of those killings, the Los Angeles Times has learned.

Ivins is listed as a co-inventor on two patents for a genetically engineered anthrax vaccine, federal records show. Separately, Ivins also is listed as a co-inventor on an application to patent an additive for various biodefense vaccines...read on

On April 26th, 2003, almost a month after White gave Ivins the award, the Army Secretary was fired by Donald Rumsfeld supposedly for this:

Last year, White locked horns with Rumsfeld over the Pentagon's decision to cancel one of the Army's pet projects, the $11 billion Crusader artillery system.

The defense secretary was said to be furious about an Army lobbying campaign that attempted to save the Crusader by circulating a memo of "talking points" on Capitol Hill, arguing that killing the program would "put soldiers at risk." As secretary of the Army, White's job was mainly to make sure the Army is properly equipped and ready to respond during a war. He oversees the Army's chief of staff, Gen. Eric Shinseki.

Obviously this is a weird coincidence to me, but still interesting. I would think that winning this award would help deflect scrutiny away from Ivins.


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From my earlier post calling for an investigation of the FBI, the idea that the killer anthrax came out of Fort Detrick was common knowledge and not some "universe" the FBI claimed they had to investigate. The NY Times and Kristof were sued by Hatfill over op-eds like this back in May 24, 2002----Connecting Deadly Dots:

One of the first steps we can take to reduce our vulnerability is to light a fire under the F.B.I. in its investigation of the anthrax case. Experts in the bioterror field are already buzzing about a handful of individuals who had the ability, access and motive to send the anthrax.

These experts point, for example, to one middle-aged American who has worked for the United States military bio-defense program and had access to the labs at Fort Detrick, Md. His anthrax vaccinations are up to date, he unquestionably had the ability to make first-rate anthrax, and he was upset at the United States government in the period preceding the anthrax attack.

I say all this to prod the authorities, for although the F.B.I. has known about this handful of people since October, it has been painstakingly slow in its investigation. Let's hope it will pick up the pace, for solving the case would reduce our vulnerability to another attack.

Reuters:

Bruce Ivins, seen in this photograph taken during an award ceremony at a Pentagon ceremony March 14, 2003 where Ivins was awarded the Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service, which is equivalent to the Distinguished Service Medal for military service, took an overdose of painkillers and died on July 29, 2008 in an apparent suicide.

I've covered a few aspects only of this insane case. Glenn is also looking at ABC's behavior and examining the evidence as well.

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