The multitude of unanswered questions surrounding the Anthrax attacks after 9/11, may finally be answered after all if New Jersey Rep. Rush Holt has his way. He has introduced legislation that would form a bipartisan commission of “no more than six members of the same political party” and public hearings would take place except “in situations where classified information would be discussed”. I am not a fan of government commissions per se, mostly because they are usually dog and pony shows, that typically end up telling only half the story. However, with that said the unanswered questions surrounding the FBI investigation of Bruce Ivins have to be answered and this commission may well be the only way the American people get to the bottom of what really happened.
Here’s Rep. Holt discussing the bill and commission.
Bill Would Create 9/11 Commission-Style Panel to Investigate Anthrax Attacks and Government Response
(Washington, D.C.) – Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12) today introduced the Anthrax Attacks Investigation Act of 2009, legislation that would establish a Congressional commission to investigate the 2001 anthrax attacks and the federal government’s response to and investigation of the attacks. The bipartisan commission would make recommendations to the President and Congress on how the country can best prevent and respond to any future bioterrorism attack. The attacks evidently originated from a postal box in Holt’s Central New Jersey congressional district, disrupting the lives and livelihoods of many of his constituents. Holt has consistently raised questions about the federal investigation into the attacks.
“All of us – but especially the families of the victims of the anthrax attacks – deserve credible answers about how the attacks happened and whether the case really is closed,” Holt said. “The Commission, like the 9/11 Commission, would do that, and it would help American families know that the government is better prepared to protect them and their children from future bioterrorism attacks.”
Under Holt’s legislation, the commission would be comprised of no more than six members of from the same political party. The commission would hold public hearings, except in situations where classified information would be discussed. The commission would have to consult the National Academies of Sciences for recommendations on scientific staff to serve on the Commission. The Commission’s final report would be due 18 months after the Commission begins operations.
“Myriad questions remain about the anthrax attacks and the government’s bungled response to the attacks,” Holt said. “One of the most effective oversight mechanisms we can employ to get answers to those questions is a 9/11 style Commission.”
I truly hope the commission is NOT 9/11 style, the 9/11 families to this day are seeking answers to their questions. As for Bruce Ivins and the investigation there are too many unknowns yet to explore. I mean why did a top government scientist at a top US Gov’t bio-defense research laboratory for 18 years just suddenly decide to start mailing anthrax around? Why did Bush and White House officials repeatedly press FBI Director Robert Mueller to prove the attacks were conducted by al-Qaeda? Why did Ivins alleged psychological problems go unnoticed? specifically given the fact that Ivins was assisting the FBI in the investigation for several years.
Glenn Greenwald at Salon has written extensively about this story, here is a observation he makes that many of us who fought the National Bio Agro Defense Facility (NBAF) share:
For reasons I’ve detailed previously, I actually believe that the anthrax attacks played a larger role than the 9/11 attack itself in elevating America’s fear levels to hysterical heights, which in turn put the citizenry into the state of frightened submission that enabled so many of the subsequent events of the Bush presidency. The 9/11 attacks appeared to be a one-time extraordinary event, but it was multi-staged anthrax attacks — coming a mere four weeks later — that normalized and personalized the Terrorist threat.
Following the anthrax attacks Bush issued his little ole directive 9, which gave way to the creation of the NBAF, out of control U.S. biolab proliferation and with all the hysteria we lost the country we knew, the war in Iraq and so on. Really if you connect the dots, this one event could send you down the rabbit hole and I hope one day to see this madness end.