October 1, 2008
WASHINGTON — The FBI is declining to release at least 15,000 pages of documents related to the now-deceased prime suspect in the 2001 anthrax attacks despite lingering suspicions that the bureau has accused the wrong man.
In August, the FBI and Justice Department identified Bruce Ivins, a former microbiologist at the U.S. Army’s biological weapons research center at Ft. Detrick, Md., as the “only person involved” in the attacks that killed five people.
But David Hardy, the section chief of the FBI’s records management division, notified McClatchy Newspapers that his office couldn’t immediately release the records because there were “investigative leads still open” and the FBI needed to withhold the documents to protect confidential sources, privacy, law enforcement techniques and a suspect’s right to a fair trial.
McClatchy had filed a request for the documents under the federal Freedom of Information Act, which generally permits the release of records of a dead person. Ivins committed suicide in July.
In a letter received by McClatchy today, Hardy said the FBI has identified a “significant number” of documents related to Ivins that haven’t been released and is still searching for other relevant records.
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