Thursday, August 07, 2008

I REALIZE THIS IS HERESY IN THE LEFT BLOGOSPHERE, BUT..., er, maybe Bruce Ivins was the anthrax killer? Maybe what we're getting is legit?

There's no question that the case is circumstantial. There's a hell of a lot of room for doubt.

But if this is disinformation, it seems very odd that what used to be, so to speak, Monica Goodling's Justice Department is now telling us that part of the anthrax killer's motive is religious-right anger at pro-choice politicians. It also seems odd that the Bush DOJ is telling us that the return address on one anthrax letter was a coded reference to a supposed case of religious persecution promoted by the American Family Association, a Christian-right organization to which, we're told, Ivins gave several donations, including one just after the AFA reported on the case in question.

If you're not clear what I'm getting at in that second reference, see page 2 of the DOJ document excerpts collected by the Smoking Gun (click to enlarge):

To me that's very, very intriguing circumstantial information, if it's an accurate account.

If you're looking for evidence of a Bush administration cover-up in this case, it seems to me you could just as easily ask whether Ivins wasn't a top suspect because the government didn't want to pursue a guy whose motives made the Christian right look bad.

(Me, I'm more inclined to suspect that the screw-up has less to do with politics and more to do with the FBI's excessive faith in "profiling," which -- however entertaining it may seem on Criminal Minds and in The Silence of the Lambs -- is utter bollocks, as this New Yorker story from last year makes abundantly clear. The FBI was -- as usual -- looking for a "loner," and Ivins seems not to have fit that description.)

I have nothing but praise for Glenn Greenwald's efforts to discover why the news media fell for the lie that bentonite in the anthrax was evidence of a link to Iraq. And I'm sure that, for a lot of you, that makes the whole story a poisoned tree, and you think all its fruit is bad by definition. I agree that we shouldn't just put aside any suspicions about the current story. But the current narrative is, at least in part: Religious Rightist with Mental Problems Kills Five. I'm not going to reject that out of hand.

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