The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1794 Monday, 26 August 2002
Date: Monday, 19 Aug 2002 23:07:52 -0400
Subject: Don Foster on Cipro
Foster's analysis of the anthrax letters is subject to similar criticism
as his poetic attribution: he doesn't seem to consider that the letters
could have been designed to lead to his conclusions (isn't the device of
using Hatfill's African alma mater as a return address a little silly,
whoever did it). Like Rosenberg, he also doesn't seem to consider that
the composer(s) of the letters might be separate parties from the
anthrax chemist (i.e. he supports the lone nut authorship theory).
*Anthrax killer 'is US defence insider'*
An FBI language expert says the US anthrax attacks which killed five
were probably the work of a bio-defence insider fired by misplaced
An FBI forensic linguistics expert believes the US anthrax attacks were
carried out by a senior scientist from within America's
Professor Don Foster - who helped convict Unabomber Ted Kaczynski and
unveiled Joe Klein as the author of the novel Primary Colors - says the
evidence points to someone with high-ranking military and intelligence
Speaking about the investigation for the first time, Prof Foster told
the BBC he had identified two suspects who had both worked for the CIA,
the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID)
and other classified military operations.
Controversially, Prof Foster says the killer is likely to be highly
patriotic individual who wanted to demonstrate that the US was badly
prepared for an act of biological terrorism.
The weapons-grade anthrax was posted in letters just days after the 11
September terror attacks, leaving five people dead, 18 injured and
35,000 forced to take precautionary antibiotics.
The professor says he does not believe the killer will strike again as
he has achieved his goal.
He explained: "To that end his misplaced patriotism has worked. Today
millions of government dollars have gone into research and anthrax
antibiotics are now available to the public."
However, he fears the investigation is now being hampered in its
gathering of vital documents that could lead to the killer.
Prof Foster says investigators need examples of the suspects writing to
analyse their style and use of language - which the professor believes
is as unique as DNA and could unveil the perpetrator.
He said: "It's very frustrating. Ordinarily with the FBI if there's some
documents needed - known writings - boom, they're on my desk the next
"My two suspects both appear to have CIA connections. These two
agencies, the CIA and the FBI, are sometimes seen as rivals.
"My anxiety is that the FBI agents assigned to this case are not getting
full and complete co-operation from the US military, CIA and witnesses
who might have information about this case."
Killer 'diverting suspicion'
Prof Foster was given four letters recovered by investigators to analyse
for clues to the killer's identity.
"As I worked through these documents it became apparent that USAMRIID
was ultimately the best place for the FBI to begin looking for a
suspect," he said.
All of the letters contain the following messages "Death to America" and
"Death to Israel". All were dated 11 September, a clear reference to the
But while investigators searched for links between the anthrax attacks
and al-Qaeda, Prof Foster immediately suspected that dating the letters
11 September was merely a ruse to throw the authorities off the scent.
He says: "When an offender gives you some piece of information that's
just completely unnecessary and that, in this case, is inaccurate, it
becomes immediately suspect.
"It becomes a statement of 'Here's what I want you to believe about this
Prof Foster also says the killer seems to have tried implicating two
former USAMRIID scientists who had left the laboratory in unhappy
circumstances by posting the letters from near their homes in New
He says only someone in contact with a senior insider at USAMRIID would
have known how the two scientists left the lab and that they would then
be likely targets for the FBI investigation.
He says: "They are looking at someone who's a little bit higher up the
food chain, who would have to have access to personnel information."
The professor also identified a number of mistakes and misspellings in
the letters which he suspects are a deliberate ploy to confuse
The author of the anthrax letters tells his victims to take penicillin.
Not only is penicillin the wrong antibiotic to take, the killer also
misspells the word.
Prof Foster says: "You mean to tell me this guy is dealing with anthrax,
a trillion spores a gram, and he thinks penicillin is going to be the
antibiotic of choice?
"There's something very fishy about that misspelling there, that this
particular word should be misspelled and it should be misspelled in such
an unconvincing way.
"It looks like an attempt on the offender to say 'Hey, don't think I'm a
scientist, don't think I know anything about antibiotics'."
The FBI have placed a number of scientists under intense scrutiny and
recently questioned US scientist Dr Steven Hatfill in connection with
Dr Hatfill strenuously denies any involvement in the attacks saying: "I
have never worked with anthrax; I know nothing about this matter."
The FBI's investigation continues.
The Hunt for the Anthrax Killer will be broadcast on BBC Two on Sunday
18 August 2002 at 2100 BST
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