Flimsy Sanity: More on Mr. Patsy Ivins

Flimsy Sanity

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. - Friedrich Nietzsche

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

More on Mr. Patsy Ivins

And what had originally been leaked as the sinister-sounding claim that Ivins maintained “a post office box under an assumed name” transformed into the much more innocuous revelation that he did so in order to surreptitiously receive porn — behavior that isn’t exactly unusual given that “revenues for the world pornography industry hit an estimated $97 billion in 2006, overshadowing the revenues of the top technology companies — the likes of Microsoft, Google, Yahoo! and Apple — combined.” Bruce Ivins isn’t the only American male surreptitiously using pornography, to understate the case drastically. The FBI’s need to demonize Ivins as a creepy, porn-loving drunk suggests that their actual evidence is far from convincing.

All sorts of similar questions are raised by the onslaught of other FBI leaks. Dr. Jasenosky told me that he finds claims of some “ground-breaking” new DNA technique, or some “big breakthrough” to be “quite strange,” given that what the news accounts have described is nothing more than an incremental extension of molecular analysis techniques that have existed for several years and which, at most, appear to have only enabled existing techniques to be conducted more rapidly. He further emphasized that even the most sophisticated DNA tests could never link anthrax to any particular scientist, and that no assessment of the FBI’s assertions is possible without a thorough review of its underlying data. Dr. Meryl Nass said the same thing today: “Let me reiterate: No matter how good the microbial forensics may be, they can only, at best, link the anthrax to a particular strain and lab. They cannot link it to any individual.”

And then there is the issue of Ivins’ mental state. The New York Times reported today that part of the FBI investigation was so heavy-handed that it actually entailed showing gruesome photographs of the anthrax victims to Ivins’ adult children, telling them that their father is the one who did that, while trying to entice them to turn on him with promises of a reward. As Rep. Holt indicated this morning, is it any wonder that any person — guilty or not — would experience severe psychological distress when targeted by the FBI that way? Moreover, this morning’s Frederick News Post (doing some of the best reporting in the country on this case) reported that it was FBI agents who told Jean Duley to seek a protective order against Ivins — the action that then created the record used by most media outlets to depict Ivins as a crazed psychopath.
The FBI’s Emerging, Leaking Case Against Ivins by Glenn Greenwald

We cannot get good police or FBI work until they are expected to personally pay for "testilying". The millions paid to Hatfill should have come out of FBI salaries. Just another example of what is euphemistically called "moral hazard" (Moral hazard is the prospect that a party insulated from risk may behave differently from the way it would behave if it were fully exposed to the risk. Moral hazard arises because an individual or institution does not bear the full consequences of its actions, and therefore has a tendency to act less carefully than it otherwise would, leaving another party to bear some responsibility for the consequences of those actions.-Wikipedia) Just too convenient that Ivins is dead and not shopping for a lawyer.


  • At 11:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The first anthrax victim to die, Robert Stevens, was a photo editor for National Enquirer publication the Sun. A month before he was killed, he published a photo spread of Jenna Bush falling down drunk in a bar.


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