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FBI Tormented Mentally Ill Daughter of Dead Anthrax Suspect

FBI Tormented Mentally Ill Daughter of Dead Anthrax Suspect

AP
August 5, 2008

Before killing himself last week, Army scientist Bruce Ivins told friends that government agents had stalked him and his family for months, offered his son $2.5 million to rat him out and tried to turn his hospitalized daughter against him with photographs of dead anthrax victims.

The pressure on Ivins was extreme, a high-risk strategy that has failed the FBI before. The government was determined to find the villain in the 2001 anthrax attacks; it was too many years without a solution to the case that shocked and terrified a post-9/11 nation.

The last thing the FBI needed was another embarrassment. Overreaching damaged the FBI’s reputation in the high-profile investigations: the Centennial Olympic Park bombing probe that falsely accused Richard Jewell; the theft of nuclear secrets and botched prosecution of scientist Wen Ho Lee; and, in this same anthrax probe, the smearing of an innocent man — Ivins’ colleague Steven Hatfill.

In the current case, Ivins complained privately that FBI agents had offered his son, Andy, $2.5 million, plus “the sports car of his choice” late last year if he would turn over evidence implicating his father in the anthrax attacks, according to a former U.S. scientist who described himself as a friend of Ivins.

Ivins also said the FBI confronted Ivins’ daughter, Amanda, with photographs of victims of the anthrax attacks and told her, “This is what your father did,” according to the scientist, who spoke only on condition of anonymity because their conversation was confidential.

The scientist said Ivins was angered by the FBI’s alleged actions, which he said included following Ivins’ family on shopping trips.

Washington attorney Barry Coburn, who represents Amanda Ivins, declined to comment on the investigation. An attorney for Andy Ivins also declined to comment.

The FBI declined to describe its investigative techniques of Ivins.

FBI official John Miller said that “what we have seen over the past few days has been a mix of improper disclosures

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