- (AFP) - Anthrax spores mailed to US congressional offices
in recent attacks are identical to stocks of the deadly bacteria the US
Army has kept since 1980.
- Although many laboratories possess the Ames strain of
anthrax involved in the attacks, only five labs so far have been found
to have spores with perfect genetic matches to those in the Senate letters,
scientists familiar with genetic tests on the specimen said.
- Those labs can trace back their samples to a single US
military source: the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious
(USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, Maryland.
- "That means the original source (of the terrorist
material) had to have been USAMRIID," a scientist familiar with the
case told the Washington Post newspaper on Sunday.
- Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle suggested earlier
this month that the anthrax laced letter sent to him several weeks ago
was probably mailed by someone who once worked in the military.
- The spores in the letter addressed to Daschle, and in
another letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, were
highly concentrated and would have required special equipment to produce
- In early November, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation
(FBI) said a loner with biochemical knowledge living in the United States
could be behind the anthrax attacks.
- Last week, the US Army admitted it has produced small
amounts of weapons-grade anthrax spores but said its stocks were all
for and could not have been used in recent bioterror attacks.
- The series of anthrax-laced letters sent to lawmakers
and media organizations following the September 11 attacks have left five
- The Washington Post also reported Sunday that the FBI's
investigation into the anthrax attacks is increasingly focusing on whether
US government bioweapons research programs -- including one conducted by
the CIA -- may have been the source of deadly anthrax powder sent through
the mail, according to sources with knowledge of the probe.
- The Central Intelligence Agency's biowarfare program,
which was designed to find ways to defend against bioterrorists, involved
the use of small amounts of Ames strain, an agency spokesman told the
- The spokesman told the paper however that none of the
agency's anthrax is missing and that the anthrax contained in the letters
under investigation "absolutely did not" come from CIA
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