Perfect Match Between
DC Anthrax Spores And
US Army Stocks

(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 Disease (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 and handle.
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 accounted 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 people dead.
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 Post.
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 labs.
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