Congress seeks answers from FBI in anthrax case

first_imgSep 9, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Members of Congress plan to press the FBI for more information about its investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks at hearings scheduled Sep 16 and 17, amid persistent doubts in some quarters about the bureau’s conclusion that the late microbiologist Dr. Bruce Ivins was the culprit.Ivins, who had worked for years at the US Army Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in Frederick, Md., committed suicide Jul 29 as the FBI was about to bring charges against him. Five people died and 17 others became ill after envelopes containing anthrax spores were mailed to two senators and several news media offices in the fall of 2001.The FBI announced its conclusions about Ivins’s role and released a collection of documents on Aug 6. Besides citing considerable circumstantial evidence, the agency asserted that a new DNA fingerprinting technique had enabled investigators to match the letter anthrax to a batch of anthrax that was in Ivins’s custody at USAMRIID. But many observers subsequently expressed doubts about the FBI’s case.In a Sep 5 letter to FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, leaders of the House Judiciary Committee said, “Important and lingering questions remain that are crucial for you to address, especially since there will never be a trial to examine the facts of the case.”The committee members, including Chairman John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., asked Mueller to report back to them on several questions in advance of the hearing, scheduled Sep 16. The committee asked:Why government scientist Steven Hatfill remained a suspect in the attacks for a long time, “in light of the evidence clearly pointing elsewhere”Why the government allowed Ivins to keep his security clearance at USAMRIID for about 2 years after he became a suspectWhether mistakes by the FBI delayed the linkage of the anthrax used in the attacks with anthrax in Ivins’ possessionThe committee leaders also asked Mueller to explain media reports that the White House initially had pressed the FBI to say that the anthrax attacks were perpetrated by al Qaida or that the anthrax used was of a “weapons grade,” implying a possible link to Iraq.The Senate Judiciary Committee also will question Mueller at an FBI oversight hearing set for Sep 17. The hearing was scheduled weeks ago as part of an ongoing series, but Mueller is likely to face questions about the anthrax probe, according to a Sep 7 New York Times report.”There are some very serious questions that have yet to be answered and need to be made public,” said Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., ranking Republican on the Senate committee, as quoted by the Times.The Times story, based on interviews with two dozen bioterrorism experts, veteran investigators, and members of Congress, along with FBI documents, included some new details about the investigation.For example, it said the agency told Ivins in a formal letter in April 2007 that he was not a target of the investigation, even though the mailed anthrax had already been genetically linked to his laboratory. Also, the story said the first time agents took a mouth swab from Ivins for a DNA sample was only a week before he died.John Miller, the FBI’s assistant director for public affairs, told the Times that the bureau plans to release much more information on the case, including notes of interviews with Ivins and other suspects and witnesses and surveillance logs detailing his movements. But because private and classified information must be purged from the materials, the disclosures are likely to be months away, the story said.Ivins’s attorney, Paul F. Kemp, said the FBI has not reviewed three boxes of papers that Ivins had marked for Kemp’s attention, because the records must be reviewed to determine if they should be kept secret under attorney-client privilege, the Times reported. A government lawyer not involved in the investigation will review the papers with Kemp, the story said.See also: House Judiciary Committee letter to FBIAug 15 CIDRAP News story “FBI conclusions in anthrax probe meet skepticism”last_img read more

Charles Peterson

first_imgCharles Peterson 76, of Dillsboro passed away Thursday June 8, 2017 at Dearborn County Hospital at Lawrenceburg. Charles was born Monday March 17, 1941 in Cincinnati, OH the son of Charles and Norma (Eichel) Peterson.  He was a former resident of Dent Township, Ohio.  Charles enjoyed gardening and spending time with his family.His survivors include brother: Ron (Sandy) Peterson of Moores Hill; Jack (Robbie) Peterson of Versailles; nieces: Renay Justice of FL; Rhonda Ison of Moores Hill; nephew: Ron Peterson Jr. of Moores Hill; Shane Peterson of East Enterprise.  He was preceded in death by his parents.Funeral services will be 2PM Tuesday June 13, 2017 at Sibbett-Moore Funeral Home with Pastor Tom Holt officiating. Visitation will be 12-2PM Tuesday also at the funeral home. Memorials may be made to Heart Fund or Community Mental Health. Sibbett-Moore Funeral Home entrusted with arrangements, 16717 Manchester Street Box 156 Moores Hill, In 47032 (812)744-3280.  Go to to leave an online condolence message for the family.last_img read more

Man shot during altercation inside Florida mall

first_imgMiami-Dade police officers are reporting that a man was shot during an altercation inside the Southland Mall on Thursday.The incident occurred around 5:04 pm at the location on 20505 South Dixie Highway.Witnesses reported that the victim was shot when an argument broke out between him and three others that the victim possibly knew. One person in the group was said to have poured a drink on another person which led to that person pulling out a gun and shooting the victim.The unidentified 22-year-old victim was taken to the Jackson South Medical Center where he is alert and listed in stable condition.Authorities are now searching for the three suspects who fled the scene after the victim was shot.last_img

Service dog shot, killed by local police

first_imgA local police officer shot and killed a man’s service dog on Monday, the Okeechobee Police Department confirms.The owner of the dog, Larry Massey, said an officer misunderstood what was happening while he was having a seizure.Police said there is an active investigation into the shooting of the man’s dog, named Butch.The department said it would release more information on Tuesday.This story is developing.last_img

Police arrest Coral Springs woman who called to report dead body

first_imgPolice in Coral Springs have arrested a 51-year-old woman who they say called them to report a dead body, after their investigation revealed that she was the one who killed the victim.The incident was reported on Saturday around 6am in the Maplewood Isles community.Authorities say Yvonne Serrano told them that she woke up to find a woman dead in her driveway.Investigators arrived to the scene to find the 21-year-old victim, Daniela Tabares Maya, dead of an apparent gunshot wound to the forehead. Authorities say the victim was found on the ground, partially inside of her vehicle:“The driver’s side door was open and the victim’s right foot was still inside the vehicle,” the report stated.Serrano initially told investigators that she did not know Tabares, however, through their investigation, authorities found that Serrano went out drinking with the victim and mutual friends and that the victim drove her home prior to the incident.When investigators revealed their knowledge to Serrano, she confessed that she did know the victim and woke up inside the victim’s car, but says that she has no memory of how it happened.Investigators also found that Serrano deleted all of the files from her Ring doorbell app.She has since been arrested and charged with second degree murder and tampering with evidence.Investigators are now asking the public to come forward with any information regarding the incident.If you believe you have any information regarding this incident, you are asked to contact Detective Frank Randazzo at 954-346-1262 or [email protected]last_img read more

New Orleans Shooting Leaves 11 Injured; Person of Interest Detained

first_imgNew Orleans Police report that 11 people were hit in a shooting early Sunday morning on the edge of the city’s French Quarter.A police release states that two people are in critical condition and no arrests have been made.According to police superintendent Shaun Ferguson, a person of interest has been detained but not arrested. The shooting occurred on Canal Street. Ferguson says patrols had already been increased for this weekend’s Bayou Classic, the annual Thanksgiving weekend football game between Grambling State and Southern University, which takes place at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. He adds that 10 people were taken to two hospitals, while the 11th victim was a walk-in.last_img

Police ID 4 Fort Pierce men killed in I-95 crash

first_imgA crash on I-95 in central Florida killed four men from Fort Pierce.The Florida Highway Patrol said the accident occurred Tuesday evening at mile marker 221 near Mims.FHP says all of the victims were in a Dodge Ram pickup with a trailer attached to the back of the vehicle.Investigators said the rear axle separated from the trailer and rolled under a truck hauling cars.The driver of the truck swerved into the Dodge Ram, causing the pickup truck to overturn and the tractor-trailer to jackknife.Police identified the victims as 30-year-old Juan Magana, 38-year-old Jose Magana, 58-year-old Joe Magana Guil, and 50-year-old Jaime Magana.According to FHP, Juan Magna was the driver of the pickup truck and the only person wearing a seat belt.The driver in the other vehicle was not injured in the crash.last_img read more

Feds Charge Suspects in Fraud, Corruption Scheme at Local VA Hospitals

first_imgFederal officials announced Wednesday that they have made multiple arrests in a fraud and corruption scheme that allegedly took place at the VA Hospitals in West Palm Beach and Miami.According to the U.S. Attorney for South Florida, Ariana Fajardo Orshan, 15 VA employees, medical and general supply vendors are now accused of fraud.She explained that VA employees would team up with vendors to place orders for medical supplies. Thee employees would then indicate in the VA’s computers that the orders were filled when they were not.The vendors would give those employees a portion of the money they received from the Department of Veterans Affairs for the items.Orshan says that in other cases, VA employees inflate the prices of items.Officials add that the suspects caused the Department of Veterans Affairs to pay millions of dollars for those orders.In another case, 48-year-old Lisa Anderson of Delray Beach has been charged with making false statements in connection with an application filed with the VA to have a vendor company falsely designated as a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business.All 15 suspects have been arrested, including one in North Carolina, according to Orshan. If convicted, they could each face up to 50 years behind bars.Four of the accused individuals appeared in federal court in West Palm Beach on Wednesday morning, where they were formally charged.They have been identified as 52-year-old Clinton Purvis, 44-year-old Christopher Young, 59-year-old Kenneth Scott, as well as a former VA employee, 62-year-old Robert Johnson.“It’s a very sad day in our country. These people have a duty to their job and their post,” says Orshan. “I am sad to report there are a few bad apples that have been arrested.”She added that the fraud operation goes back to at least 2009.A prosecutor told the judge the cases involved bribery and kickbacks, in which vendors and VA employees worked together to defraud the agency.At least two of those four suspects entered not guilty pleas. All four were later released on bond.This is a developing story.last_img read more

98-year-old Prince Philip admitted to hospital with pre-existing condition, Palace confirms

first_imgThe Duke of Edinburgh has been admitted to hospital with a pre-existing condition, Buckingham Palace has confirmed.In a statement, the palace said: “The Duke of Edinburgh travelled from Norfolk this morning to the King Edward VII Hospital in London for observation and treatment in relation to a pre-existing condition. The admission is a precautionary measure, on the advice of His Royal Highness’ Doctor.”It is understood the Duke has been under the weather for some time and concerns were raised when he developed a bad cold in recent weeks.He is expected to remain at the private hospital in Marylebone for a few days. He was not taken by ambulance and it was a planned admission.The Duke has not been seen in public since May, when he was pictured at the wedding of Lady Gabriella Windsor and Thomas Kingston.The 98-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth is expected to be in the hospital for a few days.His admission today came as the Queen arrived in Norfolk to begin her annual Christmas break.last_img read more

Amazon to Open New Fulfillment Center in Florida

first_imgAmazon has created more than 13,500 full-time jobs in the Sunshine State since launching fulfillment operations here six years ago. Currently, the company operates facilities in Orlando, Miami, Tampa, and Jacksonville.The facility is expected to open in 2020. Amazon announced Thursday that it plans to open its fifth fulfillment center here in Florida. The company says the new distribution hub will be in Deltona, which is located between Orlando and Daytona Beach along Interstate 4 in Volusia County.The company will hire 500 employees at $15 per hour or more to work at the center.Employees at the more than one million-square-foot fulfillment center will pick, pack and ship large customer items, including sports equipment, patio furniture, fishing rods, pet food, kayaks, bicycles, and larger household goods.“We’re excited to continue our investment in Florida and further expand our presence in the state with this new fulfillment center in Deltona,” according to Alicia Boler Davis, Amazon’s vice president of global customer fulfillment. “Since 2013, Amazon has invested more than $5 billion in Florida through local fulfillment centers and cloud infrastructure, research facilities, and compensation to thousands of employees in the state.”Governor Ron DeSantis responded to the announcement by tweeting:last_img read more