It was 6 years ago, life had been changed by the vile followers of Osama Bin Laden, and a New York landmark was still a landmark, but for all the wrong reasons. Where two huge towers once stood, a still smoldering pile of rubble existed. Bodies were still being counted, yet the bodies no longer existed even in the smallest DNA sample. Maybe the high spot in this all time low in human morality was that it was becoming clear that the death toll was not going to be the 25,000 that had been imagined, but a lower number, something under 5,000. This was scant succor for those families involved, or the world in general, this had been a gross violation of everything that we hold dear.
But we were not done with the violation, then the Anthrax issue raised it’s ugly head. Suddenly this became the new weapon, an innocuous looking white powder turning up in the mail. The innocuous white powder however had a deadly punch.
The question on every-ones lips was ‘is this Al Qaeda again’? CNN provided their usual 24 hour a day of mind numbing coverage of the problem. They interviewed everyone from your local letter carrier, to international stamp collectors, and offered little useful in the way of information. Meanwhile the Government was spouting loud about a speedy resolution to this latest outrage.
Well here we are 6 years later, and there are no answers, some people such as Terry Turchie, author of Hunting The American Terrorist feels that it was another example of the ‘Lone Wolf’ homegrown terrorist, while others still remain certain that either Al Qaeda or the now dead Sadam Hussein was the perpetrator.
About the only thing that everyone can agree on is that the Government has gone very quiet about the whole episode.
I posed the following question to Terry Turchie, obviously 9/11 was not a ‘Lone Wolf’ endeavor but there was something that happened a little later that might be, the Anthrax packages. Do you have any thoughts?
Kathy and I immediately felt that the anthrax mailings sounded more like a domestic terrorist and that the timing was more coincidental than anything else. We had seen so many coincidences during Unabom that we were not convinced the mailings were related to international terrorism and certainly not to al-Qaeda. The trouble is that many politicians (and former CIA Director James Woolsey) started telling the public that the anthrax attacks looked like they were connected to Iraq. In hindsight, this seems to be the best proof that there were many in the U.S. government that were itching for the excuse to invade Iraq sooner rather than later. We referred Kathy’s study on the Lone Wolf to our colleagues in the Bureau at the time and the FBI stepped up to the plate and beat back the tide on this issue. Today, it appears that all the evidence supports the notion that the anthrax attacks were domestic in nature.
So what progress has been made in the past 6 years? I think the short answer is ‘depressingly little’. I find this a little disconcerting, it is not as if you can run down to your local Wal-Mart and a bag of the stuff for the rollback price of $4.99. Almost certainly the Anthrax had to have come from a bona fide research establishment. With todays high technology bio fingerprinting one would imagine that it would be relatively easy to figure out which one created this particular flavor.
I am not usually on the side of the conspiricists, whether it be JFK, Roswell, or any of the other fabulous stories that have become part of our urban mythology, however, based on the lack of official commentary one has to wonder just what they do and don’t know.
So was it a homegrown lone wolf terrorist, Al Qaeda, or some other organization?