NYTimes: Who mailed the anthrax letters?

The New York Times reminds us that we spent September-November 2001 freaking out about real and imaginary bioterrorism. So have the feds figured out who was behind the anthrax terror — or are they riding the junk science railroad to frame a dead man who can’t defend himself?

Click here for the Times editorial on Ivins.

Click below for Steve Milloy’s six FoxNews.com columns on bioterrorism from September-November 2001:

2 thoughts on “NYTimes: Who mailed the anthrax letters?”

  1. The question for junk science is:

    The FBI claim that 10.77% silicon and 0.65% tin found in the New York Post are both accidental contaminants. Is this a sound hypothesis or is it a junk science claim?


    The New York Post powder contained 0.65% tin, which is equivalent to 6500 parts per million (ppm). Tin was present in the highest quantity of any metal with the exception of calcium – but calcium has well- understood biochemistry and is known to be required in the biology of anthrax spores. Calcium, as well as many other metals, is deliberately added to spore preparations before spore growth occurs. A typical set of precursors in the preparatio n of bacillus spores is yeast extract, NH4SO4, MgSO4·7H2O , MnSO4·H2O, ZnSO4·7H2O , CuSO4·5H2O , FeSO4·7H2O , CaCl2·2H2O , K2HPO4 and glucose. Thus it should come as no surprise to find magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, iron, calcium and potassium as major components in spores – and they generally are found as major components , i.e., >100ppm . Other elements like chromium are often found as contaminants in chemicals close to them in the periodic table, such as manganese (for chromium). These might be expected to be found in quantities of 1-10ppm. But tin is never used in the growth of spores.

    Tin found at concentrations greater than iron, potassium, magnesium and manganese in the New York Post powder . Is the idea that tin is an accidental contaminant in this case when it’s concentration is higher than other metals that were deliberately added is a sound hypothesis?

    The idea that tin was in the growth media is not supported by tin’s toxicity to bacteria – many tin compounds are used as general biocides.

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