DOCUMENT: Evidence, Crime

Dr. Anthrax's Strange World

Ivins was a bondage- and sorority-obsessed cross-dresser

Bruce Ivins

View Document

The Strange World Of Dr. Anthrax

MARCH 1--After the Department of Justice last month formally closed its probe of the 2001 anthrax attacks, the FBI released the first batch of documents detailing the years-long investigation that ended with officials concluding that Bruce Ivins, a government scientist who committed suicide in July 2008, was responsible for the mailings that killed five victims.

The records, released pursuant to Freedom of Information Act requests, portray Ivins as becoming increasingly unhinged as it became clear that he was the principal target of the FBI's 'Amerithrax' probe. Additionally, the memos--a selection of which you'll find here--reveal how agents examined every aspect of Ivins's life, monitored his e-mails, searched his trash, and were even surveilling his Maryland home at the exact time he was inside overdosing.

Despite being an FBI target, Ivins was often forthcoming about the details of his strange obsessions and private life. For example, when agents executed search warrants in late-2007, an FBI supervisor asked Ivins if he was worried about those raids. Ivins said he was, noting that he did things a 'middle age man should not do,' adding that his actions would 'not be acceptable to most people.' He then noted that agents searching his basement would find a 'bag of material that he uses to 'cross-dress,'' according to an interview report.

During a January 2008 meeting with agents, Ivins described his bizarre decades-long 'obsession' with the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, and detailed how he broke into two KKG chapters to steal ritual books used by the group. He also told of 'another of his obsessions, blindfolding or bondage.'

Three months before his suicide, surveillance agents sifted through trash Ivins left at his curb and discovered that the beleaguered scientist was disposing of pornographic magazines, fetish titles, and 15 pairs of stained women's panties. When an FBI lab analysis of the underwear showed that semen was detected on 14 of the garments, a grand jury directive was issued to obtain DNA from Ivins. That sample was taken July 21, 2008, five days before the scientist's Tylenol overdose (Ivins died on July 29 at age 62).

The FBI records show that some Ivins acquaintances shared with the FBI e-mail and instant message communications exchanged with the scientist. In a July 2008 e-mail, Ivins wrote that 'Dick Cheney scares me. The Patriot Act is so unconstitutional it's not even funny.' He added, 'I'm voting for Obama!' A laboratory co-worker reported that Ivins hated the New York Yankees and thought New Yorkers were 'elitist.' The bureau even memorialized Ivins's e-mail musings about how 'disgraceful' it was that soccer players frequently took 'dives' while faking injuries.

After years of investigation (and dozens of interviews), the last time the FBI spotted Ivins in the flesh was in the early morning hours of July 27, 2008. A surveillance agent sitting outside Ivins's home noted that fire and rescue teams responded to the residence at 1:15 AM after receiving notice that an unresponsive male was found in an upstairs bedroom. At 1:30 AM, the agent reported, 'BRUCE IVINS observed leaving residence on stretcher.' (15 pages)