Sunday, August 10, 2008

I got your motive right here, Bub!

Via the Mad Priest, the FBI answers the cries for a motive in the anthrax mailings:

Bruce Ivins may have targeted Sens. Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy with anthrax-laced letters in 2001 because he saw them as bad Catholics owing to their votes in favor of abortion rights, officials close to the investigation say.
Oh, you want connections, too? We got those:

Ivins and his wife were both practicing Catholics, and their children had attended and graduated from a Catholic high school in Frederick, Md. His wife, Diane Ivins, according to an e-mail Ivins wrote in 2002, was president of the Frederick County Right to Life, and the couple had connections to many other anti-abortion groups. In a July 10, 2002, e-mail cited in the affidavit, Ivins wrote: "I'm not pro-abortion, I'm pro-life, but I want my position to be one consistent with a Christian."

In 2001, the Catholic anti-abortion movement was openly critical of Catholic members of Congress who voted in support of abortion rights for women. Two of the more prominent lawmakers who fell into this category were Daschle and Leahy. The Ivins affidavit mentions an article in the September/October 2001 issue of the Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati newsletter that singled out Daschle, Leahy and Sens. Edward Kennedy and Joseph Biden for criticism because of their abortion rights votes.

This would be the same NPR, by the way, who told us Ivins played the villain in a class play (via, of course, the FBI), which is as relevant to his guilt or innocence as his religious affiliation. And this is what the FBI is doing now, before they close this case:

Also on Thursday, the government explained why it had seized two computers from a Maryland public library last week. Officials believe Ivins used the computers three days before he committed suicide. On the evening of July 24, FBI agents watched Ivins go into the library and use the two computers. According to newly issued search warrants, Ivins reviewed a Web site dedicated to the anthrax investigation and checked his e-mail. The FBI quickly seized those computers, and now a judge has given investigators permission to search them. A special agent said the search could turn up a suicide note or other writings.
I await the contents of the suicide note written on a public library computer with bated breath.

Good grief.

UPDATE: Grandmere Mimi has more. This is, actually, how criminal investigations are conducted. Usually, however, our only contact with them is as the plot of a TV show. Like the lesson on poverty revealed by Katrina in New Orleans, this should be a lesson on "law and order." The kind of security we insist on having in our society has a price, and it is very high. But as long as the bill is paid by someone else, we don't much mind. "Innocent until proven guilty" is a legal concept, and it is applicable almost exclusively in a court of law. Unfortunately, the court of law is not the only place in which a criminal case exists.

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