Journalism in the Public Interest


Video: The Anthrax Files

A joint project by ProPublica, PBS Frontline, and McClatchy.

This story is a joint project with ProPublica, PBS Frontline and McClatchy. The story will air on Frontline on October 11. Check local listings.

Read the story: New Evidence Adds Doubt to FBI’s Case Against Anthrax Suspect

Noah Shachtman writes: Did the Anthrax Attacks Kickstart the Iraq War? … Congressman Holt is quoted in Shachtman’s article saying: The anthrax attacks “made it possible to manufacture the argument that there was WMD in Iraq and links to Al-Qaeda” … LMW adds: Here are extracts from my novel CASE CLOSED regarding the potential linkage of “Saddam’s anthrax” to the invasion of Iraq

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 29, 2011


Secretary of State Colin Powell at the UN on Feb 5, 2003

Noah Shachtman writes for WIRED (3/29/11) …
•Did the Anthrax Attacks Kickstart the Iraq War?
•On February 5th, 2003, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell went to the United Nations, to make the case for war in Iraq.
•A central plank of his presentation: the anthrax attacks that killed five people and helped send the country into a panic in the days after 9/11.
•“Less than a teaspoon-full of dry anthrax in an envelope shut down the United States Senate in the fall of 2001. This forced several hundred people to undergo emergency medical treatment and killed two postal workers just from an amount just about this quantity that was inside of an envelope,” Powell said.
•“Saddam Hussein could have produced 25,000 liters. If concentrated into this dry form, this amount would be enough to fill tens upon tens upon tens of thousands of teaspoons..”
•By the end of the following month, the invasion of Iraq was underway.

The anthrax attacks “made it possible

to manufacture the argument that there was WMD in Iraq

and links to Al-Qaeda,” Rep. Rush Holt said.
•And long after any links between Iraq and the killer spores were disproven, the Bush administration used the mystery surrounding the anthrax mailer to press its case for war.
• a few government officials (most notably, Sen. John McCain) publicly suggested that the Saddam Hussein regime may have been behind the anthrax letters.

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