New technology for analyzing water may have narrowed the possible source of anthrax used in the 2001 terrorist attacks to a handful of institutions, according to an article scheduled for the Dec. 4 issue of Chemical & Engineering News, the ACS's weekly newsmagazine.
In the article, C&EN Senior Correspondent Lois R. Ember describes how science is aiding an extraordinarily difficult FBI criminal probe of the first major act of bioterrorism on United States soil. It occurred a week after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, when anthrax-laced letters sent through the mail killed five people and raised the fear level nationwide. Despite 9,100 FBI interviews, 67 searches, and 6,000 grand jury subpoenas, the case remains unsolved.
Ember surveys new developments in the case, including an August scientific article with a paragraph that "set the scientific and arms control communities abuzz."
Another development involves the reported application of technology for tracing the source of water used to process the anthrax spores to the northeastern United States. If true, one source told C&EN, it would narrow the likely source of the anthrax to "two or three" institutions in the region that had access to the Ames strain of anthrax used in the attacks.
Materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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