Roll Call: Congress Members 'furious' at FBI for 'blackout' of 2001 anthrax attacks probe

Published: Thursday October 12, 2006

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Some Congressional members are "furious" at the FBI for its "blackout" of the investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks which "left five people dead and dozens of others injured or facing lengthy courses of dangerous drug therapy," according to Roll Call.

"The FBI has completely shut Congress out of its now five-year investigation into anthrax attacks on Capitol Hill and around the nation, with accusations flying up and down Pennsylvania Avenue about the probe into the worst biochemical attacks in U.S. history," Paul Kane writes.

Roll Call reports that the "FBI and Justice Department have not briefed two key players in the attacks — former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the Senators who were targeted by anthrax-laden letters — in at least two and a half years."

Excerpts from Roll Call article:


Late last month, in a letter to Holt, the bureau officially stated that it has been withholding all information about the attacks from Congress because of alleged leaks to the media following briefings on the Hill. The FBI laid the blame for the blackout squarely at the feet of current and former Members and their staffs from briefings that apparently occurred in 2003.

“After sensitive information about the investigation citing Congressional sources was reported in the media, the Department of Justice and the FBI agreed that no additional briefings to Congress would be provided,” wrote Eleni Kalisch, assistant FBI director for Congressional affairs, to Holt in what appears to have been the first official recognition of leak allegations.

This briefing shutdown has left some Members furious with the FBI, leading them to publicly and privately conclude that the investigation clearly has stalled.

“I would like to think that they know a lot more than they did five years ago, but I have no basis to make that judgement,” said Daschle, the Majority Leader at the time of the attacks, in a recent interview. “From what little they have shared with us, I can only assume that things haven’t gone well in the investigation these past five years.”