Perhaps the single most common refrain from the White House and the president's allies is that there have been no terrorist attacks on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001. That's incorrect — about a month after 9/11, someone sent weaponized anthrax to two Democratic senators and several news outlets. Five Americans were killed and 17 more suffered serious illnesses.
For reasons that I've never been able to explain, the incident — I suppose one should call it an "attack" — is hardly ever mentioned. No one knows where the anthrax came from, who sent it, or why. It was a horrifying incident, immediately on the heels of another horrifying incident, but five years later, it's almost as if the episode never happened.
One woman in Florida who was widowed by the attack is still waiting for some answers, and she's willing go to court to get them.
Maureen Stevens says the federal government probably knows who killed her husband.
She believes they're not telling because that might reveal things the government doesn't want revealed.
Nearly five years after Bob Stevens' death, the first in the anthrax attacks that terrified a nation, "I want to know what happened," his widow, who's sued the government, said Wednesday from her lawyer's office. "I want to go into court and find out what happened. What information's obviously there. The truth is there."
It's hard for anyone outside the government to know exactly what information is hidden in classified files, but if we could get some hint about whether the investigation has made any progress at all, it might be helpful.
Of course, it's possible officials are tight-lipped for the opposite reason — because five years later, they're no closer to knowing what happened now than they were before.Stevens' husband was a photo editor for the Florida-based tabloid The Sun, who died in October 2001, after he apparently opened mail laced with the deadly substance. She's been given the run-around ever since.
Officials have acknowledged to Stevens' attorney that they have a "short list" of 18 to 20 people who had the knowledge, equipment, access, and motive to obtain and "weaponize" anthrax, but there has been no indication about any progress in the case. Wouldn't now be a good time for an update?
From a personal perspective, I was in DC for both attacks and I found the anthrax letters nearly as scary as 9/11. It's not that I thought anyone would send me an anthrax-laced letter, but there was a very real threat of cross-contamination — and at the time, my office mail was going through the same DC post office that the anthrax letters to Dem senators had gone through. Indeed, two of the five people killed were postal workers at my post office.
Where did this story go? The administration stopped talking about it, the media stopped reporting on it, and the public stopped asking about it. Why is that?