(Trends Wide) — The attack on the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001 was followed by a series of anthrax attacks, also known as Amerithrax.
Facts about anthrax
There are three types of anthrax infection (also known as carbunco, in Spanish): cutaneous (through the skin), inhalation (through the lungs; the most deadly) and gastrointestinal (through digestion). There has been a fourth type of anthrax identified as injectable anthrax.
This is common in injecting heroin users in Northern Europe. This has never been reported in the United States.
It can be contracted by handling products from infected animals or by inhaling anthrax spores and by eating undercooked meat from infected animals.
Anthrax has been blamed for various pests over the centuries, killing both humans and livestock. It emerged in the First World War as a biological weapon.
The CDC classifies anthrax as a Category A agent – one that poses the greatest possible threat to negative public health impact. One that may spread over a large area or need public awareness and requires planning to protect public health.
Five people died and 17 became ill during the anthrax attacks in the fall of 2001. The outbreak is often referred to as Amerithrax.
The anthrax was sent via anonymous letters to news agencies in Florida and New York and to a congressional office building in Washington.
Of the five victims who died from inhalation of anthrax, two were postal workers. The other three victims were an elderly woman from rural Connecticut, a Manhattan hospital worker in the Bronx and an employee of a Florida tabloid magazine, who may have contracted anthrax from cross contamination.
The letters were sent to NBC host Tom Brokaw, Senator Tom Daschle Majority Leader, Senator Patrick Leahy and the New York Post Offices. The letters had stamps from Trenton, New Jersey.
No arrests have been made for those attacks.
The FBI interviewed more than 10,000 people and issued more than 6,000 subpoenas in the case.
The Postal Service purchased 4.8 million masks and 88 million gloves for its employees. In addition, anthrax testing was conducted at 300 postal facilities.
More than 32,000 people took antibiotics after possible exposure to anthrax.
Stevens, Bob – American Media Inc. Photo Editor Died from inhalation of anthrax on October 5, 2001.
Curseen, Joseph Jr. – Washington area postal worker. Died from inhalation of anthrax on October 22, 2001
Morris, Thomas Jr. – Washington Postal Worker. He died of inhalation of anthrax on October 21, 2001.
Nguyen, Kathy – Manhattan Hospital Employee. He died from inhalation of anthrax on October 31, 2001.
Lundgren, Ottilie – Woman from Connecticut. He died of inhalation of anthrax on November 22, 2001.
October 5, 2001 – Bob Stevens, photo editor for The Sun, dies of anthrax inhalation.
October 12, 2001 – NBC News announces that an employee was poisoned with anthrax.
October 15, 2001 – A letter stamped from Trenton, NJ, opened by an employee of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, contains a white powdery substance. It was later discovered to be a “weapon-grade” strain of anthrax spores. More than two dozen people in Daschle’s office test positive for anthrax after the envelope is discovered.
October 19, 2001 – An unopened letter contaminated with anthrax is found in the New York Post offices. One Post employee is confirmed to have a skin infection and a second shows symptoms of the same infection.
October 21, 2001 – Thomas Morris Jr., Washington postal worker, dies from inhalation of anthrax.
October 22, 2001 – Washington postal worker Joseph Curseen dies of anthrax inhalation.
October 31, 2001 – Kathy Nguyen, a warehouse worker at Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital, dies from inhalation of anthrax.
November 9, 2001 – The FBI publishes a behavioral profile of the suspect, who is probably a lonely man and could work in a laboratory.
November 16, 2001 – A letter sent to Senator Patrick Leahy is found to contain anthrax. The letter is among those from the Capitol that have been quarantined. The letter contains at least 23,000 anthrax spores and is stamped October 9 in Trenton, NJ.
November 22, 2001 – Ottilie Lundgren, a 94-year-old Connecticut woman, dies from inhalation of anthrax.
January 2002 – FBI agents interview former US Army biological weapons scientist Steven Hatfill as part of the anthrax investigation.
June 2002 – Hatfill, the bioweapons investigator, is considered a “person of interest” by the FBI.
June 25, 2002 – The FBI searches Hatfill’s apartment in Maryland and a warehouse in Florida with his consent.
June 27, 2002 – The FBI says it is targeting 30 bioweapons experts in its investigation.
August 1, 2002 – The FBI uses a criminal search warrant to search Hatfill’s Maryland apartment and Florida storage locker a second time. Anthrax swab tests are negative.
August 6, 2002 – Attorney General John Ashcroft refers to Hatfill as a “person of interest.”
August 11, 2002 – Hatfill gives a press conference in which he declares his innocence. He will give a second on August 25, 2002.
September 11, 2002 – The FBI searches Hatfill’s old apartment in Maryland for the third time.
August 26, 2003 – Hatfill files a civil lawsuit against Attorney General John Ashcroft, the Justice Department and the FBI alleging that his constitutional rights have been violated. The lawsuit alleges violations of Fifth Amendment rights, by preventing him from earning a living, violations of his Fifth Amendment rights by retaliating against him after he attempted to have his name cleared in the anthrax investigation and information release from your FBI file.
The lawsuit also alleges an undetermined amount of money damages.
July 11, 2004 – The former American Media, Inc. headquarters in Boca Raton, Florida, where Bob Stevens contracted anthrax, is pumped with chlorine dioxide gas for decontamination. This was the last building exposed to anthrax in the fall of 2001.
June 27, 2008 – The Department of Justice reaches an agreement with Hatfill. The settlement requires the Justice Department to pay Hatfill a one-time payment of $ 2.825 million and an annuity of $ 3 million. This means that you will pay Hatfill US $ 150,000 a year for 20 years. In return, Hatfill drops his lawsuit and the government does not admit any wrongdoing.
July 9, 2008 – Bruce Ivins, a former investigator at the Army Biological Weapons Laboratory at Fort Detrick, Maryland, dies after an overdose during a suicide attempt on July 27.
August 6, 2008 – The judge opens and releases hundreds of documents in the 2001 FBI anthrax investigation, detailing Ivins’ role in the attacks.
August 8, 2008 – The Department of Justice formally exonerates Hatfill.
September 25, 2008 – The court publishes more documents, including emails Ivins sent himself.
February 19, 2010 – The Department of Justice, the FBI and the US Postal Inspection Service announce that their investigation into the 2001 anthrax shipments has ended.
March 23, 2011 – A report, titled The Amerithrax Case, is published through Research Strategies Network, a nonprofit think tank based in Virginia. According to the report, old mental health records suggest Ivins should have been prevented from having a job at a US Army research facility in Maryland. The report was requested by the United States Department of Justice.
October 9, 2011 – New York Times reports indicate that scientists are questioning the FBI’s claims about Ivins. Possibly Ivins, if he was involved, worked with a partner. In addition, scientists say that the presence of tin in dried anthrax justifies reopening the investigation.
November 23, 2011 – The Department of Justice reaches a settlement for US $ 2.5 million with the Stevens family. The family originally sued for $ 50 million in 2003, arguing that the military lab should have had tighter security.
December 19, 2014 – The Government Accountability Office publishes a 77-page report that reviews the genetic tests used by the FBI during the investigation of the anthrax attacks.