doj stalls anthrax investigation

doj stalls anthrax investigationfrom daily kos: Democratic Representative Rush Holt (NJ-12) has been stonewalled in his efforts to get answers from the DOJ and the FBI about the status of investigations into the 2001 anthrax attacks on the federal government. The anthrax letters originated from his district.

On December 11, 2006, Holt and a bipartisan group of Congressmen requested that Attorney General Gonzales “direct the FBI to provide Congress with a comprehensive briefing on the status of the five year-old anthrax investigation.” The DOJ refused.

On March 2, 2007, he sent this request to Henry Waxman and John Conyers:

“The Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation have openly asserted their belief that Congress should be kept in the dark on this vital national security issue. Mr. Chairman, I ask for your help in determining why we have been unable to bring the perpetrators of this heinous act to justice. It is time to provide effective oversight of the Department of Justice and the FBI.”

Why would the DOJ and FBI stonewall this Congressman’s request for information on their investigations into a crime committed in his own district? …

The anthrax letter sent to Democrat Tom Daschle was opened by an aide on October 15, 2001. Nine days later the House passed the Patriot Act. Apparently, some of them didn’t read it — or at least, didn’t read it during the reauthorization in 2006, as we know from the revelation about the US Attorney clause that was slipped in by the DOJ.

Did the hysteria and fear caused by the anthrax attacks play a factor in the passage of the Patriot Act?

* Anthrax letters sent to Congress on October 9
* Tom Daschle letter opened on October 15
* 31 Capitol workers test positive for the presence of anthrax on October 17
* Patriot Act passed the House on October 24 (Yeas: 357; Nays: 66)
* Patriot Act passed the Senate on October 25 (Yeas: 98; Nays: 1)
* Patriot Act signed into law by President Bush on October 26

The 31 Capitol workers include five Capitol police officers, three of Democratic Senator Russ Feingold’s staffers and 23 of Democratic Senator Tom Daschle’s staffers. Including the victims of the earlier letters sent to media outlets, more than 22 people ultimately developed anthrax infections. Five people died from inhalation anthrax.

Rep. Holt says:

“The FBI’s refusal to brief Members of Congress raises serious concerns about the status of this investigation and whether it is a true priority of the FBI, which appears to be no closer to solving this act of bioterrorism than they were five years ago.”

Holt wants answers about an act of bioterrorism conducted in his district. The FBI and DOJ refuse to answer. Since the DOJ benefited from the passage of the Patriot Act, isn’t this just a little bit suspicious?

Don’t we need some oversight into this?

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