The Government Accountability Office has accepted a request from Congress to open an inquiry into the FBI’s handling of the anthrax attacks on lawmakers and the media in the fall of 2001.
The request was part of an ongoing push from Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., to investigate the government’s response to the incident. When the House passed its fiscal 2010 intelligence authorization bill (HR 2701), it did so after approving an amendment that Holt authored that would require the intelligence community’s inspector general to determine whether there was any foreign connection to the anthrax attacks. After the White House objected to the language, Holt fired off a letter to Office of Management and Budget defending it.
The congressman also wrote to the chairmen of four House panels in May requesting that they conduct their own investigations into the government’s role in the anthrax case.
Holt’s actions came shortly after the Justice Department announced on Feb. 19 that its investigation into the anthrax attacks was closed. The department released an investigative summary and a sheaf of FBI documents related to the case that concluded Bruce E. Ivins, a scientist working at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, was solely responsible, CQ reported. Ivins committed suicide in 2008.