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Ex-colleague questions government's case against anthrax suspect

August 08, 2008|By ANDREW SCHOTZ
(Page 2 of 4)

A1. Dr. Ivins was employed by USAMRIID for more than 28 years as a Research Microbiologist. As a senior biodefense researcher working with the anthrax research program, he designed and conducted experiments to advance the understanding of bacterial pathogenesis and develop improved medical countermeasures to bacterial pathogens.

Q2. Did Dr. Ivins stand to profit from the anthrax mail attacks because he held a patent for a new anthrax vaccine technology?

A2. Dr. Ivins was a co-inventor on two U.S. patents for Anthrax vaccine technology, U.S. Patent 6,316,006 and U.S. Patent 6,387,665 At the time of his death, Dr. Ivins and his co-inventors were each receiving $2,000 per year in royalty payments. Under Federal law and DoD regulations, each inventor is entitled to 20 percent of the royalties or other payments, up to $150,000 per year per person. (Licensing of federally owned inventions: 35 U.S.C. 209 and 37 CFR 404.1. Distribution of royalties received by federal agencies: 15 U.S.C. 3710c. Army regulation AR 70-57 and USAMRMC Regulation 70-57. DoD 5535.8)

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Q3. Was Dr. Ivins forcibly removed from his workplace?

A3. On Thursday, July 10, Frederick City Police requested permission to enter Fort Detrick to execute an Emergency Medical Evaluation Petition. Fort Detrick police officers escorted the Frederick police unit to USAMRIID, where the officers contacted Dr. Ivins and subsequently escorted him out of USAMRIID and off Fort Detrick.

Q4. Was Dr. Ivins banned from Ft. Detrick?

A4. Following his July 10, 2008, removal from Fort Detrick pursuant to the EEP order, the Fort Detrick U.S. Army Garrison Directorate of Emergency Services was directed to be on the look out for Dr. Ivins. The U.S. Army Garrison Commander provided a verbal order to the police to notify Dr. Ivins that he was barred from the installation, if he arrived on the installation prior to the time a written bar order was presented. The Directorate of Emergency Services maintained contact with outside authorities to ascertain when Dr. Ivins was scheduled to be released. Upon learning of his pending release, a written bar order was signed (by) the U.S. Army Garrison Commander on July 24, 2008. Prior to the time that bar letter was presented to Dr. Ivins, the Command learned of Dr. Ivins' hospitalization. Dr. Ivins' death eliminated the need for the bar order.

Q5. Did USAMRIID revoke Dr. Ivins' security clearance?

A5. On 1 Nov 2007, USAMRIID removed Dr. Ivins' access to the laboratories where biological select agents and toxins (BSAT) are used and stored.

It is important to note that a security clearance alone does not grant access to any of the laboratories at the Institute. Access is authorized only after an individual satisfactorily completes laboratory safety training, physical examination screening, appropriate immunizations, a favorable security background investigation by the FBI, and biosurety program clearance.

Q6. When did USAMRIID institute the biosurety program?

A6. The program was formally adopted in 2003. With the initiation of the formal biosurety program, USAMRIID put into place a Personnel Reliability Program that includes background investigations, medical screening, and mental health and behavior screening. All individuals with access to areas in which biological select agents and toxins (BSAT) are stored or used must be enrolled in the PRP.

Q7. What measures did USAMRIID have in place before the biosurety program?

A7. Before the institution of the formal biosurety program, the Institute had programs in the four areas that comprise biosurety: physical security, agent accountability, biological safety and personnel reliability. With regard to personnel reliability, the Institute conducted background checks on personnel who worked in the biocontainment laboratories, as well as medical screening.

Q8. What kind of measures are in place to address mental health under the personnel reliability program?

A8. In addition to a current Personnel Security Investigation (PSI), enrollment into the PRP requires reviews of personnel records, medical evaluation, and an interview with the Certifying Official (CO) highlighting the individual's responsibilities within the PRP, reliability standards, and self reporting requirements.

A personnel security section at USAMRIID is dedicated full time to documenting and coordinating staff security investigations with the DoD, CDC, and the FBI. All investigators at USAMRIID have to be cleared by the CDC and the FBI to work with biological select agents and toxins (BSAT).

Q9. Is an individual's mental health status monitored on a continuing basis?

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