Group says government lying about anthrax

Group says government lying about anthrax

By Joe Baker

By Joe Baker

Senior Editor

A Washington law firm, Judicial Watch, dealing in public interest matters, believes the federal government is lying to the American people about the scope and severity of the anthrax problem.

Judicial Watch notes a recent report by the Associated Press that some White House personnel got the antibiotic Cipro six weeks or more ago. The Bush administration won’t say who is receiving it now, but on the night of the attacks, Cipro was given to staff members accompanying Vice-President Dick Cheney to Camp David. One person who was involved said staffers were told it was just a precaution (White

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House Mail Machine Has Anthrax-AP).

The law firm concluded: “This shows that the White House knew of the anthrax attacks much sooner than admitted.”

When reporters asked President Bush if he had been tested for anthrax, he declined to answer on two different occasions. “This buttresses the conclusion,” said Judicial Watch, “that the White House has known of the full extent of the problem for some time, but will not discuss it with the American people. The President should be honest and admit that widespread testing for anthrax exposure—particularly in the D.C. area—is necessary, especially given the deaths of postal workers.” (

Judicial Watch said Americans deserve to know the full truth: that even the President of the United States is concerned about infection with this virus. Vice-President Cheney has since said that some information about the anthrax crisis will remain classified.

The Washington Post reported that the main Washington post office at Brentwood has halted mail deliveries to a number of residential area codes in the capital and that 14 of 29 mail sorting areas at Brentwood have been shut down or “quarantined” because of high exposure to anthrax. (Anthrax Takes a Wider Scope—Washington Post, 10-24)

The public interest organization said: “It is now obvious that the shutdown of mail deliveries to various residential area codes was put into effect because the mail sorting equipment…is contaminated with anthrax. Yet, the government has failed again to make full disclosure.

“It is also obvious that the federal D.C. main post office at Brentwood must be ‘flooded’ with anthrax-contaminated mail: otherwise why would over one-half of its facility be shut down, and how else would one explain the widespread contamination that has occurred and the number of buildings and persons who have tested positive for anthrax?”

The group said nearly all federal agencies have stopped mail deliveries from Brentwood and other area post offices. Judicial Watch said that demonstrates the mail is thoroughly contaminated with the disease spores, based not on just a few letters, but a deluge of them.

Until very recently, the Bush administration has contended these letters are not necessarily from Islamic terrorists. But three letters just released and published in newspapers show references to killing Americans and Jews and end with the statement: “Allah is Great.”

Judicial Watch said the administration’s position has been calculated to justify not taking immediate military action against Iraq, the nation most suspected of giving biological weapons to bin Laden. Arabic members of the president’s coalition, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia, have made it clear they will not support military action against Iraq.

The federal government has been far less than forthcoming about this whole issue. Accordingly, “Judicial Watch is filing a host of document requests with the federal government to pry out the full truth from the administration, before more people die because of misinformation about the full extent of the anthrax crisis. If cooperation is not forthcoming, lawsuits will be filed.

“It is a scandal in the making that the White House and Congress, which have full information, have adequately protected themselves with testing and antibiotics, while the rest of the populace is kept in the dark and not treated like the political elite,” said Judicial Watch chairman and general counsel, Larry Klayman.

Here is yet another question to ask our senators and representatives in Congress. Why did you protect yourselves and not move at once to protect us?

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