WASHINGTON — Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle — one of the targets of the 2001 anthrax attacks — said Monday that FBI evidence against Army scientist Bruce Ivins is convincing, but he still has questions.
In an interview, Daschle praised the investigation and said his two-hour FBI briefing last week was "complete and persuasive." Still, he said, there are some open questions. He said the evidence should be scientifically reviewed.
The former senator's remarks came the same day the FBI was briefing journalists on the scientific data that led them to Ivins, who killed himself as prosecutors prepared to charge him as the lone anthrax killer.
Daschle and fellow Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont both received anthrax-laced letters in their Senate offices. Both senators have received recent briefings from FBI Director Robert Mueller on the evidence against Ivins.
Daschle said the most compelling evidence to him is the odd, extended hours that the Army scientist kept shortly after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
"He had no real explanation for the significant increase," Daschle said. "His only response was that he wanted to hang out there, which was not a very compelling reason."
He said they ruled out the other people who had access to Ivins' anthrax based on other information that was available.
"They had stiff alibis or ... they were not in a position to take the material for purposes of this kind," Daschle said. "Each one had a specific disqualifying aspect."
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