FBI won't release anthrax papers

The FBI is declining to release at least 15,000 pages of documents related to the dead prime suspect in the 2001 anthrax attacks despite lingering suspicions that the bureau accused the wrong man.

In August, the FBI and Justice Department identified Bruce Ivins, a former microbiologist at the Army's biological weapons research center at Fort Detrick, Md., as the “only person involved” in attacks that killed five people and terrorized the nation.

But David Hardy, the section chief of the FBI's records management division, notified McClatchy Newspapers that his office could not immediately release the records because there were “investigative leads still open” and to protect confidential sources, privacy, law enforcement techniques and a suspect's right to a fair trial.

McClatchy had filed a request for the documents under the federal Freedom of Information Act, which generally permits the release of records of a dead person.

Ivins killed himself in July.

The investigation, known as Amerithrax, is not officially closed. But when it is, Hardy said, the FBI will release documents on a “rolling basis as soon as practicable.”