2008_07_anthrax.jpgAccording to the LA Times, Bruce Ivins, a government biodefense scientist at U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, died in an apparent suicide. Sources say Ivins, who had aided the FBI with analysis in the anthrax-laced letter attacks in 2001, was going to be charged for the attacks.

In 2001, letters with traces of anthrax were received by the NY Post and NBC News in September (after the 9/11 attacks) while another sent of letters were sent in October, to Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy. The letters are believed to have been mailed from Princeton, NJ, and five people died from infection.

The government had suspected former Army scientist Steven Hatfill, calling him a "person of interest," but later gave him a $5.82 million settlement after he charged the leaks about the investigation ruined his reputation. Ivins, who worked at research labs at Ft. Detrick, Md., became a suspect after his unusual behavior after the mailings (the AP reports he "conducted unauthorized testing for anthrax spores outside containment areas").

Federal prosecutors were reportedly ready to seek the death penalty in their case against Ivins. Ivins apparently overdosed on Tylenol and codeine; spokeswoman at USAMRIID said, "People here are pretty shook up about it,"