There’s more today at the NYT on Bruce Ivins, as relayed by Jean Duley, a social worker who counseled him. Apparently, he was a very sick man.
Bruce E. Ivins arrived last month for a group counseling session at a psychiatric center here in his hometown with a startling announcement: Facing the prospect of murder charges, he had bought a bulletproof vest and a gun as he contemplated killing his co-workers at the nearby Army research laboratory.
“He was going to go out in a blaze of glory, that he was going to take everybody out with him,” said a social worker in a transcript of a hearing at which she sought a restraining order against Dr. Ivins after his threats.
Scroll down the NYT page and look for the mp3 link to hear Duley’s spoken statement to the court as she requested a restraining order. Ivins was forcibly committted after making the above statement on July 9th. In fact, they took him while he was at work. He was not allowed back to the USAMRIID lab or Ft. Detrick after this incident. I’m pretty sure a threat to kill all your coworkers would be enough to permanently pull your clearance.
Duley said he’d attempted to kill other people by poisoning, and described him as a revenge killer.
I don’t understand if there are, as she says, numerous other (I assume older?) records from psychiatrists and psychologists describing him as homicidal and sociopathic, how was he able to work at USAMRIID? How old were those earlier medical records? Is this something doctors were concerned about for years, or just in the final weeks? Was Ivins still working after doctors came to those conclusions?
Another weird thing is that the only statements that have come from his own coworkers so far describe him as a fairly decent guy at work. Makes you wonder about which fairly decent guy with a top secret security clearance in your own office might decide to go out in a blaze of glory and take everybody out with him. Creepy.
UPDATE: Too many biodefense labs? We now have about 14,000 people at about 400 labs allowed to work with select agents. See a discussion of the problem here, also at NYT. My opinion, as you probably know, is we’re on the wrong track. But the only way to rein this in is to rein in the funding.
UPDATE: One more update here, New Scientist blogger Debora MacKenzie wonders just like I do,
The papers describe “a history dating to his graduate days of homicidal threats, actions, plans, threats and actions”. That would be 30 or 40 years ago. Was there really someone with a psychiatric history like that at the main US biodefense lab, USAMRIID, and he wasn’t investigated before?
That part I just really don’t get.