The Commonwealth Blog

Today's Members-Only Teleconference: SOLVING THE ANTHRAX CASE

Jun 29, 2011 @ 9:38 AM

Today, June 29, 2011, at 12:00 noon Pacific Time, Commonwealth Club President and CEO Dr. Gloria Duffy will lead a free, Club members-only teleconference with Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times writer David Willman.

Willman has researched and written a fascinating study of the U.S. government scientist, Bruce Ivins, thought most likely to have unleashed the anthrax virus in the post-9/11 days of late 2001. Who was Ivins, how did the system of controls allow such a person unsupervised access to this deadly pathogen, how and why did he commit this act, and what can we learn from this experience about how to better protect ourselves from bioterrorism and domestic terrorism in general?

Commonwealth Club members were emailed information for calling into the teleconference. They can also submit questions to the speakers either by posting a comment to this blog post or, if they have Twitter accounts, by tweeting a question and including #cwclub in the tweet.


Why hasn't the federal government enacted new safeguards to prevent another scientist like Bruce Ivins from obtaining and using deadly pathogens? What should be done to improve the system of controls? What are the implications of the threat of bioterrorism or biowarfare for national security? The U.S. approach to security has arguably changed significantly since 9/11. How do you think it will continue to change, and why? Has the death of Osama bin Laden changed anything?

How certain are you that Ivins was the guilty party? And what chance is there that he didn't work alone? Are there any possible collaborators of his who are still alive and free?