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FBI profiles anthrax letter writer

By Susan Candiotti
CNN Washington

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The three anthrax-tainted letters at the heart of a post-September 11 outbreak of biological terrorism were all but certainly written by the same person -- probably a male loner who might work in a laboratory, FBI officials said Friday.

The officials, linguistic and behavioral experts who have been analyzing the three known anthrax letters, made their assessments more than a month after the first anthrax outbreak in Florida, where no letter was ever recovered -- and at a time of growing congressional frustration over the lack of progress in the investigation.

All three letters were postmarked in Trenton, New Jersey.

"It is highly probable, bordering on certainty, that all three letters were authored by the same person," the officials said. Two of the letters, sent to NBC anchorman Tom Brokaw and the New York Post, were described as "identical copies."

The other letter, sent to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle in Washington, "contains a somewhat different message than the others," the officials said.

The anthrax in the Daschle letter, the officials said, "was much more refined, more potent and more easily dispersed" than the anthrax in the other two.

Other observations:

-- "The author uses dashes in the writing of the date (09-11-01). Many people use the slash to separate the day, month, year."

-- The name and address on each envelope is noticeably tilted on a downward slant from left to right. This may be a characteristic seen on other envelopes he has sent. -- "Behaviorally, the author is likely an adult male. If employed, likely to be in a position requiring little contact with the public."

-- "He may work in a laboratory. He did not select victims randomly," sending the letters to specific people and addresses. -- The writer is a "non-confrontational person, at least in his public life" who "prefers being by himself more often than not."

-- He may have become more secretive and exhibited an unusual pattern of activity. Additionally, he may have displayed a passive disinterest in the events which otherwise captivated the nation. He also may have started taking antibiotics unexpectedly.

The FBI said that the public in the past has helped the agency solve high profile cases by coming forward to identify the author by what he wrote or how he wrote it. The Unibomber was arrested after his own brother told authorities he recognized phrases in Ted Kaczynski's published manifesto.


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