FBI profiler: We will catch anthrax mailer
By Susan Candiotti and Bill Mears
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Whoever mailed anthrax-laden letters to Washington likely is a male, a loner and not connected with the September 11 terrorists, a top FBI profiler said Friday.
He'll also be identified, the profiler predicted.
"I'm very positive that before too long we'll have some real good information, and the investigation will lead us to the person who is responsible for this," said James Fitzgerald of the FBI Academy's Behavioral Analysis Unit.
Investigators believe they are dealing with a single suspect who fits a profile similar to serial bombers, like "Unabomber" Theodore Kaczynski. They also believe this person is not connected to those behind the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald said his analysis of the anthrax-laced letters sent to Sen. Tom Daschle, NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw and the New York Post suggests the anthrax mailer acted alone, and may have used as little as $2,500 worth of lab equipment to produce the anthrax.
Though FBI officials have previously said the letters may have come from a person not born in the United States, Fitzgerald said he believes otherwise. To him, the mailer appears to be "a lone male who doesn't have any direct connection to any foreign government."
He also described the suspect as an "opportunist."
"We think he reacted to the incidents of September 11 as sort of what he saw as his cover, to carry out some sort of plan he may have had in the back of his mind to mail this anthrax for whatever personal reason he may had, or whatever agenda," he said.
The mailer also displayed some criminal sophistication to cover, or "dry clean," his true identity and intent, Fitzgerald said. For example, one letter misspelled the word "penicillin" as "penacillin," he noted.
"The spelling of 'penicillin' may be a way for him to 'dumb down;' to make it seem like he's somebody other than he really is," Fitzgerald said.
The three letters, which the FBI believes were written by the same person, were postmarked in the Trenton, New Jersey, area. The FBI believes the sender is familiar with the area because the return address was similar to the name of a Trenton-area school.
The FBI is publicizing the personality profile, hoping it might jar someone's memory and lead to a suspect.
So far, Fitzgerald said, there is no firm suspect, and for the time being the anthrax mailer has accomplished his goal: "making people afraid."
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