October 13: Science of Crime – Biological Terrorism
The 2001 Anthrax Attacks
Artifacts found in the Crime Lab Experience.
Forensic science is a complex discipline that encompasses more than a dozen distinct fields. Except for a few recent additions to the investigative tool kit such as DNA analysis and computer forensics, most fields trace their origins to the 19th century or before.
Presented by The Mob Museum, this program in the Science of Crime series explores the 2001 anthrax attacks with retired FBI agent R. Scott Decker, who led the Amerithrax Task Force assigned to tackle the deadly threat.
Within most crime labs, scientists have highly specialized expertise. Unlike what is portrayed on television, it is rarely one individual who investigates the crime scene, processes the fingerprints, analyzes the DNA and examines the trace evidence. Instead, highly specialized experts focus on one field. This leads to more efficient and effective lab results.
Each month, The Mob Museum and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Forensic Laboratory will present an in-depth look at the disciplines and sciences that encompass forensic analysis.
About this October’s Science of Crime program:
Anthrax attacks may not be common but they are complex and deadly. The sophisticated biological weaponry made headlines a week after September 11, 2001, when a new wave of terror struck with mailed letters being delivered to recipients that contained the white powder. Five people died and 18 were disfigured by inhaling anthrax. This was the first time the United States had experience with this type of terror attack and it became one of the largest investigations in FBI history.
On September 12, 2001, R. Scott Decker led an FBI team of hazmat specialists into New York City’s Ground Zero. He then joined the Amerithrax Task Force to tackle the anthrax threat.
Decker will recount his experience with the anthrax attacks, and describe the innovative science of microbial forensics that was developed after traditional methods failed, and the shocking results the FBI ultimately uncovered.
The discussion will cover:
- The anthrax terror that quickly followed the horrors of 9/11
- The Amerithrax Task Force and the evolution of forensics in the FBI
- FBI agents’ frantic pursuit of an unexpected terrorist with a diabolical new weapon
- Decker’s personal story of leads and misleads that opened the door to a whole new area of forensics investigation
- How the investigation was conducted and turning point highlights in the search.
A signing will take place with Scott Decker after the presentation for his book entitled, “Recounting the Anthrax Attacks: Terror, the Amerithrax Task Force, and the Evolution of Forensics in the FBI.”
Free for Museum Members or with Museum admission.
- If you’re a Museum Member, please bring your Membership card with you and look for a member check-in table in our lobby.
- If you’re not a Museum Member, please check-in at our box office to purchase your Museum admission.