The Latest Anthrax Suspect…

…is Dr. Kenneth M. Berry. We noted a few days ago that the long-dormant anthrax investigation has come back to life. Two homes belonging to Dr. Berry have been searched. Dr. Berry has not been arrested, and he may turn out to be another blind alley in the investigation. But Dr. Berry is a very intriguing suspect.
Berry was formerly the President of the American Academy of Emergency Physicians. In the late 1990’s, he was heavily involved in proposals to train emergency physicians and others in responding to nuclear, chemical and biological attacks.
What makes Berry such an interesting suspect is a possible financial motive:

For Berry it is the timing of a patent application he filed for a surveillance system to identify chemical and biological attacks. The application was made just 18 days after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, and 10 days after the first anthrax-laced letter was mailed from the John K. Rafferty postal facility in Hamilton.

Anthrax attacks could certainly improve the market for devices such as the one on which Berry sought a patent.
Of course, if Berry were simply a distinguished physician and bioweapons expert who tried to patent a WMD surveillance system, there would be no reason to suspect him. But there is evidence that Berry is a disturbed person who could well have engaged in a dangerous scheme for profit. He has twice been charged with forgery:

A New Jersey native, Berry was director of emergency services at Jones Memorial Hospital in Wellsville until 2001. He resigned after pleading guilty to disorderly conduct to settle charges of forgery. He was also once charged with forgery in a fake-will case, but pleaded to a lesser violation and was allowed to keep his medical license.

And on Thursday, Berry was charged with assault after “he punched his wife and two stepdaughters, and endangered the life of his 3-year-old son outside a Point Pleasant Beach resort spa.” Berry’s wife and stepdaughters were injured sufficiently to require medical treatment.
The Berry investigation could well turn out to be another false lead. But one thought strikes me, looking back on the people who have been suspects in the anthrax case over the last three years: these biological weapons experts are a pretty strange group of people.

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