The government will launch a wide-ranging program of polygraph testing to determine if one of its own employees is responsible for last year's anthrax attacks, ABCNEWS has learned.
As many as 200 current and former employees at Fort Detrick in Maryland, the Dugway Proving Ground in Utah and a number of other labs across the nation will face questioning and voluntary polygraph tests in the hope that one of them might produce a lead.
Sources told ABCNEWS those targeted include people who have expertise in the production of anthrax or have had access to it.
"In the absence of a prime suspect, the FBI has to build its case through subtraction, taking away the elements that don't fit, trying to make their theory work," said Kyle Olson, an analyst in the field of weapons of mass destruction.
Law enforcement officials say the scientific analysis of the anthrax sent in letters that killed five people is consistent with the Ames anthrax strain housed by the U.S. military at Fort Detrick and distributed to a number of labs for research.
"The anthrax strain from the Florida case was very similar to an anthrax strain that was derived from one distributed through Fort Detrick," said Timothy Read, an assistant investigator for the Institute for Genomic Research.
Investigators Face Dead Ends
Frustrated for months and with no clear suspect, the mass lie detector tests, which are expected to start in June, constitute the latest government attempt to generate new leads.
Earlier this year, the FBI sent a letter to the 43,000-member American Society of Microbiology, which said: "It is very likely that one or more of you know this individual … Based on his or her selection of the Ames strain … one would expect that this individual … had legitimate access" to biological agents.
One law enforcement source told ABCNEWS that investigators, who have faced a lot of dead ends, have to start somewhere.
Anthrax Scare at World Bank
About 1,200 World Bank employees in Washington were told to stay home today through at least Thursday after a routine test detected a small amount of anthrax in a bundle of mail.
The sample was then sent out for more sophisticated tests, where it tested negative, but the agency is still awaiting results from more tests, which could take several days, according to spokeswoman Caroline Anstey.
Those tests could take up to three days to complete.
"We're taking every precaution," she said.
The building affected is the "J" Building on the corner of 18th and Pennsylvania, and is one of five World Bank buildings in Washington.
Employees are being asked to work from home.