Episode 115: Scott Decker – Amerithrax, Recounting the Anthrax Attacks

Scott Decker served 22 years in the FBI. Early in his Bureau career, Decker, who has a doctorate in Human Genetics, joined the Bureau’s fledgling Hazardous Materials Response Unit in Quantico. On September 12, 2001, he led a team of FBI hazmat specialists to Ground Zero in New York City. Three weeks later, the country came under attack again, this time from anthrax. In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, Scott Decker reviews working on and later managing the “science squad” of the newly formed Amerithrax Task Force. The task force’s mission was to identify and apprehend the person responsible for the mailings of anthrax that killed five people and permanently injured nearly two dozen more. Decker coordinated the early genetics and DNA forensics of the investigation. He went on to supervise a squad of agents, all with advanced science degrees, as they coordinated the forensics aspect of the case. Their work charted new ground and established the discipline of Microbial Forensics. In 2009, he and his team received the FBI Director’s Award for Outstanding Scientific Advancement. Scott Decker is the author of Recounting the Anthrax Attacks: Terror, the Amerithrax Task Force, and the Evolution of Forensics in the FBI, in which he was able to write with authority on the events that took place during the anthrax investigation, many of which have never before been publicized. You can learn more about Scott Decker and his non-fiction book on his website, rscottdecker.com.

Supervisory Special Agent (Retired)

R. Scott Decker

7/9/1990 – 11/30/2011








The following are links to an FBI website story and newspaper articles about the anthrax attacks and the Amerithrax Task Force Investigation:

FBI Website – Famous Cases:  Amerithrax or Anthrax Investigation

Washington Post – 2/20/2010:  FBI investigation of 2001 anthrax attacks concluded; U.S. releases details

CNN Library (Video) – Updated 9/17/2017:  Anthrax Fast Facts

NPR – 2/15/2011:  Timeline: How The Anthrax Terror Unfolded

Laboratory technician holding one of the anthrax-laced letter received during the anthrax attacks. Read more at FBI.gov.









In his non-fiction book, Scott Decker writes about events that took place during the Amerithrax investigation of the anthrax attacks, many of which have never before been publicized. The book can be purchased here.
















Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, jokes that she writes about the FBI to relive her glory days. After 26 years with the Bureau specializing in major economic fraud and corruption investigations, she calls on her professional encounters with scams and schemers to write police procedurals inspired by true crime FBI cases in her Philadelphia FBI Corruption Squad crime fiction series featuring flawed female FBI agent Kari Wheeler. Jerri’s FBI for Armchair Detectives nonfiction series enables readers to discover who the FBI is and what the FBI does by debunking misconceptions about the FBI in books, TV, and movies. Her books are available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks wherever books are sold. She’s also the host of FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast with more than 300 episodes available on all popular podcast apps and YouTube.

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