May 12, 2003

Washington Post editor to speak on bioterrorism

By Ron Sauder

Marilyn Thompson, award-winning assistant managing editor for investigations at The Washington Post, will discuss the threat of bioterrorism and sign copies of her new book, The Killer Strain: Anthrax and a Government Exposed, in an appearance at Miller-Ward Alumni House on Thursday, May 22, at 7 p.m.

The Killer Strain is the first in-depth investigation of the still-unsolved anthrax attacks in the fall of 2001 that killed five people and wreaked havoc with the U.S. Postal Service, Congressional offices and news media offices in Florida, Washington and New York.

Best-selling author Richard Preston describes Killer Strain as “a taut, balanced and deeply researched account of the anthrax letter attacks and their aftermath.” Former Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee calls it “a dramatic, chilling account of ‘when the anthrax hit the fan’ … by one of the country’s best investigative reporters.”

Thompson conducted scores of interviews for this book, focusing on three major characters: John Ezzell, a microbiologist with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Maryland; Leroy “Rich” Richmond, a Washington postal worker who survived an agonizing case of mail-borne inhalational anthrax; and Jeffrey Koplan, then-director of the CDC (and currently vice president for academic health affairs at Woodruff Health Sciences Center).

Marilyn Thompson has twice directed reporting teams that won Pulitzer Prizes for public service. She has published two previous books, Feeding the Beast: How Wedtech Became the Most Corrupt Little Company in America and (as a co-author) Ol’ Strom: An Unauthorized Biography of Strom Thurmond.