For the past year, government officials have remained quiet on the case accusing Fort Detrick scientist Bruce Ivins of the deadly anthrax letter attacks.

Not so on the Internet, where a handful of people have turned Amerithrax into an ongoing discussion. Amerithrax is the Department of Justice's name for the investigation of the anthrax attacks.

Beyond conspiracy theories and other fringe beliefs, bloggers have been filing Freedom of Information Act requests and working sources just as any experienced reporter would.

"I think it's kept it alive. Its provided a place for reporters and others to go from time to time and look for facts and opinions," said Lew Weinstein, who wrote a fictional novel based on the Amerithrax case titled "Case Closed."

He maintains a blog with the same name, trying to debunk the FBI case against Ivins.

Weinstein, who splits his time between Key West, Fla., and Collioure, France, was once a congressional candidate, has business degrees from Princeton and Harvard and retired in 2005 as the CEO of a biomedical research organization.

"I am amazed at the level of scientific discourse that's going on on my blog," said Weinstein, who called from a side trip he was taking with his wife to Lithuania.

"This is not simply a crime story. There's more to it than that," he said.

Ed Lake has been studying the case since 2001. Eight years ago he started a website to compile facts, documents and his own analysis.

He wrote a book, "Analyzing the Anthrax Attacks," which looks at the first three years of the investigation.

Unlike Weinstein, Lake has found the FBI case against Ivins solid.

"I certainly don't have any information pointing to anyone else," Lake said.

The retired computer systems analyst, who lives in Racine, Wis., has saved 40,000 e-mails relating to the investigation on an external hard drive he keeps in a safe deposit box.

But Lake said he has no particular desire to see the case go one way or another. He stresses the difference between conspiracy theorists, who are distrustful of the government, and true believers, who firmly believe in one scenario.

Lake said he doesn't align himself with either group. He's just after the facts.

"When you look at it all together, it's a really damning set of circumstantial evidence," he said.

Despite opposing viewpoints, Lake and Weinstein share an interest in the Amerithrax case that goes beyond the curiosity of most people.

Weinstein said the facts, or what he perceives as a lack thereof, infuriated him to the point of writing a book.

Lake said it started as soon as he got into his first online debates about the case.

"There was no way of stopping it, dropping it after that," he said.

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