* disturbing questions about the FBI’s anthrax investigation have been raised on this CASE CLOSED blog
Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 19, 2009
Over the past several days, as interest in this blog has sky-rocketed, a new (to me) voice has been heard. Ike Solem has posted a series of comments expressing his belief that neither Dr. Ivins nor Dr. Hatfill was the anthrax attack perpetrator, and that the FBI investigation was derailed from its good start in a very suspicious manner.
I have taken brief extracts from some of Ike Solem’s comments and brought them together in this post. There are some who disagree with Ike’s facts and his conclusions, including Ed Lake. In fact, the dialogue between Ed Lake and Ike Solem on my CASE CLOSED blog is fascinating, and I’m pleased that I have been able to provide a forum for this expression of views. If the questions raised here resonate with you, I urge you to follow that discussion, including the comments of other contributors, and reach your own conclusions as to what you think is true.
The last of Ike’s comments below, where he quotes an FBI agent asking that we not question the FBI’s investigative approach, is particularly chilling. Because we surely must question the FBI’s performance as well as its conclusions.
This is exactly what I have done in my novel CASE CLOSED, which will be published in June 2009. I started with the facts of the actual case, and the many troubling questions the FBI investigation has raised, and have written a fictional account of what might have happened in the anthrax attacks and the failed FBI investigation. Does my story portray what actually happened? Of course not. It’s a novel! But many early readers think my story is “all too plausible.”
SELECTED EXCERPTS FROM IKE SOLEM’S COMMENTS
the bottom line
SOLEM: I think we should go ahead with what Rep Holt, D – NJ, wants to do – a complete Congressional investigation into the entire business, from start to finish. LMW NOTE: On this point, Ike Solem and Ed Lake seem to be in full agreement. As am I. Only Congress can bring FBI agents and others to testify on these matters under oath.
two different preparations
SOLEM: The 9/18 letters go through the mail to various news outlets, and one man gets sick in Florida and dies. There is little public reaction. Then, a second set of letters is sent on 10/9, with a more potent preparation and a letter that says “anthrax” (unlike the 9/18 ones) – and they go to the Senate. Numerous people are infected, hundreds go onto antibiotics, and the entire Hart Office Building is evacuated. Mass panic ensues. Mission accomplished? Clearly, two different preparations, one far different from the other … there seems no doubt that the preparations were indeed different, and that the Daschle/Leahy letters were far more dangerous.
different preparations point away from Ivins
SOLEM: Doing this (preparing the powder) without killing yourself or contaminating everything around you is apparently very difficult, and is the kind of technology only found within leading biological warfare defense labs in just a few locations around the world. Technically, the (FBI) arguments would all have been destroyed in a court of law – and it’s very hard to see how Ivins could have made two preparations – certainly not the Daschle-Leahy preparations. Isn’t it odd that we’ve heard no results at all on the silicon content of the first round of letters? Apparently, it wasn’t tested at all – and now the FBI seems bent on claiming that the two preparations were one and the same, manufactured by Ivins at the same time – and that’s just preposterous.
FBI changes team, focuses on Hatfill; why?
SOLEM: The initial FBI case was broken into two parts, Amerithrax I and Amerithrax II, which was a reasonable decision – one group went to work on forensics, the other on classic detective work. The field agents in the anthrax case did a very good job early on, even tracking the spores back to Princeton, NJ – and that’s when the FBI appointed a new lead, Richard Lambert. Richard Lambert took over immediately after the Princeton spores were discovered, and his tenure lasted through 2006, and he made sure that Hatfill was “the sole suspect.” I think the original FBI team (who only lasted for three months or so before being transferred off the case and forced into retirement, I believe) had the right answer, and everything since then has been a cover up effort, led first by Richard Lambert, and then by the third FBI team, leadership unknown. The sacking of the original FBI team and the replacement with Richard Lambert and the “lone wolf” theory of Steven Hatfill smells rotten. Who doubts that they would have declared ‘case closed’ had Hatfill committed suicide under pressure?
FBI – don’t second guess our investigative approach
SOLEM: conventional detective work—such as checking lab notebooks and shipment records—helped rule out everyone but Ivins who had access to the spores, says Vahid Majidi, head of the agency’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate. He declined to give details. “I’m asking you not to second guess our investigative approach,” he said.