CASE CLOSED … what really happened in the 2001 anthrax attacks?

* President Obama was well aware, in August 2008, that the FBI had failed to solve the anthrax case; did he change his mind less than a month later, when the FBI announced that Dr. Bruce Ivins was the sole perpetrator?

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 7, 2009

President Obama

President Obama (on July 16, 2008, during the presidential campaign), mentioned that the FBI had still failed to solve the 2001 anthrax attacks.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f84sfDJgfNM

the mention begins about 9 min 20 seconds into the speech

LMW COMMENT … It would be fascinating to know if President Obama’s views changed with the FBI announcement less than one month later, in August 2008, that Dr. Bruce Ivins was the sole perpetrator of the anthrax attacks, or if he shares the skepticism which has been robustly expressed on this blog and elsewhere. The FBI had stubbornly refused to brief the U.S. Senate when Obama was a Senator. Since becoming President, has he asked the FBI for the whole story, and if so, what have they told him?

NOTE: this YouTube video was found through … http://labs.google.com/gaudi … a really powerful tool which actually spots the reference to the second.

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29 Responses to “* President Obama was well aware, in August 2008, that the FBI had failed to solve the anthrax case; did he change his mind less than a month later, when the FBI announced that Dr. Bruce Ivins was the sole perpetrator?”

  1. DXer said

    Why did the FBI limit the subpoena of LSU Special Pathogens Lab to visitors after January 1, 2000 when the DARPA research involving virulent Ames supplied by Bruce Ivins occurred prior to that?

    University of Michigan also received a subpoena in October 2001. What personnel were thought to be working with select agents?

    Ed, can you include this article in your excellent and ever-useful compendium of news articles? Thanks!

    http://www.rense.com/general16/FBIsubpoenaslabs.htm

    FBI Subpoenas Labs And
    Universities In Anthrax Probe
    By Earl Lane
    Washington Bureau
    NewsDay.com
    10-31-1

    WASHINGTON –

    ***
    But Justice Department and FBI officials in Washington declined to comment on the reports about FBI requests for information from universities and research facilities, saying they could not discuss subpoenas or matters before a grand jury.

    A subpoena was delivered Oct. 16 to the lab of Martin Hugh-Jones, an anthrax specialist at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. According to Richard Hidalgo, assistant to the dean of the school of veterinary medicine at LSU, it asked the school to provide by Oct. 23 a log of all visitors and employees at the Hugh-Jones lab since Jan. 1, 2000, including their Social Security numbers and dates of birth. The subpoena also asked for information on shipments of pathogens to and from the lab.

    “Besides Dr. Hugh-Jones and his lab director, only three others have been in the lab” during the time in question, Hidalgo said. “I’ve never been there myself.” Hugh-Jones, who questioned the necessity of using subpoenas to obtain information from research labs, said LSU’s reply was sent to the FBI last week. [The University of Michigan researchers had specially thanked the Hugh-Jones and Kimothy Smith (who later typed the attack anthrax for the FBI) for making the space available at LSU for the small animal work involving virulent anthrax; they thanked Dr. Hugh-Jones and Dr. Smith at the same time they thanked Dr. Ivins for supplying the virulent Ames].

    A subpoena also was delivered to the University of Michigan, according to a source who asked not to be identified. “All research institutions are being contacted by the FBI and asked for information,” the source said. “They were seeking personnel records for those who may be working with select agents.” That refers to the class of hazardous biological agents whose possession and transfer is regulated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. In addition to anthrax, the list includes more than 30 other agents, including toxins, bacteria and viruses such as yellow fever and eastern equine encephalitis.

    Barbara Govert, a spokeswoman for the CDC, said recently that more than 100 laboratories throughout the United States are registered with the agency’s Select Agents Standards system. Every state has at least one registered laboratory and several states have multiple registrants, such as California and Texas. But Govert said the identities of the registrants and the types of hazardous materials they possess need to remain anonymous to avoid making them targets of future theft or attacks. “What we’ve been telling people is that it’s classified, it’s sensitive, it’s very secure,” she said of the list.

    LSU’s Hidalgo said the FBI appears to be looking for any breach in the strict handling procedures for anthrax and other select agents. It could not be determined yesterday how many institutions have received subpoenas. In some cases, the FBI has made investigative inquiries without court orders.

    “The FBI showed routine interest in Princeton as a place with a graduate program in molecular biology,” said Steven Schultz, a spokesman for Princeton University, in New Jersey. “We told them there is no anthrax research on campus.”

    Tim Parsons, a spokesman for Johns Hopkins University’s school of public health in Baltimore, said the FBI had contacted the school regarding a student who graduated in May. “We provided information to the FBI,” Parsons said, but he could provide no further details.

    At several institutions where select agents have been studied in the past or are currently under study, officials said they have received no subpoenas or FBI requests for information. At Iowa State University, which recently destroyed its old stocks of anthrax, director of legal services Paul Tanaka said “as far as I know we have had no subpoenas delivered.” He also said he had not heard of any investigative contacts by the FBI.

    Officials at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston said their institution had received no subpoenas even though it continues to do research on agents on the CDC’s list. “We work on a lot of restricted agents,” said Dr. David Walker, chairman of the pathology department. He said procedures for handling and distribution of the agents are strictly enforced under federal regulations that went into effect in 1997. Walker noted that many post-doctoral students at his institution and others are foreign-born. He expressed some concern that the scrutiny of university-trained microbiologists not hinder the flow of scientific talent to this country. “The great strength of America has been taking the brains of the rest of world and fostering their development,” Walker said.

    Staff writers Tom Brune and Bryn Nelson contributed to this story.

    • DXer said

      The research could “help the genetic engineering of more deadly anthrax by increasing the number of pX02 plasmids, Pamala Coker of Lawrence Livermore, the study’s lead researcher, said.

      Martin Hugh-Jones, a member of the research team at LSU, said the study could also help explain why some anthrax vaccines are more effective than others.

      http://74.125.47.132/search?q=cache:TE6yXqH6rhUJ:www.nti.org/d_newswire/issues/2003/3/27/7s.html+%22Pamala+Coker%22+%22Lawrence+Livermore%22&cd=8&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

      (The research in the published article was based on data published by Patricia Fellows that was published as a chapter in Pamala’s PhD thesis, which is online).

      Dr. Coker is now head of a cat practice in Louisiana. Here is her webpage.

      http://www.catdoctoronline.com/

      And so if unauthorized access was somehow obtained by someone in connection with a DARPA project — for use in the anthrax mailings — that would have been very awkward whatever the explanation offered by the perp(s) and/or government.

      It all goes to the importance of understanding whether the virulent Ames supplied by Bruce Ivins ever made it to (1) University of Michigan; (2) Lousiana State University; (3) Edgewood; (4) Dugway; (5) Battelle etc.

  2. DXer said

    “Toward the middle of October [2001], the Federal Bureau of Investigation subpoenaed all the records of Dr. Hugh-Jones, asking for the names of everyone who had visited his laboratory.” Did any of the people who visited his laboratory know Ayman Zawahiri as “Dr. Ayman”?

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1005176426318005880.html?mod=googlewsj

    * NOVEMBER 8, 2001

    Two Scientists Tracing Anthrax Family Tree Investigate Origins of Strain From Attacks

    By ANTONIO REGALADO | Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

    When Kimothy L. Smith heard CNN report that a man in Florida had been diagnosed with the inhaled form of anthrax, he raced to his laboratory at Northern Arizona University and “cleared out the incubator,” he says. After making way for incoming samples, he then waited for the call for help from federal officials.

    Locked in an unassuming two-story campus building in Flagstaff, the Arizona laboratories house the world’s largest collection of specimens of anthrax bacteria, about 1,350 in all. For several years, the lab has been undertaking one of the most ambitious efforts to catalog anthrax DNA and trace the origins of different strains.

    Because of that work, Dr. Smith and his boss, Paul Keim, have been crucial players in the most intensive bioterrorism criminal investigation ever in the U.S. It was here that anthrax samples recovered from American Media Inc., NBC News, Sen. Tom Daschle’s offices and elsewhere were sent to be genetically dissected. Drs. Smith and Keim won’t comment on their work in the investigation, but sources close to the research say the Arizona team determined that the anthrax bacteria from these different sites are indistinguishable and have “Made in the USA” stamped all over them: The microbe is a descendant of some taken from a sick cow decades ago near Ames, Iowa, and thus dubbed the Ames strain.

    Investigators hope that identifying the strain will help pare the list of possible perpetrators. The Ames strain has been studied extensively by the U.S. military during the past two decades and has never been traced to Iraq or the former Soviet Union, lending support to theories that a homegrown bioterrorist is at work.
    [Photp]

    Kimothy Smith

    Investigators say they still don’t know where the anthrax came from, or whether the bioterrorists are foreign or domestic. They don’t rule out the possibility that foreign bioterrorists or states got hold of the Ames strain, perhaps from a U.S. source. And complicating the scientists’ efforts to sort out the trail of anthrax ownership is the history of anthrax research itself, confused by incomplete records and institutional secrecy.

    The 46-year-old Dr. Keim started the campus laboratory at his alma mater in 1989 and began his work on anthrax genetics while on leave at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Earlier this year, his lab proved that the Japanese doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo had failed to cause any casualties in a protracted 1993 anthrax attack because they had used a harmless strain used in vaccines. [Editor's note: elsewhere Dr. Smith, in connection with a peer-reviewed article, ventures that the doomsday cult may have just been practicing]

    Dr. Smith, a former practicing veterinarian in Altus, Okla., decided to move into research after the routine of tending to cows, dogs and the occasional raccoon wore thin. At Louisiana State University’s Special Pathogens Laboratory, he found his niche in molecular epidemiology, the hunt for the cause of animal-disease outbreaks among the proteins, enzymes and DNA that pathogens such as anthrax use to survive in the wild and infect their hosts. In 1999, he moved to the Arizona lab, bringing with him the lab’s first samples of anthrax.

    Paul Keim

    Since then, the Arizona lab has been building a genetic family tree of all forms of anthrax. Under a $300,000-a-year grant from the National Institutes of Health, Drs. Keim and Smith have been collecting anthrax varieties from across North America and Africa and then examining them for patterns of unique DNA markers.

    The job of collecting field specimens falls largely to Dr. Smith, a 40-year-old with a long mane of silver hair who steals quick puffs from a pipe he keeps tucked in his jeans. He has made several trips to South Africa to pick anthrax specimens from animal bones, hyena dung and occasionally from local farmers who caught the skin form of the disease while preparing hides. Among his most prized acquisitions: two brown glass tubes of anthrax sealed in 1937 by Max Sterne, the South African who developed the first effective anthrax vaccine.

    Telling varieties of anthrax apart isn’t easy. Compared with other microbes, anthrax displays scant variety at the DNA level. Part of the reason is that anthrax takes regular breaks from evolution. After killing their host, anthrax bacteria form protective spores and enter a state of suspended animation that has been known to endure more than 150 years. That’s what makes anthrax a favorite of weapons makers and terrorists: It can be stored indefinitely, in a warhead, for instance, or an envelope.

    Now, as scientists and investigators try to trace the anthrax that has appeared since Sept. 11, they are running up against the shortcomings in anthrax research and record-keeping before DNA typing was developed. Until recently, microbiologists kept track of their collections with handwritten labels, and they relied on colleagues to maintain the paper trail when they shared specimens.

    The original Ames strain sample came from a dead cow, but no one knows exactly when. Martin Hugh-Jones, a scientist at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, says the sample his lab obtained in the mid-1990s was marked “October, 1932.” That sample came from the Center for Applied Microbiology and Research in Porton Down, England. Porton Down got its sample from the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, which got its own sample in late 1980 or early 1981 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s veterinary laboratory in Ames, Iowa. The USDA doesn’t know how long it has held the sample.

    It also isn’t clear whether the Ames strain was part of the secret U.S. biological-weapons program, to which President Nixon called a halt in 1969. Dr. Hugh-Jones has said that David Huxsoll, former head of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, told them it was. Dr. Huxsoll couldn’t be reached for comment. Two scientists who were involved in the U.S. bioweapons program, Bill Patrick and Richard Spertzel, say they used a strain called Vollum, not Ames.

    What is certain is that during the past 15 years, the Ames strain, particularly virulent, has become a research favorite. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has refused to release its records of other U.S. labs that may have Ames, citing national-security concerns. Toward the middle of October, the Federal Bureau of Investigation subpoenaed all the records of Dr. Hugh-Jones, asking for the names of everyone who had visited his laboratory.

    Soon after the first press reports that the anthrax used in the recent attacks was of the Ames strain, Iowa State University briefly became the prime suspect in a media hunt for the source. Gov. Thomas Vilsack called out the National Guard and state police to guard the anthrax stores. Iowa State researchers got rid of the problem by baking their anthrax specimens in an autoclave, a type of oven used to sterilize surgical instruments.

    Iowa State says it received permission from the FBI and the CDC to destroy the anthrax. But now, no one will ever know whether the Iowa State anthrax was the Ames strain — perhaps even the original. That dismays Dr. Smith. The dusty collection would have been a precious data point for his anthrax catalog. “It sounds like a damn convenient thing to autoclave it,” he says.

    There are indications that the terror strain differs in some small but significant way from the Ames strain held by the U.S. military. Tom Ridge, President Bush’s director of homeland security, has called the strains used in the Florida, New York and Washington attacks “indistinguishable” but not identical. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Md., said on Saturday that the strain was “Ames-like.”

    Such differences may matter in the investigation. Each time a bacterium divides, it has to make a new copy of its DNA, and there’s a small chance for error in the process. In experiments two years ago, Dr. Keim and his colleagues found that Ames is exceptionally stable. After growing a sample until it had doubled 100,000 times, they found only one detectable genetic change. If the Arizona scientists and others find that the terrorist anthrax exhibits such differences, that could indicate that it has been grown in huge quantities, potentially a sign of involvement by a state-sponsored biological-weapons program.

    Because Ames originated in the U.S. and probably persists somewhere in the natural environment, Dr. Keim doesn’t discount the possibility that a lone American terrorist in a Western state might have lifted anthrax from a dead deer or bison.

    Dr. Smith agrees that right now, most explanations are possible: “The word on the street is that nobody has a clue where this comes from.”

  3. DXer said

    In approaching analysis, Obama likely would go back to the 911 planning. Tenet says Al Qaeda’s anthrax planning was done in parallel with the 911 planning.

    On August 20, 2001, Saleh Ibn Abdul Rahman Hussayen, who would soon be appointed minister of the Saudi government and put in charge of its two holy mosques, arrived in the United States to meet with some of this country’s most influential fundamentalist Sunni Muslim leaders. He met with officials of the Global Relief Foundation. He also met with IANA representatives in Ann Arbor, Michigan according to court testimony by an FBI agent in the unsuccessful prosecution in Idaho of his nephew Sami Hussayen. IANA promoted the views of Bin Laden’s sheiks. On the night before September 11, Hussayen stayed at a Herndon, Virginia hotel where three of the Saudi hijackers stayed.

    After an October 2001 bombing raid at a Qaeda camp in Darunta, Afghanistan US forces found 100+ printed, typed, handwritten pages of documents that shed light on Al Qaeda’s early anthrax planning. The Defense Intelligence Agency provided me the documents under the Freedom of Information Act. The documents confirmed that it was Zawahiri’s plan to use established specialists and the cover of universities and charities as cover for weaponizing anthrax. From early on, the evidence suggested that charity is as charity does. 90 of the 100 pages are the photocopies of journal articles and the disease handbook excerpts. It was not clear whether or they had yet acquired virulent anthrax or weaponized it, but it was clear that the planning was well along. When Vice President Cheney was briefed on the documents in late 2001, he immediately called a meeting of FBI and CIA.

    “I’ll be very blunt,” the Vice President started. “There is no priority of this government more important than finding out if there is a link between what’s happened here and what we’ve found over there with Qaeda.” At one point, security personnel thought that the home belonging to Elizabeth Cheney, his daughter had been hit by an anthrax attack. Elizabeth had to call her nanny to get her to take the kids to be tested for exposure. A June 1999 memo from Ayman to military commander Atef said that “the program should seek cover and talent in educational institutions, which it said were ‘more beneficial to us and allow easy access to specialists, which will greatly benefit us in the first stage, God willing.’ ”Thus, in determining whether Al Qaeda was responsible for the anthrax mailings in the Fall of 2001, the FBI and CIA had reason to know based on the growing documentary evidence available by mid-December 2001, that Al Qaeda operatives were likely associated with non-governmental organizations and working under the cover and talent in universities.

    The government froze the assets of the Global Relief Foundation (GRF”) on December 14, 2001, saying it was a financial conduit to terrorists. No warrant had been obtained before the FBI arrived at Global Relief’s headquarters in Bridgeview, Illinois. The search was done pursuant to a provision in FISA that permitted a warrantless search when the Attorney General declares that an emergency situation .The 911’s Terrorist Financing Monograph notes that GRF’s newsletter, “Al-Thilal” (“The Shadow”) openly advocated a militant interpretation of Islam and armed jihad. The 911 Commission reports that the FBI suspected the Executive Director of being affiliated with the blind sheik’s Egyptian Islamic Group. The 911 Commission explains: “In early 2000, Chicago informed Detroit that GRF’s executive director, Chehade, had been calling two Michigan residents. One of these subjects was considered GRF’s spiritual leader and the other, Rabih Haddad, was a major GRF fund-raiser.” Its Chairman, Ann Arbor, Michigan community leader Rabih Haddad was arrested in mid-December 2001 for overstaying his visa. Haddad taught twice a week at an Ann Arbor school and was an assistant to the leader at Ann Arbor’s mosque. He was an imam there. Rabih Haddad was an effective fundraiser for the mosques in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti and for the Ann Arbor chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). His students have testified that he stated unequivocally that the attacks on September 11, 2001 were not the acts of true Muslims. Congressman John Conyers, Jr, of Michigan joined several newspapers in suing to force the government to open the hearings. Mr. Conyers argued that he was being unfairly targeted as a Muslim cleric. After a visit by Congressman Conyers in March 2002, Mr. Haddad was removed from solitary confinement and placed with the general prison population.” Haddad was allowed to make phone calls and for the first time watch television.  Mr. Haddad’s lawyer, Ashraf Nubani, of Northern Virginia, said at the time “The government never established, other than smoke screen and innuendo, that he was linked to terrorism.” Attorney Nubani said that his client travelled mostly to Pakistani as part of his relief efforts. Haddad refused to testify before a grand jury unless granted full immunity. As part of DARPA-funded research, Dr. Bruce Ivins of USAMRIID supplied virulent Ames to Ann Arbor researchers whose office by September 2001 was 2 minutes –1 mile — from the mosque where Mr. Haddad was an imam. Although the evidence is “secret,” most intelligence is open source.

    The New York Times reported at the time that “Prosecutors said they were keeping some evidence secret to protect terrorism investigations.” It was Haddad’s lawyer who arranged the pro bono representation for the Virginia Paintball defendants, including Al-Timimi. As a Detroit Free Press headline explained in 2004, “Unproven weapons claim led to Islamic charity raid in [mid-December] ‘01.” Global Relief Founder (”GRF”) cofounder Rabih Haddad was associated with Bin Laden’s Makhtab al-Khidamat, which was headed by Mohammed Islambouli in Peshawar. Mohammed Islambouli was head of a cell with KSM planning the attacks on the United States. Mohammed Islambouli led the faction of the Egyptian Islamic Group that joined Al Qaeda. KSM came to spearhead the attack using anthrax on the United States. It was his assistant, al-Hawsawi, who had the anthrax spraydrying documents on his laptop. Al-Hawsawi was working with Al-Baluchi to get the 911 hijackers into the country. Al-Baluchi would marry MIT-graduate Aafia Siddiqui. An Assistant United States Attorney asserted in passing in open court, without naming her, that Aafia was willing to participate in an anthrax attack if asked. Aafia Siddiqui is associated with Ann Arbor addresses near the mosque where her brother and sister-in-law, an MD, lived.

    Global Relief Foundation (“GRF”) and Benevolence International Foundation (”BIF”) attorneys in unison explained that the US had supported Makthab al-Khidamat in Afghanistan in the 1980s and Bosnia in the 1990s. (BIF head Arnaout, a Syrian, was at the meeting at which Al Qaeda was founded.) Investigation of the two charities was well underway prior to 9/11, although plagued by lengthy unnecessary delays emanating from headquarters. The 9/11 Commission Report notes that on April 21, 1999, upon weekly dumpster diving, FBI “agents had recovered from BIF’s trash a newspaper article on bioterrorism, in which someone had highlighted sections relating to the United States’ lack of preparedness for a biological attack.” (The article quoted famed Russian bioweaponeer Ken Alibek who was at George Mason University in Falls Church, Virginia.) As University of Maryland researcher Milton Leitenberg has pointed out, “[u]nfortunately, ten years of widely broadcast public discussion has provided such groups, at least on a general level, with suggestions as to what paths to follow.”

    The FBI had a better relationship with the CIA in the investigation of BIF than with GRF. The 9/11 Commission noted that “[t]he Chicago agents believed the CIA wanted to shield certain information from the FBI because of fears of revealing sources and methods in any potential criminal litigation in the United States.” Chicago agents benefited from the New York Office files on the two charities but the New York FBI office personnel were overwhelmed and working their own leads. The Illinois-based investigations remained an intelligence gathering exercise with no thought given to a criminal prosecution to disrupt the financing of Al Qaeda until after 9/11. In mid-October 2001, Dr. Martin Hugh-Jones of Louisiana State University told an NPR reporter that an insider could have taken some anthrax from a lab.  He didn’t want to be interviewed on tape.  ‘If I were to guess,’ he says, ‘it was probably some summer intern talking to a friend in a local bar.  The friend said, “Could you get me some?”‘  Hugh-Jones says various protest groups have been scouting for anthrax for years.

    In January 2003, the Chairman of Ann Arbor-based Islamic Assembly of North America, which promoted the views of Bin Laden’s sheiks, was arrested for bouncing a $6,000 check. Dr. Bassem Khafagi operated International Media Group out of his home. Before 911, according to the counsel for Falls Church scientist Ali Al-Timimi, Ann Arbor resident Khafagi was asked about Al-Timimi “purportedly at the behest of American intelligence. [redacted ] He was specifically asked about Dr. Al-Timimi’s connection to Bin Laden prior to Dr. Al-Timimi’s arrest. He was later interviewed by the FBI about Dr. Al-Timimi. Clearly, such early investigations go directly to the allegations of Dr. Al-Timimi’s connections to terrorists and Bin Laden — [redacted]” IANA had a spin-off or dba about 1 mile from me in Syracuse, New York that I would pass each day. After the son of blind sheik Abdel-Rahman was captured in mid-February 2003, 100 agents came here to Syracuse and simultaneously interviewed 150 supporters who had given money to the IANA dba or spin-off called “Help The Needy” — that sought donations for the needy in Iraq. It was part of OPERATION IMMINENT HORIZON. They moved simultaneously the day and minute they searched Al-Timimi’s townhouse. Khafagi was a good friend of microbiologist Ali Al-Timimi and his personal papers were later found in Al-Timimi’s residence.

    In September 2006, federal agents investigating the Muslim charity Life for Relief and Development seized more than $134,000 in cash from the Ann Arbor home of Mujahid Al-Fayadh, a board member and founder of the organization. Dr. Mujahid Al-Fayadh has a Ph. D. in the field of Food Biochemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Al-Fayadh also maintains a B.Sc. and M. Sc. in Dairy and Food Technology. He was the imam and project manager of the Hidaya Muslim Community Association in Ann Arbor. The association operated the Michigan Islamic Academy at Plymouth Road in Ann Arbor where the Global Relief Foundation founder taught twice a week. One mile down the road at Plymouth Park was the company whose researchers Bruce Ivins had supplied Ames strain years ago for DARPA-funded biodefense research. The company was called NanoBio.

    Dr. Tarek Hamouda at NanoBio thanked Louisiana State University researchers for making space available for the research.  The LSU had provided four characterized strains while Bruce Ivins had provided virulent Ames.  “I decided in 1993 or ‘94 that if there was a terrorist attack using anthrax we had to be able to fingerprint it to tell where it came from, sort of like the casing on a bullet,” Dr. Hugh-Jones said.  After the anthrax mailings, “We’ve had subpoenas left, right and center. We were inspected twice by the CDC [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Hugh-Jones told a reporter. “The FBI is frequently calling in. We’re cooperating closely.”  “It very quickly became clear that we have good control over it, and it didn’t come from here,” Martin Hugh-Jones said.   “We handle a lot of deadly items very frequently as a matter of routine.”

    In late August 2001, NanoBio had moved in to its new offices from less impressive digs in the basement of a bank. Bruce Ivins had supplied its University Of Michigan researchers Ames strain a couple years earlier for DARPA-funded biodefense research. The Ann Arbor researchers in December 1999 went to Dugway, a military installation in the remote Utah desert to demonstrate the effectiveness of their biocidal cream on an aerosolized anthrax surrogate.

    Someone who was there needs to say where the NanoBio DARPA-funded research with virulent Ames from Bruce Ivins was done so that the issue of unauthorized access can be addressed. Presumably, at some point, a fuller record of inventory and shipping records relating to RMR-1029 will be available.

  4. DXer said

    Ike mentions that Ames is the vaccine challenge strain. Let’s consider further that overlap between developments relating to the concentration of silicon dioxide in the culture medium for the purpose of concentrating the anthrax and vaccine products — and the scientist actively coordinating with the 911 imam, Ali Al-Timimi. We should follow the facts to include: (1) the Silicon Signature, and (2) the documentary evidence relating to Ayman’s anthrax planning relating to the recruitment of specialists at universities and charities.

    http://www.freepatentsonline.com/6649408.html

    Pub. No.:

    WO/2001/072952

    International Application No.:

    PCT/US2001/040307
    Publication Date:
    04.10.2001
    International Filing Date:
    16.03.2001
    Chapter 2 Demand Filed: 12.09.2001
    IPC:
    C12M 3/00 (2006.01)
    Applicants:
    SHEPHERD, Herman, R. [US/US]; (US).
    RUSSELL, Philip [US/US]; (US).
    BAILEY, Charles, L. [US/US]; (US).
    ALIBEK, Ken [US/US]; (US).
    Inventors:
    BAILEY, Charles, L.; (US).
    ALIBEK, Ken; (US).
    Agent:
    WHITHAM, Michael, E.; Whitham, Curtis & Christofferson, P.C. Suite 340 11491 Sunset Hills Road Reston, VA 20190 (US).
    Priority Data:
    60/191,771

    24.03.2000

    US
    Title:
    MICRODROPLET CELL CULTURE TECHNIQUE
    Abstract:
    The present invention comprises a novel culture method and device in which living cells are cultured in a plurality of individual microdroplets that are immobilized and isolated within a matrix of hydrophobic particles. The hydrophobic particles adhere to inoculated microdroplets of media, isolating the microdroplets in an aseptic microenvironment. The plurality of individual microdroplets provide an optimal environment for the concentrated growth of cultured cells contained therein.

    ***

    The size of individual microdrioplets can be regulated by adjusting such factors as the size of the nozzle or portal delivering the liquid or aerosolized media, the volume of the vessel, the speed at which the various components are added, the power and frequency of electromagnetic induction (in one embodiment of the invention), and the type of hydrophobic particle utilized, for example.

    In one particular embodiment of the invention, the vessel is contained in a refrigerated environment to prevent the rapid random motion of the electromagnetic process from destroying the inoculated microdroplets with excessive heat.

    Once the microdroplets of inoculated media have formed. the hydrophobic particles can then intercalate between and around individual microdroplets, creating a semi-liquid slurry comprising a matrix of interspersed micrcdroplets ofinoculated culture and hydrophobic particles. In one embodiment of the invention, the particles are pumped into the coating vessel while the ferromagnetic particles and liquid media are agitated, resulting in the simultaneous agitation and mixing of the hydrophobic particles along with the microdroplets. In another embodiment, the hydrophobic particles are introduced through a second opening positioned such that the particles encounter the aerosolized microdroplets of inoculated media as the droplets enter the vessel.

    The hydrophobic particles can be introduce into the vessel by a variety of methods well known within the art, for example, by forced flow with the assistance of an air pump. Introduction of the coating particles can be through the same opening used for the introduction of the inoculated media or through a second opening. The use of two different openings for the media and coating particle introduction may have the advantage of allowing for -easier process controls.

    In one embodiment of the invention, the hydrophobic particles comprises a powder of silicon dioxide….

    In a particularly preferred embodiment, the silicon dioxide particle sare Aerosil 300, produced by Brenntag N. V. of Belgium. In another preferred embodiment, the silicon dioxide particles are selected from the group comprising the AEROSIL series of powders manufactured by the Degussa-hüls Cor ? oration (i.., AEROSIL R 104, AEROSIL R 106, AEROSIL R 202, AEROSIL R 805, AEROSIL R 812, AEROSIL R812. S, AEROSIL R 972, AEROSIL R 974, and AEROSIL R. 8200). Other silicon dioxide particles are contemplated and within the scope of the invention.

    The choice of silicon dioxide particles will vary depending on the organism to be cultured and the amount of aeration required. In general, silicon dioxide particles that are useful in the practice of the present invention will be hydrophobic and have a surface area between 50 and 3EG meters-per gram of weight.

    It si contemplated within the practice of the invention that the percent composition of coating particles to inoculated medium will vary, depending on, but not limited to, such factors as the cell type, the size of the individual microdroplets, and the desired final density and phase of growth that is the objective of the particular culture. In one embodiment of the invention that the ratio of individual coating particles to cultured inoculum may be within a range of 99 : 1 and 1 : 99. In one preferred embodiment of the invention, the ratio individual coating particles to cell inoculum to will be within a range of 1 : 2 to 1.

    Once the micriodroplets are formed and coated, they are evacuated from the coating vessel through narrow slotted openings at the bottom of the vessel.

    In one particular preferred embodiment, the slotted openings will be between 1. 5-2. 0 mm wide but may vary depending on the size of the microdroplets formed. The microdroplets can be as little as 10 to 20 microns, so long as the initial inoculum is dense enough to ensure each microdroplet contains inoculated medium. The microdroplets can be much larger, with diameters greater than 2. 5 mm, so long as the hydrophobic particles are able to maintain the media in individual droplet form. Accordingly, the slots for removal can also be designed to be the same as whatever size the microdroolets are or slightly larger.

    In most cases, the space between the coated microdroplets provides adequate aeration of the cell culture. It is a particularly useful and beneficial feature of the present invention that the space which present : provides an optimum environment for the concentrated growth of cell cultures. The adequate aeration provided with the present invention allows the growing cultures to make optimal use of the liquid media contained within each microdroplet.

    It can readily be seen by one skilled in the relevant art, however, that various means can be employed to provide the growing microdroplet culture with supplement21 oxygen and/or other gases to optimize the aeration conditions for a given cell culture. For example, a fermentation vessel or zone may be provided with a port opening onto the vessel or zone through which exogenous molecular oxygen may be via conduits and means to transport the gas. Additionally, thefermentation vessel or zone may further be equipped with a second port opening for removal of gases during the fermentation process.

    In one embodiment of the invention, the cultured cells will be micrcorganisms. Fermentatuion of microorganisms can proceed via a batch process or a continuous fermentation process. In the case of batch fermentation, the microdroplets are collected and grown in a fermentation vessel. In a continuous fermentation process, the coated microdroplets are collected from the slots at the bottom of the coating vessel and are grown in long conduits that constitute a fermenting zone. The particular fermentation method used to culture the microdroplets is not critical to the practice of the present invention.

    As can readily be appreciated by on the art, it will not always be necessary or preferable to separate the hydrophobic particles away from the liquid cell culture following cell growth. For example, since silicon dioxide is frequently utilized in soil treatment, there is no need to remove the silicon dioxide from cell 1 cultures that are grown for the purposes of soil treatment. Furthermore, since the hydrophobic particles limit the potential for the spread of contamination, it may be desirable to maintain cultivated cells within the individual hydrophobic microdroplets for storage purposes.

    It is a particularly beneficial feature of a preferred embodiment of the present :- invention that : the enhanced aeration of cultured cells, combined with the efficient removal of metabolites, allow for microbial cultures to divide to a density that consumes all of the available liquid present in a microdroplet. Thus, in a preferred embodiment of the invention there is no need to (1) concentrate cultures or (2) remove the hydrophobic particles from the microdroplet culture. When all of the liquid media is consumed, the hydrophobic particles disassociate from the cell cultures, allowing the cells to interact directly with the surrounding environment.

    Alternatively, once cell growth is complete, the liquid media can be isolated away from the hydrophobic particles through a simple centrifugation step. As can readily be appreciated by one skilled in the art, th etime and force of centrifugation will vary depending on the organism and hydrophobic particle employed in the process.

    The silicon dioxide particles can be sterilized and re-used in another microdroplet cultivation process.

    ***

    EXAMPLE II-Production of Vaccine Products.

    The present invention is suitable to the large scale production of recombinar. t bacteria or tissue culture cells that have been genetically engineered to produce an antigen or antigens that are effective vaccine products. For a relevant example of bacterial vaccine production, see U. S. Patent 6, 036, 593 to Ryan, et al. Bacterial or mammalian cells may be cultivated in a plurality of microdroplets to high densities, eliminating the need to further concentrate the recombinant products of the cultured cells.

    The present invention can be adapted to the large scale growth of recombinant organisms such as yeast cells that have similarly been modified to produce pharmaceutically active proteins such as insulin and other growth factors, as in U. S. Patent 4, 775, 622 to Hitzeman, et al.

    While the invention has been described in terms of a single preferred embodiment, those skilled in the art will recognize that the invention can be practiced with modification within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.

  5. Ike Solem said

    Notice also, DX, that Ames is the anthrax vaccine challenge strain.

    That means that if Vaxgen or Bioport or Porton Down International or Pharmathene is/was involved in new anthrax vaccine development, then that involved Ames. A test animal would be inoculated with Ames after being vaccinated. The number of such animal test facilities with Ames on hand is limited. I only know of one as of 2001, the West Jefferson lab of Battelle Memorial Institute. Are there others? Perhaps recently, more have been established – I don’t know.

    Notice that this is part of the recombinant anthrax ‘rPA’ vaccine effort – the older vaccine was effective, but requires a series of immunizations and often has serious side efects. The ongoing desire for a one-week ‘safe’ vaccine for anthrax can be seen here, for example:

    https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=76e4ea7485dced12e3cf65c31b10018b

    Solicitation Number: RFP-BARDA-08-15
    Notice Type: Solicitation
    Added: February 12, 2008 Modified: May 09, 2008

    The United States Government (USG) has a need to acquire and supply the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) with 25 million doses of Final Drug Product (FDP) of recombinant protective antigen (rPA) anthrax vaccine… The Government expects to make 1 or more awards, subject to the availability of funds, on or about September 26, 2008.

    Comments to this announcement, referencing synopsis RFP-BARDA-08-15 may be submitted to Brian K. Goodger, Contracting Officer at 202-260-0333 or in writing to Brian.Goodger@hhs.gov

    This proposed acquisition is subject to the availability of Project BioShield Funds.

    Were funds made available? Well, funds were made available for the old vaccine, certainly:

    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/146538.php

    This action has no impact on the company’s existing contracts with HHS to supply BioThrax®, the only FDA licensed anthrax vaccine, for the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS). This year Emergent is completing the delivery of 18.75 million doses of BioThrax for inclusion in the SNS. Also this year, following the completion of that delivery, Emergent will begin to supply HHS with an additional 14.5 million doses of BioThrax under a follow-on contract. The total value of these two procurement contracts with HHS for BioThrax exceeds $800 million.

    Other approaches are also being financed by BARDA, the new military biowarfare research arm:

    PharmAthene, Inc. (NYSE Amex: PIP), a biodefense company developing medical countermeasures against biological and chemical threats, today announced that it has submitted a proposal to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) in response to a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA-BARDA-09-34) for advanced research and development of medical countermeasures for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats. PharmAthene has requested funding to further develop Valortim(R), a fully human monoclonal antibody, for the prevention and treatment of anthrax infection. To date, the Company has received funding commitments from the U. S. government totaling up to $24 million to advance the development of Valortim(R).

    Without those anthrax letters, none of this would have been possible. That only points to opportunistic exploitation of the situation, of course – but see this summer 2001 news report:

    House Panel Urges Pentagon to Stop Anthrax Vaccine
    Aired February 17, 2000 – 9:33 a.m. ET

    DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: And now we want to take you to the nation’s capitol, where Representative Christopher Shays is holding a news conference on the anthrax immunization program, and the House subcommittee’s opinion on what should be done about it.

    http://www.hhs.gov/aspr/barda/index.html

    • DXer said

      Ike,

      I certainly agree with you that the distribution of virulent Ames from Ivins’ flask RMR 1029 is critical — and it is known that Battelle had virulent Ames from Ivins. Indeed, Battelle manages the Life Sciences lab at Dugway. It was pretty amusing that at the August 2008 Science Briefing the FBI’s lead scientist, who now will have the top job at a Battelle-managed lab, did not let the word “Battelle” pass the lips of the briefers. A Florida court opinion addresses Battelle’s liability if it had determined that virulent Ames was negligently allowed to be obtained from one of its labs. (That suit, by the widow Stevens, is no longer pending). But for the sake of completeness, let’s consider the CIA $100,000 grant in 2001 relating to the growth of anthrax in soil to a researcher specialized in research on virulence plasmid.

      Specifically, in further considering all the possibilities relating to distribution of Ames from Ivins’ flask RMR 1029, let’s consider that a partial set of the inventory and shipping records show that Rick Lyons at UNM was shipped virulent Ames from Bruce Ivins flask RMR 1029 on or about March 2001.

      Theresa Koehler’s lab in Houston upgraded the same month to BL-3. Why?

      Was their potential access to the virulent Ames strain at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston? Veterinarian and anthrax expert Martin Hugh-Jones, a professor at Louisiana State University, has said: “It was like trading baseball cards.” Hugh-Jones reports he got most of his anthrax from Peter Turnbull at the Porton Down lab in Great Britain, one of those that had received the Ames strain directly from Ft. Detrick. Dr. Theresa Koehler of the University of Texas at Houston told an NPR reporter: “Certainly everyone keeps a close eye on their strain collections and is well aware of numbers of strains and types of strains they have. I can tell you–I can’t speak for other investigators or other laboratories, but because of the recent events and increased concern, we’re adding an alarm to our door. But we really have a very secure system for keeping track and maintaining our strains.” When pressed, Koehler conceded to the NPR interviewer in mid-October 2001 that it would have been a bit easier to steal a vial of anthrax from her lab and others before now.

      In March 2001, the same month Dr. Lyons got virulent Ames from RMR-1029, TK began taking vaccinations as did everyone in the lab. (Vaccination is not necessary unless dealing with virulent anthrax harmful to humans). Her graduate student Melissa Drysdale at the time had begun rendering avirulent strains virulent by reinserted the relevant plasmid. In 2002, TK published on the importance of using a virulent strain. TK had a $100k grant from the CIA in 2001 to research the persistence of anthrax in soil. (Silica is sand and quartz, I believe). The FBI WMD Chief reports that the Silicon Signature may have been due to silica in the culture medium.

      On June 9, 2001, Tropical Storm Alison unleashed a massive flood on the anthrax lab, which was located in the medical center’s basement. Doors were not only not locked, but they were propped open. Aafia Siddiqui had just finished her PhD. Did she go out to visit her brother and his family who had just moved from Ann Arbor to Houston? I don’t know. Did she later visit Atef that month in Liberia as claimed by one uncorroborated source? I don’t know.

      The Aafia story is very confused — with her attorney saying she’s been in custody for 5 years. What’s the true story with Aafia? Is she cooperating with authorities? Is that the real reason that for a period she was not seeing her attorneys? Was she in kept by ISI under house arrest for 5 years in Pakistan? If she knows US-based operatives, is she naming them? Was the altercation where she got shot in the gut the sort of thing that happened with the young Canadian Jabarah where he was cooperating but still in a fit of rage made plans to kill his captors?

      If they don’t know who is responsible for the anthrax mailings, that’s understandable. It’s a difficult case. But they should provide a meaningful disclosure as to whether the Houston lab might have had the isolate. TK used to publish with Ivins and was mentored by the father of vaccine research from USAMRIID (now long since retired).

      Dr. Theresa Koehler at Houston and Hugh-Jones discussed the distribution of Ames on NPR in January 2002:

      Ms. KOEHLER: Because Ames is used by investigators all over the world, does it matter if originally the strain came from Texas or came from Iowa? I don’t think so.
      ***
      Mr. MARTIN HUGH-JONES (Louisiana State University): I think the most important point is that we didn’t have Ames in this country in anybody’s collection prior to 1980. I think that’s very, very clear. And I think that limits the list of possible suspects quite considerably.
      ***
      KESTENBAUM: Martin Hugh-Jones also has an answer to the mystery of why one paper listed the Ames strain as dating back to 1932. He was an author on that paper. When his team got the Ames sample, it was labeled `10/32,’ which turns out to have meant `Sample number 10 out of 32.’ But they interpreted it as October 1932. David Kestenbaum, NPR News, Washington.

      Dr. Theresa M Koehler holds a faculty appointment at the UT Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. She is Associate Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. She has had grants from the CIA, the National Institutes of Health, and others for her work on virulence. Her office was in the same complex, in the connected John Freeman Building. In Fall 2001, Dr. Koehler said she had taken the anthrax vaccine and that she got anthrax strains from Porton Down. In the Spring of 2003, Dr. Koehler explained that “It’s critical to use a genetically complete strain of the [anthrax] bacterium in experiments involving virulence.” A government study reported in April 2003 found that all of the labs that had received grants from the National Institutes of Health had unobstructed access to the floors with critical labs.

      Ten million gallons of water were unleashed on the UT Medical School at Houston June 9, 2001 by Tropical Storm Allison. The basement, where the anthrax lab was located, was the hardest hit. More than 400 emergency personnel (internal and contracted) attempted to address the devastation. Throughout June, no equipment could be removed or powered up. Stairwell doors needed to be kept closed. By the first week of July 2001, the basement and ground floor was still off limits, and only one entrance was available. Ground floor occupants needed to continue to work at their temporary sites. Gross mold spore counts continued to be beyond acceptable limits in the basement, which was ventilated separately from the rest of the building.

      The building was opened for business on July 11, 2001 but the ground floor and basement were construction remediation sites and off-limits except to access elevators to upper levels. Two entrances to the building were available: on the Webber Plaza side of the building near the circle drive and at the breezeway near the guard’s desk. Occupants were reminded in an employee newsletter not to block open stair well doors on any floor. The newsletter Scoop reported that in 2007, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new six-story research space completed in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Allison, “[m]any in the crowd were moved to tears as they recalled that day in June 2001. ‘All of the animals were drowned and there were $165 million in structural damages,’ President Willerson said. ‘It was a daunting task, but we didn’t give up.'”

      Did the anthrax lab in the basement have virulent Ames anthrax strain, to include Ames? Were they growing anthrax in silica? If so, what was done with the isolates during the devastation caused in the basement by the flood? At the time it was lawful to have virulent anthrax in its liquid form in a BL-2 facility, contrary to the occasional misperception; a hood is used in handling such isolates. A University President explained as much in a letter in connection with the incident when some live Ames spores were sent by Northern Arizona to Los Alamos in October 2001.

      Members of the lab brought out the champagne at the lab in late 2001 when a special visa was granted to a research team member, who without it would have had to return to China. “We knew it was going to be risky,” said Dr. Koehler, a microbiologist at the school who for the past 20 years has studied the anthrax bacterium now being used as a terrorist weapon. “The question was whether current events would convince federal officials that [the researcher’s] skills are in the national interest or make them restrict workers from certain countries.”

      “It is a horrible feeling to think that it could be someone I know, that the perpetrator is a microbiologist among us,” said Dr. Koehler. In September 2001, Dr. Koehler explained her anthrax research, how terrorists might deploy anthrax as a biological weapon and how physicians would treat it.

      Aafia’s brother in 2001 was associated with addresses in Ann Arbor, Detroit, and Canton, Michigan — and even Harrison, NJ — in 2001. The ACLU attorney representing Aafia’s family advised me that it had been years since she was Houston — certainly before 2001 and maybe not since she was married. She added that if Aafia was there, it was to visit her brother, who has nothing to do with the med center.” The attorney reports: “there is no way they could have helped her get access to the necessary labs at the med center.”

      On Research Day in 2003, the award winners for Biomedical Excellence included a graduate student working in Dr. Koehler’s lab, Melissa Drysdale, who worked on gene regulation in a virulent strain of bacillus anthracis.

      Dr. Koehler received, for example, the Weybridge strain from Porton Down prior to the Fall of 2001. Did Dr. Koehler have virulent Ames from either Porton Down or somewhere else? (Her mentor was the eminent vaccine researcher Dr. Curtis Thorne who got samples directly from Ft. Detrick).

      Remember: Khalid Mohammed, who told authorities about Aafia, had anthrax production documents on his assistant’s laptop (the guy working with Aafia’s future husband in UAE in the summer of 2001). She allegedly was associated with both KSM and “Jafar the Pilot” who is at large. She later married an Al Qaeda operative al-Baluchi who, like al-Hawsawi, had been listed as a contact for the hijackers and took over plots upon the arrest of KSM. Authorities have said that a Pakistani scientist , who they refused to name was helping Al Qaeda with its anthrax production program. Were they referring to bacteriologist Abdul Qudus Khan in whose home the Pakistan authorities claim KSM was captured? Was it Rauf Ahmad who Zawahiri sent to infiltrate UK biodefense? Was it the chemistry professor who met with Uzair Paracha in February 2003? Or was it Aafia who was alleged to be a “facilitator” who handled logistics. “Logistics” is handling an operation that involves providing labor and materials as needed. According to a UN dossier reviewed by a journalist at the Wall Street Journal, in June 2001 she traveled to Liberia to meet Al Qaeda’s military commander, Atef, who had been head of the anthrax planning. A key to analysis is to determine whether the chauffeur who claims the lady was Aafia is lying or mistaken. A FBI memo from 2003 titled “Allegations Relating to al Qaeda’s Trafficking in Conflict Diamonds,” and a related 2004 presentation to the intelligence community, debunking the allegations relating to trafficking in conflict diamonds. The memo was declassified in 2006 and provided under FOIA in February 2008 to intelwire.com. If those documents represent the FBI’s current thinking, there is good reason to think Aafia never went to Liberia in June 2001.

      The ACLU in a February 2004 publication called “Sanctioned Bias: Racial Profiling Since 9/11” described Aafia’s brother first encounter with the FBI. Muhammad A. Siddiqui is an architect in Houston and father of two young children. When his mom and sister called him to say the FBI had questioned him, he called ACLU attorney Annette Lamoreaux. It was a Monday evening when two FBI agents came to visit. “I’d be happy to talk to you, but I’d like to have my attorney present.” Borrowing a page from your favorite television show, one of the FBI agents suggested he didn’t need an attorney. He said that asking for an attorney only made him look guilty. The FBI agent again said that he wanted to speak to him now, greatly emphasizing the word “now.”

      Following the advice of his civil rights attorney, he repeated: “I’d be happy to talk to you, but I’d like to have my attorney present.” In response to the FBI’s continuing pressure, he called Attorney Lamoreaux on his cell phone. She told the FBI agent that the agent could call her office during the day and set up an appointment. He screamed at Lamoreaux that Siddiqui did not have a right to counsel (as he was not in custody). Repeating her earlier suggestion that the agent call her on Monday, she told the agent “and you are to leave the house immediately.” The FBI agent handed the cell phone back to Siddiqui. Muhammad did not feel comfortable telling the agents to leave and so he kept politely repeating his attorney’s advice. “Turn off that cell phone!” the agent demanded.

      Mr. Siddiqui reasonably refused, at least wanting to permit his attorney to serve as a witness to the questioning. From Siddiqui’s point of view, at least, the FBI agent pulled back his coat to reveal a gun. Siddiqui repeats that he was afraid — his children were inside and his wife, a busy doctor who worked at the local medical center, was not at home.

      “I do this all the time. As soon as there is a lawyer in the picture, they have to play by the rules,” Lamoreaux explains.

      The agents — thwarted — turned away. One of them said upon leaving: “We will talk to you. We are watching you. Don’t leave town.”

      When the agent called on Monday, Attorney Lamoreaux suggested that they meet on Thursday when Siddiqui was free from work and child care responsibilities. The agent insisted on meeting that day and said he would stand outside of Siddiqui’s home until he came out and spoke to them. At the 15 minute meeting held that day at Lamoreaux’s office, the agent confirmed he had never been a criminal target. Mr. Siddiqui says, “Once there was counsel involved, attitudes changed dramatically. Laws started to mean something.”

      Someone with the same common name, as mentioned in the court record relating to Project Bojinka. United States of America v. Ramzi Ahmed Yousef et al, (August 26, 1996), page 5118. A letter was read into the record

      “To: Brother Mohammad Alsiddiqi. We are facing a lot of problems because of you. Fear Allah. Mr. Siddiqi, there is a day of judgment. You will be asked, if you are very busy with something more important, don’t give promises to other people. See you in the day of judgment. Still waiting, Khalid Shaikh, and Bojinka.”

      In addition to many people having this very common name, people often used aliases. The attorney, Dietrich Snell, at the time was under the impression it related to a solicitation for money. Attorney Snell was from the US Attorney’s Office. More recently, Snell acted as counsel for the 9/11 Commission. He served as Deputy Attorney General for Public Advocacy under Eliot Spitzer. What was the address of the recipient? Who was Muhammad Siddiqui with whom KSM corresponded?

      Attorney General Ashcroft and Director Mueller made an on-the-record renewed push to find Aafia Siddiqui in a press conference on May 26, 2004 shortly after ACLU Attorney Annette Lamoreaux responded to my emailed inquiries about Aafia. Three days after the Pakistan Ministry of Interior claimed she had been handed over to US authorities in late March 2003.

      There are the many questions surrounding the mystery of the disappearance of the lovely, intelligent and pious Aafia Siddiqui. Aafia once had an MIT alumni email account forwarded to umaisha@yahoo.com — which under one translation means lively mom. Aisha was the Prophet’s favorite wife. Maybe correspondence in that email account held the answers.

      In a Pakistan news account, Attorney Whitfield Sharp says she doesn’t know of any police report filed by the mom. In the same account, she reports that Aafia received job offer at both John Hopkins and the State University of New York (SUNY). It likely was SUNY downstate in Brooklyn where her sister had gone to school and lived. (Her mother Ismat is associated with addresses in Brooklyn, as well as Massachusetts, in Houston, and in Ann Arbor where Mohammad’s wife had a medical practice. Mohammad is associated with some Ann Arbor and Detroit-area addresses. Ann Arbor, coincidentally, was where IANA was located, as well as the President of Global Relief.

      When he was captured, Al-Baluchi, Khalid Mohammed’s nephew and Aafia Siddiqui’s husband, “was in possession of a perfume spray bottle which contained a low concentration of cyanide when he was arrested.” He was the fellow who met with Majid Khan about using a textiles shipping container to smuggle an unidentified chemical into the country. Cyanide in perfume bottles had been suggested for use in nightclubs in Indonesia but Bin Laden reportedly nixed the plan as ineffectual.

      The transcript from the Combatant Status Review Tribunal explains:

      MEMBER [AL-BALUCHI]: While you were in Pakistan you describe the cyanide…
      DETAINEE: [Interrupting the Member]
      MEMBER: … you had in your possession, a small amount, as being textile, chemical-oriented.
      DETAINEE: Yes.
      MEMBER: Why would you have that on your person?
      DETAINEE: Just I have. Wasn’t for specific purpose but I have. It’s ah…
      MEMBER: Did you have an intent to use it once you got there? What were you going to do with it?
      DETAINEE: No, no. Just ah, it’s use for clothing to remove the color. And something in Pakistan it’s something that they do. It’s bleach like kinda bleach but industrial bleach so.”

      According to the DOD formal charges issued in February 2008, KSM would give the hijackers a chemical in an eye dropper to remove Pakistan visas from their passport. Perhaps the low concentration of cyanide in the perfume bottle used to remove stains just related to that — rather than consideration of a plot to spray cyanide in a nightclub that had been vetoed by Bin Laden.

      But here’s a Helpful Heloise Tip. Before attempting to get that damn spot out, first get rid of that incriminating pocket litter. The transcript from the hearing on al-Baluchi’s status as an “unlawful combatant” continues: “The Detainee’s pocket litter included a letter from unidentified Saudi Arabian scholars to Usama bin Laden. The letter discussed al Qaida’s strategy in the War on Terror.”

  6. Ike Solem said

    Ummm… DX, the long-winded quotes don’t do much except fill up space. What is your point here?

    Let’s break down the anthrax attacks again, just to be clear, mixed in with interesting media reports:

    9/04/2001 William Broad and Judith Miller publish an article in the NYT on U.S. biowarfare programs run by private contractors and covert U.S. agencies.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2001/09/04/world/us-germ-warfare-research-pushes-treaty-limits.html

    A more broad summary of that is here:

    http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2004_10/Tucker

    If you want the complete history of 20th century biowarfare programs, there are some books out there – Biohazard and The Biology of Doom being at the top of the list. For the only detailed published description of the anthrax attacks, see The Demon in the Freezer. (Authors Ed Regis, Ken Alibek, Richard Preston).

    For an interesting timeline (mostly smallpox-related, but also covers recent events):

    http://www.randomhouse.com/features/richardpreston/timeline.html

    So, that’s the necessary background knowledge. Then we have this sequence of events:

    September 18 Someone mails letters full of crumbly granular anthrax to media figures in New York City—to Tom Brokaw of NBC, and to CBS, ABC, and the New York Post.

    October 5 Robert Stevens, a photo editor at The Sun, in Boca Raton, Florida, dies of inhalation anthrax (from a letter that went through his mail bin).

    October 6 CDC epidemiologist Brad Perkins and his team of investigators determine that Robert Stevens was infected through the mail, and Perkins asks for the FBI to be brought in “full force.”

    October 9 On or slightly before this date, someone mails letters full of finely powdered weapons-grade anthrax to Senators Daschle and Leahy.

    October 15 The Daschle letter containing powdered anthrax is opened in the Hart Senate Office Building. Usamriid scientist John Ezzell starts analysis of the powder in the letter and finds it has the characteristics of a biological weapon.

    Now, this is where things start getting weird. Due to “White House interest”, the Daschle sample is sent off to Battelle’s West Jefferson lab (site of the Project Jefferson and Clear Vision research programs), where the sample is autoclaved, destroying the spore coatings and producing an apparent “low grade” result. This is within 48 hours of the initial Fort Detrick finding.

    Mike Kuhlman, head of Battelle’s aerosol microbiology division, is the one who delivers this report to the National Security Council, and the response from the Army is that “they turned it into a hockey puck”.

    Army scientists take the sample to the AFIP (Armed Forces Institute of Pathology) where the silica determination is made using X-ray absorbtion fine structure. This was important, in that it did not match previous Iraqi efforts to make anthrax weapons (which employed aluminum compounds).

    National panic ensues. People have to be warned not to seal their rooms themselves up in duct tape and plastic sheeting, as suffocation would result. Congress is evacuated, and despite the above results, ABC’s Brian Ross claims there is a link to Iraq, leading to this current controversy:

    http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/abc/ross_responds_to_vital_questions_about_anthrax_report_90768.asp

    The particulars of the story go back to October 26, 2001, when Ross reported, “three well-placed but separate sources” said the chemical in the anthrax was bentonite, linking it to Iraq. That same day, the White House denied it was bentonite. ABC’s Terry Moran reported the White House denial that night. Several days later, on November 1, Ross reported:

    The White House said that despite initial test results which we reported suggesting the presence of a chemical called bentonite, a trademark of the Iraqi weapons program, a further chemical analysis has ruled that out. The White House says there are chemical additives in that anthrax including one called silica.

    The three vital questions raised related to: 1. was ABC News lied to, 2. who were the sources and 3. what will ABC News do to correct it?

    What went unreported at the time, and that is now known, is that the Ames strain used in the attacks is also the anthrax vaccine challenge strain – i.e., anyone developing an anthrax vaccine would use Ames in animal tests designed to prove vaccine efficacy. Who was doing that kind of work in the U.S.? Who also had access to spore weaponization equipment and recipes? That is a very small list, with Battelle’s West Jefferson outfit being at the top – Fort Detrick had a lyophilizer (for making freeze-dried powders) which would not work, so Fort Detrick is off the list.

    Then, we get a series of fairly shocking news reports in the Washington Post and elsewhere, Dec 21-22:

    http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/Bioter/FBIfinancialmotive.html

    FBI Investigates Possible Financial Motive in Anthrax Attacks

    By Susan Schmidt and Joby Warrick, Washington Post Staff Writers

    The FBI is pursuing the possibility that financial gain was the motive behind the mailing of letters containing deadly anthrax bacteria and has conducted extensive interviews of personnel at two laboratories and possibly more, according to government officials.

    By financial gain, what do we mean? Expansion of the U.S. biowarfare program, perhaps? Or something far more specific, like renewal of the military anthrax vaccine program? Sure, soldiers make fine guinea pigs…

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-smallpox7-2009jun07,0,6952606.story

    There is no good reason to force smallpox vaccine on soldiers, period. The same goes for the case with anthrax – but those lucrative contracts are hard to give up.

    From Dec 21 onwards, a curious silence falls – then, another media outlet fingers Steven Hatfill – the NYT report by Kristof which names “Mr. Z”.

    During all this time, a key piece of evidence – a spore swab from a Princeton mailbox – sits unexamined.

    Only in August 2002 is it discovered to test positive – linking a Princeton mailbox to the 10/9 letters. Even then, the story is heavily spun to point to Hatfill:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2002/08/14/nyregion/anthrax-finding-prompts-questions-in-princeton-about-scientist.html

    According to people whom the agents and officers interviewed, the investigators were looking for a connection between the mailbox and Dr. Steven J. Hatfill of Frederick, Md., a biological warfare expert who over the weekend criticized the F.B.I. for seeming to implicate him in last year’s deadly anthrax mailings, which killed five people.

    Since then, the FBI has apparently engaged in a full-scale coverup, probably driven by other political interests in Congress and the White House, particularly those linked to the DOE national labs on one hand, and the HHS contracting process on the other. Was the FBI itself lied to by their “outside experts”? Probably, in some cases.

    Biowarfare is now big business within the so-called military-industrial complex, thanks to the anthrax attacks. That is what needs to end – the spigot needs to be turned off, and the politicians in the White House and Congress can do that – but will they?

    Daschle, if appointed to the head of HHS, would likely have done that. The appointment of Collins to CDC is step in the right direction, as well – so it seems that some people in the Obama Administration do know what is going on.

    Personally, I’d like to see the Secretary of Defense take a more active role in the issue. Robert Gates, unlike his predecessor, has demonstrated that he is a careful steward of the nuclear weapons stockpile, after his response to the “Bent Spear” incident. Similar oversight should be applied to the national “biodefense program” – and a lot of contractors should be fired, a lot of grants should be canceled, and several labs should be shut down.

    The Cold War is over, and so are the days of bloated secret government contracts for biowarfare and nuclear projects. Enough is enough. Plus, the money is needed for other purposes.

  7. DXer said

    What were the labs working with the Ames strain? Martin Hugh-Jones says it was at LSU. Where else?

    “The LSU and Northern Arizona University labs were among five labs identified working with the Ames strain; the other three were military labs. Hugh-Jones believes other places have access to the specific type of anthrax involved in the Senate mailings but won’t name them.” ***

    “It very quickly became clear that we have good control over it, and it didn’t come from here,” he said.

    Researcher finds more complications in work since October.(Martin Hugh-Jones anthrax research)(Brief Article)

    Publication: Medical Letter on the CDC & FDA
    Publication Date: 10-MAR-02
    2002 MAR 10 – (NewsRx.com & NewsRx.net) — No one paid much attention to the research of Dr. Martin Hugh-Jones, tucked away in Louisiana State University’s School of Veterinary Medicine. He’s pretty sure that 80% of his colleagues never knew what kind of work he did.

    But anthrax research isn’t flying under the radar any longer, and that’s made Hugh-Jones’ job much more complicated since October, when the nationwide anthrax scares began.

    “We’ve had subpoenas left, right and center. We were inspected twice by the CDC [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention],” Hugh-Jones said. “The FBI is frequently calling in. We’re cooperating closely.”

    It’s ironic. There’s more demand for Hugh-Jones’ research since anthrax became a household word, but doing his research takes added planning – and patience.

    “It’s put a lot of hiccups in the planning,” Hugh-Jones said.

    Five people died of anthrax contamination, and more than a dozen people were infected in New York, New Jersey, Florida and Washington.

    Hugh-Jones, an epidemiologist and LSU professor, has worked since the mid-1990s with microbiologist Paul Keim of Northern Arizona University to track the genetic fingerprint of different strains of anthrax.

    “I decided in 1993 or ’94 that if there was a terrorist attack using anthrax we had to be able to fingerprint it to tell where it came from, sort of like the casing on a bullet,” Hugh-Jones said.

    The two developed a system to rapidly identify anthrax strains. They look at the ecology of the deadly bacteria, which strains exist where and how they infect animals or people “to understand the bugs so we can control them better,” Hugh-Jones said.

    Hugh-Jones collects and archives strains and sends cultures to Keim for DNA research and identification. Keim has declined to talk to reporters about his research.

    Hugh-Jones described his relationship with federal government officials as “an admirable arrangement. They keep out from under my feet and I ask them for help when I need it.”

    The anthrax work in the inauspicious vet school building near the Mississippi River began to draw attention immediately after the bioterrorist attacks began in the fall, but the scrutiny grew more intense as the investigation continued.

    Only a handful of labs officially are known to deal with the specific type of anthrax spores mailed in letters to the U.S. Senate that shut down a Senate office building for 3 months.

    The LSU and Northern Arizona University labs were among five labs identified working with the Ames strain; the other three were military labs. Hugh-Jones believes other places have access to the specific type of anthrax involved in the Senate mailings but won’t name them.

    Since 1997, labs in the United States have needed certification from the CDC to possess anthrax. That doesn’t necessarily mean everyone registered properly. CDC officials said they’re looking into their certification process and making appropriate changes after the anthrax attacks.

    The FBI briefly investigated the LSU lab but realized it was not the source of the mailings, Hugh-Jones said.

    “It very quickly became clear that we have good control over it, and it didn’t come from here,” he said.

    Whenever there’s an outbreak of anthrax anywhere in the world, Hugh-Jones asks for a sample of the bacteria for his research. The process became more complex in October.

    Hugh-Jones said it can take up to 2 months for him to receive the necessary permits to get anthrax strains shipped from other countries for his research. He used to get the permits immediately.

    The scientist takes it all in stride, saying he doggedly continues his research despite the new spotlight on his work, the frequent calls from federal officials and the bombardment of media requests.

    Anthrax always has been deadly, killing people yearly in India and Chad, Hugh-Jones said. It’s just that now it’s on the news.

    “We handle a lot of deadly items very frequently as a matter of routine,” he said.

    • Ike Solem said

      Pardon the ad hominem – I’m just not clear what you are getting at.

      • DXer said

        Hi Ike,

        In determining the distribution of virulent Ames from Bruce Ivins, I’ve been trying to determine where the research described in numerous patents by DARPA-funded researchers was done. It involved nanoemulsions where the nanoemulsion enters the inside and does not merely coat the exosporium. I’ve asked Kimothy Smith and Martin Hugh-Jones but they have not responded. Absent a response, from Dr. Hugh-Jones today, I was gathering his quotes from public sources to see what light they shed.

        “The University of Michigan researchers presented in part at various listed meetings and conferences in 1998 and 1999. The December 1999 article titled “A Novel Surfactant Nanoemulsion with Broad-Spectrum Sporicidal Activity of against Bacillus Species” in the Journal for Infectious Diseases states:

        ‘B. anthracis spores, Ames and Vollum 1B strains, were supplied by Bruce Ivins (US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases [USAMRIID], Fort Detrick, Frederick, MD) and were prepared as described elsewhere. Four other strains of B. anthracis were provided by Martin Hugh-Jones (Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge.’

        In the acknowledgements section, the University of Michigan authors thank:

        ‘Shaun B. Jones, Jane Alexander, and Lawrence DuBois (Defense Science Office, Defense Advanced Research Project Agency) for their support.

        Bruce Ivins, Patricia Fellows, Mara Linscott, Arthur Friedlander, and the staff of USAMRIID for their technical support and helpful suggestions in the performance of the initial anthrax studies. [Pat and Mara were mentioned in the police report relating to questions Mrs. Ivins was asked].

        Martin-Hugh-Jones, Kimothy Smith, and Pamela Coker for supplying the characterized B. anthracis strains and the space at Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge).'”

      • DXer said

        I’ve also asked Tarek Hamouda and Michael Hayes who have made presentations on their research but they have not responded. The University of Michigan said there were no responsive documents in response to a FOIA and a helpful contact at ASM did not produce anything from ASM archives in connection with Tarek Hamouda’s presentation in Atlanta. Specifically, I was wondering whether it was done at the space at LSU as the patents seem to indicate — where the work with the other four anthrax strains would have also been done. LSU is known to have virulent Ames and so that would make perfect sense and seem to be what the patents say.

      • DXer said

        Kimothy Smith then went to NAU to Keim’s genetic lab, where he typed the attack anthrax for the FBI. Given the FBI was wiretapping Dr. Martin Hugh-Jones (and in light of the Hatfill Theory in which they persisted), I have wondered whether virulent Ames from Bruce Ivins’ flask was at LSU as the patents seem to indicate.

      • DXer said

        Returning to a point I had made about politics having no role in true crime or intelligence analysis, I wanted to mention a great show I just saw — Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring as shown on public television. There are parallels to be drawn. She argued that emotion necessarily underlay advocacy on some issues and that it was to be expected — and a good thing. (But she certainly strove mightily to marshall her facts.) She said that upon the government’s failure, it was a fundamental right for concerned citizens to take action on such an issue. My only remaining point is that the devil lies in the details and that the best way to get the information is to go to the source and ask. If NK had done that with Hatfill, we might have been spared some distraction.

  8. DXer said

    In a number of patents by University of Michigan researchers in Ann Arbor, Tarek Hamouda and James R. Baker, Jr., including some filed before 9/11, the inventors thank Bruce Ivins of Ft. Detrick for supplying them with Ames. The University of Michigan patents stated: “B. anthracis spores, Ames and Vollum 1 B strains, were kindly supplied by Dr.Bruce Ivins (USAMRIID, Fort Detrick, Frederick, Md.), and prepared as previously described (Ivins et al., 1995) [using a lyophilizer]. Dr. Hamouda served as group leader on the DARPA Anti-infective project. A patent application filed April 2000 by the University of Michigan inventors explained:

    “The release of such agents as biological weapons could be catastrophic in light of the fact that such diseases will readily spread the air.

    In late August 2001, NanoBio relocated from a small office with 12 year-old furniture to an expanded office on Green Road located at Plymouth Park. After the mailings, DARPA reportedly asked for some of their product them to decontaminate some of the Senate offices. The company pitched hand cream to postal workers. The inventors company, NanoBio, is funded by DARPA. NanoBio received a $3,150,000 defense contract in 2003.

    The University of Michigan researchers presented in part at various listed meetings and conferences in 1998 and 1999. The December 1999 article titled “A Novel Surfactant Nanoemulsion with Broad-Spectrum Sporicidal Activity of against Bacillus Species” in the Journal for Infectious Diseases states:

    “B. anthracis spores, Ames and Vollum 1B strains, were supplied by Bruce Ivins (US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases [USAMRIID], Fort Detrick, Frederick, MD) and were prepared as described elsewhere. Four other strains of B. anthracis were provided by Martin Hugh-Jones (Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge.”

    In the acknowledgements section, the University of Michigan authors thank:

    Shaun B. Jones, Jane Alexander, and Lawrence DuBois (Defense Science Office, Defense Advanced Research Project Agency) for their support.

    Bruce Ivins, Patricia Fellows, Mara Linscott, Arthur Friedlander, and the staff of USAMRIID for their technical support and helpful suggestions in the performance of the initial anthrax studies. [Pat and Mara were mentioned in the police report relating to questions Mrs. Ivins was asked].

    Martin-Hugh-Jones, Kimothy Smith, and Pamela Coker for supplying the characterized B. anthracis strains and the space at Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge).

    Robin Kunkel (Department of Pathology, University of Michigan) for her help with electron microscopy and a couple of others for technical assistance and manuscript preparation.

    The researchers found that their nanoemulsion incorporated into the growth medium completely inhibited the growth of the spores. Transmission electron microscope was used to examine the spores.

    The authors explained that “The nanoemulsions can be rapidly produced in large quantities and are stable for many months *** Undiluted, they have the texture of of a semisolid cream and can be applied topically by hand or mixed with water. Diluted, they have a consistency and appearance similar to skim milk and can be sprayed to decontaminate surfaces or potentially interact with aerosolized spores before inhalation.”

    An earlier publication of the University of Michigan Medical school, Medicine at Michigan, (Vol. 1, No. 1, Spring 1999) described the DARPA-funded research:

    “In studies with rats and mice in the U-M Medical School under the direction of James R. Baker, Jr., M.D., professor of internal medicine and director of the Center for Biologic Nanotechnology, the mixture, known as BCTP, attacked anthrax spores and healed wounds caused by a closely related species of bacteria, Bacillus cereus. (The letters BCTP stand for Bi-Component, Triton X-100 n-tributyl Phosphate.)

    Dr. Baker describes the process as follows: “The tiny lipid droplets in BCTP fuse with anthrax spores, causing the spores to revert to their active bacterial state. During this process, which takes 4-5 hours, the spore’s tough outer membrane changes, allowing BCTP’s solvent to strip away the exterior membrane. The detergent then degrades the spores’ interior contents. In scanning electron microscope images, the spores appear to explode.” The rapid inactivation of anthrax bacteria and spores combined with BCTP’s low toxicity thus make the emulsion a promising candidate for use as a broad-spectrum, post-exposure decontamination agent.

    ***

    The research is sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the central research and development organization for the U.S. Department of Defense.”

    Dr. Baker, by email, advises me: “We never had Ames and could not have it at our UM facilities.” Before September 2001, it’s office was described as in the basement of a downtown bank which seems to describe 912 N. Main St., Ann Arbor, just west of University of Michigan campus. [The September 26, 1998 presentation by Michael Hayes would be a reliable guide as to whether Ames was one of the virulent strains that were killed by the biocidal agent in petri dish].

    An article in the Summer of 2000 in Medicine at Michigan explains:

    “Victory Site: Last December [December 1999] Tarek Hamouda, Amy Shih and Jim Baker traveled to a remote military station in the Utah desert. There they demonstrated for the U.S. Army Research and Development Command the amazing ability of non-toxic nanoemulsions (petite droplets of fat mixed with water and detergent) developed at Michigan to wipe out deadly anthrax-like bacterial spores. The square vertical surfaces shown here were covered with bacterial spores; Michigan’s innocuous nanoemulsion was most effective in killing the spores even when compared to highly toxic chemicals.”

    As Fortune magazine explained in November 2001: “Then bioterror struck…. It moved to a bland corporate park where its office has no name on the door. It yanked its street address off its Website, whose hit rate jumped from 350 a month to 1,000 a day.” NanoBio was part of the solution: “in the back of NanoBio’s office sit two dozen empty white 55-gallon barrels. A few days before, DARPA had asked Annis and Baker if they could make enough decontaminant to clean several anthrax-tainted offices in the Senate. NanoBio’s small lab mixers will have to run day and night to fill the barrels. ‘This is not the way we want to do this,’ sighs [its key investor], shaking his head. ‘This is all a duct-tape solution.’ ”

    James Baker, founder of Ann Arbor’s NanoBio’s likes to quote a Chinese proverb: “When there are no lions and tigers in the jungle, the monkeys rule.”

    • DXer said

      The anthrax detectives, December 15, 2001

      http://www.avma.org/onlnews/javma/dec01/s121501a.asp

      in 1980. The Army, determining that the strain was unique, named it Ames, simply because of its origin.

      Since then, the Army has supplied it to various laboratories in the United States, and the strain has been disseminated by other routes to facilities around the world. Because of the strain’s popularity, the initial identification did not uncover the senders of the contaminated letters.

      24/7
      Many people investigating the bioterrorist attacks have been instructed to refrain from directly commenting on the progress of the investigation. Dr. Kimothy Smith, is a veterinarian and an associate professor of epidemiology in Dr. Keim’s laboratory at Northern Arizona University. Dr. Smith says he cannot confirm or deny working on the bioterrorism case, but when asked about his workload in early November, he responded, “I’ve been working 24/7 in the last month.”

      Dr. Smith is hopeful that science will provide a break in the case. All genetic markers, the veterinarian said, are not created equal; some allow for the differentiation of very closely related isolates better than others, especially when investigators are using MLVA.

      As of early November, work at NAU was showing that, using ultra-sensitive markers, one could trace strains of a different type of anthrax, called Sterne, to a particular laboratory. Sterne has also been disseminated all over the world. “We can go into old strains like Sterne, [and] theoretically Ames, look much closer into those strain types, and differentiate types from different laboratories,” Dr. Smith says.

      This promising sleuthing ability is made possible by three factors: bioterrorists need to grow large batches of anthrax for it to be useful as a biological weapon, anthrax undergoes genetic mutations every 1,000 generations, and mutations lead to different fingerprints.

      For a given sample of anthrax, Dr. Smith says, “We can go back and estimate the number of generations that separate two isolates. We can build a tree of relatedness, saying this strain is so many generations from this laboratory strain and this many generations from this other one, etcetera.”

      • DXer said

        October 13, 2001 Saturday

        SHOW: CNN SATURDAY MORNING NEWS 07:00

        NBC Employee Exposed to Anthrax Expected to Make Full Recovery

        BYLINE: Martin Savidge, Maria Hinojosa, Jeanne Meserve, Thelma Gutierrez

        SECTION: News; Domestic

        LENGTH: 1201 words

        HIGHLIGHT: The employee who tested positive for anthrax exposure at the NBC newsroom is expected to make a full recovery.

        ***

        KIMOTHY SMITH, KEIM GENETICS LABORATORY: I would say very proudly that this is the only laboratory in the world that is conducting high-resolution — as high a resolution DNA fingerprinting.

        GUTIERREZ: It is exactly the reason some believe the FBI may have turned to the lab’s world-renowned anthrax experts. Doctors called Keim and Kimothy Smith to help identify the fatal strain found in Florida.

        KEIM: If any federal agency came to me and asked for their help, I would be glad to do it.

        GUTIERREZ (on camera): Have they asked the Keim’s genetic lab to help out?

        KEIM: It’s inappropriate and impossible for me to respond to direct questions concerning this case…

        GUTIERREZ: Have you been asked not to?

        KEIM: There’s clearly a case of criminal investigation here.

        GUTIERREZ: How could the DNA fingerprint of an organism actually help the FBI in a criminal investigation? Experts say not only can they identify a strain of anthrax, but more importantly, the geographic location where it came from.

        SMITH: We can tell you with a degree of precision, with 95 percent confidence, the geographic area that a specific organism might have come from.

        GUTIERREZ (voice-over): Kimothy Smith was recently certified as a United Nations biological weapons inspector. In 1993, he identified a nonlethal strain of anthrax used in a bioterrorism attack by the Aum Shinrikyo cult in Japan.

        KEIM: The doomsday cult tried to weaponize anthrax, but they failed miserably in their attempt to do biological terrorism.

        GUTIERREZ: The world has very little experience dealing with anthrax in humans. But in 1979, Dr. Paul Keim was part of an investigative team that worked on the largest case of anthrax exposure in this century, a release that killed dozens in the former Soviet Union.

        KEIM: We know that there was, in fact, an accidental release of anthrax spores by the military in the city of Sverdlovsk in the Ural Mountains. And this accidental release killed nearly 70 people.

        GUTIERREZ: Now the threat is no longer abroad. It is here in the United States, and it is likely that some of the detective work will take place here in the Keim Genetics Lab.

      • DXer said

        The Associated Press State & Local Wire
        April 5, 2002, Friday, BC cycle

        Key researcher leaving NAU lab assisting in anthrax probe

        DATELINE: FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.

        A Northern Arizona University researcher who has been assisting in the FBI’s anthrax investigation is leaving to work at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories.

        Kimothy Smith, whose last day was Friday, began work at NAU three years ago as a postdoctoral researcher in the Keim Genetics Laboratory, a national leader in studying bacterial pathogens.

        He has published several papers while at the Flagstaff lab on the genetic diversity of anthrax types worldwide and has been teaching for the past year.

        Until the anthrax scare, Smith would have expected that to be his future: teaching and conducting research at a university.

        “I never anticipated being involved in a forensic investigation,” Smith told the Arizona Daily Sun. “No way did I ever expect being called by Newsweek, CNN, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, the L.A. Times … the Oklahoma Gazette, for God’s sakes. I will be making a six-figure salary. I never expected to make that.”

        The spate of anthrax mailings that the FBI and researchers like Smith are still working to solve changed all that.

        “It’s supply and demand,” Smith said. “Very honestly I can tell you my monetary value has doubled.”

        For lab Director Paul Keim, that demand has resulted in a hit to research in his lab. Smith has been a key researcher in work with anthrax and a host of other pathogens, including plague.

        The lab, which is working under a contract with the FBI to identify anthrax strains, holds the nation’s largest repository of anthrax bacillus – some 1,200 isolated strains from around the world.

        Keim said Smith’s departure is proof that training is working just like it’s supposed to at NAU.

        “There are about 35 people in the Keim lab and with only a few exceptions we have trained them all in molecular genetics,” he said. “All the students leaving my lab land great jobs across the country. While I regret having Kimothy leave, it is the natural cycle.”

        Keim said he tried to use promotions and pay raises to keep Smith. “But we just got outbid – by a lot!” said Keim.

  9. DXer said

    http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-8949274_ITM

    `Insider’ Theory

    Investigators are leaning toward the latter theory. So far, only one potential suspect _ a former U.S. weapons researcher dubbed a “person of interest” by U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft _ has been named.

    The FBI declined comment, but those among the nation’s small number of bio-terrorism experts consulted early on by the government fear investigators are stymied. Some feel that by publicly focusing on one individual, Steven Hatfill, the FBI is creating another Richard Jewell or Wen Ho Lee _ two men whose lives were trashed after being investigated in flawed terror and espionage probes.

    “The investigation seems to have ground to a halt,” said Martin Hugh-Jones, an epidemiologist at Louisiana State University who is one of the world’s leading experts on anthrax. “I felt at one point that it was perhaps a domestic expert, but now I don’t know.

    “The FBI seems to have put all of their money on this Hatfill, but at the end of the day you have to have the proof, and it appears that they don’t,” Hugh-Jones said.

    Others who are in contact with the scientists being consulted by investigators think the probe is closer to the mark than publicly revealed. Still, even they are worried that the most basic questions have yet to be answered: the how and why of one of the worst bio-terror incidents in U.S. history.

  10. DXer said

    March 11, 2002 Monday
    FBI Hunt for Anthrax Killer Hindered by Bad Science, Critics Say

    BYLINE: By KEVIN COUGHLIN

    Epidemiologist Martin Hugh-Jones of Louisiana State University contends the FBI is justifiably wary of repeating blunders from the failed prosecution of nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee.

    • DXer said

      ANOTHER SIDE TO ANTHRAX ; EXPERTS: DESTROYING SAMPLES MAY HAMPER RESEARCH
      Hartford Courant – Hartford, Conn.
      WILLIAM HATHAWAY; Courant Staff Writer
      Dec 3, 2001
      A.1

      [Martin Hugh-Jones] notes that researchers such as Paul Keim at the University of Northern Arizona have identified segments of the anthrax genetic code that mutate at certain rates. Knowing the mutation rates on segments of anthrax DNA, investigators could reconstruct the origins of a strain of anthrax bacteria used in terrorist attacks — but only if they have access to reference specimens from laboratories with which to compare them.

  11. DXer said

    Gannett News Service
    October 16, 2001, Tuesday

    Who has access to anthrax and why?

    BYLINE: ELIZABETH NEUS; Gannett News Service

    ***

    “Once you have it, it is easy to grow,” said Dr. Martin Hugh-Jones, coordinator of the World Health Organization Working Group on Anthrax Research and Control

    ***

    But experts have long disagreed on how easy it would be for terrorists to grow their own supply, or to turn stolen or illicitly purchased anthrax into a weapon. To be an effective weapon, small and light enough to be inhaled, anthrax must be turned into an extremely fine powder, with each granule no more than five microns in size. One human hair is about 80 microns wide.

    “I think we need to remind some of our distinguished experts in the field that those who flew the airplanes into the (World Trade Center) did not know how to make airplanes. They have money, they have access, and they can co-opt that which they do not have,” said Dr. D.A. Henderson, chairman of the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense and head of a new bioterrorism advisory committee at the federal Health and Human Services Department.

  12. DXer said

    Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)

    November 8, 2003 Saturday

    Without a clue
    ***

    Dr Martin Hugh-Jones, while deferring to Spertzel’s military expertise, disagrees. “The betting is still that it’s domestic and I have no reason to doubt that. My working model is that somebody came across some weaponised material being used in a trial and appropriated a small amount of it.” Who was it? “I have my suspicions and I start with some of my best friends.”

  13. DXer said

    National Public Radio (NPR)
    October 16, 2001 Tuesday

    Questions arising about who is responsible for sending anthrax through the mail

    ANCHORS: BOB EDWARDS

    REPORTERS: RICHARD KNOX

    Morning Edition (10:00 AM ET) – NPR

    Ms. THERESA KOEHLER (University of Texas, Houston): Certainly everyone keeps a close eye on their strain collections and is well aware of numbers of strains and types of strains they have. I can tell you–I can’t speak for other investigators or other laboratories, but because of the recent events and increased concern, we’re adding an alarm to our door. But we really have a very secure system for keeping track and maintaining our strains.

    KNOX: When pressed, Koehler concedes it would have been a bit easier to steal a vial of anthrax from her lab and others before now.

    Dr. Martin Hugh-Jones of Louisiana State University says an insider could have taken some anthrax from a lab. He didn’t want to be interviewed on tape. ‘If I were to guess,’ he says, ‘it was probably some summer intern talking to a friend in a local bar. The friend said, “Could you get me some?”‘ Hugh-Jones says various protest groups have been scouting for anthrax for years.

  14. DXer said

    The Age (Melbourne, Australia)

    August 10, 2002 Saturday

    Who put the anthrax in the mail? The FBI’s lasso is tightening around a small-town scientist;
    BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS

    BYLINE: Caroline Overington

    ***

    It sounds simple but, actually, it’s complicated enough to be deadly. “Handling anthrax is very difficult,” Hugh-Jones says. “And whoever killed those people had access to good-quality, fine anthrax in powder form, and there would be only six to a dozen people in the US with access to that.”

    Hugh-Jones says he is not one of them. “We only use the wet form here (at Louisiana State University, which keeps anthrax for research purposes). We never turn it into powder.”

    Like all experts in germ science, Hugh-Jones nevertheless suspects that the FBI is keeping an eye on him while it continues a year-long investigation into the letters laced with anthrax.

    “They record my calls. I’ve been getting clicks and bangs on the telephone for a couple of months now,” he says. He’s also sure that the FBI is reading his e-mails, “because one of them said something to me that they could only have known if they had been reading my e-mail. I don’t mind. They don’t think I did it. They are just interested in what I think”.

    And what is that? “Well, basically, I agree with the FBI. I think it must be somebody with scientific knowledge.”

    And would one of those people be his colleague, Dr Steven Hatfill? Hugh-Jones won’t say. “I have never met the man. If you have questions about that, you will have to ask him.”

  15. DXer said

    Associated Press Online
    March 1, 2002 Friday

    University Lab Security Checked

    BYLINE: LAURA MECKLER; Associated Press Writer

    SECTION: WASHINGTON DATELINE

    LENGTH: 713 words

    DATELINE: WASHINGTON

    Federal investigators are examining university labs across the country to see if they are vulnerable to thieves or hackers looking for potential bioterrorist weapons.

    The inspections were prompted by concern over lab security in the wake of the still-unsolved anthrax attacks. Officials still don’t know where the culprit got the anthrax to send through the mail, but they suspect it originated at one of the nation’s biological laboratories, where security has long been uneven.

    Labs at about 10 universities are now undergoing monthlong inspections by auditors from the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Health and Human Services, according to a federal official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

    The official and authorities at three of the universities said the inspections focus on physical security, such as the potential for unauthorized people to obtain hazardous material, and information technology, including what information is stored on computers and whether it’s accessible from the university’s main systems.

    ***

    At Louisiana State University, anthrax researcher Martin Hugh-Jones isn’t yet convinced that the audit will be useful.

    “We’re only too glad to have shortcomings pointed out to us as long as they’re real,” he said. “I’m sure they think they’re being helpful.

    “We’re content with the security we have in my lab,” he added. “I’m sure there are places where the security elsewhere has been less than minimal.”

  16. DXer said

    The invisible enemy
    The Economist

    November 18, 2000 U.S. Edition

    ON MARCH 20th 1995, members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult placed containers of nerve gas in five Tokyo subway cars during the morning rush hour. As many as 6,000 people were exposed to the gas, and more than 3,000 flocked to hospital emergency rooms as word of the attack leaked out. When it was over, 12 people were dead, and a handful more had sustained permanent brain damage. The Japanese authorities later learned that the cult had carried out a similar attack the previous year, resulting in seven deaths. Aum Shinrikyo turned out to be a relatively large, sophisticated and well-financed operation staffed by highly trained people studying germ and chemical warfare.

    Are such attacks the shape of things to come? At a conference on infectious diseases held this month in San Diego, Lisa Rotz of the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta noted that today’s terrorists are often driven by hatred of particular countries, cultures, or religions. This, she suggests, means they might have fewer qualms about bioterrorism than the terrorists of several decades ago, who were more interested in scoring political points and in garnering public support for their various causes.

    Dr Rotz is not alone in her belief that bioterrorism is a growing cause for concern. Earlier this year, a $2m exercise simulating the effect of a bioterrorist attack was carried out in Denver, Colorado. It revealed serious medical and organisational shortcomings, prompting Tara O’Toole of the Johns Hopkins University Centre for Civilian Biodefence Studies to warn that America is “totally unprepared” against bioterrorists. Dr O’Toole called for extra spending of $3 billion a year to fund new diagnostic tools, vaccines and contingency plans.

    Yet a closer look suggests that those most likely to engage in bioterrorism are homegrown crackpots like Aum Shinrikyo, rather than international terrorists. And while recent incidents have had serious and sometimes fatal consequences, they have hardly resulted in widespread chaos. If anything, they have prompted governments to strengthen their response systems.

    Bioterrorism is not new. The Romans used dead animals to foul their enemies’ water, and the bodies of infected soldiers were catapulted into besieged towns in medieval times. More recently, most big powers have experimented with germ warfare. The former Soviet Union is estimated to have had more than 60,000 people working in its biowarfare research programme at its height. In 1972 an international consortium created the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, which prohibited the development and stockpiling of biological materials for hostile purposes. It went into effect in 1975, when it was ratified by 140 nations. Non-ratifiers include Libya, Iran, Iraq, and North Korea.The poor man’s weapon

    But new laboratory techniques mean that for about a dollar, say some analysts, a microbiologist can now generate enough material to harm people and livestock covering a square kilometre, earning bioterrorism the nickname of “the poor man’s atomic bomb”. The Tokyo subway incident seems to show that almost anybody can gain access to biological weapons of mass destruction.

    To Milton Leitenberg of the Centre for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, however, it proves just the opposite: that the threat of bioterrorism has been wildly exaggerated. In a recent paper, Dr Leitenberg studied around 1,000 threatened or actual uses of bioterrorism, including hoaxes. He concluded that “there is an extremely low incidence of real biological events, in contrast to the number of recent hoaxes, the latter spawned by administrative and media hype.”

    According to Dr Leitenberg, a would-be bioterrorist must be able to identify and obtain the correct pathogenic strains; handle them correctly; grow them in an environment that encourages production of the desired characteristics; store them and scale up production properly; and “weaponise” or disperse them effectively. Conventional wisdom holds that all but the fifth step are easy to accomplish, but Dr Leitenberg says that experience shows otherwise.

    Minor variations in culturing conditions can degrade an organism’s toxic potential. Even in the best of circumstances it is hard to get microbes to produce toxin consistently from one generation to the next. And the most reliable way to ensure a large number of casualties is to release an inhalable aerosol over a wide area, but the technology for doing this is out of the reach of all but the most sophisticated and well-funded terrorists. Indeed, a cynic might conclude that most nations abandoned their biowarfare research because it was simply not paying off.

    Dr Leitenberg also asserts that, of the 60,000 people working in the Soviet biowarfare programme, only about 5% were senior-level scientists, and perhaps only 100 knew all the steps required to produce a biological weapon. To those who worry that these 100 will sell their services to the highest bidder, he points out that Aum Shinrikyo spent several million dollars trying to buy technology and expertise from former Soviet scientists, only to come away empty-handed. He concludes that most discussions on bioterrorism have been characterised by rhetoric that is “thoughtless, ill-considered, counterproductive and extravagant.”

    Martin Hugh-Jones, an epidemiologist at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, agrees that bioterrorism poses at most only a modest risk. He describes a hypothetical scenario in which a suitcase programmed to release anthrax is placed in Grand Central Station in New York during the rush hour. Victims who developed any symptoms at all would, he says, ascribe them to a mild case of the flu, rather than a terrorist attack.

    In fact, biological weapons may prove more of a threat to their makers than to their intended victims. In 1979 a weaponised strain of anthrax being developed by Soviet researchers in the city of Sverdlosk was accidentally released, killing about 70 people and some livestock. Those affected all lived and worked within a narrow zone extending from the city’s military facility to its southernmost limits some 30 miles away. The Soviet authorities initially insisted that people had become ill from eating tainted meat. Only in 1992 did President Yeltsin confirm the real source of the outbreak.

    Dr Hugh-Jones believes that the food supply makes a better bioterrorist target than people. An outbreak of anthrax in Kansan cattle could devastate not only American beef farmers but their suppliers and customers–grain farmers and supermarkets–as well. Or imagine if corn or wheat was infected, either with an agent that kills it, or with a disease deadly to humans, such as botulism. The result would be food scares and soaring prices. These scenarios, Dr Hugh-Jones contends, are “far more frightening than killing a few New Yorkers.” Agricultural bioterrorism is also efficient: it would take only a small outbreak of, say, karnal bunt, a wheat disease, before foreign countries started to ban imports.

    It is not just terrorists who might wield such weapons: so might rival wheat producers. The American government takes this threat so seriously that in September it announced plans to spend $215m upgrading the national agricultural quarantine station on Plum Island, off the coast of New York, to deal with threats to American agriculture. A shrewd bioterrorist, it seems, would strike where it really hurts: in the wallet.

    LOAD-DATE: December 8, 2000

    • DXer said

      The Associated Press State & Local Wire
      April 17, 2002, Wednesday, BC cycle

      Expert says Louisiana vulnerable to terrorism

      DATELINE: BATON ROUGE, La.

      Louisiana’s tourism industry likely would be a chief target of any terrorist action in the state, an expert on bioterrorism says. ***

      “If I were to hit Louisiana, I’d go for tourists in one way or another,” Hugh-Jones said. “That, I think is more likely than anything else.”

      Since the mid-1990s, Hugh-Jones and microbiologist Paul Keim of Northern Arizona University have worked to track the genetic fingerprints of different strains of anthrax. Their work became high profile in October when five people died of anthrax contamination.

      “The bioterrorist has a number of tools that he can use,” Hugh-Jones said. “It’s rather like having a loaded gun in the house. Accidents happen, but not randomly.”

      Terrorists also could try to induce financial collapse, he said. One way to do that would be to disperse organisms in coordinated attacks on shopping malls during the Thanksgiving shopping rush, he said.

      Even if attacks caused a low number of casualties, as the anthrax contamination did last year, terror can spread when people lose faith in the government’s ability to control what is happening, Hugh-Jones said.

  17. DXer said

    In mid-July 2008, in the video above, Obama talked about the need for more money for analysis on Al Qaeda and anthrax. Obama was President of Harvard Law Review. The man is as capable as any to hold public office to process information relating to Al Qaeda and anthrax.

    The month before Obama’s speech I posted this analysis of anthrax and the letters:

    and made this homemade commercial for Obama.

    What does Obama think about the other self-described “anthrax weapons suspect”: Ali Al-Timimi, whose defense committee once pointed out he had once worked as the assistant (for 2 months in 1996) for Andrew Card, who came to be the White House Chief of Staff?

    One supporter of the detained Vanguards of Conquest leader Mahmoud Mahjoub and the detained Blind Sheik Abdel-Rahman was Ali Al-Timimi, who worked in the building housing the Center for Biodefense funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (“DARPA”). In a filing unsealed this Spring, Dr. Ali Al-Timimi’s lawyer, Professor and MSNBC commentator Jonathan Turley, explained that his client “was considered an anthrax weapons suspect.”

    Al-Timimi was computational biologist who came to have an office 15 feet from the leading anthrax scientist and the former deputy commander of USAMRIID. A motion filed in early August 2008 seeking to unseal additional information in federal district court was denied. The ongoing proceedings are classified. Last month, the National Security Council rejected the District Court’s request that the judge’s clerk be allowed to see the government’s ex parte filings (so as to help with the analysis of the claims relating to alleged NSA wiretapping).

    Dr. Al-Timimi’s counsel summarizes the government’s claim about Al-Timimi’s connections to the broader Al Qaeda network:

    “we know Dr. Al-Timimi:

    * was interviewed in 1994 by the FBI and Secret Service regarding his ties to the perpetrators of the first World Trade Center bombing;

    * was referenced in the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing (“Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US”) as one of seventy individuals regarding whom the FBI is conducting full field investigations on a national basis;

    * was described to his brother by the FBI within days of the 9-11 attacks as an immediate suspect in the Al Qaeda conspiracy;

    * was contacted by the FBI only nine days after 9-11 and asked about the attacks and its perpetrators;

    * was considered an anthrax weapons suspect;
    [redacted]

    * was described during his trial by FBI agent John Wyman as having “extensive ties” with the “broader al-Qaeda network”;

    * was described in the indictment and superseding indictment as being associated with terrorists seeking harm to the United States;

    * was a participant in dozens of international overseas calls to individuals known to have been under suspicion of Al-Qaeda ties like Al-Hawali; and

    * was associated with the long investigation of the Virginia Jihad Group.

    ***

    The conversation with [Bin Laden's sheik] Al-Hawali on September 19, 2001 was central to the indictment and raised at trial. ***

    [911 imam] Anwar Al-Aulaqi goes directly to Dr. Al-Timimi’s state of mind and his role in the alleged conspiracy. The 9-11 Report indicates that Special Agent Ammerman interviewed Al-Aulaqi just before or shortly after his October 2002 visit to Dr. Al-Timimi’s home to discuss the attacks and his efforts to reach out to the U.S. government.

    [IANA head] Bassem Khafagi was questioned about Dr. Al-Timimi before 9-11 in Jordan, purportedly at the behest of American intelligence. [redacted ] He was specifically asked about Dr. Al-Timimi’s connection to Bin Laden prior to Dr. Al-Timimi’s arrest. He was later interviewed by the FBI about Dr. Al-Timimi. Clearly, such early investigations go directly to the allegations of Dr. Al-Timimi’s connections to terrorists and Bin Laden — [redacted]”

    The letter attached as an exhibit notes that in March 2002 Al-Timimi spoke with Al-Hawali about assisting Moussaoui in his defense. Al-Hawali was Bin Laden’s sheik who was the subject of OBL’s “Declaration of War.” Moussaoui was the operative sent by Bin Laden to be part of a “second wave” who had been inquiring about crop dusters and used the email account greenlab@usa.comto correspond with anthrax lab tech Yazid Sufaat. The filing and the letter exhibit each copy defense co-counsel, the daughter of the lead prosecutor in Amerithrax who withdrew from Al-Timimi’s defense on February 27, 2009. That prosecutor has pled the Fifth Amendment concerning all the leaks hyping a “POI” of the other Amerithrax squad, Dr. Steve Hatfill. HIs daughter withdrew as Al-Timimi’s pro bono counsel. The government is under orders to redact the transcript of the February 19, 2009 hearing only to the extent necessary to protect classified information.

    Bruce Ivins had supplied the Ames strain of anthrax to Ann Arbor researchers. Ann Arbor was the home to Al-Timimi charity, the Islamic Assembly of North America. (“IANA”) IANA’s office was about a mile from the DARPA-funded NanoBio offices which was doing work on nanoemulsions (microencapsulation). One of the researchers, Dr. Hamouda, had obtained his PhD in microbiology from Cairo Medical in 1994. He and his wife came to the United States to settle that year. By 1998, he was working on a DARPA-funded project involving nanoemulsions and a biocidal cream. In December 1999, he and two colleagues travelled to a remote military installation in Utah to test its effectiveness in killing aerosolized anthrax surrogates. An April 2001 report describing testing at Dugway concluded that the best performing decontamination agents were University of Michigan, Sandia National Laboratories, and Lawrence Livermore Laboratory (LLNL). The FBI and CIA may have been concerned that there might have been unauthorized access to the Ames strain. That would explain their aggressive prosecution of various matters related to Al-Timimi’s charity IANA charity in Ann Arbor.

    IANA promoted the views of Bin Laden’s sheiks. Al-Timimi was IANA’s most celebrated speaker. He was in active contact with one of those sheiks, who was his former mentor at university in Saudi Arabia.

    IANA speaker Ali Al-Timimi worked in the same building as two other DARPA-funded researchers — famed Russian bioweapons scientist Ken Alibek and former USAMRIID Deputy Commander and Acting Commander Charles Bailey. Al-Timimi was a current associate and former student of Bin Laden’s spiritual advisor, dissident Saudi Sheik al-Hawali. Ali Al-Timimi preached on the end of times and the inevitability of the clash of civilizations. He was in active contact with the sheik whose detention had been the express subject of Bin Laden’s 1996 Declaration of War. At GMU, Dr. Bailey would publish a lot of research with the “Ames strain” of anthrax. The anthrax used in the anthrax mailings was traced to Bruce Ivins’ lab at USAMRIID, where Ivins, according to a former colleague, had done some work for DARPA. Al-Timimi would speak along with the blind sheik’s son at charity conferences. The blind sheik’s son served on Al Qaeda’s WMD committee. Al-Timimi’s mentor Bilal Philips was known for recruiting members of the military to jihad. The first week after 9/11, FBI agents questioned Al-Timimi. He was a graduate student in a program jointly run by George Mason University and the American Type Culture Collection (”ATCC”). Ali, according to his lawyer, had been questioned by an FBI agent and Secret Service agent in 1994 after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. He had a high security clearance for work for the Navy in the late 1990s. The defense webpage reported that in 1996, for two months had worked for the White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card. (Mr. Card had been Secretary of Transportation in 1992-1993; from 1993 to 1998, Mr. Card was President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Automobile Manufacturers Association.) As time off from his university studies permitted, Ali was an active speaker with the charity Islamic Assembly of North America.

    Two months before a laptop evidencing Al Qaeda’s intent on weaponizing anthrax was seized in Baku in July 1998, Dr. Alibek, then Program Manager, Battelle Memorial Institute, testified before the Joint Economic Committee on the subject of “Terrorist and Intelligence Operations: Potential Impact on the U.S. Economy”about the proliferation of know-how. Dr. Alibek noted that “[t]here are numerous ways in which Russia’s biological weapons expertise can be proliferated to other countries.” Indeed. Sometimes such proliferation is funded by DARPA and any student who wants to apply to work in the building can submit an application. One applicant accepted was this Salafist preacher seeing signs of the coming day of judgment and the inevitable clash of civilizations. He had been mentored by the sheik named in Bin Laden’s declaration of war in 1996. In 1999, Al-Timimi had a high security clearance for work for the Navy. His father worked at the Iraqi embassy.

    Dr. Ken Alibek testified before the House Armed Services Committee Oversight Panel on Terrorism again on May 23, 2000 about the issue of proliferation of biological weapons. He explained: “Terrorists interested in biological weapons are on the level of state- sponsored terrorist organizations such as that of Osama bin Laden; on the level of large, independent organizations such as Aum Shinrikyo; or on the level of individuals acting alone or in concert with small radical organizations.” Dr. Alibek in 2003 told me he knew Ali was a hardliner. More recently he described Ali as a fanatic.

    Dr. Alibek continued: “Although these groups will produce biological weapons with varying levels of sophistication, they all can potentially cause great damage. *** Furthermore, there is no doubt that we will see future uses of biological weapons by terrorist groups, as there have been several attempts already.” Dr. Alibek explained to the Congressional Committee in May 2000:

    “When most people think of proliferation, they imagine weapons export. In the case of biological weapons, they picture international smuggling either of ready-made weapons material, or at least of cultures of pathogenic microorganisms. However, this area of proliferation is of the least concern. Even without such assistance, a determined organization could obtain virulent strains of microorganisms from their natural reservoirs (such as soil or animals), from culture libraries that provide such organisms for research purposes, or by stealing cultures from legitimate laboratories.”

    American Type Culture Collection, the largest microbiologist depository in the world, co-sponsored Ali’s bioinformatics program.

    Dr. Alibek explained:

    “The proliferation issue is particularly complex for biological weapons. In many cases, the same equipment and knowledge that can be used to produce biological weapons can also be used to produce legitimate biotechnological products ***”

    Dr. Alibek concluded: “To protect ourselves from the threat of biological weapons, we must increase our awareness and understanding of the threat, strengthen current international agreements and increase transparency ***”

    By 2001, Al-Timimi was allowed access to the most diverse microbiological repository in the world and allowed to work alongside staff at the DARPA-funded Center for Biodefense. It appears that someone in charge was not as good at analysis as Barack Obama.

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