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Hearings for the NAS “Review of the Scientific Approaches used During the FBI’s Investigation of the 2001 Bacillus Anthracis Mailings” are scheduled for Thur, Sept 24th and Fri, Sept 25th
There will be open sessions on both days (see details below) and a closed data-gathering session on September 24th. The meetings will be held at the Keck Center, 500 5th Street NW, Washington DC 20001.
There is one discussion period scheduled on September 24 from 4:45pm to 6:00pm.
… Although I cannot attend myself, I am hopeful that someone will raise the issue of the NAS/FBI decision to sequester FBI-submitted documents until the conclusion of the review (perhaps 17 months from now).
My suggestion is not to question the actual decision to sequester the documents, which was most likely not the Committee’s decision, but rather to ask whether the Committee feels that keeping the FBI-submitted documents from the public will help or hinder the Committee’s task.
If you would like to attend the open sessions of this meeting, including the discussion period, you must register at http://www.surveygizmo.com/s/178053/second-meeting-of-the-committee-on-the-review-of-the-scientific-approaches-used-during-the-fbi-s-investigation-of-the-2001-bacillus-anthracis-mailings
The NAS Science Committee is not the same as NAS/FBI administration of the Committee’s review
- It is very important to distinguish the actual review of the information provided by the FBI and others, as conducted by Committee members and their staff, from the administrative measures imposed on the Committee by the NAS/FBI contract (not made available) and NAS administrative decisions (not explained).
- The questions asked by Committee members at the first hearing in July of this year clearly demonstrated an intense interest in honestly evaluating the science used by the FBI in what many of us believe to be its severely flawed anthrax investigation.
- The Committee, however, may be restricted in accomplishing its task by the terms of the contract between NAS and the FBI, and also by the failure to release the FBI-submitted documents upon FOIA request.
- As is clear to anyone who has read the comments submitted on this CASE CLOSED blog, there are questions are being raised and information is being presented which could be very helpful to the NAS committee.
- It would seem that restricting access to the FBI-submitted documents will constrain the potential value of such input from the public and thus make the Committee’s work less valuable than it might otherwise be.
We – you and I – are paying $880,000 to the NAS to conduct this study.
- We deserve our fair look at the documents and a fair opportunity to comment upon and provide input during the course of the ongoing NAS review, not just when it has been completed.
NAS Meeting Agendas
September 24, 2009
- 2:00 Use of Preliminary Validated Assays in Exigent Circumstances, Steven Schutzer, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
- 2:30 Overview of the Scientific Investigation, Rita Colwell, University of Maryland College Park and Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health
- 3:00 Identification of Bacillus anthracis Ames Strain, Paul Keim, Northern Arizona University
- 3:45 Identification of Morphological Variants, Patricia Worsham, USAMRIID
- 4:15 Genetic Analysis of Bacillus anthracis Ames Strain, David Rasko, Institute for Genome Sciences, University of Maryland School of Medicine
- 4:45 – 6:00 … Discussion
September 25, 2009
- 9:00 Microscopy/Weaponization of Bacillus anthracis, Joseph Michael, Sandia National Laboratory
- 9:40 Nano-scale secondary ion mass spectroscopy, Peter Weber, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
The closed session to be held on September 24, 2009 from 10:00 am–1:00 pm will not be open to the public under Subsection 15(b)(3) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 5 U.S.C. App., as amended by the Federal Advisory Committee Act Amendments of 1997, PL 105-153, December 17, 1997, 111 STAT. 2689. The Academy has determined that to open this session to the public would disclose information described in 5 U.S.C. 552(b).
… Participants in the CASE CLOSED blog are invited to comment on the NAS’s justification for keeping this session closed to the public. Do you think it is appropriate?
see related post at ...
* the NAS needs to explain its decision to sequester FBI-submitted documents in apparent violation of FOIA law
read the entire NAS release at … http://www8.nationalacademies.org/cp/meetingview.aspx?MeetingID=3821&MeetingNo=2