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

* Cover-Up … The Truth About The Anthrax Attacks … by Barry J.C. Kissin, Esq

Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 18, 2009

CASE CLOSED is a novel which answers the question “Why did the FBI fail to solve the 2001 anthrax case?” … Here’s an excerpt from the CASE CLOSED story; the (fictional) DIA team reviews the connection between the anthrax attack and the subsequent invasion of Iraq …

“After the nationwide panic caused by the anthrax mailings settled down, pretty much nothing happens in the FBI’s anthrax investigation. The next we hear about anthrax is in February 2003, when Secretary of State Abner Grant goes to the United Nations and holds up a vial of something – it wasn’t actually anthrax – claiming that Saddam can deliver biological weapons of mass destruction to the eastern seaboard of the U.S. Of course, we learn later that Saddam had neither WMD nor any way to reach our shores. U.N. arms inspector Blix said something much like that a few days before we invaded Iraq.”

*** click here to buy CASE CLOSED by Lew Weinstein

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Cover-Up …

The Truth About The Anthrax Attacks

by Barry J.C. Kissin, Esq.

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Excerpts from Mr. Kissin’s lengthy post follow. The entire post can be read at http://freethoughtmanifesto.blogspot.com/2009/11/truth-about-anthrax-attacks.html

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On September 16 and 17, 2008, the House and Senate Judiciary Committees respectively, conducted “Amerithrax oversight” hearings consisting of questioning FBI Director Robert Mueller. Salon.com journalist Glen Greenwald recounted this as follows:

  • (Congressman Gerald) Nadler asked one of the most central questions in the anthrax case: he pointed out that the facilities that (unlike Ft. Detrick) actually have the equipment and personnel to prepare dry, silica-coated anthrax are the U.S. Army’s Dugway Proving Ground and the Battelle Corporation, the private CIA contractor that conducts substantial research into highly complex strains of anthrax.
  • Nadler asked how the FBI had eliminated those institutions as the culprits behind the attack. After invoking generalities to assure Nadler that the FBI had traced the anthrax back to Ivins’ vial (which didn’t answer the question),
  • (FBI Director Robert) Mueller’s response was this: I don’t know the answers to those questions as to how we eliminated Dugway and Battelle. I’ll have to get back to you at some point.

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Seven months went by before the FBI responded. Its response read:

  • “Using records associated with the flask, the FBI was able to track the transfer of sub samples from the flask located at USAMRIID to two other facilities.
  • Using various methods, the FBI investigated the two facilities that received samples from the parent flask and eliminated individuals from those facilities as suspects because, even if a laboratory facility had the equipment and personnel to make anthrax powder, this powder would not match the spores in the mailed envelopes if that lab had never received a transfer of anthrax from the parent flask.”

On its face, the FBI’s response is absurd … The response literally says that after identifying “two facilities” that received samples of anthrax from the USAMRIID (Bruce Ivins’) flask, these facilities were excluded as possible sources of the attack anthrax because they “never received” anthrax from said flask.

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Battelle and Dugway

Given that both Battelle and Dugway had RMR-1029, Battelle and Dugway are no less incriminated than Bruce Ivins by the science underlying Amerithrax.

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Congress has failed

  • So far, Congress has failed in its oversight role with respect to Amerithrax.
  • An important example of this failure is the absence of any reaction on the part of Congressman Nadler or any other member of Congress to the miserable FBI response highlighted (above).

LMW COMMENT … Likewise, the absence of any progress by the House Judiciary Committee on Congressman Rush Holt’s legislation to create an Anthrax Investigation Commission shows how little the Congress is doing to get to the truth about the 2001 anthrax attacks.

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Matsumoto … from weaponized to not

In order to cover-up the evident connection between our secret anthrax weaponization projects and the attack anthrax, it would be necessary to negate the fact that the attack anthrax (particularly in the letters to the Senators) was weaponized.

This aspect of the cover-up is described in “Anthrax Powder: State of the Art?” by Gary Matsumoto, that appeared in the November, 2003 edition (Vol 32) of Science Magazine:

  • “Early in the investigation, the consensus among biodefense specialists working for the government and the military [was that] . . . the powder mailed to the Senate . . . was a diabolical advance in biological weapons technology
  • [But] by the fall of 2002, the awe inspiring anthrax of the previous spring had morphed into something decidedly less fearsome.
  • According to sources on Capitol Hill, FBI scientists now reported that there was ‘no additive’ in the Senate anthrax at all

Of course, once the DOJ/FBI arrived at its formulation that Bruce Ivins was the lone culprit, it became that much more necessary to portray the attack anthrax as other than “weapons-grade.”

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Spertzel … attack anthrax could not have been produced at USAMRIID

Richard Spertzel, quoted in the above-cited Science Magazine, was not only a chief UNSCOM inspector, he also worked at Fort Detrick for 18 years, and served as Deputy Commander of USAMRIID. On August 5, 2008 (one week after the death of Bruce Ivins), the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by Mr. Spertzel entitled “Bruce Ivins Wasn’t the Anthrax Culprit.” Excerpts follow:

  • “Let’s start with the anthrax in the letters to Sens. Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy.
  • The spores could not have been produced at USAMRIID where Ivins worked, without many other people being aware of it.
  • Furthermore, the equipment to make such a product does not exist at the Institute.
  • The multiple disciplines and technologies required to make the anthrax in this case do not exist at USAMRIID.

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anthrax from RMR-1029 was widespread

On August 18, 2008 (three weeks after the death of Bruce Ivins), FBI scientists and their consultants conducted a briefing for journalists with “well-respected scientific journals.”

  • QUESTION: So I’ve seen different estimates. How many people at Detrick or anyone else actually have access to RMR-1029?
  • DR. MAJIDI: The total body — the total universe of people at some point were associated with RMR-1029 — I’ll qualify that. Roughly, about 100-plus.

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FBI and Battelle closely interlinked

  • James Burans (identified above as the FBI’s “expert on processing”) is introduced at the beginning of the briefing by FBI Lab Director Hassell as “the associate laboratory director of the National Bioforensic Analysis Center.”
  • What is never revealed is the fact that the Department of Homeland Security contracted with Battelle to manage and operate the National Bioforensic Analysis Center, and that James Burans is a Battelle employee.

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Mr. Kissin’s conclusion …

  • the only bio-attack in our history, is an officially acknowledged “inside job,” one that we know originated from our own so-called “biodefense” program.
  • No, the anthrax letters were not the work of a “lone nut.”
  • They were the work of our military-industrial-intelligence complex, a complex of revolving participants that manufactures weapons and war for power and profits.
  • The decision in early 2001 to unilaterally reject inspections and verification as a part of international bioweapons arms control (precisely to avoid inspections of our secret weaponization projects) was the choice to pursue arms race over arms control.
  • The anthrax letters that soon followed served and fulfilled two purposes.
    • As a “false flag operation,” with language in the letters that read “Death to America, Death to Israel, Allah is Great,” the anthrax attacks played a major role in the run-up to the Iraq war.
    • As a stimulator of fear of bio-threat, the anthrax attacks served as the pretext for a massive expansion of our so-called biodefense program, with expenditures on this program quickly becoming twenty times what they were before the attacks.
  • Only massive delusion can explain how we could assume that the necessary response to the only bioattack in our history is to massively expand the program that itself generated that attack.

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see related posts …

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Reader comments about CASE CLOSED …

“Fiction?? Maybe?? But I don’t think so!! More likely an excellent interpretation of what may have really happened.”

“CASE CLOSED reads fast and well. It could have happened just the way the author said. Full of intrigue mixed in with almost current events. The real people are just behind the fictional ones.”

*** click here to buy CASE CLOSED by Lew Weinstein

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178 Responses to “* Cover-Up … The Truth About The Anthrax Attacks … by Barry J.C. Kissin, Esq”

  1. DXer said

    It was last February on Dr. Nass’ forum that this question whether Mr. Persichini should resign (for getting the most important answer relating to domestic security investigations wrong) was first addressed.

    “Anonymous said…

    “Following the numerous other well-documented errors of the past one-half generation, it might be the end of the FBI.”

    Give me a break — what hyperbole! Individuals are accountable for their actions. Do you think a bureaucratic reorganization and renaming would make crimes any easier to solve? The FBI did not act as an organization when some individual told the NYT there was a unique chemical signature in the water — a specific individual did. And perhaps that issue can be resolved by clarification as to how the misunderstanding resulted. Miscommunication does occur in life — even when journalists are involved. At the very least, the Administration should require candor in the making of the correction. A letter to the editor of New York Times would serve nicely.

    Moreover, generally, the FBI is damned if they do and damned if they don’t. I think the FBi has done a far better job at understanding things and leaving no stone unturned than any of the pundits or journalists I know (and I know everyone). Mr. Lake just misunderstood the plain language about 8 versus isolates. Drop Ed’s mischaracterization of the FBI’s thinking, and overlook the statements by Taylor, Mueller and Persichini, and the FBI is doing a fine job. Okay, Taylor and Persichini should resign if they don’t make a course correction. But don’t fault the institution or the agents, most of whom are not fully read into the case.

    Finally, the investigation is not closed. When you see the scientists use phrases like “probably” and “most likely”, the next thing to wait for is the evidence that the FBI has not disclosed. We have not yet seen any evidence implicating Ivins.

    Hug an FBI agent today and start rooting for the US, the American people, and Obama Administration to succeed on this tough issue.
    February 26, 2009 5:56 AM ”

    Now if only AUSA Kohl would check his answers before turning in his test.

    • BugMaster said

      Uh, DXer, Tayler resigned last February or so. And to top that, he withdrew his nomination for U.S. Attorney (he was never confirmed by the senate) in September 2008.

      Right after Ivin’s suicide.

      • DXer said

        You are mistaken. The post above was from February 26, 2009. Jeffrey Taylor resigned three months later.

        U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Taylor Resigns – City Desk – Washington City …
        May 28, 2009 … U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Taylor has announced that he is resigning effective May 29 . The top prosecutor intends to join the private sector. …
        http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/…/us-attorney-jeffrey-taylor-resigns/

        • DXer said

          U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Taylor Resigns
          Posted by Jason Cherkis on May. 28, 2009, at 11:31 am

          U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Taylor has announced that he is resigning effective May 29. The top prosecutor intends to join the private sector. He served as U.S. Attorney since September 2006. There had already been much speculation about who would fill Taylor’s position.

          The U.S. Attorney’s Office issued a press release. It reads in part:

          Mr. Taylor has served as U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia since September 29, 2006. He currently serves as a member of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee and serves on the White Collar/Fraud and Terrorism and National Security Subcommittees.

          “Serving the residents of the District of Columbia has been the most rewarding experience of my professional life,” said U.S. Attorney Taylor. “It has been my distinct honor to have led the extraordinary talented and dedicated men and women in this office for more than 2½ years. It has also been a privilege to work with some of the finest law enforcement agencies in the country who work tirelessly to make this city safe.”

          Prior to his appointment as U.S. Attorney, from 2002 to 2006, Mr. Taylor served as Counselor to Attorney Generals John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales, where he handled a broad array of matters, including oversight of the Department’s national security, terrorism, and criminal litigation and policy, as well as the operations of the Department’s law enforcement components.

          Comment: Given that the man his counsel describes as an “anthrax weapons suspect” is described by defense counsel as a former assistant to Andrew Card, former White House Chief of Staff, the fact that the US Attorney was the former assistant to Alberto Gonzales, the White House lawyer, is part of the politicization of the administration of Justice that occurred.

          Unfortunately, it was just one example at the highest levels and his predecessor had an even more important influence on the course of Amerithrax.

        • DXer said

          Biographer Draper in Dead Certain reports that on October 4, 2001, Bush teared up during a speech at the State Department thanking them for their hard work after 9/11. Back at the White House, Bush motioned Fleischer into the Oval Office. “A Boca Raton tabloid editor had checked into a Florida hospital yesterday, Bush told Fleischer. Anthrax. The veil of resoluteness fell away from the president. His shoulders were hunched. Fleischer had never seen him more upset. Neither man said a word — neither had to: This was it, the second wave.” Then, immediately after the October 5 denial of bail of the Vanguards of Conquest #2, someone mailed very fine powdered anthrax to US Senators Leahy and Daschle. The letter was postmarked the day after the federal holiday– on Tuesday, October 9. An infant visiting ABC was one of the first affected, which should have been prohibited (haram) in anyone’s book. Five people died, including an elderly woman and a hospital worker. Dr. Kenneth Alibek on October 19, 2001 told CBS News’ “48 Hours” that he thought the mailings were connected in some way to the September 11th attacks and the people who planned them. He said, “In my opinion, what we see now is the second wave.”

          The August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Brief

          (”PDB”) to the President Bush explained that Bin Laden planned to hijack some aircraft as part of an effort to free the blind sheik. A little noticed December 1998 PDB to the same effect to President Clinton, however — declassified and included in the 911 Commission Report — reported that the aircraft and attacks were being planned by the brother of Sadat’s assassin, Mohammed Islambouli. Islambouli was in a cell with Khalid Mohammed (”KSM”), who by November 2001 had come to lead the cell planning anthrax attacks in the United States. The anthrax was sent on the date of Sadat’s assassination and the date the Camp David Accords were approved. Sadat’s peace with Israel was a key reason the militants killed Sadat.

          ‘I think the seminal event of the Bush administration was the anthrax attacks,’ someone close to the president told Jacob Weisberg, the editor-in-chief of the online daily magazine, Slate. ‘It was the thing that changed everything. It was the hard stare into the abyss.’” “I sat through the most gruesome briefing in the Oval Office about anthrax, how it could spread, and how we had no defenses,” Bush’s first press secretary, Ari Fleischer told the book author in the summer of 2007. “Dick Cheney was the strongest advocate of the possibility of attack and the need to prepare for it.” After 9/11, the Secret Service began monitoring the air inside and outside the White House — the chimneys of bio-detectors were visible from the front lawn. Cheney reportedly began traveling with a biohazard protective suit. At some point, fifty members of the mail-handling staff in the executive office buildings were taking Cipro.

          “The anthrax spores in the letter to Daschle were so professionally refined, the Central Intelligence Agency believed the powder must have been sent by an experienced terrorist organization, most probably Al Qaeda, as a sequel to the group’s September 11 attacks.

          During a [October 17] meeting of the White House’s National Security Council that day, Cheney, who was sitting in for the President because Bush was traveling abroad, urged everyone to keep this inflammatory speculation secret.**

          Cheney in particular was so stricken by the potential for attack that he insisted that the rest of the National Security Council undergo a gruesome briefing on it on September 20, 2001. When the White House sensor registered the presence of such poisons less than a month later, many, including Cheney, believed a nightmare was unfolding. “It was really a nerve-jangling time,” the former official said.
          In time, the Situation Room alarm turned out to be false. But on October 22, the Secret Service reported it had what it believed to be additional traces on an automated letter-opening device used on White House mail.

          ***
          By August [2003], Hambali had been captured, and had reportedly gave information leading to the revelation that Al Qaeda had been in the process of producing high-grade anthrax….”

          In any case, it predictably triggered renewed fears in the White House, where Bush and Cheney hammered the Agency for more details and chastised the FBI for doing too little to root out domestic sleeper cells.”

          Jacob Weisberg in the 2008 The Bush Tragedy writes. “Inside the administration, the October bioterror attacks had a greater impact than is generally appreciated — and in many ways greater than 9/11. Without the anthrax attacks, Bush probably would not have invaded Iraq.” He explains: “The anthrax attacks in New York and Washington created a sense of vulnerability that was in many respects greater than the mass murder at the World Trade Center and Pentagon. As horrific as September 11 was, it was a discrete crime, whose perpetrators were quickly identified and pursued. The anthrax letters, by contrast, killed only a few people, but remained unsolved.”

        • DXer said

          Vice-President Cheney was briefed in mid-December 2001 by the CIA that documents confirmed that Zawahiri planned to use charities and universities as cover and was recruiting scientists to infiltrate Western biodefense (to include the conferences attended by USAMRIID scientist Bruce Ivins). Those documents were provided to me by the DIA and I first published them in 2005.

          On August 20, 2001, Saleh 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 met with 911 imam Aulaqi getting all the notoriety of late. He met with Ali Al-Timimi, who had a letter of commendation from the White House, his defense counsel says, for his work for the Navy. 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.

          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”) co-founder Rabih Haddad was associated with Bin Laden’s Makhtab al-Khidamat, which was headed by Mohammed Islambouli in Peshawar. The government froze the assets of the Global Relief Foundation (“GRF”) on December 14, 2001, saying it was a financial conduit to terrorists. 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).

          Congressman John Conyers, Jr, of Michigan joined several newspapers in suing to force the government to open the hearings. Mr. Conyers argued that Rabih Haddad 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.” 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 Pakistan 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.

          The New York Times reported that “Prosecutors said they were keeping some evidence secret to protect terrorism investigations.” Haddad’s lawyer arranged the pro bono representation for the Virginia Paintball defendants, including Al-Timimi.

          It was KSM’s 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 who told her defense psychiatrist that she had been tasked to study germ weapons under a fatwa. In an earlier prosecution, 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. She had been tasked by “Abu Lubaba” to study germ warfare. 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.” (Many articles that year quoted famed Russian bioweaponeer Ken Alibek who was at George Mason University in Falls Church, Virginia.)

          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]” 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 PhD 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 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 researchers 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.”

          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.

          In late August 2001, NanoBio moved in to its new offices from less impressive digs in the basement of a bank. Bruce Ivins had first supplied its University of Michigan researchers Ames strain a couple years earlier for DARPA-funded biodefense research. Even though federally funded, Dr. Hamouda and the other University of Michigan researchers refuse to provide copies of presentations before ASM and ICAAC giving details of their research with Bruce Ivins involving virulent Ames. Widespread failure to comply with FOIA — including by the National Academy of Sciences — will be one of the issues taken up in Congressional hearings.

  2. DXer said

    Head of FBI’s D.C. office retires amid allegations of rules violation
    Celebrated official had been under scrutiny over exam he took

    By Carrie Johnson
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Wednesday, December 9, 2009

    The FBI official in charge of the bureau’s Washington field office attended his retirement party Tuesday. In the background is an investigation alleging that he violated rules while taking an open-book exam this fall, according to two sources familiar with the episode.
    ***
    The two sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity said Persichini had been under internal FBI scrutiny in connection with an exam covering the bureau’s guidelines for conducting investigations. The guidelines, revised late last year at the end of the Bush administration, spell out how agents should pursue criminal and national security leads. The FBI required a 16-hour training to learn the guidelines, capped by an electronic exam in which test-takers could consult their course materials.

    Persichini, whose title is assistant director in charge of Washington, attracted management attention when he allegedly completed the open-book exam in less than 20 minutes and with a very high score, the sources said. Some test-takers required more than two hours to complete the exam, the sources said.

    The bureau’s Office of Professional Responsibility, which conducts ethics investigations, recommended administrative disciplinary action, but the appeals process had not run its course by the time Persichini announced his retirement last month, the sources added. He is believed to have taken the test in a room by himself. Two other high-ranking officials in the Washington field office are under OPR scrutiny in connection with a separate incident involving the guidelines exam, the sources said. The matter has prompted weeks of unease in the Washington office, they said.

    Comment: I guess I don’t understand. Why is it suspicious that he finished an open book exam on following national security leads in 20 minutes when it often takes people 2 hours?
    Can’t someone simply go quickly to the answer without testing or considering any answers after he sees what he thinks is the right answer?

    I don’t quite understand how completing an interactive exam quickly, without more, points meaningfully to possible cheating rather than simply not reviewing alternative answers. Such an approach typically lessens a test-taker’s score but these things are pass/fail usually and he was already at the top of his game so who cares — that is, he was head of national security operations in our country’s capitol and looking forward to a lucrative job in the private sector within a couple years, at the mandatory retirement age of 57 (absent waiver). Moreover, he had important things to do back at the office. Maybe the fact he did well just means he knows the material cold rather than he was given the answers in advance.

    He did get the answer wrong in Amerithrax — but maybe that is because he rushed and didn’t test alternative answers.

    The last exams I took were this spring. The three exams were on ham radio licensing. You are given the answers beforehand but it is not open book. So for example on a given test you may be given 30 questions out of a field of 279 questions, many of them highly technical and far beyond my ken or interest. One way to study, I’ve heard, is to just memorize the correct answers using a meaningless mnemonic. It leaves you clueless about the subject matter but lets you advance the levels of licensing in a matter of a few days/weeks of cramming mnemonics rather than studying technical material over the course of months. (You need to achieve the higher licensing levels to use bandwidths that can reach some countries).

    Studying hard material can be tedious (and the “Extra” exam is difficult). I was anxious to get back to the smoking gun evidence relating to Dutch Schultz’s secret road trips out of Syracuse in April and August 1935 to visit his (in today’s dollars) $50 million plus treasure cache. See documents produced by FBI under FOIA. Perhaps Dutch was just going to visit his mistress or third wife — ah, cheating and taking short cuts is so wrong and there are so many lessons in life to learn.

    • DXer said

      “DXer” actually means one who is seeking radio communication. I only took the exams because I liked the cool screen name.

    • DXer said

      On ticklethewire, Mr. Lengel, who has done reporting on Amerithrax, reports that 2 other top officials in the Washington Field Office also face scrutiny for the same reason.

      (OPR had recommended that Amerithrax head Persichini be disciplined and now he is resigning).

      Hey, it occurs to me that given that the lead prosecutor’s daughter came to be represent “anthrax weapons suspect” Al-Timimi pro bono and his family members were publicly advocating in 2001 that terrorism should not be attributed to Bin Laden, maybe someone should check the Task Force’s work in Amerithrax.

      Head of D.C. FBI Joseph Persichini Jr. Leaving Under Cloud Involving Test Scandal; 2 Other Top Officials Also Face Scrutiny

      By Allan Lengel
      ticklethewire.com

      WASHINGTON – Joseph Persichini Jr., the head of the Washington field office, is retiring this month under a cloud of allegations that he violated agency rules when taking an open book exam.

      ***

      The investigation into violation of the test rules also centers around two other high ranking officials in the D.C. FBI office — Keith Bryars, special agent in charge of administration, and Andrew Castor, special agent in charge of the criminal division.

      The story about the scandal was first reported last month by ticklethewire.com. The names of the agents were not published at the time, but it was reported that three high ranking agents may have received help on the exam from an FBI lawyer, and may have worked together, a clear violation of agency rules.
      ***

      At the center of the controversy is a test on the bureau’s guidelines for conducting investigations called the Domestic Investigation and Operations Guide (DIOG).

      FBI agents and some support staff take a 16-hour training course, then take an open book exam on a computer. They are allowed to use reference materials, but must take the test on their own. The FBI Director Robert Mueller III is even required to take the test.

      Ticklethewire.com reported last month that the three agents may have gotten assistance from an FBI lawyer, who has also come under scrutiny in the scandal, according to sources.

      Sources say the three completed the exam far quicker than other agents, who often take at least two hours, if not more. The Post reported that Persichini completed the test in under 20 minute, which caught management’s attention.

      The Post reported that Persichini took the test ” in a room by himself” but did not mention whether he collaborated with others or got help from an FBI lawyer. It said the other two agents were under internal investigation in a separate incident involving the test.

      Question: Were they allowed electronic devices? DIOG Rule 101: First scan the room for IPhones.

      • DXer said

        An OPR investigation of this sort is interesting. A false statement to an FBI investigator is prosecutable as a crime, right? Now if a meaningful leak investigation had been done in in Amerithrax in 2002, and questions asked, the false denial to the FBI investigator would have been prosecutable — and thus the leaks in 2003 could have been deterred. The right answer might have been given and then the fellow could have been told not to do it again.

        Here, although we don’t know the details, if there was an emailed communication from the FBI lawyer (I have no idea if that is what is alleged or suspected), it would be easily obtained by investigators from the sender’s server.

        It reminds me of when John O’Neill’s laptop was stolen when he went out to take a call at a seminar where agents approaching retirement were being instructed on retirement. His computer had held info on all of NYC’s Field Office operations and he shouldn’t have taken it out of the office. And certainly he should not have left it in the room while he left. Bottom-line: It’s simply not easy being in the FBI — given that they sometimes they are held bound by rules and are constantly expected to solve really difficult crimes.

    • Stuart said

      I agree with DXer – there is another motive about leaking this ridiculous 20 minute exam story to the Washington Post. It’s absurd to consider that completing a routine open-book exam in 20 minutes would be flagged by FBI management. There is another angle here – somehow, someone, for some reason, wants to discredit Perischini.

      • DXer said

        I didn’t mean to suggest that there was another motive — that there is any evidence of that. I have no idea.

        O’Neill reportedly thought that higher-ups (Pickard?) were jumping on the opportunity. I have no special insights and would have thought O’Neill’s spending habits, double life, late nights etc. were a legitimate cause for concern for HQ. Certainly letting all of NYC Field Office’s secrets be stolen ranks up there as a legitimate issue.

        While I was reminded of the earlier OPR investigation that caused Agent O’Neill such heartburn, I didn’t mean to suggest that there was some other motive in either case. Rules are rules.

        OTOH, I never begrudge Agent Seely on the show BONES taking a pick to a door where public safety is involved — and so none of us should be too judgmental lest the FBI expose our hypocrisy and our mistresses be paraded in the tabloids. Hopefully in lingerie and suggestive poses.

        I would think screwing up the investigation of the crime of the century would have been reason enough to encourage retirement. But, as you know, I think the FBI and CIA and Battelle counterintelligence are just pretending to be clueless. That is, the FBI was caught off-guard by Ivins’ suicide and have just been trying to do the best they can under the circumstances. The problem was that US Attorney Taylor was just too convincing at seeming clueless — for example, by his mistake on the federal eagle envelope was only sold at Ivins’ post office rather than throughout both Maryland and Virginia… or his overblown notion of “sole custodian.” (Then of course there is that small matter of the whiting out of where the flask was stored).

        I still think Amerithrax may come to be known as a great FBI/CIA success story — with the public someday coming to understand that none of us could have done any better. And that the FBI plays a critical role in national security and we should always wish them well, both as an organization and as individuals.

        Except of course that FBI agent on BONES last night who turned out to be the serial killer THE GRAVEDIGGER. I mean, you have to draw the line somewhere.

  3. DXer said

    Here is an excerpt from someone’s “Public Menace-Private Profit: United States Biowarfare Alliance” today:

    “According to Jeanne Guillemin, author of Biological Weapons: From the Invention of State-Sponsored Programs to Contemporary Bioterrorism, the Pentagon and CIA made and tested a model of a Soviet anthrax bomb and created an antibiotic-resistant strain of anthrax.

    After consulting with scientists who strongly suggested that the CIA anthrax bomb project would violate the BWC, “CIA lawyers decided the project was within the allowed realm of defensive research,” Guillemin revealed.

    Project Clear Vision, a joint investigation by the CIA and the Battelle Memorial Institute, under contract to the Agency, reconstructed and tested a Soviet-era anthrax bomblet in order to test its dissemination characteristics. The Agency “decided the same” for the small, fully functional bioweapons facility built under the rubric of Project Bacchus.

    The third initiative, Project Jefferson, led to the development of an antibiotic-resistant strain of anthrax based on a Soviet model. After the outgoing Clinton administration hesitated to give the CIA the go-ahead for the project, the Bush regime’s National Security Council gave the Pentagon permission. “They believed” Guillemin wrote, “the Pentagon had the right to investigate genetically altered pathogens in the name of biodefense, ‘to save American lives’.”

    Shortly thereafter, the Pentagon authorized the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), one of the most secretive and heavily-outsourced Defense Department branches, to re-create the deadly anthrax strain.

    Commenting on the close proximity of the 2001 anthrax provocation and the rush towards the invasion and occupation of Iraq, constitutional law expert Glenn Greenwald writes that the anthrax attack “played at least as large of a role as the 9/11 attack itself, if not larger, in creating the general climate of fear that prevailed for years in the U.S. and specifically how the anthrax episode was exploited by leading media and political figures to gin up intense hostility towards Iraq.”

    Which is why, according to Greenwald, “it’s so striking how we’ve collectively flushed this terrorist attack down the memory hole as though it doesn’t exist.” Indeed, “what makes this particularly significant is that the anthrax attack is unresolved and uninvestigated.”

    Here we have one of the most consequential political events of the last decade at least–a lethal biological terrorist attack aimed at key U.S. Senators and media figures, which even the FBI claims originated from a U.S. military lab. The then-British Ambassador to the U.S. is now testifying what has long been clear: that this episode played a huge role in enabling the attack on Iraq. Even our leading mainstream, establishment-serving media outlets–and countless bio-weapons experts–believe that we do not have real answers about who perpetrated this attack and how. And there is little apparent interest in investigating in order to find out. Evidently, this is just another one of those things that we’ll relegate to “the irrelevant past,” and therefore deem it unworthy of attention from our future-gazing, always-distracted minds. (Glenn Greenwald, “A key British official reminds us of the forgotten anthrax attack,” Salon, November 27, 2009)

    On and on it goes, America’s headlong rush into the abyss.”

    The 2004 Columbia University Press book by Jeanne Guillemin seems like a good one to read for those interested in the subject. She is wife of Harvard professor and FBI consultant Dr. Meselson, has long researched the field, and is currently doing a book involving the culture of USAMRIID, which includes interviews with Dr. Ivins’ former colleagues. She wrote the book Anthrax: The Investigation of a Deadly Outbreak regarding the Sverdlosk investigation. She is a sociology professor at Boston University and senior fellow at the Security Studies at MIT. It seems a useful citation in referring to Project Clear Vision and Project Jefferson. While the Broad and Miller 2001 book Germs also is very notable and quotable, this entry by Columbia University Press three years later is worth checking out.

    Comment / Question: Dr. Alibek and Dr. Bailey were Battelle consultants in 1999. It was the intelligence from defector Alibek that led to Project Jefferson and Project Clear Vision. A scientist actively coordinating with the fellow Falls Church imam (“the 911 imam”) Anwar Aulaqi came to share a suite with them, had the same fax, was just feet away from their Dell computers (the serial numbers of which I’ve previously provided). He was Andrew Card’s former assistant briefly in another life and received a letter of commendation from the White House and so disclosing this would have been awkward for the Bush Administration. A common degree among new FBI Special Agents is computer security or computer forensics. Why do the agents not seem more sensitive to Al-Timimi’s access to the computers both in the suite and in the labs at ATCC and GMU’s Discovery Hall? Corinne Verzoni addressed the issue in her PhD thesis by DOD biothreat assessment Peter Leitner.

    A Battelle Theory actually points to the individual who the documentary evidence shows had a motive and was looking forward to the destruction of Western Civilization, wanted to deter invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, protested the detention of Salafist scholars etc. Al-Timimi was actively coordinating with Bin Laden’s Sheik al-Hawali who had been the subject, along with blind sheik Abdel-Rahman, of Bin Laden’s 1998 Declaration of War against the United States. He arranged to have delivered a letter in al-Hawalis name to every member of Congress on the first anniversary of the letter to the US Senators. The Vanguards of Conquest had previously announced that mailed anthrax would be used to protest the detention of its leaders.

    Dr. Al-Timimi has been sentenced to life plus 70 years and is subject to ongoing highly classified briefing relating to NSA wiretapping that allegedly began on or about October 6, 2001. The Salafist-Jihadis counseled by Aulaqi and Al-Timimi were instructed that the koran required a warning, that innocents could not be targeted, and that the koran counseled using the weapons of your enemy.

    Like Dr. Alibek told us years ago, this isn’t rocket science.

    • DXer said

      Al-Timimi’s increasing computer skills got him a job at SRA International where Ali worked as a “bioinformatics software architect” providing information technology to the government. Some of his jobs required that Ali obtain a high-level security clearance. One job resulted in a letter of recommendation from the White House. He then enrolled in a PhD program in computational biology at George Mason University.

      By 2000, Ali Al-Timimi was already taking advanced courses at Mason in computational sciences. Timimi once explained his research: “I am currently a research scientist at the Center for Biomedical Genomics and Informatics, George Mason University. I am involved in the analysis of the microarray data generated by the CTRF Cancer Genomics Project (http://www.ctrf-cagenomics.vcu.edu/HOMEPAGE.htm). Likewise, I am developing new computational approaches and technologies in support of this project.” The webpage for Timimi’s program at the time explained: “Faculty members and graduate students in the Program in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology participate in numerous collaborative efforts including but not limited to the following Laboratories and Research Centers: Center for Biomedical Genomics and Informatics (GMU), Laboratory for Microbial and Environmental Biocomplexity (GMU) and Center for Biodefense (GMU) Beginning the Spring of 2002. GMU hired Ali to develop a computer program that coordinated the research at several universities, letting him go only after he came under suspicion by the FBI. In Spring 2002, according to salary information obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, GMU hired him for $70,000 a year. In 2002, the employment was through the School of Computational Sciences and in 2003, it was through Life Sciences Grants & Contracts.

      The School of Computational Sciences at George Mason is a joint venture between the American Type Culture Collection (”ATCC”) and George Mason. The joint venture is an effort to maximize research efforts by combining the academic and applied approaches to research. The School’s first activity was to teach an ATCC course in DNA techniques adapted for George Mason students. The ATCC is an internationally renown non-profit organization that houses the world’s largest and most diverse archive of biological materials. The collections scientist from its Bacteriology Division is now leading the FBI’s science investigation. The Prince William Campus shared half of Discovery Hall with ATCC. ATCC moved to its current state-of-the-art laboratory at Discovery Hall (Prince Willam II) in 1998. ATCC’s 106,000-square-foot facility had nearly 35,000 square feet of laboratory space with a specialized air handling system and Biosafety Level 2 and 3 containment stations. The ATCC bioinformatics (BIF) program carries out research in various areas of biological information management relevant to its mission. BIF scientists interact with laboratory scientists in microbiology, cell biology, and molecular biology at ATCC and other laboratories throughout the world. ATCC has strong collaborations with a large number of academic institutions, including computational sciences at George Mason University. Through these partnerships, the George Mason Prince William Campus offers George Mason microbiology students an opportunity for students to be involved in current research and gain access to facilities and employment opportunities at ATCC and other partner companies.

      While I’ve not yet found any reference directly confirming Timimi’s room number, the person who inherited his old telephone number (3-4294) is Victor Morozov in the Center for Biodefense, who upon joining the faculty and inheriting the phone number was in Rm. 154A, very near Dr. Bailey in Rm 156B. It has been suggested that it instead was Rm. 154B, in the middle of the office suite. GMU Information Services helpfully looked up the listings from 2001 directory. As of October 2001 (when the directory is published according to GMU Information Services), judging from the directory, Al-Timimi was still just a graduate student.

      Former USAMRIID head and Ames strain anthrax researcher Charles Bailey, in Rm 156B, was given a Gateway desktop computer in mid-March 2001 (upon his arrival) — serial number 0227315480. Like the one Dr. Alibek apparently would get the next year in 156D. One way to think of proximity analysis — a form of true crime analysis — is the number of feet or inches between 154B and 156B/156D. Another way is to think of it is in terms of the number of feet or inches to the hard drives. You can judge the distance for yourself from this linked First Floor plan, clicking upon 154-156 area to enlarge.

    • BugMaster said

      “The third initiative, Project Jefferson, led to the development of an antibiotic-resistant strain of anthrax based on a Soviet model.”

      No, the so-called Project Jefferson (as revealed by Judith Miller and Bill Broad in their NY Times article on September 7, 2001) involved cloning a gene for an additional toxin (cerolysin) into b. anthracis to test its virulency and assess our defensed. It had nothing to do with creating an antibiotic resistant strain.

      This project never got past the proposal stage.

  4. DXer said

    In the Friday comment, “EmptyWheel” does not address to pending “criminal litigation” which is the notable aspect of the response. Surely, it is perfectly sound to first address the science that limited things to the 100-300 people before turning (if ever) to the means of excluding all but one individual. The response that seemed BS and gobbledygook was a different one relating to distribution of Ames — in which the answer by any interpretation seemed self-contradictory. This response by Director Mueller to a question by Senator Grassley is not. It expressly says there is pending criminal litigation. If a particular reader doesn’t know what that “criminal litigation” is, that is understandable but not a reason to assume the answer ia BS.

    “Anthrax Attack Used to Justify the Iraq War
    By: emptywheel Friday November 27, 2009 2:00 pm
    Glenn Greenwald notes this detail from the British Iraq inquiry.

    Yesterday, the British Ambassador to the U.S. in 2002 and 2003, Sir Christopher Meyer (who favored the war), testified before the investigative tribunal and said this:

    Meyer said attitudes towards Iraq were influenced to an extent not appreciated by him at the time by the anthrax scare in the US soon after 9/11. US senators and others were sent anthrax spores in the post, a crime that led to the death of five people, prompting policymakers to claim links to Saddam Hussein. . . .

    On 9/11 Condoleezza Rice, then the US national security adviser, told Meyer she was in “no doubt: it was an al-Qaida operation” . . . It seemed that Paul Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld’s deputy, argued for retaliation to include Iraq, Meyer said. . . .

    But the anthrax scare had “steamed up” policy makers in Bush’s administration and helped swing attitudes against Saddam, who the administration believed had been the last person to use anthrax.

    I’ve written many times before about how the anthrax attack played at least as large of a role as the 9/11 attack itself, if not larger, in creating the general climate of fear that prevailed for years in the U.S. and specifically how the anthrax episode was exploited by leading media and political figures to gin up intense hostility towards Iraq (a few others have argued the same). That’s why it’s so striking how we’ve collectively flushed this terrorist attack down the memory hole as though it doesn’t exist.

    As I pointed out earlier this month, the attack and the FBI’s investigation of it is not entirely forgotten. Chuck Grassley asked Robert Mueller about the investigation this spring. But Mueller invented a totally bullshit answer to dismiss the possibility of investigating the FBI’s investigation.

    Grassley then goes on to ask about the National Academy of Sciences review of the FBI’s scientific analysis of the FBI’s anthrax case. After Mueller reviews that, Grassley asks whether the FBI would be willing to have an independent review of its “detective work” in the case. Mueller basically says, “no.”

    Grassley: Are you opposed to an independent review of the FBI’s detective work, in addition to a review of the scientific evidence?

    Mueller: Because of the importance of science to this particular case, investigative steps were often taken to address leads developed by newly evolved science. In addition, the significance of information or evidence we acquired often took on new or enhanced meaning as scientific advances were made. Consequently, a review of the scientific aspect of this case would be the logical first step. There is also ongoing criminal and civil litigation concerning the Amerithrax investigation and information derived therefrom, and an independent review of the FBI’s “detective work” at this time could adversely affect those proceedings.

    What an astoundingly bullshit answer!

    First, obviously the “detective work” needs to be investigated, if only to explain why the FBI ignored evidence pointing to Bruce Ivins and invented a case against Hatfill. Second, if ongoing litigation (including criminal?!?!?) wouldn’t be hindered by the scientific review, why would it be hindered by a review of the “detective work”? What Muller is more likely saying is just what he admitted with regards to Hatfill: until any civil suits are settled, the FBI doesn’t want to admit to the full extent of its incompetence.

    As we have discussed at length, there are reasons to doubt the FBI’s conclusions that Bruce Ivins acted alone (more here, here, here, here, here, here, and here). Indeed, all the FBI has claimed it proved with its nifty new scientific analysis (and Mueller states this) is that Ivins made the strain used in the attack (I’ll leave it to the scientists to address Mueller’s certainty on that front). They certainly have not proven that Ivins mailed the anthrax. Which means, quite simply, they haven’t solved the case.

    But Robert Mueller doesn’t want to show the FBI’s work.

    Now maybe the FBI realizes they haven’t solved this case, and that’s why they can’t start investigating their own detective work. But if that’s the case, don’t you think they ought to tell the American people that there’s an American bioterrorist running around on the loose?

    The FBI investigation ought to be reviewed because the bioterrorist may well be wandering free, and because the FBI showed real incompetence several times during its investigation.

    But Glenn points out another reason this investigation ought to be reviewed: because the attack played a key role in drumming up the attack on Iraq.”

  5. anonymous scientist said

    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2009/11/27/anthrax/index.html

    Glenn Greenwald
    Friday, Nov 27, 2009 03:28 PST
    A key British official reminds us of the forgotten anthrax attack
    By Glenn Greenwald

    (updated below)

    Britain is currently engulfed by a probing, controversial investigation into how their Government came to support the invasion of Iraq, replete with evidence that much of what was said at the time by both British and American officials was knowingly false, particularly regarding the unequivocal intention of the Bush administration to attack Iraq for months when they were pretending otherwise. Yesterday, the British Ambassador to the U.S. in 2002 and 2003, Sir Christopher Meyer (who favored the war), testified before the investigative tribunal and said this:

    Meyer said attitudes towards Iraq were influenced to an extent not appreciated by him at the time by the anthrax scare in the US soon after 9/11. US senators and others were sent anthrax spores in the post, a crime that led to the death of five people, prompting policymakers to claim links to Saddam Hussein. . . .

    On 9/11 Condoleezza Rice, then the US national security adviser, told Meyer she was in “no doubt: it was an al-Qaida operation” . . . It seemed that Paul Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld’s deputy, argued for retaliation to include Iraq, Meyer said. . . .

    But the anthrax scare had “steamed up” policy makers in Bush’s administration and helped swing attitudes against Saddam, who the administration believed had been the last person to use anthrax.

    I’ve written many times before about how the anthrax attack played at least as large of a role as the 9/11 attack itself, if not larger, in creating the general climate of fear that prevailed for years in the U.S. and specifically how the anthrax episode was exploited by leading media and political figures to gin up intense hostility towards Iraq (a few others have argued the same). That’s why it’s so striking how we’ve collectively flushed this terrorist attack down the memory hole as though it doesn’t exist. When Dana Perino boasted this week on Fox News that “we did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush’s term,” most of the resulting derision focused on the 9/11 attack while ignoring — as always — the anthrax attack.

    What makes this particularly significant is that the anthrax attack is unresolved and uninvestigated. The FBI claimed last year that it had identified the sole perpetrator, Bruce Ivins, but because Ivins is dead, they never had the opportunity — or the obligation — to prove their accusations in any meaningful tribunal. The case against Ivins is so riddled with logical and evidentiary holes that it has generated extreme doubts not merely from typical government skeptics but from the most mainstream, establishment-revering, and ideologically disparate sources. Just consider some of the outlets and individuals who have stated unequivocally that the FBI’s case against Ivinis is unpersausive and requires a meaningful investigation: The Washington Post Editorial Page; The New York Times Editorial Page; The Wall St. Journal Editorial Page; the science journal Nature; Senators Pat Leahy, Arlen Specter and Charles Grassley; physicist and Congressman Rush Holt, whose New Jersey district was where the anthrax letters were sent; Dr. Alan Pearson, Director of the Biological and Chemical Weapons Control Program at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation; and a vast array of scientific and legal experts in the field.

    Here we have one of the most consequential political events of the last decade at least — a lethal biological terrorist attack aimed at key U.S. Senators and media figures, which even the FBI claims originated from a U.S. military lab. The then-British Ambassador to the U.S. is now testifying what has long been clear: that this episode played a huge role in enabling the attack on Iraq. Even our leading mainstream, establishment-serving media outlets — and countless bio-weapons experts — believe that we do not have real answers about who perpetrated this attack and how. And there is little apparent interest in investigating in order to find out. Evidently, this is just another one of those things that we’ll relegate to “the irrelevant past,” and therefore deem it unworthy of attention from our future-gazing, always-distracted minds.

    UPDATE: Marcy Wheeler notes that the FBI has become increasingly defiant towards requests that its claims be reviewed by an independent panel; of course, that couldn’t happen unless the White House and Congress permitted it to.

    • anonymous scientist said

      http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2009/11/27/anthrax-attack-used-to-justify-the-iraq-war/

      Glenn Greenwald notes this detail from the British Iraq inquiry.

      Yesterday, the British Ambassador to the U.S. in 2002 and 2003, Sir Christopher Meyer (who favored the war), testified before the investigative tribunal and said this:

      Meyer said attitudes towards Iraq were influenced to an extent not appreciated by him at the time by the anthrax scare in the US soon after 9/11. US senators and others were sent anthrax spores in the post, a crime that led to the death of five people, prompting policymakers to claim links to Saddam Hussein. . . .

      On 9/11 Condoleezza Rice, then the US national security adviser, told Meyer she was in “no doubt: it was an al-Qaida operation” . . . It seemed that Paul Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld’s deputy, argued for retaliation to include Iraq, Meyer said. . . .

      But the anthrax scare had “steamed up” policy makers in Bush’s administration and helped swing attitudes against Saddam, who the administration believed had been the last person to use anthrax.

      I’ve written many times before about how the anthrax attack played at least as large of a role as the 9/11 attack itself, if not larger, in creating the general climate of fear that prevailed for years in the U.S. and specifically how the anthrax episode was exploited by leading media and political figures to gin up intense hostility towards Iraq (a few others have argued the same). That’s why it’s so striking how we’ve collectively flushed this terrorist attack down the memory hole as though it doesn’t exist.

      As I pointed out earlier this month, the attack and the FBI’s investigation of it is not entirely forgotten. Chuck Grassley asked Robert Mueller about the investigation this spring. But Mueller invented a totally bullshit answer to dismiss the possibility of investigating the FBI’s investigation.

      Grassley then goes on to ask about the National Academy of Sciences review of the FBI’s scientific analysis of the FBI’s anthrax case. After Mueller reviews that, Grassley asks whether the FBI would be willing to have an independent review of its “detective work” in the case. Mueller basically says, “no.”

      Grassley: Are you opposed to an independent review of the FBI’s detective work, in addition to a review of the scientific evidence?

      Mueller: Because of the importance of science to this particular case, investigative steps were often taken to address leads developed by newly evolved science. In addition, the significance of information or evidence we acquired often took on new or enhanced meaning as scientific advances were made. Consequently, a review of the scientific aspect of this case would be the logical first step. There is also ongoing criminal and civil litigation concerning the Amerithrax investigation and information derived therefrom, and an independent review of the FBI’s “detective work” at this time could adversely affect those proceedings.

      What an astoundingly bullshit answer!

      First, obviously the “detective work” needs to be investigated, if only to explain why the FBI ignored evidence pointing to Bruce Ivins and invented a case against Hatfill. Second, if ongoing litigation (including criminal?!?!?) wouldn’t be hindered by the scientific review, why would it be hindered by a review of the “detective work”? What Muller is more likely saying is just what he admitted with regards to Hatfill: until any civil suits are settled, the FBI doesn’t want to admit to the full extent of its incompetence.

      As we have discussed at length, there are reasons to doubt the FBI’s conclusions that Bruce Ivins acted alone (more here, here, here, here, here, here, and here). Indeed, all the FBI has claimed it proved with its nifty new scientific analysis (and Mueller states this) is that Ivins made the strain used in the attack (I’ll leave it to the scientists to address Mueller’s certainty on that front). They certainly have not proven that Ivins mailed the anthrax. Which means, quite simply, they haven’t solved the case.

      But Robert Mueller doesn’t want to show the FBI’s work.

      Now maybe the FBI realizes they haven’t solved this case, and that’s why they can’t start investigating their own detective work. But if that’s the case, don’t you think they ought to tell the American people that there’s an American bioterrorist running around on the loose?

      The FBI investigation ought to be reviewed because the bioterrorist may well be wandering free, and because the FBI showed real incompetence several times during its investigation.

      But Glenn points out another reason this investigation ought to be reviewed: because the attack played a key role in drumming up the attack on Iraq.

  6. BugMaster said

    Mr. Lake quite often accuses others of deliberately distorting the facts. Here, from his website, are some distortions of his own.

    “Only some of the attack spores contained Silicon inside their spore coats.”

    Wrong! This cannot be determined. Dr. Michael’s analysis determined the presence of silicon and its location in the spore coat WHEN IT WAS PRESENT IN HIGH ENOUGH CONCENTRATIONS TO BE VISUALIZED USING HIS METHODS! In otherwords, a QUALITATIVE DETERMINATION (silicon was present, and localized in the spore coat).

    To then try to extend such an analysis to obtain QUANTITIATIVE information (how much was there) is a real stretch.

    What criteria were used to determine an image showed sufficient contrast to consider it a postive (“contains silicon”)? Then you assume if this threshold wasn’t reached, there was “no silicon”?

    Wrong, Wrong, Wrong!

    You cannot state “no silicon present, did not contain any silicon, X% contained silicon, etc.”

    I would hope at least when Dr. Michael presented his information to the NAS, he presented the information properly, as in:

    “Below the level of detection, not detected using the current method, or not detected”.

    And since now Dr. Michael is trying to obtain quantitative information from a qualitative assay, what levels were associated with a “positive result”? How would the preparation of the material affect the “results”?

    No silicon in the RMR-1029 material, yet it was detected in the attack material? Could it be that when the spores were dried, they became more dense as water was removed (almost always happens when drying biological materials). Could the denser material when analyzed then produce a “positive result”?

    If this was a trace analysis, how was the level of sensativity (how much present to give a so-called “contains silicon” result?

    Since it is now apparently a quantititive assay, can we see the method validation, at least one large standard curve, and the results obtained (of course not, can’t be done).

    Yet, from these results, “facts” are stated.

    This is a perfect example of one presenting distorted facts, Ed. Hopefully Dr. Michael didn’t present them to the NAS in the same manner, if he did, he no longer has any credibility with them whatsoever.

    And this:

    “When there were two bacteria in the same culture and in the same growth medium, why does bacterium A utilize Silicon when creating its spore coat while bacterium B does not utilize Silicon when creating its spore coat?”

    Almost as bad as a previous post, which is really absurd:

    “The silicon is incorporated into the spore as the spore is formed inside the mother germ, not afterward. It’s incorporated the same way Iron is incorporated into human blood when we eat raisins”

    Wrong, Wrong, Wrong, Wrong, Wrong, Wrong, Wrong!

    There is no physiological mechanism whatsoever by which a bacillus bacterium utilizes silicon.

    This statement is equivalent to claiming that when you are thirsty, all you have to do is jump in the shower, and then “utilize” the resulting moisture in your wet hair to quench your thirst!

    Ed, please carefully review Dr. Weber’s presentation (this time, with an open mind).

    I am not saying that you deliberately distorted the facts here, but as presented, are a total distortion based on:

    Your incomplete understanding of said facts!

    124 spores from the Leahy letter were analyzed and only 97 spores (76%) contained silicon.
    111 spores from the Daschle letter were analyzed and only 73 spores (66%) contained silicon.
    141 spores from the NY Post letter were analyzed and only 91 spores (65%) contained silicon.

    They not only ignore those key facts, they also ignore some significant related facts:

    1. None of the remaining spores in flask RMR-1029 contained Silicon in their spore coats.
    2. 6% of the spores Dr. Ivins created in flask RMR-1030 contained Silicon in their spore coats.
    3. Other tested samples contained Silicon in 1.2%, 1.5%, 4.4%, 8.8%, 18.7% and 29% of the spore coats.
    4. No tested sample ever contained Silicon in 100% of the spore coats.”

    • DXer said

      Why bother posting about Dr. JM’s presentation when you didn’t bother to obtain the powerpoints, but Ed did?

      I think there is reason to fault Ed — for not uploading the powerpoints.

      But there is no reason to discuss the issue — just reason to make available the expert’s presentation so that we can be guided by the most expert analysis.

      • BugMaster said

        Dr. Michael’s analysis shows that silicon was present, and localized within the spore coat.

        That is what can be concluded from his work. Any further conclusions (utilized by the bacteria because it incorporated the silcon in the spore while it was forming, not present at all in some spores, came from silica gel) is weak speculation, and maybe even propaganda.

        Regardless of who the “expert” providing the further analysis is.

        BTW: In any analysis, it is imperative to integrate information from all available sources.

        In otherwords, information from Dr. Beecher, Dr. Michael, and Dr. Weber.

        No silicon from a “military weaponization process” and certainly no silicon from silica GEL.

    • anonymous scientist said

      Joe Michael’s contention that the presence of silicon in the mother cell somehow “proves” the silicon got their “naturally” and by “accident” makes little or no sense. Clearly the silicon got there utilizing the same mechanism as in the regular spores.
      It cannot be ruled out that a post-sporulation treatment of a silane monomer was used – the silane would happily polymerize on the spore coat of either a fully formed spore or a mother cell – in both cases the monomer would penetrate the porous cell wall.
      It is telling that Joe Michael continues to insist that his analysis is only semi-quantitative – and he continues to hide behind an error of +/- 50% on his quantitative estimate of 1.4% silicon.
      Why on earth are the attack spores not given to Weber at Livermore whose technique of nanosims can give accurate quantitative measurements of silicon concentration per spore? Weber’s analytical technique is far superior to anything Joe Michael at Sandia can do.

      • BugMaster said

        “It cannot be ruled out that a post-sporulation treatment of a silane monomer was used – the silane would happily polymerize on the spore coat of either a fully formed spore or a mother cell – in both cases the monomer would penetrate the porous cell wall.”

        O.K. But would such a treatment be absolutely to produce material with “liquid smoke” characteristics? I believe the answer here is no.

        “Why on earth are the attack spores not given to Weber at Livermore whose technique of nanosims can give accurate quantitative measurements of silicon concentration per spore? Weber’s analytical technique is far superior to anything Joe Michael at Sandia can do.”

        Why not? And while they are at it, grow up some spores on plates containing Ivin’s FA media as specified in his patent (leave out the kanamycin, duh!) and analyze that!

        • anonymous scientist said

          “O.K. But would such a treatment be absolutely to produce material with “liquid smoke” characteristics? I believe the answer here is no.”

          This link may help:

          http://www.aerosil.com/aerosil/en/solutions/effects/freeflow/

          All small particles of any material clump to each other due to van der Waals forces (contrary to the almost hysterical campaign mounted over many years by Ed Lake to change the laws of physics for anthrax spore particles). The NAS committee are well aware of the science involved in small particle agglomeration.

          An old weaponization trick was to coat the spores with fumed silica (again, something Ed lake hysterically denied for years).

          A more modern approach is to coat the spores by microencapsulation with a silica polymer (polymerized glass). This coats the spore coat since the monomer of silane penetrates the porous cell wall (exosporium). The result is that the spore is now highly hydrophobic – it repels liquid water and now there is no clumping by water bridging (see link above).

          The attack spores were highly hydrophobic – Bruce Ivins himself commented in this highly unusual behavior when he tried to disperse spores in water to do spore count plating (he was diluting a known mass of spores into a known volume of water so he could get a colonies/g count). Bruce told several colleagues about this unusual behavior and they passed that information directly to me.

          Ed Lake has also been hysterically campaigning that such a coating of polymerized glass would cause the spores to be nonviable – that, of course, is nonsense. Gaseous water molecules can still penetrate the spores and bring them to life at the right time (ie. inside lung aveoli).

          To the best of my knowledge there are parties who are presently performing reverse engineering with silane.

          So, in short, treatment with polymerized glass would lead to a highly dispersable powder.

        • BugMaster said

          “The attack spores were highly hydrophobic – Bruce Ivins himself commented in this highly unusual behavior when he tried to disperse spores in water to do spore count plating (he was diluting a known mass of spores into a known volume of water so he could get a colonies/g count). Bruce told several colleagues about this unusual behavior and they passed that information directly to me”

          Lyophilized biological material (enzymes, lectins, other proteins) can exhibit characteristics akin to this when one first starts to re-constitute them.

          Still, a most interesting observation.

        • BugMaster said

          You know, Anonymous Scientist, that many people refer to Scotchguard as “silicone spray”, even though it contains no silicon.

          “maybe even propaganda?”

          Scratch the “maybe” and “even”.

        • DXer said

          One of the many stupid and uninformed comments about the Vanguards of Conquest plans to use anthrax coincidentally relates to a silicone sealant. The manual advises to wipe the inside of the envelope to avoid killing the mailman. Yet, political activists or others with a personal agenda argue that the fact the envelopes were heavily taped (they actually weren’t [ see Daschle book ] but let’s assume for the sake of argument that they were) shows that it was not supporters of the Salafist-Jihadis. When actually, preventing the mailman from being killed is precisely the modus operandi instructed to be used in the manual’s chapter on poisonous letters.

          CNN.com – Transcripts
          It turns out that the Al Qaeda terrorists already have a dreadful recipe book on … “Wipe the envelope from the inside with silicone sealant,” it goes on, …
          www-cgi.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0111/15/ltm.01.html

        • DXer said

          (From a webpost about aquaria).

          “Dale, just so you know, You made me traipse all of the way down to my cold
          dank basement to get a cartridge of GE silicone sealant. It is GE Window & Door (Clear). Stock number GE012A, Batch HD022, Use by 04/00. It was obtained at Home Depot last year.

          It is labeled “100% Silicone Rubber Sealant”.

          ***

          When I said that none of these products are 100% Silicone (as in the element
          on the periodic table), I was referring to the following markings on the product.

          Ingredients
          :
          Polydimethylsiloxane 70131-61-8;Treated Fumed Silica 68511-44-9;Dimethylpolysiloxane 63148-62-9;
          Methyltriacetoxysilane:4253-34-3; VOC (excluding water and exempt compounds)
          is less than 50 g/l

          ________

          Anonymous Scientist,

          what are polydimethylsiloxane and Dimethylpolysiloxane. Was either found in the mailed anthrax?

        • anonymous scientist said

          “what are polydimethylsiloxane and Dimethylpolysiloxane. Was either found in the mailed anthrax?”

          In short – yes. The SiOx on the spore coat IS polydimethylsiloxane.

          The FBI themselves announced this at classified briefings in April 2002. Then they changed their minds 6 years later. The word polydimethylsiloxane is now a verboten term in any discussion of the spores by the FBI. However, to the best of my knowledge, nanosims of polydimethylsiloxane coated reverse engineered spores is presently underway.

          http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/sophisticatedstrainanthrax.html

          Government sources tell NEWSWEEK that the secret new analysis shows anthrax found in a letter addressed to Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy was ground to a microscopic fineness not achieved by U.S. biological-weapons experts. The Leahy anthrax — mailed in an envelope that was recovered unopened from a Washington post office last November — also was coated with a chemical compound unknown to experts who have worked in the field for years; the coating matches no known anthrax samples ever recovered from biological-weapons producers anywhere in the world, including Iraq and the former Soviet Union.

          http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/anthraxpowdernotroutine.html

          Whoever concocted the wispy white powder used in last fall’s anthrax attacks followed a recipe markedly different from the ones commonly used by scientists in the United States or any other country known to have biological weapons, law enforcement sources said yesterday.

          Extensive lab tests of the anthrax powder have revealed new details about how the powder was made, including the identity of a chemical used to coat the trillions of microscopic spores to keep them from clumping together. Sources close to the investigation declined to name the chemical but said its presence was something of a surprise.

          The powder’s formulation “was not routine,” said one law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “Somebody had to have special knowledge and experience to do this,” the official said

          http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/unusualcoating.html

          Washington (CNN) — Scientists have found a new chemical in the coating on the anthrax spores mailed to journalists and politicians last fall, a high-ranking government official said Wednesday.

          The discovery of the unnamed chemical, something scientists are familiar with, was surprising, the official said.

          http://cryptome.org/anthrax-powder.htm

          U.S. intelligence officers informed foreign biodefense off icials that this additive was “polymerized glass.”

          http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121789293570011775.html?mod=opinion_main_commentaries

          According to a FBI news release from November 2001, the particles were coated by a “product not seen previously to be used in this fashion before.” Apparently, the spores were coated with a polyglass which tightly bound hydrophilic silica to each particle. That’s what was briefed (according to one of my former weapons inspectors at the United Nations Special Commission) by the FBI to the German Foreign Ministry at the time.

          POSNER: That‘s what they make it sound like, but it‘s not. Let me tell you, the late public hears this, they think that‘s the evidence. Those are the spores that got people sick, sent out from the envelopes, not true. That was liquid anthrax in that flask.

          Even if the FBI can tie to that flask, they can‘t explain how it was then made into this extremely sophisticated type of weapon with small milligram with electric charges to it, with poly[glass] on top of the coating, all to go deep inside the lungs, to spread to the air. This was weaponized, military anthrax. They cannot explain how from that glass flask in a liquid form into the form that was sent in the envelopes, that they don‘t have the evidence on it.
          POSNER: Well, they threw out this machine what they called the lyopholizer, they say that can make wet anthrax into dry anthrax, but I talked to six different microbiologist today and people involved formerly in weapons programs in the United States and in Russia, who say that the machine that the FBI talks about can‘t do that.

          The strongest evidence they have going for them is also their Achilles‘ heel and that he‘s psychological profile. That fact that he‘s very unstable, that he was someone who was an alcoholic, that he might wanted to have the vaccine continue to go along, but that‘s also the fact that he could have been set up as a cutout or puppet (ph) or used by a group of people who wanted the anthrax out there.

        • anonymous scientist said

          “what are polydimethylsiloxane and Dimethylpolysiloxane. Was either found in the mailed anthrax?”

          In short – yes. The SiOx on the spore coat IS polydimethylsiloxane.

          The FBI themselves announced this at classified briefings in April 2002. Then they changed their minds 6 years later. The word polydimethylsiloxane is now a verboten term in any discussion of the spores by the FBI. However, to the best of my knowledge, nanosims of polydimethylsiloxane coated reverse engineered spores is presently underway.

          http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/sophisticatedstrainanthrax.html

          Government sources tell NEWSWEEK that the secret new analysis shows anthrax found in a letter addressed to Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy was ground to a microscopic fineness not achieved by U.S. biological-weapons experts. The Leahy anthrax — mailed in an envelope that was recovered unopened from a Washington post office last November — also was coated with a chemical compound unknown to experts who have worked in the field for years; the coating matches no known anthrax samples ever recovered from biological-weapons producers anywhere in the world, including Iraq and the former Soviet Union.

          http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/anthraxpowdernotroutine.html

          Whoever concocted the wispy white powder used in last fall’s anthrax attacks followed a recipe markedly different from the ones commonly used by scientists in the United States or any other country known to have biological weapons, law enforcement sources said yesterday.

          Extensive lab tests of the anthrax powder have revealed new details about how the powder was made, including the identity of a chemical used to coat the trillions of microscopic spores to keep them from clumping together. Sources close to the investigation declined to name the chemical but said its presence was something of a surprise.

          The powder’s formulation “was not routine,” said one law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “Somebody had to have special knowledge and experience to do this,” the official said

          http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/unusualcoating.html

          Washington (CNN) — Scientists have found a new chemical in the coating on the anthrax spores mailed to journalists and politicians last fall, a high-ranking government official said Wednesday.

          The discovery of the unnamed chemical, something scientists are familiar with, was surprising, the official said.

          http://cryptome.org/anthrax-powder.htm

          U.S. intelligence officers informed foreign biodefense off icials that this additive was “polymerized glass.”

          http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121789293570011775.html?mod=opinion_main_commentaries

          According to a FBI news release from November 2001, the particles were coated by a “product not seen previously to be used in this fashion before.” Apparently, the spores were coated with a polyglass which tightly bound hydrophilic silica to each particle. That’s what was briefed (according to one of my former weapons inspectors at the United Nations Special Commission) by the FBI to the German Foreign Ministry at the time.

          POSNER: That‘s what they make it sound like, but it‘s not. Let me tell you, the late public hears this, they think that‘s the evidence. Those are the spores that got people sick, sent out from the envelopes, not true. That was liquid anthrax in that flask.

          Even if the FBI can tie to that flask, they can‘t explain how it was then made into this extremely sophisticated type of weapon with small milligram with electric charges to it, with poly[glass] on top of the coating, all to go deep inside the lungs, to spread to the air. This was weaponized, military anthrax. They cannot explain how from that glass flask in a liquid form into the form that was sent in the envelopes, that they don‘t have the evidence on it.
          POSNER: Well, they threw out this machine what they called the lyopholizer, they say that can make wet anthrax into dry anthrax, but I talked to six different microbiologist today and people involved formerly in weapons programs in the United States and in Russia, who say that the machine that the FBI talks about can‘t do that.

          The strongest evidence they have going for them is also their Achilles‘ heel and that he‘s psychological profile. That fact that he‘s very unstable, that he was someone who was an alcoholic, that he might wanted to have the vaccine continue to go along, but that‘s also the fact that he could have been set up as a cutout or puppet (ph) or used by a group of people who wanted the anthrax out there.

        • BugMaster said

          I realize, DXer, that you have never taken a class in introductory chemistry, but have a look at “scotchguard” on wikipedia.

          Then have a look at the periodic table.

          In light of past postings here.

        • DXer said

          My friend John who is head of the air force lab has done controlled experiments making aerosolized anthrax — for the purpose of insights into Amerithrax — using a silanizing solution in the slurry. It was added BEFORE drying, and not post-production as done under the traditional 90s Dugway method. This would NOT be a post-production additive. It would NOT be for the purpose of aiding dispersability. He says the SEMS — which I’ve distributed — are the same as the attack anthrax.

          But his lab’s conclusion would be supporting WMD Majidi’s conclusion. … not Ed’s conclusion. Ed’s conclusion is not supportable by any evidence – that it was not added on purpose. There is no data in JM’s powerpoints that permits an inference of intent which is why Ed does not link them.

          The head of the air force lab refers to the microdroplet cell culture patent coinvented by the leading anthrax suspect and former USAMRIID deputy commander, as a microencapsulation patent. The reason for microencapsulation in the case of anthrax — which has an exosporium and thus does not need it to increase viability as in the usual case of other pathogens — is to reduce the need for more expensive equipment. See Crockett PhD thesis advised by Alibek, Patrick and Bailey.

          Crockett was 2 doors down from Al-Timimi and shared a fax. She was there at the same time he was. She was Dr. Alibek’s assistant. That is documentary evidence that the know-how existed in the suite. She explains microencapsulation and the reason for it in processing the attack anthrax and was advised by the FBI’s consultant WP, who reasonably suggests he knows more about aerosolizing anthrax than anyone in the US.

          It is this DARPA-funded know-how that is the best information. The analysis is supported by controlled, reproducible experiments done by a lab where the scientists have a lot of experience making anthrax simulants and the lead scientist has worked with the Dugway scientists in the past.

          Discussion of conclusory assertions by non-experts is a waste of time.

          JM’s powerpoints should be uploaded and then the controlled experiments done by a military lab that point to the source of Silicon Signal being the result of intentional action(though not added post-production for the purpose of aiding dispersability) should be formally presented to the NAS.

    • BugMaster said

      Ed:

      The point is that when reporting analytical results, you cannot say “none”. One cannot detect nothing!

      In otherwords:

      “Below the level of detection”. “Not detected using current analytical techniques”.

      And once you state “Below level of dectection”, you also have to define the level of detection!

      Dr. Michael determined that silicon was present, and localized within the spore coat. But as a paid propagandist (as opposed to an UNPAID propagandist!) he (with significant coaching, after all, he spent three days looking for something he had no idea existed) took his qualitative information, and from it, derived erroneous quanititative conclusions.

      Believe me, the NAS cannot be impressed here. Either am I, although I am somewhat impressed with the overall audacity!

      • BugMaster said

        Right.

        Dr. Michael was given blind samples and then spent three days (according to what he said) looking for the magical “forming endospore” image?

        I have no problem with Dr. Michael’s initial QUALITATIVE work.

        As in: The spores contained silicon, and it was localized in the spore coat.

        It is his further bullsh*t conclusions (forming endospore found after, eureka!, three days, determining percentages of spores that contained silicon) that I have a problem with.

        Why did he spend three days looking for something he had no idea existed?

        Could it be that someone was directing his efforts?

        Maybe they directed the bullsh*t conclusions as well.

        I am sure that there are many that do not want to consider the possiblity that the liquid smoke material came directly from RMR-1029.

        As in the 90 mls sent to Battelle!

        But yes, Ed.

        It is only a possiblity.

        • BugMaster said

          According to recent a recent WRITTEN statement by the GAO (That’s the Government Accountability Office, Ed) whether or not the material came directly from the flask or was the result of a regrown HAS YET TO BE DETERMINED.

          The puppy-chow material, produced on plates, yes, a regrowth.

          And thank you for setting me straight on the endospore issue, Ed. But as far as Dr. Michael’s presentation as proof all the material was a re-growth, apparently someone at the GAO doesn’t agree.

          Also, I really should have used terminology proscribed by my favorite comedian, Agent Idiot Majidi:

          “Lets just say the 90 mls sent to a quasi-governmental agency, and leave it at that.”

          As far as the possiblity, look at the RMR-1029 records, and do the math.

        • BugMaster said

          Let’s see what the coming week brings, and what is behind those rumours you’ve been hearing.

        • DXer said

          BugMaster, do you have a citation and link for the GAO report you rely on?

        • BugMaster said

          Lew posted a page on it a while ago.

        • BugMaster said

          Ed:

          I take it you agree with the following:

          There was a lot of material used in the attacks.

          At least some of it was of very high purity.

          The letters required a number of clandestine activities to produce them.

          Now, the timeframe, all this occurred over a short period of time.

          In a short period of time, you can come up with two out of three here. All three is a real stretch.

  7. DXer said

    Sir Christopher Meyer also tells Sir John Chilcot’s investigation that attitudes towards Saddam Hussein were affected by US anthrax attacks

    * James Meikle and Andrew Sparrow
    * guardian.co.uk, Thursday 26 November 2009 11.47 GMT

    ***
    The former ambassador said that attitudes towards Iraq were influenced to an extent not appreciated by him at the time by the anthrax scare in the US soon after 9/11. US senators and others were sent anthrax spores in the post, a crime that led to the death of five people, prompting policymakers to claim links to Saddam Hussein.

    ***
    On 9/11 Condoleezza Rice, then the US national security adviser, told Meyer she was in “no doubt: it was an al-Qaida operation”. The following weekend Bush and his key advisers met at Camp David and contacts later told Meyer there had been a “big ding-dong” about Iraq and Saddam.

    It seemed that Paul Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld’s deputy, argued for retaliation to include Iraq, Meyer said. It was not clear where Rumsfeld stood. But later that month Bush and Tony Blair, on a visit to Washington, were agreed on a “laser-like focus” on al-Qaida and Pakistan.
    ***
    But the anthrax scare had “steamed up” policy makers in Bush’s administration and helped swing attitudes against Saddam, who the administration believed had been the last person to use anthrax.

    Comment: More precisely, given that Saddam had not used anthrax, the more dramatic hidden dynamic at the highest levels was that the former assistant to White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, Ali Al-Timimi, was immediately thought after 911 to be part of the conspiracy. He had access to anthrax know-how by reason of working alongside Departmental colleagues at the Center for Biodefense. He had received a letter of commendation from the White House and had a high security clearance for his work in computational biology. His father was a lawyer at the Iraqi embassy. Ali was a former assistant to White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card. And so the White House was tormented by the knowledge of how access to know-how combined with the fact that they would lose the 2004 election if their negligence in allowing the access was discovered. So they proceeded with warrantless wiretapping that only two Department of Justice officials even knew about. Now that’s compartmentalization when not a single member of the Amerithrax Task Force knew that anthrax weapons suspect Al-Timimi was being wiretapped by the NSA under the Presidential Surveillance Program. It’s not the FBI that should be faulted for an inability to connect the dots. It’s the outside observers.

  8. DXer said

    2001-09-11 10:15:44 Skytel [007550717] D ALPHA Joey.Sirmons@Homestore.com||Any threat of wide-range biological agents? –
    2001-09-11 12:30:55 Metrocall [1305888] A ALPHA is cia tell my parents to get away from dc some kind of threat of biological weapons no joke!!! this is serious just to be safe ill be at grans talk to you laterphone ison

    Zawahiri, the blind sheik’s attorney, and former members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad had publicly said that Zawahiri intended to use anthrax against US targets to protest the rendition of senior Egyptian jihadists. The CIA knew this. See CIA PDB to President Bush on subject in early February.

    So why 8 years later does the FBI and CIA seem so clueless about the anthrax mailings? In the affidavit about Ivins, they falsely created the impression that Ivins had written about Bin Laden’s fatwa shortly before the anthrax mailings when actually his email was 8 days after and began “I just heard tonight…” (it was the day of a Gertz column on the subject)

    Are people really so comfortable forming opinions without reading things necessary to having an informed opinion?

    The public and media was not thrown off with respect to the “planes operations” that US planes had been misappropriated and used.

    Why should they have been so misled just because US anthrax had been hijacked?

    2001-09-11 10:52:42 Arch [0951805] D ALPHA Hartman|FYI: State Dept issued Friday a WW alert about possible threats from Osama bin Laden. Joann ||107
    2001-09-11 10:56:37 Skytel [005054523] C ALPHA I want some Bin Laden Ass!! Give me a call if you get a chance-1152143
    2001-09-11 11:57:38 Arch [0900779] C ALPHA mas-microsoft-com:office:office” /> 11:55 WCBS Radio: Arab news source that Bin Laden boastede weeks ago about pending terrorist attack
    2001-09-11 13:23:41 Arch [0900779] C ALPHA Sub:WTC Updates Msg: WTC UPDATE 1:17 CNN: according to Peter Bergen/Bin Laden Expert: there was a recent videotape of
    2001-09-11 13:32:07 Arch [0141477] B ALPHA iGo Alert <i@spe|Expert: Bin Laden Warned of 'Unprecedented' Attack; NY Mayor Orders Evacuation, Says Death Toll High; Sent: 09/11@12:30 CST
    2001-09-11 15:29:48 Metrocall [002588197] B ALPHA te Txt: Update. All airports shut down until earliest noon tomorrow. All monuments and amusement parks evacuated and closed down. Osama bin Laden top of suspect list for atacks. Robyn
    2001-09-11 15:47:02 Arch [0985901] D ALPHA "Strategy.com Ne|Bin Laden suspected in US attacks: official
    2001-09-11 15:47:29 Metrocall [002660858] C ALPHA : Txt: Bin Laden suspected in US attacks: official
    2001-09-11 15:49:44 Skytel [0001403] C ALPHA ]!z00]"AT];0a]<4Breaking News: ]<2Sources indicate that people linked to Osama Bin Laden are responsible for the attacks… ]$ (94
    2001-09-11 15:59:44 Skytel [007524604] D ALPHA [redacted]@hotmail.com|Re: |Graeme, don't go wearing your Osama Bin Laden shirt today……………

    • DXer said

      As illustrated by the text message posted on Wikileak from 911, the CIA has known of Zawahiri’s plans to use anthrax since July 1998, when the CIA seized a disc from Ayman Zawahiri’s right-hand, Ahmed Mabruk, during his arrest outside a restaurant in Baku, Azerbaijan.

      An April 1, 1999 email shows Ayman Zawahiri was in active email contact with Egyptians in a Yemen cell engaged in operational planning. In 1999, Zawahiri created some computer documents describing his biological and chemical program, which he code-named Zabadi or “Curdled Milk.” It is milk curdled by bacteria. It’s made using a spraydryer. Like the FBI, Zawahiri has a penchant for suggestive code names, which sort of defeats the purpose. (Indeed, the US Army reportedly used Zabadi and “bad cow” as code names for Iraqi soldiers upon invading Iraq.) The project apparently included work on a pesticide/nerve agent that used a chemical to increase absorption (and was tested on rabbits and dogs). Was Ayman’s code-name al-Zabadi, meaning yogurt. Or was it instead al-Zubaidy, referring to the inventor of an aerosol spraying device used in adapting cropdusters? I have relied on a landmark article in the Wall Street Journal about the documents on Ayman’s computer in suggesting that Zabadi means “yogurt.”

      Later that month, a vitriolic message, signed by “Army of Suicidals Group 66, Bin Laden Militant Wing,” threatened anthrax attacks against Westerners if they stayed in Yemen beyond a 11-day ultimatum ending February 27, 1999. Egyptians, Algerians and Tunisians, all veterans of the Afghan war, were part of a group calling itself the Islamic Army of Aden and Abyan. Investigators considered a possible connection to the attempted extradition to Yemen of the London-based Egyptian islamic preacher Abu Hamza al-Masri. At a news conference on January 20, 1999, Abu Hamza, who was the leader of the London-based Supporters of Sharia (Islamic law), had warned that westerners should leave Yemen. Both his son and stepson were being held by authorities. Abu Hamzi al-Masri would later be arrested in May 2004. The anthrax threat, however, was a bluff. Ayman was still researching the subject. Richard Clarke once said in testimony, “All too often we ignore open sources. If we don’t pay for it or steal it, we don’t believe it.” There is a wealth of public information about the Vanguards of Conquest and Zawahiri’s quest to weaponize anthrax. On March 6, 1999, the report first appeared about Al Qaeda and anthrax in Arabic newspapers in connection with the confession of a senior Egyptian islamist militant, Ahmad al-Najjar. Al-Najjar had served and then betrayed Zawahiri in Yemen. Al-Najjar also revealed the EIJ’s wing in the United States centered on Ali Mohammed.

      • DXer said

        In early September 1999, the London Sunday Times reported that London Sheik Omar Bakri Muhammad, a friend of Abu Hamza, the mullah with metal claws for hands, in an open letter read out in mosques across Britain and published on the internet, called on Osama Bin Laden to use biological weapons against America and its allies. Sheik Omar Bakri posted his open letter to Bin Laden on his own website and read in mosques in Sheffield, Bradford, Leicester and London. When US officials complained, the letter was taken off the internet. “Using any biological weapons in self-defence is, in Islam, permissible, and I believe that we are currently operating under a defensive jihad. Obviously, we regret what could happen to innocent people, but there are always people who are war casualties or, if you like, victims of war.” He recommends that biological weapons be used against the “occupiers” of holy lands. Youssef Bodansky, the director of the Congressional United States Task Force on Terrorism, said: “Bakri knows that his letter will be acted upon and that is why he has written it.” He told the Sunday Times Bin Laden had taken encouragement from Bakri’s message and had issued a reply that was read out in mosques in Pakistan and Britain. The article noted that the US government was offering a reward of $ 5 million for information leading to the capture of Bin Laden in connection with the 1998 embassy bombings. Bakri in 1991 had called for the assassination of the British Prime Minister for Britain’s part in the Gulf war, arguing he was a legitimate target “because London called for the destruction of the Khalifate (the international Islamic state).” Bakri, however, saves his harshest criticism for the US which he calls the “terrorist, blaspheming, Jewish, murdering, pirate state of Israel.” Bakri admitted to the Times that his use of the business name “Info 2000 Software Ltd” was a cover for his calls to jihad. Ahmed & Co, Bakri’s solicitor, told the Times that Bakri “strongly takes issue with the wild and erroneous interpretations placed by Bodansky on the contents of his open letter to Bin Laden.” Bakri, the attorney claimed “publicly condemns” terrorism.

        In 2000, before the Sydney Olympics, a news article appeared indicating the officials’ concern over intelligence that Al Qaeda had obtained anthrax and that WTC plotters had been in extensive telephone contact before and after the New York bombing with a resident from New South Wales. One New South Wales resident, who came to Australia in 1980, was Mamdouh Habib. Habib, in what he says was a false and coerced confession, admitted to helping move chemical weapons from a location in Kabul after 9/11. Habib had come to visit Brooklyn in 1992. The article read: “Australian and international security analysts are interpreting the significance of the purchase of biological weapons – including … deadly anthrax … — from Kazakhstan arms dealers by bin Laden associates.” While the report that anthrax was obtained seems unconfirmed and uncorroborated, Ayman’s emails to Atef and his correspondence with Rauf Ahmad certainly show that if Al Qaeda did not have virulent anthrax yet, it was not for the lack of trying.

      • DXer said

        George Tenet in his May 2007 In the Center of the Storm says: “Al-Qa’ida spared no effort in its attempt to obtain biological weapons. In 1999, al-Zawahiri recruited Pakistani national Rauf Ahmad, to set up a small lab in Khandahar, Afghanistan, to house the biological weapons effort. In December 2001, a sharp WMD analyst at CIA found the initial lead on which we would pull and, ultimately, unravel the al-Qa’ida anthrax networks. We were able to identify Rauf Ahmad from letters he had written to Ayman al-Zawahiri. … We located Rauf Ahmad’s lab in Afghanistan. We identified the building in Khandahar where Sufaat claimed he isolated anthrax. We mounted operations that resulted in the arrests and detentions of anthrax operatives in several countries.”

        Delivering the James Smart Lecture, entitled “Global Terrorism: are we meeting the challenge?” at the headquarters of the City of London Police, Ms. Manningham-Buller, the head of MI5, said: “Western security services have uncovered networks of individuals, sympathetic to the aims of al-Qa’ida, that blend into society, individuals who live normal, routine lives until called upon for specific tasks by another part of the network.” She concluded: “The threats of chemical, biological and radiological and suicide attacks require new responses and the Government alone will not achieve all of it; industry and even the public must take greater responsibility for their own security.”

        In 1999, a scientist from Porton Down had reported to sfam members on a conference in Taos, New Mexico in August that included a talk by Tim Read, (TIGR, Rockville, USA) and concerned the whole genome sequencing of the Bacillus anthracis Ames strain. The Ames strain may have been a mystery to many after the Fall 2001 mailings, but not to motivated Society for Applied Microbiology (“SFAM”) members, one of whom was part of Ayman Zawahiri’s “Project Zabadi.” As described by Dr. Peter Turnbull’s Conference report for SFAM on “the First European Dangerous Pathogens Conference” (held in Winchester), at the September 1999 conference, the lecture theater only averaged about 75 at peak times by his head count. There had been a problem of defining “dangerous pathogen” and a “disappointing representation from important institutions in the world of hazard levels 3 and 4 organisms.” Papers included a summary of plague in Madagascar and another on the outbreak management of hemorrhagic fevers. Dr Paul Keim of Northern Arizona University presented a paper on multilocus VNTR typing, for example, of Bacillus anthracis and Yersinia pestis. There were more than the usual no-show presenters and fill-in speakers. In his report, Dr. Turnbull looked forward to a second, fully international conference in 2000 focused on the ever increasing problems surrounding hazard levels 3 and 4 organisms and aimed at international agreement on the related issues. University of Maryland researcher Milton Leitenberg reports that the conferences described in the correspondence had been in July and September 1999.

        The Sunday at the start of the Organization of the Dangerous Pathogens meeting in September 2000, which the SFAM director confirmed to me that Rauf Ahmad also attended, was gloomy. Planning had proved even more difficult than the International Conference on anthrax also held at the University of Plymouth, in September 1998. The overseas delegates included a sizable contingent from Russia. The organizers needed to address many thorny issues regarding who could attend. One of the scientists in attendance was Rauf Ahmad. The Washington Post reports: “The tall, thin and bespectacled scientist held a doctorate in microbiology but specialized in food production, according to U.S. officials familiar with the case.” Les Baillie the head of the biodefense technologies group at Porton Down ran the scientific program. Many of the delegates took an evening cruise round Plymouth harbor. The cold kept most from staying out on the deck. Later attendees visited the National Marine Aquarium — with a reception in view of a large tankful of sharks. Addresses include presentations on plagues of antiquity, showing how dangerous infectious diseases had a profound that they changed the course of history. Titles include “Magna pestilencia – Black Breath, Black Rats, Black Death”, “From Flanders to Glanders,” as well as talks on influenza, typhoid and cholera. The conference was co-sponsored by DERA, the UK Defence Evaluation and Research Agency.

        Les Baillie of Porton Down gave a presentation titled, “Bacillus anthracis: a bug with attitude!” He argued that anthrax was a likely pathogen to be used by terrorists. As described at the time by Phil Hanna of University of Michigan Medical School on the SFAM webpage, Baillie “presented a comprehensive overview of this model pathogen, describing its unique biology and specialized molecular mechanisms for pathogenesis and high virulence. He went on to describe modern approaches to exploit new bioinformatics for the development of potential medical counter measures to this deadly pathogen.” Bioinformatics was the field that Ali Al-Timimi, who had a security clearance for some government work and who had done work for the Navy, would enter by 2000 at George Mason University in Virginia. Despite the cold and the sharks, amidst all the camaraderie and bonhomie no one suspected that despite the best efforts, a predator was on board — on a coldly calculated mission to obtain a pathogenic anthrax strain. The conference organizer Peter Turnbull had received funding from the British defense ministry but not from public health authorities, who thought anthrax too obscure to warrant the funding. By 2001, sponsorship of the conference was assumed by USAMRIID. USAMRIID scientist Bruce Ivins had started planning the conference held in Annapolis, Maryland in June 2001 three years earlier, immediately upon his return from the September 1998 conference.

        According to the Pakistan press, a scientist named Rauf Ahmad was picked up in December 2001 by the CIA in Karachi. The most recent of the correspondence reportedly dates back to the summer and fall of 1999. Even if Rauf Ahmad cooperated with the CIA, he apparently could only confirm the depth of Zawahiri’s interest in weaponizing anthrax and provided no “smoking gun” concerning the identity of those responsible for the anthrax mailings in the Fall 2001. His only connection with SFAM was a member of the society — he was not an employee. The Pakistan ISI, according to the Washington Post article in October 2006, stopped cooperating in regard to Rauf Ahmad in 2003

        I have uploaded scanned copies of some 1999 documents seized in Afghanistan by US forces describing the author’s visit to the special confidential room at the BL-3 facility where 1000s of pathogenic cultures were kept; his consultation with other scientists on some of technical problems associated with weaponizing anthrax; the bioreactor and laminar flows to be used in Al Qaeda’s anthrax lab; and the need for vaccination and containment. He explained that the lab director noted that he would have to take a short training course at the BL-3 lab for handling dangerous pathogens. Rauf Ahmad noted that his employer’s offer of pay during a 12-month post-doc sabbatical was wholly inadequate and was looking to Ayman to make up the difference. After an unacceptably low pay for the first 8 months, there would be no pay for last 4 months and there would be a service break. He had noted that he only had a limited time to avail himself of the post-doc sabbatical. I also have uploaded a handwritten copy of earlier correspondence from before the lab visit described in the typed memo. The Defense Intelligence Agency provided the documents to me, along with 100+ pages more, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”). 90 of the 100 pages are the photocopies of journal articles and disease handbook excerpts.

        The Post, in an exclusive groundbreaking investigative report, recounts that the FBI’s New York office took the lead U.S. role — and its agents worked closely with the CIA and bureau officials in Pakistan in interrogating Rauf. Though not formally charged with any crimes, Rauf agreed to questioning. While the US media focused on the spectacle of bloodhounds alerting to Dr. Steve Hatfill and the draining of Maryland ponds, this former Al Qaeda anthrax operative provided useful leads. But problems began when the U.S. officials sought to pursue criminal charges, including possible indictment and prosecution in the United States. In earlier cases, such as the othopedic surgeon Dr. Amer Aziz who treated Bin Laden in the Fall of 2001, the Pakistani government angered the Pakistani public when it sought to prosecute professionals for alleged ties to al-Qaeda. In the case of Amer Aziz, hundreds of doctors, engineers and lawyers took to the streets to demand his release. In 2003, the Pakistanis shut off U.S. access to Rauf. By then, I had noticed the reporting of his arrest in a press article about the raid of a compound of doctors named Khawaja and published it on my website. According to Pakistani officials, there was not enough evidence showing that he actually succeeded in providing al-Qaeda with something useful. Since then, the Post reports, Rauf has been allowed to return to his normal life. Attempts by the Post to contact Rauf in Lahore were unsuccessful. Initially the government agency had said an interview would be possible but then backpedaled.

        “He was detained for questioning, and later the courts determined there was not sufficient evidence to continue detaining him,” Pakistan’s information minister told the Post. “If there was evidence that proved his role beyond a shadow of a doubt, we would have acted on it. But that kind of evidence was not available.” Yazid Sufaat got the job handling things at the lab instead of Rauf Ahmad. More importantly, Zawahiri, if keeping with his past experience, would have kept things strictly compartmentalized — leaving the Amerithrax Task Force much to do.

      • DXer said

        The Salafist Jihadists specifically said they would use mailed anthrax if the Vanguards of Conquest #2 was denied bail. See CIA PDB to President Bush in early February 2001. His bail was denied on October 5.

        On January 23, 2001, a Canadian court held that the Court did not have jurisdiction to decide the constitutional and Charter issues raised by detainee and dismissed that part of the motion. A letter was received January 30, 2001 at the Citizenship and Immigration Office threatening to use anthrax. It was sent to Immigration Minister Elinor Caplan who had co-signed the detention certificate. Authorities suspected that the letter was sent by militant islamists in protest over the detention of Mahjoub, who ran Bin Laden’s farm in Sudan. Mahjoub had been sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison in 1999 by Egyptian authorities for his involvement in Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Now, he was being detained without charges under an order cosigned by Immigration Minister Caplan and threatened with deportation. The postmark has never been publicly identified. Separately, hoax letters were also sent to American businesses and a Walmart in Saanich, British Columbia. Mahjoub had been in regular contact with a man named Marzouk, who had trained the 1998 embassy bombers and was captured in Baku, Azerbaijan in August 1998.

        Suspecting Mahjoub of being a shura member of the Vanguards of Conquest and Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the Canadian intelligence officials alleged Mahjoub had significant contacts with persons associated with international Islamic terrorism including Osama Bin Laden, Ahmad Khadr, Essam Marzouk, Vanguards founder Ahmed Agiza, and Osama Bin Laden’s principal procurement agent for weapons of mass destruction Mubarak Al Duri. Al Duri was for a time was from British of Columbia. Al Duri, while living in Tucson, Arizona, was acquainted with Wadi al Hage who is in U.S. custody for the bombing of the U.S. embassies in Africa. Al Duri while residing in British Columbia may have been associated with Marzouk, who trained the 1998 embassy bombers.

        When the letter was received in January 2001, the letter was sent by Department of National Defence jet to the Canadian Science Center for Human and Animal Health in Winnipeg for examination. Authorities also sent the filters from the Jean Edmonds building’s ventilation system. Authorities said they were treating it as a possible terrorist act against the department and noted that it “was the first time a government department has been targeted in this way.” The Ottawa alert came after one of the employees working in the Minister’s office opened a plain white envelope at 11:15 a.m. The employee discovered powder and a piece of paper in the envelope. Police refused to reveal from where it had been mailed. One source said the letter was unsigned and “mostly gibberish.” (Indeed, the Fall 2001 letters might be described as mostly gibberish, and certainly the “JLo letter” — talking about Jennifer Lopez’ planned wedding — was.) An internal government memo distributed to staff said “an initial analysis of the envelope revealed some traces of bacteria.”

  9. DXer said

    Comment:

    Fine generalities. But Senator Susan Collins, is the priority one of discerning “lessons learned” or substantively connecting the dots in ongoing matters?

    Consider the USAMRIID’s ongoing violation of FOIA by its withholding of 1,000 pages of already processed pages of Ivins’ emails.

    Isn’t the Senator’s Committee failing to connect the dots by failing to force the disclosure contemplated by FOIA of those documents.

    Sen. Susan Collins: The shootings at Fort Hood – A preliminary assessment

    __

    By Sen. Susan Collins
    R-Maine
    Thursday, November 26, 2009

    In investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the 9/11 Commission discovered vital information scattered throughout the government that might have prevented the deaths and destruction of that terrible day if only the dots had been connected.

    In the wake of the mass murder at Fort Hood, our nation once again must confront a troubling question: Was this another failure to connect the dots?

    Much has been done since 9-11-01 to respond to the failures exposed by those attacks. We created the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), additional Joint Terrorism Task Forces, and fusion centers. We revised information-sharing policies and promoted greater cooperation among intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

    The results have been significant. Terrorist plots, both at home and abroad, have been thwarted. The recent arrest in Denver of a suspected al Qaeda terror cell operative demonstrates the benefits of information sharing and joint efforts by the NCTC and other intelligence agencies, as well as federal, state, and local law enforcement.

    But the shootings at Fort Hood may indicate that communication failures and poor judgment calls can defeat systems intended to ensure that vital information is shared to protect our country and its citizens. This case also raises questions about whether or not restrictive rules have a chilling effect on the legitimate dissemination of information, making it too difficult to connect the dots that would have allowed a clear picture of the threat to emerge.

    As Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, I joined Chairman Lieberman in the first Congressional examination of this terrible tragedy. Our ongoing investigation will seek answers to questions such as how did our intelligence community and law enforcement agencies handle intercepted communications between Major Hasan and a radical cleric and known al Qaeda associate? Did they contact anyone in Major Hasan’s chain of command to relay concerns? Did they seek to interview Major Hasan himself?

    When Major Hasan reportedly began to openly question the oath that he had taken to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, did anyone in his military chain of command intervene?

    When Major Hasan, in his 2007 presentation at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, recommended that the Department of Defense allow “Muslim soldiers the option of being released as ‘conscientious objectors’ to increase troop morale and decrease adverse events,” did his colleagues and superior officers view this statement as a red flag?

    Were numerous warning signs ignored because the Army faces a shortage of psychiatrists and was concerned, as the Army Chief of Staff has subsequently put it, about a “backlash against Muslim soldiers?”

    For nearly four years, our Committee has been investigating the threat of homegrown terrorism. We have explored radicalization in our prisons, the cycle of violent radicalization, and how the Internet can act as a “virtual terrorist training camp.” We have warned that individuals within the United States can be inspired by al Qaeda’s violent ideology to plan and execute attacks even if they do not receive direct orders from al Qaeda to do so. And we have learned of the difficulty of detecting “lone wolf” terrorists.

    To prevent future homegrown terrorist attacks, we must understand why our law enforcement, intelligence agencies, and our military personnel system may have failed in this case.

    Major Hasan’s attack targeted innocent soldiers and civilians regardless of their religious faith. These patriotic soldiers and civilians were injured and killed not on a foreign battleground but rather on what should have been safe and secure American territory.

    With so many questions still swirling around this heinous attack, it is important for the nation to understand what happened so that we may work to prevent future incidents. We owe that to our brave and dedicated troops, to their families and communities, and to all Americans.

    ________________________

  10. DXer said

    Sen. Susan Collins: The shootings at Fort Hood – A preliminary assessment

    __

    [Comment:

    Fine generalities. But Senator Susan Collins, is the priority one of discerning "lessons learned" or substantively connecting the dots in ongoing matters?

    Consider the USAMRIID's ongoing violation of FOIA by its withholding of 1,000 pages of already processed pages of Ivins' emails.

    Isn't the Senator's Committee failing to connect the dots by failing to force the disclosure contemplated by FOIA of those documents.

    Anthrax and Al Qaeda: The Infiltration of US Biodefense

    http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1005015

    (440 page soft cover available for under $15 explaining the infiltration of US biodefense and its connection to Ivins, virulent Ames, and Amerithrax) ]

    By Sen. Susan Collins
    R-Maine
    Thursday, November 26, 2009

    In investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the 9/11 Commission discovered vital information scattered throughout the government that might have prevented the deaths and destruction of that terrible day if only the dots had been connected.

    In the wake of the mass murder at Fort Hood, our nation once again must confront a troubling question: Was this another failure to connect the dots?

    Much has been done since 9-11-01 to respond to the failures exposed by those attacks. We created the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), additional Joint Terrorism Task Forces, and fusion centers. We revised information-sharing policies and promoted greater cooperation among intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

    The results have been significant. Terrorist plots, both at home and abroad, have been thwarted. The recent arrest in Denver of a suspected al Qaeda terror cell operative demonstrates the benefits of information sharing and joint efforts by the NCTC and other intelligence agencies, as well as federal, state, and local law enforcement.

    But the shootings at Fort Hood may indicate that communication failures and poor judgment calls can defeat systems intended to ensure that vital information is shared to protect our country and its citizens. This case also raises questions about whether or not restrictive rules have a chilling effect on the legitimate dissemination of information, making it too difficult to connect the dots that would have allowed a clear picture of the threat to emerge.

    As Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, I joined Chairman Lieberman in the first Congressional examination of this terrible tragedy. Our ongoing investigation will seek answers to questions such as how did our intelligence community and law enforcement agencies handle intercepted communications between Major Hasan and a radical cleric and known al Qaeda associate? Did they contact anyone in Major Hasan’s chain of command to relay concerns? Did they seek to interview Major Hasan himself?

    When Major Hasan reportedly began to openly question the oath that he had taken to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, did anyone in his military chain of command intervene?

    When Major Hasan, in his 2007 presentation at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, recommended that the Department of Defense allow “Muslim soldiers the option of being released as ‘conscientious objectors’ to increase troop morale and decrease adverse events,” did his colleagues and superior officers view this statement as a red flag?

    Were numerous warning signs ignored because the Army faces a shortage of psychiatrists and was concerned, as the Army Chief of Staff has subsequently put it, about a “backlash against Muslim soldiers?”

    For nearly four years, our Committee has been investigating the threat of homegrown terrorism. We have explored radicalization in our prisons, the cycle of violent radicalization, and how the Internet can act as a “virtual terrorist training camp.” We have warned that individuals within the United States can be inspired by al Qaeda’s violent ideology to plan and execute attacks even if they do not receive direct orders from al Qaeda to do so. And we have learned of the difficulty of detecting “lone wolf” terrorists.

    To prevent future homegrown terrorist attacks, we must understand why our law enforcement, intelligence agencies, and our military personnel system may have failed in this case.

    Major Hasan’s attack targeted innocent soldiers and civilians regardless of their religious faith. These patriotic soldiers and civilians were injured and killed not on a foreign battleground but rather on what should have been safe and secure American territory.

    With so many questions still swirling around this heinous attack, it is important for the nation to understand what happened so that we may work to prevent future incidents. We owe that to our brave and dedicated troops, to their families and communities, and to all Americans.

    ________________________

  11. DXer said

    Submitted by SHNS on Wed, 11/25/2009 – 15:34
    • By DEROY MURDOCK, Scripps Howard News Service

    COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – “I sleep like a baby,” says U.S. Air Force Colonel Randy Larsen (Ret). “Every three hours, I wake up screaming.”

    It’s little surprise that Larsen has such trouble getting shuteye. As executive director of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, Larsen spends his days and many nights visualizing mushroom clouds over U.S. cities and emergency rooms clogged with victims of biological attacks. Among his many solutions to America’s WMD challenges, this may be the easiest: Let Americans get immunized against smallpox and anthrax.

    ***
    [Instead of focusing on vaccines, it seems that the focus should be on "connecting the dots" and successfully resolve the Amerithrax matter.
    For example, no one has ever explained why Admiral Crowe was given a substantial portion of Bioport -- his only defense was that he didn't have to do for the large gift of stock made it even worse, not better. There are many ways the influence of money can interfere with intelligence analysis or true crime analysis.]

    Larsen’s commission offered this sobering conclusion last December: “Unless the world community acts decisively and with great urgency, it is more likely than not that a weapon of mass destruction will be used in a terrorist attack somewhere in the world by the end of 2013.”

    In an October 21 progress report, this bipartisan board cautioned that “a one-to two-kilogram release of anthrax spores from a crop duster plane could kill more Americans than died in World War II,” specifically, 380,000. “Clean up and other economic costs could exceed $1.8 trillion.” “Dark Winter,” a June 2001 high-level simulation exercise, assumed that a covert smallpox attack would infect 3.3 million Americans, one-third fatally.

    A biological attack’s psychological impact would be incalculable, especially if healthy Americans saw their smallpox-infected neighbors as contagious “enemies” to be shunned.

    America’s Islamofascist enemies have stayed busy in this sphere.

    “I was directly in charge … (of) the Cell for the Production of Biological Weapons, such as anthrax,” Khalid Sheik Mohammed told a Guantanamo military tribunal on March 10, 2007. KSM was 9/11’s chief architect and al Qaeda’s self-described “Military Operational Commander.”

    The Commission’s crop-duster scenario was conceived after Americans discovered two Afghan anthrax laboratories. “The 9/11 Commission Report” says Jemaah Islamiah agent Yazid Sufaat “would spend several months attempting to cultivate anthrax for al Qaeda in a laboratory he helped set up near the Kandahar airport.”

    Interestingly enough, Sufaat was captured thanks to information that American interrogators gleaned after waterboarding KSM. Had America not dampened KSM’s nose, U.S. soldiers or civilians already might have had Sufaat’s anthrax up their nostrils.

    “Four pounds of anthrax … carried by a fighter through tunnels from Mexico into the U.S., are guaranteed to kill 330,000 Americans within a single hour,” laughed Kuwaiti professor and terrorist sympathizer Abdallah Al-Nafisi in a speech broadcast February 2 on Al-Jazeera TV and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute. “One person, with the courage to carry four pounds of anthrax, will go to the White House lawn, and will spread this ‘confetti’ all over them, and then will do these cries of joy. It will turn into a real ‘celebration.'”

    Today’s dilatory federal rollout of swine flu shots offers little confidence that government can deliver smallpox and anthrax inoculations with speed and tranquility, especially after a shocking attack turbocharged public anxiety.

    Instead, these vaccines should reach thousands of hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices now. Americans calmly could request them during routine medical visits, rather than overwhelm government agencies amid widespread panic after thousands of citizens have fallen ill – or worse.

    Al Qaeda and other vicious killers surely have a “To Do” list of horrors they would love to hurl at us infidels. Let’s deny them at least these two potential murder weapons.

    (Deroy Murdock is a columnist with Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.

  12. DXer said

    Sen. Susan Collins: The shootings at Fort Hood – A preliminary assessment

    __

    Comment:

    Fine generalities. But Senator Susan Collins, is the priority one of discerning “lessons learned” or substantively connecting the dots in ongoing matters?

    Consider the USAMRIID’s ongoing violation of FOIA by its withholding of 1,000 pages of already processed pages of Ivins’ emails.

    Isn’t the Senator’s Committee failing to connect the dots by failing to force the disclosure contemplated by FOIA of those documents.

    Anthrax and Al Qaeda: The Infiltration of US Biodefense

    http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1005015

    (440 page soft cover available for under $15 explaining the infiltration of US biodefense and its connection to Ivins, virulent Ames, and Amerithrax)

    By Sen. Susan Collins
    R-Maine
    Thursday, November 26, 2009

    In investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the 9/11 Commission discovered vital information scattered throughout the government that might have prevented the deaths and destruction of that terrible day if only the dots had been connected.

    In the wake of the mass murder at Fort Hood, our nation once again must confront a troubling question: Was this another failure to connect the dots?

    Much has been done since 9-11-01 to respond to the failures exposed by those attacks. We created the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), additional Joint Terrorism Task Forces, and fusion centers. We revised information-sharing policies and promoted greater cooperation among intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

    The results have been significant. Terrorist plots, both at home and abroad, have been thwarted. The recent arrest in Denver of a suspected al Qaeda terror cell operative demonstrates the benefits of information sharing and joint efforts by the NCTC and other intelligence agencies, as well as federal, state, and local law enforcement.

    But the shootings at Fort Hood may indicate that communication failures and poor judgment calls can defeat systems intended to ensure that vital information is shared to protect our country and its citizens. This case also raises questions about whether or not restrictive rules have a chilling effect on the legitimate dissemination of information, making it too difficult to connect the dots that would have allowed a clear picture of the threat to emerge.

    As Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, I joined Chairman Lieberman in the first Congressional examination of this terrible tragedy. Our ongoing investigation will seek answers to questions such as how did our intelligence community and law enforcement agencies handle intercepted communications between Major Hasan and a radical cleric and known al Qaeda associate? Did they contact anyone in Major Hasan’s chain of command to relay concerns? Did they seek to interview Major Hasan himself?

    When Major Hasan reportedly began to openly question the oath that he had taken to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, did anyone in his military chain of command intervene?

    When Major Hasan, in his 2007 presentation at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, recommended that the Department of Defense allow “Muslim soldiers the option of being released as ‘conscientious objectors’ to increase troop morale and decrease adverse events,” did his colleagues and superior officers view this statement as a red flag?

    Were numerous warning signs ignored because the Army faces a shortage of psychiatrists and was concerned, as the Army Chief of Staff has subsequently put it, about a “backlash against Muslim soldiers?”

    For nearly four years, our Committee has been investigating the threat of homegrown terrorism. We have explored radicalization in our prisons, the cycle of violent radicalization, and how the Internet can act as a “virtual terrorist training camp.” We have warned that individuals within the United States can be inspired by al Qaeda’s violent ideology to plan and execute attacks even if they do not receive direct orders from al Qaeda to do so. And we have learned of the difficulty of detecting “lone wolf” terrorists.

    To prevent future homegrown terrorist attacks, we must understand why our law enforcement, intelligence agencies, and our military personnel system may have failed in this case.

    Major Hasan’s attack targeted innocent soldiers and civilians regardless of their religious faith. These patriotic soldiers and civilians were injured and killed not on a foreign battleground but rather on what should have been safe and secure American territory.

    With so many questions still swirling around this heinous attack, it is important for the nation to understand what happened so that we may work to prevent future incidents. We owe that to our brave and dedicated troops, to their families and communities, and to all Americans.

    ________________________

  13. DXer said

    Hundreds of thousands of pager messages from the day of the September 11, 2001. That’s interesting. There’s some digital museum art piece with randomized rotating messages floating around that could be done using the database.

    WASHINGTON — Whistleblower website Wikileaks began publishing on Wednesday what it said were hundreds of thousands of pager messages from the day of the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.
    Wikileaks.org said it was releasing over half a million US national text pager intercepts covering a 24-hour period on the day when Al-Qaeda militants slammed hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center and Pentagon while another plane crashed into a Pennsylvania field, killing nearly 3,000 people.
    The first message is from 3:00 am on September 11, 2001, more than five hours before the first attack, and the last is 24 hours later.
    Wikileaks did not say how it obtained the pager messages purportedly from companies such as Skytel, Metrocall and Arch Wireless, but technology blogs said they appeared to be genuine.
    “The archive is a completely objective record of the defining moment of our time,” Wikileaks said. “We hope that its revelation will lead to a more nuanced understanding of the event and its tragic consequences.”
    The pager intercepts included messages from the New York Police Department, emergency services, the Pentagon, ordinary citizens and computers reporting server errors.
    Most have nothing to do with the events themselves.
    The messages range from the mundane — “Got plans for lunch today?” or “Did you turn the iron off?” — to the distressed, with people urging loved ones to “Please call ASAP.”
    A message from 8:50 am, just minutes after the first plane slammed into the World Trade Center, reads: “A plane crashed thru the twin towers. Real bad… BR.”
    Another 8:50 am message says: “BOMB DETINATED IN WORLD TRADE CTR. PLS GET BACK TO MIKE BRADY W/A QUICK ASSESSMENT OF YOUR AREAS AND CONTACT US IF ANYTHING IS NEEDED.”
    An 8:51 am message reads: “de Center is on FIRE!!!! No Joke. rickc.”
    At 8:53 am, a police department message from “NYPD Ops Div” calls for action: “POSSIBLE EXPLOSION WORLD TRADE CENTER BUILDING. LEVEL 3 MOBILIZATION TO CHURCH AND VESSY.”
    At 8:54 am, a message from an unidentified sender says: “CONFIRMED PLANE CRASH INTO THE WORLD TRADE CENTER MULTI UNITS RESPONDING.”
    Wikileaks, which says it was founded by “Chinese dissidents, mathematicians and startup company technologists, from the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa,” claims to have received more than one million documents from dissident communities and anonymous sources.

  14. BugMaster said

    “Assuming the same held true for the AMI powder, how many tests would you have to do to prove that the B. subtilis strain was NOT in the AMI powder?”

    Statistical calculations can be used to determine how many negative samples would have to be obtained before concluding that the strain wasn’t present.

    NOTE: You cannot prove a negative here, Ed. Rather, a confidence level that is associated with how many samples were evaluated.

    For example, if only one sample was evaluated, and found negative, you could conclude that the strain wasn’t there, but with a very low confidence level.

    Statistics aren’t one of my strengths, Ed. Perhaps someone who deals with such issues more directly could provide a better explaination.

    “And ones who ignore the facts”.

    I wish I could ignore the facts.

    BTW: Ed, why would anyone want to censor a PUBLIC online conversation between two lunatics.

    Today is the day before Thanksgiving.

    The last victim died the day before Thanksgiving 8 years ago.

    I would like to wish a Happy Anniversary to the subset of individuals within the former Cheney Justice Dept. who are working so hard to bring this case to a just and timely conclusion.

    And Happy Anniversary to Agent Pup. The task force should have listened more closely to him, rather than just respond with Bulls**t!

    • BugMaster said

      Correction:

      “The task force should have listened more closely to him, rather than FILL HIM with Bulls**t!”

    • BugMaster said

      I will respond to some of what you have posted on your website over the next few days, Ed.

      As far as the censored conversation, it was an online conversation with you a little more than a year ago.

      We were discussing the b. subtilus evidence.

      The moderator warned me to keep quite. My response to you was not posted, and no subsequent posts were allowed.

      The Freeper must have been doing someone’s bidding, Mr. Lake.

    • BugMaster said

      You too, Ed. Sorry I did’t have time during my holiday travels to stop in and buy you a beer. Hopefully I’ll be back in your neck of the woods sometime in February.

  15. DXer said

    “Did A File Error Stall FBI Inquiry Into Hasan?, NPR”

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120765741

    Here is a 440 page book examining Amerithrax that would make a perfect stocking stuffer for the G-Man “Sweets” on your list. It will be regularly updated.

    Anthrax and Al Qaeda: The Infiltration of US Biodefense

    http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1005015

  16. DXer said

    There’s a long story today in the Guardian about Aafia Siddiqui by Declan Walsh. She told her defense psychiatrist that she had been tasked to study germ warfare under a fatwa. An AUSA once said in the opening argument of Uzair Paracha’s trial that she was willing to participate in an anthrax attack if asked. The entire article is well-written, does advance things at least to certain claims now made by the husband, and is an enjoyable and authoritative read. But it still offers no resolution of the missing 5 years — just the tantalizing conflicting stories.

    “But Fowzia, a Harvard-educated neurologist, was frustratingly short on hard information. She responded to questions about Aafia’s whereabouts between 2003 and 2008 with cryptic cliches. “It’s not that we don’t know. It’s that we don’t want to know,” she said. And she blamed reports of al-Qaida links on a malevolent American press. “Half of them work for the CIA,” she said.

    The odd thing, though, was that the person who might unlock the entire mystery was living in the same house. After being captured with his mother in Ghazni last year, 11-year-old Ahmed Siddiqui was flown back to Pakistan on orders from the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai. Since then he has been living with his aunt Fowzia. Yet she has forbidden him from speaking with the press – even with Yvonne Ridley – because, she told me, he was too traumatised.

    “You tell him to do something but he just stands there, staring at the TV,” she said, sighing heavily. But surely, I insisted, after 15 months at home the boy must have divulged some clue about the missing years?

    Fowzia’s tone hardened. “Ahmed’s not allowed to speak to the press. That was part of the deal when they gave him to us,” she said firmly.

    “Who are they?” I asked.

    She waved a finger in the air. “The network. Those who brought him here.”

    Moments later Fowzia excused herself. The interview was over. As she walked me to the gate, I was struck by another omission: Fowzia had barely mentioned Ahmed’s 11-year-old sister, Mariam, or his seven-year-old brother, Suleman, who are still missing. Amid the hullabaloo about their imprisoned mother, Aafia’s children seemed to be strangely forgotten.

    That night I went to see Siddiqui’s ex-husband, Amjad Khan. He ushered me through a deathly quiet house into an upstairs room where we sat cross-legged on the floor. He had a soft face under the curly beard that is worn by devout Muslims. I recounted what Fowzia told me. He sighed and shook his head. “It’s all a smokescreen,” he said. “She’s trying to divert your attention.”

    The truth of the matter, he said, was that Siddiqui had never been sent to Bagram. Instead she spent the five years on the run, living clandestinely with her three children, under the watchful eye of Pakistani intelligence. He told me they shifted between Quetta in Baluchistan province, Iran and the Karachi house I had visited earlier that day. It was a striking explanation. When I asked for proof, he started at the beginning.

    ***
    After Siddiqui disappeared in March 2003, Khan started to worry for his children – he had never seen his youngest son, Suleman. But he was reassured that they were still in Pakistan through three sources. He hired people to watch her house and they reported her comings and goings. His family was also briefed by ISI officials who said they were following her movements, he said. (Khan named an ISI brigadier whom I later contacted; he declined to speak).

    Most strikingly, Khan claimed to have seen his ex-wife with his own eyes. In April 2003, he said, the ISI asked him to identify his ex-wife as she got off a flight from Islamabad, accompanied by her son. Two years later he spotted her again in a Karachi traffic jam. But he never went public with the information. “I wanted to protect her, for the sake of my children,” he said.

    ***

    Khan’s explanation is bolstered by the one person who claims to have met the missing neuroscientist between 2003 and 2008 – her uncle, Shams ul-Hassan Faruqi. Back in Islamabad, I went to see him.

    A sprightly old geologist, Faruqi works from a cramped office filled with coloured rocks and dusty computers. Over tea and biscuits he described a strange encounter with his niece in January 2008, six months before she was captured in Afghanistan.

    It started, he said, when a white car carrying a burka-clad woman pulled up outside his gate. Beckoning him to approach, he recognised her by her voice. “Uncle, I am Aafia,” he recalled her saying. But she refused to leave the car and insisted they move to the nearby Taj Mahal restaurant to talk. Amid whispers, her story tumbled out.

    Siddiqui told him she had been in both Pakistani and American captivity since 2003, but was vague on the details. “I was in the cells but I don’t know in which country, or which city. They kept shifting me,” she said. Now she had been set free but remained under the thumb of intelligence officials based in Lahore. They had given her a mission: to infiltrate al-Qaida in Pakistan. But, Siddiqui told her uncle, she was afraid and wanted out. She begged him to smuggle her into Afghanistan into the hands of the Taliban. “That was her main point,” he recalled. “She said: ‘I will be safe with the Taliban.'”

    ***

    In the world of counter-espionage, he said, someone like Siddiqui is an invaluable asset. And so, he speculated, sometime over the last five years she may have been “flipped” – turned against militant sympathisers – by Pakistani or American intelligence. “It’s a very murky world,” he said.

    “Maybe the Americans have no charges against her. Maybe they don’t want to compromise their sources of information. Or maybe they don’t want to put that person out in the world again. The thing is, you’ll never really know.”

  17. anonymous scientist said

    It looks like the Enterprise Report got the DOJ to respond yesterday that the Amerithrax case is still “officially open”.
    That raises more questions – some of which are:
    (1) How many agents are presently assigned to the case?
    (2) Is a Grand Jury hearing evidence? If so, against whom? How many people are they hearing evidence against?
    (3) When does the DOJ expect the case will be closed?
    (4) If a Grand Jury is hearing evidence against suspects do the DOJ expect to obtain indictments? If not, what is the purpose of the sitting Grand Jury?

    http://theenterprisereport.typepad.com/news/2009/11/exclusive-the-anthrax-man-the-bruce-ivins-emails.html

    Dr. Bruce Ivins is according to the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice the person who mailed anthrax laden letters to a variety of political and media members in 2001. The attacks killed 5, injured 17 and resulted in 22 cases of anthrax infection.

    Nonetheless, the case against Ivins has never seen its day in court and never will. Ivins was the last and most recent suspect in the still open criminal case. He committed suicide in July of 2008. The U.S. Government has yet to officially close its investigation into the case dubbed “Amerithax”, according to a Department of Justice spokesman contacted today by TER the case is still “officially open”.

    The Enterprise Report which obtained extensive material under “The Freedom of Information Act” directly from the U.S. Army, is in conjunction with the website Governmentattic.org, today exclusively publishing an extensive volume of email communications created and received by Dr. Bruce Ivins during his tenure as a biological weapons researcher at the U.S. Army’s Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland.

    To read the Ivins email communications click on the picture below

    • DXer said

      I mistakenly assumed that the website included the recent USAMRIID emails. The website only includes 9 batches. All 19 are found at the FOIA Reading Room that USAMRIID created for this purpose back in early July. If anyone was on the FOIA “mailing list”, email stopped being used after the first 9 batches and they were just added directly to the website. They are up to 19 now.

    • BugMaster said

      That’s funny, I can’t seem to be able to scroll down and access any documents more recent than 2002 (although there are clearly more documents available).

      Any one else having that problem?

  18. DXer said

    EXCLUSIVE: THE ANTHRAX MAN: BRUCE IVINS AND HIS EMAILS

    http://theenterprisereport.typepad.com/news/2009/11/exclusive-the-anthrax-man-the-bruce-ivins-emails.html

    Comment:
    How are the emails exclusive material when they’ve been uploaded to the USAMEDD FOIA reading room website for months and widely posted and discussed on Lew’s blog? and posted on the heavily trafficked Cryptome?

    While I heartily commend the group/journalist’s efforts — and I really, really mean that — I would have them/Eric focus on the 1,000 pages of emails that Jon Peterson in Texas has not caused to be uploaded but have been processed. From August 2000 on.

    (All I did was ask for anything that anyone else had already requested and then posted them or linked them as they were produced over the course of 2009, beginning with these emails many months ago. An inconsequential additional few batches were added recently about tracking down a Vollum 1B strain that had been used by Bioport.)

    The important emails are from September and October 2001 and are being withheld. They totally DESTROY an Ivins Theory.

    For USAMRIID FOIA Officer James Ferrara to have retired without uploading them is outrageous. (The Public Affairs person’s secretary told me a couple days he had retired but James or JP could have mentioned it to explain the unjustified delay).

    If there was an exemption that applied — pendency of a law enforcement investigation — it should have been invoked so the original requester Eric could have appealed it and litigated it. I know of pro bono counsel who would be glad to appeal and then file against USAMRIID.

    The exemption, I would think, may have been waived by failure to timely invoke it.

    Mr. Ferrara and Mr. Peterson have noted that FBI needs to vet everything but it is my understanding that it just the failure of USAMRIID to get them uploaded that is the current problem. JP has not told me otherwise and USAMRIID acts as if they are only capable of uploading a page a week when their obligation is just to make the documents available for inspection. They are already processed and they just need to be put on the table. I’ve offered JP to drive down and have them uploaded by the next day — just as was done with the first large batch of emails that I had uploaded on cryptome, in neat files, within 24 or so hours of being given them.

    If there is an exemption that is thought to apply, it should be invoked pursuant to the statutory procedure.

    There is a book being published today and sold at cost that analyzes the emails — which as I’ve said have been in the USAMEDD reading room for months (and before that, many of them at Cryptome), with the last few batches that are not of any consequence and just relate to Dr. Ivins trying to track down an old Vollum 1B strain.

    I think this journalist Eric did absolutely critical work in requesting these emails – I would just ask that he appeal administratively the failure to comply with FOIA as to the next 1000 pages they have processed but not uploaded. I’ve likely annoyed JP by pressing so hard for the documents and so Eric might have better luck encouraging USAMRIID to recognize that in light of the Ft. Hood shooting incident, this is not the time to be out of compliance with FOIA. We need someone with Eric’s talents to get the next 1,000 pages of Ivins’ emails that have already been processed but are being wrongfully withheld.

    • DXer said

      The link to the reading room with the documents remains

      https://mrmc.amedd.army.mil/index.cfm?pageid=foia_reading_room.overview

      The security certificate does not agree because they want to track who visits. If you’ve paid your library fines and took care of that speeding ticket, go ahead and accept the security certificate. You likely don’t have the same issue if you just view them on the journalist or the organization’s website.

    • DXer said

      It was Greg Gordon of McClatchy who requested the emails on August 12, 2008. USAMRIID said it would take 3 months to process the 4,000 emails. There are 1,000 pages processed (redacted) and ready to produce but USAMRIID is withholding them without having invoked any exemption. Attorneys fees are authorized in an enforcement action under FOIA.

  19. DXer said

    Arrests today in a Stinger sting today involved 15 agencies coordinated as part of the investigation. Clearly, complaints about a lack of sharing information from uninformed outsiders have to be viewed skeptically when the FBI regularly demonstrates that it has handled complex multi-agency investigations involving serious threats.

    US DOJ press release today:

    “Keeping missiles, machine guns and other sensitive U.S. weapons technology from falling into the wrong hands is one of the Justice Department’s top priorities. I applaud the many agents, analysts and prosecutors who worked tirelessly to bring about these charges and arrests,” said David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security.

    “This investigation demonstrates the dedication and cooperation of law enforcement agents from numerous agencies,” said U.S. Attorney Michael L. Levy. “These cases show the breadth of criminal activity engaged in by those who oppose us. The crimes charged here range from the purchase of stolen and counterfeit goods, to the purchase of false visas and passports, to the purchase of weapons. I want to compliment the law enforcement agents, the Assistant United States Attorneys, and the attorneys in the National Security Division of the Department of Justice for their efforts.”
    ***
    This case was investigated by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, the New Jersey State Police, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Secret Service, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the Philadelphia Police Department, the Department of Commerce, Customs and Border Protection, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Federal Air Marshals, Pennsylvania State Police, and the Department of State.”

  20. DXer said

    Ali Al-Timimi worked at George Mason University’s Discovery Hall throughout 2000 and 2002 period. The Mason Gazette in “Mason to Pursue Advanced Biodefense Research” on November 17, 2000 had announced: “The School of Computational Sciences (SCS) and Advanced Biosystems, Inc., a subsidiary of Hadron, Inc., of Alexandria, are pursuing a collaborative program at the Prince William Campus to enhance research and educational objectives in biodefense research. The article noted that the program was funded primarily by a grant awarded to Advanced Biosystems from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). A 2007 GMU PhD thesis explains that the “An Assessment of Exploitable Weaknesses in Universities” by Corinne M. Verzoni offices and research located in Discovery Hall, making this an attractive building on the Prince William Campus to target for information and technology.” The 2007 PhD student biodefense student explained: “Discovery Hall currently has BSL 1, 2 and 2+ labs in which students work with attenuated and vaccine strains of Fracella tularemia, anthrax and HIV. GMU will eventually have new biological labs featuring a BSL-3 lab which will have anthrax and tularemia.”

    Instead of starting a center from scratch, GMU chose to join forces with Dr. Alibek and Dr. Bailey’s existing research firm, Hadron Advanced Biosystems Inc. Hadron was already working under contract for the federal government, having received funding from DARPA. Dr. Alibek told the Washington Post that he and Bailey had spent their careers studying an issue that only recently grabbed the country’s attention, after the anthrax mailings the previous fall. Dr. Bailey and Alibek met in 1991, when a delegation of Soviet scientists visited the USAMRIID at Ft. Detrick. Dr. Bailey explained that the purpose of the tour was to show the Soviets that the US was not developing offensive biological weapons. Bailey said he tried to engage Alibek in conversation but Alibek remained aloof. Alibek, for his part, explains that he was suspicious of this American smiling so broadly at him. A year later, Alibek would defect to the US and reveal an illegal biological program in the Soviet Union of a staggering scope. Alibek says that one reason he defected was that he realized that the Soviet intelligence was wrong — that the US research was in fact only defensive.

    Former USAMRIID Deputy Commander and Acting Commander Ames researcher Bailey coinvented, with Ken Alibek, the process to treat cell culture with hydrophobic silicon dioxide so as to permit greater concentration upon drying. He was in Room 156B of GMU’s Discovery Hall at the Center for Biodefense. The patent application was filed March 14, 2001. Rm 154A was Victor Morozov’s room number when he first assumed Timimi’s phone number in 2004 (and before he moved to the newly constructed Bull Run Hall). Morozov was the co-inventor with Dr. Bailey of the related cell culture process under which the silica was removed from the spore surface.

    One ATCC former employee felt so strongly about lax security there the scientist called me out of the blue and said that the public was overlooking the patent repository as a possible source of the Ames strain. ATCC would not deny they had virulent Ames in their patent repository pre 9/11 (as distinguished from their online catalog). The spokesperson emailed me: “As a matter of policy, ATCC does not disclose information on the contents of its patent depository.” Previously, though, the ATCC head publicly explained that it did not have virulent Ames and the FBI scientists (incidentally led by the former ATCC Bacteriology Division collection scientist) credits that.

    George Mason University, Department Listings, accessed August 17, 2003, shows that the National Center For Biodefense and Center for Biomedical Genomics had the same mail stop (MS 4ES). The most famed bioweaponeer in the world was not far from this sheik urging violent jihad in an apocalyptic struggle between religions. Dr. Alibek’s office was Rm. 156D in Prince William 2. The groups both shared the same department fax of 993-4288. Dr. Alibek advises me he had seen him several times in the corridors of GMU and was told that he was a religious muslim hard-liner but knew nothing of his activities. At one point, Timimi’s mail drop was MSN 4D7.

    Charles Bailey at 3-4271 was the former head of USAMRIID and joined the Center in April 2001. He continued to do research with Ames after 9/11. Dr. Alibek reports that shortly after the mailings, he wrote FBI Director Mueller and offered his services but was advised that they already had assembled a large group. A 2004 report describes research done by Dr. Alibek and his colleagues using Delta Ames obtained from NIH for a research project done for USAMRIID. There were two grants from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency from 2001. One $3.6 million grant dated to July 2001 and the other was previous to that.

    Ali Al-Timimi had the same telephone number that Dr. Victor Morozov of the Center for Biodefense would later have when he joined the faculty and occupied the newly constructed Bull Run Building, which opened in late 2004 (Rm. #362). Dr. Morozov focuses on the development of new bioassay methods for express analysis, high-throughput screening and proteomics. He has recently developed a new electrospray-based technology for mass fabrication of protein microarrays. Dr. Morozov is currently supervising a DOE -funded research project directed at the development of ultra-sensitive express methods for detection of pathogens in which slow diffusion of analytes is replaced by their active transport controlled and powered by external forces (electric, magnetic, gravitational or hydrodynamic). His homepage explains that: “A variety of projects are available for students to participate in 1. Develop methods for active capturing of viruses and cells. 2. AFM imaging of macromolecules, viruses and cells. 3. Develop active immunoassay. 4. Analyze forces operating in the active assay of biomolecules and viral particles. 5. Develop immobilization techniques for antibodies and other biospecific molecules. 6. Study crystallization dynamics and morphology of organic and inorganic crystals in the presence of protein impurities. 7. Develop software to analyze motion of beads. 8. Develop software to analyze patterns in drying droplets. 9. Develop an electrostatic collector for airborne particles.”

    Al-Timimi obtained a doctorate from George Mason University in 2004 in the field of computational biology — a field related to cancer research involving genome sequencing. He successfully defended his thesis 5 weeks after his indictment. Curt Jamison, Timimi’s thesis advisor, coauthor and loyal friend, was in Prince William II (Discovery Hall) Rm. 181A. The staff of Advanced Biosystems was in Rm. 160, 162, 177, 254E and several others. Computational sciences offices were intermixed among the Hadron personnel on the first floor of Prince William II to include 159, 161, 166A, 167, 181 B and 181C. Rm. 156B was Charles Bailey, former commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, who was head of the Center for Biodefense. Defense contractor Hadron had announced the appointment of Dr. Bailey as Vice-President of Advanced Biosystems in early April 2001. “Over 13 years, Dr. Bailey had served as a Research Scientist, Deputy Commander for Research, Deputy Commander and Commander at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute. As a USAMRIID scientist, he designed and supervised the construction of BL-3 containment facilities. His hands-on experience with a wide variety of pathogens is chronicled in 70 published articles. During his 4 years with the Defense Intelligence Agency, he published numerous articles assessing foreign capabilities regarding biological weapons.” When I asked Dr. Bailey to confirm Al-Timimi’s room number relative to his own, his only response was to refer me to University counsel. Counsel then never substantively responded to my inquiry regarding their respective room numbers citing student privacy. Ali’s friend and thesis advisor, Dr. Jamison never responded to an emailed query either. GMU perhaps understandably was very nervous about losing the $25 million grant for a new BL-3 regional facility to be located very near our country’s capitol.

    The reports on the study on the effectiveness of the mailed anthrax in the Canadian experiment was reported in private briefings in Spring and Summer of 2001. An insider thus was not dependent on the published report later that Fall. (The date on the formal report is September 10, 2001).

    Dr. Charles Bailey for DIA wrote extensively on the the biothreat posed by other countries (and presumably terrorists). He shared a fax number with Al-Timimi. What came over that fax line in Spring and Summer of 2001? At some point, Dr. Al-Timimi, Dr. Alibek and Dr. Bailey also shared the same maildrop. It certainly would not be surprising that the two directors who headed the DARPA-funded Center for Biodefense — and had received the biggest defense award in history for work with Delta Ames under a contract with USAMRIID — would have been briefed on the threat of mailed anthrax. The 1999 short report by William Patrick to Hatfill at SAIC on the general subject was far less important given that it did not relate to actual experimental findings.

    Plus, it is common sense that while someone might use as a model something they had surreptitiously learned of — they would not use as a model something in a memo that they had commissioned. Thus, it was rather misdirected to focus on the 1999 SAIC report commissioned by Dr. Hatfill rather than the 2001 Canadian report. The Canadian report related to the anthrax threat sent regarding the detention of Vanguards of Conquest #2 Mahjoub in Canada. Mahjoub had worked with al-Hawsawi in Sudan (the fellow with anthrax spraydrying documents on his laptop). The anthrax threat in late January prompted the still-classified Presidential Daily Brief (“PDB”) in early February 2001 by the CIA to President Bush on the subject.

    In Fall 2001, the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (”AFIP”) had detected silicon dioxide (silica) in the attack anthrax — with a characteristic big spike for the silicon. No silica was observable on the SEMs images that Dr. Alibek and Dr. Matthew Meselson saw. The Daschle product was “pure spores.” Microbiologist Barbara Hatch Rosenberg asks: Was silicon dioxide used as part of a microdroplet cell culture process used prior to drying to permit greater concentration? Dr. Serge Popov at GMU Center for Biodefense says it is only a hypothetical. As explained in a later related patent, the silica could be removed from the surface of the spore through repeated centrifugaton or an air chamber.

    Dr. Alibek and Dr. Bailey had filed a patent application in mid-March 2001 involving a microdroplet cell culture technique that used silicon dioxide in a method for concentrating growth of cells. The patent was granted and the application first publicly disclosed in the Spring of 2002. Weren’t the SEMS images and AFIP EDX finding both consistent with use of this process in growing the culture? It’s been suggested informally to me that perhaps the silicon analytical peak was more likely due to silanol from hydrolysis of a silane, used in siliconizing glassware. But didn’t the AFIP in fact also detect oxygen in ratios characteristic of silicon dioxide? Wasn’t the scientist, now deceased, who performed the EDX highly experienced and expert in detecting silica? Hasn’t the AFIP always stood by its report. Doesn’t the undisclosed AFIP data show massive silicon? In its report, AFIP explained: “AFIP experts utilized an energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer (an instrument used to detect the presence of otherwise-unseen chemicals through characteristic wavelengths of X-ray light) to confirm the previously unidentifiable substance as silica.” Perhaps the nuance that was lost — or just never publicly explained for very sound reasons — was that silica was used in the cell culture process and then removed from the spores through a process such as centrifugation. The applicants in March 2001 for an international patent relating to vaccines were a leading aerosol expert, Herman R. Shepherd, and a lonstanding anthrax biodefense expert, Philip Russell.

    Dr. Morozov is co-inventor along with Dr. Bailey for a patent “Cell Culture” that explains how the silicon dioxide can be removed from the surface. Perhaps it is precisely this AFIP finding of silicon dioxide (without silica on the SEMs) that is why the FBI came to suspect Al-Timimi in 2003 (rightly or wrongly, we don’t know). The FBI would have kept these scientific findings secret to protect the integrity of the confidential criminal/national security investigation. There was still a processor and mailer to catch — still a case to prove. Still a question how virulent Ames from flask 1029 was obtained. After 9/11, intelligence collection takes precedence over arrests. As Ron Kessler explains in the new book, Terrorist Watch, many FBI officials feel that they are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t. Outside observers are constantly second-guessing them about how to proceed rather than trusting that they are in the best position to balance the competing considerations of national security, intelligence gathering, the pursuit of justice, and the safeguarding of civil liberties. Above all, in disclosing the theory of access to know-how, the FBI has needed to protect the due process rights of Al-Timimi while he defended himself on other charges.

    An example from October 2006 of equipment that went missing from GMU’s Discovery Hall was a rotissery hybridization oven belonging to the Center for Biomedical Genomics. “This equipment can be used to manufacture biological agents and genetically modified agents, which could potentially be used as biological weapons,” the Corinne Verzoni explained in her PhD 2007 thesis. “Upon hearing about instances or missing equipment in Discovery Hall, the author contacted campus security who was unaware of instances of missing equipment. Missing equipment should be reported to the equipment liaison. Missing equipment may not be reported to campus security because labs tend to share equipment. Equipment also goes missing because it is not inventoried if it is under $2,000.

    One of her other examples was equally dramatic (although Dr. Popov would say that the drama was unwarranted):

    “A DI system is a de-ionized water system, which removes the ions that are found in normal tap water. The assistant director for operations noticed the DI system in Discovery Hall was using the entire 100 gallons in two days, which is an enormous amount of water for the four DI taps in the whole building. According to the assistant director for operations, it is difficult to calculate the reason for that much water since no leak was found. A large amount of water used over a short period of time for unknown reasons could indicate that the research is being conducted covertly.”
    “A student with legitimate access to Discovery Hall,” she explained, “has easy accessibility to equipment. A student with access to the loading dock could steal equipment on the weekend when campus security is not present in Discovery Hall. A student could also walk out of the entrance with equipment on the weekend without security present.” She concluded: “The events at GMU demonstrate opportunity to create a clandestine lab, the ability to sell items illegally, or the ability to exploit school equipment.” In a late September 2001 interview on NPR on the anthrax threat, Dr. Alibek said: “When we talk and deal with, for example, nuclear weapons, it’s not really difficult to count how much of one or another substance we’ve got in the hands. When you talk about biological agents, in this case it’s absolutely impossible to say whether or not something has been stolen.”

    Presently, Al-Timimi’s prosecution is on remand while the defense is given an opportunity to discover any documents that existed prior to 9/11 about al-Timimi and to address an issue relating to NSA intercepts after 9/11. Ali’s defense counsel explained to the federal district court, upon a remand by the appeals court, that Mr. Timimi was interviewed by an FBI agent and a Secret Service agent as early as February 1994 in connection with the first World Trade Center attack. The agents left their business cards which the family kept. Defense counsel Johnathan Turley further explained that “We have people that were contacted by the FBI and told soon after 9/11 that they believed that Dr. Al-Timimi was either connected to 9/11 or certainly had information about Al Qaeda.” Defense counsel says his client was an “anthrax weapons suspect.”

    According to Al-Timimi’s defense counsel in a court filing, Ali “was described to his brother by the FBI within days of the 9-11 attacks as an immediate suspect in the Al Qaeda conspiracy.”

    Al-Timimi worked for SRA in 1999 where he had a high security clearance for work for the Navy. At a conference on countering biological terrorism in 1999 sponsored by the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. Dr. Alibek was introduced by a former colleague of Dr. Bailey:

    “Dr. Llewellyn: This is rather strange because I just met Dr. Alibek today. He was introduced to me by Dr. Charlie Bailey, who now works for SRA. But Charlie and I were associated with the Army Medical Research and Development Command Defense Program for over 20 years.”

    When I emailed Dr. Bailey in December 2007 to confirm Ali had the room right near his at Discovery Hall and whether he had worked with Al-Timimi at SRA he politely referred me to counsel and took no questions. Dr. Alibek and Dr. Popov have told me that Ali is not known to have worked on any biodefense project. Dr. Popova told me I should direct any such questions to Dr. Bailey. Dr. Bailey told me I should direct any questions to University counsel. University counsel declined to answer any questions. This is one of those uncomfortable questions that Condoleeza Rice in 1999 in writing about bioterrorism the public might have to ask about intelligence matters relating to bioterrorism. Unfortunately, it is easier to ask the question than get any answers from the Obama Administration.

  21. DXer said

    TO: Membership of the American Society for Microbiology
    FROM: Van Harp, Assistant Director, Washington Field Office
    Federal Bureau of Investigation
    ***
    I would like to appeal to the talented men and women of the American Society for Microbiology to assist the FBI in identifying the person who mailed these letters. It is very likely that one or more of you know this individual. A review of the information-to-date in this matter leads investigators to believe that a single person is most likely responsible for these mailings. This person is experienced working in a laboratory. Based on his or her selection of the Ames strain of Bacillus anthracis one would expect that this individual has or had legitimate access to select biological agents at some time. This person has the technical knowledge and/or expertise to produce a highly refined and deadly product. This person has exhibited a clear, rational thought process and appears to be very organized in the production and mailing of these letters. The perpetrator might be described as “stand-offish” and likely prefers to work in isolation as opposed to a group/team setting. It is possible this person used off-hours in a laboratory or may have even established an improvised or concealed facility comprised of sufficient equipment to produce the anthrax.

    It is important to ensure that all relevant information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, is brought to the attention of the investigators in this case. …

    There is also a $2.5 million reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible in this case.

    In a presentation at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) on September 26, 1998, Michael Hayes, a research associate in the U-Michigan Medical School, presented experimental evidence relating to work done by USAMRIID scientist Bruce Ivins establishing BCTP’s ability to destroy anthrax spores both in a culture dish and in mice exposed to anthrax through a skin incision. “In his conference presentation, Hayes described how even low concentrations of BCTP killed more than 90 percent of virulent strains of Bacillus anthracis spores in a culture dish.” Its website explains that the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy is the “[p]remier meeting on infectious diseases and antimicrobial agents, organized by the American Society for Microbiology.” Tarek Hamouda made a similar presentation to the American Society of Microbiologists presentation in Atlanta, Georgia. Neither has responded to emails or provided a copy of their respective presentations.

  22. DXer said

    Rep. Michael McCaul of Austin said this month in connection with Hasan and the Ft. Hood shooting that the U.S. military must screen individuals more thoroughly to protect against “infiltration.”

    Consider the case study of the Russian spy at Ft. Detrick. All indications are that neither the FBI nor Army ever caught the person regularly supplying the Russians with USAMRIID samples.

    Raymond Zilinskas, who was researching a history of the Soviet bioweapons program, told The Baltimore Sun a couple years ago that “his sources now say that Soviet intelligence routinely obtained details of work at USAMRIID that went beyond the descriptions in scientific journals.” The Sun quoted him saying: “It was clear there was somebody at Fort Detrick” who worked for Soviet intelligence. Alexander Y. Kouzminov, a biophysicist who says he once worked for the KGB, had first made the claim in a book, Biological Espionage: Special Operations of the Soviet and Russian Foreign Intelligence Services in the West. Initially, Dr. Zilinskas had dismissed the memoir because the Russian had made separate fanciful inferences about the US program being offensive and some specific claims unrelated to infiltration of the US program.

    The Sun article explained that then “another former Soviet scientist told The Sun that his lab routinely received dangerous pathogens and other materials from Western labs through a clandestine channel like the one Kouzminov described.” A second unnamed “U.S. arms control specialist” told the Sun he had independent evidence of a Soviet spy at Fort Detrick.”

    The Baltimore Sun, in the 2006 article, also relied on Serguei Popov, who was “a scientist once based in a Soviet bioweapons lab in Obolensk, south of Moscow.” Dr. Popov “said that by the early 1980s his colleagues had obtained at least two strains of anthrax commonly studied in Detrick and affiliated labs. They included the Ames strain, first identified at Detrick in the early 1980s.” Ames was used for testing U.S. military vaccines and was the strain used in the 2001 anthrax letters that killed five people and infected 23 in the U.S. Dr. Popov is now at George Mason University’s National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Disease in Fairfax, Va.

    “If you wanted ’special materials,’ you had to fill out a request,” he said. “And, essentially, those materials were provided. How and by whom, I can’t say.” One colleague, Popov told the Sun, used this “special materials” program to obtain a strain of Yersinia pestis, a plague bacterium being studied in a Western lab. But he didn’t know whether that particular germ came from Ft. Detrick. Former KGB operative and author Kouzminov says the KGB wanted specific items from Western labs — including Detrick — that were closely held and were willing to pay for the privilege. The Soviets also wanted the aerosol powders U.S. scientists developed for testing during vaccine tests.

    Raymond Zilinskas, the bioweapons expert with the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and two colleagues had written a scathing review of Biological Espionage in Nature, a British scientific journal, but he later told The Sun “that his sources now say that Soviet intelligence routinely obtained details of work at USAMRIID that went beyond the descriptions in scientific journals.”

    Expert William C. Patrick III, a retired Ft Detrick bioweapons expert, and famed Russian bioweaponeer Ken Alibek agree. Patrick’s suspicions arose when he debriefed defector Alibek in the early 1990s. Alibek emigrated to the U.S. upon the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991. Patrick and Alibek both recognized that the Soviet and American programs had moved in a curious lock step during the 1950s and ’60s. “Anything we discovered of any import, they would have discovered and would have in their program in six months,” Patrick told the Sun. After his talks with Alibek ended: “For the next two weeks I tried to think, ‘Who the hell are the spies at Detrick?’”

    Both former Russian bioweaponeers Ken Alibek and Serge Popov worked with Ali Al-Timimi at George Mason University. Dr. Al-Timimi has been convicted of sedition and sentenced to life plus 70 years. Popov and Alibek worked at the Center for Biodefense funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (”DARPA”). At one point, Al-Timimi worked not much more than 15 feet (as I look at the floor plans) from both Dr. Alibek and former USAMRIID head Charles Bailey, who has been a prolific author and listed on a number of publications involving the virulent Ames strain.

    Dr. Alibek and Dr. Popov tell me that they never knew Ali to ever have worked on a biodefense project. He had a high security clearance for some work for the government, involving mathematical support work for the Navy, but no one seems able or willing to say what it involved. In the Fall of 2006, the Washington Post reported that when they raided his townhouse in late February 2003, two weeks after the capture of the son of blind sheik Abdel-Rahman, they suspected Al-Timimi of being somehow involved in the anthrax mailings. Mohammed Abdel-Rahman was on Al Qaeda’s 3-man WMD committee and had spoken alongside Ali Al-Timimi at conferences of the Islamic Assembly of North America in 1993 and 1996.

    • DXer said

      Given that the documentary evidence establishes Ayman Zawahiri’s central and key role in anthrax planning, the individuals with the closest connection to him are the strongest candidates for co-conspirators in the anthrax mailing. Analysis of who Ayman Zawahiri might have recruited can start with these known associates that Zawahiri had known for a quarter century. Through the 1990s, there was an ongoing debate among these associates over tactics.

      As a general matter, Ayman commanded the loyalty of members of the Vanguards of Conquest, which was an offshoot of Egyptian Islamic Jihad once led by Cairo MD Agiza. Agiza, one of the main EIJ intellectuals, was extradited from Sweden after 9/11. He broke away from Zawahiri due to disagreements in 1993 but Bin Laden helped the Egyptian islamists reconcile their differences in the mid-1990s. Al Zayat argued in his book that the Vanguards of Conquest was not a separate group, and that Egyptian Islamic Jihad and the Vanguards of Conquest were “two names for the same group led by Zawahiri.” Attorney Al Zayat says in his book: “This was clear from the fact that the four accused in the Vanguards of Conquest cases that were tried by a military court were shouting their allegiance to Zawahiri from behind bars.”

      The August 6, 2001 PDB to President Bush explained: “Al-Qaida members — including some who are US citizens — have resided in or traveled to the US for years, and the group apparently maintains a support structure that could aid attacks. Two al-Qa’ida members found guilty in the plot to bomb our Embassies in East Africa were US citizens, and a senior EIJ member lived in California in the mid-1990s.” (The reference was to Ali Mohamed with no mention that he trained US Special Forces on matters relating to jihad at Ft. Bragg and had been Ayman Zawahiri’s head of intelligence).

      In a study of 400 terrorists, University of Pennsyvlania professor Marc Sageman concluded that 70 percent of terrorists were recruited outside their native country, having traveled abroad in the hope of improving their livelihood through jobs or education. Separation from their families and a feeling of alienation from their host countries prompted many to seek companionship at mosques. Friendship constituted 70 percent of recruitment, kinship 20 percent and discipleship only 10 percent. Social networking continues to be relied upon by the Muslim Brotherhood as a means of recruitment. Who did Ali Mohammed and Ayman Zawahiri meet in their travels? Just as interesting as the question who Ayman Zawahiri knew is who Ali Mohammed, Ayman’s head of intelligence and cell recruitment, knew. He recruited Dahab from Cairo Medical in the early 1980s.

      Zawahiri traveled to Malaysia, Singapore, Yemen, Iraq, Russia, Great Britain and United States. In March 1995, Zawahiri reportedly met with Taha (who at the time was based in Peshawar, Pakistan), Egyptian Islamic Group leader Mustafa Hamza (who at the time was based in Sudan), and Sudanese leader Turabi. Zawahiri traveled to Sudan and Ethiopia in mid-June. According to his former friend and EIJ’s spiritual advisor, Al-Sharif, Zawahiri was paid $100,000 by Sudanese intelligence to attempt to kill the Egyptian prime minister on a visit he made to Ethiopia.

      Zawahiri went to Russia in 1996 where he was imprisoned for 6 months. (Zawahiri was arrested in Dagestan after he tried to enter Chechnya; the Russians apparently never learned his real identity.) Two men joined the local islamists in urging the release of the three. One was Shehata, who would later serve briefly as head of al Jihad. Shehata was in charge of “special operations” and was Jaballah’s brother-in-law.

      As in life, it’s who you know that is important. What mosques did Zawahiri visit when he came to the United States in 1995?

      In an article that reconstructed his travels of his travels between April 1995 until December 1996, Andrew Higgins and Alan Cullison of the Wall Street Journal described some of the contents of his computer: “visa application for Taiwan; details of a bank account in Guangdong, China; a receipt for a computer modem bought in Dubai; a copy of a Malaysian company’s registration that listed Dr. Zawahiri, under an alias, as a director; and details of an account in a bank in St. Louis, Mo.” The St. Louis bank account related to reimbursement of expenses of the satellite phone used in planning the 1998 embassy attacks. Purchase was made by a charity worker in Columbia, Missouri. (The Saudi dissident in London who was a friend of Bin Laden and the Egyptian London cell members were complicitous in the purchase). The father of Al-Timimi’s friend Royer rented a room to Khalil Ziyad in his St. Louis-area home in 2000.

      “I first discussed my activities in the ceasefire initiatives with Zawahiri on a trip to London in March 1997 that I took with the purpose of delivering some lectures on human rights in Islam in a number of Islamic centers. I was received at the airport by [al-Bari], head of the Magreezy Center for Historical Studies (the Americans are currently attempting to extradite him to be tried for his connections with Osama bin Laden).. As soon as I arrived at Adel [al-Bari's]‘s house, Zawahiri called me. After he congratulated me on arriving in London safely, he asked me, “Why are you making your brothers angry?” He reproached me mildly for my role in promoting [an earlier] call for ceasefire in 1996 and told me that it had angered many brothers.”

      In 1997, back in Afghanistan, after his imprisonment in Russia, al-Zawahiri and Bin Laden plotted their strategy as to the United States. Bin Laden was able to convince Al-Zawahiri to discontinue the military operations inside Egypt and, instead, focus on the common enemies America and Israel. They had concluded that it was United States’ appropriations that propped up the regimes of Islamic countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt that had prevented the islamists from toppling those regimes. In 1996, Bin Laden announced war against America to the extent of its presence in the Middle East region. By the end of 1997, Bin Laden had determined to openly declare war against America and urge that Americans be killed everywhere.

      Bin Laden issued a fatwa on February 23, 1998 announcing the creation of “The World Islamic Front for Jihad against Jews and the Crusaders [Christians].” Along with Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri, it was signed by Taha, the man in charge of the Advisory Council of the Islamic Movement in Egypt. Taha was the blind sheik’s successor in the Egyptian Islamic Group. At the end of July 1998, Taha signed a statement saying he had never signed the fatwa. Al-Zayat, who had remained in touch with Taha until he was detained while transiting Syria, reports that Taha said that he was asked on the phone whether he would sign a statement to support the Iraqi people who were under American air strikes and he agreed. Taha explained that he had agreed to join in the 1998 “Crusaders” statement because he was told it was in opposition to the bombing strikes in Iraq. “He was surprised to discover later that the statement referred to the establishment of a new front, and that it included a very serious fatwa that all Muslims would be required to follow.” Taha emphasized that this all happened without “any clear approval” from the Egyptian Islamic Group “regarding participation in the Front. [The group] found itself a member of a front that they knew nothing about.”

      Attorney al-Zayat notes that when Mabruk, a long-time confidante of Zawahiri and the head of military operations, was captured in Albania in 1998, “[i]n his possession, the authorities found a laptop that had many names of the members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. This led to the arrest of more than a hundred members, who were tried in one case.” As a general rule, however, organizational security was very strict. “Any arrest of members is an opportunity for information to be extracted through torture. This is why each member knows only his role. When the members pledge their obedience and loyalty to the leader of the group, they are aware that they are not supposed to ask any questions about things that are not directly related to their role.” For example, Ramzi Binalshibh and Zubaydah knew only the limited operation they were engaged in. Such adherence to cell security makes piercing a conspiracy and proving it beyond a reasonable doubt very difficult.

      Islamic Group military commander Mustafa Hamza, who reportedly supported a cease-fire, and Islamic Group leader Taha, who supported a return to violence, apparently had a falling out after the Luxor debacle. In 1998, following Taha’s resignation as Islamic Group’s head, Hamza took over as its head. But after Taha was rendered to Egypt while in transit through Syria in 2001, Islamic Group leader Taha’s wife and children lived with Hamza’s family in Mashhad, Iran. Thus, the alleged falling out perhaps had not caused too great a rift. They both remained in contact with the blind sheik and his paralegal Sattar in 1999 at a time there was talk of a need for a second Luxor.

      Zawahiri kept in touch with Mahmoud Jaballah, who had emigrated to Canada in 1996, by satellite phone. EIJ shura member Mahmoud Mahjoub was also in Canada. Mahmoud Mahjoub was second in command of the Vanguards of Conquest, after Agiza (who later was succeeded by Zawahiri) In seeking refugee status in Canada, Mahjoub claimed that the persecution in Egypt was the result of a brief association with a suspected member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Mahjoub said that he was arrested several times while in Egypt and claimed to have experienced torture at the hands of the civilian authorities. brothers, one a doctor. In June 2000, Zawahiri visited Hambali in Indonesia with al-Qaeda military chief Mohammed Atef. Hambali the next year would attempt to reestablish Sufaat’s anthrax lab in Southeast Asia.

      Another friend and colleague of Ayman, Kamal Habib, was playing a prominent role in Egyptian politics. Kamal Habib had graduated from Cairo University in 1979 in political science. Twenty years later, he wrote for the Islamic Assembly of North America (“IANA”) quarterly magazine. The Cairo-based publication Al-Manar Al-Jadid was sponsored by the Ann Arbor-based charity, Islamic Assembly of North America. The 1999 website announced:

      “IANA has signed a cooperative agreement with the Cairo based publisher and distributor Dar Al-Manar Al-Jadeed. Jointly they will publish in Cairo and distribute around the world the quarterly Al-Manar Al-Jadeed magazine. The magazine is devoted to addressing the religious, social, and civil matters. Six issues of the magazine have already been published. The editor in chief is the well-known writer, Jamal Sultan. We wish the magazine a very prosperous future.”

      Habib was a key founding member of Egyptian Islamic Jihad and spent 1981-1991 in jail for the assassination of Anwar Sadat. Like Abdel-Bari, al-Zayat and Taha, he was critical of Ayman’s tactics, though not his goals. In the late 1970s, the cell ran by the young doctor Zawahiri joined with three other groups to become Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) under Habib’s leadership. The blind sheik was their spiritual adviser. In a 2002 New Yorker article, Lawrence Wright wrote in “The Man Behind Bin Laden: How an Egyptian doctor became a master of terror,” that “[l]ike Zawahiri, Habib, who had graduated in 1979 from Cairo University’s Faculty for Economics and Political Science, was the kind of driven intellectual who might have been expected to become a leader of the country but turned violently against the status quo.”

      The editor-in-chief of the IANA quarterly journal Al Manar Jadeed was Gamal Sultan, who had also been a member of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. When Mr. Sultan traveled to Pittsburgh in 2000, Mr. Sultan recalls other islamists remarking it was the Kandahar of the US, given its rolling hills. Kamal Habib and Jamal (Gamal) Sultan also wrote for Assirat Al-Mustaqeem, an Arabic-language magazine embracing radical, anti-U.S. views that was published in Pittsburgh from 1991 to 2000. Mr. Sultan’s brother Mahmoud did also. Unlike Zawahiri, Kamal Habib and Gamal Sultan believe in achieving shariah law through democracy. Computational biologist Al-Timimi was on the Assirat Advisory Board.

      Al-Timimi was sentenced to life plus 70 years for exhorting young men to jihad. A prominent IANA speaker, he shared a fax in the summer of 2001 with former Russian bioweaponeer Ken Alibek and former USAMRIID head and Ames researcher Charles Bailey. Al Timimi met government agents regularly for more than a year before his indictment. The indictment against the paintball defendants alleged that that at an Alexandria, Virginia residence, in the presence of a representative of BIF, the defendants watched videos depicting Mujahadeen engaged in Jihad and discussed a training camp in Bosnia. Al-Timimi had asked the FBI to hold off on the indictment until he received his degree. His defense lawyer says that the FBI searched Al-Timimi’s townhouse “to connect him to the 9/11 attacks or to schemes to unleash a biological or nuclear attack.” Former Russian bioweaponeering program head Ken Alibek told me that he would occasionally see in the hallways at George Mason, where they both were in the microbiology department. Dr. Alibek was vaguely aware that he was an islamic hardliner but considered him “a numbers guy.” When what his defense counsel claims was an FBI attempt to link him to a planned biological attack failed, defense counsel says that investigators focused on his connections to the men who attended his lectures at the local Falls Church, Va.

      The IANA webmaster Al-Hussayen from Moscow, Idaho complained in a Sept. 8, 2002, phone conversation that “we have to have control over our projects,” saying operators of the Islamway Web site, the Al-Manar magazine and the Alasr Web site were doing whatever they wanted, then sending IANA the bills. At the IANA publication Alasr, he complained, “Khalid Hassan puts in it what he wants, with some of the articles being sensitive causing us some problems at the present time. .. They don’t think, for example, what you might face being here.” Four fatwas justifying suicide attacks — including flying a plane into a tall building — that were posted on the Alasr’s Web site were central to the allegations against Sami Al-Hussayen.

      Al Qaeda military commander and former Egyptian police sergeant commander Atef, a key anthrax planner, was killed in November 2001. Taha was rendered transiting Syria in 2001. Canadian Khadr was killed. In 2005, Iran reportedly turned Mustafa Hamza over, where he was tried and convicted for assassination and attempted assassination of various high Egyptian government officials. In 2006, Zawahiri’s chief aide al-Hadi was captured. Cairo attorney Mamdouh Ismail, al-Zayat’s co-founder of the Islamic party, was arrested in late March 2007. He allegedly was serving as a conduit with jihadis in Egypt, Yemen and Iraq. In short, it’s not been a good decade for Friends of Ayman. Any compartmentalized cell in which Ayman operated in his anthrax program is getting mighty tight indeed. Based on the isotope ratios of the anthrax culture, the roots of the Amerithrax likely grew in the United States rather than a faraway place like Egypt, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia or Malaysia. Although the seeds were planted in Cairo, the tree took root not only in Brooklyn and in many places in the US.

  23. DXer said

    USAMRIID has released some emails by Bruce Ivins discussing the difficulties of planning the Fourth International Conference on Anthrax in Annapolis. The first of the emails was from September 1998, upon his return from the conference at Plymouth. In June 2001, the good ship anthrax sailed in Annapolis, Maryland, the “sailing capital of the world.” The 4th International Conference on Anthrax was held at St. John’s College in historic Annapolis, Maryland, June 10 – 13, 2001. The conference was organized by the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases and managed by the American Society for Microbiology. The 74-foot classic wooden schooner was named WOODWIND. Martin Hugh-Jones had convened the conference along with Peter Turnbull, the Porton Down scientist who had led the UK conferences attended by Ayman Zawahiri’s scientist, Rauf Ahmad. Reports of livestock and national park outbreaks were followed by a summary by Dr. Turnbull. Other anthrax notables who spoke included senior USAMRIID scientist Dr. Ezzell, who had one of the first looks at the Daschle product, and Dr. Paul Keim, who would play a key role in the genetic investigation.

    Other talks focused on cell structure and function such as the S-layer, exosporium, and germination.

    Theresa Koehler from the Houston Medical School gave a talk titled “The Expanding B. anthracis Toolbox” while Timothy Read from The Institute of Genome Research summarized research on The B. Anthracis Genome. Houston Medical School, the UK’s biodefense facility Porton Down, and Pasteur Institute each fielded three presenters. UK scientists presented on the characteristics of the exosporium of “the highly virulent Ames strain.” Researchers from Columbus, Ohio and Biological Defense Research Directorate (BDRD) of the Navy Medical Research Institute in Bethesda, assisted by Porton Down scientists from the UK, demonstrated that inoculated mice survived a challenge with b.anthracis spores. Researchers used b.anthracis containing a plasmid with a mutated lethal factor.” Dr. Phil Hanna from University of Michigan was there and presented, as he had been in the UK at the conference attending with Rauf Ahmad.

    A Kazakhstan Ministry of Health scientist presented on the re-emergence of anthrax in Kazakhstan. Upon the break-up of the Soviet Union the first job offer Ken Alibek fielded was the position of Minister of Health in Kazakhstan. He protested when he realized that his new employer’s job description shifted to “you know the job,” and he realized that they just wanted to do what the Soviets had been secretly doing in an illegal and massive bioweapons program he had supervised as its First Deputy. After the KGB asked to meet with him, he asked to schedule the meeting in two weeks, so that he might visit his parents, and then found a secret expedited way of coming to the United States.

    Pakistan Rauf Ahmad had been the predator looking for the Ames strain and consulting on weaponization techniques at the UK conference. Did the Amerithrax perp attend this conference or work on any of the research presented? Ali Al-Timimi had a high security clearance for mathematical support work for the Navy. Why? When? What did his work involve? In January 2002, FBI Assistant Director Van Harp told the 40,000 members of the American Society for Microbiology that it was “very likely that one or more of you know this individual.” They very likely did.

  24. DXer said

    “Yes! Yes! Yes!!!!!!! I finally know who mailed the anthrax letters in the fall of 2001. I’ve pieced it together! Now we can finally get all of this over and done with. I have to check a couple of things to make sure…absolutely sure…and then I can turn over info. I’ll probably turn it over to my lawyer, and then he’ll turn the info over to the authorities. I’m not looking forward to everybody getting dragged through the mud, but at least it will all be over. Finally! I should have it TOTALLY nailed down within the month. I should have been a private eye!!!! -bruce”
    — Sept. 7, 2007 Email by Dr. Bruce Ivins to himself from an email screen name “KingBadger7″

    Dr. Ivins would have reason to know his email was intercepted and so when he writes the email, he knows that the FBI knows that KingBadger7 is one of his AOL accounts. He is not trying to make it seem like it is coming from a third person. He is talking out loud knowing he has an audience.

    And in using the Kingbadger7 address for other comments (such as in a comment to a News-Post story, perhaps was talking to the same audience about an incident that was closely parallel to the claim in an affidavit in which as probable cause the FBI alleged he went out in the dark once in the rain and was using a rake (or was it a shovel) to move the grass. I don’t have the affidavit in front of me and don’t recall the date of the incident.

    Kingbadger commented on a story published in May 2006 about a man who was detained at his Tuscarora house after he went to look for a trash can lid, which had blown off the back of his pickup truck.
    The man, Dave Twigg, held a flashlight out of his truck late April 30 to search for the lid. An officer with the Department of Natural Resources then tried to stop Twigg, but Twigg continued driving until he reached a lighted area — his driveway.
    The officer threatened to charge Twigg for fleeing and eluding a police officer and illegally hunting deer by blinding them with bright lights, according to the article.

    Kingbadger7@aol.com wrote:

    – “I’ve known Dave Twigg for a long time, and he’s a great, honest, law-abiding guy. The DNR agent was more than a bit over-reactive and (testosteronal) in what he did to Dave … Dave should sue the DNR and the officer involved for what happened.”
    – “Great … that’s all that night predators need to know: That they can stop anybody, anywhere, for practically any reason and say that they’re ‘DNR.’ Dave Twigg wasn’t running from anybody, so the ‘attempting to flee’ charge is completely bogus — What’s next? Arresting kids who have flashlights and are looking in their yard for nightcrawlers?”
    – ” … you can go online and purchase ‘police car’ lights for your vehicle. Scary, huh? Knowing that, how many of us would tell our loved ones to stop at night on deserted roads when unmarked, supposed police cars flashed their lights? As to comment in the previous post about ‘salivating lawyers,’ I think that the DNR officer’s actions would cause many reasonable people to consult an attorney.”

    An FBI agent very possibly asked Dr. Ivins what he had been doing that night in the dark or asked him why he had retained an attorney. Here perhaps Dr. Ivins was providing a response.

    The FBI’s allegation relating to the looking for something in the dark is an example of selling the sizzle and not the steak — of trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

    • DXer said

      A pen register was established on kingfisher account in November 2006.

      • DXer said

        The officer ticketed the man looking for his trash iid that had blown off the back of his pickup for “spotlighting without a weapon.” Haha! Bruce specifically discussed the AOL screen names in January 2008.

    • DXer said

      “Further, with respect to backard at the residence, at approximately 10:30 p.m., in early June 2008, Bruce Edwards Ivins was observed walking in the rain out into an area at his backyard near his back fence. He was then observed making a raking or digging motion in that area. Subsequent visual scrutiny of that area revealed that it was an untended area of grass and other vegetation.”

      The evidence is really piling up! Arrest him for looking for nightcrawlers without a fishing pole!

  25. DXer said

    The Post and Brokaw letters contain low levels of a bacterial contaminant identified as a strain of Bacillus subtilis. The Bacillus subtilis contaminant has not been detected in the anthrax spore powders recovered from the envelopes mailed to either Senator Leahy or Senator Daschle. Bacillus subtillis is a non-pathogenic bacterium found ubiquitously in the environment. However, genomic DNA sequencing of the specific isolate of Bacillus subtilus discovered within the Post and Brokaw powders reveals that it is genetically distinct from other known isolates of Bacillus subtilis.

    Phenotypic and genotypic analyses demonstrate that the RMR-1029 does not have the Bacillus subtilis contaminant found in the evidentiary spore powders, which suggests that the anthrax used in the letter attacks was grown from the material contained in RMR-1029 and not taken directly from the flask and placed in the envelopes. Since RMR-1029 is the genetic parent to the evidentiary spore powders, and it is not known how the Bacillus subtilis contaminant came to be in the Post and Brokaw spore powders, the contaminant must have been introduced during the production of the Post and Brokaw spores. At the ASM Biodefense presentation in February 2009, the FBI scientists explained that no subtilis found in any of Dr. Ivins samples was the genetically distinct subtilis. “We don’t know the process used,” Bannan says. “We never found the equivalent B. subtilis at USAMRIID in any of the evidence that we had.” Ed Lake is mistaken in claiming, without citation or factual basis, that they did not test AMI for subtilis.

    • DXer said

      On July 6, 2009, Paul Keim answered selected viewer questions about the anthrax letter attacks and microbial forensics in general. Our gracious host, Lew, writing from Collioure, France asked Dr. Keim in a public discussion:

      “4) Was the Bacillus subtilis contaminant found in the first batch of letters genetically identical to any forensic evidence collected from any lab? Also, was that contaminant tested against strains from Dugway Proving Grounds?”

      Dr. Keim responded:

      “My lab did not work on the B. subtilis contaminant, so what I am relating is secondhand knowledge. However, it is based upon my conversations with government experts and my participation in the press conferences and the public ASM symposium. Details of the contaminant were discussed in these forums.

      Background: The question refers to the non-hemolytic (B. anthracis is hemolytic) bacterial contaminant found in some of the letters. It proved to be a spore forming Bacillus subtilis bacterium. As the name implies, this is somewhat related to Bacillus anthracis and shares many biological properties. But it is not a disease causing organism, and there are many, many different types found in the environment. It would not be surprise to me to find a novel B. subtilis on my computer keyboard.

      Answer: The government investigators thought that perhaps this contaminant could be used to trace back the spore preps to a particular laboratory. If the contaminant was a common laboratory strain of B. subtilis, this might have been possible. In the end, this apparently proved impossible because this contaminant was different from any known lab strains. Likewise, Dugway Proving Grounds labs were intensely investigated, and I would assume that any Bacillus strains at that facility would have been investigated. Again, no lab strains matched the contaminant using DNA analysis.

      Then Anonymous asked:

      Q: Did the Bacillus subtilis contaminant found in the New York Post and NBC anthrax letters raise speculation that it could have been residue from aerosol powder equipment used by military labs to manufacture bioweapon (BW) simulants? For example, Edgewood Army labs routinely produce aerosolizable Bacillus subtilis var. niger strain bioweapons simulants. See link here: http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA483822&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf. Did the Bacillus subtilis found match the niger strain or any other strain associated with BW simulant production? Was this considered?

      A: DNA analysis of the B. subtilis contaminant did not match any known strain of bacteria (see my previous answer).

      Background: The question refers to a fairly common lab strain of B. subtilis that has been used as a non-pathogenic biological weapons simulant of B. anthracis to test detector systems in environmental releases of spores. This strain forms a very identifiable colony upon plating, which is probably why it was chosen as the BW simulant.

      Everyone in the investigation is well aware of the use of this B. subtilis niger as a simulant, and many of us have this strain in our labs. Upon DNA analysis, the letter-contaminant strain was considerably different from the simulant.

      Not to belabor this point, but this BW simulant bacterium has been renamed several times as scientists have learned more about. It was originaly named Bacillus subtilis var. niger, but was then deemed distinct and different from B. subtilis and was then given its own species name, Bacillus globii. Later it was renamed again to Bacillus atrophaeus. I mention this just to re-enforce the idea that this BW simulant bacterium is very distinguishable from the B. subtilis found amongst the B. anthracis spores.”

      Ed should cite and quote experts and not make up stuff.

    • DXer said

      In December 2008, Ed wrote:

      “As far as I know, the FBI had no reason to look for the Bacillus subtilis at AMI.”

      He continued:

      “Why go through the expense of looking for something that would be of no value to the case?”

      Ed took his mistaken and lay view that the FBI had no reason to look for subtilis as a basis for asserting as a factual matter that they did not.

      Of course they did.

      And what do you know Ed of the expense of looking for subtilis? Why would you falsely imply that the investigators were not thorough in their approach?

      • DXer said

        The 2005 GAO report on the CDC sampling at AMI (covering the period Fall 2001 and Spring 2002) explained:

        “According to some public health officials, because environmental samples often contain Bacillus species commonly found in the environment, any organisms isolated by culture would have to be examined carefully to rule out the presence of the anthrax organism. Therefore, adequate training was essential. According to one public health official, a bacterium called B. cereus “looks very similar to anthrax in Gram’s stain.” As we showed in figure 3, Gram’s stain is one of the preliminary tests used to rule out anthrax. A DOD anthrax expert explained, “Both cereus and B. anthracis are members of the genus Bacillus but are different species. Gram’s strains are useful as an initial step in determining whether an unknown microorganism could be Bacillus anthracis. If it is gram-negative, it is not.” The problem with differentiation of various Bacillus species might lead to false positive results. Therefore, confirmation is needed.”

  26. DXer said

    Milton Viorst, who knew this Salafist suitemate of the Battelle consultants advising on anthrax aerosols, wrote a fascinating and sympathetic yet balanced portrait in “The Education of Ali Al-Timimi” that appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, June 2006.

    In Saudi Arabia, Al-Timimi had been mentored by a Saudi-trained Canadian imam Bilal Philips. Philips was Al-Timimi’s Islamic Studies teacher at Manaret Riyadh High School in the early 1980s. Al-Timimi adopted Philips’ view that “The clash of civilizations is a reality,” and “Western culture led by the United States is an enemy of Islam.” Between 1991 and 1993, Philips relocated to the Mindinao, Philippines, where he taught at an islamic school. In 1993, according to an interview he gave in a London-based Arabic-language magazine interview, Philips ran a program to convert US soldiers to Islam stationed in Saudi Arabia during the first Persian Gulf War. Philips was made a proselytization official by the Saudi Air Force. Philips followed up in the US, with telephone calls and visits intended to recruit the veterans as potential members of Bin Laden’s network. He enlisted assistance from others based in the U.S. and members of Islamic centers all over the US. These conversion specialists financed pilgrimages for US veterans and would later send Muslim clerics in the United States to their homes. Bilal Philips encouraged some converts from this program to fight in Bosnia in the 1990s. Bilal Philips explained these recruitment efforts to a London newspaper in Arabic (translated by the Foreign Broadcast Information Service) in an article titled “Jamaican-Born Canadian Interviewed on Islamic Missionary Work Among US Troops”:
    “[redacted] used to coordinate with US intelligence. And, when Croatia closed its borders to Arab volunteers, there were a group of black Americans who completed their training and knew Islam through me. [Redacted] contacted Shaykh Umar Abd-al-Rahman and offered to use this group for sabotage acts inside the United States. The offer was made on the telephone, which apparently was tapped by US intelligence. Shaykh Umar replied by saying: ‘”Avoid civilian targets.’” After completing his religious education in Saudi Arabia in Medina, Ali Al Timimi returned to the United States and received a second bachelor’s degree — this time in computer science at the University of Maryland, while also studying software programming at George Washington University. Timimi spoke at IANA conferences in 1993 and 1994. A senior al Qaeda recruiter, Abdelrahman Dosari, also spoke at three IANA conferences in the early 1990s. In December 1993, Al-Dosari (a.k.a. Shaykh Abu Abdel Aziz “Barbaros”) spoke on ‘Jihad & Revival” and exhorted young men to fight for their faithjust as Al-Timimi would later be accused of doing privately with young men in Virginia.

    At the first annual IANA conference in 1993, scheduled speakers included Bilal Philips, Mohammed Abdul-Rahman from Afghanistan, Mohammad Qutb from Cairo, Gamal Sultan from Cairo, and Abu Abdel Aziz ‘Barbaros’ (Bosnia).

    Mohammad Abdul-Rahman was the blind sheik’s son. The blind sheik soon was sentenced for terrorism relating to WTC 1993 and the “Day of Terror” plot directed at NYC landmarks. In 2000, Mohammed Abdel Rahman, a/k/a “Asadallah,” who is a son of Abdel Rahman, was sitting alongside Bin Laden and Zawahiri and was videotaped encouraging others to “avenge your Sheikh” and “go to the spilling of blood.”

    Mohammad Qutb was Sayyid Qutb’s brother. Egyptian Mohammad Qutb, a renown scholar and activist, taught Bin Laden at university in Saudi Arabia, having emigrated to Saudi Arabia. In the 1970s, bin Laden was taught by Sayyid Qutb’s brother, Dr. Mohammad Qutb, and a Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood member, Dr. Abdullah Azzam. Azzam’s ideas of non-compromise, violent means, and organizing and fighting on a global scale were central to Al Qaeda methods. Qutb, as al-Hawali’s teacher, also strongly influenced al-Hawali. Al-Hawali was sent to prison in 1994.

    Gamal Sultan was a former EIJ member who would seek to start a political party in 1999 with the founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Kamal Habib. They sought to chart a nonviolent course (given the practical reality that the movement had been so infiltrated by the security forces). The blind sheik declined to endorse the venture. In 2000, on a trip to Pittsburgh, Gamal Sultan and his colleagues thought Pittsburgh reminded them of Kandahar given its rolling hills.

    Abu Abdel Aziz ‘Barbaros’ was a well-known holy warrior and fundraiser from Saudi Arabia. In 1994, Abdel Aziz glorified jihad and praised the Pittsburgh magazine Assirat for its interest in holy war. He asked Assirat readers and in a 1995 update, to donate money for holy war. He lauded Dr. Abdullah Azzam, the founder of al-Qaeda. He explained jihad will continue till the day of judgment.” In 1996, he was detained as the primary suspect in the attack on the Dhahran barracks, in which 19 U.S. servicemen were killed. Expert Evan Kohlmann explains: Barbaros was “one of the key individuals responsible for LeT’s formation and development.” He “was a Saudi Al-Qaida member.” Kohlmann writes “In the fall of 1992, a former Al-Qaida lieutenant-turned-government informant attended secret meetings in Croatia chaired by Abu Abdel Aziz (“Barbaros.”). During those meetings, Abu Abdel Aziz talked about his directives from Usama Bin Laden and indicated that Al-Qaida was seeking to use regional jihads such as those in Bosnia and Kashmir as a “a base for operations… against al Qaeda’s true enemy, the United States.”

    In 1995 Ali Al Timimi headed an IANA delegation to China together with IANA President Bassem Khafagi and Syracuse oncologist and IANA Vice Chairman Rhafil Dhafir. The IANA condemned the UN women’s rights conference as “an attack on Islam.” They urged Imams worldwide to tell Muslims about “the hidden agenda of this UN Conference, and how to foil the libertine and Westernization movements in the Islamic world.”

    Salafist commentator Umar Lee has explained that in the early 1990s “the most dynamic part of the salafi movement in the DC-area were the students Sheikh Ali al-Timimi who in the 1990’s co-founded a very small group with a small office for an organization called the Society for the Adherence to the Sunnah. In early July 1994, cooperation with Al-Timimi’s Society for the Adherence to the Sunnah, Washington, D.C., IANA held its first annual summer camp in English in Frederick, MD (where the ponds were drained in the Amerthrax investigation). The theme of the camp was “Living the Shahadah in America.” This is what Sheikh Ali was teaching kids at the 1st Annual IANA Summer Camp at a Frederick, MD park:
    “Reflections on the Meaning of Our Testimony of Faith: ‘There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah” by Ali Al-Timimi.
    ***
    “6 Wage Jihad in the Path of Allah
    ***
    “Fight those who believe not in Allah and the Last Day and do not forbid what Allah and His Messenger have forbidden, and practice not the true religion (Islam), being of those who have been given the Scripture (the Jews and the Christians) — until they pay tribute readily and have been brought low. (The Qur’an 9:29)
    The Prophet has said:
    I am commanded to fight mankind till they testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establish the prayers and pay the charity. When they do that they will keep their lives and their property

    Author Milton Viorst, the father of a boy who knew Al-Timimi as a young teen, wrote: “Dozens of his talks are available on the Internet in text and in audio format. They contain little about Arab concerns with the Arab-Israeli wars, the rivalries between the Arab states, the problems faced by Muslims living in the West, or even the war in Iraq. Rather, they reveal a man who reflects deeply on the Islamic vision of Judgment day, prophecy, the nature of the divine, and fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) — subjects with which he grappled in Medina and in his private reading.” Al Timimi’s lectures (in English after Arabic opening) include “The Negative Portrayal Of Islam In the Media,” “Signs Before the Day of Judgement,” “Advice to the UK Salafis” and “Crusade Complex: Western Perceptions of Islam.” In one of his taped talks available online, al-Timimi warned Muslims not to become too friendly with non-Muslim “disbelievers” or even work for them if other jobs were available. “A Muslim should never allow the disbeliever to have the upper hand.”

    According to the webpage of his first defense committee (which disbanded when they felt under pressure due to their support), in 1996 he worked for Andrew Card for 2 months.

    Al-Timimi’s increasing computer skills got him a job at SRA International where Ali worked as a “bioinformatics software architect” providing information technology to the government. Some of his jobs required that Ali obtain a high-level security clearance. One job resulted in a letter of recommendation from the White House. He then enrolled in a PhD program in computational biology at George Mason University. In 1999, Battelle consultant and former USAMRIID Charles Bailey also worked at SRA By 2000, Ali Al-Timimi was already taking advanced courses at Mason in computational sciences. Dr. Bailey became co-Director of the DARPA-funded Center of Biodefense there in the Spring of 2001.

    Timimi once explained his research: “I am currently a research scientist at the Center for Biomedical Genomics and Informatics, George Mason University. I am involved in the analysis of the microarray data generated by the CTRF Cancer Genomics Project. Likewise, I am developing new computational approaches and technologies in support of this project.” The webpage for Timimi’s program at the time explained: “Faculty members and graduate students in the Program in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology participate in numerous collaborative efforts including but not limited to the following Laboratories and Research Centers: Center for Biomedical Genomics and Informatics (GMU) , Laboratory for Microbial and Environmental Biocomplexity (GMU) and Center for Biodefense (GMU). Beginning the Spring of 2002, GMU hired Ali to develop a computer program that coordinated the research at several universities, letting him go only after he came under suspicion by the FBI. In Spring 2002, according to salary information obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, GMU hired him for $70,000 a year. In 2002, the employment was through the School of Computational Sciences and in 2003, it was through Life Sciences Grants & Contracts.

    The School of Computational Sciences at George Mason is a joint venture between the American Type Culture Collection (”ATCC”) and George Mason. The joint venture is an effort to maximize research efforts by combining the academic and applied approaches to research. The School’s first activity was to teach an ATCC course in DNA techniques adapted for George Mason students. The ATCC is an internationally renown non-profit organization that houses the world’s largest and most diverse archive of biological materials. The Prince William Campus shares half of Discovery Hall with ATCC. ATCC moved to its current state-of-the-art laboratory at Discovery Hall (Prince William II) in 1998. ATCC’s 106,000-square-foot facility has nearly 35,000 square feet of laboratory space with a specialized air handling system and Biosafety Level 2 and 3 containment stations. The ATCC bioinformatics (BIF) program carries out research in various areas of biological information management relevant to its mission. BIF scientists interact with laboratory scientists in microbiology, cell biology, and molecular biology at ATCC and other laboratories throughout the world. ATCC has strong collaborations with a large number of academic institutions, including computational sciences at George Mason University. Through these partnerships, the George Mason Prince William Campus offers George Mason microbiology students an opportunity for students to be involved in current research and gain access to facilities and employment opportunities at ATCC and other partner companies.

    While I’ve not yet found any reference directly confirming Timimi’s room number, the person who inherited his old telephone number (3-4294) is Victor Morozov in the Center for Biodefense. Dr. Morozov, upon joining the faculty and inheriting the phone number was in Rm. 154A, very near Dr. Bailey in Rm 156B. One faculty member who consulted with Al-Timimi suggested to me that Ali instead was Rm. 154B, in the middle of the office suite. GMU Information Services helpfully looked up the listings from 2001 directory. As of October 2001 (when the directory is published according to GMU Information Services), judging from the directory, Al-Timimi was still just a graduate student.

    Former USAMRIID Deputy Commander and Acting Commander Ames strain anthrax researcher Charles Bailey, in Rm 156B, was given a Gateway desktop computer in mid-March 2001 (upon his arrival) — serial number 0227315480. It was like the one Dr. Alibek would get the next year in 156D. One way to think of proximity analysis — a form of true crime analysis — is the number of feet or inches between 154B and 156B/156D. Another way is to think of it is in terms of the number of feet or inches to the hard drives. You can judge the distance for yourself from a First Floor plan that is available online, clicking upon 154-156 area to enlarge.

    The December 2007 biodefense PhD thesis explains:
    “Although computers are password protected, anyone can access the computers located throughout the labs. Research results can be recorded on lab computers. Someone wanting to access research results would first have to understand what the numbers meant. Research results are also kept in a lab notebook that is kept in the lab or office. This enables other students to repeat what was already done or to see results.”

    In April 2007, at a talk at Princeton University, Dr. Alibek noted that he felt that

    “[u]nfortunately, the likelihood is very high” of a follow-up to the anthrax mailings of 2001. “And the agent very likely is still anthrax.” “The biggest part of my life now is devoted to cancer and cardiovascular (research). If you work in the biodefense community, good luck to you. I hope you succeed.” Dr. Alibek explained that he had been scrutinized and consulted, and given a
    polygraph after the anthrax mailings. He said that anthrax likely would be the pathogen favored by terrorists because it is relatively easy to grow and transport. Dr. Alibek suspects it it was “a person who knew from some source how the U.S. manufactured anthrax years and years ago.” He said, “It’s not rocket science.”

    In a separate appeal, the conviction of Al-Timimi’s assistant Chandia affirmed but the 15 year sentence was vacated and remanded for resentencing because of failure to making findings warranting terrorism enhancement. The conviction was reaffirmed by the District Court. He was alleged to have helped a Pakistan group buy components of a UAV.

  27. DXer said

    The Washington Post, in an article “Hardball Tactics in an Era of Threats,” dated September 3, 2006 summarized events relating to George Mason University computational biology graduate student Ali Al-Timimi — to the suite containing the Battelle consultants at the DARPA-funded Center For Biodefense:

    “In late 2002, the FBI’s Washington field office received two similar tips from local Muslims: Timimi was running ‘an Islamic group known as the Dar al-Arqam’ that had ‘conducted military-style training,’ FBI special agent John Wyman would later write in an affidavit.
    Wyman and another agent, Wade Ammerman, pounced on the tips. Searching the Internet, they found a speech by Timimi celebrating the crash of the space shuttle Columbia in 2003, according to the affidavit. The agents also found that Timimi was in contact with Sheikh Safar al-Hawali, a Saudi whose anti-Western speeches in the early 1990s had helped inspire bin Laden.

    The agents reached an alarming conclusion:

    ‘Timimi is an Islamist supporter of Bin Laden’ who was leading a group ‘training for jihad,’ the agent wrote in the affidavit. The FBI even came to speculate that Timimi, a doctoral candidate pursuing cancer gene research, might have been involved in the anthrax attacks.

    On a frigid day in February 2003, the FBI searched Timimi’s brick townhouse on Meadow Field Court, a cul-de-sac near Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax. Among the items they were seeking, according to court testimony: material on weapons of mass destruction.”

    Al-Timimi had rock star status in Salafist circles and lectured in July 2001 (in Toronto) and August 2001 (in London) on the coming “end of times” and signs of the coming day of judgment. He spoke alongside officials of a charity, Islamic Assembly of North America (”IANA”) promoting the views of Bin Laden’s sheiks. Another speaker was Ali’s mentor, Bilal Philips, one of the 173 listed as unindicted WTC 1993 conspirators. Bilal Philips worked in the early 1990s to recruit US servicemen according to testimony in that trial and interviews in which Dr. Philips explained the Saudi-funded program. According to Al-Timimi’s attorney, Ali “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.” The NSA was intercepting communications by Fall 2001 without a warrant.

    At the same time the FBI was searching the townhouse of PhD candidate Ali Timimi, searches and arrests moved forward elsewhere.

    In Moscow, Idaho, FBI agents interviewed Nabil Albaloushi. (The FBI apparently searched his apartment at the same time they searched the apartment of IANA webmaster Sami al-Hussayen, who they had woken from bed at 4:00 a.m.) Albaloushi was a PhD candidate expert in drying foodstuffs. His thesis in 2003 was 350 pages filled with charts of drying coefficients. Interceptions showed a very close link between IANA’s Sami al-Hussayen and Sheikh al-Hawali, to include the setting up of websites, the providing of vehicles for extended communication, and telephone contact with intermediaries of Sheikh al-Hawali. Al-Hussayen had al-Hawali’s phone number upon the search of his belongings upon his arrest. Former Washington State University animal geneticist and nutrition researcher Ismail Diab, who had moved to Syracuse to work for an IANA-spin-off, also was charged in Syracuse and released as a material witness to a financial investigation of the IANA affiliate “Help The Needy.” After the government failed to ask Dr. Diab any questions for nearly 3 months, the magistrate bail restrictions and removed the electronic monitoring and curfew requirements.

    In Moscow, Idaho, the activities by IANA webmaster Sami al-Hussayen that drew scrutiny involved these same two radical sheiks. U.S. officials say the two sheiks influenced al Qaeda’s belief that Muslims should wage holy war against the U.S. until it ceases to support Israel and withdraws from the Middle East. Sami Hussayen, who was acquitted, made numerous calls and wrote many e-mails to the two clerics, sometimes giving advice to them about running Arabic-language websites on which they espoused their anti-Western views.

    According to witness testimony in the prosecution of the Virginia Paintball Defendants, after September 11, 2001, “Al-Timimi stated that the attacks may not be Islamically permissible, but that they were not a tragedy, because they were brought on by American foreign policy.” The FBI first contacted Timimi shortly after 9/11. He met with FBI agents 7 or 8 times in the months leading up to his arrest. Al-Timimi is a US citizen born in Washington DC. His house was searched, his passport taken and his telephone monitored. Ali Al Timimi defended his PhD thesis in computational biology shortly after his indictment for recruiting young men to fight the US in defending against an invasion of Afghanistan.

    Communications between Al-Timimi with dissident Saudi sheik Safar al-Hawali, one of the two fundamentalist sheikhs who were friends and mentors of Bin Laden, were intercepted. The two radical sheiks had been imprisoned from September 1994 to June 1999. Al-Hawali’s detention was expressly the subject of Bin Laden’s 1996 Declaration of War against the United States and the claim of responsibility for the 1998 embassy bombings. He had been Al-Timimi’s religious mentor at University.

    ABC reported in July 2004 that FBI Director Mueller had imposed an October 1, 2004 deadline for a case that would stand up in court. The date passed with no anthrax indictment. Al-Timimi was not indicted for anthrax. He was indicted for sedition. Upon his indictment, on September 23, 2004, al-Timimi explained he had been offered a plea bargain of 14 years, but he declined. He quoted Sayyid Qutb. He said he remembered “reading his books and loving his teaching” as a child, and that Qutb’s teaching was prevented from signing something that was false by “the finger that bears witness.” He noted that he and his lawyers asked that authorities hold off the indictment until he had received his PhD, but said that unfortunately they did not wait. On October 6, 2004, the webmaster of the azzam.com website Babar Ahmad was indicted. In 2007, the North Brunswick, NJ imam who mirrored the azzam.com website was indicted (on the grounds of income tax evasion).

    The indictment against the paintball defendants alleged that at an Alexandria, Virginia residence, in the presence of a representative of Benevolence International Foundation (”BIF”), the defendants watched videos depicting Mujahadeen engaged in Jihad and discussed a training camp in Bosnia. His defense lawyer says that the FBI searched the townhouse of “to connect him to the 9/11 attacks or to schemes to unleash a biological or nuclear attack.” Famed head of the former Russian bioweaponeering program Ken Alibek told me that he would occasionally see Al-Timimi in the hallways at George Mason, where they both were in the microbiology department, and was vaguely aware that he was an islamic hardliner. When what his defense counsel claims was an FBI attempt to link Al-Timimi to a planned biological attack failed, defense counsel says that investigators focused on his connections to the men who attended his lectures at the local Falls Church, Va. In the end, he was indicted for inciting them to go to Afghanistan to defend the Taliban against the United States’ invasion of Afghanistan. During deliberations, he reportedly was very calm, reading Genome Technology and other scientific journals. He was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment plus 70 years.

    • DXer said

      While this former department colleague of the Battelle consultants, Al-Timimi, was recruiting for the Taliban, he was also connected to one of the principals on Al Qaeda’s WMD Committee, Mohammed Abdel-Rahman. The CIA and FBI apparently have known this for years but have kept it secret as part of their ongoing confidential national security and criminal investigation. Mohammed Abdel-Rahman spoke at the first conference of the Islamic Assembly of North America (”IANA”) in 1993 and was noted to be from Afghanistan. Mohammed Abdelrahman spoke alongside Ali Al-Timimi again, for example, in 1996 in Toronto and again that December in Chicago at the annual conference. The December conference was held after blind sheik Abdel-Rahman was indicted. Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation was closely involved in the financing and promotion of IANA activities. Al-Buthi of Al-Haramain was in contact with Bin Laden’s sheiks and also his brother-in-law Khalifa who had funded the KSM-led Bojinka operation. Global Relief Foundation participated in and sponsored a number of annual conferences. GRF sent money to IANA to offset the conferences’ costs. Mohammed Abdel-Rahman was close to bin Laden and was engaged in planning key operations. OBL considered him like a son. Mohammed was on the three member WMD committee with Midhat Mursi. Mohammed Abdel-Rahman ran a training camp that was part of the larger complex of several camps. He was an explosives trainer.

      The “Superseding Indictment” in United States of postal employee Ahmed Abdel Sattar and others explains that on February 12, 1997, with Mohammed Abdelrahman back in Afghanistan, a statement issued in the name of the Islamic Group threatened, “The Islamic Group declares all American interests legitimate targets to its legitimate jihad until the release of all prisoners, on top of whom” is Abdel Rahman. Three months later, on May 5, 1997, a statement issued in the name of the Islamic Group threatened, “If any harm comes to the [S]heikh [,] al-Gama al-IsIalamiy[y]a will target all of those Americans who participated in subjecting his life to danger.” The statement also said that “A1-Gamaa al-Islamiyya considers every American official, starting with the American president to the despicable jailer partners endangering the Sheikh’s life,” and that the Islamic Group would do “everything in its power” to free Abdel Rahman.

      Al Qaeda continued to seek religious approval from blind sheik Abdel-Rahman for its attacks. The US indictment of the Post Office worker in contact with Mohammed Abdel-Rahman alleged: “On or about June 19, 2000, one of Abdel Rahman’s sons, Mohammed Abdel Rahman, spoke by telephone with SATTAR and asked SATTAR to convey to Abdel Rahman the fierceness of the debate within the Islamic Group about the initiative, and said that “even if the other side is right,” SATTAR should tell Abdel Rahman to calm the situation by supporting “the general line of the Group.” The indictment of the US Post Office worker Sattar further alleges: “On or about June 20, 2000, SATTAR spoke by telephone with Mohammed Abdel Rahman and advised him that a conference call had taken place that morning between Abdel Pahman and some of his attorneys and that Abdel Rahman had issued a new statement. The press release issued in Abdel-Rahman’s name containing additional points which made clear, among other things, that Abdel Rahman was not unilaterally ending the initiative, but rather, was withdrawing his support for it and “stating that it was up” to the “brothers” in the Islamic Group now to reconsider the issue.

      The indictment of the US Post Office employee Sattar further alleges: “On or about September 21, 2000, an Arabic television station, Al Jazeera, televised a meeting of Usama Bin Laden (leader of the al Qaeda terrorist organization), Ayman al Zawahiri (former leader of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad organization and one of Bin Laden’s top lieutenants), and Taha. Sitting under a banner which read, “Convention to Support Honorable Omar Abdel Rahman,” the three terrorist leaders pledged “to free Abdel Rahman from incarceration in the United States. During the meeting, Mohammed Abdel Rahman, a/k/a “Asadallah,” who is a son of Abdel Rahman, was heard encouraging others to “avenge your Sheikh” and “go to the spilling of blood.”

      Mohammed Abdel-Rahman was arrested in mid-February 2003 and Ali Al-Timimi’s townhouse was searched two week later.

  28. DXer said

    Attorney Barry Kissin in his recent post got to the right suite, but just in knocking at the wrong door. President Eisenhower know about the military-industrial complex and “revolving door” — and had a German infiltrator been found in that military-industrial complex, he would have taken note and stopped the door mid-turn.

    It has never been explained how the infiltration of the suite holding the Battelle aerosol consultants, including a leading anthrax scientist and former deputy USAMRIID Commander — who were the leading anthrax threat people for the defense intelligence community — occurred. Where’s the accountability, President Obama, that you’ve demanded in the Hasan Ft. Hood shooting case? Where’s the accountability in Amerithrax? Although leading anthrax scientist Dr. Alibek in 2006 publicly complained about the lack of funding for his biodefense efforts and later left the country abruptly for unknown reasons, no one has even said: “Mistakes were made.”

    In 2000, IANA radio ran an item “CIA to Monitor Foreign Students.” The item as published on the IANA website read: “American anti-terrorism policies are ‘seriously deficient according to the US National Commission on Terrorism, a body created by Congress after the bombing of 2 US embassies in East Africa.'”
    “Al Qaeda is tremendously patient and thinks nothing about taking years to infiltrate persons in and finding the right personnel and opportunity to undertake an attack. And we cannot become complacent, because you look around the world, and whether it’s London or Madrid or Bali or recently Casablanca or Algiers, attacks are taking place.”
    In November 2007, FBI Director Mueller gave a speech in which he warned against the need to guard against spies at universities, who for example, may have access to pre-patent, pre-classification biochemistry information.

    Infiltrator Ali Mohamed was the “Teflon terrorist.” Ali Mohammed, an EIJ member who was associated with the unit that killed Sadat, had an alibi for the Sadat assassination. He was at an officer exchange program studying at the JFK Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg, North Carolina., Green Beret and Delta Force officers trained there. After he was forced out of the Egyptian Army for his radical beliefs, he went to work at Egyptair. As a security advisor, where he learned how to hijack airliners. He then joined the CIA and the US Army. He was a supply sergeant at the US Army’s Fort Bragg. He lectured Green Beret and Delta Forces on the middle east. He stole high resolution maps from the map shack and brought them to Zawahirii in Afghanistan. In 1989, Ali Mohamed traveled from Fort Bragg to train men that would later commit WTC 1993. When Ali Mohammed traveled to Brooklyn, he stayed with Islamic Group and
    Abdel-Rahman’s bodyguard Nosair, the man who would assassinate Rabbi Kahane in 1990.

    WTC 1993 prosecutor Andrew McCarthy concludes that “in small compass, [Ali Mohammed] is the story of American intelligence and radical islam in the eighties and nineties: the left hand oblivious not only to the right but to its own fingers … while jihadists played the system from within, with impunity, scheming to kill us all.” He emphasizes: “There is no way to sugar coat it: Ali Mohamed is a window on breathtaking government incompetence.” He writes: ”I raised holy hell … that I strongly suspected Mohamed was a terrorist, that the FBI should be investigating him rather than allowing him to infiltrate as a source … Because, you know what they say “IMAGINE THE LIABILITY.”

    In 1991, when Bin Laden wanted to move from Afghanistan to Sudan, Ali Mohammed served as his head of security and trained his bodyguards. Along with a former medical student, Khalid Dahab, Ali Mohamed recruited ten Americans for “sleeper cells.” After the 1998 embassy bombings, when FBI agents secretly swarmed his California residence, they found a document “Cocktail” detailing how cell members should operate. Even Al Qaeda central would not know the identity of members and different cells would not know each other’s identity. It was Ali Mohamed who was the source for the December 4, 1998 PDB to President Clinton explaining that the brother of Sadat’s assassin, Islambouli, was planning attacks on the US. In November 2001, did the Quantico profilers know of this egregious history of infiltration and harm flowing from treating the Nosair case as a “lone wolf” rather than an international conspiracy? One man’s “lone wolf” experiencing howling loneliness is another man’s Salafist operating under strict principles of cell security and “need-to-know.”

    A former FBI agent in the New York office who asked not to be identified, told author Peter Lance: “Understand what this means. You have an Al Qaeda spy who’s now a U.S. citizen, on active duty in the U.S. Army, and he brings along a video paid for by the U.S. government to train Green Beret officers and he’s using it to help train Islamic terrrorists so they can turn their guns on us. By now the Afghan war is over.” Steve Emerson once said of the former US Army Sergeant who was Ayman Zawahiri’s head of intelligence: “Ali Mohamed is one of the most frightening examples of the infiltration of terrorists into the infrastructure of the United States. Like a [character in a] John Le Carre thriller, he played the role of a triple agent and nearly got away with it.” Those officials who sought to minimize the security breach would have to explain away the classified maps of Afghanistan he stole from the map shack, and the classified cables and manuals found in such places as the home of Nosair, the assassin of Rabbi Kehane. Not even Ali Mohammed, however, could boast the letter of commendation from the White House once given Ali Al-Timimi, previous work for White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, or a high security clearance. Ali Mohammed did not even have a security clearance but was merely a supply sergeant at the base where Special Operations was located. ‘Dr. Ali Al-Timimi’s Support Committee’ in an email to supporters dated April 5, 2005 explained: “This is a summary of the court proceedings that took place yesterday April 4th 2005. We will send a summary everyday inshallah. *** “In his opening statement, Defense attorney Edward B. MacMahon Jr. said that Al-Timimi was born and raised in Washington DC. He has a degree in Biology and he is also a computer scientist, and a mathematician. He worked for Andrew Card, who’s now the White House chief of staff, at the Transportation Department in the early 1990s.”

    There was an elephant in the rooom no one talked about. A colleague of two DARPA-funded Battelle consultants — famed Russian bioweaponeer Ken Alibek and former USAMRIID head Charles Bailey, a prolific Ames strain researcher — has been convicted of sedition and sentenced to life plus 70 years in prison. He worked in a program co-sponsored by the American Type Culture Collection and had access to ATCC facilities, as well as facilities of the DARPA-funded Center for Biodefense at George Mason University then run by Dr. Alibek and Dr. Bailey. The bionformatics grad student once had a high security clearance for mathematical support work for the Navy.

    Many commentators have long held strong and divergent opinions of what has been published in the media about Amerithrax, what they knew and their political views. But it turns out that they apparently have just been seeing the elephant in the living room from a different angle. Actually, they’ve just been in a position to see the elephant’s rump from outside the living room door. One US law professor, Francis Boyle, who has represented islamists abroad, first publicized the theory that a US biodefense insider was responsible. He has served as legal advisor to the Palestinian Liberation Organization and as counsel for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Separately the theory was adopted by professor Barbara Rosenberg. But Professor Boyle and Rosenberg were not so far from the truth — just incorrect as to motive. The documentary shows that Zawahiri’s plan was to infiltrate the US and UK biodefense establishment, and the evidence shows that is exactly what he did.

    In a June 2005 interview in a Swiss (German language) weekly news magazine, Neue Zurcher Zeitung, Ken Alibek addresses the anthrax mailings:
    A. “What if I told you Swiss scientists are paid by Al Qaeda? You could believe it or not. It has become somewhat fashionable to disparage Russian scientists. Americans, Iraqis, or whoever could just as well be involved with Al Qaeda. Why doesn’t anyone speculate about that?”
    Q. “But could one of your students build a biological weapon in the garage?”
    A. “Let me reply philosophically: Two hundred years ago, it was unthinkable to believe that people would be using mobile telephones, wasn’t it? Everything changes. Our knowledge grows, and technology develops incredibly quickly. … I am not saying that a student is in a position to build a biological weapon all by himself. But the knowledge needed to do it is certainly there.”

    No one who responded to my inquiries ever knew Al-Timimi to ever have been involved in any biodefense project. For example, former Russian bioweaponeer Sergei Popov did not know of any such work by Al-Timimi. Anna Popova had only seen him in the hall on a very rare occasion. Dr. Alibek thought of him as a “numbers guy” rather than a hands-on type. Given that the FBI knows what Al-Timimi had for dinner on September 16, 2001 and lunch on September 17, it is very likely that the past years have involved a continued search for the mailer and/or processor. His attorney emphasizes that while they searched for materials related to a planned biological attack when they searched his townhouse in late February 2003, they came up empty.

    DOD official Peter Leitner, who also taught at GMU, supervised a 2007 PhD thesis by a graduate student that explores biosecurity issues at GMU. The PhD biodefense thesis on the vulnerability of the program to infiltration explains:

    “As a student in the biodefense program, the author is aware that students without background checks are permitted to work on grants, specifically Department of Defense, that has been awarded to NCBD under the Department of Molecular and Microbiology at GMU. Students are also permitted to do research separately from work in the lab for their studies. Work and studies are separate, but related by the lab. Thus, student access, research and activities go unchecked and unmonitored. Students have access to critical information and technology.”

    The author explains:
    “A principal investigator (PI) may hire a student based on a one on one interview, post doctoral
    or masters interest, technical abilities, publications, previous work and lab experience, whether student qualifications match the principal interrogators current research, whether there is a space, and if the timing is right. There is no formal screening process or background check that the author is aware of for teaching or research assistantships.”

    Other students took a “red cell” approach that have corroborated the findings of the thesis. The thesis points to a pretty big iceberg indeed. Proliferation leads to great risk of infiltration. LSU researcher Martin Hugh-Jones explained: “There were no more than ten labs in the nation working with the organism, and now it’s about 310—and they all want virulent strains. In the old days virtually everyone was paid by Department of Defense to do their research because that’s the only place where money came from because the organism wasn’t thought to be of economic importance. Now that it’s a bioterrorist threat and money’s available for research, experts have come out of the walls. The whole damn thing is bizarre.”A 2004 Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services report: “Serious weaknesses compromised the security of select agents at the universities under review. Physical security of select agents at all 11 universities left select agents vulnerable to theft or loss, thus elevating the risk of public exposure.”

    Dr. Leitner in a letter to the Fairfax County Police Department notes:

    “Now we see that Sergeant Rasool was the subject of a several-year long investigation – in fact, he was under investigation at the time he lodged his complaints against us — and was recently convicted of a very serious security breach involving misusing FBI databases to assist another person under FBI investigation for Federal terrorism charges.” Rasool has sought to stop the training work being done by Dr. Leitner, who taught biosecurity work at George Mason University’s Center for Biodefense.

    • DXer said

      The attorney for the former suitemate of the Battelle consultants explained in a court filing that unsealed in April 2008 that Ali “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 described during his trial by FBI agent John Wyman as having ‘extensive ties’ with the ‘broader al-Qaeda network.” Al-Timimi was on an advisory board member of Assirat al-Mustaqueem (”The Straight Path”), an international Arabic language magazine. Assirat, produced in Pittsburgh beginning in 1991, was the creation of a group of North American muslims, many of whom were senior members of IANA. Its Advisory Committee included Bassem Khafagi and Ali Al-Timimi. As Al-Timimi’s counsel explained in a court filing unsealed in April 2008:

      “[IANA head] Bassem Khafagi was questioned about Dr. Al-Timimi before 9-11 in Jordan, purportedly at the behest of American intelligence. [redacted passage ] 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.”

      Two staff members who wrote for Assirat then joined IANA’s staff when it folded in 2000. They had been members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and were activists in the movement. One of the former EIJ members, Gamal Sultan, was the editor of the quarterly IANA magazine in 2002. Mr. Sultan’s brother Mahmoud wrote for Assirat also. The most prominent writer was the founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Kamal Habib. He led the Egyptian Islamic Jihad at the time of Anwar Sadat’s assassination when young doctor Zawahiri’s cell merged with a few other cells to form the EIJ. Two writers for Assirat in Pittsburgh had once shared a Portland, Oregon address with Al Qaeda member Wadih El-Hage. Wadih al Hage was Ali Mohammed’s friend and served as Bin Laden’s “personal secretary.”

      Kamal Habib had been a founding member of Egyptian Islamic Jihad and had spent 10 years in jail for the assassination of Anwar Sadat. In the late 1970s, the cell run by the young doctor Zawahiri joined with three other groups to become Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) under Habib’s leadership. After a visit in 2000, Gamal Sultan said Pittsburgh was known as the “American Kandahar,” given its rolling hills. In Egypt he formed the Islah (“Reform”) party with Gamal Sultan. While contributing to Al Manar al Jadeed, the Ann Arbor-based IANA’s quarterly journal, the pair sought the blind sheik’s endorsement of their political party venture in March 1999. They were not seeking the official participation of organizations like the Egyptian Islamic Jihad or the Egyptian Islamic Group. They were just hoping the groups would not oppose it. The pair wanted members of the movement to be free to join in peaceful partisan activity. They were not deterred when the blind sheik responded that the project was pointless, at the same he withdrew his support for the cease-fire initiative that had been backed by the imprisoned leaders of the Egyptian Islamic Group.

      In early April 2001, Nawaf Alhazmi and Hani Hanjour rented an apartment in Falls Church, Virginia, for about a month, with the assistance of a man they met at the mosque. Nawaf Al-Hazmi had been at the January 2000 meeting at Yazid Sufaat’s Malaysian condominium in January 2000. Hijackers Nawaf and Hani Hanjour, a fellow pilot who was his friend from Saudi Arabia, attended sermons at the Dar al Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, where Al-Timimi was located until he established the nearby center. The FBI reports that at an imam named Awlawki who had recently also moved from San Diego had closed door meetings with hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar in 2000 while all three of them were living in San Diego. Police later found the phone number of the Falls Church mosque when they searched the apartment of 9/11 planner Ramzi bin al-Shibh in Germany. In his 2007 book, Center of the Storm, George Tenet noted that Ramzi bin al-Shibh had a CBRN role.

      Yusuf Wells, who was a fundraiser for the Benevolence International Foundation, visited Northern Virginia over the April 14-15, 2001 weekend. The previous month he had been at Iowa State University on a similar visit. On April 15, 2001, he was brought to a paintball game. In the second season, they had become more secretive after an inquiry by an FBI Special Agent was made in 2000 of one of the members about the games. Part of BIF fundraiser Wells’ job involved writing reports about his fund raising trips. In his April 15, 2001 report he writes:
      “I was taken on a trip to the woods where a group of twenty brothers get together to play Paintball. It is a very secret and elite group and as I understand it, it is an honor to be invited to come. The brothers are fully geared up in camouflage fatigues, facemasks, and state of the art paintball weaponry. They call it ‘training’ and are very serious about it. I knew at least 4 or 5 of them were ex US military, the rest varied.
      Most all of them young men between the ages of 17-35. I was asked by the amir of the group to give a talk after Thuhr prayer. I spoke about seeing the conditions of Muslims overseas while with BIF, and how the fire of Islam is still very much alive in the hearts of the people even in the midst of extreme oppression. I also stressed the idea of being balanced. That we should not just be jihadis and perfect our fighting skills, but we should also work to perfect our character and strengthen our knowledge of Islam. I also said that Muslims are not just book reading cowards either, and that they should be commended for forming such a group.
      Many were confused as to why I had been ‘trusted’ to join the group so quickly, but were comforted after my brief talk. Some offered to help me get presentations on their respective localities.”

      A man named Kwon recalled driving Al-Timimi home from the mosque Sept. 11, 2001 after the terrorist attacks. He said Al-Timimi and another scholar argued, with Al-Timimi characterizing the attacks as a punishment of America from God. “He told me to gather some brothers, to have a contingency plan in case there were mass hostilities toward Muslims in America.” Kwon said Al-Timimi told the group that the effort to spread Islam in the United States was over and that the only other options open to them were to repent, leave the U.S. and join the mujahadeen —e preparing to defend Afghanistan against the coming U.S. invasion.

      After 9/11, although a dinner that night was cancelled in light of the events of the day, Al-Timimi sought “to organize a plan in case of anti-Muslim backlash and to get the brothers together.” The group got together on September 16. Al-Timimi when he came in told the group to turn of their phones, unplug the answering machine, and pull down the curtains. Al-Timimi told the group that Mullah Omar had called upon Muslims to defend Afghanistan. Al-Timimi read parts of the al-Uqla fatwa to the group and gave the fatwa to Khan with the instructions to burn it after he read it. Al Timimi said the duty to engage in jihad is “fard ayn” — an individual duty of all Muslims. Over a lunch with two of the group on September 19, Al-Timimi told them not to carry anything suspicious and if they were stopped on the way to Pakistan to ask for their mother and cry like a baby. He told them to carry a magazine. The next day the pair left for Pakistan. The group from the September 16 meeting met again in early October, and a number left for Pakistan immediately after that meeting.

      Al-Timimi’s lawyer explains that Al-Timimi was in telephone contact with Al-Hawali on September 16, 2001 and September 19, 2001:

      “The conversation with Al-Hawali on September 19, 2001 was central to the indictment and raised at trial. Al-Timimi called Dr. Hawali after the dinner with Kwon on September 16, 2001 and just two hours before he met with Kwon and Hassan for the last time on September 19, 2001.”

      Al-Timimi was urging the young men go defend the Taliban against the imminent US invasion. A recent open letter to Ayman Zawahiri from a senior Libyan jihadist, Bin-Uthman, now living in London, confirms that Ayman Zawahiri and Atef, at a several day meeting in Kandahar in the Summer of 2000, viewed WMD as a deterrent to the invasion of Afghanistan.

      Kwon, who had just become a U.S. citizen in August 2001, went to the mountain training camps of Lashkar-e-Taiba. The U.S. placed on its terrorist list in December 2001. Kwon practiced with a semi-automatic weapons and learned to fire a grenade launcher, but he was not able to join the Taliban. The border between Afghanistan and Pakistan closed as U.S. forces took control of Afghanistan shortly before Kwon completed his training. His trainers suggested that he instead go back to the United States and gather information for the holy warriors. Kwon told jurors at al-Timimi’s trial how he first heard Al-Timimi speak in 1997 at an Islamic Assembly of North America conference in Chicago and then found that Al-Timimi lectured locally near his home in Northern Virginia.

      In 2001, Al-Timimi kept the personal papers of IANA President Khafagi at his home for safekeeping. His taped audio lecturers were among the most popular at the charity Islamic Assembly of North America in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He knew its President, Khafagi, both through work with CAIR and IANA. The same nondescript office building at 360 S. Washington St. in Falls Church where Timimi used to lecture at Dar al Arqam housed the Muslim World League.

      Al Timimi was close to his former teacher Safar al Hawali, the dissident Saudi sheik whose writings hail what he calls the inevitable downfall of the West. (Under pressure from authorities after 9/11, Al Hawali has played a public role in mediating between Saudi militants and the government.) Al-Timimi sought to represent and explain the views of radical sheik Al-Hawali in a letter he sent to members of Congress on the first anniversary of the mailing to the US Senators Daschle and Leahy. The Hawali October 6, 2002 letter drafted by Al-Timimi was hand delivered to every member of the US Congress just before their vote authorizing the use of force against Iraq, warning of the disastrous consequences that would follow an invasion of Iraq. Dr. Timimi’s defense committee explained on their website:
      “Because Dr. Al-Timimi felt that he did not have enough stature to send a letter in his name on behalf of Muslims, he contacted Dr. Al-Hawali among others to send the letter. Dr. Al-Hawali agreed and sent a revised version which Dr. Al-Timimi then edited and had hand delivered to every member of Congress.”

      In addition to the October 6, 2002 letter, drafted by Al-Timimi, Hawali had sent a lengthy October 15, 2001 “Open Letter” to President Bush in which he had rejoiced in the 9/11 attacks. One Al-Hawali lecture, sought to be introduced in the prosecution of the IANA webmaster, applauded the killing of Jews and called for more killing, praised suicide bombings, and said of Israel that it’s time to “fight and expel this hated country that consists of those unclean, defiled, the cursed.”

      Bin Laden referred to Sheik al-Hawali in his 1996 Declaration of War on America. Prior to the 1998 embassy bombings, Ayman’s London cell sent letters to three different media outlets in Europe claiming responsibility for the bombings and referring to Hawali’s imprisonment. In two of the letters, the conditions laid out as to how the violence would stop were (1) release of Sheik al-Hawali (who along with another had been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia in 1994) and (2) the release of blind sheik Abdel Rahman (who had been imprisoned in connection with WTC 1993). Hawali was released in 1999 after he agreed to stop advocating against the Saudi regime.

      Al-Timimi sent out a February 1, 2003 email in Arabic containing an article that said:

      “There is no doubt Muslims were overjoyed because of the adversity that befell their greatest enemy. The Columbia crash made me feel, and God is the only One to know, that this is a strong signal that Western Supremacy (especially that of America) that began 500 years ago is coming to a quick end, God willing, as occurred to the shuttle.”

      As Ali later explained to NBC, “To have a space shuttle crash in Palestine, Texas, with a Texas president and an Israeli astronaut, somebody might say there’s a divine hand behind it.”

  29. Anonymous Scientist said

    At the risk of making an irrelevant post – is anyone aware that another scientific story has just taken the blogsphere by storm? This one involves scientists disagreeing over global warming. An embarrassing set of emails was hacked out of the University of East Anglia in the UK. One of these emails appears to state that scientists who badly want global warmning to be man-made for their own agendas have actually fudged the data to make their point. There can be little doubt what “to hide the decline” means. This means, since global temperatures have actually been falling for the last 10 years, this was not a message they wanted to send.
    The stakes are high in this game – since countries are preparing to spend trillions of dollars to fix what may be a non-existent problem.
    How is this relevant to the anthrax attacks? It’s because in both cases there are scientists with their own agendas. Any time scientists are unwilling to share data this is usually indicative that there is something they do not want you to know. Sandia’s and particularly Joe Michael’s position that the silicon got into the spores all by accident is a position that they now cannot reverse – if they reverse they will lose all credibility. So, the ridiculous assertions of accidental silicon continue – and the data remains under tight wraps. Especially the AFIP data.

    http://greenfyre.wordpress.com/2009/11/21/mikes-nature-trick-to-hide-the-decline/

    “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.”

    • DXer said

      “this is usually indicative that there is something they do not want you to know. Sandia’s and particularly Joe Michael’s position that the silicon got into the spores all by accident is a position that they now cannot reverse”

      Yes, and consider his phrasing in his audio presentation about how we can argue all day about what naturally occurring means. Why would there be reason to argue about it? All he need do is define the term. The FBI was spinning the term to mean unintended when all the aerosol experts say that whatever its purpose, it was not accidental or unintended. There is nothing in his audio presentation that supports a conclusion that it was unintended. Relevant experts include Dr. Popov and Dr. Kiel. Dr. Kiel, for example, has done controlled experiments using a silanizing agent in the slurry.

  30. DXer said

    Rather than “covering up”, the FBI is engaged in a confidential national security investigation. DOJ correspondent Catherine Herridge reported on an email by Bruce Ivins to Patricia Fellows and on the status of the investigation in March 2008. As explained by the FBI scientist in the press briefing, it should be understood and expected that some information relating to processing anthrax would not and should not be shared.

    FBI Focusing on ‘About Four’ Suspects in 2001 Anthrax Attacks

    Friday, March 28, 2008
    By Catherine Herridge and Ian McCaleb

    WASHINGTON — The FBI has narrowed its focus to “about four” suspects in the 6 1/2-year investigation of the deadly anthrax attacks of 2001, and at least three of those suspects are linked to the Army’s bioweapons research facility at Fort Detrick in Maryland, FOX News has learned.

    Among the pool of suspects are three scientists — a former deputy commander, a leading anthrax scientist and a microbiologist — linked to the research facility, known as USAMRIID.

    The FBI has collected writing samples from the three scientists in an effort to match them to the writer of anthrax-laced letters that were mailed to two U.S. senators and at least two news outlets in the fall of 2001, a law enforcement source confirmed.

    The anthrax attacks began shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, further alarming a nation already reeling from the deaths of 3,000 Americans. Five people were killed and more than a dozen others were infected by the deadly spores in the fall of 2001.

    A leading theory is that the anthrax was stolen from Fort Detrick and then sealed inside the letters. A law enforcement source said the FBI is essentially engaged in a process of elimination.

    Much of the early public focus fell on a Fort Detrick scientist named Steven Hatfill, who is suing federal authorities for identifying him as a person of interest. Now the FBI is focusing on other scientists at the facility.

    “Fort Detrick is run by the United States Army. It’s the most secure biological warfare research center in the United States,” a bioterrorism expert told FOX News.

    Asked to comment on the likelihood that the anthrax originated at the facility, the expert said:

    “It’s not suprising, except that it would underscore that there was serious security deficiencies that existed at one time at Fort Detrick — the ability of researchers to smuggle out some type of very sophisticated anthrax weapon and in some quantity. And, nevertheless, it was possible.”

    In December 2001, an Army commander tried to dispel the possibility of a connection to Fort Detrick by taking the media on a rare tour of the base. The commander said the Army used only liquid anthrax, not powder, for its experiments.

    “I would say that it does not come from our stocks, because we do not use that dry material,” Maj. Gen. John Parker said. The letters that were mailed to the media and Sens. Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy all contained powdered anthrax.

    But in an e-mail obtained by FOX News, scientists at Fort Detrick openly discussed how the anthrax powder they were asked to analyze after the attacks was nearly identical to that made by one of their colleagues.

    “Then he said he had to look at a lot of samples that the FBI had prepared … to duplicate the letter material,” the e-mail reads. “Then the bombshell. He said that the best duplication of the material was the stuff made by [name redacted]. He said that it was almost exactly the same … his knees got shaky and he sputtered, ‘But I told the General we didn’t make spore powder!'”

    Asked for comment, an Army spokeswoman referred all calls to the FBI. The FBI would not comment about the pool of suspects, but a spokeswoman said the investigation clearly remains a priority.

  31. DXer said

    Anonymous Scientist wants discussion to turn to the subject of the “cover-up” alleged relating to Battelle and Project Clear Vision and Project Jefferson discussed in Barry’s post. So lets consider who the Battelle consultants were. They were Kenneth Alibek and Charles Bailey, who came to share a suite with “anthrax weapons suspect” Ali Al-Timimi. These were the same highly accomplished and well-regarded scientists doing anthrax threat assessment for the Defense Intelligence Agency and/or Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

    An article in George Mason University Gazette, in “CAS Holds Terrorism Briefing on Capitol Hill,” dated October 16, 2001 stated:

    “On Friday, October 12, the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) hosted a legislative briefing on terrorism, bioterrorism, and extremist movements on Capitol Hill. The briefing provided legislators and their staffs with comprehensive background information on Islam, al-Qaeda and the Taliban, bioterrorism, and information security.

    Ken Alibek, affiliate faculty member at George Mason and president of Advanced Biosytems Inc., addressed chemical and biological warfare issues. Alibek served as first deputy chief of defense of the civilian branch of the Soviet Union’s offensive biological weapons program.”

    Ali Al-Timimi was knowledgeable about Islam, the Taliban and information security. Indeed, he was actively recruiting for the Taliban and was communicating with Bin Laden’s sheik and the so-called fellow Falls Church “911 imam” at the time.

  32. DXer said

    On this subject of possibly relevant documentary evidence, did the same person write the powder-containing hoax letters to Howard Troxler of the St. Petersburg paper, Judith Miller of the New York Times (author of Germs), and to NBC’s Tom Brokaw as wrote the letters containing anthrax spores? The three all received a letter postmarked October 5, 2001 from St. Petersburg. The Troxler letter read: “Howard Troxler .. 1st case of disease now blow away this dust so you see how the real thing flys. Oklahoma-Ryder Truck! Skyway bridge-18 wheels.” Judith Miller is the author of the pre-9/11 book Germs.

    Was the hoaxer upset at Troxler for coverage of local professor who was detained and at Judy Miller, who knows the neo-cons on a first name basis? The professor Troxler had written about had been a friend of KSM while at North Carolina.

    Another letter that was closely considered is an anonymous letter sent to Quantico military police suggesting that Ayaad Assaad, a Coptic Christian Egyptian at Ft. Detrick was a potential bioterrorist — even though he was part of a group long persecuted by the Egyptian Salafist-Jihadis, rather than muslim. Under one view, that would appear to be an over-reported red herring and irrelevant to the correct Amerithrax analysis. Alternatively, it bears analysis because it may have been sent by the perpetrator to deflect suspicion. Dr. Assaad holds graduate degrees from Iowa State University and has lived in the United States since the mid-1970s. He is a Coptic Christian, a sect that has been frequently attacked by militant islamists in Egypt. Dr. Assaad’s attorney found it probative that such a letter about Egyptian scientist would be written claiming to warn about a potential bioterrorist (before the anthrax letters were known to have been sent). Dr. Assaad has commented, “My theory is, whoever this person is knew in advance what was going to happen [and named me as a] scapegoat for this action. You do not need to be a Nobel laureate to put two and two together.”

    Anthrax experts, such as Dr. Koehler in Texas, already were publicly speaking on the subject as of September 20, 2001. A man in a biohazard suit was on the front cover of TIME magazine that week. Reuters, Associated Press, TIME and others all had stories about Atta’s crop duster inquiries and the possibility of an imminent anthrax attack before the Dr. Assaad letter was sent. (A new poster, Charles, mentions a broadcast by Peter Jennings discussing Cipro that he says occurred before the anthrax mailings. To be precise, his broadcast was September 27, 2001.) It is not at all surprising such a letter would be sent after Atta’s inquiries about cropdusters had been reported. Without more, it is not at all probative. The Assaad letter was sent to Quantico Military Police. There was nothing improper about the letter to the extent it was conveying factual information. It is regrettable that the letter writer has chosen to remain anonymous. The issue may be emotionally charged for Dr. Assaad because of unsuccessful employment litigation he may think related. Dr. Assaad, a Coptic Christian, explained: “Whoever sent the anthrax letters did this to divert attention. They knew the attacks would be eventually traced back to USAMRIID, and they used me as a scapegoat.”

    Dr. Assad is confident Dr. Ivins, his friend, is innocent. Dr. Assad thinks the accusations against Dr. Ivins are the result of a “vicious plot.” Given that Assaad was a non-muslim Egyptian working for Ft. Detrick, was the letter an attempt by someone with information about US biodefense insiders to lay a false trail even more directly to Ft. Detrick?

  33. Anonymous Scientist said

    I really recommend that all the posts containing thousands of words that link Al-Qaeda to the anthrax should be consolidated into a single thread. That way anybody who is so inclined to read them can conveniently peruse them in a single place. Meanwhile those who want to read the posts for a specific topic (ie. this thread which has the title “Cover-Up … The Truth About The Anthrax Attacks … by Barry J.C. Kissin, Esq”) would not have to scroll through endless posts about Al Qaeda beofre they find the comments that interest them.

  34. DXer said

    In considering whether Zawahiri’s anthrax planning reached US shores, we would also want to consider the identity of the Egyptian at the Canton, Ohio public library reportedly researching anthrax in water.

    The Canadian government alleged that on the day of the 1998 bombing of the African embassies, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad military commander Mabruk had called Canadian Jaballah from Baku, Azerbaijan and told him to call the London cell members. Mabruk asked Jaballah to tell them they could reach him in the home of Shehata, who was in charge of Special Operations for Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Shehata was Jaballah’s brother-in-law and had been Jaballah’s lawyer in the 1980s in connection with problems with the government. (Shehata was Montasser al-Zayat’s law partner). Jaballah allegedly had been in regular contact with Mabruk, Shehata and the London cell members who faxed responsibility for the 1998 embassy bombings in which over 200 people died. Shehata’s former law partner, Montasser al-Zayat, and military commander Mabruk announced in March 1999 that Ayman Zawahiri was going to use anthrax against US targets in retaliation for the rendering of senior Egyptian Islamic Jihad leaders. Jaballah’s colleague Mahjoub was #2 in Zawahiri’s Vanguards of Conquest. When Mahjoub’s bail hearing was announced in January 2001, one of Zawahiri’s minions threatened to use anthrax if bail was denied. This was the subject of a February 2001 Presidential Daily Brief from the CIA to President Bush. Bail was denied on October 5, 2001. The potent anthrax was mailed to the US Senators the next day.

    The government alleges that at one point Jaballah reported to Mabruk that he had recruited individuals who had been members of the Muslim Brotherhood and emphasized that they had been tested and could be trusted.

    The government now publicly alleges that Jaballah was in regularly in touch with Ayman Zawahiri by telephone. Zawahiri was head of Al Qaeda’s program to weaponize anthrax for use against US targets. The Globe and Mail, quoting allegations made public earlier this week, infers that “The new charges indicate CSIS targeted Mr. Jaballah almost as soon as he arrived in Canada [in 1996]. They make specific references to 1990s-era phone calls, and even include remarks about the suspect’s tone of voice. The documents cite code words Mr. Jaballah is alleged to have used or heard in his phone calls. For example, the documents say “hospitalized” was used as a code for a man being arrested overseas, and “the green outfit” referred to a forged passport.

    Was Mahmoud Jaballah the Egyptian scientist in the library in Ohio in June 2001 researching anthrax in water? The mailed anthrax was sent to the United Senators the day after bail was denied by the Canadians of his colleague, Mahmoud Mahjoub, who now is revealed be the #2 man in Zawahiri’s Vanguards of Conquest.

    Stateside, in Ohio, there was the long-forgotten case of a mysterious Egyptian in the Summer of 2001 associated with the members of an alleged terror cell. The young men worked at a local chicken slaughterhouse and are more commonly known as the “Detroit cell.” In June 2001, they had an angry conversation about the detention of the Egyptian blind sheik Abdel-Rahman. Sometime before 9/11, an older Egyptian man with one of these young men made repeated attempts to obtain maps of the water supply system of Canton, Ohio. At the library, he studied books dealing with disease spread to human by animals such as anthrax. The Akron Beacon Journal reported that after 9/11, a librarian in Canton alerted authorities who called in the FBI. The man had visited the library as many as a half dozen times and asked for detailed maps of Canton’s water system and books concerning microbiology and animal borne diseases. Among the things the man sought were maps of waterlines running under Interstate 77 to Canton’s Mercy Medical Center. The librarian described the man as 50ish, with a slight paunch, and balding. Jaballah reports that he graduated from the University of Zagazig’s Faculty of Biology.

    Was the scientist in Ohio in June 2001 ever identified and questioned? According to the Akron Beacon Journal, the man told the librarian that he worked at Case Farms. After 9/11, Case Farms was investigated in connection with allowing illegal immigrants to work without proper identification. The Egyptian reportedly had lived with the young men in Canton for a time in the past year or so, according to the librarian. (Their names were Hanna and Koubriti). The FBI has never confirmed the story. Case Farms doesn’t confirm the story. The librarians won’t confirm the story. A reporter who went to the library in person at my request was shown the door. What news, if any, came out of the trial of members of the Detroit terror cell? Portions of the proceeding were sealed. During the same period, two of the men on trial reportedly had enrolled in a four-week truck-driving course.

    The “Detroit defendants” were arrested when the week after 9/11 authorities kicked down the door of the apartment that had the name Nabil al-Marabh on the mailbox. Knowing of his connection to Al Qaeda, the FBI had gone looking for him after 9/11. His lawyer handling a fender bender involving al-Marabh’s taxicab in Boston had a forwarding address for him. In considering how many Egyptians trained in biology taxi driver Nabil Al-Marabh knew, he knew Mahmoud Jaballah. Mahmoud Jaballah was a biology teacher and co-founder, with al-Marabh’s uncle, of an elementary school on the edge of Little Beirut in Toronto. After coming to Canada in 1996, Jaballah would contact Ayman regularly on Ayman’s Inmarsat satellite phone.

    Jaballah reports that he graduated at the University of Zagazig from what he described as “the Faculty of Biology.” A January 2008 decision addressed the conditions of Jaballah’s detention (such as whether his son could bring a wireless laptop home, why his apartment had DSL service etc.).

    Jaballah was rearrested in August 2001 even though an earlier security certificate was quashed. Why was he rearrested? Were authorities upset had gone off the radar for a matter of weeks? CSIS alleges Jaballah knew Mahmoud Mahjoub who the CSIS now for the first time alleges was #2 in the Vanguards of Conquest. CSIS alleges that Jaballah was in regular contact with both the Vanguards/Egyptian Islamic Jihad head of military operations and the head of special operations — with the latter being both his brother-in-law and lawyer. CSIS alleges that he has had contact for years with Hassan Farhat and Ali Hussein, whom they say were part of Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Hassan Farhat was with the Ansar al-Islam. Hassan Farhat was a senior member of Ansar Al Islam, formed in 2001, and was arrested by Kurdish guerrillas in northern Iraq. Farhat was the Imam of the Salaheddin Mosque in Toronto, which was affiliated with the school founded by Jaballah, from 1997 to 2002. Farhat also lived in Montreal for a time where Jaballah visited him. For an organization that emphasizes cell security, Jaballah was well-connected. Did Hassan Farhat know Montrealer Jdey, who had part of the 911 plot until he pulled back for unknown reasons (that did not include cold feet).

    After Jaballah’ s second arrest, Nabil al-Marabh’ s uncle, Ahmed Shehab, took over as principal at Jaballah’ s school. Shehab and Jaballah had shared control of the school with Jaballah as its co-founders. Was Jaballah the scientist researching anthrax in Canton, Ohio from May to July 2001? The man told the librarian that he had worked at a laboratory in Egypt where he had learned to detect pathogens otherwise not detectable. He said he wanted to help the United States detect pathogens. (The librarian said that his english was so poor, she would expect him to be asking about a green card; but she finally got the word “pathogens” out of him). Jaballah was 40 rather than 50ish. But he otherwise fit the description and from his picture looks older than his age.

    Aly Hindy, president of the affiliated Salaheddin Islamic Center, imam of its mosque and a civil engineer in Toronto, described the school to the Wall Street Journal in December 2001. “We had to take our children out” of the public-school system, which teaches about “homosexuality” and allows undue “mixing between boys and girls.” The Wall Street Journal article explains: “Mr. Jaballah helped organize the curriculum at Salaheddin during the summer of 2000 and taught Arabic for a few months. “He wanted to be principal. I told him no,” Mr. Hindy says, because his English wasn’t good enough.”

    As explained in the still-classified February 2001 Presidential Daily Brief (”PDB”), a threat to use anthrax was mailed to the Canadian immigration minister in late January 2001 if bail was denied. The mailed anthrax was sent to the United Senators the day after a judge denied bail to Jaballah’s colleague, Mahmoud Mahjoub, who now is revealed have once been the #2 man in Vanguards of Conquest.

  35. DXer said

    In trying to ascertain whether Zawahiri’s anthrax planning was ever evidence on US shores, to be complete we would want to address both Al-Haznawi’s leg lesion and Atta’s red hands.

    One of the hijackers, Ahmed Al-Haznawi, went to the ER on June 25, 2001 with what now appears to have been cutaneous anthrax, according to Dr. Tsonas, the doctor who treated him, and other experts. “No one is dismissing this,” said CIA Director Tenet. Alhaznawi had just arrived in the country on June 8. He had traveled with Wail al Shehri from Dubai, United Arab Emirates via London-Gatwick, England to Miami, Florida. His exposure perhaps related to a camp he had been in Afghanistan. He said he got the blackened gash-like lesion when he bumped his leg on a suitcase two months earlier. Two months earlier he had been in camp near Kandahar (according to a videotape he later made serving as his last Will and Testament). His last will and testament is mixed in with the footage by the al-Qaeda’s Sahab Institute for Media Production that includes Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and Sulaiman Abu Ghaith. There are some spiders that on rare occasions bite and cause such a blackened eschar (notably the Brown Recluse Spider found in some parts of the United States).

    Dr. Tara O’Toole of the Biodefense Center at John Hopkins, now head of biosecurity at Homeland Security, concluded it was anthrax. The former head of that group, Dr. Henderson, and National Academy of Sciences anthrax science review panel member, explained: “The probability of someone this age having such an ulcer, if he’s not an addict and doesn’t have diabetes or something like that, is very low. It certainly makes one awfully suspicious.” The FBI says no anthrax was found where the hijackers were. (The FBI tested the crash sites where the planes came down and found no traces of anthrax). Although no doubt there are some other diseases that lead to similar sores, it is reasonable to credit that it was cutaneous anthrax considering all the circumstances, to include the finding by the 9/11 Commission that ” in 2001, Sufaat would spend several months attempting to cultivate anthrax for al Qaeda in a laboratory he set up near the Kandahar airport.” Now that we know Kandahar is where the extremely virulent anthrax was located, it makes it more likely that the John Hopkins people were correct that the lesion was cautions anthrax.

    At the time, CBS reported that “U.S. troops are said to have found another biological weapons research lab near Kandahar, one that that was eyeing anthrax.” But CBS and FBI spokesman further noted that “Those searches found extensive evidence that al-Qaida wanted to develop biological weapons, but came up with no evidence the terrorist group actually had anthrax or other deadly germs, they said.” Only years later did author Suskind claim that in fact there was extremely virulent anthrax at Kandahar. Thus, a factual predicate important to assessment of the John Hopkins report on the leg lesion needed to be reevaluated after Hambali’s interrogation in Jordan.

    Another intriguing potential lead concerned a report about Atta’s red hands. Shortly before 9/11, Atta went to a pharmacy with red hands, as if he had been working with bleach or detergent. Delray Beach, Florida pharmacist Greg Chadderton explained:

    “There are two fellows, well dressed, and I asked if there was anything I could do to help them. And the one fellow turned over to me and he showed me his hands, and he said “They’re itching and they’re burning, do you have a cream for this?” His hands were red from this area down (indicating from wrist down) on both of his hands, they were red. Not the normal colour you and I would have from just being like this, but they were red. They weren’t blistering – they were simply red. They were red as if you had taken your hands and dunked them in a bucket of perhaps bleach or something. But they weren’t red on this side (backs of hands) where you would think. That’s what puzzled me, it was very perplexing that this side (palms?) was all red, it was almost as if he had touched something like this.”

    He was given a cream called acid mantle. The explanation I favor is that it was just a latex allergy from wearing gloves. Maybe his red hands instead related to use of gloves while making a gas or spray later used to subdue passengers such as the red pepper spray introduced as an exhibit in the Moussaoui trial. But there is another disturbing, less likely possibility. The late Midhat Mursi aka Abu Khabab, the chemist helping Zawahiri with his Zabadi, or Curdled Milk, project, worked with a chemical additive for his pesticide/nerve agent. It increased absorption into the skin. Saponin, a natural detergent, is used for that purpose in a variety of commercial contexts. In late 2002, a plot was foiled when an attempt to purchase 1100 pounds of saponin was noticed by a chemical company and stopped. Authorities are not talking. A final even more remote possibility for Atta’s red hands concerns the use of chlorine bleach to decontaminate anthrax.

  36. DXer said

    Let’s follow “The Straight Path” — and connect the Kuala Lumpur, Falls Church, and New Jersey dots.

    Nawaf Al-Hazmi was one of the two hijackers who had been at the meeting at anthrax lab director Yazid Sufaat’s Malaysian condominium in January 2000. Nawaf Hazmi and a colleague had arrived the previous year in San Diego, where they had been unsuccessful in learning to fly. Upon arriving in San Diego in 2000, he met with Imam named Anwar Aulaqi — perhaps even the same day as arriving. The 911 Commission Report said that Nawaf and his fellow hijacker and “developed a close relationship with him.” One pilot at the flight school in Arabic said that Nawaf wanted to learn to jets right away, rather than start with small planes. The pilot man thought Nawaf and his colleague, Khalid al-Mihdar, were either joking or dreaming. They were joined in San Diego by Hani Hanjour, a good friend of Nawaf’s from Saudi Arabia. Hani was the pilot of flight 77 that crashed into the Pentagon. He was one of the most conservative and religiously observant of the hijackers.

    Hani had first come to the United States in 1991. After short stay in the US in Tucson where he studied in English, he returned to Saudi Arabia until 1996, when he worked in Afghanistan for a relief agency. He took flight lessons in Phoenix, Arizona where he did poorly. He eventually earned his commercial pilot training in 1998. Hani had been at al-Qaeda’s al-Faruq camp when Bin Laden or Atef told him “to report to KSM, who then trained Hanjour for a few days in the use of code words.” Hani then met with Aafia Siddiqui’s future husband al-Baluchhi in United Arab Emirates. Al-Balucchi opened an account for Hani who then traveled to San Diego.

    The 911 Commission Report, however, notes that “[a]lthough Aulaqi admits talking several times with Nawaf several times, he has said he does not remember what they discussed.

    Aulaqi in early 2001 moved to Falls Church. Several months later, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid Almihdhar, who by then had joined them in San Diego in December 2000, also moved to Falls Church, Virginia. On April 1, 2001, Nawaf al-Hazmi received a ticket for speeding in Oklahoma, apparently while driving cross-country from San Diego to Falls Church, Virginia. Nawaf Alhazmi and Hani Hanjour rented an apartment in Falls Church, Virginia, for about a month, with the assistance of a man they met at Aulaqi’s mosque. They lived at 3355 Row St., Apt. 3 in Falls Church. The hijackers attended sermons at the Dar al Hijrah mosque, where Aulaqi was now located. Ali Al-Timimi attended the mosque until he established the nearby center. Police later found the phone number of the Falls Church mosque when they searched the apartment of 9/11 planner Ramzi bin al-Shibh in Germany. Various instructors have confirmed that Hani continued to have poor english and flying skills. Nawaf’s english and flying skills also remained poor.

    On May 1, 2001, Nawaf reported to police that men tried to take his wallet outside a Fairfax, Virginia residence. Before the county officer left, al-Hazmi signed a “statement of release” indicating he did not want the incident investigated. Hani and Nawaf then moved to Paterson, New Jersey, renting a one-bedroom apartment where they lived with some of the other hijackers. On June 30th, his car was involved in a minor traffic accident on the east-bound George Washington Bridge. Hani was stopped by police on August 1, 2001 for driving 55 mph in a 30 mph zone in Arlington, Virginia. On August 22, 2001, Nawaf al Hazmi purchased a Leatherman Wave Multi-tool from a Target department store in Laurel, Maryland.

    Hani and Nawaf moved out of the New Jersey apartment on September 1. Hani was photographed a few days later using an ATM with a fellow hijacker in Laurel, Maryland, where all five Flight 77 hijackers had purchased a 1-week membership in a local Gold’s Gym. On September 10, 2001, Hanjour, al-Mihdhar, and al-Hazmi checked into the Marriott Residence Inn in Herndon, Virginia where Saleh Ibn Abdul Rahman Hussayen, a prominent Saudi government official — who later was appointed to head the mosques at Mecca and Medina — was staying. He was the uncle of Sami al-Hussayen, the webmaster of the Islamic Assembly of North America (“IANA”).

  37. DXer said

    The IANA webmaster Al-Hussayen from Moscow, Idaho complained in a Sept. 8, 2002, phone conversation that “we have to have control over our projects,” saying operators of the Islamway Web site, the Al-Manar magazine and the Alasr Web site were doing whatever they wanted, then sending IANA the bills. At the IANA publication Alasr, he complained, “Khalid Hassan puts in it what he wants, with some of the articles being sensitive causing us some problems at the present time. .. They don’t think, for example, what you might face being here.” Four fatwas justifying suicide attacks — including flying a plane into a tall building — that were posted on the Alasr’s Web site were central to the allegations against Sami Al-Hussayen. The criminal litigation involving Al-Timimi is still ongoing.

  38. DXer said

    Computational biologist Al-Timimi was on the Advisory Board of the publication Assirat, for which the founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Kamal Habib, wrote.

    A friend and colleague of Ayman Zawahiri, Kamal Habib, Kamal Habib had graduated from Cairo University in 1979 in political science. Twenty years later, he wrote for the Islamic Assembly of North America (“IANA”) quarterly magazine. The Cairo-based publication Al-Manar Al-Jadid was sponsored by the Ann Arbor-based charity, Islamic Assembly of North America. The 1999 website of the Ann Arbor charity announced:

    “IANA has signed a cooperative agreement with the Cairo based publisher and distributor Dar Al-Manar Al-Jadeed. Jointly they will publish in Cairo and distribute around the world the quarterly Al-Manar Al-Jadeed magazine. The magazine is devoted to addressing the religious, social, and civil matters. Six issues of the magazine have already been published. The editor in chief is the well-known writer, Jamal Sultan. We wish the magazine a very prosperous future.”

    Habib was a key founding member of Egyptian Islamic Jihad and spent 1981-1991 in jail for the assassination of Anwar Sadat. Like Abdel-Bari, al-Zayat and Taha, he was critical of Ayman’s tactics, though not his goals. In the late 1970s, the cell ran by the young doctor Zawahiri joined with three other groups to become Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) under Habib’s leadership. The blind sheik was their spiritual adviser. In a 2002 New Yorker article, Lawrence Wright wrote in “The Man Behind Bin Laden: How an Egyptian doctor became a master of terror,” that “[l]ike Zawahiri, Habib, who had graduated in 1979 from Cairo University’s Faculty for Economics and Political Science, was the kind of driven intellectual who might have been expected to become a leader of the country but turned violently against the status quo.”

    The editor-in-chief of the IANA quarterly journal Al Manar Jadeed was Gamal Sultan, who had also been a member of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. When Mr. Sultan traveled to Pittsburgh in 2000, Mr. Sultan recalls other islamists remarking it was the Kandahar of the US, given its rolling hills. Kamal Habib and Jamal (Gamal) Sultan also wrote for Assirat Al-Mustaqeem, an Arabic-language magazine embracing radical, anti-U.S. views that was published in Pittsburgh from 1991 to 2000. Mr. Sultan’s brother Mahmoud did also. Unlike Zawahiri, Kamal Habib and Gamal Sultan believe in achieving shariah law through democracy.

  39. DXer said

    ”Greendale School” is the return address of the anthrax letters to Senators Daschle and Leahy The Amerithrax Task Force explanation of Greendale School as follows:

    “The investigation into the fictitious return address on envelopes used for the second round of anthrax mailings, “4th GRADE,” “GREENDALE SCHOOL,” has established a possible link to the American Family Association (AFA) headquartered in Tupelo, Mississippi. In October 1999, AFA, a Christian organization, published an article entitled “AFA takes Wisconsin to court.” The article describes a lawsuit filed in federal court, by the AFA Center for law and Policy (CLP), on behalf of the parents of the students at Greendale Baptist Academy. The articles focuses on an incident that occurred on December 16, 1998, in which case workers of the Wisconsin Department of Human Services went to the Greendale Baptist Academy. The article focuses on an incident that occurred on
    December 1, 1998, in which case workers of the Wisconsin Department of Human Services went to the Greendale Baptist Academy in order to interview a fourth grade student. The case workers, acting on an anonymous tip that Greendale Baptist Academy administered corporal punishment as part of its discipline policy, did not disclose to the staff why wanted to interview the student. The case workers interviewed the student in the absence of the student’s parents and informed the school staff that the parents were not to be contacted. The AFA CLP filed suit against the Wisconsin Department of Human Services, citing a violation of the parents’ Fourth Amendment rights.”

    “[D]onations were made to the AFA in the name of “Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Ivins” on eleven separate occasions beginning on December 31, 1993. After an approximate two year break in donations, the next donation occurred on November 11, 1999, one month after the initial article referencing Greendale Baptist Academy was published in the AFA Journal. It was also discovered that the subscription to the AFA Journal, in the name of ‘Mr. & Mrs. Bruce Ivins,’ … was active until March 2005.”

    The logical fallacy is that Ivins would have had no reason to use the same address unless he was sending a message he wanted to be received. There was no audience that reasonably would have perceived the message being sent. He had no reason to send such a message. The theory was fine for an affidavit in support of a search of a residence — but not on which to close a case.

    Instead, the documentary evidence shows that it was Ayman Zawahiri who used “school” as code to communicate with his followers. In December 2002, the Arabic paper London Al-Sharq al-Awsat reported that correspondence on Zawahiri’s computer (which was obtained by the Wall Street Journal) shows Zawahiri uses “school” as code for Egyptian Islamic Jihad. The letter was found on Al Zawahiri’s computer. The letter was designed to look innocent. It was dated 3 May 2001 and signed “Dr. Nour, Chairman of the Company.” Nour is one of Zawahiri’s aliases. In this context, it was Egyptian Islamic Jihad, not Al Qaeda, of which he was Chairman.

    “We have been trying to go back to our main, previous activities. The most important step was the opening of the school. We have made it possible for the teachers to find openings for profitable trade.”
    The letter read
    “To: Unknown
    From: Ayman al-Zawahiri
    Folder: Letters

    Date: May 3, 2001

    The following is a summary of our situation: We are trying to return to our previous main activity. The most important step was starting the school, the programs of which have been started. We also provided the teachers with means of conducting profitable trade as much as we could. Matters are all promising, except for the unfriendliness of two teachers, despite what we have provided for them. We are patient. [This refers to an internal dispute with two senior London Egyptian islamists].

    As you know, the situation below in the village [Egypt] has become bad for traders [jihadis]. Our Upper Egyptian relatives have left the market, and we are suffering from international monopolies. Conflicts take place between us for trivial reasons, due to the scarcity of resources. We are also dispersed over various cities. However, God had mercy on us when the Omar Brothers Company [the Taliban] here opened the market for traders and provided them with an opportunity to reorganize, may God reward them. Among the benefits of residence here is that traders from all over gather in one place under one company, which increases familiarity and cooperation among them, particularly between us and the Abdullah Contracting Company [bin Laden and his associates]. The latest result of this cooperation is the offer they gave. Following is a summary of the offer: Encourage commercial activities [jihad] in the village to face foreign investors; stimulate publicity; then agree on joint work to unify trade in our area. Close relations allowed for an open dialogue to solve our problems. Colleagues here believe that this is an excellent opportunity to encourage sales in general, and in the village in particular. They are keen on the success of the project. They are also hopeful that this may be a way out of the bottleneck to transfer our activities to the stage of multinationals and joint profit. We are negotiating the details with both sides.”

    The full message, decoded, is thought to say:

    “We have been trying to go back to our military activities. The most important step was the declaration of unity with al-Qaeda. We have made it possible for the mujahideen to find an opening for martyrdom. As you know, the situation down in Egypt has become bad for the mujahideen: our members in Upper Egypt have abandoned military action, and we are suffering from international harassment.”

    “But Allah enlightened us with His mercy when Taliban came to power. It has opened doors of military action for our mujahideen and provided them with an opportunity to rearrange their forces. One benefit of performing jihad here is the congregation in one place of all mujahideen who came from everywhere and began working with the Islamic Jihad Organization. Acquaintance and cooperation have grown, especially between us and al-Qaeda.”

    In December 2002, the Arabic paper London Al-Sharq al-Awsat reported that correspondence on Zawahiri’s computer (which
    was obtained by the Wall Street Journal) shows Zawahiri uses “school” as code for “Al Qaeda.”

    Dr. Jean Rosenfeld, a researcher associated with the UCLA Center for the Study of Religion, and an expert on the symbolism of religious extremist movements, wrote me: “Greendale’ to me signified a conscious choice to use the symbolic color of Islam.” She continued: “The franked eagle on the envelope of the anthrax letters was identical to the one I caught on a documentary that showed a one-second shot of the site where Sadat was assassinated –- the huge eagle above the podium where he was when he died. That assassination was of great significance to Egyptian Jihad and produced the pamphlet by Faraj that justifies “fard ‘ayn”/individual duty as the basis of jihadist doctrine.” She explained that Al Qaeda “is rooted in Egypt and Salafism, not Saudi Arabia and Wahhabism. Al-Zawahiri, I believe, is intensely nostalgic for the Nile Valley.”

    The CIA factbook explains that the color green — such as used by anthrax lab technician Yazid Sufaat in naming his lab “Green Laboratory Medicine,” and by the mailer who used the return address “Greendale School” – is the traditional color of islam. Green symbolizes islam, Mohammed and the holy war. In its section on Saudi Arabia, and the “Flag Description,” the CIA “Factbook” explains that the flag is “green with large white Arabic script (that may be translated as There is no God but God; Muhammad is the Messenger of God) above a white horizontal saber (the tip points to the hoist side); green is the traditional color of Islam.”

    An intelligence document first released in 2007 involves an operation by EIJ members headed by Atef and including Saif Adel in which the group headed to Somalia to work at developing a new base of operations. The group was called The Green Team. “Greendale School” was used as the return address in the letters and likely is code referring to the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. The stamp on the prestamped envelopes was of a green bird. For a video depicting the Green Bird’s point of view and invoking Allah’s guidance to “the straight path,” see this video “The 3D Kabah – A green birds eye view.” The koranic “Green Birds” reference is from the sentence relating to being set on “The Straight Path.” Timimi, the graduate student who had access to the Alibek/Bailey patent about concentration using hydrophobic silica, advised the EIJ founder Kamal Habib in writing for the publication called Assirat Al-Mustaqeem (“The Straight Path”).

    Likely for the same reason, Al Qaeda anthrax lab technician Yazid Sufaat and Zacarias Moussaoui used the name Green Laboratory Medicine as the name of the company that he used, for example, to buy 4 tons of ammonium nitrate, and that he used to cover his anthrax production program. Green dale refers to green “river valley” — Egypt, Cairo, Egyptian Islamic Jihad and/or Egyptian Islamic Group. Put it all together and you have their new official name (though the American press does not use it) — Qaeda al Jihad. At the Darunta complex where jihadis trained, recruits would wear green uniforms, except for Friday when they would be
    washed.

    Given that using the same address helps the second recipient receiving the letter to identify it and avoid opening it, the perp would have no reason to use the same address unless he was communicating something and wanted to draw attention to it.

    Adham Hassoun and Kassem Daher used “school” as code. Canadian businessman Daher is an associate of EIJ member Jaballah, who was detained in Canada and had maintained regular contact with Ayman by satellite telephone after coming to Canada in 1996. “Is there a school over there to teach football?” Hassoun asked, using what the FBI says is code for jihad.

    • DXer said

      Some documentary evidence no onger exists.

      The letter sending the first anthrax reportedly had clouds pictured on it. The flagship of American Media, Inc., National Enquirer, described the letter sent AMI as follows:

      “Bobby Bender came around the corner with this letter in the upturned palms of his hands,” said photo assistant Roz Suss, a 13-year Sun staffer. “It was a business-size sheet of stationery decorated with pink and blue clouds around the edges. It was folded into three sections, and in the middle was a pile of what looked like pink-tinged talcum powder.”

      In admitting that he had taken over supervising the development of anthrax for use against the US upon Atef’s death (in November 2001), KSM separately noted that “I was the Media Operations Director for Al-Sahab or ‘The Clouds,’ under Dr. Ayman Al-Zawahiri.

    • BugMaster said

      I find the FBI’s explanation for the “Greendale School” return address much more plausable, and that was total B.S.!

  40. DXer said

    Sending poisonous letter bombs is also fairly understood as consistent with Al Qaeda’s modus operandi in that the Al Qaeda operations manual, a version on CD-ROM, had a chapter on “Poisonous Letter.” As with the insertion of biologicals into food, the key is mass panic, not mass casualty.

    The Belgian Prime Minister and the US, British and Saudi Arabian embassies have been sent letters containing hydrazine and an arsenic derivative used in nerve gas in May 2003. This bears on modus operandi. Some argue that islamists would never merely send lethal substances through the mail (though the risk of significant casualty is low) to send a message or warning. One of the ingredients is hard to obtain, suggesting one Health Ministry spokesman to remark that “We’re not dealing with a small-time joker.” A trial of 23 suspected al-Qaeda members was in its third week. “Set our brothers free. Bastards.” Couldn’t be a threat by islamists because they only go for mass casualties — not threats. Right? One of the defendants in that trial allegedly sought hydrazine for use in producing a bomb. A 45- year old Iraqi man was arrested.

    A similar modus operandi was followed in New Zealand with cyanide in early 2002 and early 2003 by a sender purporting to be islamist.

    A December 2004 report on terrorism in the European Union noted that in July 2004, eight letters arrived at several official locations in Brussels that contained an ochre-coloured chemical substance that caused itchy eyes and breathing problems. Tests indicated that the substance was adamsite (phenarsasine). Some of the letters included “a threat letter written in (very poor) English, demanding that two recently convicted Islamic extremists are released within that month.”

    Zawahiri feels that in the usual case, the best way to get a lot of people watching is to kill the maximum number of people. But he wouldn’t disagree with the comment by Brian Jenkins that “Terrorism is theater.” Just those 10 grams cost an estimated $6 billion and have been the subject of thousands of news stories and the focus of widespread bioterrorism preparations. They were fully adequate to do the job even within the constraints of small batch production.

    The anthrax sender may not have intended to harm anyone. Stevens’ death was reported late on October 5. Whether the mailer knew of the death might depend on whether the mailing was made Saturday, October 6 — or whether it was made as late as Tuesday, October 9, the day it was postmarked after a long holiday weekend.

    Al Qaeda’s shura or policy-making council is concerned with handling its efforts in such a way as to develop and maintain the Arab hatred of the US and Israel. That requires a delicate balance and choice of suitable targets and methods. For example, as explained by the spokesperson in mid-February, Abu al Bara’a Al-Qarshy, Al Qaeda will not use WMD in a muslim country, particularly the home of Mecca and Medina. Terrorism involves public relations. Zawahiri divines from his religious texts that it is moral to kill American civilians on the grounds that they stood silent as taxpayers while US-bought weapons were used on Palestinians. In 1998, in an interview that appeared in TIME Magazine, Bin Laden himself explained that it was Al Qaeda’s “religious duty” to obtain chemical and biological weapons, but it was up to them how to use them.

    As Dr. Jane A. Alexander of DARPA once explained at DARPA Tech, 1999:

    “Small scale attacks may be adequate to immobilize national will with panic unless reasonable defenses are available. Terrorists do not need the technological sophistication of a military offensive biological warfare program. A military offensive BW program strives for predictable effect so that military operations can be planned. Terrorists could actually benefit from the variation of the onset and outcome of the illnesses creating added panic in the public.”

    The Ann Arbor NanoBio researchers thanked Dr. Alexander for her support of the research they were doing involving the Ames strain supplied by USAMRIID’s Bruce Ivins.

    The Al Qaeda shura (policy-making council) may deem that Al Qaeda needs to choose the methods of attack carefully so that they are both are effective and calculated to gain the support of others. (Gassing the Kurds ultimately was a public relations debacle for Saddam once the world stopped looking the other way).

    Suleiman Abu Ghaith claimed that Al Qaeda has the right to murder four million Americans, in a three-part article “In the Shadow of the Lances,” posted in June 2002 on the web-site of the Center for Islamic Research and Studies, Abu Ghaith wrote:

    “The Americans have still not tasted from our hands what we have tasted from theirs. The [number of] killed in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were no more than fair exchange for the ones killed in the Al-‘Amiriya shelter in Iraq, and are but a tiny part of the exchange for those killed in Palestine, Somalia, Sudan, the Philippines, Bosnia, Kashmir, Chechnya, and Afghanistan.”

    “We have not reached parity with them. We have the right to kill four million Americans – two million of them children – and to exile twice as many and wound and cripple hundreds of thousands. Furthermore, it is our right to fight them with chemical and biological weapons, so as to afflict them with the fatal maladies that have afflicted the Muslims because of the [Americans'] chemical and biological weapons.”

  41. DXer said

    The choice of mailing dates was highly significant — and yet overlooked — in profiling the anthrax mailings.

    The FBI Counterterrorism Division sent out a warning to law enforcement in August 2001 that
    Al Qaeda or related groups might attack on an anniversary date.

    NLETS MESSAGE (ALL REGIONS)
    8/1/01
    A MESSAGE FROM FBI COUNTERTERRORISM DIVISION, WASHINGTON, D.C
    ***
    AT THIS TIME, THE FBI DOES NOT POSSESS ANY SPECIFIC INFORMATION INDICATING THAT INDIVIDUALS SYMPATHETIC TO THE EAST AFRICA BOMBERS OR USAMA BIN LADEN ARE PLANNING AN ATTACK TO COINCIDE WITH THE THIRD ANNIVERSARY OF THE BOMBINGS. HOWEVER, IN RECENT WEEKS, THE U.S. INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY HAS BEEN TRACKING AN INCREASED VOLUME OF THREAT REPORTING EMANATING FROM GROUPS ALIGNED WITH OR SYMPATHETIC TO USAMA BIN LADEN. THE MAJORITY OF THIS REPORTING INDICATES A POTENTIAL FOR ATTACKS AGAINST U.S. TARGETS ABROAD; HOWEVER, THE POSSIBILITY OF AN ATTACK IN THE UNITED STATES CANNOT BE DISCOUNTED.
    CONCLUSION: RECIPIENTS ARE BEING NOTIFIED AT THIS TIME BECAUSE THE U.S. INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY CONSIDERS ANNIVERSARY DATES AS A KEY THREAT INDICATOR. ALTHOUGH LAW ENFORCEMENT AND SECURITY PERSONNEL ARE CAUTIONED NOT TO EXCLUSIVELY RELY ON SUCH DATES TO ‘PREDICT’ ACTS OF TERRORISM, ANNIVERSARY DATES CERTAINLY WARRANT INCREASED ATTENTION IN ROUTINE SECURITY PLANNING.
    RECIPIENTS WHO RECEIVE OR DEVELOP ANY INFORMATION CONCERNING THIS MATTER SHOULD CONTACT THEIR LOCAL FBI OFFICE OR FBI HEADQUARTERS IMMEDIATELY.

    Anthrax was sent on the date of the Camp David Accord and the related Sadat assassination (Armed Forces Day). Expert Michael Scheuer, formerly with the CIA, has said that Al Qaeda does not plan attacks around important dates, so far as the CIA can glean. But take Ayman at his word when he says he at least plans some of his messages around anniversaries, as he and Islambouli did by sending Zawahiri issued messages in 2004 on the third anniversary of 9/11 and then in 2005 on the third anniversary of the transfer of prisoners to Guantanamo. He said: “These days we are marking three years since the transportation of the first group of Muslim prisoners was sent to the Guantanamo prison.

    “The Vanguards of Conquest did the same thing in the late 1990s. Just as Zawahiri’s thinking on weaponizing anthrax was gaining traction in emails to Atef in the Spring of 1999, the Vanguards invoked an anniversary relating to the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty and issued a statement marking its 20th anniversary. The group said at the time it was reiterating its enmity toward the US and Israel to mark the 20th anniversary of the signing of the treaty in March 1979. Signed on March 26, 1979, the Egypt-Israel peace treaty was a direct result of the Camp David Peace Accords, signed in September 1978.

    The first round of letters was sent to ABC, CBS, NBC, the New York Post, and the publisher of the National Enquirer and Sun. Letters were sent to Senators Daschle and Leahy in a second batch, using a much more highly refined product. The mailing dates were of special importance to the man in its December 4, 1998 PDB that the CIA told President Clinton was planning the attack the US using aircraft and other means — Mohammed Islambouli, the brother of Sadat’s assassin. The letters to the news organizations were mailed — coincidentally or not — on September 17 or September 18, either the day the Camp David Accord was signed in 1978 or the next day when it was approved by the Israeli knesset. Abdel-Rahman, the blind sheik, in the early 1980s, said: “We reject Camp David and we regret the normalization of relations with Israel. We also reject all the commitments that were made by the traitor Sadat, who deviated from Islam.” He continued: “As long as the Camp David Agreement stands, this conflict between us and the government will continue.”

    At the time of the anthrax mailings, Sadat’s assassination and the Camp David Accord still dominated Zawahiri’s thinking. In Knights Under the Banner of the Prophet, Al-Zawahiri argued in the Fall of 2001 that the Camp David Accord sought to turn Sinai into a disarmed area to serve as a buffer zone between Egypt and Israel. He cites the peace treaty between the two countries, particularly issues related to the armament of the Egyptian Army inside Sinai. He claims that Egypt has restored Sinai formally but it remains in the hands of Israel militarily. Al-Zawahiri cites many examples about the US flagrant support for Israel, including the US pressure on Egypt to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty at a time when Israel publicly declares that it will not sign the treaty because of its special circumstances.

    Despite this, Zawahiri says, the United States sympathizes with Israel and overlooks its actions. This means that the United States has deliberately left the nuclear weapons in the hands of Israel to threaten its Arab neighbors. Al-Zawahiri argues in his book that the western states have considered Israel’s presence in the region a basic guarantee for serving the Western interests.

    The Wall Street Journal explained in August 2002: “Oct. 8 last year was Columbus Day, a public holiday on which mail wasn’t collected from letter boxes. That may mean the letters could have been posted as early as the Saturday before.” Taking into account the fact that there was no mail postmarked with a Trenton postmark on Columbus Day, October 8, the letter to Senator Tom Daschle postmarked October 9 may actually have been mailed October 6. (The FBI, of course, may know the date it was mailed based on information that has not been disclosed.) (Some press reports, however, suggest that they are considering that the mailing may have been at anytime during the October 6-October 9 period). October 6 was the day Anwar Sadat was assassinated for his role in the Camp David Accord. President Sadat was assassinated on the national holiday called “Armed Forces Day.” He was killed during an annual holiday parade which marks the day, October 6, 1973, that Egypt made a critical successful surprise attack on Israel during the 1973 war.

    “Death to Pharaoh!” the young Army officer shouted. He and his confederates jumped off the truck shot into the reviewing stand where Sadat had been watching the annual parade. “I killed the Pharaoh, and I do not fear death.” Sadat’s detention of Muhammad Shawqi al-Islambouli had spurred his brother, Khalid, to seize an opportunity presented on short notice to assassinate Anwar Sadat. Kamal Habib, founder of Egyptian Islamic Jihad and writer for the IANA quarterly magazine, who spent 10 years in prison in connection with the assassination, told academic Fawaz Gerges: “It was not a well-coordinated operation, and it succeeded by a miracle.” A street was named after Khalid Islambouli in Iran, with Iran having been upset at Egypt for granting the Shah safe haven. After leaving Egypt in the mid-1980s, Muhammad Islambouli operated in Pakistan recruiting Egyptian fighters for the war in Afghanistan, and headed a branch of Bin Laden’s Maktab al-Khidmat (‘Bureau of Services’) in Peshawar. Muhammad Islambouli was the subject of the December 4, 1998 Presidential Daily Brief — numerous motorcycles and related vehicles, complete with helicopter hovering overhead — titled “Bin Ladin Preparing to Hijack US Aircraft and Other Attacks” explaining that Bin Laden planned an attack on the US involving airplanes and that the motivation was to free the blind sheik Abdel-Rahman and a dissident Saudi sheik.

    US Postal employee Ahmed Sattar, in a 1999 interview, said of Sadat’s assassination: ” I felt good. It was a shock to me at first because I never expected the pharaoh to be assassinated in front of his army. Sure, the pharaoh, yes. And but really, after absorbing the shock, I said, “Well, that was well done

    The aide to blind sheik Abdel-Rahman explained: “What the Western mentality does not understand that your measurement is different — your measurement of good and bad. Yes, President Sadat was a media star as what you said. Civilized, smoking a pipe, always referred to Barbara Walters as “my friend Barbara,” and “my friend Carter” — they were all his friends. But what did he do to the normal man in the slums of Cairo or in upper Egypt? He deceived them. When he signed the peace treaty with Israel, he promised, “This will be the end of suffering. Things will change dramatically for the Egyptian people.” He promised democracy, freedom, and people believed him.”

    In his Fall 2001 Knights Under the Banner of the Prophet, Zawahiri explained that the US support for Israel (at Egypt’s expense) was well-illustrated by the historic 33-day airlift to Israel after this October 6 attack. He argues that the US support for Israel made the difference between success or failure for Egypt. Al-Zawahiri describes how the United States shipped weapons, ammunition, and tanks to Israel for 33 days, with the goal being to compensate Israel for its war losses and to swiftly upgrade the combat capabilities. He explained in his Fall 2001 book: “The animosity to Israel and America in the hearts of islamists is indivisible. It is an animosity that has provided the ‘al-Qa’dia’ and the epic of jihad in Afghanistan with a continuous flow of ‘Arab Afghans.'” Regarding the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, Zawahiri adds: “Whoever examines the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty will realize that it was intended to be a permanent treaty from which Egypt could not break loose. It was concluded in an attempt to establish on the ground, by force and coercion, a situation whereby it would be difficult to change by any government hostile to Israel that comes after Al-Sadat.” The militants were especially angry that Sadat had not fully implemented shariah law.

    Complicating consideration of the issue somewhere, on October 5, 2001, the shura member of EIJ and former head of Bin Laden’s farm in the Sudan, Mahjoub, had his bail denied on October 5. Mahmoud Mahjoub was second in command of the Vanguards of Conquest. A letter containing nonpathogenic bacteria had been sent in late January 2001 threatening use of mailed anthrax to the immigration minister signing his security certificate. Mahjoub was bin Laden’s farm manager in Sudan. Al-Hawsawi, KSM’s assistant with the anthrax spraydrying documents on his laptop, kept the books.

    The CIA and FBI analysts should have pored over translations of the journal Al-Manar Jadeed published by the Ann Arbor-based Islamic Assembly of North America from 1998 – 2002 by writers based in Cairo. It mainly concerned Egyptian politics and planned the strategy based conspirators are the rulers of Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula and Jordan and the traitors in Iraq who shade themselves with the cross of America, the Great Satan…[For these regimes] the slogan ‘death to America, death to Israel’ has gone to be replaced by ‘rule from America and peace with Israel.'”

  42. DXer said

    Proponents of an Ivins theory are also confused on motive. For example, they suggest Dr. Ivins targeted Senator Leahy because Dr. Ivins was strongly opposed to abortion. To the contrary, the documentary evidence shows in an ad taken out by his wife’s group, while other couples were listing both the husband and wife as opposed to abortion, only Diane and her children were listed.

    The documentary evidence instead establishes that Senator Leahy was the author of the “Leahy Law” which the Salafist-Jihadis interpreted as permitting continued appropriations to security units even upon a finding of torture. Senator Leahy played the key role in the Senate on appropriations to both Egypt and Israel as head of a key subcommittee. To more fully appreciate why Leahy — a human rights advocate and liberal democrat — might have been targeted as a symbol, it is important to know that Senator Leahy has been the head of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, the panel in charge of aid to Egypt and Israel. In addition to the Senate majority leader, anthrax was mailed to the position symbolic of the 50 billion in appropriations that has been given to Israel since 1947 (and the equally substantial $2 billion annually in aid that has been keeping Mubarak in power in Egypt and the militant islamists out of power).

    After the assassination of Anwar Sadat, Cairo attorney Montasser al-Zayat first met blind sheik Abdel-Rahman after Montasser had been tortured for 12 hours. He was near a mental breakdown. Abdel-Rahman came over to where he was huddled in a corner of a cell, bent over and whispered: “Rely on God; don’t be defeated.” Mohammed had spoken the words in the Koran. Al- Zayat would become one of Sheik Omar’s most trusted legal advisers. In March 1999, attorney al-Zayat was representing defendants in a massive prosecution of jihadists in Cairo. He told the press that Ayman Zawahiri would use weaponized anthrax against US targets because of the continued extradition pressure and torture faced by Egyptian Islamic Jihad members. Two senior EIJ leaders then on trial were saying the same thing to the press and in confessions. This is the equivalent of Dr. Hasan’s lawyer two years ago announcing that Hasan was going to shoot soldiers going off to Iraq.

    The founder of Egyptian Islamic Jihad Kamal Habib (who wrote for the quarterly magazine of the Al-Timimi’s charity Islamic Assembly of North America) told scholar Fawaz Gerges:

    “The prison years also radicalized al-shabab [young men] and set them on another violent journey. The torture left deep physical and psychological scars on jihadists and fueled their thirst for vengeance. Look at my hands — still spotted with the scars from cigarette burns nineteen years later. For days on end we were brutalized — our faces bloodied, our bodies broken with electrical shocks and other devices. The torturers aimed at breaking our souls and brainwashing us. They wanted to humiliate us and force us to betray the closest members of our cells.

    I spent sleepless nights listening to the screams of young men echoing from torture chambers. A degrading, dehumanizing experience. I cannot convey to you the rage felt by al-shabab who were tortured after Sadat’s assassination.” While Kamal Habib wrote for the jihad-supporting Assirat, Al-Timimi was on the Board of Advisers.

    In a videotape that circulated in the summer of 2001, Zawahiri said “In Egypt they put a lot of people in jails — some sentenced to be hanged. And in the Egyptian jails, there is a lot of killing and torture. All this happens under the supervision of America. America has a CIA station as well as an FBI office and a huge embassy in Egypt, and it closely follows what happens in that country. Therefore, America is responsible for everything that happens.”

    An August 29, 2001 opinion column on Islamway, the second most read site for english speaking muslims, illustrates that the role of “Leahy Law” was known by educated islamists:

    “There is an intolerable contradiction between America’s professed policy of opposition to state-sponsored terrorism, exemplified by the Leahy Law, and the U.S. Congress’ continuing sponsorship of Israeli violence against Palestinians.” The article cited “References: CIFP 2001. “Limitations on Assistance to Security Forces: ‘The Leahy Law’” 4/9/01 (Washington, DC: Center for International Foreign Policy) Center for International Foreign Policy Accessed 8/28/01.Hocksteader, Lee 2001.

    The next day, in the same publication, there was an article describing the 21-page document released in Ottawa on August 29, 2001, in which the CSIS claimed that Canadian detainee Jaballah had contacts with the Egyptian Islamic Jihad leader Shehata and sought to deport Jaballah. Shehata was in charge of EIJ’s Civilian Branch and in charge of “special operations.” It would be seven more years — not until February 2008 — before the Canadian government for the first time revealed that after coming to Canada in 1996, Jaballah would contact Ayman regularly on Ayman’s Inmarsat satellite phone.

    “They [Senators Daschle and Leahy] represent something to him,” says James Fitzgerald of the FBI Academy’s Behavioral Analysis Unit. “Whatever agenda he’s operating under, these people meant something to him.”

    Within a couple weeks after September 11, a report in the Washington Post and then throughout the muslim world explained that the President sought a waiver that would allow military assistance to once-shunned nations. The militant islamists who had already been reeling from the extradition of 70 “brothers”, would now be facing much more of the same. President Bush asked Congress for authority to waive all existing restrictions on U.S. military assistance and exports for the next five years to any country where the aid would help the fight against terrorist. Go grab his ass.” Although humanitarian in its intent, the Leahy Law permits continued appropriations to military and security units who conduct torture in the event of “extraordinary circumstances.”

    In an interview broadcast on al-Jazeera television on October 7, 2001 (October 6 in the US) — about when the second letter saying “Death to America’” and “Death to Israel” was mailed — Ayman Zawahiri echoed a familiar refrain sounded by Bin Laden: “O people of the U.S., can you ask yourselves a question: Why all this enmity for the United States and Israel? *** Your government supports the corrupt governments in our countries.”

    A month after 9/11, late at night, a charter flight from Cairo touched down at the Baku airport. An Egyptian, arrested by the Azerbaijan authorities on suspicions of having played a part in the September 11 attack, was brought on board. His name was kept secret. That same night the plane set off in the opposite direction. Much of the Amerithrax story has happened at night with no witnesses, with the rendering of University of Karachi microbiology student Saeed Mohammed merely one example. Zawahiri claims that there is a US intelligence bureau inside the headquarters of the Egyptian State Security Investigation Department that receives daily reports on the number of detainees and those detainees who are released. At the time Ayman Zawahiri was getting his biological weapons program in full swing, his own brother Mohammed was picked up in the United Arab Emirates. He was secretly rendered to Egyptian security forces and sentenced to death rendered in the 1999 Albanian returnees case.

    Throughout 2001, the Egyptian islamists were wracked by extraditions and renditions. CIA Director Tenet once publicly testified that there had been 70 renditions prior to 9/11. At the same time a Canadian judge was finding that Mahmoud Mahjoub was a member of the Vanguards of Conquest and would be denied bail, Bosnian authorities announced on October 6, 2001 they had handed over three Egyptians to Cairo who had been arrested in July. In Uruguay, a court authorized the extradition to Egypt of a man wanted in Egypt for his alleged role in the 1997 Luxor attack. Ahmed Agiza, the leader of the Vanguards of Conquest (which can be viewed as an offshoot of Jihad), was handed over by Sweden in December 2001.

    One islamist, a Hamas supporter, summarized why the anthrax was sent in an ode “To Anthrax” on November 1, 2001: “O, anthrax, despite, your wretchedness, you have sewn horror in the heart of the lady of arrogance, of tyranny, of boastfulness!” In an interview that appeared in the Pakistani paper, Dawn, on November 10, 2001, Bin Laden explained that “The American Congress endorses all government measures, and this proves that [all of] America is responsible for the atrocities perpetrated against Muslims.”

    At a December 2002 conference held by “Accuracy in Media,” former State Department analyst Kenneth Dillon noted that Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ), the key component of al Qaeda under Dr. Ayman Zawahiri, head of al Qaeda’s biowarfare program, likely targeted Senator Leahy because of his role as head of a panel of the Senate Appropriations Committee that had developed the so-called “Leahy Law” in 1998. Dillon explained, “According to the wording of the Leahy Law, the U.S. Government was authorized to ‘render’ suspected foreign nationals to the government of a foreign country, even when there was a possibility that they would be tortured, in ‘exceptional circumstances.’ When the Leahy Law was applied to send EIJ members captured in the Balkans back to Egypt, Zawahiri fiercely denounced the United States. So Leahy was a high-priority target.”

    That aid goes to the core of Al Qaeda’s complaint against the United States. (The portion going to Egypt and Israel constituted, by far, the largest portion of US foreign aid, and most of that is for military and security purposes.) Pakistan is a grudging ally in the “war against terrorism” largely due to the US Aid it now receives in exchange for that cooperation. The press in Pakistan newspapers regularly reported on protests arguing that FBI’s reported 12 agents in Pakistan in 2002 were an affront to its sovereignty. There was a tall man, an Urdu-speaking man, and a woman — all chain-smokers — who along with their colleagues were doing very important work in an unsupportive, even hostile, environment. The US agents — whether CIA or FBI or US Army — caused quite a stir in Pakistan along with the Pakistani security and intelligence officials who accompanied them. In mid-March 2003, Washington waived sanctions imposed in 1999 paving the way for release in economic aid to Pakistan. Billions more would be sent to Egypt, Israel and other countries involved in the “war against terrorism.”

    The commentators who suggest that Al Qaeda would have had no motivation to send weaponized anthrax to Senators Daschle and Leahy as symbolic targets — because they are liberal — are mistaken. The main goal of Dr. Zawahiri is to topple President Mubarak. He views the US aid as the chief obstacle and is indifferent to this country’s labels of conservative and liberal.

    Zawahiri likely was surprised that the plainly worded message of the letters accompanying the anthrax was not deemed clear. Perhaps the talking heads would not have been so quick to infer an opposite meaning if no message had been expressed using words at all. Perhaps the public the sender had relied only on what KSM describes as the language of war — the death delivered by the letters — the pundits would not have been so misdirected. But why was Al Qaeda evasive on the question of responsibility for the anthrax mailings, dismissing the issue with a snicker, and falsely claiming that Al Qaeda did not know anything about anthrax? Simple. Bin Laden denied responsibility for 9/11 until it was beyond reasonable dispute. On September 16, 2001, he said: “The US is pointing the finger at me but I categorically state that I have not done this. I am residing in Afghanistan. I have taken an oath of allegiance (to Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar) which does not allow me to do such things from Afghanistan.” Before that, Ayman had denied the 1998 embassy bombings too. On August 20, 1998, coincidentally on the day of strikes on camps in Afghanistan and Sudan, Ayman al-Zawahiri contacted The News, a Pakistani English-language daily, and said on behalf of Bin Laden that “Bin Laden calls on Moslem Ummah to continue Jihad against Jews and Americans to liberate their holy places. In the meanwhile, he denies any involvement in the Nairobi and Dar es Salaam bombings.” To Ayman, “war is deception.”

    The targeted Senators have another connection pertinent to the Egyptian militants. The United States and other countries exchange evidence for counterterrorism cases under the legal framework of a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (”MLAT”). Egypt is signatory of such a treaty that was ratified by the United States Senate in late 2000. For example, when the Fall 2001 rendition of Vanguards of Conquest leader Agizah was criticized, the US explained that it was relying on the MLAT. In the prosecution of Post Office worker Ahmed Abdel Sattar, the MLAT was described. Sattar’s attorney Michael Tigar, at trial in December 2004 explained: “Now, that might be classified, it’s true, but we have now found out and our research has just revealed that on, that the State Department has reported that it intends to use and relies on the mutual legal assistance treaty between the United States and Egypt signed May 3, 1998, in Cairo, and finally ratified by the United States Senate on October 18th, 2000. The State Department issued a press report about this treaty on November 29th, 2001 and I have a copy here.” He explained that “Article IV of the treaty provides that requests under the treaty can be made orally as well as under the formal written procedures required by the treaty, that those requests can include requests for testimony, documents, and even for the transfer to the United States if the treaty conditions are met.

    Will the extradited London cell members be available to testify at KSM’s trial?

    Vanguards of Conquest spokesman Al-Sirri was a co-defendant in the case against post office worker Sattar. In the late 1990s Sattar and he often spoke in conversations intercepted by the FBI. Al-Sirri’s fellow EIJ cell members in London were subject to process under those treaties at the time of the anthrax mailings. Those London cell members had been responsible for the faxing of the claim of responsibility which stated the motive for the 1998 embassy bombings. A group calling itself the “Islamic Army for the Liberation of the Holy Places” took credit for the bombings listing as among their demands “the release of the Muslims detained in the United State[s] first and foremost Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman (the spiritual guide of the Gama’a Islamiya) who is jailed in the United States.” As reason for the bombings, in addition to the rendition recent EIJ members to Cairo and the detention of Blind Sheik Abdel-Rahman, the faxes pointed to the detention of dissident Saudi Sheik al-Hawali . Al-Hawali was the mentor of GMU microbiology student Al-Timimi who spoke in London in August 2001 alongside 911 Imam Awlaki (also from Falls Church) and unindicted WTC 1993 conspirator Bilal Philips. Al-Timimi was in contact with Saudi sheik Al-Hawali in 2002 and arranged to hand deliver a message to all members of Congress he had drafted in al-Hawali’s name on the first anniversary of the anthrax mailings to Senator Leahy and Daschle.

    Michael Scheuer the former chief, Bin Laden Unit, eruditely defended the extraordinary rendition program he had launched at the request of President Clinton and his advisors before Congress in April 2007. There’s always been a huge irony in Michael Scheuer’s emphasis on how OBL is attacking the US for its policies without publicly acknowledging the importance of the rendition policy is to those planning the attacks. For the purpose of true crime analysis, it’s not rendition as a policy or human rights issue — or even a tactical issue — that is the question presented. It is walking in the shoes of your adversary (as expert Scheuer urged us to do in his 2002 book). The key is seeing things in terms of what motivates them to act. Sometimes it’s the only way to catch the bad guys — so that you then have the luxury of deciding how well you are going to treat them.

    The Amerithrax Task Force imagines that Ft. Detrick anthrax researcher Bruce Ivins targeted Leahy and Daschle because they were Catholics who voted pro-choice in opposition to the beliefs of the Catholic Church. The affidavit regarding Dr. Ivins further explains:

    “On September 26, 2001, in an email to a friend, Dr. Ivins writes: “The news media has been saying that some members of Congress and members of the ACLU oppose many of the Justice Department proposals for combating terrorism, saying that they are unconstitutional and infringe too much on civil liberties. Many people don’t know it but the official ACLU position to oppose all metal detectors in airports and schools and other public buildings. It’s interesting that we may now be living in a time when our biggest threat to civil liberties and freedom doesn’t come from the government but from enemies of the government. Osama Bin Laden has just decreed death to all Jews and all Americans, but I guess that doesn’t mean a lot to the ACLU. Maybe I should move to Canada…”

    The FBI Special Agents can do better in their analysis. Failing that, they could at least wear socks and belt buckles as cool as Special Agent Seely Booth.

    • DXer said

      Any suggestion that the Salafist-Jihadis would not have reason to send lethal letters to the media is also mistaken.

      Zawahiri explained in the Fall of 2001:

      “The killing of Anwar al-Sadat .. was a strong blow to the US-Israeli plan for the region:

      “This proves the lies that are reiterated by Arab secularism that several jihad movements, especially those in the Afghan jihad, are the creation of the United States. One is surprised by the capacity of secular writers to lie. Seeing the overwhelming support in the Muslim world for the Islamic Jihad movements, which dealt painful blows to the United States, they invented this lie, forgetting that Anwar al-Sadat was killed at the hands of fundamentalists in 1981, i.e., at the beginning of the Afghan jihad. These mujahidin participated in the Afghan jihad afterward.”

      Zawahiri summarizes in Knights Under The Banner of the Prophet: “If we add to the foregoing the media siege imposed on the message of the jihad movement as well as the campaign of deception mounted by the government media we should realize the extent of the gap in understanding between the jihad movement and the common people.”

      In his book first published October 7, 2001, Zawahiri says of the media:
      “The Western media and the Arab media are both responsible for demeaning and distorting the image of the Arab Afghans. They portrayed them as half insane maniacs who revolted against America, who trained and financed them before. This was repeated over and over after the comeback of the Arab Afghans in the second half of the 90’s. . . . The aim of the American campaign to defame the Arab Afghans is clear. America is trying to deprive the Arab nation of claiming the championship. It’s as if the Americans are saying to us, ”Those who you think of as heroes are made by me and they are mercenaries who revolted against me when I stopped financing them.”

      Even dating back to the summer of 1993, CBS’ Dan Rather was just one of many who carried reports of the blind sheik being let in the country, with interviewees taking the position that they believed the sheik was being deliberately rewarded by the CIA for his help in the Afghanistan war.

      The best publicly evidence available online of Dr. Al-Timimi’s own views on the subject are his online speeches, “The Negative Portrayal Of Islam In the Media” and “Crusade Complex: Western Perceptions of Islam.” In 1994, Al-Timimi spoke alongside Commander Abu Abdel Aziz ‘Barbaros’ (Bosnia) at the annual IANA conference. Barbaros was the Al Qaeda recruiter who met at BIF offices in Zagreb, Croat in 1992 to plan strategy relating to jihad directed against the US. Jihadist fighter “Barbaros” speaks pretty directly to the issue in a 1994 interview “Understanding Jihad” in the arab language Assirat, for which Al-Timimi served on the advisory board.

      “THE MEDIA CAMPAIGN (AGAINST JIHAD)
      Q. Within the context of the International media campaign against Jihad, how do you evaluate the Muslims’ approach to Jihad, especially after the intended distortion of the Afghan experiment?
      A. The main purpose of the International media campaign against Jihad is to paint it with the trait of terrorism and things of that sort. (This is done) to push people away from it. They know that Muslims, if they hold tight to Jihad, will achieve the intended thrust which will make them reach whatever Allah wills. They know quite well that the Muslim zeal to Jihad stems from the belief that Allah is the sole source of victory, He will send His help from the sky and that if the Mujahid dies, his abode shall be the highest Firdaws (Peak of Paradise), among the prophets (Nabiyyin), the truthful (Siddiqin) and martyrs (Shuhada’), and those near to Allah, as Allah, praised be.”

      Zawahiri was knowledgeable about US media. In October 1998, after U.S. cruise missiles were launched at an al-Qaida training camp at Khost, Afghanistan in retaliation for the Africa embassy bombings, Ayman’s office computer in Kabul computer was used to create letterhead for the fictional “Challenge for Media Services,” and to draft letters to ABC, CNN and CBS. The letters purported to be from Dr. Mohammed Atef and offered film of bin Laden and the bombed training camp in exchange for cash. The draft letters, which apparently were never sent or received, promised the networks footage in which bin Laden “openly threatened U.S. and Israeli troops.” The draft urged the networks to send representatives to Kabul or Jalalabad to ensure “priority in getting the material and easiness in negotiation.” The letters were found in a folder marked “not sent” on the computer’s hard drive.

      Why did the sender target the New York Post rather than the New York Times? One would expect the New York Times to be targeted if a conservative biodefense insider was responsible. Was the mailer from the New York City region? The New York Post is one of the most pro-Israel papers around. The Post letter was addressed to the “Editor.”

      In an audiotape received by al-Jazeera and published in October 2002, Zawahiri repeated his view of the secular lies being told: “America is clearly lying concerning any news related to Afghanistan.” Bin Laden himself in January 2004 noted “This is in addition to the crusader media campaigns against the Islamic nation.”

      But now who is telling lies? In January 2001, US Postal employee Sattar and Attorney Stewart discussed how they knew Abdel Rahman was refusing to take insulin for his diabetes but that Sattar would issue a public statement falsely claiming that the Bureau of Prisons was denying medical treatment. Stewart told Sattar that the lie was “safe” because no one on the “outside” would know the truth. Sattar spoke with Al-Sirri, the Vanguards of Conquest publicist, and Al-Sirri told Sattar to send the statement to Reuters and any other news outlets he could contact. Indeed, more broadly, the real lies are being told by anyone who kill or attempt to kill innocents — or support those who do — while purporting to have the moral high ground. The biggest lie is the one such a person is telling to himself, especially with respect to whether the killing is going to result in the strategic political goals claimed by Bin Laden and Zawahiri.

  43. DXer said

    Another central fallacy relating to an Al Qaeda anthrax theory is the premise that salafist-jihadist supporter would not provide a warning. To the contrary, a warning is required by the koran and hadiths as Anwar Aulaqi could explain.

    “Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors… ,” says the Koran (2:190). Post office employee and blind sheik spokesman Abdel Sattar has explained that Mustafa Hamza, who took over from Taha as Islamic Group leader after the Luxor debacle in which in 58 tourists were murdered, was asked how can you explain killing tourists. Mustafa Hamza answered in every moment and action, the group starts off by consulting with the righteous Olama. No action is initiated without fatwas from our trusted Olama — meaning scholars in the plural. In other words, before carrying out an operation, they get a fatwa. He confirmed that fatwas are important because they are authoritative statements by religious leaders declaring what is and is not Islamically permissible. This is exactly what Hasan did in his correspondence with Aulaqi. Sattar had a copy of the book written by former Islamic Group leader Taha justifying the attacks that had been committed, to include Luxor. The book had been uploaded at the website maintained by London-based Vanguards of Conquest publicist Al-Sirri.

    The Koran and hadiths provide extensive guidance on the honorable conduct of warfare. One of the leading non-muslim expert on the subject was Princeton’s Bernard Lewis. For years, Princeton University Middle Eastern history Professor Emeritus Bernard Lewis’ writing on the clash between islam and the west would be translated by the Muslim brotherhood and handed out as pamphlets outside of mosques. After the 1998 “Crusaders” statement by Bin Laden and Zawahiri, Lewis wrote a Foreign Affairs article “License to Kill, Usama Bin Ladin’s Declaration of Jihad.” “Obviously, the West must defend itself by whatever means will be effective. But in devising strategies to fight the terrorists, it would surely be useful to understand the forces that drive them.” After 9/11, Lewis admonished the Pentagon Defence Policy Board to consider how much worse the devastation could have been on Sept. 11 if the terrorists had used a weapon of mass destruction —such as Iraq was said to possess. In a September 27, 2001, in an Op Ed in the Wall Street Journal, the 87 year-old historian explained the use of biochemical weapons by Al Qaeda: “the laws of jihad categorically preclude wanton and indiscriminate slaughter. The warriors in the holy war are urged not to harm noncombatants, women and children, ‘unless they attack you first.’ Even such questions as missile and chemical warfare are addressed, the first in relation to mangonels and catapults, the other to the use of poison-tipped arrows and poisoning enemy water supplies. Here the jurists differ– some permit, some restrict, some forbid these forms of warfare. A point on which they insist is the need for a clear declaration of war before beginning hostilities, and for proper warning before resuming hostilities after a truce. As Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman once said in the context of criticizing Sadat’s peace with Israel: “Believers govern according to God’s laws and do not change or replace a single letter or word of them.”

    In an essay “Islam and Terrorism,” Bilal Philips, a key religious mentor of GMU microbiology grad Ali Al-Timimi, explained the principles of islamic jurisprudence of islamic warfare:
    “Islam opposes any form of indiscriminate violence. The Quran states: “Anyone who has killed another except in retaliation, it is as if he has killed the whole of humankind.” [Quran Surah #32 Verse #5] There are strict rules regulating how war may be conducted. Prophet Muhammad forbade the killing of women, children, and old people and the destruction of Churches and Synagogues or farms. Of course, if women, children or the elderly bear arms they may be killed in self-defense.”
    ***
    “Defending Islam and the Muslim community is a primary aspect of the physical jihad which involves taking up arms against an enemy. God states in the Quran “Permission to fight has been given to those who have been attacked because they are wronged. And indeed, Allah is Most Powerful.” [Quran Surah #22 Verse #39] and “Fight in the cause of Allah against those who fight against you, but do not transgress the limits. Indeed Allah does not love transgressors.” [Quran Surah #2 Verse #190].

    As Ali Al Timimi once explained: “Modern warfare did not exist during those times when they wrote those classical books of fiqh.” The old principles therefore must be relied upon to guide the issue in new times.

    Spokesman al-Kuwaiti was giving a plain warning in the Fall 2001 threat letter — not disclosed until 2006 — that the green light had been given for US -bio attack (1) from folks that were US-based, (2) above suspicion, and (3) with access to US and UK government and intelligence information. “The Truth about the New Crusade: A Ruling on the Killing of Women and Children of the Non-Believers,” Ramzi bin al-Shibh, argues that “the sanctity of women, children, and the elderly is not absolute” and concludes that “in killing Americans who are ordinarily off limits, Muslims should not exceed four million noncombatants, or render more than ten million of them homeless.” Spokesman Abu Ghaith used the same figure in June 2002 in arguing in favor of the moral right to use biological or chemical weapons.

    A book commemorating the September 11 “raid” was published by Majallat al-Ansar and consisted of four essays. It addresses the importance that any attack comply with the laws of Sharia. “Some people see fit to raise the issue of Islamic principles of warfare. They claim that the raid does not observe those principles and that Sharia errors occurred. Some ‘modern’ legal scholars see the raid as a violation of the Sharia.” The book continued: “Everyone knows that the groups in the traditionalist mujahid movement are more committed than anyone else to Sharia in their actions. After all, their actions can cost them their dearest possession after their faith — their souls.” While purporting not to want to get entangled in a discussion of the legal technicalities, the author then addressed at length why the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon was justified under the laws of sharia.

    Vince Cannistraro, a former chief of CIA counter-terrorist operations, discussed the requirement of warning under the laws of jihad on NPR in connection with the Al Qaeda audiotape by Bin Laden that aired shortly before the November 2004 election. In the case of anthrax, Ayman Zawahiri likely considers that the warning required under the laws of jihad has been given, and so this is not a time to suffer fools gladly.

    Zawahiri is the grandson of the well-known “Pious Ambassador,” who was President of Cairo University. Dr. Zawahiri is reserving himself a spot in a bad place by reason of his botched analysis of the hadiths and teachings of Mohammed governing warfare (no women, children, noncombatants etc.) The same principles prohibit attacking livestock, crops or wells. Judging by the interpretive texts, it would seem that Al Qaeda and the anthrax mailer have violated the Quran and hadiths by killing noncombatant women and children, and even the aged. It cannot be persuasively argued that those noncombatant women and children and the aged attacked the jihadists first. An infant visiting ABC was infected by the anthrax.
    Before the military tribunal, KSM says the koran forbids killing children. He noted that warfare is guided by the koran and hadiths.

    The head of Egyptian Islamic Group, who approved of Sadat’s assassination and was released after a quarter-century in prison, said of 9/11:
    “The killing of businessmen is forbidden by Islamic law and the World Trade Center was all businessmen. The killing of women and children and old people is forbidden by Islamic law and many of those were killed in the building.”

    Thus, the harshest judgment may await true believers in another world.

  44. DXer said

    Contrary to the pundits who just associate Al Qaeda with a “big bang,” a key modus operandi of the Vanguards of Conquest was targeted assassination and it was widely known known that Zawahiri was seeking to weaponize anthrax for use against US targets. The Egyptian Islamic Jihad group specializes in armed attacks against high-level Egyptian government officials, including Cabinet ministers. The group had a “hit list” that included tens of Egyptians to be killed by the group, including journalists. In May 1987, a Major General was shot outside his home in Cairo. Several EIJ members and two Islamist Group members were arrested in connection with the attack. In November 1990, six members of EIJ were arrested in connection with the murders of People’s Assembly Speaker and five security men on October 12, 1990. The EIJ’s military wing, the Vanguards of Conquest, launched a violent campaign in March 1992. Of 223 killed in the first year or two, 67 were policemen, 76 were Islamic militants, 36 were civilian Christian Copts, and three were foreign tourists. Prosecutors and policemen would be targeted to avenge torture. By April 1995, 700 had been killed. Al-Jihad has had a role in most foreign terrorist attacks against the United States and its allies over the past 20 years. The group is most well known for its first, the 1981 assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.

    In August 1993, the same year as the bombing of the World Trade Center, al-Jihad attempted to assassinate Egyptian Interior Minister by firing on his motorcade and detonating a homemade bomb. The group also made an attempt that year against Prime Minister with an explosion which occurred about 500 yards from his home as his motorcade passed. A 15-year-old girl standing at a nearby bus stop was killed. EIJ issued a statement claiming the action was to avenge the recent death sentences. In 1992, Islamic Jihad activists murdered an author, Faraj Fodah, who had openly supported Israeli-Egyptian peace. The secular columnist in his last article had suggested that the militants were motivated by sexual frustration more than politics. In March 1994 Egypt’s higher military Court passed death sentences in absentia that included Tharwat Salah Shehata, Yasser al-Sirri, ‘Isam Muhammad ‘Abd-al-Rahman for the assassination attempt on Prime Minister Sedki on November 25, 1993. In 1994 al-Jihad militants were linked to two unsuccessful attempts to bomb the Israeli and U.S. embassies in Manila. In June 1995, the Vanguards of Conquest claimed responsibility for a failed assassination attempt on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to kill Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In November 1995, an EIJ suicide car bombing of the Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan killed 17 and injured 59. An Egyptian with Canadian citizenship, Ahmad Saeed Kadr (Khadr), was charged in connection with the bombing. Kadr worked as the regional director of Human Concern International, a Canadian relief agency in Peshawar, and was alleged to have moved money through the aid agency from Afghanistan to Pakistan to pay for the operation. In December 1995, the Vanguards of Conquest sent a communiqué warning Pakistan to stop extraditing militants to Egypt, or “it will pay a heavy price.” That month, Egyptian Security forces arrested 56 terrorists after being tipped off by an EIJ informer. The group was accused of planning to assassinate President Hosni Mubarak on 1995 using 550 pounds of explosives to blow up the President’s motorcade.

    In November 1997 after the killing in Luxor, Egypt, of 58 tourists by Al Gamaa Al Islamiyaa, the Vanguards of Conquest warned that orders had “already been given for attacks on Americans and Zionists not only in Egypt but elsewhere.” In February 1998 Al Jihad was one of the founding signatories involved in the creation of the World Islamist Front for the Jihad against Jews and the Crusaders (World Islamist Front). The Front subsequently issued a fatwa calling for the killing of Americans worldwide and the expulsion of Americans from the holy land and Jews from Jerusalem. Egyptian Islamist sources declared that the release of the statement marked Al Zawahiri’s, and Al Jihad’s, return to the field of active terrorist groups.

    In June 1998 Egyptian security authorities arrest seventeen members on charges of forming an Al Jihad cell in east Cairo. Resulting confessions revealed that Al Jihad was planning to assassinate a number of public figures and security officers. That month, Jihad members al-Najjar (head of Al Jihad in Albania), and Majed Mustapha were arrested in Albania, reportedly with the aid of the Central Intelligence Agency, and extradited to Egypt in late June 1998. An August 1998 Statement issued by the Information Office of the Jihad Group in Egypt vowed revenge on the United States for the extradition of three Al Jihad members from Albania to Egypt.

    In September 1998, a number of senior EIJ and IG leaders in London were arrested, including the EIJ cell members who had faxed the claim of responsibility for the embassy bombings. In April 1999, after verdicts in the “Returnees from Albania,” the Vanguards of Conquest and Al Jihad issue separate threats of retaliation. Of the 107 accused, 87 defendants were found guilty, including Canadian Mahmoud Mahjoub. The day of the bombing, shortly after the explosions, EIJ military commander Mabruk called Canadian VOC member Jaballah and told him to call the London cell members and tell them he could be reached at Shehata’s residence. Shehata was Jaballah’s brother-in-law. The London cell members then issued a claim of responsibility for the blasts. That year, the group also planned an unsuccessful attack on the U.S. Embassy in Albania.

    Throughout these years, an estimated 70 Egyptian militants were rendered by the US to Cairo prior to 9/11 and the anthrax mailings. The fact that targeted assassination was the modus operandi of the Egyptian salafist-jihadis dating back to the Sadat assassination — and that the motivation was retaliation for the detention of senior EIJ/VOC leaders — is never addressed by many people simply because they are unaware of it.

    With an Al Qaeda anthrax threat one of the most serious threats facing the country, this is not a time to be uninformed.

  45. DXer said

    One of the most central fallacies in analysis relating to the theory that supporters of the Salafist-Jihadis were responsible relates to modus operandi. Those not schooled in the history think that “Al Qaeda only goes for the Big Bang” without appreciating the history of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad/Vanguards of Conquest who in charge of the anthrax planning. Their modus operandi was targeted assassination. Their signature was mailed lethal letters to newspapers in DC and NYC and people in symbolic positions in connection with an attack on the WTC.

    This was not the first time the Egyptian islamists sent letter bombs to newspaper offices in connection with an attack on the World Trade Center. NPR set the scene. It was January 2, 1997, at 9:15 a.m. at the National Press Building in Washington, D.C. The employee of the Saudi-owned newspaper Al Hayat began to open a letter. It was a Christmas card — the kind that plays a musical tune. It was white envelope, five and a half inches by six and a half inches, with a computer-generated address label attached. It had foreign postage and a post mark — a postmark appearing to be from Alexandria, Egypt. It looked suspiciously bulky, so he set it down and called the police. Minutes later they found a similar envelope. These were the first two of four letter bombs that would arrive at Al Hayat during the day. A fifth letter bomb addressed to the paper was intercepted at a nearby post office. They all looked the same. Two similar letter bombs addressed to the “parole officer” (a position that does not exist) arrived at the federal penitentiary at Leavenworth. It seemed evident how some Grinch had spent the holidays in Alexandria, Egypt.

    Egyptian Saif Adel (Makawwi), thought to be in Iran, was involved in military planning. Adel was a colonel in the Egyptian Army’s Special Forces before joining Al Qaeda. He helped plan the 1998 attacks on the US embassies in Africa. He was also a planner in the attack on the USS Cole and has served as the liaison officer between Hezbollah and Al Qaeda. Adel assisted Atef, who had overall responsibility for Al Qaeda’s operations. According to Cairo Attorney Al-Zayyat, Makkawi had many times claimed responsibility for operations that were carried out inside Egypt but when the perpetrators were arrested, it would be al-Zawahiri’s name whose name they shouted loyalty to from the docks. After the letter al-Hayat letter bombs were sent in January 1997, Saif Adel (Makawwi) gave a statement denying responsibility on behalf of the Vanguards of Conquest.

    The FBI would not speculate as to who sent the letters or why. But this was your classic “duck that walks like a duck” situation. As NPR reported at the time, “analysts say that letter bombs are rarely sent in batches, and when they are it’s generally prompted by politics, not personal animus.” Al Hayat was a well respected and moderate newspaper. It was friendly to moderate Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt. That, without more, was accurately discerned by observers at the time as sufficient to make the newspaper outlet a target of the militant islamists. The newspaper, its editor explained, does not avoid criticizing militant islamists. The Al Hayat Editor-in-Chief explained: “We’ve been opposed to all extremists in the Arab world, especially the fundamentalists.” Mohammed Salameh, a central defendant in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, was sent to Leavenworth in 1994. The other three Egyptian extremists convicted in the bombing were sent to prisons in California, Indiana and Colorado. Like the blind sheik Abdel-Rahman, Salameh had complained of his conditions and asked to be avenged. The Blind Sheik was particularly irked that the prison officials did not cut his fingernails.

    Abdel-Rahman was convicted in 1995 of seditious conspiracy, bombing conspiracy, soliciting an attack on an U.S. military installation, and soliciting the murder of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. His followers were indicted for plotting to bomb bridges, tunnels and landmarks in New York for which Rahman allegedly had given his blessings. The mailing of deadly letters in connection with an earlier attack on the World Trade Center was not merely the modus operandi of militant islamists, it was the group’s signature. It’s their calling card. Khaled Abu el-Dahab, a naturalized American, from Silicon Valley, in a confession detailed Egyptian defense ministry document dated October 28, 1998, explained that he was trained to make booby-trapped letters to send to important people, as well as asked to enroll in American aviation schools to learn how to fly gliders and helicopters. He was a friend of Ali Mohammed, the former special forces officer in the Egyptian army and former US Army Sergeant. The modus operandi of these militant supporters of the blind sheik was known to be planes and booby-trapped letters.

    The al Hayat letter bombs related to the detention and alleged mistreatment of the blind sheikh and the WTC bombers were sent 10 days earlier — on the Day of Measures.

    In connection with the January 1997 letter bombs, Ayman got the know-how to send sophisticated electronic letter bombs from Iraqi intelligence according to one item from the highly controversial Feith memo. In the al Hayat letter bombings, Ayman allowed the finger to be pointed at Libya. In the Amerithrax letters, he allowed the finger to be pointed to a United States biodefense insider by the prosecutor who would have presented to any indictment to the grand jury. Born in Haifa in 1948, the man’s daughter then came to represent microbiologist Al-Timimi pro bono.

    After the Al Hayat letter bombs to newspapers in DC and NYC and people in symbolic positions, in January 1997, both the Blind Sheikh and his paralegal, Sattar, were quoted in separate articles in Al Hayat (in Arabic) denying that they or their supporters were responsible. The Blind Sheikh commented that al Hayat was fair and balanced in its coverage and his supporters would have no reason to “hit” them. The same sort of counterintuitive theory was raised in connection with the earlier letter bombing of newspapers to DC and New York City and people in symbolic positions. Sattar noted that the bombs were mailed on December 20, one day before the brief in support of the blind sheik on appeal. He questioned whether someone (like the FBI) was trying to undermine the appeal’s prospects. This time, Mr. Sattar did not need any help making the argument with respect to the anthrax letters. Numerous people with political or personal agendas rushed to do it for him.

    In September 2006, in a Sahab Media production called “Knowledge is for acting,” there is a clip in which Al Quds editor Atwan refers to his visit with Bin Laden in 1996 (see also his 2006 book The Secret History of al Qaeda). He says that Bin Laden was planning to attack America “and America prisons in particular.” That was a reference to the Al Hayat letter bombs sent to newspapers and prisons in January 1997. There were recurrent references to Abdel-Rahman in the tape.

    Thus, the evidence relating to modus operandi clearly points to Ayman Zawahiri and his supporters. It was his plan established by the documentary evidence and the group had previously sent lethal letters to newspapers in DC and NYC to protest the rendition, detention and torture of their senior leaders.

    So when you find someone saying “Al Qaeda likes the big bang,” take note that they have never addressed (and were uninformed about) the Al Hayat letter bombs, for which there is up to a $5 million reward under the Rewards For Justice program.

    • DXer said

      The modus operandi of sending lethal weapons directly with the Egyptian Islamic Jihad head of intelligence who had infiltrated the US Army and along with Cairo Medical drop-out recruited 10 Americans for operations.
      Lance Williams of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote an eye-opening profile of Khalid Dahab, a Cairo Medical School drop-out who recruited US operatives for Al Qaeda. He was trained by Bin Laden’s head of intelligence, former US Army Sergeant Ali Mohammed. Ali Mohammed had recruited him while he was student at Cairo Medical in the early 1980s. The article was based on statements made in a Cairo court proceeding.
      Williams reports that Bin Laden personally congratulated Dahab, an Egyptian- born US Citizen, a Silicon Valley car salesman and member of Zawahri’s Egyptian Islamic Jihad/Vanguards of Conquest, for recruiting Islamist Americans into al Qaeda. The account of Dahab’s confession was first published in the October 10, 2001 edition of the London-based Arabic language newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat. Dahab said he and Bin Laden’s head of intelligence, former U.S. Army Sgt. Ali Mohamed. Ali Mohamed was also a Silicon Valley resident. Ali Mohamed had traveled to Afghanistan in the mid-1990s to report to bin Laden on the success the two were having in recruiting Americans. Bin Laden told them that recruiting terrorists with American citizenship was a top priority.
      Ali Mohamed has admitted role in planning the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kenya, killing more than 200 people.
      Williams wrote: “Dahab’s confession supports the view of many terrorism experts that al Qaeda has “sleeper” operatives on station in the United States for future terrorist attacks.” Khaled Duran, an author and terrorism expert who has written about the Silicon Valley cell, said the recruits would be expected to “fade into the woodwork” until the organization needed them, he said. Williams continues: “His story, obtained from accounts of Egyptian court proceedings and interviews with people who knew him, is entwined with that of Mohamed, a former Egyptian military officer and aide to bin Laden who recruited Dahab into al Qaeda, brought him to America and became his handler.”
      Handsome and outgoing, Dahab spoke excellent English. He said he was from a wealthy Alexandria family. His mother was a physician and he was planning a career in medicine.
      “But Dahab told acquaintances he had been radicalized by a tragedy that happened when he was a schoolboy: his father, he claimed, had been among 108 people killed in the 1973 crash of a Cairo-bound Libyan Arab Airlines plane that was shot down by Israeli fighter jets when it strayed over the Sinai Peninsula, which at the time was occupied by Israel. He claimed that his father’s death — and Egypt’s failure to avenge it — had turned him against the Egyptian government and against Israel and the United States, as well. He said he was drawn toward Islamic Jihad, a radical movement that had assassinated President Anwar Sadat in 1981 in an effort to remake Egypt into a fundamentalist Muslim state.”
      Williams reports that it was while a medical student in about 1984, according to his confession, that Dahab met Mohamed, who then was an officer in the Egyptian commando forces and a Jihad operative planning to emigrate to the United States. Dahab came to the United States in 1986, obtaining a student visa by saying he wanted to study medicine. He rented an apartment in Santa Clara, where Ali Mohamed now lived with his American wife. He dropped the name Dahab, calling himself Khaled Mohamed or Ali Mohamed, the same name used by the man who had recruited him. “He sometimes claimed, falsely,” Williams explains, “that he had been a physician in Egypt, said people who met him.”
      “In 1995, using a fake passport and identity documents, Dahab and Ali Mohammed smuggled Zawahiri into the US from Afghanistan for a covert fund-raising tour. Dahab reports that part of the money financed the bombing of the Egyptian Embassy in Pakistan. Dahab also said that at Mohamed’s direction he had gone to terrorist camps in Afghanistan in 1990 and trained guerrilla fighters to fly hang gliders. He said Islamic Jihad was planning a hand-glider assault to liberate imprisoned Jihad leaders, some of whom had been locked up since the assassination of Sadat.”
      A former friend remembers that Dahab turned up in the parking lot at the Al- Noor Mosque in Santa Clara, driving a station wagon with a hang glider in the back and saying he was
      bound for Afghanistan. “He said, ‘I am going to take (the aircraft) to Afghanistan and help the mujahedeen — I am going to take it over there and train people to fly it,’ ” the friend said. “People said, ‘Oh, you crazy guy — they thought he was joking.’ ” Jihad later canceled the attack, Dahab said in his confession.”
      Williams continues: “Meanwhile, Dahab said Mohamed gave him military training and taught him how to make letter bombs. Dahab said he had also worked as an al Qaeda communications specialist, aiding terrorists inside Egypt by patching through their calls to other operatives in Afghanistan and the Sudan. This helped the terrorists plan operations while avoiding electronic surveillance by Egyptian security forces who routinely wiretapped calls between Egypt and countries that harbored jihad terrorists.
      Also in the 1990s, Dahab said, he and Mohamed were told to begin recruiting U.S. citizens of Middle Eastern heritage. Dahab said the recruitment project had first been outlined to him by an al Qaeda fighter named Abdel Aziz Moussa al Jamal, who, according to Arabic press accounts, recently surfaced in Islamabad, Pakistan, serving as translator for Taliban envoy Abdul Salam Zaeef. On another visit to Afghanistan, Dahab said, he and Mohamed discussed the project with Zawahiri and bin Laden.” “Dahab told Egyptian authorities he and Mohamed had found 10 recruits, all of them naturalized U.S. citizens who had been born in the Middle East. The account of the confession did not name the recruits or provide other details about them.”
      Williams explains that Dahab was arrested and sent to an Egyptian prison. “By 1998, Dahab was spending more and more time abroad, and he told a family law judge in San Jose that he intended to move his family back to Egypt. In August 1998, while Dahab was in Egypt, al Qaeda mounted suicide attacks on the embassies in East Africa. Within weeks Ali Mohamed was arrested for complicity in the attack. He pled guilty. .
      In October 1998, the Egyptian military moved to crush Islamic Jihad by arresting more than 70 of the organization’s leaders. Dahab decided to flee, and on Oct. 28 booked a flight to the United States. According to Dahab acquaintances, Egyptian security police boarded the plane shortly before takeoff and took him away in handcuffs. Dahab confessed his involvement with al Qaeda and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.”
      Sleepers, the former head of Bin Laden’s intelligence (and a former US Army sergeant) Ali Mohammed testified, “don’t wear the traditional beards and they don’t pray at the mosques.” An Al Qaeda encyclopedia, Military Studies in the Jihad Against the Tyrants, advises sleepers to “have a general appearance that does not indicate Islamic orientation,” and for men not to wear a beard. The book also instructs sleepers not to denounce unjustice faced by the ummah, and not to use common Islamic expressions such as “peace be on you,” nor to go to Islamic locations, such as mosques.
      Consider the example of another “sleeper” or operative, Tarik Hamdi of Herndon, Virginia. ABC News employed him to help secure an interview with bin Laden in early 1998. ABC News transported Hamdi to Afghanistan, unaware that his real purpose in going there was to carry a replacement battery to bin Laden for the satellite telephone he would later use to order the embassy bombings in East Africa. ABC was also unaware that the CIA had planted a listening device in the phone. The successful CIA operation, however, did not serve to prevent the planning of the embassy operation. Ironically, it facilitated it. If we don’t learn from history, we are bound to repeat it.
      If he hadn’t dropped out, what year would Dahab have graduated from Cairo Medical?

  46. DXer said

    BugMaster, the documents are being wrongfully withheld because the FOIA statute permits the agency to invoke an exemption to production such as the pendency of a law enforcement matter. So to comply with the statute all they need to do is to send the letter and invoke whatever exemptions deemed appropriate. Then that determination can be appealed and litigated (if the requester deems the exemption inapplicable). But to purport to be fulfilling the request and then failing to do so is a violation of the statute and its statutory deadline for stating exemptions from production.

    • BugMaster said

      “invoke whatever exemptions deemed appropriate”.

      Right. So let’s say for the sake of argument that there are emails between Ivins and another suspect. The FBI requests that the emails to the suspect be withheld from the FOIA request.

      The remaining emails are released. The suspect, to his relief, sees that no incriminating messages between him and Fort Detrick appears to exist.

      What, would he then breath a sigh of relief and think, “Thank god Bruce deleted our emails before he killed himself. “I always knew he would take one for the home team!”.

  47. DXer said

    One of Ivins former colleagues was a former Zawahiri associate. He too would understand that surveillance, if any, would come with the territory of receiving millions to work with dangerous pathogens supplied by the US military — in this case supplied virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins in a case involving a lyophilizer checked out by Ivins. The scientist and I have a mutual friend (a consultant to US intelligence agencies) who has published a fascinating account about how he was recruited by Ayman Zawahiri at medical school in a room set aside for that purpose. The former colleague of Ivins could be asked: was he taught antimicrobials by Zawahiri’s sister Heba? (It would be apparent whether he was or not from his Cairo Medical transcript). Was he taught pharmacology by Ayman Zawahiri’s father, who was a professor of pharmacology? I’ve emailed the scientist but received no response. Upon receiving any input indicating I’m mistaken on the facts below, I would promptly make correction.

    The question relevant to an Al Qaeda theory has always been: what access to the US Army strain was there because, as CJ Peters and others have always emphasized, these strains move around. “A post doc in somebody’s laboratory could have taken this strain to another lab and it could have been taken overseas and it could have ended up absolutely anywhere. Tiny quantities of anthrax that you couldn’t see, that you couldn’t detect in an inventory can be used to propagate as much as you want. So that’s just not, in fact, very helpful.”

    Although the FBI estimates that, at a minimum, 100 had access to the flask in Bruce Ivins’ lab, Ft. Detrick scientists point out that it used to be stored in a different lab in 1997, bringing the number up to 200-300 people. Other labs outside of Fort Detrick were sent RMR-1029 for their own research, including Dugway in Utah, the Battelle lab in Ohio, and academic institutions like the University of New Mexico.

    The New York Post explains: “In April 2007, the FBI sent Ivins a letter saying he was “not a target of the investigation” and said it was investigating 42 people who had access to RMR-1029 at the Battelle labs in Ohio, [Ivins attorney] Kemp said.” Dean Boyd, a Justice Department spokesman, commented in February 2009: “The recent inventory issues at USAMRIID highlight the difficulties confronted by the FBI in their efforts to trace the evidentiary material back to its source at USAMRIID, and reinforce our conclusion that samples of anthrax could easily have been removed from the facility undetected.”

    The question relevant to an Al Qaeda theory is what access to the US Army strain might have been accomplished by someone with 1) an organization supported by funds diverted from charities backing his play, and 2) a lot of educated and technically-trained Salafists who believe in his Islamist cause. A former KGB spy master says that the Russians had a spy at Ft. Detrick who provided samples of all specimens by diplomatic pouch. But it seems more likely that Al Qaeda got it directly from a western laboratory. For example, Ayman had a trusted scientist attending conferences sponsored by Porton Down scheduling 10-day lab visit as early as 1999. In the US, he had the support of other scientists (such as GMU’s Al-Timimi) who did advanced research alongside researchers working with the Ames strain under a contract with USAMRIID for DARPA.

    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). 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 light of the foregoing discussion, it becomes increasingly clear that cheap, fast and effective methods of killing bacterial spores are needed for decontaminating purposes. The inventive compounds have great potential as environmental decontamination agents and for treatments of casualties in both military and terrorist attacks. The inactivation of a broad range of pathogens … and bacterial spores (Hamouda et al., 1999), combined with low toxicity in experimental animals, make them (i.e., the inventive compounds) particularly well suited for use as general decontamination agents before a specific pathogen is identified.”

    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. Dr. Hamouda graduated Cairo Medical in December 1982. He married in 1986. His wife was on the Cairo University dental faculty for 10 years. Upon coming to the United States in 1994 after finishing his microbiology PhD at Cairo Medical, Dr. Hamouda was a post-doctoral fellow at the Wayne State University School of Medicine in downtown Detroit. His immunology department biography at Wayne indicates that he then came to the University of Michigan and began work on the DARPA-funded work with anthrax bio-defense applications with James R. Baker at their company NanoBio.

    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.” Dr. Baker reports the work NanoBio’s research with virulent Ames was “done at USAMRIID by a microbiologist under Dr. Ivins’ direct supervision and at LSU under the direction of Dr. Hugh Jones. ”

    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.
    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.
    In 1999, [Dr.Kimothy Smith] moved to the Arizona lab, bringing with him the lab’s first samples of anthrax.”

    The patent explained that “The nanoemulsions can be rapidly produced in large quantities and are stable for many months *** Undiluted, they have the texture 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.”

    A March 18, 1998 press release had provided some background to the novel DARPA-funded work. It was titled “Novavax Microbicides Undergoing Testing at University of Michigan Against Biological Warfare Agents; Novavax Technology Being Supplied to U.S. Military Program At University of Michigan as Possible Defense Against Germ Warfare.” The release stated that “The Novavax Biologics Division has designed several potent microbicides and is supplying these materials to the University of Michigan for testing under a subcontract. Various formulations are being tested as topical creams or sprays for nasal and environmental usage. The biocidal agent’s detergent degrades and then explodes the interior of the spore. Funding, the press release explains, was provided by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Department of Defense. In a presentation at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) on September 26, 1998, Michael Hayes, a research associate in the U-Michigan Medical School, presented experimental evidence of BCTP’s ability to destroy anthrax spores both in a culture dish and in mice exposed to anthrax through a skin incision. “In his conference presentation, Hayes described how even low concentrations of BCTP killed more than 90 percent of virulent strains of Bacillus anthracis spores in a culture dish.” Its website explains that the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy is the “[p]remier meeting on infectious diseases and antimicrobial agents, organized by the American Society for Microbiology.”

    A University of Michigan Medical school, Medicine at Michigan, (Vol. 1, No. 1, Spring 1999) explained:
    “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.)

    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 that Ivins did the studies involving Ames for them at USAMRIID. He reports: “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.

    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.”

    An EPA report explains:

    “In December 1999, the U.S. Army tested a broad spectrum nanoemulsion and nine other biodecontamination technologies in Dugway, Utah, against an anthrax surrogate, Bacillus globigii. Nanoemulsion was one of four technologies that proved effective and was the only nontoxic formulation available. Other tests against the vaccine strain of B. anthracis (Sterne strain) were conducted by the John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and by the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research.”

    As Fortune magazine explained in November 2001 about NanoBio: “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.

    It’s naive to think that Al Qaeda could not have obtained Ames just because it tended to be in labs associated with or funded by the US military. US Army Al Qaeda operative Sgt. Ali Mohammed accompanied Zawahiri in his travels in the US. (Ali Mohamed had been a major in the same unit of the Egyptian Army that produced Sadat’s assassin, Khaled Islambouli). Ali Al-Timimi was working in the building housing the Center for Biodefense funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (“DARPA”) and had access to the facilities at both the Center for Biodefense and the adjacent American Type Culture Collection. For example, Michael Ray Stubbs was an HVAC system technician at Lawrence Livermore Lab with a high-level security clearance permitting access; that was where the effort to combat the perceived Bin Laden anthrax threat was launched in 1998. Aafia Siddiqui, who attended classes at a building with the virulent Vollum strain. She later married a 9/11 plotter al-Balucchi, who was in UAE with al-Hawsawi, whose laptop, when seized at the home of a bacteriologist, had anthrax spraydrying documents on it. The reality is that a lab technician, researcher, or other person similarly situated might simply have walked out of some lab that had it.

    Among the documents found in Afghanistan in 2001 were letters and notes written in English to Ayman Zawahiri by a scientist about his attempts to obtain an anthrax sample. One handwritten letter was on the letterhead of the Society for Applied Microbiology, the UK’s oldest microbiological society. The Society for Applied Microbiology of Bedford, UK, recognizes that “the development and exploitation of Applied Microbiology requires the maintenance and improvement of the microbiological resources in the UK, such as culture collections and other specialized facilities.” Thus, Zawahiri’s access to the Ames strain is still yet to be proved, but there was no shortage of possibilities or recruitment attempts by Ayman. One colleague of his estimates that he made 15 recruitment attempts over a many year period. Dr. Keim observes: “Whoever perpetrated the first crime must realize that we have the capability to identify material and to track the material back to its source. Whoever did this is presumably aware of what’s going on, and if the person is a scientist, they can read the study. Hopefully, the person is out there thinking: When am I going to get caught?”

    The FBI has not yet identified the location of the 8 isolates downstram from Ivins’ flask known to be an identical match — or the 100+ people it says had access. For the former US Attorney Jeff Taylor to make it seem, however, that only Ivins had control over anthrax that was genetically identical was specious. The more commonsensical point would be that Ivins would have no reason to use anthrax so directly traceable to him by reason of being a distinctive mix of Ames strains.

    In June 2001, in addition to the conference at Annapolis organized by Bruce Ivins, a conference was held at Aberdeen Proving Ground (Edgewood) for small businesses that might contribute to the biodefense effort. It it showcased APG’s world class facillities that had the full range of relevant equipment, as well as the range of activities and research featured by presenters at such conferences. It was called “Team APG Showcase 2001.″ Edgewood maintains a database of simulant properties. The info and equipment, including spraydrying equipment, is available to participants in the SBIR — promoting small business innovation. Might the anthrax attack have required the learning of a state? Well, to get that, all you needed to do was go to the program that shares such research for the purpose of innovation in the area of biodefense. APG built a Biolevel-3 facility and, according to a Baltimore Sun report, by October 2002 had 19 virulent strains of anthrax, including Ames. There is a 1996 report on a study done at Edgewood involving irradiated virulent Ames provided by John Ezzell that was used in a soil suspension. Another article discusses Delta Ames supplied to Edgewood by the Battelle-managed Dugway, subtilis, and use of sheep blood agar. Did Battelle have virulent Ames across I-95? Edgewood tested nanoemulsion biocidal agents during this time period, according to a national nanobiotechnology initiative report issued June 2002.

    • DXer said

      In today’s news:

      http://www.projo.com/opinion/columnists/content/CT_shell22_11-22-09_1RGGMVN_v23.3f8c6f6.html

      But CIA officials particularly fear bio-weapons because, despite the extensive homeland-security apparatus erected since 9/11, things like anthrax are very difficult to keep out of the hands of terrorists. There are hundreds of biological agents that can be weaponized, either from stuff that’s already in America or that is brought in from abroad — much more easily than nuclear materials.

      http://www.star-telegram.com/242/story/1780641.html

      As disquieting as it is to hear, the materials to construct a bioweapon aren’t difficult to obtain, even in a post-9-11 world. The level of technological expertise needed to manufacture a bioweapon isn’t high, said the World At Risk report. [but compare LIVING WEAPONS, (2009) And the materials needed to make such a weapon aren’t all closely monitored. Many of the pathogens are readily available — in nature, in sick people and in laboratories.

      Editorial, Bioweapons pose as much danger as nuclear arms

      http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/opinions/articles/2009/11/22/20091122sun1-22.html

      Nov. 22, 2009 12:00 AM
      The Arizona Republic
      Considering the horrific threat that biological-terror weapons may pose to this country, the president would do well to begin citing bioweapons as a threat at least equal to that of nukes. Perhaps Existential Threat A and A1. Bioterror does not appear to be on the main presidential menu now.

    • DXer said

      At Cairo Medical School, while a postgraduate, Ayman spoke fervently to members of Egyptian Islamic Group, which operated openly within the school and had great influence among the students. A former student there, Tawfiq Hamid, explains that Jamaah Islamiyah, then approved by both the Egyptian government and the university, was not classified as a terrorist organization until a few years later. The group “built a small prayer room in our medical school that later developed into a mosque with an associated library.” He reports that “The mosque was behind the physiology and biochemistry departments, and members of Jamaah came there daily before science classes to lecture us on Islam. They warned us about the punishments awaiting us after death if we did not follow Islam strictly and were effective in advancing Islamism among many of the students, including me. He continued: “Our fear of being punished after death was exacerbated by our work in the cadaver room, where we dissected dead bodies. Seeing death regularly during anatomy and physiology courses made us feel that the life of this world was meaningless compared to ‘real’ life after death.”

      One of Dr. Hamid’s medical schoolmates and childhood friends was Tarek Hamouda, who Bruce Ivins supplied virulent Ames for a DARPA project on nanoemulsions. Dr. Hamouda was actually in the same class as Dr. Hamid’s older brother, and they graduated in December 1982. But Dr. Hamouda as a child would go with both Hamid brothers to the comic store when he visited Khartoum, where his mother was an accounting professor. The older brother, an MD in St. Louis, will now not talk with his brother given his consulting for government intelligence agencies. The first name “Tawfik” is an alias used for security reasons — but this man has the courage to state the truth and urge nonviolence.When Dr. Hamid called Dr. Hamouda once from abroad to ask him about patents (before 911), Dr. Hamouda said it was all in the marketing.

      Dr. Hamid met Zawahiri, “Dr. Ayman” as he was known, at an afternoon prayer session. He was one of the fiercest speakers he had ever heard. Ayman fervently condemned the West for the freedom of its women. Ayman, Dr. Hamid explains, was exceptionally bright, one of the top postgraduate students in the medical school. When they met him, Zawahiri greeted him warmly through his coke bottle glasses.

      Dr. Hamid explains that one of Ayman’s achievements was to personalize jihad—that is, to have transformed it from a responsibility of the Umma, the Islamic collective, to an individual duty of Muslims. Within several months of meeting Dr. Ayman, he was invited to travel to Afghanistan to join other young Muslims in training for jihad. It was fairly common, he said, to be recruited after the end of Friday prayers. Dr. Hamid explains: “We viewed both the Soviets and the Americans as enemies.” “The Soviets were considered infidels because they did not believe in the existence of God, while the Americans did not follow Islam. Although we planned to fight the Soviets first, our ultimate objective was to destroy the United States—the greatest symbol of the infidel’s freedom. ” Prophet Mohammed served as their role model. The harshest edicts of the koranic verses were to be followed and criticism of those verses was punishable by death. Dr. Hamid explains: “I passed through three psychological stages to reach this level of comfort with death: hatred of non-Muslims or dissenting Muslims, suppression of my conscience, and acceptance of violence in the service of Allah.”

      It’s so easy for pundits to criticize the FBI for a failure to “connect the dots” after the fact, looking through a rear view mirror. Rand counterterrorism expert Brian Michael Jenkins recently said in testimony taken during a Senate hearing on the Ft. Hood shooting incident: “Seen through a rearview mirror, the clues appear tantalizingly obvious—if only we had been able to connect the dots,” he said. “That famous phrase sometimes seduces us into overestimating what is reasonably knowable.” The folks being critical with the benefit of hindsight after-the-fact should someday try to do the FBI’s job and “connect the dots” while moving forward and actively preventively and balancing all the other considerations. They’d find it wasn’t so easy because just as often those same critics are the ones who have drawn misshapen figures while connecting the dots.

  48. DXer said

    Bugmaster,

    On interception generally, the FBI has said that they are confident that Ivins is guilty. It would seem that they right flask 1029 was the original source of the stream of isolates…unless there was a similar large collection that was a mixture of two strains (Dr. Keim had once privately hypothesized that the same mutations would develop; but there is not known to be another similar large supply). Under their announcement, it could only be former associates of his are still of interest to them. For example, one close associate, Dr. JE, told me that he thought the conversation was being monitored. He was the FBI’s anthrax expert. Given he says (contrary to Barry’s premise) that he made aerosolized Ames at Ft. Detrick it is not surprising that his line would be monitored.

    I obtained the unredacted document from a former colleague of his who in the course of his work responsibilities would have come to have it. It had had first been alluded to by the New York Times in September by Scott. Although I can understand that journalists would object, having email intercepted or phone intercepted is not of concern to his former colleagues that I am in contact with. It comes with the territory of working with dangerous pathogens. And it certainly is not of concern to me. Ed is irrelevant and you needn’t bother refer to him.

    It’s time we stop faulting the FBI for doing their job and encourage them to do it — and to correct any mistakes in analysis they’ve made in moving forward.

    On the general question of “eating one’s own,” Dr. Hatfill says he was reasonably the focus of a confidential investigation and that he forged his PhD certificate. As for the leaking, that was an attorney named Dan — who wasn’t part of the FBI. He was the lead criminal prosecutor at the US Attorney’s Office, a transplant in September 2001 from the CIA.

    The fact that the investigation since 2001 had turned inward at least as to the source of the anthrax is the brilliance of the military strategy used by Zawahiri of using the weapon of his enemy — as commanded by the hadith. The argument that a supporter of the Salafist-Jihadist would not take care in targeting ignores the care taken in targeting — the religious sanction on targeting sought in writing by both Ayman Zawahiri and by Hasan, the Ft. Hood shooter.

    • BugMaster said

      “It’s time we stop faulting the FBI for doing their job and encourage them to do it — and to correct any mistakes in analysis they’ve made in moving forward.”

      Agreed. It is clear that they are moving forward. It appears that they just need more time, which is why Representative Holt’s legislation should be shelved for the time being.

      As far as Ivin’s involvement however: He either wasn’t working alone (somewhat likely) or didn’t have any direct involvement in the attacks (more likely).

      • BugMaster said

        The facts indicate that there were three mailings, not two. The material mailed to the AMI building was from a separate batch than that mailed to NYC. Separate batch, mailed on a different date.

        No “9-11, this is next” messages reported in any of the letters that were described by any of the AMI eyewitnesses.

        No b. subtilus recovered from AMI.

        Because the letter(s) went through a forwarding facility, they couldn’t have been mailed at the same time as the NYC mailings.

        The AMI letters caused two cases of inhalation anthrax, and contaminated the entire building (and left a spore trail through the postal facilities that handled the letters, yet the NYC material wasn’t flour-like or powdery, but rather, looked like sand.

        Three mailings indicate a different timeline, and rule out Ivins, at least as being the one who dropped the letters in the mailbox.

        There are more facts here, but Director Mueller has stated that there is ongoing criminal litigation, so I best not disclose them.

        Just looked at today’s posting on your website. I’m going to be real busy for the next few days, but later this week, I’ll see if I can’t at come up with at least a taste of Holiday Crow for you.

        • DXer said

          BugMaster,

          In arguing that there were 3 rather than 2 mailings, have you read the series of CDC articles published in the journal of emerging infectious diseases?

        • DXer said

          Specifically, do you credit the authors’ findings in the following? If you disagree, please specify the basis of your disagreement.

          Investigation of Bioterrorism-Related Anthrax, United States, 2001: Epidemiologic Findings,” Emerging Infectious Diseases, October 2002

          “First Case of Bioterrorism-Related Inhalational Anthrax in the United States,” Palm Beach County, Florida, 2001, Emerging Infectious Diseases, October 2002

          “Inhalational Anthrax Outbreak among Postal Workers, Washington, D.C., 2001,” Emerging Infectious Diseases, October 2002

          “Bacillus anthracis Aerosolization Associated with a Contaminated Mail Sorting Machine,” Emerging Infectious Diseases, October 2002

          “Epidemiologic Investigations of Bioterrorism-Related Anthrax, New Jersey, 2001,” Emerging Infectious Diseases, October 2002

          “Surveillance for Anthrax Cases Associated with Contaminated Letters, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, 2001,” Emerging Infectious Diseases, October 2002

        • DXer said

          The key expert evidence on this issue of the Jennifer Lopez letter thus far is the New England Journal of Medicine in which Stevens’ doctor concludes that the letter, opened 9/19 and resulting in symptoms appearing 9/30, evidenced an incubation period consistent with inhalational anthrax. (He refers to the 1979 accidental release in Russia). A recent CDC report discusses a second letter of possible interest thought to have been opened on September 25 by a different woman who was exposed. The jury will have to remain out unless and until there is more information on the letter(s) that transmitted the anthrax to AMI. The FBI went back to AMI in August 2002A February 2003 article in Esquire says the “cops and the doctors” have concluded that there were two letters, following two different paths, with one having been mailed to an old address of the National Enquirer before being forwarded. If there were two different letters, were they to two different AMI publications? That would make sense — with one directed to the Sun and one directed to the National Enquirer.

          Source: Bush, Larry M. et al., “Index Case of Fatal Inhalational Anthrax Due to Bioterrorism in the United States,” New EnglandJournal of Medicine, 345:1607-1610, November 29, 2001

        • DXer said

          The letter sent to AMI in Florida sought to dissuade Jennifer Lopez from a planned marriage. A wedding or marriage is well-known Al Qaeda code for an attack. The sender said how much he loved her and asked her to marry him. Stevens noted at the time it was especially off the wall given that the Sun did not deal with celebrities, which was the subject of the sister-paper Globe. Stevens’ fellow photo editor Roz Suss was looking over his shoulder: “With that Bob says to me,” Hey, I think there’s something gold in here. It looks like a Jewish star sticking out of the powder.” I walked up behind him and reached over his shoulder. I pulled this little star out of what looked like a mound of powder in this letter. I remember it as a fine white powder.” “It looked like something from a Cracker Jacks box,” she says. She picked it out of the powder and tossed it in her wastebasket. Stevens’ colleague Bobby Bender has a different recollection. He says he opened a letter to Jennifer Lopez, recalls handling a large envelope to Jennifer Lopez, care of the Sun. In it was a cigar tube containing a cigar, a small Star of David charm, and something that seemed like soap powder. Hambali and two al-Qaeda minions considered attacking an Israeli restaurant, with a Star of David above it, in the Khao San Rd. backpacker area in Bangkok.

          A December 1998 Presidential Daily Brief to President Clinton explained: “An alleged Bin Ladin supporter late last month remarked to his mother that he planned to work in ‘commerce’ from abroad and said his impending ‘marriage,’ which would take place soon, would be a ’surprise.’” The December 1998 PDB continued: “‘Commerce’ and ‘marriage’ often are code words for attacks.” Of course, sometimes, a young man just wants to tell his mom he’s got a job or warn her that she may not approve of the woman he intends to marry. Similarly, sometimes folks who write to tabloids are merely commenting on JLo’s impending nuptials.

          Jennifer Lopez’s fame had withstood a number of under performing movies, to include the movie “The Cell” in the year 2000. In the movie, following a trail of bodies, an FBI agent tracks down and captures a disturbed serial killer. Before the killer can reveal the whereabouts of his next victim (a woman trapped in a cell on the verge of drowning), he falls into a coma. Enter beautiful FBI psychologist Lopez, who uses a radical link to the killer’s brain that could destroy her own sanity. “Her mission: Find the cell’s location before time runs out, and avoid getting trapped inside the killer’s head.” According to an early National Enquirer, Stevens held it up to his face and then put it down on the keyboard (where traces of anthrax were found). The publisher’s wife was the real estate broker who rented to two of the hijackers.

          The heaviest concentration was in the mailroom on the first floor, with positive findings in many cubicles throughout the first floor. The second floor had positive traces mainly in the hallways. The third floor had the fewest positive traces. The FBI has a theory that the spores were distributed on copy paper, perhaps having fallen onto an open ream of paper in the mailroom where it was stored. Perhaps instead spores could have been spread by a vacuum cleaner and collected at copier machines because of the electrostatic charge and the fans on the machines. Mrs. Stevens recently explained: “They get strange letters sometimes, and the consensus seems to be that if Robert wasn’t wearing his glasses and if it was something funny, he would hold the letters up to his face. They think perhaps that’s how he got it. Just bad luck.”

          What does the J.Lo letter tell us about the sender, or senders? J.Lo is what they used to call a “sex bomb” — and the biggest one at the time. She had international fame. The vehicle had a “weird” love letter, a Star of David, maybe a cigar. Who had “issues” and weird obsessions with women, sex (with a cigar being a crude symbol) and Jewish symbolism? Atta, for example, had strict instructions in his will about what women would be allowed to do at his funeral. Follow the anomalies.

          Two of the hijackers had subscriptions to AMI publications, as did Al Qaeda operative al-Marabh. Boston cab driver Al-Marabh had been in contact with the hijackers, to include Alghamdi who rented an apartment from the wife of the AMI publisher. Atta was seen at the apartment of Al-Marabh and his uncle (the co-founder with Jaballah of an islamic school in Toronto in the Spring of 2001. After coming to Canada in 1996, Jaballah spoke with Ayman regularly on Ayman’s satellite phone.

        • BugMaster said

          I should have stated, “No genetically identical b. subtilus recovered from the AMI building.”

          As far as “twisting facts”, one only needs to refer to your latest postings on your website for numerous examples (you do make a few good points as well, however).

          I’ll try to find some time later this week and explain, for now, I have to meet a deadline.

        • BugMaster said

          Ed:

          They should have the original swabs (evidence that should have been retained).

          I don’t watch as much TV as you and others, and in general, don’t believe in conspiracys (“damage control” efforts that went too far, yes).

          Nor am I a “True Believer”.

        • DXer said

          Do you have any support to cite, Ed, for your claim that the FBI did not test for subtilis at AMI? Or are you just making it up?

        • DXer said

          In August 2002 CNN reported that they were returning to AMI to try to chemically characterize large quantities of spores. Ed’s claim that they did not test for subtilis is unsupported by anything he has cited and has no factual basis.

          http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0208/26/bn.01.html

        • DXer said

          BugMaster,

          Returning to the peer-reviewed epidemiological journal articles about the AMI mailing I cited, have you read them? Is there anything in them that you disagree with or do you credit the CDC and Dr. Bush’s findings and account?

        • BugMaster said

          Could you give me a brief summary of what you conclude from them and why?

          Unfortunately, these days, I don’t have ready access to a decent biomedical library.

          Thanks.

      • DXer said

        For example, consider the FBI’s reliance on the fact that he mentioned in an email that Al Qaeda had issued a fatwa.

        One affidavit reads “Ivins sent an email to a friend [redacted] a few days before the anthrax attacks warning [redacted] that “Bin Laden terrorists for sure have anthrax and sarin gas”… Actually, the email was September 26, 2001 a full week after the first anthrax attack. The FBI omitted Ivins’ phrase “I just heard tonight…” and fails disclose the media accounts appearing that day to include evening broadcast reports repeating Gertz’ column making that point in the Washington Times.

        Bill Gertz had published a September 26 column that morning reporting that Al Qaeda attempting to acquire sarin and anthrax.

        “Intelligence officials say classified analysis of the types of chemicals and toxins sought by al Qaeda indicate the group probably is trying to produce the nerve agent Sarin, or biological weapons made up of anthrax spores.”

        Just before the 1998 embassy bombings, Zawahiri and his Vanguards of Conquest had said that the rendering of the senior EIJ leaders would be answered in “language you can understand.” Before the military tribunal, in March 2007, KSM talked of the language of war — deaths. “Same language you use, I use. That is why the language of any war in the world is killing.” Here, the lethal letters were plainly worded.

        The letter postmarked September 18, 2001 read:
        “09-11-01
        THIS IS NEXT
        TAKE PENACILIN NOW
        DEATH TO AMERICA
        DEATH TO ISRAEL
        ALLAH IS GREAT.”

        From the streets of Cairo to Tehran to Jakarta, on historic anniversaries (such as Jerusalem Day in Iran, the day the Israeli state was created) protesters have gathered on the streets and shouted “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!” For the talking heads to profile it as a non-Islamist awkwardly trying to sound muslim is odd. It is in fact the common protest slogan.

        What surer way to avoid giving away clues than to use common short phrases or short sentences using common words. Egyptians such as Islamic Group leader and soft-spoken accountant, Taha — and Egyptian Islamic Jihad #2 Shehata and Shawqi Islambuli, brother of Sadat’s assassin — may very well have watched these protesters shouting these very chants while living in Iran after 9/11.

        Among the piles of papers of documents relating to anthrax in a house associated with a Pakistan charity was a drawing of a jet shooting down a balloon. (There were 10 copies each as if a seminar or brainstorming session was being conducted). The words “YOU ARE DEAD, BANG.” Thus, although some pundits argued that “YOU DIE NOW” in the anthrax letters does not sound like a militant islamist, the physical evidence relating to Al Qaeda’s anthrax planning suggests otherwise. Indeed, “WE HAVE THIS ANTHRAX” was starkly threatening, just like Atta’s “We have some planes” to the passengers of AA Flight 11 over the intercom.

    • BugMaster said

      “I obtained the unredacted document from a former colleague of his who in the course of his work responsibilities would have come to have it.”

      There must be some reason this information was leaked through you.

      • DXer said

        The reason it was given to me was that I asked. I explained that I needed the document to know how the Ames from the flask was distributed.

        • BugMaster said

          Yes, but why would he have made a copy and removed it from Fort Detrick?

        • DXer said

          To take another example, US Attorney Taylor mistakenly claimed that Ivins’ Post Office was the only place they sold the prestamped envelope — without noting, for example, that it was sold throughout Virginia. So preserving documentary evidence that establishes the truth is a good thing. It avoids mistakes such as his mistaken understanding that only Ivins had control of it and that it was stored in Building 1425.

          To take another example, a former colleague mistakenly claimed that Ivins moved to Gaithersburg after she did, apparently stalking her (the AP headline read). When in fact the documentary evidence — preserved thankfully — showed he had moved there first and then moved out.

          The documentary evidence they are wrongfully withholding in violation of FOIA would establish where he was, what he said, etc in 2001.

        • BugMaster said

          “The documentary evidence they are wrongfully withholding in violation of FOIA would establish where he was, what he said, etc in 2001.”

          I don’t think anything is being wrongfully withheld here. Remember, criminal litigation is proceeding.

          The FBI has reasons for having this information withheld for the time being.

          It will be released when appropriate.

        • DXer said

          The more likely scenario is that he was given a copy by someone at USAMRIID in August 2008 and it just hadn’t yet been formally processed through FOIA. It was not classified. The individual was not subject to a gag order.

  49. BugMaster said

    I find it most amusing that Ed characterized us as the “lunatic fringe” consisting of “Conspiracy Theorists” and “True Believers”.

    Ed, your belief that a child wrote the letters definately puts you in the “True Believer” catagory and therefore commits you to the asylum as well.

    BTW: Why would a third party be interested in monitoring private online conversations between two lunatics?

    • BugMaster said

      Ed’s holiday nightmare:

      You’re sitting down all ready to enjoy a delicious holiday dinner. You serve yourself a generous helping of drumstick (wait a minute! This is ED’S holiday nightmare!)

      a generous helping of breast meat, you take a big bite, and there you are.

      Eating Crow.

    • DXer said

      Ed doesn’t make corrections. Everyone except him understood that there were 8 isolates known to be identical — and yet no matter how many times BugMaster tried to explain it to him over the course of 6 months, he ignored them and kept confusing the issue by regularly arguing that there was 1 — not 8 — isolate. That it was known to have come directly from Ivins’ flask That’s 6 months of failing to correct himself on the key fact even after everyone explained it to him in posts and in news articles.

      He did the same thing for many years in arguing that silica was not commonly used post-production to aid dispersability. He argued that for years and was quite strident and personal in his posts — even though Anonymous Scientist amply supported the point in numerous articles and PhD thesis and other publications.

      Ed does not use the scientific method. He does not do science. And he does not understand even basic things such as the above two points when the literature is pointed out to him.

  50. DXer said

    Hasan had intensified contact with cleric
    FBI MONITORED E-MAIL EXCHANGES
    Fort Hood suspect raised prospect of financial transfers

    By Carrie Johnson, Spencer S. Hsu and Ellen Nakashima
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Saturday, November 21, 2009

    “In the months before the deadly shootings at Fort Hood, Army Maj. Nidal M. Hasan intensified his communications with a radical Yemeni American cleric and began to discuss surreptitious financial transfers and other steps that could translate his thoughts into action, according to two sources briefed on a collection of secret e-mails between the two.

    The e-mails were obtained by an FBI-led task force in San Diego between late last year and June but were not forwarded to the military, according to government and congressional sources. Some were sent to the FBI’s Washington field office, triggering an assessment into whether they raised national security concerns, but those intercepted later were not, the sources said.

    Hasan’s contacts with extremist imam Anwar al-Aulaqi began as religious queries but took on a more specific and concrete tone before he moved to Texas, where he allegedly unleashed the Nov. 5 attack that killed 13 people and wounded nearly three dozen, said the sources who were briefed on the e-mails, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the case is sensitive and unfolding. One of those sources said the two discussed in “cryptic and coded exchanges” the transfer of money overseas in ways that would not attract law enforcement attention.”

    “He [Hasan] clearly became more radicalized toward the end, and was having discussions related to the transfer of money and finances . . .,” said the source, who spoke at length in part because he was concerned the public accounting of the events has been incomplete. “It became very clear toward the end of those e-mails he was interested in taking action.”

    “In the months before the shootings, the two discussed how Hasan could make several transactions of less than $10,000, a threshold for reporting to U.S. authorities, according to the source who spoke extensively. Hasan did not explicitly vow to fund terrorist activities or evade tax and reporting laws for contributions, the source said.

    “I believe they were interested in the money for operational-type aspects, and knowing that he had funds and wouldn’t be around to use them, they were very eager to get those funds,” he said.”

    This doesn’t really make any sense given the Dr. Hasan would have known that all communications to the 911 imam were being intercepted. Is it correct that they were corresponding through the main email on Anwar’s website? Certainly Aulaqi, who earlier in the year had been released from 18 months in prison and had been repeatedly interrogated by the FBI (to include on anthrax), knew that he was under surveillance. Earlier in the year he had said he wasn’t going to travel given charges the FBI might have against him.

    • anonymous scientist said

      http://www.usasurvival.org/ck100702.shtml

      Q: Ironically, you should be part of the investigation to find out the source of the anthrax and instead you’re the target.
      A: Hatfill: What happened – well, the country’s top active expert in dried biological warfare agents – Bill Patrick – who had been polygraphed by the FBI and brought into their inner circle-they had the bloodhounds out sniffing him the other day. So I don’t know. I didn’t know it could be like this in the United States. We’ve gone nuts. We eat our own here.

  51. DXer said

    In new Ivins emails uploaded, in trying to trace down the origin of Vollum 1B Bioport was using, Dr. Ivins tracked down someone who had retired. His old notebooks were sought to determine whether they had details of the origin of the strain. Ken Alibek in 2006 at a talk in Princeton suggested that he thought perhaps the processor knew an old army processing trick. Separately, previously he had said use of sol gel as a drying agent might be the explanation. Did Bruce Ivins learn a trick or two from notebooks he reviewed in Summmer 2000?

  52. DXer said

    Gregory Koblentz, in his discussion of Amerithrax in his new book “Living Weapons,” cites at p. 212 the FBI’s Doug Beecher’s article (at p. 5309) in warning of the dangers of the lyophilization of infectious diseases. Dr. Beecher sent me a copy of his article at the time but I did not think to ask him about this question of containment and decontamination that has been raised by Dr. Ivins’ colleagues.

    • DXer said

      At p. 221, Gregory Koblentz in his new book Living Weapons adds a detail about Abdur Rauf (Rauf Ahmad). Citing the URL of the agency’s webpage, he writes:

      “Rauf worked at the Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research in Lahore, which houses a center for food microbiology and biotechnology that is equipped with laboratory equipment, fermenters, centrifuges, freeze-drying equipment, and a culture collection including a hundred strains of different bacteria.”

      Given how approachable Rauf is, I’m surprised that someone in the mainstream media has not snagged an interview. He was released from detention over 5 years ago.

  53. DXer said

    AP reports that “Aafia Siddiqui interrupted lawyers to announce in federal court in Manhattan on Thursday that she did not plan to participate in her trial. Siddiqui faces charges after U.S. authorities said she grabbed a gun and fired it at a police station in Afghanistan in July 2008. She was wounded in the struggle with American soldiers.”

    Al-Hawsawi, who had the anthrax spraydrying documents on his laptop, was working with Al-Baluchi to get the 911 hijackers into the country. Al-Baluchi married Aafia Siddiqui who told her defense psychiatrist that she had been tasked to study germ weapons under a fatwa. In an earlier prosecution, 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. She had been tasked by “Abu Lubaba” to study germ warfare.

    In the ongoing prosecution, Attorney Swift argued that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear criminal charges relating to a crime (as distinguished from terrorism) that occurred in Pakistan. The federal court judge rejected the argument, citing precedent. The government has agreed to limit evidence in the prosecution to what occurred in the room.

    Aafia says she wants to contact the FBI directly, refuses to participate in the trial, and knows how to achieve peace.

    Siddiqui studied at MIT and Brandeis University. Aafia Siddiqui is associated with Ann Arbor addresses near the mosque where her brother and sister-in-law, an MD, lived.

  54. DXer said

    http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/fort_hood_shootings/70593387.html

    Frances Townsend, former homeland security adviser at the White House under President George W. Bush, told the Senate panel that the missteps violated the cardinal rule of information sharing: If you “see it, say it.”

    “Certainly if (information) passes you, just because it’s not in your jurisdiction, your particular agency doesn’t relieve you of the fundamental law-enforcement obligation to follow it up,” Townsend said.

    Collins said the absence of information sharing recalled “the siloed information” that impeded the Bush administration’s ability to anticipate the 9-11 attacks.

    On Amerithrax, it seems fine to have compartmentalized the science squad. Even highly recommended. But with the benefit of hindsight, was it wise for Director Mueller to stovepipe the two Amerithrax investigative (non-science) squads over Special Agent Lambert’s formal objection? In a memo, Agent Lambert, the lead investigator, argued it would prevent investigators from “connecting the dots.” Wouldn’t an effective leak inquiry (which he said would be bad for morale) have served to avoid leaks without causing the problem of what Senator Collins calls “siloed information”? Wasn’t it worse for morale (Director Mueller’s reason for not polygraphing*) to have investigators frustrated by the hyped sensational Hatfill leaks? The leaks continued in 2003 only because they had not been stopped in 2002. Did the turnover exacerbate the lack of cross-fertilization — by having new investigators not have the accumulated investigative knowledge?

    *Not polygraphing over the leaks might also be justified on the grounds that investigators would not be impressed with its reliability.

  55. DXer said

    Five terrorism experts testified at the Senate hearing. Focus on how individuals in the US may be come “self-radicalized” should not be at the exclusion of a study of Zawahiri’s formal plans to recruit spies.

    Mark A. Gabriel, PhD, once taught at Al-Azhar in Egypt. He wrote a very lucid book Journey Into The Mind Of An Islamist Terrorist. He discusses a booklet Zawahiri wrote titled COVERT OPERATIONS which is available online in Arabic. If you want to know how Zawahiri views deceit on such issues as battle plans and spying, read his own words online. Gabriel explains:

    “Ayman al-Zawahiri leads a busy terrorist organization, and he must solve practical problems. For example, he may want some Al-Qaeda members to blend in and live in the United States. If these men wore full beards and went to ultraconservative mosques to pray, they they would arouse suspicion and get put on a watch list. Instead, al-Zawahiri would want these operatives to go undercover and blend into society. However, these devout Muslims will not go undercover unless they believe they have permission to do so from the teachings of Islam. As a result, al-Zawahiri wrote a booklet titled COVERT OPERATIONS, which goes deep into Islamic teaching and history to describe how deceit can be a tool in Muslim life.”

    The entire book by al-Zawahiri is posted in the Arabic language website for al-Tawheed Jihad (The Pulpit of Monotheism and Jihad). Zawahiri concluded that “hiding one’s faith and being secretive was allowed especially in time of fear from prosecution of the infidels.” Indeed, his student group in Cairo in the 1970s was known as the “shaven beards.” The founder of one of the cells merged with Ayman’s to form the Egyptian Islamic Jihad then wrote for Al-Timimi’s charity IANA.

    Al-Zawahiri discussed two specific ways Muhammad used deceit in battle: (1) keeping battle plans secret, and (2) spying. The author writes: “Al-Zawahiri specifically gave radicals permission not to pray in the mosque or attend Friday sermons if it would compromise their position.” He noted that Al-Zawahiri sealed his argument with a very important quote from Ibn Taymiyyah (who was quoted by Al-Timimi upon his his indictment). Ever the practical man, Muhammad approved lying in three circumstances (1) during war, (2) to reconcile between two feuding parties, and (3) to a spouse in order to please her.

  56. DXer said

    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/nation/stories/DN-forthood_20pro.ART.State.Edition2.4b53ca0.html

    Information sharing?

    Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, announced an investigation focusing on the Army. The Michigan Democrat cited concern that an FBI-run terrorism task force may not have shared pre-massacre intelligence about Hasan with the Army.

    The task force knew last December that Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, sent 16 e-mails to a radical Muslim cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki. American authorities previously investigated al-Awlaki’s ties to the 9/11 hijackers, who worshiped at his mosque in Virginia. Later, the U.S.-born imam moved to his parents’ native Yemen, where he has praised terrorist groups and supported violence against the West.

    The FBI has said a task force analyst decided Hasan’s e-mails were consistent with his research on Muslim U.S. soldiers’ feelings about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

    ABC News reported late Thursday that Nisan told al-Awlaki, “I can’t wait to join you” in the afterlife, according to an American official with access to e-mails exchanged between Hasan and the cleric between December 2008 and June 2009.

    “It sounds like code words,” said Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer, a military analyst at the Center for Advanced Defense Studies. “That he’s actually either offering himself up or that he’s already crossed that line in his own mind.”

    Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said Thursday that the e-mails, combined with Hasan’s outspoken opposition to the war while working at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, should have raised “warning signs and red flags galore.”

    Collins, the top Republican on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said the situation reminded her of the compartmentalized “information that was available throughout the federal government, in different agencies, prior to the attacks on our country on 9/11.”

    “There might have been some sort of self-censoring, if you will, a reluctance for them to pursue a senior, uniformed military member, a doctor who was Muslim,” said Frances Townsend, former homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush.

    Juan Zarate, a former deputy national security adviser for counterterrorism under Bush, disagreed. He said Hasan’s profession and research interests may indeed have made his contact with al-Awlaki appear to be legitimate.

    Comment:

    The Senate and Pentagon inquiries appear truncated so as to only address US Army personnel — rather than infiltration of US Army facilities. Thus, a private contractor or visitor to facilities is not within the scope of the inquiry. That is an unwise approach. Contractors and outsiders are commonplace. Consider the anthrax conference that the US Army scientist Bruce Ivins was in charge of planning for June 2001 in Annapolis. His emails (the website was last updated November 16, 2009) show that his planning of the conference began in September 1998, upon his return from a conference in UK sponsored by Porton Down. (In an email, he noted the security issue of determining who could attend. In 1998, there had been many thorny problems relating to which Russians could attend.) Who was responsible for security at ensuring that Salafist-Jihadi supporters did not attend? Bruce Ivins — the fellow choosing the hotel and the wine that would be served at the reception? Who in the US Army structure could he rely upon in vetting attendees? Had Ivins or the US Army been apprised by MI5 that they had intercepted items from Rauf Ahmad’s luggage upon leaving one of the dangerous pathogens conferences he attended?

    Among the supporters of these militant islamists were people like US scientist Ali Al-Timimi and Pakistan scientist Rauf Ahmad who blended into society and were available to act when another part of the network requested it. Two letters — one typed and an earlier handwritten one — written by a scientist named Rauf Ahmad detailed his efforts to obtain a pathogenic strain of anthrax. He attended conferences on anthrax and dangerous pathogens such as one in September 2000 at the University of Plymouth co-sponsored by DERA, the UK Defense Evaluation and Research Agency. In October 2009, historian Christopher Andrew published an official history of MI5 in which he reported that MI5 had equipment and money in Rauf Ahmad’s luggage as he left the September 2000 conference — which correspondence shows he had attended looking to buy samples and information on processing tricks.

    A handwritten letter from 1999 is written on letterhead of the oldest microbiology society in Great Britain. The 1999 documents seized in Afghanistan by US forces by Rauf describe the author’s visit to the special confidential room at the BL-3 facility where 1000s of pathogenic cultures were kept; his consultation with other scientists on some of technical problems associated with weaponizing anthrax; the bioreactor and laminar flows to be used in Al Qaeda’s anthrax lab; a conference he attended on dangerous pathogens cosponsored by UK’s Porton Down and Society for Applied Microbiology, and the need for vaccination and containment. Rauf had arranged to take a lengthy post-doc leave from his employer and was grousing that what the employer would be paying during that 12-month period was inadequate. Malaysian Yazid Sufaat, who told his wife he was working for a Taliban medical brigade, got the job instead of Rauf. One typed memo reporting on a lab visit, which included tour of a BioLevel 3 facility, where there were 1000s of pathogenic samples. The memo mentioned the pending paperwork relating to export of the pathogens. The documents were provided to me by the Defense Intelligence Agency (”DIA”) under the Freedom of Information Act. I also have uploaded a copy of earlier correspondence between Rauf Ahmad and Dr. Zawahiri from before the lab visit described in the typed memo. The handwritten letter was reporting on a different, earlier visit where the anthrax had been nonpathogenic. Finally, on the same linked page, there are handwritten notes about the plan to use non-governmental-organizations (NGOs), technical institutes and medical labs as cover for aspects of the work, and training requirements for the various personnel at the lab in Afghanistan. Ayman codenamed his project to weaponize anthrax Zabadi or “Curdled Milk.”

    Taliban supporter Al-Timimi was a graduate student in the same building where famed Russian bioweapon Ken Alibek and former USAMRIID head Charles Bailey worked at George Mason University. The three worked at the secure facility at Discovery Hall at the Prince William 2 campus. Dr. Alibek and Dr. Bailey headed a biodefense program funded by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (”DARPA”). Al-Timimi had a top security clearance and had worked for SRA International doing mathematical support work for the Navy. In 2000 and 2001, Timimi was a graduate student in computational sciences. His field was bioinformatics. Al-Timimi tended to travel to give speeches on interpretation of the koran during semester breaks. Al-Timimi spoke in very moderate, measured tones in the UK, Canada, and Australia — once even in China. He spoke against feminism, about the unfavorable treatment of islam in the secular media, about signs of the coming day of judgment, the correct interpretation of the koran and hadiths, and the destruction of the Buddha statutes by the Taliban. Locally, he spoke regularly at the Falls Church center that also housed offices of the charity, the Muslim World League. Ali’s colleague from the small DC-based Society for Adherence to the Sunnah, Idris Palmer, served as Vice-President. Al-Timimi’s speeches are widely distributed on the internet and tend to focus on religious rather than political issues.

    A district court judge would say that Al-Timimi’s later speeches tended to favor violent jihad. After 9/11, they reportedly were removed from the website of the Center he had founded. The night of 9/11, he got in a heated debate with some colleagues. He said while islamically impermissible, the targeting of civilians was not impermissible where they were used as a shield. Others thought that it was reckless to say that so soon after the 9/11 attack when emotions were so inflamed.

    Years earlier, the blind sheik’s son, Mohammed Abdel-Rahman was scheduled to come from Afghanistan to speak at the IANA 1993 conference alongside Ali Al-Timimi and former EIJ member Gamal Sultan. Al-Timimi was scheduled to speak alongside the blind sheik’s son again in 1996, the year Bin Laden issued his Declaration of War against the United States. In July and August 2001, Ali was scheduled to speak in Toronto and London alongside “911 imam” Anwar Awlaki and unindicted WTC 1993 “unindicted co-conspirator” Bilal Philips. Aulaqi visited him from Yemen in 2002 to further discuss the recruitment of US citizens to the jihad against the United States. Al-Timimi was not enlisted in the US Army and thus apparently would have fallen under the radar of the US Army’s current review. Limiting the review to US Army personnel rather than more broadly to the question of infiltration of US Army facilities is unsound.

    • DXer said

      When the time comes for a Congressional or Pentagon probe of Amerithrax, one interesting witness to call would be the Special Agents who studied Bruce Ivins infatuation with sorority coeds and rituals involving blindfolded women. They might be asked: in addition to reading Wikipedia postings about sororities, did you make the time to read the writings of Al Qaeda’s spymaster about Amerithrax and about infiltrating US intelligence and US biodefense?
      As explained by author Peter Lance in Triple Cross, after the 1998 embassy bombings, a ten-member federal team secretly entered the California residence of Ali Mohamed, Zawahiri’s former head of intelligence.’ They copied Mohamed’s hard drives and removed a series of CD-ROM and floppy disks. A memo titled “Cocktail” appeared to be a draft manual on sleeper cell structure.
      The file on cell structure read in part:
      “Every member knows how to do everything.
      Every member has a legal job as a cover (Student, worker, trade).
      Safety is the main concern, so the contingency plan is very important. Before working on the target you have (to) specify a rally point to meet in case of separation for any reason.
      The communications between the different groups are conducted through the dead drop only.
      Each group does not know anything about the other group, even Majmouat (the word means “the collected” or “the collection”). Al-qeyada does not know how many group(s) under its leadership. Only the group know each other because the members of one group only working with each other.”
      Mohammad Hasan Khalil al-Hakim took on Ali Mohammed’s role. His alias is easier to remember — Abu Jihad al-Masri. Al Masri means the Egyptian. Also known as Al-Hukaymah, he was the author of the description of the Amerithrax investigation in 2002. Born in 1961, Abu Jihad al-Masri joined the Egyptian Islamic Group in 1979. He was arrested in 1981 after Sadat’s assassination. He once was arrested alongside the blind sheik Abdel-Rahman. Hukaymah is reportedly connected to the blind sheikh’s successor Taha, the Islamic Group head who was in close touch in 1999 and 2000 with the NY-based US postal employee Sattar, the blind sheik’s “surrogate.”. Al-Hukaymah dedicated the treatise “[t]o the pious and the hidden who are not known when they come and who are not missed when they disappear — To those whom their God will answer when they pray to Him. To all the eyes that are vigilant late at night to bring victory to this religion.”
      The introduction of the 152-page book starts:
      “The Manhattan raid led to a radical change in the perception of American Security. After the northern half of the continent had been isolated from the rest of the world and its threats by two oceans, it now came from inside. The surprise hit the symbols of American power in its economic and security dimensions.”
      Published at al-Maqreze Center for Historical Studies website (www.almaqreze.com) by the one-time EIJ shura member al-Sibai, the section on the anthrax investigation appears to have been written in 2002.
      “The Anthrax Scandal:
      Over many months, there was an excited search for the person responsible for the worst biological terror attack on American soil. Six letters sent by mail to Leahy, Daschle, Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather, The New York Post and he offices of the National Enquirer in Florida, led to the sickening of 18 people and five deaths. The crime was especially scary because anthrax, which is a complex powder that scatters in the atmosphere, had spilled from the envelopes and spread through parts of the mail system and contaminated a Senate building. One year later, the main post office in Washington had not yet opened.
      The FBI is under great pressure to close this case, and the anthrax criminal is supposed to be alive and free. Two members of the Senate have asked to receive regular reports about this investigation from the FBI, and they have become increasingly impatient.”
      After a lengthy discussion of the focus on Hatfill, the author explains,
      “Until the investigators find material evidence that connects a person to the crime, they are forced to speculate about the motives and methods of the criminal. They are still casting a wide net. Law enforcement sources say they have issued hundreds of subpoenas and they are analyzing thousands of documents in search of new evidence.
      The evidence may be small and unseen – sweat or an odor on an envelope – but that is all that they need in order to attract the dogs.”
      Al-Hukaymah pointed to the Aldrich Ames incident and the FBI’s inability to find the perpetrator of the anthrax mailings as evidence that U.S intelligence can be defeated. Aldrich Ames, head of counterintelligence relating to the Russians, had a different rolex for different days of the week. He drove a new jaguar to work. Aldrich told the CIA that his money came from his wife’s foreign inheritance, and the CIA never required meaningful corroboration. So we should not be that surprised when someone known, to borrow Dr. Alibek’s description to me, as an “Islamic hardliner,” is given access to Center for Biodefense and ATCC facilities, to include a program funded by DARPA’s $13 million during the relevant period. And then when the Pentagon and Senate go to be probe the danger of infiltration of US Army, they truncate the inquiry so as to not address contractors and nonmilitary personnel at Army-funded facilities. Perhaps the focus should not be on more money for biodefense but on doing a better job at maintaining security. Perhaps focus should be on avoiding proliferation of know-how.
      Al-Hukaymah reportedly was Ayman’s connection to Mamdouh Ismail, an Egyptian defense attorney and a former member of “the Jihad group” who since the 1980’s has represented various Egyptians accused of terrorism offenses in Egypt. Mamdouh Ismail represented al-Nashar, the biochemist who was an expert on polymerization and had a key to the 7/7 bomber’s flat. Ismail was one of several hundred rounded up following the assassination of Anwar al-Sadat in 1981. He served three years. Ismail was arrested on March 29, 2007. In 1999, Ismail was refused permission to establish an Islamist political party with the help of fellow lawyer attorney al-Zayyat. After the blind sheik said in March 1999 that an attempt through a political party should not be attempted, Al-Zayat and Mamdouh Ismail deferred and Attorney Ismail has publicly objected to a reconciliation between Cairo and Egyptian Islamic Jihad. The two had worked with EIJ shura member al-Sibai before he took refuge in the UK. Mamdouh Ismail now is accused of complicity in an “Egyptian project” of al-Qaeda, taking his orders from Ayman al-Zawahiri via al-Qaeda propaganda chief al-Hukaymah and the UK-based EIJ publicist Hani al-Sibai. Both al-Hukaymah and Al-Sibai deny the charge. Al Sibai considers himself historian of the movement and published his diaries in Al Hayat in 2004. He is at al-Maqreze Center for Historical Studies website that published the treatise that included the discussion of Amerithrax.
      Al-Hukaymah was apparently killed in a missile strike in late October 2008. Cairo-based IANA writer Kamal Habib says that the man was a member of Egyptian Islamic Jihad that had assassinated Sadat but was part of a second generation, not part of the first generation responsible for the assassination. Abu Jihad al-Masri was said by US authorities to operate in Iran as the head of media and propaganda for al-Qaeda, and “may also be the Chief of External Operations for al Qaeda”.
      Al-Hukaymah appeared in an August 2006 as-Sahab (al-Qaeda) video to announce the merger of al-Qaeda with part of the Egyptian Islamic Group. Ayman al-Zawahiri introduces him. The video claims that al-Hukaymah joined al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya in 1979 and was arrested in connection with the assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Al Sadat in 1981, and subsequently rearrested several times in various countries. Zawahiri claims in that video that Muhammad al-Islambouli (brother of assassin Khalid al-Islambouli) had joined al-Qaeda with al-Hukaymah.
      Those blindfolded sorority co-eds are fun to read about but investigators should not be reading such material without also reading about Zawahiri’s plans to infiltrate the US Army and US biodefense.

  57. DXer said

    We’ve heard BugMaster’s conclusion that Salafist-Jihadi supporters were not responsible although she has never stated any supporting reasons for the conclusion.

    Here are reasons supporting the contrary view. Dr. Zawahiri accomplished the attack on the US “structure” that the documents show he intended. With the planes, Al Qaeda struck the US trade dominance (World Trade Center) and its military might (Pentagon). With the anthrax, some US-based supporter(s) of the goals of Zawahiri rounded out the field that they imagine provides support to Israel — the legislative branch and media. Analogous letter bombs were sent in connection with the earlier attack on the World Trade Center and the imprisonment of the Blind Sheikh and militant islamists responsible for that attack and a related plot. Thus, relying on the postal service to send its deadly missives in connection with an earlier attack of the World Trade Center is not only Al Qaeda’s modus operandi, it is its signature.

    Everyone approaches a problem from their world view and what they know. A hammer tends to find a nail. Biological weapons control activists see a US biodefense insider. Anti-semites saw Zionist perpetrators. The CIA’s Zawahiri Task Force saw a US-based supporter of the militant islamists. Dr. Shoham, Israeli intelligence and the Iraqi National Congress lobbied for Iraq as the culprit. Liberal Beltway insiders saw right-wing wackos. The head of the criminal division at the US Attorney’s Office in charge of the investigation apparently was a Palestinian whose sister-in-law (and brother) publicly advocated that terrorism should not be attributed to Bin Laden. FBI investigators on two investigative squads (in addition to the science squad), were pursuing alternative hypotheses and seemed to be covering all the possible leads, leaving no stone unturned. Journalists quite reasonably kowtowed to the views of any government source in the investigation they deemed reliable. It is not surprising that they were mislead by leaks by someone who would have been presenting any indictment to the grand jury.

    But sometimes if a spokesman for Al Qaeda claims it has green-lighted highly-educated US-based supporters of the militant islamists who have access to United States government and intelligence information relating to biological weapons — supporters who are “above suspicion” — then the spokesman may be telling the truth. Sometimes if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. The full-text of the documents making this claim to access to United States government and intelligence information was released by West Point and is uploaded.

    Given that the two FBI investigative squads were compartmentalized and not even aware what the other investigative squad was doing, how was there seamless cooperation between the CIA and FBI? Dr. Jennifer Smith, a former FBI agent who then led the WMD effort at the CIA, says that they weren’t. That the FBI did not share information necessary for them to do the analysis. How can the investigators on the one squad judge the quality of their analysis without sharing and full access? How can the scientists on the third forensics squad know how they are being used in putting out the spin?

    In light of the politicization of the US DOJ under the Bush Administration, how can one say that the compartmentalization was not used to serve political or personal or financial interests — rather than a legitimate law enforcement purpose? Why didn’t Dr. JB’s negotiation of his job with Battelle, a key recipient of the Ames strain from Ivins’ flask, constitute a disqualifying conflict of interest from future participation such as at the August 2008 press conference in which he guided answers and prevented Battelle from being mentioned? Separately, doesn’t the fusion of the intelligence function with the law enforcement function at the DOJ lead to an inevitable undermining of public confidence in the Administration of Justice? Why shouldn’t we just understand the Ivins Theory as an intelligence operation — a stimulation exercise intended to generate leads through deception. And if the DOJ claims it did not know Aafia Siddiqui had been subject to CIA and ISI questioning for a year, that brings us back to this claimed seamless cooperation between the CIA and FBI. Most of all, where is the evidence that Bruce Ivins was responsible? I haven’t see any yet. I just see a theory that is weaker than even a Hatfill Theory on which they paid $5.8 million for violation of the Privacy Act.

    Ayman’s plan established by the documentary evidence seized in Afghanistan was to use the cover of charities and universities.

    In the Washington, D.C. area, Taliban supporter Ali Al-Timimi worked in the same building as famed Russian bioweaponeer Ken Alibek and former USAMRIID Deputy Commander and Acting Commander Charles Bailey, who had co-invented a process using hydrophobic silica to lead to greater concentration of a biological agent. Dr. BHR points to the Microdroplet Cell Culture Technique as a key to understanding. Co-inventor Bailey has been a prolific Ames anthrax strain researcher. Dr. Alibek and Dr. Bailey had multimillion dollar grants from DARPA funding a contract with USAMRIID with Delta Ames supplied by NIH. NSA intercepts showed that Ali Al-Timimi was working with Bin Laden’s sheik al-Hawali, who had been the subject of Bin Laden’s 1996 Declaration of War and his 1998 claim of responsibility for the embassy bombings. Timimi has been sentenced to life plus 70 years before his conviction was reversed and remanded. Bilal Philips had been Ali’s mentor and the father of Jafar the Pilot had been Bilal Philips’ mentor. Ali Al-Timimi shared a fax machine with famed Russian anthrax bioweaponeer Ken Alibek and former USAMRIID deputy commander Charles Bailey, who is listed as an author on various articles reporting biodefense research using virulent Ames strain of anthrax. Dr. Bailey had worked with the Defense Intelligence Agency (”DIA”) for years on threat assessment of biological weapons. Both he and Dr. Alibek had consulted for Battelle, world renowned for its expertise on anthrax aerosols. They had co-authored the patent filed in mid-March 2001 on concentrating biological agents using silica in the growth medium that was still confidential as of Fall 2001. Both Dr. Bailey and Ali Al-Timimi had a high security clearance while working at SRA in 1999. Al-Timimi was doing work on a Navy contract.

    CIA Director Tenet, in a May 2007 book, notes that the CIA was startled to learn that the anthrax planning had been done in parallel with the 9/11 planning. Indeed, it was the laptop of Hawsawi, who was KSM’s assistant who sent and received money from the hijackers, that had the anthrax spraydrying documents on it. In fact, KSM was not really captured on March 1, 2003, when the laptop was seized, as the Pakistanis claim. He apparently instead was captured on or about February 13, 2001 at the time the blind sheik’s son was grabbed, based on a report Zahid Hussain sourced to a police official. Intelligence officials just wanted the two weeks to get leads on those planning attacks. The family members of the bacteriologist who owned the home where Hawsawi and the laptop were taken have always stridently claimed that KSM was not captured there. Two weeks later authorities raided Al-Timimi along with drying and processing experts. In June 2003, a UN report explained that Al-Qaeda “WMD Committee” — Mohammed Abdel-Rahman was one of its three members — “is known to have approached a number of Muslim scientists to assist the terrorist network with the creation and procurement of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons.” Al-Timimi apparently was one such scientist but there were others.

    Information permitting a resolution of the Amerithrax matter — the identify of the processor(s) and mailer — likely will come from the numerous individuals, now arrested, who may have played a role or known something. It likely will stem from those with a personal knowledge of Al Qaeda, and not those with an ideological or political axe to grind, whether against Iraq or militant islamists, in favor of establishing a Palestinian state, or against the US biodefense establishment or current federal Administration. The perps likely at some point have expressed upset at the detention of the Blind Sheik or been personally affected by the detention of friends or family.

    Although the analysis by the Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) in Rockville, Md. did not pinpoint the exact origin of the Florida isolate, the study showed how whole-genome sequencing technology and computational methods can be a powerful approach for analyzing anthrax and other bacterial outbreaks. Similarly, while the anthrax perpetrator(s) may never be caught, the Amerithrax investigation was hard fought by investigators who realized that the next 9/11 might be at issue. As they heard Ayman Zawahiri’s recurring threats of attack, the Amerithrax investigators likely remained haunted by coincidences that they tirelessly pursued while they left no stone unturned. Amerithrax investigators emphasize that there is no cover-up — no conspiracy. The investigators at least once were under intense pressure to solve the case. Giving the government the benefit of the doubt, and putting aside whether anyone will be prosecuted criminally for leaks, the information that was withheld was presumably for reasons of national security and safeguarding the integrity of the confidential criminal investigation. Publicly, there have only been expressions of confidence that Bruce Ivins was guilty and yet the case remains open 15 months later.

    In 2003, anthrax lab tech Yazid Sufaat’s assistants were captured. “Extremely virulent” anthrax was found in Afghanistan after Hambali was harshly interrogated in Jordan. Ron Suskind in One Percent Solution reports that it was unweaponized but authorities knew it could be readily weaponized and had predated 9/11. It was highly concentrated. After these and other developments, conspicuous surveillance was called off on US scientist Dr. Steve Hatfill in late 2003. In the Summer 2006, the “911 Imam” Awlaki (Aulaqi) from Falls Church, Virginia was arrested in Yemen and held for 18 months. Awlaki met both in San Diego and in Falls Church with hijacker Nawaf who had been at the planning meeting in January 2000 at the condo of anthrax lab director Yazid Sufaat. 911 planner Ramzi Bin-al-Shibh had the telephone number of Awlaki’s mosque. CIA Director Tenet in his 2007 book says authorities were startled to find that the anthrax planning had been done in parallel with the 9/11 planning and that Ramzi Bin-al-Shibh had a CBRN role. The Falls Church “911 Iman” Awlaki would speak alongside fellow Falls Church imam Ali Al-Timimi and Bilal Philips about the signs of the coming day of judgment — for example, in August 2001, he spoke with Ali Al-Timimi in London along with unindicted WTC 1993 conspirator Philips.

    The anthrax operation was likely led by Mohammed Islambouli, who had been in a cell with KSM in connection with the planned attacks on the US using aircraft and other means. Islambouli’s role and his planned visit to the US in preparation for the attacks was the subject of the December 4, 1998 Presidential Daily Brief by the CIA to President Clinton. If we don’t learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it. The job of journalists, however, is news, not analysis. So journalists understandably need to wait until they are told these things by the government. And the last time the government told the public anything they ended up paying $5.8 million. The FBI is left between a rock and a hard place. They are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

    Sometimes the government’s interest in the fruits of intelligence activity causes them to forego explaining what is really going on or in seeking a criminal prosecution. For example, the wiretap on Postal employee Sattar’s telephone permitted them to catch the head of the Egyptian Islamic Group in Egypt in October 2000. Similarly, by proceeding in great secrecy in Amerithrax, maybe they have had numerous successes that otherwise would have eluded them. In the end perhaps Amerithrax will be known as a great DOJ/FBI success story. Of course, it is important to keep an open mind to alternatives.

    We can only hope that FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, III, former US Attorney Jeffrey Taylor, Assistant United States Attorney Ken Kohl, FBI DC Field Office head Persichini, and US Postal Inspector Thomas F. Dellafera took to heart an important lesson in making their not-yet-supported-by-the-disclosed-evidence accusations of murder against Bruce Ivins: if we don’t learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it. Before the Hasan case is relegated to history, that could be a case study also. Judging by the written comments of Aafia Siddiqui, the lives of thousands of children may hinge in the balance and depend on the correctness of the assessment of the facts by these individuals. This is not a subject where conclusory statements suffice. Bruce Ivins never got his day in court. My personal view is that these folks were the first line of defense and that they failed in their role as spy catchers. Zawahiri at least would know when he was penetrated — and he wouldn’t like it.

    • DXer said

      The one witness refers to Hasan’s email to Aulaqi saying he was looking forward to meeting Aulaqi in the afterlife to discuss these things as “code.” Let’s consider the anthrax letters use of the underlined “As” and “Ts”. The letter writer appears to have even double-lined A’s and T’s in the letters accompanying the anthrax possibly to simultaneously allude to Atta and the genomic sequence.
      When the US Centers for Disease Control first identified that the Ames strain had been used in the mailing to Florida in October 2001, Keim and his colleagues at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) had nearly finished a project to sequence Bacillus anthracis— specifically, the chromosome of an anthrax isolate from a laboratory in Porton Down, U.K. Ayman had a microbiologist attending Porton Down-sponsored conferences at which presentations were made about the sequencing of Ames.
      As explained at the Porton Down conferences attended by Ayman’s operative Rauf Ahmad, Keim’s research team eventually discovered 60 new ‘markers’ in the Bacillus anthracis genome—DNA sequences that may vary from one isolate to another. These include insertions or deletions of DNA, and short sequences that are repeated at different lengths in the genome known as VNTRs (variable-number tandem repeats). A decade earlier, it had been determined that one of three proteins comprising anthrax toxin, and the first nucleotide sequence to be reported from B. anthracis (by USAMRIID authors no less), had a consensus TATAAT sequence located at the putative -10 promoter site. It is greek to us but apparently something with meaning to the person who drafted the letter. Perhaps the sender was saying that the bacteria was pathogenic unlike what had been sent to the Canadian immigration minister six months earlier.
      You can just imagine the same fictional CIA or FBI agents, or Postal Inspectors, plugging the underlined letter from the anthrax letters and wondering whether it pointed to the 1988 article “Sequence and analysis of the DNA encoding protective antigen of Bacillus anthracis” in the journal Gene by USAMRIID authors. The authors were from the Bacteriology Division at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.
      When authorities determined that the anthrax had not been genetically modified so as to be resistant to antibiotics, Condi Rice told the President: “That’s the best news you’ve had as president.” Years later, at trial for sedition, GMU microbiology grad student Ali Al-Timimi read “Genome Technology.”
      The coded e-mail Faris wrote back to KSM suggesting that the idea of removing bolts from the span of the Brooklyn Bridge was not a viable idea was but one of many examples of the simple codes used by Al Qaeda operatives. Sometimes the code might be as simple as Adham Hassoun’s “stuff” for the local soccer team in places like Bosnia or his references to a young man who wanted to go out and get some “fresh air” [go join the jihad]. Sometimes it might be Iyman Faris’ reference to the weather or Ramzi Binalshibh’s “shirts” for Sally. Sometimes it might be a reference to Greendale School or a marriage proposal to Jenny such apparently in the case of the anthrax mailings. The CIA reports that wedding is Al-Qaeda-speak for an event. That, according to New York Times journalists, is why the CIA got so anxious to have the Buffalo boys arrested. Apart from an email about a “big feast,” the young men from Buffalo had started talking about a planned wedding. Interpreting such code is not without risk. The CIA kicked down the door in Bahrain and dragged him away from the altar to the horror of his bride-to-be.
      But putting aside this question of nuptials, impending or annulled, why did the writer double-line the A’s and T’s?

    • BugMaster said

      DXer:

      Where is Ali Al-Timimi now? And if there is some basis for what you believe, how come he hasn’t taken a Hellfire missile up da pouper?

      • DXer said

        Al-Timimi is in jail having been earlier sentenced to life plus 70 years for sedition. Because warrantless White House-initiated NSA wiretaps allegedly began on or about October 7, 2001 under the “Presidential Surveillance Program” — with only 2 people at the US DOJ knowing — his case was remanded by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to address the implications for the validity of his conviction for sedition. There is ongoing highly classified briefing ongoing. When I contacted the AUSA last week and reported back at the time as to the status of the briefing, the AUSA advised that there had not yet been a decision on the pending briefing. Based on the docket (online at PACER), the federal court judge was denied assistance of his clerk. The National Security Council denied the judge’s request (passed on by the AUSA) for the security clearance that would have been needed. Defense counsel, also, I believe, has not been allowed to see the government’s briefings. Previously filings involved his status as an “anthrax weapons suspect” (his defense counsel’s term). Defense counsel, a GWU Professor, is a famed First Amendment scholar who appears regularly on MSNBC. The defendant’s wife is highly intelligent and gracious but defers to defense counsel with respect to providing any news.

  58. DXer said

    Kathryn Crockett, Ken Alibek’s assistant — just a couple doors down from Dr. Ali Al-Timimi — addressed these issues in her 2006 thesis, “A historical analysis of Bacillus anthracis as a biological weapon and its application to the development of nonproliferation and defense strategies.” She expressed her special thanks to Dr. Ken Alibek and Dr. Bill Patrick. Dr. Patrick consulted with the FBI and so the FBI credits his expertise. “I don’t want to appear arrogant. I don’t think anyone knows more about anthrax powder in this country,” William Patrick told an interviewer. Dr. Alibek’s access to know-how, regarding anthrax weaponization, similarly, seems beyond reasonable dispute. Dr. Crockett successfully defended the thesis before a panel that included USAMRIID head and Ames strain researcher Charles Bailey, Ali Al-Timimi’s other Department colleague. She says that scientists who analyzed the powder through viewing micrographs or actual contact are divided over the quality of the powder. She cites Gary Matsumoto’s “Science” article in summarizing the debate. She says the FBI has vacillated on silica. “Regarding the specific issue of weaponization,” Dr. Alibek’s assistant concluded in her PhD thesis, “according to several scientists at USAMRIID who examined the material, the powder created a significant cloud when agitated meaning that the adhesion of the particles had been reduced. Reducing the adhesion of the particles meant that the powder would fly better.” She explains that “The most common way to reduce electrostatic charge is to add a substance to the mixture, usually a silica based substance.”
    On the issue of encapsulation, she reports that “many experts who examined the powder stated the spores were encapsulated. Encapsulation involves coating bacteria with a polymer which is usually done to protect fragile bacteria from harsh conditions such as extreme heat and pressure that occurs at the time of detonation (if in a bomb), as well as from moisture and ultraviolet light. The process was not originally developed for biological weapons purposes but rather to improve the delivery of various drugs to target organs or systems before they were destroyed by enzymes in the circulatory system” (citing Alibek and Crockett, 2005). “The US and Soviet Union, however, ” she explains, “used this technique in their biological weapons programs for pathogens that were not stable in aerosol form… Since spores have hardy shells that provide the same protection as encapsulation would, there is no need to cover them with a polymer.“ She explains that one “possible explanation is that the spore was in fact encapsulated but not for protective purpose. Encapsulation also reduces the need for milling when producing a dry formulation.” She wrote: “If the perpetrator was knowledgeable of the use of encapsulation for this purpose, then he or she may have employed it because sophisticated equipment was not at his disposal.”
    One military scientist who has made anthrax simulants described the GMU patents as relating to an encapsulation technique which serves to increase the viability of a wide range of pathogens. More broadly, a DIA analyst once commented to me that the internal debate seemed relatively inconsequential given the circumstantial evidence — overlooked by so many people — that US-based supporters of Al Qaeda are responsible for the mailings. Most of Dr. Ivins’ colleagues have thought Al Qaeda was responsible.
    Clarifying the matter — or not — Sandia’s Joseph Michael told FOX News, “I don’t think this exonerates (Ivins) at all.” He added, “I don’t think it’s not enough to say that he did it, as well.”

  59. DXer said

    Former Russian bioweaponeer Ken Alibek and Harvard biologist Matthew Meselson opined that there was no special silica coating observable in the Scanning Electron Microscope (“SEM”) images they saw. The FBI’s scientist at Sandia confirms that no silica was observed on the exosporium and that instead it was below the exosporium, absorbed in the coats. The presence of any silica, Drs. Meselson and Alibek say, may have come from the environment because of the special tendency of anthrax spore coats to attract silicon. (The lead FBI scientist Dwight Adams relied on the study provided the FBI by Meselson in briefing the Congress in November 2002.) Indeed, the silica may have been in the culture medium as suggested by the WMD Chief Majidi (who has the benefit of many millions of dollars spent in scientific experiments). Any remaining exogenous silica could be removed through repeated centrifugation.

    • DXer said

              Sandia made a video on YouTube explaining its research on behalf of the FBI.

      It basically confirmed what Alibek had always been saying: “‘[J]ust because you have a sophisticated product doesn’t mean the technique has to be sophisticated.’ ” Silica in the culture medium would not be a sophisticated “additive” added post-production that aided dispersability (Majidi’s definition of “weaponization”) but would permit the agent to be concentrated.  

      It the concentration, not the method of drying, that was extraordinary.

      Sandia’s JM’s bemused suggestion in his presentation that we could argue all day about the word “naturally occurring” (or was it “natural”) means misses the point. If the scientists had defined their terms, the entire argument might have been avoided. Scientists like Popov and Kiel agree that whatever its purpose, the silica-related substance was added on purpose. The word natural fits the tendency of silicon to be absorbed into the coat. But it does not make its presence accidental or due to lab contamination.

  60. DXer said

    Barbara Hatch Rosenberg, who runs the Federation of American Scientists’ chemical and biological arms control program, announced in December 2001. “I’m certain it’s someone connected with a government program, or who works in a laboratory connected with a government program,” she said. “The grapevine has it that the results of an experiment on genetic variation at certain locations suggest that this material was made in a very small batch, and that suggests that the material was not made in some old weapons program on a large scale,” she said, citing sources inside and outside the government. “All the available information is consistent with a U.S. government lab as the source, either of the anthrax itself or of the recipe for the U.S. weaponization process.”
    Dr. Read, a scientist helping with the Amerithrax investigation in the DNA sequencing, long ago published the news that the anthrax was a 50/50% mixture of genotype 62 (Ames) and genotype 62 with an inversion on the plasmid. This would mean two distinct nucleic acids were detected in the sample. This means that some of the Ames had a segment of DNA that is inverted, or flipped, relative to the remainder of the plasmid. Years ago one expert RHE — who does excellent work on the policy issue of nonproliferation and makes points similar to BK and IS — advised me that no properly trained microbiologist would propagate or archive a mixture. Standard microbiological procedure calls for isolation of single colonies – i.e., single, unmixed cells and their clonal, unmixed progeny — at each step. Inversions are not an uncommon class of mutational events, however. It would only be especially probative if it were a rare inversion and if samples were to be present among samples collected from laboratory archives. It was always possible that the anthrax used was highly distinctive (pinpointing a single lab) and the authorities just didn’t have that sample collected. But given that since 2002 they have known it was a mix of Ames strains, it is surprising that they did not zero in on Ivins flask a half decade ago given that any description of how it was created would have revealed it to be a mix of two sources.

  61. DXer said

    Let’s consider the argument by scientists like Ezzell, Mohr, and Popov that USAMRIID had both the personnel and facilities to do the drying, a relatively simple process that could be done by a variety of means. Didn’t the fact that flask 1029 was a mixture of two Ames strains point from the very start to flask 1029? Dr. Ivins worked with Ames in a BL-3 lab on the dates preceding the mailings — and so why did the FBI rely on his recollections years later of how he spent his time rather than a contemporaneous transcript  from 2001 detailing how he spent his time?  (Surely he was asked as part of his polygraph).  The standing instructions were that all logical follow-on investigation be “aggressively and immediately conducted and reported.  Experienced, aggressive, creative Agents should be assigned this investigation in order to insure all logical investigation is conducted, and not just that requested as defined in a lead.”

  62. DXer said

    On April 11, 2003, Scott Shane reported that reverse engineering “carried out at the Army’s biodefense center at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, raises the disquieting possibility that al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups could create lethal bioweapons without scientific or financial help from a state.” Quoting one outside bioterrorism expert. “It shows you can have a fairly sophisticated product with fairly rudimentary methods.” At last report, the reverse engineering reportedly was not able to recreate the identical product. Lisa Bronson, deputy undersecretary of defense for technology security policy and proliferation, has said that commercially available equipment used to make powdered milk could be used to make powderized anthrax. A spray dryer is used in chemical and food processing to manufacture dried egg, powdered milk, animal feed, cake mixes, citrus juices, coffee, corn syrup, cream, creamers, dried eggs, potatoes, shortening, starch derivatives, tea, tomatoes, yeast, and — last but not least — yogurt. Washington State University also has an informative discussion on the web. Making dried milk is not rocket science and doesn’t require a PhD. But, if experience is any guide, Al Qaeda has PhDs and even rocket scientists who are sympathetic to its cause (indeed, even the father of Pakistan’s atomic bomb).

    Here is a Q&A from a March 31, 2003 exchange with Kenneth Alibek, in response to a question I posed to him.

    “Q. Could someone expert in making dried milk make the product used in the Daschle and Leahy letters?
    A. Let me answer in this way — yes, actually, it would be the same technique to make a powderized anthrax, but at the same time we shouldn’t overestimate the complexity of making it. My opinion is this — in order to make this powder there is no need to have sophisticated equipment. Such a small amount, keep in mind that the people who did could have very simple equipment and very simple procedures. There is no need for industrial equipment. It would be enough to have small equipment. But at the same time, when people talk about it being ‘weaponized’ — I can’t say it was that sophisticated. I saw the particles — they were the size of 40 microns. We can’t say anything about the quality of this powder because we saw it after it had gone through mailing sorting machines which create very powerful pressure. There was no coating. What I saw on micrograph was no coating. It was natural spores and for some people they mistakenly thought it wasn’t. Some experts said there was [no] charge because it was fluffy and made a cloud when put on scale. This is another mistake. It did have charge.”

    Dr. Alibek was a leading Battelle consultant and was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency — $12 million before 2001. Clearly, putting aside any possible conflict of interest, no one would dispute his expertise. The $12 was received before 911 and it was inevitable that 911 was going to increase spending for an anthrax threat that had already been reported.

  63. DXer said

    Now let’s correct Barry’s seriously erroneous timeline. It was in June 2002 when the world renowned anthrax expert William Patrick in the New York Times addressed the issue. Long before Gary M. weighed in with his Science news article. US bioweaponeer William Patrick took time out from advising GMU grad students and gave it a 7 out of 10 — calling it professionally done but not weapons grade.   In an interview with CBS, William Patrick explained that he had been given a polygraph in June 2002 about the anthrax letters. He reports that “The FBI that they wanted me to become a part of their inner circle of–of experts, and that in order to become a part of that inner circle of technical experts, that I’d have to pass a polygraph test.”  Ken Alibek concurred.

  64. DXer said

    A major flaw in Barry’s article big picture is the time-line. The FBI was saying that it could have been made with equipment costing $2,500 by Spring 2002. The Matsumoto Science article which was conspicuously lacking in any named sources was in October 2002. And so another way of looking at things is that the FBI was always right and Gary just confused things in an article in which he falsely characterized Anonymous Scientist as part of the investigation. There was always an ongoing debate within the government.

    Besides, the suggestion that the FBI then turned away from Battelle in 2002 has no basis. As late as 2007, that was an important focus. The New York Post explains: “In April 2007, the FBI sent Ivins a letter saying he was “not a target of the investigation” and said it was investigating 42 people who had access to RMR-1029 at the Battelle labs in Ohio, [Ivins attorney] Kemp said.” 

    Dean Boyd, a Justice Department spokesman,  commented in February 2009:  “The recent inventory issues at USAMRIID highlight the difficulties confronted by the FBI in their efforts to trace the evidentiary material back to its source at USAMRIID, and reinforce our conclusion that samples of anthrax could easily have been removed from the facility undetected.” More broadly, Barry’s choice of venues is regularly disappointing. First he led off with a co-author in August 2008 who thinks Al Qaeda was not responsible for 911 and who thinks the moon landing was a hoax. Then he most recently appeared on a radio talk show with a supporter of Anwar Aulaqi who had just been raided by the FBI. But as I said, he got folks to the right suite and is just knocking on the wrong door. That’s damn fine work and now just let Special Agent David and Special Agent DiNozzo kick down the door.

    The FBI is doing a fine job except for the part where they say the disclosed evidence establishes that Dr. Ivins was the mailer / processor.

    • Anonymous Scientist said

      “The FBI is doing a fine job except for the part where they say the disclosed evidence establishes that Dr. Ivins was the mailer / processor.”

      I agree. Apart from accusing the wrong man, a fine job.

      If you ignore saying they had bloodhound “scent” evidence against Hatfill it’s still a fine job.

      Oh yes, and if you also ignore spending $0.5M to drain that pesky pond in Maryand – a thoroughly outstanding job.

      And if you ignore the fact they leaked to the media that they found a portable bioweapons production kit in said pond (which turned out to be a child’s turtle trap) – a thoroughly professional job.

      And ignore the fact that a federal judge told them they didn’t have a scintilla of evidence against Hatfill and they should pay him $5.8M for making his life hell for 6 years – an outstanding job – they must be bursting with pride at the Hoover Building.

      If you also ignore the death of Perry Mikesell and the ruination of Kenneth Berry – and the harassment of two other innocent Detrick scientists.

      I think there’s more than one FBI shill posting on this blog:

      Shill: “Shill” can also be used pejoratively to describe a critic who appears either all-too-eager to heap glowing praise upon mediocre offerings, or who acts as an apologist for glaring flaws.

      • BugMaster said

        And it makes you wonder.

        Could they really have been THAT incompetent?

        Or just susceptable to political pressure and “misdirection”.

        • Lew Weinstein said

          BUGMASTER … That’s the premise of my novel CASE CLOSED. I don’t believe the FBI is incompetent. I believe that with limited suspects and unlimited investigative resources, they would solve the case. And that they did solve the case. But they are not telling us what they found, instead insisting that their bogus case against Dr. Ivins is actually what they believe. Why they are doing that is something it is very important for America to know.

          CASE CLOSED is a novel which answers the question “Why did the FBI fail to solve the 2001 anthrax case?” … Here’s an excerpt from the CASE CLOSED story; the (fictional) DIA team reviews the connection between the anthrax attack and the subsequent invasion of Iraq …

          “After the nationwide panic caused by the anthrax mailings settled down, pretty much nothing happens in the FBI’s anthrax investigation. The next we hear about anthrax is in February 2003, when Secretary of State Abner Grant goes to the United Nations and holds up a vial of something – it wasn’t actually anthrax – claiming that Saddam can deliver biological weapons of mass destruction to the eastern seaboard of the U.S. Of course, we learn later that Saddam had neither WMD nor any way to reach our shores. U.N. arms inspector Blix said something much like that a few days before we invaded Iraq.”

          LEW

        • BugMaster said

          Lew:

          I read your book, and really enjoyed it. And there is evidence to suggest that the anthrax investigation was manipulated for political reasons (which, incidentally, is the subject of another non-fiction book being written, although not by me).

          But no evidence implicates Al Qaeda in the attacks.

          And if Ivins did have any involvement, he wasn’t working alone.

        • DXer said

          BugMaster says no evidence implicates Al Qaeda in the attacks. Once again she is just stating her conclusion without any analysis or discussion. The evidence implicating Al Qaeda in the attacks relates to motive, means, modus operandi, and opportunity. I’ve addressed them all. You haven’t address them at all. The motive of Ayman Zawahiri is expressed in documentary evidence. The means is addressed by documentary evidence. The modus operandi is addressed by documentary evidence. The opportunity is addressed by documentary evidence. The reason you don’t address the arguments and just state your conclusion — the reason you don’t talk specifics — is you have none.

        • BugMaster said

          The reason I don’t talk specifics is that if I do, I will very likely be visited by an irritable individual with a gag order and no sense of humor.

          Enough said for now. Next week marks the eight year aniversary of (amongst other things) the death of the last (known) victim.

          Eight years, a long time has passed without resolution in this manner (as the case is still not closed).

      • DXer said

        And putting aside one straw man argument, let’s not forget what the FBI’s position on the purity of the anthrax is in 2009. The lead investigator Montooth, told the Washington Post:  “When you go to the true experts and ask them how many people can develop [anthrax spores] into something with this purity and this concentration, they shake their heads.” “Some will say there are perhaps six. Others will say maybe a dozen.”  So let’s not mischaracterize the FBI’s position. As for drying, neither Barry nor you know the first thing about drying and the experts disagree with you that someone at USAMRIID did not have the knowledge or equipment. They just think the FBI’s specific allegations about Ivins are not plausible.

        While I think the FBI is wrong, I see them as far more informed over the breadth of the issues than any of the critics.

        By the way, it was not the FBI saying that they had “scent” evidence, it was the lead prosecutor, Attorney Seikaly. Born in Haifa in 1948, he was the father of the lawyer representing Al-Timimi pro bono, whose family are Palestinians publicly advocating in 2002 that terrorism should not be attributed to Bin Laden and whose sister-in-law was being paid by a Saudi institute. Experienced investigators knew it was not reliable evidence and were aghast that such a senior person, apparently inexperienced in reliable criminal investigative techniques, had overemphasized it in a leak to reporters. He pled the Fifth Amendment for the leaks. For you to attribute the leaks to FBI as an institution, rather than the individual who was the father of the lawyer who would represent al-Timimi pro bono — even though you’ve seen the transcripts of his deposition — avoids the real significance of the hyped bloodhound story.

        Draining the pond was part of leaving no stone unturned. It was based on a tip by a reliable analyst who later went to work for the FBI and received his PhD in threat assessment, writing a 400+ thesis on anthrax in Zimbabwe. Given that the POI had forged a PhD in gaining access to ebola in the building where flask 1029 was stored, and had lied to investigators about having taken Cipro, and raised lots of other red flags, it was only prudent for them to vigorously pursue the theory. I was the one explaining that the plastic tub they found was a minnow trap and poking fun. But draining the pond was not a reason to find fault. it was part of their job. If you watched tv you would know that the first 50 minutes is spent chasing leads that don’t pan out. It is a necessary part of conducting an investigation when you don’t have the luxury of resting on your preconceptions or anonymously posting insults.

        Anonymous Scientist, you co-authored on microbial forensics with the microbiologist arguing that the forensic evidence pointed to Iraq — that’s one mistake the FBI NEVER made. Similarly, Barry relies on Dr. Spertzel who for years argued that the forensic evidence pointed to Iraq. How easy you folks make it seem to walk away from an unsupported argument that led this country to a war with devastating consequences to the country and then get right back up on your high horse.

        When I compliment the FBI it is in the context of knowing that it is lot easier to take potshots when no one posting has given any indication that they could do better in conducting a complex investigation of this sort. The principled criticisms we can make include

        (1) the evidence disclosed to date by no means establishes that Ivins was the processor or mailer – there is wide consensus on that even among FBI’s scientific experts, legislators, the media and the public; the only person I know who thinks the burden is met as to Ivins thinks a First Grader wrote the letters.

        (2) the key documents bearing on the question (Lab Notebook 4010 and the August 2000-October 2001 emails) are being wrongfully withheld under FOIA;

        (3) there appear to be serious conflicts of interests that have not been addressed; etc. ;

        (4) the NAS is not in compliance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

        The FBI is damned if they do, and damned if they don’t. If you really cared about the correct solution of Amerithrax, you would have done some science in the past 8 years. And if Gary cared about the correct solution of Amerithrax, he would have published the AFIP data so that the public could see the massive level of silicon/oxygen which then was greatly lessened upon further processing. The AFIP data points to use of silica or a silicanizing solution in the culture medium as WMD Chief Majidi suggests. Pardon them if they keep certain information relating to the weaponization of anthrax confidential. If they didn’t, they would not be well-suited to the job.

        The former FBI Counterterrorism head wrote and confirmed that Amerithrax was a “mess” but it’s not because the FBI’s leads that did not pan out coincide with the spin that you think is so easy to trot out. I’ve wasted more ink than you poking fun about anthrax smelling bloodhounds.

        In terms of problem-solving, it is never constructive to get so involved at undermining the people you disagree with that you forget to focus on the merits and seek to work constructively in problem-solving exercise. Which you, BugMaster and Ed have woefully failed to do. You simply don’t address the merits of alternative arguments. For example, on the use of silica in the culture medium to concentrate the anthrax, in a recent post, Ed said he dismissed my suggestion because the fact that his brother was sued for patent infringement proves he can read a patent. He said it did not apply because it related to bacteria as if that made any sense at all given he himself is arguing that the silicon signal arose during growth and not post-production. After first arguing it related to concentration, BugMaster then only has ever asserted her disagreement or cited Occam’s Razor. Apparently, it is far simpler not to address inconvenient issues. It is far simpler to disparage WMD Chief Majidi without basis rather than address his suggestion that the silica was in the culture medium. BHR, OTOH, addressed the issue squarely and agrees with me. And Serge, who BugMasters credits with knowing more about such things, does not share her view and merely views the hypothesis as yet unproven.

        • DXer said

          On the pond issue, I was the one who came up with TOP 10 USES OF A PLASTIC SWEATER BOX FOUND AT A POND.

          But that doesn’t mean that the FBI should not have vigorously pursued all theories.

          TOP 10 USES OF A PLASTIC SWEATER BOX FOUND AT A POND

          1. to incubate snake or turtle eggs,

          2. breeding crickets,

          3. snake feeding room,

          4. live bait dispenser,

          5. common school project to study the flow of water systems,

          6. minnow or turtle trap,

          7. turtle transporter,

          8. breeding waxworms,

          9. illicit use of the street drug meth,

          10. pumping up someone’s litigation claims.

        • BugMaster said

          DXer:

          A great deal of information has come to light since Ivin’s suicide. Some of it has come out of the presentations to the NAS. Additional information came out because of your specific efforts, and even a few bits of useful info in some of your volumptous postings.

          For years, I have been wondering, how was the attack material prepared? How was it produced, purified, and concentrated? How could it be dried and introduced into the envelopes without killing the cat (and everyone else in the neighborhood)?

          The totality of the evidence suggests that a portion of the material was produced on plates (and therefore not concentrated or purified, thus the crud that was sent to NYC), and a portion of the material was RMR-1029 challenge isolate.

          Note that a statement issued by the GAO (whether or not the material was regrown or came directly from RMR-1029 is not known at this point) tends to back this up, and directly contradicts the statements made by FBI scientist Dr. Hassel when he addressed the NAS several weeks earlier.

        • DXer said

          BugMaster said

          “November 19, 2009 at 4:06 pm
          DXer:

          A great deal of information has come to light since Ivin’s suicide. Some of it has come out of the presentations to the NAS”

          By all means, point to one thing that has come out of the presentations to the NAS that was not previously known.

          Bugmaster says:

          “The totality of the evidence suggests that a portion of the material was produced on plates (and therefore not concentrated or purified, thus the crud that was sent to NYC), and a portion of the material was RMR-1029 challenge isolate.”

          Bugmaster’s argument that it was grown on plates in no way bears on whether US-based supporters of AQ were responsible. I’m just so tired of people so fixed on their preconceptions that they can’t bring themselves to address the merits of alternative arguments (and instead just reassert their conclusion).

        • DXer said

          You remind me of mind friend, the AnthraxProfiler, a friend who was a security guard at the Merck vaccine plant outside Philadelphia who witnessed an off-the-books decontamination by VG. The problem with his theory involved an inability to address arguments and his finding refuge in remaining so cryptic that he never gave enough details of this theory so that it might be debunked.

      • BugMaster said

        I think it is safe to say that the appearance on this blog of the RMR-1029 records, followed by DXer posting the UNREDACTED records really tweaked off more than a few individuals at the DOJ.

        Perhaps that is why DXer is sucking up to them now.

        • DXer said

          BugMaster suggests that I am sucking up to the FBI because I “really [pissed] off more than a few individuals at the DOJ” because I provided the unredacted version of flask 1029.

          No. I’ve always sucked up to the FBI. I am a long term fan of both the FBI and tv shows like Columbo, Rockford Files..and now Bones, Closer, and even NCIS. I am a “Law and Order” solve-the-mystery Hardy Boys kinda guy. From the tv characterization, I appreciate that the detectives point their fingers precisely for the point of being corrected (and apprised of information that shows that they are mistaken). I respect that. I respect an open mind that processes new information. The former head of the Amerithrax investigation got the highest kudos from a leftist friend of mine — in terms of his integrity and fair-mindedness. The FBI reads all my email and hears all my phone calls and so they knew full well that I would get the unredacted inventory of flask 1029. Consider that in the Hassoun wiretap matter, they had 300,000 intercepts. In Amerithrax, they have millions.

        • BugMaster said

          “Consider that in the Hassoun wiretap matter, they had 300,000 intercepts. In Amerithrax, they have millions.”

          I tend to agree with you on this matter, DXer.

          Wiretaps and online conversations.

        • BugMaster said

          I still think the FBI was blindsided by your posting the unredacted records, DXer.

          I don’t think the FBI (or another quasi-governmental agency) would be eavesdropping on your private online conversations.

          Private online conversations with Ed Lake, however…

          Let’s just say that (at least in the past) is a different matter.

        • DXer said

          I have lots of unredacted records.

        • BugMaster said

          Uh-oh!

          Maybe when Mueller said, “ongoing criminal litigation” he was referring to you!

    • DXer said

      errata –

      I believe it was Gary’s Wash Po article, rather than his much later Science article, that was October 2002.

  65. Ike Solem said

    Compare and contrast that blog article to the one put out by the NYT after that meeting:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/21/science/21anthrax.html

    “Now, in their first interviews, after being released this week from their vows of silence, several scientists explained how they charted a new frontier in microbial forensics, one that could have the same evidentiary power as DNA fingerprinting in criminal cases.”

    The concept here is that the human fingerprint can be linked to the ‘microbial fingerprint’ – but what if your fingerprints could clone themselves? What if you could chop off a finger, send it to Dugway or Battelle, and it would grow into a new person with your own fingerprint – and then, what would you say if that new person committed a crime – with your fingerprints all over it?

    More importantly:

    “…almost a hundred other people were known to have had access to cultures from the flask, and the scientists say they have no opinion as to whether Dr. Ivins, who committed suicide last month, was the culprit.”

    The paper also reports the following:

    “Of the anthrax strains used as weapons, the most virulent was one known as the Ames strain.”

    What they neglect to mention is that this strain was used as the anthrax vaccine challenge strain – meaning, animals would be vaccinated and then exposed to Ames – it was the most virulent, so it was the best test of the efficacy of the vaccine.

    Who does such vaccine testing with aerosols? That’s the specialty of the Microaerobiology division at Battelle’s West Jefferson facilities. They are also the primary subcontractor for all anthrax vaccine manufacturers, such as Vaxgen & Bioport, now consolidated into one company, Emergent Biosolutions, the sole-source provider of anthrax vaccine to the Pentagon’s active vaccination program and the Department of Health and Human Services ‘emergency stockpile’ – a double-stuffed contract that leads to massive waste, but more profits for the well-connected.

    Battelle is pretty secretive, it is true – but like anyone else, they have to advertise for jobs:

    http://www.indeed.com/q-Battelle-l-West-Jefferson,-OH-jobs.html

    The problem for the FBI and their new hires from Los Alamos, Majidi and Hassell, is that if those labs are “bothered” by news reporters, it will reveal what looks a lot like another tobacco ‘Insider’ story, only quite a bit worse as far as the agency reputation goes, considering that preventing and investigating and solving domestic bioterror attacks is something the public clearly expects from the FBI – investigating dishonest tobacco science and false marketing, well, the FDA or DEA can do that.

    Battelle is the world’s largest private research company, with massive DOE contracts, much of it linked to coal carbon capture technology and nuclear waste cleanup contracts. Their biowarfare research is a subset of their National Security Division, which also makes IED-resistant armor for the U.S. military, etc. They also have management contracts for about a dozen U.S. National Labs, some through shell companies, some in partnership with others – they are joined at the hip, and personnel at LANL and LLNL routinely take jobs at Battelle. They also have strong political backing in the form of people like Senator DeWine and DHHS Secretary Sebelius (backer of the National AgroBioDefense Facility for Kansas, yikes) and DOE Secretary Chu (also from LLNL), as well as the previous appointees in those positions going back several decades.

    Would they do everything in their power to use political pressure to direct attention elsewhere, just to protect their reputation? That seems to be the case – and even more suspicious is the way they destroyed the initial Daschle sample they were given by the FBI, and then claimed it was a low-tech preparation.

    This isn’t to say that the anthrax attacks were a “Battelle conspiracy” – what it probably means is that Battelle did a lot of biological threat assessment work for the CIA and the DIA from the mid 1990s onwards, and part of that work involved creating aerosol anthrax preparations essentially identical to the material used in the Daschle letter. If some of this material went missing or was unaccounted for, it could cause serious embarrassment to the entire giant corporation, even if it was just a small section of their national security division that was responsible.

    Regardless, the evidence doesn’t support the claim by LANL’s Hassell regarding Ivins… unless we change the emphasis.

    “It may have been in people’s minds that someone in the room could have been one of the perpetrators, which ended up being the case,” said Dr. Chris Hassell, the F.B.I. laboratory director.

    Even more cleverly, since the letters Battelle has managed to gain management contracts overseeing work at USAMRIID – which means what? No more pesky questions about expanding the U.S. biowarfare-biodefense complex, something which creates far more public health risk than public health security?

    You know, I suggest reading a history of the coverup of the Sverlovsk anthrax incident in the Soviet Union… the similarities are remarkable.

    http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB61/

    The local Soviet party boss who covered it up at the time? He was rewarded for his efficiency, and soon was on his way to higher things – his name was Boris Yeltsin. The Biopreparat program soon expanded to even greater size. These are remarkable historical similarities.

    Doing the dirty work could earn you advancement in the communist hierarchy – one could become a “trusted” state asset, and thus secure a coveted berth in the complex.

    The fact that the FBI’s Richard Lambert (of Hatfill misdirection fame) was promoted on to a position in Tennessee near the Oak Ridge nuclear complex managed by UT-Battelle is not relevant to this discussion (if anyone has more shell partnerships than Battelle, they keep it well hidden).

    Cutting off the funding spigot is needed more than ever – and the NAS academic study is just a delaying tactic here, a few more years to grow the biodefense complex and really get it entrenched in the bureaucracy.

    • DXer said

      “This isn’t to say that the anthrax attacks were a “Battelle conspiracy” – what it probably means is that Battelle did a lot of biological threat assessment work for the CIA and the DIA from the mid 1990s onwards, and part of that work involved creating aerosol anthrax preparations essentially identical to the material used in the Daschle letter. If some of this material went missing or was unaccounted for, it could cause serious embarrassment to the entire giant corporation, even if it was just a small section of their national security division that was responsible.”

      Ike, your post is very well-expressed. Note one detail. Ivins wrote his friend and co-worker Patricia Fellows that he had heard that the anthrax closest to the mailed anthrax was made by USAMRIID scientist John Ezzell. Dr. Ezzell confirms that he aerosolized Ames at the request of DARPA. He was the FBI’s anthrax expert and worked in the FBI’s federal hazardous materials unit. I have total confidence in his innocence given that he so forthrightly and promptly addressed the issue. He was on the other line before I had even finished leaving a message. But in terms of awkward, embarrassing situations, it is not enough for the FBI agents to think that Ivins is trying to confuse the issue by pointing the finger at the FBI’s expert (as one news account reported). Instead, the FBI should come forward with the facts so that we can understand what equipment Dr. Ezzell used so as to judge whether it was available to Dr. Ivins. (For that matter, we need to confirm that it was made at the special pathogens lab at USAMRIID rather than one of the other facility he was visiting). Dr. Ezzell, despite his forthrightness, notes that he is under a continuing gag order and was subject to wiretapping. It is not that he is not willing to stand up and tell the truth on these issues. He explained that the aerosolized Ames had been rendered inactive by gamma radiation. He says he gave the aerosolized Ames that DARPA had requested to John Hopkins (where btw the former Zawahiri associate also tested his decontamination agent).

      Barry has the same lucidity of expression you have. Both of you are political activists pursuing many of the same general values I share. But you really need to watch more TV. An evening with BONES or NCIS Special Agent David would help you focus on the relevant evidence of means, motive, modus operandi and motive. The last thing “Battelle” would use is the US Army strain with which it was associated. The documentary evidence relating to motive and modus operandi points to someone recruited as part of Ayman Zawahiri’s Zabadi program under the cover of charities and universities. One interesting interview would be the Battelle consultant and DTRA anthrax threat person, the former deputy USAMRIID Commander CB who shared a suite with the scientist coordinating with the 911 imam Aulaqi and Bin Laden’s sheik al-Hawali. But former deputy commander CB lawyered up years ago and referred all my questions to university counsel. We need less political advocacy and more questions answered.

    • BugMaster said

      A cover-up didn’t save the Nixon administration.

      There is ongoing criminal litigation “proceedings”, according to Director Mueller. And it is my understanding that his response was a written response, he wasn’t just being quoted.

      As such, I would expect he chose his words carefully and specifically.

  66. Anonymous Scientist said

    Kissin writes:

    “FBI and Battelle closely interlinked
    James Burans (identified above as the FBI’s “expert on processing”) is introduced at the beginning of the briefing by FBI Lab Director Hassell as “the associate laboratory director of the National Bioforensic Analysis Center.”
    What is never revealed is the fact that the Department of Homeland Security contracted with Battelle to manage and operate the National Bioforensic Analysis Center, and that James Burans is a Battelle employee.”

    In the ain’t it a small world category, the coincidences between FBI and Battelle go even further.

    Here’s an exerpt from Richard Preston’s “Demon in the Freezer”:

    “The army scientists were telling the FBI that the powder was extremely refined and dangerous, while a Battelle scientist named Michael Kuhlman was allegedly saying that the anthrax was ten to fifty times less potent than the army was claiming. Allyson Simons, the head of the laboratory, was having trouble sorting through the disagreement, and she was apparently not telling the CDC leadership much about the powder, while waiting for more data to come in. One Army official was said to have blown up at Simons and Kuhlman at the meeting, saying to the Battelle man “Goddamn it, you stuck your anthrax in an autoclave, and you turned it into hockey pucks.”

    What is the connection between Michael Kuhlmam and James Burans? They, along with Pat Fitch, apparently run the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Biodefense_Analysis_and_Countermeasures_Center

    “A business entity spun off from Battelle Memorial Institute will manage NBACC for DHS as an FFRDC. Battelle is well suited for this job as it has experience successfully running other US National Laboratories. (If you need to name names please cite Pat Fitch, Mike Kuhlman and Jim Burans – they are running the place.)”

    Pat Fitch apparently beleives that even without terrorist attacks it’s a good idea for the government to keep spending money on biosecurity:

    Biosecurity benefits public health

    Medical Laboratory Observer, Feb, 2005 by J. Patrick Fitch

    .Ever since the anthrax letters that followed the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, much attention has focused on the threat of bioterrorism. Considerable resources and effort have been devoted to the development and deployment of systems and technologies to defend against this threat. Although significant challenges remain, much has been accomplished. As we look to the future, there are many opportunities to make investments in homeland biosecurity that are beneficial even in the absence of terrorist events.

  67. DXer said

    The Kissin piece speaks of the Defense Intelligence Agency without noting that the DIA’s lead anthrax threat assessment was the former deputy USAMRIID Commander who shared a suite with the scientist coordinating with Bin Laden’s sheik and the 911 imam Anwar Aulaqi.

    The Kissin piece speaks of the Project Clear Vision and Project Jefferson and whether the intelligence related to what an adversary was doing without noting that the leading anthrax scientist, a Russian defector, was the source of the intel about what the Russians had been doing.

    So his analysis gets you to the right suite, wrong door.

  68. DXer said

    It has now been over a year of foot-dragging and USAMRIID still has not made available the 1,000 pages of Ivins’ emails leading up to the anthrax mailings. No exemption to production has been cited. The fact that James F. retired without getting the job done is no excuse. It has been 8 years since the FBI and CIA were on notice that the scientist coordinating with the 911 imam shared a suite with Battelle consultants, the leading anthrax scientist and former deputy USAMRIID commander who co-invented the process used to concentrate anthrax using silica in the culture medium. It has been 8 years since the FBI and CIA were on notice that USAMRIID scientist Bruce Ivins gave virulent anthrax to a former Zawahiri associate who did the testing at Dugway. To selectively produce documents — such as only producing the inventory of flask 1029 showing that it was in a different room number (after whiting out) is outrageous. The failure to produce the 1 years of emails leading up to the anthrax mailing bearing on Ivins guilt or innocence is also outrageous. If there is an exemption that applied, the obligation was to invoke it.

    USAMRIID Public Affairs head Laurie should work to ensure that USAMRIID is not the one in the position of “fall guy” when the President Obama demands to know who dropped the ball on Amerithrax — as he is demanding on the Ft. Hood shooter. She can do that by complying with FOIA.

    I have offered JP to upload the 1,000 pages of already-processed documents myself if they don’t have the personnel able to get the job done.

    Now for lighter fare for the Colonel responsible for the production under FOIA, I offer more light-hearted fare and best wishes for a joyous Thanksgiving in asking him to do his duty.

    Ireland: The Land Of A Hundred Thousand Welcomes

    http://www.blurb.com/books/970335

    Turning to the Kissin piece,

    “(Congressman Gerald) Nadler asked one of the most central questions in the anthrax case: he pointed out that the facilities that (unlike Ft. Detrick) actually have the equipment and personnel to prepare dry, silica-coated anthrax are the U.S. Army’s Dugway Proving Ground and the Battelle Corporation, the private CIA contractor that conducts substantial research into highly complex strains of anthrax.”

    Was this before or after the New York Times article quoting the FBI anthrax expert John Ezzell and the expert at Dugway, Jeff Mohr, saying that Ft. Detrick DID have the equipment and personnel. Given that Dr. Ezzell personally confirmed to me that he made aerosolized anthrax (at the request of DARPA), the Nadler/Kissin premise is clearly mistaken. Dr. Ezzell is at USAMRIID. I am in touch with experts that make aerosolized anthrax (e.g., Serge Popov) and they do not agree with Attorney Kissin or Congressman Nadler. Of course, whether the FBI’s scenario for Dr. Ivins processing is realistic is another matter. That depends on the particulars such as the Speed Vac he had signed out for his vaccine work etc. with the former Zawahiri associate. And the consensus among the scientists most familiar with his work is that he could not have been the processor.

    But then Attorney Kissin hits the ball out of the park with this:

    “* Nadler asked how the FBI had eliminated those institutions as the culprits behind the attack. After invoking generalities to assure Nadler that the FBI had traced the anthrax back to Ivins’ vial (which didn’t answer the question),
    * (FBI Director Robert) Mueller’s response was this: I don’t know the answers to those questions as to how we eliminated Dugway and Battelle. I’ll have to get back to you at some point.
    ******
    Seven months went by before the FBI responded. Its response read:
    * “Using records associated with the flask, the FBI was able to track the transfer of sub samples from the flask located at USAMRIID to two other facilities.
    * Using various methods, the FBI investigated the two facilities that received samples from the parent flask and eliminated individuals from those facilities as suspects because, even if a laboratory facility had the equipment and personnel to make anthrax powder, this powder would not match the spores in the mailed envelopes if that lab had never received a transfer of anthrax from the parent flask.”

    It really is quite incredible that the US DOJ let this gobbledygook go out the door. It warrants a do-over.

    Anyone arguing about whether the product was “weaponized” without defining the term appears to be entirely missing the point. There have been wonderful presentations at National Academy of Sciences that point to use of silica in the culture medium to concentrate the anthrax. The evidence being presented supports the conclusion urged by WMD Chief Majidi at the press conference. When he uses the word “weaponized,” he is referring to the intentional addition of an additive added post-production to aid dispersability. The experts (e.g., Popov) agree that the silica was added intentionally whatever its purpose. There is no evidence that would warrant a contrary inference as to intent. Once the FBI produces the Log Notebook 4010, we will have a better understanding as to the source of the Silicon Signature in Ivins’ flask 1030 and better understand the implications. But to use the word “weaponized” without defining it and without placing it in the context of the Sandia’s wonderful powerpoints is not at all helpful.

    • DXer said

      “That’s what was briefed (according to one of my former weapons inspectors at UNSCOM) by the FBI to the German Foreign Ministry at the time .”

      Comment:

      David Kelly was told this, for one.

      “The current technology involving polyglass made of tightly bound hydrophilic silica referred to by Richard Spertzel (see above) is located in the spore coat.”

      This is the attorney’s unsupported assertion. What scientific study does he cite? What expert who has made aerosolized anthrax simulant supports this claim? Name one. I know of the conjecture of one scientist who is not a life scientist and who has never made an anthrax simulant or aerosolized anthrax.

      “My comment: The claim that spores could contain a “high” percentage of silicon as the result of a “natural occurrence” is absurd.]”

      This is the attorney’s assertion unsupported by reference to an expert’s supporting evidence. In such a long piece, there is ample room to cite support for such a critical assertion. Barry hasn’t even read the Murrell chapter. Given it is a critical point, and he is right that the undisclosed AFIP data does point to a high level of silica before centrifugation or other further processing, the point to emphasize concerns the withholding of the AFIP data and not the conclusory and unsupported statement.

      Bottom-line: He is right that there was a high level of silica in the AFIP data that then was removed through further processing. That supports and is consistent with Dr. Majidi’s suggestion that the silica was in the culture medium, even though not added POST-PROCESSING FOR THE PURPOSE OF AIDING DISPERSABILITY.

      When put in the culture medium, its purpose is to increase concentration.

      The Air Force lab shared data with me showing the silanizing agent in the fluid prior to drying led to similar SEMs.

      Attorney Kissin is correct that conflicts of interest must be avoided in the investigation. Avoiding conflicts of interest is necessary and presumes the individual’s good faith. Admittedly, biodefense was a narrow field and good help was hard to find.

      Dr. Majidi’s suggestion that other labs were not named because he didn’t want them to be bugged, while understandable, contributes to a lack of confidence in law enforcement due to the professed lack of transparency.

      Where there is transparency and avoidance of conflicts of interest, there will be rule of law.

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