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

* Glenn Greenwald … the case against Ivins doesn’t hold up, the anthrax attacks contributed to the war of choice in Iraq, and there is little apparent interest in learning the truth

Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 29, 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; an early discussion by the (fictional) DIA team investigation the FBI anthrax investigation …

“Let’s start with the assumption the Bureau is not dumb,” Sowickey began. “So that can’t be the excuse for the lamebrain way they conducted this supposedly high priority investigation. Nor can it explain the way they failed to establish links between pieces of information they clearly had. Nor why they hinted for years that Farmer (ie, Hatfill) was the perp and then gave him $5.8 mil to go away. There was, by the way, even less evidence implicating Dr. Farmer than there was on Dr. Ingram (ie, Ivins), which is close to nothing. After seven years.”

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

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the case against Ivins doesn’t hold up,

the anthrax attacks contributed to the war of choice in Iraq,

and there is little apparent interest in learning the truth

******

Glenn Greenwald writes for Salon (11-27-09) …

  • Yesterday, the British Ambassador to the U.S. in 2002 and 2003, Sir Christopher Meyer (who favored the war), 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.
  • 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 anthrax scare “steamed up” policy makers in Bush’s administration and helped swing attitudes against Saddam
  • the anthrax attack was exploited by leading media and political figures to gin up intense hostility towards Iraq.
  • 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.
  • 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.

read the entire article at … http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2009/11/27/anthrax/index.html

LMW COMMENT …

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My novel CASE CLOSED is all about the FBI’s purposeful failure to solve the anthrax case, specifically in order to allow it to be used as another lie in the argument for the war of choice in Iraq.

Is my story true? It’s a novel, but here’s what readers have to say …

  • “CASE CLOSED is entirely too plausible and is probably just the tip of the iceberg on what else was covered up.”
  • “Fiction?? Maybe?? But I don’t think so!! More likely an excellent interpretation of what may have really happened.”
  • CASE CLOSED is a must read for anyone who wondered … what really happened? … Who did it? … why?” … and finally, why didn’t they tell us the truth?”
  • “Please tell me it’s not true!”

Meanwhile, in the real world, the case remains unsolved, and the FBI remains intransigent.

Maybe when President Obama gets a minute to take on yet another issue, he will consider just how important it is to know who conducted a bio-terrorist strike at the U.S. and why the case remains unsolved.

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


******

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72 Responses to “* Glenn Greenwald … the case against Ivins doesn’t hold up, the anthrax attacks contributed to the war of choice in Iraq, and there is little apparent interest in learning the truth”

  1. miamibc said

    Dear Author caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com !
    You are mistaken. Write to me in PM, we will talk.

  2. DXer said

    U.S. to unveil biological threat strategy
    Administration affirms Bush stance against global monitoring

    By Mary Beth Sheridan and Spencer S. Hsu
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Wednesday, December 9, 2009

    The Obama administration has decided not to support a global monitoring system for biological weapons, a move that affirms an earlier determination by the Bush administration but that will disappoint some nonproliferation experts.

    The decision is reflected in the administration’s new strategy for countering biological threats, which is due out Wednesday, officials said. Its release comes amid growing concern about the number of nations — and potentially terrorists — developing the scientific expertise to create biological weapons.

    White House officials said the strategy includes an increased focus on international collaboration and on the prevention of biological attacks, as well as on the response to them. It is scheduled to be presented in Geneva by Undersecretary of State Ellen O. Tauscher at the annual meeting of countries that have forsworn germ-warfare agents under the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention.

    “We’ve got an approach that is looking at affirmative ways of engaging, trying to increase international collaboration and cooperation, and increasing resources to do that type of work,” said a senior White House official made available to speak on the condition of anonymity before the unveiling of the initiative.

    Still, the strategy is notable for what it doesn’t include: a way to enforce the Biological Weapons Convention. While the treaty has been ratified by 163 countries, it has no verification mechanism; experts speculate that countries such as North Korea could be cheating. A seven-year negotiating effort to create a compliance system collapsed in 2001 when the Bush administration abruptly rejected the draft protocol, saying it could lead to harassment of U.S. government laboratories and undermine U.S. regulations against exporting technology used in bioweapons.
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    The White House official said it makes no sense to spend years negotiating another enforcement mechanism that might not catch offenders taking advantage of the latest scientific techniques.

    “Things that were breakthroughs 10 years ago are now something you can do in your garage. That’s not a context in which verification is going to be very realistic or very effective,” the official said.

    Daryl Kimball, director of the Arms Control Association, said he was disappointed that the administration didn’t come up with a creative way to “put some teeth into” the convention. But many analysts were unsurprised.

    Randall J. Larsen, executive director of the congressionally chartered Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, praised the strategy’s emphasis on preventing biological attacks. He said the bipartisan commission, headed by former senators Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and James M. Talent (R-Mo.), determined that a verification regime could be achieved only at an unacceptable cost and unanimously supported the Bush position.

    The commission issued a report last December warning that an attack involving weapons of mass destruction, probably biological weapons, was more likely than not to occur somewhere in the world by the end of 2013.

    The new strategy, according to a copy obtained by The Washington Post, envisions increased U.S. assistance to countries to develop systems to detect and respond to outbreaks of infectious disease, whether from natural causes, like the H1N1 flu, or from the release of a germ agent. The plan calls for promoting international guidelines for the handling of high-risk pathogens and supporting countries’ efforts to criminalize the development of biological weapons.

    It also says the U.S. government will promote universal membership in the Biological Weapons Convention.

    On the domestic front, the strategy emphasizes improving intelligence on biological threats, enhancing policies to secure high-risk toxins and establishing better data-sharing among law enforcement and health professionals.

    “It is still important the United States has the policy and leads the international community in taking whatever actions can be done to prevent an attack,” despite the slim chances of success, Larsen said. “Understanding that it’s extremely improbable and difficult to do doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to do it.”

    • DXer said

      Obama Administration Takes a New Approach to Biological Weapons

      By MARK LANDLER
      Published: December 8, 2009

      WASHINGTON — The Obama administration plans to announce a new policy on Wednesday to curb the spread of biological weapons, but it will reaffirm the Bush administration’s opposition to an international regimen for verifying stockpiles of anthrax, smallpox and other agents.

      The policy, to be disclosed in a speech in Geneva by the undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, Ellen O. Tauscher, will focus on increasing health security to reduce the impact of outbreaks of infectious disease, whether natural or man-made, administration officials said Tuesday.

      The United States, these officials said, will pledge to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention, a 1975 treaty barring the development, production and stockpiling of biological and toxin weapons.

      But Ms. Tauscher will declare that the Obama administration does not support efforts to create a mechanism for monitoring compliance with the treaty because, a senior administration official said, supplies of biological weapons are “too difficult to verify.”

      In 2001, the Bush administration abruptly withdrew from lengthy negotiations to create a verification regimen. It cited, in part, the regulatory burdens that verification would place on the American pharmaceutical industry and on the military’s bio-defense research activities.

      Restarting those negotiations would also likely invite demands from Russia and Iran that could undermine the effectiveness of the broader treaty, according to experts on biological weapons.

      But the major hurdle, they said, is that biological weapons are simply harder to monitor than chemical or nuclear weapons. They can be produced in small labs, using equipment readily converted from peaceful uses, by a rapidly growing and mostly private biotechnology industry.

      “It’s almost beyond the capacity of traditional arms control, which is why they are proposing these alternative means,” said Jonathan B. Tucker, an expert on biological weapons at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. “They would deal with it with a lot of indirect measures.”

      Among these are joint law enforcement efforts and efforts to bolster surveillance of infectious-disease outbreaks.

      Mr. Tucker said the administration would face criticism for “not addressing the fundamental weakness of the convention.” At the same time, he said it was offering a comprehensive approach that emphasized working with other countries, in contrast to the Bush administration.

      The choice of Ms. Tauscher to unveil the policy underscores the administration’s emphasis on biological weapons as a tool for terrorists. A former House member from California, Ms. Tauscher was in Congress when letters containing anthrax were mailed to Senate offices in October 2001.

  3. DXer said

    ‘Home alone’ house arrest ordered for terror suspect, December 1, 2009

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/home-alone-house-arrest-ordered-for-terror-suspect/article1383572/

    The judge said CSIS and Crown witnesses “have adduced no independent evidence to support their position that a person with Mr. Mahjoub’s background cannot change.”

    “I am satisfied that Mr. Mahjoub’s lengthy detention has served to disrupt his contact and communication with extremist individuals or groups,” Judge Blanchard ruled. “I am also satisfied that the threat Mr. Mahjoub poses has been mitigated by his public exposure and by his constant supervision and control by the Canadian authorities.”

    Comment:

    As reported by the CIA to President Bush in an early February 2001 PDB, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad had threatened to use mailed anthrax if Mahmoud Mahjoub’s bail was denied. A bail hearing was announced in mid-January 2001. Mr. Mahjoub was the reputed #2 in the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (Vanguards of Conquest). Vanguards of Conquest is the military wing of the EIJ, consisting of EIJ members outside of Egypt. When Mahjoub’s bail was denied on October 5, 2001, mailed anthrax was sent to those deemed symbolically responsible for the rendition and mistreatment of the senior Movement leaders. The blind sheik’s lawyer had explained that Zawahiri would use aerosolized anthrax against US targets due to the constant rendition pressure on the Movement’s leaders. The anthrax letters had followed the pattern of the Al Hayat letter bombs to newspapers in DC and NYC and people in symbolic positions. For Senator Leahy’s perceive role in appropriations to security units, see the leading publication describing the law shortly before the mailing.

    The government officials, analysts and investigators who did not put this together should be reassigned or terminated — or should now get it right.

    • DXer said

      http://decisions.fct-cf.gc.ca/en/2009/2009fc1220/2009fc1220.html

      IN THE MATTER OF Mohamed Zeki Mahjoub.

      ***

      Background

      ***
      According to the summary of the Security Intelligence Report of June 27, 2000, prepared by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), Mr. Mahjoub was a high-ranking member of an Egyptian Islamic terrorist organization, the Vanguards of Conquest (VOC), a radical wing of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad or Al Jihad (AJ). According to the summary, AJ is one of the groups which split from Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood in the 1970’s to form a more extremist and militant organization which advocates the use of violence as a means of establishing an Islamic state in Egypt. Mr. Mahjoub is believed to have been a senior member of the governing council of the VOC. In 1999, he was convicted in Egypt in absentia for offences relating to the activities of the VOC, and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.

      In 2001, Mr. Justice Nadon determined that this certificate was reasonable (Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) v. Mahjoub, 2001 FCT 1095). Justice Nadon was satisfied on the evidence before him that there were reasonable grounds to believe that the AJ and the VOC had engaged in terrorism, and that there were reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. Mahjoub had been a member of both of these organizations.
      ***

      On February 22, 2008, a new security certificate was issued against Mr. Mahjoub pursuant to s. 77 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c. 27 (IRPA) and s. 7(3) of Bill C-3, an Act to Amend the Immigration & Refugee Protection Act, 2nd Sess., 39th Parl., 2007-2008. The reasonableness of the new certificate has yet to be determined.

      ***

      On March 17, 2009, Mr. Mahjoub advised the Court that his supervisors were withdrawing their undertakings. The Court convened an emergency hearing on March 18, 2009 at which time it heard evidence from Ms. El Fouli, Mr. El Fouli and Mr. Mahjoub. Mr. Mahjoub informed the Court that his wife and his stepson had decided that they did not wish to remain supervisors and sureties and that he and his family could no longer live with the stringent conditions of his release. Justice Noël, presiding at this special hearing, ensured that Mr. Mahjoub understood the consequences of these developments and that by no longer meeting the conditions of his release, he would be required to return into the custody of the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) (Canada (Citizenship and Immigration) v. Mahjoub, 2009 FC 439). Mr. Mahjoub returned into custody on March 18, 2009, and was placed once again at KIHC. Since that time Mr. Mahjoub has remained in detention and has been the sole detainee at KIHC. On June 1, 2009, Mr. Mahjoub began a hunger strike to protest the conditions of his detention.

      History of the Proceedings

      ***

      [15] On October 6, 2009, Mr. Mahjoub was provided with a redacted version of the Risk Assessment. Justice Layden-Stevenson had urged the CBSA to conduct such a personalized risk assessment of Mr. Mahjoub in the previous review of conditions of release (Mahjoub 4). She stated at paragraph 126 of her reasons:

      [A]n individualized risk assessment regarding Mr. Mahjoub should be conducted forthwith. Justice Mosley’s factual findings [in Mahjoub 3], combined with the Charkaoui 1 factors, demand no less.

      I note that at the time the Risk Assessment was ordered Mr. Mahjoub was not in detention. Mr. Mahjoub had initially requested that a witness be produced by the Ministers for the purpose of cross-examination on the Risk Assessment during this detention review. The Ministers advised that the author of the Risk Assessment was unavailable at the time he was initially required to attend. Even though the schedule of the hearing was extended beyond the initial period during which the witness was said to be unavailable, the witness was not produced. Instead, the Ministers informed the Court that they would not be relying on the Risk Assessment for the purposes of this detention review.

      [16] A new Threat Assessment of Mr. Mahjoub, dated October 7, 2009, was prepared by CSIS (the Threat Assessment). The Public Summary of the Threat Assessment of Mr. Mahjoub, dated October 12, 2009 (the Public Summary of the Threat Assessment) was made available to public counsel. Counsel for Mr. Mahjoub asked that a witness be produced for the purpose of cross-examination on the Public Summary of the Threat Assessment and its preparation. Counsel for the Ministers requested, pursuant to subsection 83(1)(c) of the IRPA, that the CSIS witness be heard in closed session, in the absence of Mr. Mahjoub and his counsel, on the grounds that the disclosure of information to be adduced by the witness could be injurious to national security or endanger the safety of any person. The witness was produced in closed session on October 19, 2009. The Court was satisfied that the CSIS witness could give evidence in public without injuring national security or endangering the safety of any person, as long as his identity was protected. The CSIS witness was produced in public session on October 26, 2009.
      ***

      [50] In Mr. Mahjoub’s case it was not argued that he would be unlikely to appear at any proceeding or for removal. Mr. Mahjoub’s detention and prior release on stringent conditions were necessitated by reason of the Ministers’ opinion that he poses a danger to national security or to the safety of any person. This review will therefore focus on the alleged threat posed by Mr. Mahjoub to national security or the safety of any person.
      ***

      … that the information before the Court gives rise, at the least, to an objectively reasonable suspicion that at the time of his detention and before that:

      1. Mr. Mahjoub was a high-ranking member of the VOC, which is a faction of the AJ.

      2. Mr. Mahjoub was a member of the Shura council of the VOC, and as such would normally participate in the decision-making process of that terrorist organization

      3. Mr. Mahjoub had engaged in terrorism. Sometime around 1996/1997 he became identified by the alias “Shaker.”

      4. Mr. Mahjoub had significant contacts with persons associated with international Islamic terrorism including Osama Bin Laden, Ahmad Said Khadr, Essam Hafez Marzouk, Ahmed Agiza, and Mubarak Al Duri. He also had contact with Mahmoud Jaballah. In view of the status of Mr. Jaballah’s proceedings in this Court, I make no finding or comment with respect to Mr. Jaballah’s alleged involvement in terrorist activities

      [120] Additionally, Justice Dawson highlighted public evidence that showed that Mr. Mahjoub had access to individuals who were very highly placed and influential in the Islamic extremist movement. The Court also relied on information provided by the Ministers in private. The Court concluded that this evidence was sufficient to establish that at that time Mr. Mahjoub posed a danger to national security:

      [125] It is clear from the evidence noted above that Mr. Mahjoub has in the past associated with persons linked to terrorist organizations. I would include in that category specifically Ahmed Said Khadr, Mubarak Al Duri, Essam Marzouk and Ahmed Agiza. While one of these individuals is now dead and two others are incarcerated in Egypt, it is not unreasonable to conclude that the Service is not aware of all of Mr. Mahjoub’s past extremist contacts.

      The Ministers’ position

      ***
      [56] The Ministers refer to Justice Nadon’s findings in Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) v. Mahjoub 2001 FCT 1095, at paragraphs 57, 59 and 67, to further support the position that Mr. Mahjoub is not credible in his disavowal. Overall, Justice Nadon had found Mr. Mahjoub not to be credible in his testimony for the following reasons: Mr. Mahjoub had admitted to having perjured himself, he had not told the truth with respect to his connection to Osama Ben Laden or Ahmad Said Kahdr or as to the identity of Mubarak Al-Duri.

      [57] The Ministers also note that Mr. Mahjoub did not initially disavow Islamic extremism, and did so only after Justice Dawson took this to be a factor weighing against Mr. Mahjoub’s release from detention (Mahjoub 2).

      Mr. Mahjoub’s position

      [58] Mr. Mahjoub accepts Justice Mosley’s findings on danger, solely for the purpose of this detention review, with the caveat that the following factors be taken into consideration: Justice Mosley’s findings arose from a constitutionally-deficient process and these findings must be considered in light of the passage of time. Also, in relation to the danger he poses, Mr. Mahjoub argues that he has disavowed Islamic extremism, and that the allegations against him relate mostly to his associations with Islamic extremists but that there is no evidence that such associations are viable today. Lastly, he argues that the methodology used to produce the Public Summary of the Threat Assessment is lacking.

      Analysis
      ***

      Mr. Mahjoub’s position

      [65] Mr. Mahjoub argues that, due to his length of time in detention and under conditions of release, the danger he poses has significantly diminished, in particular because there has been a disruption to his contact with Islamic extremists. In relation to the onus on the government, Mr. Mahjoub submits that the Ministers have not met the higher onus imposed upon them, and that the Ministers’ assessment of the threat posed by Mr. Mahjoub does not take into consideration the changes that have occurred with the passage of time. Each of these arguments will be examined in turn.

      [66] Mr. Mahjoub submits that the total period of detention of seven years must be taken into account, in addition to the period of two years in which he was under stringent conditions of release. According to Mr. Mahjoub, this is a sufficiently long period of time to support a conclusion that he has been cut off from whatever associations with extremist groups he may have had. Mr. Mahjoub notes that, in the previous review of the conditions of release in March 2009, Justice Layden-Stevenson recognized that Mr. Mahjoub’s detention for seven years was to be considered a lengthy detention resulting in the disruption of contact and communication with extremist individuals or groups (Mahjoub 4, para. 58).

      [67]In relation to the disruption of contacts, Mr. Mahjoub also submits that his ongoing control by the Canadian authorities and the publicity of his case for a period of close to ten years significantly reduces chances that he would be contacted by Islamic extremists. Mr. Mahjoub relies on Justice Nöel’s decision in Harkat at paragraph 86:

      That said, it is difficult to imagine what interest an organization falling under the umbrella of the BLN [terrorist organization Mr. Harkat is alleged to have belonged to], would have in somebody who has been the subject of ongoing control by Canadian authorities for more than ten years? This Court also wonders, for example, who would approach such an individual with such a high media profile? How could an organization consider asking somebody with such a high profile to undertake secret activities? The Court does not have an answer to these questions, but they are obvious questions in the mind of a decision maker who must assess the danger posed by an individual released under conditions aimed at neutralizing such danger. Proportionality is an instrument that requires the adaptation of the two factors (danger and conditions) to a changing reality. Circumstances are not frozen; they evolve over time.”

      [68] In terms of the onus on the government, Mr. Mahjoub argues that the government has not met the higher evidentiary burden imposed on it by virtue of Charkaoui 1. The principal allegations against Mr. Mahjoub relate to his associations with Islamic extremists and terrorists, however the Ministers have not presented evidence that these alleged associations are viable today. Mr. Mahjoub argues that other than Mr. Jaballah, who is himself subject to stringent conditions of release, it would appear that all of his other alleged contacts are not in Canada, are detained, or are dead. (Ahmed Agiza, Ahmed Hassan Badiya, Essam Hafez Marzouk are said to be detained in Egpyt, the whereabouts of Mamdoh Mahmoub Salim and Mubarak Al-Duri are unknown and Ahmad Said Khadr is dead).

      ***

      [74] In relation to contacts with Islamic extremists, the Ministers argue that the threat exists that Mr. Mahjoub would re-initiate contact with Islamic extremists. The Ministers maintain that most of Mr. Mahjoub’s contacts prior to his initial incarceration were individuals associated with the international Islamic terrorist milieu, especially individuals linked to the AJ/VOC, and that Mr. Mahjoub may presently have contacts in this milieu that CSIS is unaware of. The Ministers rely on the evidence of Mr. Guay, a CSIS witness adduced before Justice Layden-Stevenson (Mahjoub 4). Mr. Guay testified to the effect that, if Mr. Mahjoub was allowed to be home alone, he would be able to ascertain ways to contact people or have them contact him.

      [75] The Ministers also rely on Mr. Guay’s testimony to explain the nature of the threat that would result from Mr. Mahjoub’s renewed contact with Islamic extremists. According to Mr. Guay’s testimony, once in communication with other individuals in the milieu, Mr. Mahjoub would be able to provide: “support, encouragement and gravitas to the issue [Islamic extremism] based on his previous activities and connections” (Mahjoub 4, para. 85). The Ministers also argue that, other than ideological support, Mr. Mahjoub could provide support to Islamic extremists based on his terrorist skill set. More specifically, counsel for the Ministers stated:

      Mr. Mahjoub knows about pursuit of clandestine communication. He could provide a lynchpin, a missing link some of these people might be missing in terms of just not being able to finally calibrate their terrorist activity, based on his previous experience. So it doesn’t just go to ideological beliefs.

      Comment: While I don’t have an opinion on Mr. Mahjoub’s release, and wish him well, the judge’s analysis is contradicted by the counter-example of blind sheik Abdel-Rahman.

      In defense of his position on bail, is clandestine communication really, without more, something to concern one’s self with? In the case of blind sheik Abdel-Rahman, it was not communication by itself that was the concern. It was the fact that VOC members were hanging on the blind sheik’s word — his approval. So the more important question relates to whether Mahjoub’s former status on the shura rises to that level. Given that the CSIS had foolishly allowed an unexplained DSL connection in his home previously, the main difference now is that in the event of a mass attack or targeted assassination deemed approved by Mahjoub, his family (he reasons) won’t be under CSIS’s thumb.

      Someone should point out to Mr. Mahjoub the $2.5 million reward for Amerithrax for which he and his family would be eligible. There’s no reason he cannot make a truly fresh start. The anthrax mailings violated shariah and thus setting things straight would be in furtherance of shariah. There is also, for example, a $5 million reward outstanding for the Al Hayat letter bombs for which he is also eligible.

      • DXer said

        Mahjoub was a member of the so-called “Canadian cell” connected to Khadr. The leader of the London EIJ cell (Adel Abdel Bary) was issuing fatwas from prison disputing the reformist criticism of EIJ old guard detained in Cairo.

        Islamists ‘promote jihad in jail’

        http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8361440.stm

        “In 2008 and 2009, two of the most prominent Arab jihadists imprisoned in the UK released pro-jihadist propaganda and fatwas from within Long Lartin prison.

        “Adel Abdel Bary, a leader of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, produced written pro-jihadist tracts from within prison aiming to refute criticism of al-Qaeda, while Abu Qatada issued fatwas from within prison which legitimised jihadist attacks worldwide.”

        Mid-Worcestershire MP Peter Luff, whose constituency includes Long Lartin, plans to raise the report’s findings with Home Secretary Alan Johnson and Justice Secretary Jack Straw.
        ‘Deeply dangerous’

        Mr Luff said: “In my view the courts have, in the past, failed to protect us by allowing the release of dangerous individuals from Long Lartin and other prisons, and by delaying the deportation of many others.

        “While these deeply dangerous men remain in British custody, we must be absolutely confident that they can do no harm – and these revelations suggest we cannot be confident of that.

        “The government must move quickly to address the exceptionally serious issues this report raises.”

        Comment: How could UK allow such a messed up extradition system?

  4. DXer said

    USAMRIID has denied a request for the EDX data under FOIA.

    Excerpt:

    “High (b)(2) “has come to play an essential role in providing necessary protection of information or impede the effectiveness of an agency’s law enforcement activities.”

    “The harm in this case would be the disclosure of data which could lead to the identification of highly sensitive security information….”

    “FOIA Exemption (b)(7)(a) prohibits disclosure that would interfere with an ongoing law enforcement investigation.”

    FWIW, I posted the data, which was leaked, some months ago.

    I wrote to Deputy Legal Counsel Cash on the separate issue of the emails they are not producing:

    “There are 1,000 pages of emails by Bruce Ivins that have been processed but not produced.

    Shouldn’t they either be produced or production denied on whatever basis is deemed to apply?

    Denying the request as “high (b)(2) information” or (b)(7)(a) would seem reasonable but simply failing to provide them after no exemption was claimed in the Fall of 2008
    — and without at least invoking the exemption now — seems the wrong approach.

    It thwarts the right of the requester’s appeal.

    Thanks for your consideration of the issue.

    I think of Amerithrax as being the Ft. Hood shooter situation with the FOIA people at EPA and USAMRIID being the ones standing in the way of the dots being connected.”

  5. DXer said

    Question: Why prior to 9/11 did you not need a security clearance to work with virulent Ames?

    If someone funded by the military refuses to respond to questions and provide the documents requested under FOIA — such as what they did with the virulent Ames that Bruce Ivins supplied, when precisely the research was done etc — the funding should terminate and any FOIA officer who failed to produce requested documents should find other work. Here, a former Zawahiri associate, whose lifelong family friend was Egyptian Islamic Jihad and recruited by Ayman Zawahiri, was supplied virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins.

    http://www.stripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=66486

    None of that behavior exhibited by the accused Fort Hood shooter, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, in the weeks and months before the deadly Nov. 5 rampage went unnoticed. But much of it went unreported, and no single individual or agency appears to have possessed more than slivers of the bigger picture.

    Now, as the results of the first of several federal probes into missed signals in the Fort Hood case circulate inside the White House, outside experts are coming to their own conclusions. They believe excessive political correctness, a lack of understanding of Islam and holes in Army guidelines for spotting extremists in the ranks all contributed to the failure to identify ominous warning signs in Hasan’s case.

    “With 20/20 hindsight it’s easy to say there should have been indicators,” said Zachary Lockman, professor of Middle Eastern studies and history at New York University. “But some people may have been reluctant because others would see it as going after him for being Muslim. Others might have identified all of Islam with extremism, so they didn’t see anything unusual.”

    The reluctance to voice concerns about Hasan’s behavior “suggests we need a better understanding of the difference between mainstream Muslims and the more radical, extreme elements,” Lockman said.
    ***
    “You have to be educated to be able to tell if something is cynicism, sarcasm or really an indication of hostile intent,” he said.
    ***
    The Army does have guidelines for identifying “extremist” elements within its ranks. But retired Gen. John Keane, a former Army vice chief of staff, told Congress last month that the guidelines gloss over religious extremists, focusing instead on gangs and white supremacist groups.

    “Radical Islam, in my opinion, is a transformational issue and the most significant threat facing our country today,” he told a Senate panel. “We must espouse diversity, but at the same time we must know what the threat looks like, too.”

    Brandes said that even though diversity is properly embraced, the Army needs to recognize it might “create a problem of allegiance.”

    Soldiers who are conflicted about their role in the U.S. military and another aspect of their identity — in this case, religion — might feel as if they are in a position where they have to chose sides, he said.

    Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Vt., as chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee has pledged to examine whether the Army extremism guidelines — last revised in 2000 — need to be updated.
    ***
    “Those who need clearance or are in the Special Forces are constantly re-evaluated because of the sensitive nature of what they do, but that scrutiny doesn’t really apply to the majority of soldiers and staff in military,” he said.
    ***
    The message also included a list of “potential terrorist activity” that must be reported to authorities immediately, including soldiers’ known ties to terrorist groups, statements advocating violence against the country, visits to questionable Web sites with terrorism themes and purchase of bomb-making materials.

    The only item on the list that might have applied to Hasan before the Fort Hood shootings was one warning about soldiers using “repeated expressions of hatred and intolerance of American society.”

    Brandes said that to catch an internal threat, soldiers need to be told to engage questionable behavior with follow-up questions — something he said Hasan’s behavior should have prompted.

    ***
    “What [the Army] is aiming for is objective criteria to identify problems, which is good. It can’t just be based on one religion. It has to be a reasonable person test, and then you have to take some action if there’s a reason for concern.”

    • DXer said

      Did the FBI interview Heba Al-Zawahiri? If not, why not?

      It shouldn’t be necessary to ask but the FBI did not interview Yazid Sufaat until November 2002, nearly a year after his capture — and even then the President says they did not learn the extent of the anthrax planning and work he had done.

  6. DXer said

    Dr David Kelly: doctors start legal action for new inquest
    Six senior doctors have begun legal action to force a new inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly, the scientist who died days after being exposed as the source of a controversial BBC story on the Iraq war.

    Dec 5, 2009

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/6735670/Dr-David-Kelly-doctors-start-legal-action-for-new-inquest.html

  7. DXer said

    Global Security Engagement: A New Model for Cooperative Threat Reduction

    http://www.nap.edu/catalog/12583.html

  8. DXer said

    It was a DARPA project for which Dr. Ivins had signed out a lyophilizer. Check out what Michael says about anthrax!

    The Department of Mad Scientists: How DARPA Is Remaking Our World, from the … (Harper Collins 2009)
    By Michael Belfiore

    The first-ever inside look at DARPA-the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency-the maverick and controversial group whose futuristic work has had amazing civilian and military applications, from the Internet to GPS to driverless carsAmerica’s greatest idea factory isn’t Bell Labs, Silicon Valley, or MIT’s Media Lab. It’s the secretive, Pentagon-led agency known as DARPA. Founded by Eisenhower in response to Sputnik and the Soviet space program, DARPA mixes military officers with sneaker-wearing scientists, seeking paradigm-shifting ideas in varied fields-from energy, robotics, and rockets to peopleless operating rooms, driverless cars, and planes that can fly halfway around the world in just hours. DARPA gave birth to the Internet, GPS, and mind-controlled robotic arms. Its geniuses define future technology for the military and the rest of us.Michael Belfiore was given unprecedented access to write this first-ever popular account of DARPA. Visiting research sites across the country, he watched scientists in action and talked to the creative, fearlessly ambitious visionaries working for and with DARPA. Much of DARPA’s work is classified, and this book is full of material that has barely been reported in the general media. In fact, DARPA estimates that only 2 percent of Americans know much of anything about the agency. This fascinating read demonstrates that DARPA isn’t so much frightening as it is inspiring-it is our future.

    • DXer said

      It doesn’t have anything on anthrax but does start at John Hopkins Applied Physics Lab at page 14 where J.E. supplied the aerosoiized Ames that DARPA had requested.

  9. DXer said

    Following the example of the Japanese, Al Qaeda has done some planning to distribute anthrax by balloons and so the DARPA Red Balloon experiment illustrates how quickly through networking they could be identified. The MIT Team did very well. Ham radio operators historically have trained regularly for such emergency response but may have been passed by in an age of Twitter and Facebook.

    It was in November that it was reported by The Economist that the “House of Anthrax” had been found. Documents found by journalists in November 2001 at a villa in Kabul occupied by UTN suggested brainstorming seminars on anthrax had been held to include diagrams suggestive of a plan to use a helium-filled balloon to disperse anthrax across a wide area. The nondescript two-story villa occupied by the Pakistani aid group was in a quiet residential neighborhood of Kabul where a number of international charities were located. One downloaded document had the picture of former Secretary Cohen holding up a 5 pound bag of sugar. There were details about the U.S. military’s vaccination program downloaded from a Defense Department site on the Internet and other Defense Department documents relating to anthrax. There were 10 copies each of most of the documents. On the floor, there was what appeared to be a disassembled rocket alongside a helium canister, as well as two bags of powder. A detailed diagram scrawled in black felt tip pen on a white board shows what appears to be a balloon rising at various trajectories, alongside a fighter jet that is apparently shooting at the balloon. Beside the jet are the words, “You are dead, bang.” (This is why the common point about the language of the letters “You die now” being too simple is seriously uninformed intelligence analysis).

    There were also pictures of ground missiles linked by lines to the balloon. Mathematical calculations indicated the height at which the balloon would fly, the distance from which it would be shot down and the area over which its contents would be dispersed. Beside one of the balloons is the word “polystyrene” and beside another the word “cyanide.” Loose sheets of paper containing scribbles of missiles and balloons were strewn around the house, indicating those attending the seminar had been taking notes and doing calculations. Although people can reasonably disagree on the conclusion to be drawn of the drawing on the white board showing aerial dispersal of anthrax by balloon, the drawings should be understood in the context of Ayman’s research and reading on the subject. One email from Ayman to Atef lists Peace or Pestilence as one of the books he had read. (The author argued that said science should combat disease, not find devious ways to spread it. That book included a description of the Japanese research on anthrax leading up to WW II and the US concern that anthrax was being dispersed by balloons being sent to the US on high hot air currents. Unit 731 experimented extensively with anthrax bombs and hot-air balloons filled with the deadly disease. In late 1944, aerosol scientists at Ft. Detrick (then known as Camp Detrick) were alarmed when news of some large balloons, as large as 150 feet around, had been sighted silently floating over populated areas. Within a few months, over 250 balloons had been discovered in nine western states. The balloons are known only to have been armed with an incendiary device and killed and injured only a very few people.

    Here, in the DARPA experiment, it took the MIT Team only 9 hours to identify all 100 balloons.

    99 red balloons (lyrics)


    99 red balloons floating in the summer sky
    Panic bells, it’s red alert
    There’s something here from somewhere else
    The war machine it springs to life
    Opens up one eager eye
    Focusing it on the sky
    As 99 red balloons go by.

    99 Decision Street, 99 ministers meet
    Dont worry, You worry, super-scurry
    Call out the troops now in a hurry
    This is what we’ve waited for
    This is it boys, this is war
    The president is on the line
    As 99 red balloons go by.

    Matches and gasoline cans
    Thought they were smart people
    Already smelled fat prey
    Called: war and wanted power
    man who would have thought
    That it could come so far
    because of 99 balloons )

    99 dreams I have had
    In every one a red balloon
    It’s all over and I’m standin’ pretty
    In the dust that was a city
    If I could find a souvenir
    Just to prove the world was here…
    And here it is, a red balloon
    I think of you and let it go.

  10. DXer said

    December 5, 2009

    MIT RED BALLOON TEAM WINS DARPA NETWORK CHALLENGE

    The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has announced that the MIT Red Balloon Challenge Team won the $40,000 cash prize in the DARPA Network Challenge, a competition that required participants to locate 10 large, red balloons at undisclosed locations across the United States. The MIT team received the prize for being the first to identify the locations of all 10 balloons.

    “The Challenge has captured the imagination of people around the world, is rich with scientific intrigue, and, we hope, is part of a growing ‘renaissance of wonder’ throughout the nation,” said DARPA director, Dr. Regina E. Dugan.

    “DARPA salutes the MIT team for successfully completing this complex task less than 9 hours after balloon launch.”

    DARPA announced the Network Challenge to mark the 40th anniversary of the ARPANet, pre-cursor to today’s Internet, to explore how broad-scope problems can be tackled using social networking tools. The Challenge explores basic research issues such as mobilization, collaboration, and trust in diverse social networking constructs and could serve to fuel innovation across a wide spectrum of applications.

    DARPA plans to meet with teams to review the approaches and strategies used to build networks, collect information, and participate in the Challenge.

    DARPA is the central research and development organization for the Department of Defense (DoD). The Agency manages and directs research and development projects for DoD and pursues research and technology where the risk and payoff are both very high and where success may provide dramatic advances in support of military missions.

    “We need a renaissance of wonder. We need to renew, in our hearts and in our souls, the deathless dream, the eternal poetry, the perennial sense that life is miracle and magic.” — E. Merrill Root

    Comment:

    For example, mobilization, collaboration and trust in social networking constructs can serve innovation in “open source” intelligence analysis. A new edition of ANTHRAX AND AL QAEDA: THE INFILTRATION OF US BIODEFENSE is being released this afternoon incorporating new input. The analysis will be revised on an ongoing basis as people add their information and documents. New information will be freely shared.

    ANTHRAX AND AL QAEDA: THE INFILTRATION OF US BIODEFENSE

    http://www.blurb.com/user/store/RossGetman

    • DXer said

      While depending on the kindness of strangers in solving a tough problem is a fine strategy if it is the only one available, any such strategy ultimately will still want to prioritize finding the crtical social network “face-to-face” hubs that are ideally situated (for example, by reason of travel and exposure to a variety of influential social networks). Such a hub will need to have a high level of trust among the targeted social network to speed communications and overcome the entrenched barriers to communication of information inherent in bureaucracies. Otherwise, information does not begin to speed until after a crisis occurs (“the 20/20 hindsight problem”) — which is too late.

      Background:

      “An Empty Research Vessel?

      The research might help with mobilizing large groups of people during emergencies, according to Phil Howard, associate professor in the department of communications at the University of Washington. Otherwise, however, he’s a little worried that the DARPA Challenge could end up with little more than — wait for it — hot air.

      “I understand the goal, but I’m not sure it’s going to be very revealing,” Howard told TechNewsWorld. “One of the things we know from social research is that the networks you see in social networking applications almost always follow existing face-to-face ties. It’s actually fairly rare that you find meaningful relationships that are only online. This project seems to be one about starting those online-only relationships.”

      It’s possible that contestants with hundreds of Facebook friends could mobilize their networks and use the many pairs of eyes that come with them to hunt for the balloons. However, would they be scattered wide enough to cover the contiguous 48 states? Sooner or later, the contestants might have to depend on the kindness of strangers, along with some luck, to track down all the balloons.”

      Social Networkers to Chase Red Balloons for $40K Prize

      Renay San Miguel
      TechNewsWorld
      12/02/09 8:41 AM PT

      DARPA hopes to gain insights on how people use communication technologies and online social networks cooperatively to solve problems by holding a nationwide balloon hunt contest. Participants will have a matter of days to discern the longitude/latitude locations of 10 giant, red weather balloons that DARPA will place in various locations around the U.S.

      In the 1956 Oscar-winning short film “The Red Balloon,” it was the balloon that did all the chasing of a little French boy. This weekend, you can turn the tables on the helium-filled children’s playthings as part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and its Network Challenge — a race to be the first to find the locations of 10 red balloons somewhere in the continental U.S.

      However, unlike the cable-friendly antics of a certain notorious Colorado family, this balloon chase is on the up-and-up. The winners get US$40,000 and the ability to help DARPA with its research into the effects of the Internet and social networks on group behavior.

      The Challenge’s start date — Dec. 5 — marks the 40th anniversary of the first message sent across the ARPANET, a predecessor of the global Internet. DARPA is, of course, the Pentagon-related agency that first gave us that granddaddy of today’s Web.

      “In the 40 years since this breakthrough, the Internet has become an integral part of society and the global economy,” said DARPA’s Regina E. Dugan. “The DARPA Network Challenge explores the unprecedented ability of the Internet to bring people together to solve tough problems.”

      The Details

      The balloons are the targets, and the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, smartphones and other forms of communication and technology are the tools DARPA wants used to track them down. As stated on the DARPA Web site, the Network Challenge is “a competition that will explore the roles the Internet and social networking play in the timely communication, wide-area team-building, and urgent mobilization required to solve broad-scope, time-critical problems.”

      Nobody will have to get airborne to find the balloons. DARPA says they’ll be moored in easy-to-access locations, and the 8-feet-in-diameter weather balloons will be visible from nearby roads. They’ll be floated into their positions beginning at 10 a.m. EST Dec. 5 with DARPA representatives standing by to watch the fun, and they’ll remain in place until 4 p.m. local time. Contestants will have until noon EST Dec. 14 to provide the longitudes and latitudes of each balloon.

      The Challenge is open to participants of all ages worldwide. DARPA is once again trying to harness the kind of innovative thinking that sparked previous challenges aimed at developing truly independent robot vehicles. In 2004, a Stanford team won $2 million by building a Volkswagen that was able to find its way through 100-plus miles of rugged terrain by itself.

      An Empty Research Vessel?

      The research might help with mobilizing large groups of people during emergencies, according to Phil Howard, associate professor in the department of communications at the University of Washington. Otherwise, however, he’s a little worried that the DARPA Challenge could end up with little more than — wait for it — hot air.

      “I understand the goal, but I’m not sure it’s going to be very revealing,” Howard told TechNewsWorld. “One of the things we know from social research is that the networks you see in social networking applications almost always follow existing face-to-face ties. It’s actually fairly rare that you find meaningful relationships that are only online. This project seems to be one about starting those online-only relationships.”

      It’s possible that contestants with hundreds of Facebook friends could mobilize their networks and use the many pairs of eyes that come with them to hunt for the balloons. However, would they be scattered wide enough to cover the contiguous 48 states? Sooner or later, the contestants might have to depend on the kindness of strangers, along with some luck, to track down all the balloons.

      In that respect, Howard sees parallels with separate experiments, also some 40 years apart. In the first, a Columbia University sociologist purposely sent letters to the wrong addresses to see who would reroute the mail to the right people. Recently, a University of Pennsylvania professor did the same thing with emails, trying to determine the altruistic nature of Americans who would forward the emails to the right address.

      In each case, the studies were more concerned about social behaviors than the technologies involved in the experiments. With DARPA’s challenge, the winners may have to give up something valuable in return to a Pentagon-based agency, Howard said.

      “That might be the interesting research question here,” he noted. “In a time of crisis, how do Americans use the Internet to solve a collective action problem? How would that test their networks? You might get some answers to that question if people were willing to surrender information about their social networks as the end of this game.”

      • DXer said

        Ideally, the organizer of the social network will be known to be working in the public interest so as to help break down secrecy commonly associated with competitive or self-interested strategies (such as “I’ll pop the balloon if I see it and thus be the only one who knows the location of the 10th balloon, thus increasing the value of the information”).

        At some level, the organizer, however, will have to appeal to the self-interest of others (even if only shared patriotism or altruism).

        And all disincentives to sharing information must be worked around.

        • DXer said

          To promote trust, deception should be avoided. Simply don’t say things that are not true or unverified. For example, using code (or embedding information in pictures) will only lead to distrust and destroy the promoted sharing. At the very least, if any steganography or code is going to be used, use pictures of little duckies or quote Ralph Waldo Emerson so as to further the DARPA mission of instilling a renaissance of wonder.

          “We need a renaissance of wonder. We need to renew, in our hearts and in our souls, the deathless dream, the eternal poetry, the perennial sense that life is miracle and magic.” — E. Merrill Root

          http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1009668

          http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1039100

          http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1042315

          Case study:

          If you learn that maybe Dutch Schultz $7 treasure of cash, bonds, gold and diamonds (now $50 million) was hid not in Phoenicia, NY along the Esopus, but instead hid in Norwalk CT not far from 3 Marian Ave. where he spent 10 days while on trial in Syracuse for tax evasion (after having loaded up his loot in Bridgeport), post it on the internet hoping to find someone from near CT who can go look in the nearby park.

          Unsolved Mysteries – Dutch Schultz treasure

    • DXer said

      http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2009/12/01/2139419.aspx

      “The most innovative ideas we probably haven’t heard about yet, because there is an incentive to keep them secret,” said Peter Lee, director of the Transformational Convergence Technology Office (“Tick-toe”) at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

      DARPA is known for delving into way-out ideas, ranging from robo-cars to teleportation. It’s no wonder that Michael Belfiore’s newly published book about the agency is titled “The Department of Mad Scientists.”

      ***

      Trickery, secrecy and deception may also be used to throw off rivals. Mssv.net’s Adrian Hon says that putting up fake balloons, making false reports or even destroying balloons after they’re found will likely be part of the game. “I predict a veritable firehose of false positives being entered into the Network Challenge,” he wrote.

      Whom do you trust? How do you reward your collaborators without encouraging misinformation and double-crossing? How do you take advantage of open information systems without disclosing too much to potential rivals? All these questions have obvious implications for the military, and for international civil society as well.

      Collaborative networks are already coming into play on national security issues.

  11. DXer said

    Boston:
    Feds, MBTA hold bioterror drill

    http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1216851&pos=breaking

  12. DXer said

    Fort Detrick researcher may be sick from lab bacteria (tularemia)
    December 5, 2009 –

    http://www.wtop.com/?nid=25&sid=1831256

  13. DXer said

    In today’s news –

    Top threat, ignored
    The risk of bioterrorism is huge, a new report makes clear.

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bal-op.bioterrorism04dec04,0,4169342.story

    Napolitano Toughens Language on Domestic Terrorism
    By Catherine Herridge –

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/12/03/napolitano-toughens-language-domestic-terrorism/

  14. DXer said

    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.”

  15. DXer said

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

    Dr. Alibek testified before the House Armed Services Committee Oversight Panel on Terrorism again in May 2000 about the issue of proliferation of biological weapons. He explained: “Terrorists interested in biological weapons are on the level of state-sponsored terrorist organizations such as that of Osama bin Laden; on the level of large, independent organizations such as Aum Shinrikyo; or on the level of individuals acting alone or in concert with small radical organizations.” Dr. Alibek in 2003 told me he knew Ali was a hardliner. More recently he described Ali as a fanatic. Dr. Alibek explained to the Congressional Committee in May 2000: “When most people think of proliferation, they imagine weapons export. In the case of biological weapons, they picture international smuggling either of ready-made weapons material, or at least of cultures of pathogenic microorganisms. However, this area of proliferation is of the least concern. Even without such assistance, a determined organization could obtain virulent strains of microorganisms from their natural reservoirs (such as soil or animals), from culture libraries that provide such organisms for research purposes, or by stealing cultures from legitimate laboratories.” American Type Culture Collection, the largest microbiologist depository in the world, co-sponsored Ali’s bioinformatics program. Dr. Alibek explained: “The proliferation issue is particularly complex for biological weapons. In many cases, the same equipment and knowledge that can be used to produce biological weapons can also be used to produce legitimate biotechnological products.”

    By 2001, Al-Timimi was allowed access to the most diverse microbiological repository in the world and allowed to work alongside staff at the DARPA-funded Center for Biodefense. The Center for Biodefense personnel were working under the largest biodefense award in history. Delta (avirulent) Ames was supplied by NIH. The scientist who was the former collections scientist at the Bacteriology Division of ATCC is the one guiding the presentation of the FBI’s evidence to the National Academy of Sciences. Given the importance of the Silicon Signature to correct analysis of Amerithrax — whatever that may be — he should recuse himself to avoid any appearance that a concern for civil liability influenced analysis. Documents are currently being withheld by the FBI from the National Academy of Sciences that should not be withheld. The scientist’s good faith is not in question. Not at all. But it is always imperative to avoid such conflicts in scientific analysis. There currently is a $50 million civil lawsuit relating to distribution and lax control of virulent Ames strain. As the collections scientist at the ATCC Bacteriology Division, he would be potentially subject to being named individually. That constitutes a very substantial conflict of interest — sharpened by the fact that the evidence against Ivins disclosed to date doesn’t pass the giggle test.

  16. DXer said

    Some day, a PhD thesis will be written exploring and comparing the Bush Administration and the Obama Administration response to allegations that US biodefense had been infiltrated — and the FBI’s role in investigating the same.

    For example, a 2006 thesis addresses

    Soviet espionage in the United States, 1945 to 1953 and the response of the Truman Administration
    Swickard, Lawrence D.. Proquest Dissertations And Theses 2006. Missouri: University of Central Missouri; 2006.

    “Soviet intelligence successfully penetrated American defense industries, the Manhattan Project, and American government during the Second World War and into the postwar era. Yet as this thesis argues warnings by Soviet defectors and informants within the Communist Party went largely ignored by the American government including the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Soviet defections in 1946, and the realization that Communist spies had acquired America’s most closely guarded secret, the atomic bomb, compelled the FBI and the rest of the American counter intelligence community to respond in order to determine the extent to which American security had been compromised. As a result of these investigations and subsequent revelations, it was at last understood that Soviet intelligence had penetrated the American government. Yet it is the contention of this thesis that even after the extent of Soviet espionage became known to some degree, the Truman Administration appears to have either not take the warnings seriously or responded by downplaying the threat. Previous scholarship has not addressed what Truman knew or why he failed to act when apprised of the true threat posed by Soviet intelligence. Investigation of primary source documents indicates that President Truman was made aware of the threat and extent of Soviet espionage by late 1946. The available evidence suggests….”

    How did the FBI address allegations that US biodefense had been infiltrated? We don’t really know. We saw them good things happen highlighted by a lot of confusion and some bad things.

    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 found money and equipment in Rauf Ahmad’s luggage as he left the September 2000 conference.

    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 to Zawahiri 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.

    An earlier handwritten letter from Rauf Ahmad to 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.

    One of the few things we do know is the US Attorney in Denver canceled the arrest warrant of Anwar Awlaki on or about October 9, 2002. The public deserves to know more. The Obama Administration should live up to its promise of greater transparency and accountability. It may be that a request was made through diplomatic channels and it was a deemed a minor visa issue. Or perhaps the opportunity to conduct surveillance was deemed to be more important. Perhaps both reasons applied. But the explanation and full account should be given seven years later in light of the Ft. Hood shooting matter.

  17. Anonymous Scientist said

    Can’t resist making another post on the analogy between the climate debate and the internet debate on the science of the anthrax attacks. Many of the tricks below are ones we’ve all seen a certain obsessive individual play ad nauseum.
    Maybe Joe Michael should create a website called “Real anthrax”.

    http://www.populartechnology.net/2009/07/truth-about-realclimateorg.html

    RealClimate.org is assumed by those who do not know any better to be an “objective” source on climate change. It features activist scientists with degrees in Geology, Geosciences, Mathematics, Oceanography and Physics who are all self proclaimed “climatologists”. Yet skeptical scientists with equivalent credentials are not (probably because they have not proclaimed it). Essentially the site exists to promote global warming alarm-ism and attack anyone who does not agree with their declaration of doomsday (proven of course by their own computer climate models) and the need for government intervention against the life supporting, atmospheric trace gas, carbon dioxide. Standard operating procedure is to post “rebuttals” to everything they disagree with and then declare victory, making sure to censor comments challenging their position. It doesn’t matter if they actual rebutted any of the science or facts just so long as they provide the existence of a criticism. This gives their fanboys “ammunition” to further promote alarmist propaganda across the Internet (and of course declare victory). Their resident propagandist William Connolley’s job is to edit dissent and smear skeptical scientists on Wikipedia. In the world of global warming alarmist “science” pretending you win is apparently all that matters because in real debates they lose. The truth is that RealClimate.org is an environmentalist shill site directly connected to an eco-activist group, Environmental Media Services and Al Gore but they don’t want you to know that.

  18. DXer said

    When I emailed Anwar Aulaqi many, many months ago to ask him his views on Amerithrax, I don’t recall whether his website was in Arabic or English. I think Arabic or else I would remember something about its content and added it to my text. I knew he was fluent in English and so seeing the website in Arabic would not have prevented the email. As I recall, he came back to the US in October 2002, which was the month that Al-Timimi had a letter in the name of Bin Laden’s sheik hand-delivered to every member of Congress on the first year anniversary of the anthax letters to the US Senators. The letter warned of the dire consequences that would befall the US if Iraq was invaded. It would be interesting to see the September 2008 and January 2009 memos from Homeland Security to local law enforcement. We still need to hear from the acting US Attorney in Denver why he cancelled the arrest warrant on Aulaqi in 2002, now that he’s had a chance to review the file.

    “On Thursday, Lieberman’s committee considered the nomination of Caryn Wagner as chief intelligence officer for the Department of Homeland Security.

    Wagner’s predecessor in the Bush administration publicly warned last year that the radical imam, Anwar al-Awlaki, was an “example of al-Qaeda reach” into the U.S. The FBI has investigated his ties to terrorists since the late 1990s.

    Lieberman said DHS issued memos about al-Awlaki to state and local law enforcement agencies in September 2008 and January 2009. He said he didn’t know what prompted the memos and has not read them.

    In spring 2008, al-Awlaki began operating an English-language Web site that urged Muslims to practice jihad and to kill soldiers. Hasan, an Army major and psychiatrist, began his e-mail correspondence with the imam in December 2008.”

  19. DXer said

    There is an OpEd in the NY Post that makes the familiar points about Amerithrax.

    “The FBI Bungles on Terror Again,” New York Post, December 4, 2009

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/the_fbi_bungles_on_terror_again_veIVgjepr3ND3gZBitINeM

    Comment:

    While I can’t explain the FBI’s computer and language deficits, isn’t it a dubious enterprise to make broad-brushed criticism on such insufficient information relating to investigative leads and solving difficult crimes? (On language, in the 8 years since 911, the FBI could have paid for the entire language training of an army of translators. The NYPD seems to have done fine in that department.)

    It seems that all one can do constructively observe as to its investigative prowess more broadly is: Show us the evidence you think supports your conclusions as to Ivins and then the public can assess the evidence. There is a wide consensus — even among FBI scientific experts — that the evidence they have disclosed to date with respect to Dr. Ivins was not at all convincing.

    In America, we convict individuals, not flasks. 100-300 had access to the genetically matching strain and arguing that everyone can be excluded with certainty is a waste of breath and not worthy of a US Attorney given the means, modus operandi, motive and opportunity that provably existed.

    On national security and intelligence matters — and the suggestion that the law enforcement agency is not well-suited to the task of intelligence/national security — there certainly are major tensions between the missions. Just no indication that the critics or some other agency could do better.

    In 2001, as I recall, Richard Clarke was arguing that the traditional law enforcement function was inadequate and the National Security division was formed. Balancing the rule of law with the deception commonly associated with intelligence matters is a tricky balance indeed. The attempt at a balance might have succeeded had the US DOJ not been so highly politicized during the Bush Administration — and such reckless disregard been shown to longstanding principles relating to conflict of interest.

    • DXer said

      Indeed, the lead criminal prosecutor who leaked the sensational Hatfill stories, whose daughter came to represent “anthrax weapons suspect” Ali Al-Timimi pro bono, and whose family was Palestinian activists who argued that terrorism should not be attributed to Bin Laden, came over from the CIA in September 2001 after 911.

      I say we need more men like Special Agent Seely Booth who told a State Police Colonel once: Maybe we should tell the truth and take our lumps. Protecting someone’s brother is not in the public interest.

  20. DXer said

    FoxNews US DOJ correspondent summarized Amerithrax as of March 2008.

    “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!'”

    The name in the unredacted version of the email by Dr. Ivins, which I’ve seen, is “J.E.” the FBI’s anthrax expert, who tells me that the powdered anthrax tested to be inactive after gamma irradiation. He says he made it for DARPA. The Battelle scientists who consulted on Project Clear Vision and Project Jefferson were separately funded by DARPA and came to share a suite with the Falls Church imam coordinating with Bin Laden’s sheik and 911 imam Anwar Aulaqi. (see floor plan and directory)

    Anthrax and Al Qaeda: The Infiltration of US Biodefense (11/24 draft)

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

    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.

    • 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. I have been unsuccessful in my suggestion that the former ATCC Bacteriology Divsision collections scientist should not be the one controlling the documents given the National Academy of Scientists in its review of the anthrax science. The NAS and FBI apparently do not take conflict of interest as seriously as they should as illustrated by the fiasco in which the daughter of its lead Amerithrax criminal prosecutor was representing “anthrax weapons suspect” Al-Timimi pro bono. Unless there is recusal (and I don’t doubt the individual’s good faith), the NAS and FBI can expect to be skewered in Congressional hearings. (Conflicts of interest are not surprising given that in 2001 the biodefense field was much smaller and the investigation was compartmentalized; compartmentalization would have interfered with assessing such conflicts).

      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.

      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. Thus, neither Dr. Alibek nor Dr. Bailey had a financial motive in the sense that the Center had already received millions of dollars. To the same effect, Battelle was already sitting pretty — a man in a BioHazard suit, as I recall, appeared on the cover of TIME and Atta’s cropduster inquiries were already being reported by September 21 in the New York Times.

      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). At the time his webpage was last accessed, 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 succinctly 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 who is now going to be put on trial in New York City). 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.

      I used to work in the building where al-Hawsawi’s trial is going to be held. The United States government has not yet filed its charges against KSM and al-Hawsawi. Maybe Eric Holder’s decision is less baffling than we give him credit.

      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.” Was silicon dioxide used as part of a microdroplet cell culture process used prior to drying to permit greater concentration? 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. 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. Or perhaps sol gel was used as a drying agent such as under an old USAMRIID technique (this is the hypothesis favored by Dr. Alibek when I last consulted). Or perhaps it is due to rice hull contamination. Or use of a silicone sealant on the inside of the envelope which the AQ manual instructs the mailer of a poisonous letter to use to avoid killing the mailman. Beats me. That’s why we have the wonderful experts at the NAS addressing the issue. 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. 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,” 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:

      “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.”

      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.

      Some advice from a cat owner: Be careful who you lie down with, you might wake up with fleas.

  21. DXer said

    The Amerithrax head is retiring this month. The new head should consider things afresh and makes sure he “owns” his or her conclusions on Amerithrax — and did not merely inherit them from the lead criminal prosecutor whose family publicly advocated that terrorism should not be attributed to Bin Laden and whose daughter represented “anthrax weapons suspect” Ali Al-Timimi pro bono. Best regards and best wishes to Mr. Persichini in his future pursuits.

    Anthrax and Al Qaeda: The Infiltration of US Biodefense

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

    Head of FBI D.C. Office Joseph Persichini Jr. Retiring

    FBI’s Joseph Persichin Jr./ticklethewire.com photo
    By Allan Lengel

    WASHINGTON — Joseph Persichini Jr., who has headed the FBI Washington field office for the past three years, is retiring at the end of the year.

    Persichini, 55, was special agent in charge of the administrative division at the Washington field office before he rose in 2006 to the top post in the office and was named assistant director in charge, replacing Mike Mason who took a high-paying job at Verizon.

    He began his FBI career in 1976 as an accountant at FBI headquarters in the Budget and Accounting Section and became a special agent in 1980, according to the FBI.

    As head of the D.C. FBI field office, he oversaw some major cases including the anthrax investigation…

    • DXer said

      Justice Dept.’s second in command is stepping aside
      By Carrie Johnson
      Washington Post Staff Writer
      Thursday, December 3, 2009

      Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden, the Justice Department’s second in command, will step aside Feb. 10 to return to private law practice in Washington.

      The deputy AG post, one of the most critical in the department, will be filled on an acting basis by deputy assistant attorney general Gary Grindler, said two sources familiar with the move, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss personnel matters. Grindler has been handling sensitive issues this year for the department’s criminal division.

    • BugMaster said

      Well there you go.

      I know the FBI has a mandatory retirement age, but I don’t think 55 is it.

      • DXer said

        Michael Mason, his predecessor, left to head the corporate security department of the top credit card company, I believe. It was a very lucrative position. Given the pattern, that is the more logical inference absent any other information. For example, the DOJ #2, after a bout with appendicitis this fall, is returning to a very lucrative position at his old law firm.

        • DXer said

          Barry W. Mawn, the FBI assistant director in charge of the New York office, retired when he reached the mandatory retirement age of 57.

      • BugMaster said

        Retirement age is in fact 55 for FBI agents, and 57 for special agents.

        Seems to be a rather antiquated policy.

        • DXer said

          All FBI Agents are Special Agents, right?

        • DXer said

          I have a 9 year-old who has wanted to be an FBI Special Agent for a long time.

        • BugMaster said

          I think “Special Agent” refers to an agent with additional training and background for a specific specialty.

          As in WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) Special Agents.

        • DXer said

          No, BugMaster, you are mistaken. As Agent Seely booth has explained, it means he’s “Special.”

          You also had no basis to dispute the FBI’s suggestion that it was not taken directly from the flask and instead was regrown (for the reasons they note in the affidavits).

        • BugMaster said

          We shall see.

        • BugMaster said

          As a special agent, Persichini had two more years.

  22. DXer said

    Frank Olson’s son on Olson, Kelly and Ivins deaths: “It’s really spooky, it really is.”

    The Ghost of Frank Olson, November 28, 2009

    http://www.anthraxwar.com/1/?p=518

    Anthrax and Al Qaeda: The Infiltration of US Biodefense

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

    Question: Putting aside the question of spooks, we’ve seen a recent spate of examples of informers paid by the FBI in targeted investigations — from mobsters to US neo-Nazis to worshippers at mosques. Were paid informers used in Amerithrax? Did the matter involving such paid informer(s) go as badly as in the other recent publicized examples? Whose interest does such an informant serve — the public interest or his pocketbook? Might the FBI do better allying itself instead with people furthering the public interest?

  23. DXer said

    Considering the timeline relating to the discovery of various evidence supporting an Ivins Theory.

    In an April 9, 2007, letter United States Attorney Jeffrey A. Taylor (by Kenneth Kohl) wrote to Dr. Ivins advising that “You have been served a federal grand jury subpoena requiring you to personally appear with certain documents” and confirmed that “You are not a target of this investigation.”

    What evidence existed prior to this date? His inability to recall in an interview in 2005 how he had spent his time four years earlier on particular nights? Yes. The bona fides of the sample he submitted? Yes. The Sandia conclusion regarding silica? Yes. The genetics inquiry by Dr. Keim and all? Yes. The four morphs? Yes.* The tin signature? Yes. The analysis of isotope ratios? Yes. The claims by Nancy Haigwood? Yes. The evidence that the pre-franked envelope was distributed throughout Maryland and Virginia? Yes. That he had signed out a small Speed-Vac without containment? Yes. His patent? Yes. That he had supplied virulent Ames to a former Zawahiri associate? Yes.

    Wasn’t AUSA Kohl correct in his assessment in April 2007 that knowing all the material evidence listed above there was not evidence that he was not a target — not even as indictable as your typical ham sandwich?

    What hadn’t they discovered by April 2007 germane to their August 2008 analysis? That he wrote letters to the editor? That he used screen names on the internet? That he had a crush on a co-worker? That he kept secrets from his wife? That he had first heard a news report on September 26, 2001 — eight days after the anthrax mailing — that Bin Laden had issued a fatwa and done planning relating to anthrax and sarin? That once he went out in the rain into his yard perhaps looking for nightcrawlers? That he was very upset by having his coworkers forbidden talk to him, very upset that his life’s work was seized, and very upset that the FBI had moved in next door? Very upset that he had been barred from base? Very upset that he had spent $68,000 in his life’s savings to pay legal fees? Why would the FBI conclude that his emotional upset related to guilt rather than innocence? Why would such evidence be admissible? If they didn’t have evidence to even warrant him being a target in April 2007, what evidence arose after that date warranting him being a target in August 2008?

    * NYT: “By late 2005 to 2006 it became clear that just eight of the 1,070 samples collected included all four morphs.”

    • DXer said

      Well, it would seem that we do know, in terms of the evidence that arose post April 2007, that no material evidence was found in searches conducted in October 2007 and August 2008 that was not exculpatory. For example, we know that no subtilis was found, no hair or fiber evidence, no handwriting evidence, no evidence relating to the ink used (such as other correspondence), no documents with the same xerox marks, etc.

  24. DXer said

    Homeland Security chief warns of threat from al-Qaeda sympathizers in U.S.
    By Spencer S. Hsu
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    December 2, 2009

    Isn’t the threat of al-Qaeda sympathizers in U.S. reason not to make people mad at us? Remind me: Why are we in Afghanistan and Iraq? Doesn’t our presence there play into Bin Laden’s/ Zawahiri’s hands (as they have claimed)? Doesn’t that just increase the threat of terrorism?

    When you remove the influence of money and national pride from the equation, is it rational to be in either place? Is it rational to wildly proliferate biolabs in response to use of a deadly pathogen obtained from a US lab?

    If Afghanistan is a source of terrorism, does it make sense to pour money into the country?

    And given KSM had pled guilty in the military tribunal, does it make sense to have a trial in NYC which will only raise anxiety?

    None of these are easy questions. President Obama doesn’t have an easy job and we can all wish him well in facing them.

    But creating the false impression that the federal eagle pre-franked envelope was uniquely sold in Ivins’ post office — as US Attorney Jeff Taylor did — was an avoidable mistake. And care should be taken to avoid such mistakes in the future given analysis of Amerithrax bears significantly on these other weighty issues.

    As another example, canceling the arrest warrant for the “911 imam” was sufficiently notable event that it is surprising that the AUSA that the now Acting US Attorney in Denver does not recall the details. Now that he’s had a chance to review the file and refresh his recollection, he should address the issue so that we can consider these complex issues together.

    Non-attributability, despite what the Blackwater fellow in charge of targeted assassination says — is a bad thing.

    Accountability in administering the rule of law is a good thing.

    Anthrax and Al Qaeda: The Infiltration of US Biodefense

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

    On Webster Pond

    http://www.blurb.com/my/book/detail/1042315

  25. DXer said

    Blackwater founder says he aided secret programs
    By Joby Warrick
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Thursday, December 3, 2009

    Vanity Fair said the assassin-team program was begun in 2001 under Enrique “Ric” Prado, then the CIA chief of operations for counterterrorism. When Prado left the CIA to join Blackwater in 2004, he essentially took the program with him, securing an arrangement that would allow contractors to assume the risks and deflect blame from the agency if things went wrong, the magazine said.

    “We were building a unilateral, unattributable capability,” Prince was quoted as saying. “If it went bad, we weren’t expecting the chief of station, the ambassador, or anyone to bail us out.”

    Comment:

    Targeted assassination is the modus operandi of the Vanguards of Conquest (the military wing of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad outside of Egypt). That is who is responsible for the anthrax mailings.

    If the US adopts the same modus operandi, what is the difference between us and them?

    Who has the moral high ground? The killer motivated by money or the killer motivated by ideology/religion?

    Isn’t accountability a good thing?

  26. DXer said

    With the human bones found in a burn pit in Southern Kentucky and the FBI being called in, we have the publication of “Evidentiary Standards for Forensic Anthropology* which earlier was presented at the 60th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, February 18–23, 2008, in Washington, DC.

    Imagine fictional forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (“Bones”) getting off that airplane delivering trace evidence to genetics consultant Dr. Keim … but then instead of solving the crime with Special Agent Seely Booth within the hour (including commercials), it took 8 years. With turnover of the entire team which had been compartmentalized.

    Hodgins had to recuse himself when he knew the defendant. Why didn’t Angela when Roxy was a suspect? Why do people sometimes fail to apply established conflict of interest principles? Why do they think the evidence would avoid being undermined?

  27. DXer said

    There will be a meeting on December 10, 2009- December 11, 2009 in “Review of the Scientific Approaches used During the FBI’s Investigation of the 2001 Bacillus Anthracis Mailings” that will be closed in entirety. Given the general subject of the project involves aerosolization of anthrax and highly technical matters, it is common practice that there will be some closed meetings. We all wish these experts a productive meeting. Hopefully, Dr. Sharples will put the federal district court judge in charge of pressing for the scientific documents as he will be experienced in overseeing document discovery. The testimony of CIA WMD lead analyst Jennifer Smith, who had worked as an FBI Special Agent on Amerithrax, was excellent guidance.

    • DXer said

      The weighty issues in today’s Financial Times OpEd “Secrecy in science is a corrosive force” need not be resolved. My suggestion that Amanda upload the powerpoints was a simple and easily met request furthering the openness of the science. The principle of scientific openness has not been embraced by the NAS which historically resisted document discovery now required by the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

      Secrecy in science is a corrosive force

      By Michael Schrage

      Published: November 27 2009

      With no disrespect to sausages and laws, Bismarck’s most famous aphorism clearly requires updating. “Scientific research” is bidding furiously to make the global shortlist of things one should not see being made.

      Understandably so. Sciences at the cutting edge of statistics and public policy can make blood sports seem genteel. Scientists aggressively promoting pet hypotheses often relish the opportunity to marginalise and neutralise rival theories and exponents.

      The malice, mischief and Machiavellian manoeuvrings revealed in the illegally hacked megabytes of emails from the University of East Anglia’s prestigious Climate Research Unit, for example, offers a useful paradigm of contemporary scientific conflict. Science may be objective; scientists emphatically are not. This episode illustrates what too many universities, professional societies, and research funders have irresponsibly allowed their scientists to become. Shame on them all.

      The source of that shame is a toxic mix of institutional laziness and complacency. Too many scientists in academia, industry and government are allowed to get away with concealing or withholding vital information about their data, research methodologies and results. That is unacceptable and must change.

      Only recently in America, for example, have academic pharmaceutical researchers been required to disclose certain financial conflicts of interest they might have. On issues of the greatest importance for public policy, science researchers less transparent than they should be. That behaviour undermines science, policy and public trust.

      ***
      Achieving this is simple and inexpensive. It is not done by more rigorous enforcement of the Freedom of Information Act, although that would help. It comes from branding “openness” into every link of the scientific research value chain. Public or tax-deductible research funding should be contingent upon maximum transparency.

      Scientists and affiliated institutions that will not make the research process as transparent as the end result will be asked to return the money or risk denial of future funds. University accreditation should be contingent not just upon faculty research and publication but by demonstrating policies and practices that champion data sharing. Professional societies and journals should make data sharing a condition of membership and publication. Researchers must be pushed to be more open at every step of their process.

      The Royal Society not only makes data sharing a precondition of publication, it provides up to 10 megabytes of free space for supplementary data on its website. Unfortunately, too many scientific societies and publishers are less than rigorous or insistent about openness. Strip them of their tax-deductible status. Make opennes a condition of tax advantage. Of course commercial and proprietary issues can influence the manner of data sharing and transparency. But the East Anglia emails represent an individual and institutional imperative to err on the side of minimal disclosure even as researchers sought to maximise the academic and political impact of their work. That is perverse.

      Public interest suggests scientists and their sponsoring institutions be made as legally, financially, professionally and ethically as uncomfortable as possible about concealing and withholding relevant research information.

      If the University of East Anglia had been sharing more of its data and the computer models and statistical simulations running that data, the email hack would have been much ado about nothing.

      When doing important research about the potential future of the planet, scientists should have nothing to hide. Their obligation to the truth is an obligation to openness.

      The writer researches the economics of innovation and technology transfer at MIT and is a visiting researcher at London’s Imperial College

  28. DXer said

    Are there parallels in Amerithrax and the report tonight from “NPR Mix-Up Denied Officials Info About Fort Hood Suspect””? On September 11, 2002, a comment by an FBI agent made clear to me that he had not seen information provided the CIA in December 2001 relevant to Amerithrax. Has analysis in Amerithrax been hampered by a failure to communicate? Has Ed Montooth reacted to the good faith skepticism from a wide range of outside observers by reviewing his conclusions and working to break down any possible impediments to communication that interfered with analysis? Did AUSA Ken Kohl put the matter aside in August 2008 or did he, too, reach out to investigators to understand whether there was information that was not shared with him that he would have wanted to see? Former FBI Agent and then chief WMD analyst at the CIA for Amerithrax Jennifer Smith, a PhD, spoke very eloquently on this general issue. She said that the FBI did not share information with the CIA that was necessary to analysis. What information was not shared? Has it now been shared and processed? How aggressive was the NAS with the FBI in pressing for information? It was something yet to be determined and under the agreement the NAS staff was given lots of money but no leverage in obtaining information. With funding of $890,000, it seems that they might have done a better job in distributing powerpoints (by uploading linking them). It does not behoove the NAS to criticize others for failing to share information in various reports and then fail in that regard itself. The difference between Amerithrax and Ft. Hood is that everyone can work harder to get things right and share information necessary to analysis in moving forward.

    http://www.bing.com/videos/watch/video/al-qaeda-s-search-for-anthrax-destruction-of-anthrax-in-ames-iowa/20D97963F9B151A91EBC20D97963F9B151A91EBC

    Mix-Up Denied Officials Info About Fort Hood Suspect
    by DINA TEMPLE-RASTON

    text sizeAAADecember 1, 2009
    Accused gunman Maj. Nidal Hasan sent 18 e-mails to a radical imam in Yemen before the Fort Hood shootings, but law enforcement officials in Washington who were looking into his behavior saw only two of them.

    Confusion between two FBI field offices kept law enforcement officials from reviewing all pertinent information about Hasan, investigators told NPR.

    Officials familiar with the investigation say the FBI’s Washington field office was given the alleged shooter’s file in February. That file included Hasan’s personnel records, as well as two intercepted e-mails Hasan had written to imam Anwar al-Awlaki.

    Awlaki has been on the U.S. intelligence community’s radar screen for some time. He spreads his views through a blog, lectures on YouTube and has thousands of fans on Facebook. Hasan attended a mosque in Northern Virginia where Awlaki once served.

    It’s known already that Hasan had e-mailed the imam — but original reports suggested that those e-mails didn’t raise any suspicion. Hasan was working at Walter Reed Army Medical Center as a psychiatrist, and the communications were seen as consistent with research he was doing at the time.

    However, it now seems that the FBI’s conclusion — that the e-mails were benign — might have been based on an incomplete review.

    Here’s what apparently happened:

    The FBI’s Washington field office was asked to follow up any leads on Hasan for the San Diego FBI office, which was in charge of his case. Three months after he originally received Hasan’s file, the agent in Washington did follow up. But he didn’t ask for an updated file — and the San Diego field office didn’t offer additional information they had picked up on Hasan after forwarding the original file.

    Those e-mails were never forwarded from the FBI’s San Diego office because they were awaiting the Washington office’s assessment of Hasan. The additional e-mails, in the eyes of agents in San Diego, appeared to be more of the same — more questions from Hasan about Muslim soldiers in the U.S. military.

    Had there not been this breakdown in communication, the FBI agent in Washington might have been able to review a broader array of information, including the 16 more recent e-mails Hasan had written to Awlaki, to make his assessment on whether the major was dangerous or not.

    E-Mail Focused On Earlier Attack

    One e-mail in particular is getting attention from investigators now.

    In that e-mail — which the Washington FBI office didn’t see — Hasan mentioned the case of Sgt. Hasan Akbar, the Muslim soldier who threw grenades at fellow troops in Kuwait at the beginning of the Iraq war. The attack killed two soldiers and wounded 14 others.

    In the e-mail to the imam, Hasan asked whether Akbar would have been considered a shaheed — or hero — for his actions. Given what happened later at Fort Hood, investigators say this e-mail now appears suggestive. But at the time it was not conclusive. Investigators in San Diego weren’t alarmed by the query because it appeared to be consistent with research Hasan was doing at Walter Reed. The Akbar case was thought to be at the center of his research.

    Should it have set off alarm bells?

    Juan Zarate, a deputy national security adviser in the Bush administration, said hindsight is always 20/20.

    “It is very difficult in the moment, I think, for analysts and agents and his cohorts and co-workers to piece this together and see they had a ticking time bomb on their hands,” Zarate said.

    A New View Of How Shootings Unfolded

    Investigators also tell NPR that they uncovered some evidence that offers a somewhat different picture of what happened at Fort Hood during the shooting.

    Witnesses have told investigators that Hasan had the opportunity to kill the female police officer who had tried to stop him. Apparently, he aimed for her head and then changed his mind, shooting her in the leg instead. Investigators say that this was part of what they see as Hasan’s deliberate effort not to shoot civilians. His focus appeared to be on soldiers in uniform.

    There had also been a sense that Hasan might have been targeting colleagues in the mental health unit at Fort Hood. That, too, seems to have been disproved by discussions with witnesses. Investigators say that he had the opportunity to shoot people he knew and purposely trained his weapon elsewhere.

    • DXer said

      In “Anthrax and Al Qaeda: The Infiltration of US Biodefense,” published last Wednesday, I’ve tried to include the full-text of as many documents as the 440-page limit permitted. I will add any documents people like in future revisions.

      “Anthrax and Al Qaeda: The Infiltration of US Biodefense”

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

  29. Ike Solem said

    Some good news:

    Anthrax research stopped over euthanasia
    Published: Nov. 30, 2009 at 5:14 PM

    OKLAHOMA CITY, Nov. 30 (UPI) — Oklahoma State University administrators stopped a pending program testing anthrax vaccines on baboons because the apes would be euthanized, officials say.

    The bioterrorism research was to be carried out in a multimillion dollar lab at the university set up specifically for that purpose, the Oklahoman reported Monday.

    An internal faculty committee spent a year designing procedure for the use and care of the apes. University President Burns Hargis sent an e-mail to veterinary medicine researchers saying he would not allow the National Institutes of Health-funded project, the newspaper said.

    “This research was not in the best interest of the university. The testing of lethal pathogens on primates would be a new area for OSU that is controversial and is outside our current research programs” said OSU spokesman Gary Shutt.

    Courtesy UPI

    The academic community needs to reject the expansion of biowarfare research, or they’ll be no different than the Soviet academics who went along with Biopreparat. This is a good step in that direction – people are starting to consider the negative side of this poorly-considered biowarfare research program – a program that was entirely spawned by the Fall 2001 anthrax attacks.

  30. DXer said

    The Washington Post today is reporting today:

    “A preliminary review of the federal government’s handling of intelligence before the shooting at Fort Hood is on its way to the White House, and sources said they expect the final result to address the limits of the Pentagon’s ability to monitor potential threats within the armed forces and information sharing by the FBI.
    ***

    “Members of Congress also questioned the performance of some FBI officials. An FBI-led task force in San Diego sent most of Hasan’s suspect e-mails to counterparts in Washington early this year, who conducted an assessment but did not open a preliminary investigation or discuss the case with Hasan’s superiors, sources said. These sources and others in this story spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing review.

    But lawmakers have identified at least two troubling e-mails that were intercepted later and that the San Diego FBI office did not forward after learning that a Defense analyst in the FBI’s Washington field office assessed that the chatter was innocent and in keeping with Hasan’s research interests. Agents in San Diego judged that they were in line with earlier correspondence.

    “Everybody has an obligation on a task force, if they see evidence of a crime or a security concern, to act on it,” the former senior official said. “The FBI or somebody else should have said no, this is a concern, and directed someone [in the military] . . . to follow up.”

    It was ABC’s Brian Ross and his colleagues who reported “How Anwar Awlaki Got Away.” That story was based on a book by Paul Sperry and his continued reporting on the subject.

    Perhaps related, perhaps not: there was a grand jury subpoena this past week in which the FBI seeks to intercept 12,000 pages removed without authorization from CAIR offices.

    Anthrax and Al Qaeda: The Infiltration of US Biodefense

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

  31. DXer said

    Why did the US Attorney’s Office rescind the warrant for Aulaki when he came back in 2002 and met with “anthrax weapons suspect” Ali Al-Timimi about the recruitment of Salafist-jihadists in the US?

    How Anwar Awlaki Got Away
    U.S. Attorney’s Decision to Cancel Arrest Warrant “Shocked” Terrorism Investigators
    Nov. 30, 2009

    A felony arrest warrant for radical Islamic cleric Anwar al Awlaki was rescinded in 2002 a day before he was intercepted as a terror suspect at New York’s JFK airport, forcing authorities to release him, according to sources familiar with the case. The warrant was cancelled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Denver, even though Awlaki was on a terror watch list, and even though the office’s supervising prosecutor for terror cases — who has now been appointed by the Obama administration as the U.S. Attorney in Denver — had been fully briefed on Awlaki’s alleged terror ties, according to investigators.
    Al Qaeda Recruiter New Focus in Fort Hood Killings Investigation

    Soon after the 2002 warrant was canceled, Awlaki left the United States for good, settling in Yemen. Since his escape, Awlaki, now considered by intelligence officials to be an al-Qaeda recruiter, has been implicated as the spiritual inspiration for terror plots in Canada and the U.S., and was in e-mail contact with Major Nidal Malik Hasan, charged with 13 counts of murder in the recent mass shooting at Fort Hood, Texas.

    The decision to cancel Awlaki’s arrest warrant outraged members of a Joint Terrorism Task Force in San Diego, which had been monitoring the imam. “This was a missed opportunity to get this guy under wraps so we could look at him under a microscope,” said a former agent with the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), who asked not to be named. “He couldn’t cause any harm from a prison cell.”

    ***

    Awlaki had been investigated by the FBI in 1999 and 2000. Among other things, the FBI discovered he had been in touch with an associate of “the blind sheik,” Omar Abdel Rahman, now in prison for his role in the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. The investigation was closed in 2000 because of insufficient evidence, according to the Washington Post.

    After 9/11, however, terror investigators took a fresh look at Awlaki. JTTF agents in San Diego were keenly interested in Awlaki’s activities because of his close ties to hijackers Nawaf Alhamzi and Khalid Almihdhar. Authorities say the two hijackers had attended the Awlaki-led Rabat mosque in San Diego and the imam had numerous closed door meetings with the men, leading investigators to believe that Awlaki was their spiritual advisor and had known about the 9/11 attacks in advance. When Alwaki moved to a Northern Virginia mosque in early 2001, Alhamzi had visited him there too, along with a third future hijacker, Hani Hanjour.

    But investigators needed a reason to arrest and hold Awlaki. They focused on his apparent interest in prostitutes. FBI sources told U.S. News and World Report in 2004 that Awlaki, who had twice been arrested for soliciting prostitutes in San Diego in the 1990s, had been observed crossing state lines with prostitutes in the D.C. area. They thought of invoking the little-used Mann Act, a federal law that prohibits the interest transport of women for “immoral purposes,” to arrest him.

    Before investigators could detain him, Awlaki left for Yemen in March 2002. Though American-born, Awlaki had spent much of his childhood in Yemen, his parents’ home country, returning to the U.S. for college.

    ***
    Golden Opportunity Missed

    Because the warrant was rescinded, authorities say they missed a golden opportunity to detain Awlaki. The morning after the warrant was cancelled, October 10, 2002, Awlaki stepped off a Saudi Airlines flight from Riyadh to New York.

    Because Awlaki was on the early version of the federal terrorism watch list, authorities were allowed to detain him for questioning. According to immigration documents, Awlaki was intercepted by immigration agents before 6:15 in the morning. “Sujbect was escorted to INS primary and secondary by U.S. Customs. He is a match.” Agents believed they had an individual who was both on the terror list and had an outstanding warrant.

    The FBI was notified by phone that Awlaki was being detained. At 7:40, however, Customs agents learned that the arrest warrant had been “pulled back.” At 9:00, after more phone calls, it was confirmed that the warrant was no longer in effect. By 9:20, Awlaki and his family had been released “with thanks for their patiens (sic).” A representative of Saudi Airlines escorted them away “to continue with their flight to Wash, D.C.”

    “Follow the Footsteps of Men Like Nidal”

    After his release from JFK, Awlaki returned briefly to Northern Virginia. According to the Washington Post, while there he visited a radical cleric named Ali al-Timimi and asked about recruiting young Muslims for jihad. In 2003, federal agents raided al-Timimi’s home and seized documents and cassettes. He is now serving a life sentence after being convicted of inciting 11 young Muslim men, most of them American citizens, to fight with the Taliban against the U.S. in Afghanistan after 9/11.

    Awlaki left the U.S. before the end of 2002 and moved to the U.K. He returned to Yemen permanently in 2004. He was arrested by Yemeni officials in 2006, allegedly at the request of the United States, and held until late 2007. He has now established himself in Yemen as one of the leading international voices calling for violent jihad against the West.

    Awlaki’s lectures and messages have been found on the computer hard drives of terror suspects in Toronto and New Jersey. One of the men convicted of plotting to attack Fort Dix can be seen on a videotape expressing admiration for the cleric and recommending an Awlaki lecture. Awlaki also exchanged emails with Nidal Hasan starting in 2008. In one message revealed by ABC News, Hasan wrote, “I can’t wait to join you” in the afterlife.

    After the Fort Hood attacks, Awlaki called Hasan a hero on his Web site. “The only way a Muslim could Islamically justify serving as a soldier in the U.S. Army,” he wrote, “is if his intention is to follow the footsteps of men like Nidal.”

    “Investigators are mad as hell,” said Paul Sperry, “and they have a valid point in asking whether a dozen soldiers would be alive today if they’d been allowed to put the screw to Awlaki when they had the chance.”

    ***
    U.S. Attorney’s Office Rescinds Warrant

    However, JTTF investigators were astonished when just days after the warrant was issued, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Denver decided to rescind it. According to the former JTTF agent, members of the terrorism task force were “disappointed and shocked” by the decision. The agent says the supervisory assistant U.S. Attorney on the case, David Gaouette, had been fully briefed on Awlaki’s suspected terrorism ties. At the time, Gaouette oversaw all terror cases in the Denver-based District of Colorado, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office.

    Gaouette, an assistant U.S. attorney since 1989, was appointed by Attorney General Holder this August as the interim U.S. Attorney for Colorado. When asked why Awlaki’s arrest warrant had been rescinded, a public affairs officer said Gaouette was unfamiliar with the particulars of the Awlaki case, and would have to research it before he could comment. Gaouette’s office did not reply to a request for a copy of the Awlaki arrest warrant. The clerk’s office for the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado was also unable to provide a copy of the warrant, citing the age of the case and the fact that the warrant was rescinded.

    Comment:

    In March 2002, fellow Falls Church iman Anwar Aulaqi — known as the “911 imam” — suddenly left the US and went to Yemen, thus avoiding the inquiry the 9/11 Commission thought so important. Such an inquiry would also have been important to Amerithrax given the FBI suspicion that fellow Falls Church imam Ali Al-Timimi at the GMU Center for Biodefense was part of an Al Qaeda conspiracy.
    Upon Aulaqi’s return visit in Fall 2002, “Aulaqi attempted to get al Timimi to discuss issues related to the recruitment of young Muslims,” according to a court filing by Al-Timimi’s attorney at the time, Edward MacMahon. After 18 months in prison in Yemen in 2006 and 2007, he was released over US objections, where he says he was subject to interrogation by the FBI.

    Al-Timimi’s counsel explained in a court filing unsealed in April 2008: “]911 imam] Anwar Al-Aulaqi goes directly to Dr. Al-Timimi’s state of mind and his role in the alleged conspiracy. The 9-11 Report indicates that Special Agent Ammerman interviewed Al-Aulaqi just before or shortly after his October 2002 visit to Dr. Al-Timimi’s home to discuss the attacks and his efforts to reach out to the U.S. government.”

    Falls Church imam Awlaqi (Aulaqi), who met with hijacker Nawaf, reportedly was picked up in Yemen by Yemen security forces at the request of the CIA in the summer of 2006. British and US intelligence had him and others under surveillance. Al-Timimi would speak alongside fellow Falls Church imam Awlaqi (Aulaqi) at conferences such as the August 2001 London JIMAS and the August 2002 London JIMAS conference. They would speak on subjects such as signs before the day of judgment and the like. Dozens of their lectures are available online. Unnamed U.S. officials told the Washington Post in 2008 that “they have come to believe that Aulaqi worked with al-Qaida networks in the Persian Gulf after leaving Northern Virginia.” One official said: “There is good reason to believe Anwar Aulaqi has been involved in very serious terrorist activities since leaving the United States, including plotting attacks against America and our allies.” “Some believe that Aulaqi was the first person since the summit meeting in Malaysia with whom al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi shared their terrorist intentions and plans,” former Senate Intelligence committee chairman Bob Graham wrote in his 2004 book “Intelligence Matters.”

    Awlaqi was hired in early 2001 in an attempt by the mosque’s leaders to appeal to younger worshipers. Born in New Mexico and raised in Yemen, he had the total package. He was young, personable, fluent in English, eloquent and knowledgeable about Middle East politics. Hani Hanjour and Nawaf Al Hazmi worshiped at Aulaqi’s mosque for several weeks in spring 2001. The 9/11 commission noted that the two men apparently showed up because Nawaf Hazmi had developed a close relationship with Aulaqi in San Diego. In 2001, Awlaqi came to Falls Church from San Diego shortly before Nawaf did.

    The travel agent right on the same floor as Al-Timimi’s Dar Arqam mosque organized trips to hajj in February 2001. San Francisco attorney Hal Smith was his roommate. Smith tells me that he was very extreme in his views when speaking privately and not like his smooth public persona. “Aulaqi is deep into hardcore militant Islam. He is not a cleric who just says prayers and counsels people as some of his supporters have suggested.” Sami al-Hussayen uncle checked into the same Herndon, VA hotel, the Marriot Residence Inn, on the same night — September 10, 2001 as Hani Hanjour and Nawaf al-Hazmi, and another hijacker. Hussayen had n seizure during an FBI interview and although doctors found nothing wrong with him was allowed to return home. During his trip to the US, al-Hussayn had visited both “911 imam” Aulaqi and Ali Al-Timimi.

    The unclassified portion of a U.S. Department of Justice memorandum dated September 26, 2001 states

    “Aulaqi was familiar enough with Nawaf Alhazmi to describe some of Alhazmi’s personality traits. Aulaqi considered Alhazmi to be a loner who did not have a large circle of friends. Alhazmi was slow to enter into personal relationships and was always very soft spoken, a very calm and extremely nice person. Aulaqi did not see Alhazmi as a very religious person, based on the fact that Alhazmi never wore a beard and neglected to attend all five daily prayer sessions.”

    The Washington Post explains that “After leaving the United States in 2002, Aulaqi spent time in Britain, where he developed a following among young ultra-conservative Muslims through his lectures and audiotapes. His CD “The Hereafter” takes listeners on a tour of Paradise that describes “the mansions of Paradise,” “the women of Paradise,” and “the greatest of the pleasures of Paradise.” In London, after leaving the United States, he spoke at JIMAS and argued that in light of the rewards offered to martyrs in Jennah, or Paradise, Muslims should be eager to give his life in fighting the unbelievers. “Don’t think that the tones that die in the sake of Allah are dead — they are alive, and Allah is providing for them. So the shaheed is alive in the sense that his soul is in Jennah, and his soul is alive in Jennah.” He moved to Yemen, his family’s ancestral home, in 2004.” Before his arrest in Yemen in mid-2006, Aulaqi lectured at an Islamist university in San’a run by Abdul Majid al-Zindani, who fought with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and was designated a terrorist in 2004 by the United States and the United Nations.

    Law enforcement sources told the Post that Aulaqi was visited by Ziyad Khaleel, who the government has previously said purchased a satellite phone and batteries for bin Laden in the 1990s. The Post explains: “Khaleel was the U.S. fundraiser for Islamic American Relief Agency, a charity the U.S. Treasury has designated a financier of bin Laden and which listed Aulaqi’s charity as its Yemeni partner. A Washington Post article explained: “The FBI also learned that Aulaqi was visited in early 2000 by a close associate of Omar Abdel Rahman, the so-called Blind Sheik who was convicted of conspiracy in connection with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and that he had ties to people raising money for the radical Palestinian movement Hamas, according to Congress and the 9/11 Commission report.”

    He now has been released and came to be at the center of the ongoing controversy concerning what the FBI should have known and shared about Hasan, the Ft. Hood shooter. What did Awlaqi, detained in mid-2006 and held for a year and a half, tell questioners, if anything, about his fellow Falls Church imam and fellow Salafist conference lecturer Ali Al-Timimi? The Washington Post reports that in a taped interview posted on December 31, 2007 on a British Web site, “Aulaqi said that while in prison in Yemen, he had undergone multiple interrogations by the FBI that included questions about his dealings with the 9/11 hijackers.” “I don’t know if I was held because of that or because of the other issues they presented,” Aulaqi said. Aulaqi once said he would like to travel outside Yemen but would not do so “until the U.S. drops whatever unknown charges it has against me.”

    The Denver US Attorney should review the file and explain why as an AUSA he rescinded the warrant for Aulaqi.

    • DXer said

      Nawaf Al-Hazmi mentioned in the ABC report “How Anwar Awlaki Got Away”, 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 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. (Tiger Woods should be so lucky). 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”). He had met with Al-Timimi and Aulaqi, as well as the IANA officials in Ann Arbor.

  32. DXer said

    There is a story today in USA Today “Pentagon targets inside threats” relating to Hasan who had been in contact with Falls Church imam Aulaqi, the colleague of “anthrax weapons suspect” Al-Timimi:

    “Since 2005, the Pentagon has studied ways to spot potentially dangerous personnel who may have divided loyalties or have been radicalized by outside influences — the types of threats at issue in the Fort Hood mass killings.

    An obscure Pentagon research center produced the studies, Defense Department documents show. Air Force Lt. Col. Eric Butterbaugh, a Pentagon spokesman, declined to discuss the research or say whether the safeguards it proposed were in place at the time of the shooting.”

    Comment:

    I once asked a Pentagon biodefense threat assessment expert, Dr. Peter Leitner, about the situation at GMU. He taught there. He referred me to a PhD thesis he had supervised on the subject.

    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,” 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 related to de-ionized water:

    “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.”

    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.

    Anthrax and Al Qaeda: The Infiltration of US Biodefense

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

    Watching Moss Grow at Baltimore Woods

    http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1032597

    • DXer said

      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 wrote:

      “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.

      Anthrax and Al Qaeda: The Infiltration of US Biodefense

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

  33. DXer said

    AP – Report: FBI paid controversial NJ blogger for help
    (AP) – 14 hours ago

    __________
    Comment: And before him Harold Covington.

    What would be the fall-out if the FBI paid Anwar Aulaqi and had allowed him to travel this past year to the UK? What would be the fall-out if they paid “anthrax weapons suspect” Ali-Al-Timimi? Oh, wait. He was paid $70,000 a year to coordinate computer research. Now, that’s awkward.
    __________

    TRENTON, N.J. — A New Jersey blogger about to stand trial on charges he made death threats against federal judges apparently was paid by the FBI in its battle against domestic terrorism, according to a published report.

    The Record of Bergen County reported Sunday that Hal Turner received thousands of dollars from the FBI to report on neo-Nazis and white supremacist groups and was sent undercover to Brazil.
    Turner also claims the FBI coached him to make racist, anti-Semitic and other threatening statements on his radio show, but the newspaper also found many federal officials were concerned that his audience might follow up on his violence rhetoric.

    The newspaper reviewed numerous government documents, e-mails, court records and almost 20 hours of jailhouse interviews with Turner.

    He goes on trial Tuesday in New York, accused of making death threats against three Chicago-based federal appeals judges after saying in Internet postings in June the judges “deserve to be killed” because they had refused to overturn handgun bans in Chicago and suburban Oak Park.

    The postings included the photos and work addresses of the judges — Richard Posner, Frank Easterbrook, and William Bauer — along with a picture of the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in downtown

    Chicago and notations indicating the placement of “anti-truck bomb barriers.”

    Turner’s FBI connections began in 2003 with the Newark-based Joint Terrorism Task Force and continued on and off until this year, according to the newspaper. He claims his postings and other inflammatory statements were part of an undercover operation to ferret out violent left-wing radicals.

    His lawyer, Michael Orozco, has subpoenaed Chris Christie, the former U.S. Attorney for New Jersey and the state’s governor-elect, to testify on Turner’s behalf.
    In an affidavit filed with the subpoena, Orozco says Christie knew of Turner’s activities between 2002 and 2008 while Christie held his federal post. Orozco says Christie issued a letter saying he would not prosecute Turner for his statements.

    ***
    “We do not comment on matters before the courts, and will not address Mr. Turner’s allegations in the press,” said Weysan Dun, who runs the FBI’s Newark field office.
    Turner said he feels double-crossed by the bureau after his June arrest.

    But other documents show federal agents growing more anxious about his extremist views while valuing his ties to right-wing hate groups, the newspaper said. It noted one memo that stated Turner “has proven highly reliable and is in a unique position to provide vital information on multiple subversive domestic organizations.”

    Anthrax and Al Qaeda: The Infiltration of US Biodefense

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

    Moss: An Intimate Portrait

    http://www.blurb.com/books/1026952

  34. DXer said

    Are you relying on the GAO report “High-Containment Laboratories: National Strategy for Oversight is Needed” ? If so, could you be more specific and point to the statement you rely upon?

    “In September and October 2001, letters containing spores of B. anthracis powder were distributed through the U.S. postal system to two senators, Thomas Daschle and Patrick Leahy, and members of the media. The letters led to the first U.S. cases of anthrax disease related to bioterrorism, and the subsequent investigation by FBI has been called “Amerithrax.” On August 6, 2008, the FBI alleged that the “sole culprit” in the 2001 anthrax attacks was Dr. Bruce Ivins, a U.S. Army scientist with a Ph.D. in microbiology who had worked for 28 years at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Ft. Detrick, Maryland. USAMRIID is the only DOD laboratory with the capability to study highly dangerous pathogens requiring maximum containment at BSL-4. Dr. Ivins had helped develop an anthrax vaccine for U.S. troops and was in charge of producing large quantities of wet anthrax spores for research.

    Immediately following the anthrax mailings in 2001, FBI took contaminated evidence to USAMRIID for analysis. Dr. Ivins was tasked by USAMRIID management to analyze the samples of spores sent through the mail and was also a technical consultant to the FBI in the early months of investigation. In March 2003, Dr. Ivins and two of his colleagues at USAMRIID received the Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service—the highest award given to DOD civilian employees—for helping solve technical problems in the manufacturing of licensed anthrax vaccine.

    In December 2001, one of Dr. Ivins’ coworkers told Dr. Ivins that she observed on several occasions unsafe handling procedures by Diagnostic System Division personnel. She also told him that she might have been exposed to anthrax spores when handling an anthrax-contaminated letter. Dr. Ivins began sampling areas in the laboratory space that might have been contaminated with anthrax. He took samples from the shared office areas and later decontaminated her desk, computer, keypad, and monitor. However, he neither documented this incident in the Army record log book nor notified his superiors. He later acknowledged to Army officials that this was a violation of protocol. Dr. Ivins’ behavior was detailed in an Army investigation0 conducted in response to a second round of sampling he conducted in April, but his name did not surface at that time as a suspect in the anthrax attacks.

    After a spill incident inside of suite B-3 in building 1425 in April 2002, Dr. Ivins conducted a second round of unauthorized sampling of his shared office space and cold side areas outside of suite B-3. These findings were reported and sparked a buildingwide sampling inspection. An inspection conducted by the Army 7 months after the anthrax mailing found that suite B-3 in building 1425 at USAMRIID was contaminated with anthrax in four rooms of suite B-3 (306, 304, cold room, and 313 (Dr. Ivins’s laboratory)) and that the bacteria had escaped from secure to unprotected areas in the building. All the areas outside of suite B-3 that tested positive were associated with Dr. Ivins and members of the Bacteriology Division. The inspection report stated that “safety procedures at the facility and in individual laboratories were lax and inadequately documented; that safety supervision sometimes was carried out by junior personnel with inadequate training; and that exposures of dangerous bacteria at the laboratory, including anthrax, had not been adequately reported.

    In 2005, the FBI investigation began to shift to a particular laboratory at USAMRIID, and it began to focus on Dr. Ivins as a suspect in 2007. According to the FBI, Dr. Ivins had the necessary expertise and equipment to make the anthrax powder in his laboratory. Specifically, at the time of the anthrax mailings, Dr. Ivins possessed extensive knowledge of various anthrax production protocols. He was adept at manipulating anthrax production and purification variables to maximize sporulation and improve the quality of anthrax spore preparations. He also understood anthrax aerosolization dosage rates and the importance of purity, consistency, and spore particle size due to his responsibility for providing liquid anthrax spore preparations for animal aerosol challenges. He also had used lyophilizers, biological safety cabinets, incubators, and centrifuges in vaccine research. Such devices are considered the production of the highly purified, powdered anthrax spores used in the fall 2001 mailings.

    According to the FBI’s application for a search warrant, at the time of the attack, Dr. Ivins “(1) was the custodian of a large flask of highly purified anthrax spores that possess certain genetic mutations identical to the anthrax used in the attacks; (2) Ivins has been unable to give investigators an adequate explanation for his late night laboratory work hours around the time of both anthrax mailings; (3) Ivins has claimed that he was suffering serious mental health issues in the months preceding the attacks, and told a coworker that he had ‘incredible paranoid, delusional thoughts at times’ and feared that he might not be able to control his behavior; (4) Ivins is believed to have submitted false samples of anthrax from his laboratory to the FBI for forensic analysis in order to mislead investigators; (5) at the time of the attacks, Ivins was under pressure at work to assist a private company that had lost its FDA approval to produce an anthrax vaccine the Army needed for U.S. troops, and which Ivins believed was essential for the anthrax program at USAMRIID; and (6) Ivins sent an e-mail to a friend a few days before the anthrax attacks warning her that ‘Bin Laden terrorists for sure have anthrax and sarin gas’ and have ‘just decreed death to all Jews and all Americans,’ language similar to the anthrax letters warning ‘WE HAVE THIS ANTHRAX …DEATH TO AMERICA … DEATH TO ISRAEL.’” The FBI stated that in late 2005, forensic science (genetic analysis) used to trace the anthrax used in the 2001 attack had genetic markers consistent with the anthrax spores kept in a flask in the refrigerator in Dr. Ivins’s laboratory at Ft. Detrick, Maryland, to spores in the letters.

    During this time, Dr. Ivins kept his security clearance and passed a polygraph-assisted interrogation (also known as a “lie detector test”) in which he was questioned about his possible participation in the anthrax attacks. In November 2007, he was denied access to all high-containment laboratories and, in March 2008, to all laboratories at USAMRIID. It should be noted that while Dr. Ivins was denied access to the high-containment suites in November 2007, he was certified at that time into the personnel reliability program. On July 10, 2008, Dr. Ivins attended a briefing on a new pneumonic plague vaccine under development at the Army’s laboratory. After this briefing, he was escorted to a psychiatric evaluation off the essential for USAMRIID were withdrawn by the laboratory commander. An order was subsequently issued to installation security to prevent Dr. Ivins from entering the installation unescorted. A written bar order was signed with a plan to serve the document to Dr. Ivins. Before service of the order occurred, he died of a drug overdose on July 29, 2008.

    This incident highlights two lessons: (1) an ill-intentioned insider can pose a risk not only by passing on confidential information but also by removing dangerous material from a high-containment laboratory, and (2) it is impossible to have completely effective inventory control of biological material with currently available technologies. It is impossible to know the exact number of bacteria or virus in a laboratory’s inventory or working stocks at any specific time. At Ft. Detrick, ineffective procedures for the control of inventories and the unlimited use of laboratory facilities allegedly allowed Dr. Ivins the opportunity to pursue his own ends. As the number of high-containment laboratories increases, there will be an increase in the pool of scientists with expertise and, thus, the corresponding risk from insiders may also increase.

    Anthrax and Al Qaeda: The Infiltration of US Biodefense

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

  35. DXer said

    “Greenwald:

    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.”

    Along the same lines, New York Post yesterday had a harsh editorial yesterday. It is not a good thing to undermine the morale of such an important component of our country’s law enforcement and national security function. Wasn’t it the press who took the lead in misidentifying Richard Jewell? What was the Post’s opinion on that in real-time? If everyone were a little harder working and better read, analysis more often would be correct.

    “Fumbling bureau of incompetence
    November 28, 2009

    Some things can be counted on in Washington — like finding the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the middle of a major intelligence screwup. The bureau’s latest embarrassment involves Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the accused murderer of 13 soldiers at Fort Hood. The gunman’s extremism was so obvious that the FBI had identified e-mails between Hasan and Anwar al-Aulaqi, a radical Muslim cleric with apparent ties to Osama bin Laden — yet decided against a full investigation. While Army intelligence also didn’t follow up, the FBI’s the one with the track record of missteps going back years, including:

    * Having completely missed warning signs of terrorist activity prior to 9/11.

    * Misidentifying scientist Stephen Hatfill as the culprit behind the October 2001 anthrax attacks, then public harassing him — resulting in the US paying Hatfill $5.8 million in damages. This occurred even though new measures were supposedly put in place after the Bureau:

    * Misidentified Richard Jewell in 1996 as the person responsible for the Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta.”

  36. BugMaster said

    It has also been suggested that Donald Rumsfield did’t send sufficient troops to Tora Bora to capture Bin Laden because he was concerned about the “fallout”.

    Let’s let the mastermind of the murders of 3000+ Americans go free, because, well, the fallout of capturing him would be far worse.

    And go after Stephan J. Hatfill. Because the fallout associated with solving the anthrax case would be just unbearable.

    I suppose it would be, at least to some!

    • anonymous scientist said

      “It has also been suggested that Donald Rumsfield did’t send sufficient troops to Tora Bora to capture Bin Laden because he was concerned about the “fallout”.”

      I never did understand that one. Let’s see – the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor and we declare war. The war ends 3 years later when we drop two nukes on Japan.
      Osama Bin Laden kills 3,000 civilians in an unprecedented act of super-terrorism and we let him slip into Pakistan and we don’t proceed after him.

      Mind you, I also fail to understand why the FBI conducted a fake investigation into the anthrax attacks.

      • DXer said

        Michael Scheuer has written over his frustration arguing to President Bush about the need to send more troops to Tora Bora.

    • Lew Weinstein said

      Well put. The Bush/Cheney years are, even based on our limited knowledge, the worst this country has ever experienced, and it was no accident. It is so frustrating that neither of them will ever be prosecuted for their crimes.

  37. anonymous scientist said

    “Yesterday, the British Ambassador to the U.S. in 2002 and 2003, Sir Christopher Meyer (who favored the war), 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.”

    I thinks it’s a sad reflection on the intellect of a person in the heady position of British Ambassador to the U.S. that he failed to understand the enormity of sending these spores in the mail. I for one certainly appreciated what a world-changing event this was – and that’s why I continue to be interested in the attack and the subsequent FBI cover-up.

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