FBI Director Mueller must be so embarrassed ... but will he do the right thing and re-open the investigation? ... and if not, why not?
watch the entire show at this link …
Here are my notes taken while watching the Frontline Oct 11, 2011 show. Where it is my opinion, or I’m adding something that was not in the show, I have added LMW. Otherwise, the notes are taken from the show itself
… draining the pond looking for Hatfill’s underwater anthrax lab … desperation under pressure to solve the crime
… later the FBI/DOJ paid $5.8 million to Hatfill to settle his “invasion of privacy” lawsuit
… LMW: the FBI gives no indication they have ever had a clue as to how to investigate this case … the management approach, compartmentalization, lack of scientific understanding, unwillingness to ask for help … this is ultimately Mueller’s mismanagement for which he should be held accountable.
… pressure from Bush/Cheney … LMW: the impression that Bush/Cheney were pressing for a solution to the crime is at odds with their evident willingness to have an unsolved anthrax case so they could blame Saddam Hussein (with no basis) and use that as one more wedge to conduct their war of choice in Iraq.
… FBI had no competence to deal with the science … LMW: the FBI should not be faulted for their lack of preparation for an event which had never happened before … however, they should be roundly faulted for failing to get up to speed and make use of the available scientific resources in a coherent intelligent manner.
… LMW: a question never answered (and rarely even asked) – why was the largest store of Ames anthrax (in Iowa) destroyed? what role did the FBI play in that decision? what would have been different if those samples had been available?
… RMR 1029 … > 100 people had access … LMW … the FBI later acknowledged that “up to 377″ actually had access
… FBI: Ivins controlled the flask … LMW: what control did Ivins have if 377 labs had access … and through those 377 we know about, who else might have gotten their hands on RMR-1029 anthrax? … the FBI’s assertion that only Ivins could be the source of the attack anthrax is simply nonsense
… FBI: time in lab at night peaked only once … just before attacks … LMW: Ivins lab notebooks from Sept-Oct 2001 have been taken by FBI and not made public under FOIA … the FBI is clearly hiding this evidence … one suspects that if it proved their case, it would have been released long ago
… at the time the FBI asserts Ivins was preparing the anthrax, he was apparently working on vaccine challenge experiments … LMW: the missing lab notebooks would confirm or deny this. What right does the FBI/DOJ have to deny access to those notebooks under FOIA?
… USAMRIID colleagues: Ivins could not have produced the powder in the time period … nor did he have the equipment to do so … no evidence of anthrax powder work … no trace … we would have noticed … LMW: these guys (Adamowicz and Andrews) were there … they would know
… Saathoff … psychological evaluation … based on emails … apparently Saathoff had no personal interaction with Dr. Ivins … LMW: what basis can a psychological evaluation have if the people making it never met the person being analyzed … nonsense!
… KKG connection led to return to Princeton mailbox … only years later … LMW: more indication of the FBI reaching for straws
… FBI: Ivins misled us regarding a sample he provided … FRONTLINE: actually … Ivins had submitted other samples that did match ... the FBI knew about other samples … a redacted document was released BUT the un-redacted document shows the truth … LMW: is this a mistake or is the redacted document and statements contrary to what was redacted direct evidence of an FBI lie to coverup the truth?
… FBI never found anthrax spores in Ivins environment … at lab, home, car … nowhere!
… FBI psychiatrist warned too much pressure could make Ivins suicidal … FBI knew this but increased the pressure anyway … 11/1/2007 … search warrants issued … interviewed family … sealed his house … took his car … never found a single anthrax spore
… FBI genetics expert Fraser-Liggett: no spores were found … this is a big hole in the FBI’s case … how strong was this case?
… LMW: the FBI has offered no physical evidence, no witnesses, no science … all they have is circumstantial … flimsy innuendo … Ivins’ strange behavior which they continually harp on has not been shown to be related to the alleged crime
… FBI sought a confession by pressuring and humiliating Ivins … Ivins’ world is collapsing … FBI admits it knew Ivins was “decomposing” and “losing control” … but they kept up pressure anyway … Ivins a troubled man … FBI un-dressing him in public humiliation … police forcibly removed Ivins from his lab of 25 years … soon after … Ivins took an overdose of Tylenol PM … Garrett: a slow agonizing death … Kemp (Ivins’ attorney): he was hounded to death … he never admitted anything … instead he committed suicide
… after Ivins’ suicide, the FBI had lost their man … hastily organized press conference (Aug 2008) … we have the person … would have made case if trial … Arlen Specter (an experienced prosecutor) thought they had no case … LMW: it appears the FBI panicked and called the press conference in an effort to make the case go away
… US Attorney Taylor at press conference: based on the totality of the evidence … “Ivins was the only person responsible for these attacks” … Lieber (prosecutor): it’s not just the science … it’s not just strange behavior … it’s not just the mailbox … it’s the confluence of all these things taken together … when you look at the totality you realize this is the right person
LMW: actually, each piece of evidence must stand on its own merit … an infinite number of flimsy innuendos doesn’t add up to anything worth having … endlessly repeating unfounded assertions is unconvincing … solid evidence is needed, and the FBI hasn’t got it … or if they do, they haven’t told anyone. Talking about a “confluence of evidence” and a “totality” is utter nonsense.
… Congress’ questions have never been answered … LMW: will Congressman Holt ever get the anthrax commission he has been seeking for years? Why doesn’t Congress (and President Obama) seem to care that the truth remains hidden?
… NAS study asked by FBI … unexpected result … LMW: even after FBI tried to quash the initial NAS report … kudos to the independent scientists!
… Dr. Gast (NAS panel chairwoman): it is not possible to reach a definitive conclusion based on the scientific evidence alone … there is no certain link between the attack letters and Dr. ivins’ RMR-1029 flask
… FBI genetics expert Fraser-Liggett: this is not an air-tight case by any means … and if Ivins wasn’t the perpetrator, that means that person is still out there
… LMW: if it wasn’t so serious, the FBI’s incompetent and unprofessional behavior would be comical … FBI Director Mueller must be so embarrassed
LMW COMMENT …
I have been furious about the FBI’s behavior ever since watching the August 2008 press conference where they asserted, with no physical evidence, no witnesses, and (it turns out) no science, that Bruce Ivins was the sole perpetrator of the anthrax attacks. It was clear to me the FBI had not even proven that Ivins was involved, let alone that he was the sole perpetrator.
It seemed to me then, and still seems so today, that there are only 3 possible “actual” scenarios …
- The FBI has more evidence against Dr. Ivins but is, for some undisclosed reason, withholding that evidence … POSSIBLE BUT NOT SO LIKELY
- The FBI, despite the most expensive and extensive investigation in its history, has not solved the case and has no idea who prepared and mailed the anthrax letters that killed 5 Americans in 2001 … EVEN LESS LIKELY
- The FBI knows who did it (not Dr. Ivins) but is covering up the actual perpetrators, for undisclosed reasons …THE MOST LIKELY SCENARIO
Being a novelist, I wrote a novel, presenting what I (and others, including a respected representative of the U.S. Intelligence Community) thought was a plausible scenario of what might have happened. My novel CASE CLOSED has been published and is available in paperback and kindle formats on amazon.
Here is the first scene from CASE CLOSED,
where I have the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)
begin a re-do of the FBI’s failed investigation …
this is the opening scene of Lew Weinstein's novel CASE CLOSED