Posts Tagged ‘* Congressman Holt & anthrax’
* a selection of posts from the CASE CLOSED blog making the case AGAINST the FBI’s assertions that Dr. Bruce ivins was the anthrax attacker
Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 30, 2013
* the FBI continues to stonewall Congress and the American people on anthrax investigation … it is a frightening display of power by our national police force which flies in the face of what a democracy of the people is supposed to be
Posted by Lew Weinstein on October 16, 2011
Greg Gordon, McClatchy Newspapers, Stephen Engelberg, ProPublica, and Mike Wiser, PBS’ Frontline Oct. 14, 2011 …
despite evidence of FBI bungling,
new probe into anthrax killings unlikely
- Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, says it would take a powerful grassroots movement or startling new evidence to reopen the Justice Department’s investigation that branded a now-deceased Army researcher as the anthrax mailer who killed five people a decade ago.
- Even if he were the committee chairman, Grassley said, “I would question my capability of raising enough heat (to reopen the case) when you’re up against the FBI. And I’ve been up against the FBI.”
- Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., who has criticized the FBI investigation as “botched” and from whose district the deadly letters were mailed, said he may try for a third time to win support for legislation creating a special commission to investigate the attacks.
- “There are so many reasons to want to get to the bottom of it,” Holt said in an interview. “I hate to think of what lines of investigation have been shut off.”
read the entire article at … http://www.propublica.org/article/despite-evidence-of-fbi-bungling-new-probe-into-anthrax-killings-unlikely
LMW COMMENT …
FBI Director Mueller continues to stonewall Congress and the American people regarding the FBI’s investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks. Despite continuing and compelling evidence that the FBI’s case against Dr. Bruce Ivins is not supported by anything but flimsy innuendos and weak circumstantial evidence, the FBI will not, so far, move from its pedantic repetition of its assertion that Dr. Ivins was the sole perpetrator.
It is frightening that, in a democracy, the national police force has so much power over the people’s elected representatives. The FBI, in this case, is behaving more like the KGB than like a srvrant of the American people. They won’t answer questions asked by Congress. They won’t release documents they have no right to keep hidden.
And they surely will give no credence to the ongoing demolition of their pathetic case against Dr. Ivins.
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 …
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: * Congressman Holt & anthrax, ** CASE CLOSED by Lew Weinstein, *** 2001 anthrax attacks, *** Amerithrax, *** Dr. Bruce Ivins, *** FBI anthrax investigation, FBI Director Mueller, Senator Grassley & anthrax | 1 Comment »
* International anthrax expert Dr. Hugh Martin-Jones challenges the government to test his team’s hypothesis in a lab instead of with “lawyer talk” … “I hope [the findings] will add to the pressure that the investigation be actively reopened.”
Posted by Lew Weinstein on October 12, 2011
Henry Rome writes in The Daily Princetonian (10/12/11) …
- International anthrax expert Martin Hugh-Jones, molecular biologist Barbara Hatch Rosenberg and chemist Stuart Jacobsen assert …
the Army microbiologist accused of mailing anthrax-laden letters
did not, in fact, have the technical skill needed to manufacture the spores.
- In response to a statement issued by Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd dismissing the team’s claims, Dr. Hugh-Jones said in an email to The Daily Princetonian that he challenged the government to test his team’s hypothesis in a lab in order to take the discussion “out of the realm of lawyer talk of you said/we say nonsense.”
- “The DOJ forgets that we are scientists and all ‘speculation’ are hypotheses which are subject to testing to see if they have any basis in hard fact,” he said. “I hope [the findings] will add to the pressure that the investigation be actively reopened.”
- The team claims that the particles of tin and silicone found in the anthrax spores are not random contaminants. Instead, they argue, the particles are indicators of the complex coating used in the mass production of pharmaceutical products.
- These recent findings come less than a year after the National Academy of Sciences issued a review that criticized the FBI’s scientific analysis of the anthrax spores.
- New Jersey Rep. Rush Holt has also condemned the FBI’s handling of the investigation … Holt has called for a commission, styled after the 9/11 commission, to investigate the mailings.
read the entire article at … http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2011/10/12/29020/
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: * Congressman Holt & anthrax, ** NAS anthrax study, *** 2001 anthrax attacks, *** Amerithrax, *** Dr. Bruce Ivins, *** FBI anthrax investigation, dean boyd, Dr. Barbara Hatch Rosenberg, Dr. Martin Hugh-Jones, Dr. Stuart Jacobsen | 7 Comments »
* Congressman Rush Holt: The FBI repeatedly bungled the anthrax investigation … I have introduced legislation that would create a special committee to investigate the anthrax attacks
Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 18, 2011
Congressman Rush Holt – D,NJ – writes (9/16/11) …
- I (have long been) concerned about the processes and professionalism of government investigators.
The FBI’s practices for taking evidence, I saw, were sloppy and even illogical.
- One of the FBI’s first steps, for instance, should have been to examine immediately all of the mailboxes that fed into the Trenton mail facility where the letters were known to have been processed.
- Yet nine months passed before the FBI swabbed public mailboxes and identified a contaminated public mailbox on Nassau Street in Princeton as the apparent source of the letter.
- Only then did the FBI begin asking passers-by whether they remembered anything unusual happening at that box the previous fall.
- For years, the FBI investigation focused myopically on Steven Hatfill, a bioweapons expert, even after it became clear that Hatfill lacked access to the strain of anthrax used in the attacks. Hatfill later sued the Department of Justice, and he settled for $5.8 million.
The FBI’s bungling of the case squandered five years of investigative time
while the real culprit or culprits remained at large.
- Finally, after the better part of a decade of false leads and vague public statements, the FBI announced in August 2008 that it had identified a suspect: Dr. Bruce Ivins, a vaccine specialist who worked at Fort Detrick and who days earlier had committed suicide.
As FBI Director Robert Mueller ultimately acknowledged to me,
the case against Ivins was almost entirely circumstantial.
- On the basis of this (circumstantial) evidence, the FBI declared that Ivins was the culprit, that he had acted alone and that the investigation into the anthrax attacks was considered closed.
Yet the FBI has said that it does not have
any direct, physical evidence tying Ivins to the attack.
- Further investigations, including a report from the National Research Council, have cast questions on whether the FBI conclusively demonstrated that the anthrax used in the attack originated in Ivins’ lab.
- Indeed, as the NRC report noted, multiple individuals had access to the flask that allegedly contained the attack material.
- And Ivins had no experience in making, nor the proper equipment to produce, the kind of refined, easily aerosolized spores that were used in the attacks.
- In Congress, I have introduced legislation that would create a special committee, modeled after the 9/11 Commission, to investigate the anthrax attacks, including our pre-attack preparations, the incidents, the public health response, the forensic response and the subsequent improvements made.
- Such an investigation would help us understand what really happened, why and whether America has grown better prepared to deter biological attacks.
I believe that many of America’s most dangerous overreactions,
particularly the invasion of Iraq, which Bush administration officials
at first tried to link to the anthrax attacks,
can be traced directly to the panic induced by the anthrax mailings.
- Our sense that terrorists were everywhere, that even an action as innocent as opening the mail could be fatal, set the United States on a path that will haunt us for years.
LMW COMMENT …
The FBI has clearly failed to solve the anthrax case, and is just as clearly trying to stonewall any attempts to get to the truth. FBI Director Robert Mueller needs to be brought on the carpet to explain his management of this case and to tell the American people the truth about the anthrax attacks.
* Intelligence Agencies Are Told to Cooperate with GAO … how will this apply to the ongoing GAO review of the FBI’s anthrax investigation (Amerithrax)?
Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 17, 2011
see also …
* the GAO review of the FBI’s anthrax investigation has begun … a report is expected to be issued by September 20, 2011 … *** UPDATE: a series of fascinating comments to this post suggest many pertinent questions that GAO might want to consider
Steven Aftergood writes in Secrecy News from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy (5/16/11) …
- An expanded role for the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in oversight of the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) may soon become a reality as the result of an official directive that requires intelligence agencies to work with auditors from the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress.
- “It is IC policy to cooperate with the Comptroller General, through the GAO, to the fullest extent possible, and to provide timely responses to requests for information,” affirmed Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper in the new Intelligence Community Directive 114 on“Comptroller General Access to Intelligence Community Information” (pdf). The Comptroller General is the director of the GAO.
- There is also a loosely defined provision that would exclude GAO from access to information on “core” intelligence capabilities:
- “Information that falls within the purview of the congressional intelligence oversight committees generally shall not be made available to GAO to support a GAO audit or review of core national intelligence capabilities or activities, which include intelligence collection operations, intelligence analyses and analytical techniques, counterintelligence operations, and intelligence funding,” the directive says.
- That language in the directive, “if interpreted broadly, could significantly hinder GAO’s ability to conduct related work that we are routinely requested by the Congress to do,” wrote Gene L. Dodaro, the Comptroller General.
- The final version of the directive “is better than the horrible first cut,” a congressional official said. An initial draft of the directive last March was deemed to be “shockingly bad” from a congressional perspective. (“DNI Drags Heels on GAO Access to Intelligence,” Secrecy News, March 30, 2011.)
- “It will be very interesting to see how the new protocols are actually implemented. GAO’s moribund FBI counter-terrorism job is going to be the first test case.” He was referring to a pending review of counterterrorism programs at FBI that was scuttled due to the FBI’s refusal to cooperate with GAO auditors.
read the entire article at … http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/2011/05/cooperate_gao.html
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: * Congressman Holt & anthrax, *** 2001 anthrax attacks, *** Amerithrax, *** Dr. Bruce Ivins, *** FBI anthrax investigation, GAO review of FBI anthrax investigation | 10 Comments »
* FBI Director Mueller gets two more years to do the right thing in the Amerithrax investigation. President Obama should direct Mueller to do what needs to be done.
Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 14, 2011
CNN reports …
It will take an act of Congress to keep Robert Mueller at the helm of the FBI, and all signs indicate that’s precisely what lawmakers will do. No sooner had President Barack Obama announced plans to extend Mueller’s statutorily limited 10-year term to 12 years than Democrats and Republicans alike began to smartly salute the decorated Marine and declare the move a grand idea.
LMW COMMENT …
As far as the public can know with such a secretive organization, Robert Mueller has done an excellent job as FBI Director.
But, like the rest of us, he is not perfect. The Amerithrax investigation is one area where the FBI has fallen far short of an acceptable mark, and Mueller must take responsibility.
- The original structure of the investigation, with its changing teams and firewalls to prevent the flow of information, must have had Mueller’s approval, if indeed not his actual direction.
- The August 2008 announcement that Ivins was the sole perpetrator was a farce, especially when the FBI offered no evidence that Dr. Ivins was even involved.
- The FBI’s stonewalling response to Congress and others who have questioned the FBI’s conclusions must lay right at Mueller’s doorstep.
Director Mueller now has another two years
to do what should have been done long ago.
He has several choices …
- Cooperate fully with the GAO investigation initiated by Congressman Rush Holt
- Provide the improperly withheld information to the NAS and ask them to do a proper review
- Re-open the FBI investigation with a fresh team and no restrictions (much like I did in my novel CASE CLOSED)
President Obama should direct FBI Director Mueller
to do the right thing.
America deserves a better answer
than the FBI has so far provided.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: * Congressman Holt & anthrax, ** NAS anthrax study, FBI Director Mueller, GAO review of FBI anthrax investigation, President Obama and the FBI's failed anthrax investigation | 57 Comments »
Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 1, 2011
Old Atlantic asks (in a recent comment bringing together information originally supplied by DXer and others) …
- Who at the FBI, if anyone, has put together that Ivins’ nights in the BSL3 were all night checks of animals at the same time and someone else was checking during the day and thus growth of spores by Ivins was ruled out on those dates?
- Did the first FBI team do that?
- Is this the reason the FBI won’t say when the anthrax was grown by Ivins? Won’t “speculate” on growth scenarios? They know that the spike in hours by Ivins in the BSL3 after hours were on days he could not have grown anthrax spores?
- Their own charts prove Ivins could not have grown spores in other months, assuming August is the same deal, because he was not in the BSL3.
- Did the people who checked animals on those days already tell the FBI they did? Do they feel they have already come forward? Is the FBI sending a message, don’t come public with this and the heavy handed investigation tactics will not return?
* Noah Shachtman writes: Did the Anthrax Attacks Kickstart the Iraq War? … Congressman Holt is quoted in Shachtman’s article saying: The anthrax attacks “made it possible to manufacture the argument that there was WMD in Iraq and links to Al-Qaeda” … LMW adds: Here are extracts from my novel CASE CLOSED regarding the potential linkage of “Saddam’s anthrax” to the invasion of Iraq
Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 29, 2011
Noah Shachtman writes for WIRED (3/29/11) …
- Did the Anthrax Attacks Kickstart the Iraq War?
- On February 5th, 2003, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell went to the United Nations, to make the case for war in Iraq.
- A central plank of his presentation: the anthrax attacks that killed five people and helped send the country into a panic in the days after 9/11.
- “Less than a teaspoon-full of dry anthrax in an envelope shut down the United States Senate in the fall of 2001. This forced several hundred people to undergo emergency medical treatment and killed two postal workers just from an amount just about this quantity that was inside of an envelope,” Powell said.
- “Saddam Hussein could have produced 25,000 liters. If concentrated into this dry form, this amount would be enough to fill tens upon tens upon tens of thousands of teaspoons..”
- By the end of the following month, the invasion of Iraq was underway.
The anthrax attacks “made it possible
to manufacture the argument that there was WMD in Iraq
and links to Al-Qaeda,” Rep. Rush Holt said.
- And long after any links between Iraq and the killer spores were disproven, the Bush administration used the mystery surrounding the anthrax mailer to press its case for war.
- a few government officials (most notably, Sen. John McCain) publicly suggested that the Saddam Hussein regime may have been behind the anthrax letters.
read the entire article at … http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/03/did-the-anthrax-attacks-kickstart-the-iraq-war/#
LMW COMMENT …
- I have long thought that the anthrax attacks, the invasion of Iraq, and the failed FBI investigation of the anthrax attacks … may in fact be linked.
- Like my characters in the excerpts from my novel CASE CLOSED, written in 2008 … the DOJ/FBI press conference sounded so implausible that it started me thinking about what might have happened.
- I am not making any accusations. My novel is fiction.
- But I do believe it is a possibility worth investigation, because it explains the otherwise inexplicable failure of the FBI to solve a case that should have been solved and then subsequently accusing Dr. Bruce Ivins without any of the evidence that would have been needed to convict him, had he been alive to defend himself.
Here are extracts from my novel CASE CLOSED
regarding the potential linkage of “Saddam’s anthrax”
to the invasion of Iraq
… “After the nationwide panic caused by the anthrax mailings settled down, pretty much nothing happens in the FBI’s anthrax investigation. The next we hear about anthrax is in February 2003, when Secretary of State Abner Grant goes to the United Nations and holds up a vial of something – it wasn’t actually anthrax – claiming that Saddam can deliver weapons of mass destruction to the eastern seaboard of the U.S.
… Of course, we learn later that Saddam had neither WMD nor any way to reach our shores.
… U.N. arms inspector Blix said something much like that a few days before we invaded Iraq.
… “What do we know so far?” Hamilton began, ticking off the points on the fingers of his large hand. “One, the FBI took seven years and never proved who prepared and sent the anthrax letters. Two, the President wanted to invade Iraq and was seeking justification. Three, the threat of anthrax from Iraq was used to justify the invasion.
… “The very best police force in the land is assigned to track down the person or persons who prepared and mailed the lethal envelopes. But even before any evidence is obtained, the great leader announces the desired result – there may be some possible link to Saddam, he says; I wouldn’t put it past him.
“The great vice-leader also chimes in, saying that Saddam had henchmen who were trained how to deploy and use these kinds of substances, so you start to piece it all together.
“I would ask you to note that these instantaneous, unsupported allegations are directed at Saddam; Osama, who sent the planes, is not mentioned.
… “Time passes. A truly massive investigation is put into ponderous motion by the greatest police force in the land. Although some think there are only a few real suspects who should be investigated, namely those people with the means and the access to actually prepare and send the anthrax laced letters, the best police force in the land looks everyplace but where these suspects are known to be. Not surprisingly, no arrests are made.
“Now why would the best police force in the land look in all the wrong places? You can answer, Aryeh.”
Kauffman answered with a question. “Because they don’t want to solve the crime?”
“Right!” Hamilton said. “At least not until the unsolved anthrax attack can be used to support an invasion of the country still ruled by Saddam. The case for invasion is made from many factors, with WMD first among them; anthrax is prominently mentioned among the supposed weapons of mass destruction. Why, the great and respected Secretary of State even goes to the U.N. and waves what looks like a vial of anthrax, scaring the shit out of everybody.
… “You can’t prove that the FBI didn’t want to solve the case,” Kauffman said.
“Not yet,” Hamilton said.
… Marilyn Sowickey spoke first. “So you think the anthrax letters were a purposeful part of the President’s deception to justify the invasion of Iraq, that he intimidated the FBI so they didn’t solve the anthrax case, and that Dr. Ingram was subsequently murdered by our government in order to finally close the case when it no longer suited the President’s need to keep it open.”
“I’m not saying that’s what did happen,” Hamilton said. “I’m suggesting it could have happened, that it’s a hypothesis worth investigating.”
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: * Congressman Holt & anthrax, ** CASE CLOSED by Lew Weinstein, *** 2001 anthrax attacks, *** Amerithrax, *** Dr. Bruce Ivins, *** FBI anthrax investigation, anthrax and Iraq, Bush-Cheney lies, President Bush & anthrax, Vice President Cheney and anthrax | 28 Comments »
* “I wouldn’t want to be the lawyer taking this (the FBI case against Dr. Bruce Ivins) to court,” said U.S. Rep. Rush Holt
Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 29, 2011
Jeff Edelstein writes in The Trentonian (3/29/11) …
- The anthrax killer might still be out there … and this isn’t some far-flung conspiracy theory
- “Let me put it this way: I wouldn’t want to be the lawyer taking this to court,” said U.S. Rep. Rush Holt.
- “… I’d feel a lot better if it (the FBI’s case) rested on physical evidence.”
- “Did Ivins do it? I’m not saying that he didn’t,” said Holt. “But the case is not as solid as the public deserves.”
read the entire article at … http://www.trentonian.com/articles/2011/03/29/opinion/doc4d91dc6bab20e224651702.txt
* Congressman Holt: “If I hadn’t personally witnessed the FBI make so many false steps and jump to so many conclusions I’d be more willing to believe them” … LMW: it’s obvious to any objective observer that the FBI has withheld information and not made its case … the really important question is why
Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 25, 2011
Matt Fair writes at NJ.com (3/25/11) …
Congressman Rush Holt remains skeptical about conclusions in anthrax investigation
- While a panel of psychiatrists said this week that Bruce Ivins, the Maryland scientist believed by authorities to be behind several anthrax-laden letters in 2001, was “psychologically disposed to undertake the mailings,” U.S. Rep. Rush Holt, D-Hopewell, maintains that the FBI has not proved its case.
- “I think this just adds a little more circumstantial evidence that Ivins was the culprit,” Holt said in a telephone interview yesterday. “I don’t think it cinches the case.”
- Holt added that, after rushing to conclusions in naming Dr. Steven Hatfill a “person of interest” in the case in 2002, there was little reason to believe the veracity of the FBI’s investigation into Ivins’ role in the attacks.
- “If I hadn’t personally witnessed the FBI make so many false steps and jump to so many conclusions I’d be more willing to believe them,” he said. “I watched as they hunted and harassed Hatfill for years only to decide that he had nothing to do with it. They jumped to a conclusion there, what’s to prevent them from jumping to a conclusion with regard to Ivins?”
- Holt has introduced legislation in the House of Representatives that would establish a congressional commission, modeled after the 9/11 Commission, to investigate the anthrax attacks. He has said the commission would focus on reviewing the work conducted by the FBI and would also review security protocols in place at government laboratories to ensure that an incident like this doesn’t happen again.
read the entire article at … http://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2011/03/holt_remains_skeptical_about_c.html