Yesterday (7/30/09) was the first public session in the National Academy of Sciences review of anthrax science used by the FBI in its investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks.
The first FBI witness was Chris Hassell, Assistant Director, Laboratory Division, Science and Technology Branch.
Hassell’s testimony regarding silicon (from LMW notes) …
- the silicon content in the Leahy letter was 1.5%
the New York Post letter also had silicon, but there was not enough powder to allow a reliable % measurement
- no exogenous silicon was ever found; there were no silicon signatures
DXer, in two comments posted after the NAS hearing, said the following …
- “The FBI used Inductively Coupled Plasma mass spectrometry (ICP) to determine the silicon content of the Leahy spores.
- They admitted that they found the record breaking level of 1.45% silicon.
- They apparently don’t believe this is significant at all (especially since it doesn’t provide any link whatsoever to Ivins or Detrick).
- But let’s consider what it means when they claim the NYP analysis by ICP was somehow “unreliable” as Chris Hassell said today to the NAS.
- When ICP is performed a tiny fraction (less than 1ml) of sample is nebulized in a chamber:
- The first step in analysis is the introduction of the sample. This has been achieved in ICP-MS through a variety of means.
- The most common method is the use of a nebulizer. This is a device which converts liquids into an aerosol, and that aerosol can then be swept into the plasma to create the ions. Nebulizers work best with simple liquid samples (i.e. solutions).
- So, if they are claiming in their response that ICP DID provide the result that there WAS silicon in the NYP sample, then they must have a number for this. ICP is not a “yes or no” analysis. It provides a number. The record breaking number of 1.45% was provided for the Leahy sample – but for some reason the NYP number was NOT given.
- It is no excuse to say that they ran out of sample. As described above – once a sample of solution is made up it can be used to provide HUNDREDS of small volume nebulized aliquots into the ICP machine.
The REAL reason that the NYP analysis is not being provided is because it is massive. The % of silicon is more than 10% – in fact it’s above to 50%. The NYP sample is actually MOSTLY silicon.
- The AFIP lab results (the results that the FBI refused to provide to Sandia) clearly demonstrate this.
- The FBI labs were uncomfortable enough releasing the record breaking 1.45% silicon in the Leahy sample.
- They are now stonewalling in producing the AFIP report under FOIA.
“The silicon is probably the most important scientific evidence that would lead anybody to question whether Bruce was capable of making these spores,” says Gerald P. Andrews, Bruce Ivins’ former boss.
read the complete DXer comments below the post … * Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) … background documentation related to National Academy of Sciences (NAS) silicon testimony today