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

Archive for May 20th, 2009

* How the FBI Botched the Anthrax Case – former FBI Agent Brad Garrett – 6-30-08

Posted by DXer on May 20, 2009

Mr. Garrett wrote (6-30-08) …

  • The anthrax investigation, almost from the beginning, was hampered by top-heavy leadership from high ranking, but inexperienced FBI officials, which led to a close-minded focus on just one suspect and amateurish investigative techniques that robbed agents in the field the ability operate successfully.
  • I saw it firsthand as one of the FBI agents assigned to the anthrax case and directly involved in the investigation of Dr. Steven Hatfill.
  • Last Friday, the U.S. Department of Justice agreed to pay $5,825,000 to Hatfill, whom former Attorney General John Ashcroft once described as “a person of interest.”
  • There are many lessons learned from the missteps in the anthrax investigation. (NOTE: these are spelled out in the article; see link below)

Brad Garrett retired from the FBI and is now an ABC News consultant. Garrett holds a PhD and was the hostage negotiation coordinator for the FBI’s Washington Field Office.


Mr. Garrett wrote this article just after the settlement with Dr. Hatfill, but before Dr. Bruce Ivins committed suicide and was charged by the FBI (in a press conference, not a court of law) as the sole perpetrator.

That sequence of events, as the FBI tumbled and fumbled from Dr. Hatfill to Dr. Ivins, is highly suspicious. This time, they chose someone who was conveniently deceased.

No embarrassing law suits would ever emanate from Dr. Ivins.

I wonder when the leading minds at the FBI and the Department of Justice decided to say they were sure Dr. Ivins was the perpetrator, and who actually made that decision. My guess is that it was after Dr. Ivins committed suicide and was no longer in a position to defend himself.

How else could the FBI have confidently claimed that they had identified the sole perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax mass murder when they had …CC - front cover - small

  • no witnesses who saw Dr. Ivins prepare powdered anthrax, sneak it out of USAMRIID, write and fill the envelopes and drive to Princeton to mail the letters,
  • no physical evidence such as spores in Dr. Ivins’ home or car,
  • no compelling science; just look at the furious arguments that have emerged since August 2008, still unresolved,
  • and an impossible timeframe; Dr. Ivins could not have been in Princeton when the FBI originally said he was; so they just changed their story, leaving the impression that they were making it up as they went along

I have developed a (fictional) scenario to explain the FBI’s inexplicable failure to solve the 2001 anthrax case in my new novel, CASE CLOSED, to be published in June 2009.


you can read Mr. Garrett’s entire story at …

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* silicon evidence points beyond Fort Detrick and Dr. Bruce Ivins

Posted by DXer on May 20, 2009

CASE CLOSEDCASE CLOSED is a novel which answers the question “Why the FBI failed to solve the 2001 anthrax case?” … click here to … buy CASE CLOSED by Lew Weinstein

Here’s what readers say about CASE CLOSED  …

“Weinstein raises some very interesting and disturbing theories. CASE CLOSED is a great read,suspenseful and a real page turner. Please tell me it’s not true!”

“You will not want to stop reading … Lew Weinstein addresses this case with the pen of a highly skilled investigator.”


silicon evidence points beyond Fort Detrick and Dr. Bruce Ivins

“Anonymous Scientist” writes …

  • When the FBI sought a search warrant from a judge to search Ivins’ home and Detrick they stated they were looking to find evidence including spores with a unique never-before-seen silicon signature.
  • This is contained in the affidavit released just after the news of Ivins’ death came out, stating: “Microscopic examination of the evidentiary spore powders recovered from all four letters identified an elemental signature of Silicon within the spores. This Silicon signature had not been previously described for Bacillus anthracis organisms.”

see …

  • The silicon found in the mailed spores is very significant. The FBI admit that 1.45% silicon was found in the Leahy spores. That’s a huge amount – higher than any amount that’s ever been seen before in spore preparations – even ones where silicon has been deliberately added (which Detrick never does).
  • But the FBI NEVER DID FIND SPORES LIKE THIS IN DETRICK.  And yet their official story today is that Ivins must have managed to make them – somehow.

If the FBI cannot explain how that got there,

then they have to look beyond Detrick.

  • In addition, Sandia showed that the spores were not coated with silica nanoparticles (an old technology to weaponize spores). Instead Sandia found a layer of polysiloxane on the spore coat but under the exosprorium.
  • They couldn’t explain how it got there, but they concluded it must be some freakish “accident”.
  • However, things have advanced since the old nanoparticle technology days and a more sophisticated way to weaponize spores is to use polymerized glass –  silicon in a liquid form which polymerizes on the spore coat. That explains how it got there.
  • The FBI themselves said they found polymerized glass back in April 2002 – but today they have apparently changed their minds about that, and the FBI and Sandia are apparently ignoring that April 2002 announcement as if it never took place.

The point is – all of this points to a lab other than Detrick,

and to a scientist other than the supposed (according to the FBI) sole perpetrator Dr. Bruce Ivins.


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* Case Not Closed; Congress must investigate

Posted by DXer on May 20, 2009

DXer has just posted a comment summarizing many compelling statements that the FBI has failed to solve the 2001 anthrax case. I think this comment is worth making into a post to give it higher visibility. Excerpts from DXer’s comment are shown below …

Senator Chuck Grassley:

  • If the case is solved, why isn’t it solved?  It’s all very suspicious, and you wonder whether or not the F.B.I. doesn’t have something to cover up and that they don’t want to come clean.”  

Senator Patrick Leahy:

  • “I believe there are others involved, either as accessories before or accessories after the fact.  I believe there are others who can be charged with murder.”

 Bruce Ivins’ defense counsel Paul Kemp:

  • “In this country, we prosecute people, not beakers.”  

 “Case Not Closed” … Nature – the International Weekly Journal of Science (8/21/08):  

  • … neither the conclusions drawn from the scientific analysis, nor such crucial legal elements as the veracity of the provenance and handling of samples, have been tested in court.
  • So far only one side of the story has been heard: that of the prosecution.
  • The FBI should explain why it thinks the scientific evidence implicates Ivins himself, and not just the flask.
  • As (Paul) Kemp aptly puts it: “In this country, we prosecute people, not beakers.”
  • The absence of such a full disclosure can only feed suspicions that the FBI has again targeted an innocent man in this case — as it did with former Fort Detrick researcher Steven Hatfill.
  • This case is too important to be brushed under the carpet.
  • Science and law share a conviction that conclusions require evidence, and that the evidence be debated openly.
  • It is essential that such an enquiry takes place.   
  • to read the entire NATURE article, click …


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LMW COMMENT … Before I wrote CASE CLOSED about the anthrax case, I wrote the novel A GOOD CONVICTION, describing the case of a young man convicted of a murder he did not commit by a New York City prosecutor who knew he was innocent. In the course of researching A GOOD CONVICTION, I read everything I could find about prosecutorial abuse. I learned that many prosecutors are quite willing to withold evidence, make up evidence, and break the law in other ways in order to get a conviction. It seems that the FBI and the DOJ are following exactly that route in the anthrax case. Desperate to gain a conviction (finally, after seven years) they switched from Dr. Hatfill to Dr. Ivins in a heartbeat, losing whatever scant credibility they might still have had after seven years of failure. Why did the FBI fail to solve this case? We don’t yet know, but I have created a fictional answer to that question in CASE CLOSED.

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* Ike Solem on FBI cover-up and deliberate targeting of innocent suspects

Posted by DXer on May 20, 2009

 The quote below, taken from a recent comment on this blog by Ike Solem, is so on target I wanted to highlight it further.

 SOLEM: I think the original FBI team (who only lasted for three months or so before being transferred off the case and forced into retirement, I believe) had the right answer, and everything since then has been a cover up effort, led first by Richard Lambert, and then by the third FBI team, leadership unknown, as reported in Science.

 Ike has added this comment in an email to me.

SOLEM: As to who did it?  I have no idea, other than that the range of plausible suspects and labs is far smaller than the FBI will admit, and doesn’t include either Bruce Ivins or Steven Hatfill, who appear to have been deliberately targeted by the FBI in an effort to find a scapegoat for the anthrax attacks.

LMW COMMENT … Is there anyone out there who is fully convinced that the FBI has finally, after their last-minute switch from Hatfill to Ivins, solved the case? Certainly not me. Only a full-scale Congressional investigation, with FBI agents testifying under oath, has a chance to bring forward the truth. Senator Grassley and Congressman Holt have proposed such hearings, and I urge everyone in their respective districts to write to them encouraging them to press forward.

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* Claire Fraser-Liggett: the genetic analysis of the spores in Ivins’ flask does not indicate Ivins is guilty

Posted by DXer on May 20, 2009

A recent comment on this blog by DXer (a frequent contributor) said the following …

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  • Claire Fraser-Liggett,  is professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and director of the University of Maryland Institute for Genome Sciences and an adviser to the FBI on Amerithrax.
  • She asks,  “What would have happened in this investigation had Dr. Hatfill not been so forceful in his response to being named a person of interest. What if he,  instead of fighting back,  had committed suicide because of the pressure? Would that have been the end of the investigation?”
  • It was Fraser-Liggett’s genetic analysis of the anthrax spores in the letters led to Ivins’ flask.
  • “The part that seems still hotly debated is whether there was sufficient evidence to name Dr. Ivins as the perpetrator,” Fraser-Liggett says. “I have complete confidence in the accuracy of our data, ” Fraser-Liggett says,  but she says it does not indicate Ivins is guilty.
LMW COMMENT … It seems so clear that the FBI has not proven its case, and if the FBI is wrong, then the real perpetrator is still out there. It is this pervading sense of doubt and infuriating frustration that led me to wonder why the FBI has failed to solve the case, and then to writing a novel called CASE CLOSED (to be published in mid-June) which presents a (fictional) scenario of why the FBI failed.

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