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

* trying to learn if the FBI has answered any of the questions asked by Congress

Posted by DXer on May 31, 2009

LMW COMMENT

This week, I will be contacting the offices of …

Senator Grassley

Congressman Conyer

Congressman Nadler

Congressman Holt

… to try to learn if the FBI has ever answered any of the many excellent questions these legislators have been asking for at least the last 8 months, in some cases much longer than that.

I am also pleased to announce that my novel about the anthrax case, CASE CLOSED, is now available at amazon in both paperback and Kindle editions.

CASE CLOSED begins where the facts of the real anthrax case leave off, and presents a fictional scenario to explain why the FBI failed to solve the case. 

* purchase CASE CLOSED (paperback)

* purchase CASE CLOSED (Kindle)

CASE CLOSED

6 Responses to “* trying to learn if the FBI has answered any of the questions asked by Congress”

  1. DXer said

    In December 1999, former Zawahiri associate Tarek Hamouda, leader of the DARPA project at NanoBio, joined Amy Shih and Jim Baker and traveled to Dugway, a remote military station in the Utah desert, for aerosol testing. There they demonstrated for the U.S. Army Research and Development Command the ability of non-toxic nanoemulsions (petite droplets of fat mixed with water and detergent) developed at Michigan to wipe out deadly anthrax-like bacterial spores. The square vertical surfaces shown here were covered with bacterial spores; Michigan’s innocuous nanoemulsion was most effective in killing the spores even when compared to highly toxic chemicals.

    Baker describes the process as follows: “The tiny lipid droplets in BCTP fuse with anthrax spores, causing the spores to revert to their active bacterial state. During this process, which takes 4-5 hours, the spore’s tough outer membrane changes, allowing BCTP’s solvent to strip away the exterior membrane. The detergent then degrades the spores’ interior contents.

    The research was sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the central research and development organization for the U.S. Department of Defense.

    The researchers thanked Kimothy Smith, who later typed the attack strain for the FBI, for providing space for small animal study research at Louisiana State University.

    http://www.anthraxandalqaeda.com
    P.S. – Sorry, forgot to tell you great post!

  2. DXer said

    In December 1999, former Zawahiri associate Tarek Hamouda, leader of the DARPA project at NanoBio, joined Amy Shih and Jim Baker and traveled to Dugway, a remote military station in the Utah desert, for aerosol testing. There they demonstrated for the U.S. Army Research and Development Command the ability of non-toxic nanoemulsions (petite droplets of fat mixed with water and detergent) developed at Michigan to wipe out deadly anthrax-like bacterial spores. The square vertical surfaces shown here were covered with bacterial spores; Michigan’s innocuous nanoemulsion was most effective in killing the spores even when compared to highly toxic chemicals.

    Baker describes the process as follows: “The tiny lipid droplets in BCTP fuse with anthrax spores, causing the spores to revert to their active bacterial state. During this process, which takes 4-5 hours, the spore’s tough outer membrane changes, allowing BCTP’s solvent to strip away the exterior membrane. The detergent then degrades the spores’ interior contents.

    The research was sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the central research and development organization for the U.S. Department of Defense.

    The researchers thanked Kimothy Smith, who later typed the attack strain for the FBI, for providing space for small animal study research at Louisiana State University.

    http://www.anthraxandalqaeda.com

  3. DXer said

    http://www.nanotechbuzz.com/50226711/30_million_to_university_of_michigan_startup_blurs_corporateacademic_borders.php

    Now NanoBio Corporation has secured $30 million in funding from Perseus, L.L.C., a private equity fund management company. NanoBio was founded by Dr. James R. Baker, Jr., Professor of Biologic Nanotechnology at the University of Michigan(U-M).

    NanoBio Corporation develops therapies and vaccines against infections ranging from cold sores to nail fungus and influenza using a novel nanoemulsion technology developed at U-M.

    “There is great promise for vaccines based on this technology because they can be administered without the use of needles or refrigeration,” Professor Baker said.

    His initial research took place at U-M with funding from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Programs Agency (DARPA). The vaccine work was funded by grants from the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

  4. DXer said

    United Press International
    10-11-2001
    Biotech firm has anthrax decontaminant

    ANN ARBOR, Mich., Oct 11, 2001 (United Press International via COMTEX) — A small biotechnology company says it could produce a non-toxic anthrax decontaminant that could be generally available to U.S. citizens and the military over the next six months.

    Nanobio of Ann Arbor said it would use nanotechnology and would also need government funding to work on this decontaminant.

    The company also said it can produce nasal sprays that could be applied as a preventive measure before a bioterrorism attack — attacking any deadly anthrax spores as they arrive in nasal passages.

    With substantial federal support, the nasal …

  5. DXer said

    Panel of Scientists Warns Congress Senate Offices May Never Be Clean

    By JOHN J. FIALKA | Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1005259732836903320.html?mod=googlewsj

    WASHINGTON — The Hart Senate Office Building may never be completely cleaned of the anthrax spores contaminating it, a panel of outside scientists has told Congress.

    The scientists said the cleanup effort, being lead by the Environmental Protection Agency, was a giant “experiment” that will require the U.S. government to set a relative standard for “how clean is clean?”

    EPA regulatory requirements may have to be waived, according to one scientist, in order to use a new decontaminating agent developed by the Defense Department.

    “No building can be sterilized or treated in a way that removes every single spore,” said James R. Baker Jr., an allergist who has been working on Defense Department-sponsored decontamination methods at the University of Michigan. He said the U.S. may have to monitor senators and other office workers who return to the building, giving them long-term medical and psychiatric support, if necessary.

    Dr. Baker, who has founded a small company to develop a new emulsion that kills anthrax and other bacteria, said the EPA has asked for it but won’t waive its regulatory process so the emulsion can be used without the testing required for commercial products.

    “There needs to be a limited government approval for a specific government use,” said Dr. Baker, who added that his seven-person company, NanoBio Corp. of Ann Arbor, Mich., doesn’t have the several million dollars needed to support tests required by the EPA.

    EPA spokeswoman Tina Kreisher said the agency is still evaluating Dr. Baker’s emulsion and could grant him a “crisis exemption” under U.S. pesticide laws if it was needed for the Hart cleanup. …

  6. DXer said

    See This Goop? It Kills Anthrax And the tiny biotech startup that invented it has been thrust into a national crisis that is upending its business.
    By Julie Creswell
    November 12, 2001

    http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2001/11/12/313292/index.htm

    (FORTUNE Magazine) – Inside the plain little container I’m looking at may just be our best stopgap against bioterror. Dr. James Baker, chief scientist at the Ann Arbor, Mich., biotech firm NanoBio, holds up the bottle and twists off the cap. “A little of this rubbed into the hands can protect postal workers from anthrax,” he says, peering at me over his glasses. Oh, sure, I think, that’s great–until it starts eating away their skin, right? Before I can ask about side effects, Baker shoves his finger into the bottle, removing it to show the bio killing agent, which, strangely, looks a lot like sunblock. “Plus, it’s a great moisturizer,” he says, grinning, as he rubs the lotion into his hands.

    Germany’s Bayer, which manufactures the antibiotic Cipro, isn’t the only company swept up in America’s grim scramble to fend off germ attacks. The dawn of international bioterrorism is challenging companies like NanoBio too. Like Bayer, this tiny startup is caught in a dilemma it never foresaw: how to meet the public’s needs without sacrificing its own financial goals. Two months ago, NanoBio was an obscure seven-person company spawned by the University of Michigan, where Baker is director of the Center for Biologic Nanotechnology. Its research was funded primarily by an $11 million grant from DARPA, the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Its offices were in the basement of a bank in downtown Ann Arbor; its employees sat on 12-year-old used furniture. Though NanoBio’s digs were dull, its claim was startling: It had created a nontoxic agent that can destroy most every virus, bacterium, and fungus around, from influenza to E. coli to tough-to-terminate anthrax. (The product can help prevent people from contracting anthrax but can’t cure them after they’ve become infected.) NanoBio’s plan was to license its microbe-zapping formulas to drug and consumer goods companies, making money by collecting royalties on its patents within a couple of years.

    Then bioterror struck. Today, NanoBio is desperately seeking anonymity. It moved to a bland corporate park where its office has no name on the door. It yanked its street address off its Website, whose hit rate jumped from 350 a month to 1,000 a day. And it is struggling to adapt to a biodefense business model that may put the company’s commercial–and financial–aspirations on hold. Among the firm’s worries: that close association with anthrax will cause customers to overlook other potential commercial applications for its products, and that investors won’t want to back a company whose largest customer is Uncle Sam. “We want to be good citizens and do what we can to help in the crisis,” says CEO Ted Annis. “But there is definitely an opportunity cost.”

    What’s in NanoBio’s amazing bio fighting agent, anyway? Just soybean oil floating in water with nontoxic detergents. “It can be rubbed on the skin, eaten, or put into liquids like orange juice,” claims Annis. “I even put it in my hot tub.”

    What makes the stuff potent is how it is made. Think about what happens when you shake up salad dressing. Bubbles of oil are dispersed in the vinegar. Those bubbles contain energy that is stored as surface tension; the energy is released when the droplets coalesce again. NanoBio’s technology–called an anti-microbial nanoemulsion–forms these bubbles at the supertiny nano level. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter, or about 100,000 times narrower than a human hair. The nanodroplets, stabilized by the detergents they float in, are small enough to literally bombard the lipids, or fats, found in bacteria and viruses, blowing the bugs up. NanoBio’s formula convinces a dormant anthrax spore that surface conditions are ripe for it to germinate into an active anthrax bacterium. As it germinates, the spore forms a lipid layer, which the nanoemulsion promptly assaults. Within a couple of hours, the anthrax is dead.

    The day after the Sept. 11 attacks, CEO Annis called together the NanoBio staff. “Nobody mentioned anthrax specifically at the meeting, but we thought it was likely that the terrorists’ next punch was already planned and that it would be a bio event,” he says. Realizing that the company’s initial product-rollout timetable was about to be put into hyperdrive, Annis began gathering the paperwork needed for fast-track EPA and FDA approvals. And he braced for a barrage of interest from reporters, following a local newspaper story on the company; the media soon dubbed NanoBio’s decontaminant “the salad-oil cure.”

    NanoBio’s product isn’t the only promising anthrax killer. A foam developed by New Mexico’s Sandia National Laboratories supposedly neutralizes pathogens and chemicals; it was recently used to decontaminate some NBC offices. In mid-October, Johns Hopkins University tested bio killing products from both companies, but it hasn’t yet made its findings public. A DARPA spokesperson says other tests on the NanoBio formula have shown “good initial results.”

    Now NanoBio hopes to get $5 million in emergency federal funding to hire more people, do more tests, and start contracting out the manufacture of large quantities of the substance. Annis expects a thumbs-up within days. If NanoBio’s product wins fast-track regulatory approval, it could be available to the military and the public for use on buildings, and perhaps even on the skin, within six months. The company says it would need another $20 million and 24 months to develop preventive nasal sprays.

    All this is a race NanoBio didn’t want to compete in. “Our future isn’t going to be in government applications. A lot of what we’re doing for the government is going to be done at cost,” says Baker. “Our future is going to be with all the commercial customers that we can’t let drop off while we’re dealing with this other stuff.”

    But in the back of NanoBio’s office sit two dozen empty white 55-gallon barrels. A few days before, DARPA had asked Annis and Baker if they could make enough decontaminant to clean several anthrax-tainted offices in the Senate. NanoBio’s small lab mixers will have to run day and night to fill the barrels. “This is not the way we want to do this,” sighs Annis, shaking his head. “This is all a duct-tape solution.”

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