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

* the FBI’s Amerithrax Investigation site offers little information, nothing at all after August 2008, no response at all to the many valid questions that have been raised

Posted by DXer on June 1, 2009

The FBI’s Amerithrax Investigation web site ( contains the following …

  • Soon after the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01, letters laced with anthrax began appearing in the U.S. mail. Five Americans were killed, 17 were sickened, and the nation was terrorized in what became the worst biological attacks in U.S. history.
  • The ensuing investigation by the FBI and its partners—code-named “Amerithrax”—has been one of the largest and most complex in the history of law enforcement.
  • In August 2008, Department of Justice and FBI officials announced a breakthrough in the case and released documents and information showing that charges were about to be brought against Dr. Bruce Ivins, who took his own life before those charges could be filed.
  • A public release of evidence regarding a suspect who has not been charged is uncommon, but was undertaken in this case because of the extraordinary public interest in the investigation and, because of Ivins’ death, the government would be unable to take the case to trial and present its evidence.
  • During the course of the investigation, the Amerithrax Task Force, comprised of 17 special agents and 10 U.S. postal inspectors, conducted more than 9,100 interviews, executed more than 70 searches, and followed leads across six continents. In addition, new scientific methods were developed that ultimately led to the break in the case— methods that could have a far-reaching impact on future investigations.

For more information on the Amerithrax investigation:



That’s the entire article, all the FBI has to tell the American people about their investigation into a case of mass murder that terrorized America.

There is nothing posted by the FBI that deals with all the doubt and skepticism that ensued from their CASE CLOSED announcement that Dr. Ivins was the sole perpetrator. The FBI obviously feels no obligation to convince the American people, or even the U.S. Congress, that it has solved the anthrax case.

Actually, it was a brilliant strategy for the FBI to charge a dead man who could not defend himself. The FBI would never have to prove its case, under oath, in a court of law. No one would ever have to know whether the FBI had actually solved the case.

Consider this quote from the FBI site: “charges were about to be brought against Dr. Bruce Ivins, who took his own life before those charges could be filed.”

  • It doesn’t say Dr. Ivins committed suicide because he was about to be charged.
  • Did Dr. Ivins know he was about to be charged, or did the FBI make the decision to charge him after he was dead?
  • Did the FBI ever actually prove that Dr. Ivins did commit suicide?

What is the link between the $5.8 million payment to Dr. Steven Hatfill, who was the FBI’s prime suspect for over 5 years, just a few weeks before Dr. Ivins’ suicide, and the subsequent charging of the deceased Dr. Ivins? Is it just a coincidence that both events resulted in the FBI avoiding the need to testify under oath?

Fortunately, it may not work out the way the FBI wanted it to.

A flood of questions followed the FBI’s August 2008 announcement that they were about to close the case, from journalists, scientists, and members of Congress. It began to seem impossible to any reasonably informed person that Dr. Ivins could have been the sole perpetrator, or even that he was involved at all.

  • Why didn’t the FBI solve the case?
  • Why did they attempt to close the case in a manner that avoiding having to prove what they charged?
  • Why won’t they answer the excellent questions posed by Senator Grassley and Congressmen Holt, Conyer and Nadler, among others?

After the 2001 anthrax attacks, there were a limited number of suspects, all in the U.S., yet the FBI conducted “9,100 interviews” across “six continents.”

Was it all a smoke screen, a deliberate cover up that persists to this day?



In my new novel CASE CLOSED, I develop a fictional scenario to explain why the FBI didn’t solve the case. I present the possibility that the FBI didn’t solve the case because they were told not to. 

Do I think my story represents what actually happened? Of course not. It’s a novel!

But many early readers, including a well placed source in the Intelligence Community, tell me that my novel is, unfortunately, all too plausible.

* purchase CASE CLOSED (paperback)

* purchase CASE CLOSED (Kindle)

* see CASE CLOSED VIDEO on YouTube



7 Responses to “* the FBI’s Amerithrax Investigation site offers little information, nothing at all after August 2008, no response at all to the many valid questions that have been raised”

  1. DXer said

    Obama Reassures F.B.I. at Ceremony for New Director

    Mr. Comey said that as director he will instruct new agents to visit the memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Washington, in addition to continuing to visit the Holocaust Museum, as a way of keeping in mind their unique responsibility.

    “I think it will serve as a different kind of lesson, one more personal to the bureau, of the dangers in becoming untethered to oversight and accountability,” he said.

    Comment: I’m a big fan of museums — and a substantial contributor to the MLK memorial — but it would do more to serve the interest of accountability to work more efficiently in responding to FOIA requests.

    For example, a request for the handwriting examination of the comparison of Atta’s handwriting tp the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings should have been very easy to fill. And it merited expedition. It will have taken years by the time David Hardy sends it along. Vahid Majidi suggestion that it would take 3 months is not corroborated by the record of requests and responses relating to Amerithrax.

    • DXer said

      Dr Vahid Majidi, the former WMD head, says in his readable September 2013 book that he is confident that his old boss, Jim Comey (who is now FBI Director) will cover his back. I more vulgarly over the years used the phrase CYA (for cover your ass). I have said that inside the beltway it is all about CYA.

      In 2008 and 2009, Dr. Majidi did not reveal that the FBI handwriting expert had concluded that “Bruce E. Ivins probably did not write the writings appearing on the ‘anthrax’ envelopes and letters,”

      It turns out that in the formal handwriting examination conducted in the Amerithrax investigation, it was concluded that “Bruce E. Ivins probably did not write the writings appearing on the ‘anthrax’ envelopes and letters.” The Assistant US Attorney did not disclose that fact in the Amerithrax Investigative Summary.

      Posted by Lew Weinstein on August 13, 2013

      Instead, the FBI totally mischaracterized the formal, written opinion of the handwriting expert while withholding it.

      At the same time, the FBI has failed to produce the comparison with Atta’s handwriting even though the formal FOIA request has been pending for many months — even to this day.

      In his September 2013 book, Dr. Majidi discusses the principles of “Fidelity,” “Bravery” and “Integrity.” How does withholding the handwriting opinion throughout 2008 and 2009 — while blatantly mischaracterizing it — comport with “Integrity”? How does expecting the boss, FBI Director Comey, to “cover his back” comport with integrity?

      How does withholding Lab Notebook 4241 or the emails relating to Dr. Ivins work with the 52 rabbits comport with integrity?

      Integrity counsels picking up the phone and urging David Hardy to expedite FOIA requests pursuant to Amerithrax given the Al Qaeda anthrax threat involves public safety and an ongoing threat.

      Dr. Majidi writes me that he is no longer with the FBI so he now has no control over what is released under FOIA.

      Yes, but the problem is he expressly says he is depending on Director Comey to “cover his back.” He is expressly advocating to his Linked In colleagues (and see the current and former FBI officials among his links) that Director “cover his back” rather than cause the disclosure of all the traditional forensic reports that are exculpatory of Bruce Ivins.

      CYA is the antithesis of accountability.

      As with the Whitey Bulger matter, DOJ and FBI officials are either part of the problem or part of the solution. A CYA approach has no place where the public safety is at issue.

  2. Lew Weinstein said

    I’m sure the FBI knows far more about the anthrax case than they have revealed to the rest of us, or the Congress.

    Maybe the FBI has a good reason to conceal their “brilliance.” Maybe they know they didn’t solve the case (i.e., Ivins is not the SOLE perpetrator) and are trying to cover up (a) their failure to solve the case and (b) whatever reasons there are for the failure.


    • DXer said

      Following Amerithrax, Lew, is like what Gary Matsumoto has called a game of whack-a-mole.

      He writes in Vaccine A at page 214

      “A Game of Whack-a-Mole

      Trying to deal with misinformation .. has been like playing the carnival game Whack-a-Mole — where you bop the mechanical mole on the head with your mallet and three more pop up somewhere else. A few of the “moles” in this dispute … are worth bopping on the head,” he says, if only because they show up on the Department of Defense website.

  3. DXer said

    Even before the planned publication of numerous articles in the Journal of Emerging Infectious Diseases this summer, it should be noted that the FBI and its sister agencies and government researchers have made available a wealth of additional information bearing on the subject.

    Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, “Production of Bacillus Spores as a Simulant for Biological Warfare Agents,” Final rept. Sep 2002-Sep 2003

    Click to access GetTRDoc

    “Investigation of Bioterrorism-Related Anthrax, United States, 2001: Epidemiologic Findings,” Emerging Infectious Diseases, October 2002,+United+States,+2001:+Epidemiologic+Findings&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

    “First Case of Bioterrorism-Related Inhalational Anthrax in the United States,” Palm Beach County, Florida, 2001, Emerging Infectious Diseases, October 2002

    “Inhalational Anthrax Outbreak among Postal Workers, Washington, D.C., 2001,” Emerging Infectious Diseases, October 2002,+Washington,+D.C.%22&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

    “Bacillus anthracis Aerosolization Associated with a Contaminated Mail Sorting Machine,” Emerging Infectious Diseases, October 2002

    “Epidemiologic Investigations of Bioterrorism-Related Anthrax, New Jersey, 2001,” Emerging Infectious Diseases, October 2002

    “Surveillance for Anthrax Cases Associated with Contaminated Letters, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, 2001,” Emerging Infectious Diseases, October 2002

    Beecher, Douglas J., “Forensic Application of Microbiological Culture Analysis To Identify Mail Intentionally Contaminated with Bacillus anthracis Spores,” Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Aug. 2006, p. 5304-5310

    Bowen, G. J., J. R. Ehleringer, L. Chesson, E. Stange, and C. E. Cerling.. “Stable isotope ratios of tap water in the contiguous USA,” Water Resour. Res. 43 (2007)

    Click to access 3896.pdf

    Budowle B, Harmon R., “HIV legal precedent useful for microbial forensics,” Croat Med J. 46(4):514-21 (Aug 2005).\

    Click to access 16100753.pdf

    Budowle, B., M. D. Johnson, C. M. Fraser, T. J. Leighton, R. S. Murch, and R. Chakraborty. 2005. “Genetic analysis and attribution of microbial forensics evidence,” Crit. Rev. Microbiol. 31:233-254.

    Budowle B, Murch R, Chakraborty R., “Microbial forensics: the next forensic challenge,” Int J Legal Med. 119(6):317-30 (Nov 2005)

    Budowle, B., S. E. Schutzer, M. S. Ascher, R. M. Atlas, J. P. Burans, R. Chakraborty, J. J. Dunn, C. M. Fraser, D. R. Franz, T. J. Leighton, S. A. Morse, R. S. Murch, J. Ravel, D. L. Rock, T. R. Slezak, S. P. Velsko, A. C. Walsh, and R. A.
    Walters. “Toward a system of microbial forensics: from sample collection to interpretation of evidence,” Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 71:2209-2213 (2005).

    Budowle, B., S. E. Schutzer, A. Einseln, L. C. Kelley, A. C. Walsh, J. A. L. Smith, B. L. Marrone, J. Robertson, and J. Campos. Building microbial forensics as a response to bioterrorism. Science 301:1852-1853 (2003).

    Click to access tempfbi.pdf

    Bush, Larry M. et al., “Index Case of Fatal Inhalational Anthrax Due to Bioterrorism in the United States,” New England Journal of Medicine, 345:1607-1610, November 29, 2001

    Click to access tempfbi.pdf

    Cliff, J. B., K. H. Jarman, N. B. Valentine, S. L. Golledge, D. J. Gaspar, D. S. Wunschel, and K. L. Wahl, “Differentiation of spores of Bacillus subtilis grown in different media by elemental characterization using time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry,” Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 71:6524-6530 (2005)

    Horita, J., and A. A. Vass, “Stable-isotope fingerprints of biological agents as forensic tools,” J. Forensic Sci. 48:122-126 (2003).

    Keim et al., “Microbial forensics: DNA fingerprinting of Bacillus anthracis (anthrax),” Analytical Chemistry, 2008 Jul; 80 (13): 4791-9

    Kiel, at al, “Geographical Distribution of Genotypic and Phenotypic Markers Among Bacillus anthracis Isolates and Related Species by Historical Movement and Horizontal Transfer,” Folia Microbiol. 53 (6), 472–478 (2008)

    Click to access GetTRDoc

    Kreuzer-Martin, H. W., L. A. Chesson, M. J. Lott, J. V. Dorigan, and J. R. Ehleringer, “Stable isotope ratios as a tool in microbial forensics. 2. Isotopic variation among different growth media as a tool for sourcing origins of bacterial cells or spores,” J. Forensic Sci. 49:961-967 (2004).

    Kreuzer-Martin, H. W., L. A. Chesson, M. J. Lott, and J. R. Ehleringer, “Stable isotope ratios as a tool in microbial forensics. 3. Effect of culturing on agar-containing growth media,” J. Forensic Sci. 50:1372-1379 (2005).

    Kreuzer-Martin, H. W., M. J. Lott, J. Dorigan, and J. R. Ehleringer, “Microbe forensics: oxygen and hydrogen stable isotope ratios in Bacillus subtilis cells and spores,” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 100:815-819 (2003).

    Kreuzer-Martin, H. W. et al., “Microbe forensics: Oxygen and hydrogen stable isotope ratios in Bacillus subtilis cells and spores,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,” February 4, 2003
    J.B. Petro, and D.A Relman, “Understanding Threats to Scientific Openness, Science, December 12, 2003

    Shoham, Dany & Jacobsen, Stuart “Technical Intelligence in Retrospect: 2001 Anthrax Letters Powder,” International Journal for Intelligence and Counterintelligence, October 2006

    Whiteaker, J., C. Fenselau, D. Fetteroff, D. Steele, and D. Wilson. 2004. Quantitative determination of heme for forensic characterization of Bacillus spores using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Anal. Chem. 76:2836-2841. [PubMed].

    Wunschel, D. S., E. A. Hill, J. S. McLean, K. Jarman, Y. A. Gorby, N. Valentine, and K. Wahl. 2005. Effects of varied pH, growth rate and temperature using controlled fermentation and batch culture on matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization whole cell protein fingerprints. J. Microbiol. Methods 62:259-271.

    Wunschel, S. C., K. H. Jarman, C. E. Petersen, N. B. Valentine, K. L. Wahl, D. Shauki, J. Jackman, S. P. Nelson, and E. White. 2005. Bacterial analysis by MALDI-TOF MS: an interlaboratory comparison. J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom. 16:456-462.

    • Lew Weinstein said

      The FBI has released what they want to release. They have not answered the legitimate questions posed by many, including members of Congress.

      There is a huge difference.

      It surely appears to me that the FBI is hiding some dark secrets which the American people have a need and a right to know.


      • DXer said

        Kenneth L. Wainstein was making the decisions relating to national security as advisor to President Bush.

        He played key roles in Amerithrax throughout (in reverse chronological order):

        DOJ Assistant Attorney General for National Security;

        United States Attorney for the District of Columbia;

        Chief of Staff at the Federal Bureau of Investigation during Amerithrax;

        General Counsel of the FBI; and

        Interim DC United States Attorney just prior to 9/11.

        Channing D. Phillips, the new fellow taking over for Jeffrey Taylor had been tapped by Mr. Wainstain as his chief assistant.

        So don’t expect a change in direction by the FBI.

        It’s a continuation of the same management team.

        But you shouldn’t be too hard on them.

        The FBI and US DOJ national security folks are doing the best they can balancing competing interests, to include but not limited to due process and national security.

        Certainly, the FBI understands Amerithrax far better than any outsiders.

        They are just doing a damn good job at concealing their brilliance.

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