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

* the plot thickens … what is the cover up of the failed FBI anthrax investigation really about?

Posted by DXer on June 5, 2009

Lew recently wrote (as part of my update on Congressional progress getting the FBI to answer questions) …

FBI & DOJ announce CASE CLOSED (Aug 08)

FBI & DOJ announce CASE CLOSED (Aug 08)

  • “I have been told that Brian Downey (at the Senate Finance Committee) is the person to talk to, and yesterday I left yet another message for him. I don’t know why the Finance Committee has oversight responsibility in this matter, but that’s what I’ve been told.”

Ike Solem responded …

  • Wow!
  • The reason I say wow is that the Senate Finance Committee is the one that played the starring role in ejecting Daschle from the HHS post, where he would have had oversight of the anthrax contracts handed out by that department (Health and Human Services).
  • So, is the Senate Finance Committee up to their neck in this? Why would that be…
  • Right. $6 billion in funding for Project Bioshield programs – that must have to go through the Senate Finance Committee, and I’m guessing some of them want to see this issue buried forever.
  • Pull a thread, and the whole cloth unravels.

Ike wrote again …

  • Brian Downey was staffer to Bill Frist, retired 2007 (from Tennessee). Tennessee is where Battelle operates the ‘heavily guarded’ Oak Ridge National Laboratory. That’s also where the anthrax spore cleanup team (Camp Dresser Mckee) that cleaned up the Hart Senate Office Building operates out of.
  • Bill Frist was a big Project Bioshield backer:
  • Tennessee (Oak Ridge) is also the new jurisdiction of FBI agent Richard Lambert, who sidetracked the FBI investigation towards Steven Hatfill from 2002 onwards after replacing the first FBI team (Harp, Eberhart, Hess, Wilson)
  • Sandia – well, that’s where the bogus finding of “natural silica” was manufactured.
  • Maybe Bill Frist is in this as deeply as Robert Mueller is.
  • So, here you have a host of labs, all financed by massive government biowarfare budgets, trying to tell us that:
  • 1) Their labs were not the source of the anthrax in the letters, regardless of what person(s) carried out the attacks. This is false; we know that the U.S. biowarfare program was the source of the material.
  • 2) They should continue to recieve billions in funding from the federal government, and continue to expand their biowarfare program.
  • Do people lie to the public in order to protect their government funding stream? Well, it has been known to happen.


Let’s start with the failed FBI anthrax investigation. It seems inexplicable that the FBI, with all of its resources, could not solve a case where there was a small number of potential suspects in a handful of labs, almost all in the U.S.

CASE CLOSEDIn my novel CASE CLOSED, I explore the premise that the FBI didn’t solve the case because they were told not to. I related that to the desire of Bush/Cheney to prop up their case for a war of choice in Iraq.

Ike offers a broader context that involves huge government expenditures for biodefense, or as many suspect, for bioweapons. If he’s right, this connects several companies and several members of Congress to the cover up.

It also suggests why Senator Grassley has apparently failed to followup on his excellent questions of September 2008, and why other initiatives, such as Congressman Holt’s call for a Congressional commission to investigate the 2001 anthrax attacks and the federal government’s response and investigation of the attacks seems to be going nowhere. In the absence of transparency, all of this is truly frightening.

President Obama, who was not involved in any of these events, has much on his plate, but perhaps there is some way for him to add a push to full disclosure of the role of the FBI and others in not solving the 2001 anthrax case.

Meanwhile, you can read CASE CLOSED for one (fictional) theory of what might have happened, a theory that many early readers, including one well placed source in the Intelligence Community, find  to be “all too plausible.”

* purchase CASE CLOSED (paperback)


10 Responses to “* the plot thickens … what is the cover up of the failed FBI anthrax investigation really about?”

  1. DXer said

    Agents’ stories have intrigue of spy novels


    Lew Weinstein has written a novel about Amerithrax about a scientist recruited by the Salafist-Jihadis years earlier. Such a recruit would not be deemed a “lone wolf” to borrow Ike’s phrase as it is used in common law enforcement parlance. It is interesting to view Lew’s novel in the context of what the documents and history show about Ayman Zawahiri’s tradecraft.

    As explained by author Peter Lance in Triple Cross, after the 1998 embassy bombings, a ten-member federal team secretly entered the California residence of Ali Mohamed, Zawahiri’s former head of intelligence.’ They copied Mohamed’s hard drives and removed a series of CD-ROM and floppy disks. A memo titled “Cocktail” appeared to be a draft manual on sleeper cell structure.

    The file on cell structure read in part:

    “Every member knows how to do everything.

    Every member has a legal job as a cover (Student, worker, trade).

    Safety is the main concern, so the contingency plan is very important. Before working on the target you have (to) specify a rally point to meet in case of separation for any reason.

    The communications between the different groups are conducted through the dead drop only.

    Each group does not know anything about the other group, even Majmouat (the word means “the collected” or “the collection”). Al-qeyada does not know how many group(s) under its leadership. Only the group know each other because the members of one group only working with each other.”

    Ali’s document on spy tradecraft details a cell structure, not a “lone wolf.”

    After Ali’s arrest and conviction, Mohammad Hasan Khalil al-Hakim took on Ali Mohammed’s role. His alias is easier to remember — Abu Jihad al-Masri. Al Masri means the Egyptian. Also known as Al-Hukaymah, he was the author of the description of the Amerithrax investigation in 2002.

    Born in 1961, Abu Jihad al-Masri joined the Egyptian Islamic Group in 1979. He was arrested in 1981 after Sadat’s assassination. He once was arrested alongside the blind sheik Abdel-Rahman. Hukaymah is reportedly connected to the blind sheikh’s successor Taha, the Islamic Group head who was in close touch in 1999 and 2000 with the NY-based US postal employee Sattar, the blind sheik’s “surrogate.” Al-Hukaymah dedicated the treatise “[t]o the pious and the hidden who are not known when they come and who are not missed when they disappear — To those whom their God will answer when they pray to Him. To all the eyes that are vigilant late at night to bring victory to this religion.”

    The introduction of the 152-page book starts:

    “The Manhattan raid led to a radical change in the perception of American Security. After the northern half of the continent had been isolated from the rest of the world and its threats by two oceans, it now came from inside. The surprise hit the symbols of American power in its economic and security dimensions.”

    Published at al-Maqreze Center for Historical Studies website ( by the one-time EIJ shura member al-Sibai, the section on the anthrax investigation appears to have been written in 2002.

    “The Anthrax Scandal:

    Over many months, there was an excited search for the person responsible for the worst biological terror attack on American soil. Six letters sent by mail to Leahy, Daschle, Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather, The New York Post and the offices of the National Enquirer in Florida, led to the sickening of 18 people and five deaths. The crime was especially scary because anthrax, which is a complex powder that scatters in the atmosphere, had spilled from the envelopes and spread through parts of the mail system and contaminated a Senate building. One year later, the main post office in Washington had not yet opened.

    The FBI is under great pressure to close this case, and the anthrax criminal is supposed to be alive and free. Two members of the Senate have asked to receive regular reports about this investigation from the FBI, and they have become increasingly impatient.”

    After a lengthy discussion of the focus on Hatfill, the author explains,

    “Until the investigators find material evidence that connects a person to the crime, they are forced to speculate about the motives and methods of the criminal. They are still casting a wide net. Law enforcement sources say they have issued hundreds of subpoenas and they are analyzing thousands of documents in search of new evidence.

    The evidence may be small and unseen – sweat or an odor on an envelope – but that is all that they need in order to attract the dogs.”

    Al-Hukaymah pointed to the Aldrich Ames incident and the FBI’s inability to find the perpetrator of the anthrax mailings as evidence that U.S intelligence can be defeated. Aldrich Ames, head of counterintelligence relating to the Russians, had a different rolex for different days of the week. He drove a new jaguar to work. Aldrich told the CIA that his money came from his wife’s foreign inheritance, and the CIA never required meaningful corroboration. So we should not be that surprised when someone known, to borrow Dr. Alibek’s description to me, as an “Islamic hardliner,” is given access to Center for Biodefense and ATCC facilities, to include a program funded by DARPA’s $13 million during the relevant period. Perhaps the focus should not be on more money for biodefense but on doing a better job at maintaining security. Perhaps focus should be on avoiding proliferation of know-how.

    Al-Hukaymah reportedly was Ayman’s connection to Mamdouh Ismail, an Egyptian defense attorney and a former member of “the Jihad group” who since the 1980’s has represented various Egyptians accused of terrorism offenses in Egypt. Mamdouh Ismail represented al-Nashar, the biochemist who was an expert on polymerization and had a key to the 7/7 bomber’s flat. Ismail was one of several hundred rounded up following the assassination of Anwar al-Sadat in 1981. He served three years. Ismail was arrested on March 29, 2007. In 1999, Ismail was refused permission to establish an Islamist political party with the help of fellow lawyer attorney al-Zayyat. After the blind sheik said in March 1999 that an attempt through a political party should not be attempted, Al-Zayat and Mamdouh Ismail deferred and Attorney Ismail has publicly objected to a reconciliation between Cairo and Egyptian Islamic Jihad. The two had worked with EIJ shura member al-Sibai before he took refuge in the UK. Mamdouh Ismail later was accused of complicity in an “Egyptian project” of al-Qaeda, taking his orders from Ayman al-Zawahiri via al-Qaeda propaganda chief al-Hukaymah and the UK-based EIJ publicist Hani al-Sibai. Both al-Hukaymah and Al-Sibai denied the charge. Al Sibai considers himself historian of the movement and published his diaries in Al Hayat in 2004. He is at al-Maqreze Center for Historical Studies website that published the treatise that included the discussion of Amerithrax.

    Al-Hukaymah was apparently killed in a missile strike in late October 2008. Cairo-based IANA writer Kamal Habib says that the man was a member of Egyptian Islamic Jihad that had assassinated Sadat but was part of a second generation, not part of the first generation responsible for the assassination. Abu Jihad al-Masri was said by US authorities to operate in Iran as the head of media and propaganda for al-Qaeda, and “may also be the Chief of External Operations for al Qaeda”.

    Al-Hukaymah appeared in an August 2006 as-Sahab (al-Qaeda) video to announce the merger of al-Qaeda with part of the Egyptian Islamic Group. Ayman al-Zawahiri introduces him.. The video claims that al-Hukaymah joined al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya in 1979 and was arrested in connection with the assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Al Sadat in 1981, and subsequently rearrested several times in various countries. Zawahiri claims in that video that Muhammad al-Islambouli (brother of assassin Khalid al-Islambouli) had joined al-Qaeda with al-Hukaymah.

    In addition to the analysis of the American intelligence community, the next month he wrote a short piece entitled Towards A New Strategy in Resisting the Occupier that appeared on a jihadist website. Abu Jihad Al-Masri emphasized the need to consider public opinion in planning operations. He discouraged beheadings or operations that can cause large scale casualties to innocent Muslims.

    Zawahiri’s Booklet On “Covert Operations”

    Mark A. Gabriel, PhD, once taught at Al-Azhar in Egypt. He wrote a very lucid book Journey Into The Mind Of An Islamist Terrorist. He discusses a booklet Zawahiri wrote titled COVERT OPERATIONS which is available online in Arabic. If you want to know how Zawahiri views deceit on such issues as battle plans and spying, read his own words online. Gabriel explains:

    “Ayman al-Zawahiri leads a busy terrorist organization, and he must solve practical problems. For example, he may want some Al-Qaeda members to blend in and live in the United States. If these men wore full beards and went to ultraconservative mosques to pray, they they would arouse suspicion and get put on a watch list. Instead, al-Zawahiri would want these operatives to go undercover and blend into society. However, these devout Muslims will not go undercover unless they believe they have permission to do so from the teachings of Islam. As a result, al-Zawahiri wrote a booklet titled COVERT OPERATIONS, which goes deep into Islamic teaching and history to describe how deceit can be a tool in Muslim life.”

    The entire book by al-Zawahiri is posted in the Arabic language website for al-Tawheed Jihad (The Pulpit of Monotheism and Jihad). Zawahiri concluded that “hiding one’s faith and being secretive was allowed especially in time of fear from prosecution of the infidels.” Indeed, his student group in Cairo in the 1970s was known as the “shaven beards.” The founder of one of the cells merged with Ayman’s to form the Egyptian Islamic Jihad then wrote for Al-Timimi’s charity IANA.

    Al-Zawahiri discussed two specific ways Muhammad used deceit in battle: (1) keeping battle plans secret, and (2) spying. The author writes: “Al-Zawahiri specifically gave radicals permission not to pray in the mosque or attend Friday sermons if it would compromise their position.” He noted that Al-Zawahiri sealed his argument with a very important quote from Ibn Taymiyyah (who was quoted by Al-Timimi upon his his indictment). Ever the practical man, Muhammad approved lying in three circumstances (1) during war, (2) to reconcile between two feuding parties, and (3) to a spouse in order to please her.

    Many Salafist Jihadis have more than one wife and so lying to your spouse — not telling you have another wife — might come in handy.

  2. Ike Solem said

    For the record, I think the thesis of Ed and DX and the FBI are all completely mistaken on basic scientific and technical grounds, let alone all the investigative issues. The only plausible “lone wolf” scenario involves threat or diversion of material created as part of a biological threat assessment program in a U.S. biodefense lab, and that really rules out anyone at Fort Detrick, as they had no aerosol weaponization capacity.

    On the spore aerosol silica issue:

    As noted, anthrax spores naturally stick together. This is because their life cycle normally involves getting eaten by a grazing animal as part of a clump of grass and dirt. Ingestion of a large clump of spores is more likely to lead to a successful population explosion, leading to toxic shock, the death of the animal, and a new generation of spores which then sink into the soil (this is why children are warned to stay away from dead animals).

    Creating an aerosol is difficult – historically, the only sufferers were those who worked with cattle and sheep hides. You also hear of isolated cases arising from hide drums imported from Africa.

    Defeating the stickiness is the problem for the eager bioweaponeer. Not for liquid spores, where the spores are floating around free in solution, but for the dried down spores. Apparently, the agent used is a silica preparation, done using secret ingredients and methods. That accounts for the fact that the Daschle/Leahy letters contaminated the entire mail chain with enough anthrax to kill mail carriers who barely came in contact with the letters.

    The difference between the 9/18 and 10/9 letters is also reflected in the number of exposures –

    “22 in Daschle Office Reported to Test Positive for Anthrax,” By DAVID JOHNSTON and ALISON MITCHELL
    Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2001″

    The Associated Press, quoting an unidentified official with direct knowledge of the test results, said that 22 employees in the Capitol Hill office of Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota, the majority leader, had contracted anthrax. The A.P. said all of those affected were taking the antibiotic Cipro.

    Looking at all that, there’s no way it could have had anything to do with either the Iraqi anthrax program (which was defunct by 2001) or any postulated Al Qaeda or Aum Shinrikyo-type group.

    That’s one half of the science issue – the spore treatment used. The other is the genetic identity of the strain used.

    Bacillus anthracis is a zoonotic disease, meaning that it is most likely a product of human domestication of livestock some ten thousand years ago. This explains much of the genetic similarity among all anthracis strains, which is why a the only distinguishing feature between ames relatives are single base pair mutations – out 0f 5.2 million base pairs! That truly is looking for a needle in a haystack – but with modern sequencing methods, it is possible to sequence hundreds of microbial genomes. Keep in mind that Bacillus anthracis is a clonal organism, apparently not genetically promiscuous. Unlike many common medical pathogens, it does not seem to swap drug-resistant plasmids around – a good thing.

    No, the only way that seems to happen is by deliberate human intervention – insertion of plasmids for antibiotic resistance, or even methods for evading natural immune defenses – something both the Soviet and U.S. ‘biodefense’ programs have tinkered with. In the case of the 9/18 and 10/9 anthrax attacks, there is no indication any such tinkering took place – it was apparently the straight Ames strain.

    (Aside: there remain questions as to the genetic identity of the strain that infected and killed Bob Stevens, apparently).

    It has been severely under-reported that Ames is the anthrax vaccine challenge strain – and this is also the strain that would have been used in any “aerosol test program” based on the Soviet model – in order to compare with previous results.

    Follow along – you’ve spent two decades testing your anthrax vaccines using Ames, so if you want to compare the effects of some new Soviet bioweapon treatment of anthrax spores to older designs, you would not vary the strain being used. That way, your comparison would be more solid.

    Is it a good idea to carry out such biological threat assessments? No. Are they a relic of Cold War mentality? Yes. Does closing down such programs and signing the BWC (biowarfare convention) – with inspection protocols – increase our vulnerability to bioattacks? No.

    In any case of biowarfare, the first suspicions always will be of a natural outbreaks, and the first cases will likely show up at public emergency rooms. There is a field of science that deals with that – it is called medical epidemiology, subspecialty infectious disease – also called public health microbiology, which is very different from Cold War-era biowarfare research programs.

    • DXer said


      I, of course, have not posited a “lone wolf” scenario.

      As for my understanding on the science, I get my learning from biodefense scientists have have actually made anthrax simulants, not scientists who haven’t. Experts include William Patrick, Ken Alibek, John Kiel, and Serge Popov. You are not an expert.

      As for the degree of sophistication, if you read my posts, my theory involves multi-million dollar cutting-edge DARPA projects.

      • DXer said

        I have previously described a controlled experiment done at the Air Force lab using siliconizing solution in the slurry. The lab head provided me pictures of the product. I shared them with Anonymous Scientist.

    • DXer said

      In a March 31, 2003 public exchange sponsored by the Washington Post, in response to my written question submitted in advance, Ali Al-Timimi’s George Mason University colleague, Kenneth Alibek, said: “This anthrax wasn’t sophisticated, didn’t have coatings, had electric charge and many other things.” In other responses, he further explained: “There was no special need to add silica to this anthrax. Presence or absence of silica says nothing about whether it was state sponsored.” US bioweaponeer William Patrick took time out from advising GMU grad students and gave it a 7 out of 10 — calling it professionally done but not weapons grade. Perhaps that would be a B+ or even an A-. In an interview with CBS, William Patrick explained that he had been given a polygraph in June 2002 about the anthrax letters. He reports that “The FBI that they wanted me to become a part of their inner circle of–of experts, and that in order to become a part of that inner circle of technical experts, that I’d have to pass a polygraph test.”

      On April 11, 2003, Scott Shane reported that reverse engineering “carried out at the Army’s biodefense center at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, raises the disquieting possibility that al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups could create lethal bioweapons without scientific or financial help from a state.” Quoting one outside bioterrorism expert. “It shows you can have a fairly sophisticated product with fairly rudimentary methods.” At last report, the reverse engineering reportedly was not able to recreate the identical product. Lisa Bronson, deputy undersecretary of defense for technology security policy and proliferation, has said that commercially available equipment used to make powdered milk could be used to make powderized anthrax. A spray dryer is used in chemical and food processing to manufacture dried egg, powdered milk, animal feed, cake mixes, citrus juices, coffee, corn syrup, cream, creamers, dried eggs, potatoes, shortening, starch derivatives, tea, tomatoes, yeast, and — last but not least — yogurt. Washington State University also has an informative discussion on the web. Making dried milk is not rocket science and doesn’t require a PhD. But, if experience is any guide, Al Qaeda has PhDs and even rocket scientists who are sympathetic to its cause (indeed, even the father of Pakistan’s atomic bomb).

      The Baltimore Examiner quotes Gerald P. Andrews, director of the bacteriology division and Ivins’ supervisor from 2000 to 2003: “Knowing the layout of the BSL-3 suite, the implication that Bruce could have whipped out [anthrax mixture] in a couple of weeks without detection is ridiculous.” Andrews explains: “You can’t just throw a flask up in the air and have dry weaponized spores come down. One preparation may take between three and five days — Day 1 to prepare the materials and start seed cultures, Day 2 to inoculate the spores, Day 3 to harvest, centrifuge and purify the spores. And those are the wet spores,” he says, which then need to be dried into a powder. And that would take at least another day. “So for 10 envelopes, 100 preparations would be required to make all the mailed material at three to five days for each preparation,” he says. “Months of continuous spore preparation without doing any other work and avoiding detection? It’s ridiculous.” One USAMRID researcher, speaking anonymously, told The Baltimore Examiner: “It would have been impossible for Ivins to have grown, purified and loaded the amount of material in the letters in just six days. It simply could not be done.” George Mason University professor and former Soviet bioweapons researcher Sergei Popov told the Baltimore Examiner that he agrees: “This number of plates is impossible to handle inconspicuously,” says. “It would be impossible to cover up these activities.” W. Russell Byrne, who preceded Andrews as the division’s director, said he “never believed Ivins’ could have produced the preparations used in the anthrax letters working in the bacteriology division area of Building 1425.” Nearly 1 gram per contaminated letter would have required months of intensive labor and hundreds of agar “plates,” on which the spores are grown, Dr. Byrne says.

      Spores from two of those show a distinct chemical signature that includes silicon, oxygen, iron, and tin; the third letter had silicon, oxygen, iron and possibly also tin, says Michael. The coat of the bacteria from Ivins’ RMR-1029 flask did not contain any of those four elements.

      Dr. Paul Keim first learned Dr. Ivins was a focus of their investigation in May 2008:

      “Q: When did you learn that investigators were focusing on Bruce Ivins?
      P.K.: On 14 May 2008, when FBI agents and Justice Department officials revealed his name in the course of questioning me about the timeline for how the technology for fingerprinting anthrax had improved since the mid-’90s.

      Q: How did the interview unfold?

      P.K.: It was in a room at the Courtyard Marriott near the Washington Dulles airport, where I was attending a meeting of the FBI’s Scientific Working Group on Microbial [Genetics and] Forensics. There were five FBI agents and officials from the U.S. Attorney’s office. … I remember making a nervous joke. I said I’ve greased up my wrists just so I can slip out of my handcuffs when you throw me in the back of the van. …
      What they were trying to establish was how much Ivins would have known about the developments in fingerprinting [to distinguish between different strains]. They pulled out e-mails that Ivins and I had exchanged in 2001-2002 as part of ongoing discussions amongst anthrax researchers about the attacks. They wanted to know if I could tell, from those e-mails, if Ivins might have been attempting to cover his tracks.

      Q: What did you conclude?

      P.K.: I didn’t see any smoking gun. I went back and looked at some other e-mails from him, and in one that he sent on 7 February 2002 to the group, he said, “The only place I know of that makes anthrax powder is the Dugway Proving Ground.”

      Q: Do you think Ivins was guilty?

      P.K.: I don’t know.”

  3. Anonymous Scientist said

    DXer writes:
    “why some adhered to the leaks about PDMS and why Sandia was confident it in fact was not PDMS but just silica.”

    Where and when have Sandia ever said they are confident it was not PDMS but just silica?

    • DXer said

      What I meant to refer to was the sentence or two by Dr. Michael who told Ed he could post the sentence or two on his mailing list that I believe Ed has posted on his website and/or here. I also have emphasized that would be best to await his presentation in July and publication of the EID articles. Otherwise, observing scientists will think that you are not taking a scientific approach. Dr. Michael, I’m sure, realizes that if he does not publish the data relating ro the NYP Post product scientists may find fault with his analysis and conclusions. Absent published data, there is no basis to dispute the suggestion by the FBI WMD Chief that it could have been in the culture medium, which points to the cutting-edge DARPA-funded patent which was for the purpose of concentrating anthrax. It was more cutting-edge than the historical method used by Dugway. Like bioweaponeer Popov says, even if it did aid dispersability, it was added on purpose.

    • DXer said

      Anonymous Scientist,

      1. The anthrax attack samples did contain silicon and oxygen, the elements of silica.

      2. The silicon and oxygen were not located on the outside surface of the spores. They were on an internal structure.

      3. Michael and colleagues used a powerful electron microscope to probe the specific location of chemical elements in thin samples of spores from the attack envelopes.

      4. Dr. Michael has tested material from the flask that the FBI says the anthrax materials came from, the mailings came from, and Sandia found that there was no silicon signature in these spores.


      6. Paul Kotula explained “We looked at over 200 samples in our lab that were various attempts to reverse-engineer the process under which these powders were made and did not find a match.”

      7. Sergeui Popov, a bioweapons expert at GMU’s Center for Biodefense, reports: the Silicon Signature “could have come from the use of foam suppressant agents, typically employed in the process of large scale fermentation of bacteria.”

      8. As a food additive, it has the E number E900 and is used as an anti-foaming agent.

      9. As Randy Atkins explained it, the anthrax attack samples did contain silicon and oxygen, the elements of silica which can make spores more readily float – and be inhaled – says Joe Michael, a Sandia National Labs materials scientist. But, Michael says, those elements weren’t found in the most likely place for a biological weapon.

      10. Catherine Herridge interviewed Joe Michael here where Joe explains that Ivins flask did not contain the chemical signature of the attack anthrax.
      [audio src="" /]


      11. Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) belong to a group of polymeric organosilicon compounds which are commonly referred to as silicones]. PDMS is the most widely used silicon-based organicpolymer, and is particularly known for its unusual rheological (or flow) properties. PDMS is one of several types of silicone oil (polymerized siloxane).

      12. Before Ivins death, my friend who heads a military lab that makes aerosolized anthrax made anthrax using a silicone oil in the slurry and it showed the same spike for silicon and oxygen.

      13. Many people are indirectly familiar with PDMS because it is an important (4%) component in Silly Putty, to which PDMS imparts its characteristic viscoelastic properties.[PDMS is also used as a component in silicone grease and other silicone based lubricants, as well as in defoaming agents.

      14. Dimethicone is also used widely in skin moisturizing lotions, listed as an active ingredient whose purpose is “skin protectant.”

      15. After the anthrax mailings, the DARPA-funded researchers to which Bruce Ivins had supplied the virulent Ames, pitching the handcream or skin protectant to postal workers. They explained that their DARPA-funded product was a “great moisturizer.”

      See This Goop? It Kills Anthrax And the tiny biotech startup that …
      Nov 12, 2001 … “Plus, it’s a great moisturizer,” he says, grinning, as he rubs the lotion into his hands. … nanoemulsion–forms these bubbles at the supertiny nano level. … NanoBio’sproduct isn’t the only promising anthrax killer. … index.htm

      16. The invention related to a nanoemulsion where the particles are so small they go INSIDE.
      Nanoemulsion Vaccines – Patent – methods and compositions for the …
      … emulsifiers, gelling agents, moisturizers, stabilizers, surfactants, wetting agents, preservatives, time release agents …… Patents by James R. Baker …

      17 They had received $12 million in investment from DARPA in the late 1990s. After the mailings, DARPA reportedly asked for some of their product them to decontaminate some of the Senate offices. NanoBio received a $3,150,000 defense contract in 2003. Dr. Hamouda graduated Cairo Medical in December 1982. He was there at a time when Ayman Zawahiri openly recruited on Friday evenings in a room set aside for the Egyptian Islamic Group, which was legal at the time. See “Tawfiq” Hamid’s book. A former Egyptic Group member, “Tawfiq” Hamid consults with intelligence agencies and has known Dr. Hamouda since childhood, when they would go to the comic book store with “Tawfik’s” brother when Tarek would visit from Khartoum. Tarek’s mother was working as an accounting professor in Khartoum. Tarek married in 1986. His wife was on the Cairo University dental faculty for 10 years. Upon coming to the United States in 1994 after finishing his microbiology PhD at Cairo Medical, Dr. Hamouda was a post-doctoral fellow at the Wayne State University School of Medicine in downtown Detroit. Dr. Hamouda’s immunology department biography at Wayne indicates that he then came to the University of Michigan and began work on the DARPA-funded work with anthrax bio-defense applications with James R. Baker at their company NanoBio. Did he know some of the Egyptians in Ann Arbor like Bassem Khafagi? Bassem Khafagi was President of IANA and was Al-Timimi’s friend who kept his personal papers for safekeeping in Al-Timimi’s townhouse. The personal papers were found upon the raid of Al-Timimi’s residence. Perhaps someone accessed the NanoBio offices — which is why it needs to be confirmed where all the research using the virulent Ames supplied by Bruce Ivins was done to confirm that it in fact never reached Ann Arbor. Kimothy Smith, the scientist who typed the attack anthrax and then had a leading position at Homeland Security in biodefense, provided the space used for the DARPA-funded research by Dr. Hamouda and likely could tell us where the research was done.

      Ann Arbor lab technician Michael Hayes has reported on research using virulent Ames that he did, as did Dr. Hamouda.

      18. The University of Michigan researchers presented in part at various listed meetings and conferences in 1998 and 1999. The December 1999 article titled “A Novel Surfactant Nanoemulsion with Broad-Spectrum Sporicidal Activity of against Bacillus Species” in the Journal for Infectious Diseases states:

      “B. anthracis spores, Ames and Vollum 1B strains, were supplied by Bruce Ivins (US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases [USAMRIID], Fort Detrick, Frederick, MD) and were prepared as described elsewhere. Four other strains of B. anthracis were provided by Martin Hugh-Jones (Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge.”

      In the acknowledgements section, the University of Michigan authors thank:

      Shaun B. Jones, Jane Alexander, and Lawrence DuBois (Defense Science Office, Defense Advanced Research Project Agency) for their support.
      Bruce Ivins, Patricia Fellows, Mara Linscott, Arthur Friedlander, and the staff of USAMRIID for their technical support and helpful suggestions in the performance of the initial anthrax studies.
      Martin-Hugh-Jones, Kimothy Smith, and Pamela Coker for supplying the characterized B. anthracis strains and the space at Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge).
      Robin Kunkel (Department of Pathology, University of Michigan) for her help with electron microscopy and a couple of others for technical assistance and manuscript preparation.
      The researchers found that their nanoemulsion incorporated into the growth medium completely inhibited the growth of the spores. Transmission electron microscope was used to examine the spores.
      The authors explained that “The nanoemulsions can be rapidly produced in large quantities and are stable for many months *** Undiluted, they have the texture of a semisolid cream and can be applied topically by hand or mixed with water. Diluted, they have a consistency and appearance similar to skim milk and can be sprayed to decontaminate surfaces or potentially interact with aerosolized spores before inhalation.”

      19. An article in the Summer of 2000 in Medicine at Michigan explains:

      “Victory Site: Last December [December 1999] Tarek Hamouda, Amy Shih and Jim Baker traveled to a remote military station in the Utah desert. There they demonstrated for the U.S. Army Research and Development Command the amazing 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.”

      20. As Fortune magazine explained in November 2001 about NanoBio: “Then bioterror struck…. 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.” NanoBio was part of the solution: “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 [its key investor], shaking his head. ‘This is all a duct-tape solution.’ ” James Baker, founder of Ann Arbor’s NanoBio’s likes to quote a Chinese proverb: “When there are no lions and tigers in the jungle, the monkeys rule.”

      21. It’s naive to think that Al Qaeda could not have obtained Ames just because it tended to be in labs associated with or funded by the US military. US Army Al Qaeda operative Sgt. Ali Mohammed accompanied Zawahiri in his travels in the US. (Ali Mohamed had been a major in the same unit of the Egyptian Army that produced Sadat’s assassin, Khaled Islambouli). Ali Al-Timimi was working in the building housing the Center for Biodefense funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (”DARPA”) and had access to the facilities at both the Center for Biodefense and the adjacent American Type Culture Collection. Michael Ray Stubbs was an HVAC system technician at Lawrence Livermore Lab with a high-level security clearance permitting access. That was where the effort to combat the perceived Bin Laden anthrax threat was launched in 1998. Aafia Siddiqui, who attended classes at a building with the virulent Vollum strain. She later married a 9/11 plotter al-Balucchi, who was in UAE with al-Hawsawi, whose laptop, when seized at the home of a bacteriologist, had anthrax spraydrying documents on it. The reality is that a lab technician, researcher, or other person similarly situated might simply have walked out of some lab that had it. What was NanoBio’s old street address? Why is Aafia Siddiqui associated with an address at 1915 Woodbury Drive in Ann Arbor? An Assistant United States Attorney has claimed in open court (in the opening argument in United States v. Paracha) that Aafia was willing to participate in an anthrax attack if asked.

      22. Among the documents found in Afghanistan in 2001 were letters and notes written in English to Ayman Zawahiri by a scientist about his attempts to obtain an anthrax sample. One handwritten letter was on the letterhead of the Society for Applied Microbiology, the UK’s oldest microbiological society. The Society for Applied Microbiology of Bedford, UK, recognizes that “the development and exploitation of Applied Microbiology requires the maintenance and improvement of the microbiological resources in the UK, such as culture collections and other specialized facilities.” Thus, Zawahiri’s access to the Ames strain is still yet to be proved or disclosed, but there was no shortage of possibilities or recruitment attempts by Ayman. One colleague of his estimates that he made 15 recruitment attempts over a many year period. Dr. Keim observes: “Whoever perpetrated the first crime must realize that we have the capability to identify material and to track the material back to its source. Whoever did this is presumably aware of what’s going on, and if the person is a scientist, they can read the study. Hopefully, the person is out there thinking: When am I going to get caught?”

      23. With respect to what Dr. Michael recently said about PDMS vs. silica, could you find and quote the sentences from what he refers to as the “mailing list”? (I don’t keep save emails given the volume). I have no information about his work beyond what he has said and am not scientifically oriented. And so my only insight on the subject is that we should await publication in Emerging Infectious Diseases and his presentation on the subject in July. His work supports Ivins’ innocence and so I hope those who think Ivins is innocent will keep an open mind and embrace the FBI’s finding that the source of the Silicon Signature could have been in the culture medium. The DARPA-funded patent was coinvented by the leading anthrax scientist and former deputy USAMRIID commander who shared a suite with Ali Al-Timimi. The patent used silica in the culture medium to concentrate anthrax. Dr. Al-Timimi was actively coordinating with the 911 imam and Bin Laden’s sheik. On the First Anniversary of the anthrax mailings, he arranged for a letter in Bin Laden’s sheik’s name to be hand-delivered to every member of Congress — the letter threatened dire consequences if Iraq was invaded. The scientists joining the DARPA-funded Center for Biodefense international patent application were long-time government consultants in anthrax and aerosols.

      24. Al-Timimi’s lawyer has described Ali as an “anthrax weapons suspect” and the proceedings are ongoing and highly classified. Not even opposing counsel or the judge’s clerk are being allowed to read the government’s filings. The federal eagle envelope was also sold in Virginia.

      25. There is no fiber evidence that points to Ivins. His wife and kids lived with him in the small house. There was no contamination with the genetically distinctive subtilis that pointed to Ivins. No match with the tin found in the anthrax. No credible motive (IMO). But this is a situation where the FBI is damned if they do, and damned if they don’t. In case anyone hasn’t noticed, they haven’t closed Amerithrax yet and it remains a confidential criminal and national security investigation. The genetics only points to a stream of isolates with the same profile, not to Ivins.

  4. DXer said

    Senator Grassley, in leading the Finance Committee, has done great work in the area of conflict of interest in the Big Pharma field. There is no basis to fault or question his oversight role in Amerithrax.

    Congress, FBI battle over anthrax investigation
    Sen. Grassley: FBI has ‘little in the way of results to show’ after five years

    By Jim Popkin
    Senior Producer
    NBC News Investigative Unit
    updated 2:39 p.m. ET, Tues., Oct . 24, 2006

    WASHINGTON – Congress and the FBI are now openly battling over the pace and direction of the anthrax investigation.

    Late Monday, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, sent a damning six-page letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales requesting a briefing on the FBI investigation, now five years old. The letter faults the agency for its handling of the case, saying “the FBI has little in the way of results to show for its work.”

    Meanwhile, in an unusual move, the FBI’s top lobbyist has informed members of Congress that the bureau will no longer brief them on the case. The FBI’s Assistant Director for Congressional Affairs wrote, “After sensitive information about the investigation citing congressional sources was reported in the media, the Department of Justice and the FBI agreed that no additional briefings to Congress would be provided.”

  5. DXer said

    Ike, I think Ed recently has done a good job, by passing on Dr. Michael’s comments, in explaining the controversy over the AFIP’s detection of silica — why some adhered to the leaks about PDMS and why Sandia was confident it in fact was not PDMS but just silica.
    Certainly, Anonymous Scientist, I would hope, should not want to argue the point without the benefit of the EID articles. That would not be scientifically prudent. Moreover, it was my good friend, Anonymous Scientist, who argued that the forensic evidence pointed to Iraq in a peer-reviewed article. And so I think there may be incongruent chords being struck in your choir. While the view of silica as “naturally occurring” fairly prompts skepticism, when it is phrased in terms of the natural tendency for silicon in the environment to be absorbed in the spore’s coat upon growth and formation of the spore, it is more understandable. That raises the question of the source of the Silicon Signature which will be addressed both in the EID article(s) and by the NAS. For now, based on the Science Briefing, that brings us to the conclusion by the FBI that it could have been in the culture medium — such as indicated by the DARPA-funded patent using silicon dioxide in the culture medium to concentrate the anthrax. It was invented by the leading anthrax scientist and former deputy/acting USAMRIID commander and delivered to the maildrop / fax at one time shared by the scientist convicted of sedition and actively working with Bin Laden’s sheik. Follow the facts, not political leanings.

    But the nonsense above about the Finance Committee and Daschle is precisely what sets up Ed’s schtick about conspiracy theorists. To start, Daschle was, compared to others, very accepting of the FBI’s Ivins Theory. Although I believe he might have backed off a bit after questions were raised, he has never been strident — such as Senator Grassley (who I believe is on the Finance Committee).

    But to tie in his HHS nomination with some overarching conspiracy that now includes overburdened Finance staffers has no basis.

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