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

* The argument rages on, but there is considerable evidence and agreement on this blog that Dr. Bruce Ivins could not have been the sole perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax attacks as the FBI claimed in 2008, eight days after Dr. Ivins had committed suicide.

Posted by DXer on June 7, 2009


Dr. Bruce Ivins

Dr. Bruce Ivins

  • There is a lively ongoing debate on scientific and investigative issues in this blog through the comments of Ike, DXer, Anonymous Scientist and others. The arguments are detailed and complex, but they do seem to agree on this …
    • the FBI’s contention that Dr. Bruce Ivins was the sole perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax attacks cannot be sustained by the evidence which, in all likelihood, the FBI knew when it charged Ivins (posthumously) and declared CASE CLOSED.
  • The fact that the FBI has utterly refused to answer questions raised by scientists, journalists and members of Congress only increase the suspicion that the FBI is hiding some dark secrets in this case.

Ike writes …

  • 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 hadno aerosol weaponization capacity.

LMW: Ike is saying it could not be Ivins.

DXer writes …

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 (Ivins) could have whipped out [anthrax mixture] in a couple of weeks without detection is ridiculous.”

… 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.”

LMW: DXer quotes Andrews and another USAMRIID researcher who say it simply could not have been Ivins.

DXer adds …

The anthrax attack samples did contain silicon and oxygen, the elements of silica. The silicon and oxygen were not located on the outside surface of the spores. They were on an internal structure. 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.

LMW: Again pointing in some direction other than 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.

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.

LMW: If the FBI cannot explain how the silicon got into the attack anthrax, then they have to look beyond Detrick and beyond Ivins.


LMW: It seems incomprehensible to me that the FBI, with all of their resources and all of the manpower they put into the anthrax investigation, has come up with the feeble and unsupportable conclusion that Dr. Bruce Ivins was the sole perpetrator. Something else, it seems to me, is going on here, since the FBI cannot be telling the whole truth.

I don’t know what actually happened, but I am a novelist, so I let my imagination develop a fictional scenario that many are finding quite plausible. CASE CLOSED presents that scenario, providing fictional answers to the very real questions that still plague the FBI’s not-yet-closed investigation.

You may purchase CASE CLOSED at …

* purchase CASE CLOSED (paperback)

One Response to “* The argument rages on, but there is considerable evidence and agreement on this blog that Dr. Bruce Ivins could not have been the sole perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax attacks as the FBI claimed in 2008, eight days after Dr. Ivins had committed suicide.”

  1. DXer said

    If we don’t learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it:

    U.S. Says It Was Warned On Egyptian Islamic Group
    Published: Friday, October 20, 2000

    American intelligence officials said yesterday that they received reports in late May that a militant Egyptian Islamic group was in the final stages of preparing a terror attack against American targets and that they passed on the warning to all American posts and foreign governments in the Middle East.

    The group said to be preparing the attack was the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, a faction of which is closely associated with Osama bin Laden, the Saudi financier who tops the United States list of most-wanted terrorists. The Jihad and Mr. bin Laden’s organization, Al Qaeda, or ”the base,” have come under scrutiny by American and Yemeni officials as possible culprits in the bombing last Thursday of the American destroyer Cole in Aden, Yemen, an attack that killed 17 sailors.

    Neither Yemen nor Washington has pointed to a culprit. Louis J. Freeh, the Federal Bureau of Investigation director, who was in Aden, said yesterday that it was too early to speculate about who might have ordered or carried out the attack.

    American officials denied allegations that they had failed to anticipate threats to American forces in the region. The warning in June, they said, was widely disseminated to embassies, military command posts and to foreign governments throughout the region. As a result, one official said, ”our security posture was reviewed by embassies and military posts throughout the Middle East.”

    Yemen has been a target for Mr. bin Laden and his associates.

    Clinton administration officials are also reported to be looking closely at a videotape broadcast on Sept. 21 by Al Jazeera, an Arabic satellite television network based in Qatar. On the tape, Mr. bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahari, once the leader of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and Mr. bin Laden’s top deputy for military operations, condemned the United States presence in the Middle East and threatened a ”holy war.”

    In an interview yesterday with CNN, President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen said that his country had arrested suspects who were ”elements from Al Jihad returning from Afghanistan.” It was unclear whether he was referring specifically to the Egyptian group Islamic Jihad or using the generic term for Muslim fighters who conduct a ”holy war.” When asked directly whether Mr. bin Laden was responsible, Mr. Saleh said only, ”It’s possible.”

    American military and Middle Eastern officials said they believed that the tape was recorded ”sometime between March and May,” although the Taliban government in Afghanistan, under pressure from the United States to hand over Mr. bin Laden, has asserted that the tape was made four or five years ago.

    The intelligence officials said that Al Qaeda and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad groups now operated out of Afghanistan and that given the closeness of their leaders, they were virtually one group.

    On the tape, Mr. Zawahari said, ”The time has come for us and for all mujahedeen to confront this heathen, tyrannical power which has trampled upon our holy sites and occupied our Two Holy Mosques.”

    The reference was to Islam’s most sacred shrines in Mecca and Medina, Saudi Arabia. ”These heathens have spread their forces in Egypt, Yemen and the gulf, killing our children, persecuting our scholars, soiling our holy shrines and stealing our wealth,” Mr. Zawahari said.

    The tape also showed Mr. bin Laden preaching for a holy war. He said his followers should do all they could to establish Islamic law in Muslim countries and ”to expel the Jews and the Christians from the sacred places, and to endeavor to release our ulema from the United States, from Egypt, from Riyadh, and from all holy Islamic lands.”

    Ali al-Kaadi, acting head of newsgathering for the network that showed the tape, said in an interview yesterday that the tape had been mailed to the network with no return address. A title on the video says it was produced by the Jihad Media Center in Afghanistan, which Middle Eastern officials said was a dubious name intended to disguise the identities.

    Middle Eastern and American sources said they believed that the sermons were delivered at a meeting of militant Islamic groups to discuss ways to free Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman. Mr. Rahman is the blind Egyptian cleric who is serving a life sentence in a federal penitentiary in the United States for his role in the World Trade Center bombing in 1993.

    At one point, the tape focuses on a hand-painted banner on the wall that says, ”The release of the prisoner Omar Abdul Rahman is a duty to all those capable of it.”

    Among those at the meeting was Mr. Rahman’s son Assadullah, who is heard off-camera calling for armed action to release his father, or according to one account, to ”shed blood” until his father is released from prison.

    American officials said the administration had received two separate warnings about a possible terrorist attack against American forces. The first, in late May, warned that the Egyptian Islamic Jihad was in the final stages of preparing an attack against American forces. The second, received in mid-September, warned about a possible attack against an American warship, but did not specify where or when.

    Though the sermon tape was broadcast three weeks before the Cole was attacked, officials said, it did not prompt either warning.

    The indictments issued in the United States against the men accused of the 1998 bombings of two American embassies in Africa cite exhortations in 1992 by the spiritual advisers of Mr. bin Laden’s Al Qaeda group. The leaders appealed to their followers to attack United States forces stationed in Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Somalia.

    The Egyptian Islamic Jihad is widely considered one of the most vicious terrorist groups in the region. The State Department report on terrorism for this year says the group specializes in armed attacks against senior Egyptian officials. Some of the group’s founders were held responsible for killing President Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt in 1981.

    Middle Eastern and American officials said they believed that Mr. Zawahari, a charismatic physician, is now Mr. bin Laden’s deputy for military operations. The officials said he helped convince Mr. bin Laden in 1989 that military action was more important than propaganda in furthering the holy war and replacing ”corrupt” Arab governments with just ”Islamic states.”

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