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

* Abdur Rauf’s “I have successfully achieved” letter to Ayman al-Zawahiri

Posted by DXer on July 4, 2009

why the FBI failed to solve the 2001 anthrax caseCASE CLOSED

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Abdur Rauf’s “I have successfully achieved” letter

to al-Qaeda #2 Ayman al-Zawahiri

The 3 page letter reproduced below was obtained from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) by a CASE CLOSED blog participant’s FOIA request. It was part of a cache of materials recovered in Afghanistan in December 2001.

The letter includes the following quotes …

  • “I successfully achieved the targets during my visit to *** REDACTED ***
  • “Then I went to *** REDACTED *** to meet with Dr. *** REDACTED *** in charge of *** REDACTED *** in order to see the fate  of our demand of cultures.”
  • “He also showed me the highly advanced Level-3 Pathology laboratory.”
  • “Then I went to *** REDACTED *** in order to acquire the supply of different vaccines against a number of pathogens.”
  • “Items from *** REDACTED *** autoclave: *** REDACTED ***
  • “Yours sincerely *** REDACTED ***

Whatever reason may have justified the original redactions, what reason can there now be for not removing them and revealing where Abdul Rauf went  on his mission to acquire lethal anthrax and the means to weaponize it?

Remember this is just one letter.

  • How many other Abdur Raufs were there?
  • How many other labs did these al-Qaeda operatives visit?
  • How many other al-Qaeda operatives are still out there?

Does anyone still believe the FBI’s contention that Dr. Bruce Ivins was the sole perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax attacks?

Abdur Rauf - I have achieved letter************

Abdur Rauf- typedpage2*******

Abdur Rauf- last typedpage

29 Responses to “* Abdur Rauf’s “I have successfully achieved” letter to Ayman al-Zawahiri”

  1. DXer said

    “Where is Dr. Ayman Zawahiri? New Video Reignites Questions,” Nov 24, 2021,

  2. DXer said

    He added, “No doubt that Al-Zawahiri had an influence on Al-Qaeda, but we must remember that he was not an operational commander but an ideologue in the organisation.”

    Comment: If Zawahiri ran Rauf Ahmad in his infiltration of Western biodefense, as the correspondence from Rauf Ahmad establisheshe did, is it accurate to say Zawahiri was not an operational commander?

  3. DXer said

    Mark Kortepeter, author of a new book that includes some discussion of Amerithrax, co-authored this article on “Potential Biological Threats” in 1999.

    Click to access 10458957.pdf

    Kortepeter and his co-author write:

    “The National Defense University recently compiled a study of more than 100 confirmed incidents of illicit use of biological agents during this century (W.S. Carus, pers. comm. [4]). Of the 100 incidents, 29 involved agent acquisition, and of the 29, 19 involved the actual nongovernmental use of an agent, and most were used for biocrimes, rather than for bioterrorism. In the context of this study, the distinguishing feature of bioterrorism is that it involves the use of violence on behalf of a political, religious, ecologic, or other ideologic cause without reference to the moral or political justice of the cause. The balance of incidents involved an expressed interest, threat of use, or an attempt to acquire an agent. In the 1990s, incidents increased markedly, but most have been hoaxes. The pathogens involved present a wide spectrum, from those with little ability to cause disease or disability, such as Ascaris suum, to some of the familiar agents deemed most deadly, such as B. anthracis, ricin, plague, and botulinum toxins (Table). During this period, the number of known deaths is only 10, while the total number of casualties is 990. However, the numbers should not give a false sense of security that mass lethality is not achievable by a determined terrorist group. The sharp increase in biological threats, hoaxes, information, and Internet sources on this subject seen in recent years indicates a growing interest in the possible use of biological pathogens for nefarious means (4).


    To be used for a maximum credible event, an agent must have some of the following properties: the agent should be highly lethal and easily produced in large quantities. Given that the aerosol route is the most likely for a largescale attack, stability in aerosol and capability to be dispersed (1 µm to 5 µm particle size) are necessary.


    Only 11 cases of inhalation anthrax have been reported in the United States from 1945 to 1994 (15), and recognition may be delayed until after antibiotic use would be beneficial.


    Anthrax can have a delayed onset, further leading to delays in recognition and treatment. In the outbreak of inhalation anthrax in Sverdlovsk in 1979, some patients became ill up to 6 weeks after the suspected release of anthrax spores (1). The current recommendation for prophylaxis of persons exposed to aerosolized anthrax is treatment with antibiotics for 8 weeks in the absence of vaccine or 4 weeks and until three doses of vaccine have been given (17). The amount of antibiotics required for postexposure prophylaxis of large populations could be enormous and could easily tax logistics capabilities for consequence management”

  4. DXer said

    Here is a letter from Dr. Ayman Zawahiri’s scientist who infiltrated the UK biodefense establishment announcing he had achieved the targets. Al Qaeda claims that Pakistan detained Dr. Zawahiri’s wife a year ago and that he has a heart ailment.

    Al-Qaida: Pakistan detained wife of chief Zawahiri
    By: The Associated Press   17 hours ago

    ISLAMABAD — Al-Qaida has accused Pakistani security forces of detaining the wife of its chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and two other families of the insurgent group’s “martyrs” for nearly a year.

    Intel indicates al Qaeda leader has potentially serious ‘heart complaint’, official says
    By Paul Cruickshank, CNN terrorism analyst
    Updated 5:36 PM ET, Thu August 1, 2019

  5. DXer said

    It constituted investigative misfeasance still not to have acquired any of the Ames sent abroad in the 2 years after the mailings. This letter above was OBTAINED IN DECEMBER 2001!

    R. Scott Decker writes:

    “Interviews at USAMRIID revealed a shipment to the United Kingdom, and records in the institute’s safety office verified Ames was sent to the laboratories of Porton Down in the institute’s safety office verified Ames was sent to the laboratories of Porton Down…”

    Um… this would have been known by October 2001. Heck, it was being publicly discussed by December 2001 among members of the public and in the press. Two leading Porton Down anthrax researchers, Les Baillie and Peter Turnbull, were helping with Amerithrax. Les Baillie was consulting on the genetics under formal agreement.

    Not having obtained Ames from Porton Down constitutes gross investigative incompetence. It was known that Zawahiri infiltrator Rauf Ahmad had already cultured anthrax when he infiltrated the Porton Down conference.

    Decker’s exclusion of an Al Qaeda theory because the word was spelled “penacilin” is way beyond incompetent. It was his job in the Spring 2002 to collect samples — and so he should have obtained all the anthrax samples from Porton Down by Spring 2002.

    A lot can be lost, spoiled or used up in a couple of years.

    This may be why the FBI is hiding the identify of the lab that Rauf Ahmad visited. You would be shocked.

    Michael Mason: how is Decker’s failure to even obtain the Porton Down Ames over the course of the first two years constitute leaving no stone unturned?

  6. DXer said

    R. Scott Decker wrote about the issue of vaccine. Was he truly unaware that Al Qaeda anthrax lab workers were vaccinated against anthrax? This was long known — Zawahiri gave Rauf Ahmad to buy vaccine — and he was visiting Porton Down conferences with the USAMRIID folks in 1999 and 2000. Rauf Ahmad presented at Porton Down about his having isolated anthrax in the wild.

    And does an Al Qaeda operative — who was at KSM’s house with Al Qaeda lab director Yazid Sufaat on or about 9/11 — really need to be vaccinated? I mean, there would be no reason he would not have been — or wasn’t. But was there any need? A mailer can simply deliver an anthrax letter in a plastic bag to the mailbox.

    Anthrax, Al Qaeda and Ayman Zawahiri: The Infiltration of US Biodefense

  7. DXer said

    Ayman Zawahiri’s infiltrating scientist Rauf Ahmad attended Porton Down conferences. (Those scientists then came to the US and advised Amerithrax). MI5 seized materials from Rauf Ahmad’s luggage.

    The continued lack of transparency about Zawahiri’s infiltration of the lab undermines the confidence of the public in protests by Porton Down officials based on its security regarding the nerve agent, Novichok.

    UK’s Porton Down denies it could have been source of nerve agent that poisoned ex-spy
    Reuters Staff

    LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s military research facility at Porton Down said it could not have been the source of the nerve agent that poisoned Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the city of Salisbury this month, the BBC reported on Friday.

    The BBC quoted Porton Down Chief Executive Gary Aitkenhead as saying there was “no way” the substance could have come from its laboratories as Russia has suggested.

    He said the laboratory had the “highest levels” of controls and security, the BBC said.

    Russia denies any involvement in the attack on the pair who have been critical in hospital since they were found unconscious on March 4 on a bench in Salisbury.

    Russia’s EU ambassador Vladimir Chizhov noted in an interview with the BBC earlier this week that the Porton Down lab is only eight miles (11km) from Salisbury, insinuating that may have been the source.

    The Foreign Office has said there was “not an ounce of truth” in his implication the nerve agent could have been linked to Porton Down.

  8. DXer said

    3 July 2017
    Ignore Bill Gates: Where bioweapons focus really belongs

    Filippa Lentzos

    Filippa Lentzos is a senior research fellow jointly appointed in the Departments of War Studies and of Global Health and Social Medicine at King’s College London. Her research focuses on biological threats and on the security and governance of emerging technologies in the life sciences.

    Bioterrorism seems to be back in fashion. In the past, it has received bursts of attention that arose from particular incidents—the “anthrax letters” sent through the mail to US politicians and media outlets in 2001, for instance, or the purchase of plague bacteria by white supremacist Larry Wayne Harris in 1995. This time, it’s an unlikely individual calling attention to the bioterror threat—Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder turned philanthropist. Over the last several years, the world’s richest man has spent vast sums of money on global health, and in the last few months he has turned his attention to bioterrorism. At a high-profile security summit in Munich in February, he warned that bioterrorism could kill tens of millions. At a London security meeting a couple of months later, he said terrorists could wipe out 30 million people by weaponizing a disease such as smallpox.

    I disagree. At a stretch, terrorists taking advantage of advances in biology might be able to create a viable pathogen. That does not mean they could create a sophisticated biological weapon, and certainly not a weapon that could kill 30 million people. Terrorists in any event tend to be conservative. They use readily available weapons that have a proven track record—not unconventional weapons that are more difficult to develop and deploy. Available evidence shows that few terrorists have ever even contemplated using biological agents, and the extremely small number of bioterrorism incidents in the historical record shows that biological agents are difficult to use as weapons. The skills required to undertake even the most basic of bioterrorism attacks are more demanding than often assumed. These technical barriers are likely to persist in the near- and medium-term future.


    • DXer said

      Fun fact: Filippa, do you know the second lab in Britain that Rauf Ahmad visited on behalf of Ayman Zawahiri?

      If you don’t know the nature of Ayman Zawahiri’s infiltration of the UK biodefense establishment, how can one judge Al Qaeda’s sophistication?

      Do you doubt Alibek’s argument that a sophistication of a method can lie in its simplicity?

      If the UK government comes clean about Rauf Ahmad’s infiltration of this B3 lab (beyond the MI5 biography discussion), then one can better address the role of states in maintaining (and threatening) biosecurity.

      And one can better judge a terrorist organization’s skill set.

      Anthrax, Al Qaeda and Ayman Zawahiri: The Infiltration of US Biodefense

  9. DXer said

    After speaking to Milton Leitenberg, in an article in the mid-2000s, Eric mistakenly reversed the order of the undated typed and handwritten letters. Reporters don’t have an easy job.

    “CNN editor who resigned over Russia story is Syracuse native, Cornell grad”

    Updated on June 28, 2017 at 4:54 PM Posted on June 28, 2017 at 4:52 PM

  10. DXer said

    Was the lab Al Qaeda’s infiltrating anthrax scientist went one of the 78 labs accidentally sent virulent anthrax that was thought to have been irradiated?

    Or was it one of the score or more of labs known to have been intentionally sent virulent Ames.

    Given that the lab Rauf Ahmad visited has not been disclosed, is it true that CDC and DOD are operating with any meaningful degree of transparency? They have concealed the identity of the lab for 15 years!

    Aren’t they in fact intentionally withholding just about the most relevant information possible?

    78 Labs
    Commercial companies, academic institutions and Federal Labs

  11. DXer said

    Although I have never told anyone this until today, Rauf Ahmad’s paper on the ISOLATION AND DETECTION OF A WILD STRAIN OF BACILLUS ANTHRACIS was presented. Presentations were filmed.

    Mohammad Iqbal,* RaufAhmad,** A.S. Anjum*** and M.A. Baig * Quality Control, Ethical Laboratory, Lahore, Pakistan, **Biotechnology and Food
    Research Centre, PCSIR Labs, Complex, Lahore-54600, Pakistan, ***Veterinary Research Institute, Lahore Cantt, Pakistan

    A wild strain of Bacillusanthraciswas isolated from a clinical case in order to establish a reference culture. The isolated strain was studied for its phenotypical as well biochemical properties. The tests were also conducted for the possession of fimbrae, flagella with motility, self agglutination and penicillin susceptibility. The subcutaneous injection of 100 spores of the isolated culture in to 16 gram mice resulted in death within 90 hrs. Thus, the findings were considered to be significant for the identification of wild strain of
    Bacillus anthracis.

    Another presentation by Rauf Ahmad’s involved the contamination of water.

    Rauf Ahmad,* Mohammad Iqbal,** A.S. Anjum*** and M.A.Baig *Biotechnology and Food Research Centre, PCSIR Labs, Complex, Lahore-54600, Pakistan, **Ethical Laboratory, Lahore, Paskistan, ***Veterinary Research Institute, Lahore Cantt, Pakistan
    Enteropathogenic Yersinia enterocoliticawas isolated from contaminated water by the traditional culture techniques. Water samples were filtered (Millipore) and filters were enriched over night in a Yersinia Selective enrichment broth and subsequently on Yersinia CIN agar at 370C for 24hrs. Complete study of the phenotypic and biochemical characteristics of the isolated strain was conducted. The characteristics of virulence such as autoagglutination at 370C, calcium dependent growth at 370C and uptake of Congo red dye were also studied. Finally the identification was carried out by a Latex agglutination test (Microgen) for the detection of enteropathogenic Yersinia enterocolitica (Myf).

    Numerous Russians presented. (According to my friend, Ken Alibek and Serge Popov, Russia had virulent Ames; they could obtain virulent strains just by asking their spies and within a couple of weeks it would be supplied).

    Here are some of the titles of the Russian presentations:

    MORDOVIA IN 1999 A N Kulichenko, S B Garanina, I V Tuchkov, E V Kooklev, V V Kutyrev
    Russian State Antiplague Research Institute “Microbe”, Universitetskaya, 46, Saratov, 410005, Russia.

    ANTHRAX DISTRIBUTION IN KAZAKHSTAN Luchnova L U, Gorelov U M, Shushayev B Kh, Martinevskiy I L. Kazakh Plague Control Research Institute, The Kazakh Veterinary Research Institute.

    N Mikshis, M Bolotnikova, L Novikova, S Yeremin, Yu Popov
    Russian Research Antiplague Institute “Microbe”, Universitetskaya Str 46, 410005 Saratov, Russia.

    N Mikshis, M Bolotnikova, S Yeremin, Yu Popov Russian Research Antiplague Institute “Microbe”, Universitetskaya Str 46, 410005
    Saratov, Russia.

    Dr. Les Baillie provided an overview:

    The conference will be divided into the following themes; The Past:
    The Present:
    The Future:
    Plagues of Antiquity Disease and War The Role of Sanitation and Clean Water The impact of Science
    Plagues ofthe present Antibiotic resistant organisms
    Hospital acquired infections Global Vaccine programmes
    Emerging Pathogens Genomics and Bioinformatics
    New antimicrobial agents

    Dr . Baillie’s own presentation was: “Bacillus anthracis,a bug with attitude ! Les Baillie, DERA Porton Down, Salisbury, UK”

    The US Department of Defence describes anthrax spores as the top choice in biological weapons for warfare ( They are easy to produce, resistant to most vicissitudes and cause disease via the aerosol route (mortality > 80%). The biology of the organism, its ability to cause disease and the nature of its virulence factors will be
    Vaccination is the most cost effective form of mass protection. The current US and UK licensed human anthrax vaccines have been in use for many decades and have been shown to be effective in non-human primates. These vaccines where developed using 1950’s technology and as a consequence are expense to produce and use a process which is not
    amenable to large scale production. Recent advances in biotechnology have enabled researchers to developed improved vaccine
    expression systems. One such system, based on Bacillussubtilis will be described.
    What is the future of anthrax vaccines? Access to the genome sequence the organism ( will enable researchers to better understand the biology of the organism and through this understanding identify new vaccine targets.

    * e-mail:

    Timothy Read, The Institute for Genomic Research, Rockville, US gave a talk “The Secrets of the Bacillus Anthracis Genome Revealed”

    Timothy Read, The Institute for Genomic Research, 9712 Medical Center Drive, Rockville, Maryland, 20850, USA. Email:
    Sequencing of a plasmid-cured Bacillus anthracis Ames strain is underway using a whole-genome random-shotgun strategy. The initial phase of the project, sequencing a 2- 3 kb sheared insert library has been completed and efforts are being directed currently to linking assemblies generated from this library data using both PCR techniques and a large insert library as a ‘genomic scaffold’.
    Many portions of the B. anthracissequence appear to have similar gene content and organization to the archetypal non-pathogenic B. subtilis. At least 60% of B. anthracis ORIs have homologues to known B. subtilisgenes. These include many spore-coat and spore-germination determinants believed to play an important role in virulence. There are many genes without homologues in B. subtilis that could be important in anthrax infection, including numerous hemolysins and phospholipases. Also notable was the presence in the genome of numerous copies of a conserved 16 bp palidrome known to regulate expression of extracellular virulence factors in B. thuringiensis.
    The pXO plasmids that contain the key virulence genes encoding toxin and capsule have recently been sequenced (Okinaka et al., 1999). Intriguingly, although the plasmids appear to have undergone frequent rearrangements, there are few apparent instances of gene transfer between plasmid and chromosome, perhaps suggesting recent arrival of the episome into B. anthracis.
    The completed sequence will soon be available to the scientific community, however, there are still many secrets to the pathogenesis and origin of this potentially devastating BW agent that will be revealed through functional genomic efforts.
    B. anthracissequence data can be accessed through the TIGR microbial database site (
    Okinaka, R.T. et al..(1999) J. Bacteriol 181:6509-6515

    Anthrax researchers from the University of Michigan and University of Houston also presented:

    Terry C Dixon1’2, Amin Fadli, Theresa M Koehler 3 , Joel A Swanson2 and Philip C Hanna2*
    ‘Department of Microbiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710
    USA 2Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Michigan Medical School,
    Ann Arbor, MI 48109 USA 3Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, The University of Texas-Houston
    Health Science Center Medical School, Houston, Texas 77030 USA
    This study describes early, intracellular events occurring during the establishment phase of Bacillus anthracisinfections. Anthrax infections are initiated by dormant endospores gaining access to the mammalian host and becoming engulfed by regional macrophages (Mý). During systemic anthrax, late stage events include vegetative growth in the blood to very high titres and the release of the anthrax toxin complex, which causes disease symptoms and death. This study focuses on the early events occurring during the first few hours of the B. anthracisinfectious cycle, from endospore germination up to and including release of the vegetative cell from phagocytes. We found that newly vegetative bacilli escaped from the phagocytic vesicles of cultured Mý and replicated within the cytoplasm of these cells. Release from the Mý occurred 4-6 hours after endospore phagocytosis, timing that correlates with anthrax infection of test animals. Genetic analysis from this study indicates that the toxin plasmid pXO1 is required for release from the M4, while the capsule plasmid pX02 is not. The transactivator atxA, located on pXO1, was also found to be essential for release, but the toxin genes themselves were not required. This suggests that M4-release of anthrax bacilli, like its other known virulence factors, may be atxA-regulated. The putative “escape” genes may be located on the chromosome and/or on pXO 1.

    As you scratch your head trying to figure out which lab Rauf Ahmad visited — after which he told Ayman Zawahiri that he had achieved his targets, I’ll leave you with one final presentation.

    THE SIGNIFICANCE OF ANTHRAX A D G Roberts, G Lloyd (CAMR, Salisbury)
    Anthrax is primarily a disease of herbivores. Humans acquire it because of contact with infected animals, animal products, or from materials infected with Bacillus anthracis spores. Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of Anthrax, is a spore-forming, Gram positive, rod-shaped bacterium approximately 4jýim by 1pm. It can survive for long periods, in its spore form, and is commonly referred to as an obligate pathogen. It is enzootic in many countries of Africa and Asia and it occurs sporadically in many other countries including Canada and Australia.
    Anthrax infections are still considered important infections world-wide by both physicians and veterinarians. The pressure to develop “brown-field” sites has also raised the profile of environmental investigations required by current legislation. This presentation will cover the current CAMR Anthrax reference service activities and outline the developments made with biological and molecular detection strategies.
    Although Anthrax is rare in the UK, the risk of infection from a variety of sources must not be underestimated.

    • DXer said

      Numerous Russians also preesnted at the 1999 conference attended by Al Qaeda infiltrating scientist Rauf Ahmad.

      See, e.g.,

      Eieraenko Б I, Buravtseva N Р , Tsygankova О I, Proskunna V А , Efremenko V I, Sarkisova N V, Abgaryan A G , Tyumentseva I S Scheme for isolation and identification of Bacillus anthracis // Proceedings of the Iя European Conference on Dangerous Pathogens — Winchester, England, 1999

      Tsygankova ОI, Eremenko EI Variability of phage-resistant subcultures of the Bacillus anthracis strain l(SO) // Proceedings of the 1st European Conference on Dangerous Pathogens – Winchester, England, 1999 -P 35

  12. DXer said

    The sfam dierctor confirmed to me that Zawahiri’s infiltrator Rauf Ahmad also participated the 2000 conference, after having attended the conference on “dangerous pathogens” in 1999.

    Some of the people advising Amerithrax in November 2001 had been in charge of dealing with the “thorny problems” associated with the “substantial number of overseas delegates.” Despite their best efforts, Dr. Ayman Zawahiri’s scientist attended and socialized with the USAMRIID and Porton Down scientists. By 1999, Rauf Ahmad told Dr. Zawahiri that he had much to celebrate — draining his champagne glass was not necessary.

    When Rauf Ahmad was interviewed by FBI Agent Borelli, no champagne was served. Just tea and cookies.

    Anthrax, Al Qaeda and Ayman Zawahiri: The Infiltration of US and UK Biodefense

    University of Plymouth 4-7 September 2000

    As we took the road south west on a gloomy Sunday morning at the beginning of September, all fingers were firmly crossed! Organisation of the Dangerous Pathogens 2000 meeting had proved even more of a challenge than the International Conference on Anthrax held at the same venue in September 1998. The meeting had attracted a substantial number of overseas delegates, including a sizeable contingent from Russia. However, Alison, our infinitely patient Meetings Administrator, had ably dealt with many thorny problems and so it was with optimism that we looked forward to our stay in Plymouth. The scientific programme had been expertly organised by Les Baillie, and with such an exciting range of papers on offer, we anticipated that delegates from far and wide would be well satisfied. And so it proved. Coupled with an interesting and varied social programme (thank you Les!), all those who made the trip to Plymouth had a fascinating and enjoyable few days. Even yours truly spent a considerable time in the lecture theatre, brushing up on microbiology, past, present and future!

    Plymouth is an attractive venue for a conference, and the meeting itself was held in the Sherwell Centre, an imaginatively converted former church. The reception area had one slight snag however – the ceiling height only just accommodated the Society display board! One of the trade stands had the same problem, and had to forego the use of their lights. The boards for poster display were fine, however, and a range of offered posters added to the scope of the meeting. Most delegates registered on Monday afternoon, and then joined the evening cruise round Plymouth harbour and on up the Tamar, well plied with food and drink. It was fascinating to see the city from the water, both in daylight outward bound and in the gathering gloom on the homeward journey. It proved much colder on the water than on shore, and only the hardy remained on deck throughout!

    The scientific sessions on Tuesday were followed by the Conference Dinner, held at the Duke of Cornwall Hotel. This proved an enjoyable evening, with mercifully few speeches. To our delight and surprise, Alison, Julie and I were presented with bottles of champagne by one of our American delegates as a token of appreciation for our efforts. It was no effort at all to consume this delightful offering – with a little help from our friends! (Should this become a Society custom???)

    Wednesday evening saw us all in coaches again, bound this time for the National Marine Aquarium and a reception in full view of a seriously large tankful of sharks. The Aquarium is a fascinating place to visit, and the delegates spent an interesting time exploring all that was on offer.

    Thursday brought the last day and by late afternoon all were homeward bound, having spent an instructive and enjoyable few days in the south west.

    The Chairmen of the various sessions report on the following pages on what really mattered; the high quality, wide ranging scientific programme.

    Ann Baillie

  13. DXer said

    For each of the conferences (in 1999 and 2000) attended by infiltrator Rauf Ahmad, there is a picture and identification of the regular attendees that Dr. Ayman Zawahiri sent Rauf Ahmad to share appetizers and indulge spirits.

    For example, in the 1995, pictured is Steve Little, Pat Fellows, Judith Boice, Peter Turnbull, TM Koehler, Martin Hugh-Jones, Bruce Ivins, Perry Mikesell, Steve Leppla, John Ezzell, Arthur Frieldander and Matt Meselson.

    Proceedings of the International Workshop on Anthrax: Winchester, England, September 19-21, 1995

    Many years ago, the Sfam director, upon taking office, confirmed to me by email that Rauf Ahmad attended both conferences. But wouldn’t you like a nice picture of Rauf Ahmad hobnobbing with Bruce Ivins and the other USAMRIID and Porton Down scientists?

    Who appears in the picture of the 1999 and 2000 conferences sponsored by sfam and Porton Down? (The June 2001 conference, which Bruce Ivins helped organize, was sponsored by ASM and USAMRIID).

    GAO Should Obtain A Copy Of Rauf Ahmad’s Signed Written Statement Voluntarily Provided FBI Agent Borelli
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 14, 2013

    The FBI did not provide the list of attendees at the June 2001 Annapolis International Anthrax Conference pursuant to FOIA even though a Zawahiri infiltrator Rauf Ahmad attended the conferences for Zawahiri in 1999 and 2000.
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 22, 2011

    Abdur Rauf’s “I have successfully achieved” letter to Ayman al-Zawahiri
    Posted on July 4, 2009

    • DXer said

      DIA in 2002 told me that Rauf Ahmad attended conferences multiple pathogens in Europe but offhand I know only of the two confirmed by the sfam director. All of the conferences should be listed by GAO.

      Here is one a description of the 1999 “dangerous pathogens” conferences.

      When is a pathogen a dangerous pathogen?

      This conference, held in Winchester, 27-29 September 1999, and billed as “the First European Dangerous Pathogens Conference” tripped, if not actually fell, at the first hurdle through failing to define the term “dangerous pathogen” in the initial flyer or at the meeting itself – even though the first session was entitled “Defining Dangerous Pathogens”. The result was something of a mish-mash of papers encompassing a seemingly unrestricted range of organisms within the broadest possible definition of the term “pathogen”. Exacerbating this was the fact that many of the papers were recycled from other meetings for which they presumably had been more specifically targeted.

      Clearly participants at a meeting have to justify to their sponsors the costs of their attendance by presenting papers, but in this instance firmer discipline on the part of the organisers to ensure that the contributions were wholly relevant might have prevented the opportunity being lost for a more focused event with timely discussion of issues such as internationally acceptable approaches and standards for pathogen categorisation, handling, movement, storage and so on. Such matters were barely touched upon.

      The low attendance (approximately 75 in the lecture theatre at peak times by my head count) was almost certainly a reflection of the exorbitant registration fee (approaching £500), combined with the unavailability of a comprehensive programme until very late in the day. These may also have been the reasons, at least in part, for the disappointing representation from important institutions in the world of hazard levels 3 and 4 organisms. There were, of course, some excellent papers by presenters who had taken a great deal of trouble in their preparation. Born with a lazy mind, I found it (my mind) highlighting the colourful ones that did not require too much in the way of hard concentration. An excellent resume of plague in Madagascar by Dr Suzanne Chanteau of the Institut Pasteur de Madagascar and another by Dr Joe McCormick, Pasteur Merieux Connaught, on outbreak management of haemorrhagic fevers were two such papers.

      Equally charming was the presentation of Dr Clare Walton, RAF, who, after Dr McCormick had just told us that flexible isolators had no place in patient care for HFs, proceeded to show us the RAF rescue services centred around flexible isolators. Some of the papers that did require a concentrated mind were similarly excellent. Dr Fiona Adair’s (Biovation) paper on Biodisplay for high throughput protein analysis and Dr Paul Keim’s (Northern Arizona University) paper on multilocus VNTR typing of Bacillus anthracis and Yersinia pestis were two examples.

      The meeting suffered more than its share of no-show presenters and a number of fill-in speakers were hastily coerced into action to prevent the programme from becoming dangerously thin. The poster session was definitely a little undersubscribed. There were a few lively moments. Discussion of Dr Nigel Lightfoot’s (PHLS North) paper on the public health organisation required to respond effectively to the threat of a deliberate release of dangerous pathogens led an eminent US participant to comment (in a later private moment) that the Brits should be sure to have adequate mortuary space ready. Dr Susan Fisher-Hoch’s (Fondation Marcel Merieux) strong advocacy of the French way forward in Hazard Level 4 containment gave rise to lively debate.

      The conference was certainly worth attending and hard-working staff on the ground are to be congratulated on its smooth operation throughout. Hopefully the seed will have been sown for a second, fully international conference centred around addressing the ever increasing problems surrounding hazard levels 3 and 4 organisms and aimed at international agreement on the associated issues, standards and way forward.

      Peter Turnbull

  14. DXer said

    It is really foolish to assume Al Qaeda was not responsible because the Ames strain was used. Ari Fleischer explained in December 2001 that the strain did not bear on who was responsibile — domestic or foreign. Indeed, numerous researchers abroad used virulent Ames.

    Graeme MacQueen, whose field is religious studies, does not credit the findings relating to the Ames DNA discussed by David Relman, whose field is infectious diseases. David Relman was Vice-Chair of the NAS panel reviewing Amerithrax and published his viewed in SCIENCE. He is an expert in the field. (Graeme MacQueen doesn’t think Al Qaeda was responsible for 911; his expertise is religious studies).

    In Have We “Met the Enemy”?, Science 3 February 2012: Vol. 335 no. 6068 pp. 540-541, Dr. David Relman, who had been vice-chairman of the NAS Committee, explains…
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 5, 2012

    Graeme doesn’t know what strain(s) Al Qaeda was using — and has never made any effort to find out.

    Graeme, Meryl Nass and Barry Kissin and Frances Boyle don’t even know what the second lab was visited by infiltrating scientist Rauf Ahmad. Rauf Ahmad attended the annual Porton Down sponsored anthrax conferences and visited B3 labs on behalf of Ayman Zawahiri. Where do any of them even even discuss Rauf Ahmad or the identity of the lab that he visited?

    Abdur Rauf’s “I have successfully achieved” letter to Ayman al-Zawahiri
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 4, 2009

    Nor do they know what strain this was harvested in July 2001 — Yazid Sufaat declined to answer when I showed him the picture.

    As a general matter,Yazid Sufaat pleads the Fifth as to responsibility for the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings. Documents show that it was Dr. Ayman’s plan to decontaminate the anthrax lab, which would be moved every 3 months. Its walls were to be painted so that they could be washed with insecticide. Equipment at the Kandahar was removed and destroyed — but there was much left behind when troops arrived.

    Before his recent arrest, Yazid Sufaat declined to tell DXer the strain of the “anthrax spore concentrate” harvested July 4, 2001
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 29, 2013

    Yet these facts are necessary to a sound analysis — one based on fact rather than politics.

    Politics has no proper role in true crime analysis. These folks — and both Barry and Meryl are friends; I know Frances much less well — should address the material issues or sit on their hands whille the true crime and scientific issues are addressed by GAO.

    Specifically, a few of the questions that need answering include:

    what was the second lab that infiltrating scientist Rauf Ahmad visited?
    what anthrax strain was Al Qaeda using?
    what was the strain of the pictured spore concentrate dated July 2001?

    Anthrax, Al Qaed and Ayman Zawahiri: The Infiltration of US Biodefense

    • DXer said

      It was known to have been Ames in October 2001. The Administration never was so confused to think that because the origin of the strain was in the US that that determined whether the sender(s) was from the US.

      He emphasized: “There’s a big difference between the source of it and who sent it, because the two do not have to be tied.”

      Press Briefing by Ari Fleischer
      The James S. Brady Briefing Room

      MR. FLEISCHER: Right. No, it’s no indication one way or another about whether the President thinks the anthraxattacks are foreign or domestic. As you’ve heard repeatedly, the government has not been able to rule out or in whether the source is domestic or foreign.

      But the President does know that the terrorists have entered our country illegally, and in some cases legally. And he wants to make certain that if somebody is a known terrorist, they should not get access to American soil.

      MR. FLEISCHER: No, the task force deals with immigration. But, clearly, the FBI, in its efforts to target and to find and to prosecute, to arrest those who are responsible, or the person who is responsible for the anthrax attacks, are looking everywhere domestically, as well as internationally. And whoever did it, the President believes will get arrested for murder, and will be tried.


      MR. FLEISCHER: My statement on Friday, that the government still does not know whether the source is domestic or foreign, stands.

      At a White House press conference on December 17, 2001, Ari Fleischer said:

      “There is nothing that has been final that has been
      concluded. But the evidence is increasingly looking like it was a
      domestic source. But, again, this remains something that is not final,
      nor totally conclusive yet. …I can just report to you the information
      that I’ve heard. I can’t give you the scientific reasons behind it.
      But you can assume that they’re based on investigative and scientific
      means.” He emphasized: “There’s a big difference between the source
      of it and who sent it, because the two do not have to be tied.”

      Anthrax, Al Qaeda and Ayman Zawahiri: The Infiltration of US Biodefense

  15. DXer said

    Porton Down, for example, had virulent Ames and Dr. Turnbull has explained that he distributed it to several outside researchers (to include H-J and researchers in the UK). Thus, it is important that GAO publicly identify the second lab that Rauf Ahmad visited in 1999. As I recall, Peter then left Porton Down and came to the US to work for the Navy in Norfolk.

    • DXer said

      Ali Al-Timimi, who was coordinating with 911 imam Anwar Awlaki, shared a suite with Russia Ames anthrax researcher Ken Alibek and the former USAMRIID acting #1 Charles Bailey. Alibek and Bailey had a multimillion dollar contract with DARPA. Their research with virulent Ames was done in downtown Frederick by Southern Research Institute.

      (Al-Timimi had worked at SRA with Bailey in 1999 and had a security clearance for a contract with the Navy. Ali’s gracious wife, Ziyana, would not tell me what the work involved but said that she was confident that sometime we would talk once legal matters were cleared. She did not have consent of counsel to answer the question and the proceeding is still pending all these many years later.)

      Newsweek in December 2001 reported that a second wave had been thwarted and that it was believed that the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings involved Russian know-how.

      Thus, it is important to have greater clarity on the distribution of Ames, to include when SRI in Frederick first obtained it.

      Bruce Ivins’ former assistant came to head the B3 there at SRI.

      Anthrax, Al Qaeda. and the Infiltration of US BIodefense

  16. DXer said

    Did Abdur Rauf visit Institut Pasteur? Is that the lab he visited with the virulent anthrax and thousands of pathogens?

    It seems impossible to have a sufficiently informed understanding of Amerithrax without knowing the second lab Rauf visited.

    Someone at DIA once told me that Rauf travelled throughout Europe in connection with pathogen/anthrax conferences — not just England.

  17. DXer said

    I’m reading Dr. Majidi’s very readable book on Amerithrax. Where does he discuss the correspondence between Rauf Ahmad and Dr. Zawahiri? He doesn’t, does he? (I haven’t seen it yet). That’s just incredible — right up there with not addressing Sufaat’s admission he was a member of Malatysian’s since abandoned biological program.

    • DXer said

      Let me guess. Dr. Majidi considers Rauf Ahmad’s first sentence hyperbole — which is why he didn’t share the correspondence with the NAS. Withholding this document from NAS was very wrong. It was not classified. And it was relevant to the NAS analysis — as was the inventory of items that MI5 took from Rauf Ahmad’s luggage in 2000 after attending the annual Porton Down conference sponsored by the Ames researchers that was attended by Bruce Ivins.

  18. DXer said

    Special Agent In Charge Borelli considers Rauf Ahmad’s confession to be the biggest of his career. Page 261 of Enemy Within, September 2013. But at the time of his confession, the FBI and CIA already had the documents above. Agent Borelli — I’m not kidding — conducted the interview over tea and cookies at Rauf’s home.

    Confirmation of what the documents say is of little significance. MI5 knew that much and more back in 1999. The location of the lab in Kandahar was already known by the time Rauf was interviewed by Agent Borelli.

    Amerithrax is the greatest failure in counterintelligence analysis in the history of the United States. The FBI’s NY Task Force can now be part of the solution — or part of the problem caused by Amerithrax Task Force’s mistaken conclusion. It never is too late to get it right — until it is.

    If the Joint Task Force is not up to the challenge due to the FBI and DOJ CYA instincts, then it up to NYPD Intelligence.

    I just did an art show on Manhattan. Leave Amerithrax to the folks who still get goosebumps from the scene in Ghostbusters where the boys get some help from the Statue of Liberty.

  19. DXer said

    The Next Big Thing In Terrorism Has The Pentagon So Worried It’s Already Monitoring Scientists

    Walter Hickey | May 31, 2012, 11:09 AM

    The DoD is scared of bioterrorism, specifically the kind that involves new, synthetic germs being created in labs around the world. Bioterror involves the use of germs or viruses like anthrax or smallpox for an act of terror.

    Right now, the DoD is working under the belief that weaponized diseases are going to used against Americans both at home and on the battlefield, and they claim that preparations have to be made for that inevitability. Bioterror will occur, he says.

    “It’s going to be a defense problem,” said Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter. “They will be used in war. They will be used in terrorism.”

    The DoD is, right now, scrambling to balance the work being done on existing pathogens (think anthrax) and the work being done on potential pathogens, unsure as to what will eventually be thrown at American immune systems.

    Carter thinks that it’s going to be the potential pathogens that nail us.

    To delay that event, Carter let slip that the Department has been keeping a close eye on scientists involved in immunology research and germ development, especially the ones who have bred pathogens before. They’re watching scientists who have even just the “know-how” to make a germ. All because they’re convinced that it’s only a matter of time.

    Read more:

    Comment: This is the approach that makes government business insiders — such as Heba Zawahiri’s former student supplied virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins — a lot of money. Wouldn’t it be simpler to get an on-the-record interview with Rauf Ahmad and Yazid Sufaat?

    Wouldn’t it be simpler to ask Dr. Ayman’s sister, the microbiology professor Heba, whether she is proud of her brother’s eagerness to poison children? And what she thinks of Dr. Ayman’s recruits to his mission?

    Why is the only box that the USG “business insiders” ever turn to is the cashbox? Why do they always think inside that box instead of outside the box?

  20. DXer said

    In the April 29, 2005 letter to me producing the documents, one of the grounds for redaction was Subsection (3) which applies to information specifically exempted by a statute establishing particular criteria for withholding. The applicable statute is 10 U.S.C Section 424, Section 424 – Disclosure of organizational and personnel information: exemption for Defense Intelligence Agency. That section provides that ‘(a) In General. – Notwithstanding section 552a(e)(3) of title 5, United States Code, intelligence personnel of the Department of Defense who are authorized by the Secretary of Defense to collect intelligence from human sources shall not be required, when making an initial assessment contact outside the United States, to give notice of governmental affiliation to potential sources who are United States persons.”

    Does this mean that the lab director whose name redacted worked for the DIA and first made contact with Rauf abroad? Charles Bailey was an officer in the Defense Intelligence Agency — and perhaps there were other DIA personnel involved in biodefense attending the conferences attended by Rauf.

    But if it was American Type Culture Collection (“ATCC”) (which shared building space with the DARPA-funded Center for Biodefense at George Mason University) — and its confidential collection of pathogens that Rauf visited and an ATCC BL-3 that it toured — that is something the public under the circumstances should know.

  21. DXer said

    Abdur Rauf was writing Ayman Zawahir in Fall 1999. Now what was on his computer about Rauf’s visit to a BL-3 lab with a confidential room with thousands of pathogens? Any mention of USAMRIID? Porton Down? LSU? USDA Iowa? ATCC? Bruce Ivins-supplied Ames? Inquiring minds want to know. There is a feature this week on the Life Sciences program at Dugway.

    George Tenet, in At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA, summarized:

    “The most startling revelation from this intelligence success story was that the anthrax program had been developed in parallel to 9/11 planning. As best as we could determine, al-Zawahiri’s project had been wrapped up in the summer of 2001, when the al-Qaida deputy, along with Hambali, were briefed over a week by Sufaat on the progress he had made to isolate anthrax. The entire operation had been managed at the top of al-Qai’da with strict compartmentalization. Having completed this phase of his work, Sufaat fled Afghanistan in December 2001 and was captured by authorities trying to sneak back into Malaysia. Rauf Ahmad was detained by Pakistani authorities in December 2001. Our hope was that these and our many other actions had neutralized the anthrax threat, at least temporarily.”

    In an April 1999 memorandum, Zawahiri wrote that “the destructive power of these [biological] weapons is no less than that of nuclear weapons. *** [D]espite their extreme danger, we only became aware of them when the enemy drew our attention to them by repeatedly expressing concern that they can be produced simply.” Demonstrating that Al Qaeda’s knowledge and expertise was still at a very early stage despite the grand statements and threats the earlier year, the memorandum read:

    “To: Muhammed Atef
    From: Ayman al-Zawahiri
    Folder: Outgoing Mail
    Date: April 15, 1999

    I have read the majority of the book [an unnamed volume, probably on biological and chemical weapons] [It] is undoubtedly useful. It emphasizes a number of important facts, such as:
    1) The enemy started thinking about these weapons before WWI. Despite their extreme danger, we only became aware of them when the enemy drew our attention to them by repeatedly expressing concerns that they can be produced simply with easily available materials.
    b) The destructive power of these weapons is no less than that of nuclear weapons.
    c) A germ attack is often detected days after it occurs, which raises the number of victims.
    d) Defense against such weapons is very difficult, particularly if large quantities are used.”

    Ayman continued: “I would like to emphasize what we previously discussed—that looking for a specialist is the fastest, safest, and cheapest way [to embark on a biological- and chemical-weapons program].”
    Simultaneously, we should conduct a search on our own.*

    ** Along these lines, the book guided me to a number of references that I am attaching. Perhaps you can find someone to obtain them.”

    The memorandum goes on to cite mid-twentieth-century articles from, among other sources, Science, The Journal of Immunology, and The New England Journal of Medicine, and lists the names of such books as Tomorrow’s Weapons (1964), Peace or Pestilence (1949), and Chemical Warfare (1921).

    The April 1999 email to Atef indicated Ayman had read one USAMRIID author’s description of the secret history of anthrax reported by USAMRIID — the book was called Peace or Pestilence. That was 2 1/2 years before the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings. Post-9/11, we have had the same history avidly reported to us by critics of the biodefense industry such as forum posters Ike and Barry. Ayman, well-aware of USAMRIID’s history with anthrax, may have had an operative or some other sympathizer arrange to obtain the US Army strain that would point the public and authorities to this history — confounding true crime analysis at the same time providing moral justification for the use anthrax under the laws of jihad. His interpretation — alluded to in the repeated citation to a particular koranic verse — was that jihadists should use the weapons used by their enemies.

    According to a May 7, 1999 email, the modest amount of $2,000 to $4,000 had been marked for “startup” costs of the program. A letter dated May 23, 1999 written by one of Zawahiri’s aliases mentions some “very useful ideas” that had been discussed during a visit to the training camp Abu Khabab. “It just needs some experiments to develop its practical use.” Especially promising was a home-brew nerve gas made from insecticides and a chemical additive that would help speed up penetration into the skin.

    In Afghanistan, Zawahiri was assisted by Midhat Mursi (alias Abu Khabab). In his late 1940s, Mursi had graduated from the University of Alexandria in 1975. An Egyptian chemical engineer, he ran the camp named Abu Khabab. Intelligence reportedly indicates that Midhat Mursi had for some time been linked to the Kashmir-based Pakistani group Lashkar-e-Taiba. Midhat Mursi was widely reported and believed to have been killed in a January 2006 bombing raid in Pakistan — at a high-level terror summit at which Zawahiri’s son-in-law was also killed. But a year-and-a-half later, the Washington Post matter-of-factly announced: “U.S. and Pakistani officials now say that none of those al-Qaeda leaders perished in the strike and that only local villagers were killed.” Midhat Mursi later was killed in a missile strike in the summer of 2008.

    Al Qaeda’s experimentation with its chemical weapons was featured on the nightly television news picturing a dog being put to death. Director of the Center for Nonproliferation Studies and former U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq, Jonathan Tucker, an expert retained by the government to determine the chemical used in the video, opined that it was hydrogen cyanide. As journalist John Berger explained of the tapes: “US intelligence said al-Qaida’s chemical weapons programme was centered in Darunta camp. The mastermind behind experiments was allegedly Egyptian Midhat Mursi, who ran a section of the camp known as Khabab, and who worked mainly with Egyptians. Experts said that all but one of the voices on the tapes shown yesterday by CNN spoke in Egyptian accents. KSM had non-pilot hijackers practice how to slit passengers’ throats by making the hijackers practice killing sheep, goats, and camels in connection with the planned “Planes Operation.” Did the Amerithrax perpetrators similarly practice killing animals?

    Ahmed Ressam testified at his trial in New York that he participated in experiments using cyanide gas pumped into an office building ventilation system at a training camp run by bin Laden in Afghanistan. Abu Khabab camp was within the Darunta Camp, which also included the Assadalah Abdul Rahman camp, operated by the son of blind cleric Omar Abdel Rahman. Ayman liked the idea to make a home-brew nerve gas from insecticides and a chemical additive that would help speed penetration into the skin. In a June 1999 memo, however, he talked about building labs (with one being closed every three months so it can be moved and replaced by another), and planned to have them covered with oil paint so they might be cleaned with insecticides.

    • DXer said

      Mole may have infiltrated Md. lab in ’80s.

      Publication: Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, MD)
      Publication Date: 30-JUL-06

      COPYRIGHT 2006 The Baltimore Sun

      Byline: Douglas Birch

      Jul. 30–It could be the plot of a Cold War thriller: A Soviet mole burrows into America’s top biodefense lab and steals strains of the deadly viruses that cause Rift Valley and Lassa fevers. He ships the killer microbes back to Moscow in the bags of Aeroflot pilots, who turn them over to a super-secret arm of the KGB that plots bioterror attacks. A chilling tale of fictional intrigue? Some biowarfare experts think it actually happened at Fort Detrick in the 1980s, and they say there is evidence to support their suspicions. Alexander Y. Kouzminov, a biophysicist who says he once worked for the KGB, first made the allegation last year in a book, Biological Espionage: Special Operations of the Soviet and Russian Foreign Intelligence Services in the West. Biowarfare experts dismissed the memoir at first, largely because Kouzminov also claimed that a series of contemporary disease outbreaks resulted from the release of germ weapons. But in recent weeks, another former Soviet scientist told The Sun that his lab routinely received dangerous pathogens and other materials from Western labs through a clandestine channel like the one Kouzminov described. Also, a U.S. arms control specialist says he has independent evidence of a Soviet spy at Fort Detrick. Although not definitive, their statements buttress Kouzminov’s allegations about the Frederick military installation. Experts worry that the United States’ huge $7-billion-a-year biological defense effort will increase the odds of bioterrorism – by generating dangerous new microbes and scientific knowledge that could be diverted or stolen. The FBI declined to comment on the possibility of Soviet spying at Fort Detrick in the 1980s. However, if an agent once penetrated America’s top biodefense lab, biowarfare experts say, the incident would show how difficult preventing such losses can be. The Detrick agent, Kouzminov wrote, clandestinely “gained information” on experiments with Rift Valley and Lassa fevers, hemorrhagic diseases that can drown a victim in his own body fluid, as well as the bacterium that causes tularemia, which can cause diarrhea, vomiting and pneumonia. KGB officials also sought a sample of the U.S. smallpox vaccine, although Kouzminov does not say whether they obtained it. Soviet defectors have reported that in the 1970s and 1980s, the U.S.S.R. was trying to develop vaccine-resistant organisms capable of defeating U.S. biowarfare defenses. Serguei Popov, a scientist once based in a Soviet bioweapons lab in Obolensk, south of Moscow, said that by the early 1980s his colleagues had obtained at least two strains of anthrax commonly studied in Detrick and affiliated labs. They included the Ames strain, first identified at Detrick in the early 1980s. It became the standard used for testing U.S. military vaccines, and it was the strain contained in the 2001 anthrax letters that killed five people and infected 23 in the U.S. Popov, now at the National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Disease at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., said Obolensk researchers could easily obtain organisms mentioned in Western research papers. “If you wanted ‘special materials,’ you had to fill out a request,” he said. “And, essentially, those materials were provided. How and by whom, I can’t say.” One colleague, Popov said, used this “special materials” program to obtain a strain of Yersinia pestis, a plague bacterium being studied in a Western lab. But he didn’t know whether that particular germ came from Detrick. There has never been any doubt about Detrick’s key role in the history of U.S. biowarfare. Once a sleepy military airfield, the facility was turned into a center for top-secret research into biological weapons in the waning days of World War II. It remained so until 1969, when President Richard M. Nixon ended development of new U.S. bioweapons, and the military study of lethal organisms shifted to the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, or USAMRIID. That agency was founded at Fort Detrick in the late 1960s to conduct defensive biological research. Its scientists developed new vaccines and drugs to treat natural and manmade outbreaks. Given that change in mission, former Detrick scientists and arms control experts agree that there were no secret, offensive programs at Detrick in the 1980s. In fact, they say there wasn’t much secret work at all.But Kouzminov says the KGB still wanted specific items from Western labs – including Detrick – that were closely held or at least not widely available. Those included samples of specific disease strains, the growth media used to raise microbes, and vaccines the labs developed. The Soviets also wanted the aerosol powders U.S. scientists used to infect animals with bioagents during drug and vaccine tests. At least three KGB spies targeted U.S. biodefense efforts in the 1980s, Kouzminov said. But the biophysicist, who worked primarily in Western Europe, offers no details about what the other two did. He wrote that his superiors called “our man at Detrick” their key biological agent.

      Kouzminov and the biological moles worked in the KGB’s Department 12 of Directorate S, housed in a high-rise building in a forested patch of southern Moscow. The group’s mission, he said, was to develop germ weapons and poisons, to steal biodefense secrets and to plot biochemical terror attacks to be launched in the event of war. The description of Department 12 in Biological Espionage squares with those of other defectors, said Oleg D. Kalugin, a retired KGB major general now living in the U.S. Raymond Zilinskas, a bioweapons expert with the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and two colleagues wrote a scathing review of Biological Espionage in Nature, a British scientific journal.
      “It was clear there was somebody at Fort Detrick” who worked for Soviet intelligence, Zilinskas says. According to Kouzminov’s account, the KGB delivered biological materials to Moscow through what was called the VOLNA channel. Aeroflot pilots who were also KGB officers carried these sometimes-lethal microbes to Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport in their personal luggage. By the late 1980s, Department 12 was receiving about 20 parcels a year through VOLNA from agents in its American section, which included North, Central and South America. In an e-mail, Kouzminov said he didn’t know the identity of the Detrick spy or other details of the USAMRIID espionage. Such knowledge was closely guarded, even within the KGB. Careless comments by his bosses, though, suggested that the agent was a devout Catholic whose work frequently took him to Latin America. … But William C. Patrick III, a retired Detrick biologist and veteran bioweapons expert, said he has long suspected penetration by Soviet agents. His suspicions cropped up in the early 1990s, when he debriefed Ken Alibek, who as Kanatjan Alibekov served as the deputy chief of Biopreparat, the leading Soviet bioweapons research agency. Alibek emigrated to the U.S. less than a year after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991.

      As he and Alibek traded stories, Patrick said, both realized that the Soviet and American programs had moved in a curious lock step during the 1950s and ’60s. “Anything we discovered of any import, they would have discovered and would have in their program in six months,” Patrick said. He doesn’t doubt that the Soviets kept spying beyond the end of the U.S. offensive program. After his conversations with Alibek, he recalled, “For the next two weeks I tried to think, ‘Who the hell are the spies at Detrick?'”

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