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

Archive for July 24th, 2009

* NAS anthrax committee will hold first meeting next Thursday and Friday

Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 24, 2009

WHY did the FBI fail to solve the 2001 anthrax case?CASE CLOSED

WHO had the power to divert the FBI from the truth?

CASE CLOSED offers a fictional scenario that answers those questions

* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon

.

*******

NAS anthrax committee will hold first meeting

next Thursday and Friday

*******

We’ll have a live audio webcast of open sessions.  Here’s a link to agenda:
http://www8.nationalacademies.org/cp/meetingview.aspx?MeetingID=3658&MeetingNo=1

email from:

William Kearney
Deputy Executive Director &
Director of Media Relations
Office of News & Public Information
National Academy of Sciences

Meeting Information
Project Title: Review of the Scientific Approaches used During the FBI’s Investigation of the 2001 Bacillus Anthracis Mailings
PIN: BLSX-K-08-10-A   
Major Unit: Division on Earth and Life Studies
Policy and Global Affairs Division
Sub Unit: Board on Life Sciences
Committee on Science, Technology, and Law
RSO: Sharples, Fran
Subject/Focus Area:
Review of the Scientific Approaches used During the FBI’s Investigation of the 2001 Bacillus Anthracis Mailings
July 30, 2009 – July 31, 2009
National Academy of Sciences Building
2100 C St. NW
Washington D.C.
If you would like to attend the sessions of this meeting that are open
to the public or need more information please contact:
Contact Name: Amanda Cline
Email: acline@nas.edu
Phone: 202-334-3653
Fax: 202-334-1289

Agenda:

To register for this meeting, please go to:
http://www.surveygizmo.com/s/157438/first-meeting-of-the-committee-on-the-review-of-the-scientific-approaches-used-during-the-fbi-s-investigation-of-the-2001-bacillus-anthracis-mailings

Agenda

Thursday, July 30

Closed Session 7:30 -10:45

Open Session

10:45 Opening Remarks/Introductions/Ground rules
Alice Gast, Chair
David Relman, Vice-Chair

11:00 Charge to the Committee and Overview of the FBI Amerithax Case and the FBI’s Scientific Approaches
Chris Hassell, Assistant Director, Laboratory Division, FBI

11:45 Discussion

12:00 Open Session Adjourns

Closed Session 12:15-5:30

5:30 Adjourn

Friday, July 31

Open Session

8:00 Opening Remarks
Alice Gast, Chair
David Relman, Vice-Chair

8:20 Congressman Rush Holt

8:40 Discussion

9:00 Scientific Approach/Methodology/Analysis

Bruce Budowle, Executive Director, Center for Human Identification, Department of Forensic and Investigative Genetics, University of North Texas Health Science Center

Claire Fraser-Liggett, Director, Institute of Genome Sciences and Professor of Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine

Jennifer Smith, BIOFOR Consulting

10:15 Discussion

11:00 Public Comments

12:00 Open Session Adjourns

Closed Session 12:00 – 4:00

4:00 Adjourn

Closed Session Summary Posted After the Meeting
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Posted in * NAS review of FBI science | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

* there are so many ways to demonstrate that the FBI’s case against Dr. Bruce Ivins is simply not convincing

Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 24, 2009

WHY did the FBI fail to solve the 2001 anthrax case?CASE CLOSED

WHO had the power to divert the FBI from the truth?

CASE CLOSED offers a fictional scenario that answers those questions

* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon

******

Here are the analyses previously posted as a comment on this blog by Beat Schaub.

Mr. Schaub reports … I studied molecular biology/biochemistry and recieved my PhD in Cell Biology. I’m a 5 times published author (4 can be easily found on PubMed, search for Beat E. Schaub, the 5th is in current protocols in cell biology). I’m currently doing training in Bio Safety/Security and Quality Assurance. Ah yes, I’m Swiss, 32 yo.

Access to RMR-1029:

  • Everybody at Ft. Detrick could have taken a sample before 1999 when it was transferred to a more secure location, up to then it was in an easily accessible place.
  • It was sent out to several laboratories at which point again a large number of persons (including cleaning personnel for all we know) could have taken 1 microliter to start a new culture.
  • Despite that, only one laboratory had RMR-1029/daughter thereof when the FBI collected samples indicating a less than perfect sample acquisition method. Due to the fact that a huge number had access to RMR-1029 it’s almost impossible to exclude everybody else.
  • Simply because nobody can have an air tight alibi for multiple days (As there is not a single defined timepoint when the letters have been sent but a 2/3 day long timeframe) unless he was in another country.
  • The alibi also loses importance if one is not preoccupied by the one culprit theory and includes the possibility of multiple culprits. It is entirely irrelevant who worked with RMR-1029 at the time of the attack since the attack spores where made of a daughter culture.

The Where (Overtime, Unsupervised Work, Bleachings):

  • While the location of the mailbox, the pre-stamped envelopes and RMR-1029 point in the general direction of Ft. Detrick we don’t know where exactly the attack spores were produced.
  • The only FORENSIC EVIDENCE we have is that the airfilters at Ft. Detrick did NOT show unusual high CFU counts (Dried spores would ultimately end up in the filtration system of the AC, as we know they get easily airborn) indicating that this is NOT WHERE the attack spores were produced.
  • That this is not preposterous claim is shown by the FBI’s Hatfill case as well as the claims by the FBI how easy such spores are produced.
  • In addition, this the B. subtilis found in the first attack was not found at Ft. Detrick. Finally, other personnel at Ft. Detrick claims that Ivins could not have done it. So:
    • Ivins overtime / unsupervised work is actually an alibi because we know he was not where the spores were produced.
    • Ivins secret bleaching, which he reported to a friend AND we only know of because Ivins told us; took place where the spores were NOT produced.
    • Since Ivins could bleach without anybody noticing we can assume any number of people could have done so, just they did not reveal it.

The When (Overtime, Unsupervised Work,  Bleachings):

  • There is no evidence for the timeline. But experience tells us that the refinement of the protocol observed by the difference of quality between the two attack waves CANNOT be achieved in three weeks, working only in evenings and in secrecy. I personally doubt that it can be achieved in three weeks working exclusively on this.
  • This makes his overtime / unsupervised work / bleaching irrelevant as we don’t know when the production has taken place.

The How (Equipment and Experience):

  • We don’t know how the spores were prepared therefore we can only guess whether Ivins had access to the necessary equipment.
  • However if the boasts of the FBI are true, no special equipment was required at all to produce the spores (Incubator, centrifuge etc. can be obtained easily), supporting the theory that the spores were not necessarily produced INSIDE of Ft. Detrick.
  • The how also could tell us about the expertise needed; what we know is that they did not work with dried spores at Ft. Detrick.
  • We also know that the wet growing of anthracis is well published and can be reproduced by anyone. Therefore anyone working on DRIED bacillus spores (e.g. Dugway people but also many other labs) should be considered more experienced when it comes to dried anthracis spore production.

The Alibi:

  • Sure Ivins has no conclusive Alibi for time when the letters were sent.
  • We DON’T HAVE: Ivins was at the place where the letters were sent, at the time they were sent.
  • We HAVE: Ivins cannot prove he was not there at that time.
  • Fortunately, you don’t have to prove your innocence; your guilt has to be proven.

The Silicon:

  • Low concentrations of silicon such as found in RMR-1030 are naturally occurring as claimed by the FBI and might be the result of the addition of silicon anti foaming agent.
  • None of the ~200 protocols tested by the FBI resulted in silicon concentrations as high as found in the attack spores clearly indicating that a very specific protocol was used which resulted in this.
    • Ivins would not have deviated from the well known and documented protocols.
    • The high silicon count cannot be the result of some obscure purification method because it did not add to the deadliness and therefore there is no reason to enrich it.

Dr. Ivins’ Mental Health:

  • If Ivins psyche was a problem, why was he allowed to work at Ft. Detrick?
  • And why did none of his colleagues notice/report it?
  • We should also not that he was in treatment /therapy all the time, so he was open and honest about his mental problem.

Driving a Distance to the Mailbox:

  • Well, that is the most obvious thing to do; everybody with half a brain would drive a couple of miles before placing the letters into the mailbox. It’s the most logical thing to do.

The Motive:

  • On the patents Ivins is only listed as provider of the spores and would as such not have profited much, leaving people with access to RMR-1029 AND much more direct interests.

Misleading the Investigators:

  • Ivins did not mislead the investigators:
    • Sample 1 was the wrong tube but sent in before official specifications (Wrong tube = obvious, the FBI also immediately realized that it was the wrong tube).
    • Sample 2, as sample 1, contained culture from RMR-1029 but first set of tests failed, only later the FBI realized this with two new tests (using the duplicate from Dr. Keim, which raises the questions what had happened to the sample they have gotten? Used up? Destroyed?).
  • The error is not with Ivins but with the FBI.
    • Obviously others misled the FBI because only one sample containing RMR-1029 or derivate was recovered from outside Ft. Detrick even though it was sent out multiple times to multiple institutions.
    • Alternatively, the test of the FBI is not so reliable and they did not repeat it with the new methods on all samples.
  • Dr. Ivins also admitted to the bleaching, something we wouldn’t know without him generally indicating that he did not try to mislead the FBI.

Posted in * anthrax science, * questioning the FBI's anthrax investigation | Tagged: , , | 9 Comments »

* a plea to President Obama … make the FBI come clean about its failed anthrax investigation

Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 24, 2009

WHY did the FBI fail to solve the 2001 anthrax case?CASE CLOSED

WHO had the power to divert the FBI from the truth?

CASE CLOSED offers a fictional scenario that answers those questions

* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon

.

******

a plea to President Obama

… make the FBI come clean about its failed anthrax investigation

******

DXer, in his latest comment, raises serious and pertinent questions concerning the integrity of anthrax samples which are critical to the FBI’s conclusion that Dr. Ivins was the sole perpetrator of the attacks. DXer asks …

  • Was there adequate security?
  • Did unauthorized personnel have access to the samples?
  • Was there adequate accountability (i.e., chain-of-custody, evidence storage, evidence in-processing).
  • Who tested the sample that is claimed to have been a false sample submitted by Dr. Ivins?
  • Who chose to destroy the sample submitted using a different protocol.

DXer adds that former FBI Counterterrorism Chief Ben Furman wrote to him to say that Amerithrax was a mess but that he thought most information should be kept from the public.

DXer disagrees … so do I.

LMW COMMENT …

DXer’s questions, which are related to a recent interchange on the CASE CLOSED blog between Bugmaster and Ed Lake, go to the core of what appears to be the FBI’s clumsy cover-up of its failed anthrax investigation.

  • The FBI’s case against Dr. Ivins is, on its face, inadequate.
  • Senator Arlen Specter, among many others, has given his opinion as a former prosecutor that the FBI could never get a conviction on the basis of the evidence they have so far made public.

There must be something that makes the FBI delay and hide and continue to make itself look foolish …

  • The FBI is not incompetent; they must know that the case they have presented makes no sense.
  • It is not unreasonable to conclude that the FBI purposely accused a dead man in a press conference in order to avoid the necessity of a trial where evidence would be presented under oath and judged by a jury.
  • It is obvious that the FBI is refusing to tell the Congress and the American people what it knows about this case of mass murder and terrorism.
  • This may be the reason why it has still not “closed the case,” which would make its evidence (or lack thereof) subject to FOIA requests.

In my opinion, the FBI’s behavior, which is the core of the problem, is not rational UNLESS they are under orders to keep Congress and the public from knowing what really happened.

Which comes back to the two questions I raise in my novel CASE CLOSED …

Who benefitted from keeping the anthrax case unsolved?

Who had the power to divert the FBI from the truth?

In CASE CLOSED, I develop a fictional scenario to answer those questions, and the corruption of the FBI investigation in my story goes to the highest levels of the American government.

  • Do I think the story I portrayed in CASE CLOSED is what really happened?
  • I don’t make that claim. I have no way to know. I made up the story presented in CASE CLOSED, with no access to secret witnesses or documents.
  • But I do believe that something like what I portrayed did happen. It’s the only reason I can think of to explain the FBI’s otherwise bizarre behavior.
  • And many of the readers of CASE CLOSED find my story disturbingly plausible.

It seems to me, and to many others, that the FBI is hiding some terrible dark secrets.

We need Rush Holt’s Anthrax Investigation Commission to get out of the House Judiciary Committee and into action.

But I think we need more.

Who has the power to make the FBI tell the truth?

  • We need our new President, who I worked hard for and continue to support, and who I believe to be intelligent, thoughtful, courageous and well motivated, to step away from his reluctance to hold the Bush administration accountable for its many heinous misdeeds.
  • So I call upon President Obama, among his many daunting challenges, to demand that the FBI come clean about its anthrax investigation.
  • The integrity of the American government has been challenged by the FBI’s failed investigation and cover-up of the 2001 anthrax attacks.

Mr. President, please do what is needed to restore the integrity and pride in America which has been so wrongly debased by your predecessor.

Our country needs to know.

Posted in * FBI refusal to testify, * questioning the FBI's anthrax investigation | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »