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

* more from Dr. Bruce Ivins

Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 29, 2009

More from Dr. Bruce Ivins  (courtesy of DXer) …

Dr. Bruce ivins

Dr. Bruce Ivins

May 10, 2002

Picture 126

******

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24 Responses to “* more from Dr. Bruce Ivins”

  1. AS said

    And having dealt with this first hand it is another reason I do not accept DXers’ claim that it is no big deal for a doctor to give you Cipro with no reason to believe you have been exposed. When I went to the Urgent Care having received a letter and having a visible lesion they told me they could not help me that I had to go to the hospital.

    • DXer said

      “give you” is an ambiguous phrase.

      When a doctor writes a prescription for Cipro at the Secret Service’s request so that they can take it to Camp David, the preparedness of the Secret Service is to be commended rather than faulted given that they had received formal and public threat that anthrax would be used by Ayman Zawahiri. In fact, the January 2001 threat involved threat to use mailed anthrax and involved denial of the bail for Vanguards of Conquest #2 Mohammad Mahjoub, which occurred on October 5 and then prompted the mailer to drop what he was doing and rush and mail the second letter.

      http://www.anthraxandalqaeda.com

      As for a month or so later, anthrax was in fact detected on the slitter used for WH mail. AS, rather than post anonymously and use a throway email, it is a simple matter to, for starters, scan the letter you received so we can see it. It is not worth discussing without documentary or physical evidence, to include the letter and the medical report for starters. Then we can help you get the anthrax tested if the earlier documentary evidence proves out. But otherwise it is not worth discussing.

      • AS said

        DXer, I Wish I still had the letter I would certainly post it. I do have supporting documentation and will post that. As for anonymity you do realize this is a dangerous situation right? And if you google real hard AS is an anagram for a name I have posted under for almost 8 years.

  2. Lew Weinstein said

    Are you willing to post your documentation?

    • AS said

      Yes, but I may want to do it on my own site and provide links. Because I want to retain all rights to said documentation.

      • Lew Weinstein said

        Of course, that’s your privilege. I would like to show the link and also extract pertinent points on this blog. When do you think you’ll publish your post?

      • AS said

        No promises but I will try to get it posted and provide you links tonight. I have to block out my name and any thing else identifying me on them. I am going out of town so if I do not get it up tonight it will be early next week. But I will try to get it up there tonight.

      • DXer said

        AS,

        Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

        You have neither the letter nor the powder — and so it is not worth discussing.

  3. BugMaster said

    “Also might be a good idea to wear shoe covers over the shoes while inside the suite”.

    WTF! What, no booties? Seriously, is Ivins kidding here?!

    • DXer said

      The only humor I saw evidenced in the production was when someone got a scratch on the light switch associated with the BL-3. He wrote that he agreed with his supervisor’s assessment that the light switch had given his finger an ouchie.

      A recurrent theme in the contamination investigation in 2002 was a theory by the questioner relating to the passing of papers passed through the pass-through box. There was a lot of contamination around the molding. The contamination in the office areas included Vollum, Ames and Sterne. The questions related to the decontamination papers were subjected to before being passed through and used in the office area.

  4. Ike Solem said

    Notice also that Ames is the challenge strain used at the Battelle facility in West Jefferson, which did much of the the anthrax vaccine testing for Bioport/Emergent Biosolutions/Vaxgen, the sole-source contractor for the U.S. military anthrax vaccine, as a subcontractor on U.S. government grants. Neither Vaxgen nor Bioport/Emergent had anthrax challenge testing facilities, so they used Battelle’s West Jefferson labs. Battelle is also the private contractor that runs the Dugway labs for the U.S. government. Biowarfare testing was started up at Dugway again in 1992:

    http://www.xmission.com/~legalize/dud/biowarfare.txt

    A Dugway representative said the tests, which include organisms such as anthrax, botulism, and the plague, would initially be liquid, not aerosol, tests. Aerosol tests are the most hazardous form of testing because they involve spraying biologicl agents into the air inside a sealed chamber. One tiny air leak could result in a catastrophic release of deadly diseases. It was precisely this hazard that led to the closing of the Dugway facility in 1983. The biowarfare lab has been renovated since then and Army experts claim their elaborate safety precautions will prevent such a leak.

    There are only two places with a recent record of expertise in dealing with dry aerosolized anthrax preparations – Dugway Utah and West Jefferson Ohio. One obvious question, then, is why the FBI chose to focus so intently on Fort Detrick? Were researchers and employees at West Jefferson and Dugway also asked to sign sworn affidavits? Were samples collected and screened from these locations?

    Here is the complete excerpt from above:

    What are Sterne, Vollum 1B and Ames used for?

    Part I:
    The Sterne strain is the live spore veterinary vaccine strain. We use it for vaccination of animals as well as for a “negative control” on capsule agar plates. We have used it in B3 (in mouse and guinea pig studies) and in 1412 (in rabbit studies). We periodically grow up the Sterne strain on sheep blood agar plates or in broth. In the summer of 2001, [blank] made Sterne spores in B313 for [blank].

    This is a weak strain, typically non-lethal, which allows the host to develop immunity. For traditional human vaccines, the bacteria is killed, making a safer vaccine.

    Part II:
    The Vollum 1B strain was the standard challenge B. anthracis strain used at USAMRIID for years until we started using the Ames strain as the standard challenge strain over 10 years ago. We have made up Vollum spores in B313 several times in the past. From the late 1990s until last year we did a lot of collaborative work with and for Bioport involving shipments of various lots of Vollum 1B back and forth. I do not remember if any challenges with Vollum 1B were performed in 1412 during this time period.

    Vollum is the strain that was shipped to Saddam Hussein in the early 1980s, who was assisted by the U.S. and Britain in setting up his initial biowarfare program (the Al Hakam Single-Cell Protein plant). By all accounts, he was never sent Ames. This rules out Iraq as a source, despite claims like this one, UK Times online, Oct 18 2001:

    “THE intelligence community has focused on Iraq as a possible source of the anthrax used in the bio-terrorist attacks in America.

    If Iraq is the culprit, it is likely that Saddam Hussein would have used one of 21 strains of the anthrax bacterium which his scientists bought by mail order from America in the 1980s.

    In a further irony, most of the leading scientists in the Iraqi bio-warfare programme, including its project chief, Rihab Rashida Taha, were trained in Britain.”

    What that shows is that Western powers set Iraq up with chemical and biological expertise, probably in an effort to get rid of the Islamic revolutionaries in Iran.

    Part III:
    The Ames strain of B. anthracis is currently the standard challenge strain for many of the experiments here at USAMRIID. We currently use Ames spores prepared at Dugway Proving Ground in 1997 for our challenges. Ames spores have been sent to Dugway, first in 1992, then in 1996 or 1997. I do not remember having sent Vollum 1B spores to Dugway. USAMRIID actually received Vollum 1B spores from Dugway back in 1981 or 1982.

    Thus, while the anthrax letter spores may match that flask (assuming cross-contamination did not happen), they likely match other flasks and samples maintained at West Jefferson and Dugway – which were not subject to exhaustive FBI investigation, as was Detrick. Why not?

    The real question that hasn’t been answered is this: when dry powdered anthrax was made using the secret recipes (developed by people like Ken Alibek and Bill Patrick III), what anthrax strain was used?

    If they were going to test the stuff on animals to measure its effectiveness, they would have wanted to compare it to previous work – meaning they’d most likely use Ames, just to be consistent, and to be able to compare results.

    Since Ivins didn’t have the means or time to prepare the high-tech spore powder, he couldn’t have been the culprit. Notice that this also rules out Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, who had no access to state-of-the-art biowarfare labs, the Ames strain, secret bioweapon recipes, or the anthrax vaccine (probably needed for whoever made and handled the material). Not even Iraq, with a state-scale setup, could reproduce this material – they were able to make and use poison gas against Kurds and Iranians, but the anthrax program largely failed and produced low-grade material.

    It all points to diversion of the dry anthrax powders made at either Dugway or Ohio – so who made those powders, and who had access to them? It’s the obvious question – but that whole inquiry was dropped at the end of 2001, and the Hatfill theory was rolled out instead. That’s an obvious effort at coverup and distraction, which also involved the replacement of the FBI investigative team with Richard Lambert’s in 2002. Lambert was then appointed to Oak Ridge, TN in 2006 – where, interestingly enough, Battelle has a huge contract to run the Oak Ridge nuclear-biological labs, and where the Camp Dresser McKee cleanup team that tackled the Hart Senate Office building was based.

    So, what are they trying to protect? The gravy train that feeds the secret U.S. biowarfare program. That’s obvious enough, isn’t it?

    • DXer said

      Yes, dozens of employees at Dugway and Battelle were polygraphed. (The sworn statement pictured above was not part of Amerithrax).

      Ike mistakenly says “There are only two places” (Battelle and Dugway) where dry powdered anthrax was made. Actually, as I explained last week, John Ezzell, the FBI’s anthrax scientist, explained to me that he made it at Ft. Detrick.

      Relatedly, why did FBI Director Mueller have to ask to go to closed session to answer if there was another lab(s)? Edgewood’s BL-3 was constructed in 2001. Ike, do you think that they Edgewood did not do dry powdered anthrax experiments at Edgewood? If not, then where was the other lab whose location FBI Director could not reveal in open hearing if not Ft. Detrick?
      Where did DARPA experiment with the dry powdered, gamma irradiated anthrax made by John Ezzell in 1996?

      Finally, Ike refers to the expertise of Ken Alibek, for example, and says supporters of the blind sheik would not have access to such labs. Ike, Ali Al-Timimi’s office was 15 feet away from Ken’s and 15 feet from the former Deputy USAMRIID Commander and prolific Ames research Charles Bailey. Why did Ali have a high security work for work for the Navy in 1999 at SRA (when Battelle consultant CB and leading DIA bio assessment analyst was there). His eminent defense counsel has explained described his “anthrax weapons suspect.”

      Ike, you previously argued that a BL-4 was necessary, when in fact not even a BL-3 is necessary — but there were hundreds of BL-3s. Ike, as an example, what do you know about the BL-3 down that was in Al-Timimi’s Discovery Hall?

      I presume Ike has seen the correspondence between Rauf Ahmad and Ayman about Rauf’s BL-3 training and his paperworking about the pathogens he was obtaining for Rauf. How does that square with the claims you make above?

      • DXer said

        Ike,

        If John Ezzell could make dry powdered anthrax at Ft. Detrick, why do you say that Ivins could not? Do you think Ivins did not have access to the equipment available to Dr. Ezzell? How do you know until you’ve heard from JE what equipment he used? And wasn’t there in fact a Silicon Signature in Ivins’ flask 1030? What was the origin of that silicon signature? I encourage you to submit FOI requests to find out and support your political activism.

      • DXer said

        Ike, on a minor point, note that it is a crime to make a false statement to an FBI agent and so it is of no moment if statements to investigators were sworn. If someone makes a false statement to an FBI agent, he would be committing a crime. The sworn statement above related to contamination found by a contractor who raised the issue with Bruce.

  5. Anonymous Scientist said

  6. Anonymous Scientist said

    Note the sentence: “We currently use Ames spores prepared at Dugway proving ground in 1997 for our challenges” – this is obviously referring to RMR-1029.

    This reinforces what we already know – RMR-1029 was really a Dugway product – with a minor contribution from Detrick.

    Now – carefully consider this. The 1 liter flask of RMR-1029 contained 3×10^10 spores/ml. Which means it contained in total 3×10^13 spores – which is in total 30g of spores.

    Let’s say a total of 10g of spores were sent in the letters. So you would need to use at least 1/3 of the entire 1 liter flask to have enough spores for the letters. But, of course, the spores in the flask were not used directly – they were regrown.

    We know from the NatGeo documentary that it took 164 liters of liquid preparation to distill down to the 1 liter flask of RMR-1029. So that means 1/3 of that would be needed to make 10g of spores – so we are looking at 55 liters in total.

    That’s why Adamovicz calculated 35 weeks of continuous work for Ivins to do this alone.

    The math does not lie. Let’s just hope NAS don’t conveniently ignore this. This is science, pure and simple – it certainly falls under the umbrella of the NAS review.

    • BugMaster said

      “Let’s say a total of 10g of spores were sent in the letters. So you would need to use at least 1/3 of the entire 1 liter flask to have enough spores for the letters. But, of course, the spores in the flask were not used directly – they were regrown.”

      It seems more likely that approx. 3 grams of spores were sent, representing about 10% of the flask (10g is a bit much). But still, that would require 16 or more liters of raw spore prep. Ivins didn’t have access to a fermentor. To use shake flasks to produce 16 liters of material is difficult, and impossible based on the amount of time Ivins would have had to produce it.

      • Anonymous Scientist said

        I think you are seriously underestimating at 3g. Something like 0.87g was RECOVERED from the Leahy letter. That means more than 1g was placed in there to begin with – the rest lost due to passing through paper, absorption in paper, inability to scrape every mg from the paper onto the mass balance etc.

        The official story is that likely 7-8 letters were sent – probably with more than 1g added to each (but of course less recovered after the trip through the mail).

        Also, you are forgetting about actually revovering every mg from the drier – obviously it’s impossible to get every mg of manufactured spores from their container into the envelopes without loss. So it’s much closer to 10g needed than 3g.

      • BugMaster said

        I am assuming the crud sent to NYC had a fairly low spore count. So, approx. 1 gram for each of the senate letters, 1 gram for the letter to AMI, and a significantly lower amount required for the puppy chow sent to NY. So, somewhere in the 3 to 4 gram range, with the material sent in the NYC letters obviously being made in a separate less refined batch.

      • AS said

        There are 3 more letters unaccounted for.
        Otillie Lundgren’s
        Cathy Nguyen’s
        And mine.

        • Lew Weinstein said

          AS

          You claim to have received an anthrax letter. Do you have documentation to support that claim?

          LEW

        • AS said

          Yes I do. I also have documentation that shows the FBI lied to my state’s health dept. as well.

    • DXer said

      Anonymous Scientist,

      Jeff’s calculations overlook the fact that 100 ml — on the face of the document — was missing. That is 1/10 of the flask. It is a rash assumption to assume it was a mathematical mistake as you and Ed do, especially given Dr. Ivins expressed concern in writing that his inventory stock would not square up with his records. Was he just worried that he would be found out? What had he heard at the party? Who was he corresponding with?

      When did the 100 ml go missing? Before February 2000? Can we be confident of that? Or might Dr. Ivins done a “redo” of the entire second page? If he did a “redo” and the 100 ml went missing in September and October, then there case is extremely strong. We really need the “third version” of that flask 1029 record to try to get at when it was changed (and who confirm that it was Dr. Ivins’ changed, which is the natural inference).

      Why does Ike need Battelle or Dugway when Dr. Ivins is right there holding a flask with virulent Ames in a BL-3 lab? We of course need his lab notebook 4010 (that the FBI is withholding), emails from September and October 2001, and an understanding of the source of Silicon Signature in flask 1030. Ike’s argument relating to Battelle and Dugway overlooks the forensic finding that the Federal Eagle envelope has been determined to have been sold in Maryland and Virginia.

  7. DXer said

    In addition to the thousands of emails still to be produced (4400 are expected to be produced in all), someone needs someone to request :

    (a) the record for Ivins’ flask for 1028 and 1030 (I already had in a telephone conversation and I thought jpp said it had been processed but they are not on the webpage);

    (b) Lab Notebook 4010 (in the possession of the FBI but not the Army) (someone should make the request directly to the FBI);

    (c) the report by the Armed Force Institute of Pathology (“AFIP”) showing that the first batch of letters indicating that the first batch had high levels of silica (request is pending);

    (d) EA-101s relating to requests for shipment;

    (e) pathogen transfer forms (limited to flask 1029; a broader request for the period 1996-2002 but a request narrowed to flask 1029 reasonably should be granted given the public’s need to know);

    (f) access records to Building 1412 (as distinguished from Building 1425);

    (g) the third version of the flask 1029 record — the one produced in Fall 2001 to the FBI of which a copy was made by lawyers for their record (this might resolve the time-frame in which the “Bldg. 1412” was whited out and replaced by Bldg. 1425 etc)…

    and much more.

    By coordinating requests, we can assist the FOI officers and avoid duplication of effort. The responses to any request will be uploaded to the FOI website regardless of the requestor.

    http://www.anthraxandalqaeda.com

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