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

Archive for July 31st, 2009

* Congressman Rush Holt meets with NAS panel, says their work is important but their mandate is too narrow; calls for passage of Anthrax Investigation Commission legislation he introduced in March 09

Posted by DXer on July 31, 2009

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Congressman Holt

Congressman Holt

Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12) today met with a committee of the National Academies of Sciences (NAS) and asked them to conduct a thorough, wide-ranging investigation of the FBI’s scientific methods in response to the 2001 anthrax attacks.

Holt has consistently raised questions about the federal investigation into the attacks.

Earlier this year, Holt introduced the Anthrax Attacks Investigation Act of 2009, legislation that would establish a Congressional commission to investigate the attacks and the federal government’s response to and investigation of the attacks. The bipartisan commission would make recommendations to the President and Congress on how the country can best prevent and respond to any future bioterrorism attack.

“Simply stated, our government – and specifically, the FBI – suffers from a credibility gap on this issue,” Holt said.

“Answering all the doubts and questions about the handling of this case is beyond the purview of this panel, which is why I’ve introduced legislation that would create a national commission to ‘investigate the investigation.’

In the meantime, this (NAS) panel has an opportunity to answer some of the key questions that I and so many other Americans have about the science behind the FBI’s investigation.”

Holt reiterated his belief that the questions posed by the FBI in calling for an independent review were narrowly focused and do not test the FBI’s conclusions in the case.

In a previous letter to the NAS, Holt listed a number of questions he recommended be answered as part of review of the Bureau’s scientific methods and conclusions in the Amerithrax case, including its assertion that the spores used in the attacks could only have come from the flask used by Dr. Bruce Ivins, the Army biological warfare researcher who committed suicide shortly before the FBI planned to charge him as the perpetrator of the attacks.

“Collectively, my questions are designed to determine whether the FBI has taken every opportunity to challenge their hypothesis rather than pursuing reasoning and collection of evidence intended to confirm their hypothesis,” Holt said.

see related post * LMW: The end of the NAS trail, I suspect, will be that the FBI’s anthrax science was a mess that couldn’t convict anyone

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Posted in * NAS review of FBI science, * questioning the FBI's anthrax investigation | Tagged: , , , , , | 7 Comments »

* Frederick News Post editorial calls for creation of Congressman Rush Holt’s Anthrax Investigation Commission

Posted by DXer on July 31, 2009

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Frederick News Post editorial – 7/31/09

  • The FBI’s case against Ivins is almost wholly circumstantial. 
  • In March, Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., introduced the Anthrax Investigation Act in Congress. The bill would establish a national commission akin to the one created to study the 2001 terrorist attacks. Unfortunately, this bill remains stalled in Congress.
  • We urge our congressional representatives to support this legislation.

read the entire editorial at … http://mail.google.com/mail/#inbox/122cfea37b0369fe

LMW COMMENT …

One small correction … “The FBI’s case against Ivins is almost wholly circumstantial.” is not correct. The FBI’s case against Ivins is entirely circumstantial.

  • There are no witnesses who saw Dr. Ivins prepare the huge quantity of anthrax that would have been required (see prior post …  * 55 flasks of anthrax prep … now where can I hide these?)
  • no witnesses who saw Dr. ivins mail the letters in Princeton,
  • no physical evidence in Dr. Ivins’ home, car, clothes or anywhere else that ties him to the crime.

In the absence of real evidence, and in the certain knowledge that hundreds of people had access to the flask RMR-1029, for the FBI to assert that Dr. Ivins is the sole perpetrator is ludicrous on its face. That assertion is something the FBI cannot prove.

Senator Specter was right; the FBI would never get a conviction on what they had.

So what is the FBI up to?

First of all, the FBI is not stupid. They know as well as we do that their evidence is non-existent. They know full well that they could never prove there pitiful case in court. They avoided that problem by charging a dead man, so they would never have to testify in court, under oath, and subject to the sharp questions of a capable defense attorney.

It is the terrifying prospect that the FBI is purposely hiding the true perpetrators, or covering up some other dark secrets, that prompted me to write my novel CASE CLOSED, in which I present a fictional scenario to explain the FBI’s failure to solve the case.

If you care about the truth in the anthrax case, and the lack of truth in the FBI’s anthrax investigation, you will be challenged by the scenario I present in CASE CLOSED. You will, like many other readers, find my story “all too plausible” and it will terrify you to think that something like what I describe could very likely have occurred.

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Posted in * NAS review of FBI science, * questioning the FBI's anthrax investigation | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

* Silicon evidence is crucial to whether Dr. Bruce Ivins made the anthrax used in the 2001 attacks; the FBI has so far refused to provide relevant evidence (the AFIP lab results ) on this point

Posted by DXer on July 31, 2009

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Yesterday (7/30/09) was the first public session in the National Academy of Sciences review of anthrax science used by the FBI in its investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks.

The first FBI witness was Chris Hassell, Assistant Director, Laboratory Division, Science and Technology Branch.

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Hassell’s testimony regarding silicon (from LMW notes) …

  • the silicon content in the Leahy letter was 1.5%

the New York Post letter also had silicon, but there was not enough powder to allow a reliable % measurement

  • no exogenous silicon was ever found; there were no silicon signatures

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DXer, in two comments posted after the NAS hearing, said the following …

  • “The FBI used Inductively Coupled Plasma mass spectrometry (ICP) to determine the silicon content of the Leahy spores.
    • They admitted that they found the record breaking level of 1.45% silicon.
    • They apparently don’t believe this is significant at all (especially since it doesn’t provide any link whatsoever to Ivins or Detrick).
  • But let’s consider what it means when they claim the NYP analysis by ICP was somehow “unreliable” as Chris Hassell said today to the NAS.
    • When ICP is performed a tiny fraction (less than 1ml) of sample is nebulized in a chamber:
    • The first step in analysis is the introduction of the sample. This has been achieved in ICP-MS through a variety of means.
    • The most common method is the use of a nebulizer. This is a device which converts liquids into an aerosol, and that aerosol can then be swept into the plasma to create the ions. Nebulizers work best with simple liquid samples (i.e. solutions).
    • So, if they are claiming in their response that ICP DID provide the result that there WAS silicon in the NYP sample, then they must have a number for this. ICP is not a “yes or no” analysis. It provides a number. The record breaking number of 1.45% was provided for the Leahy sample – but for some reason the NYP number was NOT given.
    • It is no excuse to say that they ran out of sample. As described above – once a sample of solution is made up it can be used to provide HUNDREDS of small volume nebulized aliquots into the ICP machine.

The REAL reason that the NYP analysis is not being provided is because it is massive. The % of silicon is more than 10% – in fact it’s above to 50%. The NYP sample is actually MOSTLY silicon.

  • The AFIP lab results (the results that the FBI refused to provide to Sandia) clearly demonstrate this.
  • The FBI labs were uncomfortable enough releasing the record breaking 1.45% silicon in the Leahy sample.
  • They are now stonewalling in producing the AFIP report under FOIA.

“The silicon is probably the most important scientific evidence that would lead anybody to question whether Bruce was capable of making these spores,” says Gerald P. Andrews, Bruce Ivins’ former boss.

read the complete DXer comments below the post … * Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) … background documentation related to National Academy of Sciences (NAS) silicon testimony today

Posted in * FBI refusal to testify, * NAS review of FBI science, * questioning the FBI's anthrax investigation | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »