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

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

Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 31, 2009

* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon *

buy CC - why, who, readers******

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.

* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon *

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11 Responses to “* Frederick News Post editorial calls for creation of Congressman Rush Holt’s Anthrax Investigation Commission”

  1. DXer said

    A recurring theme in the question and answer period relates to the issue of sharing of information and issues that were left on the cutting room floor.

    One issue mentioned by Dr. Bruce Budowie is the issue of isotopes which maybe is worth reviewing.

    In questioning at the ASM Biodefense presentation, Dr. Bannan explained that the isotope analysis of the water did not support Dr. Ivins guilt given the wide range of isotopes and given that the isotopes are affected by culture medium used. He explained that the New York Times report that there was a unique chemical signature of the water was mistaken. This might be an issue left on the cutting room floor.

    In a March 6, 2009 press release, the FBI explained:

    “Media reports indicated that FBI scientists had concluded in 2004 that out of many domestic and foreign water samples analyzed only water from near Fort Detrick, Maryland, where Dr. Ivins worked, had the same isotopic signature as the water used to grow the mailed anthrax. This statement is incorrect. While water isotopic analysis was researched, the FBI concluded that there were too many confounding variables to precisely match bacteria that were grown using different materials and recipes. This technique was not relevant to the investigation.”

    But before the issue that had been used in the court of public opinion to convict Dr. Ivins is passed by, let’s review the science that had been done on the subject.

    The FBI scientists have been able to distinguish between water isotopes ratios in the anthrax. Brian Williams reports that investigators have told NBC that the water used to make the spores came from the Northeastern United States. Researchers have been able to establish that anthrax grown in water in the Northeastern United States is distinguishable from anthrax grown in water from the Southeast and Pacific Northwest. In one published anthrax study, researchers grew Bacillus subtilis, a harmless bacteria that resembles Bacillus anthracis, using local water from five different U.S. cities. The scientists were able to distinguish those grown in various cities. The method can be used to narrow the number of possible origins of the water based on the number of oxygen and hydrogen isotopes. Ft. Detrick made its own de-ionized water (as do all military labs apparently). The FBI’s expert James Ehleringer advises me that “there are regional stable isotope ratios for drinking water, including many locally-bottled waters. If de-ionization is completed by a reverse-osmosis process, then the isotope ratios of the de-ionized and pre-de-ionized waters should be the same.” Dr. Ehrlinger explained the research in an NPR interview in 2004. Interviewer Kestenbaum said: “Ehleringer is now creating a map showing how the isotope ratios of water vary anthrax was grown, it may rule some places out.” As defined by the Census Bureau, the Northeast region of the United States covers nine states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Perhaps, however, the phrase is intended more broadly. In January 2009, the New York Times claimed without naming or describing a source that of 60 waters tested only one had the unique chemical signature of the mailed anthrax — that of Frederick, Maryland. But Dr. Bannan at the ASM Biodefense Conference confirms that dramatic report was false.

    The authors of one of the key articles specifically noted that they couldn’t distinguish between North Carolina and Ohio — the dark green. Similarly, they can’t distinguish between Central New Jersey and North Carolina (again, the dark green). The key studies in the peer reviewed literature indicate that they were funded by the Central Intelligence Agency. Someone needs to pay the bills.

    Ehleringer and his colleagues published a March 2007 article titled “Stable isotope ratios of tap water in the contiguous United States” in “Water Resources Research.” The study was funded by the “federal government.” The raw data survey results have been embargoed by the federal government.” (The agency would usually be identified). In other water isotope ratio studies the funding agency was identified as the CIA or whatever agency it was — it varied. Perhaps this March 2007 study was funded by the Department of Justice/Federal Bureau of Investigation and was done specifically for the purpose of laying the scientific groundwork of a prosecution in Amerithrax.

    Separately, although the researcher tells me it was not part of Amerithrax, a press release announced in September 2003 that University of Maryland researchers have developed a technique to help the FBI track the origins of deadly anthrax spores by identifying the medium used to grow it. The FBI asked Maryland professor Catherine Fenselau to turn her mass spectrometry lab to the forensic task of sleuthing how bacillus spores, such as anthrax, are prepared. While the Utah scientist in this study was looking at the tap water, Helen W. Kreuzer-Martin, the Maryland scientist in a study published in April 2007 titled “Stable Isotope Ratios and the Forensic Analysis of Microorganisms,” was looking at the nutrients in the culture. It seems that the hope would be that the data could be put together with the more familiar reasons to suspect someone (means, motive, modus operandi and opportunity), and put on a case that to a moral certainty proves it was committed by the perp(s). By looking at the oxygen, hydrogen and deuterium geospatial distribution, one could hope that authorities could more precisely identify where the water came from. For example, the deuterium map might be relied upon to narrow an ambiguity left by the range indicated by the oxygen and hydrogen maps. The FBI scientist Dr. Bannan at the ASM Biodefense, however, made clear that the isotope analysis in this case was not able to lead to a smoking petri dish.

    Why hasn’t the Task Force released the isotope ratio analysis? Why hasn’t it lifted the embargo on on the raw data from the survey results? This should be part of any review by the National Academy of Sciences. Jennifer Smith, PhD, who worked for the FBI and CIA on Amerithrax, told the panel members it is critical for the NAS panel members to demand and press for documentation and correspondence relating to non-microbial science issues.

  2. DXer said

    Dr. Jennifer Smith is a PhD who was a supervisory special agent with the FBI and worked for the CIA. Now I believe she works as a consultant. I think she gave a great talk.

    She strongly and repeatedly encouraged panel members to seek information from the FBI on the non-microbial techniques used also, including those that ended up on the cutting room floor. She says it is the FBI who has the information — she tells panel members to go get it. She says ask the questions and probe.

    She asks: Did the intelligence community receive the information they needed from the FBI to make the determinations they needed?

    I think she said later that it was important that the FBI turn over the information so that the question of attribution (identification of the guilty party) is turned over so that the determination can be made jointly.

    She worked with the intelligence analysts who were tasked with this sort of intelligence analysis.

    http://www.anthraxandalqaeda.com

    Did Dr. Smith have the benefit of an expert whose experience matches a Dr. John Kiel head of the Air Force lab who did controlled experiments using a siliconizing solution in making an anthrax simulant and found that the same silica spike resulted?

    Or did they rely for example on the former collections scientist at the American Type Culture Collection where “anthrax weapons suspect” (his counsel’s phrase) Al-Timimi had access to the ATCC patent repository.

    Or did they rely on the genetics expert thanked by Ayman Zawahiri’s former associate supplied virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins.

    “Tawfiq Hamid” consults with intelligence agencies. Is it that Jennifer never spoke to Dr. Hamid? Why not?

    She says currently the FBI holds ALL of the information about this case.

    That’s not true, Jennifer. It was the CIA who was told all about the case in mid-December 2001. It was received by the CIA Zawahiri Task Force. And as the FBI could tell you, it was the CIA who didn’t tell them for a long time (a matter apparently of months)

    http://www.anthraxandalqaeda.com

  3. DXer said

    Claire Fraser-Liggett, professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and director of the University of Maryland Institute for Genome Sciences, spoke this morning. She addressed the genetics work that they did based on single colony pick from a plate. At the time of the mailings, her lab had the Porton Down Ames cured of virulence plasmids. The lab then went back and sequenced Ames obtained from USAMRIID dating back to 1981. All the comparisons they made were to the Ames ancestral strain. USAMRIID’s Pat Worsham identified the 4 morphs. Although as a non-scientist, I may be getting this wrong, I think Dr. Fraser-Liggett said that the mutations related to sporulation cascade. She says the FBI reports that there were no other samples (beyond the 8) that had 4 mutations, some that had 3, and “a few” that had one or two. She thinks it was the “population genetics” approach that led to the breakthrough in case. (One can debate whether it constitute much of a breakthrough if it only narrowed inquiry to an estimated 1,000 who had access to virulent Ames to 100-300 who had access to virulent Ames with 4 morphs).

    Dr. Read, a scientist helping with the Amerithrax investigation in the DNA sequencing, long ago published the news that the anthrax was a 50/50% mixture of genotype 62 (Ames) and genotype 62 with an inversion on the plasmid. This would mean two distinct nucleic acids were detected in the sample. This means that some of the Ames had a segment of DNA that is inverted, or flipped, relative to the remainder of the plasmid. Years ago one expert advised me that no properly trained microbiologist would propagate or archive a mixture. Standard microbiological procedure calls for isolation of single colonies – i.e., single, unmixed cells and their clonal, unmixed progeny — at each step. Inversions are not an uncommon class of mutational events, however. It would only be especially probative if it were a rare inversion and if samples were to be present among samples collected from laboratory archives. Here, although it never seems to be mentioned, flask 1029 was a mixture — by far, most of it was from Dugway but some was added from USAMRIID. Dr. Fraser-Liggett addresses why their genetics investigation took so long but does not address this issue of the 2002 Science finding that it was a mixture of two Ames samples.

    It was always possible that the anthrax used was highly distinctive (pinpointing a single lab) and the authorities just didn’t have that sample collected. But given that since 2002 they have known it was a mix of Ames strains, it is surprising that they did not zero in on Ivins flask a half decade ago given that any description of how it was created would have revealed it to be a mix of two sources.

    The FBI in August 2008 announced that 8 samples were an exact match. The FBI reports that 100+ individuals had access. Unnamed Ft. Detrick sources report that 200-300 individuals had access. The source of the stream of genetically identical isolates downstream was the original flask.
    At the August 2008 Science Briefing,

    “With generous support by both the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and other government agencies, FBI scientists worked with The Institute for Genomic Research to determine if genetic mutations were responsible for the altered appearance of the variants found in the bacillus anthracis letters. Several genetic mutants were discovered in these studies.

    FBI microbiologists contracted the assistance of several laboratories to develop highly specific assays to detect four specific genetic mutations found in the bacillus anthracis letters.

    The mutation detection assays were validated and used by the FBI Laboratory to examine the repository of bacillus anthracis Ames that was collected through the course of the investigation.

    This unprecedented scientific approach allowed the FBI to identify potential sources of the bacillus anthracis used to produce the 2001 spore powders.

    Through a comprehensive analytical approach, the investigators were provided with validated scientific data which linked the material used in the 2001 attacks to material from USAMRIID identified as RMR-1029.

    It is important to emphasize that the science used in this case is highly validated and well accepted throughout the scientific community. The novelty is in the application of these techniques for forensic microbiology.”

    While I think there is no solid evidence to date indicating Dr. Ivins’ guilt, I am not disputing the validity of the FBI’s genetic investigation revealed to date and it was pleasure to hear it explained by Dr. Fraser-Liggett.

    Even genetics consultants Fraser-Liggett and Keim do not claim it establishes that Dr. Ivins is guilty.

    In closing, Dr. Fraser-Liggett points to her interview with Nicholas Wade of the NYT in which she explained at the outset of the investigation that she by no means thought that a population genetics approach would lead to the perpetrator.

    She was quoted in a more recent news report, “What would have happened in this investigation had Dr. Hatfill not been so forceful in his response to being named a person of interest. What if he, instead of fighting back, had committed suicide because of the pressure? Would that have been the end of the investigation?” “I have complete confidence in the accuracy of our data,” Fraser-Liggett says, but she concedes it fails to prove Ivins is guilty.”

    NYT correspondent Scott Shane made the same point in the National Geographic documentary.

    “Local filmmaker works on anthrax documentary
    Originally published July 31, 2009
    WHEN: 10 p.m. today

    A year after the apparent suicide ofFrederick scientist Bruce Ivins, a TV documentary explores the FBI’s case against the man the agency blames for the 2001 anthrax mail attacks that killed five people.

    “Hunting the Anthrax Killer,” showing at 10 p.m. today on the National Geographic Channel, casts doubt on the investigation and the science that led FBI agents to Ivins. The one-hour documentary includes interviews with Ivins’ former supervisor at Fort Detrick, Jeff Adamovicz; U.S. Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J.; Claire M. Fraser-Liggett, director of the Institute for Genome Sciences and professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School in Baltimore; Joseph Michael, one of the scientists employed by the FBI to investigate the case; Ayaad Assaad, a former Fort Detrick scientist briefly investigated before being exonerated; Scott Shane, New York Times journalist; and Paul Kemp, Ivins’ attorney.”

  4. DXer said

    Then there is the issue of contamination by tin.

    The journal Nature summarized:

    “At a biodefence meeting on 24 February, Joseph Michael, a materials scientist at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, presented analyses of three letters sent to the New York Post and to the offices of Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy. Spores from two of those show a distinct chemical signature that includes silicon, oxygen, iron, and tin; the third letter had silicon, oxygen, iron and possibly also tin, says Michael.”

    Ivins’ flask did not contain tin. There was no iron or oxygen or silicon or tin detected in the spore coat of those spores. Dr. Michael speculated it might have been in the water. But Ft. Detrick water did not have high levels of tin.

    FBI anthrax expert John Ezzell confirms to me that he made dry powdered anthrax at Ft. Detrick at the request for DARPA. In one 1996 study (I believe done at Edgewood) for which he supplied gamma irradiated Ames, the Ames was put in a soil suspension. Soil 1 and Soil 2. If the tin was not in the water (and it wasn’t based on my reading of the reports), was it in the soil used for the soil suspension? CIA and DARPA research in 2001 involved soil (CIA, TK, $100k grant) and silica (GMU Center for Biodefense).

    Alternatively, here is an alternative hypothesis that bears testing. In the investigation of the 2002 contamination report, there was talk about Bruce’s earlier practice of using a “soup can” for transferring Ames. Stupid question: Are we talking about a soup can such as one lined with tin? If so, might this tin contamination point to Ames that was shipped in a tinned-line soup can? Even those “tin cans” nowadays made of aluminum or steel are commonly plated with a thin layer of tin. For example, some Heinz products in 2001 involved contamination of a spaghetti product in tomato sauce with high levels of tin.

    Former Russian bioweapons expert Sergeui Popov explains:

    “Although the tin and iron may have come from the water used for cultivation, their amount, in my opinion, far exceeds the levels commonly present in the water used in a laboratory. Another possibility to consider is that the suspect used a primitive but a sturdy and a widely-available container … namely a tin can. It would explain a simultaneous presence of both elements. This suggestion is easy to test in experiments.”

    Dr. Popov reports: “I don’t remember the exact levels from the presentation, but it spikes out like hell.”

    This issue of tin should be considered as part of its “contamination” charge. Given the FBI’s ventured explanation is tin in the water, hopefully there is an expert on the NAS panel who can review the surveys of water in Frederick and confirm that there are no high levels of tin in the drinking water that support the FBI’s suggestion.

    The public interest requires experts who can consider Dr. Popov’s hypothesis, this hypothesis that it related to use of a Ames in a soil suspension, and this hypothesis that it relates to shipment of Ames in a soup can. If the NAS determines that it is beyond its charge, given that the FBI hired them and constricted their inquiry, then the issue can be addressed by experts who are independent and not fettered by the FBI having framed the questions presented. Any lawyer can tell you that half the ballgame is how the question is framed.

    The dog and pony show won’t leave the middle ring.

    I worked in recent years to bring to the attention of the FDA and agencies worldwide that some sodas were contaminated with benzene. FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford was no help and resigned two days after I contacted him with industry data from a whistleblower. Dr. Crawford owned $60,000+ in Pepsi stock. There were numerous worldwide recalls — and yet the same US Attorney screwing the pooch on Amerithrax let the context of Dr. Crawford’s resignation go unnoticed. The US DOJ had become highly politicized.

    • DXer said

      From rereading his description, it doesn’t seem that the material is placed directly in the “shipping cans like soup cans” in the ordinary course of transfer.
      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2009/07/29/more-from-dr-bruce-ivins/

      “Material in polypropylene tubes is put into shipping containers in B313. The shipping containers have an O-ring seal. Empty containers are either stored in a cabinet in B313 or are brought in directly from B504. After material in polypropylene tubes is placed in them, the containers are bleached off and brought out through the passbox. They are taken to B504. The inner tubes (containing the material) are removed from the shipping container and sealed in shipping cans like soup cans. EA101 paperwork and a USAMRIID Form 11 are filled out for each shipment.”

      But given that there were “shipping cans like soup cans” in the lab associated with his flask, and that there is a 100 ml discrepancy in Dr. Ivins’ records, some scientist should test the hypothesis that such a shipping can could possibly be the source of the “Tin Signature” if the material were placed directly in it, for example, in a surreptitious removal of 100 ml from the lab.

      • DXer said

        Tin in canned foods
        February 2004
        Food Standards and Hygiene
        http://www.foodsafetycentre.com.au/fsh/fshbull35e.htm

        Canned foods remain an important segment of the marketplace and have an outstanding safety record. …

        The conventional metal can is basically steel, coated on both sides with tin. It combines the strength of steel with the resistance to corrosion and good appearance of tin. It has proved a safe and effective food container for many decades but the uptake of tin by food and beverages continues to occupy the interest of regulatory bodies, at least in Europe.

        Plain internal tin-plate is normally used for certain foods in preference to lacquered cans where the presence of bare tin surface inside the can leads to protection of the flavour and appearance of the food. Oxidation of the tin surface occurs rather than oxidative degradation of the food. The canning industry is well aware of the potential of tin dissolution to limit shelf life of canned foods

        ***
        The results obtained in this detailed study show, according to the authors, that the chemical form of tin and not the elemental concentration determines the severity of any adverse effects. Both soluble and insoluble tin (II) complexes are formed as unlacquered tin-plate on the inside of cans dissolves into foods.

      • DXer said

        Here is a peer-reviewed method for the determination of tin contamination in biological material.

        Determination Of Tin In Foodstuffs and Biological Material, Pure & Applied Chem, Vol 54, No. 9, pp. 1737-1742, 1982.

        Dr. Chris Hassell, did the FBI test the hypothesis that the tin contamination was due to storage in a tin-plated can?

      • DXer said

        Dr. Chris Hassell,

        Did the FBI test the hypothesis that the Tin Signature was from Ames being put in a soil suspension? (See Soil 1 and Soil 2 taken from Aberdeen Proving Grounds in 1996 study for which Dr. John Ezzell provided gamma irradiated Ames).

        FBI anthrax expert John Ezzell confirmed to me last week that he made dry powdered anthrax at Ft. Detrick for DARPA in 1996. In 1996, he was a member of the FBI’s hazardous materials unit investigating mailed powdered threats and then he was the FBI’s expert in opening the Leahy letter. What equipment did Dr. Ezzell use in making the dry powdered anthrax? (Dr. Ivins in an email to Pat Fellows said he had heard it was the powder that was closest to the attack anthrax).

        That equipment was not available to Dr. Ivins in Building 1425, was it?

        In related emails, Dr. Ivins expressed concerns to a superior that he was missing stock. Does this relate to either the FBI or to DARPA work with dry powdered anthrax made at Ft. Detrick?

        Given that the FBI scientists are playing the key role in guiding and shaping the inquiry by these experts, shouldn’t this information about the FBI anthrax expert having made dry powdered expert for DARPA be disclosed? Isn’t such candor and disclosure essential to the perceived soundness of the scientific joint venture?

        http://www.anthraxandalqaeda.com

      • DXer said

        Maybe the tin came from whatever vessel the attack spores were prepared in – through direct contact. I don’t know anything about what metals are used in the construction of fermenters, but it’s possible that the tin came from sealing gaskets used in the instrument’s plumbing (since tin is pretty malleable, yet inert). Or possibly solder joints? Alternatively, maybe there were tin (or tin alloy) parts in the instruments used to downstream process the spores. By compartmentalizing the investigation, would the connection ever be made to consider whether the equipment in a particular lab was tin?

      • BugMaster said

        No tin from a fermentor, DXer, it is far from inert in this case. Fermentors are almost always stainless steel and glass. No solder would have been used at any point where the fermentor’s contents would have come into contact with it.

        Possible source of tin: Sucrose made from cane sugar. Quite a bit of limestone is used in the manufacture of cane sugar, and in many cases, the limestone formations the limestone comes from contain quite a bit of tin (often enough to mine).

        Interestingly enough, sucrose can also contain quite a bit of silicic acid.

        However, sucrose is rarely used in fermentation media, glucose is more common. And if spore production was desired, the amount of carbohydrate used in the fermentation is limited, because excess carbohydrates inhibit sporulation.

  5. DXer said

    On this issue of contamination, the attack anthrax was contaminated with a distinctive B. subtilus strain. No matching subtilis was found in swabbing of the USAMRIID labs were Dr. Ivins worked. The affidavit in support of a search warrant explained:

    “Both of the anthrax spore powders recovered from the Post and Brokaw letters contain low levels of a bacterial contaminant identified as a strain of Bacillus subtilis. The Bacillus subtilis contaminant has not been detected in the anthrax spore powders recovered from the envelopes mailed to either Senator Leahy or Senator Daschle. Bacillus subtillis is a non-pathogenic bacterium found ubiquitously in the environment. However, genomic DNA sequencing of the specific isolate of Bacillus subtilus discovered within the Post and Brokaw powders reveals that it is genetically distinct from other known isolates of Bacillus subtilis. Analysis of the Bacillus subtilis from the Post and Brokaw envelopes revealed that these two isolates are identical.

    Phenotypic and genotypic analyses demonstrate that the RMR-1029 does not have the Bacillus subtilis contaminant found in the evidentiary spore powders, which suggests that the anthrax used in the letter attacks was grown from the material contained in RMR-1029 and not taken directly from the flask and placed in the envelopes. Since RMR-1029 is the genetic parent to the evidentiary spore powders, and it is not known how the Bacillus subtilis contaminant came to be in the Post and Brokaw spore powders, the contaminant must have been introduced during the production of the Post and Brokaw spores. Taken together, the postmark dates, the Silicon signature, the Bacillus subtilis contaminant, the phenotypic, and the genotypic comparisons, it can be concluded that, on at least two separate occasions, a sample of RMR-1029 was used to grow spores, dried to a powder, packaged in an envelope with a threat letter, and mailed to the victims.”

    “Why wasn’t this unique B. subtilis strain looked for in Bruce’s lab — or any other lab in the BSL-3 suite?” Ivins’ former boss Andrews. “It may, in fact, serve as a marker for where those preparations were really made.” The answer is that it was and it was not found.

    At the ASM Biodefense presentation in February 2009, the FBI scientists explained that no subtilis found in any of Dr. Ivins samples was the genetically distinct subtilis. “We don’t know the process used,” Bannan says.

    “We never found the equivalent B. subtilis at USAMRIID in any of the evidence that we had,” Dr. Bannan.

    Given that they have solved the case and are moving forward to close it, they should release information about the subtilis strain detected. That might permit someone in the public to identify the location of the subtilis strain for them.

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