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

* Ft Detrick anthrax labs had no security cameras before 2002; what else is the FBI keeping hidden about this case?

Posted by Lew Weinstein on August 14, 2009

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Adam Behsudi writes in the Frederick News Post (8-13-09) …

  • USAMRIID installed cameras in its labs between 2002 and 2008.

Read the entire article at … http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/news/display.htm?StoryID=93820

LMW COMMENT …

How can it be that the USAMRIID labs which performed research on anthrax and other dangerous pathogens had no security cameras before 2002? This, and other security lapses in inventory control, are simply inexcusable, and someone should have been held accountable long ago.

What else is the FBI keeping under wraps about this and other U.S. government facilities?

see related posts …

* Dr. Bruce Ivins RMR-1029 inventory records, from 1997 to 2003, pursuant to a FOIA request

* USAMRIID RMR records – Dr. Bruce Ivins’ flask 1029 – two documents don’t match

* Did Abdul Rauf get his anthrax in an Ames, Iowa strip mall? It wouldn’t have been difficult.

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One Response to “* Ft Detrick anthrax labs had no security cameras before 2002; what else is the FBI keeping hidden about this case?”

  1. DXer said

    An example of an item the FBI is keeping secret is the reason for the Silicon Signature in flask 1030.

    In violation of the Freedom of Information Act, they reportedly have removed all copies of Lab Notebook 4010 from USAMRIID.

    In violation of FOIA, the copy made of Lab Notebook 4010 made in Fall 2001 upon being first produced to the FBI has not been provided under FOIA. (That would not have been subject to seizure in November 2007).

    Wikipedia explains:

    “Lab notebook

    A lab notebook is a primary record of research. Researchers use a lab notebook to document their hypotheses, experiments and initial analysis or interpretation of these experiments. The notebook serves as an organizational tool, a memory aid, and can also have a role in protecting any intellectual property that comes from the research.

    The guidelines for lab notebooks vary widely between institution and between individual labs, but some guidelines are fairly common. The lab notebook is usually written in as the experiments progress, rather than a later date. Many say that lab notebook should be thought of as a diary of activities that are described in sufficient detail to allow another scientist to follow the same steps.

    Legal aspects
    To ensure that data cannot be easily altered, notebooks with permanently bound pages are often recommended. Researchers are often encouraged to write only with unerasable pen, to sign and date each page, and to have their notebooks inspected periodically by another scientist who can read and understand it. All of these guidelines can be useful in proving exactly when a discovery was made, in the case of a patent dispute.”

    Similarly, the copy of RMR Record for flask 1029 made in Fall 2001 upon being first produced to the FBI has not been produced. That indicated the withdrawals from flask 1029. This would shed light on when the critical record was altered using white-out — in which the place where it was stored was changed from Bldg. 1412 to Bldg. 1425. It may even tend to prove that the entire second page of the flask 1029 is a “redo” — production of the documents may reveal the reason for the 100 ml discrepancy in the records.

    The FBI most notably has been keeping Bruce Ivins’ emails secret, especially from September and October 2001 period that would bear on his whereabouts. It would take day or two to cross out the names of people in the emails and then scan them. Yet they have been withheld now for over a year. Only emails up to Spring 2000 have been produced with the excuse being that they are being produced chronologically. As the weeks pass, the “be patient” mantra has worn thin and is no longer persuasive. The excuse that the FBI is vetting responses is not a justification for non-production. Instead, it is an acknowledgement that FOI is being willfully violated by the US DOJ and grounds for an award for attorneys fees in a suit to enforce FOI. (If an exemption is warranted, it should be invoked so that it can be challenged and/or justified in litigation). The buck for compliance with FOIA stops at USAMRIID. Review by US DOJ is not a reason for non-compliance.

    Similarly, when the FBI justifies its failure to respond to a Senator with oversight responsibility for 11 months on the grounds that its letter has been held up at US DOJ, it becomes clear that the United States Department of Justice has long lost track of the principles that it should be following in instilling public confidence in the administration of justice. The rule of law should be paramount at Constitutional Avenue — not bureaucratic calculations and gameplaying. The gobbledygook offered up to Rep. Conyers relating to the distribution of Ames illustrates that there is no meaningful Congressional oversight. Rep. Conyers, by the way, should step aside so that these matters can be aggressively pursued without fear or favor. Confidence in the administration of justice requires that the appearance of a conflict of interest be avoided; his wife is being investigated and subject to sentencing. Only inside the beltway is it not appreciated that such an entanglement warrants recusal.

    An example of additional documents that should be requested under FOIA are the exit / entry records from the first half of 2001 and from 2002 and 2003. It has been claimed that Dr. Ivins’ custom of working late was highly unusual. The records for August and November and December show that September and October 2001 period was generally consistent with the other months. The relevant broader question, however, concerns his practice in 2002, for example. Upon production of the records, it can be determined if there were other days when he spent similar periods (and what he was doing during those periods). Even in the note on the day of his suicide in 2008 his wife pointed to his working odd hours in 2008. Many people dedicated to their work odd hours especially when then they live very near their workplace.

    The FBI is 99% sure, DC Field Office head Mr. Persichini reports, that Bruce Ivins was solely responsible. Production of the documents therefore should merely provide the support for its conclusion — support that the FBI up until now has not provided.

    Of course, if the FBI is not confident in its conclusions, then the FBI should continue its confidential investigation with our blessing. Certainly the day that the matter is closed, Mr. Persichini may be shocked at what is disclosed that bears on his confidence levels. A photo is worth a 1000 words – an audio or video recording is worth perhaps 10,000. FOI documents often are the least interesting documents that exist. In an age of IPhones, recordings and photographs are ubiquitous.

    Ed’s confidence was due to his confusion on genetics. He inexplicably thought that there was only one isolate that was a genetic match, not 8. He stridently argued the point for many months while urging Dr. Ivins was the culprit. Then he just refused to adjust his thinking to reflect the evidence. He did the same thing when he refused to correct his false allegation relating to his theory (and he reports that he is 95% sure) that First Grader wrote the anthrax letters — and his unsupported claim that the day care was operating in Fall 2001 rather than starting operation in 2003.

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