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

* a few of the critical pieces of information the FBI/DOJ are still hiding in apparent violation of FOIA requirements to disclose

Posted by DXer on August 15, 2009

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DXer writes (8/14/09) …

  • 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).
  • 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.
  • The buck for compliance with FOIA stops at USAMRIID. Review by US DOJ is not a reason for non-compliance.
  • Of course, if the FBI is not confident in its conclusions, then the FBI should continue its confidential investigation with our blessing.

LMW COMMENT …

The FBI’s continued refusal to release information it is legally required to release is a travesty of justice, a holdover from the Bush-Cheney administration that the Obama administration should not permit to continue.

72 Responses to “* a few of the critical pieces of information the FBI/DOJ are still hiding in apparent violation of FOIA requirements to disclose”

  1. DXer said

    Biosecurity experts met at the White House this week.

    Here are the facts that have been public record since Fall 2001. A nerdy fellow named Bruce Ivins supplied the virulent Ames strain of anthrax to Ann Arbor researchers. One of the two lead researchers and a principal in the small company, Dr. Tarek Hamouda, obtained his PhD in microbiology from Cairo Medical in 1994. He and his wife came to the United States to settle that year. By 1998, he was working on a DARPA-funded project involving nanoemulsions and a biocidal cream. In December 1999, he and two colleagues traveled to a remote military installation in Utah to test its effectiveness in killing aerosolized anthrax surrogates. Genetically, in time, the attack anthrax used in the Fall 2001 mailings traced to a flask created by Bruce Ivins. The small company tested its decontamination agent in clean-up of the Capitol buildings and pitched a hand cream to postal workers.

    The small company, NanoBio, has received $80 million in investment without having a product — $50 million was from a DC venture firm headed by Richard Holbrooke, #3 at the Department of State. Although biosecurity experts met at the White House this week, there is no indication that any of this came up.

    But here is what any biosecurity expert visiting the White House should have known since 9/11. (From detailed email correspondence with Tara O’Toole in Fall 2002, I know she knew it.) Open source intelligence indicated in Fall 2001 that Ayman Zawahiri was going to rely on recruitment of specialists in using anthrax against US targets. He understood the koran, furthermore, to counsel using the weapons of your enemy. A family friend of Tarek Hamouda, “Tawfik” Hamid, had been recruited by Ayman Zawahiri while they both had been at Cairo Medical. To not seek answers to questions from Dr. Hamouda about any relationship with Ayman Zawahiri or Ayman’s sisters and father at medical school (they worked in pharmacology and antimicrobials) is to recklessly avoid issues requiring answers. Dr. Hamouda refuses to address the subject and the US DOJ is not free to discuss such matters.

    We know that the DOJ subpoenaed LSU in Fall 2001 relating to the use of the B3 there by the University of Michigan researchers in connection with this research with which Dr. Ivins assisted. We also know that DOJ subpoenaed University of Michigan directly. But all reports are that the research involving Ames was done at USAMRIID and none was brought back to Ann Arbor. James Baker reports that the NanoBio microbiologist worked under the “direct supervision” of Bruce Ivins at USAMRIID. As for seeming contradictions in scientific presentations made by lab tech Michael Hayes, the University of Michigan under FOIA has not provided a copy of the report. The University similarly has not provided a copy of the presentations made by Dr. Hamouda to the ASM.

    There is no reason to doubt that the FBI has considered any and all theories. Before they turned to their present sorority theory involving Dr. Ivins, the FBI and CIA was once concerned that there might have been unauthorized access to the Ames strain by someone associated by the man who had said he was going to infiltrate US biodefense. The DOJ aggressively prosecuted various matters related to Al-Timimi’s charity IANA charity which was in Ann Arbor 1 mile from the NanoBio office. Al-Timimi’s matter is currently pending and highly classified. Not even the Judge’s clerk or defense counsel has been allowed to see the recent filings by the prosecutor.

    Before Ivins’ suicide, FoxNews reported that the suspects had been narrowed to four. A leading anthrax scientist, a former deputy USAMRIID Commander, a microbiologist and perhaps one other. IANA speaker Ali Al-Timimi worked in the same building as two other DARPA-funded researchers — famed Russian bioweapons scientist Ken Alibek and former USAMRIID Deputy Commander and Acting Commander Charles Bailey. Al-Timimi was a current associate and former student of Bin Laden’s spiritual advisor, dissident Saudi Sheik al-Hawali. Ali Al-Timimi preached on the end of times and the inevitability of the clash of civilizations. He was in active contact with the sheik whose detention had been the express subject of Bin Laden’s 1996 Declaration of War. At GMU, Dr. Bailey would come to publish a lot of research with the “Ames strain” of anthrax.

    The anthrax used in the anthrax mailings was traced to Bruce Ivins’ lab at USAMRIID, where Ivins, according to a former colleague, had done some work for DARPA. The lyophilizer Ivins signed out had been used with the DARPA work done with Dr. Hamouda.

    Al-Timimi would speak along with the blind sheik’s son at charity conferences. The blind sheik’s son served on Al Qaeda’s WMD committee. Al-Timimi’s mentor Bilal Philips was known for recruiting members of the military to jihad. The first week after 9/11, FBI agents questioned Al-Timimi. Ali’s graduate program was jointly run by George Mason University and the American Type Culture Collection (”ATCC”). Ali, according to his lawyer, had been questioned by an FBI agent and Secret Service agent in 1994 after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. He had a high security clearance for work for the Navy in the late 1990s. The defense webpage reported he had once served as the assistant for the White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card. (Mr. Card had been Secretary of Transportation in 1992-1993; from 1993 to 1998, Mr. Card was President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Automobile Manufacturers Association.) As time off from his university studies permitted, Ali was an active speaker with the charity Islamic Assembly of North America.

    A laptop evidencing Al Qaeda’s intent on weaponizing anthrax had been seized in Baku in July 1998. At about the same time, Dr. Alibek, then Program Manager, Battelle Memorial Institute, testified before the Joint Economic Committee on the subject of “Terrorist and Intelligence Operations: Potential Impact on the U.S. Economy” about the proliferation of know-how. Dr. Alibek noted that “[t]here are numerous ways in which Russia’s biological weapons expertise can be proliferated to other countries.” Indeed. Sometimes such proliferation is funded by DARPA and any student who wants to apply to work in the building can submit an application.

    Ayaad Assaad, formerly of Ft. Detrick, was a Coptic Christian, a group persecuted by blind sheik Abdel-Rahman’s Egyptian Islamic Group. But the widely reported story of the letter sent to Quantico served well to make it politically incorrect to ask questions that need to be asked of Dr. Hamouda and Dr. Al-Timimi who not so long ago applied to be associated with US biodefense research efforts.

    One applicant, Al-Timimi, was this Salafist preacher seeing signs of the coming day of judgment and the inevitable clash of civilizations. He had been mentored by the sheik named in Bin Laden’s declaration of war in 1996. In 1999, Al-Timimi had a high security clearance for work for the Navy. His father worked at the Iraqi embassy. If the US DOJ has had a difficult task, the challenge facing the White House was even more problematic and riddled with political pitfalls. It is also problematic for Tara O’Toole and her Administration colleagues meeting at the White House this week given that NanoBio was funded by Perseus, headed at the time by Richard Holbrooke. But the entire point of Obama taking the office was so that the right decisions and choices could now be made — despite the challenges and obstacles.

    Senators Leahy and Senators Spectre were stunned at the US Attorney Jeff Taylor’s view of the evidence supporting an Ivins Theory. A year later, no additional evidence has yet been disclosed. The entire purpose of the previous briefings was to disclose the evidence that the government had. The only thing certain is that the case seems a difficult one to solve and the DOJ is going to be damned if they do and damned if they don’t. We should give everyone the benefit of the doubt while seeking answers. But we shouldn’t stop asking the questions until we get answers to the pending questions.

  2. DXer said

    Bugmaster now mentions that a member of Hatfill’s legal team noted the rumors of an indictment as reasons for the suit. That, too, requires a cited source. I give Ed a hard time about not correcting his webpage on the First Grader theory and not informing himself about Zawahiri’s anthrax planning as it relates to infiltration of US biodefense. But he has been very thorough in reading the press articles about the FBI’s Hatfill Theory. He recalls no article that had such a mention. Perhaps Bugmaster means counsel’s mention of the suggestion leaked to the press that would have charged some other crime absent proof on Amerithrax. Or perhaps she again means a comment that was not reported in the press.

    By way of background, Hatfill was in virology which was located in Building 1425. The FBI in a sworn affidavit in support of a warrant of Hatfill’s apartment reports that Ames was kept in 1425 in an unlocked freezer. Separately, in a sworn affidavit submitted by Bruce Ivins, we know that he would even keep anthrax from flask 1029 on his desk while it awaited shipping. And so it is not a Hatfill Theory as such that should be faulted. The affidavits read very reasonably. It was the leaking by the lead criminal person at the US Attorney’s office that was the problem.

    A district court judge wrote that the FBI had not presented a scintilla evidence of Dr. Hatfill’s guilt. That conclusion seems to have withstood the test of time. The lesson to draw, though, is that there are huge parallels between a Hatfill Theory and an Ivins Theory. Just as there was only a speculative theory about Dr. Hatfill, there is no evidence that has yet been disclosed establishing Dr. Ivins guilt. US Attorney Taylor’s “we excluded everyone else” is just breathtaking in its insufficiency to meet the government’s burden.

    The Hatfill Theory was pursued by one of the two investigative squads (and a third squad addressed the science). The FBI would be subject to another privacy suit if it leaked other theories. The US DOJ does not have an enviable task. It seems that they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Outsiders also have an unenviable task in discussing the matter. For my part, all I can say is that unlike Ed or Mr. Kristof, I never write about a person without contacting them or their counsel first and asking them for their side of the story. And unlike Ed, I check my facts and correct any facts that are in error.

    • BugMaster said

      “Bugmaster now mentions that a member of Hatfill’s legal team noted the rumors of an indictment as reasons for the suit. That, too, requires a cited source.”

      It was briefly mentioned in an on-line news article soon after the settlement was announced. I don’t remember any more specifics, so I can’t cite the specific source here.

      Maybe Ed could review some of the articles in his archives and help us out here.

  3. DXer said

    Let’s consider a Hatfill Theory for a moment as it relates to access to virulent Ames. The FBI in its affidavit:

    “– While employed at USAMRIID in Frederick, Maryland, from 1997, Hatfill worked in the laboratory building in which the United States Army houses various biological agents, including the same “Ames” strain of Bacillus anthracis contained in the letters. Hatfill had access to the unlocked storage freezers in which the Ames strain of B.A. was then kept.”

    To what building and unlocked freezers does this statement by the FBI refer?

    • Anonymous Scientist said

      This is a very interesting observation. Not that I’m saying, of course, that Hatfill had anything whatsoever to do with the anthrax attacks. But from this it seems that there is no more reason to believe that Ivins is guilty over Hatfill – and, of course, hundreds of others who had access.

      Indeed, Hatfill and Ivins have a lot in common. No spores were found in either of their homes. No spores were found in either of their cars. There is not a scintilla of physical evidence linking either of them to the anthrax attacks. Neither had a motive. Neither were linked to trip to Princeton at the time of the mailings. Both had access to the RMR-1029 flask in the time frame 1997 (when it was created) to whenever Hatfill left Detrick.

      But there is one big difference between Hatfill and Ivins. Hatfill didn’t have a family to support and wasn’t a family man with an impeccable reputation in his community – a reputation that, once tarnished, would have devastating personal repercussions leading to suicide. But more importantly Hatfill was well connected and managed to secure the services of a fantastic lawyer who was willing to work for free until the government wrote a check. Ivins did not have these connections and had to pay legal bills of $68K and he knew he couldn’t afford to be indicted – his life savings was already almost gone.

      • DXer said

        The FBI explains:

        “During an interview with FBI agents on March 27, 2002, Steven Hatfill denied taking any Cipro during the months of September and October of 2001. However, a review of pharmacy business records reveals that exactly two days before the first anthrax letters were mailed (postmarked) on September 18, 2001, Steven Hatfill filled a prescription for forty 500 mg tablets of Cipro at the CVS pharmacy located near his home in Frederick, Maryland. Exactly two days before the second group of anthrax letters were mailed (postmarked) on October 9, 2001, Hatfill filled another prescription for thirty more 500 mg tablets of Cipro at the same CVS pharmacy. Additional Cipro prescriptions were filled by Hatfill on January 9, 2001 (20 tablets), July 1, 2001 (20 tablets), and November 10, 2001 (30 tablets).

        Consider how Ed nowhere addresses this claim by the FBI that Dr. Hatfill falsely denied taking Cipro or this alleged purchase of Cipro beginning on July 1, 2001. Cipro was found in his girlfriend’s name hidden in the coffee.

      • DXer said

        The FBI argues that “Hatfill is a protege of {the name of William Patrick is redacted; Dr. Patrick has explained that there is no one who knows more about anthrax as used as a weapon). Steven Hatfill’s curriculum vitae claims a “working knowledge of the former US. and foreign BW programs, wet and dry BW agents, … stabilizers and other additives, former BG simulant production methods….” Hatfill is believed to have experience working with various anthrax ‘simulants,” that is, other types of bacillus that mimic the properties of anthracis.

        Yes, Anonymous Scientist. A Hatfill Theory, while lacking merit, was stronger than an Ivins Theory.

        The $5.8 was paid on the privacy claim — and did not constitute a finding of innocence.

      • DXer said

        Dr. Ivins had body armor — Dr. Hatfill had a silencer.

      • DXer said

        The FBI explained:

        “Hatfill produced a document purportedly showing the “LD-50” lethal dose rates of anthrax and other biological agents that was based on data he collected while working for the Selous Scouts in Rhodesia. (“LD-50″) is the amount of a solid or liquid material that it takes to kill 50% of the human population in a single dose.) Hatfill also boasted that he advised the Rhodesian Special Branch how to lace
        clothing distributed in rebel-held provinces with a lethal mixture of Organophosphate pesticide and Dimethyl Sufloxide (DMSO) in order to kill rebel opponents. Hatfill claimed that his suggestion of adding DSMO made the mixture much more deadly and hundreds were killed as a result. [Redacted] the former head of the Rhodesian Central Intelligence Organization during the civil war, has publically admitted that the Rhodesian government deliberately distributed poisoned clothing that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of rebels and civilian.”

  4. DXer said

    The conference he set up was in June 2001. Not a stressor. (The earlier conferences of the same type attended by Dr. Ivins were also attended by Zawahiri’s first anthrax lab scientist who is an email correspondent of mine and a nice guy; US media is lame to not snag an interview).

    As for 2008, the greatest stressor is being unjustly accused and unrighteously betrayed by people you thought were your friends.
    The outrage and hurt would come over the unfairness of it all. I’ve separately suggested he was indictable if he altered the document or made a transfer without complying with post-1997 regulations — as an accessory before the fact. Altering documents would also make him an accessory after the fact and make him indictable for obstruction of justice.

    He was on anti-depression medication as you point out, rather than anti-psychotics. Any sensible person would be just as depressed under similar circumstances.

    On the mailings, he has an alibi. After the first mailing, he would never have left his house — where three adults slept (two were 17).
    Even someone getting up to pee or get a drink of water then would have noticed he was gone and made the connection upon the following news. We know his wife thinks he is innocent from the final note.

    The Bush Administration knows that the anthrax was sent *immediately* after the bail was denied for Vanguards of Conquest (EIJ) #2 — just as had been threatened. See CIA Feb. 2001 PDB to President Bush. Mr. Persichini should resign the day after he closes the case naming Ivins and then there should be a full-bore Congressional investigation with subpoena power. The WH national security person was US Attorney, head of the national security division at DOJ, and Mueller’s former chief of staff. And so Mr. Mueller perhaps is executing the play set in motion under the earlier Administration. Mr. Mueller told the Senate Committee that it would be reopened if new evidence came to light but that is bullshit given I can prove what evidence the FBI intentionally buried.

    On the other hand, Brenda on CLOSER always had a few gambits up her sleeve and critics of her method would be softened by her successes in closing a case.
    So I wish them well. PRIORITY MAIL illustrated the deception that was used in connection with mail bomber Walter LeRoy Moody.

  5. DXer said

    BugMaster says:

    ” Statement made by FBI agent during a late 2002 conversation, we were discussing Stephan J. Hatfill at the time.
    Direct quote from FBI agent (who will not be named here)
    ‘There are indictments'”

    Cool. The only time I’ve spoken with FBI agents is they asked me why Ed Lake would be motivated to make a false and malicious accusation.
    I was glad to explain.

    • Anonymous Scientist said

      “The only time I’ve spoken with FBI agents is they asked me why Ed Lake would be motivated to make a false and malicious accusation.”

      So, Ivins is not the only person Ed Lake makes false and malicious accusations against? Interestingly a person with that sort of disorder is also prone to take part in “distortion campaigns”. Ed Lake’s website is certianly an example of a distortion campaign against Dr Ivins. I suppose people in the past who had this disorder would take part in “witch hunts”. Fascinating.

      http://www.nook2.com/CommonBehaviors/FalseAccusations.html
      False Accusations & Distortion Campaigns

      Definition:

      False accusations, distortion campaigns & smears are unwarranted accusations or exaggerated criticisms. The personality disordered individual fabricates inaccurate stories about a family member, partner or innocent third party or distorts the facts in reporting an event or situation.

  6. DXer said

    And one report said that they were considering charging Dr. Hatfill something that they could prove separate from Amerithrax.

    Given that he had forged his PhD certificate in indirectly obtaining access to the deadly ebola virus, this was extremely aggressive intimidation.

    Here, given the apparent alteration of documents, and the 100 ml discrepancy, Dr. Ivins apparently was subject to similar aggressive tactics even assuming an absence of evidence he did the processing or mailing. Leahy and Specter are experienced prosecutors and they received fuller briefings than the public — they said they were stunned by Taylor’s assertions and assessment of the evidence. Ed has no experience in legal matters, let alone a criminal prosecution.

    Given that Dr. Ivins’ colleagues had been told not to talk to him about it, his career was ruined, he was out $68,000 in legal fees and still faced indictment, had substance abuse problems, and was unhappy generally… it would have driven anyone to the breaking point. Ed considers it sociopathic — when it would seem perfectly understandable that he was filled with rage at someone who he viewed as having made made false and malicious charges in such a case. (Ed doesn’t even know who his rage was directed at). Ed, having made similar false and malicious charges may have sensitivities on the subject.

    • BugMaster said

      Let’s keep in mind one more thing, DXer

      Ivins was taking at least one SSRI (paxil or similar) for his depression. He was also taking ambien.

      I don’t know if you anyone who was on either medication and also consuming large amounts of alcohol at the time. It is a disasterous combination causing serious and unpredictable results.

      I don’t particularly care what Ivin’s state of mind was in the 12 months prior to his suicide.

      What is applicable here:

      What was his state of mind around the time the anthrax was mailed?

      Busy working on a frustrating problem (which in his business comes with the territory) and setting up some kind of conference is what I understand.

  7. DXer said

    Tarek Hamouda was supplied virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins for DARPA-research Bruce was helping with. The research was done at USAMRIID. Dr. Hamouda came to the US in 1994, after getting his PhD in microbiology at Cairo. He had received his MD at Cairo in 1982. He was in the Cairo area in the interim.

    It appears that Dr. Bruce Ivins altered his record for RMR 1029 using white-out, although USAMRIID should produce a copy of the document as it existed in Fall 2001 to clarify the point. This would subject Dr. Ivins to indictment on a number of possible grounds.

    My contact is named “Tawfik” Hamid. He was the one who was recruited by Ayman Zawahiri in the room set aside for the Egyptian Islamic Group at medical school. His older brother, an MD from St. Louis, and Tarek Hamouda graduated in December 1982.

    This was the heyday of the Sadat assassination and mass arrests.

    (http://www.anthraxandalqaeda.com)

    The name of the DC venture firm that supplied $50 million to Dr. Hamouda’s firm is Perseus. My friend Brian works there. Mr. Richard Holbrooke was head of it during the period $30 million of the $50 million was invested.

    Mr. Holbrooke is now #3 or whatever at the State Department and is in charge of Afghanistan and Pakistan. This wrinkle apparently is just one of many things interfering with the smooth and correct resolution of Amerithrax.

    Stuart had his insights about DARPA. Folks like Barry and Ike have their insights about profits associated with biosecurity. And I lived in Arlington, VA for 15 years — causing Zawahiri to appear in any Rorschach test involving anthrax, given he publicly said he was going to use anthrax and the documentary evidence shows he did.

    Ed sees First Graders and spends all his waking hours looking at pictures of naked women. So let’s not get distracted on an issue of this importance and, like grown-ups, focus on the available intelligence and not fantasies about First Graders, whatever the motivation.

    The following is a lengthy excerpt from Inside Jihad: Understanding and Confronting Radical Islam (2007) by Dr. Tawfik Hamid.

    “[Born in 1961], I entered the medical school at Cairo University when I was 17 (Egypt didn’t have the same concept of ‘undergraduate’ typical of the West). Naturally I continued to pursue my recently acquired fervor for Islam. At the time, an Islamic organization called Jamaa Islamiya had been gaining a foothold at the school. Although it was later classified as a terrorist group, Jamaa’s activities were perfectly legal then. They began by receiving permission to build a small prayer room inside the medical school, which quickly developed into a small mosque. Shortly thereafter, a library was added to the “mosque” where Jamaa members promoted Salafist books.

    Clearly, Egypt’s “Revival of Islam” had made its way to the medical school. Jamaa members would not only preach in their ‘mosque’. As its influence spread, the group started a tradition of meeting in the morning lecture hall 45 minutes before the teacher arrived, where they would lecture on Islamic topics from the podium. Most muslim students thought it a good thing, but more secular ones found it annoying, and Christian students were wholly intimidated into silence. ***

    As its influence grew, Jamaa Islamiya began to intervene with the secular traditions of the medical school. They insisted on separate seating in the lecture halls for men and women, and sometimes forcibly separate students who did not comply. Occasionally, they would use violence to stop students from playing music or singing, activities the members considered “un-Islamic.”

    One naturally asks, “Why medical students?” Westerns are often astonished to observe highly accomplished Muslim doctors in the terrorist ranks. These include Dr. Ayman Al-Zawahiri (surgeon) second in command of Al-Qaeda *** Doctors almost universally agree to the Hippocratic Oath and swear by another of Hippocrates’ maxims: “First, do no harm.” How then could a group like Jamaaa Islamiya gain traction in a medical school?

    It is actually not a surprise to me that I became radicalized there. Our medical schools at that time were a vanguard of fundamentalism in most Egyptian universities.

    ***

    Eventually in my first year I was approached by a promising member of Jamaa named Muchtar. He was in his fourth year and known in the group as amir, or “prince.” The title was short for “Prince of the Believers,” a term taken from early writings about the Islamic caliphate. Determination to serve Allah overcame my hesitancy that remained from witnessing the incident with Dr. Edward, and I agreed to join in what I thought would be a commonplace gathering for prayer. En route to the mosque, Muchtar impressed upon me a concept that he called al-fikr kufr — that one becomes an infidel (kufr) by thinking critically (fikr). One’s brain is similar to a donkey, he elaborated — you can ride it to the palace of Allah, but you must leave it outside when you enter.

    ***

    Doctor “Ayman”

    It happened one afternoon that a guest Imam came to deliver a sermon. His topic didn’t concern itself with dry details of prayer and fasting. He was fiery and charismatic; his passion was holy war. His topic didn’t concern itself with dry details of prayer and fasting. He was fiery and charismatic; his passion was holy war. It was to be fought on all fronts, against all non-believers, without compromise, until all people either converted, submitted to Sharia, or were slain. He made us feel that we could make the glorious days of the Islamic conquest return. After the sermon, a fellow member, Tariq Abdul-Muhsin, asked me if I knew the Imam. When I answered I didn’t, he told me that the speaker was Dr. Ayman Al-Zawahiri. Because I was a new member, Tariq offered to introduce me to him.

    In person, Al-Zawahiri was very polite and decent with the members of Jamaa. It was hard to reconcile his fiery sermons with the quiet man before me.***

    ***

    I remember feeling very proud when Zawahiri told me: “Young Muslims like you are the hope for the future return of Khalifa [Caliphate or Islamic global dominance].” He made me want to fight for him, to show him my courage and loyalty. Zawahiri himself came from a wealthy, well-known and well-educated family and was a top post-graduate student at the medical school. He was active in a number of Islamist groups so he did not devote all of his time to Jamaa. We used to call him “Dr. Ayman.”

    ***

    He was a master of at attracting new recruits and inciting them to jihad. It is worthwhile studying his use of Islamic texts in terms of the phrases and tactics we have mentioned, particularly hatred, superiority and war.

    ***

    Islamic Jihad … was extremely violent. They would concentrate on the assassination of important political leaders. Their violence was not diffuse, but highly targeted.

    ***

    There remains, at last, Jamaa Islamiya (literally, “Islamic Group”). It concentrated on recruiting from society’s “best and brightest” by entrenching itself in universities and medical schools. Having done so, Jamaa prepare the theoretical foundation for jihad and propagated them to promising students who could best absorb them. Like the Muslim Brotherhood, Jamaa didn’t participate directly in terror — it would have been counterproductive to provoke a crackdown from school administrations. Jamaa was more of a ‘gateway’ groups, which, having indoctrinated recruits and equipped them with jihadist knowledge, encouraged them to assume leadership positions in Islamic Jihad, the Muslim Brotherhood, or to practice jihad in other countries.

    Intellectually, Al-Zawahiri was much affected by the teaching of a Muslim Brotherhood leader named Sayyid Qutb. He used to praise Sayyid by saying ‘Rahimahu Allah’ whenever he mentioned his name. The expression means, ‘May Allah show him mercy and kindness’. ***

    ***

    Second Thoughts

    My entire relationship with Jamaa Islamiya lasted for approximate two to three years (from 1979-1982). It took about six months to become sufficiently indoctrinated Over the next year, I became increasingly active in the movement. Eventually, my involvement reached the point where I thought myself prepared to train with jihadi groups in Afghanistan, to fight and kill in the name of Allah. It was at this time that my conscience began to awaken. ***

    One episode in particular gave me second thoughts. It transpired that I overheard a conversation between Ahmed Omar and other members of the group. A fourth-year medical student, Ahmed was an “amir” of Jamaa. He was planning to to kidnap a police officer and bury him alive”. His exact word was netaweeh, which meant in Egyptian slang, ‘to dig a grave for someone and bury him alive”. The issue concerned a party that was planned that day at the medical school. Music and women singers were to be featured, and the view of Jamaa was, of course, that such an event was unIslamic. Members of the Jamaa gathered that day in thousands to protest the party and disrupt it by force. The police intervened and the medical school came under martial law.

    ***

    By the late 1970s, Islamists had penetrated into every aspect of Egyptian life. *** In 1981, not long before I graduated, President Sadat was assassinated by a military lieutenant named Khaled Islambouli — a member of the Islamic Jihad. The Iranians were delighted at the assassination and named a street after him. Zawahiri was also a member of Islamic Jihad, and was indicted for the assassination, but his connection to it was never proven. He was released from prison in 1984. Today, “Dr. Ayman” is the second-in-command of Al Qaeda, and possibly its foremost leader.

    ***

    The “Blind Sheikh”, Omar Abdel-Rahman was a spiritual leader ***. Americans will recognize his name — he resides now in the US, in solitary confinement, for conspiring to blow up the United Nations building, New York City FBI branch, and for attempting to destroy the World Trade Centers in 1993 — a job finished by al-Qaeda in 2001. Though estimates vary, it is thought that 75% of Al-Qaeda’s top leadership is Egyptian.”

  8. DXer said

    The Atlanta Journal Constitution:

    “To the contrary, in the more than a dozen instances in which the documents explain how specific information was obtained, it is through standard interrogation techniques. Most often, it is because detainees were fooled into thinking that the information they were offering had already been obtained.
    ***
    When KSM coughed up information about al Qaida’s anthrax program, “he apparently calculated — incorrectly — that we had this information already.”

    Now let’s take the same approach regarding access to virulent Ames from flask 1029. I’ve explained that Bruce Ivins supplied virulent Ames to a former Zawahiri associate. The scientist and I have a mutual friend who consults with intelligence agencies. My “friend” was recruited by Ayman Zawahiri into the Egyptian Islamic Jihad but then withdrew when he got queasy about talk about burying an Egyptian security officer near the mosque. My friend has known the scientist supplied virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins since the man as a child would visit Cairo from Khartoum, Sudan where his mother was an accounting professor. They would go to the comic store with my friend’s older brother, an MD from St. Louis. Now my friend called the scientist supplied with virulent Ames up before 9/11 and asked him about patents. He called from abroad where he was living at the time. The scientist supplied virulent Ames by Dr. Ivins said “it is all in the marketing.” (The scientist’s firm in fact received $80 million in investment — $50 million from a DC venture firm headed by Richard Holbrooke, now in charge of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Now this sort of information is not easy to come by. And so if I know this, maybe KSM was right to be spooked and assume the CIA already knew all about Sufaat.

    On the other hand, all Ed needed to do to confirm there were no First Graders at the home in Fall 2001 was to write a simple email.

  9. Anonymous Scientist said

    For the record – here is the actual written statement from Ivin’s attorney Kemp. FBI shill Ed Lake is, as usual, fabricating statements out of whole cloth that Kemp somehow stated the FBI had enough evidence to indict and convict him.

    http://blogs.abcnews.com/theworldnewser/2008/08/anthrax-case-he.html

    Lawyers for Dr. Bruce Ivins just issued a blistering attack on the Justice Department’s case againt their client:

    “What the public demanded today was concrete evidence. Instead, it was deluged with everything but. The government released search warrants – investigative tools designed to discover evidence, not to serve as evidence and treated these warrants as smoking guns. The government’s press conference was an orchestrated dance of carefully worded statements, heaps of innuendo and a staggering lack of real evidence – all contorted to create the illusion of guilt by Dr. Ivins. The government would have the American people believe that after seven years and more than $15 million of taxpayer money, they have found the individual responsible for the heinous attacks of the fall of 2001. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In truth, Bruce Ivins was a devoted husband and father who worked for more than 30 years to defend his nation and its soldiers against the terrible effects of Anthrax. The statements of scientists and co-workers at Ft. Detrick are uniform in their support of Dr. Ivins, and that has been gratifying to his family. Just today, we were privileged to attend the memorial service for Dr. Ivins held at Ft. Detrick, MD. It was attended by hundreds of soldiers, scientists, and family members. Dr. Ivins was characterized by his commanding officer for his ‘openness, sharing, humor and curiosity’ and was lauded for the central role he has played in the protection of the American soldier. No one who attended that service could believe that Dr. Ivins committed any crime.”

    Paul F. Kemp

    Thomas M. DeGonia

    Venable LLP

    • DXer said

      Ed argues that it is 95% certain that a child “about 6 was used to do the actual writing on the anthrax letters.”

      If one were to credit Ed’s argument, and given Dr. Ivins had no such contact with a First Grader, then the FBI will want to find a POI who did.

    • Anonymous Scientist said

      FBI shill Lake writes:
      “Finally, in recent months in particular, he has told co-workers and friends that he is a suspect in the investigation, even revealing to one friend a few weeks ago that his attorney has told him to prepare to be indicted for the anthrax attacks.”

      Was this the same attorney who later released this statement?:

      “The government’s press conference was an orchestrated dance of carefully worded statements, heaps of innuendo and a staggering lack of real evidence – all contorted to create the illusion of guilt by Dr. Ivins.”

      But FBI shill Lake knows that in reality there is super-secret evidence of Ivin’s guilt that Ivin’s attorney was given by the FBI. This evidence is so super-secret that the FBI have not released it to anyone – even more than 1 year after Ivin’s death. FBI shill Lake is true believer, but he seems to have be over-indulging in that FBI Kool-Aid recently.

    • BugMaster said

      Big deal.

      As you may recall, Ed, in late 2002, at least one (and from what I understand, more than one) FBI agent stated that there were indictments against Steven J. Hatfill.

      So that was compelling evidence of Hatfill’s guilt?

    • DXer said

      Bugmaster, you would need a cite to support such a claim as neither Ed nor I recall that.

    • DXer said

      Reports would say things (e.g., ABC) that investigators are convinced that they have their man.

    • BugMaster said

      “Bugmaster, you would need a cite to support such a claim as neither Ed nor I recall that.”

      Statement made by FBI agent during a late 2002 conversation, we were discussing Stephan J. Hatfill at the time.

      Direct quote from FBI agent (who will not be named here)

      “There are indictments”.

    • DXer said

      BugMaster has provided her source. She says FBI agent told it to her personally in late 2002.

      Ed argued for years that Dr. Hatfill was not a suspect but was mistaken. He was a suspect or POI — one that one of the investigative squads was focusing on. There was a list of people of interest and he was near if not at the top.

      Ed argued that he had no drying skill and yet others pointed to the fact that he had a working knowledge of how to dry anthrax expressly listed on his resume — having learned from William Patrick.

      Ed argued that “conspiracy theorists” were pointing to USAMRIID when all the FACTS, he said, pointed to access to Battelle. The FACT he said was there was a Battelle person (not a microbiologist) who had the PERFECT ALIBI and therefore most assuredly was the person who access the virulent Ames, even though all indications were that he thought anthrax was a virus. FBI Director Mueller immediately said the theory was baloney but Ed argued for the next 7 years that the FBI secretly believed that and they were just waiting for sufficient proof at trial.

      Ed offers no evidence that the flask was not in Bldg. 1411 in 1999 when Dr. Hatfill was at USAMRIID or that the refrigerator was locked.

      Dr. Hatfill acknowledges he forged his PhD diploma thus reflecting importantly on his character.

      The FBI Task Force investigators would not have been doing their job if they did not thoroughly consider these facts.

      Through all of this Ed argued that the FACTS proved a First Grader wrote the letters, apparently having no experience with the writing abilities of First Graders or their propensity to say the darndest things to whoever they are talking with. Knowing Ed, I can assure you that he has not read the authoritative treatises in the field or peer reviewed literature or consulted with experts on the issue.

      Given Bugmaster was not relying on a news article and points to a conversation with an FBI agent, the best explanation is that she either misunderstood or that the agent was using deception. Her IP indicates her location which is not proximate to Dr. Hatfill but perhaps she had a connection in an earlier life. Agents will use deception in questioning, I believe, and it is permitted under US Supreme Court precedent. Personally, I think it is bad practice. But perhaps the agent just meant that there were draft indictments. In civil litigation, preparing draft complaints is common.

      I belabor the speciousness of Ed’s views only because he stubbornly refuses to correct facts after they are pointed out to be mistaken — such as his front page claim that the daycare center existed at the time of mailings and the FACTS establish a First Grader wrote the letters. The reality is the facts don’t establish who wrote the letters. Even a first grader knows that. Ed is a true believer and yet uses his ad hominem achtick rather than addressing facts and taking care to get them right.

      • BugMaster said

        DXer:

        I don’t believe that FBI Agent Pup had any direct knowledge of any actual indictments. If he did so, by revealing them, he committed a felony, not just a misdemeanor violation of the privacy act.

        This was just one of many of the indescreations mady by many FBI agents during the height of the “Hatfill Hysteria”.

        As far as Agent Pup, I would say this was a case of youthful over-enthusiasm on his part.

      • BugMaster said

        Ed:

        I recall that soon after the Hatfill settlement was announced, one member of his legal team specifically mentioned the indictment rumours as one reason Hatfill sued the government.

    • BugMaster said

      BugMaster wrote: “There are indictments”.

      “Sorry, but you need to provide a source for that. It appears to be total baloney. I’ve never seen anything to even suggest that such a thing is true.”

      So, Ed, you are saying I should disclose the name of the FBI agent that made this statement?

      It’s past history, Ed. Not going to go there.

  10. DXer said

    Ed asks of BugMaster:

    “You can’t tell anyone how or why the grand jury was going to indict Ivins without any evidence?”

    It was weeks away from evidence even being presented and an indictment sought. Ed has no basis for assuming what a grand jury would do. He instead can only credit that the US Attorney’s office reports it was going to seek an indictment against Dr. Ivins. Ed didn’t even understand the central evidence in the case relating to genetics (he thought it limited things to Dr. Ivins rather than 8 known isolates to which 100-300 people had access).

    A lawyer is doing his job in advising his client to be prepared. That same lawyer has emphatically said that there was no evidence, that Dr. Ivins had received a letter saying he was not a target of the grand jury, and that the FBI only had a speculative theory, not evidence, that Dr. Ivins mailed and processed the anthrax used in the letters.

  11. DXer said

    Ed refers to presentation of evidence to Ivins’ attorney.
    Ivins attorney has said that the FBI has no evidence (and showed him none) — just its speculation.

    Ed still — on the first page argues on his website

    “17. His wife ran a day care center at the time of the attacks, Ivins had many contacts with children, and the facts indicate that a child of about 6 was used to do the actual writing on the anthrax letters.”

    Ed has no regard for the facts and makes false charges without factual basis. She did not have the day care center until after the kids were grown. For the “devotion to children”(read First Graders), Ed relied upon was a eulogy that discussed the devotion to HIS children. When Ed can’t even get facts right when the authority is linked, and then does not make the corrections, he has zero credibility in characterizing “informed sources.”

  12. DXer said

    In August 2009, the FBI spokesman Dean Boyd said:

    “The Justice Department and the FBI continue working to conclude the investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks,” department spokesman Dean Boyd said. …”

    The FBI reports that it expects to close the matter shortly, which is what it expected 12 months ago.

    Congressman Calls for Broader Probe in FBI’s Handling of Anthrax …
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/…/AR2009073103803.html

  13. DXer said

    Bugmaster asks if USAMRIID has produced any emails from 2001. The last I recall produced dated to April 2000. The US DOJ has to clear what USAMRIID has produced and it would have taken about a day to redact and produce the emails. It’s been a year. Thus, the FOI production is not being done in compliance with FOI because of the US DOJ’s interference. Selectively producing materials would have been fine if it had not been for the press conference they held accusing him. They should put up or shut up. Now, they should be sued under FOIA given the importance of the rule of law that DOJ is charged with vindicating — not obstructing. What the DOJ’s conclusion is seems pretty immaterial to the FOIA issue — just let USAMRIID turn over the documents as required by FOIA or have them respond by invoking the law enforcement exemption so the issue can be appealed and then litigated. The General in charge should order the FOI people to proceed.

  14. DXer said

    “‘Interrogators got valued info, could face charges,” Washington Times, August 25, 2009

    By Ben Conery
    Among the chilling details in the documents, titled “Khalid Sheikh Mohammad: Preeminent Source On Al-Qaeda” and “Detainee Reporting Pivotal for the War Against Al Qaeda”:

    • The identities of key participants in an al Qaeda program to develop the ability to mount anthrax attacks.

    This was first reported by Mr. Hosenball in 2004 in a Newsweek piece titled Interrogation and Anthrax. Rather than being a revelation, it is a measure of how little public understanding has advanced.

    http://www.anthraxandalqaeda.com

  15. DXer said

    UNCLASSIFIED Al Qaeda’s Biochem Program Codenamed Yogurt a. Codename “Swift Knight”: Bin Laden’s Plan With Ibn Khattab To Use Charities And Infiltrators In Creating Biological Weapons The surest indication that the Administration credited the claims concerning Al Qaeda’s intention to weaponize anthrax for the purpose of using it as a weapon is that Vice President Cheney and his staff allegedly knew to take Cipro on 9/11. That was a full week before the first anthrax letter was mailed. An unclassified CIA report in January 2003 vaguely summarized the information available from open sources: “A senior Bin Ladin associated on trial in Egypt in 1999 claimed his group had chemical and biological weapons. Documents and equipment recovered from al-Qa’ida facilities in Afghanistan show that Bin Ladin has a more sophisticated biological weapons research program than previously discovered.” Tenet in his May 2007 In the Center of the Storm wrote: “As we researched the information we were slowly gathering from myriad sources, we unlocked a disturbing secret: the group’s interest in WMD was not new. They had been searching for these weapons long before we had been looking for them. As far we know, al-Qa-ida’s fascination with chemical weapons goes back to the sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system in March 1995 by a group of religious fanatics called the Aum Shinrikyo. Twelve people died in that attack, but had the dispersal devices worked as planned, the death toll would have been higher. Al-Qai’da leaders were impressed and saw the attack as a model for achieving their own ambitions.” In Sudan, bin Laden sought to bring Agiza’s Vanguards of Conquest faction and Saif Adel’s EIJ faction — both of which had splintered off from Zawahiri’s leadership. The Vanguards of Conquest initially had been set up by Ahmed Hussain Agiza, a physician, and split off from Zawahiri. Agiza had a falling out with Zawahiri in 1993 over the arrest of 800 Vanguards members in Egypt. By 1995, Zawahiri was serving as the group’s spokesman in connection with the attempted assassination of President Mubarak in Ethiopia. In 1997, the US State Department named Zawahiri as leader of the Vanguards of Conquest group. (Agiza was extradited from Sweden in December 2001). EIJ has maintained the goal of seizing power in Egypt since the coup planned by Jihad in 1981 despite the Egyptian government’s success in cracking down on the group. At the same time of their developing interest in anthrax, the pro-Bin Laden elements diversified the targets. Al Qaeda would no longer limit its tactics to the blowing up of installations. It launched joint action with other groups and organizations, both local groups and others operating outside their countries. Formerly the head of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Zawahiri assumed the #2 position after Bin Laden upon a merger of some of Islamic Jihad into Al Qaeda. The Vanguards of Conquest called creation of the front “a step forward and in the right direction,” but urged Bin Laden to “expand its membership to include other tendencies on the scene.. [and] all colors of the fundamentalist movement wishing to join such alliance in the Arab and Islamic worlds.” Upon the merger in 1998, the most senior planners in Al Qaeda relating to tactics and biological weapons were Egyptian Islamic Jihad, to include Ayman Zawahiri, Mohammed Atef, and Midhat Mursi aka Abu Khabab. Zawahiri is the real “brains” behind Al Qaeda, not Bin Laden. Egyptian Abu Yasir — known as Taha –the blind sheik’s successor as leader of the Islamic Group, also was a senior member of Al Qaeda. Taha signed the 1998 statement declaring war on the United States along with Bin Laden and Zawahiri. Taha had not conferred with the Islamic Group shura council. Moreover, Zawahiri apparently had not obtained the approval of EIJ’s shura council to their great consternation. While the US government views Al Qaeda and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad as having merged in 1998, they have essentially been the same organization, with the merger having occurred some years before that. In a statement in February 1998, the Vanguards of Conquest said that Muslims should unite against the “real enemies of Islam,” the United States and Israel. “The time has come to coordinate..to stop our knee-jerk reactions and killing those who are not the enemy..we have to think strategically,” the group said. Under one view, EIJ by this time was Vanguards of Conquest by another name — with Zawahiri its leader and spokesperson. The Egyptian government claimed that Yasser al- Sirri managed and financed the group Vanguards of Conquest, also known as the New Jihad, from his London home while on the public dole. Zawahiri’s wrath against the United States sharpened in 1998 upon the extradition to Egypt of the islamic jihad members from Albania. The trial of the 107 defendants in the “Albanian returnees” in 1999 was the biggest trial of militant islamists since the assassination of Sadat. Zawahiri was sentenced to death in absentia, as was his brother, Muhammad. Muhammad was responsible for Jihad’s military wing and was a member of its shura council. Muhammad Zawahiri was in charge of contacts with EIJ leaders inside Egypt and traveled with Ayman. A 1998 Defense Intelligence Agency document produced to Judicial Watch a half decade ago confirmed Bin Laden’s plans to penetrate US biodefense. It describes OBL’s biological aspirations in association with the late Arab Chechen fighter Ibn Khattab. The means by which a worldwide caliphate was to be established was by terror, “latent penetration,” and control over nuclear and biological weapons. After 9/11, Ibn Khattab was killed by a poison letter. The head of judicial watch interpeted “latent penetration” as referring to sleeper cells, which is a sound interpretation. But I think of it as referring more precisely to infiltration. The infiltration that occurred, as had occurred with Bin Laden’s former head of security and intelligence, Ali Mohammed, was pretty obvious, at least with the benefit of hindsight. Perhaps the suppression of information in Amerithrax may be due in part to a profound embarrassment and fear of legal liability, rather than due merely to the confidentiality required in a criminal and national security investigation. The typed document was derived from handwritten documents obtained through a classified intelligence project with the unclassified nickname “Swift Knight.” According to the report, the documents were written during the first two weeks of October 1998.” The document stated in part: SUBJ: SWIFT KNIGHT – USAM BEN LADEN’S CURRENT AND HISTORICAL ACTIVITIES WARNING: THIS IS AN INFORMATION REPORT, NOT FINALLY EVALUATED INTELLIGENCE BEN LADEN STAYED IN KHARTOUM, WHERE 700 AFGHAN ARABS WERE CONCENTRATED. FROM THIS GROUP, HE CREATED THE NUCLEUS OF THE TERRORIST FUNDAMENTALIST POLITICAL ORGANIZATION “AL-KAIDA”. AMONG THE MEMBERS WAS HIS PERSONAL FRIEND, AMER [(KHATTAB]), A JORDANIAN CHECHEN WHOSE REPUTATION WAS DISTINGUISHED EVEN IN THEIR OWN CIRCLE FOR UNMOTIVATED BRUTALITY. IN 1995, KHATTAB APPEARED IN CHECHNYA TO CARRY OUT A SPECIAL MISSION ASSIGNED TO HIM BY USAM BEN LADEN TO ORGANIZE TRAINING CAMPS FOR INTERNATIONAL TERRORISTS. THE MEANS BY WHICH THE ABOVE GOALS [AT MINIMUM, TO OVERTHROW FAKHD IN SAUDI ARABIA] ARE TO BE MET ARE VIA TERROR, ETHNIC CLEANSING, “LATENT PENETRATION” (NFI), AND CONTROL OVER NUCLEAR AND BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS (JIHKHAD). FURTHER, RADICAL ISLAMIC (PREDOMINANTLY SUNNI) REGIMES ARE TO BE ESTABLISHED AND SUPPORTED EVERYWHERE POSSIBLE, INCLUDING BOSNIA, ALBANIA, CHECHNYA, DAGESTAN, [ETC] “VOLUNTEERS” FROM WHAT THE DOCUMENT REFERRED TO AS BEN LADEN’S ‘CHARITY SOCIETIES’ FROM PAKISTAN AND AFGHANISTAN *** A DIRECT ROUTE HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED TO CHECHNYA FROM PAKISTAN AND AFGHANISTAN THROUGH TURKEY AND AZERBAIJAN. *** THE NEW PROGRAM INCLUDES TOPICS IN– “DIVERSIONS” WITH THE HELP OF WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION, INCLUDING BACTERIOLOGICAL, AND INCENDIARY MIXTURES. I believe NFI, which appears in parentheses, after the phrase “latent penetration,” may be World Bank-speak spoken by Wadi al Hage standing for non-conventional financial intermediary or NGO, non-governmental organization. He uses the same “nfi” designation in his correspondence from that time period. It is merely an additional confirmation Bin Laden planned to use the infrastructure and cover of charities in seeking to weaponize anthrax. On December 18, 1998, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and Vanguards of Conquest issued a new threat, stating in part that the group will not be “satisfied with the empty statements of condemnation that we are used to hearing from [Arab] regimes. We say it loud and clear that we will retaliate for what is happening to the sons of our nation in Iraq. For the crimes committed by the US against our Islamic nation will not pass without punishment.” The statement was signed by the Vanguards of Conquest’s secretary general, “Abduallah Mansour.” It was published in the al-Hayat on December 19, 1998. b. The March 1999 Public Announcement Of Zawahiri’s Quest To Weaponize Anthrax An April 1, 1999 email shows Ayman Zawahiri was in active email contact with Egyptians in a Yemen cell engaged in operational planning. In 1999, Zawahiri created some computer documents describing his biological and chemical program, which he code-named Zabadi or “Curdled Milk.” It is milk curdled by bacteria. It’s made using a spraydryer. Like the FBI, Zawahiri has a penchant for suggestive code names, which sort of defeats the purpose. (Indeed, the US Army reportedly used Zabadi and “bad cow” as code names for Iraqi soldiers upon invading Iraq.) The project apparently included work on a pesticide/nerve agent that used a chemical to increase absorption (and was tested on rabbits and dogs). Was Ayman’s code-name al-Zabadi, meaning yogurt. Or was it instead al-Zubaidy, referring to the inventor of an aerosol spraying device used in adapting cropdusters? I have relied on a landmark article in the Wall Street Journal about the documents on Ayman’s computer in suggesting that Zabadi means “yogurt.” Later that month, a vitriolic message, signed by “Army of Suicidals Group 66, Bin Laden Militant Wing,” threatened anthrax attacks against Westerners if they stayed in Yemen beyond a 11-day ultimatum ending February 27, 1999. Egyptians, Algerians and Tunisians, all veterans of the Afghan war, were part of a group calling itself the Islamic Army of Aden and Abyan. Investigators considered a possible connection to the attempted extradition to Yemen of the London-based Egyptian islamic preacher Abu Hamza al-Masri. At a news conference on January 20, 1999, Abu Hamza, who was the leader of the London-based Supporters of Sharia (Islamic law), had warned that westerners should leave Yemen. Both his son and stepson were being held by authorities. Abu Hamzi al-Masri would later be arrested in May 2004. The anthrax threat, however, was a bluff. Ayman was still researching the subject. Richard Clarke once said in testimony, “All too often we ignore open sources. If we don’t pay for it or steal it, we don’t believe it.” There is a wealth of public information about the Vanguards of Conquest and Zawahiri’s quest to weaponize anthrax. On March 6, 1999, the report first appeared about Al Qaeda and anthrax in Arabic newspapers in connection with the confession of a senior Egyptian islamist militant, Ahmad al-Najjar. Al-Najjar had served and then betrayed Zawahiri in Yemen. Al-Najjar also revealed the EIJ’s wing in the United States centered on Ali Mohammed. c. Zawahiri’s April/May 1999 Memos To Al Qaeda’s Military Commander Atef and Interest In Anthrax and Pesticides George Tenet, in At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA, summarized: “The most startling revelation from this intelligence success story was that the anthrax program had been developed in parallel to 9/11 planning. As best as we could determine, al-Zawahiri’s project had been wrapped up in the summer of 2001, when the al-Qaida deputy, along with Hambali, were briefed over a week by Sufaat on the progress he had made to isolate anthrax. The entire operation had been managed at the top of al-Qai’da with strict compartmentalization. Having completed this phase of his work, Sufaat fled Afghanistan in December 2001 and was captured by authorities trying to sneak back into Malaysia. Rauf Ahmad was detained by Pakistani authorities in December 2001. Our hope was that these and our many other actions had neutralized the anthrax threat, at least temporarily.” In an April 1999 memorandum, Zawahiri wrote that “the destructive power of these [biological] weapons is no less than that of nuclear weapons. *** [D]espite their extreme danger, we only became aware of them when the enemy drew our attention to them by repeatedly expressing concern that they can be produced simply.” Demonstrating that Al Qaeda’s knowledge and expertise was still at a very early stage despite the grand statements and threats the earlier year, the memorandum read: “To: Muhammed Atef From: Ayman al-Zawahiri Folder: Outgoing Mail Date: April 15, 1999 I have read the majority of the book [an unnamed volume, probably on biological and chemical weapons] [It] is undoubtedly useful. It emphasizes a number of important facts, such as: 1) The enemy started thinking about these weapons before WWI. Despite their extreme danger, we only became aware of them when the enemy drew our attention to them by repeatedly expressing concerns that they can be produced simply with easily available materials. b) The destructive power of these weapons is no less than that of nuclear weapons. c) A germ attack is often detected days after it occurs, which raises the number of victims. d) Defense against such weapons is very difficult, particularly if large quantities are used.” Ayman continued: “I would like to emphasize what we previously discussed—that looking for a specialist is the fastest, safest, and cheapest way [to embark on a biological- and chemical-weapons program].” Simultaneously, we should conduct a search on our own.* ** Along these lines, the book guided me to a number of references that I am attaching. Perhaps you can find someone to obtain them.” The memorandum goes on to cite mid-twentieth-century articles from, among other sources, Science, The Journal of Immunology, and The New England Journal of Medicine, and lists the names of such books as Tomorrow’s Weapons (1964), Peace or Pestilence (1949), and Chemical Warfare (1921). The April 1999 email to Atef indicated Ayman had read one USAMRIID author’s description of the secret history of anthrax reported by USAMRIID — the book was called Peace or Pestilence. That was 2 1/2 years before the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings. Post-9/11, we have had the same history avidly reported to us by critics of the biodefense industry. Ayman, well-aware of USAMRIID’s history with anthrax, may have had an operative or some other sympathizer arrange to obtain the US Army strain that would point the public and authorities to this history — confounding true crime analysis at the same time providing moral justification for the use anthrax under the laws of jihad. His interpretation — alluded to in the repeated citation to a particular koranic verse — was that jihadists should use the weapons used by their enemies. In Afghanistan, Zawahiri was assisted by Midhat Mursi (alias Abu Khabab). In his late 1940s, Mursi had graduated from the University of Alexandria in 1975. An Egyptian chemical engineer, he ran the camp named Abu Khabab. Intelligence reportedly indicates that Midhat Mursi had for some time been linked to the Kashmir-based Pakistani group Lashkar-e-Taiba. According to a May 7, 1999 email, the modest amount of $2,000 to $4,000 had been marked for “startup” costs of the program. A letter dated May 23, 1999 written by one of Zawahiri’s aliases mentions some “very useful ideas” that had been discussed during a visit to the training camp Abu Khabab. “It just needs some experiments to develop its practical use.” Especially promising was a home-brew nerve gas made from insecticides and a chemical additive that would help speed up penetration into the skin. Midhat Mursi was widely reported and believed to have been killed in a January 2006 bombing raid in Pakistan — at a high-level terror summit at which Zawahiri’s son-in-law was also killed. But a year-and-a-half later, the Washington Post matter-of-factly announced: “U.S. and Pakistani officials now say that none of those al-Qaeda leaders perished in the strike and that only local villagers were killed.” Midhat Mursi later was killed in a missile strike in the summer of 2008. Al Qaeda’s experimentation with its chemical weapons was featured on the nightly television news picturing a dog being put to death. Director of the Center for Nonproliferation Studies and former U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq, Jonathan Tucker, an expert retained by the government to determine the chemical used in the video, opined that it was hydrogen cyanide. As journalist John Berger explained of the tapes: “US intelligence said al-Qaida’s chemical weapons programme was centered in Darunta camp. The mastermind behind experiments was allegedly Egyptian Midhat Mursi, who ran a section of the camp known as Khabab, and who worked mainly with Egyptians. Experts said that all but one of the voices on the tapes shown yesterday by CNN spoke in Egyptian accents. KSM had non-pilot hijackers practice how to slit passengers’ throats by making the hijackers practice killing sheep, goats, and camels in connection with the planned “Planes Operation.” Did the Amerithrax perpetrators similarly practice killing animals? Ahmed Ressam testified at his trial in New York that he participated in experiments using cyanide gas pumped into an office building ventilation system at a training camp run by bin Laden in Afghanistan. Abu Khabab camp was within the Darunta Camp, which also included the Assadalah Abdul Rahman camp, operated by the son of blind cleric Omar Abdel Rahman. Ayman liked the idea to make a home-brew nerve gas from insecticides and a chemical additive that would help speed penetration into the skin. In a June 1999 memo, however, he talked about building labs (with one being closed every three months so it can be moved and replaced by another), and planned to have them covered with oil paint so they might be cleaned with insecticides. In mid-May 2008, it was reported “Court documents filed in one of her brother’s cases show the Mounties say they found a hard drive that includes ‘material dealing with bomb making, ricin, techniques of assassination, chemicals, poisons, silencers, etc; incoming and outgoing e-mails of Zaynab Khadr.\'” Zaynab Khadr was the daughter of Ahmed Khadr, the Canadian who was a confidante of Zawahiri and Bin Laden. The article continues: “The once-secret RCMP memo of August, 2005, then goes on to describe other seized files, including “some sort of military operational plan to infiltrate Burma and establish an al-Qaeda base, curriculum for religious studies at al-Faruq training camp, techniques to invade prisons, contract for immoral acts; administrative letters from [Osama bin Laden], etc.” The article by Colin Freeze continues: “A court-filed transcript shows her brother, in a subsequent RCMP interview, upheld that much of the extremist propaganda on the laptop did not belong to Zaynab. ‘That’s my father’s hard drive,’ Abdullah Khadr told the Mounties. He later added that he had personally directed his sister to upload certain jihadist material.” “Records show the Mounties were very curious to know about the family’s relationship with a reputed al-Qaeda bomb-maker – since killed – known as Abu Khabbab Al-Masri, whom the RCMP suggest actually wrote many of the seized files.” d. Open September 1999 Letter From a London Radical Sheik Calling For Holy Biowar And Bin Laden’s Response In early September 1999, the London Sunday Times reported that London Sheik Omar Bakri Muhammad, a friend of Abu Hamza, the mullah with metal claws for hands, in an open letter read out in mosques across Britain and published on the internet, called on Osama Bin Laden to use biological weapons against America and its allies. Sheik Omar Bakri posted his open letter to Bin Laden on his own website and read in mosques in Sheffield, Bradford, Leicester and London. When US officials complained, the letter was taken off the internet. “Using any biological weapons in self-defence is, in Islam, permissible, and I believe that we are currently operating under a defensive jihad. Obviously, we regret what could happen to innocent people, but there are always people who are war casualties or, if you like, victims of war.” He recommends that biological weapons be used against the “occupiers” of holy lands. Youssef Bodansky, the director of the Congressional United States Task Force on Terrorism, said: “Bakri knows that his letter will be acted upon and that is why he has written it.” He told the Sunday Times Bin Laden had taken encouragement from Bakri’s message and had issued a reply that was read out in mosques in Pakistan and Britain. The article noted that the US government was offering a reward of $ 5 million for information leading to the capture of Bin Laden in connection with the 1998 embassy bombings. Bakri in 1991 had called for the assassination of the British Prime Minister for Britain’s part in the Gulf war, arguing he was a legitimate target “because London called for the destruction of the Khalifate (the international Islamic state).” Bakri, however, saves his harshest criticism for the US which he calls the “terrorist, blaspheming, Jewish, murdering, pirate state of Israel.” Bakri admitted to the Times that his use of the business name “Info 2000 Software Ltd” was a cover for his calls to jihad. Ahmed & Co, Bakri’s solicitor, told the Times that Bakri “strongly takes issue with the wild and erroneous interpretations placed by Bodansky on the contents of his open letter to Bin Laden.” Bakri, the attorney claimed “publicly condemns” terrorism. In 2000, before the Sydney Olympics, a news article appeared indicating the officials’ concern over intelligence that Al Qaeda had obtained anthrax and that WTC plotters had been in extensive telephone contact before and after the New York bombing with a resident from New South Wales. One New South Wales resident, who came to Australia in 1980, was Mamdouh Habib. Habib, in what he says was a false and coerced confession, admitted to helping move chemical weapons from a location in Kabul after 9/11. Habib had come to visit Brooklyn in 1992. The article read: “Australian and international security analysts are interpreting the significance of the purchase of biological weapons – including … deadly anthrax … — from Kazakhstan arms dealers by bin Laden associates.” While the report that anthrax was obtained seems unconfirmed and uncorroborated, Ayman’s emails to Atef and his correspondence with Rauf Ahmad certainly show that if Al Qaeda did not have virulent anthrax yet, it was not for the lack of trying. e. Condoleeza Rice’s Remarks On Facing The New Threat of Biological Warfare And Stomaching The Associations Involved In Collecting BW Intelligence Condoleeza Rice addressed these bioterrorism issues in 1999 in “Introductory Remarks” in The New Terror: Facing The Threat Of Biological and Chemical Warfare in 1999. She wrote: “One Sunday in November 1998, ‘Meet the Press’ viewers watched as Secretary of Defense William Cohen told that Iraq’s Saddam Hussein was trying to develop a massive biological and chemical weapons (BCW) capability. Cohen set a familiar yellow bag of Domino sugar in front of him, and noted that just that amount of anthrax could effectively poison the water supply of the City of New York.” Shame on KSM for implying it was his idea. Cohen wanted to garner public support for air strikes against Hussein in retaliaton for his refusal to permit UN inspections of suspected production sites for BCW. Cohen did something else, entirely, however — he reminded the people of their vulnerability to biological and chemical attacks, a vulnerability that today seems absolute.” Rice continued: “To date, there has been more heat than light on the subject of the BCW threat. It is all too early to let one’s imagination run so far and so fast that the standard problems of security appear insurmountable.” She explained: In a democracy such as ours, there is no substitute for open and honest dialog about the impact of what we do on our laws and our values. Without that, no leader can pursue a coherent strategy confident of the support of the people.” Rice further explained in 1999, “No one would suggest the US become ‘Fortress America’ in order diminish the BCW threat, no matter how grave… Yet, improved intelligence in countering the threat does raise uncomfortable questions.” She noted: “The human assets likely to be involved in BCW intelligence may be even more unsavory. Can we stomach those associations?” Regardless whether the United States was willing to stomach the associations, Ayman Zawahiri had already sent operatives to infiltrate US and UK biodefense establishment. f. “I Successfully Achieved The Targets”: Assistance Of Pakistan Scientist Rauf Ahmad In 1999 And 2000 George Tenet in his May 2007 In the Center of the Storm says: “Al-Qa’ida spared no effort in its attempt to obtain biological weapons. In 1999, al-Zawahiri recruited Pakistani national Rauf Ahmad, to set up a small lab in Khandahar, Afghanistan, to house the biological weapons effort. In December 2001, a sharp WMD analyst at CIA found the initial lead on which we would pull and, ultimately, unravel the al-Qa’ida anthrax networks. We were able to identify Rauf Ahmad from letters he had written to Ayman al-Zawahiri. … We located Rauf Ahmad’s lab in Afghanistan. We identified the building in Khandahar where Sufaat claimed he isolated anthrax. We mounted operations that resulted in the arrests and detentions of anthrax operatives in several countries.” Delivering the James Smart Lecture, entitled “Global Terrorism: are we meeting the challenge?” at the headquarters of the City of London Police, Ms. Manningham-Buller, the head of MI5, said: “Western security services have uncovered networks of individuals, sympathetic to the aims of al-Qa’ida, that blend into society, individuals who live normal, routine lives until called upon for specific tasks by another part of the network.” She concluded: “The threats of chemical, biological and radiological and suicide attacks require new responses and the Government alone will not achieve all of it; industry and even the public must take greater responsibility for their own security.” Milton Leitenberg wrote in a chapter on evolving threats in Wenger and Wollenmann’s 2007 Bioterrorism: Confronting A Complex Threat: “The first significant and meaningful information on what Al-Qaida may at some point have hoped to achieve in the area of bioweapons appeared on a single page in the journal SCIENCE in mid-December 2003, and then in declassified documents that were obtained in the last week of March 2004. … Appended to the single page in SCIENCE via the internet address was a list of thirty-two items: eleven books and twenty-one professional journal papers nearly all dating from the 1950s and 1960s dealing with pathogens or bioweapons.” He explained: “They were found in Al Qaida training camp near Kandahar, Afghanistan, in December 2001. Half of the books dealt with historic or general aspects of bioweapons and would be of little practical use in an effort to produce bioweapons agents. However, at least some of the journal papers and the remaining half of the books might have been useful in such an effort. They were found only a few kilometers from the site near the Kandahar airport that confirmed the rudimentary equipment also procured by Al-Qaida.”Most important of all, the documents indicated that “al-Qaida’s BW initiative included recruitment of individuals with PhD-level expertise who supported planning and acquisition efforts by their familiarity with the scientific community.” Mr. Leitenberg concludes: “If it should turn out, as is currently assumed, that the Amerithrax perpetrator came from within the US government’s own biodefense program, with access to strains, laboratories, people and knowledge, then all previous conceptions about the significance of the events would be substantially altered.” He observes that “Al-Qaeda has actively recruited educated college graduates and … specifically sought individuals with particular knowledge and training. … Such recruiting patterns do not automatically translate into either an interest or capability in bioweapons, but they would be a key advantage should the interests of such a group turn in that direction, as Al-Zawahiri’s [1999] memorandum quoted above suggests they may.” The FOIA response from the Homeland Security Department run by Mr. Ridge’s explains that it is being referred to component agencies. One component, related to immigration, for example, has responded and I am very impressed with the level of professionalism reflected both in the letters and in all the telephone conversations. If these are form letters, they are darn good ones. When the Defense Intelligence Agency said that nothing had yet been processed but try again in asking for the right material, my thought is that the FOI people under this Administration are committed to the statute — and the mainstream media and nonprofits (and I) are just not asking the right questions. In the end, however, the expressed commitment to FOIA is not yet been reflected by production as evidenced by the failure to produce Ivins’ emails after April 2000. We are thus left to go to Barnes & Noble to read yet another tell-all book written by someone who should have told us the truth back when he was in office — or resigned. In 1999, a scientist from Porton Down had reported to sfam members on a conference in Taos, New Mexico in August that included a talk by Tim Read, (TIGR, Rockville, USA) and concerned the whole genome sequencing of the Bacillus anthracis Ames strain. The Ames strain may have been a mystery to many after the Fall 2001 mailings, but not to motivated Society for Applied Microbiology (“SFAM”) members, one of whom was part of Ayman Zawahiri’s “Project Zabadi.” As described by Dr. Peter Turnbull’s Conference report for SFAM on “the First European Dangerous Pathogens Conference” (held in Winchester), at the September 1999 conference, the lecture theater only averaged about 75 at peak times by his head count. There had been a problem of defining “dangerous pathogen” and a “disappointing representation from important institutions in the world of hazard levels 3 and 4 organisms.” Papers included a summary of plague in Madagascar and another on the outbreak management of hemorrhagic fevers. Dr Paul Keim of Northern Arizona University presented a paper on multilocus VNTR typing, for example, of Bacillus anthracis and Yersinia pestis. There were more than the usual no-show presenters and fill-in speakers. In his report, Dr. Turnbull looked forward to a second, fully international conference in 2000 focused on the ever increasing problems surrounding hazard levels 3 and 4 organisms and aimed at international agreement on the related issues. University of Maryland researcher Milton Leitenberg reports that the conferences described in the correspondence had been in July and September 1999. The Sunday at the start of the Organization of the Dangerous Pathogens meeting in September 2000, which the SFAM director confirmed to me that Rauf Ahmad also attended, was gloomy. Planning had proved even more difficult than the International Conference on anthrax also held at the University of Plymouth, in September 1998. The overseas delegates included a sizable contingent from Russia. The organizers needed to address many thorny issues regarding who could attend. One of the scientists in attendance was Rauf Ahmad. The Washington Post reports: “The tall, thin and bespectacled scientist held a doctorate in microbiology but specialized in food production, according to U.S. officials familiar with the case.” Les Baillie the head of the biodefense technologies group at Porton Down ran the scientific program. Many of the delegates took an evening cruise round Plymouth harbor. The cold kept most from staying out on the deck. Later attendees visited the National Marine Aquarium — with a reception in view of a large tankful of sharks. Addresses include presentations on plagues of antiquity, showing how dangerous infectious diseases had a profound that they changed the course of history. Titles include “Magna pestilencia – Black Breath, Black Rats, Black Death”, “From Flanders to Glanders,” as well as talks on influenza, typhoid and cholera. The conference was co-sponsored by DERA, the UK Defence Evaluation and Research Agency. Les Baillie of Porton Down gave a presentation titled, “Bacillus anthracis: a bug with attitude!” He argued that anthrax was a likely pathogen to be used by terrorists. As described at the time by Phil Hanna of University of Michigan Medical School on the SFAM webpage, Baillie “presented a comprehensive overview of this model pathogen, describing its unique biology and specialized molecular mechanisms for pathogenesis and high virulence. He went on to describe modern approaches to exploit new bioinformatics for the development of potential medical counter measures to this deadly pathogen.” Bioinformatics was the field that Ali Al-Timimi, who had a security clearance for some government work and who had done work for the Navy, would enter by 2000 at George Mason University in Virginia. Despite the cold and the sharks, amidst all the camaraderie and bonhomie no one suspected that despite the best efforts, a predator was on board — on a coldly calculated mission to obtain a pathogenic anthrax strain. The conference organizer Peter Turnbull had received funding from the British defense ministry but not from public health authorities, who thought anthrax too obscure to warrant the funding. By 2001, sponsorship of the conference was assumed by USAMRIID. USAMRIID scientist Bruce Ivins had started planning the conference held in Annapolis, Maryland in June 2001 three years earlier, immediately upon his return from the September 1998 conference. According to the Pakistan press, a scientist named Rauf Ahmad was picked up in December 2001 by the CIA in Karachi. The most recent of the correspondence reportedly dates back to the summer and fall of 1999. Even if Rauf Ahmad cooperated with the CIA, he apparently could only confirm the depth of Zawahiri’s interest in weaponizing anthrax and provided no “smoking gun” concerning the identity of those responsible for the anthrax mailings in the Fall 2001. His only connection with SFAM was a member of the society — he was not an employee. The Pakistan ISI, according to the Washington Post article in October 2006, stopped cooperating in regard to Rauf Ahmad in 2003. I have uploaded scanned copies of some 1999 documents seized in Afghanistan by US forces at http://www.anthraxandalqaeda.com describing the author’s visit to the special confidential room at the BL-3 facility where 1000s of pathogenic cultures were kept; his consultation with other scientists on some of technical problems associated with weaponizing anthrax; the bioreactor and laminar flows to be used in Al Qaeda’s anthrax lab; and the need for vaccination and containment. He explained that the lab director noted that he would have to take a short training course at the BL-3 lab for handling dangerous pathogens. Rauf Ahmad noted that his employer’s offer of pay during a 12-month post-doc sabbatical was wholly inadequate and was looking to Ayman to make up the difference. After an unacceptably low pay for the first 8 months, there would be no pay for last 4 months and there would be a service break. He had noted that he only had a limited time to avail himself of the post-doc sabbatical. I also have uploaded a handwritten copy of earlier correspondence from before the lab visit described in the typed memo. The Defense Intelligence Agency provided the documents to me, along with 100+ pages more, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”). 90 of the 100 pages are the photocopies of journal articles and disease handbook excerpts. Rauf Ahmad (Abdur Rauf) is available by email for questions. The Post, in an exclusive groundbreaking investigative report, recounts that the FBI’s New York office took the lead U.S. role — and its agents worked closely with the CIA and bureau officials in Pakistan in interrogating Rauf. Though not formally charged with any crimes, Rauf agreed to questioning. While the US media focused on the spectacle of bloodhounds alerting to Dr. Steve Hatfill and the draining of Maryland ponds, this former Al Qaeda anthrax operative provided useful leads. But problems began when the U.S. officials sought to pursue criminal charges, including possible indictment and prosecution in the United States. In earlier cases, such as the othopedic surgeon Dr. Amer Aziz who treated Bin Laden in the Fall of 2001, the Pakistani government angered the Pakistani public when it sought to prosecute professionals for alleged ties to al-Qaeda. In the case of Amer Aziz, hundreds of doctors, engineers and lawyers took to the streets to demand his release. In 2003, the Pakistanis shut off U.S. access to Rauf. By then, I had noticed the reporting of his arrest in a press article about the raid of a compound of doctors named Khawaja and published it on my website. According to Pakistani officials, there was not enough evidence showing that he actually succeeded in providing al-Qaeda with something useful. Since then, the Post reports, Rauf has been allowed to return to his normal life. Attempts by the Post to contact Rauf in Lahore were unsuccessful. Initially the government agency had said an interview would be possible but then backpedaled. “He was detained for questioning, and later the courts determined there was not sufficient evidence to continue detaining him,” Pakistan’s information minister told the Post. “If there was evidence that proved his role beyond a shadow of a doubt, we would have acted on it. But that kind of evidence was not available.” Yazid Sufaat got the job handling things at the lab instead of Rauf Ahmad. More importantly, Zawahiri, if keeping with his past experience, would have kept things strictly compartmentalized — leaving the Amerithrax Task Force much to do. g. “You are dead! Bang”: Ayman’s Plan To Use Charities And Universities As Cover In Weaponizing Anthrax Among the correspondence written by Rauf Ahmad seized in Afghanistan, there are handwritten notes about the plan to use NGOs, technical institutes and medical labs as cover for aspects of the work, and training requirements for the various personnel at the lab in Afghanistan. Two Pakistani nuclear scientists founded Ummah Tameer-e-Nau in June 2000. “Reconstruction of the Muslim Ummah,” or “UTN,” an Islamabad-based organization whose stated purpose was to conduct relief and development work in Afghanistan. UTN built a flour mill in Kandahar and purchased land in the Kandahar region. UTN business cards from the organization carry the motto “Build to Help, Help to Build.” After the fall of the Taliban, coalition forces and the media began to search UTN facilities in Kabul. It was in November that it was reported by The Economist that the “House of Anthrax” had been found. Documents found by journalists in November 2001 at a villa in Kabul occupied by UTN suggested brainstorming seminars on anthrax had been held to include diagrams suggestive of a plan to use a helium-filled balloon to disperse anthrax across a wide area. The nondescript two-story villa occupied by the Pakistani aid group was in a quiet residential neighborhood of Kabul where a number of international charities were located. One downloaded document had the picture of former Secretary Cohen holding up a 5 pound bag of sugar. There were details about the U.S. military’s vaccination program downloaded from a Defense Department site on the Internet and other Defense Department documents relating to anthrax. There were 10 copies each of most of the documents. On the floor, there was what appeared to be a disassembled rocket alongside a helium canister, as well as two bags of powder. A detailed diagram scrawled in black felt tip pen on a white board shows what appears to be a balloon rising at various trajectories, alongside a fighter jet that is apparently shooting at the balloon. Beside the jet are the words, “You are dead, bang.” There were also pictures of ground missiles linked by lines to the balloon. Mathematical calculations indicated the height at which the balloon would fly, the distance from which it would be shot down and the area over which its contents would be dispersed. Beside one of the balloons is the word “polystyrene” and beside another the word “cyanide.” Loose sheets of paper containing scribbles of missiles and balloons were strewn around the house, indicating those attending the seminar had been taking notes and doing calculations. Although people can reasonably disagree on the conclusion to be drawn of the drawing on the white board showing aerial dispersal of anthrax by balloon, the drawings should be understood in the context of Ayman’s research and reading on the subject. One email from Ayman to Atef lists Peace or Pestilence as one of the books he had read. (The author argued that said science should combat disease, not find devious ways to spread it. That book included a description of the Japanese research on anthrax leading up to WW II and the US concern that anthrax was being dispersed by balloons being sent to the US on high hot air currents. Unit 731 experimented extensively with anthrax bombs and hot-air balloons filled with the deadly disease. In late 1944, aerosol scientists at Ft. Detrick (then known as Camp Detrick) were alarmed when news of some large balloons, as large as 150 feet around, had been sighted silently floating over populated areas. Within a few months, over 250 balloons had been discovered in nine western states. The balloons are known only to have been armed with an incendiary device and killed and injured only a very few people. A senior CNN producer who visited many UTN and Al Qaeda houses in Afghanistan, found the documents linking UTN to Jaish e Muhammad, the Army of the Prophet Mohammad, the Pakistani militant group that had been listed as a terrorist organization by the US on October 12, 2001. Other documents linked UTN to the Pakistan-based Saudi charity WAFA Humanitarian Organization and Al Rashid Trust, two other non-governmental organizations with ties to al-Qaeda that were designated on September 23, 2001 as supporters of terrorism. The New York Times reported on the search of the home by US personnel. A group of men armed with pistols, reportedly Americans, wearing gas masks, rubber gloves and boots, then came to remove powdered chemicals. The men had instructed the guards posted by National Alliance to not go in the home because the chemicals could be dangerous. The room that had been littered with papers was empty and had been swept or vacuumed by the Americans. Even after the second group visited the home, and cleaned it, several bags of chemicals were still strewn in the yard. Two small plastic bags each appeared to hold two to three pounds of brown powder. On the outside of one appeared the name “Mahlobjan” and the number 436. A second bag had the numbers 999 — or 666 — along with a crescent moon, the symbol of Islam. The New York Times reported that there was also a small seal stamped on the corner of the bag, with an eagle in its center. The worker at a charity next door, “Save the Children,” said that Mehmood had been a quiet neighbor and it was impossible to tell whether the men visiting the house were aid workers or not. The manager of the Kabul WAFA office explained that Abu Ghaith was the founder of WAFA before the Combat Review Status Tribunal. Shortly before September 11, he helped Abu Ghaith to leave Afghanistan. and his family leave for Karachi, Pakistan. He had known Abu Ghaith from Kuwait. Before 9/11, he had been in Kandahar working with WAFA. He was paid $200 a month but had been willing to work for free as a volunteer. After a month, however, he got a new supervisor he did not like. He would get upset when medical supplies came and it was broken or crooked. He complained about the expensive long distance calls young people would make, but his supervisor disagreed with his complaints. When the supervisor rifled through his and his wife’s things, he had reached his limit. His supervisor, in any event, said he only wanted people from Mecca working for him and kicked him out on about August 1, 2001. After bringing his family to Pakistan, he returned to Kabul where he met Abu Ghaith. He spent 16 days in what has been described as a “safe house” in Kabul while waiting to go safely back to Pakistan. “I am not a combat fighting animal. It is just a charity organization. What is my mistake? Why are you mentioning Al Qaida and fighting when I worked for a charity organization?” He says he did not know Abu Ghaith was an Al Qaeda spokesman until after 9/11. The Tribunal found his statements to be self-serving and unpersuasive. Abu Ghaith, as Al Qaeda’s spokesman at the time, later claimed that Al Qaeda had the right to use their military, nuclear, and biological equipment to kill hundreds of thousands of people.” In short, although the unclassified evidence relating to the unlawful combatants associated with WAFA in Afghanistan tended not to be rocket scientists, Al Qaeda’s practice of using charities as cover was well-established — which is why it is necessary to turn to US-based operatives and pick up the story with the former assistant to the White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card. h. Al Qaeda’s 2001 Threat To Use Mailed Anthrax In Connection With Jailed Vanguards Of Conquest No. 2 Leader And Former Bin Laden Sudan Farm Manager Mohammad Mahjoub On January 23, 2001, a Canadian court held that the Court did not have jurisdiction to decide the constitutional and Charter issues raised by detainee and dismissed that part of the motion. A letter was received January 30, 2001 at the Citizenship and Immigration Office threatening to use anthrax. It was sent to Immigration Minister Elinor Caplan who had co-signed the detention certificate. Authorities suspected that the letter was sent by militant islamists in protest over the detention of Mahjoub, who ran Bin Laden’s farm in Sudan. Mahjoub had been sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison in 1999 by Egyptian authorities for his involvement in Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Now, he was being detained without charges under an order cosigned by Immigration Minister Caplan and threatened with deportation. The postmark has never been publicly identified. Separately, hoax letters were also sent to American businesses and a Walmart in Saanich, British Columbia. Mahjoub had been in regular contact with a man named Marzouk, who had trained the 1998 embassy bombers and was captured in Baku, Azerbaijan in August 1998. Suspecting Mahjoub of being a shura member of the Vanguards of Conquest and Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the Canadian intelligence officials alleged Mahjoub had significant contacts with persons associated with international Islamic terrorism including Osama Bin Laden, Ahmad Khadr, Essam Marzouk, Vanguards founder Ahmed Agiza, and Osama Bin Laden’s principal procurement agent for weapons of mass destruction Mubarak Al Duri. Al Duri was for a time was from British of Columbia. Al Duri, while living in Tucson, Arizona, was acquainted with Wadi al Hage who is in U.S. custody for the bombing of the U.S. embassies in Africa. Al Duri while residing in British Columbia may have been associated with Marzouk, who trained the 1998 embassy bombers. When the letter was received in January 2001, the letter was sent by Department of National Defence jet to the Canadian Science Center for Human and Animal Health in Winnipeg for examination. Authorities also sent the filters from the Jean Edmonds building’s ventilation system. Authorities said they were treating it as a possible terrorist act against the department and noted that it “was the first time a government department has been targeted in this way.” The Ottawa alert came after one of the employees working in the Minister’s office opened a plain white envelope at 11:15 a.m. The employee discovered powder and a piece of paper in the envelope. Police refused to reveal from where it had been mailed. One source said the letter was unsigned and “mostly gibberish.” (Indeed, the Fall 2001 letters might be described as mostly gibberish, and certainly the “JLo letter” — talking about Jennifer Lopez’ planned wedding — was.) An internal government memo distributed to staff said “an initial analysis of the envelope revealed some traces of bacteria.” The question now is: who else is on Jaballah’s or Mahjoub’s Friends and Family Calling Plan? i. September 10, 2001 “Risk Assessment of Anthrax Threat Letters” After the January 2001 anthrax threat, a Canadian research team undertook to assess the risk. The report titled “Risk Assessment of Anthrax Threat Letters” issued September 2001. In contrast to the 1998 study by William Patrick that had been requested by Dr. Hatfill’s employer SAIC, the Canadian study found considerable exposure to those in the room resulted when such a letter was opened. Bacillus globigii spores (in dry powder form) were donated by the US Department of Defense (Dugway Proving Ground, Utah). Stock concentration powder was -1 x 10 11 cfu/gm. The anthrax sent to the Senators had a smaller particle size –tending toward a uniform 1 micron, subject to clumping that easily broke apart. Bacillus globigii (BG) spores are routinely used as a simulant for Bacillus anthracis (anthrax) spores. “The letter was prepared by putting BG spores in the center of a sheet of paper, folding it over into thirds, placing the folded sheet into the envelope and sealing using the adhesive present on the envelope. The envelope was then shaken to mimic the handling and tumbling that would occur during its passage through the postal system.” The aerosol, produced by opening the BG spore containing envelope, was not confined to the area of the desk but spread throughout the chamber. Values were almost as high at the opposite end of the chamber, shortly after opening the envelopes. 99% of the particles collected were in the 2.5 to 10 µm size range. The report explained: “In addition, the aerosol would quickly spread throughout the room so that other workers, depending on their exact locations and the directional air flow within the office, would likely inhale lethal doses. Envelopes with the open corners not specifically sealed could also pose a threat to individuals in the mail handling system.” More than 80% of the B anthracis particles collected on stationary monitors were within an alveolar respirable size range of 0.95 to 3.5 µm. Thus, the simulant performed very well. Those who continue to argue that the Daschle product was so advanced beyond what the US could do are mistaken. Indeed, the more notable question is why such a good product was prepared in response to a threat letter sent to an immigration minister. The reason perhaps is that authorities suspected that it was Al Qaeda and Egyptian Islamic Jihad that sent the letter. The CIA and CSIS apparently feared that the Vanguards of Conquest would use the good stuff. The CIA knew EIJ intended to use anthrax — from the proclamations of Jaballah’s friend, the captured military commander Mabruk and Jaballah’s brother-in-law’s former law partner al-Zayat. Authorities knew Al Qaeda was getting technical assistance from scientists — and that many of the senior Egyptian leaders had advanced or technical degrees. The specifications provided by Dugway perhaps involved treated fumed silica and a spraydryer (with a last critical step reserved to be done at Dugway) likely were based on what Al Qaeda might send with a little help from their friends. Canadian officials explained they e-mailed the study to the CDC soon after reports of the discovery of anthrax at the American Media Inc. headquarters in Florida. The e-mail, however, was never opened, reports the lead CDC anthrax investigator, who regrets that he never read the email. “It is certainly relevant data, but I don’t think it would have altered the decisions that we made.” At one point, about 2,000 CDC employees were working on the anthrax matter. This Canadian report was perhaps the single most important scientific data point for the CDC to take into account. It certainly was one of the most important reports for the FBI to take into account. Bail was denied by decision on October 5, 2001. Then highly potent anthrax was sent the next day just as had been promised. The CIA has known this since December 2001 but did not promptly tell the relevant FBI personnel. Ayman had returned to the target of his greatest interest — rather than a Canadian immigration minister, he and Shehata and their colleagues targeted the minister who oversaw the Department of Justice and appropriations to Egypt and Israel, and who gave his name (”the Leahy Law”) to the law that permits continuing appropriations to Egypt in the face of allegations of torture. Zawahiri never makes a threat he doesn’t intend to try to keep. Bill Patrick, who often worked with George Mason University students in northern Virginia, had written a report in 1999 for a consultant SAIC at the request of Dr. Steve Hatfill. As one bioterrorism expert commented about the report: “Anytime you pick something up like this, and it seems to layout the whole story for you months or years before the fact, your immediate response is to step back and say ‘whoa, something may be going on here. “Our attacker may very well have used this report as something of a — if not a template, then certainly as a rule of thumb.” The Canadian experiments in 2001 showed that if anthrax spores were finely powdered, a letter could release thousands of lethal doses of the bacteria within minutes of being opened. Furthermore, large amounts of material leaked out of sealed envelopes even before they were opened. By then, more than two dozen federal government employees knew of the Canadian studies, which showed that a real anthrax threat letter was a far more dangerous weapon than anyone had believed. Within days, a dozen more people were informed of the now highly relevant experimental findings. One FBI squad was focused on people who may have known of the study — such as William Patrick’s friend, Dr. Steve Hatfill. Another squad would be focused on the usual suspects and their friends. For the next seven years, the investigation would be shrouded in great secrecy. j. Taliban Interest In The Anthrax Vaccine Laboratory In October 2001, the Taliban emissary to Pakistan denied any involvement in the anthrax mailings, saying “We don’t even know what anthrax is.” The Taliban had long denied having any interest in biological or chemical weapons research. The next month, however, reporters were tipped off by a senior official of the Northern Alliance to check out the Institute of Veterinary Vaccine Production in Kabul run by the Minister of Agriculture. The lab was repeatedly targeted by bombers but the closest of 13 B-52 bombs landed 50 feet away, causing craters. There was a walk-in incubator to develop bacteria. The equipment used to make vaccines was taken away the day before the bombardment began. The cement walls of the building were cracked. Doors were blasted off their hinges. Shards of glass were strewn on the floor. At the end of one corridor on the second floor a reporter and photographer from The Mirror (UK) were led into a small office. The word “anthrax” was scribbled on an unbroken test tube. A sign read “to be safe than sorry” — the word “better” had fallen off. When AP journalist Kathy Gannon and a photographer stood in front of a glass bottle labeled in English “anthrax spore concentrate” in the two-story building, the photographer’s reflection shone back. The scientists explained that their work at the lab was intended only to develop animal vaccines. Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that “the one place where the only vial that had English on it said ‘anthrax’ kind of gives you pause.” Testing showed that it was avirulent strain used in developing animal vaccines. The scientists complained that much of the anthrax vaccine on hand had expired and that they were having trouble getting the supplies they needed to produce more. Before 9/11, private companies in India and Iran had been their main suppliers. Shipments were halted after Sept. 11, and the laboratories had to rely on their stocks. Mullahs oversaw the anthrax vaccine laboratory much to the consternation of the scientist in charge of the lab. The mullahs had ordered that the lab be moved to Kabul so that they could oversee it. According to one British press report, much of the laboratory staff had disappeared some months before 9/11 and their whereabouts were unknown. The Institute once had a staff of 45 and one of Afghanistan’s most modern buildings. The scientists gathered before an AP journalist and photographer pointed to a large clear container that held concentrated anthrax spores. The scientists explained that the Taliban had taken a keen interest in their work. Although he was famed for his ability to recite the koran and not scientifically inclined, the Minister of Agriculture would come and inspect what they were doing. The head of the lab explained, “He and his Taliban superiors were interested in the technical detail of what happened here, although they had no background in science.” The International Committee of the Red Cross and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization provided the scientists technical help. The head of the lab acknowledging that the Taliban could have obtained the knowledge to handle and develop anthrax. The former director of the lab said: “Sadly, some use what is meant to be good for their own destructive ends.” Minister of Agriculture hated the West. “We’d rather have been running the labs on our own,” the lead scientist explained. “But the mullahs were in charge of everything and we couldn’t stop them learning about our activities. There was always a danger information could get into the wrong hands.” The lab was first built in a northern province in 1993 with equipment from India. Scientists infected three sheep to study the results in developing new vaccines. They told a reporter from the Mirror that they buried the carcasses 30 feet down away from any water supplies. “This was very dangerous work, though we knew what we were doing. We developed the technology of how to keep anthrax bacteria and how to develop it for use in vaccines.” “I would be suspicious of the anthrax research and any research during the Taliban (period) because they were under the control of Osama and al-Qaida,” the deputy head of Northern Alliance military intelligence, told The Associated Press. “We have strong evidence of their involvement in chemical weapons,” he added. “We believe that they were using government facilities, like the Ministry of Agriculture, to do their research in terrorism.” A source who worked at the factory told the Mirror (UK): “There’s no doubt the Taliban were planning chemical or biological warfare against the West. I believe anthrax might have been first on their list.” It was the American Taliban John Walker Lindh that reported the battlefield rumor that the next wave would be a chemical or biological attack. l. The Empire Strikes Back: The Rendition of Former Vanguards Of Conquest #1, Cairo M.D. Ahmed Agiza A familiar scene would repeat itself at a different airport with the rendition in December 2001 of Dr. Ahmed Agiza, former head of the Vanguards of Conquest before Zawahiri. Dr. Agizah was the head of Vanguards of Conquest until Zawahiri took over. Agiza had been in Pakistan in the mid-1990s. His attorneys have acknowledged that he once worked closely in Egypt with Ayman Zawahiri but report he had cut ties years earlier. In 1999, while living in Iran, he was convicted in absentia by an Egyptian military court. Swedish officials prepared an expulsion order at 4 p.m. on December 18, 2001. Agiza, a 39-year old physician, was at a shop in downtown Stockholm, on his way home from his language class, when Swedish security officers grabbed him. They forced him into a waiting car. He was picked up by 6 p.m. and he was in the air by 10 p.m. In a small room at the airport, six-hooded figures took Agiza and another prisoner and changed them into dark red overalls. The men cut off his clothes, without having to remove his handcuffs and leg irons. They inserted a suppository containing a sedative while putting on diapers. Then they hung him, blindfolded and hooded, in a harness in the plane. Dr. Agiza had been convicted in his absence in 1999, together with 106 others, by a military court in Cairo for membership in the Vanguards of Conquest (“Talal al-Fateh”). The crew of the plane did not use the term “extraordinary rendition” — they just referred to the process as “snatches.” The Egyptian government had promised not to torture the suspects, but Agiza claims that they applied electric shocks through electrodes fastened to sensitive parts of his body — to his genitals, nipples, tongue, ear lobes, and underarms. At his trial, while he admitted to having been a member of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, he argued that he opposed the use of violence and his views to that effect had been in the Pan-Arab press at the time. After his arrest, in a message dictated to his mother, he emphasized: ”I am not part of any terrorist activity in any form. And my repudiation of Ayman Al Zawahiri and Osama Bin Laden is a well-known fact in islamist circles.” He had been picked up in 1982 in connection with Sadat’s assassination. Released in 1983. Graduated in 1986. Born about 1961. In Iran in 2000, he feared that he would be picked up and so headed for Canada, but then got off in transit in Sweden and sought refuge. (He had wanted to travel to the UK[ but could not obtain a visa). In September 2008, he was awarded a half million dollars in damages against the Swedish government for cooperating with the CIA’s rendition. These renditions were just two of the opening volleys in what would prove to be a lengthy effort to find the parties responsible for the letters containing anthrax sent to US Senators and media outlets. In 1999, captured leaders of Zawahiri’s Vanguards of Conquest had said that Ayman was going to use weaponized anthrax against US targets in retaliation for the rendering of EIJ leaders and supporters to places like Cairo and Amman. It was the “Leahy Law” that permitted continued appropriations to security units engaged in torture under an exception applicable to “extraordinary circumstances.” The danger is that if the FBI and CIA are truly as clueless as they appear about the motive underlying the anthrax mailings, then not only has the warning gone unheeded, but the US has continued to commit the same renditions with the anthrax threat informing the debate. FBI Director Mueller can rationalize all he wants about the value of maintaining a collection platform for intelligence purposes. Director Mueller can protest that some other prosecutor’s decision makes a mockery out of justice and the rule of law. But as for Amerithrax, outside the beltway, CYA still looks like CYA. m. Hambali, Anthrax Lab Tech Yazid Sufaat And The Anthrax Bomb Maker George Tenet in his May 2007 In the Center of the Storm says Sufaat was “the self-described ‘CEO’ of al-Qai’da’s anthrax program.” Tenet reports that “Sufaat had impeccable extremist credentials” and “[i]n 2000 he had been introduced to Ayman al-Zawahiri personally, by Hambali, as the man who was capable of leading al-Qai’da’s biological weapons program.” Participants at a key meeting in Kuala Lumpur in January 2000 include
  16. DXer said

    Ridge’s book due out September 1 chronicles his entire tenure as homeland security chief. The publisher summarizes:

    “In this probing and surefooted memoir, Ridge takes us through the challenges he and his new department faced, including Anthrax scares and reports (both real and false alarms) of new Al-Qaeda operations sprouting up in the United States ….”

    Um, why are former Administration officials being allowed to collect millions for disclosing information which is subject to disclosure under FOIA? Is secrecy a means of ensuring big book deals for former Administration officials? It’s time to review what might be gleaned what has been known about Al Qaeda’s anthrax planning.

  17. DXer said

    RELEASED: The Bush Administration’s Secret Legal Memos

    On April 16, 2009, the Department of Justice released four secret memos used by the Bush administration to justify torture.

    http://www.aclu.org/safefree/general/olc_memos.html

    The Egyptian Salafist-Jihadis announced in advance that the reason that anthrax would be used against US targets was to retaliate for the rendering and torture of its leaders. The Bush Administration was not able to face this fact established by the plain statements of intent by Egyptian Islamic Jihad shura leaders in publicized statements in 1999. Senators Leahy and Daschle were targeted because symbolically they were in charge of appropriations to Egypt and Israel, including the appropriations to security forces who engaged in torture.

    This documentary evidence illustrates why the Bush Administration would tend to favor a motivation relying on the location of a mailbox near a storage unit of a college sorority rather than the motivation for using anthrax announced by the lawyer for the blind sheik Abdel-Rahman — the torture and rendition of senior leaders of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (known as the “Vanguards of Conquest”).

    The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Patrick Leahy would not support Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey because Mukasey hasn’t taken a firm enough stand against torture. Leahy said: “No American should need a classified briefing to determine whether waterboarding is torture.” Separately, Patrick Leahy at last report is very angry and not accepting of the Department of Justice’s explanation of its solution of the anthrax mailings. Senator Leahy repeatedly criticized Gonzales for allowing waterboarding. Judge Mukasey was in a difficult spot through no fault of his own. Senator Leahy, one of my favorite Senators, was targeted in Fall 2001 precisely because of this issue of torture. The folks connected to the WTC 1993 prosecution overseen by Judge Mukasey were responsible. History will Judge Mukasey’s tenure as Attorney General the resolution of Amerithrax — just as history will judge FBI Director Mueller and US Attorney Holder by the decisions they make now in moving forward.

    After the assassination of Anwar Sadat, Cairo attorney Montasser al-Zayat first met blind sheik Abdel-Rahman after Montasser had been tortured for 12 hours. He was near a mental breakdown. Abdel-Rahman came over to where he was huddled in a corner of a cell, bent over and whispered: “Rely on God; don’t be defeated.” Mohammed had spoken the words in the Koran. Al- Zayat would become one of Sheik Omar’s most trusted legal advisers and a lawyer on the defense team of El Sayyid Nosair. Nosair was the Egyptian who served as Abdel-Rahman’s bodyguard and was tried in New York in 1990 for the murder of Rabbi Meir Kahane. In March 1999, attorney al-Zayat was representing defendants in a massive prosecution of jihadists in Cairo. He told the press that Ayman Zawahiri would use weaponized anthrax against US targets because of the continued extradition pressure and torture faced by Egyptian Islamic Jihad members. Two senior EIJ leaders then on trial were saying the same thing to the press and in confessions.

    US Postal employee Sattar, who had been the blind sheik’s spokesman after his 1993 arrest, in a 1999 Frontline interview spoke of the role of appropriations and torture in fueling the islamist rage:

    “this is the same old story happening again, and again, and again. American government don’t get it. The American government [is] deceiving the American people. They’re not telling them what’s really going on. You can kill Osama bin Laden today or tomorrow. You can arrest him and put him on trial in New York or in Washington.”

    “Tomorrow you will get somebody else, his name probably will be different, Abdullah, or Muhammad. It’s not going to end. Until you, take a hard, and a good look at your policies in the Islamic world and the Muslim world, as long as you’re supporting dictators like Mubarak as long as you are giving aid to regimes that [are worse] to their people than Saddam Hussein, things will get ugly, and you cannot control the emotion of people when you are tortured in Egyptian prison by an American trained Egyptian officer. He is torturing you, and he is bragging that he was in the United States getting his training, when the equipment that he is using is American made.”

    The founder of Egyptian Islamic Jihad Kamal Habib (who wrote for the quarterly magazine of the US charity Islamic Assembly of North America) told scholar Fawaz Gerges:

    “The prison years also radicalized al-shabab [young men] and set them on another violent journey. The torture left deep physical and psychological scars on jihadists and fueled their thirst for vengeance. Look at my hands — still spotted with the scars from cigarette burns nineteen years later. For days on end we were brutalized — our faces bloodied, our bodies broken with electrical shocks and other devices. The torturers aimed at breaking our souls and brainwashing us. They wanted to humiliate us and force us to betray the closest members of our cells.

    I spent sleepless nights listening to the screams of young men echoing from torture chambers. A degrading, dehumanizing experience. I cannot convey to you the rage felt by al-shabab who were tortured after Sadat’s assassination.”

    While Kamal Habib wrote for the jihad-supporting Assirat, Al-Timimi was on the Board of Advisers.

    In a videotape that circulated in the summer of 2001, Zawahiri said “In Egypt they put a lot of people in jails — some sentenced to be hanged. And in the Egyptian jails, there is a lot of killing and torture. All this happens under the supervision of America. America has a CIA station as well as an FBI office and a huge embassy in Egypt, and it closely follows what happens in that country. Therefore, America is responsible for everything that happens.”

    An August 29, 2001 opinion column on Islamway, the second most read site for english speaking muslims, illustrates that the role of “Leahy Law” was known by educated islamists:

    “There is an intolerable contradiction between America’s professed policy of opposition to state-sponsored terrorism, exemplified by the Leahy Law, and the U.S. Congress’ continuing sponsorship of Israeli violence against Palestinians.” The article cited “References: CIFP 2001. “Limitations on Assistance to Security Forces: ‘The Leahy Law’” 4/9/01 (Washington, DC: Center for International Foreign Policy) Center for International Foreign Policy Accessed 8/28/01.Hocksteader, Lee 2001.

    The next day, in the same publication, there was an article describing the 21-page document released in Ottawa on August 29, 2001, in which the CSIS claimed that Canadian detainee Jaballah had contacts with the Egyptian Islamic Jihad leader Shehata and sought to deport Jaballah. Shehata was in charge of EIJ’s Civilian Branch and in charge of “special operations.”The nominal President of the Syracuse-based Help the Needy IANA spin-off was moderator of islamway for women. It would be seven more years — not until February 2008 — before the Canadian government for the first time revealed that after coming to Canada in 1996, Jaballah would contact Ayman regularly on Ayman’s Inmarsat satellite phone.

    “They [Senators Daschle and Leahy] represent something to him,” says James Fitzgerald of the FBI Academy’s Behavioral Analysis Unit. “Whatever agenda he’s operating under, these people meant something to him.” To more fully appreciate why Leahy — a human rights advocate and liberal democrat — might have been targeted as a symbol, it is important to know that Senator Leahy has been the head of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, the panel in charge of aid to Egypt and Israel. In addition to the Senate majority leader, anthrax was mailed to the position symbolic of the 50 billion in appropriations that has been given to Israel since 1947 (and the equally substantial $2 billion annually in aid that has been keeping Mubarak in power in Egypt and the militant islamists out of power).

    Within a couple weeks after September 11, a report in the Washington Post and then throughout the muslim world explained that the President sought a waiver that would allow military assistance to once-shunned nations. The militant islamists who had already been reeling from the extradition of 70 “brothers”, would now be facing much more of the same. President Bush asked Congress for authority to waive all existing restrictions on U.S. military assistance and exports for the next five years to any country where the aid would help the fight against international terrorism. The waiver would include those nations who were currently unable to receive U.S. military aid because of their sponsorship of terrorism (such as Syria and Iran) or because of their nuclear weapons programs (such as Pakistan).

    In late September 2001, the Washington Post quoted Leahy: “We all want to be helpful, and I will listen to what they have in mind.” The article noted that he was chairman of both the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Appropriations foreign operations subcommittee, which were considering the legislation. “But we also want to be convinced that what is being proposed is sound, measured and necessary and not merely impulsive,” said Leahy. “Moral leadership in defense of democracy and human rights is vital to what we stand for in the world. Acts of terrorism are violations of human rights. Now is the time to show what sets us apart from those who attack us,” he said.

    The options being considered in response to the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington included potential cooperation with virtually every Middle Eastern and South and Central Asian nation near Afghanistan. “Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists” would be the only test for foreign aid. The “Leahy Law” plays a key role in the secret “rendering” of Egyptian Islamic Jihad (Al Qaeda) operatives to countries like Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Algeria where they are allegedly tortured. Richard Clarke, counterterrorism czar during the Clinton Administration, has quoted Vice-President Gore saying: “Of course it’s a violation of international law, that’s why it’s a covert action. The guy is a terrorist. Go grab his ass.” Although humanitarian in its intent, the Leahy Law permits continued appropriations to military and security units who conduct torture in the event of “extraordinary circumstances.”

    In an interview broadcast on al-Jazeera television on October 7, 2001 (October 6 in the US) — about when the second letter saying “Death to America’” and “Death to Israel” was mailed — Ayman Zawahiri echoed a familiar refrain sounded by Bin Laden: “O people of the U.S., can you ask yourselves a question: Why all this enmity for the United States and Israel? *** Your government supports the corrupt governments in our countries.”

    A month after 9/11, late at night, a charter flight from Cairo touched down at the Baku airport. An Egyptian, arrested by the Azerbaijan authorities on suspicions of having played a part in the September 11 attack, was brought on board. His name was kept secret. That same night the plane set off in the opposite direction. Much of the Amerithrax story has happened at night with no witnesses, with the rendering of University of Karachi microbiology student Saeed Mohammed merely one example. Zawahiri claims that there is a US intelligence bureau inside the headquarters of the Egyptian State Security Investigation Department that receives daily reports on the number of detainees and those detainees who are released. At the time Ayman Zawahiri was getting his biological weapons program in full swing, his own brother Mohammed was picked up in the United Arab Emirates. He was secretly rendered to Egyptian security forces and sentenced to death rendered in the 1999 Albanian returnees case.

    Throughout 2001, the Egyptian islamists were wracked by extraditions and renditions. CIA Director Tenet once publicly testified that there had been 70 renditions prior to 9/11. At the same time a Canadian judge was finding that Mahmoud Mahjoub was a member of the Vanguards of Conquest and would be denied bail, Bosnian authorities announced on October 6, 2001 they had handed over three Egyptians to Cairo who had been arrested in July. In Uruguay, a court authorized the extradition to Egypt of a man wanted in Egypt for his alleged role in the 1997 Luxor attack. Ahmed Agiza, the leader of the Vanguards of Conquest (which can be viewed as an offshoot of Jihad), was handed over by Sweden in December 2001.

    One islamist, a Hamas supporter, summarized why the anthrax was sent in an ode “To Anthrax” on November 1, 2001: “O, anthrax, despite, your wretchedness, you have sewn horror in the heart of the lady of arrogance, of tyranny, of boastfulness!” In an interview that appeared in the Pakistani paper, Dawn, on November 10, 2001, Bin Laden explained that “The American Congress endorses all government measures, and this proves that [all of] America is responsible for the atrocities perpetrated against Muslims.”

    At a December 2002 conference held by “Accuracy in Media,” former State Department analyst Kenneth Dillon noted that Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ), the key component of al Qaeda under Dr. Ayman Zawahiri, head of al Qaeda’s biowarfare program, likely targeted Senator Leahy because of his role as head of a panel of the Senate Appropriations Committee that had developed the so-called “Leahy Law” in 1998. Dillon explained, “According to the wording of the Leahy Law, the U.S. Government was authorized to ‘render’ suspected foreign nationals to the government of a foreign country, even when there was a possibility that they would be tortured, in ‘exceptional circumstances.’ When the Leahy Law was applied to send EIJ members captured in the Balkans back to Egypt, Zawahiri fiercely denounced the United States. So Leahy was a high-priority target.”

    That aid goes to the core of Al Qaeda’s complaint against the United States. (The portion going to Egypt and Israel constituted, by far, the largest portion of US foreign aid, and most of that is for military and security purposes.) Pakistan is a grudging ally in the “war against terrorism” largely due to the US Aid it now receives in exchange for that cooperation. The press in Pakistan newspapers regularly reported on protests arguing that FBI’s reported 12 agents in Pakistan in 2002 were an affront to its sovereignty. There was a tall man, an Urdu-speaking man, and a woman — all chain-smokers — who along with their colleagues were doing very important work in an unsupportive, even hostile, environment. The US agents — whether CIA or FBI or US Army — caused quite a stir in Pakistan along with the Pakistani security and intelligence officials who accompanied them. In mid-March 2003, Washington waived sanctions imposed in 1999 paving the way for release in economic aid to Pakistan. Billions more would be sent to Egypt, Israel and other countries involved in the “war against terrorism.”

    The commentators who suggest that Al Qaeda would have had no motivation to send weaponized anthrax to Senators Daschle and Leahy as symbolic targets — because they are liberal — are mistaken. The main goal of Dr. Zawahiri is to topple President Mubarak. He views the US aid as the chief obstacle and is indifferent to this country’s labels of conservative and liberal.

    Zawahiri likely was surprised that the plainly worded message of the letters accompanying the anthrax was not deemed clear. Perhaps the talking heads would not have been so quick to infer an opposite meaning if no message had been expressed using words at all. Perhaps the public the sender had relied only on what KSM describes as the language of war — the death delivered by the letters — the pundits would not have been so misdirected. But why was Al Qaeda evasive on the question of responsibility for the anthrax mailings, dismissing the issue with a snicker, and falsely claiming that Al Qaeda did not know anything about anthrax? Simple. Bin Laden denied responsibility for 9/11 until it was beyond reasonable dispute. On September 16, 2001, he said: “The US is pointing the finger at me but I categorically state that I have not done this. I am residing in Afghanistan. I have taken an oath of allegiance (to Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar) which does not allow me to do such things from Afghanistan.” Before that, Ayman had denied the 1998 embassy bombings too. On August 20, 1998, coincidentally on the day of strikes on camps in Afghanistan and Sudan, Ayman al-Zawahiri contacted The News, a Pakistani English-language daily, and said on behalf of Bin Laden that “Bin Laden calls on Moslem Ummah to continue Jihad against Jews and Americans to liberate their holy places. In the meanwhile, he denies any involvement in the Nairobi and Dar es Salaam bombings.” To Ayman, “war is deception.”

    The targeted Senators have another connection pertinent to the Egyptian militants. The United States and other countries exchange evidence for counterterrorism cases under the legal framework of a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (”MLAT”). Egypt is signatory of such a treaty that was ratified by the United States Senate in late 2000. For example, when the Fall 2001 rendition of Vanguards of Conquest leader Agizah was criticized, the US explained that it was relying on the MLAT. In the prosecution of Post Office worker Ahmed Abdel Sattar, the MLAT was described. Sattar’s attorney Michael Tigar, at trial in December 2004 explained: “Now, that might be classified, it’s true, but we have now found out and our research has just revealed that on, that the State Department has reported that it intends to use and relies on the mutual legal assistance treaty between the United States and Egypt signed May 3, 1998, in Cairo, and finally ratified by the United States Senate on October 18th, 2000. The State Department issued a press report about this treaty on November 29th, 2001 and I have a copy here.” He explained that “Article IV of the treaty provides that requests under the treaty can be made orally as well as under the formal written procedures required by the treaty, that those requests can include requests for testimony, documents, and even for the transfer to the United States if the treaty conditions are met.”

    Vanguards of Conquest spokesman Al-Sirri was a co-defendant in the case against post office worker Sattar. In the late 1990s Sattar and he often spoke in conversations intercepted by the FBI. Al-Sirri’s fellow EIJ cell members in London were subject to process under those treaties at the time of the anthrax mailings. Those London cell members had been responsible for the faxing of the claim of responsibility which stated the motive for the 1998 embassy bombings. A group calling itself the “Islamic Army for the Liberation of the Holy Places” took credit for the bombings listing as among their demands “the release of the Muslims detained in the United State[s] first and foremost Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman (the spiritual guide of the Gama’a Islamiya) who is jailed in the United States.” As reason for the bombings, in addition to the rendition recent EIJ members to Cairo and the detention of Blind Sheik Abdel-Rahman, the faxes pointed to the detention of dissident Saudi Sheik al-Hawali . Al-Hawali was the mentor of GMU microbiology student Al-Timimi who spoke in London in August 2001 alongside 911 Imam Awlaki (also from Falls Church) and unindicted WTC 1993 conspirator Bilal Philips. Al-Timimi was in contact with Saudi sheik Al-Hawali in 2002 and arranged to hand deliver a message to all members of Congress he had drafted in al-Hawali’s name on the first anniversary of the anthrax mailings to Senator Leahy and Daschle.

    Michael Scheuer the former chief, Bin Laden Unit, eruditely defended the extraordinary rendition program he had launched at the request of President Clinton and his advisors before Congress in April 2007. There’s always been a huge irony in Michael Scheuer’s emphasis on how OBL is attacking the US for its policies without publicly acknowledging the importance of the rendition policy is to those planning the attacks. For the purpose of true crime analysis, it’s not rendition as a policy or human rights issue — or even a tactical issue — that is the question presented. It is walking in the shoes of your adversary (as expert Scheuer urged us to do in his 2002 book). The key is seeing things in terms of what motivates them to act. Sometimes it’s the only way to catch the bad guys — so that you then have the luxury of deciding how well you are going to treat them.

    The Amerithrax Task Force imagines that Ft. Detrick anthrax researcher Bruce Ivins targeted Leahy and Daschle because they were Catholics who voted pro-choice in opposition to the beliefs of the Catholic Church. The affidavit regarding Dr. Ivins further explains:

    “On September 26, 2001, in an email to a friend, Dr. Ivins writes: “The news media has been saying that some members of Congress and members of the ACLU oppose many of the Justice Department proposals for combating terrorism, saying that they are unconstitutional and infringe too much on civil liberties. Many people don’t know it but the official ACLU position to oppose all metal detectors in airports and schools and other public buildings. It’s interesting that we may now be living in a time when our biggest threat to civil liberties and freedom doesn’t come from the government but from enemies of the government. Osama Bin Laden has just decreed death to all Jews and all Americans, but I guess that doesn’t mean a lot to the ACLU. Maybe I should move to Canada…”

    Ironically, it is the ACLU that now raises a key question. Can the Department of Justice consider these issues or is a Special Prosecutor necessary?

    My own preference would be simply that the Department of Justice merely get things right in moving forward now that there is a new Administration.

  18. DXer said

    FBI Director Mueller is outraged over the release of the man convicted for participating in the Lockerbie bombing. He calls it a mockery and a travesty of the rule of law. He noted that he usually does not criticize the decisions of other prosecutors.

    FBI Director Mueller should note that the rule cannot apply with respect to the decisions of US Attorney Jeffrey Taylor. Everyone better be correct in their Amerithrax decision-making because much will come out after it is closed (or upon it being closed). This will be the type of decision that will determine a person’s legacy. No official will be heard “Well, they never told me that” or “I wasn’t briefed on that” or “The FBI didn’t share that information with the CIA.”

    My sense of Director Mueller is that he does, in fact, stand for the rule of law and justice. I see him as the Gary Cooper in HIGH NOON of the history of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. But that movie was quite the cliff-hanger, wasn’t it? And thank God that lady with the shotgun had a good aim.

    • Anonymous Scientist said

      I was about to make a comment about Mueller’s letter to to the Scottish justice official myself. Mueller has been the recipient of quite a few letters himself from elected US officials concerning the lack of justice in the Amerithrax case.

      The Libyans could learn some good tips from the FBI. If you are going to accuse someone of an act of terrorism, ensure they are dead first. That way their lawyers can’t ask awkward questions afterwards. The Libyan was about to have his case appealed which was apparently going to raise some embarrassing details that neither the US or UK governments were keen to have known.

      Outraged letters of condemnation are always effective in shaping one’s public character.

  19. DXer said

    One science reporter, Bryant Furlow, requested of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency titles and dates of any and all lessons learned or after-action reports regarding participation in the 2001-2002 Capitol Hill anthrax letters investigation and remediation/decontamination efforts. It perhaps will be EPA production under FOIA that sheds the most light because, for example, the DTRA today reports that the “Biological Weapons Proliferation Prevent (BWPP) program” “had no role in the Capitol Hilll anthrax investigation.” As part of his request he asked for and received at no charge all DTRA FOIA logs. It seems that the DTRA response to the science journalist limited itself to the BWPP program rather than DTRA generally.

    As a general matter, when the FOIA officers call, it is important not to inadvertently narrow your request and thus exclude documents of your interest I don’t know if that happened here or if the agency charged with Defense Threat Reduction just didn’t learn anything from the anthrax investigation.

    Someone should submit a request to the CDC.

  20. DXer said

    The EPA already has processed thousands of pages available to review relating to its remediation of the Capitol. A highly effective FOI officer called and is working on the issue.

    • Anonymous Scientist said

      It will certainly be interesting to see the EPA docuemtation. The EPA as well as other studies have stressed the need to understand the type of contaminant present. Weaponized (ie treated) spores require a quite different (and much more costly) remediation process than untreated spores. The official FBI position today is that the spores used were untreated – that they were simply raw dried spores. It will be interesting to read what the EPA concluded.

      • DXer said

        Ed, on the first page of your website in the overview you write:

        “17. His wife ran a day care center at the time of the attacks ….”

        It goes to your central First Grader Theory you have continued to argue even after the DOJ’s announcements about Dr. Ivins. You argue it is 195# certain that Dr. Ivins did not write the letters and that instead a First Grader wrote the letters.

        I have provided a document to you from the State of Maryland obtained pursuant to FOIA showing Mrs. Ivins did not, in fact, run a day care center at the time of the attacks and instead the day care center began operation in 2003. What evidence are you relying on in stating that she ran a day care center of the attacks in light of the contrary documentary evidence?

      • DXer said

        An excerpt from a June 2003 GAO report titled “CAPITOL HILL ANTHRAX INCIDENT “EPA’s Clean-Up Was Successful; Opportunities Exist To Enhance Contract Oversight.”

        Report to the Chairman, Committee on Finance, U.S. Senate United States General Accounting Office
        GAO
        June 2003
        CAPITOL HILL
        ANTHRAX INCIDENT
        EPA’s Cleanup Was
        Successful; Opportunities Exist to Enhance Contract Oversight
        GAO-03-686

        EPA spent about $27 million on the Capitol Hill anthrax cleanup, using funds from its Superfund program. From the outset, many uncertainties were associated with the cleanup effort, including how to remove anthrax from buildings. EPA revised its November 2001 estimate of $5 million several
        times during the cleanup as the nature and extent of the contamination became fully known and the solutions to remove and properly dispose of the anthrax were agreed upon and carried out. To conduct the cleanup, EPA relied extensively on the existing competitively awarded Superfund
        contracts it routinely uses to address threats posed by the release of hazardous substances. Specifically, about 80 percent of the contract costs were incurred under 10 of EPA’s existing Superfund contracts. EPA dedicated significant resources to overseeing the many contractors
        working on the Capitol Hill anthrax cleanup—including about 50 staff from nine regional offices experienced in leading and overseeing emergency environmental cleanups.
        ***
        Samples from 7 of the 26 buildings were found to contain anthrax, which required that these 7 undergo more thorough sampling, followed by decontamination, and followed then by resampling to confirm that the anthrax had been eradicated. In total, approximately 10,000 samples were
        taken at the Capitol Hill site, about half of them from locations in the Hart Senate Office Building. EPA advised the Capitol Police Board’s incident commander about the extent to which buildings needed to be cleaned to make them safe. EPA, along with the Centers for Disease Control and
        Prevention, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and other relevant authorities, determined that the cleanup standard that would be fully protective of public health and the environment was “no detectable, viable
        anthrax spores.” The seven buildings that required decontamination were the Dirksen, Hart, and Russell Senate Office Buildings; the Ford and Longworth House Office Buildings; the U.S. Supreme Court Building; and the P Street Warehouse. Six of the seven buildings were cleared for
        reentry by the end of January 2002. The P Street Warehouse was cleared for reentry in March 2002.
        ***
        EPA first authorized spending in excess of the $2 million statutory limit in a November 5, 2001, action memorandum. EPA adjusted its projections during the course of the cleanup as a result of a number of factors generally related to the uniqueness of the situation—
        the first use of anthrax as a terrorist weapon in this country. EPA had not addressed anthrax contamination in buildings previously and protocols for responding to contamination by anthrax or other biological agents did not exist. In addition, some scientific and technical information needed to properly plan and conduct the anthrax cleanup was not readily available; and EPA did not, at that time, have registered antimicrobial agents approved for use against anthrax. Also, EPA had not compared the costs of candidate decontamination methods. Further, much was—and still is— unknown about the properties of lab-produced anthrax such as that used in this incident, which led to uncertainties about the health risks posed by the contamination and how it could spread. As a result, EPA and contractors had to develop plans for decontaminating large areas within buildings with limited practical knowledge; search for decontamination methods; assess their likely efficacy; implement them; and, at times, repeat the process if the methods did not work. Finally, EPA was one of a number of participants in the decisions made about the work to be done, the timing of the work, and the resources needed; it was not the primary decision maker as it would be in a typical Superfund cleanup. As EPA and contractor staff were beginning their work at the Capitol Hill anthrax site, the limitations of existing knowledge about the health risks associated with anthrax—such as what amount of exposure could cause illness or death—were becoming more clear. That the Capitol Hill site was potentially riskier than initially believed became evident when workers in the postal facilities where anthrax-laced letters were processed became ill; two of them subsequently died of inhalation anthrax. The scientific and medical information initially available to EPA and other agencies indicated that workers in postal facilities were not at risk of infection. Further, an elderly Connecticut woman—who may have been exposed to mail that had been contaminated with anthrax—died from anthrax inhalation, and a New York woman whose exposure to anthrax could not be linked to any mail or mail facilities also died.”

      • Anonymous Scientist said

        Dx’er wrote:
        “I have provided a document to you from the State of Maryland obtained pursuant to FOIA showing Mrs. Ivins did not, in fact, run a day care center at the time of the attacks and instead the day care center began operation in 2003. What evidence are you relying on in stating that she ran a day care center of the attacks in light of the contrary documentary evidence?”

        I think maybe the answer to your question can be found here:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/True-believer_syndrome

        According to The Skeptic’s Dictionary, an example of this syndrome is evidenced by an event in 1988, when James Randi, at the request of an Australian news program, coached stage performer José Alvarez to pretend he was channelling a two-thousand-year-old spirit named “Carlos”. Even after it was revealed to be a fictional character created by himself and Alvarez, people continued to believe that “Carlos” was real.[5] Randi commented: “no amount of evidence, no matter how good it is or how much there is of it, is ever going to convince the true believer to the contrary.”[9]

      • BugMaster said

        Dxer:

        I also find Ed’s claim that a child wrote the letters absurd, but Ed is going to believe what he wants to believe until proven otherwise. Continueing to debate this is starting to sound like argueing over how many angels can dance on the head of a needle. It is a ridiculous discussion and we probably should’t waste any more pixels over it.

        Ed also is convinced that the case is going to be closed this month, which means sometime this week.

        In this case, in 7 days he will be proven wrong.

      • BugMaster said

        Ed:

        There has to be more going on here. The delay in closing the case has to be more than just some “last minute legal technicalities”.

        Perhaps the FBI has realized it can’t close a case that is based on 100% circumstantial evidence?

        And why don’t they want Ivin’s emails from September and October 2001 released if the case is about to be closed?

        BTW, DXer, have you obtained ANY 2001 emails from Fort Detrick in response to your FIOA requests?

      • BugMaster said

        Ed:

        “If things don’t happen as quick as you expect them to happen, you believe that must mean something sinister is happening!!!???”

        I wouldn’t say sinister, Ed. I would say, however, that the investigation is continuing, the case is ongoing and therefore far from closed.

        You seem to agree yourself:

        “The question answers itself. Anything that would be used as evidence in court is confidential until the case is closed”

        BTW:

        “Scientists are free to discuss the science, but they are NOT free to discuss any scientific finding that points directly to Ivins.”

        A finding that points directly to Ivins, as in Ivins SPECIFICALLY would be DNA evidence recovered from the letters, fingerprints, finding the original letters when they searched his house.

        There is NO “scientific finding” that points “directly” (as in specifically) to Dr. Ivins. And I don’t think many scientists are bothering to discuss something that doesn’t exist.

      • BugMaster said

        “The investigation is NOT – REPEAT NOT continuing. The FBI has concluded its investigation. PERIOD. But, the case cannot be officially closed until the DOJ lawyers are certain that nothing will be released via FOIA requests that will result in lawsuits or violations of Grand Jury secrecy rules. The hangup is at the Department Of Justice, NOT at the FBI.”

        You don’t know this, Ed, and either do I. But the most likely explaination here is that the case is in fact ongoing.

        “You don’t know what they have. Neither do I. Bruce Budowle hinted that there’s some kind of evidence involving a sample that had THREE of the four mutations. The fact that it’s “scientific evidence” doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s conclusive “smoking gun” evidence of guilt. It probably just means it’s another item of circumstantial evidence that points to Ivins.”

        If they are going to close this case, they need more than just “another item of circumstantial evidence that points to Ivins.”

        So, at this point, I would say:

        Case not closed!

      • DXer said

        Ed is confused just as he was over genetics generally. Dr. Budowie’s reference to one that had 3 that might be of interest to the panel would mean that they would want to consider whether it should be included with the isolates that were matching — that is, whether the isolates known to be a “match” should be 9 rather than 8. Ed is the one whose opinion or professed “confidence level” did not even change when 10 months later he realized that there were 8 “matches” rather than 1. He insisted on his position even though Bugmaster tried to patiently explain things to him. He most definitely is not one to get interpretations from — he mischaracterizes articles and does not make corrections to his page when mistakes are pointed out. He stil has not corrected his false statements regarding Dr. Ivins’ devotion to his children (who were about 17).

      • BugMaster said

        “Is there anything supporting your fantasies except your own beliefs?”

        Yes, Ed, there is.

        Although I would hardly use the term “fantasies”.

        If I was going to come up with something to “fantasize” about, it sure as hell wouldn’t have been this!

      • Lew Weinstein said

        ED You would be amazed how many people are indicted by grand juries with little or no compelling evidence. The grand jury in America is very much a tool of the prosecutor; neither the defendant nor a defense attorney is present. I have served on a grand jury, and I know that prosecutors fully and correctly expect to get indictments with comically inadequate cases. The common saying is that a prosecutor could indict a ham sandwich if he wanted to. On my grand jury, I didn’t let this happen, and the prosecutor was still talking about it 20 years later; instead of 95% indictments, on that grand jury he got less than 50%. The number of false convictions in the U.S. is also frightening; look how many murder convictions are overturned with DNA evidence. I wrote a novel about a young man who was convicted of a murder he didn’t commit by a prosecutor who knew he didn’t do it and who withheld the evidence which would have proven him innocent. It happens all the time. There is no chance the FBI would not have gotten an indictment of Dr. Ivins if they sought it, regardless of the evidence. Whether they would have found a jury to convict Ivins is a whole other story. Surely not on the evidence made public so far. Read my book – it’s called A GOOD CONVICTION – it will open your eyes. LEW

        • Anonymous Scientist said

          Ed, do the FBI actually pay you to be their shill?

          It’s apparent to anyone who has actually followed the FBI’s behavior over the past years, that they are more than capable of leaking innuendo to the media that they have got their culprit. But none of it was ever backed up by real evidence – just gossip and innuendo. You are truly fantasizing (or, I more suspect, outright shilling) to suggest that Ivin’s attorney Kemp has evidence of Ivin’s guilt in his possession and that the FBI have suppressed this evidence from everyone for more than a year after Ivin’s death.

          This is what the FBI were capable of, before a judge finally got tired of their pure innuendo:

          http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=a100704itswrong
          October 7, 2004: Federal Judge Lambasts FBI for Leaving Anthrax Attacks Suspect Hatfill’s Status in Limbo Anthrax attacks suspect Steven Hatfill has sued the FBI and Justice Department for violating his privacy and other charges (see August 26, 2003), but the government has been trying to stall the court case, saying it would interfere with the FBI’s anthrax investigation. Responding to the latest request for a delay, US District Court Judge Reggie Walton says the government has stalled enough already. Walton says that Hatfill has “the right to vindicate himself, so he doesn’t have this taint hanging over his head.” He tells a federal prosecutor: “If you don’t have enough information to indict this man, you can’t keep dragging him through the mud. That’s not the type of country I want to be part of. It’s wrong!” Walton is a Republican appointed to the bench by the President Bush. [MSNBC, 10/7/2004] The FBI declared Hatfill a “person of interest” in August 2002 (see August 1, 2002) and will not officially clear him of any link to the attacks until August 2008 (see June 27, 2008 and August 8, 2008).

          February 19, 2008: Judge Says There Is ‘Not a Scintilla of Evidence’ Linking Suspect Hatfill to Anthrax Attacks A judge says that the FBI has no evidence against Steven Hatfill, who has been the only publicly named suspect so far in the 2001 anthrax attacks (see October 5-November 21, 2001). Reggie Walton, the federal judge presiding over a lawsuit brought by Hatfill against the Justice Department and the FBI for damaging his reputation, says in court, “There is not a scintilla of evidence that would indicate that Dr. Hatfill had anything to do with [the anthrax attacks].” Walton has reviewed four still secret FBI memos about the status of the anthrax investigation. [Los Angeles Times, 6/28/2008] Later in the year, Hatfill will settle with the government and will be awarded $6 million (see June 27, 2008).

        • Anonymous Scientist said

          Ed, the reason you are a shill for the FBI is that you are an apologist for their harrassment campaign against Hatfill. In your world the FBI is the “victim” here. In your warped and distorted world the poor FBI had no choice but to harrass Hatfill all because an 80 year old professor called Barbera Hatch Rosenberg “forced” them to.

          Let me remind you of the defintion of a shill:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shill
          “Shill” can also be used pejoratively to describe a critic who appears either all-too-eager to heap glowing praise upon mediocre offerings, or who acts as an apologist for glaring flaws.

          Your malicious campaign accusing Ivins of coercing a 6-year-old child from his wife’s imaginary 2001 day-care-group to write the anthrax letters borders on a serious disorder. Your blaming the FBI’s harrassment of Hatfill on “the media”, “the conspiracy theorists”, “politicians” ANYBODY but the FBI themselves – would lead any reasonable person to conclude that you are an FBI shill, or else you simply have some sort of mental disorder.

          You also have a history of making malicious and extremely serious allegations against persons on the internet who disagree with you. Do you deny making allegations to the FBI?

      • BugMaster said

        “Are you sure it’s a secret? It certainly appears that the answers would have to be some kind of dreamed-up fantasy.”

        Ed! The case isn’t closed!

        Let’s just give the Holder Justice Department time to sort this mess out!

    • DXer said

      Ed, the eulogies referred to his devotion to his children, not the First Grader you imagine without any factual basis or inquiry wrote the anthrax letters.

      Ivins’s Friends, Family Recall the Good Times; Eulogies for Md. Scientist Focus on His Devotion to Children, Serving Church

      Diane Ivins, carrying flowers, attends the service for her husband, Bruce E. Ivins, at a church in Frederick. Friends and relatives remembered the Fort Detrick scientist as a funny and generous family man. (By Melina Mara — The Washington Post)

      By Aaron C. Davis
      Washington Post Staff Writer
      Sunday, August 10, 2008; Page A05

      Hundreds of friends, colleagues and fellow churchgoers who knew Bruce E. Ivins as a dedicated father, jokester and brilliant scientist — not as the government’s alleged anthrax terrorist — paid their final respects yesterday in Frederick.

      The packed sanctuary where Ivins had played keyboards and piano for decades filled with laughter as friends and relatives recalled stories of Ivins losing backyard soccer games to his children, juggling and singing, and playing practical jokes on his co-workers. Diane Ivins, his widow, chose the eulogists, Bible passages and hymns, according to the pastor and others.

      ***

      Another eulogist, Jerry Andrick, spoke about a little-known aspect of Ivins’s life, saying that it typified his warm and giving nature. Bruce and Diane Ivins had adopted their twins, Andy and Amanda, now 24. The Andricks were the twins’ pre-foster parents, but the Ivinses had invited them to share in the children’s birthdays and holidays for many years afterward.

      Andrick said almost every get-together ended in a soccer match or football game in the Ivins’s back yard.

      “It was the Geezers versus the Whippersnappers,” Andrick said, describing how he and Bruce never won a game against their kids.

      Ivins’s brother, C.W. Ivins … He called his brother “a darn good father” who should be remembered for his hopes, dreams and all the good times.

      • DXer said

        Ed uses this very article talking about his devotion to his children — the article merely drops an unnecessary word “his” in the headline — in arguing in support of his First Grader Theory that:

        “14. The prime suspect had a lot of contact with children.
        Eulogies for the prime suspect focused on his devotion to children.”

        Ed is entitled to his own stupid theory — like his confusion for 10 months on the key genetics issue — but not his own facts.

        Ed is still falsely claiming without factual basis contact with First Graders in Fall 2001.

      • Roberto said

        He was so devoted to children he used one to commit mass murder?

        I’ve never thought much of the child-letter theory; eulogies as evidence? C’mon.

        But, I will admit it is possible that a 1st grader wrote the letter. But – assuming the kid was normal and healthy in 2001, and he’s be a normal and healthy (a big assumption, I know) 14 yr old now He would remember some wierdo asking him to copy a letter for him. Especially when he brought out the gloves (and mask?). There was zero biological evidence on them was there not? Most kids in the 1st grade can read… “you die now” might stick out in a person’s memory. Now if the kid were a foreigner…

  21. Anonymous Scientist said

    NAS has added a new section to their website. Not very informative.
    Especially not informative is this part:
    ———————————————-
    The following materials (written documents) were made available to the committee in the closed sessions:
    The committee reviewed documents made available to it.
    ———————————————-
    It seems the NAS committee is conducting their study in secrecy – they won’t even state what documents they are reviewing.

    http://www8.nationalacademies.org/cp/meetingview.aspx?MeetingID=3658&MeetingNo=1

    Closed Session Summary Posted After the Meeting

    The following committee members were present at the closed sessions of the meeting:
    Alice C. Mignerey
    Thomas V. Inglesby
    Richard M. Losick
    David A. Relman
    Karen Kafadar
    David R. Walt
    Adam Driks
    Jed S. Rakoff
    Arturo Casadevall
    Nancy D. Connell
    Murray V. Johnston
    Alice Gast
    Elizabeth Thompson
    Bob Shaler

    The following topics were discussed in the closed sessions:
    Opening Remarks and Introductions
    Discussion of Study Charge
    Overview of the NRC Study Process
    Confidentiality/Communications
    Handling of Restricted Information
    Security Related Issues
    Review of Morning Session
    Committee Member Presentations
    Discussion of Future Meeting Schedule
    Conflict of Interest/Bias/Balance and Committee Composition
    Preliminary Evaluation of Documents
    Discussion of Additional Data Needs and Future Speakers

    The following materials (written documents) were made available to the committee in the closed sessions:
    The committee reviewed documents made available to it.

    Date of posting of Closed Session Summary: August 6, 2009

  22. DXer said

    Speaking of documents subject to production under FOIA, if experience is any guide, the US government will produce more documents to the Russian FSB than to a FOIA requestor. 🙂
    A helpful USAMRIID FOIA officer, though, did confirm today that the designation of the code form used for the second page of the RMR 1029 record has been in use since 1999 (and the “03” designation does not refer to the year 2003).

    “FBI agent David Carroll testified in a federal hearing last month that his agency supplied copies of computer hard drives seized from Seda’s house to agents from the Russian Federal Security Service, the successor to the KGB, according to court documents filed Tuesday in Eugene.

    While the hard drives contained evidence in the money-laundering and tax-fraud case against Seda, they also included personal information about Seda’s family — including his wife and former wife, defense attorneys claim in the filing.

    They claim the Russians wanted information about someone who had lived with Seda and that U.S. agents providing that data went outside the scope of the search warrant.

    Prosecutors countered in Wednesday court filings that the claim was moot. Yet those documents also reveal that Soliman Al-Buthe — Seda’s Al-Haramain partner and codefendant in the money-laundering case — corresponded with an Iraqi named Ali Al-Timimi, who was convicted in 2005 in Virginia for soliciting others to wage war against the United States and for assisting the Taliban.

    “Al-Timimi contacted Al-Buthe to obtain Al-Buthe’s assistance in editing and publishing an anti-Semitic article glorifying the crash of the United States Space Shuttle Columbia as a sign from God that ‘overjoyed’ the ‘heart of each believer’ and signaled the end of American supremacy,” prosecutors wrote in court papers.

    “Obviously, connections between Al-Haramain, Al-Buthe and terrorists such as Al-Timimi could be relevant” in the case, the papers state.”

  23. Ike Solem said

    P.S. The New York Times decided that the following comment was unacceptable – and then they closed their comment thread soon afterwards. Here’s the comment as it appeared on the web site after posting:

    Ike Solem, CA
    August 17th, 2009
    9:29 am

    Sebelius has not been a very good Health Secretary pick. Her comment is just one example of poor judgment, but that is dwarfed by her unquestioning support for the massive buildup in biological warfare research (of dubious value) that was ushered in during the post-anthrax-attack Bush era.

    These include billions of dollars in funding channeled through HHS and other executive agencies under the guise of BARDA, the \”Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority\”, Project Bioshield (managed by BARDA), much of it aimed at developing vaccines for potential bioweapons made from relatively obscure pathogens – work that has dual-use biowarfare potential, as any user of bioweapons must also be vaccinated against them.

    At the same time, HHS has reduced research into the three most deadly global killers – malaria, AIDS and drug-resistant TB, while at the same time promoting the swine flu scare, just as they promoted the Asian bird flu scare in 2005-2006. Even academic medical researchers have gotten into the act on that, first claiming that the 1918 flu was from birds (in 2005) and then claiming it was from pigs (in 2009). Coincidence? Or just part of the Tamiflu marketing campaign that has done such wonders for Roche and Gilead?

    All told, this is not the person we should have running HHS. The most glaring issue is probably the conflict-of-interest involved in Sebelius’ push to build a $1 billion ‘agro-biodefense’ facility in Kansas that will study dangerous animal and crop pathogens – pathogens that if accidentally released in Kansas could easily do billions of dollars in damage to the state agricultural industry. In spite of that fact, both ex-Kansas governor Sebelius and Kansas Republicans like Brownback are working hand-in-hand to get the project in motion.

    All told, it’s really a shame that the Daschle nomination was sabotaged by the Senate Finance Republicans and the health industry, leading to the Sebelius nomination – Daschle would certainly have taken a long hard look at the BARDA/Project Bioshield projects, instead of trying to steer those funds to his home state.

    Truly, a disastrous choice for an important position – Sebelius also has little experience with the Congress, entirely unlike Daschle, who would have played a key role in getting Obama’s bill passed.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/18/health/policy/18talkshows.html
    Where did it go? The last comment was posted at 10:32…

  24. Ike Solem said

    P.S. “Bugmaster”

    Try using your real name. It improves your credibility – here are the Jefferson references:

    http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2004_10/Tucker

    Background:

    “The BWC entered into force on March 26, 1975, during the administration of President Gerald R. Ford, with the United States as one of the original parties. On December 23, 1975, then-national security adviser Brent Scowcroft issued a memorandum providing policy guidelines for U.S. implementation of the BWC. According to the Scowcroft memorandum, biodefense activities permitted under the convention were limited to “[a]ctivities concerned with the protection of human beings, animals, plants, and matériel from the effects of exposure to microbial or other biological agents or toxins, including vulnerability studies and research, development and testing of equipment and devices such as protective masks and clothing, air and water filtration systems, detection, warning and identification devices, and decontamination systems.”[3] Significantly, the Scowcroft memorandum authorized “vulnerability studies” but not the creation of novel pathogens or weaponization techniques for purposes of threat assessment.”

    The projects in question:

    Project Jefferson, a plan by the Defense Intelligence Agency to reproduce a genetically modified strain of the anthrax bacterium developed by Russian scientists in the early 1990s, in order to determine whether or not the agent was resistant to the licensed U.S. anthrax vaccine.

    Project Clear Vision, a project by Battelle Memorial Institute, under contract to the CIA, to reconstruct and test a Soviet-designed biological bomblet so as to assess its dissemination characteristics.

    Where exactly were these two projects carried out, and who was involved with them?

    • BugMaster said

      Ike:

      I don’t think Project Jefferson (to be performed by Battelle) ever got past the planning stage.

      One week after the publication of Miller and Broad’s NYT article came September 11.

  25. Anonymous Scientist said

    Only 23 days have passed since the media reported that the the FBI was “on the verge” of closing the anthrax case. Maybe it’s time to post one of these electronic countdown clocks with the message: “Time expired since the FBI announced they were “on the verge” of closing the anthrax case” .

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,534882,00.html

    U.S. on Verge of Closing Anthrax Mailings Case
    Sunday, July 26, 2009

    WASHINGTON — A year after government scientist Bruce Ivins killed himself while under investigation for the lethal 2001 anthrax mailings, the Justice Department is on the verge of closing the case.

    • Anonymous Scientist said

      We are now at T+ 25 days since the FBI announced they were “on the verge” of closing the anthrax case – and counting.

      • Anonymous Scientist said

        We are now at T+ 30 days since the FBI announced they were “on the verge” of closing the anthrax case – and counting.

  26. Ike Solem said

    NYC health officials drill for bioterror attack
    August 15, 2009 By The Associated Press

    NEW YORK (AP) — New York City is getting ready for a massive anthrax attack — even if it never happens.

    “The Department of Health is conducting a drill Saturday to assess the city’s ability to quickly distribute medications to large numbers of New Yorkers. A school on the Lower East Side is being used for the exercise. During a major public health emergency or outbreak of disease, sites like schools would be used as hubs for distributing antibiotics or vaccines. Saturday’s scenario will depict a widespread airborne anthrax release across the city.”

    Notice that this is a scaled-down version of a similar exercise conducted in the late 1990s, when the anthrax was laced with smallpox. The main problem was public panic as people fled the city in all directions. For anthrax, this is not a real problem since it is not transmissible, but with smallpox the disease rapidly spread and infected new people, leading to a complete breakdown of emergency services, bodies collecting in the street, and so on.

    This is why we have international agreements that ban bioweapons, after all – they’re the next most devastating thing to a nuclear weapon. Spending billions on “Project Bioshield” hasn’t made anyone any safer, but has merely expanded the size of the pool of people who are familiar with bioweapon manufacturing.

    By the way, how did those FOIA requests to Dugway and West Jefferson work out? Do they have security cameras? Records of transhipments of anthrax spores from Fort Detrick? That would seem to be the angle to take, wouldn’t it?

    How about complete records of Projects Clear Vision and Jefferson, including where the work was done, and whether any of the resulting material was stockpiled anywhere? These are public-private partnerships, however – how does the FOIA work when a private contractor does bioweapons work for the federal government? Does the contractor get a shield?

    Not being a lawyer, I don’t know myself.

    • BugMaster said

      Ike:

      Project Clear Vision as I understand it involved only the use of an anthrax simulant.

      The so-called “Jefferson Project”?

      Did it really exist, or was this a phase constructed by Miss Run-Amok Judith Miller?

      I think the latter is true here.

      • Ike Solem said

        What are you talking about? Project Jefferson was a Defense Intelligence Agency project to recreate strains of anthrax that could evade the anthrax vaccine. Project Clear Vision was a program to recreate a Soviet anthrax bomblet, including the aerosolized spore preparation, that was managed by the CIA.

    • DXer said

      Ike,

      I haven’t submitted a FOIA to Dugway or Battelle.

      I have submitted a FOIA to Sandia (managed by Lockheed) and it is being processed. Numerous agencies have provided an initial letter response (to include such agencies as the DIA).

      From Sandia, I asked for a power point at a recent conference relating to the silica forensics, given that the researchers have made dramatic efforts to publicize their findings and urge their interpretation (“spin”) of their findings that go beyond merely the results showing the location of the silicon. (IMO, any issue of production under FOIA under the Shelby Amendment relating to data has been avoided; but in any event most of the presentation would not implicate “data” as such but would cover the same issues presented in their YouTube video, NatGeo interview etc).

      If you have a theory, by all means, submit a FOIA and seek information that supports at least the policy points you make. Since the anthrax mailings, many agencies accept electronic submissions. You are entitled to two hours free search and 100 free pages. I think you are addressing policy issues in a true crime matter — which is fine so long as you don’t confuse the two in your own mind. Nonproliferation issues do not bear on the “correct” solution of the “whodunnit.”

      • DXer said

        On the question of the “Shelby” data, a researcher who has been funded taxpayers is required to provide data upon request. Data need not be produced until published but here it has been published upon presentation publicly at the conference and elsewhere. Most of the powerpoint was not “data” as such anyway.

  27. BugMaster said

    “Of course, if the FBI is not confident in its conclusions, then the FBI should continue its confidential investigation with our blessing.”

    I have concluded, DXer, that this appears to be the case.

    Time will tell.

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