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

* LMW to FBI … is the Amerithrax investigation still ongoing or not? The FBI’s answers, while trying to say nothing, strongly suggest that the investigation is in fact still ongoing, over a year since the FBI/DOJ press conference accusing Dr. Ivins and stating that the case would soon be closed.

Posted by DXer on August 27, 2009

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UPDATE #7

I next sent the following email to the FBI Washington Field Office …

  • First of all, I appreciate your continued responses and direction.
  • As you suggested, I called back and asked for the Media Representative. I said I ran a blog on the anthrax case, and when asked, told the lady the name of the blog …  CASE CLOSED: why the FBI failed to solve the 2001 anthrax case at https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/.
  • I then said that I had questions about the status of the Amerithrax investigation.
    • Is it still ongoing?
    • Are investigators still working on the case?
    • When will the case be closed?
  • She went away and returned to tell me that everything the FBI has to say about the Amerithrax case is to be found on the FBI web site at www.fbi.gov.
  • So I went to the site. My search for “Amerithrax” produced not a single document dated later than August 2008. and not a single word to indicate the current status of the case the FBI said it was about to close in August 2008.
  • Would you forgive me for thinking that the person who sent me to the FBI site knew there was nothing there to answer my questions?
  • Wouldn’t it be more honest, and more likely to inspire confidence in the FBI, to simply tell the truth instead of sending honest questioners on wild goose chases?
  • Either the Amerithrax investigation is ongoing or it is not.
    • If the investigation is still ongoing, that is ample reason for the FBI to refuse to release information that might be useful to the unnamed potential perpetrators still under investigation. Since such information would be of no use to Dr. Ivins, dead for over a year now, this would also suggest that other possible perpetrators or accomplices are still being investigated. That would be encouraging to those of us, including many U.S. Congressmen and Senators, who do not believe the FBI has made the case against Dr. Ivins.
    • If the investigation is not still ongoing, and the FBI intends to stand behind its August 2008 conclusions, then why not close the case and make the appropriate documents available under FOIA? One reason might be that the FBI is afraid its conclusions cannot be supported by those documents.
  • The continuing refusal to either admit the investigation is still ongoing or to close the case and release the documents contributes mightily to the view that the FBI has failed to solve the case and is hiding some deep dark secrets.
  • It is not healthy for the FBI or our country to have such suspicions proliferate.
  • I would very much appreciate it if you would help me get off this FBI obfuscation merry-go-round and provide some straight answers, whatever they are.
  • Thanks for listening to my request.

LEW WEINSTEIN

UPDATE #6

So I went to the FBI web site, and what do you think I found?

My search for “Amerithrax” produced not a single document dated later than August 2008. There is not a single word to indicate the current status of the case the FBI said was about to be closed in August 2008.

More FBI obfuscation and delay.

If this wasn’t one of the most serious cases in FBI history, the largest investigation the FBI ever conducted, and a matter of crucial national security interest, the FBI’s continuing clumsy behavior would still be a matter for concern. But in fact it’s a deadly serious matter that we do not know who perpetrated the 2001 attacks and precisely how they were carried out. Across the U.S., our police forces are severely handicapped in preventing a second attack when they do not know the details of the first.

Many, including me, are appalled at the lack of evidence brought forward by the FBI to support the August 2008 accusation that Dr. Bruce Ivins was the sole perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax attacks.

It seems abundantly clear that the FBI is hiding something, and the longer this goes on, the more important it is to know why the FBI failed to solve this case and what dark secrets they are so intent on covering up.

UPDATE #5

The FBI Washington Field Office wrote back (at 10:50 am) and said I should call (202) 278-2000 again and ask for the Media Representative; I did and was connected. I identified myself as the author of a blog dealing with the anthrax case. I was asked the name of the blog, which I provided (CASE CLOSED … why the FBI failed to solve the 2001 anthrax case)

The FBI person on the phone said she would see if anyone was available to answer my questions. She returned to tell me that “ any information we can give out is located on our web site at fbi.gov.”

UPDATE #4 …

My first reaction was that my calls to the FBI were a fruitless exercise. On second thought, maybe not so fruitless as I initially thought.

After thinking further about the FBI answers below, I sent the following email (at 10:35 am) to the FBI Washington Field Office …

“I called the number you gave me, asked if the Amerithrax investigation was still ongoing, and was told the FBI cannot give out any information on any investigation.

That must mean the Amerithrax investigation is still ongoing.

Would you comment on my conclusion based on the answer I was given by the FBI?”

******

UPDATE #3

I called (202) 278-2000 again at 10:15 am and spoke to a live person. Here is the transcript of our Q & A …

LMW: Is the Amerithrax investigation still ongoing?

FBI: We can’t give out any information on any investigation

LMW: You can’t say if the Amerithrax investigation is ongoing or not?

FBI: No.

LMW: When do you plan to close the case?

FBI: we cannot give that information

UPDATE #2 …

I called (202) 278-2000 at 8:00 am and was told I must talk to FOIA people. The call was transferred to someone (FOIA?) who told me to call 202-278-2000. I said I already started there, and was transferred again, to a line which immediately went dead.

UPDATE #1 …

EMAIL RESPONSE FROM FBI (8/27/09 4:45 am) …

For more information, call the media representative at your local FBI Field Office: FBI-Washington Field Office, 601 4th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20535, (202) 278-2000

******

Today (8/27/09 4:05 am) I sent the following email to the FBI Washington Field Office …

GENTLEMEN

Below is the email I sent to you on June 25, to which there has been no answer or even acknowledgement. I wonder if you are yet in a position to answer my questions:

  • Is the Amerithrax investigation still ongoing?
  • If the investigation is still ongoing, how many agents are still assigned to the investigation?
  • If the investigation is NOT still ongoing, why have you not closed the case?
  • When do you plan to close the case?

If my questions are not appropriate for you to answer because the investigation is in fact still ongoing, perhaps you could so advise me. Thanks for your consideration.

LEW WEINSTEIN

****** the 6/25/09 email ******

GENTLEMEN

FBI-DOJ press conferenceOn August 6, 2008, Mr. Jeffrey Taylor, the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, accompanied by Mr. Joseph Persichini, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, announced …

We are now beginning the process of concluding this (Amerithrax) investigation. Once this process is complete, we will formally close the case.”

To the best of my knowledge, however, the case has not yet been closed.

If the Amerithrax case is in fact still open, I wonder if you could tell me the FBI’s reasons for keeping the case open, and also how many agents are currently assigned, compared to the number assigned before the August 2008 announcement.

Thank you very much for your help in this matter.

LEW WEINSTEIN


9 Responses to “* LMW to FBI … is the Amerithrax investigation still ongoing or not? The FBI’s answers, while trying to say nothing, strongly suggest that the investigation is in fact still ongoing, over a year since the FBI/DOJ press conference accusing Dr. Ivins and stating that the case would soon be closed.”

  1. Anonymous Scientist said

    We are now at T+ 34 days since the FBI announced they were “on the verge” of closing the Amerithrax case.

    • Anonymous Scientist said

      “We are now at T+ 37 days since the FBI announced they were “on the verge” of closing the Amerithrax case.”

      • DXer said

        US Attorney Jeff Taylor’s claim that they could exclude everyone else is specious on its face. For example, the one who stole the starter culture does not have to be the mailer. He could have a perfect alibi. And so how does one get excluded?

        As an example, starter culture stolen at Battelle or USAMRIID or Dugway and could be handed off to someone in New Jersey etc.

        Access could be obtained in Falls Church, VA or at a conference meeting in Annapolis, and emailed to anywhere.

        There is a book “From Lambs to Lions: Future Security Relationships in a World of Biological and Nuclear Weapons, ” (hardcover 2007, paperback 2007) by Thomas Preston. Professor Preston is at the Washington State University in Pullman, WA and also consults for the Maxwell School in Syracuse which does some leadership/decision-making training for the CIA.

        He writes:

        “Al Zelicoff, a biowarfare specialist at Sandia National Laboratory, upon examining the Daschle material, remarked: “I’m truly worried… they have the keys to the kingdom” (Haberman 2001).

        THE BRAIN DRAIN AND THE AVAILABILITY OF LOOSE MATERIALS/KNOWLEDGE

        The availability of scientific and technical expertise in the form of individuals who worked in state-run bioweapons programs is an example of “loose” materials — a problem usually referred to as “brain drain (Sanger December 2001). It is also a critical variable determining how difficult it would be for state or nonstate actors to develop viable bioweapons capabilities.

        ***
        Popov soberly notes: “The most important thing is knowledge — knowledge of how to make a specific biological agent, what is required to provide enough viability to that agent, and how to use that agent. All that was the subject of very intensive reseach in the Soviet Union (Wolfinger “Interviews: Sergei Popov” 2001).

        Unfortunately, the enormous danger from brain drain rests in the fact that just one little bit of expert information can radically improve any actor’s ability to weaponize a bioagent. For example, the main anthrax “battle strain in the Soviet arsenal, which Alibek helped to weaponize during his time at Biopreparat, became fully operational in 1989. However, due to the spread of ex-bioweaponeers to other countries, it is highly likely this secret formula (as well as master seed stocks and possibly samples of the finished product) were taken by these scientists who now work for new employers. In fact, Alibek notes the formula is a simple one which mixed two unrelated materials.

        ***
        As Dr. C.J. Peters, director of the Center for Biodefense at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston observes, even with tight security, it would likely still be possible for a laboratory employee to steal microscopic cultures of anthrax (or by implication, many other types of pathogens) and escape without detection with a useful starter culture. As Peters notes, “I’d only need one spore to get all the anthrax I wanted. … It’s not hard to grow… you could go from a smidgen to a hundred billion spores” (Johnston and Kocieniewski 2001).”

        US Jeff Taylor’s suggestion that the proof of Ivins guilt lies in the fact that “everyone else” could be excluded is specious on its face.

      • BugMaster said

        “US Jeff Taylor’s suggestion that the proof of Ivins guilt lies in the fact that “everyone else” could be excluded is specious on its face.”

        It is also a flat-out lie.

      • DXer said

        BioNeutral and the Chertoff Group Announce a Collaborative Agreement to Continue Development of BioNeutral’s Antimicrobial and Sterilant Technologies

        Mon, 31 Aug 2009
        Author : BioNeutral Group, Inc.

        NEWARK, N.J. – (Business Wire)BioNeutral Group, Inc. (OTCBB: BONU) has expanded its relationship with the Chertoff Group(Washington, DC). Beginning September 1, 2009, two senior members of the Chertoff Group will provide dedicated strategic and operational advisory services to BioNeutral to enhance the company’s strategic alliances, corporate operations, product testing, regulatory approvals, capital strategies and sales to the public and private sectors.

        “It’s exciting working with the Chertoff Group. We believe their collective talent, combined with BioNeutral’s world class chemistry, will make a significant difference in saving lives presently lost to infection. We are proud to combine our efforts to help combat communicable diseases and make the hospital and all health care facilities a safer place,” said Stephen J. Browand, President & CEO of BioNeutral Group.

        “As some of the principal architects of homeland security policy and doctrine, our team has a good feel for how to examine problems from end-to-end, and how to evaluate technologies that might be brought to bear in solving those problems,” said former Homeland Secretary Chertoff, Co-Founder and Chairman of the Chertoff Group. “By working with investors, private companies, governments and others who want to grow into homeland security markets, either organically or via acquisitions, I think our firm offers a unique value proposition and perspective. Given our deep knowledge of national and international biosecurity requirements in the commercial and government sectors alike, we are uniquely positioned to help BioNeutral in all aspects of the company’s continuing growth.”

        Under terms of the Agreement, Chertoff Group Principal Jeffrey W. Runge, MD and Deputy Chief Operating Officer Dr. J. Bennet Waters will devote approximately half their time exclusively to advising BioNeutral. Dr. Runge will serve as Senior Medical Advisor, and Dr. Waters will serve as Senior Operations Advisor. Dr. Runge is formerly the Assistant Secretary of Health Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS); Dr. Waters is formerly Deputy Assistant Administrator at the Transportation Security Administration and served previously as Chief of Staff of DHS’s Office of Health Affairs and as Counselor to two DHS Deputy Secretaries. In addition to Drs. Runge and Waters, other Chertoff Group principals will provide periodic support to BioNeutral regarding product testing and evaluation; acquisitions and procurement activities across commercial and federal targets; and capital-raising strategies.

        “I believe BioNeutral’s technology has the potential to be game-changing,” said Chad Sweet, Co-Founder and Managing Principal at the Chertoff Group. “Based on preliminary data from independent lab testing, we are enthusiastic about the potential to instantly sterilize surfaces, fabric and skin without any known environmental effects. We believe BioNeutral’s formulations have the potential to address several difficult problems facing the Nation, including influenza pandemics, national security threats such as anthrax, and in preventing expensive and dangerous hospital acquired infections.”

        Mr. Sweet previously served as the Chief of Staff of DHS and at the CIA. In addition to his expertise in security, he worked for twelve years in finance with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. At Chertoff Group, Mr. Sweet utilizes his unique background in intelligence, homeland security, and investment banking to advise companies and private equity firms expanding within the defense, aerospace, and security industries.

        Other principals at Chertoff Group include General Michael Hayden, former Director of the Central Intelligence and National Security Agencies; former Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Paul Schneider (who previously served as head of acquisitions for the National Security Agency and United States Navy); and former Undersecretaries of Homeland Security Charles Allen and Rear Admiral Jay Cohen.

        BioNeutral’s relationship with Dr. Runge and Dr. Waters takes advantage of a unique skill set in homeland security and health care. Dr. Runge was DHS’s first Chief Medical Officer, where he led the reorganization of biodefense operations into a new Office of Health Affairs. Prior to DHS, he was the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, where he instituted programs that led to the first absolute declines in U.S. motor vehicle deaths in nearly a decade and the lowest highway fatality rate in history. He has also been a board certified emergency physician for 25 years. Dr. Waters joined the Chertoff Group after three and a half years at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), where his portfolio included intelligence and operational aspects of border and transportation security; immigration and customs enforcement activities; emergency management and the United States Secret Service. Prior to government service, Dr. Waters held senior strategic, financial and operations roles in early-stage organizations and turnaround situations.

        “Dr. Waters and I are excited about the opportunity to deepen our relationship with BioNeutral,” Dr. Runge said. “Over the past few months, we’ve gotten to know the company, its technology and its leadership team. We believe they are on the cutting edge of biotechnology, and we’re looking forward to helping them take the next steps in developing, licensing and providing their unique formulations for the health and welfare of people.”

        ABOUT BIONEUTRAL GROUP

        Headquartered at the New Jersey Institute of Technology/EDC in Newark, New Jersey, BioNeutral Group, Inc., is a chemical technology-based Life Science company that intends to commercialize a combinational chemistry-based technology which can neutralize harmful environmental contaminants, toxins and dangerous micro-organisms including bacteria, viruses, mold, fungi and spores. The formulations, including Ygiene and Ogiene, which are eco-friendly and include natural and common ingredients found in baby products and in every day foods. The Company has combined these widely-used compounds in highly specialized ways to create products that dramatically enhance disinfecting and cleaning results; products include BioNeutralizers and ChemoNeutralizers. BioNeutral’s proprietary platform technology has been proven effective in surface, water and airborne applications.

        ABOUT THE CHERTOFF GROUP

        The Chertoff Group is a security and risk management advisory firm that counsels corporate and government clients. The firm, which is based in Washington and has offices in New York City, is led by the former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff and assists clients with addressing threats related to terrorism, biosecurity, fraud, cyber security, border protection, and supply chain security.

    • Anonymous scientist said

      Interesting that Ed Lake would make this deliberate attempt at hiding the fact back in August 2009 of what he now admits on his website – namely that he was told back then that the case was TO BE CLOSED on July 24 2009.
      Ed, you have to be careful when you set out to deceive.

  2. BugMaster said

    Some kind of official statement from the FBI regarding the status of this investigation is long overdue here.

    Perhaps they will release something on “Bad News Dump Friday” (the Friday at the start of a 3 day weekend) at the end of next week.

  3. DXer said

    Henry Heine, who a news article reported testified before the grand jury, says the US DOJ’s Ivins Theory is a total crock.

    There is no basis under the grand jury secrecy rule from preventing him from telling that to the world and similarly, there is no grounds under grand jury secrecy rules from sharing documents that show it to be a crock.

    —Rule 6(e) does not apply to material obtained or created independently of the grand jury as long as the disclosure of such material does not reveal what transpired before or at the direction of the grand jury.

    http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/public/guidelines/206584.htm#IIA5

    — Rule 6(e) usually does not govern the disclosure of documents obtained by means independent of the grand jury.(13) This is true even when such documents have later been examined by the grand jury or made grand jury exhibits so long as disclosure of the documents does not reveal that they were exhibits.(14)

    Most courts do not consider individual documents subpoenaed by the grand jury to be “matters occurring before the grand jury.” The rule that has evolved is that Rule 6(e) does not apply to subpoenaed documents that are sought for the information they contain, rather than to reveal the direction or strategy of the grand jury investigation.(15)

    http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/public/guidelines/206584.htm#IIA5

    — Intervew memoranda — According to the majority view and the general policy to be followed by Division attorneys, Rule 6(e) does not apply to witness interview memoranda, even if the statements contained therein are later reported to the grand jury by the investigation staff or repeated to the grand jury by the witness.(38) The local case law should be carefully reviewed before disclosing any interview memoranda, as several courts have treated interview memoranda that were later presented to the grand jury similarly to transcripts of grand jury testimony.(39)

    — • Disclosure to defendant of his own testimony
    Rule 16(a)(1)(A) provides that, upon request, an individual defendant shall be permitted to inspect and copy or photograph:

    • written or recorded statements by him;

    • oral statements made by the defendant to a person then known to the defendant to be a Government agent; and

    • testimony of a defendant before a grand jury which relates to the events charged.
    Grand jury testimony is producible to a defendant only if “relevant” to the case in which production is requested.(85) With respect to corporate defendants, Rule 16(a)(1)(A) provides that, upon request, the corporation may obtain transcripts of relevant grand jury testimony of its officers or employees who had the authority to bind the corporation legally for the alleged offense, either at the time of their testimony or when the alleged offense was committed.(86) Division policy is to require a written representation from defendants’ counsel that the employees were in a position to bind the corporation before disclosing their statements.(87) The grand jury witness whose testimony is to be produced should be notified of the Rule 16 motion since the witness has standing to object to disclosure.(88)

    • Non-Disclosure Orders

    • Restrictions on witnesses
    Witnesses may not be put under any obligation of secrecy because Rule 6(e) specifically prohibits any obligation of secrecy from being “imposed on any person except in accordance with this rule.”(173) Consequently, witnesses are free to discuss their testimony with their own counsel, counsel for potential targets or anyone else they so choose. In appropriate circumstances, the grand jury foreman or the Government attorney may request that a witness not make any unnecessary disclosures because of possible interference with the investigation. However, when making such a request, it should be extremely clear that it is a request only and not a command and that the person making the request uses no express or implied coercion.

  4. DXer said

    “No obligation on witness
    Rule 6(e) specifically prohibits any obligation of secrecy from being “imposed on any person except in accordance with this rule.” Therefore, witnesses cannot be put under any obligation of secrecy and attempts to impose such an obligation generally have been struck down by the courts.(5) One circuit permits the imposition of a reasonable obligation of secrecy on a witness if there is a compelling necessity that is shown with particularity.(6) The grand jury foreman or a Government attorney may request a witness not to make unnecessary disclosures when those disclosures or the attendant publicity might hinder an investigation.(7) When making such a request, it should be absolutely clear that it is a request only and that no expressed or implied coercion is used.”

    http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/public/guidelines/206584.htm#IIA5

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