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

Archive for September, 2009

* Dr. Weber’s powerpoints at September 25, 2009 NAS presentation on Fe-Si relationship

Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 30, 2009

CASE CLOSEDCASE CLOSED is a novel which answers the question “Why did the FBI fail to solve the 2001 anthrax case?” … click here to … buy CASE CLOSED by Lew Weinstein

Here’s what readers say about CASE CLOSED  …

“The whole Anthrax episode is unquestionably a dark moment in American history. But what makes it fascinating is how it was handled (or should I say mishandled) by the administration and the various agencies involved. CASE CLOSED is a must read for anyone who wondered … what really happened? … Who did it? … why?” … and finally, why didn’t they tell us the truth?”

******

Dr. Weber’s powerpoints

at September 25, 2009 NAS presentation on Fe-Si relationship

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Posted in * anthrax science, * NAS review of FBI science, * questioning the FBI's anthrax investigation | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 73 Comments »

* CASE CLOSED blog posts related to AFIP, silicon, NAS review of FBI science

Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 30, 2009

CASE CLOSEDCASE CLOSED is a novel which answers the question “Why did the FBI fail to solve the 2001 anthrax case?” … click here to … buy CASE CLOSED by Lew Weinstein

Here’s what readers say about CASE CLOSED  …

“The whole Anthrax episode is unquestionably a dark moment in American history. But what makes it fascinating is how it was handled (or should I say mishandled) by the administration and the various agencies involved. CASE CLOSED is a must read for anyone who wondered … what really happened? … Who did it? … why?” … and finally, why didn’t they tell us the truth?”

******

These are posts attracting attention

on the CASE CLOSED blog today …

* Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) … background documentation related to National Academy of Sciences (NAS) silicon testimony today

* silicon evidence points beyond Fort Detrick and Dr. Bruce Ivins

* perhaps the NAS needs to pursue its mandate more broadly than the FBI wishes

  • * Is the FBI’s anthrax case ongoing or not? … I’ve been asking for two months … the FBI refuses to answer … here’s the email trail
  • * its seems the FBI said the documents were exempt from FOIA and NAS, with no independent verification, accepted that conclusion

  • ******

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

    * LA Times: Establishing national forensic science standards is crucial when evidence determines life or death.

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 29, 2009

    CASE CLOSEDCASE CLOSED is a novel which answers the question “Why the FBI failed to solve the 2001 anthrax case?” … click here to … buy CASE CLOSED by Lew Weinstein

    Here’s what readers say about CASE CLOSED  …

    “The whole Anthrax episode is unquestionably a dark moment in American history. But what makes it fascinating is how it was handled (or should I say mishandled) by the administration and the various agencies involved. The book is a must read for anyone who wondered … what really happened? … Who did it? … why?” … and finally, why didn’t they tell us the truth?”

    ******

    Editorial from the LA Times … 9-21-09 …

    • Establishing national forensic science standards is crucial when evidence determines life or death.
    • With the busiest death chamber in the nation, it was only a matter of time before Texas positioned itself to become the first state to admit that it executed a person who was wrongfully convicted. And now that day is at hand.
      • According to a nationally respected fire engineer, the so-called scientific evidence used to convict Cameron Todd Willingham of setting a blaze that killed his three daughters in 1995 was not scientific at all.
      • In his scathing report to the Texas Forensic Science Commission, Craig Beyler found that the arson investigators on the case had a poor understanding of fire dynamics and based their conclusions on erroneous assumptions, sloppy research and a dash of mysticism.
      • Willingham’s case is heartbreaking: He lost his children to fire and his wife to divorce, spent 12 years in prison and died still protesting his innocence.
    • But his is not an isolated case. There are thousands of Willinghams in prisons across the country.
      • If not on death row, they are nonetheless serving decades-long or even life sentences after having been convicted on the basis of erroneous scientific conclusions made by poorly trained “experts.”
    • In 2006, Congress charged the National Academy of Sciences with studying the application of forensic science in the U.S. judicial system. Its findings, released last year, are grim.
      • Almost every branch of forensics but DNA testing — hair and fiber analysis, arson investigations, comparisons of bite marks — lacks the extensive scientific research and established standards to be used in court conclusively.
    • In February, the science academy issued a report calling for Congress to create a national institute of forensic science, and there is more than enough evidence that one is desperately needed.
    • As an independent agency, not part of the Justice Department, it would be charged with conducting research, setting national standards for forensic disciplines and enforcing those standards.
    • Right now, standards vary wildly.
    • The Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings on the science academy’s recommendations this month, and it is to be hoped that the end result is a national forensics institute.
    • The fate of thousands hangs on the correct analysis of a thread, a hair, the fibers of a rug. We can do better by them, even if it’s too late for Willingham.

    read the entire editorial at …
    HTTP://WWW.LATIMES.COM/NEWS/OPINION/EDITORIALS/LA-ED-FORENSICS21-2009SEP21,0,2528495.STORY

    NOTE: There was a long article in the NEW YORKER recently on the Willingham case.

    Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

    * powerpoint slides by Peter Weber re NanoSIMS as used to make attribution of anthrax in bioterrorist event

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 26, 2009

    CASE CLOSEDCASE CLOSED is a novel which answers the question “Why the FBI failed to solve the 2001 anthrax case?” … click here to … buy CASE CLOSED by Lew Weinstein

    Here’s what readers say about CASE CLOSED  …

    “The whole Anthrax episode is unquestionably a dark moment in American history. But what makes it fascinating is how it was handled (or should I say mishandled) by the administration and the various agencies involved. The book is a must read for anyone who wondered … what really happened? … Who did it? … why?” … and finally, why didn’t they tell us the truth?”

    ******

    powerpoint slides by Peter Weber re NanoSIMS as used to make attribution of anthrax in bioterrorist event

    Weber 5


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

    * NAS anthrax panel meetings – links for audio provided by NAS

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 25, 2009

    CASE CLOSEDCASE CLOSED is a novel which answers the question “Why the FBI failed to solve the 2001 anthrax case” … click here to … buy CASE CLOSED by Lew Weinstein

    Here’s what readers say about CASE CLOSED  …

    Case Closed reads fast and well. It could have happened just the way the author said. Full of intrigue mixed in with almost current events. The real people are just behind the fictional ones.”

    “An action/thriller that makes you think … The writing is sparse, driven by a plausible plot that allows the reader to think through the crime/mystery along with the protagonist.

    ******

    NAS panel meetings 9/24/09 & 9/25/09

    links for audio provided by NAS …

    http://nationalacademies.org/newsroom/nalerts/20090925.html

    The NAS is to be congratulated for the speed with which they provided these links

    ******

    Agenda for September 24, 2009 Open Session

    • 2:00 Use of Preliminary Validated Assays in Exigent Circumstances, Steven Schutzer, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
    • 2:30 Overview of the Scientific Investigation, Rita Colwell, University of Maryland College Park and Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health
    • 3:00 Identification of Bacillus anthracis Ames Strain, Paul Keim, Northern Arizona University
    • 3:45 Identification of Morphological Variants, Patricia Worsham, USAMRIID
    • 4:15 Genetic Analysis of Bacillus anthracis Ames Strain, David Rasko, Institute for Genome Sciences, University of Maryland School of Medicine
    • 4:45 – 6:00 … Discussion

    Agenda for September 25, 2009 Open Session

    • 9:00 Microscopy/Weaponization of Bacillus anthracis, Joseph Michael, Sandia National Laboratory
    • 9:40 Nano-scale secondary ion mass spectroscopy, Peter Weber, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory



    Posted in * NAS review of FBI science, * questioning the FBI's anthrax investigation | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 75 Comments »

    * its seems the FBI said the documents were exempt from FOIA and NAS, with no independent verification, accepted that conclusion

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 24, 2009

    CASE CLOSEDCASE CLOSED is a novel which answers the question “Why did the FBI fail to solve the 2001 anthrax case?” … click here to … buy CASE CLOSED by Lew Weinstein

    Here’s what readers say about CASE CLOSED  …

    “Author Lew Weinstein does a terrific job telling this fictionalized account of an inter agency post-mortem investigation of the (real) failed FBI investigation.”

    “Fiction?? Maybe?? But I don’t think so!! More likely an excellent interpretation of what may have really happened.”

    ******

    update on the NAS/FBI decision

    to sequester FBI-submitted documents

    Questions asked to NAS spokesperson

    1. Does the NAS/FBI agreement specifically prohibit the disclosure of FBI-submitted documents, in whole, in part, now, or later?
    2. If so, can you provide the language of the agreement that does so?
    3. What do you claim as your lawful authority to sequester the FBI-provided material until the end of your review?
    4. Do you understand that you are required to state specific exemptions pursuant to FOIA?
    5. Are you prepared to have your attorney cite specific FOIA exemption provisions for each document sequestered?
    6. Are there provisions of the FOIA law which allow the exemptions you cite to apply now but not at the end of the review period?
    7. How do you characterize FBI-submitted material which you believe is not exempt?

    ******

    It has been several weeks since I learned from the NAS that they had agreed with the FBI to sequester FBI-submitted documents until the end of their study.

    Several emails failed to solicit additional details, particularly as to the legal authority NAS might be claiming under FOIA to sequester the documents. A few days ago, I was afforded the opportunity to discuss these questions with the NAS spokesperson, who by the way, has been as forthcoming and responsive as he can be, given the lack of information he has to share.

    I asked the questions listed above. The spokesperson said he would consult with NAS legal counsel and get back to me. He said he had forwarded my questions when originally submitted and had received no answer. No answer so far this time either.

    The impression I got was that NAS had not done any independent analysis of its FOIA obligations before agreeing to sequester the FBI-submitted documents.

    It seems that the FBI told them the submitted documents were exempt from FOIA disclosure and the NAS, with no independent verification, simply believed the FBI and acted accordingly.

    I am certain the scientists on the NAS panel are conscientious and want to do an honest and comprehensive job.

    The problem seems to be that the bureaucrats at the NAS, seemingly willing to accede to whatever the FBI says, and not willing to release the contract between NAS and the FBI so we can understand the deal they have made, are already diminishing the likelihood that the scientists will be able to produce the results they hope for, and which the American people deserve.

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    Posted in * NAS review of FBI science, * questioning the FBI's anthrax investigation | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

    * Is the FBI’s anthrax case ongoing or not? … I’ve been asking for two months … the FBI refuses to answer … here’s the email trail

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 24, 2009

    CASE CLOSEDCASE CLOSED is a novel which answers the question “Why did the FBI fail to solve the 2001 anthrax case?” … click here to … buy CASE CLOSED by Lew Weinstein

    Here’s what readers say about CASE CLOSED  …

    “Author Lew Weinstein does a terrific job telling this fictionalized account of an inter agency post-mortem investigation of the (real) failed FBI investigation.”

    “Fiction?? Maybe?? But I don’t think so!! More likely an excellent interpretation of what may have really happened.”

    ******

    * Is the FBI’s anthrax case ongoing or not?

    … I’ve been asking for two months

    … the FBI refuses to answer

    … here’s the email trail


    June 25, 2009 … LMW to FBI Washington DC Field Office <washington.field@ic.fbi.gov>

    • On 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.

    August 27 … LMW to FBI Washington DC Field Office <washington.field@ic.fbi.gov>

    • 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.

    Aug 27 … Washington Field Washington.Field@ic.fbi.gov to LMW

    • For more information, call the media representative at your local FBI Field Office.

    August 27 … LMW to Washington Field <Washington.Field@ic.fbi.gov>

    • First of all, I appreciate your continued responses and direction.
    • As you suggested, I called back and asked for the Media Representative.
      • 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.

    ******

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

    * Greenberger at Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing … “I’ve studied the Ft. Detrick situation. I’m not at all convinced that Dr. Ivins was necessarily the perpetrator”

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 23, 2009

    CASE CLOSEDclick here to … buy CASE CLOSED by Lew Weinstein

    Here’s what readers say about CASE CLOSED  …

    “Case Closed takes headline events and weaves a credible scenario around the anthrax scare and government departments working under the radar.”

    “As the facts develop, and the characters weigh in, the story becomes an engaging and thought provoking ride that you will want to stay on until you know the truth.”

    ******

    Michael Greenberger

    Michael Greenberger

    Michael Greenberger, Director, Center for Health and Homeland Security, University of Maryland, Baltimore testified on 9/22/09 before the Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D, MD) presiding.

    Mr. Greenberger testified as follows …

    • I’ve studied the Ft. Detrick situation.
    • I’m not at all convinced that Dr. Ivins was necessarily the perpetrator
    • it’s unfortunate that after his suicide blame was heaped upon him.
    • But I am convinced that the source of the anthrax emanated from a flask at Ft. Detrick.
    • Somebody got access. It was an insider, one of our researchers that perpetrated the attack.

    watch the entire subcommittee session at … http://www.senate.gov/fplayers/CommPlayer/commFlashPlayer.cfm?fn=judiciary092209&st=xxx NOTE: Mr. Greenberger was the last speaker on the agenda.

    Here’s a link to the final version of Professor Greenberger’s testimony … http://www.umaryland.edu/healthsecurity/docs/Michael_Greenberger_BSL_Biosecurity_Testimony.pdf

    Posted in * questioning the FBI's anthrax investigation | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

    * Photos from NAS Committee meeting – July 31st

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 23, 2009

    CASE CLOSEDclick here to … buy CASE CLOSED by Lew Weinstein

    Here’s what readers say about CASE CLOSED  …

    “Lew’s  story is a quick read. In July 2008 a physician employee of the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases dies. The FBI immediately not only declares the death a suicide, but also announces that the doctor had been their prime suspect in the 2001 anthrax murders by mail. “I don’t @#$%ing think so!” says the director of the nation’s Defense intelligence Agency (DIA) and a covert investigation of the FBI itself begins.”

    .

    Photos from NAS Committee meeting – July 31st

    photos by Patricia Pooladi

    NSA-Alice Gast, Chair

    Dr. Alice Gast, Chair

    Dr. David Relman, Vice Chair

    Dr. David Relman, Vice Chair

    NAS - committee

    Congressman Rush Holt

    Congressman Rush Holt

    Posted in * NAS review of FBI science | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    * NAS Committee changes … Popham and Venkateswaran on; Driks off

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 23, 2009

    CASE CLOSEDclick here to … buy CASE CLOSED by Lew Weinstein

    Here’s what readers say about CASE CLOSED  …

    “Lew’s  story is a quick read. In July 2008 a physician employee of the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases dies. The FBI immediately not only declares the death a suicide, but also announces that the doctor had been their prime suspect in the 2001 anthrax murders by mail. “I don’t @#$%ing think so!” says the director of the nation’s Defense intelligence Agency (DIA) and a covert investigation of the FBI itself begins.”

    .

    NAS Committee changes … Popham and Venkateswaran on; Driks off

    Dr. David L. Popham
    Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

    Dr. David L. Popham is a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech. He teaches in the areas of microbial genetics and physiology. He directs a research program in the areas of bacterial endospore structure, content, germination, and resistance properties. Dr. Popham has a Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of California-Davis. He held postdoctoral research positions at the Institut de Biologie Physico-Chimique in Paris and at the University of Connecticut Health Science Center before joining the Virginia Tech faculty in 1996. He has over 20 years of experience in research on Bacillus subtilis cell wall synthesis, spore formation, and spore resistance properties. More recently his research has expanded into the content, structure, and germination of spores produced by Bacillus anthracis, Clostridium difficile, and Clostridium perfringens. Dr. Popham is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Bacteriology and has served as an ad hoc member of six NIH grant review panels. In 2007, he served on the EPA Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Scientific Advisory Panel for the development of guidelines for the approval of sporicidal products.

    Dr. Kasthuri Venkateswaran
    California Institute of Technology

    Dr. Kasthuri Venkateswaran is a senior research scientist at the California Institute of Technology’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Dr. Venkateswaran’s 32 years of research encompass marine, food and environmental microbiology. He has applied his research in molecular microbial analysis to better understand the ecological aspects of microbes, while conducting field studies in several extreme environments such as deep sea (2,500 m), pristine caves (3,000 m altitude), spacecraft (Mars Odyssey, Genesis, MER, Mars Express, Phoenix, MSL) assembly facility clean rooms (various NASA and European Space Agency facilities), as well as the space environment in Earth orbit (International Space Station). Of particular interest are microbe-environment interactions with emphasis on the environmental limits in which organisms can live. The results are used to model microbe-environment interactions with respect to microbial detection, and the technologies to rapidly monitor them without cultivation. The bioinformatics databases generated by Dr. Venkateswaran are extremely useful in the development of biosensors. Further, these models or information in databases are extrapolated to what is known about the spacecraft surfaces and enclosed habitats in an attempt to determine forward contamination as well as develop countermeasures (develop cleaning and sterilization technologies) to control the problematic microbial species. Specifically, his research into the analysis of clean room environments using state-of-the art molecular analysis coupled with nucleic acid and protein-based microarrays, will allow accurate interpretation of data and implementation of planetary protection policies of present missions, helping to set standards for future life-detection missions.

    Posted in * NAS review of FBI science | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »