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

* Sen. Grassley says he will hold nominees at the DOJ until he receives long overdue answers from the FBI

Posted by DXer on September 18, 2009

CASE CLOSEDclick here to … buy CASE CLOSED by Lew Weinstein

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“Weinstein raises some very interesting and disturbing theories.”

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Senator Grassley

Senator Grassley

Excerpts from U.S. Sen. Grassley’s statement on FBI oversight hearing … 9/17/2009

In March of this year, Director Mueller testified before this Committee and I expressed my concerns and frustration at the lack of responsiveness from the FBI in answering questions submitted by all members of the Judiciary Committee.

Director Mueller shared in my frustrations noting that the FBI had provided responses to outstanding questions to the Department of Justice for review, but that the Department has not yet provided them to Congress.

As we stand here today we have questions from a previous FBI Oversight hearing dated March 2008 that remain outstanding and unanswered. That hearing was held over a year and a half ago.

Not having responses to these questions is beyond unacceptable.

So, the question is did the Department simply forget to get back to the Committee or do they have something to hide?

Mr. Chairman, we have a real issue with the Department of Justice and until this culture of late and unresponsive answers to our questions is changed, I will exercise my rights to begin holding nominees at the Department.

read Sen. Grassley’s entire statement at …

28 Responses to “* Sen. Grassley says he will hold nominees at the DOJ until he receives long overdue answers from the FBI”

  1. Anonymous Scientist said

    We are now at T+ 58 days since the FBI announced they were “on the verge” of closing the anthrax case.

  2. For clarity, I will start this separately.

    “He added that Pakistan did not have the facilities to produce the type of anthrax found in the letter.

    Is this true? Could al Qaeda make powdered anthrax in 2001 according to your theory and Pakistan not?

    If Pakistan could make it, then they lied. Isn’t that evidence?

    How did Pakistan have testing equipment and CIPRO and no ability to make anthrax powder?

    Doesn’t USG say that its relatively easy as its current position? So how could Pakistan not be able to make enough to go into a letter?

    • DXer said

      On November 20, 2002, I posted at
      Al Qaeda, Anthrax and Ayman: means, opportunities, motive, and modus operandi

      the following discussion of the “The Pakistan anthrax.”

      The three reported “confirmed cases” in Karachi, Pakistan also are worthy of note. Although there were 100 other hoaxes, including hoax letters sent to other Jang newspaper branches, there was no report about the retesting of letters at the main branch of Jang, Habib International bank and Dell Computer. As of a November 12, 2001, the well-regarded private hospital that had done the lab testing had not yet provided the samples to the Pakistan government for retesting. (114)

      I hyperlink all the articles at the URL in footnote 114. I emailed the scientist at the hospital and got no response and so it remained an open question as to those 3 cases.

      Atlantic, I encourage you to contact the hospital mentioned in the articles I link at Cryptome. This November 2002 summary was a thorough canvassing of all the reports that had appeared up to that date (to include FBIS). What you are saying is not inconsistent with what I said in 2002 and so my tone today was unnecessarily critical. Given the strain was Ames and the isotope analysis indicated that it was grown in the Northeastern United States, I had merely privately concluded that the hospital was embarrassed it screwed up and dropped it altogether from analysis. But perhaps upon inquiry you could find out whether subsequent testing was done as to Jang, Habib International and Dell. Relatedly, you could inquire about the sophistication of the powder. You are of course right that the USG’s position on the sophistication of the aerosol has shifted.

      At the above URL, I cite and hyperlink articles that would provide the names of scientists to email.

      Hannah Bloch, “Some More Spores?: Suspicious packages raise prospect that Pakistan may be the latest target of bioterrorists”, TIME, November 12, 2001.

      “Pakistan, other US allies grapple with anthrax scares,” Christian Science Monitor, November 5, 2001.

      “Anthrax attacks in Pakistan as US strikes raise tensions,” Middle East Times November 2, 2001.

      “Anthrax Found in Pakistan News Office, ” ABCNews, November 2, 2001.

      “US Firm in Pakistan Gets Anthrax Letter,” October 24, 2001.

      “Pakistan reports anthrax exposures,” CNN, November 2, 2001.

      “Pakistan to test 3 people for anthrax exposure, ” CNN, November 3, 2001.

      Ghulam Hasnain, “Lethal Weapon: With three confirmed cases of anthrax exposure so far, offices in Karachi begin to gear up to face the new threat” Newsline (November 2001).

      “No anthrax in Pakistan: minister,” (reporting on 100 hoaxes and confirming that three cases at issue had not yet been retested; urging no need to panic).

      • You’ve done an incredible amount of work and did it early. I will look at this in more detail. I’ve learned a great deal from what you’ve written today. I hope others do as well. I myself try to keep each option at least a little open in my mind.

        I don’t mind a vigorous debate and I appreciate your explanations today and your extra effort to repost this information for me. The debate has sharpened the issues. I don’t consider anyone has to maintain a specific position on some point despite arguing it forcefully. I appreciate your ability to stay on topic and bring out more information. I hope others look at what you’ve posted here today as well.

  3. Was the reason that USG made a generous settlement with Hatfill was because during the time that USG was hounding Hatfill, USG already knew that Pakistan et al were behind the anthrax attacks? At what level did USG know that?

    • DXer said

      “Pakistan et al”? There is no evidence that Pakistan was responsible for the anthrax mailings. (If you mean Salafist-Jihadis or Ayman Zawahiri, then I could agree.) Admittedly, the fact that the Pakistan government is providing $2 million for the defense of Aafia Siddiqui, who says she was tasked with studying germ weapons, is worth following. As is the ISI’s interference with the CIA’s interest in Rauf Ahmad, the scientist Ayman Zawahiri sent to attend the annual conferences with Dr. Ivins. The mainstream press has not even quoted that passage from the defense psychiatrist’s affidavit recounting Aafia’s claim she was studying germ weapons. (Aafia, who walked by the US military strain Vollum every day at Brandeis, reports she just was not very good at it.) But the fact a government pays for a defendant’s defense (as the US does regularly) is a far cry from making them culpable for any crimes committed by a defendant.

      As for the reason for the settlement with Dr. Hatfill, FBI Director Mueller has explained that it related solely to the issue of the leaks in violation of his privacy rights. It did not bear on the whodunnit — the issue of guilt. The head criminal prosecutor in the US Attorney’s Office, whose daughter later came to represent “anthrax weapons suspect” (his counsel’s phrase) Al-Timimi pro bono, pled the Fifth Amendment at deposition regarding the leaks. At least one reporter confirmed that Mr. Seikaly was the source of the leaks after being released of a felt obligation to maintain confidentiality of the source. But giving him the benefit of the doubt, perhaps Mr. Seikaly should be faulted only for leaking (and perhaps it should be assumed he acted in good faith). The compartmentalized FBI investigative squad acted reasonably in pursuing the theory and would have been remiss if they had not done so. In fact, given that Jeff Taylor’s argument was premised on the flask being stored in Building 1425, and not 1412 — and virology was in 1412 — it is not even clear how they suddenly were able to exclude Dr. H. I never did hear an alibi for his time at night and the stuff about Cipro was pretty intriguing (given his statements that reportedly were in conflict with his actual filling of prescriptions). Ivins had armor and Hatfill had a silencer. A Hatfill Theory, even though lacking in merit, was stronger than an Ivins Theory.

      I think the criticism of the FBI is too strident. Except for DIA’s James V, subject of the AP story yesterday, I haven’t seen an observer not privy to Amerithrax information or whistleblower-type information do better. James interviewed the anthrax lab techs at Gitmo but he knew the Amerithrax investigators only to pass in the hall. He thought US-based operatives of Al Qaeda were responsible — not Hatfill.

      I also think the criticism of the NAS is too strident. The critics (such as myself) should submit a FOIA to the FBI for all documents provided to the NAS. The FBI will then deny the request on the grounds, for example, that there is a pending law enforcement investigation, as well as additional grounds in the case of particular categories of documents. Then any otherwise non-exempt documents can be obtained when the investigation is closed. As for the NAS panel members, given they are volunteers who have limited time to spend on the subject and are being provided only limited documents by the FBI, their conclusions can be addressed on the merits. They will be subject to criticism for having reached conclusions without having pressed the FBI for all relevant documents as Dr. Jennifer Smith (formerly of the FBI/Amerithrax and CIA) urged them to do. Judge Rakoff will appreciate that the NAS is toothless in pressing the FBI for documents and that document production, when the requester lacks enforcement power, will be determined by the self-interest of the party providing documents. We can judge the FBI in this regard by its failure to respond to simple questions by US Senators.

      At least Ed, to his credit, put a stamp on an envelope and sent $12 or whatever for the pretty pictures that the public relations people failed to upload.

      Yes, Jeff Taylor was mistaken. Agent Montooth is mistaken. Yes, Mr. Persichini was mistaken to the extent he was saying the same thing as Agent Montooth. But the fact that they are wrong is reason to demonstrate that they are wrong — not to criticize. Dr. Nass, Jeff. A, Gerard P. all did wonderfully addressing specifics of the FBI’s Ivins Theory.

      Personally, I see little reason to doubt that Dr. Ivins was chargeable as an accessory before the fact or after the fact (or for obstruction of justice) — such evidence just has not yet been revealed. The alteration of the documents and 100 ml discrepancy raises profound questions. Of course, such evidence could not include the testimony or work of people with a direct interest in the issue such as the FBI scientist who made aerosolized Ames for DARPA (which for 8 years was kept secret while public denials were being made by USAMRIID) or the FBI genetics scientist who provided the former Zawahiri associate working with Ivins on a DARPA project the lab space for work using virulent Ames. Those two scientists have a keen conflict of interest and evidence on these issues will have to be entirely independent. To use the NAS guidelines, they have not just a “point of view,” but a sharp conflict of interest.

      Bottom-line: If the FBI doesn’t have any other suspect, they don’t have any suspect. They were working on compartmentalized squads and so 2/3 of them didn’t even have the relevant information to any particular theory. The badge does not come with a guarantee that all cases will be solvable. It’s not like it was an easy crime to solve or there were not huge obstacles (including political and other obstacles) that arose through no one’s fault. I think they have done very well to narrow things to a stream of isolates coming from a particular flask and to determine that the Silicon Signature could have been due to silica in the culture medium. A LOT more very dramatic information will be coming out — not known to Joe M. at Sandia and the FBI’s other experts — and then their work and the work of the NAS panel members can be judged in the fuller context. When it comes out that the NAS both failed to comply with FACA and FOIA — while at the same time the NAS panel members failed to demand and obtain key documents from FBI — that will be part of the historical record.

      Given they have no enforcement power, it is to be expected that they won’t get a full production of FBI given that FBI refuses to even answer basic questions by US Senators. The incomprehensible response to Congressman Nadler about distribution of Ames from the flask is a prime example.

      It will take the experts on the NAS panel to consider alternative theories to the Silicon Signature. For example, Dr. Ezzell provided Edgewood with Ames in a soil suspension. If soil is silica, that also deserves to be considered as a hypothesis. The FBI hasn’t even provided documents to the NAS about the soil suspension or the Microdroplet Cell Culture Technique patents — which is just one of many red flags an NAS panel member would see being raised relating to the documents the FBI is not providing.

      • Pakistan declared the nuclear sanctions on it from 1998 unjust. See a discussion of that here in the comments.

        Pakistan could not refinance its debt in 2001 because of US sanctions from its nuclear test. Pakistan’s central banker at the time wrote a book and said that Pakistan’s financial position on 9/11 was unsustainable. Pakistan’s gross experts were less than interest on its debt.

        I pointed this out on the Internet and since then he has taken down his website it appears.

        Husain changed his position on Pak’s financial state recently on the Internet.

        Pakistan’s ISI general Mahmud Ahmed (many spellings of both names e.g. Mahmoud Ahmad) was in DC and had to resign under US pressure about a month later.

        The following article from the week before 9/11 is essentially the demands of Pakistan.

        Pakistan:Leaving U.S. Sanctions in Place Would Be Grave
        By Mansoor Ijaz, R. James Woolsey and James A. Abrahamson
        Published: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2001

        NEW YORK: The Bush administration is preparing to lift punitive sanctions imposed on India for its nuclear program. But clearing this hurdle to bolster political, economic and military ties with India while maintaining even sterner sanctions on Pakistan would be seen throughout the Middle East as discrimination of the first order. Islamabad would be pushed in dangerous directions, particularly toward increased reliance on its nuclear and missile programs.

        Further crippling a weak Pakistan, perhaps to the point of state failure, would invite its myriad problems to spill over into other countries. Islamic militancy, arms and drug trafficking and religiously motivated sectarian violence could have devastating consequences for India’s economic prospects and cause trouble in important Islamic oil-producing countries. Risks to U.S. forces and interests in the Middle East would be a virtual certainty.

        Pakistan in 2001 was faced with giving up its nuclear program to get refinancing. That would leave India with nukes but Pakistan without. If you search Pakistan sanctions unjust will you find much indication of this.

        Pakistan had the motive and track record for 9/11. Pakistan invaded a disputed province with India and claimed their own troops were terrorists and wouldn’t take the bodies back. Ahmed and Musharraf did that.

        Ahmed helped Musharraf in the coup and they were joined at the hip. So Ahmed resigning was a big deal.

        Pakistan got refinancing basically ok-ed by the US very quickly after 9/11. The anthrax attacks were a good way to switch attention in the US from Islamic terrorism with Pakistan’s assistance to domestic terrorism.

        Pakistan was the big winner in 9/11. There is more circumstantial evidence tying Pakistan to terrorism than there is Bruce Ivins to anthrax.

        The second mailing indicates a major upgrade in capability. This is consistent with the second being done in a government’s lab and then sent.

        If your comments about USG being fine fellows are taken as valid, then USG wasn’t the source unless it was a renegade. If the silicon, subtilis, time requirements, equipment requirements, etc. indicate that Ivins didn’t do it, and a state lab did it, then one is looking at Pakistan as on the short list of suspects.

        The St. Petersburg “hoax” letters are another indication that it was not Ivins acting alone.

        There is the prep time issue. The first mailing was short on time if it started after 9/11. But if it started before 9/11 to be part of it, then it has to be a party.

        If the al Qaeda members in custody don’t know who did the anthrax mailings, then that would mean some other organization with knowledge of 9/11 arranged it without telling al Qaeda. That would fit to be Pakistan. Pakistan had the motive for the post 9/11 mailing, to get the refinancing and then divert attention.

        The US basically indicated agreement to refinancing and lifting sanctions quickly after 9/11. Maybe that went faster than Pakistan expected so they had to hurry up the anthrax mailings. Also USG was indicating it wanted to use military force faster than Pakistan expected and Pakistan wanted to also stop that.

        Pakistan is the big winner from the anthrax attacks. Pakistan’s involvement in 9/11 and its benefit from lifting sanctions would have received more scrutiny after 9/11 if the anthrax attacks had not happened.

      • We have 2 possibilities:

        1) Anthrax and 9/11 were independent in sense that anthrax attacker had no knowledge of 9/11 prior to 9/11 and no links to those involved.

        2) The anthrax attacks were linked to 9/11.

        If they were linked, and if al Qaeda did it, then given the people the US has in custody it would presumably know by now that al Qaeda did it. If al Qaeda didn’t do the anthrax but the anthrax attacks were done by someone with advanced knowledge of 9/11, then that would put Pakistan as first suspect.

        In summary, if 9/11 and anthrax attacks are tied, and if al Qaeda is out because of US interrogations excluding it, then Pakistan is next up on the list. They had the financial motive I indicated in my other reply which has links and is awaiting approval. Search Pakistan sanctions unjust and see the Complete 9/11 timeline on Pakistan. Also search Pakistan anthrax.


        Friday, 2 November, 2001, 15:29 GMT

        “Pakistani officials say anthrax-infected letters have been identified in the country – apparently the first ones sent to Asia. ”

        “He added that Pakistan did not have the facilities to produce the type of anthrax found in the letter.

        The Daily Jang, Pakistan’s largest Urdu-language newspaper, received the letter containing white powder on 23 October. ”

        The letter had to be mailed at least one day earlier. If this was a copycat with real anthrax, they had no more than about 3 weeks notice from US of anthrax attacks there.

        Given all we know, producing anthrax powder and sending envelopes in 3 weeks is not easy. This looks like Pakistan sending anthrax letters against itself to make it look like a victim.

        The Pakistan govt claimed it couldn’t produce the powder at all. USG now seems to say you can produce anthrax powder easily.

        Given what we know, a business man who reads about anthrax stories couldn’t produce anthrax powder in 3 weeks and send it in an envelope. It looks like Pakistan trying to divert attention from itself.

        Its almost impossible for some private individual or group in Pakistan to have produced this powder in 3 weeks and sent it given all we know.

      • I searched on “Daily Jang” anthrax Pakistan hoax to see if the anthrax was later declared a mis id. It does not appear to have been. Other traces of powder were found around the world later in 2001.

        I would guess that the Pakistan id of it as anthrax powder was intentionally false. No anthrax was in the letter is my guess. Or very little. And if USG wanted the powder later, then Pakistan would give them anthrax powder or powder not anthrax based on which was the better tactic at the time. This was purely to divert attention by Pakistan’s govt which made the claim of id of the anthrax.

      • I searched on “Mohammed Salim” Pakistan anthrax “Daily Jang” to see what happened to this guy. The story disappears. Pakistan just rounded up some usual suspects? Doesn’t this fit their pattern with Daniel Pearl and so many others?

        “Nov 11, 2001 … CHRISTINA LAMB, the Telegraph’s award-winning foreign correspondent, was deported from Pakistan”

        At Daily Telegraph site. I won’t link since you can find it easily from a search.

        Why did Pakistan have an arrest in a week in the anthrax case and then that person disappears?

      • DXer said

        The letters reported received by newspapers in Pakistan turned out to be false positives. I extensively researched it in the foreign press using the best databases and, without a doubt, the authoritative conclusion was that the better tests showed initial tests to be false positives. The best coverage is in the CIA’s FBIS available on WorldNet through DIALOG.

        Under the principles of cell security, such as the FBI seized in a memo titled “Cocktail” when they searched Ali Mohammed’s residence (he was chief of intelligence), the principles of cell security contemplated that (1) AQ Central would not know the identity of the members of the cell, and (2) cell members would not even know each other’s identity. The only one who would is the leader of the cell.
        Egyptians from Cairo (Atef and Ayman) were planning the anthrax operation. Most of Al Qaeda leadership were Egyptian and 75% of them were students from the medical, engineering and law schools from Cairo. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, it is notable that the scientist who Bruce Ivins supplied virulent Ames graduated Cairo Medical in December 1982 and then got his PhD in microbiology there in 1994. Three years later he was heading a DARPA project that involved virulent Ames supplied by Bruce Ivins.

        His friend Tarek Hamid was recruited by the Egyptian Islamic Group. Tarek Hamid tells me that Tarek Hamouda, his classmate at Cairo Medical (different year) would visit Cairo as a child and he, his older brother, and Tarek would go to the comic store together. He tells me he called Dr. Hamouda up prior to 911 to ask about patents and Dr. Hamouda said it was “all in the marketing.” Dr. Hamouda was visiting (as a child) from Khartoum, Sudan where his mother taught acccounting at the university there.

        I once contacted Amerithrax head Michael Mason about these matters and he said that they would leave no “stone unturned”. But all I see is forensics pointing to know-how developed by DARPA-funded researchers relating to concentration of anthrax using silica in the culture medium, and ongoing highly classified briefing by Andrew Card’s former assistant Ali Al-Timimi, whose counsel says he is an “anthrax weapons suspect.”

        Given we know the Pakistan letters were “false positives,” the more pertinent question relating to the narrow question of access of genetically identical Ames concerns when Dr. Hamouda did his research with Bruce Ivins at USAMRIID. Ali Al-Timimi’s unrestricted access to the ATCC repository is but one more of several other possible ways in which the Salafist-Jihadis obtained virulent Ames.

        The fact that KSM or Ramzi Binalshibbh have not indicated that the knew is no proof at all. As for whether Atef, the head of anthrax planning, he died in a missile attack in Fall 2001. As for Ayman Zawahiri he has not been captured. As for the “emir” of the cell,whoever he turns out to be, there is no indication he has been interrogated on the point.

        So your analysis that Pakistan is responsible is not supported by any evidence.

        If one were predisposed to explore such a theory, one would start with the premise that Pakistan is not monolithic — and one would bear down on rogue elements within the ISI who have ties with the Taliban.

        But given the documentary evidence shows that it was Ayman Zawahiri and the Egyptians planning to use aerosolized anthrax, the evidence points to the Salafi jihadis recruited as part of Ayman’s anthrax planning, and not Pakistan. In fact, Pakistan intelligence for example grabbed Karachi microbiology student Saaed Mohammed right away. He had been procuring some equipment for the purpose while based in Karachi.

        More narrowly, however, the ISI’s failure to cooperate with respect to Rauf Ahmad should not have been countenanced by the CIA. I first reported his arrest in 2002 and the ISI promptly stopped cooperating. The head of the leading microbiology society in UK confirmed that he attended the conferences in both 1999 and 2000. The one in 2001 was organized by the late Bruce Ivins and I did not think to ask him. But ASM would have record of whether Rauf Ahmad attended the June 2001 conference Bruce organized in Annapolis.

        Rauf is available for an interview although of course has no incentive reason to give direct answers. He is motivated by money rather than piousness. And I don’t have any money to give him.

      • DXer said

        Zawahiri in an October 7, 2001 book makes this same point, as did Aafia Siddiqui in a 1995 post.

        She used to make homecooked meals for Pakistan’s religious minister in Boston. So it’s not like there are not elements within the Pakistan government that share views that overlap with the Jihadists. But all the anthrax planning — including express memos and correspondence I’ve uploaded — relates to Ayman Zawahiri, not Pakistan. Ayman is a sharp critic of Pakistan and wants its present government overthrown.

      • DXer said

        “I searched on “Daily Jang” anthrax Pakistan hoax to see if the anthrax was later declared a mis id. It does not appear to have been.”

        It was — you just need to do better research and use better databases and research sources. It is a beautiful autumn day and I never said doing good research of “open source” intelligence was easy. To research a local story, go to the local newspapers. Given the thousands of hoaxes that have occurred, not everyone makes the New York Times.

        You haven’t evidenced any familiarity with the documentary evidence that exists and has been uploaded.

      • Was the coup by General Ahmed and Musharraf in 1998 rogue elements? Didn’t that put the rogue elements in charge? What about prior coups in Pakistan? Was the invasion of Kargil in 1999 by Pakistan done by rogue elements? Pakistan lost but would not accept their own soldiers bodies back claiming they were terrorists? Doesn’t the rogue elements excuse ever wear thin?

        Was A Q Khan a rogue element in Pakistan? Are Pakistan’s other links to terrorism rogue elements? Was Daniel Pearl’s death all rogue elements? Was Christina Lamb send out of the country by rogue elements?

        ““The moment I heard the first news about the airline plot, I knew it was just a matter of time until we heard the word Pakistan,” said a US intelligence agent. “Whether it’s 9/11, the Bali bombs, 7/7 and now this, Pakistan is always the connection. That’s gotta raise some questions.””

      • DXer said

        This nuclear issue is important to Zawahiri as he explained in his October 7 book. Al-Zawahiri cites many examples about the US flagrant support for Israel, including the US pressure on Egypt to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty at a time when Israel publicly declares that it will not sign the treaty because of its special circumstances.

        Despite this, Zawahiri says, the United States sympathizes with Israel and overlooks its actions. This means that the United States has deliberately left the nuclear weapons in the hands of Israel to threaten its Arab neighbors. Al-Zawahiri argues in his book that the western states have considered Israel’s presence in the region a basic guarantee for serving the Western interests.

        At the time of the anthrax mailings, Sadat’s assassination and the Camp David Accord still dominated Zawahiri’s thinking. In Knights Under the Banner of the Prophet, Al-Zawahiri argued in the Fall of 2001 that the Camp David Accord sought to turn Sinai into a disarmed area to serve as a buffer zone between Egypt and Israel. He cites the peace treaty between the two countries, particularly issues related to the armament of the Egyptian Army inside Sinai. He claims that Egypt has restored Sinai formally but it remains in the hands of Israel militarily.

        The Wall Street Journal explained in August 2002: “Oct. 8 last year was Columbus Day, a public holiday on which mail wasn’t collected from letter boxes. That may mean the letters could have been posted as early as the Saturday before.” Taking into account the fact that there was no mail postmarked with a Trenton postmark on Columbus Day, October 8, the letter to Senator Tom Daschle postmarked October 9 may actually have been mailed October 6. (The FBI, of course, may know the date it was mailed based on information that has not been disclosed.) (Some press reports, however, suggest that they are considering that the mailing may have been at anytime during the October 6-October 9 period). October 6 was the day Anwar Sadat was assassinated for his role in the Camp David Accord. President Sadat was assassinated on the national holiday called “Armed Forces Day.” He was killed during an annual holiday parade which marks the day, October 6, 1973, that Egypt made a critical successful surprise attack on Israel during the 1973 war.

        “Death to Pharaoh!” the young Army officer shouted. He and his confederates jumped off the truck shot into the reviewing stand where Sadat had been watching the annual parade. “I killed the Pharaoh, and I do not fear death.” Sadat’s detention of Muhammad Shawqi al-Islambouli had spurred his brother, Khalid, to seize an opportunity presented on short notice to assassinate Anwar Sadat. Kamal Habib, founder of Egyptian Islamic Jihad and writer for the IANA quarterly magazine, who spent 10 years in prison in connection with the assassination, told academic Fawaz Gerges: “It was not a well-coordinated operation, and it succeeded by a miracle.” A street was named after Khalid Islambouli in Iran, with Iran having been upset at Egypt for granting the Shah safe haven. After leaving Egypt in the mid-1980s, Muhammad Islambouli operated in Pakistan recruiting Egyptian fighters for the war in Afghanistan, and headed a branch of Bin Laden’s Maktab al-Khidmat (‘Bureau of Services’) in Peshawar. Muhammad Islambouli was the subject of the December 4, 1998 Presidential Daily Brief — numerous motorcycles and related vehicles, complete with helicopter hovering overhead — titled “Bin Ladin Preparing to Hijack US Aircraft and Other Attacks” explaining that Bin Laden planned an attack on the US involving airplanes and that the motivation was to free the blind sheik Abdel-Rahman and a dissident Saudi sheik.

      • “Personally, I see little reason to doubt that Dr. Ivins was chargeable as an accessory before the fact or after the fact (or for obstruction of justice) — such evidence just has not yet been revealed.”

        I thought you considered al Qaeda responsible for the attacks?

        Also as of now, what is the probability, in your view, that Ivins acted alone? If that probability is low, then how are the FBI and DOJ acting honorably? If they are acting honorably why don’t they produce information for Congress, FOIA, and just in general to show more info?

        What about the others? Hatfill, Berry, etc? Isn’t the FBI stonewalling on producing documents because they don’t want to be hit with wrongful death charges in the case of Bruce Ivins? If the evidence available now and still concealed all point to Ivins didn’t do it, then how did they act properly to hound Ivins even to the point of turning his therapist against him? How was their investigation appropriate?

      • DXer said

        Old Atlantic,

        Speculative theorizing is not fruitful. Things are way beyond that due to such issues as access to virulent Ames, the genetics inquiry, the forensics,the isotope analysis showing the anthrax was grown in the Northeastern US, etc.

        You started speculative theorizing by premising an argument on a mistaken fact relating to mailed anthrax in Pakistan. It was a mistaken premise. They were false positives. By all means, if you think there is contrary to evidence, go find it.

        The inexpert Pakistan labs also registered false positive that week at the US consulate. I made sure to review the press conference in Pakistan where all the people who had reported the initial false report explained the mistake. Everyone was on a learning curve about the accuracy of the different available tests.
        Wednesday, 7 November, 2001, 18:18 GMT
        Lahore powder not anthrax
        Lahore postal workers

        Postal workers in Pakistan have been on full alert
        Tests in the United States have confirmed that a white powder contained in a letter sent to the US consulate in the Pakistani city of Lahore was negative for anthrax.

        Anti-US demonstration
        There is widespread anti-US sentiment in Pakistan
        White House spokesman Ari Fleischer told reporters the tests were “conclusive”.

        US officials in Pakistan had previously announced the powder was anthrax, but sent it back to the United States for further testing.

      • “Mohammed Salim” anthrax

        “Mohammed Salim” anthrax – did not match any documents.

        2001 anthrax

        Gives a few hits but none on this incident.

        Why would the largest newspaper in Pakistan as it says not report on a later finding of no anthrax? In fact, the entire incident produces no hits at its site at all. Isn’t that odd? Did Pakistan’s government tell it to wipe it off?

      • DXer said

        “I searched on “Daily Jang” anthrax Pakistan hoax to see if the anthrax was later declared a mis id. It does not appear to have been. Other traces of powder were found around the world later in 2001.”

        You make an unsupported inference based on a boolean search you made in which you concluded such an article would use the word “hoax.”

        Then Ike writes:
        “I would guess that the Pakistan id of it as anthrax powder was intentionally false. No anthrax was in the letter is my guess. Or very little. And if USG wanted the powder later, then Pakistan would give them anthrax powder or powder not anthrax based on which was the better tactic at the time. This was purely to divert attention by Pakistan’s govt which made the claim of id of the anthrax.”

        Ike, spend more time pulling up the relevant articles in a proper database (in which the Pakistan press appears) and less time guessing.

        Then you infer some party was intentionally lying.

        Instead, if you were motivated on the issue, you should go to a proper database and do more thorough research. And choose your boolean search terms more carefully. Best approach is to find the names of people and search them. Find a captioned picture of the scientists discussing it and search their names. I used to use a webpage that had all the Pakistan newspapers linked and I would go through them one by one.

  4. Some additional questions that the FBI and DOJ should answer. At any time, did any person in the custody of the US make a statement linking al Qaeda to the anthrax attacks? Linking Pakistan, UAE or Saudi Arabia to them? Give specifics if yes.

    Same for any other country having a person in custody. Same but from national technical means.

    What about any statements or info linking Pakistan, UAE or Saudi Arabia to 9/11?

    Any indication of a plan to use the anthrax attacks as part of the overall 9/11 plan to divert attention to domestic terrorism to reorient the US away from Afghanistan, al Qaeda, the Taliban or Pakistan, UAE or Saudi Arabia? That is the overall 9/11 plan was to have the anthrax attacks afterward so the US would lose interest in going into Afghanistan or Pakistan.

    Was this part of the plan insisted on by some party to get its assent to 9/11? To get the Taliban to agree? Pakistan, UAE or Saudi Arabia?

    • DXer said

      A senior militant who met with Atef, Zawahiri and Bin Laden to discuss these issues in the summer of 2000 in Kandahar confirms that deterring the invasion against Afghanistan was a key purpose of the threatened use of WMD.

      In November 2007, a former leader of an armed Islamic group in Libya, Numan Bin Uthman, wrote an open letter to al-Qaeda second in command Ayman al-Zawahiri telling him that Jihadi groups in Arab countries have failed and that the strategy of using nonconventional WMD to deter an invasion of Afghanistan was a misguided and failed strategy. Ali Al-Timimi had a stern warning not to invade Iraq hand-delivered to every member of Congress on October 6, 2002 — the first anniversary of the mailing to Senator Leahy and Senator Daschle. It was in the name of Bin Laden’s sheik.

      In his letter to Zawahiri, the Libyan jihadist Numan Bin Uthman wrote:

      “Dear Doctor Ayman, as I told you during a meeting in Kandahar [in Afghanistan] in 2000,


      Uthman also said that he had taken part in an important al-Qaeda summit in Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2000, in which al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had defined search for and use of weapons of mass destruction as a “Sharia obligation”.

      “During this occasion, I had a strong dispute with the martyr Abu Hafs al-Kumandan [Commander Abu Hafs aka Mohammed Atef, Al Qaeda’s military commander], because he was heavily involved in acquiring weapons of mass destruction.”

      Ayman Zawahiri was reporting to Atef about anthrax weaponization program codenamed Zabadi. Atef died when a missile landed on his head in November 2001.”

      The jihadist’s letter to Zawahiri continues:

      “He wanted to use these weapons to dissuade the United State from attacking Afghanistan. And yet I knew that al-Qaeda did not have any strategic vision and would have used the weapons to kill indiscriminately and not to dissuade.”

      He continued:

      “After seven years since that meeting, my convictions on these issues have only grown stronger,” he said.

      “At that time I said that provoking the United States would turn them against the Taliban and by striking the country in an unconventional way would bring occupation to the entire Middle East and not only Afghanistan and that’s what’s happened.”

      Libyan leader Bin-Uthman, a former leader in the Libyan Islamic Combat Group, on behalf of his group had declined bin Laden’s invitation in 1998 to join with Bin Laden’s “World Front.” At the several day meeting in the Summer of 2000 in Kandahar, he spoke frankly about the failure to achieve jihadist goals. He told al-Hayat last year: “We asked Bin-Ladin in 2000 to halt his operations from Afghanistan and he agreed ‘except for operations under preparation and execution and I [Bin-Ladin said he] will never give them up.’” In the December 2006 interview, Bin-Uthman explained that:

      “Continuity is the most important point in the military actions, especially the guerrilla warfare, whether those launched from mountains or the urban warfare. The lack of continuity causes the side which you want on your side in the conflict, such as people or other Islamist movements, to lose trust in you. The choice of easy and civilian targets, which anyone can attack, also upset a large number of those whom you say you want to liberate and provide with security and prosperity. What they saw was the opposite. In addition, weeks after the operations, their frequency began to decline until it became clear that the state prevented you from continuing [the operations.] The armed organization was established to inflict a military defeat on the state. This did not happen in any Arab state. Not only Al-Qa’idah, but also all the jihadist groups in the Arab countries completely failed. I am speaking based on an experience with the jihadist groups, and I know what I am saying.”

      Bin-Uthman late last year told that the interviewer that Bin Laden did not expect the US to invade Afghanistan.

      “Practically speaking, however, I know through my dialogues with Al-Qa’idah Organization that it never expected America to invade Afghanistan. It expected extremely violent air strikes. It wagered that Pakistan would never cooperate and open its territory to the US forces. Bin-Ladin wagered much that the Pakistanis, scholars, students and preachers would stand in the way of their government if it even thought of this matter (cooperation with the Americans). The utmost Al-Qa’idah expected were harsh air strikes, which would not lead to the downfall of the Taleban government or the departure of the Arabs from Afghanistan. They also took into consideration the possibility that the Americans would conduct a special force landing operations to carry out assassinations. Al-Qa’idah, however, did not expect an invasion of Afghanistan.”

  5. DXer said

    For Immediate Release
    September 17, 2008

    Grassley Statement, FBI Oversight Hearing

    Click here to listen to the audio of Senator Grassley’s questioning of Director Mueller

    Chairman Leahy, thank you for calling this hearing today. This hearing comes at a critical time with many pressing oversight issues pending regarding the FBI. I thank Director Mueller for coming up here today to discuss these important matters. I also want to thank Director Mueller for taking the time to meet with me last week to discuss some of the matters I’ll be bringing up today. It is important that we take the time to discuss these concerns and bring them out in a public forum. That said, I look forward to discussing the following topics with Director Mueller.

    Anthrax Investigation

    In the anthrax investigation, we now know that the FBI has been focusing on a new suspect for the last several years, Dr. Bruce Ivins. Although it is unclear whether anyone will ever be punished for leaking confidential case information about Dr. Stephen Hatfill to the news media, Dr. Hatfill received a multimillion dollar settlement from the government. The FBI finally cleared Dr. Hatfill of any involvement in the killings, but it did so with no apologies and only after the FBI’s new suspect committed suicide.

    The FBI has released a limited amount of the evidence against Dr. Ivins, and is in the process of closing the anthrax case. However, dozens and dozens of serious questions remain unanswered. Since there will likely never be a trial, the reliability of the evidence against Dr. Ivins will never be tested as it traditionally would be in a court of law. If Dr. Ivins had been indicted and tried, his attorneys would have had access to virtually everything gathered by the FBI in the last seven years. They would have been able to search for evidence that contradicted the FBI’s claims or supported alternate theories about who the killer or killers might have been. Now, that cannot happen.

    Given all the time and money sunk into this investigation, I believe that the American people deserve more than just a press conference and a few briefings. If this case has truly been solved, then there has to be some alternative process capable of ensuring, in the way that a trial could have, that the FBI got it right. There needs to be a substantive, in-depth, and independent inquiry of the sort that only Congress can conduct at this point. I challenge Director Mueller to embrace this sort of scrutiny and open the FBI’s files on this matter for inspection by the representatives of the American people. I challenge the leadership of the Senate and of this Committee to put the time, resources, and energy necessary into conducting a thorough review in which the public can have confidence.

  6. DXer said

    August 7, 2008

    Grassley Seeks Answers to FBI’s Amerithrax Investigation

    WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley today began asking tough questions of the Department of Justice and the FBI following the release of documents implicating Dr. Bruce Ivins as the only suspect in the Amerithrax investigation.

    “This has been a long investigation full of missteps and mistakes. There’s been too much secrecy up to this point and it deserves a full and thorough vetting,” Grassley said. “There are clearly a lot of unanswered questions and it’s time to start a dialogue so we can get answers.”

    Here is a copy of the text of Grassley’s letter.

    The Honorable Michael B. Mukasey
    U.S. Department of Justice
    950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.,
    Washington, DC 20530

    The Honorable Robert S. Mueller, Director
    Federal Bureau of Investigation
    935 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
    Washington, DC 20535

    Dear Attorney General Mukasey and Director Mueller:

    Thank you for ensuring that Congressional staff received an advanced briefing yesterday of the information released to the public in the Amerithrax investigation. The three affidavits provided represent an important, but small first step toward providing Congress and the public a full accounting of the evidence gathered by the FBI.

    At yesterday’s briefing, Justice Department and FBI officials invited follow-up questions after there had been time to read the affidavits. Indeed, there are many important questions to be answered about the FBI’s seven-year investigation, the basis for its conclusion that Dr. Bruce Ivins conducted the attacks alone, and the events leading to his suicide. To begin this inquiry, please provide complete and detailed answers to the following questions:

    What is the date (month and year) that the FBI determined that the anthrax came from a specified flask in Ivins’s lab (“RMR-1029”)?

    When (month and year) did the FBI determine that Dr. Hatfill never had access to the anthrax used in the killings?

    How did the FBI determine that Dr. Hatfill did not have access to the anthrax used in the killings? Was that because the FBI determined that Dr. Hatfill no longer worked at USAMRIID when the powder was made?

    Was Dr. Hatfill or his counsel informed that Dr. Hatfill had been cleared of any involvement in the anthrax killings before the Department of Justice offered a settlement to him? Was he informed before signing the settlement agreement with him? If not, please explain why not.

    Was Judge Walton (the judge overseeing the Privacy Act litigation) ever informed that Dr. Hatfill had been eliminated as a suspect in the anthrax killings? If so, when. If not, please explain why not.

    Was Dr. Ivins ever polygraphed in the course of the investigation? If so, please provide the dates and results of the exam(s). If not, please explain why not.

    Of the more than 100 people who had access to RMR 1029, how many were provided custody of samples sent outside Ft. Detrick? Of those, how many samples were provided to foreign laboratories?

    If those with access to samples of RMR 1029 in places other than Ft. Detrick had used the sample to produce additional quantities of anthrax, would that anthrax appear distinguishable from RMR 1029?

    How can the FBI be sure that none of the samples sent to other labs were used to create additional quantities of anthrax that would appear distinguishable from RMR 1029?

    Please describe the methodology and results of any oxygen isotope measurements taken to determine the source of water used to grow the spores used in the anthrax attacks.

    Was there video equipment which would record the activities of Dr. Ivins at Ft. Detrick on the late nights he was there on the dates surrounding the mailings? If so, please describe what examination of the video revealed.

    When did the FBI first learn of Dr. Ivins’ late-night activity in the lab around the time of the attacks? If this is powerful circumstantial evidence of his guilt, then why did this information not lead the FBI to focus attention on him, rather than Dr. Hatfill, much sooner in the investigation?

    When did the FBI first learn that Dr. Ivins was prescribed medications for various symptoms of mental illness? If this is circumstantial evidence of his guilt, then why did this information not lead the FBI to focus attention on him, rather than Dr. Hatfill, much sooner in the investigation? Of the 100 individuals who had access to RMR 1029, were any others found to suffer from mental illness, be under the care of a mental health professional, or prescribed anti-depressant/anti-psychotic medications? If so, how many?

    What role did the FBI play in conducting and updating the background examination of Dr. Ivins in order for him to have clearance and work with deadly pathogens at Ft. Detrick?

    After the FBI identified Dr. Ivins as the sole suspect, why was he not detained? Did the U.S. Attorney’s Office object to seeking an arrest or material witness warrant? If not, did anyone at FBI order a slower approach to arresting Ivins?

    Had an indictment of Dr. Ivins been drafted before his death? If so, what additional information did it contain beyond the affidavits already released to the public? If not, then when, if ever, had a decision been made to seek an indictment from the grand jury?

    According to family members, FBI agents publicly confronted and accused Dr. Ivins of the attacks, showed pictures of the victims to his daughter, and offered the $2.5 million reward to his son in the months leading up to his suicide. These aggressive, overt surveillance techniques appear similar to those used on Dr. Hatfill with the apparent purpose of intimidation rather than legitimate investigation. Please describe whether and to what degree there is any truth to these claims.

    What additional documents will be released, if any, and when will they be released?

    Please provide your responses in electronic format. Please have your staff contact (202) 224-4515 with any questions related to this request.


  7. Another question. Are some of the documents posted at this website that came out of FOIA requests also ones requested by Congess but not provided by the FBI or DOJ to Congress? Are there any documents not released by FOIA that were provided to Congress in the last year?

  8. Well maybe they should give him 400k this time.

  9. DXer said

    On nominations, that’s what he said at earlier oversight hearings.

    U.S. Sen. Grassley: $200,000 to Iowa from U.S. Department of Justice

    WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley today announced that the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs has released $200,000 to the Iowa Governors Office of Drug Control Policy through the Edward Byrne Memorial Congressionally Recommended Awards program in the fiscal 2009 appropriations process.
    According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the Edward Byrne Memorial Congressionally Recommended Awards program helps improve the capacity of local justice systems and supports training and technical assistance programs and other efforts that strategically target local needs.

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