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

* information to and from NAS does not seem to be flowing smoothly

Posted by DXer on October 2, 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.”

******

information to and from NAS

does not seem to be flowing smoothly

******

DXer’s recent comment deserves a post of its own …

In Amerithrax, NAS has not yet provided a report a description of the Closed Meeting as required by the Federal Advisory Committee Act.  Nor has the NAS responded to email or telephone inquiry to Amanda Cline concerning the documents that should have been put in the Public Access File the day of the meeting (such as Joe Michael’s powerpoint).  Lawrence Livermore advised me that they were refusing to put Dr. Weber’s powerpoint in the Public Access File but then I persuaded them to comply with the law — which requires that a powerpoint presented in open session be made available.  Sandia, on the other hand, through its Public Affairs person, and after checking with Dr. Michael, has refused to provide me a copy.  Sandia’s FOIA person has not even provided or responded to a FOIA request directed to the powerpoint from June.

If these scientists cannot read and comply with the plainly worded statute, it does not bode well for the prospects that the NAS panel will ask the tough questions or succeed in obtaining meaningful documents.  The volunteers have no experience or leverage in obtaining documents.  A federal district court judge ruled this week that the FBI’s interview notes of Vice President Cheney  regarding who leaked Valerie Plame’s name as a CIA operative have to be provided under FOIA.  If Vice President Cheney has to comply with FOIA, Sandia should rethink its position (at least the one from September presented in open session) given that they were funded by taxpayer money. The Sandia powerpoints are the subject of YouTube videos in which they spin the science to accuse the dead guy by using undefined terms like “weaponization” and “natural” in order to create an impression that the silicates were not added intentionally for a reason.

Now, Joe Michael’s email correspondence with Dr. Meselson would be even more interesting but the chances that the NAS will succeed in pressing for meaningful documents  (as former FBI agent Jennifer Smith and Dr. Budowie urged) are slim. NAS will not succeed in obtaining full document discovery because they have no mechanism by which to make it happen.  They are staffed by well-meaning volunteers with limited time who, although  expert in their particular narrow field, have no means of enforcing a request for documents.  The FBI has proven that it does not like producing documents.  The DOJ will be appealing the court order to release the Cheney interview.

6 Responses to “* information to and from NAS does not seem to be flowing smoothly”

  1. DXer said

    So a long, long time ago, the top CIA WMD analyst and former FBI Amerithrax Special Agent Jennifer A. L. Smith said that things unnecessarily classified should be declassified. Now we see that nothing was — to include evidence relating to the data and material pertaining to the overseas environemntal sample collections. As if 10 years later stuff relevant to such collection needs to be classified!

    It was not until November 2010, in discussions with FBI and DOJ leadershpi, that the NAS was made aware of additional information that would require review of classified material. Due to the FBI’s delay in making that disclosure to the NAS, the committee did not undertake the review of the material.

    Yet, this issue had been raised by Jennifer A.L. Smith and it was inexcusable for members of the NAS committee not to be vetted and cleared for any necessary clearances — as written records indicates was specifically contemplated a couple years ago!

  2. DXer said

    The folks making available the new Ivin emails also do important working making available documents relating to the circumstances of deaths of armed forces personnel. So we appreciate that they have an overwhelming OPTEMPO and are understaffed, and thank them for their good work over the past year.

    The page is experiencing technical difficulties but here is a rough description of the newest entries.

    Ivins Email Batch #12: 20000603 – 20000607.
    03 JUN 2000 20000603
    RE_ CpG in Guinea pigs (2).pdf
    05 JUN 2000 20000605
    BioPort request for spore help.pdf
    06 JUN 2000 20000606
    FW_ Shipment.pdf
    Guinea pigs and potency test.pdf
    Rabbits.pdf 06 JUN 2000 20000606
    RE_ BioPort request for spore help.pdf
    [https://mrmc.amedd.army.mil/index.cfm?pageid=/foia_reading_room/foia_batch24.html]

    Ivins Email Batch #13: 20000607 – 20000619.
    07 JUN 2000 20000607
    MPL-AF as an adjuvant(2).pdf
    07 JUN 2000 20000607 MPL-AF as an adjuvant.pdf
    07 JUN 2000 20000607 RE_ program.pdf 08
    JUN 2000 20000608
    What our lab can do for BioPort.pdf
    13 JUN 2000 20000613 Data.pdf
    15 JUN 2000 20000615 Vollum 1B spores.pdf
    16 JUN 2000 20000616 Spore characterization – Time lines.pdf
    [https://mrmc.amedd.army.mil/index.cfm?pageid=/foia_reading_room/foia_batch25.html]

    Ivins Email Batch #14: 20000617 – 20000625.
    17 JUN 2000 20000617 RE_ USAMRIID History of Spores.pdf
    23 JUN 2000 20000623 RE_ History of 189.pdf
    23 JUN 2000 20000623 RE_ Requested Data.pdf
    25 JUN 2000 20000625 Aerosol challenges.pdf
    25 JUN 2000 20000625 RE_ Spread plate vs. Pour Plate.pdf
    [https://mrmc.amedd.army.mil/index.cfm?pageid=/foia_reading_room/foia_batch26.html]

  3. DXer said

    Click to access 20000321%20Anthrax%20spores.pdf

    On March 21, 2000, Dr. Bruce Ivins emailed: “Yesterday, 20 MAR 00, B. anthracis Ames spores were irradiated by your department with 5 million rads. The samples were plated out onto Tryptic soy agar and found to be sterile.

    – Bruce Ivins
    Bacteriology Division

    Question:

    To whom was he writing? Where was gamma irradiation done? (Dugway did not have such equipment and sent spores to USAMRIID for irradiation).

    Under the recent study that addressed the effectiveness of irradiation to kill all Ames spores, what did it find? What was the result for 5 million rads?

    On March 21, 2000, he asked for someone’s help regarding someone who was going to be at USAMRIID performing necropsies. Who was going to be there doing necropsies?
    Was that the day Dr. Ivins had to be out that day because of a leg injury?

    Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID USAMRIID
    USAMRIID
    Necropsy help Tuesday, March 21, 2000 2:35:14 PM

    I would like to ask you for your help in guinea pig necropsies to be done tomorrow, Wednesday, 22 MAR through Friday, 24 MAR. REDACTED will be performing the necropsies. He will probably need help with euthanasia of any moribund animals as well as help with other things.
    I will be out of the office on Wednesday, 22 MAR. Thank you,
    – Bruce Ivins Bacteriology Division

    From: Tuesday, March 21, 2000 1:37 PM
    >To: Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
    >Subject: LD50 for Ames
    > >I have been asked by [REDACTED] the Ames LD50 for rabbits sc and aerosol. Do you have that info?
    > >The sc Ames LD 50 is 1500 spores?

    Click to access 20000321%20RE_%20LD50%20for%20Ames.pdf

    What non-USAMRIID email correspondent was asking him the Ames LD50 for rabbits sc and aerosol on March 21?

  4. DXer said

           The man on the telephone was saying that he was under a gag order and that the FBI likely was wiretapping his telephone. Dr. John Ezzell was the FBI’s anthrax specialist who first examined the finely powderized anthrax sent to the United Senators Leahy and Daschle. It was July 2009. He had returned my call from moments earlier. When he called, I was on the other line continuing a message on his answering machine saying I knew he was innocent and that the aerosolized Ames he had supplied had been tested to be inactive. He confirmed that he made dry powdered anthrax at USAMRIID’s Ft. Detrick in 1996 for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (“DARPA”). Beginning in 1996, he also worked for the FBI’s Hazardous Materials Response Unit.  After coming under suspicion, Dr. Bruce Ivins wrote an email to his colleague and friend Patricia Fellows saying that he had heard that the aerosolized anthrax made by Dr. Ezzell for DARPA was the closest match to the anthrax mailed in Fall 2001 that Dr. Ezzell had examined.  
             Dr. Ivins had emailed a superior on December 18, 2006 about what he heard about the FBI at a party and expressed concern that something might have been taken or altered from his B3 stocks.  Ivins was told by email from the superior to not talk about it — that the FBI situation was under control.  But it turned out not to be under control. Dr. Ivins’ colleagues were ordered not to talk to him beginning November 2007. He was removed from the base by armed escort in late July. Bruce Ivins took his life on July 29, 2008.  It has now been over 13 months since the FBI said that the crazy, dead guy was the sole suspect in the anthrax mailings.  At the time, the US Department of Justice announced that the case was solved and the case would be closed shortly. The trail of evidence that should have led Amerithrax investigators to the infiltration of DARPA and US biodefense and withdrawal from Dr. Ivins’ stock, however, dated back to the time of the mailings and was discernable from “open source” intelligence.
             Ali Al-Timimi’s current defense counsel, MSNBC commentator and First Amendment scholar Jonathan Turley, says the FBI considered his client an “anthrax weapons suspect.” Defense counsel confirms that Al-Timimi once worked with White House chief of staff Andrew Card. In 2001, Ali worked alongside researchers at the DARPA-funded Center for Biodefense who invented a process to concentrate using silica in the culture medium which then was removed from the surface of the spore by repeated centrifugation. Professor Turley wrote: “Al-Timimi is the spiritual adviser to many Muslims across the country. He has worked with the government, including White House chief of staff Andrew Card, …” Remember that showdown between FBI Director Mueller and White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card concerning warrantless wiretapping of Ali Al-Timimi and a broader Salafist network? Well, there was a lot adding to the tension of the moment. Amerithrax is a prime example of the perils of both warrantless wiretapping and politicization of justice at the US Department of Justice.

  5. DXer said

    Open Government Groups Applaud Leahy’s Leadership On FOIA, Transparency

    WASHINGTON (Wednesday, September 30, 2009) – On Wednesday, open government advocates from more than 40 organizations, including the Vermont Press Association and the Vermont Coalition for Open Government, presented Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy with a certificate of appreciation for his work to advance open and transparent government.

    The certificate, which was presented before the start of an oversight hearing on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), recognized Leahy “for his work on behalf of open and transparent government through his modernization, defense, and oversight of the Freedom of Information Act.” (See below for photo information.)

    The Freedom of Information Act is the nation’s premier open government law. Leahy is a longtime advocate of open, transparent government, and has been a leader in Congress in pushing for reforms to update and strengthen FOIA. Leahy is the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which held the hearing on “Advancing Freedom of Information in the New Era of Responsibility” on Wednesday.

    “I have said many times before — during both Democratic and Republican administrations — that freedom of information is not a Democratic issue, nor a Republican issue. It is an American issue,” said Leahy. “During the last Congress and the last administration, we held a FOIA oversight hearing that resulted in the enactment of the first major reforms to FOIA in more than a decade. This Committee will continue to do its part to advance freedom of information, so that the right to know is preserved for future generations.”

    Leahy is the co-author of the OPEN Government Act, which made the first significant reforms to FOIA in more than a decade. The OPEN Government Act was signed into law in 2007, and, among other provisions, established the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) at the National Archives and Records Administration. Miriam Nisbet, the first director of OGIS, testified at the hearing Wednesday.

    Earlier this year, Leahy introduced the OPEN FOIA Act, would require Congress to explicitly and clearly state its intention to provide for a statutory exemption to FOIA in new legislative proposals.

    Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli announced at the hearing that the Justice Department today will issue guidelines for agencies to use in preparing the Chief FOIA Officer Reports called for in the FOIA guidelines issued by Attorney General Eric Holder earlier this year.

  6. DXer said

    Here are some source materials on the 1979 anthrax incident at Sverdlosk. How long did it take the truth to come out? 10 years? Question: Did the NAS, when presented the opportunity to ask the tough questions of witnesses, discover the truth? If not, why not? Were there limitations inherent in the process that were not overcome? If we don’t learn from history we are bound to repeat it.

    Citation: National Affairs[Urals Bacteriological Accident Suspected in 1979], Non-Classified, Periodical, FBIS-SOV-90-172, September 5, 1990, 4 pp.Collection: Weapons of Mass Destruction
    Item Number: WM00363
    Origin: United States. Foreign Broadcast Information Service
    Individuals/Organizations Named: Zenova, Natalya
    Subjects: Anthrax | Soviet news media | Soviet Union | Sverdlovsk Biological Weapons Accident (1979)
    Abstract: Presents translation of Soviet news article claiming that the anthrax outbreak at Sverdlovsk was caused by an accident at a biological warfare facility and not by tainted livestock, as the Soviet Union had been asserting since 1979.
    Open URL: http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?url_ver=Z39.88-2004&res_dat=xri:dnsa&rft_dat=xri:dnsa:article:CWM00363

    Citation: USSR: BW Accident ExposedClassification Excised, Internal Paper, September 4, 1990, 1 pp.Collection: Terrorism and U.S. Policy, 1968-2002
    Item Number: TE01019
    Origin: United States. Central Intelligence Agency
    Individuals/Organizations Named: Yeltsin, Boris N.
    Subjects: Literaturnaya Gazeta (Soviet Union periodical) | Sverdlovsk Biological Weapons Accident (1979 : Soviet Union)
    Abstract: Speculates that Literaturnaya Gazeta article blaming leak at secret biological weapons facility for 1979 Sverdlovsk anthrax deaths may lead to official inquiry into outbreak, although little evidence may remain since Soviets have been “cleaning up” plant since 1988.
    Open URL: http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?url_ver=Z39.88-2004&res_dat=xri:dnsa&rft_dat=xri:dnsa:article:CTE01019

    Citation: USSR: BW [Biological Warfare] Accident ExposedClassification Unknown, Intelligence Brief, September 4, 1990, 1 pp.Collection: Weapons of Mass Destruction
    Item Number: WM00362
    Origin: United States. Central Intelligence Agency
    Subjects: Anthrax | Soviet news media | Soviet Union | Sverdlovsk Biological Weapons Accident (1979)
    Abstract: Reports on Soviet news story claiming that the anthrax outbreak at Sverdlovsk was caused by an accident at a biological warfare facility and not by tainted livestock, as the Soviet Union had been asserting since 1979.
    Open URL: http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?url_ver=Z39.88-2004&res_dat=xri:dnsa&rft_dat=xri:dnsa:article:CWM00362

    Citation: Unraveling the Sverdlovsk BW Disaster [Heavily Excised]Confidential, Cable, August 30, 1990, 4 pp.Collection: Terrorism and U.S. Policy, 1968-2002
    Item Number: TE01018
    Origin: United States. Defense Intelligence Agency
    Subjects: Literaturnaya Gazeta (Soviet Union periodical) | Sverdlovsk Biological Weapons Accident (1979 : Soviet Union)
    Abstract: Describes article in major magazine by Russian investigative reporter challenging government’s claim that contaminated meat rather than engineered anthrax caused 1979 deaths in Sverdlovsk and calling on government to admit responsibility.
    Open URL: http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?url_ver=Z39.88-2004&res_dat=xri:dnsa&rft_dat=xri:dnsa:article:CTE01018

    Citation: [Excised]/Unraveling the Sverdlovsk BW [Biological Warfare] Disaster[Heavily Excised], Confidential, Cable, August 30, 1990, 4 pp.Collection: Weapons of Mass Destruction
    Item Number: WM00361
    Origin: United States. Defense Intelligence Agency
    Individuals/Organizations Named: Zenova, Natalya
    Subjects: Anthrax | Biological warfare | Soviet news media | Sverdlovsk Biological Weapons Accident (1979)
    Abstract: Reports on Natalya Zenova’s conclusions from her investigation of the 1978 anthrax accident at the Soviet biological warfare facility in Sverdlovsk.
    Open URL: http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?url_ver=Z39.88-2004&res_dat=xri:dnsa&rft_dat=xri:dnsa:article:CWM00361

    Citation: Biological Warfare Capabilities-Warsaw Pact[Includes Figures and Tables; Pages Missing], Secret, Defense Intelligence Report, DST-1610S-123-90, March 1990, 40 pp.Collection: Weapons of Mass Destruction
    Item Number: WM00352
    Origin: United States. Defense Intelligence Agency
    Individuals/Organizations Named: Soviet Union. Ministry of Health | Warsaw Treaty Organization
    Subjects: Anthrax | Biological warfare | Convention on Biological and Toxic Weapons (1972) | Geneva Protocol (1925) | Soviet Union | Sverdlovsk Biological Weapons Accident (1979) | Weapons delivery
    Abstract: Provides histories of biological weapons development in Warsaw Pact countries, international biological warfare treaties, and biological warfare program in Soviet Union; examines various natural and synthetic biological and chemical agents.
    Open URL: http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?url_ver=Z39.88-2004&res_dat=xri:dnsa&rft_dat=xri:dnsa:article:CWM00352

    Citation: Soviet Explanation of Anthrax Accident in Sverdlovsk: The Deception Continues[Best Available Copy; Heavily Excised], Top Secret, Information Report, May 12, 1988, 6 pp.Collection: Weapons of Mass Destruction
    Item Number: WM00318
    Origin: United States. Central Intelligence Agency. Directorate of Intelligence
    Subjects: Anthrax | Soviet Union | Sverdlovsk Biological Weapons Accident (1979)
    Abstract: Reports on statements made by Soviet scientists asserting the anthrax outbreak at Sverdlovsk was caused by tainted livestock and Soviet customs for preparing meat.
    Open URL: http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?url_ver=Z39.88-2004&res_dat=xri:dnsa&rft_dat=xri:dnsa:article:CWM00318

    Citation: Soviet Explanation of Anthrax Accident in Sverdlovsk: The Deception Continues [Heavily Excised]Top Secret, Report, May 12, 1988, 9 pp.Collection: Terrorism and U.S. Policy, 1968-2002
    Item Number: TE00955
    Origin: United States. Central Intelligence Agency. Directorate of Intelligence
    Subjects: Anthrax | Sverdlovsk Biological Weapons Accident (1979 : Soviet Union)
    Abstract: Reviews various explanations given by Soviet officials as to how contaminated meat could have caused 1979 anthrax outbreak in Sverdlovsk.
    Open URL: http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?url_ver=Z39.88-2004&res_dat=xri:dnsa&rft_dat=xri:dnsa:article:CTE00955

    Citation: Sverdlovsk–Visit to Washington of Professor MeselsonSecret, Cable, 291907, September 17, 1986, 1 pp.Collection: Terrorism and U.S. Policy, 1968-2002
    Item Number: TE00870
    Origin: United States. Department of State
    To: United States. Mission to the United Nations (Geneva, Switzerland)
    Individuals/Organizations Named: Meselson, Matthew S. | Soviet Union. Ministry of Health | United States. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency | United States. Central Intelligence Agency | United States. Department of Defense
    Subjects: Convention on Biological and Toxic Weapons (1972) | Sverdlovsk Biological Weapons Accident (1979 : Soviet Union)
    Abstract: Summarizes briefing by Harvard biochemist Matthew Meselson on his meeting with Soviet health officials to discuss 1979 Sverdlovsk anthrax outbreak.
    Open URL: http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?url_ver=Z39.88-2004&res_dat=xri:dnsa&rft_dat=xri:dnsa:article:CTE00870

    Citation: Soviet Biological Warfare Threat[Includes Appendices, Figures, Maps, and Photographs], Classification Unknown, Defense Technical Intelligence Report, DST-1610F-057-86, 1986, 40 pp.Collection: Weapons of Mass Destruction
    Item Number: WM00300
    Origin: United States. Defense Intelligence Agency
    Individuals/Organizations Named: Soviet Union. Ministry of Defense
    Subjects: Anthrax | Biological warfare | Bureaucracy | Chemical warfare | Convention on Biological and Toxic Weapons (1972) | Geneva Protocol (1925) | Soviet Union | Sverdlovsk Biological Weapons Accident (1979)
    Abstract: Claims the Soviet Union is rapidly developing biological and chemical warfare capabilities; examines weapons technologies and presents texts of international biological warfare agreements.
    Open URL: http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?url_ver=Z39.88-2004&res_dat=xri:dnsa&rft_dat=xri:dnsa:article:CWM00300

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