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

* an open email to Dr. Ralph Cicerone, President, National Academy of Sciences

Posted by DXer on December 10, 2009

CASE CLOSED is a novel which answers the question “Why did the FBI fail to solve the 2001 anthrax case?” … Here’s what readers say about CASE CLOSED …

“CASE CLOSED is entirely too plausible and is probably just te tip of the iceberg on what else was covered up.”

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

Click here to buy CASE CLOSED by Lew Weinstein


An open email

to Dr. Ralph Cicerone, President

National Academy of Sciences


Dear Dr. Cicerone,

I am the author of CASE CLOSED, a novel dealing with the FBI’s failure to solve the 2001 anthrax case, and also the host of a very active blog on the same topic.

For some months now, I have been attempting to understand the NAS failure to comply with the law or offer any lawful reason for its failure to comply with the FOIA requirement to disclose documents received by the NAS from the FBI in conjunction with its review of the FBI’s anthrax science.

Please see …

… for my specific questions and the non-answers provided by Mr. William Kearney of the NAS.

I think the NAS is doing itself a serious disservice in this matter, and is tarnishing its otherwise superb reputation as a result.

You are creating the impression that you are complicit with the FBI in illegally keeping from the public information about the horrendous 2001 bioterrorist attack which resulted in 5 deaths and which directly targeted members of the U.S. Senate.

You are also undermining and embarrassing what I have no reason to believe is anything but a sincere and honest effort on the part of those prominent scientists who have volunteered to be part of the NAS panel.

I hope you will take this matter under review and reverse whoever has made this so far unfortunate decision. I look forward to hearing from you shortly as to what action you have decided to take.

Lewis Weinstein

see related posts …

* does the NAS/FBI contract support the sequestering of FBI-submitted documents until the end of the NAS study?

* here is the complete NAS/FBI contract for review of FBI anthrax science


22 Responses to “* an open email to Dr. Ralph Cicerone, President, National Academy of Sciences”

  1. DXer said

    Barry Kissin
    Real threat
    Originally published December 12, 2009 in the Frederick News-Post

    On Aug. 24, 2007, County Commissioner David Gray made the following statement: “Why has an alternate location for the new BSL 3 and BSL 4 labs not been thoroughly examined? This would be an ideal time to move these labs. They have been a source of concern in this county for years. They will house the most dangerous pathogens known to man [i.e., Ebola, Marburg, etc.].

    “Presently they are planned to be again located in the high population area where Fort Detrick is now located. Public safety fears would be greatly alleviated if they were moved to a more remote and safe location. I understand that the USAMRIID EIS is now subject to a court review if requested. I am willing to call for such a court review before construction commences.”

    We didn’t get court review. Instead, we got a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) committee of experts whose “Project Scope” is “to evaluate the scientific adequacy and credibility of the analyses of health and safety risks associated with exposure to pathogen research in the proposed new USAMRIID high containment labs … In addition, the committee will examine the current procedures and regulations in use by USAMRIID to reduce exposure to pathogens …”

    One of the central concerns that has propelled Commissioner Gray and many local citizens is the threat of an “outbreak”; that is, one or other germ from one or other biolab causing disease in the surrounding community. None of the Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) regarding new biolabs at Fort Detrick contain any plans for dealing with an “outbreak.” This is no wonder, given that the EISs do not even acknowledge the potential for such a scenario.

    So, on Sept. 22, 2009, the NAS Committee gave USAMRIID the opportunity to supplement the analysis contained in the EIS. FNP columnist Katherine Heerbrandt reported what happened: “USAMRIID officials appeared confused by questions about potential insider threats as well as its reporting relationship with Frederick Memorial Hospital, the Frederick County Health Department, [and] local government officials … We discern from their answers that there is no tracking mechanism on germ samples; no reporting mechanism in place to alert the local hospital, health department, [or] elected officials in case of a mishap; and no planned isolation unit for workers accidentally infected.”

    Megan Eckstein reported in The News-Post: “[NAS Committee member] Timothy Reluga said, ‘there’s always some chance that the [lab workers] involved won’t know that [they have been infected] . … If you find out a week later, that may have already allowed a generation or two of transmission out in the community before you can get your mitigation strategies in place.’ When asked what USAMRIID would do in the case of a delayed report of exposure to a disease, [Deputy Commander] Martin said, ‘we do not have a specific protocol that looks at reporting after the fact.'”

    Just this past week, it has come to light that a Detrick lab worker has become infected with the disease she was working with, namely tularemia. This is precisely a case of “reporting after the fact.” No one knows when or how this happened. Worse still, when the lab worker went to the Army Health Care Facility at Detrick on Nov. 23, she was released apparently without anyone checking for possible tularemia infection! If tularemia happened to be a contagious disease … We are looking at the real threat of an outbreak.

  2. DXer said

    In his May 10, 2002 statement, Dr. Ivins says he would often leave the Ames strain on his desk so that he remembered to ship it out the next morning

    Shipping information gathered early in the investigation could be correlated against the withdrawals from the flask to see how often it was left on his desk overnight and when.

    For example, a few years ago they questioned the courier who delivered it to the UNM lab. He was asked who had access to the package etc. The courier blogged about it.

    Relatedly, how often was it mailed out on a Monday so that it might have been left on his desk over the weekend? That is, how often did he withdraw it on a FRIDAY? Was shipping the next Monday with it overnight on his desk through the weekend? Examples of large withdrawals made on a Friday are indicated by asterisks below.

    When the package arrived, how often was it received, signed for my the person in charge of the mailroom, and left overnight? That, too, could be ascertained from records. Tracking info would have to be considered with respect to each package because the risk of access goes with the package.

    For example, I recently received a package related to this matter that had been opened (the label was ripped to open it) and it was covered by stickers saying “tracking info not on file.” It came very late relative to the tracking info I had available to me independently.

    Another package was sent to a hotel to someone on the way to Geneva BWCC but the mailroom claimed to never have gotten it — and then the front desk called later in the week to report that they had located it.

    Tracking the package needs to be addressed in considering the access by each of the 100-300, including the former Zawahiri associate researching with Bruce Ivins at USAMRIID on the DARPA project.

    He was acquainted with the founders of the charities working for Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda’s sheiks. The IANA President was a fellow Egyptian and well-known and highly regarded in the small community. (His papers were kept at Al-Timimi’s residence where they were kept for safekeeping.) So not only does one start by asking whether Tarek studied pharmacology and antimicrobials with Ayman’s sister, but whether he played poker and went to mosque with the founders of AQ-connected charities. It’s not hard. The email goes something like this: Dear Dr. Hamouda. What dates did you work with Bruce Ivins at USAMRIID using virulent Ames. Did you know Heba Al-Zawahiri? Did you study with her? Did you know Ayman’s father, another pharmacology professor? Did you study with him? Did you study with Ayman’s other sister on the faculty? Did you know Egyptian Bassem Khafagi, the IANA founder? Did you know Rabih Haddad, the founder of Global Relief Foundation, alleged to be an AQ front? Did you know the other founder of IANA, who was head of the parent-teacher organization at the local islamic school and questioned by the FBI after Al-Timimi’s home was raided about whether there was a conspiracy afoot? Did you know the man soliciting funds for the new mosque, who had a PhD in dairy processing and found with $134,000 in a shopping bag? These sorts of questions are material. The storage of furniture by a sorority in Princeton, in comparison, is not.

    February 22, 2000 (6 ml. ) TUESDAY
    March 22, 2000 (8 ml.) WEDNESDAY
    April 3, 2000 (75 ml.) MONDAY
    *******July 7, 2000 (40 ml) FRIDAY********
    August 28, 2000 (40 ml) MONDAY
    December 14, 2000 (100 ml)
    *******April 6, 2001 (60 ml) FRIDAY********
    May 1, 2001 (90 ml) TUESDAY
    *******June 15, 2001 (50 ml) FRIDAY********
    July 9, 2001 (50 ml) MONDAY
    August 27, 2001 (5 ml) MONDAY

    • DXer said

      Dr. Assaad, Dr. Ivins’ good friend, was Coptic Christian, a group long persecuted by the blind sheik’s Egyptian Islamic Group.

    • DXer said

      When people who worked with Bruce first saw the flask 1029 record it looked like the second page was a complete “redo” done all at once. If true, this likely would be provable through forensic (e.g., ink analysis) or investigative means (e.g., discrepancies). For example, if he kept a lab notebook contemporaneously in ink, with dated entries, how does that ink compare with the ink used on the inventory record? If he altered the record, it would be an indictable offense even if he was neither the processor nor mailer — and even if he was not complicitous.

    • DXer said

      Here is another question to ask TH, the former Zawahiri associate who worked with Bruce Ivins using virulent Ames. In 1993, hundreds of Egyptian Islamic Jihad members were arrested. How many of them did Tarek know well? He received his PhD in microbiology from Cairo Medical in 1994, but his wife had been on the faculty of Cairo University for the previous 10 years and he had gone to Cairo Medical, graduating in December 1982. So the up to 1,000 Jihad members would have included many of his good friends and colleagues. His one longtime family and childhood friend Dr. Hamid, recruited by Ayman in the early 1980s, tells me that he had long since withdrawn when he got queasy about talk about burying a security officer alive.

      Relatedly, Dr. Hamouda could be asked whether he is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

      Lawrence Wright in his landmark September 16, 2002 New Yorker article explains:

      “Obsessed with secrecy, Zawahiri imposed a blind-cell structure on the Jihad organization, so that members in one group would not know the activities or personnel in another. Thus, a security breach in one cell should not compromise other units, and certainly not the entire organization. However, in 1993, Egyptian authorities arrested Jihad’s membership director, Ismail Nassir. “He had a computer containing the entire database,” Osama Rushdi, a former member of the Islamic Group, told me. “Where the member lived, which home he might be hiding in, even what names he uses with false passports.” Supplied with this information, the Egyptian security forces pulled in a thousand suspects and placed more than three hundred of them on trial in military courts on charges of attempting to overthrow the government. The evidence was thin, but, then, the judicial standards weren’t very rigorous. “It was all staged,” Hisham Kassem, the publisher of the Cairo Times and the president of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, told me. “The ones you think are dangerous, you hang. The rest, you give them life sentences.” Under Zawahiri’s leadership, Islamic Jihad had succeeded, unintentionally, in assassinating the Speaker of Parliament, in 1990—the intended target was the Interior Minister—and in killing a schoolgirl. In the process, the organization lost almost its entire Egyptian base. If Islamic Jihad was to survive, it would have to be outside Egypt.”

      When in the Fall of 2002, an FBI agent firmly demanded to know who was helping me — how I knew so much — I referred him to Lawrence Wright’s fascinating article. All of this information is available through “open source” information and has been available to CIA analysts since September 2001.

      • DXer said

        Did Bruce Ivins redo his inventory of flask 1029 so as to conceal a shipment to University of Michigan? Dr. Baker is quite emphatic that they never received it — that the research was done by the University of Michigan Microbiologist at USAMRIID under the direct supervision of Bruce Ivins. He says it would be illegal for them to have it. (Anthrax in liquid form prior to 9/11 was a BL2 pathogen, not BL3). But he refuses to provide the dates of the research. He/University of Michigan refuses to provide a copy of the ASM presentations Dr. Hamouda made. Refuses to provide the presentation made by lab technician Michael Hayes to ICAAC. The ICAAC presentation describes research in which the virulent Ames was put in a petri dish and then killed by a biocidal agent. Who put it in the petri dish if not Michael, who was reporting on the research? Where was it put in the petri dish if not University of Michigan? If it was done at USAMRIID, the dates and details of the research are all easily confirmed through FOIA. The fact that neither Tarek nor Michael will answer any question on the subject or provide a copy of their presentation (disclosure of which is mandatory under FOIA) is telling.

        • DXer said

          Dr. Ivins, according to colleagues, thought Al Qaeda was responsible.

        • DXer said

          “In his conference presentation, Hayes described how even low concentrations of BCTP killed more than 90 percent of virulent strains of Bacillus anthracis spores in a culture dish. “We observed sporicidal activity with dilutions as high as one part BCTP per 1,000 parts culture media,” Hayes said.”

          Virulent Ames provided by Bruce Ivins was part of this study. Yet a transfer to the University of Michigan does not appear in Bruce ivins’ records.

          Did Bruce Ivins redo the flask 1029 records to conceal a transfer that had not been registered under post-mid-1997 regulations and thus was illegal?

          Why won’t the University of Michigan or Michael provide a copy of his ICAAC presentation?

    • DXer said

      Why did the FBI subpoena the University of Michigan months before other labs — while subpoena records relating to access to the LSU lab where the University of Michigan researchers had worked?,1643,34960,FF.html

      See This Goop? It Kills Anthrax By: Julie Creswell Issue: November 2001

      And the tiny biotech startup that invented it has been thrust into a national crisis that is upending its business. Inside the plain little container I’m looking at may just be our best stopgap against bioterror. Dr. James Baker, chief scientist at the Ann Arbor, Mich., biotech firm NanoBio, holds up the bottle and twists off the cap.


      Two months ago, NanoBio was an obscure seven-person company spawned by the University of Michigan, where Baker is director of the Center for Biologic Nanotechnology. Its research was funded primarily by an $11 million grant from DARPA, the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Its offices were in the basement of a bank in downtown Ann Arbor; its employees sat on 12-year-old used furniture. Though NanoBio’s digs were dull, its claim was startling: It had created a nontoxic agent that can destroy most every virus, bacterium, and fungus around, from influenza to E. coli to tough-to-terminate anthrax. (The product can help prevent people from contracting anthrax but can’t cure them after they’ve become infected.) NanoBio’s plan was to license its microbe-zapping formulas to drug and consumer goods companies,making money by collecting royalties on its patents within a couple of years.

      Then bioterror struck. Today, NanoBio is desperately seeking anonymity. It moved to a bland corporate park where its office has no name on the door. It yanked its street address off its Website, whose hit rate jumped from 350 a month to 1,000 a day. And it is struggling to adapt to a biodefense business model that may put the company’s commercial–and financial–aspirations on hold. Among the firm’s worries: that close association with anthrax will cause customers to overlook other potential commercial applications for its products, and that investors won’t want to back a company whose largest customer is Uncle Sam. “We want to be good citizens and do what we can to help in the crisis,” says CEO Ted Annis.


      What makes the stuff potent is how it is made. Think about what happens when you shake up salad dressing. Bubbles of oil are dispersed in the vinegar. Those bubbles contain energy that isstored as surface tension; the energy is released when the droplets coalesce again. NanoBio’s technology–called an anti-microbial nanoemulsion–forms these bubbles at the supertiny nano level. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter, or about 100,000 times narrower than a human hair. The nanodroplets, stabilized by the detergents they float in, are small enough to literally bombard the lipids, or fats, found in bacteria and viruses, blowing the bugs up. NanoBio’s formula convinces a dormant anthrax spore that surface conditions are ripe for it to germinate into an active anthrax bacterium. As it germinates, the spore forms a lipid layer, which the nanoemulsion promptly assaults. Within a couple of hours, the anthrax is dead.

      The day after the Sept. 11 attacks, CEO Annis called together the NanoBio staff. “Nobody mentioned anthrax specifically at the meeting, but we thought it was likely that the terrorists’ next punch was already planned and that it would be a bio event,” he says. Realizing that the company’s initial product-rollout timetable was about to be put into hyperdrive, Annis began gathering the paperwork needed for fast-track EPA and FDA approvals.

      NanoBio’s product isn’t the only promising anthrax killer. A foam developed by New Mexico’s Sandia National Laboratories supposedly neutralizes pathogens and chemicals; it was recently used to decontaminate some NBC offices. In mid-October, Johns Hopkins University tested bio killing products from both companies, but it hasn’t yet made its findings public.”


      If NanoBio’s product wins fast-track regulatory approval, it could be available to the military and the public for use on buildings, and perhaps even on the skin, within six months. The company says it would need another $20 million and 24 months to develop preventive nasal sprays.


      A few days before, DARPA had asked Annis and Baker if they could make enough decontaminant to clean several anthrax-tainted offices in the Senate. ”

      Former Zawahiri Tarek Hamouda was a leading principal with Dr. Baker in NanoBio. He was the microbiologist who actually did the work with Bruce Ivins. At these meetings where they anticipated a post-911 bio attack, did he venture that he had heard that Ayman Zawahiri, beloved brother and son of the Zawahiri pharmacology professors (including Heba at Cairo Medical), had said he was going to use anthrax against US targets for rendering his brother and other Movement leaders?

      Dr. Baker has said that when there are only monkeys in the jungle, the lion rules. A lion, however, would not be afraid to provide the presentations made before ASM and ICAAC, as is required under FOIA where it was DARPA funding the research. A lion is not afraid of the truth. He embraces it and faces it head on.

  3. DXer said

    Paul Keim’s reference to Texas state labs destroying their historical collections is interesting. He said later he would “name names.” The issue previously arose in considering the distribution of Ames. At my urging, given the issue was so dear to her, a friend of mine and earlier contributor to this forum called the retired scientist who had retired from Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL). He was the one who actually isolated Ames. The FBI had not spoken to him. He could not remember where he sent it. He said in the usual course of things they would destroy samples because of a lack of space.

    But here the issue logically arose whether they would keep a strain if it was special enough to have sent to USDA in response to the request for sample. The notes to the file indicated that cows had quickly died and so it was known to be especially virulent. It seems odd that the NAS panel can consider the genetics without first also considering whether the analysis was undermined by the destruction of relevant samples. The answer to a question can often be determined by how the question is framed. It assessing the correctness of the science, it seems that this is an issue on which the NAS should receive input from their witness Dr. Keim to see if it bears on the science. In his audio (and thanks Ike for transcribing the lengthy presentation) he said something to the extent that state labs destroyed forensically useful samples, notwithstanding FBI assurances that the collections would be preserved.

    Personally, I don’t think the issue leads anywhere because of the Read et al finding in 2002 that the attack anthrax was a mixture of two strains, which as I understand things as a layperson points to Ivins’ flask as the ultimate origin of the stream of isolates. It seems that the trail can be picked up from that point because a microbiologist ordinarily would not be working with such a mixture.

    So my interest in Houston as a possible source of the anthrax relates more to the lab’s coordination with Rick Lyon’s UNM which received anthrax fedexed from Bruce Ivins in March 2001.

    Did the PhD neurologist Aafia Siddiqui have potential access to the virulent Ames strain at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston? She reports she was tasked by someone named “Abu Lubaba” to research germ warfare. When was that? When did she first get the assignment?

    Veterinarian and anthrax expert Martin Hugh-Jones, a professor at Louisiana State University, has said: “It was like trading baseball cards.” Hugh-Jones reports he got most of his anthrax from Peter Turnbull at the Porton Down lab in Great Britain, one of those that had received the Ames strain directly from Ft. Detrick. Dr. Theresa Koehler at Houston and Hugh-Jones discussed the distribution of Ames on NPR in January 2002:

    Ms. KOEHLER: Because Ames is used by investigators all over the world, does it matter if originally the strain came from Texas or came from Iowa? I don’t think so.

    Mr. MARTIN HUGH-JONES (Louisiana State University): I think the most important point is that we didn’t have Ames in this country in anybody’s collection prior to 1980. I think that’s very, very clear. And I think that limits the list of possible suspects quite considerably.

    KESTENBAUM: Martin Hugh-Jones also has an answer to the mystery of why one paper listed the Ames strain as dating back to 1932. He was an author on that paper. When his team got the Ames sample, it was labeled `10/32,’ which turns out to have meant `Sample number 10 out of 32.’ But they interpreted it as October 1932. David Kestenbaum, NPR News, Washington.

    Dr. Theresa M Koehler holds a faculty appointment at the UT Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. She is Associate Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. She has had grants from the CIA, the National Institutes of Health, and others for her work on virulence. She was studying the persistence of anthrax in soil for the CIA under a $100,000 grant.

    Her office was in the same complex, in the connected John Freeman Building. Aafia’s sister-in-law, Dr. Lubna Khawaja, had an office there. In Fall 2001, Dr. Koehler said she had taken the anthrax vaccine and that she got anthrax strains from Porton Down. In the Spring of 2003, Dr. Koehler explained that “It’s critical to use a genetically complete strain of the [anthrax] bacterium in experiments involving virulence.” A government study reported in April 2003 found that all of the labs that had received grants from the National Institutes of Health had unobstructed access to the floors with critical labs.

    At the time, when I asked her whether her lab had virulent Ames, Dr. Koehler had written me to say that it was not necessary to work with the virulent strain and so I was surprised to later see her article.

    Ten million gallons of water were unleashed on the UT Medical School at Houston June 9, 2001 by Tropical Storm Allison. The basement, where the anthrax lab was located, was the hardest hit. More than 400 emergency personnel (internal and contracted) attempted to address the devastation. Throughout June, no equipment could be removed or powered up. Stairwell doors needed to be kept closed. By the first week of July 2001, the basement and ground floor was still off limits, and only one entrance was available. Ground floor occupants needed to continue to work at their temporary sites. Gross mold spore counts continued to be beyond acceptable limits in the basement, which was ventilated separately from the rest of the building.

    The building was opened for business on July 11, 2001 but the ground floor and basement were construction remediation sites and off-limits except to access elevators to upper levels. Two entrances to the building were available: on the Webber Plaza side of the building near the circle drive and at the breezeway near the guard’s desk. Occupants were reminded in an employee newsletter not to block open stair well doors on any floor. The newsletter Scoop reported that in 2007, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new six-story research space completed in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Allison, “[m]any in the crowd were moved to tears as they recalled that day in June 2001. ‘All of the animals were drowned and there were $165 million in structural damages,’ President Willerson said. ‘It was a daunting task, but we didn’t give up.’”

    Did the anthrax lab in the basement have virulent Ames anthrax strain, to include Ames? If so, what was done with the isolates during the devastation caused in the basement by the flood? At the time it was lawful to have virulent anthrax in its liquid form in a BL-2 facility, contrary to the occasional misperception; a hood is used in handling such isolates. A University President explained as much in a letter in connection with the incident when some live Ames spores were sent by Northern Arizona to Los Alamos in Fall 2001.

    Members of the lab brought out the champagne at the lab in late 2001 when a special visa was granted to a research team member, who without it would have had to return to China. “We knew it was going to be risky,” said Dr. Koehler, a microbiologist at the school who for the past 20 years has studied the anthrax bacterium now being used as a terrorist weapon. “The question was whether current events would convince federal officials that [the researcher’s] skills are in the national interest or make them restrict workers from certain countries.”

    “It is a horrible feeling to think that it could be someone I know, that the perpetrator is a microbiologist among us,” said Dr. Koehler. In September 2001, Dr. Koehler explained her anthrax research, how terrorists might deploy anthrax as a biological weapon and how physicians would treat it.

    Aafia’s brother in 2001 was associated with addresses in Ann Arbor, Detroit, and Canton, Michigan — and even Harrison, NJ — in 2001. The ACLU attorney representing Aafia’s family advised me that it had been years since she was Houston — certainly before 2001 and maybe not since she was married. She added that if Aafia was there, it was to visit her brother, who has nothing to do with the med center.” The attorney reports: “there is no way they could have helped her get access to the necessary labs at the med center.”

    On Research Day in 2003, the award winners for Biomedical Excellence included a graduate student working in Dr. Koehler’s lab, Melissa Drysdale, who worked on gene regulation in a virulent strain of bacillus anthracis.

    Dr. Koehler received, for example, the Weybridge strain from Porton Down prior to the Fall of 2001. Did Dr. Koehler have virulent Ames from either Porton Down or somewhere else? (Her mentor was the eminent vaccine researcher Dr. Curtis Thorne who got samples directly from Ft. Detrick). Co-researcher Rick Lyons at UNM was fedexed virulent Ames from flask 1029 in March 2001 at the same time the Houston lab upgraded.

    Remember: Khalid Mohammed, who told authorities about Aafia, had anthrax production documents on his assistant’s laptop (the guy working with Aafia’s future husband in UAE in the summer of 2001). She allegedly was associated with both KSM and “Jafar the Pilot” who is at large. She later married an Al Qaeda operative al-Baluchi who, like al-Hawsawi, had been listed as a contact for the hijackers and took over plots upon the arrest of KSM. Authorities have said that a Pakistani scientist , who they refused to name was helping Al Qaeda with its anthrax production program. Were they referring to bacteriologist Abdul Qudus Khan in whose home the Pakistan authorities claim KSM was captured? Was it Rauf Ahmad who Zawahiri sent to infiltrate UK biodefense? Was it the chemistry professor who met with Uzair Paracha in February 2003? Or was it Aafia who was alleged to be a “facilitator” who handled logistics. “Logistics” is handling an operation that involves providing labor and materials as needed. One government psychiatrist affidavit reports that she claims to have been tasked by an “Abu Luaba” to research germ warfare. According to onr uncorroborated UN dossier reviewed by a journalist at the Wall Street Journal, in June 2001 she traveled to Liberia to meet Al Qaeda’s military commander, Atef, who had been head of the anthrax planning. One important mystery to resolve analysis is to determine whether the chauffeur who claims the lady was Aafia is lying or mistaken. A FBI memo from 2003 titled “Allegations Relating to al Qaeda’s Trafficking in Conflict Diamonds,” and a related 2004 presentation to the intelligence community, debunking the allegations relating to trafficking in conflict diamonds. The memo was declassified in 2006 and provided under FOIA in February 2008 to If those documents represent the FBI’s current thinking, there is reason to think Aafia never went to Liberia in June 2001 — or at least that the FBI does not think she did.

    The ACLU in a February 2004 publication called “Sanctioned Bias: Racial Profiling Since 9/11” described Aafia’s brother first encounter with the FBI. Muhammad A. Siddiqui is an architect in Houston and father of two young children. Someone with the same common name, as mentioned in the court record relating to Project Bojinka. United States of America v. Ramzi Ahmed Yousef et al, (August 26, 1996), page 5118. A letter was read into the record

    “To: Brother Mohammad Alsiddiqi. We are facing a lot of problems because of you. Fear Allah. Mr. Siddiqi, there is a day of judgment. You will be asked, if you are very busy with something more important, don’t give promises to other people. See you in the day of judgment. Still waiting, Khalid Shaikh, and Bojinka.”

    In addition to many people having this very common name, people often used aliases. The attorney, Dietrich Snell, at the time was under the impression it related to a solicitation for money. Attorney Snell was from the US Attorney’s Office. More recently, Snell acted as counsel for the 9/11 Commission. He served as Deputy Attorney General for Public Advocacy under Eliot Spitzer. What was the address of the recipient? Who was Muhammad Siddiqui with whom KSM corresponded?

    Attorney General Ashcroft and Director Mueller made an on-the-record renewed push to find Aafia Siddiqui in a press conference on May 26, 2004 shortly after ACLU Attorney Annette Lamoreaux responded to my emailed inquiries about Aafia. Three days after the Pakistan Ministry of Interior claimed she had been handed over to US authorities in late March 2003.

    There are the many questions surrounding the mystery of the disappearance of the lovely, intelligent and pious — and it turns out occasionally quite chatty and rebellious — Aafia Siddiqui. Aafia once had an MIT alumni email account forwarded to — which under one translation means lively mom. Aisha was the Prophet’s favorite wife. Maybe correspondence in that email account held the answers.

    In a Pakistan news account, her Attorney Whitfield Sharp at the time said she doesn’t know of any police report filed by the mom. Her ex-husband now says the mother and sister Fowzia are lying and that Aafia sometimes was even staying at their home (according to people who he had sent to watch the home). In the same account, she reports that Aafia received job offer at both John Hopkins and the State University of New York (SUNY). It likely was SUNY downstate in Brooklyn where her sister had gone to school and lived. (Her mother Ismat is associated with addresses in Brooklyn, as well as Massachusetts, in Houston, and in Ann Arbor where Mohammad’s wife had a medical practice and where the researchers supplied virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins were located. Mohammad is associated with some Ann Arbor and Detroit-area addresses. Ann Arbor, coincidentally, was where IANA was located, as well as the President of Global Relief.

    Did Aafia Siddiqui cooperate about other US-based operatives? If not in 2003 onward, in 2009?

  4. DXer said

    Obama shifts bioterrorism strategy to preventive, global approach
    By Jordy Yager – 12/13/09 08:16 PM ET

    Instead, Kellman said, the Obama administration is rightly aiming to place a greater emphasis on information gathering and sharing between partner countries as a way to create a global security net that identifies biological terrorist threats before or soon after they arise.

    “We will seek to obtain timely and accurate information on the full spectrum of threats and challenges,”

  5. DXer said

    It seems that the way to avoid retaliation is to stop making people mad at us and stop the pork-fueled, uncontrolled proliferation of biolabs and access to pathogens.

    Homeland Insecurity, Wall Street Journal, December 12, 2009
    The U.S. is facing rising terror threats from its own citizens.

    “we need to consider how American foreign policy can lead to domestic radicalization. Killing an al Qaeda leader in Somalia is a blow to the organization there, but the decision on whether to pull the trigger or not should also factor in the risk of radicalizing an already alienated immigrant group here at home, not just the operational benefit of removing one leader from the organization.”

    The Washington Post
    N.Va. men allegedly tried to join jihadists
    Group e-mailed extremists but was rejected, Pakistan says

    “Khalid Farooq Chaudhry, the father being held in Pakistan, owns and operates a small computer sales and repair business called Geeks and Wireless. Neighbors said that’s why the mailbox outside the family home has the word “GEEK” on it.”

    But most of all, for there to be deterrence, there needs to be success in attribution of the major bioterrorism event of the Century.

    Scripps-Howard/Ambrose: WMD a greater threat to globe than warming

    Electronic interception of hardened targets following principles of cell security is not enough for success in this case. It will require sophisticated intelligence analysis combined with social networking across a broad range of disciplines. It would seem that compartmentalization, although well-suited in other contexts involving keeping secrets from an adversary, has proven itself an insufficient response here. Turnover and inexperience have compounded the problems arising from compartmentalization.

    Hoover rightly viewed capturing John Dillinger as key to the future success of the FBI. Due to several highly-publicized captures like Dillinger, the Bureau’s powers were broadened and in 1939, the FBI became pre-eminent in the field of domestic intelligence. Hoover created the FBI Laboratory, a division established in 1932 to examine evidence found by the FBI. For example, the FBI identified one anonymous tip about Dutch Schultz as having been written on a Corona typewriter.

    The best response to critics who suggest that the FBI is not well-suited to being the pre-eminent agency in the field of domestic intelligence is to demonstrate that it has successfully solved Amerithrax.

    Having confirmation by the NAS of the genetics, of course, does not begin to show that Ivins is responsible any more than showing the letter about Schultz was written on a Corona proved Schultz was guilty of murdering his rivals.

    The NAS failure to comply with FACA/FOIA/APA — by its withholding of documents until after the NAS review is complete — only undermines and does not enhance public confidence. It is not authorized by the statutory provisions. Given the acute conflicts of interest that exist among the well-intentioned scientists controlling the FBI’s scientific review and flow of information to NAS, the unauthorized withholding greatly undermines the public confidence sought to be engendered by the NAS review.

    The best way to demonstrate mastery of domestic intelligence matters is to open the books and let your work be checked. Certainly compliance with the applicable law is the only way to demonstrate mastery of FACA and FOIA. And if the FBI/NAS cannot get compliance with the plainly worded statutory provisions correct (and has its public relations person responding to requests rather than its lawyer), there is little cause for confidence in their interpretation of the microbial forensics.

    Right now the work is being checked by part-time volunteers. If there were transparency, it could be checked by experts who are paid and working full-time.

    Transparency and the sharing of information is the best response to an accusation of cheating or errors in research conclusions.

    [reference to what Hoover was hiding in his closet deleted so as to not make anyone mad]

    • DXer said

      Mr. Farooq, the father, was an expert on computer spyware. Who were his clients?

      “We’re the people to call when you have security questions, your network breaks down, when your machine or software needs to be upgraded, when virus and spyware issues appear and even when you’re about to throw your computer out the window.”

      In the case of DARPA Center for Biodefense, “anthrax weapons suspect” Ali Al-Timimi had a $70,000 with GMU at Discovery Hall coordinating computer research. For the GMU public relations person to deny Ali had access to sensitive know-how (as the spokesman did) is not persuasive. He shared a maildrop and fax number with the leading anthrax scientist and former deputy USAMRIID Commander working with Delta Ames and co-inventing the process to concentrate anthrax using silica in the culture medium.

  6. DXer said

    To consult or engage a former FBI FOIA attorney for litigation, jawboning, or advice, including a possible action against NAS under FACA/APA/FOIA, contact Scott

    To see the memo to FBI Director Hoover about one of the great treasure caches of all times, see

    If you are in DC, and want to go to the fascinating FBI FOIA Reading Room, please go and take better quality images of the many Flegenheimer memos that are unreadable due to poor scanning. The experience will put you in the position of knowing the ropes when Amerithrax documents are put in the Reading Room. (It’s a lot of fun and I highly recommend it to people in the DC area no matter what your interests). Of course, I’ll offer the standard 50% of the treasure to everyone for good digital images of the illegible FBI memos on Flegenheimer relating to the Yonkers Colonial Corp. and the brewery there (e.g., nominees).

  7. Ike Solem said

    So far, is this the only on-the-record public session?

    (Friday, Sept 25, 2009)

    Listen to the testimony, particularly that of Paul Keim.

    Notice also that there is zero discussion of anything related to preparation of spores for aerosolized delivery – a rather key component of the forensic evidence.

    Is this the only session for which there is a public record? If you know of any others, please post them, Thanks.

  8. DXer said

    One of the students arrested this past week on suspected terrorist plotting was a student enrolled at George Mason University. The press presently is that there were no signs pointing to the radicalization of the young men (except for a video that was left and their unexpected travel to Pakistan). We can compare and contrast the warning signs of the George Mason University computational biologist who came to share a suite and fax number with the leading anthrax scientist and former deputy USAMRIID Commander who co-invented the process to concentrate silica in the culture medium.

    Students Linked to al Qaeda, Wall Street Journal, December 11, 2009

    “Alarms over the men were sounded in the U.S. and by neighbors in Pakistan. The Federal Bureau of Investigation contacted Pakistani officials when families in the U.S. reported them missing. About the same time, a neighbor alerted Pakistani authorities that the uncle of one of the men had said his nephew and the four foreigners had voiced bad intentions.
    The men were arrested at a house owned by Khalid Farooq, the father of Umar Farooq, who was taken into custody.
    Mr. Farooq’s mother, Sabira Farooq — who also was in Pakistan — said during media interviews from Sargodha that her son [Umar Farooq] was in Pakistan to marry. She denied he was involved in terrorism, saying he was studying at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.
    A campus spokesman said a student by that name is enrolled to study accounting.
    A Virginia neighbor, Earl Elliott, 69, said the Farooq family had bought several lots to use for mosque parking during Friday services.”

    Milton Viorst, who knew Ali as a teenager, wrote a fascinating and sympathetic yet balanced portrait in “The Education of Ali Al-Timimi” that appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, June 2006. In Saudi Arabia, Al-Timimi had been mentored by a Saudi-trained Canadian imam Bilal Philips. Philips was Al-Timimi’s Islamic Studies teacher at Manaret Riyadh High School in the early 1980s. Al-Timimi adopted Philips’ view that “The clash of civilizations is a reality,” and “Western culture led by the United States is an enemy of Islam.” Between 1991 and 1993, Philips relocated to the Mindinao, Philippines, where he taught at an islamic school. In 1993, according to an interview he gave in a London-based Arabic-language magazine interview, Philips ran a program to convert US soldiers to Islam stationed in Saudi Arabia during the first Persian Gulf War. Philips was made a proselytization official by the Saudi Air Force. Philips followed up in the US, with telephone calls and visits intended to recruit the veterans as potential members of Bin Laden’s network. He enlisted assistance from others based in the U.S. and members of Islamic centers all over the US. These conversion specialists financed pilgrimages for US veterans and would later send Muslim clerics in the United States to their homes. Bilal Philips encouraged some converts from this program to fight in Bosnia in the 1990s. Bilal Philips explained these recruitment efforts to a London newspaper in Arabic (translated by the Foreign Broadcast Information Service) in an article titled “Jamaican-Born Canadian Interviewed on Islamic Missionary Work Among US Troops”:

    “[redacted] used to coordinate with US intelligence. And, when Croatia closed its borders to Arab volunteers, there were a group of black Americans who completed their training and knew Islam through me. [Redacted] contacted Shaykh Umar Abd-al-Rahman and offered to use this group for sabotage acts inside the United States. The offer was made on the telephone, which apparently was tapped by US intelligence. Shaykh Umar replied by saying: ‘”Avoid civilian targets.’”

    After completing his religious education in Saudi Arabia in Medina, Ali Al Timimi returned to the United States and received a second bachelor’s degree — this time in computer science at the University of Maryland, while also studying software programming at George Washington University. Timimi spoke at IANA conferences in 1993 and 1994. A senior al Qaeda recruiter, Abdelrahman Dosari, also spoke at three IANA conferences in the early 1990s. In December 1993, Al-Dosari (a.k.a. Shaykh Abu Abdel Aziz “Barbaros”) spoke on ‘Jihad & Revival” and exhorted young men to fight for their faithjust as Al-Timimi would later be accused of doing privately with young men in Virginia.

    At the first annual IANA conference in 1993, scheduled speakers included Bilal Philips, Mohammed Abdul-Rahman from Afghanistan, Mohammad Qutb from Cairo, Gamal Sultan from Cairo, and Abu Abdel Aziz ‘Barbaros’ (Bosnia).

    Mohammad Abdul-Rahman was the blind sheik’s son. The blind sheik soon was sentenced for terrorism relating to WTC 1993 and the “Day of Terror” plot directed at NYC landmarks. In 2000, Mohammed Abdel Rahman, a/k/a “Asadallah,” who is a son of Abdel Rahman, was sitting alongside Bin Laden and Zawahiri and was videotaped encouraging others to “avenge your Sheikh” and “go to the spilling of blood.”

    Mohammad Qutb was Sayyid Qutb’s brother. Egyptian Mohammad Qutb, a renown scholar and activist, taught Bin Laden at university in Saudi Arabia, having emigrated to Saudi Arabia. In the 1970s, bin Laden was taught by Sayyid Qutb’s brother, Dr. Mohammad Qutb, and a Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood member, Dr. Abdullah Azzam. Azzam’s ideas of non-compromise, violent means, and organizing and fighting on a global scale were central to Al Qaeda methods. Qutb, as al-Hawali’s teacher, also strongly influenced al-Hawali. Al-Hawali was sent to prison in 1994.

    Gamal Sultan was a former EIJ member who would seek to start a political party in 1999 with the founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Kamal Habib. They sought to chart a nonviolent course (given the practical reality that the movement had been so infiltrated by the security forces). The blind sheik declined to endorse the venture. In 2000, on a trip to Pittsburgh, Gamal Sultan and his colleagues thought Pittsburgh reminded them of Kandahar given its rolling hills.

    Abu Abdel Aziz ‘Barbaros’ was a well-known holy warrior and fundraiser from Saudi Arabia. In 1994, Abdel Aziz glorified jihad and praised the Pittsburgh magazine Assirat for its interest in holy war. He asked Assirat readers and in a 1995 update, to donate money for holy war. He lauded Dr. Abdullah Azzam, the founder of al-Qaeda. He explained jihad will continue till the day of judgment.” In 1996, he was detained as the primary suspect in the attack on the Dhahran barracks, in which 19 U.S. servicemen were killed. Expert Evan Kohlmann explains: Barbaros was “one of the key individuals responsible for LeT’s formation and development.” He “was a Saudi Al-Qaida member.” Kohlmann writes “In the fall of 1992, a former Al-Qaida lieutenant-turned-government informant attended secret meetings in Croatia chaired by Abu Abdel Aziz (“Barbaros.”). During those meetings, Abu Abdel Aziz talked about his directives from Usama Bin Laden and indicated that Al-Qaida was seeking to use regional jihads such as those in Bosnia and Kashmir as “a base for operations… against al Qaeda’s true enemy, the United States.”

    Salafist commentator Umar Lee has explained that in the early 1990s “the most dynamic part of the salafi movement in the DC-area were the students Sheikh Ali al-Timimi who in the 1990’s co-founded a very small group with a small office for an organization called the Society for the Adherence to the Sunnah. In early July 1994, cooperation with Al-Timimi’s Society for the Adherence to the Sunnah, Washington, D.C., IANA held its first annual summer camp in English in Frederick, MD (where the ponds were drained in the Amerthrax investigation). The theme of the camp was “Living the Shahadah in America.” This is what Sheikh Ali was teaching kids at the 1st Annual IANA Summer Camp at a Frederick, MD park:“Reflections on the Meaning of Our Testimony of Faith: ‘There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah” by Ali Al-Timimi.
    “6 Wage Jihad in the Path of Allah
    “Fight those who believe not in Allah and the Last Day and do not forbid what Allah and His Messenger have forbidden, and practice not the true religion (Islam), being of those who have been given the Scripture (the Jews and the Christians) — until they pay tribute readily and have been brought low. (The Qur’an 9:29)
    The Prophet has said:
    I am commanded to fight mankind till they testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establish the prayers and pay the charity. When they do that they will keep their lives and their property

    Author Milton Viorst, the father of a boy who knew Al-Timimi as a young teen, wrote: “Dozens of his talks are available on the Internet in text and in audio format. They contain little about Arab concerns with the Arab-Israeli wars, the rivalries between the Arab states, the problems faced by Muslims living in the West, or even the war in Iraq. Rather, they reveal a man who reflects deeply on the Islamic vision of Judgment day, prophecy, the nature of the divine, and fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) — subjects with which he grappled in Medina and in his private reading.” Al Timimi’s lectures (in English after Arabic opening) include “The Negative Portrayal Of Islam In the Media,” “Signs Before the Day of Judgement,” “Advice to the UK Salafis” and “Crusade Complex: Western Perceptions of Islam.” In one of his taped talks available online, al-Timimi warned Muslims not to become too friendly with non-Muslim “disbelievers” or even work for them if other jobs were available. “A Muslim should never allow the disbeliever to have the upper hand.”

    According to the webpage of his first defense committee (which disbanded when they felt under pressure due to their support), at some point years earlier had worked for Andrew Card for 2 months.

    Al-Timimi’s increasing computer skills got him a job at SRA International where Ali worked as a “bioinformatics software architect” providing information technology to the government. Some of his jobs required that Ali obtain a high-level security clearance. One job resulted in a letter of recommendation from the White House. He then enrolled in a PhD program in computational biology at George Mason University. In 1999, Battelle consultant and former USAMRIID Charles Bailey also worked at SRA By 2000, Ali Al-Timimi was already taking advanced courses at Mason in computational sciences. Dr. Bailey became co-Director of the DARPA-funded Center of Biodefense there in the Spring of 2001.

    Timimi once explained his research: “I am currently a research scientist at the Center for Biomedical Genomics and Informatics, George Mason University. I am involved in the analysis of the microarray data generated by the CTRF Cancer Genomics Project. Likewise, I am developing new computational approaches and technologies in support of this project.” The webpage for Timimi’s program at the time explained: “Faculty members and graduate students in the Program in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology participate in numerous collaborative efforts including but not limited to the following Laboratories and Research Centers: Center for Biomedical Genomics and Informatics (GMU) , Laboratory for Microbial and Environmental Biocomplexity (GMU) and Center for Biodefense (GMU). Beginning the Spring of 2002, GMU hired Ali to develop a computer program that coordinated the research at several universities, letting him go only after he came under suspicion by the FBI. In Spring 2002, according to salary information obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, GMU hired him for $70,000 a year. In 2002, the employment was through the School of Computational Sciences and in 2003, it was through Life Sciences Grants & Contracts.

    The School of Computational Sciences at George Mason is a joint venture between the American Type Culture Collection (”ATCC”) and George Mason. The joint venture is an effort to maximize research efforts by combining the academic and applied approaches to research. The School’s first activity was to teach an ATCC course in DNA techniques adapted for George Mason students. The ATCC is an internationally renown non-profit organization that houses the world’s largest and most diverse archive of biological materials. The Prince William Campus shares half of Discovery Hall with ATCC. ATCC moved to its current state-of-the-art laboratory at Discovery Hall (Prince William II) in 1998. ATCC’s 106,000-square-foot facility has nearly 35,000 square feet of laboratory space with a specialized air handling system and Biosafety Level 2 and 3 containment stations. The ATCC bioinformatics (BIF) program carries out research in various areas of biological information management relevant to its mission. BIF scientists interact with laboratory scientists in microbiology, cell biology, and molecular biology at ATCC and other laboratories throughout the world. ATCC has strong collaborations with a large number of academic institutions, including computational sciences at George Mason University. Through these partnerships, the George Mason Prince William Campus offers George Mason microbiology students an opportunity for students to be involved in current research and gain access to facilities and employment opportunities at ATCC and other partner companies.

    While I’ve not yet found any reference directly confirming Timimi’s room number, the person who inherited his old telephone number (3-4294) is Victor Morozov in the Center for Biodefense. Dr. Morozov, upon joining the faculty and inheriting the phone number was in Rm. 154A, very near Dr. Bailey in Rm 156B. One faculty member who consulted with Al-Timimi suggested to me that Ali instead was Rm. 154B, in the middle of the office suite. GMU Information Services helpfully looked up the listings from 2001 directory. As of October 2001 (when the directory is published according to GMU Information Services), judging from the directory, Al-Timimi was still just a graduate student.

    Former USAMRIID Deputy Commander and Acting Commander Ames strain anthrax researcher Charles Bailey, in Rm 156B, was given a Gateway desktop computer in mid-March 2001 (upon his arrival) — serial number 0227315480. It was like the one Dr. Alibek would get the next year in 156D. One way to think of proximity analysis — a form of true crime analysis — is the number of feet or inches between 154B and 156B/156D. Another way is to think of it is in terms of the number of feet or inches to the hard drives. You can judge the distance for yourself from a First Floor plan that is available online, clicking upon 154-156 area to enlarge.

    The December 2007 biodefense PhD thesis explains:

    “Although computers are password protected, anyone can access the computers located throughout the labs. Research results can be recorded on lab computers. Someone wanting to access research results would first have to understand what the numbers meant. Research results are also kept in a lab notebook that is kept in the lab or office. This enables other students to repeat what was already done or to see results.”

    In April 2007, at a talk at Princeton University, Dr. Alibek noted that he felt that

    “[u]nfortunately, the likelihood is very high” of a follow-up to the anthrax mailings of 2001. “And the agent very likely is still anthrax.” “The biggest part of my life now is devoted to cancer and cardiovascular (research). If you work in the biodefense community, good luck to you. I hope you succeed.” Dr. Alibek explained that he had been scrutinized and consulted, and given a polygraph after the anthrax mailings. He said that anthrax likely would be the pathogen favored by terrorists because it is relatively easy to grow and transport. Dr. Alibek suspects it it was “a person who knew from some source how the U.S. manufactured anthrax years and years ago.” He said, “It’s not rocket science.”

    In a separate appeal, the conviction of Al-Timimi’s assistant Chandia affirmed but the 15 year sentence was vacated and remanded for resentencing because of failure to making findings warranting terrorism enhancement. The conviction was reaffirmed by the District Court. He was alleged to have helped a Pakistan group buy components of a UAV.

  9. DXer said

    FBI Domestic Investigations and Operations Guidelines (DIOG), dated December 16, 2008 — on which the resigning Amerithrax head Persichini was tested — states the procedures that the DC Field Office operated under. Undercover operations and electronic surveillance — civil liberties versus intelligence gathering — were the subject of the open book examination taken by the Amerithrax head. The purpose was to standardize the criminal, national security and foreign intelligence procedures wherever possible. DIOG makes plain that FBI is an intelligence organization and has planning and analytic functions that go beyond mere investigation of discrete criminal matters.

    The FBI is authorized “to engage in intelligence analysis and planning, drawing on all lawful sources of information.” “The functions authorized … includes (i) development of overviews and analyses concerning threats to and vulnerabilities of the United States and its interests; (ii) research and analysis to produce reports and assessments … concerning matters relevant to investigative activities or other authorized FBI activities; and (iii) the operation of intelligence systems that facilitate and report investigations through the compilation and analysis of data and information on an ongoing basis.”

    Special Agents, Task Force Officers, Intelligence analysts, and FBI contractors are all bound by DIOG and must ensure compliance with conducting and closing an investigative activity in compliance with DIOG. There will be an open book exam and so pay attention.

    Among the supporters of these militant islamists were people like US scientist Ali Al-Timimi and Pakistan scientist Rauf Ahmad who blended into society and were available to act when another part of the network requested it. Two letters — one typed and an earlier handwritten one — written by a scientist named Rauf Ahmad detailed his efforts to obtain a pathogenic strain of anthrax. He attended conferences on anthrax and dangerous pathogens such as one in September 2000 at the University of Plymouth co-sponsored by DERA, the UK Defense Evaluation and Research Agency. In October 2009, historian Christopher Andrew published an official history of MI5 in which he reported that MI5 had found money and equipment in Rauf Ahmad’s luggage as he left the September 2000 conference.

    A handwritten letter from 1999 is written on letterhead of the oldest microbiology society in Great Britain. The 1999 documents seized in Afghanistan by US forces by Rauf describe the author’s visit to the special confidential room at the BL-3 facility where 1000s of pathogenic cultures were kept; his consultation with other scientists on some of technical problems associated with weaponizing anthrax; the bioreactor and laminar flows to be used in Al Qaeda’s anthrax lab; a conference he attended on dangerous pathogens cosponsored by UK’s Porton Down and Society for Applied Microbiology, and the need for vaccination and containment. Rauf had arranged to take a lengthy post-doc leave from his employer and was grousing to Zawahiri that what the employer would be paying during that 12-month period was inadequate. Malaysian Yazid Sufaat, who told his wife he was working for a Taliban medical brigade, got the job instead of Rauf.

    One typed memo reporting on a lab visit, which included tour of a BioLevel 3 facility, where there were 1000s of pathogenic samples. The memo mentioned the pending paperwork relating to export of the pathogens. The documents were provided to me by the Defense Intelligence Agency (”DIA”) under the Freedom of Information Act.

    An earlier handwritten letter from Rauf Ahmad to Dr. Zawahiri from before the lab visit described in the typed memo. The handwritten letter was reporting on a different, earlier visit where the anthrax had been nonpathogenic. Finally, there are handwritten notes about the plan to use non-governmental-organizations (NGOs), technical institutes and medical labs as cover for aspects of the work, and training requirements for the various personnel at the lab in Afghanistan. Ayman codenamed his project to weaponize anthrax Zabadi or “Curdled Milk.”

    Taliban supporter Al-Timimi was a graduate student in the same building where famed Russian bioweapon Ken Alibek and former USAMRIID head Charles Bailey worked at George Mason University. The three worked at the secure facility at Discovery Hall at the Prince William 2 campus. Dr. Alibek and Dr. Bailey headed a biodefense program funded by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
    (”DARPA”). Al-Timimi had a top security clearance and had worked for SRA International doing mathematical support work for the Navy. In 2000 and 2001, Timimi was a graduate student in computational sciences. His field was bioinformatics.

    Al-Timimi tended to travel to give speeches on interpretation of the koran during semester breaks. Al-Timimi spoke in very moderate, measured tones in the UK, Canada, and Australia — once even in China. He spoke against feminism, about the unfavorable treatment of islam in the secular media, about signs of the coming day of judgment, the correct interpretation of the koran and hadiths, and the destruction of the Buddha statues by the Taliban. Locally, he spoke regularly at the Falls Church center that also housed offices of the charity, the Muslim World League. Ali’s colleague from the small DC-based Society for Adherence to the Sunnah, Idris Palmer, served as Vice-President. Al-Timimi’s speeches are widely distributed on the internet and tend to focus on religious rather than political issues.

    A district court judge would say that Al-Timimi’s later speeches tended to favor violent jihad. After 9/11, they reportedly were removed from the website of the Center he had founded. The night of 9/11, he got in a heated debate with some colleagues. He said while islamically impermissible, the targeting of civilians was not impermissible where they were used as a shield. Others thought that it was reckless to say that so soon after the 9/11 attack when emotions were so inflamed.

    Years earlier, the blind sheik’s son, Mohammed Abdel-Rahman was scheduled to come from Afghanistan to speak at the IANA 1993 conference alongside Ali Al-Timimi and former EIJ member Gamal Sultan. Al-Timimi was scheduled to speak alongside the blind sheik’s son again in 1996, the year Bin Laden issued his Declaration of War against the United States. In July and August 2001, Ali was scheduled to speak in Toronto and London alongside “911 imam” Anwar Awlaki and unindicted WTC 1993 “unindicted co-conspirator” Bilal Philips.

    The FBI failed to connect the dots when a US Army psychiatrist communicated with 911 imam Anwar Awlaki, discussed routing money unobserved to Pakistan charities and joining him in the after-life. The imam had written recently about what individuals can do to further jihad. It is understandable that we want our FBI officials to have mastered DIOG. We all wish the FBI well in their continuing undercover operations and analytical and intelligence-gathering functions. We’ll even throw in free shipping.

  10. Anonymous Scientist said

    NAS update on today’s (12/10) closed meeting of the anthrax review. I have no idea what 5 U.S.C. 552(b) covers:

    Note: The data-gathering session of this meeting to be held on December 10, 2009 from 12:00 to 4:00 PM and on December 11, 2009 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM will not be open to the public under Subsection 15(b)(3) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 5 U.S.C. App., as amended by the Federal Advisory Committee Act Amendments of 1997, PL 105-153, December 17, 1997, 111 STAT. 2689. The Academy has determined that to open these sessions to the public would disclose information described in 5 U.S.C. 552(b).

  11. DXer said

    The Federal Advisory Committee Act

    How FACA works

    Federal agencies and the White House itself seek advice from a multitude of private sources outside of government. FACA both governs the way these advisory committees function and opens them up to public examination.

    FACA specifically applies to advisory committees “established” or “utilized” to advise the president or executive branch agencies. An advisory committee is defined as:

    Any committee, board, commission, council, conference, panel, task force, or other similar group, or any subcommittee . . . established or utilized . . . in the interest of obtaining advice or recommendations for the President or one or more agencies or officers of the federal government.

    The same executive branch agencies covered under FOIA and the Sunshine Act are covered by FACA. Advisory committee records are subject to the same nine exemptions as FOIA.

    Under FACA, advisory committee meetings must be open to the public. A committee must provide public notice in the Federal Register 15 days prior to the meeting. The notice must include the committee name; the time, place and purpose of the meeting; a summary of the agenda; and if any portion of the meeting is closed, the reason and exemption(s) in the Government in the Sunshine Act that apply. An advisory committee meeting can be closed to the public if the president or an agency head determines that any of the 10 exemptions to the Sunshine Act apply (see below).

    The committee must provide access to materials provided to it, including reports, transcripts, minutes, working papers, agendas or other documents unless any of the nine FOIA exemptions would apply. The committees must also keep minutes of their meetings.

    Where FACA applies

    FACA does not apply to the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, the Commission on Government Procurement, the National Academy of Sciences, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Reserve System or the National Academy of Public Administration. It also does not apply to committees composed of full-time officers or employees of the federal government or to the first lady of the U.S.

    An American Bar Association advisory committee to the Federal Judiciary that concerns candidates for federal judicial appointments is not an advisory committee under FACA.75 Because the committee was not formed by the federal government, not controlled by the Justice Department and received no federal funds, the U.S. Supreme Court held it was not “utilized” as an advisory committee. This decision led to an interpretation that a committee that prepared work product relied upon by a federal agency is an advisory committee under FACA.76

    FACA does not extend to a committee’s activities beyond its advice to the executive branch.

    How to enforce FACA

    Unlike FOIA or the Sunshine Act, FACA does not provide an explicit right to sue within the law itself. However, courts have recognized a right of action through lawsuits brought under the Administrative Procedures Act. A complaint for a FACA violation should describe an agency’s noncompliance and the relief requested in the suit.

    • DXer said

      “(3) The Academy shall ensure that meetings of the committee to gather data from individuals who are not officials, agents, or employees of the Academy are open to the public, unless the Academy determines that a meeting would disclose matters described in section 552(b) of title 5, United States Code. The Academy shall make available to the public, at reasonable charge if appropriate, written materials presented to the committee by individuals who are not officials, agents, or employees of the Academy, unless the Academy determines that making material available would disclose matters described in that section.”

      Thus, unless exempt under one of the provisions, the Academy is supposed to provide the documents. Notice it does not say that the NAS may withhold the documents without justification for a year. That would require an exemption to production pending the NAS review. There is no exemption from the requirement from production pending NAS review even though the NAS might wish to read such an exemption into the statute.

      § 15. Requirements relating to the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Public Administration

      (a) In general.–An agency may not use any advice or recommendation provided by the National Academy of Sciences or National Academy of Public Administration that was developed by use of a committee created by that academy under an agreement with an agency, unless–
      (1) the committee was not subject to any actual management or control by an agency or an officer of the Federal Government; (2) in the case of a committee created after the date of the enactment of the Federal Advisory Committee Act Amendments of 1997, the membership of the committee was appointed in accordance with the requirements described in subsection (b)(1); and (3) in developing the advice or recommendation, the academy complied with–
      (A) subsection (b)(2) through (6), in the case of any advice or recommendation provided by the National Academy of Sciences; or (B) subsection (b)(2) and (5), in the case of any advice or recommendation provided by the National Academy of Public Administration.
      (b) Requirements.–The requirements referred to in subsection (a) are as follows:
      (1) The Academy shall determine and provide public notice of the names and brief biographies of individuals that the Academy appoints or intends to appoint to serve on the committee. The Academy shall determine and provide a reasonable opportunity for the public to comment on such appointments before they are made or, if the Academy determines such prior comment is not practicable, in the period immediately following the appointments. The Academy shall make its best efforts to ensure that (A) no individual appointed to serve on the committee has a conflict of interest that is relevant to the functions to be performed, unless such conflict is promptly and publicly disclosed and the Academy determines that the conflict is unavoidable, (B) the committee membership is fairly balanced as determined by the Academy to be appropriate for the functions to be performed, and (C) the final report of the Academy will be the result of the Academy’s independent judgment. The Academy shall require that individuals that the Academy appoints or intends to appoint to serve on the committee inform the Academy of the individual’s conflicts of interest that are relevant to the functions to be performed. (2) The Academy shall determine and provide public notice of committee meetings that will be open to the public. (3) The Academy shall ensure that meetings of the committee to gather data from individuals who are not officials, agents, or employees of the Academy are open to the public, unless the Academy determines that a meeting would disclose matters described in section 552(b) of title 5, United States Code. The Academy shall make available to the public, at reasonable charge if appropriate, written materials presented to the committee by individuals who are not officials, agents, or employees of the Academy, unless the Academy determines that making material available would disclose matters described in that section. (4) The Academy shall make available to the public as soon as practicable, at reasonable charge if appropriate, a brief summary of any committee meeting that is not a data gathering meeting, unless the Academy determines that the summary would disclose matters described in section 552(b) of title 5, United States Code. The summary shall identify the committee members present, the topics discussed, materials made available to the committee, and such other matters that the Academy determines should be included. (5) The Academy shall make available to the public its final report, at reasonable charge if appropriate, unless the Academy determines that the report would disclose matters described in section 552(b) of title 5, United States Code. If the Academy determines that the report would disclose matters described in that section, the Academy shall make public an abbreviated version of the report that does not disclose those matters. (6) After publication of the final report, the Academy shall make publicly available the names of the principal reviewers who reviewed the report in draft form and who are not officials, agents, or employees of the Academy.
      (c) Regulations.–The Administrator of General Services may issue regulations implementing this section.

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