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

Archive for January 25th, 2010

* Epstein (WSJ 1-24-10) … The FBI says Ivins was the sole perpetrator, but it has presented no evidence to support that conclusion … and the largest case in FBI history is still open

Posted by DXer on January 25, 2010

CASE CLOSED is a novel which answers the question … Why did the FBI fail to solve the 2001 anthrax case?

The (fictional) DIA team considers the role of the President and Vice-President in the early days of the FBI’s anthrax investigation …

“Then a curious thing happens. A second attack is made against the great country, this time with lethal anthrax powder mailed in envelopes. Is it a coincidence that this occurs within days of the launching of a massive retaliatory attack on Osama? The answer to that question is currently outside the bounds of this fable, although if it was not a coincidence, our tale becomes much, much darker.

“The very best police force in the land is assigned to track down the person or persons who prepared and mailed the lethal anthrax envelopes. But even before any evidence is obtained, the great leader announces the desired result – there may be some possible link to Saddam, he says; I wouldn’t put it past him. The great vice-leader also chimes in, saying that Saddam had henchmen who were trained in the use and deployment of these kinds of substances, so you start to piece it all together.

“I would ask you to note that these instantaneous, unsupported allegations are directed at Saddam; Osama, who sent the planes, is not mentioned.”

******

The FBI says Ivins was the sole perpetrator,

but it has presented no evidence to support that conclusion

… and the largest case in FBI history is still open

******

Edward Jay Epstein writes in the Wall Street Journal (1-24-10) …

  • The investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks ended as far as the public knew on July 29, 2008, with the death of Bruce Ivins.
  • Less than a week after his apparent suicide, the FBI declared Ivins to have been the sole perpetrator of the 2001 Anthrax attacks.
  • The FBI’s six-year investigation was the largest inquest in its history, involving 9,000 interviews, 6,000 subpoenas, and the examination of tens of thousands of photocopiers, typewriters, computers and mailboxes.
    • Yet it failed to find a shred of evidence that identified the anthrax killer—or even a witness to the mailings.
    • Eventually, the FBI zeroed in on Ivins.
    • The FBI turned the pressure up on him, isolating him at work and forcing him to spend what little money he had on lawyers to defend himself.
    • He became increasingly stressed. Then came his suicide (which) provided an opportunity to close the case.

      FBI announces - August 8, 2008 - that Dr. ivins is the sole perpetrator and the case will soon be closed

  • But there was still a vexing problem—silicon.
    • Silicon was used in the 1960s to weaponize anthrax.
    • since weaponization was banned by international treaties, research anthrax no longer contains silicon, and the flask at Fort Detrick contained none.
    • Yet the anthrax grown from it had silicon, according to the U.S. Armed Forces Institute of Pathology.
    • This silicon explained why, when the letters to Sens. Leahy and Daschle were opened, the anthrax vaporized into an aerosol. If so, then somehow silicon was added to the anthrax.
  • But Ivins, no matter how weird he may have been, had neither the set of skills nor the means to attach silicon to anthrax spores.
    • At a minimum, such a process would require highly specialized equipment that did not exist in Ivins’s lab—or, for that matter, anywhere at the Fort Detrick facility.
  • The FBI’s answer was that the anthrax contained only traces of silicon, and those, it theorized, could have been accidently absorbed by the spores from the water and nutrient in which they were grown.
    • No such nutrients were ever found in Ivins’s lab, nor, for that matter, did anyone ever see Ivins attempt to produce any unauthorized anthrax (a process which would have involved him using scores of flasks.)
    • Natural contamination was an elegant theory that ran into problems after Congressman Jerry Nadler pressed FBI Director Robert Mueller in September 2008 to provide the House Judiciary Committee with a missing piece of data: the precise percentage of silicon contained in the anthrax used in the attacks.
  • The answer came seven months later on April 17, 2009.
    • According to the FBI lab, 1.4% of the powder in the Leahy letter was silicon.
    • “This is a shockingly high proportion,” explained Stuart Jacobson, an expert in small particle chemistry. “It is a number one would expect from the deliberate weaponization of anthrax, but not from any conceivable accidental contamination.”
  • in an attempt to back up its theory, the FBI contracted scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Labs in California to conduct experiments in which anthrax is accidently absorbed from a media heavily laced with silicon.
    • When the results were revealed to the National Academy Of Science in September 2009, they effectively blew the FBI’s theory out of the water.
    • The Livermore scientists had tried 56 times to replicate the high silicon content without any success.
    • Even though they added increasingly high amounts of silicon to the media, they never even came close to the 1.4% in the attack anthrax. Most results were an order of magnitude lower, with some as low as .001%.
    • “If there is that much silicon, it had to have been added,” Jeffrey Adamovicz, who supervised Ivins’s work at Fort Detrick, wrote to me last month.
  • If Ivins had neither the equipment or skills to weaponize anthrax with silicon, then some other party with access to the anthrax must have done it.
  • So, even though the public may be under the impression that the anthrax case had been closed in 2008, the FBI investigation is still open—and, unless it can refute the Livermore findings on the silicon, it is back to square one.

Read the entire article at … http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704541004575011421223515284.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

******

LMW COMMENT …

Readers of this CASE CLOSED blog have been aware of everything in Mr. Epstein’s article, and much more, for months.

The FBI’s case has always been unfounded, and the FBI’s insistence that Dr. Ivins was the sole perpetrator does a disservice to our nation.

It’s time for Director Mueller to fess up. Either the FBI doesn’t know who perpetrated the attacks, or they do know and they’re covering up the truth.

Which is worse?

Posted in * questioning the FBI's anthrax investigation | Tagged: , , , , , | 46 Comments »