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

* Additional FBI documents related to Amerithrax Investigation

Posted by DXer on February 19, 2010

CASE CLOSED by Lew Weinstein

is a novel which answers the question

… why did the FBI fail to solve the 2001 anthrax case?

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“Lew Weinstein is a meticulous researcher and a determined storyteller.”

“This scary scenario is as close to truth as fiction can come.”

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Soon after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, letters laced with anthrax began appearing in the U.S. mail. Five Americans were killed and 17 were sickened in what became the worst biological attacks in U.S. history.

The ensuing investigation by the FBI and its partners—code-named “Amerithrax”—has been one of the largest and most complex in the history of law enforcement.

In August 2008, Department of Justice and FBI officials announced a breakthrough in the case and released documents and information showing that charges were about to be brought against Dr. Bruce Ivins, who took his own life before those charges could be filed. On February 19, 2010, the Justice Department, the FBI, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service formally concluded the investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks.

The Amerithrax Task Force—which consisted of roughly 25 to 30 full-time investigators from the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and other law enforcement agencies, as well as federal prosecutors from the District of Columbia and the Justice Department’s Counterterrorism Section—expended hundreds of thousands of investigator work hours on this case. Their efforts involved more than 10,000 witness interviews on six different continents, the execution of 80 searches, and the recovery of more than 6,000 items of potential evidence during the course of the investigation. The case involved the issuance of more than 5,750 grand jury subpoenas and the collection of 5,730 environmental samples from 60 site locations. In addition, new scientific methods were developed that ultimately led to the break in the case—methods that could have a far-reaching impact on future investigations.

This interim release of FBI files concerning the investigation consists of a total of 2,728 pages and 30 separate files. Additional releases will be made when the files have been processed under the guidelines of the Freedom of Information Act/Privacy.

As a supplement to this release, the U.S. Department of Justice has posted an Investigative Summary on its website

279A-WF-222936- BEI (Bruce E. Ivins) Sections (1,282 pages)

The seven sections identified as BEI (Dr. Bruce E. Ivins) are directly related to the investigative efforts and interviews involving Dr. Ivins. The sections include a review of Dr. Ivins’ personnel file, e-mails, police reports, and analysis of samples.

BEI Section 1 (2/2007 ) – (123 pages)
BEI Section 2 (4/2005) – (179 pages)
BEI Section 3 (8/2007) – (189 pages)
BEI Section 4 (11/2007) – (234 pages)
BEI Section 5 (2/2008)– (193 pages)
BEI Section 6 (4/2008) – (180 pages)
BEI Section 7 (8/2008) – (184 pages)

279A-WF-222936-USAMRIID Sections (1,446 pages)

There are 22 sections listed as USAMRIID (United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases), which pertain to investigative efforts and interviews related to USAMRIID and its personnel.

USAMRIID Section 1 (2/2005) – Interviews (75 pages)
USAMRIID Section 2 (6/2008) – Interviews (26 pages)
USAMRIID Section 3 (9/2006) – Biosurety Plan by DOD (1 page)
USAMRIID Section 3b (2/2006) – Interviews (102 pages)
USAMRIID Section 4 (3/2007) – Interviews and (7/2007) – Law Enforcement Operation Order of Environmental Survey (117 pages)
USAMRIID Section 5 (9/2006) – Interviews and Periodic case updates (75 pages)
USAMRIID Section 6 (4/2005) – Maryland DMV Records related to Dr. Ivins and additional interviews (46 pages)
USAMRIID Section 7 (5/2005) – Summary of Unauthorized Environmental Surveys by Dr. Ivins (108 pages)
USAMRIID Section 8 – (8/2005) – Interviews (151 pages)
USAMRIID Section 9 – (4/2003) – Interviews (41 pages)
USAMRIID Section 10 – (3/2003) – Interviews (44 pages)
USAMRIID Section 11 – (7/2003) – Interviews (33 pages)
USAMRIID Section 12 – (10/2003) – Interviews (52 pages)
USAMRIID Section 13 – (12/2003) – Interviews (53 pages)
USAMRIID Section 14 – (1/2004) – Interviews (66 pages)
USAMRIID Section 15 – (3/2004) – Interviews (49 pages)
USAMRIID Section 16 – (3/2004) – Interviews (107 pages)
USAMRIID Section 17 – (6/2004) – Interviews (63 pages)
USAMRIID Section 18 – (8/2004) – Interviews and Request for Documents from USAMRIID (10 pages)
USAMRIID Section 19 – (9/2004) – Interviews (40 pages)
USAMRIID Section 20 – (11/2004) – Interviews (127 pages)
USAMRIID Section 21 – (1/2007) – Interviews (51 pages)
USAMRIID Section 22 – (9/2004) – Interviews (9 pages)

8 Responses to “* Additional FBI documents related to Amerithrax Investigation”

  1. DXer said
    ‘Bacillus anthracis and Anthrax’: The past, present and future of anthrax research

    January 12, 2011
    Few strands of bacteria have achieved such a central place in public consciousness as Bacillus anthracis, the bacteria which causes Anthrax. While today it is a feared weapon of bioterrorism Bacillus anthracis has played a significant historical role, especially through the research of the celebrated 19th century scientists Robert Koch and Louis Pasteur, in shaping our understanding of infectious diseases and immunology.

    In his new book Bacillus Anthracis and Anthrax Dr Nicholas Bergman brings both of these perspectives together to present a definitive ‘state of the field’ summary for anthrax research, providing a comprehensive guide to all aspects of the organism, ranging from basic biology to central public health issues.

    “With all the attention and research that have been focused on Bacillus anthracis and anthrax in recent years, our understanding of both the organism and the disease has improved dramatically,” said Bergman. “This book aims to provide a up-to-date reference that will be useful to scientists, medical and public health personnel, and those playing roles in shaping public policy.”

    Bacillus Anthracis and Anthrax covers all major aspects of Anthrax biology, from basic biology and pathogenesis to diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of anthrax bioterror-associated issues.

    Throughout the book anthrax is considered historically as well biologically, with chapters ranging from the impact of anthrax on human history from 5000 BC by Peter Turnbull and Sean Shadomy, to an assessment of current anthrax vaccination research by Elke Saile and Conrad Quinn, as well as an analysis by Leonard Cole of anthrax as a weapon of war.

    The biological analysis of B. anthracis, includes research on life cycle, differentiation, cellular structure, as well as the interaction of B. anthracis with the immune system.

    Bacillus Anthracis and Anthrax also considers the clinical features, diagnosis and treatment of the different forms of human anthrax, as well as a review of animal models of anthrax and their use in research.

    While Bacillus Anthracis and Anthrax will be a premier reference tool to B. Anthracis and anthrax for microbiologists, immunologists and physiologists it will also serve as an invaluable resource for medical professionals, bioterror experts and all those involved in the issues of public health.

  2. DXer said

    Below is Dr. Ivins description of the visit by Tarek Hamouda, a former Zawahiri associate, to USAMRIID to work with virulent Ames with Dr. Ivins.


    IVINS advised prior to May 1998 he was contacted by ______________________ from the University of Michigan Medical Center who was ______________ of a _________________________. IVINS advised _____ wished to collaborate with IVINS in order to test the effectiveness of a new anti-sporicidal material against anthrax spores. IVINS further advised _________ had numerous _______ had numerous visits to USAMRIID, however, “never accessed the B3 suite.”
    IVINS sent advised _______ sent _____________________________ both from the University of Michigan, to conduct experiments. IVINS advised ______________ underwent safety training and provided the required documentation of their shot records. IVINS advised when ___________ showed up at USAMRIID, USAMRIID personnel realized __________ was not a U.S. citizen. IVINS advised, during May 1999 time period, a email request for approval was all that was required for “green card holders” to visit USAMRIID. IVINS further advised _____________ provided approval for _________.
    ________ interjected and advised “the request for _______ to visit USAMRIID did not come from command it came from [IVINS].” _______ further advised “this is different from which I had previously told [the interviewing Postal Inspector and SA].”
    IVINS advised _______ had contacted IVINS and _______ and ___________ were to come to USAMRIID and conduct the research on the collaboration project.
    IVINS advised ___________________ worked with the Ames strain of Bacillus anthracis (Ba) in the BL-3 laboratory” for three or four days in May 1998. IVINS further advised ________ and _________ were never left alone in the BL-3 laboratory and either IVINS or ____________ were with _______________________.
    IVINS advised he does not recall whether or not _____ and ________ had their own access into the B3 suite or whether someone had to let them in. IVINS further advised interviewing Postal Inspector and SA to check USAMRIID key card entries. [Note: records only existed August 2008 —>]
    IVINS advised that he was not impressed their scientific techniques. IVINS further advised _________________ were “at each others throats.” IVINS advised _________ was “a jerk” and had problem with everyone to include ________.
    IVINS advised he referred to _______ as _______ because IVINS observed a thick patch of hair on the small of _______ back while they were “showering out.”
    IVINS agreed to contact the interviewing the Postal Inspector and SA should he recall any additional pertinent information.”

    Dr. Hamouda and I have a common acquaintance — Dr. Hamouda’s lifelong friend from childhood and medical school, Tarek Hamid. I have tremendous admiration for Dr. Hamid. Dr. Hamid was recruited by Ayman Zawahiri into the Egyptian Islamic Jihad in a room set aside for the purpose. Dr. Hamid withdrew when they wanted him to participate in the burying of a security officer alive near the mosque and he got queasy. He tells me that he called Dr. Hamouda about patents before 9/11 and Dr. Hamouda said it was all in the marketing. He now advances a “can’t we all get along” message.

    Now it’s nice that the FBI is getting around to asking the relevant questions in February 2005. But why weren’t they asked in 2001?

    I asked Dr. Hamouda which of the 250 Vanguards of Conquest members prosecuted in Cairo in 1993-1994 as he was finishing up his PhD and he did not respond.

    He had lived in Cairo the preceding 10 years where his wife was on the dental faculty. He had graduated from medical school in December 2002 at the heyday of the aftermath of the Sadat assassination. Given that Ayman Zawahiri said he would use anthrax to mail to retaliate for the rendering of senior EIJ leaders, and the announcement at the same time as pharmacology professor Heba Zawahiri’s brother was rendered ( a key EIJ official), it is ridiculous that the FBI was only getting around to asking these questions in 2005.

  3. DXer said

    The first of the 3,200 pages says: “The following investigation was conducted by Special Agent (SAA) —- of the federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on February 24, 2005:

    The United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) Keycard Access records from 1998 through 2002 were queried for visiting foreign scientist ___ and visiting scientist _____ both from _______________ [hint: University of Michigan] who have been previously been identified as visiting USAMRIID circa May 1998.

    Then on the next page, it reads, on February 18, 2005, an Internet author query on website: for ______________ scientists, ____________ and ____________ met with positive results.

    ____________ the following publication “A Novel Surfactant Nanoemulsion with Broad-Spectrum Sporicidal Activity against Bacillus Species.”

    The mere fact that this search was not done, if we rely on this document, until 2005 is clear evidence of the DOJ’s and FBI’s incompetence — the search involving a foreign scientist’s access to virulent Ames should have been done by November 2001. That foreign scientist was Tarek Hamouda.

    • DXer said

      Oh, wait. Was that before the FBI was allowed to use google?

    • DXer said

      Dr. Tarek Hamid, without drawing any inferences, tells me that he called Dr. Hamouda before 911 from abroad and asked about patents — and Dr. Hamouda said it was all in the marketing.

      Tarek Hamid, who consults now for intelligence agencies, reports his own experience of being recruited by Ayman Zawahiri one Friday after classes. He says he got queasy and withdrew when talk turned to burying an Egyptian security officer alive near the mosque.

      I learned this just by making a cold call to the only former Egyptian Islamic Jihad member I knew (from his published account of being recruited by Ayman Zawahiri at Cairo Medical in a room set aside for the purpose). After the FBI agent did the google search four years after the anthrax mailings, what did he do? Agent Seely Booth would have spent his day differently.

      Isn’t the untenability of an Ivins Theory — and the suicide that could have been predicted from the 2007 and 2008 accounts reflecting Dr. Ivins’ suicidal thoughts – due to Director Mueller’s compartmentalization of the investigative squads? Shouldn’t he instead have taken steps to stem the intentional leaks being made by the father of Al-Timimi’s pro bono defense counsel, who headed the criminal division at the DC US Attorney’s Office?

  4. Something to ask for in FOIA or by Congress.

    1. Photographs of the specific machines they believe Ivins used on which dates.

    a) Centrifuge
    b) Fermenter
    c) Lyophilizer

    2. The capacity of each machine.

    3. The size of the job done at each date, time started, amounts used to start it, growth media, etc. Time to grow. Comparison to published paper on subtilis growth times. That paper seemed to indicate that with a yield of 1/5 gram per liter of growth media, it would take 25 liters to produce 5 grams of powder. Machines to do that are larger than the published photo of the glove box in Ivins lab.

    4. Photos from all angles and dimensions of all glove boxes in Ivins lab.

    5. Location and photos of any place Ivins might have stored anthrax in powder or liquid form.

    6. If the equipment did not fit in the glovebox, how would Ivins clean it?

    7. Where was it stored?

    8. How was it cleaned if it didn’t fit in the glove box?

    9. When was it last used prior to 9/11/2001?

    10. After?

    11. Who else used it?

    12. Was the lyopholizer big and bulky and difficult to clean? This has been reported by others. In fact, that it couldn’t be cleaned without the whole lab knowing it. Why was the lyophilizer listed in the FBI report as a piece of equipment Ivins could use without also disclosing the issues in cleaning it? Was this discussed by the FBI or DOJ? Why did they decide not to disclose this?

    13. The subtilis production times paper in 2004 was discussed? Was that paper made public in 2004 as part of a trial strategy by USAO DC to prove that Hatfill did it and to exclude Ivins and others like him because the production times and size of equipment needed would take too long and be too big for their glove boxes? Basically, the Ivins production runs would be of Dugway 50 liter fermenter scale not of Ivins lab scale?

    14. Why was the original RMR1029 produced in Dugway if Ivins could produce it in his glovebox?

    15. In the report the FBI says that Ivins rejected a Dugway shipment of anthrax because of quality issues. If Ivins had the capacity to produce this much anthrax in his own glove box using equipment easily cleaned with the entire process taking 3 days and taking little of his time and being not noticeable to other lab participants, why didn’t he just grow it himself instead of having Dugway using its 50 liter fermenter and shipping it across the US? Wouldn’t it have been safer and cheaper? Didn’t he realize the money was needed for Upper East Side tax cuts, nation building, and Wall Street bailouts?

    16. Photos, production times, capacity, cleaning issues, storage, custody of every piece of apparatus to grow, store, centrifuge, dry, prepare or process the anthrax.

    17. Do the FBI believe it was grown after August 1, 2001? After Sep 1, 2001? During the weekend in September and the 8 days in October? Do those lab times correspond to the times of using the pieces of equipment sequentially to prep and grow and centrifuge and dry and prepare the mailing?

    18. Does the FBI even discuss these things? Release their notes and also the files of the USAO DC for its prosecution of Hatfill. Did USAO and FBI intend to present at trial these issues as proof that Ivins in particular was excluded from having produced and mailed the anthrax in 2004?

    • If the glovebox did not fit (the equipment) you must acquit. Didn’t the FBI/DOJ intend to say just that about Ivins in 2004 in prosecuting Hatfill to exclude Ivins?

    • Photos and capacity of all equipment used at Dugway to prepare RMR1029. Times to do it including lab times of personnel. Clean up times of all the equipment and effort required to clean it up. Specific lab at Dugway used for it.
      They can do another run at Dugway to duplicate it if they don’t have complete records. They can film it all too.

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