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

* Bruce Ivins email – 11-8-01

Posted by DXer on February 20, 2010

CASE CLOSED by Lew Weinstein

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

* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon *

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Bruce Ivins email – 11-8-01

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15 Responses to “* Bruce Ivins email – 11-8-01”

  1. DXer said

    The email above, I think, related to a different company — one that was publicly traded — with a decontamination product.

    “4/13/2004 Ivins 302
    IVINS knew ___ (first name unknown) ____________a male from _________ through ____________________________________________ (phonetic). __________ called IVINS about a test _____ had developed for killing Ba spores instantaneously. IVINS did not send ________ and Ba samples but performed ____________ test himself, finding that the test did reduce the number of Ba spores and their viability but was no more effective than the other methods already in place for killing Ba spores. IVINS was later contacted by ___________ telephone number _________ electronic mail address __________ from the UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION (SEC) in Forth Worth, Texas. _________ was investigating _______ in an alleged “pump and dump” scheme, in which individuals recruit large quantities of nvestors for a certain stock through false and misleading statements. After driving the stock price up, the individuals then quickly sell the stock, making a large profit for themselves but leaving other investors with losses when the stock is no longer being hyped and the price falls. IVINS has had no recent contact with _______ and is unaware of the SEC investigation.”

  2. DXer said

    Although mostly breathtakingly unconvincing, we learn for the first time that he had a fermentor signed out. This seems a significant additional bit of information.

  3. DXer said

    The article about a nanoemulsion on page 2 of the government’s several thousand page production thanks both Dr. Ivins and the scientists known in the Amerithrax Investigative Summary as “Former Colleague #1” (Mara) and “Former Colleague #2” (Patricia). Kimothy, also thanked, was the FBI’s genetics expert in 2001/2002:

    The Journal of Infectious Diseases 1999;180:1939–1949
    A Novel Surfactant Nanoemulsion with Broad‐Spectrum Sporicidal Activity against Bacillus Species

    Tarek Hamouda,1 Michael M. Hayes,1, et al.

    The authors stated:

    “We thank Shaun B. Jones, Jane Alexander, and Lawrence DuBoise (Defense Science Office, Defense Advanced Research Project Agency) for their support; Bruce Ivins, Patricia Fellows, Mara Linscott, Arthur Friedlander, and the staff of USAMRIID for their technical support and helpful suggestions in the performance of the initial anthrax studies; Martin Hugh‐Jones, Kimothy Smith, and Pamala Coker for supplying the characterized B. anthracis strains and the space at Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge); Robin Kunkel (Department of Pathology, University of Michigan) for her help with electron microscopy preparations; and G. Morris and A. Shih for their technical assistance with manuscript preparation.”

    We know that Patricia Fellows and Mara Linscott were the subject of focused FBI questioning according to the note on the day of Ivins’ death, and we know that Kimothy Smith was the FBI’s genetics consultant.

    The authors explained:

    “Spore preparation.For induction of spore formation, B. cereus (ATCC 14579), B. circulans (ATCC 4513), B. megaterium (ATCC 14581), and B. subtilis (ATCC 11774) were grown for 1 week at 37°C on nutrient agar with 0.1% yeast extract and 5 mg/L MnSO4. The plates were scraped, and the bacteria and spores were suspended in sterile 50% ethanol and incubated at 22°C for 2 h with agitation to lyse the remaining vegetative bacteria. The suspension was centrifuged at 2500 g for 20 min, and the pellet was washed twice in cold distilled water. The spore pellet was resuspended in trypticase soy broth (TSB) and used immediately for experiments. B. anthracis spores, Ames and Vollum 1B strains, were supplied by Bruce Ivins (US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases [USAMRIID], Fort Detrick, Frederick, MD) and were prepared as described elsewhere [5]. Four other strains of B. anthracis were provided by Martin Hugh‐Jones (Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge). These strains (from South Africa; Mozambique; Bison, Canada; and Del Rio, TX) represent isolates with high allelic dissimilarity.”

    • DXer said

      We also know that Patricia Fellows on making a more virulent Ames was published by Pamala Coker as a chapter in her PhD thesis. Dr. Coker at the time said that the method could simultaneously make a better vaccine and a better bioweapon.

  4. DXer said

    The DOJ quotes Martin Hugh-Jones:

    “As Dr. Martin Hugh-Jones, another renowned anthrax expert, told the Wall Street Journal in December 2001, “We know this guy. One of us knows him.”

    This is a curious invocation of authority given that Dr. Hugh-Jones this month wrote the 40,000 Pro-Med subscribers and said that like many others, he was convinced of Dr. Ivins’ innocence.

    • DXer said

      Here is the DOJ’s view of the code used in the anthrax letters:

      “From this analysis, two possibile hidden meanings emerged: (1) “FNY” – a verbal assault on New York, and (2) PAT – the nickname of Former Colleague #2. First with respect to “FNY,” according to numerous witnesses who knew him well, including Former Colleague #1, Dr. Ivins had a deep hatred for New York. For example, in the aftermath of 9/11, Dr. Ivins sent Former Colleague #1 an e-mail where he essentially accused “typical” New Yorkers of overplaying the tragedy and seeking attention, wondering “what about those folks in Oklahoma City, they deserve sympathy too.” Further, Dr. Ivins strongly associated Former Colleague #1 with New York, so this reference may well have been directed at her. His communications with her both when she worked at USAMRIID and in the years that followed were replete with references to the New York Yankees, her favorite baseball team, not always in the kindest of terms. Finally, these were the letters that were sent to Tom Brokaw and the New York Post, both in New York City.”

  5. DXer said

    The people who had access to 1425 included 131 with hot suite access and another 246 individuals had hot suite access in Building 1412.

    In a 2002 sworn statement, however, Dr. Ivins in his statement said he left shipping containers on his desk — which was not in the hot suite — overnight for mailing.

  6. DXer said

    [I]n an e-mail to a former colleague, dated September 17, 2001, on the day before the first letters were postmarked, Dr. Ivins discussed his improving home life. In another e-mail to this former colleague, dated September 19, 2001, the day after the first letters were postmarked, Dr. Ivins reported that he had exercised for the first time in months and that he “felt good.”

    Has the Department of Justice produced these emails? Where? Why should we be provided its characterization of the timeline while it withholds the underlying documentation? The FBI has prevented up until now production of emails past September 11, 2001.

  7. DXer said

    The folks the FBI were able to exclude included:

    * A foreign-born scientist with particular expertise working with a Bacillus anthracis simulant known as Bacillus subtilis, and against whom there were allegations that s/he had connections with several individuals affiliated with the al-Qaeda and Ansar al-Islam terrorist networks.

    * A microbiology student who allegedly had associations with al-Qaeda’s anthrax program.

    * A foreign-born scientist who published certain microbiology articles that were found at an al-Qaeda training facility in a foreign country.

    * A foreign-born microbiologist in New Jersey who had allegedly made certain anti-American statements, and who lived and worked in close proximity to Princeton.

    *a Postal Service employee at the Hamilton Township Plant and Distribution Center in Hamilton, New Jersey, who resigned shortly before the mailings, and whom a witness alleged was associated with a U.S-based al-Qaeda laboratory involved in anthrax production.

    Each of these individuals was ultimately excluded as a suspect based on a number of factors, including alibi, insufficient ability, and lack of access to RMR-1029.

    What about the fellow whose family friend Tarek Hamid was a former Egyptian Islamic Jihad member and schoolmate at Cairo Medical recruited by Ayman Zawahiri in a room set aside for that purpose?

    Ayman Zawahiri was the fellow whose colleagues announced he was going to use anthrax against to retaliate against the rendering of Egyptian Islamic JIhad leaders, including his brother Muhammad, who was the brother of Cairo Medical pharmacology professor Heba.

    She was a professor in the Department that just a few years earlier had minted this microbiologist supplied virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins. The Zawahiri family was represented by Mamdouh Ismail, who has been accused of being a conduit to jihadis in Yemen and Egypt.

    From the first few pages among the several thousand produced, it appears the Egyptian scientist supplied virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins visited USAMRIID circa May 1998 to work with Dr. Ivins.

    On this question of alibi, do the FBI intelligence analysts understand that under the cell structure contemplated by Ayman Zawahiri, different members would have different roles? So how does an alibi resolve the issue?

    If the FBI had a case against Ivins, then why have they sat on the September-October 2001 and Lab Notebook 4010 even to this day?

    • DXer said

      In the November 2001 email above, is he responding to a request by one of the University of Michigan researchers promoting the decontamination agent in the press that month?

      When is USAMRIID going to produce the email where the data relating to the decontamination agent was requested? The FBI has deliberately intefered with USAMRIID’s production. USAMRIID still has 7 years of emails to go.

      See This Goop? It Kills Anthrax And the tiny biotech startup that invented it has been thrust into a national crisis that is upending its business.
      By Julie Creswell

      November 12, 2001

      (FORTUNE Magazine) – 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. “A little of this rubbed into the hands can protect postal workers from anthrax,” he says, peering at me over his glasses. Oh, sure, I think, that’s great–until it starts eating away their skin, right? Before I can ask about side effects, Baker shoves his finger into the bottle, removing it to show the bio killing agent, which, strangely, looks a lot like sunblock. “Plus, it’s a great moisturizer,” he says, grinning, as he rubs the lotion into his hands.

      Germany’s Bayer, which manufactures the antibiotic Cipro, isn’t the only company swept up in America’s grim scramble to fend off germ attacks. The dawn of international bioterrorism is challenging companies like NanoBio too. Like Bayer, this tiny startup is caught in a dilemma it never foresaw: how to meet the public’s needs without sacrificing its own financial goals. 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. “But there is definitely an opportunity cost.”

      What’s in NanoBio’s amazing bio fighting agent, anyway? Just soybean oil floating in water with nontoxic detergents. “It can be rubbed on the skin, eaten, or put into liquids like orange juice,” claims Annis. “I even put it in my hot tub.”

      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 is stored 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. And he braced for a barrage of interest from reporters, following a local newspaper story on the company; the media soon dubbed NanoBio’s decontaminant “the salad-oil cure.”

      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. A DARPA spokesperson says other tests on the NanoBio formula have shown “good initial results.”

      Now NanoBio hopes to get $5 million in emergency federal funding to hire more people, do more tests, and start contracting out the manufacture of large quantities of the substance. Annis expects a thumbs-up within days. 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.

      All this is a race NanoBio didn’t want to compete in. “Our future isn’t going to be in government applications. A lot of what we’re doing for the government is going to be done at cost,” says Baker. “Our future is going to be with all the commercial customers that we can’t let drop off while we’re dealing with this other stuff.”

      But in the back of NanoBio’s office sit two dozen empty white 55-gallon barrels. 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. NanoBio’s small lab mixers will have to run day and night to fill the barrels. “This is not the way we want to do this,” sighs Annis, shaking his head. “This is all a duct-tape solution.”

      • DXer said

        What testing of the decontamination agent was done at USAMRIID?

        • DXer said

          The US DOJ explains:

          “Investigators identified 14 unrecorded “withdrawals” from RMR-1029 prior to the mailings, including usages by Dr. Ivins himself and transfers to other researchers, each of whom was investigated. According to this review, there was approximately 220 ml of RMR-1020 that was unaccounted for on Dr. Ivins’s Reference Material Receipt prior to the mailings in 2001.”

  8. DXer said

    My favorite gross misreporting are the sound bytes that make it seem that the genetics point to Ivins rather than the 100-300 with access.

    Note that Dr. Ivins thinks the writing looks like a Second Grader wrote it. :0)

    • DXer said

      As another example, the Baltimore Sun mentions a comment he made about him waking up with car keys in his hand without him recalling — or writing emails he doesn’t remember writing. He is describing how drink vodka nonstop and take his antidepressants! Is the suggestion that maybe he did the anthrax mailings on a drunken binge?!

  9. DXer said

    Has anyone at the US DOJ or FBI put their name to this report? I believe I’ve read all the materials produced — as distinguished from the summary. Have they somewhere produced the September -October 2001 emails — the most pertinent evidence? No. The FBI actively interfered with the USAMRIID FOIA production and then in its 3,000 pages has produced garbage — which only undermines an Ivins Theory, such as focus on the missing 100 ml or the dilution of what was in the flask.

    But putting aside the merits while people have a chance to process the material, why is this violation of FOIA tolerated? The FBI needs to produce the September 2001- October 2001 emails.

    The errors in media coverage continue. Like this horse hockey about how he didn’t work long hours before or after. All one needs to do is check his hours in November 2001 and December 2001 to see that is nonsense. To know why he worked the long hours in August 2001, you need only refer to his those emails.

    I think whoever is responsible for the violation of FOIA — the withholding of Ivins’ emails from September-October 2001 until after closing of the case — should be called to task by a United States Senator and asked to identify who is responsible for the withholding. Why wasn’t the contemporaneous evidence of how he spent his time in September and October 2001 timely produced?

    No one has put their name to this report and so let’s at least have some accountability with respect to the FBI’s interference with USAMRIID’s failure to provide his emails — to include all his emails up to his death.

    I think everyone responsible for this report should resign.

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