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

* from DXer … email from Ayman al-Zawahiri to Muhammed Atef … April 15, 1999

Posted by DXer on March 8, 2010


The New York Times says the FBI’s anthrax case has “too many loose ends.” Find out where some of those looses ends might have originated in my novel CASE CLOSED. Sure it’s fiction, but many readers, including a highly respected member of the U.S. Intelligence Community, think my premise is actually “quite plausible.”

* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon *


13 Responses to “* from DXer … email from Ayman al-Zawahiri to Muhammed Atef … April 15, 1999”

  1. DXer said

    In Vahid Majidi’s new book on the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings, I find the start of his discussion of Al Qaeda and anthrax in 1998 odd. I don’t see any discussion of the Spring 1999 emails between Zawahiri and Atef which provide a very reliable anchor to the status of Ayman’s recruitment efforts. It was in the Spring 1999 that Rauf Ahmad first started helping. Discussion of 1998 in Afghanistan is irrelevant in comparison — what was notable was that EIJ shura leaders were spilling beans to Egyptian security, which hopefully shared with the CIA as to Dr. Ayman’s intentions.

    See how it works? Expressed intention to develop anthrax for use as a weapon is highly relevant. Stealing a sorority book a quarter century ago likely irrelevant.

    • DXer said

      Then Dr. Majidi jumps right over Rauf Ahmad’s role to the 911 discussion of Yazid Sufaat even though I’ve uploaded the correspondence between Rauf Ahmad and Dr. Ayman Zawahiri (declassified and provided by DIA under FOIA). You learn less from this book on this issue than is in the public domain from the authoritative contemporaneous communication to and from Dr. Zawahiri. Of course, at the same time Vahid omits all discussion of Rauf Ahmad he is withholding from the public and the NAS the signed statement voluntarily provided FBI Agent Borelli over tea and cookies. Rauf Ahmad is a chatty fellow — I just found it hard to deal with him because he was always asking for money (which is why Dr. Zawahiri didn’t trust him).

  2. DXer said

    Toppling Egyptian President Mubarak: Careful What You Wish For

    Mubarak became president only after the assassination of his predecessor, Anwar El Sadat (Sadat was hated for making peace with Israel). Osama bin Laden’s lieutenant, Ayman al-Zawahiri, had worked to overthrow Sadat, and was arrested following the assassination.

    Zawahiri’s ideological godfather was another Egyptian, Sayyid Qutb, who in many ways shaped the ideas that led to 9/11. Qutb and the Muslim Brotherhood supported the unsuccessful coup attempt against Sadat’s secular predecessor, Gamal Abdel Nasser.

    The point here is that radical Islamist ideology began in Egypt, and this has informed Mubarak’s policies. As Zawahiri wrote in his memoir (according to Lawrence Wright’s “The Looming Tower”): “The River Nile runs in its narrow valley between two deserts that have no vegetation or water. Such a terrain made guerrilla warfare in Egypt impossible.” Egypt has resisted Sharia law — so far — primarily because the terrain allows secular leaders like Mubarak to fend off Islamist insurgents — unlike in Afghanistan or Pakistan. But make no mistake, Egypt was always the most desired goal for conquest.

  3. DXer said

    This is an excerpt from an upcoming research report written by Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, examining the debate within Muslim societies on the use of weapons of mass destruction. Mowatt-Larssen’s article published on Nov. 12, 2010, on Foreign, warning of a heightened risk of another Al Qaeda attack, is based on this section of the research report. Mowatt-Larssen, a former senior CIA officer, is a senior fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School.

    “It is no coincidence that 1998 was the year that Osama bin Laden openly declared war on the U.S., publicly stated that it was his Islamic duty to acquire WMD, and secretly launched the operational plan for the 9/11 attack. Bin Laden privately expressed frustration that two brazen assaults against U.S. government interests abroad had failed to provoke the U.S. into invading Afghanistan. 5 He formalized an agreement within Al Qaeda to attack the “far enemy,” the U.S., before the “near enemy,” the Muslim states. The Al Qaeda high command secretly initiated the operational planning that would culminate in the 9/11 attack. They began chemical, biological, and nuclear programs under the direct supervision of Zawahiri and senior Al Qaeda members. At around this time, Zawahiri also began piecing together two separate Pakistani and Malaysianbased
    networks to develop an anthrax weapon for use in the United States.


    Not long after 9/11, the Al Qaeda core began taking steps to substantiate the use of WMD on religious grounds. In mid summer 2002, the group had begun making probes to quietly obtain a fatwa from clerics in Saudi Arabia to support what appeared to be a significant shift in tactics, based on intelligence that was available at the time. Al Qaeda seniors in Saudi Arabia approached unnamed clerics who had endorsed the 9/11 attack, but were apparently rebuffed. At the time, there was a question as to whether senior clerics in the desert Kingdom were willing to accept the obvious implications of raising the stakes to such a scale.9

    In late fall 2002, a terrorist cell associated with Al Qaeda completed planning for a chemical attack on the New York City subway, utilizing a cyanide gas dispersal device called the “mobtaker.” Operatives sought permission from the Al Qaeda core to carry out the attack.

    Ayman Zawahiri, who was unaware of the plan in its earlier planning stages, called off the attack because he had “something better” in mind.10


    The evidence for those intentions aren’t hidden in encoded communications or classified intelligence. Quite the opposite: They’re hidden in plain sight. Just as Osama bin Laden issued a fatwa to declare war on the United States in 1998, his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, issued a fatwa a decade later to herald a prospective next stage in the conflict. If we take him at his word, some day jihadists will use weapons of mass destruction to change history once and for all.

    Of course, al Qaeda leaders have spoken of acquiring weapons of mass destruction for well over a decade. They have had little observable success in achieving their goals of producing a nuclear bomb or biological weapon capable of producing mass casualties. Fortunately, it is extremely difficult, but not impossible, for a terrorist group to acquire a strategic weapon of mass destruction (WMD). Nonetheless, the al Qaeda core has kept at it over the years, in the hopes that time and opportunity will enable it to overcome the daunting challenges in this regard.

    What has changed recently is that the goal is no longer theoretical, but operational — a change spurred by Zawahiri’s intervention. Rather than follow bin Laden in issuing a religious edict, Zawahiri chose to release a book in 2008 titled Exoneration. In it, he resurrects a fatwa issued by senior Saudi cleric Nasir al-Fahd in May 2003 — notoriously, the only such treatise that ever endorsed the use of WMD. Zawahiri adopts Fahd’s ideas wholesale.


    Zawahiri raises key Quranic themes to sweep away all potential objections to the use of WMD. He offers answers to questions about the legality of killing women, children, and the elderly; the justice of environmental destruction; the morality of harming noncombatants; the tactical prudence of attacking at night; and analyses of deterrence. Zawahiri adopts Fahd’s examples verbatim: The Prophet Mohammed’s attack on the village of al-Taif using a catapult, for instance, permits the use of weapons of “general destruction” incapable of distinguishing between innocent civilians and combatants.

    The take-away from Zawahiri’s book is that the use of weapons of mass destruction should be judged on intent rather than on results; if the intent to use WMD is judged to be consistent with the Quran, then the results are justifiable, even if they clearly violate specific prohibitions under Islam. The same reasoning is applied in a detailed explanation of such matters as loyalty to the state, contracts, obligations, and treaties; the permissibility of espionage; and deception and trickery. For example, on the topic of Muslims killed in combat unintentionally in the fight against infidels: “When Muslims fight nonbelievers, any Muslim who is killed is a martyr.”

    Aside from its general endorsement of WMDs, we should pay special attention to two operational messages embedded in Zawahiri’s book.

    Zawahiri further explains that he considers the United States to be a “single juridical entity” under Islam. It’s a verdict with chilling implications: Zawahiri means to say that all Americans are valid targets, regardless of whether they are men, women, or children. This is not a mere aside; it is a careful choice of words that reflects a seriousness of purpose.

    Indeed, he is at pains to prove his judiciousness. He cites a variety of viewpoints from the Quran and hadiths (sayings of the Prophet Mohammed), some of which support his judgments, others which do not. At times, he dramatically prefaces his conclusion with the words “I say …” to draw attention to the fact that his judgments digress from the views held by some Islamic scholars; it is also a way for Zawahiri — a medical doctor, not a religious scholar by training — to assume authority for himself as an arbiter of Islamic law.

    It is notable that Zawahiri repeatedly uses the phrase “artillery bombardment” in the context of discussing the wide-scale destruction of a WMD attack. For al Qaeda, it seems, modern weapons of mass destruction are simply a form of weapon that cannot distinguish between civilians and combatants. Nuclear weapons, Zawahiri wants to argue, are no more morally significant than the catapult often cited in the Quran and hadiths.


    Needless to say, Zawahiri’s approach goes against all Western theories of just war. Zawahiri’s dismissal of moral qualms in jihad echoes the words of his mentor, Islamist philosopher Sayyid Qutb: “The Islamic jihad has no relationship to modern warfare, either in its causes or in the way it is conducted.”

    Zawahiri is a man of action, not contemplation, and his tone leaves little question that he believes the West has not yet been exonerated for its crimes. And like bin Laden in 1998, Zawahiri is not only a cleric but an operational planner — we can be assured that he is planning al Qaeda’s redemption by means of the terrible weapons he champions. Exoneration is a warning that the rules of engagement may be about to change. We would be foolish not to heed it.

    Zawahiri may well recall the fate Shogo Asahara, who failed to fulfill his prophecy to bring down the Japanese government by impetuously launching a hastily planned sarin gas (chemical) attack on the Tokyo subway.36 Al Qaeda is not likely to make the same mistake. Pakistani
    journalist Hamid Mir hinted as much when he noted that whatever one thinks of Al Qaeda, they always do what they say they are going to do.37 Mir, who has interviewed Osama bin Laden and Zawahiri, added that the Al Qaeda leader’s favorite Quranic verse is “I will be patient until
    patience is outworn by patience.”38

    Making good on this wistful vision of the future is the exoneration that Zawahiri seeks. By noting that their capabilities and power is increasing, he hints at the notion of future strikes. Osama bin Laden issued a fatwa to declare war on the United States in 1998. Ayman Zawahiri
    issued a fatwa a decade later to announce the impending transition to the next stage of conflict. The 9/11 attack transformed Osama bin Laden into a figure of mythical proportions. After lifelong humiliation, disappointment, and questions concerning his effectiveness as a leader and
    operational planner, Zawahiri is desperately seeking an opportunity to become the architect of his movement’s future, and the master of his own destiny.


    Rolf Mowatt-Larssen is a senior fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University. He served over three decades in the U.S. Army, CIA, and Energy Department.

  4. DXer said

    “Watched a show on the “History Channel” last Friday night. “Airborne Attack” … a show about “Weaponized Anthrax“. Scared the hell out of me. I did not realize how dangerous and how easy it is to weaponize anthrax. Weaponized anthrax consists of anthrax spores that are processed, (VERY dangerous to do except in an extremely controlled clinical environment – ask the Russians about what happens when you get sloppy, the exact number of deaths have still not been made public!), to a uniform size, small enough, to be dispensed in aerosol form, so they can be ingested into the lungs. “Like many other members of the genus Bacillus, Bacillus anthracis can form dormant spores that are able to survive in harsh conditions for extremely long periods of time�even decades or centuries. Such spores can be found on all continents, even Antarctica. When spores are inhaled, ingested, or come into contact with a skin lesion on a host they may reactivate and multiply rapidly. “ This was the form that was used in 2001, here in our America: “The 2001 anthrax attacks in the United States, also known as Amerithrax from its Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) case name, occurred over the course of several weeks beginning on September 18, 2001, only a few days after the September 11 attacks. Letters containing anthrax spores were mailed to several news media offices and two Democratic U.S. Senators, killing five people and infecting 17 others. (A 2004 study however, has shown that the total number of harmed people should be raised to 68.) The primary suspect was not publicly identified until 2008.” Point being, there is this hysteria about Iran and North Korea becoming and being “nuclear weapon” nations. Nuclear weapons are difficult to deliver, (perhaps the reason Iran and North Korea have such robust missile development programs.) Weaponized anthrax on the other hand is not. Weaponized Anthrax on the other hand, is relatively easy and inexpensive to produce: the “poor man bomb”! I can easily see some pilgrim screaming “Allah Akbar“, as he released anthrax spores into the wind, from the roof or open window of some high rise in one of our major cities. And as is want to happen, there is good news and bad news. The good news? Anthrax is 99% treatable using penicillin, doxycycline, and ciprofloxacin, as a prophylaxis. The bad news? The antibiotics, if administered upon a person displaying the first symptoms, (within 2 – 4 days of exposure), there is probably a survival rate of 59%, (based upon our experience in 2001). After that, all bets are off.”

  5. DXer said

    The founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Kamal Habib, was supervised by Ali Al-Timimi when he wrote for the Assirat.

    Kamal Habib led one of several cells that in the late 1970s were merged to former the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. They were known as the “shaven beards” because they shaved their beards to avoid detection. Dr. Habib has been the key writer (along with Gamal Sultan) for the charity Islamic Assembly of North America (IANA), an Ann Arbor charity promoting two Bin Laden sheiks that were subject of the 1996 Declaration of War. Ali Al-Timimi was IANA’s most celebrated speaker and would speak alongside the 911 imam and blind sheik’s son, who was on Al Qaeda’s WMD Committee.

    Dr. Al-Timimi shared a suite with the leading anthrax scientist and deputy USAMRIID Commander, a prolific Ames researcher.

    As I recall, Dr. Habib graduated at the top of his class and majored in political science at Cairo University.

    In this clearly written essay, he reviews the doctrinal work done by Zawahiri’s former mentor Al-Sharif. Dr. Al-Sharif, a graduate of Cairo Medical, has been sharply critical of Al Qaeda.

    another wave of Jihadist adjustment: another wave of Jihadist adjustment internal debates of the movement

    Click to access 216.pdf

  6. DXer said Date: 4/26/2010 5:16:35 PM


    Terrorist Offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood
    Murdered Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981
    Merged with other terrorist groups to form the International Front for Jihad against Jews and Crusaders, led by Ayman al-Zawahiri

    Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ), or al Jihad, was founded in the late 1970s by several Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Islamic groups that emerged in Egypt simultaneous to the jihad in Afghanistan. Their intent was to overthrow the Egyptian government and replace it with an Islamic state. In the organization’s earliest days, Omar Abdel Rahman (of the Islamic Group) and Ayman al-Zawahiri were leaders of competing branches within EIJ. In the mid-1980s, al-Zawahiri, a close associate of Osama bin Laden, established himself as the group’s top authority. Omar Abdel Rahman remained a key figure as well; he is today considered EIJ’s spiritual leader.

    Shortly after al-Zawahiri took the reins of EIJ, the organization expanded into an international entity. A number of Egyptian terrorists came to the U.S. and created sleeper cells with ties to EIJ and the still-young al Qaeda. One EIJ member, Ali Mohammed, joined the U.S. Special Forces, where he served as a sergeant. Another, Mahmud Abouhalima, moved to New York City and joined the National Rifle Association. El Sayyid Nosair, an Egyptian militant affiliated with the cell, murdered the right-wing rabbi Meir Kahane in New York in 1990.

    While EIJ is well established in the Cairo area, its membership, which consists of Sunni fundamentalists, is now located mostly outside of Egypt. The organization is particularly active in Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, the Palestinian territories, Lebanon, and the United Kingdom.
    Specializing in armed attacks against high-level Egyptian government personnel, EIJ is responsible for the assassinations of numerous Egyptian officials, including President Anwar Sadat in 1981. The group has also made several attempts — among which was at least one joint effort with al Qaeda — to assassinate current Egyptian President Hosni Mubarek. In 1995 EIJ bombed the Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan. Over the course of the 1990s, the organization was responsible for the deaths of nearly 1,300 people.

    In 1998, members of EIJ merged with members of other terrorist organizations, including al Qaeda, to form the International Front for Jihad against Jews and Crusaders — to be led by Ayman al-Zawahiri. EIJ’s other leader, Mohammed Atef (who, like al-Zawahiri, was linked to bin Laden), was killed in a bombing raid near Kabul in November of 2001.

    According to a November 21, 2001 article in The New York Times, Egyptian Islamic Jihad members made up the core of the al Qaeda organization by the time the 9/11 attacks were carried out. The relationship between the two groups began in the early 1990s, forged by numerous veterans of the war in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union. As al Qaeda expanded, EIJ helped it recruit new members who were gifted in such areas as marksmanship, military planning, and forgery. EIJ, Islamic Group, and al Qaeda operatives all joined forces to carry out the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. In 1995 Ayman al-Zawahiri made a fundraising visit to California, where he stayed with Osama bin Laden’s chief of security, Ali Mohammed. According to experts quoted in the aforementioned Times article, the way in which the 9/11 attacks were carried out mirrored most EIJ operations, in that it was a suicide mission against a symbolic target — and the main goal was to kill as many people as possible. By the end of 2001, close to 200 of Osama bin Laden’s top operatives were members of Egyptian Islamic Jihad. EIJ is today considered a regional adjunct of al Qaeda, essentially a branch office in Egypt.

    EIJ is also believed to have been involved in the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, attacks which led to the historic U.S. v. bin Laden criminal case that first brought bin Laden’s name into the headlines.

    According to the Egyptian government, EIJ receives financial support from both Iran and Osama bin Laden. It is also believed to receive some funding through various Islamic nongovernmental organizations, cover businesses, and criminal enterprises.

    Among the most infamous members of EIJ was the 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta, who flew an airliner into the World Trade Center that day.

  7. DXer said

    A calendar for September and October 2001 lists the guinea pig and mouse checks each evening.

  8. DXer said

    Ivins had group therapy sessions scheduled on both September 17, 2001 and October 8, 2001, the dates he supposedly was mailing the anthrax letters.

    Source: October 12, 2007 Washington Field Memo

  9. DXer said

    9/25/2007 302 interview statement

    _________ AND __________ advised that back in 2001 their American Red Cross chapter held its monthly Emergency Services meetings on the third Monday of each month.


    the meetings generally began at approximately 6:30 pm and lasted approximately one and a half to two hours in length. As in prior interviews ________ and reiterated that IVINS typically attended these monthly meetings….

    NOTE: The third Monday in September 2001 fell on September 17th, the night Dr. Ivins would have had to have been on the road mailing the anthrax laden letters. He reported to work the next morning at 7 a.m.

  10. DXer said

    1/25/2007 302 interview

    “IVINS liked to take showers in the suites on days that he was not working. He did this to get away from his home or use the internet etc. ____________ acknowledged IVINS was quirky with unusual social skills and depression, but didn’t believe he did it [anthrax mailing]. IVINS thought of his office and the hot suite as a safe place.”

  11. DXer said

    1/30/2007 302 interview statement

    Ba spores used by the Aerobiology group were always provided by BRUCE IVINS, who was known as the “star spore grower.” The spores would be brought to building 1412 just before challenges and were not stored in building 1412. If a challenge was going to span a few days then the spores were brought to building 1412 before the challenge and stored in the Aerobiology laboratory until needed. If material intended for a challenge went missing it would not be noticed. There were only a few shaker/incubators in building 1412, so if someone were growing large quantities of Ba it would stand out. _____ knew that some Ba Ames was stored in building 1412.

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