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

* from DXer … what the FBI’s expert says about the DOJ theory of code in the anthrax letters

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 *



12 Responses to “* from DXer … what the FBI’s expert says about the DOJ theory of code in the anthrax letters”

  1. richard rowley said

    And one more point to be made: we should try to judge the evidence as though it were to be presented in a criminal trial (the trial that Ivins’ death precludes).
    This particular skein of evidence (the ‘code’) would have been ripped to pieces by defense expert witnesses in cryptography and cryptoanalysis. Because it’s bogus and fraudulent.

  2. richard rowley said

    Another way of saying this is: any ‘Pat’ who had been the object of Ivins’ unwanted attentions, would have been TOTALLY clueless that there was any message to/about her in the Brokaw/NY Post text. From Sept 2001 to Feb of 2010.

    Therefore there would have been no message conveyed.
    And even a guilty Ivins would have known this, and thus would have had no incentive to encode such a message.

    But in this, as in several aspects of the case, the government’s fallback position is:
    What do you want? The guy was nuts! (Therefore what the gov’t is alleging doesn’t have to make much sense)

    And the end result is; the gov’t doesn’t feel that ITS case has to make a bit of sense……..

    • DXer said

      The Pat with whom he was communicating by personal emails was his former close colleague and Ames researcher, Patricia Fellows, who was thanked by the former Zawahiri associate for technical assistance.

      She came to head the BL-3 lab at Southern Research Institute in Frederick.

  3. richard rowley said

    But even if one accepts on faith (and that’s the only way that it could be accepted) both the surface text to the encode message and the deep text, the thing makes no psychological sense.

    An encoder, whether he be an individual or an organization, typically encodes a message to convey it securely to a second party. Yet, there isn’t much chance that any object of Ivins’ attention/obsession would be looking for a hidden code in the text of an anthrax message. Why would she?

    And if for some strange reason she were, she would likely see more letters heavily redone than just A’s and T’s (I first spotted redone O’s and one H in 2006 (ie two full years before Ivins’ suicide). And if she DID see exactly what the government saw, she wouldn’t break it out the way the gov’t has….

    • DXer said

      Yes, and in support of the same point, the suggestion that he would be sending a message using “Greendale School” is really stupid. As you say, to whom was he sending the message?

      Kenneth Kohl should be asked whether he personally thinks that his theory passes the all-important giggle test.

      It reminds me of the Coca-Cola lawyers who recently argued defending a suit by the Center for Science in Public Interest that no consumer would reasonably believe that VitaminWater was a healthy beverage.

  4. richard rowley said

    But we have more than that: the ‘deep text’ that the government claims is there (based exclusively on the A’s and T’s it claims are all there are in the surface text): the result, PAT, could just as well refer to addresse, Senator Pat Leahy. Or to a few million men and women in the English speaking world with that name/nickname. Does point specifically to Ivins AT ALL.

  5. richard rowley said

    I’m glad someone brought up the ‘code’ again. I would like to invite ANY interested party to look at the UCLA epidemiology dept. site here
    Scroll down to bottom and under NEW YORK LETTERS
    Go to the VERY ENLARGE New York Post text.

    There it will be OBVIOUS to those with an open mind and adequate eyesight that more than letter T’s and A’s are
    done extra heavy/retouched.

    So at even the surface letter the code flunks.

  6. DXer said

    There is no evidence that Dr. Ivins had any special interest in codes (any more than most anyone who likes humor, riddles, puzzles etc.).

    For those of us who do especially like codes, however, in just a few minutes, Episode #2 will be uploaded here in a real-world $10,000 treasure hunt consisting of 8 entertaining and coded videos i –involving pirate puppets. The treasure hunt seems very well done — the puppeteers are highly talented.

    See you in New York on a sunny afternoon!

  7. DXer said

    South China Morning Post

    March 4, 2010 Thursday

    Brought to book

    BYLINE: Alex Lo

    SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 13

    LENGTH: 707 words

    Are we what we read? Many people apparently make this assumption – especially criminal investigators. I was led to this observation after reading news accounts of the FBI’s file on Bruce Ivins, a US army bio-defence expert who killed himself in 2008 and who the agency now believes was the perpetrator behind a series of anthrax-tainted letters mailed in the US that killed five people and caused widespread fear shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

    The FBI has built a massive case of circumstantial evidence against him but has no smoking gun. Equally interesting is that its agents tried to create a psychological profile of Ivins, who began as a scientific adviser and became the prime suspect. The FBI apparently found it highly significant that he was once observed throwing away a copy of Douglas Hofstadter’s cult classic Godel, Escher, Bach in the dead of night! A good deal of that philosophy and computer science book has to do with coding; the FBI theory is that Ivins embedded in the notes, mailed with the anthrax, a complex coded message based on DNA biochemistry, as an allusion to two women colleagues he was obsessed with.

    Poetry is a kind of coding, too, so on the FBI theory, the letters containing anthrax spores were sent as deadly love poems written in the language of science. I make no judgment on whether the FBI has fingered the right guy. But this love-science-murder theory sounds like a plot from the postmodern novels of Paul Auster and Umberto Eco. But should it qualify as a piece of the puzzle to help identify a (dead) killer? It’s hard to say.

    Hofstadter, a tad defensive after being hounded by the US media, called any connection the FBI drew between the case and his book “a red herring” and denied it could have had any influence in the crimes. It probably does take a kind of twisted mind to be interested in those endlessly recurrent optical illusions of M.C. Escher and the recursive logical reasoning of mathematician Kurt Godel. But it may be too fanciful to think Godel’s incompleteness theorems could inspire anyone to murder. Since the anthrax murders required highly technical knowledge, reading Hofstadter’s book with its endless musings on coding might fit Ivins into the killer’s profile. The danger is that you fit the evidence to the theory and ignore data that doesn’t fit, instead of building a theory to fit the evidence. Psychologists call it confirmation bias.

    The same logic that made the FBI think the anthrax killer could have been motivated by Hofstadter has also led to an oft-repeated observation by police, tabloids and some feminists that most serial killers and rapists are influenced by violent pornography. Lam Kor-wan, Hong Kong’s worst serial killer, was an avid porn collector and often redid porn magazine shots to improve on the angles. Did porn make Lam a killer? Many men own violent porn and most are not criminals, just harmless perverts. Correlation is not causality, but it is often mistaken for an explanation.

    The dark night of the soul is so unfathomable that it is naive to think porn, or any undesirable literature, alone could cause it. We are always more and less than the books we read or pictures we look at. Yet, “we are what we read” – or what we read as a clue to our personality – is a common belief. Young people often try to define themselves by the books they read or authors they look up to. Often, even many adults think there are books they ought to read but actually have zero interest in them. People shouldn’t feel guilty if they don’t care for reading.

    For serious readers and collectors of books, there is, indeed, a relationship between personhood and reading. It is best summed up by Eco and Nassim Tableb, the essayist and financial guru. The point of owning books is, they say, not to boost one’s ego but to develop an expanding research tool over a lifetime. The more books you read and buy means that the more you know, the more you don’t know. As Tableb writes: “The growing number of unread books on the shelves will look at you menacingly.” Your library grows as the knowledge of your own ignorance expands. Readers are defined by what they don’t know and haven’t read.

    Alex Lo is a senior writer at the Post

  8. DXer said

    Not at all, Ike.

    The true code is established by the documentary evidence, not a lawyer’s or webposter’s conjecture unsupported by the documentary evidence.

  9. Notice how some letters tower over others. One choice is TTPNDA(D)IA.

    Then add letters you need to make your message by justification. You can also justify removals. We want Panda so we add the A in misspelled Penacilin. We know that was intended. We now have


    The panda comes from China. It symbolizes China.

    Taoist Triad Chinese Defense Intelligence Agency

    Just like they cyber attack the Pentagon. D can also stand for dragon which also can symbolize China.

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