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

* Anonymous Scientist summarizes the FBI’s case against Dr. Bruce Ivins … if it wasn’t so serious, it would be laughable

Posted by DXer on March 10, 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 *



see related post …

* Questions arising from a reading of the Summary of the FBI Investigation of Dr. Bruce E. Ivins


Anonymous Scientist offers this summary …

It has been two weeks since the FBI announced the official closing of Amerithrax, its 8+ year investigation  into the 2001 Anthrax Atttacks – eighteen months after the “suicide” of their prime suspect.

  • Even the FBI’s head office wasn’t particularly proud of its anthrax detectives. It released the report suddenly with no fanfare, no press opportunities in the deadest of news dead zones–Friday afternoon at 4, the same day as Tiger Wood’s mea culpa. It was no contest.
  • The media spent one breathless day on it and then it was over, we had closure. The biggest FBI investigation in history ended with a whimper and it wasn’t even on the mop-up segments of cable news debating parlors. The only real traction the story  got was in the low precincts where Ivins’ off-hour  interests in bondage, blind-folded women and sororities titillated.

While mainstream reaction was muted, a hearty band of skeptics came out swinging: They say the case against Dr. Ivins, which never has to be proven in court, screams reasonable doubt.

  • There is no incriminating physical evidence.
  • Ivins had even passed his polygraph.
  • Narrative inconsistencies.
  • Hearsay quotes.
  • Scientific implausibility.
  • Selective prosecution based on circumstantial evidence requiring an X-Files like leap of faith into  Mulder and Scully-land.

Paul Kemp,  Ivins’  former lawyer, thundered:”There’s absolutely no evidence he did anything…”

Rep. Rush D. Holt, a Democrat from central New Jersey, grumbled: “This has been a closed-minded, closed process from the beginning. Arbitrarily closing the case on a Friday afternoon should not mean the end of this investigation… The evidence the FBI produced would not, I think, stand up in court. But because their prime suspect is dead, and they’re not going to court; they seem satisfied with barely a circumstantial case. The National Academies of Science review of the FBI’s scientific methods in this case won’t be released until summer, but the FBI doesn’t seem to care.”

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D–NY) echoed Holt’s skepticism and called for a probe of the FBI’s casework.

Sen. Leahy

But the cagey Sen. Patrick Leahy, one of the targets of the attacks and a critic of the FBI’s performance, held his fire. The Senator who’s told FBI Director Mueller directly that there was conspiracy and cover-up at the core of the anthrax murders  had no comment and refused interviews on the topic. What’s up with that?

The best detailed blog-response came from Dr. Merryl Nass, named in the report as an activist critic who drove  Ivins nuts while he was working on a controversial anthrax vaccine for the Army with the private company BioPort.

Forensically, the FBI was taken to task for sidestepping the crucial issue of ‘weaponization” of the attack powder, ignoring Army data and the FBI’s own admission of high levels of the additive silicon—a story we broke on this blog last July.

This failure to grapple with the hard science was picked up by Richard Bernstein in the New York Times and International Herald Tribune which followed veteran investigative reporter and author Edward Jay Epstein’s much discussed piece in the Wall Street Journal a few weeks prior to the closing of the case.

Bottom line, the FBI report did nothing to mollify leading mainstream opinion recently outlined by Salon’s Glenn Greenwald:

“The case against Ivins is so riddled with logical and evidentiary holes that it has generated extreme doubts not merely from typical government skeptics but from the most mainstream establishment-revering, and ideologically disparate sources. ”


44 Responses to “* Anonymous Scientist summarizes the FBI’s case against Dr. Bruce Ivins … if it wasn’t so serious, it would be laughable”

  1. DXer said

    By way of background, the investigators used the “kiss my ass” issue to explain the reason NBC was targeted.

    Dean Boyd claims that Dr. Ivins told investigators that at the time he thought Gary Matsumoto worked for NBC.

    Where is the factual support for this factual claim by the Department of Justice spokesman on this issue?

    He is entitled to his own opinion — but not to his own facts.

  2. DXer said

    The following information is taken from the affidavit filed by postal inspector Thomas F Dellafera here:

    Click to access 07-527-M-01%20search%20warrant%20affidavit.pdf

    From the Dellafera affidavit:

    “In the weeks immediately prior to the attacks, Ivins became aware that an investigative journalist who worked for NBC news had submitted a freedom of information act (FOIA) requests on USAMRIID seeking detailed information from Dr. Ivins Laboratory notebooks as they relate to the AVA vaccine and the use of adjuvants. On August 28, 2001 Ivins appeared angry about the request providing the following resonse in an email” “Tell Matsumoto to kiss my ass. We’ve got better things to do than shine his shoes and pee on command. He’s gotten everything from me he will get.”

    Gary Matsumoto is quoted in Newsweek:

    “Information Act requests from Gary Matsumoto, identified as “an investigative journalist who worked for NBC News” who was looking into Ivins’s work on an anthrax vaccine. “Tell Matsumoto to kiss my ass,” the affidavit says Ivins wrote in an Aug. 28, 2001, e-mail, noting that was “weeks” before the Sept. 18, 2001, anthrax mailing addressed to Brokaw. But Matsumoto told NEWSWEEK the FBI never interviewed him as part of its investigation. If it had, he says, he could have told them he’d actually left NBC News five years earlier. At the time he was bombarding Ivins’s lab with FOIA requests, he was employed by ABC. “They’re trying to connect dots that don’t connect,” he said.”

    Where did the DOJ provide a copy of the email correspondence relating to the Gary Matsumoto FOIA request? Why wasn’t it provided along with the other work emails from late August 2001?

    Where did Ivins tell investigators that he was under the impression from NBC? I don’t recall the statement found in Dr. Ivins’ interviews of any of the numerous interview statements. Did I miss it?

    Can someone point me to where he Dr. Ivins indicated to the investigators Gary worked at the time of the FOIA requests for NBC?

    And can someone provide a copy of the emails on the issue that appear to have been withheld or the interview statement he told them that?

    I don’t see it in the Ivins interviews conducted on:

    5/7/2004 etc.

  3. DXer said

    On August 4, 2004, BRUCE IVINS callled up Special Agent and provided him with a scientific article abstract about Bacillus spore suspensions in which the addition of silica to the spore coat was discussed. IVINS offered to send the article abstract via facsimile to SSA ___ and subsequently sent the abstract to the FBI offsite in Frederick, Maryland. The covered sheet and article abstract are maintained in the 1A section of the file.

    Why wasn’t a copy of this article (a transmittal by Ivins to the FBI provided)? It goes to a key piece of evidence (the Silicon Signature). What was the article?

    • DXer said

      For an example of work relating to use of hydrophobic silica in 2004 by DARPA-funded anthrax researchers using the Ames strain of anthrax, see

      Biodefense Researchers Invent Process to Help Create Biofriendly Products

      April 13, 2004

      By Patty Snellings

      A U.S. patent was recently granted to George Mason University for a unique cell replication process created by Charles Bailey and Ken Alibek, National Center for Biodefense (NCBD) executive directors. Although the invention doesn’t directly apply to biodefense research, the inventors say it holds promise for a variety of commercial applications.

      Bailey, NCBD executive director for research, explains that the newly patented process–called the micro-droplet cell culture technique–is a hybrid of two methods currently in use for large-scale replication, or cultivation, of cells for use in scientific experimentation and research, as well as in the production of industrial products. More efficient methods of replication improve supply, lower costs, and increase profits.

      “Liquid fermentation and surface cultivation both have advantages and limitations,” Bailey says, referring to the two methods used most frequently. “The micro-droplet technique combines cell cultures (micro-droplets) in a liquid media with hydrophobic silica (a sandlike substance), which coats the micro-droplets. The coating allows the micro-droplets to maintain a consistent shape that offers more surface area for replication.” Adequate aeration, another step in the replication process, is achieved through spaces between the silica-encapsulated droplets.

      The major advantages of the micro-droplet technique over liquid fermentation and surface cultivation include the portability of the process, minimal power supply needs, and lack of requirement for a complex infrastructure for the process, Bailey explains.

      Now that the patent has been assigned to the university, Bailey and Alibek, NCBD executive director for education, are exploring the multitude of potential uses of their unique process. Tests are under way to grow mycorrhizal fungi, an organic fertilizer that is environmentally friendly and cheaper to produce than products currently on the market.

      Because the byproduct of the micro-droplet technique is silica, the process doesn’t harm the environment and lends itself to commercial applications such as biomanufacturing, precious and nonprecious metals extraction, bioremediation, and enhanced petroleum products recovery. “Once we establish the efficacy of the micro-droplet technique in producing a product, we can license the technology to a company that is interested in commercial application,” Bailey says.

      Jennifer Murphy, director of the university’s Office of Technology Transfer, agrees that the patent has tremendous commercial potential and says it is already generating interest in applicable markets.

      See also floor plan showing scientist mentored by Bin Laden’s sheik and coordinating 911 imam was in suite with inventors of patent relating to using silica in the culture medium.

    • DXer said

      What is silica treatment of mice in this mouse study involving virulent Ames reported in 2004?

      The use of a model of in vivo macrophage depletion to study the role of macrophages during infection with Bacillus anthracis spores
      Christopher K. Cotea, Kelly M. Reaa, Sarah L. Norrisb, Nico van Rooijenc and Susan L. Welkosa, ,

      aUnited States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Bacteriology Division, 1425 Porter Street, Fort Detrick, Frederick, MD 21702, USA

      bScience Applications International Corporation/Office of Research Plans and Programs, USAMRIID, Fort Detrick, Frederick, Maryland, USA

      cDepartment of Cell Biology and Immunology, Free University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

      Received 10 March 2004; revised 16 June 2004; accepted 24 June 2004. Available online 15 September 2004.

      The pathogenesis of infection by Bacillus anthracis has been the subject of many investigations, but remains incompletely understood. It has been shown that B. anthracis spores germinate in macrophages and perhaps require this intracellular niche to germinate in vivo before outgrowth of the vegetative organism. However, it has also been reported that macrophages are sporocidal in vitro. In our in vivo model, macrophages were depleted from mice by either silica treatment or treatment with liposome-encapsulated dichloromethylene disphosphonate (Cl2MDP), and the animals were infected parenterally with virulent ungerminated B. anthracis (Ames strain) spores. The mice in which macrophages had been depleted were killed more rapidly than untreated mice. In addition, augmenting peritoneal populations of macrophages with cultured RAW264.7 cells partially protected mice from disease, increasing the survival rate in a dose dependent relationship. Alveolar macrophages were depleted by intranasal instillation of liposome-encapsulated Cl2MDP. The animals with normal alveolar macrophage numbers had significantly greater survival rates after inhaling B. anthracis spores than the macrophage-depleted mice. These findings do not preclude the observations that macrophages provide a site permissive for spore germination, however, these data suggest that macrophages do play an important role in limiting and/or clearing a B. anthracis infection.
      2. Results
      2.1. The effect of silica treatment on the progression of anthrax
      Initial experiments were performed to deplete macrophages in vivo by administering silica (50 mg/day) intraperitoneally (i.p.) to C3H/HeN mice. When challenged i.p. with 1000 B. anthracis Ames strain spores, silica-treated mice had a higher mortality rate than those mice receiving only saline (Fig. 1). While not statistically significant (due to small number of animals used in pilot study), these data suggested that the overall survival rates of an anthrax infection could possibly be affected by altering macrophage populations. However, we had observed previously that while the mice did not die as a result of the silica treatment alone, the silica-treated mice were generally not as healthy as those receiving saline. The silica-treated mice were generally more stressed in appearance (ruffled fur) and produced loose and sometimes bloody stools. In addition, the peritoneal cavities of the necropsied silica-treated mice were hemorrhagic and filled with a white gelatinous substance that appeared to consist of a conglomeration of silica particles and infiltrating leukocytes. Thus, it was unclear whether the observed increased susceptibility of the animals was due to a specific effect of the silica on the macrophages or to a generally enhanced susceptibility to infection and decreased fitness of the animal. To answer this question, we employed liposome technology.

      Full-size image (3K)

      Fig. 1. The effect of silica treatment on mice challenged with B. anthracis spores. The mice (C3H/HeN) were treated with silica daily for 5 days prior to i.p. challenge with spores as described in material and methods. The silica-treated mice (▪) had 0/5 survivors, while the saline-treated mice () had 3/5 survivors. The mice were challenged with approximately 1000 spores.

  4. DXer said

    3/31/2005 302 interview statement

    IVINS further related that USAMRIID ____________________________ once brought IVINS a “national security sample” of what was believed to be powdered Bacillus anthracis which he asked IVINS to culture and test. The powdered sample was given to IVINS in a vial labeled either “IA” or “I1” _______represented to IVINS that this suspected anthrax sample had come from Iraq. IVINS said that this particular sample was catalogued at USAMRIID as a “diagnostic agent” to avoid labeling it as Bacillus anthracis.”

  5. DXer said

    12/12/2003 302 Ivins interview statement refers to emails provided “regarding request to find out of USAMRIID made dried, powdered anthrax Ba spores.” Those emails have not been provided and should have been.

  6. DXer said

    12/12/2003 302 Ivins interview statement

    “___________ said that Ba Ames strains with the capsule plasmid only (cured of toxin plasmid) are still on the select agent list because of research that has demonstrated the ability to transfer plasmids back into cured strains, thus producing a virulent strain from an avirulent strain.”

  7. DXer said

    April 17, 2003 302 Ivins interview statement

    “After his telephonic conversation with SA ____ on 04/15/2003, IVINS feels sick over the fact that the material used in the anthrax mailings could have come from a stock made from the B.a. aerosol challenge trash.”

  8. DXer said

    February 12, 2003 302 interview statement

    “IVINS was recently at Home Depot and saw the many different grades of sandpaper that they sell which made him think about the use of sand in purifying B.a. A pasty block of spores can be shaken with sand of varying coarseness to achieve very pure or fine spores. “

    • DXer said

      Bruce Ivins opinion of Daschle spores dated October 18, 2001

      “Interpretations and conclusions: If this is a preparation of bacterial spores, it is an extremely pure preparation, and an extremely high concentration. These are not ‘garage’ spores. The nature of the spore preparation suggests very highly that professional manufacturing techniques were used in the production and purification of the spores, as well as in converting the spores into an extremely fine powder.”

      • DXer said

        Ivins October 24, 2001 report on New York Post spores:

        “Visual inspection of the suspension of material under phase contrast microscopy found few (<5%) visible vegetative cells, a small amount (< 10%) visible debris, and very few small clumps. Most of the material appeared to be individual refractile spores.")

        "Interpretations and conclusions: "If this is a preparation of bacterial spores, it is a relatively pure preparation. This preparation did not appear as pure as the material … previously examined on October 17, 2001. [the Daschle product]"

  9. Old Atlantic said

    Bruce Ivins et al applied for a patent in 2000 which was granted in 2002. This patent describes in detail the actual growing of anthrax by Bruce Ivins using the New Brunswick Bio-Flo 3000 that the FBI 302 report indicated was the fermentor at Ft. Detrick. The patent also describes use of the speed-vac. The patent gives a table with the yield in mg of anthracis using the 5 Liter fermentor after growth of several days.

    “Fermentation conditions: The fermentations described here were carried out using a New Brunswick Bio-Flo 3000 equipped with a 5.0 liter working volume glass vessel and stainless steel headplate and hemispherical bottom cooling dish.”

    “EXAMPLE 1

    B. Anthracis ΔSterne-1(pPA102)CR4 was compared with its parent spore-forming strain B. anthracis ΔSterne-1(pPA102). Both organisms were plated onto sheep blood agar (a preferred medium for promoting bacterial spore production) and grown at 37° C. for 1 day, after which the temperature was lowered to 25° C. for 4 days. The two strains were also grown in liquid Leighton-Doi medium, which is designed to promote spore production, for 1 day at 37° C. followed by 4 days growth at 25° C. Growth from both agar and broth cultures were examined under phase contrast microscopy for the presence of spores. Growth from all four cultures were then resuspended in phosphate buffered saline to a concentration of about 10 9 colony-forming units (CFU) per ml. All four cultures were then heat shocked at 64° C. for 60 minutes to kill vegetative cells. Aliquots of 0.1 ml of the heat shocked material was then plated out onto sheep blood agar and incubated at 37° C. for 2 days. ”

    “EXAMPLE 2

    B. anthracis ΔSterne-1(pPA102)CR4 was grown in an FA medium fermentor culture. No spores were seen upon phase contract microscopic examination. Only medium-length and long chains of bacilli were seen. Dilution plate counts on the culture determined that the culture contained 1.86×10 9 CFU per ml. Three ml of culture was heat shocked at 60° C. for 60 minutes, then 0.2 ml was plated onto each of 5 plates of Tryptic soy agar. After incubation for 2 days at 37° C., no colonies were seen on the agar plates, indicating that spore production in the fermentor was less than 1 per 1.86×10 9 CFU. On two other fermentation runs with this strain, similar results were obtained. No revertants to the parent spore-forming phenotype were observed.

    The above process using an FA medium fermentor culture was repeated using the parent strain B. anthracis ΔSterne-1(pPA102). Growth on the tryptic soy agar after heat shock resulted in a total of 1000 total colonies, indicating that the parent strain B . anthracis ΔSterne-1(pPA102) had about 1000 spores per ml in the FA medium, or 1 spore per 106 CFU in the non-heat shocked medium. ”

    “TABLE 1
    Summary of Aerobic ΔSterne-1(pPA102)CR4 Fermentations
    Final Final Yield Doubling
    Conc. Yield (mg Specific Time
    Fermentation (μg PA83/ (mg PA83/g Growth T D
    Conditions ml PA83) DCW) Rate (min)
    Aerobic, Batch 51 235 8.10 0.0132 min −1 53
    Aerobic, Batch 64 301 10.7 0.0136 min −1 51
    Aerobic, Batch 45 225 7.40 0.0136 min −1 51
    pH constant
    Aerobic, 68 360 ND 0.0116 min −1 60
    DCW = dry cell weight ”

    The final yields ranged from 235mg to 360 mg. This was based on using the actual fermentor at Ft. Detrick in growth runs of 5 days as indicated in detail in the Example 1 quote.

    You can search at the above link.

    “For each O.D.600 determination, two appropriate dilutions were made and results were considered acceptable only when both dilutions yielded a linear response. DCWs were determined starting with a 2 hr point by centrifuging 10 mls of fermentation liquor at 11,953×g for 10 min, resuspending the cell pellet in 10 mls of sterile PBS and pelleting the cells again under the same conditions. The cell pellet was resuspended in a minimal volume of PBS and transferred quantitatively to a preweighted Eppendorf centrifuge tube and centrifuged at 14,000 rpm for 5 min. Excess PBS was removed and the cell pellet was dried in a speed-vac for 72 hrs under vacuum and a medium heat setting. A final analysis of the dry weight versus O.D. 600nm revealed that the relationship between the two parameters was adequately fit with a linear function. ”

    The speed vac appears to be have been used for a small sample. This appears to be on a mLs sample, ie 10 milli liters.

    This appears to settle it. Ivins could not produce the anthrax at Ft. Detrick using even the fermentor and the speed-vac. It would take 5 days, and produce yields of under 360 mg. The Senate anthrax contained 871mg per letter at least.

    The speed vac was used on a small sample of 10 milliliters. This is too small just as Ms. Ulrich indicated.

    This patent was applied for in 2000. Ivins knew from this data that it would be impossible for him to produce the anthrax at his lab and convert it into high quality powder in the amounts in the Senate letters. The speed-vac could not process this volume. Ivins knew that. He is the principal person on the patent and is listed first out of alphabetical order. The patent also cites Ivins own papers.

    Ivins, Bruce (Frederick, MD)
    Worsham, Patricia (Jefferson, MD)
    Friedlander, Arthur M. (Gaithersburg, MD)
    Farchaus, Joseph W. (Frederick, MD)
    Welkos, Susan L. (Frederick, MD) ”

    Filing Date:

    “Method of making a vaccine for anthrax
    United States Patent 6387665”

    • Old Atlantic said

      Search Detrick “bioflo 3000”

      “Results 1 – 10 of about 56 for Detrick “bioflo 3000″. ”

      This is further confirmation the New Brunswick 5-L Bioflo 3000 fermentor is the relevant fermentor at Ft. Detrick.

    • Old Atlantic said

      Search Bioflo 3000 Ivins

      ” Results 1 – 10 of about 20 for Bioflo 3000 Ivins.”

      Mostly the patent but it appears another Ivins paper or two at least in the results.

    • Old Atlantic said

      This patent was previously discussed at Case Closed after Dxer posted an extract from it.

    • Anonymous scientist said

      Good find.

      Proves beyond a shadow of doubt that a speed vac cannot dry 10 g of spores – far less magically turn them into a dispersable powder.

      And Ivins didn’t even have a fermentor at Detrick – the fermentor is at Dugway in Utah.

      • Old Atlantic said

        Thanks. The FBI 302 page 1 discusses the 5 Liter Bioflo 3000 as being at Ft. Detrick and then discusses a transfer to KBI.

        Click to access 847425.PDF

        This is presumably the fermentor that was said by some to have been inoperative in fall 2001.

        • Anonymous scientist said

          Just to clarify – I should have said no AVAILABLE fermentor at Detrick. It hadn’t been used in several years. The work for the 2000 issued patent was likely done in the mid 90s. Multiple witnesses in the FBI’s “evidence” said the Detrick fermentor just sat there and was in need of repair.

    • Old Atlantic said

      FBI misspells the name of the fermentor in the 302 report.

      New Brunswick Scientific BioFlo III fermentor is correct name. Can search on Internet for it and find used models.

      Click to access 847425.PDF

      See page 1 of 51 page pdf. FBI spells it:

      “5 L Bio Flow III fermentor.”

      • Old Atlantic said

        There is a New Brunswick Bioflo 3000 and also a New Brunswick Bioflo III, as shown by typing those into Google. The Bioflo 3000 is what is referenced by Ivins.

        ” Results 1 – 10 of about 81 for Detrick bioflo 3000″

        The search results seem to confirm this is the relevant fermentor model. The FBI 302 was with someone who said they had never used the “Bio Flow III”. See page 1 of the report linked to, 847425.pdf.

    • The yields stated in the Ivins patent are for the yield of PA not of the anthrax itself. (Jim White pointed this out on his blog.)

      “protective antigen (PA) ”

      “The data presented in Table 1 demonstrated that the PA yield on a unit volume and biomass basis,”

      Claim one of the patent states

      “1. A method of making a vaccine comprising: incorporating a protective antigen produced by recombinant asporogenic B. anthracis with a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier, wherein said recombinant asporogenic B. anthracis was isolated from a ΔSterne-1(pPA102) strain of bacteria and said recombinant asporogenic B. anthracis does not have the ability to bind a dye when grown on Congo Red Agar.

      So the yield of PA understates the yield of the anthrax used to grow it.

      The time of 5 days is the same however for the antigen and the anthrax bacillus it is in. If we assume the antigen mass is a fixed ratio to the anthrax cell mass it is in, and that each anthrax cell has the same mass, then production of antigen mass is proportional to the production of anthrax cells.

      The number of anthrax cells grown depends on the time period they are grown. The mass of antigen follows the same path in time. So if it takes 5 days to grow the antigens, then it takes 5 days to grow the cells.

      (We can relax the assumption of fixed ratios made originally by allowing for fixed over time distributions of the ratios or cell size.)

    • We must distinguish the vegetative cell, the antigen and a spore made from a vegetative cell. A spore weighs less than a vegetative cell so there is some offset depending on the weight of antigen in a vegetative cell compared to how it was measured or estimated. So the antigen mass is less than a vegetative cell that contains it. However, the spore weighs less than the vegetative cell. How the antigen mass is determined matters too. Is it converted to a dry powder and what loss of weight does that entail compared to a vegetative cell becoming a spore and then weighed as a dry powder of spores?

  10. A S CHESNICK said

    TT FN
    As far as the Smoking Gun, FBI and Ed Lake claims about the mysterious code
    … I came across another TT FN coded literature reference that fits even bit better, definitely better answer THAN THE CODSWALLOP CODE EXPLANATION THE FBI IS TRYING TO PASS OFF as real evidence of guilt… a mysterious TTFN Goedel Code that some folks claim to seeing in the anthrax letters is really not TaTa PAT or F**NY


    But this TTFN is from “Winnie the Pooh”!

    Where TTFN stands for “Ta Ta For Now!”

    (informal) see ya, laters,

    (a less formal version of) au revoir or untill we meet again….

    1974: Tigger (voiced by Paul Winchell) in Unbouncing Tigger –
    “Well, I gotta go, now! I got a lot of bouncing to do! Hoo-hoo-hoo!

    TTFN!Ta ta for now!” makes about as much sense?

  11. DXer said

    Cryptome resource –

    AMERITHRAX: Infiltration of US Biodefense? March 6, 2010 (1.4MB)

  12. DXer said


    Last week Holt inserted language into the 2010 Intelligence Authorization Bill that would require the intelligence community to examine the possibility of foreign involvement into the anthrax attack.

    What troubled Holt was the work of the Department of Justice and the FBI, which had initially labeled scientist Steven Hatfill a “person of interest.” Hatfill sued the department, and reached a $5.85 million settlement.

    Ivins can no longer defend himself, nor will evidence be presented in open court. Ivins committed suicide in 2008.

    For Holt the “rush to judgment” that focused on Hatfill was simply repeated when the FBI judged Ivins guilty.

    In a letter this week to heads of the congressional committees that will consider the Anthrax Attacks Investigation Act, Holt asked a series of questions that deal with the investigations into Hatfill and Ivins. But the most important question, we believe, is about the future.

    He wrote, “We don’t know whether the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Postal Service have learned the right lessons from these attacks and have implemented measures to prevent or mitigate future such bioterror attacks.”

    The attacks of 9/11 took place on live television. Flying commercial planes into buildings was a simple act of piracy and terrorism. It is not as easy to comprehend the work of a terrorist dealing with weapons that are virtually invisible. An examination of events surrounding the attacks is important.

    Holt’s message is as simple as a Boy Scout motto: Be prepared.

  13. You can see photos of the results of centrifugation by searching centrifuge pellet in Google and also in image search.

    “Centrifugation is a process that involves the use of the centrifugal force for the separation of mixtures, used in industry and in laboratory settings. More-dense components of the mixture migrate away from the axis of the centrifuge, while less-dense components of the mixture migrate towards the axis. Chemists and biologists may increase the effective gravitational force on a test tube so as to more rapidly and completely cause the precipitate (“pellet”) to gather on the bottom of the tube. The remaining solution is properly called the “supernate” or “supernatant liquid”. The supernatant liquid is then either quickly decanted from the tube without disturbing the precipitate, or withdrawn with a Pasteur pipette.”

    You don’t end up with Senate letter quality dry non-clumping powder by just centrifuging. The pellet is still wet. Will dumping the pellet onto a plate and letting it air dry for 2 hours turn it into Senate letter quality powder?

    Assuming the answer is no, is that why lyophilizers are used? But the lyophilizer was not available to Ivins and it would have required decontamination that would have been known to the lab. The FBI did not release any documents on the lyophilizer at Ft. Detrick? Nor mention it in the summary report that I recall. Nor documents on the speed vac such its size and capacity?

    From page 19 of summary pdf

    “Second, the evidence demonstrated that the perpetrator was familiar with key items of laboratory equipment used in microbiology research. All of the Ames anthrax existing in the 15
    U.S. labs prior to the attacks was in liquid slurry form or on vegetative cell slants, rather than in powder form. Consequently, it was not possible for the perpetrator to merely steal an existing quantity of Ames spore powder “off the shelf,” because none was known to exist in the holdings of any laboratory. Even if the perpetrator stole a quantity of liquid Ames anthrax slurry, it would still have been necessary to dry the anthrax in order to produce a product like the one recovered from the envelopes. This drying procedure would have required either the type of laboratory equipment, such as a lyophilizer or speed-vac system, that was present in each of the 15 labs, or considerable time and space to air-dry. Alternatively, if the perpetrator stole only vegetative cells or a small quantity of spores to use as seed stock, not only would the perpetrator have to dry the anthrax, he would also have to subject the anthrax to two separate culturing and washing operations using an incubator and centrifuge.”

    Footnote 17 on page 35 of summary

    “Numerous microbiologists have concurred that two hours and 15 minutes would be enough time to dry Ba spores, depending on factors such as the quantity of starting material, the volume of liquid in which it was suspended, and whether a centrifuge was used to eliminate most of the water, leaving behind a pellet, or paste, capable of being dried in well under two hours.”

    These two quotations from the summary don’t seem fully consistent on the feasibility of centrifuging and air drying in 2 hours the quantities involved in the mailings.

    If you air dry the paste, you spread it out with your fingers? It doesn’t clump when it dries when you do this?

    • If you can air dry 2 grams of powdered anthrax in 2 hours to get Senate letter quality, why do they use lyophilizers overnight?

      Results 1 – 100 of about 22,500 for “lyophilized overnight”.

    • “leaving behind a pellet, or paste, capable of being dried in well under two hours.”

      Does that mean air dried or does that mean dried with a speed vac or dried with a lyophilizer in 2 hours? Can you dry 2 grams of anthrax powder in 2 hours with a lyophilizer? Or is that overnight? Or more?
      What about with the speed vac at Ft. Detrick?

      Are there logs and sign outs for these devices? Have they been released for this time period?

      • DXer said

        Yes, a speed vac was signed out to Dr. Ivins in connection with his DARPA work, such as the DARPA-funded work with the Ann Arbor researchers which included the former associate of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad members.

      • Old Atlantic said

        “She said it would take about an hour to dry one milliliter of wet anthrax spores in one vial in a SpeedVac. It would have been impossible for Ivins to have dried more than a liter, which would have been required for the amount of anthrax sent in the letters, in the time frame they were mailed, Ulrich said. ”

        Ulrich was a principal investigator in the diagnostic systems division at USAMRIID.

        She said Ivins was upset the FBI was watching him, but handled it as well as he could. “I’ve never even seen him angry,” Ulrich said.

        “Ulrich said she worked with Ivins at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Frederick, Md., for about six years. The person she knew doesn’t match the troubled past Ivins is alleged to have had, she said. ”

        Results 1 – 10 of about 19,100 for speedvac bacillus mL.

        mL 1 milliliters = 0.0338140227 US fluid ounces

        Results 1 – 10 of about 3,950 for speedvac bacillus uL.

        uL is microLiter or 1/1000 of a mL.

        These are typical experimental sizes for bacillus using a speedvac.

    • BugMaster said

      You don’t necessarily need a lyophilizer or speed vac for freeze-drying. There is a far simpler technique that gives good results, although takes a bit more time.

      I very much doubt, however, that Ivins would have a need to use this technique, and was probably unaware of it.

  14. DXer said

    Amerithrax: Infiltration of US Biodefense (Slideshow)

    Click to access Getman.pdf

  15. DXer said

    POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR LEONARD COLE, of Rutgers University, who has written a book on Amerithrax and has years of experience writing about the biodefense industry, has also weighed in:

    Another Analyst Questions Closing of the Anthrax Case

    Bio-terrorism expert and author of The Anthrax Letters, Dr. Leonard Cole, says that the
    “Amerithrax” case involving the post-9/11 anthrax letters that murdered five people was
    closed too soon by the FBI. In a statement, Dr. Cole declared that:

    “It seems bizarre that the FBI would close the anthrax case now.
    A National Academy of Sciences committee that is assessing the bureau’s
    purported scientific evidence has yet to issue its findings. The FBI’s
    action is doubly perplexing since it commissioned the academy’s
    investigation in the first place.”

    Cole is described as the only person outside law enforcement to have interviewed every
    one of the surviving inhalation-anthrax victims, along with the relatives, friends, and
    associates of those who died, as well as the public health officials, scientists,
    researchers, hospital workers, and treating physicians. He holds a PhD in political
    science from Columbia University and teaches public policy at Rutgers University.

    Regarding the FBI’s claim that Dr. Bruce Ivins may have been the perpetrator of the
    2001 anthrax attacks as the FBI alleges, Cole says it is possible but that “the evidence
    is circumstantial and no way can Ivins be considered guilty ‘beyond a reasonable
    doubt,’ as has been claimed by Justice Department and FBI officials, including FBI
    Director Robert Mueller.”

    Cole added, ““Since Ivins committed suicide (in July 2008), there will be no trial, cross-
    examination, or deliberation by a jury–so a conviction cannot have been assured.”

    Concerning the “case” that the FBI makes against Ivins in the media, Cole points out,
    ““There remain important gaps in the evidence.” For example, Ivins lived and worked
    in Frederick, Maryland, and the letters were mailed from Princeton, New Jersey. “There
    are no witnesses or other evidence that placed him in Princeton at the times of the
    mailings,” he notes.

    Cole says that even if you concede that Ivins had developed and stored the strain of
    anthrax sent in the letters, “more than one hundred co-workers had access to his
    laboratory, which was at the Army’s Fort Detrick research facility” and “Several of his
    colleagues remain convinced that he was not the perpetrator.”

    • DXer said

      The Anthrax Letters: A Bioterrorism Expert Investigates the Attack That Shocked America (Paperback), August 1, 2009
      ~ Leonard A. Cole (Author)

      As I recall, Professor Cole also had an early book on Amerithrax published online by the National Academy of Sciences.

    • DXer said

      From the NAS website:

      Named a 2004 Honor Book by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities

      “The anthrax attacks of 2001 took five lives and terrified a nation. Leonard Cole assumed the massive task of considering how these unprecedented attacks touched us individually and collectively, and he skillfully put them in a context that will help us understand how they unfolded and how we might address the bioterrorist threat in the future. The Anthrax Letters is a compelling human story told with scientific integrity.”
      — Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD)

      “Mr. Cole’s new study is one of the most authoritative of the recent crop of books on the anthrax letters, and it is helped by the author’s unfailingly clear writing style, which makes the biological threat of anthrax easy to understand. The narrative Mr. Cole weaves is undeniably intriguing.”
      — The Washington Times, November 16, 2003

      “… [a] thoroughly researched, detailed, and fascinating book… Anyone interested in learning more about this unique episode in the history of biological warfare would find Professor Cole’s book informative and enlightening. The Anthrax Letters is a well-written forensic mystery, much more intellectually challenging, stimulating, and rewarding than any fictional television program.”
      — Journal of the American Medical Association, July 21, 2004

      “…a lucid and compelling narrative, meticulously and thoroughly researched, which sheds light on our country’s recent encounter with bioterrorism. …[a] comprehensive presentation of the science underlying our encounter with anthrax, of its victims, as well as the role that continued work in the field will play in strengthening our defense against future acts of this kind. …a laudable work.”
      — New Jersey Council for the Humanities, August 2004

      “The subject of bioterrorism is probably not high on your holiday reading list, but The Anthrax Letters ought to be. It is absolutely riveting. Here’s a promise. Read the prologue and you’ll read the book. … [Cole is] a superb writer and his book reads like a fine-tuned suspense novel. The story, of course, is not fiction, but a true mystery that probes behind the panic of the anthrax attack of 2001. Cole undertook his own, enlightened investigation, and has interviewed all of the surviving victims whose stories–until now–have remained out of the news. There are also fascinating portraits of the doctors, researchers, and scientists who worked behind the scenes amid the storm of events. Like the spores themselves, secrets are swirling, and the author brings them into the light in this inspired account.”
      — DingBat Magazine, December 2003

      “Disentangling a coherent story from the snarl of conflicting reports, multi-agency responses, blaring headlines, empty leads and the shaky scientific data surrounding the anthrax attacks is no simple task, which makes Cole’s accomplished book all the more impressive. As an expert on the intersection of politics and terrorism, Cole (The Eleventh Plague) takes the reader on a captivating, no-nonsense tour of America’s public health system… The book also supplies the chilling details that the short-lived media flareup failed to convey… Without even a hint of sensationalism, this disquieting but hopeful book skillfully zeros in on the most crucial issues and scientific advances as well as the heroic individuals who averted disaster while under the intense glare of public scrutiny.”
      — Publishers Weekly, September 1, 2003

      “[The Anthrax Letters] offers us a wealth of detail on the case — even as it reminds us how little we know.”
      — James P. Pinkerton in Newsday, October 7, 2003

      “And while it can at times deliver all the drama of a modern-day thriller, the 240-page book also offers the most complete look available at the still-unsolved mystery of how and why 22 people became infected with anthrax between Oct. 4 and Nov. 21, 2001.”
      — Roll Call, October 14, 2003

      “[Cole’s] storytelling abilities rank with those of Richard Preston, without ever losing sight of the science. His detailed case histories and timelines flesh out the familiar media reports of the October 2001 U.S. anthrax by mail attacks, and give the human side of the tragedy.”
      — Lancet Journal of Infectious Diseases, January 1, 2004

      “Carefully drawn chronology of the anthrax episodes of September and October 2001. They came and went at such speed and at such an overwhelming time that it is pardonable to remember the anthrax-bearing letters as a bad dream. But five people died from them, and this tight narrative of the events makes it clear that they were a mortal cog in the wheel that led to Homeland Security, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Bioterrorism expert Cole also makes it baldly clear that the letters’ nasty cargo might easily have claimed many more lives if health professionals hadn’t acted with admirable intuition and dispatch, rising to the occasion like latter-day Minutemen. … The author sketches vivid portraits of the bacteria, those who were infected, and those whose job it was to counter the threat and prepare the nation for biological attack.”
      — Kirkus Reviews, August 2003

      “For most of the 22 victims of the anthrax letters, Cole provides extensive detail on the circumstances surrounding their infection, diagnosis, treatment and eventual recovery or tragic death. … As an expert in bio-terrorism, Cole is at his best narrating the physicians’ initial suspicion of anthrax infection, and the subsequent awakening of the massive national response network at the local, state and federal levels. …Cole provides a fascinating account of how quickly the diagnostic facts of medical science became national feelings of terror.”
      — Rocky Mountain News, October 31, 2003

      “Cole provides excellent insights into how the attacks affected the victims, their families, and society, revealing the horror, fear, and confusion as well as efforts by the government and public health services to react quickly and appropriately. … [he] provides a fascinating discussion of the attacks and how they will influence our level of preparedness for the future.”
      — Library Journal, November 1, 2003

      “The Anthrax Letters is a terrific read. The book is a masterful piece of reporting, written with absolute strength and clarity, and the background research Cole has done is slam-on right, impressive in its detail and insight. Cole talked to all kinds of sources no other reporter was able to reach, and he turned the research into a first rate work of narrative describing the first major bioterror event the modern world has seen.”
      — Richard Preston, author of The Demon in the Freezer and The Hot Zone

      “Luck perhaps has been most accurately defined as where the road of preparation crosses the road of opportunity. For me, these two paths met when I encountered an ill Bob Stevens on October 2, 2001. Leonard Cole’s chronicle of the anthrax attacks records with detailed accuracy the medical epidemiological and investigative aspects of these historical events. His narrative is fascinating, insightful, and thought-provoking.”
      — Larry M. Bush, M.D.., Florida physician who diagnosed the first anthrax case

      “The most effective antidote to biological terrorism is information. Only frank discussion of our vulnerabilities and preparedness will inoculate us against the most contagious agent we face: fear. Leonard Cole makes an invaluable contribution to that discussion with this in-depth look at the people, places and events involved in the 2001 mail-borne anthrax attacks. When the final chapter is written, and the case is solved, this book will have helped point the way to a safer America.”
      — Congressman Christopher Shays (R-CT), Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats, and International Relations

      “For those seriously interested in the ‘anthrax letter’ events, there is interesting and genuinely informative reading… The humanity of the individuals who contracted anthrax is effectively brought home and what they felt and how they and those around them reacted are enlighteningly described…”
      — Bulletin of the World Health Organization, January 2004

      “The author has done an excellent job with this investigation and this book is probably the most detailed book on the subject. For those who want the big picture of the anthrax attacks, this book is a must.”
      — Counterterrorism Homeland Security Reports, 2004

      Author Biography

      Dr. Leonard A. Cole is an adjunct professor of political science at Rutgers University, Newark, New Jersey, where he teaches science and public policy. He is an expert on bioterrorism. Trained in the health sciences and public policy, he holds a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University. He is a Fellow of the Phi Beta Kappa Society and has been a recipient of grants and fellowships from the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Rockefeller Foundation. Cole has written for professional journals as well as general publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Scientific American, and The Sciences. He has testified before congressional committees and made invited presentations to several government agencies including the U.S. Department of Energy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Office of Technology Assessment. He has appeared frequently on network and public television and has been a regular on MSNBC. He is the author of six books including The Eleventh Plague: The Politics of Biological and Chemical Warfare and, most recently, The Anthrax Letters: A Medical Detective Story.

  16. DXer said

    Posted On: March 5, 2010
    The Fantasy Worlds of Bruce Ivins and the FBI

    • DXer said

      Barry Kissin
      ‘Amerithrax’ dialogue
      Originally published March 06, 2010

      • DXer said

        The expert and journalist Barry frequently relies upon are the ones who pitched bentonite as explaining how the coat appeared.

        The White House was trying to shoot the story down. See Ari Fleischer’s book.

        Barry is entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts.

        We need more people reading the record and pressing for the documents being wrongfully withheld and fewer people expressing their political views.

        • DXer said

          Le Figaro

          Samedi 27 Février 2010

          Destruction massive

          AUTEUR: Adler, Alexandre

          RUBRIQUE: OPINIONS; Pg. 17 N° 20396

          LONGUEUR: 1260 mots
          Nous n’avons pas la place de considérer en détail la question des attaques à l’anthrax. Aussi posons ici une énigme à nos lecteurs et à nos contradicteurs : pourquoi l’anthrax posté au Congrès et à plusieurs grands journaux américains, au lendemain du 11 Septembre, était-il de qualité très différente à la première vague d’envoi et à la seconde ? On sait aujourd’hui qu’un « savant fou », le professeur Ivins, avait accès au matériel de première qualité du laboratoire militaire de Fort Detrick et en a fait usage dans la seconde vague, comme le FBI a fini par en obtenir l’aveu de l’intéressé en 2008, qui se suicidait quelques heures plus tard.

          Mais pourquoi, dans ces conditions, avoir utilisé un anthrax beaucoup plus grossier dans une première vague, trois jours plus tôt ? Ne s’agirait-il pas plutôt d’un anthrax de fabrication irakienne, dont tous les spécialistes connaissent la moins bonne qualité ? Celui-ci, par exemple, aurait pu causer la maladie du charbon d’un des pilotes du 11 Septembre, qui se fit soigner aux antibiotiques par un dentiste de Tampa en Floride, en juillet 2001. Peut-être les officiers de renseignement tchèques, qui avaient signalé une rencontre à Prague entre un responsable d’al-Qaida et l’attaché militaire irakien quelques mois auparavant – et qui s’étaient par la suite rétractés – n’avaient-ils pas rêvé. En tout cas, une chose est sûre : Bush et Cheney, au témoignage de Bob Woodward, étaient tombés d’accord pour minimiser entièrement ces attaques à l’anthrax en octobre 2001, bien avant le démarrage de l’enquête, afin de ne pas démoraliser le peuple américain. Exhumer le dossier deux ans plus tard pour charger Saddam Hussein

        • DXer said

          Pardon my French.

          As to pertinent part:

          “But why, in these conditions, to have used an Anthrax a lot cruder one in a first wave…? Nor would it be an act itself rather of an Anthrax of Iraqui manufacture, of which all the specialists know is at least good quality. This stuff, for example, could have caused the anthrax of one of the pilots of September 11, that did itself to care for to the antibiotics by a doctor of Tampa in Florida, in July 2001. Maybe those officers of Czech pieces of information, that had signaled an encounter to Prague between a person in charge of al-qaida and the attached Iraqui military officer some months beforehand – and that afterward had retracted – were not imagining it. In any case, one thing is sure: Bush and Cheney, according to the testimony of Bob Woodward, had agreed to minimize completely these attacks to the Anthrax in October 2001, well before the start of the investigation, in order not to demoralize the American people.”

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