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

* DXer … questions about 911 hijacker’s anthrax leg lesion

Posted by DXer on March 10, 2010

12 Responses to “* DXer … questions about 911 hijacker’s anthrax leg lesion”

  1. DXer said

    “Disease Detectives” trailer (aired last night)

  2. DXer said

    Volume 21, Issue 3, 2001, Pages 513-548

    Clinicopathologic aspects of bacterial agents ( Review )
    Martin, G.J., Marty, A.M.

    Infectious Diseases Service, National Naval Medical Center, 8901 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20889, United States

    Bacteria were the first organisms recognized for their potential as agents of bioaggression and the possibility of their use by a terrorist or rogue nation is considered a significant threat. Five of the more likely agents (anthrax, plague, tularemia, Q fever, and brucellosis) are reviewed with emphasis on their epidemiology, clinical presentation, diagnosis, and pathology. Particular emphasis is given to the presentation of the diseases as they may appear after use in a biowarfare scenario.

  3. DXer said


    The way I hear the story is that this guy who got a gash carrying a suitcase in Kandahar (who you were the mad scientist working on your “project”) got the lesion because he was not vaccinated like you, Barq, and al-Sudani. Is that anyway to treat the help?

  4. DXer said

    Will the GAO be addressing the issue of the hijacker’s leg lesion? It seems inextricably linked to the testing of the remains from the Flight 93 crash.

  5. DXer said

    David Willman in Mirage Man writes: “The author also reviewed Anderson’s contemporaneous notes of his role, which included analyzing the sample of tissue from O’Connor’s shoulder. Anderson concluded on October 11 that O’Connor’s wound was negative for anthrax and was more likely from an insect or spider bite. Anderson turned out to be wrong.” (p. 379)

  6. DXer said

    Note that PCR analysis was performed on human remains from United flight 93 on 9/11/2001 that were identified as those of the hijackers (B3D1). Analysis was performed at USAMRIID and at AFIP for sequences diagnostic of B. anthracis. One assay at USAMRIID gave positive results, but these results were believed by the FBI to be due to laboratory contamination.

  7. DXer said

    Militant Claims Work on Anthrax Bomb in Afghanistan

    Tuesday, March 16, 2010

    A suspected Taliban operative in Afghanistan claimed recently that the group was working on a bomb that would disperse anthrax, the London Daily Express reported Sunday (see GSN, Jan. 26).

    “We use anthrax so when a bomb explodes it produces a toxic cloud,” Mullah Doud, a regional commander, said when interviewed last week by a British television news team inside an explosives production site at Tora Bora.

    Extremist groups such as the Taliban and al-Qaeda have not yet demonstrated the capability to weaponize biological agents such as anthrax or smallpox. However, one expert said the threat must be taken seriously.

    “Anthrax is an effective weapon and producing it needs only basic levels of biology and chemistry,” said Paul Wilkinson, a professor at the Center for Terrorism Studies at St. Andrews University in Scotland.

    “There are certainly extreme elements within the Taliban, those loyal to al-Qaeda, who would not think twice about this method. However, there is a wide chasm between producing anthrax and using it effectively in homemade bombs,” Wilkinson asserted.

    “Japanese terrorists had intended to use anthrax on the Tokyo metro in 1995. They experimented with it extensively but in the end opted for the nerve agent sarin. This shows that it is not an easy substance to control,” he added (see GSN, March 12).

    It remains possible that militants aim to use weapons that incorporate unconventional materials, said Col. Richard Kemp, a previous leader of British military forces in Afghanistan. “In Iraq chlorine was the flavor of choice,” he said (see GSN, July 2, 2007).

    British troops deployed to Afghanistan are not outfitted with biological, chemical or nuclear defensive equipment, however the gear is accessible if needed, the Daily Express reported (Marco Giannegeli, London Daily Express, March 14).

  8. DXer said


    British troops in Afghanistan may be facing a new threat

    Sunday March 14, 2010

    By Marco Giannangeli

    BRITISH troops in Afghanistan may be facing a new threat after claims by Taliban commanders that home-made bombs are being loaded with anthrax.

    So far there is no evidence of biological weapons being used by insurgents. But one of Britain’s leading terrorism experts warned last night that Taliban extremists linked with Al Qaeda would have the technology to produce the deadly disease.

    An ITV camera crew filmed a bomb-making factory last week in caves at Tora Bora on the Afghan-Pakistan border. One bomb maker, identified as regional commander Mullah Doud, said: “We use anthrax so when a bomb explodes it produces a toxic cloud.”

    A drug user in Blackpool last week became the 10th person in Britain to die of anthrax-tainted heroin, thought to have been produced in Afghanistan. Professor Paul Wilkinson, of the Centre for Terrorism Studies at St Andrews University, said: “Anthrax is an effective weapon and producing it needs only basic levels of biology and chemistry.

    “There are certainly extreme elements within the Taliban, those loyal to Al Qaeda, who would not think twice about this method. However, there is a wide chasm between producing anthrax and using it effectively in home-made bombs.

    “Japan ese terrorists had intended to use anthrax on the Tokyo metro in 1995. They experimented with it extensively but in the end opted for the nerve agent sarin. This shows that it is not an easy substance to control.”

    Professor Wilkinson said the only safeguard against anthrax was anti-nuclear, biological and chemical warfare equipment.

    Unlike in Iraq, where coalition soldiers regularly donned the suits, troops in Afghanistan do not wear them, though they are believed to have access to them if necessary.

    Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, said: “It would not be unusual for extremist forces to use dirty bombs. In Iraq chlorine was the flavour of choice.

    “However, most Taliban sympathisers, the farmers and villagers, use materials they can get their hands on, like fertiliser and car parts, and would not risk experimenting with substances like anthrax.”

    • DXer said

      While we wait to see if this claim by the fellow at Tora Bora is confirmed, it is worth considering the book that in 1999 Ayman Zawahiri requested that Atef obtain. It was called PLAGUE WARS by Mangold and Goldberg and discussed microencapsulation.

      It explained the treatment needed for anthrax to be used in a bomb. Bomb-maker Yuklis Munos, Hambali’s assistant, upon his capture, boasted of his anthrax training. Yazid Sufaat boasted of his skill at manipulating anthrax before his capture but then got reticent once detained.

      PLAGUE WARS explained in 1999:

      “There are already effective ways in which to protect deployed BW agents, Dr. Malcolm Dando, the distinguished biologist and Professor of International Security at the Department of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford, talks of microencapsulation, a process by which BW agents can be coated and protected against a variety of harmful outside factors, particularly their natural enemies light and heat. This process also allows agents to survive longer and to be inhaled more easily, which increases the likelihood of infection and death. Currently, the detection and identification of microencapsulated BW agents is more difficult for non-encapsulated materials. (The Soviets crossed this scientific threshold years ago and were able to ‘spray’ their offensive bacterial and viral agents that were resistant to sun’s rays.)

      In fact, microencapsulation can already be tailored for the mission. For example, you can apply one coating for added protection from heat, and then another one for the effects of sunlight. A germ would need both coatings if it were packed inside a missile warhead and then had to survive decompression at its target, together with sudden exposure to sunlight.”

      As I’ve been explaining for years now, Kathryn Crockett, Ken Alibek’s assistant — just a couple doors down from Ali Al-Timimi — addressed the microencapsulation in her 2006 thesis, “A historical analysis of Bacillus anthracis as a biological weapon and its application to the development of nonproliferation and defense strategies.” She expressed her special thanks to bioweaponeering experts Dr. Ken Alibek and Dr. Bill Patrick. Dr. Patrick consulted with the FBI. Dr. Crockett successfully defended the thesis before a panel that included USAMRIID head and Ames strain researcher Charles Bailey, Ali Al-Timimi’s other Department colleague. In 2001 he said he did not want to discuss silica because he did not want to give terrorists any ideas. Oops! Too late. The scientist coordinating with the 911 imam and Bin Laden’s Sheik was 15 feet away.
      Dr. Crockett in her PhD thesis says that scientists who analyzed the powder through viewing micrographs or actual contact are divided over the quality of the powder. She cites Gary Matsumoto’s “Science” article in summarizing the debate. She says the FBI has vacillated on silica. The AFIP data, if released, would point to the high level of silica in the first batch of letters.

      On the issue of encapsulation, Crockett reports that “many experts who examined the powder stated the spores were encapsulated. Encapsulation involves coating bacteria with a polymer which is usually done to protect fragile bacteria from harsh conditions such as extreme heat and pressure that occurs at the time of detonation (if in a bomb), as well as from moisture and ultraviolet light. The process was not originally developed for biological weapons purposes but rather to improve the delivery of various drugs to target organs or systems before they were destroyed by enzymes in the circulatory system” (citing Alibek and Crockett, 2005). “The US and Soviet Union, however, ” she explains, “used this technique in their biological weapons programs for pathogens that were not stable in aerosol form… Since spores have hardy shells that provide the same protection as encapsulation would, there is no need to cover them with a polymer.“ She explains that one “possible explanation is that the spore was in fact encapsulated but not for protective purpose. Encapsulation also reduces the need for milling when producing a dry formulation.” She wrote: “If the perpetrator was knowledgeable of the use of encapsulation for this purpose, then he or she may have employed it because sophisticated equipment was not at his disposal.”

      Dr. Michael told National Geographic (using the word “weaponized” to narrowly refer to aiding dispersability) he does not think the silica was used for that purpose of “weaponization”, whether under the historical Dugway method from the 1990s or otherwise. Michael told FOX News, “I don’t think this exonerates (Ivins) at all.” He added, “I don’t think it’s not enough to say that he did it, as well.”

      One military scientist who has made anthrax simulants described the GMU patents to me as relating to a silicon encapsulation technique which serves to increase the viability of a wide range of pathogens. More broadly, a DIA analyst once commented to me that the internal debate seemed relatively inconsequential given the circumstantial evidence — overlooked by so many people — that US-based supporters of Al Qaeda are responsible for the mailings.

      “Anonymous Scientist,” who has been very impressive in broadcast interviews I’ve seen on the issue, comments:

      “The REAL reason that the NYP analysis is not being provided is because it is massive. The % of silicon is more than 10% – in fact it’s above to 50%. The NYP sample is actually MOSTLY silicon”

      In the past, the Sandia scientists in their public comments seemed to be making inferences and conclusions about whether the silica would be useful in making mailed anthrax — and whether it would be highly probative — that went beyond both their field of expertise and the data apparently available to them. But their powerpoints seemed solid and conservatively framed in the conclusion drawn. I find Peter Setlow’s commentary on the recent Japanese article about silicon encapsulation to be thoughtful and would have preferred that he address the issue before the NAS. But I appreciate that Sandia’s powerpoint and presentation was sound given that it was limited to the narrow issue of the location of the silicon and did not address the issue of silicon in the New York Post material.

      I respect the government view, if it is the government’s view, that these are not issues that should be discussed public necessarily. To my way of thinking, outsiders, in my opinion, need only enough information to know whether “they got the right guy.” Presently, most people think the FBI did not — and the FBI’s interference with USAMRIID’s FOIA production in the past has only served as Exhibit A in that argument.

      From where I sit, for all I know, it is the FBI’s Dr. Bannan, formerly the collections scientist at the American Type Culture Collection (“ATCC”) at GMU which sponsored Al-Timimi’s program, who is supporting the decision to withhold the AFIP data. Given the government assures us that it does not relate to “weaponization,” then it would seem that there is no reason not to release it. The only previous reasons related to the fact that the investigation was ongoing and it would reveal the test that was done. (But of course the AFIP newsletter disclosed the test that was done and so that is not justification for withholding).

      Once it is released, experts like Peter Setlow can consider the source of the reason for the silica such as whether it was putting virulent Ames soil (silica) suspension such as the FBI scientist John Ezzell did in 1996 for DARPA when he made dry powdered anthrax at Ft. Detrick. Or we can turn to the “Microdroplet Cell Culture” patent filed by Ali Al-Timimi’s Discovery Hall colleagues at the DARPA-funded Center for Biodefense and see if there is a connection. The silica would be in the culture medium and then would be removed by repeated centrifugation.

      Alternative, experts can consider that if Flask 1030 has 6 % of spores (versus 30% in Leahy product) containing the silicon signal, and flask 1030 constitute leftovers from aerosol experiments, perhaps the attack anthrax was stolen leftovers from animal aerosol challenge experiments which were left unguarded in the basement of 1412 in garbage bags until someone got around to using the autoclave. Antifoam sometimes would be used to unclog the nebulizer.

      Or we can explore the other hypotheses relating to the reason for the Silicon Signature, such as it being due to rice hull contamination (silicon) in a spraydryer or due to use of a silicone sealant sprayed on the inside of the envelope such as the Al Qaeda chapter on “poisonous letters” instructs be used (to avoid killing the mailman).

      I’m not a scientist which is why it seems that the data and pictures need to be released so that we can have experts like the Center for Biodefense’s Sergeui Popov and the government’s John Kiel review it. If we learned anything from 9/11, it is that there are times that information needs to be shared so that people can connect the dots. This is such a time. Any one with a conflict of interest should recuse himself from the particular aspect of Amerithrax.

      As for the defenders of Dr. Ivins (such as myself), I have to focus their attention again on the record of flask 1029. Dr. Ivins says he altered the record but does not remember doing it. If he did, wouldn’t he be indictable as an accessory after the fact and for obstruction of justice? And might alteration be motivated simply by a failure to keep proper records, or record a transfer as required by mid-1997 regulations? He specifically emailed his superior and said that he was concerned that his records would not square up with the inventory. He was told to shut up, not to repeat what he had heard at a party about the FBI’s line of inquiry — that everything was under control. Well, we’re not interested in whether someone with something to hide had everything under control. It certainly proved not to be under control for Dr. Ivins.

      So whodunnit? Let’s start with an easy question. Who told Dr. Ivins to shut up about it — that everything was under control? And why was Dr. Ivins concerned that there would be material missing from his inventory — to which his superior advised there would then be reason or justification for the missing Ames.

      • DXer said


        2. Does this document seized in Afghanistan point to infiltration of US biodefense?

        3. Was virulent Ames genetically identical to the attack anthrax at Dugway Proving Ground at Utah?

        4. Why was Dr. Ivins concerned he was missing samples and what justification for missing samples did his superior say there was.

        5. In March 1999, the Vanguards of Conquest announced that Ayman Zawahiri intended to use anthrax against US targets to retaliate against the rendering and mistreatment of senior Egyptian Islamic Jihad leaders.

        6. The early February 2001 Presidential Daily Brief (“PDB”) “Bin Laden’s Interest in Biological and Radiological Weapons” by the CIA to President Bush should be declassified.

        7. This is the code used in the letter — and it is established by documentary evidence not the fanciful DOJ’s concoction that is not supported by its own experts interviewed.

        8. Here is Ayman Zawahiri’s correspondence with infiltrating scientist Rauf Ahmad was produced under FOIA by the US Defense Intelligence Agency providing documentary evidence of his modus operandi of infiltration biodefense.

        9. This is the floor plan of George Mason University’s DISCOVERY HALL shows that Ali Al-Timimi occupied the same suite as leading anthrax scientist Ken Alibek and former deputy USAMRIID Commander Charles Bailey, a prolific Ames strain researcher, as part of the DARPA-funded Center for Biodefense.

        10. According to his defense counsel, Al-Timimi was an “anthrax weapons suspect.” His program was sponsored by the American Type Culture Collection. The lead FBI scientist was the ATCC collection scientist for the bacteriology division in 2001.

        11. Why is there a 100 ml discrepancy in Dr. Ivins’ records dating back to 1999?

        12. Wouldn’t you be depressed if your friends were ordered not to talk to you? (He was on anti-depressants, not anti-psychotics).

        13. Interviews and Ivins’ emails have been mischaracterized in the DOJ’s Summary. Why didn’t the DOJ provide the Lab Notebook 4010 pages detailing the observations Ivins made on the health of the animals the nights the DOJ speculates he was preparing powderized anthrax to mail?

        14. Why has the DOJ failed to provide these critical references cited in its expanded Amerithrax-generated record of how virulent Ames from Flask 1029 was used?

        15. The DOJ should disclose the 2004 article provided by Dr. Bruce Ivins to the FBI regarding adding silica to the coat in Bacillus spore suspensions

        16. In April 2007, AUSA Kenneth Kohl Dr. Ivins telling he was not a target at a time when internal documents indicate he was a suspect.

        17. Question about hijacker’s leg lesion

        18, Federal Eagle envelope

        19. Reason for pattern of overtime

        21. Dr. Ivins’ group therapy meetings on dates of meeting

        22, What the DOJ’s expert says about the DOJ’s silly and contrived theory of the “code”

        23. Ayman Zawahiri’s April 1999 email to Atef

        24. Ayman’s use of “school” as code in May 2001 letter to EIJ members explaining why he chose to merge with Al Qaeda (without asking folks)

        25. Example of lab notebook page (on 10/4/2001) being wrongfully withheld by DOJ under FOIA

        26. The February 2001 PDB from the CIA to President Bush on anthrax that should be declassified and is important in explaining things as the August 2001 PDB was on the “planes operation”

        27. The relevant lab notebook pages should be provided

        28. Example: October 5, 2001 Ivins email wrongfully withheld / delayed until after press upon issuance of report

  9. DXer said

    Why did the DOJ and the former head of Amerithrax, Michael Rolince, not disclose that Jdey was detained at the same time as Moussaoui — and then released. See recent Harvard report by former CIA WMD head. The recent report says Jdey was carrying biology books while Moussaoui had cropduster manuals.

    Was it that the FBI was afraid of being blamed for allowing the anthrax mailings to happen — just as the Administration and DOJ were being blamed for allowing 911 to happen due to a failure to access Moussaoui’s laptop? (His connection to Ibn Khattab should have been known to constitute grounds under FISA to permit access).

  10. DXer said

    Dr. Tsonas, the attending physician, concurs. He did not take a picture and is just going by his notes.

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