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

Archive for March 19th, 2010

* Holt demands Obama administration support further Amerithrax investigation … says FBI has stonewalled for a decade

Posted by DXer on March 19, 2010

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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 *

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UPDATE (3/19/10) … President Obama warned House Democrats this week that he will veto the intelligence authorization bill if it includes provisions intended to increase transparency within the CIA. It is the second time the White House has told the House Intelligence Committee that it will not support a version of the legislation that increases Congressional oversight of intelligence activities. The current draft of the bill would give the Government Accountability Office greater authority to review intelligence operations, require the executive branch to provide information about intelligence activities to the full House and Senate Intelligence committees and lay the groundwork for videotaping the interrogation of detainees in CIA custody.

LMW COMMENT … I tend to agree with the President regarding CIA transparency. The CIA is supposed to be a secret organization, doing secret and covert work on behalf of the American people. Congress has proven itself totally incapable of keeing secrets, even legitimate national security secrets. This issue, however, has nothing to do with the need to investigate the FBI’s failed anthrax investigation.

Congressman Holt’s Press Release  …

http://www.house.gov/apps/list/press/nj12_holt/maranthrax.html

March 18, 2010
Contact: Zach Goldberg
202-225-5801 (office)

  • (Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12), Chair of the Select Intelligence Oversight Panel and a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, today responded to the Obama Administration’s concerns about two provisions he included in the 2010 Intelligence Authorization Bill that passed the House.
  • One provision would require the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community to examine the possibility of a foreign connection to the 2001 anthrax attacks.
  • Another provision would require the videorecording of all pertinent interactions between CIA officers and detainees arrested in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

“I am not surprised at the FBI’s opposition to [a Congressional investigation], given the fact that they have stonewalled every House and Senate member who has sought information on this investigation over last decade,” Holt wrote.

“What surprises me is that an Administration that has pledged to be transparent and accountable would seek to block any review of the investigation in this matter.”

A copy of Holt’s letter to Peter Orzag,

Director of the Office of Management and Budget …

March 18, 2010
Peter Orzag
Director
Office of Management and Budget
Eisenhower Executive Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20503

Dear. Mr. Orzag,

I am in receipt of your letter of March 15 to Chairman Reyes regarding the Administration’s concerns over two provisions I included in the Fiscal Year 2010 Intelligence Authorization Act (H.R. 2701). Let me begin by addressing the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s claims regarding my provision on the “Amerithrax” investigation.

As you may know, the 2001 anthrax attacks evidently originated from a postal box in my Congressional district, and they disrupted the lives of people throughout the region and the country. For months, Central New Jersey residents lived in fear of a future attack and the possibility of receiving cross-contaminated mail. Mail service was delayed and people wondered whether there was a murderer at large in their midst. Further, my own Congressional office in Washington, D.C. was shut down after it was found to be contaminated with anthrax. Therefore I have followed closely the case and the investigation.

In the wake of the attacks and at a number of points thereafter, a number of media reports—citing government officials, usually anonymously—suggested a possible link between the attacks and foreign entities. Most of these stories attempted to link Iraq to the attacks, but questions have also been raised about whether the strain of anthrax used in the attacks had been supplied to foreign laboratories.

My provision in H.R. 2701 is designed to have the DNI IG address those issues, to determine whether, in fact, all available intelligence on this topic was supplied to investigators. The provision itself is unremarkable in its scope and does not, contrary to the Bureau’s assertion, constitute Congress directing the Inspector General of the intelligence community to “replicate” a criminal investigation.

However, I am not surprised at the FBI’s opposition to it, given the fact that they have stonewalled every House and Senate member who has sought information on this investigation over last decade. What surprises me is that an Administration that has pledged to be transparent and accountable would seek to block any review of the investigation in this matter.

The Bureau has asserted repeatedly and with confidence that the “Amerithrax” investigation is the most thorough they have ever conducted—claims they made even as they were erroneously pursuing Dr. Steven Hatfill. Instructing the DNI IG to ensure that all intelligence information was in fact passed to the FBI would not “undermine public confidence” in the investigation.

Many critical questions in this case remain unanswered, and there are many reason why there is not, nor ever has been, public confidence in the investigation or the FBI’s conclusions, precisely because it was botched at multiple points over more than eight years.

Indeed, opposing an independent examination of any aspect of the investigation will only fuel the public’s belief that the FBI’s case could not hold up in court, and that in fact the real killer may still be at large.

However, that is not the primary purpose of this provision in H.R. 2701. It is appropriate that the Intelligence Community contemplate whether it did consider this case and would consider a similar case properly to protect Americans from bioterrorist attacks. The people of central New Jersey, the Congress, and the Administration need to know that every lead—foreign and domestic—was supplied to the FBI and investigated thoroughly. My provision in H.R. 2701 would help ensure this goal is achieved, and I urge the Administration to support this provision.

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Thank you for your distinguished service to our nation.

Sincerely,

RUSH HOLT

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