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

* United States District Court Judge Lamberth criticizing failure to hold any government official accountable for paying Steven Hatfill $5.8 million after improperly accusing him of being a “person of interest” in the 2001 anthrax attacks

Posted by DXer on March 31, 2010

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Judge Lamberth

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, in a case brought by a former federal drug agent who accused the CIA of illegally spying on him when he was stationed overseas, chastised the government Tuesday for striking a $3 million settlement over alleged CIA misconduct without punishing anyone.

Lamberth said Tuesday that the payment, coming not long after a $6 million settlement with someone wrongly implicated in the 2001 anthrax letter attacks, is too costly to taxpayers to be swept under the rug.

Judge Lamberth’s comments on the Hatfill matter are as follows ..

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LMW COMMENT …

And who, indeed, will be held accountable for the FBI’s broader failure to solve the anthrax case at all, after 600,000 investigative man-hours?

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34 Responses to “* United States District Court Judge Lamberth criticizing failure to hold any government official accountable for paying Steven Hatfill $5.8 million after improperly accusing him of being a “person of interest” in the 2001 anthrax attacks”

  1. DXer said

    Attorney Grafft in “Legal Analysis of the Search Warrants” writes:

    “The FBI and other entitties withstood enormous pressures from internal sources and the public at large to identify and prosecute the criminal who instigated the 2001 anthrax attacks.”

    Does the author know that AUSA Lieber was forbidden from interviewing Ali Al-Timimi by her supervisor because a deal had been cut?

    How is it successfully withstanding pressure when the direction came from her supervisor? That is, that a resolution was precluded if it involved Ali Al-Timimi (who had been Andrew Card’s former assistant at Transportation). Al-Timimi was represented by the lead prosecutor’s daughter for free. The same supervisor who forbade her to interview Al-Timimi controlled resolution of Amerithrax. It is up to GAO to get the facts through interviews and analyze the investigation pursuant to the applicable standards of government accountability.

    After Dr. Ivins’ suicide, lead AUSA Ken Kohl was found guilty of prosecutorial misconduct by a federal district court in the very prominent Blackwater case. It is a wonder that these AUSAs had any time at all to give reasoned assessment to the evidence against Dr. Ivins. Hatfill’s former attorney Tom Connolly led the charge on behalf of one of the Blackwater defendants.

    GAO: Who gave the order? (To her credit, AUSA Lieber went anyway only to be reprimanded; but that reprimand demonstrates beyond a doubt that constraints were imposed on the investigation that cry out for review by the Government Accountability Office. The reprimand was in the context of great related turmoil in the office that involved the same personnel but was separate from Amerithrax except insofar as it related to the assignment of prosecutors in the office.

    My problem with the AUSA is not that she disagrees (reasonable people often disagree) — but that she did not discuss the work with the rabbits. “Rabbits” are NOWHERE mentioned.

    If the FBI and DOJ were unaware of the documents with the rabbits, that was negligent.

    If the FBI and DOJ were aware of his work with the rabbits and withheld all mention of them, that constitutes prosecutorial misconduct.

  2. Ike Solem said

    The firing of Van Harp in 2002 is an ever more curious issue, in that it apparently resulted in the entire restructuring of the FBI Amerithrax case and the reassignment of the FBI agents with the most knowledge of the case to new areas – right when the case had a major break.

    The allegations against Van Harp (his protests at being fired) were addressed in a Nov 12 2002 GBI Office of Inspector General Report:

    A Review of Allegations of a Double Standard of Discipline at the FBI November 15, 2002 Office of the Inspector General

    SAC Van Harp

    Van Harp, then the SAC of the Cleveland, Ohio field office and now the Assistant Director-In-Charge of the Washington field office, filed a travel request form stating that he was traveling to attend a “Conference.” However, he did not attend the October 10 training conference. Additional travel documents filed by Harp in October 1997 stated that he had traveled to Washington, D.C. for a Career Board meeting on October 9 and… OPR referred to the SES Board the question of whether Harp’s rationale for traveling to FBI Headquarters at the time of the Potts party constituted false or improper justification for official travel.

    This is pretty ridiculous stuff – the phrase “trumped up charges” might even apply – and it had been resolved in 1998!

    According to notes of the meeting, the Board discussed the unclear facts surrounding former Deputy Director Esposito’s encouragement to attend retirement events. This was viewed as a mitigating factor for the SACs who attended the Potts party.15 The notes from the Board meeting indicate that the Board felt there was “no harm, no foul” with respect to Collins’ trip, and that he did conduct some business during his trip. With respect to Gonzalez, the notes stated that the Board concluded it was a “bad practice,” and for Harp and Clark the notes state, “seems clear he did some business.” For Daulton, the notes state “reluctance to find lack of candor on a marginal fact.” It appears from the notes that there was some discussion as to whether the SACs used poor judgment, but the consensus of the Board was that the policies on SAC travel were “too unclear for culpability.”Two observers’ notes indicate that the Board voted for a letter of censure for Wolfinger, an oral reprimand for Louden, no action for Clark, Collins, Gonzalez, and Harp except restitution of their travel expenses, and a polygraph for Daulton.

    So, they dig up this old charge, and out goes Van Harp in what, Sep 2002, most likely, if the IG report was in November 2002. What did they decide?

    “In the face of what was perceived as a flagrant abuse of FBI travel vouchers, the punishment was only a letter of censure for a few of the FBI managers involved. We believe, based on our review of the facts and the FBI precedent, that this result was too lenient.”

    Now, get this – you have the biggest break in the detective side of the case, the bits not involving microbial and physical forensics, in Aug 2002. Rather than bringing more agents onto the case, they chop the head off the investigation, drop the number of agents, and hand everything off to Lambert.

    Lambert continues to harass Hatfill throughout 2003:

    A biowarfare expert who worked at USAMRIID from 1997 to 1999, Dr. Steven J. Hatfill, was followed for months in 2002 and 2003 by FBI surveillance teams. FBI investigators went to great lengths in their scrutiny of Hatfill, repeatedly searching his former apartment near Fort Detrick, bringing in bloodhounds in an attempt to trace a scent from the letters to him, and draining a pond near Frederick in search of discarded anthrax-making equipment.

    Lambert begins targeting USAMRIID in 2004 forcing everyone to sign gag orders, closing the lab, and searching the place from head to toe – but no such treatment is given to Dugway or Battelle, who are entirely ignored by Lambert – deliberately so?

    In fact, Battelle and Sandia are used as private contractors. Battelle was involved in sample processing at West Jeffeson, Ohio, at the NBFAC (location?), and Sandia-Lockheed was then tasked with looking at those (doctored, most likely) samples – all highly compartmentalized, so that Sandia wouldn’t be know what they were looking at. These are all major DOE contractors as well – again, consider the Wen Ho Lee similarities.

    Hatfill, instead of quietly committing suicide and so allowing the FBI to close the case, goes berserk and launches a half dozen lawsuits targeting everyone he can think of – such as the suits against USA Today and the New York Times seeking the identities of the “sources” used by people like Toni Locy, who claimed they were just protecting their anonymous sources while smearing innocent people… Hence creating a major problem for Mueller & Gonzales. Thus, the Department of Justice likely settled with Hatfill to protect the people who were working to cover up the true source of the attacks.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,104628,00.html

    Tuesday, December 02, 2003… Richard L. Lambert, the FBI inspector in charge of what is being called the “Amerithrax” investigation, says in a court document that Hatfill’s lawsuit could jeopardize the probe and expose national secrets related to U.S. bioweapons defense measures.

    Which means, I guess, that reporters can now print vicious unsubstantiated lies about whoever they want, as long as they claim they got the information for an anonymous source who they are “ethically barred from revealing?” Isn’t there some standard of responsibility that reporters have to adhere to?

    This is just as bad as the persecution of Wen Ho Lee – and quite frankly, Obama should make a formal apology to Hatfill, just as Clinton did in the Wen Ho Lee case.

    Lee later sued the U.S. government to gain the identity of those who leaked his name as “the spy” – and the Bush Administration probably settled the Wen Ho Lee lawsuit in 2006 to avoid having the Wen Ho Lee – Hatfill comparison enter the courtroom:

    Monday, May 22, 2006

    WASHINGTON (CNN) — A settlement “may be imminent” in a lawsuit brought against the government by former Energy Department nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee, according to his lawyers. The word of a possible settlement came in a filing to the U.S. Supreme Court, which five reporters are asking to intervene in their refusal to reveal sources in the FBI probe of Lee, who was investigated and later cleared of espionage involving missing nuclear research files.

    http://www.cnn.com/2006/LAW/05/22/scotus.wenholee/

    Obstruction of justice is also a “true crime,” by the way.

  3. Ike Solem said

    Well, this leads to the question: who decided to target Hatfill, and why did they do this? Why did they ignore the well-developed evidence pointing to a sophisticated preparation?

    Most importantly here, consider the timing – what was the first real break in the anthrax case in 2002? The only real break?

    The discovery of spores in the Princeton mailbox, correct? That was in August 2002 – and for the first time, there was solid evidence that the anthrax mailer had been in a specific place at a specific time – and not just one point in space&time, but two – 9/18 and 10/9.

    At this point, the investigation should have been ramped up to new levels – but instead, the exact opposite happened. The first FBI investigative team was sacked and gone by November 2002, correct? Van Harp was gone, and in came Richard Lambert, who is now the Oak Ridge FBI person after his 2002-2006 stint on the Amerithrax case.

    Interesting nexus here – consider Battelle:

    Jeffrey Wadsworth is president and chief executive officer of Battelle. He previously worked at Stanford University, Lockheed Missiles and Space Co., and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory before being named the director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 2003. He went on to lead Battelle’s Global Laboratory Operations business, where he oversaw the international nonprofit science and technology enterprise’s management, which now includes eight laboratories.

    Sandia National Laboratories, who the FBI relied on for their judgment of a low-tech spore preparation, is managed by Lockheed Missiles and Space Co.

    So here you have Richard Lambert running a disinformation program on behalf of Battelle, by all appearances, which leads suspicion away from Battelle and its contractors and the CIA/DIA managed biological threat assessment program, focusing it first on Hatfill, and then on USAMRIID and Bruce Ivins.

    However, consider the Princeton mailbox – you have to wonder if the FBI dug up a few leads there, just by cross-referencing all available information about travel to Princeton on 9/18 and 10/9, and someone was desperate to shut them down.

    That was the biggest break in the case – and yet immediately afterward, the case “went cold” and reporters ignored it until 2006 or so, when the FBI really started to sell the “low-tech” myth (a myth that DXer and Ed Lake have gone to lengths to promote, despite all scientific evidence to the contrary – and rather than dealing with the science, when faced with questions they resort to personal attacks.)

    I mean really, DXer, about the “steam from the teapot” effect – how do you process spores so that they vanish into thin air as individual uniform isolated spores, perfect for lodging in the lungs? With silicon foam and a lyophilizer? Hardly.

    • DXer said

      “Ike Solem said

      March 31, 2010 at 2:17 pm
      Well, this leads to the question: who decided to target Hatfill, and why did they do this? Why did they ignore the well-developed evidence pointing to a sophisticated preparation?”

      It only made sense to closely investigate him — and he agrees. It was only the leaking that violated the Privacy Act and was the subject of the settlement. (He worked in 1412 where Flask 1029 was kept in 1997).

      As for sophisticated preparation, you keep emphasizing that while ignoring that small scale preparation is indicated and that know-how travels in the minds of individuals. He listed knowledge of making dry powders on his resume. He had forged his PhD. While I disagree with the FBI’s conclusion in Amerithrax, the reality is that the FBI is commonly in the position of being damned if they do, and damned if they don’t. (They came under severe criticism by outsiders for not pursuing A Hatfill Theory). To fairly judge the FBI’s conclusion, one needs to read the record and compare the documents being characterized with the actual documents.

      “At this point, the investigation should have been ramped up to new levels – but instead, the exact opposite happened. The first FBI investigative team was sacked and gone by November 2002, correct? Van Harp was gone,”

      You keep saying this and I’ve corrected you four times. It’s very tiresome. As I’ve said repeatedly, Van Harp, even though he had reached mandatory retirement age of 57 the previous spring, had a one year extension until late Spring 2003. You are entitled to political views, but correct your facts after corrections are pointed out.

      Richard Lambert wrote a very important memo disagreeing with Director Mueller’s compartmentalization of the squads — he argued that it would prevent agents from connecting the dots. Although Director Mueller’s compartmentalization no doubt was in good faith, Agent Lambert’s concern seems to have been sound and his fear seems to have been realized.

      And you keep talking about the sophistication of the anthrax apparently not having read the September 2001 study done in Canada in which the performance parameters were the same — it immediately dispersed across the room.

      Barry talks about a trillion spore concentration never before seen, when that’s not true. See footnote on his memo done for SAIC for $500. It’s just pure spores that can be done on a small scale.

      Barry is on the interview talking about “it came out of our own” etc. etc. without having any appreciation that microbiology know-how travels in the mind of individuals and can be done by anyone.

      The political propagandists should spend more time reading the record and less time propagandizing.

      Political advocates should instead focus on issues like revolving door, avoiding conflicts of interest, enforcement of FOIA, transparency, accountability, compliance with treaty obligations.

      Addressing the “whodunnit” without reading the record is not sound.

      • DXer said

        In this radio interview when asked if Dr. Ivins ever had dry anthrax, he says no.

        On a minor note, I would mention again that people seem unaware of the dry powdered anthrax from South Africa that was in the freezer. I’ll link the record when I next come across it.

        But Barry makes a forceful case. As Barry would say, “Fellow human beings,” give it a listen. :0)

        The Anthrax Attacks and the System That Perpetrated Them — Barry Kissin _on Guns & Butter

        http://noliesradio.org/archives/14337
        This show was broadcast March 29, 2010.

      • Anonymous said

        “And you keep talking about the sophistication of the anthrax apparently not having read the September 2001 study done in Canada in which the performance parameters were the same — it immediately dispersed across the room.

        Barry talks about a trillion spore concentration never before seen, when that’s not true. See footnote on his memo done for SAIC for $500. It’s just pure spores that can be done on a small scale.”

        The Canadian study used a weaponized simulant – coated with silica.

        As far as the concentration being shockingly high is concerned – just refer to Ivins comparing the Daschle powder to the best weaponized powder simulants that the army had avaialable. I’d call the Daschle powder being orders of magnitude more potent than these simulants shocking by any standard.

        The link below from the FBI’s 3000 page release shows that Ivins was given around half a dozen dry powder samples that the government had available on October 25 2001 and asked Ivins to do plate counts. I’m assuming many of these samples were weaponized simulants from Dugway and elsewhere (some particualr samples say they were spray dried). The results Ivins obtained are astonishing – and explain why the 10^12 spores/gram made headlines. The closest weaponized simulant gave cfu counts 2 orders of magnitude less. Intriguingly there is a “bentonite” sample from which no colonies at all were produced ! (And today the government claim Ivins made a powder better than the Dugway simulants all on his own covertly in his lab)

        Page 121 at http://foia.fbi.gov/amerithrax/847545.PDF
        Analysis of samples from REDACTED

        Date analyzed – 24 October, 2001

        Date of report – 25 Ocxtober, 2001

        Samples:

        1. VIII-B 21 June 95 – Dried BT powder – 0.01322g

        2. VII-B Spray drier BT – 0.01722g

        3. I-B Dried Powder – 0.00470g

        4. IX-B Spray dried BT – 0.01118g

        5. VI-B Dried powder from fermentor run – 0.00659g

        6. V-B 21 June 95 – Dried powder from spray drier – 0.00639g

        7. IV-B Bentonite feed stock – 0.00865g

        I received the REDACTED samples (in small cryotubes in a ziplock bag) from REDACTED on the afternoon of 24 October, 2001. The tubes were weighed and estimated to contain about REDACTED of material each. To each tube REDACTED of sterile water for injenction was added to the material. After thorough mixing, the material was added to a second tube. The original tube was disinfected with bleach, dried and weighed. The net weight of the granular material was then determined and listed above. Ten fold dilutions of the suspensions were plated out onto TSA, then incubated overnight. Plate counts were made and the following concentrations were determined for the material.

        Samples:

        1. VIII-B 21 June 95 – Dried BT powder

        1.1×10^9 cfu per gram

        2. VII-B Spray drier BT

        2.2×10^10 cfu per gram

        3. I-B Dried Powder

        1.0×10^7 cfu per gram

        4. IX-B Spray dried BT

        9.5×10^9 cfu per gram

        5. VI-B Dried powder from fermentor run

        1.3×10^10 cfu per gram

        6. V-B 21 June 95 – Dried powder from spray drier

        5.0×10^9 cfu per gram

        7. IV-B Bentonite feed stock – 0.00865g

        no growth seen (<1.2×10^5 cfu per gram)

        Visual inspection of suspensions of the material under phase contrast microscopy demonstarted very poor preparations of spores. The preparations were all highly granular and did not easily go into suspension…………………

        Interpretations and conclusions: If these are preparations of bacterial spores they are all very poor preparations. The CFU per gram are very low. This preparation is less pure than the SPS02.88.01 preparation [Daschle powder] preparation examined on October 23, 2001 which had a count of 1.3X10^11 CFU per gram. This preparation is much less pure than the SPS02.57.03 [Daschle powder] preparation examined on October 17, 2001, which had a count of 2.1×10^12 per gram.

        That's what made the Daschle material special – as these results show in spectacular fashion.

        • Anonymous said

          Before any non-scientist makes a post here claiming “But the spores in RMR-1029 were pure spores so they’d plate out at 10^12 cfu/g as well” – let’s make something very clear.

          The spores in RMR-1029 are wet spores. They’ve always been wet – they were made in water and have been in water all their life.

          Drying spores into a powder is a different thing altogether. When you dry spores they clump into large agglomerations.

          If you were to dry RMR-1029 in a lypholizer and then use a mortar and pestle to grind the pellet into a “powder” you’d get large chunks of, say, 10,000 spores each. So when you re-disperse that in water you wouldn’t count 10^12 cfu/g – you’d count 10^8 cfu/g.

          The Daschle powder plated out as 10^12 cfu/g. It did that because it was an engineered powder.

        • DXer said

          And RHE says that the engineering involves repeated centrifugation.

          The technology, btw, that concentrated anthrax by a factor of 10 that was first available in a prototype in 2001 was called the MICROBIAL VAC and it was tested in the midwest in the summer. In addition, a prototype was at Iowa State University where there was a BL-3 and BL-3 Ag. It was funded by the US Army.

          It was portable.

        • DXer said

          One scientist who worked on it and presented on it (he tells me his role was limited to the statistics) was the colleague and a friend of the spraydrying expert — who used silica in mixing to make a dried powder — who was arrested the day and minute Al-Timimi’s residence was searched.

        • DXer said

          I spoke to the inventor of the device and he said that yes it could be used to weaponize anthrax but only on a small scale.

          It repeatedly centrifuges and filters the anthrax. It is used to concentrate samples.

        • DXer said

          The spraydrying expert quit his animal geneticist/ food researcher jobof many years to work as a volunteer for IANA, the charity for which Al-Timimi was the lead speaker.

          Al-Timimi supervised the founder of Egyptian Islamic Jihad in writing for on publication and then the EIJ founder wrote for IANA. The charity promoted Bin Laden’s sheiks.

          On the first anniversary of the letter to the Senators, Al-Timimi arranged to have a letter from Bin Laden’s sheik hand-delivered to every member of Congress threatening dire consequences if Iraq were invaded.

        • DXer said

          Al-Timimi had been Andrew Card’s assistant. He had a letter of commendation from the White House for classified work for the Navy while at the contractor SRA at the same time as Battelle consultant Charles Bailey (the former deputy USAMRIID Commander who turned prolific co-author of Ames research).

          If it had become known that the Administration had allowed this infiltration — the Bush Administration would never have won a second term. Al-Timimi’s dad worked at the Iraqi embassy in Washington.

          Tags: Project Clear Vision; Project Jefferson; DARPA; DIA; CIA; Battelle

        • DXer said

          911 imam Anwar Aulaqi was coordinating with both the 911 hijackers and Ali Al-Timimi.

        • DXer said

          The personal papers of Bassem Khafagi were found in Al-Timimi’s residence for safekeeping.

          Dr. Khafagi was the head of IANA, the charity promoting Bin Laden’s sheiks. In Ann Arbor.

          Tarek Hamouda, also in Ann Arbor, the fellow who came to Detrick to work alongside Bruce Ivins with virulent Ames and then went to Dugway, was Bassem’s friend. (Testing was also done at Edgewood and John Hopkins).

          Oh, did I mention that the record indicates that the FBI first obtained the papers showing the work Tarek did alongside Bruce in 2004?

        • DXer said

          Oh, wait. The FBI first obtained the correspondence indicating the work the former Zawahiri associate did with Bruce Ivins in February 2005, not 2004.

          That’s pretty startling given that it was Ayman Zawahiri who had said he was going to use charities and universities as the cover for developing anthrax to use against US targets for retaliation for the rendering of Egyptian Islamic Jihad leaders.

        • Anonymous said

          “Besides, there WERE clumps in the Leahy and Daschle powders. There’s a picture of one large clump HERE.”

          Pictures of spores touching one another are meaningless. The fact that Bruce Ivins plated out the Daschle spores and got 10^12 cfu/g is the all important meeasurement. This means that each colony was from a single spore.

          This contrasts STARKLY with the other powder simulants he measured and got orders of magnitude less counts. This doesn’t mean the other powders were only 0.01% spores and 99.99% debris. It means that in these cases each colony came from a CLUMP of thousands of spores.

          That’s what made the Daschle powder special. An engineered powder designed to disperse into SINGLE spores. The plating counts tell all and cannot be argued with.

        • DXer said

          His 2/13/2008 interview statement states:

          “In a report dated October 18, 2001, Ivins wrote about the concentrate and purity of the spores in the Daschle letter. In that report, he opined the evidence is not “garage” spores. When asked what he meant by garage spores, Ivins explained they were highly purified and had no vegetative cells, debris, or non-refractile spores. To produce spores of that quality, not only very sophisticated laboratory equipment necessary, but one must have extensive experience in the purification process. Based on these factors, it is Ivins’ opinion that the spores from the mail were grown/created in a laboratory and not someone’s home or garage.”

          In an earlier interview report, he summarized by saying Leahy product an “A”, Daschle a “B” and New York Post a “C.”

        • DXer said

          Dr. Alibek has said that just because you have a sophisticated product doesn’t mean that the process need be sophisticated.

          Sometimes the genius of a method lies in its simplicity.

        • DXer said

          In a March 31, 2003 public exchange sponsored by the Washington Post, in response to my written question submitted in advance, Ali Al-Timimi’s George Mason University colleague, Kenneth Alibek, said: “This anthrax wasn’t sophisticated, didn’t have coatings, had electric charge and many other things.” In other responses, he further explained: “There was no special need to add silica to this anthrax. Presence or absence of silica says nothing about whether it was state sponsored.” US bioweaponeer William Patrick took time out from advising GMU grad students and gave it a 7 out of 10 — calling it professionally done but not weapons grade. In an interview with CBS, William Patrick explained that he had been given a polygraph in June 2002 about the anthrax letters. He reports that “The FBI that they wanted me to become a part of their inner circle of–of experts, and that in order to become a part of that inner circle of technical experts, that I’d have to pass a polygraph test.”

          On April 11, 2003, Scott Shane reported that reverse engineering “carried out at the Army’s biodefense center at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, raises the disquieting possibility that al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups could create lethal bioweapons without scientific or financial help from a state.” Quoting one outside bioterrorism expert. “It shows you can have a fairly sophisticated product with fairly rudimentary methods.” At last report, the reverse engineering reportedly was not able to recreate the identical product with the same Silicon Signature.

          Lisa Bronson, deputy undersecretary of defense for technology security policy and proliferation, has said that commercially available equipment used to make powdered milk could be used to make powderized anthrax. A spray dryer is used in chemical and food processing to manufacture dried egg, powdered milk, animal feed, cake mixes, citrus juices, coffee, corn syrup, cream, creamers, dried eggs, potatoes, shortening, starch derivatives, tea, tomatoes, yeast, and — last but not least — yogurt. Washington State University also has an informative discussion on the web. Making dried milk is not rocket science and doesn’t require a PhD. But, if experience is any guide, Al Qaeda has PhDs and even rocket scientists who are sympathetic to its cause (indeed, even the father of Pakistan’s atomic bomb).

          In a Q&A from a March 31, 2003 exchange with Kenneth Alibek, he explained in response to a question I posed to him.

          “Q. Could someone expert in making dried milk make the product used in the Daschle and Leahy letters?
          A. Let me answer in this way — yes, actually, it would be the same technique to make a powderized anthrax, but at the same time we shouldn’t overestimate the complexity of making it. My opinion is this — in order to make this powder there is no need to have sophisticated equipment. Such a small amount, keep in mind that the people who did could have very simple equipment and very simple procedures. There is no need for industrial equipment. It would be enough to have small equipment. But at the same time, when people talk about it being ‘weaponized’ — I can’t say it was that sophisticated. I saw the particles — they were the size of 40 microns. We can’t say anything about the quality of this powder because we saw it after it had gone through mailing sorting machines which create very powerful pressure. There was no coating. What I saw on micrograph was no coating. It was natural spores and for some people they mistakenly thought it wasn’t. Some experts said there was [no] charge because it was fluffy and made a cloud when put on scale. This is another mistake. It did have charge.”

        • Anonymous said

          A colony formed from a single spore or a clump of 10,000 spores would be indistinguishable.

        • BugMaster said

          No, Ed, No!

          Wrong, Ed, Wrong! A colony that froms from a clump of two spores IS NOT TWICE AS LARGE!

        • BugMaster said

          Ed:

          Your total lack of experience and ignorance of what constitues a colony-forming unit is showing here.

        • Anonymous said

          Why would anyone respond to your dumb questions?

          It’s clear to everyone here that you only have an agenda to make dumb statements that support your agenda.

          You naturally ignore the FACT that the Daschle powder plated out orders of magnitude more potently than all six of the other powder simulants that the army had available. Instead you make stupendously ignorant statements to try to distract from the glaring difference between the Daschle powder and the weaponized simulants. The Daschle powder isn’t just twice as good as these simulants – it’s hundreds or thousands or even tens of thousands of times better.

          Since you cannot explain how Ivins could have created such an engineered weapon all on his own you resort to making stupefyingly irrelevant arguments.

          The numbers don’t lie. But hey, just ignore these pesky inconvenient numbers.

        • BugMaster said

          Ed,
          As a layperson, you do not understand the significance of a preparation that yeilds 1 trillion CFU’s per gram. The whole concept of colony forming units, direct (plate) counts, and what constitutes a single colony may be a bit much for you to understand. A bigger problem is that any explaination that casts doubt on the conclusions of your beloved FBI you dismiss out-of-hand.

        • Anonymous said

          “I’ve been discussing trillion per gram spore concentrations with scientists for over EIGHT years, including scientists who routinely make such preparations.”

          And you STILL don’t understand what taking a dry powder and plating it out at 10^12 cfu/g means.

          But that’s not too surprising. After all, after discussing silica with scientists for 6 years you believed that a coating of silica would make a spore heavier and harmless.

        • DXer said

          To be fair to Ed, he only mistakenly thought (and stridently argued) that the genetics pointed solely to Dr. Ivins — instead of hundreds of people — for 6 months.

          And so he is reducing his learning curve on most scientific issues from 6 years to 6 months.

          But when he has been fundamentally wrong on all the central scientific issues, you would think he would turn to just soliciting the opinion of experts and quoting them.

        • BugMaster said

          Ed:

          If you truly understood the concepts associated with the term “colony-forming-unit”, then you would also understand why the FBI cannot claim with much certainty that “Ivins submitted a false sample”.

          But that was their real “smoking gun”, wasn’t it?

        • BugMaster said

          Ed: We might as well just agree to disagree here. Unfortunaltey, the information that has been revealed since the FBI “closed the case” leads to only one conclusion:

          There was no case against Ivins.

          You are going to be proven wrong, Ed. Perhaps you should have an attorney review your website content to see if you may be subject to any anti-defamation lawsuits when that day comes. If a 15 or so year old car meets your needs, then good for you. But you don’t wnat to end up having to live in it!

        • BugMaster said

          I DO agree with you, Ed, regarding the possiblity of a “media blitz in May”. Sometimes, we do reach the same conclusion!

        • DXer said

          The FBI’s anthrax expert, John Ezzell, reports that it is his expert opinion that Dr. Ivins would not have been able to make the product mailed to Senator Leahy. See Nass blog.

          The various former chiefs of bacteriology also think he would not have been able to make the product.

          See, e.g., SIPRI Yearbook 2009: Armaments, Disarmament and International Security‎ – Page 431

          Stockholm International Peace Research Institute – Political Science – 2009 – 618 pages
          The former chief of bacteriology at USAMRIID, Kenneth Hedlund, stated that Ivins lacked the expertise to weaponize the anthrax used in the 2001 attacks.

    • BugMaster said

      Right, Ed.

      Barbara Hatch Rosenberg made them do it!

    • DXer said

      Ed, RMR-1029 limited things only to the same 377 people who had access to all the other strains in the building 1412 and 1425 and the many dozens or hundreds who had access downstream to genetically identical isolates.

      So while it narrowed things, genetics narrowed things not at all at USAMRIID and only a bit downstream.

  4. DXer said

    In Amerithrax, it was the father of the lawyer who represented “anthrax weapons suspect” Al-Timimi pro bono who was the leaker. He came over from the CIA’s Inspector General’s office. He joined the United States Attorney Office in September 2001 to assume the lead in Amerithrax proseuction:

    From deposition of lead Amerithrax prosecutor Daniel Seikaly,

    “Q. calls this article, quote ‘An exclusive look at the search for the perpetrator of America’s worst bioterror attack.” Did you tell Mr. Klaidman [of Newsweek] that you were giving him an exclusive on this information?

    [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]

    Q. Did you tell Mr. Klaidman that the FBI was acting on a tip when it searched the pond in Frederick?

    Q. Did you tell Mr. Klaidman that FBI agents had interviewed the acquaintance of Dr. Hatfill’s that was supposedly the tipster?

    [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]

    Q. Did you tell Mr. Klaidman that the acquaintance had told the FBI that Dr. Hatfill said toxic bacteria could be made in the woods and the evidence could be tossed in the lake?

    [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]

    Q. Did you tell Mr. Klaidman that the FBI might drain the entire pond the month after this report?

    [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]

    [Lawyer defending deposition] Mark, let me say something on the record so we all understand the assertion because the manner in which — or the type of questions you’re asking here. My client has been instructed to assert the Fifth Amendment privilege regardless of whether or not the answer to the question would be yes or no, because even if the answer were to be no, if he answered no to certain questions, I think an inference could be drawn from that as to what he does or doesn’t know.

    So I just want to make sure you understand in terms of our Fifth Amendment assertion here is that he’s asserting the Fifth Amendment privilege to questions that may have a yes or no answer, and it’s not fair to assume that the answer to every one of these questions would be yes or no if he were to answer the questions. Does that make sense?

    Q. It makes sense, but we will be seeking an adverse inference as to all questions where the fifth amendment is taken.

    ***

    Q. Mr. Seikaly, do you deny any of the statements attributed to you by Mr. Klaidman with respect to the [Newsweek bloodhound story]

    [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]

    Q Is it actually even true whether the search of the pond was prompted by a tip?

    Q. Are you aware of any information that might have been used as a predicate for the pond search having been obtained as the fruits of electronic surveillance?

    [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]

    Q Did you tell Mr. Klaidman that agents might be looking for a wet suit that could have been used to dispose of — that could have been used and disposed of by the anthrax attacker?

    [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]

    ***

    Q. Did you give Allan Lengel of The Washington Post any information reflected in this article?

    [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]

    Q. Mr. Lengel has testified that you told him the FBI search of the pond in Frederick was tied to Steven Hatfill and that it was triggered by a hypothetical statement Dr. Hatfill has made about anthrax; is that correct?

    A. That Mr. Lengel testified about that?

    Q. Is it correct that you told Mr. Lengel about those things?

    [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]

    Q. How did you know that the FBI’s search of the pond in Frederick was tied to Steven Hatfill?

    [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]

    ***

    Q. Why did you decide to disclose information to Mr. Lengel about the pond search?

    [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]

    ***

    Q Did you tell Mr. Lengel that the items recovered from the pond up to that point included a clear box with holes that could accommodate gloves?

    [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]

    ***

    Q Did you tell Mr. Lengel that the items recovered from the pond up that point included vials wrapped in plastic?

    [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]

    Q. Do you specifically deny making any statement that Mr. Lengel has attributed to you?

    [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]

    ***

    Q. How did you know that tests for the presence of anthrax bacteria on the equipment were continuing after two rounds of tests produced conflicting results?

    [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]

    Q. Why did you disclose that information to Mr. Lengel?

    [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]

    ***

    Q Did you tell Mr. Lengel that the search of the pond in Frederick netted nothing but a hodgepodge of items that did not appear to be linked to the case?

    [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]

    ***

    Q If we take the dates from Exhibits É, it appears that you disclosed investigative information to Mr. Lengel for articles that appeared in January 2003, May 2003, June 2003 and August 2003. Is that right?

    [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]

    ***

    Q. É Do you know whether you ever saw this e-mail before?

    A. I don’t believe I have.

    Q. Okay. Let’s look at the partially redacted paragraph. It says, quote, “WFO [Washington Field Office] has opened a leak investigation in an attempt to find out who spoke to Newsweek Magazine over the weekend about the bureau’s use of bloodhounds in the anthrax investigation,” closed quote. Do you see that?

    A. I do.

    Q. And the date of the email is August 5th, 2002.

    A. That’s correct.

    Q. The investigation that’s referenced here is about the story that you gave Mr. Klaidman, is it not?

    A. Assert my Fifth Amendment Privilege in response.

    ***

    Q. Okay. In the bottom e-mail, when Blier begins, “here is a summary of my conversation with Glen about the anthrax leak investigation.” Now, Bill Blier worked for you, did he not?

    A. Yes.

    Q. Did you know what Mr. Blier was referring to when he referred to, quote, the anthrax leak investigation?

    A. I believe that it was an investigation involving the possible compromise of classified information is my understanding. I did know about an investigation in that.

    ***

    Q And do you know whether that had anything to do with bloodhounds or Newsweek?

    A I don’t believe it did but I don’t know.

    ***

    Q You were aware of an anthrax investigation, yes?

    A. I was — I was aware that there was a discussion of an investigation involving the compromise of classified information arising from the anthrax investigation, the Amerithrax investigation. I do recall knowing that we were — we and the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Justice Department were concerned about this and were seeking to find out who compromised the classified information.

    ***

    Q. Did you think it remarkable in any way that bloodhounds could track a scent from anthrax letters that were ten months old to a Denny’s in Louisiana where someone had eaten the day before?

    [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]

    • DXer said

      His brother and sister-in-law publicly in 2002 advocated that terrorism should not be attributed to Bin Laden. His sister, now head of a major Arab contemporary affairs institute, once told the Washington Post has said that to be born in Palestinian is necessarily to be political.

      Judging from the record disclosed, the correspondence showing that a former Zawahiri associate worked alongside Bruce Ivins with virulent Ames was not obtained until 4 years after the mailing.

      But not to worry, they found some guy who liked pictures of women blindfolded and had been told he was suicidal before they swabbed him for DNA to test the semen stained panties.

      Kenneth Kohl, who worked with Dan all those years, says “Case closed.”

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