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

* when did plans for an anthrax attack begin? consider this fictional excerpt from the novel CASE CLOSED

Posted by DXer on April 3, 2010

Ayman al-Zawahiri

NOTE: this is a portion of a DXer graphic; see the entire graphic at … https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/from-dxer-infiltration-of-u-s-biodefense-ayman-zawaharis-plan-to-use-anthrax-against-u-s-targets/

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When did terrorists first initiate plans to use anthrax?

in 1999? or many years before?

Consider this fictional scenario, beginning in 1982,

taken from my novel CASE CLOSED …

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CASE CLOSED, p.1

“When the prayer is ended, then disperse abroad in the land and seek of Allah’s grace, and remember Allah much, that you may be successful.”

The young man was enjoying his first class on his first day at college, a fine fall day in 1982. A studious, non-athletic boy with few friends from his high school years, he welcomed a new start in an environment where brains were important. He had been admitted to a prestigious university; he intended to become a scientist, perhaps majoring in biology or chemistry. But there were distribution requirements; he was in a class on comparative religion; he was fascinated.

He had been raised in a nominally Christian family, had known several Jews, but had never met a Muslim. He was thrilled by the story of how Mohammed had drawn together elements from Judaism and Christianity, combined these with his own revelation; how this new religion had spread across the world and now had over one billion adherents. He wasn’t sure if he was more impressed with the religious insights or the military skills that had been essential to the spread of Islam, but his mind was aflame. This was what college was all about, he thought. New ideas to stretch the mind.

That was Monday. On Friday, after the third class, he was approached by a slight boy with a middle eastern appearance.

“I see you’re attracted to the words of the Prophet. My name is Tarek bin Laden. I’m a Muslim. Perhaps we can study together.”

From this beginning, a deep friendship ensued. The two young men had endless discussions about many topics, but mostly religion. Tarek was exotic; imagine having a friend from Saudi Arabia. Nobody in his high school even knew where Saudi Arabia was. It didn’t hurt that Tarek bin Laden was also obscenely wealthy. With his friend’s money, new ways of living opened up that would otherwise have been inconceivable.

By his junior year, the young man was seriously considering whether to convert to Islam; he was surprised when Tarek discouraged him. “There are many ways to serve the Prophet,” Tarek said. “He will find a way for you.”

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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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16 Responses to “* when did plans for an anthrax attack begin? consider this fictional excerpt from the novel CASE CLOSED”

  1. Ike Solem said

    When did it all begin? Well, here’s an excerpt from a Federation of American Scientists report, Table 3:

    Of those countries that developed BW after World War II to the stage of weapons acquisition, virtually all either acquired all three categories of weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, chemical, and biological), or have acquired at least two categories and have made attempts to acquire the third. Thus:

    * The United States, USSR, South Africa, and presumably China procured all three types.
    * The United Kingdom and France procured nuclear and chemical weapons, and had offensive biological weapons programs.
    * Iraq (prior to 1991) had chemical and biological weapons and was in advanced development of nuclear weapons.
    * Israel has nuclear and chemical weapons, and an offensive BW program.
    * Iran has chemical and biological weapons, and seeks nuclear weapons.
    * Libya has chemical weapons, has sought nuclear weapons for decades, and is seeking biological weapons.
    * Syria has chemical weapons and an offensive biological weapons program.
    * North Korea has chemical weapons, has sought nuclear weapons, and (accepting the Russian assessment) apparently has biological weapons.
    * India and Pakistan have nuclear weapons. India has chemical weapons; its biological weapons capabilities are unknown.

    According to a statement by former CIA Director James Woolsey in 1994, nations developing and procuring BW have usually done so following their procurement of CW, and it has frequently been stated that various Arab states in the Middle East developed chemical weapons because Israel possessed nuclear weapons.

    http://www.fas.org/bwc/papers/dartmthb.htm

    Plenty of room for a wide variety of actors – but biological weapons come with genetic and other forensic fingerprints attached, making them very traceable – if you do the work. If you don’t do the work – the stable isotope analysis, say – then what is it but obstruction of justice? Plead incompetence instead?

    However, in reading such assessments, one must be wary of the political motivations of the authors. You have both those who want to play down some threats for political & economic purposes, and others who want to artificially inflate threats for the same reason. For example, the above 2000 paper claimed that “The government of Iraq lied for years about its production and possession of biological weapons stocks and delivery systems, and every indication is that they continue to lie about it.” There were plenty of indications that by 2000, the programs (initiated in the 1980s with US & British support) had been dismantled.

    Another issue is this: state or non-state actors? The above paper is clearly focused on state biowarfare programs as the real threat here, and devotes only a few paragraphs to dismissing private actors:

    All demonstrate the same result:

    * There is an extremely low incidence of real biological (or chemical) events, in contrast to the number of recent hoaxes, the latter spawned by administration and media hype since 1996 concerning the prospective likelihood and dangers of such events.

    * Those events that were real, and were actual examples of use, were overwhelmingly chemical, and even in that category, involved the use of easily available, off-the shelf, non-synthesized industrial products….

    * Excluding the preparation of ricin, a plant toxin which is relatively easy to prepare, there are only a few recorded instances in the years 1900 to 2000 of the preparation of biological pathogens in a private laboratory by a non-state actor.

    Spin or reality? It’s true that the technical difficulties with bioweapons and nuclear weapons are the reasons terrorist groups rely on cheap, simple explosives and hijackings, though. Nevertheless, those groups might try something like this, so you should look at it, right? Wrong:

    There were repeated statements in 1999, most prominently in the September 1999 GAO report, Combating Terrorism: Need for Comprehensive Threat and Risk Assessment of Chemical and Biological Attacks, that no threat analysis of this subject – an examination of specific potential actors, their capabilities and intentions, and potential feasibility – had ever been prepared inside the US government. Instead, contractors had produced vulnerability analyses, scenarios of effects that would follow release of a BW agent.

    In particular, didn’t they also do a “anthrax through the mail” vulnerability assessment, one of those contractors? The details & conclusions of that particular program have never been revealed.

    A major player in these “scenario assessments” was Science Applications International Corporation. This is where Hatfill was employed at the time of the anthrax mailings:

    Bio-warfare expert says he’ll prove his innocence
    The San Diego Union, Ron Kampeas
    Date: Aug 26, 2002

    Hatfill provided reporters with copies of what he said were time sheets for CIA contractor Science Applications International Corp., where he was working last year, that he said proved he couldn’t have mailed the letters. The time sheets show Hatfill worked overtime on the days the letters would have been mailed — Sept. 17 and Sept. 18, and Oct. 8 and Oct. 9 — which Hatfill said would have precluded a round trip from SAIC offices in suburban McClean, Va., to central New Jersey.

    Note that the Princeton mailbox was identified as the point of attack on Aug 12 2002.

    However, SAIC wasn’t doing the actual lab work aimed at replicating Soviet bioweapon ‘advances’ – that was all done at Battelle & Dugway – as far as we know. A complete list of the biological threat assessment programs and scenarios produced by the DIA/CIA contractors has never been published, by the way, nor the list of personnel associated with the programs – it’s unclear if the FBI did any investigation there at all.

    • DXer said

      “In particular, didn’t they also do a “anthrax through the mail” vulnerability assessment, one of those contractors? The details & conclusions of that particular program have never been revealed.”

      As I recall, the 2 page memo was published in its entirety. It cost $500 and was done by BP.

      The more substantive scientific study done in Canada was also published in its entirety.

      • DXer said

        In fact, the 2-pager referred to trillion spore concentration in one version and in another version that footnote was whited out.

        The Canadian study, done after the threat to use anthrax if the bail for the EIJ/VOC #2 was denied (Mahjoub had been #2 under Cairo Medical alum Agiza), found that the anthrax leaked before opening. Dr. Agiza was rendered to Cairo in December 2001.

      • DXer said

        I think it is worth bearing down on exactly what this memorandum said given that it theorized that a trillion spore concentration per gram. Hat tip to Ike for reminding us of it.
        According to David Tell in The Weekly Standard:

        “Patrick’s (very short) report was designed to serve as the first draft of a mass-distribution advisory pamphlet concerning the public health and emergency response issues raised by a then-much-publicized wave of anthrax hoax letters mailed to abortion clinics. Clinic employees around the country were being hosed down with misted bleach by well-meaning but ill-informed local police and ambulance crews. Hatfill, SAIC, and Patrick thought the nation could and should do better.”

        According to The Washington Post, William Patrick III was paid $500 for his report. Hatfill and a colleague took Patrick’s report to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and submitted it to its bioterrorism preparation center. As things turned out, the CDC was working on the same project, and produced the same findings and recommendations as Patrick.
        According to some media reports, Patrick’s report was a “blueprint” for the fatal mailings.

        “That lacks any sense at all,” [Dr. Hatfill’s attorney Victor M.] Glasberg said. “There is zero data in the report. It shows you what you do after it happens.”

        William Patrick consulted with Dr. Crockett, 2 doors down from Ali Al-Timimi, on her thesis at GMU.

        Here is ABC report:

        Blueprint for Anthrax Attack
        Government Scientist Commissioned Report on Hypothetical Attack
        By Brian Ross
        ABC News – June 27, 2002

        The former government scientist whose home was searched by the FBI this week commissioned a report three years ago on how to deal with an anthrax attack by mail, ABCNEWS has learned.

        The scientist, Steve Hatfill has denied to ABCNEWS any connection with the anthrax attacks that left five dead and at least 13 others ill last fall. But the FBI says he is one of 20 or 30 present and former government scientists who remain under scrutiny in the case.

        The FBI obtained a copy of the secret anthrax report last week just before agents raided Hatfill’s home in Frederick, Md., and a storage facility he maintains in Ocala, Fla.

        The report describes a hypothetical anthrax attack, specifying an amount and quality of anthrax that is remarkably similar to what was sent to the offices of U.S. Sens. Patrick Leahy and Tom Daschle last October.

        The report, obtained by ABCNEWS, was written in February 1999 by William Patrick III, a leading bioweapons expert and submitted to a defense contractor, Science Applications International Corporation where Hatfill worked at the time. It says that a terrorist would use 2.5 grams of powder in a standard envelope, about the same amount sent to Leahy, a Vermont Democrat and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

        Same Spores, Particle Sizes

        The report says any “more powder makes the envelope bulge and draws attention.”

        “Anytime you pick something up like this, and it seems to layout the whole story for you months or years before the fact, your immediate response is to step back and say ‘whoa, something may be going on here,'” said bioterrorism expert and ABCNEWS consultant Kyle Olson.

        The report also depicts the same number of spores, one trillion per gram, and particle size as actually were found in the Senate letters — a far more deadly anthrax than most experts thought doable.

        “Our attacker may very well have used this report as something of a — if not a template, then certainly as a rule of thumb,” said Olson.

        ***

        Hatfill said he consented to the search in an effort to clear his name. He told ABCNEWS he understood his background and comments made him a logical subject of the investigation. He has been interviewed by FBI agents four different times.”

    • DXer said

      Ike says:

      ” If you don’t do the work – the stable isotope analysis, say – then what is it but obstruction of justice?”

      Extensive work was done on isotope analysis. It was found to be inconclusive. One can certainly criticize the decision not to have the work submitted to the NAS so that the NAS could review the conclusion that the evidence was inconclusive. But given the number of peer-reviewed papers published on the isotope analysis issue by Kreuzer- Martin and JE, it is not fair to say the work was not done. The FBI scientist explained that different sources confounded analysis (medium vs. water). Here, the issue is fairly raised, though, as to identification of the toner. The examination done by the FBI excludes the toner of the copier allegedly used by Dr. Ivins. It is very wrong for that report not to be disclosed at the same time the DOJ falsely alleges that Dr. Ivins used that copier.

  2. DXer said

    According to an Egyptian islamist released not long after 9/11, Ayman Zawahiri first eyed anthrax as a weapon about 10 years before 2001. The former confidante of Zawahiri says he had made 15 recruitment attempts over the course of 10 years.

    Mark A. Gabriel, PhD, once taught at Al-Azhar in Egypt. He wrote a very lucid book Journey Into The Mind Of An Islamist Terrorist. He discusses a booklet Zawahiri wrote titled COVERT OPERATIONS which is available online in Arabic. The Nigerian underpants bomber Abdulmutallab wrote his father asking “when is lying allowed to deceive the enemy?”

    If you want to know how Zawahiri views deceit on such issues as battle plans and spying, read his own words online. Gabriel explains:

    “Ayman al-Zawahiri leads a busy terrorist organization, and he must solve practical problems. For example, he may want some Al-Qaeda members to blend in and live in the United States. If these men wore full beards and went to ultraconservative mosques to pray, they they would arouse suspicion and get put on a watch list. Instead, al-Zawahiri would want these operatives to go undercover and blend into society. However, these devout Muslims will not go undercover unless they believe they have permission to do so from the teachings of Islam. As a result, al-Zawahiri wrote a booklet titled
    COVERT OPERATIONS, which goes deep into Islamic teaching and history to describe how deceit can be a tool in Muslim life.”

    The entire book by al-Zawahiri is posted in the Arabic language website for al-Tawheed Jihad (The Pulpit of Monotheism and Jihad). Zawahiri concluded that “hiding one’s faith and being secretive was allowed especially in time of fear from prosecution of the infidels.” Indeed, his student group in Cairo in the 1970s was known as the “shaven beards.” The founder of one of the cells merged with Ayman’s to form the Egyptian Islamic Jihad then wrote for Al-Timimi’s charity IANA.

    Al-Zawahiri discussed two specific ways Muhammad used deceit in battle: (1) keeping battle plans secret, and (2) spying. The author writes: “Al-Zawahiri specifically gave radicals permission not to pray in the mosque or attend Friday sermons if it would compromise their position.” He noted that Al-Zawahiri sealed his argument with a very important quote from Ibn Taymiyyah (who was quoted by Al-Timimi upon his his indictment). Ever the practical man, Muhammad approved lying in three circumstances (1) during war, (2) to reconcile between two feuding parties, and (3) to a spouse in order to please her.

  3. DXer said

    Let’s go back to 1982 or thereabouts — a time when Ali Mohammed was recruiting Cairo Medical school student Dahab.

    Lance Williams of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote an eye-opening profile of Khalid Dahab, a Cairo Medical School drop-out who recruited US operatives for Al Qaeda. He was trained by Bin Laden’s head of intelligence, former US Army Sergeant Ali Mohammed. Ali Mohammed had recruited him while he was student at Cairo Medical in the early 1980s. The article was based on statements made in a Cairo court proceeding.

    Williams reports that Bin Laden personally congratulated Dahab, an Egyptian- born US Citizen, a Silicon Valley car salesman and member of Zawahri’s Egyptian Islamic Jihad/Vanguards of Conquest, for recruiting Islamist Americans into al Qaeda. The account of Dahab’s confession was first published in the October 10, 2001 edition of the London-based Arabic language newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat. Ali Mohamed was also a Silicon Valley resident. Ali Mohamed had traveled to Afghanistan in the mid-1990s to report to bin Laden on the success the two were having in recruiting Americans. Bin Laden told them that recruiting terrorists with American citizenship was a top priority.

    Ali Mohamed has admitted role in planning the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kenya, killing more than 200 people.

    Williams wrote: “Dahab’s confession supports the view of many terrorism experts that al Qaeda has “sleeper” operatives on station in the United States for future terrorist attacks.” Khaled Duran, an author and terrorism expert who has written about the Silicon Valley cell, said the recruits would be expected to “fade into the woodwork” until the organization needed them, he said. Williams continues: “His story, obtained from accounts of Egyptian court proceedings and interviews with people who knew him, is entwined with that of Mohamed, a former Egyptian military officer and aide to bin Laden who recruited Dahab into al Qaeda, brought him to America and became his handler.”

    Handsome and outgoing, Dahab spoke excellent English. He said he was from a wealthy Alexandria family. His mother was a physician and he was planning a career in medicine.

    “But Dahab told acquaintances he had been radicalized by a tragedy that happened when he was a schoolboy: his father, he claimed, had been among 108 people killed in the 1973 crash of a Cairo-bound Libyan Arab Airlines plane that was shot down by Israeli fighter jets when it strayed over the Sinai Peninsula, which at the time was occupied by Israel. He claimed that his father’s death — and Egypt’s failure to avenge it — had turned him against the Egyptian government and against Israel and the United States, as well. He said he was drawn toward Islamic Jihad, a radical movement that had assassinated President Anwar Sadat in 1981 in an effort to remake Egypt into a fundamentalist Muslim state.”

    Williams reports that it was while a medical student in about 1984, according to his confession, that Dahab met Mohamed, who then was an officer in the Egyptian commando forces and a Jihad operative planning to emigrate to the United States. Dahab came to the United States in 1986, obtaining a student visa by saying he wanted to study medicine. He rented an apartment in Santa Clara, where Ali Mohamed now lived with his American wife. He dropped the name Dahab, calling himself Khaled Mohamed or Ali Mohamed, the same name used by the man who had recruited him. “He sometimes claimed, falsely,” Williams explains, “that he had been a physician in Egypt, said people who met him.”

    “In 1992, Dahab married a junior college student from a tiny town in South Dakota whom he met while lawn-bowling in Santa Clara. His third wife converted to Islam. They had four children, and the marriage helped him win citizenship, acquaintances said. The family settled in a duplex near Santa Clara High School. Dahab struggled to support his family, court records show. He worked as a maintenance man at Kaiser Hospital in Santa Clara, then at National Semiconductor, then as a $30,000-per-year car salesman in San Jose.” In the mid-1990s, despite financial problems, “[h]e was often abroad, traveling extensively in the Middle East, vacationing in Pakistan, telling associates he was starting a chemical business in Egypt.”

    “In 1995, using a fake passport and identity documents, Dahab and Ali Mohammed smuggled Zawahiri into the US from Afghanistan for a covert fund-raising tour. Dahab reports that part of the money financed the bombing of the Egyptian Embassy in Pakistan. Dahab also said that at Mohamed’s direction he had gone to terrorist camps in Afghanistan in 1990 and trained guerrilla fighters to fly hang gliders. He said Islamic Jihad was planning a hand-glider assault to liberate imprisoned Jihad leaders, some of whom had been locked up since the assassination of Sadat.”

    A former friend remembers that Dahab turned up in the parking lot at the Al- Noor Mosque in Santa Clara, driving a station wagon with a hang glider in the back and saying he was bound for Afghanistan. “He said, ‘I am going to take (the aircraft) to Afghanistan and help the mujahedeen — I am going to take it over there and train people to fly it,’ ” the friend said. “People said, ‘Oh, you crazy guy — they thought he was joking.’ ” Jihad later canceled the attack, Dahab said in his confession.”

    Williams continues: “Meanwhile, Dahab said Mohamed gave him military training and taught him how to make letter bombs. Dahab said he had also worked as an al Qaeda communications specialist, aiding terrorists inside Egypt by patching through their calls to other operatives in Afghanistan and the Sudan. This helped the terrorists plan operations while avoiding electronic surveillance by Egyptian security forces who routinely wiretapped calls between Egypt and countries that harbored jihad terrorists.

    Also in the 1990s, Dahab said, he and Mohamed were told to begin recruiting U.S. citizens of Middle Eastern heritage. Dahab said the recruitment project had first been outlined to him by an al Qaeda fighter named Abdel Aziz Moussa al Jamal, who, according to Arabic press accounts, recently surfaced in Islamabad, Pakistan, serving as translator for Taliban envoy Abdul Salam Zaeef. On another visit to Afghanistan, Dahab said, he and Mohamed discussed the project with Zawahiri and bin Laden.” “Dahab told Egyptian authorities he and Mohamed had found 10 recruits, all of them naturalized U.S. citizens who had been born in the Middle East. The account of the confession did not name the recruits or provide other details about them.”

    Williams explains that Dahab was arrested and sent to an Egyptian prison. “By 1998, Dahab was spending more and more time abroad, and he told a family law judge in San Jose that he intended to move his family back to Egypt. In August 1998, while Dahab was in Egypt, al Qaeda mounted suicide attacks on the embassies in East Africa. Within weeks Ali Mohamed was arrested for complicity in the attack. He pled guilty. .

    In October 1998, the Egyptian military moved to crush Islamic Jihad by arresting more than 70 of the organization’s leaders. Dahab decided to flee, and on Oct. 28 booked a flight to the United States. According to Dahab acquaintances, Egyptian security police boarded the plane shortly before takeoff and took him away in handcuffs. Dahab confessed his involvement with al Qaeda and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.”

    Sleepers, the former head of Bin Laden’s intelligence (and a former US Army sergeant) Ali Mohammed testified, “don’t wear the traditional beards and they don’t pray at the mosques.” An Al Qaeda encyclopedia, Military Studies in the Jihad Against the Tyrants, advises sleepers to “have a general appearance that does not indicate Islamic orientation,” and for men not to wear a beard. The book also instructs sleepers not to denounce unjustice faced by the ummah, and not to use common Islamic expressions such as “peace be on you,” nor to go to Islamic locations, such as mosques.

    Consider the example of another “sleeper” or operative, Tarik Hamdi of Herndon, Virginia. ABC News employed him to help secure an interview with bin Laden in early 1998. ABC News transported Hamdi to Afghanistan, unaware that his real purpose in going there was to carry a replacement battery to bin Laden for the satellite telephone he would later use to order the embassy bombings in East Africa. ABC was also unaware that the CIA had planted a listening device in the phone. The successful CIA operation, however, did not serve to prevent the planning of the embassy operation. Ironically, it facilitated it. If we don’t learn from history, we are bound to repeat it.

    • DXer said

      DIA video

      • DXer said

        As explained by author Peter Lance in Triple Cross, after the 1998 embassy bombings, a ten-member federal team secretly entered the California residence of Ali Mohamed, Zawahiri’s former head of intelligence.’ They copied Mohamed’s hard drives and removed a series of CD-ROM and floppy disks. A memo titled “Cocktail” appeared to be a draft manual on sleeper cell structure.
        The file on cell structure read in part:

        “Every member knows how to do everything.

        Every member has a legal job as a cover (Student, worker, trade).

        Safety is the main concern, so the contingency plan is very important. Before working on the target you have (to) specify a rally point to meet in case of separation for any reason.

        The communications between the different groups are conducted through the dead drop only.

        Each group does not know anything about the other group, even Majmouat (the word means “the collected” or “the collection”). Al-qeyada does not know how many group(s) under its leadership. Only the group know each other because the members of one group only working with each other.”

        Mohammad Hasan Khalil al-Hakim took on Ali Mohammed’s role. His alias is easier to remember — Abu Jihad al-Masri. Al Masri means the Egyptian. Also known as Al-Hukaymah, he was the author of the description of the Amerithrax investigation in 2002. Born in 1961, Abu Jihad al-Masri joined the Egyptian Islamic Group in 1979. He was arrested in 1981 after Sadat’s assassination. He once was arrested alongside the blind sheik Abdel-Rahman. Hukaymah is reportedly connected to the blind sheikh’s successor Taha, the Islamic Group head who was in close touch in 1999 and 2000 with the NY-based US postal employee Sattar, the blind sheik’s “surrogate.”. Al-Hukaymah dedicated the treatise “[t]o the pious and the hidden who are not known when they come and who are not missed when they disappear — To those whom their God will answer when they pray to Him. To all the eyes that are vigilant late at night to bring victory to this religion.”

        The introduction of the 152-page book starts:

        “The Manhattan raid led to a radical change in the perception of American Security. After the northern half of the continent had been isolated from the rest of the world and its threats by two oceans, it now came from inside. The surprise hit the symbols of American power in its economic and security dimensions.”

        Published at al-Maqreze Center for Historical Studies website (www.almaqreze.com) by the one-time EIJ shura member al-Sibai, the section on the anthrax investigation appears to have been written in 2002.

        “The Anthrax Scandal:

        Over many months, there was an excited search for the person responsible for the worst biological terror attack on American soil. Six letters sent by mail to Leahy, Daschle, Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather, The New York Post and the offices of the National Enquirer in Florida, led to the sickening of 18 people and five deaths. The crime was especially scary because anthrax, which is a complex powder that scatters in the atmosphere, had spilled from the envelopes and spread through parts of the mail system and contaminated a Senate building. One year later, the main post office in Washington had not yet opened.
        The FBI is under great pressure to close this case, and the anthrax criminal is supposed to be alive and free. Two members of the Senate have asked to receive regular reports about this investigation from the FBI, and they have become increasingly impatient.”

        After a lengthy discussion of the focus on Hatfill, the author explains,

        “Until the investigators find material evidence that connects a person to the crime, they are forced to speculate about the motives and methods of the criminal. They are still casting a wide net. Law enforcement sources say they have issued hundreds of subpoenas and they are analyzing thousands of documents in search of new evidence.

        The evidence may be small and unseen – sweat or an odor on an envelope – but that is all that they need in order to attract the dogs.”

        Al-Hukaymah pointed to the Aldrich Ames incident and the FBI’s inability to find the perpetrator of the anthrax mailings as evidence that U.S intelligence can be defeated. Aldrich Ames, head of counterintelligence relating to the Russians, had a different rolex for different days of the week. He drove a new jaguar to work. Aldrich told the CIA that his money came from his wife’s foreign inheritance, and the CIA never required meaningful corroboration. So we should not be that surprised when someone known, to borrow Dr. Alibek’s description to me, as an “Islamic hardliner,” is given access to Center for Biodefense and ATCC facilities, to include a program funded by DARPA’s $13 million during the relevant period. Perhaps the focus should not be on more money for biodefense but on doing a better job at maintaining security. Perhaps focus should be on avoiding proliferation of know-how.

        Al-Hukaymah reportedly was Ayman’s connection to Mamdouh Ismail, an Egyptian defense attorney and a former member of “the Jihad group” who since the 1980’s has represented various Egyptians accused of terrorism offenses in Egypt. Mamdouh Ismail represented al-Nashar, the biochemist who was an expert on polymerization and had a key to the 7/7 bomber’s flat. Ismail was one of several hundred rounded up following the assassination of Anwar al-Sadat in 1981. He served three years. He represented Ayman Zawahiri’s family in connection with the rendition and detention of Ayman’s brother Muhammad in the Spring of 1999. Ismail was arrested on March 29, 2007.

        In 1999, Ismail was refused permission to establish an Islamist political party with the help of fellow lawyer attorney al-Zayyat. After the blind sheik said in March 1999 that an attempt through a political party should not be attempted, Al-Zayat and Mamdouh Ismail deferred and Attorney Ismail has publicly objected to a reconciliation between Cairo and Egyptian Islamic Jihad. The two had worked with EIJ shura member al-Sibai before he took refuge in the UK. Mamdouh Ismail now is accused of complicity in an “Egyptian project” of al-Qaeda, taking his orders from Ayman al-Zawahiri via al-Qaeda propaganda chief al-Hukaymah and the UK-based EIJ publicist Hani al-Sibai. Both al-Hukaymah and Al-Sibai deny the charge. Al Sibai considers himself historian of the movement and published his diaries in Al Hayat in 2004. He is at al-Maqreze Center for Historical Studies website that published the treatise that included the discussion of Amerithrax.

        Al-Hukaymah was apparently killed at the end of last month in a missile strike in late October 2008. Cairo-based IANA writer Kamal Habib says that the man was a member of Egyptian Islamic Jihad that had assassinated Sadat but was part of a second generation, not part of the first generation responsible for the assassination. Abu Jihad al-Masri was said by US authorities to operate in Iran as the head of media and propaganda for al-Qaeda, and “may also be the Chief of External Operations for al Qaeda”.

        Al-Hukaymah appeared in an August 2006 as-Sahab (al-Qaeda) video to announce the merger of al-Qaeda with part of the Egyptian Islamic Group. Ayman al-Zawahiri introduces him. The video claims that al-Hukaymah joined al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya in 1979 and was arrested in connection with the assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Al Sadat in 1981, and subsequently rearrested several times in various countries. Zawahiri claims in that video that Muhammad al-Islambouli (brother of assassin Khalid al-Islambouli) had joined al-Qaeda with al-Hukaymah.

        n addition to the analysis of the American intelligence community, the next month he wrote a short piece entitled Towards A New Strategy in Resisting the Occupier that appeared on a jihadist website. Abu Jihad Al-Masri emphasized the need to consider public opinion in planning operations.

    • DXer said

      There was a different Cairo Medical School Alum, however, who was Zawahiri’s tour guide on his last US tour.

      In 1995, Ayman came once again to the United States where he was accompanied by US Army Sergeant Ali Mohammed on his travels to California, then Brooklyn, then the Washington, D.C. area. Who did he visit in Washington,
      D.C.? Zawahiri traveled to the US in 1991 and 1995 under an alias (though the dates are disputed). Zawahiri sometimes was accompanied by two brothers, a New Jersey pharmacist and a California doctor, Ali Zaki (a fellow Cairo Medical alum who denies knowing who Zawahiri was). They were joined by a former US Army sergeant and key Al Qaeda operative, Ali Mohammed. In Santa Clara, Ayman reportedly stated at the home of Ali Mohammed, even though Mohammed had recently been subpoenaed to testify about what he knew about Bin Laden’s activities. Dr. Zaki says he was a good friend of Ali Mohammed and that it was widely known that Ali Mohammed was a liaison between the islamists in Afghanistan and the CIA. In one of his trips, he also reportedly went to Texas. One of the most important starting points of the FBI’s Amerithrax investigation should have been to trace the contacts that al-Zawahiri made on his last trip to the United States. He met with supporters associated with the Maktab Khidmat al-Mujahidin (the Al-Mujahidin services office) in the US.

      The troubles of Cairo Medical School graduate (’71), San Jose physician Ali Zaki, over taking Ayman Zawahiri and Bin Laden’s head of intelligence around the US in 1995 had just about faded from memory. In January 2000, a new problem then reared its head. In 1999, he had prescribed $164,000 in prescriptions for Viagara, a syringe of a drug for renal insufficiency and a vial for hypogonadism. (Bin Laden suffered from renal insufficiency.) The California Board governing physicians found that Dr. Zaki violated regulations because no patient was named and he had kept no records. The drugs were ordered ostensibly for a fictitious business MedChem. When an investigator went to check out the listing it was the address at 550 Bevans Drive it turned out to have been a recently closed deli called Landmark Gourmet Delicatessen. Owned by Hasan Ibrahim, the business had been evicted. According to the decision, the drugs reportedly were for resale abroad. If they were intended for Afghanistan, someone must have expected a lot of action with some virgins. Elzahabi in the September 2009 interview with journalist Colin Freeze was confident that God would find the time to provide him with the 72 virgins to which he felt he was entitled for keeping quiet about the 3 individuals whose picture he was shown. Perhaps erectile dysfunction was common there because of the cold, harsh conditions and the stress in that line of work. One of the allegations in the January 21, 2000 “Accusation” alleged that “On or about June 15, 1999, respondent ordered 100 bottles of Viagara, 30 tablets per bottle, at 100 milligram strength.” Cost: $164,000. Memories: Priceless. The public reprimand issued in August 2001 and is available online at the State agency’s website.

      • DXer said

        A memo seized in the 1995 arrest proposed flying an explosive laden plane into CIA headquarters. Anyone reading the Washington Post in the mid-1990s read about the plan to fly a plane into CIA headquarters over their morning coffee. The earlier plot to fly an airliner into the Eiffel tower by some Algerians connected to Bin Laden was also notable. Condi Rice professed not to have imagined the threat even though it was publicly known and even a threat at the G-8 conference.It’s important that as a country we learn from our mistakes and not pay short shrift to the evidence on the issue of modus operandi relating to Zawahiri’s planned use of anthrax.

        This was not the first time the Egyptian islamists sent letter bombs to newspaper offices in connection with an attack on the World Trade Center. NPR set the scene. It was January 2, 1997, at 9:15 a.m. at the National Press Building in Washington, D.C. The employee of the Saudi-owned newspaper Al Hayat began to open a letter. It was a Christmas card — the kind that plays a musical tune. It was white envelope, five and a half inches by six and a half inches, with a computer-generated address label attached. It had foreign postage and a post mark — a postmark appearing to be from Alexandria, Egypt. It looked suspiciously bulky, so he set it down and called the police. Minutes later they found a similar envelope. These were the first two of four letter bombs that would arrive at Al Hayat during the day. A fifth letter bomb addressed to the paper was intercepted at a nearby post office. They all looked the same. Two similar letter bombs addressed to the “parole officer” (a position that does not exist) arrived at the federal penitentiary at Leavenworth. It seemed evident how some Grinch had spent the holidays in Alexandria,
        Egypt.

        Egyptian Saif Adel (Makawwi), thought to be in Iran at the time, was involved in military planning. Adel was a colonel in the Egyptian Army’s Special Forces before joining Al Qaeda. He helped plan the 1998 attacks on the US embassies in Africa. He was also a planner in the attack on the USS Cole and has served as the liaison officer between Hezbollah and Al Qaeda. Adel assisted Atef, who had overall responsibility for Al Qaeda’s operations. According to Cairo Attorney Al-Zayyat, Makkawi had many times claimed responsibility for operations that were carried out inside Egypt but when the perpetrators were arrested, it would be al-Zawahiri’s name whose name they shouted loyalty to from the docks. After the letter al-Hayat letter bombs were sent in January 1997, Saif Adel (Makawwi) gave a statement denying responsibility on behalf of the Vanguards of Conquest. (He later would instruct Jdey on his martyrdom video, which was found in the rubble of Atef’s home; Atef was the commander from Cairo to whom Ayman Zawahiri reported on his anthrax planning.)

        On January 7, 1997 Saif Adel purporting to be speaking for the Egyptian Vanguards of Islamic Conquest said: “Those are messages of admonishment. There is no flirtation between us and the Americans in order for us to send them such alarming messages in such a manner.” Adel said that “the Vanguards of Conquest “are heavyweight and would not embark on such childish actions.” US press and political commentaries had hinted at the Vanguards of Conquest organization’s involvement in these attempts. In his statement to Al-Hayat, perhaps referring to the Egyptian Islamic Group, Adel added “I am surprised that we in particular, and not other parties, should be
        accused of such an operation.”

        He got admonished by the unnamed but official spokesman for the Vanguards organization. This other spokesmanchastisied him as not being authorized to speak for the organization (or even being a member). “We welcome any Muslim who wants to join us, and if Makkawi wants to [join us], he will be welcomed to the Vanguards march, but through the organizational channels. But if words are not coupled with actions, we tell him: Fear God, and you can use a different name other than the Vanguards to speak on its behalf.” The spokesman denounced Makkawi’s authority to speak for the group, referring to the January 5th statement it had made denying responsibility. The spokesperson for the Vanguards of Conquest apparently was Post Office employee Sattar’s friend, Al-Sirri, based in London.

        The FBI would not speculate as to who sent the letters or why. But this was your classic “duck that walks like a duck” situation. As NPR reported at the time, “analysts say that letter bombs are rarely sent in batches, and when they are it’s generally prompted by politics, not personal animus.” Al Hayat was a well respected and moderate newspaper. It was friendly to moderate Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt. That, without more, was accurately discerned by observers at the time as sufficient to make the newspaper outlet a target of the militant islamists. The newspaper, its editor explained, does not avoid criticizing militant islamists. The Al Hayat Editor-in-Chief explained: “We’ve been opposed to all
        extremists in the Arab world, especially the fundamentalists.” Mohammed Salameh, a central defendant in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, was sent to Leavenworth in 1994. The other three Egyptian extremists convicted in the bombing were sent to prisons in California, Indiana and Colorado. Like the blind sheik Abdel-Rahman, Salameh had complained of his conditions and asked to be avenged. The Blind Sheik was particularly irked that the prison officials did not cut his fingernails.

        Abdel-Rahman was convicted in 1995 of seditious conspiracy, bombing conspiracy, soliciting an attack on an U.S. military installation, and soliciting the murder of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. His followers were indicted for plotting to bomb bridges, tunnels and landmarks in New York for which Rahman allegedly had given his blessings. The mailing of deadly letters in connection with an earlier attack on the World Trade Center was not merely the modus operandi of militant islamists, it was the group’s signature. It’s their calling card. Khaled Abu el-Dahab, a naturalized American, from Silicon Valley, in a confession detailed in an Egyptian defense ministry document dated October 28, 1998, explained that he was trained to make booby-trapped letters to send to important people, as well as asked to enroll in American aviation schools to learn how to fly gliders and helicopters. He was a friend of Ali Mohammed, the former special forces officer in the Egyptian army and former US Army Sergeant. The modus operandi of these militant supporters of the blind sheik was known to be planes and booby-trapped letters.

        The Al Hayat reporters and editor were not expressing an opinion — though the owner did lay out various possibilities (e.g., Iraq, Iran etc.). The owner of the paper had commanded Saudi forces during the Persian Gulf War, when Bin Laden was so upset about American troops on the Arabian peninsula. Moreover, al Hayat had recently opened up a Bureau in Jerusalem, giving it a dateline of Jerusalem rather than al Quds, which some thought blasphemous. But none of the possibilities would plausibly explain why the letter bomb was sent to Leavensworth where three of the WTC 1993 defendants were imprisoned, including Ramzi Yousef’s lieutenant who had asked that his mistreatment be avenged. (That was the criminal genius who returned to Ryder to reclaim his deposit after blowing up the truck at WTC). Egyptian security officials argued that the letters were sent from outside of Egypt, the stamps were not available in Egypt, and that the postmark was not Alexandria as reported. Whatever the place of mailing, the sender likely was someone who was upset that KSM’s and Ramzi Yousef’s associates had been imprisoned, to include, most notably, the blind sheik. Whoever is responsible for the anthrax mailings, it is a very good bet that they are upset the blind sheik is detained. That should be at the center of any classified profile of the crime.

        On December 31, 1996 Mohammed Youssef was in Egypt — having gone to Egypt months before. The al Hayat letter bombs related to the detention and alleged mistreatment of the blind sheikh and the WTC bombers were sent 10 days earlier — on the Day of Measures. In 2006, he was named as co-defendant with Hassoun, Daher, Padilla and Jayyousi. Youssef was born in Alexandria. Do authorities suspect the “Florida cell” of being involved in the al Hayat letter bombs? Kifah Jayyousi’s “Islam Report” over the years — distributed by Adham Hassoun in Florida and Kassem Daher in Canada — expressed outrage at detention/extradition due to terrorism law and also what he perceived as attacks on his religion by some newspapers. His headlines on the internet groups blazed “Just In! First Muslim Victim of New Terrorism Law!: US Agents Arrest Paralegal Of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman Without Charge Prepares To Hand Him To Egyptian Regime,” soc.religion.islam, dated April 27, 1996 and “Islam Report (Newspaper Attacks Our Religion! Act Now!,” soc.religion.islam, Apr. 16, 1996

        In connection with the January 1997 letter bombs, Ayman got the know-how to send sophisticated electronic letter bombs from Iraqi intelligence according to one item from the highly controversial Feith memo. In the al Hayat letter bombings, Ayman allowed the finger to be pointed at Libya. In the Amerithrax letters, he allowed the finger to be pointed to a United States biodefense insider by the prosecutor who would have presented to any indictment to the grand jury. Born in Haifa in 1948, the man’s daughter then came to represent microbiologist Al-Timimi pro bono.

        After the Al Hayat letter bombs to newspapers in DC and NYC and people in symbolic positions, in January 1997, both the Blind Sheikh and his paralegal, Sattar, were quoted in separate articles in Al Hayat (in Arabic) denying that they or their supporters were responsible. The Blind Sheikh commented that al Hayat was fair and balanced in its coverage and his supporters would have no reason to “hit” them. The same sort of counterintuitive theory was raised in connection with the earlier letter bombing of newspapers to DC and New York City and people in symbolic positions. Sattar noted that the bombs were mailed on December 20, one day before the brief in support of the blind sheik on appeal. He questioned whether someone (like the FBI) was trying to undermine the appeal’s prospects. This time, Mr. Sattar did not need any help making the argument with respect to the anthrax letters. Numerous people with political agendas rushed to do it for him to include counsel for Bosnia and Herzogovina and legal advisor to the PLO, professor Francis Boyle. In accusing Dr. Ivins on the occasion of his death, the FBI embraced the same sort of theory — that is, when it was not grasping at other untenable theories relating to college sororities, incorrectly perceived anti-abortion news, or perceived financial motive.

        In September 2006, in a Sahab Media production called “Knowledge is for acting,” there is a clip in which Al Quds editor Atwan refers to his visit with Bin Laden in 1996 (see also his 2006 book The Secret History of al Qaeda). He says that Bin Laden was planning to attack America “and America prisons in particular.” That was an apparent reference to the Al Hayat letter bombs sent to newspapers and prisons in January 1997. There were recurrent references to Abdel-Rahman in the tape.

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