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

* Why is the FBI asking everyone if they have ever seen olive oil in one of the aerosol rooms?

Posted by DXer on April 8, 2010

The FBI’s case against Dr. Ivins is bogus: no evidence, no witnesses, an impossible timeline. The real question is why the FBI persists in sticking to such a pathetic story. What are they hiding? I offer one “fictional” scenario in my novel CASE CLOSED, judged by many readers, including a highly respected official in the U.S. Intelligence Community, as “quite plausible.”

* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon *


24 Responses to “* Why is the FBI asking everyone if they have ever seen olive oil in one of the aerosol rooms?”

  1. DXer said

    To: Washington Field
    From: Washington Field
    Re: 279A-WF-222936-USAMRIID, 1/11/2006

    Click to access 847377.pdf

    “Difficulty was encountered during aerosol challenges when a high concentration of the challenge agent was present in the nebulizer, or when the challenge agent possessed a high protein content, or when the collection material in the AGI contained a high protein concentration. Bubbling of the challenge agent in the nebulizer interfered with aerosolization, thus diminishing the effectiveness of the challenge. During aerosol challenges of substances with high protein concentrations, bubbling often occurred in the AGI and material was sucked into the vacuum tube attached to the AGI. As a result, erroneous post-challenge concentrations were obtained. A lipid emulsio~ was used to prevent the bubbling. An antifoam emulsion was preferred; however, if antifoam was unavailable, olive oil was used as an alternative.”

  2. BugMaster said

    A very simple explanation is that olive oil was detected in the attack that was sent to New York, it was introduced as a crude antifoaming agent.

    I would also expect that olive oil was NOT detected in the more refined senate material.

  3. DXer said

  4. DXer said

    For those interested in attending the next National Academy of Sciences meeting, go to the link below and register.

    Will the NAS call on Dr. Bartick explain whether the photocopier alleged to have been used by Bruce Ivins was actually excluded? (a technology that will often be useful in the case of mailed pathogens)

    Will the NAS call on Dr. Stockham to explain whether the bloodhounds were actually alerting to olive oil rather than the scent of a glove-wearing perp who was careful to avoid all DNA and fingerprints? See Dr. Stockham study on irradiated paper and study on the Scent Transfer Unit -100.

    Will the NAS call on Dr. Ezzell explain whether he used a silanizing solution in the slurry before the lyophilization of the irradiated spores from Flask 1029 that he made for DARPA?

    Will the NAS call on Dr. Heine, Dr. Adamovicz, Dr. Andrews, and Dr. Hedlund to explain their view that Dr. Ivins couldn’t have grown and processed the anthrax like the government claims?

    Or will the NAS simply fail to address the scientific approaches actually used during the FBI’s investigation while the NAS’s study and violation of the Federal Advisory Committee Act prevents release of the documents exculpatory of Dr. Ivins?

    More Project Information and to provide FEEDBACK on the Project

    Meeting Information

    Project Title: Review of the Scientific Approaches used During the FBI’s Investigation of the 2001 Bacillus Anthracis Mailings

    PIN: BLSX-K-08-10-A

    Major Unit:
    Division on Earth and Life Studies

    Sub Unit:
    Board on Life Sciences
    Committee on Science, Technology, and Law

    Sharples, Fran

    Subject/Focus Area:

    Review of the Scientific Approaches used During the FBI’s Investigation of the 2001 Bacillus Anthracis Mailings
    April 22, 2010 – April 23, 2010
    Keck Center
    500 5th Street, NW
    Washington D.C. 20001

    If you would like to attend the sessions of this meeting that are open
    to the public or need more information please contact:

    Contact Name: Amanda Cline
    Phone: 202-334-3653
    Fax: 202-334-1289

    Please register to attend the open sessions of this meeting at

  5. BugMaster said

    Clearly they were interested in any process that involved an antifoaming agent.

    • BugMaster said

      And could be related to why the scent dogs “went berserk” in the resturant. (And it had nothing to do with Stephan J. Hatfill).

      • DXer said

        Bugmaster’s associating with olive oil with the bloodhounds is a fascinating issue to brainstorm.

        Let’s revisit when the investigation went to the dogs by pulling the Washington Field Office memo that mentions the use of the scent transfer unit.

        As a general matter, for those who believe in Tinkerbelle (one of the dogs used) , while most jurisdictions allow bloodhound evidence, courts generally have reservations about the possibility of inaccuracy of the evidence. The dog cannot be cross-examined. There is always the possibility that the dog may make a mistake. Accordingly, there are strict foundational requirements. The notion that such evidence is of slight probative value or must be viewed with caution stems at least in part from fear that a jury will be in awe of the animal’s apparent powers and will give the evidence too much weight (as the ABC and Newsweek reports amply illustrated). Putting aside for a moment use of the scent transfer device described in the Washington Field Office memo, five specific requirements are commonly required to establish an adequate foundation for dog-tracking evidence: (1) the handler was qualified to use the dog; (2) the dog was adequately trained; (3) the dog has been found reliable; (4) the dog was placed on the track where the guilty party had been; and (5) the trail was not stale or contaminated.

        For example, a bloodhound provided with the deceased tennis shoes might very reliably lead authorities to the deceased’s body in the woods. What would have been used for the scent pack here is the human scent, if any, on the letter on which the perpetrator rested his hand in writing the letter. Tennis shoes are far more likely to carry a scent than a piece of paper on which the perp rested his hand (while possibly using gloves) to write a 28-word letter. Just ask my wife. The dogs would not have been clued to the biological agent as biological agents such as anthrax tend not to have a distinctive scent. On the other hand, BugMaster raises an interesting question as to whether oleic acid, if it were used to process the anthrax, might have a scent.

        Here, there would be no such log for detecting anthrax because the use of the dog would not have been the subject of pre-911 testing and training showing the dog performed reliably under similar circumstances. At a minimum, the “trail” would have been contaminated by the irradiation and anthrax, and would have grown stale by the passage of time. The FDA concluded that irradiation can produce small changes in the taste, smell, and sometimes texture of foods and that consumers should be informed of this. Jurors should too. Remember that scene from “Miracle on 34th Street” where the official finding of the agency of the United States’ government was deemed binding on the prosecution? Imagine Attorney Connolly or Grannis calling FDA scientists who found irradiation caused changes in smell, no doubt amplified by the much keener sense of a bloodhound.

        The United States Post Office explains in a FAQ that “the materials in the mail are heated and may become chemically altered. Paper dries out and may become dusty, discolored, and brittle.” Some postal workers and federal agency staff have reported symptoms such as eye, nose, throat and skin irritation, headache, nausea and occasional nosebleeds. What does the USPS do under these circumstances? Their solution includes “[u]sing hypoallergenic deodorizers to eliminate any smells.” “Testing each batch of aired-out mail to ensure no detectable amounts of gas exist before delivery.” Alas, Tinkerbelle’s lengthy pre-911 log shows that perfume does not confuse her, but likely is silent on this question of irradiated paper. The prosecution witness who might testify that a bloodhound’s sense of smell is 200 times as powerful as a human’s sense of smell would merely be helping the defense argument. No amount of log keeping or experiments after the fact would serve to permit admissibility under the court precedent. The bloodhound evidence was always a bogus and hugely prejudical diversion since the first sensational Newsweek story.

        In any event, the mailer would have worn gloves and only briefly handled the letter. More broadly, there is an article that collects cases from 40 or so states and nothing approaching the delays has ever been found admissible. In a city landscape, the time period is much more restrictive. The Leahy letter, written by the perp sometime prior to the October 9, 2001 postmark, was not discovered until mid-November, and as of November 19, 2001 a protocol was still being developed for its opening. Thus, the 40 day period that had been passed by the (likely glove-wearing) perp already would have resulted in a stale trail.

        There is a separate additional issue of use of the “scent transfer unit” here. A “scent transfer unit” such as used here looks like a Dustbuster, modified with a small frame at the end to secure a piece of gauze over its intake opening. The user attaches a piece of sterile gauze to the unit, activates the unit, and holds it against the item from which the scent is to be taken (such as where the person sat the night before). Depending on the jurisdiction, the scent transfer unit, which is a new technology, may be subject to the rule regarding new scientific methodology. Under that rule, the proponent of such evidence must establish the new scientific principle or technique is sufficiently established to have gained general acceptance in the particular field in which it belongs under the circumstances of the case. Here, there is no such general acceptance as explained by Scott Shane in an article in the Baltimore Sun relying on experts in the Maryland area. The purpose of the requirement is to avoid factfinders from being misled by the `aura of infallibility’ that may surround unproved scientific methods. This would constitute a possible third independent grounds for excluding the evidence. Absent a training log showing the dog performed reliably under similar circumstances, given the time period that had passed, and in light of the use of the scent transfer unit, there is nothing the FBI or trainers would be able to do to save the admissibility of the bloodhound evidence because it will be found by a court to be unreliable. The trainers reportedly tested their dogs on irradiated paper — presumably before actually doing the search but after being asked to do so. That would not pass muster that past training be substantiated by a training log.

        Absent a pre-911 training log showing the dog performed reliably under similar circumstances, given the time period that had passed, and in light of the use of the scent transfer unit, there is nothing the FBI or trainers would be able to do to save the admissibility of the bloodhound evidence because it will be found by a court to be unreliable.

        Both of the major police bloodhound associations howl against the reliability of the Scent Transfer Unit used by the three blood handlers. One of the dog handlers, Dennis Slavin, is an urban planner and reserve officer with the South Pasadena Police Department. One of the other dog handlers is a civilian who runs his own bloodhound business. Shane, in his very impressive Baltimore Sun article, explained that an FBI agent, Rex Stockham, examining the technology for the FBI lab says: “It’s going to be criticized. I’m critical of it myself.” The President of the Bloodhound Association, who is critical of the technology used by these handlers, had testified 21 times, and likely will have testified 22 if the FBI attempts to rely on the evidence in a prosecution. Shane notes that a federal jury awarded $1.7 million last year to a man wrongly accused of rape after police identified him in part based on the use of Slavin’s bloodhound, TinkerBelle. Shane’s article gives the further example of their use in the sniper investigation, where “given the scent taken from spent shell casings, followed two false trails in Montgomery County. One led to a house, for which a search warrant was obtained and which turned out not be relevant. The other led to a dog-grooming parlor, the officer said.” Phew. It’s no wonder Lucy responded to Hatfill. He is a ladies’ man, after all.

        The New York Times also had an excellent article in December 2002 surveying the field that noted the case where dogs falsely indicated the presence of explosives in the cars of three medical students bound for Miami. The country watched the drama unfold on television as the men were held and authorities closed a major highway across Florida. No trace of explosives was found. When dog handlers are excited, dogs can overreact and give a false positive. “Dogs want rewards and so they will false alerts to get them. Dogs lie. We know they do,” an expert told the Times. One of ‘TinkerBelle’s most incredible talents,”her homepage touts, is her ability to find the person responsible for loading a gun using scent from an expended bullet casing.” Indeed, she finds the “smoking gun.” Most of all, the page notes, she too is a people person.

        With the investigation going to the dogs, nearly 100 law enforcement officers gathered to watch some of their colleagues jump in a lake near where Dr. Hatfill lived, and in late January 2003, the FBI continued searching the forest in Frederick. Locals were amused that some of the ponds had been dry earlier that year. While they may seem to enjoy their dinners at Georgetown, FBI agents and surveillance specialists do not have an easy job. The public demands that they exhaustively pursue all leads, but then there is an uproar if they cross some unpredictable line and step on — or run over someone’s toe. They did just that in Hatfill’s case and he got ticketed for putting his foot under the car’s tire.

        But let’s go back to square one and focus on the WFO memo describing the use of the Scent Transfer Unit to see if the above analysis withstands scrutiny. For starters, now that we have the modest disclosure by the DOJ, what was saved and the focus of the dog’s attention? The letters? Or the powder?

        • DXer said

          Performance Evaluation of the Scent Transfer Unit™ (STU-100) for Organic Compound Collection and Release

          Brian A. Eckenrode, Ph.D. 1 ; Scott A. Ramsey, M.S. 2 ; Rex A. Stockham, M.F.S. 3 ; Gary J. Van Berkel, Ph.D. 4 ; Keiji G. Asano, M.S. 4 ; and Dennis A. Wolf, Ph.D. 5

          1 Federal Bureau of Investigation, Counterterrorism/Forensic Science Research Unit, FBI Academy, Quantico, VA 22135.
          2 Federal Bureau of Investigation, Visiting Scientist Program through Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, FBI Academy, Quantico, VA 22135.
          3 Federal Bureau of Investigation, Explosives Unit, Quantico, VA 22135.
          4 Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Organic and Biological Mass Spectrometry Group, Oak Ridge, TN 37830.
          5 Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Computer Science and Mathematics Group, Oak Ridge, TN 37830.

          Correspondence to Additional information and reprint requests:
          Brian A. Eckenrode, Ph.D.
          FBI Academy
          Building 12
          Quantico, VA 22135

          forensic science • volatiles profile • scent • odor • canine • scent transfer

          ABSTRACT: The Scent Transfer Unit™ (STU-100) is a portable vacuum that uses airflow through a sterile gauze pad to capture a volatiles profile over evidentiary items for subsequent canine presentation to assist law enforcement personnel. This device was evaluated to determine its ability to trap and release organic compounds at ambient temperature under controlled laboratory conditions. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analyses using a five-component volatiles mixture in methanol injected directly into a capture pad indicated that compound release could be detected initially and 3 days after the time of collection. Additionally, 15 compounds of a 39-component toxic organic gaseous mixture (10–1000 parts per billion by volume [p.p.b.v]) were trapped, released, and detected in the headspace of a volatiles capture pad after being exposed to this mixture using the STU-100 with analysis via GC-MS. Component release efficiencies at ambient temperature varied with the analyte; however, typical values of c. 10% were obtained. Desorption at elevated temperatures of reported human odor/scent chemicals and colognes trapped by the STU-100 pads was measured and indicated that the STU-100 has a significant trapping efficiency at ambient temperature. Multivariate statistical analysis of subsequent mass spectral patterns was also performed.

        • DXer said

          There is no indication that the Natonal Academy of Sciences will be reviewing the work that was so central to the FBI’s handling of Amerithrax for the first 5 years of the Task Force — the same half decade that the investigators apparently had failed to bother to obtain the 20 pages of documents relating to the work with virulent Ames alongside Bruce Ivins by Zawahiri’s former associate. The investigation went to the dogs long before any outside critics with agendas turned up on the scene.

          Sleeping dogs could be left to lie if there wasn’t so much at stake.

          Survivability of Human Scent

          Rex A. Stockham
          Explosives and Hazardous Devices Examiner
          Explosives Unit
          Federal Bureau of Investigation
          Quantico, Virginia

          Dennis L. Slavin
          Bloodhound Handler
          South Pasadena Police Department
          South Pasadena, California

          William Kift
          Bloodhound Handler
          Police Service Dog Unit
          Long Beach Police Department
          Long Beach, California

      • DXer said

        The FBI website reports that in a feasibility study, “the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Southern California Bloodhound Handlers Coalition have shown the ability of bloodhounds to discriminate when scented from objects that were irradiated to remove possible contamination with biological agents (Stockham et al. 2004). In this study the scent samples were irradiated for one hour with average doses of 40.7 kGy and 39.5 kGy, and in six trials the bloodhounds were scented from the irradiated objects and correctly trailed and matched the scent to the target corresponding to the scent pad. Both of these studies attempt to determine the survivability of human scent in real-world situations.”

        Allison M. Curran, “Analysis of the Uniqueness and Persistence of Human Scent,” Forensic Science Communications April 2005– Volume 7 – Number 2

        This is part of the FBI’s science regarding biological agents. Thus, if the National Academy of Sciences has not reviewed this science, it has not accomplished its mission.

        • DXer said

          I’m picking up a scent that reminds me of the FBI’s lead bullet analysis.

        • DXer said

          For a 2003 state appellate decision reviewing the case law and finding the evidence inadmissible under the controlling standards, see

          In ruling that Kelly did not apply to the scent lineup evidence and rejecting Mitchell’s argument that an adequate foundation had not been established, the trial court essentially agreed with the approach taken in Winston v. State, supra, 78 S.W.3d at page 527, that the foundational elements required for admission of tracking and trailing evidence, such as those set forth in People v. Malgren, supra, 139 Cal.App.3d at page 238, could be modified to apply to this case.4 Nonetheless, as noted in People v. Leahy, supra, 8 Cal.4th at page 606, “a technique may be deemed ‘scientific’ for purposes of Kelly/Frye if ‘the unproven technique or procedure appears in both name and description to provide some definitive truth which the expert need only accurately recognize and relay to the jury.’ [Citation.]” A scent identification by Reilly appears to provide a definitive truth, with Reilly being analogous to a machine that D’Allura (and only D’Allura) can calibrate and read. Thus, we conclude that Kelly should have been applied to this evidence.

          We further conclude that, even if Kelly were not deemed to apply to scent identification evidence in general, a greater foundation than the one provided here is needed for its admission. In tracking and trailing, there is a history of canine performance which provides the basis for the fifth Malgren element — that this type of evidence will be admitted if it is shown that the dog was put on a fresh trail. For scent identification to be relevant, there must be some basis for assumptions made about degradation and contamination of scent, both before and during collection, as well as the uniqueness of each person’s odor, beyond the mere experiences of one trainer and one dog.

          Accordingly, scent lineup identification evidence was improperly admitted in this case.

    • DXer said

      Good catch from the documents, Ed. Dr. Ezzell says as “for antifoam, we used it back in the 80’s in fermentors to grow Sterne strain to produce anthrax toxin components.” I had asked him about antifoam. Seeing Bugmaster’s comment, I’ve now asked specifically about olive oil. But I’m thinking combining Ed’s excellent find from the record with this mention by JE, that the olive oil was used as an antifoam in challenges involving toxin proteins. As Ed says, it may have other uses besides being an anti-foam agent.

      The DARPA research project headed by the former Zawahiri associate which included testing at Johns Hopkins APL was known as the “salad oil” goop and involved an oil-in-water emulsion.

      Ed’s citation to PDF # is much appreciated as otherwise the record can be very unwieldy to use.

      See This Goop? It Kills Anthrax And the tiny biotech startup that invented it has been thrust into a national crisis that is upending its business.
      By Julie Creswell
      November 12, 2001

    • BugMaster said

      Olive oil also contains quite a bit of oleic acid in esterified form.

      According to wikipidia, oleic acid is sometimes used in pharmaceutical aerosol preparations.

      It is also a breakdown product in oils used to fry food.

      So any resturant with a deep fryer would have the scent of oleic acid, at least as far as a dog could detect.

      • DXer said

        Just as a factoid, one of the researchers whose residence was searched the same day and minute Al-Timimi’s search was a PhD with 350 pages on drying co-efficients related to making french fries. But it’s been years and I would have to go back to the dissertation to see if it involves oleic acid. An associate who was arrested as a material witness was a PhD food researcher who was expert with a spraydryer in making make powders (and he mixed with silica for rheological control). They were in the same locale but then the spraydrying expert left that area in August 2002 upon the FBI investigating the charity for which Al-Timimi was the lead speaker. I don’t know science or equipment but the french fry maker’s thesis involved a fluid bed dryer, I think.

        • DXer said

          What are the theories as to the tin signature in the attack anthrax? and the iron signature?

          In an unrelated matter, I once tested bottled water from all over the country looking at water profiles. (Dr. Bannan said it could have been in the water).

          One hypothesis out of many: Might olive oil been stored in a metal tin? It’s one hypothesis RHE suggests to me.

          FDA to recall more bottled water in bromate scare
          By Chris Mercer, 24-Aug-2006

          America’s food safety watchdog is expected to announce the recall of several bottled water drinks, thought to contain cancer-causing bromate above the legal limit in the US, has learned.

          The recall is expected to involve a range of private label bottled waters taken from the Springbrook Springs source in Concord, New York, including water sold by the TopCo co-operative under its Food Club brand.

          Long-term exposure to bromate may increase consumers’ risk of cancer, according to the US government’s Environmental Protection Agency.

          The news comes only a couple of weeks after upmarket US retailer Wegmans recalled its Food You Feel Good About Spring Water because of bromate.

          The issue throws up yet another problem for drinks makers after revelations about benzene in soft drinks earlier this year.

          The man behind the independent lab tests for bromate in water was lawyer Ross Getman, the same man who first alerted the FDA to the continuing presence of benzene in some soft drinks.

          He praised Wegmans for its speedy response over bromate. “Wegmans has demonstrated how a responsible corporation acts in connection with consumer health.”

          Bromate is formed in water when ozone and bromide ions react together. The chances of bromate in water are higher when ozone is used as a disinfectant for mineral water, and especially in the presence of calcium chloride, which is a bromide derivative.

          Guidelines on how to avoid bromate in water have been published by the International Ozone Association.

        • DXer said

          Some time after OPERATION IMMINENT HORIZON, when all the searches and arrests were made related to Al-Timimi’s associates, I tried to locate Nabil to ask him about french fries / oil thesis but didn’t find an email.

          Al-Timimi was the scientist sharing the suite with the DARPA-funded researchers while coordinating with the 911 imam and Bin Laden’s sheik. DARPA was the agency that Ivins was helping. And DARPA was using Ames from Flask 1029 to make a dried powder (they had asked dried dead spores be provided to JH-APL researchers.

          I don’t have the french fry/oil thesis handy (abstracted below) and will have to pull it up again. As I recall it, it was 350 pages and contained numerous charts of drying coefficients. By the time I got around to reading it, I couldn’t locate an email for him to ask about these things.

          In the press, he was describing the FBI’s search of his residence at 4 a.m., explaining he hadn’t done anything wrong (and he sounded sincere), and defending his friend, the IANA webmaster who was maintaining the website promoting Bin Laden’s two sheiks, for whom the founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad was its leading writer and Al-Timimi its leading speaker. The webmaster, Sami, was acquitted and then deported.

          I did speak briefly to his friend, another PhD food researcher, Ismail Diab, who was expert with a spaydryer and mixing with silica. In the field, silica, I believe, is used either for rheological control relating to storage of the feed in silos or as part of a microencapsulation to protect medicine being delivered to the cattle from being destroyed by enzymes before being digested). He thanked me for my interest but said too much was happening and he couldn’t talk.

          His supervisor, a WSU professor emeritus, tells me he (the professor) had consulted on the statistics of a US Army funded device called the MICROBIAL VAC (on the statistics). It could concentrate anthrax by a factor of 10. Its inventor B Bradley says, although its purpose was to concentrate samples for better detection, it could be used to make anthrax as a weapon on a small scale. (A prototype was at ISU and testing was done in the midwest in the summer of 2001).

          Dr. Diab was here a mile from me before 9/11, then went to where Sami Al-Hussayen was and where he had worked for years (they have access to Battelle’s PNL library). Then in August 2002, according to a news account, when the FBI began investigating, he came back here.

          He was arrested the day and minute Al-Timimi’s residence was searched as a material witness — but according to a news account he was never questioned so the magistrate made the DOJ loosen bail conditions.
          As I mentioned, I think we were at the shopping mall not long ago vying for Eric N’s book when it came out one early Sunday morning. We lived a mile apart at the time of the anthrax mailings but I never saw him at the grocery store to ask further about these matters.

          But it always amuses me when journalists and pundits think of Battelle scientists or US Army scientists as so sophisticated when the most expert drying experts, the functional polymerization experts, the spraydrying experts etc I know are Salafists supporting the blind sheik, Bin Laden’s sheiks etc. (The detention of those sheiks was the subject of Bin Laden’s Declaration of War against the United States).

          Here is the thesis:

          Deep-fat frying of potato strips : Simulation of heat and mass transfer during frying and experimental measurements of frying and texture

          Author Albaloushi, Nabil Saud
          ISBN/ISSN 9780496578863
          Broad Subject Agriculture
          Summary The potato processing industry needs improvements for their potato flying process for optimizing the quality and cost, especially in relation to the primary variable, which was oil content. Improved modeling is crucial to better understand and study the process. In this study four semi-empirical models were developed to simulate deep fat flying of “French fries” and the effects of drying on oil uptake and the texture of the final products were investigated. Twelve experiments were conducted under different predrying periods. The results of the Simple Transient (heat transfer) and Simple Crank (moisture and oil transfer) models with one variable showed reasonable agreement with experimental results. The Finite Surface Resistance Model showed closer agreement with the experimental results than the Simple Transient and Simple Crank models did, while the Variable Diffusivity models fit the data exactly because of the characteristics of the models.
          Refitting the models to the data using values from the parameter correlations showed that the ability of the simple models to make future predictions was better than the more complex models, the finite surface resistance and variable diffusivity models. The complex models displayed a greater effect from factors other than the one tested in this study (initial moisture). Other uncontrollable variables, such as oil physical properties, the bubbling density, and the crust formation reduced the effectiveness of the correlation results with the complex models. It was found that moisture content and crust formation in the potato strips has an effect on the thermal diffusivity, moisture diffusivity, and oil diffusivity, although the finite surface resistance model indicated the effect of resistance to heat and moisture transfer, but not oil uptake, at the surface of the strips was small during much of the process.

          A study of the effect of the initial moisture content of the potato strips on the oil uptake during the deep fat frying concluded that the moisture content of the strip surface was the limiting factor. The drying of potato strips during deep fat frying takes place completely in the falling rate period; therefore, it seems to be completely controlled by internal moisture mass transfer. The pre-drying process can control the oil uptake and the crispness of fried potato strips.

        • DXer said

          The Washington Post, in an article “Hardball Tactics in an Era of Threats,” dated September 3, 2006 summarized events relating to George Mason University microbiology graduate student Ali Al-Timimi. Al-Timimi had rock star status in Salafist circles and lectured in July 2001 (in Toronto) and August 2001 (in London) on the coming “end of times” and signs of the coming day of judgment. He spoke alongside officials of a charity, Islamic Assembly of North America (”IANA”) promoting the views of Bin Laden’s sheiks. Another speaker was Ali’s mentor, Bilal Philips, an undicted WTC 1993 conspirator. Bilal Philips worked in the early 1990s to recruit US servicemen according to testimony in that trial and interviews in which Dr. Philips explained the Saudi-funded program.

          The Washington Post explained last Fall:

          ‘In late 2002, the FBI’s Washington field office received two similar tips from local Muslims: Timimi was running ‘an Islamic group known as the Dar al-Arqam’ that had ‘conducted military-style training,’ FBI special agent John Wyman would later write in an affidavit.

          Wyman and another agent, Wade Ammerman, pounced on the tips. Searching the Internet, they found a speech by Timimi celebrating the crash of the space shuttle Columbia in 2003, according to the affidavit. The agents also found that Timimi was in contact with Sheikh Safar al-Hawali, a Saudi whose anti-Western speeches in the early 1990s had helped inspire bin Laden.

          The agents reached an alarming conclusion: ‘Timimi is an Islamist supporter of Bin Laden’ who was leading a group ‘training for jihad,’ the agent wrote in the affidavit. The FBI even came to speculate that Timimi, a doctoral candidate pursuing cancer gene research, might have been involved in the anthrax attacks.

          On a frigid day in February 2003, the FBI searched Timimi’s brick townhouse on Meadow Field Court, a cul-de-sac near Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax. Among the items they were seeking, according to court testimony: material on weapons of mass destruction.”

          The FBI first contacted Timimi shortly after 9/11. He met with FBI agents 7 or 8 times in the months leading up to his arrest. Al-Timimi is a US citizen born in Washington DC His house was searched, his passport taken and his telephone monitored. Ali Al Timimi defended his PhD thesis in computational biology shortly after his indictment for recruiting young men to fight the US.

          Some of his communications in 2002 with dissident Saudi sheik Sheik Safar al-Hawali, one of the two fundamentalist sheikhs who were friends and mentors of Bin Laden, were intercepted. The two radical sheiks had been imprisoned from 1994-1999. Al-Hawali’s detention was expressly the subject of Al Qaeda’s claim of responsibility for Bin Laden’s 1996 Declaration of War against the United States and the 1998 embassy bombings.

          Upon his indictment, in September 2004, al-Timimi explained he had been offered a plea bargain of 14 years, but he declined. He quoted Sayyid Qutb. He said he remembered “reading his books and loving his teaching” as a child, and that Qutb’s teaching was prevented from signing something that was false by “the finger that bears witness.” He noted that he and his lawyers asked that authorities hold off the indictment until he had received his PhD, but said that unfortunately they did not wait.

          The indictment against the paintball defendants alleged that at an Alexandria, Virginia residence, in the presence of a representative of BIF, the defendants watched videos depicting Mujahadeen engaged in Jihad and discussed a training camp in Bosnia. His defense lawyer says that the FBI searched the townhouse of “to connect him to the 9/11 attacks or to schemes to unleash a biological or nuclear attack.” Famed head of the former Russian bioweaponeering program Ken Alibek told me that he would occasionally see him in the hallways at George Mason, where they both were in the microbiology department, and was vaguely
          aware that he was an islamic hardliner. When what his defense counsel claims was an FBI attempt to link him to a planned biological attack failed, defense counsel says that investigators focused on his connections to the men who attended his lectures at the local Falls Church, Va. In the end, he was indicted just for inciting them to go to Afghanistan to defend the Taliban against the United States. During deliberations, he reportedly was very calm, reading Genome Technology and other scientific journals. He was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment plus 70 years.

          At the same time the FBI was searching the townhouse of PhD candidate Ali Timimi, searches and arrests moved forward elsewhere. In Moscow, Idaho, FBI agents interviewed Nabil Albaloushi. (They apparently searched his apartment at the same time they searched the apartment of IANA webmaster Sami al-Hussayen, who they had woken from bed at 4:00 a.m.) Albaloushi was a PhD candidate expert in drying foodstuffs. His thesis in 2003 was 350 pages filled with charts of drying coefficients.

          Interceptions showed a very close link between IANA’s Sami al-Hussayen and Sheikh al-Hawali, to include the setting up of web sites, the providing of vehicles for extended communication, and telephone contact with intermediaries of Sheikh al-Hawali. Al-Hussayen had al-Hawali’s phone number upon the search of his belongings upon his arrest. Former Washington State University animal geneticist and nutrition researcher Ismail Diab, who had moved to Syracuse to work for an IANA-spin-off, also was charged in Syracuse and released as a material witness to a financial investigation of the IANA affiliate “Help The Needy.” After the government failed to ask Dr. Diab any questions for nearly 3 months, the magistrate bail restrictions and removed the electronic monitoring and curfew requirements.

          In Moscow, Idaho, the activities by IANA webmaster Sami al-Hussayen that drew scrutiny involved these same two radical sheiks. U.S. officials say the two sheiks influenced al Qaeda’s belief that Muslims should wage holy war against the U.S. until it ceases to support Israel and withdraws from the Middle East. Sami Hussayen, who was acquitted, made numerous calls and wrote many e-mails to the two clerics, sometimes giving advice to them about running Arabic-language Web sites on which they espoused their anti-Western views.

          At his sentencing, Dr. Al-Timimi spoke in clear and measured tones:

          “I will not admit guilt nor seek the Court’s mercy. I do this not out of any disrespect to the Court. I do this simply because I am innocent. My claim of innocence is not because of any inherent misunderstanding on my part as to the nature of the crimes for which I was convicted nor is it because my Muslim belief recognizes sharia rather than secular law. It is merely because I am innocent. … We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. I declare the government’s recitation poor as it stripped those words of their meaning. *** Imprisonment of any term, as this Court well knows, is a crisis for the incarcerated and his or her loved ones. I am no exception to that. But the real crisis brought on my imprisonment, I sincerely believe is America’s. For if my conviction is to stand, it would mean that two hundred and thirty years of America’s tradition of protecting the individual from the tyrannies and whims of the sovereign will have come to an end. And that which is exploited today to persecute a single member of a minority will most assuredly come back to haunt the majority tomorrow.”

          KSM invoked George Washington in his statement to a military tribunal in March 2007. That was far less compelling because he was admitting to many serious crimes. The evidence presented at trial, however, was offered only to show that Dr. Al-Timimi was guilty of nothing other than exhorting some young men to go abroad and defend their faith. It seems that, under the government’s case, his only crime was to put his religion before his nation-state. He was sentenced to life in prison plus 70 years. As one Washington Post reporter said of such cases, the government seems to be engaged in shadow boxing.

          As Al-Timimi explained in his eloquent statement upon sentencing, he was convicted out of fear.

          The former head of the DARPA Biological Countermeasures Program, Dr. Stephen S. Morse, who oversaw the funding of programs such as at the GMU Center for Biodefense, in an interview airing on Charlie Rose on October 10, 2001, explained that there was no need for the public to fear. He noted that maybe the mailer had a personal reason — no reason to assume the Florida death related to terrorism or a large group. Dr. Morse urged that we put it into perspective and inform the public so as to remove the mystery. He explained we should not allow ourselves to feel fear. As reiterated in other interviews that week, he said mailed anthrax was not a great danger. As those words aired, more letters were en route from that mailbox at 10 Nassau St. in Princeton. The anthrax mailer asked a pointed question in the letter containing a much more highly refined product — product that aerosolized much more readily.

          The new batch of letters asked: “Are you afraid?”

          The answer was clearly yes.

          In a November 30, 2004 letter of appeal circulated in sympathetic circles in the US and the UK, Bilal Philips encouraged Muslims to assist Al-Timimi “financially, morally or politically.” The letter urged that “whatever the charges against him [Al-Timimi] may be, from an Islamic perspective they are false and contrived in order to silence the Da’wah to correct Islam.” Dr. Timimi has a substantial pending appeal relating to warrantless wiretapping and the First Amendment. Dr. Timimi’s attorney likely is understandably annoyed that they keep moving Al-Timimi between prisons. George Washington University Professor Turley, his counsel on appeal, explained that last year they were playing a game of “Where’s Waldo?”, preventing him from consulting with his client.

          The ongoing briefing is highly classified.

          But, hey, sometimes a french fry is just a french fry.

      • DXer said

        Jan 30, 2010 … Q Did you ever discuss with Mr. Isikoff whether bloodhounds had reacted at a Denny’s in Louisiana where Dr. Hatfill he supposedly eaten? ……/amerithrax-depositions/

      • DXer said

        Ed was always confused on the scent packs. He thought the scent was lifted from Hatfill’s clothing.

        Ed writes:
        “This indicates that the scent in the “scent packs” used by the bloodhounds to track Dr. Hatfill’s movements was probably obtained from an item of Dr. Hatfill’s clothing.
        The question is: Where did that baloney about “scent packs lifted from anthrax-tainted letters mailed to Sens. Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy” come from?”

        The Washington Field Office memo describes the process used to obtain the scent using the scent transfer unit. As with all other issues, Ed has refused to correct his mistake even though he confirms he has read the pages about the scent transfer unit.

        • DXer said

          There are 21 mistakes on the page addressing the bloodhounds and Dr. Hatfill.

          Steven J. Hatfill and The Clueless Media
          Aug 19, 2002 … “Steven J. Hatfill And The Clueless Media”. By Ed Lake Aug. 7-11, 2002 (updated June 10, 2003).

          If he just worked on those corrections he would reduce the total of 214 mistakes on his webpage by 10%.

      • DXer said

        Patent application title:

        Identification of Humans Through Characteristic Compounds Detected in Human Scent

        Inventors: Kenneth G. Furton Allison M. Curran
        Assignees: The Florida International University Board of Trus

        This patent says olive oil-based soaps show peaks for siloxane.

      • BugMaster said

        Good point, Ed.

        The olive oil question could be because the FBI was looking for something specific, or could have had nothing to do with much at all.

        And the dogs could have just wanted some pancakes!

    • DXer said

      This discusses testing re effect of irradiation of paper upon irradiation of the biological agent.

      Stockham, Slavin, Kift, Specialized Use of Human Scent in Criminal Investigations (2004)
      Forensic Science Communications July 2004 – Volume 6 – Number 3

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