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

* Did the Amerithrax investigation go to the dogs early on? What were the bloodhounds smelling at the Denny’s when they reportedly went nuts?

Posted by DXer on April 12, 2010

The FBI’s case against Dr. Ivins is clearly 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 *

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55 Responses to “* Did the Amerithrax investigation go to the dogs early on? What were the bloodhounds smelling at the Denny’s when they reportedly went nuts?”

  1. DXer said

    June 7, 2018, 12:05 am
    Messrs. Comey, Fitzgerald, and Mueller aren’t in the business of seeking truth and justice.

    https://spectator.org/prosecutorial-fanatics/

    In a departure from standard practice, rather than investigating a supposed crime, for over a year now Mueller has been searching for one. The circular logic of Trump’s critics assumes that since Mueller is searching for a crime there must be one. But in fact, Mueller is no stranger to targeting innocent men.
    As FBI Director, Mueller managed the 2001 “Amerithrax” investigation. Mueller spent three years hounding Dr. Steven Hatfill, who he and Comey proclaimed with absolute certainty was their man. Their certainty was based on a false positive by a team of bloodhounds purportedly able to track the culprit’s scent from a year-old anthrax-laced envelope. In a previous case, the same team of bloodhounds helped convict a man falsely accused of rape, to whom a federal jury awarded $1.7 million in damages. Hatfill later received over three times that sum in damages for the hardship Mueller induced.

    At the time, Hatfill exposed the now-familiar tactic of “peddling groundless innuendo and half-information… to gullible reporters, who in turn repeat this to the public in the guise of news.”

    When given the opportunity to reflect on his mishandling of the investigation, Mueller went on record saying, “I do not apologize for any aspect of the investigation… it is erroneous to say there were mistakes.”

    There are few things more dangerous than power in the hands of someone who thinks himself infallible.

    Comment:

    But did Robert Mueller let the dogs out?

    Or did R. Scott Decker.

    I do think we need great clarity as to Amerithrax through the FBI’s compliance with FOIA. Specifically, the FBI, I venture, has selectively quoted emails from September and October 2001 and has refused to produce the emails that it relied upon. I’ve argued that the emails and documents from September and October 2001 being withheld will debunk the FBI’s Ivins Theory — and further demonstrate that Bruce Ivins did in fact have reason to be in the B3 lab those hours. (He was working on small animal experiments and there were required night and weekend checks). As much as I admire Robert Mueller, I think if it turns out that he knew this, then he has some very serious explaining to do before Congress.

    For those who think that President Trump should not resign (or be impeached), forcing the FBI to comply with FOIA in Amerithrax was their big chance — and Giuliani is having too much fun with loose talk (and even dancing) to have done the job that needed to be done.

    Anthrax, Al Qaeda and Ayman Zawahiri: The Infiltration of US Biodefense
    http://www.amerithrax.wordpress.com

  2. DXer said

    Decker, in his book last year, describes the use of the bloodhounds in developing evidence against Hatfill.

    I’ll leave it to others (this time) to revisit the adventures of Lucy, Knight and Tinkerbelle, a subject that I’ve written quite a lot about to include in this thread.

    “The next day we met the dog teams and drove to the Detrick Plaza Apartments in Frederick, Maryland. One by one, the handlers presented the bloodhounds with scent gauzes from the anthrax letters. Tinkerbelle went first. She began trailing across the complex’s black macadam parking lot, into the second building and up a set of stairs to a second-floor landing. Deliberately and slowly she continued. Suddenly, she stopped and faced an apartment door – the residence of Steven Jay Hatfill, Lucy and then Knight, separate and one at a time, repeated the walk. They each alerted in front of Hatfill’s door. (Hehe — do you think Lucy and Knight were tracking where Tinkerbelle had gone to get his treat?]

    The dog teams did not stop with the Detrick Plaza Apartments. We drove them from location to location, conducting a total of nineteen location checks in a single day. We checked known locations of Greg Kundson, John Ezzell, William “Bill” Patrick, and Hatfill’s current girlfriend, visiting residences in Gaithersburg, Brooksville, Bethesda, Clinton, Sharpsburg and Frederick, Maryland, and Washington DC, where Lucy, Knight and Tinkerbelle showed no inclination to trail. During the day, the dogs alerted only once more — at the former residence of Steven Hatfill’s past girlfriend.”

    Question: Dr. Ezzell handled the letters. Yet the dogs didn’t alert. That should have been as reliable an indication as anything that it was unvalidated hooey calculated to pressurize Hatfill.

    • DXer said

      Decker continued:

      “Early the next morning, Lucy, Knight, and Tinkerbelle were in air, bound for the home of the Bayou Bengals. Once on the ground, the dog teams met with the New Orleans FBI surveillance team who had been keeping an eye on Hatfill. They gave the handler a list of locations Hatfill had visited in Baton Rouge, as well as places hateful had to been near. The dogs trailed and alerted at the locations Hatfill had been and showed no interest in locations Hatfill had not been near.”

    • DXer said

      Fun fact: The FBI has failed to provide any of the forensic tests showing Ivins to be innocent — to include the canine deployment sheets.

    • DXer said

      Decker describes how in Fall 2002, the bloodhounds were called back from California.

      “The handlers and their canine partners — Lucy, Knight, and Tinkerbelle — were dispatched to the suburbs surrounding the nation’s capital. I would take a break from science and provide security for Tinkerbelle. For five days we traveled in a rented black Suburban to Bethesda, then Frederick and on to Silver Spring. We checked locations of persons with an association to Hatfill or a connection with anthrax research. At each opportunity, Tinkerbelle’s handler presented her with a scent pad containing odors of the Leahy letter. In Bethesda, she began to trail one block, and then a second before alerting at the apartment door of a Hatfill associate. We called in the senior canine, Knight. Lucy followed. One by one, as they had done outside haft’s apartment in the summer, each handler let his bloodhound sniff the scent of a sterilized anthrax letter and then was allowed to trail. On the first occasion Lucy ignored her opportunity, but given a second chance she trailed to the apartment door. As Knight and his handler and I watched, she jumped in an enthusiastic alert. Knight then followed suit, trailing and alerting, also on his second attempt.”

      ***

      In November, just before Thanksgiving, Rick Lambert called the dogs back again. For two days, they combed Gambrel State Park and the Municipal Forest above Frederick for locations Hatfill might have traveled. A small pond elicited multiple alerts from the bloodhounds.

      On the third they returned to Frederick while there was still date The dogs revisited the residence of Hatfill’s old girlfriend, where they had alerted during the summer — this time implementing strict controls, both positive and negative. The results agreed almost 100 percent with the earlier results. When presented with an unused scent pad, the negative control, they remained motionless and uninterested. When asked to sniff gauze used to capture scent from either Hatfill or the girlfriend — positive controls — they enthusiastically alerted in front of the residence.”

      ***

      Back at the task force office, Bob Roth and AMX-1 studied results. What had hateful been doing in the Frederick Municipal Forest? Why the interest in ponds feeding the Frederick watershed? After a year we still had no direct evidence, and headquarters wanted results. Perhaps Hatfill had thrown out makeshift laboratory equipment — the type he described in Emergency — into the pond the dogs had trailed to.”

    • DXer said

      Lucy and Tinkerbelle:

      May 2, 2016
      Using Human Scent Dogs to Track Down a Killer

      http://www.montefrancis.com/news/2016/5/2/using-human-scent-dogs-to-track-down-a-killer

    • DXer said

      Human Scent Detection: A Review of its Developments and Forensic Applications

      Article (PDF Available) · January 2008 
      Paola A Prada
      • Texas Tech University
      https://www.researchgate.net/publication/255172484_Human_Scent_Detection_A_Review_of_its_Developments_and_Forensic_Applications

  3. DXer said

    According to his book it was R. Scott Decker’s team that “pursued its first suspect [Hatfill] with dogged determination before realizing that the evidence did
    not add up.”

    Why did Decker approve use of the anthrax smelling bloodhounds? Based on what scientific study? Why did he then dismiss the technique when they alerted to Pat but Bruce?

    • DXer said

      Scott Decker describes in his recent book on Amerithrax that he provided security for Tinkerbelle:

      “For five days we traveled in a rented black Suburban to Bethesda, then Frederick and on to Silver Spring.”

      “We checked locations of persons with an association to Hatfill or a connection with anthrax research.” At each opportunity, Tinkerbelle’s handler presented her with a scent pad containing odors of the Leahy letter. In Bethesda, she began to trail one block, and then a second before alerting at the apartment door of a Hatfill associate. We called in the senior canine, Knight.”

      “One by one, as they had done outside Hatfill’s apartment in the summer, each handler let his bloodhound sniff the scent of a sterilized anthrax letter and then was allowed to trail. On the first occasion Lucy ignored her opportunity, but given a second chance she trailed to the apartment door. As Knight and his handler and I watched, she jumped in an enthusiastic alert. Knight then followed suit, trailing and alerting, also on his second attempt.”

      “For the better part of a week, the three canine teams traveled across two states conducting scent checks for almost twenty persons. In a small town northeast of Frederick the dogs alerted at the residence of Pat Fellows, Bruce’s assistant.” (p. 120)

  4. DXer said

    Human scent evidence and the STU-100 were discussed in this detailed and thoughtful court opinion. Court opinions are rarely so detailed and substantive.

    For this 2005 decision, the trial court read 42 articles in concluding that the human scent bloodhound evidence and STU-100 evidence would be admissible. (I have yet not pulled any result on appeal)

    The opinion notes that FBI Special Agent Rex Stockham had used the bloodhound human scent team 800 times between 2002 and the time of his 2005 testimony.

    Ted Hamm “has heard that on a scent article, the scent can last up to five years.”

    Putting aside whether you agree or not on the validity of the science, the pertinent narrow question is: Were Lucy and Tinkerbelle or other bloodhound deployed in Amerithrax as to Bruce Ivins, the man known to have the large repository of virulent Ames anthrax?

    How many deployments were there in Amerithrax? In how many of the deployments did the bloodhound(s) alert positively? Agent Rex Stockham can tell you that he and the California bloodhounds were widely used in Amerithrax.

    The GAO is tasked with assessing the science relied upon in Amerithrax investigation — such as the bloodhound human scent evidence. Human scent and STU-100 was an important part of that science relied upon in forming conclusions, according to the investigators interviewed by David Willman. See the dates of interview in his book. See also the Newsweek and ABC articles and Scott Shane article in the Baltimore Sun.

    Like the other science used in Amerithrax — to include the analysis of the ink, paper, toner, photocopier tracks, hair, fiber, digital forensics , chemical analysis of Flask 1029 etc, the evidence tended to be EXCULPATORY of Dr. Bruce Ivins.

    Instead, for their case, the FBI relied upon a psychic! see Willman book (His first counselor thought she was being pursued by murderous astral entities who wanted to kill her ; she thought murderous astral entities were attached to the clients in her new part-time counseling gig. In a 2009 book, she explained that she was psychotic the year she counseled Ivins and got her instructions each night from an alien. In August 2008, she told Ivins’ addictions counselor (freshly released from home detention for a second DWI) that Ivins was murderous . That was part of the chain of events leading up to the restraining order entered and then Dr. Ivins’ suicide and the FBI’s subsequent CYA mode.

    Amerithrax represents the greatest counterintelligence analysis failure in the history of the United States. When Scott Decker in his manuscript announces the use of carbon dating as pointing to Dr. Ivins’ guilt, the skeptical reader’s reaction should be: Hunh?

    Anthrax, Al Qaeda and Ayman Zawahiri: Infiltration of US Biodefense
    http://www.amerithrax.wordpress.com

    • DXer said

      For numerous court decisions on the issue, see

      Dog Law Reporter
      Reflections on the Society of Dogs and Men

      “Scent Identifications and Lineups in U.S. Courts”
      http://doglawreporter.blogspot.com/2010/05/scent-identifications-and-lineups-in-us.html

    • DXer said

      The bloodhounds did not alert to Bruce Ivins.

      The bloodhounds DID alert to Patricia Fellows, the lab technician spinning things against Ivins. (Willman, p. 200). The deployments occurred the latter half of 2002.

      The FBI should produce to GAO the bloodhound canine report relating to Bruce Ivins showing that there not a positive alert.

      It constitutes prosecutorial and investigative misconduct to withhold evidence tending to be exculpatory — whether from a judge, jury, the public, superiors — or the GAO..

    • DXer said

      The week this story in Newsweek came out about the bloodhounds alerting to Steve Hatfill (written by Mark Miller), I was corresponding with Mark about a fellow who had a mixer shipped from a block to where Atta purchased the plane tickets used on 911. As I recall, the fellow had more than one social security number and had only turned in two of three passports, as I best recall. But then the scent was lost when Tinkerbelle, Lucy and Knight took up the trail.

      Atta Made the 911 Reservation With Nawaf Al-Hazmi At Yuricom; If No Cars Were Passing And He Had Been There A Month Or Two Earlier, He Could Have Seen The Particulate Mixer Being Delivered By The Delivery Truck
      Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 27, 2012
      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/atta-made-the-911-reservation-with-nawaf-al-hazmi-at-yuricom-if-no-cars-were-passing-and-he-had-been-there-a-month-or-two-earlier-he-could-have-seen-the-particulate-mixer-being-delivered-by-the-de/

      Did AUSA Rachel Lieber And Investigator Edward Montooth Know That In Late August 2001 When Atta Booked The 911 Flight, He Was 88 Yards From Where The Particulate Mixer Had Been Delivered?
      Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 27, 2012
      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/did-ausa-rachel-lieber-and-investigator-edward-montooth-know-that-in-late-august-2001-when-atta-booked-the-911-flight-he-was-88-yards-from-where-the-particulate-mixer-had-been-delivered/

      In Late August 2001, When Atta Was In Fort Lee, NJ Planning 911 With Nawaf Al-Hamzi At 244 W. Main St., Did He Stumble Over The $100,000 Particulate Mixer That Had Been Delivered Just Feet Away At 215 Main St The Previous Month?
      Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 25, 2012
      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2012/01/25/in-late-august-2001-when-atta-was-in-fort-lee-nj-planning-911-with-nawaf-al-hamzi-at-244-w-main-st-did-he-stumble-over-the-100000-particulate-mixer-that-had-been-delivered-just-feet-away-at-2/

      http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/huntanthraxkiller.html

      Source: Newsweek, August 12, 2002 (posted August 5).

      The Hunt for the Anthrax Killer

      The FBI still doesn’t have enough evidence to arrest anyone, but agents do have intriguing new clues. An exclusive look at the search for the perpetrator of America’s worst bioterror attack

      By Mark Miller and Daniel Klaidman, NEWSWEEK

      Aug. 12 issue — The dogs, purebred bloodhounds with noses a thousand times more sensitive than a human’s, were barking and howling and straining at their leashes. Early last week FBI agents on the trail of last year’s anthrax attacker turned to a 16th-century technology to help solve a 21st-century crime.

      AGENTS PRESENTED the canines with scent packs lifted from anthrax-tainted letters mailed to Sens. Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy (long since decontaminated), hoping some faint, telltale trace of the perpetrator’s smell still remained months after the fact. The agents quietly brought the dogs to various locations frequented by a dozen people they considered possible suspects — hoping the hounds would match the scent on the letters. In place after place, the dogs had no reaction. But when the handlers approached the Frederick, Md., apartment building of Dr. Steven J. Hatfill, an eccentric 48-year-old scientist who had worked in one of the Army’s top bioweapons-research laboratories, the dogs immediately became agitated, NEWSWEEK has learned. “They went crazy,” says one law-enforcement source. The agents also brought the bloodhounds to the Washington, D.C., apartment of Hatfill’s girlfriend and to a Denny’s restaurant in Louisiana, where Hatfill had eaten the day before. In both places, the dogs jumped and barked, indicating they’d picked up the scent. (Bloodhounds are the only dogs whose powers of smell are admissible in court.)

      After months of frustration, the Feds believed they were finally on the verge of a breakthrough. Flamboyant and arrogant, with a penchant for exaggerating his achievements, Hatfill intrigued them. For years, he had loudly complained the United States wasn’t doing enough to prepare for a potential bioterror attack, and feared that his warnings weren’t being heeded. Then, the government suspended his security clearance after he failed questions on a polygraph exam he took while applying for a job at the CIA. The loss of his clearance put his job at a defense contractor at peril. The fact that the first anthrax letters went out a month later ultimately made investigators wonder: had the experience left him bitter enough to do something drastic?

      COOPERATIVE SUSPECT

      Something else about Hatfill caught their eye. Agents surveilling his apartment watched him as he pitched loads of his belongings into a dumpster behind his apartment building — getting rid of evidence, some agents wondered. Though the FBI says Hatfill has been cooperative all along, the dogs and the dumpster led agents to obtain a criminal-search warrant for Hatfill’s apartment — to turn up the heat. Agents arrived Thursday morning, with the bloodhounds in tow. When they entered the apartment, one of the dogs excitedly bounded right up to Hatfill. “When you see how the dogs go to everything that connected him, you say ‘Damn!’ ” says a law-enforcement official.

      Yet despite the hounds’ enthusiasm, when the Feds left the apartment hours later, they found nothing linking Hatfill to the crime (lab tests of their findings are ongoing). Agents who went into the dumpster found only a heap of Hatfill’s personal belongings. Hatfill, who knew he was being watched by the FBI and had complained to friends about it, had a perfectly good explanation: of course he was throwing things into the dumpster. He had recently accepted a job at Louisiana State University, and was cleaning out his apartment before the move. (Last week LSU placed Hatfill on a 30-day paid leave of absence.)

      Initial excitement, followed by dashed hopes, has typified the government’s maddening, months-long search for the person responsible for the worst bioterror attack on American soil. The six letters, mailed last fall to Leahy, Daschle, Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather, the New York Post and the Florida offices of the National Enquirer, wound up infecting 18 people and killing five. The crime was especially terrifying because the anthrax — a sophisticated, “aerosolized” powder — escaped from the envelopes, spread through parts of the nation’s mail system and contaminated an entire Senate office building. Nearly a year later, the main mail-handling center in Washington, D.C., has yet to be reopened.
      The FBI is under tremendous pressure to close the case—unlike the September 11 hijackers, the anthrax killer is presumably still alive, and at large. The two targeted senators demand regular progress reports from the bureau, and are becoming increasingly impatient.

      ***
      With Tom Masland, Mark Hosenball, Howard Fineman, Michael Isikoff, John Barry, Eleanor Clift and Mike Cadman. Research by Ruth Tenenbaum.

      • DXer said

        • DXer said

          A New Breed
          Scent Dog Program Gets Results

          http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2010/december/scent_122310/scent_122310

          Lucy and Tinkerbelle more recently were joined by Casey. No relation to the NSA Agent John Casey.

          “But our Human Scent Evidence Team (HSET), established in 2002 and now a full-time program in the ERTU, is something of a new breed. After they are trained and certified—a process that can take two to three years—HSET dogs can help point investigators in the right direction when time and resources may be in limited supply—and their efforts may later be scrutinized in the courtroom.”

          ***

          Here’s how the program works:
          At the crime scene, in addition to collecting fingerprints, DNA, and other evidence, ERT technicians collect scents by using a trace evidence vacuum similar to those used for collection of hair and fibers. Human scent traces, which can be obtained from almost any object, are vacuumed onto a sterile surgical dressing and placed in an airtight glass jar (they can be stored that way for an extended period of time).
          Dogs are trained to smell the collected scent by sniffing the scent pad and indicating either a scent match or a non-match. If there is a matching trail of human odor, the dog will follow an invisible “odor highway” in the same way humans might recognize streets, roadways, and intersections.
          In most cases handlers know nothing about the cases they are called in to work. They are simply given a scent pad and asked to follow a trail if one is found.
          Stockham is working with the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies to establish a uniform set of training and certification standards that would apply to all scent dogs used in investigations.
          “Our goal is to promote a science-driven program with the highest standards of training, certification, and professionalism,” Stockham explained. “It’s part of the FBI Laboratory’s commitment to provide exceptional forensic science services to our federal, state, local, and international law enforcement partners.”

  5. DXer said

    As I previously explained below in the thread below, according to FBI Special Agent Stockham in his sworn testimony, the demonstration done at the Patricks involved human scent on a sheet of paper, .

    Agent Stockham and the dogs were nearby waiting in Frederick — and they were told they would be called when it was time to come over and do the demonstration.

    At his civil deposition, he explained the demonstration was done.

    “A When I was asked to up with the dogs, we were asked just to show — it’s a technique, and a matter of fact, it’s — we talked about — Ted Hamm does a demonstration in the Times-Picayune, a similar demonstration where we were just asked to go out and show, it’’s called a missing member.

    So we have a sheet of paper and we put a couple of odors, human orders, on a sheet of paper. We have the two people who held the paper walk out, and they walk together and split. One hides, one comes back to the starting point. We have a dog come out, sniff the sheet of paper, and the dog will go find the person that’s missing.”

    Here are additional articles on the subject from the field.

    Does the cold nose know? The Unscientific Myth of the Dog Scent Lineup
    AE Taslitz – Hastings LJ, 1990 – HeinOnline
    http://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?handle=hein.journals/hastlj42&div=11&id=&page=

    Scent Identification in Criminal Investigations and Prosecutions: New Protocol Designs Improve Forensic Reliability
    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1664766

    John J. Ensminger et al., August 24, 2010

  6. DXer said

    For a discussion of the use of bloodhounds in Amerithrax, please see the canine deployment reports (redacted) obtainable under FOIA and also Scott Decker’s manuscript that is circulating.

    Here is commentary in the field at the time:

    http://leerburg.com/bloodhounds.htm

    Bloodhounds & Baloney

    On last night’s national news (8-05-02) there was yet another segment on the fictitious abilities of bloodhounds that can smell ghosts and track gremlins. It seems that a few bloodhound handlers have convinced unknowing government officials that their bloodhounds can get odor from the envelope of the letters that were mailed with anthrax.

    ***

    Let me be the first one to say that this is a scam on the part of these dog handlers. It is bad dog handling and it is bad law enforcement. The FBI should know better. At least one FBI agent has visited the scent identification training centers in Nunspeet Holland. Nunspeet is one of the top (if not the top) K9 scent identification training centers in the world.

    After his visit, this FBI agent then wrote and article on K9 Scent Identification of Humans for the FBI news letter which is sent out to all 28,000 FBI agents around the country. I will guarantee you that this article did not make any claims that bloodhounds can magically (through the expert training of Billy Bob) identify people and “SHOW INTEREST” in suspects from scent collected from letters that criminals sent months ago.

    ***

    After his visit, this FBI agent then wrote and article on K9 Scent Identification of Humans for the FBI news letter which is sent out to all 28,000 FBI agents around the country. I will guarantee you that this article did not make any claims that bloodhounds can magically (through the expert training of Billy Bob) identify people and “SHOW INTEREST” in suspects from scent collected from letters that criminals sent months ago.

    Nunspeet bases its training on scientific work that was performed by Dr. Adee Schoon – a Dutch PHD who did a thesis (which I have a copy sitting on my desk) titled “The performance of dogs in identifying humans by scent”. This thesis is the basis for all training and court work on the Dutch scent ID dogs.

    Dr. Sschoon’s work is based on sound science. Her study dealt extensively with: forensic practice’s and continuing training: evaluation of the performance of operational dogs (a three year study 1991 to 1993): reliability: the Analysis of Old and Newly Developed Methods.

    I have been to both the Federal Police Dog Schools in Nunspeet and Rotterdam Holland. I can tell you that only very special dogs with very extensive training in scent identification under controlled environment can be used to identify humans by collected and stored scent. I can also tell you that these bloodhound handlers have not had this training. No dog in the United states has had this training.

    I would bet every penny I own that if these bloodhounds were taken to Holland and asked to identify humans from properly collected and stored scent these bloodhounds would not have a clue. It would be embarrassing.

    This article is not about [Steve Hatfill]. If he indeed sent the anthrax letters then he deserves to rot in hell. The article is about the scam that these bloodhound handlers once again are playing games with the scenting abilities of their dogs. Their overstated claims are the reason that the scenting abilities of bloodhounds are being questioned in more and more courts. Judges are not stupid people, it does not take long to blow holes in the claims that these guys are making about their dogs scenting abilities.

  7. DXer said

    In her civil deposition in the Hatfill lawsuit against the United States, Virginia Patrick explained that the FBI Agents — one included Scott Decker — told her and her husband that the bloodhounds were the “smoking gun” that proved Dr. Hatfill was behind the anthrax mailings. She had been at the grocery store when agents came to get her — waiting to check out, she left with them without checking out. Her husband arrived back at the house at the same time with other agents.

    In the living room, agents told them they knew Hatfill was the mailer because of the “smoking gun” evidence. The entire news-reading world would soon know what the FBI suspected and what it claimed as the “smoking gun.”

    She knew that the bloodhounds — who arrived just 5 minutes from when one of the agents called — had been waiting nearby. She describes the demonstration as involving someone with a handkerchief and taking it behind a tree — and then the bloodhound finding the agent.

    I’ve previously described it as the “dog-and-pony” show (without the pony).

    This supposed “smoking gun” evidence pointed AWAY from Bruce Ivins. The FBI has not disclosed any of the canine deployment reports that were scanned and provided to the Washington Field Office.

    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/amerithrax-depositions-vol-6.pdf

    The “Hatfill Theory” was part of the same unstoppable train wreck as the “Ivins Theory.” There was a change of cars (investigators), but it was the same flawed train of reasoning and the investigators never overcame the earlier truncated emphasis of the investigation.
    Posted on May 10, 2011
    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/05/10/the-hatfill-theory-was-part-of-the-same-unstoppable-train-wreck-as-the-ivins-theory-there-was-a-change-of-cars-investigators-but-it-was-the-same-flawed-train-of-reasoning-and-the-inve/

    *The head of the Amerithrax prosecution Daniel Seikaly pled the Fifth Amendment about leaking the hyped Hatfill stories that derailed the Amerithrax investigation for 7 years. His daughter later came to represent “anthrax weapons suspect” (to borrow defense counsel’s phrase) Ali Al-Timimi pro bono. GAO: Was an apparent conflict of interest avoided on the grounds that her representation began after her father left DOJ? Or was there a continuing appearance of a conflict of interest?

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 3, 2011
    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/09/03/the-head-of-the-amerithrax-prosecution-daniel-seikaly-pled-the-fifth-amendment-about-leaking-the-hyped-hatfill-stories-that-derailed-the-amerithrax-investigation-for-7-years-his-daughter-later-ca/

  8. DXer said

    Rex Stockham and two dog handlers from Southern California address survivability of human scent in a lengthy memorandum dated October 2004. Thus, for the science relied upon by the FBI, I refer you to the lengthy memo online in “google scholar.”

    October 2004 – Volume 6 – Number 4
    Research and Technology

    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 link to the Rex Stockham et al. memo above is here:

      Survivability of Human Scent
      http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/lab/forensic-science-communications/fsc/oct2004/research/2004_10_research03.htm

      You can also find their related memo “Specialized Use of Human Scent in Criminal Investigations”

      http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/lab/forensic-science-communications/fsc/july2004/research/2004_03_research03.htm/

      The authors explain:

      “The use of the STU-100 has been controversial in several court proceedings. A review of defense expert witness testimonies and the subsequent appellate court decisions highlight the misunderstanding of human-scent evidence (California vs. Flores 2000; California vs. Willis 2002; California vs. Willis 2004).”

      Does Agent Stockham think that the technique was viable in connection with the anthrax letters that had been mailed nearly a year earlier — and had been irradiated? (I don’t).

      I will leave the debate about the FBI’s reliance on human scent in its criminal investigations to others. But I have this narrow question: Agent Stockham and Scott Decker: Were the dogs used in connection with Dr. Bruce Ivins? If so, what was the result? Can the report be disclosed?

      I babysat a guinea pig recently and loved how when I brought him to the garage while cleaning his cage, he sniffed his new environment. And today while sitting in a lounge chair, a groundhog walked past me — and then seeing me (their eyes are on the side) scampered under the dock. I would be the first to agree that animals are amazing. But the method needs to be validated just as lead bullet analysis and hair analysis should have been. People’s lives are at stake.

      • DXer said

        Although the author’s references are the best starting point, here is a 2003 article that provides some context for Agent Stockham’s and Scott Decker’s thinking on the subject.

        Harvey LM, Harvey JW
        Victor Valley College, Department of Biology, Victorville, CA 92392, USA.
        Journal of Forensic Sciences [2003, 48(4):811-816]
        Type: Journal Article, Validation Studies, Comparative Study

        Anecdotal evidence and legend have suggested that bloodhounds are capable of trailing and alerting to a human by his or her individual scent. This same evidence may be presented to a court of law in order to accuse a particular suspect or suspects of a crime. There is little to no scientific evidence confirming the bloodhound’s ability to trail and discriminate the scent of different individual humans. Eight bloodhounds (3 novice and 5 veteran), trained in human scent discrimination were used to determine the reliability of evidence, garnered through the use of bloodhounds, in a court of law. These dogs were placed on trails in an environment that simulated real-life scenarios. Results indicate that a veteran bloodhound can trail and correctly identify a person under various conditions. These data suggest that the potential error rate of a veteran bloodhound-handler team is low and can be a useful tool for law enforcement personnel.

    • DXer said

      Consider this recent study in which fallout from human scent was tested — the test subjects did not even touch the object.

      Again, the narrow question of my focus is: Is there a canine deployment sheet(s) for Dr. Ivins? How many deployments were there as to all subjects. What percentage of those deployments resulted in alerts?

      Individual human odor fallout as detected by trained canines☆

      Petra Vyplelová, Václav Vokálek, Ludvík Pinc, Zuzana Pacáková, Luděk Bartoš, Milena Santariová,Zuzana Čapková
      Received: June 12, 2013; Received in revised form: October 7, 2013; Accepted: October 8, 2013;

      Abstract
      We tested the hypothesis that if odor fallout (the release of a human’s odor onto an untouched object) in human subjects exists, then holding a hand above an absorbent will produce a detectable scent which will be subsequently matched in a detection test by trained canines. Scents were collected from seven males to sterile cotton absorbent squares. The left hand was used to get the control scent and the right hand served as the target scent. Each experimental subject was sitting; his left hand was laid down on a cotton square for 3 min. The right hand was held 5 cm above another cotton square for 3 min. The scent identification was done by two specially trained police German shepherds. These canines had routinely performed scent identification line-ups as part of criminal investigation procedures. Both canines performed 14 line-ups and correctly matched the collected scents of all test subjects. The results suggest the existence of human odor fallout, whereby a human scent trace is left by humans even if they do not touch an object.

      http://www.fsijournal.org/article/S0379-0738(13)00463-5/fulltext

  9. DXer said

    The mailed letters were used as the scent article. At Denny’s were the dogs alerting to olive oil used in connection with the mailed letters? Denny’s sells french fries.

    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/04/08/why-is-the-fbi-asking-everyone-if-they-have-ever-seen-olive-oil-in-one-of-the-aerosol-rooms/

    The bloodhounds were an important scientific method used in Amerithrax that served to seriously derail the investigation even though the method had never been validated.

    Scott Decker has some explaining to do.

    By way of some background, someone — very likely Agent Roth but possibly Dawson — asked the canine unit to do a demonstration for Virginia Patrick, William Patrick’s wife. (pp. 182-183 of Rex Stockham civil deposition).

    (I don’t know whether it is true but a the time it was said Agent Roth was living with a local ABC reporter. That would explain a lot).

    The late Dr. William Patrick was a highly respected and preeminent expert at making dried powder out of virulent anthrax. He kept the method for weaponizing anthrax in black notebooks on the shelf in his den. He discussed it with people at conferences. He would often walk the halls of GMU where Ali Al-TImimi shared a suite with the leading DARPA-funded Ames researchers — the researchers’ work with virulent Ames was done in downtown Frederick at SRI. William Patrick was thanked by the scientist, Dr. Crockett, whose office was next to Al-Timimi’s. Her PhD thesis discussed whether the mailed anthrax was microencapsulated.

    The dog-and-pony show at the Patricks’ home (without the pony) involved doing a demonstration that the FBI canine unit members call the “missing member.” A similar demonstration was done for the Times-Picayune.

    Scott Decker was at the scene of the Virginia Patrick demonstration. Scott Decker and the other Scott were at the Patrick’s house when Stockham showed up.

    Stockham and the dogs were nearby waiting in Frederick — and they were told they would be called when it was time to come over and do the demonstration.

    “A When I was asked to up with the dogs, we were asked just to show — it’s a technique, and a matter of fact, it’s — we talked about — Ted Hamm does a demonstration in the Times-Picayune, a similar demonstration where we were just asked to go out and show, it’’s called a missing member.

    So we have a sheet of paper and we put a couple of odors, human orders, on a sheet of paper. We have the two people who held the paper walk out, and they walk together and split. One hides, one comes back to the starting point. We have a dog come out, sniff the sheet of paper, and the dog will go find the person that’s missing.”

    Dr. Ivins from the start was known to have the largest repository of virulent Ames. The FBI has not produced the canine deployment sheet(s) relating to Dr. Ivins. Stockham was interviewed by two women from the Washington Field Office about the Amerithrax deployments.

    If Scott Decker really thought that this was a viable technique, then surely he would have used in on the holder of the largest repository of virulent Ames. Scott, what was the result?

    Rex Stockham, in his civil deposition in the lawsuit brought by Steve Hatfill, explained the canine deployment sheets that were filled out. I will eventually upload the full deposition but already have uploaded extensive excerpts.

    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/amerithrax-depositions-vol-8.pdf

    The deployment sheets withheld by the FBI provide the date and time, case identification, what scent article the handlers were using, the place where they were conducting the search, the outcome of the search, witnesses, and things like GPS coordinates.

    If the dog alerted, that is in the canine deployment sheet.

    GAO should obtain the canine deployment sheets used for Bruce Ivins. For example, how does it describe the scent article used?

    Why is the FBI allowed to selectively disclose evidence? Why isn’t the hallmark of the scientific method an objective, balanced disclosure of evidence — including evidence tending to be exculpatory?

    If the bloodhounds alerted to Dr. Hatfill but not Ivins — that should be disclosed. If the FBI did not use the method on Dr. Ivins — which is always possible — that should be disclosed. (Highly selective use of the method would, without more, point to a problem with the use of the method).

    With the disclosure of the deployment sheet(s) as to Dr. Ivins, then the FBI can address whether the use of the bloodhounds, using the anthrax letters as the scent articles dogs — using human odor on the mailed letters (“the scent articles”) — was crock. For example, in the “missing member” demonstration, did the individuals use gloves? Was the paper wiped of fingerprints? Had many months passed? Had the paper been irradiated? Handled by numerous people?

    Given the number of hoax letters, there is every reason that Rex Stockham is continuing to use this method. GAO should address the method so that the FBI has the benefit of lessons learned on the reliability of scientific methods used.

    The bloodhound that bounded up to me in a store one day — reportedly on a “bring your dog to work day” — is a beautiful dog. But she had no interest in my hand and sniffed but didn’t pause. (As I saw her bounding up through the aisles I was sure to pick my nose for sport and to put the FBI’s method to a challenging scientific test).

    A “Every place we conducted a — a sniff test, if you will, have been recorded in those sheets.

    Q And the reactions to those locations —

    A Yes.

    ***

    Q If they sniffed an anthrax letter before sniffing Dr. Hatfill, or a location, would that be in the deployment sheet?

    MR. FREEBORNE: I think that calls for specifics. Why do you want to go beyond the scent article, Counsel?

    MS. RICHARDSON: Can you answer that question without —

    MR. FREEBORNE: At this juncture, I would advise the witness not to answer on the grounds of law enforcement privilege.”

    Q What then happened to the deployment sheets?

    A They stay in my possession. They were ultimately scanned into a PDF format, and ultimately a copy of the deployment sheets went to the Washington Field Office, and that probably occurred within the last 12 months. [Deposition was in 2006].

    Thus, GAO, here is sworn testimony that WFO has the scanned deployment sheets. Please…. fetch. At least as to the deployment(s) directed to Dr. Ivins and Dr. Hatfill.

    • DXer said

      Ted Hamm, mentioned by Agent Stockham with respect to using bloodhounds for human scent on paper, is discussed in this and many other similar newspaper articles and court opinions.

      Agent Stockham, is there a publication on human scent from paper such as your recent article on cadaver remains? Has publication regarding human scent on paper been attempted and rejected? Has a study been done? Are there training logs? Has independent testing been done? (We sorely need the assistance of a world class cadaver dog in a case involving a body thought buried in the woods north of here.)

      Why was it thought in July 2002 that a human scent was obtainable from the letters mailed in September 2001 by someone wearing gloves? …where the paper had been irradiated and handled by numerous others? Was it merely ia tactical gambit intended to seek the cooperation of someone who was thought might have information?

      These consultants charging $125 an hour and seeking press should be willing to have their dogs independently tested under controlled conditions. Faced with the new challenge of the Amerithrax investigation, it is understandable that innovative, cutting-edge techniques were attempted. But over a decade later, this use as to human scent on paper and the STU-100 should have been the subject of proper testing and validation. Are there controlled, independent studies that have not yet been published relating to human scent on paper months earlier?

      Hound helper may not be up to snuff

      Scent-lifting device protects evidence at crime scenes, but critics say there’s no proof that it works. At least 5 cases have been dismissed.
      December 07, 2006|H.G. Reza | Times Staff Writer

      A device promoted as a law enforcement tool to help bloodhounds detect human scents at crime scenes has come under increasing fire after its use in recent years has led to the incarceration of at least five men whose cases were later dismissed.

      In the latest case, a Buena Park man was freed from prison in October after serving almost a year for a carjacking and armed robbery he did not commit. He was released only after a man jailed in Los Angeles County admitted to the crime, a confession supported by DNA evidence.

      The scent-lifting device, known as a scent-transfer unit, or STU-100, was invented in the 1990s by Newport Beach engineer Larry Harris and a partner who has since died. Harris and a small band of Southern California supporters — a group derided by the bloodhound-handling world as “social outcasts” — have promoted the $900 machine to law enforcement.

      Its backers say the machine, which resembles a leaf blower, can collect human scent from an object as small as a bullet fragment and transfer it to a 5-by-9-inch gauze pad that is put to a bloodhound’s nose. The dog then theoretically follows the scent to the suspect.

      The machine allows the scent to be presented to the dog without compromising physical evidence. But there is debate in the academic community over whether bloodhounds can reliably identify a specific suspect by his scent under any conditions.

      It is unknown how many arrests or convictions can be attributed, at least in part, to the device because most law enforcement officials, including the FBI, declined to comment or did not return phone calls.

      Civilian dog handler Ted Hamm, for one, says he has used the device in most of the 2,000 cases he has worked.

      Despite its heavy use in law enforcement, critics say there is no hard evidence that the device works.

      “I think it’s quackery,” said Larry Myers, professor at Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and an expert defense witness in scent evidence cases. The dog handlers “have no idea how reliable the machine is.”

      In 2003, a California appellate court limited the use of scent evidence in state trials, ruling that the device and its operators have to meet standards that are “generally accepted” as reliable by the scientific community — a benchmark that has not been achieved. Still, law enforcement continues to use the machine to identify suspects or gather enough probable cause for an arrest or search warrant.

      “It’s just one piece of the big investigation puzzle,” said Lt. Larry Lincoln, a Los Angeles County sheriff’s homicide investigator.

      Agencies including Irvine, Buena Park and Long Beach police, the arson unit in Riverside County and the FBI have used the device.

      I. Lehr Brisbin, a specialist in animal behavior and canine olfaction, said tests had shown that bloodhounds — despite their uncanny ability to detect human smells — are often unable to sniff out the originator of a scent among a group of people.

      “The folks making these claims never allow their dogs to be tested” independently, said Brisbin, a professor emeritus at the University of Georgia. “But I don’t think it’s intentional fraud. It’s a case of ultimate faith and belief in the machine and dog, but not in science. It’s like a religion.”

      Harris declined to comment for this article, but Brisbin and Myers said the handlers who use the scent-transfer unit had been unable to explain how it works. This has hampered the admissibility of evidence gathered by the machine in state courts.

      “I’m a dog guy, not a scientist,” said Hamm, the only dog handler using the device who would be interviewed for this story. He works with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department at $125 per hour. “I can only say that I know it works through a lot of informal training. If people are willing to try and spend time with the dogs, they’ll end up having a lot of success” with the machine.

      * In 1996, Irvine resident Earl Rhoney became the first person in California convicted of murder based on evidence collected by Harris and his machine. On the day he was to be sentenced, then-Superior Court Judge Tony Rackauckas, now the Orange County district attorney, threw out his conviction on grounds that the device was unreliable.

      Prosecutors chose to try Rhoney a second time but were forced to drop murder and burglary charges when another judge ruled that the scent machine evidence was tainted and could not be used. There was no physical evidence linking Rhoney, who has proclaimed his innocence, to the crime, which remains unsolved. He spent 3 1/2 years in Orange County Jail.

      * Jeffrey Allen Grant, a Long Beach resident, was arrested in 1998, suspected of being a serial rapist. Police used Harris’ machine to allegedly match Grant’s scent to one lifted from crime scene evidence. DNA tests cleared him four months later, and he was awarded $1.7 million by a federal jury in 2000. The real rapist was sentenced to 1,030 years in prison in 2004.

      Long Beach police officials declined to discuss the case. Grant could not be reached for comment.

      * In 2003, Josh Connole was arrested as a suspect in a string of arsons and vandalism at four SUV dealerships. Knight, a bloodhound owned by Hamm, followed the scent from a gauze pad provided by FBI agents to Connole’s Pomona home. Hamm said the FBI used its own machine to vacuum the scent. The same dog, then owned by Long Beach police, was used in the Grant case, Hamm said.

      Connole, who came to the FBI’s attention as a result of a tip, was arrested despite warnings from a federal prosecutor that agents did not have probable cause. He spent four days in jail and sued the FBI for civil rights violations. In 2005, he was paid $100,000 by the FBI and $20,000 by the city of West Covina for his mistaken arrest. A Caltech student was convicted in 2004 and sent to prison for the crimes.

      Connole could not be reached for comment.

      * Following the appellate court’s ruling in 2003, murder charges were dropped against Jose Marin Flores, a Palmdale man accused of a fatal bar stabbing, because the evidence collected by the scent-transfer unit wasn’t allowed into the trial.

      * Last year, Ochoa was arrested after Harris said he used his machine to obtain the scent from a cap and shirt left in a stolen vehicle by a carjacker. A bloodhound allegedly followed the scent to Ochoa’s house two blocks away. DNA tests completed before the trial excluded him as the person who wore the items, but he was charged anyway. He served 10 months in prison before the DNA was matched to a man in custody in Los Angeles for another carjacking.

      Orange County district attorney’s spokeswoman Susan Kang Schroeder said prosecutors would now use evidence gathered by the machine only “if it can be proved to our satisfaction that it’s scientifically reliable.”

      Two national organizations of bloodhound handlers have refused to endorse the device because of its questionable reliability.

      Hamm defended the machine. He said a scent vacuumed into a gauze pad can be frozen in a plastic bag for years.

      “We train our dogs to pick up scent from small items, like bullet casings and fragments; items that have been touched by someone,” Hamm said. “The [scent transfer unit] has proven to be a very reliable method of collecting human scent.”

      Defense attorneys complain that the real value of the device is to give police probable cause to arrest a suspect when there is no physical evidence linking him to a crime.

      “Larry Harris’ dog was the excuse the cops needed to zero in on my client,” said Santa Ana attorney Scott Borthwick, who represented James Ochoa, the man who was falsely accused of carjacking and robbery and released from prison in October. “Never mind that he was innocent. And that the dog walked past his house four times. And that it was the only house on the block surrounded by cops. Where else was the dog supposed to go?”

      Though Harris has sold the machine nationwide for a decade, it is best known for its use in Southern California, where about 10 operators — known in law enforcement circles as “Harris’ disciples” — use the scent-transfer unit in criminal investigations. The 10, who include civilians and police officers, make up the Southern California Bloodhound Handlers Coalition.

      Their machine and dogs have led to false arrests in several high-profile cases.

  10. DXer said

    A police officer and dog handler gives his opinion about the use of the bloodhounds in Amerithrax and the STU-100 Scent Transfer Unit.

    Fraudulent Use of Canines in Police Work

    Daniel A. Smith Lincoln Park Police Department
    http://www.emich.edu/cerns/downloads/papers/PoliceStaff/Patrol,%20Operations,%20Tactics/Fraudulent%20Use%20of%20Canines%20in%20Police%20Work.pdf

    “Many legitimate police dog programs are being criticized by administrators because of the proliferation of fraudulent trainers and handlers claiming their dogs can do tasks that other dogs are incapable of performing. Administrators often read or hear about the spectacular feats of a few dogs and handlers. They then question their departments’ canine units often asking “Why can’t our dogs do that?”

    The focus of this paper will be detailing a few of these fraudulent handlers and then showing (scientific studies) that prove these dogs and handlers cannot perform these fantastic feats that other police dogs can’t.”

    • DXer said

      Compare The Admissibility of Human Scent Evidence: From Bloodhounds to the Body Farm

      Hon. Donald E. Shelton, Eastern Michigan University
      Jose Baez

      Abstract

      Reviews the admissibility of human scent evidence by canine detection and reviews the admissibility of “human decomposition odor ” evidence.

      Suggested Citation

      Hon. Donald E. Shelton and Jose Baez. “• The Admissibility of Human Scent Evidence: From Bloodhounds to the Body Farm” American Academy of Forensic Sciences 66th Annual Scientific Meeting. Seattle, WA. Feb. 2014.

  11. DXer said

    The GAO draft report — which now some of you have read — addresses the science relied upon by the FBI in Amerithrax:

    Bloodhounds May Have Found Anthrax Suspect
    Oct. 22
    By Brian Ross and David Scott
    BRIAN ROSS More From Brian »
    ABC News Chief Investigative Correspondent

    The FBI is using an elite team of specially trained dogs and leads from agents deployed to Africa in its investigation of former government scientist Steven Hatfill and his possible role in the five anthrax deaths.

    Authorities say they are building what is described as a “growing circumstantial evidence case.” Their secret weapon has been a three-member team of bloodhounds from California: Tinkerbell from the South Pasadena Police Department, Knight from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office and Lucy from the Long Beach Police Department.

    These bloodhounds — considered by the FBI to be the best in the country at what they do — were each given the scent extracted from anthrax letters posted last year and each, independently, then led handlers to the Maryland apartment of the same man — Steven Hatfill.

    One of the bloodhounds, Lucy, then led handlers directly to Hatfill.

    • DXer said

      For those who believe in Tinkerbelle (one of the dogs used) , while most jurisdictions allow bloodhound evidence, courts generally retain reservations about the possibility of inaccuracy of the evidence. It is evident the dog cannot be cross-examined and 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 report above amply illustrates). Putting aside for a moment use of the scent transfer device, 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.

      Here, there would be no such log because the use of the dog would not have been the subject of 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. 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 Hatfill’s attorney, Attorney Connolly, calling FDA scientists who found irradiation caused changes in smell, no doubt amplified by the much keener sense of a bloodhound. (In a July 22, 2014 Genome report, elephants were found to have even better sniffers).

      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 amoungs of gas exist before delivery.” Alas, Tinkerbelle’s lengthy log showed 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. (That leak came from the lead prosecutor, born in Haifa in 1948, who was the father of the daughter who then represented “anthrax weapons suspect” Ali Al-Timimi for free).

      In any event, the perp 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.

      Isn’t Lucy adorable? She’s widely known to be a people person.

      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, activated 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 excellent 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.

      Both of the major police bloodhound associations howl against the reliability of the Scent Transfer Unit used by the three blood 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, essential reading, 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. I wonder if Stan Bedlington knew any of this when he said on national tv that the evidence against his friend was “mounting” based on the Lucy’s and Hatfill responding to each other. He is a ladies’ man, after all. Oh, but that’s right. He lived near a neighborhood named Greendale. 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.

      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. But the system only works if Rex comes forward and says — in retrospect, we understand that the use of bloodhounds was not scientifically sound.

    • DXer said

      The GAO notes regarding the Scent Transfer Unit:

      “The RFQ was issued on March 11, 2010, for the purchase of 60 scent transfer units for the FBI’s Laboratory Division. Scent transfer units are used to collect human scent evidence at a crime scene. The FBI Laboratory Division’s Human Scent Evidence Team utilizes a scent transfer unit known as the STU-100, manufactured by Big T, LLC, as the primary means to collect scent evidence at crime scenes. The RFQ was issued as a “brand name or equal” requirement for STU-100 units.”

      http://www.gao.gov/assets/390/389111.pdf

    • DXer said

      David Willman’s “The Mirage Man: Bruce Ivins, the Anthrax Attacks, and America’s Rush to War”

      By Dina Temple-Raston August 11, 2011

      Willman writes that the FBI felt it had an unassailable source: a team of bloodhounds from Southern California. They had been trained specifically to sniff out RMR-1029. One four-footed sleuth named TinkerBelle had “alerted” on Hatfill, his apartment and his girlfriend numerous times.

      But TinkerBelle had been in the middle of a controversial case in California in which she identified a man who authorities thought was a serial rapist. Turns out the dog got it wrong. The FBI must have known about the high-profile California case, but they still kept Hatfill in their sights largely on account of TinkerBelle’s nose. Willman says the bloodhound evidence had detractors even inside the FBI, but the case became such a priority that agents were reluctant to consider any other suspects. In fact, FBI Director Robert Mueller took over the case personally, demanding weekly briefings, which ended up, Willman writes, coaxing agents to tell their boss what they thought he wanted to hear.

      Anthrax, Al Qaeda and Ayman Zawahiri: The Infiltration of US Biodefense
      http://www.amerithrax.wordpress.com

      Additional source:

      [PETER JENNINGS] The FBI tells ABC news it is very confident that it has found the person responsible [for the anthrax attacks].

      ABC’s Brian Ross is here. Brian? Same case, same individual.

      [BRIAN ROSS] That’s right, Peter, Steven Hatfill And while there is no direct evidence authorities say they are building what they describe as a growing case of circumstantial evidence.

      [BRIAN ROSS] … “In the anthrax investigation, officials say each dog was given the scent extracted from the anthrax letters, and each, independently, then reacted at the same place. The Maryland apartment of former US government scientist Steven Hatfill. The bloodhound Lucy actually led its handler directly to Hatfill. While Hatfill is still not officially called a suspect, he still clearly is the main focus of the FBI, even though he continues to deny any involvement.”

      Comment:

      What specific additional sourcing exists that the bloodhounds were “trained specifically to sniff out RMR-1029.” How would that be attempted? The FBI Agents should explain the method they relied upon for all those years in support of its “FBI’s Theory.” With 60 additional Scent Transfer Units purchased by the FBI in 2010 or so, if we don’t learn from mistakes, we are bound to repeat them.

    • DXer said

      In his book AMERITHRAX, Robert Graysmith wrote in a chapter titled “Anthrax Bloodhounds):

      “A month earlier, the FBI handlers of three police bloodhounds had presented the dogs with a set of “scent packs.” These had been lifted from the letters to Daschle and Leahy, which had been cleansed of anthrax spores without eliminating the sender’s scent. The handlers either rubbed sterile gauze on the envelopes and exposed the scent packs to the dogs or used a scent machine. The six-hundred-dollar STU-100 device vacuumed scent onto a gauze pad directly from items a suspect had touched or worn close to the skin. The gauze pads could be preserved in an evidence freezer until needed.”

      Author Graysmith continues:

      “It’s all bogus! It’s bogus!” Glasberg [defense counsel for Hatfill] said. He ridiculed the idea that bloodhounds would be used that way and asked the media to check the story themselves instead of just reporting what someone else reported..” (p. 34).

      On Thursday, August 8 [2002] agents arrived at Maryland’s complex with three leashed police bloodhounds in tow. The handlers of the purebred bloodhounds — Lucy, a Southern California hound on loan, Tinker Bell, and Knight — padded toward his apartment. The close they got, the more agitated they became. The dogs were sniffing, straining at their leashes, and barking — the telltale sign that they had sensed something. At one point they broke free and bounded up to Hatfill, who was outside the apartment sitting in his car. “They went crazy,” one law enforcement source later told Newsweek.”

      In its report, GAO should set forth the facts relating to the FBI’s reliance on the bloodhounds and STU-100.

    • DXer said

      The only thing worse than a dropped ball is where it is affirmatively kicked into your own goal as this Croatian soccer player did.

      http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/criminal-justice/anthrax-files/transcript-10/

      Randall Murch, who led the science effort in 2001 and 2002, would not provide me his power points about Amerithrax in Croatia.

      There would be no lessons learned — just business as usual.

      Excerpt from PBS Show:

      “NARRATOR: Without a confession or hard evidence, the attorney general still couldn’t seek an indictment against Hatfill. Director Mueller was frustrated. His agents resorted to a technique rarely used by the FBI, calling in bloodhounds.

      NEWSCASTER: Their secret weapon has been a three-member team of bloodhounds.

      OFFICIAL: Just stand still. Don’t move, please.

      STEPHEN ENGELBERG: Many people in the FBI would say this was probably one of the low points.

      BRIAN ROSS, ABC News: The team includes this dog, named Lucy, from the Long Beach, California, Police Department, and two others from California, Tinkerbell and Knight.

      NARRATOR: The anthrax letters had an unusual scent. The FBI said the dogs picked up that scent at the exact same place, Steven Hatfill’s apartment.

      BRIAN ROSS: —former U.S. government scientist Steven Hatfill—

      STEPHEN ENGELBERG: To the people who saw him as a viable suspect, the dogs were just one more piece of a matrix of circumstantial evidence.

      NARRATOR: Then after a tip, the FBI thought the bloodhounds had found the location of Hatfill’s bio-weapons lab, supposedly hidden near a pond in the Maryland woods.

      BRAD GARRETT: It seemed a bit of a stretch that you could track an odor, or a smell, to a location months and months and months after someone had been to a particular spot by a lake. But you know, they believed that that had some real potential.

      NARRATOR: Investigators had come to believe Hatfill somehow had produced the deadly anthrax powder in an improvised underwater lab.

      NEWSCASTER: Engineers are draining a Maryland pond today—

      NEWSCASTER: —draining a pond looking for evidence related to the anthrax attacks.

      NEWSCASTER: Almost a million and a half gallons—

      NEWSCASTER: The pond is a huge undertaking that will take three to four weeks and cost of about a quarter million dollars.

      VICTOR GLASBERG: I think the draining of the pond is the most outstanding example of really loony-tunes behavior, instead of whatever kind of deliberate investigatory techniques should have been used.

      HENRY HEINE: In one of these ponds, they found a plastic box with a hole in the side of it. And they brought it down and they showed it to everybody. And they said, you know, “What do you think this is?”

      NARRATOR: They thought they might finally have something. They took it to USAMRIID, the Army lab.

      JOHN EZZELL:: He brought down this plastic container the FBI had brought— they had delivered to USAMRIID.

      NARRATOR: Dr. John Ezzell, who worked at the lab, was also a consultant for the FBI. His speech is now impaired by Parkinson’s disease. Ezzell had bad news for the FBI.

      JOHN EZZELL: To me, it looked like some sort of version of a turtle trap. Dave Wilson from the FBI turns around and starts walking out of the lab and says, “My God, you mean I just spent $20,000 today on a turtle trap?” And I said, “Well, you may have.”

      VICTOR GLASBERG: A turtle trap. Yes, they did find a turtle trap. We were chuckling. But of course, for Steve, it’s a bittersweet chuckle because he’s still on the receiving end of the joke until his name is clear.”

    • DXer said

      In terms of any GAO review of the FBI’s reliance on the science related to the “glove box”, note that there is also the recurring issue of a lab result deemed to be the result of a contamination or to be a false positive.

      In a Washington Post article on May 30, 2003, we are treated to characterization of the false positive due to shoddy lab work as merely a conflicting lab report and the tantalizing (albeit casually dropped) new discovery of gloves wrapped in plastic. Can you imagine the leaker gleefully seizing the issue of the gloves allegedly found, challenging detractors to a duel, and saying “Take that!”

      The GAO is quite sophisticated on this issue of the validation of sampling methods given prior work on the issue.

      Marilyn Thompson, author of The Killer Strain, reported in the Washington Post on May 11, 2003 that in its search of the ponds, the FBI found what appears to some to be be an improvised”glove box” and also wrapped vials. The pond is located near Ft. Detrick. It certainly makes one wonder what fascinating things might lurk in the ponds of nearby parks. (On land my family is clearing we find all manner of bottles and have started a museum; I spend a lot of time in waders reaching for rocks to use in building a seawall but I have never stopped to explore the bottom).

      The idea actually came from Hatfill who mentioned it could be done in a pond. I believe he made the comment to a SAIC employee, who as I recall, then went to GMU for a PhD and worked for the FBI. We shouldn’t blame the FBI for pursuing leads. That’s their job.

      But being quick to seize the opportunity: I joined others in urging: If the gloves don’t fit, you must acquit!

      My favorite suggestion that I heard was that it relates to the infestation of Maryland ponds of the Crofton snakehead, a species ruinous to ecosystems that someone released from an aquarium. Numerous traps were set to rid Maryland ponds of the creature.

      The news stories suggested the image of someone sticking their gloved hands into the box while underwater. Skeptics, including me, asked: Well, how does water not rush through the holes? Did Hatfill stick his hands into the box outside the water, walk awkwardly into the water, then submerge the box? Water would seep through. We reasoned: where are the “port” or “securing ring” -like devices?

      Now that I’ve spent a lot of time in the water making manipulations while ferrying rocks in a canoe, it seems that it could ingeniously be used without holes. Box would be kept in place with bottom just below water level. Hands wearing gloves would come in from underwater — with the person protected from breathing the aerosol by the water and box. Working alone on the river, I have found necessity is the mother of invention, stealth, and staying afloat. ( I got the canoe at a discount when it was advertised “no leeks” — I didn’t realize that the ad meant simply that the man’s vegetables from the garden were not included.)

      In the event the plastic box was homemade, note that frugal fishermen on the internet post to each directions on how to make a homemade minnow trap:

      “The fish can swim in but can’t get out.”

      The way a minnow or turtle trap works is that the small fish or turtle can swim in but can’t swim out — sort of like being named a Person of Interest.

      We are also told that investigators were “surprised” not to find traces of anthrax at the places they searched. Surprised? Wouldn’t it only be surprising if you had assumed your conclusion of a person’s guilt? The same approach was taken by the new group of investigators in connection with an Ivins Theory — scientific interpretations were made to support the new investigative target being pursued. Suddenly, passed polygraphs meant Ivins was lying. A handwriting opinion that he probably did not write the letters (that would be kept from the public throughout 2008 and 2009) meant he probably did etc. A truckload of documents about the experiment with 52 rabbits requiring he be in the lab meant he had no reason to be in the lab. The investigators and prosecutors apparently just stuffed those documents down a hat and did not disclose them. Or perhaps they hadn’t checked his alibi — like they hadn’t yet checked to see whether he had attended his group therapy sessions on the postmarked dates of mailing.

      The same suggestion that a glove box could be used — or that insertion could be made outdoors — was made by numerous people in a group called anthrax_fans@coollist.com. It would occur to anyone naturally — even though it went against the suggestion that a million dollar containment facility would be needed. In Yazid Sufaat’s lab in Kandahar, not only did he have lots of equipment, but some equipment had been removed (and destroyed) before troops arrived.

      A later USA Today report explains a rope was found attached to the plastic box, as google shows is used with a minnow trap or turtle trap or snakehead trap. Perhaps it was a rope long enough that if used by a determined investigator, it would be long enough for the investigative target to hang himself while the investigator retired and took a lucrative new job upon declaring victory. It is wrong for these prosecutors and investigators to have no interest in having missteps in Amerithrax corrected. In the pursuit of justice, it is the essence of integrity to be forthright about and correct one’s mistakes– and to directly acknowledge the uncertainties of this true crime mystery.

  12. DXer said

    Most of the authors on training canines are associated (some as visiting scientists) with the Counterterrorism and Forensic Science Research Unit, Federal Bureau of Investigation Laboratory Division, Quantico, VA 22135, United States. Rex Stockham of the Evidence Response Team Unit, Federal Bureau of Investigation Laboratory Division, Quantico, VA 22135, United States was most oft quoted about the use of bloodhounds in Amerithrax.

    Former police officer Martin Grime is from the UK. A video illustrating his work is linked below.

    Comprehensive characterization of commercially available canine training aids

    Christopher A. Tipple, Patricia T. Caldwell, Brian M. Kile, Douglas J. Beussman, Blake Rushing, Natalie J. Mitchell, Christian J. Whitchurch, Martin Grime, Rex Stockham, Brian A. Eckenrode
    Received: February 3, 2014; Received in revised form: June 23, 2014; Accepted: June 27, 2014; Published Online: July 05, 2014
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2014.06.033

    • DXer said

      Source: Baltimore Sun, October 29, 2002.

      REVIEW & OUTLOOK

      FBI’s use of bloodhounds in anthrax probe disputed

      Techniques: The three California handlers brought in by the bureau are viewed skeptically by many in their field.

      By Scott Shane, Sun Staff

      ***

      Unlike even many midsize police departments, the bureau does not have its own bloodhounds or handlers so it must recruit outsiders.

      In this crucial case, the 15-year FBI veteran who selected the handlers and dogs is an explosives expert who says he has no experience using bloodhounds himself. Agent Rex Stockham acknowledges that the California handlers and their methods are viewed skeptically in the field, though he says the critics base their opinions on prejudice, not evidence.

      “The guys in Southern California are social outcasts in the bloodhound handling community,” said Stockham, a forensic examiner in the explosives unit at the FBI Laboratory in Washington.

      ‘Talking trash about us’

      The two major associations, the Law Enforcement Bloodhound Association and the National Police Bloodhound Association, “are out there talking trash about us,” Stockham said. In fact, he said, he was virtually “laughed out” of one training seminar at which he tried to present results of the California handlers’ work.

      Jerry Nichols, a Colorado police officer and president of the Law Enforcement Bloodhound Association, does not mince words in criticizing the Californians.

      “These are people we have credibility problems with,” said Nichols, who has worked with bloodhounds for 13 years, conducted more than 500 bloodhound searches and testified in court 21 times. “I’m extremely skeptical. I don’t believe these dogs really do what they claim to do.”

      A half-dozen other handlers interviewed by The Sun expressed similar doubts, including veteran Maryland police bloodhound handlers who admitted being irritated that the FBI had flown dogs across the country for searches that were mostly in the Frederick area.

      But the critics have not dissuaded Stockham and the FBI from using the three handlers and their hounds – Bill Kift, a police officer in Long Beach, Calif., and his dog, Lucy; Dennis Slavin, an urban planner and reserve officer with the South Pasadena Police Department, and TinkerBelle; and Ted Hamm, a civilian who runs his own bloodhound business and is used by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and Knight.

      “It’s new,” Stockham said of techniques used by the three men. “It’s going to be criticized. I’m critical of it myself. I’m evaluating it for the FBI lab.”

      Stockham said he first became acquainted with the three handlers after seeing a 1999 video of their experiments with taking scents from fragments of exploded bombs.

      But Stockham said he could not comment on the use of the bloodhounds on the anthrax cas

      ***

      Pushing the limits

      But the Californians have pushed the limits of the bloodhound art, taking scent off shell casings from firearms used in crimes, fragments of exploded bombs – and the decontaminated anthrax letters.

      The Californians often use a $895 machine called a Scent Transfer Unit, resembling a small vacuum cleaner, that is designed to draw the scent off the article and deposit it on the pad. One of the machine’s inventors is Larry R. Harris, a veteran bloodhound handler who trains with Slavin, Kift and Hamm.

      Neither of the two police bloodhound associations has endorsed the Scent Transfer Unit. Officers of the two groups say it offers little advantage over using a gauze pad alone and in fact might confound matters. They contend that an older scent might linger in the machine when it is used on a new case – a charge its users deny.

      In addition, bloodhound experts say, the Californians have been quite aggressive in using the dogs not only to follow fugitives or missing persons, but also to identify potential suspects – such as Hatfill – out of a number of people who might have committed the crime.

      A false positive

      That raises the possibility of a false positive – the identification of an innocent person as the perpetrator, with dire consequences. Some handlers say that there is always a chance that an eager-to-please dog will identify someone even if there is no scent match.

      I. Lehr Brisbin Jr., a University of Georgia biologist who has a doctorate in animal behavior, is one of the few scientists who has actually tried to test dog handlers’ claims that a bloodhound can accurately pick out a perpetrator from several suspects. He has conducted numerous experiments in which the bloodhound tried to pick from a half-dozen people the one whose scent was on a baseball cap, he said.

      No dog was able to do it consistently.

      “As a scientist, what they’re supposed to have done [in the anthrax case] sounds like a miracle,” said Brisbin, a bloodhound handler himself. “Every time I ask a dog to identify a suspect under controlled conditions, the dog can’t do it.”

      Indeed, 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. DNA evidence later proved the man, Jeffrey Allen Grant, had not committed the rape.

      Hatfill’s attorney, Victor M. Glasberg, has suggested that such a mistake might have occurred with the bloodhounds used in the anthrax case, which he has ridiculed as “bionic dogs.”

      While few details of what the California handlers did in the anthrax case are known, Hatfill said through a spokesman that a bloodhound entered a room where he was sitting and approached him, prompting one agent to call out that the dog was identifying him.

      Similarly, William C. Patrick III, another bioterrorism expert, said he and his wife were asked to stand on their lawn in Frederick, and two bloodhounds were led near them.

      “They released the dogs, maybe 10 feet away,” Patrick said. “My wife and I are dog lovers and we called them, and they walked up and we patted them.” Patrick said he was told the dogs had not identified him as the perpetrator.

      ‘Too many variables’

      Cpl. Douglas H. Lowry, the senior bloodhound handler for the Maryland State Police, said that if he had been asked to take his dog to potential suspects’ houses or approach suspects to see whether the scent from the letters could be matched, he would have refused to try.

      “I think there’s too many variables,” said Lowry, a handler for 23 years who works from the Hagerstown barracks. “Let’s say there’s a cat or dog that urinated on the floor. You’re going to have to be a pretty good handler to tell [the dog’s reaction to] that from identifying the suspect.”

      In addition, Lowry and several other bloodhound handlers say they are doubtful that a useful scent could be taken from the anthrax letters. They note that the perpetrator probably minimized handling of the letters because no fingerprints or DNA could be recovered from them.

      Then the letters went through the postal system, rubbing against other letters with other scents. And finally, the letters were decontaminated using radiation, which might affect the scent.

      ***

  13. DXer said

    Prosecutors in Heidi Allen case withheld evidence on purpose, according to a court filing

    http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2014/07/prosecutors_in_heidi_allen_case_withheld_evidence_on_purpose_according_to_a_cour.html#incart_river

    “ Cadaver dogs alerted – indicating they could smell human remains – twice so far during the search.”

    Comment: What does the science say about cadaver dogs and ability to smell a body buried 20 years ago?

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2012/04/etan_patz_search_renewed_can_cadaver_dogs_smell_30_year_old_corpses_.html

    Researchers from the University of Alabama, hoping to zero in on how long the scent of death might linger at a crime scene, designed a test for the state police’s cadaver dogs. A single human vertebra, more than 30 years old, was buried 12 inches deep. The dogs were let loose across a 300-by-150-foot plot, and several succeeded in sniffing out the dry bone fragment. So it’s certainly possible that the canines recruited for Etan Patz’s search could detect parts of a 33-year-old body hidden in the basement on Prince Street. A variety of factors, however, mediate the strength of the death odor and how quickly it dissipates. Temperature, humidity, the softness or hardness of the ground, and the amount of degrading matter all play a role, as does the physiology of the dog. (A heavily panting pooch can’t scent very well.)

    No one knows exactly what dogs are smelling when they indicate the possible presence of remains. Well-trained cadaver dogs will not flag a living person or an animal. Possible scents include two byproducts of decomposition: putrescine and cadaverine. Although these compounds are common to all decaying material, an ace cadaver dog has such fine-tuned senses, it can differentiate human remains from most animals’.

  14. DXer said

    FBI’s genetics expert Dr. Paul Keim explained in a presentation October 2013 (as summarized in the recent 2014 NRC report):

    “A “kitchen sink” approach to forensics was used. There was strong pressure to “try my method,” including pressure exerted from very high political levels.”

    Now in the defense of Lucy and Tinkerbelle bloodhounds, it is great fun for the investigators.

    I once was at the pharmacy and a bloodhound — Tinkerbelle’s double — bounded up to me and sniffed my hand.

    She had been let out or escaped from a room in the back. (It turned out that it was bring-your-dog-to-work day.)

    So it is a bit embarrassing, to be sure, when your bloodhound raids a dog grooming parlor, chasing skirts. See Scott Shane’s brilliant article on the bloodhounds while at the Baltimore Sun.

    But at some point we have to give the investigators some leeway to push some buttons or rattle some cages — especially when the scientists report back that none of the scientific methods are coming up with anything.

    The FBI are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. So long as they don’t actually believe that these methods were reliable, and spin an innocent guy as guilty, everything is okay.

    In terms of the science there was no log prior to 9/11 showing that dogs reliable could smell anthrax so it would not have been admissible.

    Moreover, treatment of letters using irradiation causes changes, likely detectable by a bloodhound with a sense of smell 200X a human nose.

    But no disrespect to Lucy and Tinkerbelle. With a fresh scent, you chase those bank robbers and find those missing kids.

    And I’ll let controlled testing of the Scent Transfer Unit (from Rochester, NY) that was done by the FBI’s scientists speak for itself.

    If Lucy could help me find my second smelly sneakers so I could wear matching pair, it would be much appreciated.

    http://www.amerithrax.wordpress.com

  15. DXer said

    It would be interesting to learn whether early in the litigation Dr. Bruce Ivins was subjected to the bloodhounds.

    Dr. Randall S. Murch, who took an early lead at the FBI in Amerithrax, has written in a June 2014 article:

    “Regardless of where forensic science is researched, developed, tested, published, used, or offered as evidence or attacked in court, it primarily exists for use in the investigation and litigation of matters of criminal or civil law. This is a major departure from how science and engineering are thought about, conducted and communicated in academic disciplines. Thus, while forensic science is expected to meet the requirements of sound science and practice, it is also expected to meet the legal requirements of national and sometimes international jurisprudence systems, as well. Essentially, when they are important, these requirements usually focus on acceptance by the appropriate scientific community, accuracy, reliability and defensibility. In those legal systems that scrutinize forensic science being considered for acceptance or offered in courts of law, at least in the U.S. the legal and judicial communities have developed procedures that attempt to assess the validity and acceptability of forensic evidence and underlying science and practice (Daubert v. Merrill Dow Pharmaceuticals 1993; Federal Rules of Evidence 2011, updated; Frye v. United States 1923) which other countries have based their legal process and decisions on. While these approaches do have value, there are limitations for a number of reasons including how new science is treated or revisited.

    In many countries, including the United States, there are increasing demands and expectations for forensic science and its practitioners to ensure that justice is served and liberties ensured by respective constitutions and rule of law are protected. These demands have come and are coming from realizations of failures and shortfalls in forensic science and practice which have significantly contributed to wrongful prosecutions and convictions, incarcerations and worse. Because of these concerns and realities, recent national-level studies have been conducted (National Research Council 2009) and actions taken (42 U.S. Code 14136c and Public Law 113-65 2013; The White House 2014) to improve forensic science in all aspects from conduct to use across the national enterprise.”

  16. DXer said

    Highly experienced FBI AgentRex Stickham from the FBI unit testfied at deposition after headng the canine unit for a year.

    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/amerithrax-depositions-vol-8.pdf

    “Say Team Tinkerbell —

    A Yes,

    Q Goes in the field and they find a Smurf or something. Do you know what a Smurf is?

    A. Yeah, of course.

    Q And then would that person observing it then report the information back to you?

    A. Correct.

    Q. And then you would take all the Smurf sightings, compile them, and analyze them?”

    Early in the investigation reports were verbal. The information was compiled only at the end when they were compiling their report. (pp. 42-43).

    Q, “canine deployment,” would you just define that for me?

    A. Getting the dogs on a plane.”

    If GAO wants to share a good laugh and to understand the costs associated with the “science” relied upon by the FBI in Amerithrax investigation, it should seek information from the FBI on how many canine deployments of the California-based bloodhounds there were.

    I believe it was former FBI Special Agent Bradley Garrett said that inexperienced senior managers were promoting techniques that were not sound at the expense of more reliable methods. Tried-and-true methods included obtaining the documents relating to research done by a scientist taught microbiology by Heba Zawahiri who worked with virulent Ames in the B3.

    And then doing a patent search (rather than merely “pubmed”) to establish the access to virulent Ames. Yes, searching the scientific literature (including the patent database) is fairly understood as a method used in scientific inquiry.

    In her solid December 2001 “Compilation of Evidence,” my friend, BHR, missed the 1999 article showing the transfer of Ames to the Michigan scientists. But she is not now apt to lift her nose from the ground to learn about Ayman Zawahiri’s anthrax program.

    Bloodhounds are conditioned by treats offered in a reward system to responding only to certain targets.

    The FBI’s use of bloodhounds led to a highly manipulable, subjective method that had never been validated as to mailed anthrax.

    Putting aside the lack of validation as to smelling anthrax, did the FBI use the bloodhounds on Dr. Ivins?

    If so, what was the result?

    The central premises of the FBI’s Ivins Theory were false and spun out of whole cloth — e.g., the lyophilizer and the claim he had no reason to be in the lab.

    But more broadly, the FBI has selectively produced the scientific “evidence” that it claims supports an Ivins Theory while withholding all other evidence — paper, ink, tape, examination of toner used by photocopier etc. And, yes, the exculpatory bloodhound evidence that they never bothered to put in writing until it suited their purpose of fingering someone. That’s not science.

    It’s not even valid science useful in developing a lead pointing to a possibly guilty party. It is more useful at pointing to someone who likes dogs or has recently been at a Denny’s.

    I’ve always wondered whether any scent was due to the use of olive oil — which agents widely asked scientists at USAMRIID about.

    At the very least, if the FBI thought it was relying on a validated science in developing a possible lead, it should release the “deployment sheets” in connection with presenting Ivins to the dogs.

    Anthrax, Ayman Zawahiri and Al Qaeda: The Infiltration Of US Biodefense
    http://www.amerithrax.wordpress.com

  17. DXer said

    In his new manuscript, Dr. Majidi writes:

    “During my tenure at DOJ, I did not have access or visibility into the actual investigation but I was given full access to all scientific and forensic information.”

    Dr. Majidi, what access did you have into the reliability of the anthrax-smelling Tinkerbelle and Lucy that hounded Dr. Hatfill? Did you approve the scientific validity of the much publicized technique?

    Did you approve the validity of the use of the scent transfer unit promoted by the dog handler?

    What science supports their use that figured so influentially on the direction of the investigation for over a half decade.

  18. DXer said

    Dr. Adams oversaw the investigation at the time the bloodhounds were used to great public notoriety. Was the science sound? They fall within the ambit of the GAO’s task.

    • DXer said

      The record is incomplete on a notable point: Were those anthrax-smelling bloodhounds ever used to sniff Dr. Ivins? If not, why not? Why would they not be used to sniff the fellow who had the single largest repository of virulent Ames in the country? That is, if the bloodhounds were ever seriously being relied upon as a scientific method. Were the bloodhounds ever being used to develop meaningful investigative leads or did they serve merely to throw the media and a proper scientific investigation off the scent. The focus should have been upon the documentary and forensic computer records that would show how people spent their time and who had access to virulent Ames.

      • DXer said

        He could have served as a control given that the bloodhounds should have alerted to him given that he handled the anthrax in examining it for the FBI in Fall 2001. Similarly, JE and others who handled the evidence could have been sniffed — the bloodhounds should have alerted, if sound science, because they too handled the envelopes.

        Instead, what the bloodhounds represented was part of a dramatic theater intended to pressurize a suspect. It was the father of “anthrax weapons suspect” Ali Al-Timimi — the lead prosecutor Daniel Seikaly — who leaked and hyped the story about about the bloodhounds alerting to Hatfill. No polygraphs were used to determine the source of the leak — indeed, the key people were never even ASKED.

  19. DXer said

    Tinkerbelle and Lucy are back in action! Let’s hope there’s not a Denny’s around.

    Boston Herald:

    “Investigators are using three bloodhounds, two beagles, a ferret and ground-penetrating technology as they dig up Gentile’s yard, McGuigan said.”

  20. DXer said

    David Willman in Mirage Man (June 7, 2011) writes:

    “[Lambert] became best known, however, not for investigating crimes and sending offenders to prison but for matters of internal discipline and efficiency. *** Yet if Lambert’s approach different from Harp’s, his bottom line was the same: Steven Hatfill was the most probable perpetrator. … No trace of anthrax was ever found in Hatfill’s belongings, but Lambert viewed the bloodhound evidence as persuasive, and he shared his opinion with Mueller.” (pp. 196-197)

    • DXer said

      David Willman in Mirage Man (June 7, 2011) writes:

      “Months later, while awaiting the start of a meeting in the White House Situation Room, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz prodded the Justice Department’s new number two official, Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey: Was Hatfill another Richard Jewell — an innocent man, wrongly implicated? Citing the evidence provided by the bloodhounds, Comey was “absolutely certain that it was Hatfill,” Wolfowitz recalled.

      All of which meant that Mueller and Lambert were both invested in the dog evidence — a commitment that would misdirect the investigation for years.” (p. 198)

      • DXer said

        Background that I wrote in 2002 in trying to dissuade folks from crediting a Hatfill Theory:

        The Investigation Goes to the Dogs

        For those who believe in Tinkerbelle (one of the dogs used) , while most jurisdictions allow bloodhound evidence, courts generally retain reservations about the possibility of inaccuracy of the evidence. It is evident the dog cannot be cross-examined and 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, 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.

        Here, there would be no such log because the use of the dog would not have been the subject of 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. 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 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 amoungs of gas exist before delivery.” Alas, Tinkerbelle’s lengthy 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 perp 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.

        Lucy is adorable. She’s widely known to be a people person.

        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, activated 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 excellent 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.

        Both of the major police bloodhound associations howl against the reliability of the Scent Transfer Unit used by the three blood 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, essential reading, 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. I wonder if Stan Bedlington knew any of this when he said on national tv that the evidence against his friend was “mounting” based on the Lucy’s and Hatfill responding to each other. He is a ladies’ man, after all. Oh, but that’s right. He lived near a neighborhood named Greendale. 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.

        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.

        • DXer said

          David Willman in Mirage Man (June 7, 2011) writes:

          “A check of the public record would have shown that by 2000 — two years before Mueller placed Lambert in charge of the investigation — judges and jurors in Southern California had rejected the reliability of such bloodhounds to match the scent of suspects to the scenes of major crimes.” (p. 198)

        • DXer said

          David Willman in Mirage Man (June 7, 2011) writes:

          “As of January 2003, Lambert and his investigators knew that the dogs had alerted on at least one other scientist, Patricia Fellows, who formerly worked at USAMRIID but was implicated by no credible evidence.” (p. 200)

        • DXer said

          Scott Shane, then of the Baltimore Sun and now of the New York Times, wrote a very important article in October 2002 addressing this issue of bloodhound evidence the importance of which Mr. Willman emphasizes in his new book Mirage Man. Thus, Director Mueller, his Deputy Comey and the lead investigator Lambert would have read this article in what then was the key newspaper of record in the investigation.

          Source: Baltimore Sun, October 29, 2002.

          REVIEW & OUTLOOK

          FBI’s use of bloodhounds in anthrax probe disputed

          Techniques: The three California handlers brought in by the bureau are viewed skeptically by many in their field.

          By Scott Shane, Sun Staff

          http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/fbisuseofbloodhounds.html

  21. DXer said

    “This time they came equipped with a warrant and bloodhounds. The dogs, Hatfill would later learn, had been responsible for false arrests in other cases. Hatfill says he innocently petted on [the] hounds, named Tinkerbell. The dog seemed to like him. ‘He’s identified you from the anthrax letters!’ Tinkerbell’s handler exclaimed.”

    — “The Wrong Man,” The Atlantic (May 2010), p. 50.

    • DXer said

      “It took every ounce of restraint to stop from laughing,” Hatfill recalls. “They said, “‘We know you did it. We know you didn’t mean to kill anyone.’ I said, ‘Am I under arrest?’ They said no. I walked out, rented a car, and went to see an attorney about suing the hell out of these people.”

      – “The Wrong Man,” The Atlantic (May 2010), p. 50.

  22. DXer said

    There is no indication that the National 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 reviewers showed up and simply failed to address this issue.

    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.”

    How can the National Academy of Sciences fail to address such science that played such a central role in the FBI’s investigation? Dr. Hatfill could confirm that it was claimed to be considerably more narrowing (in the press) than the genetics that turned out to be narrow things to 377 at Ft. Detrick alone — let alone once locations downstream are considered.

    Allison M. Curran, “Analysis of the Uniqueness and Persistence of Human Scent,” Forensic Science Communications April 2005– Volume 7 – Number 2
    http://www2.fbi.gov/hq/lab/fsc/backissu/april2005/research/2005_04_research02.htm

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

    http://www.fbi.gov/hq/lab/fsc/backissu/oct2004/research/2004_10_research03.htm

  23. DXer said

    One of these learned FBI scientists should be called to present before the NAS on their testing of the Scent Transfer Unit-100 which was one of the scientific approaches used in the investigation. That is, if the NAS is really engaged in a review of the scientific approaches used in the Amerithrax investigation.

    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

    E-mail: baeckenrode@fbiacademy.edu

    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.

    Received 23 Oct. 2005; and in revised form 4 March 2006; accepted 26 March 2006; published 23 June 2006.

    The landmark Supreme Court case, Daubert vs. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals (1993) (1), significantly changed the legal admission procedures for scientific evidence in criminal cases. Previously, the 1923 decision in Frye vs. United States (2) stated that a procedure or method claiming to have scientific merit had to be considered reliable in the scientific community, have testimony provided by a qualified subject expert, and have proof presented that the person performing the test used correct scientific procedures. Daubert went further by adding specificity to the requirements that scientific claims must be verifiable, published in scientific journals, have a known error rate, and be standardized. As this decision, a number of common methods utilized by law enforcement and forensic science laboratories have undergone scrutiny in the United States judicial system. One of these methodologies involves scent-discriminating canines and the investigative tools utilized.

    For admissibility purposes under Frye and Daubert, it would be beneficial for law enforcement purposes to reproduce the detection capability of canines in methodical form, with real-time and onsite capabilities. Research efforts are focusing on improvements in sampling of organic chemicals emanating from clothing or other evidentiary material, and furthering the development and use of effective trapping materials to characterize and facilitate the canine’s scent-sensing ability. This research presents results from a performance evaluation of a device called the Scent Transfer Unit™ (STU-100), which is currently used by law enforcement for sampling the volatiles profile emanating from evidentiary material.

    The history of using human scent-discriminating canines (Canis familiaris) for searching and for identifying criminal suspects in the United States is extensive. Positive scent matches are routinely accepted in the criminal justice system as probable cause and can be admitted as evidence in a trial, provided that additional evidence corroborates the canine’s response (3). Unlike many European nations that have national certification and proficiency standards for scent-discriminating canines (4,5), there are no national standards in the United States. As a result, the reliability of scent-discriminating canines to correctly match and identify individuals from scent objects continues to be debated (6–11).

    There are essentially six categories of detection canines being used by law enforcement: trailing, tracking, article detection, substance detection, area search, and scent identification line up. Trailing canines are trained to match the volatiles profile (scent/odor) acquired from an article of evidence to a matching trail of scent/odor present on the ground or in the field. Tracking canines are trained to follow ground disturbances, crushed vegetation, and although a human odor component may be present, they are not required to match a scent sample. Article detection canines are trained to locate items recently deposited within a search area. Substance detection canines used for detecting the presence of narcotics, explosives, arson accelerants, or human remains are typically trained on predetermined specific chemicals or mixtures and they are taught to alert when a match is located. Area search-and-rescue canines are trained to search mass disaster areas for the presence of live humans. Scent identification line-up canines are trained to use the scent/odor acquired from an article of evidence to identify the suspect of a crime from a line up of scented objects. A human volatiles profile is more chemically complex and requires substantially different canine training scenarios compared with those used with targeted chemicals.

    For the purposes of the canine and law enforcement communities, the terms scent and odor are community specific and are not necessarily interchangeable with other disciplines, such as biology, ecology, etc. Progress is being made in characterizing the variables and defining the terminology behind human scent composition and canine olfactory systems to develop a better understanding of the canine’s response to mixtures of volatile and semivolatile chemicals. Curran et al. (12) developed terminology to categorize the complex mixtures that constitute human scent or odor. The first category, “primary odor,” consists of constituents that are stable over time regardless of diet or environmental factors and are genetically based. A second category, “secondary odor,” contains constituents that are present due to diet and environmental factors. Finally, “tertiary odor” contains constituents that are present due to the influence of outside sources such as lotions, soaps, or perfumes. For the purposes of human odor detection and analysis by canines, scent is considered the overall volatiles profile left by a human and odor consists of the elements of the volatiles profile that elicits a behavioral response. There may be dozens of compounds present in human scent, but it is unknown at this time the identity or quantity of compounds required by the canine to obtain an odor-related behavioral response for match-to-sample recognition. A volatiles profile is the terminology used here for describing a superset of both scent and odor that is independent of the human model (odor) and the canine model (scent/odor) as well as an instrumentation model (sampling chemicals) as it is known that particles are not responsible for eliciting a volatiles detection response in canines (13). The purpose of this study was to explore the ability of a specific sorbent to collect and release a combination of volatile chemicals. Although the compounds selected for this study have been previously reported to be components of human scent, the authors do not intend to imply that they are the components utilized by canines.

    STU-100

    There are four commonly used methods to collect a human volatiles profile for canine use: direct, swipe, adsorption/absorption, and indirect. The traditional direct method allows the canine to smell an article of evidence or volatiles source directly by bringing the item close to, or in contact with, its nose. Swiping involves wiping the surface of the evidentiary material with a sterile gauze pad and thereby transferring volatiles onto the pad. The pad is then presented to the canine as in the direct method. Adsorption/absorption involves placing a sterile gauze pad on the source surface for some time period, thereby creating a concentration effect or an aggregate from the item(s) of interest. Often, the source object(s) and a sterile gauze pad are placed into and sealed in a plastic resealable bag. After some time, the gauze pad is removed and presented to the canine as previously described (3). A major drawback to these three methods is the possible disruption and contamination of trace evidence within the object of evidence during scent pad contact. To address this issue, U.S. law enforcement personnel have recently been using an indirect or noncontact method of volatiles collection via the STU-100. Very little scientific data have been published that characterizes the trapping medium’s (cotton pad) ability to adsorb and desorb organic compounds responsible for scent at ambient temperature.

    Developed by Tolhurst and Harris and patented in 1998, (14) the STU-100 device is a portable, hand-held vacuum pump with a modified inlet, that is able to hold in place a 12.5 cm × 23.0 cm Johnson & Johnson® sterile surgical gauze pad. This “scent pad” is used as a trap to collect primarily volatile or vaporized scent compounds as the STU-100 pulls air through the gauze or sorbent at a flow rate of c. 300 L/min while it is physically swept above or over articles of evidence or over areas that may emanate volatiles. The pad is then removed from the STU-100 device and double packaged in heat-sealed nylon envelopes. To conduct a scent check with a trailing canine, the handler first acclimates the canine to the available volatiles profiles (scents and odors) at the start location and establishes a baseline for the canine. After harnessing, the handler opens the nylon envelope and places the pad in front of the canine’s nose. If a matching odor is present at the trail start, the canine commences to follow the trail. If no matching odor is present, or the level of volatile organic compounds is below the detection capability of the canine, the canine is trained to respond by refusing to trail.

    As the number of criminal investigations utilizing the STU-100 has increased, challenges to its court admissibility have surfaced. Officials of the Law Enforcement Bloodhound Association (LEBA) and the National Police Bloodhound Association (NPBA) have criticized the capabilities of the STU-100, although both organizations have members who own and use it. Published statements reflect that neither LEBA nor NPBA currently endorse the STU-100’s “trap-and-release” capabilities (15). To date, neither organization has scientifically tested the device. The primary concern expressed by both bloodhound organizations and recent legal proceedings is that the STU-100 does not efficiently collect scent and that the device itself possibly contaminates the scent pads. A recent double-blind study using the STU-100 with canines from the Southern California Bloodhound Handlers Coalition showed that the percentage of positive-scent matches made by bloodhounds between human scent sampled from postblast debris and respective human subjects was 78.3%, with no false-positive identifications (3). For these tests, a false-positive identification is defined as a canine alert to a human subject whose odor was not present on the STU-100 pad during scent proffer. In another study using the STU-100, Harvey and Harvey (16) evaluated eight trained bloodhounds (three novices and five veterans) for the ability to discriminate scent between two human subjects and effectively trail the scent in a battery of terrain and weather conditions. (Note: Bloodhounds with more than 18 months of training were considered to be in veteran status.) The STU-100 was swept over multiple areas of the test subject, without contacting the subject, to obtain a volatiles profile not specific to any body part. In field trials, canines were offered the scent pads and they proceeded to follow the scent on 48-h-old trails. The veteran bloodhounds proved successful 96% of the time, while canines in the novice category had a 53% success rate.

    Nations with human scent detection canine programs all utilize various natural fiber scent pad materials (e.g., cotton) to capture and release the volatiles profile. Although anecdotal and empirical data suggest that cotton materials collect and release organic chemicals, this study provides an organic chemical trap and release data confirmation from controlled laboratory experiments. Initial experiments focused on spiking the pads directly and utilizing a chromatographic separation before mass spectrometry for identification and confirmation. Additional experiments utilized a more direct analysis approach with no separation step before mass spectrometry. This latter approach generated multiple ion patterns or ion current profiles amenable to mathematical factor analysis. The pad used in the STU-100 sampling device was desorbed at ambient temperatures as well as elevated temperatures utilizing analytical instrumentation in controlled laboratory settings with known chemical mixtures or standards.

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