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

* NAS Open Session Thursday, April 22, 2010 2:20-3:45 pm … what will be revealed? what will be kept secret?

Posted by DXer on April 19, 2010


The FBI’s case against Dr. Ivins is bogus: no evidence, no witnesses, an impossible timeline, science that proves innocence instead of guilt. So what really happened? And why? The “fictional” scenario in my novel CASE CLOSED has been judged by many readers, including a highly respected official in the U.S. Intelligence Community, as “quite plausible.”

* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon *


21 Responses to “* NAS Open Session Thursday, April 22, 2010 2:20-3:45 pm … what will be revealed? what will be kept secret?”

  1. Anonymous said

    Open Session

    Thursday, April 22, 2010
    2:20-3:45 pm
    Henry S. Heine Ph.D.
    Senior Scientist
    Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infections
    Ordway Research Institute Inc.

  2. DXer said

    AFIP Materials Related to USAMRIID Specimens – October 2001

  3. DXer said

    Dr. Catherine Fensealu’s work is described on this faculty page. Her expertise is clearly central to the FBI’s scientific approach to the use of airborne anthrax — and was relied upon in Amerithrax. I expect she has testified (or will testify) What “other companies” has she worked with? Has she worked with Southern Research Institute which had DARPA as its client? They have BL-3 near Hopkins and the University of Maryland. Did Southern Research Institute make dried powder using virulent Ames from Flask 1029 as part of the DARPA research? Dr. Voss, the former lab head, has declined to tell me when they first obtained virulent Ames. The former VP national security Dave F. has also (and he is normally very responsive to inquiries).

    “Dr. Fenselau’s research program is funded by DARPA since 1995. She has also been funded by the FBI, the FDA, NSF, NIH and the USDA. Dr. Fenselau has written numerous articles on rapid detection of airborne microorganisms using mass spectrometry, beginning with the first report in the field, in 1975. Most of her papers have been published in “Analytical Chemistry.” She has organized or participated in workshops sponsored by NSF, the NRC, the FBI, and the US Postal Service to address biological warfare agents, forensic and counter-terrorism. Her lab has worked on R&D teams with groups from Hopkins Medical School, Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, SESI Inc. and other companies.”

    • DXer said

      Compare the chapter, for example, by Catherine Fenselau, on “BIONFORMATICS FOR FLEXIBILITY, RELIABILITY, AND MIXTURE ANALYSIS OF INTACT MICROORGANISMS” and Ali Al-Timimi’s description of his protein-based bioinformatics as of Fall 2000. By that time he had moved on from University of Maryland, where Dr. Fenselau was doing her DARPA-funded work, to the George Mason University, where the DARPA-funded researchers in Dr. Al-Timimi’s suite would be doing their work. Did Ali know Dr. Fenselau? Did he ever do work with her relating to her work with DARPA and the FBI?

  4. DXer said

    Prof. Rosenberg once explained in early Fall 2008:

    “There is an interesting possibility that the attack spores may have been grown using a microdroplet culture technique in which microdroplets of inoculated medium are isolated by coating them with hydrophobic silica particles. (21) This technique has the advantages of portability, growth to a high density, and minimal need to concentrate the spores. (22) It is noteworthy that the silica particles used for the technique must first be made hydrophobic by treating their surfaces with a siloxane (silicone oil) or a silane derivative.”

    Dr. Serge Popov responded:

    “This argument is purely hypothetical and implies a sophisticated generation of silica particles. It also ignores the basics of any perpetrator—keep a low profile, and opt for the simplest technique. The microdroplet cultivation activity is highly visible and not a part of a routine experimentation. USAMRIID denies the use of dry powders. Had anybody in USAMRIID been doing it anyway?”

    Specifically, I would add: Was anyone doing it for DARPA (which we now know was being supplied by Ames from Flask 1029)? We know that the microdroplet cell culture technique was co-invented by DARPA-funded researchers (colleagues of Dr. Popov).

    • DXer said

      As for who was making dried powders at USAMRIID, we now know the FBI’s anthrax expert was — which might have made it a sensitive subject.

  5. DXer said

    Now if only the fellow at CDC had opened up his email from the Canadian folks who did the study after the threat to used mailed anthrax if bail was denied the Vanguards of Conquest #2. See February 2001 PDB from the CIA to President Bush. (His bail was denied on October 5, 2001). With the study showing it immediately dispersed across the room and leaked before opening, Brentwood would have been closed.

    The Elite Med Squad That Saved You from Anthrax
    A look inside the hunt for a white, powdery killer.


  6. DXer said

    Chemistry Professor Catherine Fenselau was “awarded the prestigious Hillebrand … of rapid biodetection methods based on mass spectrometry and bioinformatics.” … techniques to help the FBI track the origins of deadly anthrax spores. …

    Has Dr. Fenselau testified on her excellent work for the FBI before the NAS?

    She was doing the DARPA mass spectrometry work with the JH-APL researchers and USAMRIID. 40 ml of virulent Ames was withdrawn from Flask 1029 on August 26, 2000. The JH-APL researchers would not have needed the vaccinations if they were not also working with virulent pathogens. Dr. Ezzell, the FBI’s anthrax scientist at Ft. Detrick, prepared a dry powder of virulent Ames for the JH-APL workers at the request of DARPA.

    Ali Al-Timimi’s field was bioinformatics. Did he work on the DARPA-funded mass spectrometry and bioinformatics work while at University of Maryland?

    • DXer said

      Shouldn’t the NAS review the evidence relating to the use of mass spectrometry to identify the medium used to grow the mailed anthrax?

      Researchers Develop Anthrax Tracking Method

      University of Maryland researchers have developed a technique to help the FBI track the origins of deadly anthrax spores.

      The FBI asked Maryland professor Catherine Fenselau to turn her mass spectrometry lab to the forensic task of sleuthing how bacillus spores, such as anthrax, are prepared.

      “There are several common types of chemicals that are used to grow anthrax spores,” said Fenselau. “One is agar, and another is a blood-based medium containing heme. People tend to develop and use their own recipe to grow the spores.

      “By analyzing for traces of these media, we can say a lot about how the spores were grown. That information can help investigators connect the growth with a certain recipe.”

      Molecules of organic compounds have specific weights. Mass spectrometry can determine what even a single molecule is based on its unique weight. Mass spectrometry analysis has been accepted as evidence in court cases for about 35 years.

      “It’s very sensitive and very specific,” said Jeff Whiteaker, the post-doctoral researcher who developed the process for detecting the heme medium. “The mass spectrometry-based method is more specific for the heme molecule compared to the traditional methods. Even if we encounter compounds that have the same weight, we can confirm which molecule it is by the way it breaks up in the mass spectrometer.”

      “Our theory was that if you look at what is stuck to the outside of a spore, you can find out how it became a spore.” Fenselau said. “Even when you try to clean up the spores, there are still scraps of stuff on the surface.”

      The Maryland team worked with five of the most frequently used recipes for blood agar to develop a method to detect and identify heme in any medium. “These bacteria grow on anything that has lots of nutrients available, which the heme medium does,” Whiteaker explained. “Microbiologists like to use blood agar to grow bacteria like anthrax, because it mimics conditions in the body.”

      The Maryland researchers worked with non-toxic bacillus spores, “first cousins that have a similar genome to anthrax, but don’t have the capability to synthesize the killer toxins,” said Fenselau.

      The Maryland researchers worked on the analysis from August, 2002 to February, 2003, producing a method where, said Whiteaker, “the heme medium jumps out.”

      The heme analysis was developed in collaboration with scientists at the FBI Academy. The team presented its results at an international conference in Montreal in June and expects to publish the technique in a scientific journal soon.

      The University of Maryland’s mass spectrometry laboratory is one of the most sophisticated in the Washington-Baltimore region.

      • DXer said

        Rapid characterization of spores of Bacillus cereus group bacteria by matrix-assisted laser desorption-ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry.

        Ryzhov V, Hathout Y, Fenselau C
        Appl Environ Microbiol 2000; 66:3828-34.

        Matrix-assisted laser desorption-ionization (MALDI) time-of-flight mass spectrometry was used to characterize the spores of 14 microorganisms of the Bacillus cereus group. This group includes the four Bacillus species B. anthracis, B. cereus, B. mycoides, and B. thuringiensis. MALDI mass spectra obtained from whole bacterial spores showed many similarities between the species, except for B. mycoides. At the same time, unique mass spectra could be obtained for the different B. cereus and B. thuringiensis strains, allowing for differentiation at the strain level. To increase the number of detectable biomarkers in the usually peak-poor MALDI spectra of spores, the spores were treated by corona plasma discharge (CPD) or sonicated prior to MALDI analysis. Spectra of sonicated or CPD-treated spores displayed an ensemble of biomarkers common for B. cereus group bacteria. Based on the spectra available, these biomarkers differentiate B. cereus group spores from those of Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus globigii. The effect of growth medium on MALDI spectra of spores was also explored.

        What is the effect of treatment by corona plasma discharge (CPD)?

        • DXer said

          Applied and Environmental Microbiology, October 1999, p. 4313-4319, Vol. 65, No. 10
          Copyright © 1999, American Society for Microbiology. All rights reserved.

          Identification of Bacillus Spores by Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization-Mass Spectrometry

          Yetrib Hathout,1,* Plamen A. Demirev,1 Yen-Peng Ho,1 Jonathan L. Bundy,1 Victor Ryzhov,1 Lisa Sapp,1 James Stutler,2 Joany Jackman,3 and Catherine Fenselau1

          Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 207421; GeoCenters, Inc., Fort Detrick, Maryland 217022; and Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, D.C.3

          Received 27 April 1999/Accepted 16 July 1999
          Unique patterns of biomarkers were reproducibly characterized by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI)-mass spectrometry and were used to distinguish Bacillus species members from one another. Discrimination at the strain level was demonstrated for Bacillus cereus spores. Lipophilic biomarkers were invariant in Bacillus globigii spores produced in three different media and in B. globigii spores stored for more than 30 years. The sensitivity was less than 5,000 cells deposited for analysis. Protein biomarkers were also characterized by MALDI analysis by using spores treated briefly with corona plasma discharge. Protein biomarkers were readily desorbed following this treatment. The effect of corona plasma discharge on the spores was examined.

          Since the genus Bacillus contains Bacillus thuringiensis, an industrially important nonpathogenic pesticide, Bacillus cereus, a noninfectious food pathogen, and Bacillus anthracis, a lethal infectious pathogenic bacterium, rapid discrimination of the spores from each other is necessary for effective intervention and treatment of human disease. In this study we evaluated matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI)-mass spectrometry to determine whether it can be used to directly characterize Bacillus spores with speed, reliability, and sensitivity.

        • DXer said

          Dr Fenselau the method:

          (i) CPD. A high-frequency high-voltage generator, model BD-20A (MesoSystems Technology, Richland, Wash.) was used for CPD experiments. The original electrode was placed about 3 mm above each well in the sample slide in air to provide low-current CPD pulses with repetition rates of 120 pulses/s. About 0.3 µl of spore suspension was placed in each well. The duration of CPD treatment was about 3 s. The treated sample was then covered with 0.3 µl of the matrix solution and analyzed by MALDI.

          (ii) Sonication. Disruption of spores by sonication was achieved by placing a probe tip of a sonicator-cell disruptor (model W 185F; Heat SystemsUltrasonics, Inc., Plainview, N.Y.) into a plastic vial containing 100 µl of the spore suspension (0.5 to 5 mg/ml in acetonitrile-0.1% trifluoroacetic acid at 70:30 [vol/vol]). The sonicator was operated at 20 kHz for between 30 s and 2 min at a maximum power setting for the microtip. An aliquot of 0.1 µl of sonicated suspension was used for MALDI-MS analysis.

        • DXer said

          Sonication is commonly used in nanotechnology for evenly dispersing nanoparticles in liquids. If sonication were used in a liquid slurry before drying, what would be the result?

        • DXer said

          Here, in taxpayer funded research, the researchers were working on an improved method of infecting cattle using aerosol — the bacteria was sonicated to break up clumps of bacteria in the nebulizer.

          Did the USAMRIID researchers ever use sonication to break up clumps in the nebulizer?

          Aerosol delivery of virulent Mycobacterium bovis to cattle

          by MV Palmer – 2002 – Cited by 20 – Related articles
          2300 Dayton Avenue, Ames, IA 50010, USA. Summary Setting: Although animal models of aerosol inoculation of Mycobacterium tuberculosisand M. bovishave been …

        • DXer said

          In this article published in AEM, accepted in July 2000 and published in September 2000, the authors thanked:

          “Joany Jackman of USAMRIID, Frederick, Md., is gratefully acknowledged for providing some of the spore lines and for helpful discussions.

          This work was supported by contracts from the Applied Physics Laboratory of the Johns Hopkins University.”

          40 ml was taken from Flask 1029on August 2000. (see expanded FBI itemization from September 2006) Was sonication or CPD used in a nebulizer on dried spores made by Dr. Jackman’s former mentor John Ezzell, who reports he made dried spores at the request of DARPA? Or did he use a sonicator? The former Zawahiri associate was head of the DARPA anti-infective project and testing was done at John Hopkins. The bionformatics/computational biology expert coordinating with the 911 iman and Bin Laden’s sheik worked at University of Maryland and then moved over to the Discovery Hall at GMU and shared a suite with the leading anthrax expert and former deputy USMARIID Commander?

          Isn’t this an infiltration of US biodefense and the FBI? But if outsiders cannot see it even when it is pointed out, should the FBI and Administration be blamed when (pre-911) no one pointed it out? Whose failure to connect the dots is greater? The FBI? Or everyone else’s.

        • DXer said

          The FBI states that the 40 ml was taken from Flask 1029 on August 26, 2000 was taken out for the JH-APL mass spec detector experiments. That research involved using a mass spectrometry to detect aerosols (to include aerosols representing mixtures). Why would they need 40 ml of Ames from Flask 1029? What were they going to do with it? Why doesn’t Dr. Ezzell respond as to the date he made the dried powder at DARPA’s request and gave it to the JH-APL researchers?

        • DXer said

          Dr. Ivins expressed a concern to a superior that his inventory wouldn’t square up because (well, you know). He was told to shut up and not talk about it. There is a discrepancy of 100 ml. Another 1/6 of the Dugway 100 ml of spores was reportedly autoclaved because it wasn’t good enough in 1997. Given the laxness in autoclave procedure, what is the proof that the 1/6 made by Dugway was destroyed? Consider this hypothesis: 150 ml. here, 100 ml. here, 40 here — suddenly you’re cooking with gas.

        • DXer said

          I have asked John Peterson to preserve the emails showing the identify of the DOJ and FBI people who have prevented and delayed USAMRIID production of Bruce Ivins’ emails. If those emails are destroyed (both JP’s and BI’s), the destruction will constitute destruction of evidence. If those emails are produced, it will constitute evidence of obstruction of justice (that is, if it continues; everyone deserves a change to straighten up and fly right). The mere fact USAMRIID seems incompetent at sharing a simple stack of emails shows that the United States government is simply incapable of efficiency in the securing of this Nation. The country’s major cities are not safe given the inefficiency of the federal government. Instead, the order of the day seems to be to proliferate the dangers through pork-fueled spending.

    • DXer said

      Clarification: The slurry used by JE was gamma irradiated before being lyophilized. It was not milled before being given to the JH-APL researchers. They asked for dries spores and that is what he gave them.

    • DXer said

      Quantitative determination of heme for forensic characterization of bacillus spores using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry.
      Whiteaker JR, Fenselau CC, Fetterolf D, Steele D, Wilson D.
      Anal Chem. 2004 May 15;76(10):2836-41.

      Characterization of Bacillus spore species and their mixtures using postsource decay with a curved-field reflectron.
      Warscheid B, Fenselau C.
      Anal Chem. 2003 Oct 15;75(20):5618-27.

      MALDI analysis of Bacilli in spore mixtures by applying a quadrupole ion trap time-of-flight tandem mass spectrometer.
      Warscheid B, Jackson K, Sutton C, Fenselau C.
      Anal Chem. 2003 Oct 15;75(20):5608-17.

      Bacillus spore identification via proteolytic peptide mapping with a miniaturized MALDI TOF mass spectrometer.
      English RD, Warscheid B, Fenselau C, Cotter RJ.
      Anal Chem. 2003 Dec 15;75(24):6886-93.

  7. DXer said

    The Education of Ali Al-Timimi – The Atlantic (June 2006)

    Milton Viorst, author and expert, knew Ali Al-Timimi when he was young and wrote an informative article in The Atlantic.
    He writes in “The Education of Ali Al-Timimi”

    “Back in the United States, Ali enrolled for a second bachelor’s, this one in computer science at the University of Maryland, while doing parallel studies in software programming at George Washington University, where his father and mother had obtained degrees.”

    Did Ali have any connection to the DARPA-funded mass spectrometry research at University of Maryland? It involved researchers at JH-APL, University of Maryland, and USAMRIID.

    Mr. Viorst continues:

    ” Within a few years his level of skills permitted him to hold a sequence of jobs with high-tech computer firms based in the Washington area. One of them was SRA International, a highly regarded company where Ali worked as a “bioinformatics software architect,” providing information technology to the government.”

    What information technology did Ali provide to the government?

    “Some of the jobs required that Ali obtain a high-level security clearance; one assignment was in response to a call from the White House, which provided him with a letter of commendation after his work was done.”

    What assignment was in response to a call from the White House? Who signed the letter of commendation provided Al-Timimi from the White House?

    Mr. Viorst continues:

    “He later enrolled as a doctoral candidate at George Mason University, in northern Virginia, near where he then lived. The specialty he chose was computational biology, a new field that contained the promise of breaking fresh ground in medicine through the advanced use of computers.”

    It was here that he shared a suite with the leading anthrax scientist Alibek and former deputy USAMRIID Commander Bailey.

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