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

* what’s going on with the NAS anthrax study? since almost all sessions have been closed, with no agendas, lists of witness, or summary reports, will we ever learn what they have been doing? … UPDATE: NAS polite non-response to my email

Posted by DXer on April 19, 2010

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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 *

LMW to NAS (4/19/10) …

Thank you for trying to be helpful. My impression is that the FBI has tied the NAS committee in knots. The failure to disclose witnesses and testimony makes public participation meaningless.

NAS polite non-response (4/19/10) …

I’m sorry to hear that you won’t be attending our meeting this week. As the program assistant, I am not in a position to make decisions regarding any of our meetings or materials, so I will send your question to Fran Sharples, the staff lead on the project.

LMW to NAS (4/18/10) …

I have registered for the open session on April 22, but of course I cannot attend. Who would come to DC for less than 90 minutes of open hearing when all other meetings have been closed with no list of witnesses or topics? It seems to me that NAS has betrayed  its mission to conduct open hearings in which the public might be meaningfully involved. Are you hiding something?

Will ALL committee minutes eventually be made public, including …

  • ALL witnesses
  • ALL testimony
  • ALL discussion

If not, this study, especially if it confirms the FBI’s use of science, will be one more travesty in the history of this investigation.

******


24 Responses to “* what’s going on with the NAS anthrax study? since almost all sessions have been closed, with no agendas, lists of witness, or summary reports, will we ever learn what they have been doing? … UPDATE: NAS polite non-response to my email”

  1. DXer said

    AFIP Materials Related to USAMRIID Specimens – October 2001
    http://docs.google.com/present/edit?id=0AUOvQm3wQZPEZGY3bW44czRfODdoY252OXFoag&hl=en

  2. Ike Solem said

    As far as conflicts of interest on the NAS Panel, here’s one:

    Arturo Casadevall, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Deputy Director of the Northeast Biodefense Center

    The NAS Committee only says that he is, quote:

    “Chair, Department of Microbiology and Immunology; Leo and Julia Forchheimer Professor of Microbiology and Immunology; Professor, Department of Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine”

    Why did they neglect his position as Deputy Director of the Northeast Biodefense Institute?

    They draw their funding from outfits like NIAID and NBACC – and guess what?

    BATTELLE WINS CONTRACT TO OPERATE NATIONAL BIODEFENSE ANALYSIS & COUNTERMEASURES CENTER

    (Dec. 20, 2006) The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced today that Battelle National Biodefense Institute (BNBI) has been selected to manage the new National Biodefense Analysis & Countermeasures Center (NBACC), a Federally Funded Research and Development Center.

    The $250 million contract award includes a five-year period of performance, with the potential for five subsequent one-year extensions, bringing the projected award value to $500 million. The NBACC, scheduled to open in 2008, will be the nation’s premier research facility for biological threat characterization and bioforensic research.”

    “BNBI is the limited liability company formed by Battelle to manage the lab. During the two years prior to completion of the new facility, BNBI will manage ongoing NBACC work from an office in Frederick, MD.”

    “The lab, which will employ approximately 120 people, is under construction in Frederick, Maryland at Fort Detrick. The 160,000-square-foot facility will become part of the biodefense campus that includes the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID).”

    So, one of the senior scientists on the panel directs an institute whose funding is at least partially controlled by Battelle. Nothing to see here, folks…

    • Anonymous said

      Once the AFIP report gets the publicity of the analysis undertaken by independent experts, the NAS will not be able to ignore it.

      • DXer said

        Yes, doesn’t the AFIP data show that Ed Lake was right after all — in that a silanizing solution was in the slurry? (see his 2003 dialogue with some science reporter toward the end where they get to their conclusions and the implications)

        • DXer said

          FWIW, in regards to the dried powder made at the request for DARPA, in the 2 or 3 times I repeated the question, JE did not deny he used a silanizing solution in the slurry (while being responsive to other questions such as on anti-foam was used). (He just did not respond).

      • DXer said

        Kathryn Crockett, Ken Alibek’s assistant — just a couple doors down from Ali Al-Timimi — addressed these issues in her 2006 thesis, “A historical analysis of Bacillus anthracis as a biological weapon and its application to the development of nonproliferation and defense strategies.” She expressed her special thanks to bioweaponeering experts Dr. Ken Alibek and Dr. Bill Patrick. Dr. Patrick consulted with the FBI. Dr. Crockett successfully defended the thesis before a panel that included USAMRIID head and Ames strain researcher Charles Bailey, Ali Al-Timimi’s other Department colleague. In 2001 he said he did not want to discuss silica because he did not want to give terrorists any ideas. Oops! Too late. The scientist coordinating with the 911 imam and Bin Laden’s Sheik was 15 feet away.

        Dr. Crockett in her PhD thesis says that scientists who analyzed the powder through viewing micrographs or actual contact are divided over the quality of the powder. (Ivins gave Leahy an “A”, Daschle a “B” and New York Post a “C”).

        On the issue of encapsulation, Crockett reports that “many experts who examined the powder stated the spores were encapsulated. Encapsulation involves coating bacteria with a polymer which is usually done to protect fragile bacteria from harsh conditions such as extreme heat and pressure that occurs at the time of detonation (if in a bomb), as well as from moisture and ultraviolet light. The process was not originally developed for biological weapons purposes but rather to improve the delivery of various drugs to target organs or systems before they were destroyed by enzymes in the circulatory system” (citing Alibek and Crockett, 2005). “The US and Soviet Union, however, ” she explains, “used this technique in their biological weapons programs for pathogens that were not stable in aerosol form… Since spores have hardy shells that provide the same protection as encapsulation would, there is no need to cover them with a polymer.“ She explains that one “possible explanation is that the spore was in fact encapsulated but not for protective purpose. Encapsulation also reduces the need for milling when producing a dry formulation.” She wrote: “If the perpetrator was knowledgeable of the use of encapsulation for this purpose, then he or she may have employed it because sophisticated equipment was not at his disposal.”

        Or as Dr. Michael told National Geographic (using the word “weaponized” to narrowly refer to aiding dispersability) he does not think the silica was used for that purpose of “weaponization”, whether under the historical Dugway method from the 1990s or otherwise. Michael told FOX News, “I don’t think this exonerates (Ivins) at all.” He added, “I don’t think it’s not enough to say that he did it, as well.”

        One military scientist who has made anthrax simulants described the GMU patents to me as relating to a silicon encapsulation technique which serves to increase the viability of a wide range of pathogens. A related patent discusses use of a silanized hydrophobic Aerosil powder. More broadly, a DIA analyst (JV) once commented to me that the internal debate seemed relatively inconsequential given the circumstantial evidence — overlooked by so many people — that US-based supporters of Al Qaeda are responsible for the mailings.

        The AFIP lab results which I emailed around last week to scientists seem to demonstrate that the silica was massive. In the past, Sandia was making inferences and conclusions about whether the silica would be useful in making mailed anthrax — and whether it would be highly probative — that go far beyond both their field of expertise and the data apparently available to them. I find Peter Setlow’s commentary on the recent Japanese article about silicon encapsulation to be thoughtful and would have preferred that he address the issue before the NAS.

        In the DARPA research, the corona plasma discharge and the sonication were entirely unrelated to “weaponization.”

        Once it is released, experts like Peter Setlow can consider the source of the reason for the silica such as whether it was putting virulent Ames soil (silica) suspension such as the FBI scientist John Ezzell did in 1996 for DARPA. Or whether to the time relates to when much later (he confirms to me in a telephone conversation) he made dry powdered anthrax at Ft. Detrick for the JH-APL researchers. Or we can turn to the “Microdroplet Cell Culture” patent filed by Ali Al-Timimi’s Discovery Hall colleagues at the DARPA-funded Center for Biodefense and see if there is a connection. The silica would be in the cultivating medium used to concentrate the anthrax and then would be removed by repeated centrifugation.

        Or we can explore the other hypotheses relating to the reason for the Silicon Signature such as the silicone sealant that the AQ manual instructs be sprayed on the inside of the envelope. Or whether it might reflect contamination in a dual nozzle mini-spraydryer used for processing rice hull ash (silicon).

        As for the defenders of Dr. Ivins, I have to focus their attention again on the record of flask 1029. Who altered the record? If he did, wouldn’t he be indictable as an accessory after the fact and for obstruction of justice? Did he “redo” the record that otherwise showed a 100 ml withdrawal not supported by an EA 101 or whatever documentation and approval was formally necessary?

        Alternatively, might alteration have been motivated simply by a failure to keep proper records, or record a transfer as required by mid-1997 regulations? He specifically emailed his superior and said that he was concerned that his records would not square up with the inventory. He was told to shut up, not to repeat what he had heard at a party about the FBI’s line of inquiry — that everything was under control.

        Dr. Ivins made a 40 ml withdrawal for the JH-APL research that was not reflected on the record of Flask 1029 withdrawals. Might he have made another 100 ml that was reflected on the inventory but then he released the shipment had not been approved through channels?

        So whodunnit? Let’s start with some easy questions. Who told Dr. Ivins to shut up about it — that everything was under control? Who brought him the dried powdered “national security sample”? And why was Dr. Ivins concerned that there would be material missing from his inventory — to which his superior advised there would then be reason or justification for the missing Ames.

      • DXer said

        Ed, did you have an expert examine the report or are you just going by the pretty pictures?

  3. Ike Solem said

    Perhaps Ivin’s colleagues were right about this study from the beginning:

    “Former colleagues of Ivins question the purpose of the academy’s study.

    “It very likely came from that flask, but who cares, hundreds of people had access, if not more. Dozens of labs were sent that sample,” said Andrews, former director of the bacteriology division at USAMRIID from 2000 to 2003. He supervised Ivins for about five years.

    Andrews, now an assistant professor at the University of Wyoming, called the academy study “essentially meaningless.”

    “They’re basically going to say the science was robust enough,” he said.

    The science will not uncover physical evidence directly linking Ivins to the production of the powderized anthrax spores and won’t explain how the FBI ruled out other people and labs who had access to the RMR-1029 spores, Andrews said.”

    http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/news/display.htm?storyID=93064

    • DXer said

      Yes, Dr. Andrews is absolutely right. But note how diabolically clever it was — spend $890,000 of the taxpayer money and thereby prevent the documents that would prove an Ivins Theory a crock from being produced.

      I vote for people to be fired if all of Ivins’ emails are not produced this week. But the firings should start at the DOJ/and FBI with the people who have obstructed the USAMRIID production.

  4. Ike Solem said

    P.S. The person to contact at the National Academy of Sciences is:

    Fran Sharples, Ph.D.
    Board Director, Board on Life Sciences
    Phone: 203-334-2187
    E-mail: fsharples@nas.edu

    I don’t know the name of the FBI’s contract manager – their NAS liason person, but they’d be worth talking to as well.

  5. Ike Solem said

    The NAS Science Committee may very well be protecting not just the FBI, but also the massive increase in biowarfare research that has sprang up in the United States since the 2001 anthrax attacks – it’s been a real cash cow, and involves a nexus of government agencies, private contractors to manage those agencies, and outside venture capital and pharmaceutical interests to reap the profits (case examples: James Woolsey and Paladin Capital, Battelle Memorial Institute and Emergent Biosolutions/Bioport/Vaxgen, and the NIAID and NBFAC).

    If you haven’t seen the list:

    http://biopreparat-mknaomi.blogspot.com/

    Region I
    Harvard Medical School
    New England Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases
    http://nerce.med.harvard.edu/
    Principal Investigator: Dr. Dennis Kasper

    Region II
    Columbia University
    Northeast Biodefense Center
    http://www.nbc.columbia.edu/
    Principal Investigator: Dr. W. Ian Lipkin

    Region III
    University of Maryland, Baltimore
    Mid-Atlantic Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases
    http://marce.vbi.vt.edu/
    Principal Investigator: Dr. Myron Levine

    Region IV
    University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
    Southeast Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases
    http://www.serceb.org/
    Principal Investigator: Dr. Fred Sparling

    Region V
    University of Chicago
    Great Lakes Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases
    http://www.glrce.org/
    Principal Investigator: Dr. Olaf Schneewind

    Region VI
    University of Texas Medical Branch
    Western Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases
    http://www.rcebiodefense.org/rce6/rce6pub.htm
    Principal Investigator: Dr. David Walker

    Region VII
    Washington University
    Midwest Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases
    http://mrce.wustl.edu/
    Principal Investigator: Dr. Samuel Stanley

    Region VIII
    Colorado State University (Fort Collins)
    Rocky Mountain Regional Center of Excellence
    http://www.rmrce.colostate.edu/
    Principal Investigator: Dr. John Belisle

    Region IX
    University of California, Irvine
    Pacific-Southwest Regional Center of Excellence
    http://www.pswrce.uci.edu/
    Principal Investigator: Dr. Alan G. Barbour

    Region X
    Oregon Health & Science University
    Pacific Northwest Regional Center of Excellence
    http://www.ohsu.edu/vgti/pnwrce/
    Principal Investigator: Dr. Jay Nelson

    Region X
    University of Washington
    Northwest Regional Center of Excellence
    for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious
    Diseases Research
    http://nwrce.org/
    Principal Investigator: Dr. Samuel Miller

    In addition to supporting investigator-directed research and providing scientific expertise when called upon in an emergency, all the RCEs also

    * Train researchers and other personnel for biodefense research activities
    * Create and maintain supporting resources, including scientific equipment and trained support personnel, for use by other researchers within the region and network
    * Make available core facilities to approved investigators from academia, government, biotech companies and the pharmaceutical industry

    Now, if the NAS Committee refutes the FBI claims, that focuses all attention back on this nexus as well as on the CIA/DIA/Battelle biological threat assessment program initiated in 1995. This could very well explain their secrecy and their unwillingness to pursue the matter in any detail.

  6. Thanks Lew for sending those emails. I think its important that the NAS, FBI HQ and DOJ HQ know that these closed issues receive public attention. Let me add my petition to the NAS that the hearings be open to the public. Furthermore, there should be public participation to ask questions.

  7. DXer said

    1.
    “national security sample.” The Ba was m a powdered form and orangish in color. During that same time period, again called IVINS …
    http://www.fredericknewspost.com/media/pdfs/ivins_investigation_1.PDF

    Ivins was called in to the superior’s office and given more dried powder from the same country to test. He grew some on a blood plate and left it in the laboratory suite. He took some of it and froze it in a broth.
    When was this? Who gave Bruce Ivins the dried powder? What was his role? To determine its concentration? To confirm it was anthrax?

    2.
    In an April 26, 2002 email titled “Anthrax strain” he is frantically looking for a “strain he had frozen down for ________.” It is the “I-1″ strain. That was labelled something vague like that. Did he ever find it?

    Where did the dried powder — that then turned up missing — go?

    Is this what caused the contamination? Was it Ames?

    Is this why he was such a nervous Nellie?

    Everyone was forbidden to talk to him. He was under a gag order. What might he have explained had he lived to tell about it?

    3.

    3/31/2005 302 interview statement

    IVINS further related that USAMRIID ____________________________ once brought IVINS a “national security sample” of what was believed to be powdered Bacillus anthracis which he asked IVINS to culture and test. The powdered sample was given to IVINS in a vial labeled either “IA” or “I1″ _______represented to IVINS that this suspected anthrax sample had come from Iraq. IVINS said that this particular sample was catalogued at USAMRIID as a “diagnostic agent” to avoid labeling it as Bacillus anthracis.”

    Does the key to Amerithrax lie in understanding the source of this powder? (It seems that if it in fact related to Iraq we would have heard about it; that is, it seems the public and formal report by the USG that no powdered anthrax ever came from Iraq).

    So if Ivins was being misinformed as to the origin of the “national security sample,” what was its origin?

    4. Who were the sources of the ABC report that bentonite had been detected? Those reports all occurred after the October 21, 2001 report that aluminum had not been detected.

    • DXer said

      On April 21, 2002, Ivins describes his female assistant not wanting her desk swabbed in an email to a superior — and the superior instructs him not to do anything without talking about it “offline” first.

      The report of an interview conducted on April 30, 2002 states:

      “IVINS also wanted to follow up on the interview that was conducted of him on 4/25-25/02 by SA’s ___________________. He remembered two times he had come across Bacillus anthracis (Ba) about which he had not previously informed the agents. Sometime between December 2001 and February 2002 ______________ called IVINS and asked him to come to his office.

      __________________ originated from another country at which he wanted _______________ IVINS to look.

      “IVINS would not identify the country of origin, and stated that information would have to come from __________. IVINS called it a “national security” sample. The Ba was in a powdered form and orangish in color.”

    • DXer said

      If the Memorandum of understanding between JH-APL and USAMRIID regarding the DARPA project did not involve the supply of live agents, rather than just simulants, there would have been no need for vaccinations.

      • DXer said

        Did the dry powder come from know-how of a DARPA program such as this (involving a later patent) one where a surfactant is added to the cultivation medium? The co-inventor inherited Ali Al-Timimi’s phone number when he first arrived.

        Click to access 20060273187.pdf

        http://www.freepatentsonline.com/y2006/0273187.html Cell Culture Document Type and Number: United States Patent 20060273187 Kind Code: A1

        Abstract: The invention involves developing and stabilizing cultivating droplets within a matrix of a porous medium. A cultivation medium may be selected, prepared and mixed with a surfactant. Where cells are desired to be cultured in droplets, cells may be added. The mixture may be converted into cultivating droplets. The cultivating droplets may be stabilized by introducing them to a porous medium. The porous medium may contain hydrophobic particles. Stabilized, cultivating droplets having one or more cells may form an aseptic microenvironment for the concentrated growth of cells. *** The porous medium may include hydrophobic particles (sometimes be referred to as hydrophobic beads or beads). In an embodiment, the porous medium is a hydrophobic powder. Hydrophobic particles may help protect the inoculated mixture from contamination, as well as water penetration from neighboring cultivatable droplets. An example of hydrophobic particles includes silanized silicon dioxide. *** One particular example of hydrophobic particles is the series of silanized Aerosil particles produced by DeGussa AG of Dusseldorf, Germany. These include, but are not limited to, Aerosil® R 104, Aerosil® R 106, Aerosil® R 202, Aerosil® R 805, Aerosil® R 812, Aerosil® R 812.S, Aerosil® R 972, Aerosil® R 974 and Aerosil® R 8200. By themselves, Aerosil particles are generally hydrophilic (like sand). However, Aerosil particles can become water repellent, and hence suitable for stabilizing cultivatable droplets, after being treated via silanization. *** Generally, hydrophobic particles are held on the surface of water with weak Van der Waal’s forces. It is well known in the art that the interface between a hydrophobic particle and water surface can be substantially stabilized in the presence of surfactants in a solution.

  8. DXer said

    And consider the important work they have to do on the issue of contamination.

    For example, who was the woman, an assistant of his, who did not want her desk swabbed? Is she the one who was working on the national security sample?

    Bruce Ivins had an assistant working with him on OPERATION NOBLE EAGLE. 377 hours. You won’t hear Ed Lake talking about HER overtime. I think she was from the diagnostics division. I believe her desk area also was contaminated. I think she may have been the one who did not want to allow her desk to be swabbed.

    I think that he was brought a “national security sample” for testing by someone in December 2001. As I recall, in January 2002 he told the FBI about it but says he wasn’t free to say where it came from. I think he later said it came from Iraq. But then there also talk later about a dry powder from South Africa — I don’t know if they were the same. There is talk about material in nunc boxes (whatever they are) that had been lyophilized but now couldn’t be located.

    In April 2002, he is writing a colleague and/or assistant and frantically asking them to help look for the national security sample because he can’t find it.

    In 2005, as I recall, he is telling the FBi that he can submit a sample.

    It seems that it would behoove us to draw attention to these facts — and for me to gather up the references in the disclosed materials to it.

    Might the national security sample come from a source that was used in the attacks? It was orangish in color, as I recall. Does that description fit the tan powder?

    A DARPA Program Manager once told a friend that they even knew what machine it came from. Crediting his report (for the sake of exploring this hypothesis), it would be a pretty straight-forward cover-up by people associated with DARPA.

    It seems it would be important to know who was helping him on the OPERATION NOBLE EAGLE. And what woman didn’t want her desk swabbed — which I guess to be the same.

    Judging from the email looking for it — and the fact that he apparently wasn’t brought it until December — I sense that maybe someone wanted it tested to see how it compared to the attack anthrax.

    This is all just brainstorming and given how sketchy I am on all of the above, the first thing to do is to gather the documentary evidence.

    But if a Zawahiri infiltrator accesssed powder made from a program known to be illegal or otherwise involving awkward problems, it would explain everything.

    Oh, did I mention — you numbnuts — that a former Zawahiri associate whose friends were in the Egyptian Islamic Group and Egyptian Islamic Jihad was in charge of the DARPA program? And another sharing the suite with the other two leading DARPA researchers was coordinating with the 911 imam and Bin Laden’s sheik?

    • DXer said

      Ali Al-Timimi reportedly had a commendation from the White House for working on classified work while at the SRA for the Navy. (source: original webpage of defense committee that then disband)

      What classified work had Al-Timimi worked on? Was the Navy doing aerosol experiments in the Spring of 2001 on ships?

      FBI Scientist Bannan was the collections scientist in the Bacteriology Division of the American Type Culture Collection (located at GMU), which co-sponsored Al-Timimi’s program and shared lab space in Ali’s building. ATCC later bid for and won the Critical Reagent Program which has virulent Ames used in government experiments. Dr. Burans was in charge of Navy biodefense. Have these two recused themselves from these issues? If not, shouldn’t they? (I credit their good faith; conflicts of interest exist regardless of the party’s good faith). If science is done or supervised by those with a conflict of interest, is it sound?

      In getting his job at the building housing the DARPA-funded Center for Biodefense, where the founders invented the patent using silanized hydrophobic silica powder in the cultivating medium, did Ali Al-Timimi get a letter of reference from his former boss, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card? (He worked for Card years earlier for 2 months according to his defense committee). Mr. Card had a show-down with Director Mueller over illegal wiretapping that commenced on or about October 7 and targeted Al-Timimi and his associates. Ongoing proceeding (last I looked on PACER) had not yet resulted in a decision and proceedings were highly classified (and ex parte).

      Isn’t NAS being used to obfuscate rather than illuminate — given that it has resulted in an additional 2 years of withholding of basic documents that would show Dr. Ivins is innocent? (such as the photocopy toner report that excludes the copier that AUSA Ken and Rachel, without basis, say Ivins used). The FBI does not rely on any science in its case against Ivins and so the withholding of documents only serves to undermine review of Amerithrax.

      Isn’t Ike right but just focused on the locations he read about in the paper — rather than the ones that have remained off the grid. Remember when FBI Director Mueller could not — would not — answer whether there were other locations that made dried powder?

      Don’t the isotopes, for example, exclude Dugway?

      Doesn’t the Federal Eagle envelope tend to exclude both Dugway and Battelle?

      Isn’t any theory of the mailing that does not start with proof of travel necessarily weak?

      Wasn’t dry powder made using Ames in BL-3 space other than Dugway and Battelle? If so, where?

      Why won’t Dr. Voss and my friend Dr. Franz tell me when SRI, which was a subcontractor under the $3 million 2000 DARPA grant to GMU’s Center for Biodefense, first obtained virulent Ames?

      Patricia Fellows, Ivins colleague, went to head the BL-3 lab. She is the Former Colleague #2 in FBI’s case against Ivins.

      Isn’t Ivins just a “fall guy” like Hatfill was? (On Hatfill, though, let’s not be confused: he forged his PhD diploma and did in fact have access to Ames in the basement of Building 1412 see generally Heine interview; and so he was someone who needed to be excluded)

  9. Ike Solem said

    At the very least, they should have published their list of witnesses – at the very least. They haven’t even done that.

    A trial where the witnesses are kept secret – that’s how they’re trying to hang Ivins in the court of public opinion, as far as I can tell. They say they’re going to publish a final report – how long will it be? One page or less?

    Furthermore, there’s no way of knowing if they’ve responded to the many technical issues with the Sandia anthrax powder work… I guess I’ll have to itemize those more thoroughly… unreal. There’s also the issue of transfer – the genetic “Ames sub-strain morph” signature in the Ivins flask appeared at at least one other institution that received samples from Detrick’s Ames repository – and unlike the extensive (and reliable) work of Dr. Paul Keim on developing quick assays to separate Ames from other anthrax strains, the “Ames sub-strain morph” work hasn’t been published in any detail whatsoever. It doesn’t look like the “unique fingerprint” that they claim it is, at any rate.

    What on earth do they think they’re doing, trying to keep all this secret?

    • DXer said

      Given the UNM and Battelle was not a match — but should have been — they certainly have a head-scratcher even on the genetics.

      • Ike Solem said

        What are you talking about? The Ames morph analysis? That, as I’ve told you before, hasn’t been published – in fact, there were four assays, apparently developed at different outfits with close ties to Battelle – so there’s no way of knowing what was and wasn’t a match. Why are you making such unsupported claims?

        • Anonymous said

          I think what he’s talking about is that Ivins had written an email wondering why the aliquots of RMR-1029 he sent to Battelle and the Univeristy of New Mexico did not match the “four morphs test” later on.

          For some reason the FBI did not accuse Battelle or New Mexico of “submitting flase samples” and yet they accused Ivins of that from his early submission.

        • DXer said

          The samples were submitted to JE who made dried powder for DARPA — and the Zawahiri associate who headed a related DARPA project thanked the genetics expert in Keim’s lab (who worked on the samples submitted) for supplying him the B3 space for doing research with virulent anthrax.

          The head of counterterrorism for the FBI wrote me and said Amerithrax was a “mess” (and I circulated the report at the time) when I wrote to ask him if the FBI knew that Bruce Ivins had supplied a former Zawahiri associate with virulent Ames.

          Now to be fair and to give credence to Ed’s theory over the course of 6 years, I don’t know if the former Zawahiri associate who headed the DARPA project bowls or not.

    • DXer said

      Oh and the lab technician (TA) who discovered the morphs was JE’s long-term lab tech who had worked on the DARPA project.

      So while the merits of the morphs tests is beyond the scope of my comment (or ken), I note that everyone involved in the DARPA project involving Ames, in hindsight, had a disqualification from serving as an expert in Amerithrax (notwithstanding their good faith).

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