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

* Correspondence between FBI anthrax expert Ezzell and Ivins dated May 15, 2003 … released today

Posted by DXer on April 26, 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 *


15 Responses to “* Correspondence between FBI anthrax expert Ezzell and Ivins dated May 15, 2003 … released today”

  1. DXer said

    On May 15, 2003, Dr. Ezzell, the FBI’s anthrax expert who had made a dried powder out of Flask 1029, wrote Bruce saying: “Some folks have gotten there panties in a bind over this.”

    It related to JE giving BI the Daschle letter to do a concentration upon a request from someone in Headquarters.

    Who in Headquarters had asked for it to be done? In hindsight, Bruce thought that the Daschle letter should have been given him in a can rather than a ziploc bag.

    The FBI later relies on an email to John saying that in any trial, embarrassing things would come out even as to innocent folks — brought out by the defense or by the prosecutors. The FBI viewed this as evidence of guilt. But what Bruce was pointing out was accurate and so how is it evidence of guilt? And under the circumstances, this “panties in a bind” statement might be viewed similarly as intimidating. The Amerithrax Summary is innuendo heaped upon inference built upon factual premises contradicted by the documentary evidence.

    From emails in 2007 and 2008, the FBI knew Bruce was suicidal due to what his psychiatrist described as a kafkaesque process.

  2. DXer said

    US won’t appeal verdict in case of four framed by FBI

    Plaintiffs to get damage judgment of $101.7 million

    By Jonathan Saltzman
    Globe Staff / May 1, 2010

    The federal government has decided not to appeal to the Supreme Court a landmark verdict for four men framed by the FBI in a gangland slaying, meaning the plaintiffs will receive a damage judgment that totals $101.7 million, according to one of their lawyers.

    The discovery of secret FBI files that were not turned over during the men’s 1968 state murder trial had prompted a state judge in 2001 to overturn the murder convictions of Limone and Salvati. Limone was immediately freed from prison. Salvati had been paroled in 1997.

    Comment: Dr. Ivins made handwritten notes at lab on 5 nights that Rachel Carlson Lieber and Ken Kohl speculate he was powderizing anthrax. Yet when I asked AUSA Lieber to have the DOJ produce them under FOIA, she refused through a spokesman.

    The DOJ also failed to provide to provide a copy of Dr. Bartick’s examination of the photocopier toner that shows that the photocopy machine she and Ken Kohl say was used was has been EXCLUDED.

    Now people in good faith can disagree about the assessment and probativeness of evidence. And certainly I won’t now what the photocopy report says until it is produced. But there is no good faith reason for taking 2 years in producing Dr. Ivins’ emails or in failing to produce the lab notebook pages that Dr. Ivins wrote while in the lab those nights. And so I propose that everyone get a free pass in Amerithrax for any missteps but that everyone who stands in the way of document production from this day forward be fired.

    Why does the US Congress sit idly by while the DOJ spends another $100 million of taxpayer funds for framing the wrong guy while not complying with FOIA?

  3. DXer said

    “The futuristic military research by Popov, Alibek, and other scientists presented America’s biodefender’s with a grim challenge…. In the late 1990s, the Pentagon dramatically increased funding to find new ways of fighting infectious disease, pouring hundreds of millions of dollars for biodefense into the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA…. DARPA, an arm of the Pentagon, had no laboratories or scientists of its own. Its managers wanted to underwrite the most audacious research they could find. The hope was to spur avenues of inquiry that industry had ignored or abandoned. It was understood from the beginning that the research was high risk, that many of the projects would fail.

    The first director of DARPA’s Unconventional Countermeasures Program, Shaun Jones, had his own clear vision of the future. A doctor and navy commander who had been a member of the navy’s elite commando unit, the SEALs, Jones had traveled the world on secret missions. He believed that defense against germ weapons required radical new approaches.

    The medical breakthroughs of the late twentieth century had been driven by profit. Pharmaceutical companies had made billions targeting individual diseases or maladies. …. Jones wanted to go in the opposite direction, to search for breakthroughs that would provide widespread protection. One focus was the multivalent vaccines that could prime the body’s immune system to ward off a range of microbial threats.


    A young colleague of Lederberg’s, Jones used the clout of the eminent scientist to recruit talent for his projects. … By 1998, the program had scientists working on forty-three different projects.”

    Comment: One of those projects was to give $12 million to a former Zawahiri associate who was supplied virulent Ames under the DARPA project three years after he had received his PhD from Heba Zawahiri’s microbiology department.

    What does Shaun Jones say about the vetting that was done?

    The “Germ” authors continue:

    “In 1998, DARPA gave Maxygen a $3.8 million contract to refine the enzyme further, making it strong enough to dissolve not only grass stains but anthrax bacteria and other germs that form hardened spores. Perhaps some the military would have a detergent that could be sprayed over people and neutralize an anthrax attack. Another Maxygen contract, for $7.7 million in 1999, focused on developing unusually strong gene vaccines that would stimulate the human body into superimmunity against viral and bacterial invaders. The military also asked the company to develop aerosol-based vaccines that could be inhaled to safeguard people against a broad range of pathogens. A cloud of vaccine, sprayed over many square miles, was seen as potentially the simplest way to protect people and animals from epidemics.


    A measure of the program’s success, and Pentagon approval, was DARPA’s expanding budget for defense against biological weapons, which included not only work on medical treatments but research on such devices as advanced germ detectors. The annual budget went from $59 million in 1998 to $162 million in 2000….

    “In the last days of the Clinton administration, the Pentagon gingerly moved toward doing its own recombinant work on pathogens. …. In early 2001, in the first months of the Bush administration, Pentagon officials decided that they would wait no longer for Russia to deliver the anthrax strain. The job of making the bug was turned over to a secretive DIA program known as Project Jefferson. Established in early 1998 with a modest $2 million annual budget, the project drew its name from Thomas Jefferson’s injunction “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” Initially, the Jefferson project studied the classical germ agents, the “oldie moldies” as Patrick called them. One early effort assessed whether 8,000 to 10,000 spores were really needed to infect a person with anthrax. Much of the research was done by reviewing classified and openly published scientific literature. Other work was accomplished using computers that allowed scientists to make virtual pathogens and weapons.”

    “To make the genetically modified anthrax, the DIA turned to Battelle, its contractor in Columbus which had also worked on Clear Vision, the CIA project. US intelligence officials said that they understood the significance of the step they were contemplating, and that this was the only genetic manipulation the Pentagon had even considered. To ensure compliance with the germ treaty’s restrictions, the officials said, the DIA would make only small quantities of the superbug — a gram or less. Officials said that with such amounts, the intent could only be viewed as defensive.”

    “Ken Alibek said he had no quarrel with the justifications advanced for secretly studying recombinant pathogens. But the niceties would not be matter, he warned. If the secret research was eventually disclosed, many critics would have a different view. The United states would be accused of cheating on the germ treaty. The former physician turned biological warrior, who had spent much of his life working in a hidden weapons program, said that the work had to be done openly if done at all.

    “It can’t be classified,” he said. “If done secretly, you can imagine the problems.”


    And so the solution was for fund Dr. Alibek and the head DIA biothreat assessment with millions beginning in 2000 and 2001, and bring on board the computational biologist coordinating with 911 imam and Bin Laden’s sheik into the suite and supply the former Zawahiri associate working on nanoemulsions with virulent Ames from Bruce Ivins.

    Shaun Jones. Jane Alexander. I think you should explain to a Congressional Committee what steps were taken to avoid infiltration by Ayman Zawahiri in spending the tens of millions. Wasn’t your model of using universities flawed from a biosecurity perspective?

    Infiltration of US Biodefense

  4. DXer said

    Launch Party: Anthrax War
    by Bob Coen and Eric Nadler

    May 3, 7pm

    Melville House Bookstore

    Come celebrate the paperback release of Anthrax War: Dead Silence . . . Fear and Terror on the Anthrax Trail by Bob Coen and Eric Nadler.

    An in-depth look into the new biological arms race, Dead Silence conveys the inside story of the U.S. anthrax attacks and their connection to the existence of a frightening global germ warfare underworld. Coen and Nadler’s investigations take them across four continents and inside classified labs, revealing a web of secrecy, corporate greed, and global manipulation.

    Author talk, Q&A — with beer and wine followed by a screening of the documentary film the book is based on.

  5. DXer said

    Doesn’t Ali Mohammed know both the mailer and the acquirer of virulent Ames?

    Where is Ali Mohammed? Is it true that Attorney General Gonzalez ordered him released?

    Ali Abdul Saoud Mohamed, (علي محمد) (born June 3, 1952) is a double agent[1] who worked for both the CIA and Egyptian Islamic Jihad simultaneously, reporting on the workings of each for the benefit of the other.
    He came to the United States working as a translator for Ayman Zawahiri, who toured California mosques to raise money to fight the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. While there, Zawahiri encouraged him to infiltrate the United States, to whom he later presented himself as defecting. Since he simply walked into the CIA office in Cairo and asked to speak to the station chief and offered his services, the Americans assumed he was an Egyptian spy, but nevertheless recruited him to be a junior intelligence officer.[2] When tasked to infiltrate a mosque with ties to Hezbollah, he simply informed the leadership he was an American spy intending to collect information; since a loyal American spy was also in the congregation, he reported Mohamed’s bizarre behaviour to the CIA, who dismissed him and sought to ban him from entering the United States.[2] Ironically however, he was simply picked up by the Special Forces in the American army, who sent him to the Special Warfare school and encouraged him to pursue a doctorate in Islamic Studies and teach courses on the Middle East.[2]
    In the 1980s Mohamed trained anti-Soviet fighters en route to Afghanistan. FBI special agent Jack Cloonan called him “bin Laden’s first trainer”.[3] Mohamed was charged with the August 7, 1998 bombings of the United States’ embassies inNairobi, Kenya and in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. In October 2000, he pleaded guilty to five counts of conspiracy to kill nationals of the United States and to destroy U.S. property.
    Mohamed has been described as “Six-foot one, 200 pounds, and exceptionally fit, … a martial artist and skilled linguist who spoke fluent English, French, and Hebrew in addition to his native Arabic. He was disciplined, clever, and gregarious, with a marked facility for making friends.”[4]
    Mohamed was a major in the Egyptian army’s military intelligence unit, until being discharged for suspected fundamentalism in 1984. He enlisted in the U.S. Army and using U.S. military information to train al-Qaeda and other Muslim militants, and write al-Qaeda’s multivolume terrorist training guide. [4]

    In 1984 Mohamed offered his services to the CIA in Cairo station and was stationed in Hamburg Germany. There he “entered a mosque associated with Hezbollah and immediately told the Iranian cleric in charge that he was an American spy assigned to infiltrate the community.” The mosque had already been penetrated and his announcement was passed on to the CIA, which, according to Lawrence Wright, “terminated Mohamed” and “sent out cables labeling him highly untrustworthy.” By this “time, however, Mohamed was already in California on a visa-waiver program that was sponsored by the agency itself, one designed to shield valuable assets or those who have performed important services for the country.” [4]
    In America he married an American woman from Santa Clara, California after a 6 week courtship and became a U.S. citizen.[5] He enlisted in the U.S. Army and managed to get stationed at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, North Carolina until 1989.[1] “His awed superiors found him ‘beyond reproach’ and ‘consistently accomplished’.” [4]
    According to Cooperative Research, Mohamed was a Drill sergeant at Fort Bragg, and was hired to teach courses on Arabic culture at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center.
    In 1988 Mohamed informed his superior officers in the U.S. Army that he was taking some leave time to fight Soviets in Afghanistan. “A month later, he returned, boasting that he had killed two Soviet soldiers and giving away as souvenirs what he claimed were their uniform belts.”
    Mohamed’s commanding officer, Lt. Col. Robert Anderson, said he wrote detailed reports aimed at getting Army intelligence to investigate Mohamed — and have him court-martialed — but the reports were ignored.
    “I think you or I would have a better chance of winning Powerball, than an Egyptian major in the unit that assassinated Sadat would have getting a visa, getting to California … getting into the Army and getting assigned to a Special Forces unit,” he said. “That just doesn’t happen.”
    It was equally unthinkable that an ordinary American GI would go unpunished after fighting in a foreign war, he said.
    Anderson said all this convinced him that Mohamed was “sponsored” by a U.S. intelligence service. “I assumed the CIA,” he said.[6]
    Mohamed also took maps and training manuals off base to downsize and copy at Kinko’s and used them to write al-Qaeda’s multivolume terrorist training guide that became playbook.[4]
    Mohamed also conducted clandestine military and demolition training through the Al Kifah Refugee Center. While in the United States, he helped train a number of jihadis, like El Sayyid Nosair and Mahmud Abouhalima, who assisted Ramzi Yousef in his 1993 attack on the World Trade Center.[7]
    In the early 1990s Mohamed returned to Afghanistan, where “he trained the first al-Qaeda volunteers in techniques of unconventional warfare including kidnappings, assassinations, and hijacking planes, which he had learned from the American Special Forces.” According to FBI special agent Jack Cloonan, in one of Mohamed’s first classes were Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and other al-Qaeda leaders.[3][8]
    In 1993 Mohamed also traveled to Africa to survey embassies in Africa such as the Nairobi, (Kenya) embassy which Al-Qaeda later bombed.[9] He became an FBI informant.[citation needed]
    In 1994, al-Qaeda operative Mohammed Atef refused to allow Mohamed to know which name and passport he would be traveling under, expressing concerns that Mohamed could be working with the American authorities.[10]

    While he was subpoenaed in Rahman’s trial, Ali Mohamed was not arrested until years later — on 10 September 1998, when he attempted to flee to Egypt after being subpoenaed in the aftermath of the embassy bombings in Nairobi andTanzania. After eight months of imprisonment, Ali Mohamed entered a guilty plea in May 1999. What happened after that is unclear. The trial proceeded, but there is no record of any sentencing or even a conviction. As late as February 20, 2002, CBS News reported that “Mohammad pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.”[2] There has been no further news of his specific whereabouts or sentencing but he is currently in federal custody at an unspecified location. However, the Federal Department of Prisons Inmate Locater does not show an Ali Mohamed/Mohammed/Mohamad/Muhamed/Muhammed/Muhammad or other variation currently incarcerated.[11]
    Patrick Briley, an American op-ed journalist writing for, has reported that Ali Mohamed was given an early release from prison by direct order from the Bush Administration’s DOJ, specifically USAG Alberto Gonzales.[12]
    [edit]Speculated cooperation with US Intelligence

    In October 2001, the Raleigh News & Observer noted that Ali Mohamed may be cooperating with the US government. “Defense lawyers and many other observers believe that Mohamed, who has not yet been sentenced, is now cooperating with the United States, though the government has never confirmed this. When he is sentenced he could receive as little as 25 years under his plea agreement.”[13]
    Further news sources in 2001 seem to suggest that Ali Mohamed is providing information on Bin Laden and al-Qaeda in an attempt to reduce his sentence[14], and that his sentencing “has been postponed indefinitely.”[15] In 2006, Mohamed’s wife, Linda Sanchez, was reported in 2006 as saying, “He’s still not sentenced yet, and without him being sentenced I really can’t say much. He can’t talk to anybody. Nobody can get to him. They have Ali pretty secretive…it’s like he just kinda vanished into thin air.”[16]


    • ^ Ton Hays and Sharon Theimer, “Egyptian agent worked with Green Berets, bin Laden”, Jerusalem Post, December 31, 2001 (copy). Archived 2009-10-25.
    • ^ a b c Temple-Raston, Dina. “The Jihad Next Door”, 2007. p. 83
    • ^ a b Interview with FBI special agent Jack Cloonan, Frontline, PBS, October 18, 2005.
    • ^ a b c d e Wright, Lawrence (2006). Looming Tower. p. 180. ISBN 1400030846.
    • ^ Bin Laden’s man in Silicon Valley
    • ^ Lance Williams and Erik McCormick, “Al Qaeda terrorist worked with FBI …”, San Francisco Chronicle, November 4, 2001.
    • ^ Benjamin, Daniel & Steven Simon. “The Age of Sacred Terror”, 2002
    • ^ Wright, Lawrence (2006). Looming Tower. p. 181. ISBN 1400030846.
    • ^ 9/11 Commission Report, chapter 2, p.68 (HTML version)
    • ^ Sullivan, John. Raleigh News and Observer, “Al-Qaeda Terrorist Duped FBI, Army”, October 21, 2001
    • ^ Federal Bureau of Prisons – Inmate Locator
    • ^ Raleigh News & Observer 10/21/2001
    • ^ San Francisco Chronicle 9/21/2001
    • ^ Associated Press 12/31/2001
    • ^ Peter Lance, Triple Cross, Harper Collins 2006
    • ^ Complete 911 Timeline, Cooperative Research
    • ^ “By The Book”, 60 Minutes II, CBS News, February 20, 2002

  6. DXer said

    Did the DARPA/FBI anthrax expert at USAMRIID ever use his heat method in inactivating spores being sent to other DARPA researchers? If he had, given USAMRIID’s and FBI’s failure to comply with FOIA — and the gag order on all USAMRIID employees — isn’t it likely we will never learn of it? (Heat was used to inactivate the spores sent by Patricia Fellows, then head of the Southern Research Institute lab, to the DARPA-funded vaccine at a Children’s Hospital in Oakland.

    Recipe. After opening the Daschle envelope, Ezzell would bolt awake in the middle of the night, worrying about what would happen if anthrax powder made its way into American households. This stuff was coming through the mail, he told himself. Everyone was vulnerable. What could the average person do to protect himself? It was well documented in the scientific literature that two hours of exposure to dry heat at 320 degrees Fahrenheit would kill spores. Ezzell, an accomplished cook, set his kitchen oven to 320. He inserted an assortment of daily mail–sealed envelopes of various sizes and types, plastic-encased magazines–and waited two hours.

    Finally, after testing the oven technique in his lab, Ezzell sat down and wrote a paper called “Procedure for Killing Bacillus Anthracis Spores in Mail.” He wrote: “While there may be opportunities for fine-tuning the process, the advantages of this approach are that the process is low-tech, immediately available, and can be performed in residences or offices. It is based on firm scientific data with respect to temperature and time required for killing Bacillus anthracis spores and with respect to initial experiments which have shown that spores from Senator Daschle’s office are killed well within the two-hour heating period.” He added this disclaimer: “The author assumes no responsibility for loss of plastic items (including credit cards), fires, odors or other damage.”

  7. DXer said

    Isn’t an organization’s processing of FOIA requests an indication of their efficiency in processing information internally? What does it bode for biodefense that it takes USAMRIID 2 years to process a simple stack of Dr. Ivins’ emails? The emails should have been placed on a table in September 2008 and Cryptome could have had them uploaded overnight. Are federal employees are so secure in their job that they aren’t expected or required to be efficient?

    FBI Now Accepts Freedom of Info Requests on the Web

    From Federal Computer Week:

    People can now submit Freedom of Information Act requests to the FBI electronically through a new eFOIA form (PDF).

    The FBI said the new electronic form makes requesting information easier. The bureau said it revamped its records Web site to include a guide for research in FBI Records, details on what happens after you make a request and data on how to file an appeal with the Justice Department.

    Source: FCW

    See Also: FBI cited for worst FOIA responses

    FBI cited for worst FOIA responses

    In 2009, George Washington University’s National Security Archive gave the FBI its annual Rosemary Award for poor FOIA performance, citing a high percentage of “no records exist” responses to FOIA requests in 2008, and the low percentage of requests that the FBI granted. The award is named for the late Rose Mary Woods, the secretary to President Richard Nixon who testified that she inadvertently erased several minutes of audiotapes containing secret recordings of Oval Office conversations.

    Nate Jones, the Archive’s FOIA coordinator, said the bureau’s new electronic request form and updated Web site are welcome improvements, adding that similar electronic request forms have have made filing FOIA requests easier with other organizations.

    “But filing a request is only part of the FOIA process,” Jones said. “We hope that the FBI also increases the quantity of information it releases to the public and decreases the amount of time that it takes for that information to be released.”

  8. DXer said

    The correspondent wrote on May 15, 2003

    “I know you wouldn’t just come down and ask for the letter for the heck of it. I know you and ______ were asked to do the concentrations. I think that it was late in the evening too, I think. This is blowing up on some people right now, and they are not happy about things. I know I wouldn’t just pass the letter to whoever either. Also ____________ was in the room when I gave it to you. He remembers that, I talked to him today. We are covered by what we did. We did not do anything wrong. I am comfortable with that. I am sure that there is going to be more questions though. Don’t let this get to you.

    By the way, is your class over yet?”

    Dr. Ivins responded:

    “The weather final is next Tuesday, ________. It was a cool class! It’s neat to hear someone one the weather channel talk about stuff and know what they’re saying! I just talked to _____ who came down to my office. ______on vacation right now, but maybe she’s got some recollection of the communication channel. Maybe ________ I wouldn’t have known to go to you and ask for the letter by myself, and I’m sure you wouldn’t give it to me without official authorization. I don’t mind the questions, I just answer them as best as I know and can remember. It would have sure been a lot easier to remember if they hadn’t waited 18 months to ask them!

  9. DXer said

    By email dated February 5, 2003, Dr. Ivins wrote on the subject of “FBI visit”:

    “Hi, ____, I just wanted to keep you informed – ______________ of the FBI will be coming here to USAMRIID to interview me at 1400 on Wednesday, 12 FEB 03. I understand she wants to ask me questions about the handling of the evidence letters.



  10. DXer said

    By email dated February 12, 2003, Dr. Ivins wrote someone:

    I believe that in the fall of 2001 it was you (rather than ____________________) who asked me to do a viability determination (CFU/gram) on the Daschle letter spores, wasn’t it? Also, didn’t I give you a copy of the data?



  11. DXer said

    I’ve written Dr. Ezzell to ask what this concerned but haven’t heard back yet. What “manipulations” did he do? Did it just concern that bleach that leaked on to the bottom of the envelope when it touched down where bleach had been put? To err is divine.

    • DXer said

      It doesn’t seem like it would be the bleach issue that they were talking about it because that had already been widely reported. So it seems that it relates to the CFU/gram analysis he did. Who had their panties in a twist about the high CFU/gram analysis?

      Marilyn Thompson’s ‘The Killer Strain’ — homicidal anthrax
      [FINAL Edition]

      The Sun – Baltimore, Md.
      Author: Scott Shane
      Date: Mar 9, 2003
      Start Page: 12.F
      Section: ARTS & SOCIETY

      “Consider John Ezzell, one of the Army’s top anthrax experts at Fort Detrick and perhaps the leading character in her narrative. His work was not perfect; Thompson describes his horror as he notices that the bleach he’s used to decontaminate his workbench has soaked the edge of one of the anthrax letters, conceivably destroying critical evidence.”

    • DXer said

      The manipulations, judging from the data sheet (and to my untrained eye) are serial dilutions.

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