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

* Newly released Ivins emails show that no record was kept of transfers to former Zawahiri associate because it was done at USAMRIID

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 25, 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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30 Responses to “* Newly released Ivins emails show that no record was kept of transfers to former Zawahiri associate because it was done at USAMRIID”

  1. DXer said

    It seems somehow that it is the DARPA notebooks and documents relating to experiments with virulent Ames that are missing.

  2. DXer said

    The only peer-reviewed article uploaded by the FBI under FOIA describes the DARPA research for which Dr. Ivins, Dr. Fellows and Dr. Linscott were among those who provided helpful suggestions in the performance of the initial anthrax studies

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 14, 2011

    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/11/14/the-only-peer-reviewed-article-uploaded-by-the-fbi-under-foia-describes-the-darpa-research-for-which-dr-ivins-dr-fellows-and-dr-linscott-were-among-those-who-provided-helpful-suggestions-in-the/

  3. DXer said

    From the ProPublica and McClatchy report:

    The [2002] Sandia report emphasized that terrorists had obtained germs from research labs before. It cited a February 2001 National Defense University study that found 11 cases in which terrorists or other “non-state operatives” had acquired biological agents from “legitimate culture collections,” including three research or medical laboratories.

    Despite USAMRIID’s sobering mission, the Sandia report said, the western Maryland lab had developed a work environment in which employees failed to make the same “indisputable commitment to security” as they did to research.

    “The current biosecurity system at USAMRIID does not adequately protect HCPTs (high-consequence pathogens and toxins) and related information,” wrote the Sandia team, headed by security expert Reynolds Salerno.

    Comment: Note that ProPublica and McClatchy sought these reports a full month before we even had paid their existence any attention (a major oversight on our part). But more to the point: they obtained them. This sort of fact-gathering — of centrally important official documents being withheld — is the sort of reliable and dramatic reporting that is Pulitzer worthy under any standard. It’s easy enough to make noise and be strident in criticism — it is not so easy to succeed in getting documents that the DOJ has worked so hard to ensure that they don’t see the light of day.

    Now someone needs to get ProPublica and McClatchy to work similar magic with the lab notebooks being withheld by DOJ.

  4. DXer said

    Despite Evidence of FBI Bungling, New Probe Into Anthrax Killings Unlikely
    by Greg Gordon, McClatchy Newspapers, Stephen Engelberg, ProPublica, and Mike Wiser, PBS’ Frontline Oct. 14, 2011, 10:14 p.m.

    Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said that it is unlikely that the Justice Department will reopen its investigation into the anthrax killings. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

    A senior Republican senator says it would take a powerful grassroots movement or startling new evidence to reopen the Justice Department’s investigation that branded a now-deceased Army researcher as the anthrax mailer who killed five people a decade ago.

    Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and others on Capitol Hill who’ve been skeptical of the case against the late Bruce Ivins said adamant opposition from the FBI and Justice Department is likely to block further inquiry into the case.

    Even if he were the committee chairman, Grassley said, “I would question my capability of raising enough heat (to reopen the case) when you’re up against the FBI. And I’ve been up against the FBI.”

    Members of Congress commented after PBS’ Frontline, McClatchy and ProPublica, in a joint investigation, disclosed evidence that’s at odds with some of the science and circumstantial evidence behind the government’s conclusion.

    Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., who has criticized the FBI investigation as “botched” and from whose district the deadly letters were mailed, said he may try for a third time to win support for legislation creating a special commission to investigate the attacks.

    “There are so many reasons to want to get to the bottom of it,” Holt said in an interview. “I hate to think of what lines of investigation have been shut off.”

    Holt, who is a physicist, traced some of the resistance to the fact that Congress “has never felt comfortable dealing with scientific issues,” as well as to the public wishing to forget “an unpleasant occurrence.”

    Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat who has supported Holt’s bill, “is frustrated that the FBI has failed to answer all of his questions,” said his spokesman, Ilan Kayatsky. However, Kayatsky said, “it does seem unlikely at this time that they will reopen their investigation.”

    Ivins, a mentally troubled father of two who worked for 27 years at the U.S. Army Medical Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Ft. Detrick, Md., committed suicide on July 29, 2008, not long after learning that federal prosecutors were preparing to seek his indictment on five capital murder charges.

    Last year, prosecutors closed the FBI’s eight-year, $100 million investigation and formally branded him the killer in a 93-page report that laid out extensive evidence against him.

    Nearly all of the evidence was circumstantial, however, and PBS’ Frontline, McClatchy and ProPublica, in a one-hour documentary and a three-part newspaper series, disclosed evidence challenging prosecutors’ assertions.

    Among the evidence the three news organizations scrutinized:

    • FBI claims that Ivins worked unusually late hours in a “hot suite,” a secure bio-containment lab at Ft. Detrick, in the weeks before the letter attacks. Records show that Ivins had worked similar evening hours in other USAMRIID facilities in the preceding months.

    • Assertions that Ivins tried to mislead investigators in April 2002, by manipulating anthrax samples from a laboratory flask he submitted for FBI testing. At issue was whether Ivins was trying to keep investigators from discovering that spores in the flask contained the same genetic variants as those in the anthrax contained in the letters. But while the April samples tested negative for the variants, Ivins gave three other samples to the FBI or fellow researchers between 2002 and 2004 and, ultimately, the bureau recorded positive results in tests of all three, FBI and Army records show.

    • Claims that Ivins was motivated to create fear about anthrax because the government’s anthrax vaccine program was under heavy fire. The existing program was under fire, and Ivins helped to address problems, but his job was to develop a second generation vaccine that at the time had full funding.

    • Assertions that science showed that Ivins’ flask was “effectively the murder weapon.” A panel of the National Academy of Sciences and two scientists who worked on the FBI investigation described holes in that and other laboratory conclusions.

    The lead prosecutor in the case, Rachel Lieber, dismissed these and other anomalies, saying that the “big picture” consisting of a vast “mosaic of evidence” presented a powerful case that Ivins’ mental problems drove him to commit the crimes.

    Former FBI agent Brad Garrett, a profiler who advised agents in the investigation periodically before retiring in 2006, said that Ivins fits the mold of the suspect the bureau was hunting, because he was “a really super angry guy … and dangerous on some levels. He clearly had grudges with people.”

    However, no direct evidence has confirmed that Ivins held grudges against the media outlets to which the letters were sent.

    To reopen the case, Garrett said, would take “something fairly compelling … somebody comes forward [or] there’s a new piece of evidence that links it to somebody else.”

    Holt and Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., whose district includes Ft. Detrick, tried to push through an amendment to a spending bill last year requiring the inspector general for the intelligence community to investigate whether all relevant foreign intelligence had been passed to FBI investigators. The measure was torpedoed when the Office of Management and Budget objected, calling it “duplicative” and expressing concern about Congress directing an inspector general “to replicate a criminal investigation.”

    Last May, McClatchy disclosed that the FBI had never explained tests showing the presence of unusually high levels of silicon and tin in the letters sent to the New York Post and to Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont. That renewed suspicions — denied by the FBI — that the perpetrator used a chemical additive to keep the spores from clumping so they’d be more easily inhaled.

    Another issue is the FBI’s method for collecting anthrax samples from U.S. and foreign labs to narrow the suspect list. Because the samples were subpoenaed and couldn’t be seized for multiple reasons, critics have said their submission amounted to an honor system in which the killer would have no incentive to participate.

    Further, a still-confidential 2002 review of security at USAMRIID by a seven-member team from the Sandia National Laboratories found that “the culture at USAMRIID does not reflect the same indisputable commitment to security as it does to research.”

    The “diversion of small quantities” of deadly pathogens can be significant, noted the report, a copy of which was obtained by McClatchy, ProPublica and Frontline. That’s presumably because they can be used as seed material to grow large quantities of germs for an attack. The problem is heightened, it said, because germs “cannot be reliably detected,” underscoring the importance of an alert and cooperative research staff.

    Comment:

    No one is going to come near the FBI with evidence that puts them in harm’s way given the way the FBI handled things. And for Frontlne not to examine Rachel and Ed Montooth on camera on the documents shows that media is just not up to the challenge.

    • DXer said

      The Tickle the Wire headline on this is

      Sen. Grassley Says FBI/Justice Dept.’s Resistance Likely to Stifle Re-examination of Deadly Anthrax Case

      By Allan Lengel

  5. DXer said

    Dr. Ivins prepared a 3 page list of his 51 notebooks including more than fifteen additional notebooks which related to Ames-related investigations. One of them involves the supply of virulent Ames to a former Zawahiri associate but the FBI has not provided the notebook or the list of notebooks.

    Instead, they try to stuff 52 rabbits down a hat and hope you don’t notice them because they didn’t want to be sued over Dr. Ivins’ suicide. GAO needs to get a backbone and ask the hard questions — examining witnesses over specific documents and transcribing answers.

    Page 91 of 1274

    FD-302 (Rev. 10-6-95)

    ~-

    o
    – 1-

    FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION

    Date of transcription

    0 6 I 2 9 I 2 0 04

    On June 29r 2004 BRUCE E. IVINS date of birth 0412211946 social security account number 280-44-5449r was interviewed at his place of employmentr the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious. Diseases USAMRIID) r Fort Detrickr Frederickr Maryland tele hone by Supervisory Special Jgent (SSA) Special Agent (SA)I _ IVINS provJ.ded the information:
    1

    SSAI !advised IVINS that the FBI was tracking the history/ to include genealogy and usager of Bacillus anthracis (B.a.) isolates submitted to the FBI Repository. SSAI !requested access to laboratory notebooks assigned to IVINS in order to begin this process which would include notebooks kept by other researchers as well. The Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) prior request regarding the removal of original notebooks from USAMRIID’s premises was acknowledged by SSAI I and it was explained that a review of the notebooks could occur with minimal impact to ongoing research. IVINS provided the interviewing Agents with a three page document which contained a list of all of the notebooks assigned to him during his tenure at USAMRIID. Fifty-one (51) notebooks were identified by both the USAMRIID notebook number and a number assigned to each by IVINS. Some of IVINS’ notebooks were submitted to the USAMRIID library for archival. The library did not store the notebooks on a permanent basis thus some of IVINS’ notebooks had been previously destroyed. A review of library records would indicate which were destroyed and which were maintained in the library archive. IVINS was aware that at least five of his notebooks had been destroyed/ and those notebook numbers were marked out on the list he provided to the interviewing Agents. IVINS indicated that notebooks 1 and 2 were submitted to the libraryr and he was not sure if they were still in existence. Notebook 3 was the oldest notebook maintained in IVINS’ office.

    ll of the notebooks maintained by IVINS were located in his officer with the exception of fifteen (15) notebooks which were in the possession of SSAI I Notations on IVINS’ inventory identified the notebooks previously given to the FBI. SSAI !requested that the remainder of IVINS’ notebooks referencing Ames research be pulled from the collection and set aside for review by SAl lon-site at USAMRIID at a later date. IVINS believed there to be at least fifteen additional notebooks in his collection which documented Ames-related
    Investigation on

  6. DXer said

    Nature Medicine | News
    Ten years on from anthrax scare, analysis lags behind sequencing
    Amber Dance
    Journal name:
    Nature Medicine
    Volume:
    17,
    Pages:
    1158–1159
    Year published:
    (2011)

    A decade ago this month, a microbiologist at Northern Arizona University, in Flagstaff, took a special delivery from the US government. Federal investigators wanted the scientist, Paul Keim, to identify the anthrax that appeared in letters mailed to news organizations and US lawmakers. Overnight, he used PCR to determine that the anthrax sent was the Ames strain, commonly used in research—but that was just the beginning of a scientific investigation that would catapult the still wet-behind-the-ears science of microbial forensics to the forefront of the criminal inquiry.

    [DXer note: Paul Keim now says the FBI’s DNA analysis would not have been admissible into evidence because it had not yet been validated as recommended by a Red Team; former FBI agent and WMD science person Jennifer Smith, the genetics expert who delivered the samples to Dr. Keim in 2001, agreees. See last week McClatchy et al article]

    Ten years on, Keim’s PCR-based technique seems downright quaint in comparison with modern, speedy DNA sequencing. “In a lot of ways we’ve matured,” says Bruce Budowle of the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth. But there are challenges ahead, adds Budowle, who retired in 2009 from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), where he was involved in the anthrax studies as a senior scientist in the laboratory division: “In a lot of ways, we’ve got a long way to go… We haven’t grown in the interpretation of the results and what they might mean.”

    [For example, the FBI was not given the 16 pages about the research the former Zawahiri associate given virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins until February 2005, but by then someone had developed their sorority theory; separately, FBI Director Mueller admits that a third facility made a dried powder out of virulent Ames but won’t identify it. It is illegal to discuss such things under a Maryland state law as to a facility such as SRI, which did the B3 work with virulent AMES for the DARPA-funded researchers who co-invented the process involving growing anthrax with silica in the growth medium. Ali-Al-Timimi, whose research was co-sponsored by ATCC, shared a suite with those researchers; he was coordinating with Anwar Awlaki].

    ***

    On the whole, there’s a better appreciation of what microbial forensics can and can’t deliver,” Inglesby says. The science can only provide a clue, not a conclusion. Good old-fashioned detective work, he adds, is still necessary to catch the bad guy.

  7. DXer said

    As I recall, a FOIA request by former chief of bacteriology GA for EA 101, transfers of select agent (virulent ames) was denied.

    OTOH, the Washington Post, a decade ago, obtained a response on the subject . It now seems that the response it received may have been incomplete and information was withheld.

    The USG seeks to continue to keep that information secret in a filing made 9/23 in the Stevens litigation.

    • DXer said

      Note that the documents at issue relate to events over a decade ago. The argument in favor of sealing is smoke and mirrors — there is not express authority for many of the documents in question which explains DOJ’s reliance on a catch-all “please judge, cuz we wanna” argument under Rule 26(c).

  8. DXer said

    Science writer Laurie Garret writes:

    “Between 1977 and 1999 virtually no records of the development, storage, or sharing of microbes were kept at USAMRIID. The situation, described in legal documents obtained by Assaad’s attorneys as “chaos,” worsened after thr Persian Gulf War, when the military decided to downsize the USAMRIID vaccinr development program.”

  9. DXer said

    DEFENDANT UNITED STATES’ STATEMENT OF MATERIAL FACTS IN SUPPORT OF ITS MOTION (IN THE ALTERNATIVE) FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (BASED ON THE FTCA’S ANALOGOUS PRIVATE LIABILITY REQUIREMENT AND A CORRESPONDING LACK OF CAUSE-IN-FACT), dated July 15, 2011, states in pertinent part:

    4. There are no material facts that reflect a connection between government negligence and an unknown assailant’s actions. Id.

    5. There are no material facts that reflect a connection between any government conduct and an unknown assailant’s actions. Id.
    ***
    8. There are no material facts that show that the government ever negligently secured its anthrax. Id.

    11. Prior to the anthrax attacks, anthrax from the RMR-1029 batch was lawfully sent to a number of different private medical research facilities. U.S. Ex. AB-2 (RMR-1029 Reference Material Receipt Record); U.S. Ex. AB-16 (Dr. Friedlander Depo., Excerpts) at 56:22- 57:17.
    ***
    12. The Reference Material Receipt Record maintained for RMR-1029 reflects a number of examples of pre-attack shipments to private facilities. U.S. Ex. AB-2 (RMR-1029 Reference Material Receipt Record) (identifying amounts provided to BioPort and Battelle).
    ***
    13. Prior to the anthrax attacks, the government did not have exclusive control over the parent material of the anthrax spores used to murder Mr. Stevens. U.S. Ex. AB-2 (RMR- 1029 Reference Material Receipt Record); U.S. Ex. AB-16 (Dr. Friedlander Depo., Excerpts) at 56:22-57:17.
    ***
    15. Regardless of security measures, a person with authorized access at a facility can remove anthrax without detection. See, e.g. U.S. Ex. AB-9 (Report of the Defense Science Board, Excerpts) at 19 (“There was general agreement that an insider could remove [biological select agent and toxin (BSAT)] material without detection.”), 20 (“ . . . the insider could provide knowledge of laboratory layouts, access to facilities, and could steal BSAT without detection.”), 39 (“A determined adversary cannot be prevented from obtaining very dangerous biological materials intended for nefarious purposes, if not from DOD labs, then from other sources.”), 40
    Case 9:03-cv-81110-DTKH Document 153-1 Entered on FLSD Docket 07/15/2011 Page 4 of 4
    (“An insider could probably transfer BSAT out of the facility or supply chain without being discovered, regardless of defensive countermeasures.”).

  10. DXer said

  11. DXer said

    “These dots are pretty big. It shouldn’t have been hard to do.”
    – Michael Bloomberg, on connecting the dots

    Report Released On Fort Hood Massacre

  12. DXer said

    Egypt: Radical claims ‘Islamic uprising’
    http://parkerspitzer.blogs.cnn.com/2011/02/01/tonight-radical-muslim-clerics-take-on-egypt/

    CHOUDARY:

    The calls for the Sharia can be heard, you know, in the streets of those countries where the revolution is taking place. This is an Islamic revolution. By your own analysis, your commentators say that the strongest force out there are the Muslim Brotherhood, and they are the ones most likely to take power in Egypt.

    So I don’t think that this is right at all. There are phases through which people go suddenly. You know on many of these countries, even Iran, Afghanistan, you know, Iraq before went through a nationalistic stage. But they’ve tasted nationalism, they’ve tasted dictatorship, they’ve tasted even freedom and democracy, and I think now they need to taste the Sharia and Islam, and I think

  13. DXer said

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSLDE70Q0UK20110127

    SUEZ, Egypt | Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:03am EST

    SUEZ, Egypt Jan 27 (Reuters) – Egyptians torched a police post in the eastern city of Suez early on Thursday morning over the killing of protesters in anti-government demonstrations earlier in the week, a witness said.

    The Reuters witness said police fled the post before the protesters burned it using petrol bombs. Dozens more gathered in front of a second police post later in the morning demanding the release of their relatives who were detained in protests.

    Demonstrations demanding the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, in power since 1981, have raged since Tuesday across several cities, including Cairo and Suez. (Reporting by Yusri Mohamed, Writing by Edmund Blair)

  14. DXer said

    New report on Daniel Pearl kidnapping –

    The Truth Left Behind

    KSM told the FBI that he was pulled into the kidnapping by a high-level leader in Al Qaeda circles today, an Egyptian named Saif al-Adel, who told him to make the kidnapping an Al Qaeda operation.

    http://treesaver.publicintegrity.org/daniel_pearl#-/node/94

    • DXer said

      Osama Bin Laden has appointed a new commander to spearhead al-Qaida’s offensive against the West.

      Known to Western intelligence services by the alias Saif al-Adel, or “Sword of the Just”, al-Qaida’s new chief of international operations is believed to have conceived the wave of planned strikes that set off terrorism alerts across Europe recently, as well as last month’s mid-air parcel bomb plot.

      American and Pakistani sources have disclosed that al-Adel is running several similar operations as part of a war of attrition to persuade Western public opinion that the war against terrorism is unwinnable. This would clear the road for al-Qaida to capture power in fragile states such as Somalia and Yemen.

      “His strategy is to stage multiple small terror operations, using the resources of affiliates and allies wherever possible,” said Syed Saleem Shahzad, a Pakistani expert on al-Qaida.

      A U.S. counter-terrorism official said the idea was for “small but often attacks” that would hurt the West more than a “one-off terror spectacular”.

      In 2005, al-Adel wrote an al-Qaida planning document that holds clues to his thinking. The document said that Islamist movements failed because their “actions were mostly random”. It called for al-Qaida to focus on “the greater objective, which is the establishment of a state”.

      The new attrition strategy marks the triumph of a minority faction within al-Qaida who had opposed the September 11 attacks, arguing that the inevitable U.S. retaliation against Afghanistan would cost the jihadist movement its only secure base.

      In 2002, jihadist Internet forums carried a letter purported to have been written by al-Adel, criticizing bin Laden’s leadership. Little was heard of al-Adel, who was held by Iran with a group of al-Qaida fugitives, for several years thereafter. The fugitives were housed in villas along Iran’s Caspian coast and in Lazivan, north-west of Tehran. Al-Adel lived there with his five children and wife Wafa, the daughter of another senior al-Qaida figure, Mustafa Hamid.

      But in March this year he was released along with Iman bin Laden, Osama bin Laden’s daughter, and senior al-Qaida operatives Suleiman al-Gaith and Mahfouz al-Walid. Iran swapped the terrorists for Heshmatollah Attarzadeh, a Pakistan-based diplomat kidnapped by al-Qaida last year.

      Little is known about al-Adel, who is also known by the names Muhammad al-Makkawi and Ibrahim al-Madani. Born in Egypt, he is said to have served as a colonel in its special forces. He was arrested in 1987 with several jihadists.

      Egyptian prosecutors claimed al-Adel’s plans included crashing an aircraft into Egypt’s parliament, or driving a bomb-laden truck into the building – both tactics al-Qaida later used to devastating effect.

      Documents filed by U.S. prosecutors show he worked as an instructor at camps in Afghanistan and Somalia, and participated in several attacks. In 2000, Australian investigators found he had played a key role in a plot to assassinate Joseph “Diamond Joe” Hicks – a mining magnate who is also a leading member of a religious Jewish group.

      • DXer said

        The strategy of Saif Adel was to use small-scale oeprations:

        “His strategy is to stage multiple small terror operations, using the resources of affiliates and allies wherever possible,” said Syed Saleem Shahzad, a Pakistani expert on al-Qaida.

        As Dr. Jane A. Alexander of DARPA once explained at DARPA Tech, 1999:

        “Small scale attacks may be adequate to immobilize national will with panic unless reasonable defenses are available. Terrorists do not need the technological sophistication of a military offensive biological warfare program. A military offensive BW program strives for predictable effect so that military operations can be planned. Terrorists could actually benefit from the variation of the onset and outcome of the illnesses creating added panic in the public.”

        The Ann Arbor NanoBio researchers thanked Dr. Alexander for her support of the DARPA research they were doing involving the Ames strain supplied by USAMRIID’s Bruce Ivins.

  15. DXer said

    Ayman has a new book ‘Spaida-e-Sehr Aur Timtamata Chiragh.’ It’s been banned in the province formerly known as the North-West Frontier. Check for his discussion of the anthrax mailings. I’m holding out for free shipping from Abe Books or Alibris.

    http://www.newanthraxandalqaeda.com

  16. DXer said

    Mohammed and “First Blood” by Peter Lance

    http://www.tabletmag.com/news-and-politics/44243/first-blood/

    “Now, as a result of new intelligence I’ve learned from Salem, it’s clear for the first time that the rabbi’s death was directly linked to Osama Bin Laden. More surprising, there was a second gunman on the night of Kahane’s murder: a young Jordanian cab driver named Bilal Alkaisi. Alkaisi was also identified in FBI files I’ve obtained as the “emir” of a hit team in a second grisly al-Qaida-related homicide months after the assassination—the 1991 murder of Egyptian immigrant Mustafa Shalabi. The identities of the alleged killers in that second slaying have now become known as a result of information from Salem that prompted the New York Police Department to reopen the Shalabi case.”

    “As I tell it in “The Spy Who Came in for the Heat,” an investigative piece I wrote for Playboy’s September issue, Emad Salem was arguably the most important asset in the U.S. war with al-Qaida. But my interviews with him and the intel they have kicked loose provide shocking new insights into the ongoing failure of the FBI to reform its counterterrorism capabilities almost a decade after the Sept. 11 attacks.”

    ***

    Mohamed was the focus of my last book, Triple Cross. In the early 1980s, shortly after being purged by the Egyptian Army for his radical views, Mohamed came under the influence of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Cairo surgeon who had been jailed for a time for the Sadat murder and went on to form the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. By the end of the decade, after al-Zawahiri met Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan and merged his Egyptian Islamic Jihad group into what would become al-Qaida, Ali Mohamed became the terror network’s principal espionage agent.

    ***

    By the fall of 1990, one of the Calverton trainees was growing more and more restless. El Sayyid Nosair, the janitor who worked in the courthouse basement, had joined Abdel-Rahman’s ultra-violent Islamic Group, or Al Gamma Islamyah, and he was itching to make his bones for the jihad. The newly uncovered FBI documents reveal a confession by Nosair that on the night of the Kahane murder he was aided by Alkaisi, then a 25-year-old Jordanian immigrant who worked as a cab driver in New Jersey and instructor at the al Farooq Mosque.

    ***

    The presence of these documents, many labeled “top secret for training,” not to mention Abouhalima and Salameh, suggested a conspiracy in the Kahane murder. Yet the very next day, NYPD Chief of Detectives Joseph Borelli concluded that the killing was a “lone-gunman” shooting. “There hadn’t been any political assassinations in New York in more than a decade and Borelli didn’t want one on his watch,” Newsday reporters Jim Dwyer, David Kocieniewski, Diedre Murphy, and Peg Tyre wrote in their book on the World Trade Center bombing, Two Seconds Under the World.

    Although the raid on Nosair’s house was conducted by New York police and the FBI—which had the Calverton photos not just of Nosair but also of Abouhalima and Salameh—the latter two were released within hours and never charged in the crime.

    ***

    By the time Nosair’s trial began in late 1991, $163,000 had poured in—$20,000 of which, court documents would later show, came from Osama Bin Laden, who had been contacted by Nosair’s cousin.

    But Shalabi was intent on making his own decisions. While respectful of al-Qaida, the terror network that had consumed the financing system known as MAK, Shalabi remained loyal to Abdullah Azzam, his old mentor, who had wanted to use the money to set up a Taliban-like government in Afghanistan. That put him in direct conflict with Bin Laden and the Egyptians around him, who wanted the funds to be used for the worldwide jihad. And even though Shalabi himself sponsored Abdel-Rahman’s visa entry into the United States, he balked when Abdel-Rahman demanded that some of the Alkifah’s monthly income be used for a fund to help overthrow Hosni Mubarak in Egypt.

    ***

    “At the time,” says Corrigan, “Nobody realized how important the Alkifah Center was. It was basically a direct link from al-Qaida right into New York.”

    ***

    For the Playboy piece, Salem provided me with a tape that he’d made with his FBI control agent John Anticev after the bombing. “If we was continuing what we were doing, the bomb would never go off,” Salem tells Anticev in broken English. At that point, the FBI agent replies: “Absolutely. But don’t repeat that.” As I see it, this is the first concrete admission by an FBI agent that the bureau could have stopped the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

    Comment:

    Did the Amerithrax mailer travel in these same circles — attend the same NYC mosque(s) in 1991? Where did he fall in the disagreement between Ayman Zawahiri and Azzam?

    Is Amerithrax a replay of the intelligence failure that led to the WTC 1993? Is the FBI’s approach to the Kehane assassination what characterized its failure in Amerithrax?

    • DXer said

      “Another important question is why the FBI began pursuing the case in 2004 with multiple interviews of Nosair and Ayyad over the next two years. And in the post-Sept. 11 era, when counterterrorism agencies were supposed to end the “stove-piping” and intelligence hoarding that failed to prevent the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, why did the Joint Terrorism Task Force keep the confessions a secret?

      “It could be that they were embarrassed,” said one ex-FBI agent I interviewed after obtaining the Ayyad-Nosair 302s. “If you read those confessions, it’s clear that Alkaisi wasn’t just some minor player. He was a major operative—and, as Ayyad tells it with great credibility—the ring leader in the Shalabi murder. On top of that, the confessions from Nosair indicate that Alkaisi played a leadership role in the Kahane hit as well.””

  17. DXer said

    Senator Lieberman and Senator Collins don’t understand why the FBI won’t make intelligence analysts available for a confidential interview regarding Hassan’s emails to Aulaqi. Maybe the FBI is sensitive on Aulaki emails because of his coordination with Al-Timimi dating to 2001 and the anthrax mailings

    http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/government/article_40fdd992-6861-11df-a675-001cc4c03286.html

    A Senate committee has subpoenaed San Diego FBI agents in its investigation of whether the government mishandled information about the alleged Fort Hood shooter prior to the deadly November attack, but the Justice Department’s defiance has prompted the committee to issue new threats.

    In a sharply worded letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and Defense Secretary Robert Gates yesterday, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee slammed the departments for stonewalling and threatened to find the top officials in contempt of Congress if they don’t comply with subpoenas by June 2.

    The committee is trying to evaluate, among other things, the FBI’s actions when it intercepted e-mails indicating that Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, accused of murdering 13 military colleagues in a shooting rampage at the Texas military base, was communicating with former San Diego Muslim leader Anwar al-Awlaki, now a target for CIA assassination.

    “Without the direct testimony of these agents, the committee cannot discharge its investigation’s primary task: ascertaining what the U.S. government knew and what actions it took concerning Major Hasan before the attack,” said the letter, signed by committee chairman, Sen. Joe Lieberman and ranking member Sen. Susan Collins.

    The San Diego FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force had obtained numerous e-mails between Hasan and Awlaki, once a charismatic leader of a local mosque and spiritual advisor to San Diego-based Sept. 11 hijackers.

    Awlaki, an American citizen, was first thought to be a peace-promoting moderate, but has since left the country and become so radical he recently called on Muslims to murder American civilians, and the White House in April approved Awlaki for a CIA list of targets for assassination. He is also said to have inspired the suspect charged with the recent failed Times Square bombing, Faisal Shahzad.

    ***

    The San Diego agents had been monitoring Awlaki since he came to their attention after the terrorist attacks. In the Fort Hood matter, the agents had tracked the communication between the two from December 2008 to the middle of this year, federal sources said.

    Revised edition –
    Anthrax and Al Qaeda: The Infiltration of US Biodefense (May 27, 2010 draft) (440 pages fully previewable)
    http://www.blurb.com/books/1385387

  18. DXer said

    This week, in response to a FOIA request, the University of Michigan says it has none of these documents.

    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/03/16/links-dr-bruce-ivins-university-of-michigan-researcher-ayman-zawahiri/

    Did they throw them out? When? Relatedly, did they throw out the documents provided in response to the Fall 2001 subpoena even though there was a still open criminal investigation? If so, when? How can there be biosecurity if the paper record is shredded?

  19. DXer said

    There similarly no records that were kept by the University of Michigan relating to the research done by its researchers.

    The Freedom of Information Act Coordinator writes by letter dated May 20, 2010:

    “I am writing in response to your five Freedom of Information Act requests dated May 4, 2010, which were received on May 5.

    You requested:

    – “All documents related to Tarek Hamouda’s and Michael Hayes’ research with virulent Ames at USAMRIID.”

    -“All documents relating to research by Tarek Hamouds involving use of an aerosol anthrax at Dugway Proving Ground.”

    -All documents relating to research by Tarek Hamouda involving Johns-Hopkins Applied Physics Lab.

    -“All documents relating to research by Tarek Hamouda involving Edgewood.”

    -“All documents relating to research by Tarek Hamouda involving Battelle.”

    Your requests are denied because there are no responsive records.

    It is signed by Patricia J. Sellinger, Freedom of Information Act Coordinator.

    The University of Michigan did not even provide the documents relating to the patents assigned to them describing that research.

    The plug on biodefense research at our universities needs to be pulled because there is no accountability.

  20. DXer said

    By email dated April 30, 2004, Dr. Ivins wrote:

    “I put into ___ box a copy of my Reference Material Receipt Record for the 1997 _____ spores.
    This is the only record I have here that I can find that talks about giving Ames material to people here.
    _______________________________________________________________________________________

    I already gave the ____ a copy of the above-mentioned record.

    – Bruce”

    By email dated April 27, 2004, he wrote:

    “I don’t recall having informal or unofficial notes saying that I received Ames from somebody or gave it to somebody in the Institute. Usually we simply gave the strains to fellow investigators working on B. anthracis _______________________________________________________________________________________________________

  21. DXer said

    By email dated August 3, 2004 titled “Dugway 2003 spores,” Dr. Ivins wrote:

    “”Thanks for the great job on the pictures! The spore suspension looks like milk. I’m interested to see how it sprays.

    – Bruce”

    Zawahiri codenamed his anthrax weaponization project “Curdled Milk” or Zabadi.

  22. DXer said

    Infiltration of US Biodefense (440 pages freely viewable)
    http://www.blurb.com/books/1319010

  23. DXer said

    I know for a fact that the emails from 2005-2008 get increasingly dramatic.

    If all of Dr. Ivins emails are not produced by June 1, 2010, the people responsible need to be fired.

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