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

* “Dr. Bruce Ivins’ newly produced 2006 emails related to the FBI Amerithrax investigation

Posted by DXer on July 7, 2010

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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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January 30, 2006 email about

former Ames researcher

who worked with the material

moving to work for CIA

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19 Responses to “* “Dr. Bruce Ivins’ newly produced 2006 emails related to the FBI Amerithrax investigation”

  1. DXer said

    From: To:
    Subject: Date: Attachments:
    Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
    Respiratory protection – animal rooms following parenteral anthrax spore challenge Monday, November 20, 2006 2:36:00 PM
    (b) (6)
    (b)(2)
    (b)
    , (6) A few years ago I talked to (then Safety Officer) about what should be required in an
    animal room following anthrax spore challenge. His assessment was that Tyvek, head and foot covering and gloves were always required. After an aerosol challenge, a PAPR or RACAL should be worn because of the possibility of reaerosolization of spores off the fur of the animal. If the animal had received a parenteral (injected) challenge, a PAPR or RACAL wasn’t required, but a surgical mask or NS100 filtering facepiece would be sufficient for filtering allergens, sawdust or dander. It was felt that there wouldn’t be a danger for aerosolization of spores under those conditions.
    From the slide enclosed (Respiratory protection) it’s clear that high concentrations of spores require HEPA protection, but that working in a situation that doesn’t involve exposure to potential high concentrations of spores shouldn’t involve more than a surgical mask or NS100 filter facepiece. At most, A half-face or full-face respirator (not a PAPR or RACAL) should be acceptable.
    Please let me know what your opinion is on the subject. According to your presentation and to assessment a few years ago, PAPRs or RACALs should be required in animal rooms when(6t)he
    animals have been aerosol challenged with anthrax spores, but that such a high level of respiratory protection isn’t necessary when the animals have been injected with anthrax spores.
    Thanks for your input.
    Bruce Ivins

  2. DXer said

    Ed writes that he spent 5 days researching the issue of the destruction of anthrax at ISU. He writes:

    “I’ve never seen any news reports or other information that the federal investigators ever focused on ISU.”

    By way of background, Ed provides this article.

    “FBI interviews Iowa State U. international students,” University Wire, December 11, 2001
    http://www.pbs.org/weta/washingtonweek/voices/200112/1211fbi.html

    The ISU professor Jim Dickson quoted about the likely reason for questions related to the microbiology lab, who years ago was very earnest and helpful in all respects when I contacted him, told me that in the Summer of 2001 he had a prototype of the US Army-funded MICROBIAL VAC that concentrates anthrax by a factor of 10 and sequentially filters it. (He also did work involving the irradiation of mail for the government; I believe it related to the dose necessary to kill mailed anthrax).

    The colleague of one of the consulting scientists was arrested as a material witness in the investigation of an IANA spin-off.

    http://www.newanthraxandalqaeda.com

    http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1443811

    I’m sure that Ed does not mean to suggest that the FBI has not been thorough in its investigation of Amerithrax — notwithstanding that they reportedly had not even interviewed the fellow (Howard W.) who actually prepared the envelope (according to Marcia’s account of her interview of the retiree in Montana).

    In any event, the fact that three agents, including postal inspector John R., flew out to see Marcia demonstrates their thoroughness and the postal inspector/attorney comments have previously been reported by Marcia.

    The MICROBIAL VAC was tested in the summer of 2001 at an undisclosed location in the midwest. It is used to detect anthrax on meat carcasses. It was tested at a commercial meatpacking plant and no doubt only a surrogate would have been used (though no one would identify the establishment). (Perhaps there was a contractual clause requiring that it not be disclosed given the sensitivities a meatpacking plant would have on the issue). (There is a BL-3 and BL-3 Ag at USDA Iowa but the USDA manager, TB, did not respond to inquiries.)

    Ed curiously has expressed no interest in where the other vial containing Ames shipped from Texas went. He has never even mentioned the issue. Nor has he expressed any interest or mentioned Dr. Ivins’ urgent inquiry into where the tissue sample went.

    The inventor of the US Army-funded MICROBIAL VAC, Dr. Bradley, who also was very earnest and helpful, told me the MICROBIAL VAC could be used to weaponize anthrax but only on a small scale.

    The scientist arrested had been the colleague and close friend of the scientist consulting on the MICROBIAL VAC. He was arrested the day and minute Ali Al-Timimi’s residence was searched and Sami Al-Hussayen and the MSA VP, a drying expert, was raided. I called him to ask the details and reason for his arrest but it was not a good time to talk.

    Here is the article that Ed provides and links.

    “FBI interviews Iowa State U. international students,” University Wire, December 11, 2001
    http://www.pbs.org/weta/washingtonweek/voices/200112/1211fbi.html

    University Wire
    December 11, 2001
    622 words
    FBI interviews Iowa State U. international students
    By C.R. Cooper, Iowa State Daily
    SOURCE: Iowa State U.
    DATELINE: Ames, Iowa

    BODY:
    A number of Iowa State University international students have been “surveyed” by the FBI in the past week, but federal officials said they cannot confirm or deny the investigation.

    Raymond Sidharta, an international student from Indonesia, said he was questioned by a federal agent Wednesday for about an hour in his apartment.

    “They were asking us a lot of basic questions,” said Sidharta, sophomore in electrical engineering. “They started by asking really basic stuff like ‘What do your parents do at home’ and if you knew any victims from Sept. 11.”

    The questions then turned much more serious, he said.

    “Eventually, they started asking questions like ‘Have you ever had flying lessons?’ and ‘Do you know anyone who has access to the microbiology lab on campus,'” Sidharta said.

    “They also asked if I had ever gotten mail from Indonesia that didn’t have a return address.”

    James Dickson, associate professor and chairman of microbiology, said the microbiology question probably was asked in connection to the threat of bioterrorism. One interested in bioterrorism would have to have access to a microbiologist, Dickson said.

    “They would have to have the potential biowarfare components and somebody that knew what they were doing,” he said.

    No potential ingredients for biological weapons exist in the ISU Microbiology building, he said.
    “We don’t really have any of those agents in our lab,” Dickson said. “We don’t have any of the bacteria just sitting around, and we surely don’t have any anthrax.”

    Sidharta said the agents also checked his passport, visa and overstay privileges before finishing the questioning.

    “I wasn’t really that nervous,” he said. “I knew that I wasn’t guilty of anything.”

    Several Indonesian students are being surveyed, Sidharta said.

    “Most of the people I know who are being surveyed were called by the FBI before they came,” he said. “They called me a couple of days beforehand to ask if they could conduct the survey.”
    Fajar Widharta, who also is from Indonesia, said agents asked him a lot of the same questions Friday.

    “They were just simple things like ‘Have you ever visited any other countries besides the United States?'” said Widharta, sophomore in electrical engineering. “They also asked me things like if I knew anybody who supported the Taliban, or if I knew anybody who supports terrorism.”

    FBI agents were at his apartment for about 45 minutes before the survey was over, he said.
    “I wasn’t really shocked when I found out they were interviewing me,” Widharta said.

    “I already knew that they were going to come because some people I know had already talked to them.”

    Permias, the ISU Indonesian Student Association, sent an e-mail to its members telling about the surveys, he said.

    “The e-mail didn’t really say too much,” Widharta said. “It was basically just telling people that the FBI was on campus and preparing people for what kinds of questions they were going to ask.”

    Both Sidharta and Widharta said they believe people are being surveyed as a result of the public being worried about further terrorists attacks.

    Jerry Stewart, interim director of the Department of Public Safety, said the department took no part in the surveys.

    “We are aware that federal officials are conducting investigations in the Ames area, but we are not directly involved with those investigations,” Stewart said.

    Dennis Peterson, director of ISU International Education Services, said he was aware the federal agents were on campus, but he could not elaborate.

    Kevin Curran, agent-in-charge of the Des Moines FBI field office, declined to comment on any actions that were being taken by the FBI in Ames or surrounding areas.

    (C) 2001 Iowa State Daily via U-WIRE
    LOAD-DATE: December 11, 2001

    • DXer said

      The scientist who requested virulent anthrax from USDA Iowa later worked for the CIA, according to a Battelle document online and an email by Dr. Ivins uploaded (I think) above. Usually, though, he is listed as working at a radiation facility.

      The CIA reported years ago that none of its Ames was missing. Query: how would it know given that theft of an iota is sufficient given that it can then just be grown.

      Director Mueller refused publicly to answer Senator Leahy’s question about locations other than Dugway and Battelle where aerosol experiments using virulent Ames were done.

      Where did the CIA do its experiments? SRI in Frederick? Ames, Iowa?

    • DXer said

      Irradiation Can Kill Anthrax Spores, Officials Say

      November 2001

      U.S. Water News Online

      ^^^

      Jim Dickson, an associate professor and chair of the Department of Microbiology at Iowa State, said killing anthrax spores will require a 30 kGy level of irradiation. He noted the recommendation for killing anthrax — scientifically known as Bacillus anthracis — is partly based on testing irradiation against a comparable organism, Bacillus cereus.

      “There’s not a lot [of research] out there specific to anthrax,” Dickson said.

      But noting that irradiation is “not an unfamiliar technology,” Dickson said that its current use for sterilizing medical items also gives a good indication that it will be successful in sterilizing mail. Medical supplies typically are irradiated with 25 kGy.

      As with its other uses, irradiation would not make mail radioactive, Dickson said. It’s also considered safe for people working around the irradiation systems, if they stay within the guidelines for using the technology.

      Phebus and Dickson both discounted recent reports that mail could be sterilized by using a steam iron. Dickson said people would have to keep the iron directly on the mail for approximately 30 minutes, which may kill anthrax spores, but may also cause a fire.

      U.S. companies with irradiation units were in discussions with government and postal officials last week. A spokesperson for one company — the Steris Corporation in Mentor, Ohio, which has 16 facilities in North America to sterilize medical equipment — said the companies “definitely have the technologies available.”

      A statement from the U.S. Postal Service notes that “this new technology will not be cheap, but we are committed to spending what it takes to make the mail safe.” Early indications, said the Steris spokesperson, is that units to irradiate mail will have to be built on-site. Iowa State’s Dickson said he knows of only one portable unit available in the country, built by Gray*Star Inc. of Mt. Arlington, N.J.

      A March 2002 newsletter explained:
      Background on ISU research:

      “Iowa State University’s Dr. James Dickson, NASA FTCSC affiliate faculty member, has also researched ways to combat anthrax at the Postal Service. He recently concluded experiments to determine the irradiation decimal reduction values for dry anthrax spores in #10 business envelopes. Dr. Dickson’s results showed a 90 percent kill per decimal reduction rate value. The Surgeon General’s Office asked Dr. Dickson to find the dosage required to kill anthrax spores that might be present in envelopes. The research results were sent to the Surgeon General.

      Rocky Mountain Resources, Inc., a Corporate Founding Partner of NASA FTCSC, is using the Microbial-Vac System™ (M-Vac) to research ways to detect anthrax on letters and packages. The M-Vac is used to collect dry powder samples from surfaces of unopened envelopes by going through the small opening at the edge of the sealed envelope. The M-Vac can also collect samples from the outsides of envelopes and boxes with low levels of liquid and can collect 10 to 20 times more anthrax surrogate (B. subtilis) than a wet cotton swab.”

      Although virulent anthrax was stored at ISU, research with virulent anthrax was done by the ISU professors at the nearby USDA Iowa facility.

  3. DXer said

    Dr. Ivins is referring to Dr. Knudson. When did GK first start with the CIA?

    See acknowledgement of reviewers on this Battelle document referring to Ames.

    http://www.google.com/#hl=en&q=Gregory+Knudson++USDA+Ames++%22Central+Intelligence+Agency%22&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=&fp=36ec6be010d257f

    • DXer said

      In 2002, I believe he was still with the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, Bethesda, Maryland. Did he have Ames there with him after he left USAMRIID?

      Antimicrobial therapy for bacillus anthracis-induced polymicrobial infection in (60)Co gamma-irradiated mice.
      Elliott TB, Brook I, Harding RA, Bouhaouala SS, Shoemaker MO, Knudson GB.
      Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Interactions and Countermeasures Research Team, Radiation Medicine Department, Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, Bethesda, Maryland 20889-5603, USA.

      • DXer said

        Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2001 Dec;18(6):559-62.
        In vitro resistance of Bacillus anthracis Sterne to doxycycline, macrolides and quinolones.

        Brook I, Elliott TB, Pryor HI 2nd, Sautter TE, Gnade BT, Thakar JH, Knudson GB.
        With AFRRI in 2001.

        Radiation Medicine Department, Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, 8901 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20889-5603,
        Abstract

        Bacillus anthracis is a potential biological warfare agent. Its ability to develop resistance to antimicrobial agents currently recommended for the treatment of anthrax infection is a major concern. B. anthracis Sterne was grown from a live veterinary vaccine and used it to test for the development of resistance after 21 sequential subcultures in sub-inhibitory concentrations of doxycycline and three quinolones (ciprofloxacin, alatrofloxacin and gatifloxacin) and 15 sequential subcultures in sub-inhibitory concentrations of three macrolides (erythromycin, azithromycin and clarithromycin). After 21 subcultures the minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) increased from 0.1 to 1.6 mg/l for ciprofloxacin, from 1.6 to 12.5 mg/l for alatrofloxacin, from 0.025 to 1.6 mg/l for gatifloxacin and from 0.025 to 0.1 mg/l for doxycycline. After 15 passages of sequential subculturing with macrolides, the MICs increased from 12.5 to 12.5 or 50.0 mg/l for azithromycin, from 0.2 to 1.6 or 0.4 mg/l for clarithromycin and from 6.25 to 6.25 or 50 mg/l for erythromycin. After sequential passages with a single quinolone or doxycycline, each isolate was cross-tested for resistance using the other drugs. All isolates selected for resistance to one quinolone were also resistant to the other two quinolones, but not to doxycycline. The doxycycline-resistant isolate was not resistant to any quinolone.

  4. BugMaster said

    Translation:

    “Shortly before he died, (by drinking himself to death) Perry Mikesell at Battelle told ??? (who used to work in my lab, and now works at DVC on Thomas Jefferson Drive in Frederick) that Battelle had made spore powder.”

    No further questions.

    • DXer said

      It is not a revelation that Battelle made spore powder. That has been known for a decade. If you wanted to do aerosol experiments using virulent Ames for inside, you went to Battelle in Ohio. If you wanted to do aerosol experiments for outside, you went to the Battelle-managed life sciences at Dugway. Those were the official facilities used for legitimate biodefense research. It was accepted that such research did not violate any treaty and would not even if conducted by the CIA.

      • BugMaster said

        Battelle has stated that their use of the Ames strain as a challenge isolate only involved the wet nebulized form.

        But then again, according to Ivin’s emails, they had a problem producing the wet, nebulized material from the aliquots of RMR-1029 Ivins sent them.

        Did they decide to proceed with a dried form instead?

        (also note that most of the research BMI did with dried material involved simulants).

        • DXer said

          Where did Battelle state that their use of the Ames strain involved only the wet nebulized form?

        • DXer said

          What is your understanding of the application of this statement in the Science news story:

          Anthrax Powder: State of the Art?

          As subcontractors, Battelle scientists have made anthrax powders for use by the Army and U.S. intelligence agencies …
          cryptome.info/0001/anthrax-powder.htm

        • DXer said

          A former Ft. Detrick Commander wrote me, matter-of-factly, that in 2001 if you needed to do outside experiments you went to Dugway — inside experiments Battelle.

          Dugway officials have explained that working with the real thing is sometimes necessary, for example, in testing a decontamination agent.

        • DXer said

          For a review of the literature generally,

          See generally Spotts, Whitney, 2003, Inactivation of Bacillus Anthracis spores, Emerging Infectious Diseases, 623-627

        • DXer said

          For testing of a decontamination agent by a former Zawahiri associate using Ames supplied by Bruce Ivins at Ft. Detrick and then an anthrax surrogate at Dugway, see

          Anthrax and Al Qaeda: The Infiltration of US Biodefense
          http://www.blurb.com/books/1443811

  5. DXer said

    If all the remaining Dr. Ivins’ emails are not uploaded by the end of this week at close of business, shouldn’t a lot of people be fired?

  6. DXer said

    By email dated January 30, 2006, Dr. Ivins says he would not have discarded any of the original material, since that was “closest thing to the cow, so to speak.” He then refers to a fellow researcher who worked with the Ames who “now works for the CIA, and I don’t know what his email is.”

    Anyone know his email so we can can ask him about the second slant and culture?

  7. DXer said

    This March 7, 2006 totally contradicts the argument that US Attorney Jeffrey Taylor was making. Who is responsible for withholding it and the additional years of emails for the past two years?

    On March 7, 2006, Dr. Ivins wrote:

    “I have a question for you concerning material that we took over to ____ (When we had a lab over there, once upon a time). Please look at pictures number one and two. I remember storing the Dugway 97 material in two big flasks (line in picture two) in the ___ coldroom. I also remember taking material (including that material) over to our lab ___ in Gibco bottles and polypropylene tubes (Picture 2). Did we EVER take one or both of the big flasks of material over to ____, or did we ever use other containers for the material? I don’t remember taking material over in anything but the containers in picture 1, but I coul be wrong. We were doing so much stuff then, and it’s been so long, that I honestly don’t remember. I hope you can!!! Thanks!!!!

    I’m glad you’re looking forward to the weekend!!!

    Bruce

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