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

* When did the scientist who received the Ames strain from the dead cow in Texas first start working for the CIA?

Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 8, 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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19 Responses to “* When did the scientist who received the Ames strain from the dead cow in Texas first start working for the CIA?”

  1. DXer said

    A full list of the labs known by the FBI to have Ames is needed, to include the identity of the third lab known to have made a powder out of virulent Ames. For example, was it NMRC rather than SRI or some other lab?

  2. DXer said

    Someone should interview GK (the fellow who came to work for CIA) and trace down who had access to the other slant from the dead cow in Texas and Ames grown from that. GK had originally been sent the Ames from Texas. I believe GK was at NMRC. According to the fax line on the correspondence file that he sent an ISU microbiology professor JD, he faxed the correspondence file from AFRRI (which I believes handles radiation at NMRC) in Fall 2001.

    JD in the summer of 2001 tells me that JD had a prototype of a US Army funded device called the MICROBIAL VAC. A portable device, it concentrated anthrax by a factor of 10 through repeated centrifuging and filtration. Used for sampling from meat carcasses.

    A mentor (JH at WSU) of the man who was arrested (ID) the day and minute Ali Al-Timimi’s townhouse was searched consulted on the statistics.

    The inventor of the device (BB) tells me it could be used to weaponize anthrax but only on a small scale.

    Microbial Vac was going to do an SBIR with NMRC but then it was not pursued for unknown reasons.

  3. DXer said

    David Willman writes in Mirage Man:

    “Samples of this original material had gone to two scientists at USAMRIID: Gregory Knudson, long since retired, and Ivins. Beneath the e-mailed picture of the colonies Abshire had just grown from Knudson’s sample, Ivins wrote: “Ames strain — from Gregory Knudson’s culture collection at USAMRIID. Similar in appearance to Bacillus anthraces colonies from mail.” (p. 138)

  4. DXer said

    A 2002 Amerithrax Weekly update, first produced in December 2010, states:

    “Pat Worsham (USAMRIID) and Les Baillie (___________) will be working in parallel on the two colony morphologies observed in the evidentiary samples. They will be analyzing the 1981 Ames standard, evidentiary material, Drs. Knudson and Ivins samples.”

  5. DXer said

    From: Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
    To: Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
    Cc:
    Subject: RE: Message on Ames Strain
    Date: Tuesday, January 29, 2002 9:09:52 AM
    I just spoke on the phone with at AFRRI. He is going to FAX me whatever information he
    has on the Ames strain. He told me that the strain was definitely sent to him from the NVSL in Ames,
    Iowa. He also said that it is possible that the actual case (dead cow) may have been in Texas, and that
    the strain may have then gone from Texas to Ames, Iowa, and then to If that is the case, then
    USAMRIID is third in line as far the origin of the “Ames strain,” and we have no idea as to where the
    Texas lab or the NVSL in Ames sent the strain. I will keep everyone informed on this as soon as I get
    more information from
    – Bruce

  6. DXer said

    re upcoming Washington Post article re contractors doing classified work.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/watercooler/2010/jul/16/put-content-here/

  7. BugMaster said

    I don’t find a possible CIA connection here the least bit relevant. Last I checked, the CIA was on our side.

    And besides, you would be surprised as to who may have formerly worked for the CIA (a friend of mine revealed to me that he had done some work for them right after the break-up of the Soviet Union).

    You might never know who might be working for them, but one individual that sort of fits at least one profile is that Ed Lake character! (eccentric, the last person one would ever suspect, and an “expert” in graphics analysis!)

    • BugMaster said

      Oh, and he drives a real cool car too!

    • DXer said

      The distribution of Ames is very important. For example, if AFRRI or NMRC needs to be added as a lab that had virulent Ames, that needs to be done notwithstanding any sensitivities. The possible location of the other sample sent by the TVMDL scientist has now been disclosed for the first time. With publications in 2001-2004 period with AFRRI, then reference to GK’s CIA affiliation, then back to AFRRI affiliation, combined with the absence of publications for 10-12 years raises an inference that perhaps the work by the person who had the other sample from the cow was classified. The CIA has said that none of its Ames was missing. Well, how would one know?

      For example, if AFRRI had it, or NMRC had it, then when presented with an SBIR that involved proposed work with virulent Ames would be of special note.

      • DXer said

        The sensitivities that are implicated are illustrated by the reason the FBI doesn’t prosecute more Russian spies.

        “Why Doesn’t the FBI Prosecute More Spies?”
        http://www.slate.com/id/2260062/

        In the game of spy vs. spy, the FBI’s strongest weapon is keeping its adversary from knowing what it knows. The investigation into the 10 Russian spies shows that Russia’s foreign intelligence service, the Sluzhba Vneshney Razvedki (successor to the KGB) apparently felt confident that it was operating undetected. Working under this assumption, the SVR unwittingly enabled the FBI to collect a steady stream of information on the SVR’s agents, contacts, interests, and capabilities. By staying behind the scenes, the FBI ensured that the SVR was giving up all these goodies for almost 10 years.

        Criminal cases, by contrast, are public, and unless a judge chooses to seal sensitive evidence, they require the government to present exactly what it knows. The criminal complaint against the Russian spies, many note, reads like a Cold War spy thriller, complete with secret rendezvous, false identities, and messages written in invisible ink. For the Russians, though, it should read more like a McKinsey report for how the SVR can improve its game. The complaint names—or, in spytalk, “burns”—the specific FBI agents who conducted this investigation. While FBI counterintelligence agents normally operate overtly—meaning that they don’t have to hide the fact that they are with the FBI—they generally do not reveal the country whose agents they are targeting. Now that the complaint has revealed the identities of the SVR’s adversaries, the Russian intelligence service can keep an eye out for the specific agents working against them in the United States. (The FBI could, of course, counter-counter-counter by moving these agents to a different target, but given their institutional knowledge and Russian expertise, that would be a loss for our intelligence capabilities).

        More significantly, the complaint reveals what the FBI knew about the SVR’s tactics and tradecraft.”

      • DXer said

        Years ago my friend Marcia called Howard Whitford, the scientist who sent the package from TVMDL (after the request by Gregory Knudson, then of USAMRIID). Dr. Whitford then later retired to Montana. At the time, Marcia recalls that he said that the January 30, 2002 William J. Broad NYT article was about as close to the truth as he had seen published. At the time Marcia reported that the FBI had not interviewed Dr. Whitford.

  8. BugMaster said

    That’s funny. According to what has been previously stated regarding the Ames strain, by the time it arrived at Fort Detrick, it was far removed from the cow.

    Tissue samples? Just when did the cold war (and the American biological weapons program) end anyway?

    • DXer said

      Announcement of death delayed pending FBI-supervised autopsy:

      Sergei Tretyakov, Spy Who Fled to U.S., Dies at 53
      By WILLIAM GRIMES
      Published: July 9, 2010
      http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/10/world/europe/10tretyakov.html

      “My defection was the major failure of the Russian intelligence, probably in its whole history,” Mr. Tretyakov told NPR, the public radio network, in 2008.

      http://www.peteearley.com/books/books.html

      “Comrade J.: The Untold Secrets of Russia’s Master Spy in America After the End of the Cold War” (2008)

      • DXer said

        Dead Russian defector not connected to spy ring
        http://blog.washingtonpost.com/spy-talk/2010/07/dead_russian_defector_not_conn.html

        In their book, Tretyakov fingered several people in Canada and the United States by their code names as Russian agents.

        One of the most prominent was a Pakistani-born Canadian scientist who Tretyakov identified only as “ARTHUR,” but who other authoritative sources in 2008 identified for me as Tariq Rauf, the principal official at the International Atomic Energy Agency responsible for determining whether Iran is building a nuclear weapon.

        In the first of two interviews, Rauf declined an opportunity to flatly deny Tretyakov’s accusation. He also declined to say whether he knew or had ever met Tretyakov, who worked under diplomatic cover in Canada.

        But in a second exchange, by e-mail, Rauf said he had “never” worked “for any intel types whatsoever.“

        “I have worked for government and privately funded think tanks, and have been an academic researcher all through — ’til joining my current employer, where I am an impartial loyal international civil servant,” he said.

        Author Earley said he had examined Tretyakov’s records — photographs, e-mail, even a restaurant napkin on which ARTHUR scribbled notes about Ukrainian missiles — to back up every allegation in the book.

        “If they want to sue us, fine,” said Earley of all the Canadians Tretyakov fingered as spies. “We’ll just run Sergei up there with our stuff and see what happens.”

        Rauf never filed suit.

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

        • DXer said

          http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/09/AR2010070905179.html

          At the time of his defection on Oct. 11, 2000, Mr. Tretyakov allegedly had been working as a double agent for the United States for three years while he was the SVR’s second-in-command in New York. From 1995 to 2000, he oversaw all Russian covert operations in the city and had more than 60 intelligence officers under his command, according to Earley’s book. ….

          Early in his career, Mr. Tretyakov impressed senior officers by analyzing seemingly innocuous, and unclassified, U.S. reports and gleaning valuable intelligence from their pages.

          In Earley’s book, Mr. Tretyakov revealed much of the SVR’s structure, including technical details about operations and the identities of agents and sources. He also revealed that his agents had skimmed $500 million in profits for the Russian government from the U.N. oil-for-food program in Iraq.

          He claimed to have unmasked dozens of SVR undercover agents, including several ambassadors and U.N. representatives, but despite the sweeping accusations, no one cited by Mr. Tretyakov has been charged with espionage.

          “Of course I want people to know what I have done,” Mr. Tretyakov told Earley in the book. “However, most Americans can’t pronounce Tretyakov, nor will they remember the name for longer than a few seconds.”

      • DXer said

        errrata on autopsy-
        http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20100710/ARTICLE/7101034/2055/NEWS?p=2&tc=pg
        “We did not supervise the autopsy,” said William Carter, a spokesman at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C. “However, we were certainly interested in and have no reason to dispute the results.”

        “Sergei was called ‘the most important spy for the U.S. since the collapse of the Soviet Union’ by an FBI official in my book,” Earley wrote on his blog. “Unfortunately, because much of what he said is still being used by U.S. counterintelligence officers, it will be years before the true extent of his contribution can be made public — if ever.”

        Comment:

        In Amerithrax, 50 million of the $80 million of the investment in Perseus in NanoBio was while Perseus was headed by the person now #3 in Department of State, the fellow in charge of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Don’t expect clarity on issues as to whether 100 or 300 or 1000 had access to the virulent Ames in our lifetime. The CIA and FBI insiders can rationalize that what they’ve done in Amerithrax was for national security reasons (“you don’t want to know”) but it wasn’t at all. It was strictly CYA and bungling.

    • DXer said

      Former spy warns U.S. about ‘friends’
      http://www.wtop.com/?sid=1989344&nid=778&pid=2J.J. Green, wtop.com
      The explosive scandal that erupted with the discovery of Russian “deep cover” spies in the U.S. could be a dangerous distraction from the “real” problem facing the U.S.

      Former Russian Master Spy Sergei Tretyakov warned recently that the greater threat is “other foreign nationals, Europeans, other people from the Middle East, from Latin America.”

      ***
      During his tenure as deputy resident at the Russian mission at the United Nations in New York, he was responsible for developing sources that could penetrate their targets.

      “That’s why we were concentrating on recruiting people not from the United States.”

      Tretyakov says they used money, took advantage of nationalistic sympathies and even blackmailed people gather intelligence about the U.S.

      But he recognized a fundamental flaw that hamstrung Russian intelligence services after the Soviet Union collapsed — corruption.

      Another was mediocrity in the Russian White House.

      “When I was in Canada, I was already so disgusted with these new administrations.”

      His first disappointment was former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev.

      “He is not a very well educated redneck with not very good Russian and definitely not very smart, but at least he started bringing up new ideas.”

      But those ideas and his star faded quickly and the string of disappointments continued.

      “Yeltsin was a corrupt drunk, and Putin is a man who was investigated for stealing $100 million.”

      Fed up with corruption and greed and leaning toward defection, one particular case proved to be the game changer.

      ***

      “We are American citizens and we are protected by the might of the American state,” says Tretyakov.

      Helen, his wife, says they are fortunate, because “the most important thing is that our whole family managed to escape that we left no hostages in Russia. We have no brothers no sisters no sisters left.”

      Tretyakov’s contribution (thousands of documents and institutional knowledge) to help the U.S. deflect Russian espionage attempts may prove useful for decades.

      U.S. authorities were able to track the 11 alleged Russian spies arrested recently for more than a decade. Although there is no evidence the two are connected, the investigation, interestingly enough began just shortly after he defected.

    • DXer said

      http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/10/world/europe/10spies.html

      Intrigue and Ambiguity in Cases of 4 Russians Sent to West in Spy Swap

      By SCOTT SHANE and ELLEN BARRY

      Published: July 9, 2010

      WASHINGTON — When Aleksandr Zaporozhsky, one of four Russians delivered to the West in this week’s spy swap, landed at Dulles International Airport on Friday to join his family in the United States, it was only the latest unexpected twist in a classic story of espionage and deception.

      For several years in the 1990s, Mr. Zaporozhsky, a colonel in Russian intelligence who became deputy chief of the American Department, was secretly working for the C.I.A., one of the highest-ranking American moles in history, Russian prosecutors say.

      Anthrax and Al Qaeda: The Infiltration of US Biodefense
      http://www.newanthraxandalqaeda.com

    • DXer said

      Peter Early in COMRADE J on a biodefense “dangle”:

      “For example, if a KGB operative was having dinner with an expert on trade negotiations and the conversations turned to biological warfare, the KGB officer needed to be suspicious of the trade expert suddenly offered to see what he could learn at his job about chemical weapons. “Why would a trade expert have access to this information?”

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

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