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

* Congressman Rush Holt … one lone voice trying to penetrate the FBI’s stonewalling anthrax fog … Bruce Ivins’ last hope for a fair investigation

Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 17, 2010

Dr. Bruce Ivins & Congressman Rush Holt

Scott Shane writes in the NYT (9/16/10) …

  • The investigative arm of Congress will conduct its own review of the FBI’s scientific work in concluding that Bruce E. Ivins, an Army scientist, mailed the anthrax letters that killed five people in 2001.
  • Colleagues of Dr. Ivins, who killed himself in 2008, have questioned the bureau’s finding.
  • The review, to be conducted by the Government Accountability Office, will begin after an anthrax study by the National Academy of Sciences is completed this year.
  • At the F.B.I.’s request, an academy panel has been looking at the genetic and chemical analysis of the powder and other work on the case by the F.B.I. and its consultants.

LMW NOTE … the NAS is prohibited by its mandate from the FBI, which is funding the $900,000 study, from drawing any conclusions as to the guilt or innocence of any particular individual.

  • Representative Rush Holt, Democrat of New Jersey, who has long sought an independent review of the work, praised the G.A.O.’s decision.

LMW COMMENT …

Congressman Holt seems to be the only person in a position of authority who has not caved in to the FBI’s refusal to explain its phony case against Dr. Ivins. One man keeping open our hope of ever finding out what really happened.

As I have stated many times, the FBI’s purported case against Ivins, based on the statements the FBI has made and the information it has permitted to dribble out, is so weak as to be laughable, except that an unsolved terrorist attack is no laughing matter.

In my view, the FBI has either failed to solve the case or is covering up the true perpetrators, and I’m not sure which is worse. Only by charging a dead man who could not defend himself has the FBI managed to divert attention from the truth. If what the FBI insists is its case against Ivins had ever come to trial, they would have been laughed out of court.

My novel CASE CLOSED presents a fictional scenario to explain the anthrax mailings and the FBI’s subsequent investigation.

Many readers, including one highly placed in the US Intelligence Community, find my story quite plausible. Some even say that CASE CLOSED seems less fictional than the FBI’s unbelievable tale.

* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon *

available in paperback or kindle

******

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18 Responses to “* Congressman Rush Holt … one lone voice trying to penetrate the FBI’s stonewalling anthrax fog … Bruce Ivins’ last hope for a fair investigation”

  1. DXer said

    Dr. Fellows and Dr. Linscott, Former Colleague #1 and #2 discussed by Ed today, were thanked by the former Zawahiri associate Tarek Hamouda in the article provided by the FBI in its release of documents linked by Ed.

    http://foia.fbi.gov/filelink.html?file=amerithrax/847357.PDF

    Dr. Pamala Coker, then at LSU, was thanked also. The FBI’s genetic expert Kimothy Smith, who tested the samples submitted, was also thanked;
    LSU and USAMRIID both provided BL-3 labs for the research). The research was funded by DARPA.

    The article provided by the FBI, “A Novel Surfactant Nanoemulsion with Broad-Spectrum Sporicidal Activity against Bacillus Species, Tarek Hamouda et al.

    A 302 interview about the article quotes the Acknowledgements section but redacts the names. So you need to turn to the actual article to see, as I recall, that Pat and Mara are thanked for their technical assistance, Bruce Ivins is thanked for providing the virulent Ames, the LSU folks are thanked for providing BL-3 space for animal studies using virulent anthrax etc. The same thing is acknowledged in numerous published patents online.

    Many months ago I contacted Pat, Mara, Kimothy, and Tarek. (Neither Pat, Mara, Kimothy or Tarek have ever disputed my summaries or characterizations. I encourage them to do so if anything I ever say is mistaken or in the slightest way inaccurate.) Dr. Coker is very responsive but would rather not talk about it; she runs a cat clinic in Louisiana now. The head of the research at University of Michigan, James Baker, was very patient up to a point in confirming details. (He is extremely busy and has responsibility for many big money matters. He long ago explained that the research was done at USAMRIID with Bruce supervising Tarek in the BL-3. The research involving virulent Ames, he emphasizes, was not done at Michigan as that would have been illegal.

    As I have oft-explained, DARPA also funded the highly regarded FBI anthrax expert Dr. Ezzell, who made dried powdered Ames using Ames supplied by Bruce Ivins. John tells me by phone, email and public blog post that the Ames was irradiated while in the slurry for research. The research explored the effects of a Sonicator and Corona Plasma Discharge on individual charges. (See literature I’ve uploaded co-authored by yet another key FBI science expert). Dr. Ezzell will not tell me whether the Ames showed the Silicon Signature. Dr. Ivins had heard that it most closely matched the attack anthrax. The research was done at Johns Hopkins by JE’s former assistant, Joany Jackman, who moved to Johns Hopkins where Tarek also did research relating to his decontamination agent. (In addition to the research at USAMRIID and Johns Hopkins, Dr. Hamouda went to Dugway where he participated in aerosol experiments using a simulant). The Johns Hopkins people do not respond to emails about the research. Nor does Joany J, the former assistant of the FBI’s anthrax expert JE respond. She is the one who did the research at USAMRIID, I think, and then at Johns Hopkins.

    I also spoke to Dr. Hamouda’s colleague, Michael Hayes, who is very nice and on these matters aptly summarized: “You don’t want to know.” The work by Michael and Tarek with Bruce is described by Bruce in a 302 interview statement.

    I’ve spoken in person with a DOJ prosecutor who worked on national security matters, to include Amerithrax, and he too pointedly also told me the exact phrase — “You don’t want to know.” Years ago, when the lead Amerithrax paralegal and I turned out to have a mutual close friend, on a visit the prosecutor directed that the paralegal and I be kept apart.

    But, see, I do want to know and I’m not going away until there has been full compliance with FOIA after any necessary litigation. The head of Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, headed Perseus, a DC venture capital firm, that later invested $50 million in Dr. Hamouda’s company. And so I want to know even when none of these careerist CYA types want to answer or provide documents. There is a risk that Amerithrax was screwed up because of the CYA principle that dominates inside-the-beltway.

    The FBI, to their great credit, has provided copies of 302 and documents and correspondence relating to Tarek’s work with Bruce and Pat and Mara at USAMRIID. I have previously uploaded most if not all of the 16 or so pages.

    Similarly, to the DIA and CIA’s great credit, most of what I know about Ayman Zawahiri’s anthrax planning is through the kindness of strangers. So I am eager to give credit, and not find fault, to all those who promote prompt compliance with FOIA. I personally think that most people don’t know what’s going on because of the strict compartmentalization that has dominated the entire matter across the board. In fact, I had to be told what was going on. I’m just the mouthpiece bringing you the news.

    But let’s return to Former Colleague #2, Dr. Fellows, who is the subject of Ed’s post today.

    She and LSU’s Dr. Coker were credited in the New York Times for cutting edge research (dating to 2001) that involved making a more potent vaccine by inserting additional copies of the virulence plasmids x101 and x102.

    Dr. Coker noted that it also could be used to make a more lethal bioweapon. Such research is known as dual research and is viewed skeptically by critics and those who urge nonproliferation. For example, Dr. Koehler’s lab in Texas began rendering avirulent anthrax virulent in March 2001 when it upgraded to BL-3 at the same time Bruce Ivins fedexed virulent Ames to Rick Lyons at UNM for aerosol work; TK had a $100,000 grant from the CIA that year concerning the persistence of anthrax in soil. (I lived in Arlington for 15 years and make it a point to know these things).

    While you muse over the reason the FBI scientists were not anxious to make disclosures about all this background, understand that General John Parker had been told that they only made wet aerosols at Ft. Detrick even though the FBI and its expert knew that it also made dried powder for DARPA using Ames supplied by Bruce Ivins.

    And if you press me on the effect of a Sonicator and Corona Plasma Discharge on making individual spores self-dispersive, I’ll have to bind and spank you and then keep the photos secret.

    And understand this basic fact: The Task Force did not get around to requesting the relevant sample until 2004!

    As to who derailed the investigation and led things astray with the leaks about Hatfill, well that was the lead prosecutor who pled the Fifth and whose daughter represented Ali Al-Timimi, who shared a suite with the leading anthrax researchers in the program funded by DARPA. I mean, Amerithrax is really, really screwed up for many reasons. Oh, did I mention Al-Timimi’s lawyer says he was coordinating with Bin Laden’s sheik and with Anwar Aulaqi?

    If ever there was a matter we cannot allow to reach the wrong answer, folks, this is it. It is time to choose to be either part of the solution or remain part of the problem — because a steamroller is about to come to town.

    Finally, here is the research done by Patricia Fellows involving a more effective bioweapon / vaccine that was reported in a chapter of the PhD thesis by Pamala Coker who dedicated the thesis. Dr. Coker dedicated it, as I recall, to the FBI’s 2002 genetic expert Kimothy Smith.

    Take home:

    By analogy and case study of the applicable intelligence analysis, the discovery of the infiltration of Ali Mohammed was hampered by the FBI agent handling Ali as an informant — who was distracted by other concerns (his future son-in-law had murdered his parents). It is difficult to parse why Amerithrax came to be so badly screwed up — there are so many reasons. It would take Congressional hearings with subpoena power. But as the head of FBI counterterrorism once wrote me after he left — Amerithrax is a mess and if you think that the graphic on Ayman Zawahiri’s recent video approximated aerosolized anthrax, I recommend that you not let a debate over how many friends Bruce Ivins had be mistaken for probative evidence.

    I’ve laid it all out — and provided the relevant documents — in narrative text and graphic.

    http://www.newanthraxandalqaeda.com

    Download the graphics and study the documents.

    The 440 pages of text is fully and freely viewable here.

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

    I’ve always said that the pooch was screwed and she liked it — but I would add that a big bunch of reporters just stood around and watched.

    Article about research by Ivins’ Former Colleague #2.

    Key to Strains of Anthrax Is Discovered
    By WILLIAM J. BROAD
    Published: March 27, 2003

    Scientists have discovered why different strains of the bacterium that causes anthrax differ so much in virulence, a finding that in theory could produce more effective vaccines and better tools for distinguishing and tracking the lethal germ.

    But the finding could also aid the creation of designer varieties of anthrax that are potentially deadlier to humans. Because of that potential danger, a debate occurred over whether the discovery should be kept secret, scientists said. In the end, it was decided that the benefits of publication outweighed the risks.

    The discovery was made by six scientists at Louisiana State University, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, the nation’s top center for studying germ defenses. It is published in the current Journal of Clinical Microbiology.

    The lead author, Dr. Pamala R. Coker, formerly at L.S.U. and now at the Livermore laboratory in California, spearheaded the research for her Ph.D. dissertation. The Livermore laboratory once pioneered nuclear arms but increasingly studies biology and germ defenses.

    The team’s finding centers on the anthrax genome, which consists of a single large chromosome and two small circles of DNA, known as plasmids, that carry extra genes. The scientists found that, contrary to common belief, each anthrax bacterium carries not just one set of plasmids but up to 243 copies of the first and up to 32 copies of the second, which is known as pX02. The more copies of this plasmid in a bacterial strain, the more it is capable of causing disease, the scientists said.

    The research was conducted in guinea pigs. The scientists found, for example, that an anthrax strain from Mozambique that possessed just one pX02 plasmid killed 25 percent of the test animals. But a strain from Australia with 32 copies of the plasmid left all the guinea pigs dead.

    The team of scientists also reported that added factors like subtle features of the bacterium’s DNA chromosome appeared to help determine virulence. Thus, the anthrax that killed five Americans in the germ attacks of 2001 — the so-called Ames strain — was found to possess just two copies of pX02. But it nonetheless killed 62 percent of the guinea pigs.

    The pX02 plasmid carries genes that let the anthrax bacterium fashion an outer protein coat that acts as a defensive shield to thwart the immune system of hosts. The scientists suspect that multiple copies of pX02 thicken that coating, letting the germ escape immune damage and multiply to do extensive harm.

    Scientists had previously identified 89 types of anthrax as genetically distinct but had failed to discover what determined their wide differences in virulence. The plasmid findings, they said, opened a new window on that question.

    “It’s very interesting,” said Dr. Sam Kaplan, a microbiologist at the University of Texas medical school at Houston. “But a lot more work needs to be done.”

    Dr. Martin E. Hugh-Jones, a team member at L.S.U., said the discovery would help scientists understand why some anthrax vaccines are effective and others weak. “This will allow us to do some very impressive things in coming on with new vaccines,” Dr. Hugh-Jones added.

    It could also aid investigations of germ attacks. Dr. Coker of the Livermore laboratory said the finding could help forensic scientists track down the country and laboratory from which the weapon arose. That, she said, was possible because the plasmid technique acted as a kind of microscope to reveal finer genetic distinctions among the 89 known varieties of anthrax. A match between the attack germ and a library of detailed fingerprints could help locate the perpetrator.

    Dr. Coker conceded that the research in theory could also help a genetic engineer make a more deadly form of anthrax by increasing the number of pX02 plasmids.

    Dr. Kaplan of the University of Texas, who heads the publication board of the American Society for Microbiology in Washington, said no reviewer or official of the society raised objections to publication of the plasmid paper, even though the White House has urged scientists to screen their work carefully for possible harm to national security.

    Steve Wampler, a spokesman at the California laboratory, said the plasmid research was done before Dr. Coker came to Livermore but the laboratory nonetheless put the paper through a careful security review. “In the end,” he said, “it was decided that it was fine to publish.”

    In addition to Dr. Coker of Livermore and Dr. Hugh-Jones of L.S.U., the paper’s authors are Dr. Kimothy L. Smith of the Livermore laboratory, Patricia F. Fellows of the Army research institute, and Dr. Galena Rybachuck and Dr. Konstantin G. Kousoulas of L.S.U.

    • DXer said

      From: To: Subject: Date:
      Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
      Anthrax strain Friday, April 26, 2002 10:56:24 PM

      – Friday night I was looking for a strain that I had frozen down for It is the “I-1” strain. It was originally in small freezer tubes in a blue rack in the chest (not upright) minus 70 freezer in the B3 hall. I couldn’t find the tubes anywhere. The strain is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT, and we need to find it. Do either of you have any idea where the tubes are? when you were doing
      the boxes and moving stocks, do you remember them? If not, could you please search the upright minus 70 for them? I may have put the tubes in another box or container, but I couldn’t find them in the new boxes you made.
      Thanks. – Bruce

      Comment: Did he ever find this strain? Where was it from?

    • DXer said

      Meryl Nass explained in testimony before Congress:

      “The following table reviews data generated by Fellows, Linscott, and Ivins, in 1998. Twenty-seven strains of anthrax killed 50% or more of immunized guinea pigs, suggesting that strains available throughout the world are sufficiently virulent to defeat the vaccine.”

      “Anthrax Vaccine Efficacy Against B. anthracis Strains of Diverse Geographical Origin. Patricia Fellows, Mara Linscott, and Bruce Ivins, Bacteriology Division, USAMRIID, Ft. Detrick, Bacillus anthracis: Strains Used.”

      http://www.anthraxvaccine.org/testimon.htm

  2. DXer said

    Ed turns today to Dr. Ivins relationship with Former Colleague #1, Mara Linscott, and Former Colleague #2, Patricia Fellows, with whom Dr. Ivins had worked closely in his immediate group. Bruce had great admiration and affection for both. (A highly skilled expert at doing animal aerosol experiments using Ames anthrax,Pat was Mara’s mentor; Mara left before 2001 to obtain her MD.) He describes his admiration for the skills of Former Colleague #2 in an August 2007 email to two undercoverer FBI agents he had met on a cruise. (Undercover agents or paid informants are very useful because you can send them lots of photos without fear that you are imposing or diverting them from their work.) It keeps them paying attention if you occasionally suggest you are embedding hidden messages).

    “From: Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
    Subject: Back to work (UNCLASSIFIED)
    Date: Saturday, August 04, 2007

    Hi, again, and I’m writing you from work. I just got in and checked my voicemails and emails. The work never seems to end, even when we go away for awhile. We have to take lots and lots of official training), and the paperwork gets more and more oppressive.

    We have several projects going on in our laboratory. Because of funding cutbacks in the last few years we’ve had to switch what we’ve been working on quite a bit. It used to be totally focused on anthrax vaccine research, but now we’re basically just making anthrax spores for other research labs to use in their experiments. We’re also studying how to improve the quality of anthrax spores. I had somebody working with me for 14 years who was just superb in the laboratory, but she left in 2002, and it’s been a struggle to try to bring the lab back to the level where it used to be. There are currently three people in the lab – myself and two others.

    I have some pictures to send you to hopefully bring you some smiles. I really hope to hear from you, but if you’d rather I wouldn’t email you, please let me know, and I won’t bother you. Thanks again for helping to make my cruise so enjoyable. You are both wonderful people. Have a fine week!!!!!!!

    -bruce Bruce Ivins”

    • DXer said

      In his emails, Dr. Ivins is focused on who did what to the samples in his lab.

      “From: Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
      Subject: Entry and Exit time records (UNCLASSIFIED) Thursday, June 07, 2007 2:30:41 PM

      I’ve been trying to determine who did what in our lab with respect to submitting B. anthracis cultures to for the . I asked who then talked to who
      then requested from the entry and exit records for myself, and in the FEB 02 through April 02 timeframe. I hadn’t heard anything, so I re-inquired today and was told by that the records are too far back to be accessed.
      Bruce Ivins”

      They were not too far back to be accessed, were they? Wasn’t he just told that? We have records dating even to the previous Fall.
      He just was not allowed the records he needed to defend himself.

      • DXer said

        He seeks related information in this email:

        “From: Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
        Date: Monday, May 28, 2007 11:48:13 AM

        Hi, following picture (you sent it to me in January, 2002) and tell me what prep this is? I don’t have a
        I’m trying to identify records of old cultures and spore preps. Could you please look at the
        record of an “Ivins” strain, and we ( [names of Pat and Mara redacted], myself) made lots of spore preps and cultures.

        Anything you could find out and pass along on the origin or derivation of the material would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. -bruce”

        • DXer said

          He elsewhere had explained that the genetics findings did not make sense to him — for example, why wasn’t the UNM sample an exact match? He tries to track down the details of the 2002 submission. Did he write it to his two former colleagues who had worked most closely with him in the lab — Pat and Mara? If so, what did they respond? Where were the scientists who actually had the hands-on involvement in submitting the samples in 2002?

          From: Ivins, Bruce E Dr
          Sent: Monday, May 14, 2007
          Subject: RE: Strain Inventory List (UNCLASSIFIED)

          There was a meeting on 14 JUL 04 between USAMRIID scientists, DOJ officials, and JAG officials. The next day I requested materials related to the list of materials I had submitted in response to subpoenas. Shortly thereafter I was given an extensive amount of material – please see the adobe acrobat file enclosed – that included
          1) 5 FEB 2002 Response to subpoena from ;
          2) subpoenas and attachments from dated February 15, 2002;
          3) Letter from dated March 5, 2002;
          4) memorandum from on 6 MAR 02;
          5) subpoena from dated March 1, 2002;
          6) “Attachment B” containing the USAMRIID B. anthracis agent registry (only the first page of Attachment B is included in the adobe acrobat file enclosure);
          7) “Attachment C” containing a list of samples submitted to the FBI repository (only the first page of Attachment C is included in the adobe acrobat file enclosure).

          I’m trying to determine who provided the material. I believe it was , but I’m not 100% certain. Whatever information you can provide would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks so very much!!!!

          -bruce Bruce Ivins

        • DXer said

          He elsewhere had explained that the genetics findings did not make sense to him — for example, why wasn’t the UNM sample an exact match? He tries to track down the details of the 2002 submission. Did he write it to Pat and another? If so, what did they respond? Who were the scientists who actually had the hands-on involvement in submitting the samples in 2002?

          “From: Ivins, Bruce E Dr
          Sent: Monday, May 14, 2007
          Subject: RE: Strain Inventory List (UNCLASSIFIED)

          There was a meeting on 14 JUL 04 between USAMRIID scientists, DOJ officials, and JAG officials. The next day I requested materials related to the list of materials I had submitted in response to subpoenas. Shortly thereafter I was given an extensive amount of material – please see the adobe acrobat file enclosed – that included
          1) 5 FEB 2002 Response to subpoena from ;
          2) subpoenas and attachments from dated February 15, 2002;
          3) Letter from dated March 5, 2002;
          4) memorandum from on 6 MAR 02;
          5) subpoena from dated March 1, 2002;
          6) “Attachment B” containing the USAMRIID B. anthracis agent registry (only the first page of Attachment B is included in the adobe acrobat file enclosure);
          7) “Attachment C” containing a list of samples submitted to the FBI repository (only the first page of Attachment C is included in the adobe acrobat file enclosure).

          I’m trying to determine who provided the material. I believe it was , but I’m not 100% certain. Whatever information you can provide would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks so very much!!!!

          -bruce Bruce Ivins”

        • DXer said

          From: Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
          Sent: Thursday, July 15, 2004 8:19 AM
          Subject: Strain Inventory List

          With respect to the meeting yesterday, could you please send to me a list of cultures and subcultures that I submitted in response to the subpoenas? If you don’t have a breakdown of what investigators submitted what, then could you please send a list of cultures and subcultures that were submitted, and I can try to figure out which of them were submitted by me? Thank you.
          Bruce Ivins

      • DXer said

        Ed is back just to making things up.

        For example, he desribes

        “(1) The indications that Ivins confessed to the crimes to his psychiatrist, but the confession is “under seal” because of doctor/patient confidentiality.”

        This never happened and Ed has no reason to think it did. Instead, he was confused about who was even Bruce’s psychiatrist was, the nature of a “forensic psychiatrist,” etc. If he had, he would not have been released from the hospital in July. Duh.

        “(2) The report that Ivins “took the fifth” when a certain person’s name was mentioned to him.”

        If you do something like impersonate someone in writing a letter to the editor or key a car or whatever, you should take the Fifth. Taking the Fifth even of the actual crime is not permitted as evidence of the crime — it is especially not admissible or probative when it relates to an entirely different crime.”

        “(3) The reports that Ivins’ wife ran some kind of day care center in her home, and the facts say a child did the actual writing on the anthrax letters and envelopes.”

        I obtained and forwarded the paperwork to Ed showing the day care center did not start until well after Fall 2001. Ed failed to correct the point and now just repeats it. I gave him the name of Bonnie and her daughter Natalie if he wants to avoid errors like these. (They were neigbhors). Or Mr. Duggan could also. (Natalie sings in a fantastic local group which bills itself as the worst Irish band in Frederick.) Just a 5 minute visit to the great coffee house in Frederick to hear some music would have saved Ed the next 10 years of wild mistakes of fact.

  3. DXer said

    http://www.centraljersey.com/articles/2010/09/18/the_princeton_packet/news/doc4c92a6c94b0b1403506992.txt

    PRINCETON: Congress sets ‘Amerithrax’ probe
    Thursday, September 16, 2010 7:29 PM EDT

    ***
    In September 2008, the FBI requested that the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) examine a relatively narrow range of scientific questions about the FBI’s scientific conclusions in the case, and those findings are expected to be released by year’s end. At Mr. Holt’s request, GAO will take a much broader approach in examining the scientific underpinnings of the FBI’s investigation.

    ***

    Mr. Holt continues to insist on the need for passage of his legislation to create a comprehensive Congressional commission to investigate the 2001 anthrax attacks and the federal government’s response to and investigation of the attacks. The bipartisan commission would make recommendations to the president and Congress on how the country can best prevent and respond to any future bioterrorism attack.

    ”In the wake of the bungled FBI investigation, all of us — but especially the families of the victims of the anthrax attacks — deserve credible answers about how the attacks happened and whether the case really is closed,” Mr. Holt said. “The commission, like the 9/11 Commission, would do that, and it would help American families know that the government is better prepared to protect them and their children from future bioterrorism attacks.”

    Comment: For example, examination of the paper and toner used in the 68 letters to the editor — and all the other numerous papers found at home — were not a match and thus are exclusive of Dr. Ivins.

    Given that even under the FBI’s theory the genetics only limit things to 200-300 people known to have access, the scientific evidence points to Dr. Ivins as NOT having been responsible.

    By not considering the relevant scientific issues, one never has big picture.

    One just knows things have been limited to the 200-300 — and of course anyone who obtained a spore of the anthrax from one of those people.

    Given the numerous conflicts of interest that existed in the investigation, Congress should pass the bill introduced by Congressman Holt.

    If you have any doubt of the magnitude of the FBI’s error, and the importance of learning from history: 911. Or here are two different ones: Anwar Aulaqi. Or here are two others: Mohammed Ali.

  4. DXer said

    Distinguishing Offensive from Defensive Biological Weapons Research
    by M Leitenberg – 2003

    Milton Leitenberg. Center for International Security Studies at Maryland ….. guidelines and US treaty obligations at the time that they took place. ….. them we need substances in small amounts and no convention stops us from doing …

    informahealthcare.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/713610450

  5. Anonymous said

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/09/investigators-review-fbi-anthrax/

    Cal Today 06:13 AM in reply to sandi2

    I believe the ‘weaponized’ nature of the anthrax is the key to the puzzle. After some reading on the subject, I don’t believe there is any chance that a single person could put together weaponized anthrax. It is an incredibly difficult process to duplicate – it takes very expensive specialized equipment and teams of highly trained specialists to run it and is a slow process. These characteristics make it highly improbable that one single person could do this. The reason so many were killed by the anthrax was because of its dispersive properties. Weaponization causes the anthrax spores to repel one another and so form a superfine dust(aerosol) that easily enters the body. Non weaponized anthrax spores are clumpy and difficult to disperse into the environment (still lethal though). None of the scientists at the lab in question had access to the equipment necessary to make weaponized anthrax. So where did it come from? One more thing, weaponizing anthrax is forbidden by treaty, so it shouldn’t be possible to find it in the US (or any other treaty signatory country). Once anthrax is weaponized, it is extremely dangerous to be around as the spores become easily airborne and will infect anyone within a certain radius. Since the anthrax was placed in an envelope, it is not much of a stretch to surmise that whoever did it was fully protected right up to the moment that the envelope entered the mail system (hence all the infected postal workers who handled the sealed letter). When viewed from this perspective, the FBIs assertions throughout the entire investigation are ridiculous. I hope that the preposterousness of the FBI’s investigation is due to official meddling to obscure the results rather than incompetence – it would be very unsettling to think that an organization as well funded and staffed as the FBI could be that screwed up.

    • DXer said

      “One more thing, weaponizing anthrax is forbidden by treaty, so it shouldn’t be possible to find it in the US (or any other treaty signatory country).”

      On a minor note, small amounts have long been deemed consistent with treaty obligations it has been publicly disclosed that such aerosols were made for biodefense purposes. As the head way of Dugway once said, it is necessary sometimes to use the real thing in order to test decontamination agents. For example, it is public now that the FBI’s anthrax made an aerosol of dry powder using Ames, although it had been irradiated in the slurry. He says it was considerably better than the Daschle anthrax. He was provided the Ames by Bruce Ivins.

  6. DXer said

    Holt: FBI anthrax investigation is itself subject of probe

    Published: Thursday, September 16, 2010, 11:42 PM

    After years of questioning the conclusion and methods of an FBI investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people and sickened dozens of others, Rep. Rush Holt (D-Hopewell) announced yesterday that the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is opening an inquiry into the matter.
    Holt, along with a handful of other legislators, had sent a letter to the GAO in May requesting an investigation into the FBI’s handling of the case. The FBI officially closed the case in February after concluding in 2008 that Dr. Bruce Ivins, a former biodefense scientist, was the sole culprit in the attacks.

    Ivins, a resident of Frederick, Md., committed suicide shortly before government investigators planned to formally file charges against him.

    “In the wake of the bungled FBI investigation, all of us — but especially the families of the victims of the anthrax attacks — deserve credible answers about how the attacks happened and whether the case is really closed,” Holt said in a statement yesterday.

    Holt has charged in the past that the FBI investigation failed to address basic questions including Ivins’ motive and his connections with the local area.
    Investigators determined that at least one of the letters was sent from a mailbox on Nassau Street in Princeton Borough. The letters were sorted at a postal service facility on Route 130 in Hamilton, where several employees became ill.

    “The American people need credible answers to many questions raised by the original attack and the subsequent FBI handling of the case,” Holt said. “I’m pleased the GAO has responded to our request and will look into the scientific methods used by the FBI.”
    The GAO’s investigation will look to address a handful of specific questions as requested by Holt.

    He asked the agency to identify and judge the quality of the microbial and technical forensics methods employed by the FBI in concluding Ivins was responsible for the attack. He asked what, if any, scientific concerns and uncertainties remain after the closure of the official investigation. Finally, he wanted to determine what agencies are responsible for monitoring high containment laboratories.

    However, officials with the GAO, in accepting Holt’s request for an inquiry, admitted that its efforts may be hampered by lack of access to classified material.

    “Please know that we may encounter challenges to our access to sensitive and classified information from the FBI and the intelligence agencies,” Ralph Dawn Jr., managing director of congressional relations for the GAO, said in a letter to Holt last month.
    In 2008, the FBI commissioned its own inquiry from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) into the results of its investigation. The results of the NAS report are expected to be released later this year.

    Holt has also introduced legislation calling for a formal congressional commission to investigate the attacks. Similar to the 9/11 Commission, the panel would hold hearings and be granted subpoena power.

  7. DXer said

    My source of intelligence on these matters advises me that none of the next few email batches to be uploaded in the near future (beginning with #81 and #82) contain any information that tends to be incriminating of Dr. Ivins — instead, beginning with the November 2007 search it shows why he had reason to kill himself after his friends and colleagues were ordered not to communicate with him by any means.

  8. DXer said

    http://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2010/09/holt_fbi_anthrax_investigation.html

    Holt, along with a handful of other legislators, had sent a letter to the GAO in May requesting an investigation into the FBI’s handling of the case. The FBI officially closed the case in February after concluding in 2008 that Dr. Bruce Ivins, a former biodefense scientist, was the sole culprit in the attacks.

  9. DXer said

    New Review in Anthrax Inquiry
    By SCOTT SHANE
    Published: September 16, 2010

    The investigative arm of Congress will conduct its own review of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s scientific work in concluding that Bruce E. Ivins, an Army scientist, mailed the anthrax letters that killed five people in 2001. Colleagues of Dr. Ivins, who killed himself in 2008, have questioned the bureau’s finding. The review, to be conducted by the Government Accountability Office, will begin after an anthrax study by the National Academy of Sciences is completed this year. At the F.B.I.’s request, an academy panel has been looking at the genetic and chemical analysis of the powder and other work on the case by the F.B.I. and its consultants. Representative Rush Holt, Democrat of New Jersey, who has long sought an independent review of the work, praised the G.A.O.’s decision.

    A version of this brief appeared in print on September 17, 2010, on page A17 of the New York edition.

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