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

* still no answers from NAS … no report … no documents … no explanation … who do they think pays their salaries?

Posted by DXer on November 19, 2010

FBI looms over the NAS

I sent the following email to Steven Kendall at NAS. No response.


  • Is there any specific information regarding the “reported” FBI/NAS contract extension?
  • Any up-to-date estimate on when the NAS report will be issued?
  • Will all documents submitted to NAS be made available at the same time as the report?
  • I’d like to be able to report your answers at the anthrax seminar scheduled for 11/29 in DC.

come to the Anthrax Mailings Investigation Seminar on Nov 29

see the full Anthrax Seminar program at …

36 Responses to “* still no answers from NAS … no report … no documents … no explanation … who do they think pays their salaries?”

  1. DXer said

    Was the mailed powder microencapsulated?

  2. DXer said

    In December 2006, Dr. Ivins wrote a superior expressing his concern that he could not vouch for his stocks that something might have been taken.

    His superior shot back that everything was under control and that he should shut up.

    Some superior — perhaps the same superior –upon the November 2007 search of Dr. Ivins’ lab ordered that no one communicate with Dr. Ivins by any means.

    Who told Dr. Ivins that “everything was under control” and that he should shut up about his concern that someone might have taken something from his inventory of Ames.

    What is this method of inventory control called? CYA?

  3. DXer said

    Why was the FBI asking everyone whether they had seen olive oil in one of the aerosol rooms. Was that indicated by the forensics?

    Is olive oil what the bloodhounds smelled at Denny’s?

  4. DXer said

    The documentary evidence showing that the key 16 pages was not obtained by the FBI until February 2005 suggests that Amerithrax is the biggest FBI/CIA intelligence failure in the history of the United States.

  5. DXer said

    The FBI removed the original of Lab Notebook 4010 from USAMRIID without leaving a copy.

    Key pages of various of Dr. Ivins’ notebooks were not provided. For example, I contacted the AUSA and she specifically refuses to provide Dr. Ivins contemporaneous notes he made in the lab on the nights she asserts he was weaponizing anthrax. At the same time, she makes unsourced claims as to how long it would take to make observations on the health of the animals. Her unsourced assertion as to how long would take is contrary to the 302 interview statements that are exculpatory of Dr. Ivins.

    The contemporaneous notes that Dr. Ivins made on the nights the AUSA alleges he was weaponizing anthrax are an important bit of documentary evidence relating to the science of the FBI’s investigation.

    If the FBI did not provide them to the NAS, and the NAS does not provide them to the public, the GAO should subpoena them so that the science review by the GAO can be done pursuant to proper citation to the documentary record.

    • DXer said

      The evidence not cited by the AUSA in making the unsupported claim about how look observations on the animals would take indicated that it typically would take 2 hours and was a one person job.

      • DXer said

        US Attorney Taylor who argued that the overtime in Fall 2001 but not in subsequent years apparently did not get the memo about the 2-person rule that in 2002 precluded such overtime.

        He similarly apparently was unaware of the documentary evidence relating to the overtime by Ivins and his assistant for OPERATION NOBLE EAGLE.

        • DXer said

          Judging from US Attorney Taylor’s August 2008 press conference and resulting AP article, the most important science relied upon by the FBI in its Amerithrax investigation was the printing error that US Attorney Taylor made it seem related uniquely to Dr. Ivins’ post office. Instead, even under the FBI’s claimed evidence of the misprinting, it was sold throughout Maryland and Virginia. Thus, at the time the FBI withheld and failed to disclose the central and critically exculpatory photocopy toner evidence, the evidence relating to the stamp was grossly mischaracterized. AP never corrected its error.

          The people who once described the government’s case as compelling may have read the newspaper headlines and heard US Attorney Taylor speak but not yet read the underlying documents. Their reaction was a testament to how centrally important US Attorney Taylor’s misstatements were.

  6. DXer said

    This will always be the case of the copier that wasn’t used by Dr. Bruce Ivins to photocopy the anthrax letters.

    The NAS review will be the study where the science on photocopy toner was never permitted to be the subject of comment by outside experts at public meetings, informed by the relevant documents, as required under the controlling statute and District of Columbia law.

    • DXer said

      When a cute, Lewis-Carroll-worth poem is offered by the FBI as evidence (while it withholds key documents relating to forensis that disprove its theory), the officials reponsible should know that their Ivins Theory is a fantasy.

      The cotton candy theory that they spun on a wide range of issues does not square with the documentary evidence.

      In May 2002, Dr. Ivins was waiting for the protocol regarding preparation of the slants.

  7. DXer said

    Referring to the dried powdered aerosol using Ames made by the FBI’s anthrax expert at USAMRIID, Dr. Ivins June 28, 2005 email discusses this powder — deemed closest to attack anthrax — and says “but I told ??? we didn’t make spore powder!” Why did the FBI let the USAMRIID General John Parker’s false claim that USAMRIID did not make dried powder stand when the FBI and the scientists overseeing knew its own expert had made dried powdered aerosol using Ames?

  8. DXer said

    An email withheld for 2 years seems to show that Dr. Ivins knew that 5 ml of virulent Ames had been taken from Building 1412.

    Why wasn’t this disclosed by the US Attorney in August 2008 or in the February 2010 Amerithrax Summary?

  9. DXer said

    The NAS lacks subpoena power and thus was unable to obtain documents that the FBI, at the end of the day, chose not to give.

    Will it take Congressional subpoena power to fill in the blanks in the email asking about weaponized anthrax that came to Detrick and then was shipped out and some was missing?

  10. DXer said

    Dr. Heine, for example, says a lot of his own work with his animals was done with material from Flask 1029 and his office was in 1412. (Note: from the unredacted version HH took out 50 ml, 50 ml, 10 ml, 8 ml.)

    The FBI estimates that up to 377 had access required elimination (allowing for some duplication who had access in both 1425 and 1412) Why did US Taylor think and say that only 100 needed to be eliminated — only those with access at Building 1425?

    When was the location of the flasks (initially there were two flasks) carefully whited out so as to change its location from Building 1412 to Building 1425?

    How can it be so important — used as justification for a two year withholding of all documents — to focus on the 4 morphs when over 250 are just casually forgotten about by the United States Attorney?

  11. DXer said

    Let’s instead focus on the information that can be gleaned from documentary evidence rather than look to find fault in a matter we have scant information about.

    Who was Dr. Ivins writing about the Ames missing from building 1412 and the autoclaving of samples there?

    • DXer said

      What happened to the other slant sent from Texas? ivins only had one. He did not know what happened to the other.

      • DXer said

        Ivins notes that the original researcher who obtained the slants from Texas came to work for the CIA. When did he start working for the CIA?

        • DXer said

          Who was Dr. Ivins corresponding with about Ames spores who was going to Arlington to speak to DARPA?

        • DXer said

          When did SRI first obtain virulent Ames and from whom?

        • DXer said

          Where was the research on the corona plasma discharge and sonicator on Ames spores supplied by Bruce Ivins conducted for DARPA? Anywhere else? Where were aerosol studies done using dried powder?

        • DXer said

          The lifelong friends of Dr. Tarek Hamouda, supplied virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins, actively denounce their former medical school associate Ayman Zawahiri as a fanatic – one serving as President of CAIR-St. Louis and the other as author of INSIDE JIHAD. After the FBI first obtained in 2005 the documents relating to Dr. Hamouda’s work with Dr. ivins, did they contact Dr. Hamid who reports he was recruited into the Egyptian Islamic Group by Ayman Zawahiri while in medical school? Did they contact his brother who publicly announced that he could not identify a sleeper cell if he did not know about it?

        • DXer said

          The only expert interviewed by the FBI for which documents were produced did not agree with the lawyer’s theory of code in the letters.

          The interpretation of the code was the brainchild of the two scientists, Mara and Pat, who were thanked for technical assistance by the former Zawahiri associate supplied Ames by Bruce Ivins.

          Although someone did not get the memo apparently, the Intelligence Community should have known the code being used in the letters dating back to 2001 in light of Ayman Zawahiri’s letter to his supporters (which was intercepted by the CIA).

        • DXer said

          Here is a copy of letter showing Ayman Zawahiri’s use of “school” in 2001 as code — as taken from Ayman Zawahiri’s computer.

          The computer was bought by a WSJ journalist from a computer dealer who obtained it from a looter who grabbed it after a bombing raid. Alan tells me he gave it to “Mike” from the CIA on a street corner. He also gave “Mike” a copy of Atef’s computer but when it was given back to him it was wiped clean. The CIA reports it could not retrieve anything from Atef’s computer. (Ayman was reporting to military commander Atef, a former Cairo police sergeant). Regardless, Mr. Cullison’s quick action and selflessness stands out as heroic — he did not copy the Atef’s laptop because he thought it might help avoid a second 9/11.

        • DXer said

          While US government focuses on Anwar Al-Aulaqi, the media continues to overlook Aulaqi’s connection to fellow Falls Church imam, a scientist sharing the suite with the leading bioweapons Ames anthrax researchers with whom defense counsel says Aulaqi was coordinating.

          GAO should subpoena the records relating to the connection between Ali Al-Timimi and the Ames researchers at the DARPA-funded Center for Biodefense — and relatedly his access to the largest microbiological repository in the world where the bacteriology collection scientist was the future head of the Amerithrax science investigation and guided the NAS review.

    • DXer said

      When (prior to 9/11) did USAMRIID’s John Ezzell, the FBI’s anthrax expert, send the dried spores to Johns-Hopkins Applied Physics he had made at the request of DARPA?

      Did those spores show a silicon signature?

      • DXer said

        Why didn’t the NAS call as witnesses

        (1) FBI’s anthrax expert at USAMRIID, John Ezzell, who examined the mailed anthrax for the FBI. He tells me made dried powder using anthrax from Flask 1029 that had been gamma irradiated. He made it at the request of DARPA and gave it to the Johns Hopkins researchers. He used a lyophilizer on the spores that were gamma irradiated while in the slurry.

        (2) FBI scientist Dr. Bartick re photocopy toner examination ;

        (3) FBI scientist Dr. Rex Stockham on use of bloodhounds and Transfer Scent Unit-100; and

        (4) the FBI’s top expert on polygraphs. see reliance on evidence in Investigative Summary in rationalizing that Dr. Ivins used countermeasures in passing polygraphs;

        (5) Drs. Hedlund, Dr. Adamovicz and Dr. Andrews, all former Chiefs of the Bacteriology Division, could present, as well as Dr. Heine who recently was interviewed on these issues; and

        (6) Although it should be in a closed presentation, Dr. John Kiel, who headed the Air Force lab, could testify about the controlled experiments his lab did on the reason for the silicon signature. They involved a silanizing solution in the slurry before drying. He is an expert in making anthrax simulant, whose lab in April 2007 did controlled experiments on the precise question presented. Who on the panel had ever even made an anthrax aerosol?

      • DXer said

        According to an email he wrote, Bruce Ivins thought it was an “incredible coverup” that he was not allowed to swab the Diagnostic Services Division at the same time he swabbed his lab and offices. The failure to swab the Diagnostic Services Division at the same time as his lab bears on the issue of contamination that the NAS undertook to address.

      • DXer said

        In 2004, Bruce Ivins provided the FBI an article on how silica can be added to a spore coat. The FBI should have provided — and the NAS should have provided it. Certainly, the NAS should address whether it relates to the Silicon Signature observed.

  12. Anonymous said

    “it is not surprising that they may not know a precise date given the uncertainties due to the nature of the scholarly exchanges on difficult issues.”

    Not sure I agree with that. The scope of the lead in bullets ananlysis was huge – the report produced was impressive, see here:

    There must be an anthrax report draft that is 95% complete already in existence. How hard can it be to predict when the report will be published?

    The delay suggests disagreements with the FBI about conclusions.

    If the NAS use the same objectivity as they did with “lead in bullets” the anthrax report is going to severely critizize the FBI labs – even more so than lead in bullets.

    To such an extent that Majidi, Hassell and Mueller’s resignations may be forthcoming. That is very likely the cause of the delay. Everyone knows the report is going to be bad – but just how bad, and how many resignations?

  13. Anonymous said

    Here is NAS’s description of the lead in bullets report:

    “Since the 1960s, FBI testimony in thousands of criminal cases has relied on evidence from Compositional Analysis of Bullet Lead (CABL), a forensic technique that compares the elemental composition of bullets found at a crime scene to the elemental composition of bullets found in a suspect’s possession. The report assesses the scientific validity of CABL, finding that the FBI should use a different statistical analysis for the technique, and that, given variations in bullets manufacturing processes, expert witnesses should make clear the very limited conclusions that CABL results can support.”

    There are actually interesting comparisons between their lead in bullets junk science and the junk science anthrax case.

    With lead in bullets the FBI claimed they could trace a bullet to a particular batch sold at a particular store, and then they used that to convict thousaands of people of crimes.

    Their ludicrous claims around anthrax are similar – they claim their analysis of the spores traces back to RMR-1029 and ONLY RMR-1029. Not a sample of RMR-1029 sent to others later, not a sample of any of the 10 different preparations of RMR-1029 made at Dugway, not a sample removed by any other of the hundreds of people with access to the Detrick flask. Just Bruce Ivins and only Bruce Ivins.

    Another interesting comparison is their use of inductively coupled plasma spectroscopy to analyze for elements in lead bullets. They found trace amounts of elements present in lead and made a big deal out of it – insisting it must mean the lead is traceable (it wasn’t).

    Ironically they used inductively coupled plasma spectroscopy to analyze the anthrax spores, finding MASSIVE quantities of the element silicon. But this time they decided these MASSIVE quantities of foreign element were NOT a big deal at all. Especially since they didn’t find any connection to Detrick.

    More junk science from Quantitco – history repeating itself once again.

  14. Anonymous said

    NAS were able to write a 214 page report on the FBI’s “lead in bullets” junk science on time. The project duration was only 12 months (compared to 18 months for the anthrax project). The committee met only 4 times (compared with a total of 6 meetings already accrued for the anthrax report). The project started on time, was completed on time, and the report was published on time.

    The final report can be read here:

    I wonder what the hold up is with the anthrax report? Rumors are saying that the FBI do not like the gaping holes that have been uncovered in their junk science case against Ivins.

    • DXer said

      Lew and Anonymous,

      The NAS issued two lengthy reports just on biodefense just this week. The nature of the review process is that sometimes additional dialogue is needed. Sometimes additional documents. Sometimes additional issues need to be addressed.

      On the document production issue, on the other hand, that is a matter of the law that applies and adherence to the applicable rule. I’ve explained the precedent holding that those documents should have been produced and argued that NAS would be subject to any equitable remedies the Courts have applied in the past in the event a violation is found. (The remedy is a preliminary and permanent injunction).

      As for allowing whatever time is needed for the review, it is in everyone’s interest that they take the time they need given that no one doubts that they take their responsibilities very seriously. On the question of communication, both the NAS Director and the NAS spokesman promptly advised that it would be out in late November or December. I would say that is excellent communication — it is not surprising that they may not know a precise date given the uncertainties due to the nature of the scholarly exchanges on difficult issues. (I contrast this with taking a black magic marker to some proper names such as is involved in the withholding of the 300 pages of Dr. Ivins’ emails).

    • DXer said

      The FBI has sought to hide the entire extensive science relating to the photocopy machine that the Amerithrax Summary suggests Dr. Ivins used. To the contrary, the science shows that it can be excluded.

      The NAS was tasked with examining the science used in the Amerithrax investigation and this review of the photocopy toner — which in the literature now 99% confidence levels are commonly achieved — from the start should have been an important part of it. In contrast, narrowing those with access from 1000 to 300+ is of small importance.

      To not address would be a utter failure on the part of the NAS. For the FBI and DOJ to fraudulently claim the scientific examination implicates Dr. Ivins would be extremely wrong and a travesty at Justice.

      • BugMaster said


        I don’t remember reading anything about the FBI asking the NAS to review anything regarding photocopiers.

        Go figure.

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