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

* Dr. John Ezzell, the FBI’s anthrax expert, attended a recent conference on the anthrax mailings … his comments answered some questions and raised others

Posted by DXer on December 7, 2010

Dr. John Ezzell, Lew Weinstein, Ross Getman, Dr. Meryl Nass, Paul Kemp, Dr. James Van de Velde at the Anthrax Mailings Investigation seminar ... UC Washington Center Nov 29, 2010

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see Lew’s seminar interview on You Tube

“Case Closed” Author Lew Weinstein Discusses FBI Anthrax Cover-up and Possible Al-Qaeda …Involvementhttp://www.youtube.com/user/americassurvival#p/u/4/4zI69unuq6A

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Dr. John Ezzell, the FBI’s anthrax expert,

and formerly Dr. Bruce Ivins’ colleague at USAMRIID,

shown above speaking at the anthrax mailings seminar.

His comments answered some questions and raised others

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DXer has assembled the following points from documents produced by the FBI and from Dr. Ezzell’s comments at the conference and in past correspondence  …

  1. Dr. Ezzell made dried powdered anthrax using Ames supplied by Bruce Ivins (which had been irradiated in the slurry).
  2. his resulting dry powder was more pure than the Daschle product.
  3. he made it at the request of DARPA for testing of mass spectrometry for biodefense detection purposes.
  4. The work Dr. Ezzell did was done in Building 1412 at USAMRIID.
  5. The virulent Ames was kept in the unlocked refrigerator.
  6. The aerosol samples were put on tapes.
  7. The DARPA researchers were testing the effect of a sonicator and corona plasma discharge on Ames spores.
  8. In 2001 (and for a couple of years after that), Dr. Ivins had not known that dried powdered anthrax was being made at USAMRIID.

from which DXer asks the following questions …

Question #1: When was the dried powder created?

Question #2: Might the renografin Dr. Ezzell used create a Silicon Signature?

Question #3: Would traces of renografin be found (if it had been used in the mailed anthrax)?

Question #4: Is it correct that no traces of renografin were found?

Question #5: What is the effect of a corona plasma discharge on Ames spores? Would it create a unipolar charge?

Question #6: What is the effect of a sonicator?

Question #7: Besides Building 1412 and Johns-Hopkins, where else was the research involving a sonicator and corona plasma discharge done?

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Sources: audiotape and videotape of Dr. Ezzell’s question and answer (link will be posted as soon as available)

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LMW COMMENT …

The FBI’s case against Dr. Ivins is clearly bogus: no evidence, no witnesses, an impossible timeline, science that proves innocence instead of guilt. So what really happened? And why doesn’t the FBI offer America a credible story?

I can imagine only 3 possible “actual” scenarios …

  1. The FBI has more evidence against Dr. Ivins but is, for some undisclosed reason, withholding that evidence … POSSIBLE BUT NOT SO LIKELY
  2. The FBI, despite the most expensive and extensive investigation in its history, has not solved the case and has no idea who prepared and mailed the anthrax letters that killed 5 Americans in 2001 … EVEN LESS LIKELY
  3. The FBI knows who did it (not Dr. Ivins) but is covering up the actual perpetrators, for undisclosed reasons … THE MOST LIKELY SCENARIO

The “fictional” scenario in my novel CASE CLOSED has been judged by many readers, including a highly respected official in the U.S. Intelligence Community, as perhaps more plausible than the FBI’s unproven assertions regarding Dr. Ivins.

* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon *

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47 Responses to “* Dr. John Ezzell, the FBI’s anthrax expert, attended a recent conference on the anthrax mailings … his comments answered some questions and raised others”

  1. DXer said

    Dr. Ezzell explained at the conference Lew moderated that sometimes prisoners sent hoax letters because it led to a federal charge that caused them to be transferred to a federal prison.

    Posted January 17, 2014 – 12:52pm Updated January 17, 2014 – 2:22pm
    Suspicious powder that shut down Nevada high court came from inmate

    http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/suspicious-powder-shut-down-nevada-high-court-came-inmate

  2. DXer said

    Here are some links relating to John Ezzell’s presentation.

  3. DXer said

    Dr. Claire Fraser-Liggett in an interview out today notes:

    “It seems to me that what surprised a number of people in opening the letters and working with the material was how easily it was dispersed into the air. Whether that was because there was an ionic charge on the outside– I don’t think anyone fully pinned down the properties of the anthrax that was sent in the letters that made it behave the way it did.”

    Did they experiment by adding a corona discharge or a sonicator as was used in the DARPA research?

  4. DXer said

    Noah Schachter, newly acquainted with the subject last year and getting up to speed by reading the documents released by the FBI, describes John Ezzell’s presentation at the November 29, 2010 conference. Above is a summary.

    I have uploaded several videotapes of John’s presentation and at some point expect to upload a film of his conversation with Noah in which he introduces himself to John after the substantive presentations. This member of this blog only wishes that reporters in the two years since I first got John Ezzell to open up on these issues had contacted the others involved in the same DARPA research — to include Joany Jackman, Terry Abshire, Former Colleague #1 (Mara Linscott), Former Colleague #2 (Pat Fellows). If they had, we would not be rechewing leftovers from 2009.

  5. DXer said

    4/18/2003 AMERITHRAX SCIENCE UPDATE:

    Ms. Teresa Abshire, Research Scientist, USAMRIID, maintained a stock of a variety of bacteria, including the Ames strain Bacillus Anthracis in a walk-in cooler which is shared by bacteriology and virology personnel. On 03/13/2003, FBI-LAB Hazardous Materials Response Unit (HMRU) retrieved and transported 19 wet sample preparations of BA-Ames to NMRC.

  6. DXer said

    Dr. JE’s assistant who left for Johns-Hopkins later described related work.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/index.cfm?c_id=2&ObjectID=10116849

    Blow-in-the-bag test for terrorism

    24.03.05
    By STEVE CONNOR

    ***

    “Old medical texts, in the days long before sophisticated diagnostics,
    would recommend that a doctor check a patient by checking his or her
    breath, so we knew there must be something to it,”

    Dr Jackman says.

    Studies on pigs exposed to different infectious agents have
    demonstrated that the technique may work in humans.

    Dr Jackman and her colleagues collected breath samples from the pigs,
    and put them through an instrument called a mass spectrometer which
    could test for the presence of cytokines and other proteins.

    The scientists detected a strong surge in cytokines in exhaled breath
    in as little as an hour after exposure, and long before any visible
    symptoms appeared.

    They also tested breath samples from disease-free pigs and found that
    the markers of infection were at or below the limits of detection,
    showing that it was possible to use the test to distinguish healthy
    animals from those that had recently been exposed to an infection.

  7. DXer said

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,342852,00.html

    WASHINGTON — The FBI has narrowed its focus to “about four” suspects in the 6 1/2-year investigation of the deadly anthrax attacks of 2001, and at least three of those suspects are linked to the Army’s bioweapons research facility at Fort Detrick in Maryland, FOX News has learned.

    Among the pool of suspects are three scientists — a former deputy commander, a leading anthrax scientist and a microbiologist — linked to the research facility, known as USAMRIID.

    The FBI has collected writing samples from the three scientists in an effort to match them to the writer of anthrax-laced letters that were mailed to two U.S. senators and at least two news outlets in the fall of 2001, a law enforcement source confirmed.

    The anthrax attacks began shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, further alarming a nation already reeling from the deaths of 3,000 Americans. Five people were killed and more than a dozen others were infected by the deadly spores in the fall of 2001.

    A leading theory is that the anthrax was stolen from Fort Detrick and then sealed inside the letters. A law enforcement source said the FBI is essentially engaged in a process of elimination.

    Much of the early public focus fell on a Fort Detrick scientist named Steven Hatfill, who is suing federal authorities for identifying him as a person of interest. Now the FBI is focusing on other scientists at the facility.

    “Fort Detrick is run by the United States Army. It’s the most secure biological warfare research center in the United States,” a bioterrorism expert told FOX News.
    Asked to comment on the likelihood that the anthrax originated at the facility, the expert said:

    “It’s not suprising, except that it would underscore that there was serious security deficiencies that existed at one time at Fort Detrick — the ability of researchers to smuggle out some type of very sophisticated anthrax weapon and in some quantity. And, nevertheless, it was possible.”

    In December 2001, an Army commander tried to dispel the possibility of a connection to Fort Detrick by taking the media on a rare tour of the base. The commander said the Army used only liquid anthrax, not powder, for its experiments.

    “I would say that it does not come from our stocks, because we do not use that dry material,” Maj. Gen. John Parker said. The letters that were mailed to the media and Sens. Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy all contained powdered anthrax.

    But in an e-mail obtained by FOX News, scientists at Fort Detrick openly discussed how the anthrax powder they were asked to analyze after the attacks was nearly identical to that made by one of their colleagues.

    “Then he said he had to look at a lot of samples that the FBI had prepared … to duplicate the letter material,” the e-mail reads. “Then the bombshell. He said that the best duplication of the material was the stuff made by [name redacted]. He said that it was almost exactly the same … his knees got shaky and he sputtered, ‘But I told the General we didn’t make spore powder!'”

    Asked for comment, an Army spokeswoman referred all calls to the FBI. The FBI would not comment about the pool of suspects, but a spokeswoman said the investigation clearly remains a priority.

  8. Old Atlantic said

    Ezzell’s lab should have tested the methodology. To do that they should have taken the RMR-1029 they had already, what Ivins submitted, the original RMR-1029 flask sampled by them, plated them separately and compared them.

    This would give the maximum different attempts to grow from the same source involving different people. They should have done this to see if this project was going to work.

    People ignoring instructions is part of reality and that has to be part of the methodology to test and control. You can’t control what you don’t measure. So they had to measure deviations from the protocol and find out if this was a major problem.

    Since they had RMR-1029 at their own lab and could go directly to the flask themselves, and they knew others had gotten it at Ft. Detrick and other location(s), RMR-1029 was the best control for them to use.

    They should have found all the RMR-1029 daughters and gotten those first and compare what was submitted by different people at Ft. Detrick and outside Ft. Detrick to see if this method worked.

    Then they should have found the next flask that was also a source to multiple locations and users and done that. RMR-1029 seems to have been uniquely a source for many researchers and locations so it should have been seen as the best control test on whether the methodology would work as well.

    Furthermore, because it was made from many batches, and that was the idea anyhow, they should have tested it anyhow as a high priority in this way. They also should have prioritized and gone to the next flask after RMR-1029 in terms of being a source for multiple users/sites and then the next in order, etc.

    This should still be done now to test their methodology.

    • Old Atlantic said

      If this was not done, what did they do to test the methodology? They should have taken multiple flasks at Ft. Detrick, plated them separately, and then had a competition on who could match them to the parents.

      Everyone should have tried and their would be a prize for who did best. They could also have had a betting pool.

      • BugMaster said

        The term is called “method validation”. It provides the statistical data by which one can determine the confidence one can place in a given procedure.

        In this case, it would establish the confidence levels associated with detecting postives AS WELL AS HOW MANY FALSE NEGATIVES CAN BE EXPECTED.

        I suppose it was determined this procedure wasn’t important enough to warrent validation.

        After all, the FBI doesn’t seem to care about the lack of validation for their “prosecutorial narrative” either.

        • anonymous said

          I think the new Microbial Forensics illustrates that the FBI are backing off their view that they “matched” the attack anthrax to Bruce Ivins’s flask and no other possible source.

          http://www.amazon.com/reader/0123820065?_encoding=UTF8&query=lead#reader_0123820065

          page 516:
          “In the years after this was written, it became apparent that there were in fact, fundamental issues in inferential validation of sample matching protocols for biological agents. This concern arose from the National Research Council’s report on bullet lead analysis…….”

          The new Microbial Forensics thus turns the original confidence the FBI displayed in their Amerithrax science claims upside down. I can only imagine that Ed Lake will now be forced to include all the authors of Microbial Forensics in his category of “conspiracy theorists and lunatic fringe”.

          It is now clear, after reading Microbial Forensics thoroughly, that the NAS report will follow the same lines. The FBI science case against Ivins is basically down the toilet. All they have left is their fairytales about him working when he was supposed to be working.

  9. DXer said

    The Amerithrax Summary states:

    “Because of this inconsistency, and knowing that Dr. Ivins also prepared a submission to the FBIR on February 27, 2002, WHICH WAS DESTROYED BY DR. EZZELL’S LAB, investigators contacted Dr. Keim and learned that he still maintained the duplicate slants of Dr. Ivins’s initial submission. In late 2006, the FBI obtained from Dr. Keim the duplicate slants from Dr. Ivins’s submission of February 27, 2002. Based on the handwriting on the labels from the slants, it was clear that Dr. Ivins and his lab technician each prepared two labels.”

    The Summary explains:
    ” In accordance with the protocol, duplicate submissions of each culture were prepared, resulting in a total of eight slants. The labels Dr. Ivins prepared were consistent with the instructions of the protocol, and included notations indicating that the sample was the Ames strain, and was prepared by Dr. Ivins on that date. All eight slants were given to Dr. Ezzell’s lab at USAMRIID, and the four duplicates were forwarded from there to Dr. Paul Keim at Northern Arizona University.

    On or before March 28, 2002 – the date the FBIR was officially up and running and had received its first sample, FBIR001 – Dr. Ezzell’s lab technician advised Dr. Ivins and his lab technician that their submissions were not prepared according to the protocol. Specifically, Dr. Ivins and his lab technician used homemade slants as opposed to the commercially available Remel slants specified by the protocol, so the four slants prepared on February 27, 2002 were rejected by the FBIR, and Dr. Ivins was told to resubmit his culture samples on the appropriate slants.”

    “On April 10, 2002, Dr. Ivins again prepared submissions of four different Ames cultures to the FBIR, this time using the appropriate slants. However, this time, he put his name on only one of the labels and omitted other relevant information. As before, eight total slants were prepared and given to Dr. Ezzell’s lab, who then forwarded the four duplicates to Dr. Keim for strain typing. This time, all four slants were accepted by the FBIR.”

    Page 77 of FBI pdf file #847551 says Ivins claimed later that he couldn’t even remember the FBI discussions:

    “IVINS prepared some of the labels for his lab’s submissions to the repository, but he does not know who actually prepared any of the slants. The preparation of the labels is only one step in the process of the submission, and it is no uncommon for one person to prepare the labels while another prepares the actual slant. IVINS was very upset that his lab’s first submission was rejected because the wrong slants were used. They were instructed to use Remel slants or the equivalent, and IVINS was indignant when told his homemade slants were not an equivalent. He can point to all of the studies which clearly demonstrate his homemade slants meet the same requirement as Remel slants.”

    TO SUMMARIZE THE AMERITHRAX BRIEFING: THE ONLY ANTHRAX SAMPLE THE FBI ANTHRAX SCIENTIST, JE, DESTROYED WAS THE ONE HE USED TO MAKE A DRIED AMES AEROSOL —

    WHICH THE GOVERNMENT FALSELY DENIED EVER WAS MADE AT FT. DETRICK.

    NOTWITHSTANDING JE’S PRESUMED GOOD FAITH, THE EVIDENCE ON THIS ISSUE IS HOPELESSLY TAINTED DUE TO A CONFLICT OF INTEREST.

  10. DXer said

    It was July 2009. The man on the telephone was telling me that he was under a gag order and that the FBI likely was wiretapping his telephone. Dr. John Ezzell was the FBI’s anthrax specialist who first examined the finely powderized anthrax sent to the United Senators Leahy and Daschle. He had returned my call from moments earlier. When he called, I was on the other line continuing a message on his answering machine. He confirmed my information — that he made dry powdered anthrax at USAMRIID’s Ft. Detrick for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (“DARPA”). The dried Ames was prepared by Dr. Ezzell in connection with mass spectrometry detector research that explored the effect of a Corona Plasma Discharge and Sonicator on Ames spores.

    Dr. Ezzell explained in a blog in response to my description:

    “The anthrax spores that my lab prepared for DARPA were dead spores. At no time have I ever prepared live virulent dried spores. Secondly.. the spores I prepared were snow white, ultra pure and were light and “fluffy” where as the spores in the Daschle and Leahy letters were tan, not ultra pure and were different in their physical characteristics. The spores prepared for DARPA were prepared in accordance with all regulations and were to used to test mass spectrometer detectors for biological threat agents. Neither I nor DARPA did anything wrong or illegal in this matter.”

    Beginning in 1996, Dr. Ezzell also worked for the FBI’s Hazardous Materials Response Unit. After coming under suspicion, Dr. Bruce Ivins wrote an email to his colleague and friend Patricia Fellows saying that he had heard that the aerosolized anthrax made by Dr. Ezzell for DARPA was the closest match to the anthrax mailed in Fall 2001 that Dr. Ezzell had examined.

    Dr. Ivins had emailed a superior on December 18, 2006 about what he heard about the FBI at a party. Ivins expressed concern that something might have been taken or altered from his B3 stocks. Ivins was told by email from the superior to not talk about it — that the FBI situation was under control. But it turned out not to be under control. Dr. Ivins’ colleagues were ordered not to talk to him beginning November 2007. He was removed from the base by armed escort in late July. Bruce Ivins took his life on July 29, 2008. It now has been over 18 months since the FBI said that the geeky dead guy was the sole suspect in the anthrax mailings. The case was officially closed in late February 2010. The trail of evidence that should have led Amerithrax investigators to the infiltration of DARPA and US biodefense and withdrawal from Dr. Ivins’ stock dated back to the time of the mailings. It was discernable from “open source” intelligence.

    Ali Al-Timimi’s current defense counsel, MSNBC commentator and First Amendment scholar Jonathan Turley, says the FBI considered his client an “anthrax weapons suspect.” In 2001, Ali worked alongside researchers at the DARPA-funded Center for Biodefense who invented a process to concentrate using silica in the culture medium which then was removed from the surface of the spore by repeated centrifugation. Professor Turley wrote: “He has worked with the government, including White House chief of staff Andrew Card…”

    After an October 2001 bombing raid at a Qaeda camp in Darunta, Afghanistan US forces found 100+ printed, typed, handwritten pages of documents that shed light on Al Qaeda’s early anthrax planning. The Defense Intelligence Agency provided me the documents under the Freedom of Information Act. The documents confirmed that it was Zawahiri’s plan to use established specialists and the cover of universities and charities as cover for weaponizing anthrax. From early on, the evidence suggested that charity is as charity does. 90 of the 100 pages are the photocopies of journal articles and the disease handbook excerpts. When Vice President Cheney was briefed on the documents in late 2001, he immediately called a meeting of FBI and CIA. “I’ll be very blunt,” the Vice President started. “There is no priority of this government more important than finding out if there is a link between what’s happened here and what we’ve found over there with Qaeda.”

    A June 1999 memo from Ayman to military commander Atef said that “the program should seek cover and talent in educational institutions, which it said were ‘more beneficial to us and allow easy access to specialists, which will greatly benefit us in the first stage, God willing.’ ”Thus, in determining whether Al Qaeda was responsible for the anthrax mailings in the Fall of 2001, the FBI and CIA had reason to know ,based on the growing documentary evidence available by mid-December 2001, that Al Qaeda operatives were likely associated with non-governmental organizations and working under the cover and talent in universities.

    Sometimes rather than being truly invisible or on the “dark side,” an enemy is merely hiding in plain sight — or hidden by inappropriate redactions or highly classified, compartmentalized,operations intended to avoid embarrassment to decision-makers or to further personal agendas. Most intelligence is “open source.”

    Sometimes the codename associated with the secrecy is simply CYA.

    Sunshine is the best disinfectant.

    A professional journalist needs to interview Joany Jackman who did the research using the dried powder that Dr. Ezzell made at USAMRIID and then at Johns-Hopkins. I emailed her a year or two ago but she did not respond.

    What did they do with the lower levels (multi-colored and tan) in the slants? The lower levels in the slants match the colors of the mailed anthrax respectively and its behavior kinetically is consistent with use, for example, of a corona plasma discharge. (The NAS may not know that given that it inexplicably does not have an aerosol scientist on the panel – despite the recommendations of DOD).

    Did the DARPA researchers ever make more?

    How much dried powdered Ames was made for DARPA?

    Was any dried powdered Ames made or used by the Center for Biodefense where Ali Al-Timimi shared a suite with the two leading Ames researchers?

    Was any dried powdered Ames made or used at Southern Research Institute, where Dr. Ivins chief accuser, Patricia Fellows, Former Colleague #2, went to head the BL-3 lab? (She prepared some of the slants submitted in the Spring 2001). SRI subcontracted for the DARPA-funded Center for Biodefense at GMU.

    On what dates was dried powdered made for Ames for the DARPA experiments?

    What was the methodology of the research?

    Is any of the reserach classified?

    http://www.newanthraxandalqaeda.com

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

  11. DXer said

    I’ve suggested that there is a conflict of interest existing due to the storage by the FBI anthrax expert of the virulent Ames in the unlocked refrigerator of Room 212 in Building 1412 and created a dried powder Ames aerosol using Ames supplied from Flask 1029.

    Dr. Ivins wrote in an June 7, 2007, in an e-mail to a USAMRIID scientist:

    “Do you realize that if anybody gets indicted for even the most remote reason with respect to the anthrax letters, something as simple as not locking up spore preps to restrict them from only people in [the] lab – they face the death penalty? Playing any part, even a minor part such as providing information about how to make spores or how to make them in broth, how to harvest and purify . . . that could wind up putting one or more hapless persons on death row. Not pleasant to think about.

    In one of your recent e-mails you said that it would all be over soon. If they indict someone, that means that innocent people are going to get dragged through the mud by both the defense and the prosecution as the pre-trial and trial procedures move forward.”

  12. DXer said

    Here is JE describing the multi-colored New York Post material:

    [igcc/je/00:02:00]
    And so that’s it so the only way you could get the three different colors in the first material at the centrifuge and then the pellet dries as a pellet. And so one way to dry the pellet is to use a lypholizer is one way you can do it, but problem is if you use a lypholizer is that the pellet, lypholization bottles to be freeze dried, would tend to want to pop and kind of swell up. Anyway, when we had the material that had the three different colors mixed in it, only the three different colors, is to take the pellet from the centrifuge bottles I just described, and it’s dried as a pellet, and then chop it up and that to me is the only way you could prepare a material like that.

    • Anonymous said

      OK, this is a very valuable quote.
      He’s saying that a lypholizer prodcues a solid pellet – just as Kemp said.

      As has been written in the peer reviewed literature, the dry powder experts at Dugway used a complex process, not available at Detrick, to produce material that resembled the Daschle powder. Since this is published it will be the authoritative source that NAS will have to rely upon.

      http://www.informaworld.com/…/ftinterface~db=all~content=a790515467~fulltext=713240930

      The culture was incubated at 30◦C in a 10 L fermentation
      vessel with an agitation rate of 250 RPM and an aeration rate
      greater than 0.5 volumes min−1. Sporulationwas generally complete
      within 24 h. Spores were collected by simple centrifugation
      to remove spent media. The pelleted material was dried by
      a proprietary azeotropic method. Ten percent (by weight) of an
      amorphous silica-based flow enhancer was added to the dried
      spores. The dried material was milled using an exclusionary
      ball mill. In this process the material passed through a series
      of stages separated by increasingly finer mesh screens. In each
      stage 0.01 m diameter steel balls forced the product through the
      screen separators. A pneumatic vibrator actuated the entire mill.

  13. DXer said

    [igcc/je/00:04:39]

    (GETMAN) Now, the DARPA experiments were for the purpose of detection?

    (EZZELL) Yes, we were contracted by DARPA to help produce virulent material that tested by mass spectrometry. And that mass spectrometer, we were looking for different signals. So it had really highly purified material but we weren’t finding signatures that were unique to the anthracis. And so that’s why we had to have the highly purified materials for DARPA.

    (GETMAN) Where did they do the aerosol experiments on that?

    (EZZELL) They were done at [REDACTED].

    (GETMAN) And they put it on strips?

    (EZZELL) They put it on strips.

    • DXer said

      Wouldn’t the scientists at the lab where Dr. E reports aerosol experiments were done with the dried Ames made from Ivins’ Flask 1029 also have a conflict of interest? What if someone with unfettered access to the lab had been coordinating with the jihadis and arrested?

      • DXer said

        In mid-December 2003, two brothers, Michael Ray and James Stubbs, were arrested in a Manila suburb where they were fundraising for a charity that supported the militant islamists and allegedly in contact with militant brothers. Michael Ray, an American, had been a HVAC technician at Lawrence Livermore near San Francisco — until March 2000 — where the Defense Threat Reduction Agency had launched a program to combat the Bin Laden anthrax threat in 1998. His brother, James, Jr., also known as Jamil Daud Mujahid. James reportedly was monitored saying that he had been a classmate of bin Laden and had named his son Osama. James once was a policeman in California and a teacher in Missouri. James allegedly met with members of Abu Sayyef and Moro Islamic Liberation Front while in the Philippines doing charity fundraising. The brothers had been under surveillance at the time of their arrest. James Stubbs, according to some reports, had recently left a job as a teacher in California to study Arabic in Sudan. Other reports suggested that his recent work instead involved training dogs. Authorities allege that the brothers in May 2003 had met with several charity groups suspected of being al-Qaida fronts, founded by Osama bin Laden’s brother-in-law Khalifa.

  14. DXer said

    [igcc/je/00:05:38]

    (GETMAN) I saw one article by the DARPA researchers that they were testing the effect of a sonicator and a corona plasma discharge on Ames spores. What would that involve and why would they be doing that?

    (EZZELL) Trying to get the different signals on samples coming into this mass spec. They had to pre-treat the material so that the right material comes apart to get to the different signatures.

    (GETMAN) What’s the effect of a sonicator?

    (EZZELL) Causes it to disrupt from high speed vibration.

  15. DXer said

    While we await for the digital video, I will add some audio excerpts from John. For what he actually said, complete with any ums and ahs, see the actual video.

    [igcc/je/00:00:00]
    Ok, the preparant for preparation of anthrax which means centrifusion of material down to culture and you want to separate the spore plate from fluid, you put it in a centrifuge bottle and you centrifuge it and it forms a pellet at the bottom of the tube. Centrifuging the bottle sort of forces it. With anthrax you get three different colors. You get at the very bottom a dark almost black pellet, above that is a tan color, and above that is white. The upper part which is white is almost pure spores. So when you purify the spores, the material of the spores out of a material like that you centrifuge, you only remove that upper portion of that and then you wash it with a like take that and then you just discard the bottom two colors.

    [igcc/je/00:01:00]

    There’s a lot of vegetative cells in there and then other materials and breaked up parts of other cells of strange and foreign spores. So anyway that upper part is what’s really pure white, and that’s mainly I prepared was the spores for DARPA. The material that I prepared, it was washings of that upper material which was almost snow white, and then we also dished the gradients of renografin and then so anyway my spores, the spores that were formed in my lab, prepared in my lab, were snow white. Whereas the spores in the Daschle letter were tan, and the material that went to Tom Brokaw’s lab, office, and also the New York Post were very granular and multicolored.

    00:16:00
    (EZZELL) It’s not an uncommon practice for a scientist to put this material into a freezer and hold on to it for future use and for future(KEMP-interupting) You mean white spores? Wet spores? (EZZELL) Right. (KEMP) Did you ever see any evidence that he produced dry spores? (EZZELL) No. (KEMP) I gotta go.

    • DXer said

      [igcc/je/00:10:18] (the timing indicates is from an audiotape but the digital videotape will be as early as today)

      (GETMAN) In respect to what you made…you told me that yours is better, finer and more uniform than Daschle’s. (EZZELL) Mine was more pure, you get that pure signal for mass spec. Now the material that went in the Daschle and the Leahy letter, I don’t think that was quite as pure as people think it is.

      • DXer said

        [igcc/je/00:03:08]
        Now, the other material, later, that went to Daschle and Leahy, that material is a solid color tan. And then so that material was very uniform and is textured and as far as texturally and what we’ve developed dealing with the letter, which sort of came out of the Leahy letter, we found that the material was very uniform and it’s colored, and it’s textured.

        • DXer said

          [igcc/je/00:06:18]
          (Unknown) What is your lab? (EZZELL) USAMRIID. (unknown) Building 1412.

          Question: How could US Attorney Taylor claimed that virulent Ames was stored only in Building 1425 when the FBI’s anthrax expert stored it in Building 1412? He seems to have been unfamiliar with the facts of the case.

  16. DXer said

    A digital copy of the entire proceeding will be available tomorrow — as made by the wonderful and tireless UCDC AV people.

    I have the first half but couldn’t read it on any machine here — couldn’t figure out the format.

  17. BugMaster said

    “What is a brand name or phrase that would pull it up technical references?”

    Dxer, once you understand the mechanism by which renagraph aids in the purification, it is easy to come up with other materials that would provide the same benefit. Probably not all would work as well as renagraph, but well enough.

    The first thing that comes to mind is Ficoll, used extensively in centrifugation processes where one is trying to obtain a high level of purification. It is available in many forms from quite a number of lab supply houses.

    There is another material that is even easier to obtain, you most likely have what you need for it in your house right now. (it is quite obvious to those who know of and work with such techniques, but I would rather not describe it in detail, as it’s real damn easy!)

    Could you, in your search, find any information that tells if renagraph or similar coumpound was used by Ivins when he purified his portion of the material that went into RMR-1029?

    Was renagraph used in RMR-1029?

    I’m going to speculate that the answer is “NO”, but it would be nice to have confirmation.

    • DXer said

      I believe the answer is yes.

      • DXer said

        http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=20000000000&q=renografin+Ivins

        • BugMaster said

          You mentioned that the summary report stated that there was no renagraph detected in the attack material?

          Can you give a link or cut and paste from that specific statement?

          Thanks.

        • DXer said

          Search Results

          1.
          Amerithrax Investigative Summary – Google Books Result
          Barry Leonard – 2011 – Health & Fitness – 92 pages
          … especially if the mailer were not using a density gradient to clean the spores.20 This is significant because there are no traces of renografin on the …
          books.google.com/books?isbn=1437929907…
          2.
          [PDF]
          The United States Department of Justice
          File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat – Quick View
          Amerithrax investigation.1 In the fall of 2001, the anthrax letter attacks …… spores.20 This is significant because there are no traces of renografin on …
          http://www.justice.gov/amerithrax/docs/amx-investigative-summary.pdf – Similar

        • BugMaster said

          “especially if the mailer were not using a density gradient to clean the spores.20 This is significant because there are no traces of renografin on the …”

          So they state that “no traces of renagraph were detected.”

          It would be more convincing if they included more informatin, such as what technique was used, how sensative the analytical procedure was, and, most important, IN WHAT FACILITY WAS THIS TESTING PERFORMED!

          Note that the EDX data indicates that the EDX studies were done under conditions that never would have detected any iodine (confiramatory analysis via another technique would have been best, particullarly since they were doing the EDX studies to begin with (or maybe they just didn’t dare crank up the voltage that far!)

          And their conclusion, since renagraph wasn’t detected, is that no density centrifugation technique was used, and Ivins must have washed the spores in water?

          That’s just damn ignorant! In the first place, when one hears “density centrifugation”, you usually think of Ficoll, not renagraph. So no other density centrifugation technique was used?

          I really doubt Ivins (or any one else, for that matter) could have purified the material to the extent seen in the senate mailings by just washing the spores with water, in any amount of time!

          And yet, the FBI also concluded that they did’t know how the material was prepared.

        • DXer said

          Here we mean to be talking about “renografin” — the spelling is important for purposes of full-text searches.

        • Anonymous said

          “The expert noted that with respect to the material in the first mailings, he would have been “embarrassed to send that out” because it was so granular.”

          Apparently Dugway weren’t embarrassed to send out the below powder simulants, all of which were tens or hunderds of times less potent than the NYP powder.

          1. VIII-B 21 June 95 – Dried BT powder … 1.1×10^9 cfu per gram

          2. VII-B Spray drier BT … 2.2×10^10 cfu per gram

          3. I-B Dried Powder … 1.0×10^7 cfu per gram

          4. IX-B Spray dried BT … 9.5×10^9 cfu per gram

          5. VI-B Dried powder from fermentor run … 1.3×10^10 cfu per gram

          6. V-B 21 June 95 – Dried powder from spray drier … 5.0×10^9 cfu per gram

        • BugMaster said

          “An expert microbiologist from Dugway stated that these hours were consistent with someone preparing the anthrax letters.”

          In otherwords, a statement most likely made by a Battelle employee (Battelle admisters Dugway).

  18. DXer said

    This guy Michael Leiter seems very smart and hard-working and makes good sense. Ultimately, in addition to Director Mueller’s legacy, the solution of Amerithrax will be his legacy.

    http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/12/in-case-of-terror-attack-first-dont-panic/

    But to “hammer the counterterrorism drum over and over,” Leiter said, risks “glorif[ying] al-Qaeda, who are simply a bunch of murderous thugs.”

    To some degree, the transformation of al-Qaeda to more of a decentralized entity — Leiter compared it to a Hydra made of all heads and no body — means that the greatest danger from terrorism has receded, as the likelihood of al-Qaeda’s leaders in Pakistan directing an attack using weapons of mass destruction has “been greatly diminished.” That means we “should not assume that the terrorist threat is existential” — something that also plays on al-Qaeda’s rhetorical turf.

    But the rise of al-Qaeda’s regional affiliates and self-radicalized terrorists inside the U.S. has meant a proliferation in attempted “lower-scale attacks,” like the October attempt by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to blow up cargo aircraft with bombs packed in printer cartridges; or attacks like last year’s shooting at Fort Hood, which “in most cases do not pose the same catastrophic results but certainly can have an enormous effect on the United States.” They’re hard to detect, hard to prevent, and they’ve required keeping counterterrorism officials operating at a “relentless” pace, Leiter said.

    Still, Leiter’s advice sidestepped several critical counterterrorism questions. Does an open-ended war in Afghanistan serve to radicalize more people than there are terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan to confront? Do the dozens of billions of dollars spent every year on counterterrorism-related defense measures advance al-Qaeda’s goal of bankrupting the U.S.? If, as Leiter asserted, the new waves of terrorists play off “local” grievances, is it counterproductive to send cruise missiles and drones to places like Yemen?

    Ultimately, Leiter said, it’ll be the “quiet, confident resilience” of Americans after a terrorist attack that will “illustrate ultimately the futility of terrorism.” That doesn’t mean not to hit back: Leiter quickly added that “we will hold those accountable [and] we will be ready to respond to those attacks.” But it does mean recognizing, he said, that “we help define the success of an attack by our reaction to that attack.”

  19. DXer said

    Michael Intriligator said in the interview:

    “You know, al Qaeda has many branches it has evolved and developed over the world. It has many branches. Ayman Zawahire is an M.D., a medical doctor, an Egyptian medical doctor, and he’s really the central figure behind al Qaeda – kind of centrally, because there are many branches, as I said. And, I think this is his baby. That’s my interpretation.”

    Here is the documentary evidence in support

    http://www.newanthraxandalqaeda.com

    along with a fully viewable 440 page narrative explanation.

    Anthrax and Al Qaeda: Infiltration of U.S. Biodefense
    http://video.yahoo.com/watch/8534786/22897171

    • DXer said

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-embassy-cables-documents/191130

      Wikileaks on appropriations to Egypt and Israel –

      12. (S/NF) Concerning military assistance, the Egyptian political and military leadership feel that they have been “short changed” by our holding to an FMF level of $1.3 billion, (the same level for 30 years despite inflation), and which they contrast with increases to our military assistance to Israel. Finally, Egypt seeks a higher profile in international financial circles (Finance Minister Youssef Boutros Ghali was recently named Chairman of the IMF’s policy-setting committee, the IMFC, the first from a developing country), and Aboul Gheit is likely to ask for your support to include Egypt in expanded G8 and G20 fora.

      • DXer said

        Perhaps the US embassy cables ‘Reviewing our Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy’ indirectly serves to explain why the news regarding Aafia Siddiqui is so muddled and confusing.
        guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 30 November 2010 21.30 GMT

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-embassy-cables-documents/226531

        5. (S/NF) Money alone will not/not solve the problem of al-Qaeda or the Taliban operating in Pakistan. A grand bargain that promises development or military assistance in exchange for severing ties will be insufficient to wean Pakistan from policies that reflect accurately its most deep-seated fears. The Pakistani establishment, as we saw in 1998 with the nuclear test, does not view assistance — even sizable assistance to their own entities — as a trade-off for national security vis-a-vis India. The lack of faith in USG intentions in Pakistan and in relation to India makes such a bargain untenable in the eyes of the Pakistani establishment. Development assistance in the context of the Pakistani counter-insurgency strategy must be accelerated and refined in order to extend the government writ to the FATA, to stabilize regions at-risk for insurgent activity and recruitment, and to offer incentives for those that desire to leave terrorist groups. It can and should not/not be viewed as a pay-off for behavior change by the Pakistani establishment.

        6. (S/NF) In the final analysis there is no short-cut to dealing with the al-Qaeda problem in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is inextricably linked to and cannot be divorced from the Taliban problem in both countries. Nor can we hope to develop a strategy for minimizing Taliban influence and thereby al-Qaeda operational space in Pakistan’s FATA absent a strategy that brings about stability in Afghanistan; the notion that precision or long-range counter-terrorism efforts can suffice are equally illusory. Afghan instability by definition leads the Pakistani establishment to increase support for the Taliban and thereby, unintentionally, create space for al-Qaeda. No amount of money will sever that link. Rather, we must reassess our regional approach and find ways to reassure the Pakistanis that they can address their long-standing national security objectives most effectively — both to the east and to the west — by working closely with the U.S. PATTERSON

        SECRET

  20. DXer said

    From 302 interview:

    “Initially, a commercial mass spectrometer was used to obtain the biological signatures of myriad agents. An organism in liquid form was deposited on a slide. Once dry, the slide was isnerted into the instrument sample compartment for analysis. These measurements were made in __________ laboratory space.

    Extension of the project, to include __________________ required the construction of a _____________________. Once ___________________________ was taken to USAMRIID for testing. ___________laboratory was used to conduct the aerosol work. ________________________ group worked _____________ laboratory personnel, mainly _______________________________. Agents were__________________________________________

    _____________ worked mainly with Bacillus anthracis. BRUCE IVINS provide ______ with a tube of liquid B.a. Ames spores at a concentration of~ 10 12 cfu/mL. _______ did not know the specifics of how the spores were grown, but recalled that the material was gradient purified using renograph. No additives were used to enhance the properties of the spores. The Ames spore preparation was stored in the ________ walk-in cooler in the containment facility of Building _____ The tape samples containing deposited agents were stored in a Tupperware container in the same location. ________ did not recall the maintenance of a log or inventory for the walk-in cooler. _________ was aware of the location and types of samples _________ group was storing. ________ did not know what other materials were stored in the cooler. The cooler was accessible to anyone with authorization to enter the hot area of Building _______.

    The tapes containing biological agents were autoclaved and discarded after use. A total of ~50 sample tapes were made for the project. ________ was designated as the caretaker of the remaining B.a. Ames spores when _____ left USAMRIID.

    _____________ conducted very limited work with the B.a. Ames, aside from _______________________ assisted with a ______________________________________________________________________________________________




  21. BugMaster said

    “Question #3: Would traces of renagrafin be found (if it had been used in the mailed anthrax)?”

    “Question #4: Is it correct that no traces of renagrafin were found?”

    I am looking forward to the postings, since it will finally give us an answer regarding the iodine issues discussed in previous (a year or so ago) posts.

    • anonymous said

      Great catch on the iodine which is present in huge quantities in renagrafin. I believe EDX would have picked it up is it was there. There were multiple elements detected in the attack spores, including chlorine. Can you refresh our memories on why we were discussing iodine?

      Thus I believe renagrafin was not used in any way to prepare the attack spores, and would not have been the source of the 30% silicon content of the NYP powder or the 1-3% silicon content of the Daschle powder.

      The attack powder was simply not made at Detrick.

      • DXer said

        I believe the Amerithrax Summary noted in passing that there was no trace of renografin detected in the mailed powder. That is, the FBI expert(s) concluded that renagrafin was not used to prepare the attack spores.

        • BugMaster said

          Thanks, Dxer.

          Note that an inexpensive, non-tracable substitute for renagraph is universially available.

          It would also add trace amounts of silicon and tin to the spores, depending on the geographic source of this substitute material.

        • DXer said

          What is a brand name or phrase that would pull it up technical references?

          I’ll up the reference from the February 2010 Amerithrax Summary at some point.

      • BugMaster said

        We were discussing iodine a year or so ago while debating the silicon signature.

        Initally, I though at least part of the silicon signature could have been an artifact from the iodine present in the renograph. I also wondered what effect the iodine would have if it was present and not accounted for.

  22. DXer said

    Was the anthrax used the August 2000 withdrawal from Flask 1029 for a mass spectrometer testing at Johns Hopkins Advanced Physica Lab noted on the FBI’s expanded record of Flask 1029 withdrawals? What are the details of the other mass spectrometry equipment testing done by Dr. Jackman at USAMRIID in BL-3 and BL-4 labs?

    What were the aerosolization experiments noted on FBI’s expanded record of Flask 1029?

    Was the missing 100 ml also used in connection with such DARPA-funded research?

  23. “his resulting dry powder was more pure than the Daschle product.”

    99+ pure spores. Its so easy only Ivins couldn’t do it for the 9/18 mailing.

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