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

* the NAS anthrax project duration has been extended … the NAS now says the report is expected to be issued in February 2011 … I’ll believe it when I see it … and when there finally is a report, how likely is it that NAS will say only what the FBI approves or directs

Posted by DXer on December 8, 2010

FBI looms over the NAS

******

Bugmaster points out that

the GAO scientific review is not supposed to start

until the NAS study has concluded!

Thus there is delay after delay,

with the FBI hoping that sooner or later nobody will care

about the debacle they have made of the anthrax investigation.

see …

* the National Academy of Sciences has withheld all the documents produced to it by the FBI, conducting its entire study in a level of secrecy that matches the way the FBI has informed us of the details of its investigation … how infuriating this should be for any American who wants to believe that the government we support is actually working on our behalf

* what’s going on with the NAS anthrax study? since almost all sessions have been closed, with no agendas, lists of witness, or summary reports, will we ever learn what they have been doing? … UPDATE: NAS polite non-response to my email

* NAS continues to participate in the FBI’s stonewalling efforts to keep the truth about the 2001 anthrax attacks away from public scrutiny

* NAS announces committee to review FBI’s anthrax science

* details of the proposed NAS-FBI $880,000 study are (so far) difficult to come by

 

******

http://www8.nationalacademies.org/cp/projectview.aspx?key=49105

The NAS site now says …

“Update 12/7/10: The project duration has been extended. The report is expected to be issued in February 2011.”

That’s it. No reasons given.

******

LMW COMMENT …

I’ll believe it when I see it.

The NAS has treated the public in a totally disparaging arrogant manner. Promising to be open and transparent, they have been precisely the opposite. Promising to consider input, they have never sought any, and have had few open sessions when anyone could offer any. Committed to a deadline, they ignore it. Asked about when the report will be issued, they first give a date they do not meet and then don’t even bother to answer the question. Now they give a new date, without giving any reason for the delay.

Who are we to think we deserve more?

The American taxpayers, who are funding this study, are treated without any consideration, as the enemies, which I guess we have to believe we are. The NAS is acting like it is totally under the thumb of its sponsor the FBI. How can anyone ever believe they will render an independent report? It seems far more likely they will say only what the FBI approves or directs. $1,000,000 down the drain!

******

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 *

******

7 Responses to “* the NAS anthrax project duration has been extended … the NAS now says the report is expected to be issued in February 2011 … I’ll believe it when I see it … and when there finally is a report, how likely is it that NAS will say only what the FBI approves or directs”

  1. BugMaster said

    Here is a section from today’s pontification by Ed:

    “While looking for something else, I happened upon a slide presentation by Nancy Connell of the New Jersey Medical School (and a member of the NAS review committee) given to a conference that took place in Beijing, China from October 31 to November 3, 2010…….”

    So what do you make of the LAST slide in her presentation, Incurious Ed?

    • Anonymous said

      Very interesting that a member of the NAS anthrax committee would advertise that a second GAO science investigation is going to take place.

    • Anonymous said

      Page 513:
      “Thus if the estimates silicon concentrations in the Amerithrax spores are correct, they are not consistent with our current understanding of silica deposition or those materials must have indeed been produced under an unusual set of conditions. If the latter were true, the silica evidence might provide a significant bound on the credible growth and production scenarios that would be consistent with the prosecution narrative in this case.”

      ————————————
      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…….”

  2. anonymous said

    http://www.hstoday.us/content/view/15683/149/

    Science Report on FBI Anthrax Probe Delayed Again PDF Print E-mail
    by Anthony L. Kimery
    Thursday, 09 December 2010

    ‘The American people need credible answers’

    The report of a now nearly eight month old National Academy of Sciences (NAS) investigation of the FBI’s scientific examination of the anthrax in letters that were sent to US lawmakers and media in the weeks following 9/11, has again been delayed for unspecified reasons, according to an update on the website of the NAS committee tasked with conducting the probe.

    In February, the FBI, Justice Department, and US Postal Inspection Service announced that the investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks, which killed five individuals and sickened 17 others, had formally concluded.

    Last week, the University of California’s Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation sponsored the seminar, “Anthrax Investigation Closed, But Questions Remain,” at the university’s Washington Center to examine the government’s “Amerithrax” investigation. In attendance were several dozen scientists, academics, bio-terrorism experts and others, all of whom share doubts about the thoroughness of, and science behind, the FBI-led probe.

    That probe is currently the subject of the FBI-contracted NAS Committee on Science, Technology, and Law’s “Review of the Scientific Approaches used During the FBI’s Investigation of the 2001 Bacillus Anthracis Mailings” that began on April 24, 2009 “in response to a formal request” from the FBI. The investigation was supposed to take 18 months, with a final report expected last October 24. NAS had stated on its website that the report would be ready in “Fall 2010.”

    But NAS quietly announced in a website notice Tuesday that “the project duration has been extended,” and that “the report is expected to be issued in February 2011.” The project had already been extended in October when the Science, Technology, and Law committee’s report was to have been finalized.

    “The NAS now says the report is expected to be issued in February 2011. I’ll believe it when I see it, and when there finally is a report. How likely is it that NAS will say only what the FBI approves or directs,” said Lew Weinstein, a longtime critic of the FBI’s investigation. Weinstein is the former president and CEO of Public Health Research Institute, a biomedical research organization focused on infectious disease research.

    Under its contract with the FBI, the NAS Committee on Science, Technology, and Law is to “conduct an independent review of the scientific approaches used during the investigation of the 2001 Bacillus anthracis (B. anthracis) mailings. An ad hoc committee with relevant expertise will evaluate the scientific foundation for the specific techniques used by the FBI to determine whether these techniques met appropriate standards for scientific reliability and for use in forensic validation and whether the FBI reached appropriate scientific conclusions from its use of these techniques.”

    “In instances where novel scientific methods were developed for purposes of the FBI investigation itself,” the NAS said Tuesday, “the committee will pay particular attention to whether these methods were appropriately validated,” and that “the committee will review and assess scientific evidence (studies, results, analyses, reports) considered in connection with the 2001 Bacillus anthracis mailings.”

    “In assessing this body of information,” the NAS said the Committee on Science, Technology, and Law “will limit its inquiry to the scientific approaches, methodologies, and analytical techniques used during the investigation of the 2001 B. anthracis mailings.”

    Under the terms of the NAS contract with the FBI, NAS is not permitted to draw any conclusions regarding the guilt or innocence of anyone considered a person of interest by the FBI.

    In August 2008, however, FBI Assistant Director of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate, Vahid Majidi, stated in his “science briefing” on the Bureau’s anthrax investigation that “after nearly seven years of investigation we have developed a body of powerful evidence that allows us to conclude that we have identified the origin and the perpetrator of the 2001 bacillus anthracis mailings.”

    Continuing, Majidi said “I am very confident that the significant lessons learned from the 2001 bacillus anthracis case have been rigorously evaluated by the FBI … The FBI Laboratory has revolutionized the approach to nontraditional forensic samples and has developed robust capabilities to collect and examine evidence containing biological, chemical, radiological or nuclear materials …”

    Yet, the areas of FBI scientific evidence being studied by NAS’s Committee on Science, Technology, and Law include, but may not be limited to:

    * Genetic studies that led to the identification of potential sources of B. anthracis recovered from the letters;
    * Analyses of four genetic mutations that were found in evidence and that are unique to a subset of Ames strain cultures collected during the investigation;
    * Chemical and dating studies that examined how, where, and when the spores may have
    been grown and what, if any, additional treatments they were subjected to;
    * Studies of the recovery of spores and bacterial DNA from samples collected and tested during the investigation; and
    * The role that cross contamination might have played in the evidence picture.

    NAS said the Committee on Science, Technology, and Law “will necessarily consider the facts and data surrounding the investigation of the 2001 Bacillus anthracis mailings, the reliability of the principles and methods used by the FBI, and whether the principles and methods were applied appropriately to the facts.”

    NAS added that the Committee “will not, however, undertake an assessment of the probative value of the scientific evidence in any specific component of the investigation, prosecution, or civil litigation and will offer no view on the guilt or innocence of any person(s) in connection with the 2001 B. anthracis mailings, or any other B. anthracis incidents.”

    Since the NAS’s investigation began, most of the meetings of the Committee on Science, Technology, and Law have been closed to the public. The last meeting that took place on June 2 in Washington, DC was advertised as an open meeting on a NAS website, but it was “closed in its entirety,” the Committee’s website shows.

    According to another NAS website, however, “in accordance with federal law and with few exceptions, information-gathering meetings of the committee are open to the public, and any written materials provided to the committee by individuals who are not officials, agents, or employees of the National Academies are maintained in a public access file that is available for examination.”

    Only the Committee’s deliberative meetings are “closed to the public in order to develop draft findings and recommendations free from outside influences,” NAS says, adding “the public is provided with brief summaries of these meetings that include the list of committee members present. All analyses and drafts of the report remain confidential.”

    Weinstein raised the issue of the closed meetings last April when he asked “what’s going on with the NAS anthrax study … almost all sessions have been closed, with no agendas, lists of witness, or summary reports? Will we ever learn what they have been doing?” He said Wednesday that “NAS has treated the public in a totally disparagingly arrogant manner. Promising to be open and transparent, they have been precisely the opposite. Promising to consider input, they have never sought any, and have had few open sessions when anyone could offer any. Committed to a deadline, they ignore it. Asked about when the report will be issued, they first give a date they do not meet and then don’t even bother to answer the question. Now they give a new date, without giving any reason for the delay.”

    In October, Weinstein had complained that NAS “has withheld all the documents produced to it by the FBI, conducting its entire study in a level of secrecy that matches the way the FBI has informed us of the details of its investigation … how infuriating this should be for any American who wants to believe that the government we support is actually working on our behalf.”

    Meanwhile, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) is investigating the scientific and technical methods used by the FBI during its investigation at the request of Rep. Rush Holt, in whose central New Jersey district the anthrax letters are believed to have originated from a postal box, killing five.

    Holt, who has consistently raised questions about the federal investigation into the attacks and tried unsuccessfully several times to pass his “Anthrax Attacks Investigation Act,” said the NAS probe is only “examin[ing] a relatively narrow range of scientific questions about the FBI’s scientific conclusions in the so-called ‘Amerithrax’ case.”

    At Holt’s request, “GAO will take a much broader approach in examining the scientific underpinnings of the FBI’s investigation,” he said.

    Holt and four colleagues (three in the House and one in the Senate) requested the investigation after the FBI announced it was closing its investigation into the 2001 anthrax letter attacks. The GAO investigation will be the first Congressionally-directed investigation of the FBI’s handling of the case.

    “The American people need credible answers to many questions raised by the original attacks 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.”

    Specifically, GAO will seek to answer the following questions:

    * What microbial and technical forensic methods did the FBI use to conclude that Bruce Ivins was the perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax attack;
    * How reliable and reproductive were those methods and were the methods validated;
    * What scientific concerns and uncertainties, if any, remain and;
    * What agencies, including intelligence agencies, are responsible for monitoring high containment laboratories in the US and abroad; how do they monitor these laboratories; and how effective is their monitoring

    “In the wake of this 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,” Holt said in September when he announced GAO was investigating.

    Last July, following a meeting with the NAS committee, Holt said “simply stated, our government – and specifically, the FBI – suffers from a credibility gap on this issue. Answering all the doubts and questions about the handling of this case is beyond the purview of this panel, which is why I’ve introduced legislation that would create a national commission to ‘investigate the investigation.’ In the meantime, this panel has an opportunity to answer some of the key questions that I and so many other Americans have about the science behind the FBI’s investigation.”

    • BugMaster said

      So the Validation Report for the FBI’s Prosecutorial Narrative once again won’t meet the deadline.

      In the real world, this would not be tolerated.

    • BugMaster said

      Majidi said “I am very confident that the significant lessons learned from the 2001 bacillus anthracis case have been rigorously evaluated by the FBI … The FBI Laboratory has revolutionized the approach to nontraditional forensic samples and has developed robust capabilities to collect and examine evidence containing biological, chemical, radiological or nuclear materials …”

      And also: “please don’t question our investigative approach!”, and “Just leave it at that”.

      • Anonymous said

        Especially given that 18 months later one of the FBI Amerithrax (Livermore’s Steve Velsko) contractors writes this:

        “Thus if the estimates silicon concentrations in the Amerithrax spores are correct, they are not consistent with our current understanding of silica deposition or those materials must have indeed been produced under an unusual set of conditions. If the latter were true, the silica evidence might provide a significant bound on the credible growth and production scenarios that would be consistent with the prosecution narrative in this case.”

        ————————————
        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…….”

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