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

* HS Today’s Anthony Kimerly (Homeland Security Insight and Analysis) reports… NAS report delayed again … CASE CLOSED blog cited

Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 9, 2010

FBI looms over the NAS

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Anthony Kimerly, writing in HS Today … Homeland Security Insight and Analysis (12/9/10) …

SCIENCE REPORT ON FBI ANTHRAX PROBE DELAYED AGAIN

  • 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.”
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.”

CASE CLOSED blog cited …

  • “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.
  • 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.”

GAO review at Congressman Holt’s request

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

******

Anthony Kimerly

… Kimerly is the Online Editor/Senior Reporter and HSToday eNewsletter Editor … he is a respected award-winning editor and journalist who has covered national and global security, intelligence and defense issues for two decades.

read the entire excellent article at …http://www.hstoday.us/content/view/15683/149/

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LMW COMMENT …

Well, perhaps our longstanding attention to the FBI’s failed anthrax investigation and the NAS failure to operate openly and on time as they promised is beginning to get some attention. Thank you Anthony Kimerly.

Thanks also to Ken Dillion and the University of California for sponsoring and organizing the recent anthrax seminar which has been instrumental in generating this renewed attention to an important and unresolved national security issue.

see a report on that seminar at … * Amerithrax experts insist FBI has failed to prove beyond many reasonable doubts that Dr. Bruce Ivins was even involved in the anthrax mailings, let alone the sole perpetrator … is there more evidence against Ivins that the FBI has not released? has the FBI actually failed to solve the case? or does the FBI know who really did it (not Ivins) but does not want to reveal the true perpetrators?

******

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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14 Responses to “* HS Today’s Anthony Kimerly (Homeland Security Insight and Analysis) reports… NAS report delayed again … CASE CLOSED blog cited”

  1. DXer said

    Peter Katona video clip (from Nov. 29, 2010 conference)

    • BugMaster said

      Katona states that the last delay to the release of the NAS report was because the FBI recently submitted more information that they wanted the NAS to incorporate?

      What was his source for this? Any idea as to the nature of the last minute submittals?

      • Anonymous said

        I also heard this. I don’t know what Katona’s source is. Maybe someone at FBI actually read the lead in bullets NAS report and realized the whole Amerithrax science case is a crock.

      • Lew Weinstein said

        Ed … secret sources have little credibility with me … LEW

        • anonymous said

          F.B.I. Seeks Delay in Review of Its Anthrax Inquiry
          By SCOTT SHANE
          Published: December 9, 2010

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          WASHINGTON — The Federal Bureau of Investigation has requested a last-minute delay in the release of a report on the bureau’s anthrax investigation by the National Academy of Sciences, prompting a congressman to say the bureau “may be seeking to try to steer or otherwise pressure” the academy’s scientific panel “to reach a conclusion desired by the bureau.”
          Related

          *
          Times Topics: Bruce E. Ivins | Anthrax

          Representative Rush D. Holt, Democrat of New Jersey and a physicist who has often been critical of the investigation, made the remarks in a letter Thursday to the F.B.I.’s director, Robert S. Mueller III, saying that he found the bureau’s request for a delay “disturbing.” The F.B.I. has told the committee that it wants to turn over an additional 500 pages of investigative documents not provided previously, despite the committee’s request for all relevant material when it began the review in April 2009.

          “If these new documents were relevant to the N.A.S.’s review why were they previously undisclosed and withheld?” Mr. Holt wrote. The anthrax-laced letters that killed five people in 2001 were sent from a mailbox in Princeton in his district.

          Michael Kortan, an F.B.I. spokesman, declined to respond to Mr. Holt’s remarks. But he said, using the bureau’s name for the investigation, that the F.B.I. “continues to work with the National Academy of Sciences to support their ongoing review of the scientific approaches employed in the Amerithrax investigation.”

          The seven-year investigation, by some measures the largest and most complex in the history of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, concluded that Bruce E. Ivins, a microbiologist at the Army’s bio-defense research center in Maryland, prepared the deadly powder and mailed it to two United States senators and several media organizations. The F.B.I. has made public its circumstantial case against Dr. Ivins, including genetic fingerprinting linking the mailed anthrax to a supply in his laboratory and his late hours in the lab in the days before the two mailings.

          Dr. Ivins killed himself in 2008 and was never criminally charged. Some of his colleagues at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases say they do not believe he was guilty. The F.B.I. had already paid another former Army scientist, Steven J. Hatfill, a settlement worth $4.6 million to drop a lawsuit saying the bureau had falsely accused him of being the anthrax mailer.

          E. William Colglazier, the academy’s executive officer, said the F.B.I.’s request was a surprise and came after the bureau saw the panel’s peer-reviewed final report, which was scheduled for release in November. He said the committee’s 15 members, top scientists who serve as volunteers, were “exhausted,” but that the panel agreed to extend the study and consider revising the report in return for an additional fee, probably about $50,000, beyond the $879,550 the F.B.I. has already paid for the study.

          Dr. Colglazier declined to say if the report was critical of the F.B.I.’s work but said it was “very direct.” The report sticks to science and does not offer an opinion on whether Dr. Ivins carried out the anthrax attacks, he said.

          In September, the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, agreed to conduct its own review of the F.B.I.’s anthrax investigation, with a broader approach that also covers security measures at biolabs.

        • DXer said

          Dr. Ezzell supplied Edgewood Ames in a soil suspension. You could ask him. He’s very forthright.

        • anonymous said

          “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…….”

        • DXer said

          I’ve previously pointed out to you the article by Theresa Koehler on growing anthrax in soil. Word begins with rhizo… The research dates to 2001 or so.

        • DXer said

          When I deleted my list of possible reasons silica was found, Ed called up the FBI and told them I was a terrorist who was trying to cover my tracks!

      • 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. Old Atlantic said

    Ed Lake quotes the following as the definite summary of the evidence.

    Summary of investigative evidence implicating al Qaeda

    • Opportunity (RMR1029 access; many labs and locations)
    • Motive (some sort of radical thing)
    • Mental health struggle (“homicidal””sociopath”)
    • Proximity to source of envelopes (local batch, operating in DC area)
    • Language used in the letters (emails)
    • Guilty conscience (rendering builings unusable, killing, Declaration of War/Jihad, emails, trash, shifting blame)
    • History of disguising identity (pseudonyms, taqiyya, not to mention inability to spell consistently)
    • Obsessive behavior (fraternity)
    • ability to describe/explain own behavior as mayhem, revenge, jihad

    Well actually this has a few changes from the summary but its not just close enough, its closer. Ed Lake was quoting Nancy Connell, as opposed to some radical thing.

  3. DXer said

    FBI anthrax expert on mailed material (November 29, 2010 conference comments)

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