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

* Congressman Holt’s letter to FBI Director Mueller: ” … it now appears that the FBI—which has consistently botched and bungled this case from the beginning—may be seeking to try to steer or otherwise pressure the NAS panel to reach a conclusion desired by the Bureau. I ask that you meet with me this week to explain the FBI’s troubling conduct in this matter …”

Posted by DXer on December 10, 2010

Congressman Rush Holt seems to be the only one who can give Dr. Bruce Ivins a chance at posthumous redemption


Holt Questions Last Minute FBI Efforts to Influence

NAS Scientific Review of “Amerithrax” Case


December 9, 2010

Dear Director Mueller,

I have long been troubled by the FBI’s investigation and final conclusions to the 2001 Anthrax attacks. This week more disturbing information has come to my attention.

As you know, in September 2008, the FBI requested that the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to examine a relatively narrow range of scientific questions about the FBI’s scientific conclusions in the so-called “Amerithrax” case. Recently, the NAS shared their draft report with the FBI for review.

This week I was informed by the NAS that the FBI would be releasing an additional 500 pages of previously undisclosed investigative material from the Amerithrax investigation to the NAS.

My understanding is that this document dump, taking place after the FBI’s review of the NAS draft report, is intended to contest and challenge the independent NAS panel’s draft findings.

If these new documents were relevant to the NAS’s review why were they previously undisclosed and withheld?

Despite the FBI’s original charge to the NAS to examine only the scientific data and conclusions in the case, it now appears that the FBI—which has consistently botched and bungled this case from the beginning—may be seeking to try to steer or otherwise pressure the NAS panel to reach a conclusion desired by the Bureau.

I ask that you meet with me this week to explain the FBI’s troubling conduct in this matter.



Member of Congress



Could it possibly be more obvious that the FBI is hiding the truth in the anthrax letters case?

Even the NAS panel, hired by the FBI and restricted by them in ways that were always questionable, could not be allowed to tell the truth the way they saw it.

The FBI’s conduct in this matter from the very beginning has been unprofessional. There is no way anyone should have confidence in anything the FBI has to say about this matter.

President Obama should remove Director Mueller from his position and appoint someone who will tell the truth to the American people.


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 *


13 Responses to “* Congressman Holt’s letter to FBI Director Mueller: ” … it now appears that the FBI—which has consistently botched and bungled this case from the beginning—may be seeking to try to steer or otherwise pressure the NAS panel to reach a conclusion desired by the Bureau. I ask that you meet with me this week to explain the FBI’s troubling conduct in this matter …””

  1. DXer said

    The DOJ interfered with lawful production of documents under FOIA for two years.

    AUSA Rachel Lieber inappropriately insisted that the contemporaneous handwritten notes by Dr. Bruce Ivins in his lab notebooks recording what he was doing on the nights she claims he was weaponizing anthrax would never be produced.

    She wrote:

    “Although I appreciate your interest in the Amerithrax case, we are unable to respond to specific requests for investigative information, beyond what was released in the lengthy Investigative Summary that was already released to the public.”

    USAMRIID could not provide the documents because the FBI had inappropriately removed the only copy from USAMRIID.

    Lab Notebook contains Ivins’ handwritten notes about what he was doing on the dates the DOJ speculates he was preparing powderized anthrax for mailing. It is outrageous that the DOJ and FBI to this day has not produced them and continues to suppress them.

  2. DXer said

    The FBI needs to produce these lab notebook pages.

    The National Academy of Sciences then needs to produce them under the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

  3. DXer said

    The United States Department of Justice needs to produce the documents relating to the examination of the toner by Dr. Bartick and other scientists and consultants.

    The National Academy of Science needs to then promptly produce those documents as required by the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

    “the case of the copier that wasn’t used by Dr. Bruce Ivins to photocopy the anthrax letters”

  4. DXer said

    John Ezzell forthrightly (to my way of thinking, heroically) answered all my questions relating to the DARPA research in which Flask 1029 (the “murder weapon” to borrow US Taylor’s term) was used to make a dried powder Ames aerosol. It was for mass spectrometry detection work. The product was even purer than the Daschle product.

    The research involved testing the effect of a sonicator and corona plasma discharge on Ames spores.

    The DARPA researchers thanked John Ezzell and Terry Abshire for their help and facilities.

    It was Terry Abshire who selected the morphs later thought so important by the FBI science team.
    Trail of Odd Anthrax Cells Led FBI to Army Scientist …
    Oct 27, 2008 … In late October 2001, lab technician Terry Abshire placed a tray of … These were mutants, or “morphs,” genetic deviants scattered among …

    Despite the researcher’s good faith, didn’t they have a conflict of interest that hopelessly tainted the evidence?

    When that lab then threw out Dr. Ivins first sample, the loss of that sample could not possibly fairly be construed as evidence of Dr. Ivins’ guilt. Yet that is what the Amerithrax scientists did even though the emails show the written protocols were not sent to Ivins’ lab until May 24, 2002 (contrary to the claims by the Amerithrax science officials at the press conference and contrary to the February 2010 Amerithrax Summary).

    That’s just really messed up.

    Now FBI Director Mueller is a brilliant and hardworking and very principled man. He can understand this and can watch as Dr. Ezzell answers the questions posed. FBI Director Mueller needs to reopen Amerithrax before the end of his 10 year term because these facts are not going away. The FBI is not the only one who makes secret audiotapes.

  5. DXer said

    Here is a second excerpt from Professor Peter Katona’s comments.

  6. DXer said

    After withholding it without basis for two years, JAG via USAMRIID finally produced this email between Bruce and the woman who was Former Colleage #1 in the investigative materials.

    It is highly material and central to the FBI’s reasoning. Yet USAMRIID tries to justify the withholding because it was a personal email (sent on his work computer). The cotton candy conjecture by the FBI was derived precisely from the personal emails and IMs between Bruce and the two women — two confidantes — who were thanked by the former Zawahiri associate supplied virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins.
    If and when the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Vanguards of Conquest and Ayman Zawahiri succeed in a mass attack against the United States, it will be due to the culture of complacency that exists inside the beltway among government workers.

    As Alvin Toffler (famed author of Future Shock) wrote in the Afterword of the treatise by the learned Katona and Intriligator, when it is bioterror against bureaucracy, bioterror will win every time.

    It will take the courage and forthrightness and candor of a John Ezzell, the quarter century of learning and observation and common sense of a Michael Intriligator, and compliance with federal law relating to document production obligations — to get at truth.

    In the meantime, the organizations like NAS withholding documents due to be produced under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (“FACA”) should be sued and shamed for not complying with the rule of law relating to the disclosure obligations under settled District of Columbia precedent applying the Federal Advisory Committee Act. NAS Director Fran Sharples, for example, today should walk the 500 pages of documents submitted by the FBI and tell the public they are available for inspection as required by the FACA. The NAS scientists are special in their arcane studies — but not so special that violation of Government in Sunshine laws can be ignored. Don’t tell Michael at Sandia, but the documents are more important than his expensive equipment. Dr. Ezzell’s candor did not cost a million dollars but was far more useful in getting at the truth. And on the genetic analysis, people need to understand that it only narrowed things from 1,000 to up to 377 (and that’s just at USAMRIID alone!). The documentary evidence being withheld and delayed now for two years without legal justification is more important than the NAS conclusions on barely probative scientific issues. The NAS was just part of an FBI stall in producing documents.

    For example, if you want probative science, reach the photocopy toner examination science — the USAMRIID photocopy toner perhaps can be excluded up to a 99% level of confidence. If the NAS does not reach it, the GAO should use its subpoena power to get FBI expert Dr. Bartick’s documents and correspondence.

    Safe harbor for all who walk through the embassy doors. The doors are wide open.

    Imagine the alternative: Wikileaks Amerithrax … and you haven’t produced those documents yet.

    The FBI must not be cast in the usual position of being damned if they do and damned if they don’t. For example, compartmentalization perhaps was intended to address conflicts of interest (in the nature of a Chinese Wall). At the end of the day, the FBI is on our side and is about our only hope for a safe and just America. Certainly, it would be hard to imagine a more principled and hard-working FBI Director. HIs daily reading load must be enormous.

    From: Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
    Date: Thursday, October 06, 2005 1:47:11 PM

    I sent you (and by mistake) an email last night after taking

    Ambien. I looked at my aol email this morning and honestly don’t remember writing or sending it.
    Ambien for me is an extremely effective sleep aid – it puts you into this special, euphoric, dreamy state,
    then the next thing you remember is you wake up in the morning. I woke up in bed with my clothes
    still on. The bad thing – for me – about taking ambien, is that it basically creates another personality
    that does and says things that my usual personality doesn’t recognize or remember. Fortunately I wasn’t
    taking Ambien in the fall of 2001, so there’s no possibility that some other personality in me was doing
    some vile, ogre-type thing. I’d know if if I did something so awful as to participate in those events.
    Anyway, sorry for what you probably thought was a very, very weird email. I don’t know if you or
    anyone you know has ever taken Ambien, but memory loss is something that’s very real with it. It has a
    short half-life in the body (about 3.5 hours), so you don’t wake up groggy. If you find that you wake up
    in the middle of the night, you can take a couple of 10-mg tablets (which is what I do), or take one
    when you go to bed, and one when you wake up in the middle of the night. I also take Lunesta on
    occasion. That has a longer half-life, but the one bad thing about it is that it leaves a very unpleasant
    taste in your mouth that lasts through the following morning.

    As far as the FBI goes, they grilled me on going to on
    sending you – I forget what it was – something from Gaithersburg. I remember telling you that if you
    ever needed something, I’d do it for you, and I remember sending you lots of emails when I was going
    through depression early on, but really hadn’t done anything about it yet. (I had to get my prescription
    records to find out that I started taking Celexa in 2000.) They actually pulled out one email of mine to
    you that said something about my being paranoid, and they strongly suggested that my mental state
    would cause me to be a terrorist and a mass murderer. The fact that I don’t know beans about making
    a bio-warfare weapon wasn’t important, it was that I knew how to make anthrax spores, and I had
    emailed lots of very personal things to you. After that awful interview, if they want to talk to me about
    anthrax – with my lawyer present – I’ll be happy to do so. Anything else is off the table. If they want to
    call me in front of a grand jury to testify, I’ll tell them that I didn’t mail anthrax spores or bioweaponize
    them, but any other questions I’m not going to answer. I’m just so weary and irritated after 2-3 dozen
    interviews that my willingness to go out of my way to help them has been transformed into being willing
    to answer anthrax-specific questions in front of my lawyer. I’ve had to look up tons of things for them.
    My memory stinks, so most of the information has come from what I”ve been able to get from
    notebooks and computer files. It used to be fun enjoyable and satisfying to work here, but now it’s just
    a job, basically. I’ve become so jaded.

    It has to be tough to
    Working in an area (orthopedics, radiology, dermatology) that doesn’t so closely bring
    together a doctor and a dying patient – I would think – might not be so draining. I’m really glad that
    you’re going to be able to finally get some sleep, and perhaps have some more time in general. I know
    how much you love(d) I don’t know if you’ve had any chance to play it, but maybe you’ll have a
    chance now. I hope that and not causing you many problems as far as
    your daily activities. I know that people who
    I think so

    hopefully that will be very helpful to you. It would be great if in the near future, they’d be able to
    regenerate the . Maybe stem-cell research will one
    day lead to something like that.
    also said that and you have a new car. Cool. I hope you like it. I’m
    afraid that I look for reliability and good mileage, and that’s about it. I’ve never had a “chick-magnet”
    car, but I don’t think it would have ever done me any good, anyway. 🙂
    Glad you liked the – you were supposed to get balloons and a plush kitten
    or bear with the flowers – and restaurant gift certificate. The latter has a very interesting story behind
    it so I called him and asked him about really good
    restaurants in the area. (I told him that you liked international cuisine.) He sent me some
    recommendations. I called up the Indian Restaurant that he recommended, and they had gift
    certificates, but wouldn’t sell me one over the phone by credit card. So, I sent the money. He

    went to the restaurant and got the gift certificate and mailed it to me. I then sent it to you. I hope it
    was good!

    I’d enjoy seeing you when you come into the area around Thanksgiving. I’ve missed talking with
    you by email. Thanks for being so willing to listen to me while I was going through the early stages of
    depression. I think it actually started in the late 1990s, then got worse until I took the Celexa. It’s
    always good to have someone to talk to.

    I hope you have a really good day/week/month/fall. I’m sure you’re disappointed that the
    Bruce Ivins

    • DXer said

      In another document withheld for 2 years, here is an email from a federal undercover agent to Bruce. I spoke to Bruce’s brother Charles about the nice ladies — one of them expecting. The undercover agents went on the cruise with Bruce and Charles in early August 2007.

      Now this is not to fault undercover operations or operatives — not at all. It is a tough job but good work if you can get it. It is just to point out that when Dr. Ivins committed suicide, he had been betrayed or alienated by all the people from whom he might have obtained much needed emotional support. So it is just hugely unfair to use the fact of his suicide as if it was evidence of guilt. (His addictions counselor, on home detention for a DWI conviction, even was secretly working with the FBI). At the end of the day, it was his wife who stood up and in the privacy of a note written to him, told him she knew he had nothing to do with the anthrax mailings.

      From: [ Sent: F(6ri)day, August 24, 2007 3:36 PM To: Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
      Subject: Re: Weekend! (UNCLASSIFIED)

      Hey Bruce, how are you feeling? said you were under the weather. I hope all is well. I keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I’m swamped, but will write soon, have a good weekend
      (b) (6)
      (b) (6)
      “Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID” < wrote:

  7. BugMaster said

    “Whatever it is – someone desperately wants to cover up what is really going on.”

    Desparately is correct. The result?

    You would think they would learn something from the Hatfill fiasco.

    The FBI just shot themselves in the foot.

  8. DXer said

    Here is the audio of a comment by a former colleague of Paul Keim about the distribution of the strain before 9/11. She says the select agent rule really wasn’t enforced prior to 911.

  9. anonymous said

    “President Obama should remove Director Mueller from his position and appoint someone who will tell the truth to the American people.”

    It could very well be that Mueller is directly following the President’s orders – we just don’t know how high this goes.

    On the other hand Mueller could be trying to save the FBI lab’s already terrible reputation for science (lead in bullets, etc. etc.) – Mueller may realize that the FBI labs could not survive another disaster of this magnitude.

    Whatever it is – someone desperately wants to cover up what is really going on.

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