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

* DXer: 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 Attorney Taylor’s term) was used to make a dried powder Ames aerosol.

Posted by DXer on December 10, 2010

******

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxaJwDGF-Ks

******

from DXer …

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 Attorney 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. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxaJwDGF-Ks
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/12/07/fbi-anthrax-expert-answers-questions-at-washington-seminar/

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

https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/04/25/the-fbis-anthrax-expert-made-dried-powder-for-darpa-funded-researchers-who-were-examining-the-effect-of-corona-plasma-discharge-on-the-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 …
http://www.washingtonpost.com

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.

******

240 Responses to “* DXer: 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 Attorney Taylor’s term) was used to make a dried powder Ames aerosol.”

  1. DXer said

    Laurie Garrett writes:

    “Further, none of the debaters [in 2001] is aware that scientists at the University of Ohio in Cincinnati also conducted spore movement experiments a year ago, the results of which were published in a scientific journal in January 2001. They discovered that the amount of electrical charge on particles — their electrostatic states — varied by more than 10,000-fold, depending on two variables: their content and the amount of perturbation. Inorganic particles were the least electrostatic, no matter how much they were shaken or disturbed. But living spores became radically electrostatic simply by shaking them. No special treatment is required to turn a benign, resting spore into a wildly kinetic, highly charged substance that travels on undetectable wind currents over vast distances.”

    Laurie should interview a top expert on the effect, in this regard, of a sonicator, such as was used in the DARPA research. I recommend she interview Joany Jackman for her experience.

    • DXer said

      In footnote 275, Laurie Garrett cites the study. Manelis G, Willeke K, Baron P et al, “Electrical charges on airborne microorganisms,” J. of Aerosol Science 32: 1087-1110, 2001.

      She also describes a 2003 study. Reshetin VP and Regens JL, “Simulation Modeling of Anthrax Spore Dispersion in a Bioterrorism Incident,” Risk Analysis 23: 1135-1145 (2003).

  2. DXer said

    You can close your eyes if you want.

  3. DXer said

    Dave Williams writes in Mirage Man:

    “In an e-mail to Fellows a few weeks after the November 1, 2007 search Ivins once again fingered John Ezzell, the senior microbiologist who had served as USAMRIID’s chief liaison with the FBI. Ivins alleged that Ezzell knew “how to make anthrax into a bioweapon, he’s made millions off the letters… The rest of us are trying to scrape by.” In the 1990s Ezzell did produce the powdered anthrax used for approved experiments, and the material was irradiatated to render it nonlethal to humans. Ezzell said that he derived no outside compensation from any of his official duties, including his work for the FBI.).

    Question: Despite David’s extensive footnoting, no footnote is given here and I don’t recall this email in which Dr. Bruce Ivins claimed that the FBI anthrax expert made millions from making a dried powder out of Flask 1029. David Willman, what is the source for this? What is the URL for this email? And I’ve interviewed Dr. Ezzell on film on this issue. Thanks. Ross.

  4. DXer said

    Dr. Ivins told the FBI (see 302 interview statement) that he first learned about dried powder being made at USAMRIID in a FOIA response he read. I believe he first learned in 2003 but will need to pull the actual 302 interview statement.

    Who was the requestor?

    What did the response say?

    The wonderful USMRC FOIA expert is just the person to help us get everyone on the same page.

  5. DXer said

    08/05/2003 Amerithrax Weekly Update (under “Elemental Mapping”) notes that

    “Six of the 19 Abshire samples, all grown on New Sporulation Medium (NSM), have been analyzed using TEM elemental mapping techniques. In general, these 6 samples show no well definite Si layer as in the evidentiary material.”

    Comment:

    Terry Abshire was the assistant of John Ezzell, the FBI anthrax expert who made a dried powder out of Ames from Flask 1029. Dr. Abshire was specifically thanked for her work by the DARPA researchers who were testing the effect of a sonicator and corona plasma discharge on Ames spores. In June 2001, a paper by John and his colleagues discussing the detection of anthrax in soil was presented. Was a sample from that research reviewed as part of the “Abshire samples”?

  6. DXer said

    At the June 2001 annual conference that Dr. Ivins helped organize – held in June 2001 in Annapolis — Dr. Ezzell and his colleagues authored a paper that was presented titled:

    “Purification of DNA for PCR from Bacillus anthrax Spores in Soil Samples.”

    The abstract explained: “Preparing DNA for PCR from Bacillus anthracis spores in soil samples is particularly challenging. We previously determined that digestion with Proteinase K and mechanical agitation in the presence of glass beads were critical to disrupt spores and release DNA. In addition, we found that it was necessary to treat the soil sample with substances known to inactivate or remove inhibitory and degradative contaminants in order to produce template of sufficient quality to support PCR. Depending on the soil type, this decontamination process was sometimes insufficient and we found it further necessary to further process the sample using the Life Technologies, Inc., Glass MAX or the Qiagen QIAamp Tissue kits.

  7. DXer said

    Where are all the places that a dried powder was made using Ames in connection with the DARPA research? Director Mueller could not identify a third lab in open session. (Dr. Ezzell was not asked the question).

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-detrick-20110228,0,2675522.story

    Trouble in the air at Fort Detrick

    Latest biodefense facility adds risky element to already high-risk environment

    By Kenneth King
    February 28, 2011

    Ms. Hensley declared that “USAMRIID does not have a constant supply of aerosolized diseases but rather creates what they need just before an experiment takes place.”

  8. DXer said

    There was a focus on renocal in the documents produced by FBI to NAS. Dr. Ezzell had mentioned that possibly the Silicon Signature had arisen from the use of renocal as a density gradient in purification. But Renocal does not contain silica. It is Percoll that is the denstiy gradient consisting of colloidal silica. It is used by scientists in cattle breeding research. That is the field of the geneticist arrested the same day Al-Timimi’s townhouse was search (as part of OPERATION IMMINENT HORIZON). He was arrested as a material witness but never questioned. He had expertise in mixing with silica (according to his co-author and mentor). Did authorities ever consider Percoll? I believe it is not used outside that field because of FDA problems.

  9. DXer said

    The NAS report states:

    The material in the Daschle and Leahy letters was reported to have “a high level of
    purity” and to have electrostatic properties that caused it to disperse readily upon opening of the letters. These properties should be regarded as qualitative observations since they were not based on quantitative physical measurements. The committee received testimony (Martin, 2010) stating that some Dugway preparations, particularly those utilizing lyophilization but no dispersant, gave products with similar appearance and electrostatic dispersibility as the letter samples, suggesting that these properties were not necessarily connected to an intentional effort to increase dispersibility through addition of a dispersant.

    • DXer said

      Here is FBI anthrax expert John Ezzell forthrightly answering all questions asked about having made a dried aerosol out of Ames supplied by Bruce Ivins from Flask 1029. (I did not have the presence of mind to ask the most pertinent questions – for example, where else were experiments for DARPA conducted, what were the nature of facilities built for the ones conducted at USAMRIID etc.)



    • DXer said

      http://pubs.acs.org/cen/government/84/8449gov1.html

      Daniel Martin, a microbiologist in Dugway’s Life Sciences Division, tells C&EN that Dugway was asked “to produce materials to see how they compared with the materials the FBI had in its possession.” But, Martin says, Dugway did not reverse or back engineer the attack powder. “Back engineering implies that you know exactly what the material is and can replicate the material exactly, step by step.” That isn’t what Dugway did, he says.

      Instead, Martin says, Dugway used the Leahy powder as the culture starter to “produce several different preparations using different media, and different ways of drying and milling the preparation” that the FBI could use for comparison purposes.

  10. DXer said

    The recent NAS report concluded:

    “The flask designated RMR-1029 was not the immediate, most proximate source of the letter material. If the letter material did in fact derive from RMR-1029, then one or more separate growth steps, using seed material from RMR-1029 followed by purification, would have been necessary.”

    ANTHRAX AND AL QAEDA: THE INFILTRATION OF US BIODEFENSE
    http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1443811

    100+ graphics –
    http://www.anthraxandalqaeda.com

  11. DXer said

    With regard to the US Attorney’s use of the term “murder weapon” to describe the flask that the FBI anthrax expert John E made the dried aerosol for DARPA, note that the results of the genetic analyses of the repository samples were consistent with the finding that the spores in the attack letters were derived from RMR-1029, but the
    analyses did not definitively demonstrate such a relationship.

    • DXer said

      Indeed, given the parallel independent development of mutations, why wasn’t biological material from all four letters should have been examined to determine whether they each contained all four genetic markers used in screening the repository samples?

    • DXer said

      The committee received testimony stating that some Dugway preparations, particularly those utilizing lyophilization but no dispersant, gave products with similar appearance and electrostatic dispersibility as the letter samples, suggesting that these properties were not necessarily connected to an intentional effort to increase dispersibility through addition of a dispersant.

      Indeed, the FBI anthrax expert at USAMRIID made a dried powder out of Flask 1029 using just a lyophilizer and said that his powder was “more pure” than the powder mailed to the Senators.

      • Old Atlantic said

        I thought you said earlier that Ezzell would not disclose to you whether he used anything to make it disperse better? Did he tell you what its dispersant qualities were? I thought you said before that pure and dispersibility characteristics were separate?

      • Old Atlantic said

        Electrostatic dispersibility is not the same as dispersibility? What about measuring the fluid and aerosol properties numerically? Were those done and were those the same? That is more than just measuring the electrostatic charge.

      • Old Atlantic said

        Note that Ivins likely could not have used a lyophilizer covertly for this application.

  12. DXer said

    Appl Environ Microbiol. 2011 Feb 4. [Epub ahead of print]

    Parameters Affecting Spore Recovery from Wipes used in Biological Surface Sampling.

    Da Silva SM, Filliben JJ, Morrow JB.

    Biochemical Science Division, Chemical Science Technology Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, 20899-8312; Statistical Engineering Division, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, USA, 20899-8980.

    Abstract

    The need for a precise and reliable collection of potential biothreat contamination has motivated research in developing a better understanding of the variability in biological surface sampling methods. In this context, the objective of this work was to determine parameters affecting the efficiency of extracting Bacillus anthracis Sterne (BA) spores from commonly used wipe sampling materials and to describe performance using interfacial energy concept. In addition, surface thermodynamics was applied to understand and predict surface sampling performance. Wipe materials were directly inoculated with known concentrations of BA spores and placed into extraction solutions followed by sonication or vortexing.

  13. DXer said

    On October 20, 2005, Dr. Ezzell’s former assistant Joany Jackman of Johns Hopkins University, spoke on that research involving the dried powder made from Flask 1029 (after being irradiated in the slurry), in a presentation on “Using Biology Against Bioterrorism” at Mercyhurst College. The talk was open to the public.

    See also

    Cincinnati Post, The (OH) – March 22, 2005

    BREATH TEST MAY HELP IDENTIFY BIO-WAR VICTIMS Researchers believe they may eventually be able to tell within a couple of hours whether people have been infected with a biological warfare agent by checking their breath.Although the preliminary work has been done on pigs, scientists at Johns Hopkins University said Monday rapid detection using exhaled breath samples seems to be feasible.”We want to have a tool that can help in the emergency room or first-responders to triage on-site so that people who are infected

    Newsday (Melville, NY) – June 15, 2005

    COOL 2 KNOW SURVIVAL GUIDE Take a deep breath The next wave of bio-defense technology might look surprisingly conventional – a Breathalyzer-type device that identifies victims of a bio-terrorist attack and an inhaler that keeps them from infecting others.”Imagine someone stands on Wall Street at noon and says, ‘You capitalist pigs are all gonna die’ and waves something above his head,” says Joany Jackman, a Johns Hopkins University…

    • DXer said

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2005/mar/24/research.highereducation

      How smart can a uniform get?

      Military textiles could be the first line of defence in an anthrax attack, according to US Air Force scientists. Jon Calomiris told the American Society for Microbiology’s biodefence research meeting that antimicrobial fabric drenched with dormant anthrax spores was incubated in a chamber at 37C and 80% humidity. ***

      And if the impregnated camouflage clothing doesn’t do the trick, Baltimore scientists have another idea: a breath sampler than could offer instant diagnosis of infection after potential exposure. They tried it on pigs, they told the meeting. Human volunteers could be next. “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 in it,” said Joany Jackman of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore.

      • DXer said

        A 2004 article about their research explained that “this work was supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (MDA972-01-D-0005). We would like to thank Earl Tewksbury for generating and sampling nano-aerosols and Nathan Boggs for collection of samples and critical review.”

        It gave the bios of the researchers:

        JOANY JACKMAN has a Ph.D. in cellular and molecular biology from the University
        of Vermont. She came to APL in June 2000. Formerly involved in research
        examining cell cycle regulation in cancer, she studied the role of infectious disease
        in those processes at the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Jackman became involved
        in biological warfare defense as an Independent Public Agent at the U.S. Army
        Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. She has continued her work
        in developing, improving, and evaluating reagents, devices, and technologies for
        reducing biological threats to the military and civilians.

        Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med. 166, 133–137 (2002).

        OWEN MOSS received a Ph.D. in inhalation toxicology and a master’s degree in
        radiation biology from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.
        His bachelor’s degree in physics is from New Mexico State University. Dr. Moss
        worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory and at Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory
        prior to his current position at CIIT Centers for Health Research in Durham,
        North Carolina. His research interests over the past two decades have focused on
        mechanisms that relate particles and biomarkers of inhaled particles to human health.
        Dr. Moss has contributed to more than 60 peer-reviewed publications and holds
        9 patents.

  14. DXer said

    JE says he used only the top portion .. the pure white portion – what did he do with the rest of the powder?

  15. DXer said

    Airborne Disease Tests Not a Threat, Says Army Biodefense Lab

    Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011

    http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20110201_4893.php

    Representatives of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Fort Detrick, Md., last week sought to dispel fears over tests involving the release of lethal pathogens in aerosolized form, Frederick News-Post reported (see GSN, Jan. 26).

    The need for the tests was a major point of uncertainty for the Containment Lab Community Advisory Committee, a group of local residents organized last September, member Pete Herz said at a meeting with USAMRIID officials.

    “Do you have to create an offensive capability to test a defensive measure?” asked committee member Kim Loll. The U.S. creation of biological arms was made illegal in 1969, but the group believed diseases released in a spray are usable as weapons, Loll said.

    “The community does have the concern of, are they creating weapons so they can test vaccines against them?” member Alex Hamill added.

    To test the effectiveness of countermeasures against disease agents released into the air through a potential bioterrorism attack, scientists must disperse samples of disease agents in aerosolized form for inhalation by animal test subjects, head viral therapeutics investigator Lisa Hensley said.

    Spray samples are prepared as required immediately before a test and are not stored, she told Frederick County Commissioner David Gray. “And then that’s it, it’s gone … that aerosol no longer exists,” Hensley said.

    Group members at the meeting asked USAMRIID commander Col. John Skvorak for assurance that adequate safeguards are in place for the site’s daily operations, establishment of additional laboratory room and preparation of normal operational protocols. Skvorak said the Army and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention keep a close watch on the facility and its 850 staffers.

    • DXer said

      http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/news/display.htm?StoryID=115916

      U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases tour eases some concerns
      Originally published January 28, 2011

      County Commissioner David Gray, who holds a nonvoting seat on the committee, said he thought a lot of concerned residents envisioned a big room where large quantities of aerosol were released. He was comforted to hear that the aerosol tests take place in small chambers, only several cubic feet in size, where the animals sit inside and are exposed to a quick spray. Hensley said USAMRIID does not have a constant supply of aerosolized diseases but rather creates what they need just before an experiment takes place.

      “And then that’s it, it’s gone … that aerosol no longer exists,” she reassured him.

  16. DXer said

    3/31/2005 –
    In IVINS’ experience, freezing “wrecks” spores. He has never seen lyophilized spores which were not lyophilized spores which were not damaged or in poor condition. For this reason, IVINS does not believe the material in the anthrax-laced letters was lyophilized. If it was lyophilized, something was probably added to protect the spores.

  17. DXer said

    2/31/2005
    IVINS likewise advised that he had no first-hand personal knowledge of anyone producing dried anthrax prior to the fall 2001 attacks. However, IVINS said he recently became aware that [the FBI’s anthrax scientist JE] had produced dried irradiated anthrax spores for a project with [DARPA AND JOHNS-HOPKINS]. IVINS said he learned this by responding to a FOIA request.

  18. DXer said

    Query: did the large quantity of missing Ames that used the “frozen stock” as the parent have the same Silicon Signal as Flask 1030? Did it have the same Silicon Signal as the mailed anthrax?

    The DOJ does not cite any documentation for the proposition that the single-colony pick method was used for this missing Ames or that Flask 1029 (instead of the frozen stock) was not the parent. It should do so. The DOJ needs to produce the lab notebooks.

    (By the way, I think Dugway was sent Ames from the frozen stock, not Flask 1029)

    The Amerithrax Summary (pp. 27-28 & n.11) states:

    “Investigators attempted to account for the 100 ml math error identified in Dr. Ivins’s RMR-1029 Receipt Log, scrutinizing each entry by reviewing the associated laboratory notebooks, and interviewing each of the researchers to whom the material was transferred. In addition, investigators reviewed every lab notebook associated with aerosol challenges and vaccine research in general, looking for work using RMR-1029 that was not recorded. Investigators identified 14 unrecorded “withdrawals” from RMR-1029 prior to the mailings, including usages by Dr. Ivins himself and transfers to other researchers, each of whom was investigated. According to this review, there was approximately 220 ml of RMR-1029 that was unaccounted for on Dr. Ivins’s Reference Material Receipt record prior to the mailings in 2001.

    During the time that Dr. Ivins was transferring quantities of spores to, for example, aerobiology for animal challenges and outside labs for their research, lab technicians continued to make spores at the behest of Dr. Ivins, thinking that the spores were needed to go into RMR1029. His junior lab technician [Mara Linscott, Former Colleague #1] thought that the “Dugway Spores” were exhausted, so she needed to make spores for the animal challenges. In fact, she was under the impression that she was hired expressly for this purpose. His senior lab technician [Patricia Fellows, “Former Colleague #2], on the other hand, thought that she was continuously making spores to add to the existing stock of “Dugway Spores.” In fact, the investigation revealed that there were never any additions to RMR-1029 after its creation in October 1997.

    Investigators unsuccessfully attempted to determine what happened to these spores. However, there is no evidence that RMR-1029 was the parent material to these new spores, as the laboratory technicians were utilizing frozen stock of Bacillus anthracis – and not liquid suspension such as RMR-1029 – as the parent material for their new spore preparations. In addition, the technique they used to grow new spores, known as a “single-colony pick,” would not produce genetically identical material to the parent material, making it extremely unlikely that these missing spores were utilized in the anthrax attacks”

  19. DXer said

    From: Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
    To:
    Subject: Anthrax spore powder in B3

    Date: Thursday, May 23, 2002 8:36:41 AM

    As we discussed previously, anthrax spores, when in dry powdery form, should only be worked
    with under BSL-4 conditions until they have been resuspended. We also discussed your making a
    general announcement for the division folks that NO SPORE POWDER (Period!) is to be in any of the
    Bacteriology Division biocontainment suites. Only after suspension in another appropriate
    biocontainment area can the material be brought into the suite. Please make such an announcement to
    Bacteriology Diviison personnel as soon as possible to avoid any future problems such as those we just
    recently experienced.
    – Bruce

  20. DXer said

    The email by which the FBI’s anthrax scientist sent Bruce Ivins lab the instructions on preparing the slants was dated May 24, 2002.

    The American Prospect, Vol. 13, May 20, 2002

    The enemy within? The FBI’s anthrax investigation turns in on itself

    by Laura Rozen
    WHEN ANTHRAX FIRST turned up in letters to journalists and members of Congress last October, much of the public, still shaken from the September 11 attacks, naturally assumed that the perpetrator was an outside terrorist group like al-Qaeda. But as investigators have honed in on domestic facilities and possibly even domestic suspects, the FBI faces a difficult test. Suppose the attacks were an inside job–by, say, one of the U.S. Army’s own biowarfare scientists. What scientific authorities could the FBI turn to if it’s effectively investigating the very labs that do its testing?
    The U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland, for example, is charged with running diagnostic tests on the anthrax found in letters sent to Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy. And while FBI sources say they’re happy with USAMRIID’s level of cooperation, there’s no getting around the fact that some of that lab’s employees, former employees, and contract workers could be among the FBI’s potential suspects. After all, they know how to grow and weaponize anthrax, and they have access to spores.

    “There are really only a few places weapons-grade anthrax could have come from, including Dugway [Army Proving Grounds in Utah], Fort Detrick, and other labs contracted by the military,” said David Fidler, a University of Indiana law professor who has written about the legal implications of biological terrorism. “In a way, you have one arm of the executive branch investigating another. And the FBI doesn’t have the built-in competencies to conduct an investigation alone which is based on public-health principles and science.”

    In fact, the FBI has hired some 20 expert consultants to assist with the anthrax investigation, and most of them belong to the government bio-defense establishment. One measure of how very close the investigators are to the investigated is the fact that in February, those consultants were asked to take polygraph tests. “Did you do it?” the experts were reportedly asked, and, “Do you know who did it?” Likewise, even as some FBI investigators set up shop at USAMRIID, working side by side with scientists to trace the source of the anthrax, another FBI team descended on Fort Detrick in February to question lab employees about suspicious activity they might have seen–and to administer polygraph tests to those with access to suites where anthrax and other deadly germs are handled.

    According to one USAMRIID scientist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, all of the lab’s current employees have been cleared. But sources close to the investigation suggest that the FBI also has taken an interest in former USAMRIID scientists. As employees of other government agencies and contracting firms, such people might have continued access to military bio-defense facilities.

    But here the FBI has hit a particularly baffling roadblock. The bureau’s investigators are not confident that other government agencies, such as the CIA and the Department of Defense, have let them in on the full range of bio-defense work they have commissioned. And this lack of full disclosure may not just be a matter of stonewalling, one former FBI investigator suggested. Rather, FBI investigators may not have the top-level security clearances that would allow CIA or Pentagon officials to disclose all they know. The result is an almost comical impasse of mutual distrust and bureaucratic red tape.

    If the FBI can’t investigate the U.S. bio-defense establishment, who can?

    It’s an increasingly important question, given the apparent direction of the FBI’s probe. The FBI is particularly interested in U.S. military bio-defense laboratories, well-placed sources suggest, because the anthrax in the letters was processed into a finely spored, chemically fluffed, aerosolized dry powder–a form consistent with that used to test American defenses against biological weapons. Scientists who have seen photos of the spores also remark on their extraordinary degree of concentration. At more than a trillion spores per gram, the powder’s potency surpasses what was achieved at the height of the U.S. offensive biological weapons program, which ended in 1969. But given the secrecy that surrounds such research, investigators may not yet know what innovations the U.S. government has made in chemically processing germ weapons since the program officially ended. It wasn’t until last December, in fact, that the U.S. Army admitted that it had been making small amounts of the lethal, dry, powder form of anthrax for testing purposes at Dugway since the 1990s. Preliminary reports suggest that the anthrax in the Leahy letter was processed using methods and chemicals different from those of known government biowarfare programs. But could there be programs the FBI doesn’t know about?

    NONETHELESS, AND DESPITE ITS public insistence that it has not zeroed in on a suspect or ruled anything out, the FBI does appear to be making progress on the case. And from the look of it, that progress is taking the investigation to the bio-defense establishment’s doorstep. The investigation’s “office of origin” remains the FBI’s Washington field office, but sources say that in the last month, the bureau has stepped up activity at its field office in Baltimore, Maryland. Moreover, the Joint Terrorism Task Force, an interagency body that specializes in tracking domestic terrorists, has also been mobilized on the anthrax case–yet another indication that investigators may believe the perpetrator was not international but homegrown.

    Identifying the lab from which the anthrax in the letters originated will supply one major piece of the puzzle. But investigators point out that this information is far from sufficient for an indictment. Indeed, the classic criminal investigator’s questions–who had not just the weapon, but the motive and the opportunity?–will most likely be addressed by the gumshoe special agents who are even now out in the field questioning people, gathering testimony, and testing hypotheses. Already investigators have identified the Xerox machine used to photocopy the letters sent to Democratic senators, NBC, and the New York Post last fall, a source close to the investigation said. The machine is “publicly accessible” and is in New Jersey, but in what town or what facility was not disclosed.

    The question of motive remains perhaps the most perplexing. What do the letters, which advised recipients to take “penacilin” and deliberately disseminated a noncontagious germ, reveal about the perpetrator’s intentions? Some sources speculate that the perpetrator could be a biowarfare expert out to prove that the United States needs to take more seriously its vulnerability to biological attack. “This is not about killing five Americans,” mused Clint Van Zandt, a former FBI profiler who worked on the Ted Kaczsynski “Unabomber” and Timothy McVeigh cases. “This is about sending a message.

  21. DXer said

    The FBI operation in August 2002 involved investigators from the CDC (contrary to Ed’s mistaken claim). John Florence, a spokesman for the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, explained:

    “This was the first time that FBI agents had worked literally side-by-side with public health scientists,” Florence said.

    It was AFTER the return to AMI by the CDC scientists that the peer-reviewed Emerging Infectious Disease published the conclusion that there likely two letters and two paths of contamination through the Post Offices.

    “FBI finishes searching AMI building for clues, ” dated September 11, 2002.
    “The operation was led by the FBI and involved investigators from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

  22. DXer said

    Ed Lake,

    The Post Office explained in its official response in 2004 which Ed has simply ignored for the past 5 years and as recently as today:

    “The main source of uncertainty in understanding the system-wide exposure pathways is the path of the letters sent to the Florida media company resulting in the index inhalational anthrax case. The letters were not recovered.. “.

    http://www.usps.com/communications/news/security/final_gao.htm

    You can disagree with the Post Office if you like but you should not mischaracterize its position.

    The GAO has already spoken to the question.

    BIOTERRORISM
    Public Health Response to Anthrax Incidents of 2001

    “The cases of inhalational anthrax in Florida, the first epicenter, were thought to have resulted from proximity to opened letters containing anthrax spores, which were never found. (See table 1.)”

    http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:eSCnVo2eJ7IJ:www.gao.gov/new.items/d04152.pdf+FBI+Response+to+GAO+Report+on+Anthrax+2001&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEEShGbuBH812gwAxXsyqWuyCzsIV1PfoJnNZcG_7fOERHm0mAN7uYPGcisgirwv2uxl2CDFGKIFwVVO4AIjaU-Owy-EjlNiojFNMqQ6lRo6GbFHwBxX9Av-08ybEG4UCiC-LRM00K&sig=AHIEtbSxanehZ1tD00FaZtRJk76j5WglWQ

    Be sure to post the links above on your webpage so the casual surfer is not misled by your mischaracterization.

    On the question of the scientific conclusion, the issue is whether there was one letter or two letters containing anthrax. The answer is that it was concluded that there likely were two letters. Now you may disagree with that conclusion, based on your unique and lay interpretation of some data unrelated to the sampling of the post offices.

    But don’t mischaracterize the position of the Post Office.

    And don’t mischaracterize the position of the FBI.

  23. DXer said

    The top FBI scientist Bruce Budowie, in a 2008 powerpoint before the NAS titled “Microbial Forensics and Law Enforcement” on this issue of the partnership between the CDC and FBI explained that
    http://cstsp.aaas.org/content.html?contentid=1503

    “Partnership between CDC & FBI serves at least three functions

    (1) Sampling mechanism for environmental samples
    (2) Sentinel warning system for covert bio-events
    (3) Technical resource.

    Thus, the finding by the CDC that two letters were sent to AMI is as significant as the finding to the same effect by the Post Office.

    It was the CDC and Post Office that did the sampling in the Florida post offices, not the FBI.

    Dr. Budowie discussed at great length and with great sophistication the issue of validation that would apply to such a conclusion.

    By all means, the NAS should address the issues of validation relating to the CDC, Post Office, EPA, and Palm County Health Department conclusion (published in the EID and various official government reports relating to validation of the sampling method) that there likely were two letters travelling along two different routes of contamination.

    • DXer said

      To understand the nature of the CDC/FBI partnership, the handbook is useful.

      FBI/CDC/DOJ/USASBCC: Criminal and Epidemiological Investigation Handbook, 2006 edition.

    • DXer said

      For another FBI scientist learned on these issues, you can ask Randall Murch whether the FBI disputes the CDC finding.

      History, Strategy & Future of Microbial Forensics Randall S. Murch, PhD Randall S. Murch, PhD Virginia Tech Virginia Tech– National Capital RegionNational Capital Region Center for Technology, …

      cstsp.aaas.org/…20Murch microbial forensics talk.pdf

  24. DXer said

    The FBI doesn’t dispute the conclusion that there likely were two letters — and two routes of contamination through the Florida post offices. That was your mistake — not the FBI’s mistake. That would put the FBI’s conclusions in a fine mess if it disagreed with its own peer-reviewed scientific reports.

    Doug or any number of FBI scientists could correct your misapprehension on this point.

    CNN BREAKING NEWS

    NBC News Employee Tests Positive for Anthrax Exposure

    Aired October 12, 2001 – 14:59 ET

    PESQUERA: The same area, meaning they are contained, basically, within the mailroom area. With the exception of Mr. Stevens.

    QUESTION: What do you mean by the mail container?

    PESQUERA: Mailroom area. Contained. No, I meant contained within the mail — there is an area within the building that is a mailroom, that sorts out the mail that goes to the different entities within the building.

    QUESTION: Do you see a link between these incidents here and the recent reported case at NBC in New York? PESQUERA: No, sir. No link whatsoever so far. Understand that we are well ahead of New York, in the sense that New York just got received this information. We have been in touch with New York. CDC obviously is in touch with New York. I’m in touch with my counterpart, and we are coordinating both investigations.

    But you must understand — I mean, the New York information came about today, so they are in the infancy stage of their investigation.
    ***

    QUESTION: Your name?

    DOUGLAS BEECHER, MICROBIOLOGIST, FBI: It’s Douglas Beecher. B- E-E-C-H-E-R.

    • DXer said

      10/12 CNN

      PESQUERA: Five locations. Five locations. We have Mr. Stevens, we have the keyboard, we have the mail container, we have Stephanie, and we have blanket. Five locations. We call them “locations,” although they involve individuals.

      PESQUERA: Fortunately, I have two experts that will address that question. Whoever wants to do that. Brad [CDC’s Brad Perkins], or Douglas Beecher, who is our expert that is accompanying us for this matter.

      “BEECHER: I’m a microbiologist with the hazardous materials response unit of the FBI. ”

      John Ezzell, who made the dried powder out of Flask 1029 at USAMRIID, was working in the hazardous materials response unit of the FBI. And so Doug could also fill you in on that research.

      From the very start of Amerithrax, Flask 1029 was as close as the unlocked refrigerator in the lab of the anthrax expert working for the FBI’s hazardous materials unit for years… where it had been used to make a dried powder.

      If the FBI scientists don’t start showing some candor today, the GAO investigation should be supplemented by a Congressional investigation.

      Source:
      http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:4-U2MAO6L_EJ:www-cgi.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0110/12/bn.08.html+The+same+area,+meaning+they+are+contained,+basically,+within+the+mailroom+area.+With+the+exception+of+Mr.+Stevens.&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

    • DXer said

      By all means, please link the sources you rely upon and provide their date. Previously, you cited an October 9, 2001 and October 11, 2001 which the journal articles I linked and cited were in error — done before the sampling in the post offices had even been done. There have been entire journal articles about the early errors made by well-meaning law enforcement investigators in providing false assurances to the postal employees.

      The issue is this: is the formal position that there likely were two letters (and two routes) through the Postal Offices. The answer is yes.

      You say it is not a peer-reviewed journal. Why do you say that and waste the reader’s time given I previously explained that it was and cited supporting authority.

      “Emerging Infectious Diseases is a peer-reviewed journal established expressly to promote the recognition of new and reemerging infectious diseases around the world and improve the understanding of factors involved in disease emergence, prevention, and elimination. ”

      http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/StyleGuide/author_resource.htm

      I previously made these points. Earlier this past week, in 2008, in 2009. And I’ve always said you never correct your mistakes.

      I would ask that in order for the blog to have credibility with professionals that posters cite authority for issues in dispute and correctly characterize their sources.

      The Emerging Infectious Diseases, as I explained long ago, is where the FBI scientists wanted to publish the most recently promised journal articles.

  25. Old Atlantic said

    http://www.papillonsartpalace.com/terrorisI.htm

    ” Government officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity said trucks that could have carried the anthrax-laced letter nonstop from Trenton to the Brentwood facility have not been inspected for contamination.”

    Jerry Seper and Daniel F. Drummond
    THE WASHINGTON TIMES

    Published 10/24/01

    Brentwood is in DC.

    Thus the Senate letters went by land from NJ to DC. The NYC letters went from land from Princeton NJ to NYC (assumption).

    There is no evidence any of the letters ever went by air.

    If the Florida letters were mailed locally that would mean no letters went by air.

  26. Old Atlantic said

    The logic of the mail delays and the two good letters sent to Florida from place X and the bad letters sent to NYC from Princeton NJ makes no sense for Ivins to be the mailer, unless he sent both of the Florida letters before 9/11.

    • Old Atlantic said

      If Ivins or anyone else sent letters by airmail prior to 9/11, then it had to be long enough for them to wander around the various post offices. So they would have had to go 2 or 3 days before 9/11 if by airmail from some place else.

    • Old Atlantic said

      There may be people at DOJ and FBI who thought through this already. This may be another reason why Ivins was not a suspect for years. Those involved in the early days would have been more sensitive to this logic.

      FOIA might turn up FBI or DOJ documents on this.

      • BugMaster said

        You know, they just might!

      • BugMaster said

        When the AMI letters were mailed, the mailer had no way of knowing was was going to happen on 9/11.

        Later he took advantage of the coincidence.

        • richard rowley said

          Post by BugMaster:
          ——————
          When the AMI letters were mailed, the mailer had no way of knowing was was going to happen on 9/11.

          Later he took advantage of the coincidence.
          ==========================================
          I agree 100% with this analysis. It explains a lot.

          I would go one step further though: the anthrax sent to Santiago, Chile was likely sent by the same perp(s), despite the fact that the Chilean anthrax was from another strain…..

          And if that was the case there were 4 batches:

          1)AMI

          2)media

          3)politician

          4) Chilean

          It speaks to someone with a complex distribution system (likely the use of overnight delivery carrier(s) which bring the letters to an accomplice (or accomplices) in another state…..New Jersey being the most likely location of ONE such accomplice. The ACCOMPLICE transfers the letters from the overnight delivery package to the local postal pick up box.

    • Old Atlantic said

      “Cargo flights are beginning to be used to move the mail. Once the FAA allows commercial flights to resume and carry mail, the Postal Service will work to move more mail by air.”

      http://www.usps.com/news/2001/press/pr01_080.htm

      September 13, 2001 – 7PM EDT
      Release No. 01-080

  27. Old Atlantic said

    BugMaster said
    January 13, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    Richard, this is what I have been saying for years.

    When it was first announced that Stephans had anthrax, at that time I did a rough calculation of when the letters were mailed, taking into account incubation time, the extended amount of time it would have taken to deliver ANY mail in the weeks immediately after 9/11, and, later when the letters were shown on the news:

    The attempt to tie the attacks to 9/11 was so lame-brained and pathetic!

    Conclusion: The AMI mailings were a separate mailings pre-dating 9/11.

    That’s why there is no subtilis!

    ==

    “Domestic air mail became obsolete in 1975, and international air mail in 1995, when the USPS began transporting First-Class mail by air on a routine basis.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Postal_Service

    Note that local mail would not have been affected?

    • Old Atlantic said

      http://www.usps.com/news/2001/press/pr01_0920potter.htm

      STATEMENT OF POSTMASTER GENERAL/CEO JOHN E. POTTER
      TO THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS,
      PROLIFERATION AND FEDERAL SERVICES
      SENATE COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS
      SEPTEMBER 20, 2001

    • Old Atlantic said

      If al Qaeda sent the letters they could manage the process anticipating a delay in air mail delivery.

      Al Qaeda could plan to send the first letters locally in Florida to avoid airmail delay. This applies before or after 9/11.

      Al Qaeda could then send the Princeton letters as mail delivery resumed.

      Sending from Florida locally and then from Princeton after mail delivery had picked up again shows planning around mail deliveries after 9/11 by airmail.

      Only al Qaeda could have done such planning in advance.

      Of course, someone else could have altered their plans. If the anthrax letters came after 9/11, they might have drove to Florida or been there and used a local mailing and then drove to Princeton or been there and used it when mail resumed.

      Either scenario rules out Ivins.

      The disjointed mailing time between the Sep 18, 2001 Princeton mailing and the mailings that arrived in Florida point towards someone or some group that could either react to 9/11 or had knowledge in advance. That leaves out Ivins in both cases.

      • Old Atlantic said

        React in sense of adjusting mailing target and place of mailing. So they mailed from Florida to get there locally as a plan or adjustment to 9/11, and then mailed at Princeton 9/18 to go to New York. That would also avoid air mail delivery problems to New York.


        Mail Service News Release

        FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
        September 17, 2001 – 9PM
        Release No. 01-081″

        This was available after they had decided to mail in Princeton late Sep 17 and early Sep 18. So they may have used Princeton for a surface delivery to New York. They used Florida mail boxes for a surface delivery to Florida.

        This rules out Ivins.

        It is most consistent with al Qaeda planning this in advance and wanting surface delivery mail for Florida from Florida and to New York City from Princeton NJ.

        • Old Atlantic said

          If Ivins prepared the letters over the weekend of 9/14 to 9/16, then he would have had to have a NYC target by surface mail and a Florida target that would be delayed. It doesn’t make sense for him to choose a NYC and Florida target for a mailing from Princeton to be done on 9/18 when airmail was disrupted as of the weekend.

          Moreover, the mailer could not know if another strike would disrupt air transport. Unless they were al Qaeda.

        • Old Atlantic said

          Also on Ivins as the mailer, the Florida letters were the good letters if mailed on 9/18.

          So he addressed his two good letters to Florida on the weekend of 9/14 to 9/16 and his bad letters to NYC to be mailed from Princeton.

          This is the opposite of what he would do. He would want his good letters to get there before they were found in the mail system. So he would send his good letters to NYC from Princeton to arrive quickly before detected.

          Sending the bad letters to NYC first would risk the good letters being found in the system before delivered.

          This strongly argues against Ivins who would have had to address his letters no later than Sunday night 9/16/2001 at a time when airmail was highly uncertain.

          He would have sent at least one good letter to NYC to arrive by surface quickly before it was found in the system.

  28. DXer said

    As indicated by the reports I’ve linked below, the GAO, Post Office EPA, Palm County and epidemiologists working with the FBI concluded that there were two routes of contamination — two letters — despite initial skepticism by investigators.

    I linked the peer reviewed journal article that was critical of the expression of initial premature skepticism, saying it undermined confidence in the later public health findings based on the science.

    Here is a powerpoint by experts making the same point.

    Presentation – PALM BEACH COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT RESPONSE TO …

    File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat – Quick View
    Two cases of inhalation anthrax. • 1 death. • Source: two letters. • Six postal facilities. • Widespread environmental workplace contamination …
    http://www.publichealthleaders.org/curriculum/jitterbug_slides.pdf

    Positive results were found in the samples collected at the Boca Raton Main, Lake Worth Main, Lucerne, and West Palm Main Post Offices.

    Here is an additional EPA document describing some of the decontamination work in the Florida post offices.

    http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:qjADV3np-iUJ:www.epa.gov/region4/waste/errb/CPdfs/fl/pbanthrax.pdf+swab+sampling+Florida+post+office+anthrax&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEEShSLeCJ9-ZIuhj3xjLPcKwM93K9sBvtkH7g5MfwTcFZqockLHqADoNirC70K2GQeZoexBkBKxpOSSrmzVlQgCtofWuG9YUkVDN7Da5L1Oj-8bCDfkndb74wd_dIf1KAPKy9grdT&sig=AHIEtbS6gtU3sv012Zj1wnTF0GfVkmWgfQ

    There was at least one individual — Ed Lake — whose confusion extended for a full decade rather than just weeks or month. Ed is not qualified to address the issues. He substitutes his beliefs for the work done by the epidemiologists in the Florida post offices. He has conducted no empirical investigation. Conducted no interviews. He has never even been in the post offices. He is not even privy to the data relating to their work in the post offices. If he wants to continue to assert his position and attempt to confuse people who are too busy to read the authoritative information, then he should at least find an epidemiologist who has reviewed the data and disagrees with the conclusion of the epidemiologists who gathered and interpreted the data from the post offices.

    • DXer said

      Anthrax at AMI traveled via copiers
      By John Murawski, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
      Sunday, September 15, 2002

      ***

      Officials surmised last year that anthrax entered the building in at least two letters, because of anthrax contamination at two different post offices that served the building.

  29. DXer said

    In assessing the CDC’s scientific conclusion published in the peer-reviwed EID that there were two routes of contamination — and two letters — sent to two different AMI publications, the NAS and Ed could consider

    “Examining the CDCynergy Event Assessment Tool: an investigation of the anthrax crisis in Boca Raton, Florida

    Article first published online: 2 AUG 2006

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.0361-3666.2005.00325.x/abstract

  30. DXer said

    If Ed disagrees with the lead CDC investigator Brad Perkins and the official published findings of the government epidemiologists, then by all means, he should contact Dr. Perkins and ask if he’s changed his mind. BP is available to interview and oversaw the effort by the CDC’s 2000 employees working on Amerithrax at one point.

    “Letters delivered to the American Media building — which is still closed, by the way — were sent along two different routes: one that handled the bulk of the packages and a second that rerouted mail first sent to an outdated address for The National Enquirer. Both were contaminated with spores, which means more than one letter had been sent.”

    If Ed expects the NAS to go with the webposter rather than the official CDC findings, then he should ask the NAS to roll up their sleeves in studying the contamination over the two routes.

    Source: Esquire 139 (3), 214-222, March 2003.

    What Ever Happened to Anthrax?

    Second of Two Parts (click here for first part)

    BY SEAN FLYNN
    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:tea3_NBZ0DEJ:www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/whateveranthrax2.html+Malecki+%22Jennifer+Lopez%22+%22Palm+Beach%22&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

    Brad Perkins and his team of CDC investigators are on the ground in Florida by four o’clock Thursday afternoon, October 4. They know for certain what they’re dealing with now. The final test on Bob’s spinal fluid came back early that morning: positive. He’s got inhalational anthrax, the first American case in a generation.

    The strategy from here is straightforward: retrace Bob’s last steps, collect samples pack everything off to the labs. At the same time, investigators are hunting for other cases. It’s unthinkable that Bob was the only one infected. Jean already has the medical examiner poring over old death certificates, looking for any unusual fatalities. She has veterinarians going through their files, too. Nearly three dozen hospitals on the east coast of Florida are put on alert for patients with symptoms like Bob’s.

    Working from Jean’s notes, Brad organizes his staff into three teams. Friday morning, they split up. One goes to the lakes where Bob fished and the park where he rode his bike. Another takes the stores where he bought his spices and noodles. Brad takes the third team to Bob’s house. (A separate CDC squad retraces his North Carolina steps.) He’s not expecting to find anything there, but he has to check. Maybe Bob has an old coat lined with goat hair in his closet or a mangy sheepskin rug stuffed in a corner of the garage.

    Brad spends a few hours at the house, poking around the yard, wiping dust from the walls. It’s a total crapshoot. The swabs he’s using to collect the samples have never been used in the field before. He doesn’t know if they’ll pick up any spores that might be lingering on a countertop, doesn’t know if they’ll kick out false positives in the lab. All he knows is nothing looks suspicious.

    By early afternoon, he’s driving south to Bob’s office in Boca. His gut is telling him that’s where he’ll find the anthrax. Still, he doesn’t want to put on the protective gear. The staff at AMI is edgy enough without men in white biohazard suits tromping around their cubicles. Brad’s taking a precautionary course of antibiotics, which should-should-neutralize any low-dose exposure. If he goes into any high-risk areas, like the vent system or the air-conditioning units, he’ll put on the full armor.

    Brad and his staff talk to Bob’s coworkers, ask if he’s gotten any suspicious packages. No one remembers anything like that. They ask if Bob has any enemies, if he was into anything weird, if any crackpots have been harassing him. No. Everyone likes Bob.

    He goes to the third floor, finds the desk where Bob downloaded photographs on his computer. Like Larry Bush and Jean Malecki, Brad is thinking the spores might have been mailed into the building. Okay, he says to himself, where do I open a letter? He looks at the desk. All right, powder falls out. Where is it going to be undisturbed a week later? He looks at the computer. Dust clings to the screen, gets trapped in the keyboard. He dabs samples from both surfaces. His team moves through the rest of the building, swabbing here, wiping there, picking areas where they think air currents might have carried stray spores. They work down to the first floor, where the mail room is tucked next to the front entrance.

    Brad’s lost track of how many samples they’ve collected. Fifty-six so far, he thinks. He has one swab left for the mail room. He has to pick his Spot. He finds the cubbyhole where Bob’s mail was deposited, runs the swab inside, then packs it into a sterile container to be shipped to the lab.

    Right about then, at four o’clock in the afternoon on Friday, October 5, Bob Stevens dies.

    The pieces fell together quickly after Bob died. On Friday night, only hours after his death, a hospital in Miami reported a patient with a stubborn case of pneumonia. His name was Ernesto Blanco (case 7), and he was the seventy-three-year-old mail-room supervisor at American Media. The CDC sent people to swab the inside of Blanco’s nose for anthrax spores: Those tests came back positive. So did many of the samples Brad Perkins collected inside AMI, including, most important, the one from the mail room. By Sunday morning, five days after Bob Stevens stumbled into the emergency room, investigators had determined where he’d been infected, who else might have been exposed-anyone who’d set foot inside the AMI building in the previous two months — and how the germs had been delivered.

    Of course, the headlines from Palm Beach unleashed an immediate panic across the country. The U.S. was under attack. Phantom anthrax was everywhere. Jetliners were grounded every time a stewardess spilled the NutraSweet, and hazmat teams were dispatched to sweep up brick dust and talcum power. Yet there was also real anthrax floating about, many millions of deadly spores that might have gone unnoticed if not for Bob Stevens.

    In fact, he wasn’t necessarily the first casualty. (It’s impossible to pinpoint precisely when he was infected.) While Bob lay comatose in Florida, at least five people in New York City were suffering from cutaneous anthrax, with lesions that in one case had been misdiagnosed as spider bites. Once Bob was diagnosed, those cases were reexamined and quickly traced to a handful of letters mailed from Trenton, New Jersey. That, in turn, put Senator Tom Daschle’s staff on alert when a nearly identical letter arrived in his office a few days later loaded with a pinch of powder containing millions of anthrax spores that theoretically was capable of killing several hundred, if not several thousand, people. A second letter, addressed to Senator Patrick Leahy, was discovered four weeks later in a pile of quarantined mail at a postal facility. After that, the Senate office buildings were shut down.

    Those were apparently the last two anthrax letters, the last bursts of the attack. In New York and Florida and Washington, investigators swabbed the nostrils of thousands of potential victims, searching for spores that might have been trapped on their way into the lungs, trying to determine how far the bacteria had spread. Anyone who was at risk was issued a prophylactic supply of antibiotics in the hope that the germs could be overwhelmed before they took root.

    Still, new exposures cropped up well into November. Spores had leaked from the envelopes as they passed through high-speed mail-sorting machines, contaminating equipment and whole buildings and then other pieces of mail that passed through. The last known case, the twenty-second infection and the fifth fatality, was diagnosed in a ninety-four-year-old Connecticut woman (case 23) who is believed to have contracted it from a piece of mail delivered to her house. She died on November 21, seven weeks after Bob Stevens felt the first chills of a fever.

    Bob Stevens was an old guy with a bum heart who had a seizure and died. That happens in Florida every hour on the hour. If he’d died at home or if he’d died alone, if he’d been dead before anyone tapped his spinal column, only his relatives and his friends and his undertaker would have noticed. And the death toll could have been much, much worse.

    Sixteen months have passed now, and no one knows who killed Bob Stevens and four other people, poisoned seventeen more, and terrorized the country for seven weeks. Or why. Or, by logical extension, how to stop him or her or them the next time. As criminal investigations go, Amerithrax — that’s what the FBI calls the attacks –has been an exercise in impotence.

    A few facts have emerged since October 2001. Brad Perkins, for one, learned that the swabs he wiped across the desks in the American Media building actually worked, that the CDC has the tools to collect trace amounts of anthrax should this ever happen again. On the other hand, investigators also learned that swabbing the nostrils of potential victims is not particularly useful: The correlation between having a spore in one’s nose and developing symptoms is nonexistent. At best, the swabs can help define the area of exposure.

    Public-health officials learned that most of what had been expected to happen in an anthrax attack was wrong. For instance, it was believed that spores couldn’t re-aerosolize that is, that once they had settled onto a surface after the initial release, they couldn’t float back into the air. Not true, especially if the spores are resting on a mail-sorting machine that’s blasted with compressed air as part of its routine maintenance. Curiously, it’s both more and less deadly than they thought. On the one hand, they now know that far fewer than eight thousand spores can kill a person. After the ninety-four-year-old woman in Connecticut died (case 23), epidemiologists sifted through her house, even stirring things up with a leaf blower. They found no other spores, which suggests she inhaled a stray cluster clinging to an envelope. On the other hand, they discovered that, properly treated, even inhalational anthrax isn’t necessarily fatal, that an early and heavy dose of antibiotics can kill the bacteria. (Assuming the germs aren’t engineered to be drug-resistant, that is) Oddly, for a bunch of science geeks, they also had to be reminded of the basic rules of geometry. Initially no one at the CDC suspected postal facilities would be contaminated because the seams of the envelopes had been taped shut, apparently to keep the powder from leaking. Yet an anthrax spore three microns wide can easily slip through paper fibers with fifty-micron gaps between them-and did, causing two postal-worker deaths (cases 15 and 16).

    The cops and the doctors have also figured out how Bob Stevens was infected, which, like all the other cases, was through the mail. Letters delivered to the American Media building — which is still closed, by the way — were sent along two different routes: one that handled the bulk of the packages and a second that rerouted mail first sent to an outdated address for The National Enquirer. Both were contaminated with spores, which means more than one letter had been sent. Some employees remember seeing a curious letter about Jennifer Lopez — a marriage proposal folded around a small Star of David — that might have been the source. Eventually, investigators found anthrax spores in eighty separate areas of AMI.

    • DXer said

      In assessing the conclusion that there were two letters and two routes through the post offices in Florida, published in the EID journal article, the NAS panel members has available online the United States Postal Service Response to the General Accounting Office Recommendations in the Anthrax Attack of 2001.

      • DXer said

        The Post Office explained in its official response inn 2004 which Ed has simply ignored for the past 5 years:

        “The main source of uncertainty in understanding the system-wide exposure pathways is the path of the letters sent to the Florida media company resulting in the index inhalational anthrax case. The letters were not recovered.. “.

        http://www.usps.com/communications/news/security/final_gao.htm

        Ed Lake nonetheless persisted in insisting that the official scientific conclusion about its extensive epidemiological study was mistaken.

        It was analogous to his persistence that it is 99% certain that someone who just learned the English language wrote the letters instead of Dr. Ivins (when if he had any familiarity with the handwriting analysis literature he would no his assertion was unsupportable).

        Ed, in light of the Post Office’s official scientific conclusion that there were TWO letters sent to AMI — and not one — what do you think the second letter was that resulted in a bunch spores on Robert Stevens’ keyboard? See Brad Perkins’ personal account. The answer: the JLo letter.

        Ed never corrects his mistakes and won’t on this issue either no matter how many official government publications I link. And there are plenty more on the point.

        • DXer said

          The GAO has already spoken to the question.

          BIOTERRORISM
          Public Health Response to Anthrax Incidents of 2001

          “The cases of inhalational anthrax in Florida, the first epicenter, were thought to have resulted from proximity to opened letters containing anthrax spores, which were never found. (See table 1.)”

          http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:eSCnVo2eJ7IJ:www.gao.gov/new.items/d04152.pdf+FBI+Response+to+GAO+Report+on+Anthrax+2001&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEEShGbuBH812gwAxXsyqWuyCzsIV1PfoJnNZcG_7fOERHm0mAN7uYPGcisgirwv2uxl2CDFGKIFwVVO4AIjaU-Owy-EjlNiojFNMqQ6lRo6GbFHwBxX9Av-08ybEG4UCiC-LRM00K&sig=AHIEtbSxanehZ1tD00FaZtRJk76j5WglWQ

          The GAO next will review the uncertainties relating to the science and foreign involvement.

        • DXer said

          For a discussion of the close collaboration between the CDC and FBI in conducting the epidemiological investigation, see the article by Dr. Butler. He and his colleagues wrote

          Collaboration Between Public Health and Law Enforcement: New Paradigms and Partnerships for Bioterrorism Planning and Response.
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2730308/?tool=pubmed

          Like the others involved in the sampling of Florida post offices establishing that there were two routes/two letters, he has always remained available to clear up Ed’s confusion on the subject and listed his email as the corresponding author years ago. But Ed just kept on with his true believer/conspiracy theorist schtick rather than read the literature and make inquiries. Dr. Butler served as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention liaison to Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters during November and December 2001.

          I’ve been citing the peer-reviewed literature to him for years and he just ignores it.

          Abstract:

          “The biological attacks with powders containing Bacillus anthracis sent through the mail during September and October 2001 led to unprecedented public health and law enforcement investigations, which involved thousands of investigators from federal, state, and local agencies. Following recognition of the first cases of anthrax in Florida in early October 2001, investigators from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) were mobilized to assist investigators from state and local public health and law enforcement agencies. Although public health and criminal investigations have been conducted in concert in the past, the response to the anthrax attacks required close collaboration because of the immediate and ongoing threat to public safety. We describe the collaborations between CDC and FBI during the investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks and highlight the challenges and successes of public health and law enforcement collaborations in general.”

          The article states:

          “The work of CDC and FBI during the ongoing anthrax investigation highlights the opportunity for collaboration between public health and law enforcement. During several of the anthrax field investigations in 2001, investigators from FBI or local law enforcement were paired with an epidemiologist during interviews of possible case-patients and exposed persons, which allowed a multidisciplinary approach to collecting, processing, and sharing pertinent information. Because of different training backgrounds and professional experiences, law enforcement and public health interviewers may recognize and note different information or clues that could aid in identifying the source of the infection and its perpetrator(s). Additionally, the concurrent interviews reduced the number of times persons had to be questioned.”

          See also

          J Public Health Manag Pract. 2003 Sep-Oct;9(5):352-6.
          Public health response to bioterrorism with Bacillus anthracis: coordinating public health laboratory, communication, and law enforcement.
          Nolan PA, Vanner C, Bandy U, Banner G, Combs WS, Fulton J, Hayes GV, Jones K, Marshall RJ Jr.
          Rhode Island Department of Health, Providence 02908, USA.

    • BugMaster said

      “If Ed disagrees with the lead CDC investigator Brad Perkins and the official published findings of the government epidemiologists, then by all means, he should contact Dr. Perkins and ask if he’s changed his mind. BP is available to interview and oversaw the effort by the CDC’s 2000 employees working on Amerithrax at one point.”

      And then Ed can ask Dr. Perkins point blank:

      “Are you really a true believer or just a conspiracy theorist?”

      • BugMaster said

        “Letters delivered to the American Media building — which is still closed, by the way — were sent along two different routes: one that handled the bulk of the packages and a second that rerouted mail first sent to an outdated address for The National Enquirer. Both were contaminated with spores, which means more than one letter had been sent.”

        “The main source of uncertainty in understanding the system-wide exposure pathways is the path of the letters sent to the Florida media company resulting in the index inhalational anthrax case. The letters were not recovered.. “.

        Also not recovered:

        B. SUBTILIS!

        Cigar tube? That indicates at least some proximity to someone who likes cigars.

        Hmmmm.

  31. DXer said

    In The Anthrax Letters: A Medical Detective Story, Rutgers professor Leonard A. Cole, who went to Florida to interview people on this Jennifer Lopez issue, reports on his interviews.

    In his book for example, Leonard notes

    “FBI agent Judy Orihuela also referred to Bender’s presumably handling “one of the Lopez letters.” The likelihood of more than one mail item is strengthened by Jean Malecki, the county health department director. The epidemiological investigation pointed to “at least two anthrax letters sent to AMI,” she said. The investigation turned up:

    … two different routes that would eventually go back to the AMI building. AMI is a conglomerate. There was the National Enquirer, which had its own major building in the Lantana area for areas. There is still mail that goes to that old building and eventually comes back down a pathway that goes down to AMI. The pathway to the National Enquirer was contaminated with powder. There were two separately contaminated facilities. That’s been independently corroborated by interviewing people.”

    http://books.google.com/books?id=uvVL1ntPlGAC&pg=PA41&lpg=PA41&dq=FBI+agent+Judy+Orihuela+also+referred++Jennifer+Lopez+++%22one+of+the+Lopez+letters.%22+The+likelihood+of+more+than+one&source=bl&ots=YTTvA6Mvq7&sig=n670dPCw29-4SPMP3w7seNhUWP4&hl=en&ei=-9AuTeuJAcOC8gay56mACQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBMQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=FBI%20agent%20Judy%20Orihuela%20also%20referred%20%20Jennifer%20Lopez%20%20%20%22one%20of%20the%20Lopez%20letters.%22%20The%20likelihood%20of%20more%20than%20one&f=false

    Given Ed disagrees with Judy Orihuela (who is reachable by email and very responsive to inquiries), and disagrees with the government scientists’ published conclusion in the peer-reviewed epidemiological investigation, I believe he would agree that the NAS to address and consider the epidemiological investigation on this issue.

    (Ironically, Ed also disagrees with the FBI that Ivins wrote the letter — he thinks it is 99% certain that someone who just learned to write English wrote the letters.)

    Many have thought that the JLo letter is a very important issue that is critical to resolve. For example, the flap on the book Robert Graysmith on his book author, who like Ed relies on news accounts, states:

    “National bestselling true-crime author Robert Graysmith lends his investigative insight to the definitive case study of the invisible terrorist who held a nation hostage by preying on its worst fears…

    September 2001: The Sun, a Boca Raton tabloid, receives a love letter addressed to Jennifer Lopez. The newspaper’s photo retoucher opens it — and unknowingly inhales thousands of toxic spores. By October 5, he’s dead.”

    The NAS could do this if it looks at the contamination data in the two routes and through the expertise of its panel members determines whether the level of contamination indicated that a letter containing anthrax passed — or whether it was just cross-contamination.

    This truly should be something that the NAS should reach and if it has not done so already should do so now.

    At the very least, the NAS report should note the previous peer-reviewed finding and state whether it was based on a valid scientific method.

    We all support the NAS in applying the expertise of its hard-working panel members to the full range of issues.

    I have previously posted a 15 minute excerpt of Leonard’s presentation.

    http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=17078279

    • DXer said

      http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/02/25/earlyshow/health/main541988.shtml

      NEW YORK, Feb. 26, 2003
      Anthrax Mystery Still Unsolved

      Widow Files $50M Claim Against Feds For Husband’s Anthrax Death

      Mrs. Stevens says she hasn’t comprehended the fact that her husband was a victim of bio-terrorism. Today, the anthrax scare is still a mystery. Stevens was a photo editor at American Media, a tabloid publishing company in Boca Raton, Fla.

      “They get strange letters sometimes, and the consensus seems to be that if Robert wasn’t wearing his glasses and if it was something funny, he would hold the letters up to his face,” says Mrs. Stevens. “They think perhaps that’s how he got it. Just bad luck.”

      ***

      “The labs had the [anthrax],” says Steven. “It went missing, and they know it went missing a number of years ago. I can’t imagine how they can’t decipher, you know, what happened at the time.”

      Robert Schuler, the lawyer for the Stevens family, says they and the nation need to know what happened. They want answers to why 22 people were diagnosed with inhalation or skin anthrax. He claims the anthrax spores were spirited out of a federal biological warfare facility.

      “The bottom line is that there was a failure of security at Fort Detrick or one of the laboratories that Fort Detrick had sent anthrax to — allowing anthrax to be lost or to be obtained from that facility and used in a terrorist attack,” says Schuler.

  32. DXer said

    The article published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Emerging Infectious Diseases (quoted and linked below) concluded that there likely were two letters containing anthrax sent to the Florida AMI newspapers.

    Ed Lake notes the conclusion by the government scientists in the peer-reviewed article is inconsistent with the conclusion of the FBI in accusing Ivins — and the assertions Ed has repeated now for 10 years (contrary to the peer-reviewed literature). He says he did not realize that the Journal of Emerging Infectious Diseases was a peer-reviewed publication. Oopsie!

    Indeed. That brings us the job of the NAS — to review the science used by the government in Amerithrax to see how its conclusions square with the science.

    The government scientists thanked “the Palm Beach County Health Department, the Florida Public Health Laboratory, the laboratories of the National Center for Infectious Diseases, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, the U.S. Postal Service, and Epidemic Intelligence Officers for their assistance in this investigation and in preparing this article.”

    One letter sent to AMI in Florida sought to dissuade Jennifer Lopez from a planned marriage. A wedding or marriage is well-known Al Qaeda code for an attack. The sender said how much he loved her and asked her to marry him. Stevens noted at the time it was especially off the wall given that the Sun did not deal with celebrities, which was the subject of the sister-paper Globe. Stevens’ fellow photo editor Roz Suss was looking over his shoulder: “With that Bob says to me,” Hey, I think there’s something gold in here. It looks like a Jewish star sticking out of the powder.” I walked up behind him and reached over his shoulder. I pulled this little star out of what looked like a mound of powder in this letter. I remember it as a fine white powder.” “It looked like something from a Cracker Jacks box,” she says. She picked it out of the powder and tossed it in her wastebasket. Stevens’ colleague Bobby Bender has a different recollection. He says he opened a letter to Jennifer Lopez, recalls handling a large envelope to Jennifer Lopez, care of the Sun. In it was a cigar tube containing a cigar, a small Star of David charm, and something that seemed like soap powder. Hambali and two al-Qaeda minions considered attacking an Israeli restaurant, with a Star of David above it, in the Khao San Rd. backpacker area in Bangkok.

    A December 1998 Presidential Daily Brief to President Clinton explained: “An alleged Bin Ladin supporter late last month remarked to his mother that he planned to work in ‘commerce’ from abroad and said his impending ‘marriage,’ which would take place soon, would be a ’surprise.’” The December 1998 PDB continued: “‘Commerce’ and ‘marriage’ often are code words for attacks.” Of course, sometimes, a young man just wants to tell his mom he’s got a job or warn her that she may not approve of the woman he intends to marry. Similarly, sometimes folks who write to tabloids are merely commenting on JLo’s impending nuptials.

    Jennifer Lopez’s fame had withstood a number of under performing movies, to include the movie “The Cell” in the year 2000. In the movie, following a trail of bodies, an FBI agent tracks down and captures a disturbed serial killer. Before the killer can reveal the whereabouts of his next victim (a woman trapped in a cell on the verge of drowning), he falls into a coma. Enter beautiful FBI psychologist Lopez, who uses a radical link to the killer’s brain that could destroy her own sanity. “Her mission: Find the cell’s location before time runs out, and avoid getting trapped inside the killer’s head.” According to an early National Enquirer, Stevens held it up to his face and then put it down on the keyboard (where traces of anthrax were found). The publisher’s wife was the real estate broker who rented to two of the hijackers.

    The heaviest concentration was in the mailroom on the first floor, with positive findings in many cubicles throughout the first floor. The second floor had positive traces mainly in the hallways. The third floor had the fewest positive traces. The FBI has a theory that the spores were distributed on copy paper, perhaps having fallen onto an open ream of paper in the mailroom where it was stored. Perhaps instead spores could have been spread by a vacuum cleaner and collected at copier machines because of the electrostatic charge and the fans on the machines. Mrs. Stevens recently explained: “They get strange letters sometimes, and the consensus seems to be that if Robert wasn’t wearing his glasses and if it was something funny, he would hold the letters up to his face. They think perhaps that’s how he got it. Just bad luck.”

    The key expert evidence on this issue of the Jennifer Lopez letter thus far is the New England Journal of Medicine in which Stevens’ doctor concludes that the letter, opened 9/19 and resulting in symptoms appearing 9/30, evidenced an incubation period consistent with inhalational anthrax. (He refers to the 1979 accidental release in Russia).

    The CDC report discusses a second letter of possible interest thought to have been opened on September 25 by a different woman who was exposed.

    The jury will have to remain out unless and until there is more information on the letter(s) that transmitted the anthrax to AMI. The FBI has not been known for being forthcoming with documents to the NAS and so may have withheld documents supporting the conclusions of the authors in the EID article.

    The FBI went back to AMI in August 2002A February 2003 article in Esquire says the “cops and the doctors” have concluded that there were two letters, following two different paths, with one having been mailed to an old address of the National Enquirer before being forwarded. If there were two different letters, were they to two different AMI publications? That would make sense — with one directed to the Sun and one directed to the National Enquirer.

    What does the J.Lo letter tell us about the sender, or senders? J.Lo is what they used to call a “sex bomb” — and the biggest one at the time. She had international fame. The vehicle had a “weird” love letter, a Star of David, maybe a cigar. Who had “issues” and weird obsessions with women, sex (with a cigar being a crude symbol) and Jewish symbolism? Atta, for example, had strict instructions in his will about what women would be allowed to do at his funeral. Follow the anomalies.

    Two of the hijackers had subscriptions to AMI publications, as did Al Qaeda operative al-Marabh. Boston cab driver Al-Marabh had been in contact with the hijackers, to include Alghamdi who rented an apartment from the wife of the AMI publisher. Atta was seen at the apartment of Al-Marabh and his uncle (the co-founder with Jaballah of an islamic school in Toronto in the Spring of 2001. After coming to Canada in 1996, Jaballah spoke with Ayman regularly on Ayman’s satellite phone.

  33. The Sep 19 2001 opened letter in Palm Beach Florida could not have been sent Sep 18, 2001 from Princeton NJ nor later in October from Princeton NJ.

    The Princeton NJ mailing by Ivins theory is punctured. If Ivins mailed this letter in the week before 9/18, then he had to mail it from the DC area.

    In that case, the fixation on Princeton NJ and the sorority collapses.

  34. DXer said

    The head of Homeland Security biosecurity wrote the memo on the hijacker’s leg lesion.

    Source: Los Angeles Times, April 21, 2002.

    THE NATION

    Scientists Weigh In With Deductions on Anthrax Killer

    http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/deductionsonanthraxkiller.html

    Her co-author is on the NAS panel.

    http://dels.nas.edu/Committee/committee-membership/BLSX-K-08-10-A

    Their memo has stood the test of time.

  35. DXer said

    Yikes, the peer-reviewed Journal of Emerging Infectious Diseases says there likely were 2 letters with anthrax. Yet, our expert on fake titties insists there was only 1 — and that anyone who disagrees with him (like the government scientists) is a true believer or conspiracy theorist. He’s argued that for the past decade even though others keep citing the report of the government scientists (epidemiologists) in the peer-reviewed literature. (Without rereading the article or related articles published in the EID, I believe they relied by the way on the fact that there two trails of contamination through different post offices).

    Ed, you are a poor researcher and you lack critical reasoning ability.

    Contary to your claim, the article is published in the peer-reviewed journal titled Emerg. Infect. Dis.

    Emerging Infectious Diseases – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Emerging Infectious Diseases is a peer-reviewed medical journal published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is in the public domain and …
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emerging_Infectious_Diseases

    Ed, who has 10 years argued contrary to the peer-reviewed literature, writes:

    “It is NOT a “peer reviewed” article as would be published in scientific journals. It’s just the opinion of the CDC investigators who saw two letters and concluded both contained anthrax, even though that makes absolutely NO SENSE at all, and the evidence says only one letter contained anthrax.”

    Ed, as I have explained on this blog, that is the forum that Dr. Keim explained to me that they wanted to publish all the Amerithrax articles given the journal is freely available.

    I believe he said that there is flexibility in the timing of publication in that they can advance what otherwise might be a delayed publication by publishing it initially online (but perhaps I learned that instead from corresponding with someone at the journal).

    For you not to know that all the numerous articles that were published in Emerg. Infect. Dis. does not excuse your 10 years of posts on the internet that contradict the peer reviewed literature and attempt to address it where it contradicts your beliefs.

    The journal is ranked ranked 3 of 57 infectious disease journals and has an impact factor of 6.794. (ISI Citation Reports, 2009)

    It has 17,000 subscribers to print version in more than 100 countries.

    33,000 subscribers to electronic table of contents

    The journal site receives hundreds of thousands of hits per month (CDC Web Statistics)

    So it is the opinion of the government investigators as they published peer-reviewed literature.

    If you read the literature or were qualified to speak to these issues, you would know that.

    • 6 local post offices indicate two letters. The dates of the infections and the timeline indicate two letters on two different days.

      Its contradicted by the FBI because the FBI are wrong.

  36. Old Atlantic said

    “Interviews with employees regarding suspicious mail showed that the two workplace-exposed persons with nasal cultures positive for B. anthracis had extensive mail exposure. One, the second case-patient, was the workplace mail distributor; he did not generally open mail and did not recall handling or seeing any mail containing powder or described as unusual or as hate mail. He picked up 10,000–15,000 pieces of mail from the post office each weekday in the company mail van and distributed it at the workplace. The other co-worker, a 36-year-old woman, sorted mail and opened mail addressed to a periodical different from the one to which the index patient contributed. She recalled opening an envelope that released powder in her office on or about September 25. Afterwards, she discarded it in the trash without reading it. The letter most likely had arrived during the previous 2 weeks while she was on vacation. No other workplace mail likely to contain B. anthracis was suggested through further interviews. ”

    This also seems inconsistent with the production by Ivins Sep 14 to Sep 16 and being mailed Sep 18 in NJ. Given the 6 local post offices contaminated, it was more likely mailed locally.

    • Old Atlantic said

      Local mailing in Palm Beach Florida points towards al Qaeda. It is very far from Dugway in Utah, Battelle in Ohio, or Ft. Detrick in Md.

      Palm Beach was where the election voting issues were in 2000. This gave it some national and international name recognition.

    • DXer said

      Ed is mistaken. There were two trails of contamination identified from which it was inferred that a second letter likely travelled.

    • It spread throughout the whole building. The CDC has another diagram a map of the building. It also leaked in the mail van and at the 6 post offices. So this was high quality inhalation anthrax.

      Building map:

      http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol8no10/02-0354-G2.htm

      This contamination had to have happened on or before Sep 25, 2001. This is more like the Senate letters. The building was closed for a considerable time and required a costly cleanup.

      This means that the better initial batch was sent here. The NY Post letter and others may have been left overs from the first high quality batch. Or they were done at a second location.

      • BugMaster said

        ” So this was high quality inhalation anthrax.”

        “This is more like the Senate letters. The building was closed for a considerable time and required a costly cleanup.”

        EXACTLY! And no B. subtilis or large silcon-containing granules found either!

      • Old Atlantic said

        “EXACTLY! And no B. subtilis or large silcon-containing granules found either!”

        Bugmaster.

        If the subtilis practice run was done first on the same equipment, then that would add weeks to the timeline. That pushes the preparation and experimentation period back before August.

      • BugMaster said

        Old Atlantic:

        The most likely explanation for the b. subtilis is simple contamination of the anthrax being cultured from the environment.

        I can expect when actively working with my (non-pathogenic) microbes to have a bacillis colony show up on one of my plates 3 or 4 times a year. This is using a laminar flow hood for all open manipulations, and having exceptional technique.

        A “practice run” is possible, but isn’t the simplest explanation.

    • BugMaster said

      “The letter sent to Florida was undoubtedly mailed at the same time, and it is perfectly consistent with all the facts.”

      What facts, Ed? There isn’t a single known fact whatsoever to support the assumption:

      “The letter sent to Florida was undoubtedly mailed at the same time”.

      The known facts indicate entirely the opposite!

      • Anonymous said

        “These questions were fully resolved YEARS ago.”

        You actually believe that since you spent 10 years writing about 10,000 times that the JoLo letter didn’t contain anthrax that somehow makes it true.

        The CDC diasgree with you. Go argue with them.

        The OFFICIAL position is that the letter Bob Stevens held up to his face (the JoLo letter) is what infected him.

    • “Interviews with employees regarding suspicious mail showed that the two workplace-exposed persons with nasal cultures positive for B. anthracis had extensive mail exposure. ”

      Thus this was inhalation quality anthrax. It was therefore more like the Senate letters.

  37. Old Atlantic said

    http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol8no10/02-0354-G1.htm

    Timeline diagram above.

    The first exposure seems to have come Sep 19. The mailing of the letters in NJ recovered from NY shows that they were mailed Sep 18, 2001, a Tuesday.

    Thus the first Florida letter had to be mailed earlier. That seems to also rule out preparation on the weekend of Sep 14 to Sep 16.

    Moreover, it rules out a reaction by Ivins to 9/11, leading him to prepare anthrax letters on the weekend.

    The evidence points to preparation earlier and mailing locally in Florida of two letters, likely at different dates, but one before Sep 19.

    • richard rowley said

      Posted by Old Atlantic:
      —————-
      http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol8no10/02-0354-G1.htm

      Timeline diagram above.

      The first exposure seems to have come Sep 19. The mailing of the letters in NJ recovered from NY shows that they were mailed Sep 18, 2001, a Tuesday.

      Thus the first Florida letter had to be mailed earlier. That seems to also rule out preparation on the weekend of Sep 14 to Sep 16.

      Moreover, it rules out a reaction by Ivins to 9/11, leading him to prepare anthrax letters on the weekend.

      The evidence points to preparation earlier and mailing locally in Florida of two letters, likely at different dates, but one before Sep 19.

      =======================================================
      That’s what I came up with in my analysis and the reason this is SO important is: that “pre-batch” (ie at least two letters to AMI posted before September 18) tells us what the likely ORIGINAL (ie pre-September 11th) motif of the Amerithrax attacks was:

      1) send crank ‘fan’ letters to periodicals.

      2) wait for the incubation period to end.

      3) see the victims become ill but

      4) with the crank letters ALREADY disposed of. So no forensic evidence aside from the anthrax itself.

      But then the perps got a brain storm: change motif to piggyback on September 11th via the Islamicist slogans in the Septh 18th and October 9th letters.

      • Old Atlantic said

        That is a very clever scenario that should be considered by the investigative and review authorities.

        However, if they mailed letters prior to 9/11, they would not want to use Islamic terrorist threats that would lead to stepped up airport security. Rather, they would want to point to a domestic terrorist using anthrax.

      • BugMaster said

        Richard, this is what I have been saying for years.

        When it was first announced that Stephans had anthrax, at that time I did a rough calculation of when the letters were mailed, taking into account incubation time, the extended amount of time it would have taken to deliver ANY mail in the weeks immediately after 9/11, and, later when the letters were shown on the news:

        The attempt to tie the attacks to 9/11 was so lame-brained and pathetic!

        Conclusion: The AMI mailings were a separate mailings pre-dating 9/11.

        That’s why there is no subtilis!

      • Old Atlantic said

        BugMaster said
        January 13, 2011 at 11:26 pm

        What “Islamic terrorist threats” associated with the AMI letters?

        Huh?

        ==

        The ones they didn’t write. If the J-Lo letter contained anthrax and was sent by al Qaeda prior to 9/11, then they would not put in references to Islamic terrorism because it might lead to enhanced security at airports or investigations of them as local suspicious foreign Muslims.

        Thus the absence of Islamic terrorism in the J-Lo letter is not as strong evidence that al Qaeda did not send it, because if they had, they would not have put in Islamic terror references instead of a J-Lo letter.

  38. Old Atlantic said

    From CDC link Dxer posted below

    http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol8no10/02-0354.htm

    “B. anthracis contamination was detected at six of seven postal facilities tested, from routes serving the current workplace headquarters and a former office. Contamination was not detected at a facility that receives mail addressed to the post office box of the former workplace office, last used 13 months earlier.”

    “both the mailroom and mail van were contaminated with B. anthracis spores. ”

    This is the mail van owned privately and apparently dedicated to their building.

    Thus the letter was leaking in the post office and in the mail van. This is unlike the other letters mailed Sep 18.

    6 local post offices is more consistent with the letter was mailed in a local mail box, picked up at a local post office, sent to a higher up aggregating local post office, sent perhaps to the post office for the old office, then to
    another central office, down to the local office and delivered.

    “Anthrax transmission and widespread environmental contamination throughout the workplace and in six local postal facilities most likely resulted from two letters containing B. anthracis spores delivered to the workplace.”

    This seems like the letters were mailed from two different locations in the local area to add up to 6 local post offices being contaminated.

    If the mail came from NJ, then you would not get 6 local mail offices contaminated. Or be less likely to.

    • Old Atlantic said

      If there was any attempt to find anthrax between Florida and NJ or DC it failed. The DOJ/FBI should disclose any such effort. This should be FOIAed as well.

    • One letter was opened Sep 19. But it had to travel through these several post offices. That means several days. So the interaction of the Sep 19 2001 opening and the multiple post offices including the route you describe mean that one of the letters at least was sent the prior week if not earlier. That rules out production by Ivins post 9/11/2001.

      This instead strongly points to production by someone who knew 9/11 was coming, ie to al Qaeda.

      Mailing the letter in the first couple days after 9/11 or even 9/11 itself, which is consistent with this lengthy multiple post office route instead points to al Qaeda.

      It was placed in a local post office box in Palm Beach, likely on 9/11. Then it went to a local post office, possibly a central post office, then to the wrong local post office, then back to the central post office and then to the right local post office. Note this is 4 distinct post offices.

      The second letter if mailed from a different local post office would help add to 6 local post offices showing positive.

      So a mailing on 9/11 itself or within a day or two either way is most indicated. That points to al Qaeda doing it, because only they had planned 9/11 and knew of it beforehand.

      If Ivins had mailed it from the DC area that would add extra days and would make it harder to explain 6 local post offices in Palm Beach being positive.

    • BugMaster said

      “Some of the post offices were contaminated because the letter was evidently addressed to The National Enquirer in Lantana, Florida.”

      Not known. All that is known is that spores were traced through a forwarding facility.

      The zip code could have been misread by the OCR system that scans the letters. The letter would have been mis-routed, and then send to the forwarding facility.

      The letter to Leahy was recovered because its delivery was delayed because the zip code was misread.

      Correct me if I’m wrong here, thanks.

  39. BugMaster said

    “Here are the ten general symptoms of a sociopath:

    * not learning from experience
    * no sense of responsibility
    * inability to form meaningful relationships
    * inability to control impulses
    * lack of moral sense
    * chronically antisocial behavior
    * no change in behavior after punishment
    * emotional immaturity
    * lack of guilt
    * self-centeredness”

    Damn!! Now I really hope the FBI never re-opens the case!

    That sounds like me on a bad day!

  40. Anonymous said

    I see you are now claiming to be an expert in diagnosing sociopaths.
    In order to put your claimed “expert opinions” into persepctive, it’s helpful to read about your credentials to make these pronouncements.

    Readers of this blog should find it helpful to read about your “credentials” here:

    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.11/fakers.html

    The moment he boots up case file 371, the detective gets that twisted feeling in his gut. Ed Lake – blue button-down shirt, gray hair, hangdog jowls – studies the evidence alone in the musty dining room of his tiny apartment in Racine, Wisconsin, a small town southeast of Milwaukee. It’s that blonde again. Elisha Cuthbert. He’s seen her. The daughter on the TV show 24. And here she is now. Frozen on his computer screen – the smoky eyes, the parted lips. But something’s wrong. The plunging neckline. The sheer black blouse. The exposed nipples. It’s her, but it’s not. It’s a sham.

    Carlos Serrao
    Ed Lake, the Fake Detective, at his home office in Racine, Wisconsin.
    Lake, a 66-year-old retired Air Force weather observer, is the self-described Fake Detective, defender of Hollywood babes. Every day in this cramped hovel, he scours the alt.celebrity newsgroups for doctored photos of starlets in various stages of undress. The hoaxsters behind these operations: a breed of hackers known as fakers who pride themselves not on their ability to crack code but on their skill at creating a new kind of postmodern art.

    http://www.fake-detective.com/history/gina.html

    FD: That’s right. And I have .. my e-mail address is there. If you find something that is very interesting, you can send it to me that way, too.

    Gina: Wow. What does your wife think of this, Ed?

    FD: I’m not married.

    http://www.cracked.com/article_16227_the-5-most-ridiculous-causes-to-ever-get-website.html

    The 5 Most Ridiculous Causes to Ever Get a Website

    Can the words and actions of one man change the world? Absolutely! Just as long as somebody gives a shit about what he’s saying. If we’re betting, our money says these guys won’t find that somebody anytime soon …

    Ed Lake, Investigator of Fake Porn

    The Crusade:

    Anyone who says chivalry is dead has obviously never heard of Ed Lake. Since 1996 he’s been patrolling the internet protecting damsels in distress from the evils of photo editing software. Ever since seeing a fake nude photo Gillian Anderson, Ed has dedicated his free time to “investigating” other celebrity nipple shots to determine if they’re the real deal. Because he’s a gentleman. A 66-year-old, not even remotely perverted, gentleman.

  41. Old Atlantic said

    Ed Lake has played a constructive role in defending the DOJ/FBI case. The character attacks on Ivins by the DOJ/FBI are part of their case. They put them in play, not Ed Lake.

    Those of us who blog anonymously have a special obligation not to go too far in criticizing those who use their real names. That means not dragging in information you could only find out by using their real name. Using that information to attack a co-blogger is particularly bad.

    If any of my posts have gone over the line, please feel free to delete them or edit out those parts as you encounter them.

    • Anonymous said

      Ed Lake is the person claiming Bruce Ivins is a sociopath and a mass murderer.

      This is all based on apparently quirky behavior.

      The only statements made here about Lake are similar quirky behaviors made by others about Mr Lake.

      The only point here is that just about anyone who has ever displayed “quirky behavior” could be exaggerated into a “sociopath” if it suits someone’s purpose.

      It apparently suits the FBI’s purpose to portray Ivins as a sociopath – and it seems to suit Lake’s purpose also.

      The lesson for Lake here is “people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”.

      • Anonymous said

        “The FBI and DOJ said he was a mass murderer. All I’m doing is look for facts which might prove otherwise.”

        False – your outrageous claims about Dr Ivins include him coercing a 6 year old boy from his wife’s imaginary daycare center into writing the anthrax letters.
        You’re obesssions go much further than the FBI – and you should be held accountable for it.

        If you don’t like reading what OTHERS independently write about you on the internet I suggest you don’t post here.

        http://www.cracked.com/article_16227_the-5-most-ridiculous-causes-to-ever-get-website.html

        The 5 Most Ridiculous Causes to Ever Get a Website

        Can the words and actions of one man change the world? Absolutely! Just as long as somebody gives a shit about what he’s saying. If we’re betting, our money says these guys won’t find that somebody anytime soon …

        Ed Lake, Investigator of Fake Porn

        The Crusade:

        Anyone who says chivalry is dead has obviously never heard of Ed Lake. Since 1996 he’s been patrolling the internet protecting damsels in distress from the evils of photo editing software. Ever since seeing a fake nude photo Gillian Anderson, Ed has dedicated his free time to “investigating” other celebrity nipple shots to determine if they’re the real deal. Because he’s a gentleman. A 66-year-old, not even remotely perverted, gentleman.

      • BugMaster said

        “A trial showing that the U.S. government was negligent in allowing the circumstances under which Bruce Ivins killed Bob Stevens should show solid evidence that the facts say Bruce Ivins did indeed kill Bob Stevens.”

        Ed Logic?!!

        Ed, I understand with your busy gym schedule and other time (and energy) limitations, it probably isn’t reasonable to suggest you attend one or more debate classes as an extension student or at a junior college (as in debate 101).

        I am sure, however, that there are excellent textbooks and reference books that outline and explain the basics.

        In the absence of any new information (and there won’t be) such a trial would only establish fault on the part of the government because the material can be traced back to RMR-1029.

        Thats it.

        And I agree with you Ed, there will be no trial.

      • BugMaster said

        “Both sides will assume during the trial that Ivins was the culprit.”

        Couldn’t have stated it any better myself, Ed!

        To bad the guy won’t be there to defend himself.

      • BugMaster said

        “Obviously you’ve never attended any “debate classes.” They are NOT about logic. They are about tactics and winning arguments with tactics. In such classes, students are asked to take either side of an issue and try to win by using tactics, not by using logic.”

        Ed, that has got to be one of the funniest goddamn things I’ve ever heard!

        You need to join the Palin campaign!

    • BugMaster said

      I’m with you on this one, Old Atlantic.

      Discussions are best directed at exposing Ed’s fallacies as opposed to discussing any past strange hobbies.

      Besides, we all have had a strange hobby or two at some point, right?

      • Old Atlantic said

        Right. Also, the NAS is not going to issue a report on Ed or even Ivins’s mental state.

        We should try to refine any points we want to come up in the next NAS meeting with the FBI. A meeting we are excluded from having the documents for, or knowing the specific agenda of. We should at least know the topics so we can comment on them.

    • Anonymous said

      “The personal attacks upon me by Anonymous and DXer have been getting really vicious, but I’ve been assuming that people can see this and realize that it demonstrates the character of people making such personal attacks. They have no real arguments to back up their theories, so they launch personal attacks upon me.”

      Yes Ed, launching personal attacks is something you know a lot about.

      This is what Ed wrote about the Fox News story back in March 29, months before Ivins committed suicide. Fox, of course, were spot in with their story. Ed, as usual, was completely wrong, so he viciously attacked the Fox story:

      http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1993209/posts?page=88;q=1
      I find it interesting that only Fox News has this story. It’s floating out there like a turd in a swimming pool.

  42. richard rowley said

    Here is, in my opinion, a GREAT place to start (partial post by Mister Lake):
    ——————————————————————
    Here are the ten general symptoms of a sociopath:

    * not learning from experience
    * no sense of responsibility
    * inability to form meaningful relationships
    * inability to control impulses
    * lack of moral sense
    * chronically antisocial behavior
    * no change in behavior after punishment
    * emotional immaturity
    * lack of guilt
    * self-centeredness

    These symptoms fit Ivins perfectly. They show up again and again in his emails and statements. He was a model of “emotional immaturity,” “self-centeredness” and an “inability to form meaningful relationships.”
    ===============================================================
    Problem is: NONE of this stuff fits Ivins to a T.
    Let’s look at it:

    1)not learning from experience. Mister Lake doesn’t explain where he sees this in operation in Ivins’s life and I don’t see it established WHATSOEVER. Or does Mister Lake mean that Ivins failed to change his stripes after all the OTHER anthrax letters he sent in the previous two decades (1979 to 2001)? Problem is, there’s NO INDICATION WHATSOEVER that Ivins was using his USAMRIID access to anthrax to either threaten people or send real anthrax (or even a simulant)in the first two decades of his USAMRIID. If the FBI is to be believed (and we KNOW Mister Lake believes them), Ivins spent 21 to 22 years peaceably at USAMRIID and suddenly, well into middle age, went on a murderous streak of killing/trying to kill various people on the East Coast with the very biological toxic agent he was dealing with on a daily basis.
    While this is logically POSSIBLE, it isn’t particularly plausible psychologically. Which presumably is what profiling and motive-sifting is supposed to be about.
    At any rate, Ivins wasn’t following any (known)past pattern of violence (that is, if he sent the Amerithrax letters). Rather, this was a BREAK from past behaviour.
    —————————————————————
    To be continued

    • richard rowley said

      Second item listed by Mister Lake:

      2) no sense of responsibility.

      Once again, Mister Lake doesn’t point out HOW it was established that Ivins had “no sense of responsibility”. Was he a wife-beater? No. A compulsive gambler? No. A poor father to his two (by 2001) grown children? No. Did he file multiple times for personal bankruptcy? Nope. A chronic drug abuser? No. Did he suffer from a home forclosure or foreclosures? No.

      Apparently the only way Ivins showed irresponsibility was in the Amerithrax mailings themselves. But since this is THE VERY POINT UNDER CONTENTION, it is of no probative value.
      And then there’s that pesky government service award that Ivins received in 2003(?). Would they really give it to someone widely perceived as irresponsible? I think that question answers itself.
      ——————————————————–
      To be continued

      • richard rowley said

        The next point by Mister Lake:
        ————————————————
        inability to form meaningful relationships.

        Let’s see, married with two grown children. And married only once. The marriage seems to have had its ups and downs but what marriage doesn’t? What “meaningful relationship” would Ivins have had to form to get a passing grade from Mister Lake? I don’t think we’ll ever know that because none of this stuff is thought through, it’s merely rhetoric meant to bolster an opinion about Ivins’ guilt already formed: he’s guilty so he has to fit the profile of a perp.
        ———————————————-
        To be continued

        • richard rowley said

          Next item by Mister Lake:
          ——————————————-
          inability to control impulses.

          Naturally, Ivins’ obsession with women’s underwear and the female fraternity Kappa Kappa Gamma would classify as ‘lack of impulse control’ but these things have little to do with the nature of the Amerithrax mailings (since no women’s underwear, to my knowledge, was involved and the building used by Kappa Kappa Gamma in Princeton wasn’t a CHAPTER of that organization but rather an office used by same and was likely not listed in Internet listings of Kappa Kappa Gamma. Making it unlikely Ivins knew about it.

          And, come to that, ALL of us have SOME impulse control problems: addiction to cigarettes, love of sweets etc. In isolation this means little.
          ——————————————-
          To be continued

        • richard rowley said

          Next item by Mister Lake:
          ————————————-
          lack of moral sense

          Well, prior to September 2001 how did Ivins’ “lack of moral sense” manifest itself?
          In killing people? Not even the government claims that! In raping women? Ditto. In other horrific acts of violence and mayhem? Nope. As far as we know, the worst was this: he broke into a CHAPTER (not some temporary office) of Kappa Kappa Gamma, stole a book and/or women’s underwear. And that’s it. In the 55 years that Ivins had spent on earth prior to September 2001. I’d be happy to present Saint Peter with that record at the pearly gates…..
          ——————————————-
          To be continued

        • richard rowley said

          Back to Mister Lake’s list:
          ——————————————-
          chronically antisocial behavior.
          ——————————————–
          Again, aside from the Kappa Kappa Gamma obsession and the underwear fetish, Ivins doesn’t appear to have been “antisocial”. He was a Red Cross volunteer, a church choir member, an amateur magician who entertained children. Yeah, I know, so was John Gacy. Only no one found anything in the crawl space of Ivins’ house. Nor did they find anthrax spores in his car, in his house etc.
          He seems to have GOTTEN antisocial when he thought (correctly) that colleagues were pointing the finger at him and his ‘therapist’ was denouncing him. So after-the-accusation antisocial behaviour is of limited value.

    • BugMaster said

      “If the FBI is to be believed (and we KNOW Mister Lake believes them), Ivins spent 21 to 22 years peaceably at USAMRIID and suddenly, well into middle age, went on a murderous streak of killing/trying to kill various people on the East Coast with the very biological toxic agent he was dealing with on a daily basis.”

      I’ve been wondering about that one for a while now. Has there ever been a middle-age serial killer that just woke up one and decided to become a serial killer?

      Isn’t it true in every known case such serial killer behavior starts at a much earlier age, like in the late teens, 20’s, 30’s?

      • richard rowley said

        Posted:
        —————————————————-
        I’ve been wondering about that one for a while now. Has there ever been a middle-age serial killer that just woke up one and decided to become a serial killer?

        Isn’t it true in every known case such serial killer behavior starts at a much earlier age, like in the late teens, 20′s, 30′s?
        ===================================================
        Yes, I believe that to be the case since there SEEMS to be a psychosexual aspect to serial killings, even when there is no attendant rape/postmortem sexual abuse of the corpse. Serial killers may be (frequently are) capable of ‘normal sexual behaviour’ but they frequently PREFER the killings as a sexual outlet. In fact the Amerithrax killings may be the most convoluted sex crimes imaginable…..
        And since puberty hits in the teenage years, it is therefore logical to expect the serial killings or elaborate rehearsals for same to begin at that stage of the subject’s life. Of course there are variables involved: degree of parental supervision, availability of suitable victims, isolated crime scenes etc. But it’s a young man’s game…

      • BugMaster said

        Ed:

        The letters were sent with the intent to kill.

        You don’t mail out material of that lethality unless you intend to cause death and mayhem.

        Ivins would have known better than most the lethality of the material.

        So, if you truly believe the letters were mailed out WITHOUT intending to kill anyone, then:

        IT WASN’T IVINS WHO MAILED THE LETTERS!

      • BugMaster said

        “1. The culprit included medical advice in his letter.”

        Right, Said Ed!

        In all cases the advice was clear, concise, and to the point.

        That’s why Bob Stevens immediately took the advice.

      • BugMaster said

        Ed:

        An eyewitness account says Bob Stevens held a letter up to his face to be able to read it.

        I know, you insist the Jennifer Lopez letter had nothing to do with it.

        Do you know of anyone, within or outside of law enforcement, that agrees with your hypothesis?

      • DXer said

        On the JLo letter, Ed does not cite the peer-reviewed CDC report.

        The best guide to the epidemiology relating to the first case of bioterrorism-related inhalational anthrax in the United States, Palm Beach County, Florida is the peer-reviewed article called “First Case of Bioterrorism-Related Inhalational Anthrax in the United States, Palm Beach Country, Florida ,2001”

        http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol8no10/02-0354.htm

        “Anthrax transmission and widespread environmental contamination throughout the workplace and in six local postal facilities most likely resulted from two letters containing B. anthracis spores delivered to the workplace.”

        Ed should cite the peer-reviewed literature when it addresses a specific issue.

        Ed, what do YOU think the two letters were?

      • BugMaster said

        “We are not in the possession of the Jennifer
        Lopez letter but it does not appear to be a valid lead.”

        They should have added:

        “Besides, we have to deny the that the J-Lo letter was a possible source to support our meritless assumption regarding the timing of the mailing of the AMI letter.

      • richard rowley said

        Partial post by Mister Lake:
        ———————–
        What kind of reasoning is that? Bob Stevens almost certainly never saw the letter.

        And the argument was about whether or not the culprit intended to kill. Now you’re arguing that because he did kill, that means he intended to kill? That’s total nonsense. It’s absurd.

        Why not use the same argument to say that the culprit deliberately killed Ottilie Lundgren? She didn’t take the advice in the letter that killed her, either. And the senate letters specifically said the powder was anthrax.

        ========================================
        There’s a DIFFERENCE between saying

        1) perp X didn’t mean to kill

        and

        2) perp Y didn’t mean to kill person Y.

        The Amerithrax perp was smart enough to realize that neither Tom Brokaw nor Peter Jennings nor Dan Rather nor Senator Leahy nor Senator Daschle read their own mail: they had staffers for that. So the whole thing was NEVER for the purpose of killing any PARTICULAR individual. It was for the purpose of generating massive publicity, of making a big impression on the US population. That’s why the targets (the addressees, that is) were politicos and media stars. In fact a very much live-and-kicking Pat Leahy made far more of a stink about the Amerithrax investigation than a dead-via-anthrax Pat Leahy ever could have…..

        In fact, an assassination attempt on a politico will, short term, improve his/her approval ratings with the public: the sympathy thing……So we can be pretty sure a SMART Amerithrax perp had no particular axe to grind against Daschle or Leahy….

        The biggest reason to think that Stephens read the lethal letter is: the substantial amount of spores in and around his computer keyboard. Certainly I cannot think of any reason for THAT PARTICULAR FACT other than that Stephens put the letter on/over the keyboard……

      • BugMaster said

        And how many samples tested positive for b. subtilis?

      • BugMaster said

        “And how many samples tested positive for b. subtilis?”

        Who cares — besides conspiracy theorists and True Believers?

        Ed, isolating b. subtilis genetically equivalent to that found in the letters to NYC would validate the FBI’s assumption regarding the timeline of the mailings.

        It would dispute my conclusion that the FBI is wrong.

        There were 3 mailings, not 2. The inital mailing (index case) predated September 11.

        Besides Mr. Rowley, there is another indivual whose analysis confirms my hypothesis.

        Out of consideration for that individual, and since you can’t unring a bell, I am not going to reveal who that person is.

        You probably wouldn’t believe me anyway.

      • richard rowley said

        Partial post by Bugmaster:
        ———————————
        “And how many samples tested positive for b. subtilis?”

        Who cares — besides conspiracy theorists and True Believers?

        Ed, isolating b. subtilis genetically equivalent to that found in the letters to NYC would validate the FBI’s assumption regarding the timeline of the mailings.

        It would dispute my conclusion that the FBI is wrong.

        =================================
        This is an excellent point, one I hand’t thought of!

      • richard rowley said

        Since Mister Lake is participating here to a significant degree, I thought I would pose a few questions for him:

        1)If it WERE established that the J-Lo letter was what infected Stevens, would that change in any way your notions about the nature of the attacks? About Ivins’ guilt?

        2) if it were established that the Quantico letter WAS sent by the Anthrax Killer, would THAT change your opinion about the case? About Ivins’ guilt?

        3) if it were established that the person who sent a pseudo-anthrax petri dish to B’nai Brith’s HQs in Washington DC back in April of 1997 was the same person who did the Amerithrax attacks, would THAT change your mind about the nature of the attacks? About Ivins’ guilt?

        4)if it were established that the anthrax sent to Santiago, Chile was ALSO from the Amerithrax perp, would THAT change your view of the case? Or of Ivins’ guilt?

        Thanks you in advance!

      • BugMaster said

        and we can add:

        5)if it were established that the anthrax letters sent Floridia were from a separate mailing predating 9/11 would THAT change your view of the case? Or of Ivins’ guilt?

        Thanks in advance, Ed.

    • anonymous said

      I’d love to know how a paid forensic psychiatrist would diagnose Mr Lake based on the following criteria:

      * not learning from experience
      * no sense of responsibility
      * inability to form meaningful relationships
      * inability to control impulses
      * lack of moral sense
      * chronically antisocial behavior
      * no change in behavior after punishment
      * emotional immaturity
      * lack of guilt
      * self-centeredness

      http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.11/fakers.html

      The moment he boots up case file 371, the detective gets that twisted feeling in his gut. Ed Lake – blue button-down shirt, gray hair, hangdog jowls – studies the evidence alone in the musty dining room of his tiny apartment in Racine, Wisconsin, a small town southeast of Milwaukee. It’s that blonde again. Elisha Cuthbert. He’s seen her. The daughter on the TV show 24. And here she is now. Frozen on his computer screen – the smoky eyes, the parted lips. But something’s wrong. The plunging neckline. The sheer black blouse. The exposed nipples. It’s her, but it’s not. It’s a sham.

      Carlos Serrao
      Ed Lake, the Fake Detective, at his home office in Racine, Wisconsin.
      Lake, a 66-year-old retired Air Force weather observer, is the self-described Fake Detective, defender of Hollywood babes. Every day in this cramped hovel, he scours the alt.celebrity newsgroups for doctored photos of starlets in various stages of undress. The hoaxsters behind these operations: a breed of hackers known as fakers who pride themselves not on their ability to crack code but on their skill at creating a new kind of postmodern art.

      http://www.fake-detective.com/history/gina.html

      FD: That’s right. And I have .. my e-mail address is there. If you find something that is very interesting, you can send it to me that way, too.

      Gina: Wow. What does your wife think of this, Ed?

      FD: I’m not married.

      http://www.cracked.com/article_16227_the-5-most-ridiculous-causes-to-ever-get-website.html

      The 5 Most Ridiculous Causes to Ever Get a Website

      Can the words and actions of one man change the world? Absolutely! Just as long as somebody gives a shit about what he’s saying. If we’re betting, our money says these guys won’t find that somebody anytime soon …

      Ed Lake, Investigator of Fake Porn

      The Crusade:

      Anyone who says chivalry is dead has obviously never heard of Ed Lake. Since 1996 he’s been patrolling the internet protecting damsels in distress from the evils of photo editing software. Ever since seeing a fake nude photo Gillian Anderson, Ed has dedicated his free time to “investigating” other celebrity nipple shots to determine if they’re the real deal. Because he’s a gentleman. A 66-year-old, not even remotely perverted, gentleman.

  43. Old Atlantic said

    Ed Lake said
    January 10, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    Page 79 of the Summary Report says:

    “Even prior to the identification of RMR-1029 as the parent material of the spores used in the attack, investigators were uncertain that Dr. Ivins had fully complied with the subpoena by submitting samples of all Ames cultures for which he was responsible. During multiple interviews with Dr. Ivins and other USAMRIID scientists, it became apparent that there were multiple spore preparations in his possession and/or located in the B3 walk-in cooler that had not been submitted to the FBIR. So, in April 2004, the flask containing RMR-1029, along with approximately 20 other samples of Ba which Dr. Ivins maintained in his lab, were secured by the FBI in such a manner that Dr. Ivins no longer had access to them. In June 2004, those samples were removed from Dr. Ivins’s lab and transferred to the custody of the FBI.”

    So, the FBI confiscated flask RMR-1029 in June of 2004.

    The Roundtable Discussion of August 18, 2008 contains this statement: “it wasn’t until late 2005/2006, that RMR-1029 was the focal point of our investigation as far as from a genetic standpoint.” And “So from roughly 2003 to 2006 is when we completed the repository and the screening of the material in that repository.”

    They say twice in the roundtable discussion that it was in 2006 that the FBI consulted with Dr. Paul Keim at Northern Arizona University and learned that he’d retained his copy of the two slants from flask RMR-1029 that Ivins created in February of 2002.

    So, they’d confiscated flask RMR-1029 a couple years before they fully determined that flask RMR-1029 was the parent material for the anthrax attack spores. The “Perry Mason” moment was when they jumped from having “a suspect” to having “a prime suspect.”

    Ed

    ==

    Summary: Ivins had many vials, flasks, etc. of anthrax, but he only chose to submit samples from RMR-1029, one of which samples was identified as having the morphs. This proves he was guilty, because he submitted the morphs from the one flask he knew he had used, and not all the others that he knew he had not used.

    This is DOJ logic.

    • Old Atlantic said

      Sorry, submitted sample from flask he new he had used according to their logic.

      • BugMaster said

        So why did he think he could get away with a false sample? After all, there were all those other unknown individuals with access to RMR-1029 derived material to consider.

        When in such a crowd, why step forward and raise your hand?

      • Old Atlantic said

        But if Ivins knew the other vials and dribbles of anthrax had not been used, why did he not submit samples of those?

      • DXer said

        Ed’s been previously asked for the opinion that he was a “sociopath.”

        Is Ed relying on his AA counselor who was under house arrest?
        Isn’t Ed relying on inadmissible hearsay based on the woman who spells her profession “theripist”?

        Or was Ed relying on the FBI’s forensic psychiatrist who never met him and had no access to records other than billing for anti-depressants? I provided the date of his opinion in which he said that if Dr. Ivins were guilty, he would keep mementos (none were found).

        If Ed actually read the record materials, rather than just waiting for me to post them here and then pretending that someone sent them to him, Dr. Ivins reported the diagnosis in his emails and it related to paranoia.

        Just because Bruce was paranoid doesn’t mean someone wasn’t going through his trash to invade his First Amendment right to read pornography. It doesn’t mean that someone in his lab wasn’t reporting his daily conversations. Or that an FBI agent wasn’t living next door.

        To the same effect, Ed is paranoid that someone will take revenge on him which is why he doesn’t provide his mailing address.

        Ed thus has been disagnosed as paranoid based on the documentary evidence and even told the FBI I was a terrorist! Now that’s really paranoid which is why an FBI foresnic psychiatrist (or at least profiler) characterized Ed as paranoid and a narcissistic personality.

        Given Ed’s tendency to make egregious errors (see his recent discussion of the AFIP report), he should cite support for his statements rather than perpetuate the assertions.

      • DXer said

        Ed writes:

        “The August 7, 2008 issue of The Frederick News-Post contained some emails Ivins sent to a friend, telling the friend about his mental problems which were clearly very severe long before 9/11 and the anthrax attacks.

        “July 4, 2000: “The thinking now by the psychiatrist and the counselor is that my symptoms may not be those of a depression or bipolar disorder, they may be that of a ‘Paranoid Personality Disorder.’”

        That confirms what I said. He was diagnosed as paranoid not “sociopathic.” (Or perhaps you don’t know the difference). You were previously corrected on this point and never corrected your false statements.

        Then you have confused his psychiatrist, David, with the woman before the AA group lady. You should read the record more closely.

        The Stevens case identifies the psychiatrists and neither is a woman. The record makes clear that the woman was the person before the AA counselor,

        As I have often said, you need to link documents to avoid making mistakes. \

        Once you untether yourself from the cited authority you routinely run aground.

      • BugMaster said

        Ed:

        Have you ever met a psych major that WASN’T crazier than a shithouse rat?

        Their profession consists of many lunatics running the asylum.

        And what is one of their professional journals going to publish soon?

        A “scientific” article showing how ESP can predict or influence outcome.

      • BugMaster said

        “So, you don’t believe in evolution AND you don’t believe in psychoanalysis? Hmmm.”

        Amongst the absurd assumptions you have made about me, Ed, assuming I don’t believe in evolution is especially funny.

        Thanks, I was having a rather down day, and needed something to laugh about.

        As far as the psych profession as a whole:

        I am very unimpressed with the profession as a whole. Many times, they push so many pills that if someone didn’t have real problems when they sought help, they certainly did later.

        How about instead of the pills: Get outside, get some excersize, eat right so you blood sugar doesn’t bounce all over the place,and quit whining! (Guess I could star in a Geico commercial!)

        And no, Ed, I have never met a psych major that wasn’t crazier than a shithouse rat!

      • BugMaster said

        “I think it’s a profession like any other profession – including microbiology and lawyers. You have a few who are totally incompetent, you have the bulk who are barely competent, and you have a few who are truly gifted.”

        And in their defense, you are talking about practitioners in a field that is an exceedingly inexact science (plus a good number of them are loonies!).

        All the more reason to approach any psych diagnosis with at least some skepticism.

        “Your statements indicated you did not believe in evolution, and you get hostile and defensive when questioned about it. The Japanese study said that Bacillus anthracis may have evolved to utilize silicon to counter the acids in an animal’s stomach, and you simply dismissed it without reason – but apparently because it was about evolution.”

        I thought it was the froggie joke!

        Seriously, Ed, if bacteria had evolved to utilize silica, the mechanism for such utilization would be genetically encoded (its called EVOLUTION, Ed!).

        No such genes have ever been characterized. So here is a trait that appeared without any evolutionary basis?

      • DXer said

        Ed disagrees in his assessment of Dr. Ivins with the 250 people who knew him and have spoken to the question.

        I have read many hundreds of Dr. Ivins emails — all of his work emails — and I find nothing to support his assessment.

        But we were talking about what the documents showed he had been diagnosed — not Ed’s low opinion of someone he never met or knew. Ed hasn’t even made any contact with those who knew him. Ed has not corrected his error — that is, Ed has not learned from his experience of going to see what the record shows. Ed does not rely on evidence — he relies on his beliefs and opinion.

  44. DXer said

    The FBI Special Agent does not recall his February 27, 2002 conversation with someone at Dr. Ivins telephone and number.

    The agent believes but not recall faxing the protocol to Dr. Ivins for use in preparing the submissions.

    On February 27, 2002, slants of four different Ames strain cultures were prepared by Dr. Ivins and his senior laboratory technician. (Former Colleague #2).

    In contrast to the agent’s inabiility to remember whether the protocols were communicated, the documentary evidence shows them being communicated on May 24, 2002 after repeated requests.

    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/04/05/who-wrote-this-email-who-submitted-the-slants-to-the-fbi/

    • DXer said

      So basically you have the claim of Dr. Ivins’ guilt — based on assumption that is contradicted by the documentary evidence.

      • DXer said

        The FBI Special Agent, the scientist, keeps a correspondence file in which he keeps copies of the documents he transmits. It comes with the territory of being a scientist and being a special agent. The absence of the transmittal sheet — combined with the documentary evidence showing that the protocol was still being sought on May 24, 2002 — does not support the FBI’s claim.

    • DXer said

      200 ml Ames made by the senior laboratory technician (“Former Colleague #@) — the one thanked by the former Zawahiri associate for providing technical assistance — cannot be accounted for. Source: Amerithrax Summary.

      Who approved the supply of virulent Ames to the former Zawahiri associate? Bruce had not known he was a non-citizen when he showed up at the BL-3 looking for the Ames.

      But he was told to give it — by email after the scientists from Michigan had already arrived at USAMRIID.

      The FBI deleted “no unauthorized tranfers were found” from its Amerithrax Summary. Why?

      If it was “authorized”, who authorized it? What is the person’s name? And did that person have a role in the investigation?

  45. DXer said

    Dr. Velsko explains (at p. 529) of MICROBIAL FORENSICS, September 30, 2010:

    Corresponding to these two classes of validation, it is sometimes useful to distinguish
    between a “reporting expert witness” and an “interpreting expert witness”
    (4). The former testifies as to the test result and how it was obtained and
    seeks to assure the fact finders that results of the analysis are reliable. The latter
    provides an expert opinion regarding the ultimate inference to be drawn from
    that test result. (In practice, of course, the same expert may perform both these
    roles, and the distinction is useful even if the evidence is never used in court.)
    The reporting expert comes armed with results of analytical validation, while the
    interpreting expert supports his testimony with experimental results that provide
    inferential validation.

    • DXer said

      At p. 533, Dr. Velsko notes:

      “A well-formed hypothesis is one that can be realized objectively in a set of reference
      samples that can be subjected to the test. For example, the hypothesis
      that “the two samples match” would not be well formed because declaring a
      match is inherently subjective, that is, a matter of definition. One can always
      find differences between two samples if one looks hard enough, or similarity
      by increasing the tolerable differences. However, the hypothesis that “the two
      samples were drawn from a common batch of material” would be testable
      because it is possible to objectively produce test samples that are drawn from
      the same or different batches.”

      • DXer said

        At p. 535:

        “For a method to be applicable to a questioned sample for which factors like
        these are not known, the set of samples used for validation must reflect an
        unbiased selection from a population in which those factors are allowed to vary
        over their naturally occurring ranges. Thus, as a prelude to any validation exercise,
        it is necessary to consider the possible factors that could affect the relationship
        between the measured value of the metric and the hypothesis in question
        but cannot be controlled and would not be known about a questioned sample.”

        • DXer said

          At 540:

          “The composition and morphology of a bioagent such as Bacillus anthracis are
          end results of the end-to-end process used to produce it. Certain steps influence
          the overall composition of the agent through the addition or removal of
          certain substances, and certain steps influence the physical form of the material.
          The relevant population for evaluating and validating chemical and physical
          analysis methods is therefore the set of materials that could be generated
          by any growth and preparation method that may be used to generate a bioagent,
          using starting materials from any potential sources. Thus, the population
          of biological agents is an imaginary construct, and the problem is how to generate
          a set of real samples that adequately provides a statistically representative
          sample of this imaginary space of possibilities. Moreover, this population
          must be sampled in an unbiased way, capturing all sources of possible variation:
          batch-to-batch variation in the same laboratory, laboratory–laboratory
          variation in executing the same nominal process, and vendor-to-vendor variation
          in starting material properties.”

  46. DXer said

    Ed says

    “They collected samples and kept the samples intact”

    I think Ed means except for Dr. Ivins’ sample which they threw out.

    Note that Ed never produced the documentary evidence that shows he was communicated directions even though on numerous occasions I have linked the document showing them communicated on May 24, 2002 after persistent requests to JE for the slants that should be used and the instructions.

    Ed continues to confuse assertion with evidence and he just restates the assertion or confirms the government has made the claim. The issue relates to admissible evidence in support of the claim to resolve the disputed claims.

    Dr. Ivins denied what Ed has claimed.

  47. Old Atlantic said

    DXer said
    January 10, 2011 at 8:59 am

    Sushil K. Sharma, Hazel Bailey, and Jack Melling U.S. Government Accountability Office wrote in the Fall 2010 MICROBIAL FORENSICS treatise:

    “Although full genome analysis of anthrax cultured from contaminated letters was performed and compared with Ames anthrax cultures from various research laboratories, those full genome sequences showed no differences at all. However, a chance observation of cultures from the contaminated letter growing on agar plates found a few colonies that had a different appearance from the majority. When the DNA from these colonies was sequenced, 10 mutations were found that differed from the normal Ames sequence. Because organisms with these mutations made up a small fraction of the total, they had not been detectable when anthrax from the contaminated letters or laboratory samples without prior colony selection were cultured and sequenced.”

    Given the familiarity of these GAO authors with the principles of validation, they can well judge whether it is relevant that the lab where they first made the “chance observation” was the lab where they made a dried powder out of Flask 1029 and kept that fact secret for 10 years.

    Indeed, the specific scientist (TA) was involved in the specific research involving the dried powder made out of Flask 1029.

    Why, if these scientists such as Dr. Budowie, Dr. Keim, Dr. Murch and Dr. Majidi are interested in validation, don’t they abide by principles relating to transparency on the potential issue of conflict of interest?

    Why was General John Parker’s denials about a dried powder at USAMRIID not being made left uncorrected?

    The same top FBI scientists urging the validation are the ones who ordered that the secret be kept — it was kept secret from everyone including these GAO scientists authoring this chapter.

    Before there can be public confidence in validation, there needs to be compliance with document disclosure laws and transparency on the issues related to the validation.

    The GAO cannot do its job without such candor and disclosures.

    ==

    The anthrax in the flasks are a mixture of DNA not all the same. So there is a sampling issue. Thus there is a random sampling issue. They should try to estimate the frequency of each of the morph variants in RMR-1029, and the daughter flasks and the letter anthrax.

    Using those frequencies they can use statistical estimators of which flask was the most likely direct ancestor of these flasks.

  48. Old Atlantic said

    DXer said
    January 9, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    Ed is missing the point because he is not familiar with the facts relating to JE’s making dried powder of the Ames supplied by Bruce. (I don’t think he’s even mentioned it).

    JE’s assistant, Terry Abshire, picked the morphs.

    She was John Ezzell’s assistant.

    They worked with the Ames supplied by Bruce Ivins from Flask 1029.

    It was kept in their unlocked refrigerator.

    So the answer to

    “Had the person who picked the 4 morphs seen the RMR-1029 with morphs in it?”

    is yes in the sense that Terry worked with Ames from that flask in connection with the DARPA researched. See article for which she and JE were thanked for the assay work.

    Now, crediting both TA’s and JE’s expertise and good faith, as I do, there is a question whether that affects the validation — and we can leave that to the NAS panel experts to address.

    ==

    They should take the morphs they find the letter anthrax and see if they can find those morphs in RMR-1029 and its daughters.

    • Old Atlantic said

      Basically, they should try to find a morph in the letter anthrax not in RMR-1029. If they can’t, that tells them something more than trying to find the 4 morphs in RMR-1029 that are in the letter anthrax.

      If they can find a morph in the letter anthrax that is in a daughter flask but not in RMR-1029 that would tend towards that daughter being the most direct ancestor of the known flasks.

      • Old Atlantic said

        Every morph in the letter anthrax they should now try to find in the other 8 flasks.

        They should do a complete sequence of each of the morphs in each of the flasks.

  49. DXer said

    Now let’s turn to the issue of the validation of mass spec work by the FBI scientists and consultants.

    My lay understanding is that the FBI heavily relied on the excellent and cutting-edge mass spec work by Dr. Fenselau.

    What bearing does it have that her lab did the work on the dried powdered Ames made out of Dr. Ivins’ Flask 1029 in 1999 and 2000?

    For the NAS experts to not address the issue (see draft report) would leave the question of validation totally unsettled — and require that GAO or Congress first consider it.

    Given the expertise of the NAS panel members on issues of validation, they should reach the issue given that Dr. Ezzell has come forward and forthrightly described the research once he was freed of the gag order imposed by his superiors.

    In “Toxin Analysis Using Mass Spectrometry,” CDC authors Rudolph C. Johnson, Suzanne R. Kalb, and John R. Barr
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explain:

    “Establishing or validating a specific method extends beyond the characterization
    of quality control materials; scientists have many perspectives on what
    constitutes complete method validation. Common elements to method validation
    often include establishing analyte stability in a matrix, determining
    recovery from the matrix, establishing false-positive and -negative rates, testing
    the variability of reference materials, and comparing the method performance
    between different laboratories. Only validated analytical methods and corresponding
    sample collection routines should be used for the laboratory analysis
    of toxins, but this may not always be practical. In emergency situations,
    laboratories sometimes establish exceptions to the use of validated methods
    (44) and instead rely on good scientific practices and peer assistance to apply
    new concepts and approaches rapidly (45).
    When considering toxin analysis data and whether they are valid, some key
    questions to consider may include (i) were positive and negative quality control
    materials measured within specified limits? If quality control materials
    failed, then none of the reported results is valid. (ii) Was the toxin measured
    in a previously evaluated matrix? If a new matrix is being evaluated, then
    toxin stability, extraction recovery, and method accuracy are not known. (iii)
    Are similar methods available in the peer-reviewed literature? Peer review is
    critical to establishing that the method uses accepted scientific principles. (iv)
    Were the analysts qualified to complete the method? These records are commonly
    retained for external auditing purposes if a laboratory is accredited.”

    45/ B. Budowle, S. Members, Quality assurance guidelines for laboratories performing microbial
    forensic work, Forensic Sci. Commun. 5 (2003) 4

    See also

    B. Budowle, S.E. Schutzer, S.A. Morse, K.F. Martinez, R. Chakraborty, B.L. Marrone, et al., Criteria
    for validation of methods in microbial forensics, Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 74 (2008) 5599–5607.

    • DXer said

      See also

      Woolfitt A.R., Boyer A.E., Quinn C.P., Hoffmaster A.R., Kozel T.R., De B.K., Gallegos M., Moura H., Pirkle J.L., Barr J.R.
      Matrix assisted laser desorption ionization mass spectrometric analysis of bacillus anthracis: From fingerprint analysis of the bacterium to quantification of its toxins in clinical samples
      (2011) NATO Science for Peace and Security Series A: Chemistry and Biology, pp. 83-97.

  50. DXer said

    Ed.

    You have no mastery whatsoever of the record evidence or the facts.

    For example, I asked you to cite a document that is evidence Dr. Ivins was provided the instructions before the document we have — May 24, 2002 — and you haven’t done so.

    Moreover, you have no understanding of the significance to validation of the fact that the person who identified the morphs was involved in the research in which her lab made a dried powder out of the Ames supplied from Flask 1029.

  51. Old Atlantic said

    Morph selection bias

    Had the person who picked the 4 morphs seen the RMR-1029 with morphs in it? Did that create a selection bias? They were more likely to pick the 4 morphs that were in RMR-1029 because they had seen them already and were familiar to them. Those looked like normal morphs or the morphs you would pick.

    • DXer said

      Ed is missing the point because he is not familiar with the facts relating to JE’s making dried powder of the Ames supplied by Bruce. (I don’t think he’s even mentioned it).

      JE’s assistant, Terry Abshire, picked the morphs.

      She was John Ezzell’s assistant.

      They worked with the Ames supplied by Bruce Ivins from Flask 1029.

      It was kept in their unlocked refrigerator.

      So the answer to

      “Had the person who picked the 4 morphs seen the RMR-1029 with morphs in it?”

      is yes in the sense that Terry worked with Ames from that flask in connection with the DARPA researched. See article for which she and JE were thanked for the assay work.

      Now, crediting both TA’s and JE’s expertise and good faith, as I do, there is a question whether that affects the validation — and we can leave that to the NAS panel experts to address.

      • Thanks, Dxer. I had thought this might be the case from previous comments of yours but was not sure.

      • DXer said

        Sushil K. Sharma, Hazel Bailey, and Jack Melling U.S. Government Accountability Office wrote in the Fall 2010 MICROBIAL FORENSICS treatise:

        “Although full genome analysis of anthrax cultured from contaminated letters was performed and compared with Ames anthrax cultures from various research laboratories, those full genome sequences showed no differences at all. However, a chance observation of cultures from the contaminated letter growing on agar plates found a few colonies that had a different appearance from the majority. When the DNA from these colonies was sequenced, 10 mutations were found that differed from the normal Ames sequence. Because organisms with these mutations made up a small fraction of the total, they had not been detectable when anthrax from the contaminated letters or laboratory samples without prior colony selection were cultured and sequenced.”

        Given the familiarity of these GAO authors with the principles of validation, they can well judge whether it is relevant that the lab where they first made the “chance observation” was the lab where they made a dried powder out of Flask 1029 and kept that fact secret for 10 years.

        Indeed, the specific scientist (TA) was involved in the specific research involving the dried powder made out of Flask 1029.

        Why, if these scientists such as Dr. Budowie, Dr. Keim, Dr. Murch and Dr. Majidi are interested in validation, don’t they abide by principles relating to transparency on the potential issue of conflict of interest?

        Why was General John Parker’s denials about a dried powder at USAMRIID not being made left uncorrected?

        The same top FBI scientists urging the validation are the ones who ordered that the secret be kept — it was kept secret from everyone including these GAO scientists authoring this chapter.

        Before there can be public confidence in validation, there needs to be compliance with document disclosure laws and transparency on the issues related to the validation.

        The GAO cannot do its job without such candor and disclosures.

      • DXer said

        Trail of Odd Anthrax Cells Led FBI to Army Scientist

        By Joby Warrick
        Washington Post Staff Writer
        Monday, October 27, 2008

        In late October 2001, lab technician Terry Abshire placed a tray of anthrax cells under a microscope and spotted something so peculiar she had to look twice. It was two weeks after the country’s worst bioterrorism attack, and Abshire, like others at the Army’s Fort Detrick biodefense lab, was caught up in a frenzied search for clues that could help lead to the culprit. Down the hall, Bruce E. Ivins, the respected vaccine specialist, was looking, too.

        Abshire focused her lens on a moldlike clump. Anthrax bacteria were growing here, but some of the cells were odd: strange shapes, strange textures, strange colors. These were mutants, or “morphs,” genetic deviants scattered among the ordinary anthrax cells like chocolate chips in a cookie batter.

        Unknowingly, Abshire had discovered a key to solving the anthrax case. But it would take nearly six years to develop the technology to allow FBI investigators to use it.

        ***
        Many outside experts and some lawmakers dismiss the government’s case against Ivins as circumstantial, while Ivins’s former colleagues and friends argue that he was incapable, technically and constitutionally, of committing an act of mass murder. “Bruce Ivins was a victim of a vicious plot,” said Ayaad Assaad, a toxicologist who once worked with Ivins at Fort Detrick, in Maryland.

        ***

        Investigators say more evidence will be revealed in the coming weeks, some of it in peer-reviewed scientific journals

        Comment: This article is from 2 years ago but no articles that I recall but the expected articles were not published. Which of the articles were rejected? (I heard that some were and it had been hoped that all could be published together in the EID, which makes its articles freely available and has some scheduling flexibility). But it has now been two years. In MICROBIAL FORENSICS, Sept. 30, 2002, Mr. Harmon said that rejection of a proposed article on the issue would be relevant under Daubert. So which were rejected?

  52. Old Atlantic said

    Double, Triple, ? Stochastic

    =

    BugMaster said
    January 9, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    The individual morphs need to be isolated out from the sample and regrown as a pure culture to be able to perform the genetic analysis.

    The genetic analysis cannot be done on the initial raw sample.

    So if a morph is not isolated (not seen on the plate), it will not be detected.

    Here within lies at least one of the problems.

    ==

    “The individual morphs need to be
    isolated out from the sample ”

    Stochastic one, have to find the DNA strands that contain the morphs.

    Then the morph has to grow from that.

    Stochastic two.

    Then it has to be identified.

    Stochastic three.

  53. Old Atlantic said

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/01/hong-kong-researchers-store-data-bacteria/

    “The group has developed a method of compressing data, splitting it into chunks and distributing it between different bacterial cells, which helps to overcome limits on storage capacity. They are also able to “map” the DNA so information can be easily located.

    This opens up the way to storing not only text, but images, music, and even video within cells.

    As a storage method it is extremely compact — because each cell is minuscule, the group says that one gram of bacteria could store the same amount of information as 450 2,000 gigabyte hard disks.”

    Back at the FBI, they are still puzzled by 4 morphs and how often they show up when they do a run. Which of the 8 flasks was the most direct ancestor of the known flasks to the letter anthrax?

    • BugMaster said

      Wait a minute. Is the FBI stating that the samples taken directly from RMR-1029 had only 3 of the 4 morphs?

      How many samples did they eventually analyze?

      Did they ever obtain all 4 morphs from a sample taken directly from RMR-1029?

      I was under the impression that they had. This is the basis for their conclusion that the attack material was derived from RMR-1029 at some point (a reasonable conclusion, BTW, and one I don’t dispute).

      • BugMaster said

        “If Ivins had taken a representative sample from flask RMR-1029 according to instructions, all four mutations should have been in the slants.”

        Ed, the simplest explanation here should be that all 4 mutants WERE in the slant, with 3 of the 4 BEING DETECTED! (assuming that material taken directly from RMR-1029 should have contained all 4 morphs)

        Just because the 4th mutant wasn’t isolated out of the mixture isn’t proof that it was never there to begin with.

        You can’t prove a negative, Ed.

        In some of the 30 samples analyzed, fewer than 3 mutants were recovered, but never were zero mutants recovered from a sample that should have all 4 (or is it 3?)

        Fair enough. But:

        IN HOW MANY OF THESE “LESS THAN 3 or 4” SAMPLES, WAS ONLY 1 MUTANT DETECTED??????

        By analyzing the numbers from these 30 assays (all which should have come back with 4 mutants, right?!) one can determine the standard deviation associated with the procedure, and make some conclusions regarding the probability that a true sample can come back as a false negative (no mutants detected).

        Let’s see the raw data!

        • Old Atlantic said

          If a sample is a mixture of DNA, and if a distinct morph comes from distinct DNA, then it is hit or miss to get all 4 or even 3.

          Are they claiming 2 morphs come from the same strand of DNA?

          If not, then it is a sampling issue.

          If each morph is from separate strand of DNA, then to get all 4, you have to sample all 4.

          This means its a sampling issue which requires a probability analysis.

        • Old Atlantic said

          Also they need a probability analysis. What was the probability that the procedure Ivins was supposed to use would get all 4? How does that depend on subjective interpretation of the instructions?

          What happened in other cases?

          What about in contrived test cases aka method validation?

        • Old Atlantic said

          If they can’t reduce it to a homework problem for a stats/probability course, then they have not validated their method. Where are the sample homework problems?

        • BugMaster said

          The individual morphs need to be isolated out from the sample and regrown as a pure culture to be able to perform the genetic analysis.

          The genetic analysis cannot be done on the initial raw sample.

          So if a morph is not isolated (not seen on the plate), it will not be detected.

          Here within lies at least one of the problems.

      • BugMaster said

        “You have to remember: The morphs were only a very tiny percentage of the spores in flask RMR-1029. So, you’re not going to get all 4 morphs in every sample”

        The percentage of morphs in RMR-1029 is known. The protocols had to account for this, and therefore require a sample size that would result in all morphs in each sample.

        The “not all morphs in each sample” makes no sense, Ed. If that was the case, the procedure is virtually useless, particulary when concluding that the morphs weren’t present.

      • BugMaster said

        “What is a “sample” in this context? They analyzed 1,070 samples, each one apparently 30 times.”

        Ed, is there any way you can obtain any more info on this? They state that RMR-1029 was sampled 30 times, but to conclude that EACH slant was sampled 30 times is a bit of a stretch.

        If the sample Ivins submitted that showed no morphs was analyzed 30 times, that does add some robustness to the assay.

        However, there are still many confounding variables.

        Ivins submitted his samples in 2002, yet it wasn’t possible to analyze it until 2006, correct? So it spent “4 years on the slant”, so to speak.

        And what about Ivin’s mistake in March 2001 (before the attacks) when he thought he had submitted material from RMR-1029 to New Mexico, and it was later determined not to be the case?

      • BugMaster said

        “But, that doesn’t mean that every culture you grow from material in that slant/sample is going to show all four morphs, because you can only use 1/30th to inoculate a culture.”

        Your “1/30th” conclusion has got to be false, Ed.

        Remember, the spores had to be germinated, regrown, and the resulting microbes diluted down to a point where, when 0.1 ml of material was put on a plate, individual colonies resulted. Only then can the morphs be differentiated from the wild type. The morphs were then “single colony picked”, grown out again in pure culture, and then genetically analyzed for a match.

        An inital sample size of 100 to 300 microliters should have been more than enough to result in a subculture that was represenative of RMR-1029.

        But other factors come into play. Did the morphs persist during the grow-out phase? Did the plating of the material produce single colony-forming units derived from a single parent cell, as opposed to clump of 2 or more?

        To conclude a sample was derived from RMR-1029 based on assay results seems reasonable, the science is solid here.

        To obtain negative results from the assay, and then conclude that was strong evidence of guilt, thus determining the direction of the investigation from that point on: BIG MISTAKE!

        How would the course of the investigation have changed had they not concluded that based on the negative sample results, Ivins was guilty?

      • DXer said

        Ed, why don’t you quote the experts from MICROBIAL FORENSICS, September 30, 2010 given that it greatly informs the NAS draft report? Folks should be quoting documents and experts.

        You should be quoting experts on validation (such as those who wrote in MICROBIAL FORENSICS).

        We understand that you — the most prolific pornographer on the internet — think that Dr. Ivins was “creepy”.

        Some of us, however, would prefer to have the merits of the scientific matter elucidated through documents and experts.

      • BugMaster said

        Ed:

        The 30 samples analyzed from RMR-1029 would be consistent with the type of procedures one would go throught to validate the procedure.

        Although during this process, they never obtained results showing zero morphs, that doesn’t give us the whole picture (statistica analysis of the raw data does).

        For example, what does it mean if out of the 30 samples, only 1 morph was detected at times? Note that they didn’t say “never less that 3, never less than 2, never only 1” but rather, “at no point were no morphs recovered”.

        In regards to the conclusion that Ivins submitted a false sample:

        From what I understand, this was what the FBI considered a pivitol moment in their case against Ivins, a “Perry Mason Moment”, so to speak.

        Perhaps in your archives you can find information about this. I don’t get the impression it was regarded as supporting “evidence”, but in fact the “eureka moment”.

      • DXer said

        Contrary to Ed’s view of the timeline, in April 2007, AUSA Kenneth Kohl wrote a letter to Dr. Bruce Ivins and said he was not a target of the grand jury investigation.

  54. Old Atlantic said

    Ed Lake said
    January 9, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    Old Atlantic wrote: “Doesn’t the statute for the NAS provide for input by the public during the process?”

    Yes, and there were people at the meetings in late 2009, plus others submitted their opinions in writing. I think Peter Weber’s presentation was such “input.” He wasn’t part of the FBI’s investigation, but he had data to present. But, I believe that part of the process was over when the NAS committee started truly working on their review. The committee wouldn’t be able to get any work done if they had to endlessly argue with people from the public. Their task was to analyze the science that was used in the Amerithrax case, not opinions from the public.

    “Do you claim that any flask has been identified to the exclusion of all known others as the most immediate ancestor to the letter anthrax?

    I don’t claim anything. I just try to understand the science of what was done. If flask RMR-1029 wasn’t found to be “the most immediate ancestor to the letter anthrax” by science, then it was probably done by checking documentation. And, if it wasn’t done that way, then it was done by eliminating all the other “flasks” by routine police work. And, if it wasn’t done that way, then it was done by simple logic once it was established through all the other evidence that Ivins was the culprit and he didn’t have access to the other “flasks.”

    “Do you claim that it has been determined that it is not possible to select one of the known flasks as the most immediate ancestor to the letter anthrax to the exclusion of all known others?”

    No. I think it’s probably possible. I just don’t know for certain if they did it via science or via police work.

    Ed

    ==

    Ed, thanks for your answer, I think its helpful and constructive.

  55. DXer said

    Ed says the DNA pointed the FBI in the right direction but he is mistaken.

    The same people had access to all the strains in Building 1425 and Building 1412.

    Narrowing things from 1000 to … what somewhat less than 1000 … is hardly time to hold a parade.

    It narrowed things up to 377 alone at Ft. Detrick.

  56. Old Atlantic said

    Ed Lake said
    January 8, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    Old Atlantic wrote: “I think this is distinct from what you are trying to get at in your comment? Correct?”

    I don’t think so. I think it’s the same thing I was saying. You can tell with fair certainty if something came from something else because a reverse mutation should be astronomically rare. So, if you start with bacteria A, and there’s a mutation in daughter B, but there is no such mutation is sample C, then C almost certainly couldn’t have come from B, but it might have come from A.

    But, I think you need to argue with DXer. You seem to be arguing that DNA is all you need to prove everything. And he’s arguing that DNA can’t prove everything. I’m mostly arguing that they had other things than DNA to work with to find the culprit, such as documentation and background checks. The DNA just pointed them in the right direction.

    Ed

    ==

    But the FBI testing has established what at this stage? It can’t distinguish RMR-1029 and the other 7 flasks (or 8 or more as DXer has commented)?

    That is why we need more DNA sequencing to try to determine if one of these can be determined as the direct ancestor of the Senate letters, or possibly to remove all of them.

    • Old Atlantic said

      Doesn’t the statute for the NAS provide for input by the public during the process? Don’t we get input prior to the FBI meeting?

      Do you claim that any flask has been identified to the exclusion of all known others as the most immediate ancestor to the letter anthrax?

      Do you claim that it has been determined that it is not possible to select one of the known flasks as the most immediate ancestor to the letter anthrax to the exclusion of all known others?

  57. DXer said

    Ed is mistaken. Ed should quote the documents and experts and stop propagating mistaken information.

  58. Old Atlantic said

    There are approximately 1000 samples in the repository. 2^10 = 1024. There is a single Ames source, make that an assumption. So we can pretend its 10 generations.

    The 4 morphs are very distinct to these 8 flasks according to the DOJ/FBI. They claim other flasks only produce 1 of the morphs?

    Not every mutation results in a morph.

    So these arithmetic indicates that visible mutations in morphs happen fairly frequently, and invisible mutations should then happen almost with every time a new flask is generated.

    Thus we have a good chance to isolate which of the 8 flasks is the most direct ancestor to the letter anthrax. This may require multiple sequencings of each of the 8 flasks and each of the 8 letters.

    One thing that helps is that the mystery subtilis in the first mailings indicates two growths for the letter anthrax. If the second is a daughter of the first, then we have some extra lineage to distinguish this line.

    • Old Atlantic said

      ABC1234
      ABX1234
      ABX5234

      This is a lineage.

      ABC1234
      ABC5234
      ZBC5234

      This is a lineage

      We can distinguish them.

      If the letter anthrax is ZBC5234, then it came from ABC5234 is more likely than it came from
      ABX1234. If from the latter it would need a reverse mutation back from X to C in 3rd position for example.

      I think this is distinct from what you are trying to get at in your comment? Correct?

      • DXer said

        Did anyone notice that Ed could not produce any documentary evidence — as opposed to assertion — that Dr. Ivins was provided the instructions on the submission of the samples. Yet he relies on that as central investigative evidence implicating Dr. Ivins. The subpoena, meeting notes, memoranda, emails all seem to have been withheld — except for the email that shows the instructions had not been communicated until May 24, 2002. A May 2007 email by Dr. Ivins attaches and lists the documents as he earnestly tries to reconstruct the events from the period. But the attachments were not provided.

        Ed needs to focus more on documents and expert opinions and not mistake his assumptions and assertions as evidence.

        Instead of supporting what he says on a critical issue with the requested document(s), he bloviates on mothers and daughters like he did on the AFIP report rather than just reporting (to include quoting or linking) the opinions of experts. If he had obtained the expert’s opinion on the AFIP report, for example, first he would not be wasting everyone’s time. Old Atlantic, instead of soliciting Ed’s opnion, why don’t you solicit an expert’s opinion so that there is less misinformation being rehashed.

        Documents and expert opinion are the stuff of quality analysis. And repeating Rachel’s conclusory assertions and characterizations, btw, from the Amerithrax summary, do not constitute as evidence. In the case of the conveyance of instructions, the relevant evidence is from February 2002- April 2002. If you can’t cite any when asked, then stop making your unsupported assertions on what you imagine to be the “false submission” issue. You have never once actually addressed the documentary evidence on the issue.

        Ed steals the actual content he does post from this blog and pretends he stumbled upon it — but he doesn’t address the documentary evidence that flatly contradicts his repeated conclusory and unsupported assertions.

    • DXer said

      Ed writes:

      “Both were almost certainly grown from material taken directly from flask RMR-1029.”

      There is zero basis for Lake to claim this. It was his mother-daughter confusion that led him so seriously astray for so many months. To repeat: There is no basis to suggest any of the 8 known isolates to be any more likely to be the source.

  59. DXer said

    Fiery package in DC triggers memories of anthrax

    By BRETT ZONGKER
    The Associated Press
    Saturday, January 8, 2011; 12:51 PM

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/08/AR2011010800700.html

  60. Old Atlantic said

    Morphs v. full genome sequences.

    Suppose FBI comes back and says:

    FBI: you can’t identify flasks with the full DNA genome sequence.

    Science: But you can with 4 morphs?

    FBI: 4 carefully chosen morphs.

    • Old Atlantic said

      Genomephobia: The fear by DOJ/FBI of doing the full genomic sequence of the letters and flasks because it might expose the morphs as wrong or identify another flask, such as Battelle or Dugway as the direct ancestor of the letter anthrax.

      • Old Atlantic said

        The current theory is the RMR-1029 had many growths in it and these are what caused it to have 4 morphs.

        Since you can replicate this from growing daughter flasks, that shows the morphs are genetic if the FBI science is valid.

        This means that differences in morphs should show up as differences in genomic sequences.

        But the full genomic sequences may identify a change to a daughter flask to the letter anthrax.

        The whole theory that the 4 morphs are a genetic marker of RMR-1029 is based on the idea that RMR-1029 has different DNA than most of the other 1000 samples in the repository.

        This is based on the idea that the many runs that produced RMR-1029 had various genetic variations not in most of the rest of the repository.

        This means full genomic sequencing can identify which DNA strands are in the letter anthrax and which not. That can help identify exactly which of the 8 (or more) is the direct ancestor of the letter anthrax.

        At this stage, this is the best investigative tool for the money. It also helps start to set up a genomic database of anthrax flasks to deter future use of anthrax in bioterrorism.

  61. Old Atlantic said

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_genome

    “There are estimated to be between 20,000 and 25,000 human protein-coding genes”

    • Old Atlantic said

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacillus_subtilis#Genome

      “B. subtilis has approximately 4,100 genes. Of these, only 192 were shown to be indispensable; another 79 were predicted to be essential as well. A vast majority of essential genes were categorized in relatively few domains of cell metabolism, with about half involved in information processing, one-fifth involved in the synthesis of cell envelope and the determination of cell shape and division, and one-tenth related to cell energetics.[citation needed]”

      Thus bacillus anthracis or subtilis should cost about 1/6 of human genome cost of about 40,000 dollars, so they should cost about 7,000 dollars.

      So the cost of 8 flasks and 5 letters is 13 x 7,000 = 91,000 dollars.

      • Old Atlantic said

        The 1000 they have in the repository would be about 6 million dollars. So you could start to get protection against bio-terrorism using anthrax because it would be traceable.

      • Old Atlantic said

        The cost of full genome sequences of all the letters and the 8 flasks is less than having NAS opine on morphs.

        http://blogs.nature.com/news/thegreatbeyond/2010/12/fbi_asks_for_delay_on_anthrax.html

        “The NAS panel says it can extend its review as requested, but the additional work will cost the FBI another $50,000 on top of the $879,550 the agency has already paid for the study. [The New York Times]”

        So to tell if the morphs work, do the full genome sequence of each letter and each of the 8 flasks and then you can tell a lot more. Pick some other flasks and compare those. So maybe 200,000 dollars to really test the methodology.

  62. Old Atlantic said

    http://patricbrc.org/portal/portal/patric/Taxon?cType=taxon&cId=1392

    PATRIC Legacy BRC RefSeq
    Number of genomes 19 5 20
    Number of Complete genomes 5 5 5
    Number of WGS genomes 14 0 14

    Bacteria > Firmicutes > Bacilli > Bacillales > Bacillaceae > Bacillus > Bacillus cereus group > Bacillus anthracis

    Full genomes of anthracis have already been done as indicated above.

  63. Old Atlantic said

    http://patricbrc.org/portal/portal/patric/Taxon?cType=taxon&cId=1386

    PATRIC Legacy BRC RefSeq

    Number of genomes 115 19 135

    Number of Complete genomes 34 19

  64. Old Atlantic said

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_genome_sequencing

    “Knome[55] provides full genome (98% genome) sequencing services for $39,500 for whole genome sequencing and interpretation for consumers. It’s $29,500 for whole genome sequencing and analysis for researchers depending on their requirements.[56][57]”

    This is for humans. Bacillu is simpler.

    So to do 8 flasks at 40k per flask plus each letter, say they have 5?, then that is 13 * 40k = 520k.

    • Old Atlantic said

      To do the 1000 in the repository is then 40 million dollars. I am not sure if that is every anthrax sample in the world, but its a good start. So somewhere around 100 million dollars would be almost all the world’s known anthrax? This would give us not perfect, but substantial protection against bio-terrorism using anthrax.

      The cost would likely fall as the project went on. They could try to drive the cost lower and offer rewards for that as have already been done for human genome sequencing.

  65. Old Atlantic said

    http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100324/full/457645a.html

    “Published online 4 February 2009 | Nature 457, 645 (2009) | doi:10.1038/457645a

    News
    Neanderthal genome to be unveiled

    Draft sequence opens window on human relatives.

    Rex Dalton

    The entire genome of a 38,000-year-old Neanderthal has been sequenced by a team of scientists in Germany. The group is already extracting DNA from other ancient Neanderthal bones and hopes that the genomes will allow an unprecedented comparison between modern humans and their closest evolutionary relative.”

    “The three-year project, which cost about €5 million (US$6.4 million), was carried out at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig. ”

    ==

    Note they are already doing more bones to get alternative sequences of different Neanderthals. After all, they lived a long time so not every Neanderthal was the same, nor for their whole time on earth.

    So this means the letter anthrax, RMR-1029, and the RMR-1029 daughters should be fully sequenceable at a cost of around 10 million dollars. Or maybe a lot less.

    That means you have every DNA pair in sequence, whether its junk or not. So that means perfect identification.

    • Old Atlantic said

      Note the 3 years ending in 2009. So they started in 2006 and finished Neanderthal in 2009. That was using fossils.

  66. Old Atlantic said

    Full genome sequence of each flask of anthrax in the world. Proposal to discourage future attacks.

    If we do a full genome sequence on every anthrax flask in the world, then anyone trying to use anthrax will be quickly identified.

    Also, it should be cheaper to do them in a batch. You set up a lab section at Ft. Detrick or some place and they just do this until it is done. They can start on the repository they have now.

    Modification for DOJ/FBI: Fully sequence every anthrax flask, except RMR-1029, letter anthrax and RMR-1029 daughters. This way the DOJ/FBI won’t oppose the proposal because it would embarrass them and expose them to paying a settlement to the Ivins family.

    • Old Atlantic said

      This can be expanded to other bio terror weapons as well. They can invest in a facility that does the work, by the equipment, machines, computers, software, train the people and then just operate it on into the future. They can also pay labs to do it just like they gave grants for Neanderthal.

  67. Old Atlantic said

    Ed thanks for your answers to my questions below.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100506141555.htm

    “Complete Neanderthal Genome Sequenced”

    Since Neanderthal has been completely sequenced, why can’t the RMR-1029, the letter anthrax and the daughters be fully sequenced? Surely its easier to sequence from live bacillus than Neanderthal fossils?

    Bacillus should be simpler than Neanderthal as well.

    With the full genome sequence, they won’t have this hit or miss morph business.

    Isn’t the Amerithrax budget bigger than the Neanderthal budget?

    • Old Atlantic said

      You think 4 morphs can identify the exact flask but the full genome sequence can’t? But isn’t the way to test if the 4 morphs really work to do the full genome sequence of the 5 letters and 8 flasks and some control flasks?

  68. Old Atlantic said

    Ed Lake said
    January 7, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    Old Atlantic wrote; What test of RMR-1029 found the 4 morphs?”

    The tests of materials that traced back to RMR-1029 AND the tests of the spores in RMR-1029.

    “The amended documents now say they found 3 morphs.”

    No, that’s just your bizarre interpretation. The changes to the Summary Report just say that the sample Ivins took from flask RMR-1029 in February of 2002 and turned over to the FBIR only contained 3 of the 4 mutations. That does NOT mean that the flask only contained three mutations, it only means that Ivins’ sample only contained 3 mutations. It probably just means that Ivins used a very small sample to inoculate the slants he gave to the FBIR.

    Ed

    ==

    Where in which documents are the tests described that got 4 morphs from RMR-1029?

    They got 4 how many times out of what number of tries? Three times out of 30 tries from RMR-1029?

    Why can’t they do DNA testing?

    Search $79 Simple DNA Testing.

    Search DNA PCR test.

    Why can’t they do DNA testing to determine an exact match between the letter anthrax and the various Ames samples?

    Even if they tested 1000, at 79 each that is 79,000. Of course, it will be more since this is a new test and they will have to do some new work. But this indicates they should be able to do it.

  69. Old Atlantic said

    So at this stage, the attack anthrax differs from RMR-1029 in that

    attack anthrax had 4 key morphs, RMR-1029 had 3.

    attack had subtilis not identified with Ft. Detrick, RMR-1029 did not.

    attack had tin, etc. that RMR-1029 did not.

    attack had heavy silicon or silicon compound additives unlike anything at Ft. Detrick and unlike RMR-1029.

    attack anthrax in Senate letters would aerosolize which so far has required extensive work to duplicate?

    Does Dr. Ezzell claim that he just centrifuged his anthrax and got powder that aerosolized like the Senate buildings?

    The experiments at other sites have found it takes extensive post growth work and not just centrifuging to produce a powder that will aerosolize?

    Centrifuging just ends up with a pellet and that if dried is a clump and does not aerosolize? Does Dr. Ezzell claim different?

    Some have used propreitary methods to produce powder that aerosolizes? Why would they if centrifuging did it by itself?

    In sum, every test ever done shows that the attack anthrax is different from RMR-1029?

    • DXer said

      Dr. Ezzell merely reports that his was better — more pure — than the Daschle product.

      For example, he suggests it could have been made using the exact same method but not limited to the most pure (the snow white) portion.

      The other portions were tan and below that multi-colored or black. He suggested, I think, the Daschle product might have involved a mixture of the entire amount (all three colors).

      If I were in charge of the investigation, I would have had him create the powder and then done aerosol experiments using a sonicator and corona plasma discharge.

      Anonymous has said that the self-repelling nature may indicate that a unipolar charge was added using a corona plasma discharge.

      Dr. JE did not do anything along those lines. He just provided DARPA the lyopholized powder as directed.

      On methods generally, there is a difference between small scale and large scale production. It is not difficult to get a trillion spore concentration on a small scale.

      With respect to reelease by a plane, it is considered “weaponized” if the charge is REMOVED — that permits the direction to be controlled.

      In connection with mailed anthrax, it is more effective to have a unipolar charge added — causing it to leave the envelope.

      All this business about “weaponized” is just empty semantics.

      For his part, JE’s view of it when he examined it was that it was weaponized. But he later came to reinterpret his impressions and concluded that perhaps it was not “fully weaponized.” But, again, all meaningless words.

      It is what it does.

      • BugMaster said

        Not entirely sure about the lack of a charge. Remember, like repels like. So if all the spores could maintain a strong static charge, they would repel each other and fly all over the place.

        Once in contact with a surface, they would most likely stick, but it would take some time for them to settle out of the air.

    • Old Atlantic said

      What test of RMR-1029 found the 4 morphs? The amended documents now say they found 3 morphs. Does it say anywhere in the documents that they did a test from RMR-1029 and found all 4 morphs?

      How many times did that happen?

      Out of the 30 listed in another comment?

      • DXer said

        What documentary evidence can Ed Lake provide showing the instructions delivered to Bruce Ivins?

        I’m familiar with his assertions and assumptions and claims that it is a 99% certain that a First Grader wrote the letters and that the instructions were transmitted to him prior to May 24, 2002.

        But I am looking for a URL to the document prior to May 24, 2002 that he relies upon.

        If he can’t produce one, then it is this May 24, 2002 email that governs — in which his lab had to repeatedly press Dr. Ezzell for the instructions to follow and slants to use.

    • DXer said

      Ed, how many morphs did the Ames from flask 1029 being stored in the unlocked refrigerator of the FBI anthrax expert have (of Building 1412).

      How many morphs did the Ames from Flask 1029 made into a dried powder by the FBI anthrax scientist have?

  70. BugMaster said

    “That is, in the testing for the morphs done in 2002, it did not reliably show the morphs for virulent Ames taken from Flask 1029.”

    The test method was validated, right?

    I WANT TO SEE THE METHOD VALIDATION, AS IN THE DATA!

    This isn’t anything propriatory, or classifed.

    WHERE IS THE METHOD VALIDATION!??

    • Old Atlantic said

      Perhaps the FBI validation method is as follows.

      Boss: We want this sample to be identified as the flask.

      Assistant: Only 3 morphs came out.

      Boss: Do it again and keep testing this one until we get the 4 morphs.

      …50 runs later…

      Assistant:

      We got all 4 morphs but in different runs. Should I just say that we found all 4 morphs in it?

      Boss: Isn’t that what I said in the first place. I told you this flask is the one that is the flask that was used.

      Assistant: Some of the other flasks got 3 morphs in one run. Should we report that?

      Boss glaring.

      Assistant: No. Those failed.

      • DXer said

        Let’s consider the science press briefing.

        QUESTION: How many of the samples in your database match three of the markers?

        BACKGROUND OFFICIAL: None.

        QUESTION: None of them matched three?

        BACKGROUND OFFICIAL: None.

        Comment: Okay, it seems that the Background Official was mistaken and not prepared to address the science of the anthrax mailings. He’ll remain nameless.

        BACKGROUND OFFICIAL: We used four in the —

        DR. MAJIDI: There are more than four mutants. Four was used specifically —

        Comment: Okay, perhaps Dr. Majidi can explain, then, why Dr. Ivins’ February 2002 sample is not excludable given that it did not have the four mutants.

        DR. MAJIDI: Those locations — it is not eight laboratories. I got to be clear about that. They came from different locations. A good number of them came from USAMRIID itself. And we’re not disclosing the location.

        QUESTION: How many were outside of the United States, and how many were non-governmental labs?

        Comment:

        Well, that’s understandable. If it came from the unlocked refrigerator of the FBI anthrax scientist who made the dried powder out of Flask 1029 — something Dr. Majidi kept secret — I would want to avoid disclosing that too.

        It would mess up the case against the scientist the FBI just drove to commit suicide by testing his semen on the panties and telling him that you were going to call his family to confirm that there were aspects of his home life was unhappy.

        QUESTION: When you said that eight have them had four markers —

        DR. MAJIDI: Roughly eight of them had four markers.

        Comment:

        Roughly? You mean nine had the markers but you are not going to count the one in the FBI scientist’s unlocked refrigerator that was used to make the dried powder?

        “Roughly,” huh.

        That’s lawyer-speak for more than an 8 but it is awkward to say more.

        Now that we know that Dr. Ivins sample from February 2002 did NOT have four morphs, where were the samples that DID?

        • DXer said

          The scary thing is that AUSA’s Ken and Rachel, in making decisions, thought that the February 2002 sample tested as having 4. Source: February 2010 Amerithrax Summary before the October 2010 correction.

          Question: Why was an errata submitted only after the NAS report was drafted?

      • BugMaster said

        Assistant: We just tested the second sample from Ivins, and we found no morphs. This doesn’t make sense, I’m going to run the test again.

        Boss: Forget it! We have our evidence of guilt here, so don’t go spoiling it for us!

      • anonymous said

        “Question: Why was an errata submitted only after the NAS report was drafted?”

        I think we can safely conclude that the first NAS draft was responsible for the changes.

    • BugMaster said

      Yes, Ed, I agree. But please note there are two sides to the method validation. Not only:

      With what degree of confidence can you identity material derived from RMR-1029, base on the presence of the 4 morphs?

      But EQUALLY important:

      With what degree of confidence can you rule out material being derived from RMR-1029, based on the ABSENCE of morphs?

      The conclusion that Ivins submitted a false sample was pivotal here. Yet records indicate that BEFORE THE ATTACKS, material he submitted wasn’t from RMR-1029, even though it was supposed to be.

  71. Old Atlantic said

    DXer said
    January 7, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    The University of New Mexico sample, which came for Flask 1029, did not contain the 4 morphs.

    And so why doesn’t the evidence show the opposite of the FBI’s inference?

    That is, in the testing for the morphs done in 2002, it did not reliably show the morphs for virulent Ames taken from Flask 1029.

    ==

    Was subsequent testing done to establish that the 4 morphs are in RMR 1029?

    Do the individual morphs have names?

    Let’s name them

    Chico, Harpo, Groucho, and Zeppo.

    They should put up multiple pictures of Chico so we can see if the different Chicos really are the same morph.

  72. DXer said

    ERRATA SHEET
    October 15, 2010
    Upon further review of the Amerithrax Investigative Summary, issued by the Department of Justice on February 19, 2010, the following errors were noted, and the corresponding changes were made in the text of this Investigative Summary:

    ***

    Page 79, third paragraph, should read: “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 lab technician has stated that her handwriting on the labels indicated that she prepared the slant, and she would not have prepared a slant for which Dr. Ivins prepared the labels. The label prepared by Dr. Ivins on one of the slants read, “Ames strain RMR-1029 from Dugway (1997) Bruce Ivins 2/27/02.” This sample was then submitted to the FBIR for analysis. It had three of the four morphological variants, while his April submission had none.”

    • DXer said

      Did the FBI consider taking the fingerprints on the slant to see if Patricia Fellows’ fingerprints were also on the slant? It seems the sounder approach rather than piling accusatory inference onto accusatory inference after its expert through out the first submission — and the FBI suppressed the information for a decade that its expert had made a dried powdered aerosol out of the Ames in the so-called “murder weapon” Flask 1029.

      That fact alone constitutes an irremovable taint on its mountain of innuendo and inferences adverse to Dr. Ivins.

      Other investigators and prosecutors less focused on humiliating Dr. Ivins by testing the semen on the panties might have made inferences unfavorable to the former Zawahiri associate supplied virulent Ames from Flask 1029.

      • DXer said

        The FBI’s genetic expert, Kimothy Smith, who tested the submission said not to contain the morphs, was the fellow thanked by the former Zawahiri associate Tarek Hamouda for supplying the BL-3 for the research on virulent Ames. That constitutes yet another irremovable taint on the evidence.

        Perhaps the next FBI Director will reopen Amerithrax.

        It was FBI Director Mueller who permitted the father of Ali Al-Timimi’s to continue to head the prosecution and leak the hyped stories about Hatfill. He didn’t want to order polygraphs because it would be bad for morale — and yet simply asking the question of Daniel likely would have prompted him to describe his disclosures. AUSA Kenneth Kohl worked closely with Daniel for years and never changed his course. Even assuming the good faith and expertise of all involved, the apparent conflicts of interest made closing a case fraught with innuendo and inferences unacceptable given what was at stake.

        The threat the country faces from the Al Qaeda anthrax threat, we’re told, is of a mass aerosol anthrax attack on DC and NYC. Dress it up all you like but that is an existential threat for the United States of America.

        I would think that FBI Director Mueller would want to rely on more than inference-upon-inference type case in an investigation that was riddled with massive conflict of interest among its scientists that was allowed to continue even into the NAS review… where the collection scientist from Ali Al-Timimi’s bacteriology division was not required to recuse himself.

        The NAS may not have mastered this issue of conflicts of interest (see my friend Michael Jacobsen’s CSPI report) but the GAO knows conflict of interest analysis well.

        • DXer said

          The University of New Mexico sample, which came for Flask 1029, did not contain the 4 morphs.

          And so why doesn’t the evidence show the opposite of the FBI’s inference?

          That is, in the testing for the morphs done in 2002, it did not reliably show the morphs for virulent Ames taken from Flask 1029.

    • Old Atlantic said

      Was the same person an assistant to Dr. Ezzell and to Dr. Ivins at the same time? Or sequentially? They prepared the slant as an assistant to Dr. Ivins and then destroyed it as an assistant to Dr. Ezzell? Or those were done by different assistants.

      • DXer said

        No, there was no overlap in assistants.

        Pat Fellows was Bruce’s assistant. She was a close friend. He highly regarded her technical brilliance and viewed her as a confidante and dear friend.

        I don’t know who in JE’s lab shot out the sample. I don’t believe I have ever said it was thrown out by an assistant in that lab. (I don’t know who in the lab threw it out).

        In the produced documents, someone is reporting on visits by Bruce and related emails in 2008. Was it JE? The person explained to the FBI that Dr. Ivins seemed suicidal but not violent (and could never hurt anyone). The person is telling Dr. Ivins that it would all be over soon.

        • Old Atlantic said

          Thanks for your reply. I throw out dumb questions first for myself and second the answers are often a good foundation of clarity. Your answer does that.

    • DXer said

      The attack anthrax mailed in October 2001 had 4 morphological variants.

      The sample from Flask 1029 in February 2002 did not. (We only now are being told that it had 3).

      It seems then one would want to focus on the samples from among the other 8 isolates that did have the 4 morphological variants. Which were they?

      How many variants were in the virulent Ames in the unlocked refrigerator of the FBI anthrax scientist in Dr. Ezzell’s lab who threw out Ivins’ February 2002 sample. 4, right?

      So doesn’t the genetics evidence point to theft from virulent Ames in the custody of the FBI anthrax expert rather than from the unlocked refrigerator of the late Dr. Ivins?

      Did US Attorney Taylor at his August 2008 press conference incorrectly allege that the sample in February 2002 had 4 morphological variants? … creating the incorrect impression that it was a genetic match with the mailed anthrax?

  73. DXer said

    Let’s turn to some of the guidance that NAS Director Fran Sharples is ignoring when she countenances NAS’ wrongful failure to produce the submitted FBI documents.

    http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/100785

    Public Access to Records (FACA)

    MEMORANDUM FOR COMMITTEE MANAGEMENT OFFICERS
    March 14, 2000

    FROM: JAMES L. DEAN, DIRECTOR
    COMMITTEE MANAGEMENT SECRETARIAT

    SUBJECT: Public Access to Advisory Committee Records

    The purpose of this memorandum is to provide guidance regarding the circumstances under which requests for records generated by or for Federal advisory committees may be processed under the request and review process established by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(3).

    Background

    Section 10(b) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), as amended, (Public Law 92-463, 5 U.S.C. App.) provides that:

    “Subject to section 552 of title 5, United States Code, the records, reports, transcripts, minutes, appendixes, working papers, drafts, studies, agenda, or other documents which were made available to or prepared for or by each advisory committee shall be available for public inspection and copying at a single location in the offices of the advisory committee or the agency to which the advisory committee reports until the advisory committee ceases to exist.”

    The purpose of section 10(b) is provide for the contemporaneous availability of advisory committee records that, when taken in conjunction with the ability to attend committee meetings, provide a meaningful opportunity to fully comprehend the work undertaken by the committee.

    ***

    In Food Chemical News V. Department of Health and Human Services (980 F. 2nd 1468, 299 U.S. App. DC 25), the District of Columbia Court of Appeals held that:

    “…under section 10(b) of FACA an agency is generally obligated to make available for public inspection and copying all materials that were made available to or prepared for or by an advisory committee. Except with respect to those materials that the agency reasonably claims to be exempt from disclosure pursuant to FOIA, a member of the public need not request disclosure in order for FACA 10(b) materials to be made available. Thus, whenever practicable, all 10(b) materials must be available for public inspection and copying before or on the date of the advisory committee meeting to which they apply.” (Emphasis added)

    Accordingly, agencies may not delay making available non-exempt records to interested parties under FOIA procedures as an administrative convenience, or for other reasons.

    The Attorney General issued guidance on October 4, 1993 and September 3, 1999, regarding additional steps that Federal agencies should take to comply with both the letter and the spirit of FOIA. As noted in the memoranda, the Department of Justice (DOJ) “will no longer defend an agency’s withholding of information merely because there is a ‘substantial legal basis’ for doing so. Rather, in determining whether or not to defend a non-disclosure decision (the DOJ) will apply a presumption of disclosure.”

    Given the plain and unambiguous language contained in section 10(b) of FACA, coupled with controlling case law and DOJ’s FOIA guidance, I am encouraging each Committee Management Officer (CMO) to assure the maximum timely availability of covered advisory committee records.

  74. DXer said

    http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/news/display.htm?StoryID=113622

    National Academy of Science review panel surprised by FBI’s last-minute document release
    Originally published December 11, 2010

    The academy committee completed its review earlier in the fall and on Oct. 27 submitted a draft of its report to the FBI for a security review, as outlined in the FBI’s contract.

    ***
    On Dec. 3, the FBI delivered a summary of additional information and a letter asking that forensic experts, investigators and federal prosecutors who worked on the investigation be allowed to present more material to the committee before the report was finalized, according to Colglazier’s statement.

    The extra time, Colglazier said, would help the panel in “producing the most thorough and accurate analysis possible.”

    The FBI’s move came as a surprise to the academy. Spokeswoman Jennifer Walsh said on Nov. 30 the committee was finalizing its report for the upcoming release, and in a Dec. 10 e-mail she wrote “at that time we didn’t know we would receive any relevant information.

    “We were surprised given our prior request for all relevant information,” she said. “Some, but not all, of what the FBI has now turned over is relevant to the committee’s charge, and they are the type of materials we requested previously. However, I can’t characterize what types of materials they are.

    Off-the-record comment. (If you try to quote it, Lew will just edit it.)

    I personally think FBI and prosecutors should go back to their well again and produce another 2724 pages.

    I don’t doubt their files are well-organized. The lead paralegal after Amerithrax was the paralegal for my closest friend. The paralegal and I are both big fans of the local musical artist Hannah.

    Now I realize an AUSA working with Mr. Seikaly once tried to keep the paralegal away from me. But you have to appreciate how much I love (unclassified) documents over BS.

    I know the high standards of my close friend. So I can only imagine how well his paralegal kept the database of documents. (And my friend has handled the very biggest cases in history). Now I know my law school friends so well (25 years now) that I seldom communicate with them at less than 80 decibels whenever on a stroll at the Mall. They know my views on Amerithrax and know not to try to stand in my way of documents that are subject to production and disclosure to the public. I fervently believe in enforcing FOIA and FACA relating to Government in the Sunshine.

    Knowing the scope of issues that the science investigation considered, having communicated with so many scientists on so many Amerithrax topics, that I know generally the number of documents that would exist, even as to particular key words or topics.

    And a failure to produce will be quantifiable especially given GAO’s subpoena power and given that Patrick Eddington in Holt’s office is not a potted houseplant.

    A withholding would result in argument that there has been prosecutorial misconduct in the withholding of documents and then misleading characterizations on those issues to the public.

    On the other hand, those familiar with document productions know that there are routinely supplements to productions. I will continue to strive to curb Lew’s hissy fits over the FBI’s wrongful withholding, Anonymous’ reckless assumptions, and will try to prevent BugMaster’s further unkind remarks every time Dr. Majidi makes a dumb ass excuse for withholding the documents. But, please, do yourself all a favor. No one is going to fault you for producing 2700+ pages more at this point. But they will fault you if you withhold them beyond this next Friday. You are being given a chance to make things right. Take it. My nickname wasn’t “FBI-fan boy” for over a half a decade for nothing.

    When you come across with another supplemental production, this message will destruct within 5 seconds and you’ll be warmly received with hugs and pats on the back.

    I’m just kidding with you Kenneth Kohl. It will be fascinating to hear you present.

    If you hadn’t been so busy with the high profile Blackwater prosecution, maybe these documents — like Ivins’ contemporaneous notes while in the lab that Rachel Lieber expressly refused me or the photocopy examination toner reports by Dr. Bartick — would have been produced.

    Judge Cites Prosecutorial Misconduct In Blackwater Dismissal…
    http://www.mainjustice.com/2010/01/01/judge-cites-prosecutorial-misconduct-in-blackwater-dismissal/

    Main Justice – Jan 1, 2010

    Two words: Amerithrax Wikileaks.

  75. DXer said

    Richard Hollbrooke has fallen ill and is at George Washington University Hospital He may undergo surgery. We all wish him well and a speedy recovery.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40609558/ns/politics-more_politics/

    WASHINGTON — Veteran diplomat Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, felt ill at the State Department and went to the hospital, the State Department said on Friday.

    State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Holbrooke, 69, felt unwell while on the department’s seventh floor, which is where U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s office is located, but he declined to provide further details.

    He was taken to George Washington University Hospital, and friends said he may undergo surgery, NBC News reported.

    He was suffering from chest pains and has had previous episodes with blood clots, according to NBC. His wife, Kati Marton, flew in to Washington from New York.

    Holbrooke was appointed special envoy by President Barack Obama in the early weeks of his administration and has traveled frequently to Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as to other countries that are coordinating with the United States on policies toward both countries.

  76. DXer said

    http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2010/12/new-fbi-material-delays-academy.html?ref=ra

    New FBI Material Delays Academy Report on Anthrax Attacks

    by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee on 10 December 2010, 3:56 PM

    The FBI has belatedly provided an expert panel with new information that will delay a long-awaited report on the scientific merits of the government’s investigation into the deadly 2001 anthrax mailings.

    In September 2008, the FBI asked the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to review the science behind the case against U.S. Army researcher Bruce Ivins. Ivins committed suicide as agents were about to wrap up the investigation, and some of his colleagues believe that he was an innocent man who had been hounded to his death. The FBI announced that it had used genetic fingerprinting to trace the anthrax in the letters to a flask in Ivins’s lab. Five people were killed and 17 injured in the string of letter attacks in the fall of 2001.

    In the absence of a trial, the NAS review was seen as an important step toward understanding what the government had done–even though its focus was entirely on the science. But the FBI officially closed the case in February 2010, giving the appearance of finality and certainty to what the investigation had concluded.

    The academy panel submitted the report to the FBI on 27 October. On 3 December, FBI officials provided new material and asked for an opportunity to make a presentation before the committee.

    The FBI’s last-minute submission of new material has drawn fire from Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ), who calls it an attempt “to contest and challenge the independent NAS panel’s draft findings.” Holt, who has been a persistent critic of how the FBI has handled the case, sent a letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller on Thursday demanding that Mueller meet with him to explain the “document dump” made by the agency weeks after receiving the draft report. Last night, NAS Executive Officer E. William Colglazier said that the report, which was due out this fall, would be delayed until February 2011 to give the study panel time to review the new information. “We have determined that some of this material is the type of information previously requested by the committee during the course of its review and that some of this information is relevant to the committee’s report,” Colglazier noted.

    Vahid Majidi, head of the FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate, would not comment on Holt’s letter to the FBI director. But asked why new material was submitted so late in the process, he e-mailed ScienceInsider: “Recall that the study had started before the case was formally closed; after the case closure we were able to provide additional support material.”

Leave a Reply to Old Atlantic Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: