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

Archive for December 11th, 2010

* hints of conflict between the NAS and the FBI are found in the unexpected delay of the NAS report on the FBI’s anthrax science … the FBI is obviously trying to hide the truth as long as possible and the NAS is witholding documents it is required by law to release

Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 11, 2010

is the FBI controlling NAS independence ???

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DXer comment (12/11/10) …

  • By its withholding of documents, hasn’t NAS been part of the problem rather than part of the solution?
  • For its spokesman to think he could not characterize the documents missed the point.  Under the statute and controlling District of Columbia precedent, he and the NAS are required to PRODUCE them.
  • By not complying with FACA, the NAS prevented meaningful participation in the proceeding before it — prevented comments by outside experts who had actually made an aerosol, prevented comments informed by the documents.
  • GAO therefore should find a way to receive comments from those scientists who unlike the NAS panel members actually have aerosol experience… once those scientists can be informed by any documents eventually produced in response to FOIA litigation.
  • Amerithrax represents the greatest failure of intelligence in American history.  As for finding fault, let’s start with the prosecutor and investigator who present at the NAS in January.
  • Hasn’t the entire NAS review merely served to delay production of key documents for 2 years?
  • Is there anything under the Federal Advisory Committee Act that exempts the documents produced to the NAS by the FBI from production?  No.

Later Update from AP (12/10/10) …

  • The National Academy of Sciences says it is extending its review of the investigation into the 2001 anthrax mailings to consider new information from the FBI.
  • The Washington-based academy said Friday that the FBI delivered additional materials last week after it received a draft of the academy’s report.

  •  

    The academy had planned to release the report this month. It now says it will hold one last meeting, probably in January, to hear an FBI presentation on the new material.

  • The public release is now expected in February.

Megan Eckstein writes in the Frederick News-Post (12/10/10) …

  • The National Academy of Sciences quietly delayed releasing its evaluation of the science used to link Fort Detrick scientist Bruce Ivins to the anthrax attacks of 2001, a move that escaped notice of many, but drew criticism from one congressman.
  • U.S. Rep. Rush Holt, a Democrat who represents the central New Jersey district from where the anthrax letters were mailed, said the NAS delayed releasing its report because the FBI asked the panel members to review 500 more pages of classified documents before reaching a final conclusion.
  • In a letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller, Holt wrote that the NAS officials informed him they recently released a draft copy of the report to the FBI and that, consequently, the FBI gave the panel “an additional 500 pages of previously undisclosed investigative material from the Amerithrax investigation.
  • Holt has long challenged the FBI’s investigation, as well as its decision to close the investigation in February by releasing a 92-page case summary that left many of his constituents’ questions unanswered.

read Megan’s entire article at … http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/news/display.htm?StoryID=113548

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Scott Shane wrote in the NYT (12/9/10) …

E. William Colglazier, the NAS’s executive officer, said the F.B.I.’s request was a surprise and came after the bureau saw the panel’s peer-reviewed final report, which was scheduled for release in November.

He said the committee’s 15 members, top scientists who serve as volunteers, were “exhausted,” but that the panel agreed to extend the study and consider revising the report in return for an additional fee, probably about $50,000, beyond the $879,550 the F.B.I. has already paid for the study.

read Scott’s entire article at … http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/10/us/10anthrax.html?hpw

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Anthony Kimery wrote in HS Today (12/9/10) …

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

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

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

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LMW COMMENT …

There is a fascinating story growing here about the interaction between the FBI and the NAS. The reporting of Scott Shane and Megan Eckstein suggests the following questions …

  • what were the original documents given to the NAS by the FBI? why were these later documents withheld, and why are they being given to the NAS now?
  • why weren’t these documents, and others provided to NAS from other sources, made available to the public during the study, as apparently required by law?
  • what aspects of the NAS draft report did the FBI object to?
  • is the original NAS draft report discoverable under federal law?
  • why has the NAS failed to follow its own rules in disclosing information received and meeting summaries?
  • what is different about the new documents? why were they originally withheld by the FBI?
  • what other documents will the FBI later come up with to continue to delay the issuance of an already late NAS report?
  • why did the NAS “quietly” post the extension on their website and not say a word about it? What would have come out if they had made a public announcement and subjected themselves to questions?
  • why are the NAS committee members “exhausted” and what sort of interactions and relationships have developed between the FBI and the NAS? Are they at each other’s throats? Has the FBI been harrassing the NAS panel?
  • what do the NAS panel members know that is not allowed by the FBI to be included in the report?
  • when the “official” report is finally filed, will individual members of the NAS panel speak out? Is this the real reason for the FBI delay in issuing  the report?
  • will Director Mueller meet with Congressman Holt?

When public officials behave in suspicious ways, it is natural that suspicions abound. It is unlikely that we will know the answers to these questions, but maybe, if the reporters dig enough and perhaps get lucky …

I come back to my three options as to what is really going on …

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

* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon *

 

 

 

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* who benefitted from the FBI failure to solve the 2001 anthrax mailings case? … first to benefit … the Bush/Cheney plan to invade Iraq

Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 11, 2010

Secretary of State Colin Powell waving a vial of "anthrax" at the UN on Feb 5, 2003

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on February 5, 2003, Secretary of State  Colin Powell

addressed the United Nations Security Council …

  • One of the most worrisome things that emerges from the thick intelligence file we have on Iraq’s biological weapons is the existence of mobile production facilities used to make biological agents.
    • In a matter of months, they can produce a quantity of biological poison equal to the entire amount that Iraq claimed to have produced in the years prior to the Gulf War.
    • “…  a fourth source, an Iraqi major, who defected, confirmed that Iraq has mobile biological research laboratories, in addition to the production facilities I mentioned earlier.
  • “Ladies and gentlemen, these are sophisticated facilities. For example, they can produce anthrax.
    • In fact, they can produce enough dry biological agent in a single month to kill thousands upon thousands of people. And dry agent of this type is the most lethal form for human beings.
  • “The Iraqi regime has also developed ways to disburse lethal biological agents, widely and discriminately into the water supply, into the air in ways that can cause massive death and destruction.
  • “Let me talk now about the systems Iraq is developing to deliver weapons of mass destruction, in particular Iraq’s ballistic missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles, UAVs.
  • “There is ample evidence that Iraq has dedicated much effort to developing and testing spray devices that could be adapted for UAVs.

“… Leaving Saddam Hussein

in possession of weapons of mass destruction

for a few more months or years is not an option,

not in a post-September 11th world.”

NOTE: 6 weeks later, Iraq was invaded

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LMW COMMENT …

  • This was perhaps Colin Powell’s worst moment in an otherwise distinguished career. Virtually none of what he said at the UN turned out to be true. Saddam had no anthrax, no means to make anthrax, and no means to deliver anthrax to the US.
  • But making us afraid that he did was one of the important false props in the Bush/Cheney false case for invading Iraq.
  • If the FBI had by  then (which was 15 months after the anthrax attacks) solved the case, and it wasn’t Saddam, at least one of these false props would have disappeared, and perhaps we would never have invaded Iraq.

The FBI’s case against Dr. Ivins is clearly bogus: no evidence, no witnesses, an impossible timeline, science that proves innocence instead of guilt.

So what really happened? And why doesn’t the FBI offer America a credible story?

I can imagine only 3 possible “actual” scenarios …

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

It is this third scenario that leads me to try to show

who might have benefitted from not solving the case.

I am making no accusations,

but it is surely appropriate in an unsolved case

to look at those who might want to keep it unsolved.

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

* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon *

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* Microbial Forensics … Chapter 30 … Nonbiological measurements on Biological Agents … Stephan P. Velsko

Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 11, 2010

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

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