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

* Simulations (using NIST EDX software) of the weight percentages of the element silicon in the Daschle and New York Post anthrax powders

Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 22, 2010

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go to … http://lewweinsteinauthorblog.com/

Slides and text submitted by a regular CASE CLOSED blog participant …

  • These simulations were performed using NIST’s EDX quantitative analysis software and data from the AFIP lab report.
  • The weight percentage of silicon in the Daschle powder is calculated to be 2.25%. This is slightly higher than the 1.45% released by the FBI.
  • But much more significant than that is the New York Post powder. It is calculated to contain 32.75% silicon. The FBI claim there “was insufficient sample” to determine the quantity of silicon in this powder. This is demonstrably untrue.
  • The reason the FBI do not want people to know the weight percentage of silicon in the New York Post powder can be explained as follows.
    • If they admit 30% content they are then admitting deliberate addition of a silicon chemical for all the attack powders.
    • This does not fit with their prosecution narrative against Dr Ivins.

******

Daschle (SPS02-57-03) powder

******

New York Post (SPS02-88-01) powder

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351 Responses to “* Simulations (using NIST EDX software) of the weight percentages of the element silicon in the Daschle and New York Post anthrax powders”

  1. DXer said

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/liveonline/03/special/world/sp_iraq_alibek033103.htm

    “Syracuse, N.Y.: Dr. Alibek,

    With respect to the anthrax mailings, do you agree that the electrostatic charge was not removed? And that small scale production is indicated? And with respect to your letter to the editor to The Washington Post (with Dr. Meselson), could you explain your view for the reason silica was detected in the anthrax? How do you explain the floatability? Under all the circumstances, do you believe the science points away from (or toward) a state sponsored program? Relatedly, do you feel al Qaeda is responsible (with or without help from a state-employed scientist)? Finally, do you feel you have a sufficient basis to form an expert opinion on these particular issues (based on what you have been able to see)?

    Ken Alibek: We need to understand that there is no specific technological procedure to remove electric charges. All discussions about to remove or not remove are absolutely senseless. Yes, electric charges could decrease it, but there’s not specific.

    These anthrax mailings create electric charge and this went through mail machines and had friction, so to say they didn’t have an electric charge is not right.

    To talk about silica, when I’ve looked at micrographs, I haven’t seen any silica in the samples. We shouldn’t forget that silica could be contained in an outer shell of an anthrax spore. Based on this information its hard to see if it is foreign or domestic. What you can see is that there was a lot of incorrect info published in the media. This anthrax wasn’t sophisticated, didn’t have coatings, had electric charge and many other things.

    We can form an expert opinion on what kind of anthrax it was, but based on this data, we can’t say what the source was.”

    “Dallas, Tex.: A published analysis of the anthrax mailed to government and media in Oct. 2001 shows unambiguously that silicon dioxide was present on the surface of the spores. The work was performed by the AFIP and the results can be seen here.

    Does this mean, in your opinion, that the anthrax was made in a state-sponsored bioweapons lab?

    Ken Alibek: We paid to much attention to the silicon oxide on the surface of the spores. I haven’t seen any silicon presence on micrographs of this anthrax. We shouldn’t forget that silica would be a natural component. In this case, in my opinion, silica was a natural presence in these spores. There was no special need to add silica to this anthrax.

    Ken Alibek: Presence or absence of silica says nothing about whether it was state sponsored. It’s very hard from technical characteristics to make conclusions about possible source. That’s why in my opinion, we should focus on two major directions. We have to do technical examination — equipment, source of the spores. And regular interrogation. Interview people who could be sources of valuable information. One more thing, we need to investigate how — we know when these letters have been sent and locations and we need to check and see what people would be at that location at a certain time. It should be more technical issues, though.”

    “Somewhere, USA: Would silica be detected (in a comparable manner as in the product used in the anthrax mailings in the U.S.) if the instructions for bacillus thuringiensis were followed, such as described in the UN’s description by the Food and Agriculture Organization below? Is bacteriologist Abdul Qadoos Khan, in whose home Khalid Mohammed was reportedly arrested, expert in the production of B.T. from his work for the UN in Sudan and Zambia? What was the field of expertise of that bacteriologist?

    Product Harvesting and Formulation of Microbial Insecticide.

    Ken Alibek: Again, I said before that silica could be naturally present in spores. In this case, we shouldn’t over focus on silica. There are many other parameters and issues we need to pay attention to.”

    “Syracuse, N.Y.: In the Air Force Journal, May 2002, DOD’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency Younger said that essentially the same process to make powderized anthrax is used to make dried milk. Could someone expert in making dried milk make the product used in the Daschle and Leahy letters?

    Ken Alibek: Let me answer it this way — yes, actually, it would be the same technique to make a powderized anthrax, but at the same time we shouldn’t overestimate the complexity of making it. My opinion is this — in order to make this powder there is no need to have sophisticated equipment. Such a small amount, keep in mind that the people who did it could have very simple equipment and very simple procedures. There is no need for industrial equipment. It would be enough to have small equipment. But at the same time, when people talk about it being “weaponized” — I can’t say it was that sophisticated. I saw the particles — they were the size of 40 microns. We can’t say anything about the quality of this powder because we saw it after it had gone through mail sorting machines which create very powerful pressure. There was no coating. What I saw on micrograph was no coating. It was natural spores and for some people they mistakenly thought it wasn’t. Some experts said there was more charge because it was fluffy and made a cloud when put on scale. This is another mistake. It did have charge. IT went through the sorting machine and it’s a matter of friction. In this case, it meant that this powder had the same electric charge — this is normal. In this case, I would say it’s a long story, but there have been so many mistakes made in the conclusions, but I hope these mistakes were just in the media, but not the case with the FBI and do know more information.”

  2. DXer said

    Bruce Ivins thought it was an “incredible coverup” that he was not allowed to swab the Diagnostic Services Division at the same time he swabbed his lab and offices.

    That was where the FBI anthrax expert had made a dried powder from the Ames in Flask 1029.

  3. Old Atlantic said

    At least three key things are in dispute.

    1) How was it prepared?

    a) plates
    b) flask
    c) fermentor
    d) with silicon compounds in growth media
    e) subsequent additions of silicon compounds
    f) how dried
    g) milling
    h) other spore treatment
    i) anti-clumping
    j) further treatment or separation

    2) What did they send?

    a) coated spores?
    i) originally coated but then
    Brownian motion or some other effect
    moved or removed the coat
    ii) not originally coated
    iii) fluid properties changed by the
    silicon compounds anyhow
    iv) aerosol properties changed

    b) how much silicon?
    c) what silicon compounds where?
    d) packed spores?

    3) What was intended?

    a) accident
    b) limitations
    i) resources ii) time iii) know-how

    If we take 2. and 3. we can form a 2 by 2 box if we limit each of them to two options. Taking as given there was a lot of silicon, we can consider the silicon compounds included some coating or not. We can also consider if its accident or intentional.

    If it was coated with silicon it was intentional.

    If it just had a lot of silicon compounds in it, it was either intentional the way it was, uncoated, or it was an accident. They were trying for coated but ended up just sending silicon compounds.

    If it was sent with uncoated spores and silicon compounds in the spore coat and with extra silicon compounds in the NY Post wave, and if that was intentional then we have to consider why?

    One option is that they wanted to prime a LASER, MASER, microwave, particle beam, etc. approach to inactivation. That could have been for their own benefit in cleaning up their lab, car, gloves, clothing, etc. Or it could have been as a way to control the loss of life or the cost of the cleanup. They could reveal this. Or they thought the government would be smart enough to figure it out.

    Very few of the combinations point to Ivins. These seem to involve, to some, almost willful disregard of what the evidence appears to be based on the various sources. Others say doubting the government’s case, evidence or presentation is wrong and stupid and shows poor mental habits.

    • Old Atlantic said

      One way to deal with the combination complexity is to determine what was sent and replicate it.

      Then it should first be considered as intentional.

      Then identify any alternative intended outcomes.

      Then consider accidents or mistakes or limitations including fear of being seen as reasons for deviations from the intended outcome(s).

  4. Old Atlantic said

    Can a laser be used with silicon carbide for heating but not other silicon compounds?

    Hypothesis: No, a laser can be used with other silicon compounds to heat spores from in the spore coat or when packed around the spore.

    The spectrum of silicon carbide is not at some sort of exotic energy levels.

    The spectrum is the same as the energy levels. Note that due to quantum mechanics, energy levels are broadened from exact real numbers to intervals on the real line.

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/pssb.2221620219/abstract

    “Abstract

    The electroreflection spectra of hexagonal polytypes of SiC, 4H and 6H are measured in the range 1.0 to 5.6 eV. The energies of direct optical transitions are determined using a multiple oscillator model. The electronic band structures of three hexagonal polytypes of SiC (2H, 4H, and 6H) are calculated by the first-principles self-consistent linear muffin-tin orbital (LMTO ASA) method. One-electron energies and densities of states are obtained in the range ± 15 eV around the top of valence band. The results calculated are compared with experimental data measured in this work and those available in the literature.”

    The ground state energy of hydrogen is 13.6 eV.

    Other silicon carbon compounds we would expect would have energy spectra that would make them amenable to laser heating of spores containing them or packed in them.

  5. Old Atlantic said

    Ed:

    Ed Lake said
    January 5, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    I stopped the silicon carbide drying test after 22 hours, instead of waiting for 24 hours. The piece of peach I placed on a piece of silicon carbide sandpaper in the open air was nearly dried. The piece of peach I placed on a piece of silicon carbide sandpaper inside of a sealed “Petri” dish was still almost as wet as when I put it in the dish. So, the air did the drying, and the silicon carbide sandpaper had no noticeable drying effect. However, the sandpaper in the air dry experiment is very dry, and the sandpaper that was inside the sealed Petri dish with the slice of peach feels damp. So, apparently, there could still be a desiccant effect, but the sand paper is far too thin to absorb much water. It could only absorb a tiny fraction of the water in the peach.

    I used about 2/3rds of one sheet of silicon carbide sandpaper in yesterday’s experiments. I took the remaining 1/3rd sheet, cut it into 9 pieces and placed it under the still wet peach and its original piece of sandpaper. Then I sealed the dish and put it back atop my refrigerator. I’ll check it again tomorrow.

    The experiments seem to indicate that silicon carbide sandpaper was not used as a desiccant, although a desiccant may still have been used to dry the attack anthrax spores, just a different desiccant. And silicon carbide sandpaper might still have been used with the New York Post material for some unknown purpose. However, it doesn’t appear that the powder was “sanded” to create smaller particles, either.

    I suppose it’s possible that Ivins simply rubbed a couple pieces of silicon carbide sandpaper together over the New York Post material before it was dried, allowing grit to drop into the material in some attempt to make it appear the powder came from Iraq’s bioweapons program. Or to create some bogus “signature” that would confuse investigators.

    The odd thing about silicon carbide sandpaper is that it doesn’t look>/b> wet when it is clearly wet. If you dip one end in water and wipe off the water, that end doesn’t look any different from the dry end, but you can feel that it is clearly damp. Is the water inside the silicon carbide crystals? Or is the water in the crevices between the individual crystals of silicon carbide? Or both? Those crevices are far too small to see with the naked eye. They’re somewhat like the crevices ground into the porcelain on the bottom of my bathtub, allowing me to stand in the bathtub with no danger of slipping. The water under my feet is forced into the crevices and away, allowing me to stand on a surface that seems fairly smooth to the touch, but really isn’t smooth. If those crevices weren’t there, the water between my feet and the porcelain would act as a lubricant and send me flying.

    There could be some other explanation for the silicon carbide crystals in the New York Post powder, but, at the moment, I can’t think of what that other explanation might be.

    Ed

    ==End Ed

    Very good work that deserves to be posted in full for easy reading.

    This tends to support the use of the silicon carbide for the laser/particle heating deactivation method.

  6. DXer said

    Returning to the FBI’s suggestion that the silica could have been in the culture medium for a moment, Dr. Velsko explained to me that

    “Peter Weber’s experiments showed that dissolved silica by itself is not enough to explain the reported high silica content (1% or greater)in anthrax spores (Assuming the 1% quoted by the FBI is, in fact correct – Peter never got the chance to analyze the actual case sample material, so as far as we are concerned the actual % silica in the case samples might be smaller than has been quoted.) The culture methods he surveyed included the most common methods we were aware of, hence it is possible that other, less common methods of growth could produce higher silica concentrations. It is also possible that there is some very specific strain-related phenomenon that causes the Amerithrax strain to absorb more silica than other strains (note that B. cereus spores with as much as 6% silica have been reported in the literature.) From our point of view, the first, most important step towards resolving the issues is to have Peter measure the silica in the case sample materials using the same technique he used for the other samples, so we are not comparing apples to oranges.”

    • Anonymous said

      “From our point of view, the first, most important step towards resolving the issues is to have Peter measure the silica in the case sample materials using the same technique he used for the other samples, so we are not comparing apples to oranges.”

      I suggested to Peter over a year ago that the FBI should have allowed his lab to measure the attack spores. Interesting Velsko states “most important step towards resolving the issues”.

      According to the FBI there are no issues.

      • Anonymous said

        I see you are now stating that the New York Post powder contains silicon carbide particles as if it is a matter of fact and not just your own screwball conclusion.

        And, just like the FBI – you don’t know how Ivins grew the spores, you don’t know how he dried them, you don’t know how he purifed them, you don’t know how silicon got in the spore coats. You don’t know how he managed to avoid leaving a single spore in his personal belongings.

        You just know Ivins did it.

        The only difference between yourself and the FBI seems to be that you hold obsessive beliefs that Ivins coreced a child from his wife’s imaginary 2001 daycare center into writing the letters.

      • DXer said

        Ed writes “There are no issues related to Ivins’ guilt.”

        Yet Ed is the guy who thinks it is 99% that a First Grader wrote the letters, not Dr. Ivins!

        Ed, certainly you can agree that an outstanding issue is that we have to get that First Grader to confess what he did!

      • Anonymous said

        “The facts show Ivins had the means, motive and opportunity.”

        The REAL facts show that Ivins had none of these. He had no motive, he had no means to make 10g of dried spores with silica additive and he never had any opportunity.

        “The facts show he had no alibi for the times of both mailings.”

        The REAL facts show he had numerous alibis – he was attending therapy sessions.

        “The facts show Ivins tried to mislead the investigation.”

        The REAL facts show he submitted samples of RMR-1029 to both the FBI and Keim. The Keim sample was kept for years and had all the signatures of RMR-1029. The FBI themselves threw away their own sample.

        “The facts show Ivins tried to destroy evidence.”

        The REAL facts show Ivins cleaned his lab after all the anthrax samples started arriving at Detrick. He could have blamed any “evidence” on these samples – not anythign that was made at Detrick.

        “The facts show Ivins was mentally unstable and a diagnosed sociopath.”

        The REAL facts show that a compromised “therapist” reached this conclusion (when she was under house arrest).

        “The facts show Ivins put a coded message in the media letters.”

        The REAL facts show that was a patheticlly weak fabrication by the FBI to somehow connect an imaginary code to a book that thousands of people have on their bookshelf.

        “The facts show Ivins believed the spores in the flask he controlled to be commonly used in labs all over the world and therefore untraceable.”

        The REAL facts show that RMR-1029 had been sent to Dugway, Battelle and New Mexico, from where it could have gone anywhere.

        “The facts show Ivins worked alone and unsupervised in his lab during the times the attack anthrax powders would have been prepared.”

        The REAL facts show Dr Ivins was SCHEDULED to work these evenings on lab animals – and the FBI conveniently dreamed up the story that the spores were made on these evenings in an impossible time frame.

      • Anonymous said

        “People do not just suddenly decide to create day care centers.”

        False. People who pay day care providers get a tax break on what they pay – even if it’s to an individual. They provide the day care giver’s SS# in their tax return. Hence every day care provider is registered.

        Your obsessive fantasies about children writing letters are quite disturbing.

      • Anonymous said

        “Ivins was diagnosed as a sociopath by his psychiatrist, not by his therapist.”

        False. Ivins was diagnosed by a forensic psychiatrist (look up what a forensic psychiatrist is). He had NEVER MET Dr ivins. The FBI paid the forensic psychiatrist to make the diagnosis based on the house confined, arrested, drug addict therapist’s statements.

      • Anonymous said

        “I believe the FBI showed that the areas that Ivins cleaned were not areas where the found letters could have left contamination.”

        False. The material coming into Detrick – 10’s of thousands of pieces of material – caused widespread contamination. Ivins discussed his cleaning up immdediately with the ethic’s officer at Detrick. It’s all documented.

      • DXer said

        It is totally understandable that Dr. Ivins flew into a rage on July 9 given their testing of semen on the panties (ordered on July 2 and then communicated to Kemp and Ivins).

        That testing and rage bears on the reason he committed suicide — but not on whether he was involved in the anthrax mailings. There is no evidence he was involved in the anthrax mailings.

        Ed argues that it is 99% certain that the person had just learned to write English. Although Ed’s opinion is not admissible under Daubert principles, if it were, it would be strongly exculpatory of Dr. Ivins.

    • BugMaster said

      “less common methods of growth could produce higher silica concentrations.”

      Like growing the anthrax on Ivin’s FA media, used for maintaining Ivin’s copatented genetically modified rpa-102 bug, which produced high levels of toxin used in his next generation anthrax vaccine (clinical trails material produced at Battelle).

      You would, of course leave out the kanamycin to grow Ames.

      In fact, you could just eat the kanamycin yourself if you weren’t vaccinated against anthrax, and were afraid of getting infected!

    • Anonymous said

      “It is also possible that there is some very specific strain-related phenomenon that causes the Amerithrax strain to absorb more silica than other strains (note that B. cereus spores with as much as 6% silica have been reported in the literature.)”

      Also, it should be remembered in the recent Japanese paper on B. cereus above that Velsko talks about, the silicon was not added “accidentally”. The researchers went out of their way to load as much silicon as physically possible into the broth – they deliberately did this. Without this deliberate action there would have been less 0.001% silicon present.

      Also, all of Velsko and Weber’s studies that achieved anything above 0.01% silicon used deliberate and knowing addition of silicon.

      And the FBI want everyone to believe it was all just an accident.

      NAS probably rightly concluded that such a silicon content had to be deliberate and that post-treatment of the spores could not be ruled out. This may be the issue that caused the FBI to delay the NAS report.

  7. Old Atlantic said

    http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA495866&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf


    The diameter of a B.a. spore
    is approximately 1 m [38]. Viable wells contained between 1 and 15 spores each.
    A soda lime glass slide was also micro-etched with wells. Carbon black was placed
    in these wells as a optical absorber. Because the spores could not be directly heated
    via the laser, the carbon black served as a `hot plate’ converting optical energy to
    thermal energy and conducting heat into the spore wells.”

    “Because the spores could not be directly heated
    via the laser,” because these spores did not have silicon carbide in them.

    Note that silicon carbide next to them would function similar to the carbon black walls used here.

    Thus with silicon carbide in the spores, the energy absorbed by silicon carbide is localized inside the spore. This can correspond to a very high temperature but it only applies in a small volume.

  8. Old Atlantic said

    http://cerncourier.com/cws/article/cern/29777

    “While an energy of 200 MeV is needed to reach deep-seated tumours (about 25 cm of water equivalent) for protons, 4800 MeV is needed for carbon ions, 24 times higher. Protons beams are obtained either from cyclotrons (normal or superconducting) or from synchrotrons with a diameter of 6–8 m. Currently only synchrotrons are used to produce carbon ions up to 400–430 MeV/u. Their magnetic rigidity is about three times larger than for 200 MeV protons, so synchrotrons of 18–25 m diameter are needed. ”

    These types of MeV correspond to temperatures of millions of degrees. The person doesn’t die because these temperatures are localized in the tumor/tissue. Only a tiny volume has such temperatures.

    The same physics can apply to use of the laser beam with the silicon carbide inside the spores. One can reach very high temperatures which have a high inactivation rate for spores inside the spores but the surrounding clothes are not heated to an uncomfortable temperature.

    This approach requires some sophistication with this type of physics.

    • Old Atlantic said

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

      “All protons of a given energy have a certain range; very few protons penetrate beyond that distance.[4] Furthermore, the dose delivered to tissue is maximum just over the last few millimeters of the particle’s range; this maximum is called the Bragg peak.[5]

      To treat tumors at greater depths, the proton accelerator must produce a beam with higher energy, typically given in eV or electron volts. Tumors closer to the surface of the body are treated using protons with lower energy. The accelerators used for proton therapy typically produce protons with energies in the range of 70 to 250 MeV (Mega electron Volts: million electron Volts). By adjusting the energy of the protons during application of treatment, the cell damage due to the proton beam is maximized within the tumor itself. Tissues closer to the surface of the body than the tumor receive reduced radiation, and therefore reduced damage. Tissues deeper within the body receive very few protons so that the dosage becomes immeasurably small.[4]

      In most treatments, protons of different energies with Bragg peaks at different depths are applied to treat the entire tumor.

      A laser is light of the same frequency, ie energy.

      Decontamination with a laser and silicon carbide would be optimum if its possible to localize the deposit of energy to the spores containing silicon carbide or to very nearby silicon carbide.

      If the spores are external to clothing, such as on thick gloves, then this may be easier to do than to deposit proton energy in a tumor inside the human body.

      • Old Atlantic said

        This will result in localized temperatures of millions of degrees. The AFIT papers report that even at 300 degrees C they can eliminate most spores in less than a second.

    • Old Atlantic said

      Princeton has two elementary particle labs 1 mile from the mailbox. These might be used perhaps for electrons or protons at low enough energy not to penetrate clothing but to be absorbed by silicon carbide or just silicon compounds embedded in or next to the spores.

      Low energy electron and proton accelerators may also be available for students in the other labs.

      • Old Atlantic said

        If the proton beam at one of these elementary particle labs was used, it would really localize the available options to Princeton and a few other places.

  9. BugMaster said

    Anonymous:

    Use of a silonizing reagent DOES NOT result in polymerized glass, correct? (silonizing reagents bind to the oxygen in silica to neutralize the charge, and contain no oxygen of their own, correct me if I’m wrong).

    • Anonymous said

      Yes, use of a silonizing agent would result in polyermized glass.

      see link here:

      http://www.silicones-science.com/chemistry_pdms.html

      Polydimethylsiloxanes are obtained by the hydrolysis of the dimethyldichlorosilane in the presence of an excess of water.

      Dimethyldichlorosilane (also called “repelcote”) is the silonizing agent – and Polydimethylsiloxanes is the polymerized glass it forms.

      The dimethyldichlorosilane is a small molecule which could penetrate the exosporium and then form Polydimethylsiloxane on the spore coat (underneath the exosporium).

      If used in excess some or even a lot of the dimethyldichlorosilane would polymerize into particles of Polydimethylsiloxane and be found between the spores. This would explain the silicon rich phase found in the NYP samples.

      Again, I want to stress – it was the FBI themselves that reached the conclusion polymerized glass was used:
      ————————————————————-

      In April 2002 information that an “unusual chemical” had been found coating the attack powders was provided by senior government officials to Newsweek, CNN and the Washington Post. Later on it was revealed by the FBI that this “unusual chemical” was “polymerized glass.”

      Source: Newsweek, 8 Apr 2002.
      http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/sophisticatedstrainanthrax.html
      A Sophisticated Strain of Anthrax
      By: Mark Hosenball, John Barry and Daniel Klaidman

      “Government sources tell Newsweek that the secret new analysis shows anthrax found in a letter addressed to Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy was ground to a microscopic fineness not achieved by U.S. biological-weapons experts. The Leahy anthrax – mailed in an envelope that was recovered unopened from a Washington post office last November [2001] — also was coated with a chemical compound unknown to experts who have worked in the field for years; the coating matches no known anthrax samples ever recovered from biological-weapons producers anywhere in the world, including Iraq and the former Soviet Union. The combination of the intense milling of the bacteria and the unusual coating produced an anthrax powder so fine and fluffy that individually coated anthrax spores were found in the Leahy envelope, something that U.S. bioweapons experts had never seen.”
      Source: Washington Post, 9 Apr 2002.
      http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/anthraxpowdernotroutine.html
      Powder Used in Anthrax Attacks ‘Was Not Routine’

      By: Joby Warrick, Washington Post Staff Writer

      “Whoever concocted the wispy white powder used in last fall’s [2001] anthrax attacks followed a recipe markedly different from the ones commonly used by scientists in the United States or any other country known to have biological weapons, law enforcement sources said yesterday.

      “Extensive lab tests of the anthrax powder have revealed new details about how the powder was made, including the identity of a chemical used to coat the trillions of microscopic spores to keep them from clumping together. Sources close to the investigation declined to name the chemical but said its presence was something of a surprise.

      “The powder’s formulation ‘was not routine,’ said one law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. ‘Somebody had to have special knowledge and experience to do this,’ the official said.”

      Source: CNN, 11 Apr 2002.

      http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/unusualcoating.html
      Official: Unusual coating in anthrax mailings
      By: Kelli Arena, CNN Washington Bureau

      “Scientists have found a new chemical in the coating on the anthrax spores mailed to journalists and politicians last fall, a
      high-ranking government official said Wednesday.

      “The discovery of the unnamed chemical, something scientists are familiar with, was surprising, the official said.

      “Previously, officials had reported that the coating on the anthrax included silica, which helped the spores not to clump.”

      Source: OpEdNews.com
      http://www.opednews.com/articles/World-s-Top-Anthrax-Expert-by-George-Washington-080909-527.html

      “Apparently, the spores were coated with a polyglass which tightly bound hydrophilic silica to each particle. That’s what was briefed (according to one of my former weapons inspectors at the United Nations Special Commission) by the FBI to the German Foreign Ministry at the time.”

      • BugMaster said

        So, you would treat the dryed spores with the reagent, then start the polymerization by exposing the prep to high humidity?

        Don’t see how you would get any kind of coating if the reaction was done in an aqueous solution.

        Sounds like a kitchen-table process to me.

        Mama, put the teakettle on!

  10. Old Atlantic said

    Mailing the anthrax letters at the mail box may have been a two man job. One person with gloves, mask, smock, etc. on drops the letters in. The other stands by with the laser and then lasers the gloves first, etc.

    The first person then takes the laser and lasers the second person.

    The clothes may have been then thrown away. But immediate decontamination would prevent spreading.

    Since they had warnings in the letters, perhaps they also cleaned off the outside of the box, since the next person to use the mail box would not get a warning.

    Perhaps there was a strong laser in a lab at Princeton they had access to for this use. They could go in that lab and use that. So this is why they always used that mailbox. That mailbox was in a more public location. But if it was closer to a strong laser in a lab, that might have made the risk worth it to mitigate the contamination risk.

    They may also have put silicon carbide on their gloves and smock to make this work better.

    The first mailing they packed the materials with silicon carbide to make sure it worked. If some material leaked, the silicon carbide would leak with it. Silicon carbide is also likely smaller than spores. So silicon carbide would leak more than spores.

    • Old Atlantic said

      Laser Lab safety at Princeton

      http://web.princeton.edu/sites/ehs/labsafetymanual/appe.htm#E20

      Laser Laboratory Practices (top)

      * Professor Prucnal’s laboratory in Electrical Engineering uses fiber optics to enclose the laser beam and still be able to direct the beam however needed.
      * Professor Austin’s laser facility in Physics is well designed, labeled and posted with operating procedures.
      * Professor Scoles developed a simple means for storing tools off the laser table, out of the way of the laser beam.

      These are laser labs available for students to use. They may be open or you need a copy of a key to get into them.

    • Old Atlantic said

      Princeton University map

      http://etcweb.princeton.edu/pumap/

    • Old Atlantic said

      Photo of mailbox at Princeton at Nassau and Bank streets.

      http://www.computerbytesman.com/anthrax/princeton.htm

      Princeton is not spread out over miles. Its walkable from the mailbox.

    • Old Atlantic said

      The anthrax could have been put in an envelope in a lab with a powerful enough laser. How strong a laser is needed is obviously an important issue.

    • Old Atlantic said

      A two man crew using a laser works better than one person. If the laser is hand held, the person has to hold the laser in their hand. How do they decontaminate the laser? They can’t point it back at themselves. They would need two lasers.

      If they do it in a nearby physics lab at Princeton, then one person needs to operate the laser and the other stands there before he takes off his gloves and other outer clothing.

    • Old Atlantic said

      http://web.princeton.edu/sites/ehs/labsafetymanual/appd.htm

      “Laser laboratories should have an emergency cut-off switch installed near the entrance of the laboratory to turn off the laser remotely. Many lasers require water-cooling systems requiring ground-fault circuit interrupters.”

      This is because the laser is powerful not because it is weak.

      • Old Atlantic said

        Obviously, this laser is stronger than a hand held laser would be. How good a hand held laser would be is an open question.

      • Old Atlantic said

        There are a number of issues with the laser method of decontamination. Do they have to take their gloves, clothes off first? If you hit gloves on a person’s hand do they get hot and burn them?

        Can the laser hit the silicon carbide while wearing gloves and it produces inactivation in the spore without burning the person?

        These may make the laser method less practical.

      • Old Atlantic said

        Patton Hall Princeton is within 1/2 mile of the mail box. This is where Air Force Princeton ROTC is. Perhaps not as interesting as a sorority sisters storage facility to the FBI, but it might be a place someone could change clothes.

        Or someone who visited there for the Air Force might learn how the campus was laid out and where the lasers, etc. were.

        • Old Atlantic said

          Changing clothes at the gym can work too. That can be done before getting back in a car.

      • BugMaster said

        Old Atlantic:

        Any theory that a combination of silicon carbide and a lasor was used as some sort of decontamination effort is a non-starter.

        Remember, when it comes to decontamination, you have to think in orders of magnitude, logs of kill.

        I suppose if you had some kind of Buck Rogers particle-beam device, you could accomplish what you suggest.

        But then again, if you had such a kill system, you wouldn’t need to waste your time with that messy anthrax!

        • Old Atlantic said

          http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA495866&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf

          page 13

          Speci cally, the objective of the experiment is to determine the
          probability of kill for B.a. spores exposed to high temperatures, 300 to 1300 K (27 to
          1027 C), for short duration exposures, 0.01 to 3 seconds [5].

          Page 70 shows a graph. The dashed red line leads to a large kill in a fraction of a second at 300 C.

          The laser induces this temperature is their methodology. The question is how localized this is to the spores containing silicon carbide as part of the question.

          Their paper does do log type math.

          They find they can get in .1 seconds it appears a survival ratio that is quite small.

          The temperatures they find may be localized in space. If they can be localized to where the silicon carbide is, then it may not heat the clothes themselves very much.

        • Old Atlantic said

          http://sbsrv2.epfl.ch/instituts/lpmv/documents/Diablerets%20PDFs/08_Cuttone.pdf

          Page 2


          More than a half of all cancer patients are now treated by radiation therapy thanks to
          the technical progress made with irradiation equipment in the last ten years. For external
          radiation therapy (RT), for instance, high energy photon or electron beams are mainly
          produced by linear accelerators, while a very limited number of proton synchrotrons or
          cyclotrons are used for the treatment of cancers close to vulnerable organs such as the
          eyes and the optical and auditory nerves, spinal cords. For internal radiation therapy,
          brachytherapy, radioactive sources are put in the tumour with undeniable advantages for
          the patient in given situations.

          Particle or light beams are used to deposit energy into soft tissue.

          The proper choice of particles, energies etc can be used to try to fine tune where in the person the energy of the beam is deposited.

        • Old Atlantic said

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronvolt#As_a_unit_of_temperature

          {1 \mbox{ eV} \over k_{\mathrm{B}}} = {1.602\,176\,53(14) \times 10^{-19} \mbox{ J} \over 1.380\,6505(24) \times 10^{-23} \mbox{ J/K}} = 11\,604.505(20) \mbox{ K}.

          For example, a typical magnetic confinement fusion plasma is 15 keV, or 170 megakelvins.

          A beam energy measured in keV to MeV will thus correspond to a huge temperature, millions of degrees.

          You can still deposit such beams into human tissue to treat cancer because the temperature is spatially localized in the human tissue.

          Thus you can have large temperatures in a theoretical sense corresponding to the beam energy.

          With silicon carbide, you deposit the laser (or particle) beam energy into the silicon carbide and localize it in the spore.

          Thus a huge temperature can be created in the spore by having silicon carbide in the spore. But the surrounding material, clothes, human skin, may be at normal temperature.

          This is the same as using a particle beam with human tissue. The particle beam equivalent temperature is millions of degrees, but this only applies to the cancer tissue and is not the temperature of an entire organ in the human body treated with the beam.

    • Old Atlantic said

      Obviously this is a hypothesis based on all this science stuff. The competing hypothesis of the sorority storage facility being nearby that the DOJ/FBI has advanced is the leading competitor.

    • Old Atlantic said

      By using the mailbox at Princeton, they don’t have to get in their car and drive to Princeton or some laser lab after dropping the letter in.

      When they drop the letter in the box, they will get contaminated. If they drive first to the laser, their car will be contaminated. They can’t bring the laser out to their car or their car into the laser.

      So using the mailbox on this main street would be risky of being seen but it would mean they would not have to get in their car before using the laser lab to decontaminate themselves.

    • Old Atlantic said

      Another Princeton possibility may be molecular biology.

      http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/A98/00/92E00/index.xml

      Excerpt:

      All test results negative on Lewis Thomas Lab substance
      Posted November 16, 2001; 05:44 p.m.

      All test results show that no anthrax was contained in a substance reported on Nov. 16 by personnel at the Lewis Thomas Lab. University officials were notified on Nov. 27 that all tests conducted by the state produced negative results. The state sent partial results on Nov. 21 and test results from an independent lab were received Nov. 22.

      Laboratory personnel involved were interviewed and, as a precaution, offered antibiotics after a powdery substance from a catalog mailed to the lab was reported.

      A new flyer regarding anthrax was released by the state recently. Any campus member who receives suspicious mail or packages should not hesitate to call Public Safety at 911 or 8-3134 from a campus phone.

    • Old Atlantic said

      http://etcweb.princeton.edu/pumap/#163

      The mailbox was at the intersection of University/Bank and Nassau.

      This is in the upper left of the map. Engineering Quadrangle is along Nassau Street to the right.

      Physics in in Jadwin Hall down to the right. The building Thomas is molecular biology. There are more physics labs further to the right next to Lake Carnegie. These are two elementary particles labs.

      It is a bit of a walk from Nassau and Bank/University. But it beats no decontamination at all.

      If you get a blast of spores from dropping in the letter and then you trail spores into your car, then you will have a hard time getting rid of them. Spores in your car could then get on other people and create a spore trail leading to you.

      So aside from health risk is eliminate the spore trail risk.
      If you can walk to the laser lab and thoroughly kill every spore on your clothing then you substantially reduce that risk. That will make it easier for you to sleep at night.

      If your car is a source of anthrax spores for your coworkers, family, dog, etc. then you have a much bigger risk of being found out.

      • Old Atlantic said

        You can click on Find Departments Academic and then look at Molecular Biology, Physics, Engineering, etc. You may find you have to move the browsing window to the left so that you can scroll down the list of academic departments.

        • Old Atlantic said

          When you switch to academic departments, it creates a scroll list with the control on the far right. But just click in the box that seems to have no name next to Find Academic. That will produce the list.

          But to scroll it push the browsing window way to the left, almost off the left side of the screen. Then you can see the down arrow way to the right and use that.

          You can also use the arrow key on the keyboard.

    • Old Atlantic said

      Google maps has a scale.

      http://maps.google.com/maps?q=princeton+nj&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=Princeton,+NJ&gl=us&ei=JqIkTZecGsL58Aa42b2RAQ&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&ct=title&resnum=1&ved=0CB0Q8gEwAA

      Its not perfect, but move the corner of Bank and Nassau to the start of the scale on the left. It appears the middle of campus is about 1/2 mile from there with Jadwin (physics) and Thomas (molecular biology). The Engineering Quadrangle is within a mile. The two elementary particles labs appear to be about a mile from the mail box.

      • Old Atlantic said

        The mailbox at Bank and Nassau may have been chosen as a compromise between the laser labs for decontamination before getting back in their car after being exposed to spores from the letter drop into the mailbox and being close to the sorority storage facility.

        • Old Atlantic said

          Another possibility is a two man team. One person dropped the other off at the mailbox. The one who got out had the letter in a sealed plastic bag.

          The driver then drove over to nearer to the labs and checked if people were in the building or in the lab and got a lab open with a key if needed and the other walked over to meet him there.

          All of that took as long as the mailer walking over from the mailbox.

          Or they checked that out first and then drove to the mailbox, dropped one of them off, and the other drove back to watch the lab and be ready for the mailer.

  11. DXer said

    With respect to the dried powdered aerosol made from the Ames in Ivins’ Flask 1029 by the FBI’s anthrax expert, it was put on strips before the tests of a sonicator and corona plasma discharge were examined.

    What were the strips made of?

  12. DXer said

    Old Atlantic points to the question whether research was done prior to 2001 on the heat inactivation of spores — research that might have used silicon carbide in the manner that the masters thesis and later research did.

    The highest profile proponent of heat for inactivation was Dr. Alibek at the DARPA-funded Center for Biodefense at GMU. Dr. A is always very responsive to questions and could say whether such research was done — research that might have prompted his Helpful Heloise household tip.

    Similarly, Dr. Kiel has always been very helpful and is a world-class Air Force expert on rendering anthrax inactive by lasers. He has done controlled experiments relating to the reason for the Silicon Signature that I reported at the time. His lab was raided a couple of times by the FBI and he is acquainted both with the issue presented by the Silicon Signature and the FBI scientists like DB.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2001/1019/p2s2-uspo.html

    On Hill, lawmakers fight fear with … a steam iron?

    “Simple things help. If you steam-iron these letters, they become harmless,” he said, responding to a question about what to do about suspicious mail at home.

    Dr. Alibek’s advice was not widely credited.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A42275-2001Oct23&notFound=true

    Would microwaving or ironing mail kill any anthrax spores?

    No. In fact, that could be dangerous. Microwaving may cause a sealed envelope to rupture or burn, thus spreading anthrax spores that might be inside. Ironing a letter with a steam iron could allow any anthrax spores to escape the weakened envelope and be released into the environment.

    Another famous incident involved the ineffective use of heat to inactivate Ames spores sent to a Children’s hospital in Oakland not long after 9/11 for vaccine research.

    Dr. Ivins’ Former Colleague #2 had gone there to head the BL-3 lab.

    Dr. Ivins emails discuss the lack of research done until later years on the dose of radiation required to inactivate spores.

    I think the FBI and NAS will be able to sort out the various hypotheses and maybe when all the data and information is considered, some hypotheses can be reliably excluded. The masters thesis OldAtlantic posts also states, for example:

    “For this reason, silicon-carbide (SiC) sandpaper was clamped to the sample slide to increase the temperature experienced by the spores. This technique was developed for a separate experiment by Li and Burggraf in order to produce high-temperature sol-gel coatings, and was used in a similar fashion here (Li and Burggraf, 1997:258).”

    • Old Atlantic said

      The mailer might have used a laser on surfaces after mailing the envelope as a way to try to deactivate any stray anthrax that got onto his clothes. He could use that on his steering wheel, car interior, etc. That could also be used in his lab after he put the anthrax in the letter.

      • Old Atlantic said

        Or individuals doing this separately as part of a group. This could have been an alternative motive.

      • Old Atlantic said

        The other techniques you mention that were suggested by Alibek have risks, so the laser would be less risky. The laser also would not leave the same chemical trail as some other methods.

      • Old Atlantic said

        After using the laser, they could then apply more ordinary methods to swab it down or just wipe it up. This would be precautionary for the mailer since he wouldn’t know where the spores might have gotten to.

        It was pointed out that dropping the letters in the mailbox would expose the mailer to a considerable number of spores. This would be a way to help deal with that. No way is perfect, but that doesn’t mean do nothing.

      • Old Atlantic said

        Also people need something to believe in. The mailer could be told to use a laser on his clothes because they had treated the anthrax and this would give the mailer something to believe in for decontamination. People need that.

  13. Lew Weinstein said

    I have changed the comment format to allow only 4 levels deep of replies to any initial comment. This will prevent very narrow replies at levels 5,6, etc.

    I don’t know what this change may have done to replies already on the site at levels 5,6, etc. I think it may have moved such replies up to the level of comment. Or it may no longer be showing them at all.

    Please let me know if this change is helpful … or if the re-formatting of replies has caused any problems.

  14. Old Atlantic said

    How research ends up in students theses hypothesis.

    One notes that the silicon carbide experiments came out in the theses of students at Air Force Institute of Technology in Ohio.

    Sometimes when this happens, it is because the professors suggest ideas to students based on unpublished research. The professor may not want to publish it themselves, e.g. someone else did it in the past. So they suggest maybe not the same idea but a related one to the students who then make it their thesis.

    Silicon carbide, radiation, bacillus simulants like subtilis, take up of silicon carbide in subtilis or anthrax, inactivation of bacillus by radiation may have been studied prior to 2001 but not published.

    That research or know-how was then the basis of the letter anthrax. Later professors at AFIT who have heard of some of it or heard the idea somehow, then dribble related ideas out in student theses. The ideas may have come to them in a round about way or they may have seen documents doing related experiments or whatever.

    This is not saying anything was done wrong by the professors or students. However, this type of channel of ideas is known to happen.

    • Old Atlantic said

      Anyone who did experiments like this before 2001 and had not published them would see them as poison to publish after the anthrax mailings. They would have been inviting the FBI into their lab and their home.

      They would have been encouraging the FBI to scrutinize all their prior grants, research relationships, etc. So such research could have then seemed best not published.

  15. Old Atlantic said

    Lew Weinstein said
    January 5, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    If anyone can suggest a better way to organize comments within this wordpress.com format, I’ll be happy to try it.

    First is to download the blog backup file. You can do that in WordPress.

    Second, open a new WordPress called CaseClosedbyLewWeinsteinTest.Wordpress.com or something like that.

    Now you try to change the format in the new one. WordPress has a format where each comment stretches from side to side of the whole screen.

    What will happen when you try changing format in the Test version to this new format I don’t know. This is why your experiments should be done in Test.

    You may just end up having

    CaseClosedbyLewWeinstein2011Edition.Wordpress.com

    and then continuing on from there.

  16. DXer said

    There are certainly a lot of interesting hypotheses for the NAS panel experts to sort out.

    It is imperative that the FBI not withhold documents bearing on possible hypotheses.

    The NAS experts need to be empowered to do their job.

    http://www.stormingmedia.us/75/7575/A757594.html

    Thermal Inactivation of Bacillus Anthracis using Laser Irradiation of Micro-Etched Platforms

    Authors: Jeffrey B Bacon; AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH GRADUATE SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND MANAGEMENT
    Abstract:

    Laser Cutting Thin Films
    Thin Film Laser Micro Machining.

    The purpose of this research was to determine the probability of kill for a thermal inactivation strategy for use against biological agents; specifically the resilient endospore of Bacillus anthracis (Ba). The effort focused on short durations (milliseconds to several seconds) and temperatures (300 to 1300 K) simulating the periphery effects after an explosion generated by conventional munitions. For an improved statistical counting, applied microlithography techniques were used to produce micro-etched glass platforms consisting of 532 circular sample wells, evenly spaced. Small carbon black radiators, which provide fast heating/cooling rate and confined temperature distribution, were produced by populating the etched wells with fine carbon particles for good contact with the spores. In order to prevent the carbon black from oxidation at high temperatures in air, a multifunctional sol-gel coating was designed to cover both the hydrophilic glass surface and hydrophobic carbon surface. Ba spores were sparely populated into the small wells on another micro-etched platform for improved statistical counting. The platform with carbon wells was paired with the other platform populated with the spores by aligning row by row and column by column using a laser diffraction method aided with an infrared beam finder. The study refined techniques to populate the sample wells with as few as one Ba spore per well. This enables researchers to qualify, quantify, treat and measure small samples of spores over time. Spores were heated against black carbon wells using a solid state laser (Nd:YAG). Heating temperatures were varied by using different laser powers. The heating times were controlled by adjusting the raster rate of the sample relative to the laser beam.

  17. Old Atlantic said

    http://www.apfn.org/apfn/germs.htm

    Use of bacillus simulants on National Airport in 1965 and other places.

    Excerpt:

    Another bacterium, Bacillus globigii, never shown to be harmful to people, was released in San Francisco, while still others were tested on unwitting residents in New York, Washington, D.C., and along the Pennsylvania Turnpike, among other places, according to Army reports released during the 1977 hearings.

    In New York, military researchers in 1966 spread Bacillus subtilis variant Niger, also believed to be harmless, in the subway system by dropping lightbulbs filled with the bacteria onto tracks in stations in midtown Manhattan. The bacteria were carried for miles throughout the subway system, leading Army officials to conclude in a January 1968 report: “Similar covert attacks with a pathogenic [disease-causing] agent during peak traffic periods could be expected to expose large numbers of people to infection and subsequent illness or death.”

    Army officials also found widespread dispersal of bacteria in a May 1965 secret release of Bacillus globigii at Washington’s National Airport and its Greyhound bus terminal, according to military reports released a few years after the Senate hearings. More than 130 passengers who had been exposed to the bacteria traveling to 39 cities in seven states in the two weeks following the mock attack.

    The Army kept the biological-warfare tests secret until word of them was leaked to the press in the 1970s. Between 1949 and 1969, when President Nixon ordered the Pentagon’s biological weapons destroyed, open-air tests of biological agents were conducted 239 times, according to the Army’s testimony in 1977 before the Senate’s subcommittee on health. In 80 of those experiments, the Army said it used live bacteria that its researchers at the time thought were harmless, such as the Serratia that was showered on San Francisco. In the others, it used inert chemicals to simulate bacteria.

    == end excerpt

    So did someone decide to continue this with anthrax that had silicon carbide in it so that it could easily be irradiated? It had warnings to use penicillin as part of that thinking?

    But then they got cold feet to warn to use laser light or microwave radiation? Or they simply had some other plan and wanted to be able to control the total loss of life if things went badly?

    The New York Post letter was the first wave with heavy silicon carbide packing for easy irradiation. That seemed ok without large loss of life, so they went to the second stage?

    They decided to stop there. The deaths were only a few, so they didn’t need to disclose the radiation method. That was backup so that it didn’t really get out of hand.

  18. Old Atlantic said

    http://www.timeenoughforlove.org/saved/U_S_RecentlyProducedAnthraxinaHighlyLethalPowderForm.htm

    Excerpts:

    U.S. Recently Produced Anthrax in a Highly Lethal Powder Form
    By WILLIAM J. BROAD and JUDITH MILLER The New York Times

    Government officials have acknowledged that Army scientists in recent years have made anthrax in a powdered form that could be used as a weapon.

    Officials at the Army’s Dugway Proving Ground in Utah said that in 1998 scientists there turned small quantities of wet anthrax into powder to test ways to defend against biowarfare attacks.

    Army researchers have previously acknowledged making wet anthrax, but Dr. Rosenberg said the acknowledgment yesterday by Dugway officials that they had produced dried anthrax was the government’s only such disclosure. “I know of no case of the United States saying that it has made anthrax powder,” she said.

    Some details of Dugway’s anthrax work were reported yesterday by The Baltimore Sun.

    Experts have said the letter sent to Senator Tom Daschle contained about two grams of anthrax spores — a small amount, but enough, if distributed with high efficiency, to infect millions of people.

    Ms. Nicholson said the dry anthrax made in 1998 was of the strain known as Vollum 1B, which the Army used to make anthrax weapons before the United States renounced biological arms in 1969. She said it was used for decontamination studies.

    “You have to use live spores because you are determining the rates of inactivation or kill,” she said.

    She said Dugway did make one- pound quantities of Bacillus subtilis, a benign germ sometimes used to simulate anthrax.

    Dugway’s production of dried anthrax is part of the government’s secret research program on how to defend against germ weapons, which gained momentum in the late 1990’s. The Clinton administration began a series of projects aimed at understanding the nation’s vulnerabilities to biowarfare and devising ways combat the threats.

    It is not known whether Dugway has shared its skills in making biological powders with other institutions, but it has shared its supply of the Ames strain.

    In 1997, it sent germs to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington, said Christopher C. Kelly, a spokesman there. He added that the institute, a sister lab to the Naval Medical Research Center, uses Ames to develop research assays for biological defense.

    Intelligence officials say that Battelle Memorial Institute, a military contractor in Ohio, has experience making powdered germs. They say the contractor participated in a secret Central Intelligence Agency program, code-named Clear Vision and begun in 1997, that used benign substances similar to anthrax to mimic Soviet efforts to create small bombs that could emit clouds of lethal germs.

    • Old Atlantic said

      Were there studies of inactivation of anthrax or subtilis using radiation? Laser or microwave radiation?

      Did those studies use silicon carbide? Did they put silicon carbide around the anthrax or subtilis?

      Did they grow silicon carbide in the subtilis or anthrax to study radiation inactivation of bacillus?

      Did they try putting the bacillus on silicon carbide sandpaper and then irradiating with lasers or microwaves?

      Who did such experiments and where?

      Was any of the anthrax powder from Ezzell’s work used in such experiments?

      • Old Atlantic said

        Was subtilis or other bacillus simulants used outside of labs? The way they did various experiments? Did they put silicon carbide in the bacillus in such studies? Did they test irradiating them? On buildings? On walls?

        The Patrick memo was it made public? Did it talk about using irradiation as part of the clean up?

      • Old Atlantic said

        April 24, 1997: Fake Anthrax Received at B’nai B’rith DC Headquarters
        Edit event

        A package containing a petri dish mislabeled “anthracks” is received at the B’nai B’rith headquarters in Washington, DC. The choice of B’nai B’rith may be meant to suggest Arab terrorists, because the building had once been the target of an assault by Muslim gunmen. The letter is signed, “The Counter Holocaust Lobbyists of Hillel,” which is similar wording to a known Holocaust denier. The dish does not contain anthrax but does contain bacillus cereus, a very close, non-toxic cousin of anthrax used by the US Defense Department. There are similarities to the later real anthrax attacks (see October 5-November 21, 2001), such as misspelled words—“penacilin,” in the case of the post-9/11 attacks. In July 2002, B’nai B’rith will say the FBI still has not asked it about this hoax anthrax attack. [New York Times, 8/13/2002; Vanity Fair, 9/15/2003]

        http://www.historycommons.org/entity.jsp?entity=b_nai_b_rith_1

        Was silicon carbide put into some of these bacillus simulants of anthrax in these outside lab tests or hoax mailings?

      • Msneuropil said

        I’ve been reading this latest info with fascination and understand there are some differences in opinions as to the amount of silicon reported.

        IF there is a silicon signature of 30% can anyone explain to me why it was NOT reported long before now? I’m confused as to when this 30% was reported. I don’t remember reading anything in that large percentage back in October when I was patiently waiting for the NAS report.

        Clearly 30% is not an accident.

        Why didn’t Sandia or Livermore find this years ago??

        Do we know what percentage military research used?

        Do we know of other countries that use silicon in percentages say over 10% in ANY bioweapon “training”.

        And lastly…can’t someone come up with a better way to follow topics here…like a message board type format?? This is a topic I am very interested in, but it gets a bit ridiculous when replies end up scrolling down the page 1 word at a time on the popular debates.

        • Lew Weinstein said

          If anyone can suggest a better way to organize comments within this wordpress.com format, I’ll be happy to try it

        • BugMaster said

          Nice images comparing cluster vs spores, Ed.

          Thanks!

        • Anonymous said

          “Note that single crystals in the New York Post powder were MANY TIMES LARGER than a weaponized spore.”

          So what? It’s a separate phase of polymerized glass – it’s the excess polymerized glass that polymerized itself into particles. The size of these particles is completely irrelevant to the fact that a silicon containing compound was deliberately added.

    • Old Atlantic said

      http://www.afit.edu/en/

      Air Force Institute of Technology graduate school is in Ohio like Battelle.

  19. Old Atlantic said

    http://oai.dtic.mil/oai/oai?verb=getRecord&metadataPrefix=html&identifier=ADA495866

    Title : Modeling Thermal Inactivation of Bacillus Spores

    Descriptive Note : Master’s Thesis

    Corporate Author : AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND MANAGEMENT

    Personal Author(s) : Knight, Emily A.

    Report Date : MAR 2009

    Pagination or Media Count : 94

    Abstract : This research models and analyzes methods to damage Bacillus anthracis spores through heat treatment. AFIT researchers have developed methods to characterize the effects of heating spores to high temperatures and for short durations similar to the thermal pulse of conventional weapon detonation. This research models the current experiment and evaluates the rate of thermal diffusion throughout the spores. A micro-model of the effects of dry and wet heating on a spore is presented. Heating a spore energizes adsorbed, absorbed, and chemically bound water molecules. These energized molecules have greater mobility within the spore, as well as between the spore and the surrounding environment. The water release permits hydrolysis reactions to occur with the spore’s DNA and proteins. This degrades the DNA and proteins to such an extent that the DNA cannot replicate, thus causing spore death. We assert that spore damage is based on an initial DNA information content and the spore population’s protein fitness. Once this protein fitness level is degraded below a critical value, the DNA cannot be repaired. A probability of kill model based on water mobility, hydrolysis, a spore’s DNA information content, and the spore population’s protein fitness.

    • Old Atlantic said

      Appl Environ Microbiol. 2010 Jul;76(13):4402-12. Epub 2010 May 7.
      Evaluation of a stochastic inactivation model for heat-activated spores of Bacillus spp.

      Corradini MG, Normand MD, Eisenberg M, Peleg M.

      Department of Food Science, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, USA.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20453137

    • Old Atlantic said

      Link to Knight pdf

      http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA495866&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf

      page 5:

      This research models and analyzes methods to damage Bacillus spores through
      various heat-treatments. AFIT researchers have been examining and developing methods
      to characterize the e ects of heating Bacillus anthracis spores to high temperatures
      and for short durations. The current laboratory experiment being conducted is
      designed to imitate the neutralization of Bacillus spores by a thermal pulse similar to
      that of a conventional weapon detonation. The research contained in this report designs
      a thermal model that replicates the current laboratory experiment and evaluates
      the rate of thermal di usion throughout the Bacillus spores.
      In addition, a micro-model of the e ects of dry and wet heating on a spore
      is presented. By applying heat to a spore, we energize adsorbed, absorbed, and
      chemically bound water molecules. These energized molecules have greater mobility
      and di usion within the spore, as well as between the spore and the surrounding
      environment. The water release permits hydrolysis reactions to take place with the
      spore’s DNA and other proteins. These chemical reactions degrade the DNA and
      proteins to such an extent that the DNA cannot be repaired or replicated, thus causing
      spore death.

    • Old Atlantic said

      Page 13

      The experiment consists
      of rastering a solid state laser (Nd:YAG laser) beam to indirectly heat the spores for
      various time intervals and temperature ranges using a laboratory produced, custom
      black body radiator. The spores are analyzed before and after the laser heating to
      determine the probability of kill dependent on regeneration of each spore. In order
      to accurately predict the e ectiveness of the laser heating method, it is necessary to
      understand how the thermal pulse (generated by the laser) propagates through the
      test apparatus. To accomplish this, a thermal model will be designed to replicate the
      current laboratory experiment and evaluate the rate of thermal di usion throughout
      the B.a. spores. This model will be numerically evaluated.

      Page 17

      In order to analyze the consequences of high temperatures for short durations
      on Bacillus anthracis(B.a.), researchers at AFIT have developed multiple laboratory
      experiments consistent with detonation of a conventional weapon. This research will
      numerically model the heating and thermal di usion created by the current experiment.
      To understand the thermal model developed by this research, a thorough
      description of the experiment is required.
      The current experiment was created to heat B.a. spores using a solid state,
      Nd:YAG laser. A soda lime glass coverslip was micro-etched to generate wells in the
      coverslip. The circular wells were 50 microns (m) wide, between 3 and 5 m deep,
      and each coverslip contained a grid of 532 total wells (38 columns by 14 rows). See
      Figure 2.1 for a top-level view of the etched coverslip [20].

  20. Old Atlantic said

    http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf&AD=ADA438203

    Kristina M. Goetz, Captain, USAF

    page 5

    In this research, Bacillus anthracis spores were subjected to bursts of heat lasting on the order of one second in duration using a laser system to simulate the explosive environment. Heating times and temperatures were varied to establish a method to characterize the relationship between heating time, heating temperature, and spore viability. Spores were grown in culture, mechanically washed, suspended in sterilized water, and deposited on sterile glass cover slips. Heating was accomplished using a laser in situ. Two heating temperatures were examined at three variations of heating time ranging from 1.2 to 4.2 seconds. The higher temperature was adequate to neutralized the spore samples for both heating times. The lower temperature neutralized a portion of the spores during the shortest heating time, and sterilized the sample at the longest heating time. Before and after heating Raman spectra were obtained of the spores in order to characterize spectral differences related to neutralization by heat. Subtle spectral differences were identified with the 1013 cm-1 peak resulting from CaDPA in the spore wall. This change indicates a change in the integrity of the spore wall resulting from the heating. Overall, a methodology was developed to correlate heating time, temperature, and spore lethality. Further research using these methods can provide detailed time/temperature profiles for a wider variety of heating variations.
    iv

    page 50:

    Temperature Measurement Considerations. The spore samples were heated with a laser for a short duration of time (~ tenths of seconds to seconds). The temperature delivered to the spore itself was the quantity of interest. It proved difficult to directly measure the temperature of the spore while heating. The heat absorption in the spores themselves was not easy to measure.

    For this reason, heating was done indirectly by conduction/radiation from silicon-carbide (SiC). The spores were laid against a piece of SiC sandpaper during heating in order to increase the heat absorption, and therefore the peak temperature experienced by the spores. The temperature of the SiC immediately adjacent to the spore could be more easily measured, and was assumed to be a reasonable approximation to the temperature experienced by the spores. SiC was chosen for its fast thermal conductivity so that an assumption of thermal equilibrium between the spore and the material could be made.

  21. Old Atlantic said

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

    Excerpts:

    Hart Senate Building Reopens, Anthrax-Free

    By Joanne Kenen

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Hart Senate Office Building reopened on Tuesday after a technically challenging three-month anthrax cleanup that cost at least $14 million after a potent anthrax-laced letter was sent to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.

    “I feel completely safe,” said Daschle, who entered the building at midday after the cleanup involving fumigation with a powerful gas, high-tech vacuums, foam and liquid cleansers.

    “I think we have done everything possible to remediate this building.”

    “It’s good to be back,” said Daschle, a South Dakota Democrat. “It’s good to be confident that we can return to normalcy.”

    Supervised by the EPA, government cleanup experts and private contractors used chlorine dioxide gas to fumigate Daschle’s office and related heating and ventilation systems. They have also used liquid and foam decontaminants.

    • Old Atlantic said

      http://www.baltimoresun.com/bal-te.anthrax18dec18,0,2877549.story

      Cleanup of anthrax will cost hundreds of millions of dollars
      Months of tests to find safe way to kill spores raised price, experts say

      By Scott Shane

      December 18, 2002

      • Old Atlantic said

        All the time, the mailer knew the turn off switch was the silicon carbide in the spores. As Ed Lake has said, the letter anthrax was unusual in the high percentage of spores that contained the silicon carbide.

      • Old Atlantic said

        More from Scott Shane article

        “The cleanup reached a new peak this week, with the long-delayed fumigation of the huge Brentwood mail-sorting facility in northeast Washington and the start of what is expected to be an 18-month rehabilitation of the State Department’s mail facility in Sterling, Va.”

        If more of the postal system had required this clean up it would have been more years and possibly billions of dollars. A few more letters could have done that.

    • Old Atlantic said

      http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2004-02-15/news/0402150094_1_sabre-technical-services-brentwood-postal-center-anthrax

      Excerpt:

      Anthrax Cleanup Starts At Former Ami Building
      February 15, 2004|By Kathy Bushouse Staff Writer

      BOCA RATON — The first steps to clean up anthrax at the former American Media Inc. building started Saturday, as crews went inside the building for the first time in two years.

      Once the set-up work is complete, teams will focus on shredding documents and destroying files and computer hard drives, as well as using disposable cameras to take pictures of equipment, furniture and other fixtures left when AMI employees were forced to evacuate in October 2001.

      After destroying documents and taking pictures inside the building, crews will collect anthrax samples at a date to be determined so Sabre scientists can gauge the level of anthrax contamination inside the building.

      • BugMaster said

        And find the bacillis subtilis!

        And the silicon carbide particles!

        • anonymous said

          Why would Dwight Adams say in August 2002 that the FBI wanted to “chemically characterize” the spores in the AMI building? The official FBI position today is that the spores have no chemical signature.

          http://quiz.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0208/26/bn.01.html

          DR. DWIGHT ADAMS, FBI LAB SUPERVISOR: We have four main goals in reentering the AMI building. Number one, we hope to do a very comprehensive, detailed assessment of the spore contamination throughout the entire building. Number two, a very detailed assessment with regard to the mail room in particular. Both of these efforts are to generate new leads in the criminal investigation. Number three, we’re looking for a dissemination device, such as a letter or letters. Again, to generate new leads for the investigation.

          And finally, we are looking for large quantities of spores in order to chemically characterize those spores and compare them against the spores found in the Senator Leahy and Daschle letters.

        • BugMaster said

          “And finally, we are looking for large quantities of spores in order to chemically characterize those spores and compare them against the spores found in the Senator Leahy and Daschle letters.”

          He should have added:

          “But as far as comparison with the spores from the NYC mailings, which we at the FBI assumed without any supporting evidence whatsoever were part of the same mailings on the same date, well, as far as THAT comparison:

          NEVER MIND!”

  22. Old Atlantic said

    Silicon carbide hypothesis.

    The letter anthrax was prepared with silicon carbide inside the spores. This was done because the preparer knew that silicon carbide was an absorber of radiation, microwave or laser. This would mean that the anthrax could be deactivated by irradiation. This would make clean up much easier if desired. This would make it easier to make a building reuseable.

    The Florida building was closed for a period as well? There were issues on the cost of clean up?

    The sender could be someone in the military industrial lab complex who knew this and wanted it easy to turn off.

    So the sender was someone with this know-how who was aware of experiments using silicon carbide and radiation to inactivate spores. They wanted the ability to use radiation to inactivate the spores in these buildings or anywhere in the mail system they might be so that the mail system or Senate or NY Post etc could get back to normal and not be afraid to use these facilities.

    This gave them a valuable clean up option depending on the reaction and subsequent events. They also could send more letters with anthrax with silicon carbide in the spores that could be deactivated with irradiation returning the buildings to normal.

    These were historic Senate office buildings and the postal system. So the sender may have wanted this option available so that the search would cool off by notifying them how to deactivate the anthrax cheaply by irradiating the facilities.

    It would also work for the postal system. They could irradiate many facilities and get a reasonable chance to reduce the anthrax risk if that was a concern by the authorities.

    • Old Atlantic said

      The sender sent the NY Post letter and possibly other early letters with the extra silicon carbide outside the spores because they didn’t know how this would work in practice outside the lab.

      So to be extra sure that the irradiate the silicon carbide method would work to kill the spores they added a huge amount of extra silicon carbide to the letter material.

      This way it would absorb extra radiation and re-emit it so that it would go into the spores and be absorbed and also heat up much more so that the temperature would rise high enough to kill the anthrax spores. Anthrax spores are hardy so they require extra killing force. This is provided by the extra silicon carbide outside them. In effect, they are packed with silicon carbide so they can be easily irradiated and safely inactivated.

      When the first mailings did not cause problems, the sender then sent the Senate letters without the silicon carbide packing, just the internal silicon carbide being enough. Plus they wanted them to go in the air and infect the Senate buildings more than the first mailings had their buildings.

      The costly effort to clean up the Senate buildings showed the effectiveness of the second mailing. The sender retained the option to tell the authorities to use irradiation to normalize the buildings if the sender wanted to. They could wait and see if the methods used by the authorities worked for the Senate buildings and the postal system. If the efforts had been less effective, they could have told them to irradiate them.

    • Old Atlantic said

      They wanted the silicon carbide in as high a percentage of spores as possible for deactivation. Ed Lake as repeatedly emphasized the point that the letter anthrax contained silicon carbide in an unusual number of spores.

      By having the silicon carbide in a high percentage of spores, each spore would either absorb radiation or its neighbor would. This would help with heating consistently through the sample or with reradiation to the neighboring spore. Radiation is absorbed and re-emitted in a process that takes time to finally absorb it.

      Moreover, spores that go into the air and settle somewhere are more likely to have silicon carbide in them. So hitting them with laser light as you pan a laser over the wall or desk or mail box or postal machine would be more effective if almost every spore had the silicon carbide in it to absorb the radiation.

      The NY Post and early letters were packed with extra silicon carbide so that the spores could be killed for sure.

      Having silicon carbide outside the spores also would mean they would be more sure to absorb laser light if that was used instead of microwave radiation.

      • Old Atlantic said

        If the idea is to heat the spore to kill it by absorbing radiation, then you don’t need every spore to have silicon carbide in it. If the outside spores have a high percentage of silicon carbide, then hitting them with the laser will heat up the ones that are shielded.

        If you have a few spores on a mail box or wall, and the laser hits them and over half have the silicon carbide then they can heat up and the heat hit the other spores that do not have the silicon carbide.

        So if you have a clump of spores, you heat up the outside spores and that kills the inside ones.

        If you have a few spores on a wall, then some absorb the laser energy and heat up and die and hopefully kill spores without silicon carbide next to them. It doesn’t have to be perfect to help and to reduce the cost. It also makes office workers and the public more willing to reuse the building and mail boxes.

        Hearing that silicon carbide, lasers and possibly microwave were used will make them feel it is safe.

        As it was, they felt it was safe enough to reuse, but only after very lengthy and dramatic efforts were made with the Senate office buildings.

        • Old Atlantic said

          You couldn’t know how this would work in practice. Some of these steps sound like hope when applied in office buildings and mail boxes.

          This is why the first letters were packed in a huge amount of extra silicon carbide. That was insurance that they could be safely irradiated to turn them off.

          When they were not a problem even without radiation, the sender felt safe to send the second wave without packing in silicon carbide, just the internal silicon carbide.

          In effect, the mailings were like an experiment. You coudn’t know how each wave would go until you tried.

          The first wave established low risk for that extra insurance method.

          The second wave went a step further.

        • Old Atlantic said

          By sending to different geographic locations
          they could observe the reaction of different local authorities. Media targets
          were chosen first to test the reaction of the system.

          Then Senate office buildings were chosen to get a bigger response. This would be the maximum response.

  23. Old Atlantic said

    Microwave absorber comprised of a dense silicon carbide body which is water cooled
    United States Patent 4638268

    http://www.wikipatents.com/US-Patent-4638268/microwave-absorber-comprised-of-a-dense-silicon-carbide-body-which-is

    Search on silicon carbide radiation absorber

    Search on silicon carbide radiation microwave absorber

    • Old Atlantic said

      Silicon carbide composite structure in use for cooking in a microwave oven.
      European Patent Application EP0432794
      Kind Code:
      A1

      http://www.freepatentsonline.com/EP0432794.html

    • Old Atlantic said

      Because silicon carbide absorbs radiation, you can use microwave radiation to deactivate the spores. If the spores were all through the postal system then clean up would be costly and difficult.

      If you could just radiate the postal machines with microwave radiation, then you could make the postal workers feel safe and go back to work. This would let you apply it to many post offices where there was uncertainty and to mail boxes to reassure the public.

      Microwave radiation would also be safe in the sense of not creating any secondary type of problem. It would also be easier to use microwave radiation on a large scale?

      Or use lasers. With the laser method, you just point the laser at the machines and mail boxes and presto you get irradiation.

      • Old Atlantic said

        “The laser irradiation method heated a refractory absorber, silicon carbide (SiC) adjacent to the spores that were adsorbed on the glass slides.”

        So this would work even better with the silicon carbide in the spores. Or on the silicon carbide that the spores were packed in in the New York Post letter and presumably the first wave letters. They didn’t know how well it would work in the field, so they wanted to pack the spores in silicon carbide for easy irradiation with a laser.

        • Old Atlantic said

          Or you put it in the microwave. But that would leave the contaminants and you just point the laser at the walls, desks, etc.

  24. BugMaster said

    “The SPS02-88-01 [New York Post] sample had regions which exhibited the same set of elements found in SPS02-57-03 [Daschle], but these were generally on the larger aggregates within the sample. Many of the smaller pieces within the sample exhibited the main peak associated with silicon with very little oxygen as shown in the attached data sheet.”

    Are they stating here that the “silicon with very little oxygen as shown in the attached data sheet” signature was present in particles analyzed in BOTH the NYC material and the Daschle material?

    • Old Atlantic said

      I don’t know the answer to that question. However, the silicon carbide would be able to absorb radiation in the New York Post letter and that would also heat the spores even if the silicon carbide was outside them.

      Silicon carbide without oxygen is a better absorber of radiation? Or one known to the sender?

  25. Old Atlantic said

    Silicon carbide is used for harsh environments.

    http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA495757&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf

    Defense Technical Information Center

    Accession Number : ADA495757

    Title : Thermal Inactivation of Bacillus Anthracis using Laser Irradiation of Micro-Etched Platforms

    Descriptive Note : Master’s thesis

    Corporate Author : AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH GRADUATE SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND MANAGEMENT

    Personal Author(s) : Bacon, Jeffrey B.

    Report Date : MAR 2009

    Pagination or Media Count : 131

    Abstract : The purpose of this research was to determine the probability of kill for a thermal inactivation strategy for use against biological agents; specifically the resilient endospore of Bacillus anthracis (Ba). The effort focused on short durations (milliseconds to several seconds) and temperatures (300 to 1300 K) simulating the periphery effects after an explosion generated by conventional munitions.

    from page 18 (search on silicon in pdf)

    The laser irradiation method heated a refractory absorber, silicon carbide (SiC) adjacent to the spores that were adsorbed on the glass slides.

    page 44

    The second stock, referred to hereafter as Bt (Toast), is comparable but underwent additional processing at Dugway Proving Grounds.

    page 61

    Silicone Removal. If the sample being washed has any additives that are insoluble in water, (in example the silicone flow enhancers of Bt (Toast)), then the second wash should be conducted using a 70% ethanol solution. Take efforts to minimize contact time.

    page 101

    In the case of Bt (Toast) flow enhancers, believed to be a silicone based additive, were added to better simulate weaponization. For Bt (Javelin), the commercially produced stock included surfactants to prevent clumping and ease distribution for agricultural applications. Both stock samples, required a modification to the washing/concentration steps of sample production. During the second wash/centrifuge cycle a diluted ethanol solution was used to remove the silicone based surfactant or flow enhancer. This chemical treatment raised concerns regarding what impact it would have on the organisms‘ susceptibility to thermal inactivation.

    page 117

    Well characterized sample? No agar, no vegetative debris, but has debris…..
    a. Bt (kurstaki)
    i. ‗Toast‘; from Dugway with flow enhancers–silicone
    ii. ‗Javelin‘; off the shelf biopesticide from Certis
    1. (85%Bt; 15%‘Other Ingredients‘-surfactant and sodium sulfate)

    page 118

    EtOH Intended to overcome challenges associated with hydrophobicity of spores Compliments EtOH/Sonication cleaning method developed during carbon production Kirtland protocol using EtOH to rehydrate Used by Kirtland to remove silicone (flow enhancers) with ‗no evidence of spore coat damage… EtOH is for silicone removal, and the period of time will not affect the spores‘ 1:1(mg/ml) ratio; Note: proved too wet! EtOH toxicity Retarded growth rate at 5, 12, and 24hrs

    • Old Atlantic said

      Handle / proxy Url : http://handle.dtic.mil/100.2/ADA495757

      • Old Atlantic said

        The last time I found a dtic paper on subtilis growth and posted the link, it had a tendency to be unavailable, inactivated down for maintenance. Please save your copy.

    • Old Atlantic said

      So if you have spores with silicon carbide and you irradiate them, the spores are inactivated? Could have saved time and money with those Senate office buildings?

      So you send out your spores with silicon carbide inside and if you want you can turn them off easily because you know they contain silicon carbide and you know you can irradiate them and the silicon carbide will absorb the radiation killing the spore.

      An off switch to anthrax. Very handy.

      • Old Atlantic said

        This would imply someone in the US military industrial lab complex did this with know-how and who could have ordered or suggested the inactivation by this means.

    • Old Atlantic said

      The search silicon carbide” weaponization anthrax gave this is a hit.

      • Old Atlantic said

        Also try

        silicon carbide harsh environment biology

        Try search

        silicon carbide

        on Youtube.

        This brings up a talk on silicon carbide

        “Silicon Carbide as a Material for Biomedical Microsystems ”

        You can go to minute 3 and a half to skip the intro part.

    • Old Atlantic said

      Title : Micro-Etched Platforms for Thermal Inactivation of Bacillus Anthracis and Bacillus Thuringiensis Spores

      Descriptive Note : Master’s thesis

      Corporate Author : AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND MANAGEMENT

      Personal Author(s) : Hawkins, Leslie S.

      http://oai.dtic.mil/oai/oai?verb=getRecord&metadataPrefix=html&identifier=ADA483671


      This project is a direct continuation of earlier effort of another AFIT student, Kristine Goetz. The focus of her work was to develop a short time heating method to measure spore kill probability. Goetz developed and tested the use of a Nd:YAG laser to indirectly heat spores dried on a microscope slide. Silicon-carbide sandpaper was mechanically clamped to the underside of the spore-laden microscope slide. The laser was then moved across the spores at various velocities using several laser power levels. The silicon-carbide sandpaper backing absorbed infrared radiation producing a miniature fireball. The heat localized in the area beneath the laser track thereby heated the spores to a specific temperature for short time intervals. (Goetz, 2005) The temperature of the miniature fireball was measured using FTIR spectroscopy in the same manner that Dr. Gross measured temperatures profiles of conventional munitions. (Gross, 2007)”

  26. Old Atlantic said

    Ed Lake writes “Mindlessly repeating that quote as if it was some kind of mystical mantra just shows you cannot deal with facts. The quote says NOTHING that supports your position.”

    FBI “Mindlessly repeating.”

    You can’t have the lab notebooks.

    You can’t have the St. Petersburg Letters.

    You can’t have the Dugway fermentor runs notebook.

    You can’t have the Battelle runs notebook.

    You can’t have the documents sent to NAS.

    You can’t have the NAS report.

  27. Anonymous said

    That is YOUR bogus interpretation of what the AFIP report shows.

    Any qualified scientist will immediately conclude that the silicon rich New York Post material is responsible for the high silicon content in spore coats of both the New York Post powder and the Daschle powder.

    The person who prepared the spores deliberately added a chemical containing silicon. That chemical manifests itself as a different phase in the New York Post material – as well as on the spore coats.

    The FBI themselves leaked secret science reports taken 6 months after the powders were sent (in April 2002) – indicating that polymerized glass was an additive.

    These reports exist. I realize yourself and the FBI want these reports censored – you desperately do not want NAS or GAO to see them.

    You also do not want NAS or GAO to kown the results of the silicon elemental analyis of the New York Post powder – since this number immediatley points to deliberate addition of a silicon containing compound.

    NAS, however, consists of REAL scientists who want to see ALL the data.

    If the FBI lab scientists have no fear with their explanations of “naturally occurring silicon” they should simply state the following:

    We originally thought polymerized glass had been used as an additive because the following results indicated it…………………….

    Then we realized that was a mistake because…………….

    The New York Post powder contains a separate phase of the silicon compound…………

    The spore coats in all the spores contain amounts of silicon that we could not reporoduce but this is explainable because…………..

    We believe the separate silicon containing compound in the New York Post powder has absolsutely no connection to the record amount of silicon in the spore coats because……

    We performed extensive reverse engineering using polymerized glass treatments of spores and we found that……………………….

    That’s all the FBI need to do. But for some reason they want to avoid the above questions at all costs.

    • Anonymous said

      Like I said, if the FBI lab scientists have no fear with their explanations of “naturally occurring silicon” they should simply state the following:

      We originally thought polymerized glass had been used as an additive because the following results indicated it…………………….

      Then we realized that was a mistake because…………….

      • Anonymous said

        https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/12/11/microbial-forensics-chapter-30-nonbiological-measurements-on-biological-agents-stephan-p-velsko/

        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

        • Anonymous said

          “It supports my position that the silicon in the attack spores could have resulted from growing the spores at lower temperatures than is normal in a lab, i.e., “an unusual set of conditions.””

          You should write up your theory that Livermore don’t understand how the silicon got in the attack spores but you do. I’m sure your paper would be published in a peer reviewed journal.

  28. BugMaster said

    Let’s give anonymous the benefit of a doubt for a moment. If in fact the silicon-containing material was the result of some sort of coating, wouldn’t a total silicon content of 30% indicate an unreasonably thick coat? I am just trying to visualize this, it seems you would have spores coated in glass.

    Regardless, if in fact there was some type of coating process attempted, wouldn’t such a high percentage of coating material being present indicate that, at least in the case of the NYC material, something went wrong with the process?

    • Anonymous said

      “if in fact there was some type of coating process attempted, wouldn’t such a high percentage of coating material being present indicate that, at least in the case of the NYP material, something went wrong with the process?”

      I think that’s exactly correct. The person who prepared the material used too much polymerized glass in the NYP powder. It not only penetrated the exosporium and polymerized on the spore coats, but it also polymerized into particles of pure polymerized glass as a separate phase.

      Ed lake likes to pretend that this polymerized glass business is something dreamed up by someone with zero evidence behind it.

      But in fact the FBI leaked this information themselves, in April 2002 – after having studied the powders for 6 months:

      —————————————————
      In April 2002 information that an “unusual chemical” had been found coating the attack powders was provided by senior government officials to Newsweek, CNN and the Washington Post. Later on it was revealed by the FBI that this “unusual chemical” was “polymerized glass.”

      Source: Newsweek, 8 Apr 2002.
      http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/sophisticatedstrainanthrax.html
      A Sophisticated Strain of Anthrax
      By: Mark Hosenball, John Barry and Daniel Klaidman

      “Government sources tell Newsweek that the secret new analysis shows anthrax found in a letter addressed to Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy was ground to a microscopic fineness not achieved by U.S. biological-weapons experts. The Leahy anthrax – mailed in an envelope that was recovered unopened from a Washington post office last November [2001] — also was coated with a chemical compound unknown to experts who have worked in the field for years; the coating matches no known anthrax samples ever recovered from biological-weapons producers anywhere in the world, including Iraq and the former Soviet Union. The combination of the intense milling of the bacteria and the unusual coating produced an anthrax powder so fine and fluffy that individually coated anthrax spores were found in the Leahy envelope, something that U.S. bioweapons experts had never seen.”
      Source: Washington Post, 9 Apr 2002.
      http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/anthraxpowdernotroutine.html
      Powder Used in Anthrax Attacks ‘Was Not Routine’

      By: Joby Warrick, Washington Post Staff Writer

      “Whoever concocted the wispy white powder used in last fall’s [2001] anthrax attacks followed a recipe markedly different from the ones commonly used by scientists in the United States or any other country known to have biological weapons, law enforcement sources said yesterday.

      “Extensive lab tests of the anthrax powder have revealed new details about how the powder was made, including the identity of a chemical used to coat the trillions of microscopic spores to keep them from clumping together. Sources close to the investigation declined to name the chemical but said its presence was something of a surprise.

      “The powder’s formulation ‘was not routine,’ said one law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. ‘Somebody had to have special knowledge and experience to do this,’ the official said.”

      Source: CNN, 11 Apr 2002.

      http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/unusualcoating.html
      Official: Unusual coating in anthrax mailings
      By: Kelli Arena, CNN Washington Bureau

      “Scientists have found a new chemical in the coating on the anthrax spores mailed to journalists and politicians last fall, a
      high-ranking government official said Wednesday.

      “The discovery of the unnamed chemical, something scientists are familiar with, was surprising, the official said.

      “Previously, officials had reported that the coating on the anthrax included silica, which helped the spores not to clump.”

      Source: OpEdNews.com
      http://www.opednews.com/articles/World-s-Top-Anthrax-Expert-by-George-Washington-080909-527.html

      “Apparently, the spores were coated with a polyglass which tightly bound hydrophilic silica to each particle. That’s what was briefed (according to one of my former weapons inspectors at the United Nations Special Commission) by the FBI to the German Foreign Ministry at the time.”

    • Anonymous said

      LIke I said, Ed lake likes to pretend that this polymerized glass business is something dreamed up by someone with zero evidence behind it.

      But in fact the FBI leaked this information themselves, in April 2002 – after having studied the powders for 6 months.

      It’s all documented.

      Now if the FBI were actually to carefully explain WHY they thought this in April 2002, and WHY they changed their minds, and how all of this makes scientific sense………………

  29. BugMaster said

    Ed:

    Silicon carbide based sandpaper is black, and is used for wet sanding. If you can’t find it in the woodworking section, try the paint department.

    Otherwise, go to an auto parts store, and ask for the sandpaper used for the sanding operations required before painting (and to smooth bondo.

    It should be silicon carbide based.

    P.S. Happy New Year!

    • BugMaster said

      I have worked with silicon carbide paper for wetsanding down to 800 grit.

      However, I do not get the impression that it is hydrophobic.

      • BugMaster said

        When you dump water on the sandpaper, it sort of “beads up”, and doesn’t appear to “wet out” the material.

        It does not, therefore, strike me as highly hydrophilic, at least in the form used to coat sandpaper.

        P.S. Wetsanding is used to sand paint, epoxy, etc. You dip the paper in water, the water acts as a lubricant and keeps the paper from getting clogged.

    • BugMaster said

      Ed:

      I think you can still buy silicon carbide based grinding compound at auto parts stores, although I doubt anyone grinds their own valves these days!

  30. DXer said

    My friend, Magdy Migeed, who was a childhood friend of Ayman Zawahiri, and who is the brother of the chief Egyptian prosecutor, assures me that Ayman is a fanatic. These FBI scientists need to get a loving DeNozo-style tap on the back of the head for not taking a more direct approach at resolving the uncertainties.

  31. DXer said

    I’m really honored and privileged tonight to introduce our speaker Richard Preston
    ***
    [Richard Preston]

    “The other thing that happened was that when the anthrax terror event occurred I began realizing that I knew many of the people who were involved in the investigation of these crimes. My previous book is a novel, a bioterrorism novel, the Cobra Event, I had lots of background sources including a bunch of people in the FBI, people at CDC, I spent quite a bit of time hanging out with epidemic intelligence service officers at the CDC, these are younger researchers who do a two year tour of duty with the CDC and one of them was a woman by the name of Cindy R. Freidman M.D. who was at that time an EIS officer and then some FBI people including a guy named David Wilson I hung out with and an FBI scientist named Randy Murch, Randall S. Murch. Cindy Freidman is now a member of the FBI investigative anthrax team. She’s officially a member of Amerithrax 2 and I think she’s been sworn in as deputy marshal, I believe, US deputy and David Wilson is the head of the anthrax science group at the Washington field office and Randy Murch is the guy who kind of grandfathered the whole idea that bioterrorism was really going to happen and the FBI had to do something to get ready for it. I was sitting one evening at Quantico, they have a, there’s a bar there which they call the Board Room and in the evening you can get a beer there and I was sitting around with a bunch of FBI people talking about bioterrorism and they went on at great length about modern techniques of forensic science that could be used to track down an anthrax terrorist or a terrorist and how with subtle tools and advanced technology you could use this to construct an image of the perpetrator through the minute details of the crime. Fast forward to the present day, I’m sitting in the office of David Wilson now at the FBI headquarters at the field office in Washington and he, his, he had nothing at all to say about forensic evidence. He said, “You know I fear that for all of our optimism it’s looking more and more like we’re going to have to solve this case through classic shoe leather detective work. We’re going to need a witness, we’re going to need something, we’re going to need a break, the science so far has failed the FBI.” And I recall Randy Murch, the FBI scientist sitting in the board room drinking a beer and saying ultimately human beings are human and they make mistakes and that’s how crimes are solved. And so we find out that the reality of bioterrorism has turned out to be quite a bit different than everybody imagined it would be at least in terms of solving the crime.

    In the Demon in the Freezer the way I make the jump from anthrax to smallpox which is rather a difficult thing to do is through the personality and thinking and actions of Doctor Peter Jahrling from the Unites States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, USAMRIID. Peter Jahrling I’ve known for many years he’s a top virologist there who has become deeply involved with smallpox research in preparation for biopreparation, bioterrorism preparation for smallpox in the event we ever deal with it. I’ve known him for many years and the way I link this in the book is there’s this moment when right after the letter that was mailed to senator Tom Daschle was opened in the Hart Senate Office Building and a very small amount of fine powder came out of the letter; the powder had been treated effectively with modern techniques to make it an effective biological weapon and a good deal of that powder went up into the air and then absolutely dispersed and filled the building like a gas. It went everywhere. That’s why the Hart Senate Office Building was so difficult to clean up because the spores had simply gone everywhere. As I learned later there’s an admixture of a material in that anthrax known in the pharmaceutical industry as an excipient and it’s a little additive, it is very finely powdered silica glass. It’s a particular kind of glass, that’s my understanding, known as a nano-powder, nano-silica powder. You can order it on the internet. The trick of mixing glass into powdered anthrax spores appears to be a military trick that may have been discovered independently by Americans working in the old U.S. biological weapons program and later by Soviets. Glass and anthrax is something known to be a weaponeer’s trick. So the person who made this anthrax, somebody quite knowledgeable about how to do it and may well have had access to a formula. Peter Jahrling was one of the people who initially began to think about these forensic samples as they came into USAMRIID from the FBI.”

    Comment:

    Now let’s put aside Dr. Jahrling’s view on the silica issue and consider more broadly Dr. Murch’s view that the science would not pinpoint a perpetrator. (I personally credit Dr. Majidi’s view that the silicates could have been in the culture medium).

    Dr. Murch was right, wasn’t he? The science in the end did not come close to pinpointing a perp. The genetics limited things to up to 377 at USAMRIID alone. That hardly narrowed things to Dr. Ivins.

    And the stamp defects limited things to the States of Maryland and Virginia — if the FBI’s evidence is tested and credited. That hardly narrowed things to Dr. Ivins.

    There was no science that narrowed things to Dr. Ivins. In fact, Dr. Bartick’s photocopy examination expert report excludes the USAMRIID’s phtoocopiers, doesn’t it?

    In fact, as to how Dr. Ivins spent his time, the FBI is willfully withholding his contemporaneous notes.

    It was the FBI’s scientist who made a dried powder out of Flask 1029 — even though Dr. Murch and Agent Wilson never told us that.

    It was the FBI’s expert who made a dried powdered Ames that then was going to be subjected to a corona plasma discharge — — even though Dr. Murch and Agent Wilson never told us that..

    It was the FBI’s anthrax expert who made a dried powdered aerosol out of the “murder weapon” — and the FBI did all that it could to keep the fact a secret. So don’t add insult to injury, Randall, by disparaging taxpayers for being a suspicous lot.

    Outside observers don’t have to have an agenda to point to the FBI scientists and contractors who had (and have) a conflict of interest. Outside observers such as attorneys and the GAO trained in perceiving conflicts of interest may just sense that the FBI scientists didn’t want us to know because they thought they might get in trouble for the total lack of biosecurity that characterized government biodefense work under their watch.

    Dr. Murch was scheduled to speak at the conference but then pulled out and instead John Ezzell appeared.

    I would have liked to hear Dr. Murch explain why it took Dr. Ezzell to first share such central and material facts relating to creating a dried aerosol at USAMRIID out of Ames supplied from Flask 1029.

    All of the FBI’s evidence against Dr. Ivins is tainted.

    When DC and NYC is attacked with anthrax by Ayman Zawahiri and Anwar Awlaki, all the FBI scientists will have wanted to overcome all past withholding of documents.

    The FBI profiler Candice may have thought Leahy is obscure. And she may not have known about Ayman Zawahiri’s plan to use anthrax against US targets using the cover of universities and charities even though it was known by the DIA from documentary evidence dating to 1998.

    But the FBI and CIA now has had 10 years to come to understand that Ayman Zawahiri does not make a threat he does not intend to try to keep.

    And he has threatened to destroy the District of Columbia and New York City.

    Is this really a time to overlook the uncertainties and tainted evidence that characterizes Amerithrax?

    Or is it time to do the John Ezzell/ Gary Cooper manly think to do and to own up to the facts so the bad guys can be brought to justice and the country kept safe.

  32. DXer said

    The FBI’s narrative will never withstand the production of emails of John Ezzell, James Burans and David Wilson.

    They need to give an answer consistent with what documents eventually produced will establish.

    And if the answer is: We don’t know who mailed and processed the anthrax but we ask the country’s indulgence while we close the case and move on to many other pressing matters, so be it.

  33. DXer said

    In addition to USAMRIID scientist John Ezzell and CDC epidemiologist Dr. Cindy Friedman, Amerithrax 2 led by David Wislon relied upon Navy anthrax expert James Burans, who had headed the Navy biodefense effort.

    Ali Al-Timimi had a letter of commendation from the White House for his classified work for the Navy. What did Ali’s work involve? Ali’s gracious wife Ziyana did not feel to discuss it, absent consent of counsel, but assured me that someday it could be addressed.

  34. BugMaster said

    Would the presence of either fumed silica or polyglass rule out a “kitchen table process”?

    • anonymous said

      “Would the presence of either fumed silica or polyglass rule out a “kitchen table process”?”

      I’m not sure that it would – but I think a polyglass process would need intimate knowledge of that process – in other words someone who has worked making classified dry powder bioagents and knows the recipes.

      Of course, I do not buy that the silicon in the spore coats and the extra stuff in the NYP powder are separate sources. That’s stretching things way beyond reasonable coincidence.

      The first explanation for finding a record amount of silicon in the spore coats (still not reproduced after years of trying) accompanied by massive amounts of an unknown chemical containing mostly silicon but also carbon and oxygen would be that it was the unknown chemical itself that gave rise to the 1-2% silicon in the spores.

      Only by completely ruling out by exhaustive reverse engineering would one then entertain 2 separate sources of silicon.

      Don’t forget – we have only been told about the results of very selective lab tests – only the ones the FBI want us to know. And presumably only the ones that support their case.

      There are lots more tests that should have been performed. One example is Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. It is simple, cheap and non-destructive (no excuses for not enough sample). It would be unthinkable that they didn’t run a FTIR spectrum. FTIR can readily identify polyglass by the signature Si-O bond vibration peaks.

      A nice example of FTIR of polydimethylsioloxane can be seen here:

      http://spectroscopyonline.findanalytichem.com/spectroscopy/FT-IR+Spectroscopy/FT-IRndashRaman-Combination-The-Perfect-Analytical/ArticleStandard/Article/detail/618829

      • anonymous said

        A couple of notes on the above link – you need to click to page 2 to see the FTIR spectrum of polydimethyl siloxane. The peaks for the Si-O and Si-C bonds are completely unique – they would not occur at the same frequencies in SiO2 or SiC – thus it would be relatively simple to detect polyglass in the NYP powder?

        And yet we have heard zero about FTIR. As I said – they must have done it.

        It’s possible that they did as far back as early 2002 (it takes minutes to do the test) – and perhaps this is why they leaked that polyglass was found in April 2002.

        Of course, later on they changed their minds without explanation.

        I think we all (perhaps with the exception of Ed Lake) want to see complete transparency – we want to see that NAS have been shown ALL the data. Ed Lake apparently only wants the FBI to let NAS see the data that supports the FBI case – and he wants the other data censored (much like the FBI’s position).

    • anonymous said

      “….. there’s nothing to suggest polyglass was used.”

      Apart from the FBI’s own leaked information in April 2002. Or maybe the below links really don’t exist:

      In April 2002 information that an “unusual chemical” had been found coating the attack powders was provided by senior government officials to Newsweek, CNN and the Washington Post. Later on it was revealed by the FBI that this “unusual chemical” was “polymerized glass.”

      Source: Newsweek, 8 Apr 2002.

      A Sophisticated Strain of Anthrax
      By: Mark Hosenball, John Barry and Daniel Klaidman

      “Government sources tell Newsweek that the secret new analysis shows anthrax found in a letter addressed to Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy was ground to a microscopic fineness not achieved by U.S. biological-weapons experts. The Leahy anthrax – mailed in an envelope that was recovered unopened from a Washington post office last November [2001] — also was coated with a chemical compound unknown to experts who have worked in the field for years; the coating matches no known anthrax samples ever recovered from biological-weapons producers anywhere in the world, including Iraq and the former Soviet Union. The combination of the intense milling of the bacteria and the unusual coating produced an anthrax powder so fine and fluffy that individually coated anthrax spores were found in the Leahy envelope, something that U.S. bioweapons experts had never seen.”
      Source: Washington Post, 9 Apr 2002.

      Powder Used in Anthrax Attacks ‘Was Not Routine’

      By: Joby Warrick, Washington Post Staff Writer

      “Whoever concocted the wispy white powder used in last fall’s [2001] anthrax attacks followed a recipe markedly different from the ones commonly used by scientists in the United States or any other country known to have biological weapons, law enforcement sources said yesterday.

      “Extensive lab tests of the anthrax powder have revealed new details about how the powder was made, including the identity of a chemical used to coat the trillions of microscopic spores to keep them from clumping together. Sources close to the investigation declined to name the chemical but said its presence was something of a surprise.

      “The powder’s formulation ‘was not routine,’ said one law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. ‘Somebody had to have special knowledge and experience to do this,’ the official said.”

      Source: CNN, 11 Apr 2002.

      Official: Unusual coating in anthrax mailings
      By: Kelli Arena, CNN Washington Bureau

      “Scientists have found a new chemical in the coating on the anthrax spores mailed to journalists and politicians last fall, a
      high-ranking government official said Wednesday.

      “The discovery of the unnamed chemical, something scientists are familiar with, was surprising, the official said.

      “Previously, officials had reported that the coating on the anthrax included silica, which helped the spores not to clump.”

      Source: OpEdNews.com

      “Apparently, the spores were coated with a polyglass which tightly bound hydrophilic silica to each particle. That’s what was briefed (according to one of my former weapons inspectors at the United Nations Special Commission) by the FBI to the German Foreign Ministry at the time.”

  35. Old Atlantic said

    Tutorial for Ed Lake on SiC issue.

    SiC. Silicon is 1 to 1 with Carbon. Thus its 50 percent “by element” so to speak.

    By weight silicon is over 50 percent because its atomic weight is higher than C.

    The charts list the percentages by weight percent and by atomic percent. The latter is the last column if you open the chart in another window and blow it up to be readable.

    Its the atomic percent that you use for the SiC issue.

    There are more carbon atoms than silicon atoms. This means that if the carbon was free and the silicon were free, then you could combine 1 for 1 into SiC. At some point, you no longer have any Si left because there are more carbon atoms than silicon atoms.

    C 76.65

    Si 17.60

    by atomic percentages.

    So if all the C and Si were free, and we combined as much Si as we could with C one for one, we get

    17.6 SiC units, and we have 59.05 C left over.

    Imagine you had 7665 atoms of C, and 1760 atoms of Si. So you form 1760 molecules SiC and you have 5905 atoms of C left.

    • BugMaster said

      Ed:

      There is a lot of carbon present in any biological sample. Plus the sample may have been coated with a thin layer of carbon.

      I am not saying that ALL the carbon has to be bound to silicon.

      O.K., Ed, please put forth your explaination as to what form of silicon is present.

      Note that pure silicon present in a biological sample is impossible (not the result of “natural processes”).

      So do you have a better hypothesis?

      • BugMaster said

        “I think the silicon (probably in the form of silicic acid) in the spore coats is an entirely different matter from the excessive amounts of silicon detected in the New York Post powder.”

        I agree with you on this, Ed, although we both could be wrong!

        • anonymous said

          “Evidently, there’s no way to extract a single molecule out of a spore to examine its properties.”

          False. There are many ways. One is FTIR – it can distinguish exactly what is bonded to the silicon. It could easily distinguish between SiO2, SiC, polyglass, etc.

          Another is mass spectroscopy which can detect species that break off and were originally bonded together.

          ——————————————————

          There are lots more tests that should have been performed. One example is Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. It is simple, cheap and non-destructive (no excuses for not enough sample). It would be unthinkable that they didn’t run a FTIR spectrum. FTIR can readily identify polyglass by the signature Si-O bond vibration peaks.

          A nice example of FTIR of polydimethylsioloxane can be seen here:

          http://spectroscopyonline.findanalytichem.com/spectroscopy/FT-IR+Spectroscopy/FT-IRndashRaman-Combination-The-Perfect-Analytical/ArticleStandard/Article/detail/618829

        • anonymous said

          “Your response does not address the question of extracting the silicon containing molecule out of the spore coat as a single intact molecule.”

          False yet again – as usual.

          That’s exactly what mass spec does – it actually creates free radical molecules that were torn off large structures and detects them as single molecular entities.

  36. DXer said

    Bones’ 100th episode ~ King of the Lab

  37. anonymous said

    No, it is not an attempt by anonymous to distort the data.

    I made fits to all the Daschle points. I just chose to use an average one. In fact, the others have higher silicon concentration. Download the NIST software for yourself.

    • anonymous said

      The other points on the Daschle give 6% silicon and 2.75% silicon. I’m sure Lew will post the simulations if we ask him.

      • anonymous said

        “Doesn’t that say that NONE of the AFIP readings are reliable?”

        I realize you desperately want that to be the case. But unfortunately for you and your junk science FBI buddies, it is not going to go away. The FBI lab director lied when he said there was not enough sample to determine the most fundamental data and the data that can be obtained in MULTIPLE ways with MINISCULE amounts of sample – that is the weight percentage of ALL the elements present.

        Looks like the junk scientists from Quantico who email you their junk science are looking at pi$$ yet again:

        http://www.public-action.com/SkyWriter/WacoMuseum/death/tscr/whitehur/fw_test.html

        Dr. Whitehurst submitted two blind test samples to the lab technician. Whitehurst had prepared one sample by urinating into a laboratory flask. The other was a sample of commercial grade fertilizer prepared by FBI Agent Burmeister. The lab technician found that both samples tested positive for urea nitrate, the explosive component of the infamous fertilizer bomb.

        In other words, Dr. Whitehurst proved that the lab technician, like the ATF, couldn’t tell a bomb from sewage.

        • anonymous said

          The argument is very very clear.

          The FBI have a fundamental institutional problem when it comes to the FBI labs. They have proven this again and again and again.

          The scientists in Quantico don’t practice real science – lead in bullets analysis and pi$$ in explosives are just 2 examples – there are dozens more. The FBI scientists follow directives from their masters and distort their findings to fit whatever their masters tell them.

          This is all a matter of record. It happened before – it’s all been documented (although to you, I suppose none of it ever happened)

          For Chris Hassell to state that there was not enough sample to obtain quantitative elemental analysis of the NYP powder is laughable – that statement would not pass the giggle test if put before an analytical chemist.

          There are DOZENS of methods of finding the weight percentage of elements present.

          Hassell is lying because his masters have forced him to lie – because the answers do not fit with his master’s wishes. It’s exactly the same modus operandi described by Fred Whitehurst.

          And they STILL haven’t learned that when their work gets audited by real scientists, it leads to yet another humiliating exposure.

        • anonymous said

          “How do they “force” Hassell and all of the other scientists at the FBI to lie?”

          Why don’t you ask Fred Whitehurst that question? I assume you are not claimng his testimony is faked?

          The answer is threats of retaliation.

        • DXer said

          Love Taps

      • BugMaster said

        Ed:

        Didn’t you in a past post say an FBI contact said the material was analyzed by a different technique (ICP) and they obtained similar high silicon readings, then concluded the instrumentation wasn’t working correctly?

        How many times can you blame the results on the instruments? Once, maybe, but TWICE?

        • anonymous said

          It’s almost laughable at this point. The excuses are pathetic.

          The VERY FIRST test any FBI lab director would have ordered on the attack powders is the weight percentage of ALL the elements present. That would be standard. Analytical chemists have spent decades perfecting exquisitely accurate tests to determine these numbers. The arsenal of equipment they have at their disposal is mind-boggling. ICP-OES, TOFSIMS, nanoSIMS, RBS, etc. etc.

        • anonymous said

          “The FBI laboratory wasn’t equipped to evaluate dangerous pathogens like anthrax spores.”

          Have you actually read the AFIP report? Please pay special attention to the part that the spores for analysis were irradiated to make them harmless.

          You should work for the FBI. They may be needing you soon to dream up their next set of excuses.

          So – your position is that the there was not enough sample in the NYP powder to perform quantitative elemental analysis? Is that correct?

        • DXer said

          Several years before 9/11, Dr. Ezzell spent time with Special Agent David Wilson at FBI headquarters to learn how to develop a USAMRIID Special Pathogens Laboratory that could respond to the need to evaluate mailed powders. It was not done on an ad hoc basis but had been ongoing for years. That was David Wilson standing aside John listening to the too-loud music at the June 2001 conference in Annapolis (at the special pathogens conference attended by Ayman Zawahiri’s scientist Rauf Ahmad the two previous years).

          The Killer Strain

          By Marilyn W. Thompson
          Posted 5/18/03

          When a series of letters packed with anthrax spread terror along the East Coast in late 2001, the FBI turned to the 42,000-member American Society for Microbiology, asking scientists to seek out clues that might lead to the arrest of the bioterrorist. The bureau also turned to one microbiologist in particular, John Ezzell, then head of the special pathogens division at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, Md., to help them understand this deadly bacterium. In this excerpt from The Killer Strain: Anthrax and a Government Exposed (HarperCollins), Ezzell confronts what he called “The Face of Satan”–the most refined anthrax he had ever seen.

          JOHN EZZELL STOOD BY THE GUARDED ENTRANCE TO USAMRIID waiting for the FBI to arrive with the evidence, as he had so many times before during the anthrax scares. Ezzell and his team knew that this package, coming straight from Capitol Hill, would focus the eyes of the world on his Special Pathogens Sample Test Laboratory. He did not consider its danger until later, when he opened the envelope and out burst a spore powder so pure that it evaporated in midair.

          An intern in the office of Senate Majority Leader Thomas Daschle, a South Dakota Democrat, had cut open the envelope around 9:45 that Monday morning, October 15. The FBI promptly called Ezzell to alert him that they were sending the evidence from Daschle’s office for testing. A few hours later, the FBI team pulled into Fort Detrick’s gates bearing sealed containers and layers of Ziploc bags. The containers held the rapid assays that had tested positive at the Senate site, though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had cautioned that the scientific accuracy of these tests had not been absolutely established.

          Ezzell’s team would have to do the next level of analysis. The most authoritative analysis required cultures that took 14 hours to process. Ezzell and his team began work under a safety hood. Wearing a mask and gloves, Ezzell had confidence in his own protection. He had been vaccinated so many times that he considered himself virtually anthrax-proof.

          First, the team dealt with the sealed canisters, the assays wet with chemicals taken from the crime scene. They removed the contents and drained off some of the liquid to use for further testing. Their concern heightened when they began examining the envelope and its contents. They had all been trained to conduct risk analysis on suspicious packages and envelopes and to take extra precautions if they found anything even slightly alarming. The powdery material packed inside was shifting with movement. He told the team that for added protection they would step up laboratory safeguards before opening the letter and its inner layers of packaging.

          The Ziploc bags were placed in a secure isolation chamber, known as an air lock, located outside the lab. An FBI agent guarded the bags until Ezzell and his colleagues could get inside. Ezzell removed his street clothes and pulled on green surgical scrubs. To access the lab, he had to pass through another security checkpoint by punching his personal ID number into a keypad. Once inside, he changed into lab shoes and made his way over to the biological safety cabinet. The FBI agent watched through a window.

          Ezzell thoroughly cleaned the cabinet, rinsing it with bleach and distilled water. He could see the fine powder dispersed inside the plastic bags and knew that his cabinet could become contaminated unless he took special precautions. He lined its bottom with a layer of bleach-soaked paper towels to keep the spores under control.

          Wearing multiple layers of latex gloves covered by sleeve protectors, Ezzell propped up the envelope against the back of the cabinet, forming a kind of artist’s easel that would allow him to photograph the full image. He moved back to focus the camera. That was when he noticed it: The bleach had wicked up through the dry panels. The bottom of the envelope had become smudged with bleach solution.

          “Oh my God, what have I done?” Ezzell thought. Worried that he might have tainted the evidence but unable to undo the damage, he carried on. He began slowly removing the letter from its envelope. As he worked, he noticed a bit of white powder tucked into one of the letter’s folds. Almost as soon as he saw it, the powder dispersed, spreading invisibly through the safety cabinet.

          Even though he had been studying anthrax for years, Ezzell had never actually seen the bacterium in its weaponized form. This was a powder so virulent that normal laboratory rules did not apply. “After all these years of looking, here it is,” he thought. “This is the real thing.”

          Ezzell kept his fear suppressed, determined to finish the job carefully. He finished pulling the letter out, then coaxed the powder back into its Ziploc bag. The letter went into a sterile baggie, and he sealed the envelope in another one. Then he wrapped both in plastic bags that had been decontaminated with bleach solution. Ezzell took the sterile bags to the lab’s glass window so FBI agent Darin Steele could photograph them. The images he snapped were seen around the globe.

          To protect himself, Ezzell started antibiotics to guard against infection. He also took another precaution. He mixed a solution of diluted bleach and, bracing himself, took a deep snort. The pain that surged through his sinuses almost knocked him to the ground, but he could not stand the thought of carrying anthrax spores in his nostrils.

          That night, a friend who worked for the CIA woke Ezzell from a deep sleep: His assessment–that this was indeed “weaponized” anthrax–had been passed on to the president of the United States.

          Recipe. After opening the Daschle envelope, Ezzell would bolt awake in the middle of the night, worrying about what would happen if anthrax powder made its way into American households. This stuff was coming through the mail, he told himself. Everyone was vulnerable. What could the average person do to protect himself? It was well documented in the scientific literature that two hours of exposure to dry heat at 320 degrees Fahrenheit would kill spores. Ezzell, an accomplished cook, set his kitchen oven to 320. He inserted an assortment of daily mail–sealed envelopes of various sizes and types, plastic-encased magazines–and waited two hours.

          Voila! The stamps were still firmly in place and the envelopes sealed, though the plastic windows showed slight shrinkage. Glossy magazines had a slightly burned appearance but were readable. Over the next few days, he perfected the technique. It worked much better if the batch of mail was placed inside a turkey-basting bag or foil container. A careful person could take the bag to the mailbox, dump the contents inside, secure with a twist-tie, and easily pop it into the oven.

          Finally, after testing the oven technique in his lab, Ezzell sat down and wrote a paper called “Procedure for Killing Bacillus Anthracis Spores in Mail.” He wrote: “While there may be opportunities for fine-tuning the process, the advantages of this approach are that the process is low-tech, immediately available, and can be performed in residences or offices. It is based on firm scientific data with respect to temperature and time required for killing Bacillus anthracis spores and with respect to initial experiments which have shown that spores from Senator Daschle’s office are killed well within the two-hour heating period.” He added this disclaimer: “The author assumes no responsibility for loss of plastic items (including credit cards), fires, odors or other damage.”

          Ezzell began distributing the guide to friends and fellow worshipers at his Methodist church. Someone posted it on the Internet. He was amused that, after a lifetime of scientific endeavor, studying the fine points of an obscure and mystifying bacterium, this would be his most practical contribution to the common good. Like a chef in a Betty Crocker cook-off, he had created the homemaker’s guide to baking anthrax, sealed in the U.S. mail.

          From the book The Killer Strain by Marilyn W. Thompson. Copyright (c) 2003. Published by arrangement with HarperCollins, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers Inc.

          At the November 29 conference, John explained on film that perhaps it was not “fully weaponized.” But the much belabored debate over semantics misses the point regarding the probativeness of the Silicon Signature.

        • anonymous said

          “There was evidently no reason for the FBI to get involved in scientific testing until it became clear that it was a domestic terrorism case and Ft. Detrick might be involved.”

          You are still avoiding the main question. Hassell’s assertion that there was not enough sample to determine quantitative elemental analysis is bogus.

          There was enough sample in the NYP powder to perform these tests dozens of times with dozens of different techniques. You don’t just use TOF-SIMS and take one reading – you take multiple scans and multiple readings – you obtain statistics.

          It is clear the FBI do NOT WANT ANYONE TO KNOW about the percentage silicon in the NYP powder. They don’t want people to know because they cannot explain it in any Ivins scenario. This has been their behavior for years – avoid silicon at all costs.

        • DXer said

          Ed writes:

          “clearly the FBI had NO ROLE in early testing.”

          There was never a moment when an FBI agent was not present. To say that the FBI had “NO ROLE” is mistaken. They were always present — and nothing was done without their say-so. To the same effect, as attorney Paul Kemp explained, the FBI was always present for anything Dr. Ivins did in connection with the letters.

    • Old Atlantic said

      What percent by atomic element is Si of SiC?

      (Hint its the same as C is of CO, its the same as H is of CH)

      As compared to by weight?

      The Silicon is less than the Carbon in the sample, so the silicon will bond to something, carbon unless it bonded to something else already. That was where the SiC idea came from I believe.

  38. DXer said

    We’ve seen that the lead FBI anthrax expert working on detection had been supplied virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins from Flask 1029 and he used that anthrax to make a dried powder aerosol. That fact was kept secret for nearly 10 years by the FBI scientists. John, freed of the FBI’s gag order, has forthrightly explained that he kept a supply of the virulent Ames from Flask 1029 in Room 212 of Building 1412 — even though US Attorney Taylor falsely stated that virulent Ames was exclusively kept in Building 1425. What other FBI contractors had received virulent Ames from Flask 1029? For example, one lab doing critical work in Amerithrax on the genetics in Richmond also was working with Ames at the time of the anthrax mailings. Wasn’t that also from Flask 1029? Will the NAS be addressing whether the evidence is tainted? Did Commonwealth also have a contract with DARPA for research concerning the effect of a sonicator and corona plasma discharge on Ames spores? The FBI was only one of its “Government Sponsors.” Was CIA another?

    Biotech Business Week

    October 6, 2008

    COMMONWEALTH BIOTECHNOLOGIES, INC.;
    Commonwealth Biotechnologies Identified as Key Lab in the Amerithrax Investigation

    SECTION: EXPANDED REPORTING; Pg. 1566

    Commonwealth Biotechnologies, Inc. (CBI) (Nasdaq: CBTE), a contract research organization providing outsourced services in the area of biotechnology discovery and development to companies worldwide, today disclosed that it was a key laboratory in developing the DNA forensics methods used to identify the source of the 2001 anthrax letter attacks that killed five, sickened 17 and caused widespread panic in the days following Sept. 11. CBI carried out thousands of tests over the course of the investigation spanning from early 2002 until the abrupt end in 2008. Since the beginning of the investigation CBI has been under a Non-Disclosure agreement with the FBI and could not disclose its involvement in the case. Recently CBI received notice that the FBI has lifted certain clauses in the agreement and CBI is now able to disclose it’s role in the investigation, in particular the science developed and used at CBI (see also Commonwealth Biotechnologies, Inc.).
    At the time of the Anthrax attacks in September and October 2001, CBI scientists were already actively engaged in research to detect and analyze biothreat agents in environmental and biodefense samples. CBI held several contracts with Government Sponsors, including the FBI, to detect and analyze microbial agents by DNA sequence analysis and other methods. This included work to identify isolates of the Ames and other strains of Anthrax. Shortly after the start of the FBI Amerithrax investigation, CBI Scientists began working with scientists from the FBI to find suitable forensic markers that could differentiate laboratory Ames strains from the Ames anthrax used in the 2001 mailings. CBI and FBI scientists worked closely together and evaluated numerous genetic markers generated by research efforts from a consortium of government and private labs involved in the investigation. Through this effort, the FBI selected several suitable markers for forensic assay development by CBI. Selection criteria for these assays were based on forensic methods already well established at CBI and centered on whether the assay could be highly specific, sensitive, robust, reproducible, and pass through blinded validation studies and stringent quality review. Two of the assays developed and validated at CBI were selected by the FBI to be used by CBI for screening the FBI repository of samples collected through subpoena during the Amerithrax investigation. The results from these analyses were key to the overall direction of the FBI investigation.
    “We at CBI are pleased and proud to have played a key role in developing the technologies and providing the testing for these forensic samples. This is the culmination of a tremendous amount of hard work coupled with the innovative insights of the highly skilled talent here at CBI and at the FBI. We look forward to sharing these insights with the scientific community as soon as possible. Going forward, we believe this will set the standard for this type of microbial forensics investigations.” said Richard J. Freer, COO of CBI.
    “The FBI needed a laboratory they could trust to do the sample analysis as they fully expected to have to defend the data in court. So they really required a lab that already had experience processing samples following forensic chain of custody and QA standards.” said Thomas R. Reynolds, Executive Vice President and head of the CBI Amerithrax team. “CBI was in a unique situation to help the FBI with this investigation because we had expertise in both anthrax and forensic standards for DNA analysis already in place. Working closely with the FBI, CBI was able to successfully meld these fields into one, creating one of the first microbial forensic labs in the country. This took the efforts of a team comprised of CBI and FBI scientists and quality assurance professionals. This team worked tirelessly to produce innovative science and validated methods capable of producing data which could be held to the highest forensics quality standards.” Continued Reynolds, “We would like to thank all of the people who worked in this investigation over the years and acknowledge their hard work and dedication.”
    “We at CBI extend our sympathy to the families and friends of the victims of these attacks. We hope our efforts will help to provide some closure to these tragic events.” added Freer.

    • DXer said

      Did the government conclude that there was improper testing procedure or contamination resulting in false positives at the lab contracting with the FBI whose work was so critical to the Amerithrax genetics work? Or, alternatively, was Ames found at the Pentagon?

      PENTAGON ANTHRAX MATCHES 2001 STRAIN ; CHESTERFIELD LAB: FINDING IS NOT SURPRISING BECAUSE STRAIN IS COMMON IN LABS
      [City Edition]

      Richmond Times – Dispatch – Richmond, Va.
      Author: A.J. Hostetler
      Date: Mar 22, 2005
      Start Page: B.1
      Section: AREA/STATE

      Commonwealth Biotechnologies Inc. President and CEO Robert Harris said yesterday that the strain his company says it found at the Pentagon was Ames, the strain used in the unsolved 2001 attacks.

      The initial finding by Commonwealth Biotechnologies was confirmed by a more accurate polymerase chain-reaction test by an Army biodefense lab at Fort Detrick, Md., but later disputed when further environmental tests proved negative.

      Federal officials say an investigation is getting under way into the possibility that Commonwealth Biotechnologies was the inadvertent source of the anthrax, either through improper testing procedures or contamination within the lab. The Defense Department has labeled the initial tests a “false positive,” but Harris said his firm stands by its work.

      • DXer said

        Government conclusion: contamination at lab critical to FBI’s Amerithrax investigation.

        False anthrax scare is blamed on faulty tests
        By Associated Press | March 17, 2005

        WASHINGTON — An apparent mix-up at a laboratory is being blamed for the anthrax scare that closed three mail facilities handling Pentagon-bound mail and prompted nearly 900 workers to receive antibiotics.

        The two-day scare turned out to be a false alarm after definitive tests at two facilities came back negative Tuesday for the deadly spores.

        Officials believe the confusion stemmed from a mistake at the laboratory that did the initial testing, and the mistaken conclusion was confirmed by a Defense Department laboratory at Fort Detrick, Md.

        The working theory is that workers at the initial laboratory — Commonwealth Biotechnology Inc. in Richmond, Va. — contaminated the sample taken from the Pentagon with anthrax that is kept on hand for comparison purposes, a Homeland Security official said yesterday, speaking on condition of anonymity. That would explain why the sample came back as positive for anthrax.

        That initial sample, possibly already contaminated, was then delivered to Fort Detrick, which confirmed the presence of anthrax. ”It had already been handled by the contractor,” said Caree Vander Linden, spokeswoman for the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick.

        Later tests proved negative, and officials realized the initial error, officials said.

        Robert Harris, chief operating officer of Commonwealth Biotechnology, said it is premature to conclude that there was contamination at his lab and said testing is ongoing.

        ”The issue of contamination is questionable,” he said. He said he still believes that the original sample might have been ”a true positive sample” for anthrax. ”That’s a possibility at this point,” he said.

        Harris said his company does daily testing on swabs taken from filters at the Pentagon mail facility.

        Warning signs at the two Pentagon mail facilities led to the comprehensive testing Monday. Nearly 900 workers were given antibiotics, and officials closed three mail facilities, including two that serve the Pentagon.

        In 2001 anthrax-by-mail attacks killed five people and panicked Americans still raw from the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Since then, scores of initial tests in government mailrooms have falsely reported anthrax.

    • DXer said

      Commonwealth Biotechnologies, Inc. Completes Internal Review of Procedures; Source of Positive Test Sample May Never be Known with Certainty.
      Publication: Business Wire
      Publication Date: 23-MAR-05 Format: Online

      RICHMOND, Va. — In its role as subcontractor, Commonwealth Biotechnologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: CBTE) reported a positive test outcome for the presence of B. anthracis cultured from a swab taken from a pre-filter in the remote mail sorting facility located at the Pentagon on Thursday, March 10, 2005. CBI provided these results to its contracting officer in a timely way on Friday, March 11, and then reported the results of confirmatory testing done over the weekend of March 12 to its contracting officer on Monday, March 14. The positive nature of this particular test sample was subsequently confirmed in two independent federal laboratories. However, additional tests of swabs taken from the same filters have all been negative.

      Since then, there has been public speculation as to the possibility that the source of the positive test outcome was laboratory contamination of the test sample which took place in CBI’s laboratory. Because the March 10 swab sample tested positive, CBI conducted a rigorous internal audit of its administrative and laboratory processes to try and ascertain whether the test outcome was the result of inadvertent laboratory cross-contamination. This review process has now been completed.

      Statement by Dr. Robert B. Harris, President and CEO of CBI

      “In the past two years, CBI has tested more than 2,000 individual samples taken from the remote mail sorting facility at the Pentagon. In addition, since 2000 when its BSL3 lab came on-line, CBI has conducted laboratory experiments and analyses on more than 34,000 samples containing anthrax, DNA from anthrax, and other noxious biological agents. In all this time, there has never been one instance of a false-positive result due to laboratory contamination or due to any other factor. While contamination is always a possibility, CBI has in place and enforces rigorous operating procedures and quality assurance protocols focused on minimizing the likelihood of sample cross-contamination within its BSL3 laboratory. ”

      In the last week, CBI’s quality assurance group has conducted an extensive review of our administrative and laboratory procedures and has re-examined our facility for the presence of viable environmental pathogens. None of these tests has come back positive. Among the findings of this review:

      –There is no evidence in the BSL3 for the presence of surface contamination or air-borne contamination.

      –At the time of the sample processing for the Pentagon, no other anthrax-related work was being done.

      –CBI has no on-going work which requires us to work with anything but the vegetative form of anthrax.

      –CBI has no on-going programs dealing with anthrax spores.

      –CBI’s strict protocols which prohibit analyzing test samples in the presence of a positive control sample were strictly adhered to.

      –Video records of the BSL3 lab on the day in question show that the testing was…

    • DXer said

      One of the samples determined to be Ames was from a building in Falls Church, VA.

      Two labs confirmed Pentagon anthrax: same genetic strain used in the 2001 attacks.
      UPI ^ | March 21, 2005 | Dee Ann Divis

      Posted on Monday, March 21, 2005 2:54:21 PM by Gene Vidocq

      WASHINGTON — Anthrax has been confirmed in samples collected from the two Pentagon mail facilities that were at first closed last week and then declared free of the pathogen, United Press International has learned.

      The head of the company that was accused of contaminating the samples sent from those facilities — a detached building on the Pentagon grounds in Arlington, Va., and the other in Falls Church, Va. — said the presence of anthrax was detected independently by two government laboratories.

      Robert B. Harris, president and chief executive officer of Commonwealth Biotechnologies Inc. in Richmond, Va., also said the anthrax found was the same genetic strain used in the 2001 attacks.

      • DXer said

        COMPANY: SAMPLE WASN’T TAINTED DEFENSE SUBCONTRACTOR IN CHESTERFIELD STANDS BY ANTHRAX TEST RESULTS
        [City Edition]
        Richmond Times – Dispatch – Richmond, Va.
        Author: Michael Martz; AJ Hostetler
        Date: Mar 24, 2005
        Start Page: B.1
        Section: AREA/STATE
        Text Word Count: 911
        Abstract (Document Summary)

        “While contamination cannot ever be absolutely ruled out, there is no evidence which directly links the positive test outcome to surface-to-sample, sample-to-sample or air-to-sample contamination,” [Robert B. Harris] said in his statement yesterday.

        Since the additional test results became known last week, Commonwealth Biotechnologies conducted an internal investigation, which Harris said showed no signs of surface or airborne contamination in the lab. He said the investigation also showed that the laboratory was not conducting any other anthrax-related research or testing at the time and that it had no ongoing program dealing with anthrax spores.

        Government attention has focused on the anthrax sample that the company used as a control in the testing, but Harris said the investigation showed that the lab did not conduct the Pentagon testing in the presence of the positive control sample. Video taken during the testing showed staff followed proper protocols and that the lab space had been decontaminated before the Pentagon testing, he said.

  39. anonymous said

    Here is the GAO letter to Rush Holt:

    http://holt.house.gov/images/stories/GAO_Amerithrax_job_ltr_001.pdf

    I can’t find a separate transcript – just this pdf file. Still, it seems to cover a large scope.

    GAO are waiting to see the NAS report.

  40. Old Atlantic said

    After Ivins died, the DOJ/FBI put out false statements and fed false rumors to the press. If these give rise to a cause of action it can’t start with Ivins since he was dead.

    These were blows, but who were the blows aimed at? Who did they land on?

    The defense of reputation of a dead person falls to his family.

    The DOJ/FBI rumors and false statements were intended to stop any inquest or inquiry into the Ivins case. Who did they fear initiating that? The family.

    Its the family that bears the shame and social stigma. So the rumors set out by the DOJ/FBI after Ivins death were directed at the family.

    The DOJ/FBI wanted to disable the family and to isolate them. They wanted people to think that Ivins was guilty and deserved no inquest or inquiry.

    They wanted lawyers to tell the Ivins family what was wrong with their case and discourage them. This is what happens when the power of media frenzy is successfully launched by DOJ/FBI. Lawyers, judges, witnesses, etc. tell people the down side and are stone faced. The family gives up. DOJ/FBI know that people give up in these circumstances. That is why they initiated the false rumor campaign, to make the Ivins family isolated and shunned and to give up. The Ivins family were made to feel finding a lawyer to take their cause would be hard, the lawyer would be defensive, the judge would be against them, it would be dismissed and there would be no hearing.

    Every action of the DOJ/FBI is to send the message that there will be no hearing. Even when Congress calls one they just refuse to answer. They conceal documents given to NAS against the law. They withhold lab records.

    The Ivins family is discouraged and defeated before they start. That is the purpose of this campaign.

    The actions after Ivins death do not accrue as actions against Ivins that have to survive his death. They are already after his death.

    The target of these actions are the Ivins family. They are being stigmatized and shamed. It is the family that would fight this. But if the initial blow is hard enough, the family can’t do anything. They give up. The DOJ/FBI know that because they know the discouragement that families feel. They used this knowledge for evil against the Ivins family.

    All of this is a cause of action by the living family not inherited from Ivins because these acts are after Ivins’ death. They are directed at someone and that someone is the Ivins family. They are directed there because it it is the family that rises to defend the honor of the dead. But not if they are knocked out and all around them are discouraged to push hard as witnesses, lawyers, advocates, fair judges, etc. A judge has to learn hard against DOJ/FBI when they are fighting to keep things quiet. The judge is meant to be discouraged as well. Just as the lawyers are. Just as the witnesses and experts are. It has worked.

    This campaign intentionally inflicts shame and stigma on the Ivins family and intentionally makes others, lawyers, witnesses, experts, judges, not want to help them. That all together gives rise to claims by the Ivins family in their own right and are not inherited from Ivins. They all accrue after he died and the recipient was not Ivins it was the Ivins family.

  41. DXer said

    Is the National Academy of Sciences a proper defendant in a Bivens suit given its withholding of documents (in violation of the Federal Advisory Committee Act)? If not, hasn’t the proceeding simply allowed the FBI to keep the documents from public view for two years? Aren’t the documents being withheld more important than the panel’s conclusions?

  42. Old Atlantic said

    The FBI agents outside Ivins home were there to pressure him. The government knew at that time that Ivins was especially sensitive and vulnerable.

    The pressure they intentionally put him under knowing he was sensitive was intended to make him crack. That caused him to commit suicide. So the government is liable.

    They intended to crack him and were cracking him at the moment of his taking the Tylenol by having their people monitoring his house.

    They took on the responsibility of their pressure tactics by engaging in them. The responsibility means the responsibility for the effects.

    • DXer said

      I would think that Dr. Bartick, Dr. Bannan, Dr. Beecher, Dr. Burans etc. would WANT the photocopy examination toner report produced so as to avoid the suggestion that they participated in its continued withholding under Section 1983.

      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/03/14/the-case-of-the-copier-that-wasnt-used-by-dr-bruce-ivins/

      In Pierce v. Gilchrist, 359 F.3d 1279, 1282-97 (10th Cir. 2004), the court held that a forensic chemist who allegedly withheld exculpatory evidence stated a claim under Section 1983 for the constitutional tort of malicious prosecution. The fact that the chemist neither intiated nor filed the charges against plaintiff did not preclude a claim under Section 1983. Furthermore, the chemist was not entitled to qualified immunity regarding the claim. What law applies to the continued withholding of the photocopy toner examination report? The District of Columbia where the prosecuting US Attorney was located? Maryland where the suspect was located? Or Virginia where the report was kept (if it was kept there).

      • anonymous said

        Interesting that the forensic scientists themselves could be liable under Section 1983. It will be interesting (if we ever actually ever get to see any NAS report) how much was withheld. The original lab reports from April 2002 showing that a polymerized glass silicon based compound was used is one that comes to mind.

        Just as Fred Whitehurst about the pressure to fake evidence from the FBI leaders:

        http://www.public-action.com/SkyWriter/WacoMuseum/death/tscr/whitehur/fw_test.html

        FBI Pressures Scientists to Lie.

        In the aftermath of the world Trade Center bombing of February 26, 1993, the FBI concocted misleading scientific reports and pressured two leading scientists to perjure their testimony in order to support its prosecution of the men accused of the bombing.
        The process was described by senior FBI explosives expert Dr. Frederic Whitehurst during his testimony at the trial on August 14, 1995.

        Sewage pipes in the skyscraper broke during the explosion. depositing 80 gallons of sewage throughout the wreckage. The Treasury Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) asked Dr. Whitehurst to analyze some of this sewage, thinking it was an explosive substance. “Transcript. pg. 16333”.

        Dr. Whitehurst concluded that there was no sound scientific basis for the government’s public claim that a urea nitrate bomb had been the source of the explosion. When he refused to recant or to doctor his reports to support the urea nitrate bomb theory, the FBI used an unqualified lab technician to testify that the so-called urea nitrate found at the scene was consistent with a urea nitrate bomb.

        Dr. Whitehurst submitted two blind test samples to the lab technician. Whitehurst had prepared one sample by urinating into a laboratory flask. The other was a sample of commercial grade fertilizer prepared by FBI Agent Burmeister. The lab technician found that both samples tested positive for urea nitrate, the explosive component of the infamous fertilizer bomb.

        In other words, Dr. Whitehurst proved that the lab technician, like the ATF, couldn’t tell a bomb from sewage.

        The following pages are taken from the transcript of the New York trial for the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. The extracts begin at page 16315 in the original transcript, and continue consecutively through to page 16354.

      • DXer said

        I would think that the scientists and AUSA Rachel Lieber and AUSA Ken Kohl and the investigators would all WANT to produce under FOIA the handwritten notes that Dr. Ivins wrote contemporaneously recording what he was doing on the dates they speculates that he was preparing powderized anthrax for mailing. Manning v. Miller, 355 F.3d 1028, 1032-33 (7th Cir. 2004); Tennison v. City & County of San Francisco, 547 F.3d 1293 (9th Cir. 2008). (I asked and Rachel specifically refused). DeLoach v. Bevers, 922 F.2d 618 (10th Cir. 1990). A prosecutor who withholds exculpatory evidence is not entitled to immunity. Manning, 355 F.3d at 1032-33.

        https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/03/04/fbi-doj-slam-the-door-you-cannot-have-dr-bruce-ivins-lab-notebook-4010-in-fact-you-cannot-have-anything-more-than-has-already-been-released/

  43. Old Atlantic said

    http://www.msa.md.gov/msa/mdmanual/43const/html/00dec.html

    Art. 5. (a)

    (1) That the Inhabitants of Maryland are entitled to the Common Law of England, and the trial by Jury, according to the course of that Law, and to the benefit of such of the English statutes as existed on the Fourth day of July, seventeen hundred and seventy-six; and which, by experience, have been found applicable to their local and other circumstances, and have been introduced, used and practiced by the Courts of Law or Equity; and also of all Acts of Assembly in force on the first day of June, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven; except such as may have since expired, or may be inconsistent with the provisions of this Constitution; subject, nevertheless, to the revision of, and amendment or repeal by, the Legislature of this State.

    • Old Atlantic said

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

      The withholding of exculpatory evidence such as lab notebooks.

      The shame and stigma of being suspected of ignoring signs indicating Ivins’ guilt.

      These are factors.

      Withholding the NAS report even delaying it, seeking to change it by improper means, these inflict emotional distress and are done by violating the statutes.

      • Old Atlantic said

        After the anthrax attacks, the federal government sent all the paper it got in the mail to be irradiated, or at least some offices did including Congress and the patent and trademark office.

        Thus in the DC area the stigma was vastly greater than in the rest of the country. The Ivins family live in this area so they suffer the greater stigma and shame.

        Every piece of paper sent to Congress in the mail was irradiated for a period of time. This was unprecedented. So its far above the Lindbergh kidnapping case or other acts of exceptional shame.

        This is one of the criminal acts that will be known for centuries. Unfair stigma against family members is intentional infliction of emotional distress.

        Withholding evidence that is exculpatory is part of that. Delaying the exculpatory NAS report is that. Trying to change the exculpatory final NAS report before the public can see it is that. These are unprecedented acts and the reason the DOJ/FBI does that is because of the stigma and shame linked to the anthrax letters. Even the DOJ/FBI feel the stigma and shame of not handling the case properly. That makes it that much greater to be a family member who is subjected to the suspicion they knew or should have known but didn’t act.

        • Old Atlantic said

          Or simply the archaic concept of shame and stigma for a family member. An archaic concept that goes hand in hand with the archaic body of law known as the Common Law of England and which the Maryland Constitution guarantees to the Ivins family and for which benefits the Founding Fathers fought for and said so. And this is proudly set forth in the words chosen in the Maryland Constitution to guarantee these rights to the Ivins family.

        • DXer said

          As I mentioned, there is no reason to think that the family is represented by counsel or that they intend to bring a claim.

  44. Old Atlantic said

    anonymous said
    December 27, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    It was always rather bizarre that the NAS contract had the caveat “but you’re not allowed to say anything about the guilt or innocence of any individual”.

    Nevertheless, the NAS first DRAFT report obviously delivered a message to that effect.

    If NAS determined that the genetics could have pointed to any of the ten batches of RMR-1029 that were made at Dugway to create it in the first place, but no samples were available to test, but they could have been used at the time by someone at Dugway – then it points away from Ivins,

    If NAS determined that RMR-1029 with the same markers had a high probability of occurring anyway from other samples during regrowth – then it points away from Ivins,

    If NAS determined that a an additive was indeed used in the powder preparations – contrary to the FBI claims – that points away from Ivins.

    If NAS determines that the FBI had all this information to reach these conclusions years ago – then that points to misconduct in the investigation and actually possible criminal charges against individual FBI investigators.

    The FBI cannot escape the fact that they covered up for years that a silicon compound was used in the spores. A major investigatory lead they chose to paper over in an elaborate web of fabrication.

    Ed Lake may be spending his last days frantically typing more ludicrous commentary that 2 separate accidents led to unusual silicon signatures – a first unknown one leading to 1.5% silicon content in individual spores – and a second completely separate “accident” involving “sandpaper” residue in the NYP powder.

    But the FBI already had the answer back in April 2002 – it was the FBI themselves that concluded polymerized glass was used.

    The FBI’s conduct in the Amerithrax investigation is now in crisis mode – the rejecting of the NAS report (in spite of Ed Lake’s shill explanation that it was NAS that asked for more information – a complete fabrication by Lake) is a very serious matter. They are not going to get out of this easily.

    Prepare for case re-opening in January – or some other major event.

    ==

    Excellent summary.

    The FBI has subjected the Ivins family to shame and social stigma of apocalyptic proportions. Only a very few people in history have been subject to this level of shame and stigma.

    The law of torts still applies. The idea of shame and social stigma attaching to the family of wrong doers is old in the law. And the law of torts is just as old and they go together.

    If Sharon Stone can sue and win because someone says one of her body parts was artificially enhanced, then the family of a man falsely accused of one of the greatest crimes of history can sue for their suffering.

    Ivins was used as a scapegoat of convenience despite the harm knowingly inflicted on his family.

    • Old Atlantic said

      The anthrax mailings is the type of crime that leads family members to change their names. Thus there is a huge social burden imposed by being a family member. In archaic concepts of the law, this was intended as part of the punishment. Those archaic parts of the law are also where the law of torts comes from.

      That includes wrongfully being subjected to this shame when the government knows better.

      English common law prior to c. 1700 is the law of the states. Maryland is one of the original colonies.

      Changes in procedural law never changed common law. Some of the common law is buried in the law of remedies including restitution.

      Each time there was a major procedural law change, the statutory law making the change explicitly stated that rights at common law were not abridged. This means that archaic rights in English common law are still valid causes of action.

    • DXer said

      “If Sharon Stone can sue and win because someone says one of her body parts was artificially enhanced, then the family of a man falsely accused of one of the greatest crimes of history can sue for their suffering.

      Ivins was used as a scapegoat of convenience despite the harm knowingly inflicted on his family.”

      Sophia Loren sued 76 individuals for falsely depicting her face on a naked body. But she didn’t sue Ed Lake (even though she sued others doing the exact same thing). Law is a fickle maiden. The question whether a Section 1983 claim — if there in fact had been any constitutional violation — survives his death depends on what the Maryland survivorship statute says (which you would have to pull up). His lawyer says the AUSAs and federal agents at all times acted professionally.

      • Old Atlantic said

        They have claims for infliction of emotional distress on them post Ivins’ death. The DOJ/FBI is withholding exculpatory evidence. That causes the family to suffer social stigma and shame. This is intentional infliction of emotional distress and harm on them. They are damaged by the actions of DOJ/FBI right now in withholding the lab notebooks and the NAS report.

        The DOJ/FBI theory of Ivins culpability subjects the family to suspicion they ignored the signs including Ivins out late at night according to DOJ/FBI.

    • BugMaster said

      I wouldn’t worry, Ed. You’re so damn ornery, I expect you’ll live close to forever!

  45. BugMaster said

    Ed:

    I am familiar with the use of silica gel (silica) as a dessicant, and some types of sandpaper do use sand as an abrasive, but do you have any links to any info that states that silicon carbide is also a dessicant?

    • BugMaster said

      “Why did you say it is absolutely certain there was silicon carbide in the New York Post powder?”

      Not absolutely certain, but:

      The ratio of silicon to oxygen cannot support the conclusion that silicon is in the form of silica.

      Pure silicon would never be found naturaly, and wouldn’t make much sense.

      There is plenty of carbon to support the silicon carbide hypotheses.

      Note that anonymous also theorized that a type of polysilicon could also be consistent with the AFIP spectra.

  46. DXer said

    In a 2010 FBI study that I posted earlier this year the Federal Bureau of Investigation determined that FAME profiling may be a useful technique for providing intelligence on the methods of Bacillus organisms in a forensic investigation. To further frame their study in the context of investigative applications, the FBI lab scientists chose B. cereus as a target organism because its genetic, structural, and biochemical similarities to B. anthracis. Since evidence from the 2001 anthrax mailngs was predominantly composed of Bacillus spores, they explained, that they used B. Cereus for all FAME analyses.

    Earlier studies pointed to the keen interest in sheep blood agar. Is a more specific implication to be drawn in light of the 2010 study? Have they determined that it was Columbia agar with blood? Or, alternatively, is an implication that they can exclude Columbia agar with blood because of the absence of the biomarker.

  47. DXer said

    Is the reason they were asking if anyone had seen a bottle of olive oil around because they detected oleic acid?

    Doesn’t Tween 80 consist of oleic acid?

    Do they thus think Tween 80 was used as a surfactant?

    • anonymous said

      Maybe Popeye was their chief suspect before they settled on Ivins.

    • DXer said

      Does that point to the spores being grown on Columbia agar supplemented with sheep blood and indicative that blood supplements were present in the sporulation medium?

      Can cellular fatty and methyl ester profiling be used to determine the medium used?

      • anonymous said

        I was just over at wikipedia and notice that Ed Lake, over many months and a little bit at a time (presumably one big edit would have been noticed by the editors) has altered almost the entire entry for the 2001 attacks into his own beliefs.

  48. Old Atlantic said

    It is possible that DOJ/FBI will reopen the investigation before the NAS report is published. That might let them then try to keep it from being published. FOIA requesters should hurry up on any requests or appeals.

    • Old Atlantic said

      Scientific papers in the pipeline to be published might conceivably be impacted as well.

    • anonymous said

      “It is possible that DOJ/FBI will reopen the investigation before the NAS report is published.”

      I think that is a real possibility. Let’s assume that the original NAS draft crticized the FBI so heavily that it made the whole Amerithrax science investigation look like a shambles (highly likely). That would cast the FBI lab in a yet another scandal – this one from which they’d be unlikely to recover – mass high level firings would be inevitible.

      Furthermore, public acceptance of the FBI’s theory Ivins acted alone (already near zero) would demand a case re-opening.

      Thus before any of this happens they can re-open the case and avoid the FBI labs embarrassmnent – thus managing the scandal to just the Ivins part and not the FBI labs.

      They would be able to indefinitely postpone the NAS report, meanwhile making up some story about how they have something like “secret new information” that Ivins did not act alone.

      It would be a way out for them. They seem to be only interested in protecting their reputation and the careers of their senior people.

    • BugMaster said

      “It is possible that DOJ/FBI will reopen the investigation before the NAS report is published.”

      Funny, the same thought has crossed my mind more than a few times since they announced the NAS report delay.

    • Old Atlantic said

      “The NAS review is NOT – REPEAT NOT about Ivins’ guilt or innocence. ”

      Its about the FBI’s guilt not innocence. Ivins’ lawyers should be ready to file as soon as the NAS report is suppressed. The NAS report is not that its new science that the evidence excluded Ivins, but that it was old science already known.

      The FBI also knew that Ivins was sensitive and vulnerable and applied excessive pressure. This resulted in death by Tylenol as a painful death.

      These are things for a jury to decide based on facts, they are not something a judge can decide as a matter of law.

      The DOJ/FBI will be ready to settle to avoid discovery and this should be ready to file.

      • DXer said

        The Ivins family is not currently represented by counsel so far as they know — and what cause of action do you imagine survives his death? Bruce’s brother Charles told me that Diane would like to file (so as to provide for her old age) but I have no reason to think she is currently represented by counsel. The opposition to the release of psychiatric records was done in her own hand. As Ed says, the NAS report will not be addressing the evidence as it pertains to Dr. Ivins in any event — and the evidence that it likely will address barely even advances the ball (for example, the genetics does not narrow things materially). I haven’t seen any evidence that indicates Dr. Ivins is guilty or involved in the anthrax mailings and Ed points to none. He was just confused and thought for the first 6 months that the genetics pointed uniquely to Ivins. After that, he just found it impossible to dig himself out of the hole he had dug. If he thinks that his musings and speculation are a substitute for evidence, he is mistaken. Indeed, he avoids all the issues that would be probative (the photocopy toner, for example).

        • anonymous said

          It was always rather bizarre that the NAS contract had the caveat “but you’re not allowed to say anything about the guilt or innocence of any individual”.

          Nevertheless, the NAS first DRAFT report obviously delivered a message to that effect.

          If NAS determined that the genetics could have pointed to any of the ten batches of RMR-1029 that were made at Dugway to create it in the first place, but no samples were available to test, but they could have been used at the time by someone at Dugway – then it points away from Ivins,

          If NAS determined that RMR-1029 with the same markers had a high probability of occurring anyway from other samples during regrowth – then it points away from Ivins,

          If NAS determined that a an additive was indeed used in the powder preparations – contrary to the FBI claims – that points away from Ivins.

          If NAS determines that the FBI had all this information to reach these conclusions years ago – then that points to misconduct in the investigation and actually possible criminal charges against individual FBI investigators.

          The FBI cannot escape the fact that they covered up for years that a silicon compound was used in the spores. A major investigatory lead they chose to paper over in an elaborate web of fabrication.

          Ed Lake may be spending his last days frantically typing more ludicrous commentary that 2 separate accidents led to unusual silicon signatures – a first unknown one leading to 1.5% silicon content in individual spores – and a second completely separate “accident” involving “sandpaper” residue in the NYP powder.

          But the FBI already had the answer back in April 2002 – it was the FBI themselves that concluded polymerized glass was used.

          The FBI’s conduct in the Amerithrax investigation is now in crisis mode – the rejecting of the NAS report (in spite of Ed Lake’s shill explanation that it was NAS that asked for more information – a complete fabrication by Lake) is a very serious matter. They are not going to get out of this easily.

          Prepare for case re-opening in January – or some other major event.

        • Old Atlantic said

          The FBI has cast suspicion on the Ivins family that they must have known Ivins was up to this. For example, his not being there the night of Sep 17/18.

          They have subjected them to the suspicion and social stigma that they ignored the signs.

          This gives them a cause.

          Second, wrongful death can’t die with the person or wrongful death would not be a cause of action.

        • DXer said

          “Second, wrongful death can’t die with the person or wrongful death would not be a cause of action.”

          You have posited a violation of Dr. Ivins’ constitutional rights. Dr. Kemp’s attorney disagrees with you. See his videotaped discussion of the professional conduct of the AUSAs and FBI agents.

          The issue is whether a Section 1983 claim survives the person’s death. You’ve mistakenly merely assumed that it does.

      • DXer said

        “That evidence pointing to Ivins’ guilt involved things like the unusual hours he spent alone in his lab,”

        Ed, the prosecutor withheld his contemporaneous notes of what he did at his lab. To assert it as evidence he was committing the crime while withholding constitutes prosecutorial misconduct — that issue (what he was doing in the lab) points to evidence of prosecutorial misconduct, not evidence of murder. The withholding is fact. The speculation that he was doing something other than what was reflected in the notes is speculation.

        “his past patterns of mailing letters from distant places,”

        The person receiving the gifts disagrees with you. She interpreted it as evidence of kindnesses.

        “his past patterns of threatening people,”

        His past pattern of threatening people? He was widely known for being generous and kind and has had many dozens of people come forward and say that he could not have done it because of his nature.

        “the fact that he was a diagnosed sociopath,”
        And for this you perhaps are referring to the FBI’s forensic psychiatrist who never met him. He was widely known for being generous and kind and has had many dozens of people come forward and say that he could not have done it because of his nature. I have read many hundreds of his emails and know him to be a kind and generous person. Or perhaps you are referring to comments made by his addiction counselor who was under house arrest for her second DWI.

        ” the hidden code in the letters,”

        The only expert the FBI consulted — for whom we have an opinion — disagrees with you and said the FBI was mistaken.

        “the fact that he threw away the code books for the hidden code,”

        It is only natural to throw things away in such a circumstance. For example, if he thought he was under surveillance, while at the public library, he might not go to your pornography website lest an FBI agent be on the computer next to him. It’s sensible human nature.

        “the fact that his excuses for providing invalid and false samples to the FBIR were absurd,”

        There is no evidence he even submitted the sample as opposed to Pat. See May 24, 2002 email. You have no mastery of the facts and record — you’ve mastered only the assertions in a press conference, and you grossly misunderstood even them. For example, you thought US Attorney Taylor was arguing that the genetics pointed to Ivins uniquely. Instead, he plainly said that it pointed to 100 at USAMRIID alone. But even that was grievously wrong — with the genetics pointing to 200-377 (at USAMRIID alone). Tell me. How could US Attorney Taylor have been so grievously wrong about Buidling 1425 vs. Building 1412? About 100 vs. up to 377?

        “the fact that he twice did unauthorized cleanups of the areas which he may have contaminated,”

        He did that to address the concern of a co-worker as any of us would. He thought it was an “incredible cover-up” that he was not allowed to do the same for the Special Pathogens lab where the FBI anthrax scientist had made a dried powdered aerosol from what the US Attorney would describe as the “murder weapon.”

        “the fact that his explanations for those cleanups didn’t agree with what he actually did, the fact that he repeatedly made “non-denial denials, the fact that he threatened to kill his coworkers,”

        Non-denial denials, huh. To a co-worker whose name has never passed your lips. To a co-worker who you don’t even know what she understood him to say. It was a denial. Anyone who reads his emails will empathize with his rage about his lawyer being kept from talking to his co-workers. He was misled about what Dr. Heine had said.

        You think that it is 99% certain that Dr. Ivins did not write the letters, and so without more, even though you don’t realize it, there would be no case against him. Given that you just imagined the First Grader.

        Your child theory is as stupid and specious as the other points above.

        The FBI kept secret that its FBI anthrax expert made a dried powder aerosol from the murder weapon and then threw out Dr. Ivins sample which would show that the dried powder aerosol was genetically identical. The loss of the sample — which we’ll presume was in good faith — destroys the FBI’s case rather than supports it. A federal district judge, upon learning of the FBI’s spoliation of critical evidence, would dismiss the indictment, if any in fact one was ever brought. There is no reason to think that there was any grand jury hearing testimony. The last testimony had been heard in April 2007, when Dr. Ivins received a letter from Ken Kohl saying he was not a target of the investigation. Paul Kemp knew of no other testimony in 2008 before a grand jury.

        Now given the prosecutorial misconduct by Ken Kohl found in the next case he handled, he likely was too distracted to do basic things like ensure that Dr. Ivins’ contemporaneous handwritten notes were produced.

        • Old Atlantic said

          All this withholding harms the Ivins family and subjectst hem to shame and social stigma that is wrongful.

    • BugMaster said

      “And what is the basis for these fantasies? The fact that they have MORE evidence against Ivins?”

      Just kind of a gut feeling, Ed. And the possiblity that they have more evidence, just not against Ivins.

      • BugMaster said

        Never say never, Ed!

      • DXer said

        Ed says that there is zero reason to believe that the FBI would ever reopen the case. He is mistaken. FBI Director Mueller expressly said that he would reopen the case in the event of new evidence. In 10 years, all the evidence is that Director Mueller is a man of great integrity (see, for example, his standing up to Andrew Card on the issue of NSA wiretapping in Eric’s L’s book BUSH LAW. Ed apparently is unaware that is Director Mueller’s stated position.

  49. DXer said

    A couple years ago I solicited Dr. Serge Popov’s lengthy written comment on the Silicon Signature. Serge works at the Center for Biodefense at George Mason University. He did not know Ali Al-Timimi, the other “anthrax weapons suspect” (to borrow defense counsel Turley’s phrase in his briefing to the federal district court). Serge’s only condition was that if he take the time that I post it. It was posted in full at the time and now I’ll take excerpts.

    This opinion should be understood to speak at the time (September 2008). Although Dr. Popov continues to be very responsive on technical questions, I did not revisit the issue of the Silicon Signature after Anonymous succeeded in obtaining the AFIP report under FOIA. I do not recall what I asked him last week and do not know if the AFIP data alters the details of his opinion.

    Comments on the Barbara Rosenberg interpretation of anthrax investigation forensics

    Serguei Popov, Ph.D., Sc.D.

    Professor of Biology

    George Mason University

    12 September 2008

    On September 8, 2008, Prof. Barbara Rosenberg presented her view on the evidence disclosed by the FBI in connection with anthrax investigation. Several points in Prof. Rosenberg’s interpretation attracted my attention and prompted me to share my thoughts with a broader audience. There was no intention to be comprehensive, but I thought that some misconceptions such as speculations about the exceptional spore purity or the specific art of microbial weaponization had to be addressed. I have to admit that after my response has been written I came across some internet discussions presenting the opinions similar to mine. Nevertheless, a plausible reconstruction of the procedures used by the perpetrator is still missing. There are numerous speculations about the sophisticated technologies the perpetrator might have used, but my previous BW experience advocates for the principle of simplicity. I illustrate it with a realistic scenario without pretending to be ultimately right. So, here are my comments in the order of their appearance in the Dr. Rosenberg article.

    Prof. Rosenberg

    Studies conducted for the FBI at Sandia have shown that, as the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) first reported, (18) the attack spores contained Silicon and Oxygen, possibly in the form of SiO2 (silica). It was initially assumed that this indicated the presence of silica particles on the surfaces of the attack spores, a known strategy for preventing the spores from clumping and failing to aerosolize well. The FBI later found, however, that there were no silica particles on the surfaces of the spores. (19) Sandia was able to localize the Si to the spore coat. In anthrax spores, the spore coat is covered by the exosporium, which constitutes the surface of the spore. According to the FBI briefing, the presence of Si within the spore, as opposed to on its surface, would have no influence on the fluid-like properties of the spore powder.

    Comment

    First, the exosporium is an unstable and a diffuse structure, which is unlikely to represent a strong barrier to chemical modification of the underlying coat. The spore coat modification argues strongly against the use of solid particles during the treatment process. However, silica is well known in its colloidal form, and its formation can take place on the surface of the spores (It is different from what Dugway did using a pre-formed fumed silica in the study mentioned below.). The subunits of particles are typically in the range of 1 to 5 nm (the spore is about thousand times bigger). Whether or not a colloidal silica forms a gel-like structure depends on the conditions. The formation of colloidal silica can be generated by acidification of silicate salts. Therefore, (i) silica can coat the spore in a form different from sand-like particles, (ii) in a hypothetical scenario a perpetrator using, for example, a soluble silicate salt would be able to modify the spore coat underlying the exosporium.

    Second, the hairy structure of the exosporium is likely to collapse upon drying. In the dry spores the exosporium and the coat are really close to each other. In this case it is not difficult to imagine that a silicon-containing compound bound to the coat may influence the fluidity, including the electrostatic charge. Sandia analyzed dry irradiated spores, and therefore it’d be rather difficult to distinguish between the outer coat and the exosporium layer.

    Prof. Rosenberg

    On the basis of [FBI] evidence, the attack spores must have been exposed to a high level of a Si compound, which was taken up into the spore coat by a natural process.

    Comment

    It is not clear what “natural” means in this context. The exposure to a compound was obviously artificial but the interaction with the spores obviously took place by a natural process. If “natural” implies the conditions present in the B. anthracis natural habitat, then the statement is incorrect. A chemical modification of the spores by the perpetrator may have had nothing in common with the conditions present in nature. I just agree that the soil origin of B. anthracis as a species is consistent with the “natural” capacity of the spore to uptake some small amount of silicates or other forms of silicon. However, all evidence indicates that the amount of Si in the spores from the letters is unnaturally high.

    Prof. Rosenberg

    Whether the exposure was unintentional or not remains to be determined. The FBI needs to find out what kinds of Si compounds can be incorporated into the spore coats of B. anthracis spores at the level observed; and what effects these compounds may have on the properties of spores that have been exposed to them.

    Comment

    At this point, I just don’t understand how the issue of intention may relate to Dr. Ivins? Can we imagine that the perpetrator had no intention to make a good powder but it just happened this way? Even if the answer is “yes”, what would be the conclusion? I guess the FBI may decide to test several hypotheses, but it is not its function to study all possible modifications of the spores. The primary question the FBI is expected to address is WHO did it but not HOW?

    Prof. Rosenberg

    There is an interesting possibility that the attack spores may have been grown using a microdroplet culture technique in which microdroplets of inoculated medium are isolated by coating them with hydrophobic silica particles. (21) This technique has the advantages of portability, growth to a high density, and minimal need to concentrate the spores. (22) It is noteworthy that the silica particles used for the technique must first be made hydrophobic by treating their surfaces with a siloxane (silicone oil) or a silane derivative.

    Comment

    This argument is purely hypothetical and implies a sophisticated generation of silica particles. It also ignores the basics of any perpetrator—keep a low profile, and opt for the simplest technique. The microdroplet cultivation activity is highly visible and not a part of a routine experimentation. USAMRIID denies the use of dry powders. Had anybody in USAMRIID been doing it anyway?

    ***

    Prof. Rosenberg

    Even a monomolecular or partial layer of such a compound at the spore surface could have an effect on the electrical properties of the spores. Can the FBI rule out the possibility that a surface layer, or partial layer, of an organosilicon compound or some other chemical was added specifically for that purpose?

    Comment

    It is quite likely that the spores’ treatment changed their electrical properties. It might have been the purpose, even if the FBI cannot prove it. What if the purpose was different? Does it change anything? Why should the FBI rule it out? How do the electrical properties of the spores relate to Dr. Ivins or anybody else?

    ***

    Prof. Rosenberg

    A monomolecular layer at the spore surface would probably not have been observable by the methods used at Sandia to study the attack spores.

    Comment

    Why do we suddenly talk about the monomolecular layer? Is it because the siliconization of glass takes place in this way? The spores are way different!

    Prof. Rosenberg

    The Daschle letter anthrax consisted mainly of single spores, although there was a large size range of larger particles (clusters of single spores). The Leahy anthrax was finer, with a smaller range of particle sizes, perhaps due to the mechanical action of mail sorters (to which the Leahy letter had additional exposure). The spores were highly purified, close to the theoretical concentration of pure spores (24), a concentration even the Soviets were never able to achieve (25).

    Comment

    … [T]he preparation of the pure spores requires NO special effort. While the bacteria sporulate, all debris disappears on itself. It is a perfect biological process. Only some washes with water are required for a final purification. Secondly, there is no such a thing as a concentration of a solid substance, which is not a solution. Although a fraction of weight or volume may be taken by additives or impurities. It is naïve to think that the Soviets did not know how to grow spores. The fact is that their formulations always contained a fair amount of additives and therefore were not “theoretically” pure. In the letter anthrax, the amount of additives was small. In contrast to the Soviets, the perpetrator may not have been concerned with the shelf life or survivability of the spores after a blast dispersal.

    Prof. Rosenberg

    As discussed above, (26) silica particles were used to decrease van der Waals attractions in a 2008 Dugway/CDC study of aerosol deposition; in the same study, electrostatic effects were reduced by using ion sources to neutralize the BG aerosol as it was generated. According to the New York Times, (27) experts on germ weaponry agree that the removal of electrostatic charges is a major step toward making an effective munition. Both the Soviet Union and United States developed sophisticated ways of diminishing this attraction and helping the particles float more freely, increasing their ease of dissemination.

    Comment

    From this point on the discussion does not distinguish between apples and oranges, although all basic facts seem to be correct. The point is that the military requirements to BWs are very different from what we may expect in the case of the terrorist use of biological agents. The BW experts talk about effective munitions, meaning a controlled dispersal with a maximal efficacy. They would never accept Florida anthrax for their munitions. A survived witness who happened to open one of the letters described that the brownish particles reminded a sand, which easily dropped down from the envelope. Bill Patrick would be ashamed with this spore quality: he always wanted his anthrax to flow like a gas. Nevertheless, this consideration did not stop the perpetrator. The first letter attack was a failure by military standards but a success for a terrorist.

    Prof. Rosenberg

    BW expert William Patrick (28) told the Journal of the Electrostatic Discharge Association in March, 2002 that “Electrostatically charged materials are very hard to disseminate.” The charge must be removed with a secret combination of chemicals, otherwise, “some of it can still get up in the air, but it’s not predictable.”

    Comment

    The key word of Bill is “not predictable”. It is a good property for terrorists.

    Prof. Rosenberg

    FBI briefers said that dry spores [generally] readily take up static charge, making them stick to the walls of plastic tubes. A questioner at the briefing replied “We were told for example that when they went in to clean up the Senate offices, it [spores] was only on the horizontal surfaces, and that they found that unusual. In other words, that it was not attracted to other things. Is that not true, by the way?” No answer to that question was given by the briefers.

    Comment

    The point is that the particles may have discharged in the air, aggregated, and sedimented onto the horizontal surface in the empty building with a minimal turbulence. Sticking to the walls of the building is not the same as sticking to the walls of a tube. The tube has a charge opposite to the powder because overall the tube and its content are neutral. That is why they stick together. The walls of the building may not be charged at all.

    Prof. Rosenberg

    At a scientific meeting in September 2006, a scientist who had worked under government contract on samples of anthrax from the letter attack described the spores in the letters as “uncoated, but containing an additive that affected the spore’s electrical charges” (as reported in a publication by Dr. Kay Mereish, Chief of Biological Planning and Operations at the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), (29) who was present at the meeting).

    Comment

    It very well could be the case. However, we have a semantic problem here. The additive affecting electrical charge well may be at the spore surface, and therefore the spores may be considered coated.

    Prof. Rosenberg

    According to William Patrick, removing the charge from spores is a black art, few details of which are known publicly. (30) Patrick said that from 1959 to1961 the US BW program examined 67 chemicals and compounds with potential antistatic properties, some better than others. He declined to discuss one particular combination that proved to excel in making dry, static-free powders. (31) Ken Alibek, the former Soviet anthrax expert, said it’s not difficult, if you know the right chemicals. “Not everybody can do it. But if you have some knowledge, you can do it. (32)

    Comment

    As we discussed, the removal of charge is not necessary. The spores from letters seemed to be charged, and all discussion about difficulty of charge removal is pointless.

    Prof. Rosenberg

    William Patrick still holds several top secret patents on chemical processes for weaponization. (33) But he acknowledged to Marilyn Thompson of the Washington Post that he had discussed some aspects of his work rather freely over the years in private meetings with other scientists and government officials. (34) How many of the FBI’s 100+ potential suspects had access to this kind of information?

    Comment

    Weaponization, in a direct sense, is not a requirement for terrorists. From their point of view (as I understand it) the unpredictable powder may be considered as an advantage.

    Prof. Rosenberg

    In its Press Conference of August 6, 2008 and the documents released at that time, the FBI emphasized Bruce Ivins’ access to and use of a lyophilizer. In the briefing of August 18, however, the spokesman acknowledged that there are many ways in which the spores could have been dried.

    Comment

    The disappointment was that the lyophilizer turned out to be a speedvac device useful for drying small amounts of liquids into solid films on the walls of the microtubes, but not into the fluffy powder.

    Prof. Rosenberg

    Several biodefense experts have suggested privately that the use of an organic solvent would have made it possible to load the envelopes without spreading contamination: a suspension of spores in the liquid could have been injected and then allowed to dry after the envelopes were sealed, without leaving any telltale mark on the envelope or the note within. An aqueous suspension would have puckered the paper. An appropriate organic solvent would not affect the inks on the envelope or note.

    Comment

    I was always curious about what constitutes a biodefense expert? It seems to me that many of them have never seen or handled a microbe. The majority of volatile organic solvents will undoubtedly leave a mark on the ink writing (was it a ball pen?). However, would the perpetrator be concerned about a mark while sending out deadly letters? Another argument is that the spore paste (pellet) after concentration retains a lot of moisture. A direct suspension in the organic solvent would not remove the water and therefore would inevitably pucker the paper. This consideration makes us to conclude that the perpetrator did not dispense wet spores. It is possible that the solvent was used to remove water in the process of azeotropic drying. However, the procedure is messy and difficult to conceal.

    Prof. Rosenberg

    One of those methods, azeotropic drying, was used recently at Dugway-the only US laboratory that has admitted to making dry anthrax—for drying pelleted anthrax spores that were intended to simulate closely the spores used in the attack. (35) The azeotropic method used is “proprietary.” Bill Patrick said in 1996 that he had taught Dugway to use an azeotropic drying method developed at Fort Detrick in the 1950’s. (36) […] Knowledge of appropriate azeotropic drying methods is esoteric, and methods developed for anthrax spores are classified. Expertise and experience of this sort is another discriminator that could be used to screen the list of 100+ potential suspects.

    Comment

    It is nice that the method have been classified, but the knowledge cannot be a discriminator of guilt. Scientists can do things right without a direct knowledge but with a sufficient background. My internet search turned out several articles on ambient drying without heating, based on the properties of the water-organic emulsions. Drying is a key to the successful preparation of the spore powder, and a poor quality of Florida anthrax demonstrates that the person made several small-batch attempts to discover an appropriate procedure. Therefore, we may conclude that the person experimented without a preliminary knowledge of a previously established protocol. In my opinion, the requirement to conceal the experiments was extremely important for the perpetrator in the choice of cultivation approaches as well as the drying procedure. The perpetrator had to use minimal amount of medium and equipment; produce minimal amount of suspicious waste, including the organic solvents. Ideally, the cultivation, sporulation, as well as drying would be performed in the containers routinely used in the lab, which could be unsuspiciously dumped into trash for autoclaving.

    Here is the most interesting part, but you don’t have to take it seriously. During my internet research, I also came across a procedure for the preparation of fungal spores. The author described how to buy all necessary equipment at Wal-Mart. He used a desiccant in a small jar to dry the spores. Here is a hypothetical scenario based on my experience (please, don’t consider it as an indication of my guilt). Take a small amount of spores and inoculate several agar plates (this is a part of a microbiological routine). Nobody will notice the “missing” amount of bacteria. Forget about the plates for several days in order to let the culture grow and sporulate. If somebody finds the plates and asks questions, say “sorry, I forgot to dispose of them” (it happens all the time). If not, scrape the spores, which are now almost “theoretically” pure, and put a paste into an unsuspicious container. It may be an empty vial left after a used reagent. Plenty are lying around. Attach a cap loosely and put a vial into a bigger container with some desiccant in it. These tin or plastic containers come with many reagents and protect the content from moisture. Close the lid and put the container aside, and it will look like somebody forgot to dispose of it. Again, if somebody asks, say it is trash. Two days later, stay late in the lab, take the vial out, use a spatula to disperse the dry stuff, and put it into an envelope. Next time, you may try to add a drop of silicate to the spore paste before drying. All these procedures will take minutes to accomplish. Everything is disposable, and there will be no traces left behind. Now, try to criticize this scenario, and maybe we will get a little bit closer to what really had taken place.

  50. DXer said

    2/12/2003 Ivins 302 Interview –

    Ivins was recently at Home depot and saw the many different grades of sandpaper that they sell which made him think about the use of sand in purifying B.a. A pasty block of spores can be shaken with sand of varying coarseness to achieve very pure or fine spores.

    Ivins said that the spore suspension looked like milk. The sprays are done in Building 1412.

    He made 7 requests in Fall 2001 for vehicle transportation, to include September 18, 2001 when he arrived at 7 a.m. for travel with another to Covance in Pennsylvania.

    Notebook 4240 shows him involved with the immunization of rabbits at Covance for antiserum on September 18.

  51. BugMaster said

    “Some of the sandpaper grit went along.”

    This crossed my mind as well, but I expect the amount of silicon carbide present is to great to be a result of contamination by sandpaper.

    “it has absolutely NOTHING to do with “weaponization” and absolutely NOTHING to do with the silicon found in the spore coats.”

    I agree on the second point, but not necessarily the first.

    The mailer may not have had time to purify the crude prep into “liquid smoke” material, so he added abrasive silicon carbide instead (the crystals are described as “razor sharp”) to increase the chances that exposure to the material would cause cutaneous anthrax (and all cases from the mailing were cutaneous).

  52. Old Atlantic said

    To cite this Article Baron, Paul A. , Estill, Cherie F. , Deye, Gregory J. , Hein, Misty J. , Beard, Jeremy K. , Larsen, Lloyd D.
    and Dahlstrom, Gregory E.(2008) ‘Development of an Aerosol System for Uniformly Depositing Bacillus Anthracis Spore
    Particles on Surfaces’, Aerosol Science and Technology, 42: 3, 159 — 172, First published on: 01 March 2008 (iFirst)
    To link to this Article: DOI: 10.1080/02786820801918605

    “The focus of the work presented here was to develop a system
    to prepare multiple samples in a chamber, which allowed predictable
    concentrations of aerosolized spores (closely simulating
    the type of spores used in the actual attack) to settle on at least
    two types of surfaces and at concentrations that tested the limits
    of detection of the sampling and analytical methods.”


    METHODOLOGY
    Spore Preparation
    Dried BaS spores were produced as follows: Ten liter (L) fermentation
    vessels were seeded (5% V/V) with overnight nutrient
    broth cultures of BaS. Spores were grown inGmedium that consists
    of: yeast extract, 2.0 g L−1; NH4SO4, 2.0 g L−1; Dow antifoam
    204, 0.3mLL−1;MgSO4·7H2O, 0.2 gL−1;MnSO4·H2O,
    0.038 g L−1; ZnSO4·7H2O, 0.005 g L−1; CuSO4·5H2O, 0.005
    g L−1; FeSO4·7H2O, 0.005 g L−1; CaCl2·2H2O, 0.25 g L−1;
    K2HPO4, 0.500 g L−1; glucose, 1.0 g L−1. The pH was adjusted
    to 7.0 ± 0.1 and the glucose was added separately as a sterile
    solution after autoclaving.
    The culture was incubated at 30◦C in a 10 L fermentation
    vessel with an agitation rate of 250 RPM and an aeration rate
    greater than 0.5 volumes min−1. Sporulationwas generally complete
    within 24 h. Spores were collected by simple centrifugation
    to remove spent media. The pelleted material was dried by
    a proprietary azeotropic method. Ten percent (by weight) of an
    amorphous silica-based flow enhancer was added to the dried
    spores. The dried material was milled using an exclusionary
    ball mill. In this process the material passed through a series
    of stages separated by increasingly finer mesh screens. In each
    stage 0.01 m diameter steel balls forced the product through the
    screen separators. A pneumatic vibrator actuated the entire mill.

    “BG was obtained from a commercially manufactured stockpile
    of dry spores (produced under contract in 1963 by Westco
    Chemical, Shafter, CO) that had been used in numerous tests and
    experiments. The manufacturing process paralleled that of the procedure described for BaS above. Twenty percent by weight of
    amorphous silica was added to enhance the flow characteristics
    of the BG preparation.

    “A picture of a particle presumed to be a single BG spore
    coated with fumed silica is indicated in Figure 7a. Many particles
    similar to this were observed, while no single spores without
    the silica coating were observed. However, agglomerated spores
    with only a light coating of silica were readily observed as indicated
    in Figure 7b.”

    This paper is a difficult read to be sure.

    The overall idea is that you are going to go sample the surfaces of the Senate office buildings to get the numerical data on the spores on those surfaces.

    But you need to know the statistics of the measurements. So you set up a chamber to produce spores in the air and then deposit them. You then measure their characteristics. You do this by growing what deposits on agar plates.

    So this is a double growth experiment. The first growth is you grow the spores to be sent into the air chamber to deposit.

    The second growth is you take the spores deposited in the air chamber and grow new spores to take measurements on them.

    There is a lot of math in growing, getting into air, depositing and then regrowing.

    You can regard the whole thing from first growth to final measurements as a test of the method of growth and its characteristics. In this way of thinking, you have to fit the growth conditions and the additive conditions so that the measurements in the Senate buildings would be within some percentile ranges based on what you grow to simulate it.

    The paper does not seem to make conclusions on this directly. To do that you would have to grow with various different methods and compare them through this whole process.

    One would like to say that preparation with flasks or plates and without some form of fluidizing such as adding fumed silica would not produce the numerical results found in sampling the Senate office buildings. The paper does not come out and say that. Was such a study done? Did NAS get it the first time? The second time? Does it show that to get the numerical characteristics of the deposits of spores on the Senate office buildings as measured would have required using something like fumed silica or some other processing step as good?

    If the micro-biologists would correct this summary of the paper I would appreciate it. Its somewhat crude but is intended to frame what was going on. It also suggests what other papers might exist that NAS has gotten or that were withheld from NAS.

    • Old Atlantic said

      Look at the tables. Reread the first paragraph quoted from the paper above. The paper is trying to help understand the statistics of the numerical measurements taken from the spores deposited on the walls and surfaces of the Senate office buildings.

      Different original preparation methods will generate different numerical methods for the spores deposited on the surfaces of a chamber.

      Thus one has a test for the original preparation method including how grown, whether fumed silicon is added, etc. by seeing if it will produce numerical data in some band that contains within the band the numerical characteristics of the spore measurements taken from the surfaces of the Senate office buildings.

      This is hypothesis testing with an interval, just involving many steps and mathematical links at each stage.

  53. DXer said

    In NCIS – SWAK (Sealed With A Kiss), the aerosolized Y pestis was protected from irradiation by the Post Office by lipstick on either containing 72% lead.

  54. Old Atlantic said

    The following article is very informative and the comments. As we lay people cycle through the same material over and over, it becomes evident that

    (1) The processing was not done by Ivins with shaker flasks or plates.

    (2) People who were already up the learning curve and had access to the information knew that from the beginning.

    • Old Atlantic said

      Sorry, link

      http://my.firedoglake.com/jimwhite/2010/03/20/most-likely-source-of-silicon-in-anthrax-attack-spores-argues-against-production-by-ivins/

    • Old Atlantic said

      Also this link of Dugway tag

      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/tag/dugway-proving-ground/

    • anonymous said

      “People who were already up the learning curve and had access to the information knew that from the beginning.”

      It’s clear that the FBI had already deduced in April 2002 that a unusual chemical was used in the attack powders. It was later revealed this chemical was “polymerized glass”.

      Lab reports have to exist that pointed to this. That information did not get leaked in April 2002 based on nothing. It was based on something. NAS perhaps asked for these reports, were not given them, and then concluded based on what they WERE given that the spores were indeed weaponized – the AFIP report kind of screams out there is a massive quantity of silcion based additive. Perhaps NAS noted in their draft report that the FBI refused to provide the polymerized glass data. NAS said their draft was “very direct”.

      (2) In April 2002 information that an “unusual chemical” had been found coating the attack powders was provided by senior government officials to Newsweek, CNN and the Washington Post. Later on it was revealed by the FBI that this “unusual chemical” was “polymerized glass.”

      Source: Newsweek, 8 Apr 2002.
      http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/sophisticatedstrainanthrax.html
      A Sophisticated Strain of Anthrax
      By: Mark Hosenball, John Barry and Daniel Klaidman

      “Government sources tell Newsweek that the secret new analysis shows anthrax found in a letter addressed to Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy was ground to a microscopic fineness not achieved by U.S. biological-weapons experts. The Leahy anthrax – mailed in an envelope that was recovered unopened from a Washington post office last November [2001] — also was coated with a chemical compound unknown to experts who have worked in the field for years; the coating matches no known anthrax samples ever recovered from biological-weapons producers anywhere in the world, including Iraq and the former Soviet Union. The combination of the intense milling of the bacteria and the unusual coating produced an anthrax powder so fine and fluffy that individually coated anthrax spores were found in the Leahy envelope, something that U.S. bioweapons experts had never seen.”
      Source: Washington Post, 9 Apr 2002.
      http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/anthraxpowdernotroutine.html
      Powder Used in Anthrax Attacks ‘Was Not Routine’

      By: Joby Warrick, Washington Post Staff Writer

      “Whoever concocted the wispy white powder used in last fall’s [2001] anthrax attacks followed a recipe markedly different from the ones commonly used by scientists in the United States or any other country known to have biological weapons, law enforcement sources said yesterday.

      “Extensive lab tests of the anthrax powder have revealed new details about how the powder was made, including the identity of a chemical used to coat the trillions of microscopic spores to keep them from clumping together. Sources close to the investigation declined to name the chemical but said its presence was something of a surprise.

      “The powder’s formulation ‘was not routine,’ said one law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. ‘Somebody had to have special knowledge and experience to do this,’ the official said.”

      Source: CNN, 11 Apr 2002.

      http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/unusualcoating.html
      Official: Unusual coating in anthrax mailings
      By: Kelli Arena, CNN Washington Bureau

      “Scientists have found a new chemical in the coating on the anthrax spores mailed to journalists and politicians last fall, a
      high-ranking government official said Wednesday.

      “The discovery of the unnamed chemical, something scientists are familiar with, was surprising, the official said.

      “Previously, officials had reported that the coating on the anthrax included silica, which helped the spores not to clump.”

      Source: OpEdNews.com
      http://www.opednews.com/articles/World-s-Top-Anthrax-Expert-by-George-Washington-080909-527.html

      “Apparently, the spores were coated with a polyglass which tightly bound hydrophilic silica to each particle. That’s what was briefed (according to one of my former weapons inspectors at the United Nations Special Commission) by the FBI to the German Foreign Ministry at the time.”

      • Old Atlantic said

        The NAS is evidently up the learning curve as well. They don’t want to issue a report that has already been contradicted by the various published papers cited here and at other blogs.

        The FBI leadership need to be Congress-boarded on why they decided on a lone mailer in 2001.

      • Old Atlantic said

        NAS should ask for the records of every fermentor run done at Dugway or any other facility with a fermentor. They should ask for the records of all anti-foaming agents used or purchased. Congress should ask for this as well.

      • Old Atlantic said

        The proper search is not for what site had RMR-1029. The search is for what site had RMR-1029, a fermentor of the Dugway class, and whatever else was needed.

        Right now, the only known site is Dugway? But there might be others.

        If Dugway has a complete record of fermentor runs, then the record of the runs for the mailing may still be there or at the FBI. Then someone, e.g. al Qaeda, got the material.

        The Dugway run could have been sent to Ft. Detrick to someone else. Given that it took so long to find out about Ezzell’s prior work with RMR-1029, this can’t be ruled out. Or another lab might have gotten it. Battelle obviously should be checked.

  55. BugMaster said

    Ed,

    Not sure what the link on your website that is supposed to show silicon carbide crystals represents (crystals grown under specialized lab conditions maybe?) but those long tube-like things are not representative of normal silicon carbide crystals.

    Just google “silicon carbide”, and take a look.

  56. BugMaster said

    Also, a quote from the report, copied from Ed’s website:

    “Many of the smaller pieces within the sample exhibited the main peak associated with silicon. It appears that silicon (not bonded to oxygen or other elements) is present in many areas of this sample.”

    Not bonded to oxygen, because sufficient oxygen is not present to support the conclusion that it it silica.

    One cannot come to the conclusion that the silicon was unbound to other elements, however.

    Free silicon is almost non-existent in nature (and certainly not a result of any “natural process”, and there is more than enough carbon to conclude that the silicon was present in the form of silicon carbide. (they cannot conclude, therefore, “not bound to other elements”.

    “It appears that silicon (not bonded to oxygen or other elements) is present in many areas of this sample.”

    Their conclusions, Ed, and therefore, concluding as well that the silicon present cannot be the result of a natural process.

    • anonymous said

      Note that AFIP also ran a sample of “commercial sea sand” that they had. It should be pure SiO2. They saw rather small oxygen peaks in it. But importantly it is a standard sample.

      They also ran pure bentonite, as well as the dry powder simulants that Ivins measured plate counts on. All the dry powder simulants contain silica – as Dugway always used silica to work up their dry powder simulants.

      In short, all the data show that AFIP made reasonable conclusions that silica was present. There was definitely a silicon compound added – just not the traditional fumed silica.

      • Old Atlantic said

        “Dugway always used silica to work up their dry powder simulants.”

        How did they use it?

        At what stage?

        In what form?

        “There was definitely a silicon compound added – just not the traditional fumed silica.”

        Was fumed silica used by Dugway?

        Thanks in advance for your answers.

        • anonymous said

          All the details are at paper below. This includes pictures of spores weaponized using fumed silica. Interestingly the Dugway people were, in the paper below, trying to simulate the behavior of the Daschle powder. If the FBI already knew in December 2001 that the sopores were not weaponized with silica they apparently forgot to tell the folks who were making reverse engineered spores for them.
          The paper beow also deatils the intricate steps needed to produce a powder (fine mesh grills, stainless steel balls and a pneumatic activator)

          Dugway researchers publish in 2008 that the Daschle spores were “fluidized.” In March 2008 authors from Dugway Proving Ground and the CDC published a paper titled: Development of an Aerosol System for Uniformly Depositing Bacillus anthracis Spore Particles on Surfaces. Paul A. Baron1, Cherie F. Estill1, Gregory J. Deye1, Misty J. Hein1, Jeremy K. Beard2, Lloyd D. Larsen2, and Gregory E. Dahlstrom2, 1_Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA 2_Dugway Proving Ground, Dugway, Utah, USA

          http://pdfserve.informaworld.com/168090__790515467.pdf

          In this paper, which was concerned with manufacturing a powder that would display similar aerosol and dispersability behavior to the Daschle powder, the authors make the following statement: “In the anthrax attack of 2001, some of the material was believed to be in a “fluidized” form (defined here as having fumed silica added).”

        • Old Atlantic said

          PDF has error at link.

        • Old Atlantic said

          PDF link is right URL but won’t work from here. It will work from

          http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a790515467

        • Old Atlantic said

          Thanks.

  57. BugMaster said

    “I also notice that the report on page 33 says that “Typically, samples are coated with a thin layer of carbon to assist with the conduction of electrons away from the sample and prevent the buildup of a charge; consequently, all the EDXA data (spectra) exhibit a peak for carbon.”

    That would seem to quash BugMaster’s theory that the carbon indicated that Silicon Carbide was present. It’s a coating that AFIP put on the particles.”

    Coated with CARBON, Ed, not silicon carbide. The issue is the silicon to oxygen ratio that rules out the silicon being present in the form of silica.

    • anonymous said

      The are only a few nm of carbon coating the samples. Don’t forget spores consist mostly of carbon anyway. So the carbon coating would make little difference to the EDX spectrum, since electrons are penetrating deep through any coating. The amount of carbon added is almost negligible compared to all the carbon already in the spores.

  58. DXer said

    NCIS – Merry Christmas

  59. DXer said

    NCIS: Abby meets Santa

  60. Old Atlantic said

    *
    DXer said
    December 24, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    Old Atlantic writes:

    “All technical analysis is discoverable to prove malice.”

    The federal district court judge determined what information is discoverable. He did not agree with you that it was discoverable and what he says goes. There was an open criminal investigation and indeed according to Jennifer A.L. Smith some information may be classified. Moreoever, at first cut on the question of technical feasibility, Dr. Hatfill said he had knowledge of how to make a dried anthrax powder on his resume. His resume would have been an exhibit.

    The issue at bar related to leaks and violation of the Privacy Act. FBI Director Mueller did not want to conduct polygraphs because it would have been bad for morale. There is no indication from the emails that anyone even asked Dan Seikaly, the lead prosecutor, whose daughter then represented “anthrax weapons suspect” Ali Al-Timimi pro bono, whether he had been the source for the stories.

    The DOJ says it settled because he had no access to the genetically matching Ames. Dr. Heine says that as a factual matter, that is not true — that he would have had access in Building 1412 — where btw as Ed points out things were routinely left for autoclaving.

    I make these points not to suggest Dr. H is guilty. There is no evidence at all that he is. He was working 13 hour days at SAIC during the relevant periods. The district court judge found that there was not a “scintilla of evidence” indicating his guilt. (And that is a fair assessment of an Ivins Theory unless you are misled by US Attorney Taylor’s grievous factual misstatements).

    But I make the points to illustrate that it is a lot easier to stridently criticize the FBI than it is to actually do their job. They are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. All we can do is to ask people to get their facts right and to do something really vexingly difficult — to simultaneously comply with the document production and discovery rules and the privacy rules.

    Even when I point out disqualifying conflicts of interest or that I think Dr. Ivins is innocent, I don’t mean to imply that they are acting in bad faith. And I try to steer my friends on this blog (and Anonymous, Old Atlantic and BugMaster, you’ve all been great) — and defend the good faith of the investigators and scientists during this holiday season — for a very self-interested reason. An argument is most likely to persuade the target audience of decision-makers if you show them a way out of the mess that is win-win-win for everyone. (And folks are being naive if they don’t appreciate that the expert FBI scientists and investigators are not the same folks who would have to carry the ball over a different goal line).

    Dr. Hatfill’s forgery of his PhD certificate, in contrast, was in bad faith. And so to lionize him while tearing down the FBI is inappropriate.

    Besides, a federal undercover does all my graphics and so maybe things are not always as they seem. And the 100 graphics have been central to the blog and so think of this as an FBI-sponsored blog.
    Reply

    ==

    You are more knowledgeable on the Hatfill case than I am. I don’t disagree with that.

    “He did not agree with you that it was discoverable and what he says goes. ”

    Did he rule on that?

    Also things can change after witnesses are deposed.

    The Hatfill case may have been narrowed in discovery and in terms of claims but the reality its embedded can come back despite the attempts to narrow it by the judge or the litigants and their attorneys constrained by costs.

  61. DXer said

    The closing of Amerithrax was just part of an intelligence operation.

    Not even the FBI is that clueless.

  62. DXer said

    If there is one guy who can make it right, it’s a guy with the integrity and brain power and personal courage of the FBI Director Robert Mueller.

    Gary Cooper (in High Noon) – Holding Out For A Hero

  63. DXer said

    The US DOJ settled Hatfill to avoid a greater civil liability.

    • BugMaster said

      Actually, they settled because no way whatsoever, could they allow the Hatfill case to go to trial.

      Hatfill settled for $4.5 million.

      Under the circumstances, a very modest settlement, considering that Hatfill could have named almost any price he wanted.

      • BugMaster said

        Had the Hatfill vs DOJ case gone to trial, it have gotten very messy.

        This is what the FBI had to avoid.

        Hatfill’s theoretical income potential is irrelevant.

      • If DOJ said this was admissible, then they would have been allowing a wide open dorr for their motives.

        Also their pursuit of Hatfill was not motivated by the degree, so the question of why Hatfill would have been relevant.

  64. DXer said

    The FBI is damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

    Even if Dr. Ivins is innocent, that does not mean the FBI did anything wrong. Not at all.

    Now US Attorney Taylor got his facts grievously wrong at the press conference. Sure. But it is not at all uncommon that the big boss, who handles many other matters, has not completely mastered the facts.

    And the FBI and DOJ and NAS need to produce all documents subject to FOIA and FACA. But there will be always more documents that someone can point to as being subject to production.

    The FBI has massive responsibility and yet is regularly criticized by people using 20/20 hindsight. Moreover, proof beyond a reasonable doubt is an incredible burden when dealing with something like dropping an envelope into a mailbox.

    As for the various consulting scientists, they are world-class and top of their field which is why they were consulted.

    Big picture, the genetics narrowed things from 1,000 to not much fewer than that. There were up to 377 at USAMRIID alone. So there is no need to criticize the scientists too harshly because the science is pretty irrelevant to a prosecutable case.

  65. DXer said

    Ed extensively edits the Amerithrax wikipedia article.

    As a result, it’s not worth reading.

  66. DXer said

    The Wikileaks cables, according to a Norwegian daily that now has all 250,000 include large amounts of background on Osama Bin Laden’s activities before the 9/11 attacks, including his dealings with the Taliban in Afghanistan and Sudan.

  67. Old Atlantic said

    Quote from Wiki on Hatfill.

    The Justice Department responded to Hatfill’s subpoenas, saying that they went too far. “The court should reject this attempt to expand discovery,” prosecutors wrote.[40] In a status conference on Friday 11 January 2008, U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton ordered the attorneys for the government and for Hatfill to seek mediation over the next two months. According to the Scheduling Order[41], the parties will be in mediation from January 14 until May 14, 2008. The prospects of a mediated settlement notwithstanding, Walton said he expected that a trial on the lawsuit could begin in December. Afterward, Hatfill’s attorney Mark A. Grannis said: “The court has set a schedule for bringing this case to trial this year, and we’re very pleased at the prospect that Dr. Hatfill will finally have his day in court.”[42]

    On March 7, 2008, Toni Locy of USA Today was ordered to personally pay contempt of court fines of up to $5,000 a day which begin the following Tuesday, until she identifies her sources.[43]

    On June 27, 2008 Hatfill was exonerated by the government and a settlement was announced in which the Justice Department has agreed to pay $4.6 million (consisting of $2.825 million in cash and an annuity paying $150,000 a year for 20 years)[44] to settle the lawsuit in which Hatfill claimed the Justice Department violated his privacy rights by speaking with reporters about the case.[45][46]

  68. DXer said

    As for the Anonymous’ argument, I think the controlled experiments done by John Kiel disprove his and Ed Epstein’s argument.

    Dr. Kiel used repelcote in the slurry — not post-sporulation.

    Anonymous is not a microbiologist and does not appear to have thoroughly researched the literature relating to silica in the culture medium or spore suspensions and the resulting addition of silica to the spore coat. As an example, Anonymous does not know the article that Dr. Ivins submitted to the FBI on the spore suspensions and addition of silica to spore coat — so I don’t see why he thinks he can judge it is not the answer. Having said that, given his expertise in the related scientific matters, Anonymous has brilliantly persevered in exposing the probative importance of the Silicon Signature. It is something that needs to be understood. Moreover, he of course is right that there needs to be compliance with FOIA and FACA. Given the whistleblower is a DARPA Program Manager, he might take a clue that the know-how is DARPA know-how.

  69. Old Atlantic said

    DOJ settled with Hatfill in June 2008 not because they wanted to charge Ivins, but to avoid discovery by Hatfill.

    Then Ivins committed suicide and DOJ named him.

    If Ivins had lived, DOJ would likely not have charged him, but instead just whispered that he was the one. They had taken his security clearance and fired him. So they could leave it at that.

    DOJ was an opportunist in 2008. When Ivins died, they then decided to make it seem like they had settled with Hatfill so they could charge Ivins. But this is not the chronology. They were fighting discovery in the Hatfill case and the judge would not agree they could hide everything based on national security. The judge ordered them to work out a deal with Hatfill on discovery. Instead, they just settled with Hatfill in June, 2008. Then Ivins committed suicide. Then they said Ivins was why they settled with Hatfill.

    DOJ was simply trying to avoid discovery of this material the whole time. They have done that with how they treat NAS. They are doing it now on the lab notebooks and on some of the additional items figured out by Anonymous and BugMaster in this post.

    Naming Ivins was just a post death convenience to finally avoid an avenue that would result in disclosing this information. That is why they held back on the 500 pages to NAS.

    • Old Atlantic said

      Remember how Mueller non-testified to Congress. He was getting instructions from DOJ during the whole testy-avoid.

      The thread that connects them from fighting discovery by Hatfill, settling with Hatfill after the judge ordered them to work out discovery with Hatfill, through Mueller, through keeping the lab notebooks secret, through the way they have handled NAS, through the 500 pages, through further stonewalling Congress is to avoid discovery. They simply act to limit discovery at each instant with whatever excuse they can find.

      • Anonymous said

        I abosultely agree. The thing is a raging propaganda war now. Articles will appear quoting indcredulous FBI contractors who simply can’t believe their carefully dripped out “conclusions” are being questioned.

        For example, below, Paul Keim whines “Everyone can judge for themselves how the investigation was handled and the strength of the conclusions.”

        Er, no Paul I don’t think anyone is in a position to judge anything. The first secret NAS report wasn’t taken well by the FBI. The public has still not seen it after 2 years and more than a million dollars. When we get to see ALL data, then we’ll be in a position to “judge for ourselves”.

        http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/columnist/vergano/2010-02-19-anthrax-myth_N.htm
        By Dan Vergano, USA TODAY
        Can science ever do away with bad ideas? Or do they just limp along forever?
        Consider the federal investigators who have “formally concluded” their investigation into the 2001 anthrax killings, pointing again to the late anthrax vaccine researcher Bruce Ivins as the case’s culprit.

        TELL US: Did the FBI find the anthrax killer?
        SCIENCE FAIR: Gdel, Escher, Bach author downplays FBI anthrax case link

        Whatever history’s verdict on Ivins, one brouhaha at the center of the case has already outlived him — the story of “weaponized” anthrax.

        “One of my biggest frustrations with this has been showing people the data, and it doesn’t matter,” says researcher Joseph Michael of Sandia National Laboratory in Albuquerque, N.M. Michael has presented electron microscope results that show the 2001 attack anthrax wasn’t weaponized for two years, “but still the idea refuses to go away.”

        The notion took hold in October of 2001, as the Hart senate office building faced closure due to anthrax contamination, when then-House minority leader Richard Gephardt, D-Mo., described some of the anthrax used in the attacks as “weapons-grade material.” The claim sparked a flurry of reports about the peculiar properties of the attack spores, their high quality and lightness, which hastened their spread through the building’s ventilation system.

        Fears centered around silica, the chief ingredient in sand, which allows small bacterial spores to float more freely in the air, or aerosolize, if applied as a coating, a Cold War bioweapons technique studied at the U.S. Army’s Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah.

        In particular, a 2001 warning that silica had been purposely added to the attack anthrax came from virologist Peter Jahrling of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The warning was delivered to White House officials (reported in Robert Preston’s 2002 book, The Demon in the Freezer: A True Story), after U.S. Armed Forces Institutes of Pathology X-ray results showed silica present in samples of the attack anthrax. The fear gained currency in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq war’s beginning, which centered around fears of bioweapons, as well as chemical and nuclear weapons.

        “The spores in the Washington, D.C. letters were of exceptional purity,” says the Justice Department’s just-released investigation summary.

        So, as part of the investigation, Michael and his colleagues looked at the attack spores using electron microscopes, which can see at fine enough resolution, on the nanometer scale, to spot exactly where the silica resided.In so doing they knocked down the notion the attack anthrax had been weaponized with a silicon coating. Instead, they found silicon that occurred naturally inside the spores.

        “I believe I made an honest mistake,” Jahrling told The Los Angeles Times, in a 2008 response to this news, adding he was “overly impressed” by his initial views of the attack spores under the microscope.

        Still the idea lives on, for example, in a January opinion column in the Wall Street Journal, that cited scientists who see the amount of silica in the attack spores as “blowing the FBI’s case out of the water.” (The FBI argued the lab where Ivins worked didn’t have the facilities to weaponize the anthrax.)

        Michael calls it “remarkable” that the opinion piece didn’t note his team’s well-publicized findings. “As a sheltered scientist, it kind of shocks me,” Michael says. “People will believe what they want to believe.”

        So, how did the silica get inside the spores then? A January Journal of Bacteriology study led by Ryuichi Hirota of Japan’s Hiroshima University offers one answer. Looking at Bacillus cereus, a bacterium closely related to anthrax, researchers find silica naturally ingest the stuff if grown in sand-laced Petri dishes. Further, the silica produces acid resistance in the bugs, something they need to survive a trip to the stomach of grazing animals, one way they spread in the wild.

        But it doesn’t make the spores float any more easily, Hirota and colleagues find. FBI scientist Vahid Majidi in 2008 suggested the crushing the anthrax letters underwent in postal sorting machines likely contributed to the fineness of the powders released in the Senate office building.

        “I have to wonder if the controversial (Wall Street Journal opinion) piece didn’t put pressure on the Department of Justice and FBI to close the case. Maybe they realized that continuing the case just encouraged such misinformation,” says anthrax scientist Paul Keim of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, who managed the investigation’s repository of 1,070 anthrax samples. “Everyone can judge for themselves how the investigation was handled and the strength of the conclusions. Not everyone will be happy with the FBI conclusions, but this is America and we revel in conspiracy theories.”

        • anonymous said

          “I have to wonder if the controversial (Wall Street Journal opinion) piece didn’t put pressure on the Department of Justice and FBI to close the case. Maybe they realized that continuing the case just encouraged such misinformation,” says anthrax scientist Paul Keim of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, who managed the investigation’s repository of 1,070 anthrax samples.”

          I wonder if Keim still believes the FBI closed the case because they didn’t want to “encourage such misinformation”?

          If so, I’d love to hear his opinion on why the FBI are encouraging even more debate now by rejecting the first NAS report and delaying things even further, whilst STILL managing to keep the facts from becoming public?

          Who wants to email him his old quote and ask him?

          In addition, of course, Velsko’s new Microbial Forensics chapter is totally in line with the “controversial (Wall Street Journal opinion) piece”.

        • Old Atlantic said

          Excellent points. The we can’t tell you the facts because it feeds conspiracy is a nullification of both courts and all public scrutiny of information including science.

        • DXer said

          I don’t have the WSJ piece in front of me. But if it was arguing that silica was added post-sporulation, there is no evidence for that whatsoever. The experiments by Kiel, contrary to your understanding, show just the opposite. Repelcote was added in the slurry, not post-sporulation. I sent you all of John’s emails and so there is no reason for your confusion on the point.

          It is also offensive you would fault Dr. Keim who has done nothing to deserve it.

          Moreover, if Ed Epstein was arguing that making a dried powder was illegal, he is mistaken. It is lawful under treaty obligations to make small quantities for biodefense purposes. See Leitenberg. As Dugway’s Mohr or someone has said, it was deemed necessary to sometimes use the real thing to test decontamination agents to see how they performed. Here the small quantities included quantities made from Flask 1029 (aka the murder weapon). Then a corona plasma discharge was applied by DARPA researchers to impart a unipolar charge. Now you can continue on your present inflexible course and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory — and continue to be crushed by Ed — or you can throw down the football and declare victory and recognize that you’ve been right along: to wit, (1) the Silicon Signature is highly probative, (2) the FBI suppressed data from public view, as is not unexpected in such a matter (3) the performance of the powder suggests a corona plasma discharge may have been used, and (4) the use of repelcote, for example, in one experiment resulted in similar SEMs, according to the head of the Air Force lab who did the experiments. But if you want to hang your hat with political activist Barry (who thinks Bin Laden is not responsible for 911) or Meryl (who thinks there is no evidence that the 19 young men got on those planes) — and get hung up by Dr. Majidi’s narrow definition of “weaponize” — then by all means, I’ll leave you to Ed and it will be he who declares victory when it is shown by all the competent scientific evidence that Dr. Majidi is correct… it could have been in the culture medium. Now Ed L. is arguing that it was in the L-D medium which is baseless. He is not a scientist. Dr. Majidi is referring to when silicates are ADDED to the culture medium. The fact that you don’t understand why silicates would be added is unimportant. Like Chris Hassell has said, you’ll have to indulge our governmental officials while they try to balance competing considerations where national security is at stake.

          The silicates could have been in the culture medium. That fact is exculpatory of Dr. Ivins.

        • anonymous said

          “It is also offensive you would fault Dr. Keim who has done nothing to deserve it.”

          Really? I’m sure this can be cleared up. Why don’t you email Dr Keim and ask him to explain what “misinformation” the WSJ editorial contained? He doesn’t say. I’d be very curious to find out.

          FBI lab director also claimed the WSJ article contained “misinformation”. Strangely enough. he didn’t say what it was either.

          What secret “misinformation” are Keim and Hassell not telling us?

          Maybe you can point out the precise “misinformation” from the article?

          Please select out the statements below that are false:
          The Anthrax Attacks Remain Unsolved
          The FBI disproved its main theory about how the spores were weaponized.

          By EDWARD JAY EPSTEIN

          The investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks ended as far as the public knew on July 29, 2008, with the death of Bruce Ivins, a senior biodefense researcher at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in Fort Detrick, Md. The cause of death was an overdose of the painkiller Tylenol. No autopsy was performed, and there was no suicide note.

          Less than a week after his apparent suicide, the FBI declared Ivins to have been the sole perpetrator of the 2001 Anthrax attacks, and the person who mailed deadly anthrax spores to NBC, the New York Post, and Sens. Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy. These attacks killed five people, closed down a Senate office building, caused a national panic, and nearly paralyzed the postal system.

          The FBI’s six-year investigation was the largest inquest in its history, involving 9,000 interviews, 6,000 subpoenas, and the examination of tens of thousands of photocopiers, typewriters, computers and mailboxes. Yet it failed to find a shred of evidence that identified the anthrax killer—or even a witness to the mailings. With the help of a task force of scientists, it found a flask of anthrax that closely matched—through its genetic markers—the anthrax used in the attack.

          This flask had been in the custody of Ivins, who had published no fewer than 44 scientific papers over three decades as a microbiologist and who was working on developing vaccines against anthrax. As custodian, he provided samples of it to other scientists at Fort Detrick, the Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio, and other facilities involved in anthrax research.

          According to the FBI’s reckoning, over 100 scientists had been given access to it. Any of these scientists (or their co-workers) could have stolen a minute quantity of this anthrax and, by mixing it into a media of water and nutrients, used it to grow enough spores to launch the anthrax attacks.

          View Full Image
          epstein
          Getty Images
          epstein
          epstein

          Consequently, Ivins, who was assisting the FBI with its investigation, as well as all the scientists who had access to the anthrax, became suspects in the investigation. They were intensely questioned, given polygraph examinations, and played off against one another in variations of the prisoner’s dilemma game. Their labs, computers, phones, homes and personal effects were scrutinized for possible clues.

          As the so-called Amerithrax investigation proceeded, the FBI ran into frustrating dead ends, such as its relentless five-year pursuit of Steven Hatfill, which ended with an apology in 2007 and Mr. Hatfill receiving a $5.8 million settlement from the U.S. government as compensation. Another scientist, Perry Mikesell, became so stressed by the FBI’s games that he began to drink heavily and died of a heart attack in October 2002.

          Eventually, the FBI zeroed in on Ivins. Not only did he have access to the anthrax, but FBI agents suspected he had subtly misled them into their Hatfill fiasco. A search of his email turned up pornography and bizarre emails which, though unrelated to anthrax, suggested that he was a deeply disturbed individual.

          The FBI turned the pressure up on him, isolating him at work and forcing him to spend what little money he had on lawyers to defend himself. He became increasingly stressed. His therapist reported that Ivins seemed obsessed with the notion of revenge and even homicide. Then came his suicide (which, as Eric Nadler and Bob Coen show in their documentary “The Anthrax War,” was one of four suicides among American and British biowarfare researchers in past years). Since Ivins’s odd behavior closely fit the FBI’s profile of the mad scientist it had been hunting, his suicide provided an opportunity to close the case. So it held a congressional briefing in which it all but pronounced Ivins the anthrax killer.

          But there was still a vexing problem—silicon.

          Silicon was used in the 1960s to weaponize anthrax. Through an elaborate process, anthrax spores were coated with the substance to prevent them from clinging together so as to create a lethal aerosol. But since weaponization was banned by international treaties, research anthrax no longer contains silicon, and the flask at Fort Detrick contained none.

          ***

          Yet the anthrax grown from it had silicon, according to the U.S. Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. This silicon explained why, when the letters to Sens. Leahy and Daschle were opened, the anthrax vaporized into an aerosol. If so, then somehow silicon was added to the anthrax. But Ivins, no matter how weird he may have been, had neither the set of skills nor the means to attach silicon to anthrax spores.

          At a minimum, such a process would require highly specialized equipment that did not exist in Ivins’s lab—or, for that matter, anywhere at the Fort Detrick facility. As Richard Spertzel, a former biodefense scientist who worked with Ivins, explained in a private briefing on Jan. 7, 2009, the lab didn’t even deal with anthrax in powdered form, adding, “I don’t think there’s anyone there who would have the foggiest idea how to do it.” So while Ivins’s death provided a convenient fall guy, the silicon content still needed to be explained.

          The FBI’s answer was that the anthrax contained only traces of silicon, and those, it theorized, could have been accidently absorbed by the spores from the water and nutrient in which they were grown. No such nutrients were ever found in Ivins’s lab, nor, for that matter, did anyone ever see Ivins attempt to produce any unauthorized anthrax (a process which would have involved him using scores of flasks.) But since no one knew what nutrients had been used to grow the attack anthrax, it was at least possible that they had traces of silicon in them that accidently contaminated the anthrax.

          Natural contamination was an elegant theory that ran into problems after Congressman Jerry Nadler pressed FBI Director Robert Mueller in September 2008 to provide the House Judiciary Committee with a missing piece of data: the precise percentage of silicon contained in the anthrax used in the attacks.

          The answer came seven months later on April 17, 2009. According to the FBI lab, 1.4% of the powder in the Leahy letter was silicon. “This is a shockingly high proportion,” explained Stuart Jacobson, an expert in small particle chemistry. “It is a number one would expect from the deliberate weaponization of anthrax, but not from any conceivable accidental contamination.”

          Nevertheless, in an attempt to back up its theory, the FBI contracted scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Labs in California to conduct experiments in which anthrax is accidently absorbed from a media heavily laced with silicon. When the results were revealed to the National Academy Of Science in September 2009, they effectively blew the FBI’s theory out of the water.

          The Livermore scientists had tried 56 times to replicate the high silicon content without any success. Even though they added increasingly high amounts of silicon to the media, they never even came close to the 1.4% in the attack anthrax. Most results were an order of magnitude lower, with some as low as .001%.

          What these tests inadvertently demonstrated is that the anthrax spores could not have been accidently contaminated by the nutrients in the media. “If there is that much silicon, it had to have been added,” Jeffrey Adamovicz, who supervised Ivins’s work at Fort Detrick, wrote to me last month. He added that the silicon in the attack anthrax could have been added via a large fermentor—which Battelle and other labs use” but “we did not use a fermentor to grow anthrax at USAMRIID . . . [and] We did not have the capability to add silicon compounds to anthrax spores.”

          ***

          If Ivins had neither the equipment or skills to weaponize anthrax with silicon, then some other party with access to the anthrax must have done it. Even before these startling results, Sen. Leahy had told Director Mueller, “I do not believe in any way, shape, or manner that [Ivins] is the only person involved in this attack on Congress.”

          When I asked a FBI spokesman this month about the Livermore findings, he said the FBI was not commenting on any specifics of the case, other than those discussed in the 2008 briefing (which was about a year before Livermore disclosed its results). He stated: “The Justice Department and the FBI continue working to conclude the investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks. We anticipate closing the case in the near future.”

          So, even though the public may be under the impression that the anthrax case had been closed in 2008, the FBI investigation is still open—and, unless it can refute the Livermore findings on the silicon, it is back to square one.

          ———————————-

          And then please tell us what “inaccuracies” Hassell is referring to in his response:

          A version of this letter was published in The Wall Street Journal on February 1, 2010.

          Letters to the Editor
          The Wall Street Journal
          1211 Avenue of the Americas,
          New York, NY 10036

          Dear Editor:

          Monday’s opinion piece, “The Anthrax Attacks Remain Unsolved,” was filled with inaccuracies and omitted several relevant facts that are necessary for a balanced discussion of the science applied in the anthrax investigation.

          From the outset, the FBI’s scientific work in the anthrax case has had a foundation in validation and verification of its approach and conclusions. This process began within weeks of the initial events of 2001 and has included:

          * consultation with numerous subject matter experts in technical panels;
          * collaboration with partner laboratories in government, academia and the private sector throughout the course of the investigation;
          * ongoing efforts to publish our work and that of our partner labs in peer-reviewed technical journals; and
          * analytical data and reports provided to the National Academy of Sciences so they can evaluate the scientific analysis applied to the evidence in the anthrax investigation.

          The FBI is confident in the scientific findings that were reached in this investigation. We utilized established biological and chemical analysis techniques and applied them in an innovative manner to reach these findings.

          D. Christian Hassell, Ph.D
          Director
          FBI Laboratory

          Read the FBI press release at … http://www.fbi.gov/pressrel/pressrel10/hassell_020310.htm

        • anonymous said

          I should point that when Epstein writes ” But since weaponization was banned by international treaties, research anthrax no longer contains silicon, and the flask at Fort Detrick contained none.” he is correct. Silica is not added to anthrax as a general rule – only in small quantity cases where it is allowed for defense studies.

          He is also correct when he says the flask at Fort Detrick contained “none”. Quantities less than 0.1% don;t count.

        • DXer said

          Ed E’s’s time would have been better spent following the lead he had been given to the effect that the FBI anthrax scientist made a better — more pure — product than the Daschle product using the anthrax from Flask 1029 (which then was going to have a unipolar charge imparted by a corona plasma discharge), then threw out Ivins’ submitted sample, and then the FBI construed the circumstances as evidence of Dr. Ivins guilt.

          His time would have been spent following the lead he had been given by produced documents about how silica is added to the spore coat using spore suspensions — instead of mistakenly and inexplicably claiming that it wasn’t done.

          His article evidence no awareness even of the fact that Flask 1030 contained silica.

          You have misrepresented John Kiel’s study and argued based on it as if it supported your view, rather than contradicted it.

          Now you turn to a newspaper article as if it is support.

        • DXer said

          Anonymous,

          You obviously haven’t seen the draft NAS report or you would have adjusted your flight path and come in solidly on the strip. You’re off in the weeds when you start relying on WSJ Ops by an essayist you gave the argument. You cannot get things wrong, get someone to print it, and then rely on it as if it is support for your argument. You relied on Kiel’s experiment at the Air Force lab. But you misunderstood it. You characterize what is done in the field about the use of silica and disregard that it is in fact used — in the culture medium. By a pair who at the time were the most highly-funded anthrax weapons / threat assessment /Ames researchers in the world. And they coincidentally shared a suite with the man coordinating with Anwar Awlaki. Now Ed E. did not notice that only because you misled him into barking up the wrong tree. Ed Epstein: The silica could have been in the culture medium and this is exculpatory of Dr. Bruce Ivins.

      • DXer said

        Old Atlantic,

        To what are you referring when you talk about

        “fighting discovery by Hatfill, settling with Hatfill after the judge ordered them to work out discovery with Hatfill…”

        It is all quite hazy, and of course, lawyerly responses to interrogatories and Requests for Admissions are rarely illuminating, but remind me what you are talking about.

        Given the dozens of depositions in the Hatfill matter I would say that Mr. Connolly and his colleagues undertook a Herculean effort and received extensive discovery. He sent me a disc with the depositions and I uploaded tons of documents provided as attachments to depositions.

        So what specifically do you think was pending discovery-wise in August 2008? Hadn’t the discovery deadlines long since passed?

        • DXer said

          It is true that Hatfill would have figured in my thinking if I were an investigator on the compartmentalized Ivins squad. I very well might have in good faith thought Dr. Ivins guilty. But even assuming I did, when he committed suicide I would have worried about being sued and having my career ruined. I would have wanted Amerithrax closed. And everyone understood the Hatfill example — and so simply understood, it might have come across as Hatfill Redux. If there were true Government in the Sunshine, perhaps we would see the 100+ emails that the agents sent each other so as to be able to gauge their good faith. I personally credit the good faith of all the investigators — and their high skill level. They have many applicants for a very desirable job — just as DOJ does. I just think they are mistaken and there is too much at stake to move on without fixing it. They have a tough job. They are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t.

        • Old Atlantic said

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

          I will quote in detail in a new box so its easier to read.

    • Old Atlantic said

      There is no point agreeing to a 4.6 million settlement with Hatfill in June 2008 to avoid discovery as the judge indicated he would order if all the same info would come out in a trial with Ivins. Even more would come out in a criminal trial of Ivins.

      So if they were going to try Ivins, they would not have paid Hatfill 4.6 million after the judge refused to let them avoid discovery by Hatfill.

      This proves they did not intend to charge Ivins. It proves it 4.6 million ways.

      • DXer said

        “There is no point agreeing to a 4.6 million settlement with Hatfill in June 2008 to avoid discovery as the judge indicated he would order if all the same info would come out in a trial with Ivins. Even more would come out in a criminal trial of Ivins.”

        No. The settlement of the Hatfill claim related to the Privacy claim — leaks relating to Dr. Hatfill as POI.

        • DXer said

          The head of the prosecution pled the Fifth Amendment in connection with those leaks. He was the father of the pro bono attorney for Ali Al-Timimi.

        • Old Atlantic said

          Once you get the names of the DOJ/FBI people who leaked, then you get to depose them. A physical person in a deposition may say anything. Some of them may have attorney general as part of their title.

          http://www.justice.gov/agencies/index-org.html

          You start deposing these people and the top of the FBI org chart on this case and you can find out a lot of things.

          If DOJ/FBI had knowledge that Hatfill could not have prepared and mailed the letters that would be relevant to the government leaking information about him as the mailer to the press.

          That goes to motive and to intent. If DOJ/FBI knew that a state actor or well financed organization had to do it, and they told the press that Hatfill did it in private leaks, then they have to pay more damages. In this case, they are deliberately framing Hatfill when they already know from the technical analysis that he could not have done it. That makes all the technical analysis discoverable. That would have come out once he could go into the top of the org charts of the DOJ and FBI.

        • Old Atlantic said

          All technical analysis is discoverable to prove malice. They knew he couldn’t do it from technical analsis, so its discoverable.

          Its discoverable for damages purposes since the malice is part of the damages calculation.

        • DXer said

          “Old Atlantic said
          December 23, 2010 at 11:34 pm

          Once you get the names of the DOJ/FBI people who leaked, then you get to depose them. A physical person in a deposition may say anything.”

          You appear not to have read the Hatfill depositions. They did this. The leaker pled the Fifth Amendment and was represented by Plato Cacheris at deposition. The leaker was head of the prosecution.

          “If DOJ/FBI had knowledge that Hatfill could not have prepared and mailed the letters that would be relevant to the government leaking information about him as the mailer to the press.”

          It was Daniel Seikaly who leaked. You make it seem like there’s a mystery on the subject when there isn’t.

          “That would have come out once he could go into the top of the org charts of the DOJ and FBI.”

          You seem not to have read the Hatfill depositions. I commend them to you. I have quoted the testimony numerous times, uploaded the contemporaneous emails about the leak investigation.

        • Old Atlantic said

          You have many learned arguments in the Hatfill case.

          Are the depositions on line?

          Shouldn’t DOJ post the Hatfill depostions on line? Wouldn’t theyw ant to?

          The judge told them to come back with a discovery agreement and DOJ paid Hatfill 4.6 million instead. Sounds like they

          didn’t want discovery. Y

        • DXer said

          I can mail a disc containing the Hatfill depositions. They are 4 to a page. I posted extensive passages (on FreeRepublic). The more you and others hype the fact that some prosecutor took a call from a reporter as the all-important, then the less likely you’ll ever learn of the other POIs discussed, for example, in the report about the email in which Dr. Ivins said that he had heard that the powder performing most closely was the one made by the FBI scientist using anthrax from Flask 1029. One was a leading anthrax scientist. Another was a former deputy USAMRIID Commander.

          Given that Dr. Hatfill forged his PhD certificate, it is not surprising that the FBI would consider him a POI. The FBI is damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

          I’ve never been critical of the FBI except to say:

          (1) their profile was not informed by even the open source intelligence available about Ayman’s plan to use anthrax, and instead they just took out a report that had recently been done on lone crazies; see New Yorker article by Malcolm Gladwell on profiling being a parlor game.

          (2) the same profilers were on the job for the Nosair and Ali Mohammed debacles that should have informed the FBI’s thinking;

          (3) the FBI did not disclose that Jdey had been detained as the same time as Moussaoui;

          (4) compartmentalization, as lead investigator Lambert predicted, would tend to prevent agents from connecting the dots,

          (5) there are massive conflicts of interest throughout the science squad (through no fault of their own),

          (6) the effects of those conflicts need to be redressed through recusal etc.,

          (7) NAS is in violation of FACA, see precedent cited and discussed.

          (8) US Attorney Taylor made many major factual statements that continue to be relied upon in the public understanding of Amerithrax,

          (9) the genetics did not narrow things nearly as much as people think; (barely at all)

          (10) Dr. Bartick’s examination of the photocopy toner for the machines used by USAMRIID is being wrongfully witheld;

          (11) Taylor’s suggestion that the other up to 377 could be excluded is laughable (and he mistakenly thought that only 100 needed to be excluded and so on its face it is clear he didn’t know what he was talking about,

          (12) there may very well be a mass aerosol attack on DC and NYC and the FBI is going to feel really bad the first day Anwar and Ayman say “nanabooboo” (they don’t now because (1) there are operatives exposed and (2) they have plans to attack the US;

          (13) Dr. Ivins gave virulent Ames to a former Zawahiri associate and his good friend is CAIR-St.Louis and another explains he was recruited by Ayman Zawahiri;

          (14) Ali Al-Timimi was Andy Card’s former assistant and the White House understandably found that embarrassing;

          (15) the White House launched NSA warrantless wiretapping of Al-Timimi, Fowzia and others and excluded the Amerithrax Task Force investigators from even knowing of the wiretaps;

          (16) the former Zawahiri associate thanked the FBI genetics expert testing Ivins sample for providing a BL-3 lab;

          (17) the former Zawahiri associate thanked Ivins’ chief accuser (Former Colleague #2) for providing technical assistance (she is an aerosol scientist);

          (18) the FBI scientist guiding the NAS review was the go-to guy at ATCC’s bacteriology division which co-sponsored “anthrax weapons suspect” Al-Timimi’s program;

          (19) the FBI kept secret that its scientist made a dried powder out of the “murder weapon” and then shot out Ivin’s sample when he submitted it;

          (20) the FBI then construed the loss of the sample as evidence of Ivins’ guilt and falsely alleged written protocols etc. had been provided at the time of the February 2002 (when the emails don’t support and actually contradict that claim)

          (21) the FBI did not submit the written protocols or the slants until May 24, 2002 (contrary to what was stated in the August briefing);

          … well… I have Christmas presents to wrap and so cannot go on.

          But the important thing is hug an FBI agent today because they are the ones who are going to have to keep America safe and noodle through the correct solution to Amerithrax upon its reopening. We need to wish them well and stop tearing down the FBI.

          If they don’t reopen it, okay, fine. Upload everything through wikileaks and let them be the villain rather than the hero.

        • DXer said

          On further consideration and a google, it appears I uploaded them (through Lew’s incredible helpfulness) on this blog last January. The links are gathered here.

          https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/01/30/amerithrax-depositions/

          Amerithrax depositions … courtesy of DXer

          ******

          Amerithrax depositions … Vol 1

          testimony of Dwight Adams, John Ashcroft, Timothy Beres, Gary Boyd (SAIC), Tom Carey

          Amerithrax depositions … Vol 2

          testimony of Edward Cogswell, Barbara Comstock, Mark Corallo, Deborah Daniels, Darrell Darnell, Arthur Eberhart, James Fitzgerald

          Amerithrax depositions … Vol 3

          testimony of Bradley Garrett, Stephen Guillot, Van Harp, Steven Hatfill

          Amerithrax depositions … Vol 4

          testimony of Tracy Henke, Roscoe Howard, Michael Isikoff, Daniel Klaidman, Kenneth Kohl

          Amerithrax depositions … Vol 5

          testimony of Michael Kortan, Nicholas Kristof, Richard Lambert, Allan Lengel

          Amerithrax depositions … Vol 6

          testimony of Tony Loci, Robert Mueller, Peter Mueller, Virginia Patrick, Channing Phillips, James Reynolds

          Amerithrax depositions … Vol 7

          testimony of Brian Ross, Robert Roth, Daniel Seikaly

          Amerithrax depositions … Vol 8

          testimony of Bryan Sierra, James Stewart, Rex Stockham, Vic Walter, Debra Weierman

          Amerithrax depositions … Vol 9

          newspaper articles

          Amerithrax depositions … Vol 10

          discovery responses

          Amerithrax depositions … Vol 11

          miscellaneous exhibits, including but not limited to internal FBI documents

          Amerithrax depositions … Vol 12

          miscellaneous materials

    • Old Atlantic said

      DOJ wanted a standoff with Ivins prior to his death. They wanted Ivins afraid to sue them because they would then charge him. But they wouldn’t charge him either.

      They had already fired him. So they wanted to keep him from suing them, which would get them back to the same place as with Hatfill and require them to pay Ivins 4.6 million to stop his discovery.

      So they put some pressure on Ivins to keep him from suing them because he would be afraid to trigger a criminal charge against him if he sued.

      They can be very aggressive when they feel cornered.

  70. Old Atlantic said

    Weight Percentages NYP

    C 61
    Si 32.75
    O 6.0
    Ca .25

    atomic weights

    C 12
    Si 28.0855
    O 15.9994
    Ca 40.078

    61/12 = Decimal: 5.0833333

    32.75/28.0855 = Decimal: 1.1660821

    6.0/15.9994 = Decimal: 0.37501406

    .25/40.078 = Decimal: 0.0062378362

    the atomic percentages per the chart are

    C 76.65
    Si 17.60
    O 5.66
    Ca .09

    If each Si was paired with even one 0 then you have 12.06 Si left over.

  71. BugMaster said

    Ed:

    Please review New York Post (SPS-02-88-01) powder AFIP EDX spectrum 1 shown above.

    You have 2, and only 2 reasonable explainations for the results obtained from this EDX spectral analysis (very little oxygen detected).

    1.) The analytical procedure is flawed in some manner, therefore, the spectrum obtained isn’t real data, and should be discarded.

    2.) Silicon Carbide. You will not find free silicon in the natural environment any more than you will find pure aluminum.

    It is true that the British Crown Jewel Collection contains a few lumps of pure aluminum. That is because it is virtually non-existant in nature. Of course, due to modern refining techniques, both pure aluminum and pure silicon aren’t rare today. However, I find it hard to believe the mailer ground up some computer chips and added them to the mix to confound investigators with a pure silicon signature (besides, they would find the arsnic, galladium, etc.)

    • Anonymous said

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

      CH3[Si(CH3)2O]nSi(CH3)3
      After polymerization and cross-linking, solid PDMS samples will present an external hydrophobic surface.

      If the spores were treated with “Repelcote” – dichlorodimethylsilane it then polymerizes into Polydimethylsiloxane.

      FBI have access to the SLICE EDX database – in fact the FBI labs commissioned the creation of slice – precisely to identify unknown substances from their EDX spectrum.

      Did the FBI submit the AFIP NYP EDX spectrum to slice? Of course they did.

      http://www.horiba.com/scientific/products/x-ray-fluorescence-analysis/slice-database/

      SLICE (the Spectral Library Identification and Classification Explorer) is a software program developed by xk, Incorporated, in collaboration with the FBI. It is designed to archive, query and compare x-ray spectra acquired with both SEM and XRF instruments, and represents a revolutionary new approach to materials analysis. Its versatile capabilities result in reduced analysis times and improved accuracy of sample identification.

      SLICE is ideally suited to researchers who wish to use EDX or XRF not merely to find out what elements are present, but to answer the ultimate question in materials analysis: “what is it?”.

    • Anonymous said

      Also, AFIP did not just take one spectrum of the NYP powder. They took 3 spectra from different spots on the sample – and got similar results each time.

      They also took 3 different spectra of the Daschle spores – as well as weaponized dry powder simulants from Dugway and a sample of pure silica.

      It is hard to imagine that the NYP spectrum is some piece of bad data when it was taken 3 times from 3 different areas.

      see the entire report here:
      https://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0B7Vzv7IcODeVZmZiYmM0ZWYtN2E0MS00Y2YwLTkxMGQtNTI5ZjMyOWQyNDQw&hl=en

      Finally, there was between 0.5 and 1g of NYP powder (judging from the picture of the powder in vial) – enough to run literally thousands of EDX spectra – and thousands of accurate elemental analysis of ALL the elements present.

      There is absolutely no excuse for FBI lab director Chris Hassell to claim there was “insufficient sample”. It is the most ludicrous statement imagineable.

      • BugMaster said

        Anonymous:

        What do you make of the stoichiometric issues surrounding the results showing insufficient oxygen to conclude the material was silica?

        Any other possiblities besides silicon carbide?

        Am I missing something here?

        • Anonymous said

          The stoichiometric calculations don’t always work too well for EDX. The EDX is a complex process, with high energy electrons penetrating into solids and then x-rays getting emitted.

          The NIST software is very sophisticated, but nothing beats running as many samples as possible – and comparing against standards.

          I think it’s quite possible that the major component of the NYP powder (besides the spores themsleves) is a material like CH3[Si(CH3)2O]nSi(CH3)3. There are dozens of similar formulations, some with more oxygen present, some with less.

          As you correctly point out – the mailer didn’t grind up a silicon wafer into powder and add it to the spores just for a laugh.

          If you assume that the silicon in the spore coat has as it’s source the massive excess of whatever is really in the NYP powder, than it has to havbe been a liquid at some point – it had to get through the exposporium and a liquid will do that easily.

          So the obvious candidate is a liquid polymer (repelcote or suchlike) that then polymerized into a solid.

          I think that would explain everything. SiC itself is a refractory powder, so it wouldn’t give the silicon in the spore coat signature, although it might resemble the EDX spectrum somewhat.

          I think you need to pick a chemical that will do both – give the Si in the spore coat and also give all this other stuff which the NYP powder as a whole seems to consist of.

          I bet if we had access to SLICE ( http://www.horiba.com/scientific/products/x-ray-fluorescence-analysis/slice-database/ ) and we submitted the NYP EDX spectrum , something would come popping up.

          Indeed, the leaks below in April 2002 had to be based on something. Hopefully NAS have got all the FBI reports that led to these conclusions – which were later denied (with no reason given).

          http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/anthraxpowdernotroutine.html
          Powder Used in Anthrax Attacks ‘Was Not Routine’

          By: Joby Warrick, Washington Post Staff Writer

          “Whoever concocted the wispy white powder used in last fall’s [2001] anthrax attacks followed a recipe markedly different from the ones commonly used by scientists in the United States or any other country known to have biological weapons, law enforcement sources said yesterday.

          “Extensive lab tests of the anthrax powder have revealed new details about how the powder was made, including the identity of a chemical used to coat the trillions of microscopic spores to keep them from clumping together. Sources close to the investigation declined to name the chemical but said its presence was something of a surprise.

          “The powder’s formulation ‘was not routine,’ said one law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. ‘Somebody had to have special knowledge and experience to do this,’ the official said.”

        • Old Atlantic said

          Maybe this is why they were so desperate to settle with Hatfill. They didn’t want this evidence to come out at trial.

          It would like they set out to frame a loan mailer to take attention away from a state sponsor or a well financed group. Hatfill was the most convenient. This is why a jury could have returned a large verdict.

        • DXer said

          In his controlled experiment, the head of the Air Force lab used repelcote — in the slurry, not post-sporulation.

          He had the same spike as in the Daschle product.

        • BugMaster said

          “SiC itself is a refractory powder, so it wouldn’t give the silicon in the spore coat signature, although it might resemble the EDX spectrum somewhat.”

          Exactly. But we are making an assumption here, mainly, that all the silicon (and silica) present has to be the result of the same mechanism.

          It is possible that the spore coat silica accumulated via a mechanism similar to what Weber / Lawrence Livermore described, and (at least in the NYC material), SiC was added as well.

          There is the problem with the spore coat silica in the attack materials being 10X what Weber was able to obtain, but one cannot rule out the possiblity that the attack material was produced with a somewhat unconventional media formulation.

          Either way, doesn’t seem to be Ivin’s cup of tea.

          And, of course, not all the silicon in the NYC material can be the result of “natural accumulation”.

          I don’t see how the FBI can continue make this claim.

  72. DXer said

    Ed,

    Am I right that you are unfamiliar with this study that Dr. Bruce Ivins provided to the FBI regarding silica and Bacillus spore suspensions (that was provided to him by a colleague)? Might that explain the Silicon Signature? You cannot point to Dr. Ivins ever using antifoam containing silica. And Renagrafin-76, used in purification, Anonymous points out, did not contain silica. You point to no evidence that L&D media contained silica and just have mistakenly assume that it does. Now, finally, turning to this study regarding silica and bacillus spore suspensions that a colleague provided to Dr. Ivins, there is no indication whatsoever that Dr. Ivins used the method, is there?

    So the Silicon Signature is highly probative and points possibly to the method used in this article — which Dr. Ivins did not use. Dr. Majidi and his colleagues are to be commended for their diligent work on the Silicon Signature, a forensic finding that has proved hugely exculpatory of Dr. Ivins.

  73. DXer said

    I think we all should be open-minded about these various hypotheses (especially those of us who are not PhD microbiologists who have done controlled experiments). I think the most likely finding is that Dr. Majidi is right … it could have been in the culture medium.

    And that’s hugely exculpatory of Dr. Bruce Ivins.

    I find Peter Setlow’s commentary on the recent Japanese article about silicon encapsulation to be thoughtful and would have preferred that he address the issue before the NAS.

    Once the AFIP data is released, experts like Peter Setlow can consider the source of the reason for the silica such as whether it was putting virulent Ames soil (silica) suspension such as the FBI scientist John Ezzell did in 1996 for DARPA when he made dry powdered anthrax at Ft. Detrick.

    Or we can turn to the “Microdroplet Cell Culture” patent filed by Ali Al-Timimi’s Discovery Hall colleagues at the DARPA-funded Center for Biodefense and see if there is a connection. The international application involves a pharma aerosol application and the co-applicant is the founder of the Aerosol Techniques in 1955, which had a central role in the US offensive program. Under the GMU patent, the silica would be in the culture medium and then would be removed by repeated centrifugation.

    The former State Department analyst, Ken Dillon, PhD, notes:

    “Interested readers should study the contributions of Barbara Hatch Rosenberg (Sept. 9) and Serguei Popov (Sept. 24) at http://anthraxvaccine.blogspot.com/. I find quite intriguing Rosenberg’s reference in footnotes 21 and 22 of her analysis to U.S. Patent Application number 09/805,464 by Charles Bailey and Ken Alibek, March 14, 2001. The patent (#6,649,408) was issued on Nov. 18, 2003. Silica is mentioned repeatedly in the patent, and the instructions look very much like they could have been used by the preparer of the anthrax in the letters. Rosenberg suggests that the patent application was available to 100+ potential anthrax attack suspects well before the anthrax attacks, but it is not clear that the application was made public before the attacks started.” Dr. Popov does not dismiss the possibility but instead refers to it merely as “hypothetical.”

    Or experts can explore the other hypotheses relating to the reason for the Silicon Signature, such as it being due to rice hull contamination (silicon) in a spraydryer.

    Or whether it is due to use of a silicone sealant sprayed on the inside of the envelope such as the Al Qaeda chapter on “poisonous letters” instructs be used (to avoid killing the mailman). (It’s a hoot that Ed thinks is it not a salafist-jihadi modus operandi when there is an entire chapter in their official manual devoted to it).

    I’m not a scientist which is why it seems that the data and pictures need to be released so that we can have experts like the Center for Biodefense’s Sergeui Popov and the government’s John Kiel review it. If we learned anything from 9/11, it is that there are times that information needs to be shared so that people can connect the dots. This is such a time. Any one with a conflict of interest should recuse himself from the particular aspect of Amerithrax. Anyone without the relevant qualification to address an issue should sit down and have a qualified expert, who has done controlled experiments, address the question. John Kiel is such a scientist. Head of the Air Force lab, his lab did controlled experiments on the issue independent of the FBI and could report to Congress on the issue.

    Kathryn Crockett, Ken Alibek’s assistant — just a couple doors down from Ali Al-Timimi — addressed this issue of microencapsulation in her 2006 thesis, “A historical analysis of Bacillus anthracis as a biological weapon and its application to the development of nonproliferation and defense strategies.” She expressed her special thanks to bioweaponeering experts Dr. Ken Alibek and Dr. Bill Patrick. (Dr. Patrick also reviewed the 1993 OTS report). Dr. Patrick consulted with the FBI in Amerithrax. Dr. Crockett successfully defended the thesis before a panel that included USAMRIID head and Ames strain researcher Charles Bailey, Ali Al-Timimi’s other Department colleague. In 2001 he said he did not want to discuss silica because he did not want to give terrorists any ideas. Oops! Too late. The scientist coordinating with the 911 imam and Bin Laden’s Sheik was in the same suite, just a few feet away.

    Dr. Crockett in her PhD thesis says that scientists who analyzed the powder through viewing micrographs or actual contact are divided over the quality of the powder. She cites Gary Matsumoto’s “Science” article in summarizing the debate. She says the FBI has vacillated on silica. The AFIP data, if released, would point to the high level of silica in the first batch of letters. The FBI’s science investigation is being led by Jason Bannan, the former collections scientist at the Bacteriology Division at the American Type Culture Collection which, located at GMU, co-sponsored Al-Timimi’s program and later successfully bid on the Critical Reagent Program handling virulent Ames for government researchers.

    On the issue of encapsulation, Crockett reports that “many experts who examined the powder stated the spores were encapsulated. Encapsulation involves coating bacteria with a polymer which is usually done to protect fragile bacteria from harsh conditions such as extreme heat and pressure that occurs at the time of detonation (if in a bomb), as well as from moisture and ultraviolet light. The process was not originally developed for biological weapons purposes but rather to improve the delivery of various drugs to target organs or systems before they were destroyed by enzymes in the circulatory system” (citing Alibek and Crockett, 2005). “The US and Soviet Union, however, ” she explains, “used this technique in their biological weapons programs for pathogens that were not stable in aerosol form… Since spores have hardy shells that provide the same protection as encapsulation would, there is no need to cover them with a polymer.“ She explains that one “possible explanation is that the spore was in fact encapsulated but not for protective purpose. Encapsulation also reduces the need for milling when producing a dry formulation.”

    One military scientist who has made anthrax simulants described the GMU patents to me as relating to a silicon encapsulation technique which serves to increase the viability of a wide range of pathogens.

    • anonymous said

      “I think the most likely finding is that Dr. Majidi is right … it could have been in the culture medium.”

      Hardly. Majidi was making this ludicrous statement before the Livermore results became public.

      I should remind you that Livermore tried 56 times to replicate the attack spores using silicon in the culture medium and got nowhere close to 1.5% silicon. Let alone 30% silicon for the NYP powder.

      It is beyond reason to pretend that the silicon got there through an accidental addition of a non-silicon containing compound to the culture medium. That’s like trying to spin that a gunshot victim wasn’t hit by a piece of lead.

  74. DXer said

    “The only place ____ recalled seeing Ba in an odd location was in Room ____ of Building ______. This is a lab where _______________ and _____________ were working on a John Hopkins project involving the use of aerosol samples of Ba in a study of ____________________________________________________. [A published journal article indicates that the study involved the effect of a sonicator and corona plasma discharge on Ames spores]. The label tubes of Ba samples were stored in a refrigerator which had a sliding door where ___ had intended to place ___________.”

    Now this research was funded by DARPA and involved Ames that was supplied by Bruce Ivins from Flask 1029 (“the murder weapon”) to the FBI expert John Ezzell. John used a slurry that he assures me in a telephone conversation and emails and blog post and then in person on film that it was irradiated.
    He created the fine powder — better than Daschle powder — at DARPA’s request.

    1. In the refrigerator of the eloquent FBI anthrax scientist at USAMRIID (in Building 1412), was Ames kept in a spore suspension using silica-based substance?

    John earlier had provided Edgewood with Ames in a soil suspension.

    Was the virulent Ames from Flask 1029 that he was supplied also kept and distributed in a soil suspension? One soil was a dark brown to black (like the NY Post material was) and one was a yellowish sandy soil. (like the Daschle material).

    Source:

    Appl. Environ. Microbiol., Sep 1996, 3474-3476, Vol 62, No. 9
    Copyright © 1996, American Society for Microbiology

    Immunomagnetic-Electrochemiluminescent Detection of Bacillus anthracis Spores in Soil Matrices

    JG Bruno and H Yu
    Applied Research Associates, U.S. Air Force, Armstrong Laboratory, Environics Directorate, Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida 32403, and Systems Research Laboratories, U.S. Army, Edgewood Research, Development and Engineering Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland 21010-5423

    Rapid (<=1.5-h) detection of anthrax spores in soil suspensions was accomplished …

    For spore-spiked soil IM-ECL assays, two soil suspensions from fine particulates of a moist dark brown to black soil (soil 1) and a dry light yellowish sandy soil (soil 2), taken from two different locations in the vicinity of Aberdeen Proving Ground…

    2. Weren't soil suspensions used for Ames by other researchers in 2001? For example, didn't Ames researcher T. Koehler have a $100,000 grant from the CIA to study the persistence of anthrax in soil?

    Didn't her research at the time of upgrading to BL-3 in March 2001 involve soil suspensions? Wasn't her office down the hall from Aafia's sister-in-law whom Aafia visited? Wasn't the lab devastated by a tropical storm in June 2001 — and so while security had always been lax/non-existent, in June 2001, the doors were actually propped open even though it had been recently upgraded to BL-3. We know that Bruce never researched the use of anthrax as a bioweapon — and we know Aafia spent 6 months researching anthrax as a bioweapon. Al-Liby and other AQ religious cultists are all threatening due to their anthrax researcher being imprisoned.

    3. Why wasn't the Ames sample from UNM, to whom Bruce Ivins fedexed Ames from Flask 1029 in March 2001, a match? Didn't Dr. Burans in his presentation to DARPA explain that the morphs are highly stable over generations? See Randall Larsen's videotaped comments at November 29, 2010 seminar.-

    Thus, shouldn't the Ames shipped to UNM have been a match even if they did not even have the facilities for months to use it?

    Query: Why did Dr. Lyons have it shipped if his lab was not yet equipped to use it. (In contrast, it was TK's lab that upgraded to BL-3 in March 2001). Melissa Drysdale is the person at TK's lab in Spring 2001 who would have information on the subject.

    4. The original Ames researcher went to work for the CIA. Did he bring virulent Ames with him? Did he have the other tissue sample?

    * “There were two slants of Ames sent from Texas and Ivins only had one.” (Dr. Ivins did not know where the other one went).
    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/07/08/there-were-two-slants-of-ames-sent-from-texas-and-ivins-only-had-one/

    Did Dr. K, who had originally obtained the Ames from the dead cow in Texas, have Ames missing from flask 1029 later created in 1997? (For example, there was a 100 ml discrepancy).

    Where did the other 200 ml made by Bruce's assistants go. The FBI does not know where it went. (The former Zawahiri associate supplied virulent Ames thanked Bruce's two assistants for providing technical assistance).
    http://www.anthraxandalqaeda.com

    5. The FBI’s anthrax expert Dr. Ezzell advises that he is in agreement with Ivins in that he knew of no plans to test dried spores in animals. “As for dried spores that (JE's) lab produced , the spores were sterilized using gamma irradiation before being freeze-dried.” The spores were to be used by DARPA to test biothreat detection systems using mass spectrometry technology. JE advises me that Ba was stored in numerous locations. In reference to the pictured statement about the unusual place one scientist noticed Ames was stored, he reports that it probably refers to storage in room 212 of Building 1412 which was one of JE’s labs.

    JE's personnel (including the one who first noticed the 4 morphs) along with scientists from Johns Hopkins Applied Physics lab collected aerosolized threat agents on special tapes that fed into mass spectrometer located in Rm 212 (BL3 Lab). The refrigerator had sliding glass doors. JE would have to be asked where else they did aerosol experiments using Ames supplied by Bruce.

    Special attention should be paid to whether any of those places involved use of silica in the culture medium (such as Southern Research Institute, which had a subcontract through the GMU Center for Biodefense, or soil suspensions such as at Edgewood or TK's lab in Houston or at Dr. Lyon's lab at UNM where the Ames was placed in storage.

    Bottom-line: A bagful of panties found in basement and the use of screen names on the internet does not pose the material questions.

    • DXer said

      Here is a description of the experiment done using the spore suspension supplied by Dr. Ezzell to Edgewood:

      “For spore-spiked soil IM-ECL assays, two soil suspensions
      from fine particulates of a moist dark brown to black soil (soil
      1) and a dry light yellowish sandy soil (soil 2), taken from two
      different locations in the vicinity of Aberdeen Proving Ground,
      Md., were prepared in PBS. Both suspensions had A600 values
      of around 1.0 (approximately 1 mg of soil per ml of suspension),
      and the pH of both suspensions remained between 7.2
      and 7.4. Spore capture and assay were essentially performed as
      in the PBS-based assay, except that the soil suspensions were
      used as diluents. In some experiments, assays were performed
      by introducing the spore-magnetic bead-soil suspensions directly
      into the sensor. In other experiments, IM separation
      (IMS) was performed with a permanent rare earth magnet for
      15 min after 1 h of IM spore capture in the two different soil
      suspensions.”

      Wasn’t the nanoemulsion of the former Zawahiri associate tested in Edgewood in 2001?

  75. BugMaster said

    It appears I have fallen into the same trap Ed often does, review a conclusion, and then come to additional erroneous conclusions.

    When Ed posted that “the Daschle material contained silica, the NYC material contained silicon” I should have looked at the data before responding.

    THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS FREE SILICON IN A BIOLOGICAL SYSTEM! FREE SILICON IN NATURE IS VERY, VERY RARE!

    Data from one of the analysis on the NYC material showed a particle being analyzed that gave a silicon / oxygen ratio that does not support the possiblity that the silicon was associated with oxygen in the form of silica (the stochiometric ratios don’t fit).

    So the conclusion was free silicon? Not possible.

    The particles in the debris that gave such readings can be one thing, and one thing only: Silicon Carbide.

    In otherwords, GRINDING COMPOUND!

    Why it was there? Perhaps the mailer felt that adding such an abrasive would enhance the ability of the material to cause cutaneous anthrax. And indeed, all cases from the NYC mailings caused cutaneous anthrax.

    Maybe it was added when grinding down the dried crud, but this seems to be a really odd way to go about things. The particles themselves aren’t readiliy available in sizes under 7 microns, and besides, a mortar and pestle can pulverize material without the use of grinding compound.

    Perhaps a contaminant from sample prep? Was a microcutome used to prepare the thin slices? Could it have been contaminated with silicon carbide used in a sharpening process? If so, SLOPPY, SLOPPY, SLOPPY.

    The addition of a significant amount of silicon carbide (grounding compound) in a crude attempt to enhance the infectivity of the material explains everything.

    The FBI’s claim that all the silicon was the result of a “natural process”?

    Total Nonsense!

    And how much of this silicon carbide powder was recovered from the AMI building (remember, the crime scene was swabbed extensively).

    NONE!

    No wonder they didn’t want to release the AFIP data!

    Silicon as a result of a “natural biological process”?

    Someone needs to go back to school!

    • BugMaster said

      Ed:

      The AFIP data shows a silicon / oxygen ratio for one sample that makes silicon being present as silica impossible. The report itself states that.

  76. DXer said

    The suggestion that this could only be a product of post-sporulation treatment of the spores has long since been disproved. Anonymous is quoting S.P. Velsko’s bare sentence without even having asked him the direct question whether it could be in the culture medium as Dr. Majidi has suggested.

    By way of background, the relevant authorities include Murrell’s Chapter 7 of the Bacterial Composition of the Spore. The highest level (I don’t have it handy) — and it a full range — was comparable. 1.4? 1.6? 1.2. I’ve misplaced my copy and I copied and scanned them before Lew’s blog and his helpfulness at uploading documents. Now my good friend Anonymous would point to Murrell’s article a few years earlier and point out he used anti-foam. The point is that there is a natural tendency of the spore coat to incorporate the silicon. Iron in the culture medium increases the uptake.

    Now another authority would be the 1980 or so Soimlyo paper. There he speculated that the silicon in the spore coat was either due to silanized glass or perhaps silicon mineral vacuum oil used to keep equipment functioning well.

    But here are the take-home points: USAMRIID and the DOJ/FBI need to comply with FOIA and produce the relevant reports and data, subject to applicable redactions/exemptions. Their failure to do so violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act. We’ve already seen that the FBI was keeping from disclosure the fact that its own expert made a dried aerosol out of the Ames supplied by Bruce’s Flask 1029 and then shot out Bruce’s sample when he submitted it. This withholding of documents needs to be addressed if the FBI and NAS is going to have credibility. There simply is no reason to distract Ed from his magazines and his earnest debates with horny 15 year-olds.

    If the FBI and NAS were to comply with FOIA and FACA, then experts (PhD microbiologists who have done controlled experiments, such as John Kiel) could consider the reason for the silicon in the spore coat. NAS does not even have any aerosol experts on its panel even though the DOD, for one, urged that they do.

    There should be no reason to hear more from Dr. Michael of Sandia who is not a microbiologist, who has never made an anthrax aerosol simulant, who not done any controlled studies, and is not qualified to address the function it may serve in an anthrax aerosol. Respectfully, he should have identified the location of the silicon and sat down.

    As a single example, the FBI and NAS did not submit the article that Dr. Ivins helpfully provided to the FBI on adding silica to the spore coat through the use of spore suspensions.

  77. DXer said

    Ed,

    Are you familiar with this article that Dr. Bruce Ivins provided to the FBI regarding silica and Bacillus spore suspensions? Might that explain the Silicon Signature?

    • DXer said

      Is silica ever used in storing Bacillus spore suspensions?

      >—–Original Message—–
      >From:
      >Sent: Monday, February 05, 2001 4:47 PM
      >To: Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
      >Cc:
      >Subject: Accelerated Stability Study
      >>
      >Bruce,
      > requested that I respond to you concerning your plan for an accelerated stability study for
      rPA. I contacted and here are comments for your consideration based on his input and
      my experience.
      >>
      suggested adding higher temperature, 50 degrees C achieved by holding product in water bath.
      The goal to set conditions where degradation will be observed. Suggest looking for daily degradation
      initially. In the study done at the BDP, this was accomplished by removing one vial per day for 5 days
      and prepping sample for PAGE, then storing frozen. After 5 days all samples were run together on the
      same silver stained PAGE gel.
      >
      >Concerning time points the goal is to show degradation using a stability indicating assay.
      recommended PAGE w/silver stain(look for increase # bands at higher & lower molecular weight),
      Western blot (to detect isoforms and fragments) and/or reverse phase HPLC (show changes in retention
      time, peak broading).
      >
      >To include in your stability protocol:
      >* Select equipment capable of maintaining temperature, monitor the temperature during the study,
      document excursions.
      >
      >* In your plan for accelerated stability include the following information:
      >* Product name, strength, lot #, date manufactured, manufacturing site, formulation
      >* Purpose or goal of study
      >* Container information – fill size, container type, closure type, product sterile?
      >* Describe assay methods, equipment, reference lab notebook, SOP or SSP if available and include
      expected results
      >* Include actual test date w/ results
      >* Include schedule of testing and sample allocation (specify material to be tested (will same
      container of material be retested? Multiple containers, multiple samples of the same material?)
      >
      >Steve said he saw an article in Journal of Pharmcology Research on accelerated stability.
      >>>
      Hope this is helpful. Feel free to contact or I.

      >>>
      —–Original Message—–
      >From: Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
      >Sent: Monday, February 05, 2001 12:11 PM
      >To:
      >Subject: Accelerated Stability Study
      >
      >Hi,
      > I’m writing up a plan for an accelerated stability study with rPA. I plan to use 4, 22 and 37C.
      Could you please give me an idea of what kinds of time intervals are used in such studies? I have no
      idea. I might pick 0 time, 1 week and 1 month, but I have nothing to base that on. Could you please
      make some suggestions or point me in the direction of someone who could?
      >
      >Thanks!
      >>>
      – Bruce
      >
      (

      • DXer said

        Did Bruce ever use a silica-based substance in storage? Did his correspondents (on the question of stability in storage)?

        International Journal of Food Microbiology
        Volume 23, Issue 1, September 1994, Pages 111-116
        doi:10.1016/0168-1605(94)90226-7 | How to Cite or Link Using DOI
        Copyright © 1994 Published by Elsevier B.V. Cited By in Scopus (3)
        Permissions & Reprints
        Short communication
        Stability of spores of Bacillus cereus stored on silicagel
        Purchase the full-text article

        References and further reading may be available for this article. To view references and further reading you must purchase this article.

        J. DufrenneCorresponding Author Contact Information, a, S. Tatinib and S. Notermansa

        aNational Institute of Public Health and Environmental Protection, P.O. Box 1, 3720 BA Bilthoven, The Netherlands

        bUniversity of Minnesota, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, St. Paul, MN, USA
        Received 5 March 1993;
        accepted 27 August 1993.
        Available online 11 November 2002.

        Abstract

        Spores of four different strains of Bacillus cereus were stored on silicagel at 22°C and in physiological saline solution at −20°C for a period of 260 days. At different intervals the spores were tested for survival, heat sensitivity and capacity to germinate. There was no clear change in any of the parameter tested, so storage on silicagel can be a good alternative for storage as a frozen suspension. Spores stored in this way can easily be exchanged for reference material and used for microbiological challenge testing.

        Keywords: Bacillus cureus spores; Storage; Stability; Germination; Heat sensitivity

  78. DXer said

    Ed,

    Do you know why the FBI was asking scientists if they had seen olive oil in the aerosol rooms?

  79. DXer said

    Ed,

    Am I correct that it is your understanding that an antifoam containing silica was not used to unclog the nozzles in conducting wet aerosol experiments?

  80. DXer said

    Now that we’ve established that Ed, in fact, contrary to his initial claim, has no reason to think Leighton & Doi contains silica, let’s get back to an expert’s conclusions.

    Dr. Velsko has addressed the issue of isotopes that is addressed by the NAS report. He advises that the success of stable isotope and trace element “fingerprinting” for locating the geographical origins of drugs and other organic substances has raised hopes that similar approaches might work for biological agents. Certainly, if an agent contains additives (for example the putative added silica that received so much media attention in the Amerithrax investigation) the trace element and isotopic profiles of the additive would provide a possible basis for locating the origin of its manufacture. However, the notion of “geo-locating” the origin of an agent through its isotopic fingerprint should be
    regarded with caution. In general, the isotopic and trace element profiles of organisms arise from a complex mixture of substances used to grow them. R&D is needed to answer two basic questions: First, can we obtain enough independent stable isotope and trace element information from a sample to deconvolve the various contributions to the fingerprint; and second, even if this is successful, will the geographical resolution that
    this information provides be useful? Answering these questions may require several years of focused experimental study. In addition, a representative archive of manufacturing materials (growth media, additives, etc.) and a database of their isotope and trace element signatures must be developed.

  81. DXer said

    Anonymous,

    What is your theory as to the origin of the silicon in Flask 1030?

    From page 56 of FBI pdf file #847443:

    “1. ‘Reference Material 1030′ is comprised of Ba Ames strain spores produced by IVINS XX[redacted]XX on 13 different days: 20 Nov 95, 14 Dec 95, 8 Jan 96, 22 Jan 96, 8 Feb 96, 12 Feb 96, 16 Feb 96, 19 Feb 96, 18 Mar 96, 25 Mar 96, 1 Apr 96, 15 Apr 96, 18 Nov 96. Batches of spores produced on the aforementioned dates were made in Leighton and Doi medium and purified on Renografin-76 gradients. This was found in the B-3 cold room (Room XXXX), in a 4-8 degree Celsius cooler. These spores are leftovers from aerosol challenges. The sample is stored in water and 1% phenol.”

    Can you, Old Atlantic or Ed explain the origin of the silicon in Flask 1030?

    • Anonymous said

      The silicon in flask 1030 is a negligibly small amount (in spite of Ed lake’s endless irrelevant arguments about the number of spores that contain silicon).

      If the spores in that flask contained 1.5% silicon the FBI would be all over it. It would all be explained.

      These spores contain less than 0.1% silicon. That is contamination.

      More than 0.3% CANNOT BE EXPLAINED. As Livermore have just published.

      The obvious explanation is – duh – there was a silicon compound added deliberately.

      There is a big difference between accidental contamination and deliberate addition. Numbers cannot be aruged with.

      30% silicon in the New York Post powder is obviously deliberate addition. Thus the impossible to reproduce 1.5% silicon in Daschle comes from the same source. This is not 2 separate “accidents” – one for Daschle and another for NYP. It is one source of silicon – and it is deliberate. It had purpose behind it.

      • Old Atlantic said

        It had purpose, but it was two separate growths each using silicon additives deliberately? This is based on the subtilis in the first growth not in the second.

    • Old Atlantic said

      Do we know the amount of silicon in RMR-1030?

      Ed, do you claim the spores that have silicon in RMR-1030 have the same amount per spore as in the Senate anthrax?

      What is the number in that case? I.e. micrograms per spore or whatever units you have it?

      • Old Atlantic said

        Thanks for the information. What is the source that the spores in RMR-1030 that have silicon have the same amount of silicon per spore as do Senate letters?

        So this is a constant of nature? It is 2 percent of the weight of a spore that has silicon and 0 otherwise? On off switch per spore?

      • Old Atlantic said

        So we have the rhyme,

        How much silicon does a spore coat have if a spore coat does have silicon?

        Answer, 2 percent of the entire spore.

        • DXer said

          That’s not true. See Murrell, Chapter 7, which is the authoritative treatise which I uploaded some years ago.

        • Old Atlantic said

          Which is not true?

          That its a constant, that its 2 pecent of the entire spore or some combination or all of it?

        • DXer said

          It’s neither constant nor 2 percent. See, Murrell’s chapter 7, in a book that may be titled Chapter 7. Perhaps I scanned the pages and emailed them to people. I don’t see them uploaded offhand.

        • Old Atlantic said

          I was simply restating Ed Lake’s hypothesis in a jingle. I am not advocating it at this stage. Hypotheses non fingo.

      • BugMaster said

        “Does a Bacillus anthracis bacteria have an on-off switch for utilizing silicon? They don’t know. But, it now seems that it may not be an on-off switch.”

        If so, the genes encoding for such a switch would have been isolated by now. Such isolation of a mechanism you suggest would be easy, just change the temperature, and if the temperature-dependent switch is there, there would be a corresponding increase in expression of the genes encoding for the switch / silica utilization.

        I believe the entire genetic code for anthrax has been sequenced, and no one has been able to find the slightest suggestion of any genes encoding for any type of silicon utilization.

    • DXer said

      Ed,

      Why do you think Leighton and Doi medium contains silica?

  82. Anonymous said

    There is an interesting old thread here:

    http://anthraxvaccine.blogspot.com/2009/01/more-pictures-complete-exosporium.html

    where Ed Lake claims he is being contacted by an FBI scientist feeding him leaked information on the silicon content of the New York Post powder. Apparently the FBI DID INDEED find massive amounts of silicon in the New York Powder, but decided it was a “glitch” in their ICP analyzer (note ICP is different than the EDX performed by AFIP which shows massive silicon in NYP).

    The massive silicon in the NYP is obviously the source of the unusual silicon signature in ALL the attack samples – and what exactly this silicon compound is determines who DID or DID NOT have the capability to make such a preparation. It is a fingerprint. And these fingerprints are not Dr Ivins or Fort Detrick.

    I would recommend the GAO subpoena Ed lake’s email to find which FBI scientist leaked him the information on the NYP silicon briefings – so that these briefings can be obtained for their upcoming investigation of the FBI.

    Some quotes from Lake:
    http://anthraxvaccine.blogspot.com/2009/01/more-pictures-complete-exosporium.html

    BugMaster asked: “Was it true that there was more silicon in the less purified material in the media mailings, or is this just speculation?”

    It’s apparently true. But, my source at the FBI says that there is some dispute over those findings, and they don’t have enough of the NY Post material left to do any more tests to determine the actual quantity of silicon in the Post powder. They have to destroy the material in order to do certain kinds of tests.

    However, they know with absolute certainty that the actual SPORES contained the same amount of silicon as the spores in the Daschle and Leahy letters. It’s the silicon in the debris that they cannot analyze at this time. Hopefully, they’ll figure out how to analyzed it without having to destroy it.

    ————————————————————

    It’s my understanding that FBI lab tests did indeed find an unusual amount of silicon in the debris. But, after that finding, there wasn’t enough debris left to thoroughly analyze it to find out what the true source was. It could have been something as simple as a stray shard of glass buried in the powder.

    BugMaster asked: “Ed, could you get your source to expand on this?”

    My FBI sources wasn’t involved in the actual testing. All he knows is what was said in briefings. And that is summarized in what I stated above.

    —————————————-

    I just got a clarification from the FBI about the “silicon in the debris” that I mentioned.

    They feel that the unusual Silicon reading in the NY Post material was a technical glitch. When they fixed the glitch, they wanted to do another test, but there wasn’t enough material left to justify it.

    • DXer said

      Has anyone thought to email Dr. Velsko and ask if it could have been in the culture medium?

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

      • DXer said

        So we’ve established that Ed Lake never asked Dr. Velsko whether he had an expert opinion on whether Dr. Majidi was correct that it could have been in the culture medium.

        Did Anonymous?

  83. Old Atlantic said

    Anonymous is right that hydrogen is a perturbation on the percentages.

    In H20, we have approximate 2 units hydrogen and 16 oxygen. So a ratio of 1/8 about 12.5 percent.

    CH Carbon 12, H 1, so 1/12 or 8.33 percent.

  84. DXer said

    Dr. Ezzell, for his part, said that perhaps it was not “fully weaponized.”

    You folks should not be using a word that is defined in a way that obscures rather than illuminates.

  85. Anonymous said

    Lake attempts to divert attention from the issue by making the usual ad hominen attack:

    “Is this the complete list of people known to still believe that the attack spores were “weaponized” with silica or silicon?”

    The purpose of this discussion is to DEMONSRATE that the FBI are being less than truthful when they claim there was “insufficient sample” to determine the silicon content of the NYP powder.

    This has been DEMONSTRATED BEYOND DOUBT.

    • Anonymous said

      (2) In April 2002 information that an “unusual chemical” had been found coating the attack powders was provided by senior government officials to Newsweek, CNN and the Washington Post. Later on it was revealed by the FBI that this “unusual chemical” was “polymerized glass.”

      Source: Newsweek, 8 Apr 2002.
      http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/sophisticatedstrainanthrax.html
      A Sophisticated Strain of Anthrax
      By: Mark Hosenball, John Barry and Daniel Klaidman

      “Government sources tell Newsweek that the secret new analysis shows anthrax found in a letter addressed to Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy was ground to a microscopic fineness not achieved by U.S. biological-weapons experts. The Leahy anthrax – mailed in an envelope that was recovered unopened from a Washington post office last November [2001] — also was coated with a chemical compound unknown to experts who have worked in the field for years; the coating matches no known anthrax samples ever recovered from biological-weapons producers anywhere in the world, including Iraq and the former Soviet Union. The combination of the intense milling of the bacteria and the unusual coating produced an anthrax powder so fine and fluffy that individually coated anthrax spores were found in the Leahy envelope, something that U.S. bioweapons experts had never seen.”
      Source: Washington Post, 9 Apr 2002.
      http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/anthraxpowdernotroutine.html
      Powder Used in Anthrax Attacks ‘Was Not Routine’

      By: Joby Warrick, Washington Post Staff Writer

      “Whoever concocted the wispy white powder used in last fall’s [2001] anthrax attacks followed a recipe markedly different from the ones commonly used by scientists in the United States or any other country known to have biological weapons, law enforcement sources said yesterday.

      “Extensive lab tests of the anthrax powder have revealed new details about how the powder was made, including the identity of a chemical used to coat the trillions of microscopic spores to keep them from clumping together. Sources close to the investigation declined to name the chemical but said its presence was something of a surprise.

      “The powder’s formulation ‘was not routine,’ said one law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. ‘Somebody had to have special knowledge and experience to do this,’ the official said.”

      Source: CNN, 11 Apr 2002.

      http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/unusualcoating.html
      Official: Unusual coating in anthrax mailings
      By: Kelli Arena, CNN Washington Bureau

      “Scientists have found a new chemical in the coating on the anthrax spores mailed to journalists and politicians last fall, a
      high-ranking government official said Wednesday.

      “The discovery of the unnamed chemical, something scientists are familiar with, was surprising, the official said.

      “Previously, officials had reported that the coating on the anthrax included silica, which helped the spores not to clump.”

      Source: OpEdNews.com
      http://www.opednews.com/articles/World-s-Top-Anthrax-Expert-by-George-Washington-080909-527.html

      “Apparently, the spores were coated with a polyglass which tightly bound hydrophilic silica to each particle. That’s what was briefed (according to one of my former weapons inspectors at the United Nations Special Commission) by the FBI to the German Foreign Ministry at the time.”

      ******

      2.1: What laboratory results were performed in order for the FBI to conclude that “polymerized glass” was individually coating the spores?

      2.2: The complete set of laboratory data, including any and all spectroscopic results, that led to this conclusion needs to be published in order for independent experts in the chemistry of silanes, siloxanes and polysiloxanes to assess the conclusion that polymerized glass was present as a spore coating.

      ******

      —-
      (3) Quantitative elemental silicon analysis results released by the FBI: FBI lab director Dr Hassell made the following statement to the
      National Academy of Science in July of 2009:
      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/fbi-assistant-director-hassell-statement-to-nas-7-30-09.pdf

      “There has been a great deal written regarding the presence of silicon in the samples and the location of that silicon. The FBI
      Laboratory used Inductively Coupled Plasma-Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-OES) to quantify silicon, as well as other
      elements, in the Leahy letter spore powder. The results indicated the Leahy spores contained 1.45 percent by weight. The New York Post letter spore powder was qualitatively analyzed using ICP-OES and was found to have Silicon present in the sample. However, the limited quantity of recovered material precluded a reliable numerical measurement of any elements present within this powder. Insufficient quantities ofboth the Daschle and Brokaw letters spore powders precluded the analysis of these samples using this elemental analysis technique.”

      ******

      3.1: What is the minimum amount of sample needed to perform accurate quantitative elemental analysis on spore samples?

      3.2: All of the FBI’s ICP-OES data for all of the spore powders they measured needs to be released and published for independent verification by experts in analytical chemistry.

      ******

      —-
      (4) Role of Pacific Northwest National Labs in the Amerithrax investigation: In his slide presentation to NAS in July 2008, FBI lab director Dr Hassell acknowledged the involvement of Pacific Northwest National Labs. This can be seen in slide 14 here:
      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/02/01/fbi-slides-d-christian-hassell-%EF%BB%BFscientific-approaches-to-the-2001-anthrax-letters-investigation/

      ******

      4.1: What role did Pacific Northwest National Labs serve in the Amerithrax investigation?

      ******

      Pacific Northwest Labs demonstrated in 2005 that accurate quantitative Elemental Analysis can be performed on bacillus spores with samples as small as one nanogram. The Pacific Northwest paper on this technique can be seen here: Differentiation of Spores of Bacillus subtilis Grown in Different Media by Elemental Characterization Using Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry, John B. Cliff, Kristin H. Jarman, Nancy B. Valentine, Steven L. Golledge, Daniel J. Gaspar, David S. Wunschel, and Karen L. Wahl, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, November 2005, p. 6524-6530, Vol. 71, No. 11

      http://aem.asm.org/cgi/content/full/71/11/6524?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=subtilis&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=630&resourcetype=HWFIG

      ******

      4.2: Did Pacific Northwest National Labs determine the elemental quantities of silicon and other elements in the attack powders? What was the quantity of silicon they determined for each powder?

      ******

      (5) Amount of spores needed for all of the attack letters: The single flask of RMR-1029 consisted at its origination date of 30g of Ames anthrax spores in a slurry of 1 liter of water. The resources needed to make this 30g of spores consisted of a combination of 12 x 10 liter fermentor runs at Dugway Proving Ground and 22 flask culture lots made at USAMRIID. Dr Bruce Ivins had calculated that to make 30g of spores at USAMRIID it would take approximately one year of work, which is why USAMRIID contracted the large fermentor runs at Dugway in order to fulfill their need for spores for animal vaccine challenge studies.

      ******

      5.1: What calculations did the FBI labs perform that allowed them to conclude that the total quantity of spores needed for all the mailed letters could be made by a single person over a few evenings?

      ******

      (6) Dugway researchers publish in 2008 that the Daschle spores were “fluidized.” In March 2008 authors from Dugway Proving Ground and the CDC published a paper titled: Development of an Aerosol System for Uniformly Depositing Bacillus anthracis Spore Particles on Surfaces. Paul A. Baron1, Cherie F. Estill1, Gregory J. Deye1, Misty J. Hein1, Jeremy K. Beard2, Lloyd D. Larsen2, and Gregory E. Dahlstrom2, 1_Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA 2_Dugway Proving Ground, Dugway, Utah, USA

      http://pdfserve.informaworld.com/168090__790515467.pdf

      In this paper, which was concerned with manufacturing a powder that would display similar aerosol and dispersability behavior to the Daschle powder, the authors make the following statement: “In the anthrax attack of 2001, some of the material was believed to be in a “fluidized” form (defined here as having fumed silica added).”

      ******

      6.1: Were the authors from Dugway Proving Ground privy to the nature of the powder used in the attacks? What led the authors to conclude that the spores used in the attacks were “fluidized?”

  86. Old Atlantic said

    http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/history/famous-cases/anthrax-amerithrax/science-briefing

    “Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. I am Vahid Majidi, the Assistant Director responsible for the FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate. I would like to start today’s session with a brief opening statement and define the scope of our roundtable discussion.”

    The scope does not include why the silicon is there, just why it is not there.

    “First of all, let me dispel some frequently repeated erroneous information. For example:

    * There were no intentional additives combined with the bacillus anthracis spores to make them any more dispersible.

    * The purity of samples obtained from the four letters (Hart and Russell Senate office, and NBC and New York post offices in New York) were sufficiently different, which allowed us to conclude that at least two different bacillus anthracis batches were prepared from the original RMR-1029. This indicates that aliquots of the RMR-1029 were removed and cultured in at least two separate batches to produce the materials used in the mailings.

    Remember, a conspiracy theorist is someone who says the FBI has to explain why the silicon is there.

    A true FBI believer is someone who only explains not-why it is there.

    The ordinary mind thinks in terms of why. The FBI mind thinks in terms of not-why. Once you understand not-why, it is easy to say why not. Why not 2 percent silicon in the Senate letters? Why not 30 percent in New York Post? These are just accidents of history.

    The FBI has to explain nothing about silicon, nothing.

    • Anonymous said

      “The FBI has to explain nothing about silicon, nothing.”

      We all know how your mind works. The FBI also thought they could prosecute people with junk science lead in bullet analysis – until NAS told them they couldn’t.

      They think they can brush 30% silicon under the carpet. NAS disagree.

      An FBI scientist is someone who practices junk science in order to fit the orders of their non-scientist superiors.

      A real scientist is someone who looks at data and reaches scientific conclusions based on that data.

      • DXer said

        Have you noticed how long ago discussion about Dr. Ivins slipped from proof of his guilt to proof that he might possibly have done it?

        For example, they say he could not account for how he spent a few nights at the same time they withhold the contemporaneous notes explaining how he spent his time. Then they conclude “he could have done it” because years later he could not explain the particulars of what he was doing (he instead pointed to the fact that he lived nearby and liked hanging out at the lab).

        The AUSA says he was in the library without disclosing the expert tests THAT EXPRESSLY EXCLUDE THE POSSIBILITY THAT THE USAMRIID PHOTOCOPIER(S) WERE USED.

        The US Attorney — and Ed — rely on the fact that Dr. Ivins did not continue having the same overtime hours from 2002 onward at night in the BL-3 lab without acknowledging that the 2-person rule implemented in 2002 precluded that. Even Taylor’s argument defeated itself given the overtime continued in November and December.

        The FBI scientists say Bruce submitted false samples knowing of the written protocols even though the documentary evidence establishes that the protocols and slants were the subject of repeated requests from Ivins’ lab as late as May 2002. See May 24, 2002 email. Indeed, there has been no proof disclosed that Dr. Ivins even was the one to submit the samples, as opposed to the DARPA-funded scientist thanked by Ayman Zawahiri’s former associate supplied virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins. There would be fingerprints on what was submitted and so it was not something to fairly remain in doubt or be subject to guesswork or vague recollections.

        The FBI scientists base much of their reasoning based on a sample which they never disclosed was thrown out by the same FBI scientist’s lab that made a dried Ames aerosol using Flask 1029! Their case against Dr. Ivins went down the toilet with that sample.

        Ed argues that it is 99% certain that Dr. Ivins did not write the letters and argues, without any evidence, that Dr. Ivins is certain he arranged to have them written — by person unknown. Huh? Bwahaha! I can’t make this stuff up! In the many hundreds of work emails (and also the personal emails produced), there is not a single mention of the fictional young child Ed is obsessed with).

        US Attorney General Holder is not staying up nights obsessing with children. After helping his kids with homework, he is obsessing that he might have missed something related to Anwar Awlaki’s coordination with the guy, Ali Al-Timimi, who shared a suite with the DARPA-funded Ames researchers who used silica in the culture medium, especially given that DARPA researchers were using a dried powder out of Ames from Flask 1029.

        Eric Holder perhaps is musing whether the renografin and/or antifoam in aerosol experiments carried out in Building 1412 might have resulted in the Silicon Signal, and whether that Ames might have been stolen for use in the mailings. He is musing where Jdey is. Eric Holder is on notice that his friend, the head of the Amerithrax prosecution, was the father of Al-Timimi’s pro bono attorney and has pled the Fifth Amendment to the hyped leaks (and from a family of Palestinian activists). He is on notice that the FBI scientist guiding the NAS inquiry was the collection scientist for the Bacteriology Division at ATCC, which co-sponsored Ali’s program and granted him unfettered access to the largest microbiological repository of the world. Mr. Holder is on notice that Andrew Card oversaw warrantless wiretapping of Al-Timimi, Fowzia Siddiqui and others and excluded the US DOJ (to include Amerithrax Task Force investigators). Al-Timimi was Andy’s former assistant and the White House had given Al-Timimi a letter of commendation for his classified work for the Navy.. which brings me to Dr. Burans but I’ll move on. Eric Holder is on notice that the FBI genetics expert KS was thanked by the former Zawahiri associate for supplying a BL-3. And that Bruce Ivins’ chief accuser (Former Colleague #2) was thanked by the former Zawahiri associate for providing technical assistance. Eric Holder is on notice that Amerithrax needs to be reopened and if he does not order it reopened, he should step down when FBI Director Mueller steps down.

        If Eric Holder and the others take any comfort in the fact that people who have not read the record buy into their conclusions, they are being naive that history won’t lay bare what happened — whatever it was. Relying on the guy who has proven to the world that those are not really Sophia Loren’s real tits — like Joe at Sandia does — then good luck to them!

        Note that US Attorney’s conclusion at the August 2008 conference did not even contemplate access in Building 1412 — ignoring up to 250 people who had access there.

        I interrupted Dr. JE at the November 29 before he could say what other labs were conducting aerosol tests for DARPA with the dried powder. FBI Director Mueller refused to answer the question in open hearing (he refused to identify the lab(s) other than Battelle and Dugway (where Battelle managed the Life Sciences building).

        Dr. Ivins was prevented from swabbing the Special Pathogens lab (where the FBI scientist was) — and thought it an incredible coverup — and then without any hesitation the FBI scientists use his swabbing of his own lab as evidence of his guilt.

        Has the US DOJ standards for critical reasoning really sunk so low that the First Grader-obsessed boob guy makes as much sense as the FBI scientists and AUSA? Ed insists he is 99% certain that a First Grader — not Ivins — wrote the letter. Ed’s lack of appreciation that his argument tends to exonerate Dr. Ivins is an indication of the quality of his analysis.

        Joe from Sandia is so proud that that the silica/silicon was in the coat rather than the exosporium … without even having the background that there is more than one way to “weaponize” anthrax — even using Dr. Majidi’s unduly narrow definition. (He is just handed that as an assumption).

        To take another example of the shallowness of analysis by labels, removal of the charge permits predictable release from a cropduster. But IMPARTING a charge causes it to leave a mailed envelope. Which is “weaponized” for the purpose of sending mailed anthrax? (The latter).

      • Old Atlantic said

        My comment was meant as ironic and to represent what Vahid Majidi would write should he write here.

  87. Old Atlantic said

    Table 1 on bottom of page 4 of the following contains a partial elemental analysis. They are expressed as ratios to Calcium?

    http://aem.asm.org/cgi/reprint/71/11
    /6524.pdf

    • Anonymous said

      Correct, in that paper they express all the elements relative to calcium. But the paper demonstrates that it’s possible to get very accurate elemental concentrations from spores – something the FBI ludicrously claim was impossible for the attack powders.

      In this paper here:
      https://e-reports-ext.llnl.gov/pdf/333118.pdf
      They use a different technique and express all the elements in spores as ppm, which is trivial to convert to weight percentage. In fact they used ICP here – the very technique the FBI claim couldn’t give them an answer.

      All this known data demonsrates that the concentrations of all the elements in spores are easy to obtain. The FBI just want to hide these numbers for the attack spores – especially the silicon numbers.

      • Old Atlantic said

        Thanks for the confirmation.

      • Anonymous said

        “That is the material that the FBI says it cannot definitively evaluate because they can no longer evaluate the entire powder.”

        The reality is that the AFIP data give a representative silicon concentration of the entire sample – for the both NYP and Daschle – since it probed hundreds of thousands of spores and any addtional material to make the measurement. I think you proabaly know that.

        • Anonymous said

          “And these are the measurements which you say could be off by 50% simply because hydrogen is not part of the calculations.”

          I never said it was off 50% because hydrogen is not included. I said hydrogen can be ignored because it’s atomic weight contributes so little to the weight percentage.

          I said EVEN IF the calculation had a 50% error – unlikely, but to play it safe take the worst possbile case error – you still have 15% silicon to contend with. NAS do not brush that under the carpet – just as they don’t pretend lead in bullet analysis works.

          You have never performed analysis on a sample before in your life. You are talking complete rubbish about what elemental analysis means. You don’t undertstand how it works.

        • Anonymous said

          You’re really confused. Joe Michael is the person looking at the doorknob.

          AFIP looked at an entire floor of the Empire State Building – a representation of the entire building.

          To clear up your confusion refer to Joe’s NAS presentation where he compares STEM (doorknob) to SEM (entire floor).

  88. Anonymous said

    Now that we have the AFIP report, we can understand why General Parker said what he said back in 2001:

    http://cryptome.org/anthrax-powder.htm

    Maj. Gen. John S. Parker, commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command at the time of the attacks, says he saw AFIP’s lab reports. “There was a huge silicon spike” consistent with the presence of silica, he says. “It peaked near the top of the screen.”

    • Anonymous said

      recent chapter in Microbial Forensics by Velsko:

      Quote (from page 513):

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

      • Anonymous said

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

      • DXer said

        Ed,

        US Attorney gave the “the prosecution narrative in this case” — which related solely to Building 1425 and excluded Building 1412 which is where the autoclaving was done, left-overs were kept for long periods awaiting autoclaving etc.

  89. DXer said

    Anonymous,

    Please explain your view why the Silicon Signal did not arise due to the use of renografin in purification and/or the use of antifoam in unclogging the wet aerosol sprays — with the spores obtained from leftovers awaiting autoclaving in Building 1412.

    Relatedly, is there no PhD microbiologist who supports your view that the silicon signal needed to arise from something added post-sporulation? Wouldn’t a federal district court require a PhD microbiologist opinion on that issue?

    • DXer said

      Who was Dr. Ivins writing about the virulent Ames known to be missing from Building 1412?

      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/05/27/who-was-dr-ivins-writing-about-the-missing-sample-of-ames-strain-of-anthrax/

    • Anonymous said

      Renografin doesn’t contain silicon. Detrick never used silicon based antifoams – all their antifoams were non-silicon based. Even then, attempts to reproduce the silicon in the attacks spores by deliberately using silicon antifoam failed.

      As far as your question about someone with a PhD is concerned, I refer you to the recent chapter in Microbial Forensics by Velsko:

      Quote (from page 513):

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

      • DXer said

        Where does Velsko support your view that the silica must have been added post-sporulation.

        Instead, why isn’t it fully consistent with Dr. Majidi’s suggestion that it could have been in the culture medium?

        I have not heard from Dr. Spertzel since after the FBI anthrax scientist John explained that the dried powder he made (using a lyophilizer) was better than — more pure — than the Daschle product. Dr. Spertzel said it would take him a year with experts and yet John says his was better — more pure. Aren’t John’s observations more reliable given that actually made the powder? Aren’t they more reliable given that he actually observed the Daschle product? I credit that Dr. Spertzel could not make it. But I also credit John that he could — and did.

        • Anonymous said

          It’s really up to you to provide a source (with reference) that demonsrates it’s possible to obtain 1.5% silicon in spores using a chemical during growth. Livermore tried 56 times and concluded it couldn’t be done.

          The obvious next step is try a different silicon containing chemical AFTER growth.

          But if you know it can be done after all during growth, in spite of Livermore’s assertions that it can’t – please feel free to provide the data referencing the study and the proof of your assertions.

        • DXer said

          “Anonymous said
          December 22, 2010 at 8:32 pm

          It’s really up to you to provide a source (with reference) that demonsrates it’s possible to obtain 1.5% silicon in spores using a chemical during growth. Livermore tried 56 times and concluded it couldn’t be done.”

          Anonymous,

          Isn’t it really up to you to email Dr. Velsko and ask if it could have been in the culture medium rather than putting words in his mouth to the effect he concluded it couldn’t? I don’t know know what conclusion or opinion he has as to Dr. Majidi’s suggestion at the press conference that it could have been in the culture medium.

        • DXer said

          Ed,

          Is Anonymous correct that renografin 76 does not contain silicon?

          Is Anonymous correct that USAMRIID folks did not ever use an antifoam containing silica?

        • Anonymous said

          Detrick used Tween as an antifoam. It does not contain silicon.

          You are wasting your time trying to find things that do not contain silicon to explain massive silicon levels.

          Why not start with the obvious – things that DO actually contain silicon?

          Trying to blame it on irrelevant, silicon-free compounds is a bit like hearing the thumping of hooves over the hill and imagining “there must be a herd of zebras over there”.

        • DXer said

          Anonymous,

          It was Dr. Ezzell, the FBI’s anthrax scientist, on the videotape I made for you who pointed to the need to consider renografin as the source of the Silicon Signal. It is not unsound considering the recommendation of the FBI anthrax scientist given he created a dried powder using Ames supplied by Bruce Ivins’ Flask 1029 that was better than the Daschle product. He worked regularly with virulent Ames from Flask 1029.

          For his part, Dr. Heine told the NAS that the anthrax in question most likely would have been grown in a 100-liter fermenter.

          Committee member Murray Johnston asked about the silicon found in the anthrax spores, which some have said is a sign the anthrax was professionally weaponized and others have said could have naturally wound up in the anthrax.

          Heine replied that many antifoams added to anthrax to be put in a fermenter contain silicon. So if the anthrax was grown in a fermenter, then “you can achieve the kind of percentages (of silicon) found in the letters with this process.”

          But if the anthrax was grown in a flask, “you absolutely wouldn’t expect it” to have picked up any silicon naturally.

          Anonymous, what evidence do you rely upon in claiming that Patricia Fellows or other DARPA-funded USAMRIID aerosol scientists did not use antifoam containing silica in unclogging the nozzles? Would you defer to the record if Mr. Lake finds a 302 that indicates that they did?

        • DXer said

          Anonymous,

          Have you ever asked our friends, the former chiefs of bacteriology whether an antifoam containing silica was ever used to unclog the nozzles?

        • Anonymous said

          “It was Dr. Ezzell, the FBI’s anthrax scientist, on the videotape I made for you who pointed to the need to consider renografin as the source of the Silicon Signal.”

          I simply don’t follow the logic. Why would he consider a silicon-free compound to be the source of silicon?
          Indeed, I actually find it suspicious that ANYONE would suggest a compound that does not contain silicon to be the source of silicon. Especially when they refuse to consider compounds that DO actually contain silicon.
          It’s a bit like the cops at a murder scene where there is an obvious gunshot victim saying “How can we explain this death without invoking a piece of lead flying through the air at 2000 meters per second?”

        • DXer said

          Well consider someone making dried powder anthrax from Flask 1029 for the same DARPA research — but this time using a different purification agent — such as colloidal silica (Ludox).

  90. Old Atlantic said

    What about hydrogen? Its symbol is still H I assume. This test doesn’t detect hydrogen? So we have to rescale by the percentage of hydrogen?

  91. anonymous said

    You can download the NIST software at the last link below and obtain he simulations for yourself. The software is self-explanatory.

    https://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0B7Vzv7IcODeVZmZiYmM0ZWYtN2E0MS00Y2YwLTkxMGQtNTI5ZjMyOWQyNDQw&hl=en.

    The key to the sample ID numbers used in the AFIP data can be found at
    http://foia.fbi.gov/amerithrax/847545.PDF , page 112 for the Leahy, Daschle and NY Post samples; pp 121-123 for the others.
    The calculations were made with software for quantitative X-ray microanalysis provided by the National Institute of Standards and Technology at http://www.cstl.nist.gov/div837/837.02/epq/dtsa2/index.html

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