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

* happy new year

Posted by DXer on December 31, 2010

******

To all of you who come to this blog,

those who contribute,

those who monitor …

I wish all of you a happy and healthy 2011.

And may all the answers to all the questions we ask

appear like magic in the coming year.

LEW

******

59 Responses to “* happy new year”

  1. DXer said

    http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/news/display.htm?storyID=114615

    Top stories of 2010

    7. Bruce Ivins investigation

    It has been nine years since five people were killed and 17 sickened by anthrax spores mailed to lawmakers and news outlets, and more than two years since the suspect in the case, scientist Bruce Ivins committed suicide, but new information about the anthrax, the investigation and the suspect continue to emerge.

    Anthrax and Al Qaeda: The Infiltration of US Biodefense
    http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1443811

    http://www.anthraxandalqaeda.com

  2. DXer said

    Fort Detrick Anthrax Survivor Shares Story

    http://www.wusa9.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=129191&catid=189

  3. DXer said

    ‘Very large’ fish kill reported in bay

    Cold believed cause for 2 million dead

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/features/green/bs-gr-fish-kill-bay-20110104,0,5624655.story#photo

    By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun
    10:34 a.m. EST, January 5, 2011

  4. DXer said

    In litigation, a reply brief or a surreply is part of the process, it addresses issues that warrant supplemental argument.

    It should not be understood as improper at all when a party seeks permission to submit a reply not previously contemplated.

    Instead the FBI should be producing even more documents so that the NAS can do as thorough a job as possible. (Criticism of the production of the additional 500 pages makes them resistant to produce more). Given the expertise of the NAS panel members and the learning they now have under their belt, they are best suited to address the range of issues that were used in Amerithrax. So the FBI should err on the side of the fullest possible production as Jennifer A.L. Smith urged before the panel.

    It’s time to accept that everyone wants to reach the correct result — whether on the science or on the investigative facts.

  5. anonymous said

    There is supposed to be a January meeting of the NAS anthrax committee. This will be meeting number 7. The January meeting date has still not been announced at NAS’s website (below).

    Will they announce the meeting this week? Will they give details on who from the FBI will be presenting and what they will be presenting?

    What are the FBI hoping to convince the NAS committee to change in their report?

    http://www8.nationalacademies.org/cp/projectview.aspx?key=49105

    Committee Membership
    Committee Membership

    Meetings
    Meeting 1 – 07/30/2009
    Meeting 2 – 09/24/2009
    Meeting 3 – 12/10/2009
    Meeting 4 – 02/01/2010
    Meeting 5 – 04/22/2010
    Meeting 6 – 06/02/2010

    • DXer said

      If there is any doubt of the hugely important and exciting work scientists do, consider this week’s Alfred Hitchcock mystery. I would have thought that perhaps it involved someone’s poisoning of black birds thought to be a pest that then got into the water supply and killed the fish but investigators say there is no connection.

      (NECN: CNN: Beebe, Ark.) – The new year is off to a bizarre beginning in Arkansas as 100,000 drum fish washed up along the the Arkansas River.

      Scientists say disease is likely to blame in the deaths of the fish, but a little more than 100 miles away in Beebe,thousands of birds started falling from the sky just before the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve.

      “I thought it was out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie,” said one resident. “I thought the mayor was messing with me when he called me. He got me up at 4 o’clock in the morning, saying we had birds falling out of the sky,” said another.

      The Arkansas game and fish commission says the phenomenon is not as unusual as it might seem. The likely culprit is a lightning strike, high-altitude hail or even fireworks.

      Investigators said there is no connection between the dead fish and the dead birds.

      • DXer said

        Maybe the 100,000 fish and 1,000 blackbirds died of stress relating to the issue of the country’s debt limit.

        Arkansas Officials Baffled By Falling Blackbirds

        Posted on: Monday, 3 January 2011, 06:45 CST

        More than a thousand blackbirds rained down to the ground in the small town of Beebe, Arkansas New Year’s Eve, perplexing wildlife officials as to how the birds ended up dying.

        The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said in a Facebook posting Sunday that the birds, which alarmed residents in the small town as they mysteriously piled up on homes and lawns, would be tested to find what caused their deaths.

        Authorities said they had no immediate answer as to why the birds fell from the sky, and would test them on Monday.

        Some scientists speculate that the flock of blackbirds could have been struck by high-altitude hail, or may have been startled by fireworks, according to an Arkansas Times report.

        Also, a statement made on the Commission’s website states that “another scenario may have been that New Year’s Eve revelers shooting off fireworks in the area may have startled the birds from their roost. The birds may have died from stress.”

        • Why test on Monday when they could wait 10 years?

        • DXer said

          01/01/2011
          Description

          BEEBE – Last night, ringing in the New Year took on a whole different meaning for the citizens of Beebe. Beginning at around 11:30 p.m., enforcement officers with Arkansas Game and Fish Commission began getting reports of dead black birds falling from the sky in the city limits of Beebe.

          Officers estimated that over 1,000 birds had fallen out of the sky over the city before midnight. Most of the birds were dead, but some were still alive when officers arrived. The blackbirds fell over a one-mile area in the city. AGFC wildlife officer Robby King responded to the reports and found hundreds of birds. “Shortly after I arrived there were still birds falling from the sky,” King said. King collected about 65 dead birds that will be sent to the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission lab and the National Wildlife Health Center lab in Madison, Wis.

          The AGFC has flown over the area to gauge the scope of the event. There were no other birds found outside of the initial area.

          AGFC ornithologist Karen Rowe said that strange events similar to this one have occurred a number of times across the globe. “Test results usually were inconclusive, but the birds showed physical trauma and that the flock could have been hit by lightning or high-altitude hail,” Rowe said.

          Another scenario may have been that New Year’s Eve revelers shooting off fireworks in the area may have startled the birds from their roost. The birds may have died from stress.

          Rowe said that it didn’t appear as though the birds died of any poisoning or other event. “Since it only involved a flock of blackbirds and only involved them falling out of the sky it is unlikely they were poisoned, but a necropsy is the only way to determine if the birds died from trauma or toxin,” she said. Testing will begin on Monday.

          The City of Beebe has hired U.S. Environmental Services to begin the cleanup and dispose of the dead birds. The environmental firm will go door-to-door to pick up the birds that are still in yards and on roof tops.

        • DXer said

          TIME –

          Theories to explain the sudden death of the blackbird flock have come thick and fast. Speaking to CNN Radio on January 2, Karen Rowe, an ornithologist for the AGFC, said that the incident isn’t that rare, and is often caused by a lightning strike or high-altitude hail. Initial examinations of the dead birds showed trauma, including head injury. Such trauma could have resulted from something contacting them in the air—or from impact with the ground.

          Rowe ruled out poisoning. “It’s important to understand that a sick bird can’t fly. So whatever happened to these birds happened very quickly,” she said. “Something must have caused these birds to flush out of the trees at night, where they’re normally just roosting and staying in the treetops … and then something got them out of the air and caused their death and then they fell to earth.”

          Officials speculated that fireworks set off by New Year’s revelers could have startled the birds from their roost, and caused them to die from stress.

        • DXer said

          At 11: 30 p.m. on December 31, 2010, I believe the wind direction was westerly at 10 m.p.h. at 11:00 it was 5 m.ph. at 10 p.m. there was no wind.

          http://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/KSRC/2010/12/31/DailyHistory.html?req_city=Beebe&req_state=AR&req_statename=Arkansas

          Precipitation was .01 in.

          It seems that hail or lightening would have been mentioned by witnesses.

          And so the next thing we want to see today … interviews of fireworks revelers, to include the size of their fireworks, whether birds were targeted, spooked into flight etc. If that hypothesis is the one that proves out, and they were targeted — then perhaps there are animal cruelty laws that apply. Everyday this month at 10 a.m., I photograph birds at a nearby aviary. So throw the book at them.

        • DXer said

          I’ve seen 1,000, 2,000 and 5,000 birds.

          USA Today has 5,000 birds.

          Fun video with hazmat suits.

          http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2011/01/test-results-likely-today-on-ark-birds-that-fell-from-sky/1

          Here is a reference in sharp contrast to what I posted re historical weather data.

          “High winds and tornadoes struck Arkansas on New Year’s Eve, with the hardest hit area more than 150 miles to the west of Beebe.”

          http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-News/Dead-Fish-And-Birds-Mystery-Thousands-Of-Fish-And-Blackbirds-Die-In-Arkansas/Article/201101115878597?lpos=World_News_Right_Promo_Region_1&lid=ARTICLE_15878597_Dead_Fish_And_Birds_Mystery%3A_Thousands_Of_Fish_And_Blackbirds_Die_In_Arkansas_

          A tornado?

        • DXer said

          As for the tornado mentioned 150 miles away…

          8:02 p.m. EST, January 1, 2011
          http://www.wsbt.com/news/kfsm-dec31-tornadowarnings-and-outages,0,6532269.story

          Electricity has been restored to the majority of the nearly 20,000 customers who lost power during Friday’s deadly tornado that ripped through parts of Northwest Arkansas and Northeast Oklahoma.

          Penny Storms with Ozarks Electric Cooperative Corp. says just before 4 p.m. crews restored power to all homes and buildings who could receive service. They also replaced several power poles across their service area. The brunt of the damage was done in Cincinnati, a small community in Washington County. Many homes and farms were destroyed by what the National Weather Service is now calling an EF-3.

          The tornado ripped through the area around 6:17 a.m. Friday, killing three people, destroying many homes, businesses and the community’s fire department. Roofs were blown off of homes. Many roads to and from Cincinnati were also blocked because of downed power lines.

          In Beebe, the barometric pressure was steadily rising between 10 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. Could it have been some sort of tornado? The wind at the Beebe airport, I believe, was 10 miles in a westerly direction.

        • DXer said

          Dr. Tara O’Toole:

          We’ll get our minds around the possibility of a mass event and consider “The Day After.”

          In the meantime, why can’t your audience get their mind around an analysis that takes more than 5,000 words?

        • DXer said

          LABARRE — Hundreds of dead and dying birds littered a quarter-mile stretch of highway in Pointe Coupee Parish on Monday as motorists drove over and around them.

          State biologists are trying to determine what led to the deaths of the estimated 500 red-winged blackbirds and starlings on La. 1 just down the road from Pointe Coupee Central High School.

          The discovery of the dead birds — some of which were lying face down, clumped in groups, while others were face up with their wings outstretched and rigid legs pointing upward — comes just three days after more than 3,000 blackbirds rained down from the sky in Beebe, Ark.

          Necropsies performed Monday on the birds in Arkansas showed the birds suffered internal injuries that formed blood clots leading to their deaths, The Associated Press reported.

          http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/112843019.html

  6. Old Atlantic said

    Happy New Year all.

    Click to access Forensic%20Fiber%20Examination%20Guidelines.pdf

    Forensic Fiber Examination Guidelines
    Scientific Working Group on Materials Analysis (SWGMAT) (formerly the Technical Working Group on Materials Analysis [TWGMAT]) Fiber Subgroup

    The search Acrylic fiber forensics and related ones bring up hits. “Single fiber” can be added to it.

    • BugMaster said

      Acrylic fibers aren’t really commonplace these days, correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t acrylic sweaters go the way of polyester shirts?

      And the colors? Red, yellow, and also the nylon fibers found: black, red, yellow?

      Rather a garish combination, who dresses like that?

      Seems to be a rather distinctive (or at least unusual) pattern.

      Yet were any items of clothing in Ivin’s possession of interest to the FBI besides the underwear?

      I don’t recall any mention of items of clothing in any of their search warrent affidavits.

  7. DXer said

    Dr. Ivins had his usual scheduled physical therapy session on September 17, 2001 when the government imagined he may have been mailing the anthrax.

    Although the therapist — when first asked for the records — reports that the billing computer had crashed for the period and thus he did not have the records, Dr. Ivins’ insurance company would have had the records.

    There is nothing in the records produced February 10, 2010 to indicate that FBI ever bothered to obtain the record confirming that he attended the session. It seems that the FBI might have spent less time in July 2009 testing panties for DNA and driving Dr. Ivins to a rage and more effort getting to the truth of Dr. Ivins’ alibi.

    It was his alibi that was relevant. Relatedly, why did the questioning of the Red Cross personnel only relate to the October Red Cross training and meetings and not the Red Cross meeting on September 17, 2001 the third Monday of the month?

    Even upon obtaining a counsel because of the accusatory nature of the grand jury appearance over issues relating to sloppy record-keeping, Attorney Kemp and Dr. Ivins always cooperated with the investigation.

    AUSA Kenneth Kohl of course was busy and distracted in Iraq after Dr. Ivins suicide and he so perhaps that is why he did not follow up with the insurance information that would have shown that Dr. Ivins attended.

    Judge Cites Prosecutorial Misconduct In Blackwater Dismissal…
    Main Justice – Jan 1, 2010
    Blackwater prosecutors Kenneth Kohl (left) and Jonathan Malis met in Baghdad … Judge Urbina, however, painted a picture of prosecutorial misconduct that …

    So who was responsible for running down the question of Dr. Ivins’ alibi with the insurance provider?

    The head of the FBI DC Field Office was being forced out and so in his place was overseeing that the alibi be run down?
    The Crime Report » Archive » Head Of FBI’s DC Office…
    ‎Crime Report – Dec 8, 2009
    Joseph Persichini Jr the head of the FBI’s key field office in … that he violated agency rules when taking an open book exam reports Ticklethewirecom The …

    The FBI investigators who had caused Dr. Ivins to fly into a rage on July 9, 2008 over the testing of the semen on the panties ordered on July 2 certainly had no incentive to prove that he had alibi.

    Moreover, doesn’t the memo produced prove that the FBI Field Office either had a tape of the addictions meeting or an undercover agent present at the meeting? (JAG had objected that the police reports and then a memo was done by “writer” employed by the government on Field Office stationery confirming that is what he had heard. Testing the panties and then sitting in on his therapy session intended to overcome the alcohol addiction that the investigation had caused? I think that time might have been better spent nailing down the alibi issue through documentary evidence.

    Where are the interviews from 2001 and 2002 when Dr. Ivins would have been asked his whereabouts on the dates of mailing? Early on, there would not have been the problem with lost records.

    And why were the 16 pages about the visit by the former Zawahiri associate and his work alongside Bruce Ivins using virulent Ames not provided the FBI until February 2005?

    The object of the exercise is not to find fault with the agency or scientists or investigators — not at all. The documents attest to the quality of their work and professionalism. Allegations of fault merely raise resistance to approaching the Ivins Theory with an open mind under principles of cognitive dissonance.

    The object of the exercise instead is to determine the bona fides of Dr. Ivins’ alibi.

    What do the insurance payor’s records say about whether he attended on September 17, 2001?

    GAO should determine whether Dr. Ivins attended the September 17, 2001 group therapy session by both obtaining the 2001 and 2002 interviews (and polygraphs) AND the insurance provider’s billing records.

  8. DXer said

    If the NAS had provided documents so as to permit meaningful participation on this issue whether there was taint to the evidence, I might have been able to explain the following way in which the genetics evidence, to me, seems tainted — even as credit the expertise and good faith of all the scientists involved.

    1. By way of background, the FBI only provided one article (as I best recall) in the FOIA production.

    The article is:

    A Novel Surfactant Nanoemulsion with Broad‐Spectrum Sporicidal Activity against Bacillus Species
    Tarek Hamouda,1 Michael M. Hayes,1,a Zhengyi Cao,1 Richard Tonda,1 Kent Johnson,2 D. Craig Wright,3Joan Brisker,3 and James R. Baker, Jr.1
    1Center for Biologic Nanotechnology and Department of Medicine, and 2Department of Pathology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor; 3NOVAVAX, Inc., Rockville, Maryland

    “Presented in part: 98th general meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, Atlanta, May 1998 (poster A49); 38th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, San Diego, September 1998 (late‐breaker slide session II, LB‐9); 99th general meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, Chicago, May 1999 (poster A300).”

    “Financial support: Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (contract MDA 972‐1‐007 of the Unconventional Pathogen Countermeasures Program).”

    “Acknowledgments

    We thank Shaun B. Jones, Jane Alexander, and Lawrence DuBoise (Defense Science Office, Defense Advanced Research Project Agency) for their support; Bruce Ivins, Patricia Fellows [Amerithrax Former Colleague #2], Mara Linscott [Amerithrax Former Colleague #1], Arthur Friedlander [from whose phone number the 16 pages about Tarek’s work with Bruce using Ames in the BL-3 were faxed on 2/2005], and the staff of USAMRIID for their technical support and helpful suggestions in the performance of the initial anthrax studies; Martin Hugh‐Jones, Kimothy Smith [FBI genetis expert], and Pamala Coker for supplying the characterized B. anthracis strains and the space at Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge); …

    2. Kimothy Smith did the genetics testing for the FBI.

    Sources:

    • The anthrax detectives – December 15, 2001

    American Veterinary Medical Association – Dec 15, 2001
    Dr. Kimothy Smith, is a veterinarian and an associate professor of epidemiology in Dr. Keim’s laboratory at Northern Arizona University. …

    • Anthrax bacteria likely to be US military strain – 24…

    New Scientist – Oct 24, 2001
    We could soon know Paul Keim’s team at Northern Arizona University in … of anthrax bacilli Team member Kimothy Smith says they have found that some DNA …
    • World Press Review – Anthrax

    New Scientist – Oct 27, 2001
    Paul Keim’s team at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff has pioneered the genetic analysis of anthrax bacilli. Recently, says team member Kimothy Smith …

    3. Kimothy, Patricia Fellows, and Kimothy’s close friend Pamala Coker were the one who published Patricia Fellows’ research (recall, she was Former Colleague #2) on how to make a more virulent strain by inserting additional x101 and x102 plasmids.

    Pamala told the New York Times that in addition to making a more virulent vaccine, it could make a more lethal anthrax weapon.

    NYT:

    “Dr. Coker conceded that the research in theory could also help a genetic engineer make a more deadly form of anthrax by increasing the number of pX02 plasmids. …

    Steve Wampler, a spokesman at the California laboratory, said the plasmid research was done before Dr. Coker came to Livermore but the laboratory nonetheless put the paper through a careful security review. ”In the end,” he said, ”it was decided that it was fine to publish.”

    In addition to Dr. Coker of Livermore and Dr. Hugh-Jones of L.S.U., the paper’s authors are Dr. Kimothy L. Smith of the Livermore laboratory, Patricia F. Fellows of the Army research institute, and Dr. Galena Rybachuck and Dr. Konstantin G. Kousoulas of L.S.U.”

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9407E2DF1E30F934A15750C0A9659C8B63

    4. When I emailed the FDA Commissioner that internal company data showing benzene in the soda products being sold children, I had a right to have the evidence ignored by someone who did not have a $78,000 stock or whatever investment in Pepsi — and who had not been the chief advisor on these for the Grocery Manufacturers Association. When he resigned immediately upon being contacted, I had a right to have the issue considered by scientists freed of the taint.

    In government decision-making, even while we credit the expertise and good faith of all the scientists involved, part of the proper scientific process requires

    (1) complying with document production laws and

    (2) avoiding conflicts of interest that create an appearance of a conflict of interest.

    This was not possible in Amerithrax because the former head of the culture collection at American Type Culture Collection was part of the NAS process which delayed production of documents for two years.

    This was not possible in Amerithrax because the former head of the criminal prosecution was the father of Ali Al-Timimi’s pro bono counsel. The taint remained after he resigned.

    This was not possible in Amerithrax where the head of Afghanistan and Pakistan — a very powerful man — had been head of the small venture capital firm, Perseus, that invested $50 million in the small company of the former Zawahiri associate. This was not possible because he was very highly regarded and his influence remains.

    Bruce Ivins never stood a chance.

    Even though the FBI knew he likely would commit suicide, they tested panties for semen. It was upon that announcement that he flew into a rage on July 9.

    There is no chance Amerithrax will be reopened because the conflict of interest permeates Amerithrax and our government is not efficient enough in what it does to keep our country safe.

    Tara O’Toole in charge of homeland security instead will tell us to get our mind around the idea of the “the day after” a major anthrax aerosol attack on Washington D.C. and New York City

    When it was always within her ability to have done more to prevent it.

    When the US is attacked, Homeland Security will bear responsibility with the President, Attorney General and FBI Director Mueller because none of them did anything to force the reopening of Amerithrax.

    Now the failure to reopen Amerithrax won’t prevent the truth from eventually coming out. It will just be too late to keep the country safe.

    • DXer said

      Dr. O’Toole in urging that people get their mind around “the day after” a mass anthrax attack on Washington D.C. and New York City, has overlooked the role she could have played in the reopening of Amerithrax.

      She and I corresponded about a 5,000 word version of this analysis in late 2002. And so I know she’s hardworking and capable of getting her mind around the correct solution of Amerithrax — while understandably wanting to leave the actual investigation to the expert law enforcement professionals upon the reopening of Amerithrax.

      But if ever President Obama needed to be given the right advice, this is it.

      All President Obama would have to do is to say “Make it so. Reopen Amerithrax.”

      Top DHS Official Says U.S. Has “To Start Thinking Very Seriously About What We Would Actually Do The Day After [A Nuclear Or Biological] Attack” — And Explain To Public We Could Recover

      June 10th, 2010

      A top Department of Homeland Security Department official said yesterday that the U.S. has “to start thinking very seriously about what we would actually do the day after [a biological or nuclear] attack” and explain to the public that we could recover from such an incident.

      The speech was reported in an article by Martin Matishak on the Global Security Newswire:

      While preventing a strike involving an unconventional weapon is “absolutely to be preferred, we do have to start thinking very seriously about what we would actually do the day after an attack,” Tara O’Toole, the department’s undersecretary for science and technology, said during an event at the University of California’s Washington campus.

      “We could recover from an improvised nuclear device attack but to mitigate the death and suffering and the economic and social consequences we have to … start equating the American public with the notion we could recover,” she told the audience. …

      A bipartisan group of members of the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee will introduce a bill tomorrow to implement the recommendations of the WMD Commission. The legislation will aim to improve U.S. efforts to prevent, deter, detect, and respond to a WMD attack. In its final report, the Commission emphasized the need to educate the public on these threats along the lines that O’Toole mentioned in her speech.

      The article continues:

      “Earlier this year, the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism gave the Obama administration an “F” grade for bioterrorism defense, saying the United States does not have the capability to rapidly recognize, respond to and recover from a disease-based attack (see GSN, Jan. 26). Last week, the Justice Department inspector general reported that the the agency’s WMD response efforts are severely lacking.

      O’Toole said the government has a “better shot” at preventing a nuclear attack than its disease-spreading counterpart.”The difficulty of detecting, interdicting and attributing biological attacks is very, very serious and we have to, particularly in the realm of biological weapons, be prepared to respond to these attacks,” she said, referring to pursuing the perpetrators of a possible strike….

      O’Toole said there are several myths in Washington about biological terrorism, including that it is too hard to prepare for; that an “attack would be similar in scope to the 2001 anthrax mailings; and that infection could be countered using the antibiotic ciprofloxacin.

      • DXer said

        Tara O’Toole should have approached Amerithrax — advising President Obama on whether he should direct Amerithrax to remain open — like a poker player calculates “pot odds.”

        When you judge the strength of your hand — the strength of an “Ivins Theory” — you consider what is at stake.

        The taint on the panties that was the subject of the DNA swabbing and July 2, 2008 grand jury directive is irrelevant to the analysis — just relevant to why Dr. Ivins flew into a rage on July 9 and then committed suicide.

        The taint on the evidence — which remains unaddressed by the NAS because of documents kept from the NAS — is very real.

        The distinguished federal district court judge cannot possibly meaningfully weigh in under Daubert principles, for example, without knowing of the conflicts of interest.

        Dr. O’Toole and Senator Tom Daschle summarized aspects in the Summer 2008.
        Biodefence in the 21st Century
        A submission to the ippr Commission on National Security for the 21st Century
        by Senator Tom Daschle
        Special Policy Advisor, Alston & Bird, LLP Distinguished Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

        with Dr Tara O’Toole
        CEO and Director, Center for Biosecurity of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

        June 2008 © ippr 2008

        Institute for Public Policy Research
        Challenging ideas – Changing policy

        ippr | Biodefence in the 21st Century

        Most bioweapons agents are available in the natural world, and turning pathogens into weapons that could infect tens or even hundreds of thousands of individuals can be done with skills and equipment that are routinely used for legitimate purposes. For example, dissemination of aerosolised bacteria is now a common agricultural activity, and the necessary equipment – cold foggers and backpack sprayers, for example – is widely available. Although most experts recognise that bioweapons are poor tools for ‘force on force’ warfare, bioweapons could cause death and disruption on a large scale if used against civilian populations. We know now that al Qaeda had an anthrax bioweapons programme that was not detected by US intelligence until troops discovered the abandoned lab in Afghanistan. There are strong indications that al Qaeda continues to seek bioweapons. One of the reasons biological weapons are attractive as ‘asymmetric weapons’ is that detection and interdiction of bioterrorism efforts is extremely difficult. Bioweapons manufacture requires only ‘dual-use’ materials readily available in the open market, and leaves no specific signature. Assigning attribution to bioterrorism attacks is exceedingly difficult, evident in the American failure to identify the perpetrators of the 2001 ‘Amerithrax’ case despite a massive FBI investigation. Just as devastating as the potential loss of life is the economic fall-out that would result from bioterror attacks. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that a release of anthrax would generate costs of $26 billion per 100,000 persons exposed, for health care and through lost productivity (Kaufmann et al 1997). The 2001 anthrax attack in the US cost the government more than $1 billion in decontamination costs (United States Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction 2005). A carefully developed analysis published in the Center for Disease Control’s journal calculated that if a kilo of anthrax were released in aerosol form in Manhattan, the decontamination task would take around 44 years (Wein et al 2003). Perhaps the most troubling aspect of this growing threat is that we are still at a relatively early stage of its growth and it is not likely to go away anytime soon.

  9. DXer said

    04/14/2005:

    “From a wall cabinet in room _____ of suite B-3 IVINS retrieved a book labeled “Cultures Frozen in Bacteriology Suite -3 Bruce Ivins”. SA _________ used a digital camera to photograph the book.”

  10. DXer said

    3/31/2005 interview:

    IVINS does not understand how the samples of RMR 1029 he sent to Battelle Memorial Institute and University of New Mexico could possibly not genetically match the RMR 1029 sample in possession of the FBI. He is very confused by that, and it just does not make sense scientifically.”

    SSA __________ again asked IVINS how he was doing and if he would be all right over the weekend. IVINS indicated that he would resume his anti-depressants. IVINS commented, “Well, I’m not going to jump off a bridge or anything like that.”

    • BugMaster said

      In otherwords, the FBI had just informed him, that according to their analysis, the second sample he submitted wasn’t a “match”.

      • BugMaster said

        Sounds like, rather than telling him HIS sample didn’t match, instead, the FBI said something to the effect that the material from Battelle and New Mexico didn’t match HIS sample.

        But note that nowhere is it stated that “Ivins couldn’t understand why HIS sample didn’t match”.

        The material from both Battelle and New Mexico did, of course, match the material from RMR-1029, since they were derived from RMR-1029.

        • DXer said

          I find all these scientific issues to be above my paygrade.

          The fellow doing the genetics testing for the FBI out at NAU (KS) had provided the BL-3 for the former Zawahiri associate for testing with virulent anthrax at LSU.

          He should be interviewed and asked the details.

  11. DXer said

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

  12. DXer said

    Did the DC Field Office have an undercover in the addictions counseling group? JAG opposed the FBI’s request to bar Ivins from Ft. Detrick after the anger he expressed at the July 9 session on the grounds that the statements reported were hearsay. (You’ll recall that after pulling the stained panties from the garbage they they then swabbed him for DNA). Then some “writer” from the DC Field Office confirmed that is what he heard. It seems that he was either listening to an audiotape or was there.

  13. DXer said

    “When questioned about the delivery of a bottle of wine and Kahlua which were left anonymously on the doorstep of ____________________________________ [the parents of Mara in Ithaca] in September 2002, IVINS immediately admitted that he is the person who secretly left the basket. He explained that he had driven from Frederick Maryland to [Ithaca] New York one day when his wife was at home.” IVINS said he went to this effort because ___________________” this was a surprise for _____. IVINS agreed with suggestions by the interviewing Agents that this was a long way to drive just to leave ______________________ favorite wine and Kahlua.”

    Any suggestion that he drove at night is not supported by the record or the Cortland sheriff records involving a look-up of his license plate as he went north on i-81 on September 9, 2002. His wife and kids were at home in September and October 2001.

    • DXer said

      When I would drive to Ithaca (from Boston) to leave anonymous gifts, it would tend to be roses. But wine and kahlua would have been an even better idea. That was a quarter century ago. This weekend on my trip to Ithaca I left the same woman — no name tag — a scarab pin. Neither trip is relevant evidence relating to the anthrax mailings.

      • DXer said

        As to the package from Gaithersburg (which by her email she indicated she knew was from him), he said he sent the package from Gaithersburg so [Mara] would not immediately perceive from the postmark that it was a package from him (which would have been indicated by a Frederick, Maryland postmark). IVINS similarly advised that he went to this effort to add to the “surprise factor” – he did not want ______ to realize the package was from him until ______ opened it.

        In her email, she noted she had told the FBI that she understood such efforts were kindnesses and said she hoped the FBI did not misunderstand or would not misconstrue things.

  14. DXer said

    In the March 2005 interview he explained:

    “Because IVINS estimated it would have taken he and ____________________ approximately one to two years to produce 1,000 milliliters of concentrated spores using their standard flask fermentation method, USAMRIID contracted with Dugway Proving Ground using fermenters and then ship the batches as they were completed to USAMRIID for purification and use.”

    ***

    IVINS advised that when he received the seventh batch from Dugway Proving Ground, he observed that it was “dirty,” “clumpy,” and contained too much “vegetative cell debris.” In addition, the spores were not refractile (an indication they were not viable). IVINS believes he made one or two attempts to purify this seventh batch through resuspension, centrifugation, and by using Renografin or RenoCal. These purification efforts did not adequately improve the quality of the seventh batch, so IVINS set it aside for autoclaving (i.e steam sterilization which would destroy the spores). IVINS clarified that he does not actually remember placing the seventh batch in the autoclave. IVINS explained that his usual practice in autoclaving materials was to place the item or items in a dishpan and insert the dishapan into the autoclave and shut the door. If the autoclave was fully loaded with other items to be autoclaved, he would run the autoclave immediately. However, if the autoclave was not fully loaded after his placing his items in it, the items would sit within the autoclave until enough items were added by other persons to fully load the autoclave. The person who added enough items to fill the autoclave would turn on the autoclave.”

  15. DXer said

    In a March 31, 2005 interview, Dr. Ivins spoke to the 100 ml discrepancy:

    “IVINS said that he never noticed this mathematical error until it was brought to his attention by SSA ______. Moreover, IVINS stated he never noticed any material missing from the RMR 1029 flask,e xplaining that if 100 milliliters is actually missing from the RMR flask, he does not know what happened to it. IVINS noted that the putative missing 100 milliliters of 1029 “now gives me pause,” in light of the information conveyed to him today by the FBI concerning the genetic similarities between RMR 1029 and the anthrax used in the attacks.”

    Comment: 100 ml plus 200 ml unaccounted for from the frozen culture equals 300 ml.

  16. DXer said

    A March 31, 2005 interview statement:

    “IVINS reported that he is the only person who distributed RMR 1029 to other researchers. IVINS also said he had a list of all the people with whom he had shared RMR1029 and that the FBI has a copy of this list. According to IVINS, this list contains only one omission which is __________________________________. IVINS related that other researchers asked him for some of RMR 1029 “all the time,” however, he gave it to only those persons whose names are recorded on the list.”

    Whose name had Dr. Ivins left off the list of distribution from Flask 1029 until March 31, 2005?

    ***

    “IVINS opined that the samples of _________ which he sent to _________ and the University of New Mexico should also exhibit the same genetic characteristics _________ shares with the anthrax used in the attacks. Upon being advised by the interviewing Agents that _______ and the University of New Mexico’s ____________ isolates do not share those same genetic characteristics, IVINS said he did not understand why and that it did not make sense. IVINS indicated that he would locate his paperwork on teh samples which were submitted to the FBI in response to the subpoena.”

  17. DXer said

    On November 1, 2002 and November 2, 2002, sixty-nine (69) microbial samples were taken from USAMRIID. Three (3) tubes containing unidentified powders were collected from the office space.

    Was the dried powder made by the FBI’s anthrax expert from Ames from Flask 1029 one of the unidentified powders?

    Fast-forward 7 years…

    A February 6, 2008 memo states:

    “The AMERITHRAX Task Force requests the Laboratory Division, Chemical Biological Sciences Unit perform, or task to be performed, the compositional and ultra-structural analyses of the samples and powders. Compositional analysis of the microbial samples should include assessment for the presence of elements of interest to the AMERITHRAX Investigation, to include, but not limited to Silicon, Oxygen, Tin and Iron. If elements are identified, the ultra-structural location of the elements should be elucidated.

    Should the structure of the unidentified powders be consistent with dried microbial organisms it is requested that they be analyzed for the presence of elements of interest to the AMERITHRAX Investigation along with ultra-structural mapping within the organisms.

    It is requested that representative images of each sample be prepared, such that visual comparisons can be made to ______ images of evidentiary materials and historical images obtained throughout the course of the AMERITHRAX Investigation.

  18. DXer said

    In a November 1, 2007 302 interview memo notes:

    “Dr. IVINS was also reminded that he was interviewed in January 2002, subsequent to ______ during which he provided the investigators with a hand-drawn diagram similar to the hand-drawn diagram he had provided to [FBI anthrax expert John E].”

    Has the FBI produced the 302 from interview? If not, why not?

    Why didn’t John disclose to Bruce in January 2002 that he had made a dried powder out of the Ames from Flask 1029 for the DARPA research?

    In his theorizing about Mara and Pat — although he had spent most of his time speculating about Dr. Farchaus, Bruce was left with a blank on who might know how to create a dried powder aerosol. More than once, he said that he wouldn’t have any idea how to do it — and he said his colleagues (Former Colleague #1 and #2) would not.

    The memo states:

    “Dr. IVINS was also reminded of guidance he had provided early on in the investigation regarding colony morphologies and Bacillus anthracis Ames strain lineages at USAMRIID. In January of 2002, Dr. IVINS had provided ___________ with a hand-drawn diagram to give to investigators during ___ interview. The hand-drawn diagram outlines the USAMRIID Ames strain lineage, with a comparison to the Daschle material, and leads and directs investigators to focus their attention on the ________ lineage and not the IVINS lineage. Dr. IVINS was also reminded that he was interviewed in January of 2002, subsequent to ________ during which he provided the investigators with a hand-drawn diagram similar to the hand-drawn diagram he had provided to ________.”

    Dr. Ivins, by the way, notes that he did not know Dr. Hatfill.

    Isn’t the other lineage the frozen culture — the one where 200 ml was missing and unaccounted for by investigators?

  19. DXer said

    In a summary of “Interview on 31 March, 2005”, Dr. Ivins noted under “2” re

    “Request for the first subpoena (early 2002) asking for our stocks.” that “I gave the subpoena to _____________.”

    Under #3 re “The first materials sent to the Repository, “As I related to yesterday, I honestly don’t remember who actually streaked the slants _________________ or myself), whether the slants were directly inoculated from the stocks or from sheep blood agar plates. If the latter, I don’t know specifically how many colonies were used to inoculate each slant. I regret that the _________ spore stocks were overlooked in the first materials provided to the repository.”

    Under “6” “Where the flasks of RMR 1029 were kept.” he states: “Since we had a lab (room 115) in Building 1412 at the time, and since the spores were intended for aerosols, it’s possible that at least one of the lfasks was kept in the lab refrigerator in 115 or in the 1st floor coldroom (much less likely) for a certain amount of time. We were eventually — I think it was probably before 2001 – “moved out” of the area by Aerobiology, and at that point may have brought RMR 1029 material back to 1425. I honestly don’t remember, but it would make sense.”

    Under “8” he writes: “Lyophilized spores. I related to you yesterday that frozen spores, once thawed, look very poor. They clump and have lost considerable refractility When materials such as proteins, viruses or vegetative bacterial cells is lyophilized, a “cryoprotectant” such as glycerol, albumin, sucrose, DMSO, etc. is used to keep the material from being damaged during freezing and thawing. I don’t know if your scientists have looked for the presence of a cryoprotectant in the evidence, but that might be a reasonable idea.”

  20. DXer said

    The correspondence taken upon the November 2007 search included correspondence from 1992, 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000.

    Taken from his home among correspondence, there was a “Memo on Unexpected short notice visits of foreign nationals” dated May 14, 1992.

    Thus, this issue certainly was not a new one. The FBI should produce a copy of this memo given that the proper protocol was not followed on the occasion of the visit by the former Zawahiri associate to Ivins’ BL-3 lab — where he had no notice that the scientist was not a citizen.

    There is a January 2, 1998 letter of recommendation he wrote to University of Rochester re Mara’s as a student (medical school).
    Mara assisted with the research that spring when the former Zawahiri associate visited.

    Letter dated 5/21/1998 from ______ to USAMRIID commander requesting spores.

    What did the USAMRIID Commander say in connection to the request for spores dated May 21, 1998?

    The FBI should produce a copy of the May 21, 1998 letter.

    Given the FBI’s track record of withholding relevant documents, the GAO should subpoena them if not already provided.

    • DXer said

      Among the papers seized, Dr. Ivins had written himself these typed notes:

      Battelle

      1. A total of 3-4 trillion RMR 1020 spores were sent to Battelle in the spring of 2001.

      2. Shortlyl before he died by __________________ admitted to ____________ that Battelle had made spore powder.

      3. Why isn’t the RMR 1029 material that Battelle submitted to the FBI repository the same as the RMR 1029 spore suspension that was sent to them from USAMRIID? Since the RMR 1029 suspension was the only large stockpile of Ames spores that we had, other material couldn’t have been to Battelle by mistake.

  21. DXer said

    On July 28, 2008, the surveillance memo states:

    1:15 A Fire and rescue responds to residence.

    1:25 A Frederick PD reports unresponsive mail found in upstair bathroom. Male identified as BRUCE IVINS found onthe bathroom floor, empty orange drink container on the floor. _____________________ has history of substance abuse problems, but all pills, specifically his ________ was accounted for, _______ stated to Frederick PD, __________________________________________. BRUCE was in his bed sleeping, she checked then checked on him again and found in the bathroom unconscious, not talking, she called 911.

    ***

    2:15. Frederick PD report BRUCE IVINS will be admitted, he had to be paralyzed and a breathing tube was inserted, possibly some sort of overdose.

    Surveillance terminated.

    • DXer said

      A memo to the file states:

      “On July 28, 2008, Reporting Agent requested and obtained the 911 call, placed by ___________ to Frederick County Emergy Communications. The came in at approximately 1:06 a.m. on July 27, 2008. Emergency Medical Services responded to ___________ Frederick, Maryland for an unconscious male in the upstairs bathroom. __________ tells the dispatcher the unconscious male is _________ BRUCE IVINS, he is breathing rapidly and clammy and he has no history of heart problems. _______ also advises that there is a glass of wine and she is unsure if he drank too much and fell down. no wquestions were asked regarding an attempted suicide.”

      • DXer said

        “on Tuesday, March 18, 2008, while working in the cold lab, he had accidentally broken a flask containing liquid Stern Bacillus anthracis (Ba). __________ he simply cleaned up the spill as well as his lab clothes with bleach and then went home ___________________ he d dnot report the spill to anyone, including the safety office and simply went home.

        IVINS further clarified that sometime during the remainder of the week, he had been called into ___________ office to answer questions about the spill incident. IVINS indicated _____ that _______ was furious that IVINS failed to folow existing safety protocols and wanted to terminate IVINS’S EMPLOYEMENT AT USAMRIID. IVINS explained to _________ Thank God ___________ she saved my job.” IVINS indicated that instead of being terminated he was advised that he would no longer be permitted into any of the laboratory suites, hot or cold, at USAMRIID during the remainder of his employment at USAMRIID.”

        A memo dated March 28, 2008 states:

        “On March 25, 2008, Reporting Agent requested a copy of a 911 call, on March 19, 2008, to the Frederick County Emergency Communications Center from ________________ Frederick, Maryland. On March 28, 2008. Reporting Agent picked up the requested materials from the Frederick County Emergency Communications Center.

        The 911 transcript and recording, indicate that on March 19, 2008 at 2:08 p.m. an emergency call was placed to the Frederick County Emergency Communications Center. The call was placed by _______, stating that _______, a 62 year old male, was unconscious and unresponsive, but breathing. The caller believes __________to have taken too many Valium and possibly mixed it with alcohol. The caller stated ___________ is depressed and is on anti-depressants. Caller also stated __ did not see a suicide note.”

  22. DXer said

    On March 15, 2008, Dr. Ivins wrote our Confidential Human Source:

    “I set up a Facebook profile with my pictures, videos and events and I want to add you as a friend so you can see it. First you need to join facebook! Once you join, you can create your own profile.

    Thanks,
    Bruce

    Here’s the link:

    http://www.facebook.com/p.php?i=1141334363&k=Z512XWT3RV3M5CABYG25QP&r&v=2

  23. DXer said

    The reason for the DNA swabbing in July 2008 was because they found semen stained underwear in the garbage in April 2008.

    On April 30, 2008, 15 pair of womens underwear were submitted to the laboratory for semen identification. The underwear were collected from a trash cover conducted conducted April 21, 2008. Surveillance identified Ivins discarding the items in the trash.

    Since their submission, the laboratory has identified semen on 14 of the 15 pair of underwear, DNA profiles were also extracted from the underwear.

    On July 2, 2008, a Grand Jury directive was issued for a DNA sample for Dr. Ivins and his lawyer was contacted to arrange for a swabbing.

    This seems to be what drove Dr. Ivins to the rage.

    The swabbing was done on July 21, 2008.

    On what theory of the case was this swabbing done?

    Might the FBI reasonably have known based on the documentary evidence that it would drive him to suicide?

    Was it evidence of a crime?

    • DXer said

      Although the name is redacted, a note in handwriting I recognize to be his attorney’s handwriting, states:

      “Take note that, on my advice, the named party, Bruce Ivins, consented to submitting these samples even though taken beyond the due date of the directive.”

      7-21-2008

      I saw Paul’s handwriting on the yellow pad containing his 25-minute presentation on November 29, 2010.

    • BugMaster said

      The most unusual findings that stick out regarding the fiber evidence recovered from the tape used to seal the envelopes was the presence of red and yellow acrylic fibers.

      However, I have never heard of such a thing as acrylic underwear!

      What does underwear have to do with the anthrax mailings?

      • anonymous said

        “What does underwear have to do with the anthrax mailings?”

        I’d love to hear the FBI’s version of how any underwear retrieved from Dr Ivins’s private residence was of investigative value to the Amerithrax case.

        I’m sure Ed Lake will be able to explain how it means he must have been the mailer.

        It seems like a blatant attempt to simply humiliate, pressure, cause great physchologcal damage and create possible suicidal thoughts.

        I’m sursprised Ivin’s lawyer supported giving DNA sample to see if it matched.

        • BugMaster said

          It would have been nice if the FBI had a match for the acrylic!

          I suppose their view on this is the same as the copy machine evidence:

          “Never Mind!”

  24. DXer said

    What was Dr. Ivins’ psychiatrist view? He thought what Dr. Ivins was being put through was “Kafkaesque.” See 5/24/2007 email.

  25. Lew Weinstein said

    BILL … I have no objection to people expressing opinions of all sorts, including those I disagree with, as long as there is nothing excessively nasty or personally abusive to any other blog participant. With those ground rules in mind, your comments are welcome on this site … LEW

  26. DXer said

    In a September 2007 interview with the FBI,

    IVINS stated that he didn’t want to become the “Richard Jewell” of USAMRIID simply because he would provide an excuse for everybody. ”

    The 302 interview states:

    “He admits he is sloppy and his big fear is that something will have to be done, so it will be said that IVINS was negligent. IVINS believed that being negligent with Federal property would put him in jail for five to ten years. He then gave an example of being negligent with Federal property: such as leaving keys in a government car, and somebody stealing it and robbing a bank.”

    Comment: Dr. Ivins practice of leaving virulent Ames in the unlocked refrigerator was no different than the scientist under the FBI’s supervision who made a dried powder out of the same anthrax from Flask 1029, was it?

    Moreover, he was not in charge of the BL-3 lab in Building 1412 where the leftovers were left for autoclaving for long periods, was he?

    Wasn’t the problem in allowing a non-citizen trained by Zawahiri’s sister Heba three years earlier to come and work alongside Bruce with virulent Ames in the BL-3? And that wasn’t Bruce’s fault, was it? Bruce had not known the visiting scientist was not a citizen. His superior approved that on the fly by email after his arrival.

    The lack of biosecurity that pervaded US biodefense establishments was institutionalized and widespread.

    • DXer said

      I believe a March 25, 2008 302 interview is of John E, the FBI’s anthrax expert who made the dried powder out of the anthrax in Flask 1029. He describes emails he had gotten from Dr. Ivins.

      The person was worried that Dr. Ivins might harm himself. The interviewee said he has known Bruce for a long time and has known Bruce to threaten suicide in the past. He was primarily focusing on the suicide tone in Bruce’s emails and did not feel that Bruce could harm anyone other than himself maybe. Dr. Ivins was saying that embarrassing things also would come out about others — and the interviewees thought the emails uncharacteristically childish.

      He reasoned that Bruce may have had a mixture of alcohol and valium that caused “BRUCE’s behavior that day.”

      This seems to be referring to an earlier apparent suicide attempt in March similar to the one that took his life in August.

      “_______ advised that Police also showed up at the IVIN’S along with an ambulance.”

      Attorney Kemp explained that he had received a call from AUSA Lieber expressing her concern that he might harm himself. (I believe that call was in July 2008 but the videotape of Attorney Kemp’s presentation is the best guide). Attorney Kemp is firm on the professonalism of the prosecutors and agents.

      Bruce had explained at the time of the November 2007 search that it was the stained female undergarments that caused him such upset. He was physically shaken at the thought and immediately sought out the prescriptions from his doctor.

      Referring apparently to Mara, the interviewee in March 2008 — who I believe to be John — characterized Bruce’s liking of Mara as harmless, simply an “old man with a pretty young girl.” Bruce is very impulsive and generous and has given many gifts…”

      Here, John seems to be referring to the gifts Bruce sent Mara.

      By the way, as a rule of thumb, when a married man sends a woman gifts, it is not at all surprising that he would send them anonymously. In any event, an email she wrote indicates she knew who they were from. In the season of gift-giving and Secret Santa, it simply is not evidence of sending the anthrax letters. I gave about 150 gifts last week and didn’t bother labeling a single one.

      It was the Egyptian islamists who had the modus operandi of sending lethal letters.

      The interviewee gives another example where Bruce had driven and left an Easter basket containing some kind of chocolate win on their porch.

      Dirty underwear is always trotted out — Jewell, Hatfill, Ivins. Bruce just literally had dirty underwear that was embarrassing to him. The FBI denies that former FBI Director Hoover did too but Clint Eastwood apparently thinks otherwise. There will be a dress and a kiss in the upcoming movie about Director Hoover.

      Some people are more comfortable in their skins than others. In Ithaca this week, I asked a fellow for directions — mistakenly calling him ma’am — and then noticed he was wearing bright red fingernail polish. Dr. Ivins was fragile — and given the social alienation being enforced, it is not surprising. With an old brother like Tom, with whom I spoke on these issues, it is not at surprising that Bruce was damaged and frail. Tom, who had not seen Bruce since 1985 and said he was glad he was dead, said that Bruce was not a real man because he ran track whereas Tom played football. Tom was jealous of the attention Bruce’s mom paid Bruce. From reading his hundreds of emails, it seems Bruce was a great guy. It’s Tom who is a piece of work.

      • DXer said

        He of course was depressed even before the November 2007 search.

        In a July 1, 2007, he described his desire to be cremated and his ashes scattered to a friend.

        He writes:

        “I’m looking forward to retiring at the end of September, 2008. I haven’t enjoyed going to work in years. My lawyer here in Frederic doesn’t do DC work, so after the last two grand jury sessions from hell, I had to get an attorney from Rockville. He talked to my attorney in Frederick and I guess talked to the department of Justice people, and sent me a letter entitled, “re: United States versus Bruce E. Ivins.” Life is wonderful. : ( I know that people ask other to be official pallbearers, but I don’t want a funeral and don’t want to be buried. So…

        I’ve been inside, cooped up for almost all of my life, I want to spend eternity outside, with the sun, the snow, the stars, the seasons of nature.

        ***

        I look like I’m 90 years old. I feel older than that. It’s really, honestly my time. At some point in people’s lives, I think just give up, and that’s where I am. I can remember how I loved getting away from home and going to college. Then I went to graduate school. I was very hesitant about going for a doctorate, instead of just a masters degree, but I got them both, then did a couple of postdocs. Then I would up at USAMRIID. I had lots of good experiences there, but things soured eventually, and now I’m fully ready to leave.”

      • DXer said

        The email that was the subject of questioning in March 2008 may have dated to May 2007.

        Dr. Ivins wrote:

        “Hi. I’m still recovering from my twin experiences before the amerithrax grand jury. The metro rides were the only enjoyable part. They asked “gotcha!” type questions and very personal questions related to email conversations between people. They know everything about the personal and professional lives ______________________. Eventually a trial come, and we’ll be dragged up to the witness chair to testify, and that’s when the other side will start dragging us through the dirt. It’s a lawyer’s job to sully the personal and professional reputations of witnesses from the other side. For me it means people finding out that I’m a slob, keep poor records, am lousy at math, and see a psychiatrist. There are things that others would prefer not be spread around. I’m planning on leaving at the end of September of 2008.

        ***

        Have you been contacted recently to go speak to the grand jury?

        ***The FBI said they want to call everybody in my family to the grand jury to establish my credibility when I talked about some of the unpleasant things that went on during that time.

        I’m becoming set on retiring at the end of September, 2008. I’ve hit burnout.

        Time for sleep – bruce”

        • DXer said

          In another email, dated May 14, 2007, he wrote:

          “I had to go and testify before the grand jury… twice. I’m not allowed to say anymore than it was a dreadful experience. Basically I can talk about the ride on the metro, and that’s about it. I have no enthusiasm for science at all anymore. I could be equally satisfied if I worked the graveyard shift at Walmart. Probably more so.

          ***

          I can see how some people just reach a stage in their lives that they just don’t give a **** anymore, and I’m pretty much there. Thanks for your email. –bruce”

          His suicide was certainly not at all something that should have surprised the FBI given the attempt in March 2008 and the depression he had plainly expressed and tied to the ordeal of the DOJ accusatory questioning even before the November 2007 search.

          Then with the discovery of the stained panties and his humiliation, there was real cause for concern.

          The FBI’s lead investigator said they were really upset that they wouldn’t have a chance to prove their case.

          I say let’s give the FBI that chance.

          For example, the DOJ should produce his contemporaneous notes stating what he was doing on the nights the prosecutors speculate he was weaponizing anthrax. And produce the reports about the photocopy toner evidence.

          Let’s see the probative evidence so that people don’t have to rely on the grossly confused statements by US Attorney Taylor at the August 8, 2008 press conference.

        • DXer said

          Describing his grand jury experience in a June 2007 email, he wrote:

          “I couldn’t believe they’d ask that, then ask if I had very intimate personal contact with certain people….

          They accused me of diluting, altering or adulterating an important preparation of anthrax material. The grand jury was also very accusatory. I’m fortunately taking a lot of medication for depression, but that’s only helping some. I also have to use a lot of caffeine in the morning, and then alcohol and sleeping pills at night. Do you realize that if anybody gets indicted for even the most remote reason with respect to the anthrax letters — something as simple as not locking spore preps to restrict them from only people in our lab — they face the death penalty? Playing any part, even a minor part such as providing information how to make spores, or how to make them in brother, how to harvest and purify that could wind up putting one or more hapless persons on death row. Not pleasant to think about.”

          In one of your recent emails you said that it would all be over soon. If they indict someone, that means innocent people are going to get dragged through the mud by both the defense and the prosecution as the pre-trial and trial procedures move forward.

          The FBI knows about the psychiatric woes and my family situation.”

          Was both this email and the other similar one to John E?

        • DXer said

          “The FBI can take the most innocent moment or incident and turn it into something that looks as if it comes from the devil himself.”

          “Having a friend who can offer helpful advice is a treasure, believe me.”

          [Then of course he found out that the friend was a Confidential Human Source].

      • DXer said

        In a May 28, 2008 302 interview with a co-worker, the co-worker reports that Bruce described his brother Tom as crazy and said he had no contact with him.

        The NPR DOJ correspondent and then AP article led off with that brother’s gleeful reaction to Dr. Ivins’ suicide. (Others were in mourning).

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