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

* Terrorism Task Force investigating fiery packages … what, if anything, can be gleaned from handwriting analysis?

Posted by DXer on January 18, 2011


DXer reports … An FBI task force has taken over the investigation of fiery packages that were sent last week to federal and Maryland government officials.

The Maryland Joint Terrorism Task Force is now leading the probe.

What, if anything, can be gleaned from handwriting analysis about the recent incendiary letters sent to the Maryland Governor, Maryland Department of Transportation Secretrary, and United States Homeland Secretary Napolitano?



23 Responses to “* Terrorism Task Force investigating fiery packages … what, if anything, can be gleaned from handwriting analysis?”

  1. DXer said

    Washington Post – November 10, 2001

    Anthrax Letters Likely Sent by Angry Male Loner, FBI Says Author Believed Probably Not a Native English Speaker Experts Unsure of Association With Bin Laden or al Qaeda The person who mailed letters containing anthrax spores to media and government offices is likely a lone operator, an angry man who shuns human interaction and has some scientific background, FBI officials scrutinizing the letters said yesterday. The sender, who almost certainly wrote all three letters, may not be a native English speaker, officials said. And he probably had nothing to do with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but may have capitalized on them, they…

  2. DXer said

    cnn interview of protesters

  3. DXer said

    Was the “self-fulfilling prophecy” letter related to this threat in Inspire to use anthrax against financial institutions? Was it related to the Goldman Sachs letter?

    We know Anwar Aulaqi knows the Inspire editor.

    In March 2002, fellow Falls Church iman Anwar Aulaqi — known as the “911 imam” — suddenly left the US and went to Yemen, thus avoiding the inquiry the 9/11 Commission thought so important. (Eventually Aulaqi would be banned from entering both the UK and US because of his speeches on jihad, martyrdom and the like). Upon a return visit in Fall 2002, “Aulaqi attempted to get al Timimi to discuss issues related to the recruitment of young Muslims,” according to a court filing by Al-Timimi’s attorney at the time, Edward MacMahon. McMahon reports that those “entreaties were rejected.” After 18 months in prison in Yemen in 2006 and 2007, he was released over US objections, where he says he was subject to interrogation by the FBI. By 2010, when the United States announced that there was authorization to attempt to kill Anwar Aulaqi, he had long since gone into hiding after acknowledging his role in the Ft. Hood shooting and attempt to bring down an airliner flying into Detroit.

    Al-Timimi’s counsel explained in a court filing unsealed in April 2008: “]911 imam] Anwar Al-Aulaqi goes directly to Dr. Al-Timimi’s state of mind and his role in the alleged conspiracy. The 9-11 Report indicates that Special Agent Ammerman interviewed Al-Aulaqi just before or shortly after his October 2002 visit to Dr. Al-Timimi’s home to discuss the attacks and his efforts to reach out to the U.S. government.”

    Falls Church imam Awlaqi (Aulaqi), who met with hijacker Nawaf, reportedly was picked up in Yemen by Yemen security forces at the request of the CIA in the summer of 2006. British and US intelligence had him and others under surveillance. Al-Timimi would speak alongside fellow Falls Church imam Awlaqi (Aulaqi) at conferences such as the August 2001 London JIMAS and the August 2002 London JIMAS conference. They would speak on subjects such as signs before the day of judgment and the like. Dozens of their lectures are available online. Unnamed U.S. officials told the Washington Post in 2008 that “they have come to believe that Aulaqi worked with al-Qaida networks in the Persian Gulf after leaving Northern Virginia.” One official said: “There is good reason to believe Anwar Aulaqi has been involved in very serious terrorist activities since leaving the United States, including plotting attacks against America and our allies.” “Some believe that Aulaqi was the first person since the summit meeting in Malaysia with whom al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi shared their terrorist intentions and plans,” former Senate Intelligence committee chairman Bob Graham wrote in his 2004 book “Intelligence Matters.”

    • DXer said

      Aulaqi ( Awlaqi ) was hired in early 2001 in an attempt by the mosque’s leaders to appeal to younger worshipers. Born in New Mexico and raised in Yemen, he had the total package. He was young, personable, fluent in English, eloquent and knowledgeable about Middle East politics. Hani Hanjour and Nawaf Al Hazmi worshiped at Aulaqi’s mosque for several weeks in spring 2001. The 9/11 commission noted that the two men apparently showed up because Nawaf Hazmi had developed a close relationship with Aulaqi in San Diego. In 2001, Awlaqi came to Falls Church from San Diego shortly before Nawaf did. Awlaqi told the FBI that he did not recall what Nawaf and he had discussed in San Diego and denied having contact with him in Falls Church.

      The travel agent right on the same floor as Al-Timimi’s Dar Arqam mosque organized trips to hajj in February 2001. San Francisco attorney Hal Smith was Aulaqi’s roommate. Mr. Smith tells me that he was very extreme in his views when speaking privately and not like his smooth public persona. “Aulaqi is deep into hardcore militant Islam. He is not a cleric who just says prayers and counsels people as some of his supporters have suggested.” Sami al-Hussayen uncle checked into the same Herndon, VA hotel, the Marriot Residence Inn, on the same night — September 10, 2001 as Hani Hanjour and Nawaf al-Hazmi, and another hijacker. Hussayen had a seizure during an FBI interview and although doctors found nothing wrong with him was allowed to return home. During his trip to the US, al-Hussayen had visited both “911 imam” Aulaqi and Ali Al-Timimi.

      The unclassified portion of a U.S. Department of Justice memorandum dated September 26, 2001 states

      “Aulaqi was familiar enough with Nawaf Alhazmi to describe some of Alhazmi’s personality traits. Aulaqi considered Alhazmi to be a loner who did not have a large circle of friends. Alhazmi was slow to enter into personal relationships and was always very soft spoken, a very calm and extremely nice person. Aulaqi did not see Alhazmi as a very religious person, based on the fact that Alhazmi never wore a beard and neglected to attend all five daily prayer sessions.”

      The Washington Post explains that “After leaving the United States in 2002, Aulaqi spent time in Britain, where he developed a following among young ultra-conservative Muslims through his lectures and audiotapes. His CD “The Hereafter” takes listeners on a tour of Paradise that describes “the mansions of Paradise,” “the women of Paradise,” and “the greatest of the pleasures of Paradise.” In London, after leaving the United States, he spoke at JIMAS and argued that in light of the rewards offered to martyrs in Jennah, or Paradise, Muslims should be eager to give his life in fighting the unbelievers. “Don’t think that the ones that die in the sake of Allah are dead — they are alive, and Allah is providing for them. So the shaheed is alive in the sense that his soul is in Jennah, and his soul is alive in Jennah.” He moved to Yemen, his family’s ancestral home, in 2004.” Before his arrest in Yemen in mid-2006, Aulaqi lectured at an Islamist university in San’a run by Abdul Majid al-Zindani, who fought with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and was designated a terrorist in 2004 by the United States and the United Nations.

      Law enforcement sources told the Post that Aulaqi was visited by Ziyad Khaleel, who the government has previously said purchased a satellite phone and batteries for bin Laden in the 1990s. The Post explains: “Khaleel was the U.S. fundraiser for Islamic American Relief Agency, a charity the U.S. Treasury has designated a financier of bin Laden and which listed Aulaqi’s charity as its Yemeni partner. A Washington Post article explained: “The FBI also learned that Aulaqi was visited in early 2000 by a close associate of Omar Abdel Rahman, the so-called Blind Sheik who was convicted of conspiracy in connection with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and that he had ties to people raising money for the radical Palestinian movement Hamas, according to Congress and the 9/11 Commission report.”

      He now has been released and came to be at the center of a controversy concerning what the FBI should have known and shared about Hasan, the Ft. Hood shooter. The next month he was alleged to have been involved with the planned bombing of a airliner flying into Detroit. What did Awlaqi, detained in mid-2006 and held for a year and a half, tell questioners, if anything, about his fellow Falls Church imam and fellow Salafist conference lecturer Ali Al-Timimi? Is Aulaqi connected to this threat to use anthrax against financial institutions?

  4. DXer said

    In light of the discussion in the December INSPIRE about using anthrax against Goldman Sachs and other financial institutions, perhaps Lew could post the Goldman Sachs letter along with this post in addition to posting news separately in a feature. We also will want a hyperlink to a long letter in cursive written in regard to the Goldman Sachs letters and a good news story.
    Then in the separate comment, we could try to find details of the article in INSPIRE in order to assess it. For example, who was the author? What is the credibility of the threat?

    Report: U.S. Bank Execs Warned of Al Qaeda Plot

    Published February 01, 2011

    U.S. intelligence officials reportedly have warned executives at major Wall Street banks that they may be targeted by Al Qaeda terrorists based in Yemen.

    There was “no indication of a targeted assassination plot,” WNBC-TV reported Monday, explaining the threats were general in nature. However, there were still fears that the names of particular Wall Street executives had been discussed by terrorists based overseas, according to the report.

    Banks such as Goldman Sachs, Citibank, JP Morgan Chase, Barclays and others have been briefed by the FBI and NYPD about the nature of the threats.

    Intelligence analysts said they were concerned the mail service may be used by Yemen-based terrorists to send package bombs or other chemical agents to bankers.

    Police have urged banks to increase security in and around their mailrooms.

    “Inspire” — a magazine launched by the group behind the air cargo printer bombs in October, the underwear bomb plot in December 2009 and the most recent pre-Christmas alert — recently warned of attacks targeting financial institutions and also warned of using anthrax in such an attack.

    Read more:

  5. richardxrowley said

    Here’s what I see in the printing of the letter from the fiery package(s) in Maryland:

    1)block printing, likely done that way to make it tougher to ident the writer/printer. Like a lot of threatening letters including Amerithrax.

    2) in a break from this style is the lower case “a” in ‘have’; the “ou” of “You”; the second ‘T” of “TOTAL”; and the “o” of “TOTAL”. In particular the “You” printing form reminds me of the printing done in the threatening letters to Goldman Sachs.

    3)the “G” at the end of “FULFILLING” resembles a numeral ‘6’. That was true of the G’s in the Daschle/Leahy text: the ‘G’ of “GREAT” (last line).

    4) funny business with most of the crossbars of “T” (this too happened with the Brokaw/NYPOST text: poorly formed crossbars redone heavily): specifically:

    a)the first T of “ACTIVITY” loops into a concave basin-like shape; the SECOND T of the same word loops the OTHER way: to form a convex loop.

    b) as already noted the second T of total is made so low that it transforms the letter into a lower case one.

    5) the capital letter ‘i’ lacks serifs at the top and bottom and thus is simply a vertical line.
    (As in the Amerithrax texts).

    6) the capital letter “E” in all its instances is strangely formed and resembles the instances of ‘E’ in Amerithrax.

    1)Amerithrax letters, Goldman Sachs threat letters, and these fiery package letters done by persons with the same neurological condition. And quite possibly by the same person.

    2) that person is not Bruce Ivins.

    • DXer said

      I was curious about the similarity between this writing and the Amerithrax letters too. (I only noticed one “T” that was seriously different and a slightly greater right slant to Amerithrax letters.) But I would want to study the additonal items you list as I expect they are all sound. I don’t recall the Goldman Sachs handwriting – but the FBI informs that the 4 lines were double-spaced and I believe they were all in caps. Written in red ink. On the subject of handwriting analysis, I discussed with the FBI how stupid Ed’s theory is that it is 99% certain a First Grader wrote the letters. And that it demonstrates that he lacks an ability to do sound critical analysis. And they didn’t disagree. Now that I’ve read 6 books handwriting analysis and 600 articles for an unrelated matter, I conclude Ed hasn’t read any. I’ve got some great books on past cases in which handwriting was used. You’d think he would do some research over the course of 10 years. In the Goldman Sachs case, there was a long, long letter with a very distinctive cursive. While the block handwriting would be easy to copy, the cursive would not. The fact that the block handwriting from Amerithrax could be copied by most anyone, it really just adds to the paradox and difficulty in profiling the most recent letters. I don’t envy the profilers or “Red Team” that one — hopefully, there will be some solid forensic leads like DNA from licking the stamp.

      Where was the postmark? Has it been disclosed?

      • DXer said

        Oh, and the use of the small “a” in the recent letters really stands out as a difference.

        • richard rowley said

          Here’s a link to Mister Lake’s quite marvelous presentation of the Goldman Sachs threat letters of 2007:

          These letters, because of their high number, likely reflect something close to the perp’s natural printing style (ie it’s too constricting to falsify one’s printing/writing on a sustained basis)

        • DXer said

          Yes, Ed called and told the FBI that I sent them! We had just dropped him from an email group of 4 and his feelings were hurt and so he wanted to try to hurt me. My alibi was my emails to Ed that day telling him his First Grader theory was really stupid. You never have to worry about threatening letters. You have to when the person doesn’t provide advance notice.

  6. DXer said

    FBI: Initial tests link 3 incendiary letters sent to state, federal officials

    The FBI says initial forensic tests have linked the three fiery packages sent to federal and Maryland government officials.

    Richard McFeely, special agent in charge of the Baltimore field office, said Tuesday that while investigators believed they were linked before, they have determined that the letters that smoked and popped when opened were manufactured in the same manner. Because the message inside the first two letters got out, McFeely says there were concerns that the third letter found a day later might be a copycat.

    He says fingerprint and fiber analysis is expected soon.

    McFeely says investigators are chasing down more than 100 leads in the case and a separate “red cell” team of investigators is exploring what could have motivated the sender.

    • DXer said

      Former CIA Director Tenet in his memoirs said that after 9/11 they set up a small team of analysts – he wanted them not to think just “out of the box.” He wanted them to do their thinking from an entirely different zip code. It was called the “red cell.” One of their first challenges was to figure out who Ayman would have recruited to send mailed anthrax to US newspapers and Senators. Given the importance of knowing your enemy, it is important to walk in his shoes and come to know the man. It’s part of what is known as “Red Teaming.” The red cell possibly concluded that it would be someone who knew Ayman Zawahiri, was taught antimicrobials by his sister Heba, was given virulent Ames as part of authorized research (and Bruce Ivins maintained the main repository), and made a lot of money from the mailings.

      Al-Zawahiri’s family has its roots in a small town in Saudi Arabia “where the first battle between Prophet Muhammad and the infidels was fought
      and won by the Prophet.” With 9/11 and the anthrax mailings, he essentially is seeking to recreate the taking of Mecca by a small band. Al-Zawahiri’s great grandfather came to the Nile Delta in the 1860s to a city where there is a mosque that still bears his name. His father, who was a professor of pharmacology at Ein Shams University, passed away in 1995. His grandfather on his mother’s side was president of Cairo University and the Egyptian ambassador to Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. His grandfather was known for being pious and nicknamed “the devout ambassador.” Two of Ayman’s sisters are on the faculty at Cairo University Medical School. His uncle was the Dean of Cairo’s medical school at one point. Including in-laws, he has 40 doctors of various sorts in his family.

      If the profilers at Quantico in early October 2001 had any learning on the subject, as part of their profile they would have been looking for a doctor recruited by Ayman Zawahiri at Cairo Medical School. But their experience with biological weapons and Zawahiri’s threat to use anthrax against US targets was when the toilet backed up on the 7th floor (or so told a profiler at a conference). The CIA Zawahiri Task Force should have been all over Zawahiri’s anthrax planning and I have the documentary evidence to prove it.

      Born June 1, 1951, Zawahiri grew up in Cairo’s Al-Ma’adi neighborhood. He graduated cum laude from Cairo University’s medical school in 1974 with an MD degree. He received a master’s degree in surgery in 1978 and was married the next year to Izzat Ahmad Nuwair who had graduated with a degree in philosophy from Cairo University. His wife and daughter tragically were killed in a bombing raid in Afghanistan and an obituary mourning their loss appeared in Cairo. He has a younger brother Hassan, an engineer, and had an older brother Muhammad. (Muhammad was in Al Qaeda until being extradited to Egypt pursuant to a death sentence imposed in the “Albanian returnees” case; Hassan was once extradited but released). Without his family, Zawahiri is a fanatic guided only by his faith and his literal interpretation of a book written many years ago that he memorized as a child.

      In his youth, Zawahiri was influenced by Sayyid Qutb, one of the spiritual leaders of Islamic religious groups. (He was the fellow quoted by Al-Timimi upon his indictment for sedition). After a two year stay in the United States where Qutb gained a contempt for American culture, the secular writer Qutb returned to his religious roots and wrote extensively supporting violence against Christians and Jews, and even muslim leaders deemed infidel. “I have written Milestones for this vanguard, which I consider to be a waiting reality about to be materialized.” Zawahiri traces the origin of the modern islamist movement to the hanging of Qutb in 1966. (It was Sayyid Qutb’s brother, Muhammad, who supervised the research of the masters thesis of Saudi dissident sheik Safar Al-Hawali. Al-Hawali wrote a book on secularism as part of his master thesis at Umm Al-Qura University.) Al Qaeda’s spymaster al-Hakaymah wrote “The History of the Jihadist Movements in Egypt.” Al-Hakaymah reports that when he asked Ayman why he started his group, Al Zawahiri described Sayyid Qutb as like a coroner who dissects a body with a high degree of professionalism and talent that suit someone who knows it inside out.

      As noted by al-Hakaymah in his historical treatise on the movement, Ayman and his young colleagues would go to the Al-Kikhya mosque in Abidin area in Cairo and read books from the Salafist library at the mosque, such as books by Ibn Taymiyah, whose religious rulings greatly influenced him. The group felt ashamed by Egypt’s defeat in the 1967 war with Israel and attributed the defeat to Egypt’s failure to follow Shariah rule. Find a man whose father was killed in the 1967 war and you have motive in spades.

      George Mason University microbiology grad student Al-Timimi years later would invoke both Sayyid Qutb and Ibn Taymiyah in an eloquent speech upon is indictment for sedition. Mohammad Qutb, Sayyid’s brother, was scheduled to speak alongside GMU microbiology graduate Al-Timimi at the 1993 conference along with the blind sheik’s son Mohammad Abdel-Rahman (from Afghanistan). Mohammad Abdel-Rahman’s was the blind sheik’s son and would serve on Al Qaeda’s three-member WMD committee along with fellow Egyptian Midhat Mursi. Former EIJ member and current Cairo activist Gamal Sultan was also scheduled to speak. Dissident Saudi sheik Al-Hawali was Al-Timimi’s
      religious mentor at university. Al-Timimii reportedly had a high security clearance for work for some sort of mathematical support work for the Navy.
      At one point, he worked just feet away from both famed Russian bioweaponeer Ken Alibek and former head of USAMRIID, the US biological defense program who has published a lot of papers involving the US Army “Ames strain.”

      In 1968, Ayman’s group in high school brought together Nabil al-Bura’i, Ismail Tantawi, Dr. Sayyid Imam and others. They were all in the last year
      of high school in the Cairo suburb of Maadi. Zawahiri later would form a military wing under the guidance of Al-Qamari, an Egyptian army officer. By
      1974, the year he graduated from medical school, it had 40 members. Ayman deemed infiltrating the military was the most effective and least costly
      means of seizing power. Known for their extreme secrecy, the group avoided growing beards like most Islamists and were thus known as “the shaven beards.” Ayman’s friend Kamal Habib, who later would contribute to the quarterly journal of the Ann Arbor-based Islamic Assembly of North America (“IANA”), explained to CNN through a translator: “We thought at the time that the goal to apply the laws of Islam can’t be achieved with ways other than violence.” It would remain Zawahiri’s tactic to recruit members of the Egyptian army because of their training and expertise. After graduating medical school in 1974, he served three years as a surgeon in the Egyptian Army, at a base outside Cairo, before establishing a clinic at the same duplex he shared with his parents.

      During the 1975-1979 period, radical but not revolutionary study groups spread quickly through the Cairo, Ayn Shams and al-Azhar universities and elsewhere. Al-Jihad began as such a student organization. The student groups were one of the main targets of Sadat’s crackdown in 1979. Hundreds were arrested and their campus groups dissolved. The revolutionary ideas of Qutb influenced these student groups, which were known as jam’iyat. Courses of study in Egyptian universities are narrow, preventing many from acquiring a liberal education as they acquired technical skills. Thus, many fundamentalists are highly educated in technical fields yet do not have a broader educational background. Life as a student in Egypt is hard and job prospects are poor. In the late 1970s, an estimated 85% of al-Jihad’s members were students.

      At Cairo Medical School, Ayman, while a postgraduate, Ayman spoke fervently to members of Islamic Group, which operated openly within the
      school and had great influence among the students. A former student there, Tawfiq Hamid, explains that Jamaah Islamiyah, then approved by both the Egyptian government and the university, was not classified as a terrorist organization until a few years later. The group “built a small prayer room in our medical school that later developed into a mosque with an associated library. ” He reports that “The mosque was behind the physiology and biochemistry departments, and members of Jamaah came there daily before science classes to lecture us on Islam. They warned us about the punishments awaiting us after death if we did not follow Islam strictly and were effective in advancing Islamism among many of the students, including me. He continued: “Our fear of being punished after death was exacerbated by our work in the cadaver room, where we dissected dead bodies. Seeing death regularly during anatomy and physiology courses made us feel that the life of this world was meaningless compared to “real” life after death.”

      Once Jamaah Islamiyah became influential, it prohibited such social events as listening to music, female students were separated and not allowed to sit with males, and even Christian professors were threatened. The medical students were afraid to defy the group’s directives. Members of the group attacked an anatomy professor because he asked Jamaah leaders to end their “mandatory” daily sermon so that he could get started with his anatomy class. The emir of the group, a fourth year student, had explained to Tawfiq Hamid, recruited as a first year student: “Your brain is just like a donkey [a symbol of inferiority in the Arab culture] that can get you only to the palace door of the king (Allah). To enter the palace once you have reached the door, you should leave the donkey [your inferior mind] outside.” By this parable, Muchtar meant that a truly dedicated Muslim no longer thinks but automatically obeys the teachings of Islam.” Tariq Hamid says he called his family friend and former medical school classmate (although not in same year) Tarek Hamouda, who had been supplied virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins, from abroad to ask about patents before 911. Dr. Hamouda told him it was all in the marketing.

      Dr. Hamid met Zawahiri, “Dr. Ayman” as he was known, at an afternoon prayer session. He was one of the fiercest speakers he had ever heard.
      Ayman fervently condemned the West for the freedom of its women. Ayman, Dr. Hamid explains, was exceptionally bright, one of the top postgraduate students in the medical school. When they met him, Zawahiri greeted him warmly through his coke bottle glasses. Dr. Hamid explains that one of Ayman’s achievements was to personalize jihad-that is, to have transformed it from a responsibility of the Umma, the Islamic collective, to an individual duty of Muslims. Within several months of meeting Dr. Ayman, he was invited to travel to Afghanistan to join other young Muslims in training for jihad. It was fairly common, he said, to be recruited after the end of Friday prayers. Dr. Hamid explains: “We viewed both the Soviets and the Americans as enemies.” “The Soviets were considered infidels because they did not believe in the existence of God, while the Americans did not follow Islam. Although we planned to fight the Soviets first, our ultimate objective was to destroy the United States-the greatest symbol of the infidel’s freedom. ” Prophet Mohammed served as their role model. The harshest edicts of the koranic verses were to be followed and criticism of
      those verses was punishable by death. Dr. Hamid explains: “I passed through three psychological stages to reach this level of comfort with death: hatred of non-Muslims or dissenting Muslims, suppression of my conscience, and acceptance of violence in the service of Allah.”

      In 1979, while working at a Muslim Brotherhood clinic, Al-Zawahiri was asked if he wanted to go to Afghanistan and he jumped at the opportunity. Even then, Afghanistan represented a possible secure base from which to wage jihad. He would later write: “It is as if 100 years were added to my life when I came to Afghanistan.” He spent 4 months in Peshawar, Pakistan.

      300 al-Jihad activists were arrested after Sadat’s assassination. Almost all of those arrested were between the ages of 20 and 28 and most
      were medical, law or pharmacy students at either the Universities of Asyut or al-Minya. Of those prosecuted for Sadat’s assassination, five were
      sentenced to life, twelve were given long prison terms and two were acquitted, including the blind sheik, who had purported to authorize the
      assassination on the basis of Islamic doctrine. According to Professor Fawwaz Gerges, who conducted extensive interviews with Mr. Habib, a writer
      for Islamic Assembly of North America (“IANA”), Kamal Habib, played a key operational role in the assassination of Anwar Sadat.

      Years later, GMU microbiologist Ali Al-Timimi would be a celebrated speaker with the charity IANA. One Assistant United States Attorney argued
      he had a “rock star” status. Al-Timimi studied in a program jointly sponsored by the American Type Culture Collection, which in an addition to
      an online catalog, has a confidential patent repository of biological samples. ATCC has the most comprehensive and diverse collection n the world.

      Zawahiri was imprisoned for a few years after Sadat’s assassination in 1981 and apparently tortured. Attorney Al-Zayat maintains that after his
      arrest in connection with the murder of President Sadat, Al-Zawahiri was tortured by the Egyptian police, and disclosed where his close friend and
      ally Al-Qamari was hiding. Zawahiri has burned with bitterness over the humiliation ever since. In the long run, torture merely tends to lead to
      more terrorism. “They don’t seem to understand the cult of pain they’re creating,” al-Zayat has argued compellingly. After being released from
      prison in 1984, Zawahiri went to Saudi Arabia in 1986, returning to Pakistan by the next year.

      One co-defendant who said of him: “While in prison, I used to meet him court during the trial sessions. He is a very calm person and polite and has more of a strategic thought than being an intellectual or the owner of jurisprudence interpretations or even a student in search of knowledge.”
      Attorney al-Zayyat, who was in prison for three years along with Ayman, had a similar view. Even back then, Zawahiri placed great weight on the
      religious authority of the blind sheikh, Abdel-Rahman.

      A powerful 5 minute excerpt from the PBS/Frontline, “Looking for Answers” shows Zawahiri delivering an impassioned speech (in English) from
      jail. His statement sheds light on the motive underlying the anthrax mailings and the reason the two dates of mailing were chosen. The choice of
      targets related to US appropriations to Egypt and Israel, the extradition or “rendering” of Egyptian Islamic Jihad members pursuant to the “Leahy Law,” retaliation for the detention and alleged mistreatment of the Blind Sheikh and others, and what Ayman views as “lies” about these issues in the media.

      The two mailing dates were (1) the signing of the agreement between Egypt and Israel and (2) the assassination of Sadat for signing the agreement. The choice of mailing dates was not surprising when one realizes that the subject of the December 4, 1998 Presidential Daily Brief to President Clinton was Islambouli, the brother of Sadat’s assassin. The PDB described the plan to attack the US using aircraft and other means. Islambouli was part of a cell with Khalid Mohammed who not only led the “planes operation,” but would come to lead the effort to attack the US with weaponized anthrax upon Atef’s death in November 2001.

      Al-Zayyat writes:

      “I visited him in the Ibn al-Nafees hospital, where he was working in
      Jeddah. He looked very sorrowful. The scars left on his body from
      indescribable torture he suffered caused him no more pain, but his heart
      still ached from it.”

      “The torture he suffered was not proportionate to his comparatively minor role in the assassination of Sadat. The authorities were particularly harsh
      with him not because of his deeds, but because of his connections. They discovered after arresting him that he was in contact with a number of
      officers from the Egyptian Armed Forces. These included the martyr ‘Esam al-Qamari, an Armed Forces officer. Qamari fled from the army when, in March 1981, the authorities discovered his Islamist orientations.”

      Al-Zayat continued:

      “Despite all that he had suffered physically, what was really painful to
      Zawahiri was that, under the pain of torture, he was forced to testify
      against his fellow members in the case against ‘Esam al-Qamari and other
      officers. Zawahiri was taken from the Tora prison to the Higher Military
      Court to give testimony against other jihadi members from the army. Under
      these conditions, he admitted that they formed a movement inside the army to
      topple the regime and institute an Islamic government.”

      After he was arrested on October 15, 1981, Zawahiri informed the authorities of Qamari’s whereabouts. He had taken a refuge in a small mosque
      where he used to pray and meet Zawahiri and other members of the group. It was this painful memory which was at the root of Zawahiri’s suffering, and which prompted him to leave Egypt for Saudi Arabia. He stayed there until he left for Afghanistan in 1987. During the three years following his arrival in Afghanistan, his leadership among jihadi Islamists became more prominent,
      as he worked to regroup the disoriented group members.

      Zawahiri left Egypt in late 1985 after he filed a lawsuit and obtained a stay of a decision of the minister of interior banning his travel. He
      spent a year working at a medical clinic in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Al-Zawahiri started the Islamic Jihad Bureau in 1987. He published a monthly
      magazine called “al-Fath” [conquest]. When Bin Laden’s spiritual leader Azzam was assassinated, al-Zawahiri assumed the role. In Afghanistan and later Sudan, Zawahiri would control Bin Laden by surrounding him with members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad group. As a result, Bin Laden’s
      financial support flowed to Egyptian Islamic Jihad but not the Egyptian Islamic Group.

      Zawahiri opposes democracy because then people could choose their own religion rather than adhere to the religious beliefs he was taught as a
      young boy before he reached the Age of Reason. He thinks democracy must be overcome through violence. Although soft-spoken and outwardly calm, he is a fanatic. The humiliation he felt upon betraying his former mentor al-Qamari still rages within him. He is not constrained by what most would view as ethical limits. In the book Bitter Harvest, he was very critical of the Muslim Brotherhood for its growing accommodation of secular rulers, though he softened his views somewhat in Prophets under the Banner. Zawahiri’s friend, IANA magazine writer Kamal Habib, notes that, in contrast to Zawahiri, he has renounced violence and embraced democracy as a means of establishing sharia law.

      In the mid-1990s, Al-Zawahiri sought to coordinate the activities of the various Islamic terrorist movements to carry out sabotage activities against
      the United States. A series of meetings included representatives of Hamas and Hezbollah. In a meeting held in Khartoum in April 1995, one direction Al-Zawahiri charted was to develop the effectiveness of the Islamic networks in London and New York, especially Brooklyn, where he visited the Blind Sheik’s Services Organization.

      Zawahiri visited the US in 1995 and visited mosques with Ali Mohammed and San Jose physician Ali Zaki. Apparently, however, it was the planned visit by someone from Saudi Arabia coordinating with Mohammed Islambouli several years later that more recently was key to lay groundwork for the planned attacks using aircraft and other means. The planned visit was the subject of the CIA’s December 4, 1998 Presidential Daily Brief to President Clinton. Islambouli, brother of Sadat’s assassin, was in a cell with KSM, who upon Atef’s death assumed leadership of the cell planning to attack the US with weaponized anthrax. Islambouli was head of the blind sheik’s Services Organization in Peshawar. In addition to his numerous videotaped messages and his October 2001 book “Knights Under the Banner of the Prophet,” Zawahiri in 2003 wrote “Loyalty to Islam an Disavowal to Its Enemies.” Perhaps the best measure of a man’s anger is his own words.

      Zawahiri announced in 2007 that Islambouli was head of the Islamic Group members who had joined Al Qaeda. Perhaps someday the capture of Mohammed Islambouli will prove the watershed event that will permit authorities to bring Amerithrax to a successful resolution.

      • DXer said

        Ayman Zawahiri got his masters degree in surgery in 1978. Dr. Fadl, Ayman’s mentor in matters both of surgery and jihadist writing, said that Ayman had mainly book learning and so when they were at a clinic together in Saudi Arabia he had to cover for Ayman’s lack of practical skill in surgery. But question: Tarek Hamouda, supplied virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins for the DARPA research for which Former Colleage #1 and #2 assisted, received his MD in December 1982. So it seems he was at the medical school that first year while Ayman was actually still studying there — whereas previously I described only how Ayman in the early 1980s would come back on Fridays to recruit people to the Movement. Did they have teaching assistants where grad students taught new students? Was Ayman ever Tarek’s teacher?

        Tarek’s classmate, Khalid Hamid, a St. Louis MD who is St. Louis-CAIR was asked by the FBI whether he knew of a sleeper cell. In the press conference covered by Scott Shane, Dr. Hamid explained that terrorism is against a doctor’s Hippocratic Oath. He said in an interview on the radio that he couldn’t very well tell the FBI of a sleeper cell if he didn’t know about it. Dr. Hamid was in Ann Arbor in 2001. Did he know know Bassem Khafagi, the CAIR official there whose personal papers Ali Al-Timimi kept for safekeeping? His brother, “Tawfiq” Hamid, who consults with intelligence agencies and is a superb analyst of the social psychological processes that bear on recruitment by Ayman Zawahiri, explains that he was recruited by Ayman after one of the Friday talks. He withdrew when they wanted him to bury a security officer near the mosque. Now it is fine to spend 10 years poking fun at some web pornographer about whether it is 99% certain that a First Grader wrote the letters due to the block lettering used.

        But isn’t it about time that a FBI or CIA “red cell” took over and FBI Director Mueller reopened Amerithrax to run outstanding issues down? AUSA Ken Kohl was assigned to a major Blackwater case in Iraq in the year after the August 2008 press conference and so it was not like he was able to be in the saddle for such issues.

        FBI Director Mueller is far too busy and has too many responsibilities to play poker. But he should think of it in terms of “pot odds.” There is too much at stake — too much is in the pot — to not address the uncertainties. There is a reason the FBI is the leading investigative agency in the world and the FBI Director embodies those reasons. The FBI has proven itself worthy of the many, wide-ranging challenges it faces — even when there are inevitable set-backs and missteps.

        • DXer said

          Zawahiri planned to use charities and universities in his plan to develop anthrax as a weapon against the United States.

          On August 20, 2001, Saleh Hussayen, who would soon be appointed minister of the Saudi government and put in charge of its two holy mosques, arrived in the United States to meet with some of this country’s most influential fundamentalist Sunni Muslim leaders. He met with officials of the Global Relief Foundation and Islamic Assembly of North America in Ann Arbor, Michigan. IANA promoted the views of Bin Laden’s sheiks. On the night before September 11, Hussayen stayed at a Herndon, Virginia hotel where three of the Saudi hijackers stayed.

          As a Detroit Free Press headline explained in 2004, “Unproven weapons claim led to Islamic charity raid in [mid-December] ‘01.” Global Relief Founder (”GRF”) co-founder Rabih Haddad was associated with Bin Laden’s Makhtab al-Khidamat, which was headed by Mohammed Islambouli in Peshawar. The government froze the assets of the Global Relief Foundation (“GRF”) on December 14, 2001, saying it was a financial conduit to terrorists. The 911′s Terrorist Financing Monograph notes that GRF’s newsletter, “Al-Thilal” (“The Shadow”) openly advocated a militant interpretation of Islam and armed jihad. The 911 Commission reports that the FBI suspected the Executive Director of being affiliated with the blind sheik’s Egyptian Islamic Group. The 911 Commission explains: . “In early 2000, Chicago informed Detroit that GRF’s executive director, Chehade, had been calling two Michigan residents. One of these subjects was considered GRF’s spiritual leader and the other, Rabih Haddad, was a major GRF fund-raiser.”

          Its Chairman, Ann Arbor, Michigan community leader Rabih Haddad, was arrested in mid-December 2001 for overstaying his visa. Haddad taught twice a week at an Ann Arbor school and was an assistant to the leader at Ann Arbor’s mosque. He was an imam there. In 2000, Rabih Haddad wrote an article in the MCA newsletter about the unfair portrayal of muslims as terrorists.

          Congressman John Conyers, Jr, of Michigan joined several newspapers in suing to force the government to open the hearings. After a visit by Congressman Conyers in March 2002, Mr. Haddad was removed from solitary confinement and placed with the general prison population.” Mr. Haddad’s lawyer, Ashraf Nubani, of Northern Virginia, said at the time Attorney Nubani said that his client travelled mostly to Pakistan as part of his relief efforts. Haddad refused to testify before a grand jury unless granted full immunity.

          The New York Times reported that “Prosecutors said they were keeping some evidence secret to protect terrorism investigations.” Haddad’s lawyer arranged the pro bono representation for the Virginia Paintball defendants, including Al-Timimi, who came to be represented pro bono by the daughter of the lead Amerithrax prosecutor Daniel Seikaly.

          It was KSM’s assistant, al-Hawsawi, who had the anthrax spraydrying documents on his laptop. Al-Hawsawi was working with Al-Baluchi to get the 911 hijackers into the country. Al-Baluchi would marry MIT-graduate Aafia Siddiqui who told her defense psychiatrist that she had been tasked to study germ weapons under a fatwa. In an earlier prosecution, an Assistant United States Attorney asserted in passing in open court, without naming her, that Aafia was willing to participate in an anthrax attack if asked. The defense psychiatrist reports that Aafia told him that she had been tasked by “Abu Lubaba” to study germ warfare. Aafia Siddiqui is associated with Ann Arbor addresses near the mosque where her brother and sister-in-law, an MD, lived.

          Global Relief Foundation (“GRF”) and Benevolence International Foundation (”BIF”) attorneys in unison explained that the US had supported Makthab al-Khidamat in Afghanistan in the 1980s and Bosnia in the 1990s. (BIF head Arnaout, a Syrian, was at the meeting at which Al Qaeda was founded.) Investigation of the two charities was well underway prior to 9/11, although plagued by lengthy unnecessary delays emanating from headquarters. The 9/11 Commission Report notes that on April 21, 1999, upon weekly dumpster diving, FBI “agents had recovered from BIF’s trash a newspaper article on bioterrorism, in which someone had highlighted sections relating to the United States’ lack of preparedness for a biological attack.” (Many articles that year quoted famed Russian bioweaponeer Ken Alibek who was at George Mason University in Falls Church, Virginia.)

          The FBI had a better relationship with the CIA in the investigation of BIF than with GRF. The 9/11 Commission noted that “[t]he Chicago agents believed the CIA wanted to shield certain information from the FBI because of fears of revealing sources and methods in any potential criminal litigation in the United States.” Chicago agents benefited from the New York Office files on the two charities but the New York FBI office personnel were overwhelmed and working their own leads. The Illinois-based investigations remained an intelligence gathering exercise with no thought given to a criminal prosecution to disrupt the financing of Al Qaeda until after 9/11.

          In mid-October 2001, Dr. Martin Hugh-Jones of Louisiana State University told an NPR reporter that an insider could have taken some anthrax from a lab. He didn’t want to be interviewed on tape. ‘If I were to guess,’ he says, ‘it was probably some summer intern talking to a friend in a local bar. The friend said, “Could you get me some?”‘ Hugh-Jones says various protest groups have been scouting for anthrax for years.

          In January 2003, the Chairman of Ann Arbor-based Islamic Assembly of North America, which promoted the views of Bin Laden’s sheiks, was arrested for bouncing a $6,000 check. Dr. Bassem Khafagi operated International Media Group out of his home. Before 911, according to the counsel for Falls Church scientist Ali Al-Timimi, Ann Arbor resident Khafagi was asked about Al-Timimi “purportedly at the behest of American intelligence. [redacted ] He was specifically asked about Dr. Al-Timimi’s connection to Bin Laden prior to Dr. Al-Timimi’s arrest. He was later interviewed by the FBI about Dr. Al-Timimi. Clearly, such early investigations go directly to the allegations of Dr. Al-Timimi’s connections to terrorists and Bin Laden — [redacted]” Ann Arbor resident Khafagi, the IANA head, was a good friend of microbiologist Ali Al-Timimi and his personal papers were later found in Al-Timimi’s residence.

          Dr. Tarek Hamouda at NanoBio in Ann Arbor thanked Louisiana State University researchers for making space available for the research. The LSU researchers had provided four characterized strains while Bruce Ivins had provided virulent Ames. After the anthrax mailings, “We’ve had subpoenas left, right and center. We were inspected twice by the CDC [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]. Hugh-Jones told a reporter. “The FBI is frequently calling in. We’re cooperating closely.” His former colleague, Kimothy Smith, would take a copy of the LSU inventory to Paul Keim’s lab and served as the FBI’s genetic consultant in 2001-2002 at the time the Ivins’ samples were submitted.

          The Ann Arbor researchers, including the former Zawahiri associate, in December 1999 went to Dugway, a military installation in the remote Utah desert to demonstrate the effectiveness of their biocidal cream on an aerosolized anthrax surrogate.

          In late August 2001, NanoBio moved in to its new offices from less impressive digs in the basement of a bank. Bruce Ivins had supplied its University of Michigan researchers Ames strain three years earlier for DARPA-funded biodefense research. Dr. Hamouda declines to describe the dates and locations of his work with virulent Ames or discuss his relationship with the Salafists-Jihadis walking the same halls. That would be fine except that his research was funded by nearly $12 million in United States taxpayer funds and the University of Michigan has obligations to taxpayers under that federal statute.

          Dr. Ivins did not know Tarek was not a citizen when he arrived. Dr. James Baker had never told him. But after Tarek’s arrival, a superior overrode Bruce’s concern and authorized the supply of virulent Ames.

          It took two years for USAMRIID to provide the documents (Dr. Ivins’ emails) which should have been produced in September 2008 after Scott Shane asked of the New York Times asked for them.

          If Amerithrax represents the greatest intelligence failure in United States history, there are lot of individual government employees whose culture of complacency made it possible.

  7. DXer said

    The FBI cannot match Ivins and the handwriting in the anthrax letters. As summarized by World Net Daily:

    “Casting further doubt on the FBI’s anthrax case, accused government scientist Bruce Ivins passed two polygraph tests and a handwriting analysis comparing samples of his handwriting to writing contained in the anthrax letters, U.S. officials familiar with the investigation say.


    Officials confirm that FBI handwriting analysts were unable to conclusively match samples of Ivins’ handwriting with the writing on the anthrax envelopes and letters”.

    The WND article points out other problems with the FBI’s case:

    Investigators also failed to uncover other critical evidence linking Ivins directly to the letters. For instance:

    * No textile fibers were found in his office, residence or vehicles matching fibers found on the scotch tape used to seal the envelopes;

    * No pens were found matching the ink used to address the envelopes;

    * Samples of his hair failed to match hair follicles found inside the Princeton, N.J., mailbox used to mail the letters.

    Also, no souvenirs of the crime, such as newspaper clippings, were found in his possession as commonly seen in serial murder cases.

    What’s more, the FBI could not place Ivins at the crime scene with evidence, such as gas station or other receipts, at the time the letters were mailed in September and October 2001.


    lab records reviewed by WND show the number of late nights Ivins put in at the lab first spiked in August 2001, weeks before the 9/11 attacks.”

    • Anonymous said

      “Also, no souvenirs of the crime, such as newspaper clippings, were found in his possession as commonly seen in serial murder cases.”

      That just proves what a sneaky person Ivins was – and thus proves beyond resonable doubt that he was the mailer 😉

      Anybody who doesn’t see he was the mailer is a true believing, junk scientist, moon landing denying, conspiracy theory loving, truther.

    • Roberto said

      Since a round trip to Princeton from Frederick is essentially a tank full of gas, does anyone know if Bruce used more gas than usual in Sept 01?

  8. DXer said

    The FBI has explained the characteristics of the Amerithrax letters to include:

    1. The author uses dashes (“-“) in the writing of the date “09-11-01.” Many people use the slash (“/”) to separate the day/month/year.

    2. In writing the number one, the author chooses to use a formalized, more detailed version. He writes it as “1” instead of the simple vertical line.

    3. The author uses the words “can not,” when many people prefer to spell it as one word, “cannot.”

    4. The author writes in all upper case block-style letters. However, the first letter of the first word of each sentence is written in slightly larger upper case lettering. Also, the first letter of all proper nouns (like names) is slightly larger. This is apparently the author’s way of indicating a word should be capitalized in upper case lettering. For whatever reason, he may not be comfortable or practiced in writing in lower case lettering.

    5. The names and address on each envelope are noticeably tilted on a downward slant from left to right. This may be a characteristic seen on other envelopes he has sent.

    6. The envelopes are of the pre-stamped variety, the stamps denoting 34 cents, which are normally available directly from the post office. They are not the traditional business size envelopes, but the smaller size measuring approximately 6 1/4″ x 3 ½”.

  9. Old Atlantic said

    I know. It was done by a child. A first grader.

    • Anonymous said

      I think it’s a 99% certainty the fiery package letters were written by a first grader.

      The first grader probably visits his father at week-ends.

      The father has a drink problem.

      He watches Fox News – is likely a fan of the O’Reilly factor.

      He is angry at the world.

      He has probably been diagnosed as a sociopath by his theripsit.

      He probably has a website where he writes his beliefs obsessively on a daily basis.

  10. DXer said

    There is an interesting comparison with an earlier incident involving similar incendiary letters (using a match) sent to Governors.

    I suppose, though, that instructions for such a letter are in some widely distributed manual and so a general similarity would not serve to connect the events.

    5 Governors Get Booby-trapped Incendiary Envelopes In Mail .,2027830&dq=incendiary+letters+governors&hl=en

    Telegraph-Herald – Sep 10, 2004
    HELENA, Mont. — At least five Western and Midwestern governors re ceived envelopes in the mail Thursday rigged to ignite when opened. …

    San Jose Mercury News (CA) – September 12, 2004 – 6A Front

    SEARCH NARROWS IN CASE OF INCENDIARY LETTERS Federal and state authorities have narrowed their investigation to a person of interest in the case involving at least 16 governors who were sent letters rigged to catch fire from a Nevada prison. ”They have a focus for their investigation,” Glen Whorton, assistant director for the Nevada Corrections Department, said Saturday. ”They’ve narrowed it down to an individual.’…

    Long Beach Press-Telegram : INCENDIARY MAIL SENT TO…

    Press Telegram – Sep 15, 2004
    Arnold Schwarzenegger, one of three governors targeted Monday by letters … at the prison and have narrowed their investigation to “a person of interest. …

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