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

* photocopy toner at USAMRIID … a fascinating interchange between Ed Lake and DXer … DXer concludes: There is relevant admissible evidence and that evidence, being withheld by the FBI, shows that there is no basis for the DOJ’s innuendo that the USAMRIID photocopiers were used. There has been a travesty at justice.

Posted by DXer on February 3, 2011


a fascinating interchange between Ed Lake and DXer

Ed writes: We don’t know that the photocopier examined by the FBI was the same photocopier that was there in September and October of 2010.” DXer responds: The way one would test the photocopy toner is to compare the documents copied during the Fall 2001 to the anthrax letters. Ed, have you read the literature relating to photocopy toner examination?
Ed writes: We don’t know that cleaning or replacing parts of the photocopier couldn’t have made the photocopier different from the way it was September and October of 2001.” DXer responds: Ed apparently has not read the literature.
Ed writes: Ivins could have used some other photocopier. The one at AMI wasn’t the only photocopier in the entire world, nor the only photocopier within a hundred miles. Therefore, Ivins could have used another photocopier.” DXer responds: Ah, yes, the acknowledgement that there is no evidence he used the photocopier — instead just the unsupported assertion he did.  See also lyophilizer and a dozen other issues where the same approach is used.
Ed writes: “The fact that it couldn’t be proven that Ivins used the photocopier at Ft. Detrick proves absolutely nothing in the Ivins case.” DXer responds: Ah, but it does.  You agreed we would consider the evidence against Dr. Ivins and on the photocopy issue, you agree that there is none to support the claim he is photocopied the letters.
Ed writes: From page 13 of the FBI Summary Report: “Three “trash marks,” or copy imperfections, of forensic value were found on the letters to Senators Daschle and Leahy, but not on the letters to the New York Post and Brokaw. These trash markings were compared to letters maintained in the FBI Anonymous Threat Letter File and to 1,014 photocopier exemplar sets collected from copy machines located inside or near the vicinity of every known biological laboratory that possessed virulent Ames anthrax in 2001. No matches were found.” “So, the photocopier in the library at Ft. Detrick was just one of 1,014 photocopiers tested. None matched the senate letters.” DXer responds: Ed, not having read the literature, is grossly confusing two separate issues — one has to do with “trash marks” and one has to do with photocopy toner.  One is specific to a machine – one is specific to the range of machines of a particular brand and model.
Ed writes: “Do you agree the AUSA implied that the photocopier was used — given the words stated in the footnote?” No, I do not agree. Here is the sentence that had the connection to the footnote: In the 69-hour window in which the second mailings could have been made, Dr. Ivins could account for only a few hours that weekend. He had no alibi for the remaining time. DXer responds: The footnote merely says that the time Ivins spent in the library during those 69 hours does not establish any kind of alibi for the time of the mailings.
Ed writes: But, that may explain why it was necessary to mention that the photocopier in the library could not be shown to be the photocopier used for the senate letters. DXer responds: Ed is confused again.  The FBI has not stated that.  They have nowhere addressed this key of photocopy toner.  The marks are entirely different.


Ed writes: Ivins was in the library during that critical 69 hours, so jurors would want to know if the photocopier had been tested to see if it matched the senate letters. Yes, it had been tested. It didn’t match. DXer responds: VOILA!  See how easy that was! The FBI knows the perp used a photocopier model of a certain range of brands and can exclude the photocopiers at USAMRIID!  The FBI should say that.


Ed writes: So, Ivins either used a different photocopier, or the photocopier in the library had been fixed or repaired making it worthless for match testing. DXer responds: Ed has not read the literature and has no basis for this suggestion.  As I mentioned, testing is done using other exemplars from the Fall 2001 period.


Ed writes: And we now know what the photocopier was mentioned. It would have been mentioned in court that Ivins time in the library didn’t provide an alibi. The photocopier was in the library. It was one of 1,014 tested. It didn’t match the senate letters. Ivins evidently used a different photocopier. DXer responds: Ed confuses “evidence”; with all the issues he needs to use the word “evidently” in reporting his assumptions made necessary due to the lack of evidence.


DXer concludes:

There is relevant admissible evidence and that evidence,

being withheld by the FBI,

shows that there is no basis for the DOJ’s innuendo

that the USAMRIID photocopiers were used.

There has been a travesty at justice.


CASE CLOSED is a novel

about the FBI’s failed investigation

of the 2001 anthrax attacks


read the opening scene of CASE CLOSED …

* CASE CLOSED – opening scene … the DIA re-investigates the FBI’s failed case


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68 Responses to “* photocopy toner at USAMRIID … a fascinating interchange between Ed Lake and DXer … DXer concludes: There is relevant admissible evidence and that evidence, being withheld by the FBI, shows that there is no basis for the DOJ’s innuendo that the USAMRIID photocopiers were used. There has been a travesty at justice.”

  1. DXer said

    The former lead investigator Lambert confirms to me today that the USAMRIID photocopiers could be excluded. Someone should request under FOIA all forensic reports relating to the USAMRIID photocopiers.

    AUSA Lieber: if the USAMRIID photocopiers could be excluded, why was the innuendo in the paragraphs quoted above included? You should have explained that the USAMRIID photocopiers could be excluded — not implied that he might have photocopied the anthrax letters there.

    Indeed, defense would use the time in the library as an alibi. Who would take time out to read the newspaper when processing deadly anthrax?

  2. DXer said

    Now entirely different from the issue of photocopy toner is the issue of the identification of the photocopy paper used — which has been determined by the FBI but is part of the hold-back.

    Let’s consider the state of the art at the time of the examination of the photocopy paper used in the anthrax mailings. We heard all sorts of specious arguments raised against Dr. Ivins: that he had no reason to be in the lab which was BS, that he had a lyophilizer available to him in the B3, which again was BS.

    Let’s turn to the science that the FBI did that was not BS. Let’s turn to what the FBI determined about the make of the paper used. And have GAO tell us what the FBI memo says that reports on whether USAMRIID used that paper. (It didn’t or you can be sure Rachel would have told us about it.)

    Here is a bibliography of the literature on the subject at the time the FBI did its analysis — which it wrongfully suppressed.

    Barnard JAW, Polk DE, Giesses BC. Forensic identification of paper by
    elemental analysis using scanning electron microscopy. Scanning Elec-
    tron Microsc 1975;8:519–27. 4. PolkDE,AttardAE,GiessenBC.Forensiccharacterizationofpapers.II:
    Determination of batch differences by scanning electron microscopic el- emental analysis of the inorganic components. J Forensic Sci 1977;22:524–33.

    Foner HA, Adan N. The characterization of papers by X-ray diffraction (XRD): measurement of cellulose crystallinity and determination of mineral composition. J Forensic Sci Soc 1983;23:313–21.

    Sugita R, Suzuki S, Marumo Y. Trend of Fiber in Paper for Plain Paper Copier (PPC) and Its Validity for the Discrimination. Rep Natl Res Inst Police Sci 2000;53(1):23–5.

    Andrasko J. Microreflectance FTIR techniques applied to materials en- countered in forensic examination of documents. J Forensic Sci 1996;41 (5):812–23.

    EbaraH,KondoA,NishidaS.Analysisofcoatedandnon-coatedpapers by pyrolysis gas-chromatography. Rep Natl Res Inst Police Sci 1982;2 (35):88–98.

    Sugita R, Ohta H, Suzuki S. Identification of Photocopier Paper by Py- rolysis Gas Chromatography. The 4th Annual Meeting of Jpn Assoc Tech Iden Japan, 1999.

    Sugita R, Suzuki S. Nondestructive discrimination of plain copier by morphological analysis. The 14th International Symposium on the Forensic Sciences, 1998.

    Sugita R, Suzuki S. Discrimination of paper by macro-and microscopic observation. Proceeding International Workshop on the Forensic Exam- ination of Trace Evidence, 1998.

    Ohsawa J, Naito T. Evaluation of Sheet Formation with Light Transmis- sion Image. Jpn TAPPI J 1992;46(7):912–27, 1993;47(9):1120–1130, 1994;48(3):476–84.

    Praast H, Goettsching L. Analysis der siebmarkierung im durchlight. Das papier 1987;41(3):105–120.

    Koukoulas AA, Nguyen N, Jordan B D. Measuring fabric mark in board using image analysis. J Pulp and Paper Sci 1994;20(8):J220–5.

    Enomae T, Kuga S. Paper formation analysis of light transmission im- ages acquired by desk-top flat-bed image scanner. The 47th Annual Meeting of the Japan Wood Res Soc; 1997.

    Shinozaki M, Tajima Y, Miyamoto S. An evaluation method for paper formation based on light transmission distribution and its spatial fre- quency analysis. J Soc Fiber Sci Tech Jpn 1999;55(8):383–92.

    Shinozaki M, Tajima Y, Miyamoto S. Paper “Formation” Image Analy- sis. Jpn J Paper Tech 1996;39(6):24–8.

    Shinozaki M. Frequency Analysis of Paper Formation. Jpn TAPPI J 1999;53(7):914–25.

    Praast H. Bildanalyse- ein Werkzeug fuer die Halbstoff-und Papierprue- fung Teil 2. Das Papier 1996;50(10A):v97–101.

    Fuchida T. Light sources for color reproduction. J Illum Engng Inst Jpn 1997;81(1):40–3.

    Miyata H, Shinozaki M. A discrimination method of paper by fourier transform and cross-correlation. Jpn TAPPI J 2000;54(3):396–401. 22. Shinozaki M, Miyata H, Nakayama T, Enomae T. A discrimination
    method of paper by fourier transform and cross-correlation; Part 2, Ap- plication to commercial xerography papers. Jpn TAPPI J 2001;55(4): 514–21.

  3. DXer said

    A 298-page document entitled Hijackers Timeline (Redacted) from the FB under FOIA suggests that there video footage and/or other evidence from Maryland and Virginia where the federal eagle stamp was sold:

    • Salem Alhazmi and Ahmed Alghamdi used an ATM in Alexandria, Virginia, on August 2.

    • Hanjour and Mojed used a Kinko’s for half an hour in College Park, Maryland, on August 10.

    • Moqed and Nawaf Alhazmi shopped at an Exxon gas station in Joppa, Maryland, on August 28.

    • Salem Alhazmi was at the Falls Church DMV on September 7.

    • Ziad Jarrah and possibly Saeed Alghamdi were videotaped using a Kinko’s for about an hour near Newark on September 10.

    I previously mentioned that I believe there is video footage of Atta and others at Kinkos on September 7 where Atta was doing cutting and pasting. (The letters were irregularly cut).

    I often have mentioned that the DOJ is withholding the mass spec work it did on the photocopy toner. Under that study, the photocopiers from USAMRIID can be excluded but the photocopiers at KINKOS cannot.

    GAO should obtain Dr. Bartick’s report(s).

  4. DXer said

    Those experienced with litigation know that how an issue is framed is critical.

    If the GAO allows the FBI to selectively frame the issues, then it will have missed the opportunity for meaningful review.

    The issue of the mass spec of the photocopy toner — and the documents being withheld by the FBI regarding that — are far more probative than science, for example, about isotopes.

    Then the GAO could compare the Dr. Bartick’s report to the innuendo in the Amerithrax Summary.

  5. DXer said

    David Willman writes:

    “During the same periods when he was logging such unusual amounts of time in the hot suite, Ivins also made three brief visits during off-hours to the USAMRIID library, which was equipped with a photocopier.”

    David Willman made no FOIA request for the expert opinion of Dr. Bartick which excluded those photocopiers based on the toner (as distinguished from the “trash marks”). If GAO requests those reports, it will find that the photocopiers are excluded and that Willman’s GARBAGE INNUENDO at page 258 is soundly debunked.

  6. DXer said

    The recent NAS report states:

    “In conducting its review, the committee was mindful that, while its focus was on the
    science involved in the case, the FBI did not ask the committee to review all of the science that
    was used in the investigation. For example, the committee was not charged to consider or
    evaluate any of the traditional forensic science methods and techniques used in criminal
    investigations (e.g., hair, fiber, fingerprint, or handwriting analysis) (NRC, 2009a) …”

  7. DXer said

    Science at odds with FBI in anthrax case

    Edmonton Journal February 15, 2011

    A scientific review released Tuesday in the 2001 case of deadly anthrax mailings does not support the U.S. government’s conclusion that scientist Bruce Ivins, who killed himself in 2008, was to blame.

    The conclusion was part of an independent review by the National Academy of Sciences of the investigation into the attacks, which killed five people and spread panic in the United States in the days following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

    The U.S. government said the anthrax contained in mailings sent to prominent politicians and news anchors must have originated with Ivins’ lab, but the science panel said there was insufficient evidence to support that.

  8. DXer said

    The National Academy of Sciences review did not consider traditional forensic science methods in their study.

  9. Anonymous said

    “Ed argues “it’s not possible to prove much of anything about the handwriting.”

    Then, Ed, why do you argue that it is 99% certain that a First Grader wrote the letters?”

    What he means is that he just doesn’t know which first grader it was. Apart from narrowing it down from 3 million nationwide to 3 who were in his wife’s daycare center 😉

    Oops, I forgot – she didn’t actually have a daycare center in 2001.

    So that narrows it down to none. Pretty good. Better than 99%.

    • richard rowley said

      Partial post by Mister Lake:
      So far, no one has found any errors in my hypothesis nor any facts disproving my hypothesis. All they do is say they don’t care what the facts say, they’re simply not going to believe it.
      Problem is, Mister Lake, I sent you, a few years back, an email critiquing IN DETAIL your a-child-printed-it hypothesis. I no longer remember whether I was writing to you under a pseudonym but the VERY LONG ANALYSIS included, among other things, the following points:

      1) in keeping with the original recipe of ‘Brother Jonathan’, you incorrectly use the term ‘uncial’. A trifle but the first tipoff that actual ‘facts’ play little role in your analysis.

      2) the hypothesis PRESUPPOSES a uniformity of instruction throughout the United States at the first grade level that simply does not exist. (That included the assertion that ‘school begins in September’ (in my state it begins in August).

      3) the ‘distinction’ between a ‘public school’ rendering of a capital R and a Catholic school rendering of a captital R doesn’t jibe with my experience (all 8 years of grammar school in a Catholic school) and seems to be based EXCLUSIVELY on Mister Lake comparing notes with his brother-in-law. Hardly a representative sample.

      4) Your points 3) and 4) “Learning to write smaller” and “Learning when to capitalize and when not to capitalize” posit an ABSURD rate of learning by a 6 or 7 year old; no child is going to ‘improve’ or internalize those things in 3 lousy weeks! (which would be, at most 15 class days).

      5) Ditto for your points 5) (“Learning about punctuation”) and 6) (“Learning about the question mark”: you once again posit both a wildly unlikely rate of introduction of those rather arcane and unfundamental elements of mastering the writing system in the first 2 months of elementary education AND a wildly unlikely rate of learning/internalization by the ‘child’. If children could learn that rapidly
      then the school year could be shortened by 50%. Perhaps by more.

      6) Your points 7) (“Developing better hand-eye coordination” and 8)(“Learning to judge how much room you have to write” suffer from the same wildly improbable ‘improvement’ by a 6 year old: practically overnight.

      7) In addition, you can’t seem to make up your mind whether you TRULY think the child is merely ‘copying’ originals presented to him/her by the anthrax killer, or whether the child has the option of ignoring the letters in the original and ‘sounding out’ each word (your explanation for the misspelling “PENACILIN” in your analysis). Moreover, I pointed out that “penicillin” was unlikely to be in the vocabulary of a 6 year old so the child would have had no basis for sounding it out.

      8) This point is intimately related to your ‘doodling’ subhypothesis: if an adult is tasking a 6 year old with copying a text and is watching the child do it, wouldn’t the child stick to what was in front of him rather than ‘doodle’? And wouldn’t the adult have stopped the child from doodling, perhaps given him/her a fresh page to start over again? But practical considerations of this sort play no role in your hypothesis.

      9) I also pointed out that Ivins having a wife who ran a day care center in the home wouldn’t in itself guarantee that Ivins would have unfettered access to and privacy with any such children. The PRACTICAL considerations of how Ivins could spend at LEAST 30 minutes with a child (and do so TWICE, with perhaps a 3 week interval) with OTHER children and his wife running around in the house are never confronted by Mister Lake’s analysis.
      Well, I’m going to stop here (though my original analysis via email was VASTLY longer and more detailed). You had a perfect right, Mister Lake, not to respond to my email critique: we all have to pick our spots. But how can you then dare claim about 3 years later:

      1) “So far, no one has found any errors in my hypothesis…”

      2) [scoffers] “don’t care what the facts say”

      The only things that are ‘facts’ about the printing are:

      1)there’s an awkwardness in the block printing of the letters. An awkwardness that can be explained in a number of ways (ie interpretations).

      2)some of the letters are retraced in full or in part (again, the REASON(s) for this are interpretations)

      • Anonymous said

        “And the child hypothesis supports the “hidden message” explanation.”

        This is getting surreal – are you saying because you believe there was a “hidden message” this supports the bizarre idea that a child wrote it?

        So, Ivin’s coached an imaginary first grader that he picked off an imaginary bus from an imaginary bus stop, took to his wife’s imaginary day care center and carefully told the imaginary child to write out messages highlighting imaginary code letters?

        Have I got that right?

        Was the tooth fairy invloved in all of this as well?

      • BugMaster said

        I’ve got to agree with anonymous here.

        Mr. Lake, you’re starting to disappoint me again!

      • richard rowley said

        Mister Lake,

        No. I wasn’t asked my opinion as a linguist about Amerithrax until late 2005 (by an Internet interlocutor). That’s how I got into it. And I’ve never used the name Dan. And I don’t think I wrote to you until late 2006 or 2007 in the first instance. Doesn’t matter. I know you’re as honest as the day is long.
        No offense taken and I hope in my critiques none given. Don’t take anonymous too seriously: he’s like that with me elsewhere: needling! Always needling!

        I want to keep it short so, for openers, I’ll just repeat the observation that the BULK of both your analysis (the points #3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11) and that of Brother Jonathan emphasize a decernible ‘improvement’ or “learning” (WHICH WOULD BE PLAUSIBLE over a semester or a year) between the September 18th printing and the October 9th printing. That just won’t be there. And you can likely verify that with
        someone who teaches first grade. My entire experience with teaching an alphabet was in teaching the Russian Cyrillic. But that was to people in the 18 to 22 year old group: adults. There WILL be some differences with 6 or 7 year olds but I don’t think the WIDE RANGE of improvements cited will bear scrutiny. Just my opinion.
        And to get to something that I spaced on yesterday, a REALISTIC child-did-it-scenario would have to contend with the fact that kids of that age are wonderfully inquisitive and talkative. They especially love regaling the adults in their lives with what they just did: 5 or 10 minutes ago, 2 hours ago, 10 hours ago and yesterday. A child-printer would likely BRAG about how he just helped “that nice Mister Ivins” (or whoever) copy a letter. This would sure sound weird to Mrs Ivins. And threaten discovery, even though the child had no idea of the significance of the observation.

        Moreover, we can imagine OTHER things said by the posited child (possibly to the anthrax killer but also to his/her parents):

        ‘What’s anthrax?’

        ‘Why am I writing “Death to America”‘?

        ‘What’s Allah?’


        Said another (high falutin’) way: the pragmatics of the social situation make using a child a high-risk stratagem. And an unnecessary one: short term one can fake certain elements of one’s printing/handwriting. And that’s probably the reason for the ‘improvement’ between September 18th and October 9th: on the latter date the perp was more laid back about it, less perfectionistic in trying to look ‘foreign’ or ‘semi-literate’ or whatever he was trying to fake. Acclimatization to the situation.
        By the way, I’ve noticed that you often obliquely hit something spot on! The A in PENACILIN does indeed have a purpose, just not the one posited by the FINAL REPORT.

  10. richard rowley said

    Partial post by DXer:
    Ed argues “it’s not possible to prove much of anything about the handwriting.”

    Then, Ed, why do you argue that it is 99% certain that a First Grader wrote the letters? Shouldn’t you drop that argument given you admit it’s not possible to prove much of anything about the handwriting.” You should should your page about handwriting and note that it is not possible to prove much of anything about the handwriting.
    Though I’m one of those persons most sharply critical of the child-printed-it scenario, I think it serves a worthwhile purpose to leave Mister Lake’s original defense of that scenario on his website: years from now people, youngish and/or curious-for-the-first-time about the case, will wonder what people were thinking/claiming about various aspects of Amerithrax in the 2001-2008 period. Since Mister Lake now has a sort of amendment attached to the document in question, saying that the ‘amino-acid code’ in effect rules out the child-printed-it scenario, no harm is done in retaining the original document as a historical artifact.

    • Anonymous said

      LOL. I suppose Lake will claim Dr Ivins said to the first grader “OK, very good, now redraw over these letters”. 😉

  11. DXer said

    Who was Dr. Ivins writing about the Ames missing from building 1412 and the autoclaving of samples there?

    • richard rowley said

      Partial post by Ed Lake (addressing me):
      I’m talking about what the facts say in an actual crime.
      You’re talking about the planning of a theoretical crime.
      But there are (in a sense) two types of crimes:

      1) the spontaneous ones (barroom brawls, opporunistic robberies, rapes, etc)

      2) the non-spontaneous ones (the heavily planned ones).
      In the planning stage(s) the crime is ALWAYS ‘theoretical’: the criminal or criminals say “How are we going to pull this off?”; “What’s the best way?”; how can we avoid being caught?”; “Have we forgotten anything?” etc.

      Amerithrax IN PARTICULAR, Ivins or no Ivins, was a heavily premeditated crime: lots of initial, intermediate and final steps involving the growth and processing of the anthrax spores for starters. Is it ‘theoretical’ to say that?!?!? Not at ALL!

      And the printing of the original text was another item that had to be planned. Or are you saying that EVERY OTHER PART of the crime was carefully planned and for some weird reason the perp SPONTANEOUSLY seized the first kid he saw and had the kid copy a preexisting text? And did this TWICE?!?!?

      Who’s being ‘theoretical’ and who’s being practical?

  12. DXer said

    Given that the FBI estimates that up to 377 had access required elimination (allowing for some duplication who had access in both 1425 and 1412), why did US Taylor think and falsely claim that only 100 needed to be eliminated — only those with access at Building 1425?

  13. DXer said

    Will it take Congressional subpoena power to fill in the blanks in the email asking about weaponized anthrax that came to Detrick and then was shipped out and some was missing?

  14. Lew Weinstein said

    ED says … “The past crimes show Ivins’ sociopathic motives. The past crimes show how Ivins had similar opportunities to drive long distances to commit the crimes. The past crimes show the kind of preparation Ivins went through before committing crimes. The past crimes show the planning Ivins went through before committing crimes. The past crimes show how Ivins had gained the knowledge to mail the anthrax letters near a KKG building.”

    That list would be laughable in a court of law. NONE of those items, even if true, has the remotest relevance to the anthrax attacks, and serves only as a smoke screen to divert attention from the one important truth that the FBI has not presented a shred of real evidence to prove that Dr. Ivins had anything to do with the anthrax mailings.


    • anonymous said

      “What is there for a jury to decide if the evidence is so clear and undeniable?”

      What planet are you living on exactly?

    • DXer said

      Ed, can you address the topic of the post and thread?

      Do you agree that the examination was part of the science used by FBI in Amerithrax (see Bartick research) and should be produced to NAS?

      And do you agree it should be addressed by NAS in its report?

      You keep returning to pre-1985 theft of a book instead of addressing the merits of the science that can exclude photocopiers up to a 99% level.

    • DXer said


      Remind me: How does the theft of the book pre-1985 relating to sororities reflect Dr. Ivins’ motive? What was his motive revealed by the earlier theft.

      And how does it bear on opportunity? We’ve established Dr. Ivins had an alibi for the evening of the 17th and overnight on the 18th. How is the theft of a book bear on his alibi/opportunity issue? Do you dispute he attended the scheduled group therapy session and if so, on what basis?

      And how does the theft of a book bear on his ability to aerosolize a virulent powder using the equipment identified by the US Attorney — which was out in the hallway in the uncontained area?

    • DXer said


      A standard polygraph question is: Have you ever stolen anything from work?

      It is a control question. Ed, have you ever stolen anything from work?

    • DXer said

      You now refer to parts of the book. You are mistaken about the contents of the book. I had offered to send you a copy but you said it was irrelevant.

    • DXer said

      I’ll be glad to pull the controlling legal precedent under Rule 404 to resolve your misapprehensions of the application of Federal Rule of Evidence.

    • DXer said

      Now, did you realize that Former Colleague #1 and Former Colleague #2 — whose statements you point to — had been thanked by the former Zawahiri associate for providing technical assistance in connection with the work in the BL-3 with virulent Ames?

  15. DXer said

    Ed, on the subject of the photocopy toner, which is the subject of Lew’s post, do you agree that the FBI should produce the documents relating to the toner examination?

    Do you agree that the NAS should address the issue?

  16. anonymous said

    Amazing, Lake writes the following today on his website:

    “One truly crazy argument still baffles me. It’s difficult to even figure out what they are arguing. They seem to argue that the FBI implied in their Summary Report that Ivins used the copy machine at Ft. Detrick. But, the Summary Report just says that the FBI found no evidence that Ivins used the copy machine at Ft. Detrick for the anthrax letters. So, they ask: Why did the FBI even mention it? I did research, and I found that the FBI checked 1,014 copy machines at every location that had the Ames strain and found none that matched the markings on the senate letters. The copy machine in the library at Ft. Detrick was one of those machines. However, the main reason the FBI mentions it is evidently because in-out logs show that Ivins was in the library at Ft. Detrick during part of the 3-day period when the senate letters were mailed. It would be natural to wonder if Ivins used that copy machine in the library to make the senate anthrax letters at that time. So, the report says that there’s no evidence of it.”

    Fascinating – such is the human psychology of a witch hunt mentality.

    He can’t seem to actually read the sentence “where there was a photocopying machine present”. The FBI narrative was so sloppily put together that the FBI didn’t notice after making the false innuendo that Ivins used it to copy the letters – in another section they then admit that copier didn”t match.

    • DXer said

      By his reference to the sole issue of “tracks,” it is evident that he does not understand the issue of mass spec on the photocopy toner.

      A finding that there was no match as to “tracks” could be argued to be inconclusive due to changes in tracks at least upon high volume usage. On the other hand, the mass spec on the toner would be highly conclusive. So instead of the comment that Dr. Ivins was there “where there was a photocopying machine present” and statement that the letters were photocopies, Rachel should have said that the examination of the toner by Dr. Bartick conclusively showed that the photocopiers in the library where Dr. Ivins visited during the relevant time period could be excluded. Whether Ed perceives an innuendo is irrelevant. Instead, the key is that he agrees that it is not disputed that the Ft. Detrick photocopiers can be excluded. He also agreed that there is no evidence a lyophlizer was used even though that was US Attorney Taylor’s argument at the August 8 press conference. Thus, focusing on the evidence and not Ed’s usual empty rhetoric, we see that there is no “there there” when it comes to the evidence that Ed always suggests is there. When you go looking for it, all we find is him admitting that there is no evidence on the particular key point. There is no evidence Dr. Ivins wrote the letters, there is no evidence he photocopied the letters, there is no evidence he transported the letters, the letters were mailed at the time he had a group therapy meeting on September 17, etc. Even the FBI’s genetic expert thinks its code theory is hooey (he is available by email) which is why the FBI continued to try to develop another theory. See, e.g., 302 interview about musical notations.

    • anonymous said


      “In addition, during these same few weeks, Dr Ivins exhibited an unusual pattern of access to the USAMRIID library, where there was a photocopying machine.”

      The above words (which you refuse to reproduce on your website) is commonly called a “Red Herring” – something you know a lot about.

      Red herring is an idiomatic expression referring to the rhetorical or literary tactic of diverting attention away from an item of significance.[1] For example, in mystery fiction, where the identity of a criminal is being sought, an innocent party may be purposefully cast in a guilty light by the author through the employment of false emphasis, deceptive clues, ‘loaded’ words or other descriptive tricks of the trade.

      • DXer said


        Do you agree that the NAS should reach the science relating to the photocopier toner given that it was relied upon in the Amerithrax investigation and is a reguarly recurring issue in connection with threat letters?

        Do you agree that the FBI is obligated to produce those documents under FOIA?

      • DXer said


        A judge would view Rachel and Ken’s use of the photocopier issue to falsely inculpate rather than exculpate Dr. Ivins from a technical standpoint — as represented by this picture I took this morning.

  17. Lew Weinstein said


    You said … “It is not necessary to have a single item that proves guilt. If it were necessary, there would never be any trials of any kind, because there would never be anything for a jury to decide. It is all the items of evidence that prove guilt, not a single item.”

    I would be surprised to learn that you have ever actually been on a jury. Evidence of past crimes, if any, is not admissible. Descriptions of strange behavior is not evidence. PROOF means showing that the defendant did the crime for which he is charged. There is simply no evidence, or at least none presented by the FBI, that comes even remotely close to proving that Dr. Ivins prepared the powdered anthrax and mailed the letters. The FBI’s assertion that Dr. Ivins was the “sole perpetrator” is utter nonsense, which I am sure even they know full well.


    • DXer said

      Why do you talk about muslim ninja’s breaking into USAMRIID when I have explained that Bruce Ivins GAVE a former Zawahiri associate virulent Ames as part of authorized research.

      You haven’t read “Tawfik” Hamid’s INSIDE JIHAD (May 2008). There were no ninjas involved.

    • anonymous said

      “Fantasies about secret doors and invisible murderers are not admissible in court.”

      Fantasies about secret codes are generally laughed out of court. The reason you believe in the secret codes is because you are fanatically obsessed with Bruce Ivins.

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

      I know there are big words there, but if you struggle on you might one day understand them.

      • DXer said

        Ed says he is obsessed with what the evidence says and yet has already explained that there is no evidence relating to photocopying, there is no evidence relating to the use of the lyophilizer claimed by the US Attorney, etc. and so he reaches for pranks dating back to the late 1970s and early 1980s. When he says that Dr. Ivins did not have an alibi and I said his alibi he was at the group therapy session… and I ask Ed when he thinks the letters were mailed, he doesn’t even say when he thinks they were mailed. (The USG can specify / greatly narrow the time based on the letters next to it as they were processed). Being at home in a small house with 3 adults is Dr. Ivins alibi for when Ed alleges Dr. Ivins travelled. Ed had previously argued that Dr. Ivins would drive unnoticed in the middle of the night to places like Tennessee when actually, to take that example, he was there for an interview. Ed needed to butcher that fact so that it would square with his unrealistic claim that an adult can leave and return a small house with 3 adults in it. Those of us who have lived with an adult or adults in a small house know that it is unrealistic.

      • anonymous said

        “But, when the FBI’s summary report laid out all the details, it became undeniable – except to closed-minded fanatics.”

        Yes, Ed – the author of the classic Gödel, Escher, Bach, – Douglas Hofstadter – is a “closed minded fanatic” – just like you’ll be calling all the members of the NAS Amerithrax committee in a few short weeks from now.ödel-escher-bach-author-downplays-fbi-anthrax-case-link/1
        By Dan Vergano, USA TODAY

        ‘Gödel, Escher, Bach’ author downplays FBI anthrax case link

        Gödel, Escher, Bach, author Douglas Hofstadter on Friday called anthrax investigation links to his book, a “red herring”, after Justice Department documents revealed a role for the 1979 Pulitzer Prize winner in decoding the just-closed case.

        The Justice Department “formally concluded” its investigation into the 2001 anthrax case, on Friday, continuing to conclude the late anthrax vaccine researcher Bruce Ivins, was the culprit behind the 2001 mailings that killed five people. The prosecution documents show the investigation of Ivins drew Hofstadter’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1979 book , Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, into the investigation.

      • anonymous said

        Red herring is an idiomatic expression referring to the rhetorical or literary tactic of diverting attention away from an item of significance.[1] For example, in mystery fiction, where the identity of a criminal is being sought, an innocent party may be purposefully cast in a guilty light by the author through the employment of false emphasis, deceptive clues, ‘loaded’ words or other descriptive tricks of the trade.

        ED LAKE = SHILL

        “Shill” can also be used pejoratively to describe a critic who appears either all-too-eager to heap glowing praise upon mediocre offerings, or who acts as an apologist for glaring flaws.

      • anonymous said

        “He doesn’t dispute the FBI’s findings”

        The FBI don’t have any “findings” to dispute. All they have is underwear with stains – something you seem to be obsessed with.

      • DXer said

        I’ve asked Ed repeatedly what expert says that there is such a code. Even the author of the book says it is hogwash. The only opinion in the 302 interviews ventured by an expert was that the FBI was mistaken. Even the FBI continued trying to develop a different theory after Dr. Ivins’ suicide. They turned to musical notation.

        Ed should identify any named individual who suggests the code — and is available to testify — who was not personally thanked by a former Zawahiri associate for her technical assistance. Specifically, we need to exclude the prosecutor as Rachel is and Ken are unavailable to testify. I have not located a single expert who says the code passes the giggle test. Unlike Ed I daily am in touch with many experts on the various issues presented in the case. Ed has not contacted a single expert on this issue which is why his view is uninformed.

        If there is no expert who agrees that the code is a reasonable interpretation, then it is a non-issue as the DOJ has no evidence relating to the interpretation.

        On other hand, there are dozens of experts available to testify about Ayman’s use of “school” as code or Ramzi, CBRN planner, use of “Jenny”. There are thousands available to testify that “wedding” is code for attack. etc.

    • DXer said

      The writing of the text of the letter is also interesting in that the “As” and “Ts” are double-lined — to suggest ATTA, the lead hijacker. When the US Centers for Disease Control first identified that the Ames strain had been used in the mailing to Florida in October 2001, Keim and his colleagues at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) had nearly finished a project to sequence Bacillus anthracis— specifically, the chromosome of an anthrax isolate from a laboratory in Porton Down, U.K.Ayman had a microbiologist attending Porton Down-sponsored conferences at which presentations were made about the sequencing of Ames. The letter writer appears to have even double-lined A’s and T’s in the letters accompanying the anthrax possibly to simultaneously allude to Atta and the genomic sequence.

      As explained at the Porton Down conferences attended by Ayman’s operative Rauf Ahmad, Keim’s research team eventually discovered 60 new ‘markers’ in the Bacillus anthracis genome—DNA sequences that may vary from one isolate to another. These include insertions or deletions of DNA, and short sequences that are repeated at different lengths in the genome known as VNTRs (variable-number tandem repeats). A decade earlier, it had been determined that one of three proteins comprising anthrax toxin, and the first nucleotide sequence to be reported from B. anthracis (by USAMRIID authors no less), had a consensus TATAAT sequence located at the putative -10 promoter site. It is greek to us but apparently something with meaning to the person who drafted the letter. Perhaps the sender was saying that the bacteria was pathogenic unlike what had been sent to the Canadian immigration minister six months earlier.

      When authorities determined that the anthrax had not been genetically modified so as to be resistant to antibiotics, Condi Rice told the President: “That’s the best news you’ve had as president.” Years later, at trial for sedition, GMU microbiology grad student Ali Al-Timimi read “Genome Technology.”

      The coded e-mail Faris wrote back to KSM suggesting that the idea of removing bolts from the span of the Brooklyn Bridge was not a viable idea was but one of many examples of the simple codes used by Al Qaeda operatives. Sometimes the code might be as simple as Adham Hassoun’s “stuff” for the local soccer team in places like Bosnia or his references to a young man who wanted to go out and get some “fresh air” [go join the jihad]. Sometimes it might be Iyman Faris’ reference to the weather or Ramzi Binalshibh’s “shirts” for Sally. Sometimes it might be a reference to Greendale School or a marriage proposal to Jenny such apparently in the case of the anthrax mailings. The CIA reports that wedding is Al-Qaeda-speak for an event. That, according to New York Times journalists, is why the CIA got so anxious to have the Buffalo boys arrested. Apart from an email about a “big feast,” the young men from Buffalo had started talking about a planned wedding. Interpreting such code is not without risk. The CIA kicked down the door in Bahrain and dragged him away from the altar to the horror of his bride-to-be.

      But putting aside this question of nuptials, impending or annulled, the fact remains that the sender of the anthrax letters would have had no reason to use the same address on the second letter unless he was communicating something. That identical return address, in fact, helped authorities locate and intercept the letter to a Senator. All of the coding together may have served to tell the world, for example, that Mohammed Atta and the others were going to fly to paradise in a green bird and that the anthrax was courtesy of the Vanguards of Conquest. If you mistreat our prisoners or continue appropriations to Israel and Egyptian regimes, we may attack Washington, D.C. and New York City with aerosolized anthrax. You act at your peril. Zawahiri simultaneously framed the US Army by using the “Ames strain” while telling them who did it. Now that 911 imam Anwar Aulaqi has formally urged that it would be islamically permissible to kill a million civilians, this is not the time to be distracted by a bag of stained panties found in the basement of the residence of some USAMRIID scientist.

      In contrast, not even the expert the FBI consulted as to its theory of the code thought that its theory passed the “giggle test.”

  18. richard rowley said

    I hope this won’t be considered ‘piling on’ Mister Lake, but from time to time it is worthwhile, especially for anyone who has stumbled on this blog and hasn’t the time to read less-than-current topics, to go over the big picture.

    To commit even the bare-boned Amerithrax crimes (the media letters and the Senators Daschle and Leahy ones), the perp(s) would have had to do the following (I call these the megatasks of the Amerithrax Case):

    1) grow wet anthrax (ie get spores and culture them).

    2) dry them to a powder and purify to one degree or another.

    3) write (ie print) the originals of the two Amerithrax texts (media text and politician text). Print outside of envelope.

    4) photocopy each original text (likely done some days or weeks apart: first the media letters, then the politician letters).

    5) insert finished powder in fold of letters.

    6) go to Princeton, New Jersey some hours before the mail pickup at the mailbox just off campus.

    7) return home/to work from that mailbox in Princeton without anyone being the wiser.
    I think that’s it, though obviously some of these have more than a few sub-tasks within them.

    So, how many of the above tasks do we KNOW (from the government’s case against him) that Ivins actually did in September and October of 2001?

    One and only one: 1)grow wet anthrax (ie get spores and culture them).

    We know that because THAT WAS (part of) HIS JOB! And had been his job for 2 solid decades before Amerithrax.

    All the rest in this case is commentary.

    And that’s why the FINAL REPORT is so long and tedious:

    a) since they don’t have evidence that Ivins printed the letters (his block printing was a non-match) the government finessed that in the usual way: graphological comparison ‘inconclusive’. Same with the polygraph test Ivins passed: results ‘inconclusive’ (I think it was Mister Lake who added the interesting twist that if suspect X passes a polygraph test centered on crimes A and B, then that PROVES the suspect is a ‘sociopath’ since they can lie cleverly and thus it is proof that suspect X actually committed crimes A and B! I would call this ‘Jesuitry’ but I think it gives even the Jesuits a bad rap!

    b) since they don’t have evidence that Ivins drove to New Jersey at any time in September and October of 2001, they spend lots to time and space highlighting Ivins driving, over the years, long distances to OTHER TOWNS/STATES to check out chapters of Gamma Gamma Delta or to deliver gifts in such a way so as the recipient doesn’t know who the gift is from.

    c)since they were unable to match any photocopier that Ivins would regularly use (due to proximity)to the Amerithrax letter copies, they use INNUENDO to imply that there’s a real possibility he used one at Fort Detrick. That’s the focus here, but it is part of a pattern: the FINAL REPORT glosses over anything and everything that is pointing in the direction of Ivins’ innocence (that is exculpatory) and via a cleverness that is facile but false implies many things it cannot prove.

    d) there’s no evidence whatsoever that Ivins did ANY drying of wet anthrax in September or October of 2001 (or for that matter in any month of 2001). But that fact is buried amid nonsense about a ‘code’ etc.

    e) they never found any spores in Ivins’ vehicle or residence. But that’s one of the dirty little secrets of the investigative dead end.

    • Lew Weinstein said


      That is a very interesting list, but there is not a single item on your list which PROVES GUILT.

      It is the obligation of the prosecution (and the FBI) to PROVE that Ivins prepared the anthrax and mailed the letters, not merely to allege or assert that perhaps some things which Ivins did were objectionable or strange.

      The FBI has presented NO PROOF against Ivins.


    • DXer said

      “9. Ivins had no alibi for the times the letters were mailed.”

      Ed writes that Dr. Ivins had no alibi for the times the letters were mailed.

      Ed, when were the letters mailed? Why would he know precisely what he was doing years earlier? What were you doing on those days? What is your alibi?

      “10. Ivins couldn’t adequately explain his long hours alone in his lab.”

      If he were looking at porn on the Apple, would he have been fired? The FBI Supervisor who satisfied himself while looking at porn got in a lot of trouble.

      “11. Ivins often drove long distances to do things so they couldn’t be traced back to him.”

      If you are referring to the mailed jacket and other gift, that’s not true. Mara always readily knew it was from him. The point was to have it a surprise when actually opened.

      “12. Ivins had an obsession with KKG, and the letters were mailed near a KKG office.”
      And you have an obsession with pictures of naked women, and the letters were mailed near a strip club. Who cares? A judge likely would not even allow the entire sorority line of speculation to be admitted. Although arguably relevant, its prejudicial nature outweighs its relevance. See balancing test under federal rule.

      “14. Ivins threatened his coworkers.”

      Ivins threatened his coworkers after the FBI lied to him and said that Henry said that Bruce did it. He flew into a rage when the FBI went to test his semen and told him they were going to call his family to confirm he was unhappy at home. He threatened his coworkers when the FBI scientist who actually made the dried aerosol shot out his sample and then Ivins is blamed for it. Henry, the person threatened, has a high regard for Dr. Ivins and refused to take out a restraining order — knowing that it was the FBI’s fault.

      “16. Ivins made non-denial denials about how IF he did it, it wasn’t intentional.”
      In that message, Dr. Ivins said he wouldn’t know how to do it. That’s a denial.

      “17. Ivins was observed throwing away the code books used to code the hidden message in the media letters.”
      I have the same book and shot it out since we last spoke so you wouldn’t get confused.

      “19. Ivins had previously written things very similar to what was in the anthrax letters.”
      On this, what he said referred to the news that day that Al Qaeda had anthrax. Everyone else following the news heard the same thing, and if our field was anthrax, we would pass it on also. See Gertz column that was widely reported.

      “20. Ivins tried to intimated witnesses against him with threats and phone calls.”
      The audiotape of the call to the therapist was not as you describe. See Frederick News column and her link to audiotape. You interpret “please” as menacing.

      “21. Ivins tried to point the finger at numerous other people as possible suspects.”
      So have you, idiot. For example, you spent 7 years posting on the internet arguing that Michael Failey was guilty even there was ZERO evidence. You called the FBI and told them I was a terrorist and I would have a perfect alibi thus proving I was guilty of terrorism.

      “22. Ivins committed numerous other crimes and had no remorse or guilt about them.”
      I’m not aware of the crimes you mention — if you were talking about taking a book from a sorority as a prank, you’ve done far worse in stealing the patent. See lawsuit against you. The book has a value (I can email you a copy if you like) of less than $14. The patent you stole was worth thousands. Your defense was that the claimant stole it first. Okay. Bruce’s defense was that it was all in good fun. And a $14 book is a $14 book — not the crime of the century as you imagine.

      “23. Ivins was in control of the source of “the murder weapon”, i.e., flask RMR-1029.”
      And up to 377 had access to it at USAMRIID alone. Calling it “the murder weapon” is what someone does when they don’t know the facts of the case — such as that it was commonly in Building 1412.

      “25. Ivins was the only person with access to RMR-1029 would could not be eliminated as a suspect.”
      Why? We haven’t heard your alibi yet.

      When they are only getting around to checking alibis years after the fact, there is no way the investigation was solid. Moreover, it is fallacious reasoning to assume that the processor is the same as the mailer. The DOJ analysis rests on many underpinning factual premises.

  19. DXer said

    “So in that crime novel you’re still writing, don’t give up on the tried and true plot devices; it could just be that analysis of the anonymous ransom note will lead your hero(ine) to the kidnappers after all…”

    Poison Pen or Toxic Toner?

    by Lisa Wylie published: 2010-03-04

    Back in the days when all documents were prepared on typewriters, a staple ingredient in crime fiction (and even some sensational true-life crime) was the idea that you could identify the typewriter that any given document was written on, thus proving the identity of the murderer, spy, or traitor. The alignment of mechanical parts and wear on the striking heads would vary from machine to machine, and this, coupled with use of a specific ink ribbon, meant that each document typed up on a given typewriter would have a unique signature. In real life, this kind of identification was, and still is, invaluable, for example in forensic analysis of forged documents, or for establishing potential author identities from anonymous letters.

    Laser printers and photocopiers have made this field of forensics rather trickier in recent times. Since these machines use lasers and photoreceptors to create a xerographic copy, the individuality of specific machines is no longer readily identifiable, and fingerprinting the source of counterfeit documents has become much less straightforward, particularly as personal and office use of printers and copiers is now much more commonplace. Mass spectrometric methods do exist for this kind of analysis, but have the drawback of being destructive.

    Help is at hand, however. A research team at the University of Lodz, Jagellonian Univeristy, and the Institute of Forensic Research in Krakow have developed a semi-nondestructive method of identifying a document based on the printer toner used. When a laser beam is directed onto the toner, some of the toner evaporates. This sample is then sucked into the mass spectrometer for analysis. The team tested samples of toner from printed documents against samples from the cartridges used to print them, and found that they could match up the printed document with the printer to about 96% correlation. In cases where they tested the same toner on the same printer model, the correlation rose to over 99%. Coupled with the fact that each toner manufacturer uses a different chemical mixture in its products (and the mixtures are readily identifiable from the spectra), this technique shows tremendous promise for the development of a database of printer and photocopier fingerprints.

    So in that crime novel you’re still writing, don’t give up on the tried and true plot devices; it could just be that analysis of the anonymous ransom note will lead your hero(ine) to the kidnappers after all…

  20. Roberto said

    Ed writes: So, Ivins either used a different photocopier, or the photocopier in the library had been fixed or repaired making it worthless for match testing.

    DXer responds: Ed has not read the literature and has no basis for this suggestion. As I mentioned, testing is done using other exemplars from the Fall 2001 period.

    You wouldn’t even need the copiers to test. You’d just need to compare other products of copy machines to match… so repairing, or fixing, or damaging, or destroying wouldn’t matter. If you had a photocopied paper that matched the anthrax letter and you knew who made the copies, you’d know what machine was used. In a place like that, there are examples of photocopies going back many more years than 2001.

    But who cares, the FBI already ruled out all the photocopiers than Ivins was known to have access to…

    • DXer said

      Ha! As evidence of murder in 2001, the evidence relied upon by Dr. Ivins is burglary of a book from a sorority committed prior to 1985. Evidence of the prior act is inadmissible under the Federal Rules of Evidence except under certain narrow circumstances. This is not one of them — justice may be blindfolded but she isn’t asked to go out to IHOP at dawn by her sisters.

      I once snuck in through the second floor of a fraternity as part of the game “Killer” and shot my target in a phone booth. (You had to kill your victim with a water pistol in the presence of one and only one witness). I was dressed in an all dark blue running suit. My assigned target was at a party with a stripper downstairs and I had arranged with some of his pledges to tell him that his killer was on the phone. I just didn’t tell him what end of the line I was on.

      If anyone wants the KKG book, let me know and I’ll email a copy for personal use. (Dr. Ivins did not charge for it to avoid any copyright issue).

    • richard rowley said

      Partial post by Ed Lake:
      1. Ivins burglarized the KKG sorority house at the University of Maryland at College Park to steal their book of rituals. He photocopied it and distributed it around the campus.

      2. Ivins burglarized the KKG sorority house at the North Carolina University at Chapel Hill to steal their book of rituals. He photocopied it and gave copies away via an ad in Mother Jones magazine.

      3. Ivins burglarized the KKG sorority house at West Virginia University at Morgan Town to steal their book of rituals. He photocopied it and gave copies away via an ad in Rolling Stone magazine.

      (Note: in each instance Mister Lake puts in bold face the word ‘burglarized’.

      This would be of some (limited) probative value, IF it could be shown that Amerithrax involved a BURGLARY. But that is nowhere in evidence. And if it were proven that some elaborate burglary HAD been involved in stealing the spores from USAMRIID, that would be information of an EXCULPATORY nature: Ivins, having his own continuous access to the labs and suites where the anthrax was stored, would have had no need to commit a burglary at USAMRIID.

      Mister Lake seems to think that if you can prove that a person ever did ANYTHING illegal in their lives, this proves that the person is guilty of particular charges made by law enforcement! And that no matter how different the nature of the offenses!

      • DXer said

        Ed argues that “Information about past crimes IS admissible if it goes to … goes to show character.” To no avail, I had asked that Ed cite authority for his assertions so as to not lower the discussion.

        First, Dr. Ivins was never convicted of any crimes and so the question of past crimes does not even arise. If he had been, Federal Rule of Evidence 404 would govern. It states in part:

        “Rule 404. Character Evidence Not Admissible To Prove Conduct; Exceptions; Other Crimes

        (b) Other crimes, wrongs, or acts

        Evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts is not admissible to prove the character of a person in order to show action in conformity therewith.”

        In the case of witnesses, there is a limitation that the crime be a felony and within the past 10 years. A federal district court judge would be very mindful that the issue that Ed is focused on involved theft of a book prior to 1985.

      • DXer said

        “So, Ivins past crimes, to which he admits, WOULD be admissible to show “proof of motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, or absence of mistake or accident””

        Why do you think walking out of a sorority with a book is proof of motive of mailing deadly anthrax to US Senators?

        Why do you think walking out of a opportunity with a book is proof of motive of mailing deadly anthrax to US Senators and newspapers?

        Why do you think walking out of intent with a book is proof of motive of mailing deadly anthrax to US Senators?





        absence of mistake or accident?

      • DXer said

        Would you like an emailed copy of the book at issue so you can judge its relevance?

  21. anonymous said

    Fascinating indeed. It was useful for Ed Lake to CONCLUSIVELY demonstrate that the photocopier in USAMRIID was NOT the one used to photocopy the anthrax letters, in spite of the FBI’s deliberate innuendo that it was.

    The photocopy fabricated evidence (innuendo) wouldn’t have lasted 2 seconds in court – just like the fantasies about secret codes.

    And the FBI’s coup-de-grace – their total junk science case – is about to happen in the next 3 weeks. That is, unless they somehow manipulate the NAS into yet another “stay of execution”.

    • DXer said

      And Anonymous, it was even more useful Ed Lake to CONCLUSIVELY explain Dr. Ivins did not use a lyophilizer in spite of the FBI’s deliberate innuendo that he did.

      We can learn a lot from Ed if he would just address the evidence and abandon his claim that it is 99% certain someone who just learned to write English wrote the letters. (Ed, a hypothesis would be that someone who just learned English wrote the letters.) But you had always CLAIMED that it was 99% certain that the documentary evidence established your hypothesis.
      That, without more, demonstrates you lack critical reasoning ability as illustrated by the various letters using block lettering that cannot be distinguished meaningfully.

      • richard rowley said

        One last comment on all this: if Mister Lake would take a bird’s eye view of what he has written about Ivins (ie read it again as if for the first time) he will find that in MANY MANY INSTANCES he has completely reversed the burden of proof:

        1) Ivins had to convince the FBI that he wasn’t in Princeton on the night of Sept 17-18th 2001. The FBI had no obligation to prove he was there. Ditto for those defending Ivins after his death: THEY have to prove he wasn’t in Princeton on the night(s) in question. How exactly, even in theory, could someone do that, taking into consideration the fact that the average person sleeps 6 to 8 hours a night and usually does so without videotaping themselves in mid-snooze with a time and date stamp on the videotape? (this is NOT a rhetorical question!) And since we have only the FBI’s version of every interview they conducted with Ivins, it cannot be excluded that ‘sleeping’ was his best recollection (years after Sept-Oct 2001) of what he was doing on the nights in question.

        2)Ivins in life and his defenders postmortem have to PROVE that Ivins never dryed any anthrax in Sept-Oct 2001. How, EVEN IN THEORY, could anyone possibly do that? And why doesn’t the D of J have the obligation to prove that he DID do some surreptitious drying? (again, not a rhetorical question).

        3)How can any defender of Ivins-as-Amerithrax-printer do any MORE than observe that the specimens of his block printing available online are a TERRIBLE mismatch for the printing of the Amerithrax letters (including the outside of the envelopes)? THIS isn’t a rhetorical question. Why doesn’t the government have the obligation to explain why his printing doesn’t match? AT A BARE MINIMUM it suggests that a guilty Ivins had an accomplice.

        Mister Lake has repeatedly claimed that the Amerithrax-sceptics require one case-closing piece of evidence. I’ve never noticed that. A point of departure, since every American over a certain age would be familiar with it, is the Nicole Brown/Ron Goldman murders of the mid-1990s. There the evidence against OJ Simpson included:

        1) finding blood on the handle of his Bronco on the night in question.

        2) observing a cut on one of his fingers.

        3) finding blood spatters in small amounts on dark socks he likely wore that day.

        4) a history of spousal abuse (first wife and second wife).

        5) the otherwise seemingly motiveless nature of the crime (the house wasn’t entered, the killer probably wasn’t expecting to run into Goldman there).

        6) the lack of an answer at OJ’s house when the limousine driver showed up earlier than expected.

        7) the refusal of OJ to let the limousine driver take one of the bags (presumably these were the clothes discarded somewhere along the way to Chicago).

        (I’m spacing on this but there were many more pieces of physical evidence and many other oddities whose best explanation was a guilty Simpson. There just are NO ANALOGUES WHATSOEVER in the Ivins-did-it scenario to these pieces of physical evidence, and in the cases of 4) and 5) above psychology which is DIRECTLY RELATED to the crime in question……

        • Roberto said

          I think they call that a ‘reasonable doubt’ – and there’s no shame in being reasonable. Or doubting.

          Yes, I know this isn’t a courtroom.

          I also know that this is the biggest, most expensive case in FBI history.

          I therefore have fairly high expectations that the FBI can get over the reasonable doubt hump – and that it can be publicly. When they do this to my satisfaction, I will quit worrying about “THIS ANTHRAX” and its use in a terror attack. Anthrax, IMO, is a much more serious threat than people realize and/or admit. Thankfully there has been no repeat of it. I want to believe they got their man – they are making it difficult for me.

        • Lew Weinstein said

          Unfortunately, Roberto, I think your expectations will be disappointed … on two counts. I don’t think the FBI can prove it was Dr. Ivins, mainly because it doesn’t seem that it was. And I have increasing doubts that anyone will ever be able to get the whole truth out of the FBI. So the public will never know. LEW

        • BugMaster said


          I agree with Lew’s most likely scenario that the FBI “has their man”.

          It just isn’t Bruce Ivins.

        • Old Atlantic said

          Has their man or has their Pakistan?

        • DXer said

          Ed argues “it’s not possible to prove much of anything about the handwriting.”

          Then, Ed, why do you argue that it is 99% certain that a First Grader wrote the letters? Shouldn’t you drop that argument given you admit it’s not possible to prove much of anything about the handwriting.” You should correct your page about handwriting and note that it is not possible to prove much of anything about the handwriting.

          You are wildly inconsistent. For 7 years, you argued that it was certain that Michael at Battelle was guilty — and that it was certain that he had an accomplice in New Jersey.

        • DXer said


          As you say, the FACTS say that it is 99% certain that someone who just learned English wrote the letters — and not Dr. Bruce Ivins.

          Defense rests.

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