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

* help Congressman Holt’s Anthrax Commission bill become law … lobby the members of the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security … names and links provided

Posted by DXer on February 16, 2011

a video of Lew’s recent interview is now available at …

** NEW ** Lew’s interview 2-7-11 … mostly about the anthrax case


Congressman Holt addressing the opening session of NAS Anthrax Committee


H.R. 1248: Anthrax Attacks Investigation Act

(note: this bill will be re-numbered when introduced in this year’s Congress)

Prior years’ legislative history

  • This bill never became law. This bill was proposed in a previous session of Congress. Sessions of Congress last two years, and at the end of each session all proposed bills and resolutions that haven’t passed are cleared from the books. Members often reintroduce bills that did not come up for debate under a new number in the next session.
  • Last action. Aug 19, 2009: House Committee on the Judiciary: Referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security.

Members of House Judiciary Committee (2011)

see …

  • The Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security shall have jurisdiction over the following subject matters: Federal Criminal Code, drug enforcement, sentencing, parole and pardons, internal and homeland security, Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, prisons, criminal law enforcement, and other appropriate matters as referred by the Chairman, and relevant oversight.

to lobby individual members of the Subcommittee, click below, or …

Write Your Representative Service available at


Mr. Sensenbrenner, Chairman (R) Wisconsin, 5th

Mr. Gohmert, Vice-Chairman (R) Texas, 1st

Ms. Adams …  (R) Florida, 24th

Mr. Chaffetz …  (R) Utah, 3rd

Ms. Chu …  (D) California, 32nd

Mr. Cohen …  (D) Tennessee, 9th

Mr. Deutch …  (D) Florida, 19th

Mr. Forbes … (R) Virginia, 4th

Mr. Goodlatte …  (R) Virginia, 6th

Mr. Gowdy …  (R) South Carolina, 4th

Mr. Griffin …  (R) Arkansas, 2nd

Ms. Jackson Lee …  (D) Texas, 18th

Mr. Johnson …  (D) Georgia, 4th

Mr. Lungren …  (R) California, 3rd

Mr. Marino …  (R) Pennsylvania, 10th

Mr. Pierluisi …  (D) Puerto Rico, Resident Commissioner

Mr. Poe …  (R) Texas, 2nd

Mr. Quayle …  (R) Arizona, 3rd

Mr. Quigley …  (D) Illinois, 5th

Mr. Scott …  (D) Virginia, 3rd

Ms. Wasserman Schultz …  (D) Florida, 20th


4 Responses to “* help Congressman Holt’s Anthrax Commission bill become law … lobby the members of the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security … names and links provided”

  1. Anonymous said

    Leahy – “It’s not closed” read link for other quotes

    By Paul Kane
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Wednesday, February 16, 2011; 3:17 PM

    In the wake of the deadly shooting rampage in Tucson, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) was asked to reflect on his own experience as the would-be target of an assassin. That’s when he let slip something that he rarely talks about publicly: He has never accepted the FBI’s decision to close the case in the series of anthrax-laced letters mailed to public officials in fall 2001.

  2. Anonymous said

    Scientists critical of FBI’s anthrax conclusions
    16:30 16 February 2011
    Debora MacKenzie, contributor

    In 2001, just after the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US, someone mailed highly purified anthrax spores to two US senators in Washington DC, and several media outlets. They infected 22 people; five died.

    Horrifyingly, the spores turned out to be the US military’s favourite strain, and they triggered massive funding for biodefense research – and possibly the longest scientific crime investigation in history.

    In 2009 the US Department of Justice asked several dozen top US scientists to review that investigation. But then in February 2010 it decided it was sure enough to close the case without the scientists’ conclusions. It agreed with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which announced in 2008 that a prominent anthrax researcher at the US Army’s infectious disease lab in Maryland, Bruce Ivins – who had just committed suicide – was solely responsible.

    Now the snubbed scientists have published their report, and they are not so sure. Some of the evidence against Ivins, they say, is “not as definitive” as claimed.

    They couldn’t assess both the scientific and non-scientific evidence, so they can’t say how crucial the scientific part was in the FBI’s conclusion – and thus how valid that conclusion is. But they have found some real flaws in the science.

    Much of it revolves around a flask of highly concentrated anthrax spores in Ivins’s lab, called RMR-1029. The attack powders had four mutations that produced a visible difference in the bacteria in culture. So did RMR-1029. The FBI tested 947 samples of the relevant strain of anthrax from 20 US and foreign labs, and only eight of them also had all four mutations, seven from one (unidentified) lab. It asserted that all came ultimately from RMR-1029.

    Not so fast, say the scientists. The FBI’s instructions to labs for collecting anthrax samples to send in could have missed bacteria with the mutations even if they were there. So could the FBI’s tests. The family trees of all the anthrax stocks are not clear. And these mutations could have arisen more than once.

    And so on. “The scientific data alone,” The panel drily concludes: “do not support the strength of the government’s repeated assertions that ‘RMR-1029 was conclusively identified as the parent material to the anthrax powder used in the mailings'”. The evidence is consistent with such a conclusion, they say – but it doesn’t rule out other sources.

    And even if the attack anthrax came from that flask, more people than Ivins had access to it. The FBI has also repeatedly asserted that only Ivins had the expertise to make the pure, concentrated spore powder.

    Yet the panel suggests it might have been as easy as spinning cultured spores in a centrifuge, re-suspending them and freeze-drying. There were no weaponising additives – long a bone of contention among the amateur analysts who still dog the case. The attacker could have used several methods, taking anywhere from two days to several months. “The committee could reach no significant conclusions regarding the skill set of the perpetrator.”

    The panel hints strongly that more science is needed. When all this started it was hard to fully sequence bacteria. Now it’s routine. Point mutations, where one letter of the DNA code changes, are more stable – and more numerous – than the genetic oddities the FBI based its analysis on. The whole genomes of all the samples can now be compared with the latest fast sequencing methods.

    The panel wants the FBI to preserve all the remaining anthrax samples taken in evidence for further study. And two US congressmen are again calling for a full official inquiry into the investigation. We haven’t heard the last of this.

  3. DXer said

    For a free copy of the 9,600 pages of documents overnighted on a CD, reporters can contact the ever-efficient Jennifer A. Walsh, Media Officer, Office of News & Public Information, jwalsh [ symbol omitted ]

  4. DXer said

    Grassley response to National Academy of Sciences Amerithrax report

    M E M O R A N D U M

    TO: Reporters and Editors
    RE: Grassley response to National Academy of Sciences Amerithrax report
    DA: Tuesday, February 15, 2011

    Senator Chuck Grassley released the following statement after a new report from the National Academy of Sciences raises questions about some of the science used to close the Amerithrax investigation. Grassley has conducted oversight of the FBI’s handling of the case since 2002.

    “For years the FBI has claimed scientific evidence for its conclusion that that anthrax spores found in the letters were linked to the anthrax bacteria found in Dr. Ivins’ lab. The National Academy of Sciences report released today shows that the science is not necessarily a slam dunk. There are no more excuses for avoiding an independent review and assessment of how the FBI handled its investigation in the anthrax case.”

    During a September 17, 2008 Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing with FBI Director Robert Mueller, Grassley brought up the need for an independent review of both the science and the investigative work. Here is the text of that portion of the hearing transcript.

    “…This is one of the longest and most expensive investigations in FBI history, and there will probably never be a trial. Congress and the American people deserve a complete accounting of the FBI’s evidence, not just as selective release of a few documents and a briefing or two. There are many unanswered questions the FBI must address before the public can have confidence in the outcome of the case, and a thorough congressional investigation is needed to ensure that those questions are answered. And I appreciate the Director referring to the National Academy, but I would like to also suggest that the National Academy would not be reviewing FBI interview summaries, grand jury testimony, internal investigative memos, other investigative documents. The Academy would only be reviewing the science, not the detective work. And, of course, I believe we need an independent review of both…”

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