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

* silicon additive clearly observed in Daschle powder … The FBI tried for 8 years to duplicate this obvious silicon additive – and failed. They cannot explain it nor can they link it to Dr Ivins or USAMRIID.

Posted by DXer on February 22, 2011



from Anonymous (a frequent participant in this blog) …

  • This image was obtained on October 19 2001 by Battelle labs of the Daschle spores. The image is independent of the images taken by AFIP.
  • This particular image is one of four  – in this one the SEM operator found a spot on the sample containing mostly elongated crystals along with some spores.
  • The elongated crystals are referred to in the Amerithrax weekly reports as being composed of a silicon compound.
  • This is similar to the findings in the New York Post powder – only in that sample there was much more silicon compound present.
  • This contradicts previous FBI statements which said there was no exogeneous silicon present in any of the samples.

The FBI tried for 8 years

to duplicate this obvious silicon additive – and failed.

They cannot explain it

nor can they link it to Dr Ivins or USAMRIID.


CASE CLOSED is a novel about the FBI’s failed investigation

of the 2001 anthrax attacks


read the opening scene …

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

* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon *



57 Responses to “* silicon additive clearly observed in Daschle powder … The FBI tried for 8 years to duplicate this obvious silicon additive – and failed. They cannot explain it nor can they link it to Dr Ivins or USAMRIID.”

  1. DXer said

    “The Amerithrax Science Update, 04/26/2002, explained: “between 4/24- 25/2002, USAMRIID shipped or FBI agents hand-carried to the above labs numerous samples of surrogate and anthrax material produced by different production methods. The material was supplied by Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah. This will assist in addressing the silicon issue, as well as, established FBI’s forensic biolgoical/chemical analytical scheme.

    -13 samples sent to UMD
    -11 samples sent to all the other labs.”


    University of Maryland (UMD) was where the DARPA researchers studying the effect of a sonicator and corona plasma discharge on Ames spores from Flask 1029 (made into a powder by Dr. Ezzell) were located. The UMD researchers had thanked Dr. Ezzell and his assistant, Terry Abshire. The same researcher (CF) worked on the DARPA research as did the Amerithrax work.

  2. DXer said

    Ed, we’ve established that you agree he did not travel during the workday on 9/17 or during the workday on 9/18.

    Now Ed, would you agree that Dr. Ivins wrote an email to a former colleague, dated September 17, 2001?

    Would you agree that at the time he wrote that email, he was not on the road driving to Princeton?

    Do you know what time he wrote that email?

    • DXer said

      Is the reason that Ed thinks an email at 11:22 p.m. would not provide Dr. Ivins an alibi because he thinks Dr. Ivins could have left a house with 3 adults unnoticed? With respect to shorter trips overnight, they were in the evening, not overnight.

      • DXer said

        The time the email was sent is not opinion, Ed. It is fact. It is a fact you do not know but merely assume. It isn’t even the only email he wrote.

      • DXer said

        And of course it constitutes potential prosecutorial misconduct for Rachel not to have disclosed the time in the Amerithrax Summary but that can be left to GAO, Congress or some other official body to take up.

  3. Old Atlantic said

    Lake’s hypothesis of room temperature growing conditions resulting in silicon could be given some variants.

    1) Constant room temperature as in BSL-3 trashbag.

    2) Varying room temperature as in a warehouse in Central Asia. This might even have been unheated or not so well heated. So the conditions may have included cooler temperatures at night.

    This might have produced varying results in the same sample. It could cut off or stop or slow growth for a time.

  4. DXer said

    Here is a picture I took this morning of the medallion found by Olivia in a local scavenger hunt organized by the Syracuse Post-Standard.


    Just as there came to be clarity in the downing of the Lockerbie bombing, which killed numerous Syracuse University students, I expect that there will come to be clarity in Amerithrax. Emails, photos, audio recordings, confessions — such clarity, whatever the resolution of the clues, could take many forms.

  5. DXer said

    Do you even know why additional Amerithrax Weekly Updates were not provided?

  6. anonymous said

    The FBI did not seem to follow the correct clues. Not only was the silicon present in concentrations way beyond accidental – but the element tin (Sn) was present at huge levels – 1900 ppm.

    Tin has been used in the past as a catalyst to make polydimethylsiloxane coatings for drugs. That would explain the presence of both silicon and tin.
    For some twenty years now, polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) elastomers have already been used in some pharmaceutical coating materials. In particular, water-based PDMS latex with addition of colloidal silica and polyethylene glycols (PEG) as channeling agents has been successfully used to control drug release from pharmaceutical solid oral dosage forms. However, to improve the mechanical properties and decrease the tackiness of silicone coating, a large amount of colloidal silica had to be added before the coating process. This resulted in an increased solid content of the coating dispersion, which complicated the spray coating process and reduced the stability of the coating dispersion. Additionally, toxic material, organic tin, was employed as catalyst to produce PDMS coating material.

    • DXer said

      Microencapsulation of drugs — such as in animal feed stuffs — protects it from destruction of enyzmes until it reaches the target organ.

  7. Old Atlantic said

    In terms of loading up hundreds of plates and letting them grow till they consumed all nutrient and leaving them at room temperature, this would work for al Qaeda better than Ivins.

    This is especially true if hundreds of plates were used between the first and second mailing to get the second growth.

    • DXer said

      Notice that Ed still has not addressed the issue of Dr. Ivins’ group therapy session on 9/17. Ed has never indicated when he thinks Dr. Ivins travelled — why he thinks Dr. Ivins does not have an alibi.

      While Dr. Ivins was alive, AUSA Rachel Lieber had never disclosed the window of mailing — and merely expected Dr. Ivins to be able to alibi himself over a several day years after the fact. No one could do that.

      • DXer said

        I wrote:

        “Notice that Ed still has not addressed the issue of Dr. Ivins’ group therapy session on 9/17. Ed has never indicated when he thinks Dr. Ivins travelled — why he thinks Dr. Ivins does not have an alibi.”

        Ed wrote:

        “Nonsense. I responded very clearly to that. I think Ivins does not have an alibi because he did not say he had an alibi, his lawyer did not say he had an alibi, and the FBI says he did NOT have an alibi. Plus, having a scheduled group session does not mean he attended the group session. The session attendance information is still “under seal,” but the FBI has access to it. I do not. You do not.”

        Ed seems unfamiliar with the Amerithrax case. As Paul Kemp has explained, the FBI would not narrow the window of mailing down. At the same time Rachel Lieber was calling Attorney Kemp and saying that Dr. Ivins seemed suicidal, she would not narrow the window of mailing so that it could be demonstrated whether he had an alibi years later. At the time the theoretical window extended over a several day period to include Saturday and Sunday. Once narrowed, it is revealed he had an alibi.

        Now, Ed, as you coming to be acquainted with the issue, consider: When did they first start investigating Dr. Ivins’ alibi?

      • DXer said

        Ed, are you aware of the date of this memo?

      • DXer said

        “February 24, 2011 at 10:55 am

        “Once narrowed, it is revealed he had an alibi.”

        You are wasting my time playing ridiculous word games. If Ivins had an alibi, you should contact his lawyer and tell his lawyer to tell the media.”

        I did. He did. I then uploaded the film and emailed you a copy.

      • DXer said

        You regularly make repeated assertions contradicted by the documents. I recommend that if you are not motivated to read the documents you characterize, you leave true crime commentary to those reading the documents and 302 interviews. But you of course are still free to turn to the documentary evidence relating to his whereabouts on September 17.

        Ed, do you agree that he was at USAMRIID at 7 p.m. on September 17, 2001?

      • DXer said

        In your “analysis of the data” would you agree that Dr. Ivins could not have possibly travelled to and from Princeton in the 4 hours of personal leave that he took on September 17?

        “Recall that the mailing window for the letters to the New York Post and Brokaw was between 5:00 p.m. on Monday, September 17, 2001, and noon on Tuesday, September 18, 2001. ”

        The Amerithrax Summary states that during the day on September 17, he took 4 hours personal leave.

        “However, he took annual leave for four hours on September 17, 2001”

        Fact: Four hours is not time enough to travel to and back from Princeton, NJ. He explained that he took the time to address a personal matter relating to his daughter. The note that Diane left him on the day of his death evidences the sincerity of her belief in his innocence. She wrote him that she knew he had nothing to do with the anthrax mailings.

        Fact: As Ed notes, he was back at USAMRIID at 7 p.m.

        He was back at USAMRIID at 7 the next morning and it was mailed sometime prior to noon. There is no allegation that he drove to Princeton given he instead was in the company of two other colleagues.

        Ed, how long of a round trip was it? 7 hours?

        Would you agree that if there was a gas receipt from September 17 the DOJ is obligated under FOIA to produce it and that GAO should insist on its production? (If such exists, that would further pinpoint a time he was provably in Frederick.)

        Now do you credit the time the FBI reports for his group therapy session?

      • DXer said

        “The Summary report implies that Ivins had no alibi from 7:13 p.m. on the 17th until 7:02 a.m. on the 18th.”

        So Ed agrees that Dr. Ivins could not have mailed it during the workday on September 17 or during the workday on September 18. And that he was at USAMRIID in the early evening (at 7). And I believe he admits it takes approximately 7 hours roundtrip. And that there is no evidence of travel.

      • DXer said

        And Ed acknowledges that the documentary evidence establishes that his wife Diane on the day of his death wrote him a personal note saying she knew he had nothing to do with the mailings.

        And Ed furthermore would acknowledge that he has not read Diane’s 302 interview statement.

    • Anonymous said

      “I’d like to see some actual data on how many plates would be needed for the second mailing. I doubt it would be hundreds.”

      You should read the reports. Dugway determined 40 plates of 6 inch diameter are required to make one gram of spores.

      • DXer said

        I don’t understand why Ed, especially as a layperson, is addressing without first obtaining the documents. If he couldn’t wait, then he should have ordered it the first day and had it rushed. Until he gets the documents, he should not address any issue addressed by the documents because it just lowers the quality of analysis.

      • DXer said

        In other released documents, the FBI defines the “window of opportunity” for mailing that batch of letters as beginning on September 17 at 5 p.m. and ending sometime on September 18, because the last mail pick up is at 5 p.m. and the letters in question have a September 18 postmark. Neither Ed nor the FBI can identify any time within that window in which Dr. Ivins was free to travel unnoticed to Princeton. Ed seems to not even know what time Dr. Ivins’ group therapy session was.

  8. Anonymous said

    Extract from B1M7

    FBI lab reports

    Page 40.

    Date submitted: February 3, 2005

    Evidence submitted: 12 preparations of Bacillus anthracis spores, mounted on SEM stubs and coated with Au/Pd.

    Request: Determine elemental composition, with particular interest in Si, Sn and Fe.

    Result: Fe was not detected in any sample, Sn was not detected in any sample. Trace Si may have been detected in a few samples.

  9. Anonymous said

    “The FBI misled Congress about the amount of silicon present.” And that implies a vast criminal conspiracy.”

    Really? Misleading congress is just misleading congress. You mislead congress when you don’t want to be exposed as having a bogus case against an innocent person.

    The FBI knew they couldn’t say with a straight face “the New York Post powder contained 10.77% silicon, we tried for 8 years to figure out what that meant, we analyzed almost every chemical on the shelfs at USAMRIID, couldn’t find any link whatsover – but we know Ivins must have done it – somehow”.

    No vast criminal conspiracy required – just a plain old-fashioned cover your arse or cover-up the pathetic shortcomings.

  10. Anonymous said

    Extract from File B3D1 (271 pages, Amerithrax Science Weekly updates).


    Page 21:

    “All evidentiary samples analyzed to date exhibit similar chemical and morphological properties including a concentration of silicon in the spore coat. The observed silicon phenomenon is the subject of an intense scientific review by AMX#2 and has led to the development of a silicon investigative strategy.”

    • Anonymous said

      Extract from File B3D1 (271 pages, Amerithrax Science Weekly updates).


      Page 137:

      SA “redacted” continues to work at Dugway where he is attempting to replicate the culture, harvest and drying methods which were potentially used by the suspect. Gram quantities of Anthrax spores have been produced. The yield of clean spores is less than what was earlier expected. After the harvesting, drying and milling processes are completed, the Dugway spores will be transported to USAMRIID for irradiation during early to mid October. These spores will then be examined in several of the forensic protocols developed at non-FBI partner laboratories.”

      • anonymous said

        Note the dates – Michael Mason announced the failure to reverse engineer in September 2003. The status today is the same – failure to reverse engineer.
        Source: Washington Post, November 2, 2002.

        FBI Secretly Trying to Re-Create Anthrax From Mail Attacks

        By Dan Eggen and Guy Gugliotta, Washington Post Staff Writers

        FBI investigators and federal scientists have been secretly working for months to replicate the type of anthrax used in last year’s deadly mail attacks, as part of a previously undisclosed strategy designed to determine precisely how the spores were manufactured, officials said yesterday.

        FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, who revealed the experiments in remarks to reporters here, said that using such “reverse engineering” could help investigators narrow the list of possible suspects.

        “We’re replicating the way or ways it might be manufactured, but it is not an easy task,” Mueller said. “We are going into new territory in some areas.”


        BI fails to re-create anthrax production
        By Toni Locy, USA TODAY
        WASHINGTON — Two years after the nation’s deadly anthrax attacks, the FBI still has not been able to re-create the process the killer used to produce the substance sent through the U.S. mail, a top FBI official said Monday.

        • MsNeuropil said

          We know that the FBI was unable to reverse engineer the anthrax used in the mailings.

          Do we know IF the NAS attempted this reverse engineering process??

          I apologize if this was answered in another thread…I am having difficulty following one topic morphs and then gets hijacked to the end conclusion.

  11. Old Atlantic said

    Maybe the FBI was going to submit the weekly reports as a journal article but they didn’t get around to it. Of course, they could not show the weekly reports to the US Attorney since they intended to submit them for publication.

  12. Anonymous said

    “There’s got to be a more reasonable explanation than that everyone is involved in some vast criminal conspiracy.”

    Nobody on this forum, that I know of, is saying there is a vast criminal conspiracy – these are the words you continually use in an ad hominem argument.

    If you read the Amerithrax Weekly science updates (a 271 page document) you will see that the FBI genuinely thought, for many years, that the silicon signature was the key piece of forensic evidence in the case.

    They analyzed scores of different growth media from USAMRIID thinking one of these might somehow be the source of the silicon – none was.

    They reverse engineered the spores to try to recreate the silicon – first at Dugway, then and Edgewood in Maryland. Noe of it worked.

    The documents reveal that the attempt to reverse engineer the spores was genuine – but also reveal how little they truly understood about the silicon signature. Dugway tried to use Dow antifoam 204 to create the silicon signature. The samples were duly made, sent out for analysis at all the labs, including Sandia. Months later the reports came back – no silicon. Then someone actually got round to finding out something about Dow antifoam 204 – it didn’t contain silicon – this is something a Google search can reveal in 30 seconds.

    So they tried Dow antifoam C – it DOES contain silicon. But that didn’t work either – they could not reproduce either the % of silicon or the continuous coating of SiO2 on the spore coats.

    There was no vast criminal conspiracy involved, at least these FBI reports do not reflect it.

    But nevertheless it is a documented fact that when the FBI decided Ivins did it, the siliocn signature was suddenly deemed not to be important. The FBI misled Congress about the amount of silicon present. The 10.77% siliocn found in the NYP sample was not “unreliable” (Ed lake’s fairytale to paper over the misleading behavior of the FBI). Their methods were repeated 2 years AFTER this 10.77% was obtained and similar results were obtained.

    Thus, today the FBI still have absolutely no idea how that silicon got there and what its purpose was. But people are still working on it – and they seem to be going down the right track now.

  13. Old Atlantic said

    Didn’t Battelle also compare the results in October to simulant? It had a bimodal distribution for the simulant? This likely represented work from before the anthrax mailings?

  14. Anonymous said

    The other 3 pictures of the daschle sample in the same battelle report are quite different. One shows a sea of thousands of pure spores – similar to Sandia pictures. Another shows a couple of dozen spores, some clumped together. Another shows hundreds of spores attached to something that seems to have the same shape as one of the elongated crystals.

  15. DXer said

    There is a Battelle document that Dr. Ezzell’s friend, section chief David Smith, did not declassify when he declassified the other Battelle silicon documents in July 2009.

    Did it relate to trying Percoll was used as a density gradient? If not, are there other documents where they tried using Percoll instead of Renocal?

    Percoll consists of colloidal silica particles of 15-30 nm diameter (23% w/w in water) which have been coated with polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP).

    Percoll was previously used in assisted reproductive technology (ART) to select sperm from semen by density gradient centrifugation, for use in techniques such as in vitro fertilization or intrauterine insemination.

    • DXer said

      What was the nature of the Battelle document listed on the index as among the documents but not actually provided? A footnote to the index explains:

      “While this document was listed in the Batch 3 table of contents provided to the committee by the FBI, this

      document was not provided to the committee because of its security classification.”

  16. Old Atlantic said

    The Riddle of Sphinx Silicon. Who will read this buried under the sand of the last 10 years? How much is still hidden?

  17. DXer said

    Is that image from B2M13 at page 26? I haven’t had a chance to review it or consult with an additional expert. I have no idea why Ed addresses such questions. The proper approach is to consult an expert. For 7 years he argued that silica was never used to weaponize anthrax notwithstanding numerous citations in the literature provided him. For 6 months he argued on genetics… well, you get the idea. He should consult with experts and avoid making such egregious errors.

    Late tomorrow I hope to have time to start uploading more raw materials. In the meantime, Anonymous, provide a full citation.

    14. Icicle (can be more than one icicle in the photo, but make one the focus of the shot)

  18. Old Atlantic said

    Can the plates hypothesis explain silicon during growth? Wouldn’t the person have had to mix the silicon with the growth media if it was grown on plates?

    Then presumably in this hypothesis, there was no centrifuging for NY Post and some but not complete for the Senate letters.

    If it was plates though, it would require many plates even according to NAS. That would make it unlikely Ivins did it.

    That also leaves the bimodal distribution problem. That might then require a lyophilizer step for the second mailing.

    The more different steps and methods used, the less likely Ivins did it.

    • anonymous said

      Plates could not have been used. Dugway showed that to make 1 gram of unpurified spores took forty (40) 150mm plates. They then found that purifying these spores gave “much lower yields than expected” – suggesting hundreds of plates to make 1 gram of purified spores. It’s all in the reports.

      Also in the reports is the fact that the FBI analyzed hundreds of different growth media from USAMRIID – none contained any significant amount of silicon.

      • Old Atlantic said

        Plates could not have been used by Ivins it would seem. But someone else without such limits might have been able to use such a number.

        If liquid media were used and the silicon was in the growth media and then there was centrifuging, then that leaves the problem of why external silicon particles were in such a quantity in the NY Post letter. Shouldn’t they have separated in centrifuging?

        • anonymous said

          Yes, they should have separated during centrifuging. This simple observation alone shows that the silica was added AFTER centrifuging – and thus POST-SPORULATION.

      • Roberto said

        The occurrence of silicon via one method would not preclude it’s appearance via another method(s) – at least not that I know of.

      • Roberto said


        And it all still adds up to no one really being sure how to explain the silicon… yet.

        Seems like if you don’t know with high probability what the silicon is for (if anything) and/or how it got there – you can’t determine if it’s significant in terms of figuring out whodunit.

      • Old Atlantic said

        If Ed’s hypothesis proves correct, it can be named the Silicon Spore Lake Effect. I think it should be tested.

        However, there is also the number of plates and their yield to be considered.

        The NAS indicated plates would require very many plates. That would likely be higher if grown in trash bags.

        Do they produce spores with the characteristics of the letter anthrax?

      • Roberto said

        completely unrelated – unless you’re intrigued by circumstantial evidence…

        A circuit board fragment, allegedly found embedded in a piece of charred material, was identified as part of an electronic timer similar to that found on a Libyan intelligence agent who had been arrested 10 months previously, carrying materials for a Semtex bomb. The timer allegedly was traced through its Swiss manufacturer, Mebo, to the Libyan military, and Mebo employee Ulrich Lumpert identified the fragment at al-Megrahi’s trial. Mebo’s owner, Edwin Bollier, later revealed that in 1991 he had declined an offer from the FBI of $4 million to testify that the timer fragment was part of a Mebo MST-13 timer supplied to Libya. On 18 July 2007, Ulrich Lumpert admitted he had lied at the trial.[35] In a sworn affidavit before a Zurich notary public, Lumpert stated that he had stolen a prototype MST-13 timer printed circuit board from Mebo and gave it without permission on 22 June 1989, to “an official person investigating the Lockerbie case”.[36] Dr Hans Köchler, UN observer at the Lockerbie trial, who was sent a copy of Lumpert’s affidavit, said: “The Scottish authorities are now obliged to investigate this situation. Not only has Mr Lumpert admitted to stealing a sample of the timer, but to the fact he gave it to an official and then lied in court”. Traces of high explosives RDX and pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN) were found in close proximity to the explosion.[37][38][39][40]

        In a documentary entitled “Lockerbie revisited” aired on 27 April 2009, the film’s director and narrator, Gideon Levy, interviewed officials involved with the case. Former FBI Laboratory scientist Fred Whitehurst described the FBI laboratory itself as a “crime scene”, where an unqualified colleague Thomas Thurman would routinely alter his scientific reports. The interviews also revealed that the timer fragment had never been tested for explosives residue due to “budgetary reasons”. Thurman, who led the forensic investigation and identified the fragments’ Libyan connection, confirmed that it was the “only real piece of evidence against Libya” and when asked of the importance of the timer in the conviction of al-Megrahi, FBI Task Force Chief Richard Marquise stated, “It would be a very difficult case to prove … I don’t think we would ever (have) had an indictment”.[41]

      • Roberto said

        Ed: there’s always the possibility of a plea agreement
        Me: or suicide

        but I’m just kidding

    • anonymous said

      There’s a big problem with the bimodal distribution. Battelle’s Michael Kuhlman obtained this from an autoclaved sample – as described in his report to the FBI’s Allyson Simons. That report can be found in the 9600 pages given to NAS.

      That same report is described like this in Richard Preston’s “Demon in the Freezer”:

      Extract from Demon in the Freezer:

      On the same day that two Brentwood workers died, a meeting was held at FBI headquarters involving the Laboratory, scientists from the Battelle Memorial Insitute, and scientists from the Army… The Army scientists were telling the FBI that the powder was extremely rarified and dangerous, while a Battelle scientist named Michael Kuhlman was allegedly saying that the anthrax was ten to fifty times less potent than the Army was claiming. Allyson Simons, the head of the Laboratory, was having trouble sorting through the disagreement, and she was apparently not telling the CDC leadership much about the powder, while waiting for more data to come in.
      One Army official is said to have blown up at Simons and Kuhlman at the meeting, saying to the Battelle man, “Goddamn it, you stuck your anthrax in an autoclave, and you turned it into hockey pucks.”

  19. Anonymous said

    Lake pontificates: “I’d say the odds of these crystals actually being in the Daschle powder can be estimated at roughly 1,000,000 to 1 against.”

    You clearly haven’t read the Battelle report. Until you read it you’d be better off to avoid pontificating. The image is one of 4 images of the Daschle powder.

    • anonymous said

      I guess you’ll have to wait until the end of the month. That should give you enough time to create a fairytale on the how the Battelle images of the Daschle spores aren’t really what they say they are.

  20. Anonymous said

    Everything is coming together. AFIP report shows images of the silicon additive for the New York Post samples. This silicon compound contains 30-40% silicon by EDX. Overall the New York Post powder (silicon additive plus spores) contains 10.77% silicon.

    The additive is also present in the Daschle powder. EDX has not been released for that, but overall (additive plus spores) contains 1.8% silicon.

    Conclusion – the silicon additive is responsible for the silica coating of the spores in all cases.

    • Old Atlantic said

      Here is another possibility. The silicon crystals are all from the growth media. Ivins centrifuged the silicon and spores but the silicon did not separate. Why?

      The Higgs boson is what gives matter mass. Notice the names Higgs and Ivins. These are similar in many ways. Thus there could be an Ivins boson. The Ivins boson counteracts the Higgs boson but only for silicon compounds.

      Thus when centrifuging spores and silicon the silicon does not separate because he used the Ivins boson to prevent the silicon having mass, so it was equally distributed in the test tube and thus could not separate from the spores.

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