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

* an interview with David Relman, vice chair of the NAS review committee, reveals clearly that the science cannot prove that Dr. Bruce Ivins is the sole perpetrator or even involved … and, by the way, it seems Al Qaeda had Ames anthrax

Posted by DXer on February 25, 2011

listen to the interview at …


Dr. David Relman of Stanford – Vice Chair of the NAS committee


David Relman, MD, vice chair of the NAS review committee, is a professor of microbiology and immunology and of infectious diseases at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He answered the questions below from Bruce Goldman, a science writer in the medical school’s communications office.

Q: Did your review uphold the FBI’s findings? Is this case still open?

A: Dr. Relman:

  • The main conclusion by the FBI and Department of Justice of their scientific investigation was that the Bacillus anthracis in the letters was derived from a flask called RMR-1029, which was located in the lab of Dr. Bruce Ivins at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Disease in Frederick, Md.

we found some problems and gaps in the scientific investigation

  • Although the scientific evidence was supportive of a link between the letters and that flask, it did not definitively demonstrate such a relationship, for at least two reasons.
  • it’s possible that the samples gathered by the FBI missed mutants that arose during such runs. This possibility was not given adequate consideration.
  • the FBI still might not have found other matches, because there’s no guarantee that the bureau had assembled a comprehensive library of lab strains

The newly revealed, but inconclusive, information

about possible B. anthracis Ames

at an al Qaeda overseas location highlights this issue.

  • In addition, the instructions in the subpoena the FBI sent to scientists known to be in possession of the B. anthracis Ames strain lacked specificity, so there’s no certainty that scientists who were subpoenaed submitted samples of all the mutant strains in their possession.
  • In light of these and other problems and gaps in the science performed as part of this investigation, our overarching finding was that …

it is not possible to reach a definitive conclusion

about the origins of the B. anthracis in the mailings

based on the available scientific evidence alone

read the entire interview at …


  • The FBI, under the best possible interpretation, botched the scientific investigation.
  • there is thus no science, no forensic evidence and no witness to link Dr. Bruce Ivins to the anthrax mailings
  • in addition, much relevant information was not only kept from the public, but also from the scientists who were supposed to be doing the investigation.
  • the FBI has not and presumably cannot prove its assertion that Ivins was the sole perpetrator of the attacks, or even involved

The FBI’s investigation must be re-opened

and properly reviewed by someone with the competence to do so

and the subpoena power to obtain the information they need.


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

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

* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon *

20 Responses to “* an interview with David Relman, vice chair of the NAS review committee, reveals clearly that the science cannot prove that Dr. Bruce Ivins is the sole perpetrator or even involved … and, by the way, it seems Al Qaeda had Ames anthrax”

  1. DXer said

    “I think around the world, our agents are the best collectors of information you’ll find.” — Robert Mueller


    And yet the FBI very commonly cannot locate key documents in its files — such as Notebook 4010, the notebook chronicling laboratory experiments relating to — and withdrawals from — the so-called “murder weapon.”

    No point in doing the homework if your dog then is going to eat it.

  2. DXer said

    The inventory showing where Ivins’ Ames from Flask 1029 went had 13 entries. The FBI determined that there were at least 18 unrecorded transfers. The FBI determinedd this from a review of laboratory notebooks, including Notebook 4282. Yet the FBI has withheld the notebooks for years. The FBI has failed to return Notebooks 4010 (relating to what the FBI inaptly refers to as the “murder weapon”), Lab Notebook 4282, and Lab Notebook 4037. The FBI has a CD with all the notebooks from the USAMRIID Library (created by an outside contractor). As noted to the FBI employee Kris Weart in an email last week, the Librarian and USAMRMC FOIA Officer will be relieved if the FBI returns them. The FBI had no right to withhold them — no right to falsely claim that the FBI did not have them or only selectively produce them. The notebooks need to be returned to USAMRIID for processing and uploading to the USAMRMC Electronic Reading Room.

  3. DXer said

    Laurie Garrett, in I HEARD THE SIRENS SCREAM (July 18, 2011, Kindle) explained:

    “In other words, both the powerful, classified JASON group and the independent NRC concluded that the genetic systems used for tracking microbes used in criminal activities were insufficiently precise. In the absence of old-fashioned detective work and a battery of other reliable clues, the state-of-the-art in DNA forensics in 2009, even 2011, was inadequate to the task.

    “This is huge, because coupled with the lack of any other physical evidence in this case linked to Bruce, this shows that the FBI’s central tenet– that the anthrax could have come from only Bruce Ivins — is without factual merit and is, therefore, just a possibility,” wrote Jeffery Adamovicz, Ivins’ former boss at USAMRIID. “They over-represented this possibility as if there were no other explanations. I think my feelings of mistrust of the FBI’s conclusions in this case have only been strentghened over the last year. i feel vindicated in my assessment that the FBI was overselling the science and its ability to prove that Bruce and only Bruce Ivins could have committed this crime.”

    Another of Ivins’ ex-bosses, Gerry Andrews, insisted Ivins “didn’t have anything to do with it.” Stanford University microbiologist Dr. David Relman, who served on the NRC panel throughout its 19-month inquiry, said the panel, “found some problems and gaps in the scientific investigation. Although the scientific evidence was supportive of a link between the letters and that [RMR-1029 ] flask, it did not definitively demonstrate such a relationship, for at least two reasons.”

    First, the FBI created a registry of 1,057 anthrax samples taken from labs all over the world, mostly the U.S. Thanks to the painstaking efforts of Fraser-Liggett and her team the pool was whittled down to eight samples that possessed the signature mutations. But Relman said that the NRC panel was never convinced that the FBI’s registry truly contained every sample of Ames strain in the world. And none of the panel members could shake the hunch that the evil-doer would never have turned over sample to the FBI.”

  4. DXer said

    Lab Vs. Courtroom: Different Definitions Of Proof

    by Joe Palca

    In fact, all the bacterial samples in the letters matched the fingerprints of samples taken from Ivins’ lab.

    More On The Anthrax Investigation

    FBI Faulted For Overstating Science In Anthrax Case

    Still, FBI’s conclusions about who mailed deadly letters in 2001 weren’t unreasonable, experts say.That sounds pretty conclusive, but here’s the problem: Keim says scientists don’t yet know if the letter samples might match other batches as well. It’s not certain that each batch has a distinctive signature.


    Science Ready For The Courtroom?

    Testing theories is what science is all about. But how rock solid does a theory have to be before you can use it in the courtroom? Stanford Medical School’s David Relman was vice chairman of a National Academy of Sciences panel that looked at the science the FBI used in its investigation.

    “There’s always a tension between wanting to embrace and integrate a new approach quickly and yet wanting to be sure that it’s done properly, and properly validated,” says Relman.

  5. DXer said

    2003 Capture Of Hambali And Sufaat’s Assistants And The Reported Seizure Of “Extremely Virulent” (But Unweaponized) Anthrax

    Muklis Yunos was arrested on May 25, 2003. Agents reportedly became suspicious when an ambulance pulled over and delivered Yunos, who was wearing a plaster cast on a leg as part of a disguise. According to other reports, he was also wearing facial bandages. An Egyptian missionary accompanying him, Al Gabre Mahmud, was apparently on an international terrorist watchlist. Authorities became suspicious when the two went to the wrong gate (and did not go to the one typically used for medical transport). The pair then objected when officials wanted to remove some of the mummy-like bandages. AP reported that a police intelligence dossier describes him as “a fanatic of the extreme fundamentalist movement” who received training in an Al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan, including lessons on the use of anthrax as a biological weapon. He is described as about five foot three and with the features of a Japanese-Korean. According to one report, Yunos initially was cooperating with authorities over a bucket of spicy Kentucky Fried Chicken, complaining about the arrogance and unhelpfulness of MILF leadership.

    Hambali was arrested in mid-August 2003 in Thailand. Hambali had fled Malaysia with his wife, Lee, not long after 9/11. His wife and her sister had studied at the school of Bashir, JI’s religious leader. He told his mother they were moving to Thailand. Hambali worked and his wife studied Arabic. Over the next two years, he also spent time in Cambodia and Myanmar. Soft-spoken and polite, the neighbors said he kept to himself in the apartment building.

    His wife, an ethnic Chinese Malaysian who converted to Islam, was also detained. After being shipped to Jordan, where he was harshly interrogated, Hambali eventually began providing information about Al Qaeda’s anthrax production program. He told interrogators that the terror network had what author Ron Suskind describes as an “extremely virulent” strain of anthrax before the September 11 attacks. In the autumn of 2003, Suskind claims, U.S. forces in Afghanistan found a sample of the virulent anthrax at a house in Kandahar. Pulitzer Prize winning author Ron Suskind writes: “One disclosure was particularly alarming: al Qaeda had, in fact produced high-grade anthrax. Hambali, during interrogation, revealed its whereabouts in Afghanistan. The CIA soon descended on a house in Kandahar and discovered a small, extremely potent sample of the biological agent.”

    Suskind wrote:

    “Ever since the tense anthrax meeting with Cheney and Rice in December 2001, CIA and FBI had been focused on determining whether al Qaeda was involved in the anthrax letter attacks in 2001 and whether they could produce a lethal version that could be weaponized. The answer to the first was no; to the second, ‘probably not.’ Though the CIA had found remnants of a biological weapons facility — and blueprints for attempted production of anthrax — isolating a strain of virulent anthrax and reproducing it was viewed as beyond al Qaeda’s capabilities.”

    Suskind continued:

    “No more. The anthrax found in Kandahar was extremely virulent. What’s more, it was produced, according to the intelligence, in the months before 9/11. And it could be easily reproduced to create a quantity that could be readily weaponized.”

    “Alarm bells rang in Washington. Al Qaeda, indeed, had the capabilities to produce a weapon of massive destructiveness, a weapon that would create widespread fear.

    Based on the additional information being provided in 2003, authorities also captured two mid to low level technicians — an Egyptian and a Sudanese. President Bush has explained that these mid-to low level technicians were part of a Southeastern Asian based cell that was developing an anthrax attack on the United States.

    In Fall of 2006, President Bush explained:

    “KSM also provided vital information on al Qaeda’s efforts to obtain biological weapons. During questioning, KSM admitted that he had met three individuals involved in al Qaeda’s efforts to produce anthrax, a deadly biological agent — and he identified one of the individuals as Yazid. KSM apparently believed we already had this information, because Yazid had been captured and taken into foreign custody before KSM’s arrest. In fact we did not know about Yazid’s role in al Qaeda’s anthrax program. Information from Yazid then helped lead to the capture of his two principal assistants in the anthrax program.”

    Comment: Given the two initial positive tests for Ames anthrax, by “extremely virulent,” did Ron Suskind referring to Ames as the “extremely virulent” strain?

    What does the literature say about false positives in regard to such testing?

  6. DXer said

    Dr. David Relman addressed the underlyling issues in 2003 in the magazine SCIENCE:

    12 December 2003:
    Vol. 302 no. 5652 p. 1898

    Understanding Threats to Scientific Openness
    James B. Petro* and David A. Relman
    + Author Affiliations

    J. B. Petro is with the Joint Military Intelligence College, Bolling AFB, Washington, DC 20340-5100
    D. A. Relman is with the Departments of Microbiology & Immunology, and of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, and with Veterans Affairs, Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, CA 94304, USA.
    *To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail:

    The scientific community is being confronted by public concerns that freely available scientific information may be exploited by terrorists. Differing points of view among scientists threaten to complicate discussion intended to address these concerns. Skepticism of the existence, breadth, and severity of the threat posed by would-be bioweaponeers is compounded by the failure to find clear evidence of biological weapons in Iraq. Also, some even question the extent to which open-source scientific material contributes to the threat.

    Recent public discussions regarding the potential for open-source science to enable bioterrorist activities have occurred in a vacuum, without examples of “real-world” activity. This is largely because the need for national security professionals to safeguard sources inculcates a culture of secrecy unlike the openness of the life science community.

    In a new windowOne potential contribution of the national security community is the opportunity, albeit limited, to educate scientists regarding current and emerging threats through unclassified case studies. The following brief description of some recent findings provides insight into activities of potential exploiters and emphasizes the importance of closer interaction between the scientific and security communities.

    Documents recovered from an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan (1) in 2001 have shed light on procedures and methodologies used by al-Qaida in its efforts to establish a biological warfare (BW) program. Individuals involved in this effort apparently relied on scientific research and information obtained collegially from public and private sources (see figure, above right) (2).

    Books found at the camp describe State-sponsored BW activities and outline the history of biological warfare. The site also contained over 20 vintage research articles and medical publications from U.K. journals of the 1950s and ’60s that provided a method for isolating, culturing, identifying, and producing bacteria, including Bacillus anthracis and Clostridium botulinum. Handwritten letters and BW primers found together at the same site suggest that al-Qaida’s BW initiative included recruitment of individuals with Ph.D.-level expertise who supported planning and acquisition efforts by their familiarity with the scientific community. When specific information was not available in print, al-Qaida scientists apparently took advantage of symposia where they could obtain tips and techniques directly from unsuspecting researchers (2). The letter shown (figure, above) reveals plans to acquire bacterial strains, vaccines, production equipment, training, and expertise. The scientific community needs to be aware of this kind of activity. Identification of a recently constructed laboratory (3) with equipment and supplies that could be used to produce biological agents within a few kilometers of the site where the BW-related documents were found strongly suggests that al-Qaida proceeded beyond simply reviewing “dual-use” literature.

    Like al-Qaida, the Japanese terrorist group Aum Shinrikyo sought to develop an intrinsic BW program; these efforts are a dangerous departure from the activities of other groups, which historically have sought to acquire completed weapons or produce crude preparations of toxins and chemicals (4). Other groups that pursue an independent BW program in the future also may rely upon dual-use information.

    With publications from nearly 50 years ago, a marginally skilled terrorist could produce a crude agent for use in a limited bioterror attack. However, using more recently published research findings and procedures, casualty rates associated with such an incident would increase dramatically. Thus, our inability to restrict access to already published research in no way absolves the scientific and national security communities of our responsibility to address future findings of concern.

    The life science community should take the lead in partnering with national security professionals to draft guidelines for identifying research of concern and weighing the benefits to national security against the cost to open communication of future life science discovery (5). Furthermore, scientists can help ensure security professionals maintain a working knowledge of cutting-edge tools and data with national security implications. Such a partnership should include scientists who are given security clearance and national security participants that represent the spectrum of relevant agencies with a strong background and training in the life sciences (6).

    Comment: Query why such clearance was not sought at the start of the NAS study — two years ago — like CIA WMD analyst and former FBI Special Agent Jennifer A.L. Smith had so eloquently urged.

    • DXer said

      The Cairo Medical School Dropout Trained To Recruit US Operatives And Make Booby-Trapped Letters (1989-1998)

      Lance Williams of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote an eye-opening profile of Khalid Dahab, a Cairo Medical School drop-out who recruited US operatives for Al Qaeda. He was trained by Bin Laden’s head of intelligence, former US Army Sergeant Ali Mohammed. Ali Mohammed had recruited him while he was student at Cairo Medical in the early 1980s. The article was based on statements made in a Cairo court proceeding.

      Williams reports that Bin Laden personally congratulated Dahab, an Egyptian- born US Citizen, a Silicon Valley car salesman and member of Zawahri’s Egyptian Islamic Jihad/Vanguards of Conquest, for recruiting Islamist Americans into al Qaeda. The account of Dahab’s confession was first published in the October 10, 2001 edition of the London-based Arabic language newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat. Ali Mohamed was also a Silicon Valley resident. Ali Mohamed had traveled to Afghanistan in the mid-1990s to report to Bin Laden on the success the two were having in recruiting Americans. Bin Laden told them that recruiting terrorists with American citizenship was a top priority.

      Ali Mohamed has admitted role in planning the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kenya, killing more than 200 people.

      Williams wrote: “Dahab’s confession supports the view of many terrorism experts that al Qaeda has “sleeper” operatives on station in the United States for future terrorist attacks.” Khaled Duran, an author and terrorism expert who has written about the Silicon Valley cell, said the recruits would be expected to “fade into the woodwork” until the organization needed them, he said.

      Handsome and outgoing, Dahab spoke excellent English. He said he was from a wealthy Alexandria family. His mother was a physician and he was planning a career in medicine.

      “But Dahab told acquaintances he had been radicalized by a tragedy that happened when he was a schoolboy: his father, he claimed, had been among 108 people killed in the 1973 crash of a Cairo-bound Libyan Arab Airlines plane that was shot down by Israeli fighter jets when it strayed over the Sinai Peninsula, which at the time was occupied by Israel. He claimed that his father’s death — and Egypt’s failure to avenge it — had turned him against the Egyptian government and against Israel and the United States, as well. He said he was drawn toward Islamic Jihad, a radical movement that had assassinated President Anwar Sadat in 1981 in an effort to remake Egypt into a fundamentalist Muslim state.”

      Williams reports that it was while a medical student in about 1984, according to his confession, that Dahab met Mohamed, who then was an officer in the Egyptian commando forces and a Jihad operative planning to emigrate to the United States. Dahab came to the United States in 1986, obtaining a student visa by saying he wanted to study medicine. He rented an apartment in Santa Clara, where Ali Mohamed now lived with his American wife. He dropped the name Dahab, calling himself Khaled Mohamed or Ali Mohamed, the same name used by the man who had recruited him.

      “In 1995, using a fake passport and identity documents, Dahab and Ali Mohammed smuggled Zawahiri into the US from Afghanistan for a covert fund-raising tour. Dahab reports that part of the money financed the bombing of the Egyptian Embassy in Pakistan. Dahab also said that at Mohamed’s direction he had gone to terrorist camps in Afghanistan in 1990 and trained guerrilla fighters to fly hang gliders. He said Islamic Jihad was planning a hang glider assault to liberate imprisoned Jihad leaders, some of whom had been locked up since the assassination of Sadat.”

      Jihad later canceled the attack, Dahab said in his confession.

      Williams continues: “Meanwhile, Dahab said Mohamed gave him military training and taught him how to make letter bombs. Dahab said he had also worked as an al Qaeda communications specialist, aiding terrorists inside Egypt by patching through their calls to other operatives in Afghanistan and the Sudan. This helped the terrorists plan operations while avoiding electronic surveillance by Egyptian security forces who routinely wiretapped calls between Egypt and countries that harbored jihad terrorists.

      Also in the 1990s, Dahab said, he and Mohamed were told to begin recruiting U.S. citizens of Middle Eastern heritage. Dahab said the recruitment project had first been outlined to him by an al Qaeda fighter named Abdel Aziz Moussa al Jamal, who, according to Arabic press accounts, surfaced in Islamabad, Pakistan, serving as translator for Taliban envoy Abdul Salam Zaeef. On another visit to Afghanistan, Dahab said, he and Mohamed discussed the project with Zawahiri and bin Laden.” “Dahab told Egyptian authorities he and Mohamed had found 10 recruits, all of them naturalized U.S. citizens who had been born in the Middle East. The account of the confession did not name the recruits or provide other details about them.”

      In August 1998, Dahab was in Egypt when al Qaeda mounted suicide attacks on the embassies in East Africa. Back in the U.S., Ali Mohamed was arrested for complicity in the attack and pled guilty. .

      In October 1998, the Egyptian military moved to crush Islamic Jihad by arresting more than 70 of the organization’s leaders. Dahab decided to flee, and on Oct. 28 booked a flight to the United States. According to Dahab acquaintances, Egyptian security police boarded the plane shortly before takeoff and took him away in handcuffs. Dahab confessed his involvement with al Qaeda and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.”

      Sleepers, the former head of Bin Laden’s intelligence (and a former US Army sergeant) Ali Mohammed testified, “don’t wear the traditional beards and they don’t pray at the mosques.” An Al Qaeda encyclopedia, Military Studies in the Jihad Against the Tyrants, advises sleepers to “have a general appearance that does not indicate Islamic orientation,” and for men not to wear a beard. The book also instructs sleepers not to denounce unjustice faced by the ummah, and not to use common Islamic expressions such as “peace be on you,” nor to go to Islamic locations, such as mosques.

      Consider the example of another “sleeper” or operative, Tarik Hamdi of Herndon, Virginia. ABC News employed him to help secure an interview with bin Laden in early 1998. ABC News transported Hamdi to Afghanistan, unaware that his real purpose in going there was to carry a replacement battery to bin Laden for the satellite telephone he would later use to order the embassy bombings in East Africa. ABC was also unaware that the CIA had planted a listening device in the phone. The successful CIA operation, however, did not serve to prevent the planning of the embassy operation. Ironically, it facilitated it. If we don’t learn from history, we are bound to repeat it.

      • DXer said

        The Cairo Medical School Alum Who Was Zawahiri’s Tour Guide On His Last US Tour

        In 1995, Ayman came once again to the United States where he was accompanied by US Army Sergeant Ali Mohammed on his travels to California, then Brooklyn, then the Washington, D.C. area. Who did he visit in Washington, D.C.? Zawahiri reportedly traveled to the US in 1991 and 1995 under an alias (though the dates are disputed). Zawahiri sometimes was accompanied by two brothers, a New Jersey pharmacist and a California doctor, Ali Zaki (a fellow Cairo Medical alum who denies knowing who Zawahiri was). They were joined by a former US Army sergeant and key Al Qaeda operative, Ali Mohammed. In Santa Clara, Ayman reportedly stayed at the home of Ali Mohammed, even though Mohammed had recently been subpoenaed to testify about what he knew about Bin Laden’s activities. Dr. Zaki says he was a good friend of Ali Mohammed and that it was widely known that Ali Mohammed was a liaison between the islamists in Afghanistan and the CIA. In one of his trips, he also reportedly went to Texas. One of the most important starting points of the FBI’s Amerithrax investigation should have been to trace the contacts that al-Zawahiri made on his last trip to the United States. He met with supporters associated with the Maktab Khidmat al-Mujahidin (the Al-Mujahidin services office) in the US.

        The troubles of Cairo Medical School graduate (’71), San Jose physician Ali Zaki, over taking Ayman Zawahiri and Bin Laden’s head of intelligence around the US in 1995 had just about faded from memory. In January 2000, a new problem then reared its head. In 1999, he had prescribed $164,000 in prescriptions for Viagara, a syringe of a drug for renal insufficiency and a vial for hypogonadism. (Bin Laden suffered from renal insufficiency.) The California Board governing physicians found that Dr. Zaki violated regulations because no patient was named and he had kept no records. The drugs were ordered ostensibly for a fictitious business MedChem. When an investigator went to check out the listing it was the address at 550 Bevans Drive it turned out to have been a recently closed deli called Landmark Gourmet Delicatessen. According to the decision, the drugs reportedly were for resale abroad. If they were intended for Afghanistan, someone must have expected a lot of action with some virgins. Elzahabi in the September 2009 interview with journalist Colin Freeze was confident that God would find the time to provide him with the 72 virgins to which he felt he was entitled for keeping quiet about the 3 individuals whose picture he was shown. Perhaps erectile dysfunction was common tin Afghanistan because of the cold, harsh conditions and the stress in that line of work. One of the allegations in the January 21, 2000 “Accusation” alleged that “On or about June 15, 1999, respondent ordered 100 bottles of Viagara, 30 tablets per bottle, at 100 milligram strength.” Cost: $164,000. Memories: Priceless. The public reprimand issued in August 2001 and is available online at the State agency’s website.

        Who does Dr. Zaki think Ali Mohammed recruited? Did he know him to recruit anyone from Cairo Medical other than Dahab?

        Who does Dahab say that he and Ali Mohammed recruited? Has Dahab recently been released from prison?

        • DXer said

          Ali Mohamed Case

          “The Mohamed case also shows how easily even a top-level terrorist can operate in the United States. Presumably that is more difficult now than when Mohamed was active. However, the story of Mohamed’s dual roles as bin Laden terrorist and FBI informant illustrates the problems still facing U.S. intelligence services as they attempt to penetrate terrorist groups in the United States and abroad.”

      • DXer said


        The Anthrax Attacks

        Published: March 1, 2011

        To the Editor:

        Re “Expert Panel Is Critical of F.B.I. Work in Investigating Anthrax Letters” (news article, Feb. 16):

        The National Academy of Sciences, in issuing its much-anticipated report on the F.B.I.’s use of scientific and technical evidence during its investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks, concluded that there needs to be further investigation of the attacks and the federal government’s response to and investigation of the attacks.

        Recently, I reintroduced legislation to create an independent commission modeled after the 9/11 Commission to review the entire episode: the attacks, the response, the botched investigation and, ultimately, to determine whether our nation is prepared to deal with a biological attack in the future.

        The commission would make recommendations to the president and Congress on how the country can best prevent and respond to any future bioterrorism attack. This legislation can be passed now, just as it could have been enacted any time in the last four years.

        We need the most advanced and well-vetted bioterrorism prevention, detection, forensics and recovery capabilities, and not simply to ensure the swift apprehension and prosecution of future perpetrators.

        In the anthrax case, the F.B.I.’s jumping to conclusions led to tragic consequences for a relatively limited number of people. Another bioterror attack on this country could catapult us into war if it is as poorly investigated as the last one and if, based on faulty investigation, it is attributed to the wrong foreign state. It is long past time that we learned the right lessons from the anthrax case.

        Rush Holt
        Member of Congress, 12th Dist., N.J.
        Hopewell Township, N.J., Feb. 24, 2011

  7. DXer said

    Following David Relman and J.B. Petro’s lead in “Understanding Threats to Scientific Openness, Science, December 12, 2003, Lew helpfully uploaded the typed correspondence between infiltrating scientist Rauf Ahmad and Ayman Zawahiri in which in reporting on his second trip to a lab to acquire virulent anthrax, he announced “I have successfully achieved the targets.”

    Now an internet hobbyist may not care what lab Rauf Ahmad visited, but any serious researcher or journalist will — and will ask the NAS panel Vice-Chair David Relman.

    • DXer said

      I gave the New York Times copies of the handwritten and typed letters to the New York Times without comment — but they reversed the order and mistakenly thought the handwritten letter was written subsequent to the typed letters rather than the other way around.

      Qaeda Letters Are Said to Show Pre-9/11 Anthrax Plans

      Published: May 21, 2005
      WASHINGTON, May 20 -Al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan began to assemble the equipment necessary to build a rudimentary biological weapons laboratory before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, letters released by the Defense Department show.

      The operatives were not immediately able to obtain a sample of the deadly anthrax strain that they wanted to reproduce in their laboratory, according to the letters.

      The letters are among the documents recovered in late 2001 after the invasion of Afghanistan that United States intelligence officials have frequently cited as evidence that Al Qaeda was working to develop biological weapons.

      The letters, recently made public as a result of a Freedom of Information Act request, detail a visit by an unnamed Qaeda scientist to a laboratory at an unspecified location where he was shown “a special confidential room” with thousands of samples of biological substances.

      The scientist tried to buy anthrax vaccines, which would be necessary to protect any Qaeda members working with the material. He also bought a sterilizer, a respirator and an air-contamination detector, one letter said.

      “The conference was found to be highly beneficial for our future work,” the letter said. “I finalized all the accessories required for the smooth running of our bioreactor.”

      A separate handwritten letter includes a detailed list of additional equipment that would be necessary, like an incubator and a centrifuge, as well as a crude layout of a four- or five-room laboratory.

      The letter specifies a training program for the staff, lasting six to eight months for senior workers and two to four months for technicians.

      The letters appear to be the same documents referred to in the report of a special presidential commission on intelligence failures and unconventional weapons led by former Senator Charles S. Robb of Virginia and Judge Laurence H. Silberman of the federal appeals court.

      The report, released in March, describes a biological weapons program that “was extensive, well organized and operated two years before the Sept. 11.”

      Two biological weapons experts who have read the letters said in interviews Friday that the letters suggested that the laboratory construction was at an early stage and that it would have most likely been at least two to three years, if not more, before the Qaeda team would have been able to produce enough anthrax to use as a weapon.

      “They were moving to try to get the right stuff,” said D. A. Henderson, an expert on biological weapons who is a former top scientific adviser to the Health and Human Services Department. “But not in a very sophisticated way.”

      The second of the two experts, Dr. Milton Leitenberg, a senior research scholar at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, said many of people who were involved in the effort had been arrested or, in one case, killed.

      “It is not likely that anything is going on right now,” said Dr. Leitenberg, author of “The Problem of Biological Weapons” (2004). “And in the three years they were working on this, as best as is known, they did not succeed in obtaining a pathogen or reach the stage of growing the pathogen in the laboratory.”

      The writer of the two letters is widely believed to be Abdur Rauf, a Pakistani microbiologist who is known to have attended a conference before 2001 sponsored by the Society for Applied Microbiology, said a biological weapons researcher who insisted on anonymity because of his work investigating Al Qaeda.

      One letter was written on a notepad from the Society for Applied Microbiology, a prominent British organization of microbiologists.

      All the names on the letters are blacked out on the copies that were released to Ross Getman, a lawyer from Syracuse who filed the Freedom of Information Act request.

      At the same camp where the letters were found, officials recovered articles from medical journals that detailed an approach to isolating, culturing and producing bacteria, including anthrax.

      The second letter says that so far no toxic sample of anthrax needed for the laboratory had been secured.

      “Unfortunately,” it says, “I did not find the required culture of b. anthrax, i.e. pathogenic. However, I have started correspondence with [name blacked out] for the supply of the culture.”

    • DXer said

      Joby Warrick did a good job with the Ayman Zawahiri and Rauf Ahmad correspondence in October 2006. But still left unanswered was the question of the lab he visited.

      Initially, Pakistan officials were going to allow an interview with Rauf Ahmad by a local correspondent but then backed off. Rauf is quite a chatty Cathy when contacted by email and so I was disappointed that no journalist scored an interview. Rauf is mainly interested in money — rather than being religiously motivated. There both lies the problem and the opportunity in obtaining an interview. The Rauf Ahmad of my emails would draw me out but then drop off contact with me whenever it became apparent I had no money to offer him for a sabbatical.

      A cynic (or savvy) practitioner of the tradecraft of intelligence analysis might be concerned that I was subject to what is known a man-in-the-middle ruse where someone was pretending to be the scientist at issue. But I think if a serious effort is made to reach him at interview him, it would be successful and result in critical information about his visits to the special conferences on anthrax attended by Bruce Ivins and his colleagues in 1999 and 2000 in England. (Bruce was planning the one in June 2001 to be held at Annapolis where WMD section chief David Smith (the one declassifying the silicon materials in July 2009) was talking under the tent with his friend, FBI anthrax expert John Ezzell who made the dried powder out of Ames supplied from Flask 1029).

      Author: Joby Warrick
      Publication: The Washington Post
      Date: October 31, 2006

      Scientist With Ties To Group Goes Free

      In December 2001, as the investigation into the U.S. anthrax attacks was gathering steam, coalition soldiers in Afghanistan uncovered what appeared to be an important clue: a trail of documents chronicling an attempt by al-Qaeda to create its own anthrax weapon.

      The documents told of a singular mission by a scientist named Abdur Rauf, an obscure, middle-aged Pakistani with alleged al-Qaeda sympathies and an advanced degree in microbiology.

      Using his membership in a prestigious scientific organization to gain access, Rauf traveled through Europe on a quest, officials say, to obtain both anthrax spores and the equipment needed to turn them into highly lethal biological weapons. He reported directly to al-Qaeda’s No. 2 commander, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and in one document he appeared to signal a breakthrough.

      “I successfully achieved the targets,” he wrote cryptically to Zawahiri in a note in 1999.

      Precisely what Rauf achieved may never be known with certainty. That’s because U.S. officials remain stymied in their nearly five-year quest to bring charges against a man who they say admitted serving as a top consultant to al-Qaeda on anthrax — a claim that makes him one of a handful of people linked publicly to the group’s effort to wage biological warfare against Western targets.

      Rauf, 47, has been under scrutiny in Pakistan since he was detained there for questioning in late 2001, according to U.S. and Pakistani officials who agreed to talk about the case for the first time. But officially he remains free, and Pakistan now says it has no grounds for arrest. Last year, in an acknowledgment of the impasse in its four-year joint investigation with Pakistan, the FBI officially put the case on inactive status.

      “We will never close the door, but the chances of getting him into the United States are slim to none,” said one U.S. intelligence official, who, like others, agreed to discuss the case on the condition that he not be identified by name.

      The documents that first revealed Rauf’s role were part of a large stack of papers discovered in a house after coalition forces overran an al-Qaeda base in Kandahar, in southern Afghanistan. He emerges from documents and interviews as one of the most intriguing, and in some ways most troubling, figures in an international investigation into al-Qaeda’s biological weapons program.

      With the evidence against Rauf, some U.S. officials say they are perplexed about why Pakistani authorities have refused to further pursue him, while acknowledging that the case presents both legal and political difficulties for Pakistan.

      To terrorism experts, Rauf is a symbol of a dangerous convergence: a marriage of militancy and technical expertise that could someday yield new kinds of highly lethal weapons to be used against civilians.

      “He was someone who at least understood the professional procedures and methods,” said Milton Leitenberg, an expert on biological weapons with the University of Maryland’s Center for International and Security Studies who reviewed the seized documents. “In theory, if he went in the laboratory and tried and tried, maybe he could have gotten it right.”

      Exactly how far al-Qaeda progressed with Rauf’s help is not publicly known. No one has turned up any links between his work and the U.S. anthrax attacks, in which spores were mailed in letters to news organizations and U.S. Senate offices. Coalition forces discovered rudimentary laboratories in Kandahar but no evidence of bioweapons production. Yet both the White House and a presidential commission have hinted at additional findings suggesting that the terrorists were much further along than was first thought.

      Last year’s presidential commission on intelligence failures, led by retired judge Laurence H. Silberman and former senator Charles S. Robb (D-Va.), described al-Qaeda’s biological program as “extensive” and “well-organized,” particularly with regard to “Agent X,” a pathogen that terrorism experts say was almost certainly anthrax.

      “Al-Qaeda had acquired several biological agents possibly as early as 1999, and the necessary equipment to enable limited, basic production of Agent X,” the commission said.

      U.S. officials are even more reticent in discussing possible links between al-Qaeda’s anthrax program and the 2001 U.S. attacks, which killed five people and briefly shut down the U.S. Capitol. Privately, FBI officials doubt that such a link exists. They note that the attacks came with an explicit warning — a letter advising the victims to take penicillin, resulting in a far lower death toll — but without an explicit claim of responsibility. “It doesn’t fit with al-Qaeda’s modus operandi,” one intelligence official said.

      Yet U.S. officials have been unable to rule out al-Qaeda or any other group as a suspect. Earlier this month, FBI officials acknowledged that the ultra-fine powder mailed five years ago was simply made and could have been produced by a well-trained microbiologist anywhere in the world.

      Several leading bioterrorism experts still contend that the evidence points to al-Qaeda or possibly an allied group that coordinated its attack with the Sept. 11, 2001, strikes on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. These experts point to hijacker Mohamed Atta’s inquiries into renting a crop-duster aircraft and to an unexplained emergency-room visit by another hijacker, Ahmed Ibrahim A. Al Haznawi, for treatment of an unusual skin lesion that resembled cutaneous anthrax.

      Whether or not al-Qaeda was involved, U.S. officials and bioterrorism experts agree on this: The alliance between the terrorist group and a little-known Pakistani scientist could have yielded disastrous results in time.

      The Quest for Anthrax

      For all his expertise, Rauf was hardly the ideal candidate for helping al-Qaeda realize its ambition of making biological weapons.

      The tall, thin and bespectacled scientist held a doctorate in microbiology but specialized in food production, according to U.S. officials familiar with the case. He had to learn about anthrax and other bioterrorism agents as he went along, slowing his progress considerably.

      “He could potentially do a great deal of harm because of his knowledge and skills,” said one U.S. intelligence expert connected with the case. “On the other hand, he lacked the specific knowledge and training al-Qaeda needed most.”

      Exactly how he became acquainted with Zawahiri remains unclear. Rauf worked at the prestigious Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research in his home town of Lahore, and officials speculate that he may have crossed paths professionally with Zawahiri, a physician.

      In any case, captured documents suggest a close collaboration between the two men as they sought equipment for a bioweapons lab.

      “I hope my letter will find you in the best of health and circumstances by the God Almighty,” Rauf writes to Zawahiri in one of three intercepted notes.

      The heavily redacted notes and other documents were obtained from the Defense Department through the Freedom of Information Act after they were first described in the journal Science in a 2003 article by three researchers at the National Defense University. Rauf’s name was redacted, but U.S. and Pakistani officials confirmed his authorship in interviews with The Washington Post. Rauf’s name was first publicly associated with the documents by Ross Getman, a New York lawyer who maintains a Web site devoted to the 2001 anthrax attacks.

      Rauf was a member of the Society for Applied Microbiology, an international professional organization based in Britain, and he appears to have used his membership to make contacts and arrange visits related to his quest. One note from Rauf was handwritten on the group’s stationery, apparently while he was attending a 1999 scientific conference at Porton Down, Britain’s premier biodefense research center in the southern city of Wiltshire.

      Rauf, who writes to Zawahiri in occasionally faltering English, admits in one note to several setbacks. For starters, he had found a supplier who could sell him Bacillus anthracis — the bacterium that causes anthrax — but it was a harmless strain incapable of killing anyone.

      “Unfortunately, I did not find the required culture of B. anthrax — i.e., pathogenic,” he writes to Zawahiri. He then describes a new attempt to acquire a lethal strain from a different lab.

      In a later note he is more upbeat, telling his patron he had “successfully achieved the targets” and had “tried to solve technical problems of our work.” He ticked off a list of items he had acquired or arranged to purchase, including respirators, a fermenter used for growing bacteria and vaccines to protect lab workers against accidental exposure.

      Rauf also describes an unusual visit — apparently as the guest of another scientist — to a high-containment biological lab where dangerous pathogens such as anthrax are kept.

      “I visited along with [the host] all the units . . . including the special confidential room in which thousands of cultures are placed,” the note reads.

      Another handwritten note includes a crude diagram of a biological lab, identifying how space should be allocated for major tasks such as animal testing and growing bacteria.

      A recurring theme in the notes is money, or Rauf’s apparent lack of it. He complains in one note that his salary was cut while he was on leave from his job for postdoctoral research. “This is highly objectionable, unaffordable and unpracticable with me,” he writes.

      Rauf’s money demands may have led to a falling-out with Zawahiri, who appears to have decided to explore other options for obtaining bacteria and lab equipment, said Rohan Gunaratna, an al-Qaeda expert with the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies in Singapore.

      Gunaratna said al-Qaeda leaders also collaborated with Yazid Sufaat, a member of an allied Southeast Asian group called Jemaah Islamiyah, in purchasing equipment for the Kandahar lab. Sufaat, who once studied chemistry at California State University at Sacramento, has been in custody since late 2001.

      “Rauf was financially driven, and al-Qaeda didn’t entirely trust him,” Gunaratna said.

      Rauf’s detention kicked off a joint U.S.-Pakistani investigation that at first was remarkably successful.

      “There was great cooperation at the start,” said one U.S. intelligence official who closely followed the case.

      The FBI’s New York office took the lead U.S. role, and its agents worked closely with the CIA and bureau officials in Pakistan in carrying out interrogations. Though not formally charged with any crimes, Rauf consented to questioning and provided useful leads, U.S. and Pakistani officials said. But problems began when the U.S. side sought to expand the investigation with the goal of pursuing criminal charges, including possible indictment and prosecution in the United States, officials from both countries confirmed.

      In earlier cases, the Pakistani government incurred the wrath of Islamic leaders when it sought to prosecute professionals for alleged ties to al-Qaeda.

      In 2003, the Pakistanis shut off U.S. access to Rauf. According to Pakistani officials familiar with the case, there simply was not enough evidence showing that he succeeded in providing al-Qaeda with something useful.

      Since then, Rauf has been allowed to resume his normal life. Whether he has returned to his former workplace is unclear; officials at the research council declined to respond to requests for information about the scientist. Attempts to contact Rauf in Lahore were unsuccessful.

      “He was detained for questioning, and later the courts determined there was not sufficient evidence to continue detaining him,” said Tariq Azim Khan, Pakistan’s information minister. “If there was evidence that proved his role beyond a shadow of a doubt, we would have acted on it. But that kind of evidence was not available.”

      Special correspondent Kamran Khan in Karachi, Pakistan, contributed to this report.

      • DXer said

        George Tenet in his May 2007 In the Center of the Storm says: “Al-Qa’ida spared no effort in its attempt to obtain biological weapons. In 1999, al-Zawahiri recruited Pakistani national Rauf Ahmad, to set up a small lab in Khandahar, Afghanistan, to house the biological weapons effort. In December 2001, a sharp WMD analyst at CIA found the initial lead on which we would pull and, ultimately, unravel the al-Qa’ida anthrax networks. We were able to identify Rauf Ahmad from letters he had written to Ayman al-Zawahiri. … We located Rauf Ahmad’s lab in Afghanistan. We identified the building in Khandahar where Sufaat claimed he isolated anthrax. We mounted operations that resulted in the arrests and detentions of anthrax operatives in several countries.”

        Delivering the James Smart Lecture, entitled “Global Terrorism: are we meeting the challenge?” at the headquarters of the City of London Police, Ms. Manningham-Buller, the head of MI5, said: “Western security services have uncovered networks of individuals, sympathetic to the aims of al-Qa’ida, that blend into society, individuals who live normal, routine lives until called upon for specific tasks by another part of the network.” She concluded: “The threats of chemical, biological and radiological and suicide attacks require new responses and the Government alone will not achieve all of it; industry and even the public must take greater responsibility for their own security.”

        In 1999, a scientist from Porton Down had reported to sfam members on a conference in Taos, New Mexico in August that included a talk by Tim Read, (TIGR, Rockville, USA) and concerned the whole genome sequencing of the Bacillus anthracis Ames strain. The Ames strain may have been a mystery to many after the Fall 2001 mailings, but not to motivated Society for Applied Microbiology (“SFAM”) members, one of whom was part of Ayman Zawahiri’s “Project Zabadi.”

        As described by Dr. Peter Turnbull’s Conference report for SFAM on “the First European Dangerous Pathogens Conference” (held in Winchester), at the September 1999 conference, the lecture theater only averaged about 75 at peak times by his head count. There had been a problem of defining “dangerous pathogen” and a “disappointing representation from important institutions in the world of hazard levels 3 and 4 organisms.” Papers included a summary of plague in Madagascar and another on the outbreak management of hemorrhagic fevers.

        Dr Paul Keim of Northern Arizona University presented a paper on multilocus VNTR typing, for example, of Bacillus anthracis and Yersinia pestis. There were more than the usual no-show presenters and fill-in speakers.

        The Sunday at the start of the Organization of the Dangerous Pathogens meeting in September 2000, which the SFAM director confirmed to me that Rauf Ahmad also attended, was gloomy. Planning had proved difficult. The overseas delegates included a sizable contingent from Russia. The organizers needed to address many thorny issues regarding who could attend. One of the scientists in attendance was Rauf Ahmad. The Washington Post reports: “The tall, thin and bespectacled scientist held a doctorate in microbiology but specialized in food production, according to U.S. officials familiar with the case.”

        Les Baillie the head of the biodefense technologies group at Porton Down ran the scientific program. Many of the delegates took an evening cruise round Plymouth harbor. The cold kept most from staying out on the deck. Later attendees visited the National Marine Aquarium — with a reception in view of a large tankful of sharks. Addresses include presentations on plagues of antiquity, showing how dangerous infectious diseases had a profound that they changed the course of history. Titles include “Magna pestilencia – Black Breath, Black Rats, Black Death”, “From Flanders to Glanders,” as well as talks on influenza, typhoid and cholera. The conference was co-sponsored by DERA, the UK Defence Evaluation and Research Agency.

        Les Baillie of Porton Down gave a presentation titled, “Bacillus anthracis: a bug with attitude!” He argued that anthrax was a likely pathogen to be used by terrorists. As described at the time by Phil Hanna of University of Michigan Medical School on the SFAM webpage, Baillie “presented a comprehensive overview of this model pathogen, describing its unique biology and specialized molecular mechanisms for pathogenesis and high virulence. He went on to describe modern approaches to exploit new bioinformatics for the development of potential medical counter measures to this deadly pathogen.”

        Bioinformatics was the field that Ali Al-Timimi, who had a security clearance for some government work and who had done work for the Navy, entered by 2000 at George Mason University in Virginia.

        Despite the cold and the sharks, amidst all the camaraderie and bonhomie no one suspected that despite the best efforts, a predator was on board — on a coldly calculated mission to obtain a pathogenic anthrax strain. The conference organizer Peter Turnbull had received funding from the British defense ministry but not from public health authorities, who thought anthrax too obscure to warrant the funding. By 2001, sponsorship of the conference was assumed by USAMRIID. USAMRIID scientist Bruce Ivins started planning the conference held in Annapolis, Maryland in June 2001 three years earlier, immediately upon his return from the September 1998 conference.

        According to the Pakistan press, a scientist named Rauf Ahmad was picked up in December 2001 by the CIA in Karachi. The most recent of the correspondence reportedly dates back to the summer and fall of 1999. Even if Rauf Ahmad cooperated with the CIA, he apparently could only confirm the depth of Zawahiri’s interest in weaponizing anthrax and provided no “smoking gun” concerning the identity of those responsible for the anthrax mailings in the Fall 2001. His only connection with SFAM was a member of the society. He was not an employee. The Pakistan ISI, according to the Washington Post article in October 2006, stopped cooperating in regard to Rauf Ahmad in 2003.

        Lew has uploaded scanned copies of some 1999 documents seized in Afghanistan by US forces describing the author’s visit to the special confidential room at the BL-3 facility where 1000s of pathogenic cultures were kept; his consultation with other scientists on some of technical problems associated with weaponizing anthrax; the bioreactor and laminar flows to be used in Al Qaeda’s anthrax lab; and the need for vaccination and containment. Rauf explained that the lab director noted that he would have to take a short training course at the BL-3 lab for handling dangerous pathogens. Rauf Ahmad noted that his employer’s offer of pay during a 12-month post-doc sabbatical was wholly inadequate and was looking to Ayman to make up the difference. After an unacceptably low pay for the first 8 months, there would be no pay for last 4 months and there would be a service break. He had noted that he only had a limited time to avail himself of the post-doc sabbatical. I also have uploaded an earlier handwritten letter from before the lab visit described in the typed memo. The Defense Intelligence Agency provided the documents to me, along with 100+ pages more, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”). 90 of the 100 pages are the photocopies of journal articles and disease handbook excerpts. J.B. Petro and David Relman led the way by drafting the FOIA request I (and anyone else) could handily use to obtain the literature, to the extent unclassified, seized in Afghanistan.

        The Washington Post, in an exclusive groundbreaking investigative report, recounts that the FBI’s New York office took the lead U.S. role — and its agents worked closely with the CIA and bureau officials in Pakistan in interrogating Rauf. Though not formally charged with any crimes, Rauf agreed to questioning. While the US media focused on the spectacle of bloodhounds alerting to Dr. Steve Hatfill and the draining of Maryland ponds, this former Al Qaeda anthrax operative provided useful leads. But problems began when the U.S. officials sought to pursue criminal charges, including possible indictment and prosecution in the United States.

        In earlier cases, such as the orthopedic surgeon Dr. Amer Aziz who treated Bin Laden in the Fall of 2001, the Pakistani government angered the Pakistani public when it sought to prosecute professionals for alleged ties to al-Qaeda. In the case of Amer Aziz, hundreds of doctors, engineers and lawyers took to the streets to demand his release. In 2003, the Pakistanis shut off U.S. access to Rauf. By then, I had noticed the reporting of his arrest in a local Pakistan news article about the raid of a compound of doctors named Khawaja and published it on my website. According to Pakistani officials, there was not enough evidence showing that he actually succeeded in providing al-Qaeda with something useful. Since then, the Post reports, Rauf has been allowed to return to his normal life. Attempts by the Post to contact Rauf in Lahore were unsuccessful. Initially the government agency had said an interview would be possible but then backpedaled.

        “He was detained for questioning, and later the courts determined there was not sufficient evidence to continue detaining him,” Pakistan’s information minister told the Post. “If there was evidence that proved his role beyond a shadow of a doubt, we would have acted on it. But that kind of evidence was not available.” Under one view, Yazid Sufaat got the job handling things at the lab instead of Rauf Ahmad. Under another view, they were always just parallel compartmentalized cells led by Zawahiri. More importantly, Zawahiri, if keeping with his past experience, would have kept things strictly compartmentalized on the US-side — leaving the Amerithrax Task Force much to do.

  8. DXer said

    Following Dr. David Relman’s lead in the 2003 article that first shined the flashlight into the dark relating to Al Qaeda’s lab in Kandahar, Lew uploaded Rauf Ahmad’s handwritten notes as he first mused at what the Al Qaeda lab in Kandahar would require.

  9. DXer said

    The audio is up on Relman interview – you can listen now or download.

  10. anonymous said

    Why didn’t they interview Ed Lake as well, in order to get a fair and balanced viewpoint? Instead they interviewed a true believing conspiracy theorist junk scientist.

    U.S. anthrax scare ten years on: Did the F.B.I. get it right?

    A decade ago, a series of anthrax attacks in the U.S. – launched via now infamous envelopes lined with white powder – struck fear to a nation still reeling from 9-11.

    More recently, the U.S. National Research Council released a review of the scientific approaches and conclusions of the controversial F.B.I. investigation into the deadly attack.

    The review’s findings suggested that the F.B.I. may have got it wrong when they targeted one scientist in particular.

    Norman spoke to David Relman at the annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

    The transcript of this program will be available by late afternoon on the Tuesday following Monday’s broadcast. When Monday is a public holiday in NSW, the transcript will not appear until late Wednesday..

  11. DXer said

    Dr. Relman has been a member of the Institute of Medicine, NAS (2005 – present).

    In addition to his day job as Chief, Infectious Diseases, VA Palo Alto Health Care System (2002 – present) where he serves as Chair, Administrative Panel on Biosafety, Stanford University (2001 – present), Dr. Relman serves as Vice-President, Infectious Diseases Society of America (2010 – 2011); Chair of Forum on Microbial Threats, Chair (2007-); and on the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2005 – present).

    Dr. Relman potentially could serve a key role in overcoming what I view as the greatest failure of intelligence in United States history. (And there have been some doozies, ranging from Pearl Harbor, Aldrich Ames and 9-11).


    To simplify the matter — so that we can get all get on the same page — consider this. AUSA Rachel Lieber and Kenneth Kohl have not disclosed to you the time of an email they rely upon that Bruce Ivins wrote to Mara Linscott on September 17, 2001. Nor have they disclosed the times and content of other emails he wrote the day they allege he travelled to Princeton to mail the letters sometime after 7 p.m. in the evening. The investigators and prosecutors would not disclose the alleged “window of mailing” to Dr. Ivins or his attorney until after his suicide. It was left open to include a several day period until after Dr. Ivins’ death. If they had disclosed that the mailing occurred after 7 p.m., the issue of Dr. Ivins’ alibi could have been fairly considered based on the documentary evidence.

    The DOJ and FBI should disclose a redacted copy of those emails — showing the time they were sent — without further delay. The law (FOIA) requires it. This country is a nation of laws.

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