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

* discussing one of the April 2002 samples and who prepared it

Posted by DXer on March 14, 2011



25 Responses to “* discussing one of the April 2002 samples and who prepared it”

  1. DXer said

    Note that in 2003 interview he explains that he didn’t submit the April 2002 sample.

  2. DXer said

    Political pork barrel spending has resulted in anthrax training exercises in places a terrorist would never bother to attack.

    The modus operandi — past experience with the Egyptian Islamic Jihad planners — suggests that NYC and DC likely would be targeted.*

    The Capitol in particular.

    I would think that the legislators would want more than AUSA Rachel Lieber’s use of the word “clearly” to override Bruce Ivins’s repeated claim in interviews over the years that it was his assistant who submitted the April 2002 samples.

    Ivins’ assistant in May 2002 who submitted still other samples in May was still unaware of the protocol to use in taking the sample (not to use the single colony pick method).

    And so if the same assistant submitted both the April and May 2002 samples, that would explain why no morphs were detected in the April 2002 submission.

    Why weren’t fingerprints taken from the April 2002 slants? The FBI did that with the tub that Terry Abshire used to store Ames in an unlocked refrigerator in Building 1412 marked by a label that read something like “B. Anthracis Ames.” See Abshire 302 interview uploaded.0

    Professor Archibald Cox used to say advocates should avoid using the word “clearly” in advocacy — if it were clear it wouldn’t be disputed.

    Instead, the advocate should provide the evidence and reasoning.

    For example, if Rachel disputes that Bruce was tending to rabbits, let her address with the GAO the subcutaneous challenge of the rabbits on October 2 at USAMRIID and the 12 rabbits that dies over the next 3 days….and the fact that the record evidence indicates that it takes 1 1/2 – 2 hours to autoclave dead animals.

    The GAO should arm themselves with shipment and autoclave records — and Patricia Fellow’s emails.

    It’s in the government’s own self-interest to have the analysis based on evidence rather than bald assertion — especially given how many bald assertions of US Attorney Taylor were contradicted by the record evidence.

    As for this handwriting, looking at the labels, I don’t see anything “clear” about it. All of Pat’s 302s over the years should be produced under FOIA — and also the 302, if one exists, of the person whose initials appear.

    */ “More specifically: Terrorists inserted anthrax spores between the pages of The Washington Post, added Stephen Brunelle, emergency planner for the Prince William Health District, and it’s up to responders to help disburse the medications to the near-half a million residents in Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park.”

    Area undertakes anthrax training exercise

    • Old Atlantic said

      What building were the rabbits dying in? Did Ivins carry them into the BSL3 to autoclave inside that suite? Or were they already in it when alive? Or did someone pass the dead bodies into it?

      This matters in terms of the times of entrance of Ivins. If the rabbits were in another building when alive, and then died, and then autoclaved in the the Ivins’ BSL3, then they had to get there by some agency. Does that agency show up with a time stamp? With a record of the rabbits? Or is the time stamp Ivins going into the BSL3 carrying the dead rabbits to autoclave the dead rabbits inside the BSL3?

      • DXer said

        The former chief of bacteriology GA advised me a couple days ago on this general subject:

        “The animal rooms are small, but if two were used, then maybe 24 bunny cages would fit. The autoclaves are actually in the B3 hallway – 2 of them, a small and large. I don’t remember the dimensions, but one could likely fit multiple bags of say, 5 animals each, into the larger unit. The animals aren’t going to die all at once though.”

        More than that I don’t know.

        • DXer said

          Did Ed guess that “AR” stood for “autoclave room” rather than “animal room”?

          I repeatedly urged that he contact the people with the information — or access the relevant source documents — instead of confusing things with his lay guesses (as he has done for a decade on the full range of issues).

      • DXer said

        The former head of bacteriology further explained in various emails:

        “two BSL-3 pass-through autoclaves, and at least two cold-side common autoclaves that other Divisions used as well. ”

        “The autoclaves are actually in the B3 hallway – 2 of them, a small and large. I don’t remember the dimensions, but one could likely fit multiple bags of say, 5 animals each, into the larger unit. The animals aren’t going to die all at once though.”

        “1 ½ to 2 hours is a realistic time for autoclave decon of dead animals the size of rabbits. As far what notebooks this info may have been recorded, I have no idea. Sub-Q exposures could easily have been done in B3, however it would have depended on the # of animals”

    • Old Atlantic said

      It is important that the sources of information understand how this relates to the issue of what Ivins was doing during the lab times.

      We have lab times for Ivins in BSL3 on the dates in September and October 2001.

      If the rabbits are in another building and autoclaved in the other building and Ivins never touched them then Ivins has no alibi from that.

      We are trying to show that Ivins could have autoclaved the rabbits inside the BSL3 during the times he is shown to be inside there.

      If the rabbits can’t get into Ivins without a record, and there is no record, then that is a problem for the pro Ivins camp. However, if he could have carried them in, then it is still a possibility.

      Autoclaves in the hallway does it mean that you have to have passed inside the BSL3 and gotten a time stamp for yourself?

      How do the rabbits get into the autoclave? Being carried? Passed through some sort of pass through box that has/does not have its own time stamps?

      That by the way is useful to know about passing out containers of the letters or bringing in or taking out other materials related to this case.

      Were the live rabbits in 1412 and Ivins was in the BSL3 in 1425?

      Or were the live rabbits inside the BSL3 and they died there and were autoclaved there?

      • DXer said

        Why would the rabbits be in aerobiology (Building 1412)?

        • Lew Weinstein said

          When rabbits are challenged with a pathogen, this is usually done by means of an aerosol spray.

        • Anonymous said

          Yes, Lew is correct. The rabbits are exposed to a nebulizer mask with a spray of wet aerosolized spores. This has to take place inside full containment building.

        • DXer said

          As explained in my posts on the subject and in the uploaded and emails quoted full-text, Bruce Ivins in the Covance study planning, chose not to do an aerosol study because it took many more people. He decided to do a parenteral study — i.e, challenge the rabbits by injection.

        • DXer said

          It’s precisely Lew’s and Anonymous’ confusion on the subject – notwithstanding my express explanation in the past few days quoting the Covance planning emails — that goes to the heart of the matter. Rachel just needs to be walked through the documents — not vilified for not getting all the details in a very complex matter right. The professionalism of their work product — and the work product of the scientists – speaks for itself and is exemplary. The devil is in the details — and sometimes on a good day — with the luxury of time — an individual attorney or scientist will get them right. Other times, especially under huge pressure caused by someone’s suicide and world press scrutiny, we won’t. And the explanation cobbled together will be mistaken. Everyone shares the common goal of “getting it right.”

        • Old Atlantic said

          Ed Lake had some discussion in the recent past on these issues and raised these as issues, that the trials may have or were done in 1412 and Ivins had time stamps in 1425.

          Ed had gotten some information from somewhere. I am not sure how definite he was.

        • DXer said

          Ed’s mistakes stem from his failure to read the emails produced by USAMRIID, the 9600 pages of documents submitted to the NAS, the NAS report or to consult with USAMRIID scientists and consulting experts. He mistakes Rachel’s assertions as evidence.

        • Old Atlantic said

          Is there documentation what building the rabbits were in when alive?

          Were they in the BSL3 in Building 1425 when alive?

          Is there documentation?

        • DXer said

          Old Atlantic,

          First chew on this and if you would be a sport, vote for this one also.

          Then as a start, you should go to the electronic form and ask for the lab notes referenced in the Amerithrax Summary for

          September 28, 2001
          September 29, 2001
          September 30, 2001
          October 1, 2001
          October 2, 2001

          You can quote page 32, n. 21 of the Amerithrax Investigation Summary.

          The Amerithrax prosecutor has acknowledged they exist, has said that at the time he wrote those notes describing what he was doing he was processing anthrax for mailing, and the documents are not exempt from production given the Amerithrax matter is closed.

          Then Anonymous should do the same and ask for documents sufficient to identify members of the Red Team who recommended (and then he can quote the recommendation the Silicon Signature not be pursued).

          These are two narrow requests that will be granted and will be productive.

          First one to get a productive response to a FOIA request will win a copy of AMERICAN ANTHRAX to be published this summer by a major publisher.

        • Old Atlantic said

          I voted for chew on this and I am chewing.

  3. Old Atlantic said

    This basically supports what I believe Dxer first wrote earlier, the initial FBI team knew the case much better and basically knew Ivins did not do it. The above document clearly shows that Ivins did not submit the April 2002 sample. Moreover, there was a list of samples having 3 or more morphs and I believe there were several from the BSL3, indicating Ivins lab turned in several matching samples.

    • DXer said

      “The above document clearly shows that Ivins did not submit the April 2002 sample.”

      No. The above document, like his 302s over many years, show that he repeatedly explained that he reported his assistant submitted the April 2002 samples.

      Now I have uploaded the labels and suggested the GAO obtain any handwriting analysis or fingerprint analysis done by the FBI that supports their claim that Ivins submitted the sample from the Flask 1029. They took fingerprints from Terry Abshire’s tub of Ames. Why wouldn’t they take fingerprints of these slants if they look at the labels and think Ivins wrote two of the four?

      AUSA Rachel says from looking at the labels it is clear that Ivins submitted the sample and Ed says it is clear a first graders wrote the anthrax letters. Yet, neither is qualified to make the assertion and the question becomes one of admissible evidence. Did Rachel fail to obtain a handwriting expert’s opinion like Ed?

      Relatedly, the assistant, for her part, further reasons that as a general matter if Dr. Ivins DID write a label then he would have been the one who submitted the slant. Which is analogous to the reasoning that if a parent made a label for his kid’s science fair project he wrote the report. These disputed assertions, assumptions and inferences are all the stuff of exciting trials — but first people need to FOIA pertinent documents being withheld and then sue to enforce compliance with FOIA if necessary. It is beyond the pale that Rachel Lieber refused to produce the lab notebook pages. Ken Kohl is famous for the dismissal of the Blackwater indictments the year after Ivins’ suicide and the district court opinion — obtained by Hatfill’s former attorney Tom Connolly — that there had been prosecutorial misconduct requiring dismissal of indictments of murder. I think withholding these lab notebooks would constitute prosecutorial misconduct — but only if persisted in. I am respectfully asking that they promptly be produced under FOIA pursuant to a request filed electronically this week by Old Atlantic. I expect the withholding to date has just been an oversight by prosecutors who are very busy handling other important cases and who were not responding to a properly filed FOIA request that specifically sought those notebook pages.

  4. DXer said

    I believe that from the 4 April 2002 submissions, that would be the third one here — the one with Dr. Mikesell’s name redacted.

    • anonymous said

      It would be good to get the above graphic in clear context – ie. make a new graphic including it and also side-by-side the FBI accusation that Ivins submitted a fraudulent sample with dates etc. Spell it all out clearly for any casual reader of the blog.

      • DXer said

        The assistant he says supplied the Ames to the FBI Repository was thanked by the former Zawahiri associate for providing technical assistance. It would be simpler if a reporter just called Pat Fellows for her understanding of all these various issues. Or called Tarek.

      • DXer said

        The graphic artist is a leprechaun working pro bono. To wish Ireland well in advance of St. Patrick’s Day and keep the great images coming, vote for this “Four Green Fields” photo and win a kid a $250 shopping spree at Toys ‘R Us in the contest sponsored by the bubble maker.

        No registration required. Just click where it says “vote here.”

        • Old Atlantic said

          “You voted for this photo!” Thanks for your work I vote for it anytime.

        • DXer said

          Now you may have noticed that it is popular to accuse those of us of a liberal political persuasion of having been born and raised in some foreign country.

          It’s been suggested by me, for example, that OldAtlantic spends too much time picturing Rachel Maddow naked.

          I would ask as a loyalty test that all those who are loyal to good ol’ USA (at least all those who stand for the national anthem) go click to vote for this bubble picture of a US flag.

          The United States government, of course, will have set a reverse honey trap and take note of all those who didn’t vote.

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