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

* In Bruce Ivins’ opinion, the mailed anthrax spores looked fermenter-grown. In 2005, prior to later being told by the FBI that they had detected spores in one of the fermenters, Dr. Ivins had reported that to the best of his knowledge fermenters were never used to grow any select agents.

Posted by DXer on March 17, 2011

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41 Responses to “* In Bruce Ivins’ opinion, the mailed anthrax spores looked fermenter-grown. In 2005, prior to later being told by the FBI that they had detected spores in one of the fermenters, Dr. Ivins had reported that to the best of his knowledge fermenters were never used to grow any select agents.”

  1. DXer said

    A couple days ago I emailed the Assistant United States Attorney Rachel Lieber to report that USAMRIID, after careful checking, had no record of the September 17, 2001 email that Rachel in the Amerithrax Investigation Summary stated was written from Dr. Ivins work computer. I greatly appreciate USAMRIID FOIA officer Sandra Rogers’ looking into it.

    I urged Attorney Lieber to point me to where I could obtain a copy of the email given the public interest in having the time it was sent confirmed. It was relied upon in the Amerithrax Investigation Summary and so there would be no justification for its withholding under FOIA. I have ventured to the USAMRIID FOIA officer that the reason USAMRIID does not have a copy was perhaps because it was not in fact written from his work computer but was written from his home computer. It was written to Mara Linscott. Even that copy would indicate the time it was sent which has not been disclosed by the DOJ.

    I have not had any response. Attorneys fees will be recoverable in any litigation made necessary under FOIA due to the DOJ’s wrongful withholding of the email.

  2. DXer said

    As part of a telephone survey of people who knew Bruce, I had a long talk with a wonderful woman from Lansing, Michigan — Judith Diane Boice, a longtime resident of Lansing, for many years had worked for the Michigan enterprise making vaccine before its acquisition by Bioport in 1998. She had known Dr. Ivins and Dr. Ezzell and had visited USAMRIID a couple of times. She thinks the FBI is mistaken about Bruce. I have never spoken to anyone who thought Dr. Ivins was guilty — not even the FBI’s anthrax expert, John Ezzell. And there’s no one I haven’t at least attempted to contact.

  3. DXer said

    The more productive discussion of what elements the mailed anthrax contained would be taken from the analytical reports provided by the FBI to the NAS. If anyone would like them emailed, let me know.

  4. Old Atlantic said

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amino_acid

    You can’t remove the oxygen from amino acids, a basic part of life.

    Helium will not bond to carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. So you can’t replace C,H, or O with helium.

    • Old Atlantic said

      Helium gas is not trapped or contained by biological systems.

      • BugMaster said

        And anyone who paid any attention at all during high school science class should know this.

        • Quizzi Moto said

          Sorry BugMaster but I didn’t get to go to a regular High School. It conficted with the research I was involved with.

        • Quizzi Moto said

          But a City did name a Street after me at there High School by the time I was 17.

    • Zicon said

      I agree 100% with Old Atlantic on this.. Oxygen is a fundamental part of life and with out it, things here on earth just can’t survive/live.. Also as far as Helium, it is a very stable gas, and I even remember at a science fair that someone showed that you can’t bond anything with helium…

    • Quizzi Moto said

      Old Atlantic,

      What I said was. “Also since all of the spores in rmr-1029 had all of the oxygen and silicon removed, both considered to be heavy elements, what lighter elements, like helium, may have been used to replace the silicon and oxygen.”

      I said helium so that everyone could understand the concept. Poor choice of elements.

      Are there elements that are lighter than oxygen that may have been used in processing the spores?

      • BugMaster said

        If you know of a way to remove all of the oxygen and silicon from the spores, then you should also be able to spin straw into gold.

        So why are you wasting your time here?

        • Quizzi Moto said

          BugMaster

          Why is there no oxygen or silicon in the spores that were in rmr-1029?

          Personally I believe that all of the contamiated spores and excess silicon and oxygen where removed during the following processes Dr. Ivins used.

          In the FD-302 for and interview on March 31st, 2003 Dr. Ivins is interviewed by a Supervisory Special Agent regarding the shipments of spores from Dugway to Dr. Ivins.
          In the 302 Dr. Ivins says several statements that include:

          “According to Ivins, the first six batches received from Dugway Proving Ground were resuspended and then Renografin or RenoCal Purified, after which they were combined together with USAMRIID-made spores to constitute RMR-1029. The seventh batch of liquid Ames spores received from Dugay Proving Ground was also intended to become part of RMR-1029. However, Ivins advised that when he received the seventh batch from Dugway Proving Ground, he observed that it was “dirty,” “clumpy,” and contained tow much “vegetative cell debris.” In addition, the spores were not refractile (an indication they were not viable). Ivins believes he made one or two attempts to purify this seventh batch through resuspension, centrifugation, and by using Renografin or RenoCal. These purification efforts did not adequately improve the quality of the seventh batch, so Ivins set it aside for autoclaving.”

          Latter in the same 302 Dr. Ivins also says this:

          “Ivins stated that this seventh batch of Dugway Ames spores was the only one of the seven lots that had to be destroyed due to poor quality; the other six lots were were all combined to constitute RMR-1029. Ivins noted that at least one of the other six batches was also of poor quality, however, Ivins was able to “clean it up” using the RenoCa./Renografin purification procedure.”

          Did this not remove all the silicon and oxygen from rmr-1029?

        • Quizzi Moto said

          Bugmaster said: “So why are you wasting your time here?”

          I do not consider a search for the truth to be a waste of time.

        • Quizzi Moto said

          Straw = 302s

          gold = rmr1029-02

        • Quizzi Moto said

          BugMaster Thank you for telling me that you will not be responding to anymore of my post.

          Your personal attacks on my post have kind of hit close to home. I am a disabled Vet so when you insinuate I must be mentally handicapped, or mentally ill for wirting my post it really isn’t called for, or acceptable, so please in the furture you feel you need to comment on something I said leave out the personal attacks and insults.

          Now one last word on how I believe the silicon and oxygen were removed from rmr-1029. Above is the information on what was recorded in the 302s regarding how Dr. Ivins processed the spores from Dugway prior to them being mixed in the flask rmr-1029.

          I could not explain it better than Dr. John Ezzell did at the semier in Washington so I will post the transcription posted prior by DXer.

          11.DXer said
          December 3, 2010 at 8:39 am
          While we await for the digital video, I will add some audio excerpts from John. For what he actually said, complete with any ums and ahs, see the actual video.

          [igcc/je/00:00:00]
          Ok, the preparant for preparation of anthrax which means centrifusion of material down to culture and you want to separate the spore plate from fluid, you put it in a centrifuge bottle and you centrifuge it and it forms a pellet at the bottom of the tube. Centrifuging the bottle sort of forces it. With anthrax you get three different colors. You get at the very bottom a dark almost black pellet, above that is a tan color, and above that is white. The upper part which is white is almost pure spores. So when you purify the spores, the material of the spores out of a material like that you centrifuge, you only remove that upper portion of that and then you wash it with a like take that and then you just discard the bottom two colors.

          [igcc/je/00:01:00]

          There’s a lot of vegetative cells in there and then other materials and breaked up parts of other cells of strange and foreign spores. So anyway that upper part is what’s really pure white, and that’s mainly I prepared was the spores for DARPA. The material that I prepared, it was washings of that upper material which was almost snow white, and then we also dished the gradients of renografin and then so anyway my spores, the spores that were formed in my lab, prepared in my lab, were snow white. Whereas the spores in the Daschle letter were tan, and the material that went to Tom Brokaw’s lab, office, and also the New York Post were very granular and multicolored.

          00:16:00
          (EZZELL) It’s not an uncommon practice for a scientist to put this material into a freezer and hold on to it for future use and for future(KEMP-interupting) You mean white spores? Wet spores? (EZZELL) Right. (KEMP) Did you ever see any evidence that he produced dry spores? (EZZELL) No. (KEMP) I gotta go.

          Reply
          DXer said
          December 3, 2010 at 10:52 am
          [igcc/je/00:10:18] (the timing indicates is from an audiotape but the digital videotape will be as early as today)

          (GETMAN) In respect to what you made…you told me that yours is better, finer and more uniform than Daschle’s. (EZZELL) Mine was more pure, you get that pure signal for mass spec. Now the material that went in the Daschle and the Leahy letter, I don’t think that was quite as pure as people think it is.

          Reply
          DXer said
          December 3, 2010 at 10:53 am
          [igcc/je/00:03:08]
          Now, the other material, later, that went to Daschle and Leahy, that material is a solid color tan. And then so that material was very uniform and is textured and as far as texturally and what we’ve developed dealing with the letter, which sort of came out of the Leahy letter, we found that the material was very uniform and it’s colored, and it’s textured.

        • Lew Weinstein said

          I am not in a position to assess the validity of Quizi’s assertions. However, it is the policy of this blog that personal attacks are not permitted. I have deleted Bugmaster’s offensive comment.

          Anyone who wishes to continue posting comments on this blog will refrain from person attacks, although you are quite free to disagree with what another blogger has said.

          LEW

        • anonymous said

          Hopefully this will clear up the questions on silicon and removing silicon:

          The silicon in the attack spores cannot be removed during filtration or centrifugation – it is chemically part of the spore coat. Only a chemical reaction could remove it – but that would also destroy the spores. This was done for ICP-OES by dissolving in hydrofluoric acid.

          Dugway did not use silicon antifoam – they always used antifoam 204 which does not contain silicon. Eventually they tried antifoam C (which does contain silicon) to try to reproduce the attack spores. It did not work – no silicon was incorporated into the spore coats.

          Reactions like replacing silicon with helium are impossible – helium is a noble gas and cannot react chemically with anything.

          The ONLY way to reproduce the silicon in the attack spores is by using exotic silicones.

        • Quizzi Moto said

          Anonymous, thank you for your response but it doesn’t seem to clear anything.

          Anonymous said: “The silicon in the attack spores cannot be removed during filtration or centrifugation – it is chemically part of the spore coat.”

          Nobody has said anything about removing silicon from the surface of the attach spores.

          I am saying that I believe that any spores that had silicon on them would have a heavier mass and would end up in the dark end of the pellet with any other silicon, oxygen, or contaminates. Since the tested indicated that there is no silicon or oxygen in RMR-1029.

          You also mentioned that the attempts to simulate the anthrax spores and how they failed. And then you said “It did not work – no silicon was incorporated into the spore coats.”
          One thing that all of the attempts to simulate the anthrax spores has in common is that there is no records showing they tried it using the process Dr. Ivins used to clean the spores with the size of the batch he had.
          When Dr. Ivins processed and purified the spores any silicon would have been force in between the spores under pressure from not only the centrifuge but also the weight of the amount being processed.
          During the centrifugation steps Dr. Ivins used to process and purify the spores any silicon would have been concentrated in the outside swing of the centrifuge. Because of how small silicon crystals are they would be squeezed and packed into the spaces between spores under a great deal of pressure under the full weight of what Dr. Ivins was working with.

          Am I saying that packing sharp silicon crystals in between spores with coats that haven’t hardened yet and then subjecting them to a great deal of pressure could cause spores coats to incorporate these crystals into them?

          No I am not, but it certainly would be a test results that I would like to see so that we all would know if it is responsible for the silicon in the spore coats.

          You also said “Reactions like replacing silicon with helium are impossible –“

          Perhaps you should have read the full post I did explain when I said in the same post;
          “I said helium so that everyone could understand the concept. Poor choice of elements.”

          You also said: “The ONLY way to reproduce the silicon in the attack spores is by using exotic silicones.”
          Could you please explain? If you know of a reference I would like to see it.

        • DXer said

          Quizzi Moto,

          Have you seen the Dugway report on reverse engineering? It was available from the NAS among the 9600 pages of documents for $5.

          “One thing that all of the attempts to simulate the anthrax spores has in common is that there is no records showing they tried it using the process Dr. Ivins used to clean the spores with the size of the batch he had.”

        • DXer said

          Doesn’t the detailed report by Dugway by Dan Martin and his co-authors support the view that if Dr. Ivins had processed the anthrax, the process could have been “reversed engineered”?

          https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/03/11/doesnt-the-detailed-report-by-dugway-by-dan-martin-and-his-co-authors-support-the-view-that-if-dr-ivins-had-processed-the-anthrax-the-process-could-have-been-reversed-engineered/

        • Quizzi Moto said

          DXer,
          Thank you for pointing that out I wasn’t aware of it and will have to obtain copy.

        • Quizzi Moto said

          Anonymous, In regards to my statement:

          “What I said was. “Also since all of the spores in rmr-1029 had all of the oxygen and silicon removed, both considered to be heavy elements, what lighter elements, like helium, may have been used to replace the silicon and oxygen.”

          The element I was hoping someone would repond with is Nitrogin.

  5. Quizzi Moto said

    A lot of question unanswered.

    Also since all of the spores in rmr-1029 had all of the oxygen and silicon removed, both considered to be heavy elements, what lighter elements, like helium, may have been used to replace the silicon and oxygen.

    After all the postal service in Wallingford Ct. which was said to have been contaminated by handling cross contaminated mail found about 3 million spores on one mail sorter and latter found a higher concentration of spores attached to the ceiling at that facility.

    Got to wonder if there are spores attached to the ceiling in the former homes of Ottlie Lundgren and Kathy Nguyen.

    Or for that matter the ceiling of the B3 where Dr. Ivins worked.

    • DXer said

      I think there would be less confusion if people cited sources.

      • BugMaster said

        No confusion here. What Quizzi is suggesting doesn’t exist on planet earth, or any other known universe.

        All silicon and oxygen removed? Replaced with helium?

        Could you please refrain from posting such nonsense!

        • Old Atlantic said

          Thanks for saying this. At some point, one has to wonder if there is an intention to discredit the site by nonsense of this type.

        • BugMaster said

          My thoughts exactly!

        • Quizzi Moto said

          Bugmaster Said: “All silicon and oxygen removed?”

          Yes Bugmaster I said the silicon and oxygen were removed form rmr-1029. Also I if you can add silicon and oxygen to spores why can you not add a ligther element?

          Old Atlantic said:
          “Thanks for saying this. At some point, one has to wonder if there is an intention to discredit the site by nonsense of this type.”

          No, Old Atlantic

          I though I might find some real intelligence responses from People on this site.

          Sorry, I guess I was wrong to think that.

          But Thank You anyway for your responses.

          No

      • Quizzi Moto said

        DXer said:

        “I think there would be less confusion if people cited sources.”

        What in my statement would you like citing on?

  6. Quizzi Moto said

    Also since all of the spores in rmr-1029 had all of the oxygen and silicon removed, both considered to be heavy elements, what lighter elements, like helium, may have been used to replace the silicon and oxygen.

    After all the postal service in Wallingford Ct. which was said to have been contaminated by handling cross contaminated mail found about 3 million spores on one mail sorter and latter found a higher concentration of spores attached to the ceiling at that facility.

    Got to wonder if there are spores attached to the ceiling in the former homes of Ottlie Lundgren and Kathy Nguyen.

    Or for that matter the ceiling of the B3 where Dr. Ivins worked.

  7. anonymous said

    I assume Dr Ivins is referring to Dr Ezzel here?

    The date given is 3/31/2005. Does anyone remember the date of the FoX News email Dr Ivins wrote with title “Hot News”?

    • anonymous said

      The “Hot News” email was dated June 28, 2005. So it was 3 months AFTER Dr Ivins told FBI he was suspicious about redacted (presumably Dr Ezzell). But he writes it as if he just became suspicious about Ezzell after hearing the bar conversation. If the dates are all correct.

      USAMRIID has just uploaded a June 28, 2005 email that says in part:

      “Hi, ___

      ______ party was fun last night. A lot of people showed up. _________ also had a party (for the same reason) at _________, and they had to leave because they were being too rowdy, so they came over to _____ Anyway, __________ was giving his opinion of ______________ and others, and he started talking about when he had to examine all of the letter spore powder samples. He said, like ____ (who was also there) that the stuff flew all over the place. Then he said he had to look at a lot of samples that the FBI had prepared (by Dugway, I guess) to duplicate the letter material. Then the bomshell. He said the best duplication was teh stuff made by ____ He said that it was almost exactly the same. He also talked about looking at the material under the Electron microscope and _____ coming in and asking about it. When ____ told him it was powdered made by _____ almost keel over. ____ said his knees got shaky and he sputtered, ” But I told the ______ we didn’t make spore powder!” ___ has a very strong suspicion that ____ was involved in some way in the letter incident, and that ___ could well have been also. The way he was telling it was actually funny. The sentences were quite replete with “f*** sh****” and “son of a b*****”” and other spicy words and phrases. ____ siad that ______ was the worst ______ since he’s been here. It was all a VERY interesting spiel, believe me! I had heard that __ had made Ames spore powder (I’ve got his email admitting it), but that was the first I’ve heard that ____ either knew about it or was behind it and that it was virtually identical to the spore powder in the letters.

      I’ve heard that _________ big supporters and lapdogs are now quaking in their boots!

      Bruce Ivins

      • anonymous said

        Disregard what I wrote – the sentence “I had heard that __ had made Ames spore powder (I’ve got his email admitting it),” tells us Ivins knew Ezzell made dry powder before that evening.

        • anonymous said

          It would be good to read the redacted part from “IVINS said he concomitantly suspected USAMRIID scientist “redacted” because “redacted”.

          It is tempting to speculate that it says “IVINS said he concomitantly suspected USAMRIID scientist “Ezzell” because “he knew EZZel had previously made dry powder Ames”.

          It seems reasonable to have made that conclusion since dry powder Ames was used in the attacks.

          Of course – no silicon, no tin – NO USAMRIID.

        • DXer said

          According to Dr. Ivins, he first learned that someone (the FBI’s anthrax expert) had made dried powder at USAMRIID in connection with USAMRIID FOIA responses in 2003 or so.

          Then it was at a Christmas party two or three years later where he says he heard someone say that it the product JE made closest to what what was mailed. Now JE would note the difference in color — he used only what was pure white and didn’t draw on the less pure… which was mailed to the senators. Question: what was done with what he didn’t use…didn’t give to DARPA. Was it kept in his unlocked refrigerator? Was it kept in the tub with the label that said B. anthracis Ames? Was it given to other DARPA researchers such as the former Zawahiri associate? The FBI fingerprinted the tub. See 302 of Terry Abshire uploaded by Lew. I asked Dr. Abshire about the 302 but she didn’t respond.

          You can imagine if the evidence pointed to theft from the FBI’s anthrax expert, the FBI scientists might be slow to be transparent about things. The FBI did not even disclose the published article that Dr. Ivins helpfully sent them (that someone had given him) about how silicon is added to the spore coat. That would not be exempt under FOIA.

        • BugMaster said

          “IVINS said he concomitantly suspected USAMRIID scientist “redacted” because “redacted”.

          Concomitant:

          Accompanying especially in a subordinate or incidental way.

          ???

      • DXer said

        I think there is a big difference between saying that he had heard that the closest match was that made by JE and being “suspicious” of him. He continued to confide in John — such as about the grand jury appearance. I tend to credit what Ari F. said early on: there’s a big difference between whose Ames it was and who is responsible for the anthrax mailings. The two don’t have to be the same.. It would be interesting to hear from John and Terry whether it is correct that Bruce didn’t know that the Ezzell lab had made a dried powder for DARPA using the Ames supplied from flask 1029.

        • DXer said

          I think Bruce knew that the Ezzell lab was using it for mass spec detection work…whether that means he would have known they were going to make it into a powder, I don’t know.

  8. DXer said

    With respect to the spores claimed to have been found on a fermenter at USAMRIID, why weren’t any documents along those lines provided to the NAS? What does the isotope analysis show as to those spores — as to when they were grown? Were they Ames? Did they have the 4 morphs?

  9. DXer said

    Someone on Dr. Nass’ blog (“Anonymous”) once summarized the Henry Heine radio interview on these issues.

    This is an excellent interview and drills right down to the nitty gritty details.

    It should be listened to carefully by everyone interested in this case – especially those who have attempted to argue that Dr Ivins “could have had access to a fermenter” or “might have been able to dry a slurry of wet anthrax into a powder with a lypholizer”.

    The folks that make these staements (and some of them are scientists who should no better) have likely never actually performed fermenter runs before or produced powders – or perhaps had any practical laboratory experience.
    Dr Heine details the impossibility of performing these tasks either covertly or even overtly in the Hot Suite at Detrick.

    The only fermenter available was broken in 2001. Even if it wasn’t it would have been utterly impossible to use this fermenter to produce a virulent agent without causing massive contamination – even disposing of the dozens of gallons of contaminated media would have been impossible – never mind then decontaminating the fermenter and the fermenter hoses etc later on.

    Drying with the lypholizer would have spewed the exhaust from the vacuum system into the lab – causing massive dry powder contamination and causing dozens of unvaccinated personnel (secretarties administrators etc) to contract inhalational anthrax. That never happened hence we can immediately conclude the drying never happended at Detrick.

    The devil is in the details as Dr Heine eloquently points out.

  10. Zicon said

    Anyone can buy a fermenter, and you can make your own fermenter from a trash can to a 60,000.00 stainless one with all the bells and lights`. I’m curious how the spores react to high altitudes, and or cold tempatures along with low/high pressures….

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