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

Archive for March 25th, 2011

* Old Atlantic highlights some of the dilemmas the FBI created for itself by first announcing its conclusions and then looking to the facts … UPDATED with more questions

Posted by DXer on March 25, 2011

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UPDATE 3/27 … Old Atlantic raises more questions

At first the FBI said Ivins went to Princeton during the day of Sep 17, 2001.

Then that was shot down by mail box times and Ivins being at Ft. Detrick.

Then they switched to overnight.

Isn’t it possible that they had the email Dxer wants showing a late evening email by Ivins from home?  That is why at first they said he went during the day?

Perhaps there is another from the next morning before he went to work?

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original post …

quoting first from Noah Schactman’s excellent overview (see http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/03/ff_anthrax_fbi/) titled … “Anthrax Redux: Did the Feds Nab the Wrong Guy?”

  • “Then there’s the problem of figuring out when Ivins could have grown the spores … tt would have been nearly impossible for Ivins to do that much work without others noticing.
  • This raises another significant problem with the case. USAMRIID veterans debate whether Ivins had access to the kind of gear required to dry and mill the spores. Even if he did, some argue, he wouldn’t have known how to use it. Ivins’ wet-spore experience didn’t translate to dry stuff, Heine and others say.
  • (the FBI says) the anthrax could have been slowly assembled and processed for months or years before that. Ivins’ alibis for those autumn days are virtually nonexistent.

Old Atlantic comments …

  • Not so fast.  The FBI said that the mailer grew a fresh batch of anthrax spores after the Sep 18, 2001 mailing and before the October 9 mailing.  That would require runs that lasted days and were running during the week days.
  • The FBI theory falls apart if it takes days to grow, centrifuge, dry and lyophilize the anthrax for the Senate letters because that would require observation during the weekdays of October 1 to 5 which were Monday to Friday in 2001.
  • The FBI was shoe horned into their theories of it only takes a day to grow anthrax because Ivins’ lab time from Sep 18, 2001 to Oct 9, 2001 is so very well known and it doesn’t correspond to the actual lab steps and times for growing and drying anthrax of the quality in the Senate letters.

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* Congressman Holt: “If I hadn’t personally witnessed the FBI make so many false steps and jump to so many conclusions I’d be more willing to believe them” … LMW: it’s obvious to any objective observer that the FBI has withheld information and not made its case … the really important question is why

Posted by DXer on March 25, 2011

 

Congressman Holt is Dr. Bruce Ivins best chance for a deserved posthumous exoneration

Matt Fair writes at NJ.com (3/25/11) …

Congressman Rush Holt remains skeptical about conclusions in anthrax investigation

  • While a panel of psychiatrists said this week that Bruce Ivins, the Maryland scientist believed by authorities to be behind several anthrax-laden letters in 2001, was “psychologically disposed to undertake the mailings,” U.S. Rep. Rush Holt, D-Hopewell, maintains that the FBI has not proved its case.
  • “I think this just adds a little more circumstantial evidence that Ivins was the culprit,” Holt said in a telephone interview yesterday. “I don’t think it cinches the case.”
  • Holt added that, after rushing to conclusions in naming Dr. Steven Hatfill a “person of interest” in the case in 2002, there was little reason to believe the veracity of the FBI’s investigation into Ivins’ role in the attacks.
  • “If I hadn’t personally witnessed the FBI make so many false steps and jump to so many conclusions I’d be more willing to believe them,” he said. “I watched as they hunted and harassed Hatfill for years only to decide that he had nothing to do with it. They jumped to a conclusion there, what’s to prevent them from jumping to a conclusion with regard to Ivins?”
  • Holt has introduced legislation in the House of Representatives that would establish a congressional commission, modeled after the 9/11 Commission, to investigate the anthrax attacks. He has said the commission would focus on reviewing the work conducted by the FBI and would also review security protocols in place at government laboratories to ensure that an incident like this doesn’t happen again.

read the entire article at … http://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2011/03/holt_remains_skeptical_about_c.html

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* An important key to understanding the Amerithrax timeline during the relevant September-October 2001 period hinges on the documentary evidence still inexplicably being withheld.

Posted by DXer on March 25, 2011

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* Dr. Meryl Nass’ characterization of the report of the Amerithrax Expert Behavioral Analysis Panel as “psychobabble” is right on target

Posted by DXer on March 25, 2011

Dr. Meryl Nass on the panel at the November anthrax seminar in DC

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Meryl Nass comments on the recent report of the Amerithrax Expert Behavioral Analysis Panel …

  • A group of psychiatrists offered their forensic expertise in solving the anthrax criminal investigation, by using their insight into the criminal mind.
  • Somehow DC Judge Royce E. Lamberth blessed them, and FBI paid the $38,000  bill.
  • The group only had one suspect, whose confidential medical records were supplied by the FBI.
  • The Executive Summary makes clear that the panels’ conclusions were built into its charge …the Panel was asked to offer, based on the available materials, a better understanding of Dr. Ivins’ mental state before and after the anthrax mailings, his possible motives — and the connections, if any, between his mental state and the commission of the crimes.
  • How could these experts possibly know Ivins had the motivation and means, when the FBI failed to produce a logical motive or provide evidence of means?
  • This report was completed last August, but was pulled out of the deep freeze yesterday in a last-ditch attempt to trump the NAS report.

Is psychobabble too strong a word

to describe this outpouring of gibberish?

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read Meryl’s entire post at … http://anthraxvaccine.blogspot.com/2011/03/pushing-envelope-psychobabble-solves.html

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LMW COMMENT …

It appears that the psychological evaluation of the Amerithrax Expert Behavioral Analysis Panel was based entirely on the FBI’s “botched” investigation, which has been documented again and again on this blog as incomplete and incompetent.

From such a starting point, with no independent information or evaluation, how could any conclusions from a group of “consultants” apparently well under the FBI’s thumb be considered as independent or well supported?

Meryl’s characterization of the report as “psychobabble” is right on target

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Noah Schactman: Did the Feds Nab the Wrong Guy? … LMW: the FBI’s publicly revealed evidence could not convict Ivins … the 2001 anthrax case needs to be re-opened

Posted by DXer on March 25, 2011

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This case needs to be re-opened !!!

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Noah Schactman writes in Wired (3-24-11) …

extracted from Schactman’s excellent overview titled … “Anthrax Redux: Did the Feds Nab the Wrong Guy?”

  • The FBI unraveled the mystery, officials said, thanks in part to the microbiologists seated at a U-shaped table in the front of the room. Among them was Paul Keim, who first identified the anthrax strain used in the attacks, and genetic specialist Claire Fraser-Liggett, who led the team that sequenced the DNA of the anthrax in the letters, tracing the spores back to their genetic match: a flask of superconcentrated, ultrapure anthrax held by Ivins. Several of the researchers at the table had previously counted Ivins as a peer and even a friend. Now they were helping brand him a monster.
  • Between the officials and the scientists, it was a convincing display. It had to be. Ivins had killed himself three weeks earlier. There would be no arrest, no trial, no sentencing. Absent a courtroom and a verdict to provide a sense of finality or some measure of catharsis, all the FBI could do was present its findings and declare the case closed.
  • No one involved that day expressed any doubt about Ivins’ guilt.
  • But things are not always as clear-cut as they may seem in an FBI presentation.
  • Two years later, sitting in her office overlooking West Baltimore, Fraser-Liggett concedes she has reservations. “There are still some holes,” she says, staring out her window in discomfort.
  • Nearly 2,000 miles away in Flagstaff, Arizona, Keim has his own concerns. “I don’t know if Ivins sent the letters,” he says with a hint of both irritation and sadness.
  • Even agent Edward Montooth, who ran the FBI’s hunt for the anthrax killer, says that—while he’s still convinced Ivins was the mailer—he’s unsure of many things, from Ivins’ motivation to when he brewed up the lethal spores. “We still have a difficult time nailing down the time frame,” he says. “We don’t know when he made or dried the spores.”
  • In other words, it’s been 10 years since the deadliest biological terror attack in US history launched a manhunt that ruined one scientist’s reputation and saw a second driven to suicide, yet nagging problems remain.
  • Problems that add up to an unsettling reality …

Despite the FBI’s assurances, it’s not at all certain

that the government could have ever convicted Ivins of a crime.

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read the entire article at … http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/03/ff_anthrax_fbi/

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