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

* Was #7736 (from Building 1412) the source of the mailed anthrax?

Posted by DXer on April 2, 2011



6 Responses to “* Was #7736 (from Building 1412) the source of the mailed anthrax?”

  1. DXer said

    From: To: Subject: Date:
    Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
    (b) (6)
    Tuesday, April 09, 2002 4:32:05 PM
    Hi, (b)
    (6)Here is the list of strains that we originally made to send to (b) (6)
    numerical designations (according to (b) (6)
    and corresponding
    1) Ames spores produced at Dugway in 1997. These spores have been used in aerosol challenge experiments and parenteral (injectable) challenge experiments. Numerical designation =
    2) Ames from the original agar slant obtained in 1981 from Texas, 255414B. This is the oldest isolate of the Ames strain here at USAMRIID. It was not given a numerical strain designation because it was believed that the strain would be taken and put into the FBI repository.
    3) Ames strain primary subculture from 1985, Bruce Ivins. This is the material from which we (in our lab) have either made spores for our own use or have sent spores to Dugway, DRES, U of New Mexico, or Battelle. Numerical designation = 7800
    4) Ames strain from (b) (6)  stock cultures, 1985. Numerical designation = 7800.
    #3 and #4 above are both from 7800. When we were instructed to list our strains, we were not
    told to “subtype” them, but to group them. Thus, each tube of Ames culture or spores was not given a separate designation.
    Numerical designations:
    7736 – Ames strain spores from the year 2000. They don’t look very good (very clean). They were
    made and partially purified by (b) (6) hen stored in the B3 cold room.
    7737 – Ames spores from Dugway
    7738 – Ames spores from Dugway – from batches that were used for aerosol challenge
    7739 – Ames spores prepared by and – various degrees of purification 7800 – Frozen down Ames spores, including    Ames and Bruce Ivins’ primary
    subculture from the original Ames agar slant.
    Hope this helps. If you need more information, give (b) and me a call. (b) made up our list and sent it to(b) (6) (6)
    – Bruce

  2. DXer said

    The movie “Source Code” is very good. I strongly recommend you go.

  3. DXer said contributing editor Noah Schachtman interview on Amerithrax.

    He conducted several dozen interviews and reviewed 3500 pages. Noah says he’s not sure whether they got the wrong/right guy. He says that even lead agents admit is kind of shakey.

    “This is not the kind of case I could ever see being won in court.”

    The authorities never figured out what his motive would be, or how he would have brewed this up, or when he would have brewed this up.

    Many scientists “were deeply, deeply critical” at how the investigation turned out and how their work was used.

    Noah points out that the co-workers and Ivins stopped communicating at the end. Of course, we know that it was due to a formal command by their employer in November 2007 not to communicate with Dr. Ivins.

    Noah explains that there were lots of clones of RMR-1029 around.

    He notes that Ivins spent years under FBI scrutiny without a lawyer.

    He says that they had known for a long time he was a suicide risk.

    Almost to a man, his co-workers believe he didn’t do it — not attitude, not means, not equipment. As you walk in to the center you walk in and there is the 2003 award given to Dr. Ivins for his work.

    On a minor note, he mentions loose talk about leg lesions a couple of hijackers had. He says “there would be no way to prove that.” To the contrary, you would try to prove that by testing the hijacker’s remains as was done. The only loose talk there would be Noah — as it was one hijacker and not two. The “talk” was a report by the head of biosecurity for Homeland Security Tara O’Toole and a member of the NAS panel, DA Henderson, in a formal report by Johns-Hopkins… two scientists not known for their loose talk. The hijacker had just come the week before from Kandahar where the anthrax lab was and he says he had gashed his leg with a suitcase. The lesion would point to the presence of anthrax in Kandahar which was also indicated independently environmental sampling.

    And so you would want to know about the testing of that hijacker’s remains — see the 9600 pages submitted to the NAS and the issue flagged in that regard by the National Academies of Science.

    So it was not “loose talk” — it’s just that the reporters are still skimming the surface in their reporting by reference to “shakey” cases and “holes” in the genetics argument. The real investigative reporting that needs to be done relates to the narrow “window of opportunity” of mailing and the times spent in the lab. For example, what reporter will turn up the autoclave log? The September 17, 2001 email to Mara Linscott so we can see the time? Who will score an interview with Pat and Mara? Who will turn up with the lab notes from September 28, 29, 30, October 1, October 2. Who will obtain the 302 interview statements of the family members? Any reporter interviewing these investigators should get the relevant documents. We already know the case is “shakey” and filled with “holes.” We need reporters and news organizations who know how to use FOIA.

    On that issue and the overseas testing issue, the GAO will need to get the information from the FBI that the FBI declined to provide to the NAS.

    But big picture, Mr. Schactman deserves major kudos for extensive interviews of the investigators. If they point to the Federal Eagle stamp as an important part of their case — which limited things to Maryland and Virginia — then they have no case at all against Dr. Ivins.

    [audio src="" /]

    • DXer said

      Noah says he reviewed 3500 pages released by FBI.

      The FBI provided an additional 9600 pages to NAS and it was those pages that contained the material on the overseas testing etc.

    • anonymous said

      “Many scientists “were deeply, deeply critical” at how the investigation turned out and how their work was used.”

      That speaks volumes. And he didn’t even interview the non-biological scientists – that’s where the FBI’s case goes beyond “fallen apart” to either gross incompetence or deliberate cover-up.

  4. DXer said

    What was the date that the 7th shipment from Dugway — the bad shipment that was dirty and could not be purified by density gradient — was destroyed in the autoclave. The 302 indicates that “IVINS reviewed his notes and determined that this sample was autoclaved, although he does not recall if he was present when it was autoclaved. Typically, IVINS would place a sample in a bag and place it in the autoclave. The last person leaving for the day would usually turn on the autoclave.” 9/08/2004 302 IVINS interview

    Has the DOJ produced the lab notes indicating the date that the Dugway material (genetically identical to RMR 1029) was autoclaved? No. GAO should obtain this critical record.

    Was it in fact autoclaved? If so, as the agents suggested, that is a bit cavalier treatment of taxpayer monies. IF it was autoclaved, WHEN was it autoclaved? Spring 1998? Where is the contemporaneous record? Where is the note that Dr. Ivins says he relied upon in reconstructing his recollection.

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