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

* Doubt of anthrax suspect’s role resurfaces in a lawsuit by the widow of anthrax victim Robert Stevens of Florida

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 30, 2011

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has the FBI told the whole truth about their case against Dr. Ivins?

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Jane Musgrave writes in the Palm Beach Post (4/30/11) …

  • Add Maureen Stevens to the list of people who don’t believe troubled federal biodefense researcher Bruce Ivins killed her husband and four others in the 2001 anthrax attacks.
  • In court papers filed this month, attorneys representing Bob Stevens’ widow said they had gathered evidence that disputes FBI claims Ivins sent five anthrax-laced letters to politicians and media outlets
  • Maureen Stevens’ attorneys originally agreed to accept the findings of the estimated $100 million FBI investigation.
  • But when Ivins’ bosses at the military lab in Maryland insisted under oath that he lacked the time, equipment and know-how to produce the anthrax, the attorneys said they could no longer accept the findings.

problems with the government’s case against Dr. Ivins …

    • It would have been impossible for Ivins to use lab equipment without being detected
    • he would have left evidence … anthrax dust would have covered the machine he (was alleged) to use to produce the powder.
    • Dr. Ivins did not have the lab skills to make the fine powdered anthrax used in the letters.
    • Ivins never showed “that he understood weaponization technology of anthrax spores”
    • the FBI grossly underestimated the time it would take to produce the amount of anthrax used in the letter attacks.
    • Ivins would have needed six months to a year, working almost full-time
    • someone would have had to help him.

read the entire article at … http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/doubt-of-anthrax-suspects-role-resurfaces-in-lawsuit-1444809.html

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LMW COMMENT …

In other words, there is no case against Dr. ivins. The Stevens’ law suit against the U.S. government is an opportunity to demonstrate that in a court of law, something the FBI conveniently by-passed by charging a dead man who could not defend himself.

So what really happened? And why doesn’t the FBI offer America a credible story?

As regular readers of this blog well know, I can imagine only 3 possible “actual” scenarios …

  1. The FBI has more evidence against Dr. Ivins but is, for some undisclosed reason, withholding that evidence … POSSIBLE BUT NOT SO LIKELY
  2. The FBI, despite the most expensive and extensive investigation in its history, has not solved the case and has no idea who prepared and mailed the anthrax letters that killed 5 Americans in 2001 … EVEN LESS LIKELY
  3. The FBI knows who did it (not Dr. Ivins) but is covering up the actual perpetrators, for undisclosed reasons …THE MOST LIKELY SCENARIO
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12 Responses to “* Doubt of anthrax suspect’s role resurfaces in a lawsuit by the widow of anthrax victim Robert Stevens of Florida”

  1. DXer said

    The Department of Justice argues:

    “Similarly, even if the government negligently allowed an assailant to intercept a flask containing spores of anthrax suspended in a liquid medium, it could be foreseen that someone could suffer a cutaneous anthrax infection by having wet spores touch their skin. No one, prior to 2001, could reasonably expect that the interception or loss of a liquid solution containing anthrax spores could lead to someone using highly specialized equipment and techniques to profoundly modify the spores in preparation for their use in the nation’s first deadly attack with a pathogen. See U.S. Facts ¶¶20-28. The record is devoid of facts suggesting that a person could have reasonably foreseen that government negligence or, for that matter, anyone’s negligence, could ever lead to an assailant taking wet anthrax spores, manipulating them, and using dried and pulverized spores as a weapon to be sent to specified targets through the mail. See id. ”

    Comment:

    Let’s see. EIJ shura member Al-Najjar and Mabruk announced that Dr. Ayman Zawahiri was going to use dried anthrax against US targets to retaliate against US targets — and defense counsel Montasser Al-Zayat, the blind sheik’s lawyer, agreed with them. This was all in the newspaper articles. Now the DOJ, charged with keeping the country safe from an aerosolized anthrax attack, says that using dried powdered anthrax stolen from a government lab to make dried powder was not foreseeable.

    That, more than anything, explains the government’s negligence in Amerithrax and allowing the infiltration of US biodefense.

    Indeed, it was known as of 2001 that Mohammed Ali, Dr. Ayman’s chief of intelligence, had trained Dahab to make lethal weapons. And so even used of dried anthrax in letters was foreseeable — and that is why the Canadian study was done. That study showed that the dried powder made by Dugway immediately dispersed throughout the room upon the opening of the envelope. It was done in connection with threats to use mailed anthrax if the #2 of Vanguards of Conquest was denied. His bail was denied on October 5 and then the mailer rushed to send the powdered anthrax to the Senators in charge of appropriations to Egypt and Israel.

  2. DXer said

    In deposition excerpts filed today…

    making points made by USAMRIID Scientist Patricia Worsham, USAMRIID Scientist Stephen Little explained that Dr. Ivins would not have had the skill, equipment or means of decontaminating equipment. Although a fuller excerpt will be posted, Dr. Little explains:

    “The piece of equipment that the FBI identified initially as a lyophilizer site outside my laboratory in B5. There’s no way that he could by himself pushed that thing down to BSL3, put it in the airlock, take it out of the airlock, push down to a laboratory. The thing is as big as a refrigerator. He would have had to pick it up, that part, to prevent contamination of the entire suite. He could not have done that and put that part in a biological safety cabinet. It’s too big.”

    He also makes important points relating to the decontamination that would be required by Building Engineers.

    • DXer said

      The Department of Justice in its Motion for Summary Judgment notes that the equipment used to make the dried powdered anthrax by someone has never been identified:

      “It would also take special expertise (even amongst those used to working with anthrax) and equipment to make dried material of the quality used in the attacks. Id. ¶27. Alteration of the form of the anthrax required technical equipment that was not routinely used for that purpose, and the equipment used to prepare the dried spore preparations that were used in the letters has never been identified. Id. ¶28. Even if the source material had been acquired via government negligence, the transformation into a dry powder suitable for letter attacks is the sort of intervening act which dispels proximate cause. See East Coast Elec., 979 So.2d 1018; Hohn, 584 So.2d 1089.”

      • DXer said

        Lies, damned lies, and lyophilizers

        The DARPA-funded work involving use of the lyophilizer by Dr. Ivins involved the DARPA-funded work done by Ann Arbor researchers, including the former Zawahiri associate. In thanking Dr. Ivins in numerous patents for supplying the Ames, the researchers referenced his 1995 Vaccines article describing preparation of the spores (and the method included use of a lyophilizer).

        Throughout the period 2000-2008, the Ann Arbor researchers would explain: “B. anthracis spores, Ames and Vollum 1 B strains, were kindly supplied by Dr. Bruce Ivins (USAMRIID, Fort Detrick, Frederick, Md.), and prepared as previously described (Ivins et al., Vaccine 13:1779 [1995]).

        In an exclusive in early November 2008, the New York Post reported:

        “The lyophilizer, located in a hallway surrounded by four labs, did not have a protective hood. A hood is necessary to circulate and filter air and make it possible to use the lyophilizer to work with harmful bacteria without the bacteria becoming airborne. Co-workers say the hoodless lyophilizer would have spewed poisonous aerosols, infecting co-workers. But no colleagues of Ivins experienced any symptoms. Henry Heine, in April 2010 joined the chorus of the former Chiefs of Bacteriology in making these points. Co-workers also point out that the machine would have to be fully decontaminated after use – a 24-hour process called paraformaldehyde decontamination that involves locking down the lab.

        Without a full decontamination, the machine would have contaminated other bacteria or liquids used on the machine at a later date. And if it had not been decontaminated, the FBI should have been able to find traces of the dry anthrax on the machine. Yet they swabbed Ivins’ machinery numerous times and were unable to find traces of dry anthrax spores in his lab, his attorney said.

        “Even if Ivins did have access to a freeze-drying machine and a protective hood, sources who worked closely with Ivins estimate it would take a minimum of 40 days of continuous work without detection to create the volume of spores used in the attacks.” “If he was working eight hours a day on spore prep every day, it would be noticed,” said Gerry Andrews, Ivins’ supervisor between 2000 and 2003. “It’s ridiculous.” Ivins’ lab – just 200 square feet – was in “highly trafficked areas, and Bruce had colleagues that worked with him every day,” Andrews said.

        Meanwhile, in September and October of 2001, Ivins was involved in 19 research projects, including working on the Department of Defense-funded anthrax vaccine that is now in clinical trials, anthrax vaccine testing on rabbits and monkeys, and an outside project with a government-contracted lab, the Battelle Memorial Institute in Ohio.”

        FBI scientists disagreed. (Which of them have even used a lyophilizer to dry anthrax?) The Washington Post reports: “But drying the spores turned out to be no obstacle at all, FBI scientists said. It required only one more step, using a common laboratory machine known as a lyophilizer. Ivins had one in his lab.” In contrast, the head of the Air Force lab, expert at making anthrax simulants, advises me by email: “The Amerithrax spores were neither freeze dried nor milled. I have seen both and the Amerithrax had characteristics of neither.” Dr. Alibek, who once thought a spraydryer likely was used, told me that he later came to think a fluidized bed dryer was used.

  3. DXer said

    This article quoting Senator Graham about the AMI mailing mentions that an American woman had mocked the size of Bin Laden’s genitals in the October 2, 2001 edition of one of the AMI publications. One of his wives in Sudan was American. She is available online. Was it her? (or was the story just made up)

    The Times (London)

    October 10, 2001, Wednesday

    Preventing new attacks has priority, FBI is told

    BYLINE: Martin Fletcher in Washington

    FBI agents have been ordered to give greater priority to pre-empting new terrorist attacks than investigating those of September 11, as a special bioterrorism squad continues to investigate the contamination of a Florida building with anthrax.
    John Ashcroft, the Attorney-General, and Robert Mueller, the FBI Director, have also told agents to take terrorist suspects into custody immediately, instead of keeping them under surveillance.

    “The investigative staff has to be made to understand that we’re not trying to solve a crime now. Our number one goal is prevention,” a source told The New York Times.

    The FBI’s change of course came as politicians and health experts agreed that the anthrax spores discovered in the Boca Raton headquarters of American Media must have been deliberately introduced.
    Bob Graham, the Florida Senator, said that Jeffrey Kaplan, Director of America’s Centres for Disease Control, had told him the chances of anthrax being found in an office building without human intervention were “nil to zero”.

    The building is close to where several of the September 11 terrorists lived and took flying lessons.

    The anthrax has already killed one employee, Bob Stevens, 63, and been found in a nostril of another, Ernesto Blanco. More than 700 other employees and visitors are awaiting the results of tests.

    Some employees were furious that five days elapsed between Mr Stevens’s diagnosis and the building being evacuated. “If this is how quickly you diagnose something like this we’re in trouble,” one said.

    The FBI said that it had yet to find evidence of criminal intent, but the scene inside the sealed-off building rivalled the most lurid stories in the supermarket tabloids printed by American Media. FBI agents in germ-proof “moonsuits” prowled deserted corridors in search of invisible killer bugs.

    The agents were examining in great detail the ventilation system, the air ducts and the mailroom where Mr Blanco worked. They are testing all letters sent to the 300 staff, reading their e-mails, and checking all recent visitors and temporary employees.

    The FBI has tested luggage of Mohammed Atta, the alleged ringleader of the hijackers, and found no trace of anthrax.

    Several employees alerted the FBI to an odd farewell e-mail from a Fort Lauderdale student who worked for American Media during the summer. Agents interviewed the student and have apparently cleared him.

    One of the FBI’s best hopes is that analysis of the anthrax DNA will reveal if it is an engineered strain, and if so pinpoint its source.

    American Media’s tabloids have published a series of exceptionally hostile stories about Osama bin Laden. One story in this week’s edition of the Globe claimed that he was addicted to opium, and called him a “shameful hypocrite, condoning gang-rape, drinking and carousing”. In its October 2 edition a former CIA agent suggested that bin Laden hated the US because an American woman had mocked the size of his genitals.

  4. DXer said

    David Willman in Mirage Man writes:

    “In an interview with the author on September 11, 2010, David Franz said that that although he believed it was possible that Bruce Ivins was the perpetrator, he was not convinced of his guilt.” (p. p. 422, n. 35)

  5. DXer said

    David Willman in Mirage Man writes: “Patricia Worsham, who was hired at USAMRIID in 1989, continued to defend Bruce Ivins. “You can’t work with somebody for twenty years and not get a feel for what they’re capable of,” she said.” (p. 390, n5.)

  6. DXer said

    USAMRIID has referred the FOIA request about the documents produced to the Plaintiff in the Stevens litigation (in response to Plaintiff’s Requests for Documents) to the DOJ.

    Any documents provided by the DOJ will be made available promptly to anyone who would like a copy.

  7. Zicon said

    They state that Ivins couldn’t have “Done It.” Which I am all for. So my thoughts on the plates alone could not prove innocence or guilt if Ivins did it or not… Obviously there were no trace evidence found of the Ames strain in the speed vac, and putting everything else together one could possibly rule out that the powder was not made at USAMRIID. I believe in my opinion it wasn’t made at USAMRIID. But since it was supposedly narrowed down to the flask/strain that came from USAMRIID, the BIG question is, did it come before the flask arrived at USAMRIID, or after the anthrax was already at USAMRIID that was sent to another lab which the FBI will not divulge.. Yes, No, Maybe So…

    Which also leads to one other Big question is when the original 1000mls of the Ames strain was made and sent to USAMRIID. Was there extra made off the books/records when making the original 1000mls of Ames strain and sent to the “3rd” lab that has all the means/know how to make the pure powder?

    So based on what is presented above after all this goes through the ringer one could probably conclude that with the way the FBI went about everything after this battle round could show there entire case to be chicken scratch, which is why I strongly believe is exactly why the government & pentagon took full advantage of a problem on their plates and turned asset from a covert point of view that only a select few would only know about in my strong opinion.

    Based on where a lot of people have been going with things on this blog and perhaps others do make some extremely strong valid points that the GAO needs to get answers to that only they will have the power to get from the FBI/DOJ… My opinion they are hiding some embarrassing things, and my opinion, they are going to do everything in their power to keep things from coming out, but I believe in my opinion that it’s already too late for the government/pentagon/CIA/other brdl’s I look for more things to float to the surface aside from what I believe in my opinion what was a staged leak about what just recently came out in wikileaks.

    I hope they pursue it with everything they have… I’ll support it 110%… Even if it means collecting donations or a fundraiser

    A lot of things sure do sound very familiar lately that has come about these past few weeks, as was voiced in my “strong opinions” months ago about things that have been on point with some things. I wonder if those who are not allowed to read wikileaks are going to just ignore what came out??? I doubt it… I also wouldn’t put to much faith in it either based on “my strong opinion” the leaks were staged by the us government e.g. Obama/Pentagon/CIA/Panetta, which could be one of a few reasons why Obama is moving Panttea to the pentagon? Maybe sooo….., and probably a few brief phone calls/meetings with Bush Jr. in there to, about what to covertly release, since people are getting too close for government comfort in blogs, websites.. Hopefully the GAO can act 110% legit and get the FULL TRUTH!

    The truth will prevail….Either via the GAO or some other person known or anonymous that either has put their backside on the line and pulled another B. Manning (who according to law is still innocent) who submits some very informative information to the GAO or wikileaks for that matter that will help out and could perhaps clear this matter up once and for all…

    I sincerely hope the big boys can hold their own… I’m betting it’s going to start to get down right dirty when everything gets going full blown with the GAO review of this mess-.– . …?

  8. BugMaster said

    Hmmm. I wonder if Bantam is going to delay the release of “Freed’s” book.

  9. DXer said

    The United States has top-flight legal counsel defending the matter.

    Jacqueline Camile Brown
    United States Department of Justice
    Civil Division
    Washington, DC 20530
    Assigned: 05/18/2010
    ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED representing United States
    (Defendant)

    Adam M. Dinnell (took over from Jeffrey Bucholtz)
    United States Department of Justice
    Civil Division Torts Branch
    PO Box 340 Ben Franklin Station
    Washington, DC 20044
    Assigned: 08/19/2010
    ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED representing United States
    (Defendant)

    Christina M. Falk
    United States Department of Justice
    Civil Division Torts Branch
    PO Box 340 Ben Franklin Station
    Washington, DC 20044
    202-616-4216
    Assigned: 01/26/2004
    LEAD ATTORNEY
    ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED representing United States
    (Defendant)

    J. Patrick Glynn
    United States Department of Justice
    Civil Division Torts Branch
    PO Box 340 Ben Franklin Station
    Washington, DC 20044
    202-616-4200
    Assigned: 01/26/2004
    LEAD ATTORNEY
    ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED representing United States
    (Defendant)

    Jason S. Patil
    United States Department of Justice
    Civil Division Torts Branch Environmental Torts Section
    PO Box 340 Ben Franklin Station
    Washington, DC 20044-0340
    202-616-3852
    Assigned: 01/26/2004
    LEAD ATTORNEY
    ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED representing United States
    (Defendant)

    Leon B. Taranto
    US Department of Justice
    Civil Division
    Environmental Torts Section
    1331 Pennsylvania Avenue #8018 South
    Washington, DC 20004
    Assigned: 02/25/2010
    ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED representing United States
    (Defendant)

    Kirsten L. Wilkerson
    US Department of Justice
    1331 Pennsylvania Avenue
    Suite 8014 South
    Washington, DC 20004
    202-353-7750
    Assigned: 08/17/2009
    ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED representing United States

  10. Old Atlantic said

    If al Qaeda did it, and the government let people into its labs from foreign countries who were not US citizens, and they passed the anthrax to al Qaeda or Pakistan and then it was used against the US, then the government was negligent.

    If the government then in the investigation forced the requirement of a lone mailer to cover up its negligence in allowing this type of access, and then drove someone to his death to try to make people believe it, then it is guilty of conspiracy and is an accessory after the fact.

    Their conduct in doing so goes to their motive and state of mind before the attack in allowing the access to people from foreign countries. Covering it up points to admission of its liability and its gross negligence. Going to the extent of driving another person to his death to cover up their complicity is evidence of the extent of their negligence and complicity in their own minds. Since they are DOJ and FBI, that should be considered considerable.

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