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

* Homeland Security: the threat of an attack using a biological agent is real … LMW: which makes it critical that local police and public health authorities, as well as the American public, know what really happened in the 2001 anthrax attacks. President Obama must insist that FBI Director Mueller tell the whole story.

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 20, 2011


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The Global Security Newswire reports (5/18/11) …

  • “The threat of an attack using a biological agent is real and requires that we remain vigilant.
  • A wide-area attack using aerosolized Bacillus anthracis, the bacteria that causes anthrax, is one of the most serious mass casualty biological threats facing the U.S.,” DHS chief medical officer Alexander Garza said during a May 12 hearing of the House Homeland Security emergency preparedness subcommittee.
    • “An anthrax attack could potentially encompass hundreds of square miles, expose hundreds of thousands of people, and cause illness, death, fear, societal disruption and economic damage,” Garza said. “
    • The key capacities to dealing with such a threat are
      • the ability to quickly identify the release of a biological agent
      • and then to deliver medical countermeasures to all potential victims before they display “clinical symptoms.”

read the entire article at … http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20110518_3088.php

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LMW COMMENT …

Which makes it critical that local police and public health authorities, as well as the American public, know what really happened in the 2001 anthrax attacks. President Obama must insist that FBI Director Mueller tell the whole story.

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16 Responses to “* Homeland Security: the threat of an attack using a biological agent is real … LMW: which makes it critical that local police and public health authorities, as well as the American public, know what really happened in the 2001 anthrax attacks. President Obama must insist that FBI Director Mueller tell the whole story.”

  1. DXer said

    More narrowly, shouldn’t the FBI simply be required to comply with FOIA? Former intelligence analyst Ken Dillon has posed a couple of key pending FOIA requests that are languishing.
    The FBI is intentionally withholding production and failing to expedite the requests.

    The fault is not Mueller’s. It is the fault of those who would fail to comply with FOIA, to include the importance of doing their job in a timely manner. It is the fault of all those who have failed to prioritize an issue relating to the threat of a mass attack by Al Qaeda using anthrax.

    I’m concerned that in the coming weeks, there will be commentators critical of former FBI Director Mueller’s conduct of the Amerithrax investigation. I’m concerned that there will be accounts that fail to acknowledge that there hasn’t been a convincing “solve” of the case yet. We’ve already seen one by Cannon who adopted his friend Willman’s view — which channeled the investigators criticism for fixating on Hatfill. The analysis doesn’t even take into account that due to the compartmentalization of the investigation, the Ivins investigators were among the most clueless and out-of-the-loop of all. (See, e.g., Scott Stanley’s interview).

    There are alternative theories that have been advanced.

    It is a difficult mystery and people should be slow to presume that someone else at the helm of Amerithrax could have done better.

    Hindsight is 20/20.

    It is never too late to get it right — until it is.

    Anthrax, Al Qaeda and Ayman Zawahiri: The Infiltration of US Biodefense
    http://www.amerithrax.wordpress.com

  2. Zicon said

    We are in a time where man eg. (Gov’s) has made mass casualties possible by any common human being that could take any of over dozens and dozens of Toxins (which is made by nature that can be enhanced by man) poisons (which is purely man made etc etc. And why do we do this… Why do we have to have to atrocious weapons against mankind. Yet even in the midst of peace, war over money, greed and power still continues… The number one most deadly virus on this earth is…. Mankind.

    Below is a link to just 33 of many Deadly substances on earth…

    http://www.thetoyzone.com/2009/33-most-deadly-substances-on-earth/

    And thanks to technology anyone can take any of these 33 and many more and do great damage for what… Makes no sense. No one deserves to die except via natural death through old age or via life’s own natural process… Congress & GAO needs to get a better handle on things before the fences are all gone and then even the GAO will be “SOL”. Write that down… That goes for the rest of the world… We need people that can make common sense decisions and who aren’t afraid to get down and dirty and screw the media and it’s corrupt/shotty ways of reporting
    based on ownership and Nielsen ratings… Even more so with governments who think they can steam roll anyone they please without ramifications on their end…Who gives a tinkers damn… I will continue to say here to the GAO.. “Better get your S#!% together like what wikileaks has for 110% anonymous submittial of extremely highly classifed Intel for anyone who I’m strongly betting a select few have been sifting through & sitting on for quite awhile now hoping that you the GAO can get your game together and “Let It Be Known!”

    Botulinum toxin is produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum and is the most toxic protein known to man [one teaspoon can kill 1.2 billion people].

    [one teaspoon can kill 1.2 billion people]. Can anyone imagine even if a 5 ml vial of pure toxin was in the wrong hands and weaponized which anyone whos everyone knows that if it can do many things on the war scale or not the government has tested it which all got going in heavy testing in the 50’s-60’s It’s just everyone back then was just to stupid to realize that mass chemicl testing went on without people knowing about it.. If one researched or knew people who knew things back then or anyone that has something of value that know what type of testing went on you can find out… That has been proven time after time.

    Looking at this and comparing it to Anthrax… Which ones more easily attianable and that can be made it Pure Form very easily..Esp. if that one gets aerosolized which I’m betting it already has longtime ago… Except now battel could have probably enhance something like that into an almost100% pure weapons grade form or via dugway… If it ends up in the wrong hands.. We are all screwed…
    What I’m getting at here is the along with other major governments along with the US government, had better get a better grip on their Bio secuirty/safety… They need some tending to which means yesterday years ago… Along with the Pharmacutical Companies that supply the gov’s secret stashes that are not published. Once this mess is all over since all this is just a hypothetical opinion that can be taken by anyone else in their own ways unless further conformation is warrented, we may just see a published list of all biological substances that the US/UK government aquires along with a full Pharma Company listing with Financials that has been under the radar from public view and what they are being used for…
    Are you Listening GAO???

    All just a hypothetical opinion

    Now in my opinion for now.. Bruce Ivins was smarter than most know…

    One question is can Battel account for all of the whereabouts of RMR-1029 when the batch was made, before it being transfered by researchers.. Can everyone account for the “Strain Itself” prior to USAMRIID ever even aquiring the flask? I’m betting 99.9% the answer would be no…

    I’m just taking a strong leap here Question is.. Was Bruce Ivins already dying of organ failure from a medication he was taking… Perhaps a certain antibiotic in combination with the drinking and any other laerge doses well which everyone knows what happened to Bruce in the end… Perhaps he knew he was already dying. I guess one would need medical records to answer that one… Did Bruce ever request for his own personal medical records, if so where are they and who might have copies?…

    I still think an autopsy should have been done.. And should still be done by an independent m/e with plenty of witnesses/full video documentary for the review team and lawyers for both sides, & of many respectable medical practices along with a few average people with no ties to anyone to oversee everything..

    An old saying..
    It’s not what the other person does or has done.. It’s what you do that counts as long as you know you’re doing the right thing..

    Perhaps his family will sign for an autopsy… It’s worth it to get answeres and get on with things.. I don’t ever see it happening any other way..

    I was looking at his overtime hours, and I believe that coencides with the ending of Detricks end of their Fiscial Year for everything, and them starting a new year, he was able to get ot, so he took advantage of it while he could.. Who wouldn’t…

    And we wonder for now why Obama asked for a 2 year extension for the FBI Director R.M. They know whats up… I’m strongly betting this right here is the ONLY reason that he is still in his position for 2 more years…

    If the majority of the public NAS and who ever else isn’t happy with things… Wait until Mulluer is gone from office and get the next Director who will be taking his place answer everything.. & actually DO THEIR JOB FOR ONCE!!! Instead of feeding everyone a load of crap… What good does it do to sheild everyone of things that they can make the choice to listen or watching things that one could say yes or no, just like the obl pictures, If you don’t want to look at it, don’t but for the BILLIONS that do.. They wanna see.. Yet we put pictures of JFK and his autopsy pictures for everyone to see with a hole is his head, So why not the bad guys??? It’s just one big joke of a game that the higher ups get to do as they please and with all other motives, also fo media hype and ratings.. Is pure crap! The biggest problem with government,, IS there is TOO Much government… We’ve also let technology get so far ahead without thinking about the ramifications of things when they are made or get out.. Thats just another mess in itself… Did any of the RV’s foresee that happening in the 60’s 70’s Nope… It doesn’t take a dummy to see when people are lying in the investigation… R.M.’s facial expressions/reacitons are tell tale signs of truth or lies.. Just saying.
    All just opinions.–.

  3. DXer said

    J. Rauch in June 2002 wrote a landmark article in which he quotes someone noting that in dealing with an adversary such as Al Qaeda (led by Dr. Ayman Zawahiri), it is best to assume that your adversary is smart. As I recall, for example, Ayman’s friend, the lead writer for the Ann Arbor charity IANA, Kamal Habib, the founder of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, was the top of his class at Cairo University. Rauch outlines the issues relating to the Silicon Signature issue that as noted this week by Dr. Weber and Dr. Velsko, should have been resolved — and could be resolved. Dr. Velsko wrote the chapter on non-microbial signatures for the authoritative treatise whose editor had led the FBI Amerithrax investigation.

    The so-called Red Team — the members of which are unknown to the public but not to insiders — recommended that the FBI should not pursue the Silicon Signature. Those names should have not been redacted under FOIA. The GAO will not be able to vet for conflict of interest unless it asks for the members to be identified. That “Red Team” advice should be disregarded and experts like Dr. Velsko, who as a named and authoritative expert disagrees with the Red Team recommendation, should be allowed to address the scientific issues. He and Dr. Weber think could “pop” the outstanding question marks relating to the Silicon Signature. GAO is highly experienced in assessing potential and apparent conflicts of interest.

    Mr. Rauch wrote in his trenchant June 2002 article, which has withstood the test of time,

    “The operatives and allies of AI Qaeda have something in mind for the United States, of that there can be little doubt. Something nasty. Vice President Dick Cheney said in May it is “almost certain” that the terrorists will strike again. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld warned

    The operatives and allies of AI Qaeda have something in mind for the United States, of that there can be little doubt. Something nasty. Vice President Dick Cheney said in May it is “almost certain” that the terrorists will strike again. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld warned that terrorists “inevitably” will get their hands on weapons of mass destruction, “and they would not hesitate one minute to use them.” Question: What if they already did use them and are preparing to do so again? Were last year’s anthrax attacks, which caused five fatalities, a preview?

    No one knows, of course. That said, there are dots worth connecting.

    The perpetrator(s). In November, the FBI issued a suspect profile identifying the likely anthraxattacker as a single adult male, probably an American with a scientific background, lab experience, poor social skills, and a grudge. Some people-I was one of them-viewed this interpretation with skepticism. What would be the motive? Why the timing so close to September 11? A number of analysts, including David Tell in a useful article in The Weekly Standard on April 29, have subsequently cast doubt on the disgruntled-scientist hypothesis, and an FBI spokesman said in May that the bureau, far from being “convinced” that the attacks were carried out by an American loner, had “not precluded any category of suspect, motive, or theory.”

    If anything, hints that anthrax and Al Qaeda may be linked have grown harder to dismiss. Dot one: Several of the hijackers, including their suspected ringleader, Mohamed Atta, are reported to have looked at crop dusters in Belle Glade, Fla. Dot two: Among five targeted media organizations, only one was not nationally prominent-American Media, of Boca Raton, Fla., which happens to be a few miles from where Atta and other terrorists lived and attended flight school. (Atta rented an apartment from a real estate agent whose husband worked for American Media.) Dot three: In March a doctor in Fort Lauderdale announced that he had treated one of the terrorists for what, in retrospect, he believes was cutaneous anthrax. Doctors at Johns Hopkins University examined the case and concurred that anthraxwas “the most probable and coherent interpretation of the data available.”

    Other recent reports cite captured documents and an unfinished lab in Afghanistan that suggest Al Qaedawas interested-as presumably it would be-in producing biological weapons, including anthrax. In 1999, an Arabic-language newspaper in London reported that “elements loyal to [Osama] bin Laden” had, for a few thousand dollars, “managed to obtain an offer for the supply of samples of anthraxand other poisons” from a former Soviet bloc country.

    None of that proves anything. The FBI checked the 9/11 terrorists’ homes, cars, and personal effects for anthrax. “Exhaustive testing did not support that anthraxwas present anywhere the hijackers had been,” an FBI spokesman told The New York Times in March.

    A point worth noting: The anthrax laced letters were all mailed after the deaths of Atta and his fellow hijackers. If Al Qaedadid have something to do with the anthraxattacks, whoever did the mailings is still out there.

    The material. In April, news reports said that the material used in the attacks was not only “weaponized” but also more sophisticated than anything that U.S. military labs had managed to produce. In May, other news reports said that the material was (in The Times’ words) “far less than weapons grade.” Good grief What’s the story?

    Everyone agrees that all of the anthrax was of the same type, known as the Ames strain. Most sources also agree that the first mailing, to the media organizations, contained a cruder formulation than the second, to Sens. Thomas A. Daschle, D-S.D., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. They also concur that the second batch was of impressive purity and concentration. “Very, very pure” is how Matthew Meselson, a Harvard University biologist who has looked at images of the material, described it in an interview. “If you look at it under the electron microscope, you don’t see anything but anthrax spores.” A cruder preparation, by contrast, would contain so-called vegetative cells and other debris.

    One source of ultra-pure anthraxmight be a foreign bio-weapons program. An obvious suspect: the former Soviet Union. The Soviets had as many as 2,000 scientists working on anthrax, Tell writes. In 1979, dozens, or hundreds, of Russians died when anthraxleaked from a bio-weapons facility in Sverdlovsk. Subsequent analyses found four or more different anthraxstrains in tissue samples taken from the victims.

    So does the material used in America last year look Soviet? No, says Ken Alibek, a former Soviet bio-weapons official who is now executive director of the George Mason University Center for Biodefense.

    [Ken Alibek shared a suite with convicted seditionist Ali Al-Timimi, with whom fellow Falls Church imam Anwar Awlaki was coordinating, according to court filing filed by Dr. Al-Timimi’s defense counsel].

    He has reviewed images of the material and says it looks like nothing he saw in the Soviet Union. The material, in fact, is of mediocre quality, he told me, and was not produced industrially. It definitely had not been milled, nor did it appear to have any sort of coating to reduce static or otherwise enhance its deadliness. Silica supposedly found in the material, Alibek thinks, may simply be a residue from an unsophisticated drying process. Meselson concurs that the anthraxevinces no sign of special coating or processing. “There is no evidence that I know of,” he told me, “that it was treated in any special way.”

    What about Iraq? It is known to have produced several thousand gallons of anthrax, but that was in liquid form. Stephen D. Bryen, who headed the Pentagon’s Defense Technology Security Administration during the Reagan administration and who now is the managing partner of Aurora Defense, says that United Nations inspectors in Iraq found no “dusty” anthrax(the dry, wafting variety used in the U.S. attacks)-which of course could mean either that the Iraqis didn’t (yet) have it or that they hid it well. Bryen also notes that the Iraqis, like the Soviets, tend to mix together various germs (or strains) and chemicals in their weapons, presumably to defeat countermeasures. The U.S. anthrax was all of a single strain.

    If the U.S. anthrax was very pure but not specially weaponized, could it have been made by amateurs? In small quantities, yes, according to both Alibek and Meselson. It could be done, Alibek says, with “a very simple, nonindustrial process-a very primitive process-that could let you get a trillion spores in one gram. You can’t make hundreds of kilos, but you could make hundreds of grams at this concentration.”

    Meselson concurs. “It’s something that could be done by a fair number of people.” The necessary glassware, culturing media, centrifuges, and so on “would exist in a large number of places, both hospitals and laboratories-widespread.”

    The U.S. attacks, Meselson notes, confirmed what a Canadian simulation had already shown: Even uncoated, nonindustrial-grade anthraxeasily suspends itself in the air, floating around and penetrating lungs. No special coating or treatment is necessary. Whoever produced the few grams used last year could presumably produce more. Not enough to fill a crop duster, perhaps, but enough to kill a lot of people.

    The outlook. So what to assume? Bryen notes that dropping anthraxin the mail was a very primitive way to distribute it. “It’s not how regimes think about dispersing a biological or chemical weapon,” he said. “Which should say that the guy distributing it was a total amateur.” That, in turn, argues for what Bryen calls the “sample” theory. “The sample theory being that somebody gave these guys a small amount. It has all the characteristics that it was given to people who didn’t have any idea how to use it.”

    Or maybe, on the other hand, not. Paul Ewald, a biologist at Amherst College and the author of Plague Time: The New Germ Theory of Disease, suggests that inefficient distribution might have been exactly the point. “If this attack was caused by the Al Qaeda group-and I think that’s the best explanation, given the evidence available-this small release would be most useful as a demonstration that they have anthraxon U.S. soil.”

    If the terrorists are dumb, Ewald says, they made or obtained a few grams of anthraxand mailed off their whole supply. “We’d be wiser if we planned for the smart-terrorist possibility,” he says. Smart terrorists would have made or obtained larger quantities of the stuff and stashed it, probably (if they’re smart) before setting off alarms by sending out a few grams. Later, with the potency of their weapon proved, they could mount, or threaten to mount, a much larger attack.

    Ewald argues for a policy that assumes this is what’s going on and that urgently enlists the public’s eyes and ears and memories. “We should be alerting people to let authorities know of any suspicious activity they may have seen that would relate to people hiding canisters or objects or doing something that didn’t look right,” Ewald says. The question is not whether Ewald is right, but whether we want to bet he is wrong.”

    Sidebar
    IF ANYTHING,

    HINTS THAT THE ANTHRAX

    ATTACKS AND AL QAEDA

    MAY BE LINKED

    HAVE GROWN HARDER

    TO DISMISS.

  4. DXer said

    While US government focuses on Anwar Al-Aulaqi, why does it continue to overlook Aulaqi’s connection to fellow Falls Church imam, a scientist sharing the suite with the leading bioweapons Ames anthrax researchers with whom defense counsel says Aulaqi was coordinating?

    • DXer said

      Anwar Awlaki coordinated with Ali Al-Timimi.

      Al-Timimi shared a suite with the leading DARPA-funded Ames anthrax researchers.

      Like Ken Alibek would tell me in 2003, this isn’t rocket science.

  5. DXer said

    Ayman Zawahiri had an extensive recruiting network for his anthrax planning and the announcement of his plans in March 1999, including the blind sheik’s son who spoke alongside Ali Al-Timimi and was on Al Qaeda’s 3-member WMD society. Did the blind sheik’s son recruit Ali Al-Timimi?

  6. DXer said

    The FBI did not disclose that Jdey was detained and released as the same time as Moussaoui. Capturing Jdey should remain a high priority if he is still alive and at large..

  7. DXer said

    This document seized in Afghanistan pointed to infiltration n of US biodefense.

    To what was the author referring?

  8. DXer said

    Dr. Bruce Ivins hosted one Egyptian visitor in the B3 who was the lifelong friend of a former Egyptian Islamic Jihad member, a schoolmate, recruited by Ayman Zawahiri. Who does he think is responsible?

    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/03/13/dxer-reports-that-ivins-hosted-one-egyptian-visitor-in-the-b3-who-was-the-lifelong-friend-of-a-former-egyptian-islamic-jihad-member-a-schoolmate-recruited-by-ayman-zawahiri/

  9. DXer said

    Ali Mohammed, the head of intelligence for Egyptian Islamic Jihad who had a document on his computer seized by the FBI that outlined principles of cell security that would be followed, trained Dahab, a Cairo medical drop-out, to make deadly letters. Who does Ali think is responsible?

  10. DXer said

    The GAO review should include a technical review of the later typed correspondence from a later visit by Rauf Ahmad indicating that he had successfully achieved the targets — and the GAO should be advised of the identity of the lab that Rauf Ahmad visited on his second attempt to acquire virulent anthrax.

  11. DXer said

    The GAO review should include a technical review of Rauf Ahmad’s notes and handwritten letter (he was one of the scientists working for Ayman Zawahiri.

  12. DXer said

    The GAO review should include a technical review of the spraydrying documents on Al-Hawsawi’s laptop.

  13. DXer said

    The GAO review should include a review of the documents from peer reviewed literature in Ayman Zawahiri’s possession.

    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2009/05/17/dxer-documents-in-the-possession-of-ayman-zawahiri-and-his-associates-illustrate-the-dangers-of-scientific-openness

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