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

* Dr. Ivins’ lab notebook establishes that there were lots of dead mice and dead rabbits on the precise dates that the prosecutors and investigators speculate, without basis, that Dr. Bruce Ivins was making a dried powder out of Flask 1029 — such as the FBI anthrax expert had done in August 2000 at the request of DARPA

Posted by DXer on June 3, 2011



35 Responses to “* Dr. Ivins’ lab notebook establishes that there were lots of dead mice and dead rabbits on the precise dates that the prosecutors and investigators speculate, without basis, that Dr. Bruce Ivins was making a dried powder out of Flask 1029 — such as the FBI anthrax expert had done in August 2000 at the request of DARPA”

  1. DXer said

    Dr. Ivins’ contemporaneous entries in his notebook show that the greatest concentration of dead mice was September 28, 29, 30 and October 1. That is when you would expect to see an increase in Dr. Ivins’ acitivities in the B3. That is what you see – with him not coming in the prior two nights, Wed the 26th and Thurs 27th. On Tuesday, he came in late to do the cleaning asked of him by Dr. Worsham.

  2. DXer said

    Compare Ed Montooth’s and Rachel Lieber’s understanding of the animal experiments with what the recently produced documents (by USAMRIID) show. They should have been interviewed on the actual documents — it was a real wasted opportunity.

  3. DXer said

    In the case of a whodunnit relating to who did what in September and October 2001, a single effective government employee handling documents is more important than a large committee of PhD experts and an army of lawyers. While we have not yet located that individual at the DOJ — or at least he has not been tasked to proceed — there is such a person at USAMRC. (With GAO prodding, maybe that person at DOJ — such as the former crackerjack head paralegal for the Amerithrax investigation — will be allowed to take the annotated database of Amerithrax documents and go to town.)

    But in the meantime I’ve requested of the USAMRC FOIA person:

    “Date: June 9, 2011 5:58:09 AM EDT

    Subject: USAMRIID FOIA – all documents of any type created by Bruce Ivins in September 2001 or October 2001, whether in hard copy or electronic form

    Ms. Rogers,

    USAMRC FOIA has been wonderful and worked over the course of a long period responding to a myriad of FOIA requests. In addition to having juggle the unit’s other responsibilities, there invariably are reviews of material needed prior to release.

    All the former USAMRIID Chiefs of Bacteriology similarly have been selfless also in sharing their expertise and insights on the subject of the FBI’s “Ivins Theory” of the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings.

    But I am thinking that I and other FOIA requestors have been remiss in not mastering the documents from the September – October 2001 period — not identifying documents that could be useful in reconstructing the September – October 2001 timeline so that people literally can “get on the same page.”

    I came to focus on the electronic emails requested by the New York Times in September 2008 (as they were produced over time) without stopping to realize that even apart from Lab Notebooks (that were taken by DOJ from USAMRIID and thus kept from disclosure) and the extensive electronic emails, there would be other documents dating from September – October 2001 that would be useful in reconstructing a timeline or otherwise shedding light on events.

    I would like to request all documents authored, written, typed or created by Bruce Ivins in September 2001-October 2001, whether in hard copy or electronic form. Any relevant information would be immediately distributed and the public would benefit from understanding the details of Dr. Bruce Ivins’ activities during those two months.

    I appreciate that the Department of Justice is acting in good faith in developing its “Ivins Theory” of the anthrax mailings of Fall 2001.

    But in the rush of events in 2008, they simply did not have such excellent help regarding the identification and production of relevant documents.

    With respect to any computer used by Dr. Ivins, for example, documents can be date sorted so as to identify responsive documents”.

    • DXer said

      GAO investigators should understand that an interview of the head paralegal who oversaw the database of Amerithrax documents — and a copy of that annotated index of documents — is far more important than interviews of investigators such as Lawrence Alexander and prosecutor Rachel Lieber — who would merely be spinning and justifying their conclusions. We don’t need any more bedtime stories such as served up by Mr. Willman. We need documents. DOJ made sure to keep me away from the paralegal and I have abided that. But will they succeed in keeping GAO from him and his work product on the documents?

      For example, Agent Alexander and AUSA Lieber became excited upon hearing Dr. Ivins taped explanation at the Mirage Cafe in Frederick. They overlooked the fact that there was nothing incriminating whatsoever. Indeed, in that conversation, he explained that he would have no idea on how to make a bioweapon.

    • DXer said

      In reconstructing Dr. Ivins’ timeline for September and October 2001, the FBI had extensive information from his computers that it has not revealed. It has failed to disclose information even as basic as the time the September 17, 2001 email was sent.

      But the information being withheld regarding the timeline of his whereabouts is far more extensive. The FBI purports not to have information about a 12 hour period and yet much can be learned from the hard drive of a home or work computer.

      For example, with a hard drive, one typically can determine the date and time the individual visited particular web pages.

      “Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE)

      IE is typically installed by default on new Windows-based computers and is used by most private and business computer owners. IE stores the Internet activity for each user under their Windows profile. In Joe’s case, since he was using a Microsoft Windows operating system newer than Windows 2000, his IE activity was stored in the following directory:

      C:\Documents and Settings\jschmo\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\
      The directory listed above stores the cached pages and images Joe reviewed on his computer. Inside the Content.IE5 directory there are additional subdirectories, each with a seemingly random name that contains the cached web data Joe had viewed. IE stores this cached information so that Joe does not have to download the same data more than once if he already reviewed the same web page.

      We want to point out that there are two additional IE activity directories that may be of interest. The first directory contains the Internet history activity without locally cached web content:

      C:\Documents and Settings\jschmo\Local Settings\History\History.IE5\
      Under the directory above, there will be additional subdirectories signifying the date ranges where IE had saved the history. The last directory stores the cookie files for IE:

      C:\Documents and Settings\jschmo\Cookies\
      An investigator will typically check all three information stores for Internet activity data. “

  4. DXer said

    I wrote David Willman:

    “David, I found your book immensely readable and I admire your work ethic over the past 3 years.

    But I’m troubled that your AP feature does not reflect what we now know from the production on May 11, 2011 of the lab notes showing that his time was not at all unexplained. Patricia Fellows just spun it and then AUSA Rachel Lieber did also.

    What is needed is to have your experts describe to you what is involved each of those numerous nights when the dead animals needed to be addressed.

    Rachel Lieber just refused to give you the lab notebook pages — or else you didn’t ask. Many more are still being withheld.

    Your stature as an investigative journalist and status as a media requestor would get us the many additional lab notebooks being withheld by DOJ.”

    Comment: AP also brought us the hooey about the Federal Eagle stamp being sold exclusively in Dr. Ivins’ post office.

  5. DXer said

    For David Willman to publish this statement in light of the document above produced on May 11, 2011 — without even addressing it — is a serious breach of the standards that apply.

    “He maintained unrestricted access to this lethal mixture – and he spent unusually long, solitary hours in the biocontainment “hot suites” at Fort Detrick during the nights leading up to the mailings. Ivins had no plausible explanation for this burst of activity, and he misled investigators by submitting a false sample of the unique anthrax under his control.”

    • DXer said

      (EDITORS: BEGIN OPTIONAL TRIM). Indeed. Now we are getting our news on critical issues by a reporter with a financial interest in the matter.

      Mr. Willman writes:

      “One need not be convinced of his guilt or innocence to realize that Ivins should not have been allowed anywhere near anthrax.”

      One need not be convinced of his guilty or innocence to address the contemporanous documents that show that your claim he had no reason to be in the B3 on those nights was horse manure which Mr. Willman never tested by obtaining the documentary evidence referenced in the Amerithrax Investigative Summary.

      The claim — which is the central premise of the article and the government’s speculations — was contradicted by the documentary evidence that Mr. Willman provably saw before you let this piece run but after he wrote and published the book.

      But now he has too great a stake in things and so we have yet another stakeholder.

      Instead, by now, Mr. Willman should have interviewed the investigators Lawrence Alexander and prosecutor Rachel Lieber and confirm that THEY too had not seen the pertinent lab notebook pages when they formed their conclusions.

      Ed Lake STILL has not addressed these pages. Proponents simply have no explanation for the documentary evidence that was at the heart of the shifting sands known as The Ivins Theory.

    • DXer said

      Whose initials appear in connection to the April 2002 submission reference. Dr. Ivins repeatedly explained his lab tech made the submission. The initials are not “BI” — they appear to be PF.

    • DXer said

      (EDITORS: BEGIN OPTIONAL TRIM). Indeed. Now we are getting our news on critical issues by a reporter with a financial interest in the matter.

      Mr. Willman writes:

      “One need not be convinced of his guilt or innocence to realize that Ivins should not have been allowed anywhere near anthrax.”

      Yes, and Dr. Hatfill forged his PhD diploma and should not have been away near ebola — or anthrax. But while interesting, that’s not the question presented by or dispositive of the whodunnit.

      David Willman in claiming that Ivins had no reason to be in the B3 on those nights is perpetuating a false and specious claim made by the investigators.

      Mr. Willman sought the hours spent in the lab. (see list of FOIA requests he made provided to me by USAMRIID). But he did not also request copies of the lab notebooks providing the explanation. The explanation was in a notebook maintained by Patricia Fellows — scanned rather than hard copy. Mr. Willman merely reiterated AUSA Rachel Lieber’s mistaken characterization in the Amerithrax Investigative Summary. (AUSA Lieber, through a spokesperson, refused this blog’s request for the lab notebook pages). There are numerous lab notebooks still being withheld by the DOJ — which removed the only copy of most notebooks from USAMRIID. Mr. Willman nowhere even notes that the notebooks were not produced as part of the FBI’s 3500 page production. When a prosecutor withholds the key contemporary evidence, an investigative journalist should have asked for it under FOIA.

      The claim that Dr. Ivins had no reason to be in the lab — which is the central premise of the article and the government’s speculations — is now contradicted by the documentary evidence that Mr. Willman provably saw before you let this piece run… but after he wrote and published the book. But now he has too great a stake in things to adjust his conclusion — or even to address the lab notebook pages produced on May 11, 2011. It’s Mr. Willman who is avoiding the hard facts and who had formed his conclusion when he got the book contract in 2008.

      Instead, by now, Mr. Willman should have interviewed the investigators Lawrence Alexander and prosecutor Rachel Lieber and confirm that THEY too had not seen the pertinent lab notebook pages when they formed their conclusions. Now that’s a story — rather than this well-written and well-crafted rehash of the issues in the report by the psychiatrist Saathoff who had actively guided the aggressive approach to Dr. Ivins in 2007 and 2008 in numerous meetings.

      Proponents of an Ivins Theory simply have no explanation for the documentary evidence that was at the heart of the shifting sands known as The Ivins Theory.

      No one should doubt for a minute that David has real talent. His writing is thoroughly enjoyable to read — just like the long articles about Hatfill’s life were. But now he should address the documentary evidence recently produced. He should continue with the interviews that he never conducted — and most of all, use his stature as a reporter and status as a media requestor to get the lab notebooks from the FBI.

      HBO’s docudrama then could be based on some semblance of the facts. Because right now “Creepy Bruce” narrative does not amount to a solution to Amerithrax.

  6. DXer said

    > From: Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
    > Sent: Friday, October 05, 2001 10:53 AM
    > To:
    > Subject: Stabilizer in a new rPA vaccine
    The data we are getting from our with formaldehyde/without
    formaldehyde experiment in rabbits is giving us VERY strong evidence that we
    should incorporate a stabilizer in with rPA and Alhydrogel.
    ..weren’t some FDA-acceptable stabilizers going to be identified? If
    there some out there, maybe we should start thinking about them now.
    Basically what we have as far as the experiment:
    1) Five years ago rPA/Alhydrogel/PBS vaccine was made with or
    without 0.02% formaldehyde (the level that’s in AVA) and stored at 4C. With
    these vaccines we immunized groups of rabbits as follows (0.5 ml per
    intramuscular dose):
    > Group A – 24 rabbits (12 males, 12 females) get PA (50
    ug)/Alhydrogel (0.5 mg)/PBS/0.02% formaldehyde at 0 weeks. Challenge
    (subcutaneous) at 6 weeks with about 100 LD50 Ames spores.
    > Group B – 24 rabbits (12 males, 12 females) get PA (50
    ug)/Alhydrogel (0.5 mg)/PBS/No formaldehyde at 0 weeks. Challenge
    (subcutaneous) at 6 weeks with about 100 LD50 Ames spores.
    > Group C – 4 rabbits (2 males, 2 females) get PBS/Alhydrogel
    (0.5 mg) at 0 weeks. Challenge (subcutaneous) at 6 weeks with about 100 LD50
    Ames spores.
    2) Results so far, 3 days after challenge:
    Group Survived/Total
    A – Vaccine plus formaldehyde 24/24 (no deaths)
    B – Vaccine minus formaldehyde 16/24 (8 deaths)
    C – Controls 0/4 (4
    Note: We originally studied the effect of formaldehyde on rPA
    vaccine potency/stability in guinea pigs. The cumulative data indicated that
    stability/potency was enhanced by the presence of formaldehyde.
    – Bruce

    • DXer said

      I believe there is a typed, excel spreadsheet, still being withheld, that shows the exact day and time of observed death.

  7. DXer said

    This blogger provides background on why commenters do not address the recently produced information above and instead repeat their usual schtick.

    I mean… they don’t even acknowledge that it has been produced or are not well-read enough to know that it was produced.

    Tuesday, May 31, 2011

    Bruce Ivins, maybe a creep, but the anthrax killer?

    So the world hasn’t ended yet, despite the bold and confident prediction of my former employer Harold Camping. On May 23rd, Harold declared that Judgment Day did occur, but only spiritually, and revised his doomsday prediction, moving it up to October 21. Harold’s rationale was that sometimes God doesn’t open our eyes and reveal everything to us, and it was good that the prediction was made, even if it didn’t happen, because now the whole world knows about Judgment Day, and the Word of God. As I observed Harold on his Open Forum television program in the days leading up to May 21, and on May 23 and days after, I couldn’t help but notice the resemblance between Harold Camping and the kind of person being spoken of here:
    The reasonable man adapts himself to the world : the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. — Man and superman; a comedy and a philosophy (1903) by George Bernard Shaw
    Sometimes, a person can be so fixated on the conclusion that s/he wants, that the possibility of a mistake, an error, or even reasonable doubt, cannot be tolerated. If the person represents not just himself, but is the face of an institution, sometimes this can magnify the expense and senselessness of a wasted effort. I am reminded of an interview on Slate’s The Wrong Stuff on what it’s like trying to free people who have been wrongly convicted of crimes:
    You become more certain over time; that’s just the way the mind works. With the passage of time, your story becomes your reality… They’re so convinced that they are right that they feel exempt from behaving right… There’s still a whole category of prosecutors and detectives who say, “No, I’m sure [the guy I convicted] is guilty. I can’t tell you how, I can’t give you a logical explanation, but he’s guilty.” What’s scary is that these people are part of a system that’s predicated on logic and reasoning to see that justice is done. Yet they will ignore all logic and reason to protect their egos and their psyches. And it requires a complete disconnect, too, because these guys rely on DNA to convict bad guys all the time. But when the DNA works against them, they say something must have gone wrong.
    …based on my own experience, about half the time police and prosecutors bury their heads in the sand and insist that they were right no matter what the evidence says.
    If a prosecutor or a detective is totally unable to admit they’re wrong in one case, what that tells you is that they will be making dozens and dozens more erroneous decisions, because they’re not allowing new information to affect their views… — Peter Neufeld
    I think the best way to gauge whether the person you’re dealing with is being unreasonable is to ask him if there’s anything you or anyone can say or do that will make him change his mind. If he deflects, doesn’t answer, or says ‘no’, then you have someone who probably cannot be swayed (least of all by reality).

    A couple of days ago, an excerpt was published in the Los Angeles Times, written by LA Times reporter David Willman. From the soon-to-be-published The Mirage Man, the excerpt reads like a hatchet job on Bruce Ivins, the supposed anthrax killer who struck shortly after 9/11 (when it really did seem like the world was going to end), painting a picture of the man as a major creep who was obsessed with the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. With no citations or references to sources, the excerpt describes in vivid detail how the man broke into KKG sorority houses in North Carolina and West Virginia and stole a cipher used to decode secret rituals, and a book of rituals used by the young women, respectively. But a McClatchy News article, published 20 days before the LA Times excerpt, painted an entirely different picture of the whole story:
    In ending the inquiry last year, the Justice Department said that a genetic fingerprint had pointed investigators to Ivins’ lab, and gumshoe investigative techniques enabled them to compile considerable circumstantial evidence that demonstrated his guilt.

    Among these proofs, prosecutors cited Ivins’ alleged attempt to steer investigators away from a flask of anthrax in his lab that genetically matched the mailed powder — anthrax that had been shared with other researchers. They also noted his anger over a looming congressional cut in funds for his research on a new anthrax vaccine.

    However, the FBI never found hard evidence that Ivins produced the anthrax or that he scrawled threatening letters seemingly meant to resemble those of Islamic terrorists. Or that he secretly took late-night drives to Princeton, N.J., to mail them.

    The FBI declared Ivins the killer soon after paying $5.8 million to settle a suit filed by another former USAMRIID researcher, Steven Hatfill, whom the agency mistakenly had targeted earlier in its investigation.
    While there is certainly circumstantial evidence that the FBI was correct in trying to pin the crime on Bruce Ivins, my fear is that so much was at stake after the FBI made a mistake with Hatfill, that immediately after Ivins committed suicide, there was a need for everyone at the Bureau to unify together and say the politically correct thing, rather than deal with the possibility that they were responsible for a second tragedy.

    Thanks to Art Diamond for pointing me to the source for the Shaw quote.

  8. DXer said

    As key evidence of Dr. Ivins guilt, David Willman emphasizes that before the October 9 mailing, Dr. Ivins spent eight consecutive nights alone in the hot suite.

    That is precisely what he was scheduled to do. See the lab notebook pages withheld by DOJ for two years and produced by the United States Army on May 11, 2011. See also 302 interview statement(s) explain that checking the animals was a one-person job and that autoclaving a dead animal takes a couple hours.

    • DXer said

      Dr. Pat Fellows spin his time as unwarranted, thus hanging him out to dry?

      • DXer said

        Did Pat feel under pressure because the bloodhounds, in addition to alerting to Hatfill, had alerted to her? Or because she had provided technical assistance to a former Zawahiri associate supplied virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins?

  9. DXer said

    This lab notebook page (first produced under FOIA and posted on May 11) shows that there was 0% survival in most groups. In his book Mirage Man, David Willman cites the investigative summary and interviews with investigators instead of these lab notebook pages that were not previously produced. Mr. Willman writes” “His contemporaneous lab notes also offered no justification, other than the chore of checking for dead rabbits.” But Mr. Willman had not seen the lab note pages because they had been withheld. He was merely repeating the assertion of Lawrence Alexander in an interview and AUSA Rachel Lieber in an Amerithrax Summary. The government should have produced these pages in its initial production of 3500 pages. There are pages still being withheld from these very dates.

    The 302 interviews explain that it is a one-person job and that autoclaving a dead animal takes a couple hours — and autoclaving is usually left to the last person there for the day. As for time in the lab, there were computers in the suite and Mr. Willman has gone to length to explain that Dr. Ivins liked magazines and websites with pretty women, surfing the internet, and doing other very private things.

    People can obtain and provide their own expert opinions on autoclaving protocol — if they think the formal 302 interview statement does not suffice. But that’s presently the record evidence. Everyone hopefully can agree that under FOIA, the lab notebook pages should have been produced. And the remaining lab notebook pages that the FBI has removed from USAMRIID should be produced under FOIA. If investigators spent half the time complying with FOIA that they do trashing their superiors to journalists and seeking credit, then everyone literally could get on the same page. I hope to see 5 more lab notebooks uploaded this next week by USAMRIID.

    Although I think he is mistaken that the evidence about Dr. Ivins rises beyond a speculative theory, given the quality of Mr. Willman’s writing, it is a pleasure to see him visit the same material. Life would be pretty dull if people saw things the same way. The quality of his writing reminds me of John Johnson once of the Sacramento Bee and then of the Los Angeles Times. These journalists have a dream job though Dave also would be a great litigator. He certainly is an advocate in this book.

  10. DXer said

    David Willman writes:

    “Could there be a benign explanation for Ivins’s unusual hours at USAMRIID in the days preceding each of the two rounds of anthrax mailings? His lab notebooks, which documented his official work, offered none for the period preceding the first round of letters. As for the second round, Ivins’s notes said that on the first five of those dates, he had checked on the health of rabbits being used in a colleague’s experiments. Observing and documenting dead rabbits would have taken far less time spent in the hot suite on the first three of those five nights: 1 hour 42 minutes; 1 hours, 20 minutes; 1 hour, 18 minutes. On the fourth and fifth nights, Ivins was in the hot suite for 29 minutes and 20 minutes, respectively.”

    David Willman: Given the uncontradicted 302 testimony that says it would take up to a couple hours to autoclave dead animals (and that it would be done typically by the last person working that day), what is your authority for suggesting his time in the lab was unexplained? Animals died each day according to the lab notebook pages first produced last week (pursuant to a FOIA request I made). You did not request the autoclave tapes (I had to do that). See uploaded list of FOIA requests made by David Willman to USAMRIID. You did not request Patricia Fellows notebook. (I had to do that). So while I greatly enjoy your writing and greatly admire your work ethic (evidenced by the number of people you have interviewed), you are mistaken that his time in the lab is unexplained by the documentary evidence. It was just withheld from you because you never asked for it — instead choosing to pursue the spin given you by your contacts among the Amerithrax investigators (beginning even before Dr. Ivins’ suicide). I am troubled, however, that you quote so many people (like Gerard A. and Jeff A. ) without noting that they have explained very specifically why Dr. Ivins could not be guilty).

    Best regards, Ross

  11. DXer said

    Dave Willman in Mirage Man writes:

    “E-mail from Bruce Ivins to Arnold F. Kaufmann, October 4, 2001” and notes “Ivins’s time spent alone in the hot suite at USAMRIID was described in the Justice Department report on the anthrax investigation,” Amerithrax Investigative Summary, issued February 19, 2010. Before Ivins e-mailed Kaufmann that night, he had spent more than three and a half hours alone in a hot suite at USAMRIID. Ivins left the building at 10:12 PM. (p. 379. n.10)

  12. DXer said

    This is how the DOJ wanted to redact what you could see from Dr. Ivins notebook in early October 2001. Now compare it to the copy properly processed under FOIA.

  13. DXer said

    Sailing The Good Ship Anthrax: Dr. Ayman Zawahiri sends an infiltrator to join Bruce Ivins at annual conferences on anthrax

    USAMRIID released some emails by Bruce Ivins discussing the difficulties of planning the Fourth International Conference on Anthrax in Annapolis. The first of the emails was from September 1998, upon his return from the conference at Plymouth. In June 2001, the good ship anthrax sailed in Annapolis, Maryland, the “sailing capital of the world.” The 4th International Conference on Anthrax was held at St. John’s College in historic Annapolis, Maryland, June 10 – 13, 2001. The conference was organized by the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases and managed by the American Society for Microbiology. The 74-foot classic wooden schooner was named WOODWIND. Martin Hugh-Jones had convened the conference along with Peter Turnbull, the Porton Down scientist who had led the UK conferences attended by Ayman Zawahiri’s scientist, Rauf Ahmad. Reports of livestock and national park outbreaks were followed by a summary by Dr. Turnbull. Other anthrax notables who spoke included senior USAMRIID scientist Dr. Ezzell, who had one of the first looks at the Daschle product, and Dr. Paul Keim, who would play a key role in the genetic investigation.

    Theresa Koehler from the Houston Medica School gave a talk titled “The Expanding B. anthracis Toolbox” while Timothy Read from The Institute of Genome Research summarized research on The B. Anthracis Genome. Houston Medical School, the UK’s biodefense facility Porton Down, and Pasteur Institute each fielded three presenters. UK scientists presented on the characteristics of the exosporium of “the highly virulent Ames strain.” Researchers from Columbus, Ohio and Biological Defense Research Directorate (BDRD) of the Navy Medical Research Institute in Bethesda, assisted by Porton Down scientists from the UK, demonstrated that inoculated mice survived a challenge with b.anthracis spores. Researchers used b.anthracis containing a plasmid with a mutated lethal factor.” Dr. Phil Hanna from University of Michigan presented, as he did at the conference attending with Rauf Ahmad.

    A Kazakhstan Ministry of Health scientist presented on the re-emergence of anthrax in Kazakhstan. Upon the break-up of the Soviet Union the first job offer Ken Alibek fielded was the position of Minister of Health in Kazakhstan. He protested when he realized that his new employer just wanted to do what the Soviets had been secretly doing in an illegal and massive bioweapons program he had supervised as its First Deputy. After the KGB asked to meet with him, he asked to schedule the meeting in two weeks, so that he might visit his parents, and then found a secret expedited way of coming to the United States.

    Pakistan Rauf Ahmad had been the predator looking for the Ames strain and consulting on weaponization techniques at the UK conference. Did the Amerithrax perp attend this conference or work on any of the research presented? Ali Al-Timimi had a high security clearance for mathematical support work for the Navy. Why? When? What did his work involve? In January 2002, FBI Assistant Director Van Harp told the 40,000 members of the American Society for Microbiology that it was “very likely that one or more of you know this individual.” They very likely did.

    • DXer said

      Anwar Awlaki’s infiltrating scientist shared a suite with the leading DARPA-funded Ames anthrax researchers

      Raymond Zilinskas, who was researching a history of the Soviet bioweapons program, told The Baltimore Sun a couple years ago that “his sources now say that Soviet intelligence routinely obtained details of work at USAMRIID that went beyond the descriptions in scientific journals.” The Sun quoted him saying: “It was clear there was somebody at Fort Detrick” who worked for Soviet intelligence. Alexander Kouzminov, a biophysicist who says he once worked for the KGB, had first made the claim in a book, Biological Espionage: Special Operations of the Soviet and Russian Foreign Intelligence Services in the West. Initially, Dr. Zilinskas had dismissed the memoir because the Russian had made separate fanciful inferences about the US program being offensive and some specific claims unrelated to infiltration of the US program.

      The Sun article explained that then “another former Soviet scientist told the Sun that his lab routinely received dangerous pathogens and other materials from Western labs through a clandestine channel like the one Kouzminov described.” A second unnamed “U.S. arms control specialist” told the Sun he had independent evidence of a Soviet spy at Fort Detrick.”

      The Baltimore Sun, in the 2006 article, also relied on Serguei Popov, who was “a scientist once based in a Soviet bioweapons lab in Obolensk, south of Moscow.” Dr. Popov “said that by the early 1980s his colleagues had obtained at least two strains of anthrax commonly studied in Detrick and affiliated labs. They included the Ames strain, first identified at Detrick in the early 1980s.” Ames was used for testing U.S. military vaccines and was the strain used in the 2001 anthrax letters that killed five people and infected 23 in the U.S. Dr. Popov is now at George Mason University’s National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Disease in Fairfax, Va.

      “If you wanted ’special materials,’ you had to fill out a request,” he said. “And, essentially, those materials were provided. How and by whom, I can’t say.” One colleague, Popov told the Sun, used this “special materials” program to obtain a strain of Yersinia pestis, a plague bacterium being studied in a Western lab. But he didn’t know whether that particular germ came from Ft. Detrick. Former KGB operative and author Kouzminov says the KGB wanted specific items from Western labs — including Detrick — that were closely held and were willing to pay for the privilege. The Soviets also wanted the aerosol powders U.S. scientists developed for testing during vaccine tests.

      Raymond Zilinskas, the bioweapons expert with the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and two colleagues had written a scathing review of Biological Espionage in Nature, a British scientific journal, but he later told The Sun “that his sources now say that Soviet intelligence routinely obtained details of work at USAMRIID that went beyond the descriptions in scientific journals.”

      Expert William C. Patrick III, a retired Ft Detrick bioweapons expert, and famed Russian bioweaponeer Ken Alibek agree. Patrick’s suspicions arose when he debriefed defector Alibek in the early 1990s. Alibek emigrated to the U.S. upon the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991. Patrick and Alibek both recognized that the Soviet and American programs had moved in a curious lock step during the 1950s and ’60s. “Anything we discovered of any import, they would have discovered and would have in their program in six months,” Patrick told the Sun. After his talks with Alibek ended: “For the next two weeks I tried to think, ‘Who the hell are the spies at Detrick?’”

      Both former Russian bioweaponeers Ken Alibek and Serge Popov worked with Ali Al-Timimi at George Mason University. Dr. Al-Timimi has been convicted of sedition and sentenced to life plus 70 years. Popov and Alibek worked at the Center for Biodefense funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (”DARPA”). At one point, Al-Timimi worked not much more than 15 feet from both Dr. Alibek and Dr, Bailey.

      • DXer said

        Know Not Just Your Enemy, But Who He Knew

        Al Zayat was the blind sheik Abdel-Rahman’s attorney who had announced in the Spring 1999 that Dr. Ayman Zawahiri was going to use anthrax against US targets to retaliate for the rendering of senior Egyptian Islamic Jihad leaders. Dr. Ayman’s brother was rendered that month and his sisters, one a microbiology professor at Cairo Medical in the Department with the DARPA-funded scientist provided virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins, was distraught.

        The August 6, 2001 PDB to President Bush explained: “Al-Qaida members — including some who are US citizens — have resided in or traveled to the US for years, and the group apparently maintains a support structure that could aid attacks. Two al-Qa’ida members found guilty in the plot to bomb our Embassies in East Africa were US citizens, and a senior EIJ member lived in California in the mid-1990s.” (The reference was to Ali Mohamed with no mention that he trained US Special Forces on matters relating to jihad at Ft. Bragg and had been Ayman Zawahiri’s head of intelligence).

        In a study of 400 terrorists, University of Pennsylvania professor Marc Sageman concluded that 70 percent of terrorists were recruited outside their native country, having traveled abroad in the hope of improving their livelihood through jobs or education. Separation from their families and a feeling of alienation from their host countries prompted many to seek companionship at mosques. Friendship constituted 70 percent of recruitment, kinship 20 percent and discipleship only 10 percent. Social networking continues to be relied upon by the Muslim Brotherhood as a means of recruitment. Who did Ali Mohammed and Ayman Zawahiri meet in their travels? Just as interesting as the question who Ayman Zawahiri knew is who Ali Mohammed, Ayman’s head of intelligence and cell recruitment, knew. He recruited Dahab from Cairo Medical in the early 1980s.

        Zawahiri traveled to Malaysia, Singapore, Yemen, Iraq, Russia, Great Britain and United States. In March 1995, Zawahiri reportedly met with Taha (who at the time was based in Peshawar, Pakistan), Egyptian Islamic Group leader Mustafa Hamza (who at the time was based in Sudan), and Sudanese leader Turabi. Zawahiri traveled to Sudan and Ethiopia in mid-June. According to his former friend and EIJ’s spiritual advisor, Al-Sharif, Zawahiri was paid $100,000 by Sudanese intelligence to attempt to kill the Egyptian prime minister on a visit he made to Ethiopia. Al-Sharif writes that Zawahiri promised Sudanese intelligence to carry out 10 operations against Egypt.

        Zawahiri went to Russia in 1996 where he was imprisoned for 6 months. (Zawahiri was arrested in Dagestan after he tried to enter Chechnya; the Russians apparently never learned his real identity.) Two men joined the local islamists in urging the release of the three. One was Shehata, who would later serve briefly as head of al Jihad. Shehata was in charge of “special operations” and was in regular contact with Jaballah in Canada.

        As in life, it’s who you know that is important. What mosques did Zawahiri visit when he came to the United States in 1995? Who did he know from his days recruiting students to jihad at Cairo Medical in the early 1980s?

        In an article that reconstructed his travels of his travels between April 1995 until December 1996, Andrew Higgins and Alan Cullison of the Wall Street Journal described some of the contents of his computer: “visa application for Taiwan; details of a bank account in Guangdong, China; a receipt for a computer modem bought in Dubai; a copy of a Malaysian company’s registration that listed Dr. Zawahiri, under an alias, as a director; and details of an account in a bank in St. Louis, Mo.” This past week we learned that in 1995 he spent a month in Bulgaria. The St. Louis bank account related to reimbursement of expenses of the satellite phone used in planning the 1998 embassy attacks. Purchase was made by a charity worker in Columbia, Missouri. (The Saudi dissident in London who was a friend of Bin Laden and the Egyptian London cell members were complicitous in the purchase). The father of Al-Timimi’s friend Royer rented a room to Khalil Ziyad in his St. Louis-area home in 2000. Ali Al-Timimi was a recruiter for Lashkar-e-Taiba, recently associated with anthrax and biological weapons by Guantanamo Detainee Assessments which mentioned Arif Qasmani, a top LeT operator in Pakistan.

        In 1997, back in Afghanistan, after his imprisonment in Russia, al-Zawahiri and Bin Laden plotted their strategy as to the United States. Bin Laden was able to convince Al-Zawahiri to discontinue the military operations inside Egypt and, instead, focus on the common enemies America and Israel. They had concluded that it was United States’ appropriations that propped up the regimes of Islamic countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt that had prevented the islamists from toppling those regimes. In 1996, Bin Laden announced war against America to the extent of its presence in the Middle East region. By the end of 1997, Bin Laden had determined to openly declare war against America and urge that Americans be killed everywhere.

        Bin Laden issued a fatwa on February 23, 1998 announcing the creation of “The World Islamic Front for Jihad against Jews and the Crusaders [Christians].” Along with Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri, it was signed by Taha, the man in charge of the Advisory Council of the Islamic Movement in Egypt. Taha was the blind sheik’s successor in the Egyptian Islamic Group. At the end of July 1998, Taha signed a statement saying he had never signed the fatwa. Al-Zayat, who had remained in touch with Taha until he was detained while transiting Syria, reports that Taha said that he was asked on the phone whether he would sign a statement to support the Iraqi people who were under American air strikes and he agreed. Taha explained that he had agreed to join in the 1998 “Crusaders” statement because he was told it was in opposition to the bombing strikes in Iraq. “He was surprised to discover later that the statement referred to the establishment of a new front, and that it included a very serious fatwa that all Muslims would be required to follow.” Taha emphasized that this all happened without “any clear approval” from the Egyptian Islamic Group “regarding participation in the Front. [The group] found itself a member of a front that they knew nothing about.”

        Attorney al-Zayat notes that when Mabruk, a long-time confidante of Zawahiri and the head of military operations, was captured in Albania in 1998, “[i]n his possession, the authorities found a laptop that had many names of the members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. This led to the arrest of more than a hundred members, who were tried in one case.” As a general rule, however, organizational security was very strict. “Any arrest of members is an opportunity for information to be extracted through torture. This is why each member knows only his role. When the members pledge their obedience and loyalty to the leader of the group, they are aware that they are not supposed to ask any questions about things that are not directly related to their role.” For example, Ramzi Binalshibh and Zubaydah knew only the limited operation they were engaged in. Such adherence to cell security makes piercing a conspiracy and proving it beyond a reasonable doubt very difficult.

        Islamic Group military commander Mustafa Hamza, who reportedly supported a cease-fire, and Islamic Group leader Taha, who supported a return to violence, apparently had a falling out after the Luxor debacle. In 1998, following Taha’s resignation as Islamic Group’s head, Hamza took over as its head. But after Taha was rendered to Egypt while in transit through Syria in 2001, Islamic Group leader Taha’s wife and children lived with Hamza’s family in Mashhad, Iran. Thus, the alleged falling out perhaps had not caused too great a rift. They both remained in contact with the blind sheik and his paralegal Sattar in 1999 at a time there was talk of a need for a second Luxor.

        Zawahiri kept in touch with Mahmoud Jaballah, who had emigrated to Canada in 1996, by satellite phone. EIJ shura member Mahmoud Mahjoub was also in Canada. Mahmoud Mahjoub was second in command of the Vanguards of Conquest, after Agiza (who later was succeeded by Zawahiri) In seeking refugee status in Canada, Mahjoub claimed that the persecution in Egypt was the result of a brief association with a suspected member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Mahjoub said that he was arrested several times while in Egypt and claimed to have experienced torture at the hands of the civilian authorities.

        In June 2000, Zawahiri visited Hambali in Indonesia with al-Qaeda military chief Mohammed Atef. Hambali the next year would attempt to reestablish Sufaat’s anthrax lab in Southeast Asia. Sufaat in May 2001 worked to isolate anthrax at Omar Hospital while the crates he has arranged with KSM to have shipped to Kandahar lab were en route. He and Hambali briefed Zawahiri on their efforts over a week in August 2001. A WMD Commission concluded that contrary to what the US goernment thought in 2002, Al Qaeda had virulent anthrax prior to 9/11. KSM explained that Sufaat and his two assistants in Fall 2001 were vaccinated and thus Sufaat not concerned about working with virulent anthrax.

        Meanwhile, another friend and colleague of Ayman, Kamal Habib, was writing for the Ann Arbor charity IANA and playing a prominent role in Egyptian politics. Kamal Habib had graduated from Cairo University in 1979 in political science. Twenty years later, he wrote for the Islamic Assembly of North America (“IANA”) quarterly magazine. The Cairo-based publication Al-Manar Al-Jadeed was sponsored by the Ann Arbor-based charity, Islamic Assembly of North America. The 1999 website announced:
        “IANA has signed a cooperative agreement with the Cairo based publisher and distributor Dar Al-Manar Al-Jadeed. Jointly they will publish in Cairo and distribute around the world the quarterly Al-Manar Al-Jadeed magazine. The magazine is devoted to addressing the religious, social, and civil matters. Six issues of the magazine have already been published. The editor in chief is the well-known writer, Jamal Sultan. We wish the magazine a very prosperous future.”

        Habib was a key founding member of Egyptian Islamic Jihad and spent 1981-1991 in jail for the assassination of Anwar Sadat. Like Abdel-Bari, al-Zayat and Taha, he was critical of Ayman’s tactics, though not his goals. In the late 1970s, the cell ran by the young doctor Zawahiri joined with three other groups to become Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) under alleged that that at an Alexandria, Virginia residence, in the presence of a representative of BIF, the defendants watched videos depicting Mujahadeen engaged in Jihad and discussed a training camp in Bosnia. Al-Timimi had asked the FBI to hold off on the indictment until he received his degree. His defense lawyer says that the FBI searched Al-Timimi’s townhouse “to connect him to the 9/11 attacks or to schemes to unleash a biological or nuclear attack.” Former Russian bioweaponeering program head Ken Alibek told me that he would occasionally see Al-Timimi in the hallways at George Mason, where they both were in the microbiology department. Dr. Alibek was vaguely aware that he was an islamic hardliner but considered him “a numbers guy.” When what his defense counsel claims was an FBI attempt to link him to a planned biological attack failed, defense counsel says that investigators focused on his connections to the men who attended his lectures at the local Falls Church, Va.

        The IANA webmaster Al-Hussayen from Moscow, Idaho complained in a Sept. 8, 2002, phone conversation that “we have to have control over our projects,” saying operators of the Islamway Web site, the Al-Manar magazine and the Alasr Web site were doing whatever they wanted, then sending IANA the bills. At the IANA publication Alasr, he complained, “Khalid Hassan puts in it what he wants, with some of the articles being sensitive causing us some problems at the present time. .. They don’t think, for example, what you might face being here.” Four fatwas justifying suicide attacks — including flying a plane into a tall building — that were posted on the Alasr’s Web site were central to the allegations against Sami Al-Hussayen.

        For US citizens it is awkward to have connections with the islamist-jihadis. For example, telephone records show that subtlis expert, Walied Samarrai, frequently called and was called by the telephone number associated Abdul Yassin, for whom there is a $2 million reward for the World Trade Center bombing in 1993. Ramzi Yousef had listed it as it his telephone number in late January 1993 upon a car accident, when the chemicals in his car trunk went unnoticed by the police officers. The calls stopped upon the arrests in early March 1993, but not long after a long call to Saudi Red Crescent was made after the WTC 1993 bombing in late February. Dr. Ayman Zawahiri had used Saudi Red Crescent as his cover when first coming to Afghanistan. Professor Samarrai does not deny that he lived in Piscatay, 3 miles from the mailbox in 2001.

        And so we may never know how the DOJ prosecutors and investigators excluded access to virulent Ames by supporters of the salarfi-jihadists or those who they knew. But from the lab notebook pages that they withheld for over 2 years, we now know that Dr. Bruce Ivins did not in fact make a dried powder on those nights. The government’s argument that his lab time in the B3 was unexplained was always unmitigated crock contradicted by the documentary evidence that should have been known by the prosecutors and investigators. The mice and rabbits being challenged on those nights had a 0% survival rate — others in only one of the groups had a 50% survival rate. Dr. Ivins was not merely checking on the health of some animals, he was dealing with numerous dead animals as part of his long-scheduled animal checks at night. It takes 1 1/2 – 2 hours to autoclave a dead animal. Another 302 interview explains that checking on the animals was a one person job that would take about 2 hours.

        Al Qaeda military commander and former Egyptian police sergeant commander Atef, a key anthrax planner, was killed in November 2001. Canadian Khadr was killed. And now of course Bruce Ivins is dead. What they knew may stay buried with them given the DOJ is playing hide-the-ball with the relevant documents — to include numerous additional lab notebook pages that they removed from USAMRIID so that they could not be produced under FOIA . The DOJ, as another example, has not yet produced a 9/17/2001 email to Mara Linscott for which the time of the email has not been disclosed — nor has it produced the other emails Dr. Ivins wrote on 9/17 from his home computer. So we are left to the spin that they are promoting in the press and now a new book by the fellow who broke the news of Dr. Ivins suicide — they are confident, they say. They are confident that they didn’t drive an innocent man to commit suicide. A psychologist might have told them that despite their good faith, which is presumed, they are subject to cognitive dissonance. They just don’t want to follow the documentary evidence where it takes them. They are content with not knowing the what, how or why of the anthrax mailings. But they shouldn’t be. The United States faces an existential threat. Amerithrax should be reopened in light of the lab notebooks recently uploaded. You don’t need to see the contemporaneous documents the DOJ FOIA Attorney says — or if you want to, it will cost you $2500 for me to look and then I may not produce anything. Trust us, the investigators say.

        Such an important matter involving counterintelligence intelligence should never have been left to postal inspectors and psychiatrists working without full information. And if the lead investigator says he had full information, then he should explain how the claims of the US Attorney Jeffrey Taylor are consistent with the documentary evidence — the recently uploaded lab notes showing the death of all the and rabbits — that should have been disclosed in August 2008. The GAO should determine who is responsible for withholding of relevant documents.

        The roots of the Amerithrax likely grew in the United States rather than a faraway place like Egypt, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia or Malaysia. Although the seeds were planted in Cairo, the tree took root not only in Brooklyn and in many places in the US. But it turned out that faulty intelligence analysis is the greatest danger of all. Once again, we are our own worst enemy.

  14. Zicon said

    I would think they may want to reconsider the 2500.00 cost… Which btw is sick to think they are even doing this…

    Good Job on the work Dxer!

    Send a letter, or make a call to her, and her legal advisors, see if something could be worked around through legal channels. It makes perfect sense. Everyone has the same agenda. Others just choose to work behind the scenes to get things done. WITHOUT having to explain how certain things are known, or in possession-.- Figuratively speaking of course!

  15. DXer said

    The Department of Justice yesterday wanted to charge me $2500 for the nonprivileged documents provided to Plaintiff Maureen Stevens, to include the document posted yesterday showing that Dr. Ivins had his hands full with dead mice and dead rabbits on the precise nights that the DOJ speculated that Dr. Ivins was making a dried powdered anthrax.

    Some documents, such as those relating to vulnerabilities or private records relating to counseling are subject to protective orders. Those documents are stamped with a notice pursuant to the procedure contemplated by a protective order. The request for documents relates to those not so stamped. (The Department of Justice has not yet responded to the request for a computer printout indicating what FOIA requests have already been processed).

    In justifying the request , I explained that I promptly make all documents produced available to the public. (This blog that serves that purpose thanks to Mr. Weinstein’s unflagging efforts has 167,000 hits).

    I further explained:

    “Taxpayers are tired of federal agencies paying taxpayer dollars to settle claims for negligence and then preventing the documents coming to light.
    After USAMRIID has produced thousands of pages of Dr. Ivins emails, there is nothing confidential that USAMRIID needs to protect.
    If it wants to shield the dried powdered aerosol project that FBI tried to keep secret for 10 years (it’s anthrax expert John Ezzell had made a dried aerosol out of Flask 1029, aka “the murder weapon”), then good luck in litigation.”

    I noted that “Any proprietary or confidential information could of course be subject to redaction under the statutory exemptions. (There is no statutory exemption for pendency of a civil matter).”

    On the one hand, the government daily tells us that Al Qaeda plans on attacking the United States, focusing possibly on any city in the United States — in a mass attack with the casualties exceeding 9/11.

    We repeatedly are told by national security officials and commissions that anthrax is likely to be used.

    At the same time, the Department of Justice investigators say that they do not know the when, what or why of the anthrax mailings. (The backpedaling of the when is understandable given their narrative is now contradicted by the documentary evidence that had been withheld until yesterday).

    Yet, the Department of Justice does not think that the public has any need to see the documents that might shed light on the who, what, when and where of the anthrax mailings of the Fall 2001.

    A media requestor should request a copy of all nonprivileged documents provided to Plaintiff Maureen Stevens — given that status as a media requestor would more expeditiously resolve the issue of the $2500 that the DOJ wants to charge.

  16. Zicon said

    Antifoam composition

    Perhaps the outer silicon shell was incorporated during the making of the powder which I do believe is very possible with antifoam agents. That way you have a pure completely undisturbed weapons grade spore. The metal levels would be contributed from the various mill griding techniques.. (Just saying…) I believe Japan has produced some papers on this as well.

  17. Old Atlantic said

    This is brilliant work.

    • DXer said

      The Government Accountability Office should explore why these pages were not produced by the DOJ as part of its production of 3500 pages. They relate to how Dr. Ivins spent his time on the nights that US Attorney claimed he had no reason to be in the lab. They were the most probative documents of all as to what he was doing.

      See the previous post

      why are Dr. Ivins contemporaneous lab notebook pages from 2001 (September 28, 29 & 30, and October 1 & 2) being withheld? … these are the nights that Rachel Lieber and Kenneth Kohl speculate he was making a powderized anthrax.

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