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

Archive for June 10th, 2011

* DXer compares statements made by US Attorney Jeffrey Taylor and FBI Assistant Director Joseph Persichini at their August 8, 2008 press conference to the documentary evidence so far produced (NOTE: much more is still being withheld)

Posted by DXer on June 10, 2011

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 TAYLOR: Dr. Ivins died of an overdose on July 29, 2008, and, at the time of his death, was the sole suspect in the case. Our investigation had begun to shift to a particular laboratory at USAMRIID in 2005 and began to focus on Dr. Ivins as a suspect in 2007.

DXER: WHEN AGENT MONTOOTH TOOK OVER, INVESTIGATORS WERE TOLD TO ONLY CONSIDER WHERE AMES WAS KNOWN TO EXIST AND TO DISREGARD WHERE IT MIGHT BE WITHOUT RECORD HAVING BEEN KEPT. SO ALL THOSE WHO MIGHT HAVE OBTAINED AMES SURREPTITIOUSLY WERE EXCLUDED. (HINT: SOMEONE WANTING TO MURDER SOMEONE WITH ANTHRAX WOULD WANT TO BE SURREPTITIOUS).

TAYLOR: In the weeks prior to his death, we had been in conversations with his attorneys regarding the direction of the investigation because we believed that based on the evidence we had collected, we could prove his guilt to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt.

DXER: THEIR MAIN EVIDENCE WAS GENETIC AND THEIR GENETIC EXPERTS SAY THAT THE EVIDENCE DOES NOT POINT TO IVINS. IT POINTS TO UP TO 377 AT USAMRIID ALONE. MORE RECENTLY, IT WAS BROADENED FAR FURTHER THAN THAT. See Wired article.

TAYLOR: First, we were able to identify in early 2005 the genetically unique parent material of the anthrax spores used in the mailings. As the court documents allege, the parent material of the anthrax spores used in the attacks was a single flask of spores, known as “RMR-1029,” that was created and solely maintained by Dr. Ivins at USAMRIID. This means that the spores used in the attacks were taken from that specific flask, regrown, purified, dried and loaded into the letters. No one received material from that flask without going through Dr. Ivins.

DXER: ANYONE COULD JUST TAKE IT OUT OF THE UNLOCKED REFRIGERATOR AND SO THIS MAKES NO SENSE.

TAYLOR: We thoroughly investigated every other person who could have had access to the flask and we were able to rule out all but Dr. Ivins.

DXER: THE FBI’S PROCESS OF ELIMINATION ASSUMED THE PROCESSOR IS THE SAME AS THE MAILER AND SO FROM THE VERY START THE REASONING IS BUILT ON A HUGE, UNPROVEN PREMISE.

TAYLOR: Second, as a renowned expert in the production and purification of anthrax spores, Dr. Ivins was one of a handful of scientists with the capability to create spores of the concentration and purity used in the attacks. The affidavits allege that, not only did Dr. Ivins create and maintain the spore batch used in the mailings, but he also had access to and experience using a lyophilizer. A lyophilizer is a sophisticated machine that is used to dry pathogens, and can be used to dry anthrax. We know others in Dr. Ivins’ lab consulted him when they needed to use this machine.

DXER: THE FORMER CHIEFS OF BACTERIOLOGY ALL SAY THAT THE LYOPHILIZER COULD NOT HAVE BEEN USED. IT WAS IN AN UNCONTAINED AREA – IN THE HALLWAY.

TAYLOR: Third, in the days leading up to each of the mailings, the documents make clear that Dr. Ivins was working inordinate hours alone at night and on the weekend in the lab where the flask of spores and production equipment were stored. A review of his access records revealed that Dr. Ivins had not spent this many “off hours” in the lab at any time before or after this period. When questioned about why he was in the lab during those off hours prior to each of the mailings, Dr. Ivins was unable to offer any satisfactory explanation.

DXER: DR. IVINS WAS RECALLING PARTICULAR NIGHTS FROM A HALF DECADE EARLIER. ONE WOULD TURN TO THE LAB NOTEBOOKS FOR WHAT HE DID. THEY SHOW THAT ON EVERY SINGLE NIGHT THAT THE DOJ SPECULATED THAT HE WAS MAKING A DRIED ANTHRAX POWDER, HIS DUTIES REQUIRED HIM TO TEND TO THE ANIMALS. THE UNCONTRADICTED EVIDENCE IS THAT IT IS A ONE-PERSON JOB THAT TAKES A COUPLE HOURS. US ATTORNEY TAYLOR NOWHERE DISCLOSES THIS AND INSTEAD ON THIS KEY ISSUE MAKES IT SEEM LIKE DR. IVINS IS SECRETLY IN THE LAB WHEN HE IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE. TAYLOR NOWHERE DISCLOSES THAT THE SAME LONG HOURS CONTINUED IN NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER. AND THAT THE REASON SUCH HOURS STOPPED IN EARLY 2002 WAS A NEWLY-IMPLEMENTED TWO-PERSON RULE PREVENTED IT. LAWRENCE ALEXANDER CREATED A GRAPH OF HOURS THAT WAS HUGELY MISLEADING ONCE STRIPPED OF THE REASON IVINS WAS IN THE LAB AND THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE 2-PERSON RULE. I HAVE NOT SEEN THAT THE SAME WORK WAS DONE, FOR EXAMPLE, FOR AUGUST 1998, WHICH WOULD SHOW THE SAME HOURS WHEN SIMILAR STUDY WAS DONE. COINCIDENT WITH THE INCREASE IN HOURS, BY THE WAY, WAS INSTALLATION OF A LAPTOP COMPUTER WHICH THE FBI SAYS IT CANNOT FIND. THAT COMPUTER WOULD FURTHER CORROBORATE HOW DR. IVINS SPENT HIS TIME. HE MAY HAVE SPENT IT SURFING THE INTERNET AS THE CHIEF OF BACTERIOLOGIST GA REPEATEDLY TOLD THE FBI.

TAYLOR: Fourth, the affidavits indicate Dr. Ivins had engaged in behavior and made a number of statements that suggest consciousness of guilt. For example, one night shortly after a search warrant was executed on his house, Dr. Ivins took highly unusual steps to discard a book and article on DNA coding while under 24-7 surveillance. In addition, he had submitted a questionable sample of anthrax from his flask of parent spores to the FBI, presumably to mislead investigators.

DXER: THE INITIALS ASSOCIATED WITH SUBMISSION OF THE SAMPLE ARE “PF”. DR. IVINS REPEATEDLY SAID THAT HIS LAB TECH SUBMITTED THE SAMPLES. THIS HAS NOT BEEN ADDRESSED. SHE ALSO IS INVOLVED IN THE MATTER OF THE FBI’S CONCLUSION ON INFERENCES ABOUT THE BOOK. THE BLOODHOUNDS ALERTED TO PATRICIA FELLOWS BUT NOT IVINS. (THEY ALSO ALERTED TO HATFILL; I ARGUED VIGOROUSLY IN 2002 THAT BLOODHOUND EVIDENCE IN THIS CONTEXT WAS UNRELIABLE AND SCOTT SHANE WROTE A POWERFUL ARTICLE ON THE SUBJECT IN OCTOBER 2002).

TAYLOR: Fifth, as reflected in the court documents, Dr. Ivins had a history of mental health problems and was facing a difficult time professionally in the summer and fall of 2001 because an anthrax vaccine he was working on was failing. The affidavits describe one e-mail to a co-worker in which Dr. Ivins stated that he had “incredible paranoid, delusional thoughts at times,” and feared that he might not be able to control his behavior.

DXER: JUST BECAUSE HE WAS PARANOID DOESN’T MEAN THAT THE TWO NICE WOMEN ON THE CRUISE WERE NOT FBI AGENTS, THAT HIS GOOD FRIEND WASN’T WEARING A WIRE AND SPINNING HIM AS GUILTY ETC. AND THAT HIS TWO BEST FRIENDS WERE NOT SAYING MEAN THINGS BEHIND HIS BACK.

FELLOWS SPUN HIM AS HAVING NO REASON TO BE IN THE LAB WHEN THAT WAS NOT TRUE – IT WAS THE LARGE AMOUNT OF ANTHRAX SHE MADE THAT WAS MISSING. IVINS TOLD HIS SUPERIOR HIS RECORDS WOULDN’T SQUARE UP BECAUSE OF THE USE IT HAD BEEN PUT. DAVID WILLMAN EVIDENCED NO INTEREST IN WHERE THE DARPA AEROSOL EXPERIMENTS WERE DONE.

TAYLOR: Sixth, throughout his adult life Dr. Ivins had frequently driven to other locations to send packages in the mail under assumed names to disguise his identity as the sender. He had also admitted to using false names and aliases in writings. In addition, he was a prolific writer to Congress and the media, the targeted victims in the anthrax attacks. Law enforcement recovered 68 letters to such entities from his house in a Nov. 1, 2007, search.

DXER: EGADS. FAKE SCREEN NAMES! HE WROTE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR! HE EDITED WIKIPEDIA! HE LIKED PRETTY WOMEN! IS THIS THE STUFF OF THE FBI’S COUNTERINTELLIGENCE ANALYSIS CAPABILITY?

TAYLOR: I’ll conclude with one more point. The envelopes used in the attacks were all pre-franked envelopes, sold only at U.S. Post Offices during a nine-month window in 2001. An analysis of the envelopes revealed several print defects in the ink on the pre-printed portions of the envelopes. Based on the analysis, we were able to conclude that the envelopes used in the mailings were very likely sold at a post office in [the] Frederick, Md., area in 2001. Dr. Ivins maintained a post office box at the post office in Frederick, from which these pre-franked envelopes with print defects were sold.

DXER: YES, AND THEY WERE SOLD THROUGHOUT MARYLAND AND VIRGINIA. US ATTORNEY NEGLECTED TO MENTION THAT AND THE AP FEATURE MADE IT SEEM THAT THE STAMP WAS SOLD UNIQUELY AT IVINS’ POST OFFICE.
THE MISSTEPS MADE IN THE REPORTING OF AN IVINS THEORY MAKE THE MISSTEPS IN REGARD TO A HATFILL THEORY PALE IN COMPARISON.

TAYLOR: During the course of the seven-year investigation, Dr. Ivins was interviewed by federal authorities several times — three times in 2008 alone. His statements were inconsistent over time and failed to explain the evidence against him.

DXER: THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE AGAINST HIM AND SO IT IS HARD TO EXPLAIN IT AWAY.

TAYLOR: The points I have just gone over are only a summary of the court documents we have provided you. There are additional details in the documents, which again, we encourage you to read thoroughly. All the information contained in this statement is now public information. We are able to give you this information because the United States followed proper procedures and formally requested that a federal court unseal several search warrants in this investigation, and that court approved the request. In addition, we consulted and received express permission of the Justice Department to do so.

DXER: YES, ABOUT THOSE ADDITIONAL DETAILS. THE DOJ SHOULD PRODUCE THE FAMILY 302S WHICH ALIBI DR. IVINS, THE SEPTEMBER 17, 2001 EMAIL TO MARA LINSCOTT WHICH WAS NOT IN FACT WRITTEN FROM HIS WORK COMPUTER (ONCE PRODUCED, IT WILL HELP ESTABLISH THE TIMELINE), AND THE ADDITIONAL LAB NOTEBOOKS WITH PAGES FROM THE AUGUST-OCTOBER 2001 TIME PERIOD.

PERSICHINI: We were then able to trace that to an individual lab, a single flask, and one individual who controlled it. Further, painstaking investigation lead us to the conclusion that Dr. Bruce E. Ivins was responsible for the death, sickness and fear brought to our country by the 2001 anthrax mailing, and that it appears, based on the evidence, that he was acting alone.

DXER: CONTROLLED IT… AS IN ANY OF “UP TO 377″ COULD REACH INTO AN UNLOCKED REFRIGERATOR AT ANY TIME AND TAKE IT, INCLUDING FROM THE FBI ANTHRAX EXPERT’S REFRIGERATOR — AND HE IS THE ONE WHO DAVID WILLMAN REPORTS MADE DRIED AEROSOL AT USAMRIIF OVER 5 YEARS AT USAMRIID (FOR DARPA). IVINS HAD NEVER KNOWN SUCH WORK WAS BEING DONE AT USAMRIID.

PERSICHINI: I’ve talked already about the extensive investigation that took place from 2005 to 2007. Again, we’re talking about a large number of individuals, over 100, who potentially had access to this substance. We had to go through this laborious process to ferret out or exclude those who were not involved. With respect to the other individual you mentioned, we were able to determine that at no time could that individual be put in the presence of that flask from which these spores came.

DXER: AGENT PERSICHINI SHOULD HAVE KNOWN THAT THE NUMBER WAS NOT 100 BUT TWO OR THREE TIMES THAT. NEITHER TAYLOR NOR PERSICHINI CONSIDERED THAT IT COULD HAVE JUST EASILY BEEN ACCESSED FROM THE TUPPERWARE TUB OF GENETICALLY IDENTICALLY AMES MAINTAINED BY TERRY ABSHIRE, IN JOHN EZZELL’S LAB. IT WAS THAT LAB THAT MADE THE DRIED AEROSOL OUT OF AMES FROM FLASK 1029. PERSICHINI RESIGNED SHORTLY AFTER THIS CASE WAS CLOSED FOR CHEATING ON AN OPEN BOOK TEST INVOLVING HOW TO CONDUCT A NATIONAL SECURITY EXAMINATION; A LAWYER EMAILED HIM THE ANSWERS AS HE TOOK THE TEST.

LET ME REPEAT: THE ONLY PEOPLE KNOWN TO HAVE MADE A DRIED AEROSOL OUT OF AMES FROM FLASK 1029 IS THE FBI’S EXPERT AND THEY KEPT THAT A SECRET AT THIS CONFERENCE AND THEN FOR THE NEXT 3 YEARS.

Taylor was asked … Could you address the reports today that the family had been confronted at a mall in Frederick, Md., at one point by investigators?

TAYLOR: That’s categorically false. The notion that somehow these people were coerced or abused by the agents or the lawyers is categorically false. These agents handled themselves professionally, responsibly, and with great respect for Mr. Ivins and for his family. And I’d say the same thing about the prosecutors in this case. They are pros, and they handled themselves the right way.

DXER: DAVID WILLMAN REPORTS THAT THE AGENTS TOLD AMANDA THAT HER FATHER WAS A MURDERER AND THAT ANDY WAS OFFERED A SPORTS CAR. THAT IS WHAT THE NEWS STORIES AT ISSUE HAD SAID. THE ASPECT I TAKE ISSUE WITH IS TELLING HIM FALSELY THAT HEINE SAID HE DID IT — THAT THREW HIM INTO A RAGE. AND TELLING HIM THAT THEY WERE GOING TO TEST HIS DNA (TO TEST AGAINST THE SEMEN STAINED PANTIES) AND THEN CALL HIS FAMILY TO CONFIRM HE WAS UNHAPPY AT HOME.

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