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

* the material on the CASE CLOSED blog about Judith McLean (see prior posts linked below) is relevant to an evaluation of the validity of David Willman’s conclusions in his recently published “The Mirage Man” … because Willman himself, in his publicity blurb (see below), shows just how much he relied on the psychic who says … she was granted her abilities by an extraterrestrial being … got sick in 2001 from doing astral recovery work at Ground Zero and in Afghanistan after 9/11 … and was pursued by nasty Taliban entities

Posted by DXer on June 12, 2011


David Willman, Judith McLean & their books


see also 


as published in “The Daily Beast” …  

journalist David Willman, in an excerpt from “The Mirage Man,” 

reveals his take on the troubled psychiatric history of Bruce Ivins,

and bases his analysis on therapist Judith McLean,

the psychic who says she was granted her abilities by an extraterrestrial being

extracts from the excerpt chosen by David Willman,

presumably among the strongest parts of his case against Dr. Ivins.

  • As part of his care, in June 2000 Ivins submitted to weekly one-on-one talk therapy with a clinical counselor, Judith M. McLean, based at Comprehensive Counseling Associates in Frederick, an organization headed by Dr. Allan L. Levy, who had recently become Ivins’ psychiatrist.
  • McLean learned from Ivins that he was an accomplished scientist and had access to dangerous substances, but she did not know anthrax was among them. Ivins began opening up to her about his life outside science: He had harsh things to say about his deceased mother and described a painful childhood, during which he never fit in with other kids and felt as if he had no friends. He said he had sometimes committed acts of anonymous vandalism against those who wronged him. Ivins had earlier told a psychiatrist that he carried a loaded gun at college. Imagining stationary objects inside of buildings as his enemies, he said he fired at them, once destroying a wall clock. He told McLean about people from his childhood against whom he wanted to exact revenge.
  • On the afternoon of July 18, 2000, Ivins arrived for his fourth session with McLean. They began discussing anew his obsession with Mara. He said he felt deeply attached to her, but she did not show the same interest in him. She was not responding regularly to his e-mails, and this angered him.
  • In a matter-of-fact manner, Ivins described how he had driven recently to upstate New York to watch Mara play in a soccer match, and how he had brought along a jug of wine that he had spiked with poison. If Mara had not been injured during the match, he would have offered her the wine when they met for a casual visit afterward. He had the ability, he told McLean, to create “lethal poisons” and the expertise to use them for revenge.
  • He said he saw himself as an “avenging angel of death.”
  • McLean informed Ivins that she was duty bound to report to the authorities any homicidal threat. Given what she regarded as Ivins’ compulsive, vengeful state, McLean asked if he would be willing to submit to an evaluation by a psychiatrist. Ivins agreed to do so as soon as it could be arranged. Before he left that day, McLean persuaded him to sign a statement pledging not to harm anyone and to contact her immediately if he had further “homicidal thoughts.”
  • McLean was trying to stay outwardly calm and nonjudgmental, yet she was afraid of what Ivins might do—to her or to someone else. She found him “creepy, scary, spooky,” and was determined to sound a warning. On the day Ivins revealed his poisoning plot, McLean’s supervisor, Dr. Levy, who was Ivins’ psychiatrist, was on vacation, so she called the psychiatrist who was covering for him, Dr. Orrin Palmer, who in turn phoned Ivins. McLean also called the Frederick police that night and spoke to an officer who said it sounded as if no crime had been committed. She got a similar response when she called a lawyer who represented the practice she worked for, Comprehensive Counseling.
  • The next day, July 19, 2000, McLean reached Dr. David Irwin, who had once been Ivins’ psychiatrist, about performing the mental evaluation to which Ivins had agreed. Irwin said that Ivins had been like an “overstretched rubber band”—the “scariest” patient he had ever treated.

***From the book, The Mirage Man by David Willman. Copyright © 2011 by David Willman. Reprinted by arrangement with Bantam Books, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

***David Willman is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist whose reporting for the Los Angeles Times brought to light the pivotal developments surrounding the 2001 anthrax letter attacks.


28 Responses to “* the material on the CASE CLOSED blog about Judith McLean (see prior posts linked below) is relevant to an evaluation of the validity of David Willman’s conclusions in his recently published “The Mirage Man” … because Willman himself, in his publicity blurb (see below), shows just how much he relied on the psychic who says … she was granted her abilities by an extraterrestrial being … got sick in 2001 from doing astral recovery work at Ground Zero and in Afghanistan after 9/11 … and was pursued by nasty Taliban entities”

  1. DXer said

    It was this book that the actor relied upon in portraying Bruce Ivins. I would say that he should have done better research on his character.

  2. DXer said

    Daniel Dae Kim relied on this book as his bible which explains why he has so missed the mark.

  3. DXer said

    Daniel Dae Kim
    Some shots from a special night Thanks so much to everyone who helped make this event and our show happen. The Hot Zone: Anthrax drops this Sunday night on @natgeotv and @hulu. Hope you’ll tune in! @ New York City
    11/23/21 12:34 PM

  4. DXer said

    Former FBI Agent R. Scott Decker (author of “Recounting the Anthrax Attacks”) is incompetent to have written a newly published a book relying on this witness. With this sort of incompetence and failure to vet witnesses — even after the facts have been made widely known — do not think for a moment that the FBI is able to keep our country safe.

  5. DXer said

    Steven Zaillian Developing Anthrax Attacks Movie ‘Mirage Man’

    By Dave McNary

  6. DXer said

    Fox, Steve Zaillian Developing ‘Mirage Man’ Movie About 2001 Anthrax Attacks

    by Jeff Sneider July 26, 2018

    20th Century Fox is developing an adaptation of David Willman‘s non-fiction book The Mirage Man: Bruce Ivins, the Anthrax Attacks, and America’s Rush to War, Collider has learned.

    Steve Zaillian will produce via his Film Rites banner along with Anova Pictures principal Cybill Lui, whose feature credits include After the Dark and the Nicolas Cage movie Pay the Ghost.

    The Mirage Man chronicles the true story of the 2001 anthrax attacks, which began on Sept. 18 — exactly one week after 9/11 — and continued over a period of three weeks. Letters containing anthrax spores were mailed to several news media offices and two U.S. Senators (Tom Daschle of South Dakota and Patrick Leahy of Vermont), ultimately killing five people and infecting 17 others. According to the FBI, the ensuing investigation became “one of the largest and most complex in the history of law enforcement.”

  7. DXer said

    Faced with an absence of evidence against Ivins but determined to develop an alternative to the debunked Hatfill Theory, R. Scott Decker, Scott Stanley (who moved over to behavioral unit at Quantico) and his friend Greg Saarthoff, took Judith McLean’s notes on Ivins counseling sessions and spun a psychological basis for finding Ivins guilty of the Ivins crime.

    It constituted gross incompetence for them not to vet Judith McLean by something as simple as reading her book at that she wrote about the period she met with Ivins in summer of 2000.

  8. DXer said

    “As he investigates Trump’s aides, special counsel’s record shows surprising flaws,” David Willman,
    November 24, 2017

    But at 73, Mueller’s record also shows a man of fallible judgment who can be slow to alter his chosen course. At times, he has intimidated or provoked resentment among subordinates. And his tenacious yet linear approach to evaluating evidence led him to fumble the biggest U.S. terrorism investigation since 9/11.

    Mueller already was coming under siege from critics who questioned why the FBI had not prevented the 9/11 attacks. Fear spread of a “second wave” terrorist strike.

    Mueller countered by announcing plans to reshape the FBI. Its first priority would be to prevent another terrorist attack — not conventional law enforcement.

    The enormity of the FBI’s challenge emerged within weeks.

    A handful of letters, laced with powdered anthrax, killed five people and sickened 17 others. The government closed congressional office buildings, the Supreme Court and postal facilities as the country braced for further biological terrorism.

    But Mueller’s FBI struggled for nearly seven years to determine who was responsible — even as he personally managed the case from headquarters.

    “The director was always the leader of the anthrax investigation, period,” said Michael Mason, former head of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

    The FBI focused on Steven Hatfill, a virologist at the U.S. Army’s laboratories at Ft. Detrick, Md. In January 2003, Mueller assured Congressional leaders in a closed-door briefing that bloodhounds had traced anthrax from the attacks to Hatfill.

    But Hatfill had no experience handling anthrax. Nor did he have access to anthrax stored at Ft. Detrick or elsewhere. Years later, the FBI would reject the bloodhound evidence as unreliable.

    After media leaks fingered Hatfill, he sued the FBI and the Justice Department on privacy grounds. In June 2008, the government agreed to pay Hatfill about $5.8 million.

    Two months later, on Aug. 6, Mueller summoned senior investigators and prosecutors on the anthrax case to his seventh-floor office. The FBI would hold a news conference that afternoon, and he wanted to recap the case’s stunning denouement.

    Bruce E. Ivins, an Army microbiologist at Ft. Detrick who specialized in handling anthrax, had committed suicide after his lawyers informed him he was about to be charged with murder for the letter attacks.

    Evidence showed Ivins had created and held custody of a batch of anthrax traced by DNA to each of the killings. Ivins had spent hours alone in specially equipped labs just before each batch of letters was mailed.

    Mueller let others hold the news conference. Some aides who met Mueller that day think he was reluctant to publicly address the missteps with Hatfill, the bloodhounds and the long delay in focusing on Ivins.

    “I think he was personally embarrassed,” said one. “I would assess him as someone that can’t accept the fact that he screwed up.”

    Comment: Mr. WIllman’s statement “Evidence showed Ivins had created hand held custody of a batch of anthrax traced by DNA to each of the killings” is a wild mischaracterization. 300 had access to the same anthrax at USAMRIID alone.
    And virulent Ames since has been shown to have been unwittingly sent around the world.

    Mr. WIllman, in regard to his book on Amerithrax, has never acknowledged that he relied on — as his key witness — a woman who thought she was controlled by an alien who had implanted a microchip in his butt. (He made the same mistake made by the proponents of an Ivins Theory that he was channeling in his book). If you look at his sourcing for the book, you’ll see his sources were proponents of the Ivins Theory. Not long before the book, he had been in Scandinavia interviewing the ex-wife of a Battelle manager. His casting of Mueller as not turning over all rocks has no sound basis.

    Indeed, Michael Mason at the time personally assured me by email that the FBI was turning over all stones — and I credit Mason (who I once favored taking over for Mueller as Director upon his term ending).

    If FBI Director Mueller liked Dr. Hatfill for it, and Mueller was entitled to his opinion — the theory (IMO) was as good as an Ivins Theory. (And I was the most prolific, strident debunker of a Hatfill Theory over the course of years.) Indeed, the former lead investigator Richard Lambert has said that a staggering amount of evidence exculpatory of Bruce Ivins is being withheld by the FBI.

    NYT interview of former lead Amerithrax investigator Richard Lambert: “a staggering amount of exculpatory evidence” regarding Dr. Ivins remains secret
    Posted on July 16, 2016

    It is rather incredible that Willman does not mention this; his editors should have him writing self-justifying opinion pieces because that is what he is writing whenever he touches on the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings. At least Mueller and Lambert, in focusing on a Hatfill Theory, did not have as a central witness someone who thought murderous astral entitles attached to her patients in her new part-time addictions gig were trying to kill her.

    It is David’s failure to acknowledge that he screwed up (as to reliance on the key witness) that is disturbing. FBI Director Mueller, on the other hand, has never had occasion to address such matters. (Mr. Willman’s FBI Agent sources (the ones he doesn’t name) had their feelings hurt when Mueller did not thank or congratulate them. They need to toughen up a bit and take a broader view — Dr. Bruce Ivins’ sad suicide was no occasion for praise or thanks, under any theory.) When the stained panties are understood, he likely had loads of reasons to kill himself). David Willman continues to write on the subject without acknowledging his missteps. That is the power of the press.

    As for an Ivins Theory, the FBI relied on claimed unexplained time in the B3 laboratory the week prior to the mailing. Okay. So FBI: produce the notebook that provides contemporaneous notes for that week. Let’s see whether Bruce Ivins had reason to be in the lab working on a small animal experiments.
    Dozens of other notebooks have been produced. The case is closed. Yet the FBI withholds the critical notebooks because the Ivins investigators haven’t wanted to be sued for driving Ivins to commit suicide by their withholding of the same notebooks from him — as he often explained in the midst of his despair, he needed them to reconstruct his time. He needed the notebooks to corroborate his claim about the experiments he was working on.

    Maybe, instead, when Notebook 4282 is finally produced, we will see that a different scientist, his assistant, was in the lab that week so as to see that no massive quants of anthrax was being grown and dried as the FBI imagines. That is the value of getting people on the same page.

    OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE? … DXer asks Vice President Pence: Who at the FBI is responsible for withholding Ivins’ Notebook 4282, containing the notes from the time of the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings?
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 17, 2017

    On the issue of the bloodhound smelling dogs, does Dave think it was Mueller’s choice to bring in the dogs? Or was it the choice of one of his sources, such as Scott Decker, who has a book coming out on the subject this Spring. Let’s hope Scott’s book shows a greater degree of self-awareness and candor regarding missteps. He was a fervent advocate of a Hatfill Theory for years.

    The “Hatfill Theory” was part of the same unstoppable train wreck as the “Ivins Theory.” There was a change of cars (investigators), but it was the same flawed train of reasoning and the investigators never overcame the earlier truncated emphasis of the investigation.
    Posted on May 10, 2011

    The DC-based journalist WIllman has long been too dependent on his FBI Agent sources who were frustrated with Mueller because he took more seriously evidence exculpatory of Dr. Ivins. Yet these agents were not even privy to all that evidence.

    Only Richard Lambert saw all the evidence. Not Dave. Not Dave’s FBI Agent sources who, in connection with his book on Amerithrax, are all named in the sources by Dave’s scrupulously detailed citations.

    Dave does excellent work and is an experienced, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. Hopefully when the Lambert memo is produced, he will be able to place his formidable knowledge of the details of an Ivins Theory in the context of all the evidence exculpatory of Ivins. Because so far, he’s done a piss-poor job of that. Wanting to sell a book already published is no excuse.

    In his book, his central witness is the most unreliable witness imaginable and yet he has never acknowledged that he screwed up when he revisits the anthrax mailings.

    A country needs its heros embodying the rule of law. And I think former FBI Director Mueller — putting aside all politics or disagreements on a true crime matter — fills the bill well.

    If the Administration wants to give flesh to the claim that he has flaws and has made missteps in major cases such as Amerithrax, then all the FBI Director Wray need do is have the FBI comply with FOIA and put an end to its concealment of the pages of Notebook 4282.

    The rule of law, FBI Director Wray, requires no less. No exemption — aside from some minor (b)(6) redactions — apply. Production of the several key pages in that notebook will help people get on the same page. That, after all, is the purpose of FOIA.

    Anthrax, Al Qaeda and Ayman Zawahiri: The Infiltration of US Biodefense

  9. DXer said

    Philip Baruth in turn relies heavily on David Willman’s book in the newly published Senator Leahy: A Life in Scenes (May 2017).

    Anthrax, Al Qaeda and Ayman Zawahiri: The Infiltration of US Biodefense

  10. DXer said

    No mention is made in the pending action against Dr. Ivins’ psychiatrist (In the Matter of Allan L. Levy Before the Maryland State Board of Physicians) of his practice’s use of a counselor who thought she was controlled by an alien who had implanted a microchip in her but.

    According to her 2009 book, the counselor received instructions from the alien each night, and was being pursued by murderous entities attached to her patients.

    That counselor’s charges against Dr. Ivins — she claimed he was a murderous fiend — loomed very large in an Ivins Theory and the FBI’s decision in July 2008 to close the important national security investigation titled “Amerithrax.”

    The government psychiatrists and author David Willman in turn based their account and conclusions on her claims — and never revised their account.

    In the case of Dr. Levy alleged lapses in connection with prescription practices, a prehearing conference is scheduled for January 10, 2013. Robert J. Gilbert, Deputy Counsel Health Occupations Prosecution is handling the matter.

    I learned about from a fellow who I believe received it from the other addictions counselor treating Dr. Ivins — the one who was under house arrest that late spring and early summer for a second DWI arrest. Her employment relationship had ended in early August 2008 — shortly after Dr. Ivins involuntary commitment and suicide — for reasons that are not public.

    The second counselor had Dr. Ivins involuntarily committed after being handed the file of the first counselor by the office manager.

  11. DXer said

    In the trailer, CNN seems to be recycling material from 2008. Let’s hope the show tonight advances issues rather than rehashing material.

  12. DXer said

    I wrote this to the Washington Post Ombudsman today (as edited below somewhat).

    Re: August 7, 2008 report re Amerithrax (and today)- imagined earlier poisoning plot by Dr. Ivins -based on anonymous witness who then in 2009 book described her psychotic delusions- not corrected by Post

    The Washington Post first reported the imagined poisoning plot on August 7, 2008 and interviewed, without naming her, the counselor for several sessions in 2000 (Judith McLean).

    The Washington Post now relies on the story in a book review in its Entertainment pages today.

    It is still an ongoing matter of great importance. A GAO report probing the DOJ investigation is due out in September.

    Like the Washington Post, the government’s psychiatrist relies extensively upon Dr. Ivins’ first therapist, Judith M. McLean, who writes of how she acquired her psychic abilities in her 2009 book available for sale on — from a being from another planet. She believed nasty astral entities were trying to kill her.

    The Post’s critically important article dealt with imagined earlier poisoning plot by Dr. Ivins — based on the anonymous witness who then in 2009 book described her psychotic delusions.

    Today we are now hearing the lies repeated in a review in the Washington Post review of a book by David Willman, MIRAGE MAN.

    The witness was the principal witness against Dr. Ivins in David Willman’s book which argued that Dr. Ivins was creepy — and then addressed the merits of the crime in an epilogue to an appendix.

    This is not merely a journalistic issue — Amerithrax is a national security issue and missteps in analysis need to be corrected.

    In light of HIPPA, it is never good journalistic practice to report such accusations while not identifying the mental health professional; the counselor quit the field and left the state by 2001 given her astral recovery work (she would fly to Afghanistan and WTC each night) was so exhausting.

    psychic says … she was granted her abilities by an extraterrestrial being … got sick in 2001 from doing astral recovery work at Ground Zero and in Afghanistan after 9/11 … and was pursued by nasty Taliban entities trying to kill her’s-conclusions-in-his-recently-published-“the-mirage-man”-because/

    DOJ investigators successfully avoided deposition of Amerithrax consultant Gregory Saathoff who extensively and uncritically relied on the Ivins’ accuser who claims she was granted her psychic abilities by an alien from another planet.

    The report filed in the United States District Court by Dr. Saathoff should be corrected and all reliance on the first counselor should be removed.

    Washington Post should correct its reporting on such a critical issue.

    Excerpts from key witness (from her book ASCENSION JOURNEY)

  13. DXer said

    David Willman’s “The Mirage Man: Bruce Ivins, the Anthrax Attacks, and America’s Rush to War”
    By Dina Temple-Raston, Published: August 11

    Dina relies on 3 things as compelling evidence:

    First she describes her brother Charles at the time of Bruce’s memorial service had not yet seen the FBI’s evidence. That’s true. It had not been released yet. In early August, we only had the US Attorney Taylor’s press conference. I also spoke to Charles and he says that when he was formally briefed he was told that the government said that RMR 1029 was locked up and Dr. Ivins had sole custody. To the contrary, it was kept unlocked in locations throughout Building 1412 and Building 1425.

    Second, she relies on Nancy Haigwood who immediately “knew” he was guilty he was guilty — clinching it was when he sent her and others a Christmas card photoshopped to spell out the words “Holiday Greetings.” This likely is not even admissible evidence, let alone compelling evidence. Ms. Temple-Ralston should know better. It is evidence that Nancy hated Bruce — not evidence that Bruce was guilty of the anthrax mailings.

    Finally, she relies on the claimed poisoning plot described by first counselor Judith McLean. Ms. McLean is the woman who describes how she was granted her psychic powers by an extraterrestial and was pursued by nasty Taliban astral entities trying to kill her — with murderous entities from her clients often trying to attach themselves to her. Her would exorcise the demons in private meditation sessions — given her clients tended not to be receptive to description of the astral entities that possessed them. The notes of the psychiatrists (who disagreed with her) were supplemented by the counselor.

    I have previously addressed these issues — the supporting material has long been uploaded. The counselor’s book published in 2009 is available for $10 at Amazon (and I highly recommend it). David Willman failed to address this issue of the first counselor even after it was pointed out. He failed to address the lab notes produced 3 years after the fact explaining what Dr Ivins was doing in the lab on those nights. This is not right. Failure to address these issues was a serious journalistic failure. The discussion of the merits in his book was relegated to an Appendix to the Epilogue, something that Dina fails to mention.

    Dina Temple-Ralston’s failure to address these is startling and her view of what constitutes probative legal evidence is breathtaking given her role as Department of Justice correspondent. People don’t have to assess the evidence the same way. If they did, life would be mighty dull. But these journalists should address and meet the contrary evidence or they should sit on their hands.

    But to not address it reflects badly on both their research and critical reasoning ability.

    For the Washington Post not to correct its August 7, 2001 story reflects very badly on it.

    To take another example, a prolific blogger Ed Lake cannot even bring himself to mention the name of the scientist, Ali Al-Timimi, coordinating with Anwar Awlaki who shared a suite with the leading DARPA researchers who had their work with virulent Ames done at Southern Research Institute in Frederick.

    The country deserves better critical reasoning from those commenting on public matters — analysis that meets the issues head-on, is based on documentary analysis, and is not based on “gut” feelings or a failure to address the merits and admissible evidence.

    Faced with this “Bruce is creepy” argument (which from start to epilogue is the entirety of David’s book), both the Washington Post and Dina had available to them the lengthy book written by the first counselor explaining in detail the nature of her delusions germane to the “poisoning” story that so greatly influenced both the DOJ investigators, Dina, and the Washington Post. … and as a result, the country.

    It simply is not relevant evidence that Dr. Ivins didn’t kiss his prom date. These journalists should start doing their job and get the relevant documents.


  14. DXer said

    I first addressed the merits of these issues in December 2002.

    Al Qaeda, Anthrax and Ayman
    means, opportunities, motive, and modus operandi

    • DXer said

      My call sign, in case Dr. Ayman wants to make contact to share his side of the story and point out any errors, is KC2VDX.

      • DXer said

        My presentation on the merits is presented in detail here in a downloadable powerpoint presentation:

        While I encourage and agree with the Dr. Ebright/Mr. Willman’s argument that proliferation can lead to greater insecurity, my point would be that Amerithrax essentially represents a repeat of what occurred with Ali Mohammed, who had been Dr. Ayman’s chief of intelligence sent to penetrate US Army, CIA and FBI.

        • DXer said

        • DXer said

          Nosair, convicted regarding the assassination of Kahane, urges that Ali Mohammed could have provided exculpatory evidence. Understanding Amerithrax needs to be begin with an understanding of WTC 1993 and even the Nosair case. (He was the blind sheik’s bodyguard).

          More than 15 years after El-Sayyid A. Nosair was convicted of seditious conspiracy and of murdering Rabbi Meir Kahane, a dispute has erupted over a claim by Mr. Nosair that prosecutors improperly blocked his trial lawyers from gaining access to a witness who he says would have supported his claim of innocence, court papers show.

          A federal magistrate judge recently ordered a hearing on Mr. Nosair’s claim of prosecutorial misconduct, leading to a sharp response from prosecutors, who say Mr. Nosair’s contention is “absurd” and deny suppressing the witness.

          The government also argues that, given what is now known about the witness, a former United States Army sergeant who became a Qaeda operative and a close aide to Osama bin Laden, the only way he could have provided exculpatory testimony for Mr. Nosair would have been to lie on the stand.

  15. BugMaster said

    How tasty were the fish in Helsinki, David?

  16. BugMaster said

    Any information obtained from Ms. Mclean is irrelevant at this point. In other words, if this was a trial, her testimony would be inadmissable.

    Willman isn’t supposed to be a greenhorn cub reporter. Professional journalists have an obligation to their readers to thoroughly vet their sources.

  17. BugMaster said

    “Ivins described how he had driven recently to upstate New York to watch Mara play in a soccer match, and how he had brought along a jug of wine that he had spiked with poison. If Mara had not been injured during the match, he would have offered her the wine when they met for a casual visit afterward.”

    Wait a minute. What has been reported previously is that Ivins went to see Mara play, and was going to poison her if she lost.

    Seems a bit of an inconsistency here.

    • Lew Weinstein said

      And in any case, even if true … what does it have to do with proving that Ivins did or did not prepare and mail anthrax. That kind of “evidence” is nonsense.

  18. DXer said

    LA Times rehires David Willman in Washington
    Kevin Roderick • June 12 2011 11:05 PM
    Since the L.A. Times regained control of the Tribune Washington bureau, the place has been beefed up a bit and gotten a new bureau chief in David Lauter. In a newsroom memo on Sunday, he announced the rehiring of David Willman, the author of the recent “The Mirage Man,” which makes the case that the FBI was right to say that Bruce Ivins, a microbiologist at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases who committed suicide in 2008, was behind anthrax attacks in 2001 that killed five. Before Willman left the Times a few years to write the book, he won a Pulitzer Prize for investigating the FDA, and widespread plaudits for uncovering the dangers of the drug Rezulin. Before going to Washington he had uncovered unsafe practices in the construction of subway tunnels under Los Angeles.

    Read Lauter’s memo after the jump.

    Noted: Willman’s book gets a so-so review in today’s LAT. Reviewer Wendy Smith writes that “though Willman’s reporting is solid, the text reads like a series of newspaper articles stitched together, supplemented by poorly incorporated additional research. The impact of compelling pieces of evidence is muffled by repetition.”


    Although I disagree with DW on the merits of Amerithrax, as this memo from yesterday points out, his accomplishments are very impressive indeed. Drug safety and conflict of interest are very important issues. Muscle weakness caused by statins is one that occurs to me that is ongoing and I hope DW addresses. Being an investigative reporter in Washington is a dream job. I hope simultaneous with his couple months on book tour, he drops a couple of FOIAs. Given his stature as an investigative journalist and status as a media requestor, he will be able to obtain many documents unavailable to individual requestors (given that DOJ wants to charge us and won’t waive fees). I have suggested that as to Amerithrax he drop that portion of the analysis as it relates to JM because she is not a reliable witness on the issue except insofar as their is direct corroboration of the facts — and not merely the corroboration she raised the issue then.

    David is even relying on her for what she says others said. She likely also raised at the time the issue of being pursued by Taliban astral entitties then after 9/11 — and getting sick in 2001 from WTC debris while doing her astral recovery work. There are many other facts from 2000 that have not come out along the same lines. (A library run by a skeptics organization has a large library of materials on paranormal here which I recommend to everyone) interested in trying to separate fact from fiction. If she thinks Taliban entities were pursuing her and trying to poison her — it is a small step to understanding what Dr. Ivins was saying in describing his fantasies. She is the one who talks about avenging angels, not Dr. Ivins. I’ve read her book and Dr. Ivins’ hundreds and hundreds of emails — and there is no comparison between the two. Without DW having so much as taken time to read her book, which was readily available to him, he was not qualified to weigh in on the subject.

    On Amerithrax, I don’t see the book as uncovering new facts of important public interest. It was a thorough chronicling of the government’s position, including its central behind-the-scenes reliance on Ms. McLean. On the merits, it would be great to see them addressed — he hasn’t done so yet with the NAS report coming after he wrote his book. I just see someone promoting a book. He asserts his and the government’s conclusion and speculates as to the what, when and why of the crimes (like the government does now – without so much as addressing the lab notes uploaded on May 11, 2011). He does not respond to email messages on the merits and he just arrogantly suggests his research is better than the reporting before him. When actually an Ivins Theory is just Hatfill Redux and he is assuming its conclusion. He just happened to be a good friend — like one of Hatfill’s attorneys — who influenced his thinking. He steadfastly has failed to press this month for more documents. To keep your eye on the ball, watch as he continues to fail to address the lab notes, especially the contemporaneous lab notes withheld for 3 years.

    Here is the memo from yesterday:

    From: Lauter, David
    Sent: Sunday, June 12, 2011 05:36 PM
    To: yyeditall
    Subject: David Willman to Washington Bureau

    I’m very happy to announce that David Willman, an investigative reporter of exceptional talent who has produced groundbreaking work across two decades, will be joining our Washington bureau.

    David’s byline will be a familiar one; his hiring is a reunion for many of us. He came to the Los Angeles Times in 1990 after working at the San Jose Mercury News. At the Times, he started out covering courts in Orange County, but soon moved into investigative work, with a series of stories in 1993 and 1994 that uncovered dangerous practices in the construction of the city’s then-new subway tunnels. A few years later he moved to the Washington bureau where, in 1998, he began to write about the Food and Drug Administration’s fast-tracking of a drug for diabetes called Rezulin. As Willman told the public, the drug’s side effects had caused at least 33 deaths from liver failure, and several key people in the FDA’s policy-making apparatus had ties to the drug’s manufacturer. By the time the agency withdrew the drug from the market, the known death toll had reached 63.

    Willman went on to look at other drugs, discovering that FDA policies designed to speed new remedies to the market had loosened safety standards, leading to more than 1,000 deaths of patients. For that work, he won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Journalism, one of several major awards he has garnered. From there, Willman went on to examine conflicts of interest at the National Institutes of Health, work which led to substantial changes in government policies.

    For the last couple of years, Willman has reported and written a book, “The Mirage Man,” uncovering the story behind the 2001 anthrax attacks. The book has just been published and is already garnering excellent reviews. After a couple of months of book tour, Willman will join us in August.

    In-depth, path-breaking investigative reporting, work that uncovers new facts on matters of important public interest, has long been a central element of what this bureau does. Willman’s hiring is a significant step toward strengthening and expanding that capability. Please join me in welcoming him aboard.


    • DXer said

      I’ve emphasized more than once that her book ASCENSION JOURNEY is absolutely fascinating and everyone should buy it today — without further delay. It is about $10 and downloadable. You might pick up a hardcover too as it will become collectible after the GAO report and Frontline report comes out.

      • DXer said

        In terms of assessing his key witness’ claim that she was sick for a year beginning 2001 due to exhaustion from her astral recovery work at Ground Zero — and her allergic reaction to the debris there — an investigative reporter vetting for credibility of a witness — will get all possible audio and video from the period. One especially would seek audio and video of her explaining that in 2001 she was pursued by nasty Taliban entities. She says bacteria exists in the astral plane. Were they trying to poison her? Were they avenging angels of death?

        • DXer said

          JM says she can act conservatively when she wants. See 2010 radio interview uploaded. She likes seeing how conservative people see things. But let’s find her talking to those who share her beliefs from the 2000 / 2001 period so we can sort out exactly what Dr. Ivins said to her — as well as assess her claims about what others said a decade ago.

        • DXer said

          If you want to consider the claim by the key witness offered up by David Willman, you can access materials (real-world remote viewing is possible without his witness’ supernatural powers)

          For example, you can focus on her claim that she was pursued in 2001 by nasty Taliban entities (who could poison her) — and she was able to protect herself with a shield of light.

          She says she got sick from doing astral recovery work at Ground Zero (she would get her bi-location assignment each night) because of an allergic reaction to the debris.

          This is not evidence that it happened. This is evidence though that she was physically sick (for a year) in 2001 in connection with her astral travelling.

          It was not astral travelling that caused the sickness — it was the sickness that caused the astral travelling.

          Mr. Willman is on his soapbox about vetting for psychiatric fitness and yet did not even read the paranormal book written by his key witness in which she explains her work as a medium exorcist, telepath, remote viewer, clairvoyant, conversations with rocks and bushes etc/.

          Mr. Willman is on his soapbox of The Hatfill Theory without realizing that the missteps regarding an Ivins Theory have been even more dramatic and are ongoing.

          Amerithrax is the greatest intelligence failure in the history of counterintelligence in the United States and Mr. Willman is now its self-appointed spokesman…

          But it is all just a regrettable distraction — as Hatfill was for over a half decade.

          The question is: Is David going to help to set things on a sounder course or not?

          When Scott Shane relied on the wrong DOJ source for a point about water, when the error was pointed out, the error was corrected right away.

          Where has the correction to Mr. Willman’s misstep appeared?

          He hasn’t even addressed the contemporaneous notes yet. His excerpts relying on this witness in the Daily Beast was not taken down.

          Why isn’t Bantam incurring multi-million dollar liability in those states that make it unlawful to libel someone even who is deceased?

          I have much more evidence yet to come — but the correction in course would best come from the prosecutors and investigators and their spokespersons.

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