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

* DXer: DOJ has failed to comply with FOIA in connection with Amerithrax … LMW: the key question is WHY ???

Posted by Lew Weinstein on August 21, 2011

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Mueller & Holder ... these are the people relentlessly leading the struggle to keep the truth from the American people ... WHY?

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DXer (in a prior comment) says …

DOJ has failed to comply with FOIA in connection with Amerithrax.

As soon as the inventory of documents produced by USAMRIID to FBI is produced next week, media requestors should seek those documents simultaneously from USAMRIID and DOJ and FBI.

For some of the key documents (e.g., lab notebooks from September/October 2001), copies were not made and FBI took the only copy.

It is important that researchers put aside their preconceptions and work to reconstruct a timeline, based on documentary evidence, of what Dr. Ivins did in September and October. For example, if there is a record of what time he viewed a document sitting at a computer on a key date, that is the sort of thing that could be hugely relevant.

For example, the DOJ has failed to produce the September 17, 2001 email from Bruce Ivins to Mara Linscott so that the public can see what time it was sent (that would show that at the particular time in question he was at the computer from which it was sent and not Princeton).

Similarly, the DOJ is withholding the family 302s (compare the UNABOM case in which they were produced). Those 302s also serve to alibi Dr. Ivins for the night of September 17.

As another example, the DOJ is withholding its server archive that it obtained from USAMRIID that contains extensive documents not yet produced.

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LMW COMMENT …

Reporters should jump all over this issue. First, to get the documents. Then to find out why they have been so relentlessly withheld.

It is this purposely misleading behavior by FBI Director Mueller and Attorney General Holder and their subordinates which infuriates me. That fury caused me to write my novel CASE CLOSED, which posits an alternative (fictional) scenario for what really happened in the anthrax attack and in the pathetic FBI investigation which followed.

Read the opening of CASE CLOSED (below) and then buy a copy at

* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon *

* special offer for readers of this blog … purchase CASE CLOSED on Kindle for $5.00

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this is the opening scene of Lew Weinstein's novel CASE CLOSED

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13 Responses to “* DXer: DOJ has failed to comply with FOIA in connection with Amerithrax … LMW: the key question is WHY ???”

  1. DXer said

    GAO, what could justify the DOJ taking the only copy of Notebooks 4240 and 4241 and not giving a copy to USAMRIID?*

    Whatever the reason, why should public understanding of the chronology of events in September and October 2001 suffer? Those notebooks should be uploaded.

    Notebooks 4240 – Immunization at Covance for antiserum – 18 SEP and 16 OCT

    Notebook 4240 (and computer files) – Preparation of vaccine for FDA immunization of mice – September and October

    Notebook 4241 – Receipt of 30 vials of rPA from ______________ 30 SEP

    Here are the notebooks produced by USAMRIID. USAMRIID in its formal FOIA response explained that FBI took the only copy of key notebooks.

    19950618_LabNotebook4103(redacted).pdf (107678 KB) — Posted: 06/02/2011
    19960903_LabNotebook3919(redacted).pdf (2993 KB) — Posted: 05/10/2011
    19980106_LabNotebook4000(redacted).pdf (155721 KB) — Posted: 06/21/2011
    19981202_LabNotebook3745(redacted).pdf (32444 KB) — Posted: 06/02/2011
    20000114_LabNotebook4237(redacted).pdf (16714 KB) — Posted: 06/02/2011
    20000303_LabNotebook3921(redacted).pdf (22150 KB) — Posted: 06/02/2011
    20000608_LabNotebook4281(redacted).pdf (6568 KB) — Posted: 05/13/2011
    20000828_LabNotebook4306(redacted).pdf (4286 KB) — Posted: 05/03/2011
    20010809_LabNotebook4383(redacted).pdf (28822 KB) — Posted: 04/29/2011
    Notes and Sample Anaylsis from Notebook 3268.pdf (19684 KB) — Posted: 01/05/2012

  2. DXer said

    Senator Leahy earlier in the month introduced the Faster FOIA Act. It was passed by the Senate and then budget wrangling has delayed passage by the House.

    The DOJ would do well to make a better showing on producing the documents relating to the attempted murder of Senator Leahy — because if the DOJ/FBI delays further, when the documents finally are produced, someone may get in trouble for the unconscionable delays on a matter that relates to an ongoing anthrax threat. For starters, the DOJ/FBI should produce the handwritten notes that Dr. Ivins made revealing what he was doing in the lab on the nights that the DOJ AUSA Rachel Lieber speculated, without basis and contrary to the documentary evidence, that he was making a dried powder.

    http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com/article/20110818/OPINION01/108180301/Bill-aims-speed-up-FOIA-requests?odyssey=mod%7Cnewswell%7Ctext%7CFrontpage%7Cs

    Bill aims to speed up FOIA requests
    9:21 PM, Aug. 17, 2011

    The effort got back on track when its author, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, reintroduced it the first week of August and it was passed by the Senate. It now is expected to be considered by the House when Congress reconvenes in September.

    The bill seeks to create an advisory panel that would examine the reasons behind the backlog in FOIA requests and recommend to Congress how the process can be expedited.

    Whether the legislation will actually result in more timely replies to FOIA requests is unknown, but at least it will give lawmakers a little more leverage in pushing agencies to respond.

  3. DXer said

    It is important to understand how the warrantless surveillance issue relates to Amerithrax. Only two DOJ individuals were privy to the warrantless surveillance matter and yet much of the wiretapping centered around associates of Ali Al-Timimi, who the White House knew had been the former assistant of Andrew Card, the White House Chief of Staff.

    From the point of view of the White House, there was reason to be concerned that Ali had gained access to the virulent Ames rather than Saddam. Ali’s dad worked at the Iraqi embassy. It was negligence to alllow Ali to share a suite with leading DARPA-funded Ames researchers. Mr. Bush would not have won a second term if this became a focus. Each morning, it was Andy Card who opened the door for Director Mueller as he came in to brief on progress relating to Amerithrax. It would be two months before the FBI’s Field Office head first met with investigators.
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/08/29/politics/main20099023.shtml

    August 29, 2011 10:28 PM
    PRINT TEXT
    US warrantless surveillance memos remain sealed

    In responding to a federal Freedom of Information Act request, the department is withholding two legal analyses by then-government lawyer John Yoo and is revealing just eight sentences from a third Yoo memo dated Nov. 2, 2001. That memo is at least 21 pages long.

    Each of the three memos was summarized in a public report more than two years ago by five inspectors general. The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel says that Yoo memos from Feb. 8, 2002 and Oct. 11, 2002 were classified and protected from public disclosure by the deliberative process privilege. The Nov. 2 memo was withheld almost in its entirety for an additional reason, that it was covered by nondisclosure provisions in federal laws.

  4. DXer said

    Reporters interested in Amerithrax should ask for documents that have already been processed but not uploaded.

    MARC GOLD was provided 5,649 pages in response to his 8/172009 request for Ivins/ Laboratory Material.

    It is Request # 1135601.

    • DXer said

      The previous month, Marc Gold in connection with a request dated July 20, 2009 was provided 3,370 pages on July 28, 2009 — again for Ivins/ Laboratory Material. That request was #1134383.

      • DXer said

        Morris M. Goldings was provided 35 pages in connection with a request about the Anthrax Reward 2001-2009. The request # is 1128849. It was filed 4/8/9 and the response was dated July 30, 2009.

      • DXer said

        Dan Vergano requested docs re Bruce Ivins (Request # 117985 dated August 8, 2008) and was provided 3,599 pages on September 9, 2010.

        • DXer said

          http://zeenews.india.com/news/world/us-refuses-to-release-information-on-al-awlaki_728621.html

          According to reports, both the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have refused the news channel Fox News” requests and resisted calls from Congress to explain why the cleric was able to slip through the grasp of federal agents just one year after the 9/11 attacks.

          On October 10, 2002, Al-Awlaki was held by Customs agents at JFK International airport for three hours until an FBI agent, Wade Ammerman, ordered the cleric’s release, even though there was an active warrant for al-Awlaki’s arrest on passport fraud, the report added.

          Al-Awlaki is one of the suspects of facilitating the plot of the 9/11 hijackers.

          The US Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence had earlier warned that al-Awlaki is extraordinarily dangerous, committed to carrying out deadly attacks on Americans and others worldwide”.

          Comment:

          Atlhough it took months to execute a search that would have taken just seconds, the DOJ/FBI sent me 54 pages yesterday containing a log of FOIA requests from 2001-2009. Producing “0” pages is the norm rather than the exception.

          It took months to get the log even though what was sent something that the DOJ/FBI should have uploaded like other agencies routinely do. The computer search took less than 1 minute and the document could have been emailed 2 minutes later. But as I mentioned, the log of FOIA requests should be uploaded by the DOJ in the interest of efficiency. This allows requestors to avoid reinventing the wheel and to obtain documents already processed by referencing the # of prior requests. Here, Marc Gold was given 5,000+ pages relating to Ivins Laboratory within days of his request. The GAO should be sure it has those pages and should prod the DOJ/ FBI to upload them.

          The DOJ has excelled in the amount of material in Amerithrax that it has uploaded but once one comes to understand the matter, one realizes that the Lab Notebooks from the August – September 2001 period. chronicling his activities in the lab, are the most important material and they have not been uploaded.

        • DXer said

          The ACLU sued the FBI for withholding documents regarding a domestic program relating to reporting of suspicious activity. So it’s not like the FBI FOIA folks do not have their hands full.
          But there seems to be no reason not to upload a copy of the FOIA log and thus streamlining the request process. Numerous FOIA requests got goose-egged only because their request was duplicative — and there were numerous broad requests regarding Amerithrax and Ivins. Disclosing those requests that produced unique material not uploaded by the DOJ, however, would further the purposes of the Government In The Sunshine Act.

          FBI, NSA Stiff-Arm ACLU Request for Info on Domestic Spy Program
          By IULIA FILIP
          http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/08/28/39332.htm

  5. DXer said

  6. DXer said

    USAMRIID is represented by JAG.

    JAG made copies of what was provided. That’s what lawyers do. Lawyers don’t let clients turn over documents without putting them on the xerox machine and making a copy. (And if they didn’t make a copy when they went out the door, they ask their sister agency for a copy and are given it so they can represent their client.)

    I love USAMRIID FOIA. But it’s a tough love. Next time the wonderful FOIA officer says that documents are not at local JAG, but at JAG elsewhere, tell her that all documents in possession of the organization’s lawyers are in the organization’s control and need to be produced. She and JAG need to be armed with the precedent (so that the lawyers realize a suit under FOIA would succeed). If armed with the precedent, when the media requestor appeals (whether Frontline’s wonderful Lauren or some other requestor), the hardworking FOIA officer will realize that Barry in Frederick might be persuaded to bring suit for free the day after they deny the appeal. It was only through Barry’s help that the AFIP data was obtained through FOIA.

    Otherwise, it becomes too easy to avoid production of documents by sending the documents to a different office. My old law firm had offices in 6 cities across the country — geographic location was irrelevant to the represented party’s duty to produce.

    (Pssttt… USAMRIID’s lawyers also have the documents produced in the Stevens litigation not subject to protective order; you’ll recall that it is USAMRIID being sued in that matter). I appreciate that the Frontline documentary is not until October and we are rooting for great and Pulitzer Prize-winning revelations — whatever the expert journalists piece together as the facts established by the best evidence. But in advance of the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, it is the GAO report that is coming in September and it is important the documents be obtained for the GAO.

    • DXer said

      In addition to the inventory of documents produced to the FBI (and copies of those documents), Lauren should seek an inventory of documents provided to GAO (and copies of those documents). (With the understanding that there is no need to produce a document twice).

      • DXer said

        As a simuiltaneous alternative approach, Frontline or other requestors should submit FOIAs directly to Office of the Judge Advocate General (OTJAG) (given USAMRIID’s misconceived present position, which wouldn’t prevail in litigation), that it is not obligated to produce the documents that are kept by OTJAG (rather than the local JAG).

        Here is the contact information and FOIA website for OTJAG.
        Ms. Maanvi Patoir
        OTJAG FOIA Public Liaison
        Phone: (703) 588-6762
        Email: FOIA-Liaison@jagc-smtp.army.mil

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