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

* The head of the Amerithrax prosecution Daniel Seikaly pled the Fifth Amendment about leaking the hyped Hatfill stories that derailed the Amerithrax investigation for 7 years. His daughter later came to represent “anthrax weapons suspect” (to borrow defense counsel’s phrase) Ali Al-Timimi pro bono. GAO: Was an apparent conflict of interest avoided on the grounds that her representation began after her father left DOJ? Or was there a continuing appearance of a conflict of interest?

Posted by DXer on September 3, 2011

See “Laws and Rules on Confidentiality and Conflicts of Interest for US Prosecutors”






54 Responses to “* The head of the Amerithrax prosecution Daniel Seikaly pled the Fifth Amendment about leaking the hyped Hatfill stories that derailed the Amerithrax investigation for 7 years. His daughter later came to represent “anthrax weapons suspect” (to borrow defense counsel’s phrase) Ali Al-Timimi pro bono. GAO: Was an apparent conflict of interest avoided on the grounds that her representation began after her father left DOJ? Or was there a continuing appearance of a conflict of interest?”

  1. DXer said

    Hey Bradley Garrett:

    when you say upper management was convinced Hatfill was the guy, did that include the distinguished Seikaly (CIA until September 2001) who headed criminal investigation for the DC US Attorney? His brother and sister-in-law were going around giving talks arguing that Bin Laden was not responsible for 9/11.

    His daughter then represented Ali Al-Timimi (said by defense counsel to be an anthrax suspect) pro bono. She withdrew when I contacted the firm suggesting that it represented the appearance of a conflict of interest.

    Were you read into Dr. Ayman’s anthrax program — involving Atef, Zawahiri, KSM, Hambali, Abdur Rauf, and Yazid Sufaat? The FBI is looking really clueless in Amerithrax. And history has you as the fall guy. You were the guy showing up with the bloodhounds.

    I appreciated your volunteer effort getting the mass of documents from the Merck vaccine facility to the FBI, but I think someone kept you from swimming in the lane that you were best suited for.

    Do you even know the strain Yazid Sufaat was using in his lab? Or the strain found in Dr. Ayman’s house? It seems that you were the one kept on a leash.

  2. DXer said

    Remember Dr. Hatfill? He was the fellow who lied to the government and claimed to have a PhD. You just can’t make this stuff up.

    The Washington Post
    Trump’s election challenges distracted from covid response …
    Steven Hatfill, a virologist who advised White House trade director Peter Navarro and said he was intimately involved in the pandemic response,…

  3. DXer said

    DOJ and/or FBI officials allegedly leaked and spun things as they chose.

    Hatfill v. Mukasey

    539 F. Supp. 2d 96 (D.D.C. 2008)

    Discussing factors relevant to issuance of stay pending nonparty’s appeal of contempt sanction

    In ruling on Dr. Hatfill’s motion to compel Ms. Locy to reveal the identity of her anthrax sources, the Court rejected her argument that her refusal to disclose the identity of her sources was sanctioned by the First Amendment and a common law privilege she requested the Court recognize.Hatfill v. Gonzales, 505 F. Supp.2d 33 (D.D.C. 2007). Specifically, as to Ms. Locy’s First Amendment argument, the Court found that Dr. Hatfill had satisfied the “two Zerilli v. Smith, 656 F.2d 705 (D.C. Cir. 1981) guidelines” for compelling a non-party journalist to reveal the identity of her confidential sources. Id. at 36-44. First, the Court found that although Ms. Locy had revealed that her sources were FBI and DOJ officials, the actual identity of the sources “goes to the heart of” Dr. Hatfill’s Privacy Act claims. See id. at 43; see also 5 U.S.C. § 552a(g)(4) (2000) (requiring proof of agency willfulness and intent to establish a claim under the Privacy Act). Second, the Court concluded that Dr. Hatfill had exhausted all reasonable alternatives for acquiring the identities of the sources who leaked the information.Hatfill, 505 F. Supp.2d at 43. Finally, the Court rejected Ms. Locy’s argument that non-disclosure of the identities was countenanced by federal common law. Id. at 43-48. Specifically, the Court rejected Ms. Locy’s invitation to recognize a federal common law reporter’s privilege and further concluded that to the extent a federal common law privilege existed, it would not be absolute, and should not be recognized in the context of a case involving a “viable” Privacy Act claim. Id. at 45. Consequently, the Court ordered Ms. Locy (and several other reporters) “to comply with the subpoenas issued to them by Dr. Hatfill and to produce full and truthful responses to questions propounded to them by Dr. Hatfill’s attorneys.” August 13, 2007 Order (“August 13 Order”) at 1.

  4. DXer said

    Amerithrax irony: Bruce Ivins fully cooperated and never pled the Fifth Amendment.

    It was the lead Amerithrax prosecutor who pled the Fifth Amendment.

  5. DXer said

    Tass: Russian News Agency

    Trump urges Mueller to admit conflict of interest in pending investigation

    July 30, 2:29 UTC+3
    In May, the US Department of Justice announced that former FBI Chief Robert Mueller had been appointed as special counsel to investigate alleged Russian interference


  6. DXer said

    EDITORIAL: Trump’s disturbing gaffe in Helsinki

    In 2001, the FBI, then headed by Robert Mueller—who is currently investigating the Trump campaign’s alleged, but still unproven collusion with the Russians—smeared Dr. Steven Hatfill, a scientist at the Army’s infectious diseases lab in Fort Detrick, Md., by leaking information that he was a “person of interest” in a series of deadly anthrax attacks that killed five people. In 2008, after reviewing secret internal FBI memos, a federal judge said he could find “not a scintilla of evidence” implicating Hatfill, who was later awarded a $5.82 million settlement.

    In a democracy, no government officials are beyond reproach, and CIA and FBI officials are certainly no exception. In fact, it’s part of Trump’s job as chief executive to question both the methods and the findings of his intelligence agencies. But standing on the world stage with the Russian president was neither the appropriate time nor place for that.

  7. DXer said

    United States v. Al-Timimi (1:04-cr-00385)
    District Court, E.D. Virginia

    Learn More

    Last Updated: July 12, 2018, 11:32 a.m. EDT
    Assigned To: Leonie M. Brinkema
    Date Filed: Sept. 23, 2004
    Date Terminated: July 13, 2005
    Date of Last Known Filing: Dec. 7, 2015


    May 21, 2018

    RESPONSE by USA as to Ali Al-Timimi re 441 Order to Show Cause, to Order of April 19th (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Transcript of Hearing (Excerpt), US v. Chapman, 1:03cr296-6, May 27, 2016)(Kromberg, Gordon) (Entered: 05/21/2018)

    Main Doc­ument

    Attach­ment 1

    Exhibit Transcript of Hearing (Excerpt), US v. Chapman, 1:03cr296-6, May 27, 201


    Jun 4, 2018

    REPLY TO RESPONSE to by Ali Al-Timimi re 442 Response to show-cause order (Huff, Thomas) (Entered: 06/04/2018)

    Main Doc­ument


    Jun 20, 2018

    NOTICE of Relevant Appellate Activity by USA as to Ali Al-Timimi (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Order Providing for Rehearing En Banc, # 2 Exhibit Order Directing Supplemental Briefing)(Kromberg, Gordon) (Entered: 06/20/2018)

    Main Doc­ument

    Attach­ment 1

    Exhibit Order Providing for Rehearing En Banc

    Attach­ment 2

    Exhibit Order Directing Supplemental Briefing

  8. DXer said

    A key Kristof columni in the NYT series about Hatfill ran on July 4, 2002. Was Attorney Seikaly a source for that? As I put a copy of the New York Times down on the coffee table that day, I told someone that something historic had just happened — a line had been crossed from which there could be no return. Amerithrax never recovered.

  9. DXer said

    The DOJ, instead of setting up straw men and cutting-and-paste a kitchen sink FOIA motion for summary judgment, should have had someone retrieve a copy of the Sept-October emails that it relied upon in its Amerithrax Summary. It culled the emails and then failed to provide them under FOIA once the case was closed.

    Transparency is important. It is the best way to avoid and overcome bias and bungling.

    If we don’t learn from history, we are bound to repeat it.

    IG report: DOJ official sought Clinton campaign job for son, then shared case info with Podesta

  10. DXer said

    If President Trump resigns because of what is revealed in the documents seized about his personal attorney Michael Cohen’s self-described mob ties, will that have any bearing on whether former FBI Director Mueller’s botching of Amerithrax will be brought to light?

    Vice President Pence is coming to Syracuse for a fundraiser for Katko. Mike Pence should take to heart that things will only be set right for history if the FBI is required to comply with FOIA in Amerithrax. The bias and targeted leaking in Amerithrax is very disturbing.

    Michael Cohen still identifies himself as President Trump’s personal attorney on his twitter account. In light of the documents about to be handed over to the FBI, I would think President Trump might want to terminate the representation.

    Trump’s attorney, Jay Goldberg, on the mob and Nick Ackerman’s comment on Jay knowing the mob

  11. DXer said

    Rep. Gohmert hurls stunning accusations against Robert Mueller
    May 25, 2018 10:53 pm


    Let’s remember that it was not Robert Mueller who leaked the hyped stories about Hatfill. Because of those leaks, there was a lot of political pressure on Mueller to pursue a Hatfill Theory.

  12. DXer said

    Trump slams Mueller Russia probe, accuses team of having ‘unrevealed conflicts of interest’

    Trump, in a series of tweets Monday, offered no evidence for his conflict of interest claims against the special counsel’s office.

    by Adam Edelman / May.07.2018 / 9:00 AM ET / Updated 9:17 AM ET

    Trump, referring to Mueller’s team, added, “The 13 Angry Democrats in charge of the Russian Witch Hunt are starting to find out that there is a Court System in place that actually protects people from injustice.”

  13. DXer said

    Commentators need to keep in mind that Robert Mueller never accused Hatfill and never brought charges against anyone. I don’t know of any evidence that he leaked any details of the investigation of Hatfill as one of the 10 so-called “POIs” on the AMX1/AMX2 list.
    As for SH’s reputation, his reputation was not helped by his forgery of his PhD certificate.

    DiGenova: It’s clear the Mueller team is acting in bad faith

    They want to know his intent on whether he obstructed. They want to treat him like they treated Martha Stewart. Well, guess what, he is the President Mr. Mueller. This is a one year failed anthrax cases or one of your failed Bloody Borger cases (ph). This is the president of the United States. You know what that means? We the people have a stake in this and we the people get to decide. The frame is decided, the only way you remove a President is through the body politics, from the House and the Senate and it is a heavy burden, not by some rogue prosecutor with a bunch of Democrat prosecutors. They don’t get to do it and the people need to rise up and demand. Demand that this go all the way to the Supreme Court to put this rogue prosecutors in their place.

    40 Questions Special Counsel Robert Mueller Needs to Answer Now

    Ruin of Dr. Steven Hatfill’s Reputation, Productive Life
    And a few questions on the wrongful, malicious prosecution of Dr. Steven Hatfill, accused by Mueller of mailing anthrax letters in the wake of 9/11, a Mueller/Comey twofer. They ruined Hatfill’s life and his relationship with friends, neighbors, and potential employers.

  14. DXer said

    Friday, 20 April 2018 11:30
    Could write a book about how James Comey, Robert Mueller hurt LSU professor

    Anyone following high profile public issues in Louisiana is certainly aware of how Comey bungled the biggest case he ever handled embroiling a former LSU professor. The incident involved anthrax attacks in the nation’s capitol that killed 5 people and infected 17 others, causing the entire U.S. Capitol’s mail system to shut down. Comey headed up the FBI investigation, and his incompetence and recklessness all but destroyed the reputation and health of LSU researcher Steven Hatfill.

    It’s a long and convoluted story, but it was obvious to any neutral observer that Hatfill was innocent and the FBI had the wrong man. He was a virologist (one who only studies viruses), and he never even handled anthrax. But congress was screaming about an attack on America and the FBI needed a scapegoat. A few unreliable rumormongers mentioned Hatfill’s name that led Comey and Company to pounce all over the blameless researcher.

    So just what evidence of Hatfill’s guilt did Comey have on the quiet LSU academic? Ah, don’t sell Comey short. After all he had heard of a couple of guys out in California that had trained bloodhounds to supposedly “sniff out” anthrax. Now remember, if you sniff the stuff, it kills you, but that minor fact did not deter Comey. He siced the bloodhounds on Hatfill and announced to congress that one of LSU’s best and brightest was the guilty party. The dog handlers were later found by a California court to be quite unreliable, with the judged stating that the prosecution’s dog handler was “as biased as any witnesses that this court has ever seen.”


    R. Scott Decker, the FBI Agent who first promoted the Hatfill Theory and then promoted the Ivins Theory, was leading the bloodhounds Lucy and Tinkerbelle around. He published a book about it — still urging an Ivins Theory. He charges $38 for the book. He could have used the book to explore the gaps in proof but he didn’t. Strictly CYA and spin. The first review was by his proofreader — who thinks a First Grader wrote the letter — and thinks the book telling about Lucy, Tinkerbelle and other fairy tales — would make a good movie.

    Former Agent Decker could have filed FOIA requests intended to get people on the same page but he didn’t — because he had a gut feeling upon first meeting Ivins that he was guilty. Nancy Haigwood similarly based her claims only on a gut feeling and some obnoxious pranks years earlier.

    When Ivins first met Decker, he was adamant that they didn’t make dried powder at USARMIID — Ivins did not know that a member of Decker’s FBI unit, an FBI scientist, had in fact made a dried powder out of the genetically matching strain in Flask 1029. Ivins submitted sample was then thrown out by the lab of the scientist working with the FBI — and his lab did not submit their own genetically identical sample, which was stored in Building 1412. The FBI then closed the case on the false premise that the genetically matching strain was only found in Building 1425 — and not also 1412.

    Amerithrax was one big CYA spin. No one wanted to be blamed for Ivins suicide. (The texts the FBI agents exchanged have since been spoliated by most of the Agents). But given that the FBI knew Ivins had been suicidal since 1999, and had attempted suicide in Spring 2008, the FBI should not have swabbed him for DNA (given that they already had his DNA from a cup). They did it after they found a second bag of stained panties. They knew Ivins was extremely upset upon the discovery of a first bag in November 2007. (A doctor had to come and sedate Ivins at the time of that search.)

    It’s not that a Hatfill Theory was not a reasonable theory to pursue — or that an Ivins Theory was not a reasonable theory to pursue. Indeed, the case is still unsolved — the perpetrator(s) unknown. It’s that the FBI has violated the Freedom of Information Act and refused to produce the September-October 2001 emails and other documents confirming that he was in the B3 on those nights and weekends doing animal checks after small animal challenges, to include 52 rabbits challenged on October 1. The people still withholding the emails and other documents know full well what they say — while claiming that they weren’t able to find them.

    The former lead Amerithrax investigator, Richard Lambert, has publicly said (in interviews with the New York Times and Fox News) that the FBI is withholding a staggering amount of information exculpatory of Bruce Ivins.

    It seems that politics should have no role in true crime analysis — and CYA self-interest should have no place in defending against a FOIA request for documents. But the FBI often seems primarily interested in CYA spin and not the rule of law. FOIA represents the embodiment of the rule of law. The FBI can or not, as it chooses. History will be the judge soon enough.

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

    • DXer said

      The article continues:

      “But Comey persisted. When he was asked by a skeptical Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz if he was sure that Hatfill was the perpetrator, Comey replied that he was “absolutely certain” they weren’t making a mistake.

      Seven years later, Hatfill was exonerated and the FBI paid him $5.85 million because of Comey’s unjust prosecution. But he did not have the decency to apologize and acknowledge his serous blunder. Comey’s sidekick, current special prosecutor Robert Mueller was just as graceless and unprofessional as Comey. When asked about the false charges against Hatfill, Mueller would only say: “I do not apologize for any aspect of the investigation.” He added that it would be erroneous “to say there were mistakes.”

      Comey did his best to destroy a decent and innocent LSU professor. He has proven to be manipulative, incompetent and calculating. But hey, so what! It’s really all about selling books, isn’t it.”

      Comment: What is the source of this “absolutely certain” quote? (I haven’t googled yet as I’m down a different rabbit hole relating to the 1930s disbarment proceedings of The Baron’s attorney, Dixie Davis.

      If we don’t learn from history, we are bound to repeat it.

      In Amerithrax, what is at issue is the potential use of a deadly pathogen in a mass attack on a major city. It is important to leave self-promoting and CYA instincts at the curb and engage in self-aware analysis of the gaps in proof.

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

      • DXer said

        Ha! Comey reportedly was “absolutely certain that it was Hatfill” because of the bloodhounds! There had been no field tests directed to establishing the validity of bloodhounds for this purpose.


        The Mirage Man. (Citing the evidence provided by the bloodhounds, Comey was “absolutely certain that it was Hatfill,” Wolfowitz recalled.”)

    • DXer said

      Former FBI Agent Scott Decker explained his work with the bloodhounds in his book published last year.

      “I would take a break from science and provide security for Tinkerbelle. For five days we traveled in a rented black Suburban to Bethesda, then Frederick and on not Silver Spring. We checked locations of persons with an association to Hatfill or a connection with anthrax research. At each opportunity, Tinkerbelle’s handler presented her with anthrax research. At each opportunity, Tinkerbelle’s handler presented her with a scent pad containing odors of the Leahy letter. In Bethesda, she began to trail one block, and then a second before alerting at the apartment door of a Hatfill associate. We called in a senior canine, Knight. Lucy followed. one by one, as they had done outside Hatfill’s apartment in the summer, each handler let his bloodhound sniff the scent of a sterilized anthrax letter and then was allowed to trail. On the first occasion Lucy ignored her opportunity, but given a second chance she trailed to the apartment door. As Knight and his handler and I watched, she jumped in an enthusiastic alert. Knight then followed suit, trailing and alerting, also on his second attempt.”

      It was years later that a bloodhound bearing an uncanny resemblance to Tinkerbelle raced out of a back room at my pharmacy and ran up to the counter (where I was obtaining a prescription) — and smelled my hand. I was told that it was bring a dog to work day. Do you think Scott Decker ever truly came to understand that the use of bloodhounds for these purposes was totally unvalidated science? In 2002, I addressed the issue extensively under the legal tests established for the use of blood hounds. Scott’s extensive use of bloodhounds was not sound science and the use of unsound forensic techniques was very unfortunate. The irradiation, for example, causes an envelope to smell — the holding of an envelope in gloves does not. It is not enough to say that such an untested technique might be use to develop leads, even if not admissible in court. That is hooey — given that the wrong lead can… was…. sufficient to derail an investigation for many years. Maybe forever.

      Putting it off on a superior who directed it — as Scott subtly seeks to do by saying Lambert ordered it— doesn’t fly. Scott was the science guy.

      He was the one charged with understanding Daubert and being ready to field the questions about validation of the method.

      Scott Decker also notes that the only person to whom the dogs alerted was Pat Fellows.

      Although we still don’t know who mailed the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings (my candidate is Adnan El-Shukrijumah), for years I lobbied against Decker’s Hatfill Theory — just as in recent years I have lobbied against Decker’s Ivins Theory.

      I explained in late 2002 or so:

      The Investigation Goes to the Dogs

      For those who believe in Tinkerbelle (one of the dogs used) , while most jurisdictions allow bloodhound evidence, courts generally retain reservations about the possibility of inaccuracy of the evidence. It is evident the dog cannot be cross-examined and there is always the possibility that the dog may make a mistake. Accordingly, there are strict foundational requirements. The notion that such evidence is of slight probative value or must be viewed with caution stems at least in part from fear that a jury will be in awe of the animal’s apparent powers and will give the evidence too much weight (as the ABC and Newsweek reports amply illustrated). Putting aside for a moment use of the scent transfer device, five specific requirements are commonly required to establish an adequate foundation for dog-tracking evidence: (1) the handler was qualified to use the dog; (2) the dog was adequately trained; (3) the dog has been found reliable; (4) the dog was placed on the track where the guilty party had been; and (5) the trail was not stale or contaminated.

      For example, a bloodhound provided with the deceased tennis shoes might very reliably lead authorities to the deceased’s body in the woods. What would have been used for the scent pack here is the human scent, if any, on the letter on which the perpetrator rested his hand in writing the letter. Tennis shoes are far more likely to carry a scent than a piece of paper on which the perp rested his hand (while possibly using gloves) to write a 28-word letter. Just ask my wife. The dogs would not have been clued to the biological agent as biological agents such as anthrax tend not to have a distinctive scent.

      Here, there would be no such log because the use of the dog would not have been the subject of testing and training showing the dog performed reliably under similar circumstances. At a minimum, the “trail” would have been contaminated by the irradiation and anthrax, and would have grown stale by the passage of time. FDA concluded that irradiation can produce small changes in the taste, smell, and sometimes texture of foods and that consumers should be informed of this. Jurors should too. Remember that scene from “Miracle on 34th Street” where the official finding of the agency of the United States’ government was deemed binding on the prosecution? Imagine Attorney Connolly calling FDA scientists who found irradiation caused changes in smell, no doubt amplified by the much keener sense of a bloodhound.

      The United States Post Office explains in a FAQ that “the materials in the mail are heated and may become chemically altered. Paper dries out and may become dusty, discolored, and brittle.” Some postal workers and federal agency staff have reported symptoms such as eye, nose, throat and skin irritation, headache, nausea and occasional nosebleeds. What does the USPS do under these circumstances? Their solution includes “[u]sing hypoallergenic deodorizers to eliminate any smells.” “Testing each batch of aired-out mail to ensure no detectable amoungs of gas exist before delivery.” Alas, Tinkerbelle’s lengthy log shows that perfume does not confuse her, but likely is silent on this question of irradiated paper. The prosecution witness who might testify that a bloodhound’s sense of smell is 200 times as powerful as a human’s sense of smell would merely be helping the defense argument. No amount of log keeping or experiments after the fact would serve to permit admissibility under the court precedent. The bloodhound evidence was always a bogus and hugely prejudical diversion since the first sensational Newsweek story.

      In any event, the perp would have worn gloves and only briefly handled the letter. More broadly, there is an article that collects cases from 40 or so states and nothing approaching the delays has ever been found admissible. In a city landscape, the time period is much more restrictive. The Leahy letter, written by the perp sometime prior to the October 9, 2001 postmark, was not discovered until mid-November, and as of November 19, 2001 a protocol was still being developed for its opening. Thus, the 40 day period that had been passed by the (likely glove-wearing) perp already would have resulted in a stale trail.

      Lucy is adorable. She’s widely known to be a people person.

      There is a separate additional issue of use of the “scent transfer unit” here. A “scent transfer unit” such as used here looks like a Dustbuster, modified with a small frame at the end to secure a piece of gauze over its intake opening. The user attaches a piece of sterile gauze to the unit, activated the unit, and holds it against the item from which the scent is to be taken (such as where the person sat the night before). Depending on the jurisdiction, the scent transfer unit, which is a new technology, may be subject to the rule regarding new scientific methodology. Under that rule, the proponent of such evidence must establish the new scientific principle or technique is sufficiently established to have gained general acceptance in the particular field in which it belongs under the circumstances of the case. Here, there is no such general acceptance as explained by Scott Shane in an excellent article in the Baltimore Sun relying on experts in the Maryland area. The purpose of the requirement is to avoid factfinders from being misled by the `aura of infallibility’ that may surround unproved scientific methods. This would constitute a possible third independent grounds for excluding the evidence. Absent a training log showing the dog performed reliably under similar circumstances, given the time period that had passed, and in light of the use of the scent transfer unit, there is nothing the FBI or trainers would be able to do to save the admissibility of the bloodhound evidence because it will be found by a court to be unreliable.

      Both of the major police bloodhound associations howl against the reliability of the Scent Transfer Unit used by the three blood handlers. Dennis Slavin is an urban planner and reserve officer with the South Pasadena Police Department. One of the other dog handlers is a civilian who runs his own bloodhound business. Shane, in his very impressive Baltimore Sun article, explained that an FBI agent, Rex Stockham, examining the technology for the FBI lab says: “It’s going to be criticized. I’m critical of it myself.” The President of the Bloodhound Association, who is critical of the technology used by these handlers, had testified 21 times, and likely will have testified 22 if the FBI attempts to rely on the evidence in a prosecution. Shane notes that a federal jury awarded $1.7 million last year to a man wrongly accused of rape after police identified him in part based on the use of Slavin’s bloodhound, TinkerBelle. Shane’s article, essential reading, gives the further example of their use in the sniper investigation, where “given the scent taken from spent shell casings, followed two false trails in Montgomery County. One led to a house, for which a search warrant was obtained and which turned out not be relevant. The other led to a dog-grooming parlor, the officer said.” Phew. I wonder if Stan Bedlington knew any of this when he said on national tv that the evidence against his friend was “mounting” based on the Lucy’s and Hatfill responding to each other. He is a ladies’ man, after all. Oh, but that’s right. He lived near a neighborhood named Greendale. The trainers reportedly tested their dogs on irradiated paper — presumably before actually doing the search but after being asked to do so. That would not pass muster that past training be substantiated by a training log.

      The New York Times also had an excellent article in December 2002 surveying the field that noted the case where dogs falsely indicated the presence of explosives in the cars of three medical students bound for Miami. The country watched the drama unfold on television as the men were held and authorities closed a major highway across Florida. No trace of explosives was found. When dog handlers are excited, dogs can overreact and give a false positive. “Dogs want rewards and so they will false alerts to get them. Dogs lie. We know they do,” an expert told the Times. “One of ‘TinkerBelle’s most incredible talents,”her homepage touts, is her ability to find the person responsible for loading a gun using scent from an expended bullet casing.” Indeed, she finds the “smoking gun.” Most of all, the page notes, she too is a people person.

      With the investigation going to the dogs, nearly 100 law enforcement officers gathered to watch some of their colleagues jump in a lake near where Dr. Hatfill lived, and in late January 2003, the FBI continued searching the forest in Frederick. Locals were amused that some of the ponds had been dry earlier that year. While they may seem to enjoy their dinners at Georgetown, FBI agents and surveillance specialists do not have an easy job. The public demands that they exhaustively pursue all leads, but then there is an uproar if they cross some unpredictable line and step on — or run over someone’s toe.

      December 2017 note: In his recent book, Decker says that they later realized that the bloodhounds were not reliable when they performed poorly in connection with an Ohio sniper.
      That makes for a nice revisionist history, but there was every reason to know that they were not reliable for this purpose when they were first used — and the alerts to Hatfill were excitedly leaked to the press.

  15. DXer said
    Revealed: Robert Mueller’s FBI Repeatedly Abused Prosecutorial Discretion
    Establishment DC types who reflexively defend Mueller haven’t explained how they came to trust him so completely. It’s a question worth asking given the bumpy historical record of Mueller’s tenure as FBI director.

    By Mollie Hemingway
    April 19, 2018

    Journalist Mike Allen of Axios recently said that one word described Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and that word was “unafraid.”

    The context for his remarks on Fox News’ “Special Report” was that Mueller had just spun off to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York a bit of his limitless investigation into President Donald J. Trump. Allen’s comment was like so many others from media and pundit types since the special counsel was launched. If there’s one word to describe the media’s relationship to Mueller, it’s “unquestioning.”

    Pundits and politicians have said, repeatedly, that he is “somebody we all trust” with “impeccable credentials.” No matter what his office does, from hiring Democratic donors to run the Trump probe to aggressively prosecuting process crimes, he is defended by most media voices. Criticism of Mueller by people who aren’t part of the Trump Resistance is strongly fought, with claims that disapproval of anything related to Mueller and how he runs his investigation undermine the rule of law.

    The media and establishment DC who reflexively defend Mueller haven’t explained how they came to trust him so completely. It’s a question worth asking given the bumpy historical record of Mueller’s tenure as FBI director from 2001 to 2013.

    For instance, as I noted to Allen, Mueller was also “unafraid” at completely botching the anthrax killer case, wasting more than $100 million in taxpayer dollars, destroying the lives of multiple suspects, and chasing bad leads using bad methods. Let’s look at that and other cases involving how Mueller and those he placed in positions of power used their authorities and decided what charges to pursue.
    The Anthrax Bungling

    Shortly after the terrorist attacks in 2001, letters containing anthrax were mailed to media outlets and the offices of Sens. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., killing five people and infecting 17 others. The FBI quickly focused on an innocent man named Steven Hatfill, relentlessly pursuing him for years while the real killer walked free. As Carl Cannon wrote about the botched case, ridiculous and aggressive methods were used to go after the wrong man:

    So what evidence did the FBI have against Hatfill? There was none, so the agency did a Hail Mary, importing two bloodhounds from California whose handlers claimed could sniff the scent of the killer on the anthrax-tainted letters. These dogs were shown to Hatfill, who promptly petted them. When the dogs responded favorably, their handlers told the FBI that they’d ‘alerted’ on Hatfill and that he must be the killer.

    Mueller and his deputy James Comey were certain they had the right guy. They didn’t, and taxpayers had to pay Hatfill $5.82 million for the error. When that settlement was announced, Cannon noted:

    Mueller could not be bothered to walk across the street to attend the press conference announcing the case’s resolution. When reporters did ask him about it, Mueller was graceless. ‘I do not apologize for any aspect of the investigation,’ he said, adding that it would be erroneous ‘to say there were mistakes.’

    The man the FBI decided was responsible for the anthrax killings killed himself as the FBI pursued him, but reports from the National Academy of Sciences and the Government Accountability Office were critical of the bureau’s scientific conclusions used to determine the man’s guilt.

    Mueller placed Special Agent Van Harp in charge of the initial investigation. He had been “accused of misconduct and recommended for discipline for his role in a flawed review of the deadly Ruby Ridge standoff,” according to a Washington Post report. He had helped “prepare an incomplete report on the 1992 Ruby Ridge siege that had the effect of protecting high-level FBI officials, according to a confidential 1999 report by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility.”

    After Hatfill sued the FBI, Harp admitted that he talked to the media about the anthrax case due to political concerns at the bureau. According to The Atlantic:

    Special Agent Harp, who initially headed the anthrax investigation, conceded after Hatfill sued the government in August 2003 that the FBI had been sensitive to accusations that it had stumbled in other high-profile investigations, and that it had consciously sought to assure the public that it was working hard to crack the anthrax murders. Part of providing such assurance involved actively communicating with news reporters. Questioned under oath, Harp admitted to serving as a confidential source for more than a dozen journalists during the case, but he insisted that he had never leaked privileged information about Hatfill, or anyone else for that matter.

    Hatfill’s attorney’s found the latter claim highly improbable.

  16. DXer said

    COD, Feb. 13, 2018: Mueller’s role in anthrax story was overplayed

    Mueller’s role in anthrax story was overplayed

    Editor, Times-Dispatch:

    Correspondent of the Day Stevan T. Hanna’s letter, “We have good reason to fear Mueller’s actions,” takes a complicated story and, either out of a failure to grasp the complexity or out of disingenuousness, conveys a misleading picture. There’s also a bit of innuendo that is neither warranted or surprising.

    Like all good, if slanted, stories, Hanna’s relates a few genuine facts. Robert Mueller was head of the FBI during the Amerithrax investigation. But while I may have missed something, I could find no statement in any reputable source naming James Comey as being involved. Hanna seems to lay the leaks about Steven Hatfill’s alleged involvement in the attack at Mueller’s feet when, in fact, Mueller tried to identify the source of the leaks, to no avail. Contrary to Hanna’s implication, while Hatfill may have been a suspect (along with 18 others), he was never accused.

    Much of the attention on Hatfill was ginned up by the press, starting with connecting his presence in Rhodesia during anthrax outbreaks from 1978 to 1980 with the Amerithrax attack. In the absence of anything to the contrary from the FBI, it was more likely the media that put and kept Hatfill’s name in the public eye. Of particular note were the writings of The New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof, which were probably the most damaging of all. Kristof at least had the professionalism to apologize publicly when Hatfill was removed from suspicion. I can only wonder how many of Mueller’s and Comey’s accusers will be as professional.

    Charles M. Kelly.


  17. DXer said

    Byron York: Republicans and those ‘attacks’ on the FBI
    by Byron York | Feb 5, 2018


    “It’s quite obvious that the Intelligence Committee is only questioning the decisions made by a small number of FBI officials at the highest levels,” said committee spokesman Jack Langer. “In fact, we’ve been hearing from a large number of FBI employees, both active and retired, who have asked us to continue the oversight work we’re doing.”

    For all the good it does, the FBI has made some horrendous mistakes. After the post-9/11 anthrax attacks, for example, the bureau focused its search for the perpetrator on an Army scientist named Steven Hatfill. There was a lot of pressure on the FBI to solve the case, and there was a lot of headquarters involvement.

    But Hatfill was innocent. Nevertheless, the FBI chased him relentlessly, destroying his reputation and ability to make a living. Only after years did the FBI turn toward another suspect, who killed himself before charges could be filed. The FBI had to pay Hatfill millions in damages.

    The bureau, led by then-director Robert Mueller, didn’t seem terribly sorry about it. When the Justice Department “formally exonerated Hatfill, and paid him $5.82 million in a legal settlement,” columnist Carl Cannon wrote last year, “Mueller could not be bothered to walk across the street to attend the press conference announcing the case’s resolution. When reporters did ask him about it, Mueller was graceless. ‘I do not apologize for any aspect of the investigation,’ he said, adding that it would be erroneous ‘to say there were mistakes.'”

    Today Mueller is, of course, the special counsel investigating the Trump-Russia affair. But one could list a number of other nonheroic episodes under different directors in the bureau’s history, starting with the first, J. Edgar Hoover.

    So the FBI has deserved its share of criticism over the years. And that goes double when the bureau intrudes into politics. So no, Republicans are not attacking the FBI writ large. But when the nation’s premier investigative agency, with all its formidable law enforcement powers, jumps in the middle of hot political disputes, no one should be surprised when things get political.


    If the lead person at the US Attorneys Office — making the decisions in the Amerithrax case — had already pled the Fifth Amendment about leaks to the press relating to the Hatfill Theory, it was odd that Mueller would say that there were not mistakes. Of course there were mistakes, to include lab contamination, use of the unvalidated method of anthrax smelling bloodhounds, his failure to gain the cooperation of the Malaysians in interview Yazid Sufaat, the refusal of the FBI not to give Ivins back a copy of his notebooks and emails as he requested (leading to a despair that contributed to his suicide), the assignment of two microbiologists abroad, rendering them unavailable for Amerithrax, the cheating on the head of the WFO office on an examination relating to how to conduct a counterrorism investigation (and his resignation), the withholding of the information about the anthrax in Afghanistan from the NAS, the failure to disclose that FBI’s consulting scientist had made a dried powder out of the Ames from Flask 1029, the staffing of the investigation with mostly new graduates from the Academy, the numerous misrepresentations by US Attorney Taylor at the press conference, the failure to disclose that Ivins had attended his group therapy sessions on the dates of mailing, the dismissal of the lawyer from the DC US Attorney’s Office who had been in charge of assignments for having an affair (and hitting on the young lawyers he was giving assignments) (which led to huge internal mess relating directly to Amerithrax), the false positive of anthrax on the rope tied to the plastic tub used to catch minnows, the delay in collecting samples, the failure to avoid numerous conflicts of interest, the compartmentalization in response to those conflicts that led to an inability to connect the dots, the failure to locate the USAMRIID technician’s notes from the testing of the decontamination agent, and much more. Oh, and add to that, the continuing violation of FOIA relating to the withholding of every one of the emails that Mueller relied upon in allowing the Amerithrax case to be formally closed. His “Ivins Theory” will be proven wrong once those emails have been produced. Mueller’s good friend and confidante, Senator Leahy, has said, he doesn’t believe an Ivins Theory for a minute. Moreover, Richard Lambert, in pointing out many of the mistakes above, at the same time would note the high regard he holds Mueller.

    So now that is not to say that we know that anyone could have done better. It was and is a difficult whodunnit. Mueller at least, without debate, gets a lot of points for having such good PR and instilling confidence in the agency, which is good for maintaining morale — with morale of the troops being important in keeping our country safe. But to claim that there were no mistakes in Amerithrax is provably erroneous. And he should know that. Attorney General Session’s comment was more apt: No agency is perfect. FBI Agents tend to be too prideful for their own good. It leads to a lack of self-awareness, and mistaken theories. Importantly, the FBI continues to this day to rely on numerous forensic techniques that are not validated science. And if Mueller does not recognize that is a mistake, then there is a real problem. I suspect that the issue of forensics will be avoided in the Russia investigation and related matters because his indictment of Jared Kushner is expected to be supported by easy-to-understand exhibits.

    If President Trump really wanted to put on a strong defense, he would have FBI Director Wray order Dave Hardy to comply with FOIA and produce the emails that the FBI has expressly quoted and relied on in closing Amerithrax. As Rep. Ryan and Sen. Grassley have said, transparency is a good thing. We then can better assess Mueller’s claim that there were no mistakes in Amerithrax.

  18. DXer said

    Consider Christopher Wray’s well-crafted speech at Fordham. FBI officials like Mueller and Wray are very high caliber professionals and our country is well-served.

    It is easy to suggest FBI Director Mueller was mistaken in his conclusions on Amerithrax. Reasonable people can disagree —and many have, including the leading FBI scientific consultants — in light of the many uncertainties.

    Moreover, it is easy to point out that his position there had not been mistakes was foolhardy. Indeed, the head of criminal prosecution at the US Attorney’s Office pled the Fifth Amendment re Hatfill leaks (and his daughter then represented Ali Al-Timimi pro bono). Mueller chose not to polygraph agents because it would undermine morale. That was a reasonable call, all things considered.

    But let’s not anyone think that there is reason that they could do better in real-time.

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

  19. DXer said

    Back in 2011 this blog posted a powerpoint on the “Laws and Rules on Confidentiality and Conflicts of Interest for US Prosecutors”

    I appreciate that many think that it is FoxNews’ Judge Pirro who should be led away in handcuffs — for recently going 110 mph on upstate NY road and putting our children in danger.

    But the posted powerpoint explains the statute that provides some context for her statement.

    Ali Al-Timimi’s counsel, the famed Jonathan Turley, long ago first described Ali Al-TImimi as an “anthrax weapons suspect” in filed court filings. (Ali’s conviction on other sedition charges is on remand which remain partially classified). Ali read “Genomics” during one of his court hearings, as I recall. Scott Decker, in the Science squad, apparently was never in the loop as to such things — and as Lambert once pointed out in a memorandum to Robert Mueller, it was the compartmentalization of the Amerithrax investigation that likely would result in these smart and well-meaning investigators not being able to connect the dots. Richard Lambert saw all the evidence — Scott Decker did not.

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

  20. DXer said

    Of searches of Hatfill’s apartment and car, Scott Decker, in his recent book, wrote:

    “The searches produced no clear evidence of the mailings, but the team did turn up some interesting items. They found a letter from Rhodes University informing Hatfill that his doctoral thesis had been rejected. The letter contained no further information, no reason for the rejection, but it was dated the summer of 2001. In Hatfill’s black Camaro, agents found maps and sketches with drawings over Catoctin Mountain, Gambrill State Park, and a dirt road that leads to the Camp David presidential retreat.” (p. 112)

    Note; Hatfill’s PhD thesis had been rejected years before 2001.

  21. DXer said

    Robert Mueller
    Will Robert Mueller Separate Fact From Fiction?

    David Von Drehle

    “And he made mistakes, including a botched investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks in D.C., Florida, New York and New Jersey, in which an innocent man was hounded in the press while Mueller and his agents ignored the real killer.”


    I still think critics are conflating two things. The fact that Amerithrax was a difficult mystery — and many, if not most, think it still has not been persuasively solved — does not mean that Mueller “botched” it. It means it was — is — a difficult mystery. Among the numerous critics who characterize the investigation as “botched” and blame the former Director, I’ve not seen anyone who can credibly claim that they could have done better. Hindsight is 20/20.

    Now if additional facts come out, not known to us, that make Director Mueller blameworthy, so be it.

    In particular, let it be said again that Mueller did not leak the facts relating to Hatfill.

    Right now, Bruce Ivins’ contemporaneous notes are still being wrongfully withheld by the FBI. An FBI database indicates that the long suffering request has not been assigned to a FOIA analyst for review.

    So I guess we can fault the former Director for tolerating an FBI FOIA operation that is so slow to respond in matters of keen public interest.

  22. DXer said

    Partisan environment makes suspicion of Mueller probe reasonable

    By Ralph Z. Hallow – The Washington Times – Thursday, June 15, 2017

    The Republicans’ coordinated campaign to discredit Special Counsel Robert Mueller has at least a patina of plausibility.


    Mr. Gingrich didn’t cite a dark-side Comey-Mueller incident in the past, though columnist Carl Cannon wrote last month about the incident when Mr. Mueller was FBI director and Mr. Comey was deputy attorney general.

    “Comey and Mueller badly bungled the biggest case they ever handled,” Mr. Cannon wrote. “They botched the investigation of the 2001 anthrax letter attacks that took five lives and infected 17 other people, shut down the U.S. Capitol and Washington’s mail system, solidified the Bush administration’s antipathy for Iraq, and eventually, when the facts finally came out, made the FBI look feckless, incompetent, and easily manipulated by outside political pressure.”

    Comment: Is the problem with the commentary about former FBI Director Mueller that they don’t realize who did the leaking in Amerithrax?

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

    • DXer said

      Anthrax Frame-Up

      Mueller presided over the incredibly flawed anthrax investigation.

      The U.S. Government Accountability Office says the FBI’s investigation was “flawed and inaccurate”. The investigation was so bogus that a senator called for an “independent review and assessment of how the FBI handled its investigation in the anthrax case.”

      The head of the FBI’s anthrax investigation says the whole thing was a sham. He says that the FBI higher-ups “greatly obstructed and impeded the investigation”, that there were “politically motivated communication embargos from FBI Headquarters”.

      Moreover, the anthrax investigation head said that the FBI framed scientist Bruce Ivins. On July 6, 2006, the FBI’s anthrax investigation FBI Plaintiff provided a whistleblower report of mismanagement to the FBI’s Deputy Director pursuant to Title 5, United States Code, Section 2303, which noted:

      (j) the FBI’s fingering of Bruce Ivins as the anthrax mailer; and, (k) the FBI’s subsequent efforts to railroad the prosecution of Ivins in the face of daunting exculpatory evidence.

      Following the announcement of its circumstantial case against Ivins, Defendants DOJ and FBI crafted an elaborate perception management campaign to bolster their assertion of Ivins’ guilt. These efforts included press conferences and highly selective evidentiary presentations which were replete with material omissions.

      In other words, Mueller presided over the attempt to frame an innocent man (and see this).


      Let’s fact check this criticism by someone else. First, I don’t believe the former lead investigator Lambert never used the word “sham.” So I believe that claim is inaccurate. Nor did he say the the FBI “framed scientist Bruce Ivins.” Instead, what he, for example, told the New York Times was that the FBI has withheld a staggering amount of exculpatory information. In my opinion, that can be now cured — and an Ivins Theory tested — by fuller compliance with FOIA. In my opinion, it is imprecise to say that only by an Act of Congress could the massive amount of exculpatory information be disclosed. It just requires an FBI approach to FOIA motivated by the spirit of the Act rather than a CYA mode of thinking that presently grips the FBI on the subject of Amerithrax. The quoted information, however, below is correct.

      Although Agent Lambert can speak for himself, I believe he has a high regard for Mueller based on what he said publicly in a lengthy taped interview. He felt that the failure to commit the right resources occurred one level down — and that the unhelpful political machinations originated at the Washington Field Office.

  23. DXer said

    Robert Mueller was not the leaker in Amerithrax. Nor is there any evidence or suggestion that James Comey was.

  24. DXer said

    by Byron York | Jun 11, 2017, 11:09 PM
    Byron York: Is Robert Mueller conflicted in Trump probe?

  25. DXer said

    When you’ve got a major case like this, everyone needs to know everything so people can connect the dots. …make those associations. Understand the relationships between things as they occur. (44.45)

    That edict [to compartmentalize] was put in place, and I understand why it was, to try to stem the tide of leaks in the investigation…

    Those leaks resulted in a Privacy lawsuit in which one litigant was successful…
    —Former lead Amerithrax investigator in recent 2 hour interview

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

  26. DXer said

    Jeff Session, slated to be the new Attorney General, served on the Judiciary Committee with both Patrick Leahy and Charles Grassley:

    Chuck Grassley
    I’m also concerned about two other issues arising out of anthrax investigation. First, in responding to press accounts questioning the government’s case against Dr. Ivins, the FBI and the Department of Justice both allowed line agents and attorneys to be interviewed on national television.

    Chuck Grassley
    Second, I want to know why the Department of Justice has declined to prosecute the individuals that leaked information about the investigation of Dr. Steven Hatfill. That leak cost the American taxpayers nearly $6 million in a civil settlement for Privacy Act violations. The American people who picked up the tab for this leak deserve to know the names of the FBI or DOJ employees involved, why they weren’t prosecuted and whether they faced any administrative punishment.

  27. DXer said

    The brother and sister-in-law of the lead Amerithrax prosecutor, Seikaly, argued the same thing — in public talks — in 2001 and 2002.

    A man believed to be Rahami’s brother posted videos celebrating the preaching of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born imam who became highly radicalized and counseled some of the hijackers who carried out the Sept. 11 attacks. In 2011, Al-Awlaki was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen.

    The brother also posted a video last month suggesting 9/11 was planned and executed by the American government.

    The posts were interspersed with more typical social media fare, including selfies, images of cars and photos of gatherings with friends.

  28. DXer said

    Again: So do you think FBI Special Agent and FBI Special John Wyman developed the same hypothesis back in early 2003?

    DXer’s Current Hypothesis

  29. DXer said

    Given DOJ (James Kovakas) denial of the civil depositions in US v. Hatfill — on the grounds that DOJ did not preserve the sworn statements of so many key witnesses in the biggest criminal investigation in history — I favor passage of FOIA reform. DOJ’s failure to preserve the full depositions constituted a spoliation of documents.

    Although I try to be sympathetic to the burdens involved, too often I see agencies play hide-the-ball rather than fulfill the purpose of the FOIA statute.

    The woman who conducted many of the depositions is in charge of playing hide-the-ball at DOJ on national security issues — and here not preserving the civil depositions was not a principled means of withholding the information under the rule of law.

    Senate panel plans vote on FOIA update

    By Julian Hattem – 11/07/14 10:50 AM EST

    The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on a bill to update the Freedom of Information Act as one of its first items once lawmakers return to Washington next week.

    The committee is planning to vote on the FOIA Improvement Act on the morning of Nov. 13, it announced on Friday.

    The bill, introduced by panel Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) earlier this year, would require federal agencies to adopt a “preemption of openness” when considering whether to release documents under the landmark transparency law.
    It also gives additional independence and authority to an office dedicated to mediating disputes over the FOIA requests, among other changes.

    Government transparency advocates have cited the bill as one of their top priorities for the rest of the year.

  30. DXer said

    Institutions like GAO and the DOJ IG’s office have experience addressing a wide range of potential problems relating to conduct of an investigation.

    FBI Agent Suspended Indefinitely on Allegations of Misconduct
    CBS, October 31, 2014 7:44 PM

    Probe of FBI agent leads to release of convicted drug dealers from prison
    Washington Post, October 31

    An investigation into possible misconduct by an FBI agent has forced authorities to quietly release at least a dozen convicts serving prison sentences for distributing drugs in the District and its suburbs, according to law enforcement officials, court documents and defense attorneys.

    “Do It Right”


    What are situations raising appearance concerns?

    Pete’s work at the Food and Drug Administration requires him to participate in the process for review and approval of certain new drugs. His mother has just taken a senior position with a biomedical research company producing a new drug that would typically be subject to Pete’s review. Pete is concerned that it might “look bad” if he participates in the review and approval process for the drug, but after doing some research he determines that his mother’s employment with the research company is not a “disqualifying financial interest” under
    18 U.S.C. § 208(a).

    Should Pete disregard his concerns and proceed to review the drug? No. Pete is right to be concerned. In addition to the financial conflict of interest situations discussed above, there are a number of situations that raise “appearance” concerns and, consequently, require employees to take certain steps to avoid an appearance of the loss of impartiality.

    Situations presenting some of the most significant “appearance” concerns arise when an employee is called upon to participate in a particular matter involving specific parties and the employee knows that–

    • The matter is likely to affect the financial interests of a member of the employee’s household; or
    • One or more of the parties to the matter is or is represented by–
    • A person or organization with whom the employee has or seeks a business relationship that involves something more than a routine consumer purchase;
    • A person who is a member of the employee’s household, or who is a relative with whom the employee has a close personal relationship;
    • A person or organization for whom the employee’s spouse, parent or dependent child is, to the employee’s knowledge, serving or seeking to serve as an officer, director, trustee, general partner, agent, attorney, consultant, contractor or employee;
    • Any person or organization for whom the employee has, within the last year, served as officer, director, trustee, general partner, agent, attorney, consultant, contractor or employee; or
    • An organization, other than certain political organizations, in which the employee is an active participant.
    The following cases are examples of situations raising appearance concerns:

    Maria, who works for the General Services Administration, wants to begin an outside retail business. In her private capacity, she has made an offer to buy a store owned by a local developer. The developer has pending with GSA a proposal to provide Federal office space and Maria expects that she will be called upon to evaluate the bid.

    Frank inspects manufacturing establishments for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. His brother-in-law and friend, James, has just purchased a plant that Frank is assigned to inspect.

    Rebecca recently resigned her position as vice president of an electronics company in order to join the Federal Aviation Administration. Her new boss has asked her to participate in the administration of a contract for which her old company is a first-tier subcontractor.

    Jeremy is an attorney at the Agriculture Department as well as a member of and publicity chairperson for the private organization Stop the Gypsy Moths. Stop the Gypsy Moths files a law suit against USDA and Jeremy’s boss asks Jeremy for his legal analysis of the case.

    Resolving appearance concerns

    If you are faced with a situation that falls within one of the above categories, your first step is to decide whether a reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts would question your impartiality if you participated in the matter. In making this determination you may seek assistance from your supervisor, your agency ethics official, or the person specifically designated by your agency to address appearance problems (the “agency designee”). Remember that your honesty and integrity are not relevant considerations in this determination.

    If you decide that a reasonable person would not question your impartiality, then you may participate in the matter, unless the agency designee reaches a different conclusion. If you or the agency designee decide that your impartiality would be questioned, then you may not participate unless the designee, considering all the circumstances, determines that the interest of the Government in your participation outweighs the concern that a reasonable person may question the integrity of the agency’s programs and operations.

    You should be aware that not all appearance problems fall into the above categories. The steps outlined here also should be followed if you are concerned that other circumstances may raise a question about your impartiality.

  31. DXer said

    Many of the questions that should be addressed by the Government Accountability agency concern not merely the uncertainties of the science — we all should know that the bloodhounds couldn’t smell the anthrax — but the investigative reliance on a particular scientific method. Here,the lead Amerithrax prosecutor leaking the bloodhound story that derailed Amerithrax was the father of the daughter who came to represent the other “anthrax weapons suspect” for free. His family are Palestinian activists. The “anthrax weapons suspect” shared a suite with the leading DARPA-funded Ames anthrax researchers.

    There is nothing easy about the questions posed that GAO is expected to answer. Amerithrax represents the greatest lapse in counterintelligence analysis in the history of the United States. In comparison, the motions pending in the Ali Al-Timimi case have been pending before the district court judge for years.

  32. DXer said

    Dr. Keim explains as one of the challenges:

    “It was a politically charged environment. Certain individuals sought the limelight, and their decision making affected the process of the science.”


    It is uncertain whether he means the oft-quoted scientists (and it seems he was most oft-quoted) or anonymous leakers of information relating to science — such as the lead Amerithrax prosecutor who pled the Fifth Amendment about leaking the hyped report about the anthrax smelling bloodhounds.

    The 4 morphs analysis did not winnow the field nearly to the extent claimed at the August 8, 2008 conference. There were hundreds that had access — rather than 700-100 — and that was just at USAMRIID.

    US Attorney Taylor claimed it was only in Building 1425 when records showed that the genetically matching Ames was in fact STORED also in Building 1412.

    Thus, it seems that it has been the 4 morph analysis that has been duly touted.

    And all the traditional forensic methods that were overlooked and swept under the rug.

  33. DXer said

    An unrelated but equally interesting issue of potential conflict of interest has arisen in the prosecution of the 911 plotters. Tenet says, btw, Ramzi Binalshibh, had a CBRN role.

    Special prosecutor confirms FBI investigation, says it’s not about KSM document
    Guantánamo judge orders inquiry into FBI’s involvement

    Read more here:

  34. DXer said

    In his September 2013 book on the anthrax mailings, Dr. Majidi writes that the settlement was “an admission that the FBI and the DOJ mishandled the investigation surrounding Dr. Hatfill.”

  35. DXer said

    Donald Sacthleben, who submitted the key affidavit in search of Ted Kacynski’s cabin in the UNABOM matter, has agreed to spend 12 years in jail.

    We can compare the UNABOM case to the evidence in the Amerithrax case for perspective of what probative evidence looks like.

    The FBI never made a serious investigation about the leaks in the Amerithrax matter that derailed the investigation for 7 years. If anyone had asked, the lead prosecutor might have confirmed he was the source of the leaks that continued throughout 2002 and 2003.

    ON THE SUSPECT’S TRAIL;Text of Agent’s Affidavit on His Search …

    Former F.B.I. Agent to Plead Guilty in Press Leak –

    Donald Sachtleben, former FBI agent, arrested on child pornography …
    May 15, 2012 – (CBS/AP) INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Federal investigators have arrested 54-year-old Donald Sachtleben, an Oklahoma State University visiting .

    We can compare the evidence in the Unabom matter and Amerithrax on the merits:

    Inevitable Inaccuracies In Reported Leaks Inaccuracies inevitably arise in the reporting of news in connection with a rapidly developing story, particularly when anonymous sources are used. As Justice Department spokesman Carl Stern commented in the Unabom case: “There are times when we try informally to prevent something which is grossly untrue from being published or broadcast, but in this case I felt I couldn’t do even that.”

    A Copy Of The Manifesto Was Found In The Cabin

    The prosecution has explained before the Court:”In June 1995, Kaczynski sent his manuscript “Industrial Society and Its Future” to the New York Times, the Washington Post, Penthouse, and Professor Tom Tyler of the University of California at Berkeley. A copy of the manuscript was found in the cabin. That manuscript contains a lengthy description of Kaczynski’s philosophy and admits that its author ‘had to kill people’ to get it published.” Ayman Zawahiri’s Fall 2001 book is almost as revealing in terms of profiling the Amerithrax crimes but even those who have closely followed the matter for months have never read it. Ask any FBI agent you know on the investigation whether they have read it and see for yourself.

    Copies Of The Letters Kaczynski Sent To Publications Were Also Found

    The prosecution has explained before the Court:”Beginning in 1985, Kaczynski sent letters, using the alias, ‘FC,’ to various publications. A copy of each letter was discovered in Kaczynski’s cabin. Like the journals, Kaczynski’s letters also contain admissions to the charged and uncharged bombings; indeed, several letters contain an admission that encompasses both a charged and an uncharged bombing.” Here, anthrax production documents were found on Khalid Mohammed’s laptop, he made admissions about Yazid Sufaat’s role, and Zawahiri’s right-hand man as well as another shura council member made admissions about Zawahiri’s plan. Yet inexplicably no attention is paid to these stories because it is far easier to get some clerk, deputy sheriff or junior lawyer in the Department of Justice Public Affairs Office to share some gossip about some discarded junk pulled from the nearby park or some stained panties found in a cross-dresser’s garbage. At the time of the Hatfill leaks by Mr. Seikaly, he at the same time was keeping mum about the statement signed by Rauf Ahmad over tea and cookies.

    Most Of The Letters And The Manifesto Were Typed on Kaczynski’s Typewriter

    According to the prosecution’s June 1997 memorandum, the third typewriter found in the cabin was a match with most of the letters, with the manifesto, and for all of the bombs that were mailed after 1981. Here, there seems little chance authorities will find the scotch tape that was used to seal both letters or the pen used to write the letters.

    Number Used To Identify Unabomber Communications

    The Washington Post reported that federal investigators say that the nine-digit number that was sometimes used by the Unabomber to authenticate his communications was found in Kaczynski’s cabin. (The book Mad Genius previously reported that the number used by the bomber was 553-25-4394). The number was used by the Unabomber in connection with a letter discussing the April 1995 murder of the Sacramento timber industry official Gilbert Murray, and a letter claiming responsibility for the December 1994 murder of the advertising executive Thomas Mosser at his New Jersey home. An analogous discovery would relate to the reason, if any, for the use of Greendale School. Zawahiri’s computer that showed he used “school” for Al Qaeda already is available to use in an indictment.

    DNA Evidence In the UNABOM matter

    DNA evidence was apparently obtained from saliva found on the stamp used to send a copy of the manuscript to professor Tom Tyler. An earlier press report had suggested that there was DNA evidence associated with the 1994 victim in New Jersey, Thomas Mosser (pronounced MOE-ser). As a general rule, however, the bomber was reportedly careful in avoiding such evidence based on hair or saliva. It is surprising that the bomber, after having been so careful to avoid DNA evidence for so many years, would suddenly have been careless in connection with the manuscript sent to Professor Tyler. The genetic evidence in the Amerithrax case relates to the strain of anthrax and will help narrow the number of possible labs where the strain was. The mailer was very careful in handling the envelope and would not have licked the envelope. The cutting edge science of water isotope ratios would be dramatic if the degree of confidence can be rise to a high level.

    The affidavit filed in support of the search warrant in the Kaczynski case explained that the DNA found in connection with the stamp used to mail the manuscript to Tom Tyler limited the pool of potentially responsible persons to 3% of the United States population — or approximately 6 million people. DNA evidence would not be determinative of the prosecution given they apparently cannot further narrow the field. The evidence relating to water isotope ratios (discussed above) similarly will not be determinative. The ratios are often the same for different locations. Moreover, the water isotope ratio may very well turn out to be exculpatory of any defendant charged.

    Bomb And Bomb-Related Materials.

    According to press reports, one completed bomb and one partially completed bomb had been found. The completed bomb had been described as similar to either the 1994 or 1995 bomb. The importance of this evidence would have depended — if the matter had gone to trial — on the strength of the forensic comparisons. Both the 1994 and 1995 bombs were sophisticated, and so if the reports by the anonymous federal officials proved to be accurate, then the finding would have been very significant. The government would have argued, through expert testimony, that the run-of-the-mill pipebomber could not have made the 1994 or 1995 bombs. (The serial bomber known as the UNABOMBER, which turned out to be Kacyznksi, was thought to have improved his bomb-making during the 1987-1993 hiatus). Here, a similar argument would be made as to the individual or individuals who could make the relatively sophisticated anthrax here. The sophistication greatly increased between the two mailings — marked by a difference of about 20 days.

    The significance of the particular chemicals found in Kaczynski’s cabin would have needed to await the reports on the forensic tests. The chemicals would be compared to the residue left in the UNABOM explosions. Agents searching the cabin found containers of potassium chlorate, sodium chlorate, sugar, zinc, aluminum, lead and silver oxide, which can serve as fuels or oxidizers in an explosive device. Here, comparison would be made with any silica powder or other additive found to be associated with the anthrax. Relatedly, there is the issue of the water isotope ratios.

    In the UNABOM matter, tools and hardware related to bomb-making were also found. Lab technicians have compared the toolmarks left on past bombs and bomb remnants with the tools found in Kaczynski’s cabin, and according to leaks the government were going to rely on an analysis of the tool marks in its case. The Affidavit filed in support of the search of the cabin explained that identical tool marks had been left on the staples used in a couple of the devices and in some of the correspondence. In addition, 10 three-ring binders full of meticulously drawn bomb diagrams may distinguish Kaczynski from ordinary pipebombers. The UNABOMBER is thought to have experimented with his bombs, and the prosecution likely would argue in any trial that the three- ring binders document those experiments. The notebooks have sketches of boxes that could conceal the devices; handwritten notes in English and Spanish describing how chemical compounds can create explosive charges; and logs of experiments to determine the optimal design for pipe bombs in various weather conditions. The notebooks would have been extremely powerful evidence, that may be even more powerful once comparison is made by experts between the specific entries and specific bombs used in the UNABOM incidents.

    Here, all the information about the anthrax production documents on Khalid Mohammed’s computer is classifed. As for Dr. Hatfill’s comments to acquaintances, they likely would not even be admissible, as no exception to the hearsay doctrine would seem to apply.

    Here, the plastic tub found in the Frederick park in connection with the Hatfill Theory did not pass the “giggle test” and neither does the FBI’s sorority theory as motivation.

    Witness Description.

    In 1987, a woman employed by CAAMS, a Salt Lake City computer store, noticed a man placing an object near a car. She apparently had a close, albeit brief, observation of the individual. She knocked on the window and motioned him away from the car. While distracted by a telephone call, another employee went out and kicked the material out of the way. The bomb was made to look like a road hazard and consisted of two boards with nails sticking up. Two main composites based on the witness’ description were drawn. One was done at the time, and one was done approximately 7 years later. The later composite has a squarer jaw. Some media reports published a version of the composite without glasses. The official composite relied upon by the Task Force has always included glasses. Extrapolating to a man pictured without glasses would be pretending to know something we don’t — did not represent a description of what the witness saw. In the Amerithrax investigation, if Hatfill were the defendant, the witness identification likely would not be admissible because witnesses were only shown Dr. Hatfill’s picture. No announcement was ever made as to whether the witness has positively identified Kaczynski as the individual she saw. The witness likely had difficulty in doing so given that Kaczynski then came to have a beard. It is unclear whether TK had a beard in 1987. He applied for a drivers license in Montana in 1986 and it may be important whether his photograph in connection with that license showed a beard. In addition, Kaczynski mother visited in the mid-1980s, and yet there has been no article reporting her recollection as to whether he had a beard.

    In the Amerithrax matter, the picture shown of Hatfill (and only Hatfill) to witnesses that some in New Jersey apparently was an older picture. In any event, a long time had passed between the time witnesses were shown his picture and any passing encounter with him if he had been the mailer. No one ever identified Dr. Ivins doing anything related to processing or mailing.

    In 1987, Kaczynski was significantly older than in the witness’ description. The individual was estimated by the witness to be between the age of 25 and 30 years old. At the time of the sighting, Kaczynski was 43 years old. The witness described the individual as young and athletic. Witness descriptions are one of the weakest forms of evidence. Moreover, Kaczynski was likely unkempt in his appearance — as generally reported — while the witness apparently described someone with a well-trimmed mustache. Finally, at 5′ 9″, Kaczynski was 1″-3″ shorter than the man described by the witness. Thus, given the importance of the forensic evidence, it is not likely that the witness description would have been particularly significant in any trial of the UNABOM matter, as it raised too many questions. The defense likely would have been able to present other suspects that were much closer to the witness’ description. Importantly, in the affidavit filed in support of the search, the government did not claim that the witness could positively identify Kaczynski.

    A blue hooded sweatshirt and a green sweatshirt were found in Kaczynski’s cabin. Although much ado has been made of the discovery of the sweatshirt, and papers featured headlines of the discovery throughout the country, none of the press accounts have addressed the color of the sweatshirt described by the witness in 1987. None of the articles mentioned that the sweatshirt described by the witness was white (or light gray). One report by a television network indicated that Kaczynski had broken his nose several times. The suggestion apparently was that he broke his nose to disguise his appearance. It is unclear how the television network, in early April, had determined Kaczynski’s intent, and there has been no further mention of the report.

    Materials On Which Names Of Some Victims Appear

    The names of the some victims allegedly appears on some written material. The reports are both conflicting or unclear on the nature of the materials, but the majority of reports indicate that the names of the actual victims were not in handwriting. The significance of this evidence would depend on the specifics. There were a variety of reports of individuals who have been contacted by FBI agents and told that their names were on materials found in the cabin. One widely reported story that was mistaken was that there was a handwritten list of faculty in the math department. The list had been written by an FBI agent for the purposes of contacting the individuals, and was not found in the cabin. Some reports also indicate that a handwritten sheet was found saying “hit list” — airlines, geneticists, and computers. (This likely prove to be one of the “grossly inaccurate” items mentioned by the DOJ spokesman.) Certainly, if this report had been true, it would have been very dramatic evidence.

    Partial Fingerprint

    A partial fingerprint was obtained from one of the devices. It did not match with Kaczynski’s, according to the affidavit filed at the time of the search. The authorities had no way of knowing whether the partial fingerprint is that of the bomber, or someone else. Thus, the prosecution likely would have discounted the failure to match as due to the fact that the print was made by someone other than the bomber. In the Amerithrax investigation, there were no fingerprints found. Of course, if fingerprints had been found on any material found in the pond, that would have been very significant.

    Kaczynski’s Whereabouts

    Kaczynski had lived primarily in Montana since 1971. He traveled to other areas by bus — and not by airplane as initially reported. He moved to Chicago for a short while in the late Spring of 1978 until the Summer of 1979. He applied for an Illinois driver’s license in July 1978 — six weeks after the first explosion. According to one report, he returned to Montana in the Summer of 1979. Thus, the FBI was trying to establish that he returned to Chicago in connection with the mailing of a November 1979 and a May 1980 bomb. The brother and mother were uncertain on the details. According to the affidavit filed in support of the search, the brother had said that Kaczynski came to Chicago as early as 30 days before June 20. In addition, the affidavit states that although Kaczynski left Chicago in the Summer of 1979, he apparently returned after a two month stay in Saskatchewan. Thus, according to the affidavit, the statements by the family members are not inconsistent with his presence in Chicago on May 25, 1978 or November 14, 1979. With respect to the May 1980 mailing to Percy Wood from the Chicago area, the Affidavit notes the dates of hotel stays in Park Hotel, Helena, Montana, that would have allowed an opportunity for Kaczynski to travel to Chicago to make the mailing to Mr. Wood. The Affidavit similarly noted stays at the Park Hotel generally consistent with travel to Utah at the time of the placement and mailing of bombs.

    With respect to his travels to California, the potentially most significant lead was totally false. It concerned a report by a Sacramento hotel owner that he had stayed there — the clerk in fact had not worked there at the time. Absent corroborating hotel registration records, such testimony would not have been significant. For example, reports by a Burger King manager and a guard at a bus terminal in Sacramento would have been met by the incredulous question by defense counsel: you specifically remember this guy over all the other hundreds of bearded unkempt men that you see each year?

    In the Amerithrax case, Dr. Hatfill has offered timesheets that, for example, on September 17, 2001 and September 18, 2001 have him working 13 hour days. Kaczynski similarly had offered a bank deposit slip that the government, through an investigator, was able to explain was not in conflict, with the date of the weekend deposit not registered as processed until the next Monday.Packages were placed in Salt Lake City in October 1981 and February 1987, and mailed from Salt Lake in May 1982 and November 1985. The FBI checked homeless shelters and inexpensive hotels looking for evidence that Kaczynski visited the area. In the Amerithrax case, authorities apparently have no evidence that Dr. Hatfill travelled to the Trenton or Princeton area on the dates of mailing. Dr. Hatfill claims that he has never been to Princeton and would not know where it was on a map. Similarly, Dr. Ivins, in fact, has an alibi established by the withheld evidence and there is no evidence of travel whatsoever.

    Psycholinguistic Analysis

    The affidavit filed in support of the search has a detailed and compelling description of comparisons between a 1971 essay written by Kaczynski and the manifesto. In requesting a warrant to conduct a search of the cabin, the FBI relied on an examination by its own experts who had access to all of TK’s writings in the family’s possession (including 100 letters), and not by the analysis done by experts retained by the family who relied on only a handful of pages provided by the family’s private investigator. The Affidavit filed in support of the search of the cabin illustrates that the content, context and writing style of Theodore Kaczynski’s 6,374, 23-page essay and the 35,000 word UNABOM manuscript are very similar. Unfortunately, although the FBI has the 23-page essay and many pages of letters written by Kaczynski to his mother and brother, it appeared unlikely that authorities would be able to locate more than a couple of the 50 or so letters that TK wrote to a Mexican man. In the government Affidavit also notes the same uncommon (and in the last case inaccurate) spellings of words : “analyse” versus “analyze”, “wilfully” instead of “willfully”, “licence” instead of “license” and “instalment” rather than “installment”.

    In the Amerithrax case, although Don Foster cuts a fine figure on BBC jogging and thinking determinedly, psycholinguistic analysis of the 20-30 words in the letters was never likely to be probative. There is a sweet woman on the internet, a true crime fan, still mad at Dr. Foster for persistently arguing that she was actually the Ramsey son, Burke, following the true crime matter and called him to ask that he stop.

    Profiling It is unlikely that profiling will be a particularly significant portion of any prosecution against Kaczynski. Kaczynski fits the profile relied upon by the Task Force in many (if not most) respects — but he differs from the profile in several important respects. His loose fit with the profile, however, would have served to support an argument, along with other evidence, that there was probable cause to search the cabin. Kaczynski was not among the top 200 suspects primarily because of his age. He was 13 years older than the age in the profile being relied upon by the Task Force. At the time of the first bomb in May 1978, he was 36. Significantly, although he may have a meticulous mind, he was very unkempt in appearance. It was thought that the serial bomber would be very neat.A detailed description of the profile being used by the Task Force in 1991 is reported in UNABOM: The University/Airline Bomber, The Police Chief, at 36-37 (October 1991). The authors were James C. Ronay, who was Chief Explosives Unit, FBI Laboratory, and Richard A. Strobel, Chief, ATF Laboratory. That profile was then substantially revised based on the writings of the bomber. The most important change was that estimates of the bomber’s intelligence were greatly increased. With the benefit of hindsight, the profilers should have realized that the bomber would walk the walk. His disdain for technology would be evidenced by a residence with no electricity — and with a nearby garden permitting him to be self-sufficient.

    Telephone Records

    The FBI no doubt checked the pay telephones that Kaczynski is thought to have used. The UNABOMBER called Bob Guccione of Penthouse magazine. If a telephone call was made from one of the payphones used by Kaczynski on the date and time the call by the bomber was placed, that would have been highly probative evidence. A jury would have found such evidence easy to understand. The FBI may have checked weblogs in the Amerithrax case, for example, to determine where the mailer obtained the nine-digit zipcodes or the address for the AMI publications.

    Books Found In The Cabin

    There were 239 books found in the cabin. Several books are of special interest in this matter. For example, VIOLENCE IN AMERICA was reportedly in his collection. Written in the 1960′s, it is a collection of dry, academically oriented articles. The book was one of the half dozen or so cited by the UNABOMBER in his manifesto. Kaczynski had evidenced awareness of the Commission’s work in a letter years ago to his family.

    Finally, although not found in the cabin, another book cited in the manifesto, ANCIENT ENGINEERS, was allegedly borrowed from a local library by Kaczynski. According to the affidavit filed in support of the search, Ted Kaczynski had cited the book in a letter to his brother. Although certainly not popular or widely-read books, none of the books are rare. All three books are commonly found in libraries. Yet, the evidence would have been very powerful before a jury.

    In the Amerithrax investigation, the book of the hour is “Emergence,” a partially completed novel by Dr. Hatfill and a co-author. Reasonable people can disagree on whether the unpublished novel “Emergence” would play a role here if a prosecution were brought against Dr. Hatfill. Under an Ivins Theory, the prosecutors seemed excited that Dr. Ivins had written some cute poems and liked one book that included a code. The only expert consulted and the author of the book find the FBI’s theory untenable.

    Additional Circumstantial Evidence

    There is a variety of additional circumstantial evidence that the prosecution could have relied on. For example, the prosecution could argue that Kaczynski, despite his poverty, had the necessary resources as a result of small contributions from his family. Kaczynski reportedly received a $1,000 money order from his brother shortly before the December 1994 bombing of Mr. Mosser, and another $2,000 money order from his brother before the April 1995 bombing of Gilbert Murray. Much of the circumstantial evidence, however, being reported by the press is so tenuous that it may not be legally relevant evidence at all. Moreover, many of the reports — such as the report by a Sacramento hotel owner that TK stayed at the hotel or the alleged existence of a handwritten list of Berkeley math faculty — were apparently mistaken. One misguided report suggested a connection between the bombing in early May 1978 and an unsuccessful and brief dating relationship. He went on a couple of dates with the woman in the Summer of 1978 — after the first bombing. Other reports about Kaczynski, while apparently true, are not particularly probative. For example, it was not surprising that as a bright high school student, he liked model rockets and knew how to mix chemicals (such as iodine and ammonia) so that they would go “pop.” We may all know bright high school students who were good in chemistry and had similar interests. In any event, these incidents related to a time period 20 years before the first UNABOM incident in May 1978. (In 1958, during Kaczynski’s senior year, a cow bell was used to signal the end of class periods.)

    That pretty much describes all the “circumstantial evidence” alleged to exist against Dr. Hatfill or Dr. Ivins. The mistakes in the understanding of the circumstances of Dr. Hatfill’s life have been detailed elsewhere. Here, much of the imagined “circumstantial evidence” against Dr. Hatfill relates to irrelevant matters nearly a quarter century ago and would simply have no bearing on an attempted criminal prosecution. Neither do the irrelevant matters relating to Dr. Ivins that involves things a quarter century earlier — such as his theft of a book from sororities.


    In the anthrax mailings, Dr. Zawahiri appears to have accomplished the attack on the US “structure” he intended. With the planes, Al Qaeda struck the US trade dominance (World Trade Center) and its military might (Pentagon). With the anthrax he appears to have rounded out the field that he imagines provides support to Israel — the legislative branch and media. Analogous letter bombs were sent in connection with the earlier attack on the World Trade Center and the imprisonment of the militant islamists responsible for that attack and a related plot. Thus, relying on the postal service to send its deadly missives in connection with an earlier attack of the World Trade Center is not only Al Qaeda’s modus operandi, it is its signature.

    Everyone approaches a problem from their world view and what they know. Biological weapons control activists see a US biodefense insider. Anti-semites see Zionist perpetrators. US-haters see a CIA conspiracy. The CIA’s Zawahiri Task Force sees an Al Qaeda conspiracy (at least they do if they are smart). Israeli intelligence and the Iraqi National Congress lobbied for Iraq as the culprit. The men focused on sex and children follow their own unfathomable compass. Liberal Beltway insiders saw right-wing wackos. Journalists kowtow to the views of any government source in the investigation they deem reliable.Career-minded bureaucrats, always focused on CYA, tend to see whoever those in power want them to focus on — and here the lead prosecutor was the father of the woman who came to represent “anthrax weapons suspect” Ali Al-Timimi pro bono.

    Sometimes if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.

    Amerithrax is the greatest failure of counterintelligence analysis in the history of the United States.

    Information relating to the resolution of the Amerithrax matter likely will come from Pakistan, not the suburbs of Maryland or Central New Jersey. It likely will stem from those with a personal knowledge of Al Qaeda, and not those with an ideological or political axe to grind, whether against Iraq or the US biodefense establishment. The mailer likely will be someone personally recruited by Ayman Zawahiri. The FBI needed to do all they can to keep those agents in Pakistan supplied with Marlboros. (Ayman, that’s code for cowboys). Instead, Agent Borelli politely accepted tea and cookies and then came to head the FBI’s New York Field Office.

    The State will decide what secrets can be kept — thank you very much. Government accountability be damned.

    At home, we need to be good boy and girl scouts and be prepared — even while growing fatigued by the countless false alarms and growing nostalgic for anthrax, in a sense, in light of the work the Russias did for fun with aerosolized Marburg — all the while keeping its secret.

    But y’all come back, now. Because as newspaperman Scripps once said: “The only important date on the calendar is tomorrow.”

  36. DXer said

    At the time of the non-investigation of the lead prosecutor’s hyped leaks about Hatfill in 2003, Mr. Kaiser was in charge of criminal investigations.

    If the fellow did not understand this law, then it does not bode well for the effectiveness of his oversight of the FBI’s unit in charge of prosecuting public corruption.

    Ex-Boston FBI chief due in court on ethics charge
    Sunday, September 22, 2013

    Laurel J. Sweet
    A former chief of the FBI’s Boston office will make his first court appearance next month, when Kenneth W. Kaiser will answer to a misdemeanor conflict-of-interest charge accusing him of meddling with a federal investigation into the Peabody company he was hired by after retiring as a G-man in 2009.

    A Rule 11 hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 3 before U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV.

    At the hearing, ex-Special Agent in Charge Kaiser can plead not guilty, guilty or, with Saylor’s permission, “nolo contendere” — meaning he neither disputes nor admits to the charge, but can be punished the same as if he pleaded guilty.

    If convicted, Kaiser, 57, of Hopkinton, faces up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine. The 27-year veteran of the FBI has not been arrested and declined comment yesterday.

    The case, which became public Sept. 12, is being prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General.

    Kaiser is accused of violating a federal ethics law that bans senior executives from professional contact with the agency they worked for up to one year after leaving that service.

    On the day he retired from the FBI, prosecutors said Kaiser was hired as a consultant by LocatePlus, an online investigative database, to handle an internal investigation into corporate wrongdoing by the company’s then-chief executives Jon Latorella and James Fields. Just “17 days after his retirement,” prosecutors said Kaiser had “numerous prohibited electronic, telephonic and in-person contacts with FBI employees” regarding the bureau’s own investigation into LocatePlus.

    Latorella pleaded guilty last year to securities fraud, while Fields was convicted by a jury. Both are serving five-year sentences.

    Kaiser is also accused of improper contacts with the FBI while working for a Gloucester company in 2009 that received a threatening letter in the mail, and for reaching out to his former FBI colleagues in what prosecutors said was “an attempt to generate sales” of LocatePlus products.

    Kaiser was Boston’s SAC from 2003 to 2006. He was assistant director of criminal investigations at FBI headquarters in Washington from 2007 until his retirement.

  37. DXer said

    The former head of the FBI’s Criminal Investigations Division has been indicted for conflict of interest. Understanding, enforcing, and educating the public about such conflict of interest provisions is an important part of the DOJ’s and FBI’s mission.

    For example, with the gifts given to the Virginia Governor, there is a public perception of lax enforcement of such provisions and public corruption.

    In Amerithrax, the lead prosecutor’s daughter became the pro bono counsel for “anthrax weapons suspect” (defense counsel’s term) Ali Al-Timimi. That must have made for interesting conversation at Thanksgiving. The GAO, given its expertise, should consider whether that violated conflict of interest laws and regulations. (I privately raised the issue with her at the time but she refused to withdraw for many months. She worked closely with the former NSA General Counsel.)

    Kenneth Kaiser, 57, who became an assistant director at FBI headquarters when he left the Boston office in 2006, met with agents investigating his new company, LocatePlus Holding Corp., in July 2009, the same month he retired.

    • DXer said

      Boston Globe
      Former Boston FBI director hit with ethics charge involving LocatePlus
      Boston Business Journal (blog)-Sep 12, 2013
      Former Boston FBI director Kenneth Kaiser has been charged with an ethics violation related to LocatePlus, a troubled firm he allegedly worked …

      The FBI official’s new employer faced a serious criminal investigation. This year the LocatePlus CEO was sentenced to 5 years in that investigation. We need more prosecutors like Paul G. Levenson, who I think would make a great US Attorney in the future.

      We need fewer FBI and DOJ officials who have their eye on lucrative private sector jobs as they garner good press with unsupported claims of having solved the case as they head for the exit to work for companies under criminal investigation.

      BOSTON – The former CFO of Locateplus Holdings Corporation was sentenced yesterday for his role in a number of fraudulent schemes which artificially inflated his company’s assets and revenues.

  38. DXer said

    FBI Looks for Leaks at Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
    by Eli Lake Jun 18, 2013 4:45 AM EDT

    U.S. intelligence officials were careful to say investigators have not yet concluded there is a mole inside the FISA Court or that the secure databases that store the court warrants have been compromised, only that both prospects were under active investigation.

    If the secret court has been breached, it would be one of the most significant intelligence failures in U.S. history, potentially giving America’s adversaries a road map to every suspected agent inside the United States currently being watched by the FBI, according to the officials. Unlike the Verizon order and other such sweeping collection demands that have been received by internet and telecom companies, many FISA warrants identify a specific individual or entity being monitored by the U.S. government.

    “If we have a human or electronic breach in this system it could be a counter-intelligence disaster. It would allow our adversaries to see what we are targeting and how,” said Joel Brenner, a former inspector general and senior counsel for the NSA who left the agency in 2010.

  39. DXer said

    Award-Winning Reporter, W&L Professor Toni Locy Authors New Book on Legal Reporting

    Released: 3/11/2013 2:35 PM EDT

    But it was her time at USA Today that placed Locy in the national spotlight. In 2008, she refused to comply with a federal judge’s order to reveal the identities of confidential sources who had provided information she used in reporting on the FBI’s investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people. Locy won a John Aubuchon Freedom of the Press Award for her determination to protect sources in the face of extreme personal risk. She faced up to $5,000 a day in fines imposed by U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton, who found her in contempt of court for refusing to give up her source’s names. The contempt order was vacated after the U.S. Justice Department settled a civil lawsuit filed by Dr. Steven Hatfill, a scientist who had sued the government over disclosures by public officials.
    Locy devotes a chapter in her book to the importance of protecting sources, with a sidebar about her experiences in the Hatfill case. “I have no regrets about the Hatfill case whatsoever,” she said. “I know I did the right thing, and I would do it again. If you’re going to develop sources, then you need to be prepared to protect those sources even if a federal judge is yelling at you to reveal their names.”

  40. DXer said

    WATCHDOGS TODAY: Secret government study exposes infiltration attempts by Mexican drug cartels
    January 29, 2013 | 1:47 pm

    An internal study for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security describes 15 incidents in which known associates of Mexican drug cartels tried to inflitrate the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting.

    The same study detailed “turf battles, internal dysfunction and other troubles” that have hobbled the agency in its efforts “to get a handle on corruption and other misconduct within its ranks,” CIR said.

    The internal study was conducted by the Homeland Securities and Analysis Institute, which is an internal think tank for DHS. The study has been kept under wraps for more than a year, according to CIR. The study’s authors said there may have been many more attempts by drug cartels to infiltrate the U.S. government in addition to the 15 discussed in their document.

    “As part of lie detector tests, prospective hires have admitted to drug trafficking, human smuggling and other illegal activity, according to examples the agency previously provided to the Center for Investigative Reporting,” CIR said.

    “One applicant told examiners that he smuggled 230 people across the border and shuttled drug dealers around border towns so they could conduct their business,” CIR said. “Another admitted to various crimes, including transporting $700,000 in drug money and 50 kilograms of cocaine across the Southwest border.”

    A total of 146 agency officers and agents have been charged with or convicted of corruption-related offenses since Oct. 1, 2004. Among the offenses charged were accepting bribes to allow drugs to enter the U.S. and stealing tax money.

    Go here for CIR’s complete report on the study.


    It is silly to measure the extent of infiltration attempts by what is admitted in lie detector tests (and only a stupid criminal is motivated to tell the truth in a lie detector test). A friend of mine once had to leave the border control because his unit was so corrupt that he feared for his life. A better measure of government malfeasance is to obtain their contemporaneous documents and put them under oath — and watch how many plead the Fifth Amendment.

    In Amerithrax, Director Mueller did not institute polygraphs upon the leaking about Hatfill because he thought it would be bad for morale. Okay. But what explains that it appears that Mr. Seikaly was not even ASKED whether he was the source of the leak. (See internal emails I’ve uploaded). There WAS no meaningful leak investigation. (See internal emails I’ve uploaded). Which is fine I suppose — given that RHIP and the boss in most any organization has some latitude in speaking to reporters. But here the hyped leaks by Attorney Seikaly served to derail the investigation. Then his daughter represented “anthrax weapons suspect” Ali Al-Timimi for free. I contacted her and her colleagues but she declined to withdraw on the grounds of an appearance of a conflict of interest (or even address the subject).

    Our government is seriously F—– up. No one is going to do anything about it until after a mass anthrax attack. Not even the Army because no one wants to cause anyone any embarrassment. Yet that is how problems are best addressed — appreciating that “mistakes will be made” and then they have to be corrected.

    The serious handwringing will begin about what should have been done only after a mass attack. The ones who should care are the ones who live in DC and NYC — because they are the targets.

    The rest of us will just be watching as history is written with an unhappy ending.

  41. DXer said

    Author Grafft says he had a few “innaccuracies on his resume.”

    Hatfill had falsely claimed to have received a PhD. (Indeed, he forged his PhD diploma)

    That is not suitably characterized as merely an inaccuracy.

    The author says that the FBI spent $250,000 in investigating Hatfill. Hardly. That was just the cost of draining a pond. The FBI spent MILLIONS investigating Hatfill.

    Under an “Ivins Theory,” the FBI has relied on Dr. Ivins forgery of a letter to the editor. Under a “Berry Theory”, the FBI relied on forgery of a will.

    The lesson learned is that reliance on unrelated misconduct can be highly prejudicial and yet not at all probative.

    But the problem was the original failure of intelligence analysis and reliance on FBI “profilers” rather than intelligence analysts.

    If GAO interviewed profilers, GAO would find that the FBI profilers just took a report turned in September 2001, dusted it off, and used that to serve as the basis for their profile of an unstable loner.

    There is no evidence that the FBI profilers in the basement of Quantico were even was aware of EIJ’s threats to use anthrax against US targets to retaliate for the appropriations to Egypts security apparatus. There is no evidence that the FBI profilers knew that EIJ shura leaders had announced that Ayman Zawahiri was going to use anthrax against US targets to retaliate for the rendering and mistreatment of senior EIJ leaders like Dr. Ayman’s brother Mohammed. Mohammed’s sister had recently taught microbiology to the man who was supplied virulent Ames from Flask 1029 in connection with DARPA research.

  42. DXer said

    The lead Amerithrax prosecutor was from Palestine, born in Haifa in 1948. He was the one who pled the Fifth Amendment about leaking the hyped Hatfill stories. His daughter came to represent “anthrax weapons suspect” (his counsel’s phrase) Ali Al-TImimi — for free. Al-Timimi shared a suite with the leading DARPA-funded Ames anthrax researchers who had co-invented a patent in 2001 for growing anthrax in silica. Al-Timimi was coordinating with Anwar Awlaki. The lead FBI scientist had been the collection scientist at the ATCC bacteriology division (ATCC co-sponsored Ali’s program). Was it politically sensitive for Mr. Seikaly to investigate Al-Timimi and Awlaki? Who told AUSA Lieber she couldn’t visit Al-Timimi in prison because a deal had been cut? Was it politically sensitive to investigate Al-TImimi, who had been Andrew Card’s former assistant? FBI Director Mueller reported each day to Andrew Card and the President on the investigation.

    Amerithrax represents the greatest law enforcement failure in the history of the United States and the FBI’s closing of the case cannot stand.

    Here are the emails from Hasan to Awlaki that the FBI office in DC didn’t think warranted investigation.

    What leads didn’t they pursue in Amerithrax?

    I wrote Awlaki to ask him who he thought was responsible for the anthrax mailings. I hope I wasn’t too nice. :0) I normally have to finesse things by using phrases like “lovable rogue.”

    Hasan’s e-mail exchange with al-Awlaki; Islam, money and matchmaking
    By Larry Shaughnessy

  43. DXer said

    GAO: Is history repeating itself? Is Ali Al-Timimi a Top Echelon informant? If not, then where is the docket on PACER? (It was up and then taken down).

    You’ll want to speak to the prosecutor Gordon K. who in his silences may be telling you, dig deeper than you have so far… press harder for non-exempt, non-classified documents.

    ‘Betrayal: Whitey Bulger and the FBI agent who fought to bring him down’ by Robert Fitzpatrick

    Ex-agent’s tale tells of dysfunction, corruption

  44. DXer said

    Senator Grassley welcomed Director Mueller beginning about 11 minutes in.

    Here is a summary of some issues he raised.

    Senators shouldn’t kid themselves. DOJ attorneys privately ridicule the notion that there is effective Congressional oversight.

    Anthrax Investigation (Amerithrax):

    I also want to discuss some issues that have recently arisen as follow-up to the FBI’s closing of the Amerithrax investigation. Specifically, the Justice Department recently settled a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida for $2.5 million. That suit was filed by the family of an editor who died as a result of the 2001 anthrax attacks. The lawsuit raised questions in the press given potentially conflicting statements made by the Justice Department that seemed to cast doubt on Dr. Ivins’ ability to actually manufacture the Anthrax. Additionally, in subsequent depositions of Dr. Ivins’ coworkers, statements were made calling into question Dr. Ivins’ ability to produce the anthrax used in the attacks given his lack of access to necessary equipment. Ultimately, the department filed a supplemental filing correcting statements that seemed to cast doubt upon the FBI’s case, but did not seek to refute the depositions of Dr. Ivins’ coworkers.

    I wrote to the Attorney General and the FBI Director in August asking how the department’s filing and the depositions could be squared against the FBI’s contention that Dr. Ivins was the sole assailant. In the response, the Justice Department argued that the “issue raised by the United States in its motion did not pertain to whether Dr. Ivins was responsible for the anthrax attacks or whether he could have created the anthrax powder in his laboratory.” The department instead argued, “The issue raised by our motion is whether the Army failed to properly oversee and supervise operations at the United States Army Medical Institute for Infectious Disease (USAMRIID) such that the agency was negligent in failing to anticipate and prevent the theft of liquid anthrax and its conversion into powder for use in the attacks.” With regard to the depositions, the department argued, “doubts of [Dr. Ivins’] colleagues only underscore [DOJ’s] view that Dr. Ivins’ actions were not foreseeable under Florida tort law.” While these statements attempt to thread the needle about the government’s liability, the fact remains that the government ended up paying $2.5 million to settle the case and cast a further cloud on the FBI’s case that Dr. Ivins’ was the sole perpetrator.
    Access to Line Agents and Attorneys:

    The Anthrax investigation and the department’s response to it have also raised additional questions. Notably, in responding to press accounts questioning the government’s case against Dr. Ivins, the FBI and department both allowed line agents and attorneys to be interviewed on national television. In allowing these FBI agents and Assistant U.S. Attorney’s to conduct detailed interviews with the press, the FBI and department have provided greater access to the press than they have Congress. Both the department and FBI routinely argue that line agents and attorneys are prohibited from talking to members of Congress. Yet, you can turn on a television and see in-depth interviews with these same agents and attorneys that members of Congress would like to interview. This has been a very important part of my investigation of the department’s failed handling of the ATF’s Operation Fast & Furious. I want to know from Director Mueller why he allows line agents to provide detailed interviews to the press on national television, but repeatedly refuses to let Congress and their staff interview line agents and attorneys.

    Anthrax Investigation Leaks:

    The Anthrax investigation also spurned an unfortunate situation where someone in the Justice Department leaked sensitive information regarding the investigation to the press. Those leaks involved alerting the media that Dr. Steven Hatfill was under investigation and that search warrants were going to be executed on his residence. Ultimately, Dr. Hatfill was exonerated of any wrongdoing in the case, and the Department of Justice settled a civil lawsuit filed by Dr. Hatfill based upon the Department’s violation of the Privacy Act. This settlement cost the American taxpayers nearly $6 million and occurred based upon the department’s leak of information to the press. I have repeatedly asked for a status update on the investigation into the leak to determine who the source was.

    In response to my August 31, 2011, letter, the department stated, “After an extensive investigation, career prosecutors concluded that, based upon the Principles of Federal Prosecution, criminal charges were not appropriate in this matter.” This is a stunning development and only adds to concerns I have that leakers at the Justice Department are held to a different standard than federal employees outside the department. Now that it appears that the investigation is over, I want to know from Director Mueller who the leakers were and whether they faced any administrative sanctions for the leaks. The actions of these individuals put federal taxpayers on the hook for a $6 million settlement; they need to be held accountable.

    Another area of concern is the FBI’s relationship with informants. The bureau’s actions regarding Whitey Bulger were a black eye for the FBI and recent press reports from Boston indicate that a similarly cozy relationship may have developed between alleged mobster Mark Rossetti and the Boston FBI. I wrote Director Mueller a letter on Mr. Rossetti on October 17th and I look forward to asking him more questions on this matter today.

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