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

* recent correspondence between Congressman Jerrold Nadler and the FBI reveals the FBI’s longstanding, continuing and apparently purposeful refusal to answer direct questions asked by the Congressman

Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 18, 2011

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Congressman Jerrold Nadler

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Chronology (2008-2011) in reverse order

  • Congressman Nadler to FBI Director Mueller … Sept 13, 2011 (see letter below)
    • noting that the FBI’s letter of August 9, 2011 has still failed to explain why their April 2009 answer to questions asked in November 2008 was incomplete
    • noting that specific questions asked in May 2011 regarding additional samples were not answered in the FBI’s letter of August 9, 2011
  • Letter from FBI Assistant Director, Laboratory Division to Congressman Nadler … August 9, 2011 (see letter below)
  • Congressman Nadler to FBI Director Mueller … May 2011 …
    • asking why the FBI’s April 2009 letter provided incomplete information in response to Nadler’s questions asked in November 2008
    • asking specific new questions regarding the NAS report and whether certain additional samples were tested
  • FBI letter to Congressman Nadler … April 2009 … providing incomplete information in response to questions asked by the Congressman in November 2008
  • Questions first raised by Congressman Nadler … November 2008
  • FBI press conference in August 2008 announcing that Dr. Bruce Ivins was the sole perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax attacks and that the case would soon be closed

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Congressman Nadler to FBI Director Mueller … Sept 13, 2011

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Letter from FBI Assistant Director, Laboratory Division

to Congressman Nadler … Aug 9, 2011

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see also …

* PBS Frontline, McClatchy and ProPublica … The FBI’s false case against Dr. Bruce Ivins, built on obviously unproven innuendos and assertions, is beginning to unravel.

 * Congressman Jerrold Nadler complains to FBI Director Robert Mueller that questions he first asked in September 2008 regarding silicon content in the anthrax in several of the 2001 attack letters were answered incorrectly … previous posts on this blog assert that the correct information may be very relevant to determining who the real perpetrator(s) of those attacks were

 * responses to Congressman Nadler’s questions of the FBI regarding the % of weight of the silicon in the powder used in the 2001 anthrax attacks

 * and then there were three … Congressman Nadler joins Holt and Bartlett in calling for Congressional review of the failed FBI anthrax investigation … waiting for Senators Grassley and Specter

* the FBI’s answers to questions posed by members of the House Judiciary Committee in September 2008 as to certain aspects of the FBI’s investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks are insulting and demeaning to the U.S. Congress and to the American people

* Congress tries to scrutinize the FBI’s anthrax investigation … so far with little success

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LMW COMMENT …

The letters presented above show a longstanding, continuing, and apparently purposeful refusal of the FBI to answer clear, specific, and important questions asked by a United States Congressman in his official capacity.

The FBI doesn’t say the information they refuse to divulge is being withheld for security or any other reasons. They don’t say the FBI doesn’t know the answers. They simply do not answer the questions asked, some of which were asked almost three years ago. 

It is my view that no member of the U.S. government has the right to treat a U.S. Congressman in the manner the FBI has treated Congressman Nadler. 

Meanwhile, the anthrax attacks of 2001 have not been solved. After 10 years of the most expensive investigation in the FBI’s history, the American people do not know who committed those attacks. Maybe the FBI knows but isn’t saying, or maybe they don’t know either.

But in any case, the accusation of a dead man where there are no witnesses, no physical evidence, and no conclusive science, with nothing but an unsupported veneer of conjecture, should not be allowed to stand. The FBI’s case could never have achieved a conviction in court.

It is important that our country still doesn’t know who attacked us with anthrax in 2001.

It is important that the perpetrators are still out there, perhaps planning another attack.

And it is very important that the FBI respond fully and respectfully to Congressman Nadler, to the entire U.S. Congress and to the American people.

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12 Responses to “* recent correspondence between Congressman Jerrold Nadler and the FBI reveals the FBI’s longstanding, continuing and apparently purposeful refusal to answer direct questions asked by the Congressman”

  1. Anonymous said

    http://www.propublica.org/article/live-chat-anthrax-investigation

    Comment From Z Z : ]
    Shouldn’t Dir. R. Muller be charged with a crime from lying to a US Congressman? About some of the questions asked about the investigation?
    Wednesday October 12, 2011 2:30 Z
    2:31 Greg Gordon: FBI Director Robert Mueller testified to Congress multiple times about the anthrax investigation, usually facing pointed questioning. In September 2008, two months after Dr. Ivins died, Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York pressed Mueller as to how much silicon was present in the anthrax letter that landed at the New York Post and Mueller demurred, promising to get back with answers to that and other questions. The following spring, the Justice Department’s congressional liaison office replied, saying that the silicon content in the Post letter was high, but declining to say how high because the scientific data wasn’t considered reliable. During the previous years, the FBI had advised various labs of the finding of a 10 percent silicon content — a soaring number that would have led to many questions about whether the killer had tried to weaponize the spores with an additive that would make them float more so they’d be more easily inhaled. Prosecutors now say that the silicon reading by the FBI’s own lab was never verified. However, there’s never been an explanation as to whether further bulk tests were conducted to confirm the original data. Tests by the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology on spores from the letter also seemed to show high silicon content, though its testing method does not quantify the levels of substances it finds. As to Mueller, since he didn’t answer that question — and some others — directly, it doesn’t seem that there’s much fodder for a perjury case. Mr. Nadler, however, is still demanding to know why Director Mueller didn’t share the 10% figure with him and the House Judiciary Committee.

  2. Anonymous said

    “Rachel Lieber, the lead prosecutor in a case that will never go to trial, thinks that Ivins manipulated his sample to cover his tracks.
    “If you send something that is supposed to be from the murder weapon, but you send something that doesn’t match, that’s the ultimate act of deception. That’s why it’s so important,” Lieber said.”

    HMMMMM…..

    How about “When you answer a Congressman’s question at a Congressional Hearing but send an answer that pretends you don’t know the answer when in fact you do know the answer, that’s the ultimate act of deception. That’s why it’s so important that this issue is not forgotten about.”

  3. DXer said

    Talanta. 2011 Oct 15;85(5):2352-60. Epub 2011 Jul 30.
    Determination of post-culture processing with carbohydrates by MALDI-MS and TMS derivatization GC-MS.
    Wunschel DS, Wahl KL, Melville AM, Sorensen CM, Colburn HA, Valentine NB, Stamper CL.
    Source

    Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA 99352, USA.
    Abstract

    Biological materials generally require stabilization to retain activity or viability in a dry form. A number of industrial products, such as vaccines, probiotics and biopesticides have been produced as dry preparations. The same methods and materials used for stabilizing commercial microbial products may be applicable to preserving biothreat pathogens in a dry form. This is a likely step that may be encountered when looking at samples from terrorism attempts since only spores, such as those from Bacillus anthracis, are inherently stable when dried. The stabilizers for microbial preparations generally include one or more small carbohydrates. Different formulations have been reported for different industrial products and are often determined empirically. However sugar alcohols (mannitol and sorbitol) and disaccharides (lactose, sucrose and trehalose) are the common constituents of these formulations. We have developed an analytical method for sample preparation and detection of these simple carbohydrates using two complementary analytical tools, MALDI-MS and GC-MS. The native carbohydrates and other constituents of the formulation are detected by MALDI-MS as a screening tool. A longer and more detailed analysis is then used to specifically identify the carbohydrates by derivatization and GC-MS detection. Both techniques were tested against ten different types of stabilization recipes with Yersinia pestis cell mass cultured on different media types used as the biological component. A number of additional components were included in these formulations including proteins and peptides from serum or milk, polymers (e.g. poly vinyl pyrrolidone – PVP) and detergents (e.g. Tween). The combined method was characterized to determine several figures of merit. The accuracy of the method was 98% for MALDI-MS and 100% for GC-MS. The repeatability for detection of carbohydrates by MALDI-MS was determined to be 96%. The repeatability of compound identification by GC-MS was determined by monitoring variation in retention time, which is vital for identification of isomeric carbohydrates. The figures of merit illustrate an effective and accurate method for mono and disaccharide detection independent of formulation. This meets our primary goal for method development as small carbohydrates are among the most common stabilizers employed.

  4. DXer said

    J Pharm Sci. 2011 Sep 8. doi: 10.1002/jps.22742. [Epub ahead of print]
    Stable dry powder formulation for nasal delivery of anthrax vaccine.
    Wang SH, Kirwan SM, Abraham SN, Staats HF, Hickey AJ.
    SourceEshelman School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7571.

    Abstract
    There is a current biodefense interest in protection against anthrax. Here, we developed a new generation of stable and effective anthrax vaccine. We studied the immune response elicited by recombinant protective antigen (rPA) delivered intranasally with a novel mucosal adjuvant, a mast cell activator compound 48/80 (C48/80). The vaccine formulation was prepared in a powder form by spray-freeze-drying (SFD) under optimized conditions to produce particles with a target size of D(50) = 25 μm, suitable for delivery to the rabbit nasal cavity. Physicochemical properties of the powder vaccines were characterized to assess their delivery and storage potential. Structural stability of rPA was confirmed by circular dichroism and attenuated total reflectance-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, whereas functional stability of rPA and C48/80 was monitored by cell-based assays. Animal study was performed using a unit-dose powder device for direct nasal application. Results showed that C48/80 provided effective mucosal adjuvant activity in rabbits. Freshly prepared SFD powder vaccine formulations or powders stored for over 2 years at room temperature elicited significantly elevated serum PA-specific and lethal toxin neutralization antibody titers that were comparable to that induced by intramuscular immunization with rPA. Nasal delivery of this vaccine formulation may be a viable alternative to the currently licensed vaccine or an attractive vaccine platform for other mucosally transmitted diseases. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc. and the American Pharmacists Association J Pharm Sci.

    Copyright © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  5. DXer said

    There are close parallels between the Brian Kelly spy case and the Bruce Ivins case.

    If documents (such as relating to the photocopy toner) were not withheld by the FBI science people, the missteps in analysis and mistakes in Rachel’s Amerithrax Investigative Summary would have been exposed a long time ago.

    If interested in promoting accountability, GAO should focus on the withholding of documents and looking to the future, force their production.

    As another example, production of the handwriting analysis of which letters are actually double-lined would show Agent Steele’s interpretation of the code to be a contrived crock. (His analysis included a letter as double-lined that wasn’t).

    How the FBI Mishandled the Brian Kelley Spy Case
    Tuesday, 20 Sep 2011 04:06 PM

    By Ronald Kessler

    http://www.newsmax.com/RonaldKessler/Kessler-FBI-Kelley-spy/2011/09/20/id/411700

    • Lew Weinstein said

      FBI Director Mueller should be held directly responsible for permitting (or initiating) the stonewalling policies of the FBI which have kept (and still keep) pertinent information from the public despite FOIA laws which seem to require release of such documents. It is futile to blame subordinates who are likely following direct or implied orders from the top. Hopefully, the GAO report and subsequent Congressional investigations will place the blame where it belongs, with the boss.

      • DXer said

        “FBI Director Mueller should be held directly responsible for permitting (or initiating) the stonewalling policies of the FBI which have kept (and still keep) pertinent information from the public despite FOIA laws which seem to require release of such documents.”

        Nonsense. Thousands of pages have been produced in amerithrax.

        Now GAO, hopefully, will have mastered the issues well enough to know that additional documents should be disclosed and they now should be disclosed — to include but not limited to all of Dr. Ivins’ lab notebooks from September/October.

        • DXer said

          One FOIA request of my interest is FOIA Request No. 1173005-000 / AMERITHRAX / IVINS NOTEBOOK 4240 AND NOTEBOOK 4241.

          By snail mail, I received a standard letter today from Section Chief David M. Hardy that concluded by saying “Your patience is appreciated.”

  6. Anonymous said

    Let’s just put this in perspective.

    Before the FBI even performed the ICP-OES analysis of the Leahy or NYP powders they had the AFIP data. The AFIP data clearly shows silicon present in the Daschle and NYP powders – and at least 10 times MORE silicon in the NYP powder than Daschle.

    Thus – it would EXPECTED that ICP-OES would give at least 10 times MORE silicon in NYP.

    And that’s EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED !!!!!

    It is TOTALLY LUDICROUS for Chris Hassell to then suggest that a shard of glass or a speck of soil coincidentally present in the sample they took of the NYP powder then caused the 10.77% silicon reading.

    Let’s call it what it is – a cover up.

    • DXer said

      Why is it totally ludicrous for Chris Hassell to then suggest that a shard of glass or a speck of soil? The subject warrants patient explanation with citation to the literature, not bald assertion.

      • Anonymous said

        It is totally ludicrous for the following reason:

        The amount of silicon detected by AFIP in the NYP powder is clearly indicative of deliberate addition – and thus a major forensic clue.

        The 10.77% silicon then detected by ICP-OES then CONFIRMS the expected result.

        If there was even any question of a shard of glass being present by coincidence in that sub-sample it would have called for a repeated experiment. To speculate about shards of glass and then not do a RE-ANALYSIS of the most important forensic sample the FBI labs have ever anlyzed is LUDICROUS. Nobody is that incompetent. Thus the only reasonable conclusion is a cover up.

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