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

Archive for November 2nd, 2011

* The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: careful analysis of the NAS review of the FBI’s anthrax investigation leads to conclusion that the FBI never precisely established the required skills and spore preparation time … which then raises the question as to whether the FBI case would have been able to withstand the scrutiny of a trial

Posted by DXer on November 2, 2011

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 Sonia Ben Ouagrham-Gormley writes in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (11/1/11) …

  • When the National Academy of Sciences issued its review of the FBI anthrax investigation earlier this year, the press fixated primarily on one point: The report found no conclusive evidence that Bruce Ivins  produced the anthrax-laced letters 
  • genetic analysis was not able to ascertain the origin of the material in the five letters
  • It also couldn’t identify the production methods used.
  • the FBI investigation was not able to clarify what methods might have been used to grow, purify, concentrate and dry the anthrax sent in the letters.
  • the FBI was unable to determine 
    • the amount of time needed to produce the powdered anthrax,
    • the type of skills and the equipment required to make it,
    • the quality of the starting material, and
    • the amount of liquid anthrax required to produce the five grams or so of dried anthrax in the letters.
  • during the first two years of the FBI investigation, no organizational structure within the bureau was responsible for overall oversight and coordination of the work performed by all these actors — or for advising the FBI on the specific expertise required and the methodology choices available.
  • 29 laboratories worked for the FBI in a compartmentalized fashion, unaware of what other labs were doing.
  • Because the Ames strain was widely used and exchanged among laboratories in the United States and overseas before 2001, the academy could not document that the FBI had identified all laboratories housing samples of the Ames strain.
  • the bureau did not provide the subpoenaed laboratories sufficiently precise instructions on how to prepare the samples or on the number of spores or cells required, and it did not supervise the preparation of the samples in these laboratories.
  • Such methods suggested to the academy that the laboratories might not have used procedures consistent enough with one another to allow comparison,
  • nor was there sufficient certainty that the subpoenaed laboratories produced samples of all the Ames strains in their possession.
  • The academy report also notes that it is not clear how the FBI made scientific decisions to pursue or not pursue some investigative routes or scientific approaches.

Considering that the FBI never precisely established

the required skills and spore preparation time,

one may wonder whether the case

would have been able to withstand the scrutiny of a trial.

read the entire article at … http://www.thebulletin.org/web-edition/features/amerithrax-review-lessons-future-investigations

 

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* Summary of Recommended Animal Biosafety Levels for Activities in which Experimentally or Naturally Infected Vertebrate Animals Are Used

Posted by DXer on November 2, 2011

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