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

* Congress and the GAO should act to prevent the Department of Justice from destroying the depositions of Patricia Fellows and Mara Linscott – by subpoena if necessary

Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 30, 2011

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LMW COMMENT …

This is the most blatant in a long series of cover-ups

to prevent the American people and the Congress from knowing 

what happened in the anthrax attacks

and the subsequent failed FBI investigation.

It is pathetic and shameful!

Director Mueller and the FBI should be held to account for their behavior.

Director Mueller wins a battle, but he may still lose the war ... the FBI has charged a dead man without proof, and the Director must know it

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5 Responses to “* Congress and the GAO should act to prevent the Department of Justice from destroying the depositions of Patricia Fellows and Mara Linscott – by subpoena if necessary”

  1. DXer said

    The Civil Division reports that it also did not preserve the civil depositions that they provably had of the following:.

    John Ashcroft [United States Attorney General],
    Robert Mueller [FBI Director],
    Roscoe Howard [United States Attorney],
    Kenneth Kohl [lead AUSA],
    Dwight Adams [head of FBI science lab],
    Robert Roth [lead investigator],
    Daniel Seikaly [lead prosecutor],
    Steven Hatfill [defendant paid $5.8 million],
    and others.

    I just got off the telephone with Attorney Kovakas who confirms that the Civil Division did not maintain or preserve the listed depositions. It took the DOJ 6 months to check with the attorneys who handled the litigation.

    I only have excerpts of the civil depositions — such as when the lead prosecutor Seikaly pled the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination numerous times.

    I am advised by my intelligence source to seek the full depositions.

    When I pointed out to Attorney Kovakas that a failure to preserve and share records is what leads to a failure to connect the dots, he said that was a matter of speculation.
    (Of course, the entire purpose of seeking to get people on the same page is to avoid the need for speculation).

    Attorney Kovakas is very well-spoken and highly experienced. The DOJ is very well-served by him if the goal is avoid production of documents through the shredding and failure to maintain records — rather than furthering government accountability and transparency.

    If the spirit of FOIA were being promoted, upon the referral of the four depositions to the FBI, Civil would have asked if the FBI had the other depositions. Attorney Kovakas says I can ask the FBI — which in my experience has an average response of a year or two or three on the simplest request relating to Amerithrax.

    It’s all about CYA inside the Beltway.

    http://www.amerithrax.wordpress.com

    The September 24, 2014 letter to me from James M. Kovakas, Senior Supervisory FOIA Counsel states:

    “This is the response of the Civil Division, Department of Justice (DOJ) to your April 23, 2014 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for a copies [sic] of various depositions in the case Stephen Hatfill United States [sic]. You requested the depositions of Dwight Adams, John Ashcroft, Timothy Beres, Gary Boyd, Tom Carey, Edward Cogswell, James Fitzgerald, Bradley Garrett, Van Harp, Steven Hatfill, Roscoe Howard, Kenneth Kohl, Richard Lambert, Robert Mueller, Robert Roth, Daniel Seikaly and Debra Weierman. Your request was received April 23, 2104 and assigned control number 145-FOI-13112.”

    “I directed your request to the Federal Programs Branch and the Torts Branch as those offices would most likely maintain the documents you requested. Searches in those offices identified the depositions of Bradley Garrett, Van Harp, Richard Lambert and Debra Weierman. We found no depositions of the other individuals listed in your request. Therefore, as for those individuals we have no records.”

    “After reviewing the four identified depositions, I determined that the documents should be referred to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their review and direct response to you. All future communications regarding these documents should be directed to: David M [H]ardy, Chief, Record Information Dissemination Section, Records Management Division, 170 Marcel Drive, Winchester VA 22602-4843.”

  2. DXer said

    The key depositions relating to the facts in Amerithrax were shredded.

    If sworn statements of workers in connection with the recent smallpox, anthrax, botulism, avian flu etc. are shredded, is anyone going to be upset?

    Or is Congress just going to overlook destruction of evidence by DOJ in Amerithrax?

  3. DXer said

    Now that I no longer think the Patricia Fellows and Mara Linscott civil depositions were shredded by the US Department of Justice, I have requested them.

    I do think litigation by a non-profit will be necessary to obtain them, though.

    My friend Ken’s litigation against DOJ for the Jdey documents raises entirely different issues. In that case, Jdey is on the lam. (We’ll have to see what Moussaoui documents Ken gets this month.)

    In Amerithrax, on the other hand, the case is closed. The US DOJ just wants to withhold all the “good stuff” — which IMO will demolish its Ivins Theory.

    In its redactions, DOJ isn’t even specifying the subsection as to particular redactions (which is easy to do given the software used). The redactions were extensive in the Salerno deposition. So it is going to be an uphill slog.

    Someone else may want to ask for the Hawley, Arrison, Chrisman-Hose and Wade depos. Now that I no longer think the Fellows and Linscott depositions were shredded, litigation under FOIA on that issue is my priority.

    • DXer said

      The March 18, 2014 fiilng in Kenneth J. Dillon v. Federal Bureau of Litigation states:

      “JOINT PROPOSED AMENDED SCHEDULE FOR FURTHER PROCEEDINGS

      Defendant, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, (“FBI”), by and through its undersigned counsel, and Plaintiff Kenneth Dillon, hereby jointly submit the following proposed amended schedule for further proceedings in this Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) case. The FBI has completed processing the additional information located, addressed all withholdings of information responsive to plaintiff’s FOIA request in a Vaughn declaration and has provided the completed Vaughn declaration to plaintiff. Therefore, the parties request that the schedule for further proceedings be amended as follows”

      I have emailed Ken to request a copy of the Vaughn Index. A Vaughn Index is a document that agencies prepare in FOIA litigation to justify each withholding of information under a FOIA exemption.

  4. DXer said

    “The United States will destroy or return all confidential or protected materials not required to be maintained as part of its master case file…”

    Was the deposition of the IG team leader, Colonel Elliott, something that was required to be preserved “as part of its master case file”? Or could the US Department of Justice shred the best, official evidence of the government’s mistakes relating to allowing access to virulent Ames prior to the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings.

    The DOJ agreed to notify the National Archives and Records Administration, as necessary under 36 C.F.R. 1226.14(e), of any permanent or unscheduled records destroyed for the purposes of complying with any of the protective orders entered in this case.”

    This notice, I would think, is subject to FOIA.

    Note that protective orders were voluntarily entered to by the US DOJ. So allowing F.R.Civ. P. 26(c) to control FOIA and the rules relating to the preservation of documents would allow the US Department of Justice to shred whatever they like so long as one party in litigation agrees. (Federal courts just rubberstamp proposed protective orders.)

    Both the Plaintiff’s counsel and the Judge agreed that there was unnecessary sealing in the case — leaving the DOJ as the party playing hide-the-ball.

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