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

* GAO: Why are the so-called “Iraq sample” and Battelle discussed under the heading about IVINS’ knowledge of reported proposals to start conducting animal challenges at USAMRIID with dried Ames anthrax powder? What consulting did the DARPA-funded researchers at GMU’s Center for Biodefense who came to share a suite with Ali Al-Timimi do for Battelle in 1999? What work with virulent Ames did SRI in Frederick, MD do for those researchers?

Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 14, 2011

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17 Responses to “* GAO: Why are the so-called “Iraq sample” and Battelle discussed under the heading about IVINS’ knowledge of reported proposals to start conducting animal challenges at USAMRIID with dried Ames anthrax powder? What consulting did the DARPA-funded researchers at GMU’s Center for Biodefense who came to share a suite with Ali Al-Timimi do for Battelle in 1999? What work with virulent Ames did SRI in Frederick, MD do for those researchers?”

  1. DXer said

    Politics
    Donald Trump’s running mate once peddled conspiracy theories about anthrax and Saddam Hussein, David WIllman, July 17, 2016

    http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pence-anthrax-20160717-20160715-snap-story.html

    Comment:

    I try to avoid politics because addressing the subject merely loses half of the audience one is trying to persuade on an issue of true crime and document analysis. So I kept to myself my disappointment that Mike Pence doesn’t think that smoking kills. (Having worked at the national firms that represented the two leading tobacco companies, I can assure you that (1) smoking kills, and (2) the cigarette companies have been knowingly marketing cancer now for over a half century.

    https://web.archive.org/web/20010302082044/http://mikepence.com/smoke.html

    “In the coming weeks, Americans are going to be treated with the worst kind of Washington-speak regarding the tobacco legislation currently being considered by the Congress and Attorney Generals from forty different states. We will hear about the scourge of tobacco and the resultant premature deaths.
    Time for a quick reality check. Despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn’t kill. In fact, 2 out of every three smokers does not die from a smoking related illness and 9 out of ten smokers do not contract lung cancer.”

    But I cannot avoid sharing the disappointment of David Willman and the FBI scientists and consultants quoted explaining that Mike Pence had no basis for suggesting that the mailed anthrax was genetically modified. (I mean, it wasn’t even subject to debate — wasn’t even debated.)

  2. DXer said

    Was the so-called “Iraq sample” part of a similar fiction? How can the Army and FBI leave the American public still in the dark about that — still deceived?

    Chilcot report: MI6 needs an eye for a lie and a tooth for truth

    • Ben Macintyre
    • The Times
    • 12:00AM July 9, 2016
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/the-times/chilcot-report-mi6-needs-an-eye-for-a-lie-and-a-tooth-for-truth/news-story/77b2586d3fe6aeea2a4b7d2bf340d183
    Greene’s Wormold, cash-strapped and newly wifeless, with an expensive and demanding daughter to support, is approached by MI6 in Havana, and invited to provide intelligence about the Cuban regime. Wormold does not have access to any real intelligence, but he needs the money, and so he makes it up. As his own fiction evolves, Wormold creates a network of fake informants and spies; he hands over sketches of vacuum cleaner parts, claiming these depict a secret military ­installation.

    London, hungry for intelligence and convinced that something dodgy is being plotted in Cuba, swallows the lot, places full confidence in its man in Havana, and demands more. This is every intelligence officer’s worst nightmare, and the central vulnerability of most espionage: a preconceived but erroneous expectation imposed from above, an eager and greedy source with a vivid imagination, and a lot of wishful thinking. This is also what happened to British intelligence in the run-up to the Iraq War.

  3. DXer said

    http://interlochenpublicradio.org/post/flawed-intelligence-war-our-time

    Originally published on May 10, 2015 11:11 am

    amusing transcription errors of NPR interview (you can listen at the link)

    MARTIN: Did the CIA face political pressure in finding evidence that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass description?

    MORELL: … We were already there on the question of weapons of mass distraction.

    Background

    GAO: Did Patricia Fellows Ever Find the Missing “National Security” Sample That Dr. Ivins Was (Apparently Falsely) Told Was From Iraq Before Moving On To SRI That Summer? Was There An Emailed Response(s) To Dr. Ivins’ Question? Her Deposition Should Not Be Shredded.
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 14, 2011
    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/12/14/gao-did-patricia-fellows-ever-find-the-missing-national-security-sample-that-dr-ivins-was-apparently-falsely-told-was-from-iraq-before-moving-on-to-sri-that-summer-was-there-an-emailed-resp/

    Was the sample that Dr. Ivins says he was told was from Iraq — but wasn’t — actually from the dried aerosol project that had been launched at USAMRIID unbeknownst to Dr. Ivins? Who brought it to him? Where did it come from?
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 14, 2011
    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/12/14/was-the-sample-that-dr-ivins-says-he-was-told-was-from-iraq-but-wasnt-actually-from-the-dried-aerosol-project-that-had-been-launched-at-usamriid-unbeknownst-to-dr-ivins-who-brought-it-to/

    Was the dried powdered Bacillus anthracis given Dr. Ivins to test really from Iraq? (Or was he just told that?).
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 8, 2010
    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/04/08/was-the-dried-powdered-bacillus-anthracis-given-dr-ivins-to-test-really-from-iraq-or-was-he-just-told-that/

  4. DXer said

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/28/rebekah-brooks-saddam-anthrax-public-official_n_4873889.html?utm_hp_ref=media

    Rebekah Brooks Admits Paying Public Official For Saddam-Anthrax Story
    Reuters
    Posted: 02/28/2014
    By Michael Holden
    LONDON, Feb 28 (Reuters) – Rebekah Brooks, the ex-chief executive of News Corp.’s British newspaper arm, told a London court on Friday she had paid a public official for a story about former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein planning to attack Britain with the poison anthrax.
    Brooks, who is on trial on charges of sanctioning such illegal payments, said she agreed to pay for the 1998 report when she was deputy editor of Rupert Murdoch’s Sun tabloid because there was an “overwhelming public interest” to do so.
    However, she denies approving almost 40,000 pounds ($66,700)in payments to a Ministry of Defence official for a series of stories for which she on trial. She also denies charges of conspiracy to hack phones and perverting the course of justice.
    On Thursday, Brooks admitted she had authorised payments to public officials, something which is illegal, on a “half a dozen” occasions from 1998 to 2009, a period which covered her time as time as editor or deputy of Murdoch’s British tabloids, the Sun and News of the World.
    Appearing for a sixth day in the witness box at London’s Old Bailey court, Brooks said the public official, who was later revealed to be a chief petty officer in the Royal Navy, had called the paper about the threat from Saddam and the deadly poison anthrax.
    “They said they had reason to believe … that the government or the security services were covering up a plot by Saddam Hussein to bring in anthrax into the country for the start of a terrorist campaign attack,” she said.
    “It was very quickly brought to my attention because it was a public official and they were asking for money in return for information.”
    She told the court that she was called to Downing Street for a high-level meeting with senior security and political figures who confirmed its veracity.
    She said after that meeting she agreed to pay for the story as it had satisfied her criteria that there had to be an overwhelming public interest.
    The source for the story was later traced following an investigation into the leak and prosecuted for breaking the Official Secrets Act, she said.

  5. DXer said

    http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-1-235618-Brooks-paid-official-for-Saddam-anthrax-story

    Brooks paid official for Saddam anthrax story

    LONDON: Rebekah Brooks, the ex-chief executive of News Corp.’s British newspaper arm, told a London court on Friday she had paid a public official for a story about former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein planning to attack Britain with the poison anthrax.

    Brooks, who is on trial on charges of sanctioning such illegal payments, said she agreed to pay for the 1998 report when she was deputy editor of Rupert Murdoch’s Sun tabloid because there was an “overwhelming public interest” to do so.

    Comment: Who was the official? As I vaguely recall, the 1998 story was a very provocative and sensational story given the details of how the anthrax would be smuggled by a woman. With identification of the official, perhaps it could be corroborated or debunked. It seems that the public has a right to have the official identified given that the individual wrongly took money.

    In October 2001, Dany Shoham, was publicly saying that Israeli intelligence reported it.

    I never agreed with Dany, who I know, that Iraq was involved in the mailings. (I do credit the former head CIA Zawahiri Task Force Michael Scheur, though, that it is 100% Al Qaeda was experimenting with anthrax at Ansar Islam (which was formed by an amalgamation of groups after Ayman Zawahiri sent four senior EIJ leaders there in 2001).

    An article at the time:

    “Dany Shoham, a research associate at Tel Aviv University’s Begin-Sadat Center of Strategic Studies, said the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein attempted to bring biological weapons agents into Britain and the United States in 1998. The attempt was reported by Israeli intelligence.

    At the time, Shoham said, Iraqi women agents arriving in the United States were hiding vials filled with biological agents under their dresses.

    Iraq was also attempting to smuggle biological and chemical agents into Britain hidden in duty-free goods.

    Shoham, a reserve intelligence officer with close ties to Western intelligence agencies, said the Iraqi effort was foiled by British authorities. He suggested that Iraq succeeded in bringing the anthrax virus into the United States.

    Iraq has been developing the same type of powder anthrax now being mailed to prominent Americans, Shoham said. He said another developer of powder anthrax has been the Al Qaida group headed by Saudi billionaire fugitive Osama Bin Laden.

    “Bin Laden and several Arab countries — most specifically Iraq — have been working for years to develop this capacity,” Shoham, who has published articles in leading professional journals, said. “Of course, we do not yet know for sure that Bin Laden and or Iraq is behind the recent anthrax attacks.”

    • DXer said

      According to this story, the leaker was a chief petty officer who was subsequently prosecuted.

      http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/feb/28/remekah-brooks-mps-expenses-sun-daily-telegraph

      Rebekah Brooks ’embarrassed’ at not buying MPs’ expenses scoop
      Former Sun editor tells phone-hacking trial she hesitated over high cost of story, which was later published by Daily Telegraph

      Lisa O’Carroll

      She has also admitted sanctioning payment for a story about Saddam Hussein threatening to swamp Britain with anthrax poison in 1998, refusing requests by M15 and M16 not to run the story. …

      On Friday the court heard of one example when, in 1998, someone who was “clearly” a public official phoned the Sun to say the “secret service were covering up a plot by Saddam Hussein to bring in anthrax to this country”.

      Brooks told how in trying to corroborate the story, the security services were alerted to the Sun’s investigation and she was summoned to Downing Street.

      “I remember representatives from MI5, MI6, GCHQ, Downing Street and lawyers who may have been representing some of the parties,” she said. “First of all by its very nature, it [the meeting] confirmed what the public official was telling us was true.”

      Brooks, who was deputy editor of the Sun at the time, was in charge of the paper as the editor was away, the told the court. She was asked not to proceed with the story but decided it was in the public interest and went ahead splashing with story “Saddam anthrax in our duty frees”.

      The source was identified after an internal inquiry as a chief petty officer and he was subsequently prosecuted.

    • DXer said

      I summarized my view of the issue in 2002 on Cryptome:

      http://cryptome.org/alqaeda-anthrax.htm

      Atta’s travels to Prague and the alleged Iraq connection.
      According to some reports, Atta met in Prague with an Iraqi case handler and obtained the anthrax from Iraq then. (93) The reported transfer of a vial of anthrax, however, is totally unproven (regardless whether the story traces back to Israeli intelligence or instead traces back to Egyptian intelligence). The origin of the story seems to have been based simply on speculation of what might have occurred (at a meeting that has not yet even been established to have occurred).

      In contrast to what most of the senior Czech officials have said, the Prague Post quoted the director general of the Czech foreign intelligence service UZSI (Office of Foreign Relations and Information), Frantisek Bublan, denying the much-touted meeting — and he also now may (or perhaps not) have been joined by the Czech President.(94) But never let it be said the White House has been consistent on the issue either.(95) Until and unless those Czech officials still claiming there was a meeting produce a photo, we are left with a mush of conflicting and inconclusive reports. The bottom-line is that Al Qaeda did not need Iraq to commit this crime and it is more prudent to limit the conclusion to Al Qaeda’s involvement absent additional evidence, particularly when going to war is at issue.

      Mr. Pearl, a former Assistant Secretary of Defense, says there is “powerful evidence” showing Iraq is giving biological and chemical weapons to Al Qaeda.(96) There are some detailed reports by defectors concerning Al Qaeda’s coordination with Saddam on biological and chemical weapons beginning in 1998, but those reports all depend on the reliability of those defectors — the briefs made by President Bush and Tony Blair lacked a “smoking gun” in this regard.(97) The presence of facilities does not tell you much. Implied threats that biological weapons will be used in defense are to be expected given that the US has said it is going to attack Iraq (based on its worst fears).

      A detailed argument relating to the connections between Iraq and Al Qaeda can be found online in the trillion dollar complaint against Iraq brought by the law firm Kreindler & Kreindler in connection with 9/11

    • DXer said

      A British tabloid called me in 2002 and offered to pay me for inserting items into my webpage. I told them sure — after all, I explained, I had an iguana to feed. But I said I needed to be able to independently prove it was true. (That would permit them to sanitize or launder or protect the original source while effectively giving me the scoop that they otherwise would have). But the reporter never called back a second time.

  6. DXer said

    There is no reason to doubt that Ivins knew nothing about the dried aerosol project at USAMRIID prior to the anthrax mailings.

  7. DXer said

    Building 1412 , Rm. 212 was where the FBI’s expert made a dried powder out of Ames supplied from RMR 1029 as part of a DARPA-funded program. No sample was submitted initially to the repository and it was later seized. JE’s assistant then went on to Johns-Hopkins. The Ames seized from Building 1412, Rm. 212 had 3 mutations.

  8. DXer said

  9. DXer said

    Bruce forthrightly explained to investigators early on that the label on the powderized anthrax sample was intentionally mislabelled — rather than being labeled as bacillus it was labeled generically as a diagnostic sample.

    What happened to that sample of powderized anthrax?

    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/12/14/gao-did-patricia-fellows-ever-find-the-missing-national-security-sample-that-dr-ivins-was-apparently-falsely-told-was-from-iraq-before-moving-on-to-sri-that-summer-was-there-an-emailed-resp/comment-page-1/#comment-26072

  10. DXer said

    Mr. Epstein writes about an early person of interest, Perry Mikesell:

    “Without any direct evidence, other than the attack anthrax itself, the FBI tightened surveillance on American scientists. One such scientist was microbiologist Perry Mikesell, who had access to anthrax in 1999 when he worked at the Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus. The FBI scrutiny of Mikesell became so intense that, according to family members, he began to drink heavily. Although he died from a heart attack in October 2002, family members said that he drank himself to death.”

  11. DXer said

    It’s quite amazing that journalists have not discussed this weaponized sample that went missing.

  12. DXer said

    That sample that was brought to Ivins by the scientist consulting with the FBI and was told was from Iraq wasn’t from Iraq, was it? Okay… then where was it from?

  13. DXer said

    Will GAO be told about the so-called “Iraq sample”? Was that really dried powder made for biodefense purposes at SRI in Frederick? But classified?

    What did the leading Ames researchers who shared a suite with convicted seditionist Ali Al-TImimi (who was coordinating with sheikh Anwar Alwaki), do for Battelle in 1999?

    Isn’t Mr. Greenwald’s assumption that Anwar was not an operative in 911 naive?

  14. DXer said

    Dr. Ivins was given powder from the dried aerosol project to test. He says he was told it was from Iraq — but it wasn’t. It was from the dried aerosol project, wasn’t it? Who gave it to Ivins. The FBI’s anthrax scientist collecting samples whose lab threw out Dr. Ivins February 2002 sample?

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