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

* USAMRIID reports it cannot locate records relating to work by foreign Egyptian national with virulent Ames alongside Dr. Ivins in the BL-3 suite; friends of the scientist were recruited by Dr. ZAWAHIRI who planned to attack US with anthrax.

Posted by DXer on December 29, 2011



11 Responses to “* USAMRIID reports it cannot locate records relating to work by foreign Egyptian national with virulent Ames alongside Dr. Ivins in the BL-3 suite; friends of the scientist were recruited by Dr. ZAWAHIRI who planned to attack US with anthrax.”

  1. DXer said

    U.S. spy agencies collected raw intelligence hinting at public health crisis in Wuhan, China, in November
    Current and former officials say there was no formal assessment in November but that there was raw intelligence that fueled formal assessments written in December

    But the current and former officials told NBC News that while no formal assessment was produced in November — and hence no “intelligence product,” in the jargon of the spy agencies — there was intelligence that caught the attention of public health analysts and fueled formal assessments that were written in December. That material and other information, including some from news and social media reports, ultimately found its way into President Donald Trump’s intelligence briefing book in January. It is unknown whether he read the information.

    James Kudla, a spokesman for the Defense Intelligence Agency, declined to comment beyond the NCMI statement.

    Air Force Gen. John Hyten, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters Thursday that he did not see intelligence reports on the coronavirus until January.

    “We went back and looked at everything in November and December,” he said. “The first indication we have were the reports out of China in late December that were in the public forum. And the first intel reports I saw were in January.”

  2. DXer said

    Deadly Germ Research Is Shut Down at Army Lab Over Safety Concerns
    Problems with disposal of dangerous materials led the government to suspend research at the military’s leading biodefense center.

    Safety concerns at a prominent military germ lab have led the government to shut down research involving dangerous microbes like the Ebola virus.

    “Research is currently on hold,” the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, in Fort Detrick, Md., said in a statement on Friday. The shutdown is likely to last months, Caree Vander Linden, a spokeswoman, said in an interview.

    The statement said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention decided to issue a “cease and desist order” last month to halt the research at Fort Detrick because the center did not have “sufficient systems in place to decontaminate wastewater” from its highest-security labs.

    But there has been no threat to public health, no injuries to employees and no leaks of dangerous material outside the laboratory, Ms. Vander Linden said.

    In the statement, the C.D.C. cited “national security reasons” as the rationale for not releasing information about its decision.

    The institute is a biodefense center that studies germs and toxins that could be used to threaten the military or public health, and also investigates disease outbreaks. It carries out research projects for government agencies, universities and drug companies, which pay for the work. It has about 900 employees.

    The shutdown affects a significant portion of the research normally conducted there, Ms. Vander Linden said.

    The suspended research involves certain toxins, along with germs called select agents, which the government has determined have “the potential to pose a severe threat to public, animal or plant health or to animal or plant products.” There are 67 select agents and toxins; examples include the organisms that cause Ebola, smallpox, anthrax and plague, and the poison ricin.

    In theory, terrorists could use select agents as weapons, so the government requires any organization that wants to handle them to pass a background check, register, follow safety and security procedures, and undergo inspections through a program run by the C.D.C. and the United States Department of Agriculture. As of 2017, 263 laboratories — government, academic, commercial or private — had registered with the program.

    The institute at Fort Detrick was part of the select agent program until its registration was suspended last month, after the C.D.C. ordered it to stop conducting the research.

    The shutdown was first reported on Friday by the Frederick News-Post.

    The problems date back to May 2018, when storms flooded and ruined a decades-old steam sterilization plant that the institute had been using to treat wastewater from its labs, Ms. Vander Linden said. The damage halted research for months, until the institute developed a new decontamination system using chemicals.

    The new system required changes in certain procedures in the laboratories. During an inspection in June, the C.D.C. found that the new procedures were not being followed consistently. Inspectors also found mechanical problems with the chemical-based decontamination system, as well as leaks, Ms. Vander Linden said, though she added that the leaks were within the lab and not to the outside world.

    “A combination of things” led to the cease and desist order, and the loss of registration, she said.

    Dr. Richard H. Ebright, a molecular biologist and bioweapons expert at Rutgers University, said in an email that problems with the institute’s new chemical-based decontamination process might mean it would have to go back to a heat-based system “which, if it requires constructing a new steam sterilization plant, could entail very long delays and very high costs.”

    Although many projects are on hold, Ms. Vander Linden said scientists and other employees are continuing to work, just not on select agents. She said many were worried about not being able meet deadlines for their projects.

    Missteps have occurred at other government laboratories,including those at the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health. And in 2009, research at the institute in Fort Detrick was suspended because it was storing pathogens not listed in its database.

    The army institute also employed Bruce E. Ivins, a microbiologist who was a leading suspect — but who was never charged — in the anthrax mailings in 2001 that killed five people. Dr. Ivins died in 2008, apparently by suicide.

    Denise Grady has been a science reporter for The Times since 1998. She wrote “Deadly Invaders,” a book about emerging viruses. @nytDeniseGrady
    A version of this article appears in print on Aug. 6, 2019, Section A, Page 16 of the New York edition with the headline: Pathogens Research Lab Is Shut Over Safety Fears. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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

  3. DXer said

    At a meeting on September 8, 2004, USAMRIID advised the FBI that it could not locate the notebooks, notes and other documents of the laboratory technician who worked on the 1999[?] “Biological Warfare Decontamination Efficacy Study.” [Was the reference really meant to refer to the 1998 study of the efficacy of the NanoBio decontamination agent BCTP done in May 1998 with the University of Michigan researchers? (Dr. Ivins himself often confused the year).

    One relevant document that USAMRIID has but failed to provide — to date — is the September 10, 2004 fax from the Special Agent requesting the documents and the corresponding response describing a July 1999 letter and an abstract. (The July 1999 letter has not yet been produced). Perhaps this was an abstract of a poster presentation that TH made at the 1998 and 1999 conferences.

    While I appreciate the USAMRMC FOIA person has worked consistently in good faith to make all requested documents, all she can do is task the local people at USAMRIID. Sometimes the difficulty is figuring out who or what agency component can lay their hands on the documents as a practical matter.

    In the current tasking, SJA — the USAMRIID lawyers — should err on the side of the fullest possible production.

    At the end of the day, the buck stops with USAMRIID’s lawyers because they were the ones tasked with coordinating the production to the FBi..

  4. DXer said

    Dr. Hawley, in his sworn testimony provided under FOIA by DOJ Civil, states:

    Q. Prior to 2002, were individuals often given access to the faciilty and computer network, including access to biocontainment suites, prior to completion of a National Agency Check?

    A. I can’t address the comment about entrance to the facility or information technology for the internet. As far as containment, we did get an — information from the security people that and and the CDC that people were now permitted to have access to select agents.

    Q. What people?

    A. The people who applied for Select Agent Registration.

    Q. Okay, so —

    A. Those that successfully receive a favorable SRA were granted access. But in no way was someone given access prior to a cmpleted select agent process.

    Q. What I was — my question was prior to 2002, wasn’t it true that people were given access to select agents prior to the cmopletion of a National Agency Check?

    A. No, I’m not aware of that. I don’t recollect the answer to your question.

    Q. Do you know whether —

    A As far as — as far as I know, there was a security check, for the select agent program, that they had a clearance, okay, which consisted of a Secret-level clearance to work with agents at USAMRIID.

    Q. How long did the agency check take?

    A. I know personally it too, for my access, a number of months. Eactly, I don’t know. (p. 66)

  5. DXer said

    EPA and University of Michigan similarly produced no documents in response to the respective FOIA requests.


    NanoBio Corporation¿s antimicrobial nanoemulsion technology was developed by Dr. James R. Baker at the University of Michigan Medical School over a period of seven years. Reschard was funded by grants for DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Program Agency), which identified a need to have a non-toxic, non-corrosive biodefence decon material that can decontaminated equipment, personnel, structures, and terrain in the event of a bio incident. A series of surfactant lipid nanoemulsions, which have extensive antimicrobial activity and are not toxic to tissues were resultant of this effort. Nanoemulsions are oil in water emulsions that employ droplets that range from 200-800 nanometers. They are composed of detergents, vegetable oil, salt, water, a food grade alcholol and for antrax decontamination a spore germination enhancer. The physical structure of the nanoemulsion contains the surfactants that mediate the antimicrobial activity. The emulsion droplet disrupts nicroorganisms through fusion and the destablixation of the cell membrane leading lysis. In December 1999 the U.S. Army tested a broad spectrum namoemulsion and nine other bio-decontamination technology at Dugway, Utah, against an Anthrax surrogate, Bacillus globigii. Nanoemulsions was one of four technologies that proved effective and the only non-toxic formulation available. Other tests against the vaccine strain of Bacillus anthracis (sterne strain) were conducted by John Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab and by the US Army Institute of Surgical Research. The Phase I SBIR focused on optimization of NanoProtectTM¿s formulations for efficacy against anthracis and on confirmation of product stability. The objective of Phase II SBIR project is to confirm field use and post-use protocols for NanoProtectTM non-toxic decontamination for facilities and equipment following bio-incident. The most efficacious decontamination protocol will be determined through efficacy tests against Bacillus spores and other possible bio-attack pathogens. Test will be conducted on materials typically found in buildings. Extended product stability test will continue in parallel. The commercial application of the technology, NanoProtectTM is that of a nontoxic, safe to humans, bio-decontamination for standby emergency use by first responders. Customers will include federal, state, local governments, and distributors who will sell to corporations and consumers. NanoBio will provide sales and customer support. A subcontractor will manufacture. NanoBio management has significant business experience applicable to the projects required for the commercial success of NanoProtectTM. Nano-Bio is will funded for the commercialization of the products in its¿ production pipeline.

  6. DXer said

    Does anthrax risk end at city limits?

    By Lawrence Harmon | GLOBE COLUMNIST AUGUST 11, 2012

    In case of an anthrax attack, Boston will take city services to a new level: Most residents can expect next-day delivery of antibiotics right at their front doors. But commuters, college students, hotel guests, prisoners, and even those living just outside the city limits will require contingency plans. ***

    Comment: What percentage of postal employees do they estimate wouldn’t show up for work upon a mass aerosol release — from among those who volunteered for this recent exercise in St. Paul. How many have spouses who would say: You need to come with me and the children to Aunt Barb’s. What percentage of police and emergency responders left upon the flooding of New Orleans? (I don’t know). Wouldn’t the percentage be much higher with an aerosol anthrax release? Are public health officials being realistic? I appreciate the dedication of our personnel such as nurses and the full range of public service occupations. Such a crises can bring out the best in people. But how often have such workers been put to such a test of protecting their family and doing their job? I slept last night on the road in a 1983 Vanagon but could have just as easily slept in a car in the event of a mass release — several hundred miles down the road. I think public health authorities should consider distribution on the major routes out of a city — because a lot of people aren’t going to be waiting for the postman to show up.

  7. DXer said

    Tarek Hamouda was taught microbiology by Heba Zawahiri, Mohammed and Ayman’s brother. TH got his PhD in 1994 as I recall.

    Mohammed and Ayman both know their mind and men of (violent) principles. Heba cried herself to sleep each night (understandably) after Mohammed was detained in 1999. His mother too was extremely upset, as was his entire family. They had no news of whether he was alive and whether he was okay.

    What does Heba think of Mohammed and Ayman’s views about political violence described in the article? Does she agree that the jihadists will strike at Israel given the chance?

    Heba taught microbiology to the man who within a few years would be working alongside Bruce Ivins. Ivins provided him virulent Ames for DARPA-funded research. Tarek thanked Patricia Fellows for providing technical assistance. Patricia was the woman who has spun the evidence to make Ivins look guilty, for example, by withholding information about the rabbits. The DOJ shredded her deposition. Thus, if the DOJ is mistaken in their assertions — as they were about the lyophilizer being available to Ivins to dry the anthrax on those nights — then we won’t know until anthrax flies in a mass attack. The DOJ withheld all the documents or mention that Ivins was working with the rabbits on those nights. I of course would have preferred learning the facts from document production and would have preferred to avoid deaths of those targeted in a mass attack. But, hey, things are done differently inside the Beltway — everyone is selfishly interested in covering their ass. The mantra is Don’t Embarrass The Bureau.

    The prosecutor should have covered her ass long before she withheld the rabbit documents from production. Because the truth was out long before DOJ shredded the deposition by Fellows and Linscott.

    Did Heba ever consider that her brother Ayman might use anthrax against US targets? Zawahiri had been recruiting scientists since 1991 or so. According to one senior jihadist released in 2002 or so, he made 15 recruitment attempts.

    He would go regularly to Cairo Medical to recruit. Did he recruit among Heba’s students such as Tarek?

    What did Michael Hayes, the lab tech that came to Detrick to do the research alongside Tarek and Bruce and Pat in the B3 mean when he told me: “You don’t want to know?”

    Where are the real investigative reporters — the ones who get hard questions answered?

    August 10, 2012 11:20 AM
    PharmAthene shares plunge on anthrax vaccine hold

    ANNAPOLIS, Md. — PharmAthene shares plummeted in morning trading Friday after the company said health regulators halted its study of an experimental anthrax vaccine.

    The company said the Food and Drug Administration placed a clinical hold on the company’s trial of SparVax rPA trial. The agency did not give a reason, but plans to send PharmAthene a letter explaining the action in the next 30 days.

    The clinical study, which was expected to begin by the end of this year, has not enrolled any patients yet.

    Company shares fell 20 cents, or 13.5 percent, to $1.26 in morning trading. They are near their 52-week low of $1.07 set in mid-December.

    • DXer said

      Zawahiri: Arab revolts by-product of jihad against US
      Al-Masry Al-Youm
      Wed, 01/08/2012 – 10:21

      The brother of Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has said that recent Arab revolts would not have seen successful had not it been for pressure by Salafi jihadists who fought against the US and brought war to its soil through the September 11 attacks.

      “We are bound by Islamic Sharia, we do not kill without a cause,” Mohamed al-Zawahiri told Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr late Tuesday, in his first TV interview. He noted that the attack on New York’s World Trade Center in September 2001 put the United States under pressure, because it led to the death of the FBI chief [Note: Mohamed presumably is referring to the murder of FBI Al Qaeda anthrax expert John O’Neill on 911; O’Neill expected an anthrax attack and had briefed WTC management] and forced the country to recant its support for a number of despotic Arab leaders.

      Zawahiri admitted Al-Qaeda’s failure to reach Israel due to Arab rulers.

      “If we have the chance we will hit it (Israel),” he said. He also denied the presence of any jihadist elements in Sinai.

      He revealed that jihadists are continuously reviewing their doctrines, and that one former leader of the dissolved State Security Investigation Services had threatened to kill him if he would not accept security reviews of their ideas.

      Egypt’s then-ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces released Zawahiri in March 2011 as part of a scheme to free Islamist prisoners detained in political cases. He had been in detention since 1999.

      But Zawahiri was rearrested three days after his release when security authorities discovered he had been sentenced to death in absentia in 1998 in the “Albania returnees” case. He was acquitted on appeal by a military court in March this year.

      “Albania returnees” refers to Islamist hardliners who joined Muslim resistance in the Balkans against the Soviet Union. The flow of jihadist fighters to the region started with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Some of them returned to Egypt, while others moved to other fronts in the Balkans, such as Albania.

      Egyptian authorities had charged the returnees with plotting a coup and conspiring to murder civilians and target tourists and Christians.

      Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

  8. DXer said

    GAO: Documents relating to research in its B3 by non-citizens from non-citizens whose lifelong friends were recruited by Dr. Zawahiri to jihad is the sort of documents USAMRIID should have kept.

  9. DXer said

    The New York Times urges the GAO to “dig deeply into classified materials to judge how well the evidence holds up.”

    Even apart from classified materials, the GAO should dig deeply into unclassified materials that the DOJ provably has culled from production — even the documents that they have required to be shredded.

    Given that the people of New York City are targeted for death by Dr. Ayman, GAO should consider the full breadth of issues, to include production of documents that have been culled from production by the FBI and conflict of interest analysis.

    GAO should do what it does best.

    NYT Editorial (10/17/11) …

    There was a strong sense of relief when the federal government concluded that a lone psychologically troubled government scientist mailed anthrax-laced letters in 2001, killing five people and terrorizing the nation.

    Now its evidence is looking increasingly shaky. There needs to be a new independent evaluation of the findings.
    Independent inquiries this year have raised questions both about the genetic analyses that traced the anthrax to Dr. Ivins’s laboratory and a web of circumstantial evidence.

    The government’s scientific case has been weakening for months.

    In February, the National Academy of Sciences warned that the genetic analysis “did not definitively demonstrate” that the mailed anthrax was derived from spores grown in Dr. Ivins’s laboratory.

    Last week, The Times reported that one of the leading anthrax authorities and two colleagues believe that distinctive chemicals in the mailed anthrax suggest it was produced by sophisticated manufacturing, which the scientists deemed far beyond Dr. Ivins’s capabilities.

    As for the circumstantial evidence, an investigation by PBS Frontline, assisted by ProPublica and the McClatchy newspapers, cast doubt on two elements that prosecutors had declared important.

    A contention that Dr. Ivins worked extraordinarily long hours alone at night in his laboratory just before the mailings looked less suspicious after the journalists found that he regularly worked late hours in other labs and offices.

    And a contention that Dr. Ivins tried to mislead investigators by submitting an anthrax sample free of genetic markers looked questionable after the journalists found that he had submitted other samples that contained the markers.

    Federal investigators insist that there is a vast amount of evidence supporting their conclusion of Dr. Ivins’s guilt.

    The Government Accountability Office needs to dig deeply into classified materials to judge how well the evidence holds up.

    Otherwise, Congress ought to commission an independent assessment to be sure there are no culprits still at large.

  10. DXer said

    In 2004, USAMRIID advised the FBI that it could not locate the documents, laboratory notes or other papers off a USAMRIID laboratory technician who participated In the “Biological Warfare Decontamination Efficacy Study”. The discussion is at page 3 of the URL below. It appears right after they are discussing Dr. Ivins voluminous computer records relating to Ames.

    Who was the laboratory technician? What research involving the efficacy of a decontamination agent was done — where the records then went missing?

    This research involving the former Zawahiri associate involved a decontamination agent. Does the study concern the lab notes relating to this experiment?

    Who was the technician? Mara Linscott?

    The DOJ required that her deposition be shredded. The reason GAO needs to obtain the fullest possible production from the FBI is precisely so that the public and Congress and overcome any gaps in documents bearing on the FBI’s “Ivins Theory.” It may not be what the FBI has that is as important as what it does not have — but that with diligence could be obtained.

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