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

* It Constitutes Investigative Incompetence For The FBI Not To Have Searched Keycard Access Records For the Zawahiri Associate Until February 2005 (Even Assuming University of Michigan and Ivins Withheld Subpoenaed Documents)

Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 11, 2012

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13 Responses to “* It Constitutes Investigative Incompetence For The FBI Not To Have Searched Keycard Access Records For the Zawahiri Associate Until February 2005 (Even Assuming University of Michigan and Ivins Withheld Subpoenaed Documents)”

  1. DXer said

    R. Scott Decker coordinated the forensics of the case. Did he oversee review of the key card access records that overlooked the scientist from the University of Michigan’s access?

    Decker, with a PhD from the University of Michigan, coordinated the early genetics and DNA forensics of the investigation. He then went on to supervise a squad of agents, all with advanced science degrees, as they coordinated every forensic aspect of the case.

  2. DXer said

    In light of Dr. Scott Stanley’s nearly daily presence at USAMRIID for long periods, he would have been the one to follow up on this lead … in 2001 … of a non-citizen from Egypt — whose friends were recruited into jihad by Dr. Ayman Zawahiri at Cairo Medical. Did he?

    Anthrax, Al Qaeda and Ayman Zawahiri: The Infiltration of US Biodefense
    http://www.amerihrax.wordpress.com

  3. DXer said

    Obama’s FBI to hire firm to rate ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ stories about the agency
    Officials mum on need for and use of such info

    Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/aug/3/fbi-hires-firm-to-rate-news-stories-about-the-agen/?page=2#ixzz39RGvqLZu

    The briefing materials would include date of coverage, tonality, story focus, type of media outlet and “overall impact” of news coverage in chart and graph form, records show. The FBI also would have the right to archive the daily briefings indefinitely.

    Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/aug/3/fbi-hires-firm-to-rate-news-stories-about-the-agen/?page=2#ixzz39RGntanE

    Comment: In order to encourage the FBI and DOJ to provide documents under FOIA in response to long pending document requests, I will ask Lew that this blog no longer use the phrase “dropped ball” or “biggest counterintelligence analysis failure in US history.”

    • DXer said

      There was a time when government agencies used news articles to obtain public source intelligence rather than to manage their image and reward those who avoided criticism. Richard Clarke used to say that most intelligence is open source and I tend to agree.

      For example, last night I met a woman at a picnic retired from the State Department who was a manager with “Open Source.”

      She worked creating the content of Foreign Broadcast Information Service (“FBIS”) which was a publicly, freely available CIA database. The CIA after 911 (in 2003, I think) handed off to NTIS. The FBIS translated local news accounts, and briefly noted at the beginning what was known about the bias and background of the source.

      In 2002, I had used it to learn of the capture of Rauf Ahmad (from a local Pakistani news article translated from Urdu). Agent Borelli, who came to head the NYC FBI Field Office, interviewed Rauf Ahmad (Abdur Rauf) over tea and cookies at an ISI safehouse — but it was kept secret for a decade.

      GAO Should Obtain A Copy Of Rauf Ahmad’s Signed Written Statement Voluntarily Provided FBI Agent Borelli
      Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 14, 2013
      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2013/09/14/gao-should-obtain-a-copy-of-rauf-ahmads-signed-written-statement-voluntarily-provided-fbi-agent-borelli/

      Amerithrax: In February 2002, the FBI Failed To Take Custody of Al Qaeda Anthrax Scientists Rauf Ahmad and Yazid Sufaat
      Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 14, 2013
      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2013/09/14/amerithrax-in-february-2002-the-fbi-failed-to-take-custody-of-al-qaeda-anthrax-scientists-rauf-ahmad-and-yazid-sufaat/

      NTIS, unfortunately, then made it available only through DIALOG which is a pay service available, apparently, only at some libraries.

      For example, here, I would need to travel to Cornell to hit refresh (and I occasionally did so).

      Although the former State Department manager emphasized she was retired, I needed to task her with finding me (through open source means) this list of 5,000 new words to the official scrabble dictionary.

      Dr. Ayman may be determined to kill Americans in NYC and DC in a mass attack but perhaps he could be persuaded to redirect his energies to a more worthwhile pursuit in his retirement.

      Scrabble still involves crushing the opposition — but Dr. Ayman at least wouldn’t lose his soul due to botched interpretation of the hadiths governing the conduct of warfare.

      Scrabble Adds 5,000 New Words To Official Players Dictionary
      AP, | By By LEANNE ITALIE
      Posted: 08/04/2014
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/04/scrabblers-new-words_n_5648784.html?utm_hp_ref=email_share

      Anthrax, Al Qaeda, Ayman Zawahiri: The Infiltration of US Biodefense
      http://www.amerithrax.wordpress.com

      • DXer said

        The best open source intelligence analysis tends to require harder work, more reading, more travel to obtain sources, and a willingness to translate languages and bridge cultures. Most of all, you have to reach out to ask questions of the people with direct knowledge, even if only by email or phone. Getting answers mainly involves taking a respectful and constructive approach. Act like a cretin and people won’t share information because they won’t like you.

        Case study:

        Your mission – obtain through open source materials the list of 5000 new scrabble words so that we can have the upper hand at competitive scrabble with friends this week.

        Although not on sale until August 11, the 2014 dictionary, 5th edition, may already be in numerous libraries.

        http://www.worldcat.org/title/official-scrabble-players-dictionary/oclc/873238311&referer=brief_results

        There’s te, da, gi, po, beatbox, buzzkill, chillax, coqui, frenemy, funplex, jockdom, joypad, mixtape, mojito, ponzu, qigong, schmutz, sudoku, yuzu, geocache, texter, vlog, bromance, hashtag, dubstep, selfie, quinzhee and nearly 5000 more.

        I expect one of the first websites to have the full list of 5000 first to be

        http://www.seattlescrabble.org/study.php

        But through crowdsourcing we can come up with the list first — I need it for (not so) competitive play tomorrow.

        Dr. Ayman had memorized the quran by age 11. Surely he can master at least the new two letter words.

        Anthrax, Al Qaeda and Ayman Zawahiri: The Infiltration of US Biodefense
        http://www.amerithrax.wordpress.com

  4. DXer said

    In attribution, timeliness is key, according to a June 2014 article by Randall S. Murch, who headed the FBI’s science effort in Amerithrax: How timely was a search of these public domain materials when done in February 2005 rather than November 2001?

    “As one moves ever closer to answering the attribution questions, built on and supported by answers to the other questions and leveraging the resources available, the designers and implementers of the desired microbial forensics capability should be very mindful of these overarching questions:

    What is required for an attribution decision?

    In order to prevent a planned or impending event?


    In order to successfully prosecute those responsible following an attack?


    For situations that permit interdiction, disruption, mitigation of an attack?


    What type, quality and amount of evidence, information and intelligence are needed to make an “attribution” decision?


    How accurate, reliable, timely, credible and defensible is the evidence, information and intelligence used to base a decision?

  5. DXer said

    The Trentonian reports today

    “panel authorized by the “Anthrax Attack Investigation Act” would seek to determine:

    Whether

    The “full range of individuals who could have had access to the type of anthrax used int he attacks…”

    Myriad questions remain about the anthrax attacks and the government response to the attacks,” insists Holt. [the bill’s sponsor]

  6. DXer said

    The keycard access record system did not start until August 2008. The visit by the former Zawahiri associate who worked alongside Bruce Ivins and Patricia Fellows in the B3 lab occurred several months prior to that — in May 1998. The DOJ centrally relied upon keycard access record system in its analysis. It of course should have resorted to the B3 log prior to that. In its review of those logs, I believe we are advised that the name was spelled wrong. How was it spelled? How did that affect the FBI’s analysis in the early years?

  7. DXer said

    Hunting in the Shadows: The Pursuit of al Qa’ida since 9/11 [Kindle Edition]
    Seth G. Jones (Author)

    Publication Date: April 30, 2012
    From one of our most trusted counterterrorism experts, a sweeping, insider’s account of the decade-long chase for America’s deadliest enemy.

    This comprehensive, landmark history chronicles our ongoing battle against al-Qa’ida, the greatest threat the West has faced in the modern era. An internationally recognized authority on terrorism and counterinsurgency, Seth G. Jones presents a dramatic narrative of the on-the-ground police work; the elaborate, multiyear investigations led by the CIA, FBI, and Britain’s MI5; and the shifting and deadly alliances between terrorist groups that have characterized the conflict. With gripping detail he recounts the against-the-clock hunt for the Times Square bomber and reveals startling information about Osama bin Laden’s behavior during his final days. Drawing on recently declassified documents and court materials, transcripts of wiretapped conversations, and interviews with current and former government officials from the United States and key allies, Jones navigates the “waves” (al Qa’ida attacks) and “reverse waves” (successful efforts to disrupt al’Qa’ida), explaining how we might analyze past patterns in order to successfully counter al Qa’ida and its allies in the future.

    Editorial Reviews
    Review
    “A chronological, historical walk-through of successive waves of al-Qaeda terrorism from 1998 to the present…. The author ably organizes all the pieces of the puzzle regarding successive terrorist attacks, fleshing out the numerous personalities involved, … and establishing excellent perspective on the amorphous nature of the enemy and the dissention from within. … From a knowledgeable guide, a thoughtful study of the pattern of violence and response.” (Kirkus Reviews )

    “Seth Jones has produced a masterpiece, pulling together a fragmented and little-known sequence of events into a coherent, and highly readable account. His ‘wave and counter-wave’ framework helps make sense of complex patterns, and his analysis is likely to stand the test of time. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in current events or in the future of conflict.” (David Kilcullen, author of The Accidental Guerilla )

    “Seth Jones was called to the war zones by commanders of special operations forces to advise them on the nuances of the places, people and events of high importance in our pursuit of terrorists. Hunting in the Shadows is a clear and engaging account that draws on Seth’s long experience in the region – a truly valuable work by a uniquely knowledgeable and talented writer.” (Admiral Eric T. Olson, U.S. Navy (Ret), Former Commander of United States Special Operations Command )

    “Hunting in the Shadows is a well-documented and perceptive look into the shadowy world of Al-Qaeda since 9/11, and a clear-headed assessment of how effective the War on Terror has been in containing it. This book is an important contribution to public debate on America’s security and how best achieve it in a changing Muslim world.” (Vali Nasr, Author of The Rise of Islamic Capitalism: Why the New Muslim Middle Class is the Key to Defeating Extremism )

    “Seth Jones is a gifted writer and scholar. His research, attention to detail and narrative skills make Hunting in the Shadows essential reading. At a time of public uncertainty about where the war against Al Qaeda is going, here is a reliable, compelling map, rich with new information.” (Steve Coll, Author of The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 )

    “The best researched study of al Qaeda’s plots, both successful and foiled, to attack America and its allies since 911. A critical account essential to understanding how the threat is evolving.” (Bruce Riedel, former CIA officer and senior advisor to three U.S. presidents on the Middle East and South Asia (also senior fellow at the Brookings Institution) )

    About the Author
    A former senior advisor at U.S. Special Operations Command, Seth G. Jones is currently a RAND analyst, an adjunct professor at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, and the author of In the Graveyard of Empires.

    • Print Length: 544 pages
    • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (April 30, 2012)

  8. DXer said

    There was no key card access system in May 1998 that recorded access to the B3 with Ivins by the former Zawahiri associate supplied with Ames.

    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/12/23/december-23-usamriid-foia-response-there-was-no-key-card-access-system-in-may-1998-that-recorded-access-to-the-b3-with-ivins-by-the-former-zawahiri-associate-supplied-with-ames/

  9. DXer said

    In his book, in the section titled “Biological Weapons” Hank Crumpton writes: “Our trickle of reporting remained a trickle, but it did become self-sustaining with feedback from customers and follow-up in certain areas — particularly related to Al Qaeda and their enduring effort to acquire biological weapons.” (p. 308). He talks about consulting with his colleague on how to get a hold of information relating to people located in the United States developing bioweapons. Did he consider acquiring the Biolevel 3 logs of researchers involved in the research with virulent Ames — which was genetically matching to that used in the attack on United States senators and the media in Fall 2001?

  10. DXer said

    279A-WF-222936-USAMRIID -1783 contains the FBI’s/Washington Field Office’s assessing this issue of access to virulent Ames from Flask 1029 in connection with the May 1998 visit and constitutes a major mistake in the investigation.

    It states:

    “The following investigation was conducted by Special Agent _________ of the Federal Bureau of Investigation on January 17, 2007.

    As previously reported ______________________________ was a visiting scientist at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), Fort Detrick, Maryland _________________________ (279A-WF-222936, Serial 1129). In addition, it has been previously reported that the research derived from this visit was published in a reputable scientific journal (279A-WF-222936-USAMRIID, Serial 1101).

    It should be noted that examination of that publication indicated the Ames strain Bacillus anthracis stores used by __________ et al were produced via the same method that USAMRIID scientists BRUCE IVINS et al had previously published in a 1995 article….

    This would strongly indicate that the Ames strain Bacillus anthracis spores used by _______ were derived from spores produced at USAMRIID and were not RMR 1029 derived spores. It should also be noted that the first draw on RMR 1029 wasn’t until September 17, 1998 (279A-WF-USAMRIID, Serial 1716).”

    If FBI Director Mueller had not compartmentalized the investigation, the FBI might have known that the May 1998 visit was by a scientist whose close friends had been recruited by Dr. Ayman Zawahiri. The United States public deserves better analysis.

    • DXer said

      from the Washington Post editorial (2-17-11) …

      The Justice Department and the FBI identified Maryland scientist Bruce E. Ivins as having single-handedly carried out the attacks that killed five people and seriously sickened 17 others.

      The department was on the verge of seeking an indictment in 2008 when Mr. Ivins took his own life.
      Doubts lingered about Mr. Ivins’s guilt.

      Now, a report by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) raises new questions about whether Mr. Ivins was wrongly accused.

      The lengthy report cites several instances in which the Justice Department appears to have overstated the strength of the scientific evidence against Mr. Ivins.

      The report insinuates throughout that FBI failure to perform more tests or to be more precise could have erroneously eliminated other suspects or prematurely settled on Mr. Ivins as a suspect.

      Congress should convene a nonpartisan commission staffed with individuals experienced in law enforcement to probe all of the evidence in the case, including that which the FBI claims shows Mr. Ivins had the opportunity and the wherewithal to carry out the 2001 attack.

      The inquiry should explore why and how the Justice Department eliminated other scientists who had access to RMR-1029 as suspects, and it should examine the security protocols at repositories for biological weapons.

      The exploration also should focus on the country’s preparedness to deal with such an attack in the future.
      read the entire editorial at … http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/17/AR2011021706135.html

      Comment: As a longtime fan of the Wash Po Style Invitational, I think the people of Washington, D.C. — targeted by Dr. Ayman Zawahiri to be killed by anthrax — deserve all the contemporaneous and documentary evidence from September and October 2001 to be produced. Moreover, the overbroad redactions under FOIA of documents produced in the past should be withdrawn. Documents redacted only as required by the applicable FOIA subsections be uploaded. This is within the GAO’s ken and jurisdiction to accomplish.

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