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

* DOJ For 4 Years Withheld This Email (Message 0438) Written By Bruce Ivins On The Date Of Alleged Mailing Of Deadly Anthrax ; GAO Should Obtain A Full Set Of Emails From DOJ, Including Those That DOJ Has Still Failed To Produce

Posted by DXer on March 1, 2012


Why Didn’t USAMRIID Locate And Produce This Email

Pursuant To The Formal Request Under FOIA?

Did It Only Produce Emails Written On One Of Dr. Ivins’ Computers?

Where Are All The Missing Emails He Is Known To Have Written?



42 Responses to “* DOJ For 4 Years Withheld This Email (Message 0438) Written By Bruce Ivins On The Date Of Alleged Mailing Of Deadly Anthrax ; GAO Should Obtain A Full Set Of Emails From DOJ, Including Those That DOJ Has Still Failed To Produce”

  1. DXer said

    It’s basically three people going through emails and following a maximum of two or three intelligible clues to a presumed perpetrator straight out of a Criminal Minds episode. Conflict arises not from their investigation, but from the underlying desire to go to war with Iraq, one in which the truth was ultimately a secondary concern. Somehow the case took seven years to crack, which may be why most viewers won’t remember how it ended (and I guarantee that most viewers also won’t understand how the series conveys the passage of time). Occasionally, a TV in the background mentions a piece of news, and I was like, “Oh, that happened in 2004 so it must be a few years later.” Otherwise, I never would have guessed.

  2. DXer said

    In an email dated September 17, 2001, Bruce Ivins wrote his former colleague Mara Linscott wrote to say he was going to his teenager’s school to address an issue. In the email above, the sentence is redacted.

    In paragraph 67 of Matt Seidel’s affidavit in support of his renewed motion in ongoing FOIA litigation, he justifies such redactions or withholdings because it involves a personal matter associated with a third party.

    That all sounds very reasonable until you realize that an FBI source from the WFO told the Washington Post in early August 2008 — as the FBI was unveiling its “Ivins Theory” — that Ivins travelled to and from the Princeton-area mailbox the afternoon of September 17.

    Its Ivins Theory has only remained tenable because of its redactions and withholding of documents that have served to hide the exculpatory evidence.

    It took me years to obtain this September 17 email — which was culled from the production made by Army pursuant to DOJ direction by USAMRMC official John Peterson. When finally produced by the DOJ after I indicated I knew of its existence, the DOJ then redacted in the key part when produced to me after I pressed the DOJ directly. The sentence redacted relates to his reference to Mara that he was going to his teenager’s school that afternoon for an appointment.

    The FBI’s “Ivins Theory” would have been understood to be untenable if the FBI had not concealed the evidence that Ivins had an alibi and could not have travelled that afternoon.

    According to the author of the 16 pages sought by FOIA requestor Dillon, the FBI is concealing the evidence.

    The claim that the ICMS (the memo summarizing the factual aspects of the Amerithrax investigation as of February 2016, as I recall) is not in the CRS (the FBI’s database) is crock.

    The author, Richard Lambert, says he uploaded it.

  3. DXer said

    The balancing of privacy under b6 and b7 involves the importance of the issue relative to the degree of intrusion. In Amerithrax, the Washington Post in early August 2008 ran with a story leaked by investigators that Ivins was presumed to have mailed the letters the afternoon on Sept 17 — when he was out of the office. But in Ivins emails, what the FBI has redacted was that Ivins went to the school on a matter involving one of his children. We don’t need to know the details of the reason he went to the school — but the fact that he went to the school is hugely important. Given the 7 hours round trip and his stopping back at the office about 5 p.m., the email — if unredacted — would establish his alibi for the afternoon.

    That’s just a single example. Once you factor in the record of his computer usage and credit card purchase records — and the computer records and credit card billings are still being wrongfully withheld — Ivins is knowably innocent because there was no 7 hour window unaccounted for. Any suggestion by the FBI to the contrary simply did not bear down on the issue closely enough.

    The FBI also is wrongfully withholding his family 302s that alibi him. (Compare for example the UNABOM case where they were produced under FOIA).

  4. DXer said

    One email produced yesterday — 10 years after NYT Scott Shane requested it — was one I had fought for and received dated September 17.

    In sentences redacted this September 17 email as produced to me, Bruce thanked Mara for wine she had given him.

    “I thoroughly enjoyed the wine you gave me.”

    And Bruce says he is glad she liked the snacks he had given her.

    Given that the FBI made a big deal about a bottle of liquor he had left her, the FBI really should not be redacting evidence that the exchange of alcohol was reciprocated.

    Oh, and the FBI should not have withheld email correspondence from the day of mailing of deadly anthrax — from New Jersey.

  5. DXer said

    For example, consider this email that the DOJ/FBI wrongfully withheld from me for 4 years — until I specifically identified it and explained that I knew it existed. They simply have lost the right to withhold 241 pages of Ivins emails that they claim is duplicative.

    Go ahead — look in the FBI Vault and see for yourself if you can find where the FBI uploaded them. You can’t.
    Dave Hardy, produce the 241 pages you claim is duplicative. Don’t put Kenneth DIllon to further expense.

  6. DXer said

    Attorney General Barr:

    Here’s a thought. If the FBI cannot find the emails that it quoted and relied upon in filed court documents and in closing the Amerithrax case — and these were among just a few documents relied upon — then fire the people who were in charge of preserving the documents. Losing the documents allowed the contents of the emails to be misleadlingly cast for years. US Attorney Taylor, DOJ and FBI falsely claimed that Ivins had no reason to be in the B3 lab those nights and weekends when the emails being withheld note the reason. He was there to attend to the animals — it was a one-person job that typically took two hours. We don’t have to doubt the US Attorney’s good faith. It is just that when things unfold quickly, the most senior people don’t have time to get up to speed on the minutiae of the documents that underlie their claims. That’s why we have a process that permits kicking tires and checking the underlying documents pursuant to FOIA.

    Dillon v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice

    Civil Action No.: 17-1716 (RC) (D.D.C. Jan. 17, 2019)

    The problem for the Court is that DOJ never substantively addressed Dillon’s evidence of unproduced emails, so the Court is left guessing as to what may have caused the alleged discrepancy here. This in and of itself demonstrates that there remains a genuine dispute regarding whether the FBI “conduct[ed] a good faith, reasonable search of th[e] systems of records likely to possess the requested records.” Pinson, 313 F. Supp. 3d at 107 (quoting Marino, 993 F. Supp. 2d at 9). To be sure, “the adequacy of a FOIA search is generally” not judged “by the fruits of the search,” Ancient Coin Collectors Guild v. U.S. Dep’t of State, 641 F.3d 504, 514 (D.C. Cir. 2011), and the Act does not “require[] an agency to answer questions disguised as a . . . request,” Hudgins v. IRS, 620 F. Supp. 19, 21 (D.D.C. 1985). But the burden is ultimately on DOJ to show that its search was adequate. And in this case, after the FBI produced only four emails in total, see Second Hardy Decl. ¶ 7, Dillon identified at least three more that are known to have been a part of the investigation. Thus far, DOJ has failed to meaningfully engage with this “countervailing evidence.” Pinson, 313 F. Supp. 3d at 107 (quoting Morley, 508 F.3d at 1116). Instead, DOJ has essentially said, “these emails have always been in the sole possession of USAMRIID.” This explanation is not plausible in light of the emails’ known role in the investigation. Without more information, the Court is unable to conclude that DOJ has met its burden.

    • DXer said

      I know, JB. Imagine the liability.

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

      Hey, American Media. AMI. Where have I heard that name before?

      U.S. v. Stevens
      994 So. 2d 1062 (Fla. 2008) Cited 19 times 1 Legal Analyses
      Answering a question certified by federal appellate court, holding that a laboratory dealing with ultra-hazardous materials owes a duty of reasonable care to the general public
      The complaint against the United States, brought pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346(b), 2671 et seq., alleged that the origin of the strain of anthrax that killed Mr. Stevens could be traced to the United States Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (“USAMRIID”) at Fort Detrick, Maryland. The suit alleged further that the government knew it was utilizing an “ultra-hazardous” material requiring the highest degree of care in its handling, storage, use, and possession, and that, as early as 1992, samples of anthrax were missing from USAMRIID. The complaint stated that despite this knowledge, the government failed to provide adequate security for the handling or shipping of the materials, and, as a result, sometime before October 2001 anthrax was improperly intercepted either from USAMRIID or from another research facility to which the materials had been sent. The complaint does not describe the relationship between the government and the person who initially intercepted the anthrax or between the government and the person who eventually mailed the anthrax to American Media.

  7. DXer said

    ‘Enjoy your life’: Trump puts new attorney general in an awkward position from the start

    He has not publicly addressed Trump’s running commentary of the past few days. But soon after he was confirmed by the Senate last week, he wrote in a memo to Justice Department employees
    that times have changed not just in the threats that federal law enforcement has to respond to, but in the microscope the department is now under.

    “Advances in technology have given rise to new threats but also new tools to meet those threats, as well as new opportunities,” Barr wrote. “And the Department has faced ever-increasing scrutiny
    from all quarters as news cycles have shrunk from days, to hours, to nanoseconds.”

    Comment: Attorney General Barr, this is an example of one of the emails that DOJ culled and withheld — producing it only after months, no years, and after I specifically explained that I knew it existed. Notice how in this format it is sequentially numbered (0438)? That is how the emails that were culled can be identified. Computer bytes man, if you will.

    Let’s roll.

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

  8. DXer said

    In the Amerithrax case, the emails between Ivins and his assistant/s establish his alibi. They both explain that on the afternoon of September 17 he went to his daughter’s school for a meeting and that on nights and weekends, he was conducting the small animal experiments. (He had been tasked with monitoring the animals, which was a one-person, two hour job). US Attorney Taylor’s and the FBI’s “Ivins Theory” was that Ivins had no reason to be in the lab and had no alibi— both of which the investigators knew to be untrue. The inconsistency with those emails required that the FBI redact some portions of emails that were produced (such as the redaction above of an email after misplacing the one above for 4 years didn’t work) and misplace entirely some others. The FBI produced this email above only after I specifically identified it.

    Investigators redacted (see above) the reference to the school meeting the afternoon of Sept 17 and then investigators had leaked a theory that Ivins travelled to New Jersey that afternoon. (See Washington Post article in early August 2008).

    In the Russia espionage investigation, if Robert Mueller wants to build a case (in indictments announced as early as today) about emails alleged to be hid,FN/ then the FBI should stand for the rule of law in Amerithrax and disclose Ivins’ emails — even to the extent inconsistent with its “Ivins Theory.”

    Attorney General Barr should personally review the FBI’s failure to produce the Ivins emails that the FBI quoted and relied upon in closing Amerithrax. Robert Mueller is not responsible for the withholding. FBI FOIA’s David Hardy is.


    According to those draft documents, prosecutors believe that Corsi deleted all emails from his computer that he sent or received before Oct. 11, 2016.

    The prosecutors’ focus on Corsi’s email practices could explain their interest in Stettner.

    One email prosecutors alleged Corsi deleted was a July 25, 2016, note from Stone in which Stone asked Corsi to try to make contact with Assange and get copies of hacked emails in his possession. The draft document says that when investigators first asked Corsi about the email, he claimed that he told Stone that trying to reach Assange was a bad idea that should be avoided.

    In fact, Corsi forwarded the email to a London-based associate and later wrote Stone an email about WikiLeaks’ plans. “Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps,” Corsi wrote Stone on Aug. 2, 2016, according to the draft filing.

  9. DXer said

    Note in connection with this September 17, 2001 email wrongfully withheld by the FBI from me for years, that this email refers to a letter to which he is responding. The date that letter was opened and read is recorded on his computer — but the FBI also has withheld from FOIA requestor Dillon all computer records that show where he was and what he was doing. As it is, the FBI has no theory as to when he travelled to mail the letters. And the FBI is withholding the 16 page section that addresses this issue of his alibi.

    In a Washington Post story in early August 2008, the FBI first raised up the flagpole the theory that Ivins travelled the afternoon of September 17 but then it was pointed out that entry records show him stopping by USAMRIID in the late afternoon — and then the counseling session records that the FBI finally obtained showing he went to his addictions counseling group therapy that evening. The FBI also withheld from Dillon all credit card purchase records.

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

  10. DXer said


    ORDERED that, within thirty days of the date of this Order, DOJ shall file a notice with the Court that provides possible explanations for why the FBI did not release the three emails purportedly sent to Mara Linscott that Dillon identified in his February 2018 letter to government counsel;

    Dated: January 17, 2019 RUDOLPH CONTRERAS United States District Judge

    Case 1:17-cv-01716-RC Document 26 Filed 01/17/19 Page 1 of 1

  11. DXer said

    In FBI’s reply today, it makes one thing clear: It withholds what it wants to withhold — produces what it wants to produce — without regard to a principled application to the FOIA exemptions.

    After it is revealed that the September and October 2001 emails to and from Bruce Ivins were withheld by the Army at the instruction of the DOJ/FBI, FBI’s FOIA head Dave Hardy should be fired.

    The DOJ then misleadingly and selectively spinning the conclusion of some of the investigators in Robert Mueller’s biggest “whodunnit.”

    These FOIA officials never are held accountable for playing hide-the-ball.

    All the time the FBI claimed they could not locate the emails, they were provably LYING.

    So they should be fired for the lying.

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

  12. DXer said

    FBI’s Dave Hardy failed to provide this email to Ken Dillon. I finally got it after a hard fight in 2012 where I told them I knew of its specific existence and knew that they were withholding it. Someone would have to ask Dave Hardy why it had been pulled from the production of Ivins emails by the committee of DOJ and FBI officials that reviewed all the emails that USAMRMC John Peterson circulated. Under the guise of “vetting,” the DOJ and FBI pulled all the emails that they thought raised questions about an Ivins Theory. John Peterson’s emails are sufficient record, detailing for any Congressional probe or federal court judge, which DOJ/FBI officials are responsible for having pulled this (and other emails that are still being withheld). For example, a lot of emails were pulled from the mid-September period.

    • DXer said

      Someone could ask John Peterson whether former FBI Director Mueller was among the large group of DOJ/FBI officials receiving each batch of emails as it was proposed for release. Someone could ask JP whether Mueller knew of the emails being pulled from production. (I’m using the word “pull” out of respect … when “cull” is more apt; the proper procedure is to produce the email all blackened out if it is exempt from disclosure.)

  13. DXer said

    Can the agreement made as part of the Stevens litigation be used to keep the Fellows and Linscott emails from production? No.

    Private parties cannot control what is available through FOIA through USAMRIID, the originating agency.

    See the “Message 0438”? Dillon’s litigation counsel will be able to discern any emails held if he presses for the emails in this same sequentially numbered format.

    Take the case in the news involving Felix Sater, President Trump’s former real estate associate. The learned Judge Pamela Chen, at the last report I’ve seen, is charged with deciding whether to unseal those court records. I believe they were sealed for 10 years in 2005. That case reportedly involved the mafia and money laundering. I don’t know the particular issues presented in that case. But given Judge Chen’s smarts and sense of fairness (I was a co-worker for several years), I am sure she’ll fairly resolve the issue, taking into account the public interest and the relevant facts and legal issues.

    The case presented here is far simpler. Any agreement entered between private parties simply has no bearing on whether the Fellows and Linscott emails are produced under FOIA. The DOJ is not even the originating agency. They are emails to and from Dr. Bruce Ivins and have been extensively quoted by the US DOJ in spinning an Ivins Theory. The public has the right to know the dates of the emails and the full context. The DOJ relied heavily on the emails in quoting many of them and in arguing about Dr. Ivins’ state of mind and motive.

  14. DXer said

    Many hundreds — thousands, even — emails have been uploaded to the USAMRMC Electronic Reading Room. (see below). As I best recall, Scott Shane, as I recall, requested the emails to be produced in September 2008.

    The FBI relied on emails to and from Bruce Ivins to Patricia Fellows and Mara Linscott. But over the course of many years it has failed to produce those emails.

    It is especially disturbing that the FBI withheld the emails from September and October 2001 because such emails would help show where Ivins was, and what he was doing.

    For example, it produced this September 17, 2001 email above (on the day the FBI imagines Ivins was driving) only when I specifically identified it as having been culled from the emails produced.

    Ken Dillon should now file suit in federal district court against the FBI for withholding the other September and October emails to and from Bruce Ivins to his assistants that the FBI has been withholding all these years.

    The emails should never have been culled from production, particularly given that many of them were quoted and relied upon by the FBI in spinning its Ivins Theory.

    The FBI has spun its Ivins Theory like cotton candy. The former lead Amerithrax investigator Richard Lambert has publicly said that the FBI is withholding a staggering amount of information and evidence that is exculpatory of Bruce Ivins.

    NYT interview of former lead Amerithrax investigator Richard Lambert: “a staggering amount of exculpatory evidence” regarding Dr. Ivins remains secret
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 16, 2016

    We owe academic and researcher Ken Dillon a special thanks for helping to get people on the same page. Whatever the emails show, the public should not be relying on snippets selectively quoted by zealous prosecutors interested in “winning” (and not being blamed for driving Ivins to suicide). The public should have the full context, dates and times of the email exchanges.

    Batch 1 Batch 2 Batch 3 Batch 4 Batch 5
    Batch 6 Batch 7 Batch 8 Batch 9 Batch 10 Batch 11 Batch 12
    Batch 13 Batch 14 Batch 15 Batch 16 Batch 17 Batch 18 Batch 19
    Batch 20 Batch 21 Batch 22 Batch 23 Batch 24 Batch 25 Batch 26
    Batch 27 Batch 28 Batch 29 Batch 30 batch 31 Batch 32 Batch 33
    Batch 34 Batch 35 Batch 36 Batch 37 Batch 38 Batch 39 Batch 40
    Batch 41 Batch 42 Batch 43 Batch 44 Batch 45 Batch 46 Batch 47
    Batch 48 Batch 49 Batch 50 Batch 51 Batch 52 Batch 53 Batch 54
    Batch 55 Batch 56 Batch 57 Batch 58 Batch 59 Batch 60 Batch 61
    Batch 62 Batch 63 Batch 64 Batch 65 Batch 66 Batch 67 Batch 68
    Batch 69 Batch 70 Batch 71 Batch 72 Batch 73 Batch 74 Batch 75
    Batch 76 Batch 77 Batch 78 Batch 79 Batch 80 Batch 81 Batch 82
    Batch 83 Batch 84 Batch 85 Batch 86 Batch 87 Batch 88

    • DXer said

      The FOIA provides a mechanism for disciplinary action against agency officials who have acted inappropriately in withholding records. Specifically, when requiring the release of improperly withheld records, if the court makes a written finding that “the circumstances surrounding the withholding raise questions whether agency personnel acted arbitrarily or capriciously,” a disciplinary investigation is triggered. 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(F).

  15. DXer said

    Upon exhaustion of this appeal, in litigation Dillon should include in his Complaint allegations about the emails that a committee of DOJ and FBI personnel had John Peterson with the Army cull from production.

  16. DXer said

    FOIA Reform Appears Close, But Not a Done Deal

    • By Charles S. Clark
    • April 22, 2016

    The goal of the legislation is to require agencies to operate under a “presumption of openness” when considering the release of government information under FOIA and curb “overuse of exemptions to withhold information from the public,” according to Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., a longtime advocate. The bills would enhance the ability of the Office of Government Information Services—run out of the National Archives and Records Administration—to help mediate FOIA disputes.

    Both pending bills would try to reduce bureaucracy by requiring the Office of Management and Budget to create a single portal through which individuals can submit a FOIA request to any agency. And they would require agencies to disclose documents proactively that are likely to be of public interest in order to increase access to government documents outside the often onerous FOIA request process.


    Also, the House measure contains provisions not in the Senate’s, such prohibiting agencies from withholding the names of a federal employees engaged in official duties (their private contact information or financial information would remain protected); requiring agencies to provide a list of documents withheld and identify the exemption used; and requiring agencies to provide the name of the person who made the decision to withhold the information.

    Comment: I personally favor the House measure even though I understand it likely will not prevail.

    On information and belief, a committee of people from DOJ and FBI culled emails written by Bruce Ivins — filtering those produced by USAMRMC up until February 2011. Not only did they delay production by years, but they pulled emails without identifying which they pulled or the justification for pulling them. John Peterson never put them back after Amerithrax was officially closed. (Prior to that, I would have tended to favor DOJ/FBI pulling emails as they saw fit due to the pendency of an investigation). After that, the justification for that exemption evaporated.

    As illustrated by the above email, I venture that you would be shocked at what was pulled without any disclosure that the email was pulled and without specifying or having to justify any exemption.

  17. DXer said

    In the email Bruce sent to Mara on September 17, 2001 at 10, you know that he was writing that email rather than doing something else at the time. And other emails being withheld by the FBI explain the reason Dr. Ivins took 4 hours personal leave related to a personal matter involving his daughter. Yet the Washington Post had a big story in early August quoting an unnamed government source suggesting Dr. Ivins had left the building to mail the anthrax letters. At the time, the FBI had not even confirmed yet that Dr. Ivins went to his usual early evening group therapy session — indeed, that after dealing with the matter involving with his daughter he had come back to Building 1425. The FBI rather than spinning false narratives about his time should have produced the emails and other documents that chronicled how he was spending his time. Instead, the FBI for nearly two years reviewed and culled the emails that USAMRIID was providing. The emails sent to John Peterson at USMRC are direct evidence of the pulling of emails — with no exemption under FOIA being claimed (so as to flag the omission).

  18. DXer said

    House GOP: Obama withholding Benghazi email is ‘criminal’

    House Republicans accused the Obama administration Thursday of “perhaps criminal” behavior for having withheld for months key email that sheds light on how the administration framed its post-Benghazi talking points, potentially violating a congressional subpoena.
    House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, said Secretary of State John F. Kerry will have to come before Congress to explain why his department refused to release the email until forced to do so by a judge.

    Read more:

    Taking a forward-looking approach, I would encourage DOJ Criminal FOIA to stop withholding Dr. Ivins’ emails. There are no secrets — people who pulled the emails (many of whom no longer are at the FBI/DOJ) just thought there were. The emails are sequentially numbered (in a certain format such as above) and thus those numerous emails still being withheld are identifiable. Overlooking a delay is a lot easier than overlooking a wrongful withholding that then is proved.

    The Army CID’s response came yesterday.

  19. DXer said

    This is an editorial today about the pending district court decision related to documents said to involve my candidate for mailing, Mohammed Atta’s accomplice, Adnan El-Shukrijumah:

    Keeping the FBI honest
    Judge wisely cautious about documents on Sarasota Saudi family

    If the GAO had obtained Dr. Ivins emails in the format that displayed the sequential numbers, the GAO could have seen what emails were culled from production. USAMRIID produced them only after being vetted and culled by a large committee at DOJ and FBI. (I had that acknowledgment in writing from JP; I received acknowledgement of the culling when Lew and I repeatedly complained about the incessant and ongoing years-long delay). The FOIA people under the thumb of the DOJ/FBI prior to February 2010 didn’t care if GAO received all the emails. (That was acknowledged in writing by SR).

    The GAO will have missed a huge opportunity in ensuring government accountability by not having the emails culled by the DOJ/FBI restored to the production under FOIA by USAMRIID. The DOJ/FBI provably interfered under purported authority of a then still-open criminal investigation — as illustrated by this email that the FBI eventually coughed up when I indicated I knew it existed. There are mahy other emails like that this have been wrongfully withheld.

    The priority is not at all to attribute blame, the priority is to arrange for the fuller disclosure of relevant documents.

    The Florida media plaintiffs would do well to heed that it never pays to find fault when additional documents are found. There will always be more records. That is the nature of our digital world. And FOIA is a complicated statute with numerous exemptions that need to be balanced. The DOJ and FBI’s good faith can be presumed while we respectfully disagree that certain documents should be disclosed rather than withheld.

    Moreover, USAMRIID and DOJ Civil’s recent work under FOIA does much to point to underscore the need for a presumption of good faith.

    The operative adage in document production: Less heat, more light.

    Today’s editorial:

    “Zloch has steadily sought to require the FBI to adequately search for, find and release to the court documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

    The judge’s skepticism of the FBI’s willingness to comply with his orders and his insistence that the agency turn over records in multiple forms is warranted.

    As we noted in an earlier editorial, Zloch determined that the FBI previously:

    • Provided records with “apparent” and unexplained chronological “gaps.”

    • Presented to the court documents that “seem incomplete.”

    • Submitted “summary documents” that “do in fact seem to contradict each other.”


    Zloch has emphasized that the efficacy of the investigation is not the matter before his court. The focus is, he wrote, on whether the FBI has submitted the documents required by federal law.

    We’ll soon learn, based on Zloch’s actions so far, whether the FBI considers itself above — or subject to — the law.”

  20. DXer said

    Actually, the DOJ never did produce the emails Dr. Ivins wrote on his work computer to Mara, one of his former assistants.

    DOJ produced this one to Mara after withholding it for 4 years only after I specifically identified it.

    To the extent that they were written on his work computer, USAMRIID and DOJ is obligated under FOIA to produce them.

    Ms. Friend, Dr. Ivins’ assistant, testified in early Fall 2001 testfied at her civil deposition:

    Q. Were you aware prior to reading the FBI report that he was using his work computer to send personal emails to Mara Lindscott and Pat Fellows?
    A. Yes.
    Q. How did you become aware of that over time?
    A. He would tell us. After Mara left, he would
    show us emails that he would send to Mara. As far as Pat went, I mean, when she was
    still working there in our office, they would go back and forth kind of joking around via email, so it was pretty obvious that he was emailing them personally.
    Q. There have been some emails that have been produced and reference in the FBI report that were fairly lengthy, and in your observation while you were working with him in fairly close quarters, did you see him spending a lot of time sending emails?
    A. Yes.
    Q. And how much time, if you can quantify it, would you estimate that he would spend on this type of activity?
    A. Well, specifically e-mailing Mara?
    Q. Yes.
    A. Several times a day.
    Q. Okay. (p 104)

    • DXer said

      Kristi Friend writes:

      A. If he would think of something or if someone — not just in our office, but within the division — would mention something that would spark something in him, he would want to get in the computer and email her right away.
      They used to play Scrabble every day at lunch, and we continued to play Scrabble at lunch kind of frequently until it kind of died off, so things like that, Bruce would miss, so I know he used to send her encrypted emails like you would have to fill in what the word is, like she was playing Scrabble from far away. So sometimes that would take some time to come up with that.
      Q. Oh, sure. Did you ever in your own mind think that this is a little bit unusual here that he’s spending so much personal time during the workday sending these personal messages?
      A. Yeah, I thought it was odd.
      Q. And did it ever rise to the level where you mentioned it to anybody?
      A. No. (p. 105)

      Playing scrabble during the workday is odd? WTF? Next they’ll want to kill all the swans.

  21. DXer said

    Dr. Vahid Majidi in his September 2013 book on the Fall 2001 just reasserts the conclusions in the lame August 2008 conference about Dr. Ivins not having an alibi.

    Ha! What Dr. Majidi should have done is produce to NAS the computer forensics that showed him surfing the internet when Majidi claims Ivins must have been making powdered anthrax and travelling to New Jersey. Phone records too should have been produced.

    What Dr. Majidi should have done is take steps to ensure that emails like this one were not wrongfully withheld by the FBI. And there are lots more that have been withheld. All the GAO needs to do is require that the FBI provide them in a format that shows the serial numbering. Then GAO can live up to its name and find the FBI officials that took it upon themselves to cull the production of documents.

  22. DXer said

    To be master of its domain, the GAO needs to obtain the emails in a format that reveals their number in sequence so that the ones — such as this one withheld by the FBI for 4 years — can be identified.

    Email Forensics For Real Life Application in Evidence Building..Authors:Tiwari, Lokendra Kumar1,
    Samaddar, Shefalika Ghosh2,

    Dwivedi, Chandra Kant3, Journal of Advanced Research in Computer Science; May2011, Vol. 2 Issue 3, p287-283, 7p.Document Type:Article.Subjects:E-mail; Forensic sciences; Information visualization; Computer crime investigation; Criminal investigation.Author Supplied Keywords:.DBX file recovery

    Outlook Express mail recovery.Abstract:Computer Forensic, the upcoming branch of forensic science where acquiring, preserving, retrieving and presenting content processed electronically and stored digitally, is used for legal evidence in computer related crimes or any other unethical practice involving manipulation of digital content. Such digital content may take many forms which are manifested by different file formats and digital artifacts. This paper concentrates on evidential usage of recovered deleted e-mail from off-line mail boxes to provide digital evidence in case of non- repudiation either by the sender or by the receiver. This is simply accomplished by using a digital forensic tool Encase 6.0 and applying a capturing mechanism to prove legitimacy of the evidence. The step-by-step procedure is able to increase the practical insight in the capturing of deleted e-mail as digital evidence of non-repudiation and is able to provide an example for preparing evidentiary e-mail for presentation in the Court of Law or for preparation of any legal procedure. Recovery of deleted e-mails in the form of digital evidence requires certain legal bindings which may be provided under this mechanism. This paper contributes to that extent that recovered files are ready digital evidence in the Court of Law. [ABSTRACT]

  23. DXer said

    “I think the FBI has a lot to explain here,” said Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y. “I’m not trying to be a Monday-morning quarterback, but the fact that … they have completely stonewalled us here since the Boston bombing, I think is unacceptable.”

    The hearing joins other high-profile cases in recent weeks—including those involving the Internal Revenue Service, the National Security Agency, and the Justice Department—that have cast doubt on Congress’s ability to oversee federal agencies.
    “We have to find a way to get through this bureaucracy,” said Rep. William Keating, D-Mass. “What can we do about this? Our obligation is oversight. How can we crack through this so we don’t have a future case-closed roadblock?”


    Well, for starters, Congress needs to urge its research arm GAO to grow some balls — and bust some balls — over the withholding that has occurred and is still ongoing. In its long languishing review of the Amerithrax investigation, the GAO was way too deferential to the FBI — having unfounded faith that the FBI would eventually see the light and make a full production. The most serious withholding occurs in document production when the requestor does not know what is being withheld because the requestor did not engage in a systematic method of discerning the universe of documents.

    Obtaining a full production of documents was way more important than arcane musings over a genetic inquiry relating to 4 morphs that did not even narrow those with known access below 200-300 hundred (from 700-1000). I would trade you four PhD statisticians assessing an irrelevant question for 1 short paragraph in a smoking gun document.

    As an example, to know what Ivins emails have been withheld, one merely needs them produced in a format that displays the sequentially ordered number.

    For example, this sequentially numbered email 0438 from September 17 above was withheld for years.

  24. DXer said

    New York Times journalist Scott Shane brilliantly requested all of Dr. Ivins emails in September 2008.

    A committee of officials at DOJ and FBI then reviewed each and every batch of emails, instructing John Peterson by email on which of Dr. Ivins’ emails to cull.

    This email from September 17 was not provided — was culled — from batch 35.

    GAO could identify all the emails culled by obtaining them in a format from DOJ that permits the sequential number to be displayed.

    NYT correspondent Scott Shane is the last person in the world I would want to wrongfully withhold a document from.

    Most recently, the New York Times sued the Department of Justice over the legal justification for killing Awlaki.

    The fact that he is so careful a reporter (their requested relief in the suit is more narrowly framed than a similar ACLU suit) is precisely what makes him so dangerous and unstoppable in obtaining documents to which he is entitled under FOIA.

    If I were the DOJ, I would upload all the culled emails without further footdragging — they can explain that at the time the investigation was ongoing and so pulling them was justified under a statutory law enforcement exception under FOIA.

    Because, AUSA Kenneth Kohl, I know what you did.

    • DXer said

      It’s not like a proffered rationale isn’t used to support wrongful withholding. For example, here, the IG Report was withheld from McClatchy on the specious grounds that a restraining order in a separate civil action prevented its production. That restraining order had no bearing on whether it could be obtained independently from the agency under FOIA. When I called Peggy and pointed it out, they coughed up the IG report to McClatchy showing that no vetting at all was done of foreign scientists working in the B3.

      From: Baines, Margaret B Ms CIV USA HQDA OTIG
      Sent: Tuesday, August 23, 2011 9:38 AM
      To: Lee, James E LTC MIL USA MEDCOM OTSG; Hodgson, Linda Ms CIV USA ATEC; Jorgenson, Michael R Mr CIV USA AMC; Patton, James T Mr CIV USA HQDA ASO; Lee, Gregory CIV USA ATEC; Glenn, Ricardo A COL MIL USA MEDCOM HQ; Muelhaupt, Jeff Mr CIV USA AMC; Humpton, John H Mr CIV USA HQDA DCS G-3/5/7
      Cc: McManus, Edward M Mr CIV USA HQDA OTIG; Ford, Fred K COL MIL USA HQDA OTIG; Blose, Todd E Mr CIV USA HQDA OTIG; De Ocampo, Robert M Mr CIV USA HQDA OTIG; Broyles, Barbara D Ms CIV USA HQDA OTIG

      Subject: DAIG FOIA request for 2001 “U.S. Army Biological Defense Program – Anthrax” S: 7 Sep 11 (UNCLASSIFIED)

      Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
      Caveats: FOUO

      Ladies and Gentlemen, I am Ms Peggy Baines, Records Release/Deputy Legal, Army IG. We received a Freedom of Information Act request for the attached inspection report, the Nov 01 “U.S. Army Biological Defense Program – Anthrax.” Please keep this report close hold.

      I need each of your organizations to review this report and tell me which portions – down to the exact words, if possible – should be withheld or redacted. Please give me your input by COB 7 Sep 11. I’ve sent this to the AMC/ATEC/MEDCOM IG offices and to AMC/ATEC/MEDCOM/Safety Office/G3 points of contact indicated to me by the DAIG Technical Inspections division.

      Keep in mind that the only possible legal justification I can conceive of for withholding any of this is if the ten-year-old findings reveal current security weaknesses at these labs that could be exploited, thanks to this report. I hope this is not the case. Assuming that the deficiencies in this report have been remedied, I intend to advocate for release of all of this report (minus personally identifiable information) to the requestor at this point, unless one of you convinces me otherwise. Please feel free to coordinate with your legal/FOIA personnel on this.

      Thank you – I am at 703-545-4588 or this email. Ms Baines

      USAMRC responded:

      Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
      Caveats: FOUO

      LTC Price,

      Thank you for the opportunity to review/comment on the subject inspection report prior to the planned release under the FOIA.

      I have reviewed the report and conferred with the Attorney Advisor, HQ, U.S. Army Medical Command Staff Judge Advocate Office.

      No recommended redactions/withholding of information pertaining to OTSG/MEDCOM is indicated.

      Please call upon me should you have any questions concerning this action.

      Very Respectfully,


      John P Peterson
      Chief, Freedom of Information/
      Privacy Act Office
      HQ, U.S. Army Medical Command
      COMM: 210-221-7826

      Peggy Baines, however, then wrote:


      Ladies and Gentlemen, thanks to all for your assistance in reviewing the
      2001 Anthrax report for possible FOIA release. With your help, we
      discovered the report is still subject to a protective order issued by the
      Stevens v. US court which precludes public release, at least until after the
      litigation is final.

      We are retaining your comments should a post-litigation FOIA request require

      Thank you! Peggy Baines
      Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
      Caveats: NONE”

  25. DXer said

    Is there any justification for continued delay on the additional emails by Dr. Ivins?

    GAO, before the USG spends another $5 billion on anthrax detection equipment, could they spend a few thousand on staff for that FOIA office?

  26. DXer said

    Ali, the withheld emails result in a gap of produced emails when viewed in this format. For example, this email that was withheld is “Message0438.” Hundreds of emails were withheld.

  27. DXer said

    Computer forensics — not genetics — has the greatest potential for solving Amerithrax.

    How Computer Forensics Works
    by Jonathan Strickland

    • DXer said

      The former FBI computer forensics says a word document has 11 layers of evidence — the metadata. There are products out there that will strip that data out (to include one that Microsoft sells). There is a free download available from Microsoft that you can find by using the search term metadata stripper. Putting it in Adobe format before going out makes such a document safe. User of computer, name of file, and date is about all you’ll find in an Adobe document.

      • DXer said

        One of the speakers describes spoliation of electronic evidence — and urges that the lawyer better understand where the document lives and makes sure it is “locked down” (and not spoliated). I specifically asked JP to make sure that no evidence was spoliated.

        • DXer said

          The computer forensics expert emphasizes the importance of the specificity of the request for documents. Here, a large group of DOJ and FBI folks were on a mailing list and reviewed the batches of FOIA documents being produced by USMRC. USMRC acted fully in good faith — it is just a matter of forcing production of the emails that were pulled without being exempt under FOIA. Prior to February 2010, USMRC was working under the thumb and vetting of the DOJ and FBI officials. 300 “personal” pages withheld by JAG were produced at the end. And so this relates to the others flagged by DOJ and FBI — the ones where it was not a joke or picture of a kitten. Special focus should be paid to the documents withheld from September and October 2001.

        • DXer said

          If you want a specific example, consider this September 17, 2001 email above. It was wrongfully withheld by USAMRIID and pulled from the production of the other September emails. Who at DOJ or FBI directed that it be pulled? It was not produced to me until several years after it was requested shortly after Dr. Ivins’ suicide.

  28. DXer said

    For example, in the email Bruce sent to Mara on September 17, 2001 at 10, you know that he was writing that email rather than doing something else at the time. And other emails being withheld by the FBI explain the reason Dr. Ivins took 4 hours personal leave related to a personal matter involving his daughter. Yet the Washington Post had a big story in early August quoting an unnamed government source suggesting Dr. Ivins had left the building to mail the anthrax letters. At the time, the FBI had not even confirmed yet that Dr. Ivins went to his usual early evening group therapy session — indeed, that after dealing with the matter involving with his daughter he had come back to Building 1425. The FBI rather than spinning false narratives about his time should have produced the emails and other documents that chronicled how he was spending his time. Instead, the FBI for nearly two years reviewed and culled the emails that USAMRIID was providing. The emails sent to John Peterson at USMRC are direct evidence of the pulling of emails — with no exemption under FOIA being claimed (so as to flag the omission).

    The issue of disclosure of the contemporaneous documents is way more important than an assessment under Daubert of the scientific evidence that in fact does not point to Dr. Ivins.
    It is far easier and doable also.

  29. DXer said

    Postal Inspectors constituted a substantial portion of the Amerithrax Task Force.

    Much work was done at the USPS lab.

    Sara Goudarzi

    FOIA requests may be directed to the USPS.

    Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

    For example, CDC sent me 2000 pages relating to sampling that they did in response to one request.

    If the USPS should deny the request on the grounds that you have to submit such a request to the FBI, Public Citizen can be asked to bring suit.

    Public CItizen is the type of organization that prevails on FOIA issues before the United States Supreme Court. Their staff includes some of the top talent in the country.

  30. richard rowley said

    DXer wrote:
    The DOJ in the above redacted the portion related to how he was going to have to spend his afternoon in connection with a personal matter involving his daughter.

    Disclosing this email in August 2008 might have interfered with the narrative that they wanted to tell — how Dr. Ivins took 4 hours personal leave to mail deadly anthrax in Princeton, NJ. (see Wash Po story)
    Yes, that seems likely: more ‘mysterious’ doin’s by the evil Doctor Ivins courtesy of extremely selective disclosure by the DoJ. The more I learn, the less likely it seems that any of the
    lawyers involved believed in their case against Ivins.

  31. DXer said

    The USG knew that Montasser Al-Zayat, the Blind Sheik’s lawyer, explained that Dr. Ayman was going to use anthrax against US targets to retaliate for the rendering of prisoners. Former EIJ shura members Al-Najjar and Mabruk said the same thing. (I explained all of this in 2002 based on “open source” accounts from FBIS.

    Instead of solving Amerithrax, the USG chose to mistreat prisoners in secret prisons* and conduct classified legal proceedings so that it would not come out that the former assistant of the White House Chief of Staff shared a suite with the leading Ames researchers at GMU, which shared facilities with ATCC and did its research with virulent Ames in downtown Frederick, Maryland at Southern Research Institute. That scientist, Ali Al-Timimi, was coordinating with both the 911 imam and Bin Laden’s sheik.

    Unlesss things are set on the right course, there is a real risk that NYC and DC will be attacked using WMD.

    Why under these circumstances is the GAO tolerating the FBI’s failure to produce all documents bearing on its review of Amerithrax?

    Without second-guessing decisions made in the past (which will be presumed to have been made in good faith), now is the time where the very best evidence available to reconstruct events in 2001 needs to be obtained.

    */Andrea Prasow, Hidden Torture: Behind the Plea Bargain of Majid Khan, JURIST – Forum, Mar. 2, 2012,

  32. DXer said

    The DOJ in the above redacted the portion related to how he was going to have to spend his afternoon in connection with a personal matter involving his daughter.

    Disclosing this email in August 2008 might have interfered with the narrative that they wanted to tell — how Dr. Ivins took 4 hours personal leave to mail deadly anthrax in Princeton, NJ. (see Wash Po story)

    Of course, if AUSA Lieber had provided Dr. Ivins and his counsel a copy of this email in July 2008 he could have remembered what he was doing that afternoon.

    But producing the contemporaneous documents would interfere with the spin that was necessary to avoid getting in trouble for driving him to suicide.

    Instead of producing this, we had his counselor, Judith McClean, trotted out to give an anonymous interview in the Washington Post. She neglected to tell the reporters (as she explained in a 2009 book available for $10 on that she was controlled in 2001 by an alien who had implanted a chip in her butt and she feared the murderous astral entities attached to her clients. She regularly would have to have emergency exorcisms after finishing with her part-time counseling gig.

    Amerithrax represents the greatest intelligence failure in the history of the United States — and all those who continue to withhold documents or fail to correct errors share responsibility.

  33. DXer said

    The DOJ is also wrongfully withholding the 302s of the family members who were with Dr. Ivins overnight in the small house on September 17, 2001. By way of example, the family 302s were produced in the UNABOM case. Nothing warrants their withholding here — redaction serves to address any applicable exemptions under FOIPA. It is government at our worst to spend millions on basic research while withholding the pieces of paper that would be far more probative.

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