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

* Voice of America: Clinton Warns of Bio-Weapons Threat, Terrorism

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 4, 2012

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6 Responses to “* Voice of America: Clinton Warns of Bio-Weapons Threat, Terrorism”

  1. DXer said

    Now the anthrax preparedness drill is moving to Baltimore.

    22209 is where they need to drill. Langley is where they need the drill. With the remote controlled airplay following George Washington Parkway crossing over the Key Bridge on the way to the Pentagon.

    Dr. Ayman’s anger is what makes him predictable. Like KSM, he is all about being iconic.

    Baltimore region to start bioterror drill Tuesday
    Two-day anthrax simulation will test health departments’ response

    by Daniel Leaderman, Staff Writer

    An exercise planned for Tuesday and Wednesday will test the emergency readiness of local health departments by staging a hypothetical outbreak of anthrax and having the departments distribute antibiotics to residents of the “affected” area within 48 hours.

    http://www.gazette.net/article/20120507/NEWS/705079963/1009/baltimore-region-to-start-bioterror-drill-tuesday&template=gazette

  2. DXer said

    The St. Paul home-delivery of antibiotics this weekend in case of anthrax attack is being deemed largely a success.
    http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2012/05/07/minn-test-of-meds-delivery-in-emergency-goes-well/

    Little Johnny immediately began playing with the empty bottle delivered to zip codes in St. Paul as a toy.

    But Little Johnny playing with his remote control plane near the Olympics won’t have to worry — they’ll first send up a sniper in a helicopter and will only shoot if given the OK by the MPs.

    Drones carrying biological weapon are new Olympic threat, warns Colonel in charge of keeping London calm
    By STEPHANIE CONDRON and CHRISTOPHER LEAKE
    PUBLISHED: 18:22 EST, 5 May 2012 | UPDATED: 18:23 EST, 5 May 2012

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2140173/Poison-drones-new-Olympic-threat-warns-Colonel-charge-keeping-London-calm.html#ixzz1uBH42FJZ

  3. This may be old news, but just in case … Government Attic has the email of Ivins that Longabardi obtained via FOIA http://www.governmentattic.org/Dr_Bruce_Ivins_email.html

    • DXer said

      The government attic produced a small portion of those emails. The emails produced initially. A much, much larger group of emails is located at
      https://mrmc.amedd.army.mil/index.cfm

      NYT’s Scott Shane who requested the emails in September 2008. That request has been uploaded to the USAMRC website and to this blog. (USAMRIID has no record, has not produced, the request Eric L. tells me and government attic he filed USAMRIID has produced requests that have filed pursuant to a FOIA of FOIAs; if there is such a request, I would like to see it as the phrasing of any request is germane to the withholding that occurred).

      USAMRIID then were produced over the next couple of years in batches. They were subject to review by a large group of DOJ and FBI officials and employees, who directed John Peterson of USMRC by email which ones to pull. A similar example involved an early report about the lack of vetting of foreign nationals visiting. Internal Army emails explained that there was no reason to withhold the report but then it nonetheless was withheld. It was finally produced after I uploaded the internal Army emails discussing how no exemption justified its withholding. An Army instituted an investigation to find out how I had obtained the internal emails but quickly learned that I had come across the emails quite innocently.

      An example of email that was not produced by USAMRIID was the September 17, 2001 email from Dr. Ivins to Mara Linscott discussing what he was going to do that afternoon. It was that afternoon of September 17 that the DOJ speculated Dr. Ivins travelled to Princeton. (The DOJ backbedaled from that position after it was appointed out that he went to his usual counsel session in the early evening … but it still has not come out what he did that afternoon even though it is discussed in the redactions). It involved a personal matter requiring the 4 hours of personal leave time. The September 17 email was produced to me in redacted form by DOJ — but not USAMRIID, which reported that it double-checked but could not find the email.

      When I pointed out that DOJ produced the email that USAMRC claimed it couldn’t find, the earnest and multi-tasking FOIA officer Sandra has expressly said that USAMRIID doesn’t care whether GAO has a complete set of emails. I protested, noting that it was an ill-advised view — by someone who does not appreciate the importance of a complete production to GAO’s work and the legal responsibilities that control. As recently as this week, I cited 18 U.S.S. 1519 which directly would apply to the continued withholding of emails. For example, there is a DOJ indictment this month relating to that statute and the withholding of emails from an outside regulatory assessing Deepwater.

      DOJ, as indicated in a portion I’ve redacted from the letter from David Hardy, has shifted responsibility of producing emails to USAMRIID, thus leaving them holding the bag. It really is not anyone at USAMRIID responsible for the emails still being withheld. The USMRC people worked on numerous requests over the course of years — always with diligence and good faith in the face of their many other responsibilities. (Indeed, USAMRC would not even have reason to have the emails on Dr. Ivins’ home computers. Relatedly, USMRC/USAMRIID doesn’t even have all the lab notebooks from the relevant period because DOJ removed the only copy from USAMRIID.

      GAO could obtain the emails being withheld from Dr. Ivins’ work computer in either of two ways: (1) GAO can identify the gaps in the numbers of the email (they are numbered sequentially and the number of the email can be seen when viewed at the agency in a certain format). Alternatively, they can just obtain an unexpurgated copy of JP’s in-box to see who at DOJ/FBI asked to have which emails withheld.

      More broadly, the crackerjack DOJ paralegal(s) maintained an extensive annotated database of documents. GAO could obtain that to see a roadmap of the critical documents that GAO has not yet seen. GAO has extensive experience in reviewing agency activities but may not appreciate how documents are controlled in a complex case involving a prosecution or litigation. The paralegals hold the keys to the kingdom.

      As an example of the important role documents play in litigation matters, consider that the judge at KSM’s arraignment on Saturday pointed to some FBI paralegals sitting next to the agents when KSM asked that they be identified given he had been subject to some shadowy goings-on and so he wanted to know who was part of the prosecution team.

      USMRC has worked very hard on numerous requests and so it is unjust that DOJ has maneuvered them into being the fall guy for the continued withholding of key emails. At the time the emails were pulled/withheld, AMERITHRAX was still an open investigation and so ANYTHING that DOJ wanted pulled would have been properly withheld under the exemption for a pending law enforcement case. Once the case was closed in February 2010, they should have been produced. The pendency of the law enforcement matter gives USAMRC a free pass for the previous withholding as at the time it was statutorily justified. OTOH, the officials who have reason to know that they have not been produced even to this day have some explaining to do to GAO.

      I have urged John and Sandra at USAMRC to now appreciate that the email situation is analogous to the notebook situation. On the notebooks, DOJ took the only copy from USAMRIID, preventing their production. I specifically wrote AUSA Lieber about the withheld lab pages and through a spokesman she refused to produce them. On the emails, as a technical matter, USAMRIID/USAMRC can reinsert the pulled emails so long as it has JAG’s cooperation. (JAG restored 300 emails of a certain category in the last batch.)

      JAG should make sure that it is not the one left without a chair when the music stops.

  4. DXer said

    Background:

    http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/barone/2007/03/15/khalid-sheik-mohammed-confesses

    MICHAEL BARONE
    Khalid Sheik Mohammed Confesses

    By U.S. News Staff
    March 15, 2007 RSS Feed Print

    The Pentagon has released a report on the confessions of captured al Qaeda leader Khalid Sheik Mohammed.

    He claimed in hearings that began last Friday that he was responsible for planning 29 attacks, not all of which occurred. They include the February 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, the attempt by Richard Reid to blow up a trans-Atlantic airliner, and assassination attempts on Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Pope John Paul II. I believe I also heard Shepard Smith mention on the air that KSM admitted responsibility for planning anthrax attacks; I don’t see that on the Fox News website at this moment.

    This is big news. KSM had been held at a secret CIA prison outside this country and then was transferred to Guantánamo. We have been hearing laments from various quarters about the poor chaps confined to CIA prisons and Gitmo and how they didn’t have all the rights that criminal suspects and defendants have in the United States.

    KSM’s confession tells us what we are up against. Al Qaeda’s leaders are monsters who have been plotting to bring great destruction on us. There is no reason to believe that those not captured aren’t eager to continue doing so. Many of our leaders and people are ready to retreat out of Iraq and seem to suppose that doing so will leave us without major problems in the world. KSM’s testimony ought to convince them that that’s not true. And the monstrous nature of the attacks he has apparently admitted planning suggests that we really do need secret CIA prisons and Guantánamo. What we are facing is not domestic crime (which is the way the 1993 WTC bombing was treated) but the possibility of repeated attacks with whatever weapons these people can get their hands on.

    The mention of anthrax–if it was mentioned–is particularly disturbing. I’ve blogged about this before and noted that the FBI says it hasn’t the faintest idea who launched the anthrax attacks in the weeks just following September 11. Was al Qaeda involved? Or state-sponsored terrorists? If they were, why haven’t there been more anthrax attacks? Is it because the sponsors were disappointed that the attacks didn’t kill and terrorize more people? So far as I can tell, no one on our side has answers to these troubling questions.

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