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

* THE ANTHRAX FILES: Congratulations to FRONTLINE, ProPublica and McClatchy For Their Much Deserved Emmy Nomination For “Outstanding Investigative Journalism”

Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 24, 2012

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10 Responses to “* THE ANTHRAX FILES: Congratulations to FRONTLINE, ProPublica and McClatchy For Their Much Deserved Emmy Nomination For “Outstanding Investigative Journalism””

  1. DXer said

    Forsaking science as proof of Dr. Ivins’ guilt, and bemoaning the public’s expectation that the science would point to Dr. Ivins in particular, Dr. Vahid Majidi quotes an interview by a woman who hated Bruce Ivins.

    IMO, Nancy Haigwood was extremely mad at Bruce, in part, because she suspected him of being an anonymous source in a September 2001 in the Washington Post about her research. She understandably would be furious at the anonymous source quoted in the article. Prior to that, she was especially upset that a key development in anthrax research was rejected for publication. She reasonably would suspect Bruce Ivins who served on publication boards and had caused her so many problems in the past. There were other outrageous things that Bruce did that would piss Nancy off. It is totally justified that Nancy had a strong dislike for Ivins — even though she kept it to herself and he included in a mailing list of 20 friends. It is just a fact of life that there will be people who have a strong dislike for others. It is not evidence of murder.

    But Dr. Majidi is frustrated that others don’t find Dr. Haigwood’s hatred of Ivins probative.

    He writes: “in their television program, PBS/Frontline came to a completely different conclusion and they suggest that Bruce was not the Anthrax perpetrator!”

    Would Dr. Bruce Budowie write such a book? He was the co-author of MICROBIAL FORENSICS and a key early architect of the FBI’s planning in the emerging field. Does this new book by Vahid represent the scientific face that the FBI wants to show? Let’s leave the stained panties in the trash bag — the sorority stunts and personal animosities from 25 years ago too. Bring on the scientists, please. Bring on the probative proof that is admissible in court.

    Most of all, bring on the researchers who know the importance of contemporaneous records and will go through the contemporaneous records from September 2001/ October 2001. Most of Dr. Majidi’s assertions underpinning his Ivins Theory are contradicted by the documentary evidence uploaded by Lew in this blog. For example, it is inexcusable that Vahid does not know the history of the two-person rule at USAMRIID and when it was first implemented. His own personal experience is totally irrelevant — Dr. Ivins was at USAMRIID. The undercover did my graphics precisely to inform the IC of the documentary evidence and avoid failures in analysis due to compartmentalization.

    Dr. Ivins tried to obtain his 2001 emails years ago when the FBI wanted to know what he was doing in late September 2001/early October 2001 — but USAMRIID told him they were not available. The FBI had the emails but did not provide them. AUSA Lieber had them available to review and so she had no excuse for not knowing about the rabbit experiment. Vahid can ask Rachel why she didn’t tell him about the rabbit experiment and provide the documentation relating to where the experiments took place. He seems to have been misinformed. Given his senior position at DOJ, I presume he was briefed and had no access to the actual documents unless specifically provided them.

    The problems with AUSA Lieber’s Amerithrax Investigative Summary was always that she didn’t provide citations to the record. The standard in DC law firms is that citations are provided and an appendix included. I would have thought that would be the standard at DOJ too in such an important case. It avoids misstatements of fact in the summary such as riddled the Amerithrax Investigative Summary and press conferences.

    It took two or three years, but USAMRIID eventually produced Dr. Ivins’ emails pursuant to a FOIA request by Scott Shane in September 2008.

    http://www.amerithrax.wordpress.com

    • DXer said

      After quoting interview of Nancy Haigwood, Jean Duley and Charles Ivins, Dr. Vahid Majidi writes:

      “the above personal accounts and testimonies do not directly implicate Bruce Ivins as the perpetrator for the Amerithrax mailings; they do serve to complete a mosaic that clearly illustrates Bruce was a complex individual…”

      Aren’t we all? The Department of Justice should prove its case based on probative evidence admissible in court. It is not its place to report back that there were some people who thought he was creepy. I think its creepy that Vahid Majidi cannot cite any documents about the location of the 52 rabbits and yet hasn’t pulled his Kindle book down — he just assumes that it was at some other facility. (I know this because I asked him and he responded).

      It couldn’t have been in the B3, right like the documents reveal? Could it? That would mean that the FBI drove an innocent man to commit suicide by swabbing him for DNA — even though the already had his DNA from the cup. They swabbed his DNA to test against the semen on the panties — and they told him that they were going to call his wife and children to testify before the grand jury.

      They should have known about the experiment with the 52 rabbits. It is really creepy that they instead of working on the alibi issue they would drive him to commit suicide over the semen-stained panties.

      It is even creepier when you know the backstory at the prosecutor’s office (as I presume Dr. Majidi does not). What happened in AUSA Lieber’s office was way creepier than anything Dr. Ivins ever did in a Georgetown sex shop.

      Was transference involved? Was Rachel enraged at Bruce because he did toward Mara what the assigning attorney did to her in her office? (He then left the DOJ). What explains her not telling Vahid about where the experiment with the 52 rabbits that Bruce was working on? I am presuming she was just rushed and doing a good faith job in a vexing whodunnit — and then was unwilling to correct her mistake and tell her superiors about the 52 rabbits. But what’s Vahid’s justification for not now studying the documents and correcting his mistake — and recommend to his former boss, Mr. Comey, to reopen Amerithrax? Vahid would be a hero for bearing down on the documents and understanding finally the missteps that are provable from the documentary evidence.

      Unfortunately, inside the Beltway, it’s all about CYA.

  2. DXer said

    Frontline now has pushed past their success on the lyophilizer and moved on to the rabbit issue. I realize that it may be difficult to distinguish between the rabbits shipped to the B3 on September 24 and other rabbits. But when these busy journalists have time to sort through the documents, it will become very clear which are the ones relating to the “formaldehyde” experiment at issue.

  3. DXer said

    Attorney Kemp on matter:

  4. DXer said

    [Newsdesk] Anthrax—where does the real threat lie?
    Author: Kathryn Senior
    Publication: The Lancet Infectious Diseases

    Volume: 12, Issue: 6, Pages: 436 to 437
    Date: Friday, June 01, 2012
    In late April, the French embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, and workers in an administration building in the city of Albany (NY, USA) were sent packages accompanied by claims that they contained anthrax spores, while in India, the death of a rhinoceros at Delhi zoo set off an anthrax alert based on scant evidence of infection. Hoaxes such as this have continued on a regular basis since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, prompting the USA to consider some sweeping measures to ensure preparedness. Many experts view these measures as unnecessary and even potentially damaging; the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has publicly criticised the US Government’s suggestion that every US household should have an anthrax-survival kit containing 10 days’ supply of doxycycline.

  5. Ali M. Haider said

    You’ve cited Spectrum of Islamist Movements before. I’m only now working through it systematically for the first time. The Egyptian perspective is helpful. There are also many details I’ve not seen elsewhere regarding EIJ. The discussed at vol 1, p. 68f., re the Albanian Returnees trial, is an example.

    Ahmad Salama Mabrouk is, we’re told, the sole source for the accounts of Zawahiri’s alleged chemical/biological acquisitions and for his arrest in Azerbaijan, as well as other events, such as his trip to the US. Mabrouk is also alleged to have said: Z’s unconventional weapons were purchased _two years prior_ to the formation of the Global Islamic Front, from both eastern European and former Soviet Central Asian sources. (AQ’s IIF was formed in Feb. 98? so let’s say, 1995 or 1996.) We’re also told that Zawahiri had already distributed these chemical and biological weapons to select jihadists, to be used in the event that future conventional attacks against U.S. targets were unsuccessful.

    Mabrouk, we learn from Michael Ross’s The Volunteer, was arrested in Baku, after Mossad asked CIA to ask the local authorities to pick him up. After torture and interrogation in Baku, Mabrouk was rendered to Egypt. He had been picked up with Saqr, during an attempt to nab a MOIS operative. That operative is left unnamed. Who might he have been? One of Zawahiri’s regular Iranian contacts? The arrest in Baku took place 6 days after the African Embassy attacks: the terror conclave was also very closely connected to the embassy attacks, according to Israeli interpretation of intercepts.

    In addition, M. Ross cites an article from al-Hayat, in which Mabrouk is interviewed. He claims that EIJ had prepared 100s of attacks against US and Israeli targets, but they had been foiled through the information gleaned from a disk seized when the arrests took place.

    Ross concludes on a sour note: CIA broke its agreement with Mossad about sharing any of information learned from Mabrouk and Saqr.

    Questions that may be worth asking:

    1. There’s just one source for this account Z’s possession of purchased chemical and biological weapons. The information may have been derived from torture, but not necessarily. So, is Mabrouk credible? He certainly goes back a long way with Z.
    2. Was CIA unwillingness to share information with Mossad deliberate? Or just bad manners?
    3. If in fact real, were any of the 100s of planned attacks chemical or biological?
    4. Why would AQ/EIJ later initiate their own biological program, if they already had such weapons? Perhaps in 1996 they were only able to purchases very small amounts of whatever it was they purchased, if they actually purchased anything?
    5. Was the possibility of multiple sources for the anthrax taken into account in the investigation? Perhaps, some purchased, some homemade? Or purchased from multiple sources?
    6. What were the nature of Z’s links to Iran? That Iran and Sudan were implicated in the African embassy bombings was also the determination of a US court, in Dec. 2011.

    • DXer said

      “1. here’s just one source for this account Z’s possession of purchased chemical and biological weapons. The information may have been derived from torture, but not necessarily. So, is Mabrouk credible? He certainly goes back a long way with Z.”

      Mabruk was in jail a year or two before for 6 months with Ayman. So he certainly had the position of confidante, in addition to his position as EIJ military commander. But I don’t recall ever seeing or citing Spectrum of Islamist Movements. This proves my comment about always learning from your posts; I’ll promptly google and try to locate and read it. But I am not relying on Mabruk’s claim of purchase of anything — although I am aware of the report insofar as it was reported in foreign press. I could never find corroboration of that aspect of the claim. I am instead relying on Mabruk’s, al-Nashar’s, and Montasser Al-Zayat’s statement of Dr. Ayman’s plan … his intent. We then saw that statement of intent and motive corroborated by his memos to Atef in Spring 1999. BIn Laden’s military commander to whom Dr. Ayman reported his anthrax planning). Even more significantly, the active operation was confirmed by his letters from Rauf Ahmad who was attending the Porton Down conferences, and the documents on Dr. Ayman’s seized computer. I believe another senior jihadist said that Dr. Ayman had made 15 recruitment attempts since he first had the idea in 1991 or so.

      “2. Was CIA unwillingness to share information with Mossad deliberate? Or just bad manners?”

      I didn’t come away with that from Michael Ross’ book. I read the excerpts that included a mention of not sharing but did not see it as sour grapes. He had no regrets. Mossad did not have personnel there and so was relying on the CIA in any event.

      “3. If in fact real, were any of the 100s of planned attacks chemical or biological?”

      From the description of a retired FBI Agent, who described Mabruk’s computer as the motherlode, I understood it just to be a list of 100 targets. It would be a brainstorming of targets. The Agent worked with John O’Neill and was an Al Qaeda expert. He went to Khartoum soon after the anthrax mailings and the jihadists laughed at the suggestion that Saddam was in league with OBL. OBL detested Saddam, the filed report explained, because he was a womanizer etc.

      “4. Why would AQ/EIJ later initiate their own biological program, if they already had such weapons? Perhaps in 1996 they were only able to purchases very small amounts of whatever it was they purchased, if they actually purchased anything?”

      As for details of confessions, I would instead rely on al-Nashar’s lengthy interrogation, which I have never seen. (He was a member of the EIJ shura and I believe he was secretly cooperating with Egyptian security in Yemen; my friend was the chief prosecutor’s brother.)

      Dr. Ayman Zawahiri (Vanguards of Conquest) planned to use universities and charities as cover to develop anthrax for use against the U.S.
      Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 13, 2011
      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/02/13/dr-ayman-zawahiri-vanguards-of-conquest-planned-to-use-universities-and-colleges-as-cover-to-develop-anthrax-for-use-against-the-u-s/

      The State Department person in charge of Cairo should have — could have — obtained al-Nashar’s confession (IMO). Given that Amerithrax remained unsolved, however, I was disappointed at the lack of support. It was that official — the State Department person in charge of Cairo — who was responsible, I believe, in communicating to me about NanoBio and Perseus through an intermediary. So he could have been the beginning and end of the solution to Amerithrax. But, as you know, that hasn’t happened yet. And now things are pretty topsy turvy in Cairo. The Department of State #3, who had been in charge of Perseus when it invested in NanoBio, died after a massive event while being questioned by Secretary of State Clinton, his boss.

      Of course, many hundreds of millions of aid are involved each year. And given I once held that elevator door open for Sarkis Soghanalian in Miami, I know the corrupting influence of money. The NYT has confirmed that chemical weapons and/or nerve gas was used in the early 1980s and then in 1987/1988 against the Kurds.

      So I would venture that things are much worse even than they seem. The reason I am such a big fan of law enforcement is precisely because of the good work that they do in areas like public corruption.

      “5. Was the possibility of multiple sources for the anthrax taken into account in the investigation? Perhaps, some purchased, some homemade? Or purchased from multiple sources?”

      Russia Serge Popov says that they could get whatever they wanted from USAMRIID just by submitting a request, and so there definitely is a possibility that it had been acquired. The reason I do not credit it is if they had already acquired it, Dr. Ayman would not have had to send Dr. Rauf Ahmad to get it. I have uploaded Rauf Ahmad’s correspondence with Dr. Ayman. DIA gave me the correspondence pursuant to a FOIA request I submitted prompted by David Relman and JB Petro’s brilliant SCIENCE article. Relman and Petro had drafted a FOIA response seeking published articles that Dr. Ayman had in his possession. I tweaked their draft by telling DIA (perhaps via JB Petro) that if they didn’t give me the handwritten correspondence too then they would be in violation of the FOIA statute and that they I could care less about the redacted published material. (They had already given the letters, upon being declassified, to another researcher and so I was fairly entitled to them).

      from DXer … infiltration of U.S. Biodefense? … Zawahiri’s Correspondence With Infiltrating Scientist Was Part of Parallel Compartmentalized Cell Operation
      Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 20, 2010
      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/from-dxer-infiltration-of-u-s-biodefense-zawahiris-correspondence-with-infiltrating-scientist-was-part-of-parallel-compartmentalized-cell-operation/

      The FBI did not provide the list of attendees at the June 2001 Annapolis International Anthrax Conference pursuant to FOIA even though a Zawahiri infiltrator Rauf Ahmad attended the conferences for Zawahiri in 1999 and 2000.
      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/03/22/the-fbi-did-not-provide-the-list-of-attendees-at-the-june-2001-annapolis-international-anthrax-conference-pursuant-to-foia-even-though-a-zawahiri-infiltrator-rauf-ahmad-attended-the-conferences-for/

      The first lab Rauf Ahmad, as reported in a handwritten letter, visited only had nonpathogenic strains so he had to schedule a visit to a second lab. The letter reporting on that visit, which was typewritten, started: “I have successfully achieved the targets.” Milton Leitenberg reasoned that it meant he just kept to a schedule etc. And ML had influence over the NYT on this and the NYT mistakenly reversed the order of the undated letters.

      Rauf’s name was first publicly associated with the documents by Ross Getman, a New York lawyer who maintains a Web site devoted to the 2001 anthrax attacks. That’s me. I can’t keep a secret to save my life.

      Suspect and A Setback In Al-Qaeda Anthrax Case
      Scientist With Ties To Group Goes Free
      By Joby Warrick
      Washington Post Staff Writer
      Tuesday, October 31, 2006; Page A01
      http://wincoast.com/forum/showthread.php?44128-Suspect-and-A-Setback-In-Al-Qaeda-Anthrax-Case

      And so I think it is a big priority for GAO to determine and identify the second lab that Rauf Ahmad visited. It was in Fall 1999. Was that lab Porton Down? Was it USAMRIID? Was it one of the European labs that had Ames from Flask 1029? I don’t know. In email correspondence with me, Rauf Ahmad is mainly interested in money. He does not have Yazid Sufaat’s religious devotion.

      “6. What were the nature of Z’s links to Iran? That Iran and Sudan were implicated in the African embassy bombings was also the determination of a US court, in Dec. 2011.”

      I try to avoid political ramifications and instead just go where the bad guys are. I think maybe Saif Adel, for example, had a major role in the anthrax mailings, and I believe for a time he lived in a suburb of Tehran. So when they capture Saif, they can ask him who is on his Friends and Family calling plan.

  6. Anonymous said

    It seems some FBI insiders are now privately admitting that it is likely Bruce Ivins had nothing to do with it and that the material itself had to have been specially processed to give rise to the observed chemical signatures – signatures not at all consistent with anything ever made at Fort Detrick.

    • DXer said

      I hope they win. That McClatchy fellow had a reputation for being hard-working and doing good work long before this.

      Then there will be time enough for the other stand-outs (like Shane) to win a Pulitzer. My wife heard Shane on NPR recently about some FDA issue and was very impressed. Mr. Willman did impressive work getting interviews with investigators as did Noah Schacthman of Wired and Joby Warrick of the Wash Po. I am hoping there will be lots more meaty interviews — and lots more documents to produce. Whatever the solution of the Amerithrax mystery, I am sure that there is lots of news that needs to be unearthed.

      It is important though that the reporters master the documents and then question the investigators in the context of the documentary evidence — not the spin of the prosecutors.

      • DXer said

        Given that it seems the press nowadays only ever has the budget to take spin handed under the table to them by government officials anyway, perhaps the First Amendment is not as worth prioritizing, in the balance of competing interests, as it used to be.

        For example, before journalists started swallowing the smear of Ivins, the top prosecutor was doing the same with Hatfill. His daughter then came to represent “anthrax weapons suspect” Al-Timimi, who was coordinating with Awlaki, pro boon.

        Given that DOJ has withheld the relevant documents from GAO, let’s turn to internal DOJ and FBI documents and provide some of the background regarding the lead prosecutor’s leak of the hyped Hatfill stories.

        In an August 13, 2002 email to AUSA Ken Kohl, William Blier wrote Ken Kohl an email titled “FW: Conversation with Glenn Fine”

        It states: “Ken, Look like we still have our jobs. Let me know what kind of reaction you get from Van [Harp]. Thanks, Bill.”

        In early August 2002, the head of the District of Columbia Field Office initiated a leak investigation related to Amerithrax information. The first leak investigation concerned leak of bloodhound story to Newsweek (according to email discussed in deposition of lead prosecutor Daniel Seikaly in which he repeatedly pled the Fifth Amendment). A memo from DC Field Office head Van Harp read:
        TO: OPR

        NSD

        From: Washington Field

        ADIC’s Office: Harp Van A (202) xxx-xxxx

        ***

        Title: UNSUB

        UNAUTHORIZED DISCLOSURE AND/OR

        MEDIA LEAK IN CONNECTION WITH THE

        AMERITHRAX INVESTIGATION

        ***

        [REDACTED]

        [REDACTED]

        The appearance of this information in the media affects the conduct of this investigation as well as the morale of the dedicated personnel who have expended enormous energy and effort on this investigation.

        As such, I am requesting that either a media leak or OPR investigation be initiated. In the event a leak investigation is initiated then the enclosed LRM should be hand delivered to AAG Chertoff. [REDACTED]

        The investigation was closed in October 2002. The memo read:

        Date: October 8, 2002

        To: Mr. H. Marshall Jarrett

        Counsel

        Office of Professional Responsibility

        United States Department of Justice

        From: David W. Szady

        Assistant Director

        Counterintelligence Division

        Subject: [REDACTED[

        The purpose of this memorandum is to notify your office of the closing of the FBI’s criminal investigation of the captioned media leak matter. It is the understanding of the FBI that your continued investigation of this matter will be pursued by your office.

        [REDACTED]

        After a January 9, 2003 “exclusive” report by ABC’s Brian Ross that the FBI was focusing on Hatfill and was going to conduct a second round of interviews with other former and current government scientists so that they might rule them out by the process of elimination, the FBI initiated a second media leak investigation. This time it was to proceed with “extreme zeal.”

        A January 10, 2003 email from AUSA Kenneth Kohl states:

        “Yesterday ABCNEWS.COM ran another Brian Ross article on the anthrax investigation [attached]. The report states that “Federal investigators on the anthrax task force continue to focus on former government scientist Steven J. Hatfill as the man most likely responsible for the bioterror attacks last year that killed five people, even though they have found no hard evidence linking him to the attacks.” The sources of the story are described as “several officials who attended a recent task force summit meeting in Washington [who] talked with ABCNEWS on the condition of confidentiality.”

        The most disturbing aspect of the article is that the “officials” are quoted as saying [lengthy passage blacked out]. (Hint: turn to the ABCNews article to see what was redacted.).
        A january 13, 2003 memo then read:

        Precedence: PRIORITY Date: 1/13/2003

        To: Director’s Office

        Washington Field

        From: Washington Field

        Contact Richard L. Lambert 202-xxx-xxxx

        Approved by: Harp Van

        Lambert Richard L

        Title: AMERITHRAX

        MAJOR CASE 184

        00: WFO

        Synopsis: To request the opening of new OPR media leak investigation regarding captioned case.

        [large redacted passages]

        To demonstrate the seriousness with which the FBI views this matter, it is requested that the OPR inquiry commence with an interview of IIC Rick Lambert who will waive all Fifth Amendment privileges and accede to a voluntary polygraph examination to set a tone of candor, forthrightness and cooperation.

        [redacted]

        The instant matter is the second unauthorized media disclosure to occur in this investigation. Its potential detriment to the effective prosecution of the case is substantial. Accordingly, in the interests of both specific and general deterrence, the Inspector in Charge requests that this OPR inquiry be pursued with unprecedent zeal.”

        A May 9, 2003 email from Steven Pelak to Ken Koh, Dan Seikaly and others had the subject “ken, sad to see this. unfortunately folks are protecting themselves or their legacy at teh fbi against the future fingerpointing.”

        A June 2003 email then shut the barn door long after the horse had walked through that barn door:

        From: DEBRA WEIERMAN

        To: Lisa Hodgson

        Date: Wed, June 4, 2003 12:18 PM

        Subject: AMERITHRAX INVESTIGATION

        Lisa: Please disseminate to all WFO employees. Thanks, Debbie

        For the information of all recipients, Director Mueller has ordered that no one discuss the AMERITHRAX case with any representative of the news media. The WFO and Baltimore Media Offices have released several media advisories, which were coordinated with the US Attorney and FBIHQ, to explain specific milestones in the case. However, NO FBI WFO EMPLOYEE, INCLUDING MYSELF AND INSPECTOR RICK LAMBERT, WHO IS IN CHARGE OF AMERITHRAX, IS TO RESPOND TO ANY MEDIA INQUIRIES, THE ONLY EXCEPTION IS DEBBIE WEIERMAN IN THE MEDIA OFFICE. All inquiries from reporters or journalists received by any WFO employee are to be immediately referred to Debbie at xxx-xxxx, and she will handle.

        I thank everyone at WFO for their dedication to the job and to this office. I also thank you for your cooperation in this very important matter.

        Mike Rolince

        A March 30, 2004 email had the subject “More Amerithrax Leaks”

        In October 2007, the former Criminal Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, Daniel Seikaly, was deposed in the civil rights action by Steve Hatfill about whether he was the source of leaks relating to Steve Hatfill in connection the use of bloodhounds in the anthrax investigation and the draining of ponds in Frederick, Maryland. Key stories appeared in Newsweek and Washington Post. Attorney Seikaly pled the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination in connection with most substantive questions.

        Attorney Seikaly has had a very distinguished career. In 2001, Mr. Seikaly went from being Assistant Inspector General for Investigations at the Central Intelligence Agency to Criminal Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. There he supervised eighty-five Assistant United States Attorneys involved in the prosecution of all federal offenses in the District of Columbia. He also served as a technical expert for U.S. Department of State funded rule of law programs in Croatia, Estonia, Kazakhstan, and Thailand. Before accepting the appointment to Criminal Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, Mr. Seikaly was Assistant Inspector General for Investigations at the Central Intelligence Agency. While with the CIA, a profile at his current law firm’s webpage explains, “he conducted and supervised numerous investigations concerning allegations of misconduct by employees, contractors and vendors involved in CIA programs. In that position, he routinely interacted with senior officials within the intelligence community, other executive branch agencies and Congress concerning intelligence investigations.” The profile continues: “From 1996 to 1998, Daniel served as an Associate Deputy Attorney General at the Department of Justice and was Director of the Department’s Executive Office for National Security. There he was responsible for the coordination and oversight of the national security activities of the Department of Justice, including intelligence operations, international law enforcement, relations with foreign countries and the use of classified information. Reporting directly to the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General and acting with their authority in national security matters, Daniel was a primary point of contact between the Department of Justice and other executive branch agencies with national security interests such as the National Security Council, the Department of State and the Department of Defense.”

        His daughter has represented “anthrax weapons suspect” Ali Al-Timimi pro bono in defense of his prosecution for sedition. GAO plays a key role here in assessing whether there has been the appearance of a conflict of interest that undermined an important national security expert. GAO has the experts. The country needs the guidance on the issue.

        One USA article concluded: “One of the law enforcement sources says investigators sometimes wonder whether they focused on Hatfill too soon and ignored someone who deserved more attention. So much has gone into investigating Hatfill, the source says, that abandoning the focus on him ‘would be like starting all over.’ ” The press has been so focused in defending itself from the charge that it was unfair to Dr. Hatfill — and law enforcement officials have been so chastened by the civil rights suit brought by Dr. Hatfill — that years ago there stopped being meaningful coverage of Amerithrax by the mainstream press altogether.

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