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

* Lisa Danley … Duties and difficulties of investigating and prosecuting biocrimes … “after a decade of investigation, the FBI failed to conclusively attribute the Amerithrax attacks to a perpetrator.”

Posted by DXer on September 7, 2012





14 Responses to “* Lisa Danley … Duties and difficulties of investigating and prosecuting biocrimes … “after a decade of investigation, the FBI failed to conclusively attribute the Amerithrax attacks to a perpetrator.””

  1. DXer said

    The first step in a sound true crime analysis of this sort is to obtain the relevant documents and then disclose and rely upon them. That wasn’t done by the FBI. The rabbit documents were knowingly withheld and then the civil depositions of Patricia Fellows and Mara Linscott WERE SHREDDED. Someone might think to dust the shredder for fingerprints.

  2. DXer said

    Science, Standards and Forensics: Part III

    Posted: 09/10/2012 1:01 pm

  3. DXer said

    BTA, DHS test bio-weapon sensors at Davis Square in Somerville

    By Erin Baldassari
    Wicked Local Somerville
    Posted Sep 07, 2012 @ 07:57 AM

    “We’re going to run some trains tonight – empty trains. Trains push material around very effectively and if something were to happen during rush hour, the trains would be a big part of how it moves,” Hultgren said, adding the absence of platforms packed with people was less of a concern. “Trains matter more than people. We’ll at least get to see the dominant effect.”


    The results of Wednesday’s test were clear – as soon as the train started towards the station, the air went from moving roughly 1-2 feet a second to about 10-20 feet a second.

    Hultgren said the government still has another six months of testing ahead of them. They’ll be posting notices at each of the affected stations a day before the tests happen, she said, all in the hopes that they will be able to accurately model real-life conditions. Even if the tests were successful, they wouldn’t likely be fully installed for another year or two.

    Read more: MBTA, DHS test bio-weapon sensors at Davis Square in Somerville – Somerville, Massachusetts 02144 – Somerville Journal

  4. DXer said

    Where is the missing anthrax made by Dr. Ivins’ lab assistants?

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 31, 2011

  5. DXer said

    Let’s review some background relating to the distribution of Ames.

    Records Were Not Kept Of Transfer Of Ames From RMR 1029 To Researchers At USAMRIID Prior To ’02 And It Is Mistaken Assumption That A Perpetrator (Or Innocent Accessory Before The Fact ) Would Keep A Sample To Submit To FBI ; They Would Be Highly Motivated To Throw Away Any Evidence That Would Trace Back
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 20, 2012

    James Baker at University of Michigan has always just emphasized that the virulent Ames was provided at Ft. Detrick and the work was done under a microbiologist there (and not at University of Michigan).’-rmr-1029-anthrax-more-questions-for-um-and-lsu-researchers/

    Martin Hugh-Jones has always emphasized that the work with virulent Ames was done at USAMRIID — and that the work with 4 characterized strains at LSU — did not involve the virulent Ames supplied by Bruce Ivins.

    James Baker reasons that it would have been illegal for U of M to have had the Ames there (i.e., for Tarek Hamouda to have brought it back) and thus he reasons it must not have happened. (He is mistaken on the legal point — in Fall 2001, it was a BL-2 pathogen in its liquid form).

    Dr. Hamouda did not respond to my inquiry. I had written to ask him who he knew. For example, whether he knew Montasser Al-Zayat who announced Dr. Zawahiri’s plan to use anthrax to retaliate for the rendering of senior Egyptian Islamic Jihad leaders. I wanted confirmation directly from him that Ayman Zawahiri’s sister Heba taught him microbiology. In Spring 1999, Heba cried herself to sleep each night over the rendition of her brother Mohammed. Mohammed Zawahiri is now available for an interview in Cairo.

    With Tarek not responding to my emails, I called directly his various medical school classmates like my friend “Tawfik” Hamid (the famed author of INSIDE JIHAD who was recruited one Friday to jihad by Ayman Zawahiri. “Tawfiq” consults with intelligence agencies on occasion and has given many interviews on the subject of Ayman Zawahiri’s recruitment on Fridays at the medical school.

    Michael Hayes, the University of Michigan assistant who worked with Tarek Hamouda, Bruce Ivins, Patricia Fellows, Mara Linscott in the B3, told me “You don’t want to know” when I called him.

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

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 29, 2011

    Michael seemed friendly and not defensive in our brief conversation (he had not responded to emails and so I called him). He just is extremely reluctant to talk because, as he says, “you don’t want to know.” (There was big big controversy at University of Michigan not long after 911 on the issue whether non-citizens would be allowed access to pathogens etc. As I recall the largely secret controversy, the powerful university head of research returned to Saudi Arabia) Although Michael was cordial, that was as far as the conversation was going to go.

    By way of background, in October 2001, LSU and University of Michigan were subpoenaed.

    According to Richard Hidalgo, assistant to the dean of the school of veterinary medicine at LSU, the DOJ asked the school to provide by Oct. 23 a log of all visitors and employees at the Hugh-Jones Special Pathogens Lab since Jan. 1, 2000, including their Social Security numbers and dates of birth. The subpoena also asked for information on shipments of pathogens to and from the lab. “Besides Dr. Hugh-Jones and his lab director, only three others have been in the lab” during the time in question, Hidalgo said. “I’ve never been there myself.” Why did the FBI limit the October 2001 subpoena of LSU Special Pathogens Lab to visitors after January 1, 2000?! That was a dropped ball.

    Newsday reported:

    “A subpoena also was delivered to the University of Michigan, according to a source who asked not to be identified. ” …”LSU’s Hidalgo said the FBI appears to be looking for any breach in the strict handling procedures for anthrax and other select agents. It could not be determined yesterday how many institutions have received subpoenas. In some cases, the FBI has made investigative inquiries without court orders.”

    The DARPA research involving virulent Ames supplied by Bruce Ivins prior to that. Dr. Tarek Hamouda and lab tech Michael Hayes had worked with virulent Ames with Bruce Ivins in May 1998. Judging by the documents made public by the FBI, the 16 pages about Tarek’s research with Bruce Ivins and Pat Fellows in the B3 was not provided the FBI until March 2005! … when it was faxed by Arthur Friedlander’s telephone number (the sender had been given the documents by Bruce Ivins). According to an Ivins 302, the name had been spelled wrong on the B3 log at USAMRIID and thus investigators had not taken notice. That was a dropped ball. (Electronic records did not start until summer 1998).

    In GAO’s Assessment Of The Effectiveness Of DIA’s Monitoring Of A Visiting Foreign National Working With Dr. Ivins With Virulent Ames In Biolevel 3 Prior To 9/11, Past Audits Suggest That DIA Did No Vetting At All ; FOIA Responses To Date Indicate That USAMRIID Incredibly Did Not Preserve The Records Relating To That Research

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 14, 2012

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

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 11, 2012

    DARPA research, of course, was ongoing elsewhere such as George Mason University where the American Type Culture Collection (“ATCC”) collection was located. FBI Agent Wade Ammerman could tell you was of interest because of Ali Al-Timimi. ATCC has written me to say that as a matter of policy, they will not address whether their patent repository (as distinguished from their online catalog) had virulent Ames prior to 9/11. Although ATCC did not take the opportunity to deny it, one can infer from the FBI’s affidavit in connection the search of Ivins’ residence that no lab in Virginia is known by the BI to have had virulent Ames. Thus, FBI, in its “Ivins Theory,” was working on he understanding that ATCC did not have Ames in its patent repository. (Work with virulent Ames was done by the GMU DARPA researchers at Southern Research Institute in Frederick, which in 2000 was announced as the subcontractor under DARPA grant to Advanced Biosystems. Bruce Ivins’ former colleague, Patricia Fellows, who worked with Ames from Flask 1029, left USAMRIID to head the BL-3 lab at SRI.)

    Dr. Mara Linscott told the FBI that she needed to see her lab notebooks to refresh her recollection of details, but that checking on the animals would take approximately two hours and was usually a one-person job; the FBI provided the one publication on which she worked involving the former Zawahiri associate but she notes that USAMRIID was a military institution and thus not all of the projects would be published.

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 27, 2011

    The scientist who made the large amount of virulent Ames that is missing, who was thanked by the former Zawahiri associate for providing technical assistance re the Ames, is the person who could explain about the rabbits ; but she’s not talking.

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 9, 2011

    Ari Fleischer explained: “What you have to keep in mind is the difference between knowledge about what type of information you have to have to produce it, and who could have sent it. They are totally separate topics that could involve totally separate people. It could be the same person or people. It could be totally different people. The information does not apply to who sent it.” Ken Alibek, the former head of the Soviet bio-weapons program suggests that ‘If I were a terrorist, I would certainly not use a strain known to be from my country.'” To the same effect, Bruce Ivins would not have used the strain — a special mixture of the US Army strain — for which he was the “go-to” person.

    The question relevant to an Al Qaeda theory is what access to the US Army strain might have been accomplished by someone with 1) an organization supported by funds diverted from charities backing his play, and 2) a lot of educated and technically-trained Salafists who believe in his Islamist cause. Questions abound. For example, when Iyman Faris visited with Majid Khan in mid-2001, who was he driving for with respect to travelling to and from Maryland and Columbus, Ohio (down the street from Battelle Memorial Institute)? Dr. Ivins shipped the Ames spores From RMR 1029 To Battelle by Federal Express on or about June 18, 2001. What “U.S. Mail” did Iyman Faris deliver?

    Relatedly, when Columbus, Ohio truck driver Iyman Faris met with Majid Khan in Baltimore in mid-2001, did he discuss the reason for his previous research on ulta-light planes for Osama Bin Laden at a Karachi internet cafe? In working with Al Qaeda anthrax planners KSM and Al-Balucchi in January 2002, did Baltimore resident Majid Khan learn anything about the pair’s anthrax planning that he can now share? What contaminant was allegedly going to be used to contaminate the Upstate New York City reservoir serving New York City?

    A former KGB spy master says that the Russians had a spy at Ft. Detrick who provided samples of all specimens by diplomatic pouch. But it seems more likely that Al Qaeda got it directly from a western laboratory. For example, Ayman had a trusted scientist attending conferences sponsored by Porton Down scheduling 10-day lab visit as early as 1999. In the US, he had the support of other scientists (such as GMU’s Al-Timimi) who did advanced research alongside researchers working with the Ames strain under a contract with USAMRIID for DARPA.

    The DOJ also has provided a December 5, 1997 letter from a University of Michigan Medical Center scientist to Bruce Ivins. It states

    “Dear Dr. Ivins:
    It was a pleasure speaking with you the other day. I much appreciate your willingness to work with us concerning our new anti-sporicidal material. We are looking forward to doing it in vitro evaluating or not whether this material against anthrax spores given its efficacy against other species of bacillus spores. These studies would involve mixing the material with the spores for varying lengths of time and then either separating the spores or culturing them directly to determine the viability. We might also do fixation of the spore preparations to determine if there are any ultrastructural changes in the spores that can be oberved with electron microscopy.”

    “My technicians are fully trained in the contagious pathogen handling and have experience with level 3 biosafety requirements. They, as I, are willing to undergo the anthrax and plague immunizations, although I was hoping that they might be able to administer the vaccines at the University of Michigan. This might allow us to only make one trip to USAMRID before we begin the studies. If we could either purchase the vaccine from you or from a commercial distributor, we would be happy to administer it and document titers in any way you feel appropriate.

    I look forward to the initiation of this work. I believe it could be a very interesting collaboration that could eventually lead to animal studies. On December 19, commensurate with the filing of patents on this material, I will send you additional data on the formulations and our studies concerning the ability of these materials to inactivate spores both in vitro and in vivo.


    _____ Division of Allergy”

    The FBI apparently did not obtain the documents from Bruce Ivins relating to the correspondence with the University of Michigan researchers until 2005 — four years after the mailings. At that time, someone using Arthur Friedlander’s telephone number forwarded evidence that Dr. Hamouda and lab tech Michael Hayes had received anthrax and plague vaccinations in advance of coming to work alongside Dr. Ivins in the BL-3 laboratory using virulent Ames. The sender noted that the 20 pages being forwarded had been provided the sender by Bruce Ivins.

    The University of Michigan Medical Center letter dated May 10 [1998] to Bruce Ivins

    “My colleagues and I would like to extend our thanks and appreciation to both you and Dr. Ivins for the opportunity to work at USAMRIID. Dr. Ivins _______________________ were very helpful and cooperative in facilitating our studies as well as providing excellent technical assistance. Their efforts made our stay at USAMRIID both pleasant and highly productive. In particular, our discussions with Dr. Ivins provided valuable insights which will enable to better define and develop our technology.”

    “The data generated in these studies serves to clarify and validate the results which we have seen in our model systems (see attachments). We were able to block growth of both strains of B. anthracis with emulsion incorporated media (Table 1). We also were successful in reducing both Vollum and Ames spore counts by 95% (as assessed by CFU of viable organisms). These reductions were observed at spore concentrations of up to 1 X 10 6/ ml (Figure 1) and were seen even in conditions which limited germination (room temperature incubation). Decreased numbers of spores also were identified microscopically in the media after treatment. In contrast, no reduction in counts was noted with an initial spore innoculation of 1 X 10 8 / ml (Figure 2). …”

    “We were pleased with this outcome and the personal interaction that produced them. Given the non-toxic nature of these emulsions, we feel that they may have a role in the decontamination and treatment of agents such as anthrax and alphavirus. We look forward to future collaborative efforts with Dr. Ivins and his laboratory staff. With the diverse nature of our respective programs, we believe that a cooperative approach will serve to accelerate the development of these compounds.”

    In a number of patents by University of Michigan researchers in Ann Arbor, Tarek Hamouda and James R. Baker, Jr., including some filed before 9/11, the inventors thanked Bruce Ivins of Ft. Detrick for supplying them with virulent Ames. The University of Michigan patents stated: “B. anthracis spores, Ames and Vollum 1 B strains, were kindly supplied by Dr. Bruce Ivins (USAMRIID, Fort Detrick, Frederick, Md.), and prepared as previously described (Ivins et al., 1995). Dr. Hamouda served as group leader on the DARPA Anti-infective project.

    A patent application filed April 2000 by the University of Michigan inventors explained:

    “The release of such agents as biological weapons could be catastrophic in light of the fact that such diseases will readily spread the air.
    In light of the foregoing discussion, it becomes increasingly clear that cheap, fast and effective methods of killing bacterial spores are needed for decontaminating purposes. The inventive compounds have great potential as environmental decontamination agents and for treatments of casualties in both military and terrorist attacks. The inactivation of a broad range of pathogens … and bacterial spores (Hamouda et al., 1999), combined with low toxicity in experimental animals, make them (i.e., the inventive compounds) particularly well suited for use as general decontamination agents before a specific pathogen is identified.”

    In late August 2001, NanoBio relocated from a small office with 12 year-old furniture to an expanded office on Green Road located at Plymouth Park. After the mailings, DARPA reportedly asked for some of their product them to decontaminate some of the Senate offices. The company reportedly had pitched hand cream to postal workers. The inventors company, NanoBio, was initially funded by DARPA.

    Dr. Hamouda graduated Cairo Medical in December 1982. He married in 1986. His wife was on the Cairo University dental faculty for 10 years. Upon coming to the United States in 1994 after finishing his microbiology PhD at Cairo Medical, Dr. Hamouda was a post-doctoral fellow at the Wayne State University School of Medicine in downtown Detroit. His immunology department biography at Wayne indicates that he then came to the University of Michigan and began work on the DARPA-funded work with anthrax bio-defense applications with James R. Baker at their company NanoBio.

    The University of Michigan researchers presented in part at various listed meetings and conferences in 1998 and 1999. The Department of Justice provided a copy of December 1999 article titled “A Novel Surfactant Nanoemulsion with Broad-Spectrum Sporicidal Activity of against Bacillus Species” in its disclosure under FOIA. The article in the Journal for Infectious Diseases states: “B. anthracis spores, Ames and Vollum 1B strains, were supplied by Bruce Ivins (US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases [USAMRIID], Fort Detrick, Frederick, MD) and were prepared as described elsewhere. Four other strains of B. anthracis were provided by Martin Hugh-Jones (Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge).” Dr. Baker advises me by email that NanoBio’s research with virulent Ames was “done at USAMRIID by a microbiologist under Dr. Ivins’ direct supervision and at LSU under the direction of Dr. Hugh Jones.”

    In the acknowledgements section, the University of Michigan authors thanked:

    (1) Shaun B. Jones, Jane Alexander, and Lawrence DuBois (Defense Science Office, Defense Advanced Research Project Agency) for their support;

    (2) Bruce Ivins for supplying virulent Ames;

    (3)Patricia Fellows (who is identified as Ivins’ Former Colleague #2 in the Amerithrax Investigative Summary);

    (4) Mara Linscott (who is identifed as Ivins’ “Former Colleague #1); and

    (5) Arthur Friedlander, the Army’s top anthrax expert.

    He thanked Drs. Fellows, Linscott and Friedlander for their technical support and helpful suggestions in the performance of the initial anthrax studies.

    (7) Martin-Hugh-Jones at LSU,

    (8) Kimothy Smith, who moved from LSU to Northern Arizona University, where he was a key genetics expert for the FBI typing submitted samples in 2002; and

    (9) Pamala Coker, Kimothy’s close associate who served as the LSU biolevel 3 lab head.

    Dr. Hamouda thanked Hugh-Jones, Smith and Coker for supplying the characterized B. anthracis strains and the space at Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge).

    The University of Michigan researchers found that their nanoemulsion incorporated into the growth medium completely inhibited the growth of the spores. Transmission electron microscope was used to examine the spores.

    The patent explained that “The nanoemulsions can be rapidly produced in large quantities and are stable for many months *** Undiluted, they have the texture of a semisolid cream and can be applied topically by hand or mixed with water. Diluted, they have a consistency and appearance similar to skim milk and can be sprayed to decontaminate surfaces or potentially interact with aerosolized spores before inhalation.”

    A March 18, 1998 press release had provided some background to the novel DARPA-funded work. It was titled “Novavax Microbicides Undergoing Testing at University of Michigan Against Biological Warfare Agents; Novavax Technology Being Supplied to U.S. Military Program At University of Michigan as Possible Defense Against Germ Warfare.” The release stated that “The Novavax Biologics Division has designed several potent microbicides and is supplying these materials to the University of Michigan for testing under a subcontract. Various formulations are being tested as topical creams or sprays for nasal and environmental usage. The biocidal agent’s detergent degrades and then explodes the interior of the spore. Funding, the press release explains, was provided by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Department of Defense.

    In a presentation at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) on September 26, 1998, Michael Hayes, a research associate in the U-Michigan Medical School, presented experimental evidence of BCTP’s ability to destroy anthrax spores both in a culture dish and in mice exposed to anthrax through a skin incision. “In his conference presentation, Hayes described how even low concentrations of BCTP killed more than 90 percent of virulent strains of Bacillus anthracis spores in a culture dish.” Its website explains that the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy is the “[p]remier meeting on infectious diseases and antimicrobial agents, organized by the American Society for Microbiology.”

    In 1999, LSU researcher Dr. Kimothy Smith, who was thanked for providing BL-3 space for the research by the University of Michigan researchers, moved to the Arizona lab, bringing with him the lab’s first samples of anthrax.”

    A University of Michigan Medical school publication, Medicine at Michigan, (Vol. 1, No. 1, Spring 1999) explained: “In studies with rats and mice in the U-M Medical School under the direction of James R. Baker, Jr., M.D., professor of internal medicine and director of the Center for Biologic Nanotechnology, the mixture, known as BCTP, attacked anthrax spores and healed wounds caused by a closely related species of bacteria, Bacillus cereus. (The letters BCTP stand for Bi-Component, Triton X-100 n-tributyl Phosphate.)
    Baker describes the process as follows: “The tiny lipid droplets in BCTP fuse with anthrax spores, causing the spores to revert to their active bacterial state. During this process, which takes 4-5 hours, the spore’s tough outer membrane changes, allowing BCTP’s solvent to strip away the exterior membrane. The detergent then degrades the spores’ interior contents. In scanning electron microscope images, the spores appear to explode.” The rapid inactivation of anthrax bacteria and spores combined with BCTP’s low toxicity thus make the emulsion a promising candidate for use as a broad-spectrum, post-exposure decontamination agent.

    The research is sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the central research and development organization for the U.S. Department of Defense.”

    Dr. Baker, by email, advises me that Ivins did the studies involving Ames for them at USAMRIID. He reports: “We never had Ames and could not have it at our UM facilities.” Before September 2001, it’s office was described as in the basement of a downtown bank which seems to describe 912 N. Main St., Ann Arbor, just west of the University of Michigan campus.

    An article in the Summer of 2000 in Medicine at Michigan explains:
    “Victory Site: Last December [December 1999] Tarek Hamouda, Amy Shih and Jim Baker traveled to a remote military station in the Utah desert. There they demonstrated for the U.S. Army Research and Development Command the amazing ability of non-toxic nanoemulsions (petite droplets of fat mixed with water and detergent) developed at Michigan to wipe out deadly anthrax-like bacterial spores. The square vertical surfaces shown here were covered with bacterial spores; Michigan’s innocuous nanoemulsion was most effective in killing the spores even when compared to highly toxic chemicals.”

    An EPA report explains: “In December 1999, the U.S. Army tested a broad spectrum nanoemulsion and nine other decontamination technologies in Dugway, Utah, against an anthrax surrogate, Bacillus globigii. Nanoemulsion was one of four technologies that proved effective and was the only nontoxic formulation available. Other tests against the vaccine strain of B. anthracis (Sterne strain) were conducted by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and by the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research.”

    As Fortune magazine explained in November 2001 about NanoBio: “Then bioterror struck…. It moved to a bland corporate park where its office has no name on the door. It yanked its street address off its Website, whose hit rate jumped from 350 a month to 1,000 a day.” NanoBio was part of the solution: “in the back of NanoBio’s office sit two dozen empty white 55-gallon barrels. A few days before, DARPA had asked Annis and Baker if they could make enough decontaminant to clean several anthrax-tainted offices in the Senate. NanoBio’s small lab mixers will have to run day and night to fill the barrels. ‘This is not the way we want to do this,’ sighs [its key investor], shaking his head. ‘This is all a duct-tape solution.’ ” James Baker, founder of Ann Arbor’s NanoBio’s likes to quote a Chinese proverb: “When there are no lions and tigers in the jungle, the monkeys rule.”

    It’s naive to think that Al Qaeda could not have obtained Ames just because it tended to be in labs associated with or funded by the US military. US Army Al Qaeda operative Sgt. Ali Mohammed accompanied Zawahiri in his travels in the US. (Ali Mohamed had been a major in the same unit of the Egyptian Army that produced Sadat’s assassin, Khaled Islambouli). Ali Al-Timimi was working in the building housing the Center for Biodefense funded by the DARPA and had access to the facilities at both the Center for Biodefense and the adjacent American Type Culture Collection. For example, Michael Ray Stubbs was an HVAC system technician at Lawrence Livermore Lab with a high-level security clearance permitting access; that was where the effort to combat the perceived Bin Laden anthrax threat was launched in 1998. Aafia Siddiqui, who attended classes at a building with the virulent Vollum strain. She later married a 9/11 plotter al-Balucchi, who was in UAE with al-Hawsawi, whose laptop, when seized at the home of a bacteriologist, had anthrax spraydrying documents on it. The reality is that a lab technician, researcher, or other person similarly situated might simply have walked out of some lab that had it.

    In GAO’s assessment of the effectiveness of DIA’s monitoring of s visiting foreign national working with Dr. Ivins with virulent Ames In Biolevel 3 prior to 9/11, past audits suggest that DIA did no vetting at all. FOIA responses to date from USAMRIID indicate that USAMRIID incredibly did not preserve the records relating to that research.

    Among the documents found in Afghanistan in 2001 were letters and notes written in English to Ayman Zawahiri by a scientist about his attempts to obtain an anthrax sample. One handwritten letter was on the letterhead of the Society for Applied Microbiology, the UK’s oldest microbiological society. The Society for Applied Microbiology of Bedford, UK, recognizes that “the development and exploitation of Applied Microbiology requires the maintenance and improvement of the microbiological resources in the UK, such as culture collections and other specialized facilities.” Thus, Zawahiri’s access to the Ames strain is still yet to be proved, but there was no shortage of possibilities or recruitment attempts by Ayman. One colleague of his estimates that he made 15 recruitment attempts over the course of a decade. Dr. Keim observes: “Whoever perpetrated the first crime must realize that we have the capability to identify material and to track the material back to its source. Whoever did this is presumably aware of what’s going on, and if the person is a scientist, they can read the study. Hopefully, the person is out there thinking: When am I going to get caught?”

    The FBI has not yet identified the location of the 8 isolates downstram from Ivins’ flask known to be an identical match — or the 100+ people it says had access. For the US Attorney Jeff Taylor to make it seem, however, that only Ivins had control over anthrax that was genetically identical was specious. Flask 1029 was kept in unlocked refrigerators to which hundreds had access. In June 2001, in addition to the conference at Annapolis organized by Bruce Ivins, a conference was held at Aberdeen Proving Ground (Edgewood) for small businesses that might contribute to the biodefense effort. It showcased APG’s world class facillities that had the full range of relevant equipment, as well as the range of activities and research featured by presenters at such conferences. It was called “Team APG Showcase 2001.″ Edgewood maintains a database of simulant properties. The information and equipment, including spraydrying equipment, is available to participants in the SBIR — promoting small business innovation. Might the anthrax attack have required the learning of a state? Well, to get that, all you needed to do was go to the program that shares such research for the purpose of innovation in the area of biodefense. APG built a Biolevel-3 facility and, according to a Baltimore Sun report, by October 2002 had 19 virulent strains of anthrax, including Ames. A 1996 report on a study done at Edgewood involving irradiated virulent Ames provided by John Ezzell that was used in a soil suspension. Another article discusses Delta Ames supplied to Edgewood by the Battelle-managed Dugway, subtilis, and use of sheep blood agar. Did Battelle have virulent Ames across I-95? Edgewood tested nanoemulsion biocidal agents during this time period, according to a national nanobiotechnology initiative report issued June 2002.

    GAO: With respect to the rabbit formaldehyde study in late Sep and early Oct 2001 involving Bruce Ivins and Patricia Fellows — nowhere mentioned by AUSA Lieber in her investigative summary — did Dr. Fellows address the study in the deposition that the Department of Justice required to be shredded?

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 4, 2012

    GAO: Did Patricia Fellows Ever Find the Missing “National Security” Sample That Dr. Ivins Was (Apparently Falsely) Told Was From Iraq Before Moving On To SRI That Summer? Was There An Emailed Response(s) To Dr. Ivins’ Question? Her Deposition Should Not Be Shredded.

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 14, 2011

  6. DXer said

    Lew, for the time being (until it is corrected) in the main post has mistakenly attributed Anonymous’ view to me. My view is stated immediately above and disagrees with Anonymous’ position. Instead, I’m a win-win, more-flies-with-honey kinda guy. In fact, I predict that AUSA Lieber may come forward and be the heroine of the story — a Rowley figure. WIth her looks, brains and all-round likability she could run for and win a Congressional seat. Lew is travelling in Europe and so it may be a while before it is corrected.

    • Anonymous said

      “In fact, I predict that AUSA Lieber may come forward and be the heroine of the story …”

      LOL – that would be rather difficult wouldn’t it? I can just imagine:

      Ms. Lieber: “It turns out Bruce Ivins had nothing to do with it after all. Bruce – about the time we seized the undergarments from your home and then demanded we obtain your DNA so we could match it to the nasty stains and reveal your dirty little habits to the world – er…sorry!”

      • DXer said

        You have no evidence that he was told anything more than they wanted to swab him for DNA. (They had his DNA from a cup he used previously and so I’m not sure why it was needed). The undergarments were seized in November 2007. (Dr. Ivins was very physically upset about it and he told them so; he was so upset about the plastic bag of panties that would be found that he needed to be sedated.) The stain on the panties then was submitted in the late Spring and early Summer.

        What she did tell Dr. Ivins was that they were going to call his family to the grand jury about why he was spending so much time in the lab — why he was unhappy.

        But again his counsel, who was representing him at the time, does not object and so I don’t see why we shouldn’t defer to him.

        Instead of mischaracterizing this background and being unfair to her, some reporter should gently question her about the rabbits and why no mention was made of them in her investigative summary. She may someday come forward and explain that a supervisor forbade her from visiting a particular jihadi in jail (because a deal had been cut in another matter) and that she was under great pressure to solve Amerithrax. She best knows what happened — and why she did not mention or ever disclose the rabbits. Out of fundamental fairness, she should be allowed to explain and we should presume her good faith. She may have been required to follow orders from a superior.

        Never fail to presume another’s good faith until at least you contact the person and give them the opportunity to explain. I emailed her a couple days ago (to the email I used a couple years ago) but it bounced. So someone should obtain the current email and ask her about the rabbits… and why she didn’t mention them.

        Did you notice that your buddy Ed said that an article with mistakes (such as spelling mistakes) lacks “newsworthyness” [sic] ? I won’t tell him if you don’t. :0)

        • Anonymous said

          We might argue it’s a long time ago. It’s hard for me to remember what happened last week. The lawyers and others point to the fact that there was a calendar of these animal experiments that were ongoing, that he had reason to be checking in with the animals. Maybe he stayed in longer than [usual]. There’s also the argument that if you look at other points in his career, he tended to work late at night or odd hours. The response to that?

          Rachel Lieber:
          … We can demonstrate through records over the course of a five-year period, never once before and never once after did he spend anywhere near the amount of time in the lab. And honestly, people say, “Bruce is in the lab all the time at night.” Well, if you actually take a look at the lab access records, that’s not true. He may have said that he was, he may have been in his office late at night sometimes, but he was never actually in the lab for anywhere near the number of hours.

          For example, from January through August of 2001, I think he spent something like eight or 10 hours in the lab alone at nights or on weekends. And then you start looking at mid-August, and he’s spending 20, 30 hours during the week overtime in the lab. And again, in the ramp-up to each of the two mailings, it’s extraordinary, the number of hours that he spent — three hours at a time, four hours at a time, 9:00 to midnight, that sort of thing.

          And to the point some people suggest that he did have good reason to be in there, that there were animal challenges going on and somebody has to go in and evaluate the animals to see how they’re doing in response to their vaccinations and being exposed to anthrax, if you look at his lab notebooks, there absolutely are notations here and there about his going in to check on certain animals. And it would justify 20, 30 minutes in the lab, maybe an hour at most. But he’s spending something like two hours and 45 minutes, two hours and 45 minutes, two hours and 45 minutes, each night leading up to the mailings.

          And again, that’s the beauty of physical evidence and laboratory notebooks. It’s a great thing about scientists: They record everything. …

        • DXer said

          AUSA Lieber did not understand that the 2-person rule precluded such hours beginning in 2002. Nor did US Attorney Taylor. In Fall 2001, as Mara Linscott explained, checking on animals was a one person job that took about 2 hours. That’s how long he took. If she had obtained the animal protocols, she would realize that the requirements were always changing. Humane treatment of animals required suitably timed visits. The protocol as approved sets out the procedures required to be done and who was to do them. I can assure you Rachel never saw the protocols regarding the formaldehyde experiment — she says in the Investigative Summary she didn’t even know about the rabbits!

          There was quite a rush of events in 2008. I’m not sure it is fair to view the judgments that Ed Montooth and Rachel Lieber made in the rush of events in 2008 with the conclusions made with the luxury of months and months of time that has passed. But in real simple terms: SHE NEVER MENTIONED THE RABBITS! That’s 52 rabbits that he was tasked with killing etc in that small space. They were moved into the lab on September 24. I presume she is not a liar out to frame an innocent man. And so it is my understanding — or rather I will presume — that she just was unaware of the rabbits due to the rush of events.

          The hard work that went into the summary is evident. Before we criticize her, we should consider whether any of us would produce a work product as thorough. But now if the DOJ doesn’t come forward with an explanation and transparent production of all documents relating to the work on the rabbits, there are more serious questions raised.

          It is my understanding that she is in a bit of grinder because of the issues of international security raised. But I think of her position as no fault of her own. It is my understanding that she was reprimanded when she went to visit the jihadi in jail contrary to her supervisor’s orders. Her prosecutorial discretion as to what leads could be followed was circumscribed, I understand, by her supervisor.

          Unless the DOJ produces the emails without further delay that were culled from his email production then we can go down that road but it won’t be pretty. I am trying to give them the way out of this mess through reasoning that a law enforcement exception to FOIA justified the culling of the emails.

          The dysfunction in that office was way beyond any dysfunction at USAMRIID due to Dr. Ivins’ frailties. One attorney, in charge of handing out assignments in the office, was fired due to very serious misconduct.

          She says:

          “And to the point some people suggest that he did have good reason to be in there, that there were animal challenges going on and somebody has to go in and evaluate the animals to see how they’re doing in response to their vaccinations and being exposed to anthrax, if you look at his lab notebooks, there absolutely are notations here and there about his going in to check on certain animals. And it would justify 20, 30 minutes in the lab, maybe an hour at most.”

          Mara Linscott’s 302 does not support that. It says just the opposite. One person job that would take a couple of hours which is typically what he spent. Over the course of years, I have obtained a couple dozen of documents relating to the work with animals. I’d like to see Rachel do those functions in the time she suggests. Indeed, given she nowhere mentions the rabbits in the Amerithrax Investigative Summary, we know she didn’t even know what tasks were involved.

          AUSA Lieber says:

          ” But he’s spending something like two hours and 45 minutes, two hours and 45 minutes, two hours and 45 minutes, each night leading up to the mailings.”

          That’s exactly what Mara said it would take. It is time for her to address questions about the rabbits and the particular tasks that were involved. Given she withheld ALL documents and information about the work, the day of reckoning was delayed until 4 years after she and Ken told him that his daughter was going to be called in front of the grand jury even though they knew she had previously attempted suicide. The circumstances, to include the stained panties, would be devastating to any father, especially one whose counselor was controlled by an alien and whose friend was wearing a wire and spinning lies. That’s right. Pat Fellows has stood by while a report was issued that made no mention of the rabbits.

          Now the AUSA can take this approach and go with these presumptions of good faith and push for disclosure of documents consistent with FOIPA.

          Or the issue of prosecutorial misconduct raised by her failure to mention and discuss the rabbits in the Investigative Summary can be addressed at a Congressional hearing.

          Anonymous, if you really want a record of what happened in the B3, help press to have the FBI produce all documents about the missing laptop that Bruce said Pat took home.

        • DXer said

          Anonymous, it’s important to understand that in the Investigative Summary, she evidences awareness only of MICE in SEPTEMBER and not the RABBITS in the last week of SEPTEMBER and FIRST WEEK OF OCTOBER. So she emphasized that he had no reason to be in the lab at all the first week of October which is total and utter crock.

        • DXer said

          The animal lab tech, according to Dr. Ivins, threw out the cage cards relating to the formaldehyde experiment in 2004.

  7. Anonymous said

    “In 2010, the FBI formally closed the Amerithrax investigation. After a decade of investigation, the FBI failed to conclusively the Amerithrax attacks to a perpetrator. Despite the clearly extensive investigation, there have been no convictions in connection with the attacks.”

    As more and more academic papers are published it becomes clear that history is recording the FBI investigation as a massive failure. It is obvious to anyone that the notion that Bruce Ivins singehandedly carried out the attacks is tenuous at best. The perpetrators are still out there and everyone knows it.

    The enormity of this is that the FBI hounded an innocent man to death. This cannot be lost on the FBI/DOJ and unfortunately forces them to continue to defend the indefensible. By not continuing to defend their position they would tacitly admit that they caused the death of an American citizen and an employee of the Department of Defense.

    • DXer said

      The trouble with that argument is that his defense counsel says that the prosecutors at all times acted professionally. We can disagree with Ken and Rachel’s conclusions regarding Amerithrax — and we can point out that the psychiatrists negligently relied on a central witness who says she was controlled by an alien who had implanted a chip in her butt etc. — but on the issue of whether they acted wrongfully I think great weight needs to be given his defense counsel’s assessment. It’s not as if Attorney Kemp hasn’t argued the merits vigorously and well. The FBI has a tough job — as Kessler quoted one FBI official saying, they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

      Turning to the merits, for example, on the silicon issue it was unsound to have the Sandia folks draw implications beyond their expertise. They were qualified to identify the location of the origin of the silicon signature — not to opine as to the implications of the finding.

      The best way to increase the chances of the investigation being reopened — before a mass attack — is to credit the good faith of everyone involved and move forward with the fullest production of documents possible under the statutory terms of the FOIPA.

      Of course, note should be made of all those who continue to stand in the way of the fullest production of documents consistent with the rules that govern. Any one who destroys evidence should be prosecuted.

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