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

* Rep. Rush Holt is still trying to use the powers of government to review the FBI’s flawed investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks.

Posted by DXer on April 27, 2013

Palm Beach Post, April 16, 2013:

“(the 2001) anthrax attacks took place at the U.S. Senate, in New York City and in Connecticut (and in Florida).

… And we still don’t know who did it.”


Rep. Rush Holt (D, NJ) served as Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence from its start in 2007 until it was disbanded in 2010.  The Panel was charged with strengthening oversight of the intelligence community by ensuring that policymakers receive accurate assessments, civil liberties are safeguarded, and the intelligence community is protecting Americans at home and abroad.  Holt is also the Congressman who initiated the request for a GAO review of the FBI’s anthrax investigation, a review is is still ongoing.

Holt statement re ricin & anthrax - Apr 2013

47 Responses to “* Rep. Rush Holt is still trying to use the powers of government to review the FBI’s flawed investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks.”

  1. The anthrax letters are in the handwriting of Atta. …. Code was used in the letters — but it was not the made-up code offered by the FBI in its “Ivins Theory.” It was the code known to have been used by Atta, Ramzi Bin Al Shibh, and Ayman Zawahiri. …. Amerithrax represents the greatest counterintelligence failure in the history of the United States because the threat is still ongoing — and the FBI closed the Amerithrax investigation.

  2. DXer said

    P.S. Al Qaeda’s Anthrax Lab Director Yazid Sufaat Does Not Deny Al Qaeda’s Responsibility For the Fall 2001 Anthrax Mailings

    The FBI closed the Amerithrax investigation into the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings in February 2010. USAMRIID scientist Dr. Bruce Ivins committed suicide in late July 2008. The FBI blamed Ivins. The dominant view among those who followed the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings is that the case was never solved. In the thread below, I have hyperlinked various articles.

    * Frontline, partnering with McClatchy and ProPublica, invested resources and manpower rarely seen in modern journalism. Frontline found that the FBI’s conclusions in the Amerithrax investigation were seriously flawed. Even lawyers in the civil division of the Department of Justice contradicted the claims of the prosecutors about the availability of equipment that the DOJ speculated had been used.

    * The New York Times and Washington Post repeatedly editorialized that the case should be reopened. Former public relations officer Norman Covert of USAMRIID wrote eloquently in the defense of Ivins. Present and former USAMRIID scientists Jeffrey Adamovicz , Gerald Andrews, Patricia Worsham, Susan Welkos and Stephen Little addressed the factual and scientific issues under oath in civil depositions. I uploaded the deposition excerpts.

    * In Congress, Rep. Holt introduced legislation that would form a commission along the lines of the 911 Commission to review the matter. Take heed: Holt beat IBM’s super computer at Jeopardy. Rep. Holt was joined by Congressman Nadler and Senator Grassley. Even Senator Leahy, one of the recipients of a letter containing anthrax, angrily told FBI Director Mueller that he wasn’t buying what the FBI was selling.

    * Pulitzer Prize winner Laurie Garrett, who has deep experience covering health issues, wrote an e-book about the NAS findings and the 911 hijackers. True crime maven Edward Jay Epstein summarized the issues well in a book this year on unsolved crimes.

    * David Relman, the Vice-Chairman of the National Academies of Science panel that reviewed the science relied upon in Amerithrax, wrote an important article in SCIENCE, “Have We Met The Enemy?” He emphasized the findings in Afghanistan at the Al Qaeda anthrax labs.

    * Opposition to the FBI’s Ivins Theory cuts across the political spectrum — from Cliff Kincaid from the right to Justin Raimondo of the left. Bloggers like Emptywheel and Glenn Greenwald rolled up their sleeves and made meaty hyperlinked contributions. Alan Zelicoff, the head of Saint Louis University’s Institute in Biosecurity, and Richard Spertzel, a former inspector in Iraq, bore down on the sophisticated nature of the small particles mailed. Lawrence Livermore scientists worked hard on resolving the disputed technical issues.

    * Pro-Med co-founders Martin Hugh-Jones and Barbara Rosenberg joined Stuart Jacobsen in arguing the technical issues in oft-cited 2011 and 2012 journal articles. In the same journal, Yuril V. Ezepchuk, the Director of Biological Sciences, University of Colorado, named names.

    * USMRC FOIA Officer Sandra Rogers worked tirelessly over many months responding to countless FOIA requests. he documents are uploaded at the USAMRIID FOIA Room. Thousands of Dr. Ivins’ emails are uploaded.

    * Journalists like Stephanie Yamkovenko of Frederick Gorilla summarized elements of the FBI’s non-existent case against Dr. Ivins. Where does an 800-lb gorilla sits when it comes to historic truth: wherever it wants.

    * Attorney Barry Kissin, anthrax vaccine researcher Meryl Nass, filmmaker Eric Nadler and broadcast journalist Keith Olberman all bring a wonderfully spirited point of view.

    * FBI expert Claire Fraser-Liggett reasons that the science does not prove that Ivins was guilty. She observes that the FBI used the science in a misleading way. Indeed, FBI expert Patricia Worsham emphasized that it is because of scientific considerations that one knows Ivins was innocent.

    * Former USAMRIID scientist Henry Heine crunched the numbers. Former State Department counterintelligence bloodhound Ken Dillon picked up the scent of Al Qaeda operatives in the United States. UCLA’s Michael Intrilligator helped organize a conference in Washington DC that probed the issues. Rutgers professor Leonard Cole was joined by co-author Nancy Connell in noting that Amerithrax may never be solved. Dr. Connell is an NAS panel member.

    * Lew Weinstein’s blog “Case Closed: what really happened in the 2001 anthrax attacks … a search for the truth” uploads hundreds of key documents. Under the screen name “DXer” I emphasize that FBI investigators and DOJ prosecutors have a difficult job. They often are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Hindsight is 20/20. All I know for sure is that those who disagree with the FBI’s “Ivins Theory” are in good company.

    The motto of the FBI is “Fidelity, Bravery and Integrity.” The key to Integrity is reassessing the evidence such as was done in dropping the charges against Paul Curtis in the ricin investigation. In Amerithrax, Bruce Ivins was never even arrested. The filmed presentations of Ivins’ defense counsel Paul Kemp are on YouTube. The evidence that the DOJ offered in press conferences and press releases does not withstand scrutiny.

    P.S. I have communicated by Facebook email and chat with the former Al Qaeda lab director Yazid Sufaat. He did not deny Al Qaeda’s responsibility for the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings. Instead the Sacramento State alum pled the Fifth Amendment. Years earlier, he had been a member of a secret Malaysian biological defense program. He since has been arrested in Malaysia for terrorism. That case is pending. Defense counsel are reviewing the affidavits provided by the prosecutors last week.

    Ayman Zawahiri, Anwar Awlaki, Anthrax, and Amerithrax: The Infiltration Of US Biodefense

  3. DXer said

    New Documents Cast Doubt on Federal Anthrax Case
    by Mike Wiser, FRONTLINE; Greg Gordon, McClatchy Newspapers; and Stephen Engelberg,ProPublica

  4. DXer said

    Bruce Ivins Maybe Didn’t Send the Anthrax, Government Admits in Court Papers
    By Joe Coscarelli Tue., Jul. 19 2011

  5. DXer said

    Frontline, partnering with McClatchy and ProPublica, has done important work in assessing the FBI’s conclusion in Amerithrax.

  6. DXer said

    Nadler Renews Call for Independent Investigation of Anthrax Attacks
    Mar 4, 2010
    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, reiterated his call for an independent investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks which killed five people and sickened 17. He issued the following statement:

    “Despite the FBI’s assertion that the case of the anthrax attacks is closed, there are still many troubling questions. For example, in a 2008 Judiciary Committee hearing, I asked FBI Director Robert Mueller whether Bruce Ivins was capable of producing the weaponized anthrax that was used in the attacks. To this day, it is still far from clear that Mr. Ivins had either the know-how or access to the equipment needed to produce the material. Because the FBI has not sufficiently answered such questions, I join Congressman Holt in urging an independent investigation of the case.”

  7. DXer said

    Al Qaeda anthrax lab tech says he had been part of Malaysian Armed Forces biological weapons program

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 23, 2012

  8. DXer said

    Al Qaeda anthrax lab technician tells DXer that he realizes that by addressing these issues he may “jack myself up” but says that the “plan is on the way” — what does he mean when he says the “plan is on the way”?

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 1, 2012

    Atta Was Coordinating With Jdey’s Associate Al-Hazmi, First In Fort Lee, NJ In Late August 2001 And Then In Laurel, MD in September 2001 ; Jdey’s Associate Nawaf Al-Hazmi Had Been At The Planning Meeting At Yazid Sufaat’s Kuala Lumpur Condo With Anthrax Planner Hambali And Anthrax Lab Director Yazid Sufaat And Yet The FBI Never Told The Public That Jdey Had Been Detained Along With Moussaoui In August 2001 (With Biology Textbooks) And Then Released

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 25, 2012

    NSA ORCON: CIA and FBI Dropping the Ball In Anthrax Mailings and 9/11 Involved Same Failure To Track And Intercept Al-Midhar And Nawaf After Meeting At Kuala Lumpur Condo Of Anthrax Lab Tech Sufaat and Anthrax Planner Hambali
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 27, 2012

    Comment: Failure is not an option.

  9. DXer said

    U.S. Senator Grassley … “There are no more excuses for avoiding an independent review and assessment of how the FBI handled its investigation in the anthrax case.”

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 17, 2011”/

    Senator Grassley asks the FBI to explain why it retracted a Justice Department filing (in the Stevens case) that Dr. Bruce Ivins lacked access in his lab to the “specialized equipment” needed to dry wet anthrax spores into airborne powder

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 3, 2011

    In a Sept 23, 2011 letter to Senator Grassley, the DOJ says that Dr. Ivins made the dried powder in B5 using the lyophilizer even though the DOJ has proved he was in B3 tending to the rabbits, not B5 (the BL-2 lab), at the time the DOJ alleges he made the dried powder. THAT is the contradiction.

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 16, 2011

  10. DXer said

    Deposition Excerpt of USAMRIID Scientist Stephen Little: Bruce Ivins would not have had skill, equipment, or ability to decontaminate equipment

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 16, 2011

    Deposition Excerpt of Patricia Worsham in Stevens v. United States: Product Could Not Have Been Made At USAMRIID With Equipment She Has Seen At USAMRIID

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 16, 2011

    USAMRIID Scientist Susan Welkos deposition excerpt : No data suggesting Dr. Ivins is guilty

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 11, 2011

  11. DXer said

    Ayman Zawahiri, Anwar Awlaki, Anthrax, and Amerithrax: The Infiltration Of US Biodefense
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 12, 2011

  12. DXer said

    Anthrax Redux: Did the Feds Nab the Wrong Guy? | Wired Magazine

    NPR: FBI Faulted For Overstating Science In Anthrax Case

    Serious doubt cast on FBI’s anthrax case against Bruce Ivins – Salon …
    Feb 16, 2011 – A scientific panel concludes the Government overstated its genetic evidence against Bruce Ivins.

  13. DXer said

    NAS Panel Member Nancy D. Connell in new treatise: Amerithrax May Never Be Solved
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on August 20, 2012

  14. DXer said

    “Tellingly, it was a target of the 2001 anthrax letters – Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont – who told Mueller at a 2008 hearing that he seriously doubted the findings of the FBI’s long and complicated anthrax investigation.”

    “FBI’s longtime director faces criticism of bureau again,” Apr 27, 2013

  15. DXer said

    Public-Safety Fears Spurred Hasty Arrest in Ricin Case, April 26, 2013


    TUPELO, Miss.—Fears of a public-safety threat led federal agents to quickly—and prematurely, it turns out—arrest a suspect in an increasingly bizarre case involving ricin-laced letters sent to the president and two other public officials, according to testimony from a court hearing here.

    Within days the case collapsed, making the now-former suspect, 45-year-old Elvis tribute artist Paul Kevin Curtis, an overnight media star and marking an embarrassment to federal officials working the case. …

    During the hearing, Mr. Curtis’s defense lawyer pounded away at the apparent lack of evidence tying him to the crime, beyond a host of suspicious activity, according to the audio.

    “Unless something conclusive ties him not to the Internet, not to Facebook, but can tie him to ricin, then it really doesn’t matter how crazy he is, does it?” said Christi McCoy, Mr. Curtis’s lawyer, in the hearing testimony. Investigators have said they found online evidence, on social networking websites and elsewhere, from Mr. Curtis showing similar terminology to that used in the letters. [Note: It wasn’t just similar terminology — it was his signature verbatim and the title of his manuscript] They also said they found evidence that Mr. Curtis has been treated for a mental disorder. [Bipolar disorder — he had reason to be depressed]

    “The investigation is still in progress and is very quick moving,” replied Mr. Grant, according to the audio transcript. “We have to be proactive. It’s ricin and it’s a weapon.” … [Comment: I think there was probable cause for an arrest; just as there certainly was probable cause for a search. The defense counsel emphasizes that the prosecutors and investigators have at all times acted reasonably.]

    “The Twitter news cycle means we want results before we eat lunch,” said Richard Meyer, a professor at the Mississippi College School of Law in Jackson and a former military lawyer who has worked on antiterrorism cases. In such cases, he added, it is often “speed versus exactness,” and the public would have been furious at investigators if they hadn’t moved to arrest and charge Mr. Curtis if they thought he were guilty. [The FBI is so often damned if they do and damned if they don’t ; but seldom does any commentator convincingly demonstrate that there is any reason they could do better ; some of these mysteries are hard to solve. Sometimes you need to good luck to solve them, such as when the fellow made the bold dash to escape the Boston marathon bombers.]

    “Now we’d better err on the side of extra time because the public is not going to want us to make the same mistake,” said Mr. Meyer. The situation recalled some other high-profile cases that went awry under pressure for results.”

  16. DXer said

    –Washington Post editorial (10/21/11) calls for independent review of FBI investigation of Dr. Bruce Ivins in 2001 anthrax attacks
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on October 22, 2011

    –a NYT editorial, showing no confidence in the FBI’s unraveling case against Dr. Bruce Ivins, calls for an independent review of the FBI’s anthrax investigation to assure that the culprits are not still at large … LMW: it is long past time to hold Director Mueller accountable for the FBI’s investigative failures and for the FBI’s purposeful withholding of documents that are required to be released by FOIA

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on October 18, 2011

    –NY Post editorial: a group of eminent scientists have found that the FBI’s Amerithrax conclusions may be shockingly wrong … (the FBI) clearly can’t be trusted to judge cases that reflect badly on its own conduct

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on October 24, 2011’s-amerithrax-conclusions-may-be-shockingly-wrong-the-fbi-clearly-can’t-be-trusted-to-judge-cases-that-r/

  17. DXer said

    ProPublica, McClatchy Newspapers and PBS’ Frontline … the FBI’s case against anthrax suspect rife with questions
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on October 11, 2011

    Laurie Garrett … the FRONTLINE program has convinced me that Dr. Bruce Ivins is innocent of the 2001 anthrax mailings
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on October 13, 2011

    Frederick News Post: the FBI’s case against Dr. Bruce Ivins is in tatters … *LMW: we must support Congressman Holt’s call for a re-investigation … we must learn the truth
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 21, 2011

  18. DXer said

    Congressman Holt: the FBI’s “botched investigation” must be reopened … LMW: please write to your Congressman or woman and urge support for Holt’s Anthrax Commission bill

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 2, 2011

    HOLT, ANTHRAX and JEOPARDY: “He mailed the anthrax-laden letters in Fall 2001. Who is _______?”

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 3, 2011

    Congressman Rush Holt: The FBI repeatedly bungled the anthrax investigation … I have introduced legislation that would create a special committee to investigate the anthrax attacks
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 18, 2011

    “the FBI has said that it does not have any direct, physical evidence tying Ivins to the attack.”

  19. DXer said

    Although Rush Holt may have beat IBM’s super computer on Jeopardy, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the DOJ stuffed 52 rabbits down the hat in concocting the argument that Dr. Ivins had no reason to be in the B3 lab.

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