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

* The USG Has Denied FOIA Requests For Atta’s Handwriting Since The Fall 2001 Anthrax Mailings On Grounds It Could Interfere With Enforcement Proceedings

Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 1, 2013

Screen shot 2013-11-01 at 9.36.39 AM

Advertisements

10 Responses to “* The USG Has Denied FOIA Requests For Atta’s Handwriting Since The Fall 2001 Anthrax Mailings On Grounds It Could Interfere With Enforcement Proceedings”

  1. DXer said

    The FBI refuses to produce additional samples of Atta’s handwriting — but GAO need only address the conclusion of the FBI’s handwriting expert (and address whether a comparison was made).

  2. DXer said

    The list of comparisons done by FBI’s handwriting analyst who found Ivins probably dId not write the anthrax letters is 22 pages long. The FBI advises DXer that no comparison of Mohammed Atta’s handwriting is among the many dozens listed that were provided the Amerithrax Task Force.

    Amerithrax seems the biggest counterintelligence analysis failure in the history of the United States.

  3. DXer said

    I’ve discussed the Republic of Conch passport.

    Which of the other forms would even actually exist?

    http://www.immigrationdirect.com/uscis-forms/uscis-forms.jsp

  4. DXer said

    Additional Background:

    Babson, Jennifer (2001-10-03). “Atta May Have Obtained Conch Republic Passport”. The Miami Herald. Retrieved 2006-11-29.
    http://s3.amazonaws.com/911timeline/2001/miamiherald100301b.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conch_Republic

    The Conch Republic (República de la Concha) is a micronation declared as a tongue-in-cheek secession of the city of Key West, Florida from theUnited States on April 23, 1982. It has been maintained as a tourism booster for the city since. …

    The Conch Republic celebrates Independence Day every April 23 as part of a week-long festival of activities involving numerous businesses in Key West. The organization – a “Sovereign State of Mind,” seeking only to bring more “Humor, Warmth and Respect” to a world in sore need of all three according to its Secretary General, Peter Anderson – is a key tourism booster for the area.[

    In 1982, the United States Border Patrol set up a roadblock and inspection point on US 1 just north of the merger of Monroe County Road 905A/Miami-Dade County Road 905A onto US 1 (they are the only two roads connecting the Florida Keys with the mainland), …

    When the City Council’s complaints went unanswered by the federal government and attempts to get an injunction against the roadblock failed in court, as a form of protest Mayor Dennis Wardlow and the Council declared Key West’s independence on April 23, 1982. In the eyes of the Council, since the federal government had set up the equivalent of a border station as if they were a foreign nation, they might as well become one. As many of the local citizens were referred to as Conchs, the nation took the name of the Conch Republic. …

    Through their website, the Republic issues souvenir passports. Although these are issued as souvenirs, some people have evidently acquired them in the mistaken belief that they can be used as legitimate travel and identity documents. Shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks, FBI investigators thought that hijacker Mohamed Atta had possibly purchased a Conch Republic passport[9] from the website.

    Excerpt:

    Babson, Jennifer (2001-10-03). “Atta May Have Obtained Conch Republic Passport”. The Miami Herald. Retrieved 2006-11-29.
    Atta May Have Obtained Conch Republic Passport

    by Jennifer Babson
    The Miami Herald
    October 3, 2001

    KEY WEST, Fla. _ They are touted as being tongue-in-cheek but look authentic: Navy blue and red “passports” embossed with a “Conch Republic” crest _ complete with photo, blank official-looking pages for immigration stamps, personal identification information, and expiration dates.

    Now federal investigators are trying to find out whether Mohamed Atta, one of the men believed to be a key player in last month’s terrorist attacks, added one of these novelties to his collection of travel documents.

    After discovering that a man named Mohamed Atta applied for and likely received one of the passports in September 2000, FBI agents are now combing through thousands of pages of supporting material provided by a Key West, Fla., group that issues the passports. One of the things troubling federal investigators: Anderson says he has used his Conch Republic passport to enter the United States five times, and enter Caribbean countries multiple times.

    Investigators still aren’t sure, however, if the Mohamed Atta who applied for the fake passport is the same man believed to have piloted the first plane that slammed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11.

    They have yet to locate supporting materials Atta would have had to provide _ including an affidavit that includes address, telephone number, and email _ among the reams of documents taken from Peter Anderson, steward of a Keys group that champions the Keys as the “Conch Republic” and that issues its own passports.

    “All I know is what we’ve been told, that we did issue a passport to a Mohamed Atta,” Anderson said Tuesday.

    FBI agents hauled away boxes of records, but have been unable to find Atta’s passport application and his accompanying passport snapshots, a federal investigator said.

    Agents did find someone signing the registration book under the name Atta from New York, but cannot say if it was the suicide hijacker.

    Agents are sifting through the records to determine if anyone else with a hijacker’s name purchased a passport.

    The FBI went to Anderson’s passport store after agents were notified by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

    Last fall, Anderson says the Conch Republic received a sudden flood of mail order applicants, many of them with Arab surnames and from countries such as India, Pakistan, and the United Arab Emirates.

    After the Discovery Channel began regularly replaying a segment that included information on the passport program, “we started receiving a lot of requests from people all over the world and from people who were in the U.S. who we had reason to believe may not have been in the U.S. legally,” Anderson said.

    It was at that point, Anderson said, that he had a local private investigator and friend, David Burns, contact the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Burns says he telephoned the INS’s enforcement department in Miami to let them know that a “large number” of people who appeared to be foreign nationals were applying for the passports.

    “The response was, ‘OK, I’ll call a supervisor and tell him to get back to you,’ ” Burns recalled Tuesday. “Nobody ever called me back.”

    Anderson said that some of the requests were from Florida and some included post office boxes as mailing addresses. Citing “security issues” he declined to elaborate further.

    “The Conch Republic is being entirely cooperative with the FBI,” Anderson said.

    He added that people have used the faux passports to enter more than 30 countries, including the United States. “You get a lot of scrutiny,” he said. “We had a ‘diplomat’ go into Russia with his passport.”

    A review of Anderson’s Conch Republic passports shows what appear to be five red INS stamps, including a May 29, 1998, stamp at Miami International Airport, three from Key West, and a 1994 stamp in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Some of the countries from which Anderson was returning were Caribbean nations that U.S. citizens aren’t required to present official passports to visit.

    “We are working closely with the FBI in their investigations of these attacks. There’s really no specific details that I can go into.”

    Comment:

    Lew has given interviews and talks in Key West. Being a world traveller, he may himself have a passport from the Conch Republic. If he knows the Secretary of the Republic, it would be great fun for him to succeed in obtaining an exemplar of Atta’s handwriting where the public (IMO) has been failed by the USG FOIA bureaucracy.

    • DXer said

      I have submitted a freedom of information request to the Honorable Sir Peter Anderson, Office of the Secretary General, at 613 Simonton Street, Key West, FL. Although I have not consulted Lew, and don’t even know if Lew is in the country, I have suggested that Lew might prosecute any necessary appeal over a piece of key lime pie. The Republic of Conch might distinguish itself from the US and demonstrate by example how business should be done in the public interest.

    • DXer said

      The Republic of Conch passport costs $100.

      The application involves writing a lot of numbers to include zipcode, street address, unit #, date of birth, height and weight.

      http://www.conchrepublic.com/passport_app2.htm

      My intelligence source tells me that the handwriting opinion, which the FBI is still withholding and has failed to provide me pursuant to my FOIA request, indicates the similarity between Atta’s printing and the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings.

      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2012/01/22/gao-should-obtain-a-copy-of-the-fbis-handwriting-analysis-comparing-the-letters-to-attas/comment-page-1/#comment-25739

      Excerpt from FAQ:

      FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

      Q: Are you serious about being your own country?
      A: We are very serious about being funny and we try to be funny when we are being serious.

      Q: What about America, are you still Americans?
      A: Of course! We are dual citizens, U.S. and Conch Republic. In fact we like to think we represent what is best about America…a people unafraid to stand up to government gone mad with power.

    • DXer said

      Update:

      The email this morning from the Conch Republic indicates that the price for a passport is now $200. Maybe the Secretary can take a moment’s rest from making money hand-over-margarita to send along Mohammed Atta’s application — pursuant to the Republic’s sunshine laws.

      TO PROCESS. INTERNATIONAL ORDERS TAKE 6-8 WEEKS. THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE.
      Form CR-AppCit-2A STAFF USE ONLY: ****
      Passport #_________________
      EXP. DATE ____/____/____

      IMPORTANT INSTRUCTIONS:

      FEE MUST BE PAID IN U.S. FUNDS (U.S. DOLLARS ONLY!) (No Personal Checks)
      For orders within the USA/Canada: Remit $200.00 US for each passport (Shipping included) For Orders outside of the United States: Remit $218.00 US per passport by International Money Order in U.S. Funds . (Shipping by Registered mail is included in this price.) Make payment out to “Passport Control” and send application and payment to:

      THE CONCH REPUBLIC
      OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL
      405 PETRONIA STREET SUITE TWO
      KEY WEST, FL – US 33040

      IMPORTANT NOTE: Applicant must attach a Notarized Copy of applicant’s passport or other Official Identification from country of residence. APPLICATION CAN NOT BE PROCESSED WITHOUT THIS NOTARIZED DOCUMENTATION! You must include 3 – photos suitable for cropping to passport size, a completed application form and payment for each passport ordered. (Please Print or Type clearly – Be sure to sign your application and the Oath!)

      Name of applicant:
      FirstMiddleLast/Family

      Street Address, Unit #, Suite, etc.

      CityStateCountryZIPCODE

      Daytime phoneEmail Address

      Date of Birth (dd/mm/yyyy)Place of Birth

      Sex(M/F)

      Eye color

    • You may know about it already, but there is a sample of Atta’s handwriting in the 9/11 Commission, terror travel staff monograph, p.186 — Atta’s I-94 from May 2, 2001.

      • DXer said

        That Atta doc is pictured here in this thread in which the graphic artist drew lines between various letters between that form and the writing in the Fall 2001 anthrax letters.

        But thanks for pointing out the authoritative link. That same link is also useful for authoritatively gathering samples from the other hijackers.

        http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/staff_statements/911_TerrTrav_Monograph.pdf

        The official publication of those documents demonstrates that production of the requested documents under FOIA would not interfere with any law enforcement proceeding or prospective proceeding.

        In contrast, arguably, it justifies the withholding of the fifth page of the instructions to hijackers but I’m not sure. It might depend on whether the drawing of the sword and serpentine lines along with the double block lettering ROOM (verticially) is deemed to have potential probative significance. (My guess is that it does).

  5. DXer said

    David Hardy of the FBI similarly recently rejected a UNC professor’s request for the fifth page of Atta’s Last Will and Testament on the ground “that there is a pending or prospective enforcement proceeding…” That page was an addendum to Atta’s Last Will and Testament and gave instructions to the hijackers. It had the word ROOM written vertically along with a drawing of a sword and encircling serpentine figure.

    “The first subpart of Exemption 7, Exemption 7(A), authorizes the withholding of “records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that production of such law enforcement records or information . . . could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.” The Freedom of Information Reform Act of 1986, often referred to as the 1986 FOIA amendments, lessened the showing of harm required from a demonstration that release “would interfere with” to “could reasonably be expected to interfere with” enforcement proceedings. The courts have recognized repeatedly that the change in the language for this exemption effectively broadens its protection.

    Determining the applicability of this Exemption 7 subsection thus requires a two-step analysis focusing on (1) whether a law enforcement proceeding is pending or prospective, and (2) whether release of information about it could reasonably be expected to cause some articulable harm. (4) The courts have held that the mere pendency of enforcement proceedings is an inadequate basis for the invocation of Exemption 7(A); the government must also establish that some distinct harm could reasonably be expected to result if the record or information requested were disclosed. For example, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has held that the fact that a judge in a criminal trial specifically delayed disclosure of certain documents until the end of the trial is alone insufficient to establish interference with that ongoing proceeding.”

    IMO, such documents are being wrongfully withheld and suit should be brought (relying on pro bono counsel) against agencies withholding such documents in the event that exhaustion of the available administrative remedy is unsuccessful.

    These documents are all over years old. The statute of limitation has run on any law enforcement proceeding other than murder. Production of the documents would not “reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings” being brought against the likes of Al-Hawsawi, Ramzi Yousef or KSM. Moreover, Amerithrax is closed and production could not reasonably be expected to interfere with a proceeding that has been officially closed.

    I have been unable to see a full-sized copy of the first four pages (other than thumbnail) although they were at one time released by the FBI the first week of October 2001. I believe it was published in the October 5, 2001 copy of DER SPIEGEL. I am assuming that the long series of numbers on the first four pages were written in Arabic and thus would not be useful for comparison. But I still need to confirm that.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: