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

* DXer … It’s naive and uninformed 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. … The reality is that a lab technician, researcher, or other person similarly situated might simply have walked out of some lab that had it.

Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 29, 2013

bin laden 2 

a recent comment from DXer …

In mid-December 2003, two brothers, Michael Ray and James Stubbs, were arrested in a Manila suburb where they were fundraising for a charity that supported the militant islamists and allegedly in contact with militant brothers. Michael Ray, an American, had been a HVAC technician at Lawrence Livermore near San Francisco — until March 2000 — where the Defense Threat Reduction Agency had launched a program to combat the Bin Laden anthrax threat in 1998.  He had a high security pass that he permitted him to go to labs throughout Lawrence Livermore, including those combatting the Bin Laden anthrax threat.

His brother, James, Jr., also known as Jamil Daud Mujahid. James reportedly was monitored saying that he had been a classmate of bin Laden and had named his son Osama. James once was a policeman in California and a teacher in Missouri. James allegedly met with members of Abu Sayyef and Moro Islamic Liberation Front while in the Philippines doing charity fundraising. The brothers had been under surveillance at the time of their arrest. James Stubbs, according to some reports, had recently left a job as a teacher in California to study Arabic in Sudan. Other reports suggested that his recent work instead involved training dogs. Authorities allege that the brothers in May 2003 had met with several charity groups suspected of being al-Qaida fronts, founded by Osama bin Laden’s brother-in-law Khalifa.

In mid-April 2004, Patrick Hughes, Lieutenant General (Retired), Assistant Secretary for information Analysis, Homeland Security Department testified before the 9/11 Commission. He explained that interrogations and other evidence revealed that Al Qaeda wanted to strike the US with a nonconventional weapon, most notably anthrax.

It’s naive and uninformed 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.  Indeed, Bruce Ivins had supplied virulent Ames to a non-citizen from Egypt whose friends and classmates had been recruited personally by Dr. Ayman Zawahiri.

The reality is that a lab technician, researcher, or other person similarly situated might simply have walked out of some lab that had it.

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31 Responses to “* DXer … It’s naive and uninformed 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. … The reality is that a lab technician, researcher, or other person similarly situated might simply have walked out of some lab that had it.”

  1. DXer said

    The tragic events unfolding in Houston bring to mind the flooding of the Koehler anthrax lab in June 2001. The lab had been upgraded to B3 in March 2001. Strains were being grown in soil as part of a $100,000 CIA study focused on the persistence of anthrax on the battlefield. As I recall, previously avirulent strains were being rendered virulent by insertion of the relevant DNA by then graduate student Melissa D.

    There reportedly was no lock on the door even in normal times. (See 2001 Theresa K interview, NPR)

    Then, according to a university medical center newsletter, after the flooding, the building’s outside door was left open for ventilation.

    In this (supposed) new age of biosecurity (post-2001), what steps were taken to safeguard dangerous pathogens from walking out the building upon this sudden flooding — or to protect against the unintentionally leaking?

    The mysterious toxic leak at Beachy Head, England over the weekend shows how stuff happens. So no one should be critical of or unduly sensitive about the relevant questions being asked. It is all about paying more than grant-motivated lip service to principles of emergency preparedness and biosecurity.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=Beachy+Head+England&source=lnms&tbm=nws&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi34ZeU6fnVAhXKx4MKHTKpBJwQ_AUIDCgD&biw=824&bih=400

    Let’s hope that newly minted Aafia Siddiqui wasn’t visiting her sister-in-law in the building at the time the door to the anthrax lab was unlocked or left open. She later researched anthrax weapons for the better part of a year for the 911 plotters.

    http://www.chron.com/news/article/UT-veterinary-official-laments-drownings-of-2021076.php

    UT veterinary official laments drownings of research animals
    ‘We failed them, and it’s terrible’
    Drownings of 78 monkeys, 35 dogs lamented by UT veterinary official

    Nearly 80 monkeys and 35 dogs drowned when flooding from Tropical Storm Allison buried basement labs at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston.

    The school’s veterinarians, researchers and staff members said they tried to reach the animals as the pouring rain began late Friday and early Saturday, but Allison flared up too quickly, flooding all roads leading to the Texas Medical Center.

    ERIC BERGER, Copyright 2001 Houston Chronicle Science Writer
    Published 5:30 am, Friday, June 15, 2001

    • DXer said

      Dr.Koehler’s lab and Dr. Drysdale lab, in Houston, that was upgraded to BL-3 in March 2001. See TK’s interviews. Dr. Koehler and Dr. Drysdale did research with Dr. Lyons using Ames. Dr. Koehler says there was not a lock on the Houston BL-3 doors in 2001 (before 9/11). See her 2001 NPR interview. A tropical storm wiped out the lab in June 2001 with millions of gallons of water. Dr. Siddiqui’s sister-in-law, Dr. Khawaja, had an office down the hall from Dr. Koehler. (Dr. Khawaja did not respond to my emailed inquiry that sought to confirm the details). Dr. Ayman has said he’ll kill anyone who talks about Aafia and has demanded her release. Dr. Ayman’s chivalry is noble but his threats should not be allowed to deter understanding the finer points of the distribution of Ames. The FBI, in an ideal world, would have obtained the very best evidence of what virulent strains the Houston lab was using in March 2001 requiring that everyone be vaccinated (rather than relying on self-reporting of employees in the lab when the inquiries were later made). Dr. Drysdale did not respond to my inquiry years ago asking for the details of her insertion of the virulence plasmids. (There was an inverted plasmid observed in the mailed anthrax). See 2002 Science article. Dr. Lyons did not respond either but gave a forthright interview in 2002 or so explaining that the UNM Ames was expected to be a genetic match to the attack anthrax. There is only speculation as to why the Ames submitted to the repository by UNM did not contain the 4 morphs. The FBI, in its rationalizations, only speculated in a manner that was consistent with its cotton candy “Ivins Theory” it was developing.

      • DXer said

        Aafia Siddiqui’s sister Fowzia is in the news this week. She formerly had a very senior position at Johns-Hopkins and was subject to (illegal?) NSA spying post-2001. Fowzia complains that she has not received a response to her FOIA request in Pakistan about her sister’s release. (She had asked Pakistan officials to ask for her release). It seems that if she wanted Aafia’s release, she should have urged that Aafia’s cooperate about Al Qaeda’s biological program guided by Dr. Ayman Zawahiri. Authorities had to learn of it from other means, such as her second husband, the 9-11 plotter who was KSM’s nephew.

        I have no idea why Fowzia considers Aafia, a close Al Qaeda associate, a “daughter of Pakistan.” It didn’t help that Dr. Ayman then took up her cause, and demanded her release.

        Fowzia’s advocacy would have been more likely to be effective if she denounced Zawahiri and Al Qaeda and encouraged Aafia to stop lying and start cooperating. (And then if it turned out she had been mistreated by ISI, that could have been revealed and proven.) (It does seem that she was considerably worse for the wear by the time she was detained in Afghanistan).

        Fowzia reiterates demand for Aafia’s release, August 24, 2017
        http://nation.com.pk/karachi/24-Aug-2017/fowzia-reiterates-demand-for-aafia-s-release

        • DXer said

          The family has not had contact, they report, with the lovely Aafia for two years.

          I believe Fowzia is correct that she was taken from the streets of Karachi but I don’t know of any basis to suggest that she then was “sold” to the US (although such payments and corruption in such circles are well-known).

          But Aafia was detained in Afghanistan years later when she travelled there. Right? See the interview by her Uncle who visited and spoke to her while still in Pakistan, before she left for Afghanistan.

          Moreover, in an OpEd, Fowzia says Aafia was never convicted of a crime — overlooking her trial and conviction in the US federal court that was widely followed and publicized.

          Family says no contact with Dr Aafia since 2 years

          I commend the family though for its continued advocacy. Whether the problem was her politics, her upbringing or association with the wrong people, she clearly was in a frail state after she was detained and on trial and needed her family to advocate on her behalf. She was never the Volvo-driving mom her ACLU lawyer Annette portrayed her to be, but she deserved a zealous defense. I don’t recall the specifics. But didn’t she get a vigorous and high-priced defense?

          Wasn’t she her own worst enemy? It seems that the role the Pakistan government could usefully play would be to try to make sure that Aafia’s lack of telephonic contact is of her own choice, made of sound mind.

          July 15, 2017,
          http://nation.com.pk/national/15-Jul-2017/family-says-no-contact-with-dr-aafia-since-2-years

        • DXer said

          Although I know of no basis for Fowzia’s wild claim that the US paid her “kidnappers” for her (and it is against all the public evidence concerning the circumstances of her detention), it seems accurate that the Islamic State has offered to pay $6.6 million dollars for her to be released.

          It might have been more effective advocacy to let human rights activists lobby for her release — having Islamic State and Al Qaeda demand her release was counterproductive, I would think.

          In fact, I think all terrorism is a waste of time. Nature — and the serendipity of life — causes far more damage than intentional malevolent people with a political or religious agenda.

          Fowzia and Aafia seem like-minded — and their values were imparted by their mom, Ismat.

          ‘Lady al-Qaeda’: The American-educated PhD the Islamic State desperately wants freed
          https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/08/28/lady-al-qaeda-the-american-educated-doctor-the-islamic-state-desperately-wants-freed/?utm_term=.cbd356e43ae4

          By Terrence McCoy August 28, 2014

          Amid the kidnappings, the demands for riches and the executions, a name of controversy and conspiracy has reemerged: Aafia Siddiqui. Once called the “most wanted woman in the world,” she is now more widely known as “Lady al-Qaeda.” And Islamic State leaders want their lady back.

          They want her back so badly, jihadists said they would have traded James Foley for Siddiqui, who’s in U.S. prison. They said they would have traded Bowe Bergdahl for her. They said they would trade a 26-year-old American woman, kidnapped one year ago, for her.

          “You were given many chances to negotiate the release of your people via cash transactions as other governments have accepted,” the Islamic State wrote James Foley’s family a week before his execution. “We have also offered prisoner exchanges to free the Muslims currently in your detention like our sister Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, however you proved very quickly to us that this is NOT what you are interested in.”

          Then on Tuesday, the Islamic State said it wanted to exchange the 26-year-old American woman for $6.6 million — and Siddiqui, who was convicted in 2010 of attempting to murder Americans and sentenced to 86 years in federal prison.

          “The terror group has sent a laundry list of demands for the release of foreigners, starting with money but also prisoner swaps, including the liberation of Aafia Siddiqui, an M.I.T.-trained Pakistani neuroscientist,” the New York Times reported.

          The repeated demands for Siddiqui’s release revives one of the oddest tales to emerge out of the war on terror. At its center is an enigmatic and extremely educated mother who apparently cast off a comfortable, successful professional life in pursuit of terrorism.

          ***

          To this day, the same questions that haunted Siddiqui at the time of her trial remain. Why would this mother, who spent a decade studying at the most prestigious U.S. universities, scribble plans detailing a “mass casualty attack” on the Empire State Building? Was she a terrorist mastermind or a victim of an over-aggressive war on terror?

          And what does the Islamic State, years after her conviction, want with her now? “We are aware of at least one entity in the Defense Department that has developed possible options to trade Siddiqui,” a spokesman for Rep. Duncan Hunter (R.-Calif.), who sits on the House Armed Services Committee, told Foreign Policy.

          Siddiqui’s story begins in Karachi, where she was born in 1972. According to a Guardian profile, education and faith came first in her family — as did professional ambition. Her father was an English-trained doctor. Her mother was a pal of former Pakistani president and general Zia ul-Haq. Her brother became a Houston architect. Her sister was a neurologist.

          ***

          Though her family denied it, she then reportedly married a nephew of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the Guantanamo detainee said to be a mastermind of the attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., on Sept. 11, 2001.

          Shortly thereafter, she disappeared for five years for reasons that remain uncertain. The Pakistani doctor claimed she had been kidnapped by U.S. personnel, imprisoned and tortured for five years. The U.S. government, however, denied that, saying she was really “the most wanted woman in the world,” as reported by the Los Angeles Times. She posed a “clear and present danger to the U.S.,” one high-ranking American official said.

          The narrative clarified on July 18, 2008, when Afghan authorities captured her carrying handwritten notes detailing a “mass casualty attack” on several New York City spots.

          U.S. officers were invited to question her and were ushered into a room without being told by their Afghan hosts that Siddiqui was “unsecured” behind a curtain that divided the room, according to an FBI criminal complaint. She grabbed an Army officer’s M-4 rifle that was on the floor next to the curtain and screamed, “Allah Akbar!” and, in English, “Get the f— out of here!” the complaint said. She opened fire, but missed the officers, who returned fire and hit her twice in the abdomen.

          Two years later, following her recovery, she was convicted in Manhattan federal court of the attempted murder and assault on Americans for that attack and sentenced to 86 years in prison. She’s currently incarcerated at a federal prison in Fort Worth, Tex. and slated for release on Aug. 6, 2083. And there, most perhaps believed would be where Siddiqui’s story ended.

          But the Islamic State wants otherwise. It wants Lady al-Qaeda back.

  2. DXer said

    http://www.heraldnet.com/news/911-families-might-get-day-in-court-against-saudi-officials/

    But the 9/11 families’ fortunes changed in September, when during a distracting, raucous 2016 presidential campaign, Congress delivered the only veto override of Obama’s eight-year tenure and made the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, or JASTA, settled law.

    It has already had an effect: While JASTA was being debated, a federal judge in New York ordered Iran to pay the families and insurance companies $14 billion for having allowed some of the hijackers to enter and leave the country before Sept. 11 without having transit visas stamped in their passports. Such visas would have made it more difficult for them to enter the United States.

    Now, the families are heading to court in the coming weeks, seeking a punitive payout that legal experts say could exceed $1 trillion.

  3. DXer said

    Chertoff: IPhone override is software equivalent of biological weapon

    Elizabeth Weise, USATODAY 6:06 p.m. EST March 4, 2016
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2016/03/04/fbi-apple-code-software-biological-weapon-michael-chertoff/81291524/

    SAN FRANCISCO — Forcing Apple to write an operating system so it can try to break into the iPhone used by a terrorist is the computer code equivalent of building a biological weapon, the former secretary of U.S. Homeland Security said Thursday.

    ***
    The problem is that the FBI demand would require Apple to not only build the code, but also maintain it, because there are already multiple requests for law enforcement to get into other phones, Michael Chertoff said Thursday at the RSA computer security conference.

    “Once you’ve created code that’s potentially compromising, it’s like a bacteriological weapon. You’re always afraid of it getting out of the lab,” Chertoff said at a keynote panel titled “Beyond Encryption: Why We Can’t Come Together on Security and Privacy — and the Catastrophes That Await If We Don’t.”

  4. DXer said

    In 1987 al-Qaeda Master Spy Tells Fort Bragg Officers the Goal of Radical Islam Is to Set Up an “Islamic State”, by Peter Lance
    Posted: 11/14/2015 9:43 pm EST Updated: 11/14/2015 9:59 pm EST
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-lance/in-1987-al-qaeda-master-s_b_8565408.html

    Mohamed twice played host to al Qaeda’s second-in-command, Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, who traveled to the U.S. in the 1990s to raise money for the Jihad. He used his Army vacation to hunt down elite Soviet Spetsnaz commandos in Afghanistan, and later toyed with gullible special agents in New York and San Francisco while he learned the inner workings of the FBI’s al Qaeda playbook.

    In the annals of espionage, few men have moved in an out of the deep black world between the hunters and the hunted with as much audacity as Ali Mohamed–known to his al Qaeda brothers as Ali Amiriki, or “Ali the American.”

    A deep-penetration al Qaeda sleeper, he succeeded as a triple agent, gaining access to the most sensitive intelligence in the U.S. counter-terrorism arsenal. Next to Ramzi Yousef, the bomb maker who plotted both attacks on The Twin Towers, Mohamed remains the greatest enigma in the war on terror.

    Brazenly slipping past watch lists, he moved in and out of the U.S. with impunity for years, marrying an American woman, becoming a naturalized citizen, seeking top secret security clearance from a Silicon Valley defense contractor and working for the FBI while servicing the top echelons of al Qaeda.

    And in a training video taped while he was a U.S. Army sergeant at Fort Bragg, NC in 1987 Mohamed openly states what has now become the goal of ISIS: the creation of an Islamic state.

    This is a direct quote from Mohamed in that video first reported in my HarperCollins investigative book TRIPLE CROSS in 2006. …

    “We have what we call a dar ul harp, which is the world of war, and dar ul Islam, which is the world of Islam. Dar ul harp, the world of war, comprises all the territory that doesn’t have Islamic law.

    “So if I live in an area of Egypt, for example, or in the Middle East, I will consider it dar ul harp. I will consider it the world of war, because actually it doesn’t apply the Islamic law one hundred percent. As a Muslim I have an obligation to change dar ul harp to dar ul Islam and establish Islamic law. It’s an obligation. It’s not a choice.”

    To fully appreciate the extraordinary trajectory of this deadly jihadi spy, read the 32 page illustrated timeline from TRIPLE CROSS.

  5. DXer said

    Jeb Bush published this October 17, 2001 email.

    http://jebbushemails.com/email/results/20011017/12

    To: “‘jeb@jeb.org'”
    From: “Ward, Kevin D”

    Anthrax – I hope we have ruled out a USF connection…
    Governor –

    As I understand it, the University of South Florida has received a 4 million
    dollar grant for an Anthrax study. USF also has the distinction by media
    accounts of having the largest contingent of purported Egyptian Jihad
    members anywhere other than Cairo itself. The thought of Anthrax being
    housed and studied @ USF is very disconcerting – especially if the claims
    about it being a “hot bed” for Islamic militantism are true. As you know,
    we are also the home to MacDill AFB and its Central Command and Special
    Operations Command Headquarters. “Operation Enduring Freedom” is being
    logistaically coordinated from right here. Previoulsy, “Desert Storm” was
    coordinated from MacDill. Bin Laden and his worldwide web of terrorist cells
    clearly understand this. I certainly hope that the security @ USF has been
    augmented to guarantee that each of these Anthrax strains stay put under
    lock and key. I would hate to think that a simple student visa could be the
    passport to government supported Anthrax supplies right here in Tampa.

    Hopefully, the USF program is being placed under a microscope itself…
    Better safe than sorry.

    Best wishes –

    Kevin Ward

    Comment:

    Background:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2001/10/14/us/nation-challenged-disease-anthrax-threats-points-limits-health-systems.html

    A year ago, the University of South Florida started a Center for Biological Defense within its school of public health, to help train doctors and public health workers on how to detect and respond to germ attacks.

    • DXer said

      Jeb Bush October 18, 2001 email:
      http://jebbushemails.com/email/results/20011018/25

      To: ‘MCLEANED@aol.com’

      From: “Jeb Bush”

      RE: University Of South Florida Professor
      if he is raising money for the terrorists he shouldn’t be working for the University. The FBI has done an investigation and found no wrong doing as I understand it. The Board of Trustees is monitoring this issue carefully.

      Jeb Bush

      —–Original Message—–
      From: MCLEANED@aol.com [mailto:MCLEANED@aol.com]
      Sent: Thursday, October 18, 2001 10:01 AM
      To: jeb@jeb.org
      Subject: University Of South Florida Professor

      Jeb- I don’t know anything about this man, but if he is raising money for
      terrorists, he doesn’t need to be working for the state of florida and
      teaching our young people.
      Ed

      • DXer said

        From: Dana, Pamella
        To:’jeb@jeb.org’
        CC: Shanahan, Kathleen
        Sasser, Charla
        Date: 5/30/2001 6:03:25 PM
        Subject:

        RE: Cooperative Research and Development Team

        FYI. The LG, Rep Bowen, Martha Roberts (Ag Dept), and I met with this group
        today. They have a light-driven technology that is being approved by the
        FDA which ensures that fruit juices are germ-free (e.g., irradication of
        ecoli in Apple Juice). Apparently, the same “laser light” technology may be
        applicable to cleaning water and air. The Coast Guard is interested in its
        application in cleaning ballist water (hence not spreading contaminated
        waters). The DOD has shown interest in this technology as a way to protect
        military forces (and American homeland) from biological chemicals used in
        warfare (e.g., Anthrax ).

        They want to develop technology and spin-offs in Florida (opposed to New
        York where it currently is being performed), as they consider Florida to
        provide a quicker means to bring to market. They wants a cooperative
        agreement between UF, U of Miami and U of Buffalo. They want our help to
        match them up with those who will support their research and varied research
        grant applications. They feel Florida presence and institutions will offer
        that.

        We will arrange meeting between them and UF leadership (Winn Phillips) to
        see if there is a fit.

        —–Original Message—-

        From: Jeb Bush [mailto:jeb@jeb.org]
        Sent: Sunday, May 27, 2001 2:53 PM
        To: Pam Dana (E-mail)
        Subject: FW: Cooperative Research and Development Team

        I apologize in advance if you have responded to me on this but have you
        contacted Mr. Kelly?
        jeb

        —–Original Message—-

        From: Jeb Bush [mailto:jeb@jeb.org]
        Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2001 7:11 AM
        To: ‘bbkelly’
        Cc: Pam Dana (E-mail)

  6. DXer said

    MONDAY PREVIEW: Mishap reports reveal lost and forgotten vials at Fort Detrick. Read the next part of the series in Tuesday’s Frederick News-Post.

    But first, here are brief snippets from Syliva Carignan’s linked story in the Frederick News-Post:

    Multiple researchers potentially exposed to biological warfare agent at USAMRIID
    Sylvia Carignan News-Post Staff

    http://www.fredericknewspost.com/news/health/research/multiple-researchers-potentially-exposed-to-biological-warfare-agent-at-usamriid/article_ef9aae2a-f8cf-5f6d-aa54-4cbc0edfc1a5.html

    Multiple researchers potentially exposed to biological warfare agent at USAMRIID
    Posted: Sunday, January 4, 2015 2:00 am
    By Sylvia Carignan News-Post Staff

    While sitting in a boiling hot water bath in a Fort Detrick lab, a plastic tube holding a biological warfare agent popped open. Steam rose up out of the bath.
    A microbiologist walked into the room. And another.

    One stood in the room for 10 minutes as they discussed what to do, the steam spreading through the lab.
    In all, six people were potentially exposed to Burkholderia mallei, a bacteria that causes an infectious disease called glanders. The bacteria can be spread via aerosol, contaminated food and water and was used as a biological weapon during World War II.

    ***

    The Frederick News-Post obtained copies of the mishap and occupational hazard reports from USAMRIID, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ Integrated Research Facility and the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center at Fort Detrick through Freedom of Information Act requests filed in 2014.

    ***

    On May 23, 2014, a USAMRIID microbiologist was working with TC-83, a virus derived from Venezuelan equine encephalitis, when tubes of the virus broke and released the substance while spinning inside a centrifuge.
    “Used wrong tubes,” the report states.

  7. DXer said

    Infection, Genetics and Evolution

    Volume 29, January 01, 2015, Pages 26-34

    ——————————————————————————–

    The hidden face of academic researches on classified highly pathogenic microorganisms (Note)
    Devaux, C.A.

    Centre d’Etudes d’agents Pathogènes et Biotechnologies pour la Santé-CPBS, UMR5236 CNRS-UM1-UM2, 1919 route de Mende, F-34293 Montpellier cedex 5Montpellier, France

    ——————————————————————————

    Abstract

    Highly pathogenic microorganisms and toxins are manipulated in academic laboratories for fundamental research purposes, diagnostics, drugs and vaccines development. Obviously, these infectious pathogens represent a potential risk for human and/or animal health and their accidental or intentional release (biosafety and biosecurity, respectively) is a major concern of governments. In the past decade, several incidents have occurred in laboratories and reported by media causing fear and raising a sense of suspicion against biologists. Some scientists have been ordered by US government to leave their laboratory for long periods of time following the occurrence of an incident involving infectious pathogens; in other cases laboratories have been shut down and universities have been forced to pay fines and incur a long-term ban on funding after gross negligence of biosafety/biosecurity procedures. Measures of criminal sanctions have also been taken to minimize the risk that such incidents can reoccur. As United States and many other countries, France has recently strengthened its legal measures for laboratories’ protection.During the past two decades, France has adopted a series of specific restriction measures to better protect scientific discoveries with a potential economic/social impact and prevent their misuse by ill-intentioned people without affecting the progress of science through fundamental research. French legal regulations concerning scientific discoveries have progressively strengthened since 2001, until the publication in November 2011 of a decree concerning the “PPST” (for “Protection du Potentiel Scientifique et Technique de la nation”, the protection of sensitive scientific data). Following the same logic of protection of sensitive scientific researches, regulations were also adopted in an order published in April 2012 concerning the biology and health field. The aim was to define the legal framework that precise the conditions for authorizing microorganisms and toxins experimentation in France; these regulations apply for any operation of production, manufacturing, transportation, import, export, possession, supply, transfer, acquisition and use of highly pathogenic microorganisms and toxins, referred to as “MOT” (for “MicroOrganismes et Toxines hautement pathogènes”) by the French law. Finally, laboratories conducting researches on such infectious pathogens are henceforth classified restricted area or ZRR (for “Zone à Régime Restrictif”), according an order of July 2012. In terms of economic protection, biosafety and biosecurity, these regulations represent an undeniable progress as compared to the previous condition. However, the competitiveness of research laboratories handling MOTs is likely to suffer the side effects of these severe constraints. For example research teams working on MOTs can be drastically affected both by (i) the indirect costs generated by the security measure to be applied; (ii) the working time devoted to samples recording; (iii) the establishment of traceability and reporting to national security agency ANSM, (iv) the latency period required for staff members being officially authorized to conduct experiments on MOTs; (v) the consequent reduced attractiveness for recruiting new trainees whose work would be significantly hampered by theses administrative constraints; and (vi) the limitations in the exchange of material with external laboratories and collaborators. Importantly, there is a risk that French academic researchers gradually abandon research on MOTs in favor of other projects that are less subject to legal restrictions. This would reduce the acquisition of knowledge in the field of MOTs which, in the long term, could be highly detrimental to the country by increasing its vulnerability to natural epidemics due to pathogenic microorganisms that are classified as MOTs and, by reducing its preparedness against possible bioterrorist attacks that would use such microorganisms.

    ——————————————————————————–

    Selected keywords

    Biological weapons and bioterrorism threats; Biosafety and biosecurity concerns; Highly pathogenic microorganisms; Prohibited experiments

  8. DXer said

    Professor Les Baillie, who advised Amerithrax while at the University of Maryland, and was Chairman of the Dangerous Pathogens 2000 Conference at which Al Qaeda anthrax scientist explained his research involving killing mice with anthrax, has recently explained that it is a simple matter to steal the virulent lab from a lab that has it.

    http://image.slidesharecdn.com/professorlesbailliecompatibilitymode-141013083740-conversion-gate02/95/professor-les-baillie-6-638.jpg?cb=1413207506

  9. DXer said

    Shoe bomber’s accomplice to give evidence against Abu Hamza to prove he was a ‘terrorist with global reach’
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2551157/Shoe-bomber-accomplice-Badat-evidence-against-Abu-Hamza.html

    An al Qaeda supergrass is to give evidence against hate preacher Abu Hamza and show he was a ‘terrorist with a global reach’.
    British-born Saajid Muhammad Badat will be the star witness when Hamza goes on trial in New York later this year, according to court papers.
    Badat, who was jailed for plotting to blow up a U.S. passenger jet with shoe bomber Richard Reid and later released for agreeing to become the first terrorist supergrass, has agreed to give evidence via a video link.

    ***
    He is also charged with providing material support to the al Qaeda network by trying to set up a training camp in Oregon and attempting to organize support for the Taliban in Afghanistan.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2551157/Shoe-bomber-accomplice-Badat-evidence-against-Abu-Hamza.html#ixzz2sLolKkxq

    Comment:

    I’ve long urged that Abu Hamza was involved in the February 1999 threat to use anthrax in Yemen. It would be great if that background came out in Abu Hamza’s trial.

    • DXer said

      Abu Hamza, now extradited to New York, wanted to open a terrorist training camp in Oregon.

      Al Qaeda suspects were arrested in the US with documents in their possession about how to poison the country’s water supplies.

      http://www.foxnews.com/story/2002/07/30/feds-arrest-al-qaeda-suspects-with-plans-to-poison-water-supplies/

      Feds Arrest Al Qaeda Suspects With Plans to Poison Water Supplies
      By Carl CameronPublished July 30, 2002FoxNews.com
      WASHINGTON – Federal officials have arrested two Al Qaeda terror suspects in the U.S. with documents in their possession about how to poison the country’s water supplies, Fox News has learned.

      The first case involves James Ujaama, 36, who surrendered to the FBI last week in Denver. Sources say they found documents about water poisoning among several other terrorism-related documents in his Denver residence.

      Sources say the government has additional evidence that prior to Sept. 11 James Ujaama acted as a courier delivering laptop computers to the Taliban. Federal agents seized two computers and two floppy disks from the house where James Ujaama had been staying when he was arrested as a material witness to terrorist activity, his brother said.

      James Ujaama’s brother is Mustafa Ujaama, the founder of the now-closed Dar-us-Salaam mosque in Seattle. The FBI has been investigating activities and officials from the former mosque for several months.

      Investigators believe officials and members of the mosque were trying to establish a terrorist training camp in Bly, Ore., Fox News has confirmed. Investigators say there is evidence that Mustafa Ujaama visited Bly to check it out as a possible facility location.

  10. DXer said

    From Dr. Gerard Andrews civil deposition recently produced to this blog under FOIA:

    A. The third page is dated November 5th 2001.

    Q. And what does that pertain to?

    A. It looks like Bruce — from Bruce Ivins. It looks like Bruce was trying to send some sort of link to — to something on the Internet to us. And I don’t know who he’s referring to, “friend over in Saudi.” I have no idea.

    Page 37.

    • DXer said

      I have requested the email from USAMRIID but alternatively someone might simply follow-up and obtain it from DOJ Civil.

      Perhaps it referred to Hibri */, the owner of Bioport that made the gift of ownership to Admiral Crowe, the former head of the Joints Chiefs of Staff. I have no idea.

      But under the central purpose of FOIA, the email should have been produced as it bears very importantly on the operations of government.

      “Sandra,

      May I obtain under FOIA a copy of this November 5, 2001 email from Bruce Ivins providing a link to colleagues about a “friend over in Saudi”?
      From Dr. Gerard Andrews civil deposition recently produced to this blog under FOIA:

      A. The third page is dated November 5th 2001.

      Q. And what does that pertain to?

      A. It looks like Bruce — from Bruce Ivins. It looks like Bruce was trying to send some sort of link to — to something on the Internet to us. And I don’t know who he’s referring to, “friend over in Saudi.” I have no idea.

      Page 37 of civil deposition of Gerard Andrews in Stevens v. United States.

      It was not produced and uploaded to the Electronic Reading Room.

      The email is a document that originated with USAMRIID and would have been responsive to the September 2001 FOIA request for Dr. Ivins’ emails by Scott Shane of the New York Times.”

      1/

      FBI Overlooks Foreign Sources of Anthrax

      WALL STREET JOURNAL
      December 24, 2001
      Commentary
      http://www.edwardjayepstein.com/archived/anthrax.htm

      Prior to his taking over this biotech company, Fuad El-Hibri had worked in the mergers-and-acquisitions department of Citibank in Jedda, Saudi Arabia, where he specialized in arranging investments for large Saudi investors. Saudi Arabia then was interested in obtaining an anthrax vaccine to counter Saddam Hussein’s biological warfare capabilities. But the U.S. would not provide it.

      So when Mr. El-Hibri took over the British biotech lab, he reorganized its bio-terrorism defense business, and arranged deliveries of biotech defense products to Saudi Arabia. Mr. El-Hibri was unavailable for comment, but the ownership is a matter of record and he has not made a secret of his involvement in bio-warfare research. Indeed, he testified before Congress in 1999: “I participated in the marketing and distribution of substantial quantities of two bio-defense vaccines — botulinum Type A and anthrax.”

      Even more intriguing, Mr. El-Hibri’s interest in anthrax vaccines did not stop with his deal with CAMR. In 1998, he arranged a leveraged buyout of the Michigan Biological Products Institute. MBPI, which originally had been owned by the state of Michigan, held the exclusive contract for providing the U.S. government with anthrax vaccine. While its vaccine worked well against the Vollum strain of anthrax (used by Russia), it was more problematic against the Ames strain. So it had conducted tests with the virulent Ames strain on guinea pigs, mice and monkeys with mixed results. BioPort’s spokeperson confirmed that it had access to the virulent Ames strain for testing on animals. ..

      So far, the offshore availability of anthrax has been overshadowed by the search for a domestic lone wolf. Since the lethal bacteria could have been stolen from either a foreign or domestic lab, weaponized in a stealthed bio-warfare facility overseas and sent in ziplock bags to the person mailing the letters, The investigative focus needs to be widened.

    • DXer said

      Exhibit 112 is described as 10/30/01 from Webster to Ivins, Subject: FW: US Secret Weapon ARMY03-006979

      The “friend in Saudi” email was discussed on page 37 when printed 4 to a page (as my copy has). (But it is discussed on page 145 when the pages are printed singly.)

      It is Exhibit 112 of Dr. Andrews’ civil deposition. It follows pages 6969 and 6978 (Exhibit 111) that related to specific regulations that related to the transportation and shipment of etiologic agents, “which everyone knew at the time how to go through the biosafety office.” So the “friend in Saudi” email may have been associated with the documents relating to the Chief of Bacteriology reminding folks about the transfer of agents.

      In the case of the supply of virulent Ames to a former associate of Ayman Zawahiri (taught microbiology by his sister Heba), there was no vetting done.

      Years ago I emailed Dr. Hamouda about the details of Bruce Ivins’ supply of virulent Ames to him in connection with his research on a decontamination agent but did not get a reply back.

      University of Michigan denied by FOIA request for the related documents.

      USAMRIID similarly claimed to have no responsive documents.

      Some of the documents were first produced to the FBI in March 2005 from AF’s telephone number, after he obtained them from Dr. Ivins.

      But narrowly the question is this: Can the “10/30/01 from Webster to Ivins, Subject: FW: US Secret Weapon ARMY03-006979” be produced under FOIA?

      http://www.amerithrax.wordpress.com

  11. DXer said

    Dr. Andrews, in his newly produced civil deposition, describes an incident of an unauthorized entry in June 2001 by a maintenance technician. The document at issue was a June 15, 2001 email from Pat Worsham to Mark Kortepeter. The entry was without any knowledge or approval of Bacteriology Division personnel. Pat Worsham apparently caught him exiting and insisted it be reported to higher authorities.

    Page 142.

    • DXer said

      The reason for entering offered was “like sink maintenance or something. He was diong something with the sink. And this was a contract person. Contractors — maintenance contractors also were required to go through a special immunization program if they were entering these biocontainment suites, depending on the agents the suites were dealing with.”

      Page 142.

    • DXer said

      Page 155 of Andrews deposition:

      Q. “Let me show you this. This is Army03-006651. Appears to be an email fro Patricia Worsham to Mark Kortepeter, with a copy to you.
      A. This looks like it relates back to an earlier email that I read in regards to a memo that Kortepeter wrote involving the maintenance person who entered — or a civilian entered an animal room without appropriate protective clothing.
      Q. Was this the individual that was going to install the sink or something, or do some repair work on the sink?
      A. I — I think so. It looks like it. Sink installation. No one, including the division chief, had been notified of sink installation. Yes.:

      MR. SCHULER: Okay. We’ll mark that as Plaintiffs’ 118.”

    • DXer said

      I have requested the documents relating to the unauthorized June 15, 2001 by FOIA:

      “Re: FOIA request for 3 identified documents relating to unauthorized June 15, 2001 access into biocontainment by man who apparently installed a sink

      Sandra,

      May I obtain under FOIA copies of these two emails by Dr. Patricia Worsham and a related memo by Colonel Korpeter about an unauthorized entry in June 2001?

      A man who had gone into the biocontainment area, apparently to install a sink without anyone’s knowledge, was discovered and confronted by Dr. Patricia Worsham upon exiting.

      There is a 1) June 15, 2001 email from Patricia Worsham to Colonel Korpeter, 2) a memo by Colonel Korpeter and 3) another email from Dr. Worsham about Colonel Korpeter’s memo.

      The entry apparently was without any knowledge or approval of Bacteriology Division personnel. Some versions in the Army possession of one of the emails is batestamped Army03-006651.

      Such information is very important and bears on potential access to the virulent Ames strain, the strain used in the Fall 2001 anthrax incidents.

      Thanks very much. I appreciate that the greatest challenge under FOIA typically is locating a document — and not unduly distracting an agency from its core mission.

      But I think these three documents warrant top priority.”

    • DXer said

      One of several other examples of unauthorized access occurs at page 156. It related to unauthorized access by a post doc. (Page 156.)

      Yet another example of unauthorized access involved a ventilation contractor. (Page 143.)

      I have not yet requested those documents under FOIA but the quickest means of obtaining might be to request the exhibits from Dr. Andrews’ deposition.

  12. DXer said

    Dr. Andrews, in his recently produced civil deposition, states:

    “But if RMR 1029 was directly transferred from — from lab B — or from lab A, which would be USAMRIID, to lab B, and then lab B transferred an aliquot of RMR 1029 to another laboratory, then laboratory C — laboratory C’s preparation would be able to be traced back to RMR 1029.”

    Page 91.

  13. DXer said

    In the Dr. Jahrling civil deposition produced this week under FOIA, Dr. Jahrling explained of the IG inspection:

    “And, um, you know, I don’t recall the 22 details. At that point I had little to no contact with h”im. He went off and talked to a number of other people. He came back with a fairly scathing report, basically said, you know, these guys are not taking security seriously and all of that but he was, I mean he was applying standards that, you know, with twenty-twenty hindsight probably would have been appropriate back then but at the time were not common practice in biological laboratories.”

    Pages 25-26.

  14. DXer said

    ARMY Inspector General Findings (March 2002) regardling lax security relating to anthrax
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 4, 2011

    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/11/04/army-inspector-general-findings-march-2002-regardling-lax-security-relating-to-anthrax/

    These are documents relating to the Inspector General visit to USAMRIID in Fall 2001 that reporters, GAO and Congressional staff should obtain
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 28, 2011

    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/09/28/there-are-documents-relating-to-the-inspector-general-visit-to-usamriid-in-fall-2001-that-reporters-gao-and-congressional-staff-should-obtain/

    Plaintiff: Inspector General and Sandia National Laboratories found security system inadequate to prevent access to laboratory by persons not cleared by security
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 27, 2011

    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/09/27/plaintiff-inspector-general-and-sandia-national-laboratories-found-security-system-inadequate-to-prevent-access-to-laboratory-by-persons-not-cleared-by-security/

  15. DXer said

    The blogger Ed didn’t understand why one would want to bother to ask the opinion of the Al Qaeda lab tech working at Omar Hospital with a virulent strain his opinions about the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings. For starters, Yazid Sufaat and the vaccinated lab assistants could identify the strain they were using. On Facebook exchanges and IM chat, Yazid did not deny to me that it was the Ames strain. He, however, poiltely invoked the equivalent of “the Fifth.” In a public interview, he said the CIA was not going to hear such things from his mouth.

    The even more basic misapprehension of pundits like Milton L. for years was that Al Qaeda scientists were not working with virulent anthrax — when it has known for a decade that they were. See KSM interrogation report.

    What documents did the FBI submit relating to the testing done in 2002 of the lab in Kandahar where traces of anthrax were found? Did they submit any? What strain was the anthrax identified to be?

    What documents did the FBI submit relating to testing of residence pointed out by Hambali during his harsh interrogation in Jordan — where Peter Suskind finds that extremely virulent anthrax was found? Did they submit any? I believe it was Dr. Ayman’s residence.

    What was the basis for withholding those and related documents on the grounds that they were classified?

    • DXer said

      Traces of anthrax were found at the Kandahar lab was discovered in March 2002. Then “extremely virulent” anthrax was found in a residence pointed out by Hambali in August 2003

      This USA Today article excerpt below addressed testing done by the FBI in 2004. That was what was submitted to the NAS.

      But the GAO needs to obtain the testing from 2002 — and also 2003 — when the anthrax was first discovered. It was done by the Army and the CIA.

      The FBI refused to provide key documents relating to testing of Afghanistan to the NAS on the grounds that it was classified.

      The FBI has refused to provide GAO key documents also.

      I hope people are taking down names of the people responsible for the withholding and destruction of documents central to understanding the analysis of Fall 2001 anthrax mailings and Dr. Zawahiri’s anthrax program.

      Al Qaeda lab lingers in anthrax story
      By Dan Vergano, USA TODAYUpdated 10/2/2011 11:51 AM

      Fears that al Qaeda had some role in the anthrax letter attacks that killed five and terrorized the U.S. 10 years ago surfaced early in the investigation.

      Science Snapshot
      By Dan Vergano

      “THIS IS NEXT. TAKE PENACILIN NOW. DEATH TO AMERICA. DEATH TO ISRAEL. ALLAH IS GREAT,” read the anthrax-laden letter sent to NBC newsman Tom Brokaw on Sept 18, 2001, at the start of the attacks. At least five letters were sent in the attacks that autumn, all containing similar words.
      Those messages likely contributed to one of the more curious endeavors of the nine-year “Amerithrax” investigation into the anthrax murders, the retrieval of a suspected terrorist lab, right down to the pipes of the kitchen sink.

      The National Research Council in February delivered an evaluation of the science used by investigators to tie the anthrax used in the attacks, a mutant-laced variant of the “Ames” anthrax strain, to the infamous RMR-1029 flask at the United States Army Medical Research Institute (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, Md. The flask was controlled by a researcher named Bruce Ivins, who committed suicide in 2008, days before investigators say they had intended to indict him for the crime. Based in part on the link to the RMR-1029 flask, the FBI, in itsinvestigative summary of the case, concluded, “Ivins, alone, mailed the anthrax letters.” The conclusion, though, is still disputed by some observers. Even the NRC said it was “not possible to reach a definitive conclusion about the origins of the anthrax,” in its evaluation.

      In May of 2004, U.S. investigators weren’t so sure either. They had information about al Qaeda plans to develop an anthrax program, the NRC report said. So FBI investigators and “partners from the intelligence community” then visited a suspected bioterror lab abandoned by al Qaeda and collected swabs there. Three samples tested positive for Ames strain anthrax in tests, conducted at the USAMRIID lab. They had been taken from “an unopened medicine dropper package, a sink, and a sink drain hose,” according to a partly-declassified FBI report.

      Subsequent tests at microbiologist Paul Keim’s lab at Northern Arizona University found signs of the Ames strain of anthrax on two of the three samples, according to the same report.

      ***

      • DXer said

        2002 Excerpt:

        AL QAEDA LAB HUNT REVEALS ANTHRAX
        By Niles LathemMarch 26, 2002 | 5:00am

        WASHINGTON – U.S. forces have found traces of anthrax at a half-dozen al Qaeda laboratories in Afghanistan, raising concerns the terrorists may have biological weapons, the Pentagon said yesterday.
        Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said small traces of anthrax and another deadly substance, ricin, have been detected during inspections of at least 60 sites throughout Afghanistan.

        But he said the traces are so small, it’s impossible to say whether al Qaeda has the capability to use the deadly substances in weapons.

        Ricin is highly toxic and easily produced from the castor plant. There is no vaccine or medical cure if it is ingested or inhaled.

        It was last seen in the United States in 1991, when four members of the anti-tax, anti-government Patriots Council were arrested with a bathtub full of it.

        The new disclosures come on the heels of reports that Ahmed al-Haznawi, one of the Sept. 11 hijackers, was treated for a skin form of anthrax at a Florida hospital last year.
        Those reports have prompted the FBI to investigate whether there is any link between the Sept. 11 plot and the anthrax attacks that terrorized the nation in the weeks afterward.
        U.S. forces searching a laboratory near Kandahar recently found sophisticated chemical “dryers” and other equipment used in the production of anthrax.

      • DXer said

        Yazid Sufaat’s court date is coming up this month (I think) — which might present an opportunity to ask him the anthrax strain he was using.

        We can revisit what we know about Hambali, Anthrax Lab Tech Yazid Sufaat And The Anthrax Bomb Maker.

        George Tenet in his May 2007 In the Center of the Storm says Sufaat was “the self-described ‘CEO’ of al-Qai’da’s anthrax program.” Tenet reports that “Sufaat had impeccable extremist credentials” and “[i]n 2000 he had been introduced to Ayman al-Zawahiri personally, by Hambali, as the man who was capable of leading al-Qai’da’s biological weapons program.”

        The 9/11 Commission Report explained:

        “Hambali played the critical role of coordinator, as he distributed al Qaeda funds earmarked for joint operations. In one especially notable example, Atef turned to Hambali when al Qaeda needed a scientist to take over its biological weapons program. Hambali obliged by introducing a U.S.-educated JI member, Yazid Sufaat, to Ayman al Zawahiri in Kandahar. In 2001, Sufaat would spend several months attempting to cultivate anthrax for al Qaeda in a laboratory he set up near the Kandahar airport.”

        Participants at a key meeting in Kuala Lumpur in January 2000 included Hambali, Yazid Sufaat, two of the 9/11 hijackers, Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almidhar, Cole planner Attash aka Khallad, and others. Tawfiq Bin Attash was a long time Bin Laden operative. The Yemeni first went to Afghanistan in 1989. He came to lead Bin Laden’s bodyguards and was an intermediary between Bin Laden and those who carried out the bombing of the Cole in October 2000. Attash also had been a key planner in the 1998 embassy bombings, serving as the link between the Nairobi cell and Bin Laden and Atef. Khalid Almhidhar, one of the 9/11 hijackers, was from Saudi Arabia but was a Yemeni national. Almhidhar was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the indictment against Zacarias Moussaoui. Al-Hindi, who along with Jafar the Pilot would later case the NYC landmarks, had gone to Kuala Lumpur with Attash. While not at the meeting with the hijackers, they met Hambali shortly after.

        Zacarias Moussaoui was alleged, at least initially, to have received his money from Yazid Sufaat, under the cover of a company managed by his wife named Infocus Tech. A legitimate company, the company has eight employees and virtually no connection to the US. The company was an importer of US computer software and hardware. After authorities found a letter signed by Yazid Sufaat purporting to authorize Zacarias Moussaoui as its marketing representative, authorities went looking for Sufaat. But by then, he had left for Pakistan and Afghanistan. According to his wife, he went to Pakistan in June 2001 because he wanted to do his doctorate in pathology at the University of Karachi. Dursina had attended Sacramento State with Sufaat. It was her mother who encouraged Yazid’s religious studies. According to his wife, Sejarhtul Dursina, “He had planned to set up a medical support unit in Afghanistan, near Kandahar.” Kandahar is where Al Qaeda established its anthrax lab and where extremely virulent (but unweaponized) anthrax, according to author Suskind, was found at a home identified by Hambali after his capture.

        Sufaat graduated from California State University, Sacramento in 1987. He received a bachelors degree in biological sciences, concentrating on clinical laboratory technology, with a minor in chemistry. Sacramento State biological sciences professor Robert Metcalf taught Sufaat a food microbiology class in the spring of 1986. The first lesson in class was to teach students how German physician Robert Koch proved that anthrax was caused by a specific bacterium. “All of my students know how to isolate anthrax in soil samples,” Metcalf told the Chicago Tribune. “Anthrax was the first organism we talked about.” Sufaat joined the Malaysian army, where he was a lab technician assigned to a medical brigade. After five years, he left the service with the rank of captain and worked for a civilian laboratory. In August 1993, he set up his own company, Green Laboratory Medicine. The 9/11 Commission Report notes that Sufaat started work on the al Qaeda biological weapons program after he participated in JI’s December 2000 church bombings. In December 2001, Sufaat was arrested upon returning from Afghanistan to Malaysia where (his wife says) he had been serving in a Taliban medical brigade.

        Malaysian officials sought to minimize Sufaat’s role. Sufaat merely was a foot soldier who provided housing and false identification letters and helped obtain explosives. “I would put it this way: If Hambali [Al Qaeda’s point man in Southeast Asia] was the travel agent, Sufaat was the guy at the airport holding up the sign.” In minimizing Sufaat’s role, they failed to mention that he had been part of a secret Malaysian biological weapons program.

        Sufaat admits to having purchased 4 tons of ammonium nitrate to build a truck bomb for the Singapore cell. The Malaysian officials report that they believe that Sufaat had no knowledge of what the hijackers who stayed at his condominium or Zacarias were planning. That is consistent with the principles of cell security ordinarily followed — also evasion in interrogation. Yazid may be gracious but he is a slippery and wily fellow. At a minimum, however, the established facts relevant to the Amerithrax investigation show that in the Summer and Fall of 2001 an Al Qaeda supporter who had assisted in the 9-11 operation — and who was a lab technician working with anthrax — was in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

        Was he the fellow perceived as Filipino who the journalist met in Afghanistan in the Fall of 2001 bragging about his ability to manipulate anthrax? I think that instead of Hambali’s right-hand man, Muklis Yunos. According to Sufaat’s attorney, Sufaat gave two FBI agents no fresh evidence during a 30-minute interrogation finally conducted in November 2002 (where they mainly wanted to know how he knew Zacarias). The U.S. has asked for his extradition in connection with hosting of the two 9/11 hijackers, but Malaysia refused. President Bush reports that US officials did not fully appreciate Sufaat’s role in Al Qaeda’s anthrax program until after KSM’s capture in March 2003.

        As described in US News, a former reporter from the Kabul Times actually may have met a Filipino carrying papers from Zawahiri and bragging about his ability to manipulate anthrax. The man may have been Hambali’s lieutenant, Muklis Yunos, who had been Hambali’s right-hand man and was in charge of special operations for the Philippine Moro Islamic Liberation Front (“MILF”). British reporter Philip Smucker explained that the Afghan reporter working with him spoke fluent Arabic and made regular undercover trips into Afghanistan from Pakistan. He had visited three functioning al Qaeda camps at grave risk to his life. Smucker explains that his colleague had landed in a Kabul hotel with a Filipino scientist who had a signed letter from al Qaeda’s number two, Dr. Ayman al Zawahiri, authorizing him to help the network develop biological weapons. The man at the hotel had described his own efforts to develop an “anthrax bomb.” Filipino Muklis Yunos was an explosives expert who had participated with Yazid Sufaat in the December 2000 church bombings. Upon his arrest in May 2003, Philippine intelligence said he had received anthrax training in Afghanistan.
        Perhaps he was who the journalist encountered.

        Who does Muklis Yunos think is responsible for the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings?

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