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

* Organizational versus Individual Attribution: A Case Study of Jemaah Islamiyah and the Anthrax Plot (published 18 Dec 2013)

Posted by DXer on January 11, 2014

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39 Responses to “* Organizational versus Individual Attribution: A Case Study of Jemaah Islamiyah and the Anthrax Plot (published 18 Dec 2013)”

  1. DXer said

    Biological Warfare: From History to Current Affairs
    • Friedrich Frischknecht

    Published Online: 15 JAN 2014
    DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0003290.pub3

    “Because Ivins committed suicide, it might still be possible that the real perpetrator(s) are somewhere out there …”

    Comment: It is a common fallacy propagated by lay people that because Dr. Ivins is dead and there was no trial that it is not possible to obtain and examine the relevant evidence. Indeed, if anything, his passing has made it EASIER to obtain the relevant documents. It is only withholding and inefficient processing under FOIA that slows the process.

  2. DXer said

    Introduction to the Special Issue on Lone Wolf and Autonomous Cell Terrorism

    by Jeffrey Kaplan, Helene Loow, Leena Malkki.

    “The most likely scenario that we have to guard against right now ends up being more of a lone wolf operation than a large, well-coordinated terrorist attack. — President Barack Obama

  3. DXer said

    Terrorism and Political Violence
    Special Issue: Lone Wolf and Autonomous Cell Terrorism
    Volume 26, Issue 1, 2014

    Lone Wolf Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction: An Examination of Capabilities and Countermeasures

    Patrick D. Ellisa*
    Author affiliations
    • a U.S. Air Force Counterproliferation Center, Air University , Maxwell Air Force Base , Alabama , USA
    pages 211-225

    Published online: 20 Dec 2013


    Today, the specters of lone wolves and autonomous cells acquiring and using chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) weapons of mass destruction, whether in their traditional military forms or the more non-traditional industrial forms, seems less far-fetched. Fortunately, military CBRN agents and weapons are not normally accessible to lone wolves or autonomous cells and are often located in highly secured areas. Therefore, lone wolves and autonomous cells may be drawn to materials similar to CBRN located in less secure areas. These commonplace industrial chemicals, biological contaminants, and radioactive materials could be used to cause disruptions or mass casualties. The dual use nature of these materials and technologies enables them to be turned into weapons and delivered by nonmilitary means. Future “over-the-horizon” threats, such as the proliferation of new biotechnologies and amateur do-it-yourself capabilities, pose a risk that lone wolves could develop weapons at a time when travel, access to knowledge, and dual-use technologies, in the globalizing environment, make lone wolf terrorists more dangerous. Thus, the author explores existing countermeasures, such as laws, strategies, passive and active measures designed to stop these dangerous threats. In particular, capabilities to prevent, protect, respond, and recover from CBRN terrorist acts are examined.


    Stop New York State’s Swan Killing Plan

    • DXer said

      Terrorism and Political Violence

      Volume 26, Issue 1, 2014

      Counterinsurgency and Lone Wolf Terrorism
      George Michael
      Department of Criminal Justice, Westfield State University, Westfield, Massachusetts, USA

      pages 45-57


      The life of non-native swans is just as precious. Stop the killing of the non-native swans in your state. Let nonviolence begin with you.
      Let’s teach our children well.…0.0…1ac.1._kWyOeCL1eQ

    • DXer said

      An Army of One: Assessing CBRN Pursuit and Use by Lone Wolves and Autonomous Cells

      Gary A. Ackerman and Lauren E. Pinson
      National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA

      Anthrax, Al Qaeda and Ayman Zawahiri: The Infiltration of US Biodefense


      First do no harm.

      • DXer said

        Ackerman and Pinson (2014) write:

        “All of this can spawn, it is feared, a more deleterious breed of lone actors, what have been referred to in some quarters as ‘‘super-empowered individuals.’’8 Conceptually, super-empowered individuals are atomistic game-changers, i.e., they constitute a single (and often singular) individual who can shock the entire system (whether national, regional, or global) by relying only on their own resources. Their core characteristics are that they have superior intelligence, the capacity to use complex communications or technology systems, and act as an individual or a ‘‘lone-wolf.’’9 The end result, according to the pessimists, is that if one of these individuals chooses to attack the system, ‘‘the unprecedented nature of his attack ensures that no counter-measures are in place to prevent it. And when he strikes, his attack will not only kill massive amounts of people, but also profoundly change the financial, political, and social systems that govern modern life.’’10 It almost goes without saying that the same concerns attach to small autonomous cells, whose members’ capabilities and resources can be combined without appreciably increasing the operational footprint presented to intelligence and law enforcement agencies seeking to detect such behavior.

        With the exception of the largest truck or aircraft bombs, the most likely means by which to accomplish this level of system perturbation is through the use of CBRN agents as WMD. On the motivational side, therefore, lone actors and small autonomous cells may ironically be more likely to select CBRN weapons than more established terrorist groups—who are usually more conservative in their tactical orientation—because the extreme asymmetry of these weapons may provide the only subjectively feasible option for such actors to achieve their grandiose aims of deeply affecting the system. The inherent technical challenges presented by CBRN weapons may also make them attractive to self-assured individuals who may have a very different risk tolerance than larger, traditional terrorist organizations that might have to be concerned with a variety of consti- tuencies, from state patrons to prospective recruits.11 Many other factors beyond a ‘‘perceived potential to achieve mass casualties’’ might play into the decision to pursue CBRN weapons in lieu of conventional explosives,12 including a fetis- histic fascination with these weapons or the perception of direct referents in the would-be perpetrator’s belief system.

        Others are far more sanguine about the capabilities of lone actors (or indeed non-state actors in general) with respect to their potential for using CBRN agents to cause mass fatalities, arguing that the barriers to a successful large-scale CBRN attack remain high, even in today’s networked, tech-savvy environment.13 Dolnik, for example, argues that even though homegrown cells are ‘‘less constrained’’ in motivations, more challenging plots generally have an inverse relationship with capability,14 while Michael Kenney cautions against making presumptions about the ease with which individuals can learn to produce viable weapons using only the Internet.15 However, even most of these pundits concede that low-level CBR attacks emanating from this quarter will probably lead to political, social, and economic disruption that extends well beyond the areas immediately affected by the attack. This raises an essential point with respect to CBRN terrorism: irrespective of the harm potential of CBRN weapons or an actor’s capability (or lack thereof) to successfully employ them on a catastrophic scale, these weapons invariably exert a stronger psychological impact on audiences—the essence of terrorism—than the traditional gun and bomb. This is surely not lost on those lone actors or autonomous cells who are as interested in getting noticed as in causing casualties.”

    • DXer said

      by Beau D. Barnes

      Click to access BARNES.pdf

      Anthrax, Al Qaeda and Ayman Zawahiri: The Infiltration of US Biodefense


      • DXer said

        Why does this law student author think that potential lone wolves are poorly trained? He asserts it and offers no evidence in support. Indeed, it is the lesser skilled individuals who were more likely to make a training camp in Afghanistan their day job.

        This student author writes:

        “Lone wolf terrorists – poorly trained individuals operating alone with minimal equipment against relatively unimportant targets – do not pose an “existential threat,” or even a significant threat, to the United States.”

        “The lack of training, weapons, and manpower means that complex operations against protected targets are passed over in favor of simpler attacks against undefended targets.”

        “A small number of poorly trained and poorly equipped individuals operating alone should not cause the United States to alter the course of the ship of state.”

        For example, just in terms of computer security, the number of ideologically motivated PhDs that have surfaced on law enforcement radar is alarming.

        Dr. Ayman had 40 doctors in his own family.

    • DXer said

      Terrorism and Political Violence

      Volume 26, Issue 1, 2014
      Special Issue: Lone Wolf and Autonomous Cell Terrorism

      Toward a Profile of Lone Wolf Terrorists: What Moves an Individual From Radical Opinion to Radical Action

      Clark McCauleyab* & Sophia Moskalenkobc
      pages 69-85

      Published online: 20 Dec 2013

      Research has shown that there is no profile of individual characteristics of group-based terrorists, but profiling the characteristics of lone wolf terrorists may yet be possible. In this article, we bring together suggestions about what a lone wolf profile might look like. We describe a two-pyramids model that distinguishes radicalization of opinion from radicalization of action, then use this model to review three case histories of lone wolf terrorists. We also review results comparing two kinds of mostly lone actor violent offenders: assassins and school attackers. Results highlight the gap between radical opinion and radical action, and suggest two profiles of lone wolf terrorists: disconnected-disorderedare individuals with a grievance and weapons experience who are social loners and often show signs of psychological disorder; caring-compelled are individuals who strongly feel the suffering of others and feel a personal responsibility to reduce or avenge this suffering.

      Anthrax, Al Qaeda and Ayman Zawahiri: The Infiltration of US Biodefense


      New York State DEC Announces Plans to Kill All Mute Swans by 2025

      Stop the killing. Be the change you want to see.

    • DXer said

      Law Enforcement Tactics and Their Effectiveness in Dealing With American Terrorism: Organizations, Autonomous Cells, and Lone Wolves

      Christopher Hewitta*
      pages 58-68

      Published online: 20 Dec 2013

      The article examines law-enforcement activities in 20 cases of terrorism and 38 cases ofterrorism prevention, using published records. It proposes a seven-fold classification of police actions and examines which tactics were successful in identifying and apprehending perpetrators. Overall, in capturing those responsible for terrorist attacks, the most successful tactics were routine policing, the use of informers, and information provided by the public. Organized terrorism campaigns were most vulnerable to informers and surveillance, while the most effective tactics against lone wolves were witness identification and information from the public. The most successful terrorist preventions involved informers and surveillance.


      Terrorism and Political Violence

      Volume 26, Issue 1, 2014
      Special Issue: Lone Wolf and Autonomous Cell Terrorism

    • DXer said

      Detecting Linguistic Markers for Radical Violence in Social Media

      Katie Cohena, Fredrik Johanssona, Lisa Kaatia* &Jonas Clausen Morka
      pages 246-256

      Published online: 20 Dec 2013
      Lone-wolf terrorism is a threat to the security of modern society, as was tragically shown in Norway on July 22, 2011, when Anders Behring Breivik carried out two terrorist attacks that resulted in a total of 77 deaths. Since lone wolves are acting on their own, information about them cannot be collected using traditional police methods such as infiltration or wiretapping. One way to attempt to discover them before it is too late is to search for various “weak signals” on the Internet, such as digital traces left in extremist web forums. With the right tools and techniques, such traces can be collected and analyzed. In this work, we focus on tools and techniques that can be used to detect weak signals in the form of linguistic markers for potential lone wolf terrorism.

      in Terrorism and Political Violence

      Volume 26, Issue 1, 2014
      Special Issue: Lone Wolf and Autonomous Cell TerrorismTerrorism and Political Violence

  4. DXer said

    This article is in draft and undergoing “final markup with the publisher.” One of the authors advises me that “it’s not quite out yet, but will be publicly available in March.”

  5. DXer said

    Yazid Sufaat had told KSM that he and his assistants had all had anthrax vaccines and so it was safe to work with the virulent anthrax.

    Excerpt re anthrax and biological weapon planning: JTF-GTMO Detainee Assessment of Khalid Shaykh Muhammad
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 25, 2011

    DXer says: Adnan El-Shukrijumah is the anthrax mailer … on or about 9/13/2001, he phoned from KSM’s house to tell his mom he was coming to the US
    Posted on June 6, 2013

    Yazid Sufaat was happy with the anthrax work when he stayed with KSM for 6 days in 2001 and when he reported to Dr. Ayman on the results of his research with virulent anthrax in August 2001 with Hambali; in his correspondence with DXer, he seems happy today also (and very much in love).

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 1, 2012

    What did Al Qaeda anthrax lab head Yazid Sufaat discuss at the meeting in Kandahar with Adnan El-Shukrijumah and KSM before Adnan set off to return to the United States shortly after 9/11?

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 7, 2013

  6. DXer said

    The article above was done pursuant to a basic grant from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency HDTA 1-10-1-0017. The authors thank Ron Brieger, Rohan Gunaratna, Rene Pita and two anonymous reviewers. It seems that where there is government employment or funding, the individual avoids reliance on leaked classified material. Given that the bulk of the information about Al Qaeda’s anthrax program comes from Wikileaks’ leaked classified material, I think that is unfortunate. Admittedly, Conboy’s book, for example, was detailed and relied on some classified materials — and the authors cite that. But it is still preferable to rely on original source documents whenever possible. Here the authors refer to Yazid Sufaat’s claim he had developed some “bugs.” They cite the wonderful work by journalist Aidila Razak, Alleged Terrorist Yazid Doubts ISA Will Be Repealed,” Malaysiakini, March 22, 2012 And Gunaratna and Pita’s earlier article on the subject demonstrates their thoughtfulness and expertise. But only by studying the public and detailed interrogation reports relating to Sufaat’s work during the Spring – Fall 2001 period can we best try to reconstruct events. Yazid has said he did not cooperate with his government interrogators because he was upset he had been arrested.

    • DXer said

      The authors cite a 2005 article about the disruption of a sarin attack — which is interesting when read in light of Conboy’s fascinating discussion of Hambali and Sufaat’s interest in sarin dating to 2000.

      Police foil gas attack on Commons
      Sunday Times

      SCOTLAND YARD believes it has thwarted an Al-Qaeda gas attack aimed at ministers and MPs in parliament. The plot, hatched last year, is understood to have been discovered in coded e-mails on computers seized from terror suspects in Britain and Pakistan.

      Police and MI5 then identified an Al-Qaeda cell that had carried out extensive research and video-recorded reconnaissance missions in preparation for the attack.

      The encrypted e-mails are said to have been decoded with the help of an Al-Qaeda “supergrass”. By revealing the terrorists’ code he was also able to help MI5 and GCHQ, the government’s eavesdropping centre at Cheltenham, to crack several more plots.

      The discovery of the suspected Commons nerve gas plot was behind the decision to increase security around parliament this summer.

      A senior officer said that the scheme had led to the intervention of Eliza Manningham-Buller, head of MI5, to assess parliament’s security.

      The operation to deter the sarin gas attack is referred to in an internal police document obtained by The Sunday Times.

      It is a minute of a meeting of senior police officers held last month at Specialist Operations 17 (SO17), the unit responsible for protecting parliament, and reveals that the team were waiting to be briefed on the plot.

      This weekend a senior officer disclosed that the thwarted plot mentioned in the document involved a gas or chemical “dirty bomb” attack against parliament. “The House of Commons was one of their targets as well as the Tube,” he said.

      “They were planning to use chemicals, a dirty bomb and sarin gas. They looked at all sorts of ways of delivering it.”

      But despite the successful police operation and upgraded security measures, senior officers are worried that security at the houses of parliament remains “unacceptable”.

      The police security memo, drawn up after the July 7 attacks, reveals high-level fears that suicide terrorists could use a black cab or a visit to an exhibition to mark the 400th anniversary of the gunpowder plot.

      It discloses that a military unit — said to have been special forces — recently carried out a secret examination of security at the House of Commons. It is believed that the exercise highlighted the ease with which terrorists could kill dozens of MPs in the debating chamber.

      “(It was) felt all SO17 contingency plans should be reviewed against the new threat — a plan for a Kratos (suicide bomber) incident was required,” the minutes record. A senior officer said that he “felt particular attention should be paid to cabs entering the (parliamentary) estate”.

      The memo records: “(A senior official) expressed grave concern at the shortage of security officers. He was worried that commitments such as the forthcoming exhibition on the gunpowder plot just could not be covered. He felt that an unacceptable number of posts were being closed down.”

    • DXer said

      Early on, they also cite the Harvard report by the former top analyst for the CIA, Rolf Mowatt-Larson. This blog highlighted a footnote at the end of that report that disclosed that Jdey had been arrested at the same time as Zacarias Moussaoui and then released.

    • DXer said

      fn. 5 states: “Working under the same basic research grant detailed above, researchers from the START Center at the University of Maryland as well as from SUNY-Albany used POICN (Profiles of Incidents involving CBRN by Non-State Actors), an event-based open-source database of CBRN incidents to model predictions of terrorist organizations likely to be involved in the use or pursuit of CBRN. Variables included in the model were based on characteristics of groups known to have pursued CBRN weapons in the past. Using this model, JI was identified as a false negative because, despite a less than 2 percent likelihood predicted by the model, the open-source database has it coded as being involved in the plot to develop anthrax.”

    • DXer said

      Some additional sources cited:

      Kate Ivanova and Todd Sandler, “CBRN Attack Perpetrators: An Empirical Study,” Foreign Policy Analysis 3 (2007).

      Gary LaFree, Laura Dugan, and Derrick Franke, “The Interplay Between Terrorism, Nonstate Actors, and Weapons of Mass Destruction: An Exploration of the Pinkerton Database,” International Studies Review 7 (2005): 156–157.

      Victor H. Asal, Gary A. Ackerman, and R. Karl Rethemeyer, “Connections Can Be Toxic: Terrorist Organizational Factors and the Pursuit of CBRN Weapons,” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 35, no. 3 (2012)

      • DXer said

        “ “Toxic Connections” is here:

        Click to access Rethemeyer_ConnectionCanBeToxic_IDs.pdf


        “There is a wide variety of motivational incentives that might make the acquisition and/or use of CBRN weapons attractive to terrorists. These range from (a) ideological or psychological imperatives, such as an apocalyptic worldview or a fetishistic relationship towards technology, to (b) operational or instrumental objectives, such as the ability to inflict mass casualties or contaminate large areas, to perhaps most importantly, (c) the singularly tremendous psychological effects exerted on targeted societies by CBRN agents. There are also a host of corresponding disincentives to using these weapons,6 including possible alienation of supporters and the lack of certainty in the scope of consequences relative to conventional weapons such as high explosives. ***

        Technical and knowledge-sharing innovations are making it easier for terrorist entities to achieve a CBRN capability, which could facilitate the decision to pursue these weapons. The prospects for acquiring a CBRN capability are increasing, both as a result of technological advances and the diffusion of knowledge. The Internet, access to technical schools and universities, and the spread of “dual-use” technologies into many countries are major contributors. These dynamics facilitate terrorists’ awareness of CBRN weapons and provide new opportunities to acquire them, which might shift their weapons selection calculus towards CBRN.


        While acknowledging that the historical behavior of terrorist organizations is at best an imperfect indicator of the nature and likelihood of their future actions,23the empirical record of terrorist efforts to gain CBRN capabilities can provide insight into which factors are most relevant in an organization’s decision to pursue these weapons. It is important to reiterate the key caveat about our findings: it is based on a limited data set and is constrained like all analyses by the inability to code unclaimed attacks. Yet for all this it has yielded several insights that either have not been mentioned in the extensive literature on CBRN terrorism or have remained uncorroborated. We feel that the most important of these results are the lack of significance of several environmental variables, including state support, and the apparent ascendancy of several environmental variables, including state support, and the apparent ascendancy of organizational variables (alliance connections, inexperience, and to less certain extent, organizational size) over other factors, such as the much touted influence of religion.

        Further research will attempt to verify and extend the results obtained here, which were based on the best data available to the authors at the present time. The anticipated availability of additional historical data in the next few years will make more fine-grained tests possible. A larger data set would allow researchers to delve more deeply into each specific agent type to investigate whether the decision to use CBRN differs across the various types of CBRN weapons, or whether different factors drive decisions to pursue CBRN weapons specifically designed to cause mass casualties. Performing additional analysis by including a greater number of possible causal variables (for instance, a more robust variable for technological development)would also give us more information about which of the three abovementioned categories of variables is most determinative of the intent or capability to employ CBRN.

        Studies such as this one are not intended to replace in-depth contextual studies of the motives and operations of terrorist organizations that have pursued CBRN weapons. Rather, they are designed to supplement such analyses by deriving novel insights from the accumulated historical record. Recently, the research on WMD has been characterized as having reached an “interpretive impasse(Ackerman 2005).” The authors hope that this preliminary study will spur future explorations and help break new ground in understanding one of the most vexing current security issues.”


        Victor H. Asal, Gary A. Ackerman, and R. Karl Rethemeyer, “Connections Can Be Toxic: Terrorist Organizational Factors and the Pursuit of CBRN Weapons,” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 35, no. 3 (2012)

        Al Qaeda, Anthrax and Ayman Zawahiri: The Infiltration of US Biodefense

      • DXer said

        Bioweapons expert Jonathan Tucker noted in his 2010 NATO briefing that skeptics had pointed out numerous holes in the FBI’s “Ivins Theory” (and see 2013 book)
        Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 5, 2012

    • DXer said

      The authors also cite

      Aidila Razak, “Ex-ISA Detainee Yazid Says He Met Osama,” Malaysiakini, March 20, 2012,

    • DXer said

      They cite Joby Warrick, “Suspect and A Setback In Al-Qaeda Anthrax Case,” The Washington Post, 2006, dyn/content/article/2006/10/30/AR2006103001250.html. It is a pity that no journalist succeeded in obtaining an on the record interview of Rauf Ahmad. Joby tells me the ISI had consented to have the local correspondent interview him but then backpedaled. I always found Rauf Ahmad in email contact to be responsive to emails but he always wanted money before he would provide any substantive answers.

    • DXer said

      The FBI was satisfied with a voluntary statement provided Agent Borelli by Rauf Ahmad that he provided over tea and cookies at an ISI safehouse.

    • DXer said

      The authors cite one of my all-time favorite articles — Lawrence Wright, “The Man Behind Bin Laden,” The New Yorker, September 16, 2002, 21. The article explains that Heba Zawahiri was greatly upset over her brother Mohammed’s rendition. (Heba taught microbiology at Cairo Medical.) Now she would be a fascinating interview.

    • DXer said

      The authors write:

      “In fact, just prior to working with Sufaat, he funded Pakistani scientist, Abdur Rauf Ahmed,39 to cultivate anthrax. Conflict over money, Rauf’s dedication, and lack of definitive progress, however, put an end to the relationship.40 It was at this point that Zawahiri reached out to Hambali for assistance.41”

      I don’t have a hard copy in front of me and so it is cumbersome to parse out the sourcing for what has long been a consensus view. But I believe the more updated, slightly tweaked view is that the roles played by Rauf and Yazid were parallel and somewhat overlapping. For example, the SFAM director in the UK confirmed to me that Rauf attended both the 1999 and 2000 SFAM conferences sponsored by Porton Down. The correspondence given to me by DIA related to the planning of the anthrax lab only to 1999. (I have no information about his work in 2000 or the 2001 conference which was sponsored by USAMRIID). We have the MI5 book about him being intercepted upon leaving UK on one occasion. By Fall 2000, however, when Rauf was attending the 2000 conference on anthrax, Yazid and Hambali already were interviewing scientists for Zawahiri’s anthrax program in Southeast Asia. See Conboy. It may be the Harvard WMD report by the top CIA analyst that makes the point that they were parallel and overlapping.

      The general point about Rauf’s motivation, though, is on-the-mark IMO. (OTOH, Hambali also always submitted his receipts and focused on capital from Al Qaeda.) I think the safest characterization is that Sufaat wasn’t hurting for money and was more highly religious than Rauf. Rauf says he was modestly paid and not happy with what his day job was paying. At one point, as I recall the correspondence uploaded to this blog, he complained to Dr. Ayman that the money he had was enough for the vaccine but not the pathogen also. Rauf continued to be motivated by money and sought money from me in exchange for his cooperation. He asked if there was an opportunity for a paid sabattical. (I credit that my email correspondence was with Rauf although I’m told that “man in the middle” is a common hacking technique).

      Rohan’s friend Milton wrote a 2005 treatise that took the DIA letters and omitted the first sentence to the effect: “The targets have been achieved.” As I’ve told Milton, he was obligated to disclose the sentence and then give his interpretation. Rauf’s mission — and he had multiple visits to the UK and Europe over the course of a couple years — was to obtain virulent anthrax. This discussion of the correspondence illustrates well the importance of providing copies of the source material so that one is not dependent on someone’s interpretation. Milton once called me in 2002 and told me that everyone knew his biases. I didn’t and still don’t. And I don’t know what his wife was doing in Afghanistan. I don’t see biases as the problem necessarily — I see a failure to disclose the contemporaneous documentary evidence as the important issue. If Rohan and Rene have been unduly influenced by Milton, perhaps Yazid Sufaat or some of the other detainees can fill in any missing gaps in evidence relating to Al Qaeda’s anthrax program. In time, when the gaps are filled, everyone can be on the same page and be apprised by authors, whatever their biases, of what the page says.

  7. DXer said

    Personality, Ideology and Bush’s Terror Wars


    Mr. Suskind’s book also reveals that Qaeda operatives had designed a delivery system (which they called a “mubtakkar”) for a lethal gas, and that the United States government had a Qaeda source who said that plans for a hydrogen cyanide attack on New York City’s subway system were well under way in early 2003, but the attack was called off — for reasons that remain unclear — by Osama bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri. The book also reports that Al Qaeda had produced “extremely virulent” anthrax in Afghanistan before 9/11, which “could be easily reproduced to create a quantity that could be readily weaponized.”

  8. DXer said

    The authors of this article, which I have not read yet, are focused on what motivated Hambali and Yazid Sufaat of JI to turn to bioweapons in the context of their relationship with Al Qaeda..

    They explain their academic approach:

    “Scholars began factoring the influence of an organizational environment in the early 1970s when scholars like Howard Aldrich argued for an open systems approach to the study of organizations,”

    In the late 1970s, I took every course I could from Professor Aldrich. Aside from Archibald Cox, he was my all-time favorite professor. (Howard’s chalkboard graphing of the inequality of wealth in the US is the single most memorable take-home from higher education.) My copy of his very readable, seminal book in the field (perhaps called ORGANIZATIONS AND ENVIRONMENTS) was well-worn. I wrote him not so long ago when I saw him mentioned in a book’s credits (perhaps of SPYING BLIND).

    I’m old school, however. I think if you want to know what motivated Yazid, the place to start is to ask him.

    On a minor note, as I turn to read the article, I note that before publication the authors should correct the timeline as to the date of Yazid’s arrest. It was December 2001, not September 2001. He lived with KSM as did Adnan El-Shukrijumah. I have ventured Adnan is the anthrax mailer. Adnan called his mother after 911 to say he was coming to the US. Yazid was not arrested until December 2001 when he attempted to enter Malaysia. Below I share some of the intelligence explaining Sufaat’s time in Karachi after 911 when he was interacting with Hambali about future plans.

    • DXer said

      The authors say that the “data about the anthrax plot is limited.” The authors rely on articles from World News Connection. Instead, the authors might better have relied on the interrogation reports leaked by Wikileaks that Lew has uploaded. It is always preferable to rely on raw detainee reports, as corroborated, than news articles. For example, the KSM report specifically explains that Sufaat and his two assistants were vaccinated and so there was no danger in working with virulent anthrax.

    • DXer said

    • DXer said

      Here is strong support for a conclusion that Hambali was turning to Al Qaeda for money:

      “The captive (Hambali) kept insisting that JI was breaking down because of those who had been captured.

      “All the group’s savings have been lost to raids and arrests. JI is now totally dependent on al-Qaida for money.”

      JI was “destroyed”. ”

      Terrorist Hambali tells all (al-Qaeda wanted to build bio-weapons plant in Indonesia )
      The Sunday Times ^ | October 12 2003 | LINCOLN WRIGHT
      Posted on October 11, 2003

      BALI bombing mastermind Hambali has told interrogators how al-Qaida funded the attack that killed 202, including 88 Australians, a year ago today.

      The terrorist is being held under strict security by US intelligence agents on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia.

      Hambali, also known as Riduan Isamuddin, also has told agents al-Qaida wanted to build a bio-weapons plant in Indonesia to produce weapons to deliver the deadly biological agent anthrax.

      He revealed that the Islamic network of terrorist cells known as Jemaah Islamiah had recruited American-trained scientist Yazid Sufaat to oversee the project.

      He has studied chemistry at California State University in Sacramento and is under arrest in Malaysia.

      Hambali also said JI had been crippled by almost 200 arrests following the Bali blasts.

      But he boasted the organisation still had widespread grassroots support in Indonesia and through South-East Asia.

      The Sunday Times has details from an interview transcript in which Hambali also admitted complicity in the Jakarta Marriott Hotel blast in August, which killed 12.

      He also explained his links to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the September 11 attacks in New York.

      During his interrogation, West Java-born Hambali said JI had almost been destroyed after the Bali bombings because of the arrests and raids that followed the attack.

      He said JI was in a “very bad” state.

      The transcript of Hambali’s comments read:

      “The captive (Hambali) kept insisting that JI was breaking down because of those who had been captured.

      “All the group’s savings have been lost to raids and arrests. JI is now totally dependent on al-Qaida for money.”

      JI was “destroyed”.
      The interrogation transcript reveals that Hambali’s arrest has led to new insights into how the Bali bombings were planned – and that JI still had enough surplus cash or explosives to carry out further attacks. Indonesian police fear that terrorists still have 300kg of explosives packed into two bombs ready to be used.

      The Australian Federal Police and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation are believed to have been provided with full transcripts of the Diego Garcia interrogations.

      They are helping Operation Alliance – Australia’s investigation into the Bali blasts.

      Hambali is the former operations chief of JI in South-East Asia.

      He was also the point man for Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network, the group behind the US attacks.

      Hambali was arrested in Thailand in August. In the interrogations, Hambali revealed how a sophisticated courier network – stretching from Thailand, through Malaysia to Indonesia – allowed funds to travel by hand to the bombers behind the Bali and Jakarta attacks.

      Hambali fingered his brother, Gunawan, as a main conduit to al-Qaida. Now under arrest, his 26-year-old brother was a messenger between Hambali and al-Qaida, at times even passing on cash.

      Hambali’s interrogator noted: “After giving some phone numbers and addresses to his brother or vice versa, al-Qaida’s operatives began to make direct contact with (Hambali’s) messenger and made specific operational actions/transactions, including money transfers.”

      Hambali revealed how an email from Indonesia, saying “I am starting a business and I need capital”, was really a coded request for funds to attack the Marriott hotel in Jakarta.

      Hambali provided $30,000 to fund the Marriott bombing and wanted a further $15,000 put aside for the families of the Bali bombers.

      Hambali planned to carry out bombings in Thailand against the US and British embassies, nightclubs in Phuket and Pattaya, and the Israeli check-in counter at Bangkok’s Don Muang airport.

      Hambali and two al-Qaida assistants also considered attacking an Israeli restaurant, with a Star of David above it, in the backpacker area of Khao San Rd.

      But they were deterred by strong police presences.

  9. DXer said

    Kenneth J. Conboy in the 2006 The Second Front: Inside Asia’s Most Dangerous Terrorist Network, at p. 105.

    “But among the highest levels of al-Qaeda, they continued to forge the closest regional links with Jemaah Islamiyah…. Reciprocally, Jemaah Islamiya continued to support plots being championed by al-Qaeda. Some of these revolved around al-Qaeda’s fixation with biological and chemical weapons. In the third quarter of 2000, while heading to tour the Ambon battlefield, [JI military commander] Hambali and Sufaat again detoured to Bogor to meet with the microbiologist they had seen the previous year.

    Not much had changed in the interim. Still looking to supplement his meager government income, the scientist handed his guests a box of Chinese ear mushrooms he had grown in his lab. Please look for markets in Malaysia, he implored the two Jemaah Islamiyah members. Most of their subsequent conversations were limited to mushroom cultivation and other business opportunities. But toward the end of their two-day stay, the tone changed. Probing gently, Hambali and Sufaat asked if the scientist could establish his own laboratory in Bogor. He answered in the affirmative.

    Sufaat probed earlier. Five years earlier, Japanese doomsday cult members had produced sarin nerve gas and released it into the Tokyo subway system, killing a dozen and wounding 6,000. Sufaat asked the scientist whether he was familiar with sarin. He admitted he new little about the nerve agent, but was willing to learn more.

    Finally, Sufaat asked about anthrax. This spore was too common to Indonesia, where a strain sometimes afflicted cattle herds. But a different, more deadly version was fatal to humans in even the smallest airborne quantities. Again, the scientist admitted little about anthrax.

    As the two Jemaah Islamiyah members departed Bogor for Ambon, they compared notes about the scientist. As during the first visit, Sufaat thought his abilities were sufficient for al-Qaeda’s needs. Hambali, however, was less positive. The scientist was an innocent, he said, and they could not risk exposing him to their true intent. Hambali’s pessimism won the day.”

    • DXer said

      After 911, Hambali and Sufaat went to Karachi.

      Peter Conboy reports that while awaiting for additional equipment to be shipped, Yazid Sufaat

      “had been giving biology lessons to two al-Qaeda apprentices, a Sudanese and a Palestinian who previously worked as a technician at a medical lab in Karachi. As both apprentices had graduated from a Pakistan university in Hyderabad, they suggested that Sufaat enroll as a student at that university’s biology department; using his student status as cover, he could discreetly continue their anthrax testing in Pakistan.

      But Sufaat yearned to return to Southeast Asia. Thinking aloud with Hambali, he suggested the possibility of shifting the anthrax program to Indonesia. He also mentioned a media report that the aircraft carrier KITTY HAWK — which was the centerpiece of the U.S. naval battle group launching strikes against Afghanistan from the Arabian Sea — would be passing by Singapore in the coming months en route to its home port in Japan; resurrecting KSM’s earlier plan to recruit Indonesian commercial pilots, Sufaat talked up using a suicide operative to crash an airliner into the U.S. warship.”

    • DXer said

      Author Peter Conboy writes:

      “During the first days of March 2001, Hambali, along with other senior foreign jihadists residing in Afghanistan, was beckoned to Kabul. There, a giddy bin Laden announced that the Taliban government, ignoring world outrage, had decided to demolish the two massive Buddhas carved into the sandstone cliffs at Bamiyan. …

      “When not hosting these trainees, Hambali marketed time at al-Qaeda’s media committee house. The personnel assigned to that committee collected news from Arabic media outlets, especially al-Jazeera, then disseminated it in various languages to sympathizers around the world. They also produced propaganda videos, also for worldwide dissemination.

      Very quickly, Hambali was tapped for a priority assignment. Picking up a theme from the previous year, al-Qaeda’s senior military commander Mohammed Atef wanted to fast-track an anthrax program and asked Hambali if he had identified an expert that could establish and run a laboratory.

      As it turned out, Hambali had the perfect candidate in mind. Yazid Sufaat, the Malaysian laboratory owner who had helped him brainstorm other candidates that could help al-Qaeda with a biological weapons program, had just arrived in Afghanistan to take a one-month terrorist primer at Camp al-Farouq near Khost. As soon as Sufaat was finished, Hambali beckoned him to his Kandahar house, then, using his broken Arabic to the best of his ability, brokered an introduction to Atef.

      Sufficiently impressed, Atef directed that the two meet with the al-Qaeda deputy commander, Ayman Al-Zawahiri. Almost immediately, they were granted an audience with the Egyptian at the media committee house. Thought it was the first time either had met al-Qaeda’s deputy chief, it turned out they had common ground: after al-Qaeda’s May 1996 expulsion from Sudan, al-Zawahiri had taken a four-month sabbatical in Malaysia on his way to Afghanistan.

      Al-Zawahiri wasted no time grilling Sufaat. Both were from the medical profession — al-Zawahiri the surgeon, Sufaat the medical technician — so the former was able to ask pointed questions about the Malaysian’s schooling and lab experience. At no point did he talk about biological weapons or how al-Qaeda intended to use them.

      Like Atef, Al-Zawahiri concurred that Sufaat was the man to head their anthrax program. He immediately assigned a Yemeni and a Palestinian as understudies, then had Mohammed Atef allocate US $5,000 for Sufaat to purchase laboratory equipment.”

      [n. 168. Sufaat had actually proposed a budget of US$10,000, but al-Qaeda granted only about half that amount. ]


      That May, Sufaat ventured to Karachi on the first of several purchasing trips over the ensuing quarter. After amassing what was described as a “roomful” of lab supplies, he sent word to KSM that he needed assistance transferring it to Kandahar. Two local al-Qaeda operatives soon arrived and helped load the crates into a truck belonging to a relief agency that regularly shuttled supplies to Afghanistan. While this cargo began the slow journey north from Karachi, Sufaat and his apprentices wasted no time returning to Afghanistan and taking over a room inside Kandahar’s Omar Hospital. There, with a handful of microbiology journals and whatever rudimentary equipment was on hand, they began the tedious process of trying to isolate the anthrax strain.”

    • DXer said

      At page 150, author Kenneth J. Conboy* write in his 2006 book:

      “In actuality, KSM envisioned Jemaah Islamiyah members for a range of suicide operations. Over the previous few months, he had pieced together an elite cell of Southeast Asians who had pledged to martyr themselves on al-Qaeda missions against the United States. Probably to overcome language barriers, all of them were English-speaking Malaysian nationals and all were longtime members of Mantiqi 1. Heading the cell was Masran bin Arshad, a trusted operative who had couriered money from Pakistan on previous occasions and most recently had been assisting Sufaat set up his rudimentary anthrax lab in Kandahar. ….

      The rest of the cell included….

      KSM had chosen well, as four of these would-be martyrs now saw themselves as more al-Qaeda than Jemaah Islamiyah.”

      errrata: Twice above I was mistaken as to the author’s name. It is Kenneth J. Conboy. He also authored the INTEL: Inside Indonesia’s Intelligence Service, by Kenneth J. Conboy

      • DXer said

        Yazid Sufaat,

        Masran bin Arshad, who helped you set up the lab in May 2001, was arrested. His whereabouts are unknown. What does he say about your abilities?

        October 2001-February 2002: KSM’s Attempt to Duplicate 9/11 Plot on West Coast of US Fizzles

        The Library Tower in Los Angeles. It is later renamed the US Bank Tower. [Source: Kim D. Johnson / Associated Press]
        9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM) attempts to organize a follow up attack to the 9/11 attacks. Beginning in October 2001, KSM and Hambali, a top al-Qaeda leader in Southeast Asia, recruit four operatives for the new plot, all of them Malaysian:
        Mohamad Farik Amin (a.k.a. Zubair).
        Mohammed Nazir Bin Lep (a.k.a. Lillie).
        Zaini Zakaria.
        Masran bin Arshad.
        The plan is for these operatives to blow up the doors to airplane cockpits using shoe bombs, take over flying the aircraft, and then crash them into US buildings—essentially the same technique as was used in the 9/11 attacks, except with the addition of the shoe bomb and the use of East Asians instead of Middle Easterners. Apparently several buildings are initially targeted. KSM will later name them as the Library Tower in Los Angeles (later renamed the US Bank tower), the Sears Tower in Chicago, the Empire State Building in New York, and a tall building in Washington State. But the plot soon focuses on just the Library Tower, the tallest building on the West Coast of the US, due to a lack of pilots. The members of the plot go to Afghanistan and swear an oath of loyalty to Osama bin Laden, and then continue to train with Hambali in Asia. However, the plot does not go far because Zakaria, the only trained pilot of the group (see (Spring 2000)), drops out in late 2001, saying he has small children to consider. In February 2002, bin Arshad, the leader of the four operatives, is arrested and other other members decide the plot has been canceled. Zakaria turns himself in to Malaysian authorities in 2002, and apparently remains in detention in Malaysia without being charged. Amin and Bin Lep will be arrested in 2003 with Hambali and taken into US custody (see August 12, 2003). Amin, Bin Lep, and Hambali will all be transferred to Guantanamo prison as high-value detainees in 2006 (see September 2-3, 2006). It is unknown who arrests bin Arshad or what becomes of him. [TIME, 10/5/2003; TIME, 10/6/2003; WHITE HOUSE, 2/9/2006;ASSOCIATED PRESS, 2/10/2006; US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, 3/10/2007 ]

      • DXer said

        Marwan Hadid al-Suri, who was assisting Yazid Sufaat at Omar Hospital in May 2001 and then helped set up the anthrax lab in Kandahar later that month, was killed in 2006 in northwestern Pakistan. Marwan al-Suri, 38, was said to be a close aide of al-Qaida No. 2 Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri.

        Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 15, 2011

      • DXer said

        Marwan Hadid worked at Omar Hospital assisting Yazid Sufaat. Hadid was a hematology technician. In May 2001, Yazid Sufaat reportedly was attempting to cultivate anthrax there.

    • DXer said

      In Second Front: Inside Asia’s Most Dangerous Terrorist Network, best-selling author Ken Conboy pieces together the planning and execution of JI’s most deadly terrorist acts from exclusive interviews and classified reports. In details never before revealed, it delves into the minds of the group’s leaders — from the professional bomb expert Azhari to the al-Qaeda proxy Hambali. The 2006 book jacket notes: He is “country manager for Risk Management Advisory, a private security consultant in Jakarta. Prior to that, he served as deputy director at the Asian Studies Center, an influential Washington-based think tank, where his duties including writing policy papers for the U.S. Congress and Executive on economic and strategic relations with the nations of South and Southeast Asia.”

      “A graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and of Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced Interational Studies, Conboy was also a visiting fellow at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, and has lived in Indonesia since 1992.

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