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

* FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY: In November 2001, the IG inspected the three Army facilities that stored anthrax: USAMRIID, Dugway and Aberdeen

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 13, 2014

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5 Responses to “* FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY: In November 2001, the IG inspected the three Army facilities that stored anthrax: USAMRIID, Dugway and Aberdeen”

  1. DXer said

    It appears that no one has requested a copy of the IG report from 2001 for Dugway and Aberdeen. I finally shamed the Army into producing the one for USAMRIID. Internal emails about FOIA officers at the agencies had agreed that there was no reason not to produce it McClatchy (and I had separately sought it). But then they did not produce it… until Lew and I complained.

  2. DXer said

    Bill Nelson calls for answers after Army anthrax mishap
    • Kirby Wilson, Times Staff Writer

    Thursday, May 28, 2015 5:36pm

    The U.S. Army accidentally shipped anthrax to labs in nine different states and Sen. Bill Nelson wants answers.

    The Florida Senator, who sits as a senior member of the Armed Services Committee, wrote a letter to Army Secretary John McHugh demanding an explanation for the event that left at least 26 people in need of medical attention.

    “It is crucial that the Department of Army explain the nature and scope of these biological weapons-related activities and the measures used to keep the public and its personnel safe,” he said.

    Comment: Bill Nelson should obtain and upload a copy of the IG’s report on Dugway in 2001.

  3. DXer said

    Colonel Elliott, head of the IG Team, testified in his deposition (previously sealed and unavailable on PACER but provided today):

    Q. In any event, so your whole team,
    inclusive of the other individuals you just mentioned, went — physically went to Fort Detrick and USAMRIID; correct?
    A. Yes, sir.
    Q. And can you tell me approximately how much time your team spent on-site?
    A. Sir, we were there for two days. As far as the amount of time spent there, it would be an estimated — probably 10 to 12 hours each day.

    ***

    Q. And besides Colonel Eitzen, do you 16 recall who else you may have met with before commencing your inspection?
    A. We — When we go in for an inspection, we always have a formal in brief and a formal exit brief. And at the in brief Colonel Eitzen would have had his staff principals there. I 2can’t recall specifically who their names were, what positions they held. We were working closely with Lieutenant Colonel Carr. She was like a liaison …

    ***

    Q. Okay. Do you remember whether you ever spoke with a Doctor Bruce Ivins while you were there?
    A. No, I do not.

  4. DXer said

    Who told the FBI that Aberdeen Proving Grounds may be involved in dry work?

    3/22/2006 302

    __________ does not know anyone who does dry work. ______ thought that Aberdeen Proving Grounds may be involved in dry work. ___________ did not observe any unusual activity at USAMRIID. _____ recalled IVINS telling _____ an individual could obtain a usable stock of Bacillus anthracis (Ba) from 8 liter flasks. It was common knowledge at USAMRIID that Ba Ames was stored in the ____ suites of Building 1425. The cold rooms in these areas were not locked. Anyone could obtain materials from the walk-in coolers; use of the coolers was based on the ‘honor system.”

  5. DXer said

    Edgewood is the CW center, and has always had a hand in BW. They do aerosol testing, at least of chemical agents. There is a lot of similarity and back-and-forth with, for example Dugway (which also does CW as well as BW). It is very reasonable to suppose that they could make dry anthrax spores. And very likely had virulent Ames. Probably Battelle has a hand in running the place. Years ago I wrote the key Battelle person in Maryland across the highway from APG/Edgewood and he declined to tell me when he first acquired virulent Ames. (But we do know that Battelle had virulent Ames). As I recall, he then came to control the distribution of virulent Ames for all military experiments.

    In April 2001 report described testing of decontamination agents at Dugway. Edgewood tested nanoemulsion biocidal agents during this time period, according to a national nanobiotechnology initiative report issued June 2002. APG/Edgewood built a Biolevel-3 facility in 2001. By Oct 02 had 19 virulent strains of anthrax, including Ames. A 96 report at Edgewood involved irradiated virulent Ames provided by J. Ezzell that was used in a soil suspension. Another article discusses Delta Ames supplied to Edgewood by the Battelle-managed Dugway, subtilis, and use of sheep blood agar.

    Subtilis and use of sheep blood agar are both relevant in terms of the forensics.

    Given that Battelle had virulent Ames also, is there a reason to think that virulent Ames was not tested at APG/Edgewood? That only Delta Ames was tested?

    It is unclear whether APG/Edgewood — as opposed to, say, SRI in Frederick, MD — was the third facility to which Director Mueller was referring to in September 2008 when he told the Judiciary Committee that he would only identify in closed session the lab beyond Battelle and Dugway that was known in 2001 to make virulent Ames into a dried powder. (Director Mueller had already told Senator Leahy who later in February 2011 insisted that “The case is not closed.”)

    In addition to the Mara Linscott and Patricia Fellows civil deposition that were shredded, Colonel Elliott’s civil deposition is still sealed. Why? Did he identify the third lab — other than Battelle and Dugway — known to make a dried powder out of virulent Ames in 2001?

    GAO should make it a priority to obtain Colonel Elliott’s civil deposition in Maureen Stevens v. United States as well as the team’s notes on their inspections.

    By way of some additional background, on November 5, 2001, the Army Inspector General had been directed to conduct a special inspection of Army installations storing anthrax.

    The purpose of the November visits was the “Evaluation of Security Controls at Biological Facilities.” (Project No. D2002:#3-0005)

    At USAMRIID, Aberdeen, and Dugway, the team reviewed pertinent records and reports to include: regulations; SOPs, logs; journals; and personnel security information.

    “At a minimum, the DAIG was to assess: the adequacy of policies concerning U.S.. Army Biological Defense Programs for anthrax and identify system problems in execution; the efficacy of existing oversight for programs for anthrax research, development and acquisition; guidance regarding anthrax accountability, inventory management, and personnel training/screening, to include a current rollup of the DA anthrax inventory; and the adequacy of physical security measures for protection of anthrax stocks at Army installations.

    As an example of a finding:

    “There is evidence that maintenence personnel whose clearances are unknown are permitted sole access to labs (at times during non-duty hours).”

    Another:

    “In some instances, organizations were slow to identify all personnel with access to their various BSLs. There was no readily available current roster identifying individuals and their social security numbers, PSI type and date, clearance, and their highest approved BSL to assist with access or to moonitor the status of PSIs and clearances.”

    Team members included Evelyn, Sandra, Shelton, Mark, Michael and someone who shall remain nameless. Half had SECRET clearances and half had TOP SECRET clearances.

    (In compliance with the Privacy Act of 1974, the information is personnel data and should be redacted and protected from public disclosure.)

    The head of the team was Colonel J. Bruce Eliot.

    The team recommended that the installations should:

    “Limit access by individuals to etiologic agents … if an issue arises concerning an individuals’ security qualifications.”

    Oops. Too late.

    http://www.amerithrax.wordpress.com

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