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

* Deposition of Reynolds M. Salerno, PhD (head of Sandia team that inspected USAMRIID)

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 16, 2014

 

 

http://mrmc.amedd.army.mil/content/foia_reading_room/Deposition/145-FOI-12817%20(Getman)%20Deposition%20of%20Dr.%20Salerno%20Redacted%20for%20Release.pdfScreen shot 2014-04-15 at 10.43.05 AM

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21 Responses to “* Deposition of Reynolds M. Salerno, PhD (head of Sandia team that inspected USAMRIID)”

  1. DXer said

    If I were the CDC, I would invite Dr. Salerno to lead the review team. He wrote the book on biosafety and biosecurity. The other scientists are highly expert in their scientific fields — but the relevant expertise that is needed is biosafety and biosecurity — not something like phylogenetics.

  2. DXer said

    It belatedly occurred to me that as I recall, the security certificate does not match at the USAMRIID Electronic Reading Room. I don’t get the notice because I clicked through years ago. I was told by the FOIA person years ago that is because the FBI or someone checks to see who visits. If that is any sort of concern, it is best you don’t visit. This blog would make a far better “honey pot” because no notice is given. Anyone is free to upload it and the other depositions being uploaded elsewhere. I have had difficulty uploading the particular format to dropbox.

  3. DXer said

    French Lab Loses SARS Vials
    By SYDNEY LUPKIN
    39 minutes ago

    http://news.yahoo.com/french-lab-loses-sars-vials-202130076.html

    A French lab has lost more than 2,000 vials containing fragments of the deadly SARS virus, which killed nearly 800 people in a 2003 epidemic across four continents.

    Schaffner said the virus fragments were likely stored in a lab refrigerator and forgotten about until the lab did inventory. He said the best case scenario is that they were accidentally incinerated and destroyed. The worst case scenario is that we will never know what happened to them.

    “It reminds us that each and every lab must have rigorous safety procedures,” Schaffner said. “People must be trained, and there has to be good supervision.”

    • DXer said

      Leonard Cole in his book “The Anthrax Letters: A Bioterrorism Expert Investigates the Attack That Shocked America: Case Closed?” received an email from Michele Mock from Pasteur Institute that “No, we never had the Ames strain at Pasteur.”

      Professor Cole, quoting Richard Spertzel, an UNSCOM inspector,

      “We know the Iraqis obtained many strains of anthrax from the Pasteur Institute,” he said, “but we only know what two of them were.” (In March 2003, I inquired of Michele Mock, director of the Institute’s ANnual Report on Toxins and Baterical Pathogenis, if the Ames strain ahd ever been stocked there. Her e-mail reply: “No, we hever had the Ames strain at Pasteur.”)

      How would this relate to September 11 and Osama bin Laden?

      Spertzel said there is evidence that demonstrates a connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda.”

      On this SARS story, I believe the 2300+ small vials were stored in 29 boxes.

    • DXer said

      What was Dr. Spertzel’s source for this statement in his August 5, 2008 essay in the Wall Street Journal?

      He wrote:

      “Four French government laboratories reported on studies with the Ames strain, citing the Pasteur Institute in Paris as the source of the strain they used. Organism DNA is not a very reliable way to make a case against a scientist.”

      ***

      Mr. Spertzel, head of the biological-weapons section of Unscom from 1994-99, was a member of the Iraq Survey Group.

      Bruce Ivins Wasn’t the Anthrax Culprit, Wall Street Journal,
      By RICHARD SPERTZEL
      August 5, 2008; Page A17

      • DXer said

        Here’s a link to Dr. Spertzel’s opinion piece. RS would have to provide his sourcing so that it could be assessed. The key, of course, is that the studies reported involved virulent Ames and date to BEFORE Fall 2001 (at least as to when Ames was reportedly provided).

        “Bruce Ivins Wasn’t the Anthrax Culprit”

        By RICHARD SPERTZEL
        Updated Aug. 5, 2008 12:01 a.m. ET

        http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB121789293570011775?mg=id-wsj

        • DXer said

          Dr. Spertzel’s argument in 2007 did not refer to the literature. But given his decades of experience and expertise in the field, he would be the go-to person as to what reports he was relying on.

          An excerpt of his 2007 discussion provides some additional detail of his technical views:

          http://www.lauriemylroie.com/files/Spertzel_on_Shoham_Jacobsen2.htm

          There is no doubt that the material in the Daschle and Leahy letters as well as the AMI building contained a hydrophilic silica. The polyglass binder came from the FBI itself. I have learned of the addition of the weak like-charge from several sources including some on the inside of the investigations. The pharmaceutical industry is interested in this because, as the authors state it also increases retention of the small particles in the lung. Normally this retention is around 40%, but the like-charge increases this approaching 100%. I suspect this was the interest of whoever did this.
          I hope this helps. If you desire more comments, let me know. . . .

          Richard Spertzel
          April 7, 2007

        • DXer said

          I’ve always favored an Alibek view: It’s possible to make a sophisticated product using a simple method — and the knowledge of states is held and transmitted by individuals. Relatedly, I think it is a mistake to underestimate men with the work ethic of Dr. Ayman and Mr. Yazid.

          Al Qaeda anthrax lab tech says he had been part of Malaysian Armed Forces biological weapons program
          Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 23, 2012

          https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/al-qaeda-anthrax-lab-tech-says-he-had-been-part-of-malaysian-armed-forces-biological-weapons-program/

        • DXer said

          The FBI saying it is “naturally occurring” is just word play intended to obscure things for national security reasons. Dr. Majidi acknowledges that it could have been in the growth medium. It is still “intentionally added” — and of course the anthrax is being processed in a way for use as a weapon. Beyond that, “weaponization” is just a “buzz word” that has been used to obscure what the true experts like John Kiel are saying.

      • DXer said

        Here is a new book on Amerithrax.

        “Amérithrax” de John N. Turner chez Ed. de l’Aube (La Tour-d’Aigue, France)

        Créé le 14/04/2014 à 15h20 — Mis à jour le 14/04/2014
        http://www.20minutes.fr/livres/1351581-20140414-amerithrax-john-n-turner-chez-ed-aube-la-tour-d-aigue-france

        Lew is fluent in French and often lives there. But I’ve taken the liberty of emailing the author of this new book in French on Amerithrax my questions about whether Dr. Spertzel’s statements are corroborated by articles in the French-language.

        I also have asked for promotional materials in English so that I might pass on the news of his book.

        The book seems substantial. Although I may be wrong, I think John is a bacteriologist. (I communicated in mime with the girl from France who stayed with us this summer.)

      • DXer said

        I may not understand it or be able to speak it, but the language certainly looks beautiful.

        http://la-vie-en-noir.blog.lejdd.fr/2014/01/08/amerithrax/
        ← L’Ouest, le vraiCoke en Stock →
        Amerithrax

        Publié le 8 janvier 2014 par Karen Lajon

        C’est tiré d’une histoire vraie. Nous sommes en 2001. Le World Trade Center est en miettes. Mohammed Atta et ses boys ont accompli l’un des attentats les plus spectaculaires de ce siècle et ont pulvérisé le cœur financier de Manhattan. L’Amérique est à genoux, l’hystérie collective à son comble, lorsqu’une nouvelle menace débarque dans la vie des Américains : l’anthrax ou la maladie du charbon. Cette poudre grise et pas toujours visible serait à l’origine d’une personne décédée. John. N Turner bactériologiste de profession s’est donc inspiré de cet événement historique pour un premier roman plutôt bien enlevé. Il retrace avec un rythme soutenu l’enquête de l’époque et les gros ratés du FBI, dans son ouvrage Amerithrax. Le même nom que portait l’enquête à l’époque.

        Darrin Speman est un employé type de l’Agence fédérale américaine. Sa vocation lui vient de l’enfance « lorsque la télévision vomissait des séries d’espionnage qui répandaient l’angoisse de l’invasion de la vermine rouge. Après une année de biologie et de courtes études de droit, il frappa directement à la porte du Bureau fédéral ». Speman se dépeint volontiers « comme un pitoyable rat d’administration, un esclave volontaire du FBI ». Divorcé depuis dix ans, il vit entre son bureau et son appartement où la télé marche en permanence, sans ami ou copine attitrée. Et c’est précisément, ce « rat » sans relief qui va être plongé dans la plus grande enquête bio-terroriste de ces dernières années.

        Tout débute en Floride. Un cas de méningite à l’anthrax est diagnostiqué. Premier mort. Puis ce sera un deuxième cas, dans le même État. Une cellule de crise est monté rapido en Floride. Mais la contagion est en marche. A New-York, une jeune femme qui travaille pour NBC Nightly News, une des grandes chaînes de télé américaine, sort de chez le dermatologue le plus prisé de Manhattan. Elle est inquiète, son médecin habituel lui a diagnostiquée une piqure d’araignée mal placée. Elle pense plutôt que c’est sa bretelle de soutien gorge qui l’a irritée. Elle bosse dans la presse, elle a suivi les premiers développements de ces cas d’anthrax et elle confie au toubib qu’elle manipule les courriers tous les jours. Le médecin ne se précipite pas mais confirme que « cette croute noirâtre qui sort de la pulpe de son index ganté ne lui fait pas penser à une piqure d’araignée ». L’anthrax sera confirmé plus tard. A toute grande enquête, grand changement: Darrin qui avait pourtant toujours refusé de se faire raser la moustache (il voulait cacher une cicatrice humiliante datant de son enfance) décide d’offrir au monde un nouveau visage désormais sans poil. Il y a des règles au Bureau, les G Men ne portent ni la barbe ni la moustache. Darrin rentre finalement dans le rang. En attendant, il y a quatre autres victimes, en Virginie, New-York et la Nouvelle-Angleterre. « Il n’a pas écopé de l’affaire du 11 septembre, mais la chance lui a peut-être souri ». Il s’imagine plus facile de mettre la main sur l’expéditeur de ces lettres mortelles que sur Ben Laden. S’il savait.

        Les G Men pataugent dans une enquête qui devient de plus en plus médiatique. Jusqu’à la missive du 9 octobre, à Trenton, New-Jersey qui affiche en lettres majuscules irréguliers et en majuscule : « Vous ne pouvez pas nous arrêter. Nous avons cet anthrax. Vous mourrez maintenant. Avez-vous peur? Mort à l’Amérique. Mort à Israël. Allah est grand ». L’affiche est belle, on est en plein drame post-11 septembre, alors la piste Al-Qaïda est tentante. Mais …

        Darrin fait connaissance d’une unité qui lui était jusqu’ici inconnu : l’USPIS, United States Postal Inspection Service. Elle sera associée a une force de frappe multi-agences créée spécialement pour l’occasion: la Task Force Anthrax. Darrin se voit déjà en haut de l’affiche, lui le héros qui aura débusqué le criminel. Ce n’est pas vraiment ce qui va se passer. Sept années de longues enquêtes pour rien, ou quasiment. Le livre raconte dans le détail le harcèlement (véridique) auquel se livra le FBI envers un homme qu’il soupçonne d’être le coupable. Cela coûtera aux hommes de feu Edgard Hoover, la bagatelle de et une image ternie auprès du public qui déjà se gaussait d’une autre agence gouvernementale, celle de la CIA. Le FBI s’attaque ensuite a un autre suspecte potentiel qui se suicidera avant de passer en procès. Sept années pour rien. Aujourd’hui, on ne sait toujours pas qui a envoyé les lettres pleines d’anthrax et provoqué ainsi la mort d’innocents. Hormis de petites attaques mesquines et très anti françaises (il semblerait que ce soit tendance), le roman de Turner est prometteur. La lecture se fait à la mitraillette, un peu d’ailleurs, comme l’écriture de l’auteur. Turner est un scientifique cela se sent, il rend très bien compte de la difficulté que les agents du bureau ont eu à l’époque, à traduire les données scientifiques auxquelles ils ne comprenaient légitimement rien. Amerithrax est un encas qui se dévore. Verdict final pour le deuxième ouvrage s’il y en a un, et s’il s’appuie sur autre chose qu’une histoire vraie.

        Amerithrax de John N.Turner, Collection Aube Noire, 464 pages, 23 Euros.

        • DXer said

          I think I at least understand “tour de force.” :

          La revue de presse Michaëlle Petit – La Croix du 9 avril 2014
          Anthrax. Voilà bien un mot qui nous replonge illico en septembre 2001 au coeur de New York, sur les cendres encore fumantes des Tours écroulées…
          Voici donc, treize ans plus tard, le roman «policier» de l’anthrax, efficacement bien nommé : Amérithrax. Un pavé de plus de 500 pages, mais un pavé qui s’avale aussi facilement qu’un documentaire bien renseigné où bons et méchants font palpiter un juste tempo de suspense. Son mystérieux auteur sous pseudo – John N. Turner, français, bactériologiste spécialiste de la «maladie du charbon», amoureux des States selon son minimaliste blog (turnerjohnn.wix.com/john-n-turner-site) – réussit en effet le tour de force de passionner («Attendez-vous à être contaminé» proclame d’ailleurs la couverture du livre) le lecteur avec une histoire vraie dont le déroulement et finalement le dénouement sont connus depuis quelques années maintenant…
          500 pages comme une série télévisée bien addictive.

          Comment: So I am guessing it is a fast-paced police procedural based on the true story — with the protagonist an FBI bacteriologist. A favorite niece is from France and is studying for her PhD in French literature at Cornell. So I will at least get a copy for family members who speak French.

        • DXer said

          John writes to confirm:

          “my book is a crime novel based on a true story. Most part of “Amérithrax” is fictional, so character names, places names have been changed.

          If you are looking for new information about the investigation, you may end disapointed.

          I have used information available in previous insvestigation books and in material released by the FBI, the department of justice, newspapers and local police authorities. You should keep in mind that my book is fictional, and my goal was set up likely characters by using my own creativity, not to tell a true story. I was interested in the story as a whole, because the story is amazing, but it not a quest of truth at all.”

          I’m greatly looking forward to reading it.

      • DXer said

        Here is a thoughtful piece in FASB about Amerithrax by a Institut Pasteur author. I have written him to ask if the Institute had virulent Ames as Dr. Spertizel stated.

        Institut Pasteur

        American Anthrax: Fear, Crime, and the Investigation of the Nation’s Deadliest Bioterror Attack by Jeanne Guillemin Times Books, Henry Holt and Company New York, New York, USA
        • Henri Korn1

        ‘http://www.fasebj.org/content/26/4/1367.full

        To avoid further criticisms and a congressional investigation, the FBI asked the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) for an independent evaluation in April 2009. The Academy complied in less than 1 year, and a full report from the NAS committee came on February 15, 2011 (3). The committee did not validate the FBI’s conclusion that the anthrax in the letters could only have come from Ivin’s flask. The report states that, “The results of genetic analyses of the repository samples were consistent with the findings that the spores in the letters were derived from RMR-1029 but the analysis did not definitely demonstrate such a relationship.” In other words, the morphotypes could have another source. As written by Jeanne Guillemin, “they might have been present in other samples not included in the FBIR.” It follows, therefore, that the FBI’s final assessment was partly reduced to indirect speculation based on Ivins’s behavior. On February 19, 2010, the Department of Justice and the U.S. Postal Service declared that the case was closed. Thus, for the protagonists, for Ivin’s friends, and commentators, the questions of, who did it, was he alone, and for what reasons remain a matter of debates and controversies. Dead men tell no testimonies.

      • DXer said

        World renown anthrax expert MHJ in 2002 suggested in connection with a news report that the FBI was visiting “research agencies in Britain and France” stated : “Presumably at CAMR, Porton Down, and the Institut Pasteur.” The FBI documents relating to the visit to Pasteur Institut should be available under FOIA and to the GAO.

        http://www.controlofbiohazards.com/Documents/AnthraxCaseJan2002-Dec2002.pdf

        “Investigators have determined that fewer than 20 labs possessed live cultures of the Ames strain, and all but 3 of the labs are in the United States. The FBI last week dispatched agents to a Canadian defense lab [DRES, Suffield, AB] with anthrax stocks. More visits are planned to research agencies in Britain and France.” [Presumably at CAMR, Porton Down, and the Institute Pasteur. – Mod.MHJ]

    • DXer said

      I do see Michelle Mock of the Pasteur Institute providing sterne to the Ames researchers at USAMRIID.

      The role of antibodies to Bacillus anthracis and anthrax toxin components in inhibiting the early stages of infection by anthrax spores
      • Susan Welkos1,
      • Stephen Little1,
      • Arthur Friedlander1,
      • David Fritz2 and
      • Patricia Fellows1

      “Two derivatives of Sterne strain 7702, RP4 and RP42, with mutations in the toxin component genes, were also kindly provided by M. Mock (Pasteur Institute, Paris, France).”

      But I don’t yet see the studies relied upon by Dr. Spertzel. Are they in the French language?

      The depositions of these USAMRIID scientists have been uploaded by USAMRIID.

      • DXer said

        The Pasteur Institute authors discuss the Ames strain in February 2002 but actually are using different strains.
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC127709/

        Infect Immun. Feb 2002; 70(2): 661–664.
        PMCID: PMC127709
        Fabien Brossier,1 Martine Levy,1 and Michèle Mock1,*

        Thus, some strains, for example, the Ames strain, have been termed “vaccine resistant” because full protection in guinea pigs immunized with PA is possible only with adjuvants unsuitable for human vaccines

  4. DXer said

    In advance of the GAO report, I believe the ever-efficient US DOJ Civil FOIA will also provide under FOIA the following civil depositions from US v. Hatfill. I previously had only been able to obtain and upload on Lew’s blog some very lengthy excerpts. To avoid overburdening DOJ Civil FOIA, any requestor would want to take special care to request only those depositions where the missing pages of a particular witness might be of interest, with those page numbers identified to DOJ Civil FOIA. If there any of special interest to anyone, I can make the request. It will take me a while to study what is available and what isn’t.

    Amerithrax depositions from the Hatfill case … courtesy of DXer
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 30, 2010
    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/01/30/amerithrax-depositions/

    Dwight Adams,
    John Ashcroft,
    Timothy Beres,
    Gary Boyd (SAIC),
    Tom Carey
    Edward Cogswell,
    Barbara Comstock,
    Mark Corallo,
    Deborah Daniels,
    Darrell Darnell,
    Arthur Eberhart,
    James Fitzgerald
    Bradley Garrett,
    Stephen Guillot,
    Van Harp,
    Steven Hatfill
    Tracy Henke,
    Roscoe Howard,
    Michael Isikoff,
    Daniel Klaidman,
    Kenneth Kohl
    Michael Kortan,
    Nicholas Kristof,
    Richard Lambert,
    Allan Lengel
    Tony Loci,
    Robert Mueller,
    Peter Mueller,
    Virginia Patrick,
    Channing Phillips,
    James Reynolds
    Brian Ross,
    Robert Roth,
    Daniel Seikaly
    Bryan Sierra,
    James Stewart,
    Rex Stockham,
    Vic Walter,
    Debra Weierman

    • DXer said

      Unless a requestor has some other special research purpose, it still might be best to winnow a request immediately to the non-media witnesses. For each of the investigative and prosecutory personnel, there are substantial excerpts that were not deemed useful support for the proposition that the plaintiff was arguing and not included as part of the exhibits. They may be highly relevant and useful for other purposes to include the GAO’s review.

      There are no redactions in any of the lengthy depositions; there seem to be no applicable protective orders. This weighs in favor of an effortless review. DOJ Civil can simply obtain the file and shoot the electronic file to the requestor, whether by email or mailed CD.

      Here are some depositions of interest and examples of substantial pages that could be obtained through FOIA. In each case, the entire deposition should be requested and it should be requested in an electronic file as possible. (That avoids the burden and cost of copying.)

      DANIEL SEIKALY (head of criminal division, US Attorney’s Office) 2-24, 53-73
      DWIGHT ADAMS (FBI Lab Director) 12-24, 54-134
      REX STOCKHAM (FBI Lab) 2-17, 21-36, 48-86, 97-172, 184-194, 199-
      ROSCOE HOWARD (US Attorney) 11-29, 51-58, 72-87, 103-112, 217-235
      KENNETH KOHL (AUSA) 60-64, 70-95, 283-
      STEVE HATFILL 10-59, 62-206, 209-239
      ROBERT MUELLER 19-32, 83-88, 107-121

  5. DXer said

    Sandia’s findings can be compared to the findings reported this month in a review of security at NASA.

    Congress Told NASA’s IT System Is ‘Compromised’

    Apr 8, 2014

    Washington, D.C. – The head of an independent panel that recently reviewed NASA’s security protocols today told a House panel that NASA’s computer systems are “compromised.”

    Former U.S. Attorney General Richard Thornburgh, who led the review by the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA), said in prepared remarks before the House Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee that “due to the fact that NASA systems lack the necessary controls to protect information, allow foreign national access to the networks, and allow remote access, the [p]anel concludes that the NASA networks are compromised.”

    Thornburgh went on to add: “Publicly available reports on systematic data breaches across the country, NASA’s own internal reports, and briefings given to Academy staff leave little doubt that information contained on the NASA IT systems is compromised.”

    Thornburgh also said recent security incidents involving foreign nationals at NASA research centers led to “justifiable scrutiny” by Congress.

    NASA contracted with NAPA to conduct the review after CJS chairman Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) raised questions last year about episodes involving foreign nationals at Langley Research Center in Virginia and Ames Research Center in California. Separate reviews of the incidents by the Office of Inspector General found violations of NASA security policy involving export control violations and inappropriate access to sensitive technology by foreign nationals.

    Thornburgh raised a number of other concerns in his testimony. Among them:

    •“NASA Headquarters (HQ) Officials and Center Directors have not adequately communicated that strict compliance was and is required for foreign national hosting, sponsoring, and escort policy and procedures. There is little uniformity and consistency in the application of procedural requirements for hosts/sponsors and escorts among Centers. This includes briefings and debriefings, the documents used to delineate the physical and/or logical access plan, and the duties and responsibilities of those involved in the process.”

    •“Directives, and orders, can be seen more as ‘guidance’ as opposed to mandatory policy and procedural requirements that must be adhered to. This can lead to communications breakdowns and negative outcomes.”

    •“NASA leaders shared the concern with Academy staff that after fixing a problem, the Agency has a tendency to lapse back into old habits once the spotlight is off the area under review, in this case, FNAM.”

    •“A number of NASA leaders also noted that the Agency tends not to hold individuals accountable even when they make serious, preventable errors. Whenever an example of such an error was mentioned during the interviews, Academy staff would follow-up with: what happened to those responsible for the error? In almost every instance, the answer was either ‘nothing’ or ‘I don’t know.’ The belief that individuals are not held accountable for ignoring or deliberately failing to comply with FNAM requirements is widespread and includes both managers and rank-and-file employees.”

    • “NASA’s export policy directive clearly states that it ‘is NASA policy to ensure that exports and transfers of commodities, technical data, or software to foreign persons are carried out in accordance with the United States export control laws and regulations, and Administration and NASA policy.’ The Export Control program needs a more standardized and systematic approach in furtherance of its export compliance objectives, as well as better audit and review mechanisms. NASA senior leaders also need to more strongly endorse the critical importance of such controls. The training provided to Center staff members who need to be aware of export control issues is Center-centric and widely-varied. Some Centers have mandated training for all staff on an annual basis. Others take a more laissez-faire approach with training either being optional or, if mandatory, provides no sanctions against those who fail to take the training. These laissez-faire approaches tend to create misunderstandings and even a degree of mistrust and hostility between the various parties. Academy staff heard numerous complaints from researchers about Center Export Administrators (CEAs) and their ‘unnecessarily bureaucratic’ and ‘time-consuming’ reviews and conversely, heard complaints from CEAs about ‘unreasonable’ demands for turning-around documents which always seem to be submitted for review at the last minute. Such complaints indicate a lack of communication about both time frames and rationales for these types of security measures. In summary, the Panel Export control training requirements are inconsistent; the training is confusing and inadequate; and the rationale for such training is often poorly understood.”

    • “During this study, the Academy observed the following regarding NASA’s asset protection efforts:

    • Centers differ in their efforts to identify assets that require protection, with responsibility placed on several different components.
    • Threats have not been adequately conveyed to Center personnel.
    • Extensive instructional/training material available through the FBI, Department of Energy (DOE), Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive (NCIX), and other Intelligence Community (IC) agencies has not been utilized to educate NASA staff on the threats posed by insiders, hostile intelligence services, terrorism, and economic espionage.
    • Specific intelligence regarding threats posed by foreign nationals and insiders to specific NASA assets is available from IC agencies, but has been inconsistently utilized to educate NASA personnel.
    • Detailed policies, procedures, and instructions regarding comprehensive approaches to asset protection have been implemented by other agencies, particularly DOE, and should be reviewed for possible utilization by NASA.
    • Independent and Management Assessment and Evaluations, employed by IC agencies, should be regularly utilized to determine the effectiveness of NASA’s asset protection efforts, gaps in those procedures, and assurance that proper resources are committed commensurate with the risk.”
    •“NASA needs to reconsider how it assesses and protects its information and security assets in the field. While this review has focused on FNAM, the Panel believes that a broader approach to asset protection and oversight is needed. NASA facilities, personnel, technologies, and information are highly regarded and of great interest to the world. That interest extends to some countries, governments, organizations, and individuals whose intent is to compromise those facilities, co-opt the personnel, and steal those technologies and information. While NASA currently conducts annual threat assessments at every Center by the Protective Services office, counterintelligence special agents, and the CIO, those assessments address only the areas of responsibility of those individual offices. They are not comprehensive, Center-specific assessments that consider all the elements necessary to fully protect NASA’s assets.

    Thornburgh told the committee it made 27 recommendations to NASA as to how it can improve its Foreign National Access Management (FNAM) and said they can be summarized into the following six headings:

    1. Manage FNAM as a Program. The Panel proposed a number of steps for NASA to take which would begin to coordinate efforts and secure better results including realignment of both field and Headquarters organizational elements, strengthening the oversight capabilities of headquarters, and, improving training by developing comprehensive, integrated curriculums and lesson plans.

    2. Reduce the flexibility given to Centers to interpret FNAM requirements. The Panel recommended that NASA Headquarters write a comprehensive and detailed FNAM operating manual covering all functional aspects of the program. Currently, FNAM directives can be found in several different publications, each with their own Headquarters and field constituencies. Headquarters staff should work in consultation with knowledgeable field staff to create this manual.

    3. Determine critical assets and build mechanisms to protect them. The Panel envisions the creation of an Asset Protection Oversight Board which would use the results of the Independent Review Teams assessments of individual program compliance metrics as well as overall performance and outcomes of FNAM and the adequacy of the comprehensive threat/risk assessment at each Center.

    4. Correct longstanding information technology security issues. The Panel believes NASA needs to identify and protect sensitive, proprietary information in a manner that does not prevent system owners from meeting their mission needs. Among the specific recommendations in this area are for NASA to establish clear, specific, and mandatory requirements for all Centers to follow regarding remote access of their information technology systems and that the NASA Chief Information Officer be given more control over IT operations in field Centers.

    5. Work to change several aspects of NASA culture. Included in this are the recommendations to reduce unnecessary competition between field centers, ensure that accountability for conforming to FNAM requirements is established, and finally, to guard against the organizational tendency to revert back to prior lax habits once a problem area has been addressed.

    6. Communicate the importance of these FNAM changes clearly, firmly and consistently. The importance of security, the existence of “real world” threats to NASA assets, and the need for improvements in handling foreign national issues have not been clearly and consistently communicated throughout NASA. Senior leaders must firmly establish and communicate their total commitment to an effective Foreign National Access Management program that enhances cooperation while safeguarding information.

    Dick Thornburgh’s opening statement
    http://wolf.house.gov/sites/wolf.house.gov/files/Thornburgh%20Testimony%204-8-14.pdf

    Congressman Wolf’s opening statement
    http://wolf.house.gov/sites/wolf.house.gov/files/NASA%20Hearing%20Opening%20Statement%20April%202014.pdf

  6. DXer said

    In the USAMRIID Electronic Reading Room, the webmaster has created a new section has been created with the title “Deposition.”

    http://mrmc.amedd.army.mil/index.cfm?pageid=foia_reading_room.overview#

    The section will gather the civil depositions from Stevens v. US. Another 6 or so likely will be added today and then more in time.

    Both USAMRIID FOIA and DOJ Civil FOIA function as the FOIA statute contemplates and embody both the letter and spirit of the law.

    Additional depositions to be uploaded today include Larry Lynn (formerly of DARPA) and Alnora Robinson (re approval of visiting foreign nationals).

    Senator Grassley is having difficulty obtaining from the FBI even powerpoints about their “INSIDER THREAT PROGRAM.”

    In an age where Snowden factored in the recent Pulitzer awards, the issue involves a difficult balancing of interests.

    At the end of the day, even as the FBI agents slip out of Senator Grassley’s hearing without testifying, we can remember the senior FBI official who lamented
    “we’re damned if we do, and damned if we don’t.”

    Anthrax, Al Qaeda, and Ayman: The Infiltration of US Biodefense
    http://www.amerithrax.wordpress.com

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