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

* Before Bruce Ivins’ suicide in July 2008, the US Army was preventing Dr. Ivins’ co-workers from communicating with his attorney; key DOJ misapprehensions of the facts (e.g., lyophilizer) could have been avoided had communication been allowed

Posted by DXer on May 7, 2014

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18 Responses to “* Before Bruce Ivins’ suicide in July 2008, the US Army was preventing Dr. Ivins’ co-workers from communicating with his attorney; key DOJ misapprehensions of the facts (e.g., lyophilizer) could have been avoided had communication been allowed”

  1. DXer said

    In his new book, Mark Kortepeter wrote:

    “But the most disturbing question that the investigation raised was, Where was the army? The army was completely hands off and offered no legal counsel or pushback for its own employees. Pat Worsham said, “We were talking to the grand jury, and JAG [judge advocate general, i.e., army lawyers] made it very clear that they were not there to help us in any way, that they were only there to coach us so that we didn’t say anything stupid that would impact the government.”

    • DXer said

      Pat reached the sad conclusion that the army “may not have thrown us under the bus, but they saw the bus coming, and they didn’t look away, and they didn’t pick up the pieces after it happened.”

    • DXer said

      Mark Kortepeter wrote in his new book INSIDE THE HOT ZONE:

      “It could’ve been that we shouldn’t have expected any help but you try to think of the army values, you know ‘loyalty’ and so on and ‘selfless service’ and those things we have posted on the wall and I think we have a lot of people who are invested in that, but it doesn’t seem to go two ways.”

    • DXer said

      Mark Kortepeter wrote that after Dr. Ivins’ suicide,

      “With teary, red eyes, the division secretary shared that Bruce had told her that the FBI harassment would end only “when I’m dead.” In retrospect that was clearly a cry for help.”

      Dr. Ivins had tried to commit suicide earlier, in March. And he certainly was crying out for help and not getting it from the Army, FBI, Postal Service or USAMRIID Commander.

    • DXer said

      Mark Kortepeter wrote:

      “Many had felt suspicion and anger with the FBI investigation and especially the investigation of Bruce. They believed that the course of events had not needed to take such a tragic turn, and that the army should have backed up one of its own scientists. For most the idea that Bruce, our “quirky uncle” who wore rainbow-colored suspenders, would do something as heinous as sending the anthrax letters was inconceivable.”

    • DXer said

      Mark Kortepeter writes:

      “A year and a half after Bruce’s death, the FBI formally closed the anthrax case with the conclusion that Bruce Ivins was the sole perpetrator of the anthrax attacks.”

      “To this day his closest colleagues believe Bruce was innocent — a convenient patsy in a high-profile case that the FBI was under tremendous pressure to solve. Had the FBI decided that Bruce was the killer and ignored any evidence that did not fit with its hypothesis, rather than try to understand and explain the pieces that didn’t fit?”

      Comment: Yes. And now the DOJ/ FBI is intentionally withholding exculpatory evidence — and that is according to the FBI Agent who wrote the pages in question in his memorandum to Robert Mueller. It is the former lead Amerithrax investigator, Richard Lambert, who is arguing that the FBI is withholding amount of exculpatory evidence. That should give anyone who believes in the rule of law serious grounds for pause. It is time for Attorney General Barr to embrace and honor the rule of law and not merely give it well-practiced lip-service.

      President Trump should have spent less time asking his Chief of Staff Priebus whether badgers were friendly or mean and more time directing the FBI and Army to comply with FOIA.

    • DXer said

      Mark Kortepeter wrote in his new book:

      “Some have said that because Bruce committed suicide, he must have been guilty, but it isn’t hard to see what could have driven Bruce to suicide. His downward spiral took many turns, as piece by piece his connection to his livelihood and coworkers unraveled. He faced legal bills in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. And after he had worked thirty-plus years for the government on defense against anthrax , the FBI planned to ask the death penalty. All this could seem like the ultimate betrayal and might easily push someone on the edge over the edge.

      One of the bedrocks of the U.S. democracy, that someone is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, seems to have been ignored. As one colleague noted, there is “no such thing as builty by suicide.”

      Attorney General Barr should stand up for the rule of law and ensure that the DOJ complies with FOIA.

  2. DXer said

    In Mark Kortepeter’s new book, FBI references include but are not limited to “Investigation of Bruce Ivins, 90, 178-81, 183, 186, 191, 193, 197-200; investigation of Steven Hatfill, 88, 177-178, 180, 200” and “treatment of USAMRIID personnel, 185-88.”

    • DXer said

      Mark Kortepeter writes:

      “Bruce was upset that he had been cut off from everything that had been an outlet for him for many years. He told [Pat Worsham] that it was not in his nature to hurt people. “He was very concerned about what we thought,” she said, “because the FBI was systematically trying to destroy every piece of strength that he had: his family, they were trying to come between him and his family, his friends, his career.” It was important for him to know that others didn’t believe he was capable of doing such a horrible thing.”

      People can reasonably disagree about whether FBI pressured Ivins to commit suicide by acting inappropriately. But a federal judge will now decide whether the FBI’s withholding of relevant evidence is to be allowed under the FOIA statute.

      • DXer said

        Mark Kortepeter explains in his new book that in July 2008 he asked the Commander

        “the same question I had asked Pat Worsham, “Is this their plan — to keep harassing him [Bruce} until he kills himself?”
        Sadly, at the time, I didn’t know how prescient that statement was.”

        If these folks were so concerned about Bruce’s mental welfare, they should have allowed him to gather documents and information relevant to his defense through his counsel.

    • DXer said

      Mark Kortepeter in his new book INSIDE THE HOT ZONE, wrote:

      “Many people in the institute believe that Bruce was innocent and a convenient scapegoat. The commander even told a general officer at the Pentagon that “eight hundred people in the building thought he was innocent.”

  3. DXer said


    Gittinger, George (2015) The Drama of Bioterror: Paranoia and the Rhetoric of Defense. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh.

    PDF – Primary Text

    (3) Following the 2001 anthrax mailings, the FBI defined a government scientist as an object of suspicion, Othering him to the point of suicide.

  4. DXer said

    JAG should produce under FOIA the attached photos of the Ames sent in 1998 to an outside researcher ; the handwriting on the vials was not Bruce Ivins’ handwriting

    Click to access 20040301_batch55(redacted).pdf

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

    • DXer said

      What does Pat Fellows say about the handwriting on the vials? Mara Linscott? We don’t know. DOJ Civil will not release the civil depositions — and the depositions apparently have been shredded.

    • DXer said

      Dr. Tarek Hamouda, who worked alongside Patricia Fellows and Mara Linscott and Bruce Ivins in the B3 in 1998, thanked Bruce Ivins for supplying virulent Ames in a published article and numerous patents. He presented his findings on that research at some 1998 and 1999 conferences. Dr. Hamouda would not discuss his research with me. (I had contacted him years ago to ask what former Egyptian Islamic Jihad members we knew in common from his days in Cairo and the Sudan). University of Michigan did not produce any documents pursuant to my FOIA request directed to it. And Dr. Hamouda’s colleague, when I called him, said “you don’t want to know.”

      This article by the UM researchers was the only peer-reviewed article that the FBI produced in production of documents relating to Amerithrax.

      Were these pictures of vials sent to the UM researchers?

      A Novel Surfactant Nanoemulsion with Broad-Spectrum Sporicidal Activity against BacillusSpecies

      Presented in part: 98th general meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, Atlanta, May 1998 (poster A49); 38th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, San Diego, September 1998 (late-breaker slide session II, LB-9); 99th general meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, Chicago, May 1999 (poster A300).

  5. DXer said

    Let’s avoid any continuing misapprehensions of fact that can be avoided. Toward that end, I have submitted a FOIA request to USAMRIID:

    “Re: FOIA request for specified attachments to emails (the emails were produced but not the attachments)


    As you know USAMRIID has created an extensive reading room with requested documents relating to Dr. Bruce Ivins and the theory he was responsible for the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings. …

    In advance of the GAO report due out this summer, may I obtain copies of the emails attached to the emails below?

    Thanks very much for your efforts that have embodied the purpose served by the Government in the Sunshine Act.

    — Ross”

    (1) the history of his culture collection, which he attached to his June 30, 2008 email.

    Click to access 20080602_batch86(redacted).pdf

    Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
    Strains in my culture collection (UNCLASSIFIED) Monday, June 30, 2008 10:49:12 AM
    Classification: UNCLASSIFIED Caveats: NONE
    Here is the history of my culture collection which will have to be given to somebody else eligible to receive them.
    -Bruce Bruce Ivins
    Classification: UNCLASSIFIED Caveats: NONE

    (2) The Research Progress report attached to the email dated September 20, 2001

    Click to access 20010912_batch35(redacted).pdf

    From: To: Subject: Date: Attachments:
    Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
    Research Progress report Thursday, September 20, 2001 9:52:09 AM
    (b) (6)
    I have enclosed my research progress report, with changes made as required by the Anthrax Steering Committee.
    – Bruce

    (3) Attachment to the email dated October 22, 2001 Re “Stabilizer in a new rPA vaccine”

    Click to access 20011008_batch36(redacted).pdf

    From: To: Subject: Date: Attachments:
    Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
    FW: Stabilizer in a new rPA vaccine Monday, October 22, 2001 3:31:43 PM

    (4) The attachments attached to the email dated November 7, 2001 at 4: 13:42 PM

    Click to access 20011025_batch37(redacted).pdf

    From: To: Subject: Date: Attachments:
    Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
    Here you are,(b()b) Wednesday, November 07, 2001 4:13:42 PM
    Let me know if there’s anything more I can help with, – Bruce

    (5) The attachment to the October 10, 2001 email titled ELISA DATA RABBITS …

    >—–Original Message—–

    >From: >Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2001 5:11 PM
    >To: Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID >Subject: ELISA DATA RABBITS > >

    (6) The attachments to the email dated October 23, 2001 titled “Read Ahead info.” …

    From: To: Subject: Date: Attachments:
    Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
    Read Ahead info Tuesday, October 23, 2001 9:39:13 AM
    (b) (6)
    (6) Here is the read-ahead info. – Bruce

    • DXer said

      I keep messing up calling it the USAMRIID Electronic Reading Room when it is the MRMC Reading Room. I’m lucky if I can find where I parked my car. This morning I approached a food truck vendor and asked if I had illegally parked there (and was towed).

  6. DXer said

    Dr. Ivins found it very frustrating that at the same time they were preventing his coworkers from talking to his attorney, USAMRIID could not provide him the records he needed to reconstruct his events. AUSA Lieber and the FBI agents and Postal Inspectors should have provided him the documents and had him walk them through the documents. People cannot reconstruct events a half decade later. By failing to provide the documents — and with his coworkers blocked from talking to his attorney — the investigators and prosecutors were able to spin a cotton candy theory that did not withstand scrutiny.

    I hope to shortly arrange the uploading of the full civil depositions of the prosecutors and investigators when they were accusing Dr. Hatfill — rather than merely the lengthy excerpts currently uploaded.

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