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

* JAG should provide a copy of the adobe acrobat file of some of the material Ivins provided the FBI

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 12, 2014

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12 Responses to “* JAG should provide a copy of the adobe acrobat file of some of the material Ivins provided the FBI”

  1. DXer said

    Tasked with the FOIA request a week ago, I’m thinking JAG will embrace the rules of this Marine.

  2. DXer said

    The ever-multi-tasking USAMRMC FOIA officer has provided the previous requested documents. (FOIA for USAMRMC is just one of her responsibilities).

    So now we have a 77 page history of his cultures authored by Bruce Ivins written in 2008.

    All I can think to do as a thank-you for JAG is to stop paying homage to NCIS/Gibbs and throw a tip of the hat to JAG – from the final JAG episode.

    She has now tasked the following FOIA request:

    “I request under FOIA

    (1) the documents in possession of SJA that Dr. Ivins supplied the FBI and

    (2) the following additional attachments to Dr. Ivins’ emails

    (a) a copy of the attachment to Dr. Ivins’ May 15, 2007 email titled “Strain Inventory List” (UNCLASSIFIED);

    (b) a copy of the attachment to the September 13, 2004 email titled “FBI Request” ;

    (c) a copy of the attachment to the email dated April 8, 2004 tttled “Strains sent to you in 1998.”

  3. DXer said

    As early as today, JAG is making an initial production of some attachments, including Bruce Ivins’ 77-page history of his culture collection, and a 4 page September 20, 2001 “Research Progress Report.”

    I don’t know computer stuff, but I believe a computer expert may be able to determine through embedded meta data when the Septemer 20, 2001 was drafted.

    I think you will find he drafted it during the period the DOJ fancifully speculated he was making and mailing dried powdered anthrax.

  4. DXer said

    Here is a FAQ in August 2008 with answers provided by David Franz who was Commander until 1998.

    August 4, 2008 Monday

    In the lab, Ivins used different kind of anthrax

    BYLINE: Dan Vergano and Steve Sternberg


    LENGTH: 505 words

    The death of government scientist Bruce Ivins, a new focus of the investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks, revives old questions about anthrax and adds new ones. USA TODAY reporters Dan Vergano and Steve Sternberg provide a sampling:

    Q: What is anthrax?

    A: Anthrax, or bacillus anthracis, is a bacteria that can infect the skin, the digestive system or the lungs. The bacteria contain two deadly toxins.

    Most anthrax cases occur in animals that inhale spores from the soil; some humans have gotten anthrax from exposure to spores in animal hides. Inhaled anthrax is difficult to diagnose and is often deadly. Spores lodge in the lungs, then move to the lymph nodes. The bacteria release toxins that typically kill within two weeks. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, coughing, chest pain and shock. The bacteria show in blood cultures only late in the infection.

    Q: How is it treated?

    A: High doses of antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin or a vaccine.

    Q: What made the anthrax used in the 2001 attacks special?

    A: It was made almost entirely of dried, purified spores so light that opening an envelope sent spores wafting up like a cloud of smoke. Air currents carried spores throughout the vast Hart Senate Office Building, exposing 30 people.

    Q: Did Ivins work with airborne anthrax?

    A: Yes. Ivins performed research that required exposing research animals to airborne anthrax, according to a 1998 report in the journal Vaccine. The goal was to test whether a new vaccine could guard against anthrax inhaled in a bioterrorist attack.

    The anthrax used in Ivins’ vaccine experiments was a wet form sprayed into the faces of macaque monkeys through a mask.

    Q: Did Ivins and other researchers for the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Md., work with dried anthrax spores?

    A: No, says Col. David Franz, the institute’s commander until 1998 and now with the Midwest Research Institute.

    Q: Would Ivins have had the opportunity to make dried anthrax?

    A: Not in the lab, Franz says.

    Q: Did the lab have equipment to produce dried anthrax?

    A: No, Franz says, adding that it would be difficult for Ivins or others to carry out the work without detection.

    Q: Why did the FBI focus on Ivins?

    A: The agency has said little. He was the subject of a probe by Army investigators in 2002 into anthrax contamination in the lab, a USA TODAY investigation disclosed. Ivins acknowledged disinfecting an office he shared with a colleague in December 2001 without reporting his contamination suspicions.

    More anthrax contamination appeared elsewhere in the lab in April 2002, triggering the FBI probe, which found “lax” safety procedures and contamination in hallways and Ivins’ office. He wasn’t disciplined publicly.

    Q: The FBI last week credited “new and sophisticated scientific tools” with advancing the case. What does that mean?

    A: The FBI hasn’t said. Anthrax researchers have found eight mutations in the anthrax genome that help them to distinguish between garden-variety anthrax strains and the one used in the attacks.

    • DXer said

      Someone who signed the email “Dave” forwarded BHR’s article “What the FBI Knows” in February 2002. Dave told Bruce it had been good to see him. Bruce then forwarded the article to someone, signing “Your Humble Servant.” (That once was how he signed an email in 2001 to his supervisor, Dr. Worsham.) As I recall it, the message said “Heads up.” Was the email from Dr. Franz? Did Dr. Franz leave USAMRIID to go to SRI to become its VP in 1998? Is SRI the recipient of all those strains from Dr. Ivins in 1998, to include Ames? Was there an EA 101 pursuant to the new law recently implemented the prior year or so?

      Dr. Franz was extraordinarily helpful in persuading Dr. Ezzell to come forward and talk to me about making dried powder at USAMRIID. Dr. Ezzell explained to me and then publicly explained in a filmed talk in DC moderated by Lew that the Ames from Ivins’ flask 1029 had first been irradiated. But given that there is a third facility that made dried powdered Ames , I have to wonder whether SRI was the third facility known by Ivins to have made a dried spore powder.

      Dr. Franz stopped responding to my emails after I first asked him and Dr. Voss when SRI first acquired Ames
      He had told me in advance that he would do that — he gave his cutting off Dave Altimari as an example.
      Dr. Voss, the SRI Prez in 2001, similarly failed to respond to my question when SRI first acquired Ames.

      A failure to respond, IMO, would be fully justified under a Maryland state law making it unlawful to acknowledge such things. So I credit DF’s good faith in all his responses in any event. But I do think the identity of the third lab is highly relevant to analysis and needs to be disclosed. Director Mueller disclosed the lab to Senators in closed session.

      But there are no secrets. There is no place to hide.

      Dr. Alibek’s Center for Biodefense had the largest contract from DARPA ever for biodefense — and had subcontracted with SRI to do its work with virulent Ames. Ali Al-Timimi worked at GMU — alongside the Hadron employees in the hall and the Center for Biodefense scientists. Ali Al-Timimi,, who was coordinating with so-called “911 imam” Anwar Awlaki,, shared a suite with Ken Alibek and Ames researcher Charles Bailey. Thus, whether SRI had virulent Ames it is relevant whether Ali Al-Timimi had infiltrated US biodefense as part of a planned operation.

      AUSA Lieber was reprimanded when she went to visit a jihadi in jail with whom a “deal had been cut.” It was to personal credit, IMO, that she sought to leave no stone turned in that regard — only to be thwarted by a superior Was that jihadi Ali Al-Timimi?

  5. DXer said

    The context of this isolation of Ivins and the withholding of information from him, is that Command and the FBI knew that the powder examined by the USAMRIID expert was deemed closest to the powder made by the FBI’s expert at USAMRIID. I am JE’s biggest fan — given the forthright way he came forward and described his making of a dried powder out of the Ames from 1029 for DARPA.

    But GAO needs to overcome the FBI and USAMRIID’s defensiveness on the issue.

    The fact is that the only person we know who made a dried powder using Ames from 1029 was the FBI’s own expert at USAMRIID, JE. That DARPA experiment and the related distribution of Ames and dried powdered Ames needs to be thoroughly explored in a transparent manner that instills confidence. It is especially important to address the leftover Ames stored in JE’s lab and TA’s failure to submit it to the repository.

    Was it taken by JJ to J-H?


    From: To: Subject: Date:
    Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
    (b) (6)
    Hot news!
    Tuesday, June 21, 2005 7:59:00 AM
    party was fun last night. A lot of people showed up. (b)(6)  also had a party (for the
    same reason) at , andthey had to leave because they were being too rowdy, so they came over to (b) (6) Anyway,   was giving his opinion of (b) (6)  and others, and he started talking about when he had to examine all of the letter spore powder samples. He said, like (b) (who was also there) that the stuff flew all over the place. Then he said he had to look at a lot o(f6)samples that the FBI had prepared (by Dugway, I guess) to duplicate the letter material. Then the bombshell. He said that the best duplication of the material was the stuff made by (b He said that it was almost exactly the same. He also talked about looking at the material under th)e Electron
    (b) (6)
    microscope and
    (b) (6) (b)(b)
    coming in and asking about it. When old him it wa(s6powder made by
    (b) (6) (6)(6)
    almost keeled over said his knees got shaky and he sputtered, “But )I told the (b)(6) we
    didn’t make spore powder!”    has a very strong suspicion that (b) (6) was involved in some way in theletterincident,andthat)couldwellhavebeenalso.Thewayhewastellingitwasactuallyfunny. The sentences were quite re)plete with “f***ing s***” and “son of a b****” and other spicy words and phrases. (b) said that  was the worst (b)(6) since he’s been here. It was all a VERY interestin(g6)spiel, believe me!) I had heard that(b) had made Ames spore powder (I’ve got his email admitting it), but that was the first I’ve heard (t6h)at (b) (6) either knew about it or was behind it and that it was virtually identical to the spore powder in the letters.
    I’ve heard that (b) (6) big supporters and lapdogs are now quaking in their boots! Bruce Ivins

    • DXe said

      Where is the email in which the FBI’s expert at USAMRIID, JE, admits to Dr. Ivins making dried powder? Why was it not produced?

  6. DXer said

    JAG’s withholding of information from Ivins added to the mounting psychological pressure on Dr. Ivins in the month before his suicide.

    From: To: Subject: Date:
    Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
    RE: Missing materials (UNCLASSIFIED) Wednesday, June 11, 2008 11:15:20 AM
    Classification: UNCLASSIFIED Caveats: NONE
    I have not been in the laboratory since November 1, so I couldn’t go through over 300 select agents (some in multiple containers). The FBI left the sheet of what was taken at my desk. (b)(6) came in and seized the sheet, not leaving me a copy, took it forward to Headquarters, who gave it to the JAG. The JAG refuses to show me what of mine was taken.
    -Bruce Bruce Ivins

    • DXer said

      He had been put under such stress for years.

      In 2005 Dr. Ivins wrote of some missing strains that had been the source of anxiety:

      “I just found out from that the FBI took them. I should have known.”

      From: Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID Sent: Friday, January 21, 2005 7:49 AM To: (b) (6) ‘
      Subject: RE:

      Thanks. I’m looking for them. Somebody probably moved them and I have no idea to where they were moved. I don’t think I ever even saw them. How did our lab get stuck with his strains anyway?

      (b) (6)
      I remember the lyophlilized strains only because many of them appeared to be quite old and were in glass “things” – not vials, but something you’d have to break. Have no idea where they’d be now. I think they were in a cardboard box which was in a dishpan with other culture stuff on a shelf in the cold room. But, I suppose they could have been moved since then.

      —–Original Message—–

      From: Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID []
      Sent: Thursday, January 20, 2005 5:36 PM To: (b) (6)
      Subject: RE:

      By the way – I’m trying to locate a bunch of (b) ( lyophilized strains that were supposed to be in the coldroom – they’re on the inventory – but I can(‘t6)findbthem anywhere. Would you have any idea where they might be? I wonder if stuff might have gotte)n moved over to  then back to  ?) Don’t know, but I have to find out one way or the other. It wo(uld absolutely stink – make that suck – if I have to report that I can’t find a whole slew of strains. I don’t look forward to that at all.
      Bruce Ivins

    • DXer said

      As illustrated by the July 2008 email below, the stress the FBI was causing over his inventory and the withholding of information continued to mount in the last month of Ivins’ life. His friends had been forbidden by USAMRIID Command to talk to him about the matter — isolating him from emotional support.

      July 2008 was the month the file from his first counselor — who now in a book reports she had received her instructions each night in 2000 and 2001 from an alien who had embedded a microchip in her butt — was handed off to the second counselor. That was part of the chain of events that led to a restraining order against Dr. Ivins and him being led off the base.

      Now if only Dr. Saathoff had bothered to read the emails about his after hours work with the rabbits instead of only seeking insights into flaws that could lead to his humiliation.

      If only Dr. Saathoff had shown an equal interest in how Dr. Ivins was spending time in the lab after hours rather than spending time in the privacy of his own home.

      Instead, the FBI swabbed Ivins for DNA to test against the semen found on panties thrown out a second time by Ivins — even though the FBI knew he was near physical collapse over a similar bag of panties found in November 2007. Ivins had explained then the reason for his upset and needed to be medicated.

      The FBI swabbed him for DNA even though they already had his DNA from a cup he had used.

      The FBI closed ranks and engaged in CYA denial on the science because the investigators and prosecutors did not want to be sued as had happened in the Hatfill litigation.

      From: To: Subject: Date:
      Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIIDu get my inventory straightened out? Somehow I’ve lost a lot of my strains (after SA 516) and gotten a bunch of “no access” strains from (b)(6) Thanks! I was trying to transfer a vial, which turned into 38 vials, then I had to deplete the vials and transfer the correct number of vials (1), all because on Nov 1 2007, the FBI came in and seized lots of material from my locked refrigerator in my locked room in our locked containment suite.
      -Bruce Bruce Ivins
      RE: Transfer (UNCLASSIFIED) Tuesday, July 08, 2008 11:26:39 AM
      Classification: UNCLASSIFIED Caveats: NONE
      Hey (b)(6) – Can you get my inventory straightened out? Somehow I’ve lost a lot of my strains (after SA 516) and gotten a bunch of “no access” strains from (b)(6) Thanks! I was trying to transfer a vial, which turned into 38 vials, then I had to deplete the vials and transfer the correct number of vials (1), all because on Nov 1 2007, the FBI came in and seized lots of material …

  7. DXer said

    And you thought USAMRIID were just a punch of pencil and petri dish pushers punching a clock.

    In today’s news item, here USAMRIID is leading a joint exercise where snipers take out terrorists commandeering a small plane in Connecticut.

    READER SUBMITTED: Connecticut Wing Participates In Mock Bio-Terror Attack Training

    Peter Milano, Public Affairs Officer, Connecticut Wing, Civil Air Patrol
    12:10 p.m. EDT, May 12, 2014

    By Lt. Colonel Stephen Rocketto, assistant public affairs officer, Civil Air Patrol, Connecticut Wing.

    Connecticut Wing personnel participated in a joint exercise testing law enforcement reactions to a simulated bio-terror attack at Groton-New London Airport on April 28. The U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), the Department of Defense’s lead laboratory for medical biodefense, conducted the training session.

    The scenario postulated landing a small aircraft which had been seized by terrorists who planned to attack local facilities with biological agents. A Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Cessna 182 landed with three Connecticut State Police Officers (CSP) posing as terrorists. A second aircraft, a Cessna Citation, served as a training aid for teams of technicians charged with investigating the type of biological agents which might be present.

    When the CAP Cessna landed, FBI and Connecticut State Police assault teams placed themselves in the best tactical positions to control the threat. While one terrorist held the pilot at bay, pistol to his head, two others moved across the ramp. Snipers fired simultaneously and “killed” the three terrorists. The assault teams then ordered the “pilot,” Lt. Colonel John de Andrade (CAP) to advance slowly with hands raised. He was handcuffed and detained until it could be proven he was not part of the terrorist organization as well as tested for exposure to the simulated biological agents.

    Investigatory teams, isolated from the environment by protective suits, then entered the Citation to secure samples of the suspected biological agents which were bagged for laboratory analysis.

    The military and federal agencies set up multiple decontamination stations and a range of specialized vehicles for communications and environmental analysis.

    During the exercise, observer/controllers circulated to evaluate the performance and insure the safety of all participants, all whom wore protective helmets and faceplates.

    Civil Air Patrol’s Incident Commander, Lt. Colonel Mike Heath (Connecticut Wing Emergency Services Officer), was pleased with CAP’s participation and the overall success of the mission. “We are glad to be part of the team and assist state and federal agencies,” said Heath.

    Participant agencies included the FBI, Connecticut State Police, Connecticut National Guard, U.S. Army, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, U.S. Department of Environmental Protection, the Connecticut Aviation and Ports Bureau, Naval Investigative Service, and Connecticut Wing Civil Air Patrol. Local fire and police departments also sent representatives as observers. Major Jack Shapiro, Connecticut Wing Liaison Officer, worked closely with participating agencies in support of this mission.

  8. DXer said

    The recipient of this email only had copies of the subpoenas. It was the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate that kept copies of everything Dr. Ivins provided the email.

    SJA should produce everything Dr. Ivins provided under FOIA and upload it to the USAMRMC Electronic Reading Room.

    Fort Detrick
    Office of the Staff Judge Advocate
    521 Fraim Street
    Fort Detrick, Maryland 21702

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