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

* GAO responds to Lew’s email … expects to issue report this summer

Posted by DXer on June 18, 2014

It’s now summer.

When can we expect the GAO report?

holt, gao, ivins, fbi


The GAO response …

Mr. Weinstein …  Thank you for your email. The work is underway and we expect to issue a report sometime this summer. … Chuck Young Chuck Young, Managing Director, Public Affairs, Government Accountability Office (GAO) …


My email to GAO …

Several years ago, at the request of Congressman Holt, the GAO began a review of the FBI’s investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks. You indicated a time frame of approximately one year to complete. It is now much more than one year and no report, even a progress report, has been issued. Could you please provide an update of the status of your review and when you expect to issue a report.



126 Responses to “* GAO responds to Lew’s email … expects to issue report this summer”

  1. DXer said

    Report: ‘Irreversible harm’ when FBI didn’t reveal flawed lab work in death-row cases
    By Spencer S. Hsu July 16 at 8:18 PM

    The Justice Department and FBI delayed notifying prosecutors in scores of death-row convictions that their cases might have relied on flawed FBI forensic work, the department’s Office of Inspector General reported Wednesday.

    In a scathing report that shed new light on one of the FBI lab’s worst modern scandals, the inspector general said the Justice Department didn’t properly review all of the cases by FBI examiner s whose work was known to be flawed.

    • DXer said

      Why preserve the evidence, right? The case is closed and the prime suspect is dead. And the FBI doesn’t correct its mistakes.

      Hair and fiber evidence? Donate it to a museum.

      Lead bullet analysis? Put the bullets on display at the Smithsonian.

      Anthrax Letters, Now on View, Represent the Serious Threats Faced by the Post Office

      The National Postal Museum’s “Behind the Badge” exhibit explores the history and legacy of the United States Postal Inspection Service

      By Natasha Geiling
      July 16, 201

      Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12!

      One of the Inspection Service’s most infamous case—the 2001 anthrax attacks—is represented for the first time at the Smithsonian in the newly expanded exhibit. Pope had been hoping to obtain the anthrax-letters since the 2001 attacks, but was unable to get them from the FBI until a few years ago, when the FBI called Pope with concerns about the state of the letters. In order to remove any hazardous anthrax, as well as look for DNA or fingerprints, chemicals had to be applied to the letters, causing them to deteriorate and instilling the concern in Pope and the FBI that the letters wouldn’t last much longer. Thanks to rehabilitation on the part of Postal Museum conservators, the letters have been stabilized, but they remain in poor condition, and the curators are displaying only a few at a time before they must be swapped out for other letters from the collection. Pope says that having the letters on display is one of the exhibit’s great accomplishments.

      “Depending on your age you either remember living through it or you have vague memories of it or you don’t know anything about it,” she says, noting that the case, while high profile at the time, might be new to some visitors. “9/11 was the story of that year, and if you didn’t live through it it’s not really something you know about.”

      In addition to the letters which carried anthrax to media outlets and two Democratic senators, the exhibit also showcases the mail collection box from which the letters were mailed, as well as the American flag which hung in the Washington, D.C. postal facility where the letters passed through—two postal clerks who worked in the office during the attacks, Joseph Curseen Jr. and Thomas Morris Jr., were among the five people killed during the attack. No one was ever formally charged in the case, though the main suspect committed suicide in July of 2008.

      Read more:

  2. DXer said

    Martin Hugh-Jones of LSU, who has done such important work in the area and has been such an influential and oft-quoted commentator in Amerithrax, was interviewed in this November 2001 feature in Science, along with Paul Keim.

    “Taking Anthrax’s Genetic Fingerprints,”

    Click to access anthrax.pdf

    “That’s why comparing the strain used in the anthrax attacks to those stored in freezers around the United States could well pinpoint the lab that the spores came from, says Keim. “So far, I haven’t heard that any cultures have been subpoenaed,” he says. “But that would be a logical next step.”

    At the time of this statement in late November 2001, LSU and University of Michigan had already been subpoenaed.

    Indeed, three of the four pictures in the article were thanked in numerous patents by the former scientists whose friends had been recruited to jihad by Ayman Zawahiri. He was from Cairo and Khartoum and had been supplied virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins, doing aerosol tests with a surrogate at Dugway.

    There are many uncertainties in proof and most commentators agree in characterizing Amerithrax as unsolved. But judging by KSM’s interrogation, the fact that Al Qaeda was working with virulent anthrax is not one of the uncertainties of proof.

    FBI Subpoenas Labs And Universities In Anthrax Probe
    By Earl Lane
    Washington Bureau

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

    • DXer said

      The new 2014 report on microbial forensics summarizes:

      “The Amerithrax investigation accelerated the development of microbial forensics, resulting in remarkable development and applications of new techniques and approaches for using laboratory tools to pinpoint the genetic identity of a microbial agent. Microbial forensics became an essential part of the scientific investigation, which was combined with physiochemical analyses and other evidence to narrow the search for the source of the B. anthracis used in the attacks.” (p. 29) ….

      “Very early in the investigaiton the anthrax spores in the letters and the environmental and clinical isolates were identified as the “Ames strain” by Dr. Paul Keim and members of his team at Northern Aizona University (NAU). …

      “His team was able to identify eight loci in B. anthracis that had multiple alleles (i.e., different versions of the same genetic marker). They developed a typing system caled multiple-locaus VNTR Analysis, or MLVA. In fact, B. anthracis was one of the first bacterium upon which this subtyping was performed…. Both Keims lab at NAU and the CDC lab independently produced the same result: the MLVA8 genotype was found to be consistent only with the Ames strain genotype that Keim and colleagues had identified earlier. (Keim et al., 2000).


      Kimothy, one of the scientists pictured in the article above with Hugh-Jones at LSU, Kimothy, was thanked by the scientist supplied virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins in connection with the same DARPA research. He then worked with Dr. Keim in connection with Amerithrax assessing submitted samples.

  3. DXer said

    “Forensic Genomics and the 2001 Anthrax Attacks”

    Click to access amerithrax.pdf

    “The FBI created a repository of anthrax attacks obtained from 20 laboratories known to work with the Ames anthrax strain.”

    • DXer said

      What were the 20 laboratories known to work with the Ames anthrax strain?

      The learned BHR in December 2001 created a list from the literature.

      BHR’s list did not include Sweden. And neither the FBI nor BHR’s list include Russia. As I best recall recent extensive correspondence, I believe BHR now would include APG in Aberdeen, Maryland and Southern Research Institute in Frederick, Maryland.

      But is there a complete list of the 20 from which samples were obtained in the public domain?

      Certainly, the GAO should disclose that list because distribution of Ames is a critical element of any viable theory. Complete sampling by the FBI certainly is a critical element of the FBI’s “Ivins Theory.”

      Southern Research Institute was working with Ames under a subcontract with Hadron, right? (When I called to ask him, Dr. Alibek declined to name the lab in the area doing the work with virulent Ames for them but it was SRI that had the subcontract according to press releases issued by Hadron at the time available through the Wayback Machine).

      Ali Al-Timimi shared a suite with the leading Ames anthrax researchers under that DARPA grant.

      Doesn’t an incomplete sampling doom any analysis purported to be based on the distribution of Ames and the process of elimination? On top of all this, submission of samples was voluntary — or rather by the scientists themselves. No one who obtained virulent Ames would have reason to submit it.


      (Information obtained from open sources)

      2 USArmy Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (Ft. Detrick, MD)#,*

      3 Dugway Proving Ground (Utah)#,*

      4 Naval Research Medical Center and associated military labs (MD)#

      5 Battelle Memorial Institute (Ohio; plus laboratories in many other locations)#,*

      6 Duke University Medical School, Clinical Microbiology Lab. (NC)

      7 VA Medical Center, Durham (NC)

      8 USDA laboratory and Iowa State College of Veterinary Medicine, Ames (Iowa)

      9 LSU College of Veterinary Medicine*

      10 Northern Arizona State University (Arizona)*

      11 Illinois Institute of Technology Research Institute (IL)

      12 University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Albuquerque (NM)*

      13 Institute for Genomic Research (MD)

      14 Chemical and Biological Defense Establishment, Porton Down (UK)*

      15 Center for Applied Microbiology and Research, Porton (UK)*

      16 Defense Research Establishment, Suffield (CA)*

      In addition, CDC, NIH, and Los Alamos and a few others may have the Ames strain.”

      • DXer said

        FBI Subpoenas Labs And
        Universities In Anthrax Probe
        By Earl Lane
        Washington Bureau

        WASHINGTON – The FBI has been using subpoenas from a Florida grand jury to obtain information from universities and research institutions, including Long Island’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, as part of its search for possible sources of contraband anthrax or people with the expertise to make it.

        While investigators still do not know the origin of the pure, fine-grained anthrax mailed to the office of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), some experts have said it could be the work of a competent, doctorate-level microbiologist.

        At least two laboratories that continue to do active research on anthrax said they have received subpoenas and others likely have been issued. The FBI also has been contacting many of the nation’s more than 100 laboratories that handle hazardous biological agents.

        At Brookhaven, the subpoena from the U.S. District Court in Miami was delivered to Nora Volkow, the laboratory’s associate director for life sciences, according to Mona Rowe, a Brookhaven spokeswoman. Rowe said Brookhaven has done structural studies in the past on the DNA of the anthrax bacterium but does not possess the organism or its dormant spore form.

        According to Rowe, the subpoena directed Volkow to appear before a federal grand jury in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Oct. 23 and provide information regarding the lab’s handling, use and transfer of anthrax as well as the personnel involved. After the laboratory responded in writing, Volkow was not required to appear before the grand jury.

        “We sent a letter explaining what we have on site,” Rowe said. The lab continues to store some anthrax DNA for possible use in future studies. The FBI has not made any further inquiries, Rowe said.

        The Justice Department launched a criminal investigation into the spread of anthrax in Florida and New York a week after photo editor Robert Stevens died of anthrax inhalation on Oct. 5.

        The FBI anthrax investigation, which is separate from but in communication with the FBI’s probe into the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, is being overseen by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, Justice officials said.

        But Justice Department and FBI officials in Washington declined to comment on the reports about FBI requests for information from universities and research facilities, saying they could not discuss subpoenas or matters before a grand jury.

        A subpoena was delivered Oct. 16 to the lab of Martin Hugh-Jones, an anthrax specialist at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. According to Richard Hidalgo, assistant to the dean of the school of veterinary medicine at LSU, it asked the school to provide by Oct. 23 a log of all visitors and employees at the Hugh-Jones lab since Jan. 1, 2000, including their Social Security numbers and dates of birth. The subpoena also asked for information on shipments of pathogens to and from the lab.

        “Besides Dr. Hugh-Jones and his lab director, only three others have been in the lab” during the time in question, Hidalgo said. “I’ve never been there myself.” Hugh-Jones, who questioned the necessity of using subpoenas to obtain information from research labs, said LSU’s reply was sent to the FBI last week.

        A subpoena also was delivered to the University of Michigan, according to a source who asked not to be identified. “All research institutions are being contacted by the FBI and asked for information,” the source said. “They were seeking personnel records for those who may be working with select agents.” That refers to the class of hazardous biological agents whose possession and transfer is regulated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. In addition to anthrax, the list includes more than 30 other agents, including toxins, bacteria and viruses such as yellow fever and eastern equine encephalitis.

        Barbara Govert, a spokeswoman for the CDC, said recently that more than 100 laboratories throughout the United States are registered with the agency’s Select Agents Standards system. Every state has at least one registered laboratory and several states have multiple registrants, such as California and Texas. But Govert said the identities of the registrants and the types of hazardous materials they possess need to remain anonymous to avoid making them targets of future theft or attacks. “What we’ve been telling people is that it’s classified, it’s sensitive, it’s very secure,” she said of the list.

        LSU’s Hidalgo said the FBI appears to be looking for any breach in the strict handling procedures for anthrax and other select agents. It could not be determined yesterday how many institutions have received subpoenas. In some cases, the FBI has made investigative inquiries without court orders.

        “The FBI showed routine interest in Princeton as a place with a graduate program in molecular biology,” said Steven Schultz, a spokesman for Princeton University, in New Jersey. “We told them there is no anthrax research on campus.”

        Tim Parsons, a spokesman for Johns Hopkins University’s school of public health in Baltimore, said the FBI had contacted the school regarding a student who graduated in May. “We provided information to the FBI,” Parsons said, but he could provide no further details.

        At several institutions where select agents have been studied in the past or are currently under study, officials said they have received no subpoenas or FBI requests for information. At Iowa State University, which recently destroyed its old stocks of anthrax, director of legal services Paul Tanaka said “as far as I know we have had no subpoenas delivered.” He also said he had not heard of any investigative contacts by the FBI.

        Officials at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston said their institution had received no subpoenas even though it continues to do research on agents on the CDC’s list. “We work on a lot of restricted agents,” said Dr. David Walker, chairman of the pathology department. He said procedures for handling and distribution of the agents are strictly enforced under federal regulations that went into effect in 1997. Walker noted that many post-doctoral students at his institution and others are foreign-born. He expressed some concern that the scrutiny of university-trained microbiologists not hinder the flow of scientific talent to this country. “The great strength of America has been taking the brains of the rest of world and fostering their development,” Walker said.

        Staff writers Tom Brune and Bryn Nelson contributed to this story.

  4. DXer said

    In 1996, Dr. Randall Murch created the FBI’s Hazardous Materials Response Unit. Dr. John Ezzell was its anthrax expert and made a dried powder using Ames from Dr. Ivins’ Flask 1029. Dr. Murch, who played the key role in the investigation in its early years, has a new article on an effective microbial forensics program for law enforcement and national security puprposes. He would be highly informed on any consideration of avoiding any conflict of interest of having Dr. Ezzell collect the samples of virulent Ames beginning in late 2001 and continuing in the spring of 2002. He could also describe the process by which the FBI sought to ensure that it collected all relevant samples under its method of having the scientists themselves submit samples. (JE’s lab did not submit a sample, for example, and so the methodology seems to have been flawed.)

    June 2014, Volume 62, Issue 3, pp 179-185
    Designing an Effective Microbial Forensics Program for Law Enforcement and National Security Purposes

    • Randall S. Murch


    Forensic capabilities that provide lead information, and investigative, intelligence, prosecution and policy decision support can be invaluable for responding to and resolving bioterrorism events. Attributing biological attacks through scientific and other resources and processes is an important goal, for which science can be instrumental. Some even believe that having effective microbial forensics capabilities along with others can even deter adversaries from using biological weapons. For those nations that do not have such or wish to integrate or upgrade capabilities, thoughtful analysis and consideration of certain design principles will increase the likelihood that success will be attained.

    IAP Scientific Seminar “Natural or Deliberate Outbreak—How to Prevent or Detect and Trace its Origin: Biosecurity, Surveillance, Forensics” co-organized by the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Military Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology on 6 December 2013 in Warsaw.

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

    • DXer said


      • Introduction
      • Definitions
      • Design Principle 1: Forensic Capabilities Should Help to Answer Key Investigative, Legal, Operational and Policy Questions
      • Design Principle 2: Microbial Forensics Capabilities Should Coincide with Accepted Understanding, Uses and Expectations for Forensic Science by Practitioners as Well as Stakeholders
      • Design Principle 3: Microbial Forensic Capabilities Should Incorporate Best Practices, Quality Measures, Pertinent Science and Technology from Related Fields
      • Design Principle 4: Forensic Capabilities Should Be Dynamic and Agile, and Adaptive to New Science and Technology When It Would Add Value
      • Conclusion
      • References
      • References

      Dr. Murch explains that

      “Microbial forensics is the development and application of forensic science and relevant sciences to investigative and legal problems involving infectious disease and toxin agents and what was done with an imparted to them for weaponization and dissemination. Microbail forensics also encompasses the exploitation of associated physical evidence contaminated with infections disease and toxin agents. …

      “Today, microbial forensics is still a relatively young scientific field….”

    • DXer said

      Dr. Murch defines attribution:

      Scientific Attribution: Assignment of a sample of
      questioned origin to a source of known origin to the
      highest degree of scientific certainty possible, at the
      same time excluding origination from other sources.
      Attribution requires the comparison of samples
      from one or more questioned sources (‘‘Q’’) with
      samples from one or more known sources (‘‘K’’),
      using samples that can be analyzed with highly
      discriminating methods. Attribution can be quantitatively
      and qualitatively expressed. Increasingly
      and more intensely, the science underlying ‘‘attribution’’
      is being scrutinized and expectations are
      increasing for accuracy, reliability, validity because
      of the importance and impact of legal decisions
      made that forensic science can contribute to.

      – Legal (or Policy) Attribution: A determination with
      respect to who committed acts of interest or who is
      otherwise involved, according to criteria accepted
      and applied within a legal system, e.g., ‘‘beyond a
      reasonable doubt’’ (the legal standard for conviction
      of a crime in legal systems such as in the U.S.).
      While science can inform an attribution decisions,
      they are rarely made based upon science alone.

      Comment: For example, in Amerithrax, we now know that Dr. Ivins had the experiment with the 52 rabbits in the first week of October 2001 — and thus US Attorney Taylor was mistaken in claiming Dr. Ivins had no reason to be in the lab. Similarly, we now know that the lyophilizer was not available to Dr. Ivins in the B3 as the US Attorney had indicated. It was the duty of the haz mat people to read Dr. Ivins’ email (according to Scott Decker) and so it was that squad that seems to have not merely dropped the ball, but encouraged the quarterback to throw it down in a Victory bounce before crossing the finish line.

      Amerithrax ranks as one of the greatest failures in intelligence analysis in the history of US — beginning with the profilers relied upon in October 2001 to develop a profile (rather than resorting to the available classified intelligence analysis) and ending with a false gloss of certainty encouraged by the scientific people.

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

  5. DXer said

    News round-up:


    John Tull, Lawyer Whose Illness Created a Bioterrorism Scare, Dies at 65

    The Opinion Pages | EDITORIAL

    The Disturbing Anthrax Accident

    EXCLUSIVE-U.S. government scientists retrace events leading to anthrax breach
    Source: Reuters – Fri, 27 Jun 2014 11:00 GMT
    Author: Reuters

  6. DXer said

    Did the GAO interview James Ehleringer?

    “Document examination can also be useful in investigations of
    material origin, as when the FBI searched for the origins of the 2001 Amerithrax letters [5].”

    “The potential for application of ink stable isotope analysis in questioned document examination”

    Lesley A. Chesson, Brett J. Tipple, Janet E. Barnette, Thure E. Cerling, James R. Ehleringer
    Received: December 20, 2013; Received in revised form: May 21, 2014; Accepted: May 28, 2014; Published Online: June 16, 2014

    We investigated a novel application of stable isotope abundance analysis of nitrogen (15N), carbon (13C), hydrogen (2H), and oxygen (18O) to characterize pen ink. We focused on both ballpoint and gel pen inks. We found that the isotope ratios of ink from pens purchased together in a package were similar and within-package stable isotope ratio variability was not significantly larger than the variability of isotope reference materials used during analysis. In contrast, the isotope ratios of ink from pens of the same brand purchased in three states of the continental USA were significantly different from each other and there was isotope ratio variation among pens of the same brand but different, unknown production periods. The stable isotope ratios of inked paper were statistically distinguishable using measured δ15N values. Paper inked with different gel pens was statistically distinguishable using measured δ2H values. The capacity of stable isotope ratios to differentiate among ballpoint inks as well as gel inks shows that stable isotope analysis may be a useful and quantifiable investigative technique for questioned document examination, although current sample size requirements limit its utility. Application of the technique in casework will require the development of micro-scale sampling and analysis methods.

    • DXer said


      “Understanding the authenticity and origins of documents is of widespread commercial and legal interest. As such, questioned document examination (QDE) is an important forensic discipline because it focuses on answering questions related to a document’s history [1] and [2]. Examiners often investigate paper documents or records to determine authenticity, such as the Hitler diaries “discovered” in East Germany in 1983 [3] or counterfeit currency surfacing in the global marketplace [4]. Document examination can also be useful in investigations of material origin, as when the FBI searched for the origins of the 2001 Amerithrax letters [5].

      Questioned document examination is a comparative science in which trained examiners observe characteristic features of two or more samples in order to compare and contrast different documents. Casework investigations may involve scrutiny of the applied media (ink) and the substrate (paper), both of which can be examined using a variety of non-destructive and destructive analysis techniques. Non-destructive examination often relies on optical observation via microscopy, photography, and additional spectral analysis methods [6], [7], [8] and [9]. Destructive QDE techniques typically rely on chemical analysis methods; examples include chromatography [10] and [11], elemental analysis [12], and mass spectrometry [13], [14] and [15].

      Chromatography—specifically, high performance thin-layer chromatography (TLC)—is among the most common destructive analysis techniques used in QDE for identifying ballpoint pen inks because analysis is relatively straightforward and results are rapidly generated [16], [17], [18] and [19]. Yet the identification of gel pen inks via TLC is often not possible [20]. This is because gel pen inks contain pigment-based colorants as opposed to the dye-based colorants found in most ballpoint pen inks [21]; these pigments are not soluble in the organic solvents associated with TLC analysis methods. Given the reduced potential for tampering, gel ink pens are marketed as an appealing choice for signing documents like wills or contracts. As such, document examiners frequently encounter gel inks during investigations [20]. However, authentication of text written with a gel ink pen is challenging because of (1) the difficulty in removing pigmented ink from the substrate once it is applied and (2) the lack of validated chemical analysis techniques to distinguish different gel inks. Several methods for characterizing and differentiating gel inks have been investigated [20], [22], [23] and [24], but to date no single approach has been deemed preferable for the discrimination and identification of gel ink pens.

      In this study we explored a novel chemical analysis technique for pen inks: stable isotope ratio analysis. One of the key features of stable isotope analysis is the ability to relate and distinguish chemically identical materials through measurement of naturally occurring small differences in the stable isotope abundances within the materials. Stable isotope analysis can provide an additional isotope “fingerprint” to further characterize a piece of evidence. Measurement of stable isotope ratios has previously proven useful in the investigation of many different materials of forensic interest [25], [26] and [27]. For example, stable isotope analysis has been used to differentiate packaging tapes [28] and [29] and paints [30] as well as drugs [31], [32] and [33] and explosives [34], [35] and [36]. Related to QDE, recent work by Jones et al. focused on the stable isotope analysis of commercially available office paper and demonstrated that carbon isotope ratios could be used to discriminate different papers [37], [38] and [39].

      Here we show the potential for stable isotope analysis to be applied as a quantitative testing method for characterizing pen inks during questioned document examination. We first investigated ink isotope ratio variation within packages of pens, by purchase location, and among pens of various ages before measuring the stable isotope ratios of pen inks surveyed in one location. We then focused on the stable isotope analysis of inks on paper. Finally, we present some limitations of the technique as explored in this work and discuss future work to further develop stable isotope analysis for application in QDE casework.”

  7. DXer said


    if you want copies of the full civil depositions in US v. Hatfill, DOJ Civil has assigned the request the following tracking number: 145-FOI-13112.

    To save a tree, you can request electronic copies to be mailed on a CD. (Or being USG, you might even receive a copy by email).

    Today I curiously received a letter dated March 30, 2014 (no doubt it was intended to be April 30) to my response dated April 23, 2014. It was postmarked on June 19, 2014.

    Putting aside those and other details, DOJ Civil FOIA and James Kovakas have provided excellent service and seem in all respects acting in good faith and presumably diligently (though certainly not with the expedition warranted by the pending GAO report).

    Although the documents were simple to locate, production does require at least reading through all the specified civil depositions. (In order to narrow the request, I did not not ask for any of the media depositions.)

    If DOJ withholds them until after the GAO report, that will be unfortunate — but still head and shoulders above the beleaguered and overworked FBI FOIA’s Dave Hardy’s turnaround on requests for documents.

  8. DXer said

    Letter to the Editor:

    The CDC’s many anthrax errors

    “Second, the CDC’s threat of “disciplinary action” is a surefire way to suppress information and compromise the honest assessment needed to identify the cause and create redundant safety measures to fix it.

    Humans make mistakes. High-hazard industries build in fail-safe mechanisms to account for those mistakes and prevent disasters from occurring.”


    The mistakes in Amerithrax were not addressed because (understandably) no one wanted to be thought of having been responsible for Dr. Bruce Ivins’ suicide. See Noah Schactman’s article in Wired reporting on comments by investigators. (Some of that works subconsciously in the form of cognitive dissonance).

    The essence of government accountability is not the attribution of blame — it lies in getting things right, coming to an accurate understanding.

    Amerithrax is too important an investigation for the usual CYA mode to control the outcome.

    The focus needs not to be on assessing blame, but pushing past the unsupported and disproved assertions to delineate the huge gaps in proof.

    GAO is part of the democratic process — part of the process that helps us as our society to the correct approach to an issue.

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


    Neighborhood Stunned As DEC Shoots Swans

  9. DXer said

    Multiple protocol breaches behind anthrax exposure at U.S. federal labs
    Sat Jun 21, 2014 3:39pm EDT

    Because the chemical method is less studied, “it would have been prudent to handle the samples as if they were live organisms,” said Stephen Morse of the Columbia University Institutional Biosafety Committee and former program manager for biodefense at the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

    The anthrax breach is already the subject of two investigations, one led internally by CDC and a second by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. At least two Congressional committees are monitoring developments to see if public hearings are warranted.

    The lapse “is not an isolated incident, but instead is part of a continuing pattern of biosafety and biosecurity problems at the CDC,” said Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist and biodefense expert at Rutgers University who for years has raised concerns about biosafety labs.

    “Audit after audit, and incident after incident, has documented biosafety and biosecurity training lapses, equipment failures, and procedural violations at the CDC.”


    A 2010 report by the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CDC’s parent agency, found the Atlanta labs did not always restrict access properly to pathogens that threaten public health, compromising the “physical security” of the bacteria.

    The inspector general also found that CDC did not always obtain “approval to transfer select agents or ensure that only approved individuals accepted delivery of select agents.”

    Despite the breach, a dozen experts contacted by Reuters still spoke highly of CDC’s biosafety record. They say the lapse there may be a lesson that other top level labs are even more at risk.

    “There are a lot of places where BSL-3 labs are not in very good shape,” said UPMC’s Dr D.A. Henderson, who was acting director of the Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness following the 2001 anthrax attacks.

    “Clearly something needs to be altered,” said CDC spokesman Skinner.

    One change could be to extend the strictest biosafety measures even to labs working with less-dangerous pathogens. If the labs receiving the anthrax had required researchers to wear more personal protective gear, such as a respirator, exposure would have been diminished.

    “When people think they’re working with inactive agents, they still need to act with at least a grain of suspicion that the samples might not be inactivated,” said Morse.

    “It’s a lot of hassle working in personal protection equipment,” he said, “but an incident like this tells us that even if you think something is inactivated or safe you should err on the side of caution.”

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


    DEC officers charged with going on mute swan ‘killing spree’ as lawmakers voted for their safety

    Avella (D-Queens) expressed outrage that Department of Environmental Conversation Officers shot two of the birds at an upstate park on Tuesday – the same day the Senate voted to enact a two-year moratorium on the state’s plan to eradicate the swans. Onlookers told a local television station that four baby swans were nearby when the adult swans were shot.
    BY GLENN BLAIN NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Friday, June 20, 2014, 7:34 PM

    Read more:

  10. DXer said

    C.D.C. Details Anthrax Scare for Scientists at Facilities

    As many as 75 scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may have been exposed to live anthrax bacteria after potentially infectious samples were sent to laboratories unequipped to handle dangerous pathogens, a spokesman for the federal health agency said Thursday.

    The agency was testing a new way to kill anthrax, which it discovered did not work as well as expected.

    None of the potentially infected scientists have any symptoms, but a number of them are being treated with antibiotics “out of an abundance of caution,” the spokesman, Thomas Skinner, said.

    The lapse occurred sometime between June 6 and June 13. Workers in three labs who were not wearing protective gear moved and experimented with samples of the highly infectious bacteria that were supposed to have been deactivated, the agency said.

    It added in a statement that procedures used in two of those laboratories in Atlanta, where the C.D.C. is based, may have “aerosolized the spores,” essentially blowing the bacteria into the air. The exposure was discovered June 13, when the bacterial plates were collected for disposal and live B. anthracis colonies, or anthrax bacteria, were found.


    The error arose, according to Paul J. Meechan, the agency’s director of health and safety, as scientists were testing a new way to kill anthrax bacteria with chemicals instead of radiation.

    C.D.C. scientists were developing a way for state and local laboratories to rapidly test mysterious powders or liquids that might or might not contain anthrax. For safety, especially in state labs that do not have containment apparatus, the samples must be sterilized before they are tested.

    Radiation is the most foolproof way to do that, but many state labs also do not have expensive irradiation machines, so the intention was to kill with chemicals.

    After the bacteria were chemically treated, samples were put on agar plates and incubated 24 hours. When no anthrax colonies grew on them, the scientists assumed the bacteria were dead.

    “It didn’t work as well as they thought,” Dr. Meechan said.

    The supposedly dead bacteria were sent to C.D.C. laboratories that usually work with low-risk organisms, where workers are not normally vaccinated against anthrax and not expected to use advanced protective gear.

    Six days later, when scientists started to dispose of the agar plates, they saw anthrax colonies growing on them, proving that some of the bacteria had survived.

    The bacteria were from the lethal Ames strain …

    FBI investigating possible anthrax exposure at U.S. lab
    WASHINGTON Thu Jun 19, 2014 7:35pm EDT

    (Reuters) – The FBI is working with the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to examine government scientists’ possible exposure to anthrax at a lab in Atlanta, but has found no evidence of wrongdoing, a spokesman for the agency said on Thursday.

    “We’re aware of it and working with CDC,” FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said in an email. “Nothing leads us to believe it’s anything criminal at this point.”

    The CDC disclosed earlier on Thursday that as many as 75 scientists may have been exposed to live anthrax bacteria and were being offered treatment to prevent infection from the deadly toxin.

    Comment: There is a rich history about inactivation and ineffective inactivation. JE is quite articulate on the subject on the lack of controlled studies as of 2001 on what was necessary. I believe the problem with the shipment of live Ames to Children Hospital in the Bay Area occurred when heat inactivation was used in the B3 at SRI headed by Bruce Ivins’ assistant PF. PF made and labeled the virulent Ames to Suffield in Canada pictured below.

    Ironically, virulent dry powder was used at Dugway in 1998 precisely to test the rates of inactivation or kill.


    U.S. Recently Produced Anthrax in a Highly Lethal Powder Form
    By WILLIAM J. BROAD and JUDITH MILLER The New York Times

    Government officials have acknowledged that Army scientists in recent years have made anthrax in a powdered form that could be used as a weapon.

    Officials at the Army’s Dugway Proving Ground in Utah said that in 1998 scientists there turned small quantities of wet anthrax into powder to test ways to defend against biowarfare attacks.

    Army researchers have previously acknowledged making wet anthrax, but Dr. Rosenberg said the acknowledgment yesterday by Dugway officials that they had produced dried anthrax was the government’s only such disclosure. “I know of no case of the United States saying that it has made anthrax powder,” she said.

    Some details of Dugway’s anthrax work were reported yesterday by The Baltimore Sun.

    Experts have said the letter sent to Senator Tom Daschle contained about two grams of anthrax spores — a small amount, but enough, if distributed with high efficiency, to infect millions of people.

    Ms. Nicholson said the dry anthrax made in 1998 was of the strain known as Vollum 1B, which the Army used to make anthrax weapons before the United States renounced biological arms in 1969. She said it was used for decontamination studies.

    “You have to use live spores because you are determining the rates of inactivation or kill,” she said.

    She said Dugway did make one- pound quantities of Bacillus subtilis, a benign germ sometimes used to simulate anthrax.

    Dugway’s production of dried anthrax is part of the government’s secret research program on how to defend against germ weapons, which gained momentum in the late 1990′s. The Clinton administration began a series of projects aimed at understanding the nation’s vulnerabilities to biowarfare and devising ways combat the threats.

    It is not known whether Dugway has shared its skills in making biological powders with other institutions, but it has shared its supply of the Ames strain.

    In 1997, it sent germs to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington, said Christopher C. Kelly, a spokesman there. He added that the institute, a sister lab to the Naval Medical Research Center, uses Ames to develop research assays for biological defense.

    Intelligence officials say that Battelle Memorial Institute, a military contractor in Ohio, has experience making powdered germs. They say the contractor participated in a secret Central Intelligence Agency program, code-named Clear Vision and begun in 1997, that used benign substances similar to anthrax to mimic Soviet efforts to create small bombs that could emit clouds of lethal germs.

    • DXer said

      The CNN reporter in the interview suggests that waiting 24 hours rather than 48 hours would violate the protocol.

      But note in 2004 when live Ames was mistakenly sent to Childrens Hospital in Oakland by Southern Research Institute (“SRI”), they had waited 48 hours. (The lab notebooks or a CDC report on lessons learned after that event could clarify whether in 2004 48 hours had in fact passed).

      SRI had the subcontract to work with virulent Ames for Dr. Alibek and Dr. Bailey who shared a suite with Ali Al-Timimi, the fellow who was coordinating with Anwar Awlaki. There is hard fought litigation involving both Al-TImimi and Awlaki relating to still withheld documents.

      CDC: Up to 86 workers possibly exposed to anthrax (see video about 24 vs. 48 hours)
      By Dana Ford, CNN

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

    • DXer said

      CDC blames anthrax scare on ‘breach of protocol’
      Eighty-four employees in Atlanta notified that they may have unintentionally been exposed to live bacteria

      “This was simply a breach of protocol,” said CDC spokesman Benjamin Haynes in an email on Friday. “The protocol calls for inactive anthrax to be slided and observed after 48 hours to see if spores develop. This particular sample was checked and sent to lower-level labs after 24 hours.”

  11. DXer said
    FACTBOX-Prior anthrax, ricin scares in the United States
    Source: Reuters – Thu, 19 Jun 2014 23:47 GMT
    Author: Reuters

    June 19 (Reuters) – As many as 75 U.S. government scientists may have been exposed to live anthrax bacteria after failing to follow proper safety procedures, prompting an investigation by federal authorities.

    Below are prior incidents involving such dangerous organisms:

    * The most prominent anthrax attacks in the United States came by mail in 2001, shortly after the Sept. 11 airliner attacks on New York and Washington.

    Letters containing anthrax spores were mailed to two Democratic Senators – Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy – and to three TV networks and two newspapers. Five people died and 17 others were sickened by contact with the tainted mail. Two of the dead were postal workers infected while processing the mail.

    The leading suspect, a U.S. scientist named Bruce Ivins, committed suicide in 2008, before he was charged with any crime.

    * In 2003, an anthrax scare led the U.S. Postal Service to close 11 post offices in Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia after air quality monitors detected possible traces of anthrax spores at a Washington facility.

    * The postal system has also been used to deliver ricin, another potentially deadly toxin. In 2004, an envelope containing ricin was discovered in Senator Bill Frist’s mailroom in Washington, DC.

    *In April 2013, an envelope addressed to President Barack Obama mailed from Memphis, Tennessee tested positive for ricin.

    A second letter also from Memphis and intended for Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker was discovered at a mail processing facility before it could reach its intended target. It also tested positive for ricin. (Reporting by Bill Berkrot; Editing by Richard Chang)


    Mr. Ductchke in the Memphis area was sentenced to 25 years this past month for mailng the ricin.

  12. DXer said

    Off-topic –

    Just as in the case of Bruce Ivins, we need to protect mute swans and ensure that any decision-making is evidence-based and supported by the science being relied upon.

    (And this recognizes that some mute swans, like some scientists, behave badly).

    NY Senate has passed the mute swan bill today.

    If you know the Governor, please ask that he sign it. Thanks.

    NY State Senate passes bill to halt eradication of Mute Swans

    BY GLENN BLAIN NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 2:00 PM

    The state Senate passed legislation halting plans to eradicate mute swans

    Mute Swans have something to crow about, courtesy of state lawmakers.

    The state Senate on Wednesday unanimously passed legislation that grants the large white birds a two-year reprieve from a state Department of Environmental Conservation plan to eradicate them in New York by 2025.

    The bill would also require the DEC to demonstrate that the birds are actually damaging the environment before moving ahead with eradication efforts.

    “The facts do not support DEC’s plan to eradicate these beautiful creatures,” said Sem. Tony Avella (D-Queens), a sponsor of the measure.

    “With the passage of my bill, I think it is now quite clear that DEC’s careless plan to eradicate the entire mute swan species entailed too many questions and not enough answers. These birds have been around for decades and the population is estimated at only 2,200. How can they be a threat to society? he said.

    “This has been a huge issue for the State of New York and I am glad that we will now have the time to properly examine and hopefully change this plan with legal protections that prevent harm to the swans and allow New York residents to live in harmony with these treasured birds.”

    The DEC deems the mute swans to be an invasive species that was brought to New York and North America from Eurasia in the late 1800s for ornamental reasons.

    The birds, according to state officials, cause a number of problems, including the destruction of underwater plants, the displacement of native wildlife species, the degradation of water quality and potential hazards to aviation.

    In December of 2013, the DEC announced plans to eradicate the swans in the state, stirring anger among environmental and animal-rights activists.

    The legislation, which passed the Assembly last month, now heads to Gov. Cuomo’s desk.

    A spokesman for Cuomo could not say whether the governor will sign it.

  13. DXer said

    Jun 11, 2014
    DHS scraps $5.8B program amid cost overruns, miscalculations

    Washington Business Journal

    A bioweapons program worth $5.8 billion has been canceled by the Department of Homeland Security with no alternatives going forward, Federal News Radio reports.
    The program was intended to upgrade the biological weapon detection systems deployed in the aftermath of anthrax attacks in 2001. However, cost overruns and technology that wasn’t mature enough to send to the field led to its cancellation. DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson has ordered officials to draft reports on lessons learned from the BioWatch 3 program’s failure and the way ahead within two weeks.

    Chris Currie, the Government Accountability Office’s acting director for homeland security and justice issues, says DHS “had no policies for coordinating or really managing its research and development investments.”

  14. DXer said

    GAO should addresses the Ames that Dr. Ivins said had gone missing from building 1412 and the autoclaving of samples there.

  15. DXer said

    GAO should address the issue of the weaponized anthrax that someone says had been shipped to Ft. Detrick and then went missing — in particular, the date that it occurred.

  16. DXer said

    GAO should address the view of experts that Al Qaeda had a viable means of rendering anthrax into a weapon.

    In particular, GAO should address the spraydrying documents on Al-Hawsawi’s laptop.

    as well as Rauf Ahmad’s notes and handwritten letter (he was one of the scientists working for Ayman Zawahiri).

    In assessing the documents from peer reviewed literature in Ayman Zawahiri’s possession, the dozens of documents produced to me under FOIA are only some of those documents that were in Dr. Ayman’s possession.

    J.B. Petro and David Relman could put those documents in context.

  17. DXer said

    GAO should address why the FBI was asking everyone whether they had seen olive oil in one of the aerosol rooms.


  18. DXer said

    GAO should obtain and disclose the Enclosure from USAMRIID’s response to the subpoena about the dried aerosol work at USAMRIID.

    If it had been disclosed in 2002, the public could have considered the claim that it was closest to attack anthrax — and thus addressed the conflict of interest this posed relating to the continued role of the FBI’s scientists at USAMRIID who made that dried powder.

    Then when that lab threw out Dr. Ivins February 2002 sample (from which the dried powder had been made), the issue could have been flagged or avoided over a decade ago.

  19. DXer said

    GAO should disclose the pathogens or toxins that Egyptian Abu Khabab used in killing rabbits and other animals during the month before 9/11 at a camp outside Kabul.

    Disclosure is regularly made about the poisons involved in such matters.

    FBI: Ryan Chamberlain Bought Lethal Toxins Online
    SFist-2 hours ago

  20. DXer said

    Claire Fraser-Liggett: the genetic analysis of the spores in Ivins’ flask do not indicate Ivins is guilty

    Former Lab head Dwight Adams said there were no useful forensics beside the genetics. GAO should addresses whether the photocopier mentioned in the Amerithrax Summary could be excluded as the source of the Amerithrax letters based on the mass spec of the toner. 99% confidence levels are possible under such testing nowadays. That is the sort of evidence that makes for a strong scientific case — or demolishes one.

    This is different from the issue of “tracks” made by the photocopier gripper. Nonetheless, given that tracks on copies made in September and October 2001 could be compared to the tracks on the mailed letters, even the forensics relating to the tracks was in fact exculpatory.

    Dr. Adams seems to approach evidence like a ratchet, a device made up of a wheel or bar with many teeth along its edge in between which a piece fits so that the wheel or bar can move only in one direction. Under his approach, it seems, evidence doesn’t count if it is probative but only exculpatory.

  21. DXer said

    A drawing from Al Qaeda anthrax training seminar stated “You are dead, bang.” The mailed anthrax letter – “You die now.”

    GAO, as part of a review that includes the forensics of handwriting analysis, should ask for a copy of the handwriting from Afghanistan stating “You are dead, bang” and disclose it so that it can be compared to the handwriting on the anthrax letters.


    Title: Piles of papers on biological weapons found at abandoned villa , Chicago Tribune (IL), Dec 01, 2001

    Database: Newspaper Source

    Piles of papers on biological weapons found at abandoned villa

    KABUL, Afghanistan-Neighbors say they noticed nothing particularly unusual about the comings and goings at the shabby, two-story villa occupied by a Pakistani aid group and located in a quiet residential neighborhood of Kabul favored by a number of international charities.

    But items found at the house since the Taliban fled from Kabul suggests that the Islamabad-based Ummah Tameer e Nau, or Foundation for Construction, may have been interested in something other than helping Afghans rebuild their country.

    Piles of documents containing detailed information about the use of anthrax in biological warfare, boxes containing gas masks and diagrams suggestive of a plan to use a helium filled balloon to disperse anthrax across a wide area were found in the house by journalists. The president of the charity on whose premises the evidence was found was one of Pakistan’s leading nuclear scientists, Bashiruddin Mahmood, who had been detained by Pakistani authorities, along with another retired nuclear scientist, in October and questioned about his links with the Taliban amid concerns that he may have shared Pakistan’s nuclear secrets with Osama bin Laden.


    But someone either living at the house or visiting it had taken a close interest in anthrax and in studying ways of delivering biological weapons.

    In one upstairs room there were dozens of copies of documents about anthrax, including details about the U.S. military’s vaccination program downloaded from a Defense Department site on the Internet and other Defense Department documents relating to anthrax. One, entitled “The bacteria: what you need to know” contains the statement that anthrax “spores can easily be spread in the air by missiles, rockets, artillery, aerial bombs and sprays.”

    There were 10 copies each of most of the documents, suggesting some kind of seminar or perhaps a brainstorming session had been held in the room for a group of people.

    On the floor, there was what appeared to be a disassembled rocket alongside a canister labeled “helium,” as well as two bags of powder, which journalists have refrained from inspecting.

    An elaborate diagram scrawled in black felt tip pen on a white board of the kind used in classrooms, depicts what appears to be a balloon rising at various trajectories, alongside a fighter jet that is apparently shooting at the balloon. Beside the jet are the words, “You are dead, bang,” which appear to have been added later because they are written in a different color.

    There are also pictures of ground missiles linked by lines to the balloon. Mathematical calculations indicate the height at which the balloon would fly, the distance from which it would be shot down and the area over which its contents would be dispersed. Beside one of the balloons is the word “polystyrene” and beside another the word “cyanide.” There is no mention of anthrax on the diagram, but the impression is of a plan to deliver biological agents by packing them into the gondola of a balloon that would be shot down by a jet or a missile. Loose sheets of paper containing scribbles of missiles and balloons similar to those on the board were found among the documents, indicating those attending the seminar had been taking notes, or elaborating on the calculations.

    The significance, if any, of the findings is difficult to establish. It is conceivable that the entire setup was a hoax, designed to play on U.S. fears in the wake of the anthrax attacks in America. U.S. officials have said they believe a lone domestic terrorist, not an international organization, was behind the attacks. If it was a hoax, however, it was an elaborate one. The photocopied documents are faded, suggesting they have been there a while. Western diplomats in Kabul, speaking on condition of anonymity, say they have no reason to believe the evidence was planted, although they say they have not had a chance to study it.

    “We know there were a lot of houses like this, and many that have been found by journalists in very similar circumstances,” said one diplomat.

    Investigators know that al-Qaeda had been trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction, he said. “It’s a question of whether they have the availability, and there’s no evidence yet that they do have the availability or the capability,” said the diplomat. “The evidence is inconclusive.”

    Neighbors say the house had been occupied by three Pakistani men, their wives and their children, and said they had no reason to believe they were engaged in anything other than charitable work. The house is next door to the British charity Save the Children and just a few doors down from the offices of the United Nation’s refugee agency. Local children begging on the street said they used to receive second-hand clothing from the occupants.

    Those living in the house left abruptly after September 11, leaving behind just one man, who fled on the night the Taliban withdrew from Kabul to Kandahar, according Faizuddin, the door keeper of the Save the Children organization next door.

  22. DXer said

    New references:

    Biological warfare, bioterrorism and biocrime
    Hugo J. Jansen, Florence J. Breeveld, Cornelis Stijnis and Martin P. Grobusch
    Accepted manuscript online: 30 MAY 2014

    History of biological warfare and bioterrorism
    Vincent Barras and Gilbert Greub
    Accepted manuscript online: 4 JUN 2014

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

    • DXer said

      Hugo J. Jansen, Florence J. Breeveld, Cornelis Stijnis, and Martin P. Grobusch note that there was not a “satisfactory end” to the Amerithrax investigation.

      They write:

      “The 2001 series of anthrax letters contaminated hundred if not thousands of people, but only caused few casualties. Yet, the impact of this attack is still felt today by the number of powder letters and suspicious packages sent to public offices regularly. …

      Terrorists operate within the borders of a nation that may seek to destroy them. The necessity to operate below the law enforcement detection threshold and with relatively limited means severely hampers their possibilities to develop, construct and deliver a successful biological attack on a large scale. On the other hand, success for most of them most likely will be defined by the measure of societal disruption and panic, and not necessarily by the sheer number of casualties. Thus, sickening even only few individuals using crude methods may be sufficient as long as it creates the impact they aim for. …

      Lastly, there is biocrime. This implies the use of a biological agent to kill or sicken a single or small group of individuals, motivated by revenge or monetary gain by extortion, rather than political, ideological, religious or other beliefs. Examples are the use of e.g. ricin to get rid of a partner, or the use in 1996 of Shigella dysenteriae by a disgruntled hospital laboratory employee in pastries as a gift for her colleagues (16). The murder of the Hungarian dissident Georgi Markov in London in 1978 using a ricin containing pellet injected by an umbrella could be considered an act of biocrime. However, as the murder undoubtedly was meant to convey a message on behalf of the KGB to other dissidents, one might equally argue this is an example of state-driven biological warfare.

      The clean-up of various buildings involved after the 2001 anthrax letters costed the US government 320 million dollars (20). Although this kind of agroterrorism has not occurred at the present day, the threat should be taken seriously given the impact it may have.


      Terrorists however may not need the requirements for e.g. long term storage or mass delivery. This means they have a wider array of opportunities. But first of all, agents should become available to them. Ricin in particular seems to enjoy great popularity as agent of choice as suggested by a long list of incidents or attempt (21), most likely due to its toxicity and ease of accessibility.


      In the fall of 2001, a series of letters containing anthrax spores were sent by mail to US senators, journalists, and media buildings. In the process, 22 people were seriously injured of which 5 died, and probably thousands were contaminated and were advised to use antibiotics for an extended period of time. …

      It must be noted that although the number of clinical cases may have been small, relatively speaking as compared to other diseases of public health concerns, the impact on society nevertheless was very significant. At the time there was lot of anxiety and stress (50), the direct and indirect costs related to the investigation, clean-up, installing detection equipment, scanning mail and other measures to prevent further attacks were high. Further, the quality of life of those involved at the time has been badly affected (51). To this day, powder letters are a regular phenomenon world-wide, usually containing hoax materials, but occasionally containing other toxic materials such as ricin (21, 43). The risk perception of events that are out of the ordinary usually results in an impact that goes beyond the mere number of casualties. In addition, communities and individuals involved in biological and chemical events may suffer from psychological effects, some acute, some delayed in onset (52). Bioterrorism falls in this category of events and (bio)terrorism preparedness measures should take this into account.

      Al-Qaida sought to acquire biological weapons (53). Many of their assets in Afghanistan may have been destroyed in the past decade but their aims and motivation likely have not changed. Then, due to increasing technological innovation and sophistication of equipment and proliferation of knowledge through internet across the world methods and equipment become cheaper, smaller and easier to operate or execute. What once required an expensive laboratory may now be done by a skilled individual in a garage and would be difficult to prevent or detect. Where laboratories have oversight mechanisms, colleagues peering in, and preventive measures in place to protect its workers and the environment against inadvertent releases, there is less of such protective mechanisms in the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) type garage box biology. Beyond a doubt, by far most of the times the ingenuity and creativity displayed by these researchers and engineers is fully transparent within the community and will be applied for the better. Ultimately, it may result in biofuel producing bacteria, lighting from luminescent micro- organisms or even biological computers (54). The dual-use nature of life sciences technology and diffusion of advanced technological capabilities could facilitate developing a biological weapon including mechanisms for effective dissemination. However, it must also be noted that although equipment and techniques have become more readily available, considerable skills and expertise are still required to carry out this kind of DIY research (55). The likelihood of rogue individuals carrying out DIY-biology is real, yet small. Self-regulation and transparency of DIY biology research should be encouraged. Possibly more disturbing for the future, some terrorists might gain access to the expertise and or agents generated by a state-directed biological warfare program. Civil war, revolt and lawlessness in countries possessing such a biological warfare program would provide a significant proliferation risk.

      No funding was received for the writing of this paper.”

  23. DXer said

    The CIA has known of Zawahiri’s plans to use anthrax since July 1998, when the CIA seized a disc from Ayman Zawahiri’s right-hand, Ahmed Mabruk, during his arrest outside a restaurant in Baku, Azerbaijan. At the time, Mabruk was the head of Jihad’s military operations. Mabruk was handed over to Egyptian authorities. A close associate and former cellmate in Dagestan in 1996, Mabruk was at Ayman’s side while Ayman would fall to his knees during trial and weep and invoke Allah. Their captors reportedly did not know the true identity of the prisoners. After Mabruk’s capture in Baku, Azerbaijan, the CIA refused to give the FBI Mabruk’s laptop. FBI’s Bin Laden expert John O’Neill, head of the FBI’s New York office, tried to get around this by sending an agent to Azerbaijan to get copies of the computer files from the Azerbaijan government. The FBI finally got the files after O’Neill persuaded President Clinton to personally appeal to the president of Azerbaijan for the computer files. FBI Special Agent Dan Coleman would later describe the laptop as the “Rosetta Stone of Al Qaeda.” O’Neill died on 9/11 in his role as head of World Trade Center security. He died with the knowledge that Ayman Zawahiri planned to attack US targets with anthrax — and that Zawahiri does not make a threat that he does not intend to try to keep.

    At the time, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (”DTRA”) set up a program at Lawrence Livermore to combat the Bin Laden anthrax threat. The CIA also snatched Egyptian Al-Najjar, another senior Al Qaeda member (a shura or policy-making council member) who had been working for the Egyptian intelligence services. Al-Najjar confirmed Ayman’s intent to use weaponized anthrax against US targets in connection with the detention of militant islamists in a sworn lengthy confession. Even Zawahiri’s friend, Cairo lawyer Montasser al-Zayat, who was the blind sheik’s attorney, announced in March 1999 that Bin Laden and Zawahiri were likely to resort to the biological and chemical agents they possessed given the extradition pressure senior Movement leaders faced. That week, and thoughout that year, Al-Zayat was in touch by telephone with US Post Office employee Sattar and Islamic Group leaders about the group’s strategy to free the blind sheik. An islamist who had been a close associate of Zawahiri later would explain that Zawahiri spent a decade and had made 15 separate attempts to recruit the necessary expertise to weaponize anthrax in Russia and the Middle East.

    EIJ military commander Mabruk was in regular contact with Mahmoud Jaballah, who was in Toronto beginning May 1996. Although Mabruk changed his location every few months, Jaballah kept aware of his whereabouts through his contacts with Jaballah’s brother-in-law Shehata. Shehata was in charge of EIJ’s “special operations.” When Mabruk was arrested and imprisoned in Dagestan along with Zawahiri, Jaballah was told on December 13, 1996 that Mabruk was “hospitalized.” That was code for “in jail” and, for example, is the code used by Zawahiri in emails on the same subject. Jaballah raised funds for Mabruk’s release and coordinated these collection efforts with Shehata. Indeed, it was Jaballah’s brother-in-law Shehata who brought the money to Dagestan to arrange for Zawahiri’s and Mabruk’s release.

    Correspondence between Mabruk and Jaballah in 1997 reported on Jaballah’s recruitment efforts. Mabruk, EIJ’s military commander, was pleased. Jaballah confirmed with Shehata and Mabruk his view of the reliability of the individuals he had recruited. His recruits were affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Zawahiri and the Vanguards of Conquest sought to recreate Mohammed’s taking of mecca by a small band through violent attacks on Egyptian leaders. By the late 1990s, Zawahiri had determined that the Egyptian Islamic Jihad should focus on its struggle against the United States and hold off on further attacks against the Egyptian regime.

    The cause of the Egyptian militants had suffered a serious setback with the murder of tourists at Luxor. After the public relations debacle of Luxor, and after the August 1998 US embassy bombings, al-Qaeda actively sought religious and legal opinions from Movement scholars around the world who might help rationalize the killing of innocents. The following letter is an example of such a letter taken from Zawahiri’s computer.
    “Folder: Outgoing Mail
    Date: September 26, 1998
    Dear highly respected _______
    I present this to you as your humble brother concerning the preparation of the lawful study that I am doing on the killing of civilians. This is a very sensitive case—as you know—especially these days.
    It is very important that you provide your opinion of this matter, which has been forced upon us as an essential issue in the course and ideology of the Muslim movement

    [Our] questions are:
    1- Since you are the representative of the Islamic Jihad group, what is your lawful stand on the killing of civilians, specifically when women and children are included? And please explain the legitimate law concerning those who are deliberately killed.
    2- According to your law, how can you justify the killing of innocent victims because of a claim of oppression?
    3- What is your stand concerning a group that supports the killing of civilians, including women and children?
    With our prayers, wishing you success and stability.”

    A February 1999 letter signed by “Army of Suicidals Group 66, Bin Laden Militant Wing” threatened anthrax attacks against Westerners if they stayed in Yemen beyond a 11-day ultimatum ending February 27, 1999. Investigators considered a possible connection to the attempted extradition to Yemen of the London-based Egyptian Islamic preacher Abu Hamza al-Masri. Memos in the Spring of 1999 from Zawahiri to Egyptian Mohammed Atef, Al Qaeda’s military commander, and former Cairo police sergeant, indicate that Ayman was a close student of the USAMRIID anthrax program. He believed that the Koran instructed that a jihadist should use the weapons used by the crusader. “What we know is that he’s always said it was a religious obligation to have the same weapons as their enemies,” former CIA Bin Laden unit
    counterterrorism chief Michael Scheuer once explained.

    The most senior Vanguards of Conquest leader in North America was Mohammad Mahjoub. Mahjoub had known Essam Mohamed Hafez Marzouk. Marzouk had trained the 1998 embassy bombers. Marzouk was one of those picked up in Azerbaijan in August 1998. For a time, Marzouk had lived in Canada in British Columbia. After initially denying he knew Marzouk, Mahjoub testified in 2001 that earlier he had lied and said he knew and had been in contact with him. Canadian Vanguards member Jaballah claimed that Mahjoub was in regular contact with Marzouk, who lived in British Columbia.

    87 of the 107 defendants in the 1999 “Returnees from Albania” trial in Cairo were Vanguards members. Mahjoub was convicted in absentia and sentenced to 15 years. Vanguards of Conquest #1 Agiza, the former Cairo Medical school mate of the Hamid brothers and Tarek Hamouda was convicted. The group swore that it would seek revenge in retaliation for the convictions in that case.

    According to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (“CSIS”) in the years leading up to his arrest, Mahjoub had shown signs of security consciousness. One time in December 1998, “he looked over his shoulder on three (3) occasions for no apparent reason, after making a call from a public pay phone.” He would call from pay phones rather than his residence. In May 1999, “he was observed looking back on several occasions while walking through a shopping centre parking area prior to boarding a bus.” In late January 2000, Mahjoub told an associate that he preferred to talk face to face when an associate asked about news. He said that could not talk about the matter because of “Moukhabarat” (secret services). When asked whether he meant military or civilian, Mahjoub said “both.”

    in early February 2001, he CIA briefed President Bush on a threat to use mailed anthrax if the bail for Vanguards of Conquest #2 was denied. His bail was denied on October 5, 2001. The anthrax mailer then sent especially deadly anthrax to the people in the symbolic position of appropriations to Egypt and Israel and the rendering of senior Egyptian Islamic Jihad and Egyptian Islamic Group leaders.

    Dr. Khaled Hamid — the lifelong friend of the Egyptian researcher supplied virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins — organized a conference attended by many doctors and denounced the involvement of doctors in terrorism. He told one interviewer that if he knew a sleeper cell in the United States, he was inform on it.

    Putting the question of sleeper cells aside, let’s address who knew who. I’ve asked Dr. Hamouda, for example, how many of the hundreds of Vanguards of Conquest members he knew from the prosecution push in 1993-1994, when he was finishing up his PhD, and he did not respond.

    • DXer said

      “I Successfully Achieved The Targets”:
      Assistance Of Pakistan Scientist Rauf Ahmad In 1999 And 2000

      George Tenet in his May 2007 In the Center of the Storm says: “Al-Qa’ida spared no effort in its attempt to obtain biological weapons. In 1999, al-Zawahiri recruited Pakistani national Rauf Ahmad to set up a small lab in Khandahar, Afghanistan, to house the biological weapons effort. In December 2001, a sharp WMD analyst at CIA found the initial lead on which we would pull and, ultimately, unravel the al-Qa’ida anthrax networks. We were able to identify Rauf Ahmad from letters he had written to Ayman al-Zawahiri. … We located Rauf Ahmad’s lab in Afghanistan. We identified the building in Khandahar where Sufaat claimed he isolated anthrax. We mounted operations that resulted in the arrests and detentions of anthrax operatives in several countries.”

      Delivering the James Smart Lecture, entitled “Global Terrorism: are we meeting the challenge?” at the headquarters of the City of London Police, Ms. Manningham-Buller, the head of MI5, said: “Western security services have uncovered networks of individuals, sympathetic to the aims of al-Qa’ida, that blend into society, individuals who live normal, routine lives until called upon for specific tasks by another part of the network.” She concluded: “The threats of chemical, biological and radiological and suicide attacks require new responses and the Government alone will not achieve all of it; industry and even the public must take greater responsibility for their own security.”

      In 1999, a scientist from Porton Down had reported to sfam members on a conference in Taos, New Mexico in August that included a talk by Tim Read, (TIGR, Rockville, USA) and concerned the whole genome sequencing of the Bacillus anthracis Ames strain. The Ames strain may have been a mystery to many after the Fall 2001 mailings, but not to motivated Society for Applied Microbiology (“SFAM”) members, one of whom was part of Ayman Zawahiri’s “Project Zabadi.”

      As described by Dr. Peter Turnbull’s Conference report for SFAM on “the First European Dangerous Pathogens Conference” (held in Winchester), at the September 1999 conference, the lecture theater only averaged about 75 at peak times by his head count. There had been a problem of defining “dangerous pathogen” and a “disappointing representation from important institutions in the world of hazard levels 3 and 4 organisms.” Papers included a summary of plague in Madagascar and another on the outbreak management of hemorrhagic fevers.

      Dr Paul Keim of Northern Arizona University presented a paper on multilocus VNTR typing, for example, of Bacillus anthracis and Yersinia pestis. There were more than the usual no-show presenters and fill-in speakers.

      The Sunday at the start of the Organization of the Dangerous Pathogens meeting in September 2000, which the SFAM director confirmed to me that Rauf Ahmad also attended, was gloomy. Planning had proved difficult. The overseas delegates included a sizable contingent from Russia. The organizers needed to address many thorny issues regarding who could attend. One of the scientists in attendance was Rauf Ahmad. The Washington Post reports: “The tall, thin and bespectacled scientist held a doctorate in microbiology but specialized in food production, according to U.S. officials familiar with the case.”

      Les Baillie the head of the biodefense technologies group at Porton Down ran the scientific program. Many of the delegates took an evening cruise round Plymouth harbor. The cold kept most from staying out on the deck. Later attendees visited the National Marine Aquarium — with a reception in view of a large tankful of sharks. Addresses include presentations on plagues of antiquity, showing how dangerous infectious diseases had a profound that they changed the course of history. Titles include “Magna pestilencia – Black Breath, Black Rats, Black Death”, “From Flanders to Glanders,” as well as talks on influenza, typhoid and cholera. The conference was co-sponsored by DERA, the UK Defence Evaluation and Research Agency.

      Les Baillie of Porton Down gave a presentation titled, “Bacillus anthracis: a bug with attitude!” He argued that anthrax was a likely pathogen to be used by terrorists. As described at the time by Phil Hanna of University of Michigan Medical School on the SFAM webpage, Baillie “presented a comprehensive overview of this model pathogen, describing its unique biology and specialized molecular mechanisms for pathogenesis and high virulence. He went on to describe modern approaches to exploit new bioinformatics for the development of potential medical counter measures to this deadly pathogen.”

      Bioinformatics was the field that Ali Al-Timimi, who had a security clearance for some government work and who had done work for the Navy, entered by 2000 at George Mason University in Virginia.

      Despite the cold and the sharks, amidst all the camaraderie and bonhomie no one suspected that despite the best efforts, a predator was on board — on a coldly calculated mission to obtain a pathogenic anthrax strain. The conference organizer Peter Turnbull had received funding from the British defense ministry but not from public health authorities, who thought anthrax too obscure to warrant the funding. By 2001, sponsorship of the conference was assumed by USAMRIID. USAMRIID scientist Bruce Ivins started planning the conference held in Annapolis, Maryland in June 2001 three years earlier, immediately upon his return from the September 1998 conference.

      According to the Pakistan press, a scientist named Rauf Ahmad was picked up in December 2001 by the CIA in Karachi. The most recent of the correspondence reportedly dates back to the summer and fall of 1999. Even if Rauf Ahmad cooperated with the CIA, he apparently could only confirm the depth of Zawahiri’s interest in weaponizing anthrax and provided no “smoking gun” concerning the identity of those responsible for the anthrax mailings in the Fall 2001. His only connection with SFAM was a member of the society. He was not an employee. The Pakistan ISI, according to the Washington Post article in October 2006, stopped cooperating in regard to Rauf Ahmad in 2003.

      I have uploaded scanned copies of some 1999 documents seized in Afghanistan by US forces describing the author’s visit to the special confidential room at the BL-3 facility where 1000s of pathogenic cultures were kept; his consultation with other scientists on some of technical problems associated with weaponizing anthrax; the bioreactor and laminar flows to be used in Al Qaeda’s anthrax lab; and the need for vaccination and containment. He explained that the lab director noted that he would have to take a short training course at the BL-3 lab for handling dangerous pathogens. Rauf Ahmad noted that his employer’s offer of pay during a 12-month post-doc sabbatical was wholly inadequate and was looking to Ayman to make up the difference. After an unacceptably low pay for the first 8 months, there would be no pay for last 4 months and there would be a service break. He had noted that he only had a limited time to avail himself of the post-doc sabbatical. I also have uploaded an earlier handwritten letter from before the lab visit described in the typed memo. The Defense Intelligence Agency provided the documents to me, along with 100+ pages more, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”). 90 of the 100 pages are the photocopies of journal articles and disease handbook excerpts.

      The Washington Post, in an exclusive groundbreaking investigative report, recounts that the FBI’s New York office took the lead U.S. role — and its agents worked closely with the CIA and bureau officials in Pakistan in interrogating Rauf. Though not formally charged with any crimes, Rauf agreed to questioning. While the US media focused on the spectacle of bloodhounds alerting to Dr. Steve Hatfill and the draining of Maryland ponds, this former Al Qaeda anthrax operative provided useful leads. But problems began when the U.S. officials sought to pursue criminal charges, including possible indictment and prosecution in the United States.

      In earlier cases, such as the orthopedic surgeon Dr. Amer Aziz who treated Bin Laden in the Fall of 2001, the Pakistani government angered the Pakistani public when it sought to prosecute professionals for alleged ties to al-Qaeda. In the case of Amer Aziz, hundreds of doctors, engineers and lawyers took to the streets to demand his release. In 2003, the Pakistanis shut off U.S. access to Rauf. By then, I had noticed the reporting of his arrest in a local Pakistan news article about the raid of a compound of doctors named Khawaja and published it on my website. According to Pakistani officials, there was not enough evidence showing that he actually succeeded in providing al-Qaeda with something useful. Since then, the Post reports, Rauf has been allowed to return to his normal life. Attempts by the Post to contact Rauf in Lahore were unsuccessful. Initially the government agency had said an interview would be possible but then backpedaled.

      “He was detained for questioning, and later the courts determined there was not sufficient evidence to continue detaining him,” Pakistan’s information minister told the Post. “If there was evidence that proved his role beyond a shadow of a doubt, we would have acted on it. But that kind of evidence was not available.” Yazid Sufaat got the job handling things at the lab instead of Rauf Ahmad. More importantly, Zawahiri, if keeping with his past experience, would have kept things strictly compartmentalized — leaving the Amerithrax Task Force much to do.

    • DXer said

      Charity is as charity does.

      Handwritten notes by Rauf provided by the DIA confirm the plan indicated by a memo from Zawahiri to Al Qaeda military leader Atef. He planned to recruit specialists and to use charities and universities as cover for their anthrax program that he codenamed “Zabadi” or “Curdled Milk.”

      On August 20, 2001, Saleh Ibn Abdul Rahman Hussayen, who would soon be appointed minister of the Saudi government and put in charge of its two holy mosques, arrived in the United States to meet with some of this country’s most influential fundamentalist Sunni Muslim leaders. He met with officials of the Global Relief Foundation. He also met with IANA representatives in Ann Arbor, Michigan according to court testimony by an FBI agent in the unsuccessful prosecution in Idaho of his nephew Sami Hussayen. IANA promoted the views of Bin Laden’s sheiks. On the night before September 11, Hussayen stayed at a Herndon, Virginia hotel where three of the Saudi hijackers stayed.

      After an October 2001 bombing raid at a Qaeda camp in Darunta, Afghanistan US forces found 100+ printed, typed, handwritten pages of documents that shed light on Al Qaeda’s early anthrax planning. The Defense Intelligence Agency provided me the documents under the Freedom of Information Act. The documents confirmed that it was Zawahiri’s plan to use established specialists and the cover of universities and charities as cover for weaponizing anthrax. From early on, the evidence suggested that charity is as charity does. 90 of the 100 pages are the photocopies of journal articles and the disease handbook excerpts. It was not clear whether or they had yet acquired virulent anthrax or weaponized it, but it was clear that the planning was well along. When Vice President Cheney was briefed on the documents in late 2001, he immediately called a meeting of FBI and CIA. “I’ll be very blunt,” the Vice President started. “There is no priority of this government more important than finding out if there is a link between what’s happened here and what we’ve found over there with Qaeda.” At one point, security personnel thought that the home belonging to Elizabeth Cheney, his daughter had been hit by an anthrax attack. Elizabeth had to call her nanny to get her to take the kids to be tested for exposure. A June 1999 memo from Ayman to military commander Atef said that “the program should seek cover and talent in educational institutions, which it said were ‘more beneficial to us and allow easy access to specialists, which will greatly benefit us in the first stage, God willing.’ ”Thus, in determining whether Al Qaeda was responsible for the anthrax mailings in the Fall of 2001, the FBI and CIA had reason to know based on the growing documentary evidence available by mid-December 2001, that Al Qaeda operatives were likely associated with non-governmental organizations and working under the cover and talent in universities.

      The government froze the assets of the Global Relief Foundation (GRF”) on December 14, 2001, saying it was a financial conduit to terrorists. No warrant had been obtained before the FBI arrived at Global Relief’s headquarters in Bridgeview, Illinois. The search was done pursuant to a provision in FISA that permitted a warrantless search when the Attorney General declares that an emergency situation. The 911′s Terrorist Financing Monograph notes that GRF’s newsletter, “Al-Thilal” (“The Shadow”) openly advocated a militant interpretation of Islam and armed jihad. The 911 Commission reports that the FBI suspected the Executive Director of being affiliated with the blind sheik’s Egyptian Islamic Group. The 911 Commission explains: “In early 2000, Chicago informed Detroit that GRF’s executive director, Chehade, had been calling two Michigan residents. One of these subjects was considered GRF’s spiritual leader and the other, Rabih Haddad, was a major GRF fund-raiser.” Its Chairman, Ann Arbor, Michigan community leader Rabih Haddad was arrested in mid-December 2001 for overstaying his visa. Haddad taught twice a week at an Ann Arbor school and was an assistant to the leader at Ann Arbor’s mosque. He was an imam there. Rabih Haddad was an effective fundraiser for the mosques in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti and for the Ann Arbor chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). His students have testified that he stated unequivocally that the attacks on September 11, 2001 were not the acts of true Muslims. Congressman John Conyers, Jr, of Michigan joined several newspapers in suing to force the government to open the hearings. Mr. Conyers argued that he was being unfairly targeted as a Muslim cleric. After a visit by Congressman Conyers in March 2002, Mr. Haddad was removed from solitary confinement and placed with the general prison population.” Haddad was allowed to make phone calls and for the first time watch television. Mr. Haddad’s lawyer, Ashraf Nubani, of Northern Virginia, said at the time “The government never established, other than smoke screen and innuendo, that he was linked to terrorism.” Attorney Nubani said that his client travelled mostly to Pakistani as part of his relief efforts. Haddad refused to testify before a grand jury unless granted full immunity. As part of DARPA-funded research, Dr. Bruce Ivins of USAMRIID supplied virulent Ames to Ann Arbor researchers whose office by September 2001 was 2 minutes –1 mile — from the mosque where Mr. Haddad was an imam. Although the evidence is “secret,” most intelligence is open source.

      The New York Times reported at the time that “Prosecutors said they were keeping some evidence secret to protect terrorism investigations.” It was Haddad’s lawyer who arranged the pro bono representation for the Virginia Paintball defendants, including Al-Timimi. As a Detroit Free Press headline explained in 2004, “Unproven weapons claim led to Islamic charity raid in [mid-December] ‘01.” Global Relief Founder (”GRF”) cofounder Rabih Haddad was associated with Bin Laden’s Makhtab al-Khidamat, which was headed by Mohammed Islambouli in Peshawar. Mohammed Islambouli was head of a cell with KSM planning the attacks on the United States. Mohammed Islambouli led the faction of the Egyptian Islamic Group that joined Al Qaeda. KSM came to spearhead the attack using anthrax on the United States. It was his assistant, al-Hawsawi, who had the anthrax spraydrying documents on his laptop. Al-Hawsawi was working with Al-Baluchi to get the 911 hijackers into the country. Al-Baluchi would marry MIT-graduate Aafia Siddiqui. An Assistant United States Attorney asserted in passing in open court, without naming her, that Aafia was willing to participate in an anthrax attack if asked. Aafia Siddiqui is associated with Ann Arbor addresses near the mosque where her brother and sister-in-law, an MD, lived.

      Global Relief Foundation (“GRF”) and Benevolence International Foundation (”BIF”) attorneys in unison explained that the US had supported Makthab al-Khidamat in Afghanistan in the 1980s and Bosnia in the 1990s. (BIF head Arnaout, a Syrian, was at the meeting at which Al Qaeda was founded.) Investigation of the two charities was well underway prior to 9/11, although plagued by lengthy unnecessary delays emanating from headquarters. The 9/11 Commission Report notes that on April 21, 1999, upon weekly dumpster diving, FBI “agents had recovered from BIF’s trash a newspaper article on bioterrorism, in which someone had highlighted sections relating to the United States’ lack of preparedness for a biological attack.” (The article quoted famed Russian bioweaponeer Ken Alibek who was at George Mason University in Falls Church, Virginia.) As University of Maryland researcher Milton Leitenberg has pointed out, “[u]nfortunately, ten years of widely broadcast public discussion has provided such groups, at least on a general level, with suggestions as to what paths to follow.”

      The FBI had a better relationship with the CIA in the investigation of BIF than with GRF. The 9/11 Commission noted that “[t]he Chicago agents believed the CIA wanted to shield certain information from the FBI because of fears of revealing sources and methods in any potential criminal litigation in the United States.” Chicago agents benefited from the New York Office files on the two charities but the New York FBI office personnel were overwhelmed and working their own leads. The Illinois-based investigations remained an intelligence gathering exercise with no thought given to a criminal prosecution to disrupt the financing of Al Qaeda until after 9/11. In mid-October 2001, Dr. Martin Hugh-Jones of Louisiana State University told an NPR reporter that an insider could have taken some anthrax from a lab. He didn’t want to be interviewed on tape. ‘If I were to guess,’ he says, ‘it was probably some summer intern talking to a friend in a local bar. The friend said, “Could you get me some?”‘ Hugh-Jones says various protest groups have been scouting for anthrax for years.

      In January 2003, the Chairman of Ann Arbor-based Islamic Assembly of North America, which promoted the views of Bin Laden’s sheiks, was arrested for bouncing a $6,000 check. Dr. Bassem Khafagi operated International Media Group out of his home. Before 911, according to the counsel for Falls Church scientist Ali Al-Timimi, Ann Arbor resident Khafagi was asked about Al-Timimi “purportedly at the behest of American intelligence. [redacted ] He was specifically asked about Dr. Al-Timimi’s connection to Bin Laden prior to Dr. Al-Timimi’s arrest. He was later interviewed by the FBI about Dr. Al-Timimi. Clearly, such early investigations go directly to the allegations of Dr. Al-Timimi’s connections to terrorists and Bin Laden — [redacted]” Khafagi was a good friend of microbiologist Ali Al-Timimi and his personal papers were later found in Al-Timimi’s residence.

      In September 2006, federal agents investigating the Muslim charity Life for Relief and Development seized more than $134,000 in cash from the Ann Arbor home of Mujahid Al-Fayadh, a board member and founder of the organization. Dr. Mujahid Al-Fayadh has a Ph. D. in the field of Food Biochemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Al-Fayadh also maintains a B.Sc. and M. Sc. in Dairy and Food Technology. He was the imam and project manager of the Hidaya Muslim Community Association in Ann Arbor. The association operated the Michigan Islamic Academy at Plymouth Road in Ann Arbor where the Global Relief Foundation founder taught twice a week. One mile down the road at Plymouth Park was the company whose researchers Bruce Ivins had supplied Ames strain years ago for DARPA-funded biodefense research with a microbiologist working at USAMRIID working under the direct supervision of Bruce Ivins. The company was called NanoBio.

      Dr. Tarek Hamouda at NanoBio thanked Louisiana State University researchers for making space available for the research. The LSU had provided four characterized strains while Bruce Ivins had provided virulent Ames for the research done by a microbiologist at USAMRIID under Dr. Ivins direct supervision. “I decided in 1993 or ‘94 that if there was a terrorist attack using anthrax we had to be able to fingerprint it to tell where it came from, sort of like the casing on a bullet,” Dr. Hugh-Jones said. After the anthrax mailings, “We’ve had subpoenas left, right and center. We were inspected twice by the CDC [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hugh-Jones told a reporter. “The FBI is frequently calling in. We’re cooperating closely.” “It very quickly became clear that we have good control over it, and it didn’t come from here,” Martin Hugh-Jones said. “We handle a lot of deadly items very frequently as a matter of routine.” Dr. Hugh-Jones has told Lew that he has no idea where the research using Ames was done and that only USAMRIID-Ames via Porton Down was supplied pursuant to the subpoena. Dr. Baker at University of Michigan separately notes that no virulent Ames was University of Michigan, as that would have been illegal he says.

      In late August 2001, NanoBio had moved in to its new offices from less impressive digs in the basement of a bank. Bruce Ivins had supplied its University Of Michigan researchers Ames strain in Spring 1998 for DARPA-funded biodefense research. Dr. Hamouda’s name had been spelled wrong on the handwritten log. The electric card access records did not start until later that year. The Ann Arbor researchers in December 1999 went to Dugway, a military installation in the remote Utah desert to demonstrate the effectiveness of their biocidal cream on an aerosolized anthrax surrogate.

    • DXer said

      Chasing Islambouli’s Ghost: A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

      When dealing with Ayman Zawahiri, it never pays to underestimate the importance to him in the 1990s of the terrorist infrastructure in Brooklyn. In the late 1990s, Steve Emerson traced the development of the “Mekhtab Al-Khidemat Al-Mujahideen,” or the “Office of Services of the Mujahideen,” from its formation in Pakistan and Afghanistan in the early 1980′s to the Al Kifah Refugee Centers which spread throughout the United States and internationally. Zawahiri visited Brooklyn’s al Farouk mosque, which was part of Khidmat Services in Peshawar and was used to funnel jihadists and funds to Afghanistan. The blind sheik’s lawyer, Montasser al-Zayat, visited in 1990. Islambouli was head of the office in Peshawar. In a 1990 documentary by SBS-TV “Cutting Edge” series entry called “Sword of Islam,” Islambouli said: “Islam grows on the severed limbs and blood of martyrs. Islam will be back, and take over the world.”

      The CIA’s December 4, 1998 PDB to President Clinton explained that Mohammed Islambouli, the brother of Sadat’s assassin, was planning an attack using aircraft and other means on the United States. After Bojinka, which can be thought of as the origin for the 911 planning, Islambouli had been in a cell with KSM in planning the attacks. KSM came to be head of the cell planning to use weaponized anthrax on the United States. Therefore, it is important to understand who Islambouli knew and consider his historical connection to the al-Farook mosque in Brooklyn, New York.

      Now the surest way to know who Islambouli knew would be to go back to the late 1970s leading up to Sadat’s assassination and study membership in the Egyptian Islamic Jihad cells at the universities. But the story also can fruitfully be picked up a decade later in the context of Islambouli’s ongoing connection to al-Farook. The Al-Kifah Refugee Center had found its home in the early 1990s at the Al-Farooq mosque on Atlantic Avenue. Some of the men convicted in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing worshipped at the mosque, as did the blind sheik’s bodyguard El-Sayyed Nosair, who killed the radical Israeli Rabbi Meir Kahane.

      The Brooklyn office of Makhtab Khidmat al-Mujahiden was staffed by Egyptian Islamic Jihad operative Khaled Dahab, a used car salesman from Santa Clara. Dahab handled the logistics for terrorists out of his home. He patched through calls for Egyptian Islamic Jihad members and transferred money. Ayman called Dahab periodically — once to price telephone surveillance equipment. Dahab at last report was in jail in Egypt. Dahab had been recruited by Ali Mohammed, the former US Army sergeant who was Bin Laden’s chief of security during the move from Afghanistan to Sudan. Ali Mohammed helped conduct the surveillance leading much later to the embassy bombings. He trained Dahab on how to make letter bombs. Dahab trained to use ultralights in Afghanistan as part of a plot to free detained senior leaders from an Egyptian prison.

      When Ali Mohammed would visit Brooklyn, he would stay with a fellow Egyptian Nosair, who assassinated Meir Kahane. Nosair had been one of the men practicing with the men at the Calverton shooting range in Long Island under Mohammed’s instruction (along with some of the WTC 1993 bombers).

      In 1992, Mohammed Islambouli, was in regular fax contact from his Peshawar Mujahedeen Office in Peshawar, Pakistan and the Brooklyn Al-Kifah office. One 1992 memo from Islambouli’s Peshawar office read: “The military wing of the Jihad seals its news with success everywhere. However, the matter is the hands of the leadership to form the Islamic government to manage the country.”

      Sheik Abdel-Rahman would lecture regularly at al-Farook. He would visit Islambouli in Pakistan from Brooklyn in 1989 and during the early 1990s. It was not until April 1993, upon a crackdown on the foreign fighters, that Islambouli and Zawahiri had to move their operations into Afghanistan. Islambouli moved a scant 100 miles. Before disappearing into Afghanistan, Islambouli told the press the group would continue its holy war against the Egyptian government. In 1993, after he had to leave Peshawar, Islambouli lived at the Samarkhiel Guest House in Jalabad, a town in eastern Afghanistan three hours by road from the Pakistan border. In April 1993, a fax to Western news media threatened American interests if anything happened to Abdel-Rahman. At the time, Egyptian Islamic Group had about 200 members in Jalabad.

      Even back then, moreover, there was a connection between Brooklyn and the Moro National Liberation Front in the Philippines. For example, a 1992 memo read:

      “We urge you to support them and to support them and to contribute to their developments, programs and projects in order that they may do their part in accomplishing our jihad and mission of raising the World of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and the Message of our Prophet Muhammad (saw) to the Highest.” Another memo from the Moro National Liberation Front read: “THIS IS TO CERTIFY that according to the records of this office, that Mr. Abdul Zindani had shown his sincerity, loyalty, and devotion to his work and noble project as Chairman of:


      P.O. Box – 294, Brooklyn NY -11217

      Telephone No. 718-797-9207

      We urge you to help all kinds of support needed to all concern Islamic movements, specially our Muslim Mujahidin around the Globe including those in Bosnia Herzegovinia, Palestine, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Kurdisn, Burma, Bangladesh, Eritrea, Lebanon, India, Trinidad, Somalia and Bangsamoro in Southern Philippines.”

      By 1995, Nosair was in prison and a defendant in a trial for sedition along with the Blind Sheik. The father of Adnan El-Shukrijumah (“Jafar the Pilot”) once translated for the Blind Sheik and was a character witness for Clement Rodney Hampton one of the defendants in the 1995 sedition trial.

      If the federal investigative interest over the years has been any indication, it appears that authorities perceived that a tree grew in Brooklyn.

      I told the CIA that in a lengthy memo in December 2001. Amerithrax represents the greatest failure in intelligence analysis in the history of the United States.

    • DXer said

      The country can ill afford to get Amerithrax wrong.

      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 by Lew Weinstein on June 6, 2013

    • DXer said

      The Al Qaeda anthrax lab director Yazid Sufaat was my Facebook Friend. (He has been imprisoned on separate charges). Yazid Sufaat did not deny to me Al Qaeda’s responsibility for the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings. Instead he pled the “Fifth Amendment.”

      Like Adnan El-Shukrijumah, he stayed with KSM at his house for a period in Kandahar, which was where he and his two assistants were working with virulent anthrax.

      For those who aren’t big readers, it is possible to keep things simple:

      There is no evidence against Bruce Ivins.

      Indeed, he had an alibi. His time in the lab was not unexplained as falsely claimed by the prosecutor. He was doing late night animal checks and plating relating to the animal experiments.

      El-Shukrijumah was the mailer.

      Yazid Sufaat was the processor.

      These graphics were done by a federal undercover and so apparently not everyone is as clueless as Vahid Majidi and the other FBI scientist who has a manuscript.

    • DXer said

      Family wants health information on Egyptian sheik convicted in N.Y. landmarks plot

      He said he had received several calls from clients and friends overseas concerned about the sheik’s health.

      “The word has just spread in the Middle East that he was having health problems,” Cohen said.

      The sheik is subject to strict special administrative measures that prohibit anyone, including his lawyers, from providing information to people outside the prison. Cohen said he has begun the process to be cleared to meet with Abdel-Rahman.

      Lynne Stewart, a lawyer who represented him at his trial, agreed to the administrative procedures but then lost her license to practice law after she was convicted of providing material support to terrorists by issuing a press release that included a statement from him. She served more than four years of a 10-year prison sentence before she was freed on Dec. 31 as part of the prison compassionate release program after doctors concluded she had less than 18 months to live.

      Comment: With Attorney Cohen awaiting sentencing, it seems that Ramsey Clark, if he still also represents the Blind Sheik, is best suited, under all the circumstances, to undertake the request. The FBI previously has warned of an attack if the Blind Sheik’s health fails — which is inevitable.

      FBI informant warns so-called Blind Sheik ‘will kill Americans’
      Tuesday Feb 26, 2013 2:39 AM

    • DXer said

      Stanley Cohen: Dreamer or threat?
      By LEN LEVITT May 27, 2014


      Bin Laden’s 1996 Declaration of War did not merely focus on Ali Al-Timimi’s confidante and mentor, dissident Saudi sheik al-Hawali. It also focused on the imprisonment, but also invoked the detention of Attorney Cohen’s client, the Egyptian sheik Abdel-Rahman, the so-called “the blind sheik.” Three years earlier, on July 4, 1993, United States Postal employee Ahmed Abdel Sattar had spoken to the press about Abdel Rahman’s arrest and said “we haven’t decided the time or place, but our Muslim community will demonstrate its outrage at the arrest of the Sheik.” In the indictment of the Staten Island Post Office employee who worshipped in Brooklyn, the United States government alleged that following his arrest, Abdel Rahman, in a message to his followers recorded while he was in prison, urged: “Oh Muslims! Oh Muslims! It is a duty upon all the Muslims around the world to free the Sheikh, and to rescue him from his jail.” Referring to the United States, he implored, “Muslims everywhere, dismember their nation, tear them apart, ruin their economy, provoke their corporations, destroy their embassies, attack their interests, sink their ships, and shoot down their planes, kill them on land, at sea, and in the air. Kill them wherever you find them.” His list is a pretty concise summary of the terrorist actions taken over the next decade.

      The tactic of lethal letters delivered by the US Post Office — although not mentioned in this list by Abdel-Rahman — was not merely the modus operandi of the militant islamists inspired by Abdel-Rahman, it was their signature. The islamists sent letter bombs in late December 1996 from Alexandria, Egypt to newspaper offices in New York City and Washington, D.C. and people in symbolic positions. Musical Christmas cards apparently postmarked in Alexandria, Egypt on December 21, 1996 contained improvised explosive devices. The bombs were mailed on the Night of Decree or Night of Measures. It is known as the Night of Qadr. The letters were sent in connection with the earlier bombing of the World Trade Center and the imprisonment of the blind sheik. The former leader of the Egyptian Al-Gamaa al-Islamiya (”Islamic Group”), Abdel-Rahman was also a spiritual leader of Al Qaeda. There initially was an outstanding $2 million reward. Under the rewards for justice program, the reward now is up to $5 million. There was no claim of responsibility. There was no explanation. Once one had been received, the next ten, mailed on two separate dates, were easily collected. Sound familiar? Two bombs were also sent to Leavenworth, where a key WTC 1993 defendant was imprisoned, addressed to “Parole Officer.” (The position does not exist).

      The FBI suspected the Vanguards of Conquest, a mysterious group led by Egyptian Islamic Jihad head Ayman Zawahiri. The group can be thought of as either the military wing of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad or perhaps just EIJ by another name. It was sometimes known as the New Jihad. Yassir Al-Sirri was the Egyptian Islamic Jihad/ Vanguards of Conquest publicist and worked out of his London-based home while on the public dole. Another group under suspicion for the mailings was the Egyptian Islamic Group. The blind sheik Abdel Rahman simultaneously was the spiritual leader of Al Qaeda, Egyptian Islamic Group and Egyptian Islamic Jihad/Vanguards of Conquest. The next month, on February 12, 1997, the Islamic Group, for its part, issued a statement: “The Islamic Group declares all American interests legitimate targets to its “jihad until the release of all prisoners, on top of whom is Abdel Rahman.” Abdel-Rahman’s friend, Ayman Zawahiri, was head of Al Qaeda’s biochemical program. The blind sheik’s son, Mohammed, was on Al Qaeda’s three- member WMD committee.

      Another group committed to Abdel-Rahman’s release was Jemaah Islamiah (”JI”) in Indonesia. JI-member Yazid Sufaat was a member of Al Qaeda. The US-trained Malaysian biochemist Yazid Sufaat met with 9/11 plotters and two hijackers in January 2000. JI has ties with the Moro Front. Sufaat used his company called Green Laboratory Medicine to buy items useful to Al Qaeda. Zacarias Moussaoui, who had a crop dusting manual when he was arrested, stayed at Sufaat’s condominium in 2000 when he was trying to arrange for flight lessons in Malaysia. Yazid Sufaat provided Moussaoui with a letter indicating that he was a marketing representative for Infocus Technologies signed “Yazid Sufaat, Managing Director.” Sufaat had given Moussaoui an e-mail that was accessed by authorities on September 19, 2001. The crop dusters were to be part of a “second wave.” Al Qaeda’s regional operative, Hambali, was at the key January 2000 meeting and supervised Sufaat. Khalid Mohammed’s involvement dates back to Bojinka, as did Hambali’s. The money for Bojinka, a plot to simultaneously bomb airliners and to assassinate the Pope, went from Bin Laden’s brother-in-law Khalifa to the Abu Sayyaf Group, Al Qaeda’s primary Philippine affiliate, and then on to the cell that included KSM.

      Yazid Sufaat refers to the Fifth Amendment in response to my questions as to whether he was the processor in connection with the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings.

      Al-Kifah in Brooklyn had long since become the headquarters of Abdel-Rahman’s supporters in the US. After the anthrax mailings, the Amerithrax investigation naturally considered whether the solution to the mystery had its roots in Brooklyn. Abdel-Rahman was the spiritual leader of both Egyptian Islamic Group and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. He was close to Ayman Zawahiri, known to be head of Al Qaeda’s anthrax weaponization project. FISA warrants were initiated immediately after 9/11 but did not prove fruitful. At Fitzgerald’s urging, a criminal investigation of the two charities, Benevolence International Foundation and Global Relief Foundation, was opened in October 2001. The 9/11 Commission Report notes that in December 2001, “[t]hese plans were dramatically accelerated when CIA analysts, drawing on intelligence gathered in an unrelated FBI investigation, expressed concerns that GRF could be involved in a plot to attack the United States with weapons of mass destruction (WMD).”

      On December 14, 2001, the FBI raided the charity offices of the two charities. BIF and GRF offices were raided in Illinois — a BIF office in Newark, New Jersey also was searched. Germs author and New York Times journalist Judy Miller (or her colleague) called the GRF office in Illinois the night before the search. Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was furious. He had been the AUSA who handled the prosecution of Bin Laden earlier that year in the case involving the bombing of the 1998 embassy bombings. Authorities had planned on waiting and watching to see how the US charity personnel responded to a search of offices abroad, but their hand was forced when GRF officials in Illinois began shredding documents. At a White House press conference on December 17, 2001, Ari Fleischer said: “There is nothing that has been final that has been concluded. But the evidence is increasingly looking like it was a domestic source. But, again, this remains something that is not final, nor totally conclusive yet. I can just report to you the information that I’ve heard. I can’t give you the scientific reasons behind it. But you can assume that they’re based on investigative and scientific means.” He emphasized: “There’s a big difference between the source of it and who sent it, because the two do not have to be tied.”

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

  24. DXer said

    The former FBI lab director who was in charge of Amerithrax has written this 2013 article discussing the forensics in Amerithrax. I hope to upload his full civil deposition testimony from Hatfill v. US some rainy day this month.

    Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences

    Volume 45, Issue 4, 2013, Pages 347-355


    Challenges for forensic science: New demands in todays world (Article)

    Adams, D.E. , Mabry, J.P., McCoy, M.R., Lord, W.D.

    W. Roger Webb Forensic Science Institute, University of Central Oklahoma, 100 North University Drive, Edmond, OK 73034, United States


    In their 2009 report entitled Strengthening forensic science in the United States: a path forward, the National Research Council (NRC) provided an assessment of the past, present, and future state of forensic science-especially related to impression evidence. The NRC described the need for further advances in some forensic science disciplines in order to improve criminal investigations, reduce the possibility of wrongful convictions, and to enhance national security. Recent events in international and domestic terrorism and the identification of dozens of wrongful convictions have further demonstrated the need for forensic science to address new challenges. From the bioterrorism events within the United States related to the anthrax mailings, to the seemingly endless stream of improvised explosive devices in the Iraq/Afghanistan wars, forensic science has new demands and an increasingly important opportunity to play a vital role in the worlds major events. With this demand comes a requirement to enhance the very foundations on which many disciplines in forensic science rest. The need for objective, scientifically-based criteria for determining identifications has never been more important and it will take researchers and practitioners working together to move forensic science in the proper direction. © 2012 Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences.

    • DXer said

      The top FBI experts say RMR 1029 was merely a potential source.

      That message got mistranslated by non-microbiologists who don’t even bother to read the on-point treatises and on-point scientific literature on the subject.

      Microbial Forensics (Second Edition)

      2011, Pages 15–25

      Chapter 2 – Microbial Forensic Investigation of the Anthrax-Letter Attacks
      Paul S. Keima,
      Bruce Budowleb,
      Jacques Ravelc rights and content


      Publisher Summary

      This chapter focuses on the microbial forensic investigations of the anthrax-letter attack in the United States in 2001. The anthrax-letter attack represented a defining moment that has dramatically shaped the biodefense infrastructure and research efforts. Spores of Bacillus anthracis contained in or on letters mailed from a New Jersey location infected 22 persons, killing 5. The responsible strain was identified as a laboratory strain that was used commonly for research and development of vaccines and therapeutics. The Federal Bureau of Investigation developed a strain repository of all known sources of the Ames strain. Distinctive morphological variants were observed among colonies grown from the spore-containing letters. DNA was isolated from each variant and then whole genome sequenced to identify the genetic basis for these phenotypes. Four polymerase chain reaction-based assays for detecting the four different variants were developed and then used to screen the Ames strain repository. Only cultures derived from the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases spore stock RMR-1029 contained all four mutants associated with the morphological variants. The FBI concluded that the letter spores were derived from this source. The microbial forensics of the Amerithrax investigation relied heavily on genetics and comparative genomics to provide invaluable investigative leads, which suggested that (i) the strain of B. anthracis used in the attack was more likely obtained from a laboratory source than from the environment and (ii) that a B. anthracis spore preparation known as RMR1029 at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, Maryland, was a potential source or at least a direct lineage source from which the spores in the letters originated.

    • DXer said

      The head of the FBI’s lab, Dwight Adams, explained in his article:

      “Traditional forensic evidence did not provide any meaningful results that could have assisted in the identification of the perpetrator. Evidence associated with the anthrax letters included, tape-end matching, ink analysis, fibers, trash marks from the photocopy process, and human DNA analysis.”

    • DXer said

      The head of the FBI’s lab, Dwight Adams, continued:

      “The aforementioned NRC Report represents one of the most challenging developments in forensic science in recent years, for it called into question the reliability of certain types of forensic evidence that had previously been routinely admitted under Daubert. The concerns and criticisms cited throughout the Report reverberated like shock waves through the US judicial system. In fact, shortly after the release of the Report, US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia cited the Report in an opinion and wrote that ‘serious deficiencies have been found in the forensic evidence used in criminal trials’9. Scalia clearly agreed with the NRC conclusions that ‘some forensic science disciplines are supported by little rigorous systematic research to validate the discipline’s basic premises and techniques’ and that ‘only nuclear DNA analysis has been rigorously shown to have the capacity to consistently, and with a high degree of certainty, demonstrate a connection between an evidentiary sample and a specific individual or source’10.

      As is so often the case, it did not take long for the US Congress to react. US Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, introduced the Forensic Science and Standards Act of 2012. If enacted, this Act would require the development of forensic science standards; require the implementation of those standards in forensic science laboratories; and create a National Forensic Science Coordinating Office to administer grants for research in accordance with a national forensic science research strategy11.

      Senator Rockefeller’s Committee was no doubt responding to sections of the NRC Report which concluded that basic forensic research in the US was weak, and that the US Department of Justice (DOJ), the federal agency primarily responsible for funding forensic research, had done little to support forensic research outside the realm of government. In fact one suggestion of the NRC Report was the expansion of forensic research funding and opportunities for independent entities10. Clearly, Rockefeller’s Committee responded to this by seeking to place administration of research grants for forensic science in the hands of an independent agency, one with no association and oversight of federal investigators and prosecutors. With the expansion of research opportunities beyond the traditional bounds of government agencies, new opportunities and responsibilities for forensic research may be presented to independent laboratories and university research programs.

      University forensic science programs can provide a stage for both independent research, and research and validation undertaken through collaborative efforts with other agencies and entities, both government and non-government. With empirical testing and validation so critical in the US to the admissibility of scientific evidence and testimony, research programs such as those already underway at some American universities can make significant strides in the advancement of new forensic science techniques, and in the validation and renewed acceptance of traditional techniques in both the US legal system and abroad.”

  25. DXer said

    Dr. Ayman Zawahiri has urged more kidnappings to exchange for Al Qaeda prisoners. I have urged in the context of stolen paintings, that it is important not to negotiate with the thieves or that it creates an incentive for additional thefts.

    In the news today, the Administration traded five Taliban leaders — who I believe John McCain has described as five of the biggest murderers in history — in exchange for someone who by some accounts seems to have deserted at the time the Taliban picked him up.

    To what extent does the FBI’s solution in Amerithrax create an incentive for Dr. Ayman Zawahiri to continue his anthrax program?

    Dr. Ayman planned to move the anthrax lab every 3 months and wipe the walls with insecticide.
    GAO: What lab did Abdur Rauf, who was working for Dr. Ayman, visit in his mission to acquire virulent anthrax? If in the authorized biography of MI5 the agency allows it to be reported that money and equipment was found in his luggage upon leaving one of the Porton Down conferences, certainly it now can be disclosed what lab he visited. Was it Porton Down? Was the FBI’s failure to give the documents to NAS related to its desire not to embarrass Porton Down? Everyone can get over the awkwardness in the name of government accountability.

    The Pakistan government had agreed to allow the Washington Post correspondent to interview but then backpedaled.
    For the article that was written by Joby Warrick, see

    Suspect and A Setback In Al-Qaeda Anthrax Case
    By Joby Warrick
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Tuesday, October 31, 2006

    -I believe I have corresponded him on two different occasions some years ago. I wrote the email listed on the resume I believe to be his (that no longer works). Each time, he replied, would draw me out as to the reason for my interest over a number of emails, and then suggested that a sabbatical in the US. He would ask if there was any money available and then would lose contact when I explained there was no money.

    Here are some related resources:

    what BL-3 lab did Abdur Rauf visit?
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 29, 2009

    Tracing the path of Abdur Rauf … did al-Qaeda acquire anthrax capabilities? when? where?
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 2, 2009

    Abdur Rauf’s “I have successfully achieved” letter to Ayman al-Zawahiri
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 4, 2009

  26. DXer said

    GAO, was Amerithrax botched because AUSA Lieber was forbidden to interview a particular jihadi in jail? And when she did anyway she was reprimanded? Leaving her no practical option other than to pursue an Ivins Theory that she should have realized was not viable?

    There are no secrets.

  27. DXer said

    Unsolved $500 million art heist may have mob connection…/mc-hartford-wise-guy-20130530…

    The Morning Call
    May 30, 2013 – Neither is there disagreement that Gentile was meeting Robert Guarente and his wife. Guarente, a bank robber, moved from Boston to Maine in 2002, after his …


    It is important to understand that while Mr. Guarente was convicted on a cocaine distribution charge in Mass, and then moved back to Maine in 2002 (with a transfer of jurisdiciton noted in the court records), he had long lived in Maine. Before Madison, he and Elene lived in Solon.

    In particular, he had been there in the early 1990s at the time of the theft when he was represented by Marty Leppo in 1992 on a gun charge. Bobby’s estranged son-in-law, Steven Kenney, had come to the house on Lakewood in Madison. Bobby, a protective grandfather like any other, had a rifle at the ready as the argument escalated. Bobby Guarente’s neighbor Bill Norton was a witness.

    Authorities, I believe, were not much impressed by the claim that it was Elene’s rifle. Elene said that her husband had brought it downstairs.

    “Elene Guarente explained that the disagreement was over her grandchildren and told the officers that her daughter, Lisa Kenney, was at the local courthouse trying to get a protection order to keep Kenney away from the children. As this discussion was taking place inside the house, the officers outside the house learned that Kenney was on probation and that his probation officer had put a “hold” on him. As a result, Kenney was arrested and Sgt. Gordon transported him to the Somerset County Jail.”

    “Officers Sargent, Hart, and Crawford went into the house to interview Defendant and Elene Guarente further about the incident. Defendant explained the events leading up to the altercation as follows. Steven Kenney came to the house and talked to Defendant and Elene Guarente, about his wife and the children. After some conversation, Kenney told Defendant he was going to take the children with him. Defendant got a baseball bat and threatened Kenney, saying that he would not permit Kenney to take the children. Kenney continued to insist that he was taking the children, and Defendant got a .44 magnum rifle. Defendant pointed the rifle at Kenney and threatened him with it. At some point during the dispute, Kenney called the police.”

    US. v. Guarente

    The year 1992 was when the sometime Patriarca family lawyer Marty Leppo was unsuccessfully pitching — on behalf of his Carmello Merlino and David Turner — return of the paintings to state authorties. And you will recall it has been said that Bobby Guarente would often visit the Merlino garage where David Turner, at least by the one account cited above, reportedly worked. In another link above it was said that Bobby Guarente was friends with both David Turner and Carmello Merlino in 1992. And so when Marty the lawyer is pitching the paintings for Mello and David — and representing Bobby on a gun beef up in the hinterlands of Maine — where do you think Mello and David might thought have been a safe place to stash the paintings? It was a George Washington portrait (from a different theft) that as I recall Elene says Bobby turned over at the time in connection with an unrelated extortionate trade (for a small amount of cash).

    In 1998, the “LIs Pendens” associated with “Two lots of land situated in Madison, Maine near Route 201” recited that the property may have been “used to facilitate the commission of such violations” (of Title 21 U.S. 841(a)(1) and 846 and so it is not like we are dealing with real property that is a totally innocent bystander.

    Here is the property.

    There in particular is a picture of the concrete slab of my interest.

    Attorney Leppo boasts that the Isabella Gardner heist was a perfect crime because no one was charged for the crime. How perfect of a crime was it when none of his clients profited — and most of his clients were either killed or went to prison?

    Marty says he is none the worse for the wear except it has affected his golf game. Is FBI Special Agent Kelly really going to let Marty Leppo write the history of Isabella Gardner heist? I know the Kelly family and the Kelly’s I know don’t roll that way.

    It is precisely the trading of paintings for release of criminals or money that has then led to additional thefts.

  28. DXer said

    US Attorney Taylor apparently had not been briefed on Dr. Ivins’ late night and weekend hours. Whose responsibility was it to read the emails and summarizing them for the decision-makers?

    US Attorney Taylor announced Amerithrax was solved based on a claim that Dr. Ivins had no reason to be in the lab after hours. It was a hugely ignorant claim that was contradicted by the documents in the possession of the DOJ/FBI.

    Amerithrax represents the greatest counterintelligence failure in the history of the United States.

    AUSA Lieber and lead investigator Edward Montooth and WMD Vahid Majidi have demonstrated no mastery of the documents relating to the experiment with the 52 rabbits.

    Mistakes in the rush of events could be excused. Their failure to correct their mistakes cannot.

    AUSA Lieber should have gone to the documents produced under FOIA and come to understand the experiment with the 52 rabbits and the after hours observations.

    WMD Vahid Majidi in writing his e-book should also.

    It’s never to late to get things right and correst missteps — until it is.

    For example, in the emails Dr. Ivins gave the FBI in 2004, here are some representative emails showing that such late night and weekend hours were part of the job for Dr. Ivins. Dr. Vahid Majidi was misinformed. Given the importance of the matter, he should have read Dr. Ivins’ emails before writing his e-book in arguing Dr. Ivins had no reason to be in the lab.


    Dr. Ivins estimated that 15 days of after hours observation would take 30 hours, which is 2 hours a day.

    His formal estimate is provided as an attachment to the email dated July 11, 2006.

    Other tasks on given days would take 8 hours. And spore production would take 70 hours.

    From: Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
    FW: Vaccine project, next steps Tuesday, July 11, 2006 12:40:58 PM
    ; Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
    (b) (6)
    (b) (6)

    I’ve looked over the animal protocol and I have some comments about it. First of all, though, I have a budget of DIRECT costs. (No indirect costs or
    overhead costs figured into this.)

    Swiss Webster mouse cost = $3.70 per mouse Housing costs –
    – $3.75 per pan per day Housing costs – – $4.83 per pan per day
    62 mice X $3.70 = 7 pans X 37 days X $3.75 = 7 pans X 15 days X $4.83 =
    $229.40 $971.25 $507.15
    $400.00 $400.00

    Animal Labor (Technician and PI – $50.00 per hour) Day

    1 – injection, bleed, processing
    Day 15 – injection, bleed, processing
    Day 30 – challenge,bleed, processing, plate counts Day 32 – bleed, processing

    15 days of after-hours animal observations

    Spore Production labor 70 hours X $50.00 per hour =
    Data Collection and collation labor 20 hours X $50.00 per hour =

    8 hours X $50.00 = 8 hours X $50.00 =

    8 hours X $50.00 = $400.00 4 hours X $50.00 = $200.00

    30 hours X $50.00 = $1,500.00


    Here is a representative email written about 9 PM on a Sunday night about a rabbit challenge. He says “I’m headed in there in a few minutes (about 9 pm Sunday night), and I’ll see if any more are down. I’ll do a blood culture on dead rabbits.

    From: To: Subject: Date:
    Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
    RE: Naimbia A0188 Challenge Sunday, January 25, 2004 8:46:19 PM
    (b) (6)
    Thank you. This information will now be classified Top Secret/Nuclear-crypto. As soon as I send this email, I will deprogram my head with half a bottle of Irish Whiskey. That should do it….
    Seriously, very interesting! I’m headed in there in a few minutes (about 9 pm, Sunday night), and I’ll see if any more are down. I’ll do blood cultures on any dead rabbits.
    – Bruce
    > —–Original Message—–

    >Sent: Sunday, January 25, 2004 1:43 PM
    >Subject: Naimbia A0188 Challenge > >Controls: 10/10 died
    >Vaccinated Rabbits: 1/10 rabbits (E-8 died O/N). Three other animals look ill. 4 animals were bacteremic. >

    # 3

    Here is another representative email describing his late night work on a Sunday in connection with a rabbit challenge.

    He identifies which are “gone”, he plates their blood out, he makes sure that they have feed in their container. etc.

    Click to access 20040105_batch54(redacted).pdf

    From: To: Subject: Date:
    Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
    RE: Rabbits – China AO591 Challenge after 2.5 days Saturday, February 21, 2004 11:44:59 PM
    (b) (6)

    See below. Here is my update as of 2.5 days after challenge. Rabbits 17 and 20 were gone. I (p6l)ated their blood out, and it’s in ncubator. Rabbits 11 and 12 looked sick, but rabbit 13 looked OK. The others looked OK. I don’t think this strain/isolate is as nasty as the previous one that was sprayed (that killed all controls within 48 hours and killed 3 immunized rabbits).

    There was no rabbit chow in some of the feeders, and there was no feed in the feed container. When I left the room I got some from Vet Med and put it into the clean changeroom, along with a note to the animal caretaker to take it into the suite and rabbit room.

    I’ll be in Sunday at 10 pm to do the 3.5 day check on the rabbits.

    – Bruce *********************************************************************

    Here is what we have so far, at 10 pm, Saturday, 21 FEB 04, 2 .5 days after challenge:
    F1 – OK F2 – OK F3 – OK F4 – OK F5 – OK F6 – OK F7 – OK F8 – OK F9 – OK F10 – OK
    F11 – Sick F12 – Sick F13 – OK F14 – Dead F15 – Dead F16 – Dead F17 – Dead F18 – Dead F19 – Dead F20 – Dead
    Summary as of 2 .5 days: Vaccinated – 0/10 dead Controls – 7 /10 dead

    # 4

    May 9, 2014 at 10:21 am
    The blood cultures were from cardiac punctures.

    From: Sent: Saturday, February 21, 2004 10:54 AM
    To: Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID Subject: RE: Rabbits – China AO591 Challenge
    (b) (6)

    Here is my update from yours last night. Started at 0750 hrs 21 FEB 04.
    Vaccinated: Rabbits 7, 8, 9 and 10 look ill and are not eating well, the rest OK

    Controls: Rabbits 15 and 16 died overnight. Unfortunately the rabbits were already in the cold room by the time I arrived (the care taker took the rabbit out of the room about 15 minutes before I arrived…….are they suppose to do that???) All the rest look real sick, doubt if they will make it by the end of the day. Just sitting there saying “I feel like crap, what the hell did you do to me?….”

    Blood cultures from rabbits 14, 18 and 19 cardiac punctures you did last night all had numerous colonies (plates are stored in the fridge and I’ll ice them away on Monday.

    Plated out 48 hr blood cultures from all the vaccinated rabbits and one control (still alive #20). Thanks for all your help.


    Here is another representative email sent on late Sunday night, in connection with an animal experiment. (This one follows his email on Saturday, the day prior).

    AUSA Lieber and investigator Montooth provably knew about the rabbit experiment (if we assume they take a hands on approach and read the investigative documents).

    But I will leave it to them to explain why Dr. Ivins had no reason to come in that weekend the first week of October 2001.

    The false claim he had no reason to come into the lab was spurious and central to the USG’s “Ivins Theory.” It was contradicted by the emails that apparently no one bothered to read and brief up the chain of decision-making.

    Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
    RE: Rabbits – China AO591 Challenge after 3.5 days Sunday, February 22, 2004 9:32:45 PM
    (b) (6)
    —–Original Message—–

    From: Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
    Sent: Saturday, February 21, 2004 11:45 PM
    To: Subject: RE: Rabbits – China AO591 Challenge after 2.5 days

    See below. Here is my update as of 3.5 days after challenge.

    All the vaccinated monkeys look fine.

    Again, with the huge spray dose that the rabbits got, the fact that some of them didn’t die until
    after 2.5 days suggests that this strain may not be as virulent as the two which killed 2 and 3 vaccinated rabbits respectively. I think that we should think about taking some of the passaged bugs from those two strains, growing them up and redoing the rabbit spray. Another suggestion, one that would require very little effort from and me – let’s grow up on blood and capsule agar the two virulent parents as well as what came out of the immunized rabbits and see if there are any obvious differences in morphology. It’s possible that what came out of the rabbit may have been exceptionally encapsulated or fast-growing.
    – Bruce



    Here is what we have so far, at 9 pm, S unday, 22 FEB 04, 3.5 days after challenge:
    F1 – OK F2 – OK F3 – OK F4 – OK F5 – OK F6 – OK F7 – OK F8 – OK F9 – OK F10 – OK
    F11 – Dead F12 – Dead F13 – Dead F14 – Dead F15 – Dead F16 – Dead F17 – Dead F18 – Dead
    (b) (6)
    (b) (6)
    F19 – Dead F20 – Dead
    Summary as of 2 .5 days: Vaccinated – 0/10 dead Controls – 10 /10 dead


    He would also come in late at night during the week — in connection with such plate counts.

    No late nights by a person working alone were recorded beginning in January 2002 because of the implementation of a two-person rule, which then was abandoned.

    The prosecutors and investigators appear not to have understood this based on the statistical analysis they presented as justification for closing Amerithrax.

    From: To:
    Subject: Date:
    Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
    Request for exception to policy Wednesday, January 14, 2004 3:23:08 PM
    (b) (6)
    I would like to request an exception to the policy for removal of bacterial strains from the hot suite (to another hot suite) requiring two individuals at the t4ransfer point. This evening, about 10 pm, I will be coming in to count plates of B. anthracis. After determining concentration, I will dilute the suspension to the appropriate concentration for aerosolization. I would like to put it into a transport box in the
    airlock, put security tape on the box (to prevent unauthorized opening), leave the box in the airlock, shower out, then take the box to for an early spray tomorrow morning.
    I realize that the usual procedure is to have someone take the material from the airlock immediately after it is put into the airlock, but I believe that at 10 pm, there should be no worry that an unauthorized individual will get hold of the material before I get out of the shower and pick it up. (Anyone, including myself, going into the airlock will be identified.)
    Please let me know about the acceptability of my request. Thank you. Bruce Ivins


    The same nighttime animal checks from January/February 2004 — after the two person rule was abandoned — continued. For example, here he is in late September 2004 reporting on the rabbits at 10 PM.

    From: To: Subject: Date:
    Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
    Rabbit deaths Thursday, September 30, 2004 10:00:00 PM
    (b) (6)
    Rabbit deaths on Thursday (day 2), 30 SEP: K11 – am
    K12 – am
    K13 – pm Bloods were drawn for the three rabbits and plated onto SBA.
    Two more control rabbits remain. None of the vaccinated animals appear sick.
    Bruce Ivins


    And here Dr. Ivins is in the lab earlier that week on Saturday at 9:51 PM. A spray, this was done in Building 1412. The prosecutor and investigators appear not to have understood the issue of hours — or if they did, their analysis was highly manipulative. Dr. Andrews explains the issue in his civil deposition that is now uploaded.

    Click to access 20040907_batch58(redacted).pdf

    From: To: Subject: Date:
    Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
    RE: Saturday, September 25, 2004 9:51:00 PM
    (b) (6)
    I can’t make any meeting before 11 OCT. I’m involved in a spray this week and also a spore harvest. I’m on vacation from 1 OCT until 11 OCT.
    – Bruce Bruce Ivins


    Checks at about 10 PM at night rather than during the day continued to be the norm for Dr. Ivins rather than the exception. Animal techs were available to check the animals during the day.

    The FBI’s and prosecutor’s claim he had no reason to be in the lab those nights had no factual basis in the contemporaneous documents.

    From: Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
    Sent: Thursday, August 18, 2005 9:55 PM

    To: Cc: Subject: Mice

    I checked your mice tonight. The 0.1 mg, 1.0 mg and 10 mg groups are almost all dead. The NS group is doing fine. Whoever is checking the mice whoever that is) is not entering the data on the sheet, and has missed one of the animals in one o)f tbhe groups. There were nine dead in the 10 mg group. I had 7 tonight, and isted 1 dead, so th(6at) means one was missed in today’s count. (Or you only started with 9 in the gr(o6u)p.) I think the value)s (for dead mice are:
    (b) (6)
    (b) (6)
    (b) (6)
    (b) (6)
    (b) (6)
    (b) (6)
    (b) (6)
    10 mg – 9 dead 1 mg – 8 dead 0.1 mg – 10 dead NS – 0 dead
    6 )

    Bruce Ivins


    Sometimes he made animal checks at 8:30 PM at night — sometimes at 10 PM. For the prosecutor and investigators to base the closing of such a national security investigation on the grounds that Dr. Ivins had no reason to be in the lab at night — and not to know that there were 52 rabbits in that B3 — was very seriously negligent.

    From: To: Cc: Subject: Date:
    Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID;
    RE: Mice Sunday, August 21, 2005 8:30:17 PM
    (b) (6)
    (b) (6)
    As of Sunday night, 21 August, here is what we have:
    10 mg – 9 dead 1 mg – 10 dead 0.1 mg – 10 dead NS – 8 dead
    I wonder if there’s a problem with the strain of mice (A/J) and the monoclonal antibodies. I think used Balb/C or CBA/J mice for her studies with passive protection against Vollum 1B challenge. (6)
    Bruce Ivins
    From: Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID Sent: Saturday, August 20, 2005 9:53 PM To: Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID; Cc: Subject: RE: Mice
    As of Saturday night, 20 August, here is what we have:
    10 mg – 9 dead 1 mg – 10 dead 0.1 mg – 10 dead NS – 6 dead
    Bruce Ivins


    For someone to argue that it was unusual for Dr. Ivins to be in late on a Saturday and Sunday night — dramatic evidence of five murders in an important national security investigation — it seems that did not even looked at Dr. Ivins’ emails.

    Now if DOJ prosecutors and FBI investigators kept contemporaneous records iike Dr. Ivins, we could trace the negligence to see who dropped the ball precisely when. Let’s look at the emails of the investigators and prosecutors.

    From: To: Cc: Subject: Date:
    Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
    RE: TTD and LD50 determinations – Survival data- SA12469 – April 24, 2007 (UNCLASSIFIED) Sunday, April 29, 2007 8:58:29 PM

    From: To: Cc: Subject: Date:
    Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
    RE: TTD and LD50 determinations – Survival data- SA12469 – April 24, 2007 (UNCLASSIFIED) Saturday, April 28, 2007 10:27:23 PM

    From: To: Cc: Subject: Date:
    Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
    RE: TTD and LD50 determinations – Survival data- SA12469 – April 24, 2007 (UNCLASSIFIED) Friday, April 27, 2007 9:37:35 PM


    The witness testimony (see Linscott 302) and Dr. Ivins’ budget documents explained it would take 1 /12 – 2 hours to make a nighttime animal check. It is disturbing that the prosecutors seemed unaware of the documents showing that such checks were made by Ivins late at night rather than during the day. Such checks also commonly included plating. With checks 2X’s a day, the second observation (as Ivins explains in one email) could be made in the afternoon or at night. The animal technician would be the one to make the animal observation in the morning. Over the years the reports by Ivins on his animal observations — such as those posted in this thread — invariably were late at night.

    The FBI’s analysis of the hours did not take into account implementation of the short-lived two-person rule in January 2002. So when the FBI saw the after hours stop abruptly, they mistakenly inferred Dr. Ivins’ guilt. The FBI then centered its cotton candy “Ivins Theory” around after hours work that they falsely claimed was unexplained. This was a pretty basic mistake for them to make on such an important national security investigation. It might have been avoided if Dr. Ivins’ colleagues had been allowed by the Army to speak with Dr. Ivins’ attorney.

    People asserting he had no reason to be in the lab seem not to have read the relevant emails and documents relating to the rabbit experiment in October 2001. As for the mice experiment in late September 2001, they unreasonably do not credit that it would take 1 1/2 – 2 hours to make the check. And when the documents are uploaded and brought to their attention, they ignore them and do not discuss them. See Majidi 2013 e-book. When I emailed AUSA Lieber and asked her help in obtaining the rabbit documents so that people might get on the same page, she said I would never get another document under FOIA. Well, she was right that DOJ Criminal FOIA shut me out. But I in fact succeeded in getting quite a few documents relating to the rabbit experiment. It was her job to have gotten them in 2007 and 2008.

    The after hours work with the animal experiments fully explains Dr. Ivins’ after hours time. The FBI’s entire “Ivins Theory” was based on a total crock.

    In the rush of events in July 2008,AUSA Lieber may not have had time to review Dr. Ivins’ emails. It was a busy month. Dr. Ivins’ first counselor — the one who says in her 2009 book she got her instructions each night from an alien in 2000 and 2001 — reported that Dr. Ivins was a murderous fiend. (She says she thought murderous astral entities were attached to all of her clients in her new part-time addictions counseling gig). She talked to rocks and they talked back to her. After 911, she says she was pursued by the astral entities at night and would travel to Afghanistan and WTC 1993, narrowly escaping by passing through a vortex. She says she was protected from a diagnosis of being psychotic by her husband who was in military personnel. This witness is what AUSA Lieber and Dr. Saathoff relied upon rather than turning to the contemporary documentary evidence. This is the witness the prosecutor and investigators relied upon when they tested Ivins again for DNA to compare it to the semen-stained panties taken from his garbage — and told Ivins that they were going to call his family in front of the grand jury to explain his late hours at the lab. Instead of pressurizing the man that they knew had already attempted suicide, they should have taken pains to master the documents relating to the mice and rabbit experiments in late September 2001 and early October 2001.

    When they had more time for review, AUSA Lieber and WMD head Majidi never corrected their missteps and never addressed the documents.

    Maybe document analysis is not the ordinary work of the usual Postal Inspector or an FBI agent more accustomed to undercover street drug buys. But it was not excusable at the time of the official February 2010 closing of the case or AUSA Lieber’s Frontline interview. Similarly, it was definitely not excusable at the time of Vahid Majidi’s 2013 e-book. It is simply unacceptable that by the time of his 2013 e-book he had not studied the documents relating to the experiment with the 52 rabbits.

    If people are not willing to delve into the contemporaneous documents and make evidence-based assertions, they should STFU.


    Here is an example of a 2007 email at 9:35 PM:

    From: To:
    Subject: Date:
    Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID;
    RE: Mouse LD50 from 23 JAN 07 -Deaths as of Day 3
    Friday, January 26, 2007 10:08:58 PM
    (b) (6)
    From: Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
    Sent: Thursday, January 25, 2007 9:35 PM
    To: Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID;
    Subject: RE: Mouse LD50 from 23 JAN 07
    -Deaths as of Day 2 Here are the death data as of Day 3 from the Jan 23 07 mouse LD50:
    (b) (6)
    1000 spores 352 spores 100 spores 36.4 spores 13.6 spores
    Bruce Ivins
    10 dead 8 dead 6 dead 3 dead 1 dead


    Dr. Ivins in October 2001 spent the greatest amount of time right when the most rabbits would have been dying. Here, on Day 4 after the challenge, he reports on Saturday at 3:33 PM.

    For AUSA Lieber to claim in her Amerithrax Investigative Summary that Dr. Ivins had no reason — no reason at all, she says — to be in the lab that weekend in October 2001 — is grossly negligent. Everyone makes mistakes. Only some people don’t correct them and then goes on national television to renew and underscore the false factual assertions.

    From: To:
    Subject: Date:
    Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID;
    RE: Mouse LD50 from 23 JAN 07 -Deaths as of Day 4 Saturday, January 27, 2007 3:33:24 PM
    (b) (6)
    From: Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID Sent: Thursday, January 25, 2007 9:35 PM To: Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID;
    Subject: RE: Mouse LD50 from 23 JAN 07 -Deaths as of Day 2 Here are the death data as of Day 4 from the Jan 23 07 mouse LD50:
    (b) (6)
    1000 spores 352 spores 100 spores 36.4 spores 13.6 spores
    10 dead 9 dead 7 dead 3 dead 1 dead
    It appears that mouse injections (rather than guinea pig injections) may be more useful in determining strain virulence. It appears that the LD50 in the mice is going to be much greater than the LD50 in guinea pigs. If we do a TTD experiment with mice soon, perhaps we ought to do the following:
    4 mice get 10e4 at noon.
    4 mice get 10e5 about 4-5 pm.
    This should give us deaths starting the next day in the morning, and finishing before the end of the afternoon.


    Here Dr. Ivins in March 2007 again was working at 10 PM making animal observations.

    Dr. Ivins spent exactly the amount of time after hours in late September 2001 and early October 2001 as you would expect.

    If Dr. Patricia Fellows spun things in any way different, then she is the one to ask about the subject. We don’t have the benefit of her deposition because the DOJ apparently shredded it.
    In any event, the DOJ would not provide it pursuant to FOIA. I was too appreciative of their efforts regarding a dozen other civil depositions to have filed an administrative appeal. Relatedly, I have confidence in James K’s expertise in citing the protective order applicable to the Fellows and Linscott depositions.

    As Dr. Andrews explained in his civil deposition that I’ve uploaded, the FBI’s statistical analysis was confused because it was only done for hours at the one location rather than, for example, hours spent at Building 1412 where sprays rather than injections were done. But it was even more fundamentally flawed because the investigators did not take into account that the 2-person rule implemented in January 2002, for a time, prevented such after hours work involving the animal observations and plating.

    GAO, this messed-up use of statistics is a key bit of the scientific evidence relied upon by the FBI.

    All the other science was exculpatory.

    Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID;
    Mouse LD50 from 28 FEB 07 -Deaths as of Day 3 Saturday, March 03, 2007 10:03:07 PM
    (b) (6)
    (b) (6)
    Here are the death data as of Day 3 (Saturday night, 3 March) from the FEB 28 07 mouse LD50:
    1 400 spores 414 spores 144 spores 45.2 spores 13.2 spores
    Bruce Ivins
    7 dead 4 dead
    6 dead 2 dead 1 dead


    Given that Dr. Ivins was under surveillance in 2007, it is unclear how the FBI would not have known of his regular after hours work in connection with these animal experiments. Here, for example, is a representative email on March 5, 2007 at 9 PM.

    From: To:
    Subject: Date:
    Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID;
    RE: Mouse LD50 from 28 FEB 07 -Deaths as of Day 5 Monday, March 05, 2007 9:05:07 PM
    (b) (6)

    Here are the death data as of Day 5 ( Monday night, 5 March) from the FEB 28 07 mouse LD50:
    1 400 spores 414 spores 144 spores 45.2 spores 13.2 spores This was with the SA 1749 spores prepared at RIID.
    Bruce Ivins


    He also would work late Sunday PM long before 9/11.

    From: To:
    Subject: Date:
    Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
    Aerosol challenges Sunday, June 25, 2000 8:24:06 PM
    (b) (6)
    Hi, everyone, We are scheduled to aerosol challenge 28 rabbits on Tuesday, July 11, and 28 rabbits on Tuesday,
    July 13, with anthrax spores. This should be the second, and hopefully last, comparison of the two PA preps.
    – Bruce

    From: To: Subject: Date:
    Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID; RE: Spread plate vs. Pour Plate Sunday, June 25, 2000 8:17:17 PM
    (b) (6)
    I also sent you requested info on how endotoxin and phenol were assayed in spore preps. – Bruce

    From: Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
    Sent: Sunday, July 2, 2000 10:36 PM
    Subject: Spore challenge

    Are we still on for the challenge of the second set of guinea pigs this Thursday, or do we have to w(a6i)t again? > >- Bruce


    Dr. Ivins lived near the lab. As a professional, it was not uncommon for him to work nights or weekends. Dr. Andrews has pulled an all-nighter at the lab.

    From: To: Subject: Date:
    Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
    Spread plate vs. Pour Plate Sunday, June 25, 2000 2:14:51 PM
    (b) (6)
    Hi, – Bruce

    From: To: Subject: Date:
    Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
    RE: EA 101 Sunday, May 06, 2001 3:14:31 PM

    From: Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
    Sent: Saturday, March 11, 2000 7:14 PM

    People that punch a clock — hourly employees — are more apt to work 9-5. They may not understand why a professional works late as required by the work.


    Dr. Ivins would be in late Friday night too.

    From: To: Subject: Date:
    Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
    RE: Potency Test Review Friday, May 19, 2000 10:52:00 PM
    (b) (6)
    (6) I’ve given my previous message to you some more thought. I’m SURE that one way that could increase the potency of their vaccine

    People who argue that it was unusual for Dr. Ivins to be in the lab in late September 2001 and early October 2001 perhaps punch a clock at 5 pm and don’t do the research as necessary to support their assertions.

    Perhaps if they had worked the “after hours” necessary to get their job done, Amerithrax would not have been botched.


    If animal tech AB had not thrown out the cage cards in 2004, the documents for each cage would have been available. Time of death is a central part of the observation required in such experiments.

    From: To: Subject: Date:
    Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
    FW: TTD determinations Friday, March 09, 2007 9:50:48 AM
    (b) (6)

    here are the results of yesterday’s Time-To-Death determination. It looks promising as a way to (s6c)reen virulence of anthracis strains.

    * **************************
    Select Agent # 1749 11 mice injected with 1.06 X 10e4 spores in 0.2 ml, IP

    11 mice injected with 1.06 X 10e5 spores in 0.2 ml, IP ************************** TTD – 1.06 X 10e4
    1. 19hr
    2. 19hr
    3. 21hr
    4, 22.5 hr
    5, 23hr
    6, 23.5 hr
    7. 24hr
    8. 24.5 hr
    9. >28 hr
    10. >28 hr
    TTD – 1.06 X 10e5

    1. 15hr
    2. 16hr
    3. 16hr
    4. 17hr
    5. 17.5 hr
    6. 18hr
    7. 20hr
    8. 21hr
    9. 21hr
    10. 21 hr
    11. >24 hr ******************************

    I don’t know if we want to base our TTD determinations on median values (which would here have been 23.25 hr and 18 hours) or on the mean values of, say…the first five or six animals that died, since the “stragglers” really skew the TTD results.

    Bruce Ivins

  29. DXer said


    Here is the current status of the moratorium on the NYS DEC action — they want to eradicate all mute swans in the State of New York. I believe it means the bill, which I think is very well-conceived, was reported by the Ways and Means Committee on May 19, 2014. Kudos to our government all-round — both the DEC for being responsive to public comment and criticism of their proposed plan and legislature for taking sure steps in response to that public comment.

    A08790 Summary:BILL NO A08790A SAME AS SAME AS S06589-A SPONSOR Cymbrowitz COSPNSR Thiele, Englebright, Colton, Skoufis, Brook-Krasny, Lavine, Lifton, Curran, Graf, Raia, Saladino, Otis MLTSPNSR Garbarino, McKevitt, Mosley, Weisenberg Relates to any adoption by the department of environmental conservation of a management plan concerning mute swans.

    Our system works — but it begins with people reading, communicating and getting on the same page.

    A08790 Actions:BILL NO A08790A

    02/14/2014 referred to environmental conservation 05/07/2014 amend and recommit to environmental conservation


    print number 8790a

    05/12/2014 reported referred to ways and means

    05/19/2014 reported

    • DXer said

      Off-topic / proposal to eradicate mute swan species –

      The proponent of the bill in the Senate staying (more likely avoiding) execution of the mute swans expresses optimism that the bill will pass in the Senate as it did in the Assembly.

      Mute swans tend to deter those pesky Canadian geese from pooping on the lawn. (Apologies to my friend David of Goosewatch; I just couldn’t hold it in any longer).

      The NYS DEC does important and well-regarded work in the State. Hopefully with this bill people can find common ground in the science (and truly embrace the science and actually read the underlying documents, rather than just pay lip service). The science includes the studies of French and Connecticut ponds finding MORE waterfowl where there was a territoral pair of swans than without. I found it difficult to discuss the literature with people because even many of the scientists had not read it.

      Analogously, in Amerithrax, proponents of an Ivins Theory like Dr. Vahidi do not discuss and seem not to have read the documents relating to Dr. Ivins experiment with the 52 rabbits in the first week of October 2001.

      The DEC Draft Management Plan relied upon other kill plans rather than, for example, the 2013 literature review by Gayet.

      DEC can address local problems through the current depradation permit and do not need to eradicate the species based on some sketchy and speculative arguments.

      Last week mute swan Ernie and his new gal pal patrol in front of the huge canal boat of the Maybelline heiress from France. Like the mute swans in our county, rather than an invader, she is a welcome and honored guest on our waters, giving the place a little class.

      Mute Swan Sojourn

      June 3, 2014 / Brooklyn news
      Legislation may stay the execution
      The Brooklyn Paper

      Companion legislation to his Cymbrowitz’s Assembly bill is expected to pass the state senate soon, according to a spokeswoman for its sponsor, state Sen. Tony Avella (D–Queens).
      The senator has every confidence the bill will pass before the legislative session ends in three weeks,” said Anna Aulvola, Avella’s deputy chief of staff.

      Getman, Citizens must speak out against state plan to remove mute swans (Commentary)

      Eat Peeps, Not Swans

  30. DXer said

    GAO should interview Scott Decker, PhD on the issues of his manuscript “Attribution: Inside the FBI’s Anthrax Investigation–An Evolution of Forensics” and then upload a transcript of his interview pursuant to its procedural rules.

    Like Dr. Majidi in his e-book, his draft does not address the issues.

    Dr. Decker knew that Bruce Ivins apparently had sent Ames — the parentage of which very likely was genetically matching Ames — from the inventory #7738.

    How does this square with the assertions made by the FBI in the Amerithrax Investigative Summary? How does that square with the Flask 1029 inventory serving as the limit of the FBI’s understanding of the distribution of Ames outside of RIID? Where is that 1998 transfer reflected in the Flask 1029 inventory?

    What is Dr. Decker’s view of the validation of the use of the bloodhounds in Amerithrax — given that there was no log kept validating the use of bloodhounds for the purpose prior to deployment. Indeed, there were no contemporaneous observations kept UPON deployment.

    What is his view of the Scent Transfer Unit as to anthrax? Where is the validation for the Scent Transfer Unit for the purpose it was used in Amerithrax?

    As a scientist, what does he think of the selective production of the evidence against Dr. Ivins and withholding the forensic tests done on the paper, photocopy toner, ink, tape etc. Given the many hundreds of pages of paper taken from Dr. Ivins, might a comparison of paper stock been more useful than the false claim that he had no reason to be in the lab?

    Why wasn’t the microbiologist trained by Heba Zawahiri identified from a patent as having been supplied virulent Ames with Bruce Ivins — with the documents relating to that research obtained from Dr. Ivins in October 2001?

    Why did Dr. Decker not swab other labs for the genetically distinctive contaminant subtilis? To include the lab of the subtilis expert who called the apartment of WTC 1993 bomber up to the minute of Blind Sheik’s Abdel-Rahman arrest — from whose door room an appareent reporting call to KSM at a Pakistan charity was made after the blast. In 1993, the man was a graduate student studying subtilis and he was studying subtilis in 2001.

    There was a chemical in the Flask 1029 that was NOT in the mailed anthrax. So why did they make it seem that it was the “murder weapon” when the one scientific truth that had been established was that it WASN’T? Wasn’t the approach to substitute SPIN and leaks for SCIENCE?

    Why did Dr. Decker allow the US Attorney to claim that the lyophilizer was available for Dr. Ivins to use when it was known that it wasn’t?

    Am I right that his unit as responsible in his unit for reviewing the documents relating to the 52 rabbits and determining whether it was Dr. Ivins’ practice to work late at night and weekends — just as Dr. Ivins had claimed?

    Isn’t the false claim Dr. Ivins had no reason to be in the lab the main reason Amerithrax was botched?

    Dr. Decker says his unit was responsible for email searches. And so it is his unit that overlooked or hid the ball relating to Dr. Ivins’ experiment with the 52 rabbits and his late night and weekend hours relating to other animal experiments.

    Wasn’t AUSA Lieber relying on the hazardous materials unit scientists to review Dr. Ivins’ emails?

    What does he think of FBI expert Fraser-Liggett’s statement that she thinks the FBI’s use of the genetics evidence was misleading? (I believe F-L is the wife of genetics giant CV.)

    What does he think of FBI expert Keim’s claim it would take $50 million more to nail down genetics.

    Indeed, how could the genetics be nailed down at all when the parentage of some virulent Ames that was sent out was not known? Doesn’t the genetics necessarily have the distribution of Ames as its foundation? And isn’t that foundation made of quicksand given that it was not the practice of Ivins to record transfers of Ames prior to 2001?

    What does Dr. Decker think of the homeland security bio person Tara O’Toole saying it was never established that mailed anthrax was from USAMRIID — that it was merely a hypothesis?

    What does Dr. Decker think of the reliability of self-submission of anthrax. Why would a perp send in the smoking gun? And doesn’t Dr. Fellows have a conflict of interest in all her recollections given the 1998 transfer of Ames was not by Dr. Ivins — but by her? (At least it was not his handwriting on the vials). See photographs produced by JAG.

    What does think of the FBI’s failure to disclose that the scientist collecting the samples had made a dried aerosol out of Ames from Flask 1029 — and that was not disclosed? Dr. Ezzell worked with Dr. Decker’s Hazardous Materials Unit. Isn’t that correct?

    And so wasn’t it a member of his unit — not Dr. Ivins — who made a dried powder out of Ames from Flask 1029. Then the FBI’s hazardous materials unit hid that fact from the public? Dr. Ezzell was under a gag order, he says, and told me even after Dr. Ivins’ death that the FBI likely was tapping his phone. Dr. Ezzell showed great courage in coming forward — such forthrightness should have been shown by the other members of his unit. They should have disclosed that a member of their unit had made a dried powder out of Ames supplied from Flask 1029.

    With respect to the testing of the labs in Afghanistan, was he aware of Dr. Zawahiri’s plan to decontaminate the lab with insecticide? Did they test for insecticde?

    What does he think of Dr. Relman’s discussion of the Ames PCR found at the Afghanistan labs?

    Why was it acceptable not to disclose the handwriting comparison of Mohammed Atta with the anthrax letters — or worse yet, not to do one?

    Was it fair to Dr. Ivins for Dr. Decker to strike a CSI pose in a Wash Po article in spinning the genetics evidence without disclosing that TA, JE’s assistant who was collecting the samples, had not submitted to the FBI repository? Despite her wavering and contradictory account, wasn’t that in fact a sample of the Ames DSD had used to make a dried power out of virulent Ames? Didn’t she have an accute conflict of interest given that it was known JE had made a dried powder out of virulent Ames from Flask 1029?

    As for the lead prosecutor Seilay’s leaking of the use of the anthrax-smelling bloodhounds, does Dr. Decker think it maybe was a conflict of interest given his daughter came to represent an “anthrax weapons suspect” Ali Al-Timimi pro bono? And in 2002 FBI Agent Wade Ammerman was pursuing a hot lead relating to anthrax prior to his meeting with so-called “911 imam” Anwar Awlaki?

    In a recent interview, Dr. Decker says that almost immediately after it was determined to be Ames, subpoeans were sent out to every lab in the country. That is not true, is it? Weren’t subpoenas delayed for months — until February 2002, because the FBI needed time to sort out conflicts of interest (see, eg.., Mueller comments) and because they needed to buy a refrigerator (see Hugh-Jones’ comments)? See Brandeis email from General Counsel I’ve uploaded. See Scott Decker’s contemporaneous notes and telephone log from February 2002 that he has neglected to make public.

    OTOH, subpoenas were sent out to LSU and University of Michigan in October 2001. Why were those labs targeted? Why Michigan? Is there someone in the US government less clueless than these folks publicly spinning the science?

    Dr. Decker says the FBI was able to access the database that held every transfer of anthrax across the country to determine which labs had anthrax. Huh? The requirement of documentation of a transfer was not until 1996 and so excluded from the database are all the transfers prior to 1996. So most transfers were excluded Including all samples derived from the missing slant sent from the dead cow. (There were two slants from the dead cow — not one). Dr. Decker says the list of labs that had Ames was created from that database of EA transfers post-1996. So immediately his database was totally and hopelessly limited — and required self-reporting and only was post-1996.

    Does Scott Decker know what happened to the second slant that came from the cow in Texas? Did Gregory K. take it with him when he went to the NMRC and CIA?

    Who was this 1998 transfer of genetically matching virulent Ames from? If it was from 7738, as I have suggested, it wouldn’t show up on the Flask 1029 inventory, would it? And isn’t that what the FBI used to approaching the question of the process of elimination? Was it instead from Flask 1029 and having been prepared by PF just not on the inventory?

    What bout the spies the former KGB handler said was at Detrick. The KGB handler turned book author — and Serge Popov — have both said you just could order whatever strain you wanted and it would be delivered. So why does Dr. Decker think a perp would comply with paperwork requirements?

    Scott Decker says what was unique was how Amerithrax investigative task force was divided into squads. Indeed, Investigative Lambert has said the compartmentalization would prevent the successful resolution of Amerithrax.

    Everyone should look past personal motivations of CYA and work toward the common goal of getting everyone on the same page. That requires addressing the hard questions — starting with the false claim Dr. Ivins had no reason to be in the lab…. starting with the documentary evidence about the experiment with 52 rabbits.

    THAT was why he provably in the lab — not the processing of Ames into a dried powder using a lyophilizer that wasn’t even available to him.

    It’s never too late to get it right — until it is. Those involved in forensics relating to Al Qaeda’s WMD should lake that to heart.

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

    • DXer said

      The scientific evidence that actually in no way pointed to Dr. Bruce Ivins — and instead was exculpatory or inconclusive.

      Shaoni Bhattacharya in “Science in Court: Disease Detectves, 26 February 2014 made comments in a somewhat related context of phylogenetic forensics:

      “The method, which marries classic evolutionary-biology practices with modern sequencing technology, is increasingly being used in criminal and civil investigations, and for biodefence. A paper published this month2, for example, describes how the technique allowed scientists to trace the likely origin of an anthrax-laced batch of heroin that has been killing users across Europe since 2009.

      But the intersection of this science with the legal system makes many uneasy, says Anne-Mieke Vandamme, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Leuven in Belgium, who has worked on 19 criminal cases since 2002, mostly for the defence. Unlike DNA evidence, which is routinely used in legal settings around the world, the results of phylogenetic forensics are rarely definitive. “You can never prove guilt,” she says.

      And there are social concerns. Many patient advocates feel that tracing the path of infection in civil and criminal cases may further stigmatize diseases such as AIDS. Now, as the field matures thanks to advanced sequencing and analytical tools, a team of experts led by Vandamme is trying to develop guidelines for best practice both on technical aspects of the work and on presenting the evidence in courts. She hopes, she says, “to make clear to lawyers, judges and prosecution officers the powers and limitations of these methods”.

      • DXer said

        For example, this peer-reviewed article by the FBI scientists was EXCULPATORY of Dr. Ivins, not inculpatory. For Dr. Decker to spin the science as if it is implicated Dr. Ivins –without or without the CSI pose in the Washington Post — rather than just the opposite — is highly misleading.

        J Forensic Sci. 2012 Jul;57(4):923-31. doi: 10.1111/j.1556-4029.2012.02128.x. Epub 2012 Apr 26.

        Trace detection of meglumine and diatrizoate from Bacillus spore samples using liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry.

        Swider C1, Maguire K, Rickenbach M, Montgomery M, Ducote MJ, Marhefka CA.

        Author information


        Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, letters containing Bacillus anthracis were distributed through the United States postal system killing five people. A complex forensic investigation commenced to identify the perpetrator of these mailings. A novel liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry protocol for the qualitative detection of trace levels of meglumine and diatrizoate in dried spore preparations of B. anthracis was developed. Meglumine and diatrizoate are components of radiographic imaging products that have been used to purify bacterial spores. Two separate chromatographic assays using multiple mass spectrometric analyses were developed for the detection of meglumine and diatrizoate. The assays achieved limits of detection for meglumine and diatrizoate of 1.00 and 10.0 ng/mL, respectively. Bacillus cereus T strain spores were effectively used as a surrogate for B. anthracis spores during method development and validation. This protocol was successfully applied to limited evidentiary B. anthracis spore material, providing probative information to the investigators.

        2012 American Academy of Forensic Sciences. Published 2012. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the U.S.A.

      • DXer said

        Similarly, this peer-reviewed science pointed to samples such as 7738. The FBI says it does not know what happened to the anthrax in 7738, which was created from Flask 1029. The Amerithrax Investigative Summary says it could not determine what happened to the spores. Thus, immediately any analysis based on collected samples and genetic analysis is dramatically flawed. Indeed, why wouldn’t a perp using anthrax surreptitiously obtained rather than the anthrax he was known to be the principal custodian?

        Bacillus anthracis comparative genome analysis in support of the Amerithrax investigation.

        Rasko DA, Worsham PL, Abshire TG, Stanley ST, Bannan JD, Wilson MR, Langham RJ, Decker RS, Jiang L, Read TD, Phillippy AM, Salzberg SL, Pop M, Van Ert MN, Kenefic LJ, Keim PS, Fraser-Liggett CM, Ravel J.

        Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Mar 22;108(12):5027-32. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1016657108. Epub 2011 Mar 7.

        PMID: 21383169 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

      • DXer said

        As another example, this peer-reviewed article by the FBI scientists is hugely EXCULPATORY of Dr. Ivins. The genetically distinctive subtilis was NOT found in his home or office or lab.

        Dr. Scott Decker and Dr. Vahid Majidi have offered up spin and defensive rationales rather than probative science. What science they have published is either EXCULPATORY or INCONCLUSIVE. Bring back Budowie.

        At the same time, they have withheld massive number of forensic reports that were EXCULPATORY. How is that a principled use of science in the solution of an important national security investigation? It is time for the FBI to produce the forensic reports on the paper, ink, and photocopy toner (as distinguished from the examination of photocopier tracks which is known to be exculpatory). The FBI scientists were so busy attempting to be cutting edge that they forgot to be old-school. They should have left the anthrax smelling dogs at the tarmac and flew out the scientists to swab for the genetically matching subtilis. Instead, not learning from the Hatfill case, they truncated their scientific analysis and let their predispositions guide the science.

        And for gosh sake, if we are going to hear the assertions about polygraphs, they should produce the polygraphs examinations confirming that Dr. Ivins had passed.

        Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 2009 Oct;59(Pt 10):2429-36. doi: 10.1099/ijs.0.009126-0. Epub 2009 Jul 21.

        Phylogeny and molecular taxonomy of the Bacillus subtilis species complex and description of Bacillus subtilis subsp. inaquosorum subsp. nov.

        Rooney AP1, Price NP, Ehrhardt C, Swezey JL, Bannan JD.

        Author information


        The Bacillus subtilis species complex is a tight assemblage of closely related species. For many years, it has been recognized that these species cannot be differentiated on the basis of phenotypic characteristics. Recently, it has been shown that phylogenetic analysis of the 16S rRNA gene also fails to differentiate species within the complex due to the highly conserved nature of the gene, yet DNA-DNA hybridization values fall well below 70 % for the same species comparisons. As a complementary approach, we propose that phylogenetic analysis of multiple protein-coding loci can be used as a means to detect and differentiate novel Bacillus taxa. Indeed, our phylogenetic analyses revealed the existence of a previously unknown group of strains closely related to, but distinct from, Bacillus subtilis subsp. spizizenii. Results of matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry analyses revealed that the group produces a novel surfactin-like lipopeptide with mass m/z 1120.8 that is not produced by the other currently recognized subspecies. In addition, the group displayed differences in the total cellular content of the fatty acids C(16 : 0) and iso-C(17 : 1)omega10c that distinguish it from the closely related B. subtilis subsp. spizizenii. Consequently, the correlation of these novel phenotypic traits with the phylogenetic distinctiveness of this previously unknown subspecies group showed that phylogenetic analysis of multiple protein-coding loci can be used as a means to detect and differentiate novel Bacillus taxa. Therefore, we propose that this new group should be recognized as representing a novel taxon, Bacillus subtilis subsp. inaquosorum subsp. nov., with the type strain NRRL B-23052(T) (=KCTC 13429(T)=BGSC 3A28(T)).

      • DXer said

        Where does Dr. Scott Decker in his manuscript “Attribution: Inside the FBI’s Anthrax Investigation–An Evolution of Forensics” reveal that the forensic examination of the toner used by the photocopier was exculpatory of Dr. Ivins?

        Where does he discuss it at all?

        The evolving forensics on photocopy toner have led to confidence levels of up to99%. Compare the innuendo in the footnote of the Amerithrax Investigative Summary about his time spent in the library where there was a photocopier. (This line of forensic testing is separate from the examination of track marks which was known to tend to be exculpatory.

        It was a simple matter to review track marks from other papers photocopied in September and October 2001

        NO MATCH was found among any of Dr. Ivins’ papers. ,

        PHOTOCOPIER TONER: In the hundreds of pages of photocopied exemplars taken from Dr. Bruce Ivins’ home and office, FBI Laboratory Experts determined that there was not a single piece of paper photocopied by him in which the same photocopy toner was used as in the letters containing the mailed anthrax. FBI should produce the laboratory reports to GAO on the photocopy toner used by the machine used to copy the letters without further delay.

        Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 9, 2012

        GAO: Doesn’t the FBI’s photocopy toner report EXCLUDE the make and model of photocopier used at USAMRIID but INCLUDE the make and model used in the Maryland KINKOS so often used by the hijackers in August and September 2001?
        Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 24, 2012

      • DXer said

        * INK: In the hundreds of pages of handwritten exemplars taken from Dr. Bruce Ivins’ home and office, FBI Laboratory Experts determined that there was not a single exemplar written by him in which the distinctive “fluid-like” ink used on the envelope was a match. FBI should produce the laboratory reports to GAO on the ink used in the first mailing (and the different ink used in the second mailing) without further delay.

        Posted on March 8, 2012

        Where does Dr. Scott Decker in his manuscript “Attribution: Inside the FBI’s Anthrax Investigation–An Evolution of Forensics” reveal that the forensic examination of the ink was exculpatory of Dr. Ivins?

      • DXer said

        The FBI’s handwriting expert concluded that Ivins PROBABLY DID NOT write the anthrax letters.

        In the formal handwriting examination conducted in the Amerithrax investigation, it was concluded that “Bruce E. Ivins probably did not write the writings appearing on the ‘anthrax’ envelopes and letters.” The Assistant US Attorney did not disclose that fact in the Amerithrax Investigative Summary.
        Posted by Lew Weinstein on August 13, 2013

        Where does Dr. Scott Decker in his manuscript “Attribution: Inside the FBI’s Anthrax Investigation–An Evolution of Forensics” discuss the FBI’s failure to compare Atta’s handwriting with the handwriting in the mailed letters.
        (see FBI’s FOIA response to me)

        Handwriting analysis is pretty old-school. Isn’t it negligence per se not to have done such a formal comparison?

        The List Of Comparisons Done By FBI’s Handwriting Analyst Who Found Ivins Probably DId Not Write The Anthrax Letters Is 22 Pages Long; The FBI Advises DXer That No Comparison Of Mohammed Atta’s Handwriting Is Among The Many Dozens Listed That Were Provided The Amerithrax Task Force
        Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 28, 2014

        GAO Should Obtain A Copy Of The FBI’s Handwriting Analysis Comparing The Letters To Atta’s
        Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 22, 2012

        Why did the scientists just ignore all the forensics exculpatory of Dr. Ivins — and even suppress it?

        For example, where in the Amerithrax Investigative Summary was the finding of the FBI’s handwriting expert Muehlberger even disclosed?

        Rather than disclosing he opined that Ivins probably did NOT write the letters, the investigators claimed the formal opinion was that it was inconclusive.

        That was just the conclusory spin put on forensics that were EXCULPATORY of Dr. Ivins. That was rationalization of contradictory forensic findings — and the same thing happened in a very unprincipled fashion relating to his passing the polygraphs.

        That was just a false claim of what the forensic opinion actually stated — that was a conclusory assertion made by people that were about to be accused of driving an innocent man to commit suicide.

      • DXer said

        Where does Scott Decker in his manuscript adequately address — in terms of validated forensic science — the issue that Dr. Ivins PASSED his polygraphs. Putting aside that polygraphs are not admissible, how does it constitute a principled scientific approach merely to reinterpret the results because it fits your latest theory? When there is no scientific validation supporting such an opportunistic reinterpretation. provides a fascinating analysis of the FBI’s unsupported assertions regarding Dr. Bruce Ivins’ polygraph tests
        Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 23, 2010’s-unsupported-assertions-regarding-his-polygraph-tests/

        Why hasn’t NAS heard a witness on the FBI’s extensive reliance on polygraphs in Amerithax?
        Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 12, 2010

        DXer asks: why is Ivins’ polygraph not disclosable under FOIA?
        Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 23, 2014

      • DXer said

        As a man of science who should favor transparent and repeatable forensics, where does Scott Decker, PhD, in his manuscript justify the withholding of the identity of the Red Team that recommended that the FBI scientists abandon pursuit of the Silicon Signature?

        Aren’t the documents identifying the Red Team scientists who advised against pursuing the Silicon Signature subject to FOIA?

        Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 15, 2011

      • DXer said

        The missteps by FBI’s science squad date back to its support of the “Hatfill Theory.” “Hatfill Theory” was part of the same unstoppable train wreck as the “Ivins Theory.” There was a change of cars (investigators), but it was the same flawed train of reasoning and the investigators never overcame the earlier truncated emphasis of the investigation.

        Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 10, 2011

        Dr. Decker, who at the FBI was arguing that what was pulled from the pond was a glovebox (rather than, say, a minnow trap)?

        What was Dr. Decker’s view of the glove box?

        “While some law-enforcement officials are taking the novel theory seriously, others have dismissed it as fantasy. ‘It got a lot of giggles,’ says one FBI source.”

        Clawson relying on details from their own “sources,” reportedly said it was “like a K-Mart sweater box; like a piece of Tupperware that just happened to have a hole in it.” Then he added, “From what I understand it doesn’t have anything to do with bioweapons.” School children are even taught online to study the flow of water systems using plastic sweater boxes with a hole cut in it and take it to the pond or stream.

        The Trentonian sets the scene:

        “A short walk down that freshly cut road off Gambrill Park Road leads to nothing more than a non-descript fishing pond about an acre in size, and about 10 feet at its deepest point.

        Several other ponds located only a few dozen yards away are also part of the mystery that may hold the keyto the secrets behind the anthrax-laden letters.

        On one pond a man was seen sitting in a chair, fishing pole in hand and passing the time. He hadn’t caught anything yet, he said.

        No wonder. Perhaps he’s still annoyed that someone took his clear plastic minnow trap, that was also good for catching bluegills. Or for taking his turtle trap.

        Or perhaps he’s annoyed that the FBI took his live bait dispenser that held shiners for catching bass.

        The news stories suggested the image of someone sticking their gloved hands into the box while underwater. Well, how would the water not rush through the holes? Did Hatfill stick his hands into the box outside the water, walk awkwardly into the water, then submerge the box? Water would seep through. An unanswered question in this fanciful scenario imagined by some in the press and their unnamed sources: where are the “port” or “securing ring” -like devices? If this box was used as alleged, why would these devices be taken away by the perp instead of left there too?

        In the event it was homemade, note that frugal fishermen on the internet post to each directions on how to make a homemade minnow trap:

        “I don’t take credit for this I saw it on Rec. Ponds awhile ago Take an empty 2 liter bottle, cut off the top where it is as round athe rest. (making a funnel) invert it back into the rest of the bottle and staple it back together. Put in some food (I used bread)I also tie a string onto it by putting a small hole on the bottom and fishing the string through the funnel hole. Drop it in and wait about an hour an pull it back up. I caught about 20 per container The fish can swim in but can’t get out.”

        The way a minnow or turtle trap works is that the small fish or turtle can swim in but can’t swim out — sort of like being named a Person of Interest.

        In a Washington Post article on May 30, 2003, we are treated to characterization of the false positive due to shoddy lab work as merely a conflicting lab report and the tantalizing (albeit casually dropped) new discovery of gloves wrapped in plastic. Can you imagine the leaker gleefully seizing the issue of the gloves allegedly found, challenging detractors to a duel, and saying “Take that!”

        We are also told that investigators were “surprised” not to find traces of anthrax at the places they searched. Surprised? Wouldn’t it only be surprising if you had assumed your conclusion of a person’s guilt as they later would do with Dr. Ivins — reinterpreting all the “science” to fit their conclusion?

      • DXer said

        In his new “behind the scenes” manuscript on the Amerithrax forensics, where does Scott Decker, PhD, disclose or the address the information about Rauf Ahmad, the scientist infiltrating the Porton Down anthrax scientists for Dr. Ayman Zawahiri.

      • DXer said

        In his new “behind the scenes” manuscript on the Amerithrax forensics, where does Scott Decker, PhD, discuss the email withheld for years that shows Dr. Ivins knew that 5 ml of virulent Ames was missing. Dr. Ivins was writing to Pat Fellows about this 5 ml. She was the one who is curiously silent on the rabbit documents — which Dr. Ivins was working on in late September and early October 2001. Her deposition testimony on the subject was shredded!

      • DXer said

        In his new “behind the scenes” manuscript on the Amerithrax forensics, where does Scott Decker, PhD, explain why the FBI withheld from the NAS news that DARPA researcher Dr. Ezzell had made dried powder out of Ivins’ Ames that was genetically matching. Dr. Ezzell’s assistant doing the work then went to Johns Hopkins where the former Zawahiri associate supplied virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins had his decontaminant tested (in addition to the testing done at LSU, Dugway and USAMRIID).

      • DXer said

        In his new “behind the scenes” manuscript on the Amerithrax forensics, where does Scott Decker, PhD, even identify the number of labs swabbed for the genetically distinctive subtilis? How does a failure to swab all relevant labs even begin to comport with sound scientific approach?

      • DXer said

        In his new “behind the scenes” manuscript on the Amerithrax forensics, where does Scott Decker, PhD, address the opinion of the top Homeland Security Department on the leg lesion?

      • DXer said

        Compare Dr. Decker’s manuscript with Dr. Majidi’s e-book. Dr. Majidi argues that a USAMRIID employee necessarily stole the Ames because no one else was there — that is, a man on the street could not just walk in to the lab. That’s right. You could only walk into the lab if you were a foreign visiting scientist taught by Heba Zawahiri and no security check was done because of your colleague’s connections to people at USAMRIID.

        Indeed, as Henry Heine and others have explained, the genetically matching Ames was all over Building 1412 — and not just in Building 1425 as Dr. Decker and his colleagues wanted you to think on August 8, 2001 when the “Ivins Theory” was first officially presented. So the number who needed to be excuded — just at USAMRIID — was always 200-300, not 100 as was claimed at the press conference.

      • DXer said

        Why do we have Dr. Decker’s PR spin and AUSA Lieber’s filmed spin about Decker’s contemporaneous notes — but we don’t have Dr. Decker’s contemporanous and phone log about sample collection? About the rabbit experiment? About the decision not to swab for subtilis? etc.

        Why do we have hundreds of pages of lab notebooks — but no contemporanous notes from the FBI scientists?

      • DXer said

        In his “behind the scenes” manuscript on the Amerithrax forensics, where does Scott Decker address the use of isotope ratios to determine where the anthrax — or better yet, the subtilis contaminant — was grown? Why precisely didn’t the FBI use the potentially promising method? In the case of handwriting, polygraphs and a host of other issues, we find that the investigators and prosecutors dismissed anything exculpatory of Dr. Ivins as inconclusive. The isotope ratio of the mailed anthrax was NOT supportive of an Ivins Theory.

        GAO, what does the isotope ratio analysis on the subtilis contaminant — which has not been disclosed — show? Isn’t it in fact exculpatory of Dr. Ivins rather than inculpatory?

        I’m not suggesting that it should be admissible but that it should be disclosed and addressed by the scientists spinning the microbiological forensics that the FBI say supported their highly speculative “Ivins Theory.”

        Kreuzer-Martin, H. W., M. J. Lott, J. Dorigan, and J. R. Ehleringer, “Microbe forensics: oxygen and hydrogen stable isotope ratios in Bacillus subtilis cells and spores,” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 100:815-819 (2003).

        Kreuzer-Martin, H. W. et al., “Microbe forensics: Oxygen and hydrogen stable isotope ratios in Bacillus subtilis cells and spores,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,” February 4, 2003.

        Kreuzer-Martin, H. W., L. A. Chesson, M. J. Lott, J. V. Dorigan, and J. R. Ehleringer, “Stable isotope ratios as a tool in microbial forensics. 2. Isotopic variation among different growth media as a tool for sourcing origins of bacterial cells or spores,” J. Forensic Sci. 49:961-967 (2004).

        Kreuzer-Martin, H. W., L. A. Chesson, M. J. Lott, and J. R. Ehleringer, “Stable isotope ratios as a tool in microbial forensics. 3. Effect of culturing on agar-containing growth media,” J. Forensic Sci. 50:1372-1379 (2005).

        “Bayesian-Integrated Microbial Forensics,” Applied and Environmental Microbiology, June 2008, p. 3573-3582, Vol. 74, No. 11

        Jarman KH, Kreuzer-Martin HW, Wunschel DS, Valentine NB, Cliff JB, Petersen CE, Colburn HA, Wahl KL.
        Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, PO Box 999/MS K9-72, Richland, WA 99352, USA.


        In the aftermath of the 2001 anthrax letters, researchers have been exploring ways to predict the production environment of unknown-source microorganisms. Culture medium, presence of agar, culturing temperature, and drying method are just some of the broad spectrum of characteristics an investigator might like to infer. The effects of many of these factors on microorganisms are not well understood, but the complex way in which microbes interact with their environments suggests that numerous analytical techniques measuring different properties will eventually be needed for complete characterization. In this work, we present a Bayesian statistical framework for integrating disparate analytical measurements. We illustrate its application to the problem of characterizing the culture medium of Bacillus spores using three different mass spectral techniques. The results of our study suggest that integrating data in this way significantly improves the accuracy and robustness of the analyses.


        “This approach has some serious drawbacks. First, it requires a signature for the microorganism in every culture medium of interest. While it may be possible to collect such signatures when reference samples from a suspect laboratory are available, in many cases no reference samples will be available. Even if a large database of culture medium signatures could be constructed, the culture medium from an unknown sample could be made from atypical components, spiked with additional metals or other compounds, or made without following any known recipe, making a database-matching approach extremely challenging. The question then becomes one of whether a data analysis framework can be developed so that culture medium characterization is possible when traditional signatures are unavailable.”

    • DXer said

      In his “behind the scenes” manuscript about the forensics in Amerithrax, where does Scott Decker, PhD, address the fact that Dr. Vahid Majidi and his colleagues claimed at the August 2008 conference that Dr. Ivins used a lyophilizer to process the anthrax. The lyophilizer was not even in the B3 where Dr. Ivins provably was at those times. Where does Dr. Majidi address the issue of lyophilizer in his new manuscript on the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings?

    • DXer said

      In his new “behind the scenes” manuscript on the Amerithrax forensics, where does Scott Decker, PhD, disclose or the address the information reported about Yazid Sufaat’s work in Kandahar?

      The FBI culled the production of Al Qaeda-anthrax documents provided to the NAS and public (or so Dr. Majidi explains in his Fall 2013 ebook) — providing only what they wanted. Documents from abroad, in any event, were under the control of other agencies and so the reasoning is that they weren’t the FBI’s to give.

      Yazid Sufaat explained to KSM that he and his assistants were vaccinated to work with the virulent anthrax they were using In his new manuscript, what is Dr. Decker’s justification for not informing the NAS and the public that Yazid Sufaat was vaccinated to protection against his work with virulent anthrax? The fact that Sufaat was working with virulent anthrax should remain classified? Nonsense. The American people had a right to know. Dr. Majidi cites the 911 Report (which cites a December 2001 interrogation report) on Sufaat’s training — but Sufaat has explained that he was lying in December and not admitting he had worked as part of Malaysian’s biological weapons program. According to Sufaat’s accoount, it took a “friend” to tell his interrogators about his past.

      Where does Scott Decker even address the subject of the forensic examination of Sufaat’s lab in Kandahar?

    • DXer said

      Sometimes the only way to get people on the same page is to have them read the same pages. That’s why I have been urging that the FBI produce the traditional forensic reports (such as on the photocopier toner, ink, paper and tape).

      But the issue of very central importance relates to the failure to be on the same page relating to what I claim was Dr. Ivins work with 52 rabbits. I urge Dr.Decker to take the minutes it will take to read the linked documents relating to the rabbit study. It related to formaldehyde. It involved an Ames challenge to 52 rabbits. It was done in Building 1425. B3. Where the FBI claimed Ivins powderized the anthrax.

      The claim that he did not have such an experiment is not true. The claim that if he had such an experiment, it was done somewhere else, is not true. The claim that if he had such experiment, any claim of night checks (and the other procedures) would be contrary to protocols, is not true. Indeed, they are REQUIRED by the protocols. I have uploaded the protocols, emails etc. Norm Covert, on the animal protocol committee, can explain the evolving nature of the protocols. He can explain that the protocols were mandatory and that Dr. Ivins followed them.

      I realize the central importance of showing that the challenge was done in Building 1425 rather than Building 1412.

      I realize the importance of showing that Dr. Ivins personally worked on the experiment, doing the specified procedures.

      I have obtained and uploaded all the documents.

      In the rush of events in Summer of 2008, these hardworking FBI agents and officials did not have time to obtain these documents.

      They counted on the target or his counsel to provide the records. But it was Pat Fellows’ experiment. Ivins sought the documents years later but the FBI had taken the notebooks, animal care cards had been thrown out etc.

      But the documents eventually produced by USAMRIID. Because of the persistent work by a FOIA officer Sandra and the blogger Lew who uploaded them — we now don’t have to make assumptions.

      We can now study the documentary evidence. But the system will only work if Dr. Decker now addresses those documents. Otherwise it is just defensive CYA spin falsely accusing an innocent man driven to suicide.

      Not only do I presume the good faith of all the FBI officials and investigators and DOJ prosecutors involved, but I know them to recognize a patriotic duty to assess the documentary evidence to see if they are persuaded that in fact Dr. Bruce E. Ivins was keeping company with those 52 rabbits on the night that the FBI claimed he was powderizing anthrax.

      Of course, with the laptop installed in early summer, he could have been just surfing porn before the 2-person rule was implemented in January 2002, precluding night work in the B3 without a buddy.

      But I think these documents speak for themselves. He was working with the animals and in addition to the animal observations, doing the plating that he always did in such experiments. His budget document I recently posted show that it would typically take two hours — to include him working the nights and weekends while the animal tech made the observations during the morning.

      Of course, if the DOJ had not shredded Pat Fellows’ deposition, we also would have the benefit of her sworn testimony. I assure you that shredding documents is not part of the scientific method.

    • DXer said

      Scott Decker has written a “behind the scenes” manuscript on the forensics used in the FBI’s Amerithrax investigation. Consider now, if you would, his treatment of the FBI’s “Scent Transfer Unit” in Amerithrax insofar as it was used on the anthrax letters mailed in Fall 2001. Compare and contrast the use of the Scent Transfer Unit (at page 155 and 255) in this video about FBI forensics — where Lucy and Tinkerbelle’s lookalike races to the bank robbing perp’s door, leading to the dramatic conclusion “FBI, don’t move!”

      I am only addressing or questioning the FBI use bloodhounds to smell anthrax. There was a good earlier video on the FBI website on Working Dogs; the dog featured was the first to be used to smell for explosives at the FBI buildings. And now there is another fun video I’ve posted below where the dogs are used to follow a bank robber to his door. I especially enjoy when bank robbers get caught.

      Stan Bedlington, the retired CIA counterterrorism analyst is one person who — referring to supposed bloodhound evidence — in the Summer of 2002 thought the “evidence is mounting.” He used to have lunch once a week in McLean with Hatfill and others at a bistro. A former counterterrorism analyst, he retired from the CIA in 1994, he mistakenly claimed that the letters “obviously had some scent of anthrax.” (That’s not what they would have been testing for given that biological agents such as anthrax apparently do not have a distinctive smell to bloodhounds). Skepticism should have prevailed on the question of bloodhound evidence under these circumstances. Mr. Kristof told Aaron Brown: “So they took those dogs and prepared scent packets from the anthrax letters after they had been irradiated so that they would not actually be dangerous.” Under the applicable case precedent, the bloodhound evidence likely would not be admissible for any connection to the letters (as opposed to whereabouts based on human scent).

      For those who believe in Tinkerbelle (one of the dogs used) — as I do in regard to detecting recent whereabouts of a perp — while most jurisdictions allow bloodhound evidence, courts generally have reservations about the possibility of inaccuracy of the evidence. The dog cannot be cross-examined. There is always the possibility that the dog may make a mistake. Accordingly, there are strict foundational requirements. The notion that such evidence is of slight probative value or must be viewed with caution stems at least in part from fear that a jury will be in awe of the animal’s apparent powers and will give the evidence too much weight (as the ABC and Newsweek reports amply illustrated). Putting aside for a moment use of the scent transfer device, five specific requirements are commonly required to establish an adequate foundation for dog-tracking evidence: (1) the handler was qualified to use the dog; (2) the dog was adequately trained; (3) the dog has been found reliable; (4) the dog was placed on the track where the guilty party had been; and (5) the trail was not stale or contaminated.

      For example, a bloodhound provided with the deceased tennis shoes might very reliably lead authorities to the deceased’s body in the woods. But what would have been used for the scent pack under SB’s Hatfill Theory is the human scent, if any, on the letter on which the perpetrator rested his hand in writing the letter. Tennis shoes are far more likely to carry a scent than a piece of paper on which the perp rested his hand (while possibly using gloves) to write a 28-word letter or 28-word note used in a bank robbery such as in the video linked below. Just ask my wife. The dogs would not have been clued to the biological agent as biological agents such as anthrax tend not to have a distinctive scent. Here, there would be no such log because the use of the dog would not have been the subject of pre-911 testing and training showing the dog performed reliably under similar circumstances. At a minimum, the “trail” would have been contaminated by the irradiation and anthrax, and would have grown stale by the passage of time. The FDA concluded that irradiation can produce small changes in the taste, smell, and sometimes texture of foods and that consumers should be informed of this. Jurors should too. Remember that scene from “Miracle on 34th Street” where the official finding of the agency of the United States’ government was deemed binding on the prosecution? Imagine Attorney Connolly or Grannis calling FDA scientists who found irradiation caused changes in smell, no doubt amplified by the much keener sense of a bloodhound.

      The United States Post Office explains in a FAQ that “the materials in the mail are heated and may become chemically altered. Paper dries out and may become dusty, discolored, and brittle.” Some postal workers and federal agency staff have reported symptoms such as eye, nose, throat and skin irritation, headache, nausea and occasional nosebleeds. What does the USPS do under these circumstances? Their solution includes “[u]sing hypoallergenic deodorizers to eliminate any smells.” “Testing each batch of aired-out mail to ensure no detectable amoungs of gas exist before delivery.” Alas, Tinkerbelle’s lengthy pre-911 log shows that perfume does not confuse her, but likely is silent on this question of irradiated paper. The prosecution witness who might testify that a bloodhound’s sense of smell is 200 times as powerful as a human’s sense of smell would merely be helping the defense argument. No amount of log keeping or experiments after the fact would serve to permit admissibility under the court precedent. The bloodhound evidence was always a bogus and hugely prejudical diversion since the first sensational Newsweek story leaked by Daniel Seikaly, head of the Criminal Division of the District of Columbia United States Attorneys Office. (I might have mentioned that his daughter then came to represent Al-Timimi for free.)

      In any event, the mailer would have worn gloves and only briefly handled the letter. More broadly, there is an article that collects cases from 40 or so states and nothing approaching the delays has ever been found admissible. In a city landscape, the time period is much more restrictive. The Leahy letter, written by the perp sometime prior to the October 9, 2001 postmark, was not discovered until mid-November, and as of November 19, 2001 a protocol was still being developed for its opening. Thus, the 40 day period that had been passed by the (likely glove-wearing) perp already would have resulted in a stale trail.

      There is a separate additional issue of use of the “scent transfer unit” here such as seen in the video below 155 seconds in. A “scent transfer unit” such as used here looks like a Dustbuster, modified with a small frame at the end to secure a piece of gauze over its intake opening. The user attaches a piece of sterile gauze to the unit, activates the unit, and holds it against the item from which the scent is to be taken (such as where the person sat the night before). Depending on the jurisdiction, the scent transfer unit, which is a new technology, may be subject to the rule regarding new scientific methodology. Under that rule, the proponent of such evidence must establish the new scientific principle or technique is sufficiently established to have gained general acceptance in the particular field in which it belongs under the circumstances of the case. Here, there is no such general acceptance as explained by Scott Shane in an article in the Baltimore Sun relying on experts in the Maryland area. The purpose of the requirement is to avoid factfinders from being misled by the `aura of infallibility’ that may surround unproved scientific methods. This would constitute a possible third independent grounds for excluding the evidence. Absent a training log showing the dog performed reliably under similar circumstances, given the time period that had passed, and in light of the use of the scent transfer unit, there is nothing the FBI or trainers would be able to do to save the admissibility of the bloodhound evidence because it will be found by a court to be unreliable. The trainers reportedly tested their dogs on irradiated paper — presumably before actually doing the search but after being asked to do so. That would not pass muster that past training be substantiated by a training log.

      Absent a pre-911 training log showing the dog performed reliably under similar circumstances, given the time period that had passed, and in light of the use of the scent transfer unit, there is nothing the FBI or trainers would be able to do to save the admissibility of the bloodhound evidence because it will be found by a court to be unreliable.

      Both of the major police bloodhound associations howl against the reliability of the Scent Transfer Unit used by the three blood handlers. One of the dog handlers, Dennis Slavin, was an urban planner and reserve officer with the South Pasadena Police Department. One of the other dog handlers is a civilian who runs his own bloodhound business. Shane, in his very impressive Baltimore Sun article, explained that an FBI agent, Rex Stockham, examining the technology for the FBI lab says: “It’s going to be criticized. I’m critical of it myself.” The President of the Bloodhound Association, who is critical of the technology used by these handlers, had testified 21 times, and likely will have testified 22 if the FBI attempts to rely on the evidence in a prosecution. Shane notes that a federal jury awarded $1.7 million last year to a man wrongly accused of rape after police identified him in part based on the use of Slavin’s bloodhound, TinkerBelle. Shane’s article gives the further example of their use in the sniper investigation, where “given the scent taken from spent shell casings, followed two false trails in Montgomery County. One led to a house, for which a search warrant was obtained and which turned out not be relevant. The other led to a dog-grooming parlor, the officer said.” Phew. It’s no wonder Lucy responded to Hatfill. He is a ladies’ man, after all.

      The New York Times also had an excellent article in December 2002 surveying the field that noted the case where dogs falsely indicated the presence of explosives in the cars of three medical students bound for Miami. The country watched the drama unfold on television as the men were held and authorities closed a major highway across Florida. No trace of explosives was found. When dog handlers are excited, dogs can overreact and give a false positive. “Dogs want rewards and so they will false alerts to get them. Dogs lie. We know they do,” an expert told the Times. One of ‘TinkerBelle’s most incredible talents,”her homepage touts, is her ability to find the person responsible for loading a gun using scent from an expended bullet casing.” Indeed, she finds the “smoking gun.” Most of all, the page notes, she too is a people person.

      With the investigation going to the dogs, nearly 100 law enforcement officers gathered to watch some of their colleagues jump in a lake near where Dr. Hatfill lived, and in late January 2003, the FBI continued searching the forest in Frederick. Locals were amused that some of the ponds had been dry earlier that year. While they may seem to enjoy their dinners at Georgetown (and not all surveillance venues are as warm and pleasant), FBI agents and surveillance specialists do not have an easy job. The public demands that they exhaustively pursue all leads, but then there is an uproar if they cross some unpredictable line and step on — or run over someone’s toe. They did just that in Hatfill’s case and he got ticketed for putting his foot under the car’s tire. Let’s not blame the FBI agents or surveillance specialists, folks. They just have a difficult job. And let’s not blame those beautiful dogs. The 15 labradors working explosives at FBI HQ are even more adorable than the bloodhounds from California.

      But if the FBI had spent a fraction of the time on Dr. Ivins 52 rabbits that they spent on a couple of dogs, Amerithrax would not have been so badly botched.

    • DXer said

      In his “behind the scenes” manuscript on the Amerithrax forensics, where does Scott Decker addresses the fact that Anwar Aulaqi was coordinating with Ali Al-Timimi who shared a suite with the two leading Ames researchers? Why was self-submission from researchers such as at SRI, the subcontractor for the GMU researchers, adequate to establish the universe of the distribution of virulent Ames?

      Where does he address the documents from peer reviewed literature in Ayman Zawahiri’s possession?

      Where does he address the spraydrying documents on Al-Hawsawi’s laptop?

      Where does he addresses Rauf Ahmad’s notes and handwritten letter (he was one of the scientists working for Ayman Zawahiri)?

    • DXer said

      Where does Scott Decker in his new “behind the scenes” manuscript on the Amerithrax forensics address the typed correspondence from a later visit by Rauf Ahmad indicating that he had successfully achieved the targets.

      Where does he address Ali Mohammed, the head of intelligence for Egyptian Islamic Jihad who had a document on his computer seized by the FBI that outlined principles of cell security that would be followed, trained Dahab, a Cairo medical drop-out, to make deadly letters.

      Where does he address the Egyptian visitor in the B3 who worked alongside Bruce Ivins with virulent Ames and was the lifelong friend of a former Egyptian Islamic Jihad member, a schoolmate, recruited by Ayman Zawahiri.

      Where does he address the fact that Dr. Bruce Ivins hosted one Egyptian visitor in the B3 who was the lifelong friend of a former Egyptian Islamic Jihad member, a schoolmate, recruited by Ayman Zawahiri and that the FBI did not obtain the relevant documents until February 2005.

    • DXer said

      Where does Dr. Decker in his “behind the scenes” manuscript on the Amerithrax forensics address the fact that this document seized in Afghanistan pointed to infiltration of US biodefense. To what was the author referring?

      Where does Dr. Decker address this Zawahiri correspondence with infiltrating scientist that was part of parallel compartmentalized cell operation. Who else did Ayman attempt to recruit (besides the schoolmate and close friend of Bruce Ivins’ co-worker)?

      Where does he address the documents dating from April 1999 showing that Ayman Zawahiri’s plan was to recruit a specialist. Who else did Ayman Zawahiri succeed in recruiting?

      Where does he address the fact that the lifelong friends of Dr. Tarek Hamouda, supplied virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins, actively denounce their former medical school associate Ayman Zawahiri as a fanatic – one serving as President of CAIR-St. Louis and the other as author of INSIDE JIHAD. After the FBI first obtained in 2005 the documents relating to Dr. Hamouda’s work with Dr. Ivins, did they contact Dr. Hamid who reports he was recruited into the Egyptian Islamic Group by Ayman Zawahiri while in medical school? Did they contact his brother who publicly announced that he could not identify a sleeper cell if he did not know about it?

    • DXer said

      In his new “behind the scenes” manuscript on the forensics relied upon in Amerithrax, where does Dr. Decker disclose that the FBI failed to disclose that Jdey was detained and released as the same time as Moussaoui (according to the uncorroborated claim by the former top CIA analyst).

      Where does he address the fact that Ayman Zawahiri had an extensive recruiting network for his anthrax planning and the announcement of his plans in March 1999, including the blind sheik’s son who spoke alongside Ali Al-Timimi and was on Al Qaeda’s 3-member WMD society. Did the blind sheik’s son recruit Ali Al-Timimi?

      Where does he disclose the fact that Ayman Zawahiri used “school” to refer to the Egyptian Islamic Jihad?

      Where does he address the documentary evidence showing that Ayman Zawahiri used “school” as code and not Bruce Ivins. He says all his unit’s experts were required to have at least 3 years experience in their speciality — and yet isn’t it true that for the proffered code the investigator relied upon had no experience at all?

  31. DXer said


    Is Ayman Zawahiri Behind The Anthrax Mailings?

    Here is my analysis in 2007:

    Tuesday, 17 April 2007, 11:49 am
    Opinion: Ross Getman

    Is Ayman Zawahiri Behind The Anthrax Mailings?

    Analysis of the means, motive, modus operandi and opportunity of the anthrax mailings in Fall 2001 suggests that US-based supporters of Ayman Zawahiri were responsible for the anthrax mailings in the Fall of 2001. ***

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

    • DXer said

      I discussed Yazid Sufaat and Adnan El-Shukrijumah 10 years ago in this essay, “Anthrax and the Vanguards of Conquest.” Will documents relating to Adnan El-Shukrijumah now be ordered to be produced by a federal district court?

      Anthrax and the Vanguards of Conquest

      By Ross E. Getman, Esq.

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

    • DXer said

      Did GAO interview Bruce Ivins’ former USAMRIID colleagues?

      Prior to his suicide, the US Army had refused to permit his colleagues to communicate with Dr. Ivins’ attorney. What right does an employer have to prevent co-employees from cooperating with a criminal investigation of an employee? Does the employer have more than the right to have its counsel present?

      If the employees had been allowed to communicate with Paul Kemp, Attorney Kemp could have shared the information with AUSA LIeber and avoided the central misapprehensions of fact that underlay the DOJ’s “Ivins Theory” that it set forth at a press conference after Dr. Ivins’ suicide.

      Dr. Ivins wrote on June 19, 2008:

      From: To: Subject: Date:
      Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
      Our meeting today (UNCLASSIFIED) Thursday, June 19, 2008 2:58:57 PM


      I wanted to meet with you today to find out if there has been any progress with respect to my attorneys wishing to speak to my coworkers about me. It has been several weeks since the official request was made, and neither my attorneys nor I have heard anything. The Army should understand that my attorneys have no desire to talk about anything that is proprietary (such as specific experiments with drugs, vaccines, or detection devices), nor do they wish to delve into any classified information. They specifically wish to interview my coworkers about me, and I have given my coworkers and my attorneys my specific permission to discuss me both professionally and personally. I hope that this information can be forwarded to the JAG and to whomever else needs to see it. If the Ft. Detrick JAG has not received a response from those that they sent the request to, I would hope that they could give to us the appropriate names so that my attorneys can soon begin interviewing my coworkers.

      Again, let me emphasize that my attorneys have no desire to delve into any proprietary or classified information. Thank you very much.

      Bruce Ivins

      • DXer said

        From: To: Subject: Date:
        Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
        RE: Bruce (UNCLASSIFIED) Tuesday, July 01, 2008 12:43:43 PM

        Thank you very much, . My attorneys have no interest in anything proprietary or classified. They want to ask questions of my coworkers about me. I have given both my attorneys and coworkers complete permission to talk about me freely. Hopefully, the “farther-up place” in the Pentagon will give a positive response. Thanks again for all of your help.
        Bruce Ivins

      • DXer said

        From: To: Subject: Date:
        Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
        RE: JAG permission for my attorney to talk to USAMRIID personnel (UNCLASSIFIED) Monday, June 02, 2008 2:51:43 PM

        Thank you very much for following up on this. I hope that the Department of the Army understands that my attorney doesn’t need to talk to my coworkers on post, and that he doesn’t wish to ask them about anything proprietary or classified. He would like to get their opinions as they pertain to me – how long they’ve known me, what they know about me from working around me, etc. I hope this can be made clear to the JAG and to the Department of the Army.
        Thank you very much.
        -Bruce Bruce Ivins
        —–Original Message—– From: Sent: Monday, June 02, 2008 12:03 PM To: Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID Subject: RE: JAG permission for my attorney to talk to USAMRIID personnel (UNCLASSIFIED)

        I just talked to . This request requires approval at a higher (DA) level. forwarded the request about 2 weeks ago and he will follow-up.

      • DXer said

        The Army wasn’t merely preventing his colleagues from speaking to his attorney, they were keeping documents from his attorney. This background is one reason why the JAG’s participation in the culling of Dr. Ivins’ emais before production under FOIA is very disturbing. GAO needs to have them provided in a sequentially format and ask for the those pulled restored.

        From: To: Subject: Date:
        Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
        RE: Missing materials (UNCLASSIFIED) Wednesday, June 11, 2008 11:15:20 AM

        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. 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 Ivins

      • DXer said

        JAG participated in the provable culling of emails in the FOIA production. There was a large committee and there is a written email record.

        Dr. Ivins’ characterization was that “the Army JAG doesn’t seem to be willing to do much more than cower like a scared rabbit.”

        Putting aside the legal details of what documents were proper to withhold — what interviews were proper to prevent etc. — the GAO has within its possible to obtain identification of the emails culled and review them. Then GAO in its oversight capacity can assess whether such withholding was justified and proper.

        Here is an example of an improperly culled email — produced only after I specifically identified it (when it wasn’t produced in the relevant batch).

        See, e.g.,
        DOJ For 4 Years Withheld This Email (Message 0438) Written By Bruce Ivins On The Date Of Alleged Mailing Of Deadly Anthrax ; GAO Should Obtain A Full Set Of Emails From DOJ, Including Those That DOJ Has Still Failed To Produce

        Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 1, 2012

        From: To:
        Subject: Date:
        Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
        RE: Missing materials (UNCLASSIFIED) Monday, June 30, 2008 3:05:54 PM

        I don’t have any particular desire to have much to do with the JAG at this point in time…for multiple reasons. We have 320+ cultures and are not going to measure the volumes of each one to see how much of this vial or that vial was taken. When material I have prepared and stored according to regulations from one government agency is seized by another government agency, I don’t see that it’s my responsibility to go find out what they did to screw up our Select Agent system? I’m not going into the suite and count ml or bacteria. They took ALL of the material from that had made and purified (several months worth of hard work)and the Army JAG doesn’t seem to be willing to do much more than cower like a scared rabbit.
        Loyalty from Above breeds Loyalty from Below, and right now I don’t sense much loyalty from the DOD JAG.I think that the Army Jag should demand a list of exactly what was taken from and and when they informed the CDC about it.
        Bruce Ivins

      • DXer said

        At issue were the colleagues that wanted to speak to Dr. Ivins’ counsel. In sworn testimony AFTER his death, they put on a powerful, uncontradicted defense of Dr. Ivins on key points. I have arranged for those civil depositions to be uploaded.

        Perhaps Dr. Ivins’ suicide might have been avoided had the DOJ and Army allowed the information to come out and allowed Dr. Ivins to defend his reputation and 27 year career.

        From: To: Subject: Date:
        Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
        JAG permission for my attorney to talk to USAMRIID personnel (UNCLASSIFIED) Thursday, May 29, 2008 11:48:25 AM
        Classification: UNCLASSIFIED Caveats: NONE


        I am sending you this email to ask if you had heard from the JAG as to when my attorneys, , of , can talk to USAMRIID personnel about me. If you have not yet heard, could you please contact them and ask them? Then I can let my attorneys know the information. I’ve been a loyal Army employee for over 27 years, and I would hope that the Army would similarly have a substantial measure of loyalty toward its employees. Thank you very much.
        Bruce Ivins

      • DXer said

        The undercover agents who went on the cruise with Bruce Ivins played an important role in developing the highly speculative Ivins Theory.

        At the same time that USAMRIID Command instructed Dr. Ivins’ colleagues not to have any contact with him on the subject (see November 2007 memo)– and they were forbidden from talking to his attorney — the government substituted fake friends. For example, the USG sent two female undercover agents to befriend him on a cruise he took with his brother.

        You can only imagine the betrayal Dr. Ivins felt when Henry Heine, a little more adept at googling that Dr. Ivins, pointed out to Dr. Ivins that they were undercover FBI.

        You haven’t lived until in the dark you mistakenly have tried to get under cover with the undercover after coming back to the hotel room after a night on the town. But it all started with me first sending cute animal pictures.

        I have never minded undercovers willing to look at cute animal pictures — though I wish the FBI had thrown in a cruise and not violated several Constitutional amendments.

        The undercover did these graphics for Rush Holt’s benefit — given that GAO’s usual blandese might not be up to the task.

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

        From: Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
        Saturday, August 04, 2007 1:48:49 PM

        I have some pictures to send you to hopefully bring you some smiles. I really hope to hear from you, but if you’d rather I wouldn’t email you, please let me know, and I won’t bother you. Thanks again for helping to make my cruise so enjoyable. You are both wonderful people. Have a fine week!!!!!!!

      • DXer said

        When Dr. Ivins tried to reconstruct who did what with respect to submitting cultures, he was told the documents no longer existed.

        The FBI seized on his wavering recollection in trying to reconstruct events from a half decade earlier.

        The FBI and Army kept not only his friends away from him — while substituting fake friends — but kept the relevant documents away from him so he could reconstruct events.

        From: To: Subject: Date:
        Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
        Entry and Exit time records (UNCLASSIFIED)
        Thursday, June 07, 2007 2:30:41 PM
        Classification: UNCLASSIFIED Caveats: NONE
        I’ve been trying to determine who did what in our lab with respect to submitting B. anthracis cultures to for the . I asked who then talked to who
        then requested from ) the entry and exit records for myself, and in the FEB 02 through April 02 timeframe. I hadn’t heard anything, so I re-inquired today and was told by that the records are too far back to be accessed.
        Bruce Ivins

  32. DXer said

    Background for forthcoming publication:


    Questions Persist About the Investigation into the 2001 Anthrax Attacks


    Bruce Ivins in a 2003 photo. (Frederick News Post/Associated Press)
    Do you remember Bruce Ivins?

    He was an Army biodefense researcher who committed suicide three years ago as federal prosecutors were preparing to indict him for allegedly sending the anthrax-laced letters in the fall of 2001 that killed five people.

    The FBI and Justice Department came under fire for implicating Ivins, who once ranked as one of the world’s foremost anthrax experts, partly because they had only circumstantial evidence that he committed the attacks.

    The case has never been solved and questions about whether Ivins was involved in the matter continue to this day.

    Last week, the Justice Department made a court filing that called into question an element of federal investigators’ case against Ivins, according to thisreport from McClatchy Newspapers, ProPublica and Frontline.

    Justice Department lawyers acknowledged in court papers that an area in Ivins’ lab – identified as the hot suite – didn’t contain the equipment needed to turn liquid anthrax into the powder used in the letters, according to the report.

    In asserting that Ivins was the culprit, criminal investigators have in the past pointed to his access to specialized equipment in the hot suite of a laboratory at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Md.

    The government said in the court filing that it continues to believe Ivins was “more likely than not” the killer, but the filing didn’t explain how the government had reached that conclusion. (Click here for Law Blog background on the government’s investigation into the anthrax attacks.)

    • DXer said


      Sep 16, 2010 CONGRESS
      GAO to Take Look at FBI Anthrax Probe


      The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s eight-year probe of the 2001 anthrax attacks has left many doubters. Now lawmakers are ordering another look at the FBI’s investigation.

      The Government Accountability Office says it will conduct an examination of some of the science behind the FBI’s conclusion that government scientist Bruce Ivins was the sole person who carried out the attacks. A separate review of the FBI’s work, by the National Academy of Scientists, is expected to be completed this fall.

      The GAO examination came at the request of Rep. Rush Holt (D., N.J.), an outspoken skeptic of the FBI’s work in the case. “The American people need credible answers to many questions raised by the original attacks and the subsequent FBI handling of the case,” Holt said in a statement.

      Five people died and 17 others were sickened by anthrax mailings in September and October 2001, which caused alarm among Americans on edge following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Authorities said at least five envelopes containing the bacteria that causes anthrax were mailed to news organizations in New York and Florida and to the offices of Sens. Patrick Leahy and Tom Daschle.

      After initial missteps, including focusing on the wrong person, the case remained unsolved for years. The FBI closed it in February with the formal finding that the sole person responsible was Ivins, the government scientist who was the focus of the investigation when he committed suicide in July 2008. For more on the case, click here and here.

  33. DXer said

    Here is a 44 minute show on the FBI’s Crime Lab from “Modern Marvels.” Part of lab director Dwight Adams’ interview are uploaded.

    The documents relating to the latent partial fingerprint also was exculpatory of Dr. Ivins and not disclosed.

    What was the point of closing a case on a speculative theory if the relevant forensic science is withheld from public view?

  34. DXer said

    If you look at the number of reports the GAO has issued just the past week, the scope of the agency’s responsibilities is quite remarkable.

  35. DXer said

    WASHINGTON—A congressional watchdog is faulting the Securities and Exchange Commission for lax cybersecurity.

    The Government Accountability Office, in a report released Thursday, said the SEC failed to consistently protect against possible cyberintrusions or encrypt sensitive data on an important—but undisclosed—financial system, among several “information security” weaknesses.

    “Cumulatively, these weaknesses decreased assurance regarding the reliability of the data processed by the key financial system and increased the risk that unauthorized individuals could gain access to critical hardware or software and intentionally or inadvertently access, alter, or delete sensitive data or computer programs,” the GAO said. …

    Gregory Wilshusen, director of information security issues for GAO and a co-author of the report, said the watchdog didn’t publicly identify vulnerable computer systems to prevent malicious hackers from taking advantage of weaknesses.

  36. DXer said

    Thanks again Lew for having taken the initiative of asking.

    Meanwhile, New York FBI still is offering millions of dollars for Shukrijumah, Abdul Yasin and Ayman Zawahiri.

    New York FBI still seeks 6 ‘Most Wanted Terrorists’, March 27, 2014

    NEW YORK (PIX11) – Even as federal prosecutors won a conviction Wednesday against Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, the son-in-law of the late Osama Bin Laden, the feds still have their sights on six, other men who remain on the New York FBI’s “Most Wanted Terrorists” list.

    One of them, 53-year old Abdul Rahman Yasin, is wanted for alleged participation in the first bombing of the World Trade Center on February 26, 1993. The truck bomb killed six people, including a pregnant woman, Monica Rodriguez Smith, who was about to begin maternity leave from the Port Authority of New York.

    Yasin was born in Bloomington, Indiana, and he’s an epileptic. He may have a chemical burn scar on his right thigh. There’s a reward of up to $5 million dollars for information that leads to the apprehension or conviction of Yasin.

    Another name on the “Most Wanted Terrorists” list is that of 38-year old Adnan G. El Shukrijumah. He was born in Saudi Arabia but often carries a Guyanese passport. He’s been connected to the 2009 plot to bomb New York City subways and local railroad systems.

    A Long Island native, Bryant Neal Venas, testified at a 2012 trial that the subway bombing plan was hatched with senior Al Qaeda leadership in Pakistan. One aspect of the plot called for “suicide bombers” to

    detonate explosives in the subway and railroad tunnels between Queens and Manhattan.

    The “Most Wanted Terrorist” with the biggest pricetag on his head is Ayman Al-Zawahri, an Egyptian doctor who’s been running Al Qaeda’s global operations, ever since U.S. Navy SEALS killed Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan on May 1, 2011. The FBI is offering up to $25 million dollars for information that leads to the capture or conviction of Al-Zawahri.

    Read more:


    The subtilis expert who lived so near Princeton was Abdul Yasin. The numerous calls to the apartment where WTC 1993 Ramzi Yousef (KSM’s nephew) was staying were Abdul Yasin’s apartment also.

    The calls stopped right when the Blind Sheik was arrested. A call — suggested by some to be a “reporting call” to a charity in Pakistan late at night — was made from the dorm room of the subtilis expert. It is suggesed that KSM was receiving news of the WTC 1993 bombing.

  37. DXer said

    From recently produced deposition of Reynolds M. Salerno:

    Q. “USAMRIID Human Resources roster does not list 12 current employees, but does list 56 individuals who no longer work at USAMRIID. The Garrison Personnel Security Office roster lists 80 individuals who no longer work at USAMRIID. Additionally, there are 213 employees at USAMRIID who are not listed on the database kept by the Garrison Personnel Security Office. This is a concern because the Garrison Personnel Office is responsible for processing all National Agency checks and security clearances. Sandia was able to verify that at least some of these 213 individuals have submitted or completed the required background checks. Yet all these individuals apparently have access to the facility, which could include access to high-consequence pathogens and toxins, and its computer network.”
    And that was a finding you made at that time; correct?

    A. Yes, correct. (p. 61)

  38. DXer said

    The Welkos and Friedlander civil depositions arrived today and will be distributed on Dr. Zanders BWPP forum. The next depositions to be requested are Alnorah Robinson and Larry Lynn.

  39. DXer said

    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

    Al Qaeda anthrax lab technician tells DXer that he realizes that by addressing these issues he may “jack myself up” but says that the “plan is on the way” — what does he mean when he says the “plan is on the way”?

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 1, 2012

    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 by Lew Weinstein on June 6, 2013

    In today’s installment of a continuing series, Al Qaeda anthrax lab technician Yazid Sufaat defends his decision to go to Afghanistan to work on his “anthrax project” for Al Qaeda

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 20, 2012

  40. DXer said

    NSA ORCON: CIA and FBI Dropping the Ball In Anthrax Mailings and 9/11 Involved Same Failure To Track And Intercept Al-Midhar And Nawaf After Meeting At Kuala Lumpur Condo Of Anthrax Lab Tech Sufaat and Anthrax Planner Hambali

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 27, 2012

    [There are no secrets].

    In The Second Front, Kenneth J. Conboy explains that Yazid Sufaat took over a room in Omar Hospital (near Kandahar) while waiting in May 2001 for the equipment he had amassed to reach Kandahar.

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 9, 2011

    Anthrax Lab Director Yazid Sufaat Wrote This Letter Of Introduction For Zacarias Moussaoui, Who Made The Cropduster Inquiries

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 23, 2012

    Amerithrax: In February 2002, the FBI Failed To Take Custody of Al Qaeda Anthrax Scientists Rauf Ahmad and Yazid Sufaat
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 14, 2013

  41. DXer said

    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

    Al Qaeda anthrax lab tech Yazid Sufaat discusses Zacarias Moussaoui in this 2011 French language television interview
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 28, 2012
    [Note: In response to a lawsuit under FOIA brought by my friend, some additional documents are due to be provided relating to Moussaoui by May 2014]

    Hank Crumpton Says Yazid Sufaat’s “mission was bio-attacks against American targets”
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 14, 2012

    GAO: Abu Bakr al-Filistini was one of Yazid Sufaat’s assistants helping with the anthrax project
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 4, 2013

  42. DXer said

    Before his recent arrest, Yazid Sufaat declined to tell DXer the strain of the “anthrax spore concentrate” harvested July 4, 2001
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 29, 2013

    GAO Should Obtain A Copy Of Rauf Ahmad’s Signed Written Statement Voluntarily Provided FBI Agent Borelli

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 14, 2013

    2014 Straits Times report : Into what weapons did Yazid Sufaat attempt to load anthrax?
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 23, 2014

    Al Qaeda anthrax lab director Yazid Sufaat’s former assistant indicted in Israel for holding biological weapons
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 5, 2014

  43. DXer said

    Washington Post editorial (10/21/11) calls for independent review of FBI investigation of Dr. Bruce Ivins in 2001 anthrax attacks

    a NYT editorial, showing no confidence in the FBI’s unraveling case against Dr. Bruce Ivins, calls for an independent review of the FBI’s anthrax investigation to assure that the culprits are not still at large

    NY Post editorial: a group of eminent scientists have found that the FBI’s Amerithrax conclusions may be shockingly wrong … (the FBI) clearly can’t be trusted to judge cases that reflect badly on its own conduct
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on October 24, 2011’s-amerithrax-conclusions-may-be-shockingly-wrong-the-fbi-clearly-can’t-be-trusted-to-judge-cases-that-r/

    New York Times … the FBI’s anthrax case against Dr. Ivins is not convincing … an independent assessment is needed
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 28, 2010

  44. DXer said

    Mary Victoria Cieplak addressed the Fall 2001 anthrax malings In a PhD thesis titled: “Bioterrorism Policy and Implementation in the United States: The Impact of the 2001 Anthrax Attacks. She was at the University of Birmingham. The thesis is dated April 5, 2013.

    The evidence that tied Ivins to the anthrax letters was shaky and the FBI was under a lot of scrutiny from the media and members of Congress, especially those whose offices were targeted. New Jersey Congressman Rush Holt, a physicist who represents the district where the anthrax letters were mailed, was one of the biggest skeptics with regard to the case being solved (Cole, 2009, ix). Congressma PBS Frontline special, “The Anthrax Files,” recently shed light on the insufficient evidence the FBI had against Dr. Ivins, that has added to the controversy over whether the FBI got the one responsible (PBS, October 10, 2011). Regardless of whether the anthrax investigation is closed or not, the increase of scientists with access to biological agents is a growing concern by some bioterrorism experts and scientists. In fact, experts argue that “Our bloated, largely secret biodefense program increases the risk of accidents and theft by terrorists, and its lack of transparency may be inadvertently fueling an international arms race in bioweapons” (Klotz et al., 2009, 4).

    • DXer said

      See also

      Toward a Profile of Lone Wolf Terrorists: What Moves an Individual From Radical Opinion to Radical Action
      C McCauley, S Moskalenko – Terrorism and Political Violence, 2014 – Taylor & Francis

      … Coming soon after the still-unsolved anthrax attacks that followed the 9/11 attacks, the

    • DXer said

      Aug. 26, 2012

      Editorial: Inform public about public health threats

      This incident raises again the issue of when the public should be informed about a health threat. It came up in Palm Beach County in 2001 with still-unsolved anthrax attacks. Then, local health officials had to fight against a state-level impulse to tightly control information. The facts might be scary. But any suspicion that the facts are so scary politicians want to keep them secret only contributes to panic.

    • DXer said

      The unsolved anthrax murder mystery
      Laura H. Kahn

      The US public health system has serious vulnerabilities, and one major problem is identifying and responding to public health crimes.

      He has also requested another evaluation of the FBI’s scientific investigation, to be carried out by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

      Unsolved mysteries. The anthrax letters should be viewed in the larger context of bioterrorist attacks and public health crimes in general: They are extremely difficult, sometimes impossible, to solve. (Note: I use the terms “bioterrorist attacks” and “public health crimes” interchangeably in this column.)

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