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

* Bloodhounds were deployed against USAMRIID Aerobiology (Building 1412) Personnel; over 100 locations were to be checked by bloodhounds for matching human scent taken from the original anthrax tainted letters and envelopes.

Posted by Lew Weinstein on August 26, 2014

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8 Responses to “* Bloodhounds were deployed against USAMRIID Aerobiology (Building 1412) Personnel; over 100 locations were to be checked by bloodhounds for matching human scent taken from the original anthrax tainted letters and envelopes.”

  1. DXer said

    The bloodhounds reportedly alerted to Patricia Fellows, Bruce Ivins’ lab technician. See Willman, p. 200. The bloodhounds, however, did not alert to the late Bruce Ivins. Perhaps if she was told that, that would partly explain why she seems to have spun facts against Dr. Ivins, and wore a wire against him at the coffee shop. For example, the documents finallly produced under FOIA contradict her claims about the rabbit experiment in the first week of October 2001 — and make it clear that Ivins DID have reason to be in the lab on nights and weekend. Indeed, it was required for the rabbit experiment and his assistant explained that checking the animals was a one-person job and would take a couple of hours. Those documents, without more, are dispositive of the FBI’s “Ivins Theory.”

    The Fellows’ civil deposition was shredded by the DOJ — and then the DOJ paid Steve Hatfill $5.8 million, in part, for hyping the bloodhound alert as if it was a smoking gun.

    The FBI told Hatfil that the dogs had alerted positively to him. The FBI told him directly and indirectly through a nationally publicized dog-and-pony show at the home of his mentor, bioweaponeer William Patrick. It seems that it was used much in the way that polygraphs were used in television show The Wire, when the suspects were hooked up to the xerox machines and told that they were polygraphs.

    In hindsight, the FBI, instead of such techniques, might have worked harder to obtain the documents relating to the animal experiments that Dr. Ivins was working on in late September 2001 and early October 2001 — and provided copies to Fellows and Ivins so they could best reconstruct events.

    KNIGHT, one of the dogs used in Amerithrax, may have had a great nose but contemporaneous documents are king — and they don’t charge $125 an hour.

    The FBI should produce a copy of the canine deployment reports related to Bruce Ivins. It was one of the scientific methods used in the Amerithrax investigation. The FBI should also produce the training log and attempted validation of the method under these circumstances. I do not credit that the method was valid — the letters had been irradiated (which causes an odor), at least 10-16 months had passed (I believe), a perp would have been wearing gloves, the ST-100 was used etc. But it seems to have been one of the methods employed that was especially influential among some of the senior decision-makers, according to the investigators who were interviewed by Mr. Willman. Indeed, one of those decision-makers was the lead prosecutor. He was the one who pled the Fifth Amendment for leaking the bloodhound story. He was the father of the daughter who came to represent “anthrax weapons suspect” Ali Al-Timimi for free.

    Information about the method should not be withhheld from GAO and the public used simply because it tended to be exculpatory of Dr. Ivins — that describes pretty much all the scientific methods. Handwriting, ink, paper, toner, photocopier tracks, hair, fiber, chemical analysis of Flask 1029, etc., location of the lyophilzier, documentary analysis of the experiments he was working on, computer forensics showing he attended his group sessions of the dates of the postmarks etc., the widespread distribution of the mailing envelope throughout Maryland and Virginia, the polygraphs, FBI’s expert handwriting report concluded that Ivins probably did not write the letters etc.

    The FBI did not even bother to access the computer records showing he had attended his group therapy sessions on the dates the letters were postmarked until after his suicide.

    As a federal district court judge might say, there is not a scintilla of evidence against Dr. Ivins.

    It was just a Hatfill Theory Redux. There are lots of parallels. For example, Ivins had a bulletproof vest, Hatfill had a silencer.

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

    • DXer said

      GAO, you can see a reference to the “positive scent dog hit in 2002” here. FBI should provide you the related canine deployment report so you can the scent article used and what was being tracked. The deployment report was scanned and provided the WFO by Agent Stockham’s canine unit.

      When queried about any affiliation with New Jersey,
      IVINS advised that his father graduated from Princeton
      University in 1928.
      house was the subject of a positive
      scent dog hit in 2002.

      Rosemont Service Center could not provide any
      additional information about the two purchases made there
      using IVINS People’s Bank credit card on 09/17/2001. ‘Merchant
      Tire also could not provide any additional information about
      the purchase made there using the same credit card on

      Note relatedly the mention of two purchases made using IVINS People’s Bank credit card on 09/17/2001 at the Rosemont Service Center.

      The Rosemont Service Center is located at Rosemont and Baughmans Ln. in Frederick, MD, where Dr. Ivins lives.

      If you obtain the record, you can see the amounts and glean the times through document analysis. That bill establishes that the vehicle and card user was there at those times.

      From the amounts and code used, you can determine whether it was for gas or for a car repair or something else. (The mechanics there are well reviewed on Yelp).

      Thus, through documentary discovery and analysis, it should be disclosed what time the payment was made.

      Also, note the Merchant Tire purchase on 10/06/2001. They are a tire and brake service place. At KOST Tire and SEARS and similar businesses, each location keeps a computerized record of a customer’s service.

      It saves them having to reenter the information and helps them sell products to know that you last had your brakes etc. done on such and such a date.

      These purchases are far more valuable than the “positive scent dog hit” at [redacted’s] house and the FBI should have done a more thorough job bearing down on what they established Dr. Ivins’ claim that he was in Frederick, not Princeton, on those dates. (The computerized records, once obtained, of his group therapy sessions, also confirmed that).

      Computer forensics was one of the scientific methods used in Amerithrax.

      It was only after Dr. Ivins’ death that the FBI acknowledged and confirmed he went to his group therapy session the evening of 9/17 on 10/8 — just as he had claimed. Why didn’t they corroroborate and acknowledge such a critical fact sooner?

      Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 11, 2012

      The Psychiatrists Consulting With the FBI Confirm That Dr. Ivins Attended His Regularly Scheduled Group Therapy Session on October 8, 2001 (17:00-18:30)
      Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 18, 2011

      DXer: The big picture may seem complicated. But, most simply, Dr. Ivins in fact had an alibi on 9/17. That was when his group therapy met.
      Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 22, 2011

      DOCUMENTS and computer forensics rule. KNIGHT drools.

      • DXer said

        Illustrating the power of document analysis relative to the use of bloodhounds are the receipts obtained from Walmart.

        The FBI does not provide the dates but armed with the credit card and telephone call bills, GAO, you could create a timeline showing the dates purchases were made and calls placed.

        For example, the only call placed to New Jersey was to the College Board.

        “Wal-Mart provided copies of all receipts for
        purchases made there during September and October 2001 using
        People’s Bank credit card. A purchase of two 30 quart
        snaptop containers was made on 09/26/2001, however
        investigation revealed that these containers were not of the
        same size as the Sterilite container found during the December
        2002 pond search.”

      • DXer said

        The scent was extracted from the Leahy letter on December 9, 2001.

        To: Washington Field
        From Washington Field
        Re: 279A-WF-222936-USAMRIID, 12/01/2004


        The letter and envelope were heat sealed in a clear plastic bag, and released at 6:30 by _______ to SA _______ along with the Daschle, Post and Brokaw letters. The transfer was witnessed by Captain ___________.

        SA _________ transported the letters to FBI Headquarters and released them at 8:05 a.m to SSA _____Trace Evidence nivt.

        At 11:00 am, FBI employee _______ (now a Special Agent) extracted scent from the Leahy letter and envelope at FBI Headquarters.”

      • DXer said

        Illustrating tracking human scent, here is an FBI video of a negative and positive canine response in connection with a 3 hour old trail.

      • DXer said

        Does your husband fart under the covers before you get in bed and then deny it? You too can train your dog for human scent detection.

        Scent Detection Workshop: DON BLAIR (FBI, S.W.A.T. Dog, Military Trainer), August 22, 2014

    • DXer said

      Hatfill was asked about the reaction of bloodhounds at a conference sponsored by Cliff Kincaid. Hatfill stated, I’m not supposed to answer things against . . . but let me tell you something. They brought this good-looking dog in. I mean, this was the best-fed dog I have seen in a long time. They brought him in and he walked around the room. By the way, I could have left at anytime but I volunteered while they were raiding my apartment the second time, I volunteered to talk with them. The dog came around and I petted him. And the dog walked out. So animals like me (laughter). “

      Hatfill’s early spokesman, Pat Clawson, also freely relayed to the press that bloodhounds had been presented to Hatfill during the investigation Clawswon Depo. at 200: 15-19.

      But this was long after the lead Amerithrax prosecutor, speaking anonymously, had hyped the story to Newsweek.

      It caused a serious derailment of the investigation.

      In early August 2002, the head of the FBI District of Columbia Field Office initiated a leak investigation related to Amerithrax information. The first leak investigation concerned leak of bloodhound story to Newsweek (according to email discussed in deposition of lead prosecutor Daniel Seikaly in which he repeatedly pled the Fifth Amendment). A memo from DC Field Office head Van Harp read:

      TO: OPR
      From: Washington Field
      ADIC’s Office: Harp Van A (202) xxx-xxxx
      Title: UNSUB




      The appearance of this information in the media affects the conduct of this investigation as well as the morale of the dedicated personnel who have expended enormous energy and effort on this investigation.

      As such, I am requesting that either a media leak or OPR investigation be initiated. In the event a leak investigation is initiated then the enclosed LRM should be hand delivered to AAG Chertoff. [REDACTED]

      The investigation was closed in October 2002. The memo read:

      Date: October 8, 2002
      To: Mr. H. Marshall Jarrett
      Office of Professional Responsibility
      United States Department of Justice

      From: David W. Szady
      Assistant Director
      Counterintelligence Division
      Subject: [REDACTED[

      The purpose of this memorandum is to notify your office of the closing of the FBI’s criminal investigation of the captioned media leak matter. It is the understanding of the FBI that your continUed investigation of this matter will be pursued by your office.


      After a January 9, 2003 “exclusive” report by ABC’s Brian Ross that the FBI was focusing on Hatfill and was going to conduct a second round of interviews with other former and current government scientists so that they might rule them out by the process of elimination, the FBI initiated a second media leak investigation. This time it was to proceed with “extreme zeal.”

      The memo read:

      Precedence: PRIORITY Date: 1/13/2003

      To: Director’s Office
      Washington Field
      From: Washington Field
      Contact Richard L. Lambert 202-xxx-xxxx
      Approved by: Harp Van
      Lambert Richard L
      Title: AMERITHRAX
      MAJOR CASE 184
      00: WFO

      Synopsis: To request the opening of new OPR media leak investigation regarding captioned case.

      [large redacted passages]

      To demonstrate the seriousness with which the FBI views this matter, it is requested that the OPR inquiry commence with an interview of IIC Rick Lambert who will waive all Fifth Amendment privileges and accede to a voluntary polygraph examination to set a tone of candor, forthrightness and cooperation.


      The instant matter is the second unauthorized media disclosure to occur in this investigation. Its potential detriment to the effective prosecution of the case is substantial. Accordingly, in the interests of both specific and general deterrence, the Inspector in Charge requests that this OPR inquiry be pursued with unprecedent zeal.”

      A June 2003 email then shut the barn door long after the horse had left the barn door:

      To: Lisa Hodgson
      Date: Wed, June 4, 2003 12:18 PM

      Lisa: Please disseminate to all WFO employees. Thanks, Debbie
      For the information of all recipients, Director Mueller has ordered that no one discuss the AMERITHRAX case with any representative of the news media. The WFO and Baltimore Media Offices have released several media advisories, which were coordinated with the US Attorney and FBIHQ, to explain specific milestones in the case. However, NO FBI WFO EMPLOYEE, INCLUDING MYSELF AND INSPECTOR RICK LAMBERT, WHO IS IN CHARGE OF AMERITHRAX, IS TO RESPOND TO ANY MEDIA INQUIRIES, THE ONLY EXCEPTION IS DEBBIE WEIERMAN IN THE MEDIA OFFICE. All inquiries from reporters or journalists received by any WFO employee are to be immediately referred to Debbie at xxx-xxxx, and she will handle.

      I thank everyone at WFO for their dedication to the job and to this office. I also thank you for your cooperation in this very important matter.

      Mike Rolince

      In October 2007, the former Criminal Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, Daniel Seikaly — Al-Timimi’s pro bono counsel’s father — was deposed in the civil rights action by Steve Hatfill about whether he was the source of leaks relating to Steve Hatfill in connection the use of bloodhounds in the anthrax investigation and the draining of ponds in Frederick, Maryland. Key stories appeared in Newsweek and Washington Post. Attorney Seikaly pled the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination in connection with most substantive questions.

      Here are some excerpts from the deposition:

      “Q. … calls this article, quote ‘An exclusive look at the search for the perpetrator of America’s worst bioterror attack.” Did you tell Mr. Klaidman [of Newsweek] that you were giving him an exclusive on this information?

      [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]

      Q. Did you tell Mr. Klaidman that the FBI was acting on a tip when it searched the pond in Frederick?

      Q. Did you tell Mr. Klaidman that FBI agents had interviewed the acquaintance of Dr. Hatfill’s that was supposedly the tipster?

      [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]

      Q. Did you tell Mr. Klaidman that the acquaintance had told the FBI that Dr. Hatfill said toxic bacteria could be made in the woods and the evidence could be tossed in the lake?

      [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]

      Q. Did you tell Mr. Klaidman that the FBI might drain the entire pond the month after this report?

      [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]

      [Lawyer defending deposition] Mark, let me say something on the record so we all understand the assertion because the manner in which — or the type of questions you’re asking here. My client has been instructed to assert the Fifth Amendment privilege regardless of whether or not the answer to the question would be yes or no, because even if the answer were to be no, if he answered no to certain questions, I think an inference could be drawn from that as to what he does or doesn’t know.

      So I just want to make sure you understand in terms of our Fifth Amendment assertion here is that he’s asserting the Fifth Amendment privilege to questions that may have a yes or no answer, and it’s not fair to assume that the answer to every one of these questions would be yes or no if he were to answer the questions. Does that make sense?

      Q. It makes sense, but we will be seeking an adverse inference as to all questions where the fifth amendment is taken.


      Q. Mr. Seikaly, do you deny any of the statements attributed to you by Mr. Klaidman with respect to the [Newsweek bloodhound story]

      [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]

      Q Is it actually even true whether the search of the pond was prompted by a tip?

      Q. Are you aware of any information that might have been used as a predicate for the pond search having been obtained as the fruits of electronic surveillance?

      [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]

      Q Did you tell Mr. Klaidman that agents might be looking for a wet suit that could have been used to dispose of — that could have been used and disposed of by the anthrax attacker?

      [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]


      Q. Did you give Allan Lengel of The Washington Post any information reflected in this article?

      [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]

      Q. Mr. Lengel has testified that you told him the FBI search of the pond in Frederick was tied to Steven Hatfill and that it was triggered by a hypothetical statement Dr. Hatfill has made about anthrax; is that correct?

      A. That Mr. Lengel testified about that?

      Q. Is it correct that you told Mr. Lengel about those things?

      [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]

      Q. How did you know that the FBI’s search of the pond in Frederick was tied to Steven Hatfill?

      [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]


      Q. Why did you decide to disclose information to Mr. Lengel about the pond search?

      [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]


      Q Did you tell Mr. Lengel that the items recovered from the pond up to that point included a clear box with holes that could accommodate gloves?

      [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]


      Q Did you tell Mr. Lengel that the items recovered from the pond up that point included vials wrapped in plastic?

      [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]

      Q. Do you specifically deny making any statement that Mr. Lengel has attributed to you?

      [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]


      Q. How did you know that tests for the presence of anthrax bacteria on the equipment were continuing after two rounds of tests produced conflicting results?

      [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]

      Q. Why did you disclose that information to Mr. Lengel?

      [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]


      Q Did you tell Mr. Lengel that the search of the pond in Frederick netted nothing but a hodgepodge of items that did not appear to be linked to the case?

      [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]


      Q If we take the dates from Exhibits É, it appears that you disclosed investigative information to Mr. Lengel for articles that appeared in January 2003, May 2003, June 2003 and August 2003. Is that right?

      [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]


      Q. É Do you know whether you ever saw this e-mail before?

      A. I don’t believe I have.

      Q. Okay. Let’s look at the partially redacted paragraph. It says, quote, “WFO [Washington Field Office] has opened a leak investigation in an attempt to find out who spoke to Newsweek Magazine over the weekend about the bureau’s use of bloodhounds in the anthrax investigation,” closed quote. Do you see that?

      A. I do.

      Q. And the date of the email is August 5th, 2002.

      A. That’s correct.

      Q. The investigation that’s referenced here is about the story that you gave Mr. Klaidman, is it not?

      A. Assert my Fifth Amendment Privilege in response.


      Q. Okay. In the bottom e-mail, when Blier begins, “here is a summary of my conversation with Glen about the anthrax leak investigation.” Now, Bill Blier worked for you, did he not?

      A. Yes.

      Q. Did you know what Mr. Blier was referring to when he referred to, quote, the anthrax leak investigation?

      A. I believe that it was an investigation involving the possible compromise of classified information is my understanding. I did know about an investigation in that.


      Q And do you know whether that had anything to do with bloodhounds or Newsweek?

      A I don’t believe it did but I don’t know.


      Q You were aware of an anthrax investigation, yes?

      A. I was — I was aware that there was a discussion of an investigation involving the compromise of classified information arising from the anthrax investigation, the Amerithrax investigation. I do recall knowing that we were — we and the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Justice Department were concerned about this and were seeking to find out who compromised the classified information.


      Q. Did you think it remarkable in any way that bloodhounds could track a scent from anthrax letters that were ten months old to a Denny’s in Louisiana where someone had eaten the day before?

      [deponent invokes Fifth Amendment]

    • DXer said

      That’s right. Bruce Ivins cooperated fully with the investigation and answered all questions.

      The lead Amerithrax prosecutor pled the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

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