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

* USAMRIID provides this response about the lack of documentation associated with the missing Ames anthrax from Flask 1029 under the DARPA-funded JHU-APL project under which USAMRIID was required to provide unidentified contractors virulent Ames anthrax

Posted by DXer on November 20, 2014


9 Responses to “* USAMRIID provides this response about the lack of documentation associated with the missing Ames anthrax from Flask 1029 under the DARPA-funded JHU-APL project under which USAMRIID was required to provide unidentified contractors virulent Ames anthrax”

  1. DXer said

    Will the FBI ever produce an Ivins or other section from the memo by Richard Lambert to FBI Director Mueller that addresses this?

  2. DXer said

    This response was especially misguided because the actual agreement expressly also requires the supply of VIRULENT Ames to the unidentified DARPA subcontractors.

  3. DXer said

    The fellow who made the dried aerosol out of Ames from Flask 1029 for DARPA was the FBI’s scientist John Ezzell. He was in the hazmat unit with Murch, Beecher, Decker and the others. USAMRIID’s report is that the documentation providing detail about the processing was thrown out by the FBI’s consulting scientist. Relatedly, even formal contract documents were not archived and kept upon John Ezzell’s departure. John was the author of the chapter in Dr. Budowie’s chapter about preservation of documents. (The chapter was replaced by a new author in Dr. Budowie’s second edition).

    Although I have often expressed my profound thanks to John for his coming forward at the conference in DC moderated by Lew — to answer the questions posed to him — the “Ivins Theory” remains based on a tissue of hypocritical inferences. (This blog has always wished him well after he was taken away from the conference by ambulance).

    For example, DOJ (per James Kovakas) didn’t keep the sworn statements of the US Attorney General Ashcroft and FBI Director Mueller in Hatfill v. US in which they testified about Amerithrax. Failing to preserve them was business as usual, Kovakas imagines. (To the contrary, failing to preserve a copy of the civil depositions at DOJ violated the retention policy; civil depositions are deemed part of the litigation record under DOJ document retention policy).

    Similarly, USAMRIID could not find the inventory that it attached to its subpoena response. Both claims are pretty incredible because the spoliation of documents in each instance related to a formal legal matter. Lawyers are expected to be especially fastidious about sworn statements and subpoena responses in a murder investigation. There is no statute of limitation on murder. Even after conviction, cold cases often get reversed after it is determined that the forensic evidence that was relied upon was flawed.

    When Dr. Ivins, on the other hand, could not better recreate his time using contemporaneous documents over a half decade earlier (many no longer available to him) — on a particular Tuesday night no less — he was deemed guilty of murder. (Someone’s computer had crashed and it was only after Ivins’ death that the FBI confirmed he had in fact been there the early evening of September 17, 2001 as he had explained.)

    Hell, who remembers what they had for dinner last Tuesday?

    An Ivins Theory is total and utter bullshit. AUSA Lieber should study the rabbit documents and tell her superiors that with the benefit of the time to study newly available documents, she realizes that an Ivins Theory, while in good faith and earnestly held, is contradicted by the documentary that USAMRIID FOIA eventually was able to locate through their diligence.

    When faraway USAMRIID officer Sandra does not come up with a document after tasking it to people in Frederick, I keep the perspective that I often cannot even find my car keys. I certainly am worse at record-keeping than USAMRIID. Or the DOJ and the FBI. (If James Kovakas had wanted to find the full civil depositions, all he had to do was check the Amerithrax maintained by the DOJ paralegal).

    It’s just not fair to construct an “Ivins Theory” relying on the inferences drawn by the prosecutor.

    For Christmas, Santa brought me a key finder that beeps. I recently could not find my keys but then could not locate the direction of the keys — the sound of the beep seemed to follow me around. It turns out they were in my pocket. These FOIA officers not finding the documents should have contacted the lawyers who have the documents and told them they needed to be produced. For example, Sandra should have contacted Jeff Miller at JAG.

    Anyone not part of the solution is part of the problem.

    January 4, 2015 at 8:05 am

    “MONDAY PREVIEW: Mishap reports reveal lost and forgotten vials at Fort Detrick. Read the next part of the series in Tuesday’s Frederick News-Post.”

  4. DXer said

    USAMRIID reports that it has misplaced its copy of the inventory of its anthrax that it provided the FBI in February 2002. The wonderful USMRMC FOIA officer writes:

    “Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
    Caveats: NONE


    We can’t find the requested anthrax inventory.

    The FOIA request is for the “Anthrax Inventory” that is the third listed enclosure to the February 2002 subpoena response.

    The Feb 2002 subpoena response discusses the requested inventory, and states that it is included at enclosure 3. There is a handwritten note that suggests that the inventory is a 2 page document.

    Unfortunately, we don’t have copies of the enclosures with the response.

    We found a document from the RIID Chief of Staff at the time that said it was attached, but unable to locate the attachment. It was sent to DOJ (Mr. Kohl). I suggest contacting DOJ (Mr. Kohl if he is still there), and asking DOJ to forward to you a copy of the inventories that USAMRIID provided to them back in 2002. The number that was listed for him is 202 xxx-xxxx..


    The last time I tried emailing a DOJ Amerithrax AUSA to ask for help in finding a document under FOIA, I was told that I would not ever be getting any additional documents under FOIA. (I was asking AUSA Lieber’s help with the rabbit documents showing the reason Ivins had to be in the lab those nights and weekend days). So I think I’ll give Sandra’s suggestion that I call Ken a pass — and hope that GAO has the sense to be informed by the 2-page “Anthrax Inventory” provided as a response to the subpoena in February 2002.

    Busting USAMRIID’s chops for the spoliation of highly relevant and formal documents would be a good idea too.

    For example, DOJ reports it did not preserve the civil depositions from US v. Hatfill, even though they are required to do so under the agency’s document retention policies.

  5. DXer said

    UK Lab Accidentally Sent Live Anthrax In The Post
    The Huffington Post UK | By Thomas Tamblyn

    Posted: 05/12/2014 10:48 GMT

    “As with the findings in the US, the report makes fairly worrying reading in terms of the number of security lapses that have taken place in these labs.”


    Several weeks later (with a two week tasking by the USMRMC FOIA officer), USAMRIID apparently still hasn’t been able to find its “Anthrax Inventory” from the time of the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings. It was an enclosure to the response to a subpoena — which is about a formal a document as they come. Oops.

  6. DXer said

    I have already uploaded the redacted FBI interviews (302s) in which the dried aerosol work done under the JHU-APL MOA with USAMRIID was explained. Thus, I expect to appeal the FOIA denial.

    But I promised the wonderful USMRMC FOIA officer to explain what we know from the 302s about the project so far. (The 302s were heavily redacted and so our knowledge is limited).

    The documents relate to work done in Building 1412 related to the same authorized DARPA-funded mass detection and decontamination research. Joany Jackman, working in Building 1412, challenged animals with VIRULENT Ames and then the breath of the animals was measured. Separately, decontamination experiments were done, to include of the nanoemulsion deveoped and marketed by the University of Michigan researchers.

    Dr. Ezzell may have retired but the documentation was owned by USAMRIID, not the individual scientist. Moreover, as noted in the February 2002 response, he was not the only USAMRIID employee who worked on the project. His assistant, Terry Abshire, I believe, was the USAMRIID employee who was named and whose name was redacted. Two DARPA contractors were named. One of them, I believe, was Joany Jackman. Her official title, as I recall, was “Independent Public Agent.” But her work was done at Building 1412 and records were required to be kept and officially shared with USAMRIID. That was expressly required by the contract. It is important that the wonderful USMRMC FOIA officer and/or JAG and/or her supervisor find the right person at USAMRIID who can locate the responsive documents. The good faith of the people looking for the documents is not questioned but their search efforts have been inadequate. The FOIA officer has proved her good faith time and time again.

    In particular, the person(s) tasked with searching at USAMRIID or the FOIA officer should start by asking Terry Abshire. She was also the scientist who helped the FBI collect all of the samples and the scientist who is expert on the morphologies. Dugway spores were provided under the JHU-APL and she told the FBI (surprisingly) that the “Dugway Spores” did not look like the mailed anthrax — did not have the morphs. Thus we need the additional documents to sort through the welter of contradictory information. We know that, according to Dr. Ezzell in his filmed presentation, that the unused Dugway spores were kept in the unlocked refrigerator in Rm. 212 of Building 1412. (Matching Ames was also stored and retrieved from the Cold Room in Building 1412).

    The DARPA-funded work was authorized, legitimate biodefense work authorized under the MOA — and the MOA expressly directed that reports be shared and records kept.

    Given virulent pathogens were expressly required to be provided under the agreement (to contractors that have not yet been identified due to the apparent spoliation of documents), government accountability requires that USMRMC find the right people at USAMRIID who can lay their hands on responsive documents.

    Court precedent confirms that the agency needs to contact the most relevant people when their indexes turn up nothing and yet there is reason to understand there are responsive documents; I could provide Sandy the precedent if she needs it.

    Here are some of the documents shedding light on the project, proving the USMRMC’s search inadequate.

    The person working with particle sizer in hot suite in 1412 in order to characterize particulates used Ames provided by Ivins but does not know whether sample provided pursuant to the 2002 subpoena; the notebook was transferred. This notebook should be obtained under FOIA.
    Posted on January 1, 2012

    Who worked alone on the dried aerosol project in Building 1412 and what does he or she say about the research? Was virulent Ames ever made into a dried powder in Maryland or Virginia?
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 23, 2011

    This is an interview of a scientist who had been working on the DARPA research while at USAMRIID; did Joany Jackman leave the remaining Ames from Flask 1029 with Terry Abshire or John Ezzell when she left?
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 12, 2011

    GAO: Did Patricia Fellows Ever Find the Missing “National Security” Sample That Dr. Ivins Was (Apparently Falsely) Told Was From Iraq Before Moving On To SRI That Summer? Was There An Emailed Response(s) To Dr. Ivins’ Question? Her Deposition Should Not Be Shredded.
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 14, 2011

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