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

* DXer said … The FBI’s narrative will never withstand the production of emails of John Ezzell, James Burans and David Wilson … how will the GAO report deal with these documents?

Posted by DXer on November 22, 2014




DXer said in a 2010 comment …

  • The FBI’s narrative will never withstand the production of emails of John Ezzell, James Burans and David Wilson.
  • The FBI needs to give an answer consistent with what documents eventually produced will establish.
  • And if the answer is:  We don’t know who mailed and processed the anthrax but we ask the country’s indulgence while we close the case and move on to many other pressing matters, so be it.



  • I think it’s unlikely (although possible despite the largest investigation in the history of the FBI) that the FBI simply hasn’t solved the case and doesn’t know who do it.
  • I think it’s also unlikely that they have more evidence which would actually make the case against Dr. Ivins. If they do, what possible reason is there for not making such information public?
  • Which leaves the most likely alternative …

… that the FBI knows who did it, it isn’t Ivins,

but they won’t tell the American people.

Who are they protecting?



35 Responses to “* DXer said … The FBI’s narrative will never withstand the production of emails of John Ezzell, James Burans and David Wilson … how will the GAO report deal with these documents?”

  1. DXer said

    John Ezzell says the contemporaneous documents relating to making a dried powder out of the 98 vials — originating from Bruce Ivins’ Flask 1029 — were not retained.
    See uploaded February 2002 subpoena response withheld by the FBI for a half decade and then finally produced by USAMRIID.

    Were the EMAILS relating to making a dried powder out of Flask 1029 destroyed? What about the documents and emails in which Dr. Ezzell described Joany Jackman’s work challenging the animals with virulent encapsulated Ames to Dr. Burans and Dr. Smith?

    Now USAMRIID says it does not have any record of the JHU-APL Memorandum of Agreement with USAMRIID describing the work of Dr. Ezzell and his colleagues in Building 1412 — even though USAMRIID produced that “MOA” document just last week. USAMRIID says it does not have any of the records associated with that agreement, including the documents expressly required to be generated and shared with USAMRIID..

    That “MOA” agreement required that USAMRIID provide VIRULENT Ames to unidentified JHU-APL contractors “as required.” The documents that FBI and USAMRIID have withheld are of central importance to analyzing the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings.

    USAMRIID provides this response about the lack of documentation associated with the missing 98 vials of 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 Lew Weinstein on November 20, 2014

    The FBI has known since 2001 that a paper at the 2000 UK conference chaired by the lone non-US Amerithrax advisor Les Baillie (who went to work for the Navy, Burans’ employer), explained how Al Qaeda’s anthrax lab scientist Rauf Ahmad had killed mice with 100 injected spores. At the same time, the FBI scientists rationalizing the FBI’s “Ivins Theory urge that drying is a simple matter — there are dozens of ways. AUSA Lieber says they know this because FBI scientists have done it without contamination. (Indeed, and so she too recognizes the central relevance of those documents, including emails).

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 16, 2014

    USAMRIID and FBI may have destroyed all the associated documents — we know, for example, that DOJ did not preserve full copies of the civil depositions in Hatfill vs. US. And we know DOJ SHREDDED the civil depositions of Patricia Fellows and Mara Linscott. Did they at least keep the emails of the USAMRIID scientist that made the dried powder? So that we can learn more about Joany Jackman’s work AT USAMRIID with VIRULENT AMES in which animals were challenged in Building 1412 and then mass spec was used on their breath? The study included microencapsulated VIRULENT Ames, which is what critics say was used in the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings. Joany was expressly authorized to bring it to JHU-APL when she left. Moreover, it was required to be provided to unidentified contractors.

    Now unless I am misremebering, as I recall Dr. Burans worked down the hall from Dr. Franz at MRI. I realize it is a small community and there are all sorts of personal relationships that raise potential conflicts of interest or appearance of a conflict of interest. But that is precisely why transparency is needed — why it is important for there to be a full production of contemporaneous documents. Transparency in the investigation is needed to overcome and penetrate Dr. Ayman Zawahiri’s tactical operation in which he purposely chose a weapon of his enemy. He felt compelled to do so by the hadiths. I told all this to the CIA in a lengthy memo in December 2001. Zawahiri already had a wild strain in 2000 that killed animals with 100 spores — and the CIA and FBI knew this no later than December 2001, as their contemporaneous emails will show.

    We cannot prove the US scientists blameless unless the documents are shared that best make the case for Dr. Ayman Zawahiri being responsible.

    And, hey, if $1 billion in civil liability lands on your square at the Roulette wheel of truth, that still doesn’t mean it is okay to lose and shred the documents while you pursue the next big biodefense contract. This is a country operating under the rule of law. Some of us have loved ones in New York City and DC and know that Dr. Ayman Zawahiri and Adnan El-Shukrijumah are murderers of innocents.

    Given the FBI concealed that it has known that Al Qaeda scientist Rauf Ahmad was working with virulent anthrax killing animals as early as 2000 — all the while emphasizing publicly that Al Qaeda’s anthrax program was not “productive” (see Majidi’s e-book) — the public has a right to ask that DOJ and FBI stop destroying documents and to produce them to GAO, providing them under FOIA to the extent not exempt under the statute.

    By the way, what work did Ali Al-TImimi do for the Navy at SRA for which he needed a security clearance? Separately, what were the classified biodefense tests involving aerosol challenges to ships done in Spring 2001?

    • DXer said

      In my opinion, deriving a case derived from 2002 and 2003 news articles — like Graeme MacQuean has done in “Anthrax Deception” — is a waste of time.

      For example, rather than scratch your head over the NMRC findings in 2005 about testing of Al Qaeda’s anthrax lab from 2001 to see if Al Qaeda was working with virulent anthrax, a simple google (or boolean search in the DTIC database) in December 2000 would have resulted in proof that Al Qaeda’s scientist was working with virulent anthrax in 2000, simultaneously demolishing Graeme MacQueen’s — and the FBI’s — central premise.

      I think contempoaneous documents are king — even more important even than selectively revealed forensic analysis. The Oak Island treasure legend illustrates the same point, in my opinion.

      In the Oak Island treasure legend, I am willing to credit that something of great value is hidden. The fellow I presently suspect is Augustus Keppel in 1763. I’m investigating whether he had ship/s take loot sacked from Havana in 1762 to be buried.

      We have the benefit of an 1849 account by a descendant:

      “Lord Albermarle [Augustus Keppel] and his two brothers all holding important commands at the Havanna, the rich booty they divided between them, and the immediate restoration of the town after it was taken, caused to be said that the “expedition was undertaken solely to put money into the Keppels’ pockets.”

      “This town, which is in the island of Cuba, besides being the most considerable in the West Indies, on whether on account of its trade, its docks, or its harbours, was also the depot of the precious metals from Mexico, previous to their being shipped for the Old World.”

      “The person selected for the chief command of the land forces, was General the Earl of Albemarle, a friend and disciple of the Duke, of whose family he had been a member ever since he was sixteen years old, and with whom he had served in all his campaigns. Lord Albermarle was assisted by … by his own brother, Major- the Hon. William Keppel. {And George Keppel ruled the city from August 1862 until it was turned back over in 1763)


      “The Havannah expedition was considered of such primary importance, that every other warlike undertaking in America was to be laid aside, …

      The fleet sailing on the 6th of May [1762] … consisted of the following ships… [ a long list of ships is provided in the 1849 account by the Keppel descendant ] Spain lost one-fifth of her navy, while the English acquired wealth to the amount of three millions sterling. [But note the three Keppels were keeping the books ]


      “Never in this, or any preceding war, had so valuable and important conquest been achieved; but dreadful were the sufferings, and great the mortality attending it.” The 1849 description by the Keppel descendant refers to the “immense riches…”

      “As soon as formal possession had been taken of the Havanna, Commodore Keppel, in the Valiant, with several men of war, entered the harbour, and immediately commenced refitting and preparing a squadron for sea. Sir George Pocock in the meantime prepared to return to England, and, according to his instructions, resigned the command to Commodore Keppel.”

      Now, wait for it… wait for it… for the theory to hold water, the Keppels need to have set sail for Nova Scotia or have had trusted people under their command — wouldn’t have immediately returned to England.

      That appears to be the case. [Although in November 1762, while in Port Royal, Augustus Keppel received permission to return to England, he did not return until the middle of the following year [ 1764 ], arriving in England in late June 1764.

      This weekend I bought an amazing data-dense book on British Warships and have been going through it. It gives details and whereabouts of each ship in the British Navy. I’m looking for ships that travelled from Havana to the Western shore of New Foundland or to Nova Scotia in late 1762 or 1763.

      British Warships in the Age of Sail 1714-1792 – Pen and Sword Books…Sail…/1535‎

      Oak island (once known as Gloucester Island) was surveyed in 1762. That is when the nearby town of Chester was formed. I want to study whether any of the original first four owners were associated with Keppel/British Navy.

      1759-1762 was a time when the Indians were attacking the settlers and so everyone pretty much kept there head down and there weren’t more than a handful of settlers in the vicinity prior to 1762,

      A forum poster has said:

      “If I am not mistaken, British troops from Nova Scotia were sent to Havana during the British sacking as reinforcements.”

      The curator of a Chester Oak Island display responded:

      They may have, I don’t know the history that well, but I do know over 15,000 troops were used to attack the city of Havana and bring it to it’s knees over a projected period of time. They used cannonade bombardment and even tunneling to make their assault.

      Many hundreds of men died from tropical disease and after the fleet won it’s prize, most of it, or a very large portion of it, ended up in the Port of Halifax not fifty miles from Oak Island before it sailed for England. From the little history I have read about it, the taverns and brothels of Halifax swelled to the point of collapse with the merriment that took place as each man was given a portion of the treasures for the part they played in the attack.”

      The contemporaneous documents from 1762, in my opinion, are key.

      People (including both the FBI officials and critics of the FBI’s “Ivins Theory”) can keep their theories about the Amerithrax mystery to themselves — the focus should be on obtaining and disclosing the contemporaneous documents.

      The earmark of a propagandist is that he spends more time arguing in favor of his theory and none of his time requesting or disclosing the documents that would prove it.

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

  2. DXer said

    The CIA Wants To Delete Old Email; Critics Say ‘Not So Fast’
    November 20, 2014 2:29 PM ET

    It’s a question we’ve all wrestled with: Which emails should be saved and which ones should be deleted?

    The Central Intelligence Agency thinks it’s found the answer, at least as far as its thousands of employees and contractors are concerned: Sooner or later, the spy agency would destroy every email except those in the accounts of its top 22 officials.

    It’s now up to the National Archives — the ultimate repository of all the records preserved by federal agencies — to sign off on the CIA’s proposal.

    The CIA’s move to revamp its email retention policy might have gone ahead with little fanfare had a small item not caught the eye of Steven Aftergood, who directs the Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy.

    It was a routine notice in a Sept. 17 issue of the Federal Register that listed a number of federal agencies proposing new plans to the National Archives for destroying email considered not worth saving.

    “And when I looked at it closely,” Aftergood says of that notice, “I realized it was actually pretty important.”

    That’s because one of the agencies listed was the CIA. Aftergood, who’s a longtime critic of the CIA’s aversion to public scrutiny, found that in August, the National Archives had quietlygiven the agency a kind of thumbs-up.

    “The Archive had done a preliminary assessment of the CIA proposal,” says Aftergood. “They decided that it tentatively looked OK, and they were ready to move forward on it.”

    National Archives: Ok, So Maybe Letting The CIA Destroy Emails Wasn’t A Great Idea
    Posted: 11/21/2014 5:28 pm EST Updated: 11/21/2014 5:59 pm EST

    Intelligence Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Vice Chair Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) also wrote a letter to the National Archives, requesting the office reconsider the proposal in light of the emails’ oversight value.

    “In our experience, email messages are essential to finding CIA records that may not exist in other so-called permanent records at the CIA,” Feinstein’s letter wrote.

    9/11 Defense Counsel on Proposed Destruction of CIA Emails
    By Wells Bennett
    Thursday, November 6, 2014 at 2:14 PM

    Attorneys for Ammar al-Baluchi, one of the five men accused of plotting the 9/11 attacks, said the following today in a statement:

    WASHINGTON, DC-Today, the legal team representing Ammar al Baluchi submitted its opposition to the CIA’s plan to destroy its emails from 2003 to 2006.

    On August 18, 2014, the National Archives recommended approval of a CIA plan to destroy its email records since 1990 after it transitions to a new system. This plan would permit the CIA to destroy records unless an employee considered the email important and filed it separately. The National Archives recommendation, and the letter opposing the destruction, may be found a t

    “The CIA apparently plans to destroy emails from the period when it tortured Mr. al Baluchi and other men in secret detention,” said attorney James Connell. “Given the CIA’s record of destroying torture videotapes, it cannot be trusted with the power to destroy its emails as well.”

    In 2009, federal authorities acknowledged that the CIA destroyed 92 videotapes showing the interrogation of men in CIA detention.

    James Connell and Lt Col Sterling Thomas, United States Air Force, are detailed counsel for Ammar al Baluchi, also known as Ali Abdul Aziz Ali.

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

  3. DXer said

    Top Senators Oppose CIA Move to Destroy Email
    Democrat Feinstein, Republican Chambliss Warn Move Would Eliminate Important Records

    The CIA proposal came as a response to a National Archives request that all government agencies develop a program for retaining email electronically.

    Comment: Why did GAO bother screwing around with the FBI’s lawyerly spin when it could have obtained and relied upon agency email?

  4. DXer said

    As Ms. Friend explains in her civil deposition, after the anthrax mailings. Dr. Burans came to work with Dr. Ezzell and to be in charge of things. The email correspondence would shed great light on the unfolding of developments. The email on work computers are all subject to FOIA.

    • DXer said

      Kristie Friend testified

      A. Until November of 2004, and pretty much during that time, you know, the FBI was ramped up, they were taking samples from everywhere, outside the United States, and we would process those samples for the investigation.
      Q. like a world
      Q.So you were really sort of like — almost CID type person, taking samples from around the and analyzing — Yes, sir. — and reporting back. Yes, sir. And Dr. Ezzell and Dr. Burans were also involved at that time.
      A. Right. Dr. Burans ran everything. (p. 60)

      Note: I appear to have mistakenly spelled Ms. Friend’s first name without the “e” on numerous occasions). My apologies. The blog does not have an edit function for commenters.

      Ms. Friend corrected the court reporter’s spelling of various other names in an errata that is not part of the uploaded civil deposition.

  5. DXer said

    Vahid Majidi disagrees with the FBI’s own anthrax expert, the distinguished John Ezzell.

    Okay, fine. In the interest of transparency, let’s have a fuller account by GAO of the disagreement based on the written record of the emails on the subject.

    I should note that John Ezzell was the FBI’s anthrax expert who, as it turns out and was revealed for the first time long after Dr. Ivins death, made a dried powder out of RMR 1029 for DARPA.

    Dr. Majidi and the FBI kept secret John’s preparation of a dried powder out of RMR 1029 and it only came out after I called John directly to ask him.

    To the great credit of John’s personal integrity, he didn’t hesitate to answer that he had.

    The FBI should explain why it did not disclose that fact earlier — why it took some bloggers to force it to light.

  6. DXer said

    FBI agent admits deleting emails amid terror probe

    By Tom Hays
    Associated Press / January 12, 2012

    Dent testified that she followed strict rules prohibiting her from sharing any details from the earlier, un-Mirandized interrogation with fellow agents on the clean team — a precaution against tainting the process. But when asked on cross-examination about email communications from a five-month period at the outset of the FBI investigation, the agent said she had deleted them to deal with a “storage issue.”

    “All of the emails are gone,” she said. Pressed by the judge on when she deleted them, she responded, “I have no idea.”


    Document preservation issues at the DOJ and FBI are beyond my paygrade.

    But no one should doubt that effective electronic discovery nowadays is one of the most effective means of reconstructing what happened.

    In Amerithrax, has GAO been tough enough in its document requests?

    The lead AUSA prosecutor in a separate case that came down while the DOJ was subject to severe criticism by a federal district court for using statements that had been given without Miranda. The Blackwater murder indictments were dismissed as a result.

    The defense was handled by Dr. Hatfill’s attorney. The emails in that case were about the only thing that allowed events to be reliably reconstructed. In this case in the news today, the emails were deleted.

    What policy applies at DOJ regarding an agent’s preservation of emails? (I don’t know offhand but perhaps the IG, GAO or Congress should address the issue).

    In Amerithrax, why should the GAO be content to dine on crumbs and accept press statements and conflicting recollections as a representation of reality rather than have access to the actual contemporaneous emails?

    For example, why accept vague conflicting suggestions about who threw out Dr. Ivins’ sample without obtaining the contemporaneous emails on the issue? That hardly is reliable investigation.

    And if IT says that they cannot be recovered, then maybe they need to find a computer forensics person up to the challenge.

    DXer says … The FBI’s narrative will never withstand the production of emails of John Ezzell, James Burans and David Wilson

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 29, 2010

    • DXer said

      Senator Leahy has previously angrily taken the position that deleting emails is a criminal offense. He says the records gap called into question the completeness of the department’s internal reviews of the work done by the lawyers.

      The judge’s advice to the FBI in the current matter in the news seems apt: look harder.

      Question: What is the current DOJ written document retention policy applicable to emails relating to an ongoing criminal investigation pre-indictment?

      I would think that as a matter of pride, DOJ IT people would want to be able to show that they can retrieve deleted emails. Query why IT people could not locate emails sent from the missing Apple laptop and thus discover who was using it. Dr. Ivins suggested that PF had it last.

      Justice Dept. Reveals More Missing E-Mail Files
      Published: February 26, 2010

      WASHINGTON — Large batches of e-mail records from the Justice Department lawyers who worked on the 2002 legal opinions justifying the Bush administration’s brutal interrogation techniques are missing, and the Justice Department told lawmakers Friday that it would try to trace the disappearance.

      At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Senator Patrick J. Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who leads the panel, angrily demanded to know what had happened to the e-mail files, and he noted that the destruction of government records, including official e-mail messages, was a criminal offense. He said the records gap called into question the completeness of the department’s internal reviews of the work done by the lawyers in the Bush years.

      The Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility, which spent more than four years investigating the handling of the legal opinions about interrogation policies after the Sept. 11 attacks, pushed to get access to a range of e-mail records and other internal documents from the Justice Department to aid in its investigation.

      But it discovered that many e-mail messages to and from John C. Yoo, who wrote the bulk of the legal opinions for the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, were missing. The office disclosed the missing messages in a footnote to its final report, which was released last week.

      “We were told that most of Yoo’s e-mail records had been deleted and were not recoverable,” officials from the Office of Professional Responsibility said in the footnote.

      Also deleted were a month’s worth of e-mail files from the summer of 2002 for Patrick Philbin, another Justice Department lawyer who worked on the interrogation opinions. Those missing e-mail messages came during a period when two of the critical interrogation memos were being prepared.

      Mr. Yoo’s lawyer, Miguel Estrada, said Mr. Yoo had left the Justice Department by the time the Office of Professional Responsibility had begun its review and “has no basis for knowing whether e-mails are gone or why.” In pursuing the matter, Mr. Leahy is “simply chasing his tail and feeding far-left conspiracy theories,” Mr. Estrada said.

      Mr. Philbin did not respond to requests for comment Friday.

      Mr. Leahy said the disappearance of the e-mail messages raised “serious concerns about government transparency and whether the Office of Professional Responsibility had access to all the information relevant to the inquiries.”

      The original interrogation memos “were intended to provide a golden shield to commit torture and get away with it,” Mr. Leahy argued, but he said questions about how the memos were developed and what role the White House played may go unanswered.

      Mr. Leahy also noted that 22 million missing e-mail messages from the Bush White House were recovered just two months ago, including batches of communications that had been sought by the judiciary committee as part of its oversight work into the 2007 firings ofUnited States attorneys and other matters.

      • DXer said

        How do DOJ aND FBI email servers operate in terms of archiving emails so as to ensure compliance with public records laws?

        City of Sarasota emails secretly deleted, tech says

        Published: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 3:39 p.m.
        Last Modified: Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 11:01 a.m.

        SARASOTA – A flaw in the city’s computer archive system has for years made it possible for employees to secretly delete emails before they could be stored, effectively violating public records laws.

        The flaw stands to broaden what began as a narrow investigation of two city officials’ computer use over a few months to a review of potentially years of data hidden throughout the city’s vast computer network.

        A 24-hour lag between when an email is received or sent within City Hall and its storage in archives was routinely used by employees who did not want emails kept in the public record, said a former manager in the city’s IT department.

        “Everyone knew that you had 24 hours to get rid of any email,” said Joan Ramsey, who was an information technology manager for Sarasota from 2004 to 2009, when she was laid off.

        Ramsey described a loose culture during that time, in which city employees skirted public records laws by deleting emails from an inbox or outbox, and then deleting them again from the email trash bin before city archives could catch them.

        John Jorgensen, CEO of Sylint, the firm hired to investigate allegations that city emails were destroyed, confirmed the existence of the technical flaws described by Ramsey, which allow emails to “fall through the cracks.”

        But his investigation has yet to explore who has abused the system.

        “We believe there is some of that going on in this email system,” Jorgensen said. “That is not supposed to be how this email system is working.”

        Management definitely knew about it because we wanted to make sure they understood,” Ramsey said. “We would even joke about it internally.”

        • DXer said

          The DOJ supervisor tends not to agree with me when I refer to a policy or rule as “gutting” the FOIA law, but throwing out emails guts the FOIA law, doesn’t it?

          Former SC governor deleted thousands of emails

          Sanford administration’s actions near end of term possibly violated state law

          By Stephen Largen
          Published: Saturday, December 24, 2011 at 3:15 a.m.
          Last Modified: Friday, December 23, 2011 at 10:30 p.m.
          Editor’s note: This is the first in an occasional series examining how and whether elected officials and public bodies comply with South Carolina’s Freedom of Information Act.

          In a possible violation of state law, former Gov. Mark Sanford’s administration deleted a massive trove of emails from state-provided accounts during the administration’s final days and turned over only a small amount of the emails from the administration’s eight years in office.

          Such emails historically have provided valuable insight into how administrations set public policy.

          The disclosure of the Sanford administration’s destruction of the records — about 18 to 20 gigabytes worth — came in talks between an information technology official within the Governor’s Office of Executive Policy and Programs and a staffer from the state Department of Archives and History, an independent state agency tasked with preserving government records and historic documents.

          The revelation of the email destruction, paired with the recent admission by the administration of current Gov. Nikki Haley that it has deleted emails in recent months, raises new questions about officials’ compliance or lack thereof with state records law and whether sufficient deterrents are in place to prevent violations of the law.

        • DXer said

          I believe it was the same DOJ supervisor, James Kovakas, that two years later would tell me that DOJ had not preserved the full copies of the sworn depositions in Amerithrax in the Hatfill v. US civil suit. The woman who took many of the depositions, Elizabeth Shapiro, is in charge of suppressing such documents for the DOJ — but has gone way too far in failing to retain (contrary to DOJ document retention policy) the sworn statements of the Attorney General and FBI Director and other DOJ and FBI officials. The FOIA “reform” bill — if you look at its details — makes inconsequential changes.

          Meaningful government accountability, on the other hand, is within reach by GAO pressing for and disclosing the relevant documents.

  7. DXer said

    Professor Guillemin notes: “Just prior to the Gulf War, Bruce Ivins had accepted an apprentice from the Navy, Jim Burans, and taught him how to culture anthrax…”

    For what work for the Navy did Ali Al-Timimi have a secruity clearance while at SRA in 1999?

    What was the simulant used in the aerosol experiments conducted on ships in Spring 2001?

    There was simply no reason for the GAO not to obtain emails in seeking to assess the investigation.

    Emails are where things are candidly discussed.

  8. DXer said

    The NAS report states:

    The public can gain access to these materials by contacting the NRC Public Access Records Office.

    After getting no response to previous emailed inquiry, on February 11, 2011 I wrote the NRC Public Access Records Office.

    Yesterday, the contact for news did not know anything about gaining access to the materials and so forwarded the earlier request to the Public Access Records Office.

    On February 11, 2011, after an earlier inquiry had been disregarded, I wrote:

    Review of the Scientific Approaches used During the FBI’s Investigation of the 2001 Bacillus Anthracis Mailings PIN Number: BLSX-K-08-10-A


    Can you tell me the procedure contemplated regarding the documents that will be made available that were produced by the FBI to NAS? Will they be made available to the public for inspection and copying later this month when the report is issued?

    Will it follow the usual procedure where, I believe, a check is mailed in and then a CD is sent back?

    Is there any way for me to expedite the process as a practical matter by mailing a check in advance of production so that you have it in hand when they first become available?

    Am I correct that they will they only be available at your offices for in-person review (or mailing upon receipt of a check) but not online?

    Thanks very much! I just don’t want any unnecessary delay to result due to my lack of foresight.

    Keep up the good work on the myriad of difficult technical issues the organization addresses daily.”

    Hopefully, some organization or individual in DC will obtain the 9,600 pages documents produced to date and distribute them. I would be glad to upload them overnight and freely distribute copies to whoever would like them.

    ANTHRAX AND AL QAEDA: THE INFILTRATION OF US BIODEFENSE (fully and freely viewable online)

    100+ graphics –

  9. DXer said

    The NAS report states:

    “We have evaluated the science to the best of our abiliNASty, given the materials made available to us. While there may be additional relevant material to which we were not provided access, we believe that our review of the available material has resulted in many useful findings and conclusions. Nonetheless, other aspects of, and documents from, the FBI investigation may deserve future study and review.”


    100+ graphics –

  10. DXer said

    It’s important to never forget the important work that the FBI does daily.

    The FBI deserves public support even by those who disagree with the conclusions in a particular case or who press for document production.

  11. DXer said

    US tried to protect three in CIA nuclear spy effort: book
    (AFP) – 1 day ago

    WASHINGTON — The United States pressured Swiss authorities not to prosecute three people suspected of weapons trafficking who had been helping a CIA spy effort, according to a book released this month.

    In the book “Fallout: The True Story of the CIA’s Secret War on Nuclear Trafficking,” authors Catherine Collins and Douglas Frantz argue that pressure helped avoid prosecution of Friedrich, Urs and Marco Tinner, a father and two sons suspected of helping Abdul Qadeer Khan, considered the father of Pakistan’s atomic bomb.

    “Senior members of the George W. Bush administration and US intelligence officials intervened at the highest level of the Swiss government to pressure it to destroy evidence in a criminal investigation of nuclear trafficking,” the authors said.

    “The Americans also used their influence to persuade the Swiss to abandon plans to prosecute six CIA agents for espionage.”

    According to the book, CIA agents in 2003 copied the contents of a computer of Marco Tinner, where they found plans for a Chinese atomic weapon from the 1960s and documents from the Pakistani nuclear program.

    The CIA was trying to scope out the Khan network, which is believed to have sold nuclear weapons technology to Libya, Iran and North Korea, according to the book.

    The authors said the CIA in 1999 recruited as an informant Urs Tinner, who had been directing construction of a uranium enrichment plant for Libya. The father and brother were recruited later.

    The three Tinners were arrested in 2004 by Swiss authorities who seized computers with much of this information.

    But after repeated pressure from Washington, which did not want to compromise the spy effort, Switzerland destroyed the documents in 2008. The pressure came from the highest levels in Washington, including then secretary of state Condoleezza Rice.

    “The conversation was conducted in the polite language of international diplomacy, but the meaning was clear: if the Swiss didn’t dispose of the cases against the Tinners and the CIA, the United States would portray them as a hindrance to worldwide counterproliferation efforts and roll out the years of warnings that went unheeded by Swiss officials,” the book said.


    Members of the Abdul Qadeer Khan network also discussed anthrax with Bin Laden around that campfire in August 2001.

    In Amerithrax, Ali Al-Timimi was Andrew Card’s former assistant. His father worked at the Iraqi embassy.

    What polite language was used in Amerithrax to cause US Attorney Taylor (former Bush national security person) to so botch Amerithrax?

    What documents were destroyed?

    What documents did the FBI and CIA successfully prevent from being produced to the NAS?

    Why didn’t the NAS press harder for the documents? For example, why were the Burans/Wilson/Ezzell emails not produced?

    Taxpayers should be able to resort to the rule of law regarding production obligations and thus make wikileaks irrelevant.

    Why did the NAS take the $1 million and then not do their job?

  12. DXer said

    Old Atlantic,

    Professor Ehleringer discusses Amerithrax in his 2010 Utah Law Review article “Stable Isotopes and Courts.” You can read it online. His responsiveness to questions is matched only by his expertise in this important field with wide-ranging potential applications.

    He writes:

    “In the anthrax case, the suspected perpetrator committed suicide before the case was
    presented to a court.3 The anthrax case will be used as an example in this Article.”


    James R. Ehleringer* and Scott M. Matheson, Jr.**


    INTRODUCTION ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 386
    A. The Federal Rules and Daubert ………………………………………………………… 398
    1. Rule 104(a)…………………………………………………………………………………. 399
    2. Rule 702 …………………………………………………………………………………….. 400
    3. Rule 703 …………………………………………………………………………………….. 408
    4. Rule 706 …………………………………………………………………………………….. 409
    5. Rule 403 …………………………………………………………………………………….. 410
    6. Summary ……………………………………………………………………………………. 411
    B. Application of Evidence Rules to Stable Isotope Ratio Analysis ……………. 411
    1. Introduction………………………………………………………………………………… 411
    2. Inauspicious Debuts …………………………………………………………………….. 412
    3. Rule 104(a) and the Daubert/702 Analysis ……………………………………… 414
    4. Rule 702 Analysis ………………………………………………………………………… 414
    5. Rule 703—Facts or Date Relied Upon—Otherwise Inadmissible ………. 429
    6. Rule 706—Court-Appointed Experts ……………………………………………… 430
    7. Rule 403—Exclusion Based on Prejudice, Confusion, or Duplication … 431
    AND STABLE ISOTOPE RATIO ANALYSIS …………………………………………………….. 432
    A. DNA Profiling and Traditional Forensic Techniques ………………………….. 432
    B. DNA Profiling—Brief Overview ……………………………………………………….. 435
    C. DNA Profiling and Stable Isotope Ratio Analysis ……………………………….. 436
    1. Some Similarities and Differences …………………………………………………. 437
    2. Principles and Methods ……………………………………………………………….. 439
    3. Application of Principles and Methods …………………………………………… 440
    4. DNA Experts and Isotope Experts …………………………………………………. 440
    5. Helping—Not Confusing—the Jury ……………………………………………….. 440
    CONCLUSION …………………………………………………………………………………………… 441

    • DXer said

      The Kreuzer-Martin article on a Bayesian approach should be considered at the same time as this 2010 law review article.

      The FBI has explained that it did not rely on isotope evidence and that it did not support its Ivins Theory — or rather, the FBI does not rely on isotope analysis in support of its Ivins Theory and the NAS is prevented from finding it is exculpatory of Ivins.

      The FBI’s isotope expert in this 2010 law review article explains:

      “Five applications of stable isotope ratio analysis were relevant to the Amerithrax case: (1) identification of the culture medium most likely to have been used to culture the anthrax; (2) characterization of the geographic region(s) most likely to have been associated with the culturing of the anthrax; (3) similarity comparisons among spore specimens recovered from different anthrax-containing letters; (4) similarity comparisons between the anthrax spore evidence and the different culture medium used to culture bacteria (including anthrax); and (5) similarity comparisons of the cellulose composition of letters used to mail the spores.171

      The following questions address two fundamental aspects of stable isotope analysis relevance: similarity and location.

      First, were the Amerithrax specimens isotopically indistinguishable from each other and therefore more likely to be related and be consistent with having a common origin?

      Second, were the isotopic compositions of the anthrax spore specimens consistent with bacterial spores that had been cultured in a particular geographic region? Additionally, based on the stable isotope ratio measurement, could some geographic regions be excluded as origin-of-culture possibilities?
      Third, were the isotopic compositions of the anthrax spore specimens consistent with observations expected for the culture of the bacteria grown using a particular culture medium? Additionally, based on the stable isotope ratio measurement, could some culture medium be excluded from further consideration
      as culture medium possibilities? These questions presume that reliable data could be obtained and that appreciable stable isotope ratio variations existed in culture water and culture medium to allow a meaningful interpretation of the data. Answers to these questions should achieve a more probable understanding of the origin and location of the anthrax recovered from the 2001 letters and should assist a trier of fact. If stable isotope analysis assists to provide such answers, then it should be considered relevant and helpful under Rule 702.


      A court presentation in the Amerithrax case would require a showing that the stable isotope ratio analyses were based on and consistent with peer-reviewed and validation studies in the field that demonstrate the testability and reliability of the principles and methods applied. It would also call for demonstrating a sufficiently small risk of error to allow for reliable conclusions. Reliability also would depend on a showing that laboratory protocols were followed, that the instrumentation was properly calibrated and used, that measurements were accurately recorded and interpreted, and that samples were properly handled. The level of certainty for conclusions about common source of origin and location of origin would need to be supported as set forth earlier.

      To understand this application, consider the life cycle of bacteria. The spores that were mailed in the Amerithrax case represented the dormant or resting stage of bacterial growth.208 Spores are a cell form produced by some, but not all, bacteria in the growth-phase transition from active vegetative growth, nutrient-rich bacteria cultures to a much slower growth. The transition to a dormant spore form occurs as medium becomes depleted in the essential nutrients to maintain the actively dividing bacteria form. During all stages of the bacteria growth cycle, the bacteria take up nutrients from their external environment (known as medium when bacteria are actively cultured).

      The application of stable isotope methodology allows for the establishment of reliable patterns and for the testing of specific hypotheses. During bacteria growth, the compounds that are part of each bacterium are built within the bacteria cell based on the uptake and chemical conversion of nutrients derived from the external medium (e.g., water, salts, carbon source, nitrogen source). “You are what you eat” is an appropriate phrase to describe the stable isotope composition of both microbial and animal systems. There are precise, predictable, and reliable relationships between the carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios of the nutrient medium and those of the cell walls, proteins, and carbohydrates that characterize the bacteria.209 Thus, from measurements of the carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios of a bacterial spore, it is possible to reconstruct the carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios of the growth medium used to culture the bacteria.

      The studies by Kreuzer-Martin and colleagues additionally showed that different growth medium often had distinctive carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios. Thus, from analyses of the carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios of bacteria spores, it is possible to reconstruct or predict the carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios of the growth medium and, in some cases, to predict the specific culture medium used to produce the bacterial spores. From such analysis, relevance is clear. Carbon and nitrogen isotope ratio analyses allow the investigator to compare among samples to see whether they possibly share a common growth medium and to predict the growth medium type used to culture the bacteria. This in turn could provide a significant lead to determine whether the growth media in one or more laboratories are consistent with or not consistent with the growth media that were likely to have been used to cultivate the anthrax.

      During bacterial growth, hydrogen and oxygen atoms from water in the culture medium are incorporated into the proteins, carbohydrates, and outer cell wall complex of the bacteria being cultured. There are very predictable relationships between the hydrogen and oxygen isotope ratios of bacteria spores
      and the hydrogen and oxygen isotope ratios of the water used to culture the bacteria.210 The geographic patterns of hydrogen and oxygen isotope ratios of local waters differ across a continental landscape and exhibit predictable and reliable spatial patterns.211 This observation allowed Kreuzer-Martin and colleagues to determine whether the isotope ratios of a spore were consistent with or not consistent with growth using a particular water source in different geographic regions of the United States. The predictability of the pattern was tested by culturing the same bacteria in different parts of the United States using the same medium and reliably reconstructing the region from which the different bacteria had been grown. The combination of experimental studies in the laboratory and then field validation of the technique to identify different geographic regions is
      possible for most stable isotope studies.


      The methods used in the anthrax analysis included five sets of key observations, which established that:

      (1) The hydrogen and oxygen isotope ratios of Bacillus spores were distinctly, linearly, and predictably related to the hydrogen and oxygen isotope ratios of the local water source used to culture the bacteria.212

      (2) There were distinctive and predictable spatial zones of hydrogen and oxygen isotope ratios of local water sources and geographic regions across the United States.213

      (3) The carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios of the Bacillus spores were distinctly, linearly, and predictably related to the carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios of the growth medium.214

      (4) There were distinct and predictable differences in the relationships between hydrogen and oxygen isotope ratios of Bacillus spores that allowed determination of their culture in liquid vessels versus agar plates, and if grown on agar plates, a timeline of spore harvest from agar plates.215

      (5) The patterns observed for Bacillus spores from several taxa applied to both virulent and non-virulent Bacillus anthracis (anthrax) spores.216

      We have attempted to explain the science and law that will guide this process. Using the Daubert/702 framework, we have identified the issues that should be addressed. We have stressed that a general showing of reliability of principles and methods is only the beginning. The expert’s work on the particular case must also satisfy the reliability evaluation. Because there are so many actual and potential forensic applications of stable isotope analysis, this Article only sets the stage for a judge or lawyer confronted with this evidence. We hope the discussion of the Amerithrax case and the comparisons between stable isotope analysis and DNA identification evidence will be useful. We also hope we have kept faith with the NAS Report by calling for stable isotope evidence to satisfy rigorous reliability scrutiny. Finally, as a scientist and a lawyer, we hope this Article serves the causes of good science and just results.”

      • DXer said

        Below are some addition 2010 studies by Professor Ehleringer on water and soda.

        His research has always had a special appeal to me because I had a local lab test dozens of bottled waters from around the country — and also tested every local soda that contained ascorbic acid and sodium benzoate (which results in the fuel additive benzene).

        I found arsenic in Topo Chico (over the legal limit).

        Bromate in the water in Northeast forced a recall of most major retailers (their store brand which came from the same well).

        And all the soda companies recalled numerous soda products internationally.

        The US FDA did nothing and things only began moving after I got Germany to agree to test.

        The FDA Commissioner resigned on Friday after I contacted him Wednesday with the data from the whistleblower. He was eventually convicted of misdemeanors for stock ownership in Pepsi and the food lunch distributor. But he resigned by sending an email to all FDA employees announcing he was resigning and providing no explanation — leaving our schoolchildren drinking the fuel additive benzene in soda promoted to the captive audience.

        The government officials this time around are being given the opportunity and to make forthright corrections to their analysis such as they did on the isotope ratio issue.

        If the FBI were to produce another 2200 pages of relevant material and someday we’ll all laugh about the twists and turns of Amerithrax with our grandchildren. To identify the documents, see the abstracts from the database categorizing the batestamped documents.

        Otherwise, let’s look forward to the day the info arrives one day in your inbox making clear what you should have done.

        J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Jun 23;58(12):7311-6.

        Links between purchase location and stable isotope ratios of bottled water, soda, and beer in the United States.

        Chesson LA, Valenzuela LO, O’Grady SP, Cerling TE, Ehleringer JR.

        IsoForensics Inc., Suite 205, Salt Lake City, Utah 84108, USA.


        This study investigated the impact of purchase location on the stable isotope ratios of beverages by measuring the delta(2)H and delta(18)O values of bottled water, soda, beer, and tap water collected across the contiguous United States. Measured beverage delta(2)H and delta(18)O values generally fit the Global Meteoric Water Line (GMWL), suggesting region-of-origin information is recorded in beverage water. Tap water delta(2)H and delta(18)O values were strongly correlated with the stable isotope ratios of bottled water and soda purchased in the same location. Beer water delta(2)H and delta(18)O values were also correlated with tap water, although not as strongly. Variability in delta(2)H and delta(18)O values among beverages purchased at a single location ranged from 2 to 41 per thousand and from 0.3 to 5.2 per thousand, respectively, but was generally moderate in most locations. It was concluded that the isotopic composition of local tap water is a reasonable proxy for consumers’ fluid intake in most U.S. cities.

        Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2010 Nov 15;24(21):3205-13.

        Analysis of the hydrogen and oxygen stable isotope ratios of beverage waters without prior water extraction using isotope ratio infrared spectroscopy.

        Chesson LA, Bowen GJ, Ehleringer JR.

        IsoForensics Inc., 423 Wakara Way, Suite 205, Salt Lake City, UT 84108, USA.


        Hydrogen (δ(2)H) and oxygen (δ(18)O) stable isotope analysis is useful when tracing the origin of water in beverages, but traditional analytical techniques are limited to pure or extracted waters. We measured the isotopic composition of extracted beverage water using both isotope ratio infrared spectroscopy (IRIS; specifically, wavelength-scanned cavity ring-down spectroscopy) and isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS). We also analyzed beer, sodas, juices, and milk ‘as is’ using IRIS. For IRIS analysis, four sequential injections of each sample were measured and data were corrected for sample-to-sample memory using injections (a) 1-4, (b) 2-4, and (c) 3-4. The variation between δ(2)H and δ(18)O values calculated using the three correction methods was larger for unextracted (i.e., complex) beverages than for waters. The memory correction was smallest when using injections 3-4. Beverage water δ(2)H and δ(18)O values generally fit the Global Meteoric Water Line, with the exception of water from fruit juices. The beverage water stable isotope ratios measured using IRIS agreed well with the IRMS data and fit 1:1 lines, with the exception of sodas and juices (δ(2)H values) and beers (δ(18)O values). The δ(2)H and δ(18)O values of waters extracted from beer, soda, juice, and milk were correlated with complex beverage δ(2)H and δ(18)O values (r = 0.998 and 0.997, respectively) and generally fit 1:1 lines. We conclude that it is possible to analyze complex beverages, without water extraction, using IRIS although caution is needed when analyzing beverages containing sugars, which can clog the syringe and increase memory, or alcohol, a known spectral interference.

        • BugMaster said

          ascorbic acid will react with benzoic acid, and via decarboxylation (?), result in benzene?

          Seems the laws of thermodynamics are running backwards here.

          There’s got to be more to the story!

      • Old Atlantic said

        This is a very impressive article. Thanks for pointing it out and linking to it.

        I looked through the article at the link and downloaded the pdf version. I can’t find any actual conclusions on the anthrax 2001 mailings. He refers at times to the NAS report. Is this within the NAS mandate?

      • Old Atlantic said

        Link to Bayesian paper.

        Bayesian-Integrated Microbial Forensics[down-pointing small open triangle]
        Kristin H. Jarman,* Helen W. Kreuzer-Martin, David S. Wunschel, Nancy B. Valentine, John B. Cliff, Catherine E. Petersen, Heather A. Colburn, and Karen L. Wahl

      • Old Atlantic said

        Click to access 342.pdf

        Look at graph page 6. The horizontal axis is days of incubation of growth of subtilis. The line starts at 3 days and goes to 14 days.

        This shows the minimum incubation period they used for their study was 3 days and the maximum 14 days.

        This compares to the FBI theory that Ivins grew the anthrax in 1 to 2 days from Friday Sep 14 2001 to Sep 16 2001. If sporulation was started Sep 15, that would mean one day to grow it.

        But these graphs show that meaningful growth is after 3 days and that 3 to 14 days are reasonable periods for growth.

        Note the 1 gram per week Ivins came up with was a pipeline number. That could mean it takes one to two weeks to grow it and another week or two to process it. That ends up with it in liquid form.

        Its like an assembly line that produces 1 car an hour. That doesn’t mean you start a car at one end and that car is finished in one hour.

    • DXer said

      This past week the US Senate confirmed co-author of STABLE ISOTOPES AND COURTS Professor Matheson for the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals (sitting in Denver).

    • Old Atlantic said

      Search Kreuzer-Martin et al., Microbial Forensics

      Several links to their articles.

      One is

      Click to access 317.pdf

      “Stable Isotope Ratios as a Tool in Microbial
      Forensics—Part 1. Microbial Isotopic Composition
      as a Function of Growth Medium∗”

      “Helen W. Kreuzer-Martin,1 Ph.D.; Lesley A. Chesson,1 B.S.; Michael J. Lott,1,2 B.S.;
      Janet V. Dorigan,3 Ph.D.; and James R. Ehleringer,1,2 Ph.D.”

  13. DXer said

    The FBI reports that they excluded:

    * A physician who told associates that s/he was one of the few people who could have prepared and mailed the anthrax letters. A preliminary investigation suggested that this individual possessed a financial motive for committing the crime and possessed knowledge of anthrax dispersal techniques.

    * A scientist, although deceased for more than a year prior to the mailing of the anthrax letters, reported to have possessed chemical and biological materials of interest, and who may have been closely associated with key figures from a biological weapons program in a foreign country.

    * A researcher with access to the Ames strain who possessed a keen interest in the weapons application of the Ames strain, biological terrorism scenarios, and biological warfare in general.

    * A researcher with access to the Ames strain who possessed particular expertise in the fermentation production of bacteria.

    * A scientist with an arguable financial motive to commit the attacks, who traveled to New Jersey at or near the time of the New York and Washington, D.C. anthrax mailings.

    * A scientist with access to the Ames strain who trained others in the refinement and weaponization of biological agents.

    * A foreign-born researcher who worked at a facility maintaining the Ames strain and against whom an anonymous letter had been sent to law enforcement alleging that s/he had strong anti-American sentiments and may have had access to “biological poisons.”

    * A foreign-born scientist with particular expertise working with a Bacillus anthracis simulant known as Bacillus subtilis, and against whom there were allegations that s/he had connections with several individuals affiliated with the al-Qaeda and Ansar al-Islam terrorist networks.

    * A microbiology student who allegedly had associations with al-Qaeda’s anthrax program.

    * A foreign-born scientist who published certain microbiology articles that were found at an al-Qaeda training facility in a foreign country.

    * A foreign-born microbiologist in New Jersey who had allegedly made certain anti-American statements, and who lived and worked in close proximity to Princeton.

    * A Postal Service employee at the Hamilton Township Plant and Distribution Center in Hamilton, New Jersey, who resigned shortly before the mailings, and whom a witness alleged was associated with a U.S-based al-Qaeda laboratory involved in anthrax production.

    * A scientist who allegedly had the capability and disposition to use anthrax as a weapon.

    * A researcher whose unusual behavior prompted a former colleague to contact the FBI, and who was described as a freelance scientist who would sell her/his services if the price was right.

    * A researcher against whom the FBI received several tips that s/he fit the publicized profile of the anthrax terrorist, and who reportedly had a grudge against the United States.

    * A microbiologist whose suicide after the attacks was coupled with allegations that s/he might have some association with the anthrax attacks.

    * A scientist with extensive knowledge of the production of weaponized anthrax, and who arguably had a financial motive for committing the attacks.

    * A disgruntled foreign scientist who allegedly had reason to take revenge against her/his former employer, and about whom other co-workers had expressed concerns.

    Each of these individuals was ultimately excluded as a suspect based on a number of factors, including alibi, insufficient ability, and lack of access to RMR-1029.

    There is no mention of the former Zawahiri associate, Tarek Hamouda, supplied virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins. For the details of Ayman’s recruitment at Cairo Medical on Friday, you need only contact “Tawfiq” Hamid who wrote an entire book on the subject titled INSIDE JIHAD (May 2008).
    A childhood friend and medical schoolmate of Dr. Hamouda, “Tawfiq” was recruited by Ayman Zawahiri. He’s a columnist now for Newsmax — these reporters aren’t just asleep at the switch, they were run over by the train.

    As another example, there is no mention of Jdey. So when Dr. Majidi gets up there (or whoever), ask them them what alibi Jdey had — given that they apparently had no information of his whereabouts. He’ll say, “Who? I’m not familiar with the details of how they excluded particular individuals.”


    There just is no reason to think the Amerithrax investigation reached the correct result.

    Moreover, if you don’t operate on the FBI’s assumption that the access to Ames was obtained by the mailer — that is, if you credit that a cell operation would have been used as posited by EIJ chief of intelligence Ali Mohammed in his document titled “Cocktail” — then the issue of alibi does not operate to exclude the hypothesis.

    So we go back to FBI profiler Candace DeLong who thought Leahy was obscure and was totally unaware of Ayman Zawahiri’s stated intention to use anthrax to retaliate for the rendering and imprisonment of senior EIJ leaders — and the appropriations that prop up both Egypt’s security services and Israel overseen by Senator Leahy and the “Leahy law.”

    Garbage in, garbage out 10 years later.

    The time for Candyland is over.

    It’s game on.

    • DXer said

    • Old Atlantic said

      “* A Postal Service employee at the Hamilton Township Plant and Distribution Center in Hamilton, New Jersey, who resigned shortly before the mailings, and whom a witness alleged was associated with a U.S-based al-Qaeda laboratory involved in anthrax production. ”

      So the mail box may have been picked so that former coworkers would get infected as the anthrax passed through.

      • DXer said

        That lead appears to not have been corroborated but it would be interesting to ask the blind sheik’s right hand man, Sattar, who worked at the Post Office, who he thought was responsible for the anthrax mailings. He was arranging phone calls with Mabruk the military commander who said Ayman Zawahiri was going to use anthrax against US targets.

        The New York Times

        October 2, 2004

        Tracing Militants on a Staten Island Phone

        *By JULIA PRESTON*

        For the last three months, the defendant who has drawn the most attention in a terror trial under way in Manhattan federal court is Lynne F. Stewart, who made a name as a defense lawyer for suspects accused of terrorism. But as the prosecutors’ case has unfolded, most of the evidence about the international conspiracy they hope to prove has centered on a defendant who sits silently beside her, Ahmed Abdel Sattar.

        A Staten Island postal worker and a Muslim, Mr. Sattar served as a paralegal aide for Ms. Stewart in the 1995 trial of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the elderly blind Islamic cleric who is serving a life sentence in a United States prison for plotting terrorist attacks in New York.

        In the years after that trial, the evidence reveals, Mr. Sattar made hundreds of phone calls from his cramped apartment to fundamentalist followers of the sheik across the globe, from Britain to Egypt to Afghanistan. Through conference calls he arranged, Mr. Sattar became a
        gatekeeper for communications between far-flung Islamic militants, eventually joining their debates about using violence.

        Mr. Sattar faces the most serious charges in this trial, including one count of conspiracy to kill and kidnap people in a foreign country, which carries a maximum life sentence. Kenneth A. Paul, one of his lawyers, said in an opening statement on June 23 that Mr.
        Sattar was “politically frustrated” but never intended to plan or incite violence.

        For her part, Ms. Stewart is accused of helping Mr. Abdel Rahman communicate a call to war against Egypt’s government from a federal prison cell where he was supposed to be incommunicado. She faces charges that carry a maximum of 10 years, as does a third defendant, Mohamed
        Yousry, a translator of Arabic.

        Along with Ms. Stewart, Mr. Sattar was one of a handful of people permitted to communicate directly with the sheik in prison. But the prosecutors’ evidence has indicated that he went a step further. After he was eagerly sought out by followers of the sheik in the Gamaa Islamiya – the Islamic Group, a militant organization in Egypt – he became a participant in their deliberations about war and peace.

        Records of Mr. Sattar’s phone calls, which were wiretapped, show that his calling quickened in the fall of 2000, when the group’s leaders were embroiled in a fierce dispute over whether to continue a cease-fire in
        their long war against the Egyptian government or return to terror attacks. Although Mr. Sattar was not a member of the group, he favored – at least in statements in the government’s transcripts – those who wanted to abandon the truce.

        In a moment of rage over political clashes in Israel, Mr. Sattar helped an Islamic Group leader who was in Afghanistan compose a religious edict and release it under the sheik’s name without asking the sheik. It summoned young Muslims to fight Jews “by all possible means of jihad,
        either by killing them as individuals or by targeting their interests and their advocates, as much as they can.”

        Mr. Sattar’s lawyers declined to comment in detail before he testifies in his own defense in the next few weeks. But they said they would fill in the context of his phone calls to show that he was trying to help men he regarded as Muslim brothers, not to participate in a plan for
        violence. “It clearly was never his intent for anyone to be killed,” Mr. Paul said.

        In court, Mr. Sattar is being confronted with his own words. The prosecutors’ evidence consists overwhelmingly of transcripts of wiretap recordings that were among some 90,000 intercepted conversations on his home phone made between March 1995 and March 2002, as part of a federal
        foreign intelligence investigation.

        Now the man who talked so much sits silent day after day, watching the prosecutors re-enact his phone calls, reading out English transcripts of the Arabic dialogue. With the jury as their audience, the prosecutors take turns reading, in flat voices, the words of Mr.
        Sattar , Ms. Stewart, the sheik and others.

        The defense lawyers have sought to bar some transcripts, but in general they have not challenged the authenticity of the calls. The transcripts show that Mr. Sattar spoke regularly with men identified by the American authorities as terrorists. The prosecutors are trying to convince the jury that the phone calls – Mr. Sattar’s words – added up to a conspiracy to kill.

        Mr. Sattar, 45, was born in Cairo and raised in Egypt, serving two years in his country’s army before coming to the United States as a tourist in 1982. He stayed, married an American citizen and in 1989 became a naturalized American. His wife, Lisa
        Sattar, a Catholic, converted to Islam; they have four children. He went to work in 1988 in the main post office branch in Staten Island.

        He was drawn to Mr. Abdel Rahman , a fellow Egyptian, after the cleric came to the United States in 1990 and began preaching in mosques in Brooklyn and New Jersey. In sermons full of fury, the sheik railed against the Egyptian government, calling for it to be overthrown and
        replaced with an Islamic state.

        Certified as a paralegal aide in the sheik’s terrorism trial, Mr. Sattar was deeply disappointed when Mr. Abdel Rahman was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, Mr. Paul, his defense lawyer, said. He continued to support the sheik, even starting a diaper and baby goods
        business from his home to raise money for him in prison.

        The transcripts show it pained Mr. Sattar that the sheik, held in solitary confinement in a federal penitentiary in Minnesota, was barred by special restrictions from speaking with anyone outside the prison but his legal team and his closest family, and could not participate in
        communal Friday prayers.

        “There is not a prisoner in the United States who suffers like he does,” Mr. Sattar said in one phone call to the sheik’s son, Mohammed, who was
        in Afghanistan.

        The sheik has signed a power of attorney for Mr. Sattar . “I trust him with everything I have,” the sheik said in one statement he sent out of prison through Ms. Stewart. “I testify that he does not speak anything
        but the truth.”

        Mr. Sattar’s phone calls offer a glimpse inside the hidden network of Islamic Group militants in the midst of a clash between two leaders. On one side is Sheik Salah Hashim, the group’s leader in Egypt, an outspoken proponent of the cease-fire.

        His adversary is Rifai Ahmed Taha, an associate of Osama bin Laden who was named by Washington in a 1998 executive order as a “specially designated terrorist.” Mr. Taha is accused of conspiring in the 1997 attack at the ancient Egyptian ruins in Luxor, where 58 foreign tourists
        were killed. Public outrage over those killings led the Islamic Group to announce the cease-fire later that year.

        Also on the line with Mr. Sattar were Mustafa Hamza, another exiled Islamic Group leader, and Montasser al-Zayat, a lawyer representing its members who were in Egypt’s jails. Both favored continuing the peace. Mr. Sattar also spoke with Yasir al-Sirri, an Egyptian exile who was a
        one-man clearinghouse in London for information about radical fundamentalists.

        In the conversations before 2000, Mr. Sattar seemed to stay aloof from the group’s internal feuds, simply connecting phone calls among its members. But he began to change in June of that year after Mr. Abdel
        Rahman issued a statement, relayed to the international press by Ms. Stewart in defiance of the prison rules, withdrawing his support for the cease-fire.

        The transcripts indicate that Mr. Sattar helped sharpen the language that the sheik dictated in prison to Ms. Stewart and her translator, then rushed the news of the cleric’s new position in a flurry of calls to Islamic Group members overseas. Mr. Hamza, who prosecutors said was
        in Afghanistan, protested the sheik’s shift and pleaded with Mr. Sattar not to release it to the press.

        “I can try to control it,” Mr. Sattar says, starting to assert new influence as an intermediary.

        In the following weeks, Mr. Sattar set up conference calls and then remained on the line while Mr. Hashim and Mr. Taha argued angrily. Mr. Taha said the Egyptian government of President Hosni Mubarak “must be removed, and will not be removed except by using armed force.”

        “We are in a difficult stage; we can’t use force at all,” Mr. Hashim insisted, as Mr. Sattar listened.

        At the time of these exchanges, Mr. Taha appeared with Mr. bin Laden on a videotape, apparently made in Afghanistan, which was broadcast on Sept. 21, 2000, by Al Jazeera, the Arab language television network. Together they call for violent worldwide jihad, or religious struggle,
        to free Mr. Abdel Rahman from jail.

        Two days later Mr. Taha called Mr. Sattar to get his reaction. “The words caused such an impact,” Mr. Sattar cheered.

        A turning point for Mr. Sattar came in late September 2000, during an upsurge of violence between Israelis and Palestinians. Coming home from the post office each day, the transcripts show, he immediately goes to monitor Arab news Web sites and television. The images all look to him
        like Israeli attacks on innocent Palestinian civilians, according to the transcripts.

        “Animals, animals, I swear by God the Almighty,” Mr. Sattar said, referring to the Israelis, his slight stutter accentuated by his agitation. When Mr. Taha called, Mr. Sattar
        urged him to compose a religious decree that they could attribute to the sheik. Later he edited Mr. Taha’s draft.

        “Kill the Jews wherever they are found,” it says.

        Their taped conversations suggest that Mr. Sattar removed words that explicitly threatened the United States. Instead, he said he believed it was up to the Arab nations surrounding Israel “to wage the jihad.”

        Several days later, when Mr. Abdel Rahman was informed of the religious decree during a prison phone call, he approved its message.

        Mr. Sattar’s nights became sleepless as he started receiving calls at all hours. He was contacted by an Islamic Group militant, Alaa Atia, who was in hiding in southern Egypt. While Mr. Taha tried to persuade Mr.
        Atia to organize an armed attack, Mr. Sattar worked to arrange to send him money to escape from Egypt.

        Then he received news that Mr. Atia had been killed by the Egyptian police. In agonized calls, Mr. Sattar was heard worrying that he may have inadvertently helped the police locate him.

        “The Lord Almighty knows how I feel,” Mr. Sattar said. “I feel guilty, guilty. I am telling you I suspect it is 90 percent my phone.” At the same time he more plainly promoted Mr. Taha within the group. “The man has a worthwhile viewpoint; the least to do is to hear it,” he said. Mr. Sattar was arrested in April 2002. No evidence has been presented that he was involved in a specific act of violence. None of the charges in the case involve plans for attacks in the United States. The government
        expects to rest its case next week.

        Ms. Stewart’s lawyers have repeatedly asked to have her trial separated from Mr. Sattar’s. She has said she was not aware of his extensive phone communications with the Islamic Group.

        “This is really a case about words,” said the defense lawyer, Mr. Paul, a case in which Mr. Sattar is accused of causing terrorism by speaking about it. Mr. Sattar “is no enemy of the United States,” Mr. Paul said.
        “He is certainly not a terrorist.”

  14. DXer said

    Given the wide range of matters that both men behind the podium on August 8, 2008 had to handle, neither the US Attorney nor head of the DC Field Office should have been expected to know what happened 10 years earlier ago from original documents. They instead reasonably relied upon summary briefings by the AUSAs — who in turn were often relying on what was being told them by investigators. And often there had been turnover or retirement and entirely new personnel were in place. The new investigators simply did not know what had happened years earlier in the investigation.

    Dr. Ivins’ suicide was unexpected and caught everyone by surprise and things rushed forward to the August 8 briefing.

    The GAO — and now the AUSA and FBI officials to present before the NAS — should go back to the original source documents and create a chronology of all that happened so that all facts conform to the original source documents.

    Moreover, after the New Year, there should be a production of many more pages of relevant information to the NAS.

    All of those who have been critical should take a deep breath and realize that we are all on the same team — without exception.

    By analogy, this is where people have to sit through the 16 hour training session and cannot merely rely on being texted answers that they then blindly repeat as the head of the DC office did on his exam on how to conduct an investigation consistent with the law.

    This is not a time to “tow the agency line” — this is a time to take painstaking care in getting things right. At the end of the day, that’s the only “agency’s line” — getting things right.

    AUSA Kenneth Kohl had no time to go back to the original documents given his massive responsibility and accusations of prosecutorial misconduct that then followed the Blackwater prosecution.

    Judge Cites Prosecutorial Misconduct In Blackwater Dismissal…

    ‎Main Justice – Jan 1, 2010
    In “their zeal to bring charges,” prosecutors led by Assistant US Attorney Kenneth Kohl of the District of Columbia “purposely flouted” repeated warnings of …

    Facing investigation, head of FBI’s D.C. office to retire

    The head of the FBI’s Washington field office is retiring amid an investigation into whether he violated rules while taking an examination earlier this year, according to an article by The Post’s Carrie Johnson.

    According to sources:

    Persichini had been under internal FBI scrutiny in connection with an exam covering the bureau’s guidelines for conducting investigations. The guidelines, revised late last year at the end of the Bush administration, spell out how agents should pursue criminal and national security leads. The FBI required a 16-hour training to learn the guidelines, capped by an electronic exam in which test-takers could consult their course materials.
    Persichini, whose title is assistant director in charge of Washington, attracted management attention when he allegedly completed the open-book exam in less than 20 minutes and with a very high score, the sources said. Some test-takers required more than two hours to complete the exam, the sources said.

  15. DXer said

    While crediting the good faith and expertise of all those involved – as I do – everyone can agree that the best evidence of what happened relating to the destruction of Dr. Ivins submitted sample consists of the contemporaneous documents, to include the FBI’s anthrax experts and the head of Amerithrax 2. The GAO should obtain the emails, by subpoena of the FBI’s IT custodian of the emails if necessary.

    We’ve seen from US Attorney Taylor’s August 8, 2008 misstatements at the podium — where he evidenced no awareness that the virulent Ames was regularly also stored in Building 1412 and accessible by two or three times the 100 he claimed — that the original source documents are a better means of recreating what happened nearly a decade ago.

    International Association for Property and Evidence, Inc.
    Evidence Log – Volume 2003 Number 2
    Protecting Your Case Against Spoliation of Evidence
    Randy L Turtle, President, SafeStore, Inc.

    Ensuring The Integrity of Your Evidence

    Avoiding spoliation and preserving the integrity of your evidence requires forethought and a commitment to a process and partnership with the vendors who transport and secure, store and monitor access to your evidence. As a link in the Chain of Custody, i.e., a person with a duty to preserve and protect evidence or someone with a vested interest in the outcome of the litigation, it is essential that from the moment the criminal or civil event occurs you identify, track and log movement of your evidence. The crisis in available storage space for evidence of all types at government facilities, compounded by increasing judicial recognition of the impact of spoliation of evidence demands that attorneys and the courts consider viable alternatives for transporting and storing evidence to preserve the integrity of the judicial process and the rights to a fair trial based on clean evidence.

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