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

* Senate Minority (Republican) Pushback on Senate Torture Report

Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 11, 2014

yazid

Yazid Suffat

unnamed (4)

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One Response to “* Senate Minority (Republican) Pushback on Senate Torture Report”

  1. DXer said

    How did what we learn from KSM differ from what Pakistan government employee Rauf Ahmad told FBI Special Agent Borelli over tea and cookies at the ISI safehouse in February 2002?

    Apart from the moral repugnancy of torture, shouldn’t we first know what was available to be known — that is, to the extent the wishy-washy exercise is one of determining what was learned?

    Eric Alterman and David Ignatius and others are eloquent in explaining that the overriding question of the moral repugnancy of torture is a separate question from whether it was effective.

    But in connecting the dots, we should view the true crime facts through a value-free lense and seek transparency. For starters, Agent Borelli’s statement taken from Rauf Ahmad should be disclosed.

    We should be allowed to see whether Rauf Ahmad was lying or held back as the tea and cookies were served.

    For example, did Agent Borelli know that Rauf Ahmad had been killing mice with 100 injected spores in 2000 and the report was presented at the Porton Down conference? The abstract had been uploaded in 2000 by DTIC and a google search would have returned it. FBI Agents after 911 were allowed to google.

    Although it is not my field, as a member of the public (once interested in Aldrich Ames’ estate sale), I first wrote a lengthy memo to the CIA in December 2001.

    Did Agent Borelli know that MI5 took samples from Ahmad’s luggage after the 2000 conference? see publisher’s press release and reports of that press release.

    Did he know that Rauf Ahmad had successfully requested samples from the second lab he visited in 1999?

    I first identified Rauf Ahmad in Fall 2002, as I recall, based on a local Pakistan press translated from urdu that appeared in a database called FBIS.

    Does FBI Special Agent Borelli’s affidavit reflect that the CIA’s analysts had reason to know that Rauf Ahmad had made the “anthrax spore concentrate” that was found and pictured by the Associated Press? See Kathy Gannon’s article about anthrax vaccine lab.

    Did Agent Borelli have the benefit of the comparison of the handwriting on the label to Rauf Ahmad’s correspondence with Ayman Zawahiri.

    Had the laboratory personnel been interviewed like they had by the intrepid journalist Gannon, accompanied by the equally intrepid photographer?

    If — as CIA Director Tenet said in his book — Rauf Ahmad set up the Kandahar lab, could it be true he didn’t know Yazid Sufaat?

    In May 2001, the vaccinated Yazid Sufaat was working at Omar Hospital with his two vaccinated assistants and then at the lab that Rauf Ahmad reportedly set up.

    I don’t remember if I thought to ask Rauf Ahmad if he knew Yazid Sufaat — or think to ask Yazid Sufaat if he knew Rauf Ahmad. And in either event, both were highly evasive in correspondence with me. But someone should ask them both and that someday could be clarified.

    Maybe what from the outside is perceived as strict compartmentalization of a parellel operation is just ineffective or unsuccessful questioning.

    There was a tall man, an Urdu speaking man, and a woman — all chain-smokers — in Pakistan in 2002 who were doing questioning on this subject for the CIA/FBI. I make no assumption that their questioning was ineffective. Nor do I make an assumption that it was not fully informed by documentary analysis from CIA Headquarters.

    I just am urging that there be transparency so that we can see what dots there were — and still are — available to be connected. The presentation by Rauf Ahmad and his colleagues at the Dangerous Pathogens 2000 was in the public domain. Thus, the question whether the Al Qaeda anthrax was working with virulent anthrax was and should have been known at the time of the Februrary 2002 interview over tea and cookies by Agent Borelli, who then came to head the FBI NYC Field Office.

    Then Agent Borelli might have proceeded to have a colleague interview conference sponsor Les Baillie to learn what he knew about Rauf Ahmad’s access to the extremely virulent Ames strain of anthrax in connection with his visit to the second lab in 1999 and the 2000 Porton Down-sponsored conference.

    In short, perhaps torture was unnecessary if the dots had been connected in Amerithrax.

    The CIA could have put an intercept on all communications from whom Rauf Ahmad had been in contact and was learning processing tricks. The FBI or CIA could have run undercover operations against those scientists — instead of the blogger trying to connect the dots based on what was in the public domain.

    If that was done, perhaps the fruits of those results might have avoided any reliance on a theory of Iraq as being the source of the Ames to justify invasion of Iraq. Maybe it would have been learned that Al Qaeda obtained virulent Ames from a Western lab.

    The difficulty is that KSM, Rauf Ahmad and Yazid Sufaat have all proven themselves highly evasive. Yazid Sufaat has said that he was mad at his country arresting him. In a filmed interview, he has said he wasn’t about to let the CIA hear the truth pass his lips. In that interview, he claimed to have been part of a secret Malaysian biological weapons program. Rauf Ahmad proved himself a liar that first day of interrogation — on the second day, after pausing for the day’s tea and cookies — he had no reason to go beyond what the documents showed.

    Did the CIA at least know what the British MI5 and knew by 2000? And what Malaysia knew by February 2002? Did the CIA know at least what Amerithrax scientist Les Baillie knew — who by then was working at the NMRC in Maryland helping the FBI on Amerithrax where the repository was Ames samples was kept?

    Al Qaeda anthrax lab scientists have told me more than Professor Baillie.

    It is time for GAO to jawbone the FBI into releasing as much as possible under FOIA.

    Anthrax, Al Qaeda. and Ayman Zawahiri: The Infiltration of US Biodefense
    http://www.amerithrax.wordpress.com

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