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

* The GAO report has confirmed what the NAS said two years ago, which is that the FBI’s allegation that Dr. Bruce Ivins was the sole perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax attacks – or even involved in any way – is not supported by the scientific evidence the FBI has presented.

Posted by DXer on December 21, 2014




The GAO report has confirmed what the NAS said two years ago, which is that the FBI’s allegation that Dr. Bruce Ivins was the sole perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax attacks – or even involved in any way – is not supported by the scientific evidence the FBI has presented.

Unfortunately, the GAO report did not address all of the many open questions regarding other alleged evidence which this blog and others have raised, and thus has left unanswered the reasons for the FBI’s inexplicable insistence on Ivins as the perpetrator when they have not presented even a semblance of a credible case.

What is the FBI covering up? Why?

These are not trivial questions. The answers are important to our national security and to our confidence in the FBI.

I think there are three possible explanations …

  1.  The FBI has more evidence against Ivins which it has not made public.
  2.  The FBI has not solved the case and doesn’t know who the attackers were.
  3.  The FBI knows who committed the attacks but doesn’t want us to know.

Of these, it seems to me the third explanation is by far the most likely and the most terrifying.

Beyond that, with the GAO report issued, it seems that no one else really cares about the multitude of questions raised on this blog, which means we will never know the truth.

My novel CASE CLOSED was written several years ago as a fictional account exploring the FBI’s pathetic case and the reasons they might have had for presenting it. It was never presented as fact, but as time has gone by, it seems to me to be much closer to what the truth might be than anything the FBI has ever presented.



25 Responses to “* The GAO report has confirmed what the NAS said two years ago, which is that the FBI’s allegation that Dr. Bruce Ivins was the sole perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax attacks – or even involved in any way – is not supported by the scientific evidence the FBI has presented.”

  1. DXer said

    Mueller should stop being such a wuss and subpoena the President. The President simply can plead the Fifth Amendment if he likes.

    The President is not above the law but Mueller is treating him as if he is. Mueller is undermining the rule of law by appearing to be ineffectual.

    I find it bizarre that Mueller would think about filing a report without interviewing such a central witness. Such a report risks as being as worthless as the GAO report in Amerithrax was — where the panel was not allowed to address Bruce Ivins’ guilt or innocence. And thus unable to address the exculpatory evidence still being withheld.

    If Mueller does not seek the subpoena the President, he was the wrong fellow to choose for the job. And that will be his legacy in history.

    Trump mulling whether to give written answers to Mueller, Giuliani says
    A final decision is expected soon after the president returns Sunday night from his trip to Paris.

    11/08/2018 03:21 PM EST
    Updated 11/08/2018 03:42 PM EST

  2. DXer said

    Excerpt (I believe from the Royal Society of Chemistry in the UK) but it is not convenient for me to look back on this device):

    FBI’s 2001 anthrax investigation was flawed
    24 December 2014 Rebecca Trager

    The scientific evidence that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) relied upon to investigate the October 2001 anthrax attacks – and ultimately identify the culprit after his suicide – was deeply flawed, according to a new report from the congressional Government Accountability Office (GAO).

    The GAO found that the FBI lacked a comprehensive approach or framework to standardise the genetic testing used to track down the culprit. It also found that each of the FBI’s four contractors developed different tests and there was no statistical confidence for interpreting the results.

    These genetic analyses were used to link the material found in the anthrax-laden letters to the laboratory of Bruce Ivins, a senior biodefence researcher at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. In February 2010, the FBI formally concluded that Ivins, who committed suicide in 2008, was solely responsible for the attacks.


    The investigation was undertaken partly because of questions raised by a National Academies study released in 2011, which determined that the FBI’s scientific data did not rule out other possible sources of the weaponised anthrax spores in the letters.

    The GAO also found that one of the four genetic tests the FBI used on the anthrax samples had a 43% false negative rate. ‘That just really dropped my jaw, and it should be very embarrassing to the FBI that they still relied on that,’ says Jim White, a now retired molecular biologist with expertise in fermentation technology and microbial growth. Two of the three other genetic tests that the FBI relied on had false negative rates in the 20% range.


    But White and others argue that the information and questions that have surfaced in recent years warrant reopening the case.

    Retiring congressman Rush Holt, whose New Jersey district was a target of the anthrax letters, requested the GAO study. Holt, who is set to be the next president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said the GAO findings confirm that the FBI’s conclusions about the anthrax attacks are not definitive. Holt is quoted as saying that the US needs a ‘comprehensive, independent review’ of the FBI investigation to ensure that lessons have been learned.

  3. Lew Weinstein said

    The point is that the FBI has not told the truth. What are they hiding? Why? It is very disappointing that the GAO ignored so many of the relevant issues in the FBI’s pathetic performance.

    • DXer said

      I don’t think of the FBI’s performance as being pathetic up to July 2009. I just see it as being mistaken. I think an Ivins hypothesis was just as reasonable as a Hatfill hypothesis. I’ve yet to see any critic demonstrate that they could do better.

      It does come to be immoral, though, when mistakes are not corrected — and we all make mistakes. For example, we now know that Dr. Ivins did have reason to be in the lab those nights and weekends. He had an experiment with 52 rabbits in the B3. It took years to obtain the documents under FOIA — which have been uploaded. (If you haven’t read them and still subscribe to an Ivins Theory, it is evidence your theory is uninformed or that you have a reading comprehension problem). Where does Vahid Majidi in his ebook correct himself? That book is all about urging that his former supervisor Comey has his back. That is as CYA as it comes.

      It only becomes outrageous when the FBI scientists and prosecutors do not correct themselves — and when the scientists like Vahid Majidi continue to make the same fraudulent points about the two-person rule, the imagined code etc.

      It only becomes outrageous when the FBI withholds documents about Adnan El-Shukrijumah. When it continues to withhold information about the second lab that Rauf Ahmad visited. When it withholds documents about the CIA’s finding of Ames in Afghanistan. When the FBI does not disclose that the boots on the ground did not recover the bottle of anthrax spore concentrate harvested in April 2001, before he set up Yazid Sufaat’s lab in May 2001 upon delivery of the new equipment. It only becomes outrageous when conflicts of interest are allowed to run rampant — and samples are thrown out and key results discarded.

      It only becomes outrageous when there is no transparency on these issues of conflict of interest.

      It only becomes outrageous when the FBI scientists and consultants market and sell books that rely on the counselor who says she was controlled by an alien who had implanted a microchip in her butt — and argue that the Ivins case represents a case study of relying on unreliable personnel. She thought she was being pursued by murderous astral entities attached to her clients.

      It only becomes outrageous when the FBI scientists fail to disclose the forensics on the photocopier toner — while the report drops a footnote with innuendo about Ivins’ time in the library where there was a copier. The forensic report being withheld shows that copier could be EXCLUDED. Or when they fail to disclose the forensics on the ink and paper — all of which was exculpatory of Ivins.

      It only becomes outrageous when they withhold the handwriting comparison showing Ivins probably did not write the letters for years — and then pretend that there was another overriding opinion.

      But as for how they all came together upon Ivins suicide? I think the scientists were somewhat aghast that they were pushed to the front and expected to defend closing of the case…. when they hadn’t even been privy to investigative aspects. Then they understandably wanted credit for developing science in the emerging field of microbial forensics. And all these scientists strike me as darn smart.

      AUSA Lieber got reprimanded for visiting a jihadi in jail. Superiors said a “deal had been cut.” And so I even credit her good faith — she was in a difficult position given what she faced in that office and the turmoil during that period.

      And so oI think we can credit the FBI’s good faith and efforts up until the time that they failed to acknowledge mistakes after they were pointed out. Then it is not merely pathetic but outrageous and immoral.

      I’m a big fan of the FBI and CIA — precisely because they so often correct their mistakes. The recent audit of the evidence handling is a good example. That demonstrates an organization commitment to integrity.

      If you trace back some comments, you will find that information has remained classified and/or withheld to avoid embarrassment to a third country.

      That of course is unacceptable reason to withhold any of the information described above.

      As Senator Leahy has said, when governments screw up, they just mark the documents SECRET. That allows the government workers to go on to lucrative second careers and be promoted within government.

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

  4. DXer said

    Baltimore CBS video / Report: FBI Investigation Into Anthrax Attack Was Flawed

    It’s unknown what will happen now. Rick Ritter reports

    (Professor Greenberger of the University of Maryland Law School is interviewed ; the Professor testified in 2009 at the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing)


    The Chair of the Dangerous Pathogens 2000 conference at which the Al Qaeda scientist’s Rauf Ahmad’s research on killing mice with anthrax was presented, worked at the University of Maryland Biotechnology Center while advising the FBI’s Amerithrax Investigation ; the paper Dr. Baillie presented was co-authored with sequencer of the Ames strain
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 16, 2014

    Greenberger at Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing … “I’ve studied the Ft. Detrick situation. I’m not at all convinced that Dr. Ivins was necessarily the perpetrator”
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 23, 2009’ve-studied-the-ft-detrick-situation-i’m-not-at-all-convinced-that-dr-ivins-was-necessarily-the-perpetrator/

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

    • DXer said

      In is biography, Dr. Les Baillie has noted that he was the only non-US scientist consulting on Amerithrax. He worked for the University of Maryland. He worked for Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC) from at least 2002-2006.

      NMRC maintained the Amerithrax repository in Maryland under a contract with the FBI.

      In this 2005 article, Dr. Baillie lists his institutional affiliation as Medical Biotechnology Center, University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA” but lists an NRMC email.

      We see the affiliation and email existed at least from 2002 – 2006 at a minimum, all the critical years of NMRC’s management of the FBIR.


      … July 1, 2002 University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute …

      2003 ARS Immunology Research Workshop …
      bailliel [at ]

      Advances in Immunology and Vaccine Discovery EU-US Workshop
      Dec 12, 2006 … ….. bailliel [ at ]

      If Dr. Baillie worked with microencapsulation and worked with subtilis — as he did — and hosted the Al Qaeda anthrax scientist Rauf Ahmad at a conference where he was obtaining samples and getting processing tips — there needs to be more transparency on a number of issues:

      1) There needs to identification of the people who participated in discarding the CIA’s results about the detection of Ames in Afghanistan; (It appears that the boots on the ground did not seize the “anthrax spore concentrate” that AQ infiltrator Rauf Ahmad harvested in April 2001, before setting up Yazid Sufaat’s lab iin Kandahar in May.
      Thus testing was subject to the decontamination efforts that Rauf Ahmad and Ayman Zawahiri had planned, whereby the labs would be painted and wiped down with insecticide.

      2) identification of the second lab in the UK that Rauf Ahmad visited (prepare to be shocked); I believe people like David Relman and JB Petro have known for over a decade. see Science article.

      3) identification of the people who advised the FBI not to pursue the “silicon signal”; ask Dr. Majidi and Scott Decker.

      4) identification of the people who advised the FBI not to search all the suspect labs for subtilis; ask Dr. Majidi and Scott Decker.

      5) identification of the strains that Rauf Ahmad was intercepted leaving with in 2000 by MI5. Ask MI5 officer “Tom”.

      6) identification of the strains he obtained at the second lab he visited in 1999. (ask the scientist who hosted him).

      FBI Special Agent Borelli drafted an statement about what Rauf Ahmad at the ISI house where he and two CIA agents interviewed Rauf Ahmad over tea and cookies. That should be disclosed. Ask AP’s Matt Apuzzo ask Special Agent Borelli what it said.

      Don’t you think the American public had a right to know that Rauf Ahmad had presented at Dr. Baillie’s Porton Down conference in 2000 on killing mice with 100 injected spores?

  5. DXer said

    Poor methods weakened FBI investigation of 2001 anthrax attacks, report concludes

    David Malakoff

    22 December 2014 1:30 pm

    FBI’s investigation of the 2001 anthrax letter attacks that killed five people in the United States was marred by weak scientific practices and analytical gaps, a report by Congress’s watchdog agency has concluded. The findings, released 19 December, mirror those reached by a similar study conducted in 2011 by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).

    Some background that is being overlooked in so many of these articles is that even if the science was hunky dory, it only limited things — and this is just at USAMRIID — to “up to 377” people:

    The genetically matching sample from CDC7738 was obtained from Building 1412, and not Building 1425 ; a key false premise of the FBI’s “Ivins Theory” Announced in early August 2008 was that only 100 at USAMRIID needed to be eliminated rather than up to 300 (and that was just considering those with access at USAMRIID)
    Posted on May 19, 2014

    The genetics inquiry just narrowed things from “over 700″ to “up to 377″ individuals who had access to Ames during the time of the 2001 mailings
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 21, 2011

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

  6. DXer said

  7. DXer said

    I haven’t seen the report but coincidentally University of Maryland Biotechnology Center is where Amerithrax scientist Les Baillie worked. He hosted Al Qaeda anthrax scientist Rauf Ahmad at the “Dangerous Pathogens 2000” conference where the Al Qaeda’s scientist work killing mice with 100 injected spores was presented.

    The learned forensic scientist, Dr. Michael Garvey, PhD (former FBI, former CIA, current head of forensic science for the City of Philadelphia) has explained:

    “In the Amerithrax investigation, the FBI report discusses OCONUS samples that had inconsistent results for the presence of B. anthracis and possibly even indications of the presence of the Ames strain. However, these results were ultimately discarded by the FBI due to the inconsistencies in the various testing results, sampling procedures, and methodology used by the FBI and IC. As this case never reached trial and the details of this intelligence based collection is mostly classified, it cannot be fully addressed.”

    Separately he noted:

    “The reporting suggests that B. anthracis consistent with Ames strain was identified from this location. However, without full disclosure of the scientific data, one cannot ascertain whether these results are reliable. If reliable, did these results indicate the presence of Ames strain in an Al Qaeda lab from a laboratory transfer or is there an isolate of B. anthracis that is located in the undisclosed region of the world that developed similar markers to the Ames strain through parallel evolution. More importantly, these results show the importance of fully understanding the limitations of an assay in order to better explain its results.”

    Microbial Forensics and U.S. National Security: Science and Strategy
    Garvey, Michael
    Date: 2014-08

    If the CIA concluded from the molecular evidence that there was Ames at the Afghanistan lab — and the FBI discarded those results — and Ames anthrax genetics expert Les Baillie was working for the FBI on Amerithrax at the NMRC in Maryland (where the FBI repository was kept), wasn’t that a conflict of interest beyond pale?

    Dr. Garvey notes:

    “While the FBI would perform extensive investigations on each consultant in order to verify his/her suitability to assist the investigation and rule them out as a subject of the investigation, this unique aspect of the investigation could be correlated to a forensic examiner, who is suspected of a sexual assault, being consulted on and examining the sexual assault evidence in the same case.” (p. 79)

    The UK Lab That Let Al Qaeda Scientist Rauf Ahmad Leave With Virulent Anthrax in 1999 Made A Mistake; To Keep The Lab’s Identity A Secret Prevents Us From Learning From History
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 5, 2014

    The FBI interview Rauf Ahmad, a Pakistan government scientist, over tea and cookies at an ISI safehouse.

    • DXer said

      In this 2002 article, Dr. Baillie and his Porton Down colleagues describe microencapsulation. Was Dr. Baillie on the Red Team that recommended that the Silicon Signature (indicating microencapsulation to many) not be pursued? If so, despite his good faith, given his connection to Al Qaeda scientist Rauf Ahmad, I venture that represented an acute conflict of interest.

      Infect Immun. 2002 Apr;70(4):2022-8.
      Mucosal or parenteral administration of microsphere-associated Bacillus anthracis protective antigen protects against anthrax infection in mice.
      Flick-Smith HC1, Eyles JE, Hebdon R, Waters EL, Beedham RJ, Stagg TJ, Miller J, Alpar HO, Baillie LW, Williamson ED.

      Microencapsulation of vaccine antigens offers a number of advantages over traditional vaccine formulations, including stability without refrigeration and the potential for utilizing less invasive routes of administration …

      Immunization with microencapsulated and microsphere-associated formulations of rPA also protected against aerosol challenge with 30 median lethal doses of STI spores. These results show that rPA can be encapsulated and surface bound to polymeric microspheres without impairing its immunogenicity and also that mucosal or parenteral administration of microspheric formulations of rPA efficiently protects mice against both injected and aerosol challenges with B. anthracis spores. Microspheric formulations of rPA could represent the next generation of anthrax vaccines, which could require fewer doses because they are more potent, are less reactogenic than currently available human anthrax vaccines, and could be self-administered without injection.

  8. Lew Weinstein said

    BALTIMORE (WJZ) … The FBI used what scientists found at the University of Maryland to seal their cases against him, but in 2008—just days before he was going to be indicted—the Fort Detrick scientist killed himself. Now, new research states there’s no firm link between the mailed anthrax spores and a sample taken from Ivins’ lab in Maryland.

  9. DXer said

    Being so narrowly limited to validation and statistical analysis of the four morphs analysis, the GAO totally avoided far more probative forensic evidence.

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

  10. Lew Weinstein said

    Reblogged this on TRAVEL with pat and lew and commented:

    The GAO agrees with the NAS … the FBI has not proven that Ivins did it … Then who did? And why don’t we know the full story?

  11. DXer said

    Under the laws of libel, ,why hasn’t Vahid Majidi corrected his factual miststatements about Ivins’ hours — to include what he says about the two-person rule? Just because he thinks it is okay to say false things about someone who is dead?

    I would think a scientist would want to correct his facts so as to maintain his credibility.

    The DOJ Civil Division Notes That It Is Not In Genuine Dispute That After 2001, A Short-lived Two Person Rule (Implemented Early 2002) Prevented The Same Pattern Of Hours That AUSA Rachel Lieber Mistakenly Relied Upon As Proof Of Ivins’ Guilt
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 28, 2011

    Colonel Eitzen, the Commander, testified at civil deposition that a two-person rule prior to October 2001 would have been impractical because of the need for work on weekends and nights
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 15, 2013

    After the 9/11 attacks, a short-lived two-person rule prevented the same hours in the B3 alone after December 2001 – why did AUSA Rachel Lieber not know that?
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 27, 2011

  12. DXer said

    With the genetics work not admissible under Daubert, how does Scott Decker and Vahid Majidi defend the remaining non-existent case against Dr. Ivins?

    For example, what does Dr. Decker and Dr. Majidi say about the FBI’s code theory when shown the actual documents, rather than merely the unsupported assertions?

    • DXer said

      As anyone can see, whether expert or not (and without magnification), the “X” is double-lined. Now why on earth did Agent Steele not tell us the “X” was double-lined — was he trying to make an imagined code fit his Ivins Theory?

      • DXer said

        With the “X” double-lined and thus the FBI’s code theory total crock, why as scientists do Scott Decker and Vahid Majidi think they can rely on the code theory in accusing Dr. Ivins of murder?

        Whatever happened to a scientist’s professional obligation to correct mistakes?

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