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

* Rush Holt, upon leaving Congress, is becoming the chief executive officer of American Association for the Advancement of Science … perhaps he will continue his quest to determine the truth about the 2001 anthrax attacks

Posted by DXer on December 24, 2014

Congressman Rush Holt may be Dr. Bruce Ivins only chance at posthumous redemption

Congressman Rush Holt may be Dr. Bruce Ivins only chance at posthumous redemption

Rush Holt, upon leaving Congress, is becoming the chief executive officer of American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Report requested by Holt found gaps in FBI’s investigation of anthrax attacks

You may remember him as the fellow who beat IBM’s Big Blue at Jeopardy.

Trentonian (10/20/13) … Congressman Rush Holt: “Myriad questions remain about the anthrax attacks and the government’s response to the attacks.
Posted by Lew Weinstein on October 21, 2013

“I wouldn’t want to be the lawyer taking this (the FBI case against Dr. Bruce Ivins) to court,” said U.S. Rep. Rush Holt
Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 29, 2011’t-want-to-be-the-lawyer-taking-this-to-court”-said-u-s-rep-rush-holt/

Congressman Rush Holt: the FBI’s anthrax case should not have been closed … it would not hold up in court
Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 20, 2010

47 Responses to “* Rush Holt, upon leaving Congress, is becoming the chief executive officer of American Association for the Advancement of Science … perhaps he will continue his quest to determine the truth about the 2001 anthrax attacks”

  1. DXer said

    Lawmakers demand answers on anthrax scare

    Leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee are demanding answers from the government’s top health and defense officials about how the Army accidentally shipped live anthrax to research
    facilities in nine states and South Korea.

    Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and ranking member Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) sent letters to the heads of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Department of Defense on Thursday asking for personal briefings about the incident.

  2. DXer said

    Ex-FBI official says agency hiding evidence casting doubt on scientist’s guilt in anthrax case

    • By DAVID DISHNEAU Associated Press
    • First Posted: April 15, 2015
    Last Updated: April 15, 2015 – 5:01 p

    A former director of the FBI’s anthrax investigation says the agency is concealing evidence that casts doubt on its conclusion that Army scientist Bruce Ivins sent the anthrax-filled letters that killed five people and sickened 17 others in 2001.

    Richard Lambert made the assertion in a civil lawsuit filed April 2 in U.S. District Court in Knoxville, Tennessee. He said Wednesday that the Privacy Act will likely prevent the information’s release unless Congress decides to investigate.

    FBI spokesman Christopher Allen said the agency usually doesn’t comment on pending litigation. In December, responding to a General Accountability Office report that anthrax investigators used flawed scientific methods, Allen said the FBI’s conclusions were based on “the full evidence before us.”

    Ivins took his own life in Frederick, Maryland, in 2008 as prosecutors prepared to charge him with murder. Jeffrey Taylor, then U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, told a news conference eight days later that “based on the evidence we had collected, we could prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

    Lambert, who is also a lawyer, says in his lawsuit that while Ivins might have been the mailer, the circumstantial case against him would not have been enough for a conviction. He says there is a “wealth” of contrary evidence, “which the FBI continues to conceal from Congress and the American people.”

    Under Lambert’s direction, relatively early in the probe, anthrax investigators focused on another Army scientist, Steven Hatfill, who was eventually cleared. Hatfill received $5.8 million to settle his violation-of-privacy lawsuit against the Justice Department.

    Lambert headed the investigation from 2002 to 2006, when he transferred to Knoxville to run the FBI office there until his retirement in 2012. His lawsuit contends the Justice Department illegally caused him to be fired from a subsequent security job at the Energy Department’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory because he had filed a whistleblower report in 2006 alleging mismanagement of the anthrax probe.

    The alleged mismanagement included “the FBI’s fingering of Bruce Ivins as the anthrax mailer” and “the FBI’s subsequent efforts to railroad the prosecution of Ivins in the face of daunting exculpatory evidence,” Lambert says in his lawsuit.

    Lambert says his whistleblower complaints also included understaffing of the investigation; inexperienced team members; restrictions on information sharing; and the FBI laboratory’s deliberate concealment from the team of its discovery of human DNA on an anthrax-filled envelope addressed to U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy.

  3. DXer said

    Former F.B.I. Agent Sues, Claiming Retaliation Over Misgivings in Anthrax Case

    By SCOTT SHANE, APRIL 8, 2015

    But Mr. Lambert says the bureau also gathered a large amount of evidence pointing away from Dr. Ivins’s guilt that was never shared with the public or the news media. Had the case come to trial, he said, “I absolutely do not think they could have proved his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.” He declined to be specific, saying that most of the information was protected by the Privacy Act and was unlikely to become public unless Congress carried out its own inquiry.

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

  4. Chappy WDC said

    Very good Lew, keep up the good work, these liars will yield soon, they attempted to re-write history for their own benefits. A Key Stone Cop investigation from the beginning, they should sort through all the bad information and jail every single one of them. Including the FBI supporters that went with the code of the hills type subjections. Its always finger pointing at this stage, Officials higher up blaming the Agents down below and vis versa. Bruce Ivins was innocent and was probably murdered to cover up something else, then something else…..

  5. DXer said

    The Nincompoop who has spent the last 13 years arguing a First Grader wrote the letters is packing up his bags. He was unable to move the dial from the 0% that agrees with him. (In contrast, a majority of those polled, in a recent poll, think Dr. Ivins is not guilty. About 15%, last I looked, think he is guilty. The remainder are uncertain).

    The biggest weakness in The Nincompoop’s advocacy of his First Grader theory was that he never addressed the merits — while even to this day pretending as if it was the other way around. He refused to even read the peer reviewed literature about handwriting of children that I would urge upon him — or understand that repeatable and controlled experiments are essential to the underpinning of the validity of handwriting analysis. He would screen the posts and not let many of them through.

    “I know it when I see it” only cuts it among pornographers more used to arguing with 13 year-old boys. That is related to his failure to take to heart or understand the trenchant criticisms in the GAO recent reporting on the analysis of morphological variants — which constituted his first point relied upon in supporting an Ivins Theory.

    After the morphs, his first point he features in arguing Ivins as the man behind the First Grader:

    “In 2000, a year before the anthrax mailings, Ivins had talked with his mental heath counselor about his plan to poison a “young woman.” The counselor called the police, but because Ivins hadn’t provided a name, there wasn’t anything they could do. The facts indicate the woman was Ivins’ former assistant, Mara Linscott. Ivins evidently changed his mind about poisoning her.”

    To avoid addressing the merits, The Nincompoop simply wouldn’t let through posts on the subject. But reliance on the counselor has been thoroughly addressed on this blog. The fault lies with the psychiatrist Gregory S., the book author David Willman and this nincompoop arguing that a First Grader wrote the letters. Apparently neither Gregory, David nor the nincompoop arguing for 13 years that a First Grader wrote the letters bothered to read the first counselor’s 2009 book before publishing their views (which were never revised as to this reliance). The Nincompoop would dismiss the relevance of the book while never having bothered to read the e-book. It’s not very competent to not vet the first witness you propose to call in arguing someone is guilty of five murders.

    That first counselor, Judith, annotated the psychiatrist’s notes and Gregory S. was relying on those notes.

    Below are just a few of the threads on the subject on this blog. The posts contain excerpts from the first counselor’s 2009 book detailing her psychosis during the part-time addictions counseling gig when she met with Ivins several times. Such a witness would not be allowed to testify given she says she was psychotic at the time.

    A prosecutor’s case would be dead in the water if they ever tried to call such a witness. A psychiatrist who relies on such a witness — and so advises a federal district court in an important national security investigation — and then fails to advise the district court that reliance should be excised, is guilty of professional malpractice. Principles of professional malpractice apply to Harvard professors and Pulitzer winning journalists and even the Washington Post and its Ombudsman — though we have no expectation that The Nincompoop would correct himself.

    David Willman relies extensively upon Dr. Ivins’ first therapist, Judith M. McLean, who writes of how she acquired her psychic abilities in her book available for sale on — from a being from another planet
    Posted on June 11, 2011

    the material on the CASE CLOSED blog about Judith McLean (see prior posts linked below) is relevant to an evaluation of the validity of David Willman’s conclusions in his recently published “The Mirage Man” … because Willman himself, in his publicity blurb (see below), shows just how much he relied on the psychic who says … she was granted her abilities by an extraterrestrial being … got sick in 2001 from doing astral recovery work at Ground Zero and in Afghanistan after 9/11 … and was pursued by nasty Taliban entities
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 12, 2011’s-conclusions-in-his-recently-published-“the-mirage-man”-because/

    The Psychiatrists Are Selling A Report Relying On A Counselor Who Says She Was Granted Special Powers By An Alien Controlling Her By A Device Implanted In Her Butt, But The USG Has Taken Steps To Keep The DOJ’s Reliance On That Evidence Sealed For 5 Years
    Posted on November 15, 2011

    DOJ has successfully avoided deposition of Amerithrax consultant Gregory Saathoff who extensively and uncritically relied on the Ivins’ accuser who claims she was granted her psychic abilities by an alien from another planet
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 13, 2011

  6. DXer said

    Decades after FBI lab scandal, attorneys reviewing old Tampa Bay murder cases
    Curtis Krueger, Times Staff Writer

    Monday, December 29, 2014 10:19am

    After an 18-month investigation, the FBI’s inspector general reported in 1997 finding “serious and significant deficiencies” in FBI lab work, leading to scientifically flawed and inaccurate testimony. This and other reviews led the Justice Department to review old criminal cases to see if the sloppy work resulted in improper convictions.

    The Tampa Bay Times wrote in 2001 that, “the process for investigating flawed cases is flawed. Florida cases get lost in a bureaucratic morass.” And the Washington Post reported in 2012 that while the Justice Department knew flawed forensic work might have led to convictions of potentially innocent people, “prosecutors failed to notify defendants or their attorneys even in many cases they knew were troubled.”


    In Amerithrax, DOJ and FBI officials activiely prevented the merits of the case against Ivins from being reviewed — the NAS and GAO were not allowed to consider the evidence against Ivins. So while known to be flawed, review was expressly prevented. Indeed, former investigators and scientists took to actively spinning an Ivins Theory in books, including self-published books.

    Lew has written a novel about an unjust conviction.

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

    • DXer said

      Scientific American

      FBI’s 2001 Anthrax Attack Probe Was Seriously Flawed

      One genetic test had a 43 percent false negative rate, casting doubt on conclusions, says U.S. oversight report

      December 29, 2014 |By Rebecca Trager and ChemistryWorld

      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).

  7. DXer said

    If a reporter, you could pick up the phone and interview Les Baillie about his acquaintanceship with Al Qaeda scientist Rauf Ahmad from the Porton Down conferences.

    Dr. Baillie organized the conferences that Al Qaeda scientist Rauf Ahmad attended in 1999 and 2000 — and Dr. Baillie’s work at NMRC in Maryland relating to the Amerithrax inventory of samples. Or you could submit a FOIA to NMRC.

    You don’t have to be so direct as to ask Dr. Baillie if he chugged beers with Rauf Ahmad and Bruce Ivins at the local tavern. You could ask high falutin questions about genomics and morphs FN/ if that is your cup of tea — and gather information indirectly.

    Former Al Qaeda anthrax scientist Rauf Ahmad might be more cooperative. You could ask him.

    Dickens thought “law is an ass?”FN/

    What about science?

    The FBI has known since 2001 that a paper at the 2000 UK conference chaired by the lone non-US Amerithrax advisor Les Baillie, explained how Al Qaeda’s anthrax lab scientist Rauf Ahmad had killed mice with 100 injected spores.
    Posted on November 16, 2014

    Prof Les Baillie presented on “The Misuse of Biology” last month in this slide presentation at the Global Trends and Implications for British Security Conference
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 16, 2014

    In his recent slideshare on the “Misuse of Biology,” the sole non-US Amerithrax adviser Les Baillie discussed Amerithrax, stealing pathogens from lab, and the consquences of a small-scale and large scale anthrax attack
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 16, 2014

    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

    Morphotype A.

    “Surprisingly, B. anthracis Ames Porton was positive in this assay and contained a 1,260-bp duplication at this locus. This information led us to reexamine the genome sequence assembly of B. anthracis Ames Porton …”


    In 2003, The Institute for Genomic Research completed the whole chromosome sequence and analysis of the plasmidless B. anthracis Ames Porton (15), because this strain had been cured of both virulence plasmids, pXO1 and pXO2, by heat (43 °C) and novobiocin treatment, respectively (16). Comparison of the genome sequence of Ames Porton to the draft genome sequence of the B. anthracis strain isolated from the first victim of the 2001 mail anthrax attacks in Florida (Ames Florida strain A2012) revealed a limited number of novel and potentially diagnostic genetic variations that included chromosomal SNPs and insertions/deletions (INDELs) (9). Genetic variation was also identified in the plasmid sequences of Ames Florida by comparison with pXO1 and pXO2 from B. anthracis Sterne (pXO1+, pXO2−) and Pasteur (pXO1−, pXO2+), respectively, the only two representative B. anthracis plasmid sequences (17, 18). It became clear that the chromosomal and plasmid genetic variations were not characteristic of Ames Florida but rather were specific to Ames Porton because of the mutagenic effects of the plasmid curing process. This study highlighted the need for a high-quality genome sequence of a fully virulent B. anthracis Ames.


    “Our study contributed to the development of genetic markers with exquisite specificity to support the Amerithrax investigation. For example, although current genotyping systems are able to differentiate strains of B. anthracis, they are unable to distinguish rare subpopulations within individual cultures. B. anthracis is highly monomorphic, and accurate genotyping relies on a combination of canonical SNPs and multiple-locus variable-number tandem repeat analyses (1, 4, 24–26). We started with the naïve approach that a single reference genome and sample would be sufficient for comparison. Read et al. (9) identified a number of polymorphic sites when comparing the Ames Porton and Ames Florida genomes; however, with only two points of reference, very little could be definitively ascertained. The comparison of the Ames Ancestor genome sequence identified no differences compared with that of the Ames Florida isolate, an isolate obtained directly from the individual infected at the AMI building (9). This finding suggests that the variation in the Ames Porton isolate was most likely caused by years of laboratory culture and treatments to remove the plasmids ”

    Bacillus anthracis comparative genome analysis in support of the Amerithrax investigation
    • David A. Raskoa,
    • Patricia L. Worshamb,
    • Terry G. Abshireb,
    • Scott T. Stanleyc,1,
    • Jason D. Bannand,
    • Mark R. Wilsond,2,
    • Richard J. Langhamc,
    • R. Scott Deckerc,3,
    • Lingxia Jianga,4,
    • Timothy D. Reade,
    • Adam M. Phillippyf,
    • Steven L. Salzbergf,
    • Mihai Popf,
    • Matthew N. Van Ertg,h,
    • Leo J. Keneficg,h,5,
    • Paul S. Keimg,h,
    • Claire M. Fraser-Liggetti, and
    • Jacques Ravela,6

    Author Affiliations

    • Edited* by Rita R. Colwell, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, and approved February 2, 2011 (received for review November 12, 2010)


    AUTHOR: Charles Dickens (1812–70)

    QUOTATION: “If the law supposes that,” said Mr. Bumble,… “the law is a ass—a idiot. If that’s the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is that his eye may be opened by experience—by experience.”

    ATTRIBUTION: CHARLES DICKENS, Oliver Twist, chapter 51, p. 489 (1970). First published serially 1837–1839.

  8. DXer said

    Why do people bother writing books about Amerithrax without submitting FOIAs or interviewing people with information? Rule 101 in seeking buried treasure: If you want to unearth secrets, you should bring a shovel. See Mental Floss, BE AMAZING.

    For example, Graeme MacQueane’s politically motivated researcher Barry Kissin, after persuading a gullible Graeme that 911 was a fraud, has come up with wild inferences about the lady with the dramatic tale about Atta’s visit to her office for a loan to buy a cropduster. (See, the hijackers never actually got on the plane, Graeme foolishly reasons.)

    Did Barry or Graeme ever stop to think that he might want to call or email her before spinning their conjecture — which was even wilder than the lady’s admittedly startling account? Isn’t that about as basic a journalistic principle as there is?

    Graeme and Barry apparently did not even know that Bin Laden eventually confessed to 911 — after it became beyond reasonable dispute. He had denied it for years.

    See Full transcript of bin Ladin’s speech
    Following is the full English transcript of Usama bin Ladin’s speech in a videotape sent to Aljazeera. In the interests of authenticity, the content of the transcript, which appeared as subtitles at the foot of the screen, has been left unedited.
    Last Modified: 01 Nov 2004

    Barry shut down communication when I emailed him the link.

    I know another internet poster who, like Barry, Graeme and a host of others, expresses no interest in obtaining the forensic reports on ink, paper composition, and photocopy toner — and yet has spent 13 years arguing a First Grader wrote the letters because of the block lettering used! He has spent years pontificating about the difference between direct and circumstantial evidence — without ever bothering to shoot an email to FBI FOIA to ask for the reports bearing on the subject of the handwriting.

    Making such a requests cost nothing but these pundits don’t bother.

    Not even the people focused on Shukrijumah for being a bad boy, to the best of my knowledge, have yet focused on obtaining and disclosing exemplars of Shukrijumah’s handwriting.

    In the case of Shukrijumah, however, there are journalistic giants and book authors who have launched a major litigation seeking production of documents. With Shukrijumah dead, privacy and national security exemptions, I think, should be inapplicable to at least that extent. His death should lead to production of all documents containing his name — with his name unredacted.

    I am not similarly optimistic in the suit involving Jdey — but hope springs eternal. Even in connection with the Shukrijumah-related litigation, the FBI and State Department’s position as of a few days ago was that they had not received confirmation Shukrijumah was dead.

    Don’t people realize that to unearth secrets you should bring a shovel? You should obtain documents or interview people who have information? At least David Willman interviewed the investigators and others and pinned them down as to what they were thinking in forming their Ivins Theory. His copious citations of dated interviews with named investigators and others constitutes a rich vein of investigative ore. For example, you can see the dates he spoke with Ivins’ first counselor Judith McLean without discussing her 2009 book in which she explained that in 2000 she was controlled by an alien who had implanted a microchip in her butt in order to control her actions. She received her instructions at night. They apparently did not discuss her book in which she explained that she feared the murderous astral entities attached to the clients in her new part-time addictions counseling gig.

    Vahid Majidi gets the same things wrong that US Attorney Taylor did in his press conference — evidencing no attempt to use FOIA to get people on the same page.

    The DOJ didn’t even keep copies of the full depositions in Hatfill v. US as required under the DOJ document retention policy.

    As another case study of the “bring a shovel” approach, consider the Isabella Gardner mystery of the missing paintings.

    In this 2013 interview about the Isabella Gardner heist, the FBI says it needs your help. Only the FBI is authorized to bring a sledge hammer (or for that matter, absent permission, a shovel). You may want to get permission.

    In Amerithrax, you might have to simply politely ask Rauf Ahmad about the bottle of “anthrax spore concentrate” the documentary evidence indicates he harvested in April 2001.

    This blog uploaded the rare and extremely hard-to-obtain FBI’s 302s in the Isabella Gardner heist, illustrating the wealth of clues that came with who visited Carmello Merlino’s garage or were discussed by the two informants in the garage.

    But until veteran journalist Steve Kurkjian made the rounds with the denture-wearing gangsters and their molls, the story hadn’t come alive. (Although I loved and learned a lot from the seminal Ulrich Boser book). In years past, we’ve mainly only heard from charlatans on the periphery of the crew — and the Boston mouthpiece Marty who once represented the crew and Robert Guarente.

    $5 million awaits the person with the right tidbit of information that leads the museum to recovery of the paintings. And shame on the museum and FBI if it allows a crook to profit — that would just create an inventive for future thefts.

    Real treasures and real rewards await the person willing to go and actually look under the rock.

    Life is short. Go and find out stuff — and then share it.

    Emily Rooney: You have been in this for at least ten years.

    Jeff [Geoff?] Kelley [Kelly?]: It is actually 11 years now I have been the investigator on this case.

    Rooney: You essentially know who did it.

    Kelley: Yes.

    Rooney: Why can’t you say?

    Kelley: We have to temper what we put out there in the public, and we certainly want to get the assistance of the public and we feel it is important to kind of lay our cards out on the table and say we know who did it, and we know who is involved, but we need your help.

    We still have an investigation here, and we still have to preserve the integrity of the investigation, and because of that we can’t tell you everything, and I know it is kind of a little tantalizing to kind of put that out there and not be able to follow it up and say this is who we think did it.

    Rooney: Have you talked to the person?

    Kelley: We have certainly talked a to a lot of people, we have spoken to people we think were involved and spoken to other people it has gotten us to where we are now, and basically we need the help of the public.

    We have used it before, and it is great, and we continue to try and solicit the help from the public.

    Rooney: The former Boston Herald reporter Tom Mashburger has a great tale of being, essentially, blindfolded and taken to a place where somebody unrolled something and he got some chips

    Is there any possibility what he saw is one of the real pieces?

    Kelley: I know Tom and he has the utmost integrity. But from what I have learned about the art itself, I don’t think that what he saw was the actual painting.

    He described it as being unrolled, kind of unfurled, but from speaking to the experts at the museum and at other museums, the paintings are so thick that they would really be almost impossible to roll up.

    Rooney: Do you think that they are still in existence and do you think together — because with 13 objects, some of them are odd objects, they weren’t all paintings — to think that they’re together?

    Kelley: I don’t know if they are still together. I think they are all in existence.

    You have to be cynical in this position and certainly one of the things we have to look at was: Did these paintings get destroyed right after? When these guys woke up and realized they committed the heist of the century, did they panic and destroy them? And that’s why we haven’t seen them — it is a possibility, but we have had confirmed sightings of some of these pieces throughout the 90s and into the early 2000s and that really gives us a comfort level that these paintings had not been destroyed.

  9. DXer said

    GAO Analysis Highlights Lab Samples Excluded in Sloppy FBI Anthrax Investigation
    Published December 20, 2014 | By Jim White

  10. DXer said

    The GAO review will be more expansive than a National Academy of Sciences examination requested by the FBI, Holt said.

    “Specifically, the GAO will seek to answer the following questions: 1) What microbial and technical forensic methods did the FBI use to conclude that Bruce Ivins was the perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax attack; how reliable and reproductive were those methods; and were the methods validated? 2) What scientific concerns and uncertainties, if any, remain? 3) What agencies, including intelligence agencies, are responsible for monitoring high containment laboratories in the U.S. and abroad; how do they monitor these laboratories; and how effective is their monitoring?” according to the release (U.S. Representative Rush Holt release, Sept. 15).

    “Please know that we may encounter challenges to our access to sensitive and classified information from the FBI and the intelligence agencies,” read a late-August letter from GAO Congressional Relations Managing Director Ralph Dawn to Holt (Pelofsky, Reuters, Sept. 16)

    Well, let’s reach “3” given that the GAO, for whatever reason, chose not to do. (Some of the information is classified).

    Who gave Rauf Ahmad the samples taken from his luggage when leaving Les Baillie’s “Dangerous Pathogens 2000″ conference? (I don’t know). FN See news reports of MI5 authorized biography. Who gave him the samples at the second lab he visited in 1999? (I don’t know)

    Was it Amerithrax scientist, UK’s Les Baillie? Dr. Baillie knew Rauf Ahmad was working with virulent anthrax killing mice with 100 injected spores — because the research was presented at the 2000 conference that Dr. Baillie organized and hosted.

    Rauf Ahmad made this large bottle of “anthrax spore concentrate” in April 2001 before setting up Yazid Sufaat’s lab in Kandahar. The boots on the ground apparently were too late to seize the bottle.

    Didn’t Les Baillie work at NMRC helping Amerithrax with the repository of samples? He is the one who organized the conferences attended by Rauf Ahmad and hosted him in 2000 when Rauf Ahmad’s work with virulent anthrax was presented. Dr. Baillie, the Ames anthrax genetics expert, came to Maryland in mid-September 2001 to discuss anthrax and then came to work for the FBI’s Amerithrax investigation for the NMRC, which handled the Amerithrax samples.

    • DXer said

      At the Porton Down-sponsored Dangerous Pathogens 2000 Conference, Dr. Zawahiri’s infiltrating scientist Rauf Ahmad, in addition to presenting on the isolation of Bacillus Anthracis, presented on the detection of bacterial contamination in water.
      Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 15, 2014

      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

    • DXer said

    • DXer said

      I identified Rauf Ahmad in late 2002, as I best recall (but maybe it was 2003) from a local Pakistani paper written in Urdu that was translated in the CIA’s database Foreign Broadcast Information Service. (It is a public database that was at the SU library at the time before they shifted it to DIALOG; after that I would have to travel to Cornell). The article was about the raid of the Khawaja compound of doctors where the families of EIJ senior officials were harbored. It mentioned Rauf Ahmad in the same paragraph as Amer Aziz — Rauf Ahmad apparently identified Amer Aziz.

      Amer Aziz was taken into custody and questioned intensively about anthrax for 30 days. He was questioned by a tall man, an Urdu speaking man and a woman — all chain smokers. I’m guessing the three were FBI Special Agent Borelli and his two CIA friends. Then Dr. Aziz was released. Dr. Aziz said that although the questioning made for long days, the questioners were polite, though he didn’t appreciate the secondhand smoke. (The professionals in Pakistan had been in an uproar because Amer Aziz was a well-known orthopedic surgeon.) The argument was that it was no crime that he tended to BIn Laden after 9/11. Aziz had been Batarfi’s mentor; Batarfi was another participant in the anthrax program, to the extent he helped with the procurement of some equipment via the charity WAFA.

      Then after I had published about Rauf Ahmad and the Porton Down sponsored conferences, my DIA contact was describing his visits to dangerous pathogens conferences in Europe. My DIA contact would refer to him as Abdur Rauf. So I believe his full name is Abdur Rauf Ahmad. (To this day, I remain remarkably ignorant about naming conventions.) But given the abstracts uploaded by DTIC in 2000 identified him as Rauf Ahmad, I have always tried to call him that. And indeed, knowing his name is critical to finding his work on killing mice with virulent anthrax presented in 2000 at the conference Amerithrax consultant Les Baillie had sponsored.

      I wrote Dr. Baillie in 2003 or so to ask him about all this but he didn’t respond. Nor has he responded to more recent entreaties to correct any of my facts.

      Years ago a newly appointed SFAM director confirmed to me upon checking a rolodex that Rauf Ahmad had attended both 1999 and 2000.

      For those truly not paying attention, George Tenet in his May 2007 In the Center of the Storm says: “Al-Qa’ida spared no effort in its attempt to obtain biological weapons. In 1999, al-Zawahiri recruited Pakistani national Rauf Ahmad, to set up a small lab in Khandahar, Afghanistan, to house the biological weapons effort. In December 2001, a sharp WMD analyst at CIA found the initial lead on which we would pull and, ultimately, unravel the al-Qa’ida anthrax networks. We were able to identify Rauf Ahmad from letters he had written to Ayman al-Zawahiri. … We located Rauf Ahmad’s lab in Afghanistan. We identified the building in Khandahar where Sufaat claimed he isolated anthrax. We mounted operations that resulted in the arrests and detentions of anthrax operatives in several countries.”

      In 1999, a scientist from Porton Down had reported to sfam members on a conference in Taos, New Mexico in August that included a talk by Tim Read, (TIGR, Rockville, USA) and concerned the whole genome sequencing of the Bacillus anthracis Ames strain. The Ames strain may have been a mystery to many after the Fall 2001 mailings, but not to motivated Society for Applied Microbiology (“SFAM”) members, one of whom was part of Ayman Zawahiri’s “Project Zabadi.”

      As described by Dr. Peter Turnbull’s Conference report for SFAM on “the First European Dangerous Pathogens Conference” (held in Winchester), at the September 1999 conference, the lecture theater only averaged about 75 at peak times by his head count. There had been a problem of defining “dangerous pathogen” and a “disappointing representation from important institutions in the world of hazard levels 3 and 4 organisms.” Papers included a summary of plague in Madagascar and another on the outbreak management of hemorrhagic fevers.

      Dr Paul Keim of Northern Arizona University presented a paper on multilocus VNTR typing, for example, of Bacillus anthracis and Yersinia pestis. There were more than the usual no-show presenters and fill-in speakers.

      The Sunday at the start of the Organization of the Dangerous Pathogens meeting in September 2000, which the SFAM director confirmed to me that Rauf Ahmad also attended, was gloomy. Planning had proved difficult. The overseas delegates included a sizable contingent from Russia. The organizers needed to address many thorny issues regarding who could attend. One of the scientists in attendance was Rauf Ahmad. The Washington Post reports: “The tall, thin and bespectacled scientist held a doctorate in microbiology but specialized in food production, according to U.S. officials familiar with the case.”

      Les Baillie the head of the biodefense technologies group at Porton Down ran the scientific program. He later worked on the Amerithrax investigation as the Ames anthrax genetics expert. Given Rauf Ahmad’s access to methods and materials at the Baillie hosted conference, I have always found the conflict of interest startling.

      Many of the delegates took an evening cruise round Plymouth harbor. The cold kept most from staying out on the deck. Later attendees visited the National Marine Aquarium — with a reception in view of a large tankful of sharks. Addresses include presentations on plagues of antiquity, showing how dangerous infectious diseases had a profound that they changed the course of history. Titles include “Magna pestilencia – Black Breath, Black Rats, Black Death”, “From Flanders to Glanders,” as well as talks on influenza, typhoid and cholera. The conference was co-sponsored by DERA, the UK Defence Evaluation and Research Agency.

      Les Baillie of Porton Down gave a presentation titled, “Bacillus anthracis: a bug with attitude!” He argued that anthrax was a likely pathogen to be used by terrorists. As described at the time by Phil Hanna of University of Michigan Medical School on the SFAM webpage, Baillie “presented a comprehensive overview of this model pathogen, describing its unique biology and specialized molecular mechanisms for pathogenesis and high virulence. He went on to describe modern approaches to exploit new bioinformatics for the development of potential medical counter measures to this deadly pathogen.”

      (Bioinformatics, by the way, was the field that Ali Al-Timimi, who had a security clearance for some government work and who had done work for the Navy, entered by 2000 at George Mason University in Virginia; Al-Timimi shared a suite with the leading Ames anthrax researchers funded by DARPA at the biodefense institute there).

      Despite the cold and the sharks, amidst all the camaraderie and bonhomie no one suspected that despite the best efforts, a predator was on board — on a coldly calculated mission to obtain a pathogenic anthrax strain. Indeed, MI5 intercepted him leaving the conference with samples and equipment according to media and the publisher’s press release. The conference organizer Peter Turnbull had received funding from the British defense ministry but not from public health authorities, who thought anthrax too obscure to warrant the funding. By 2001, sponsorship of the conference was assumed by USAMRIID. USAMRIID scientist Bruce Ivins started planning the conference held in Annapolis, Maryland in June 2001 three years earlier, immediately upon his return from the September 1998 conference.

      The problem was that MI5 didn’t really thwart anything in 2000 — Rauf Ahmad had already reported his success on a visit to a second lab in 1999.

      According to the Pakistan press, a scientist named Rauf Ahmad was picked up in December 2001 by the CIA in Karachi. The most recent of the correspondence reportedly dates back to the summer and fall of 1999. Even if Rauf Ahmad cooperated with the CIA, he apparently could only confirm the depth of Zawahiri’s interest in weaponizing anthrax and provided no “smoking gun” concerning the identity of those responsible for the anthrax mailings in the Fall 2001. But that’s perhaps only because the boots on the ground apparently didn’t get to the large bottle of anthrax spore concentrate that he harvested in April 2001.

      The Pakistan ISI, according to the Washington Post article in October 2006, stopped cooperating in regard to Rauf Ahmad in 2003. (I may have first identified him in 2003 rather than late 2002, I would have to check to be sure).

      With Lew’s help, I have uploaded scanned copies of some 1999 documents seized in Afghanistan by US forces describing the author’s visit to the special confidential room at the BL-3 facility where 1000s of pathogenic cultures were kept; his consultation with other scientists on some of technical problems associated with weaponizing anthrax; the bioreactor and laminar flows to be used in Al Qaeda’s anthrax lab; and the need for vaccination and containment. He explained that the lab director noted that he would have to take a short training course at the BL-3 lab for handling dangerous pathogens. Rauf Ahmad noted that his employer’s offer of pay during a 12-month post-doc sabbatical was wholly inadequate and was looking to Ayman to make up the difference. After an unacceptably low pay for the first 8 months, there would be no pay for last 4 months and there would be a service break. He had noted that he only had a limited time to avail himself of the post-doc sabbatical. I also have uploaded an earlier handwritten letter from before the lab visit described in the typed memo. The Defense Intelligence Agency provided the documents to me, along with 100+ pages more, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”). 90 of the 100 pages are the photocopies of journal articles and disease handbook excerpts.

      It was solely due to David Relman and JB Petro’s brilliantly conceived SCIENCE article that led me to the FOIA documents. They literally wrote the letter that should be sent. (And to be honest, it was Mr. Leitenberg who got the actual letters declassified I think; when he wouldn’t share — which I should mention is poor form — I had to request them myself. The way to get people on the same page is to share information.

      That’s why for example when Yazid Sufaat did not deny the anthrax mailings, I immediately shared it was the federal undercover doing my graphics. I try to have as few secrets as feasible.

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

      I similarly immediately shared that my friend who consults for the CIA knew Ames anthrax researcher Tarek Hamouda from his days in Sudan and Cairo, to include Cairo Medical when my friend was recruited into jihad by Dr. Ayman Zawahiri. Dr. Ayman’s sister Heba taught microbiology. And both Dr. Ayman and Heba were understandably upset by the rendition of Dr. Ayman’s brother Mohammed.

      Dr. Hamouda worked alongside Bruce Ivins and Patricia Fellows and Mara Linscott. If you are confused why Pat and Mara’s civil deposition was shredded, you shouldn’t be. I called Tarek’s colleague, Michael Hayes at the University of Michigan, who also came to work at USAMRIID and he told me “You don’t want to know.” I of course do want to know.

      The Washington Post, in what was an exclusive groundbreaking investigative report, recounted that the FBI’s New York office took the lead U.S. role — and its agents worked closely with the CIA and bureau officials in Pakistan in interrogating Rauf. Though not formally charged with any crimes, Rauf agreed to questioning. While the US media focused on the spectacle of bloodhounds alerting to Dr. Steve Hatfill and the draining of Maryland ponds, this former Al Qaeda anthrax operative provided useful leads. But problems began when the U.S. officials sought to pursue criminal charges, including possible indictment and prosecution in the United States.

      But then the Wash Po was done one by Matt Apuzzo and his co-author, who described FBI Special Agent’s interview of Rauf Ahmad, the Pakistan government scientist, over tea and cookies at an ISI safehouse.

    • DXer said

      This AFP article about Aafia Siddiqui indirectly explains why Pakistani would not turn over Al Qaeda anthrax scientist Rauf Ahmad, who was a Pakistan government scientist. The country’s former leader is quoted reiterating that the country had a strict policy against turning over Pakistanis. Rauf Ahmad, the Al Qaeda anthrax scientist who made the anthrax spore concentrate in April 2001 and set up Yazid Sufaat’s lab in May 2001 — and who had learned processing tricks at the Porton Down conferences sponsored by the soon-to-be Amerithrax scientist — simply got his old government job back at PCSIR. (Rauf Ahmad, in correspondence with me, wouldn’t cooperate to tell this story unless I paid him money).

      A BOLO was issued for Aafia Siddiqui the same time as Adnan El-Shukrijumah. There was a media report at the time that she knew Adnan El-Shukrijumah. Her family’s ACLU attorney Annette Lamoreux in 2003 or 2004 said she knew of no connection between the two when I asked her. At the time, Attorney Lamoreaux portrayed Aafia as a Volvo-driving soccer mom, apparently unaware Aafia was studying biological weapons and now married to KSM’s nephew who, along with Al-Hawsawi, had helped the 911 hijackers enter the country. (Al-Hawsawi had the anthrax processing documents on his laptop and was closely connected to El-Shukrijumah).

      Aafia’s new husband Al-Balucchi had asked Aafia to assess whether Al Qaeda’s anthrax lab in Karachi was up to snuff — with Yazid Sufaat’s assistant at the helm upon Yazid Sufaat’s capture.

      Aafia says she had spent 6 months researching biological weapons at the technical institute after 9/11.

      Given that (at last report) she won’t talk about it, my guess is that for a time she was under house arrest and living with al-Balucchi’s family as suggested by this article — otherwise it seems she would have told us where she was by now. But I don’t know. Another theory is that she was in ISI custody and they came to give her greater and greater freedom. Her uncle reports that she visited him once (I vaguely recall it was January 2008) and I believe that is what she claimed. Then the suggestion is that she was in Afghanistan on a mission in which she was cooperating with Pakistani authorities. But then through a series of unfortunate events was arrested and charged with the attempted shooting.

      Here is an excellent AFP article on the subject today:

      Aafia Siddiqui: ‘Lady Al Qaeda to Lady Islamic State’

      Published about 4 hours ago

      Much about the case remains unclear — where was Siddiqui between her disappearance in 2003 and reappearance in 2008?


      At her trial in New York in 2010 — her only public appearance since 2003 — she said she was detained for a “long time” in a “secret prison” in Afghanistan.


      Some US officials believe Siddiqui was with Al Qaeda since her time in America and spent 2003-2008 in Afghanistan with the family of Baluchi, who was arrested in 2003 and interned in Guantanamo.

      Her family deny this, while former military ruler Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf said he would not have handed a Pakistani over to the US.

      “Our views were clear: no Pakistani will ever be handed over to anyone — that was our policy and we followed it very strictly,” Musharraf told AFP.

    • DXer said

      This excellent AFP article, “Family’s Despair For Pakistan’s Aafia Siddiqui” recounts that Aafia testified at trial was held in a secret prison. (Please refer to the linked article itself to avoid my pre-coffee mistakes).

      FBI Special Agent Borelli says that the reason the statement he drafted after interrogating Rauf Ahmad never saw the light of day was because the matter was going to go the way of secret prisons.

      Certainly Yazid Sufaat’s assistant, Samer Al-Barq, who still is in a secret prison in Israel, might agree that is what happened.

      I think the American public (and the Pakistan public too) deserve clarification on this point. Especially given that Aafia’s “Death to America” incident then led to the prospect of Aafia spending decades in a US prison.

      Agent Borelli then came to head the New York FBI Field Office. He seems a credible source in describing Rauf Ahmad’s interview over the two days at the ISI safe house. But now the public deserves to know more about what Rauf Ahmad said. I nominate Matt Apuzzo to tell us. For example, what was the second lab he visited? Where was he getting his virulent anthrax? Who was sharing internet processing tricks with him? (If I knew I would tell you, but I don’t which is why I am asking).

      “During her interrogation she grabbed a rifle and opened fire, according to witnesses, at US agents while screaming “Death to America”


      “When Aafia left, couple of hours or so later, there was a knock at the door. My mom walked to the gate and asked ‘who is it?'” Fowzia Siddiqui, Aafia’s sister told AFP.

      “He… said something like: ‘If you say anything or report this to the police, you will have four dead bodies’.”

      At her trial in New York in 2010- her only public appearance since 2003- she said she was detained for a “long time” in a “secret prison” in Afghanistan.

      Her supporters said she was the “ghost prisoner” in Bagram, serial number 650, but this is denied by the US.”

      Additional comment: That dire threat was what Amer Aziz’s family reportedly was told too by a man on a motorcyclist. They they he would be okay and released if they just kept their mouth shut. He was released on the 30th day under a new law that only permitted detention for the 30 days. He was Batarfi’s mentor and treated Bin Laden after 9/11.

    • DXer said

      CAIR, MAS Join With State Department to Protest UAE Terror Designation

      December 25, 2014

      State Department officials met with leaders of the Hamas-linked Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) to discuss the group’s inclusion on a list of terror groups issued by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a CAIR news release issued Monday said.

      The UAE listed CAIR and the Muslim American Society (MAS) among 80 Islamist groups worldwide it linked to terror last month. The State Department questioned the designation, saying it wanted “more information from the Emirati authorities” justifying the designation, with a spokesman adding that “the U.S. does not consider them to be terrorist organizations.”

      According to CAIR’s news release, the State Department renewed its pledge to try to get the two Islamist groups removed from the UAE terror list.

      It’s an example of one branch of the government treating CAIR as an innocent, legitimate organization while law enforcement, backed by investigative material, takes a more skeptical view. The FBI broke off official contact with CAIR in 2008 after records seized during a terror-financing investigation placed CAIR in a network of U.S.-based organizations supporting Hamas.


      Meanwhile, at the same time that it fights a Muslim nation’s terrorist designation, CAIR officials continue to go to bat for convicted terrorists and their enablers. Officials from CAIR’s Dallas office helped organize a protest last Saturday lamenting convicted Al-Qaeda operative Aafia Siddiqui’s conditions while in prison. CAIR was joined by MAS and the Islamic Circle of North America to stand up for Siddiqui, also known as “lady al-Qaeda.”


      CAIR-St. Louis was the good lifelong friend and confidante of the Michigan Ames anthrax researcher who worked alongside Bruce Ivins, Pat Fellows and Mara Linscott.

      But never mind. Bruce Ivins stole a sorority book a quarter century ago and so must have sent the lethal anthrax. Never mind that pretty much nothing that US Attorney Taylor said at the August 8, 2008 press conference in announcing Ivins was responsible survived fact-checking.

    • DXer said

      Aafia Siddiqui’s husband, Al-Balucchi, told interrogators, that Samir Al-Barq, was work on Al Qaeda’s anthrax program. He is the one who has spent so many years secretly imprisoned in Jordan and Israel. He was the one who, according to the Senate Torture Report, when interrogated harshly said that he made the anthrax — and then later would deny it. (The Senate majority uses that as evidence that the enhanced interrogation methods were unreliable.) His boss and instructor, Yazid Sufaat, who quite voluntarily, tells me he could do “magic,” is a far more likely candidate to have had the lead role and to have actually made the anthrax — that is, in addition to the “anthrax spore concentrate” pictured above that Rauf Ahmad made.

    • DXer said

      Although the court transcript of her testimony is the best guide to what she said, here is a very readable account of her testimony by one supporter.

      The Powerful Testimony of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui

      February 1, 2010

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