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

* Kenneth J. Dillon’s FOIA April 18, 2015 request to FBI for materials from September and October 2001 not previously produced

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 19, 2015

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14 Responses to “* Kenneth J. Dillon’s FOIA April 18, 2015 request to FBI for materials from September and October 2001 not previously produced”

  1. DXer said

    Can you find Lab Notebook 4010 online or in the vault? I can’t. It related to Flask 1029 alleged to be the source of anthrax mailed in Fall 2001. It is not among the lab notebooks produced in the USAMRIID Electronic Reading Room.

    http://mrmc.amedd.army.mil/index.cfm?pageid=foia_reading_room.overview#

    USAMRIID reported that the FBI took some notebooks and did not leave copies or return the only copy.

    So I would ask for the pages from September 2001-October 2001 from that notebook 4010 which never have been produced.
    (The FBI only provided the NAS 30 pages out of the 88 pages in Lab Notebook 4010 to me — but did not upload any of the pages to the Vault as far as I know. The FBI and/or USAMRIID should produce the full 88 pages under FOIA — and pursuant to Dillon’s request, should produce the pages from September – October 2001.)

    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/03/08/page-68-of-lab-notebook-4010/

    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/03/03/the-fbi-finally-has-produced-30-pages-of-the-88-pages-from-lab-notebook-4010-relating-to-dr-ivins-flask-1029/

  2. Bardo76 said

    Reblogged this on Liberating Memes.

  3. Nick Steel said

    “The Soviets now went to extraordinary lengths to buttress their lies and make them supportable and credible worldwide. What had begun as a local cover-up in Sverdlovsk, now became an international fairy tale, a fiction of breathtaking audacity”

    The above is an extract from the book “Plague Wars: The Terrifying Reality of Biological Warfare
    By Tom Mangold, Jeff Goldberg”. It describes the attempt of the Soviet authorities to cover up the fact that anthrax spores that accidentally leaked from a bioweapons factory in the city of Sverdlovsk killing dozens of citizens was actually due to the consumption of tainted meat.

    You could almost substitute “Soviets” with “FBI” and “Sverdlovsk” with “Bruce Ivins” and the result would be an accurate description of the carefully orchestrated cover up of the suicide of Bruce Ivins and the subsequent railroading of a US Citizen who was guilty of nothing more than having a quirky personality and a couple of naughty secrets in his private life.

    When anyone questions the behavior of the FBI concerning their conduct over the still-unsolved anthrax terror attacks of 2001, they are quick to be labeled as “conspiracy theorists”. Actually, that’s exactly correct as it turns out. Because this was a conspiracy involving dozens of top officials – that is now clear. The FBI and the DOJ conspired to cover up the exculpatory evidence that showed Bruce Ivins could not have committed these crimes. They lied, and they kept lying. They knowingly lied.

    The guilty parties know who they are. Robert Mueller, Jeffrey Taylor, Rachael Lieberman, Ed Montooth, Dwight Adams, Vajid Mahidi, Gregory Saathoff – even the disgraceful behavior of award-winning journalist David Willman.

    • DXer said

      Very interesting comparison to Sverdlosk — it took years and years for that massive deception (relating to concealment of an illegal bioweapons program) to be relegated to the dustbin of history. The pathology reports from the start pointed to inhalational anthrax. A memo from the national security archives at Georgetown, as I recall it, indicates that DIA analysts were shocked into silence at a meeting when Dr. Meselson spun his conclusions, which he maintained for years until the top dog in Russia fessed up. After Dr. Meselon left the meeting, the DIA analysts just looked at each other in disbelief.

      I try, though, to always assume everyone’s good faith — and just point out errors and the documents establishing the errors. Sometimes a more mundane CYA motive or dropped ball explains a mistaken conclusion. And if people didn’t have different theories held in good faith, it wouldn’t be a difficult mystery.

      There is a good faith reason for hold-back in certain situations — for example, when the use of silica protects anthrax from being destroyed by sunlight or where there is an active manhunt for Shukrijumah and Jdey and Elbaneh and others.

      Here, I think the false premise of an Ivins Theory traces back to a March 31, 2005 interview of Ivins conducted by Rick Lambert and Special Agent Anne Colbert. The inexperienced Amerithrax Task Force members (12 out of 18 were straight out of the Academy) did not undertake a sufficient effort to obtain the documentary evidence that would have served to reconstruct Ivins’ reason for being in the lab the last week of September 2001 and first week of October 2001. Four years after the fact, Ivins had no reason to remember in that March 31 interview where he was unrepresented by counsel and caught for the interview on the fly.

      I do think though that US Attorney Taylor’s false statements at the August 8, 2008 were extreme and unsupported spin. HIs reasoning has been demolished. But the more senior a person the less likely he has mastery of details. That’s just the reality given a senior person’s many responsibilities. Who scripted that briefing?

      And I think that Dr. Saarthoff should have withdrawn his report, which btw he was selling, when it turned out his key witness (Ivins’ first counselor) said in a 2009 book that she had been taking her instructions from an alien. But he had guided the investigation of the Task Force and so was motivated by CYA and self-justification. It had been submitted to a federal court judge and so it was really wrong not to correct the report’s reliance on the witness.

      And I do think that FBI Director Mueller must have known about Shukrijumah’s association with Atta — but he was faced with the difficulty of knowing his whereabouts in September and October 2001. Like Amerithrax head Michael Mason, FBI Director Mueller strikes me as a man of real integrity.

      As for AUSA Lieber, she told me that I would never get more under FOIA when I asked for her help in obtaining the documents about the experiment with the 52 rabbits under FOIA.
      (They arrived on September 24, were challenged at the start of October, and then Ivins was tasked with monitoring them for the first seven days; animal checks at night and weekends took a couple of hours and were a one-person job). As for AUSA Lieber, I have no use for anyone that would stand between me and documents that under the rule of law are produceable under FOIA. Given I believe (or assume) she wrote the Amerithrax Investigative Summary, I believe she is where the rubber hits the road. At the same time, there was tremendous turmoil in the AUSA’s office involving an unrelated personnel matter — and so I sympathize with her and understand the distraction brought into the office through no fault of her own.

      As for Dwight Adams, I did tell him just this past week that the IG report on Jacqueline Blake makes no mention of Amerithrax or contamination — and so the implication seems to be that he didn’t tell the IG about the Amerithrax contamination. But that involves CYA.

      As for Edward Montooth (and Vincent Lisi), I’m just inclined to credit that reasonable people can have different theories — and that the investigators were under a lot of pressure to want to think that Ivins was guilty. (And very possibly they still do — I don’t know). People are far more often just mistaken and acting in good faith than mistaken and acting in bad faith. Here, there was tremendous compartmentalization of information.

      I think a key factual information is that a former CIA scientist has revealed that the CIA detected Ames strain at the Kandahar lab — but the FBI did not accept the finding because it involved cutting-edge technology. We need to learn more about that, and have the lab visited by Rauf Ahmad identified. Les Baillie consulted for Amerithrax, after coming to University of Maryland. He had hosted Rauf Ahmad. Is he the one who quashed the CIA finding that Ames had been detected? If so, that would involve CYA rather than just a broader reason to protect Porton Down from embarrassment.

      I think that for tactical and practical reasons we want to presume everyone’s good faith and seek the relevant documents under FOIA — the forensic reports that have not been produced. See Dillon thread. It would be akin to having sought the pathology reports in the Sverdlosk — which would have disproved Dr. Meselson’s arguments. (Dr. Meselson received a medal from Russia).

      And we should do all we can to give folks a safe harbor in reconsidering their views, producing additional documents exculpatory of Dr. Ivins etc.

      Note that Ken Alibek played a key role in Sverdlosk and hiding the secret biological weapons program. As a leading DARPA-funded Ames anthrax researcher, he shared a suite with Ali Al-TImimi, who spoke alongside Anwar Awlaki in Canada and the UK in July and August 2001. Ken Alibek told me in 2003 that he knew Al-TImimi was a hardliner. So that is really f—– up. He and Charles Bailey in April 2001 co-invented a method of concentrating anthrax using silica in the culture medium. (Dr. Majidi confirms that the silica could have been in the culture medium).

      Ken abruptly left the country.

      But I think the focus should be on obtaining relevant forensic reports that are still being withheld — not on attributing blame in a matter that still remains unsolved.

      If we assume rather than prove our conclusions we would be guilty of the same thing that the folks discussed above did.

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

  4. DXer said

    I see some advantages of Dillon’s framing of the request.

    But I think there are many traditional forensic tests that are not exempt from production and would be produced, to include those relating to:

    (a) ink, including all documents showing that there was no match with any of Dr. Ivins’ writing;

    (b) paper composition, including all documents showing that there was no match with any paper ever used by Dr. Ivins;

    (c) photocopy toner, including all documents showing that there was no match with any photocopes ever made by Dr. Ivins and that the USAMRIID photocopiers could be excluded;

    (d) fiber, including all documents showing that there was no match with any fiber used by Dr. Ivins;

    (e) all handwriting examinations of Bruce Ivins’ handwriting, and all handwriting examinations of the late Mohammed Atta and Adnan El-Shukrijumah;

    (f) CIA finding of Ames strain of b. anthracis in Kandahar that the FBI didn’t credit,

    (g) the bloodhound alert relating to Dr. Ivins (negative as to Ivins),

    (h) Ivins’ polygraphs, including all documents interpreting those polygraphs,

    (i) meglumine and diazotroate,

    (j) all documents relating to which letters were asserted to be double-lined in developing a theory of a code based on which letters were doublelined.

    The request is intended to avoid privacy exemption — so as to not seek information about other individuals who are still living. For example, I would request all handwriting examinations of Atta and Shukrijumah. Both are dead and the case is closed. So a privacy exemption and law enforcement exemption should not apply.

    http://www.amerithrax.wordpress.com

    • DXer said

      Contra Costa Times editorial: Probe of FBI’s forensics must be exhaustive
      Contra Costa Times editorial © 2015 Bay Area News Group
      POSTED: 04/24/2015 04:00:00 PM PDT
      http://www.contracostatimes.com/editorial/ci_27982579/contra-costa-times-editorial-probe-fbis-forensics-must

      Years of high-profile mistakes and stories of corruption have eroded many Americans’ trust in their legal system. Now, none other than the FBI contributes to that erosion by admitting that for decades it routinely used flawed methods that likely sent innocent people to prison.

      The blockbuster admission by the FBI — after it was discovered by others — that its forensic testing of hair samples was scientifically flawed and caused 26 of 28 FBI examiners to offer flawed testimony or reports in at least 96 percent of the 268 criminal cases that have been examined in which the FBI gave testimony against defendants.

      ***

      It also said that law enforcement would move forward with reviewing hundreds more cases in which scientifically invalid testimony concerning microscopic hair analysis may have been given. The government promised not to throw up procedural roadblocks that could drag out any such proceedings.

      That should be the minimum, but it is not the end of the story by a long shot.

      ***

      But even once all that is done, other important questions remain, such as how long did those forensic specialists or their bosses know that their protocols were flawed? And how often did they knowingly overstate their findings in sworn testimony?

      This investigation is important because such shoddy work is anathema to the FBI and it reflects poorly on the nation’s premier law enforcement agency. The independent probe must be absolutely transparent and thorough and the chips must be allowed to fall where they may.

      The nation deserves to know the entire truth.

    • DXer said

      There are some new FBI FOIA regulations that come into effect today.

      But consider this more tip that has always applied:

      http://www.llrx.com/columns/foia43.htm

      “Thus, it is important to make FOIA requests to not only to FBI Headquarters, but to FBI Field Offices. And it is important to ask for main files and “cross” or “see” references. If a request comes back as a “no record” response, make sure to read the letter thoroughly to see what and where the FBI searched. It is not uncommon for “cross” or “see” reference files to not be searched for even if they are sought in the original request. I suggest a follow up request for only the “cross” or “see” reference files if a requester is unsure if these files were searched for initially.”

      FOIA Facts: Understanding FBI Records

      By Scott A. Hodes, Published on July 27, 2007

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