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

* Infiltrating Al Qaeda scientist Rauf Ahmad did a lot more than have a servant serve tea and cookies to his US interrogators at a comfortable ISI safehouse

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 26, 2015



20 Responses to “* Infiltrating Al Qaeda scientist Rauf Ahmad did a lot more than have a servant serve tea and cookies to his US interrogators at a comfortable ISI safehouse”

  1. DXer said

    Pakistan terrorism crackdown ‘necessary’ to Trump’s Afghanistan …

    Politico-4 hours ago
    Trump accused Pakistan of “housing the very terrorists that we are fighting … It has much to lose by continuing to harbor criminals and terrorists.

  2. DXer said

    Might the thoughtful commentator Filippa Lentos, in urging that the world focus on the risk of state (rather than terrorist) misuse of biological weapons, usefully also address the fact that Zawahiri’s Rauf Ahmad was a Pakistani GOVERNMENT science who was kept at an ISI safe house and had a servant available to serve guests tea and cookies? How effective was US FBI’s attribution ever likely to be?

    3 July 2017
    Ignore Bill Gates: Where bioweapons focus really belongs

    Filippa Lentzos
    Filippa Lentzos

    Filippa Lentzos is a senior research fellow jointly appointed in the Departments of War Studies and of Global Health and Social Medicine at King’s College London. Her research focuses on…

    Bioterrorism seems to be back in fashion. In the past, it has received bursts of attention that arose from particular incidents—the “anthrax letters” sent through the mail to US politicians and media outlets in 2001, for instance, or the purchase of plague bacteria by white supremacist Larry Wayne Harris in 1995. This time, it’s an unlikely individual calling attention to the bioterror threat—Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder turned philanthropist. Over the last several years, the world’s richest man has spent vast sums of money on global health, and in the last few months he has turned his attention to bioterrorism. At a high-profile security summit in Munich in February, he warned that bioterrorism could kill tens of millions. At a London security meeting a couple of months later, he said terrorists could wipe out 30 million people by weaponizing a disease such as smallpox.

  3. DXer said

    Mike Rogers was mentioned today as being under consideration also.

    Mike Rogers is more familiar than most with the Al Qaeda anthrax threat and has expressed frustration with Pakistan intelligence.

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

    An Invitation

    From: [Tom Daschle and Mike Rogers]
    To: [John Podesta]
    Date: 2016-01-12 19:29
    Subject: An Invitation

    Dear John,

    We hope this note finds you well. I’m sure things are very busy for you right now!

    Former Congressman Mike Rogers and I invite you to join us for a salon dinner discussion on biodefense on February 22nd at 6:00 pm at the Cosmos Club in Washington D.C. As you know, biosecurity is an issue that I had the unfortunate experience of dealing with first hand when anthrax was sent to my Senate office. However, even with the anthrax attacks that took place in 2001, and the Ebola outbreak in 2014, biodefense isn’t being as seriously considered as I believe it should be.

    Mike, as I am sure you know, during his time in office was the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Mike built a legacy as a tireless and effective leader on biodefense, counterterrorism and national security policy. Mike currently hosts a nationally-syndicated radio show, is a CNN national security commentator, a Distinguished Fellow at the Hudson Institute and serves on the Board of Trustees at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress.

    Last year, I had the privilege of serving on the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense led by Governor Ridge and Senator Lieberman. Mike briefed the panel and informed our final recommendations. Now that that the panel’s report has been released, we believe we have an opportunity to elevate the political prioritization of biodefense and preparedness, as well as advance near and mid-term changes to address the challenges and gaps we continue to face.

    Mike and I would like to bring together a small group of thought leaders, such as yourself, for an informal discussion. Ideally, we would like to build on the discussion that the Blue Ribbon Panel Study began, and identify some actionable priorities. In the end, we hope to use the ideas gathered during the dinner discussion to develop both short-term and mid-term strategies for increasing political interest in improving our national health security.

    Given your experience and expertise in these areas, Mike and I are hopeful that you will be able to join us.

    All the best,

    Tom Daschle
    Former US Senate Majority Leader

    Mike Rogers
    Former Chairman, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

  4. DXer said

    The ISI sheltered anthrax infiltrator Rauf Ahmad. If we don’t learn from history, we are bound to repeat it.

    Ayman al-Zawahiri: How a CIA Drone Strike Nearly Killed the Head of Al-Qaeda

    By Jeff Stein On 4/21/17 at 2:09 PM

    Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) has been protecting the Egyptian-born al-Zawahiri, a trained surgeon, since U.S. forces evicted Al-Qaeda from Afghanistan in late 2001, several authoritative sources tell Newsweek.

    His most likely location today, they say: Karachi, the teeming port city of 26 million people on the Arabian Sea. “Like everything about his location, there’s no positive proof,” says Bruce Riedel, a 30-year CIA veteran who was the top adviser on South Asia and the Middle East for the past four U.S. presidents. “There are pretty good indications, including some of the material found in Abbottabad,” where bin Laden was slain, “that point in that direction,” he adds. “This would be a logical place to hide out, where he would feel pretty comfortable that the Americans can’t come and get him.”

    Hindustan Times-Apr 22, 2017
    Pakistan’s ISI spy agency has been sheltering al Qaeda chief in the port city of Karachi after he survived a US drone strike near the Afghan …
    Pakistan ISI protecting Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri in Karachi …

    India Today-Apr 22, 2017
    ISI protecting ‘most wanted’ al-Zawahiri in Karachi: report

    The Hindu-Apr 22, 2017
    Al Qaeda chief al-Zawahiri in Karachi? Here’s why the ISI could be …

    Yahoo News-Apr 22, 2017
    Al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri is hiding in Pakistan with ISI’s help …

    Zee News-Apr 22, 2017
    ‘Pak sheltering Qaida’s al-Zawahari whose last wish is big attack on …
    In-Depth-Times of India-Apr 22, 2017

  5. DXer said

    Jack Quinn:

    Putting aside Saudi Arabia and its funding of charities, does any other country have liability under the new statute, JASTA, relating to the anthrax attacks?

    Lawsuits Going After Saudi Arabia’s Role In 9/11 Increase
    By Amanda Griffin
    Posted on March 20, 2017

    “With the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) enacted, at least seven lawsuits have popped up in federal courts under the law. The suits blame the Saudi government for supporting and funding the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Just six months after former President Barack Obama fiercely opposed allowing the law to be enacted and Congress went against his wishes, the lawsuits have been rolling in.


    One lawsuit has consolidated most of the actions of the Saudi government was filed Monday in the U.S. District Court of Manhattan. The suit represents the families and estates of roughly 800 of the 2,996 people killed in the attacks, alleging that Saudi Arabia supported the attacks through their funding of al-Qaeda terrorist camps and transport of weapons, money and people around the world.”

  6. DXer said

    It is unfortunate that after the Washington Post correspondent once had obtained permission from ISI to interview Rauf Ahmad, the ISI reneged and withdrew their permission. Perhaps the ISI felt that Rauf Ahmad was not going to be able to succeed in the massive lies that he told the FBI and CIA interrogators at the safehouse, especially that first day. (I obtained and uploaded some documents from DIA and other sources that would not have left him much wiggle room).

    It’s better, sometimes, to ask forgiveness than ask permission. Journalists should interview Rauf Ahmad.

  7. DXer said

    New CIA Deputy Oversaw Controversial Interrogation Operations

    Wall Street Journal-Feb 2, 2017
    Gina Haspel, who joined the CIA in 1985, is a career intelligence officer who has held many top assignments in its clandestine operations …

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

  8. DXer said

    Police foil terror plot, arrest key suspect in Wote

    The network also included medical experts with whom they planned to unleash a biological attack in Kenya using anthrax.
    The police take this opportunity to caution those giving refuge to these criminals and urge them to surrender them to the nearest police station failure to which they will be held culpable as accomplices,” the statement added

  9. DXer said

    UK terror threat: Nato and EU say ‘justified concerns’ Isis planning chemical and nuclear attacks

    By William Watkinson
    April 19, 2016
    Military defence bloc Nato and the EU both agree that there are ‘justified concerns’ that Islamic State (Isis) is attempting to obtain chemical, biological and nuclear weapons to attack Western nations. The warnings come as reports suggest intelligence agencies in Italy and Germany believe that the extremists are planning a Tunisia-style attack on European beach resorts this summer.

    Speaking at the Security and Counter Terror Expo in London, The Telegraph quoted Jorge Berto Silva, deputy head of counter terrorism for the European Commission as saying:”With CBRN [chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear materials], there is a justified concern.” Dr Jamie Shea, deputy assistant secretary general for emerging security threats at Nato, also told the Expo: “We know terrorists are trying to acquire these (CBRN) substances


    On 19 April, German media reported that Isis is sending jihadists, dressed as ice-cream salesmen, to beaches where they plan to detonate suicide vests and use high-powered assault rifles to kill indiscriminately. According to BILD the BND, the German MI6, has learned from its Italian intelligence that resorts in southern France, the Costa del Sol in Spain and both coasts in Italy are most under threat.

  10. DXer said

  11. DXer said

    Nation ‘dangerously vulnerable’ to biological attack, says report, November 3, 2015

    “Concern about biological vulnerabilities spiked a week after 9/11, when envelopes containing anthrax spores were sent to multiple news outlets and congressional offices, ultimately killing five people. Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle’s (D-S.D.) was one of the offices targeted by the attacks, and Daschle sits on the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense.” …

    In his remarks, McCaul referenced an FBI sting operation to interrupt arms traffickers looking to sell weapons of mass destruction to Islamic extremists in the Middle East. He characterized the operation — revealed in an Associated Press report last month — as proof that groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are eyeing weapons that could be used against Americans. …

    “It’s a threat that already exists,” [Ridge] added. The question is, “Are we prepared to respond to the threat?”


    No. The question is why Mr. Ridge didn’t respond to it by calling for hearings on the 9/11 anthrax mailings.

    These panel members bear part of the responsibility for the unconvincing resolution of the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings. They failed to call for hearings on the Fall 2001 incidents. They had a critical role to play but so far they have dropped the ball.

    So if and when Dr. Ayman Zawahiri attacks, they needn’t rush to blame others. Instead, members like Kenneth Wainstein should ask why they didn’t call for such hearings.

    Dr. Zawahiri is going to be writing the history whether these quasi-pharma and biodefense industry lobbyists like it or not.

    Folks can determine for themselves the role they are going to play in the history books.

  12. DXer said

    U.S. path to better biodefense
    Wednesday, October 28, 2015, 1:08 AM
    By Tom Ridge
    and Joseph Lieberman

    Our elected leaders have no greater responsibility than to protect and safeguard the American people. That imperative guided us when we served in public office after September 2001. Although the government has successfully addressed many homeland security challenges since then, the United States is unfortunately still underprepared to confront the biological threat.

    Each day, we face the possibility of an infectious disease outbreak, an intentional bioterror attack, or an accidental release of a pathogen from a research facility. Naturally occurring biothreats such as Ebola are bypassing borders to emerge on our shores. Terrorist groups like the Islamic State are devastating the Middle East while endorsing biological warfare and threatening to attack our homeland. Man-made threats are also occurring here at home in the form of safety and security lapses in our nation’s laboratories involving agents like anthrax.


    To read the report:

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

  13. DXer said

    Rauf Ahmad in email exchanges with me over the years would never cooperate with me unless I paid him money I didn’t have — sort of like FBI FOIA.

    • DXer said

      Mark Twain once said that history doesn’t repeat itself, but sometimes it rhymes.

      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 on December 5, 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 on November 16, 2014

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

      • DXer said

        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)

    • DXer said

      Sometimes when you dig into a mystery or treasure hunt, you have to dig deep. But in Amerithrax, it may just require that a reporter pick up the phone or dash off the right FOIA request. The Washington Post had obtained permission from ISI to have its correspondent there interview Rauf Ahmad. But then ISI backpedaled on the request.

      The ISI (and FBI and CIA) is afraid of any digging that it is too deep.


      Dutch Schultz

      For example, When I talk about where Dutch Schultz hid his loot, it helps to study the other things he hid underground — to include an entire distillery. What could be more fun if they throw in free wine tasting?

      Dutch’s Spirits in New York’s Hudson Valley offers full access to the original underground Prohibition Era bunkers at the 400-acre Harvest Homestead Farm distillery built by Dutch Schultz. Includes a guided tour of historic bunker museum.

      Ross and Grace Getman, “Dutch Schultz in Fairfield County, Connecticut in 1935 : his horses, his hiding places, and his missing millions”

      Isabella Gardner

      Similarly, when I urge the FBI to employ more liberal use of its backhoe and penetrating radar in the Isabella Gardner heist matter — viewing it more as a classic treasure hunt, I am merely adopting the FBI’s oft-quote mantra of leaving no stone or concrete slab unturned.

      At Bobby Guarente’s old place in Madison, Maine, which the FBI thinks of itself as having thoroughly searched in 2009, they in fact did not have ground penetrating radar or a backhoe. I have uploaded the pictures where “X” may mark the spot.

      Outside of Hartford, Bobby Gentile used to own a used car lot in 1991 at the same time he was in the concrete laying business. My source (the woman at the large business across from the interchange) tells me a small building on the property was razed a couple years before the FBI took an interest in Mr. Gentile.

      Reputed Mobster May Be Last Link to Gardner Museum Art Heist

      Oak Island

      I love the HISTORY series and think the Michigan brothers and colleagues are great. But I wish they would reconceive of the “money pit” as a drain and consider that a treasure cache awaits them under Smith’s Cove. Absent permission to rebuild a coffer dam at Smith’s Cove, perhaps there is more sophisticated ground penetrating radar that can be used underwater in Smith’s Cove.

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

    • DXer said

    • DXer said

      When the US is attacked someday in the next 911, I’ll look back at David P. Sobonya’s denial of a fee request on the subject relating to Al Qaeda’s anthrax program — actually, just limited to traditional forensic reports that were done and were exculpatory of Dr. Bruce Ivins — and think to myself: Mr. Sobonya, that was really misguided in light of the public interest involved. You and your colleagues should have informed yourself.

      Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Flynn previously addressed the threat of an attack using anthrax:

      An ominous post-9/11 warning
      Americans are less safe now than they were prior to Sept. 1

      Think, too, about the fact that those who postpone blowing themselves up are developing new and improved martial skills. “They write about and share ‘Lessons Learned’ all the time,” Gen. Flynn said. He recalled that not long after Sept. 11, 2001, anthrax was used in an act of terrorism that killed five people. “If that anthrax had been dispersed more efficiently,” he said, “it could have killed a quarter-million people.” Also worth bearing in mind: Just eight years separates the first attack on New York’s World Trade Center in 1993, in which six people were killed, from the 2001 mass murders.

      Read more:

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

      • DXer said

        Donald Trump,

        I think choosing Michael Flynn as your Vice Presidential running mate would be a brilliant idea — shoring your campaign up in an area that gives many critics the most concern. (I know a lot of Republicans who are going to sit out the election due to concerns they have regarding national security. Picking Michael Flynn would do a lot to resolve those concerns).

        Background on Michael Flynn:

        “An ominous post-9/11 warning
        Americans are less safe now than they were prior to Sept. 1

        Think, too, about the fact that those who postpone blowing themselves up are developing new and improved martial skills. “They write about and share ‘Lessons Learned’ all the time,” Gen. Flynn said. He recalled that not long after Sept. 11, 2001, anthrax was used in an act of terrorism that killed five people. “If that anthrax had been dispersed more efficiently,” he said, “it could have killed a quarter-million people.” Also worth bearing in mind: Just eight years separates the first attack on New York’s World Trade Center in 1993, in which six people were killed, from the 2001 mass murders.

        Read more:

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

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