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

* Pentagon Accidentally Sent Live Anthrax to 9 (now 11) States from Dugway in Utah

Posted by DXer on May 27, 2015

Update (6/3/15):  Officials said it’s possible that shipments were sent to more than four dozen laboratories in the U.S. and abroad.

The Pentagon told reporters Wednesday that 51 laboratories received shipments of anthrax, across 17 states (plus D.C.) and three foreign countries over a period of at least ten years.Anthrax was even detected at the Pentagon yesterday, The Daily Beast’s Nancy Youssef reported, when the Defense Department admitted it didn’t know everywhere it had sent the toxic bacteria.


UPDATE (6/2/15):  Pentagon Accidentally Sent Live Anthrax to at least 28 labs in 12 states and the District of Columbia, and Australia, South Korea and Canada


UPDATE …Thu May 28, 2015


Washington (CNN)Four lab workers in the United States and up to 22 overseas have been put in post-exposure treatment, a defense official said, following the revelation the U.S. military inadvertently shipped liveanthrax samples in the past several days.

CNN learned on Wednesday a Maryland-based lab received the live samples, which prompted an across the board urgent review to see whether any other live anthrax has been shipped.

Officials are concerned because samples left over at the lab in Dugway, Utah, where the samples originated, were tested and determined to contain live agent.

The shipments, thought to be dead, were shipped under less rigorous conditions than the live agent protocol.

NBC News reported that the anthrax was sent via FedEx.

Company spokesman Jim McCluskey wouldn’t directly confirm the report.

“FedEx is committed to the safe transport of all customer shipments, and our priority is the safety of our employees,” he said. “We will be working closely with the Department of Defense and the Centers for Disease Control to gather information about these shipments.”

Science experts told the Defense Department there was no risk to the public from shipping in those containers. However, four workers across the nine states that received the shipments have been put on post-exposure treatment, because they handled samples.

Pentagon spokesman, Col. Steve Warren, said one sample was also sent to the Joint United States Forces Korea Portal and Integrated Threat Recognition Program at Osan Air Base in South Korea.

“The sample was destroyed in accordance with appropriate protocols,” Warren said.

Up to 22 people in a training laboratory were exposed, according to a statement from the base.

“All personnel were provided appropriate medical precautionary measures to include examinations, antibiotics and in some instances, vaccinations,” the statement said. “None of the personnel have shown any signs of possible exposure.”

The facility was decontaminated afterward and the anthrax destroyed.

The investigation

Samples are supposed to be rendered dead before they are shipped under a routine research program. All military, government and commercial labs that may have received samples are now reviewing their inventory of anthrax.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating in conjunction with the Defense Department and said they do not suspect any risk to the public.

“CDC is working in conjunction with state and federal partners to conduct an investigation with all the labs that received samples from the DOD,” Jason McDonald, a CDC spokesman said. “The ongoing investigation includes determining if the labs also received other live samples, epidemiologic consultation, worker safety review, laboratory analysis and handling of laboratory waste.”

A military spokesman confirmed there is no known public risk nor any illnesses reported.

“The DOD lab was working as part of a DOD effort to develop a field-based test to identify biological threats in the environment,” said Warren, the department spokesman. “Out of an abundance of caution, DOD has stopped the shipment of this material from its labs pending completion of the investigation.”

The investigation began after a request from a private commercial lab.

“The lab was working as part of a DOD effort to develop a new diagnostic test to identify biological threats,” McDonald said. “Although an inactivated agent was expected, the lab reported they were able to grow live Bacillus anthracis (anthrax).”

The CDC has sent officials to the military labs to conduct on-site investigations, he said.

CNN’s Debra Goldschmidt contributed to this report.

original report …


A Pentagon lab accidentally shipped live samples of anthrax to private labs in nine states,according ABC News. The shipments, received in the last several days, have prompted an investigation with the CDC to determine if the lethal bacteria was inadvertently sent anywhere else. A senior defense official told The Daily Beast there is no known risk to the general public and no suspected or confirmed cases of anthrax infection in potentially exposed lab workers. The Utah lab that sent the samples was working with the Department of Defense to develop a field-based test to identify biological threats in the environment. “Out of an abundance of caution, DoD has stopped the shipment of this material from its labs pending completion of the investigation,” Department of Defense director of press operations, Col. Steven H. Warren said in a statement.

more from CNN …

Washington (CNN)CNN has learned a lab inadvertently received live anthrax samples from the U..S military in the last several days prompting an across the board urgent review to see if any other live anthrax has been shipped.

The sample came from a military lab at the Dugway, Utah, Army facility, according to two defense officials.

They did not disclose the lab that received the live anthrax, but said it was that lab that reported receiving the live agent sample. Samples are supposed to be rendered dead before they are shipped under a routine research program.

All military, government and commercial labs that may have received samples are now reviewing their inventory of anthrax.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is currently investigating the incident, in conjunction with the Defense Department, and said they do not suspect any risk to the general public at this time.

“CDC is working in conjunction with state and federal partners to conduct an investigation with all the labs that received samples from the DOD,” Jason McDonald, a CDC spokesman said. “The ongoing investigation includes determining if the labs also received other live samples, epidemiologic consultation, worker safety review, laboratory analysis and handling of laboratory waste.”

A military spokesman confirmed there is currently no known public risk, nor any illnesses reported stemming from the incident.

“The DOD lab was working as part of a DOD effort to develop a field-based test to identify biological threats in the environment,” said Col. Steven H. Warren, a department spokesman. “Out of an abundance of caution, DOD has stopped the shipment of this material from its labs pending completion of the investigation.”

The investigation began after a request from a private commercial lab.

“The lab was working as part of a DOD effort to develop a new diagnostic test to identify biological threats,” McDonald said. “Although an inactivated agent was expected, the lab reported they were able to grow live Bacillus anthracis (anthrax).”

The CDC has sent officials to the military labs to conduct on-site investigations, he said.

57 Responses to “* Pentagon Accidentally Sent Live Anthrax to 9 (now 11) States from Dugway in Utah”

  1. DXer said

    Comment: There doesn’t seem to be any reason at all to suspect that the powder on this Belgian commuter train is anthrax — “a train conductor reportedly found luggage containing bags of white powder” — but the testing presumably being done just as a precaution. Anthrax scientists don’t tend to forget bags of anthrax in their luggage on a train — they tend to ship it all over the place accidentally by federal express.

    We got our first white powder of the season last night! Gosh, I love shoveling 200” of white powder every winter!

    Anthrax train scare: Belgian commuters evacuated & disinfected after ‘white powder’ found
    Written by BDWNContributor × November 7, 2019
    Anthrax train scare: Belgian commuters evacuated & disinfected after ‘white powder’ found Commuters on a train traveling to Brussels Airport were evacuated and disinfected after a bag of white powder was found and an alarm was raised. Local reports say firefighters and police arrived at the scene in large numbers.

    The powder is currently being investigated by authorities.

    The alarm was raised around 5:00 PM on Wednesday evening after a train conductor reportedly found luggage containing bags of white powder. Railway police were then notified and an anthrax alarm procedure began, local reports said.

  2. DXer said

    Background possibly pertinent to Amerithrax –

    Is Southern Research Institute the phrase that fits in front of laboratory in regard to the location that aerosol work for DARPA was done? Was it Johns-Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory? Or instead were the special facilities built at USAMRIID. The research involved the FBI’s anthrax expert John Ezzell and his assistant Joany Jackman.
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 21, 2011

    More on dried aerosol project: Was it Southern Research Institute that was considered for the contract? Who thought he was above the investigation?
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 19, 2011

    when did Southern Research Institute (SRI) first obtain virulent Ames and from whom?
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 6, 2010

    2004 report –

    Researchers Exposed to Anthrax
    Published June 10, 2004 Associated Press

    At least five workers developing an anthrax (search) vaccine at a children’s hospital research lab in Oakland were accidentally exposed to the deadly bacterium because of a shipping mistake, officials reported Thursday.

    Officials with the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (search) said none of the researchers has shown symptoms of infection since the first exposure about two weeks ago, but each is being treated with precautionary antibiotics.

    The researchers believed they were working with syringes full of a dead version of anthrax, hospital spokeswoman Bev Mikalonis said. Instead, they were shipped live anthrax by a lab of the Southern Research Institute (search) in the Frederick, Md., Mikalonis said.

    Anthrax produces severe flu-like symptoms in most of its victims. If inhaled, ingested or otherwise introduced into the body, it can kill.

    Other workers may also have been exposed while the researchers handled the live anthrax, Mikalonis said, a possibility that federal, state and local officials — including the FBI — are investigating.

    Though the five workers were exposed, state health officials and the hospital don’t believe anyone was infected because researchers took proper safety precautions.

    The exposure doesn’t pose a threat to patients because the Oakland lab is located about one mile from the hospital, according to officials.

    “We do not see a threat or a danger to anyone in the community,” said Dr. Richard Jackson, the California public health officer. “This really has been very well controlled.”

    The researchers are working with dead bacteria to develop an anthrax vaccine for children. Mail-borne anthrax attacks killed five people and sickened 17 others in 2001. Those attacks spurred research into better vaccines and treatments.

    Mikalonis said the Oakland researchers received and stored the shipment from the Southern Research Institute, also known as SRI, about three months ago.

    The researchers first used the tainted batch May 28 on lab mice which died soon after, hospital officials said at a news conference Thursday afternoon. But hospital officials said the head of the lab wasn’t notified.

    Then, last week, the researchers injected the anthrax into more mice. On Monday, those mice were found dead.

    The researchers started their own investigation, and on Wednesday night, California state health officials confirmed that live anthrax was in the syringes. Agents with the FBI’s bioterrorism unit removed the samples from the lab Wednesday, according to a hospital news release.

    Southern Research Institute’s Thomas Voss, who is in charge of homeland security and emerging infectious disease, said the Birmingham, Ala.-based nonprofit company is investigating. Voss said it’s still unclear whether the institute did ship live anthrax.

    “We aren’t totally sure of the sequence of events,” Voss said.

    The Southern Research Institute has two highly secure “hot labs” that store some of the world’s deadliest diseases. Labs and researchers from around the country that need data about those nasty diseases but don’t — or can’t — handle them contract SRI to do that work.

    Voss said the institute’s labs in Frederick and Birmingham handle just about every “select agent” listed with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The institute is one of 350 entities registered with the CDC to handle live anthrax. It employs 600 people nationwide and has about $75 million in revenue a year, Voss said.

    The mishap will likely be seized on by critics of the government’s effort to combat biological terrorism by paying for the construction or expansion of 18 high-containment labs nationwide. Supporters of the building boom said the additional lab space is needed to combat emerging global threats, but critics said such expansion increases the likelihood of accidents.

    “This is exactly the kind of thing that a lot of groups that oppose this spate of construction fear,” said Edward Hammond of the Sunshine Project, a chemical and biological weapons watchdog group. “This is the type of accident that has concerned them a lot.”

  3. DXer said

    Anthrax probe is on in Dugway
    FBI team trying to replicate type sent in letters

    By Dan Eggen and Guy Gugliotta
    The Washington Post
    Published: Sunday, Nov. 3 2002

    FBI investigators and federal scientists have been secretly working for months to replicate the type of anthrax used in last year’s deadly mail attacks, part of a previously undisclosed strategy designed to determine precisely how the spores were manufactured, officials say.
    WASHINGTON — FBI investigators and federal scientists have been secretly working for months to replicate the type of anthrax used in last year’s deadly mail attacks, part of a previously undisclosed strategy designed to determine precisely how the spores were manufactured, officials say.

    The experiments began earlier this year and, according to one source familiar with the operation, are being carried out at Utah’s Dugway Proving Ground, a top Pentagon bioweapons research center.

    Dugway, in Utah’s western desert, is a sprawling Army base covering some 1,300 square miles. Its headquarters are about 50 air miles southwest of Salt Lake City. With 650 civilian employees, plus 100 military personnel and 600 contract employees, the post tests defenses against chemical and germ warfare agents.

    FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, who revealed the experiments in remarks to reporters in Washington, said that using such “reverse engineering” could help investigators narrow the list of possible suspects in the case.

    “We’re replicating the way or ways it might be manufactured, but it is not an easy task,” Mueller said. “We are going into new territory in some areas.”

    The ambitious strategy underscores the continued lack of information available to FBI investigators, who have not succeeded in identifying a culprit more than a year after the first letters containing deadly anthrax spores were mailed. The bacteria, accompanied by threatening notes, killed five people and infected 13 others in the fall of 2001, disrupting the mail system and highlighting its vulnerability to such an attack.

    Mueller and other FBI officials declined to say whether investigators were using live anthrax bacteria in their work or whether scientists were culturing the experimental spores from scratch.

    The team involved in the tests includes representatives from several federal agencies, sources said. Jerome Hauer, head of the Office of Public Health Preparedness at the Department of Health and Human Services, said an infectious disease specialist from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is among the scientists assigned to work with the FBI team.

    C.J. Peters, former chief of the CDC’s special pathogens branch, said the FBI approach is logical. “Very few people are experts at making anthrax” in a weaponized form, he said, and determining how the anthrax was treated could lead to one of them.

    Some experts suggested that federal investigators, who have never coped with an anthrax agent as sophisticated as the material recovered from letters to Sens. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., may be feeling their way through the science to discover how difficult it would be to make.

    “They’d probably want to look at several methods of doing it — try to make it several different ways to reproduce the end result,” said David Franz, head of the Chemical and Biological Defense Division of the Southern Research Institute and former commander of the the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), the nation’s principal biodefense research center. “It doesn’t seem like an unreasonable idea.”

    Richard Spertzel, chief biological inspector for the U.N. Special Commission to Iraq from 1994 to 1998, said securing the correct equipment and materials to replicate the anthrax would not be difficult, but getting the spores down to the proper size “is not going to be a simple matter, and it has to be done in containment conditions.”

    The effort to manufacture identical anthrax spores is the latest in a series of ambitious scientific efforts attempted during the anthrax probe. Scientists announced in May, for example, that they had sequenced the anthrax genome used to identify the attack spores as examples of the “Ames strain” of anthrax bacteria developed by USAMRIID at Fort Detrick, Md. A month later, scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory used radiocarbon dating to determine that the anthrax spores had been cultured within the past two years.

    A possible profile of the attacker issued by the FBI last November described an angry, “lone individual” with some scientific background who could weaponize the anthrax spores in a basement laboratory for as little as $2,500 and was likely familiar with the area around Trenton, N.J. The FBI acknowledged the sender may not have been a native English speaker but emphasized that there was no “direct or clear” link between the attacks and foreign terrorism.

    More recently, investigators have said they were working with an evolving list of as many as 30 potential suspects. Attention has centered on medical doctor and virologist Steven J. Hatfill, a former U.S. Army scientist identified by Attorney General John Ashcroft as a “person of interest” in the investigation. Hatfill has vigorously denied any involvement in the attacks.

    Mueller said Friday that FBI profilers have not altered their initial assessment of the likely attacker, and said that “we have a number of individuals that we’re looking at.” But he also said that investigators “have never ruled out any scenario” in the probe, a reaction to criticism from some scientists that the FBI is too focused on a domestic loner and has neglected the possibility that state- or group-sponsored terrorists are behind the attacks.

  4. DXer said

    Anthrax issue reminiscent of earlier testing debacle uncovered by Canada

    A decade ago, labs around the world were placed in a similarly risky situation when unmarked vials containing a type of influenza virus that could have caused a flu pandemic were sent out in error.


    The earlier test kit debacle was bigger, and potentially much more serious a threat.

    In April 2005 somewhere between 4,700 and 5,700 laboratories in 18 countries, including Canada, were told to destroy part of a proficiency test kit they received from the College of American Pathologists.
    The problem: The kits contained a vial of an unspecified live influenza virus that labs were meant to try to identify. It was actually H2N2, which caused the 1957 pandemic known as the Asian flu.
    The influenza A virus circulated for nine years and then disappeared when the virus responsible for the 1968 pandemic — H3N2 — displaced it.

    Many people born before 1968 would have been infected by H2N2 and therefore would have some antibodies to protect against it. But anyone born after 1968 — in 2005 that meant anyone under age 36 or 37 — would have had no protection against the virus.
    If someone working with the unlabelled virus had contracted H2N2 and transmitted it to others, the virus could have taken off and triggered a global wave of flu infections and deaths.

    The head of the World Health Organization’s global pandemic program said at the time that while the mistake had the potential to trigger a global health emergency, a number of bad breaks would have had to happen to trigger disaster.
    But it was lab error that led to the discovery in the first place. A B.C. lab that had received one of the kits informed the national laboratory that someone in that province had tested positive for H2N2. The B.C. lab thought it had spotted the re-emergence of the virus.
    Investigation at the time revealed that the H2N2 virus had not come from a patient. The patient’s sample had been contaminated with virus from the vial in the proficiency kit.

  5. DXer said

    Live anthrax accidentally shipped from Frederick to California lab
    Exposed workers undergo treatment
    CDC begins an investigation of lapse

    June 11, 2004|By Scott Shane | Scott Shane,SUN NATIONAL STAFF

    The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are investigating how a Frederick research institute mistakenly shipped live anthrax bacteria to a California lab where at least five people were exposed to the potentially deadly germs.

    The five vaccine researchers at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute were placed on antibiotics, and none has shown symptoms of infection, said Bev Mikalonis, a hospital spokeswoman.

    Scientists at Southern Research Institute in Frederick intended to send dead anthrax bacteria to their collaborators in Oakland, said Thomas G. Voss, vice president of homeland security and emerging infectious diseases at SRI.

    The killed germs were to be injected into mice to produce antibodies against the disease, one step toward developing an improved vaccine.

    But when the mice were inoculated over the past two weeks, nearly all died, prompting the researchers to perform tests to determine the cause of death.

    When the tests confirmed that the mice had died of anthrax, state and federal health officials were notified and researchers who had contact with the anthrax samples or the mice were placed on the antibiotic Cipro as a precaution, Mikalonis said.

    FBI agents from a bioterrorism unit in San Francisco removed the bacteria from the Oakland facility Wednesday.

    • DXer said

      | Wed Jun 3, 2015 6:33pm EDTRelated: U.S., HEALTH
      Pentagon says 51 labs in 17 U.S. states, three nations got live anthrax
      A number of U.S. military facilities for the past decade have shipped what were supposed to be inactivated, or killed, anthrax samples to outside labs to develop counter-measures to biological weapons. The one in Utah is the only one known to have sent samples that proved to have live bacterial spores.

      Comment: This is not true. Southern Research Instiute in 2004 did. Its BL-3 was headed by Bruce Ivins former assistant. Her civil deposition has been shredded. The anthrax was sent to researchers at Oakland’s Children’s Hospital.

  6. DXer said

    Question: Was it Patricia Fellows at the private biotech firm in Maryland, Southern Research Institute, who made the iniitial discovery?


    Number of live anthrax shipments to labs expands,
    officials say
    Alison Young and Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY

    WASHINGTON — Live samples of anthrax were shipped from a military lab to 51 other laboratories in 17 states, the District of Columbia and three foreign countries, Pentagon officials said Wednesday.

    That’s more than twice as many laboratories as previously believed, according to the preliminary results of an investigation led by Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work.

    “We expect this number may rise,” Work said.


    Potentially bad batches of anthrax date back as long as 10 years, Jones said.

    [Comment: See, before that, they knew how to do it right. But then they forgot.]


    CDC and military officials would not answer USA TODAY’s questions about Dugway’s anthrax deactivation method, how long it had been in use and why problems with it weren’t identified until May 22. That’s when an unidentified private biotechnology company in Maryland called the CDC to say they had been able to culture small amounts of live Bacillus anthracis from one of the Dugway samples, even though it supposedly had been deactivated.

  7. DXer said

    US anthrax scare widens to 51 labs
    • 25 minutes ago

    More than 50 labs in 17 US states and three foreign countries have been mailed samples of live anthrax, Pentagon officials have said.


    Anthrax entered the US national consciousness in 2001, when shortly after the 9/11 attacks, letters containing powdered anthrax arrived at news organisations and the offices of US senators. Twenty-two people were sickened and of those, five people died.

    Background as it relates to Amerithrax:

    NYT interview of former lead Amerithrax investigator Richard Lambert: “a staggering amount of exculpatory evidence” regarding Dr. Ivins remains secret
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 9, 2015

    Off-topic: I saw SAN ANDREAS yesterday and liked it. Separately, I think the caldera under Yellowstone is fascinating.

  8. DXer said

  9. DXer said

    Officials: Dozens of Labs Received Potentially Live Anthrax
    ABC News‎ – 1 hour ago
    The problem of unintended shipments of potentially live anthrax spores over the past decade is worse than first believed, officials said …

    The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss specifics by name.


    An act establishing a moratorium on the department of environmental
    conservation’s plan to declare mute swans a “prohibited invasive

    06/02/2015 reported referred to rules

    • DXer said

      Four batches of anthrax to military labs contained live spores
      Alison Young and Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY2:32 p.m. EDT June 3, 2015

      WASHINGTON — At least four batches of anthrax samples shipped from a military lab to labs in 12 states and three countries contained live spores, a top Pentagon official said Wednesday.


      John Peterson, a microbiology professor who works with anthrax in labs at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, said generally that scientists face challenges when they seek to kill anthrax spores, especially if some remnant of the pathogen is needed for testing detection equipment. Tests and sensors often are looking for certain proteins or nucleic acids associated with the pathogen, he said.

      “The process of inactivating them is kind of a delicate one,” he said, noting that the method must be sufficient to kill all of the spores yet still leave something behind that’s reminiscent of the organism so the material can be used to test detection equipment.

      “Spores, because of their nature, their very heavy outside coating make them resistant to drying or chemicals,” Peterson said in an interview with USA TODAY.

      Bacillus anthracis, the bacterium that causes anthrax, forms spores that, if inhaled, can cause serious disease.

      There is no single, best method for killing anthrax spores, Peterson said, and methods may vary between labs. Some use chemicals, others use radiation. The Dugway lab was reportedly irradiating its anthrax specimens.

      Comment: I’m surprised Dr. Peterson didn’t refer also to the use of heat in the past as a method. Dr. Ebright is a quotable source on the 2004 incident involving thermal inactivation of anthrax sent to Oakland’s Children’s Hospital.

  10. DXer said

    Pentagon Doesn’t Know Where Its Anthrax Went, ESCAPE HATCH06.02.15

    The Defense Department admitted it sent deadly spores to three countries and 12 states—and confessed it doesn’t know who else received the lethal bacteria.
    Defense Department officials admitted on Tuesday that they do not know how many states or countries around the world may have received dangerous samples of live anthrax mistakenly sent from an Army lab in Utah.

    But they are admitting that anthrax has been discovered at the Pentagon itself.

    The Pentagon Force Protection Agency, which serves as the security force for the building, received the anthrax. PFPA uses such spores to test its biosecurity mesasures, a defense official said. But the spores are supposed to be dead. This sample came from a sample that was live.


    Privately, officials conceded that Warren’s claim that there was “no risk to the public at this point” could not been definitively made without a full understanding of how much anthrax went where.

    Such efforts for surety in tracking anthrax were supposed to be put in place around 2009 shortly after the FBI announced it planned to charge Ivins with the deadliest act of bioterrorism on American soil.

    “Somebody got sloppy. They put too much faith in the protocol,” a senior defense official said in explaining how anthrax could be lost.


    At that time, Work said the review would take 30 days but defense officials suspect it will now likely take longer. Among the tasks involved is tracking master samples of anthrax that date back to at least 2008. Warren said the master samples that remain in Dugway are being tested now but could not say how many.

    Warren said that defense experts would brief reporters Wednesday with more specifics about the latest shipment.

    In 2014, a unit CDC producing anthrax spores accidentally gave it to another unit within the CDC, which proceeded to use, exposing it to approximately 80 people. A mid-level administrator in the first unit resigned. Ebright said the Pentagon repeated the same mistakes that led to one CDC lab to send live anthrax to another were repeated.

    “This is the exact same chain of errors,” Ebright added.


    The FBI’s entire analysis in the 2001 anthrax mailings (that served to limit the pool of suspects to less than 300 (plus anyone they could have given it to) was

    (1) any anthrax thought to be inactivated was in fact dead;

    (2) the perp would voluntarily submit a sample of the anthrax, even if he had surreptitiously obtained it; and

    (3) if a scientist had transferred Ames to someone without doing the required paperwork under a law in 1997, they would have voluntarily come forward and admitted to the crime; and

    (4) the detection of Ames in Afghanistan and in a hijackers remains were the result of sloppy, unpersuasisive lab work.

  11. DXer said

    US anthrax samples haven’t been used for years

    TORONTO – Three laboratory test kits that may have mistakenly contained live anthrax and that were sent from the United States to Canada have not been used for years, the Department of National Defence and the Public Health Agency of Canada said late Tuesday.

    A source close to the investigation in the United States confirmed that three test kits that may have contained live anthrax samples were sent to Canada by the U.S. Army laboratory at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah.

    The three kits were supplied to two different labs. The National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg received one of them, the Public Health Agency of Canada acknowledged in an emailed reply to questions.

    Later, the Department of National Defence confirmed a research facility at Suffield, Alta., received two vials of the potentially live anthrax in August, 2007.

    The department said the vials had been located at the Suffield facility and were being stored in an appropriate level of containment for anthrax. The research facility is called the Defence Research and Development Suffield Research Centre.

    “Our records indicate that the 2007 samples in question have not been accessed in the last five years and there have been no safety issues associated with this sample at the Suffield Research Centre,” National Defence said via email.

  12. DXer said

    First on CNN: Pentagon may have received shipment of live anthrax
    By Barbara Starr, CNN Pentagon Correspondent
    Updated 4:46 PM ET, Tue June 2, 2015

    Washington (CNN)The Pentagon is now investigating whether live anthrax was brought into the Pentagon building itself, CNN has learned exclusively.

    The Pentagon Force Protection Agency, the Pentagon’s police force, is one of the agencies that received questionable U.S. Army shipments of anthrax. That shipment now must be tested to see if its live rather than dead pathogen.

    CNN has been exclusively shown a document detailing the location of the anthrax shipments that came from three lots at Dugway dating back to 2007. At Dugway, in recent days, those three lots tested positive, but there may be as many as 100 lots there still to be tested, according to one defense official.

    According to the document CNN reviewed, facilities in Maryland, including private labs and government agencies, received ten shipments dating back to 2009.

  13. DXer said

    The wonderful USAMRMC FOIA person has set a date of June 10 for a response to a request for all USAMRIID relating to the recent mailing of live anthrax by Dugway to some labs.

    The Army’s USAMRIID over the years has been a stand-out example of a FOIA operation that fulfills its mission admirably.


    Shooting swans and other barbaric animal cruelty —

    This week the NYS Assembly should follow the lead of the Senate (60-1) and pass the bill stopping the NYS DEC in its plan to shoot all the Upstate New York mute swans.

    Then the DEC should drop its kill plan altogether.

    If not, DEC official Bryan Swift may have to answer the question on “60 Minutes”: “What tool did your friend, Leon, use to chop at Ernie’s wings — was it an axe?” (Ernie retained me last year before he was kidnapped by DEC and private citizen and then mutilated in a very bloody, unaesthesized procedure).

    (Leon apparently didn’t realize that I had given Ernie an IPhone to film what was happening).

    Under a new law, the FBI now has jurisdiction over animal cruelty and will act where requested by local or state law enforcement — or where local or state authorities do not comply with binding rules and procedures.

    “Will Manlius have to destroy its swan eggs? [(No)] State issues ruling,” June 02, 2015

  14. DXer said

    Pentagon’s anthrax scandal spreads to Canada

    Tom Vanden Brook and Alison Young, USA TODAY

    WASHINGTON – The Pentagon has learned that additional samples of live anthrax were sent to three laboratories in Canada, two Defense officials confirmed Monday evening.

    That means that specimens of the deadly Bacillus anthracis have been sent to labs in 12 states, the District of Columbia and three countries. …

    Military investigators are continuing to comb through anthrax samples and records to determine if more potentially deadly vials have been shipped, the official said, adding that more labs may have received it. …

    The number of laboratories known to have mistakenly receiving samples of live anthrax has grown to at least 28 labs in 12 states and the District of Columbia, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.

    An email that a CDC official sent to state officials Friday raises the prospect that the standard procedure that labs at the U.S. Army’s Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah used to kill anthrax spores isn’t fully effective. …

    We have concern that the inactivation procedures, when followed properlyd, are inadequate to kill all spores, and the U.S. government is developing an approach to securing such possible samples from misuse,” wrote Daniel Sosin, deputy director of CDC’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, in Friday’s email to state officials that

    The labs known so far to have received samples of anthrax that appears to have not been fully killed are located in California, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin, as well as Canada, South Korea and Australia.was obtained by USA TODAY.

  15. DXer said

    Mikulski calls for probe into anthrax shipments
    John Fritze, The Baltimore Sun
    Updated at 4:34 pm

    Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski has called for an investigation into the Army’s mistaken shipment of live anthrax to laboratories across the country, including Aberdeen Proving Ground. …

    Mikulski, the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, peppered Obama administration officials with questions in a May 28 letter released to the public Monday. …

    The Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground was one of the labs that received the samples. The Edgewood center, which describes itself as the nation’s principal research and development resource for non-medical chemical and biological defense, transferred some samples it received to other labs in the United States.


    She asked:

    “What safety protocols does the military currently have in place for handling highly sensitive and dangerous viable samples like samples of B. anthracis? Additionally, what is the protocol for determining viable from inactive samples? Given the gravity of this matter, and the possible public health implications, I’m sure I share your concerns in wanting to isolate the effects of this incident. Can you confirm that these shipments were the only shipments containing a live sample of the anthrax bacteria?”

  16. DXer said

    How anthrax became an unexpected challenge for the Pentagon
    By Dan Lamothe June 1 at 3:30 PM

    The use of irradiation to kill anthrax gained widespread attention after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks when spores were mailed in letters to media outlets and government offices, killing five people and infecting 17 more.

  17. DXer said

    Source: Baltimore Sun, December 12, 2001.

    Anthrax matches Army spores

    Bioterror: Organisms made at a military laboratory in Utah are genetically identical to those mailed to members of Congress.

    By Scott Shane, Sun Staff

    For nearly a decade, U.S. Army scientists at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah have made small quantities of weapons-grade anthrax that is virtually identical to the powdery spores used in the mail attacks that have killed five people, government sources say.

    Until the anthrax attacks led to tighter security measures, anthrax grown at Dugway was regularly sent by Federal Express to the Army’s biodefense center at Fort Detrick, in Frederick, where the bacteria were killed using gamma radiation before being returned to Dugway for experiments.

    The anthrax was shipped in the form of a coarse paste, not in the far more dangerous finely milled form, according to one government official.

    Most anthrax testing at Dugway, in a barren Utah desert 87 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, is done using the killed spores to reduce the chance of accidental exposure of workers there.

    But some experiments require live anthrax, milled to the tiny particle size expected on a battlefield, to test both decontamination techniques and biological agent detection systems, the sources say.

    Anthrax is also grown at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, where it is used chiefly to test the effectiveness of vaccines in animals.

    But that medical program uses a wet aerosol fog of anthrax rather than the dry powder used in the attacks and at Dugway, according to interviews and medical journal articles based on the research.

    The wet anthrax, while still capable of killing people, is safer for laboratory workers to handle, scientists say.

    Dugway’s production of weapons-grade anthrax, which has never before been publicly revealed, is apparently the first by the U.S. government since President Richard M. Nixon ordered the U.S. offensive biowarfare program closed in 1969.

    Scientists familiar with the anthrax program at Dugway described it to The Sun on the condition that they not be named.

    The offensive program made hundreds of kilograms of anthrax for bombs designed to kill enemy troops over hundreds of square miles.

    Dugway’s Life Sciences Division makes the deadly spores in far, far smaller quantities, rarely accumulating more than 10 grams at a time, according to one Army official.

    Scientists estimate that the letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle originally contained about 2 grams of anthrax, about one-sixteenth of an ounce, or the weight of a dime.

    But its extraordinary concentration – in the range of 1 trillion spores per gram – meant that the letter could have contained 200 million times the average dose necessary to kill a person.

    Dugway’s weapons-grade anthrax has been milled to achieve a similar concentration, according to one person familiar with the program.

    The concentration exceeds that of weapons anthrax produced by the old U.S. offensive program or the Soviet biowarfare program, according to Dr. Richard O. Spertzel, who worked at Detrick for 18 years and later served as a United Nations bioweapons inspector in Iraq.

    Lab security measures

    No evidence linking the Dugway anthrax to the attacks has been made public, and there might well be none. Army officials say the anthrax there and at Fort Detrick has long been protected by multiple security measures.

    The FBI has extensively questioned Dugway employees who have had access to anthrax, according to people familiar with the investigation.

    Agents also have questioned people at Fort Detrick and other government and university laboratories that have used the Ames strain of anthrax found in the letters.

    Still, the analysis of the genetic and physical properties of the anthrax mailed to Daschle and Sen. Patrick J. Leahy has caused investigators to take a hard look at Dugway’s anthrax program.

    First, the genetic fingerprint of the mailed anthrax is indistinguishable from that of the Ames “reference strain,” which is the strain used most often at Fort Detrick and Dugway, according to a scientist familiar with the genetic work.

    Researchers led by Paul Keim at Northern Arizona University have compared the two samples and found them identical at 50 genetic markers – the most sensitive genetic identification method available.

    That does not mean the mailed anthrax necessarily originated from an Army program, because Ames anthrax has been widely used at government and university laboratories in the United States and overseas.

    Shipped without records

    While some sources have estimated Ames might have been used in as few as 20 labs, one scientist who has worked with anthrax said the total cannot be known exactly, but is probably closer to 50.

    “Until the last few years, a graduate student would call up a friend at another lab and say, ‘Send me Ames,’ and they’d do it,” the scientist said. “There wouldn’t necessarily be any records kept.”

    Ames is similar to but distinct from the Vollum1B strain of anthrax used in the old U.S. offensive biological weapons program.

    The genetic testing proves the mailed anthrax was not left over from the old program, most scientists agree.

    Even more provocative than the genetics are the physical properties of the mailed anthrax. While some scientists disagree, many bioterrorism experts argue that the quality of the mailed anthrax is such that it could have been produced only in a weapons program or using information from such a program.

    Link to Dugway base

    If true, that would greatly limit the field, increasing the likelihood of a link to the only site in the United States where weapons-grade anthrax has been made in recent years.

    Dugway, which is larger than Rhode Island, has been a military testing ground since World War II, when military officials selected it for its remote location in Utah’s Great Salt Lake Desert.

    The Dugway anthrax program was launched in the early 1990s, shortly after the Persian Gulf war reawakened U.S. military commanders to the threat from biological weapons.

    Iraq is known to have built a major bioweapons program that included anthrax in its potential arsenal.

    According to Dugway’s Web site, the proving ground’s Life Sciences Division has an aerosol technology branch and a biotechnology branch, both of which use a Biosafety Level 3 laboratory designed to contain pathogens.

    Anthrax and other dangerous germs at Dugway are guarded by video cameras, intrusion alarms, double locks and a buddy system that does not permit workers to handle the agents alone, according to one scientist.

    But Dugway does not have a gamma radiation machine, which is why its anthrax has been shipped to Detrick for irradiation.

    Dr. David L. Huxsoll, who headed Detrick’s biodefense program in the 1980s, said vaccines and detection systems must be tested against aerosolized anthrax if troops are to be prepared for biological attacks.

    “When you’re building a program to defend against biological weapons on the battlefield, you have to be prepared for an aerosol exposure,” he said.

    Not a treaty violation

    Milton Leitenberg, an expert on bioweapons at the University of Maryland, said he was not aware of the Dugway anthrax production.

    But he said making a few grams of weapons-grade anthrax for testing defensive equipment would not violate the international convention on biological weapons.

    The treaty bans the production of bioagents “of types and in quantities that have no justification for prophylactic, protective and other peaceful purposes.”

    “There’s no specific limit in grams or micrograms,” Leitenberg said. “But if you got up in the hundreds of grams, people would be very, very skeptical.”

    The FBI’s investigation, called Amerithrax, has focused on the possibility that the anthrax terrorist might be a loner in this country with some scientific training.

    The Sun reported Sunday that in two months, none of the hundreds of FBI agents on the case had contacted the Army retirees who produced anthrax in the 1950s and 1960s.

    Yesterday, one of those anthrax veterans, Orley R. Bourland Jr. of Walkersville, got a call from the White House Office of Homeland Security seeking information.

    The FBI had not made contact with several veterans interviewed yesterday.

    • DXer said

      Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson went on a camping trip. After a good meal and a bottle of drambui, they laid down for the night, and went to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes awoke and nudged his faithful friend. “Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see.” Watson replied, “I see millions and millions of stars.” “What does that tell you?” Watson pondered for a minute. “Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies, and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful and that we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you?” Holmes was silent for a minute, then spoke. “It tells me that someone has stolen our tent.”

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

    • DXer said

      Awakened, and looking over to the Holmes and Watson tent, the Lone Ranger woke to see that his tent was missing too. He declared, “Tonto, we’re not in canvas anymore.”

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

  18. DXer said

    Did a bacteria causing respiratory illness kill 121,000 out 300,000 saiga, a rare antelope and cool scrabble word, in the past few weeks? If so, how was it transmitted?


    • DXer said

      This NYT blog seems to do a good job at looking at past mass saiga die offs and the cause.

      Dot Earth – New York Times blog
      Previous Mass Die-Offs of the Endangered Saiga Antelope Hint at a Warm, Wet, Weedy Culprit in Kazakhstan

      By Andrew C. Revkin
      May 29, 2015 4:24 pm

  19. DXer said

    Pentagon Chief to Hold People Accountable for Anthrax
    HAIPHONG, Vietnam — May 31, 2015, 9:24 AM ET
    By LOLITA C. BALDOR Associated Press

    “U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter says he’ll find out who was responsible for the mistaken shipments of live anthrax to 11 states and two countries, and he’ll “hold them accountable.”

    Former FBI director alleges agency concealing evidence in anthrax …

    Comment: Now if only Ash Carter only took the same no-nonsense attitude about DOJ and FBI’s — and Army’s — withholding of documents in Amerithrax.

  20. DXer said

    Anthrax Mishap Stirs Questions in Congress

    By James Rosen
    McClatchy Washington Bureau
    Friday, May 29, 2015

    “Over the next seven years, the FBI and other prosecutors named two men as having possible ties to those anthrax attacks, Steven Hatfill and Bruce Ivins, but the government never brought charges against either of them.”


    On the calendar –

    A very lengthy brief and 4,000 page appendix will be filed the first week in June by counsel for “anthrax weapons suspect” Ali Al-Timimi.

    The trial of Al Qaeda anthrax lab director Yazid Sufaaf begins June 1. In written correspondence with me, Yazid Sufaat does not deny responsibility for the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings.


    Hank Crumpton Says Yazid Sufaat’s “mission was bio-attacks against American targets”
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 14, 2012

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

  21. DXer said

    Massachusetts, Utah join other states that got accidental anthrax from military lab
    McClatchy Washington BureauMay 29, 2015

    WASHINGTON — The Pentagon on Friday said labs in two more states inadvertently received suspected samples of live anthrax, bringing to 11 the total number of states that were accidentally shipped the pathogen by a military lab.

    The two additional states are Utah and Massachusetts, joining California, Texas, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland and Wisconsin as the recipient states.

    The Army’s Dugway Proving Ground in Utah also inadvertently sent possible live anthrax spores to a commercial lab in Australia, the second foreign country to receive the apparently mislabeled shipments.

    Pentagon officials said as many as 24 commercial, university or military research labs in the 11 states, plus South Korea and Australia, may have received live anthrax samples from the Utah testing facility.

    Read more here:

  22. DXer said

    Edgewood, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Stanford University … and Signature Science [ Austin ]

    Live anthrax spores mistakenly sent to Austin lab
    KVUE2:38 p.m. CDT May 29, 2015

    A spokesperson for Signature Science said the company had the anthrax for more than a month before the Department of Defense uncovered it sent the wrong shipment.

    Signature Science received the anthrax shipment on April 8 from the Department of Defense to conduct research. It’s not uncommon for the company to test dead anthrax spores. The latest shipment was kept frozen and never opened.

  23. Jade Helm said

    Live anthrax found in U.S. military shipment to Australia

    Has to make a person wonder if any of the inactivated sample sent out by Dr. Ivins also contained live anthrax.

    • Jade Helm said

      With this recent discovery that live anthrax, thought to be inactive, was sent to Australia in 2008 and the news reports stating that human error is not suspected as the cause the more recent shipments of live anthrax which were also thought to be inactive. It would seem that the science used to inactivate anthrax is not as effective as we thought it was.

      Since it seems likely that there will be more revelations of live anthrax, thought to be inactive, being shipped. Since we are now back to shipments sent in 2008 truly have to wonder if it will continue back to shipments made prior to the 2001 anthrax mail attacks.

    • DXer said

      All good points. But note that it even more directly raises the issue whether inactivated samples sent out by Dugway were live.

      John Ezzell previously has explained that the testing about the level of radiation needed had not been done. (This was in the early 2000s he said this).

      In 2004 there was a famous incident when Southern Research Institute (where the BL-3 was headed by Ivins’ former assistant Patricia Fellows) sent out live anthrax (accidentally) to Oakland Children’s Hospital. SRI had used inactivation by heat as I recall.

  24. DXer said

    Of course, Al Qaeda did not receive anthrax via federal express — they just came in-person and picked it up.

    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

    CIA and FBI Knew Rauf Ahmad harvested “anthrax spore concentrate” for Al Qaeda for experiment on guinea pigs on “7-4-001″ – handwriting on anthrax spore concentrate is same as handwriting of Rauf Ahmad in correspondence planning anthrax lab with Ayman Zawahiri

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 26, 2014

  25. DXer said

    In addition to Edgewood in Maryland, Naval Surface Warfare Center was another of the labs.

    Here is a good video report.

    Tough Spores May Explain Anthrax Blunder, Experts Say

    • DXer said

      In addition to Edgewood and the Naval Surface Warfare lab, Stanford was a recipient last year year of the anthrax.

      The anthrax sent to Stanford last year is now on its way to a federal laboratory in Atlanta for analysis.

      “The vial has not been touched in 10 months. The university says all safety procedures have been followed and no one has gotten sick.”

  26. DXer said

    Inside America’s secretive biolabs


    Alison Young and Nick Penzenstadler, USA TODAY

    Probe identifies over 200 biolabs


  27. DXer said

    The IG inspected Dugway in 2001 after the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings. That report should be obtained and uploaded.

  28. DXer said

    Congressman calls anthrax shipment ‘a serious breach’
    POSTED 2:05 PM, MAY 28, 2015, BY BEN WINSLOW
    SALT LAKE CITY — Congressman Chris Stewart anticipates there will be many investigations into shipments of live anthrax from Dugway Proving Grounds to labs in nine states.

    “We have to find out what happened there. This is a serious breach. We need to analyze and understand what happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Stewart, a Republican representing Utah’s Second Congressional District, told FOX 13 on Thursday.

    But Stewart also defended Dugway workers, who said for years they have destroyed other samples without any incident. The congressman, who serves on the House Intelligence Committee, said he anticipated “a thorough investigation on many levels.”

  29. Jade Helm said

    Just like to point out that according to Reuters article titled “U.S. Army shipped anthrax samples over more than year-long period”, the mistakenly shipped suspected live anthrax samples were shipped between March 2014 through April 2015. Not just in the last several days as stated in the CNN article.

  30. DXer said

    Twenty-two shipments of live anthrax made their way out of military facilities and into labs across the country, as well as to a U.S. base in South Korea. The shipments happened over a one-year period between March 2014 and March of this year.

  31. DXer said

    Up to 18 labs in U.S. got live anthrax shipments
    Nick Penzenstadler and Alison Young, USA TODAY

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said Thursday that as many as 18 labs around the country received live anthrax samples.

  32. DXer said

    Army chief ‘99.9 percent’ confident no one was harmed by anthrax

    By Martin Matishak – 05/28/15 10:07 AM EDT


    Based on the initial study the service has conducted of the incident, Odierno said standard procedures were followed in the shipment.

    “Best I can tell, there was not human error,” he said.

    On Wednesday, a Defense Department official said that an anthrax sample was prepared at the Dugway Army facility in Utah as part of routine research, then shipped to the other laboratories. All of the samples were supposed to be dead or inactive.

    He said the CDC specifically would look at “do we have to change the procedures that in place just to make sure we’re careful” and ensure “even this minute amount would not get out again.”

    Odierno said the service’s procedures for handling the deadly virus had been in place for “a long time” but that this was the first incident where the irradiation treatment may not have rendered it inert.

    “What we don’t know yet is the analysis of that, of the gamma radiation piece,” he told reporters. “That’s what we have to find out.”

  33. Jade Helm said

    U.S. Army shipped anthrax samples over more than year-long period


    “Two U.S. Army facilities, the Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, and the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center in Maryland, mistakenly shipped suspected live anthrax samples from March 2014 through April 2015, a U.S. official said on Wednesday.

    The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Dugway Proving Ground had reported, apparently erroneously, the inactivation of the anthrax stock in question following its treatment with gamma irradiation.

    The samples originated at Dugway but were also later shipped from Edgewood to U.S. federal, private and academic facilities, the official said, adding, however, that there were no suspected anthrax infections so far or risk to the general public.”

    (Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Sandra Maler)

  34. DXer said

    Yazid Sufaat says that, contrary to some media reports, he was successful in developing anthrax, but prefers other bugs; he views anthrax as good for sabotaging, but not killing

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 30, 2015

  35. DXer said

    Pentagon: Live anthrax inadvertently distributed by Army laboratory

    “The sample was destroyed in accordance with appropriate protocols,” said Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, in a statement. …

    The lab at Dugway was involved in a Defense Department effort to develop a test to identify biological threats in the field, Warren said. A defense official said an anthrax sample is typically irradiated to kill it, and then distributed to facilities that are involved in the program. It is not clear what wrong in that process.

    A broad effort to lock down the other samples began less than a day after the Maryland laboratory reported the live sample, and the CDC was called in, a defense official said. The other samples were sent to labs in Texas, Wisconsin, Delaware, New Jersey, Tennessee, New York, California and Virginia, the official added.

    Anthrax is considered one of the most common bioweapons that Americans could face in a terrorist attack, according to the CDC. In 2001, powdered anthrax spores were put into letters that were mailed, infecting 22 people, including 12 mail carriers. Five of the 22 people died.

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

  36. DXer said

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