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

* US Army will conduct a formal investigation of the institutions and individuals at DPG, including the chain of command, as well as the actions of DPG that led to the inadvertent widespread shipments of viable anthrax spores.

Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 24, 2015

NewArmyprobereDugwaydebacleunnamed (16)

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Implementation of the Recommendations in the Comprehensive Review Report:  Inadvertent Shipment of Live Bacillus anthracis (Anthrax) Spores by Department of Defense
http://www.defense.gov/home/features/2015/0615_lab-stats/docs/DSD-Memo-Implementation-of-Recommendations-in-Comprehensive-Review-Report.pdf

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Review Committee Report:  Inadvertent Shipment of Live Bacillus anthracis spores by DoD
http://www.defense.gov/home/features/2015/0615_lab-stats/docs/Review-Committee-Report-Final.pdf

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12 Responses to “* US Army will conduct a formal investigation of the institutions and individuals at DPG, including the chain of command, as well as the actions of DPG that led to the inadvertent widespread shipments of viable anthrax spores.”

  1. DXer said

    In key anthrax test, scientist just threw out test tube showing sample was alive – USA Today
    Alison Young, USA TODAY4:59 p.m. EDT September 17, 2015
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/09/17/dugway-lab-anthrax-test-tube/32555249/

    Biosafety experts contacted by USA TODAY called the 2007 incident egregious and said the discarding of the test tube indicates a potentially cavalier approach in Dugway’s culture of working with a deadly bioterror pathogen. Anthrax spores can cause fatal illness if inhaled and Dugway is a major production and testing facility for the military’s chemical and biological defense programs.

    “Ignoring results that invalidate a procedure, destroying data, signing false reports, and knowingly and willfully misrepresenting materials are major offenses,” said Richard Ebright, a microbiologist at Rutgers University in New Jersey who has testified before Congress on lab-safety issues.

    The 2007 incident involved specimens that had been treated with chlorine dioxide, which along with gamma irradiation was one of four methods in use to kill anthrax at Dugway at that time, the records show. The others involved treatment with heat and treatment with another chemical called formalin.

    The new details about the discarding of the test tube are part of 12 pages of redacted records released to USA TODAY by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. The inspector general handles enforcement actions for lab regulators at the CDC.

    The inspector general’s office said it identified 187 pages of records about the referral of Dugway for an enforcement action because of the 2007 incident. The office, however, said it was withholding 25 pages of records because of bioterrorism secrecy requirements and because some materials were pre-decisional. It released 12 redacted pages to USA TODAY. The rest of the records, because they originated at the CDC and the Army, will need to be released by them, the office said. As of Thursday afternoon, no additional records had been released.

  2. DXer said

    Sept 3 – Pentagon to halt operations at 9 labs handling viruses, anthrax: USA Today
    http://news.yahoo.com/pentagon-halt-operations-nine-labs-handling-viruses-anthrax-190148145.html

    In late May, officials discovered live anthrax had been shipped to researchers in the United States and other countries. The Pentagon said in July the error exposed major problems with Defense Department handling of deadly bacteria.

    Comment: The FBI’s analysis in Amerithrax was so fundamentally flawed. The FBI’s analysis, in good faith, was premised on 100% effective radiation and 100% accurate record-keeping. It was foolhardy for the FBI to base its analysis on what it characterized, at its best, as a process of elimination involving hundereds determined to have access.

    If Amerithrax is not reopened, then the DOD’s pronouncements about reviews and accountability are pretty meaningless. The entire defense effort is geared to protecting against the threat.

    And the threat remains unresolved — and the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings remain unsolved.

    Inside the Beltway — but especially inside The Ring — it remains all about CYA, saving face, declaring victory, and then later getting a lucrative job in the private sector.

  3. DXer said

    Off-topic:

    China Allegedly Hacked FBI’s Former Top Lawyer
    BY JEFF STEIN 8/31/15 AT 7:51 PM
    http://www.newsweek.com/china-hackers-fbi-marion-bowman-367451

    Comment:

    I’m reading Richard Clarke’s 2007 “Breakpoint” — which focuses on suspected Chinese sabotage of the internet, using Russian gangster proxies. The attacks initially are thought to be a false flag operation with “layered deniability” — but there is still a lack of convincing proof.

    Our lead protagonist, as I recall, is with an elite Navy intelligence analysis unit. She is assisted by an ex-Marine NYPD Detective. It was interesting to have Richard Clarke blow up the “Pancake Factory” at Ballston — which would be the Pancake House, with its blue tiles, in real life.

    This weekend the fun was my daughter won 1st place and “Best of Show” in the first-ever New York State Fair poetry contest. Her poem was titled “Interview With A Time-Traveler” — about the state fossil Eurypterus.

    If parents encouraged a love of nature and words in their children — rather than indoctrinating them in religious or nationalistic beliefs — the world would be a much safer place.

    Yazid Sufaat was a sensible fellow before he fell under the influence of his mother-in-law.

  4. DXer said

    Oops! Pentagon quietly DOUBLES the number of labs it mistakenly sent anthrax – and now the number is 192

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3177434/Oops-Pentagon-quietly-DOUBLES-number-labs-mistakenly-sent-anthrax-number-192.html#ixzz3hCKPVVFL

    Department of Defense said 106 additional labs had been sent the bacteria
    They were added on top of the 86 facilities they previously knew about
    Investigation now covers seven countries, all 50 states and three territories

  5. DXer said

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

    • DXer said

      Vahid Majidi, who appears in this video, knows (but is not telling you) that:

      The FBI’s genetic analysis in Amerithrax rested on the UNVALIDATED scientific assumption that all samples that had been inactivated were in fact dead and that such samples thus could not have been the source of the virulent anthrax mailed shortly after 9/11.
      Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 15, 2015

      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2015/06/15/the-fbis-genetic-analysis-in-amerithrax-rested-on-the-unvalidated-scientific-assumption-that-all-samples-that-had-been-inactivated-were-in-fact-dead-and-that-such-samples-thus-could-not-have-been/comment-page-1/

    • DXer said

      Rather than focus on gamma — and how an unvalidated gamma irradiation method undermined the FBI analysis which it excluded the hundreds of other individuals who had potential to virulent Ames anthrax — Vahid Majidi and his FBI colleagues focused on Dr. Ivins’ interest in Kappa Kappa Gamma coeds.

      He now this year led the review that did not draw the implications related to his analysis in the investigation of the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings. Yet he purports to call it “Comprehensive” — even though at USAMRIID they did not have data about past irradiation failures because documentation was not kept.

      Douglas Beecher, on the review committee, could readily look up for you how many organizations are known to have been sent gamma irradiated Ames — and might even be able to give an estimate of how many people were excluded based on a finding that they only had access to Ames that had been gamma irradiated.

    • DXer said

      Gamma Irradiation Can Be Used To Inactivate Bacillus anthracis Spores without Compromising the Sensitivity of Diagnostic Assays▿
      Leslie A. Dauphin, Bruce R. Newton, […], and Michael D. Bowen
      Additional article information

      ABSTRACT
      The use of Bacillus anthracis as a biological weapon in 2001 heightened awareness of the need for validated methods for the inactivation of B. anthracis spores.

      Comment: It should have. But Vahid Majidi, did it? You were in charge of the science for the FBI in its Amerithrax investigation. The FBI’s anthrax expert, John Ezzell, who distributed gamma irradiated Ames from Bruce Ivins’ Flask 1029 to numerous unidentified DARPA researchers, told me in 2007 that the research still had not been done.

      The FBI’s analysis in Amerithrax — which you announced in August 2008 — excluded scientists and individuals who were known only to have access to gamma irradiated Ames from Flask 1029.

      Is this claim of transparency and accountability a crock? Rather than delving into the implications of the scientific uncertainty for the FBI’s analysis announced in 2008, the order of the day is to find a scapegoat.

      You and the DOD seem to want to have credibility by hanging this on the Dugway commander and going home. How about at least acknowledging that the analysis in Amerithrax — which rested on a process of elimination (that eliminated those with access only to gamma irradiated anthrax) — needs to be reconsidered.

      By truncating your analysis and conclusions you have violated the most basic precept of “lessons learned” and root cause analysis.

      That is highly unscientific.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2493171/

    • DXer said

      For example, on March 20, 1998, 3 ml Ames spores from Flask 1029 were irradiated for endotoxin/phenol analysis.

      On February 22, 2000 6 ml of Ames from Flask 1029 was irradiated.

      On August 28, 2000, 40 ml of Ames from Flask 1029 was irradiated for a DARPA mass spec experiment.

      Such samples were distributed to places like Johns-Hopkins and University of Maryland without regard for the need for B3 containment. It was believed that they had been successfully inactivated.

    • DXer said

      From an earlier post by Lew years ago:

      DXer has assembled the following points from documents produced by the FBI and from Dr. Ezzell’s comments at the conference and in past correspondence …

      • Dr. Ezzell made dried powdered anthrax using Ames supplied by Bruce Ivins (which had been irradiated in the slurry).
      • his resulting dry powder was more pure than the Daschle product.
      • he made it at the request of DARPA for testing of mass spectrometry for biodefense detection purposes.
      • The work Dr. Ezzell did was done in Building 1412 at USAMRIID.
      • The virulent Ames was kept in the unlocked refrigerator.
      • The aerosol samples were put on tapes.
      • The DARPA researchers were testing the effect of a sonicator and corona plasma discharge on Ames spores.
      • In 2001 (and for a couple of years after that), Dr. Ivins had not known that dried powdered anthrax was being made at USAMRIID. …

      Question: Besides Building 1412 and Johns-Hopkins, where else was the research involving a sonicator and corona plasma discharge done?

  6. DXer said

    Pentagon: inadequate killing, testing caused largest anthrax breach in history
    http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2015/07/24/Pentagon-inadequate-killing-testing-caused-largest-anthrax-breach-in-history/6491437735613/Pentagon: inadequate killing, testing caused largest anthrax breach in history
    By Amy R. Connolly | July 24, 2015 at 8:16 AM
    “We are shocked by these failures,” Work said. “I want to stress to you that DOD takes full responsibility for these failures.”

    A House Energy and Commerce Committee investigations subcommittee has scheduled a hearing for July 28 to look at the effectiveness of federal oversight of federal labs handing such pathogens.

    Work said the Army is further investigating to determine if anyone should be held responsible at Dugway for the failures.

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