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

* FBI fights release of exculpatory information regarding 2001 anthrax attacks

Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 10, 2015

Richard Lambert

Richard Lambert

***

In this FOX News interview, former agent Lambert claims the FBI is concealing evidence in anthrax case. It is a powerful statement …

http://video.foxnews.com/v/4184909385001/former-agent-claims-fbi-concealing-evidence-in-anthrax-case/?#sp=show-clips

In this interview, the former lead Amerithrax investigator says there’s been no means of vetting the FBI’s representations — none of the exculpatory evidence was produced.  Former Agent Lambert says that the FBI’s claims were highly selective and that a “staggering” amount of clearly exculpatory evidence  was not disclosed.

On the other hand, FBI’s Dave Hardy claims that there nothing was withheld and that there is no public interest in disclosure. Mr. Hardy could not be more wrong.

Former lead Amerithrax investigator Lambert says the Amerithrax case was most certainly not “solved.”

***

This year, Kenneth Dillon requested a copy of the 2000 page  “Interim Major Case Summary.”  The FBI refused, on friviolous grounds, the requested waiver of fees — ignoring the historic importance of the Amerithrax investigation. Here is the rejection letter 

Dillon letter

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9 Responses to “* FBI fights release of exculpatory information regarding 2001 anthrax attacks”

  1. DXer said

    Due to the unswerving efforts of Dr. Dillon — a well-travelled academic, researcher and a former intelligence analyst — the FBI is now producing nearly 3500 pages on 7 CDs.

    I expect to upload them on Dropbox and highlight them on this blog.

    A profound thanks to Dr. Dillon for helping people “get on the same page.”

  2. DXer said

    This past week, the blog’s graphic artist and I went to hear John Rizzo, the former General Counsel for the CIA.

    Attorney Rizzo described doing two laps with a cigar around Langley in deciding how to approach the request that they be allowed to treat detainees roughly. He was selling his January 2014 memoir COMPANY MAN.

    Although the event was free, my perception was that affluent locals with gray hair dominated the audience. He was well-received and there was a very well-behaved Q and A session.

    The next speaker is Zephyr Teachout, who I expect will speak about political corruption.

    With the summer holidays over, I’ve put the graphic artist back on the payroll at twice his usual pay.

    I even baked him chocolate chip cookies as added inducement.

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

  3. DXer said

    No traditional forensic tests were produced. We were just required to credit the FBI’s assertions about them.

    Former lead investigator Lambert says a “staggering” amount of exculpatory evidence is being withheld. For starters, we know the traditional forensic tests have not been produced — that is the productive argument to make.

    (Material naming names would be exempt under (b)(6).)

    Former FBI scientist Bruce Budowie should have come forward long ago to urge that the traditional forensic tests be produced and all potentially exculpatory information be produced.

    Why should he be deemed authoritative on the current and future issue of mixed human DNA evidence when the FBI in Amerithrax did not even produce the traditional forensic tests that were exculpatory of Bruce Ivins? Dr. Budowie, along with others, has remained silent, letting it happen.

    What good is Bruce Budowie’s impressive tome on Microbial Forensics if this learned and esteemed former FBI scientist does not speak out about the logical implications of the ineffective radiation of virulent Ames prior to 9/11?

    As an example, if traditional forensic examination indicates that the origin of the paper was Europe, that would be exculpatory. Yet no forensic examination of the paper was produced.

    Similarly, if examination of the toner were that there was no match with USAMRIID, that would contradict the innuendo in the Amerithrax case summary.

  4. DXer said

    CDC CARRYING OUT INVESTIGATION ON 4 DEFENSE DEPARTMENT LABS

    “During the investigations, inspectors found labeling issues. CDC is also investigating transfers to ensure that there was no risk to those who handled the material or to the public.”
    http://nycity.today/content/285201-cdc-carrying-out-investigation-4-defense-department-labs

    Does the DOD and CDC actually believe its own BS PR about zero tolerance?

    The Army (Bruce Ivins) supplied virulent Ames anthrax to a non-citizen — who had been a former Zawahiri associate — and then sat by and did nothing while the FBI — according to its former lead investigator — has withheld a “staggering” amount of evidence exculpatory of Bruce Ivins.

    The DOD even put the former FBI people (Christian Hassell and Vahid Majidi) in charge of the DOD review — who then proceeded to avoid addressing the pre-911 transfers of Ames.

    At the same time, CDC thwarted my FOIA request to USAMRIID about transfers of Ames. And the FBI has withheld from me some key Ivins’ notebooks regarding the transfer of Ames while the Army sat on its hands and allowed it.

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

  5. DXer said

    In his administrative appeal of the denial of the fee waiver request, Ken should rely upon Merrick Garland’s decision last month in Cause of Action v. Federal Trade Commission. It represents controlling and on-point authority. Then he should keep his eyes open for any decision by the District for the District of Columbia on remand.

    Cause of Action v. Federal Trade Commission, (D.C. Cir. August 25, 2015)
    http://www.cadc.uscourts.gov/internet/opinions.nsf/EF1DE205B4E1264685257EAC004EF78C/$file/13-5335-1569545.pdf

    GARLAND, Chief Judge: Cause of Action (“Action”), a nonprofit organization, filed a series of three Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the Federal Trade Commission. The question presented is who should pay the costs of satisfying those requests. Action contends that FOIA entitles it to a complete waiver of the customary fees because “disclosure of the information is in the public interest,” 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(A)(iii). In the alternative, Action contends that it is entitled to a waiver of all but duplication costs because it is “a representative of the news media,” id. § 552(a)(4)(A)(ii)(II).
    The Commission and the district court rejected Action’s claims for fee waivers regarding its first and second FOIA requests, and then concluded that Action’s claims regarding its third request were moot. We conclude that Action’s claims regarding its third request were not moot, and that the case must be remanded for reconsideration in light of the entire administrative record and our clarification of the standards for FOIA fee waivers.

    FOIA permits an agency to exact a reasonable charge for “document search, duplication, and review, when records are requested for commercial use.” 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(A)(ii)(I). Certain categories of requests and requesters, however, are entitled to more favorable treatment. Two such categories are at issue in this case. First, an agency must furnish records without any charge or at a reduced charge “if disclosure of the information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.” Id. § 552(a)(4)(A)(iii) (emphasis added). Second, an agency may charge only for duplication costs “when records are not sought for commercial use and the request is made by . . . a representative of the news media.” Id. § 552(a)(4)(A)(ii)(II) (emphasis added). Action asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for fee waivers under both categories.

    ***

    The text of the public-interest waiver provision indicates that such a fee-waiver application must satisfy three criteria. Disclosure of the requested information must: (1) shed light on “the operations or activities of the government”; (2) be “likely to contribute significantly to public understanding” of those operations or activities; and (3) not be “primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.” 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(A)(iii).

    ***

    The FTC regulation cited by the district court does require a requester to show that the information it seeks would increase the understanding of the public “at large.” 16 C.F.R. § 4.8(e)(2)(i)(C). But FOIA itself does not. The statute requires only that the disclosure be likely to contribute significantly to “public” understanding. 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(A)(iii). Nor does the statute require a requester to show an ability to convey the information to a “broad segment” of the public or to a “wide audience.” To the contrary, we have held that “proof of the ability to disseminate the released information to a broad cross-section of the public is not required.” Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Dep’t of Justice, 365 F.3d 1108, 1126 (D.C. Cir. 2004); see Carney v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice, 19 F.3d 807, 814-15 (2d Cir. 1994) (rejecting the assertion that, because a scholar’s proposed articles would not “reach a broad cross-section of the public” or “a general audience,” his request did not come within the public- interest provision).

    We recognize that the requirement that disclosure of the requested information be “likely to contribute significantly to public understanding” defies easy explication. Application of this criterion may well require assessment along two dimensions: the degree to which “understanding” of government activities will be advanced by seeing the information; and the extent of the “public” that the information is likely to reach.4

    ***

    It is still the case, of course, that a requester is ineligible for a waiver if the requested information will be to its benefit alone. The statute requires, after all, that the information contribute to public understanding. 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(A)(iii); see Forest Guardians v. U.S. Dep’t of Interior, 416 F.3d 1173, 1179 (10th Cir. 2005) (“FOIA fee waivers are limited to disclosures that enlighten more than just the individual requester . . . .”). But since the 1986 amendments, it no longer matters whether the information will also (or even primarily) benefit the requester. Nor does it matter whether the requester made the request for the purpose of benefiting itself. The statutory criterion focuses only on the likely effect of the information disclosure.

  6. DXer said

    The Cazenovia Forum presents John Rizzo, former General Counsel of the CIA
    http://www.cazenoviachamber.com/event/the-cazenovia-forum-presents-john-rizzo-former-general-counsel-of-the-cia/

    WHEN:September 11, 2015 @ 7:30 pm
    WHERE:Catherine Cummings Theater – 8 Lincklaen Street, Cazenovia, NY 13035, USA

    John Rizzo, General Counsel of the CIA during the War on Terror, will speak about his intelligence gathering experiences and issues related to the work of the CIA. His remarks will be followed by a question and answer period and reception. The public is warmly invited.

    Comment:

    Amerithrax was the largest investigation in history and its lead investigator says it remains “unsolved”. The FBI officials who closed the case understandably wanted to avoid getting in trouble after Bruce Ivins committed suicide after he was swabbed for DNA after the semen stains were found again on panties. Ivins had hidden the panties and the thrown them out. In November 2007, when panties were found the first time, Ivins was so upset he needed to be medicated. A doctor needed to come to the hotel. The FBI already had Ivins’ DNA and so ask yourself and the consulting psychiatrist: what purpose did the swabbing serve other than to pressurize and break Ivins?

    Would former CIA General Counsel John Rizzo put his name to the denial of a FOIA fee waiver request for the 2000 page “Interim Major Case Summary” — arguing that production of the is not “likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations and activities of the government”?

    Would he claim that the 2000 page Interim Major Case Summary would not contribute to the understanding of a “reasonably broad audience of persons interest in the subject.”

    No. That’s because the claims are frivolous. Whether the FBI withheld exculpatory evidence –as claimed by its former lead investigator — is about as central to “public understanding of the operations and activities of the government” as it could get.

    FBI FOIA official David Hardy should take greater care in the documents that go out under his name.

    Dillon should appeal the denial of the fee waiver and then if his appeal is denied, attorneys fees related to overturning the denial should be pursued in pro bono litigation.

    The FBI needs to have an incentive to comply with FOIA.

    John Rizzo: The CIA detected the Ames strain in Al Qaeda’s Afghanistan. The FBI swept that finding under the rug. Please do whatever you can.

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

  7. DXer said

    I would urge that David Hardy read some of the national and international news about Amerithrax before allowing his name to be used — even on these form boilerplate letters.

    I don’t envy him his workload and pressing countless responsibilities.

    But it is irresponsible for him to claim that the public is not interested in the claim by the FBI’s former lead investigator, Richard L. Lambert, that the FBI, in fact, has not solved Amerithrax.

    If he does not think that the issue bears on the operation of government, then FBI’s FOIA operation is truly broken.

    Former FBI Agent Claims Bureau Hid Anthrax Evidence, Accused Wrong Man
    by NowThis 0:27 mins
    https://screen.yahoo.com/nowthis-nowthis-us-news/former-fbi-agent-claims-bureau-221200182.html

    Richard L. Lambert, a 24-year FBI veteran, sued the Bureau claiming they bungled the anthrax investigation, and ruined his life when he spoke out about it.

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