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

* FBI not only is concealing evidence exculpatory of Ivins (according to former lead investigator Lambert), but it took key lab notebooks from USAMRIID that it has refused to give back!

Posted by DXer on September 14, 2015

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17 Responses to “* FBI not only is concealing evidence exculpatory of Ivins (according to former lead investigator Lambert), but it took key lab notebooks from USAMRIID that it has refused to give back!”

  1. DXer said

    With the real case having questionable outcomes, viewers will be left to make up their own mind about who is really at fault.

  2. DXer said

    Dillon does not need to await a judicial rulilng and sanctions against the Army are also available. According to this explanation, a provision of the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 authorizes the Office of Special Counsel to investigate certain allegations concerning arbitrary or capricious withholding of information requested under the FOIA.

    Thus, there are three distinct jurisdictional prerequisites to the initiation of a Special Counsel investigation under the FOIA: (1) the court must order the production of agency records found to be improperly withheld; (2) it must award attorney fees and litigation costs; and (3) it must issue a specific “written finding” of suspected arbitrary or capricious conduct. The imposition of sanctions, when all three prerequisites have been met, has occurred infrequently. (486) Nevertheless, agency FOIA personnel should not overlook the importance and viability of this sanction provision. (487)

    Additionally, a provision of the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 (488) authorizes the Office of Special Counsel to investigate certain allegations concerning arbitrary or capricious withholding of information requested under the FOIA. Unlike subsection (a)(4)(F) of the FOIA, this provision does not even require a judicial finding; indeed, no lawsuit need even be filed to invoke this other sanction mechanism. (489)

    • DXer said

      So for example both the Army JAG person who reviewed culled documents — and withheld the Linscott and Fellows emails in making the production uploaded as #88 — and USAMRMC’s John Peterson should ask themselves: what is the justification for continuing to withhold the Fellows and Linscott (and Haigwood etc.) emails? Scott Shane of the NYT first made a request for the emails in September 2001. Then I followed up with numerous requests relating to the emails, including the emails still withheld.

      I think JP’s pulling them from production was in total good faith and appropriate at the time it was done — because at that time there was a pending, still-open criminal investigation. (After the FBI’s announcement of an Ivins Theory, the FBI did not formally close the case for a long while). And wide deference should be given to the DOJ and FBI during pendency of an open investigation. But once it closed, the Fellows and Linscott and numerous other e-mails should have been uploaded at the time Batch #88 was uploaded.

      At that time, I had complained that the Army provably had culled hundreds of emails, and so the Army JAG person and JP approved (on information and belief) the release of 300 emails in Batch #88.FN1 None of the emails were from 2001, or the most critical time, Sept-Oct 2001. Instead, they released, for example, dozens of emails from 2004 or 2005 relating to the Red Cross, recipes, jokes and the like. The Army has been great on these issues. Rogers should get a medal for her diligence. For example, when she went back and provided attachments to emails, or had the Ivins office searched for documents.

      But it’s like bringing a canoe into a dock — sometimes having an oar in the water is not enough. It’s the last short strokes that are needed to come into the safe harbor and land the boat. So while the Army has long been part of the solution in getting people on the same page (see the wonderful USMRMC Electronic Reading Room)FN2, a few more strokes are needed by Army JAG and USMRMC’s JP. The documents that were culled need to be reviewed given that the exemption of a pending criminal investigation no longer was applicable once the case was closed.

      If JP is uncertain how to proceed (whether DOJ wants to invoke any exemption), he can simply provide the culled emails to DOJ and let them decide. As it is, the DOJ for months and years has claimed that they cannot find the documents. JP, OTOH, is much better at document management.


      Click to access 20000307_batch88(redacted).pdf


  3. DXer said

    And for those who would blame former Director Mueller for withholding of lab notebooks, is that level of detail something the Director of such a large organization should be expected to be handling or know about? Not usually.

    The selective disclosure — and the suppression of exculpatory of information — would be accomplished by people lower in the agency hierarchy.

    Director Mueller made a priority of the matter — sometimes reporting daily as Andrew Card held open the door as Mueller briefed President Bush about the investigation of Andy Card’s former assistant (DOT) Ali Al-Timimi. (Someday I’ll have to tell you about what really was involved in the NSA wiretapping of Ali’s network that Andy wanted to do).

    But issues of production of the exculpatory forensic reports and lab notebooks is really a matter at the level of AUSA, FOIA , FBI lab or WFO — or somewhere in-between. Not the Director.

    Mueller, to his credit, always said “the buck stops with me” — which was effective PR and an admirable position to take. But the reality is that things need to get done at a lower level. That’s where the accountability lies — and still does today.

    For example, Richard Lambert has said that Director Mueller gave the matter high priority, but it was at the level of the WFO and FBI lab, I believe, that caused the right resources not to be available.

    And middle level managers, I believe, were making decisions about the anthrax-smalling (ha!) bloodhounds etc.

    Now maybe the lab notebook pages being withheld — if and when finally disclosed — will paint a different picture depending on whether Mueller knew that exculpatory information was suppressed to sell a bill of goods. But we won’t know until the FBI coughs them up.

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

  4. DXer said

    The former lead investigator in Amerithrax was Richard L. Lambert, who is quoted about the “28 pages” expected to be released in the near future. He oversaw that investigation before being chosen by FBI DIrector Mueller to oversee Amerithrax.

    A Saudi Imam, 2 Hijackers and Lingering 9/11 Mystery


    It’s one of those cases where there are an awful lot of very troubling coincidences,” said Richard L. Lambert, who oversaw the investigation into the hijackers’ contacts as the assistant agent in charge of the F.B.I.’s San Diego office in the year after the attacks.


    Whether out of charitable instincts or at someone’s direction, Mr. Bayoumi, then 42, helped the two future hijackers settle in San Diego, in the apartment building where he himself lived. He co-signed the lease and paid the security deposit and first month’s rent, though they reimbursed him

    Mr. Lambert, the former F.B.I. official in San Diego, said he was skeptical that the assistance was given by chance. With the 9/11 plot riding on the hijackers’ ability to manage daily life, he said, Qaeda leaders would most likely have made arrangements to get them help.

    “I have to believe something was planned for the care and nurturing of these guys after they arrived,” he said. “They weren’t too sophisticated, and they didn’t speak English. They needed help getting settled and making preparations.”

  5. DXer said

    In a recent filing, former Amerithrax lead investigator Richard Lambert makes a powerful argument about FBI’s refusal to provide documents that it seized. Specifically, they took his 600 page calendar planner — making it far more difficult for him to reconstruct events.

    AUSA Rachel Lieber, it turns out, was playing “dog in the manger” when she told me I wasn’t ever going to get anything more under FOIA from the FBI.

    I was unfamiliar with the phrase; it is always a pleasure to read the briefing of an attorney who uses the occasional colorful and memorable phrase.

    The solution here is easy. DOJ/FBI: FedEx Attorney Lambert a copy of his calendar. Don’t make the law seem like such an ass.

  6. DXer said

    As I recall, there is a motion to dismiss by the legal ethics officer due early this week in Lambert v. US.

  7. DXer said

    from a recent DXer comment: If you knew what AUSA Kohl and AUSA Lieber withheld … documents and evidence inconsistent with the finely spun narrative in the Amerithrax Investigative Summary … you would weep for Dr. Ivins.

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 20, 2012

  8. DXer said

    Pentagon probe into poorly handled plague, anthrax lab samples finished
    Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY11:26 a.m. EDT September 17, 2015

    WASHINGTON — The emergency probe into the military’s botched handling of potentially deadly samples of anthrax, plague and encephalitis was completed Wednesday, although the moratorium on work at the Pentagon’s most secure laboratories remains in place, according to officials.


    The USAMRIID notebooks evidencing the virulent transfer of Ames, in at least 2 notebooks, were not at USAMRIID and thus were not available for the CDC researchers to review.

  9. DXer said

    Notebooks never returned by the FBI to USAMRIID/Ivins sought under FOIA ; Notebooks 3655 and 3945 related to transfer of virulent Ames

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 17, 2015

    “Your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request dated June 29, 2015 for Lab Notebook 3655, 3945, 4251 has been referred to teh Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

  10. DXer said

    1 My source says at least two of these notebooks involve key transfers of virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins. The Ames transferred was genetically matching to that used in the Fall 2001 anthrax attacks.

    2. The Army has ordered USAMRIID operations shut down for 10 days due to CDC’s concern of inadequate record-keeping relating, for example, to the shipment of virulent Ames anthrax.

    3. US Army General McHugh, I believe — or was it also the Secretary of the Army — has said there he will ensure that there is accountability for violations and lapses. (I only get animated about concealing of evidence; not following protocols that prove to not be validated).

    4. An important part of record-keeping is done in the scientist’s lab notebooks.

    5. The FBI took at least two of these notebooks and did not return them to Ivins, despite his requests (and USAMRIID request).

    6. In fact, FBI today claims it never received the request — though you see in the correctly addressed email above that they did. (And I had forwarded the email above).

    7. Someone at FBI is responsible for concealing and withholding evidence of these critically important transfer of the genetically matching Ames that was used to kill 5 people.

    8. The former lead investigator of Amerithrax, Richard L. Lambert, says that the FBI is intentionally concealing information.

    9. Thus the CDC and Army General should take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that the FBI stop concealing the evidence relating to transfer of Ames by Bruce Ivins.

    10. Relatedly, the CDC and Army should ensure that the irradiated Ames seized from Ivins in November 2007 is tested. it was removed from USAMRIID’s premises and thus was not available for testing as part of the DOD review. Such testing should now be tested as part of the CDC review.

    11. Former FBI people — Christian Hassell and Vahid Majidi — have led and guided the DOD review. One was head of the FBI Laboratory and the other was its WMD person who guided the closing of Amerithrax upon Bruce Ivins’ suicide. The DOD review — suprise, surprise — did not testify irradiated Ames shipped prior to 9/2001.

    12. The Army should turn to the former FBI people, now working for DOD as either employee or contractor, to ensure accountability that no such record of the genetically matching Ames is concealed from from the public.

    13. Vahid Majidi has written me that I should submit a FOIA to the FBI if I want documents. Yeah, right. When FBI ignored the request transmitted July 16, 2015 and provided no response within 20 days, the DOJ/FBI made itself subject to attorneys fees. The entire purpose of that aspect of the statutory aspect of the scheme is avoid the FBI ignoring requests. (This is not the first time a request of mine was ignored by FBI and not given a tracking number).

    14. If the DOD General and Army Secretary do not stop the FBI from concealing the records relating to the transfer of virulent Ames that killed five people, then the CDC and Army General should stop with the PR dog-and-pony claim that there is transparency and accountability.

    15. So far, as to Amerithrax, there has been neither.


    Former FBI director alleges agency concealing evidence in anthrax case Published April 16, 2015

    Ex FBI director suing agency for intentionally concealing evidence during 2001 anthrax case
    APRIL 17, 2015

    Ex-Knoxville FBI official: Agency hiding evidence in anthrax case
    The Associated Press,6:51 p.m. EDT April 15, 2015

    • DXer said

      As for the public relations claim made, the Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has said that he will find out who was responsible for the mistaken shipments of live anthrax and will “hold them accountable.” (It turned out to be all 50 states — in 575 shipments and 9 countries.)

      But what about the people who have played “hide the ball” regarding the documents evidencing the shipments of live anthrax that killed 5 people in 2001? Why did Secretary of Defense Ash Carter allow Christian Hassell and Vahid Majidi to truncate the review and probe so as to exclude the pre-911 shipments that most mattered?

      Pentagon chief will hold people accountable for anthrax mishap
      BY LOLITA C. BALDOR May 31, 2015 at 1:41 PM EDT

      Secretary of the Army John McHugh too has claimed that he is focused on accountability.

      I’m not ever interested in getting anyone in trouble — I only want the darn documents so that we can get people on the same page.

      Army chief orders safety review at facilities handling toxic agents
      By Jamie Crawford, National Security Producer
      Updated 5:50 PM ET, Thu September 3, 2015

      “Thursday’s announcement also followed findings by the CDC of incomplete record keeping at the Edgewood Chemical and Biological Center in Maryland, and the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.”

      “Incomplete record-keeping” at USAMRIID does not quite capture what has been going on. The FBI has been intentionally concealing evidence. (I have no idea who is responsible).

      The physically removed the notebooks from USAMRIID and didn’t return at least two key ones — as Dr. Ivins noted at the time.

      “They are continuing to assess the situation at Dugway and these other facilities for safety, and moving forward, exactly how these substances get handled, and the question of accountability, as well,” Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook told reporters about the ongoing investigation.

      An announcement of the report’s findings is expected next month.”

    • DXer said

      Long ago fees were waived in connection with the request for the notebooks of Bruce Ivins.

      USAMRIID response to FOIA request for Lab Notebooks
      Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 6, 2011

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