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

* The FBI is intentionally concealing and has refused to produce under FOIA the USAMRIID Notebooks 3655 and 4010 — which contain information pertaining to Bruce Ivins’ Ames spore preparations RMR (Reference Material Receipt) 1030 and RMR 1029.

Posted by DXer on September 21, 2015

246_foia-higher res

13 Responses to “* The FBI is intentionally concealing and has refused to produce under FOIA the USAMRIID Notebooks 3655 and 4010 — which contain information pertaining to Bruce Ivins’ Ames spore preparations RMR (Reference Material Receipt) 1030 and RMR 1029.”

  1. DXer said

    I received today a CD from the FBI re FOIA 1337661 re Notebooks 3655, 3945, 4251

  2. DXer said

    Less graciously than I suggest below, some might understand the FBI’s explanation received today as:

    “the canine ingested your FOIA request — please, honorable sir, overlook the months of delay and don’t sue our ass. If you don’t mind, let me try to start the clock running all over again and deprive you of the right to proceed directly to federal court.”

    Dr. Dillon has requested the notebooks 4010 and 3655 in a pending request and so attorneys fees are warranted in connection with either request.

    In connection with that request, the FBI speciously claimed that the documents had already been provided in the Vault. That was not true.


    FOIA request 1327397; OIP appeal number AP-2015-04047

    Dillon’s request is not as easily resolved, however. His request involves greater burden because it seeks additional documents the FBI is intentionally and wrongfully withholding. (My request involves almost no burden at all; certainly less than 2 hours search time).

    To best position things to warrant an award of attorneys fees in litigation, always try to be very specific in your request and so a court will be able to see the FBI’s failing from a simple affidavit.

    Lauren wrote:

    Dear Mr. Getman,

    Referrals being forwarded from another agency to us are treated in a different manner than if you yourself were submitting a FOIA request, (i.e-
    You do not get notification that the FBI has received your referral until the FBI actually sends you correspondence VS. if you e-mail your FOIA request to us, we give you immediate feedback)

    Regardless, of how the request comes to the FBI, we strive to reach out to the requester upon receiving the request. I have re-submitted your request today, so correspondence is forthcoming.

    Thank you,

    Lauren McGuinn
    Public Liaison/GIS
    Record/Information Dissemination Section (RIDS)
    FBI-Records Management Division
    170 Marcel Drive, Winchester, VA 22602-4843
    PIO: (540) 868-4593
    Direct: (540) 868-4286
    Fax: (540) 868-4391/4997

  3. DXer said

    I’ll repeat an update on this topic here:

    I received excellent assistance from Lauren McGuinn at FBI today.

    It is very important in making FOIA requests to help the agency understand the request and to find the documents.

    The requester may only have one request — but the FBI has many hundreds of requests and just as many complex cases.

    They do incredibly important work on a routine basis.

    So do as I say and not as I do: take the time both in writing and advance research to specifically identify the relevant documents sought.

    More light, less heat is almost always the best approach.

    Always think of the FBI as drinking from a firehose.

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

  4. DXer said

    On March 18, 2004, BRUCE R. IVINS was interviewed at USAMRIID by two agents. Ivins consulted with USAMRIID Computer Services and was told that email could be retrieved for a two year period. He was told that if more than two years have passed, it is not possible to retrieve email.

    The FBI 302 was transcribed on March 25, 2004. The email above was sent on March 19, 2004.

    This was a time when the FBI and Bruce Ivins were working to sort out the distribution of the Ames strain sent by Dugway to USAMRIID.

    As noted by Bruce Ivins to the FBI, Notebooks 3655 and Notebook 4010 are especially important in reconstructing what was done with the b. anthracis Ames spores sent to USAMRIID from Dugway.

    Yet neither the FBI nor USAMRIID have produced Notebook 3655 or Notebook 4010. That’s outrageous. Any agency or individual is either part of the problem or part of the solution.

    Bruce Ivins was concerned that Ames spores sent by Dugway to USAMRIID were used in the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings. He was particularly concerned that his spores were genetically matching — and that such spores were left unguarded in Building 1412 in the trash. He described Building 1412 as a “black hole” for Ames.

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

  5. DXer said

    The wonderful USMRMC official overseeing FOIA’s operation will be uploading some additional attachments to emails.

    I am hoping that among the first that are uploaded are the three specific attachments to this email. Dr. Dillon recently requested the three emails which caused the issue of attachments to be revisited.

    I greatly appreciate USMRMC now starting to upload additional FOIA requests,

    Previous attachments were not previously subject to wrongful withholding. Instead, when the New York Times initially sought emails in September 2008 — and then as I was repeating and following up on the request — I chose to focus on particular attachments, not wanting to overwhelm the FOIA operation with requests.

    The production of emails alone took years. There was a large DOJ/FBI committee that required that they be vetted. Many weeks, even months, would pass before production of a single batch. And so letting things slip on attachments was part of an adapted response.

    Specific emails were culled at the request of the DOJ/FBI — and all emails, not just attachments, should now be produced. I know much more than the DOJ/FBI realizes about the documents that are being withheld. Produce documents as if your career depends on it.

    • DXer said

      The emails that DOJ/FBI culled from production can be specifically determined when the email is displayed in the format of the email below — revealing the number of the email in sequence.

      This email below was produced by the DOJ only after I specifically identified it as withheld.

      Now that the case is closed, USAMRMC now has a legal (and serious as a heart attack) obligation to produce all the emails that DOJ/FBI indicated — by email — should be pulled from production.

      It was done at the level of the USAMRMC supervisor John P. Peterson. All a Congressional or Army or CDC probe would need to do is pull his correspondence with the DOJ/FBI officials instructing him what emails to pull.

      At the time the emails were pulled, the justification related to the pendency of the investigation and open case. Thus, pulling the emails was entirely appropriate — USAMRMC was not in a position to second-guess DOJ.

      But now USMRMC needs to cough them up. The withheld emails — not just the attachments not yet produced.

    • DXer said

      On April 7 and April 9, 2004 an FBI Special Agent accomplanied Dr. Ivins into suite B-3 of USAMRIID, Fort Detrick to secure several samples of Bacillus anthracis Ames strain.

      The date of the transcription of the FBI 302 report was dated April 13, 2004.

      On April 13, the Special Agent telephoned Dr. Ivins. See FBI 302, dated April 13, 2004.

      The 302 states: “After being advised of the identity of the interviewing agent and the purpose of the interview, that being to clarify certain entries in IVINS’ Reference Material Receipt Record of Bacillus Anthracis (Ba) spores sent to USAMRIID from Dugway from Dugway Proving Ground, Utah.”

      The 302 also stated:

      “IVINS provided a new entry that he had previously forgotten to write down. On March 7, 2001 IVINS sent less than ______ of Ba to ___________________________________________.

      IVINS emphasized that he had no reason to suspect that anyone he worked with in Bacterioloogy was responsible for mailing the anthrax letters. he was very concerned about the possibility of the Dugway Ba being involved in the anthrax mailings. Building 1412 is a “black hole” for Ba, and IVINS and his coworkers believed that the Dugway spores were safe in the B3 and B4 suites. Consequently, they saw no need to guard their trash.”

  6. DXer said

    Dr. Vahid Majidi had the guiding hand in truncating the DOD’s analysis of the shipment of Ames to post-2001. He chaired the group conducting the DOD review.

    He has written a book defending his conclusions in Amerithrax. He apparently does not think his assertions will withstand disclosure of documents exculpatory of Dr. Bruce Ivins that the former lead Amerithrax investigator Rick Lambert says are being withheld.

    It’s as is CDC and DOD and the FBI have no understanding of the conflict of interest principles.

    “Here are some of DXer’s comments (all of which are found in their entirety on this blog) …

    • Although Dr. Majidi claims that the FBI produced all scientific reports, to the contrary, Dr. Majidi WITHHELD all forensic reports on the photocopy toner, ink, paper etc. Why? They were exculpatory of Dr. Ivins. Such selective production of documents is totally inexcusable.
    • Dr. Majidi’s nonsensical approach to the distribution of Ames is right up there with his failure to address the 52 rabbits explaining why Dr. Ivins was in the lab — which is nowhere mentioned in the Amerithrax Investigative Summary or by Dr. Majidi. His manuscript unintentionally serves as a clear road-map of how Amerithrax was so badly botched.
    • Vahid Majid in his new manuscript attempting to defend the FBI’s investigation of the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings — and falling far short — he says that the FBI selectively culled documents that it did not think needed to be provided to the NAS. In addition to the documents that he considered “owned” by other agencies, for example, they withheld anything that they found to be “hyperbole.” In producing documents, it is not for the party producing the documents to do such culling. Such selective production in civil discovery would be sanctionable and subject to an award of monetary damages.
    • In failing to swab suspect labs for the contaminating subtilis — which Vahid Majidi admits in his new manuscript — the FBI relied upon on-the-book labs and formally retained and archived strains voluntarily submitted by the institutions. By its nature, the approach pretty much excluded off-the-books, surreptitious production. The approach assumed that the perpetrator would cooperate.
    • In the 12,000 pages of declassified FBI documents on the case, there is little indication of testing conducted on other anthrax scientists’ laboratory areas or their caches of the bacillus subtilis material. The federal investigator would not answer how many researchers’ work spaces were analyzed.
    • Subpoenas went out early — in 2001 — to LSU and Michigan…. well in advance of the subpoenas sent more widely several months later. There is every reason to think that others were not as clueless as Dr. Majidi seems to be in his book.
    • Dr. Majidi was relying on self-submission of samples — which is curious. Why would a perp send in something that might incriminate him or her?
    • Dr. Majidi should have swabbed the labs of the scientists supplied virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins. That was a no-brainer. In comparison, Dr. Majidi’s reliance on an interview of a brother who had not spoken to his brother in a quarter century (and was resentful of Bruce’s education) is an embarrassment to all forensic science.”

  7. DXer said

    Production of the wrongfully withheld USAMRIID notebooks might resolve a number of key unanswered questions:

    Where is the missing anthrax made by Dr. Ivins’ lab assistants?
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 31, 2011

    USAMRIID provides this response about the lack of documentation associated with the missing Ames anthrax from Flask 1029 under the DARPA-funded JHU-APL project under which USAMRIID was required to provide unidentified contractors virulent Ames anthrax
    Posted on November 20, 2014

    Was antifoam used used for the “Biological Warfare Decontamination Efficacy Study” for which the laboratory technician’s documents went missing?
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 11, 2012

    GAO: Did Patricia Fellows Ever Find the Missing “National Security” Sample That Dr. Ivins Was (Apparently Falsely) Told Was From Iraq Before Moving On To SRI That Summer? Was There An Emailed Response(s) To Dr. Ivins’ Question? Her Deposition Should Not Be Shredded.
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 14, 2011

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