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

* USAMRIID’s Special Pathogens Branch would send out more b. anthracis than was requested, and lyophilize the excess amount to avoid temperature requirements in shipping

Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 14, 2015

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6 Responses to “* USAMRIID’s Special Pathogens Branch would send out more b. anthracis than was requested, and lyophilize the excess amount to avoid temperature requirements in shipping”

  1. DXer said

    Terry Abshire’s FBI interview is interesting. She was John Ezzell’s laboratory technician assistant in USAMRIID DSD’s Special Pathogens Branch. She collected the samples for the FBI for the FBI Repository.

    In the interview, she said it was her spores that looked like the mailed anthrax, not Ivins’. She says they were kept in a labeled tub.

    EXTREMELY IMPORTANT – 10/03/2005 FBI interview of Terry Abshire
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 10, 2011
    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/03/10/extremely-important-10032005-fbi-interview-of-terry-abshire/

    Dr. Ezzell used the Ames strain — supplied by his assistant, Terry Abshire — in “A Procedure For Preparing PCR-Amplifiable DNA from Bacillus Anthracis Spores in Soil Samples,” by Susan R. Coyne, Phiip D. Craw, Jeff D. Teska, John W. Ezzell, Erik A. Henchal and Fred K. Knauert, at p. 377 of these proceedings.

    http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a395447.pdf

    (The proceedings contain 75 unclassified papers at the First Joint Conference on Point Detection for Chemical and Biological Defense (1JCPD), held at Williamsburg Hospitality House, WIlliamsburg, Virginia 23-27 Oct 2000.)

    I’m not scientifically inclined but maybe soil has something to do with silica.

    Dr. Ezzell worked with Amerithrax scientists in the FBI’s Hazardous Material Response Unit since 1996.

    The Demon in the Freezer – Google Books Result
    https://books.google.com/books?isbn=0345466632
    Richard Preston – ‎2003 – Science

    Indeed, the FBI even trained with powders at Dugway Proving Groun in 2001. (I will have to refind the powerpoint).

    Didn’t John Ezzell — despite his intregrity and good faith — have a massive conflict of interest? Off the charts even?

    The conflict was especially acute given that he sent out Ames and lyophilized excess amounts in excess of even the anthrax that the requestor had asked be sent.

    And one of those shipments was rumored to have been misdirected or lost.

    Dr. Ezzell or his assistant threw out the sample that Dr. Ivins submitted in February 2002 — and then the FBI had the audacity to spin that as evidence of Ivins’ guilt.

  2. DXer said

    Lyophilization takes out the water by subjecting the sample to cold (freezing) and negative pressure (a vacuum). What remains is typically a pellet. If you’ve ever taken an animal/child in for vaccinations, you may have seen the vet/doc used two vials. One contained clear liquid and one a clumped pellet, typically tan or gray in color. That was a lyophilized vaccine. To make a ‘powder’—which is not necessary for injectable vaccines — the manufacturer would subject the pellet to some other process to break it up. There may be something that can be added to the liquid that will result in a dry powder rather than a pellet following lyophilization — a Bill Patrick-type question.

    Questions:

    1. Was the 340 ml. of genetically matching virulent Ames shipped from Dugway to USAMRIID in June 2001 tested for the genetically distinctive subtilis contaminant — Or did it go missing?
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on October 9, 2015
    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2015/10/09/was-the-340-ml-of-genetically-matching-virulent-ames-shipped-from-dugway-to-usamriid-in-june-2001-tested-for-the-genetically-distinctive-subtilis-contaminant-or-did-it-go-missing/

    2. Who told Ivins on December 17, 2006 not to tell anyone about missing samples — that the FBI situation was under control — and that “justification” for missing samples could be provided if necessary?
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on October 7, 2015
    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2015/10/07/who-told-ivins-on-december-17-2006-not-to-tell-anyone-about-missing-samples-that-the-fbi-situation-was-under-control-and-that-justification-for-missing-samples-could-be-provided/

    3. Ivins calculated that it would take 300 ml of Dugway spores to make the mailed anthrax – he said that amount of spores would be noticed if it went missing.
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on October 7, 2015
    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2015/10/07/ivins-calculated-that-it-would-take-300-ml-of-dugway-spores-to-make-the-mailed-anthrax-he-said-that-amount-of-spores-would-be-noticed-if-it-went-missing/

    4 .Dugway anthrax – Will it take Congressional subpoena power to fill in the blanks in the email asking about weaponized anthrax that came to Detrick via FedEx and then was shipped out and some was missing?
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 29, 2015
    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2015/07/29/dugway-anthrax-will-it-take-congressional-subpoena-power-to-fill-in-the-blanks-in-the-email-asking-about-weaponized-anthrax-that-came-to-detrick-and-then-was-shipped-out-and-some-was-missing/

  3. DXer said

    Terry Abshire’s FBI interview is interesting. She was John Ezzell’s laboratory technician assistant in DSD’s Special Pathogens. She collected the samples for the FBI. She said it was her spores that looked like the mailed anthrax, not Ivins’. She says they were kept in a labeled tub.

    EXTREMELY IMPORTANT – 10/03/2005 FBI interview of Terry Abshire
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 10, 2011
    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/03/10/extremely-important-10032005-fbi-interview-of-terry-abshire/

    She explained that it would have been too dangerous to grow b. anthracis Ames at USAMRIID in a fermenter. (Note: That is why DSD had the virulent Ames spores shipped from Dugway).

    What was the procedure in preparing packages for FedEx mailing? Was the package sometimes prepared and then left overnight in the lab? (As I recall, Ivins described that occurring sometimes.)

    If so, does that mean there was the excess lyophilized material there — all packaged and ready to go?

    • DXer said

      See the reference on page 2 of Hatfill?

      I personally don’t subscribe to a “Hatfill Theory.” And I certainly would not want to draw the attention of Hatfill’s super lawyer Connolly. He has been nothing but helpful and provided dozens of deposition transcripts from the Hatfill litigation that I then asked be uploaded to the USAMRMC electronic reading room. But when the fuller facts are understood, wasn’t a Hatfill Theory far more reasonable than critics of the theory (like myself) may have realized? Indeed, it was just one of many possible variants of a third-party theft theory.

      The FBI Director and lead investigator Rick Lambert, according to the proponents of an Ivins Theory, were fixated on a Hatfill Theory. We learned this from their comments as reported to author David Willman in numerous cited interviews. We can disagree with Mr. Willman’s adoption of the views of those investigators about Bruce Ivins, but no one should doubt that his copious citation of numerous interviews of the investigators was top-notch reporting. Access to those motivated to tell their story makes for a wonderful narrative.

      It is much harder, though, to tell a story that no one wants told.

      Once you realize that there was Dugway-fermented Ames being lyophilized by the FBI’s scientists at USAMRIID — and shipped out (in excess of what had been requested by third parties no less) — Amerithrax suddenly can be understood in a radically different light.

      We no longer need to hunt for a Maryland/Virginia-based fermenter — or even a lyophilizer used to dry the anthrax. There was a fermenter in Dugway — and that fermenter was using Ivins seed stock from Flask 1030 to grow large quantities of virulent Ames. Flask 1030 was also the so-called seed stock for the so-called murder weaopn, Flask 1029.

      And there was a lyophhilizer in Building 1412 at USAMRIID. The lyophilizer was being used by the USAMRIID scientist working for the FBI at Building 1412. The scientist had worked for the FBI Amerithrax scientists since 1996 in the HMRU. They regularly dealt with powders. In fact, FBI agents were trained at Dugway in 2001.

      Key questions:

      Were the lyophilized amounts made by the USAMRIID working for the FBI disclosed on the EA 101s used in outgoing shipments?

      Was record of any irradiation kept? The FBI agents spinning the Ivins Theory to Mr. Willman were especially motivated not to let it be known that it was a scientist working for the FBI that made lyophilized Ames anthrax. But that ship sailed long ago sailed, didn”t it?

      The wonderful and ever-efficient FOIA operation at USAMRMC is processing a request relating to irradiation and shipping records. The USAMRMC FOIA officer is far better at responding to requests than I am in framing them.
      I don’t know of any employee of the USG that has provided greater value and greater service to the country.

      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2015/10/06/was-the-340-ml-of-ames-anthrax-sent-on-june-27-2001-from-dugway-to-usamriid-for-irradiation-the-anthrax-that-reportedly-went-missing/

    • DXer said

      08/05/2003 Amerithrax Weekly Update (under “Elemental Mapping”) notes that

      “Six of the 19 Abshire samples, all grown on New Sporulation Medium (NSM), have been analyzed using TEM elemental mapping techniques. In general, these 6 samples show no well defined Si layer as in the evidentiary material.”

      Comment:

      Terry Abshire was the assistant of John Ezzell, the FBI anthrax expert who made a dried powder out of Ames from Flask 1029 and other large shipments of Ames from Dugway. Dr. Abshire was specifically thanked for her work by the DARPA researchers who were testing the effect of a sonicator and corona plasma discharge on Ames spores. In June 2001, a paper by John and his colleagues discussing the detection of anthrax in soil was presented. Was a sample from that research reviewed as part of the “Abshire samples”?

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