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

* The Army Has Inaptly Redacted Under (B)(2) Information Relating To Transfer Of The Ames Strain Used To Murder 5 People In Fall 2001

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 30, 2016

 

Amesanthraxtransferinforedactedunder(B)(2)

 

 

 

8 Responses to “* The Army Has Inaptly Redacted Under (B)(2) Information Relating To Transfer Of The Ames Strain Used To Murder 5 People In Fall 2001”

  1. DXer said

    Multigeneration Cross-Contamination of Mail with Bacillus anthracis Spores

    • Jason Edmonds ,
    • H. D. Alan Lindquist,
    • Jonathan Sabol,
    • Kenneth Martinez,
    • Sean Shadomy,
    • Tyler Cymet,
    • Peter Emanuel

    • Published: April 28, 2016
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0152225

    Abstract

    The release of biological agents, including those which could be used in biowarfare or bioterrorism in large urban areas, has been a concern for governments for nearly three decades. Previous incidents from Sverdlosk and the postal anthrax attack of 2001 have raised questions on the mechanism of spread of Bacillus anthracis spores as an aerosol or contaminant. Prior studies have demonstrated that Bacillus atrophaeus is easily transferred through simulated mail handing, but no reports have demonstrated this ability with Bacillus anthracis spores, which have morphological differences that may affect adhesion properties between spore and formite. In this study, equipment developed to simulate interactions across three generations of envelopes subjected to tumbling and mixing was used to evaluate the potential for cross-contamination of B. anthracis spores in simulated mail handling. In these experiments, we found that the potential for cross-contamination through letter tumbling from one generation to the next varied between generations while the presence of a fluidizer had no statistical impact on the transfer of material. Likewise, the presence or absence of a fluidizer had no statistically significant impact on cross-contamination levels or reaerosolization from letter opening.

    Comment: The authors can be contacted through the United States Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center’s Public Affairs Office. Peter Emanuel can be asked about distribution of Ames dating to 2001.

  2. DXer said

    ISIS terror suspects to be detained 30 days

    May. 26, 2016, 12:00 pm
    By ALPHONCE MUNG’AHU
    Kiguzo Mwangolo Mgutu (l) and Abubakar Jillo Mohamed (r), ISIS-linked suspects who were arrested in Kangemi on May 24, 2016. Photo/COURTESY

    Police have been allowed 30 days to continue detaining two suspects linked with the ISIS terror group.

    The suspects were arrested on Wednesday in Kangemi , and were presented in court on Thursday under tight security.

    Milimani senior principal magistrate Joyce Gandani granted the request following an application by senior state counsel Duncan Ondimu.

    Ondimu made an application requesting more time for police to carry out investigations.

    At the hearing, the prosecutor said the suspects were radicalised at the Kangemi mosque, after which they were recruited into Isis by Mohamed Abdi Ali.

    Ali, a medical intern, was arrested on April 29 at Wote county hospital in Makueni, while planning a major attack.

    His arrest led to the apprehension of his wife Nuseiba Mohammed Haji, in Uganda, and the two suspects in Kangemi.

    Haji and her husband are alleged to have been planning to unleash a biological attack using anthrax in Nairobi and Mombasa.

    The prosecutor informed the court that during the Kangemi arrest, police recovered various materials used to manufacture Improvised Explosive Devices.

    Ondimu alleged that the suspects – Kiguzo Mwangolo and Abubakar Jilo Mohammed – have been planning retaliatory attacks following the Ali’s arrest.

    He said the suspects intended to use the IEDs to launch terror attacks in Nairobi and Mombasa.

    He argued that police needed the additional time to analyse evidence recovered from the suspects’ house.

    Prosecution said that the two are among the authors of a document that has been circulating online purporting the establishment of Jabha East Africa.

    In the document, they declared allegiance to Islamic State of Iraq and Syria leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.

    The court was asked to decline the suspects’ bond application, as they are considered to be a flight risk.

    Ondimu alleged that Mwangolo and Mohammed have planned to escape the country and travel to Syria or Libya after carrying out their terror attacks.

    Police claim that the terror network in Kenya spreads as far as the Coast region, North Rift, Western as well as other countries that include Somalia, Libya, and Syria.

    “Investigations in such an offence are intricate and complex requiring diligence. Thus, the fair position would be to strike a balance between the rights of the suspect and the public interest to meet the ends of administration of justice,” the magistrate ruled.

    Gandani also said the suspects may not suffer prejudice in light of ongoing investigations.

    The court went on to issue arrest warrants against two other associates, Ahmed Hish and Farah Dagne, who are medics at Kitale.

    The case will be mentioned on June 22.

  3. DXer said

    BBC:

    Attentat déjoué au Kenya

    • 27 mai 2016

    La police kényane affirme avoir déjoué ce mercredi un attentat dans la capitale, Nairobi, et à Mombasa, la deuxième ville du pays.

    La nouvelle fait suite à l’arrestation de deux individus soupçonnés d’appartenir au groupe Etat Islamique.

    Selon notre correspondant Yoro Mangara, Kiguzo Mwangalo Mgutu et Abubakar Jillo Mohammed se seraient radicalisés en fréquentant une mosquée située dans un bidonville de Nairobi.

    C’est là qu’ils auraient été recrutés par l’Etat Islamique, d’après la police kényane.

    Les deux hommes interpelés projetaient de venger leur leader Mohamed Abdil Ali, arrêté début mai par la sécurité kényane, disent les autorités.

    Les forces de sécurités ont trouvé sur les lieux de l’interpellation des clous, des batteries et des substances potentiellement explosives.

    La police kényane pense que Mohamed Abdil Ali planifiait lui aussi des attaques, notamment à l’anthrax, une substance rendue célèbre par les événements survenus autour du bioterrorisme durant l’automne 2001 aux Etats-Unis.

    Ces affirmations de la police kenyane prennent le contrepied des sources sécuritaires occidentales.

    Celles-ci estiment que Mohamed Abdil Ali était probablement plus impliqué dans le recrutement d’Africains de l’Est pour aller combattre en Libye ou en Syrie que dans la préparation d’une attaque.

    Elles disent que pour l’heure il n’existe aucune preuve concrète de la présence de l’Etat Islamique au Kenya, un pays qui a été pendant longtemps la cible d’attaques des islamistes shebabs somaliens.

  4. DXer said

    CDC labs repeatedly faced secret sanctions for mishandling …

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/05/10/cdc-lab-secret-sanctions/84163590/

    USA TODAY-May 10, 2016
    Before USA TODAY won access to records of the lab suspension, the CDC … labs that work with bioterror pathogens such as anthrax, plague and Ebola. …. In response to a FOIA request from USA TODAY last year, the CDC …

    Comment:

    I got an email yesterday from an Army (USAMRMC) FOIA Officer that was very revealing. The FOIA Officer oversees, as part of her duties, Ft. Detrick, the biodefense facility made famous from the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings, when five people were murdered. The FOIA Officer is quite wonderful and very good at her job.

    Over the years, USAMRMC has done an excellent job at making documents I’ve requested available at the USAMRMC Electronic Reading Room. There are many thousands of pages that I’ve obtained and uploaded. But today was a simple issue and yet one of my favorites. It involved my challenge to a simple redaction under FOIA (b)(2) that — without more — demolished the “Ivins Theory” unveiled in August 2008.

    I had written:

    —–Original Message—–
    From: [DXer]
    Sent: Tuesday, May 10, 2016 11:10 AM
    To: [FOIA wonderful] J CIV USARMY MEDCOM USAMRMC (US)
    Subject: [Non-DoD Source] in case the jpeg is blocked, the email at issue is April 14, 2004 2:13 PM

    “Ivins writes that he did not keep records about transfer of Ames before 2002. “Before that, I have nothing concerning transfer of the Ames within the Institute __________(b)(2) REDACTED .”
    No matter what it says, under all the circumstances, it should not be redacted.
    Unredacting it does not set any precedent because *(b)(2)” is inevitably going to be context-specific.
    It doesn’t matter if it says CIA, DARPA, DIA, DTRA, SRI, GMU, UAB, Abderdeen, Building 1412 or University of Michigan etc.

    She wrote:

    Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
    Caveats: NONE

    (1425 and 1412).

    ________

    Just a few words say so much.

    In August 2008, the FBI had based its entire theory on (1) records of transfers were kept, and (2) only access to the genetically matching strain in Building 1425 needed to be considered, not Building 1412.

    I correspond with the USA Today reporter. But she needs to extend her good work on this issue of inventory control to the pre-2002 period.

    My friend, Richard L. Lambert, was the former head of the Amerithrax investigation. He has filed a federal district court suit and has publicly explained that the FBI is withholding a staggering amount of exculpatory information. 16 pages discussing an “Ivins Theory” from the “Interim Case Management Summary” are now circulating the DOJ/FBI, along with a Table of Contents of the very lengthy summary of the investigation. It will shock you what the FBI has withheld.

  5. DXer said

    USAMRMC confirms that the redacted phprase is “(1425 and 1412)”.

    Now go back to US Attorney Taylor’s conference on or about August 8, 2008. The entire premise of his “Ivins Theory” at the time was that it was only ever stored in Building 1425, and not Building 1412. An additional couple hundred people had potential access in Building 1412. It was one of his three central points. (Another concerned the lyophilizer, which also was specious).

    By delaying production and acknowledgement of this point for years let the issue go unaddressed. The result was that in August 2008 people who had access only in Building 1412 were excluded when they should not have been. So, for example, a visiting scientist working in Building 1412 could be supplied virulent Ames, no record would have been kept, and then the US Attorney would have mistakenly excluded that as a means of access.

    The Army at all times acted in good faith — indeed, individual scientists labored mightily to explain this issue.

  6. DXer said

    Consider how the location of Flask 1030 was obfuscated by redaction under (b)(2) in the April 6, 2004 email.

    See generally
    The genetically matching sample from CDC7738 was obtained from Building 1412, and not Building 1425 ; a key false premise of the FBI’s “Ivins Theory” Announced in early August 2008 was that only 100 at USAMRIID needed to be eliminated rather than up to 300 (and that was just considering those with access at USAMRIID)
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 19, 2014
    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/the-genetically-matching-sample-from-cdc7738-was-obtained-from-building-1412-and-not-building-1425-a-key-false-premise-of-the-fbis-ivins-theory-announced-in-early-august-2008-was-that-only/

    The FBI hinged its case and Ivins Theory in August 2008 on the US Attorney’s and Dr. Vahid Majidi’s false claim that the genetically matching Ames was only in Building 1425 (rather than also 1412). The FBI actively suppressed information that it was all over Building 1412 as well. USAMRMC’s John Peterson was directed by DOJ and FBI on what emails to pull and what to redact. It was all understandable at the time — up until the closing of the case in February 2010. (IMO, at the time, a law exemption would have sufficed to withhold pretty much whatever the FBI liked to have withheld.)

    But with the Amerithrax investigation closed, the (b)(2) would have to stand on its own and it does not cut it on these facts.

    Everyone’s good faith can be presumed. And the wonderful work done by the FOIA officers at various agencies speaks for itself.

    But now some key tweaking should be done and the (b)(2) exemptions at issue should be eliminated on these facts.

    http://mrmc.amedd.army.mil/content/foia_reading_room/Batch55/20040301_batch55%28redacted%29.pdf

    The subject of an Ivins email on April 6, 2004 discussed USAMRIID Agent Inventory number 7738, which was the registration number for Flask 1030 in Building 1412.

    Dr. Ivins wrote:

    Hi,
    Thanks for putting material onto TSA slants from the Bacillus anthracis Ames tube (USAMRIID Agent
    Registry Number= 2433; USAMRIID Agent Inventory number = 7738) for the repository. I am not
    sure of the parentage of the strain. Depending upon when the material was made and when it was
    brought over to it was probably RMR 1029 spores ( USAMRIID Agent Registry Number=
    2432; USAMRIID Agent Inventory number = 7737) made in 1997, spores (USAMRIID
    Agent Registry Number= 3502; USAMRIID Agent Inventory number = 7739a) made between 1997 and
    1999, or spores (USAMRIID Agent Registry Number= 3502; USAMRIID Agent Inventory
    number = 7739b and 7739c) made between 1999 and 2001/2002.

    Please let me know when the entire tube is transferred to the Repository and I’ll take it off the two
    strain lists.
    Thanks!
    – Bruce
    Bruce Ivins
    USAMRIID

    • DXer said

      Here is another example of the use of (b)(2) to gut the purpose of FOIPA. Bruce is talking about the missing slant with the Ames anthrax from the dead cow from Texas.

      It had been sent (via USDA Ames) to Gregory K. who went to work for the CIA and then worked on Amerithrax at NMRC.

      But the (b)(2) exemption obscures analysis — and the purpose served under FOIPA — without any countervailing gain in the interests sought to be balanced under an exemption relating to internal agency matters.

      Now all these exemptions in an initial pass-through may seem reasonable. And of course the USAMRMC needed to take directions from DOJ and FBI up until February 2010.

      But, respectfully, where they have pertinent information that will get people on the same page in Amerithrax, these (b)(2) exemptions should be eliminated.

      To reduce the burden imposed on USAMRMC FOIA, I am taking care to point out only the most important and egregiously unwarranted redactions.

      From:
      Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
      To:
      Subject:
      Ames information
      Date:
      Thursday,
      January 11, 2007 11:00:41 AM
      I have some information from on the “Ames” strain (b)(6) got in 1981. Would you like a copy of it,
      or what? They sent 2 slants and tissue from the animal. The tissue samples – which were frozen in (b)(2)
      and one of the slants disappeared, and the FBI took control of the only remaining material, the last
      slant. I don’t know how many passages were involved between cow and slant, but if we still had the
      tissue (which came from the dead cow), it would really be interesting to compare the in vivo Ames with
      the Ames from the slant.
      -bruce

    • DXer said

      Some general background of how the Army has furthered CYA rather than transparency and accountability as its highest levels have claimed:

      DXer: The USAMRIID today formally refused to disclose where the mice were kept in the Bacteriology Suite B3 pursuant to this passive mouse experiment that Bruce Ivins worked on in September 2001 on the grounds that “the public interest consideration in the disclosure of such information does not outweigh preventing the disclosure of such information.”

      Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 6, 2013

      “DXer reasons that if USAMRIID had not withheld and destroyed the documents that would have permitted Dr. Ivins to reconstruct his time in September and October 2001, perhaps his suicide could have been avoided. USAMRIID wrongly told him his emails could not be retrieved. The person forgot to provide the documents relating to activity in his suite until after the grand jury. Then key Lab Notebooks were withheld from him, courtesy of the FBI. Key notebooks from 2001 have still not been produced.

      Years later, USAMRIID now has chosen to block the path that might allow Dr. Ivins’ name to be cleared and his alibi tested. Given that the public interest clearly outweighs any countervailing interest in the identification of one animal room in the B3 suite (as it existed in 2001) versus another, USAMRIID will owe attorneys fees. The people deciding the issue appear not to understand Amerithrax or the public interest in knowing why Dr. Ivins was in the lab late onSeptember 28, 29, 30, 2001. It was a failure to understand such operational security issues that led to the decades-long mess in the first place.”

      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2013/12/06/dxer-the-usamriid-today-formally-refused-to-disclose-where-the-mice-were-kept-in-the-bacteriology-suite-b3-pursuant-to-this-passive-mouse-experiment-that-bruce-ivins-worked-on-in-september-2001-o/

      USAMRIID response to FOIA request for Lab Notebooks
      Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 6, 2011
      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/05/06/usamriid-response-to-foia-request-for-lab-notebooks/

      Why did the DOJ and FBI deem it acceptable not to return all of the lab notebooks — when the AUSAs appreciate the importance of the contemporaneous record of events provided by the notebooks?
      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/why-did-the-doj-and-fbi-deem-it-acceptable-not-to-return-all-of-the-lab-notebooks-when-the-ausas-appreciate-the-importance-of-the-contemporaneous-record-of-events-provided-by-the-notebooks/

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