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

* By letter dated May 13, 2016, FBI’s Dave Hardy has failed to provide Notebook 4282 which has Dr. Ivins notations on September 18, 2001, the time of the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings.

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 19, 2016

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30 Responses to “* By letter dated May 13, 2016, FBI’s Dave Hardy has failed to provide Notebook 4282 which has Dr. Ivins notations on September 18, 2001, the time of the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings.”

  1. DXer said

    Matthew Hurd at DOJ. Accountability begins and ends with the person who prevented people from getting on the same page in such a demonstrable manner.

    Think of it as who had the last clear chance where the rubber hits the road.

    • DXer said

      I spoke with Attorney Matthew Hurd just now. He seems very intelligent and reasonable. Searches were done for “notebooks” and nothing came up. As any reader of the blog knows, the FBI has Notebook 4282 — contemporaneous notes showing what Dr. Ivins was doing in the lab — and has failed and refused to provide them. I emailed Attorney Hurd the above excerpt in the hopes that he can have attorney locate the notebook. Failing that, Dr. Dillon should have DC counsel bring suit and seek attorneys fees.

  2. DXer said

    Notebook 4282 has now been produced and so this claim is rendered academic. Could the FBI now produce Notebook 4010 relating to the so-called “murder weapon” Flask 1029? Thank you very much for your time. I realize that these agencies like the FBI handled thousands of important matters.

    • DXer said

      As was updated in other threads at the time back in June: ”
      June 15, 2016 at 8:31 am

      “Stop the presses. The attachments coming by email Notebook 4282 did not in fact contain the Notebook.”

  3. DXer said

    Ken is filing his appeal today. Given the high volume of requests that the FBI receives, I think it is important that a requestor empower the FBI to understand the precise nature of documents that are sought (and that have not yet been produced). Dr. Dillon does that in his appeal today.

    For example, we can thank the FBI in advance in having a can-do person bear down on locating these CART documents and Notebook 4282 and Notebook 4010.

    There is a highly qualified former librarian handling the appeal relating to the “Interim Case Management Summary.” I recommend that she lend a hand in seeing that litigation can be avoided in connection with the FBI’s stonewalling on the request for documents from the September-October 2001 period. Contemporaneous evidence is sought because the FBI’s theory mainly rested on the claim that Dr. Ivins could not account through contemporaneous records for every minute of his time. At the same time it spins that argument, however, it took and kept the only copy of key documents.

    I think t best for all concerned to do it before Al Qaeda attacks with anthrax. After such an attack, I will be the first one to point out that the FBI should have expedited these requests relating to Amerithrax under FOIA. Failure to do so constituted misfeasance.

  4. DXer said

    Newly disclosed CDC biolab failures ‘like a screenplay for a disaster movie’

    Alison Young, USA TODAY 5:43 p.m. EDT June 2, 2016
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/06/02/newly-disclosed-cdc-lab-incidents-fuel-concerns-safety-transparency/84978860/

    Comment:

    USAMRIID turns out to be suffering the lack of transparency. In a May 26, 2016 email I copied to Alyson Young (USA Today) and Richard Ebright, quoted in the title of today’s article, I wrote:

    “Sandra,

    It’s been a couple of weeks I asked about these (b)(6) redactions. Has there been time for a decision on whether the names can be underracted given the public interest involved on the precise issue of inventory control of virulent anthracis Ames during the period leading up to the five murders in 2001?”

    In the May 13, 2016 email copied to Alyson Young and Professor Ebright, I wrote:

    “USAMRMC FOIA Officer:

    Sandra Rogers

    Sandra, Dr. Ivins told a superior that he would not have the Ames that he should have.

    If there is someone who knows of a justification for the missing virulent Ames (see produced emails) used to kill 5 people in 2001, doesn’t the public have a right to know?

    In balancing the interests, why would it be an unwarranted invasion of privacy? The disclosure, instead, is clearly warranted.

    DOJ gives guidance:

    Exemption 6 protects information about individuals in “personnel and medical files and similar files” when the
    disclosure of such information “would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal
    privacy.” …

    In order to determine whether Exemption 6 protects against disclosure, an agency
    should engage in the following two lines of inquiry: first, determine whether the information
    at issue is contained in a personnel, medical, or “similar” file covered by Exemption 6; and, if
    so, determine whether disclosure “would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal
    privacy” by balancing the privacy interest that would be compromised by disclosure against
    any public interest in the requested information.

    The emails at issue have been uploaded here.

    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2016/05/12/dxer-says-adnan-el-shukrijumah-son-of-saudi-missionary-was-the-fall-2001-anthrax-mailer-and-fbi-is-withholding-relevant-documents/comment-page-1/#comment-44642

    In case you cannot access the web link, the dates and times of the 3 emails are as follows:

    (1) December 18, 2006, 9:06 a.m.
    (2) December 17, 2006 7::39 a.m.
    (3) December 18, 2006 9:14 a.m.

    If you, John Peterson or anyone else would further briefing of the applicable precedent, let me know.

    It seems an issue that warrants appeal and litigation if necessary given the public interest.”

  5. DXer said

    Senate report hits ‘inferior’ FBI whistleblower procedures, citing ‘numerous deficiencies’

    By Joe Davidson | Columnist June 2
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2016/06/02/senate-report-hits-inferior-fbi-whistleblower-procedures-citing-numerous-deficiencies/

    The FBI apparently is fine with including supervisors, now. The report says FBI Director James Comey, Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the Department of Justice Inspector General “endorsed providing protections for employees who report wrongdoing to their supervisor.”

    But that wasn’t the story when the Government Accountability Office (GAO) did a report last year on the need to improve retaliation complaint procedures. It found the FBI did not include supervisors on the list in part because of “concerns about the additional resources and time needed to handle a possible increase in complaints if DOJ added supervisors.”

    Comment:

    I would think that with the recent reported instances of thefts of drugs and cash by FBI Agents, it would be a priority to report wrongdoing to immediate supervisors.

    Senator Grassley, long an admirable champion of FBI whistleblowers, no longer has my confidence given opposition to a hearing on the nomination of Merrick Garland for the US Supreme Court. People either stand for the rule of law or play partisan politics. Under the rule of law, there should have been a hearing and an up or down vote. Let Senators go on the record trying to justify an opposition to a superb nomination (by any measure).

    In the case of my friend, former FBI Agent Lambert, the former lead investigator of Amerithrax, I think he might be the first to admit that, with the benefit of hindsight, he should have obtained advance clearance by an ethics official, before going to work for a government laboratory managed by Battelle. (The raid of his office understandably was very upsetting). Battelle, after all, had the genetically identical anthrax strain used in the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings. Some (although not me) consider Battelle a leading suspect in the unsolved Fall 2001 anthrax mailings given the financial motive of such an industry participant.

    As for former FBI Agent Fitzpatrick, whose history I took a great interest in because of his peripheral involvement in matters relating to Isabella Gardner heist, I would have to say that I was informed by the developments and information brought out.

    So even when the FBI can be seen as retaliating, every issue has to be judged on the merits based on the very best evidence. It often is the other party that will come forward with the best evidence.

    In Amerithrax, we are still waiting for the FBI to stop the wrongful and illegal (under FOIA) withholding of Lab Notebook 4281 that chronicles Bruce Ivins for being in the B3 lab leading up to the September 18, 2001 mailing of anthrax that murdered five people. The same is true with the documents withheld from FBI’s CART examination of his computer in September and October 2001. The FBI should be ordered to pay Ken Dillon’s attorneys fees.

    It is no longer possible to give the Army or the FBI in FOIA matters given the Army’s recent failure to respond or even communicate about the outstanding requests. Perhaps much deserved time off explains the lapse in communication — I don’t know. If I were Army Command, I would never let the USAMRMC FOIA Officer retire. She has deep experience in these issues and we are close to once and for all vindicating the Army’s good faith and lack of culpability in the matter of the murder of 5 people in Fall 2001.

  6. DXer said

    Note that Dr. Ivins shared the notebook with Patricia Fellows. For all I know, it was Patricia Fellows who made the last dated entry. You will know if it was not Dr. Ivins because Dr. Fellows has very nice handwriting. I think notations he made on September 14 and 15 would be far more important. The question is whether there are notations that show him in the lab doing animal checks — for example, with mice or guinea pigs used in a virulence testing of different anthrax strains. I have not yet heard back from the wonderful USAMRMC FOIA Officer but totally credit her good faith on all production matters. It’s been difficult as to some issues because the FBI sometimes took the only copy.

    • DXer said

      The FOIA Officer emailed today to say that the name of the notebook is “Anthrax” and that she had asked the FBI to ask the FBI for a copy of the Notebook.

  7. DXer said

    Now if you search “4282” in the FBI’s Vault, you learn that Notebook 4282, IVINS Pages 65 through 70 contain experiments conducted between 8/23/2001 and 09/18/2001,
    including the growth of Ba Ames. Given that this was the period that AUSA Lieber claimed Ivins had no reason to be in the B3, the notebook contradicts her claim. It should be produced without further delay. Indeed, it should have been produced many years ago.

  8. DXer said

    Unless told otherwise, I’ll assume it did not involve a silica gel.

  9. DXer said

    What is an anthrax strain gelatin study? Until I learn otherwise, I will presume it is different than this one reported in 2003 by the distinguished Amerithrax genetics consultants Kimothy L. Smith and Paul Keim who did the early work on the 4 morphs, sample collection and strain identification for the FBI.

    The Kameido Incident: Documentation of a Failed Bioterrorist Attack
    H. TAKAHASHI1 , A. F. KAUFMANN2 , K. L. SMITH3
    ,
    P. KEIM3

    K. TANIGUCHI1,4

    1 Infectious Disease Surveillance Center and Department
    of Pathology, National Institute of Infectious Diseases,
    Tokyo, JAPAN;

    2 Consultant, Stone Mountain, GA;

    3 Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ;

    4 World Health Organization, Geneva, SWITZERLAND

    In 1993, a liquid suspension of Bacillus anthracis was sprayed from the roof of an 8 story building in Kameido, a locale in metropolitan Tokyo, Japan. The Aum Shinrikyo, a
    religious doomsday cult, conducted the attack as part of their efforts to trigger an apocalyptic global nuclear war. The spray was intermittently generated from one of two large dispersal devices over a roughly 24 hour period on July 1 and 2. Nearby residents complained of a foul odor associated with the spraying. A gelatin-like fluid, which fell on the side of the building, was collected in test tubes. During a 1996 arraignment of Aum Shinrikyo members, the nature of the attempted attack was first made public. The agent used was identified as a vaccine strain of B. anthracis. A retrospective telephone survey of area medical facilities revealed no illnesses compatible with inhalation, cutaneous, or intestinal anthrax. In 1999, culture of the gelatin- like fluid collected from the building exterior revealed spores of B. anthracis in a viable concentration of 103 CFU/ml. The
    Kameido strain was found to be pX01 positive and pX02 negative. Multiple-locus variable-number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA) found marker differences between the Kameido strain and over 700 previously MLVA genotyped strains, including the Pasteur vaccine strain, the Sterne vaccine strain and the Russian STI-1 vaccine strain. The closest genotype was a strain isolated from China that differed by 2 marker alleles. The attack apparently failed due to the non-encapsulated strain used, or
    other contributing factors such as an inefficient spray device and low agent concentration in the dispersed fluid.

    • DXer said

      Initially presented at a 2003 conference, the paper was published in January 2004 in Emerging Infectious Diseases.

      Tweet
      Volume 10, Number 1—January 2004

      Historical Review

      Bacillus anthracis Bioterrorism Incident, Kameido, Tokyo, 1993
      http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/10/1/03-0238_article

      ***

      Conclusions

      The Kameido investigation first showed the value of a high-resolution subtyping system for B. anthracis in forensic investigations. Its value was confirmed during investigations of the “anthrax letters” mailed to several persons in the United States in 2001 (6).

      The details of Aum Shinrikyo activities led to a wider appreciation that subnational organizations may use biologic agents as weapons. Awareness is especially important in being prepared for a bioterrorist attack, since recognizing its nature early can substantially reduce associated sickness and death (8,9). Early recognition, however, requires training health professionals to recognize these diseases, having laboratories available to rapidly confirm clinical suspicions, and developing an active national surveillance program. Countries must also be able to rapidly deploy trained medical personnel, medical materials, and epidemiologists to affected communities. Most countries will need coordination among government agencies and private facilities with expertise relevant to the agents involved. To be effective, these measures require ongoing planning, preparation, and practice.

    • DXer said

      The former Zawahiri associate thanked Kimothy Smith for allowing him to work in the LSU BL-3 lab with anthrax. (see patents uploaded to this blog). The noncitizen had been supplied virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins. He had done work at Dugway. At Dugway, the genetically matching Ames was kept in a labelled box in the BL-2. (see recently uploaded documents that contradict Army’s claim the Ames was stored in B3). The researcher and I have a mutual friend, “Tawfiq Hamid”, who was recruited by Ayman Zawahiri while in Cairo Medical. (He then wrote the book INSIDE JIHAD). My friend “Tawfiq” sometimes consults with intelligence agencies.

      The researcher came to visit and work at USAMRIID alongside Bruce Ivins, Patricia Fellows and Mara Linscott in the B3 on his decontamination agent. Patricia Fellows and Mara Linscott’s civil depositions were shredded. They won’t talk to me. And the researcher from Egypt won’t explain his research. And Bruce Ivins committed suicide after they swabbed him for DNA (even though they already had it) after finding semen stained panties he had hidden in his basement.

      I think the facts warrant greater compliance with FOIPA by the FBI. Amerithrax is closed. All the people who went along with the withholding have moved on to very lucrative careers. (Except for the former lead investigator who claims they are withholding a staggering amount of evidence; the FBI has a way of finding a way to cream anyone who doesn’t tow the line). Bottom-line: the FBI should produce Notebook 4282 without any further delay before Dr. Ayman follows through with his plan to attack the US in a mass attack.

      Most people think Amerithrax is unsolved. I don’t know the solution to the mystery. Personally, my best understanding is that Saudi Adnan El-Shukrijumah, a close associate of Mohammed Atta who coordinated with him at the Sarasota residence, is the Fall 2001 anthrax mailer.

      I first asked for the notebooks being withheld by the FBI’s David Hardy (without even a claim of exemption) over five years ago.

      If it turns out that if Dr. Ivins mailed the anthrax — when that would have been I have no idea given the alibi evidence — then the contemporaneous lab notebook pages may help prove that.

      On the other hand, if he has an alibi that can’t be disputed by AUSA Lieber or even the pontificating moron who thinks a First Grader wrote the letters, then the contemporaneous lab notebook pages may help prove that.

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

    • DXer said

      Upon consulting with a world renown expert, I don’t yet know what Bruce was writing about, but it seems very unlikely to be a reference to the fluid from the Aum release. That was gelatin like but probably due to the original culturing conditions and the multi-year aging after collection and until received by the researchers who published the paper and processed. It is not a feature of the material that Bruce or genetics expert would ever use to label it – i.e., it would have been Aum material or the Kameido release to Bruce. What Bruce is referring to is a mystery — which is why the notebook should be produced.

      If I had to guess it relates to a virulence study (involving numerous different strains) that he was doing involving mice.

    • DXer said

  10. DXer said

    Thought question: Is remote hacking by the FBI much of a concern if the FBI is as bad at searching remote computers as they are at searching their own central databases?

    Senate introduces bill to limit the FBI’s new hacking rules

    The Stop Mass Hacking Act would specifically block search warrants for remote computers.
    http://www.engadget.com/2016/05/19/senate-introduces-bill-to-limit-the-fbis-new-hacking-rules/

  11. DXer said

    AUSA Lieber wrote in her Amerithrax Investigative Summary:

    “There was no big experiment or project going on in September/October 2001 that would justify all of the time in the hot suites.”

    “Recall that the mailing window for the letters to the New York Post and Brokaw was between 5:00 p.m. on Monday, September 17, 2001, and noon on September 18, 2001.”

    Then she highlights his 2 hours 15 minutes in the B3 on September 14, 2001.

    At the same time, she and her colleagues for years have refused to produce the lab notebook showing his entries that week detailing what he was doing in the B3.

    She highlights that he spent 2 hours, 15 minutes in the B3 on September 15.

    And that he spent 2 hours, 37 minutes on September 16.

    Yet she and her colleagues have withheld the Lab Notebook showing the gelatin and other studies he was working on that week — just like she withheld the information about the rabbit experiment the first week in October 2001.

    She writes:

    “Dr. Ivins had no alibi for this first window of opportunity.”

    When I sought her help years ago getting these lab notebooks, I was advised that I would never get anything more from FOIA.

    She’s mistaken.

    I’m going to obtain the Notebook 4282 the FBI has withheld all these that contradicts her claims made leading up to Dr. Ivins suicide (just like other notebooks and documents contradict her unsupported conclusory assertions). Her memo to her superiors should instead have quoted from his lab notebooks and emails from mid-September and early October 2001. Her superiors were counting on her to accurately master and characterize the documentary evidence.

    Ivins could not detail (more than he did) his time because the FBI and AUSA, he says, did not give him back a copy of this and other notebooks.

    • DXer said

      AUSA Lieber in June 2001 should have sought to test Dr. Ivins claimed alibi on the night of 9/17 instead of being distracted by a desire to punish sexual conduct.

      Instead, DOJ/FBI sought to pressurize Dr. Ivins, known to be fragile, by swabbing him for DNA even though the FBI already had his DNA from a cup. The FBI had found stained panties again in his garbage. (Dr. Ivins had told them in November 2007, when a bag was first found, how upset the subject made him.)

      Hindsight is 20/20. Looking to the future, the key is for FBI FOIA head David Hardy to produce Notebook 4282 so as to remind us that his employer is the Department of JUSTICE, not CYA and spin.

      No one doubts that Amerithrax is a complicated, difficult case.

      And most think that it remains unsolved.

      All we can do is comply with FOIPA and see how the dots connect.

      Source:
      It was only after Dr. Ivins’ death that the FBI acknowledged and confirmed he went to his group therapy session the evening of 9/17 on 10/8 — just as he had claimed. Why didn’t they corroroborate and acknowledge such a critical fact sooner?
      Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 11, 2012
      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2012/01/11/it-was-only-after-dr-ivins-death-that-the-fbi-acknowledged-and-confirmed-he-went-to-his-group-therapy-session-the-evening-of-917-on-108-just-as-he-had-claimed-why-didnt-they-corroroborate/

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