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

* Who at the FBI and Army is accountable for failing to produce Notebook 4037. 4282 and 4010 relating to the murder of 5 people in Fall 2001?

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 16, 2016

 

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14 Responses to “* Who at the FBI and Army is accountable for failing to produce Notebook 4037. 4282 and 4010 relating to the murder of 5 people in Fall 2001?”

  1. DXer said

    Matthew Hurd and Sean O’Neill. 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.

    Let the record show that in Appeal No. DOJ-AP-2016-003776 relating to Request No. 1327397-000, Matthew Hurd, Associate Chief, for Sean O’Neill, Chief, Administrative Appeals Staff has denied Dillon’s request for Dr. Ivins’ Notebook 4282 which has not been produced and has entries during the mailing period, including the actual date of mailing.

    It was Matthew Hurd, Associate Chief, for Sean O’Neill, Chief, Administrative Appeals Staff that inexcusably and without explanation refused to produce this potentially dispositive alibi evidence — with the DOJ’s entire “Ivins Theory” hinging on the false claim that Dr. Ivins had no reason to be in the lab.

  2. DXer said

    Brian Barrett Security
    Date of Publication: 07.21.16. 07.21.16
    Time of Publication: 7:00 am. 7:00 am
    How the RNC Would Handle a Worst-Case Scenario Like a Bio or Chemical Attack

    “For an event like the RNC, where there’s time to prepare, there’s a lot that can be done to lessen the impact of the attack,” says Toner. Credit for that preparedness goes, at least in part, back to the anthrax attacks of 2001. He explains that cities and hospitals have been working on this for the last 15 years, holding trainings and stocking up on specialized equipment.

    In the case of a chemical event, which could impact hundreds of people instantaneously, priorities would be on treating the victims and decontaminating the area. Another thing all agencies and communities factor in is that the use of a biological agent, Toner says, likely wouldn’t register for several days, at which point various dispersed delegates and protestors would begin getting ill.

    Again, this specific form of terror seems less likely than those that have seemed constantly to disrupt the world over the last several months an years: namely, violence enacted with guns or bombs. But unlikely doesn’t mean impossible, especially given that the primary deterrent to this kind of attack seems to be that other methods of tragedy are more easily achieved.

    “As we’ve seen again and again, over the last few weeks and months, the unthinkable happens every day now,” says Olson. As he puts it: It’s not a matter of if, but when.

    Comment:

    It seems rubbish to suggest that the FBI and Army can protect against against an anthrax attack. The agencies cannot even do something as simple as arrange to have FBI give back to the Army a copy of the Bruce Ivins notebooks it took — like Notebook 4282 that shows why Ivins was in the lab that key weekend. (A different notebook has already established what he was doing on a second key weekend).

    Articles like the one above makes for good PR, though — and has made many people many millions. If the FBI and Army cannot even acquire a well-labelled notebook from their own records, the notion that they can obtain intelligence about a non-state actor’s clandestine bio program seems fantasy. The buck stops with Christian Hassell — who has not directed that the Amerithrax FOIA requests be treated with expedition by the Army. The former lead Amerithrax investigator Richard L. Lambert says a staggering amount of exculpatory evidence is being withheld by Hassell and his present and former colleagues. Nice to be able to cover your own ass instead of counting on others to do it for you. Dr. Hassell’s move from the FBI to Army put him in precisely the situation he needed to be (to avoid accountability in Amerithrax).

  3. DXer said

    .
    Justice department ‘uses aged computer system to frustrate Foia requests’

    Lawsuit accuses DoJ of ‘failure by design’ through use of decades-old system
    DoJ refuses to use new $425m software on freedom of information requests
    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jul/16/justice-department-freedom-of-information-computer-system

    A new lawsuit alleges that the US Department of Justice (DoJ) intentionally conducts inadequate searches of its records using a decades-old computer system when queried by citizens looking for records that should be available to the public.

    Freedom of Information Act (Foia) researcher Ryan Shapiro alleges “failure by design” in the DoJ’s protocols for responding to public requests. The Foia law states that agencies must “make reasonable efforts to search for the records in electronic form or format”.

    In an effort to demonstrate that the DoJ does not comply with this provision, Shapiro requested records of his own requests and ran up against the same roadblocks that stymied his progress in previous inquiries. A judge ruled in January that the FBI had acted in a manner “fundamentally at odds with the statute”.

    Now, armed with that ruling, Shapiro hopes to change policy across the entire department. Shapiro filed his suit on the 50th anniversary of Foia’s passage this month.

    Foia requests to the FBI are processed by searching the Automated Case Support system (ACS), a software program that celebrates its 21st birthday this year.

    Not only are the records indexed by ACS allegedly inadequate, Shapiro told the Guardian, but the FBI refuses to search the full text of those records as a matter of policy. When few or no records are returned, Shapiro said, the FBI effectively responds “sorry, we tried” without making use of the much more sophisticated search tools at the disposal of internal requestors.

  4. DXer said

    The mutli-tasking USAMRIID FOIA Officer asks for my patience. She will provide Army MedCom requested background on the issue. Then MedCom, I believe, will contact the FBI. While I am disappointed by the continued delay — and have been quite the complaining pest of late — I don’t doubt the Army’s good faith. (My friend, John Peterson, advises me that I’ve gone way past the point of being a royal pain in the ass.) :0)

  5. DXer said

    That scandal truncated review to post-2002 shipments. The pre-2002 shipments are the ones related to the murder of 5 people. Only this same “culture of complacency” could explain the Army’s and FBI’s failure to produce Notebook 4282, which has an entry on the date of the mailing — and entries prior to that explaining what Ivins was doing in the Biolevel 3 laboratory.

    Army metes out punishment in anthrax scandal

    Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY 3:23 p.m. EDT July 4, 2016

    (Photo: Centers for Disease Control and)

    WASHINGTON — The Army has disciplined 10 of 12 civilian and military personnel deemed responsible for the poor laboratory practices and the “culture of complacency” that led to the bungled shipments of deadly anthrax samples to 50 states and nine foreign countries.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2016/07/04/army-metes-out-punishment-anthrax-scandal/86622162/

    • DXer said

      The FBI and Army should now produce these notebooks as required under FOIPA, especially Notebook 4282.

      Leadership should step in to set things on course and overcome the past failure to provide, for example, Notebook 4282, which has notations during the relevant period, to include the date of mailing of anthrax that murdered 5 people.

      If the Commander of USAMRIID and MedCom does not step in to make things happen, then where does the buck stop? How can the Army and FBI be expected to keep the American public safe if such a simple tasks cannot get done?

      “The Army’s report on its investigation was unsparing in its criticism, although it did not attribute the errant shipments over a decade to an individual or group. Instead it found that leadership at Dugway “created conditions allowing a culture of complacency to flourish,” according to the report. “As a result, laboratory personnel did not always follow rules, regulations and procedures. Certain leadership and oversight failed to take appropriate action, …”

    • DXer said

      Army metes out punishment in anthrax scandal

      No one was sickened by the shipments of live anthrax that arrived at nearly 200 private, academic and federal labs. Dugway’s failure to kill anthrax specimens with radiation went undetected for more than 10 years until a private firm last year discovered some the samples it had received had spores that could still grow.

      The report called for the Army secretary to approve changes aimed at reducing the risk of working with biological materials, “and holding certain personnel at (Dugway), including the leadership accountable for the failures to eliminate the culture of complacency and ultimate prevent additional mishaps from occurring in the future.”

      It was especially critical of King, who commanded Dugway as a colonel for two years beginning in July 2009. King “repeatedly deflected blame and minimized the severity of incidents,” according to the report, adding that he “lacks introspection and fails to recognize the scope and severity of the incidents that occurred during his command.”

      ***

      Army Secretary Eric Fanning will receive a report on discipline and other reforms to the Army’s labs in coming weeks, Seiber said.

      Comment: If Army Secretary Eric Fanning does not require Army and FBI to produce these notebooks under FOIPA — to include Notebook 4282, which has notations during the period and even the day of the anthrax mailing — then all this is crock.

      The entire review of this matter was conducted by the former lead scientists in Amerithrax — Vapid Majidi and Christan Hassell. And analysis was truncated to shipments to post -2002. The same “culture of complacency” and uncertain effectiveness of irradiation existed prior to 2001.

      This blog does not advocate punishment — it advocates overcoming the culture of complacency and compliance with FOIPA as to the pre-2002 period.

      • DXer said

        Consider this tactical unit raiding a school in advance of distributing antibiotics after an anthrax attack.

        Consider all the money and equipment involved nationally in such exercises — and the Army and FBI cannot bother to obtain and provide Notebook 4282, with contemporaneous notations by Bruce Ivins that would explain what he was doing in the lab during the period of the anthrax mailing. (The FBI’s theory hinged importantly on his not having a reason to be in the lab).

        Jefferson County officials battle anthrax at school as part of training scenario

        By Wanda Heard

        June 30, 2016

        http://www.alabamanewscenter.com/2016/06/30/jefferson-county-officials-battle-anthrax-school-part-training-scenario/

  6. DXer said

    Al-Qaida leader: ‘grave consequences’ for US if Boston bomber executed

    Ayman al-Zawahri issues warning over fate of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, sentenced to death by lethal injection last June, or any other Muslim prisoner in US

    Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri has warned the US of the “gravest consequences” if Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev or any other Muslim prisoner is executed.

    Tsarnaev, named in Zawahri’s online video message, was sentenced to death by lethal injection last year for the 2013 bomb attack that killed three people and injured more than 260.

    More details soon …

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/01/al-qaida-boston-marathon-bomber-tsarnaev-execution

    Comment: Would the Army and FBI start acting with expedition if Ayman Zawahiri attacks the US with anthrax?

  7. DXer said

    28 June 2016
    Is the West prepared for an Islamic State attack?

    Arabinda Acharya
    http://thebulletin.org/west-prepared-islamic-state-attack9553

    In January 2006, Singapore conducted Exercise Northstar 5, a drill designed to educate the public about chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear attacks—and how best to respond to them. In April 2015, authorities followed up with another drill, Northstar 9. The Southeast Asian city-state has also established a specialist agency, the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Explosive Defence Group, as well as a Community Emergency Preparedness Program. Most important, it has built shelters—in the rapid-transit system, in schools and community centers, and in the Housing Development Board buildings in which most Singaporeans dwell—for the public to use in the event of an attack. In addition to other life-saving facilities, the shelters feature “protective blast doors, decontamination facilities, ventilation system[s], power and water supply systems and dry toilet system[s],” according to the Singapore Civil Defence Force.

    At a time when the Islamic State could be eyeing European targets for a chemical-weapons attack, Western countries could take a lesson from the island nation. Most countries in the West remain alert to the possibility of an attack involving weapons of mass destruction, and indeed have the ability to prepare for such scenarios, yet their current planning lacks specifics in terms of policies, procedures, and resources.

    ***

    Prevention vs. preparedness. Much has already been written about terrorists and the threat of weapons of mass destruction, yet most attention has been on the possibility of groups like Al Qaeda and now Islamic State acquiring and using such weapons. A number of studies, testimonies by top intelligence officials, and statements of political leaders suggest that Islamic State is intent on using some forms of chemical, biological, nuclear, or radiological weapons, especially in Europe and the United States, and may even be in possession of the expertise, technology, money, and materials to do so. Less attention is given to our preparedness to deal with the consequences of a such an attack. Indeed, preparedness remains largely neglected due to the perception that a strike of this kind still poses significant technical and logistical challenges to non-state actors, even though, according to a December 2015 European Parliament briefing, Islamic State has overcome the financial constraints.

    It is true that, strategically, the first step in preparing for an attack is preventing one from happening in the first place—by denying terrorists access to dangerous materials and devices. This requires intelligence coordination not only among different agencies in a particular country, but also with other countries to target sources, conduits, and criminal facilitators.

    ***

    Domestic preparedness against such incidents dates back to the Cold War era and intensified after the March 1995 Tokyo subway attacks, the April 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, and the post-9/11 anthrax letters in the fall of 2001.

    //Arabinda Acharya teaches for the National Defense University’s College of International Security Affairs at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He is also an adjunct fellow with the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at the Nanyang Technological University, in Singapore.

    Comment: I think New York State’s program involving community outreach about preparedness is a good approach. Red Cross also does good work. Such preparations cut off across the range of threats, to include threats from natural disasters.

    It occurs to me, just now, that grocery store chains could have posters in their store providing the government and Red Cross recommendations.

    Read an article about daily life in Venezuela, with the increasingly urgent shortages, to imagine what things could be like upon a catastrophic natural disaster.

  8. DXer said

    “There are different levels of terror:” Health officials prepare for the threat of biological weapons

    Posted 6:22 pm, June 14, 2016, by Derica Williams
    http://fox6now.com/2016/06/14/there-are-different-levels-of-terror-health-officials-prepare-for-the-threat-of-biological-weapons/

    Comment: After an attack, attention would turn to what we know about the Fall 2001 mailings — and what we don’t know because of a failure of the governmental agencies to produce the relevant documents under FOIPA.

    Why did the Army not obtain the Ivins notebooks taken by the FBI in 2007 and not returned years ago? (To minimize continued delay, I’ve specified the three that are potentially the most relevant).

    Why didn’t the FBI return them?

    The Army and FBI should turn to the issue without further delay — and expedite production of the notebooks.

    It took the Army a full month to release two recent notebooks even after the FBI sent them along.

    • DXer said

      “The fact that winds can blow an agent that has been aerosolized, like anthrax, throughout the state and the region tells us how we need to have a multi- jurisdiction partnership,” Bevan Baker, Milwaukee Health Commissioner.

      This scene isn’t real, but the situation definitely could be in the future.

      “It’s extremely realistic but we need an all-hazard approach,” said Baker.

      Although this mock drill was the culmination of five years of planning, Orlando’s mass causalities reinforced the need for emergency response preparedness.

      “There are different levels of terror and certainly a bio attack is very possible,” said Baker.

      Keeping skills and staff up to date and on call to execute at a moments notice.

      “We have to be ready, have to prepared, a lot of assets have to be bought to bear,” said Baker.

      Comment: In connection with trying to obtain these notebooks, one day I was given the number of FBI FOIA analyst Meredith Savary, the next day the number was disabled.

  9. DXer said

    Our job is to help these well-meaning folks lay their hands on the documents and to comply with a process that seems pretty well set up for its intended purpose.

    In the case of Notebook 4282, DIIllon has emphasized that Notebook 4282 is responsive and has notations within the September-October 2001 period specified by Dillon in his pending request. The DOJ should appreciate that years ago (as I understand it), USAMRIID tried to get the return of all notebooks that the FBI that had not been returned to the Army. If for whatever reason, that was not accomplished given the volume of materials in the case, then I would ask that the 3 notebooks be pulled and transmitted as promptly as possible. They are years overdue.

    If JAG HQ has a copy of the notebooks, then shame on them because I’ve been urging that all along. But in any event, all that needs to be done to set things on course is that they now be processed and uploaded. If anything is exempt from production, by all means, it can be redacted.

    In the case of Notebook 4037, it would help if I asked the FOIA Officer to provide the title. I have been remiss in doing so.

    The excellence of the USAMRMC FOIA room and the FBI Vault speak for itself. The ways they need to be improved are on the margin.

    My lapse in not previously pursuing the Referred/Direct documents was far greater. It resulted because the FBI did not specify to whom they had been Referred/Directed. But now those Referred/Direct documents should be located. They may very well have been referred to the Army lawyers. But an agency cannot avoid processing and production under FOIA by kicking them over to an agency or component not covered by FOIA (or not used to complying with it). The Referred/Direct documents need to be produced. Maybe that will resolve this issue of withheld notebooks of central relevance. Discovery can never be avoided simply by turning over documents to the lawyers.

    The bottom-line: this blog is only interested in getting people on the same page. That requires that everyone put their oar in the water and pull together to move things forward.

    Let’s not have Amerithrax, after a mass attack using anthrax, turn out to be a situation where the FBI could have done more. (In this client of death and mayhem, no one’s career would survive such a turn of events; the promotions after 911 notwithstanding). The public is growing tired of dropped balls.

    In the case of the Pulse shooter and the recent report the gun shop called about Mateen to say he was suspiciously seeking a armored vest and massive ammunition — and acting suspiciously — the commentators who reason that the lead that was too difficult to follow-up may be right.

    But, in contrast, pulling these notebooks is not too difficult. And far more lives may be at stake. It just requires that it be done. Identifying the documents to which the FBI “Referred/Direct” the still withheld documents is required by FOIPA. It should have been done, for example, in providing nothing in response to Dillon’s request for all documents from September-October 2001. At the very least, the FBI should have identified where such contemporaneous documents are located given that they certainly are not disclosed in the FBI’s Vault. (DOJ can expect suit to be filed in connection with that request).

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