* FBI cannot locate anthrax case lab notebook for the day first letters were mailed!
Posted by Lew Weinstein on August 25, 2016
The former lead investigator of Amerithrax, Richard L. Lambert, has brought a whistleblower suit in federal district court. He has alleged that the FBI is withholding a staggering amount of information that is exculpatory of the late scientist, Bruce Ivins.
By letter dated August 23, 2016, Attorney Matthew Hurd denied Kenneth Dillon’s appeal of the FBI’s denial of his request. Dr. Dillon had requested all documents not yet produced relating to Dr. Bruce Ivins during the September-October 2001 time period.
Dr. Dillon has a related pending request for the “Interim Case Management Summary” authored by Richard Lambert.
Many observers, including most outside scientists, have argued that the FBI’s “Ivins Theory” was unpersuasive. The FBI reasoned that Dr. Ivins had no reason to be in the lab on particular dates. Some DOJ and FBI officials reasoned he must have been making and preparing a powderized anthrax to kill 5 people. I have interviewed the Al Qaeda anthrax lab director Yazid Sufaat, however, and he does not deny responsibility for the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings.
There were Al Qaeda operatives meeting with Mohammed Atta in the United States that were not caught (or were caught and released).
Requestor Dr. Dillon is an academic and publisher. He is a former intelligence analyst associated with the US State Department. In testing the FBI’s theory that Dr. Ivins had no reason to be in the lab, he has sought Lab Notebook 4282 which contains contemporaneous handwritten notes about one of the many experiments he was working on (at pages 65-70). The pages were first obtained by the FBI in 2003 and put in Part 1A of an FBI 302 report. See 1A GJ 1100.
The original was then seized again in 2007 and not returned. An FBI agent in an excel spreadsheet that has been produced explains that the notebook has entries from the time of the mailings. (See Part 55 of 59 of Amerithrax documents in the FBI’s “Vault.”) The FBI and DOJ have failed to produce the notebook despite requests by both me and Dr. Dillon. Specifically, there are notations from September 14, 15 and from September 18, 2001, the date of the first mailing.
The Army has sought the return of the notebooks taken by Dr. Ivins for years — and has uploaded all those that it has and that eventually were returned by the FBI. Notebook 4282, however, still has not been returned. According to USMRMC FOIA Officer Sandra Rogers, the FBI still has not returned Notebooks 4037, 4010 and 4282, preventing the Army from uploading them in USAMRMC’s excellent reading room that was created containing my FOIA requests directed to USAMRIID.
I have uploaded the FBI discussing the documents relating to Notebook 4282 that is still subject of the DOJ and FBI’s game of hide-the-ball at the hyperlinks above. I have forwarded them to Attorney Matt Hurd. Attorney Hurd, who has been very gracious, has expressed a willingness to have an attorney reconsider the denial. But that will lead to an attorney doing the same ineffectual searches in the decades-old database being used of words like “Notebook” “USMRMC.” Instead, Attorney Hurd should pick up the phone and call FOIA analyst Meredith Savary or former lead Amerithrax investigator Richard Lambert or someone currently at the FBI who would know and ask where to find the documents. To claim that the dog ate the lab pages in Dr. Ivins’ notebook on the date of mailing of anthrax that killed 5 people is unacceptable. I am advised by FOIA Officer Ms. Rogers that the Notebook 4282 that the FBI has not returned is titled “Anthrax.”
This past week, Hambali, the supervisor of Al Qaeda anthrax lab director Yazid Sufaat, saw the light of a courtroom for the first time since his capture in 2003. That’s an incredible 13 years without any transparency about his involvement in Al Qaeda’s anthrax program.
On this issue of the FBI blaming Dr. Bruce Ivins for the anthrax mailings,however, there is no justification for there not to be government in the sunshine. The Department of Justice and FBI should comply with FOIPA. The Department of Justice and FBI, first and foremost, should stand for the rule of law.
Anthrax, Al Qaeda and Ayman Zawahiri: The Infiltration of US Biodefense