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

* DXer comment on BBC’s September 14, 2016 interview of FBI Agent Scott Stanley

Posted by DXer on September 14, 2016


15 Responses to “* DXer comment on BBC’s September 14, 2016 interview of FBI Agent Scott Stanley”

  1. DXer said

    And it’s funny in a not-so-funny way that NatGeo’s The Hot Zone: Anthrax actually feels less like the first season of The Hot Zone and more like a lackluster blending of previous randomly anthologized properties Manhunt and Dirty John.

    Instead of the visceral combination of body horror and biology trivia that was the first season, The Hot Zone: Anthrax is a weakly structured game of cat-and-mouse combined with a rudimentary psychological profile of an insecure creepy white dude. There’s something to be said for Tony Goldwyn’s unsettling performance and for Daniel Dae Kim’s sturdy work in a rare leading role, but this six-episode limited series is thoroughly skippable.

    As I watched The Hot Zone: Anthrax, some details flooded back to me, but prior to watching, I couldn’t have told you what the resolution of the anthrax panic had been. Did we get the perpetrator? How? And how did we collectively lose track of the story?

    These are all fascinating questions that don’t exactly go unanswered here, but they get answered in the most formulaic way possible. Episodes begin with an obligatory, “Certain characters, scenes, and dialogue were imagined or invented for dramatic purposes,” but I would be curious where the line is between “invented” and “imagined,” since no imagination is evident. Instead, what was one of the more complicated multi-year investigations in the history of the FBI has been boiled down to a little detective work from a few heroic FBI agents whose names could be “Man Composite Agent,” “Woman Composite Agent” and “Young Composite Agent People Can Explain Things To.”

  2. DXer said

    January 15, 2018
    Trump-Russia: Not Mueller’s First Botched Investigation

    By Daniel Ashman

    Controversy surrounds Robert Mueller and his investigation into the Trump-Russia collusion mirage. Some maintain that he is the ultimate professional dedicated to following the truth, but others say he is a political hack.

    There is no need to wonder about how Mueller operates. His history has made it quite clear. One needs only to study his actions as FBI director when he managed the FBI’s most important investigation ever.

    In September of 2001, an entity began mailing anthrax through the U.S. postal system, hitting such prominent targets as NBC and Senator Tom Daschle’s office. The terrorist attacks killed five and left others hospitalized. The world panicked.

    Under Mueller’s management, the FBI launched an investigation lasting ten years. The bureau now brags about spending “hundreds of thousands of investigator hours on this case.” To fully appreciate the Mueller response – whom his people investigated, targeted, and found guilty – it is appropriate to first build context.

    The anthrax letters began just a week after the 9/11 attack. Simultaneous to planning the airplane hijackings, al-Qaeda had also been weaponizing anthrax. One of their scientists who ran an anthrax lab in Afghanistan also housed 9/11 hijackers. In fact, one of the hijackers, Ahmed al Haznawi, went to the emergency room in an American hospital with a skin lesion, which a team of bioterrorism experts from Johns Hopkins confirmed was probably due to anthrax. Meanwhile, the 9/11 hijackers were also trying to obtain crop-dusting airplanes.

    So how did Mueller’s investigative team handle the case?

    Mueller issued a statement in October of 2001, while anthrax victims were still dying: the FBI had found “no direct link to organized terrorism.” The Johns Hopkins team of experts was mistaken, the FBI continued; Haznawi never had an anthrax infection. The crop-dusting airplanes they needed were possibly for a separate and unrelated anthrax attack.

    A few weeks later, the FBI released a remarkable profile of the attacker. FBI experts eschewed analysis of the content of the letters, where it was written in bold block letters, “Death to America, Death to Israel, Allah is Great.” Instead, they focused on a “linguistic analysis,” stating that the letter’s author was not “comfortable or practiced in writing in lower[]case lettering.” They therefore concluded that the author was likely an American.

    The investigators hypothesized that the attacker was a lonely American who had wanted to kill people with anthrax for some undefined time period but then became “mission-oriented” following 9/11 and immediately prepared and mailed the deadly spores while pretending to be Muslim.

    Mueller’s FBI honed in on Steven Hatfill – a “flag-waving” American who had served in the Army, then dedicated himself to protecting America from bioterrorist threats by working in the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases – as the culprit.

    There was no direct link from Hatfill to the attacks, by the FBI’s own admission. The FBI never even charged Hatfill.

    The bureau only spied on, followed, and harassed him, non-stop, for years. The Department of Justice publicly outed Hatfill as the possible terrorist.

    [Editor’s note: Hatfill forged his PhD; Berry forged a signature on a will. Ivins hid semen-stained panties and stole a classmate’s notebook in college. If you don’t want the FBI to suspect you, don’t do crap like that.]

    While America’s secret police trampled on Hatfill’s dignity and life, Mueller took a stand – but on a different topic. He made front-page news for threatening President George W. Bush with resignation over NSA policy – all while his own team was destroying the rights of an American in the FBI’s largest ever investigation.
    Hatfill successfully sued the government for its unlawful actions. He won almost six million dollars.

    After the Hatfill investigation blew up in the FBI’s face, the agents moved on to Bruce Ivins, another Army researcher. Ivins had actually been helping the FBI for years after having gone out of his way to contact the FBI to volunteer his expertise. It wasn’t until five years after the attack that Mueller’s men decided that Ivins was a target.

    The FBI case against Ivins was, once again, based on circumstantial evidence.

    The prosecution stated that Ivins had purposefully given a misleading sample of anthrax spore. Frontline documented that this was a lie.
    Ivins was “familiar” with the area from which the anthrax letters were mailed – even though Pulitzer Prize-winning ProPublica lays out the accepted facts of the case, showing that it was impossible for Ivins to make the trip to mail the letters.
    The spores used in the attacks were a similar type to the laboratory spores where Ivins worked – which ignores the fact that the anthrax letters had a unique additive, so sophisticated and dangerous that a scientist commented, “This is not your mother’s anthrax,” that was likely produced by a nation-state or al-Qaeda.
    Ivins was never indicted. He was just given the Hatfill treatment: house raided and threatened with a death sentence, or, as his lawyer put it, put under “relentless pressure of accusation and innuendo.” He committed suicide.

    One week later, U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Taylor stated that Ivins was guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt,” and law enforcement was “confident that Dr. Ivins was the only person responsible for these attacks.”

    Director Mueller ordered an independent audit of the FBI’s case by the National Academy of Science but then quietly closed the case before the audit was finished. Mueller concluded that Ivins alone committed the terror attack. One year after Mueller closed the case, the NAS released its results and confirmed what many scientists had been repeating for years: the FBI’s science and conclusions were wrong.

    The handling of the case was so egregious that a former FBI official involved in the investigation sued the FBI, alleging that the FBI had concealed evidence exculpatory to Ivins.

    Mueller made his position known – “I do not apologize for any aspect of this investigation” – and stated that the FBI had made no mistakes.

    The investigation was an unmitigated disaster for America. Mueller didn’t go after al-Qaeda for the anthrax letters because he denied seeing a direct link. But then he spent years abusing Americans without showing a direct link.

    Mueller enjoyed the second longest tenure of any FBI director and was roundly applauded by nearly everyone (except Louie Gohmert). For his behavior he was also awarded special counsel status to go after Donald Trump, in a process where, still, no one has any idea what specific crimes are even alleged. There is every reason to think he will handle his most important investigation the same way he handled his second most important investigation. We can safely predict that it will be a prolonged, abusive, and politically correct attack. Actually, that isn’t even a prediction of the future. It has already become a mere explanation of the past nigh year.

  3. DXer said

    From the grapevine:

    Now this fellow who says he was in charge of the FBI’s science, R. Scott Decker, says that Hatfill arose as a suspect because he fit the FBI’s profile (which was done early Fall 2001). Now how’s that for planning science around a guess made by people who had no background in the relevant intelligence analysis!? In his writing, he talks about not being able to confirm Hatfill’s service in Rhodesian C Squadron. He writes about him not fulfilling the dissertation requirement. Yikes! He notes that there even was doubt that Hatfill “had fulfilled the new Zimbabwean requirement of public service for medical student.” Egads. As if forging his PhD certificate was not ghastly enough.

    But why is the science guy concerning himself with the tawdry facts of Hatfill’s life? He instead should have been immersed with obtaining the lab notebooks associated with lab that used Ames anthrax and preserving hard drives. It was his responsibility to discover at the time that there had never been any validation of the technique used to inactivate the Ames strain being sent around (per Ezzell in statements to me). That might have avoided the debacle in recent years when it was discovered that virulent Ames was sent all over the country — by accident!

    If he suspected Ivins at all, the computer installed in the summer of 2001 should have been cloned at the outset.

    In his manuscript, he says Laboratory Directors were called to Washington to assure that they have provided all the Ames. Now how would the laboratory director know?! And because of the lack of a validated method for inactivating Ames, they were overlooking an entire huge set of samples.

    Decker writes about Flask 1029 being a match — yet no mention of Flask 1030! When that is the one that had the silicon signal.

    Even though virulent Ames was all over Building 1425 and 1412, he found exonerating of Hatfill — who was only being discussed because he fit some “profile” — because there was no mention of him in Ivins notebooks.

    Yet surreptitious acquisition is a lot easier than that, eh?

    Decker writes a lot about sororities and the like — and one needs to take a breath and ask: WTF does this have to do with forensics?

    Why wasn’t the focus on paper, ink, xerox machine track marks, and the like.

    We have the same thing happening in the Suzanne Jovin case. The FBI has brought in a hypnotist to explore a repressed memory of someone who overheard a man and woman’s raised voices in passing 19 years ago!

  4. DXer said

    Now we have another name: Philip Baruth as set forth in Senator Leahy: A Life in Scenes (Hardcover).

  5. DXer said

    GAO report: Problems working with pathogens go beyond Dugway Proving Ground and anthrax

    By NATE CARLISLE | The Salt Lake Tribune
    First Published Sep 27 2016 12:24PM • Updated 4 hours ago

    The U.S. Government Accountability Office found 21 incidents between 2003 and 2015 when government and private labs shipped live biological agents that were supposed to have been made inactive. That is 11 more incidents than the labs themselves reported, says the GAO report, which was released last week.

    The number of live shipments could be even higher because there is no standardized form for reporting such incidents, nor even scientific agreement on when a pathogen is rendered inactive, the report said. No one agency is responsible for overseeing what are called “high-containment laboratories” that work with the pathogens.


    FBI Agent Scott Stanley, this same scientist interviewed by the BBC on the 15th anniversary — who guided the analysis of the 4 morphs — premised his approach on the false assumption that all anthrax that was distributed was successfully irradiated. Experienced scientists, such as John Ezzell, told me that he knew that the science had not been done and such a premise was unfounded.

    Moreover, Stanley’s approach overlooks surreptitious acquisition — even though everyone in the field understands that it was easy to covertly acquire anthrax from a lab that had it.

    The fact that the FBI refuses to identify the second lab that Rauf Ahmad visited (on his mission for Ayman Zawahiri) dramatically illustrates the game of hide-the-ball being played. All the while a key scientist responsible for the botching of the true crime analysis relies on the psychic in her new part-time counseling gig who says in a book that she was controlled by an alien who had implanted a microchip in her butt.

    FBI Director Comey fears a diaspora when he should also fear the FBI’s historic and continued CYA approach to FOIPA — illustrated by its failure to produce Ivins’ Notebook 4282.

    FBI’s Comey: Officials Worry About ‘Terrorist Diaspora’ from Syria, Iraq
    by Pete Williams and The Associated Press

    If and when ISIS attacks the US with sarin, members of Congress may come to understand that the FBI Director Comey had the ready means of directing compliance with FOIPA (e.g., withholding of Notebook 4282) — which might at least permit connecting the dots so that history might be written.

    It seems unrealistic to expect that the FBI can avoid shooting by every angry young man in a country of several hundred million.

    But we can expect that the FBI go get Notebook 4282 and produce it — or charge criminally the individual who destroyed it.

  6. DXer said

    La noche temática aborda el tema de ‘Ántrax, la bacteria del bioterrorismo’, Sept. 26, 2016

  7. DXer said

    Cover Story

    After Amerithrax: Biodefense in a post-9/11 America

    Biodetection technology has evolved tremendously since the anthrax attacks of 2001, but that’s not the real problem with the U.S.’s biodefense
    Volume 94 Issue 38 | pp. 36-40
    Issue Date: September 26, 2016

    By Matt Davenport

  8. DXer said

    If the evidence is unfit, you must acquit: Prosecutors are fighting to keep flawed forensic evidence in the courtroom

    Much of the forensic evidence used in convictions has been found unreliable. Prosecutors want to use it anyway

    Daniel Denvir


    And if they don’t even have flawed forensic scientist, they will turn to the third-hand statements of a psychic who says she had her psychic powers bestowed by an alien who controlled her actions through a micro-chip implanted in her butt. She had written a book explaining how she thought murderous entities attached to her patients in her new part-time addictions counseling gig were trying to kill her. She says she thought every night she travelled to Afghanistan and 9-11 and helped search for astral entities — narrowly being captured each night by the murderous astral entities, escaping only through a vortex that closed. On the 15th anniversary, a scientist who led development evidence of 4 morphs that he imagines pointed to Ivins, gave an interview in which he relied on the claims by this woman as the key evidence against Ivins. He obviously has not read the book — which was available on Amazon at the time the FBI closed the case and in the years since.

  9. DXer said

    U.N. Inspectors Find Sarin and VX Nerve Agents in Underground Syrian Regime Lab
    By Jack Moore On 9/19/16

  10. DXer said

    US bombs ISIS chemical weapons plant

    CNN-Sep 13, 2016
    (CNN) The US has bombarded an ISIS chemical weapons plant that was housed in a converted Iraqi pharmaceutical factory, a top Air Force …

  11. DXer said

    Although Amerithrax may seem complex, its solution may lie in just a few key documents that need to be obtained showing where Ivins was on a particular date.

    The contemporary documentary evidence could be equally probative in a treasure hunt involving Dutch Schultz’s millions.

    After some filming here yesterday by a wonderful film company from Canada, I am optimistic that History channel will do a show or series on Dutch Schultz’s missing millions.

    Dutch Schultz in Fairfield County, Connecticut in 1935 : his horses, his hiding places, and his missing millions | Ross Getman and Grace Getman
    July 16, 2010

    My daughter and I tracked where Dutch and Lulu hid the iron chest containing millions from April 1-11, 1935 — at 3 Marion Ave in Norwalk, CT.

    But he moved the chest when he turned in his keys to the realtor on that date — and yet did not check in to Hotel Syracuse until a few days later.

    So I think if you find where Dutch and Lulu laid their head on April 12, 1935, you’ll find where his missing millions were hid prior to his being killed a few months later.

    Anthrax, Al Qaeda and Ayman Zawahiri: The Infiltration of US Biodefense

  12. DXer said

    Experts tell CBS12 that bio-terror is still a threat, 15 years after the anthrax attack in 2001.

    PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. (CBS12) — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) tells CBS12 terrorists aspire to develop terror agents—including biological weapons—that they can use for attacks in the U.S.

    “They are plotting every day to get a hold of biological agents from Sarin to Anthrax that can be used for chemical attacks.”

    “It remains an ongoing threat for the country. There’s no doubt about it.”

    Someone mailed an anthrax-laced letter to the American Media building in Boca Raton.

    It was received exactly one week after the 9/11 attacks.

    Tabloid photo editor Bob Stevens later died after opening the letter.

    Infectious diseases expert Dr. Larry Bush first identified Stevens as an anthrax victim.

    In all, five people died. 17 others were infected but survived after anthrax-laced letters were sent to media companies and the offices of Members of Congress.

    The F.B.I identified Dr. Bruce Iv[i]ns, who worked at a government lab in Maryland, as a suspect.

    He later committed suicide, and the F.B.I. considers this to have closed the case.

    15-years later, Dr. Bush believes a bioterror attack could happen again.

    “I think it’s always a threat, because it’s not very hard to do as that (attack in 2001) proved. Nobody ever thought you could disseminate Anthrax via the mail. It was done very easily, and it was very effective.”

  13. DXer said

    Some sources:

    David Willman [perhaps channeling FBI Agent Scott Stanley, interviewed above] relies extensively upon Dr. Ivins’ first therapist, Judith M. McLean, who writes of how she acquired her psychic abilities in her book available for sale on — from a being from another planet
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 11, 2011

    In addition to helping the FBI with Amerithrax, the psychic relied upon by David Willman helped with 911 by her astral travelling and retrieval of etheric body parts at Ground Zero … She reports she was granted her psychic abilities by a being claiming to be an extraterrestial
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 11, 2011

    The material on the CASE CLOSED blog about Judith McLean (see prior posts linked below) is relevant to an evaluation of the validity of David Willman’s conclusions in his recently published “The Mirage Man” … because Willman himself, in his publicity blurb (see below), shows just how much he relied on the psychic who says … she was granted her abilities by an extraterrestrial being … got sick in 2001 from doing astral recovery work at Ground Zero and in Afghanistan after 9/11 … and was pursued by nasty Taliban entities
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 12, 2011

    DOJ has successfully avoided deposition of Amerithrax consultant Gregory Saathoff who extensively and uncritically relied on the Ivins’ accuser who claims she was granted her psychic abilities by an alien from another planet
    Posted on July 13, 2011

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