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

* Map Showing Where Army Mistakenly Shipped Live Anthrax In Recent Years

Posted by DXer on September 29, 2016

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39 Responses to “* Map Showing Where Army Mistakenly Shipped Live Anthrax In Recent Years”

  1. DXer said

    Trump claims he has seen evidence linking coronavirus to Wuhan lab
    By Tamar LapinApril 30, 2020 | 10:38pm | Updated

    https://nypost.com/2020/04/30/trump-claims-he-has-seen-evidence-linking-coronavirus-to-chinese-lab/

    Earlier on Thursday, the US intelligence community said it agreed with the scientific consensus that the novel coronavirus was not “manmade or genetically modified.”

    But it confirmed that it was looking into “whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.”

    • DXer said

      https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-probes-university-of-texas-links-to-chinese-lab-scrutinized-over-coronavirus-11588325401

      The Education Department has asked the University of Texas System to provide documentation of its dealings with the Chinese laboratory U.S. officials are investigating as a potential source of the coronavirus pandemic.

      The request for records of gifts or contracts from the Wuhan Institute of Virology and its researcher Shi Zhengli, known for her work on bats, is part of a broader department investigation into possible faulty financial disclosures of foreign money by the Texas group of universities.

      The Education Department’s letter, reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, also asks the UT System to share documents regarding potential ties to the ruling Chinese Communist Party and some two dozen Chinese universities and companies, including Huawei Technologies Co. and a unit of China National Petroleum Corp.

      ***

      Neither the Wuhan lab nor Dr. Shi—dubbed “Bat Woman” by Chinese media—responded to requests for comment.

      The Wuhan lab has come under scrutiny from U.S. officials who accuse Beijing of withholding information about the origins of the outbreak, which was first detected in Wuhan.

      Dr. Shi and the Chinese government have said the lab isn’t the source of the pandemic. There is no concrete public evidence to confirm the theory that the outbreak resulted from an accident at the lab, which studied ways to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

      Some scientists say a lab accident remains a possibility, but the current dominant theory is that bats passed the virus to humans either directly, or more likely, through another animal.

      The Education Department’s investigation into the UT System’s disclosures is part of a continuing national review begun in 2019 that the department says has prompted universities to report more than $6.5 billion in previously undisclosed foreign funding. Officials have sent letters to at least eight other schools, including Harvard and Yale Universities, who have said they are responding to the inquiries.

      Universities are required to disclose to the Education Department all contracts and gifts from a foreign source that, alone or combined, are worth $250,000 or more in a calendar year. Though the statute is decades old, the department only recently began to enforce it rigorously.

  2. DXer said

    Trump Officials Are Said to Press Spies to Link Virus and Wuhan Labs
    April 30, 2020 in News, Politics, U.S. 9 min read 243 13

    https://dnyuz.com/2020/04/30/trump-officials-are-said-to-press-spies-to-link-virus-and-wuhan-labs/
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    WASHINGTON — Senior Trump administration officials have pushed American spy agencies to hunt for evidence to support an unsubstantiated theory that a government laboratory in Wuhan, China, was the origin of the coronavirus outbreak, according to current and former American officials. The effort comes as President Trump escalates a public campaign to blame China for the pandemic.

    Some intelligence analysts are concerned that the pressure from administration officials will distort assessments about the virus and that they could be used as a political weapon in an intensifying battle with China over a disease that has infected more than three million people across the globe.

    Most intelligence agencies remain skeptical that conclusive evidence of a link to a lab can be found, and scientists who have studied the genetics of the coronavirus say that the overwhelming probability is that it leapt from animal to human in a nonlaboratory setting, as was the case with H.I.V., Ebola and SARS.

    Mr. Trump’s aides and Republicans in Congress have sought to blame China for the pandemic in part to deflect criticism of the administration’s mismanagement of the crisis in the United States, which now has more coronavirus cases than any country. More than one million Americans have been infected, and more than 60,000 have died.

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a former C.I.A. director and the administration’s most vocal hard-liner on China, has taken the lead in pushing American intelligence agencies for more information, according to current and former officials.

    Matthew Pottinger, the deputy national security adviser who reported on SARS outbreaks as a journalist in China, has pressed intelligence agencies off and on since January to gather information that might support any origin theory linked to a lab.

    And Anthony Ruggiero, the head of the National Security Council’s bureau tracking weapons of mass destruction, expressed frustration during one videoconference in January that the C.I.A. was unable to get behind any theory of the outbreak’s origin. C.I.A. analysts responded that they simply did not have the evidence to support any one theory with high confidence at the time, according to people familiar with the conversation.

    The C.I.A.’s judgment was based in part on the fact that no signs had emerged that the Chinese government believed the outbreak came from a lab. The Chinese government has vigorously denied that the virus leaked from a lab while pushing disinformation on its origins, including suggesting that the American military created it.

    Any American intelligence report blaming a Chinese institution and officials for the outbreak could significantly harm relations with China for years to come. And Trump administration officials could use it to try to prod other nations to publicly hold China accountable for coronavirus deaths even when the pandemic’s exact origins cannot be determined.

    The State Department declined to answer questions about Mr. Pompeo’s role. Spokesmen for the White House and the National Security Council declined to comment. An official from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence acknowledged that the intelligence agencies had not agreed on an origin theory but were tracking down information and frequently updating policymakers.

    NBC News reported earlier that administration officials had directed intelligence agencies to try to determine whether China and the World Health Organization hid information early on about the outbreak.

    For months, scientists, spies and government officials have wrestled with varying theories about how the outbreak began, and many agree on the importance of determining the genesis of the pandemic. In government and academia, experts have ruled out the notion that it was concocted as a bioweapon. And they agree that the new pathogen began as a bat virus that evolved naturally, probably in another mammal, to become adept at infecting and killing humans.

    A few veteran national security experts have pointed to a history of lab accidents infecting researchers to suggest it might have happened in this case, but many scientists have dismissed such theories.

    “We do not believe any type of laboratory-based scenario is plausible,” five scientists wrote in a paper published in March in Nature Medicine.

    Mr. Trump has spoken publicly about the administration’s “very serious investigations” of the virus’s origin and China’s culpability. Those inquiries took on new urgency in late March, when intelligence officials presented information to the White House that prompted some career officials to reconsider the lab theory. The precise nature of the information, based in part on intercepted communications among Chinese officials, is unclear.

    The current and former officials did not say whether Mr. Trump himself, who has shown little regard for the independent judgments of intelligence and law enforcement officials, has pressured the intelligence agencies. But he does want any information supporting the lab theory to set the stage for holding China responsible, according to two people familiar with his thinking.

    He has expressed interest in an idea pushed by Michael Pillsbury, an informal China adviser to the White House, that Beijing could be sued for damages, with the United States seeking $10 million for every death. At a news conference this week, Mr. Trump said the administration was discussing a “very substantial” reparations claim against China — an idea that Beijing has already denounced.

    “President Trump is demanding to know the origins of the virus and what Xi Jinping knew when about the cover-up,” Mr. Pillsbury said.

    Looking at the Labs
    Major gaps remain in what is known about the new pathogen, including which kind of animal infected humans with the coronavirus and where the first transmission took place.

    Richard Grenell, the acting director of national intelligence, has told his agencies to make a priority of determining the virus’s origin. His office convened a review of intelligence officials on April 7 to see whether the agencies could reach a consensus. The officials determined that at least so far, they could not.

    Intelligence officials have repeatedly pointed out to the White House that determining the origins of the outbreak is fundamentally a scientific question that cannot be solved easily by spycraft.

    A former intelligence official described senior aides’ repeated emphasis of the lab theory as “conclusion shopping,” a disparaging term among analysts that has echoes of the Bush administration’s 2002 push for assessments saying that Iraq had weapons of mass of destruction and links to Al Qaeda, perhaps the most notorious example of the politicization of intelligence.

    The C.I.A. has yet to unearth any data beyond circumstantial evidence to bolster the lab theory, according to current and former government officials, and the agency has told policymakers it lacks enough information to either affirm or refute it. Only getting access to the lab itself and the virus samples it contains could provide definitive proof, if it exists, the officials said.

    The Defense Intelligence Agency recently changed its analytic position to formally leave open the possibility of a theory of lab origin, officials said. Senior agency officials have asked analysts to take a closer look at the labs.

    The reason for the change is unclear, but some officials attributed it to the intelligence analyzed in recent weeks. Others took a more jaundiced view: that the agency is trying to curry favor with White House officials. A spokesman for the agency, James M. Kudla, disputed that characterization. “It’s not D.I.A.’s role to make policy decisions or value judgments — and we do not,” he said.

    Some American officials have become convinced that Beijing is not sharing all it knows.

    Among Mr. Trump’s top aides, Mr. Pompeo in particular has tried to hammer China over the lab. On Wednesday, he said that the United States still had not “gained access” to the main campus of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, one of two sites that American officials who favor the lab accident theory have focused on, along with the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Labs in Wuhan research bat viruses and are known to American officials; they are part of a coordinated global effort to monitor viruses. The virology institute has received funding and training from American agencies and scientists.

    Mr. Pompeo seemed to refer to internal information about the outbreak during an interview on April 17 with Hugh Hewitt, a conservative radio host.

    “We know that the Chinese Communist Party, when it began to evaluate what to do inside of Wuhan, considered whether the W.I.V. was, in fact, the place where this came from,” said Mr. Pompeo, referring to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

    The State Department declined to indicate what was behind his assertion.

    Scientists Weigh In
    Scientists who study the coronavirus have maintained that the initial spillover from animal to person could have occurred in any number of ways: at a farm where wild animals are raised, through accidental contact with a bat or another animal that carried the virus, in hunting or transporting animals.

    The scientists have also scrutinized the new pathogen’s genes, finding that they show great similarity to bat coronaviruses and bear no hints of human tampering or curation.

    The odds were astronomical against a lab release as opposed to an event in nature, said Kristian G. Andersen, the lead author of the paper published in Nature Medicine and a specialist in infectious disease at the Scripps Research Translational Institute in California.

    He acknowledged that it was theoretically possible that a researcher had found the new virus, fully evolved, in a bat or other animal and taken it into the lab. But, he said, based on the evidence his team gathered and the numerous opportunities for infection in the interactions that many farmers, hunters and others have with wild animals, “there just isn’t a reason to consider the lab as a potential explanation.”

    No evidence supports the theory that the coronavirus originated “in a laboratory either intentionally or by accident,” Daniel R. Lucey, an expert on pandemics at Georgetown University who has closely tracked what is known about the origins, wrote this week.

    He has called on China to share information about animals sold at a market in Wuhan that was linked to some of the earliest known cases of people infected with the virus, though not the first one. Dr. Lucey has raised questions about whether the market was, in fact, where the virus spilled over from animals to people. The limited information released about environmental samples taken from the market that were positive for the coronavirus do not resolve whether the source was animals sold there or people working or visiting the market, or both, he wrote.

    But Richard Ebright, a microbiologist and biosafety expert at Rutgers University, has argued that the probability of a lab accident was “substantial,” pointing to a history of such occurrences that have infected researchers. The Wuhan labs and other centers worldwide that examine naturally occurring viruses have questionable safety rules, he said, adding, “The standards are lax and need to be tightened.”

    American officials said they closely watched China’s government this winter for signs of a lab accident but found nothing conclusive. In February, President Xi Jinping stressed the need for a plan to ensure the “biosafety and biosecurity of the country.” And the Ministry of Science and Technology announced new guidelines for laboratories, especially ones handling viruses.

    Global Times, a popular state-run newspaper, then published an article on “chronic inadequate management issues” at laboratories, including problems with biological disposal.

    And American scientists who had developed relationships with researchers in the Wuhan labs had been in touch with them during the initial outbreak. But by mid-January, American officials said, the Chinese scientists cut off official communications.

    William J. Broad and James Gorman contributed reporting from New York.

  3. DXer said

    State Department cables warned of safety issues at Wuhan lab studying bat coronaviruses, April 14, 2020 at 6:00 a.m. EDT

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/04/14/state-department-cables-warned-safety-issues-wuhan-lab-studying-bat-coronaviruses/

  4. DXer said

    Eyes ‘wired’ open: preparing for chemical and biological threats
    5 Jul 2018| Rebecca Hoile and Paul Barnes
    https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/eyes-wired-open-preparing-for-chemical-and-biological-threats/

  5. DXer said

    Above is a map showing where virulent Ames anthrax was mistakenly shipped by the US government in recent years.

    If this report correct that after 9/2001 security was tightened, then OMG — think of how loose security was prior to 9/11.

    How prepared is the US for an anthrax attack? The CDC investigates
    By Michael Nedelman and Debra Goldschmidt, CNN

    Updated 3:25 AM ET, Wed June 20, 2018
    https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/20/health/anthrax-threat-cdc-preparedness/index.html

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

  6. DXer said

    Two years after the mailings, Decker had not collected any samples from outside the country. That’s f—— incredible.

    He writes:

    “I had compiled nearly 650 exemplars of Ames from sixteen laboratories around the United States, but I had not collected any from outside the country.”

    In the meantime, he is pulling up minnow traps from ponds — and chasing bloodhounds all over the place. In connection with a case involving someone who wore gloves while holding a piece of paper that then was irradiated. And deployment of bloodhounds over a year after the contact.

  7. DXer said

    FBI Agent R. Scott Decker wrote in his book last year promoting an Ivins Theory:

    “For one, virulent anthrax is extremely difficult to obtain. The US government now tightly regulates possession of the bacteria. Since 1996, the CDC has approved all shipments and recorded very instance of anthrax being transferred between laboratories.”

    Ha! This book was published last year — AFTER it was shown that virulent Ames anthrax was sent WILLY NILLY ALL OVER THE WORLD. Virulent Ames anthrax was provided when it was thought that only non-virulent anthrax was being shipped.

    How is it that Scott writes the sentences above? How is it that he does not recognize the implications to his analysis?! I find this lack of self-awareness truly bizarre — and inexcusable for someone trained as a scientist.

    • DXer said

      I don’t know what access to intelligence Decker had but in 1999, there had already been sworn testimony in Egypt that Al Qaeda had acquired anthrax. Montasser Al-Zayat was defense counsel and he had announced that Zawahiri intended to use anthrax to retaliation against the rendering of the Blind Sheik and other senior EIJ leaders. Mabruk’s laptop had been seized in 1998. John O’Neill — who passed on 9/11 — had obtained a copy of the laptop. So one way to view it is to take a bullshit approach and imagine that it was hard to obtain — but a factual approach would have taken into account that Al Qaeda had already obtained it.

  8. DXer said

    A Standard Method to Inactivate Bacillus anthracis Spores to Sterility Using γ-Irradiation.

    Cote CK1, Buhr T2, Bernhards CB3,4, Bohmke MD2, Calm AM3, Esteban-Trexler JS1, Hunter MC1, Katoski SE3, Kennihan N2, Klimko CP1, Miller JA1, Minter ZA2, Pfarr JW3, Prugh AM3, Quirk AV1, Rivers BA4, Shea AA1, Shoe JL1, Sickler TM3, Young AA2, Fetterer DP1, Welkos SL1, Bozue JA1, McPherson D2, Fountain AW 3rd3, Gibbons HS3.
    Author information

    Abstract

    In 2015, a laboratory of the United States Department of Defense (DoD) inadvertently shipped preparations of γ-irradiated spores of Bacillus anthracis that contained live spores. In response, a systematic, evidence-based method for preparing, concentrating, irradiating, and verifying inactivation of spore materials was developed.

    Importance: The inadvertent shipment by a U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) laboratory of live Bacillus anthracis (anthrax) spores to U.S. and international destinations revealed the need to standardize inactivation methods for materials derived from Biological Select Agents and Toxins (BSAT) and for the development of evidence-based methods to prevent the recurrence of such an event.

    ***

    In many inactivation procedure s, the risk that live organisms are present following sterilization is 98 approximated by the parameter known as the Sterility Assurance Level (SAL) (31) . For medical 99 devices and pharmaceutical products sterilized with radiation, acceptable SALs range from 10 – 3 100 to 10 – 6 , depending on the sensitivity of the prod uct itself to the effects of ionizing radiation (24) . The SAL represents the probability that a viable organism will be found in a sample subjected to 102 a given dose of radiation (e.g. an SAL of 10 – 6 indicates that one samp le in 10 6 i dentically treated 103 samples will contain a viable organism). The SAL is typically extrapolated from the linear portion of dose inactivation curves (“ k ill curves”) generated with a defined bioburden — usually an appropriate, well – characterized , surrogate organism (25) — and depends on the linearity of the inactivation curve up to the point of complete inactivation. To our knowledge, the concept of the SAL has not been applied to inactivation of B. anthracis spore preparations or to the preparation of biological materials per se (14, 15, 18, 19, 26, 32, 33) , particularly for DoD laboratories charged with preparing and distributing inactivated material s (30) .

  9. DXer said

    Where does Scott Decker even discuss the issue of Dugway sending virulent Ames all over the world?! Ivins had sent Dugway his seed stock for Ames in 1985. (Recounting the Anthrax Attacks, p. 108)

    Scott discusses “short experiments to determine the minimum time and dose of radiation necessary to inactivate the spores lying within the fiber lattice of our three envelopes and letters.” (p. 67)

    But Dr. Ezzell has told me that the science relating to such irradiation had never been validated (as of the time we spoke after Bruce Ivins’ suicide) — years after the anthrax mailings. So how could the FBI’s process-of-elimination analysis be based on this central issue — given that it was all unvalidated science?

    It was as reckless as the use of the supposedly anthrax smelling bloodhounds, wasn’t it? For public consumption, though, it seemed a neat and tidy investigative technique, didn’t it?

    What is more dramatic — for PR purposes — than being able to “eliminate all other hundreds of suspects with access” or reveal that some friendly dog eagerly wagged his tail at a suspect.

    Scott Decker’s analysis in Amerithrax rested on the unvalidated scientific assumption that all samples that had been inactivated were in fact dead and no longer virulent. Where does he acknowledge this central fact in his new book spinning Ivins’ guilt?

    More bad irradiation news” – USAMRIID’s Bruce Ivins found that sometimes samples that had tested negative then upon retesting came up “hot”
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 19, 2015
    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2015/06/19/more-bad-irradiation-news-usamriids-bruce-ivins-found-that-sometimes-samples-that-had-tested-negative-then-upon-retesting-came-up-hot/comment-page-1/#comment-50098

    The FBI’s genetic analysis in Amerithrax rested on the UNVALIDATED scientific assumption that all samples that had been inactivated were in fact dead and that such samples thus could not have been the source of the virulent anthrax mailed shortly after 9/11.
    Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 15, 2015
    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2015/06/15/the-fbis-genetic-analysis-in-amerithrax-rested-on-the-unvalidated-scientific-assumption-that-all-samples-that-had-been-inactivated-were-in-fact-dead-and-that-such-samples-thus-could-not-have-been/

    Why is a former FBI Agent allowed to discuss the laboratory pages in exchange for compensationFN — while the FBI and Army fail to produce the notebooks under FOIA so that the public can justify his use of the material in fashioning his spin?

    FN/ “He [Ivins] could also provide pages — almost twenty from his laboratory notebooks — that would show how carefully the preparations had been made following a single colony pick”
    The pages detailed the density gradient that Ivins used to purify the spores.” (p. 138)

  10. DXer said

    Presidential office admits importing anthrax vaccines, only for treatment
    By Jo He-rim
    Published : Dec 25, 2017 – 16:42

    “The need to introduce anthrax vaccines came after the anthrax delivery accident at the US military base here in 2015. And we purchased the vaccines, not to prevent but to treat the disease, in case of biological terror attacks,” Park said in the statement.

    In 2015, potentially live lethal bacteria was “unintentionally” sent by a military laboratory in Utah in the United States to Osan Air Base in Gyeonggi Province.

  11. DXer said

    Why did former Amerithrax officials Hassell and Majidi — who then went to work for the Army and oversaw this debacle — limit the inquiry into the live anthrax mistakenly shipped to post-2002, given the public interest in the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings? Did they imagine that the Army once had a validated inactivation method that the Army technicians then suddenly forgot? Or did they just want their process-of-elimination analysis in Amerithrax to avoid being demolished?

    See, e.g.,
    Notes from the Field: Compliance with Postexposure Prophylaxis for Exposure to Bacillus anthracis Among U.S. Military Personnel — South Korea, May 2015
    Weekly / January 6, 2017 / 65(52);1489–1490
    Koya C. Allen, PhD1,2; Katherine Hendricks, MD3; Eric Sergienko, MD4; Raul Mirza, DO5; Rohit A. Chitale, PhD1,6 (View author affiliations)

    https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm6552a7.htm

  12. DXer said

    R. Scott Decker says:

    “Due to this mandate, the FBI was able to access the database that
    held every transfer of Anthrax across the country to determine which
    laboratories had access to the Anthrax strain in question. From this
    database, a list of institutions with Anthrax in their possession was
    generated. This reduced the potential laboratory sources to 16 located
    in the United States and 4 located internationally that possessed the
    Ames strain of Anthrax. Obtaining the samples from laboratories
    located within the United States was relatively easy since we were
    able to use the court system to subpoena the laboratories. However
    obtaining the samples from laboratories overseas was a more arduous
    task. ”

    Ha!

  13. DXer said

    Lab Notebook 4010 indicates where irradiated Ames anthrax was sent – but the FBI did not consider Ivins’ distribution of irradiated Ames in its analysis of potential access
    Posted on October 9, 2015
    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2015/10/09/lab-notebook-4010-indicates-where-irradiated-ames-anthrax-was-sent-but-the-fbi-did-not-consider-ivins-distribution-of-irradiated-ames-in-its-analysis-of-potential-access/

    Given that it turns out that irradiation was ineffective, the FBI’s entire analysis in Amerithrax was unsound from the start — because the FBI’s Laboratory had never validated the irradiation methods used to conclude that the distribution could be excluded. Dr. Ezzell, who worked with the FBI’s hazardous materials team, told me years ago that the FBI had always known that irradiation science had not been validated (or, more specifically, that he knew that).

  14. DXer said

    3 July 2017
    Ignore Bill Gates: Where bioweapons focus really belongs

    Filippa Lentzos
    http://thebulletin.org/ignore-bill-gates-where-bioweapons-focus-really-belongs10876

    “Gates does a disservice to the global health security community when he draws media and policy attention to amateurs such as terrorists. Where biological weapons are concerned, the focus should remain on national militaries and state-sponsored groups. These are the entities that might have the capability, now or in the near future, to develop dangerous biological weapons. The real threat is that sophisticated biological weapons will be used by state actors—or by financially, scientifically, and militarily well-resourced groups sponsored by states.”

    Comment:

    Does Filippa Lentzos’ comment need to be appreciated in the context of the behavior and comments of the North Korean leader?

    I find his comments about small and big gifts a little unsettling.

    But how much money does ISIS have? How much more money does it need? How many laboratories does it have available? How many laboratories would it need? Is it not extremely well-resourced?

    Is the suggestion that governments keep tight control of their pathogens to keep them from falling into rogue hands? That would not be accurate, would it?

    It was not true post-2001. And it was not true pre-2001.

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

  15. DXer said

    Osterholm plays detective, general in ‘Deadliest Enemy’ book
    Stephanie Soucheray | News Reporter | CIDRAP News

    Mar 14, 2017

    “I’ve grown increasingly frustrated by the lack of situational awareness, even from public health experts.”

    For decades, infectious disease expert Michael Osterholm, PhD, MPH, has been in the business of telling people what they don’t necessarily want to hear: Pandemics are inevitable; outbreaks can be devastating; bioterrorism is a threat. Several real infectious disease threats exist that could stop the world in its tracks, and by and large government officials, industry professionals, and researchers are not acting together to stop them, he warns.

    ***

    For Osterholm, Deadliest Enemy is a blueprint and a battle cry, a book that he hopes will alert people to how and why a focus on public health should be one of the nation’s top priorities.

    “The threat of pandemic disease is not going away if we ignore it,” he said.

    Comment:

    There are others, like Richard Ebright, who forcefully argue that the proliferation of labs in the face of such warnings has actually served merely to increase the threat.

    I am, in contrast, only focused on the whodunnit of a crime in 2001. I don’t have an opinion on the policy question except to always want to understand whether a monied interest lies behind advocacy of a threat.

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

  16. DXer said

    U.S. shuts high-security labs over concerns about air hose safety
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-labs-safety-idUSKBN15W2AN

  17. DXer said

    Feds charge Army official for theft of gear, including sniper scopes

    Tom Vanden Brook and Kevin Johnson , USA TODAY Published 1:02 p.m. ET Feb. 8, 2017 | Updated 7:19 p.m. ET Feb. 8, 2017

    (Photo: Alexander Zemlianichenko, AP)

    11120 CONNECTTWEETLINKEDIN 10 COMMENTEMAILMORE
    WASHINGTON — An Army official at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah has been charged with stealing military equipment, including scopes for sniper rifles, worth potentially millions of dollars to sell on the black market, according to court documents and government officials.

    ***

    Dugway was embroiled in controversy beginning in 2015 when officials discovered that its high-security labs had been the origin for the inadvertent shipment of samples of live anthrax toxin to labs around the world.

    In 2016, the Army reprimanded the commander of Dugway during its worst lapses, effectively ending his career; transferred oversight of its labs to the Edgewood Biological Center at Aberdeen, Md.; and had technicians from Edgewood destroy Dugway’s stockpile of toxins.

    Comment: In Amerithrax, the FBI’s entire reasoning was based on the premise that (1) virulent anthrax was not ever accidentally sent due to ineffective decontamination; and (2) it would never be surreptitiously taken. There was never any basis for the FBI’s reasoning. The premise should have been known to be invalid all along — since October 2001.

  18. DXer said

    Emergency trainees mistakenly exposed to deadly ricin

    Alison Young , USA TODAY Published 3:14 p.m. ET Dec. 15, 2016 | Updated 7:37 p.m. ET Dec. 15, 2016
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/12/15/emergency-responders-mistakenly-exposed-deadly-ricin/95481004/

    Because of yet another mix-up with bioterror pathogens, a federal terrorism response training center in Alabama says it mistakenly exposed more than 9,600 firefighters, paramedics and other students to a deadly toxin over the past five years.

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Center for Domestic Preparedness blames an outside laboratory for a series of shipping errors since 2011 that resulted in the first-responder training center using in its classes a potentially lethal form of ricin powder. The poison, made from castor beans, is capable of killing at small doses.

    The training center says it submitted order forms asking for a type of ricin extract that is unlikely to cause serious harm. But officials from Toxin Technology, the Florida company that sent nine shipments to the center since 2011, told USA TODAY that its ricin products were all accurately labeled as “RCA60” – a scientific name for the whole ricin toxin, which can be deadly.

    It’s unclear why training center staff didn’t recognize for years that they were working with a far more dangerous substance. There is no antidote to treat ricin poisoning.

    After issuing repeated statements to USA TODAY since Monday solely blaming the vendor, on Thursday FEMA administrator W. Craig Fugate called for the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General to investigate. The training center had already suspended all training with biological agents, which include training with a less-dangerous strain of anthrax.

  19. DXer said

    CDC confirms Dr. Anne Schuchat as acting director
    Becker’s Hospital Review-19 hours ago
    In her time at the CDC, Dr. Schuchat also served on the agency’s anthrax emergency response team during the 2001 anthrax attacks in the U.S. …

  20. DXer said

    Bioterrorism Agents, Deadly Viruses, Bacteria On The Loose? CDC Kept Mishaps With Dangerous Germs Secret, USA Today Finds

    By Himanshu Goenka @HimGoJourno On 01/05/17 AT 4:29 AM

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among other things, also carries out research work on deadly bacteria, viruses and pathogens which have been or can be responsible for epidemics and pandemics, or can also be used for bioterrorism. But it turns out that the CDC has not been exactly safe in its handling of some of these pathogens, and worse still, it has been hiding its mishandling.

    Based on heavily redacted documents released by the CDC in response to a Jan. 6, 2015, request by USA Today under the Freedom of Information Act, the publication reported Wednesday on what it called a biolab operator which has among “the worst regulatory histories in the country,” which includes everything from boxes containing potentially deadly pathogens gone missing to “possible biological exposure.”

    http://www.ibtimes.com/bioterrorism-agents-deadly-viruses-bacteria-loose-cdc-kept-mishaps-dangerous-germs-2470046

  21. DXer said

    Army lashes general over anthrax debacle

    Tom Vanden Brook , USA TODAY 9:07 a.m. EST November 24, 2016
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2016/11/24/army-lashes-general-over-anthrax-debacle/94358512/

    (Photo: Centers for Disease Control and)

    WASHINGTON — The highest-ranking officer implicated in last year’s scandal involving the Pentagon’s botched handling of anthrax has received career-killing discipline from the Army, USA TODAY has learned.

    ***

    “Brig. Gen. King was reprimanded for failing to take appropriate action to respond to and mitigate lapses in safety and protocol while serving as commander of Dugway Proving Ground,” Lt. Col. Jennifer Johnson, an Army spokeswoman, said in a statement.

    ***

    The moves are likely the final steps in the Army’s attempt to sweep clean the anthrax mess and hold accountable the officials responsible for it. Nine civilians were demoted, suspended or lost supervisory responsibilities following an investigation and stinging report. Another soldier, whose name was not disclosed by the Army, was also disciplined.

    The Army’s actions stem from problems with what Pentagon refers to as the “high-risk, zero-defects world of biological select agents program.” Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Army found that the military had mistakenly sent live anthrax spores over a 12-year period to 194 laboratories in 50 states, the District of Columbia, three U.S. territories and nine foreign countries. Concentrations of live anthrax in the samples were low, public health was not at risk, and nobody was sickened, an Army investigation found.

    The samples were sent to labs to help them calibrate detection equipment and to help devise countermeasures to the toxin. If inhaled, live anthrax spores can be lethal.
    The Army blasted the poor lab practices and a “culture of complacency” at Dugway. It recommended that the soldiers and civilians involved be held “accountable for their failures.”

    Some of the problems investigators found at Dugway: officials appointed a biosafety officer who lacked training and education for the job; failure to conduct routine tests on surfaces to ensure pathogens hadn’t been spread outside secure cabinets; and staff who “regularly manipulated data” certifying pathogens being shipped were safe for use without special protective equipment.

    After the news of the bungled handling of dangerous pathogens broke, the CDC suspended Dugway from producing anthrax for export to other labs.

    The report singled out King for criticism, saying in the report that he had “repeatedly deflected blame and minimized the severity of the incidents.” Moreover, it found King lacked introspection and that he failed to recognize the scope and severity of the incidents that occurred during his command at Dugway.

    Despite the problems at Dugway, King was promoted to general and currently commands the 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosive Command at the Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.
    King, who commanded Dugway as a colonel from July 2009 to July 2010, was not available for comment.

    A 2015 USA TODAY NETWORK investigation discovered hundreds of additional accidents with dangerous pathogens at corporate, university, government and military labs nationwide. It also showed that the system of self-policing and diffuse oversight obscured failings by facilities and regulators.

  22. DXer said

    Did TV station in Upstate NY broadcast ‘train’ warning night

    http://www.newyorkupstate.com/utica/2016/10/did_tv_station_in_upstate_ny_b.html

    FEMA replied that they did not send this out. They will launch a full investigation into how their codes were hacked. WKTV seems to be the only target of this hack. For now, we have disabled the codes in our decoder that trigger this alert. If there is a real National Alert, we will still receive it from the local radio stations we are assigned to monitor. WKTV will cooperate fully with FEMA, providing information about our hardware, software and internet access, and will provide log files from our devices. This information will be helpful to FEMA to track down the source of this hack … We’re in contact with the NYS Broadcasters Association and FEMA.”

  23. DXer said

    Post Time: National anthrax scare starts in, and rattles, Boca Raton
    By Eliot Kleinberg – Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
    Posted: 12:00 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016
    http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/news/local/post-time-national-anthrax-scare-starts-in-and-rat/nsgm8/

  24. DXer said

    How The Army Accidentally Shipped Live Anthrax To Military Bases
    By
    Brock Vergakis, The Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk, Va.
    on September 29, 2016

    The strain that was shipped from the Army’s Dugway Proving Ground in Utah’s western desert was an “extremely harmful” variety that was the same as those sent in letters to two U.S. senators and multiple media outlets in a 2001 attack, according to t

    http://taskandpurpose.com/army-accidentally-shipped-live-anthrax-military-bases/

  25. DXer said

    Hits & Misses: Saying farewell to a legend

    http://pilotonline.com/opinion/editorial/hits-misses-saying-farewell-to-a-legend/article_6e118df8-b784-5481-93f4-dbe1edda44a7.html

    MISS

    Track those packages

    Fifteen years ago, in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 catastrophe, the nation’s mail service was paralyzed by a series of letters containing anthrax mailed to news organizations and politicians. The attacks killed five people and prompted an intense, far-reaching investigation that failed to identify the perpetrator.

    One might expect, given that experience, that the government would take great care in the handling of its anthrax samples. However, it was revealed this week that a U.S. Army facility in Utah mistakenly sent live anthrax, instead of inactive samples, to 575 labs between 2004 and 2015, including at least one facility in Hampton Roads.

    While a report by the Government Accountability Office found no cases of illness as a result, that’s hardly cause for comfort. If the United States cannot keep tabs on its deadly biological agents, one has to wonder if it should have them at all.

    • DXer said

      No deathbed confession in Gardner heist
      By Shelley Murphy and Stephen Kurkjian Globe Staff and Globe Correspondent October 01, 2016

      http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/09/30/death-bed-confession-gardner-museum-heist/LvxckD19M3wa0GlEFbd7VL/story.html?s_campaign=bdc:article:stub

      Comment:

      In the Isabella Gardner matter, t would have been interesting to be a recording at the side of Carmello Merlino and Robert Guarente’s hospital bed. They were two key members of the crew the FBI knows to be responsible for the Isabella Gardner theft. Things get especially interesting upon the administration of drugs. The more people don’t talk the more it seems that the paintings may be in the basement of some kingpin mafiosa in Italy like those Van Goghs. Former FBI Agent Wittman (author of PRICELESS) may want to weigh in with his thoughts.

      F.J. Lang was the stenographer at the hospital with Dutch Schultz, fatally wounded in a Newark bar on October 23, 1935. I’m told that his morphine-addled statement scans at some points as iambic pentameter. His deathbed statement is quite beautiful — with his phrases referring to associates, enemies, his missing millions, etc.

      Years of looking for his $50 million treasure chest hidden by him and Lulu Rosenkrantz (IMO) was derailed and misdirected by a crock claim (dating back decades) that in his deathbed statement he said it was buried in Phoenicia (in the Catskills). The claim was then carried forward in numerous books and broadcasts. The reference to Phoenicia simply does not appear in F.J. Lang’s transcript. They were added many years ago by an author named Schurmacher upon writing a book of treasure stories.

      A major broadcast company has offered up development money for filming this past month that today, through additional research at the wonderful fultonhistory.com, has revealed the location I now propose:

      Today I venture that Dutch and Lulu hid it on April 12, 1935 at 111 North St., Newburgh, NY. Dominick “The Gap” Petrilli was a Dutch associate associated with the construction in 1932 and 1933 that fortified the place to serve as a frequent Dutch secret hideout. I propose that Dutch and Lulu stopped overnight after loading up his iron chest of gold, diamonds, Liberty Bonds, and $1,000 bills in Norwalk, CT -on April 11. On April 11, earlier in the day, Dutch had handed the keys to the realtor Bracken in Norwalk, CT and set off toward Syracuse, NY. My daughter and tracked his iron chest to 3 Marion Ave, Norwalk from April 1 -April 11, where it was hidden in the garden. Then Dutch and Lulu set out for Hotel Syracuse in Syracuse, New York. But they didn’t arrive here right away. They stayed overnight at another hideout on the way. Troy? Saratoga? Yonkers? Fairfield? The Bronx? On any other day, I might have said yes.

      After my friend Steve Kurkjian finds the Isabella Gardner paintings, I would ask that he buy the property in Newburgh (last sold in 2013 for $83,000) so I can bring my shovel.

      I tried to figure out the owner’s telephone number or email today to ask permission. But I couldn’t figure it out. I’m great at guessing the solution to interesting whodunnits or fun buried treasure stories. But it turns out I really stink at finding someone’s email or telephone number — or finding my car keys.

      Open the soap ducats!

      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
      http://www.blurb.com/b/1475537-dutch-schultz-in-fairfield-county-connecticut-in-1

    • DXer said

      So if KSM, or al Barq (a secretly detained and tortured Sufaat assistant), or Yazid Sufaat himself were to suddenly spill all they knew about the anthrax mailings — and my nomination of Shukrijumah as the anthrax mailer were to prove right — would I ever be paid for my time? Would FBI Director Comey ever think to offer the earlier multi-million reward? (I have long urged that FBI Director Mueller resembled Gary Cooper with precisely that goal in mind). I’ve always been known to be a big fan of FBI — and just in disagreement with the “Ivins Theory” promoted by some of the well-meaning investigators and prosecutors. Heck, someone working undercover for the FBI did the blogs graphics for years.

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

      (There are different theories precisely because it is a difficult mystery and more evidence is needed). Well-intended compartmentalization and then the rush of events in 2008 upon Ivins’ suicide undermined double-checking of the analysis.

      I’ve always tried to sweeten the pot for the FBI, with this idea of a win-win happy ending.

      For example, FBI has jurisdiction, I guess, over Dutch Schultz’s missing millions if they are hid at 111 North St., Newburgh (though I would leave that to the legal beagles). Dutch was reported to the FBI to be in the Newburgh area. In late 1934, FBI’s Fred Fay was working on it — and was hot on Dutch’s trail. From a newspaper account: “Ten days ago, the Commissioner added, he had information that Schultz was hunting “on his own private estate outside of Newburgh N.Y. He turned that information over to Assistant Chief Inspector John J. Sullivan and to Frank Fay, New York head of the Federal intelligence men.” (do a boolean search at the wonderful fulthonhistory.com to pull up the article).

      My correspondent emailed this morning to report that photographs of the interior are now in hand. A report this morning from the well-regarded and widely known writer and researcher:

      “As for the house and property, at first glance it reminded me of the final scene of the Billy Crystal/Robert DeNiro movie “Analyze This” what with the Italian fountain out front and a tennis court and built in swimming pool in the back (on an otherwise typical neighborhood block). Also, the wall that overlooks the backyard from the sidewalk is built much higher to possibly avert passersby from peering into that space.”

      see also
      http://newburghrestoration.com/blog/2011/07/22/real-estate-111-north-street-the-gat-house-2/

      So, how about it, FBI? Even if I can’t get you to bring ground penetrating radar to the locations I’ve proposed for the Isabella Gardner paintings, how about we give Dutch’s $50 million stash a go?

  26. DXer said

    FBI Agent Scott Stanley’s assumption that live anthrax (after being unsuccessfully irradiated) was not mistakenly sent has no basis. He premised his entire analysis on only a few known labs having the strain — on it not being where it was not supposed to be.

    GAO’s earlier report relating to Amerithrax — which it took years to do — did not even address the point and was an utter waste of time.

    Even the Army’s review and this latest GAO report truncates analysis to the period AFTER the period when live anthrax was used to murder 5 people.

    I once contacted James Baker, the co-founder of NanoBio, a company of the former Zawahiri associate — the noncitizen from Cairo who worked alongside Bruce Ivins with the Ames strain in the B3 lab. (He also worked alongside Patricia Fellows and Mara Linscott — DOJ shredded their civil depositions).

    I asked Baker about the patents that explained that Bruce Ivins had provided the Michigan researchers virulent Ames.

    Dr. Baker said they never had it at Michigan. His reasoning? Because Michigan had only BL-2, not BL-3 labs, at the time. It therefore would have been illegal, he claimed. It therefore, he reasons, is clear that they did not have it.

    But Dr. Baker was seriously confused — apparently not knowing that prior to 9/11, anthrax was a BL-2 pathogen in its liquid form. So it would not have been illegal.

    And in any event, the issue of legality did not bear on whether the Ames was in fact supplied as claimed in numerous patents.

    Indeed, absent proper advance authorization, it was not lawful to have a non-citizen working with virulent Ames in the first place, was it? Ivins did not know he was not a citizen when he arrived but then [redacted] approved the research on the spot.

    Dr. Baker went on to be head of international vaccines at Merck.

    If and when the US is attacked with sarin by ISIS, maybe FBI Director Comey will agree that there should be greater transparency:

    For example,

    (1) what was the second lab that infiltrator Rauf Ahmad visited on his quest to obtain virulent Ames? Rauf Ahmad would not cooperate with me unless I paid him money.

    (2) what does Yazid Sufaat say? He pled the Fifth Amendment when I interviewed him.

    (3) Was Les Baillie — the fellow who hosted Rauf Ahmad at the Porton Down conference where he presented on isolating anthrax — the one who discarded the CIA’s finding that Ames was at the Al Qaeda lab in Afghanistan? (He went from Porton Down in the UK to work for the FBI on the genetics). Wouldn’t that constitute an egregious conflict of interest? See Garvey’s thesis — he was the former CIA scientist, later head of Philly’s forensics, who reported that the CIA detected Ames but the FBI discarded the finding.

    (4) what do the contemporaneous notes in Notebook 4282 show on September 14, 15 and 18 show?

    (5) who has been responsible at the FBI for its withholding of Notebook 4282? Shouldn’t they all be fired tomorrow?

    (6) when the non-citizen who worked with Ivins in the BL-3 lived in Sudan, did he know Dr. Ayman and other Egyptian Islamic Jihad members?

    (7) did he know Dr. Ayman when Dr. Ayman came and successfully recruited his friends into jihad?

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

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