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

* OGIS Mediation has proved ineffective in avoiding litigation with the FBI over its withholding of Notebook 4282

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 16, 2017

Final Response Letter to Case No.

***Final Response Letter to Case No.



10 Responses to “* OGIS Mediation has proved ineffective in avoiding litigation with the FBI over its withholding of Notebook 4282”

  1. DXer said

    According to my intelligence source, the FBI is not going to produce the requested documents.

    But with the cherry blossoms out, who can blame them? I get weak in the knees just thinking about walks around the tidal basin while the blossoms were at peak.

    Warm weather draws thousands to see cherry blossoms
    By Dennis Foley | @djfoleyWTOP March 25, 2017 12:53 pm

  2. DXer said

    Director Semo, the FOIA Ombudsman, an Obama appointee, says she is an immigrant focused on protecting human rights of foreign scientists. She reports that she used to work at the DOJ’s [Office of Information Policy]. [FOIA office]

    “I often like to joke about the fact that I had some hand in most of the cases discussed in today’s DOJ FOIA Guide– for better or for worse. While some lawyers might think of FOIA as a boring part of the law, it has myriad legal – and factual – ramifications. And while I enjoy digging into the facts of a FOIA case and arguing points of law, I am a conciliator at heart. I have settled many cases – either bilaterally or through mediation.

    It’s amazing what can happen when you get parties to sit down across the table from each other, and really talk about what they each want and need.”

    I most definitely agree, which is why I recommended to Dr. Dillon that he contact OGIS. But that mediation process never happened here. There was no 3-way phone call — not even a 3-way email. (I had already had communication with DOJ’s Matthew Hurd on this issue of Notebook 4282 and Dr. Dillon had communication with a FOIA officer taking years to process his separate request for a single memo written by whistleblower Richard L. Lambert, the former lead Amerithrax investigator.)

    Director Semo writes:

    “I also believe there are a number of lawsuits that are needlessly filed; if only communication had been better between the requester and the agency – a complaint could have been avoided. That’s where OGIS was originally designed to come in; before litigation commences, to see if a reasonable resolution can be reached between and among the parties.”

    Communication would have involved the OIG prompting the FBI to explain why they no longer have the notebook pages from the time of the Fall 2001 anthrax mailing — that were appended to the FBI Agent’s 302 statement describing the spreadsheet summarizing the relevant pages of the Notebook.

    The entire purpose of Dr. Dillon’s recent letter to Dave Hardy (below in this thread) was to confirm whether the implication of the FBI’s previous responses is accurate — that the FBI has destroyed the evidence, has destroyed those pages.

    As often explained, the USAMRIID reports that the FBI did not return the copy to USAMRIID so that it could be produced along with Dr. Ivins other notebooks.FN/ And the former lead investigator of Amerithrax filed a federal whistleblower suit in federal court alleging that the FBI was withholding documents exculpatory of Dr. Ivins. (Though the suit recently was dismissed as time-barred).

    Although politics should have no role in true crime or the enforcement of FOIA, what is lacking on this issue of Notebook 4282 is compliance with the federal FOIA statute. What is lacking is the rule of law. And it happened on Director Semo’s watch.

    As Senator Leahy has said, this case is not closed.

    FN/Contents of: Lab Notebooks

    19950124_LabNotebook 3716(redacted).pdf (18811 KB) — Posted: 08/24/2012
    19950618_LabNotebook4103(redacted).pdf (107678 KB) — Posted: 06/02/2011
    19960903_LabNotebook3919(redacted).pdf (2993 KB) — Posted: 05/10/2011
    19980106_LabNotebook4000(redacted).pdf (155721 KB) — Posted: 06/21/2011
    19981202_LabNotebook3745(redacted).pdf (32444 KB) — Posted: 06/02/2011
    20000114_LabNotebook4237(redacted).pdf (16714 KB) — Posted: 06/02/2011
    20000216_LabNotebook 4240(redacted).pdf (7698 KB) — Posted: 08/24/2012
    20000216_LabNotebook 4241_B01-11(redacted).pdf (6173 KB) — Posted: 08/24/2012
    20000303_LabNotebook3921(redacted).pdf (22150 KB) — Posted: 06/02/2011
    20000608_LabNotebook4281(redacted).pdf (6568 KB) — Posted: 05/13/2011
    20000828_LabNotebook4306(redacted).pdf (4286 KB) — Posted: 05/03/2011
    20010809_LabNotebook4383(redacted).pdf (28822 KB) — Posted: 04/29/2011
    Notebook 3655 redacted.pdf (19003 KB) — Posted: 04/28/2016
    Notebook 3945 redacted.pdf (12176 KB) — Posted: 04/28/2016
    Notes and Sample Anaylsis from Notebook 3268.pdf (19684 KB) — Posted: 01/05/2012

    • DXer said

      To locate the notes, one would go to 279A-WF-222936-SCI18-11. The memo was declassified on January 6, 2009. A redacted copy in produced in Part 55 of 59 parts of Amerithrax documents in the FBI’s FOIA Vault. ( )

      The memo explains that between April 10, 2007 and April 29, 2007, Special Agents reviewed laboratory notebooks of Dr. Ivins that had been collected pursuant to a Federal Grand Jury subpoena number 5429, issued in the District of Columbia on March 20, 2007. The memo attached an inventory of the laboratory notebooks reviewed with notations indicating: date received, date reviewed, date returned, reviewer, comments on the the notebook, and 1B numbers (if applicable).

      *************The memo explains that “Notebook 4282, IVINS/ __________, Pages 65 through 70, contain experiments conducted between 08/23/2001 and 09/18/2001, including the growth of Ba Ames. [redaction]**************

      When you turn to the Excel spreadsheet, RIID NOTEBOOKS.xls, you see that the column indicating the date returned is redacted, as is the column indicating Location.
      But although much of the entry is redacted, it states “Copied several pages from time of mailings. See 1A GJ 1100.”

      Disclosure of the fact that the notebook was not returned in April 2007 along with others is hidden by the redaction.

      All the FBI need do to comply with the statute is to go 1A GJ 1100 and provide those pages. Should it really be so hard to keep track of Dr. Ivins’ contemporaneous notes at the time of mailing — which may either alibi him or prove his guilt?

      ************(The FBI’s entire Ivins Theory was predicated on him having no reason to be in the lab and so notes showing otherwise would destroy an Ivins Theory).*************

      Dr. Ivins complained bitterly that the FBI had not returned key notebooks that he needed to reconstruct his time.

      If the OGIS had been effective, an explanation of the meaning 1A GJ 1100 would have been provided — and an explanation why those pages could not now be produced.

      Is it because they were destroyed? Or because the FOIA system at DOJ is broken and the new Administration needs to bring in experts experienced with data storage and data retrieval.

  3. DXer said

  4. DXer said

    By letter dated August 23, 2016, DOJ’s Matthew Hurd has failed to provide Dr. Ivins’ Notebook 4282 which has notations on September 18, 2001, the date of the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings.

    Posted by Lew Weinstein on August 24, 2016

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