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.

***

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

  1. DXer said

    It turned out that referral to OGIS was a huge waste of time. I believe litigation now is set to proceed. The additional months of delay might have been avoided had OGIS not gulled us into thinking that the request would be reasonably addressed. Here, it is my understanding that the FBI has retrieved the notes and then merely have been sitting on them. USAMRMC would have turned them over within days if not hours. DC Counsel selected by Dr. DIllon is highly experienced and expert in FBI FOIA litigation. He previously served as FBI FOIA litigation section chief.

    • DXer said

      The FBI failed and refused to return Notebook 4282 to USAMRIID. As the originating agency, it is up to USAMRIID to classify or redact the notebook. The dozens of notebooks uploaded by USAMRIID are available at the USAMRMC website — which illustrates a FOIA operation that works. USAMRMC FOIA Officer Sandra Rogers specifically sought the return of the notebooks. The FBI failed to return them — preferring not to produce the notes on the date of mailing.

      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 seized a second time 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.
      http://mrmc.amedd.army.mil/index.cfm?pageid=foia_reading_room.overview

      In response to Dillon’s FOIA request for information relating to Ivins’ activities in Sep.-Oct. 2001, the FBI falsely claimed that it had uploaded the information (such as Notebook 4282) to the FBI’s “Vault”

      Posted by Lew Weinstein on October 15, 2015
      https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2015/10/15/in-response-to-dillons-foia-request-for-information-relating-to-ivins-activities-in-sep-oct-2001-the-fbi-falsely-claimed-that-it-had-uploaded-the-information-such-as-notebook-4282-to-the-f/

      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 long ago was advised by the crack USAMRMC FOIA Officer Ms. Rogers that the Notebook 4282 that the FBI has not returned — and now continues to willfully suppress — is titled “Anthrax.”

      The FBI should pay Dr. Dillon’s attorneys fees for not returning the notebook — years ago — so that it could be processed and uploaded pursuant to FOIA. It was not the FBI’s right to suppress evidence relating to Dr. Ivins’ potential (additional) alibi evidence on the date of mailing and the week prior.

    • DXer said

      I was informed today that in terms of physical documents, USAMRIID hired a company to make a CD containing Ivins notebooks. The CD mistakenly was given to the FBI without a copy being provided USAMRIID.

      That CD should have been provided to USAMRIID pursuant to the Army FOIA Officer’s request to the FBI.

      For example, the CD would contain Notebooks 4037 and Notebook 4010 — two additional notebooks the FBI STILL has failed to return to the Army. Notebook 4010 relates to the so-called “murder weapon.” Only selective pages were ever provided by the FBI from 4010.

      That’s right. The former lead investigator for Amerithrax says the FBI is withholding a staggering amount of information exculpatory of Bruce Ivins. And FBI employees continue to refuse to return the notebooks to the Army. Why, you ask? Might it be because the FBI WANTS to continue to withhold a staggering amount of information exculpatory of Bruce Ivins? How else can the FBI scientists go on to lucrative careers in the biodefense field? How else can they write books and crow about driving the right man to suicide? (By swabbing Ivins for DNA after they found the bag of panties for a second time — when they already had his DNA from a drinking cup.) Did they ever consider that the reason he committed suicide was because they found the second bag of semen stained panties? And that by withholding the notebooks they took from him, the FBI prevented him from reconstructing his time? (See his emails on the subject that have been uploaded to the blog). Ivins faced ruin due to legal fees and humiliation. All his friends were forbidden to talk to him.

      The simplest, the only principled, result — many years ago — would have been for the FBI FOIA operation just to return the Army’s stuff. They are the originating agency.

      Abandonment of the rule of law applies at a level far below the level of Director.

  2. 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
    http://wtop.com/national-cherry-blossom-festival/2017/03/warm-weather-draws-thousands-see-cherry-blossoms/

  3. 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]

    https://foia.blogs.archives.gov/2017/01/11/qa-with-ogiss-new-director-alina-m-semo/

    “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. ( https://vault.fbi.gov/Amerithrax/amerithrax-part-55-of/view )

      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).

      [redaction]
      *************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.

  4. DXer said

  5. 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

    https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2016/08/24/by-letter-dated-august-23-2016-dojs-matthew-hurdy-has-failed-to-provide-dr-ivins-notebook-4282-which-has-notations-on-september-18-2001-the-date-of-the-fall-2001-anthrax-maili/

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