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

* Former lead Amerithrax investigator Richard Lambert quoted today: “The only avenue for remedying the government’s wealth of material omissions in this case would be through a congressional inquiry.”

Posted by DXer on February 27, 2017

Trump Should “Drain the Swamp” at the FBI Before Terror Strikes …
Accuracy In Media-2 hours ago
Playing down the threat of jihadist bioterrorism is something that U.S. intelligence agencies, led by the FBI, did in the case of the anthrax attacks …

by Cliff Kincaid on February 27, 2017

Bill Gates was recently quoted as saying that bioterrorism could kill more people than nuclear war, but that Western governments are not ready to deal with it. The situation may be worse than he thinks. What stories about his remarks at the Munich Security Conference did not explain is that the FBI has still failed to resolve the question of who carried out the post-9/11 anthrax attacks on America.

Some of the evidence points to al Qaeda, and there are reports that other Islamic terrorist groups, such as ISIS, are now developing biological weapons.

The independent investigators, including historian Kenneth J. Dillon, a former Foreign Service officer and intelligence analyst, and attorney Ross Getman, an expert on al Qaeda’s biowarfare program, are asking President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to reopen the anthrax mailings investigation. This could lead, Dillon argues, to exonerating an innocent man, identifying the real al-Qaeda perpetrator, and getting to the bottom of what went wrong in America’s premier federal law enforcement agency.

In 2002, then-Rep. Pence wrote a letter asking why international links weren’t being probed in the anthrax mailings.

From the start of the FBI’s inquiry, the Bureau seemed determined to eliminate al Qaeda as a source of the attacks. Former government scientist Dr. Stephen Hatfill’s career was destroyed by the FBI as they sought to frame him. Eventually, the Department of Justice paid Hatfill a multi-million dollar settlement in recognition of the fact that they had persecuted an innocent man.


When we asked him for an interview, Lambert declined, saying “All of the information the Justice Department is withholding from the American people is either restricted from disclosure by the Privacy Act, governed by non-disclosure, non-disparagement clauses in other settlement agreements, or classified as national security information. The only avenue for remedying the government’s wealth of material omissions in this case would be through a congressional inquiry. Although bills have been introduced in the past to establish such an inquiry committee, they never became law.”

The independent investigators believe that Freedom of Information Act requests that are now being stonewalled by the FBI could lead to major breakthroughs and the clearing of Ivins if the FBI is ordered by the Trump administration to cooperate.

In his remarks on possible bioterrorism, Bill Gates said, “Imagine if I told you that somewhere in this world, there’s a weapon that exists—or that could emerge—capable of killing tens of thousands, or millions, of people, bringing economies to a standstill, and throwing nations into chaos. You would say that we need to do everything possible to gather intelligence and develop effective countermeasures to reduce the threat.”

Such a weapon could be in the hands of radical Islamic extremists. But if the FBI still hasn’t solved the matter of the post-9/11 anthrax attacks, what assurance do we have that the Bureau could prevent or solve the next devastating wave of biological attacks?

President Trump and Vice President Pence have every reason in the world to be concerned about what is happening at the FBI. They could, and should, reopen the anthrax investigation. It would be an opportunity to expose and remove the corruption that may remain in the Bureau and makes us vulnerable to another biological terrorist attack.

193 Responses to “* Former lead Amerithrax investigator Richard Lambert quoted today: “The only avenue for remedying the government’s wealth of material omissions in this case would be through a congressional inquiry.””

  1. DXer said

    Here, the writers and directing team can’t crack anthrax. It makes people get pale and cough, and in our COVID-conscious moment, that’ll be plenty to turn some viewers off immediately, but these six episodes are barely informative and only marginally scary. In other words, the season doesn’t make a very good case for future installments of this franchise, no matter who plays Dr. Fauci in The Hot Zone: COVID.

    Comment: I’ve always liked the National Geographic. I used to go to their annual clearance book sale in DC. And last year I picked up 86 bound volumes of the magazine from 1916-1959. But if you want to pick up 86 great condition volumes, with indexes and maps really cheap, find my posting on Craigslist (I picked them up for $10 from a University history professor so I can give you the good price; they are very attractive on the shelf). .

  2. DXer said

    Richard Lambert could help the media understand the Operation Encore documents that hopefully will be released this week upon their declassification.

  3. DXer said

    How China muzzled its Bat Woman: Beijing authorities hushed up the findings of a scientist who unlocked the genetic make-up of the coronavirus within days of the outbreak which is vital for tests and vaccines

  4. DXer said

    2020-02-05 48 ORDER directing Defendant to produce redacted version of Interim Major Case Summary excerpts. See document for details. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on February 5, 2020. (lcrc3) (Entered: 02/05/2020)

  5. DXer said

    The Mysterious Whistleblower Complaint: What is Adam Schiff Talking About?

    By Margaret Taylor Tuesday, September 17, 2019, 12:37 PM

  6. DXer said


    The Mysterious Whistleblower Complaint: What is Adam Schiff Talking About?

    By Margaret Taylor Tuesday, September 17, 2019, 12:37 PM

  7. DXer said

    Judge Contreras, in an opinion today, ruled on Dillon’s FOIA’s claim. He writes:

    “But the report is also 2,000 pages long, and the FBI has asserted that the entire thing is deliberative. This contention immediately draws some skepticism, because “the deliberative process privilege does not protect documents in their entirety; if the government can segregate and disclose non-privileged factual information within a document, it must.” Loving, 550 F.3d at 38. FOIA requires the same. See 5 U.S.C. § 552(b) (“Any reasonably segregable portion of a record shall be provided to any person requesting such record after deletion of the portions which are exempt.”). As noted above, then, for the factual information in the IMCS to fall within the ambit of the privilege here, the information must “reflect[] an ‘exercise of discretion and judgment calls.’” Ancient Coin Collectors, 641 F.3d at 513 (quoting Mapother, 3 F.3d at 1539). In other words, the drafters of the report must have “‘cull[ed] the relevant documents, extract[ed] the pertinent facts, organize[d] them to suit a specific purpose,’ and ‘identif[ied] the significant issues.’” Nat’l Sec. Archive v. CIA, 752 F.3d 460, 465 (D.C. Cir. 2014) (quoting Mapother, 3 F.3d at 1538).

    In this case, the easiest way for the Court to determine whether the IMCS is the product of such a process is to look at the requested excerpts. Indeed, “[w]here the agency fails to meet [its] burden, a not uncommon event,” FOIA provides courts “a host of procedures” to determine whether the claimed exemption is proper, including discovery, further agency affidavits, and in camera review of the records in question. Allen v. CIA, 636 F.2d 1287, 1298 (D.C. Cir. 1980), abrogated on other grounds by Founding Church of Scientology of Washington, D.C., Inc. v. Smith, 721 F.2d 828, 830–31 (D.C. Cir. 1983). Here, the Court thinks that the last of these options is the appropriate one. The documents at issue are relatively short in length—just thirty-eight pages—and the parties’ “dispute . . . centers on the actual contents of the document[s].” Id.; see also Juarez v. Dep’t of Justice, 518 F.3d 54, 60 (D.C. Cir. 2008). The FBI also has not expressed much, if any, opposition to the Court performing such a review. See, e.g., Second Hardy Decl. ¶ 16 (“If the Court deems it necessary, the FBI will provide copies of the processed records to the Court for in camera inspection.”); cf. Allen, 636 F.2d at 1299 (“[L]ittle basis for . . . concern [over judicial intrusion] exists when the agency itself proposes that the court conduct an in camera inspection of the document.”).

    The Court thus exercises its “broad discretion” to order production of the requested IMCS excerpts within thirty days. Id. at 1297. DOJ should, if necessary, produce classified and unclassified versions of the pages.”

    • DXer said

      We could rely on the internal documents required by law to be produced under FOIA, or we could rely on the self-serving for-profit spin of the folks who have withheld the documents.

      Death in the Air: Revisiting the 2001 Anthrax Mailings and the Amerithrax Investigation

      Glenn Cross
      January 16, 2019
      Book Reviews

      Dr. Glenn Cross currently works for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is a former deputy national intelligence officer for weapons of mass destruction, specializing in biological weapons.

    • DXer said

      Scott Decker, Recounting the Anthrax Attacks: Terror, the Amerithrax Task Force, and the Evolution of Forensics in the FBI (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018).

      Time may have diminished the memory of the 2001 anthrax attacks and the sense of urgency surrounding the efforts to identify the attacker. The attacks, which involved mailings of five anthrax-laced letters to prominent senators and media outlets, killed five individuals and made 17 others ill. The anthrax mailings played a profound role in raising concerns over possible terrorist use of biological agents in attacks against the homeland. As a result of the anthrax scare, Americans’ perceptions of terrorism came to include an existential fear of biological terrorism (aka “bio-doom”). Though this sense of dread has since diminished in the absence of another biological attack, it persists today because of the recent revolution in biotechnology: a revolution capable of resulting in enormous benefit for humanity as well as catastrophic dangers.

      These concerns have fueled enormous growth in federal government spending on biodefense measures, and a cottage industry has arisen to lobby for further resources to combat the bioterror threat. Investments in biodefense have ranged from exponential spending increases and the expansion in the numbers of Bio-Safety Level 3 and 4 laboratories nationwide to the passage of the Bioshield Act in 2004 and the creation of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and Federal Select Agent and Biowatch programs. However, as time passed without a biological attack, concerns about bioterror have diminished and biodefense has arguably become passé, its advocates shifting their attention to health security and pandemic preparedness.

      The FBI’s investigation into the 2001 mailings, labeled Amerithrax, remains a salient fixture on the post-9/11 landscape. Amerithrax was one of the largest and most complex in American history. It involved more than 10,000 witness interviews worldwide, 80 separate searches, and the recovery of more than 6,000 items of potential evidence, including 5,730 environmental samples from 60 site locations. The lessons of the investigation are crucial to understanding not only the U.S. government’s response to the first deadly bioterror attack on American soil, but also the role scientific evidence does — and does not — play in efforts to attribute bioterror attacks to an individual or group. Today, notwithstanding significant advances in bioforensics, the debates that continue to surround the Amerithrax investigation findings, the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons attacks, or the Russian involvement in the Skripal poisonings are all examples of the doubts confronting even the most earnest attribution efforts.

      Hurdles Facing Bioterrorism Attribution

      The investigation ran from late 2001 through to its eventual closing in February 2010, nearly two years after its principal subject, Dr. Bruce Ivins, committed suicide. The investigation found that Ivins was responsible for mailing the anthrax-laced letters in 2001 based on a combination of factors, including motive, opportunity, history of mental health struggles, access to the anthrax spore source, proximity of the source to the envelopes used to mail the spores, and a consciousness of guilt.

      One key lesson of Amerithrax was that the United States lacked the means for accurate attribution of bioterror attacks. Attribution of a biological attack is the result of a process that combines the results of traditional forensics (fingerprints, tool marks, fiber, trace element analysis, etc.), bioforensics (genomic signatures and analytical chemistry), and investigative techniques (interviews, polygraphs, surveillances, telephone taps, etc.), which are particularly relevant in cases involving foreign actors, intelligence methods (human intelligence and signal intelligence collection and analysis).

      Bioforensics, as a component of attribution, was born out of the Amerithrax investigation. But bioforensics, also commonly referred to as microbial forensics, is only one element of attribution. Because of the “CSI effect” (i.e., a perception resulting from popular television crime shows that laboratory tests can decisively determine guilt), laboratory tests almost certainly have eclipsed other forms of evidence in their influence over juries. In reality, scientific results take a long time to bear fruit and often are not as unambiguous as portrayed in television fiction.

      As the Amerithrax investigation began, microbial forensics was in its infancy, and the capabilities were rudimentary compared to current tools. As Dr. Vahid Majidi, former Assistant Director of the FBI’s WMD Directorate, pointed out in his self-published book on Amerithrax, the goal of the investigation was to meet the legal standards, not necessarily the higher standard of scientific proof. Scientific certainty would have been too time-consuming and expensive. The scientific goal of Amerithrax, to paraphrase Majidi, was the good-enough. Dr. Randy Murch, who was involved in establishing the FBI’s microbial forensics efforts in 1996, stated that science will never get all the way to providing attribution, and that’s the way it will always be. Microbial forensics can exclude some possible perpetrators and include a few.

      Thus, for all the progress made in the life sciences since 1996, attribution efforts still have a long way to go. No one size fits all the possible universes of possible threat scenarios. Methods remain largely untested in terms of validation and legal acceptance in federal courts. Having not been tested it the courts, questions remain as to whether the methods would meet the Daubert standard, the rule of evidence governing the admissibility of expert witnesses‘ testimony in federal courts. Given that microbial forensics alone is unable to answer the attribution question, attribution must incorporate all the available tools. Majidi stressed that to assign attribution, it was prudent to look at the information from each element independently and, once all the information had been gathered, to bring together the most diagnostic information to arrive at a conclusion. In the end, any attribution effort will be complex, and the results almost certainly will be controversial.

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

  8. DXer said

    Fox Business Guest Calls Robert Mueller ‘Anthrax Bob’

    by Caleb Ecarma | Nov 30th, 2018, 2:30 pm

  9. DXer said

    Washington, D.C.
    FBI National Press Office
    (202) 324-3691
    Share on Twitter Twitter Share on Facebook Facebook Email Email

    March 27, 2018
    Statement from FBI Director Christopher Wray on Records Requests

    As the Director of the FBI, I am committed to ensuring that the Bureau is being transparent and responsive to legitimate congressional requests.

    Up until today, we have dedicated 27 FBI staff to review the records that are potentially responsive to Chairman Goodlatte’s requests. The actual number of documents responsive to this request is likely in the thousands. Regardless, I agree that the current pace of production is too slow.

    Accordingly, I am doubling the number of assigned FBI staff, for a total of 54, to cover two shifts per day from 8 a.m. to midnight to expedite completion of this project.


    The FBI should comply with FOIA in connection with Robert Mueller’s earlier Amerithrax investigation.

    Special Counsel Robert Mueller previously oversaw the largest “whodunnit” in history: the Amerithrax case, involving deadly letters mailed in September and October 2001 to two Senators and several newspapers. In light of the past and possibly future indictments in the Russia investigation, the public deserves to be better able to assess former FBI Director Mueller’s resolution of the Amerithrax investigation.

    The former head investigator, Richard Lambert, has publicly said that the FBI is concealing a wealth of evidence in the case that is exculpatory of the late USAMRIID scientist Bruce Ivins. After his suicide, the FBI claimed that Ivins had been the anthrax mailer. A federal lawsuit has been filed by a researcher, Kenneth Dillon, seeking the emails that the FBI quoted and relied in its Amerithrax Summary that the FBI released in closing the case. The FBI has failed over the course of years to produce the emails being withheld. The FBI has never claimed that the emails were exempt from production. The FBI should produce the emails it quoted and relied upon — particularly the emails from September and October 2001 — so that the public can better assess whether the Amerithrax investigation was correctly resolved.

    The emails sought were quoted and central to both the FBI’s Amerithrax Summary released in closing the case, and in an Affidavit in support of the search of Bruce Ivins’ residence. The emails provably existed and were central to the FBI’s cotton-candy and still widely disputed Ivins Theory. It should be presumed that the FBI did not destroy the emails as that would constitute spoliation of evidence.

    According to documents produced to the National Academy of Sciences, both the FBI and the CIA, in testing, detected the Ames strain at an Al Qaeda lab in Afghanistan. The Ames strain was the genetic strain used in the mailings. After seeing that he was on Facebook, I contacted Al Qaeda’s anthrax lab director, Yazid Sufaat, after his unexpected release from a Malaysian prison in December 2008. I asked him what strain of anthrax he had been using in developing an anthrax weapon for Al Qaeda. Although otherwise amiable, he pled the Fifth Amendment. (In a separate matter, he later was thrown back in jail for concealing evidence of terrorism). We should have greater clarity in the Amerithrax investigation given that it has turned out that virulent Ames anthrax was sent around the world willy-nilly. Researchers were sending out Ames anthrax that they thought was effectively irradiated but actually remained virulent.

    The FBI should comply with the Freedom of Information Act and state the exemption by which they are withholding the documents. If no exemption applies, and the investigation is in fact closed, the documents should be produced so that the American public can judge whether the FBI fairly characterized the emails that it treated as so central to its theory.

    Bruce Ivins’ defenders report that he had an alibi for the days leading up to the mailing and the dates of mailing. The FBI’s theory is that Bruce Ivins pulled an all-nighter and that on the occasion of each mailing, instead of sleeping, he left his family of three in the small home to take the 7 hour round-trip from Frederick, MD to Princeton, NJ. It is not disputed that Ivins reported back to work early each of the next mornings. Ivins’ time in the bio-level 3 lab has been explained — by documents withheld by the FBI but obtained from the Army over the course of years. The documents corroborate Ivins’ claim that he was tending to small animals who had been challenged by injected anthrax. Checking the animals was a one-person job and the associated tasks took the couple of hours reflected by his time records on those days.

    To borrow the phrase of President Trump’s defenders in the unrelated Russia investigation, the FBI’s Ivins Theory, by many learned accounts, was a big “nothing burger.” Whatever your view of the Russia investigation — and emotions run high — we should determine whether the FBI’s “Ivins Theory” was based on highly selective presentation of evidence as former lead Amerithrax investigator Richard Lambert claims. Did the prosecutors make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear? The rule of law requires that the emails be produced so that observers may “get on the same page.” Any necessary redactions required by the Freedom of Information Act still may be made.

  10. DXer said

    Initial talks underway about Trump interview in Mueller Russia probe
    by Kristen Welker, Carol E. Lee, Julia Ainsley and Hallie Jackson

  11. DXer said

    In Defense of Robert Mueller

    The growing attacks don’t stand up to scrutiny.
    The Editors
    January 8, 2018,

  12. DXer said

    The Curse of Oak Island is basically renewed forever


    Oak Island is one of my favorite mysteries — with my interest dating back 35 years. After a lot of reading and research, I decided that what is buried are the Old World spoils from the looting of Havana by the British in 1762, led by the 3 Keppel brothers.
    But I posit that the so-called “money pit” was actually a drain — with the cache buried under Smith’s Cove. They would have built a coffer dam, dug the treasure chamber once the water drained out and left the treasure, and then removed the coffer dam, leaving the chamber both buried and underwater.

    The evidence includes the remnants of the coffer dam, and the drainage channels leading to the so-called “money pit.”

    So my vote would be to go higher tech in the equipment used to search Smith’s Cove underwater and to zero in on the British civil engineers, through historical research, available to provide the expertise. (I’ve done a lot of research, but not owning the property, there wasn’t much point; the land would have cost a lot even when I first took an interest in the Keppel brothers).

    Someday I hope to buy the nearby tiny Apple Island to pursue the hypothesis. It has room for a lean-to, lounge chairs and a beer cooler. I at least would be able to watch as the Michigan brothers get around to considering the Smith’s Cove idea. (I suspect they first will be languishing in the swamp).

    It was very sad to hear of the passing of Craig Tester’s son, who had appeared on the show in at least a couple episodes.

    Although Dan Blankenship is one of the many wonderful cast members, I never was interested in Borehole 10-X. The mere fact that its siting was based on dousing, which is not validated science, was a huge red flag IMO. There are other explanations, including confirmation bias, that explain various discoveries that seemed corroborating.

  13. DXer said

    FBI agent tells Norfolk crowd he’s still optimistic about solving famous Boston art heist case

    By Robyn Sidersky
    The Virginian-Pilot

    He’s been on the case since 2002 and said he never imagined that 15 years later he would still be trying to find the missing art.


    Kelly speaks about the case around the country to try to get the word out.


    “The fact that I’m here talking at all about a case that’s open and pending in the bureau is kind of unusual,” Kelly told the audience of about 100. “But this is an unusual case.”


    The museum is offering a $10 million reward for information leading to the recovery of the works, according to its website.


    Kelly said he has traveled the world to investigate tips and is confident the art will one day be returned.


    Kelly also said he tracked down one of Tom Brady’s Super Bowl jerseys when it was stolen.

    Kelly encouraged the public to reach out to the FBI or the museum if they know anything about the Gardner case.

    The Boston FBI office can be reached at 857-386-2000 and the museum’s director of security can be reached at 617-278-5114.


    As a possible source of information, I still like the fellow, Earle Berghman, alternating, when I last checked, between Mohawk and the Utica homeless shelter. He joined with Robert Guarente’s wife Elene and his daughter to attempt to return the paintings, using the front of a Boston attorney, Bernie G. I think you might find a Providence mob role with a hand behind initiating the effort, in the choice of attorney who then recruited the more knowledgeable daughter to the effort. (The daughter had been Bobby Guarente’s confidante). She was present upon the 2009 FBI search of the farmhouse in Maine. (Bobby Guarente was a Merlino crew member in Maine; whereas Bobby Gentile was from Conneticut; I got Earle’s name from the Madison, ME clerk years ago when I visited and passed it on to Tony and Steve).

    This claimed attempt to return the paintings was made in late 2004 or early 2005 (I would have to check my notes) before the earnest current security director Tony A. took the job. The museum director apparently did not tell Tony about it — and the paint chip submitted to the FBI, although I’m not supposed to say, reportedly turned out to be ordinary house paint.

    But consider this: why would the attorney, Bernie, and his clients, knowingly turn in a chip that was ordinary house paint? Might either the FBI forensics have been mistaken or there be some other explanation? What’s needed is an undercover targeting Bobby G’s daughter — maybe a parent at a karate class or something. Even if the paintings have been separated (and some ruined or destroyed), return of even one of the paintings of modest value might permit time to be directed to other federal law enforcement pursuits.

    • DXer said

      If Elene’s daughter ever leads to the paintings (see above), it is Steve K. , the reporter and book author, who deserves the Pulitzer. His book and reporting over the years is a great background if you want to join the $10 million dollar treasure hunt. Although he disagrees with the FBI as to some aspects, we can all agree that the paintings haven’t been found yet.

  14. DXer said

  15. DXer said

    We’re on the verge of learning who assassinated JFK

    Jefferson Morley, AlterNet
    22 Sep 2017

    Two senior Capitol Hill Republicans plan to introduce a congressional resolution calling for full disclosure of U.S. government records related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963.

    Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) will introduce their JFK resolution before the end of the month, according to Jones.

    “I want to make sure that the information that is owed the American people is made available,” the veteran North Carolina conservative said in an exclusive interview with AlterNet. “The American people are sick and tired of not being given the truth. “

    The JFK Records Act of 1992 mandated full disclosure of all government records related to the assassination within 25 years. Some four million pages of records were released in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Another 100,000 pages of assassination-related material from a dozen government agencies must be made public by the statutory deadline of Oct. 26, 2017.

    Under the law, the CIA, FBI and other government agencies can postpone release of still-secret JFK records after October 26—but only with the written permission of the president.

    “We going to take a very positive approach and thank the agencies that have the information and are making it public,” Jones said. “At the same time we want to put some pressure on the agencies to release all the information they have.”

    CIA Hedging

    The CIA declined to say if it plans to seek postponement of the release of the Agency’s remaining JFK records.

    “CIA continues to engage in the process to determine the appropriate next steps with respect to any previously unreleased CIA information,” said spokesperson Nicole de Haay in a written statement released Thursday.

    The unreleased records include CIA files on two senior officers involved in assassinations and four Watergate burglars, as well as the secret congressional testimony of numerous JFK witnesses.

    “I hope they will not request any postponement,” Jones said. “We’re talking about something that happened 54 years ago.”

    While JFK scholars and journalists have called on Trump to “give us the full story of the JFK assassination,” Jones and Grassley are the first elected officials to lend their clout to the cause.

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

  16. DXer said

    Reuters-2 hours ago
    Berlin (Reuters) – Five top German politicians received envelopes on Thursday that contained threatening letters and a white powder the letters …

    He told ARD that the letter was probably sent by right-wing extremists, even though it was written in Arabic. He gave no explanation.

    A photograph of the letter included the phrases “Salafist community, Germany” and “Lethal, Do not touch, Dangerous, Caution” – all in typewritten Arabic characters.

    Comment: Hoax letters are so common that it seems that they are barely worth reporting.

    On Monday, my friend wrote to describe the work of font detectives:

    Meet the Font Detectives Who Ferret Out Fakery (

    Posted by msmash on Monday September 18, 2017 @01:20PM from the under-the-microscope dept.

    New submitter rgh02 writes: Earlier this year, the former prime minister of Pakistan and his family came under scrutiny thanks to revelations in the Panama Papers. The smoking gun in the case of a forged document was none other than a font — Calibri, which, as it turned out, wasn’t even available until after the document had allegedly been signed and dated. This is not the first or the last time typography helped crack a case, and often with help from experts appropriately referred to as the ‘font detectives.’

  17. DXer said

    Robert Mueller reminds me of former prosecutor Thomas Dewey, whose papers I’ve studied at the University of Rochester. We need politicians of that caliber. Political courage to do the job that needs to be done, not narcissism, is what makes for a positive historic legacy.

    The shocking way Thomas Dewey locked up mobster Charles (Lucky) Luciano

    “Throughout mobdom and officialdom alike, those who had once laughed off the earnest Tom Dewey as an amusing little Boy Scout were rethinking that view.”

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

  18. DXer said

    People who receive leaks of classified information (and especially those who are pornographers) are on notice. The Administration is going to be cracking down.

    Sessions vows crackdown on leaks of classified information – ABC News…/white-house-anger-leaks-grows-crackdown-promised-49031722
    7 hours ago – Attorney General Jeff Sessions pledged on Friday to rein in government leaks that he said undermine American security, taking an aggressive …

    We can expect to see more cases like this case from a few years ago involving the FBI agent involved in the Unabom matter which is subject to an ongoing dramatization on television.

    “Former F.B.I. Agent to Plead Guilty in Press Leak

    WASHINGTON — A former F.B.I. agent has agreed to plead guilty to leaking classified information to The Associated Press about a foiled bomb plot in Yemen last year, the Justice Department announced Monday. In a twist, the former agent had already been under investigation in a separate child pornography case, and he has also agreed to a guilty plea in it.

    Federal investigators said they were able to identify the man, Donald Sachtleben, a former bomb technician, as a suspect in the leak case only after secretly obtaining A.P. reporters’ phone logs, a move that set off an uproar among journalists and members of Congress of both parties when it was disclosed in May.”


    Explosive Charges: The Donald Sachtleben Case
    Two high-profile federal actions against the FBI bomb tech and Carmel resident concluded nearly a year ago. So why won’t questions surrounding the investigation go away?

    July 11, 2014 Evan West

    “As a special agent, Sachtleben had a hand in some of the most important bombing investigations in recent American memory, from the Unabomber to Oklahoma City to the World Trade Center attacks of 1993 and 2001. When federal authorities arrested him in May 2012 on charges of possessing and distributing sexually explicit images of children, the news fell like a bombshell on Central Indiana. Who even knew that such a distinguished FBI bigshot lived here? And how could a lawman of that stature commit such despicable crimes?

    When the feds finally announced Sachtleben’s plea deal and posted a detailed account of the investigation online, elements of it, along with Sachtleben’s continued silence, provided additional fodder. According to the document, authorities first learned of his activities while monitoring a child-porn target in Illinois who received an e-mail offer to exchange pictures from someone at an IP address that investigators tracked to Sachtleben’s Carmel residence. The FBI placed the home under surveillance and obtained a warrant to search the former agent’s electronic devices. On May 11, 2012, they tailed him home from the airport after a work trip, seized his laptop, and found around 30 illicit images and videos.”

    Donald Sacthleben, who submitted the key affidavit in search of Ted Kacynski’s cabin in the UNABOM matter, agreed to spend 12 years in jail.

    We can compare the UNABOM case to the evidence in the Amerithrax case for perspective of what probative evidence looks like.

    The FBI never made a serious investigation about the leaks in the Amerithrax matter that derailed the investigation for 7 years. Then FBI Director Mueller thought polygraphing would be bad for morale (and I don’t disagree).

    If anyone had asked, the lead prosecutor Seikaly might have confirmed he was the source of the leaks that continued throughout 2002 and 2003.

    Although I don’t expect to watch the UNABOM television dramatization, in real life, we can compare the evidence in the Unabom matter and Amerithrax on the merits:

    1. Inevitable Inaccuracies In Reported Leaks

    Inaccuracies inevitably arise in the reporting of news in connection with a rapidly developing story, particularly when anonymous sources are used. As Justice Department spokesman Carl Stern commented in the Unabom case: “There are times when we try informally to prevent something which is grossly untrue from being published or broadcast, but in this case I felt I couldn’t do even that.”

    2. A Copy Of The Manifesto Was Found In The Cabin

    The prosecution has explained before the Court: ”In June 1995, Kaczynski sent his manuscript “Industrial Society and Its Future” to the New York Times, the Washington Post, Penthouse, and Professor Tom Tyler of the University of California at Berkeley. A copy of the manuscript was found in the cabin. That manuscript contains a lengthy description of Kaczynski’s philosophy and admits that its author ‘had to kill people’ to get it published.”

    Ayman Zawahiri’s Fall 2001 book is almost as revealing in terms of profiling the Amerithrax crimes but even those who have closely followed the matter for months have never read it. Ask any FBI agent you know on the investigation whether they have read it and see for yourself.

    3. Copies Of The Letters Kaczynski Sent To Publications Were Also Found

    The prosecution has explained before the Court:”Beginning in 1985, Kaczynski sent letters, using the alias, ‘FC,’ to various publications. A copy of each letter was discovered in Kaczynski’s cabin. Like the journals, Kaczynski’s letters also contain admissions to the charged and uncharged bombings; indeed, several letters contain an admission that encompasses both a charged and an uncharged bombing.” Here, anthrax production documents were found on Khalid Mohammed’s laptop, he made admissions about Yazid Sufaat’s role, and Zawahiri’s right-hand man as well as another shura council member made admissions about Zawahiri’s plan. Yet inexplicably no attention is paid to these stories because it is far easier to get some clerk, deputy sheriff or junior lawyer in the Department of Justice Public Affairs Office to share some gossip about some discarded junk pulled from the nearby park or some stained panties found in a cross-dresser’s garbage. At the time of the Hatfill leaks by Mr. Seikaly, he at the same time was keeping mum about the statement signed by Rauf Ahmad over tea and cookies.

    4. Most Of The Letters And The Manifesto Were Typed on Kaczynski’s Typewriter

    According to the prosecution’s June 1997 memorandum, the third typewriter found in the cabin was a match with most of the letters, with the manifesto, and for all of the bombs that were mailed after 1981. Here, there seems little chance authorities will find the scotch tape that was used to seal both letters or the pen used to write the letters.

    5. Number Used To Identify Unabomber Communications

    The Washington Post reported that federal investigators say that the nine-digit number that was sometimes used by the Unabomber to authenticate his communications was found in Kaczynski’s cabin. (The book Mad Genius previously reported that the number used by the bomber was 553-25-4394). The number was used by the Unabomber in connection with a letter discussing the April 1995 murder of the Sacramento timber industry official Gilbert Murray, and a letter claiming responsibility for the December 1994 murder of the advertising executive Thomas Mosser at his New Jersey home. An analogous discovery would relate to the reason, if any, for the use of Greendale School. Zawahiri’s computer that showed he used “school” for Al Qaeda already is available to use in an indictment.

    6. DNA Evidence In the UNABOM matter

    DNA evidence was apparently obtained from saliva found on the stamp used to send a copy of the manuscript to professor Tom Tyler. An earlier press report had suggested that there was DNA evidence associated with the 1994 victim in New Jersey, Thomas Mosser (pronounced MOE-ser). As a general rule, however, the bomber was reportedly careful in avoiding such evidence based on hair or saliva. It is surprising that the bomber, after having been so careful to avoid DNA evidence for so many years, would suddenly have been careless in connection with the manuscript sent to Professor Tyler. The genetic evidence in the Amerithrax case relates to the strain of anthrax and will help narrow the number of possible labs where the strain was. The mailer was very careful in handling the envelope and would not have licked the envelope. The FBI’s lab inexplicably did not tell the lead Amerithrax investigator Richard Lambert that human DNA had been found on one of the anthrax letters.

    7. The affidavit filed in support of the search warrant in the Kaczynski case explained that the DNA found in connection with the stamp used to mail the manuscript to Tom Tyler limited the pool of potentially responsible persons to 3% of the United States population — or approximately 6 million people. DNA evidence would not be determinative of the prosecution given they apparently cannot further narrow the field. In Amerithrax, the documents relating human DNA have not been produced.

    8. Bomb And Bomb-Related Materials.

    According to press reports, one completed bomb and one partially completed bomb had been found. The completed bomb had been described as similar to either the 1994 or 1995 bomb. The importance of this evidence would have depended — if the matter had gone to trial — on the strength of the forensic comparisons. Both the 1994 and 1995 bombs were sophisticated, and so if the reports by the anonymous federal officials proved to be accurate, then the finding would have been very significant. The government would have argued, through expert testimony, that the run-of-the-mill pipebomber could not have made the 1994 or 1995 bombs. (The serial bomber known as the UNABOMBER, which turned out to be Kacyznksi, was thought to have improved his bomb-making during the 1987-1993 hiatus). Here, a similar argument would be made as to the individual or individuals who could make the relatively sophisticated anthrax here. The sophistication greatly increased between the two mailings — marked by a difference of about 20 days.

    9. The significance of the particular chemicals found in Kaczynski’s cabin would have needed to await the reports on the forensic tests. The chemicals would be compared to the residue left in the UNABOM explosions. Agents searching the cabin found containers of potassium chlorate, sodium chlorate, sugar, zinc, aluminum, lead and silver oxide, which can serve as fuels or oxidizers in an explosive device. In Amerithrax, comparison would be made with any silica powder or other additive found to be associated with the anthrax.

    10. In the UNABOM matter, tools and hardware related to bomb-making were also found. Lab technicians have compared the toolmarks left on past bombs and bomb remnants with the tools found in Kaczynski’s cabin, and according to leaks the government were going to rely on an analysis of the tool marks in its case. The Affidavit filed in support of the search of the cabin explained that identical tool marks had been left on the staples used in a couple of the devices and in some of the correspondence. In addition, 10 three-ring binders full of meticulously drawn bomb diagrams may distinguish Kaczynski from ordinary pipebombers. The UNABOMBER is thought to have experimented with his bombs, and the prosecution likely would argue in any trial that the three- ring binders document those experiments. The notebooks have sketches of boxes that could conceal the devices; handwritten notes in English and Spanish describing how chemical compounds can create explosive charges; and logs of experiments to determine the optimal design for pipe bombs in various weather conditions. The notebooks would have been extremely powerful evidence, that may be even more powerful once comparison is made by experts between the specific entries and specific bombs used in the UNABOM incidents.

    Here, all the information about the anthrax production documents on Khalid Mohammed’s computer is classifed. As for Dr. Hatfill’s comments to acquaintances, they likely would not even have been admissible, as no exception to the hearsay doctrine would seem to apply.

    The plastic tub found in the Frederick park in connection with the Hatfill Theory did not pass the “giggle test”. Similarly, the lyophilizer was not available to Bruce Ivins to use — and that had been the premise of US Taylor’s “Ivins Theory.”

    11. Witness Description.

    In 1987, a woman employed by CAAMS, a Salt Lake City computer store, noticed a man placing an object near a car. She apparently had a close, albeit brief, observation of the individual. She knocked on the window and motioned him away from the car. While distracted by a telephone call, another employee went out and kicked the material out of the way. The bomb was made to look like a road hazard and consisted of two boards with nails sticking up. Two main composites based on the witness’ description were drawn. One was done at the time, and one was done approximately 7 years later. The later composite has a squarer jaw. Some media reports published a version of the composite without glasses. The official composite relied upon by the Task Force has always included glasses. Extrapolating to a man pictured without glasses would be pretending to know something we don’t — did not represent a description of what the witness saw. In the Amerithrax investigation, if Hatfill were the defendant, the witness identification likely would not be admissible because witnesses were only shown Dr. Hatfill’s picture. No announcement was ever made as to whether the witness has positively identified Kaczynski as the individual she saw. The witness likely had difficulty in doing so given that Kaczynski then came to have a beard. It is unclear whether TK had a beard in 1987. He applied for a drivers license in Montana in 1986 and it may be important whether his photograph in connection with that license showed a beard. In addition, Kaczynski mother visited in the mid-1980s, and yet there has been no article reporting her recollection as to whether he had a beard.

    In the Amerithrax matter, the picture shown of Hatfill (and only Hatfill) to witnesses that some in New Jersey apparently was an older picture. In any event, a long time had passed between the time witnesses were shown his picture and any passing encounter with him if he had been the mailer. No one ever identified Dr. Ivins doing anything related to processing or mailing. In fact, he had group sessions the evening of the mailings (and also worked those days).

    In 1987, Kaczynski was significantly older than in the witness’ description. The individual was estimated by the witness to be between the age of 25 and 30 years old. At the time of the sighting, Kaczynski was 43 years old. The witness described the individual as young and athletic. Witness descriptions are one of the weakest forms of evidence. Moreover, Kaczynski was likely unkempt in his appearance — as generally reported — while the witness apparently described someone with a well-trimmed mustache. Finally, at 5′ 9″, Kaczynski was 1″-3″ shorter than the man described by the witness. Thus, given the importance of the forensic evidence, it is not likely that the witness description would have been particularly significant in any trial of the UNABOM matter, as it raised too many questions. The defense likely would have been able to present other suspects that were much closer to the witness’ description. Importantly, in the affidavit filed in support of the search, the government did not claim that the witness could positively identify Kaczynski.

    A blue hooded sweatshirt and a green sweatshirt were found in Kaczynski’s cabin. Although much ado was made of the discovery of the sweatshirt, and papers featured headlines of the discovery throughout the country, none of the press accounts addressed the color of the sweatshirt described by the witness in 1987. None of the articles mentioned that the sweatshirt described by the witness was white (or light gray). One report by a television network indicated that Kaczynski had broken his nose several times. The suggestion apparently was that he broke his nose to disguise his appearance. It is unclear how the television network, in early April, had determined Kaczynski’s intent, and there has been no further mention of the report.

    Materials On Which Names Of Some Victims Appear

    The names of the some victims allegedly appears on some written material. The reports are both conflicting or unclear on the nature of the materials, but the majority of reports indicate that the names of the actual victims were not in handwriting. The significance of this evidence would depend on the specifics. There were a variety of reports of individuals who have been contacted by FBI agents and told that their names were on materials found in the cabin. One widely reported story that was mistaken was that there was a handwritten list of faculty in the math department. The list had been written by an FBI agent for the purposes of contacting the individuals, and was not found in the cabin. Some reports also indicate that a handwritten sheet was found saying “hit list” — airlines, geneticists, and computers. (This likely prove to be one of the “grossly inaccurate” items mentioned by the DOJ spokesman.) Certainly, if this report had been true, it would have been very dramatic evidence.

    Partial Fingerprint

    A partial fingerprint was obtained from one of the devices. It did not match with Kaczynski’s, according to the affidavit filed at the time of the search. The authorities had no way of knowing whether the partial fingerprint is that of the bomber, or someone else. Thus, the prosecution likely would have discounted the failure to match as due to the fact that the print was made by someone other than the bomber. In the Amerithrax investigation, there were no fingerprints found. Of course, if fingerprints had been found on any material found in the Frederick pond, that would have been very significant.

    Kaczynski’s Whereabouts

    Kaczynski had lived primarily in Montana since 1971. He traveled to other areas by bus — and not by airplane as initially reported. He moved to Chicago for a short while in the late Spring of 1978 until the Summer of 1979. He applied for an Illinois driver’s license in July 1978 — six weeks after the first explosion. According to one report, he returned to Montana in the Summer of 1979. Thus, the FBI was trying to establish that he returned to Chicago in connection with the mailing of a November 1979 and a May 1980 bomb. The brother and mother were uncertain on the details. According to the affidavit filed in support of the search, the brother had said that Kaczynski came to Chicago as early as 30 days before June 20. In addition, the affidavit states that although Kaczynski left Chicago in the Summer of 1979, he apparently returned after a two month stay in Saskatchewan. Thus, according to the affidavit, the statements by the family members are not inconsistent with his presence in Chicago on May 25, 1978 or November 14, 1979. With respect to the May 1980 mailing to Percy Wood from the Chicago area, the Affidavit notes the dates of hotel stays in Park Hotel, Helena, Montana, that would have allowed an opportunity for Kaczynski to travel to Chicago to make the mailing to Mr. Wood. The Affidavit similarly noted stays at the Park Hotel generally consistent with travel to Utah at the time of the placement and mailing of bombs.

    With respect to his travels to California, the potentially most significant lead was totally false. It concerned a report by a Sacramento hotel owner that he had stayed there — the clerk in fact had not worked there at the time. Absent corroborating hotel registration records, such testimony would not have been significant. For example, reports by a Burger King manager and a guard at a bus terminal in Sacramento would have been met by the incredulous question by defense counsel: you specifically remember this guy over all the other hundreds of bearded unkempt men that you see each year?

    In the Amerithrax case, Dr. Hatfill has offered timesheets that, for example, on September 17, 2001 and September 18, 2001 have him working 13 hour days. Kaczynski similarly had offered a bank deposit slip that the government, through an investigator, was able to explain was not in conflict, with the date of the weekend deposit not registered as processed until the next Monday.Packages were placed in Salt Lake City in October 1981 and February 1987, and mailed from Salt Lake in May 1982 and November 1985. The FBI checked homeless shelters and inexpensive hotels looking for evidence that Kaczynski visited the area. In the Amerithrax case, authorities apparently have no evidence that Dr. Hatfill travelled to the Trenton or Princeton area on the dates of mailing. Dr. Hatfill claims that he has never been to Princeton and would not know where it was on a map. Similarly, Dr. Ivins, in fact, has an alibi established by the withheld evidence and there is no evidence of travel whatsoever. Indeed, the FBI continues to withhold Notebook 4282 that contains notes from the date of mailing and week prior. The documents have been retrieved and the notes are simply be kept from the public.

    Psycholinguistic Analysis

    The affidavit filed in support of the search has a detailed and compelling description of comparisons between a 1971 essay written by Kaczynski and the manifesto. In requesting a warrant to conduct a search of the cabin, the FBI relied on an examination by its own experts who had access to all of TK’s writings in the family’s possession (including 100 letters), and not by the analysis done by experts retained by the family who relied on only a handful of pages provided by the family’s private investigator. The Affidavit filed in support of the search of the cabin illustrates that the content, context and writing style of Theodore Kaczynski’s 6,374, 23-page essay and the 35,000 word UNABOM manuscript are very similar. Unfortunately, although the FBI has the 23-page essay and many pages of letters written by Kaczynski to his mother and brother, it appeared unlikely that authorities would be able to locate more than a couple of the 50 or so letters that TK wrote to a Mexican man. In the government Affidavit also notes the same uncommon (and in the last case inaccurate) spellings of words : “analyse” versus “analyze”, “wilfully” instead of “willfully”, “licence” instead of “license” and “instalment” rather than “installment”.

    In the Amerithrax case, although Don Foster cuts a fine figure on BBC jogging and thinking determinedly, psycholinguistic analysis of the 20-30 words in the letters was never likely to be probative. There is a sweet woman on the internet, a true crime fan, still mad at Dr. Foster for persistently arguing that she was actually the Ramsey son, Burke, following the true crime matter and called him to ask that he stop.

    It was always unlikely that profiling will be a particularly significant portion of any prosecution against Kaczynski. Kaczynski fits the profile relied upon by the Task Force in many (if not most) respects — but he differs from the profile in several important respects. His loose fit with the profile, however, would have served to support an argument, along with other evidence, that there was probable cause to search the cabin. Kaczynski was not among the top 200 suspects primarily because of his age. He was 13 years older than the age in the profile being relied upon by the Task Force. At the time of the first bomb in May 1978, he was 36. Significantly, although he may have a meticulous mind, he was very unkempt in appearance. It was thought that the serial bomber would be very neat. A detailed description of the profile being used by the Task Force in 1991 is reported in UNABOM: The University/Airline Bomber, The Police Chief, at 36-37 (October 1991). The authors were James C. Ronay, who was Chief Explosives Unit, FBI Laboratory, and Richard A. Strobel, Chief, ATF Laboratory. That profile was then substantially revised based on the writings of the bomber. The most important change was that estimates of the bomber’s intelligence were greatly increased. With the benefit of hindsight, the profilers should have realized that the bomber would walk the walk. His disdain for technology would be evidenced by a residence with no electricity — and with a nearby garden permitting him to be self-sufficient. But of course, if you are the profiler guiding the television production years later, you can overlook all of this and spin things how you like to impress the grandchildren.

    Telephone Records

    The FBI no doubt checked the pay telephones that Kaczynski is thought to have used. The UNABOMBER called Bob Guccione of Penthouse magazine. If a telephone call was made from one of the payphones used by Kaczynski on the date and time the call by the bomber was placed, that would have been highly probative evidence. A jury would have found such evidence easy to understand. The FBI may have checked weblogs in the Amerithrax case, for example, to determine where the mailer obtained the nine-digit zipcodes or the address for the AMI publications.

    Books Found In The Cabin

    There were 239 books found in the cabin. Several books are of special interest in this matter. For example, VIOLENCE IN AMERICA was reportedly in his collection. Written in the 1960′s, it is a collection of dry, academically oriented articles. The book was one of the half dozen or so cited by the UNABOMBER in his manifesto. Kaczynski had evidenced awareness of the Commission’s work in a letter years ago to his family.

    Finally, although not found in the cabin, another book cited in the manifesto, ANCIENT ENGINEERS, was allegedly borrowed from a local library by Kaczynski. According to the affidavit filed in support of the search, Ted Kaczynski had cited the book in a letter to his brother. Although certainly not popular or widely-read books, none of the books are rare. All three books are commonly found in libraries. Yet, the evidence would have been very powerful before a jury.

    In the Amerithrax investigation, the book of the hour is “Emergence,” a partially completed novel by Dr. Hatfill and a co-author. The book was mentioned by Justin Raymond’s recent piece. Mr. Raimondo asserted that Foster had obtained the book but I don’t know his sourcing on that. Reasonable people can disagree on whether the unpublished novel “Emergence” would play a role here if a prosecution were brought against Dr. Hatfill.

    Under an Ivins Theory, the prosecutors seemed excited that Dr. Ivins had written some cute poems and liked one book that included a code. The only expert consulted and the author of the book find the FBI’s theory untenable. To illustrate my point, I wrote a poem about DARPA’s “red balloon” experiment and the assassination of a fellow using ricin delivered by a jab from an umbrella — and it is printed in invisible ink at S. Salina and Fayette (over which a local FBI agent regularly walks) — it only appears when it rains using a “splash” technology. It is also published on the side of the local canal museum building in a large gorgeous display. But it is not evidence of any crime.

    Additional Circumstantial Evidence

    There is a variety of additional circumstantial evidence that the prosecution could have relied on. For example, the prosecution could argue that Kaczynski, despite his poverty, had the necessary resources as a result of small contributions from his family. Kaczynski reportedly received a $1,000 money order from his brother shortly before the December 1994 bombing of Mr. Mosser, and another $2,000 money order from his brother before the April 1995 bombing of Gilbert Murray. Much of the circumstantial evidence, however, that was reported at the time by the press was so tenuous that it may not have been legally relevant evidence at all. Moreover, many of the reports — such as the report by a Sacramento hotel owner that TK stayed at the hotel or the alleged existence of a handwritten list of Berkeley math faculty — were apparently mistaken. One misguided report suggested a connection between the bombing in early May 1978 and an unsuccessful and brief dating relationship. He went on a couple of dates with the woman in the Summer of 1978 — after the first bombing. Other reports about Kaczynski, while apparently true, are not particularly probative. For example, it was not surprising that as a bright high school student, he liked model rockets and knew how to mix chemicals (such as iodine and ammonia) so that they would go “pop.” We may all know bright high school students who were good in chemistry and had similar interests. In any event, these incidents related to a time period 20 years before the first UNABOM incident in May 1978. (In 1958, during Kaczynski’s senior year, a cow bell was used to signal the end of class periods.)

    That pretty much describes all the “circumstantial evidence” alleged to exist against Dr. Hatfill or Dr. Ivins. The mistakes in the understanding of the circumstances of Dr. Hatfill’s life have been detailed elsewhere. Here, much of the imagined “circumstantial evidence” against Dr. Hatfill relates to irrelevant matters nearly a quarter century ago and would simply have no bearing on an attempted criminal prosecution. Neither do the irrelevant matters relating to Dr. Ivins that involves things a quarter century earlier — such as his theft of a book from sororities.


    In the anthrax mailings, Dr. Zawahiri appears to have accomplished the attack on the US “structure” he intended. With the planes, Al Qaeda struck the US trade dominance (World Trade Center) and its military might (Pentagon). With the anthrax he appears to have rounded out the field that he imagines provides support to Israel — the legislative branch and media. Analogous letter bombs were sent in connection with the earlier attack on the World Trade Center and the imprisonment of the militant islamists responsible for that attack and a related plot. Thus, relying on the postal service to send its deadly missives in connection with an earlier attack of the World Trade Center is not only Al Qaeda’s modus operandi, it is its signature.

    For a fuller discussion of the evidence against Ayman Zawahiri, Yazid Sufaat, and Rauf Ahmad relating to Amerithrax, see

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

    Everyone approaches a problem from their world view and what they know. In Amerithrax, biological weapons control activists see a US biodefense insider. Anti-semites see Zionist perpetrators. US-haters saw a CIA conspiracy. The CIA’s Zawahiri Task Force perhaps saw a possible Al Qaeda conspiracy. Israeli intelligence and the Iraqi National Congress lobbied for Iraq as the culprit. The men focused on sex and children follow their own unfathomable compass. Liberal Beltway insiders saw right-wing wackos. Journalists kowtowed to the views of any government source in the investigation. Career-minded bureaucrats, focused on CYA, tend to see whoever those in power want them to focus on — and here the lead prosecutor was the father of the woman who came to represent “anthrax weapons suspect” Ali Al-Timimi pro bono.

    But sometimes if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.

    And sometimes it’s not over until the fat lady sings.

    Amerithrax may be the greatest failure of counterintelligence analysis in the history of the United States. The former lead Amerithrax investigation Richard Lambert says that the FBI is withholding a staggering amount of information that is exculpatory of Bruce Ivins. And I’ve pointed to an example of such information that is not classified — but just being wrongfully withheld under FOIA. (e.g., Notebook 4282). We don’t have to agree on whether Donald Trump is suited, by his demeanor or integrity to be President, but he is missing a real opportunity to derail Special Prosecutor Mueller by not directing that Notebook 4282 be produced. Trump is missing a real opportunity not to put Director Mueller’s conduct of the Amerithrax investigation to the test. Mueller may not have favored an Ivins Theory but it all happened on his watch — and the withholding of the unclassified Notebook 4282 happened on his watch.

    Given the testimony of Egyptian Islamic Jihad shura member Mabruk and Al-Najjar that Ayman Zawahiri obtained anthrax from North Korea in 1999, national security favors leaving no stone unturned even though Dr. Ivins committed suicide after the second bag of semen-stained panties was found.

    Information relating to the resolution of the Amerithrax matter likely will come from some faraway place like Pakistan, not the suburbs of Maryland or Central New Jersey. It likely will stem from those with a personal knowledge of Al Qaeda, and not those with an ideological or political axe to grind, whether against Iraq or the US biodefense establishment. The mailer likely will be someone personally recruited by Ayman Zawahiri. The FBI needed to do all they can to keep those agents in Pakistan supplied with Marlboros. (Ayman, that’s code for cowboys). Instead, FBI Agent Borelli politely accepted tea and cookies from Zawahiri’s infiltrating scientist Rauf Ahmad and then came to head the FBI’s New York Field Office.

    The State will decide what secrets can be kept — thank you very much. Government accountability be damned.

    At home, we are regularly urged to be good boy and girl scouts and be prepared all the while real threats are being kept secret under the threat of criminal prosecution.

    But no worries. Y’all come back, now. Because as newspaperman Scripps once said: “The only important date on the calendar is tomorrow.”

  19. DXer said

    Robert Mueller, Conspiracy Theorist

    He’s unfit to be special counsel

    by Justin Raimondo Posted on July 31, 2017


    I disagree with Justin Raimondo. I think Attorney Mueller is highly qualified to be Special Counsel.

    But I include the link because of its lengthy discussion of a Hatfill Theory, even though I do not know Raimondo’s sourcing of some of his claims (and in some minor instances do not credit the factual statements).

    The fact that I never subscribed to a Hatfill Theory — and (correct or not) labored mightily to debunk it — does not affect my judgment that Mueller is highly qualified to be Special Counsel.

    The whodunnit was — and in my opinion — IS — a difficult and complex mystery.

    • DXer said

      Is the unsubstantiated rumor that McConnell and Ryan received target letters true? (On July 27). If so, I don’t know many people other than former FBI Director Mueller who would have the stature to face the challenges.

  20. DXer said

    Is Gotham Ready for Bioterror? Maybe — but distributing remedies would be daunting

    “The 2001 anthrax mailings killed five, injured members of the media, shut down the Capitol, threw the U.S. postal service into turmoil, and sent Americans looking for Cipro prescriptions in anticipation of the next dispersal. The Tylenol villain was never identified; the anthrax culprit was also never definitively identified, despite what Kelly McKinney, former deputy commissioner at the New York City Office of Emergency Management, called “one of the largest and most complex investigations in the history of law enforcement.” And in the Oregon cult example, federal officials caught the perpetrators only after they admitted what they had done. As these examples make clear, it is exceedingly hard to prevent or detect bioterror, let alone catch the perpetrator.”


    As former Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) director Brett Giroir told the New York Times, “A person at a graduate-school level has all the tools and technologies to implement a sophisticated program to create a bioweapon.” New technologies are making the terrorists’ job easier. According to Kelly McKinney, while “the technical requirements to develop and disseminate a biological agent are high . . . certain disruptive technologies are making it easier for the bad guys. We are hearing that in the not too distant future, these agents and devices could be brought together in a suburban basement.”

    We cannot know the true impact of a massive bioterror event, but the evidence suggests that the United States is not yet ready for one. Former senator Joseph Lieberman and former Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge cochaired a recent Blue Ribbon Panel on biodefense on which I participated. The panel concluded: “The United States is underprepared for biological threats. Nation states and unaffiliated terrorists (via biological terrorism) and nature itself (via emerging and reemerging infectious diseases) threaten us. While biological events may be inevitable, their level of impact on our country is not.”

    According to Stanford’s Lawrence Wein, a successful anthrax attack in New York could cost 100,000 lives, with full decontamination taking more than 300 years. As Judith Miller wrote in City Journal nearly a decade ago, a major anthrax incident would test New York severely. (See “Bioterrorism’s Deadly Math,” Autumn 2008.) Miller found that New York’s distribution, transportation, and decontamination capabilities were all inadequate for bioterror. That other cities are similarly unprepared should be of little comfort, given New York’s prominence as a target.


    Where does that leave us? Looking to New York’s considerable assets—its unmatched police and counterterror forces, its centrality to Homeland Security planning, its resources, and its people—there are reasons to believe that the city would prove equal to bioterror, should it happen. Yet given the existential crisis that such an attack would present, New York must remain ever vigilant to keep its residents safe.”

  21. DXer said

    Podcast –
    Gotham’s Bioterror Challenge

    Tevi Troy Paul Howard
    July 26, 2017
    New York
    Public safety

    Tevi Troy is a presidential historian, former White House aide, and former deputy secretary of Health and Human Services. His latest book is Shall We Wake the President? Two Centuries of Disaster Management from the Oval Office.

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