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

* Who told the reporter that RIID sent Ames to ATCC?

Posted by DXer on March 4, 2018

WhoToldTheUSAMRIIDSpokesperson REV

47 Responses to “* Who told the reporter that RIID sent Ames to ATCC?”

  1. DXer said

    unsourced report:

    “Over 15 million Chinese have signed an open letter calling on the World Health Organization (WHO) to investigate the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick (USAMRIID). Published on July 17, the petition appealed to the WHO to investigate the lab and urged the U.S. to answer the call from people around the world.”

  2. DXer said

    CNBC reports that Rand Paul and Dr. Fauci had a heated exchange:

    “Paul asked Fauci about an NIH funded study that he says qualifies as gain-of-function research, the process of altering a pathogen to make it more transmissible in order to better predict emerging diseases. Fauci previously denied that the NIH has ever funded the research at a lab in Wuhan, China that has come under intense scrutiny as a possible source of the virus.

    “I have not lied before Congress. I have never lied. Certainly not before Congress. Case closed,” Fauci said in fiery testimony before the Senate Committee on health, pensions and labor.”

  3. DXer said

    I just watched Episode 4 of the Isabella Gardner heist mini-series on Netflix. I’ll move to the end and some short strokes about the location of the paintings… with the identity of the actual Carmello Merlino crew members involved in the heist pretty irrelevant and subject to dispute.

    There is a trail of bodies stuffed in trunks etc., and so it helps to move quickly away from the actual heist and just look for the buried treasure. Most of the players related to the decades-old heist are dead and buried.

    By way of background, I gave the brilliant investigative reporter Steve Kurkjian the FBI 302 interview statements relating to the FBI’s investigation of Carmello Merlino, whose crew members were responsible for the robbery. A reporter had been given them by the lawyer for David Turner, a Merlino crew member, if I am remembering correctly. The reporter dug them out of deep storage — the reporter owed me a favor and was a nice guy. Armed with those FBI 302s, and an amiable disposition, I hooked up with Steve Kurkjian many years ago as he first started prowling around Maine to find the actual hiding place of the paintings. (I merely followed in his footsteps). The paintings had been stored in Maine for the crew by Robert Guarente, a cocaine dealer.

    So to repeat what is not in dispute: The paintings stolen by Merlino crew were stored by a guy in Maine named Robert Guarente. (His wife was E. but he was closer to his daughter and a mistress.)

    Steve Kurkjian and I had as our shared first entry point in Maine a guy named Murray, a large drug dealer (and rival of Bulger). Murray supported the IRA and who by the account of one highly unreliable witness was said to have bought the paintings. The witness was highly unreliable but the story was plausible — and Murray may still be a valid lead. (He was killed by his wife when he bought a knife to a gun fight at the summer home at Belgrade Lakes there; the wife later died of an overdose).

    This reporter Steve Kurkjian is the fellow who came to Herkimer, NY to interview Earl Berghman. (Berghman joined with the late Guarente’s wife and daughter [of Maine] to purport to attempt to return the paintings through a lawyer.)

    As I best recall, I gave Steve Earle’s name years ago. Then the guy just happened to move to Herkimer after a car accident — he came to stay with his daughter while he recovered. The village clerk in Guarente’s small hometown in Maine had given me Earle’s name to me when I visited with a colleague. We stayed at a cabin on a river. My colleague stayed at the cabin while I toured the abandoned property. Two men in suits looked through the window of the cabin, my associate reports. The associate had declined to trespass on private property, whether clearly abandoned or not. I have the pictures of the area around the farmhouse (and linked them at this blog) where I think the paintings could be buried. I have no indication that the FBI ever brought ground penetrating radar to the area (but one would think they must have). If the farmhouse and surrounding property turned out to be for sale, I would be willing to buy the property. I would be betting that the FBI’s technology was not up to snuff (Guarente’s friend Gentile was a cement contractor as well as a used car salesman and all-round petty crook).

    When my associate and I visited, Guarente’s ex-wife was on the eve of testifying before the grand jury. (She ratted out Robert Gentile who lived in Manchester, CT; she says one of the paintings were handed off from Guarente to Gentile in a Maine restaurant parking lot). When my associate and I visited, Guarente’s wife complained to the museum security director Tony that I was making her nervous asking questions. The museum security director (Tony Amore), who was working with the FBI, asked me to get out of dodge. He said I wasn’t licensed in Maine as a private investigator. And so given Tony would have to pay the reward, I sat on my hands. It was only when Earle moved next door to the first Chinese restaurant in Herkimer I ever went to, I felt obliged to pick the trail back up.

    The three associated with the late Robert Guarente — the daughter, the wife and the wife’s boyfriend Earle — submitted a blue paint chip that the FBI’s forensics said did not match the painting it was said to be from. But neither the museum nor FBI knew who was behind submitting it. So I think this is the lead that should be drilled down on — with Guarente’s daughter the only one knowing the key information. Maybe the daughter just mistakenly retrieved a paint chip from Guarente’s living room. The daughter had a son in a karate class many years ago and so one plan had been to take up karate and become an instructor after getting a black belt. More realistically, my better plan was to infiltrate a homeless shelter in Utica. Earle was homeless after being kicked out from his daughter’s — she lived next to that Chinese restaurant in Herkimer but then moved to Little Falls. In Herkimer, I left a pitch written on a Chinese menu and left it at their door. In Little Falls, on a visit, I unsuccessfully planned to meet the daughter at an ice cream place at the wonderful canalside tourist attraction there. But at the end of the day, Earle didn’t know where the paintings were — I would be relying on him to help me locate the white house where the cocaine bust was hushed up. (A simpler approach would be to just ask the former biker at the taxidermy place down the road from Guarente’s farmhouse.)

    So while my account is pretty incoherent — and I am in marked cognitive decline (judging by my scrabble game and wearing of unmatched socks) — the episode is prompting me to recall (very fondly) visits to Maine, Connecticut and Upstate New York towns. (I likely have uploaded the pictures from Gentile’s used car lot in S. Windsor CT; they showed where the shed had been before being razed and there was evidence of digging nearby).

    As to where the paintings are, I think some could — most simply — be buried at Guarente’s old family homestead in Maine under a concrete slab (with the FBI’s ground penetrating radar inadequate and an excavator needed). Or maybe at a white house past the garden gnomes where a cocaine bust was hushed up according to the former biker down the road from Guarente’s farmhouse at the taxidermy place. The museum security director was urging I leave the area and so I didn’t have time to locate the place — I got lost after I went past the quonset hut, up the hill and passed the gnomes.

    Maybe one or two of the other items were destroyed after being flooded while stored in a tupperware under Gentile’s (Connecticut) shed behind his house. His son said he had never been more upset. With the painting/s ruined, lost or inaccessible, no one would gain by telling the FBI anything. The reward would be pro rated based on the condition of the paintings. Moreover, revealing where you knew where the paintings were buried would raise questions about possession of stolen property. People can make their own assessments about any promises of immunity if the paintings are ruined.

    Alternatively, maybe they are buried in South WIndsor [CT] where Gentile had a used car place. A woman at a nearby building (across the interchange) dates the razing of the shed there to coincide with Guarente’s wife’s testimony before the grand jury. When I visited, it was selling at the time for something like $400,000 or $600,000 and so I just emailed the background to the realtor. It was on a busy commercial drive.

    I haven’t seen any of the first three Netflix episodes but here is a viewing guide. Dating back to the heist, David Turner was a member of the crew that was involved and is thought by the FBI to be extremely dangerous. Also, if someone died of an overdose, it typically means that they were offed by a “hot shot.” One friend of David was stuffed in a trunk or shot in the head after he planned on testifying against David for a home invasion. Even the investigating FBI agent was killed in a crash on the eve of David’s sentencing (if I am recalling the timeline correctly). We can presume the crash was accidental or due to alcohol. But I think even David would agree that he is thought by the FBI to be as dangerous as he is handsome.

    As for the final alternative I propose that you, I think the paintings are hidden behind the halls of a cabin called something like Kopacabana, on Pine Island in Belgrade Lake. Not far from the camp on shore of the late Murray, the large marijuana trafficker who supported the IRA. The cabin was razed and rebuilt by the lake association just when Murray would have gained control of some or all of the paintings after buying them from the Boston crew. (Guarente lived not far from him in Maine). I asked the owner of the island for permission to visit the island off-season but was denied permission. I’ve been meaning to rent the cabin and bring a metal detector. I recommend playing strictly by the rules and avoiding any trespassing on private property — you should always assume that your mother and the FBI knows what you are doing.

    But again, to recap, the actual thieves were from the Boston-area Merlino crew associated with the mob out of Philadelphia. Merlino and David Turner even tried to use them to trade them out of a cocaine charge not long after the heist. Although not mentioned in the documentary, the offer was made to state officials (and apparently not known by the FBI).

    But, hey, after Guarente’s death, neither the museum nor the FBI apparently knew that the folks purporting to have the paintings were close associates of Robert Guarente — one of them, his daughter, a trusted confidante.

    Don’t be too distracted by any mentions of Bulger in advertising or the first three episodes. That perhaps is name-dropping because of public name recognition.

    Joe Murray was Bulger’s rival and an independent who, according to a highly unreliable witness, may have bought them for $300,000. Murray and Bulger were definitely connected and both supported the IRA. And David Turner reportedly once had a condo next door to Bulger. And Bulger would have his finger on the pulse of crime in Boston. But even Bulger had competitors.

    In trying to put you on the trail — so that I can then share in part of the reward — I would recommend you avoid Mr. Turner. He reportedly hit the bartender of Cheers over the head with a bottle in a robbery. You know, think of Coach from Cheers. That just seems mean.

    p.s. I don’t value fine art, I think the paintings are ruined, and I think their value was hyped due to the heist — by people peripheral to the Merlino crew no less. I marvel at how obsessive the art world can be. You would never see me musing over an unsolved mystery for 30 years.

    25 years, tops.

    To truly live out the legacy of James Rockford, it has to be a totally fruitless and profitless endeavor and you just have to be willing to go and ask questions. And, most of all, it should be fun.

  4. DXer said

    Off-topic:

    Charley Hill art detective who found Scream studied Gardner Heist dies, 73
    https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/03/23/metro/charley-hill-art-detective-who-found-scream-studied-gardner-heist-dies-73/

    • DXer said

      Brazen Robbery of $500 Million in Artworks From the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
      The docuseries debuts in April.
      Sarah Cascone, March 12, 2021

      https://news.artnet.com/art-world/gardner-heist-docuseries-netflix-1951491

      I think the late Charley Hill’s approach of straight-up one-on-one contact with the bad guys is the best approach. People are often willing to talk. And email makes it easy.

      Beyond that, as between undercover work, forensics and electronic eavesdropping, I would favor electronic eavesdropping and archival work. Starting even with just social media.

      I think the most of the Gardner paintings were destroyed when stored in a tupperware container under Robert Gentile’s shed in Connecticut. After a flooding, his son had never seen his father more upset.

      But I still could see someone buying Robert Guarente’s old farm house in Maine and doing an excavation. In particular, there was a cement slab I found interesting — even more interesting than the dilapidated barn with the dirt floor.. I’m not sure that the FBI even brought ground penetrating radar — though I assume either they did or someone has by now. Alternatively, I would be interested in Robert Gentile’s guy used car place in South Windsor. The structure was torn down just as Guarente’s wife was testifying before the grand jury. But the parcel was on a commercial roadway and priced way beyond my interest in buying. I did write the realtor though.

      Guarente’s wife, daughter and a friend of his wife, EB, claimed to have access to the paintings and using a lawyer, attempted to pitch them to the museum. Steve K. did great investigative work in pursuing that lead and interviewing Guarente’s wife’s friend after he moved to Upstate New York. Steve is way better at talking with the bad guys (that populate the Isabella Gardner history) than me.

      You might be interested in the documentary on Q. It paints a pretty pathetic context. I think a whole lot of QAnon followers will be very embarrassed.

      The documentary “Lady and the Dale” and “The Mystery of DB Cooper” were also very interesting.

      In the DB Cooper case, my money is on the special forces “copycat” guy McCoy — he was killed in an FBI shootout after some escapes from prison. I was fascinated to learn that the FBI had given the money in a bag that didn’t have a zipper, which perhaps led to it being lost on the drop.

      I have a lot of admiration for documentary makers. They make things interesting.

  5. DXer said

    https://nypost.com/2020/12/27/give-it-up-mr-president-for-your-sake-and-the-nations/Facebook

    OPINIONEDITORIAL

    The Post says: Give it up, Mr. President — for your sake and the nation’s

    By Post Editorial BoardDecember 27, 2020 | 9:02pm | Updated

    Mr. President, it’s time to end this dark charade.

    *** You have tweeted that, as long as Republicans have “courage,” they can overturn the results and give you four more years in office.

    In other words, you’re cheering for an undemocratic coup.

    You had every right to investigate the election. But let’s be clear: Those efforts have found nothing. To take just two examples: Your campaign paid $3 million for a recount in two Wisconsin counties, and you lost by 87 more votes. Georgia did two recounts of the state, each time affirming Biden’s win. These ballots were counted by hand, which alone debunks the claims of a Venezuelan vote-manipulating Kraken conspiracy.

    Sidney Powell is a crazy person. Michael Flynn suggesting martial law is tantamount to treason. It is shameful.

    We understand, Mr. President, that you’re angry that you lost. But to continue down this road is ruinous. We offer this as a newspaper that endorsed you, that supported you: If you want to cement your influence, even set the stage for a future return, you must channel your fury into something more productive.

    ***

    Democrats will try to write you off as a one-term aberration and, frankly, you’re helping them do it. The King Lear of Mar-a-Lago, ranting about the corruption of the world.

  6. DXer said

    Jeff Pippenger from Arkansas may have been involved in a foolish advertisement in the Tennessean last July.

    Arkansas church’s ad draws spotlight
    Its ‘Islam’ nuke claim creates stirby Bill Bowden | June 25, 2020 at 7:14 a.m.

    https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2020/jun/25/arkansas-churchs-ad-draws-spotlight/

    Authorities may be considering whether the license plate on the RV that was blown up in Nashville — that by analogy warned of a bomb and urged that people evacuate — was from Arkansas. A body was recovered.

    • DXer said

      The AdventistToday.org article explains:

      “The ad directed readers also to the website http://www.july18.news which has the same exposition of the purported July 18 prophecy as Pippenger’s site. Both include this dream of Ellen G. White’s:

      “When I was at Nashville, I had been speaking to the people, and in the night season, there was an immense ball of fire that came right from heaven and settled in Nashville. There were flames going out like arrows from that ball; houses were being consumed; houses were tottering and falling. Some of our people were standing there. ‘It is just as we expected,’ they said, ‘we expected this.’ Others were wringing their hands in agony and crying unto God for mercy. ‘You knew it,’ said they, ‘you knew that this was coming, and never said a word to warn us!’ They seemed as though they would almost tear them to pieces, to think they had never told them or given them any warning at all.” Manuscript 188, 1905.”

      Disfellowshipped Adventist Linked to “Horrific” Anti-Islam Ad in the Tennessean Predicting Nuclear Attack on Nashville
      https://atoday.org/disfellowshipped-adventist-linked-to-horrific-anti-islam-ad-in-the-tennessean-predicting-nuclear-attack-on-nashville/

      • DXer said

        Cops release photo of RV used in mysterious Nashville blast
        By Bruce GoldingDecember 25, 2020 | 4:27pm | Updated
        https://nypost.com/2020/12/25/cops-release-photo-of-rv-used-in-nashville-blast/

        “The vehicle doesn’t appear to have a front license plate but looks like it’s built on a Ford Econoline platform.”

        ***

        “It’s unclear if anyone was inside the RV when it blew up, but no bodies have been found.”

        Comment: The picture of the explosion shows it to be across the street from Hooters.

      • DXer said

        Nashville explosion: A quick recap of the facts after a bomb went off downtown
        Mariah TimmsNashville Tennessean
        https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/crime/2020/12/26/nashville-explosion-downtown-rv-christmas-things-to-know/4046727001/

        “Drake said it was unclear if anyone was inside the RV when it exploded. He confirmed “tissue” that “could be” human remains was found in the area of the explosion. Authorities are investigating to determine if it is connected to the explosion.”

        “Police said the RV was spotted in the area after 1 a.m. Friday, hours before the explosion.”

      • DXer said

        Tennessee does not require a license plate on the front.

        The states not requiring a front license plate are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia.Jul 1, 2020

  7. DXer said

    I think President-Elect Biden should choose Merrick Garland as his nominee for Attorney General. Merrick Garland is very smart, fair, experienced and widely respected. While once working at his law firm, where he served for a time on the “assignment committee,” I remember when he chose to return to the DOJ to work as a prosecutor. He has always been a stand-out among his legal peers. That is the type of person you want leading the Department of Justice. He embodies the rule of law.

  8. DXer said

    “Meteor triggers sonic boom and “astonishing” flash of light across multiple states and Ontario”

    DECEMBER 3, 2020 / 6:48 AM / CBS/AP
    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/meteor-sonic-boom-light-flash-multiple-states-ontario/

    “Since most reports of the boom were around Syracuse, that’s likely where the meteor blew to bits, Lunsford said”

    Comment: I jumped in my rowboat and went to a large uninhabited island I imagined was within its trajectory. I stayed overnight. I was perfectly warm because I was so scared of the dark I kept peeing my pants.

    So as much as I’m tempted to say that Michael Flynn has proved to be a bit of a nutter in urging martial law ….

    “Calls for martial law and US military oversight of new presidential election draws criticism”
    https://news.google.com/articles/CAIiEJRVah-6-oRZcd1tRr15W7EqGQgEKhAIACoHCAow2LKbCzCcvbMDMNm13gY?hl=en-US&gl=US&ceid=US%3Aen

    I guess there are different flavors of nuttiness.

    On his resignation as head of DIA, he had spoken about the threat posed by Al Qaeda and anthrax. That had made me his fan. But his involvement in politics has diminished my confidence in his judgment. (I didn’t mind his lying about conversations with the Russian Ambassador; I mean, how can you keep a secret if you aren’t prepared to lie about it).

    Excerpt:

    “The idea is “preposterous,” said Bill Banks, a Syracuse University professor with expertise in constitutional and national security law.
    “Apart from the fact that state and now federal investigators have found no evidence of election fraud that would change the election outcome, martial law has no place in the United States absent a complete breakdown of civil governing mechanisms,” he told Military Times.”

  9. DXer said

    Justice Department investigating potential presidential pardon bribery scheme, court records reveal
    By Katelyn Polantz, CNN
    Updated 6:01 AM ET, Wed December 2, 2020
    https://news.google.com/articles/CAIiEKpNc0GlOnBCOwpYlkUtbq8qGQgEKhAIACoHCAowocv1CjCSptoCMPrTpgU?hl=en-US&gl=US&ceid=US%3Aen

    Isn’t the link below the background on what the redacted documents concern. Robin Hayes was the NC GOP chairman. And the redacted discussion refers to both Lindberg and Hayes.

    But wasn’t it GOP billionaire Greg Lindberg seeking the pardon? …. with Hayes having been treated leniently at sentencing for cooperating. Hayes got probation and Lindberg got something like 84 months. He has appealed his conviction, I recall, an open letter explaining things from his point of view.

    Sometimes things seem redacted only on their face.

    Background:

    NC political donor’s team mum on potential pardon push in bribery case
    Tags:
    • Greg Lindberg,
    • campaign finance,
    • presidential pardon

    Posted November 27, 2020 3:08 p.m. EST
    https://www.wral.com/nc-political-donor-s-team-mum-on-potential-pardon-push-in-bribery-case/19404380/

    • DXer said

      I was mistaken. The name ending in an “S” in the investigation of a possible bribery scheme was Baras.

      Trump Associates Said to Have Been Scrutinized in Suspected Pardon Scheme
      A billionaire from San Francisco sought clemency for a psychologist convicted of monetary crimes. The Republican donor Elliott Broidy and a lawyer for Jared Kushner were enlisted.

      A billionaire San Francisco real estate developer, Sanford Diller, enlisted their help in securing clemency for a Berkeley psychologist, Hugh L. Baras, who had received a 30-month prison sentence on a conviction of tax evasion and improperly claiming Social Security benefits, according to the filing and the people familiar with the case. Under the suspected scheme, Mr. Diller would make “a substantial political contribution” to an unspecified recipient in exchange for the pardon. He died in February 2018, and there is no evidence that the effort continued after his death.

  10. DXer said

    Scientists express concern about Pitt COVID-19 vaccine research using anthrax bacteria strain

    Updated: 7:11 AM EST Nov 23, 2020

    Paul Van Osdol
    Investigative Reporter

    https://www.wtae.com/article/pitt-covid-19-vaccine-research-anthrax-concern/34742626

    PITTSBURGH —
    Some scientists are expressing concern about COVID-19 vaccine research being done at the University of Pittsburgh.

    That’s because researchers are using a strain of the Anthrax bacteria. Pitt said the anthrax strain being used is not hazardous and the research is being done safely.

    Anthrax is a deadly bacteria that killed more than a dozen people in bioterror attacks in 2001.

    ***

    Minutes from an emergency meeting of Pitt’s Institutional Biosafety Committee in July show researchers seeking approval to use anthrax strains expressing the COVID-19 protein in mice. The committee approved the plan.

    Jonathan Latham, executive director of the Bioscience Resource Project, was alarmed to hear about the use of anthrax.

    “I think for sure there are concerns about this. I mean, why mix two pathogens? It’s a biological mystery,” Latham said.

    Action News Investigates also spoke with Rutgers biologist and biohazards expert Richard Ebright.

    “The mass manufacture, distribution, and use of a COVID-19 vaccine based on an attenuated strain of anthrax bacterial would be likely to result in false positives in those tests and to render those tests, and the tens of billions of dollars committed to those tests, effectively useless,” Ebright said.

    “The fact that this project has been proposed and approved at the institutional level — and will not be subject to further review or approval at the federal level — underscores the lack of attention of researchers to biosafety and biosecurity matters and the laxity of institutional and federal oversight of biosafety and biosecurity,” he said.

  11. DXer said

    Compare

    Gangster Dutch Schultz’s $150 million treasure is supposedly buried in New York

    By Michael KaplanNovember 14, 2020

    https://nypost.com/article/searching-for-gangster-dutch-schultzs-gold/

    with

    Getman, “The Ongoing Search For Dutch Schultz’s Missing Millions”

    https://www.treasuretracer.com/dutch-shultz/ongoing-search-for-dutch-schultzs-missing-millions/

    The hunt is on, indeed.

    • DXer said

      Advertisement:

      Secrets of the Dead: “Gangster’s Gold”
      PBS, 10pm
      Join three groups of treasure hunters, armed with modern technology and newly uncovered clues, as they set out to find the lost treasure of notorious Prohibition-era gangster Dutch Schultz and solve an 85-year-old mystery.

  12. DXer said

    FBI Christopher Wray’s father Cecil was a former Adirondack Park Commissioner. His father can be proud of his son’s legacy. I did the 5 Catskill fire towers last year but look forward to turning to the ADK peaks next Spring.

  13. DXer said

    https://abcnews.go.com/Health/covid-19-vaccine-lessons-2001s-anthrax-attacks/story?id=73508456

    COVID-19 vaccine: Lessons from 2001’s anthrax attacks
    This won’t be the first time the FDA grants an EUA for a promising vaccine.
    ByArielle Mitropoulos andSony Salzman
    October 13, 2020, 12:38 PM

    https://www.minnpost.com/eric-black-ink/2020/10/lincoln-projects-michael-steele-america-or-trump-i-choose-america/

    Lincoln Project’s Michael Steele [former RNC Chairman]: ‘America, or Trump? I choose America’
    https://www.minnpost.com/eric-black-ink/2020/10/lincoln-projects-michael-steele-america-or-trump-i-choose-america/

  14. DXer said

    • OPINION
    I worked for Joe Biden when he dealt with the anthrax attack | Column
    When letters laced with anthrax were mailed to U.S. senators, I was his chief scientist and watched his smart response.
    https://www.tampabay.com/opinion/2020/10/17/i-worked-for-joe-biden-when-he-dealt-with-the-anthrax-attack-column/

    Workers in biohazard suits continue with anthrax decontamination steps outside the Hart Senate office building, Nov. 7, 2001, in Washington. (AP Photo/Kenneth Lambert) [ KENNETH LAMBERT | AP ]
    By Peter D. Zimmerman
    Published Oct. 17

    Nineteen years ago a terrorist mailed anthrax-laced letters to American journalists and to U.S. senators. The first man to die was Boca Raton photographer Bob Smith. My boss at the time, Sen. Joe Biden, demonstrated his cool leadership both on 9/11 and then, barely a week later, during the first biological terrorist attack. I had joined Biden’s staff as chief scientist just a couple of weeks before hell broke loose.

    Peter Zimmerman [ Courtesy of Peter Zimmerman ]

    On Sept. 18, 2001, a rolling catastrophe began. Five envelopes laced with anthrax spores were mailed in Princeton, N.J. The first one landed in the offices of the National Enquirer in Boca Raton, where the first hint of trouble emerged when Enquirer photographer Bob Smith came down with a high fever, confusion and vomiting on Sept. 30. By Oct. 3 it was clear that Smith had inhalational anthrax, something usually only seen in sheep ranchers and veterinarians. No precautions were taken, and the incident was viewed as isolated foul play. Smith died on Oct. 5.

    In the next few days reports of additional envelopes with white or tan powders landing at the New York Post, Tom Brokaw’s office at NBC, at ABC, and elsewhere flowed in.

    On Oct. 9 the U.S. Senate was anthraxed, with letters going to Sens. Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy. The Daschle letter was opened in a mail room and the white powder inside spread through the room and then throughout the Hart Senate Office Building. It also got into the air conditioning system that served both the Hart and Dirksen office buildings. Senate aides clamored for tests to make certain we were not exposed. Sen. Biden and others prevailed on the Capitol physician’s office to offer tests to anybody who was worried.

    Testing was first set up in the Hart Building. However, I suggested to Sen. Biden that it might not be a good idea to bring everybody into the building where the attack took place. The tests were moved to another building, and finally completely off site to the gymnasium of a school.

    I was sure I hadn’t been in the building after the spores were released and didn’t go for testing. On the last day tests were offered Sen. Biden asked me how my test came out. I explained. He put an arm on my shoulder and asked if I shouldn’t be tested to be certain. “Man,” he said, “do it for your wife. She’s got to know you’re safe.” So I did, and a few days later got the expected all clear.

    While testing continued, the police and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were making plans to seal both office buildings and decontaminate them. On less than an hour’s notice everybody was tossed out of the buildings. Take what you can carry; you’re not coming back in.

    Biden arranged for the entire staff, Republican as well as Democrats, to get some laptop computers and work in the committee’s ceremonial office in the Capitol itself. He called the staff together and announced that space would be tight for months, and that if we were worried about our health, we could work from home. But we decided that if the boss with a wife and a young daughter could make the trip in, so could we.

    After listening to scientific advice, Biden quickly grasped what the United States would require in future medical emergencies: N95 masks in large numbers to protect citizens and medical personnel; gowns and gloves; testing kits and nasal swabs; and finally enormous numbers of ciprofloxacin tablets plus doxycycline, erythromycin and vancomycin antibiotics.

    The nation’s emergency drug supply would require augmentation, and the whole country required a beefed-up distribution system. Beyond that, he suggested a global disease surveillance system, since the next medical catastrophe could be natural or manmade, and might be a disease for which neither a vaccine nor a cure existed. Ebola came to mind.

    I drafted the bill, and Sen. Biden introduced it along with many cosponsors from both sides of the aisle. It twice passed the Senate unanimously. And it twice died in the Republican-controlled House where then-Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana suggested without evidence that the anthrax spores had been “genetically modified” by Saddam Hussein’s regime. On the Oct. 10 Howard Stern show, Donald Trump said he was the only person who didn’t have a course of Ciprofloxacin at home, just in case. He claimed that 25 percent of patients got “unbelievably sick by taking it.” He would not take it, even if exposed to anthrax. But he has hinted that the American people should take a COVID-19 vaccine that hasn’t passed the FDA’s safety standards.

    In the end 17 people were infected during the anthrax attack, and five people, mostly postal workers, died. The clean-up cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

    Peter D. Zimmerman, a nuclear physicist, was chief scientist of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and is emeritus professor of science & security, War Studies Department, King’s College London. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society. He wrote this exclusively for the Tampa Bay Times

  15. DXer said

    The Lincoln Project has a good new commercial narrated by Sam Elliott.

  16. DXer said

    President Trump reportedly is thinking about firing Attorney General Barr and FBI Director Wray. Although I don’t follow most FBI matters very closely, my sense of FBI Director Wray is that he has acted with great integrity and by doing so he has worked to maintain the FBI’s reputation in challenging times.

    As for Attorney General Barr, while I realize that there he thinks there are intellectual grounds for his approach to his job, the result is that he will always be known as a toady. He should have understood his role to represent the people of the United States and not Donald Trump.

  17. DXer said

    The Lincoln Project presents Demi Lovato in “Commander in Chief”

  18. DXer said

    New England Journal of Medicine:

    EDITORIAL
    Dying in a Leadership Vacuum

    • The Editors

    But truth is neither liberal nor conservative. When it comes to the response to the largest public health crisis of our time, our current political leaders have demonstrated that they are dangerously incompetent. We should not abet them and enable the deaths of thousands more Americans by allowing them to keep their jobs.

    https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMe2029812

  19. DXer said

    DOJ Announces Press Conference Tomorrow at 11 AM ET “On a Matter of National Security”

    https://www.gadgetsstack.com/doj-announces-press-conference-tomorrow-at-11-am-et-on-a-matter-of-national-security-51467.html

    The press conference will be live streamed at justice.gov/live

  20. DXer said

    Here is a video by Major General Eaton on Donald Trump and his disrespect for veterans.

    Respect our vets for their service.

  21. DXer said

  22. DXer said

    World War Z – trailer – Italy

  23. DXer said

    In his new book, INSIDE THE HOT ZONE, Mark Kortepeter describes the Ames strain as “a very potent strain selected for testing possible vaccines because of its deadly properties.”

  24. DXer said

    In a tweet today, President Trump said “Case Closed!” He reminds me of Charlie Sheen, during a rough patch the fellow went through a while back. He refers to himself in the third person and proclaims “We’re winning!” in what should be a diplomatic negotiation that allows the parties feel that the result was win-win. Does the President of the United States snort Aderall as rumored? Does that explain his behavior? We’ve always known — some for 40 years— that he lacks character. He was never fit to be President. Republicans need to protect the country from Trump driving the US into bankruptcy as he has done with so many of his companies.

  25. DXer said

    Comment:

    Years ago, Russian defecting bioweaponeer Alibek told me and literature/contract awards/abstracts (I don’t recall which without checking) showed that an NIH scientist gave them the Ames. The scientist, educated in Israel, did not respond to my email confirming that he was the source.

    CDC inspection at Fort Detrick’s USAMRIID underscores need for regulations at other labs
    By Heather Mongilio hmongilio@newspost.com 5 hrs ago

    https://www.fredericknewspost.com/news/health/cdc-inspection-at-fort-detrick-s-usamriid-underscores-need-for/article_4b0f91bd-82b0-5558-a09e-7ded55775fd6.html

    USAMRIID is one of the heavily regulated laboratories, said Reed, who also spent several years there as a bacteriologist.
    Because USAMRIID is part of the Federal Select Agent Program and the Army, it is inspected by the CDC, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Defense. Under the Code of Federal Regulations, those in the FSAP program can be inspected by the CDC during announced and unexpected visits.

    That’s more regulations than apply to many of the private or academic containment laboratories that do not fall under the Federal Select Agent Program, Reed said. The biosafety level does not refer to the danger of a pathogen, or disease-causing material, but rather the system required to contain it.

  26. DXer said

    Lew has graciously turned over the blog to me. We’ll see if I am up to learning how to do it. Lew now won’t have to worry about me straying off topic or saying that President Trump, by his temperament, is not suited to be President. There really is no reason that the President could not start acting more Presidential, stop the immature insults, and read more so as to inform himself on policy issues. There is no reason he couldn’t come to respect and honor the importance of the rule of law in our government.

    And there is no reason that the GOP could not develop a Plan B. William Weld seems Presidential and well-qualified. As does Mitt Romney. And I’m sure there are many others.

  27. DXer said

    This book reviewer, Glenn Cross, got his PhD at George Mason University. The book review bio notes: “Ken Alibek, was his dissertation advisor. Dr. Cross went on to do a postdoctoral fellowship at Georgetown University Medical School developing means for attributing biological weapons attacks.” ATCC shared facilities with GMU — it was located there. Ken Alibek told me that they were using Ames.

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

    Glenn Cross
    January 16, 2019
    Book Reviews

    “The book is Decker’s first-person account of his role in the case. This perspective is both the book’s major strength and its major weakness. Decker’s focus was on developing and refining the scientific approach to the investigation, so he deftly weaves a compelling account of the scientific aspects of Amerithrax. At the same time, although he certainly was aware of other aspects of Amerithrax, Decker’s book offers no insight into the efforts to examine possible international terrorist involvement in the mailings, an early concern that continued late into the case.”

    https://warontherocks.com/2019/01/death-in-the-air-revisiting-the-2001-anthrax-mailings-and-the-amerithrax-investigation/

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

  28. DXer said

    Trump again lashes out over ‘infiltration’ of ‘spies’ into his campaign
    Geobeats
    May 31st 2018
    https://www.aol.com/article/news/2018/05/31/trump-again-lashes-out-over-infiltration-of-spies-into-his-campaign/23448279/

    Trump knocks news outlets for burying ‘infiltration’ of campaign: ‘Surveillance much?’
    By John Bowden – 05/31/18
    http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/390019-trump-knocks-news-outlets-for-burying-infiltration-of-campaign

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

    President Trump,

    I tend to agree that the media (NYT, MSNBC, CNN) is biased against you. An illustration is where they misquoted the official about the Korean summit being “impossible” and then double-downed by relying on the fact that they official they misquoted did in fact exist.

    But on this infiltration point, perhaps the issue hasn’t fully ripened yet. You have been relying on some approaches by Halper that were prudent and warranted — as explained by Gowdy.

    But the more interesting question — a subject that might afford you a basis for making the argument persuasively — relates to Felix Sater.

    Is he cooperating with the FBI? If so, when did he start?

    As another example of media bias, consider Avenatti’s claim that the Cohen tapes need to be made public. The media does not even focus on the fact that there is no legal basis whatsoever for the demand.

    If I were you, I would resign and resume a satisfying life of leisure. Michael Cohen’s documents are too damning for you to win a second term, to be sure. If you don’t realize that, you should step out of your FoxNews echo bubble and review your life in your head — dating to when you hired the illegal Polish workers to take down Bonwit Teller. You need to review who the Trump Organization paid to get things done. Michael Cohen not only kept such records but the idiot kept tapes of phone calls. Audiotapes are extremely powerful.

    The facts reflected by the Cohen materials are too damning — and Mueller’s team too accomplished — for you to remain in office unless Felix Sater was cooperating with the FBI and laying a trap for you in Moscow at a very early stage.

    You, quite simply, should have boned up on infiltration a long time ago and revealed that Mueller botched Amerithrax — and that can be done simply by ensuring that the FBI complies with FOIA. Giuliani dropped the ball on this a long time ago.

    (In contrast, FOIA would never reach the Cohen tapes during the pendency of the criminal prosecution).

    • DXer said

      When are people going to wake up and smell the coffee? Robert Mueller is a man of integrity worthy of the public’s support, regardless of their party affiliation. Avenatti is not.

      Coffee shortages, payment questions, and shocking closures: Former employees at the coffee chain once purchased by Stormy Daniels’ lawyer share what it was like to work at Tully’s
      Kate Taylor
      http://www.businessinsider.com/michael-avenatti-ex-coffee-shop-employees-speak-out-2018-5

    • DXer said

      Robert Mueller represents the rule of law. Michael Avenatti does not. Choose your heroes wisely.

      Exclusive: How a ‘nobody’ ex-con pushed Avenatti law firm into bankruptcy
      By Maeve Reston, Scott Glover, Sara Sidner and Traci Tamura, CNN
      Updated 8:12 PM ET, Fri June 1, 2018
      https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/01/politics/avenatti-bankruptcy-lawsuit-stormy/index.html

    • DXer said

      WATCH: Mystery man who forced attorney Avenatti into bankruptcy refuses to say who paid for it in ambush interview

      Martin Cizmar
      01 Jun 2018 at 20:46 ET

      https://www.rawstory.com/2018/06/watch-mystery-man-forced-attorney-avenatti-bankruptcy-refuses-say-paid/

    • DXer said

      Trump lawyers’ letter to Mueller: President has absolute authority over federal investigations, by Jonathan Lemire, June 2, 2018
      http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-trump-mueller-letter-20180602-story.html

      Comment: Independent Counselor Mueller should subpoena President Trump and then this legal question can be litigated.

    • DXer said

      Giuliani threatens legal battle with Mueller over subpoena

      By Katherine Faulders,
      Tara Palmeri
      JOHN SANTUCCI
      Jun 2, 2018, 8:21 PM ET
      https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/giuliani-threatens-legal-battle-mueller-subpoena/story?id=55610183

      “If Mueller tries to subpoena us, we’re going to court,” Giuliani told ABC News.

      Comment: And that is how it should be. President Trump will have been exposed as someone who feels he cannot testify about the matters presented, and then the legal question will be resolved by the court or courts.

      President Trump instead could sit for the interview and simply plead the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

    • DXer said

      Theory that a president cannot obstruct justice is ‘ludicrous,’ legal scholars say
      Updated Jun 3, 7:41 PM; Posted Jun 3, 6:21 PM
      https://www.syracuse.com/politics/index.ssf/2018/06/theory_that_a_president_cannot_obstruct_justice_is_ludicrous_legal_scholars_say.html

      Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, said he believed the president has the authority to pardon himself, and using pardons as a piece of an obstruction case might be problematic “because the nature of the act is to bar prosecutions or set aside convictions.”

      “That has been something of a parlor game for constitutional scholars for years, and many of the fun hypotheticals that we used to enjoy over beers all seem to be coming to fruition under the Trump administration,” Turley said.

      Comment: The Constitution says that the president “shall have the power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.”

      The President does not have the power to grant pardons against the United States in cases of impeachment.

      A cynic might file Professor Turley’s opinion under Business Development. But the Independent Counsel should subpoena the President for an interview. And let’s have a court address the language of the United States Constitution.

      For Attorney Giuliani to argue that President Trump could shoot James Comey (in other stories today and yesterday) and not be subject to indictment is about as far from the rule of law as one can get.

      Attorney Giuliani is shaping his legacy.

      Now it is time to Robert Mueller to determine his own legacy. And make it clear to the world: the United States of America is not a banana republic. That is not what Marines died for.

    • DXer said

      Once some of the bombshell Cohen documents come to light, President Trump should be impeached. He will have had every opportunity to step down and allow a smoother transition of power.

      “Can Trump pardon himself? Not if he’s impeached”
      https://apnews.com/c21714b6845142a2ba5b7eaeb669f073

    • DXer said

      Mueller has waited long enough. It’s subpoena time.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/mueller-has-waited-long-enough-its-subpoena-time/2018/06/04/01330048-6804-11e8-9e38-24e693b38637_story.html?utm_term=.a747ffb1ac25

      “What should the special counsel do next? I’d suggest it’s subpoena time.”

      Comment: I agree with Ruth Marcus.

      A federal court should not be given the opportunity to decide the legal question presented — the divisiveness results in the issue being the subject of assertion and counter-assertion by kitchen and tv pundits and lawyers (and bloggers).

      And, yes, after a District Court ruling, the issue would be subject to appeal.

      I expect that before the issue is finally resolved by the judiciary President Trump will resign once the documents seized in the Cohen raid are given to the FBI and processed by the DOJ taint team.

      We need to move things forward in an orderly way so we can get on with the business of government under a new Administration. If President Trump acts in a timely manner, he will be able to resume a life of luxury and avoid disgrace.

      Trump knows I’m right because he knows the types of things he’s been doing all his life in the construction and casino industries. And some of those things are reflected in the Cohen documents that were seized.

  29. DXer said

    All the while I’ve disagreed with him — first as to Hatfill and then as to Ivins — I’ve always thought of Robert Mueller as Gary Cooper in High Noon.

    Article 2, Section 2, Sentence 1 creates an exception for the President’s pardon power in matters of impeachment.

    The indictment of Michael Cohen (and Felix Sater) can be expected to state such a charge. In other words, his powers of impeachment would not permit him to pardon Cohen in a matter relating to impeachment.

    But Independent Counsel’s failure to subpoena President Trump reminds me of this Underdog episode below.

    As the 15 attorneys race to go through Cohen’s documents, they are reporting back the bad news.

    Cohen’s lawyers are panicking. Now President Trump is panicking. He and his gang will be arriving at the train station shortly.

    It’s time for the Independent Counsel to do what he was signed up to do — no investigation is complete without an interview of the President on the issues.

    Mueller should seek to have a subpoena issue and interview the President — or have one of his ace prosecutors do so.

    Respectfully, Robert Mueller botched Amerithrax (in my opinion). Reasonable people can disagree. In my opinion, he also is now making a mistake in not seeking to force the interview with the President on the issues he was hired and is being paid to investigate.

    Although review of Cohen’s documents would be preferable, things may be moving at a pace where Mueller should move forward with the interview. Let Attorney Giuliani litigate the issue if he likes.

  30. DXer said

    As for whether it was sent to ATCC in Northern VA — who told the RIID reporter that ATCC was given Ames? James Bannan, the leading FBI scientist, had been the scientist in charge of the bacteriology section of that culture repository. ATCC shared space with Ken Alibek’s company, Hadron, at GMU. Russian bioweaponeer Ken Alibek told me — and the documents show — that his company was supplied Ames by 1999. (It came from an Israeli scientist, as I recall offhand, who was working at NIH). He had virulent Ames — the work was done at Southern Research Institute. (I spoke with Ken about the outside company that did the research).

    Pat Fellows came to head the BL-3 lab at Southern Research Institute there not so long after this email from Bruce. While Bruce may not have been the one to supply ATCC/Alibek Ames, it was the FBI and Pat Fellows who would have known about Alibek’s company with Ames — that is, along with FBI’s scientists. In September 2002, when it was reported that Alibek was of keen investigative interest, Ivins forwarded the article with an exclamation “Very interesting!”

    A whistleblower once called me to tell me that convicted seditionist who had an office next to Alibek had full access to the ATCC culture repository — you know, the one that the FBI scientist JB oversaw. Ali Al-TImimi received two life sentences for some conversations he had with some young jihadis who wanted to go abroad to defend their faith. An attorney who had BL-4 experience, she was let go within her 2 week probationary period when raised the issue of the incredibly lax security.

    Do you think the FBI maybe should release the emails to Pat Fellows and Mara Linscott it quoted and relied upon in its Amerithrax Summary to see if they have fairly characterized them? By my count, they are withholding every freaking one they quoted and relied upon in closing the case. I appreciate that conflicts of interest are sometimes difficult to avoid in a small field — and I credit everyone’s good faith except Dr. Ayman Zawahiri — but those conflicts of interest require the utmost transparency. Here, the lead FBI scientist Jason B. might have been subject to millions in civil liability if it was found that he had allowed a convicted seditionsist access to the largest microbiological repository in the world. (As it is, have you ever wondered why Ali Al-Timimi’s trial is partly classified? As Senator Leahy has said, the FBI just classifies its mistakes so they don’t come to light. Sunlight — compliance with the law, with FOIA — is the best disinfectant.

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

    • DXer said

      Because of some sort of computer difficulty, I can’t get into the USAMRMC Electronic Reading Room anymore — as of a few minutes ago.

      It seems that it would be cool if I could re-post all the relevant documents posted on this blog over the past years — but this time with the redactions eliminated — so we can put an end to the FBI’s spin, eh?

      But the Oscars are tonight. And the FBI knows I take analysis of the Oscars very seriously.

    • DXer said

      In this thread above, I wrote:

      “Pat Fellows came to head the BL-3 lab at Southern Research Institute there not so long after this email from Bruce.”

      But then the unredacted version of the October 30 email from Bruce to Pat has not yet been posted by Lew. My assurance to him that I had full authority to post the unredacted version may not have yet convinced him. Or he may just be otherwise occupied.

      In any event, for your convenience, I’ll retype the email thusly:

      “From: Ivins, Bruce E Dr USAMRIID
      Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 20011 7:05 AM”
      To: Pat Fellows in Florida (E-mail)
      Subject: FW New Yorker urgently asks fact-check on one question. Please.

      Can you believe this, QB?? Deborah McKenzie now says that we have “weaponized” the Ames strain. INCREDIBLE!!!!”

      If necessary, future unredacted versions of previously produced emails can be uploaded at

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

      It is the FBI that is out of compliance with the law, with FOIPA — by its withholding from Dillon the emails from Bruce to Mara and Pat and others in September and October 2001 bearing on how he was spending his time before the mailings. The FBI’s wrongful withholding combined with its selective quoting and false assertions has resulted in its BS “Ivins Theory” that has served CYA purposes, and not served any national security interests.

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