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

Archive for the ‘* anthrax science’ Category

one of the weakest parts of the FBI anthrax investigation is the science that they used – some say misused.

* Stuart Jacobsen on PROMED … 6 unanswered questions regarding the anthrax attacks

Posted by DXer on March 25, 2010

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The New York Times says the FBI’s anthrax case has “too many loose ends.” Find out where some of those looses ends might have originated in my novel CASE CLOSED. Sure it’s fiction, but many readers, including a highly respected member of the U.S. Intelligence Community, think my premise is actually “quite plausible.”

* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon *

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Posted on PROMED by Stuart Jacobsen …

Subject: 6 unanswered questions

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NOTE: ProMED-mail is a program of the International Society for Infectious Diseases


(1) The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) published a Newsletter in October 2002 in which they stated: “Fort Detrick sought our assistance to determine the specific components of the anthrax found in the Daschle letter,” said Florabel G. Mullick, MD, ScD, SES, AFIP Principal Deputy Director and department chair.  AFIP experts utilized an energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer (an instrument used to detect the presence of otherwise-unseen chemicals through characteristic wavelengths of X-ray light) to confirm the previously unidentifiable substance as silica. “This was a key component,” Mullick said. “Silica prevents the anthrax from aggregating, making it easier to aerosolize.” <http://www.anthraxinvestigation.com/AFIP.html>

In their Newsletter AFIP also included an EDX spectrum of a reference sample of silica titled “Silicon Dioxide (Silica), as it appears
through energy dispersive X-ray analysis”

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1.1: What was in the AFIP EDX data that allowed them to conclude that silica was a deliberate additive?

1.2: The complete set of EDX spectra and scanning electron microscope pictures for all of the attack powder samples measured by AFIP need to be published in order for independent experts in EDX spectroscopy to assess the validity of AFIP’s conclusion that silica was a deliberate additive.

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(2) In April 2002 information that an “unusual chemical” had been found coating the attack powders was provided by senior government officials to Newsweek, CNN and the Washington Post. Later on it was revealed by the FBI that this “unusual chemical” was “polymerized glass.”

Source: Newsweek, 8 Apr 2002.
<http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/sophisticatedstrainanthrax.html>
A Sophisticated Strain of Anthrax
By: Mark Hosenball, John Barry and Daniel Klaidman

“Government sources tell Newsweek that the secret new analysis shows anthrax found in a letter addressed to Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy was ground to a microscopic fineness not achieved by U.S. biological-weapons experts. The Leahy anthrax — mailed in an envelope that was recovered unopened from a Washington post office last November [2001] — also was coated with a chemical compound unknown to experts who have worked in the field for years; the coating matches no known anthrax samples ever recovered from biological-weapons producers anywhere in the world, including Iraq and the former Soviet Union. The combination of the intense milling of the bacteria and the unusual coating produced an anthrax powder so fine and fluffy that individually coated anthrax spores were found in the Leahy envelope, something that U.S. bioweapons experts had never seen.”
Source: Washington Post, 9 Apr 2002.
<http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/anthraxpowdernotroutine.html>
Powder Used in Anthrax Attacks ‘Was Not Routine’

By: Joby Warrick, Washington Post Staff Writer

“Whoever concocted the wispy white powder used in last fall’s [2001] anthrax attacks followed a recipe markedly different from the ones commonly used by scientists in the United States or any other country known to have biological weapons, law enforcement sources said yesterday.

“Extensive lab tests of the anthrax powder have revealed new details about how the powder was made, including the identity of a chemical used to coat the trillions of microscopic spores to keep them from clumping together. Sources close to the investigation declined to name the chemical but said its presence was something of a surprise.

“The powder’s formulation ‘was not routine,’ said one law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. ‘Somebody had to have special knowledge and experience to do this,’ the official said.”

Source: CNN, 11 Apr 2002.

<http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/unusualcoating.html>
Official: Unusual coating in anthrax mailings
By: Kelli Arena, CNN Washington Bureau

“Scientists have found a new chemical in the coating on the anthrax spores mailed to journalists and politicians last fall, a
high-ranking government official said Wednesday.

“The discovery of the unnamed chemical, something scientists are familiar with, was surprising, the official said.

“Previously, officials had reported that the coating on the anthrax included silica, which helped the spores not to clump.”

Source: OpEdNews.com
<http://www.opednews.com/articles/World-s-Top-Anthrax-Expert-by-George-Washington-080909-527.html>

“Apparently, the spores were coated with a polyglass which tightly bound hydrophilic silica to each particle. That’s what was briefed (according to one of my former weapons inspectors at the United Nations Special Commission) by the FBI to the German Foreign Ministry at the time.”

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2.1: What laboratory results were performed in order for the FBI to conclude that “polymerized glass” was individually coating the spores?

2.2: The complete set of laboratory data, including any and all spectroscopic results, that led to this conclusion needs to be published in order for independent experts in the chemistry of silanes, siloxanes and polysiloxanes to assess the conclusion that polymerized glass was present as a spore coating.

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(3) Quantitative elemental silicon analysis results released by the FBI: FBI lab director Dr Hassell made the following statement to the
National Academy of Science in July of 2009:
<https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/fbi-assistant-director-hassell-statement-to-nas-7-30-09.pdf>

“There has been a great deal written regarding the presence of silicon in the samples and the location of that silicon. The FBI
Laboratory used Inductively Coupled Plasma-Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-OES) to quantify silicon, as well as other
elements, in the Leahy letter spore powder. The results indicated the Leahy spores contained 1.45 percent by weight. The New York Post letter spore powder was qualitatively analyzed using ICP-OES and was found to have Silicon present in the sample. However, the limited quantity of recovered material precluded a reliable numerical measurement of any elements present within this powder. Insufficient quantities ofboth the Daschle and Brokaw letters spore powders precluded the analysis of these samples using this elemental analysis technique.”

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3.1: What is the minimum amount of sample needed to perform accurate quantitative elemental analysis on spore samples?

3.2: All of the FBI’s ICP-OES data for all of the spore powders they measured needs to be released and published for independent verification by experts in analytical chemistry.

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(4) Role of Pacific Northwest National Labs in the Amerithrax investigation: In his slide presentation to NAS in July 2008, FBI lab director Dr Hassell acknowledged the involvement of Pacific Northwest National Labs. This can be seen in slide 14 here:
<https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/02/01/fbi-slides-d-christian-hassell-%EF%BB%BFscientific-approaches-to-the-2001-anthrax-letters-investigation/>

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4.1: What role did Pacific Northwest National Labs serve in the Amerithrax investigation?

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Pacific Northwest Labs demonstrated in 2005 that accurate quantitative Elemental Analysis can be performed on bacillus spores with samples as small as one nanogram. The Pacific Northwest paper on this technique can be seen here: Differentiation of Spores of Bacillus subtilis Grown in Different Media by Elemental Characterization Using Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry, John B. Cliff, Kristin H. Jarman, Nancy B. Valentine, Steven L. Golledge, Daniel J. Gaspar, David S. Wunschel, and Karen L. Wahl, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, November 2005, p. 6524-6530, Vol. 71, No. 11

<http://aem.asm.org/cgi/content/full/71/11/6524?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=subtilis&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=630&resourcetype=HWFIG>

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4.2: Did Pacific Northwest National Labs determine the elemental quantities of silicon and other elements in the attack powders? What was the quantity of silicon they determined for each powder?

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(5) Amount of spores needed for all of the attack letters: The single flask of RMR-1029 consisted at its origination date of 30g of Ames anthrax spores in a slurry of 1 liter of water. The resources needed to make this 30g of spores consisted of a combination of 12 x 10 liter fermentor runs at Dugway Proving Ground and 22 flask culture lots made at USAMRIID. Dr Bruce Ivins had calculated that to make 30g of spores at USAMRIID it would take approximately one year of work, which is why USAMRIID contracted the large fermentor runs at Dugway in order to fulfill their need for spores for animal vaccine challenge studies.

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5.1: What calculations did the FBI labs perform that allowed them to conclude that the total quantity of spores needed for all the mailed letters could be made by a single person over a few evenings?

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(6) Dugway researchers publish in 2008 that the Daschle spores were “fluidized.” In March 2008 authors from Dugway Proving Ground and the CDC published a paper titled: Development of an Aerosol System for Uniformly Depositing Bacillus anthracis Spore Particles on Surfaces. Paul A. Baron1, Cherie F. Estill1, Gregory J. Deye1, Misty J. Hein1, Jeremy K. Beard2, Lloyd D. Larsen2, and Gregory E. Dahlstrom2, 1_Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA 2_Dugway Proving Ground, Dugway, Utah, USA

<http://pdfserve.informaworld.com/168090__790515467.pdf>

In this paper, which was concerned with manufacturing a powder that would display similar aerosol and dispersability behavior to the Daschle powder, the authors make the following statement: “In the anthrax attack of 2001, some of the material was believed to be in a “fluidized” form (defined here as having fumed silica added).”

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6.1: Were the authors from Dugway Proving Ground privy to the nature of the powder used in the attacks? What led the authors to conclude that the spores used in the attacks were “fluidized?”

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posted by Stuart Jacobsen PhD, Analytical Chemist

http://www.promedmail.org/pls/otn/f?p=2400:1001:459862648644425::NO::F2400_P1001_BACK_PAGE,F2400_P1001_PUB_MAIL_ID:1010,81897

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Posted in * anthrax science | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 101 Comments »

* FBI anthrax investigation … statements from DOJ & FBI regarding the FBI’s anthrax science

Posted by DXer on January 10, 2010

thanks to Anonymous Scientist for these materials …

click to open …

DOJ Science Anthrax Press Conference – 8-18-08

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FBI Assistant Director Dr. Vahid Majidi – science of the anthrax investigation – 8-18-08

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FBI Assistant Director Hassell – statement to NAS 7-30-09

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Fraser-Liggett et al – The Genomics Behind the Amerithrax Investigation ***

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*** Anonymous Scientist comments … Slide 31 of the Fraser-Liggett presentation shows a picture of the Fermentor at Dugway and a batch of flasks at Detrick. It states that 12 X 10 liter runs were performed at Dugway and 22 flask preparations at Detrick to finally concentrate down to a 1 liter flask of RMR-1029.

RMR-1029 basically consisted of 30 grams of spores in 1 liter of water. Obviously enormous resources were used to produce it.  If we assume that at least 10 grams of spores were needed for the letters (you would lose powder at every step) – it shows the impossibility of this being done by Ivins over a few evenings alone.

Fraser-Liggett slide #31

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CASE CLOSED is a novel which answers the question … Why did the FBI fail to solve the 2001 anthrax case?

Here’s the (fictional) DIA Director giving the charge to his team re-investigating the FBI anthrax investigation …

“Those FBI bastards hounded a Defense Department employee until he committed suicide, if it was suicide. After seven years the FBI hasn’t come close to making a case that could convict the lowest grade criminal, let alone an internationally respected scientist. And they think they can say ‘case closed’ and sweep their incompetent investigation under the rug?”

“I’ve already spoken to Secretary Morgan,” General Drysdale continued. “The Secretary agrees that the Defense Department is taking an unwarranted hit from the FBI, and we don’t know why. At my request, the Secretary has authorized us to find out what really happened.

“You’re the team I’ve selected. You’re authorized to go where you need to go, ask what you need to know. You’ll have whatever resources are necessary.

Click here to buy CASE CLOSED by Lew Weinstein

in paperback or kindle

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Posted in * anthrax science | Tagged: , , , | 9 Comments »

* anthrax slides … Joseph Michael & Paul Kotula

Posted by DXer on January 10, 2010

to learn more about Lew Weinstein and his novels,

go to … http://lewweinsteinauthorblog.com/

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Click here to download 41 slides … >>

Michael – Kotula Anthrax Slides

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Posted in * anthrax science, * questioning the FBI's anthrax investigation | Tagged: , , , , | 16 Comments »

* USA Today reports on bioWatch technology to detect anthrax and other bioterror agents

Posted by DXer on October 6, 2009

CASE CLOSEDCASE CLOSED is a novel which answers the question “Why did the FBI fail to solve the 2001 anthrax case?” … click here to … buy CASE CLOSED by Lew Weinstein

Here’s what readers say about CASE CLOSED  …

“Weinstein raises some very interesting and disturbing theories. CASE CLOSED is a great read, suspenseful and a real page turner. Please tell me it’s not true!”

“You will not want to stop reading … Lew Weinstein addresses the 2001 anthrax case with the pen of a highly skilled investigator.”

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bioWatch technology is operating in over 30 cities

bioWatch

Steve Sternberg writes in USA Today (10-6-09)

  • As the anthrax attacks unfolded in 2001, the White House ordered Tom Slezak to Washington, D.C., to deploy experimental technology that scientists from Livermore and the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico had developed to protect athletes and spectators at the 2002 Winter Olympics.
  • The detection system had never been put to a real-world test. Soon, the safety of many U.S. cities would depend on it.
  • Today, eight years after the anthrax attacks, the system Slezak’s research team started, known as BioWatch, is quietly operating in more than 30 cities.
  • In September 2005, BioWatch detected bacteria that cause tularemia — a known bioterror agent— on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., during an anti-war demonstration that drew thousands of marchers. Further tests suggested the bacteria occurred naturally and was no threat, officials said then.
  • “There’s a general feeling that anthrax will be the most likely agent of choice. It’s available in nature, it doesn’t require heavy science to manipulate, and it can be granulized into a form that makes it easier to disseminate” and inhaled.
  • Another reason anthrax is appealing to bioterrorists, he says, is that it is difficult to detect. Anthrax detonates silently, without smoke or flame. Its spores are odorless and all but invisible. Like a deadly pollen, they can float on air.
  • “We’re looking for aerosolized anthrax,” Hooks says. “That’s the No. 1 aerosolized biological risk agent.”
  • Anthrax appears to be especially attractive to al-Qaeda, according to the WMD commission report. The terrorist network that orchestrated 9/11 had two biological stations in Qandahar, Afghanistan, that were unknown to Western intelligence services until U.S. troops found them in 2001, the report says.
  • “It’s our information that the effort al-Qaeda started in Qandahar in the late ’90s has been relocated to Pakistan,” Graham says. “They’ve had eight years to regroup.”
  • Graham says he can’t discuss whether other terrorist groups also are tinkering with anthrax or other bioweapons.
  • Although the anthrax case has not been closed because the lead suspect committed suicide, the FBI blames the attacks on a lone government scientist, Bruce Ivins of the United States Army Research Institute for Infectious Diseases.
  • “The Ivins case showed that this is now something that an individual can do,” Kadlec says.

read the entire article at … http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2009-10-05-biowatch-biological_N.htm

for more about bioWatch … http://www.globalsecurity.org/security/systems/biowatch.htm

Posted in * anthrax science, * recent anthrax news | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

* Dr. Weber’s powerpoints at September 25, 2009 NAS presentation on Fe-Si relationship

Posted by DXer on September 30, 2009

CASE CLOSEDCASE CLOSED is a novel which answers the question “Why did the FBI fail to solve the 2001 anthrax case?” … click here to … buy CASE CLOSED by Lew Weinstein

Here’s what readers say about CASE CLOSED  …

“The whole Anthrax episode is unquestionably a dark moment in American history. But what makes it fascinating is how it was handled (or should I say mishandled) by the administration and the various agencies involved. CASE CLOSED is a must read for anyone who wondered … what really happened? … Who did it? … why?” … and finally, why didn’t they tell us the truth?”

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Dr. Weber’s powerpoints

at September 25, 2009 NAS presentation on Fe-Si relationship

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Posted in * anthrax science, * NAS review of FBI science, * questioning the FBI's anthrax investigation | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 73 Comments »

* CASE CLOSED blog posts related to AFIP, silicon, NAS review of FBI science

Posted by DXer on September 30, 2009

CASE CLOSEDCASE CLOSED is a novel which answers the question “Why did the FBI fail to solve the 2001 anthrax case?” … click here to … buy CASE CLOSED by Lew Weinstein

Here’s what readers say about CASE CLOSED  …

“The whole Anthrax episode is unquestionably a dark moment in American history. But what makes it fascinating is how it was handled (or should I say mishandled) by the administration and the various agencies involved. CASE CLOSED is a must read for anyone who wondered … what really happened? … Who did it? … why?” … and finally, why didn’t they tell us the truth?”

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These are posts attracting attention

on the CASE CLOSED blog today …

* Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) … background documentation related to National Academy of Sciences (NAS) silicon testimony today

* silicon evidence points beyond Fort Detrick and Dr. Bruce Ivins

* perhaps the NAS needs to pursue its mandate more broadly than the FBI wishes

  • * Is the FBI’s anthrax case ongoing or not? … I’ve been asking for two months … the FBI refuses to answer … here’s the email trail
  • * its seems the FBI said the documents were exempt from FOIA and NAS, with no independent verification, accepted that conclusion

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    Posted in * anthrax science, * NAS review of FBI science, * questioning the FBI's anthrax investigation | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

    * powerpoint slides by Peter Weber re NanoSIMS as used to make attribution of anthrax in bioterrorist event

    Posted by DXer on September 26, 2009

    CASE CLOSEDCASE CLOSED is a novel which answers the question “Why the FBI failed to solve the 2001 anthrax case?” … click here to … buy CASE CLOSED by Lew Weinstein

    Here’s what readers say about CASE CLOSED  …

    “The whole Anthrax episode is unquestionably a dark moment in American history. But what makes it fascinating is how it was handled (or should I say mishandled) by the administration and the various agencies involved. The book is a must read for anyone who wondered … what really happened? … Who did it? … why?” … and finally, why didn’t they tell us the truth?”

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    powerpoint slides by Peter Weber re NanoSIMS as used to make attribution of anthrax in bioterrorist event

    Weber 5


    Weber 1

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    Posted in * anthrax science, * questioning the FBI's anthrax investigation | Tagged: , , , | 7 Comments »

    * LMW: The end of the NAS trail, I suspect, will be that the FBI’s anthrax science was a mess that couldn’t convict Bruce Ivins or anyone else

    Posted by DXer on August 1, 2009

    * buy CASE CLOSED at amazon *

    buy CC - why, who, readers

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    LMW report on the second day of the NAS review …

    The day began with a statement from Congressman Rush Holt that the NAS mission, although important, was too narrowly framed to answer all of the doubts and questions surrounding the FBI’s investigation of the anthrax case.

    see related post … * Congressman Rush Holt meets with NAS panel, says their work is important but their mandate is too narrow; calls for passage of Anthrax Investigation Commission legislation he introduced in March 09

    The Congressman’s point was proven many times during the course of the subsequent testimony. The FBI has clearly stacked the deck in the NAS study, seeking to control the result as they have in every other aspect of the anthrax case. A search for the actual truth seems to be far down on the FBI’s list of priorities.

    But when the other witnesses testified, all of them FBI consultants, a strange thing happened.

    Hints of the truth came out.

    The witnesses were

    • Dr. Bruce Budowle, Executive Director, Center for Human Identification, Department of Forensic and Investigative Genetics, University of North Texas Health Science Center; previously the FBI’s chief forensic scientist in DC
    • Dr. Claire Fraser-Liggett, Director, Institute of Genome Sciences and Professor of Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine
    • Dr. Jennifer Smith, BIOFOR Consulting

    Let’s start with the conclusion of Dr. Fraser-Liggett (which she has stated before) that …

    “in no way do the genomic investigations lead to the perpetrator.”

    So, in the opinion of one of the chief scientists on whom the FBI relied, the science doesn’t lead to Dr. Bruce Ivins.

    • Nor do any witnesses lead to Dr. Ivins, since there are none.
    • Nor does any physical evidence lead to Dr. Ivins, since there is none.

    So where is the FBI’s case against Ivins? The simple fact is that there is no case. That’s why they charged a dead man.

    • No need to present evidence in court, under oath.
    • No need to come forward with exculpatory evidence (see below).
    • No need to deal with a pesky defense attorney.

    Here are some other things we learned at yesterday’s NAS hearing.

    A significant scientific detail: all of DNA analyses were made from a single colony picked from a plate. The caveat was clear and stated: we may have missed mutations from other colonies in the same batch.

    But those mutations, the famous “4 morphs,” are the foundation of the FBI’s assertion that the attack anthrax came from flask RMR-1029 and hence from Dr. Ivins (ignoring for the moment the hundred other scientists who had access to material from or derived from that same flask). And now it seems that maybe those “4 morphs” weren’t the only mutations, or even the most important mutations. Maybe a more complete scientific evaluation would have led in a totally different direction.

    A question raised by Dr. Smith: Was the validation of test methods done before the test was applied to the evidence? If not, she said, “there is a great likelihood of false positives and false negatives.”

    It’s my opinion that Dr. Smith would not have raised the issue if it did not point to a huge hole in the scientific analysis used by the FBI. Unproven techniques may have been used to provide a very shaky foundation upon which huge conclusions were drawn. I’ll bet that’s what NAS will find.

    Issues were also raised about

    • the collection of evidence,
    • the movement of evidence between labs,
    • the possible absence of a clear and provable chain of custody,
    • the possibility of contamination,
    • and the fascinating question: did anything change as data moved?

    What emerged from comments and questions like these was the picture of a supposed scientific process driven by FBI investigators, not scientists, under conditions of urgency and chaos.

    An example: Dr. Budowle described a series of tests he thought were important to verify some crucial conclusions regarding the “4 morphs” which formed the crux of the FBI’s case; but, he added, the tests were not done.

    • Question: Why were the tests not done. Answer: “You’ll have to ask the FBI.”
    • Question: The FBI made the decision not to do those tests? Answer: “Yes.”
    • Question: Did the FBI impact the scientific directions taken? Answer: “Yes.”

    Dr. Smith also asked herself, during her presentation, in a way that made the answer seem clear, “did intel needs override the protocols of science?” In other words, was the answer based on good science, validated science, replicable science, proper handling of samples, proper chain of custody? I would not be surprised if the NAS finds that the FBI’s supposed scientific answers cannot stand up to any of those tests.

    Based on what seems to be emerging, any defense attorney would rip the FBI’s scientific “evidence” to shreds.

    Dr. Budowle raised the fascinating question of “Brady” evidence. Dr. Budowle said if he was a defense attorney, he would look for the Brady material.

    NOTE: Brady material is exculpatory evidence that favors the defense case or weakens the prosecution case. Brady v. United States, 397 U.S. 742 (1970) was the seminal Supreme Court case which determined that if the government has exculpatory evidence it must turn it over to the defense in a timely manner.

    This committee, Dr. Budowle said, “is limited in not being allowed to look at the probative nature of the information. But there might be such Brady material that would be interesting for the committee to see.” As I listened to Dr. Budowle, it seemed to me he was certain that such Brady material existed, and that it was important for the NAS to find it.

    Had there been a defendant to bring to trial, I suspect Dr. Budowle would have been a witness for the defense.

    Even with all the limitations imposed by the FBI, it seems to me there is reason to be hopeful about the NAS process. The perceptive and probing questions asked by NAS committee members yesterday suggest that devastating weaknesses in the FBI’s case will emerge over the next 18 months as the study committee goes diligently about its business. For example …

    • Question: “where else should we look for data that we might not know about now?”
    • Answer: “great question.”

    I think and hope the NAS scientists will want to go to places the FBI did not want them to see, and that their impressive credentials and the weight of people like Congressman Holt watching over the process will ultimately force the FBI to relent, because not to relent will make the FBI look more foolish than even the truth about their failed anthrax investigation.

    I believe the NAS scientists will proceed in an open and rigorous manner to reach their conclusions, and that these conclusions will be the truth as they see it

    The end of the NAS trail, I suspect, will be that the FBI’s anthrax science was a mess that couldn’t convict Bruce Ivins or anyone else.

    Dr. Bruce Ivins

    Dr. Bruce Ivins

    for second day hearing, click … http://video.nationalacademies.org/ramgen/news/isbn/073109.rm

    ******

    * buy CASE CLOSED at amazon *

    Posted in * anthrax science, * NAS review of FBI science, * questioning the FBI's anthrax investigation | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

    * 55 flasks of anthrax prep … now where can I hide these?

    Posted by DXer on July 29, 2009

    CASE CLOSEDCASE CLOSED is a novel which answers the question “Why did the FBI fail to solve the 2001 anthrax case?” … click here to … buy CASE CLOSED by Lew Weinstein

    Here’s what readers say about CASE CLOSED  …

    “Lew’s  story is a quick read. In July 2008 a physician employee of the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases dies. The FBI immediately not only declares the death a suicide, but also announces that the doctor had been their prime suspect in the 2001 anthrax murders by mail. “I don’t @#$%ing think so!” says the director of the nation’s Defense intelligence Agency (DIA) and a covert investigation of the FBI itself begins.”

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    Anonymous Scientist writes …

    • I calculated that it would take at least 55 litres of liquid preparations to make enough spores for the attacks.
    • You would use a 2 liter flask half full – so you’d need 55 of them.
    • This pictorial representation demonstrates the enormity of the task of keeping such work concealed.
    • The alternative would be to prepare one flask at a time over an estimated 35 weeks as Jeff Adamovicz calculated.

    Dr. Bruce Ivins

    Dr. Bruce Ivins

    55 flasks******

    RELATED POSTS …

    * there are so many ways to demonstrate that the FBI’s case against Dr. Bruce Ivins is simply not convincing

    * even if the FBI now finally “closes” the anthrax case, it cannot be a CASE CLOSED until we know what needs to be known.

    * What does a novel have to do with the real anthrax case?

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    Posted in * anthrax science, * questioning the FBI's anthrax investigation | Tagged: , , | 72 Comments »

    * there are so many ways to demonstrate that the FBI’s case against Dr. Bruce Ivins is simply not convincing

    Posted by DXer on July 24, 2009

    WHY did the FBI fail to solve the 2001 anthrax case?CASE CLOSED

    WHO had the power to divert the FBI from the truth?

    CASE CLOSED offers a fictional scenario that answers those questions

    * buy CASE CLOSED at amazon

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    Here are the analyses previously posted as a comment on this blog by Beat Schaub.

    Mr. Schaub reports … I studied molecular biology/biochemistry and recieved my PhD in Cell Biology. I’m a 5 times published author (4 can be easily found on PubMed, search for Beat E. Schaub, the 5th is in current protocols in cell biology). I’m currently doing training in Bio Safety/Security and Quality Assurance. Ah yes, I’m Swiss, 32 yo.

    Access to RMR-1029:

    • Everybody at Ft. Detrick could have taken a sample before 1999 when it was transferred to a more secure location, up to then it was in an easily accessible place.
    • It was sent out to several laboratories at which point again a large number of persons (including cleaning personnel for all we know) could have taken 1 microliter to start a new culture.
    • Despite that, only one laboratory had RMR-1029/daughter thereof when the FBI collected samples indicating a less than perfect sample acquisition method. Due to the fact that a huge number had access to RMR-1029 it’s almost impossible to exclude everybody else.
    • Simply because nobody can have an air tight alibi for multiple days (As there is not a single defined timepoint when the letters have been sent but a 2/3 day long timeframe) unless he was in another country.
    • The alibi also loses importance if one is not preoccupied by the one culprit theory and includes the possibility of multiple culprits. It is entirely irrelevant who worked with RMR-1029 at the time of the attack since the attack spores where made of a daughter culture.

    The Where (Overtime, Unsupervised Work, Bleachings):

    • While the location of the mailbox, the pre-stamped envelopes and RMR-1029 point in the general direction of Ft. Detrick we don’t know where exactly the attack spores were produced.
    • The only FORENSIC EVIDENCE we have is that the airfilters at Ft. Detrick did NOT show unusual high CFU counts (Dried spores would ultimately end up in the filtration system of the AC, as we know they get easily airborn) indicating that this is NOT WHERE the attack spores were produced.
    • That this is not preposterous claim is shown by the FBI’s Hatfill case as well as the claims by the FBI how easy such spores are produced.
    • In addition, this the B. subtilis found in the first attack was not found at Ft. Detrick. Finally, other personnel at Ft. Detrick claims that Ivins could not have done it. So:
      • Ivins overtime / unsupervised work is actually an alibi because we know he was not where the spores were produced.
      • Ivins secret bleaching, which he reported to a friend AND we only know of because Ivins told us; took place where the spores were NOT produced.
      • Since Ivins could bleach without anybody noticing we can assume any number of people could have done so, just they did not reveal it.

    The When (Overtime, Unsupervised Work,  Bleachings):

    • There is no evidence for the timeline. But experience tells us that the refinement of the protocol observed by the difference of quality between the two attack waves CANNOT be achieved in three weeks, working only in evenings and in secrecy. I personally doubt that it can be achieved in three weeks working exclusively on this.
    • This makes his overtime / unsupervised work / bleaching irrelevant as we don’t know when the production has taken place.

    The How (Equipment and Experience):

    • We don’t know how the spores were prepared therefore we can only guess whether Ivins had access to the necessary equipment.
    • However if the boasts of the FBI are true, no special equipment was required at all to produce the spores (Incubator, centrifuge etc. can be obtained easily), supporting the theory that the spores were not necessarily produced INSIDE of Ft. Detrick.
    • The how also could tell us about the expertise needed; what we know is that they did not work with dried spores at Ft. Detrick.
    • We also know that the wet growing of anthracis is well published and can be reproduced by anyone. Therefore anyone working on DRIED bacillus spores (e.g. Dugway people but also many other labs) should be considered more experienced when it comes to dried anthracis spore production.

    The Alibi:

    • Sure Ivins has no conclusive Alibi for time when the letters were sent.
    • We DON’T HAVE: Ivins was at the place where the letters were sent, at the time they were sent.
    • We HAVE: Ivins cannot prove he was not there at that time.
    • Fortunately, you don’t have to prove your innocence; your guilt has to be proven.

    The Silicon:

    • Low concentrations of silicon such as found in RMR-1030 are naturally occurring as claimed by the FBI and might be the result of the addition of silicon anti foaming agent.
    • None of the ~200 protocols tested by the FBI resulted in silicon concentrations as high as found in the attack spores clearly indicating that a very specific protocol was used which resulted in this.
      • Ivins would not have deviated from the well known and documented protocols.
      • The high silicon count cannot be the result of some obscure purification method because it did not add to the deadliness and therefore there is no reason to enrich it.

    Dr. Ivins’ Mental Health:

    • If Ivins psyche was a problem, why was he allowed to work at Ft. Detrick?
    • And why did none of his colleagues notice/report it?
    • We should also not that he was in treatment /therapy all the time, so he was open and honest about his mental problem.

    Driving a Distance to the Mailbox:

    • Well, that is the most obvious thing to do; everybody with half a brain would drive a couple of miles before placing the letters into the mailbox. It’s the most logical thing to do.

    The Motive:

    • On the patents Ivins is only listed as provider of the spores and would as such not have profited much, leaving people with access to RMR-1029 AND much more direct interests.

    Misleading the Investigators:

    • Ivins did not mislead the investigators:
      • Sample 1 was the wrong tube but sent in before official specifications (Wrong tube = obvious, the FBI also immediately realized that it was the wrong tube).
      • Sample 2, as sample 1, contained culture from RMR-1029 but first set of tests failed, only later the FBI realized this with two new tests (using the duplicate from Dr. Keim, which raises the questions what had happened to the sample they have gotten? Used up? Destroyed?).
    • The error is not with Ivins but with the FBI.
      • Obviously others misled the FBI because only one sample containing RMR-1029 or derivate was recovered from outside Ft. Detrick even though it was sent out multiple times to multiple institutions.
      • Alternatively, the test of the FBI is not so reliable and they did not repeat it with the new methods on all samples.
    • Dr. Ivins also admitted to the bleaching, something we wouldn’t know without him generally indicating that he did not try to mislead the FBI.

    Posted in * anthrax science, * questioning the FBI's anthrax investigation | Tagged: , , | 9 Comments »