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

Posts Tagged ‘Dr. Martin Hugh-Jones’

* International anthrax expert Dr. Hugh Martin-Jones challenges the government to test his team’s hypothesis in a lab instead of with “lawyer talk” … “I hope [the findings] will add to the pressure that the investigation be actively reopened.”

Posted by DXer on October 12, 2011


Dr. Martin Hugh-Jones


 Henry Rome writes in The Daily Princetonian (10/12/11) …

  • International anthrax expert Martin Hugh-Jones, molecular biologist Barbara Hatch Rosenberg and chemist Stuart Jacobsen assert …

the Army microbiologist accused of mailing anthrax-laden letters

did not, in fact, have the technical skill needed to manufacture the spores.

  • In response to a statement issued by Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd dismissing the team’s claims, Dr. Hugh-Jones said in an email to The Daily Princetonian that he challenged the government to test his team’s hypothesis in a lab in order to take the discussion “out of the realm of lawyer talk of you said/we say nonsense.”
  • “The DOJ forgets that we are scientists and all ‘speculation’ are hypotheses which are subject to testing to see if they have any basis in hard fact,” he said. “I hope [the findings] will add to the pressure that the investigation be actively reopened.”
  • The team claims that the particles of tin and silicone found in the anthrax spores are not random contaminants. Instead, they argue, the particles are indicators of the complex coating used in the mass production of pharmaceutical products.
  • These recent findings come less than a year after the National Academy of Sciences issued a review that criticized the FBI’s scientific analysis of the anthrax spores.
  • New Jersey Rep. Rush Holt has also condemned the FBI’s handling of the investigation … Holt has called for a commission, styled after the 9/11 commission, to investigate the mailings.

read the entire article at …

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

* an article by Drs. Hugh-Jones, Rosenberg & Jacobsen highlights key unanswered questions in the FBI anthrax investigation … such as where and how were the anthrax spores in the attack letters prepared?

Posted by DXer on June 13, 2011


anthrax spores


The 2001 Attack Anthrax:  Key Questions, Potential Answers

Martin E. Hugh-Jones, PhD, Barbara Hatch Rosenberg, PhD, Stuart Jacobsen, PhD



Ten years after the anthrax attacks, almost three years after the FBI accused a dead man of perpetrating the 2001 anthrax attacks singlehandedly, and more than a year since they closed the case without further investigation, indictment or trial, the FBI has produced no concrete evidence on key questions:

1. Where and how were the anthrax spores in the attack letters prepared?  

  • The FBI has ignored the most likely laboratories, on the basis of unwarranted assumptions that the spores were made covertly, by the perpetrator(s) of the attack, and during the interval between 9/11 and the mailing of the letters.

2. How and why did the spore powders acquire the extraordinarily high levels of  Silicon and Tin found in them?  

  • The FBI has repeatedly insisted that the powders in the letters contained no additives, and that the Silicon in the powders was incorporated naturally during growth.  
  • But they also claim that they have  not been able to reproduce the high Silicon content in the powders.  
  • They have not admitted to any  attempt to determine the chemical form of the Silicon; and they have avoided mentioning the Tin content.  
  • We present a likely explanation for the elements and the properties of the spore preparations that have been observed.

3. Where did the anthrax spores become contaminated by a rare strain of B. subtilis?  

  • The FBI has never located the source of the strain, but they never searched in the most likely places.


Next Steps

  • Concerns about the validity of the FBI’s conclusions will persist until these questions are addressed.  
  • Further scientific investigation may be the only way to bring the facts of the case to light.
  • That will require scientific expertise and political neutrality, ideally with full access to all that the FBI knows, and with the resources to commission additional work if the existing scientific information is inadequate.  


read the entire article at …


posted on BWPP forum …  … subscription required

The BioWeapons Prevention Project (BWPP) is a global network dedicated to the permanent elimination of biological weapons and of the possibility of their re-emergence. It was launched in 2003 by a group of non-governmental organizations concerned at the failure of governments to fortify the norm against the weaponization of disease. BWPP monitors governmental and other activities relevant to the treaties that codify that norm.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

* PROMED post by Dr. Martin Hugh-Jones, an oft-quoted and much respected anthrax expert and PROMED moderator.

Posted by DXer on May 23, 2011


PROMED post by Dr. Martin Hugh-Jones … 

  • This [recent McClatchy] report is parallel to the evidence we — Barbara Rosenberg, Stuart Jacobsen, and myself — submitted to the NAS (National Academy of Sciences) committee last summer (2010).
  • A fuller version is in the final stages of preparation for submission to a suitable journal.

The sad part about this is that Sandia provided the FBI

with key evidence on the levels of silicone in letter-content spores

in late October 2001.

  • If the latter had had the wit to follow up on it at that time all this would be history and the true perpetrator(s) suitably dealt with.
  • Also tracking past sales of silane and siloxane chemicals to institutes and agencies handling Bacillus anthracis would have produced a short list for immediate visits and interviews by FBI agents with search warrants, and then the names of who would have had access to the products of their polymerization research.


Dr. Martin Hugh-Jones

Dr. Hugh-Jones is one of the foremost authorities on anthrax. He is currently Coordinator of the World Health Organization (WHO) Working Group on Anthrax Research and Control. He also has served as Chairman of the WHO/Veterinary Public Health Working Group: “Anthrax: Epidemiology and Information.” In addition, Dr. Hugh-Jones participated in the investigation of the 1979 anthrax outbreak in Sverdlovsk (now known as Yekaterinburg) in the former USSR. He was in Moscow and Yekaterinburg in 1992 when the Russian government admitted the source of the outbreak to have been an accidental spore emission from a biological warfare facility.


see also …

* Greg Gordon (McClatchy): the apparent failure of the FBI to pursue this avenue of investigation raises the ominous possibility that the killer is still on the loose … Stuart Jacobsen: it is “outrageous” that the scientific issues haven’t been addressed.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 9 Comments »

* Greg Gordon (McClatchy): the apparent failure of the FBI to pursue this avenue of investigation raises the ominous possibility that the killer is still on the loose … Stuart Jacobsen: it is “outrageous” that the scientific issues haven’t been addressed.

Posted by DXer on May 19, 2011


the FBI has produced NO EVIDENCE that Dr. Bruce Ivins prepared the anthrax or mailed this letter


 Greg Gordon writes for McClatchy Newspapers (5/19/11) …

  • Buried in FBI laboratory reports about the anthrax mail attacks that killed five people in 2001 is data suggesting that a chemical may have been added to try to heighten the powder’s potency, a move that some experts say exceeded the expertise of the presumed killer.
  • The lab data shows unusual levels of silicon and tin in anthrax powder from two of the five letters.
  • Those elements are found in compounds that could be used to weaponize the anthrax, enabling the lethal spores to float easily so they could be readily inhaled by the intended victims, scientists say.
  • The existence of the silicon-tin chemical signature offered investigators the possibility of tracing purchases of the more than 100 such chemical products available before the attacks, which might have produced hard evidence against Ivins or led the agency to the real culprit.
  • But the FBI lab reports released in late February give no hint that bureau agents tried to find the buyers of additives such as tin-catalyzed silicone polymers.
  • The apparent failure of the FBI to pursue this avenue of investigation raises the ominous possibility that the killer is still on the loose.
  • A McClatchy analysis of the records also shows that other key scientific questions were left unresolved and conflicting data wasn’t sorted out when the FBI declared Ivins the killer shortly after his July 29, 2008, suicide.
  • Several scientists and former colleagues of Ivins argue that he was a career biologist who probably lacked the chemistry knowledge and skills to concoct a silicon-based additive.
    • “There’s no way that an individual scientist can invent a new way of making anthrax using silicon and tin,” said Stuart Jacobsen, a Texas-based analytical chemist for an electronics company who’s closely studied the FBI lab results. “It requires an institutional effort to do this, such as at a military lab.”
    • Martin Hugh-Jones, a world-renowned anthrax expert who teaches veterinary medicine at Louisiana State University, called it “just bizarre” that the labs found both tin and silicon.
    • “You have two elements at abnormally high levels,” Hugh-Jones said. “That reduces your probability to a very small number that it’s an accident.”
  • FBI officials say it’s all a moot point, because they’re positive they got the right man in Ivins.
  • However, the FBI never found hard evidence that Ivins produced the anthrax or that he scrawled threatening letters seemingly meant to resemble those of Islamic terrorists. Or that he secretly took late-night drives to Princeton, N.J., to mail them.
  • Jacobsen, the Texas chemist, suspects that the silica pockets represented excess material that went through a chemical reaction and hardened before it could penetrate the spores.
  • Tufts University chemistry professor David Walt, who led the panel’s analysis of the silicon issue, said in a phone interview that “there was not enough silicon in the spores that could account for the total silicon content of the bulk analysis.”
  • Jacobsen called it “outrageous” that the scientific issues haven’t been addressed … the FBI have every resource available to them,” he said.

“And yet they have no compelling explanation

for not properly analyzing the biggest forensic clue

in the most important investigation

the FBI labs had ever gotten in their history.”

  • As a result of Ivins’ death and the unanswered scientific issues, Congress’ investigative arm, the Government Accountability Office, is investigating the FBI’s handling of the anthrax inquiry.
  • In a chapter in a recently updated book, “Microbial Forensics,” Velsko wrote that the anthrax “must have indeed been produced under an unusual set of conditions” to create such high silicon counts. That scenario, he cautioned, might not be “consistent with the prosecution narrative in this case.”
  • Peter Weber, Velsko’s co-researcher, said the academy panel’s focus on the conflicting data “raises a big question,” and “it’d be really helpful for closure of this case if that was resolved.” He suggested that further “micro-analysis” with a highly sophisticated electron microscope could “pop the question marks really quickly.”

read the entire article at …


see also …

* the GAO review of the FBI’s anthrax investigation has begun … a report is expected to be issued by September 20, 2011 … *** UPDATE: a series of fascinating comments to this post suggest many pertinent questions that GAO might want to consider

* a recent article by Greg Gordon raises the potentially critical importance of b. subtilis contaminant found in the Brokaw and New York Post anthrax letters … not connected to Dr. Ivins … and substantially ignored by the FBI



Over two years ago, I proposed three possible scenarios to explain the FBI’s failure to make a compelling case against Dr. Bruce Ivins. Since then, nothing has changed. There are still these three scenarios …

  1. The FBI has more evidence against Dr. Ivins but is, for some undisclosed reason, withholding that evidence … POSSIBLE BUT NOT SO LIKELY
  2. The FBI, despite the most expensive and extensive investigation in its history, has not solved the case and has no idea who prepared and mailed the anthrax letters that killed 5 Americans in 2001 … EVEN LESS LIKELY
  3. The FBI knows who did it (not Dr. Ivins) but is covering up the actual perpetrators, for undisclosed reasons …THE MOST LIKELY SCENARIO

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

* tracking Dr. Ivins’ RMR-1029 anthrax; Dr. Hugh-Jones describes LSU subpoena response

Posted by DXer on June 29, 2009

why the FBI failed to solve the 2001 anthrax caseCASE CLOSED

* purchase CASE CLOSED (paperback)

* see CASE CLOSED VIDEO on YouTube

Dr. Bruce ivins

Dr. Bruce ivins


tracking Dr. Ivins’ RMR-1029 anthrax;

Dr. Hugh-Jones describes LSU subpoena response


Dr. Martin Hugh-Jones has responded to several questions regarding anthrax supplied by Dr. Bruce Ivns in connection with research done at Louisiana State University in 2001, indicating that there was no anthrax supplied by Dr. Ivins used in that research. Dr. Hugh Jones is Professor Emeritus, Department of Environmental Sciences, School of the Coast & Environment, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA. We thank Dr. Hugh-Jones for his response, as follows …

Q: To which labs did Dr. Ivins ship the virulent Ames strains?

  • A: We obtained our Ames material from Porton, UK, labelled Asc 159. It had been in their collection for over 10 years.

Q: In which labs was research with the Ivins supplied anthrax done?

  • A: No idea.

Q: Was any sample supplied by Bruce Ivins still in existence at the time of the later subpoenas of Louisiana State University and University of Michigan?

  • A: n/a

Q: Who would have provided an isolate of that sample in response to any subpoena during the mid-October 2001 to February 2002 period?

  • A: Copies of the cultures requested in that subpoena were provided to the investigators.

Posted in * anthrax science, * questioning the FBI's anthrax investigation | Tagged: , , , , | 8 Comments »