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

Posts Tagged ‘Dr. Meryl Nass’

* Dr. Meryl Nass’ characterization of the report of the Amerithrax Expert Behavioral Analysis Panel as “psychobabble” is right on target

Posted by DXer on March 25, 2011

Dr. Meryl Nass on the panel at the November anthrax seminar in DC

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Meryl Nass comments on the recent report of the Amerithrax Expert Behavioral Analysis Panel …

  • A group of psychiatrists offered their forensic expertise in solving the anthrax criminal investigation, by using their insight into the criminal mind.
  • Somehow DC Judge Royce E. Lamberth blessed them, and FBI paid the $38,000  bill.
  • The group only had one suspect, whose confidential medical records were supplied by the FBI.
  • The Executive Summary makes clear that the panels’ conclusions were built into its charge …the Panel was asked to offer, based on the available materials, a better understanding of Dr. Ivins’ mental state before and after the anthrax mailings, his possible motives — and the connections, if any, between his mental state and the commission of the crimes.
  • How could these experts possibly know Ivins had the motivation and means, when the FBI failed to produce a logical motive or provide evidence of means?
  • This report was completed last August, but was pulled out of the deep freeze yesterday in a last-ditch attempt to trump the NAS report.

Is psychobabble too strong a word

to describe this outpouring of gibberish?

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read Meryl’s entire post at … http://anthraxvaccine.blogspot.com/2011/03/pushing-envelope-psychobabble-solves.html

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LMW COMMENT …

It appears that the psychological evaluation of the Amerithrax Expert Behavioral Analysis Panel was based entirely on the FBI’s “botched” investigation, which has been documented again and again on this blog as incomplete and incompetent.

From such a starting point, with no independent information or evaluation, how could any conclusions from a group of “consultants” apparently well under the FBI’s thumb be considered as independent or well supported?

Meryl’s characterization of the report as “psychobabble” is right on target

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* the Nov 29 anthrax letters seminar

Posted by DXer on December 5, 2010

Dr. John Ezzell, Lew Weinstein, Ross Getman, Dr. Meryl Nass, Paul Kemp and Dr. James Van de Velde at the November 29 anthrax seminar sponsored by the University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC) and the UC Washington Center

LMW COMMENT …

Kudos to the Frederick News Post and to Megan Eckstein, the only media which still seems interested in this case.

Why does the FBI continue to hold back on crucial details about this case while continuing to assert without “proof beyond many reasonable doubts” that Dr. Bruce Ivins was the sole perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax attacks?

I can imagine only 3 possible “actual” 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

The “fictional” scenario in my novel CASE CLOSED has been judged by many readers, including a highly respected official in the U.S. Intelligence Community, as perhaps more plausible than the FBI’s unproven assertions regarding Dr. Ivins.

* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon *


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* Frederick News Post: the Ivins case lives on … despite FBI judgment

Posted by DXer on December 5, 2010

Dr. John Ezzell, Lew Weinstein, Ross Getman, Dr. Meryl Nass, Paul Kemp and Dr. James Van de Velde at the November 29 anthrax seminar sponsored by the University of California Institute for Global Conflict and Cooperation and the UC Washington Center

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Editorial in the Frederick News Post (12/5/10)

Ivins case lives on — despite FBI judgment

  • A group of 25 scientists, professors, writers and terrorism experts convened Monday to discuss and debate the anthrax investigation. None of them believe Bruce Ivins was the culprit. The panel, which lasted for four hours, talked about that investigation, lessons learned and its broader implications.

http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/opinion/display_editorial.htm?StoryID=113323

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LMW COMMENT …

I am coming more and more to the conclusion that the FBI’s stonewalling refusal to make clear to the American people what they know about the anthrax murders is a problem of equal importance to the fatal mailings themselves. To have an out-of-control police force in a democracy, answerable to no one, is a serious matter. We must not let the FBI win by letting this case fade away. Someone committed a bioterrorist attack against the U.S. It wasn’t Bruce Ivins, at least on the evidence so far made public. America needs to know the truth, no matter who is embarrassed or imprisoned.

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* selected extracts from the presentation of Dr. Meryl Nass at the Nov 29, 2010 anthrax seminar

Posted by DXer on December 2, 2010

Dr. John Ezzell, Lew Weinstein, Ross Getman, Dr. Meryl Nass, Paul Kemp, Dr. James Van de Velde at the Anthrax Mailings Investigation seminar ... UC Washington Center Nov 29, 2010

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The full text of Dr. Nass’ presentation has been posted on her blog site …

http://anthraxvaccine.blogspot.com/2010/11/fbis-anthrax-letters-investigation.html

Here are selected extracts …

  • FBI tried to close this case on August 1, 2008, 3 days after Bruce’s death.  The FBI orchestrated a crescendo of leaks about Bruce over several days, full of lurid details that aimed to create a picture of a “lone nut” for the American public.  Much of this material was inaccurate or exaggerated … a tawdry attempt to bury one of the most important cases the FBI has ever investigated.
  • the anthrax letters helped pave the way for passage of the USA Patriot Act, for going to war with Iraq … and for expansion of the federal biodefense budget to 50 billion dollars and counting.
  • Were aspects of Bruce’s death orchestrated as well?  Although the anthrax letters case was one of the FBI’s biggest ever, Bruce’s death somehow didn’t warrant an autopsy or an inquest. I have seen no report or evidence that the FBI informed anyone, especially Bruce’s medical providers, of his Tylenol ingestion.   Doing so in a timely manner would have almost certainly saved Bruce’s life and allowed the FBI to bring its case against him to its legal conclusion. Nor did FBI intervene to hasten Bruce receiving medical attention after his ingestion.

SOME FAILURES IN THE FBI’S CASE …

1.    FBI sent a letter to Bruce in April 2007, stating that he was not a target of the investigation.

2.    Why was no DNA obtained from Bruce until the week before his death?

3.    Why did Bruce retain his security clearance until 19 days before his death?

4.    FBI has failed to find evidence placing Bruce in New Jersey where the letters were mailed.

5.    FBI has failed to show how Bruce could have been at the mailbox during the window of time in which the letters were sent.

6.    FBI failed to find any anthrax contamination in Bruce’s car, home or possessions, although the simple act of placing a letter in the mailbox would have led to massive spore contamination of everything in the area, including the mailer. (See paper by FBI’s Doug Beecher)

7.    FBI’s February 2010 report tries to have it both ways.  It claims that flask RMR1029 was under Bruce’s exclusive control between its 1997 creation and the anthrax letter attacks.  The report claims that “only a very limited number of individuals had access” to the flask.  Later it admits that approximately 400 people at USAMRIID and a Midwest contractor laboratory had access to the spores.

8.    FBI claims Bruce had the know-how to produce the weaponized spores found in the Leahy-Daschle letters.  But FBI itself has failed to reverse engineer the spore production method, does not know what that method entails, and therefore cannot possibly know if Bruce had either the knowledge or access to all the equipment needed to produce such spores.

9.    FBI has failed to find any trace of the strain of Bacillus subtilis that contaminated the anthrax spores in the first set of letters, at USAMRIID or anywhere else.  Had the contaminated batch of anthrax been made at USAMRIID, the Bacillus subtilis strain would have contaminated the work space and been identified.

10.    FBI claims it ruled out 400 people who had access to the spores, but fails to explain anything about the processes used to rule these people out.

11.    Bruce passed two FBI polygraph tests, but later FBI claimed he used “classic” countermeasures to thwart the polygraphs.  Experts dispute this FBI claim.

12.    FBI’s report claims Bruce had access to a photocopier, but fails to note it was not the copier used to produce the anthrax letters.

13.    FBI initially reported that the water the spores were grown in came from the Frederick, Maryland area.  FBI later backed off this claim.

14.    FBI initially said that minor deviations in the pre-franked envelopes used for the anthrax letters showed they were purchased from the Frederick, Maryland post office.  Later FBI acknowledged they were sold widely in Maryland and Virginia.

15.    Nowhere in the February 2010 FBI report is there any acknowledgement that the crime could have involved more than one person.  Yet in my opinion, the logistics are such that it is almost a certainty more than one person was involved.

16.    The FBI obtained nearly all its 1,000 anthrax samples voluntarily from labs in the US and abroad.  This assumed that theanthrax mailer fully complied with the FBI request, even though it might incriminate him.  I’d call this a risky assumption, which undermines the foundation of the FBI’s entire case.

17.    FBI’s report postulates that two one-week windows of opportunity existed in which each batch of anthrax letter spores could have been grown, processed and mailed.  The time period for the first set of letters was September 11 through 18, 2001.  The period for the second set was October 1 through 8, 2001 (see page 6 of the FBI report).  FBI therefore reported focusing its investigation on individuals who had access to flask RMR 1029 and an anthrax “hot room” (a.k.a. BL 3 or 4 high containment laboratory) during these periods, in its attempt to identify and investigate all potential perpetrators. However, there are several problems with this assumption.  First, the US government did not know how many high containment labs existed in the US and abroad in 2001, as they did not have to be registered or inspected.  Some may have belonged to private companies or individuals. Second, although the anthrax letters were mailed during short windows of time, and the text included with the letters was probably written shortly before mailing, there is no reason to think that the spores had to be grown and processed during these periods. Since the FBI was unable to duplicate the process used to produce the spores, it is uncertain whether production in a particular lab could be completed during a one-week period. Spore production and processing could have taken place considerably earlier, and/or the spores might have been supplied to the mailer by another person.

NAS review of FBI’s anthrax science

The National Academy of Science panel will issue its report on the FBI’s microbial forensics soon.  But given the lack of information available for evaluation in the open literature, the NAS panel is handicapped by its overwhelming reliance on briefings by the FBI and its contracted scientists.  Until the standard procedures of peer review described above are completed, it will be very difficult to determine the validity and usefulness of the FBI’s research.

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LMW COMMENT …

The FBI’s case against Dr. Ivins is clearly bogus: no evidence, no witnesses, an impossible timeline, science that proves innocence instead of guilt. So what really happened? And why doesn’t the FBI offer America a credible story?

I can imagine only 3 possible “actual” 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

The “fictional” scenario in my novel CASE CLOSED has been judged by many readers, including a highly respected official in the U.S. Intelligence Community, as perhaps more plausible than the FBI’s unproven assertions regarding Dr. Ivins.

* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon *

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* Anonymous Scientist summarizes the FBI’s case against Dr. Bruce Ivins … if it wasn’t so serious, it would be laughable

Posted by DXer on March 10, 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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see related post …

* Questions arising from a reading of the Summary of the FBI Investigation of Dr. Bruce E. Ivins

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Anonymous Scientist offers this summary …

It has been two weeks since the FBI announced the official closing of Amerithrax, its 8+ year investigation  into the 2001 Anthrax Atttacks – eighteen months after the “suicide” of their prime suspect.

  • Even the FBI’s head office wasn’t particularly proud of its anthrax detectives. It released the report suddenly with no fanfare, no press opportunities in the deadest of news dead zones–Friday afternoon at 4, the same day as Tiger Wood’s mea culpa. It was no contest.
  • The media spent one breathless day on it and then it was over, we had closure. The biggest FBI investigation in history ended with a whimper and it wasn’t even on the mop-up segments of cable news debating parlors. The only real traction the story  got was in the low precincts where Ivins’ off-hour  interests in bondage, blind-folded women and sororities titillated.

While mainstream reaction was muted, a hearty band of skeptics came out swinging: They say the case against Dr. Ivins, which never has to be proven in court, screams reasonable doubt.

  • There is no incriminating physical evidence.
  • Ivins had even passed his polygraph.
  • Narrative inconsistencies.
  • Hearsay quotes.
  • Scientific implausibility.
  • Selective prosecution based on circumstantial evidence requiring an X-Files like leap of faith into  Mulder and Scully-land.

Paul Kemp,  Ivins’  former lawyer, thundered:”There’s absolutely no evidence he did anything…”

Rep. Rush D. Holt, a Democrat from central New Jersey, grumbled: “This has been a closed-minded, closed process from the beginning. Arbitrarily closing the case on a Friday afternoon should not mean the end of this investigation… The evidence the FBI produced would not, I think, stand up in court. But because their prime suspect is dead, and they’re not going to court; they seem satisfied with barely a circumstantial case. The National Academies of Science review of the FBI’s scientific methods in this case won’t be released until summer, but the FBI doesn’t seem to care.”

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D–NY) echoed Holt’s skepticism and called for a probe of the FBI’s casework.

Sen. Leahy

But the cagey Sen. Patrick Leahy, one of the targets of the attacks and a critic of the FBI’s performance, held his fire. The Senator who’s told FBI Director Mueller directly that there was conspiracy and cover-up at the core of the anthrax murders  had no comment and refused interviews on the topic. What’s up with that?

The best detailed blog-response came from Dr. Merryl Nass, named in the report as an activist critic who drove  Ivins nuts while he was working on a controversial anthrax vaccine for the Army with the private company BioPort.

Forensically, the FBI was taken to task for sidestepping the crucial issue of ‘weaponization” of the attack powder, ignoring Army data and the FBI’s own admission of high levels of the additive silicon—a story we broke on this blog last July.

This failure to grapple with the hard science was picked up by Richard Bernstein in the New York Times and International Herald Tribune which followed veteran investigative reporter and author Edward Jay Epstein’s much discussed piece in the Wall Street Journal a few weeks prior to the closing of the case.

Bottom line, the FBI report did nothing to mollify leading mainstream opinion recently outlined by Salon’s Glenn Greenwald:

“The case against Ivins is so riddled with logical and evidentiary holes that it has generated extreme doubts not merely from typical government skeptics but from the most mainstream establishment-revering, and ideologically disparate sources. ”

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* Dr. Meryl Nass … Ivins’ death scenario begs many questions … why has the FBI so far failed to settle these questions?

Posted by DXer on March 8, 2010

Excerpts from a post by Dr. Meryl Nass at …

http://anthraxvaccine.blogspot.com/2010/03/my-summary-of-unresolved-issues-in.html

Ivins’ death scenario begs many questions.

  • Why wasn’t he given a Tylenol antidote to prevent liver failure?
  • Ivins was allegedly found unconscious on the bathroom floor with an orange liquid next to him.
  • A Tylenol overdose requires several days before you die, and does not cause coma for days.
    • If the benadryl in Tylenol PM led to unconsciousness (according to a later account by Scott Shane in the NY Times) there was still time to treat him successfully for Tylenol toxicity.
    • Ivins was under 24/7 surveillance by FBI, from the house next door.
    • FBI should have identified an overdose before several days had passed, and the window of opportunity for treatment was lost.
  • FBI could have furnished Ivins’ medical providers with information that might have saved his life.

The medical records of Ivins’ hospitalization have not been released.

LMW COMMENT …

  • I have always believed that the death of Dr. Bruce Ivins was too suspicious and too convenient for the FBI (i.e., no need to prove their case in court).
  • Under such circumstances, one would think the FBI would be particularly careful to assure that everything that proves their assertion that Dr. Ivins committed suicide was convincingly presented.
  • The FBI has not done that, which only serves to stir the suspicions.

My novel CASE CLOSED presents a very different view of Dr. Ivins’ death. Although fictional, my scenario has been found by many readers, including one highly respected member of the U.S. Intelligence Community, to be “quite plausible.”

* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon *

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* Dr. Meryl Nass … unresolved issues in the FBI’s case against Dr. Bruce Ivins … means, motive, opportunity

Posted by DXer on March 7, 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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Dr. Meryl Nass

Excerpts from a post by Dr. Meryl Nass at …

http://anthraxvaccine.blogspot.com/2010/03/my-summary-of-unresolved-issues-in.html

To prove that a person committed a crime, they must be shown to have all three of the following: means, motive and opportunity.

Has the FBI proven that Ivins had all three?

  • Means: Retired colleagues have said he did not have the equipment to make Daschle-quality anthrax in the amounts required using equipment available to him at Fort Detrick. Anonymous colleagues at Fort Detrick claim he could.
    • FBI has failed to clarify this major issue.
    • FBI has not been able to “reverse engineer” the anthrax and therefore does not know what equipment was needed to produce it.
    • FBI has made a series of changing claims over time about silicon found in the spore preparation.
    • FBI has not identified the Bacillus strain contaminant (found in the first letters) in the Fort Detrick lab, suggesting the spore material was made elsewhere.
  • Motive: The FBI has alleged a variety of motives at different times, but none of them seem to make any sense.
    • The latest report has errors of fact in its discussion of motive.
  • Opportunity: Could Ivins have made it to the Trenton/Princeton area to mail letters and returned to Frederick in time to meet his other obligations?
    • The FBI’s first reported (2008) scenario of how this may have occurred was incorrect.
    • I have not read a convincing scenario since.

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LMW COMMENT …

Has the FBI proven any of the three?

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