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

Posts Tagged ‘FBI Director Mueller’

*GAO review of the FBI’s anthrax investigation due the same month FBI Director Mueller’s term is up … what a coincidence!

Posted by DXer on April 23, 2013

GAO, Mueller & Ivins

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The word is that the GAO review of the FBI’s anthrax investigation

is now expected in September 2013.

In 2011, President Obama had asked Director Mueller

to continue at the helm of the FBI

for another 2 years beyond his current term,

until September 4, 2013.

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What a coincidence!

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Maybe then, finally, with Mueller gone,

the truth will be known

and Dr. Ivins’ reputation can be restored.

 

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* Plaintiffs in the case of Stevens vs U.S. have agreed to shred the depositions of Patricia Fellows and Mara Linscott … LMW: it sure seems that this is “hush money” to keep important elements of the truth from the American people

Posted by DXer on November 30, 2011

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Director Mueller wins a battle, but he may still lose the war ... the FBI has charged a dead man without proof, and the Director must know it

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LMW COMMENT … 

Readers of this blog know I have been furious about the FBI’s behavior ever since watching the August 2008 press conference where they asserted, with no physical evidence, no witnesses, and (it turns out) no science, that Bruce Ivins was the sole perpetrator of the anthrax attacks.

It was clear to me then that the FBI had not proven that Ivins was involved, let alone that he was the sole perpetrator.

  • Does the FBI have more evidence against Dr. Ivins they won’t show us?
  • Or have they not solved the case at all?
  • Or do they know who the perpetrators were (not Ivins) but for some reason won’t say?

Being a novelist, I wrote a novel, presenting what I (and others, including a respected representative of the U.S. Intelligence Community) thought was a plausible scenario of what might have happened. My novel CASE CLOSED has been published and is available in paperback and kindle formats on amazon.

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* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon *

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Here is the first scene from CASE CLOSED where I have the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)

begin a re-do of the FBI’s failed investigation

this is the opening scene of Lew Weinstein's novel CASE CLOSED

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* November 28, 2011 Letter from FBI Director Robert Mueller: He Objected To The FBI Losing Jurisdiction Over Terrorists In the US In Favor Of Military

Posted by DXer on November 29, 2011

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* NY Post editorial: a group of eminent scientists have found that the FBI’s Amerithrax conclusions may be shockingly wrong … (the FBI) clearly can’t be trusted to judge cases that reflect badly on its own conduct

Posted by DXer on October 24, 2011

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FBI Director Robert Mueller must be held accountable for the Amerithax debacle ... and for hiding the truth by the wrongful withholding of documents

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a New York Post Editorial (10/23/11) … 

  • It has been 10 long years since envelopes stuffed with anthrax spores terrorized the East Coast — and just one year since the FBI officially closed the case in a not-terribly-convincing way.

Now a group of eminent scientists have found that

the FBI’s conclusions may be shockingly wrong.

  • A new paper in the Journal of Bioterrorism & Biodefense contends that the FBI’s sole suspect, Army scientist Bruce Ivins, might have had an accomplice — or may even have been innocent.
  • the FBI fumbled for about seven years before fixing on Ivins, who committed suicide as investigators closed in.
  • it was never clear that the FBI had brought the case to a proper conclusion. And the new study shows why.

It turns out the bureau hid from the public its discovery that …

  • … the anthrax spores were laced with tin and silicon, possibly to make it float more freely — a “chemical fingerprint” and seeming clue to the identity of the attacker.
  • Adding that tin coating ain’t Chem 101 — it requires special expertise, and Ivins lacked the equipment to create it,
  • What’s more, the baseline evidence linking Ivins to the anthrax spores was inconclusive, according to a “Red Team” of outside scientists the FBI called in to review its work — but then utterly ignored.
  • The feds “deviated from traditional lab practice in this particular case,” said Jenifer Smith, former section chief at the FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate. “There were some political things going on behind the scenes, and it was embarrassing not to have this solved.”

while the FBI says the new paper is wrong,

it clearly can’t be trusted to judge cases

that reflect badly on its own conduct.

  • Indeed, its ability to pursue sensitive investigations at all is in doubt.
  • Given the FBI’s troubled anthrax history, it’s good to see that Congress’ oversight body, the Government Accountability Office, is conducting its own review of the FBI’s work

read the entire article at … http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/editorials/anthrax_and_the_fbi_36aNmZJGENZCAPCmvdbIrK

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* a NYT editorial, showing no confidence in the FBI’s unraveling case against Dr. Bruce Ivins, calls for an independent review of the FBI’s anthrax investigation to assure that the culprits are not still at large … LMW: it is long past time to hold Director Mueller accountable for the FBI’s investigative failures and for the FBI’s purposeful withholding of documents that are required to be released by FOIA

Posted by DXer on October 18, 2011

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Is it possible that Director Mueller, an intelligent man, doesn't know the FBI has failed to make its case against Dr. Ivins? And what does it mean if he knows but won't admit it?

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NYT Editorial (10/17/11) …

  • There was a strong sense of relief when the federal government concluded that a lone psychologically troubled government scientist mailed anthrax-laced letters in 2001, killing five people and terrorizing the nation.
  • Now its evidence is looking increasingly shaky. There needs to be a new independent evaluation of the findings.
  • Independent inquiries this year have raised questions both about the genetic analyses that traced the anthrax to Dr. Ivins’s laboratory and a web of circumstantial evidence.
  • The government’s scientific case has been weakening for months.
    • In February, the National Academy of Sciences warned that the genetic analysis “did not definitively demonstrate” that the mailed anthrax was derived from spores grown in Dr. Ivins’s laboratory.
    • Last week, The Times reported that one of the leading anthrax authorities and two colleagues believe that distinctive chemicals in the mailed anthrax suggest it was produced by sophisticated manufacturing, which the scientists deemed far beyond Dr. Ivins’s capabilities.
  • As for the circumstantial evidence, an investigation by PBS Frontline, assisted by ProPublica and the McClatchy newspapers, cast doubt on two elements that prosecutors had declared important.
    • A contention that Dr. Ivins worked extraordinarily long hours alone at night in his laboratory just before the mailings looked less suspicious after the journalists found that he regularly worked late hours in other labs and offices.
    • And a contention that Dr. Ivins tried to mislead investigators by submitting an anthrax sample free of genetic markers looked questionable after the journalists found that he had submitted other samples that contained the markers.
  • Federal investigators insist that there is a vast amount of evidence supporting their conclusion of Dr. Ivins’s guilt.
  • The Government Accountability Office needs to dig deeply into classified materials to judge how well the evidence holds up.
  • Otherwise, Congress ought to commission an independent assessment to be sure there are no culprits still at large.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/18/opinion/who-mailed-the-anthrax-letters.html?_r=1&emc=tnt&tntemail1=y

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LMW COMMENT …

The Times is right that the FBI’s pathetic case against Dr. Ivins is beginning to publicly unravel, both as to the science and the circumstantial evidence.

What the Times does not say is that this case has always been perceived as weak to non-existent by those who refused to simply take the FBI’s assertions at face value. 

What also needs to be said is that the FBI has purposely stonewalled all efforts to get at the facts, failing to answer Congress’s questions, withholding key documents (still!) despite FOIA laws which call for their release, and blatantly misrepresenting the evidence they have made public.

It seems increasingly clear that the FBI, desperate for a conviction after millions spent on its 7 year investigation, drove an innocent man to suicide.

For these failures, FBI Director Mueller

must be called on the carpet and held accountable.

I have been furious about the FBI’s behavior ever since watching the August 2008 press conference where they asserted, with no physical evidence, no witnesses, and (it turns out) no science, that Bruce Ivins was the sole perpetrator of the anthrax attacks. It was clear to me the FBI had not even proven that Ivins was involved, let alone that he was the sole perpetrator.

It seemed to me then, and still seems so today, that there are 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

Being a novelist, I wrote a novel, presenting what I (and others, including a respected representative of the U.S. Intelligence Community) thought was a plausible scenario of what might have happened. My novel CASE CLOSED has been published and is available in paperback and kindle formats on amazon.

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* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon *

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Here is the first scene from CASE CLOSED (written in 2008), 

where I have the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)

begin a re-do of the FBI’s failed investigation … something that now even the NYT is calling for

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this is the opening scene of Lew Weinstein's novel CASE CLOSED

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* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon *

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* the FBI continues to stonewall Congress and the American people on anthrax investigation … it is a frightening display of power by our national police force which flies in the face of what a democracy of the people is supposed to be

Posted by DXer on October 16, 2011

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FBI Director Mueller, Senator Grassley, Congressman Holt

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Greg Gordon, McClatchy Newspapers, Stephen Engelberg, ProPublica, and Mike Wiser, PBS’ Frontline Oct. 14, 2011 …

despite evidence of FBI bungling,

new probe into anthrax killings unlikely

  • Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, says it would take a powerful grassroots movement or startling new evidence to reopen the Justice Department’s investigation that branded a now-deceased Army researcher as the anthrax mailer who killed five people a decade ago.
  • Even if he were the committee chairman, Grassley said, “I would question my capability of raising enough heat (to reopen the case) when you’re up against the FBI. And I’ve been up against the FBI.”
  • Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., who has criticized the FBI investigation as “botched” and from whose district the deadly letters were mailed, said he may try for a third time to win support for legislation creating a special commission to investigate the attacks.
  • “There are so many reasons to want to get to the bottom of it,” Holt said in an interview. “I hate to think of what lines of investigation have been shut off.”

read the entire article at … http://www.propublica.org/article/despite-evidence-of-fbi-bungling-new-probe-into-anthrax-killings-unlikely

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LMW COMMENT …

FBI Director Mueller continues to stonewall Congress and the American people regarding the FBI’s investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks. Despite continuing and compelling evidence that  the FBI’s case against Dr. Bruce Ivins is not supported by anything but flimsy innuendos and weak circumstantial evidence, the FBI will not, so far, move from its pedantic repetition of its assertion that Dr. Ivins was the sole perpetrator.

It is frightening that, in a democracy, the national police force has so much power over the people’s elected representatives. The FBI, in this case, is behaving more like the KGB than like a srvrant of the American people. They won’t answer questions asked by Congress. They won’t release documents they have no right to keep hidden.

And they surely will give no credence to the ongoing demolition of their pathetic case against Dr. Ivins.

I have been furious about the FBI’s behavior ever since watching the August 2008 press conference where they asserted, with no physical evidence, no witnesses, and (it turns out) no science, that Bruce Ivins was the sole perpetrator of the anthrax attacks. It was clear to me the FBI had not even proven that Ivins was involved, let alone that he was the sole perpetrator.

It seemed to me then, and still seems so today, that there are 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

Being a novelist, I wrote a novel, presenting what I (and others, including a respected representative of the U.S. Intelligence Community) thought was a plausible scenario of what might have happened. My novel CASE CLOSED has been published and is available in paperback and kindle formats on amazon.

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* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon *

******

Here is the first scene from CASE CLOSED,

where I have the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)

begin a re-do of the FBI’s failed investigation …

******

this is the opening scene of Lew Weinstein's novel CASE CLOSED

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* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon *

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Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

* DOJ and FBI desperately continue to keep the truth about the anthrax murders from the American people … What reality could be so frightful as to cause this stonewalling coverup?

Posted by DXer on October 11, 2011

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these are the people struggling relentlessly to keep the truth from the American people ... WHY?

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from a recent DXer comment …

  • The DOJ is simply withholding documents under FOIA.
  • Now what they’ve done is sweep even an official IG report (and a related Sandia report) under the rug by “sealing” them even though the FOIA officers all agree the document is not otherwise exempt under FOIA.
  • Note that this should be viewed in the context of DOJ’s failure to provide the lab notebooks from September and October 2001 — after they took the only copy!
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LMW COMMENT … 

  • This behavior by the DOJ is disgraceful.
  • The DOJ & FBI are clearly hiding something big, and getting more desperate as the day of reckoning gets closer.

In my view, and it’s just an opinion I can’t prove, they know who committed the anthrax murders, and where they got the anthrax … and it wasn’t Bruce Ivins.

  • What reality could be so frightful as to cause this obvious stonewalling coverup? 
  • Perhaps the GAO will tell us.
  • Perhaps Congressman Holt will finally get his anthrax commission.
  • Perhaps President Obama will tell Holder and Mueller to come forward with the truth.
  • Perhaps.
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* recent correspondence between Congressman Jerrold Nadler and the FBI reveals the FBI’s longstanding, continuing and apparently purposeful refusal to answer direct questions asked by the Congressman

Posted by DXer on September 18, 2011

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Congressman Jerrold Nadler

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Chronology (2008-2011) in reverse order

  • Congressman Nadler to FBI Director Mueller … Sept 13, 2011 (see letter below)
    • noting that the FBI’s letter of August 9, 2011 has still failed to explain why their April 2009 answer to questions asked in November 2008 was incomplete
    • noting that specific questions asked in May 2011 regarding additional samples were not answered in the FBI’s letter of August 9, 2011
  • Letter from FBI Assistant Director, Laboratory Division to Congressman Nadler … August 9, 2011 (see letter below)
  • Congressman Nadler to FBI Director Mueller … May 2011 …
    • asking why the FBI’s April 2009 letter provided incomplete information in response to Nadler’s questions asked in November 2008
    • asking specific new questions regarding the NAS report and whether certain additional samples were tested
  • FBI letter to Congressman Nadler … April 2009 … providing incomplete information in response to questions asked by the Congressman in November 2008
  • Questions first raised by Congressman Nadler … November 2008
  • FBI press conference in August 2008 announcing that Dr. Bruce Ivins was the sole perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax attacks and that the case would soon be closed

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Congressman Nadler to FBI Director Mueller … Sept 13, 2011

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Letter from FBI Assistant Director, Laboratory Division

to Congressman Nadler … Aug 9, 2011

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see also …

* PBS Frontline, McClatchy and ProPublica … The FBI’s false case against Dr. Bruce Ivins, built on obviously unproven innuendos and assertions, is beginning to unravel.

 * Congressman Jerrold Nadler complains to FBI Director Robert Mueller that questions he first asked in September 2008 regarding silicon content in the anthrax in several of the 2001 attack letters were answered incorrectly … previous posts on this blog assert that the correct information may be very relevant to determining who the real perpetrator(s) of those attacks were

 * responses to Congressman Nadler’s questions of the FBI regarding the % of weight of the silicon in the powder used in the 2001 anthrax attacks

 * and then there were three … Congressman Nadler joins Holt and Bartlett in calling for Congressional review of the failed FBI anthrax investigation … waiting for Senators Grassley and Specter

* the FBI’s answers to questions posed by members of the House Judiciary Committee in September 2008 as to certain aspects of the FBI’s investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks are insulting and demeaning to the U.S. Congress and to the American people

* Congress tries to scrutinize the FBI’s anthrax investigation … so far with little success

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LMW COMMENT …

The letters presented above show a longstanding, continuing, and apparently purposeful refusal of the FBI to answer clear, specific, and important questions asked by a United States Congressman in his official capacity.

The FBI doesn’t say the information they refuse to divulge is being withheld for security or any other reasons. They don’t say the FBI doesn’t know the answers. They simply do not answer the questions asked, some of which were asked almost three years ago. 

It is my view that no member of the U.S. government has the right to treat a U.S. Congressman in the manner the FBI has treated Congressman Nadler. 

Meanwhile, the anthrax attacks of 2001 have not been solved. After 10 years of the most expensive investigation in the FBI’s history, the American people do not know who committed those attacks. Maybe the FBI knows but isn’t saying, or maybe they don’t know either.

But in any case, the accusation of a dead man where there are no witnesses, no physical evidence, and no conclusive science, with nothing but an unsupported veneer of conjecture, should not be allowed to stand. The FBI’s case could never have achieved a conviction in court.

It is important that our country still doesn’t know who attacked us with anthrax in 2001.

It is important that the perpetrators are still out there, perhaps planning another attack.

And it is very important that the FBI respond fully and respectfully to Congressman Nadler, to the entire U.S. Congress and to the American people.

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* Congressman Rush Holt: The FBI repeatedly bungled the anthrax investigation … I have introduced legislation that would create a special committee to investigate the anthrax attacks

Posted by DXer on September 18, 2011

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Congressman Holt has been relentless in his attempts to get FBI Director Mueller to answer for the FBI's bungling of the anthrax case ... Holt needs the help of other Congressmen to get at the truth which Mueller clearly wants to remain hidden

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Congressman Rush Holt – D,NJ – writes (9/16/11) …

  • I (have long been) concerned about the processes and professionalism of government investigators.

The FBI’s practices for taking evidence, I saw, were sloppy and even illogical.

  • One of the FBI’s first steps, for instance, should have been to examine immediately all of the mailboxes that fed into the Trenton mail facility where the letters were known to have been processed.
    • Yet nine months passed before the FBI swabbed public mailboxes and identified a contaminated public mailbox on Nassau Street in Princeton as the apparent source of the letter.
    • Only then did the FBI begin asking passers-by whether they remembered anything unusual happening at that box the previous fall.
  • For years, the FBI investigation focused myopically on Steven Hatfill, a bioweapons expert, even after it became clear that Hatfill lacked access to the strain of anthrax used in the attacks. Hatfill later sued the Department of Justice, and he settled for $5.8 million.

The FBI’s bungling of the case squandered five years of investigative time

while the real culprit or culprits remained at large.

  • Finally, after the better part of a decade of false leads and vague public statements, the FBI announced in August 2008 that it had identified a suspect: Dr. Bruce Ivins, a vaccine specialist who worked at Fort Detrick and who days earlier had committed suicide.

As FBI Director Robert Mueller ultimately acknowledged to me,

the case against Ivins was almost entirely circumstantial.

  • On the basis of this (circumstantial) evidence, the FBI declared that Ivins was the culprit, that he had acted alone and that the investigation into the anthrax attacks was considered closed.

Yet the FBI has said that it does not have

any direct, physical evidence tying Ivins to the attack.

  • Further investigations, including a report from the National Research Council, have cast questions on whether the FBI conclusively demonstrated that the anthrax used in the attack originated in Ivins’ lab.
    • Indeed, as the NRC report noted, multiple individuals had access to the flask that allegedly contained the attack material.
    • And Ivins had no experience in making, nor the proper equipment to produce, the kind of refined, easily aerosolized spores that were used in the attacks.
  • In Congress, I have introduced legislation that would create a special committee, modeled after the 9/11 Commission, to investigate the anthrax attacks, including our pre-attack preparations, the incidents, the public health response, the forensic response and the subsequent improvements made.
  • Such an investigation would help us understand what really happened, why and whether America has grown better prepared to deter biological attacks.

I believe that many of America’s most dangerous overreactions,

particularly the invasion of Iraq, which Bush administration officials

at first tried to link to the anthrax attacks,

can be traced directly to the panic induced by the anthrax mailings.

  • Our sense that terrorists were everywhere, that even an action as innocent as opening the mail could be fatal, set the United States on a path that will haunt us for years.

http://www.app.com/article/20110918/NJOPINION06/309180016/Another-10th-anniversary-anthrax-attacks

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LMW COMMENT …

The FBI has clearly failed to solve the anthrax case, and is just as clearly trying to stonewall any attempts to get to the truth. FBI Director Robert Mueller needs to be brought on the carpet to explain his management of this case and to tell the American people the truth about the anthrax attacks.

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* DXer … some suggestions for the GAO … whose report is due soon

Posted by DXer on September 6, 2011

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Comptroller General Gene Dodaro & FBI Director Robert Mueller ... in the end it always comes down to the men in charge

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It would be unsound for the GAO to only rely on the evidence

that the FBI provided GAO without asking for the evidence

that underlies the stated assertions in its Amerithrax Investigative Summary.

  • For example, AUSA Rachel Lieber creates an innuendo that Dr. Ivins used the photocopier in the library because of his presence there at particular times. I believe the scientific evidence, in contrast, that was NOT provided to the NAS shows that the FBI experts could exclude those photocopiers based on mass spectroscopy of the toner.
  • As another example, the FBI’s theory based on the code is specious because it relies on a letter that in fact was not double-lined. Thus, one does not begin with Agent Steele’s suggested interpretation of the code, one starts with the document examiner’s report — which has not been released — identifying which letters were double-lined.
  • On the issue of submission of the Spring 2002 sample, (the FBI’s theory) hugely misses the point to credit the unsupported conclusion that Dr. Ivins submitted the sample instead of his assistant (as Dr. Ivins repeatedly explained for many years). The chain of custody records have been uploaded showing that it was not Dr. Ivins’ initials associated with the submission and this should be understood to be within the GAO’s task.
  • Some of the most important material are the contemporaneous documents from September and October 2001. It is foolish to speak of scientific uncertainties and not appreciate that the laboratory notes — the contemporaneous evidence of how Dr. Ivins spent his time — bears directly on the scientific evidence relating to whether he made and mailed the dried powdered anthrax.
  • The forensic examination of Dr. Ivins’ computer is hard-core forensic evidence and identifies when the electronic message to Mara Linscott dated September 17, 2001 was sent. If the GAO would make available of that material it would overcome the long delays associated with the majority of FBI FOIA responses — a matter currently being addressed in a pending bill called the Faster FOIA Act.
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see also …

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