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

Posts Tagged ‘FBI Lab Director Chris Hassell’

* March 4, 2010 letter FROM FBI … Christian Hassell TO NAS … Dr. Alice Gast

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 8, 2011

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* December 7, 2009 letter FROM FBI … Dr. Christian Hassell TO NAS … Dr. Alice Gast

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 8, 2011

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* anonymous scientist says: it looks like Rep Holt’s office knows something about the weaknesses in the FBI’s anthrax case … he’s put his reputation on the line

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 4, 2010

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anonymous scientist …

it looks like Rep Holt’s office knows something here

Congressmen don’t write statements like “We don’t know whether scientists at other government and private labs who assisted the FBI in the investigation actually concur with the FBI’s investigative findings and conclusions” – and put their reputations on the line to fellow Congressmen – unless they already know the answer to the question they are posing.

* analysis *

* conclusions *

* questions *

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Congressman Holt & FBI Lab Director Hassell

ANALYSIS …

Very interesting that Rep Holt writes:

“We don’t know if the FBI’s explanation for the presence of silica in the anthrax spores is truly scientifically valid.  We don’t know whether scientists at other government and private labs who assisted the FBI in the investigation actually concur with the FBI’s investigative findings and conclusions.”

  • It looks like Rep Holt’s office knows something here.
  • Just reading the FBI’s statements reveals gaping holes in their science.

FBI lab director Dr Chris Hassell made a statement to the National Academy of Science in July of 2009 that makes little scientific sense:

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% 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 of both the Daschle and Brokaw letters spore powders precluded the analysis of these samples using this elemental analysis technique.”
  • Ironically, in his presentation to NAS, 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/

  • He should then be well aware that Pacific Northwest Labs demonstrated in 2005 that accurate quantitative Elemental Analysis can be performed on bacillus spores with samples as small as one nanogram (one nanogram is one thousandth of one millionth of a gram).

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

CONCLUSIONS …

  • The quantities of silicon in the ALL the recovered powders should have been known by the FBI within days of receiving them.
  • The fact that it took seven years for the FBI to give ONE piece of data on the Leahy powder can only lead to speculation that there is something about these silicon concentrations that make them extremely uncomfortable.
  • These quantities of silicon are perhaps the single most important piece of forensic evidence needed to solve the case.

QUESTIONS …

  • If there is nothing to hide, why not just reveal the numbers? As the Pacific Northwest results show – it can be done easily.
  • It is no excuse for Hassell to claim that there was not enough sample to obtain these quantities.
  • The FBI sponsored the VERY LAB that shows 1 ng is enough sample.
  • Are these results secret? Why?

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* FBI’s Lab Director Hassell disputes Epstein’s WSJ opinion piece … but does not support his allegations … what exactly are the “inaccuracies” and “omitted facts” he alleges but does not provide?

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 4, 2010

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

Here’s what readers say about CASE CLOSED …

“CASE CLOSED takes headline events and weaves a credible scenario around the anthrax scare.”

“Lew Weinstein is a meticulous researcher and a determined storyteller.”

“This scary scenario is as close to truth as fiction can come.”

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FBI disputes Epstein’s WSJ opinion piece

… but does not support its allegations

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FBI Press Release dated February 3, 2010

re: Letter to the Editor on FBI’s Scientific Work in Anthrax Case

Dr. David Christian (Chris) Hassell ... FBI Laboratory Director

A version of this letter was published in The Wall Street Journal on February 1, 2010.

Letters to the Editor
The Wall Street Journal
1211 Avenue of the Americas,
New York, NY 10036

Dear Editor:

Monday’s opinion piece, “The Anthrax Attacks Remain Unsolved,” was filled with inaccuracies and omitted several relevant facts that are necessary for a balanced discussion of the science applied in the anthrax investigation.

From the outset, the FBI’s scientific work in the anthrax case has had a foundation in validation and verification of its approach and conclusions. This process began within weeks of the initial events of 2001 and has included:

  • consultation with numerous subject matter experts in technical panels;
  • collaboration with partner laboratories in government, academia and the private sector throughout the course of the investigation;
  • ongoing efforts to publish our work and that of our partner labs in peer-reviewed technical journals; and
  • analytical data and reports provided to the National Academy of Sciences so they can evaluate the scientific analysis applied to the evidence in the anthrax investigation.

The FBI is confident in the scientific findings that were reached in this investigation. We utilized established biological and chemical analysis techniques and applied them in an innovative manner to reach these findings.

D. Christian Hassell, Ph.D
Director
FBI Laboratory

Read the FBI press release at … http://www.fbi.gov/pressrel/pressrel10/hassell_020310.htm

LMW COMMENT …

  • Typically, the FBI is providing no more support to its allegation that Epstein is wrong than they have to their assertion that Dr. Ivins is the sole perpetrator.
  • What, for instance, are the “inaccuracies” and “omitted facts” it alleges but does not provide?
  • I personally have NO CONFIDENCE in the FBI’s unsupported allegations.

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* Frederick News Post editorial calls for creation of Congressman Rush Holt’s Anthrax Investigation Commission

Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 31, 2009

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buy CC - why, who, readers******

Frederick News Post editorial – 7/31/09

  • The FBI’s case against Ivins is almost wholly circumstantial. 
  • In March, Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., introduced the Anthrax Investigation Act in Congress. The bill would establish a national commission akin to the one created to study the 2001 terrorist attacks. Unfortunately, this bill remains stalled in Congress.
  • We urge our congressional representatives to support this legislation.

read the entire editorial at … http://mail.google.com/mail/#inbox/122cfea37b0369fe

LMW COMMENT …

One small correction … “The FBI’s case against Ivins is almost wholly circumstantial.” is not correct. The FBI’s case against Ivins is entirely circumstantial.

  • There are no witnesses who saw Dr. Ivins prepare the huge quantity of anthrax that would have been required (see prior post …  * 55 flasks of anthrax prep … now where can I hide these?)
  • no witnesses who saw Dr. ivins mail the letters in Princeton,
  • no physical evidence in Dr. Ivins’ home, car, clothes or anywhere else that ties him to the crime.

In the absence of real evidence, and in the certain knowledge that hundreds of people had access to the flask RMR-1029, for the FBI to assert that Dr. Ivins is the sole perpetrator is ludicrous on its face. That assertion is something the FBI cannot prove.

Senator Specter was right; the FBI would never get a conviction on what they had.

So what is the FBI up to?

First of all, the FBI is not stupid. They know as well as we do that their evidence is non-existent. They know full well that they could never prove there pitiful case in court. They avoided that problem by charging a dead man, so they would never have to testify in court, under oath, and subject to the sharp questions of a capable defense attorney.

It is the terrifying prospect that the FBI is purposely hiding the true perpetrators, or covering up some other dark secrets, that prompted me to write my novel CASE CLOSED, in which I present a fictional scenario to explain the FBI’s failure to solve the case.

If you care about the truth in the anthrax case, and the lack of truth in the FBI’s anthrax investigation, you will be challenged by the scenario I present in CASE CLOSED. You will, like many other readers, find my story “all too plausible” and it will terrify you to think that something like what I describe could very likely have occurred.

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Posted in * NAS review of FBI science, * questioning the FBI's anthrax investigation | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

* Silicon evidence is crucial to whether Dr. Bruce Ivins made the anthrax used in the 2001 attacks; the FBI has so far refused to provide relevant evidence (the AFIP lab results ) on this point

Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 31, 2009

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buy CC - why, who, readers

Yesterday (7/30/09) was the first public session in the National Academy of Sciences review of anthrax science used by the FBI in its investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks.

The first FBI witness was Chris Hassell, Assistant Director, Laboratory Division, Science and Technology Branch.

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Hassell’s testimony regarding silicon (from LMW notes) …

  • the silicon content in the Leahy letter was 1.5%

the New York Post letter also had silicon, but there was not enough powder to allow a reliable % measurement

  • no exogenous silicon was ever found; there were no silicon signatures

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DXer, in two comments posted after the NAS hearing, said the following …

  • “The FBI used Inductively Coupled Plasma mass spectrometry (ICP) to determine the silicon content of the Leahy spores.
    • They admitted that they found the record breaking level of 1.45% silicon.
    • They apparently don’t believe this is significant at all (especially since it doesn’t provide any link whatsoever to Ivins or Detrick).
  • But let’s consider what it means when they claim the NYP analysis by ICP was somehow “unreliable” as Chris Hassell said today to the NAS.
    • When ICP is performed a tiny fraction (less than 1ml) of sample is nebulized in a chamber:
    • The first step in analysis is the introduction of the sample. This has been achieved in ICP-MS through a variety of means.
    • The most common method is the use of a nebulizer. This is a device which converts liquids into an aerosol, and that aerosol can then be swept into the plasma to create the ions. Nebulizers work best with simple liquid samples (i.e. solutions).
    • So, if they are claiming in their response that ICP DID provide the result that there WAS silicon in the NYP sample, then they must have a number for this. ICP is not a “yes or no” analysis. It provides a number. The record breaking number of 1.45% was provided for the Leahy sample – but for some reason the NYP number was NOT given.
    • It is no excuse to say that they ran out of sample. As described above – once a sample of solution is made up it can be used to provide HUNDREDS of small volume nebulized aliquots into the ICP machine.

The REAL reason that the NYP analysis is not being provided is because it is massive. The % of silicon is more than 10% – in fact it’s above to 50%. The NYP sample is actually MOSTLY silicon.

  • The AFIP lab results (the results that the FBI refused to provide to Sandia) clearly demonstrate this.
  • The FBI labs were uncomfortable enough releasing the record breaking 1.45% silicon in the Leahy sample.
  • They are now stonewalling in producing the AFIP report under FOIA.

“The silicon is probably the most important scientific evidence that would lead anybody to question whether Bruce was capable of making these spores,” says Gerald P. Andrews, Bruce Ivins’ former boss.

read the complete DXer comments below the post … * Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) … background documentation related to National Academy of Sciences (NAS) silicon testimony today

Posted in * FBI refusal to testify, * NAS review of FBI science, * questioning the FBI's anthrax investigation | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »