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

Posts Tagged ‘** NAS anthrax study’

* Christian Hassell never provided NAS the Notebook 3655, which related to Flask 1030 and was the seed stock sent to Dugway to make both Flask 1029 and the 340 ml. Ames then sent to USAMRIID in June 2001

Posted by Lew Weinstein on October 9, 2015

Notebook3655

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* Was the 340 ml. of genetically matching virulent Ames shipped from Dugway to USAMRIID in June 2001 tested for the genetically distinctive subtilis contaminant — Or did it go missing?

Posted by Lew Weinstein on October 9, 2015

Dugwaysubtilis

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* Trentonian (10/20/13) … Congressman Rush Holt: “Myriad questions remain about the anthrax attacks and the government’s response to the attacks.

Posted by Lew Weinstein on October 21, 2013

Congressman Holt is Dr. Bruce Ivins only chance for a deserved exoneration

Congressman Holt is Dr. Bruce Ivins only chance for a deserved exoneration

***

http://www.trentonian.com/general-news/20131020/state-watch-ready-for-anthrax-sequel

By Dave Neese, The Trentonian … POSTED: 10/20/13, 7:21 PM EDT

 ***

  • The anthrax probe at first came to focus intensely on government scientist Stephen Hatfill. The federal government eventually awarded him $5.8 million to settle a lawsuit charging that the massive investigation had violated his constitutional rights.

  • The investigative chase in 2005 started down a new trail, this time in pursuit of Bruce Ivins, another government scientist. In July 2008 he committed suicide with an overdose of Tylenol. A month later the FBI declared him the sole suspect behind the anthrax letters. On Feb. 19, 2010, it officially closed the investigation, declaring Ivins the perpetrator.

  • The FBI said psychological profiles, damning unrefuted circumstantial evidence, and Ivins’ own evasive or false statements to agents all pointed to his guilt. Most damning of all, said the FBI, was the fact that Ivins had access to anthrax identical to that dropped in the Princeton mailbox. Other scientists who had access were able to fully account for their whereabouts and their handling of anthrax in their labs. But Ivins, according to the FBI, never gave a straight story on why in the nights leading up to the attack he logged late hours in his government lab at Ft. Detrick, Md.

LMW NOTE: The FBI’s pathetic case against Dr. Ivins

has been thoroughly refuted on this blog and elsewhere.

  • The skeptical Holt, however, balks at signing off on the official conclusion to the investigation.

  • There were no fingerprints, no witness accounts, no physical evidence linking Ivins to the incident, says Holt. The case against him was “entirely circumstantial,” and the FBI director personally acknowledged as much to him, the congressman says.

  • The FBI “arbitrarily” closed the case based on evidence that “would not, I think, stand up in court,” he adds.

  • In 2011, after reviewing the anthrax analyses in the case, the National Academy of Sciences reported that it was “impossible to reach any definite conclusion about the origins of anthrax in the letters based solely on the available scientific evidence.”

  • Going on the fifth year now, Holt has tenaciously, but futilely, advocated the creation of a blue-ribbon commission to review the anthrax attack. With subpoena power and “such appropriations as necessary,” Holt’s panel authorized by the “Anthrax Attack Investigation Act” would seek to determine:

    • Whether “all credible leads and information regarding the potential perpetrator of the attacks were pursued with due diligence by federal investigators.”

    • The “full range of individuals who could have had access to the type of anthrax used in the attacks….”

    • The “full extent of the federal government’s preparedness for and immediate response to the attacks …”

LMW NOTE: The GAO has been promising a report

on its ongoing review of the FBI’s investigation for years.

Where is their report? What/who is holding it up?

  • Despite bipartisan backing, however, the Democratic Holt’s legislation has never progressed beyond the confines of the House Judiciary Committee.

  • Staff sources of both parties say there’s a reluctance on Capitol Hill to be seen as second-guessing law enforcement, especially the FBI, and a dread of unwittingly encouraging endless conspiracy speculations such as the assassination of President Kennedy inspires to this day.

“Myriad questions remain about the anthrax attacks

and the government’s response to the attacks,” insists Holt.

***

LMW NOTE … There are only three possible explanations for the FBI’s continued unsupported assertion that Dr. Ivins was the sole perpetrator of the anthrax attacks (or that he was involved at all).

1. The FBI has more evidence against Ivins that it has so far refused to make public … VERY UNLIKELY

2. The FBI has not solved the case and has no idea who perpetrated the 2001 attacks … POSSIBLE BUT NOT LIKELY

3. The FBI knows who perpetrated the attacks but won’t say who it was … MOST LIKELY

***

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 26 Comments »

* a selection of posts from the CASE CLOSED blog making the case AGAINST the FBI’s assertions that Dr. Bruce ivins was the anthrax attacker

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 30, 2013


GAO, Mueller & Ivins

***

This CASE CLOSED blog site contains 1272 posts and almost 16,000 comments. Here is a selection of the most important posts raising the questions which thoroughly discredit the FBI’s assertion that Dr. Bruce Ivins was the sole perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax attacks, or even that he was involved in any way … 

***

Evidence for the Source of the 2001 Attack Anthrax
Martin E. Hugh-Jones1*, Barbara Hatch Rosenberg2, and Stuart Jacobsen3
http://www.omicsonline.org/2157-2526/2157-2526-S3-008.php?aid=10614

New Documents Cast Doubt on Federal Anthrax Case
by Mike Wiser, FRONTLINE; Greg Gordon, McClatchy Newspapers; and Stephen Engelberg,ProPublica
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/2011/07/new-documents-cast-doubt-on-federal-anthrax-case.html#ixzz1SYHcLUow

Bruce Ivins Maybe Didn’t Send the Anthrax, Government Admits in Court Papers
By Joe Coscarelli Tue., Jul. 19 2011

http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2011/07/bruce_ivins_anthrax_fbi_pbs_documentary.php

Frontline, partnering with McClatchy and ProPublica, has done important work in assessing the FBI’s conclusion in Amerithrax.
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/10/11/watch-frontlines-anthrax-program-now/

A detailed analysis of Laurie Garrett’s new book
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/07/27/a-detailed-analysis-of-laurie-garretts-new-book-by-dxer/

The unsolved anthrax murder mystery
BY LAURA H. KAHN | 23 MARCH 2011
http://www.thebulletin.org/web-edition/columnists/laura-h-kahn/the-unsolved-anthrax-murder-mystery

THE ANTHRAX ATTACKS OF 2001, AN UNSOLVED MYSTERY (pdf)
clinical science, epidemiology, basic science and forensics
http://www.umdnj.edu/emgweb/documents/AMERITHRAX-NOV-2012pptx.pdf

Colleague Says Anthrax Numbers Add Up to Unsolved Case
by Gary Matsumoto, Special to ProPublica, April 23, 2010, 11:45 a.m.
http://www.propublica.org/article/colleague-says-anthrax-numbers-add-up-to-unsolved-case

Nadler Renews Call for Independent Investigation of Anthrax Attacks
Mar 4, 2010
https://nadler.house.gov/press-release/nadler-renews-call-independent-investigation-anthrax-attacks

Widow Of Anthrax Victim Doubts FBI’s Conclusion
http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2011/05/19/widow-of-anthrax-victim-doubts-fbis-conclusion/

Derailing Justice Again
Norman M. Covert (former USAMRIID public affairs officer)
http://www.thetentacle.com/ShowArticle.cfm?mydocid=3637

Ivins Minus the Technicolor
Norman M. Covert (former USAMRIID public affairs officer)
http://www.thetentacle.com/ShowArticle.cfm?mydocid=3651

Al Qaeda anthrax lab tech says he had been part of Malaysian Armed Forces biological weapons program
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/al-qaeda-anthrax-lab-tech-says-he-had-been-part-of-malaysian-armed-forces-biological-weapons-program/

Al Qaeda anthrax lab technician tells DXer that he realizes that by addressing these issues he may “jack myself up” but says that the “plan is on the way” — what does he mean when he says the “plan is on the way”?
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2012/05/01/al-qaeda-anthrax-lab-technician-tells-dxer-by-chat-that-he-realizes-that-by-addressing-these-issues-he-may-jack-myself-up-but-says-that-the-plan-is-on-the-way-what-does-he-mean-when-he-s/

Atta Was Coordinating With Jdey’s Associate Al-Hazmi, First In Fort Lee, NJ In Late August 2001 And Then In Laurel, MD in September 2001 ; Jdey’s Associate Nawaf Al-Hazmi Had Been At The Planning Meeting At Yazid Sufaat’s Kuala Lumpur Condo With Anthrax Planner Hambali And Anthrax Lab Director Yazid Sufaat And Yet The FBI Never Told The Public That Jdey Had Been Detained Along With Moussaoui In August 2001 (With Biology Textbooks) And Then Released
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2012/01/25/atta-was-coordinating-with-jdeys-associate-al-hazmi-first-in-fort-lee-nj-in-late-august-2001-and-then-in-laurel-md-in-september-2001-jdeys-associate-nawaf-al-hazmi-had-been-at-the-planning/

NSA ORCON: CIA and FBI Dropping the Ball In Anthrax Mailings and 9/11 Involved Same Failure To Track And Intercept Al-Midhar And Nawaf After Meeting At Kuala Lumpur Condo Of Anthrax Lab Tech Sufaat and Anthrax Planner Hambali
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/nsa-orcon-cia-and-fbi-dropping-the-ball-in-anthrax-mailings-and-911-involved-same-failure-to-track-and-intercept-al-midhar-and-nawaf-after-meeting-at-kuala-lumpur-condo-of-anthrax-lab-tech-sufaat/

In today’s installment of a continuing series, Al Qaeda anthrax lab technician Yazid Sufaat defends his decision to go to Afghanistan to work on his “anthrax project” for Al Qaeda
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2012/03/20/interview-yazid-sufaat-released-in-november-2008-says-he-met-osama/

Anthrax Lab Director Yazid Sufaat Wrote This Letter Of Introduction For Zacarias Moussaoui, Who Made The Cropduster Inquiries
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2012/01/23/anthrax-lab-director-yazid-sufaat-wrote-this-letter-of-introduction-for-zacarias-moussaoui-who-made-the-cropduster-inquiries/

On The Question Whether Yazid Sufaat Was Using Virulent Ames (see NAS Report), We Need One Of These Top-Flight Journalists To Succeed In Getting Substantive, On-The-Record Responses From Yazid
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/on-the-question-whether-yazid-sufaat-was-using-virulent-ames-see-nas-report-we-need-one-of-these-top-flight-journalists-to-succeed-in-getting-substantive-on-the-record-responses-from-yazid/

The “Hatfill Theory” was part of the same unstoppable train wreck as the “Ivins Theory.” There was a change of cars (investigators), but it was the same flawed train of reasoning and the investigators never overcame the earlier truncated emphasis of the investigation.
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/05/10/the-hatfill-theory-was-part-of-the-same-unstoppable-train-wreck-as-the-ivins-theory-there-was-a-change-of-cars-investigators-but-it-was-the-same-flawed-train-of-reasoning-and-the-inve/

U.S. Senator Grassley … “There are no more excuses for avoiding an independent review and assessment of how the FBI handled its investigation in the anthrax case.”
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/02/17/u-s-senator-grassley-there-are-no-more-excuses-for-avoiding-an-independent-review-and-assessment-of-how-the-fbi-handled-its-investigation-in-the-anthrax-case-”/

Senator Grassley asks the FBI to explain why it retracted a Justice Department filing (in the Stevens case) that Dr. Bruce Ivins lacked access in his lab to the “specialized equipment” needed to dry wet anthrax spores into airborne powder
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/09/03/senator-grassley-asks-fbi-to-explain-why-it-suppressed-a-justice-department-filing-in-the-stevens-case-that-dr-bruce-ivins-lacked-access-in-his-lab-to-the-specialized-equipment-needed-to-dry/

In a Sept 23, 2011 letter to Senator Grassley, the DOJ says that Dr. Ivins made the dried powder in B5 using the lyophilizer even though the DOJ has proved he was in B3 tending to the rabbits, not B5 (the BL-2 lab), at the time the DOJ alleges he made the dried powder. THAT is the contradiction.
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/12/16/in-a-sept-23-2011-letter-to-senator-grassley-the-doj-says-that-dr-ivins-made-the-dried-powder-in-b5-using-the-lyophilizer-even-though-the-doj-has-proved-he-was-in-b3-tending-to-the-rabbits-not-b/

Baltimore Sun/Frontline … if Ivins was not the person who sent the anthrax, then that killer is still on the loose … and we are left with an FBI that not only failed to solve such a huge case, but overstated and maybe lied about what it did accomplish.
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/10/10/baltimore-sunfrontline-if-ivins-was-not-the-person-who-sent-the-anthrax-then-that-killer-is-still-on-the-loose-and-we-are-left-with-an-fbi-that-not-only-failed-to-solve-such-a-huge-case-but/

Deposition Excerpt of USAMRIID Scientist Stephen Little: Bruce Ivins would not have had skill, equipment, or ability to decontaminate equipment
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/07/16/deposition-excerpt-of-usamriid-scientist-stephen-little-bruce-ivins-would-not-have-had-skill-equipment-or-ability-to-decontaminate-equipment/

Deposition Excerpt of Patricia Worsham in Stevens v. United States: Product Could Not Have Been Made At USAMRIID With Equipment She Has Seen At USAMRIID
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/07/16/deposition-excerpt-of-patricia-worsham-in-stevens-v-united-states-product-could-not-have-been-made-at-usamriid-with-equipment-she-has-seen-at-usamriid/

USAMRIID Scientist Susan Welkos deposition excerpt : No data suggesting Dr. Ivins is guilty
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/07/11/usamriid-scientist-susan-welkos-deposition-excerpt-no-data-suggesting-dr-ivins-is-guilty/

Ayman Zawahiri, Anwar Awlaki, Anthrax, and Amerithrax: The Infiltration Of US Biodefense
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/04/12/ayman-zawahiri-anwar-awlaki-anthrax-and-amerithrax-the-infiltration-of-us-biodefense/

http://www.amerithrax.wordpress.com

Justice Dept. takes on itself in probe of 2001 anthrax attacks
By Jerry Markon,January 27, 2012
http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-01-27/politics/35441863_1_bruce-e-ivins-anthrax-killer-anthrax-attacks

Was FBI too quick to judge anthrax suspect the killer?
Greg Gordon | McClatchy Newspapers
last updated: April 21, 2011
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/04/20/v-print/112520/was-fbi-too-quick-to-judge-anthrax.html

Scientist Innocent of Anthrax Mailings, Former Colleague Says
April 23, 2010
http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/scientist-innocent-of-anthrax-mailings-former-colleague-says/

Science falls short in anthrax investigation
http://blogs.nature.com/news/2011/02/science_falls_short_in_anthrax.html

Editorial
Nature 454, 917 (21 August 2008) | doi:10.1038/454917a; Published online 20 August 2008
Case not closed
The FBI says it has evidence showing that Bruce Ivins was behind the 2001 anthrax attacks — but with his death, this will not be tested in court. A full enquiry into the case is needed if justice is to be done.
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v454/n7207/full/454917a.html

OPINION
January 24, 2010, 7:33 p.m. ET
The Anthrax Attacks Remain Unsolved, by Edward Jay Epstein
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704541004575011421223515284.html

Eric Nadler:
THE FANTASY WORLDS OF BRUCE IVINS AND THE FBI (video)
Posted On: March 5, 2010
http://www.anthraxwar.com/1/?p=538

Anthrax Redux: Did the Feds Nab the Wrong Guy? | Wired Magazine
http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/03/ff_anthrax_fbi/

NPR: FBI Faulted For Overstating Science In Anthrax Case
http://www.npr.org/2011/02/15/133775495/fbi-faulted-for-overstating-science-in-anthrax-case

Serious doubt cast on FBI’s anthrax case against Bruce Ivins – Salon …
http://www.salon.com/2011/02/16/ivans/
Feb 16, 2011 – A scientific panel concludes the Government overstated its genetic evidence against Bruce Ivins.

NAS Panel Member Nancy D. Connell in new treatise: Amerithrax May Never Be Solved
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2012/08/20/nas-panel-member-nancy-d-connell-in-new-treatise-amerithrax-may-never-be-solved/

“Tellingly, it was a target of the 2001 anthrax letters – Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont – who told Mueller at a 2008 hearing that he seriously doubted the findings of the FBI’s long and complicated anthrax investigation.”
“FBI’s longtime director faces criticism of bureau again,” Apr 27, 2013
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/27/us-usa-security-mueller-idUSBRE93Q04D20130427

PR’s John Dankowsky interviews Stephen Engleberg, Paul Keim and David Relman … RELMAN: the evidence linking the anthrax material in the letters to the material in the flask in Bruce Ivins’ lab was consistent with an association but was not conclusive or definitive … KEIM: there’s no scientific test that can prove that it came from Fort Detrick, Maryland.
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/10/29/nprs-john-dankowsky-interviews-stephen-engleberg-paul-keim-and-david-relman-relman-the-evidence-linking-the-anthrax-material-in-the-letters-to-the-material-in-the-flask-in-bruce-ivins-lab/

former USAMRIID scientists Jeff Adamovicz and Gerry Andrews … “The scientific evidence clearly shows that the (anthrax) wasn’t produced in our laboratory (USAMRIID).” … ie, IT WASN’T IVINS!!!
Posted by Lew Weinstein on October 8, 2011
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/10/08/jeff-adamovicz-and-gerry-andrews-the-scientific-evidence-clearly-shows-that-the-anthrax-wasnt-produced-in-our-laboratory-usamriid-ie-it-wasnt-ivins/

Richard Spertzel in WSJ: Bruce Ivins Wasn’t the Anthrax Culprit
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2009/05/26/bruce-ivins-wasnt-the-anthrax-culprit/

Washington Post editorial (10/21/11) calls for independent review of FBI investigation of Dr. Bruce Ivins in 2001 anthrax attacks
Posted by Lew Weinstein on October 22, 2011
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/10/22/washington-post-editorial-102111-calls-for-independent-review-of-fbi-investigation-of-dr-bruce-ivins-in-2001-anthrax-attacks-lmw-it-is-long-past-time-to-hold-fbi-director-mueller-accountab/

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

https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/10/18/the-nyt-calls-for-an-independent-review-of-the-fbis-anthrax-investigation-lmw-it-is-long-past-time-to-hold-director-mueller-accountable-for-the-fbis-investigative-failures-and-for-the-fbi/

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
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/10/24/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-r/

an interview with David Relman, vice chair of the NAS review committee, reveals clearly that the science cannot prove that Dr. Bruce Ivins is the sole perpetrator or even involved … and, by the way, it seems Al Qaeda had Ames anthrax
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/02/25/an-interview-with-david-relman-vice-chair-of-the-nas-review-committee-reveals-clearly-how-that-the-fbi-botched-the-scientific-investigation-of-the-2001-anthrax-attacks-and-that-the-science-cannot/

Bioweapons expert Jonathan Tucker noted in his 2010 NATO briefing that skeptics had pointed out numerous holes in the FBI’s “Ivins Theory” (and see 2013 book)
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/bioweapons-expert-jonathan-tucker-noted-in-his-2010-nato-briefing-noted-that-skeptics-had-pointed-out-numerous-holes-in-the-fbis-ivins-theory-and-see-2013-book/

Rutgers professor and Amerithrax expert Dr. Leonard Cole … there remain important gaps in the FBI’s evidence against Dr. Bruce Ivins
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/03/06/rutgers-professor-and-amerithrax-expert-dr-leonard-coles-“there-remain-important-gaps-in-the-evidence-”/

Jeffrey Adamovicz and Gerry Andrews, the people who knew Dr. Ivins and his lab capabilities better than anyone else, make powerful arguments that the FBI has not made its case … and Adamovicz says “he feels morally obligated to continue to pursue the case.”
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/10/11/jeffrey-adamovicz-and-gerry-andrews-the-people-who-knew-dr-ivins-and-his-lab-capabilities-better-than-anyone-else-make-powerful-arguments-that-the-fbi-has-not-made-its-case-and-adamowicz-says/

Army microbiologist Dr. Henry Heine, until now forbidden to speak, says … Ivins is absolutely not the anthrax attacker … it was impossible that the deadly spores had been produced undetected in Dr. Ivins’s laboratory, as the F.B.I. asserts … whoever did this is still running around out there
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/04/23/army-microbiologist-dr-henry-heine-until-now-forbidden-to-speak-says-ivins-is-absolutely-not-the-anthrax-attacker-it-was-impossible-that-the-deadly-spores-had-been-produced-undetected-in-dr/

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.”
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/10/12/international-anthrax-expert-dr-hugh-martin-jones-challenges-the-government-to-test-his-teams-hypothesis-in-a-lab-instead-of-with-lawyer-talk/

Doubts about anthrax story
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nation-world/bal-te.anthrax05aug05,0,2121592.story#ixzz2Rr65jba8

Daily Journal Online-12 hours ago
After 9/11, there was a lethal (still unsolved) anthrax attack
•Feb 27, 2010 – The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s report on Dr. Bruce Ivins leaves too many loose ends to be taken as a definitive verdict.
Who Mailed the Anthrax Letters? – NYTimes.com
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/18/…/who-mailed-the-anthrax-letters.html

Editorial: Decade after anthrax mail attacks, questions still remain
Published: Tuesday, October 11, 2011, 6:55 AM
By Times of Trenton Editorial Board
http://www.nj.com/times-opinion/index.ssf/2011/10/editorial_decade_after_anthrax.html

Justice Department Filing Casts Doubt on Guilt of Bruce Ivins, Accused in Anthrax Case
by Mike Wiser, PBS Frontline, Greg Gordon, McClatchy Newspapers, and Stephen Engelberg, ProPublica, July 18, 2011, 7:03 p.m.
http://www.propublica.org/article/justice-department-filing-casts-doubt-on-guilt-of-bruce-ivins-accused-in-

The Bioterrorist Attacks on America, by Yuril V. Ezepchuk (Director of Biological Sciences, University of Colorado) … hypothesis: the hijacker Ahmed Alhaznawi had been infected with the skin form of anthrax

Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 4, 2012
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2012/09/04/the-bioterrorist-attacks-on-america-by-yuril-v-ezepchuk-director-of-biological-sciences-university-of-colorado/

New leads in anthrax case
By DAILY PRINCETONIAN STAFF
Published: Wednesday, October 12th, 2011
http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2011/10/12/29020/

Obama Obstructs Oversight of FBI in Anthrax Case
By Cliff Kincaid
http://www.worldviewweekend.com:81/worldview-times/print.php?&ArticleID=5964

ProPublica, McClatchy Newspapers and PBS’ Frontline … the FBI’s case against anthrax suspect rife with questions
Posted by Lew Weinstein on October 11, 2011
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/10/11/propublica-mcclatchy-newspapers-and-pbs-frontline-the-fbis-case-against-anthrax-suspect-rife-with-questions/

Laurie Garrett … the FRONTLINE program has convinced me that Dr. Bruce Ivins is innocent of the 2001 anthrax mailings
Posted by Lew Weinstein on October 13, 2011
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/10/13/laurie-garrett-the-frontline-program-has-convinced-me-that-dr-bruce-ivins-is-innocent-of-the-2001-anthrax-mailings/

Frederick News Post: the FBI’s case against Dr. Bruce Ivins is in tatters … *LMW: we must support Congressman Holt’s call for a re-investigation … we must learn the truth
Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 21, 2011
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/02/21/frederick-news-post-the-fbis-case-against-dr-bruce-ivins-is-in-tatters-lmw-we-must-support-congressman-holts-call-for-a-re-investigation-we-must-learn-the-truth/

In Have We “Met the Enemy”?, Science 3 February 2012: Vol. 335 no. 6068 pp. 540-541, Dr. David Relman, who had been vice-chairman of the NAS Committee, explains:
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2012/03/05/in-have-we-met-the-enemy-science-3-february-2012-vol-335-no-6068-pp-540-541-dr-david-relman-who-had-been-vice-chairman-of-the-nas-committee-explains/

Claire Fraser-Liggett: the genetic analysis of the spores in Ivins’ flask does not indicate Ivins is guilty
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2009/05/20/clair-fraser-liggett-the-genetic-analysis-of-the-spores-in-ivins-flask-do-not-indicate-ivins-is-guilty/

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?
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/06/13/new-article-highlights-key-unanswered-questions-in-the-fbi-anthrax-investigation/

Melanie Ulrich: “Ex-colleague [assistant] questions government’s case against anthrax suspect”
August 08, 2008|By ANDREW SCHOTZ
http://articles.herald-mail.com/2008-08-08/news/25159866_1_bruce-ivins-anthrax-samples-powdered-anthrax

Congressman Holt: the FBI’s “botched investigation” must be reopened … LMW: please write to your Congressman or woman and urge support for Holt’s Anthrax Commission bill
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/03/02/congressman-holt-the-fbis-botched-investigation-must-be-reopened/

HOLT, ANTHRAX and JEOPARDY: “He mailed the anthrax-laden letters in Fall 2001. Who is _______?”
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/03/03/holt-anthrax-and-jeopardy-he-mailed-the-anthrax-laden-letters-in-fall-2001-who-is-_______/

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
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/09/18/congressman-rush-holt-the-fbi-repeatedly-bungled-the-anthrax-investigation-without-any-direct-physical-evidence-tying-dr-bruce-ivins-to-the-attack-the-fbi-declared-in-august-2008-that-iv/

Hartford Courant: Anthrax Attacks Still A Mystery After 10 Years …
Posted by Lew Weinstein on October 4, 2011
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/10/04/anthrax-attacks-still-a-mystery-after-10-years/

AP: statements by scientists in Florida court case raise doubts regarding the FBI conclusion that Dr. Bruce Ivins prepared the anthrax used in the 2001 attacks
Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 19, 2011
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/05/19/statements-by-scientists-in-florida-court-case-raise-doubts-regarding-the-fbi-conclusion-that-dr-bruce-ivins-prepared-the-anthrax-used-in-the-2001-attacks/

Washington Post editorial calls for Congressional commission to probe all evidence in the anthrax case
Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 18, 2011
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/02/18/washington-post-editorial-calls-for-congressional-commission-to-probe-all-evidence-in-the-anthrax-case/

http://www.amerithrax.wordpress.com

Book author Edward Jay Epstein writes on his blog:

Keith Olbermann interviews investigative reporter Gerald Posner … the FBI anthrax case is severely flawed
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2009/04/15/keith-olbermann-interviews-investigative-reporter-gerald-posner-the-fbi-anthrax-case-is-sverely-flawed/

Frederick News-Post columnist Barry Kissin – the lynching of Bruce Ivins
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2009/05/24/barry-kissin-the-lynching-of-bruce-ivins/

selected extracts from the presentation of anthrax vaccine MD Dr. Meryl Nass at the Nov 29, 2010 anthrax seminar
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/12/02/selected-extracts-from-the-presentation-of-dr-merl-nass-at-the-nov-29-2010-anthrax-seminar/

Stephanie Yamkovenko of Frederick Gorilla summarizes elements of the FBI’s non-existent case against Dr. Ivins
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/12/02/stephanie-yamkovenko-summarizes-elements-of-the-fbis-non-existent-case-against-dr-ivins/

Excerpts from “I Heard The Sirens Scream” by by Pulitzer Prize winning author Laurie Garrett
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/07/27/excerpts-from-i-heard-the-sirens-scream-by-by-pulitzer-prize-winning-author-laurie-garrett/

slide presentation at the Nov 29 anthrax letters seminar
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/12/05/ross-getmans-slide-presentation-at-the-nov-29-anthrax-letters-seminar/

Dr. Alan Zelicoff, the head of Saint Louis University’s Institute in Biosecurity, has serious doubts about the government’s official explanation of Amerithrax
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/11/10/dr-alan-zelicoff-the-head-of-saint-louis-universitys-institute-in-biosecurity-has-serious-doubts-about-the-governments-official-explanation-of-amerithrax/

Ken Dillon asks … Who Was the Real Anthrax Mailer? … the key people in the anthrax mailings were not Bruce Ivins or Steven Hatfill … instead, they appear to have been Ali al-Timimi and Abderraouf Jdey.
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/03/28/ken-dillon-asks-…-who-was-the-real-anthrax-mailer-the-key-people-in-the-anthrax-mailings-were-not-bruce-ivins-or-steven-hatfill-his-predecessor-as-the-fbis-target-instead-they-app/

Congressman Mike Pence & Pulitzer prize winning science writer Laurie Garrett agree on Anthrax Mailings.. Pence: “I don’t know who sent it” — I am afraid we may have missed the off-ramp to the truth.” … Garrett: “I get outraged because the FBI completely botched the investigation on the anthrax.”
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/09/11/congressman-mike-pence-pulitzer-prize-winning-science-writer-laurie-garrett-agree-on-anthrax-mailings-pence-i-dont-know-who-sent-it-i-am-afraid-we-may-have-missed-the-off-ramp-to-t/

Doubts Persist About FBI’s Anthrax Investigation 10 Years Later …
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/10/18/doubts-persist-about-fbis-anthrax-investigation-10-years-later-amid-new-bio/

4-page summary of analysis
Ayman Zawahiri, Anwar Awlaki, Anthrax, and Amerithrax: The Infiltration Of US Biodefense
https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/04/12/ayman-zawahiri-anwar-awlaki-anthrax-and-amerithrax-the-infiltration-of-us-biodefense/

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* Courtney Grafft’s “A Legal Analysis of the Search Warrants of the Amerithrax Investigation”, Journal of Biosecurity, Biosafety and Biodefense Law *(July 2012) : Excerpt

Posted by Lew Weinstein on August 14, 2012

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

* Tara O’Toole, the undersecretary for biosecurity at Homeland Security Department, says that the FBI did not establish that the anthrax came from USAMRIID but that it was merely the FBI’s “working hypothesis” and a “supposition”; she mentioned other active hypotheses.

Posted by Lew Weinstein on October 13, 2011

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Tara O’Toole

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 Tara O’Toole is the Undersecretary for Biosecurity at Homeland Security Department.  

Toward at the end of a seminar (10/13/11) sponsored by the Center for American Progress,  in response to a question about the dangers posed by proliferation of labs, O’Toole said that …

  • the FBI has not proven that the mailed anthrax came from USAMRIID.
  • She says that is “a working hypothesis.”
  • She says that the NAS report is the place to go to get behind the FBI’s “supposition.”

 

Anthrax Revisited: The Outlook for Biopreparedness in the United States

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Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 28 Comments »

* 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 Lew Weinstein on October 12, 2011

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Dr. Martin Hugh-Jones

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 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 … http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2011/10/12/29020/

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* NYT report … analysis by scientists Hugh-Jones, Rosenberg and Jacobsen disputes FBI closing of anthrax case … Dr. Alice Gast, the head of the NAS panel that reviewed the FBI’s scientific work in the anthrax investigation, says … the paper points out connections that deserve further consideration … the potential value of chemical signatures has not been fully explored … she urges a full review of classified government research on anthrax, which her panel never saw

Posted by Lew Weinstein on October 10, 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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William Broad and Scott Shane write in the NYT (10/9/11) …

  • biologists and chemists still disagree on whether federal investigators got the right man and whether the FBI’s long inquiry brushed aside important clues.
  • three scientists argue that distinctive chemicals found in the dried anthrax spores — including the unexpected presence of tin — point to a high degree of manufacturing skill, contrary to federal reassurances that the attack germs were unsophisticated. The scientists make their case in a coming issue of the Journal of Bioterrorism & Biodefense.

Both the chairwoman of a National Academy of Science (NAS) panel

that spent a year and a half reviewing the F.B.I.’s scientific work

and the director of a new review by the Government Accountability Office (GAO)

said the paper raised important questions that should be addressed.

  • Alice P. Gast, president of Lehigh University and the head of the academy panel, said that the paper “points out connections that deserve further consideration.”

Dr. Gast, a chemical engineer, said the “chemical signatures”

in the mailed anthrax and their potential value to the criminal investigation

had not been fully explored.

She also noted that the academy panel suggested a full review

of classified government research on anthrax,

which her panel never saw.

  • In interviews, the three authors said their analysis suggested that the F.B.I. might have pursued the wrong suspect and that the case should be reopened.
  • Their position may embolden calls for a national commission to investigate the first major bioterrorist attack in American history.
  • Dean Boyd, a Justice Department spokesman, said the paper provided “no evidence whatsoever that the spores used in the mailings were produced” at a location other than Fort Detrick. He said investigators believe Dr. Ivins grew and dried the anthrax spores himself. “We stand by our conclusion.”
  • In addition to Dr. Hugh-Jones, the authors of the new paper are Barbara Hatch Rosenberg, a biologist, and Stuart Jacobsen, a chemist; both have speculated publicly about the case and criticized the F.B.I. for years.
  • In 2008, days after Dr. Ivins’s suicide, the bureau made public a sweeping but circumstantial case against him. Last year, the bureau formally closed the case, acknowledging that some scientific questions were unanswered but asserting that the evidence against Dr. Ivins was overwhelming.

Yet no evidence directly tied Dr. Ivins to the crime.

  • Some of the scientist’s former colleagues have argued that he could not have made the anthrax and that investigators hounded a troubled man to death.
  • In its report last February, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) panel sharply criticized some of the F.B.I.’s scientific work, saying the genetic link between the attack anthrax and a supply in Dr. Ivins’s lab was “not as conclusive” as the bureau asserted.
  • If the authors of the new paper are correct about the silicon-tin coating, it appears likely that Dr. Ivins could not have made the anthrax powder alone with the equipment he possessed, as the F.B.I. maintains.

That would mean either that he got the powder from elsewhere

or that he was not the perpetrator.

  • If Dr. Ivins did not make the powder, one conceivable source might be classified government research on anthrax, carried out for years by the military and the Central Intelligence Agency. Dr. Ivins had ties to several researchers who did such secret work.
  • The Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, is conducting its own review (still ongoing) of the anthrax evidence. Nancy Kingsbury, the official overseeing the project, said the agency had spoken with the paper’s authors and judged that “their questions are reasonable.”
  • Several anthrax scientists who reviewed the new paper at the request of The Times said they believed it neglected the possibility that the tin and silicon were meaningless contaminants rather than sophisticated additives.
  • Dr. Gast, the head of the National Academy of Sciences panel, noted that her group strongly recommended that future investigations of the attacks examine the government’s classified work on anthrax.
  • She called access to secret records “an important aspect of providing more clarity on what we know and what we don’t know.

read the entire article at … http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/10/science/10anthrax.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss

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LMW COMMENT …

I have long held that the FBI’s publicly presented 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?

As regular readers of this blog well know, 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
When I first heard the FBI/DOJ August 2008 press conference, I was infuriated. It was obvious to me even then that the FBI had no case, or at least no case they chose to make publicly known. Since I’m a novelist, I focused my anger and wrote CASE CLOSED, a fictional account of what might have happened in the anthrax attacks and subsequent FBI investigation. The novel has been published and is available at amazon …
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* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon *

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Here is the first scene in CASE CLOSED, where I have the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) institute its own re-examination of the FBI’s obviously flawed investigation …
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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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* Excerpts from “I Heard The Sirens Scream” by by Pulitzer Prize winning author Laurie Garrett

Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 27, 2011

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Excerpts from “I Heard The Sirens Scream”

by Pulitzer Prize winning author Laurie Garrett

(sub-headings by LMW) …

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FBI’s misuse of non-FBI labs …

Twenty-nine non-FBI laboratories across America were engaged in the effort, with no direct communication or knowledge of each other’s findings permitted. The FBI investigators changed their strategies and notions of appropriate science fairly regularly, never allowing the academic, private or government laboratories that comprised the “team” to either provide guidance in plotting the scientific inquiry, or frankly clueing the researchers in on why any particular avenue of study was being pursued.

investigation by public humiliation … 

for years the key tactic used to elicit statements or confessions was public humiliation.

intense scrutiny of Ivins – until he took his own life …

The scrutiny of Ivins grew so intense, featuring overt 24-hour surveillance of his suburban Maryland home and questioning of his children, that Ivins’ already delicate psychological state rapidly deteriorated, until the microbiologist took his own life by swallowing a massive quantity of the headache remedy, acetaminophen.

strange circumstantial evidence …

The bulk of the evidence against Ivins was circumstantial, and every bit as strange as that the FBI had leveled against Hatfill and other persons of the agency’s interest.

destruction of Iowa Ames …

the University of Iowa and the State’s troopers had, with much fanfare, destroyed the original samples during the fall of 2001. Amazingly, the Justice Department had raised no objections at the time, failing then to appreciate how critically important the samples would prove to be for Amerithrax forensics.

silicate signature …

When the so-called “silicate signature” on anthrax samples obtained from other sources was compared to the 2001 envelope spores there were two critical differences: There was far less silicate, and none of the comparable samples had silicon inside the spores, as the Amerithrax samples did. The Sandia researchers had proved all of this before the spring of 2002, and experimentally demonstrated that the only way silicate got inside the spores was if the chemical was in the medium used to grow the bacilli.

silicon and tin …

During the 2001 early investigation the FBI tested samples from the letters and found both silicon and tin in the mailings to the New York Post and Senator Leahy, in both cases constituting less than 1 percent of the bulk weight of the samples. The early FBI silicon/tin findings were contradicted by the Sandia work, as well as testing at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. The early silicon/tin data from the FBI would not be disclosed to Congress or outside researchers for many years, and its significance or accuracy remained controversial ten years later.

no connection with Saddam … known before Colin Powell UN speech …

This 2002 Sandia finding, if accurate, had two profound implications: First, it disproved any alleged connection between chemicals on the anthrax spores and their purported production as WMD by Saddam Hussein or any other country. While the finding did not rule out the possibility that a foreign state actor grew the spores, there was no evidence that silicon, bentonite or any other chemical was used in the process to make the spores stay fluffy, un-clumped and therefore “weaponized.” The second implication was critical to the forensics, as the Sandia group basically told the FBI, “Find a guy that uses silicate in his bacterial growth medium, and you’ve got your culprit.”

Sadly, this information was kept secret until July 2008. There is no evidence in the public record that the FBI allowed the finding to be conveyed to those individuals inside the Bush Administration or CIA that were searching for links between the anthrax and the government of Iraq, nor does it appear the Justice Department allowed the information to be incorporated in any manner in the 2003 United Nations Security Council debate at which Secretary of State Colin Powell conveyed the case for war on Baghdad.

FBI investigation focused in wrong directions …

For years the FBI inquiry continued focusing on one incorrect suspect or lead after another.

RMR-1029 flasks …

In 2004 the FBI seized Ivins’ RMR-1029 flasks, having remarkably allowed them to remain in his possession for more than two years, while he was simultaneously on a list of some 200 anthrax scientists considered to be possible culprits. Those RMR-1029 samples were sent to Worsham, Keim and Fraser-Liggett to be submitted to their respective forms of analysis.

April 2007 … Ivins “not a target” … and then he is …

Though Ivins was questioned many times and underwent a lie detector test, he remained an active part of the investigation into 2007, and in April of that year received a formal letter from the Justice Department informing him that he was “not a target” of the Amerithrax search. … But just one month after receiving that “not a target” reassurance Ivins was called to testify for two days before a federal grand jury, where his handling of RMR-1029 was parsed in detail. Shaken by the proceedings, Ivins told colleagues he feared that he was being fingered as the murderer. He began to drink alcohol heavily and went on back on the anti-depressant Celexa, which he had ceased using years before.

FBI’s belligerent scrutiny of Ivins …

For the next eight months Bruce Ivins, his family and his closest colleagues at USAMRIID were subjected to increasingly overt and belligerent scrutiny by the FBI and eventually the media.

On June 9th the FBI questioned Ivins again, in the presence of his attorney, and the scientist appears to have been deeply shaken by the interrogation. Throughout the following month the FBI conducted undisguised surveillance of his home, and followed him wherever he drove or walked, spoke with his wife and children, and made their watchdog presence known. For Ivins – a man who was under psychiatric treatment for paranoia – the federal vehicles parked outside his suburban home must have left him unhinged.

Spertzel – “The FBI needs to explain” …

Richard Spertzel, who headed the biological weapons inspections for UNSCOM during the lead-up to the Persian Gulf War, wrote in the Wall Street Journal just days after the FBI named Ivins as the culprit, “The FBI needs to explain why it zeroed in on Ivins, how he could have made the anthrax mailed to lawmakers and the media, and how he (or anyone else) could have pulled off the attacks, acting alone. I believe this is another mistake in the [Amerithrax] investigation.”

Ivins’ group therapy with Jean Duley …

One month later, on July 9th Ivins allegedly made statements in his weekly group therapy session that were so alarming that the session convener feared he either intended to kill others, or himself. According to the counselor that chaired the session, Jean Duley (who was not trained in psychology) Ivins told the group he was angry about how the FBI and the government were treating him, and had become convinced that he faced the death penalty.

Would FBI case have led to conviction? …

Would all of this have resulted in conviction had Bruce Ivins lived to see his day in court? His lawyer, Paul Kemp doesn’t think so, and other legal experts have vouched that all the FBI evidence shows is that Ivins was a disturbed, paranoid individual, probably bona fide mentally ill. A case could be made that his mental illness preceded 9/11, but that still doesn’t prove that Bruce Ivins made, and mailed, the anthrax letters.

Weaknesses and omissions in FBI case …

  • the FBI cannot prove that Ivins was in the State of New Jersey on the two days when the deadly letters were dropped in Trenton-area mailboxes.
  • The FBI also failed to offer evidence that Ivins could produce handwriting, using either hand that resembled that penned on the letters and envelopes.
  • the FBI couldn’t prove that Bruce Ivins managed to remove samples of wet bacilli from that flask, and turn them into dry, fluffy spores.
  • whoever created the batch of dry spores must have contaminated the space in which he, or they, worked. But there was no evidence of such contamination at USAMRIID, or on any of the property owned by the Ivins family.
  • Even if the RMR-1029 matched every one of the Amerithrax letters, there was still no proof that Bruce Ivins was the person that converted samples into dry spores, stuffed them into envelopes and mailed the deadly postage.

yet FBI Director Mueller insists Ivins acted alone …

18 months later, with the NRC conclusions still not reached, FBI Director Robert Mueller declared case closed, officially shutting down the Amerithrax investigation. Dr. Bruce E. Ivins acted alone, and was the anthrax killer, Mueller insisted.

the NRC’s damning report  …

  • In November 2010 the NRC completed its investigation, based on 9,600 pages of documents and hundreds of hours of testimony and oral evidence, drafting a damning report that was submitted to the FBI for security review prior to publication.
  • The FBI was not pleased with the scientists’ findings, and produced 641 pages of previously withheld documents for additional NRC scrutiny.
  • The exhausted 16 scientists and judicial experts on the NRC panel had little interest in poring over additional evidence, but agreements were reached, the Department of Justice agreed to add funds to the NRC budget. The panel reconvened until February 2011.
  • The FBI’s mysteriously withheld 641 pages of evidence did little to sway the NRC, which issued its damning and final conclusions on February 15, 2011.
  • The NRC was not convinced by the FBI’s primary evidence against Bruce Ivins, the RMR-1029 flask of Ames strain anthrax.
  • Two assertions are in the FBI version of events:
    • Ivins was in possession of the culprit anthrax, contained in flask RMR-1029.
    • And he behaved in a manner that showed he was trying to hide the incriminating evidence from Special Agents.
  • The NRC disputed both assertions.
    • “It is not possible to reach a definitive conclusion about the origins of the B.anthracis in the mailings based on the available scientific evidence alone,” the NRC concluded. “The results of the genetic analyses of the repository samples were consistent with the finding that the spores in the attack letters were derived from RMR-1029, but the analyses did not definitely demonstrate such a relationship.”
  • the NRC panel was never convinced that the FBI’s registry truly contained every sample of Ames strain in the world.
  • And none of the panel members could shake the hunch that the evil-doer would never have turned over sample to the FBI.

two al-Qaeda blockbusters in the NRC report …

  • First, among the bodies recovered from the United Flight 93 crash site were those of Ziad Jarrah, Ahmad Al Haznawi and the two other al-Qaeda hijackers thwarted by brave passengers in their attempts to crash the jet into the White House. PCR analysis was performed in 2001 on the hijackers’ tissues, testing positive for Bacillus anthracis. This possible anthrax finding was especially interesting because Ahmad Al Haznawi was the al-Qaeda member that sought medical help in the emergency room of the Ft. Lauderdale Holy Cross Hospital on June 22, 2001. Dr. Christos Tsonas treated Al Haznawi with antibiotics for a black crusty sore on his hand, which was after 9/11 retrospectively diagnosed as a possible case of cutaneous anthrax infection.
  • The other revelation in the 641 pages was evidence related to three 2004 searches for anthrax spores carried out by the FBI and “other intelligence partners” in an “overseas location” used in 2001 by al-Qaeda. Though the location is classified, it appears to have been in Afghanistan, where U.S. Special Forces found two al-Qaeda related laboratories, one in Kabul and the other in Tora Bora, where Osama bin Laden successfully dodged American capture in December 2001. The three different rounds of swabbing, soil sampling and testing yielded contradictory results, some positive for anthracis, some negative. Adding to the confusion, another unnamed U.S. intelligence agency scoured the location before the FBI first reached the site, not only finding anthrax, but the Ames strain. The Ames-type Bacillus anthracis is a form of the bacterium never previously found in Asia. Further details of the possible al-Qaeda role in Amerithrax remain classified, and were not provided to the NRC.

possible al-Qaeda involvement deserves a more thorough review …

The entire issue of possible al-Qaeda involvement in the 2001 anthrax attacks “deserves a more thorough scientific review,” the NRC said.

attack anthrax was made on at least two separate occasions …

  • Whoever made the Ames anthrax apparently did so, on at least two separate occasions. Though the samples mailed in September to media outlets in Florida and New York were generally the same as those found in the October letters to Leahy and Daschle, the appearance of the samples are clearly different.
  • There were subtle genetic differences among the anthracis spores, from letter to letter, giving further support to the notion that the culprit(s) manufactured two separate quantities of anthrax, possibly in two different locations.
  • Far from providing a “smoking gun” linking the Amerithrax letters to RMR-1029, the mutants could have arisen from years of growing the bacilli in various types of fluids, in a variety of settings.

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* FBI Director Mueller gets two more years to do the right thing in the Amerithrax investigation. President Obama should direct Mueller to do what needs to be done.

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 14, 2011

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FBI Director Robert Mueller

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CNN reports …

It will take an act of Congress to keep Robert Mueller at the helm of the FBI, and all signs indicate that’s precisely what lawmakers will do. No sooner had President Barack Obama announced plans to extend Mueller’s statutorily limited 10-year term to 12 years than Democrats and Republicans alike began to smartly salute the decorated Marine and declare the move a grand idea.

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LMW COMMENT …

As far as the public can know with such a secretive organization, Robert Mueller has done an excellent job as FBI Director.

But, like the rest of us, he is not perfect. The Amerithrax investigation is one area where the FBI has fallen far short of an acceptable mark, and Mueller must take responsibility.

  • The original structure of the investigation, with its changing teams and firewalls to prevent the flow of information, must have had Mueller’s approval, if indeed not his actual direction.
  • The August 2008 announcement that Ivins was the sole perpetrator was a farce, especially when the FBI offered no evidence that Dr. Ivins was even involved.
  • The FBI’s stonewalling response to Congress and others who have questioned the FBI’s conclusions must lay right at Mueller’s doorstep.

Director Mueller now has another two years

to do what should have been done long ago.

He has several choices …

  • Cooperate fully with the GAO investigation initiated by Congressman Rush Holt 
  • Provide the improperly withheld information to the NAS and ask them to do a proper review
  • Re-open the FBI investigation with a fresh team and no restrictions (much like I did in my novel CASE CLOSED)
President Obama has much on his plate. But surely a resolution of who actually attacked the U.S. with the anthrax letters in 2001 must be somewhere among his important priorities. Because, as so many have pointed out, it is likely the perpetrators are still out there, planning to attack again. 

President Obama should direct FBI Director Mueller

to do the right thing. 

America deserves a better answer

than the FBI has so far provided.


******

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