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

Posts Tagged ‘PBS Frontline’

ProPublica & Frontline … the FBI disputes our report … here’s what we reported vs what FBI Assistant Director for Public Affairs Michael P. Kortan wrote

Posted by DXer on October 29, 2011

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Tom Detzel, ProPublica, and Mike Wiser, PBS Frontline … Oct. 28, 2011

  • In a letter to the editor of The New York Times, a top FBI official today disputed recent reports by ProPublica, PBS’ “Frontline” and McClatchy that challenged evidence in the agency’s investigation of the 2001 anthrax letter attacks and its conclusion that Army scientist Bruce Ivins was the perpetrator.
  • The letter from FBI Assistant Director for Public Affairs Michael P. Kortan followed editorials in The Times and The Washington Post that called for new, independent investigations into the anthrax case, which the FBI officially closed 18 months after Ivins committed suicide in the summer of 2008.
  • Kortan’s letter largely repeats prior claims in defense of the case, some of which were covered in our stories.
  • Here are key points from the letter and what we reported:

Ivins’ suspicious lab hours

Ivins was a top anthrax researcher at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Fort Detrick, Md. He produced vaccines and tested them on lab animals. The FBI has said a spike in Ivins’ nighttime lab hours before the mailings explains when he prepared the letters.

What we reported: Ivins’ evening hours were above average just before the mailings, but lab access records also showed it was not unusual for Ivins to work late at other labs and offices throughout the Army complex. Further, Ivins’ colleagues said he was conducting animal experiments at the time.

What Kortan wrote: “[I]t was directly relevant that Dr. Ivins worked long hours alone during the time of the mailings in the laboratory’s ‘hot suites,’ where the anthrax that was genetically linked to the attack spores was produced and handled. He had not done that before the mailings, nor did he ever do it again.”

Ivins’ anthrax samples

Once the FBI determined the letters contained a strain of anthrax common in labs, the bureau asked scientists to submit samples of their spores. The FBI has said Ivins tried to hide his guilt by sending a false sample from his spore collection. Genetic tests later showed the spores in Ivins’ flask – RMR-1029 – matched the letter spores.

What we reported: An email shows that Ivins’ offered his spores for genetic tests in December 2001. Though samples he submitted from his flask in April 2002 were not a genetic match, Ivins maintained it was an innocent mistake. Furthermore, an FBI memo and Army document show that Ivins had given another sample of RMR-1029 to a different colleague around that time. Email messages and lab notebooks show that two years later Ivins helped a colleague collect a sample of RMR-1029 specifically for FBI evidence. Finally, the very first sample Ivins gave the FBI in February 2002 was rejected because it was in the wrong type of test tube. It was later tracked down, and tests determined it to be a close match to the letter spores.

What Kortan wrote: “Dr. Ivins submitted an intentionally misleading sample in April 2002 that was free of genetic markers. Samples of his anthrax spores that contained the genetic markers were either submitted before he realized the markers might trap him or were seized later by the F.B.I., not made available by Dr. Ivins.”

Was the anthrax treated?

FBI and other scientists who examined the attack spores found that they contained silicon, tin and some other elements. The presence of those elements fueled speculation that the spores were treated – weaponized – to make them more dispersible. The FBI has said its studies show the silicon was the result of a natural process.

What we reported: A National Academy of Sciences committee that reviewed the investigation’s scientific findings concluded the unusually high amount of silicon measured in spores sent to the New York Post was unexplained – something the panel’s vice chairman, David A. Relman, told us remained a “big discrepancy” in the FBI case.

What Kortan wrote: “[S]cientists directly involved in the lengthy investigation into the anthrax mailings — both from within the F.B.I. and outside experts — disagree with the notion that the chemicals in the mailed anthrax suggest more sophisticated manufacturing.”

http://www.propublica.org/article/the-fbi-responds-to-our-anthrax-stories

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* the FBI takes issue with the recent NYT editorial … wouldn’t you love to be able to have dialogue with Mr. Kortan on these issues instead of simply a repetition of the FBI’s unproven assertions … let’s hope FRONTLINE does exactly that !!!

Posted by DXer on October 27, 2011

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Michael P. Kortan, Assistant Director, Public Affairs Federal Bureau of Investigation

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The Anthrax Investigation: The View From the F.B.I. (10/27/11) …

To the Editor:

I take issue with several points in your Oct. 18 editorial “Who Mailed the Anthrax Letters?

First, the National Academy of Sciences report concluded that the anthrax in the mailings was consistent with the anthrax produced in Dr. Bruce Ivins’s suite. The report stated, at the same time, that it was not possible to reach a definitive conclusion about the origins of the samples based on science alone. But investigators and prosecutors have long maintained that while science played a significant role, it was the totality of the investigative process that ultimately determined the outcome of the anthrax case.

Further, scientists directly involved in the lengthy investigation into the anthrax mailings — both from within the F.B.I. and outside experts — disagree with the notion that the chemicals in the mailed anthrax suggest more sophisticated manufacturing.

Second, it was directly relevant that Dr. Ivins worked long hours alone during the time of the mailings in the laboratory’s “hot suites” where the anthrax that was genetically linked to the attack spores was produced and handled. He had not done that before the mailings, nor did he ever do it again.

Dr. Ivins submitted an intentionally misleading sample in April 2002 that was free of genetic markers. Samples of his anthrax spores that contained the genetic markers were either submitted before he realized the markers might trap him or were seized later by the F.B.I., not made available by Dr. Ivins.

We strongly disagree with recent television reporting on this issue cited in the editorial.

MICHAEL P. KORTAN
Assistant Director, Public Affairs Federal Bureau of Investigation
Washington, Oct. 20, 2011

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/28/opinion/the-anthrax-investigation-the-view-from-the-fbi.html

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* DXer’s analysis of the current state of the evidence … on the refusal of David Willman and others to confront evidence that disputes their claims … on the LA Times for allowing Willman to cover the case when it is clearly a conflict of interest … and on Frontline for failing to include the rabbit evidence which totally demolishes the FBI’s assertions about what Dr. Ivins was doing in his lab when investigators and prosecutors without basis claim he was making the attack anthrax

Posted by DXer on October 16, 2011

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David Willman & Judith McClean & their books

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DXer on David Willman (from a recent comment) …

David Willman, like Ed Montooth, in a Los Angeles Times article (for which he writes again) still relies on the events in July 2000 reported by counselor Judith McLean and the homicidal plot she described.  (Ed Montooth mentioned it also when he was interviewed by Frontline.  see transcript).

The investigators and psychatrists in 2008 could not have known that in 2009 Dr. Ivins’ first therapist, Judith M. McLean, who described the plot, would write of how she acquired her psychic abilities in her book available for sale onAmazon.com — from a being from another planet …

https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/06/11/david-willman-relies-extensively-upon-dr-ivins-first-therapist-judith-m-mclean-who-writes-of-how-she-acquired-her-psychic-abilities-in-her-book-available-for-sale-on-amazon-com/

In addition to helping the FBI with Amerithrax, the psychic relied upon the government prosecutors and investigators helped with 911 by her astral travelling and retrieval of etheric body parts at Ground Zero … she thought she was being pursued by murderous astral entities.

https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2011/06/11/in-addition-to-helping-the-fbi-with-amerithrax-the-psychic-relied-upon-by-david-willman-helped-with-911-by-her-astral-travelling-and-retrieval-of-etheric-body-parts-at-ground-zero/

Judith McLean annotated the notes of the psychiatrists.  Gregory Saathoff never spoke to the counselor or the psychiatrists in his EBAP report.  ( Dr. Saathoff released the report after the FBI closed the case but prosecutors and investigators had relied upon it in their decision-making; he incredibly spun his role as independent and did not make plain that he had guided the aggressive approach to Dr. Ivins from the start.)

Dr. Saathoff never corrected their report that they provided to federal district court judge Lamberth; separately, the DOJ has moved to exclude it in the Florida litigation on the grounds that the EBAP report was neither endorsed nor commissioned by the DOJ.

But Ed Montooth continues to rely on the July 2000 events.

And David Willman has never withdrawn his reliance on this central witness in his book.

Mr. Willman’s key witness (see his book and its index) got her instructions at night from an alien who had granted her psychic powers and controlled her through a device in her butt.  I don’t know what would be more startling.

Equally startling is the fact that neither Mr. Willman, investigator Montooth, or prosecutor have ever mentioned the word “rabbits” or explained what the new documents show as to why Dr. Ivins was in the lab.

Mr. Willman writes  “Other records showed that in the weeks preceding the mailings, he spent unusual late-night hours alone in his specially equipped Army lab.” without addressing the new documents showing his reason for being in the lab.

It is very wrong for the Los Angeles Times to rely on a book author promoting book sales to cover the issue — instead a different LA Times journalist should have written up the newly produced documents showing why Dr. Ivins was in the lab … and the notes and his night checks and the dozens of animals relate to each and every night that the prosecutors and investigators claimed he had no reason to be in the lab.  Like the prosecutors and investigators, Mr. Willman seeks to shove 52 rabbits back into the hat.

On the science, which Mr. Willman  addressed in an appendix to the epilogue in his book, he still frames the issue in terms of the FBI’s straw man argument of floatability rather than microencapsulation which instead is done to make spores more stable and resistant to being destroyed by sunlight and heat.  See DARPA budget documents that have been linked showing that mass spec work that was testing the effect of a sonicator and corona plasma discharge on Ames spores from Ivins’ RMR 1029 flask was also testing spores that had been microencapsulated… to see if the mass spec could make a correct identification through the matrix.

Willman quotes Michaels saying:  “But Michaels said that if tin or silicon had been intentionally added, it probably would have coated the exterior surfaces. He said he found trace levels of tin and silicon only inside the spores.”  Michaels is speaking beyond his expertise and continues to prove an FBI sock puppet.  Instead, in the microdroplet cell culture, the silica-based substance is put in the growth medium and would be incorporated through natural processes… just as Dr. Majidi, lead WMD scientist, says.

As for the other scientists, the lead genetics expert says she would acquit.  The lead FBI and CIA internal genetics person says the genetics evidence would not have been admissible because it had not been validated.  (And Keim agrees).  Was Rachel really telling a suicidal and depressed guy (who had been calculatedly alienated from his friends) she was seeking the death penalty when she had not shared the documents concerning rabbits and she had been told the genetics expert was inadmissible? If she had given Paul Kemp the rabbit documents he would have realized that she was desperately trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear because of the pressure she felt back at the office to close the case.

Dr. Majidi has said that the forensics indicate that the silicon signature likely was due to being absorbed from the growth medium. (This would apply to the tin signature also).  That points to the DARPA-funded patent that arrived in Ali-Al-Timimi’s in-box in Spring 2001.  He shared a suite with leading Ames researchers Alibek and Bailey.  After serving as the acting commander of USAMRIID, Bailey worked for years for DIA on threat assessment while still at USAMRIID in Building 1425.  In 2001 and before, Southern Research Institute in Frederick did the B3 work with virulent Ames for the DARPA Center for Biodefense.

The Los Angeles Times ombudsman should address

why they do not have such stories addressed by a journalist

not promoting book sales on the very subject.  

If the critique of the science, then his book should be filed in the circular file.  That constitutes a huge conflict of interest.

If allowed to write on the subject he should have taken this opportunity to acknowledge the issue rather than rely on the first counselor and her story again by reference to homicidal plot. In his book, he does an admirable job in providing copious and detailed footnotes recounting what interviews he conducted  Because of his detailed footnotes, you can thus see his missteps — to include reliance on the first counselor who he interviewed on a number of occasions. One is left to wonder why neither he nor Dr. Saathoff nor commentator Barbara Martin read the book available for $10 at amazon by the counselor explaining her acutely paranoid psychotic delusions that dominated her daily life and her time with Dr. Ivins.  Dr. Saathoff chose to spend $38,000 in expenses on a psychiatric report without spending $10 on a book destroying his analysis.  The first counselor says she was protected by a psychiatric diagnosis by her husband who was in military personnel.  She quit the profession and left the state in 2001 due to her exhaustion from the psychic attacks by murderous psychic astral entities. (She would protect herself each night returning from Afghanistan in 2001, for example, by closing a vortex of light that the nasty astral entities couldn’t pass; in Afghanistan each night, she was doing psychic DNA reconstruction).
When I mentioned Mr. Willman’s failure to address the issue to a reporter, he said well reporters tend to dig in and defend a position they staked out.   Huh?   Instead, reporters are supposed to do things like press for new documents and new information and then write them up. Not even Frontline has written up the documents about Dr. Ivins work with rabbits produced in the last 2 months by USAMRIID. And instead Frontline merely panned over lab notes produced in May 2011. The rabbit documents, without more, demolish the FBI’s science case that was premised on unexplained time in the lab.  Patricia Fellows and Anthony Bassett should be interviewed on those same documents.

Not even Frontline has written up the documents about Dr. Ivins work with rabbits produced in the last 2 months by USAMRIID.  And instead Frontline merely panned over lab notes produced in May 2011.

The rabbit documents, without more,

demolish the FBI’s science case

that was premised on unexplained time in the lab.

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* ProPublica, McClatchy Newspapers and PBS’ Frontline … the FBI’s case against anthrax suspect rife with questions

Posted by DXer on October 11, 2011

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Watch FRONTLINE TUES OCT 11 at 9:00 pm

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 By STEPHEN ENGELBERG, GREG GORDON, JIM GILMORE AND MIKE WISER, ProPublica, McClatchy Newspapers and PBS’ Frontline

  • In December 2001, long before he became the prime suspect in the anthrax mailings that had terrorized the nation, Army biologist Bruce Ivins sent his superiors an email offering to help scientists trace the killer.
  • Ivins said he had several variants of Ames anthrax – the rare strain that an FBI science consultant concluded was used in the attack – that could be tested to find the origins of the powder that had killed five people.
  • To many of Ivins’ former colleagues at the U.S. Army germ research center in Fort Detrick, Md., his invitation to test anthrax in his own inventory is among numerous indications that the FBI got the wrong man.
  • What kind of murderer, they wonder, would ask the cops to test his own gun for ballistics?

Ten years after the attack, an in-depth examination of the case against Ivins

by PBS’ “Frontline,” McClatchy Newspapers and ProPublica

raises fresh doubts about the government’s evidence

and questions whether – despite a $100 million investigation –

the real anthrax killer remains on the loose.

  • The news organizations conducted dozens of interviews and reviewed thousands of pages of FBI files over the past year.
  • While not exonerating Ivins, a gifted but tortured scientist with a history of obsessive behavior, the documents and accounts are at odds with some of the science and circumstantial evidence that the government said would have led to his conviction for capital crimes:
  • Prosecutors continue to vehemently defend their case, arguing that the inconsistencies and unanswered questions are trumped by a long chain of evidence that they think would have convinced a jury that Ivins prepared the lethal powder that was mailed to news media outlets and two U.S. senators.
  • One week after Ivins died following an overdose of over-the-counter medication in July 2008, U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Taylor proclaimed at a news conference: “Based on the totality of the evidence we had gathered against him, we are confident that Dr. Ivins was the only person responsible for these attacks.”

(This is a condensed story summarizing a three-part series produced jointly by McClatchy, the investigative newsroom ProPublica and PBS’ “Frontline.” The full series is online at http://www.mcclatchydc.com/anthrax. Gordon works for McClatchy. Engelberg works for ProPublica, and Wiser and Gilmore are with “Frontline.” Gary Matsumoto of ProPublica contributed to this report.)

read the entire story at … http://www.kansascity.com/2011/10/11/3199777/fbis-case-against-anthrax-suspect.html

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* 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 DXer on October 8, 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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from the University of Wyoming web site … UW Professors say Accused Anthrax Killer Couldn’t Have Done It

  • Colleagues of accused anthrax killer Bruce Ivins say evidence from the laboratory clearly demonstrates that Ivins could not have committed the crime.
  • Jeffrey J. Adamovicz, now an assistant professor in the University of Wyoming Department of Veterinary Medicine and a researcher at the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory, will appear on the new PBS Frontline special “The Anthrax Files.” The show is scheduled to air Tuesday, Oct. 11.
  • Adamovicz and UW Professor Gerry Andrews both worked in 2001 at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease (USAMRIID) in Frederick, Md., where, according to the FBI, Ivins produced the anthrax used to commit the “country’s most notorious act of bioterrorism.”
  • “The scientific evidence clearly shows that the (anthrax) wasn’t produced in our laboratory (USAMRIID),” the two UW professors say.
  • “The FBI based part of its case on unusual activity that took place in our lab for one week. There is no way he could produce that amount of spores in our lab during that time.”
  • Other independent laboratories couldn’t produce anthrax under similar lab conditions, and the FBI could not recreate the attack strain, Adamovicz says.
  • “The FBI’s own evidence suggested a more advanced laboratory produced it,” he says.

read the entire article at … http://www.uwyo.edu/uw/news/2011/10/uw-professors-accused-anthrax-killer-couldnt-have-done-it.html

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* FRONTLINE will air “The Anthrax Files” on October 11, 2011: “new questions are being raised about whether Ivins really did it” … UPDATE … click ***BELOW*** for video preview

Posted by DXer on September 21, 2011

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click here for …

FRONTLINE | Preview “The Anthrax Files” | PBS

the FBI's genetics expert Dr. Claire Fraser-Liggett

Dr. Fraser-Liggett, the FBI’s own expert, says on the preview segment …

“(if) Dr. Ivins wasn’t the perpetrator … that person is still out there”

Previously, Dr. Fraser-Liggett said …

“I was hopeful that perhaps genomics would provide sufficient amount of information to be able to track the material to its source, but I then, and have always, asserted that in no way did I ever believe that this kind of genomics-based investigation was ever going to lead to the perpetrator.” 

Claire M. Fraser-Liggett is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland … previously the President and Director of The Institute for Genomic Research in Rockville, Maryland. 

Nicholas Wade wrote in the NYT (8/21/08) … (in 2001) … The F.B.I. decided to go back to basics and to try decoding the entire DNA sequence — some five million units — of the anthrax genome to see if some clues to its source might be developed. For this job it turned to the Institute for Genomic Research or TIGR, a leader in decoding the genomes of microbes. Its director was then Claire Fraser-Liggett, who is now at the University of Maryland. The F.B.I. asked her to form a group, with as few people as possible, to decode an anthrax genome, without telling her it was the one that had killed Mr. Stevens.

http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/bioter/trainedeye.html

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see also … 

* DXer: a Washington Post story does not take into account that the genetics experts — Dr. Fraser-Liggett and Dr. Keim — say there are major holes in the genetics case

* FBI anthrax investigation … statements from DOJ & FBI regarding the FBI’s anthrax science

* Claire Fraser-Liggett: the genetic analysis of the spores in Ivins’ flask do not indicate Ivins is guilty

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* Jonathan Tucker … New Questions About the FBI’s Anthrax Case: Valid Concerns or Red Herring?

Posted by DXer on August 23, 2011

Jonathan Tucker

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DXer COMMENT …

Dr. Tucker looked at the DOJ’s claims and credited the DOJ view that Dr. Ivins could have done it — relying on the DOJ’s claim that he had no reason to be the lab  

Yet nowhere did he address the argument that the DOJ’s claim is directly contradicted by the documentary evidence that was withheld by the DOJ and only produced by USAMRIID 3 years after Dr. Ivins’ death.

Clearly the aim, then, should be to obtain the evidence that shows what he was doing on the nights that the DOJ mistakenly said he had no reason to be in the lab.

The documents have been uploaded to the website and the media and authors just haven’t addressed the issue.

… and by the way, when did evidence that something was possible

become a substitute for evidence that something was done?

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New Questions About the FBI’s Anthrax Case:

Valid Concerns or Red Herring?

BY JONATHAN B. TUCKER   •   22 AUGUST 2011 … posted at WMD Junction, a new online forum brought to you by the editors of The Nonproliferation Review.

  • The latest challenge to the FBI’s case against Ivins comes from depositions given by some of his former USAMRIID colleagues in a suit against the US government filed by Maureen Stevens, whose late husband, Robert Stevens, was the first victim of the anthrax letter attacks.
  • Although at first glance the court documents appear to raise serious doubts about the FBI’s case against Ivins, the scientists’ claims are based on assumptions that may well be false.
  •  because no spores were ever found in Ivins’s home or car, and no eyewitness saw him mail the letters from a mailbox in downtown Princeton, New Jersey, the FBI’s case was entirely circumstantial.

Questions Raised in the Depositions

  • The depositions taken from USAMRIID scientists and technicians as part of the lawsuit by Maureen Stevens were first disclosed on July 18 in a joint article by three news organizations: PBS Frontline, ProPublica, and McClatchy Newspapers.[1]
  • According to the article, testimony in the court documents suggests that Ivins did not have access to the specialized equipment and know-how he presumably would have needed to dry the spores into the high-quality powder sent through the mail, raising doubts about whether he was technically capable of committing the crime.
  • While the scientists’ depositions appear compelling at first glance, many of the statements are misleading.
  • First, much has been made of the specialized knowledge needed to prepare dry powders of B. anthracis spores, yet this factor may have been exaggerated.
  • Early reports that the spores contained a high level of silicon suggested that they could have been deliberately “weaponized” by coating them with silica to reduce static clumping and facilitate their delivery as a fine-particle aerosol.
  • FBI scientists later determined, however, that the silicon was not on the surface of the spores but had been incorporated into an inner layer called the endosporium when the anthrax bacteria were grown and induced to sporulate. Thus, Ivins would not have needed weapons-related expertise to process the spores.
  • Second, the depositions by Worsham and Little imply that the only way to produce significant quantities of dried B. anthracis is by using a lyophilizer, yet lower-tech approaches may also be feasible.
  • The fact that the B. anthracis powder mailed to the two senators was so buoyant and dispersed so readily led many observers to conclude that it had been deliberately weaponized.
  • Dr. Vahid Majidi, the assistant director of the FBI’s WMD Directorate, said that this false belief resulted from the fact that very few scientists have experience with preparations of dried bacteria.
  • in response to the question whether the equipment in Ivins’s lab would have been sufficient to grow and dry the spores, Majidi said, “It would have been easy to make these samples at RID [USAMRIID].”[4]
  • During the press briefing, FBI officials estimated that making the preparation of powdered B. anthracis spores could have taken one person between three and seven days of work.[5]
  • They also corrected false reports that the FBI had been unable to reverse-engineer the highly refined B. anthracis powder mailed to the two senators.[6]
  • When asked if the FBI’s powder behaved the same as the material in the letters, Majidi replied, “as far as our preparation goes, we were able to repeat almost everything except the silicant signal [the high silicon content of the spores]. … Can we make the same spore purity? Yes. Can we make the spore dry? Yes.”[7]
  • Based on this information, it appears that Ivins could have dried the spores without the need for a lyophilizer by using a low-tech method, such as heat-drying the concentrated slurry on glass plates and then harvesting the dried material inside a sealed glove box.
  • In sum, public statements by Majidi and other senior FBI officials suggest that the assumption underlying the more recent statements of the USAMRIID scientists—that specialized equipment, expertise, and tacit knowledge are required to produce a lethal preparation of dry anthrax spores—may be incorrect or at least exaggerated.

Conclusion

  • Although the FBI’s circumstantial case against Bruce Ivins will never satisfy hard-core skeptics and conspiracy theorists, the mosaic of evidence is fairly convincing when viewed as a whole.
  • At the same time, it is far from certain that a federal prosecutor could have persuaded a jury of Ivins’ guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

[Editor’s note: Jonathan Tucker died suddenly in late July, just days after submitting this article for publication.

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* caught between conflicting objectives in the anthrax case and the Stevens case, the DOJ/FBI end up ignoring the truth and obstructing justice in both … why should anyone believe the government in either case

Posted by DXer on July 21, 2011

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IT WASN'T IVINS ... and the FBI must by now know that they drove the wrong man to suicide

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GREG GORDON, STEVE ENGELBERG AND MIKE WISER write for McClatchy Newspapers, ProPublica and Frontline (7/21/11) …

  • Waffling by Justice Department lawyers in a wrongful death lawsuit that arose from the deadly 2001 anthrax attacks could boost prospects that the government will be liable for millions in damages for failing to prevent the killing of a Florida man.
  • Department lawyers created a stir in recent days, first by filing court papers that appeared to undercut the FBI’s finding that the late Army scientist Bruce Ivins was the killer. 
  • The filings said Ivins lacked access in his lab to the sophisticated equipment to produce the anthrax powder. Four days later, the lawyers abruptly retracted that assessment.
  • “I think it creates a great deal of problems for the government,” said Paul Kemp, who represented Ivins before his 2008 suicide.
  • Kemp noted that the FBI found 116 individuals who might have had access to anthrax emanating from the suspect’s flask. Assuming that it indeed originated from that beaker, he said, the Justice Department’s conflicting statements show “that the government has no idea whether it was negligent or not in supervising the maintenance of 150 different pathogens at Fort Detrick and other locations.
  • If the case goes to trial, he said, attorneys for the Stevens family likely will have an opportunity to present the conflicting government statements to a jury.
  • Richard Schuler, the lead attorney for the Stevens family, said he thought that Justice Department lawyers were “trying to pick and choose the facts that will support them in the civil case. And in attempting to do that, they’re contradicting their own investigative agency, the FBI.”
  • Now, he said, the civil lawyers are trying “to walk a tightrope of facts in this case in order to attempt to prevent the Stevens family from getting justice. 
  • It just shows how far the government will go to obstruct justice in the Stevens case, to try and win the day by misleading the court with facts that … only days later, they now claim to be inaccurate.”

(McClatchy Newspapers collaborated with the investigative newsroom ProPublica and PBS’s “Frontline” to produce this article. Engelberg works for ProPublica and Wiser is with “Frontline.” ProPublica’s Aarti Shahani and Liz Day provided research for this story.)

Read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/07/20/3235078/justice-department-waffling-in.html#ixzz1SkUZQIOg

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* 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.

Posted by DXer on July 19, 2011

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FBI Director Robert Mueller ... Congress must make hime testify ... and not re-appoint him until he provides satisfactory answers

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Mike Wiser, PBS FRONTLINE, Greg Gordon, McClatchy Newspapers, and Stephen Engelberg, ProPublica  write (July 18, 2011) …

  • The Justice Department has called into question a key pillar of the FBI’s case against Bruce Ivins, the Army scientist accused of mailing the anthrax-laced letters that killed five people and terrorized Congress a decade ago.
  • On July 15, Justice Department lawyers acknowledged in court papers that the sealed area in Ivins’ lab — the so-called hot suite — did not contain the equipment needed to turn liquid anthrax into the refined powder that floated through congressional buildings and post offices in the fall of 2001.
  • The government’s statements deepen the questions about the case against Ivins, who killed himself before he was charged with a crime.
    • Searches of his car and home in 2007 found no anthrax spores
    • the FBI’s eight-year, $100 million investigation never proved he mailed the letters
    • Earlier this year, a report by the National Academy of Science questioned the genetic analysis that had linked a flask of anthrax stored in Ivins’ office to the anthrax contained in the letters.
  • Paul Kemp, Ivins’ lead defense attorney said Monday that the department’s concession that the equipment wasn’t available “is at direct variance to the assertions of the government on July 29, 2008,” the day Ivins died, thus “invalidating one of the chief theories of their prosecution case.”

the PBS program FRONTLINE is working

on a forthcoming documentary

on the case with McClatchy Newspapers

and ProPublica, the investigative newsroom.

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LMW COMMENT …

  • The FBI’s false case against Dr. Bruce Ivins, built on obviously unproven innuendos and assertions, is beginning to unravel.
  • When the case does finally collapse, it will be necessary to explore why the FBI went to such lengths to accuse Ivins in the first place.
    • What really happened?
    • Does the FBI know what really happened?
    • If not, they are proven incompetents.
    • If so, who and what are they protecting by keeping the truth from the American people?

FBI Director Robert Mueller must be made to testify on these matters.

He must not be re-appointed until he does.

If he stonewalls like he has with Congressman Nadler and others,

he should be fired!

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