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

Posts Tagged ‘Senator Grassley & anthrax’

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

Posted by DXer on October 16, 2011

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FBI Director Mueller, Senator Grassley, Congressman Holt

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

despite evidence of FBI bungling,

new probe into anthrax killings unlikely

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

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

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LMW COMMENT …

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

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

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

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

It seemed to me then, and still seems so today, that there are only 3 possible “actual” scenarios …

  1. The FBI has more evidence against Dr. Ivins but is, for some undisclosed reason, withholding that evidence … POSSIBLE BUT NOT SO LIKELY
  2. The FBI, despite the most expensive and extensive investigation in its history, has not solved the case and has no idea who prepared and mailed the anthrax letters that killed 5 Americans in 2001 … EVEN LESS LIKELY
  3. The FBI knows who did it (not Dr. Ivins) but is covering up the actual perpetrators, for undisclosed reasons …THE MOST LIKELY SCENARIO

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

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* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon *

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Here is the first scene from CASE CLOSED,

where I have the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)

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

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

* 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

Posted by DXer on September 3, 2011

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Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa)

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 from GREG GORDON, MIKE WISER AND STEPHEN ENGELBERG (McClatchy Newspapers, Frontline and ProPublica) … 9/2/11 …

  • Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa has asked the Justice Department to explain why its civil lawyers filed court papers questioning prosecutors’ conclusions that an Army researcher mailed the anthrax-laced letters that killed five people in 2001.
  • Grassley is among several members of Congress who have been outspoken skeptics about the FBI’s conclusion
  • In a letter this week to Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller, Sen. Grassley said the department’s decision to quickly retract the contradictory filings “has produced a new set of questions regarding this unsolved crime.”
    • The Justice Department’s civil lawyers said July 15 that Bruce Ivins lacked access in his lab to the “specialized equipment” needed to dry wet anthrax spores into airborne powder that could be easily inhaled.
    • After hearing from the FBI and the department’s Criminal Division, the civil attorneys persuaded a federal judge in West Palm Beach, Fla., to permit 10 revisions to their position so it conformed with the FBI’s determination that Ivins did have equipment available to do the job.
  • Grassley noted that two USAMRIID scientists, in sworn depositions in the suit, disputed the FBI’s conclusion that Ivins could have made the powder in his laboratory.

read the entire article at … http://www.kansascity.com/2011/09/02/3117349/sen-grassley-asks-justice-department.html#ixzz1WqdUnVY5

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LMW COMMENT …

We welcome Senator Grassley back to this discussion. See also …

* 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.”

* Sen. Grassley says he will hold nominees at the DOJ until he receives long overdue answers from the FBI

* Senator Grassley pushes for FBI answers to questions about its anthrax investigation asked in September 2008; FBI Director Mueller says the questions have been answered and sent to the DOJ

* FBI stonewalling seems to be working

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

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Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

* 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.”

Posted by DXer on February 17, 2011

Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa)

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Senator Chuck Grassley has released the following statement (2/16/11) …

  • “For years the FBI has claimed scientific evidence for its conclusion that that anthrax spores found in the letters were linked to the anthrax bacteria found in Dr. Ivins’ lab.
  • The National Academy of Sciences report released today shows that the science is not necessarily a slam dunk.

“There are no more excuses for avoiding

an independent review and assessment

of how the FBI handled its investigation

in the anthrax case.”

  • the National Academy did not review
    • FBI interview summaries,
    • grand jury testimony,
    • internal investigative memos,
    • other investigative documents.
  • The Academy only reviewed the science, not the detective work.
  • I believe we need an independent review of both…”

read the entire release at … http://www.iowapolitics.com/index.iml?Article=226986

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LMW COMMENT …

This is potentially important support from the other side of the aisle. Answers to the anthrax attacks and the FBI’s flawed and failed investigation should be a bipartisan concern.

This is how I addressed the need for a re-investigation when I wrote my novel CASE CLOSED in the days following the DOJ/FBI announcement in August 2008 that Dr. Bruce Ivins was the sole perpetrator of the anthrax attacks …

opening scene from Lew Weinstein’s novel CASE CLOSED …

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* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon *

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

* the NAS needs to explain its decision to sequester FBI-submitted documents in apparent violation of FOIA law

Posted by DXer on September 18, 2009

CASE CLOSED

click here to … buy CASE CLOSED by Lew Weinstein

one reader says …

“The whole Anthrax episode is unquestionably a dark moment in American history.

But what makes it fascinating is how it was handled (or should I say mishandled) by the administration and the various agencies involved.

CASE CLOSED is a must read for anyone who wondered … what really happened? … Who did it? … why?” … and finally, why didn’t they tell us the truth?”

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NAS needs to explain its decision to sequester FBI-submitted documents in apparent violation of FOIA law

It is now over a week since my email to NAS asking for the specific legal authority they are citing to permit them to sequester FBI-submitted documents until the end of their study (perhaps 17 months from now). I have received no response, which is unusual since all of my other emails were answered almost immediately.

Accordingly, I sent the following email to NAS today … BILL … I wonder if you could let me know the status of any response to my 9/10/09 email. Are you in the process of preparing a response? When can I expect to receive a response? … LEW

Here’s the essence of the email I sent to the NAS on 9/10/09 …

  • You say that much of the FBI material is exempt from release under the FOIA law, but you do not cite the specific legal authority under which such exemptions are claimed.
  • It is my understanding that there are several reasons for possible exemption from release. Which reasons do you specifically cite for each category of FBI material you claim is exempt?
  • Also … I note that you say “much” of the FBI material is exempt, which means that some is not exempt.
  • Could you please advise which FBI material you believe is not exempt, and how the non-exempt FBI material differs from the FBI material which you say is exempt?
  • Finally, how does one go about requesting the FBI material which you say is not exempt?

It is hard to avoid concluding that the FBI is engaged in a very conscious effort to restrict information about its Amerithrax investigation. Here’s a brief review of the known chronology …

  • September & October 2001 … anthrax letters were mailed; 5 people died, 17 others were infected, an attempt was made to murder Congressman Daschle and Senator Leahy.
  • August 8, 2008 … after a 7 year investigation, the FBI announced that Dr. Bruce Ivins (recently deceased) was the SOLE PERPETRATOR of the 2001 anthrax attacks, and that, after completing a few administrative details, they would close the case.
  • August 2009 … the FBI announced it was “on the verge” of closing the Amerithrax case.
  • September 2009 … the FBI refused to answer my questions as to whether the Amerithrax investigation is still ongoing.
  • September 2009 … the NAS stated (in an email to me) that, by terms of its undisclosed contract with the FBI, most materials submitted by the FBI will not be subject to FOIA requests until the conclusion of their review.
  • September 17, 2009Senator Charles Grassley called the FBI refusal to answer his questions as “beyond unacceptable,” asked if the FBI has “something to hide.”

What might the FBI have to hide?

  • If the FBI is still investigating the Amerithrax case, then that suggests they no longer believe Dr. Bruce Ivins was the SOLE PERPETRATOR, an admission that would open serious questions as to why they said so in the first place.
  • If Dr. Ivins was indeed the SOLE PERPETRATOR, what else is there to investigate?
  • If the FBI is not still investigating the Amerithrax case, but yet has not officially closed the case, what are they waiting for?
  • One possible (likely?) answer is that once the case is officially closed, many investigative documents will become available under the FOIA law.

What’s going on between the FBI and the NAS?

  • What sort of arrangement did the FBI impose on the NAS regarding documents the FBI has and will turn over to the NAS during the course of the NAS review of the FBI’s anthrax science?
  • The NAS has said (in an email to me) that they will turn over the FBI submitted documents at the conclusion of their review.
  • DXer asserts (in a prior comment on this blog) that the FOIA law does not provide for such delayed disclosure, that if the documents are subject to FOIA requests at the end of the study, they must be subject to such requests now.
  • Will the NAS make available the FBI-submitted material it said (in the email to me) was not subject to any FOIA exemption?
  • Why hasn’t the NAS cited the specific FOIA exemptions it claims apply to the FBI submitted material?
  • And, if there are such exemptions, by what provision of the FOIA law do the exemptions apply now but not at the end of the review period?

America needs Congressman Holt’s Anthrax Review Commission

Congressman Rush Holt has submitted legislation for an Anthrax Review Commission to look into what really happened in the attacks and what the FBI has been doing for the past eight years to solve the case. That legislation, which still sits in the House Judiciary Committee chaired by Congressman Conyers, needs to become law. And the questions raised above about the FBI/NAS relationship need to be added to the inquiry agenda.

Posted in * NAS review of FBI science, * questioning the FBI's anthrax investigation | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

* Sen. Grassley says he will hold nominees at the DOJ until he receives long overdue answers from the FBI

Posted by DXer on September 18, 2009

CASE CLOSEDclick here to … buy CASE CLOSED by Lew Weinstein

readers of CASE CLOSED say …

“Weinstein raises some very interesting and disturbing theories.”

“Responsible Americans who believe in holding our government accountable for its actions should read CASE CLOSED to be more informed of the facts of the case, regardless of whether they come to agree with the author’s theory. More investigation is needed.”

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Senator Grassley

Senator Grassley

Excerpts from U.S. Sen. Grassley’s statement on FBI oversight hearing … 9/17/2009

In March of this year, Director Mueller testified before this Committee and I expressed my concerns and frustration at the lack of responsiveness from the FBI in answering questions submitted by all members of the Judiciary Committee.

Director Mueller shared in my frustrations noting that the FBI had provided responses to outstanding questions to the Department of Justice for review, but that the Department has not yet provided them to Congress.

As we stand here today we have questions from a previous FBI Oversight hearing dated March 2008 that remain outstanding and unanswered. That hearing was held over a year and a half ago.

Not having responses to these questions is beyond unacceptable.

So, the question is did the Department simply forget to get back to the Committee or do they have something to hide?

Mr. Chairman, we have a real issue with the Department of Justice and until this culture of late and unresponsive answers to our questions is changed, I will exercise my rights to begin holding nominees at the Department.

read Sen. Grassley’s entire statement at … http://www.iowapolitics.com/index.iml?Article=170440

Posted in * FBI refusal to testify, * questioning the FBI's anthrax investigation | Tagged: , , , , , | 28 Comments »

* tracking Dr. Ivins’ RMR-1029 anthrax; more questions for UM and LSU researchers

Posted by DXer on June 28, 2009

… why the FBI failed to solve the 2001 anthrax caseCASE CLOSED

* purchase CASE CLOSED (paperback)

* see CASE CLOSED VIDEO on YouTube

Dr. Bruce ivins

Dr. Bruce Ivins


tracking Dr. Ivins’ RMR-1029 anthrax;

more questions for UM and LSU researchers


The following email was sent to researchers who performed anthrax vaccine research at the University of Michigan (UM) and Louisiana State University  (LSU) in 2001 …

Dr. James Baker has graciously replied to my earlier questions, stating …

  • That work was done
    • at USAMRIID by a microbiologist under Dr. Ivins direct supervision
    • and at LSU under the direction of Dr. Hugh Jones.
  • There was never any ‘distribution’ of anthrax and all the work done at UM used simulant organisms.
  • I apologize if the citation was confusing.

Dr. Baker’s answer has been posted to the CASE CLOSED blog. There is a comment posted to that article (see … DXer said June 27, 2009 at 6:47 pm), which includes citations from various patent applications and other materials, and asks the following questions, which I am forwarding to you

  1. When was the research at USAMRIID done? What month(s) and year(s)?
  2. When was the research at LSU done?
  3. Who was the microbiologist who worked under the supervision of Bruce Ivins at the BL-3 lab at USAMRIID?
  4. Who were the NanoBio scientists who worked under the supervision of Dr. Martin Hugh-Jones at LSU?
  5. Was Bruce Ivins-supplied virulent Ames at LSU?
  6. If so, was it still in existence at the time of the subpoenas during the mid-October 2001 through February 2002?
  7. What do the LSU researchers, including FBI genetics consultant Kimothy Smith, say about whether virulent Ames was at LSU and, if so, whether any supplied by Bruce Ivins was provided in response to the subpoena.
  8. What does Pamala Coker say? (she would have taken over by the time of the subpoena from Kimothy)

You may wonder why I am asking these questions. Who am I, and what right do I have to bother you so many years after these events took place?

CASE CLOSEDI am a novelist, the author of CASE CLOSED, which presents a fictional scenario to explain why the FBI failed to solve the anthrax case. I started the CASE CLOSED blog to promote the novel, but it has taken on a life of its own as a forum for those who don’t believe the FBI’s accusation of Dr. Ivins (and a few who do) to present and argue their positions. This has stimulated me to continue to seek answers.

The FBI’s case simply does not wash. Why?

The central problem is that the FBI accused Dr. Ivins, claiming he is the sole perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax attacks, without ever proving its case. It is very convenient to the FBI to have charged a dead man, eight days after his alleged suicide, since this means they never have to go into court and actually prove their case.

The FBI has ever since their announcement refused to answer questions, even those from Congressmen and Senators. Many people, including scientists, journalists, Congressmen and Senators, have publicly expressed their doubts about the FBI’s conclusions. The FBI has presented no witnesses and no physical evidence to support its case against Dr. Ivins. More pertinent to the questions included here is that the FBI has never explained how it excluded other research labs as potential sources of the attack anthrax.

RMR-1029 log - p.1

RMR-1029 log - p.1

The CASE CLOSED blog has now obtained and published Dr. Ivins’ RMR-1029 inventory logs …

https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2009/06/26/dr-bruce-ivins-rmr-1029-inventory-records-pursuant-to-an-foia-request/

It is the intent of the CASE CLOSED blog to track down, to the extent possible, and to eliminate, to the extent possible, other potential sources of RMR-1029 anthrax which might have been diverted and modified for use in the 2001 attacks.

So … if you have answers to any of the questions above, I look forward to your responses.

LEW WEINSTEIN

Posted in * anthrax science, * FBI refusal to testify, * questioning the FBI's anthrax investigation, * recent anthrax news, Ames anthrax | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 47 Comments »

* tracking Dr. Ivins’ RMR-1029 anthrax; Dr. James Baker says none at the University of Michigan

Posted by DXer on June 27, 2009


CC - front cover - small

… why the FBI failed to solve the 2001 anthrax case

* purchase CASE CLOSED (paperback)

* see CASE CLOSED VIDEO on YouTube

Dr. Bruce ivins

Dr. Bruce ivins

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tracking Dr. Ivins’ RMR-1029 anthrax;

Dr. James Baker says none at the University of Michigan

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Last summer, Senator Charles Grassley asked FBI Director Robert Mueller the following questions …

  • Of the more than 100 people who had access to RMR 1029, how many were provided custody of samples sent outside Ft. Detrick?  Of those, how many samples were provided to foreign laboratories?
  • If those with access to samples of RMR 1029 in places other than Ft. Detrick had used the sample to produce additional quantities of anthrax, would that anthrax appear distinguishable from RMR 1029?
  • How can the FBI be sure that none of the samples sent to other labs were used to create additional quantities of anthrax that would appear distinguishable from RMR 1029?

So far as we know these questions remain unanswered.

Now that Dr. Ivins’ inventory log for the RMR-1029 anthrax has been published on this blog,  the public process of tracking the RMR-1029 anthrax is proceeding.

*** See related post … Dr. Ivins’ RMR-1029 inventory log …  (https://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2009/06/26/dr-bruce-ivins-rmr-1029-inventory-records-pursuant-to-an-foia-request/)

Anthrax vaccine research was performed at the University of Michigan (UM) and/or Louisiana State University (LSU) which may or may not have made use of RMR-1029 anthrax supplied by Dr. Bruce Ivins. I sent emails to 9 researchers at UM and LSU …

  • The FBI says that Dr. Bruce Ivins, with anthrax from flask RMR 1029, was the sole perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax attacks. They say they have methodically excluded perhaps 100 other potential suspects who had access to anthrax from flask RMR 1029, in some cases provided by Dr. Ivins for their research.
  • But the FBI has steadfastly refused to provide any details as to how they excluded the others, thus leaving an opening for vast doubts that they are telling the whole story, or that Dr. Ivins is the sole perpetrator, or even involved at all.
  • In particular, there have been conflicting and confusing representations in various comments posted to my CASE CLOSED blog about Dr. Ivins’ possible distribution of Ames strain anthrax to the University of Michigan and/or Louisiana State University, and I wonder if you could clarify for me:
    • To which labs did Dr. Ivins ship the virulent Ames strains?
    • In which labs was research with the Ivins supplied anthrax done?
    • Was any sample supplied by Bruce Ivins still in existence at the time of the later subpoenas of Louisiana State University and University of Michigan?
    • Who would have provided an isolate of that sample in response to any subpoena during the mid-October 2001 to February 2002 period?

Dr. James Baker, the lead researcher at the University of Michigan, responded, stating …

  • “That work was done at USAMRIID by a microbiologist under Dr. Ivins direct supervision and at LSU under the direction of Dr. Hugh Jones.
  • There was never any ‘distribution’ of anthrax and all the work done at UM used simulant organisms.
  • I apologize if the citation was confusing.”

Posted in * anthrax science, * recent anthrax news, Ames anthrax | Tagged: , , , , , | 10 Comments »

* Senator Grassley pushes for FBI answers to questions about its anthrax investigation asked in September 2008; FBI Director Mueller says the questions have been answered and sent to the DOJ

Posted by DXer on June 19, 2009

Lew’s new novel CASE CLOSEDCC - front cover - small

explores the FBI’s failed investigation of the 2001 anthrax case …

* see CASE CLOSED VIDEO on YouTube

* purchase CASE CLOSED (paperback)

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Senator Grassley pushes for answers

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June 17, 2009 … Senator Chuck Grassley, in a written statement prepared for the Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing of the Department of Justice, questioned Attorney General Eric Holder, and warned the department that “until we start getting some answers to these outstanding requests, I’m noticing my intention to hold certain Justice Department nominees.” Grassley said he has had letters go unanswered and questions for the record from hearings a year ago have yet to be answered.

Extracts from Senator Grassley’s statement are presented here (the entire statement is below) …

  • During the last three oversight hearings—with the department and FBI—I’ve started off my questions with a
    Senator Grassley

    Senator Grassley

    request for an explanation as to why I have not received answers to QFRs from both the FBI and the department.

  • I asked FBI Director Mueller at the March FBI Oversight hearing why the FBI has questions outstanding from the March 2008 and September 2008 hearings.
  • Director Mueller stated that the FBI had answered the questions and provided them to the department for approval.
  • He added that those responses were forwarded by the FBI to the department by December of 2008, some as early as June 2008.
  • I find this unacceptable and contrary to the repeated promises from nominees from the department to provide answers to Congress in a timely fashion.
  • Mr. Attorney General, at your confirmation hearing in January, you stated that you would “try to do all that we can, to make sure that we respond fully.  And in a timely fashion…”
  • You also asked for time to “check on the internal workings of the department to make sure that we’re doing it as quickly as we can.  And if we’re not, if I can’t give it to you, at least I can give you an explanation.”
  • Well it has now been five months since you’ve been confirmed, so I want to hear an explanation to why these answers are outstanding.

Here are the 18 questions asked in Senator Grassley’s September 2008 letter to FBI Director Mueller …

  1. What is the date (month and year) that the FBI determined that the anthrax came from a specified flask in Ivins’s
    FBI Director Mueller

    FBI Director Mueller

    lab (”RMR-1029″)?

  2. When (month and year) did the FBI determine that Dr. Hatfill never had access to the anthrax used in the killings?
  3. How did the FBI determine that Dr. Hatfill did not have access to the anthrax used in the killings?  Was that because the FBI determined that Dr. Hatfill no longer worked at USAMRIID when the powder was made?
  4. Was Dr. Hatfill or his counsel informed that Dr. Hatfill had been cleared of any involvement in the anthrax killings before the Department of Justice offered a settlement to him?  Was he informed before signing the settlement agreement with him?  If not, please explain why not.
  5. Was Judge Walton (the judge overseeing the Privacy Act litigation) ever informed that Dr. Hatfill had been eliminated as a suspect in the anthrax killings?  If so, when.  If not, please explain why not.
  6. Was Dr. Ivins ever polygraphed in the course of the investigation?  If so, please provide the dates and results of the exam(s).  If not, please explain why not.
  7. Of the more than 100 people who had access to RMR 1029, how many were provided custody of samples sent outside Ft. Detrick?  Of those, how many samples were provided to foreign laboratories?
  8. If those with access to samples of RMR 1029 in places other than Ft. Detrick had used the sample to produce additional quantities of anthrax, would that anthrax appear distinguishable from RMR 1029?
  9. How can the FBI be sure that none of the samples sent to other labs were used to create additional quantities of anthrax that would appear distinguishable from RMR 1029?
  10. Please describe the methodology and results of any oxygen isotope measurements taken to determine the source of water used to grow the spores used in the anthrax attacks.
  11. Was there video equipment which would record the activities of Dr. Ivins at Ft. Detrick on the late nights he was there on the dates surrounding the mailings?  If so, please describe what examination of the video revealed.
  12. When did the FBI first learn of Dr. Ivins’ late-night activity in the lab around the time of the attacks?  If this is powerful circumstantial evidence of his guilt, then why did this information not lead the FBI to focus attention on him, rather than Dr. Hatfill, much sooner in the investigation?
  13. When did the FBI first learn that Dr. Ivins was prescribed medications for various symptoms of mental illness?  If this is circumstantial evidence of his guilt, then why did this information not lead the FBI to focus attention on him, rather than Dr. Hatfill, much sooner in the investigation? Of the 100 individuals who had access to RMR 1029, were any others found to suffer from mental illness, be under the care of a mental health professional, or prescribed anti-depressant/anti-psychotic medications?   If so, how many?
  14. What role did the FBI play in conducting and updating the background examination of Dr. Ivins in order for him to have clearance and work with deadly pathogens at Ft. Detrick?
  15. After the FBI identified Dr. Ivins as the sole suspect, why was he not detained?  Did the U.S. Attorney’s Office object to seeking an arrest or material witness warrant?  If not, did anyone at FBI order a slower approach to arresting Ivins?
  16. Had an indictment of Dr. Ivins been drafted before his death?  If so, what additional information did it contain beyond the affidavits already released to the public?  If not, then when, if ever, had a decision been made to seek an indictment from the grand jury?
  17. According to family members, FBI agents publicly confronted and accused Dr. Ivins of the attacks, showed pictures of the victims to his daughter, and offered the $2.5 million reward to his son in the months leading up to his suicide.  These aggressive, overt surveillance techniques appear similar to those used on Dr. Hatfill with the apparent purpose of intimidation rather than legitimate investigation.  Please describe whether and to what degree there is any truth to these claims.
  18. What additional documents will be released, if any, and when will they be released?

Related Post …

* Who will lift the veil of secrecy

regarding the FBI investigation

of the 2001 anthrax attacks?

Here is the complete text of Grassley’s June 17, 2009 statement …

Prepared Statement of Senator Chuck Grassley

Senate Committee on the Judiciary

Oversight hearing on the U.S. Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Chairman Leahy, thank you for calling this hearing today on oversight of the Department of Justice.  I appreciate you holding these oversight hearings to keep an open dialogue between the department and the committee.  I also appreciate Attorney General Holder appearing today.  Everyone on the committee knows that oversight is important to me and I’ve repeatedly asked tough questions of the department, regardless of who’s sitting in the White House.  While my duties as the Ranking Member of the Finance Committee will keep me away from today’s hearing, I will submit this prepared statement and some questions for the record (QFRs) for Attorney General Holder.

First, I am requesting information from Attorney General Holder about the role the acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California—and the department—had in referring allegations of misconduct by Inspector General Gerald Walpin, the Inspector General for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), to the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE).  Specifically, I want to know whether department regulations require a U.S. Attorney to obtain prior approval of any allegations of misconduct by non-department government officials prior to a referral for investigation or sanction.  If there are regulations, I want to know if they were followed in this instance by the acting-U.S. Attorney and who at the department knew of and who approved the allegations of misconduct prior to the referral.

I also want to ask the Attorney General about a letter I sent him about the department’s implementation of recommendations issued by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) earlier this year in a report about cooperation between the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  The GAO report made specific recommendations for both agencies, including: (1) DOJ and DHS rework existing memorandums of understanding (MOUs) to clarify their jurisdiction in counternarcotics investigations (2) DOJ and DHS develop a more efficient cross-designation procedure for counternarcotics agents, and (3) increase ICE participation at DOJ run fusion centers.

As GAO noted, these “long-standing jurisdictional disputes have led to conflicts between DEA and ICE, with the potential for duplicating investigative efforts and compromising officer safety.”  It is my understanding the departments are close to an agreement, but that it is not yet finalized.  If and when that agreement is complete, I expect all the recommendations GAO made to be fully implemented.  Failure to implement all of these recommendations increases the risk to federal law enforcement agents and our ability to combat the flow of illegal narcotics.  I want to see leadership from Attorney General Holder and Secretary Napolitano to fix this problem immediately.

Finally, I want to point out my serious concerns with the department’s continued failure to respond in a prompt manner to letters and other inquiries from members of the Judiciary Committee.

During the last three oversight hearings—with the department and FBI—I’ve started off my questions with a request for an explanation as to why I have not received answers to QFRs from both the FBI and the department.  I asked FBI Director Mueller at the March FBI Oversight hearing why the FBI has questions outstanding from the March 2008 and September 2008 hearings.  Director Mueller stated that the FBI had answered the questions and provided them to the department for approval.  He added that those responses were forwarded by the FBI to the department by December of 2008, some as early as June 2008.  It has now been well over a year since those first QFRs were sent to the department by the FBI.

I also have a number of letters that have gone unanswered by the department.  I say unanswered because I’ve received a response to some of the letters and believe they fail to answer the questions asked.  In fact, I presented a full binder of outstanding letters and document requests I’ve made to the department and its subordinate agencies to Mr. Holder when he was making the rounds during his nomination.  I told Mr. Holder that he may want to clean up these outstanding requests from by the last administration so the new administration could start fresh.  So far, the responses I’ve received to those letters are insufficient and in some cases fail to answer the questions.

I find this unacceptable and contrary to the repeated promises from nominees from the department to provide answers to Congress in a timely fashion.  For example, Mr. Attorney General at your confirmation hearing in January, you stated that you would “try to do all that we can, to make sure that we respond fully.  And in a timely fashion…”  You also asked for time to “check on the internal workings of the department to make sure that we’re doing it as quickly as we can.  And if we’re not, if I can’t give it to you, at least I can give you an explanation.”  We’ll it has now been five months since you’ve been confirmed, so I want to hear an explanation to why these answers are outstanding.

I also questioned Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legislative Affairs, Ron Weich, about responding to congressional inquiries.  I asked Mr. Weich for his commitment to timely, responsive, and complete answers.  He stated that if he was confirmed he looked forward to responding to requests in a timely fashion.  Well, we confirmed Mr. Weich and it still seems to be business as usual at the department.

I’m tired of hearing nominees say one thing and do another.  At the March FBI Oversight hearing, the Chairman stepped out for a minute and I asked his staff to take note of something I’ve learned over the years.  I’ve learned that holding up nominees for an executive branch agency is an effective tool to get answers.  I don’t take the decision to hold up nominees lightly.  That said, I believe it’s time that the department got down to business and answered our questions.  So, until we start getting some answers to these outstanding requests, I’m noticing my intention to hold certain Justice Department nominees.  I’ll make sure my holds are open and transparent so that the department knows what they need to produce before I release the nominee.  Hopefully, this will get the attention of the Attorney General and the rows of Justice Department staffers sitting behind him.

I hope the Attorney General will provide answers to these important questions and work to provide the committee with the outstanding document and information requests I have.

Posted in * FBI anthrax statements, * FBI refusal to testify, * questioning the FBI's anthrax investigation, * recent anthrax news | Tagged: , , , , , | 8 Comments »

* Who will lift the veil of secrecy regarding the FBI investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks?

Posted by DXer on June 16, 2009

Lew’s new novel CASE CLOSEDCC - front cover - small

explores the FBI’s failed investigation of the 2001 anthrax case …

* see CASE CLOSED VIDEO on YouTube

* purchase CASE CLOSED (paperback)

* Who will lift the veil of secrecy …

It seems that the FBI’s stonewalling tactics are working just fine for them. Congress is accomplishing little, despite many strong statements and excellent questions, to lift the veil of secrecy which surrounds the failed FBI anthrax investigation.

grassley-holt-nadler-conyers

The House Judiciary Committee (Congressmen Conyers and Nadler) received answers from the FBI to its September 2008 questions …  seven months later in April 2009. The answers were apparently never made public until I did so on this blog last Friday, after receiving a copy from the Committee staff with help from Congressman Conyer’s office.

Beyond the excessive time the FBI took in answering, the FBI’s answers are so unresponsive as to be insulting and demeaning both to the Congress and to the American people.

I again called Congressman Holt’s office (his staffer Patrick Eddington) to ask the status of the legislation that would create an Anthrax Investigative Commission. Again, not the courtesy of a return call.

I again called Senator Grassley’s office (Brian Downey at the Senate Finance Committee) to ask if Senator Grassley has ever received an answer to the 18 questions he asked the FBI last year. Again, not the courtesy of a return call.

The silence of the media on this story is also surprising.

It is a potentially blockbuster story: The FBI hides the truth in the anthrax investigation and Congress states its discontent but accomplishes little to force the FBI to come clean under oath. And what the FBI is hiding could be of huge consequence to America’s future security.

Which investigative reporter will break this story?

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

This post gives the House Judiciary Committee’s questions and the FBI’s verbatim answers.


Posted in * FBI refusal to testify, * questioning the FBI's anthrax investigation | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

* Ike Solem & Ed Lake argue about 6 questions the FBI either has or has not answered

Posted by DXer on June 16, 2009

Lew’s new novel CASE CLOSEDCC - front cover - small

explores the FBI’s failed investigation of the 2001 anthrax case …

* see CASE CLOSED VIDEO on YouTube

* purchase CASE CLOSED (paperback)

IKE SOLEM comments …

Six Anthrax Science Questions the FBI Has Yet to Answer

  1. What were the four mutations the FBI says it used to link the anthrax in the envelopes to Bruce Ivins at USAMRIID?
  2. What are the odds of a false positive—that is, the odds that the spore populations in Ivins’s flask RMR-1029 and in the envelopes weren’t related but shared the same four mutations by chance?
  3. Eight samples had anthrax with all four mutations; one of those came from a lab other than USAMRIID. On what basis was this lab ruled out as the origin of the letters?
  4. How did the FBI rule out the possibility that others at USAMRIID with access to Ivins’s lab prepared the envelopes?
  5. How exactly did Ivins, if he was the perpetrator, produce an easily dispersible powder from his anthrax culture?
  6. What led the FBI to suspect Steven Hatfill in the earlier years of the investigation?

ED LAKE responds …

Almost all of the answers to your questions have been known for a long time.

  1. There were “well over a dozen” mutations in the attack anthrax.  Experts selected the four that were most stable and which would be most easy to detect in other samples.  Those four were used to go through the 1,070+ samples to find samples that included those mutations.  Ed: the FBI needs to identify the 4 mutations.
  2. Since mutations are basically random and occur very rarely (about once in a billion generations), the odds of the same four mutations showing up in a sample by pure chance is virtually non-existent.  It would be many trillions to one. Ed: what scientist calculated these odds?
  3. Presumably, they used the other mutations in the attack anthrax to determine the exact source.  It’s like using race to reduce the number of possible fathers in a paternity suit, and when you’ve reduced the number down that way, you then use other DNA factors to find the exact father.  If they didn’t do it that way, it was done with standard police procedures. Ed: not “presumably” … the FBI needs to say what it actually did.
  4. The same way that you reduce the number of suspects in any murder case: You check alibis, motivation, capabilities, etc.  Ed: this answer doesn’t cut it. The FBI needs to say how they ruled out others.
  5. He routinely made purified spores.  So, that wasn’t a problem.  The only thing he did that is not normally done is to dry the spores.  And there are many ways to do that.  The spores will dry all by themselves if you don’t take precautions to prevent it. Ed: this is your opinion. The FBI needs to say what they think and the basis for their conclusions.
  6. Dr. Hatfill was never a “suspect.”  A number of scientists acting as amateur detectives and led by Dr. Barbara Hatch Rosenberg decided that Dr. Hatfill was the most likely person to have sent the anthrax letters.  They campaigned for SEVEN MONTHS to get Dr. Hatfill publicly investigated.  The New York Times joined in on the campaign, and so did a few other media outlets.  The campaign included speeches at universities and at conferences, and persuading people to call their congressmen.  Eventually, after SEVEN MONTHS of campaigning, Dr. Rosenberg was called before some senate staffers who listened to her arguments, and then those staffers virtually demanded that the FBI investigate Dr. Hatfill.  About a week later, Dr. Hatfill’s apartment was publicly searched for the first time – making him a household name. Ed: Dr. Hatfill was named a “person of interest” by Attorney General Ashcroft and hounded by the FBI for years before they paid him $5.8 million to go away. The FBI are big boys who are rarely known to respond to public, media or even Congressional pressure. It isn’t logical to blame the FBI’s actions regarding Dr. Hatfill on Dr. Rosenberg.


Posted in * FBI anthrax statements, * FBI refusal to testify, * questioning the FBI's anthrax investigation | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »