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

Posts Tagged ‘Senator Leahy & anthrax’

* Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.): “If you screw up in government, just mark it top secret.”

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 17, 2014

USAMRIID, FOIA, FBI, Ivins

Obama Admin Censoring on the Rise

Though the Obama administration has promised since its first day in power to increase government transparency, it has failed to do so, according to a new analysis by the Associated Press. It reveals that last year, the Obama administration censored more government files and outright denied access to them under the Freedom of Information Act more often than ever. Last year, the government denied access on national-security grounds 8,496 times, a 57 percent increase from the previous year and more than double Obama’s first year in office. Last year the government censored or denied access to documents in 244,675 cases, or 36 percent of all requests.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said, “I’m concerned the growing trend toward relying upon FOIA exemptions to withhold large swaths of government information is hindering the public’s right to know. If you screw up in government, just mark it top secret.”

source: http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2014/03/17/obama-admin-censoring-on-the-rise.html?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=cheatsheet_morning&cid=newsletter%3Bemail%3Bcheatsheet_morning&utm_term=Cheat%20Sheet

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* Leahy, New York Post and Daschle are indistinguishable

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 11, 2011

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* Sen. Leahy on anthrax case: ‘It’s not closed’

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 16, 2011

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Paul Kane writes in the Washington Post (2/16/11) …

  • Senator Patrick Leahy has never accepted the FBI’s decision to close the case in the series of anthrax-laced letters mailed to public officials in fall 2001.”I still wonder who sent it and why they sent it.”
  • In a brief interview Tuesday, he said he has “extreme doubts” about the case. “I’ve expressed those concerns to the FBI ,and this report (the NAS report) adds to those concerns,” Leahy said.
  • On Tuesday, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), a longtime FBI critic, called for an independent review, and Rep. Rush D. Holt (D-N.J.), from whose district the letters to Leahy and others were mailed, called for Congress to create an independent commission to examine the entire case.
  • For years the targets of the Capitol Hill-bound letters felt shut out of the anthrax investigation, which included an official blackout of any congressional briefings ordered by the Bush administration in 2004.
  • A huge collection of former Daschle staff members now occupy the highest echelon of posts in the Obama administration. Pete Rouse, then the chief of staff to the majority leader, is President Obama‘s deputy chief of staff. Laura Petrou, the top aide in Daschle’s suites in the Hart Senate Office Building, where an anthrax letter was opened Oct. 15, 2001, is now chief of staff at the Department of Health and Human Services. Mark Patterson, then Daschle’s top policy adviser, is chief of staff at the Treasury Department.
  • “It is mystifying. Given the limited number of people who have experience with anthrax, you just wouldn’t think it would be this hard,” said another official who had been briefed on the Amerithrax investigation.

read the entire article at … http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/16/AR2011021604265.html

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CASE CLOSED is a novel about the FBI’s failed investigation

of the 2001 anthrax attacks

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read the opening scene of CASE CLOSED …

* CASE CLOSED – opening scene … the DIA re-investigates the FBI’s failed case

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* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon *

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* Anonymous Scientist summarizes the FBI’s case against Dr. Bruce Ivins … if it wasn’t so serious, it would be laughable

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 10, 2010

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The New York Times says the FBI’s anthrax case has “too many loose ends.” Find out where some of those looses ends might have originated in my novel CASE CLOSED. Sure it’s fiction, but many readers, including a highly respected member of the U.S. Intelligence Community, think my premise is actually “quite plausible.”

* buy CASE CLOSED at amazon *

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see related post …

* Questions arising from a reading of the Summary of the FBI Investigation of Dr. Bruce E. Ivins

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Anonymous Scientist offers this summary …

It has been two weeks since the FBI announced the official closing of Amerithrax, its 8+ year investigation  into the 2001 Anthrax Atttacks – eighteen months after the “suicide” of their prime suspect.

  • Even the FBI’s head office wasn’t particularly proud of its anthrax detectives. It released the report suddenly with no fanfare, no press opportunities in the deadest of news dead zones–Friday afternoon at 4, the same day as Tiger Wood’s mea culpa. It was no contest.
  • The media spent one breathless day on it and then it was over, we had closure. The biggest FBI investigation in history ended with a whimper and it wasn’t even on the mop-up segments of cable news debating parlors. The only real traction the story  got was in the low precincts where Ivins’ off-hour  interests in bondage, blind-folded women and sororities titillated.

While mainstream reaction was muted, a hearty band of skeptics came out swinging: They say the case against Dr. Ivins, which never has to be proven in court, screams reasonable doubt.

  • There is no incriminating physical evidence.
  • Ivins had even passed his polygraph.
  • Narrative inconsistencies.
  • Hearsay quotes.
  • Scientific implausibility.
  • Selective prosecution based on circumstantial evidence requiring an X-Files like leap of faith into  Mulder and Scully-land.

Paul Kemp,  Ivins’  former lawyer, thundered:”There’s absolutely no evidence he did anything…”

Rep. Rush D. Holt, a Democrat from central New Jersey, grumbled: “This has been a closed-minded, closed process from the beginning. Arbitrarily closing the case on a Friday afternoon should not mean the end of this investigation… The evidence the FBI produced would not, I think, stand up in court. But because their prime suspect is dead, and they’re not going to court; they seem satisfied with barely a circumstantial case. The National Academies of Science review of the FBI’s scientific methods in this case won’t be released until summer, but the FBI doesn’t seem to care.”

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D–NY) echoed Holt’s skepticism and called for a probe of the FBI’s casework.

Sen. Leahy

But the cagey Sen. Patrick Leahy, one of the targets of the attacks and a critic of the FBI’s performance, held his fire. The Senator who’s told FBI Director Mueller directly that there was conspiracy and cover-up at the core of the anthrax murders  had no comment and refused interviews on the topic. What’s up with that?

The best detailed blog-response came from Dr. Merryl Nass, named in the report as an activist critic who drove  Ivins nuts while he was working on a controversial anthrax vaccine for the Army with the private company BioPort.

Forensically, the FBI was taken to task for sidestepping the crucial issue of ‘weaponization” of the attack powder, ignoring Army data and the FBI’s own admission of high levels of the additive silicon—a story we broke on this blog last July.

This failure to grapple with the hard science was picked up by Richard Bernstein in the New York Times and International Herald Tribune which followed veteran investigative reporter and author Edward Jay Epstein’s much discussed piece in the Wall Street Journal a few weeks prior to the closing of the case.

Bottom line, the FBI report did nothing to mollify leading mainstream opinion recently outlined by Salon’s Glenn Greenwald:

“The case against Ivins is so riddled with logical and evidentiary holes that it has generated extreme doubts not merely from typical government skeptics but from the most mainstream establishment-revering, and ideologically disparate sources. ”

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

Posted by Lew Weinstein 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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 46 Comments »

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

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 2, 2009

 

LMW COMMENT

  • It is almost 8 years since the 2001 anthrax attacks, and yet it is abundantly clear that the FBI has not solved the case. The FBI contention that the deceased Dr. Bruce Ivins was the sole perpetrator of these attacks would really be laughable if it wasn’t so serious.
  • Members of Congress have been seeking to get the facts from the FBI for many years, and are frustrated by the stonewalling of FBI Director Meuller. There are several initiatives underway, however, which may yet throw some light on whatever dark secrets the FBI is intent on keeping hidden.
  • It is my task this week to try to get updates on the status of various Congressional inquiries into the FBI’s anthrax investigation. As a prelude to these updates (if indeed any are forthcoming), I thought it would be helpful to summarize what has been said and written on this matter. Here is what I have found so far (readers of this blog – please send me more) …

3/3/09 – Holt introduces Anthrax Commission Legislation … Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12) today introduced the Anthrax Attacks Investigation Act of 2009, legislation that would establish a Congressional commission to investigate the 2001 anthrax attacks and the federal government’s response to and investigation of the attacks. … “All of us – but especially the families of the victims of the anthrax attacks – deserve credible answers about how the attacks happened and whether the case really is closed,” Holt said. … Under Holt’s legislation, the commission would be comprised of no more than six members of from the same political party. The commission would hold public hearings, except in situations where classified information would be discussed. … The Commission’s final report would be due 18 months after the Commission begins operations. … “Myriad questions remain about the anthrax attacks and the government’s bungled response to the attacks,” Holt said. “One of the most effective oversight mechanisms we can employ to get answers to those questions is a 9/11 style Commission.”

March 2009 – Nadler and Holt call for investigative commission:This week, two Democratic congressmen, Jerry Nadler and Rush Holt, whose districts were affected by the attacks, introduced legislation calling for the creation of a 9/11-style commission to independently investigate the attacks because they say the nation deserves to know whether the case is truly solved.

September 2008 – Congressman Rush Holt: ”I just see so many loose ends in the case that I question whether the FBI is in the right frame of mind to bring this matter to the kind of closure that the public needs.”

9/16/2008 – House Judiciary Committee (reported by Glenn Greenwald)

  • House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. (Mich.) and two other Democrats on the panel have signaled they will scrutinize the FBI’s work today.
  • This month, they wrote FBI Director Robert Mueller asking about missteps in identifying the anthrax strain used in the attacks and tracing it back to Ivins.
  • But after just an hour of the hearing, it is painfully clear that — as is true in virtually all of these hearings now before a pitifully powerless Congress —Mueller won’t provide the Committee with even a single answer of import, won’t even pretend to, and the Committee has no intent to compel him to do so.
  • the hearing began with an angry statement from Chairman Conyers about the fact that the FBI, in general, simply ignores all inquiries for information and answers from the Committee for months and months and months and then shows up at these hearings unprepared to answer even the questions they are advised will be asked, knowing that each member only has five minutes and can’t actually accomplish anything.
  • (Congressman Jerrold) Nadler (D-NY) than asked one of the most central questions in the anthrax case:
    • he pointed out that the facilities that (unlike Ft. Detrick) actually have the equipment and personnel to prepare dry, silica-coated anthrax are the U.S. Army’s Dugway Proving Ground and the Battelle Corporation, the private CIA contractor that conducts substantial research into highly complex strains of anthrax.
    • Nadler asked how the FBI had eliminated those institutions as the culprits behind the attack.
    • Mueller’s response was this: I don’t know the answers to those questions as to how we eliminated Dugway and Battelle. I’ll have to get back to you at some point.
  • Nadler then ended by asking whether Mueller would object to an independent commission or other body to review the FBI’s evidence and its accusations against Ivins and whether the FBI would cooperate with such an independent inquiry.
    • Mueller pretended to answer by telling Nadler that the FBI intended to ask some members of the National Academy of Science to review the FBI’s scientific claims, but that didn’t answer the question as to whether the FBI opposed a full-scale independent review of the FBI’s case and whether the FBI would cooperate with it.

9/16/2008 – post by Meryl Nass, M.D: 

  • Eleven or twelve members attended the House Judiciary Committee’s FBI oversight hearing today.
  • Repeatedly, they expressed disappointment with the FBI’s continuing failure to answer their questions, and to respond to written questions.
  • (FBI Director) Mueller spoke in generalities, failing to answer specific questions.
  • Only Rep. Nadler asked about anthrax, and to his credit inquired pointedly about the Silicon signature and weaponization. Mueller had no answers.
  • It’s FBI’s investigation that is unsatisfactory in every way, requiring an independent appraisal.
  • Don’t be fooled by an expensive and time-consuming NAS smokescreen.

September 2008 – reported by Glenn Greenwald (salon.com) One of the two Senate targets of the attack, Sen. Pat Leahy, flatly stated at a Senate hearing last September that he does not believe the FBI’s case against Ivins, and emphatically does not believe that Ivins acted alone.  … GOP Sen. Arlen Specter, at the same hearing, told the FBI they could never have obtained a conviction against Ivins in court based on their case — riddled, as it is, with so much doubt — and he also demanded an independent evaluation of the FBI’s evidence. http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2009/03/04/anthrax/ … Grassley sent a letter to the FBI a month ago demanding answers to a whole slew of questions, and as he is asking them, Mueller — as he did yesterday — continues to say that he doesn’t have the answers and will obtain them at some point. … The Senators are indignant over this, but don’t appear to intend to do anything (just as was true for the House members yesterday), though Leahy is at least demanding that Mueller obtain these answers not at some point in the indefinite future, but today, during the breaks. The bottom line is that it is quite extraordinary that the FBI has claimed it has identified with certainty the sole culprit in the anthrax attacks, but so many key Senators, from both parties, simply don’t believe it, and are saying so explicitly. … Leahy’s rather dark suggestion that there were others involved in these attacks — likely at a U.S. Army facility or key private CIA contractor — is particularly notable. … It has been crystal clear from the beginning that the FBI’s case is filled with glaring holes, that their thuggish behavior towards their only suspect drove him to commit suicide and thus is unable to defend himself, and yet, to this day, the FBI continues to conceal the evidence in its possession and is stonewalling any and all efforts to scrutinize its claims. … It takes a lot for Senators from both parties to so openly and explicitly say they don’t believe the FBI’s definitive accusations in such a high-profile case. Perhaps that will be understood as a reflection of how dubious the FBI’s case here is. … these attacks were — as our own Government claims — ones that originated from U.S. Army facilities and perpetrated by U.S. Government employees, it ought to be understood as exactly that. http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/09/17/senate_judiciary/index.html  September 2008 – Last week, staff members for Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) pressed U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Taylor and two FBI officials to say when the anthrax case will be closed and why investigators had fixed on Ivins six months after notifying him in April 2007 that he was not a target. Investigators told congressional aides that they are still pursuing leads in the “Amerithrax” investigation, sources said.

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

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

August 2008 – Library of Congress – Senate Finance Committee – Mishandling of Anthrax Investigation  Senator Grassley has continued to follow closely the FBI investigation of the mailings of letters laced with anthrax to several targets in the United States, including members of Congress and the national media. Until late 2008, the investigation had yielded no criminal charges. Senator Grassley had been critical that the FBI’s apparent mishandling of the investigation was a result of the FBI’s institutional resistance to criticism and by the misallocation of resources toward protecting the FBI’s image rather than protecting the United States. Senator Grassley also expressed dissatisfaction with the FBI’s refusal to provide Congress with periodic briefings on the status of the investigation. He requested both a briefing on the status of the investigation and a number of documents and records relating to the case. The Attorney General responded with an initial refusal to provide either the requested documents or a briefing on the status of the investigation, citing the Department of Justice’s policy against disclosing non-public information concerning pending law enforcement activities and prosecutions. However, following additional negotiations, the FBI Director provided a briefing to Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy and Ranking Member Arlen Specter, as well as Senator Grassley. The initial portion of the briefing was open to staff. However, the later portion of the briefing was Members-only. Since Dr. Ivins death, the FBI has provided several briefings for the staffs of Senator Grassley and other Members of Congress. However, given his misgivings about the FBI’s handling of the case, Senator Grassley will continue to conduct oversight of the FBI’s handling of the investigation. Significant questions remain unanswered about the scientific evidence relied upon by the FBI, why that evidence failed to lead them to Dr. Ivins much earlier in the investigation, how the FBI entrusted Dr. Ivins with samples of the attack material during the investigation, and when the FBI first learned of Dr. Ivins’ mental health issues. Senator Grassley has called for an independent inquiry to assure the public that the FBI’s decision to close its investigation is appropriate.

August 2008 – interview of Senator Grassley by Glenn Greenwald (Salon radio):    Sen. Grassley reveals that the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Pat Leahy (of which Grassley is a member), will now hold hearings to investigate the FBI’s case against Bruce Ivins. Grassley demands that the FBI send officials who are able and willing to answer all questions, and also calls for full and complete public disclosure of all of the evidence in the FBI’s possession regarding its investigation.  Grassley: No, and I assume one of the reasons I haven’t (received an answer to my 18 questions) is because in the meantime, the FBI has consented to a hearing that Senator Leahy’s having, and a hearing is one instrument of doing it. If this case is solved the way the FBI wants us to believe that it’s been solved, is it closed? And if it’s closed, then everything ought to be brought out into the open. One of the problems we have right now is, with the FBI, there’s just too much secrecy. Getting all the documents out, getting all the information out is important. … That information, now that the case is closed, ought to be available to the entire public. At the very least it ought to be entitled to anybody that’s got oversight of the FBI if there’s some reason that the entire public should not be notified of it.  … in too many administrations, Republican or Democrat, there has been an effort to not fully cooperate with Congress on hearings. Now, that would tend to be a statement on my part, blaming the executive branch entirely, but I also, as a person who’s been very aggressive in oversight myself, feel that all of Congress has come up short of doing the proper checks and balances of government that our Constitution requires, and doing that through more aggressive oversight. see entire transcript of interview at … http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/radio/2008/08/20/grassley/index1.html

3/11/07 – 60 Minutes interviews Sen. Grassley Senator Charles Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, has looked into the case and has concluded that there was leaking by top officials and that the purpose was not to shut Hatfill down, but to hide the lack of progress in the case. “I believe the extent to which they wanted the public to believe that they were making great progress in this case, and the enormous pressure they had after a few years to show that, yes, that they was very much misleading the public.” http://cbs3.com/topstories/60.Minutes.anthrax.2.281289.html

10/28/06 – Grassley says FBI needs to report on anthrax investigation  By Stella Shaffer RADIO IOWA   Senator Charles Grassley says the FBI’s failed investigation of a 2001 bio-terrorism attack on congress could signal bigger problems.  … Grassley says he’s concerned the FBI hasn’t solved the case. But he’s even more unhappy that they refuse to brief congress on the investigation. … Grassley sees only one reason for the silence: “If there were some sort of secret thing that was bringing them close to somebody and they didn’t want to let them know they were hot on somebody’s trail.”  … But Grassley says the FBI could make that clear in a report, thereby giving Congress an update and showing they were making progress. Grassley, who is a Republican, says he thinks government should be “transparent” and citizens have a right to know what’s happening particularly when FBI “headquarters is involved and trying to cover up what FBI agents at the grassroots are doing and they’re worried about the public relations of the FBI and that’s when they wind up getting egg on their faces.”  … Grassley charges that the secrecy is proof that the culture of the FBI is not changing like it should be, or as he’s been promised. … Grassley’s sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales requesting numerous documents and a full briefing on the anthrax investigation. … Grassley, who’s long been a critic of the FBI, says its refusal to submit to congressional oversight has resulted in an inability to prevent crime and terrorism, and has led to misconduct by senior staff members.

10/24/06 – Jim Popkin, NBC News Investigative Unit: 

  • Late Monday, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, sent a damning six-page letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales requesting a briefing on the FBI investigation, now five years old.  The letter faults the agency for its handling of the case, saying “the FBI has little in the way of results to show for its work.”
  • Meanwhile, in an unusual move, the FBI’s top lobbyist has informed members of Congress that the bureau will no longer brief them on the case.
  • Meanwhile, the FBI recently installed a new team of top investigators to head up the anthrax case. Sources familiar with the case tell NBC News that the new managers are looking anew at all possible suspects, with a much broader focus than before.

9/28/2006 – FBI Letter to Congressman Rush Holt: listed on FBI’s Amerithrax site but no link provided to actual letter

November 2001 – FBI Letter Addressed to Senator Patrick Leahy listed on FBI’s Amerithrax site but no link provided to actual letter

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

* Glenn Greenwald’s 3/4/09 article, which summarizes the widespread doubts that the FBI is not telling the truth when it says Dr. Ivins was the sole perpetrator and that the case should be closed, is worth re-reading

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 2, 2009

Glenn Greenwald (Salon) wrote (3/4/09) …  Glenn Greenwald

  • One of the best and smartest members in the U.S. Congress, Rep. Rush Holt: “All of us – but especially the families of the victims of the anthrax attacks – deserve credible answers about how the attacks happened and whether the case really is closed,”
  • I’ve written repeatedly about the huge questions that still remain with regard to the anthrax attacks, with a particular focus on the early and quite successful efforts (aided by ABC News’ Brian Ross) to blame the attacks in the public’s mind on Saddam Hussein.  
  • The FBI’s case is riddled with glaring inconsistencies and numerous internal contradictions, enormous evidentiary holes, and pretenses of scientific certainty that are quite dubious. 
  • One of the two Senate targets of the attack, Sen. Pat Leahy, flatly stated at a Senate hearing last September that he does not believe the FBI’s case against Ivins, and emphatically does not believe that Ivins acted alone. 
  • GOP Sen. Arlen Specter, at the same hearing, told the FBI they could never have obtained a conviction against Ivins in court based on their case — riddled, as it is, with so much doubt — and he also demanded an independent evaluation of the FBI’s evidence.  
  • GOP Sen. Charles Grassley has been a long-time skeptic of the FBI’s anthrax investigation and has expressed serious doubts about the case against Ivins.
  • The ultimate establishment organ, The Washington PostEditorial Page, issued numerous editorials expressing serious doubts about the FBI’s case against Ivins and called for an independent investigation.   
  • The New York Times Editorial Page echoed those views.   
  • Even The Wall St. Journal Editorial Page, citing the FBI’s “so long and so many missteps,” argued that “independent parties need to review all the evidence, especially the scientific forensics” and concluded that “this is an opportunity for Congress to conduct legitimate oversight.”
  • In the wake of the FBI’s accusations against Ivins, the science journal Nature flatly declared in its editorial headline — “Case Not Closed” — and demanded an independent investigation into the FBI’s case. 
  • After the FBI publicly disclosed some of its evidence against Ivins, The New York Times reported “growing doubts from scientists about the strength of the government’s case.”  
  • The Baltimore Sun detailed that “scientists and legal experts criticized the strength of the case and cast doubt on whether it could have succeeded.”  
  • Dr. Alan Pearson, Director of the Biological and Chemical Weapons Control Program at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation — representative of numerous experts in the field  — expressed many of those scientific doubts and demanded a full investigation.
  • … an investigation by Congress itself — is far inferior, as anyone who has observed any so-called “Congressional investigation” over the last decade should immediately recognize (here, as but one example, is the account I wrote about a House hearing last September attempting — with cringe-inducing ineptitude and total futility — to “grill” FBI Director Robert Mueller about the FBI’s case against Ivins). 
  • How effective an independent investigative Commission like this will be will depend on the details of its structure — its subpoena powers, punishments for defiance, and the independence of its members. 
  • That Rush Holt will play a key role, if not the key role, in overseeing its creation is a reassuring feature that the bill he introduced can be actually productive.
  • The importance of full disclosure of all facts surrounding the anthrax attacks cannot be overstated.  This was the opposite of a run-of-the-mill crime.  To the contrary, the anthrax attacks — by design, as everyone acknowledges — had an immense political impact on the country.  Contrary to endless claims from Bush supporters that Bush allowed no more terrorist attacks on “the homeland” after 9/11, the anthrax attack was exactly such a terrorist attack.
  • For reasons I’ve detailed previously, I actually believe that the anthrax attacks played a larger role than the 9/11 attack itself in elevating America’s fear levels to hysterical heights, which in turn put the citizenry into the state of frightened submission that enabled so many of the subsequent events of the Bush presidency.  
  • The 9/11 attacks appeared to be a one-time extraordinary event, but it was multi-staged anthrax attacks — coming a mere four weeks later — that normalized and personalized the Terrorist threat. 
  • Whatever one’s views are on the abstract 9/11-anthrax comparison, there is no question that the anthrax attacks were a major political crime.  According to the FBI, the anthrax letters were directed at U.S. Senators (Leahy and Daschle) due to their political views (specifically their opposition to the Patriot Act, their allegedly “soft on terrorism” approach, and their pro-choice views).  
  • And perhaps most importantly, the anthrax attacks — again, according to the FBI itself — came from a U.S. Army laboratory, perpetrated by a U.S. Government scientist. 
  • As the aforementioned Dr. Pearson put it: If Ivins was indeed responsible for the attacks, did he have any assistance? Did anyone else at the Army lab or elsewhere have any knowledge of his activities prior to, during, or shortly after the anthrax attacks? . . . .
  • It appears increasingly likely that the only significant bioterrorism attack in history may have originated from right within the biodefense program of our own country.  The implications for our understanding of the bioterrorism threat and for our entire biodefense strategy and enterprise are potentially profound.

read the entire post at … http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2009/03/04/anthrax/

LMW COMMENT

CASE CLOSEDCan any reasonable person still believe the FBI has actually solved the anthrax case? So why does the FBI continue to claim that Dr. Bruce Ivins was the sole perpetrator when it is obvious that he wasn’t? Why does the FBI refuse to anser questions posed by members of Congress? What is the FBI trying to keep hidden from the American people?

I wrote my just-published novel CASE CLOSED in order to address questions like these in a fictional account which provides much more leeway than a stright reporting of the facts.

My premise in CASE CLOSED is that the FBI didn’t solve the anthrax case because they were told not to. A terrifying thought! Who would have the power to squelch an FBI investigation? Why?

Do I believe that CASE CLOSED presents what actually happened in the anthrax attacks and subsequent FBI investigation? Of course not. It’s a novel!

But … many early readers, including a well placed source in the Intelligence Commnity, have told me that my story is, unfortunately, all too plausible.


* purchase CASE CLOSED (paperback)

* see CASE CLOSED VIDEO on YouTube


                              


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* scientists and legislators (and Lew Weinstein) remain unconvinced that the FBI’s anthrax case is closed

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 25, 2009

Debora Rudacille writes in Seed Magazine (4-14-09)

  • In July 2008 anthrax vaccine researcher Bruce Ivins committed suicide.
  • According to the FBI the 62-year-old had murdered 5 people and sickened 17 others in the anthrax letter attacks of 2001.
  • Today, nine months after Ivins’ death and nearly eight years into an investigation that has consumed millions of dollars, some scientists and legislators are not convinced that the FBI’s case would have succeeded in court.
    • “Anything of this seriousness should be demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt,” says US Representative Rush Holt, who in March renewed his call for a national commission to thoroughly investigate the anthrax letter attacks of 2001 and the government’s “bungled response” to the crime.
    • Patrick Leahy, a Democractic senator from Vermont and a target of one of the anthrax letters, along with Senator Arlen Spector, a Republican from Pennsylvania, challenged the FBI’s conclusions at a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting in September 2008.
    • Both said they doubt that Ivins, acting alone, could have carried out the crime.
  • the FBI (has) formally petitioned the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to form an independent panel of scientists to review the validity of the methods used to link the distinctive strain of anthrax in the letters with RMR-1029, and to provide expert opinions on other scientific questions related to the case.
    • Most critics dispute not the quality of the genomic science that led investigators to the flask of RMR-1029 but rather the conflation of Ivins with the flask. “There were other labs out there that were presumably sourced for RMR-1029,” says Gerard Andrews, Ivins’ former supervisor at USAMRIID. “What was the detective work that eliminated those labs?”
    • Ravel’s team compared hundreds of blinded samples of subtilis provided by the FBI looking for a match for the letter subtilis. “We never found a match,” he says. “Not even close.” 
    • That fact, says Andrews, probably exonerates Ivins. But that issue has been sort of pushed under the carpet because it doesn’t support their case.”
  •  Rep. Holt would like his proposed National Commission to look at “what happened, how and why it happened, and what we need to do to prevent any future occurrences.” His bill has some support, he says, though not enough to ensure passage. “It’s not high on the national agenda right now,” he says. “But it should be.”

Deborah Rudacille is a freelance science writer and the author of The Riddle of Gender and The Scalpel and the Butterfly: The War Between Animal Research and Animal Protection. Roots of Steel, a history of Baltimore steelworkers, will be published in 2010.

read the entire article at … http://seedmagazine.com/content/article/the_anthrax_agenda/

 

LMW COMMENT

CC - front cover - small

 

There is so much reasonable doubt about many details of the FBI’s case.

In the big picture, the question is how the FBI, the greatest police force in the land, could fail to solve this case of mass murder and national security.

My conclusion, which is why I wrote CASE CLOSED, is that the FBI was told not to solve the 2001 anthrax case.

Who had the power to curb the FBI’s investigation? Why?

My fictional scenario in CASE CLOSED presents answers to these questions.

Does CASE CLOSED present what actually happened? Of course not. It’s a novel! But many early readers have told me my fictional scenario is ALL TOO PLAUSIBLE.

 

 

CASE CLOSED is available on amazon.com (Kindle now, paperback in mid-June) …

* purchase CASE CLOSED at amazon (Kindle format)

A short video introducing CASE CLOSED has been posted to YouTube …

* see CASE CLOSED VIDEO on YouTube

 

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* Case Not Closed; Congress must investigate

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 20, 2009

DXer has just posted a comment summarizing many compelling statements that the FBI has failed to solve the 2001 anthrax case. I think this comment is worth making into a post to give it higher visibility. Excerpts from DXer’s comment are shown below …

Senator Chuck Grassley:

  • If the case is solved, why isn’t it solved?  It’s all very suspicious, and you wonder whether or not the F.B.I. doesn’t have something to cover up and that they don’t want to come clean.”  

Senator Patrick Leahy:

  • “I believe there are others involved, either as accessories before or accessories after the fact.  I believe there are others who can be charged with murder.”

 Bruce Ivins’ defense counsel Paul Kemp:

  • “In this country, we prosecute people, not beakers.”  

 “Case Not Closed” … Nature – the International Weekly Journal of Science (8/21/08):  

  • … neither the conclusions drawn from the scientific analysis, nor such crucial legal elements as the veracity of the provenance and handling of samples, have been tested in court.
  • So far only one side of the story has been heard: that of the prosecution.
  • The FBI should explain why it thinks the scientific evidence implicates Ivins himself, and not just the flask.
  • As (Paul) Kemp aptly puts it: “In this country, we prosecute people, not beakers.”
  • The absence of such a full disclosure can only feed suspicions that the FBI has again targeted an innocent man in this case — as it did with former Fort Detrick researcher Steven Hatfill.
  • This case is too important to be brushed under the carpet.
  • Science and law share a conviction that conclusions require evidence, and that the evidence be debated openly.
  • It is essential that such an enquiry takes place.   
  • to read the entire NATURE article, click … http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v454/n7207/full/454917a.html

 

CC - front cover - small

LMW COMMENT … Before I wrote CASE CLOSED about the anthrax case, I wrote the novel A GOOD CONVICTION, describing the case of a young man convicted of a murder he did not commit by a New York City prosecutor who knew he was innocent. In the course of researching A GOOD CONVICTION, I read everything I could find about prosecutorial abuse. I learned that many prosecutors are quite willing to withold evidence, make up evidence, and break the law in other ways in order to get a conviction. It seems that the FBI and the DOJ are following exactly that route in the anthrax case. Desperate to gain a conviction (finally, after seven years) they switched from Dr. Hatfill to Dr. Ivins in a heartbeat, losing whatever scant credibility they might still have had after seven years of failure. Why did the FBI fail to solve this case? We don’t yet know, but I have created a fictional answer to that question in CASE CLOSED.

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* Senator Leahy … others must have been involved in the anthrax attack

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 15, 2009

September 17, 2008 … Leahy: Suspect had help in anthrax attacks – By LARA JAKES JORDAN, Associated Press Writer

The chairman of the of Senate Judiciary Committee said Wednesday he does not believe that Dr. Bruce Ivins acted alone in the deadly 2001 anthrax attacks. At a hearing in front of his committee, the Vermont Democrat told FBI Director Robert Mueller that he thinks other people must have been involved … The Justice Department and FBI have yet to close the case on the “Amerithrax” investigation after declaring Ivins its only suspect last month. Ivins killed himself in July after learning that prosecutors were preparing to indict him.

read the entire article at … http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/17/AR2008091701312.html

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