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

Posts Tagged ‘the lynchimg of Bruce Ivins’

* 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

Posted by DXer on June 12, 2009


* the FBI’s answers …

Congressman Conyers’ office referred me to Renata Strauss at the House Judiciary Committee of which Congressman Conyers is Chairman. Ms. Strauss provided a copy of the FBI’s answers, dated April 17, 2009, to questions posed by members of the Committee during testimony of FBI Director Robert Mueller on September 16, 2008. Three of those questions had to do with the FBI’s anthrax investigation.

Rep. Conyers

Rep. Conyers

Question Posed bv Chairman Conyers …

When did the FBI originally inform the Defense Department that Dr. Bruce Ivins was the prime suspect in the Amerithrax investigation?

This is the FBI’s complete verbatim response:

  • In October 2007, when Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors and FBI SAs (Special Agents) accumulated sufficient evidence to demonstrate probable cause to believe Ivins was involved in the mailings, the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) was notified of this possible involvement.
  • USAMRIID was additionally notified when a United States District Judge approved search warrants for Ivins’ home, office, and vehicles, and it is the FBI’s understanding that USAMRIID immediately restricted Ivins’ access to areas containing biological agents and toxins.
  • The Department of Defense (DoD) was notified when the FBI began the anthrax investigation, well before Ivins was identified as the main suspect, and worked cooperatively with FBI investigators throughout the investigation.
  • From 2002 through 2005, the FBI had numerous contacts with USAMRIID regarding those who had access to the Ames strain of anthrax.
  • In November 2006, the focus of the anthrax investigation was on the universe of employees who had access to a flask of Bacillis anthracis spores at USAMRIID.
  • As the investigation continued, senior personnel at USAMRIID were informed in January 2007 that the spores in the letter attacks genetically matched spores at USAMRIID and that the FBI believed someone from USAMRIID was the mailer.
  • Senior officials at USAMRIID offered continued cooperation in the investigation and took steps both to increase operational security and to assist the investigation.
Nadler

Rep. Nadler

Questions Posed by Representative Nadler …

Rep. Nadler: What is the percentage of weight of the silicon in the powder used in the 2001 anthrax attacks?

This is the FBI’s complete verbatim response:

  • FBI Laboratory results indicated that the spore powder on the Leahy letter contained 14,479 ppm of silicon (1.4%).
  • The spore powder on the New York Post letter was found to have silicon present in the sample; however, due to the limited amount of material, a reliable quantitative measurement was not possible.
  • Insufficient quantities of spore powder on both the Daschle and Brokaw letters precluded analysis of those samples.

Rep. Nadler: How, on what basis, and using what evidence did the FBI conclude that none of the laboratories it investigated were in any way the sources of the powder used in the 2001 anthrax attacks, except the U.S. Army Laboratory at Fort Detrick, Maryland? Please include in your answer why laboratories that have publicly identified as having the equipment and personnel to make anthrax powder, such as the U.S. Army’s Dugway Proving Grounds in Dugway, Utah and the Battelle Memorial Institute in Jefferson, Ohio, were excluded as possible sources.

This is the FBI’s complete verbatim response:

  • Initially, the spores contained in the envelopes could only be identified as Bacillus Anthracis (Anthrax).
  • They were then sent to an expert, who “strain typed” the spores as Ames.
  • Once the strain type was identified, the FBI began to look at what facilities had access to the Ames strain.
  • At the same time, science experts began to develop the ability to identify morphological variances contained in the mailed anthrax.
  • Over the next six years, new scientific developments allowed experts from the FBI Laboratory and other nationally recognized scientific experts to advance microbial science.
  • This advancement allowed the FBI to positively link specific morphs found in the mailed anthrax to morphs in a single flask at USAMRIID.
  • Using records associated with the flask, the FBI was able to track the transfer of sub samples from the flask located at USAMRIID to two other facilities.
  • Using various methods, the FBI investigated the two facilities that received samples from the parent flask and eliminated individuals from those facilities as suspects because, even if a laboratory facility had the equipment and personnel to make anthrax powder, this powder would not match the spores in the mailed envelopes if that lab had never received a transfer of anthrax from the parent flask.

LMW COMMENT

If you carefully parse the answers to Congressman Conyers’ question, you will see that the FBI said essentially nothing. The words “prime suspect” which were the essence of the question appear nowhere in the answer. Instead there is reference to “probable cause to believe Ivins was involved in the mailings” and “numerous contacts with USAMRIID regarding those who had access to the Ames strain of anthrax” and that (in January 2007!) “the FBI believed someone from USAMRIID was the mailer.” No mention is made of the fact that Dr. Hatfill, also of USAMRIID, was considered a “person of interest” right up until the FBI paid him $5.8 to settle his lawsuit, in the summer of 2008, shortly after which Dr. Ivins is alleged to have committed suicide.

These are not answers to the simple question that Congressman Conyers asked.

Regarding the first of Representative Nadler’s question, the FBI mentions only four letters, and of those, the percentage of silicon is indicated just once. The other anthrax letters are not even mentioned, so the FBI doesn’t tell the Congressman if they knew what the silicon content was in those letters.

The FBI never answered Rep. Nadler’s question as to how other laboratories were excluded as possible sources, never mentioned any other laboratories which were investigated and then excluded, and totally ignored Rep. Nadler’s specific question regarding the U.S. Army’s Dugway Proving Grounds in Dugway, Utah and the Battelle Memorial Institute in Jefferson, Ohio.

If I was a U.S. Congressman asking the questions posed by Representatives Conyers and Nadler and receiving the answers given by the FBI, after six full months had elapsed, I would be absolutely furious. It is insulting and demeaning for the FBI to answer in such an incomplete and unforthcoming manner. How is the Congress to perform its constitutional oversight role in the face of such intransigence?

It is impossible not to believe that, even in these simple questions dealing with relatively small parts of the FBI’s enormously extensive and expensive anthrax investigation, the FBI is purposely refusing to tell Congress what went on.

Why does Congress, and why should the American people, put up with this refusal of the FBI to answer straightforward questions about an investigation that cost the American taxpayers millions of dollars and has failed to produce conclusions which are acceptable to almost anyone?

What dark secrets is the FBI hiding?  Why didn’t the FBI solve the case?

It is terrifying to think that the answer I proposed in my novel CASE CLOSED, a fictional scenario I invented in my imagination, with no access to any secret documents or witnesses, might indeed include elements of what actually happened.  Did the FBI fail to solve the case, and does the FBI still to this day refuse to reveal what they learned and when they learned it, because they were told not to solve the case?

That is so frightening I hope with all my heart that it is not true.

I have again asked the person I was referred to in Congressman Holt’s office (Patrick Eddington), by voice mail and email, the status of the legislation which would establish a Commission to investigate the anthrax case and the FBI investigation. But why should we believe that the FBI would be any more forthcoming at a Commission investigation than they have been so far before various committees of Congress?

******

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* 4 Congressional offices don’t seem to care if the FBI ever answers Congress’s questions about the 2001 anthrax attack

Posted by DXer on June 12, 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)

* Congressional offices don’t seem to care …

So far, Congress seems to be just as secretive as the FBI regarding what really happened in the investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks.

I have called the offices of …

  • Senator Charles Grassley
  • Congressman Rush Holt
  • Congressman Jerrold Nadler
  • Congressman John Conyers

grassley-holt-nadler-conyers

I have left detailed messages in all 4 offices. My questions were quite simple …

  • has the FBI answered the questions your Senator/Congressman asked during 2008?  … YES? NO?
  • if so, can you share those answers with me … YES? NO?
  • if the FBI has not answered, what is your Senator/Congressman doing about it?  … SOMETHING? NOTHING?

So far, not one of these offices has given me the courtesy of any response at all.

It seems to me that the Congressional noise about the FBI’s investigation may be just that – noise.

Ask the questions, grab a few headlines … forget about it. And I think that’s a disgrace.

In 2001, someone carried out a mass murder using anthrax. Five people died, 17 more were infected, the country was thrown into panic.

There seems to be a general concensus on this blog and elsewhere that the FBI has not solved the case, that Dr. Bruce Ivins is not the sole perpetrator and perhaps not involved at all.

Congress doesn’t seem to care.

This complete lack of response from 4 Congressional offices makes me think that the premise I proposed in my just-published novel CASE CLOSED may be even more plausible than I supposed when I constructed my fictional scenario.

My premise in CASE CLOSED is that the FBI didn’t solve the case because it was told not to.

Wouldn’t it be absolutely terrifying if what I wrote as fiction turns out to be true?

And how will we ever know, since Congress doesn’t seem to care if it ever gets answers to the (excellent) questions it has raised?

CASE CLOSED

* purchase CASE CLOSED (paperback)

* see CASE CLOSED VIDEO on YouTube

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* The argument rages on, but there is considerable evidence and agreement on this blog that Dr. Bruce Ivins could not have been the sole perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax attacks as the FBI claimed in 2008, eight days after Dr. Ivins had committed suicide.

Posted by DXer on June 7, 2009

LMW …

Dr. Bruce Ivins

Dr. Bruce Ivins

  • There is a lively ongoing debate on scientific and investigative issues in this blog through the comments of Ike, DXer, Anonymous Scientist and others. The arguments are detailed and complex, but they do seem to agree on this …
    • the FBI’s contention that Dr. Bruce Ivins was the sole perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax attacks cannot be sustained by the evidence which, in all likelihood, the FBI knew when it charged Ivins (posthumously) and declared CASE CLOSED.
  • The fact that the FBI has utterly refused to answer questions raised by scientists, journalists and members of Congress only increase the suspicion that the FBI is hiding some dark secrets in this case.

Ike writes …

  • For the record, I think the thesis of Ed and DX and the FBI are all completely mistaken on basic scientific and technical grounds, let alone all the investigative issues.
  • The only plausible “lone wolf” scenario involves threat or diversion of material created as part of a biological threat assessment program in a U.S. biodefense lab, and that really rules out anyone at Fort Detrick, as they hadno aerosol weaponization capacity.

LMW: Ike is saying it could not be Ivins.

DXer writes …

The Baltimore Examiner quotes Gerald P. Andrews, director of the bacteriology division and Ivins’ supervisor from 2000 to 2003: “Knowing the layout of the BSL-3 suite, the implication that Bruce (Ivins) could have whipped out [anthrax mixture] in a couple of weeks without detection is ridiculous.”

… for 10 envelopes, 100 preparations would be required to make all the mailed material at three to five days for each preparation,” he says. “Months of continuous spore preparation without doing any other work and avoiding detection? It’s ridiculous.”

One USAMRID researcher, speaking anonymously, told The Baltimore Examiner: “It would have been impossible for Ivins to have grown, purified and loaded the amount of material in the letters in just six days. It simply could not be done.”

LMW: DXer quotes Andrews and another USAMRIID researcher who say it simply could not have been Ivins.

DXer adds …

The anthrax attack samples did contain silicon and oxygen, the elements of silica. The silicon and oxygen were not located on the outside surface of the spores. They were on an internal structure. Dr. Michael has tested material from the flask that the FBI says the anthrax materials came from, the mailings came from, and Sandia found that there was no silicon signature in these spores.

LMW: Again pointing in some direction other than Ivins.

“Anonymous Scientist” writes …

When the FBI sought a search warrant from a judge to search Ivins’ home and Detrick they stated they were looking to find evidence including spores with a unique never-before-seen silicon signature.

The silicon found in the mailed spores is very significant. The FBI admit that 1.45% silicon was found in the Leahy spores. That’s a huge amount – higher than any amount that’s ever been seen before in spore preparations – even ones where silicon has been deliberately added (which Detrick never does).

But the FBI NEVER DID FIND SPORES LIKE THIS IN DETRICK.  And yet their official story today is that Ivins must have managed to make them – somehow.

LMW: If the FBI cannot explain how the silicon got into the attack anthrax, then they have to look beyond Detrick and beyond Ivins.

CASE CLOSED

LMW: It seems incomprehensible to me that the FBI, with all of their resources and all of the manpower they put into the anthrax investigation, has come up with the feeble and unsupportable conclusion that Dr. Bruce Ivins was the sole perpetrator. Something else, it seems to me, is going on here, since the FBI cannot be telling the whole truth.

I don’t know what actually happened, but I am a novelist, so I let my imagination develop a fictional scenario that many are finding quite plausible. CASE CLOSED presents that scenario, providing fictional answers to the very real questions that still plague the FBI’s not-yet-closed investigation.

You may purchase CASE CLOSED at amazon.com …

* purchase CASE CLOSED (paperback)

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* the plot thickens … what is the cover up of the failed FBI anthrax investigation really about?

Posted by DXer on June 5, 2009

Lew recently wrote (as part of my update on Congressional progress getting the FBI to answer questions) …

FBI & DOJ announce CASE CLOSED (Aug 08)

FBI & DOJ announce CASE CLOSED (Aug 08)

  • “I have been told that Brian Downey (at the Senate Finance Committee) is the person to talk to, and yesterday I left yet another message for him. I don’t know why the Finance Committee has oversight responsibility in this matter, but that’s what I’ve been told.”

Ike Solem responded …

  • Wow!
  • The reason I say wow is that the Senate Finance Committee is the one that played the starring role in ejecting Daschle from the HHS post, where he would have had oversight of the anthrax contracts handed out by that department (Health and Human Services).
  • So, is the Senate Finance Committee up to their neck in this? Why would that be…
  • Right. $6 billion in funding for Project Bioshield programs – that must have to go through the Senate Finance Committee, and I’m guessing some of them want to see this issue buried forever.
  • Pull a thread, and the whole cloth unravels.

Ike wrote again …

  • Brian Downey was staffer to Bill Frist, retired 2007 (from Tennessee). Tennessee is where Battelle operates the ‘heavily guarded’ Oak Ridge National Laboratory. That’s also where the anthrax spore cleanup team (Camp Dresser Mckee) that cleaned up the Hart Senate Office Building operates out of.
  • Bill Frist was a big Project Bioshield backer:
  • Tennessee (Oak Ridge) is also the new jurisdiction of FBI agent Richard Lambert, who sidetracked the FBI investigation towards Steven Hatfill from 2002 onwards after replacing the first FBI team (Harp, Eberhart, Hess, Wilson)
  • Sandia – well, that’s where the bogus finding of “natural silica” was manufactured.
  • Maybe Bill Frist is in this as deeply as Robert Mueller is.
  • So, here you have a host of labs, all financed by massive government biowarfare budgets, trying to tell us that:
  • 1) Their labs were not the source of the anthrax in the letters, regardless of what person(s) carried out the attacks. This is false; we know that the U.S. biowarfare program was the source of the material.
  • 2) They should continue to recieve billions in funding from the federal government, and continue to expand their biowarfare program.
  • Do people lie to the public in order to protect their government funding stream? Well, it has been known to happen.

LMW COMMENT

Let’s start with the failed FBI anthrax investigation. It seems inexplicable that the FBI, with all of its resources, could not solve a case where there was a small number of potential suspects in a handful of labs, almost all in the U.S.

CASE CLOSEDIn my novel CASE CLOSED, I explore the premise that the FBI didn’t solve the case because they were told not to. I related that to the desire of Bush/Cheney to prop up their case for a war of choice in Iraq.

Ike offers a broader context that involves huge government expenditures for biodefense, or as many suspect, for bioweapons. If he’s right, this connects several companies and several members of Congress to the cover up.

It also suggests why Senator Grassley has apparently failed to followup on his excellent questions of September 2008, and why other initiatives, such as Congressman Holt’s call for a Congressional commission to investigate the 2001 anthrax attacks and the federal government’s response and investigation of the attacks seems to be going nowhere. In the absence of transparency, all of this is truly frightening.

President Obama, who was not involved in any of these events, has much on his plate, but perhaps there is some way for him to add a push to full disclosure of the role of the FBI and others in not solving the 2001 anthrax case.

Meanwhile, you can read CASE CLOSED for one (fictional) theory of what might have happened, a theory that many early readers, including one well placed source in the Intelligence Community, find  to be “all too plausible.”

* purchase CASE CLOSED (paperback)

                         

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* amazon customer reviews of CASE CLOSED

Posted by DXer on June 4, 2009

CASE CLOSED

the following customer reviews of CASE CLOSED have recently appeared on amazon.com …

a good taleCase Closed reads fast and well. It could have happened just the way the author said. Full of intrigue mixed in with almost current events. The real people are just behind the fictional ones.

Is it really fiction? … The author states loud and clear that this book is fiction. But, anyone who has witnessed the last eight years of American history sees great similarities in the underhanded way the last Administration dealt with issues and the way this “fictional” Administration worked. I never have given much credence to conspiracy theories but the investigation of the Anthrax attacks makes one stop and really think about it. Weinstein raises some very interesting and disturbing theories. If it was not meant to make one think about the real situation, the book would still be a great read. It is suspenseful and a real page turner. Please tell me it’s not true!

 An action/thriller that makes you think … The writing is sparse, driven by a plausible plot that allows the reader to think through the crime/mystery along with the protagonist. Despite the troubling reality of the subject matter, it is a thoroughly enjoyable and illuminating read. The writer acknowledges that the novel is fiction, but provides sufficient factual context to sustain his theory on how this dramatic historical footnote could have played out as it did. Even if you do not believe that the Bush Administration repeatedly allowed politics and manipulation of public sentiment to trump fact and law, you will have to acknowlege that the sheer scale of the protocol violations in the Anthrax investigation suggest political motives. 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. 

* purchase CASE CLOSED (paperback)

Fast Moving and “real” intrigue … When you realize that the book is based on real facts, it makes it that much more exciting. At times it seems unreal that we actually lived through these times. It makes it really close to home. 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 agency involved. The book is a must read for anyone who wondered “what really happened? Who did it? and why?” and finally, why didn’t they tell us the truth. Enjoy!

You will not want to stop reading … Lew Weinstein addresses this case with the pen of a highly skilled investigator. As the facts develop, and the characters weigh in, the story becomes an engaging and thought provoking ride that you will want to stay on until you know the truth. The questions asked here stretch the seams of terror with unbelievable possiblilities. A must read for anyone wondering how the anthrax scare could have happened in our own back yard.

* purchase CASE CLOSED (Kindle)

Attack from Within … This scary scenario is as close to truth as fiction can come. The plot is about anthrax attacks, a biological insurgency that doesn’t involve guns, bombs, or armies. Lew Weinstein is a meticulous researcher and a determined storyteller. This book will keep you up at night — reading, then worrying.

Case Closed – great read … Case Closed takes headline events and weaves a credible scenario around the anthrax scare and govt depts working under the radar. Definitely kept me turning the pages

* see CASE CLOSED VIDEO on YouTube

 

               

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* Bruce Ivins Wasn’t the Anthrax Culprit

Posted by DXer on May 26, 2009

Richard Spertzel wrote in the Wall Street Journal (8-5-09) …

  • Over the past week the media was gripped by the news that the FBI was about to charge Bruce Ivins, a leading anthrax expert, as the man responsible for the anthrax letter attacks in September/October 2001.
  • But despite the seemingly powerful narrative that Ivins committed suicide because investigators were closing in, this is still far from a shut case.
  • I believe this is another mistake in the investigation.
  • The spores could not have been produced at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, where Ivins worked, without many other people being aware of it.
  • Furthermore, the equipment to make such a product does not exist at the institute.
  • The latest line of speculation asserts that the anthrax’s DNA, obtained from some of the victims, initially led investigators to the laboratory where Ivins worked. But the FBI stated a few years ago that a complete DNA analysis was not helpful in identifying what laboratory might have made the product.
  • The FBI has not officially released information on why it focused on Ivins, and whether he was about to be charged or arrested.
  • And when the FBI does release this information, we should all remember that the case needs to be firmly based on solid information that would conclusively prove that a lone scientist could make such a sophisticated product.
  • From what we know so far, Bruce Ivins, although potentially a brilliant scientist, was not that man.

Mr. Spertzel, head of the biological-weapons section of Unscom from 1994-99, was a member of the Iraq Survey Group. Read the entire article at … http://online.wsj.com/public/article_print/SB121789293570011775.html

LMW COMMENT

CC - front cover - smallIt seems that the case against the FBI is far stronger than the FBI’s supposed case against Dr. Bruce Ivins. It is infuriating that the FBI would charge a man in a crime of mass murder with so little factual basis to support its conclusions.

It was skepticism like that expressed by Mr. Spertzel that prompted me to write CASE CLOSED. My focus in the novel is on why the FBI failed to solve the case. It is my theory that they were told not to.

Who would have the power to divert the FBI investigation?

And why would they do it?

see an introduction to CASE CLOSED at … * see CASE CLOSED VIDEO on YouTube

CASE CLOSED is on amazon (Kindle now, paperback in mid-June) … * purchase CASE CLOSED at amazon (Kindle format)

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