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Despite Evidence of FBI Bungling, New Probe Into Anthrax Killings Unlikely

In response to a joint investigation by PBS’ Frontline, McClatchy and ProPublica, Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley and two congressman said that it is unlikely that the FBI will reopen its investigation into the anthrax cases.

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Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said that it is unlikely that the Justice Department will reopen its investigation into the anthrax killings. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

A senior Republican senator 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.

Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and others on Capitol Hill who've been skeptical of the case against the late Bruce Ivins said adamant opposition from the FBI and Justice Department is likely to block further inquiry into the case.

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."

Members of Congress commented after PBS' Frontline, McClatchy and ProPublica, in a joint investigation, disclosed evidence that's at odds with some of the science and circumstantial evidence behind the government's conclusion.

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."

Holt, who is a physicist, traced some of the resistance to the fact that Congress "has never felt comfortable dealing with scientific issues," as well as to the public wishing to forget "an unpleasant occurrence."

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat who has supported Holt's bill, "is frustrated that the FBI has failed to answer all of his questions," said his spokesman, Ilan Kayatsky. However, Kayatsky said, "it does seem unlikely at this time that they will reopen their investigation."

Ivins, a mentally troubled father of two who worked for 27 years at the U.S. Army Medical Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Ft. Detrick, Md., committed suicide on July 29, 2008, not long after learning that federal prosecutors were preparing to seek his indictment on five capital murder charges.

Last year, prosecutors closed the FBI's eight-year, $100 million investigation and formally branded him the killer in a 93-page report that laid out extensive evidence against him.

Nearly all of the evidence was circumstantial, however, and PBS' Frontline, McClatchy and ProPublica, in a one-hour documentary and a three-part newspaper series, disclosed evidence challenging prosecutors' assertions.

Among the evidence the three news organizations scrutinized:

  • FBI claims that Ivins worked unusually late hours in a "hot suite," a secure bio-containment lab at Ft. Detrick, in the weeks before the letter attacks. Records show that Ivins had worked similar evening hours in other USAMRIID facilities in the preceding months.
  • Assertions that Ivins tried to mislead investigators in April 2002, by manipulating anthrax samples from a laboratory flask he submitted for FBI testing. At issue was whether Ivins was trying to keep investigators from discovering that spores in the flask contained the same genetic variants as those in the anthrax contained in the letters. But while the April samples tested negative for the variants, Ivins gave three other samples to the FBI or fellow researchers between 2002 and 2004 and, ultimately, the bureau recorded positive results in tests of all three, FBI and Army records show.
  • Claims that Ivins was motivated to create fear about anthrax because the government's anthrax vaccine program was under heavy fire. The existing program was under fire, and Ivins helped to address problems, but his job was to develop a second generation vaccine that at the time had full funding.
  • Assertions that science showed that Ivins' flask was "effectively the murder weapon." A panel of the National Academy of Sciences and two scientists who worked on the FBI investigation described holes in that and other laboratory conclusions.

The lead prosecutor in the case, Rachel Lieber, dismissed these and other anomalies, saying that the "big picture" consisting of a vast "mosaic of evidence" presented a powerful case that Ivins' mental problems drove him to commit the crimes.

Former FBI agent Brad Garrett, a profiler who advised agents in the investigation periodically before retiring in 2006, said that Ivins fits the mold of the suspect the bureau was hunting, because he was "a really super angry guy ... and dangerous on some levels. He clearly had grudges with people."

However, no direct evidence has confirmed that Ivins held grudges against the media outlets to which the letters were sent.

To reopen the case, Garrett said, would take "something fairly compelling ... somebody comes forward [or] there's a new piece of evidence that links it to somebody else."

Holt and Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., whose district includes Ft. Detrick, tried to push through an amendment to a spending bill last year requiring the inspector general for the intelligence community to investigate whether all relevant foreign intelligence had been passed to FBI investigators. The measure was torpedoed when the Office of Management and Budget objected, calling it "duplicative" and expressing concern about Congress directing an inspector general "to replicate a criminal investigation."

Last May, McClatchy disclosed that the FBI had never explained tests showing the presence of unusually high levels of silicon and tin in the letters sent to the New York Post and to Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont. That renewed suspicions -- denied by the FBI -- that the perpetrator used a chemical additive to keep the spores from clumping so they'd be more easily inhaled.

Another issue is the FBI's method for collecting anthrax samples from U.S. and foreign labs to narrow the suspect list. Because the samples were subpoenaed and couldn't be seized for multiple reasons, critics have said their submission amounted to an honor system in which the killer would have no incentive to participate.

Further, a still-confidential 2002 review of security at USAMRIID by a seven-member team from the Sandia National Laboratories found that "the culture at USAMRIID does not reflect the same indisputable commitment to security as it does to research."

The "diversion of small quantities" of deadly pathogens can be significant, noted the report, a copy of which was obtained by McClatchy, ProPublica and Frontline. That's presumably because they can be used as seed material to grow large quantities of germs for an attack. The problem is heightened, it said, because germs "cannot be reliably detected," underscoring the importance of an alert and cooperative research staff.

Psssst, Gordon. See what the real investigators are saying about the 911
Anthrax attacks.
http://www.rigorousintuition.ca/board2/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=33316

This is really unbelievable.  Even the former Soviet Union would eventually have allowed sanity to prevail here.
We now apparently live in a police state. We allowed the FBI to kill one of our own - an innocent man who devoted his life to government service.
If the FBI can do that to Dr Ivins, they can do it to any of us.

And our democratically elected government is totally powerless to challenge the jack-booted thugs who, perversely, ripped up the very Constitution that makes America great and distinguishes us as the greatest and fairest collection of humanity that has ever inhabited planet earth.

Is this an America anyone can be proud of? Where are we going?

Ivins spent unusual hours in his personal “hot suite” in the weeks before the attacks.  It’s irrelevant how much other time he spent in labs or his office where he couldn’t make the anthrax powders.  The point is, he had no explanation for the long hours he spent in his BSL-3 lab during the time the anthrax powders were very likely being made.

The first sample from flask RMR-1029 that Ivins gave to the FBI repository (FBIR) in February 2002 was improperly prepared - probably deliberately so - and thus could not be used as evidence in court, and it was thrown out.  The second sample Ivins supplied in April 2002 was a DELIBERATE DECEPTION and did not represent the contents of flask RMR-1029.  The sample he gave to Terry Abshire to use as a “standard” was not placed in the FBIR until years later.  Ivins didn’t know about the morphs at the time he submitted the first sample in February, even though Propublica et al try to claim he did.  When Ivins showed “morphs” to others, he was talking about the effects of “passaging,” NOT the kind of morphs that were found in the attack anthrax.  The FBI files show this.

The fact that Ivins’ bosses felt that the vaccine program was fully funded has absolutely NOTHING to do with what Ivins was thinking at the time.  He expected to have his life’s work ended and to transferred to work on a glanders vaccine.  He was being constantly questioned by Gary Matsumoto about links between the existing vaccine and Gulf War Syndrome.  Politicians were attacking the vaccine.  The Pentagon was talking about getting out of the anthrax vaccine business altogether.  Ivins had PLENTY of motive to try to generate new PUBLIC interest in a new anthrax vaccine.

Flask RMR-1029 WAS the murder weapon.  The fact that there is some possibility that somewhere at sometime someone might have repeated the processes that created the contents of flask RMR-1029 and got the same morphological variants is probably less than a billion to one.  Creating 30 TRILLION SPORES in multiple batches and combining them into a single flask is the kind of thing that NO ONE ever does.  The only reason Ivins did it was because he didn’t understand the way morphs are created, and he thought the contents of flask RMR-1029 would be “just one step away from the cow” that provided the Ames strain in the first place.  His emails and his talks with the FBI show this.

Ed Lake
http://www.anthraxinvestigation.com

Seattle Reader

Oct. 16, 2011, 9:12 p.m.

Ed, as usual, you distort the evidence in order to try and gain favor for your conclusion that Ivins is guilty. Starting at the top:

You say, “It’s irrelevant how much other time he spent in labs or his office where he couldn’t make the anthrax powders.  The point is, he had no explanation for the long hours he spent in his BSL-3 lab during the time the anthrax powders were very likely being made.”

Wrong, wrong wrong. FBI presented as a MAJOR element of their circumstantial case that Ivins’ time in the lab was unusual, and presented a graph showing only the hours in the hot suite. They made it appear that other than those lab hours, Ivins wasn’t in the habit of after hours work. But, as the evidence they withheld shows, he WAS in the habit of regular after hours lab work, spending consistently the same amount of time in various labs for months. FBI left that out, not because it is irrelevant (it is decidedly not), but because they wanted Ivins’ hours in the hot suite to look bad for him. Also left out by FBI, and by you, is the evidence of what Ivins was actually doing in the hot suites, which was animal experimentation monitoring that required the amount of time he spent there, to get done. FBI had that evidence; they withheld it, which helped them build their “circumstantial case.”

Similar goes the story of the supposed deception in sending in the wrong kind of sample, one out of FOUR samples made. You claim it is “DELIBERATE DECEPTION”—your caps—and you try to make a case by pretending to get inside Ivins’ head, but you, Ed, are notorious for making up things that Ivins supposedly thought or did. Other people who submitted samples also had problems with them. The protocol was new and not very clear to people at times. Yet you and FBI choose to claim it must have been deception, while they themselves withheld half the samples Ivins sent in from the public eye. Absurd.

The idea that Ivins had motivation to such an act as creating a false flag appearance of a muslim attack on our country, right after 9-11, because he was worried about funding for his vaccine and didn’t know it actually was funded, is absurd in the extreme. Really, Ed? Really. Talk about making up what’s supposedly in another’s head. This takes the cake in your post above, but not on your website, where you make the claim that Ivins used a child to write the letters, and even post an imaginary conversation he would have had with such child, so devious and treacherous that it could only have come from YOUR mind. Ugh.

I’ll leave weather RMR-1029 was the murder weapon, as not worth comment. NAS report says it all.

You can’t argue with a sick mind. Seattle reader is correct, Ed Lake does indeed have a perverted imaginary conversation between Bruce Ivins and a child on his website. It’s written as though it is a factual conversation:
http://anthraxinvestigation.com/Update-History2011-Pt-2.html

By late August of 2001, Ivins had realized that the perfect way to write the letters without any risk that a handwriting expert would match his handwriting to the letter was to have someone else do the actual writing.  It was a simple matter for Ivins to convince a six-year-old child in his wife’s day care center to write the letter for him.  The child was just beginning his first weeks of first grade and was only around while waiting for his parents to pick him up at the Ivins home after the school bus dropped him off.  There would be no problem convincing the child to provide a sample of his handwriting skills for nice Mr. Ivins.  Very likely, the child was proud of his writing skills since he seemed to write much better than the average child just starting first grade.  And, best of all, most people would view the childlike handwriting to be that of a Muslim terrorist who was accustomed to writing in a totally different alphabet.

Of course, there was a risk that the child might tell his parents about writing the letter, but Ivins’ skills with handling children could easily get around that problem.  For example, he could attract the six-year-old child’s attention by doing some funny juggling with coffee cups and/or glasses, pretending again and again to almost drop a cup or a glass but recovering just in the nick of time.  It’s a standard juggler attention-getting trick.  It always gets gasps and a laugh.

Then he’d engage the child in a discussion:

Ivins:  Do you know how to juggle?

Child: No.

Ivins:  Would you like to learn?

Child: Sure!

Ivins:  Well, I can’t teach you how to juggle using cups and glasses, so I’ll have to find something that doesn’t break.  I can go look for something that we can practice with, but I wonder if you’d do something for me while I’m gone ...

Child: Sure!  Okay!

Ivins: Do you have a pen and paper from school?

Child:  Sure.  I have lots of pens and paper in my backpack.

Ivins: I need you to copy a letter I’ve written.  Here it is.  Can you copy this?

Child: Sure!  It’s easy!

Ivins: But, you see these A’s and T’s that are darker than all the other letters?

Child:  Yeah.

Ivins:  You have to make sure all those letters are darker than the other stuff in the letter when you make a copy.  Do you think you can do that?

Child: Sure!  That’s easy.

Ivins: Great.  You make the copy.  I’ll be back in a few minutes, and then I’ll teach you how to juggle. 

And, when Ivins returned with three children’s blocks or something similarly unbreakable, he would thank the child for writing the letter, he’d put immediately it aside, and he would begin showing the child how to juggle the blocks. 

The child would be focused on the fun of learning to juggle.  Even if he never actually mastered the art, it would be fun learning, and the chore of writing of the letter would be totally forgotten.  It would be no more important than money spent to see a movie.  You tell people about the movie you saw, not about the admission money spent to get in.

So, basically, “This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact…print the legend.”

Echoing Watchmaker, above, it concerns me deeply that Congress is willing to stand against the American people (I recall one Senator saying that he was voting for the bank bailouts when his constituents were evenly divided between “no” and “hell no,” for example), but standing against the bureaucrats at the FBI?  Horrors!

What, exactly, has the FBI done to threaten our lawmakers (who hold the purse strings, incidentally) that they don’t feel they the investigation is off-limits?  John Ashcroft was an ass, but I seem to recall him starting Bush’s term saying he was looking to cut the FBI’s funding, then stopped flying commercial airlines a month later.  Who are these people that they have the entire government cowering in fear?

Just out of curiosity, did you receive my comment on this story?

Seattle Reader wrote: “Ed, as usual, you distort the evidence in order to try and gain favor for your conclusion that Ivins is guilty.”

It’s NOT my conclusion.  It’s the FBI’s and DOJ’s conclusion. I’ve looked at the evidence, and I see no good reason to dispute it.  The facts are clear. 

For seven years prior to the news about Ivins, I believed a scientist in New Jersey sent the anthrax letters.  But, I knew the evidence against that scientist was skimpy, at best.  The mountain of circumstantial evidence against Bruce Ivins should be undeniable to anyone who isn’t locked into some theory of their own.

Seattle Reader’s arguments are based upon her BELIEF that the FBI was being deceptive when they wrote the Summary Report on the Amerithrax investigation.  Example:

“They made it appear that other than those lab hours, Ivins wasn’t in the habit of after hours work.”

Not true.  They say this on pages 29 and 30 of the Summary Report:

“In order to be able to grow the amount of material needed to fill the attack letters, especially at the level of purity and concentration observed in the evidentiary material, the mailer would have needed access to sophisticated lab equipment such as that housed in B-313. Otherwise, he would not have been in a position to grow and store the material without being noticed or raising concerns. Dr. Ivins’s own comments upon examining the evidentiary material support the conclusion that the anthrax spores used in the attack letters were not created in someone’s garage, but rather in a high-tech lab by someone with knowledge and experience”

And

“It was clear that, from time to time, Dr. Ivins would enter the lab during evening and weekend off-hours. These entries generally can be supported by his lab notebooks, and those of the other researchers he was assisting, which detail the experiments he was working on that would require this off-hour lab time. However, beginning in the middle of August 2001, there was a noticeable spike in his evening and weekend access to B-313, which continued in spurts through October 2001, and then trailed off to his typical pattern. The data for 2001 revealed the following: January through July: eight hours and 48 minutes total in B-313 during off-hours; August: 11 hours, 15 minutes; September 2001: 31 hours, 28 minutes; October: 16 hours, 13 minutes; November: six hours, 20 minutes; December: three hours, four minutes.”

It’s all about the unusual hours Ivins spent in his own lab in room B313 where he had the capability to make the anthrax spores in private.  The fact that he may have previously spent time in Building 1425 without going into his lab is IRRELEVANT.

Seattle reader also wrote:

“Other people who submitted samples also had problems with them. The protocol was new and not very clear to people at times.”

Ivins’ February 2002 sample was the ONLY sample rejected by the FBIR as being improperly prepared.

Prior to the submission of the April 2002 sample, Patricia Worsham called Ivins and other scientists who worked under Worsham into a meeting room, and all the details of preparing FBIR samples were described in detail by Worsham to her subordinates, specifically the fact that the “single colony pick” technique as NOT to be used.  (Two FBI agents were also at the meeting, and one of them even made a drawing of where all of the people were sitting.)

Yet, when Ivins submitted his FALSE sample to the FBIR a few days after the meeting, it was clearly either not from flask RMR-1029 OR it was improperly prepared using the forbidden “single colony pick” technique.  Patricia Worsham had made a point that that technique was not to be used, yet when questioned, Ivins claimed he may have used that technique.  Ivins was making errors THAT NO ONE ELSE MADE, and he had 30 years of experience in preparing samples for use as evidence.   

Seattle Reader also wrote:

“The idea that Ivins had motivation to such an act as creating a false flag appearance of a muslim attack on our country, right after 9-11, because he was worried about funding for his vaccine and didn’t know it actually was funded, is absurd in the extreme”

There are DOZENS of emails from Ivins expressing his concern about the future of his vaccine program.  Ignoring all the evidence of his concerns that would be motivation for the attacks is pure bias.  The facts say he had multiple motives for the attacks.  The fact that you cannot believe it doesn’t change the facts.

Ed Lake
http://www.anthraxinvestigation.com

“Watchmaker” wrote:

“We now apparently live in a police state. We allowed the FBI to kill one of our own - an innocent man who devoted his life to government service.
If the FBI can do that to Dr Ivins, they can do it to any of us.
And our democratically elected government is totally powerless to challenge the jack-booted thugs who, perversely, ripped up the very Constitution that makes America great and distinguishes us as the greatest and fairest collection of humanity that has ever inhabited planet earth.”

A “police state”?  Really?  Jackbooted thugs?  Really?  The FBI killed “one of our own”?  Really? 

How can anyone argue with someone who has such over-the-top beliefs?  There’s just too much distance between such wild beliefs and reality.  It would take years to cover the distance.  And, why bother?

“Watchmaker” also says,

“You can’t argue with a sick mind. Seattle reader is correct, Ed Lake does indeed have a perverted imaginary conversation between Bruce Ivins and a child on his website. It’s written as though it is a factual conversation”

Ah, personal attacks.  Personal attacks are the first tactic of people who cannot argue facts. 

“Watchmaker” also claims an obviously “imaginary conversation” is “written as though it is a factual conversation.”  Who can argue with people who see what they want to see, regardless of what is really there?

Ed Lake
http://www.anthraxinvestigation.com

The most disturbing of ProPublica’s revelations has less to do with the specific evidence than what itsays about how prosecutors presented their “ironclad” case to the public after the suicide of Dr. Ivins. The problems with the evidence raised by the ProPublica investigation are persuasive. But the problems with the ProPublica claims raised by the commenter here are also interesting and, as someone who has not lived and breathed this case, I would have to leave some room for the possibility that the commenter’s claims about the other two samples from RMR-1029 might be true. How could I or any other interested observer know?

There is, though, one thing that we can know in the aftermath of the superb ProPublica report. It is a concern that should be shared by the commenter and others who are convinced of Dr. Ivin’s guilt, by those who believe in either his innocence or in reasonable doubt, or anyone with an interest in larger questions of fairness and truth.

And that is that the initial case presented by the FBI to the public after the suicide of Dr. Ivins lacked the nuance and precision that is the only way to responsibly present scientific findings. What the commenter claims about the other two samples from RMR-1029 might or might not be true. The larger problem is that the FBI did not mention those samples when going public. What the commenter claims about the relevance of the late hours Dr. Ivins spent in other labs also might or might not be true. The FBI, though, did not present the public with the more complex picture of Dr. Ivins’s attendance records.

I am simply pointing out that – wherever the truth lies – the FBI did not help itself in the realm of public opinion when it presented a public case without the complexity and care that it deserved. Anyone hoping to make a persuasive circumstantial case has to present—and then use evidence to refute— alternate explanations that would disprove their theory of the case.

And any presentation of scientific evidence has to present some sense of the probability that the inferences drawn from the data are valid. Any inference from scientific data will involve some leap. The trick is making an effort to explain to the public just how much of a statistical leap might have been made. The subsequent NAS study, requested— to his credit—by Director Mueller, zeroed in on just this imprecision in the inferences drawn from the data.

In this case, the FBI had the considerable challenge of making both a circumstantial and scientific case to the public.  With full awareness of how hard this is to do in the public sphere, ProPublica’s reporting revealed that the FBI’s initial public presentation of all this complex evidence as certain and ironclad had, in the long run, the unintended result of clouding rather than clarifying the kinds of details that so many parties on all sides of this case – commenter included—are still contesting.

Seattle Reader,

It occurs to me that an argument CAN be made that the times Ivins spent in Building 1425 during evenings and weekends BEFORE August of 2001 could be considered “relevant” in court.

1.  It’s relevant because it helps explain why no one paid any attention to the fact that Ivins was working in the building at night and on weekends.  Guards and other people were ACCUSTOMED to seeing him around during evenings and weekends.  They would have no way of knowing he started doing something different than usual in his own lab starting in August of 2001.  It would appear to others that he was doing the same things as he always did.

2. It’s relevant because it shows that what Ivins was doing in his lab on those critical evenings and weekends was DIFFERENT from what he was doing during similar times prior to August 2001.  That is what the FBI was saying.  Ivins may have been in building 1425 a lot in evenings during the earlier months, but he wasn’t doing what he was doing in August, September and October of 2001.  The in-out logs PROVE that.  They show he was in his BSL-3 lab, where he rarely spent much time prior to August 2001.

Ed Lake
http://www.anthraxinvestigation.com

SG wrote: “the initial case presented by the FBI to the public after the suicide of Dr. Ivins lacked the nuance and precision that is the only way to responsibly present scientific findings.”

Yes, that’s a very good point.  If there had been an opportunity to try Bruce Ivins in court, the prosecution would probably have spent WEEKS presenting the evidence against Ivins.  They’d have explained every nuance.  They’d have stepped through the scientific details very carefully so that a jury of laymen could understand what was being said.  They’d have used slides to illustrate points about the hidden message that Ivins put into the media letters and how the message was decoded.

Unfortunately, Ivins committed suicide before he could be tried in a court of law.  And there is no standard way of trying a suspect post mortem.  There is a LOT of evidence against Ivins that has nothing to do with science.  The letters were put into a mailbox that is across the street from Ivins’ father’s alma mater.  The mailbox was the closest mailbox to the Kappa Kappa Gamma office, and Ivins was OBSESSED with Kappa Kappa Gamma.  The ZIP code in the return address on the senate letters was for the area where Ivins’ father’s ancestors had lived for over a hundred years.  The 4th Grade at Greendale School in that return address links to a cause to which Ivins and his wife donated money.  Ivins had a stack of National Enquirers on his desk, and one of the letters was sent to the National Enquirer.  I could go on and on.  I have here: http://www.anthraxinvestigation.com/Evidence-vs-Beliefs.html  As you can see from that link, people just dismiss it all as “coincidences” or claim it proves nothing.  But, in court it would prove beyond any reasonable doubt that Ivins was the anthrax mailer.

In court, “the scientific case” could just be presented as the “clue” that led to all the other evidence showing Ivins was the anthrax mailer. 

Ed Lake
http://www.anthraxinvestigation.com

Seattle Reader

Oct. 18, 2011, 2:56 a.m.

I would encourage everyone to take a good look at Ed Lake’s link of Evidence vs Beliefs that he posted above. One cannot explain to Ed that his 50 items of “Evidence” do not add up to a hill of beans.

Partial post by Mister Lake:
——————
The ZIP code in the return address on the senate letters was for the area where Ivins’ father’s ancestors had lived for over a hundred years.
=================================================
Yeah, and we all know how IMPORTANT that is to us as post office customers:  be SURE to use the ZIP code of the area where our father’s ancestors had lived, otherwise the postman can’t deliver the letter/package! (Hey, anybody know the ZIP for Leitrim Country, Ireland?!?).

(Question: would they be using any of such nonsense as ‘evidence’ if Ivins hadn’t been mentally ill?)

This is really TOO much: any six-degrees-of-separation type of connection between Ivins (and/or any of his relatives) is considered ‘evidence’! Common sense goes out the window. Logic (of even the slightest sort) goes out the window.

In fact I myself have stronger Jersey ties than Ivins did and except for taking basic training at Fort Dix I’ve NEVER lived there.

What this Kappa-Kappa-Gamma-was-within-200-feet-and-his-father’s-
ancestors-lived-there trope does is tell us NOTHING about Ivins and the likelihood he committed Amerithrax but tells us EVERYTHING about the people who view this stuff as important: not the least of which is their desperation. Why? If you had solid evidence against Ivins you wouldn’t have to resort to these non-sequiturs.

Seattle Reader wrote: “One cannot explain to Ed that his 50 items of “Evidence” do not add up to a hill of beans.”

Right.  That’s because they add up to a MOUNTAIN OF EVIDENCE showing Ivins was the anthrax mailer.

The point of that list is to show that circumstantial evidence MUST be viewed in its entirety.  And that’s the way it is presented to a jury.  The jury is shown ALL the evidence before they are allowed to discuss any of it.

The people who defend Ivins take an individual item and declare that the item means nothing by itself.  That is the point.  INDIVIDUAL ITEMS OF CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE TEND TO MEAN NOTHING BY THEMSELVES, BUT WHEN VIEWED IN THEIR ENTIRETY THEY PROVE GUILT BEYOND ANY REASONABLE DOUBT. 

Nearly ALL criminal cases that go to trial are cases based upon circumstantial evidence. 

When there’s direct “smoking gun” evidence like closed circuit TV images showing a bank robber’s face as he robs a bank, there is almost never a trial.  The most the robber can do is try to make a deal by exchanging a confession for some kind of reduction in his sentence, which saves the government the cost of a trial.

Circumstantial evidence is REAL evidence.  It’s used every day to convict murderers, burglars and criminals of every kind.  It would also have convicted Bruce Ivins.

Ed

Seattle reader wrote:

“One cannot explain to Ed that his 50 items of “Evidence” do not add up to a hill of beans.”

Seattle reader is quite correct - what Ed Lake calls “evidence” is what he presonally believes is evidence. None of this would even have got into a court of law.

Ed Lake’s beliefs are warped beyond comprehension. Who else would compile an imginary conversation with an imaginary child using imaginary props? Only someone with warped views would do such a thing.

Lake writes….
“It was a simple matter for Ivins to convince a six-year-old child in his wife’s day care center to write the letter for him.”
“Then he’d engage the child in a discussion”.

....as if Lake knows this to be a fact - when in fact Lake fabricated all of it out of whole cloth.

I think it’s safe to assume that everything else on Lake’s website is fabricated out of whole cloth.

Watchmaker wrote: “what Ed Lake calls “evidence” is what he presonally believes is evidence. None of this would even have got into a court of law.

Not true.  What I call evidence is what THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE and the American legal system calls evidence.  All the items on the list would have been used in court against Ivins, although in court it wouldn’t have been a simple list, they would have explained everything to the jury over a period of weeks.

The conversation with the child was written in response to someone who claimed that Ivins could never have convinced a child to write the letters without the child telling is parents and calling in the media. 

The facts say that a child wrote the anthrax letters.  The evidence is here: http://www.anthraxinvestigation.com/WritingFacts.html

The evidence was clear YEARS before it was learned that Ivins’ wife ran a day care center in her home, where she would take care of first graders after school until their parents came home.  The FBI says the handwriting evidence is “inconclusive.”  That might be because the child doesn’t remember or because his parents won’t let him talk with the FBI.  (He would be 16 years old now.)

Ed Lake
http://www.anthraxinvestigation.com

Watchmaker and Seattle Reader,

Just in case you think that NO ONE would be so terrible to use a child to write the anthrax letters, don’t forget that on September 17, 1993, Bruce Ivins wrote a letter to the editor of the Frederick News-Post declaring that pedophilia was just a matter of “sexual orientation” and expressing concern about “discrimination” against pedophiles.

Details are on page 51 of David Willman’s book “The Mirage Man” and can be found elsewhere. 

That’s the kind of person you think would never have done something so terrible as sending anthrax letters through the mails.

Ed Lake
http://www.anthraxinvestigation.com

Ed Lake, you obviously did not watch the same program I watched tonight.  The “deception” wasn’t and the explanation offered for the variance is credible, as is the fact that 3 other samples Ivins provided to the FBI were a match.

Furthermore, colleagues said that Ivins had animals which were part of the experiment for a vaccine and he had reason to be in the “hot suite” to check on them which gave him plausible reasons to be there.  The chart showing his late hour work throughout the facility showed that he was there long hours in different places, not just that particular “hot suite” on crucial dates.

Reasonable doubt existed but the FBI and its political masters (read the singing jerk running DOJ at the time) chose to gloss over it.  It was bad enough that the original person of interest was so hounded that the govt. eventually settled his claim for $millions.

The coverup was not so unusual for certain govt. agencies on a major screwup such as this.  The man was hounded to death and his reputation as a dedicated public servant deserves the right to a defense such as a reopening of the case by *competent, unbiased* investigators.

Seattle Reader

Oct. 19, 2011, 4:43 a.m.

Do you believe the stuff you write, Ed? Did you bother to read and understand (outside the context of Willman’s hit piece) what Ivins was doing when he wrote that letter? He wrote one sentence that was very clearly designed as a reductio ad absurdum:

“In a clear case of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, this past week the University of the District of Columbia denied the North American Man-Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) the use of its campus facilities for the purpose of holding a conference….”
    —Ivins letter to the editor, Frederick News Post, 1993

The point of the sentence was NOT what Willman and you make it appear to be. It was quite the opposite. Here is what Ivins wrote in order to clarify his actual position, which Willman did not somehow see fit to include in his book:

“It is disgusting that such an organization even exists. Furthermore, it is frightening that laws which prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation will allow pedophiles to adopt children and to hold jobs where they will be in close contact with children.”

You may not be able to understand when someone sometimes writes the opposite of what they believe in a letter, in order to drive home a point. But that is what Ivins did. He had clearly expected readers to pick up on this, a point on which he was sadly mistaken. There will always be persons like you, Ed, willing to paint the worst picture and plaster it everywhere.

If you’re going to do so much research, Ed, maybe you could try to look beneath the surface a tiny amount before you declare someone a pedophile sympathizer as well as an anthrax murderer. And please don’t say it’s just the FBI. You have made this YOUR crusade.

Seattle reader once again exposes Ed lake’s fabricated from whole cloth statements - in this case a post on this thread claiming Bruce Ivins was a pedophile sympathizer.
It does indeed seem to be the case that Ed Lake is on a crusade to declare Bruce Ivins guilty of the anthrax mailings.

A little research shows that this is not the first internet crusade that Ed Lake has taken on - another of his crusades earned him the #5 spot in the “Most Ridiculous Causes to Ever Get a Website”

http://www.cracked.com/article_16227_the-5-most-ridiculous-causes-to-ever-get-website.html

#5. Ed Lake, Investigator of Fake Porn

The Crusade:
Anyone who says chivalry is dead has obviously never heard of Ed Lake. Since 1996 he’s been patrolling the internet protecting damsels in distress from the evils of photo editing software. Ever since seeing a fake nude photo Gillian Anderson, Ed has dedicated his free time to “investigating” other celebrity nipple shots to determine if they’re the real deal. Because he’s a gentleman. A 66-year-old, not even remotely perverted, gentleman.

David Efron wrote: “Ed Lake, you obviously did not watch the same program I watched tonight.  The “deception” wasn’t and the explanation offered for the variance is credible, as is the fact that 3 other samples Ivins provided to the FBI were a match.”

I watched the Frontline program on-line on the morning October 11, I watched it when it aired that evening, and I watched it again the next day as I created a DVD of it and the CNN program “Death By Mail” so I can watch it again any time I want.

The “deceptions” by Ivins WERE deceptions, and that is not changed by Frontline, ProPublica and McClatchy distorting the facts.  The February 2002 sample was improperly prepared - the ONLY such sample from 1,070 samples that was rejected by the FBI repository.  The second sample in April 2002 was a pure deception.  It did not contain the morphs that were in flask RMR-1029, so Ivins tried to mislead the investigation (and he succeeded for awhile).  The February 2002 sample given to Terry Abshire was NOT given as a FBIR sample.  So, it proves nothing - except that Ivins didn’t know about the morphs when he prepared it.

You may disagree, but the facts say you are wrong.

Ed

Seattle Reader,

Ivins was an ADMITTED BURGLAR.  Ivins was a vandal.  Ivins tried to destroy the career of Nancy Haigwood.  Ivins stole his subordinates computer password so he could spy on what she might be writing about him.  Ivins pointed the finger at SEVEN others at USAMRIID as being capable of making the attack anthrax.  Ivins accumulated materials to make BOMBS.  Ivins planned to MURDER Mara Linscott.  Ivins was mentally ill and had been seeing psychiatrists for years. 

Ivins first psychiatrist Dr. Naomi Heller immediately thought that Ivins could be the anthrax mailer when she first heard about the letters.

Ivins second psychiatrist Dr. David S. Irwin labeled Ivins as “homicidal, sociopathic with clear intentions. 

Ivins’ third psychiatrist Dr. Allen Levy said Ivins was like an “overstretched rubber band” and the “scariest” patient he had ever met. 

Seattle Reader wrote: “You may not be able to understand when someone sometimes writes the opposite of what they believe in a letter, in order to drive home a point. But that is what Ivins did.”

Ivins sent that letter to the Frederick News-Post defending pedophiles, and it was only AFTER the News-Post published TEN letters attacking what he’d written that Ivins wrote another letter saying what he’d written had been misunderstood.  In the second letter he claimed he didn’t advocate pedophilia and didn’t support NAMBLA.

Ivins was BACKPEDDLING, trying to disassociate himself from what he’d previously written.  The only defense ANYONE can have of what he wrote was that he was mentally ill and may have had a multiple personality disorder where “one Bruce” wrote the first letter and “another Bruce” wrote the backpeddling letter.

According to Bruce Ivins’ own psychiatrists, Ivins was a scary, homicidal sociopath with “clear intentions” to do harm.  We can all consider ourselves lucky that Ivins’ only killed 5 people and injured 17 others when one of his INSANE schemes went haywire.

Ed

I wrote in response to a posting by David Efron: “The “deceptions” by Ivins WERE deceptions, and that is not changed by Frontline, ProPublica and McClatchy distorting the facts.”

There’s a very clear example of “distorting the facts” in the Frontline video. At the 39:20 minute mark, the video has McClatchy reporter Greg Gordon distorting the facts by saying Ivins was “sneaking into” KKG sorority houses. 

Ivins was BURGLARIZING the KKG sorority houses.  He entered via WINDOWS, he didn’t “sneak in” through unguarded front doors.  Once inside, he had to hunt for what he wanted.  At the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill he broke into a LOCKED closet to steal a decoding device and some ritual documents.  At the University of West Virginia he broke into a LOCKED cabinet and stole a ritual book.

Gordon’s comment is a blatant distortion of the facts.

Ed

David Efron

Oct. 19, 2011, 7 p.m.

Ed Lake, this was a man with obsessions towards KKG - he wasn’t burglarizing for TVs or jewelry, he broke in for the ritual book and other objects of his fantasizing.  Yes, he committed crimes doing what he did at KKG but what about motivation?  That matters to prosecutors if not to you.

Was it ever alleged that he sent anthrax spores to Kappa Kappa Gamma?  Never.

You are the distorter by ignoring the motivation behind the burglaries perpetrated by this sick man.  You are splitting inconsequential hairs and what is YOUR motivation in doing so?

David Efron wrote; “You are the distorter by ignoring the motivation behind the burglaries perpetrated by this sick man.”

No one is ignoring any motives.  The problem with motives is that they are inside a person’s head.  Unless you are a mind-reader, the best that can be done is to make deductions based upon Ivins’ emails and statements to the FBI.  Even Ivins may not have known EXACTLY what his motives were.  He was clearly OBSESSED with Kappa Kappa Gamma (KKG) and repeatedly stated so.  And his only explanation was that some girl from KKG shunned him in college. (The girl who shunned him didn’t even remember the incident.)

Ivins was also fascinated with codes.  And he seems to have gone after KKG’s ritual code books so that he could break their secrets and ridicule or humiliate them.

He had no reason to KILL anyone at the Princeton KKG office.  His obsessions didn’t go in that direction.  So, your question about sending anthrax to KKG makes no sense. 

Ivins’ motivations for sending the anthrax letters appear to have been about problems at work: a lack of support for his vaccine program, criticism of the program by politicians, claims by Gary Matsumoto that ingredients in the anthrax vaccine were responsible for “Gulf War Syndrome,” talk that Ivins might be asked to stop his work on anthrax vaccines and transfer to working on a vaccine for glanders, etc., etc.  He had MANY motives for the anthrax attacks.  Sending the letters to the media and to politicians could achieve his goals.  Sending the letters to KKG offices would make no sense.  Why would Muslim terrorists attack KKG instead of all the more likely targets in the USA? 

Ivins mailed the anthrax letters from the CLOSEST mailbox to the KKG office in Princeton, NJ.  It was 175 feet from the KKG office.  The next nearest mailbox was over 1,000 feet from the KKG office.  Did he have any other motivation for using that particular mailbox?  Again, if you cannot read mind, you can only make deductions:  The mailbox was also across the street from his father’s alma mater.  And there was a former USAMRIID scientist living in that part of New Jersey who was one of the scientists Ivins finged to the FBI as being capable of sending the anthrax letters.

Ivins was mentally ill.  Things that might seem silly to “normal” people were obsessions to Bruce Ivins.  He put a coded message in the anthrax letters he sent to the media.  The coding technique was described in a book that a KKG member, Nancy Haigwood, had first brought to his attention.  There were also hidden references in the return address on the senate letters that related to things that interested Ivins.

What was his motivation for putting a hidden message in the media letters?  Again, we can’t read Ivins’ mind, but he appears to have put the code there so that he could impress Nancy Haigwood with how clever he had been if the opportunity ever presented itself.  He may even have thought that he’d become a NATIONAL HERO if the letters scared politicians and the American people into protecting themselves against a bioweapons attack just before Muslim terrorists launched a REAL attack.

My motivation for discussing the anthrax case is a fascination with the way people ignore facts in order to argue their beliefs.  I’m a psychology buff.  And I’m also a science buff, so I’m fascinated with the science of the Amerithrax case, too.

Does that answer your question?

Ed Lake
http://www.anthraxinvestigation.com

Ed lake wrote:
“What was his motivation for putting a hidden message in the media letters?  “

None. Because he never put any coded message in the letters. The coded message is a fabricated piece of fantasy dreamed up by the FBI. Their so-called “code” or an infinite number of versions of it could be made to fit anyone on the planet.

The “code” nonsense was thouroughly debunked years ago:

USA TODAY reports …

Gödel, Escher, Bach, author Douglas Hofstadter on Friday called anthrax investigation links to his book, a “red herring”, after Justice Department documents revealed a role for the 1979 Pulitzer Prize winner in decoding the just-closed case.

The Justice Department “formally concluded” its investigation into the 2001 anthrax case,  on Friday, continuing to conclude the late anthrax vaccine researcher Bruce Ivins, was the culprit behind the 2001 mailings that killed five people.
The prosecution documents show the investigation of Ivins drew Hofstadter’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1979 book , Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, into the investigation.
In an email response, Hofstadter told USA TODAY:

I was contacted by the FBI a couple of years ago about this case, and a couple of FBI people in fact came to my house and spent a few hours talking with me and then went through a bunch of correspondence (both electronic and postal) that I’d had for many years with hundreds if not thousands of people here, there, and everywhere, looking for possible connections with the person they suspected had done the mailings, but as far as I understood, they didn’t come up with anything at all. I think they wondered if GEB had had some kind of influence on him, since he was apparently a fan of the book, but I don’t see how it could have influenced him, and I don’t think that they ever really found any link either. So I think it’s basically a red herring, although for me it was interesting to meet the FBI people and to get a tiny glimpse into their way of investigating a complex and important case.

Read more at … http://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2010/02/gödel-escher-bach-author-downplays-fbi-anthrax-case-link/1

Ed Lake wrote:

“He had MANY motives for the anthrax attacks.  Sending the letters to the media and to politicians could achieve his goals…”

Now who’s getting into whose head?  You’re speculating about Ivins’ motives.  The same thing could be said of any number of people with grudges against Congress or the media.  Even you could be a suspect if one went digging through all of your correspondence, books you’re read, past statements, etc.

“Ivins mailed the anthrax letters from the CLOSEST mailbox to the KKG office in Princeton, NJ.  It was 175 feet from the KKG office.”

You state that as fact.  As Perry Mason always said, you are assuming facts not in evidence.  You believe Ivins mailed the letters so it’s of consequence to you that the Kappa Kappa Gamma office was nearby.  There might have been a Starbucks nearby also and someone with a grudge against Starbucks could have the same tie-in.  You’re just making rampant speculations based on your belief that Ivins is the one. 

You need to “buff” up your arguments - no sale.

Watchmaker wrote: “The coded message is a fabricated piece of fantasy dreamed up by the FBI. Their so-called “code” or an infinite number of versions of it could be made to fit anyone on the planet.”

The fact that you do not believe any evidence presented by the FBI only shows bias on your part.  It says nothing about the FBI’s evidence against Bruce Ivins.

Hofstadter wasn’t told what the FBI was actually looking for.  He was told they were looking for letters that the anthrax mailer might have sent to him.  His OPINIONS are about what he BELIEVED, not about what the FBI was actually looking for.

Ed Lake
http://www.anthraxinvestigation.com

David Efron wrote: “You state that as fact.”

I state it as evidence against Bruce Ivins as it would be presented in court.  In court they wouldn’t say that “someone” put the letters in that mailbox.  They would say that BRUCE IVINS put the letters in that mailbox, and they’d proceed to explain the evidence that proves it.

Since the evidence clearly says that Ivins was the anthrax mailer, it seems ridiculous to not mention Ivins’ name just because you may not believe the evidence against Ivins.

Ed
http://www.anthraxinvestigation.com

Ed lake wrote:
“They would say that BRUCE IVINS put the letters in that mailbox, and they’d proceed to explain the evidence that proves it.”

That would be difficult - since they don’t have one iota of evidence that he mailed any anthrax letters.

Ed lake doth protest too much - clearly an agenda here.

Ed: How and when did you get interested in the Ivins case? Have there been other cases in the past that interested you as much? How much time do you estimate you spend on the case each day? Week? Just curious.

Watchmaker wrote: “That would be difficult - since they don’t have one iota of evidence that he mailed any anthrax letters.”

Well, Ivins’ lawyer seemed to think otherwise, since he advised Ivins that the government would most likely get an Grand Jury indictment and seek the death penalty. 

Contrary to your baseless beliefs, MUCH OF THE EVIDENCE HAD ALREADY BEEN PRESENTED TO A GRAND JURY.  The DOJ was just a few weeks away from getting an indictment.  Ivins’ lawyer had already gotten approval to have the government pay his fee, since Ivins didn’t have the money for his own defense.

It would probably have taken many WEEKS - maybe MONTHS - to present all the evidence against Ivins to the actual jury in the trial.  It was taking at least that long to present it to the grand jury. 

I seriously doubt that the “defense” would argue that all the evidence is all just one big coincidence.  We don’t know that Ivins’ lawyer Paul Kemp wouldn’t have tried to work out some kind of insanity plea.  If Ivins wouldn’t agree and wanted to stand trial, Kemp could have argued that the evidence is inconclusive, but that’s a tough argument when there is SO MUCH evidence.

My “agenda” is to argue the facts with people who do not believe the facts.  The arguments help me clarify what happened.  The people who have other theories about the case constantly look for tiny details that they can argue support their beliefs.  I investigate those details to see if they mean anything.  Those details NEVER prove anything about Ivins’ innocence.  But, they sometimes turn out to be additional evidence that Ivins did it - or evidence of HOW Ivins did it. 

I need to get all those details straight for the book I’m writing.  I’ve got 253 pages done on the first draft.  But, during the past couple weeks I’ve also picked up lots of new things I need to add when I write the second draft. 

A good example of the additional details is HOW Ivins was able to get away with his crime for so long.  Frontline showed that Ivins spent LOTS of hours in Building 1425 prior to August 2001, he didn’t just suddenly start working alone and unsupervised in the evenings and on weekends in August of 2001.

That bit of “new information” helps shows WHY NO ONE NOTICED WHAT IVINS WAS DOING.  It means that, to others at USAMRIID, he didn’t appear to be doing anything different.  No guard would question why he was suddenly working evenings and weekends.  He did it all the time.  The only difference is that Ivins was suddenly working in his BSL-3 lab where he had the equipment to make the attack anthrax.

Ivins friends have argued that others at USAMRIID would have noticed if Ivins was doing something unusual.  That tidbit of information shows why the would NOT have noticed.

It’s material for my book that hasn’t been included in any other book about the case. 
 
Ed Lake
http://www.anthraxinvestigation.com

SG asked, “Ed: How and when did you get interested in the Ivins case?”

I didn’t get interested in “the Ivins case.”  I became interested in the anthrax attacks in October 2001 when Bill Maher on his TV show “Politically Incorrect” asked after the first letters were opened that, if it turned out that al Qaeda was behind the attacks, should we ATOM BOMB Afghanistan?

I thought that was such a STUPID idea - considering the fallout would go across China, India and Pakistan - that I posted messages on a newgroup dedicated to “Politically Incorrect.” 

That started arguments between people who believed al Qaeda was behind the attacks, conspiracy theorists who believed the US government was behind the attacks and me and a few others who were just looking at the facts.  Inititally, I felt that it was most likely Right Wingers.

The arguments went on and on.  (They’re still archived on-line.)  Eventually, since we were constantly talking about newspaper articles about the investigation, I decided to create a web site with links to all the articles. 

Then Scott Shane of the Baltimore Sun called me for an interview about my site.  The fact that the media was watching meant I had to get a real name for the site and be a little more careful.  Eventually, Time magazine did a full page article about me.  And, from then on I was kind of stuck.  I had to stick with it.  And it was fascinating.  So, why not?  It’s been a great hobby.

I was probably more surprised than anyone when Bruce Ivins was identified as the anthrax mailer.  I’d been figuring it was some scientist living in New Jersey, although I had very little evidence to support that hypothesis.  But, the evidence against Ivins is clear and undeniable.

How much time I spend on it varies.  I’m trying to write another book on the case.  I’ve got 253 pages done on the first draft.  So, if I’m not on-line arguing, I’m working on the book. 

I start around 8 a.m.  I go to the health club for a couple hours on weekdays.  And I quit at about 5 p.m.  So, with about 20 minutes for lunch, it’s a full time job.  But it’s a “hobby job,” meaning I enjoy it.

The only subject that has interested me anywhere near this much in the past was the Moon Hoax conspiracy theories.  I liked the science of showing the “Hoaxers” how their theories were baseless.  And, of course, I got very much involved in debunking fake photographs.  But, that never took more than an hour or two a day.  It was my first claim to fame.  I had a weekly feature about fake photographs in an Australian magazine for TEN years.  It was another “hobby job.” 

Ed

Ed:

meh - or is it more properly pfeh?

BTW, Bruce Ivins was a fan of my web site.  The first thing he did after they let him out of the looney bin in July 2008 was go to a library and check my web site for the latest news about the Amerithrax investigation.

Ed

I agree in general terms with Mister Efron on the case but must take exception to one point: after writing a paragraph about Ivins’ legitimate reasons for being in the hot suite in the after-hours, he then writes:
————-
Reasonable doubt existed but the FBI and its political masters (read the singing jerk running DOJ at the time) chose to gloss over it.  It was bad enough that the original person of interest was so hounded that the govt. eventually settled his claim for $millions.
——————————————————————————————————————————————————-
You are fine in attributing the hounding of Hatfill to Ashcroft, but Ashcroft resigned as Attourney-General in February of 2005, quite a bit before the investigation switched its focus to Ivins.

Partial post by Mister Lake:
——————————————-
A good example of the additional details is HOW Ivins was able to get away with his crime for so long.  Frontline showed that Ivins spent LOTS of hours in Building 1425 prior to August 2001, he didn’t just suddenly start working alone and unsupervised in the evenings and on weekends in August of 2001.

That bit of “new information” helps shows WHY NO ONE NOTICED WHAT IVINS WAS DOING.  It means that, to others at USAMRIID, he didn’t appear to be doing anything different.  No guard would question why he was suddenly working evenings and weekends.  He did it all the time.  The only difference is that Ivins was suddenly working in his BSL-3 lab where he had the equipment to make the attack anthrax.
=================================================
And by “new information” Mister Lake means ‘something that the government and I didn’t know about, indeed argued for YEARS to quite the contrary————Ivins SELDOM worked late at night———-  and so the fact that he ‘suddenly’ worked late hours in the fall of 2001 was ‘suspicious’ and a sign (circumstantial evidence, in the Lakeian sense) of his guilt.

NOW, not missing a beat or being in the least bit chastened by “new information” that totally contradicts an element of what he saw for 3 years as the case AGAINST Ivins, Mister Lake is switching arguments (but, as always, with the same end in mind) and offers this as a new explanation of how Ivins succeeded in being unnoticed by his colleagues.

So———-you guessed it!———-NOW the argument is that Ivins’ long-time habit of working extra hours at night is an indication (“circumstantial evidence”) of his guilt.

Heads I win, tails you lose!

Partial post by Mister Lake:
—————
Watchmaker wrote: “The coded message is a fabricated piece of fantasy dreamed up by the FBI. Their so-called “code” or an infinite number of versions of it could be made to fit anyone on the planet.”

The fact that you do not believe any evidence presented by the FBI only shows bias on your part.  It says nothing about the FBI’s evidence against Bruce Ivins.
===============================================
Well, usually such evidence as that is presented via the testimony of expert witnesses. Question: why were no experts in the field of cryptography cited in the FINAL REPORT? I submit that the ‘code’ would have flunked even the most rudimentary of probings by a true professional in that field. And in a trial context the defense would have called its own cryptography expert(s) and they would have let the jury know of the special pleadings invovled in the ‘amino acid code’.

A hunch of mine: even the FBI’s own Cryptanalysis and Racketeering Records Unit (the unit that typically handles codes) wasn’t involved in the ‘solution’ to the highlighting; that would explain why they aren’t cited. See: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/lab

Rachel Styles

Oct. 21, 2011, 6:56 p.m.

The FBI and the CIA do different jobs. Most people think that they are the same thing. This article gives a great explanation on the difference between the FBI and the CIA.

http://explainlikeakid.blogspot.com/2011/09/difference-between-fbi-and-cia.html

Richard Rowley wrote: “NOW the argument is that Ivins’ long-time habit of working extra hours at night is an indication (“circumstantial evidence”) of his guilt.”

No, it just explains why no one paid any attention when Ivins started working alone in his lab at night.  It’s not “evidence” of anything.  It’s just an answer to a question that might have come up at trial: Why didn’t the guards notice that Ivins was working unusual hours?  Answer: because the long hours weren’t unusual for Ivins.

The real issue was the unusual nighttime and weekend hours Ivins suddenly started spending IN SUITE B3 just prior to the attacks.  That issue would be important if Ivins never worked at night before OR if he’d spent many nights in his office sending out emails and browsing the Internet.  Either way, he suddenly started doing something different - he started working in a lab where he had all the equipment and supplies he needed to create the anthrax for the letters.

Richard Rowley also asked “Question: why were no experts in the field of cryptography cited in the FINAL REPORT?”

Answer: Because cryptography was not an issue.  The evidence showed where the coding method came from; it came from a book that Ivins was observed throwing away just after the FBI searched his home.  And the details of the code came from a magazine Ivins threw away at the same time.

Furthermore, Ivins had used a similar code in an email to a friend. 

There’s nothing for a cryptographer to talk about in court.  What would he (or she) be asked?  Did Achilles explain the code properly when he described it to the tortoise in the book “Goedel, Escher Bach”?

The facts of the code are clear.  And it’s known that Ivins had a fascination with codes.  Some people don’t believe the code is a code, but no one has come up with any better explanation for the highlighted characters in the media letter.  (I’d originally thought the lettering was just “doodling,” but the facts make it VERY clear that Ivins meant it as a coded message.)

A cryptographer wouldn’t have anything of value to say in court.  But, a PSYCHIATRIST might testify to Ivins fascination with codes and other facts which show that putting a coded message in the media letter was just the type of thing Bruce Ivins would do - based upon his mental condition and history.

Ed Lake
http://www.anthraxinvestigation.com

Seattle Reader

Oct. 25, 2011, 1:54 a.m.

And thus is a man fried, roasted, baked, and mashed into a mold marked criminally insane and guilty—on NO evidence of any substance. Quite reminiscent of the McCarthy era in my mind, except it’s not about branding someone a communist, it’s about branding him something else and justifying hounding him to death and throwing away the keys to his prior life. That our country has fallen to such a level as to do this to people is a sad state of affairs indeed. It does appear that our government is deeply corrupt. Much worse than the McCarthy era really. It does appear that the reason Ivins is found guilty by “process of elimination” is that certain members of certain organizations are immune from scrutiny, but these same persons and organizations MUST have a fall guy, a party marked guilty and case closed, to throw off that scrutiny as permanently as possible. And for what? So the American people can be consumed alive (it’s admittedly a metaphor) without their real awareness or ability to care. Ed Lake, you posted on your website that you stopped any discussion cold, as to whether Bruce Ivins was a defender of pedophilia or not—by making meaner and baser accusations than ever. Just to set that record straight: NO. You are still wrong. But please, let’s not discuss it any further. I don’t have the stomach.

Seattle Reader wrote: “Ed Lake, you posted on your website that you stopped any discussion cold, as to whether Bruce Ivins was a defender of pedophilia or not—by making meaner and baser accusations than ever.”

Seattle Reader,

If you check the posts, you’ll see that I just stated facts.  I made no accusations.  Facts are neither mean nor base, they are just facts. 

If the facts say something you do not like, you can simply ignore them or criticize the person who presented the facts, but that doesn’t change what the facts say. 

I realize that presenting new facts can make you do a lot of work to figure out how to ignore those facts.  But, that’s your choice.

Ed Lake
http://www.anthraxinvestigation.com

t. rowley, you’re right about that former Sen. from Mizzery, later Atty. General, John Ashcroft.  Certainly the tone or scent he left behind after departing contributed to the momentum that eventually pegged Ivins,  but he was innocent, err, not guilty of any finger pointing at Ivins, as you indicated.

Ed Lake has an obsession, IMHO, and there’s no reasoning with obsessions.

David Efron wrote: “Ed Lake has an obsession, IMHO, and there’s no reasoning with obsessions.”

You no doubt have a theory of your own.  EVERYONE WHO THINKS THAT IVINS WAS INNOCENT HAS A THEORY OF THEIR OWN (except for Lew Weinstein who seems only interested in selling his novel).

If you wish to discuss the facts which support your own theory about who did it, it will very quickly become very clear to everyone else exactly who has the obsession.

I initially thought that al Qaeda was behind the attacks.  When it turned out that the Ames stain was used and it was a rare strain used primarily at USAMRIID, it became pretty clear that it wasn’t al Qaeda.  So, I thought it was probably a former employee of USAMRIID that the FBI was investigating in Wisconsin.

That former employee turned out to have a PERFECT alibi.  He was 800 miles from Princeton talking with the police at the time the first mailing took place.

So, I figured it was someone in New Jersey, because the FBI was looking hard at scientists who lived in New Jersey.  But, I also knew that the evidence against the only scientist I knew in New Jersey was very VERY thin.  For seven years, I had no other suspect.

I knew Steven Hatfill didn’t do it, because the facts said he didn’t do it, even though I was arguing with obsessed people every day who TOTALLY believed Hatfill did it.

When Bruce Ivins committed suicide and it was learned that he was about to be indicted for the murders, it was total news to me.  I’d read his name in some reports, but I knew absolutely nothing about the guy.

Then, when the evidence against Ivins was released, it was a MOUNTAIN of evidence compared to what I’d seen against the guy in New Jersey, so it was pretty clear that Ivins was the culprit.  And in the three+ years since Ivins was named on August 1, 2008, the more I learn about Bruce Ivins the more clear it is that he was the anthrax mailer.  There is no reasonable doubt.

So, if ANYONE wishes to compare the evidence they have which points to someone else against the evidence showing Ivins was the anthrax mailer, I’m more than willing to see and hear what they have to say. 

In nearly 10 years, NO ONE has ever come up with a believable case against anyone else.  What they consider evidence to support their beliefs is laughable.  It’s nothing BUT beliefs.  They just feel that by arguing that Ivins was innocent that somehow means their own personal theory is better.

Ed Lake
http://www.anthraxinvestigation.com

For what it’s worth, I just plotted out all the times Ivins spent in his BSL-3 lab in August and September of 2001, and the times from October 1 through the 10th.

What the data on my web site data shows is that Ivins not only spent a very unusual number of HOURS in his BSL-3 lab at the time he was allegedly making the anthrax powders, but each time after he finished making the powders, HE HAD NO REASON TO GO INTO HIS LAB ANYMORE.

For ten days after the first mailing, from September 17 through September 27, he spent only 42 minutes in his BSL-3 lab.

For 5 days after he allegedly finished making the second powders, he spent only 14 minutes in his BSL-3 lab and took his first weekend off since August 12.

So, the data says that Ivins was spending MANY HOURS making the anthrax powders in his lab, and each time he was done, he had virtually NOTHING ELSE to do in that same lab.

Ed Lake
http://www.anthraxinvestigation.com

Partial post by Mister Lake:
————
Richard Rowley also asked “Question: why were no experts in the field of cryptography cited in the FINAL REPORT?”

Answer: Because cryptography was not an issue.[...]
—————————————————————————————————————————————————
But code-breaking is what cryptography is. And the FBI has a special office (which I already linked to) that does it. This ‘code’ was something they just pulled out of the air to try to pile on Ivins (posthumously…..there was no mention of the code at the Aug 6th 2008 press conference because they hadn’t dreamed it up yet).

Just as DNA evidence is usually presented via a DNA expert, code evidence should be presented by (an) expert(s) in same.

Richard Rowley wrote” “Just as DNA evidence is usually presented via a DNA expert, code evidence should be presented by (an) expert(s) in same.”

Only if cryptographers BROKE the code or are needed to EXPLAIN the code.  Cryptographers didn’t break the code.  And they certainly weren’t needed to explain the code. 

It’s my understanding that Darin Steele, an FBI scientist and microbiologist who knew Ivins, was the first to realize that the first three highlighted characters (TTT) in the media letter were a codon for Phenylalanine.  But, that’s as far as he got.

It wasn’t until Ivins was observed throwing out the “code books” that FBI agents dug into one of the books, “Goedel, Escher Bach” (“GEB”) and found the key to deciphering the code on page 404.

Did they call in codebreakers to double-check things?  I don’t know.  I seriously doubt it.  It would make no sense, since it’s not a code any cryptographer would likely have experience with.  As far as I know, no details on how the code was fully deciphered have been made public.  But, it seems that since Darin Steel already thought that TTT = Phenylalanine, he could have decoded it by himself once he had the copy of GEB. 

Why didn’t they cite cryptographers in the Final Report?  Probably because it would have been ridiculous to do so.  The message had already been decoded, and it was a homemade, one-time code.  A cryptographer would have nothing to offer except to nod, shrug and say, “Yeah, sure.  Seems okay to me.”

Ed

I should have added:

If some cryptographer disagrees with the way the message was decoded, it would be the job of the DEFENSE lawyers to bring in such an “expert witness” to explain his theory of how the code SHOULD HAVE BEEN deciphered.  Or the cryptographer could argue that the code wasn’t really a code because it didn’t fit with his experience of how hidden messages are encoded.  Such testimony would provide a good laugh for the jury.

Ed

Partial post by Mister Lake:
———————————-
Did they call in codebreakers to double-check things?  I don’t know.  I seriously doubt it
——————————————————————————————————————————————
Me too, so we FINALLY agree on something!

But———————and this has been my mantra for almost every skein of evidence in this case————————-to REALISTICALLY assess evidence you have to approximate what it would have gone through————-both in pre-trial challenges by the other side AND in courtroom challenges————when you (at least here mentally) picture this evidence as being presented for a MURDER TRIAL. This is just conjecture taken to the nth degree.

A defense cryptographer/cryptoanalyst* would shoot so many holes in it, it would resemble Swiss cheese. And it would redound to the benefit of the defense, precisely because the evidence was so flimsy.

*If it were allowed in a trial the very first questions in cross examination by the defense would be: do you have a background in cryptoanalysis or cryptography, Mister Steele? THEN the defense would ask why it wasn’t submitted to the FBI office dealing with codes. And it would go downhill from there.

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