Journalism in the Public Interest

Justice Department Filing Casts Doubt on Guilt of Bruce Ivins, Accused in Anthrax Case

The Justice Department has called into question a key pillar of the FBI’s case against Bruce Ivins, the Army scientist accused of mailing the anthrax-laced letters that killed five people and terrorized Congress a decade ago.


New court documents cast doubt on the guilt of Dr. Bruce Ivins, an Army scientist who committed suicide as federal authorities prepared to charge him with killing five people by sending anthrax spores in the mail in 2001. (Frederick News Post, Sam Yu/AP Photo)

Update (7/19): On Tuesday, Justice Department lawyers retracted statements that question the FBI's finding that a former Army microbiologist mailed the anthrax-filled letters that killed five people in 2001.

This story was co-published with PBS FRONTLINE and McClatchy.

WASHINGTON -- The Justice Department has called into question a key pillar of the FBI's case against Bruce Ivins, the Army scientist accused of mailing the anthrax-laced letters that killed five people and terrorized Congress a decade ago.

Shortly after Ivins committed suicide in 2008, federal investigators announced that they had identified him as the mass murderer who sent the letters to members of Congress and the media. The case was circumstantial, with federal officials arguing that the scientist had the means, motive and opportunity to make the deadly powder at a U.S. Army research facility at Fort Detrick, in Frederick, Md.

On July 15, however, Justice Department lawyers acknowledged in court papers that the sealed area in Ivins' lab—the so-called hot suite—did not contain the equipment needed to turn liquid anthrax into the refined powder that floated through congressional buildings and post offices in the fall of 2001.

The government said it continues to believe that Ivins was “more likely than not” the killer. But the filing in a Florida court did not explain where or how Ivins could have made the powder, saying only that the lab “did not have the specialized equipment’’ in Ivins' secure lab “that would be required to prepare the dried spore preparations that were used in the letters.”

The government’s statements deepen the questions about the case against Ivins, who killed himself before he was charged with a crime. Searches of his car and home in 2007 found no anthrax spores, and the FBI’s eight-year, $100 million investigation never proved he mailed the letters or identified another location where he might have secretly dried the anthrax into an easily inhaled powder.

Earlier this year, a report by the National Academy of Science questioned the genetic analysis that had linked a flask of anthrax stored in Ivins’ office to the anthrax contained in the letters.

The court papers were uncovered by a reporter for the PBS program Frontline, which is working on a forthcoming documentary on the case with McClatchy Newspapers and ProPublica, the investigative newsroom.

Robert Stevens, seen in this undated employee ID photo, died from inhalational anthrax in October 2001. (Getty Images)They were filed by lawyers in the Justice Department’s Civil Division who are defending the government against a wrongful-death suit brought by the family of Robert Stevens, a photo editor at the Sun. Stevens was the first to die from a tainted letter, and his family has accused federal officials of lax procedures that allowed someone to make a germ weapon using anthrax from a government laboratory.

In asserting that Ivins was the culprit, criminal investigators pointed to his access to the specialized equipment at the laboratory. Officials drew up elaborate charts showing that Ivins’ time in the hot suites spiked in the weeks before the letters were mailed. But Ivins’ colleagues have said in depositions for the Stevens case that the powder could not have been made in the lab without sickening lab technicians and others who had not been vaccinated against anthrax.

A Justice Department spokesman Monday shed little light on the seeming shift in positions, saying that investigators still believe Ivins produced the anthrax at Fort Detrick and are unaware of evidence that he did so elsewhere.

The Justice Department filed the papers in federal court in West Palm Beach, Fla., last week. The lawyers were attempting to counter allegations by the Stevens family of negligence at Fort Detrick, including inadequate controls over anthrax controls, by arguing that the anthrax in the letters wasn't produced there.

Dean Boyd, a Justice Department spokesman, said Monday that the court filing did not contradict the government’s conclusion that Ivins sent the letters. Rather, he said, the lawyers merely argued that “Ivins’ actions were not foreseeable to his supervisors’’ because he did not have equipment to dry the spores in his containment laboratory. Boyd said this meant the United States should not be held liable for his actions.”

“To clarify, this statement was intended to relate to the specific containment laboratory” where Ivins kept a flask of liquid anthrax with genetic markers similar to those found in the letters, Boyd said.

In excerpts from one of more than a dozen depositions made public in the case last week, the current chief of of the Bacteriology Division at the Army laboratory, Patricia Worsham, said it lacked the facilities in 2001 to make the kind of spores in the letters.

Two of the five letters, those sent to Democratic U.S. Sens. Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Thomas Daschle of South Dakota, were especially deadly, because they were so buoyant as to float with the slightest wisp of air.

Worsham said that the lab’s equipment for drying the spores, a machine the size of a refrigerator, was not in containment.

“If someone had used that to dry down that preparation, I would have expected that area to be very, very contaminated, and we had non-immunized personnel in that area, and I would have expected some of them to become ill,” she said.

In its statement of facts, the government lawyers also said that producing the volume of anthrax in the letters would have required 2.8 to 53 liters of the solution used to grow the spores or 463 to 1,250 Petri dishes. Colleagues of Ivins at the lab have asserted that he couldn’t have grown all that anthrax without their noticing it.

The government’s own summary of the case against Ivins, released early last year when the Justice Department formally closed its investigation, noted that “drying anthrax is expressly forbidden by various treaties,” and “overt use of any of these methods, if noticed, would have raised considerable alarm and scrutiny.’’

Paul Kemp, Ivins’ lead defense attorney, said Monday that the department’s concession that the equipment wasn’t available “is at direct variance to the assertions of the government on July 29, 2008,” the day Ivins died, thus “invalidating one of the chief theories of their prosecution case.”

Kemp said that government officials told him and a colleague, Tom DeGonia, that the FBI could “prove that Dr. Ivins manufactured the dried spores used in the anthrax attacks, and would prove this by the records of his presence in the hot suites in August and September."

Anthrax is one of the deadliest biological weapons. Once inhaled, the tiny spores germinate inside the human body, producing rapidly multiplying, highly toxic bacteria that, if untreated, typically kill a person within days.

The anthrax mailings came as a second shock to the nation just weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks. Beginning Sept. 18, 2001, the perpetrator sent at least five letters containing anthrax powder to three media outlets and to the offices of Sens. Leahy and Daschle. Two postal workers, a nurse and an elderly woman in Connecticut also died, some 32,000 Americans took long-term antibiotic treatments and teams wearing moon suits spent months cleansing a Senate office building and large postal facility of the deadly spores.

How in the world could any story about Bruce Ivins not include details from the incredible L.A. Times piece published in May?

I’m of course willing to believe that the DOJ still has doubts about Ivins’ guilt. It’s hard to be 100% sure when you’re suspect has been dead for three years, and the way in which the FBI handled the pursuit of its original suspect, Steven Hatfill, should make anyone skeptical of a government agency’s claims to have found the killer.

But that Times piece stopped me cold. Evidence counts; but so too does character and motivation, and what Ivins lacked in the former he more than made up for with the latter.


July 18, 2011, 7:54 p.m.

The Anthrax Scare prompted the purchase of a great deal of expensive, sophisticated equipment to detect the presence of pathogens in our mail.

Once the need for this equipment was clearly established, the Anthrax Incidents stopped.
Follow the money, look at the suppliers of this equipment - they have the motive and the means to produce the spores used in these attacks.

Elizabeth Ferrari

July 18, 2011, 8:37 p.m.

When the FBI was laying out this joke of a case, I remember Propublica reported that the suspiicous spill htey claimed Ivins didn’t report wasn’t suspiicious and was reported to his Ethics officer right away.  That’s much better than most news outlets did.

The week after that first FBI presser, they floated a number of stories via the AP and WaPo that made Ivins look guilty.  The problem was, if you chased them down, there was nothing there.  I did that with the story about Ivins leaving work early to do the first anthrax mailing.  The problem was, FBI’s own doc dump had him in Frederick at 4:30 pm.  You can’t be in Princeton and in Frederick at the same time.

Their whole case is like that and the media was mostly asleep at the wheel.  As are Pat Leahy and Tom Daschle.  Doesn’t anyone care that an innocent man was likely stalked to suicide by the FBI and that there is no reason to believe he was the anthrax mailer?

True Believer

July 18, 2011, 9:34 p.m.

Following the money might be a good idea. Just where did it come from? This has always loked like part of a “empire building” operation ala homeland security…

Deposition Excerpt of USAMRIID Scientist Stephen Little: Bruce Ivins would not have had skill, equipment, or ability to decontaminate equipment

Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 16, 2011

Lewis M. Weinstein

July 19, 2011, 2:36 a.m.

This is the kind of investigative reporting that the anthrax case needs. Bravo to PBS and McClatchy!

Extensive evidence and questions regarding the FBI’s false case against Dr. Ivins can be found at the CASE CLOSED blog at ...


Note also that it has since been confirmed that he in fact attended his group therapy session on 9/17/2001.  That was in the early evening.

He also wrote an email to Mara Linscott dated 9/17/2001 that DOJ has failed to produce in response to a FOIA request.  DOJ quoted its content but not produced the email so as to show the time it was sent (and DOJ has failed to disclose the time of the email).  What time was it sent?

With respect to the 9/17/2001 email, DOJ claimed in its Amerithrax Investigative Summary that it was written from his work computer (but that according to US Army FOIA people who checked carefully that is not accurate).  The implication is that it was from his home computer and may serve as important alibi evidence in a timeline.

Dr. Ivins arrived bright and early the next day at work.  Under DOJ’s Ivins Theory, Dr. Ivins mailed the letter sometime after 5 p.m. on 9/17 and when he arrived at work early the next day.  If the email was sent at 11:30 p.m., the travel overnight is just about as snug as it could possibly be, eh?  Leaving no time even for breakfast.

Relatedly, the DOJ has refused to produce the 302s from the family members.  All of the family members, who were all living in the small house, proclaimed his innocence.  Diane reiterated she knew he had nothing to do with the anthrax mailings on the day of his passing in a private note to him.  The family 302s should also be produced.  There has been a long pending FOIA request by DOJ.  The 302s can be redacted as permitted under FOIA.  Nothing authorizes the withholding.


A Village Voice blog notes the issue of travel to Princeton today and the exemplary investigative journalism effort now underway at:

Further critical alibi evidence is found in Dr. Ivins’ lab notebook pages withheld for years now by DOJ.

Dr. Ivins’ lab notebook—first produced on May 11, 2011—establishes that there were lots of dead mice and dead rabbits being attended by Dr. Ivins on each of the precise dates that the prosecutors and investigators speculate, without basis, that Dr. Bruce Ivins was making a dried powder out of Flask 1029.  Attending to those dead animals was precisely what his schedule called for him to do. 

The uncontradicted evidence is that it would take 1 1/2 - 2 hours to autoclave a dead animal and that it typically would be run by the last person there on a given day.

The FBI anthrax expert had made a dried powder in August 2000 at the request of DARPA but Dr. Ivins never did.

The lab notebook pages which I’ve uploaded were produced by the Army—and all such lab notebook pages continue to be withheld by DOJ even though they are subject to production under FOIA.  These investigative journalists should use their stature and clout to force compliance with FOIA by DOJ.  For example, there are voluminous documents produced in the Stevens case—those not subject to a myriad of protective orders—that the reporters will want to obtain but that have been refused by the DOJ in response to a request by a nonmedia requestor.

GAO should investigate DOJ’s withholding of lab notebook pages from the August- December 2001 period.  The DOJ was only able to substitute its bald assertions that are contradicted by the documentary evidence being withheld by DOJ because of DOJ’s failure to comply with FOIA.  AUSA Rachel specifically refused by written request to her that the lab notes from those days be produced.

I continue to believe, as I did when the FBI was positive that Bruce Hatfill was the perpetrator, that the spores came from some secret weapons lab that the US is unwilling to admit exists, so they will never want to find the real perpetrator with access to that lab.


Note that FBI Director Mueller, when asked by a Senator at a hearing to identity any labs in addition to Battelle and Dugway involved in working with dried virulent aerosol, felt unable to address the question in open session.  The question related to a secret biodefense lab (and not a secret weapons lab as such).  It is consistent with treaty obligations to make small amounts for the testing of biodefenses.

There is a Maryland law that makes it a crime to identify any such lab in the State.  So he perhaps felt that he could not have spoken the words Southern Research Institute even if he wanted to absent some sort of special clearance.  SRI was doing the work with virulent Ames for the DARPA-funded Center for Biodefense at GMU under a multi-million contract, the largest in history up to that time.  Bruce’s main accuser came to head the B3 lab there. She is not giving interviews but is the one to ask about the matter.  She was his senior lab tech.  She made a lot of virulent Ames that is missing.

Well, we all know that the Feds have nothing but spare time on their hands.


July 19, 2011, 1:33 p.m.

DXer, EXCELLENT insights! 

It’s interesting to note that recent press revelations indicate that GMU - George Mason University - is so heavily funded by Koch brother foundations that they practically own it.
Did Koch brother interests benefit the Anthrax scare?  Do they have investments in the companies that produce the pathogen scanning equipment? 

Would it be attractive for them to have equipment in place that would allow them to monitor and perhaps selectively restrict the flow of U.S. Postal mail under a Homeland Security contract?

Which national security contractors were involved in these transactions and how did they benefit? 
The federal government relies very heavily on private contractors, 60-70% of our national security budgets are paid to private contractors. Private contractors are positioned to significantly influence the activities of the FBI, Homeland Security and other federal national security agencies.

Who has the money and the motivation to perpetrate these crimes? Bruce Ivins certainly isn’t a fit. Could he have been pushed to suicide to stop further inquiries?

Richard McDonough

July 19, 2011, 4:12 p.m.

Aluminum foil sale, happy-1.  Thought you would want to know.

Then if Ivins is innocent, someone murdered him, that some one was close enough to stage the whole affair and is still at large?

I have personal information, not confirmable, that Merk was involved.  When you follow the money look what happened to that huge cache of Ciprofloxin that Merk was stuck with before the incident.  Also be reminded that Ciprofloxin was NEVER the drug of choice for prophylaxis, and that is likely that the huge cache of Cipro was not even utilized after the US Govt. “bought” it.

Maheanuu Tane

July 19, 2011, 5:19 p.m.

Having, at one time, held a Top Secret Crypto Clearance for over 20 years, I know and saw the United States Government in action.  I quit believing in the country of my birth in the 60’s,  Too many out and out lies and acts of aggression.  There is not much in the United States that I have any use for these days, other than the Constitution and Bill of Rights.  For sure I believe that the average politician in the United States has been bought and paid for by the Corporate interests.  Things have not improved in any way, shape, or form since the anthrax scare.  The FBI has been its normal cover up self and blaming any and all who fall under it’s scrutiny.  Any person who tries to cause change or tries to open any scrutiny of it or the Justice Departments chicanery are automatically subject to overt or covert attacks.

I am no longer an American, nor would I ever want to be one again, you have drifted so far off course that you have become not only a bully, but an empirical demon out to control the world.  You have let your education system decline until the idiots are running the show and the rest of the world sees this quite plainly.

Years ago, I believed in you, today I distrust you completely.  I think that the only way for you to ever return to your place in the world today is to have a total revolution and give your government, education system and get labor back into the political discourse and the church completely out of it.  Religion is a big business today and as such should be paying its fair share instead of sponging off the rest of us.

Just this old Chief’s 2 cents

Our Dept of Justice appears to be misnamed.  It has been selling guns to criminals and conducting bogus investigations.  Perhaps it is time to reconsider its role in governance?

Ten years? WE all knew this would be major blow over. Apparently the DOJ know exactly who did it and why.
Possibly their own people and as we know, Holder made the statement , he would never prosecute his own people.
Perhaps in its zeal to create fear, chaos,and crisis, The very puppetmasters who put the Obamao in office also put a lot of terrorist and anti american actions in place?

The DOJ filed an errata today.

Stephanie Palmer

July 19, 2011, 6:31 p.m.

The Bush administration needed a patsy, and they took several. This man was one of a few. While this guy committed suicide, the others are left with ruined lives. But the Bush administration went further because they refused to admit the truth - that they had no idea where the anthrax had come from. They went out of their way to make sure that none of the other scientists ever worked again. I doubt that those people will ever come clean about it. No one can ever tell me that I don’t live in a police state. What the government did to some people is an outrage. And the rest of the people are merely scared of their own shadow. Disgusting.


Every hackneyed insuation that David Willman bakes into his sensation piece in the LAT could be true and it still wouldn’t be relevant.

Evidence doesn’t just “count.” It’s all that counts.

That was the correct legal principle that the Casey Anthony jury employed when it voted for acquittal. The harrassment and even death threats that some of them are now receiving come from private citizens who believe, as you suggest, that while evidence counts, character and motivation can more than outweigh the lack of it.

OH JEEZ!! YA THINK?!!!!  what mudfud (MD, PhD) would commit suicide on an overdose of Acetyl Para Aminophenol!!!  fucking tylenol!!!  “yah, i’ll just lay here in horror for days as my liver rots away and i bleed to death!!!  yeah right.  DIE AMERICA!!!


Morris Goldings

July 19, 2011, 8:14 p.m.

The case based upon tracing the anthrax always had problems but what clinches it against Ivins is showing that the Federal Eagle envelopes came from the post office he frequented.

Didn’t this come at a time the Administration wanted folks to believe in bioterrorism? 

Didn’t they want to expand FBI and CIA agency resources to promote this kind of fearful view of the world?

Remember Steve Kurtz, the art professor accused of bioterrorim in a desperate attempt to reify the idea (wasting millions aof taxpayer dollars and boosting FBI careers).

It’s hard not to think this anthrax was cooked up by the War Monger Administration, not Bruce Ivins, some army scientist loner.


July 19, 2011, 8:48 p.m.

It’s interesting to note that Steven Hatfill, the original suspect, worked for SAIC at the time of the Anthrax Incident. SAIC is a major U.S. national security contractor that is frequently engaged in classified projects.

Hatfill successfully sued the DOJ for $5.8 million and was also able to get compensation from several media companies including Conde Nast. He was very well compensated for the damages he sustained.


It would have been negligent for the Secret Service not to advice to have Cipro at the ready given that Egyptian Islamic Jihad shura members Al-Najjar and Mabruk had announced that Dr. Ayman Zawahiri was going to use anthrax against US targets to retaliate for the rendering and mistreatment of senior EIJ leaders (including his brother).  Once one deduced Bin Laden/Zawahiri was behind 9/11, then there was an urgency to be prepared against any use of anthrax by Dr. Ayman, who had scientists such as Rauf Ahmad attending conferences alongside Bruce Ivins and John Ezzell.  DIA has provided correspondence between Rauf Ahmad and Dr. Ayman about their anthrax planning and his attendance at Porton Down conferences and visit to B3 labs.  Ivins was in charge of planning the 2001 conference.

For example, one of Rauf Ahmad’s letter to Dr. Ayman started “I successfully achieved the targets during my visit to [redacted]”

Joby Warrick of the Washington Post did the best reporting on this issue.


To the contrary, the Federal Eagle issue clinches how ridiculous the August 8, 2008 press conference (and the related AP story) about the Federal Eagle stamp.  The stamp was actually sold throughout Virginia and Maryland.  See affidavits.  It’s just that the US Attorney created a hugely misleading impression.  See also elaborate documentation presented to the NAS on the printing misprint issue.

Yesterday, 8:01 p.m.

Every hackneyed insuation that David Willman bakes into his sensation piece in the LAT could be true and it still wouldn’t be relevant.

Evidence doesn’t just “count.” It’s all that counts.”

David in his book relegates the merits to an Appendix to the Epilogue.  That’s not where the merits should go.  As authority, he typically relied upon citation to the investigators’ accusation rather than the documentary evidence, mistaking the assertion as evidence.

For example, on an issue of a code concocted by one agent, the necessary letters was not in fact double-lined.

In connection with an April 2002 issue, the evidence regarding who submitted the sample is in sharp conflict—for example the initials relating to the sample are not those of Dr. Ivins but appear to be of his lab tech (and he repeatedly explained that she had submitted the sample).

On the “silicon signature” he nowhere addressed the issue, finally disclosed by the FBI in Spring 2010, that the New York Post powder was 10%.  Now even FBI consultants Velsko and Weber agree that further testing is needed.

and so on.

the most dramatic thing he relies on in the entire text are the claims made by Dr. Ivins’ first counselor Judith.  She says she was granted her psychic powers by an alien from another planet.  She was exhausted after a year or two of counseling work because her astral travel work after 9/11 was so tiring.  She would travel at night—upon receiving instructions—to Afghanistan and World Trade Center to do astral recovery work.  She feared that murderous entities attached to her counseling clients (she was part-time) would attach themselves to her.  She was an exorcist and telepath.  She says her clients were not typically open to her insights on the spirit world and so she would have to seek a solution in private meditation.  She says she was protected from a psychiatric diagnosis by her husband (who ironically is in military personnel).  She explained all of this in a 2009 book called ASCENSION JOURNEY.  She quit the job and left the State within a year or two of being licensed in 1999.

It was extremely wrong for Dr.Saathoff and his panel not to correct reliance on her in their report to District Court Judge Lamberth.  It was also very wrong for David Willman not to correct his reliance on her.  If they don’t supplement their report with the District Court, it will not go well for them given their sanctimony in accusing the Army of negligence in vetting personnel being relied upon.

Bruce Ivins was troubled and depressed.

It was his counselor who has so lucidly explained her delusions.

I recommend everyone interested in the matter study the plainly stated admissions in the highly readable 2009 book ASCENSION JOURNEY.  Dr. Saathoff used $38,000 of taxpayer money to justify the advice he gave the FBI.  He guided the approach to Ivins throughout—dating even to a July 17, 2007 meeting at UVa.  He might have at least spent $10 of that on checking the reliability of such a critical witness.  The notes of that first counselor were handed to the counselor in July 2007 and it greatly shaped how events unfolded.  The notes of the counselor supplemented the notes of the psychiatrist.  This is a huge still untold story that should have already forced Amerithrax to have been reopened.

There is no reason to doubt that Dr. Ivins committed suicide.

He had attempted suicide a few months earlier.

Authorities had taken semen stained panties from his garbage and submitted it for DNA testing.  They swabbed him for DNA.  They told him that they were going to call his family before the grand jury to confirm he was unhappy at home.  His daughter had attempted suicide.  He was hugely protective of his kids.

A superior had ordered people not to communicate with him.

His new friends on the cruise, he learned, were FBI agents.

He had just been escorted off the base after being driven into a rage by falsely being told that Dr. Heine had said he did it.

So in addition to losing lab privileges, he now faced humiliation and continued alienation from his peers. 

He had every reason to commit suicide—and he had started out depressive having had an unhappy childhood due to an abusive mother.

But there is zero reason to think he did not commit suicide.  The police report indicates that he confirmed that he had attempted suicide (before passing).

We all should have such wonderful friends and colleagues as him.

The most ridiculous aspect of the telling of David W.‘s version is that Nancy Haigwood immediately knew he did it when he sent her a Christmas greeting.  Now THAT is not evidence of anything other than the fact she hated him.

The same elaborate narrative was developed to make Dr. Hatfill seem “creepy” ...  The DOJ should instead focus on material evidence and should not have withheld the lab notes from the days in question which flatly contradict DOJ’s claim that he had no reason to be in the lab.  Their entire argument based on hours is crock.  A new rule in January 2002 prevented continued long hours—such as the long hours in November and December 2001.

For those who like to believe that our government would never do such a thing as mail out deadly anthrax their scientists develop using our tax dollars out into the general public I ask why not?

Why wouldn’t a government that commits genocide indiscriminately (for the augmentation of empire) all over the world using the expendible bodies of our young men and women, send out deadly biologicals to reinforce a terrorist legend?

Why wouldn’t a government that assassinates a Binladen (fictitiously or not) without a trial and in broad daylight for all the world to see also send out a few envelopes of anthrax to further demonize him and his alleged organization?

Why wouldn’t a government that spends hundreds of millions of dollars of our money on FBI “investigations”; hundred of billions for secret R&D of deadly weaponry of all sorts, trillions to bail out Wall Street fat cats…while it won’t shell out a dime on the millions of us left dangling in the deadly winds of economic depression, who gave them that money…why wouldn’t such a government do whatever its plutocratic owners want to have done, that is, to open up the entire world for its profitable exploitation at any all all human costs so long as they don’t endure those costs?

I see no reason why such a government would stop at any foul or demonic means of achieving its owners’ desired ends.

Its time for us to tear the costume of “good guy” we’ve conditioned ourselves to a priori grant our government’s officers, agents and operatives - off - once and for all - until we’ve replaced them with the sort of people we imagined we had in them but were too scared to even consider they were in fact the opposite.

The correct drug was and is doxycycline.  Cheap, safe and readily available.  Look it up.


July 20, 2011, 1:35 p.m.

The companies that manufacture the scanning equipment that checks for Anthrax must have samples of various pathogens for their R & D. Have they been cleared of possible involvement?

The work to develop a detector for aerosol testing using mass spec was done at USAMRIID. It involved making a dried powder.  The work was done by the FBI’s anthrax scientist at USAMRIID, John Ezzell, who collected the samples.  The work was funded by DARPA.  The Ames used was from Flask 1029.  John tells me that the Ames was irradiated while in a slurry.  He was filmed in a Q and A on these issues on November 29, 2010 and then had a heart attack during the break.  He was very forthcoming and courageous in answering all questions that were posed.

Aerosol testing was done using special facilities.  Joany Jackman, John’s assistant, can explain the nature of the special facilities.  She moved from USAMRIID to Johns-Hopkin.  The virulent Ames was kept in Dr. Ezzell’s lab in Building 1412 in an unlocked refrigerator in a tupperware container.  His lab throughout Dr. Ivins’ initial sample in February 2002.

Laurie Garrett, in I HEARD THE SIRENS SCREAM (July 18, 2011, Kindle) explained:

“In other words, both the powerful, classified JASON group and the independent NRC concluded that the genetic systems used for tracking microbes used in criminal activities were insufficiently precise.  In the absence of old-fashioned detective work and a battery of other reliable clues, the state-of-the-art in DNA forensics in 2009, even 2011, was inadequate to the task.

“This is huge, because coupled with the lack of any other physical evidence in this case linked to Bruce, this shows that the FBI’s central tenet—that the anthrax could have come from only Bruce Ivins—is without factual merit and is, therefore, just a possibility,” wrote Jeffery Adamovicz, Ivins’ former boss at USAMRIID.  “They over-represented this possibility as if there were no other explanations.  I think my feelings of mistrust of the FBI’s conclusions in this case have only been strentghened over the last year.  i feel vindicated in my assessment that the FBI was overselling the science and its ability to prove that Bruce and only Bruce Ivins could have committed this crime.”

Another of Ivins’ ex-bosses, Gerry Andrews, insisted Ivins “didn’t have anything to do with it.”  Stanford University microbiologist Dr. David Relman, who served on the NRC panel throughout its 19-month inquiry, said the panel, “found some problems and gaps in the scientific investigation.  Although the scientific evidence was supportive of a link between the letters and that [RMR-1029 ] flask, it did not definitively demonstrate such a relationship, for at least two reasons.”

First, the FBI created a registry of 1,057 anthrax samples taken from labs all over the world, mostly the U.S.  Thanks to the painstaking efforts of Fraser-Liggett and her team the pool was whittled down to eight samples that possessed the signature mutations.  But Relman said that the NRC panel was never convinced that the FBI’s registry truly contained every sample of Ames strain in the world.  And none of the panel members could shake the hunch that the evil-doer would never have turned over sample to the FBI.”


“One potentially important exception to this FBI mindset was one of New York’s top FBI investigators, John O’Neill—a man with an extraordinary talent for connecting the dots.  Tragically, although all none of the people who would have benefited from his storehouse of irreplaceable knowledge and instincts knows it yet, O’Neill perished this morning in the World Trade Center.

Following the 1998 al-Qaeda bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Dar Es Salaam and Nairobi, suicide bombers answering to Osama bin Laden plowed an explosives-laden skiff into the side of the U.S.S. Cole, a Navy destroyer docked at the port of Aden, Yemen, killing 17 sailors.  O’Neill saw the connections between those three events, the 1993 World Trade Center, and a larger st of plans unfolding from bin Laden’s mind.  In his New York office, O’Neill created a network of Arabic-speaking agents and al-Qaeda experts, and he formed close ties with the City’s emergency operations office and the NYPD.  He was the key player in the Joint Task Force, which pooled the intelligence gathered by the NYPD, local FBI office, and locally-based members of the Secret Service.  Together, this remarkable cross-government team reached the conclusion that al-Qaeda had plans to attack New York again.  The Joint Task Force possessed the only clear intelligence regarding bin Laden’s interest in biological weapons.”

This article is part of an ongoing investigation:

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