NYT ordered to expose source for anthrax story

An update on the Amerithrax story.

Times Is Ordered to Reveal Columnist’s Sources

Published: October 24, 2006

WASHINGTON, Oct. 23 — A federal magistrate judge has ordered The New York Times to disclose the identities of three confidential sources used by one of its columnists, Nicholas Kristof, for columns he wrote about the investigation of the deadly anthrax mailings of 2001.

The order, issued Friday by Magistrate Judge Liam O’Grady, requires the newspaper to disclose the identities of the three sources to lawyers for Dr. Steven J. Hatfill, who has brought a defamation suit against The Times. The order was disclosed Monday.

Catherine Mathis, a spokeswoman for The Times, said the newspaper would appeal the ruling.

Dr. Hatfill, a germ warfare specialist who formerly worked in the Army laboratories at Fort Detrick, Md., has asserted that a series of columns by Mr. Kristof about the slow pace of the anthrax investigation defamed him because they suggested he was responsible for the attacks.

Five people died in the attacks. Although the federal authorities identified Dr. Hatfill as a “person of interest” in the case, they have not charged him with any crimes.

At a deposition on July 13, Mr. Kristof declined to name five of his sources for the columns, but two have subsequently agreed to release him from his pledge of confidentiality. Judge O’Grady’s ruling identifies the remaining unnamed sources as two Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and a former colleague or friend of Dr. Hatfill at Fort Detrick.

The judge ruled that the laws of Virginia applied and that under that state’s law, reporters have only a qualified privilege to decline to name their sources that may be outweighed by other factors.

He wrote that for Mr. Hatfill to have a chance of meeting his burden of demonstrating that he was defamed by the columns, he “needs an opportunity to question the confidential sources and determine if Mr. Kristof accurately reported information the sources provided.”

Mr. Kristof wrote about a government scientist he initially referred to as Mr. Z, saying he had become the overwhelming focus of the investigation. In August 2002, he wrote that Dr. Hatfill had acknowledged he was Mr. Z. at a news conference in which he said he had been mistreated by the news media.

The lawsuit was originally dismissed by a federal judge in Virginia in 2004. A divided three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond reinstated the case and the full appeals court, by a 6-to-6 vote, declined to overturn that ruling. The Supreme Court declined to intervene last March.

Judge O’Grady wrote: “The court understands the need for a reporter to be able to credibly pledge confidentiality to his sources. Confidential sources have been an important part of journalism, which is presumably why Virginia recognizes a qualified reporter’s privilege in the first place.”

He said Virginia law required the use of a three-part balancing test as to whether there is a compelling need for the information, whether the information is relevant and whether it may not be obtained any other way.

Anthrax? Google "anthrax and the camel club"

And I think you'll see who was actually responsible. And my, what a COINCIDENCE that the good ole Neocon York Times was involved in one of the two attempted frame-ups. Given that the first target of attempted frame up was a muslim, see if YOU can put two and two together. Wouldn't it be nice if it weren't illegal to point fingers in certain directions? Isn't is clear that there has been in the last 5 years a vast anti-muslim conspiracy at play? Isn't it time we got serious about putting an end to it?


In late September, 2001, days before the anthrax story broke – but after the deadly missives had been mailed – an anonymous letter arrived at military police headquarters in Quantico, Virginia, stating that Dr. Ayaad Assaad, who formerly worked at Ft. Detrick, was the mastermind behind a bio-terrorist plot. The letter's author demonstrated a detailed knowledge of Dr. Assaad's life and work at USAMRIID, tending to validate the claim of this poison-pen author to have once worked with the Egyptian-born scientist.

The FBI soon cleared Dr. Assaad of any connection with the anthrax, but his story – of how his former colleagues at Ft. Detrick, who called themselves the "camel club," targeted him and essentially set him up for just such an accusation – points so clearly in the direction of the real culprits that it's hard to believe this aspect of the case has been completely ignored.

Security was so lax at the Ft. Detrick bio-terror facility that, in the early 1990s, an investigation turned up the disturbing news that 26 sets of deadly specimens – including anthrax, hanta virus, and two labeled "unknown" – were found to be "missing." As the Courant reports, investigators also found a surveillance camera tape:

"Documents from the inquiry show that one unauthorized person who was observed entering the lab building at night was Langford's predecessor, Lt. Col. Philip Zack, who at the time no longer worked at Fort Detrick. A surveillance camera recorded Zack being let in at 8:40 p.m. on Jan. 23, 1992, apparently by Marian Rippy, a lab pathologist and close friend of Zack's, according to a report filed by a security guard."

Zack and Rippy were part of the "camel club," which had left insulting and obscene messages in the mailboxes of Arab scientists at Ft. Detrick – including a 235-line poem, which included the following:

"In (Assaad's) honor we created this beast; it represents life lower than yeast."

The "beast" referred to is a rubber camel outfitted with sexually explicit appendages, apparently another "camel club"-sponsored activity.

In tracking down the real culprit in the anthrax attacks, it would seem that an attempt to frame someone as the anthrax terrorist just as the attacks commenced would be a clue of some significance. The history of Ft. Detrick's "camel club" might also be seen as a hint of what direction the investigation ought to take.

But not to our intrepid FBI. They're too busy tormenting poor Hatfill.


Real Truther a.k.a. Verdadero Verdadero

WTCdemolition.com - Harvard Task Force


seems they investigated all the muslims...

but did they investigate the pair who accessed the lab illegaly? gosh, seems kind of like only muslims get suspected of things! how... odd!


The poem also doubles as an ode to each of the participants who adorned the camel, who number at least six and referred to themselves as "the camel club." Two — Dr. Philip Zack and Dr. Marian Rippy — voluntarily left Fort Detrick soon after Assaad brought the poem to the attention of supervisors.

Attempts to reach Zack and Rippy were unsuccessful.

Supervisor approached

Assaad said he approached his supervisor, Col. David Franz, with his concerns, but Franz "kicked me out of his office and slammed the door in my face, because he didn't want to talk about it. I just wanted it to stop."

In a telephone interview Monday, Franz said the downsizings at the Fort Detrick lab in the late 1990s "were the toughest part of my job. ... If I lost my job, I might be pretty upset, too."

Franz — now a private consultant on countermeasures to biological and chemical attacks — said he was not aware that Assaad had been interviewed by the FBI, but acknowledged it's fair to interview scientists who've left sensitive research positions.

The FBI's profile of the anthrax suspect is a person who is likely male, has some background or strong interest in science and probably has access both to a laboratory and a source of weaponized anthrax.

Barbara Hatch Rosenberg, a microbiologist affiliated with the Federation of American Scientists, earlier this month carried the profile a bit further when she predicted that the perpetrator is an American microbiologist with access to weaponized anthrax that likely came from a government lab or one contracted by the government.

The third plaintiff who was laid off from Fort Detrick, Jordanian-born Dr. Kulthoum Mereish, was commissioned a captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps and began researching biological-threat agents at Fort Detrick in 1986. She alleged in the affidavit accompanying her lawsuit that Franz exhibited "a bigotry toward foreigners" and refused to confront the "camel club."

Confronted with the allegations and asked this week if he considers himself racist, Franz replied, "You obviously don't know me."


Real Truther a.k.a. Verdadero Verdadero

WTCdemolition.com - Harvard Task Force


Sources? Sources? We Don't Need To Show You No Stinking Sources!

There is very little justice in our legal system when it comes to libel.

If your life is ruined by a Times reporter and editor that fails to check their source or prints hokum to fit the news to an alien agenda, you are for the most part up crap river without an oar.

Most libel lawyers looking at a libel case involving the Times will advise not to begin an action. Why? Well, $250,000 is the norm just to begin the long legal process. Delays will make a decision likely in about 7 years. By then, who cares, and it is still a crap shoot when thinking about juries and OJ justice.

There are not many people that have the money and fortitude to survive such an ordeal.

The libel laws need changing.

Justice delayed is justice denied. The public deserves to know the truth as soon as possible, and the courts set up now only guarantees that getting to the truth is a long distance process that walks on crutches.

So, here we have a situation where a wet blanket is put over the public from learning the truth, and at the end of the legal ordeal the Times will sum up and argue, "you don't think we knew the source and information was false to begin with, do you?"

Trying to prove they did is an awful burden for anyone trying to clear his name against hasty reporters quick to destroy a life, a family, a career because of a deadline.

One life destroyed by a hack with a pen is too many. Very few rouge reporters are ever brought to justice.

How many lives have been ruined by the Times? The way the legal system is set up now, we will never know.