The FBI's Mail-Sorting Theory Doesn't Add Up

The FBI claims that mail-sorting equipment crushed the killer anthrax in the letters to Senators Daschle and Leahy down to a fine powder.

Is that possible?

Well, the anthrax spores in the Daschle letter were 1.5 to 3 microns, according to the Washington Post. See also (this).

There are 25,400 microns in an inch.

Mail-sorting equipment is generally built to handle letters at least 1/4 inch thick. Correspondingly, U.S. Postal Service guidelines allow letters to be up to 1/4 of an inch thick.

Here is one of the U.S. Postal Service's mail sorting machines which actually processed an anthrax letter in 2001 (although probably not the one which processed the Leahy and Daschle letters):

What does this all mean?

1/4 of an inch equals 6,350 microns. So the FBI is trying to say that a mail-sorting machine which is designed to process letters 6,350 microns thick crushed something down to 3 microns . . . 2,116 times smaller than the type of envelope sorting machines are designed to handle.

I don't know about you, but my mail isn't crushed into oblivion when I get it.

On the other hand, the LA Times hints at a more likely explanation:

"Since the early 1990s, U.S. Army scientists at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah have made small quantities of weapons-grade anthrax that is virtually identical to the powdery spores used in the bioterrorist attacks that have killed five people, government sources say."

"Dugway’s production of weapons-grade anthrax, which has never before been publicly revealed, is apparently the first by the U.S. government since President Nixon ordered the U.S. offensive biowarfare program closed in 1969. Scientists familiar with the anthrax program at Dugway described it to the Baltimore Sun on the condition that they not be named."

"Dugway’s weapons-grade anthrax has been milled to achieve a concentration similar to that sent in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, according to a source. The strain found in those letters is indistinguishable from that used most often by Dugway."

Robert Mueller, FBI director, testifies

Robert Mueller, FBI director, testifies before the House Judiciary Committee at an oversight hearing on Tuesday. Get your recording devices ready. Watch as this member of the Hall of fame of corruptness spins his tales. See who on the panel asks real questions. Get ready to expose his lies.

Good call, GW

Such details matter.

Now they can get rid of all

Now they can get rid of all the super specialized and super expensive lab equipment and just use an old mail sorting machine.