My Conversation With a Ft. Detrick Scientist

My Conversation With a Ft. Detrick Scientist

Today (August 9), I spoke with a PhD scientist who works at Ft. Detrick. The scientist knows Dr. Bruce Ivins very well and has worked with him for many years.

The scientist is an acquaintance of mine who I've known for about five years.

The scientist is a specialist in infectious diseases, including airborne diseases.

The scientist does not want their name given out. The FBI has told all the scientists at Ft. Detrick they cannot speak with the media or they will be fired.

[Its interesting to note that scientists at Ft. Detrick can't exercise their first amendment rights, but the FBI can illegally leak confidential investigative information to the media. Its also interesting that some of the info leaked to the media by FBI informants is not legitimate investigative material, but instead, material meant to character assassinate Dr. Ivins. Its also interesting that the FBI leakers can avoid detection, given the Patriot Act.]

Ivins Could Not Have Coated the Killer Anthrax with High-Tech Anti-Clumping Agents

As everyone knows, the government initially tried to blame Iraq for the anthrax attack. One of the claims made was that the anthrax contained bentonite clay, which was also used by Iraqi anthrax bioweapons makers to "weaponize" the anthrax by decreasing the tendency of anthrax spores to clump together (which makes them less deadly since clumping reduces the amount of spores which end up in the target's lungs).

The government later disclaimed that assertion. However, the FBI now claims that the killer anthrax contained silicon. Silicon can be used as an anti-clumping agent to weaponize anthrax.

For example, McClatchy notes:

"Some of Ivins' former colleagues also dispute the FBI's assertion that he had the capability to mill tiny anthrax spores and then bind them to silicon particles, the form of anthrax that was mailed to the office of then-senator Tom Daschle, D-S.D."

16 Labs Had the Killer Anthrax Strain

Page 6 of the FBI's search warrant affidavit in the Ivins' investigation states:

"Of the sixteen domestic government, commercial, and university laboratories that virulent RMR-1029 Ames strain Bacillus antrhracis material in their inventory prior to the attacks. ...."

As the Baltimore Sun summarizes it:

"The government said that 16 government, commercial and university labs had the strain of anthrax with the same genetic mutations as the anthrax used in the attacks.


And even at Fort Detrick, the government said that more than 100 people had access to the flask, creating a lot of room for reasonable doubt."

According to the Washington Post, the other labs obtained the RMR-1029 from Ivins:

"The FBI determined that Ivins had shared samples of his RMR-1029 bacteria with as many as 15 other labs and institutes nationwide."

Anthrax Foreknowledge? DOJ/FBI Doesn’t Care

Anthrax Foreknowledge? DOJ/FBI Doesn’t Care

At the Department of Justice Amerithrax Investigation Press Conference August 6, 2008, the following question was asked:

QUESTION: “Do you think there's a connection between Ivins and what was known at the time of the Quantico letter? There was a letter sent in September of 2001 identifying an Arab-American scientist at Fort Detrick as a bioterrorist. The letter also threatened a bioterror attack and also death to Israel. Were you ever satisfied that you were able to run down that letter and the author of that letter?”

MR. TAYLOR: “I'm not aware of any connection. To my knowledge, there's no evidence linking the two.”

Note that he doesn’t answer this part of the question, “Were you ever satisfied that you were able to run down that letter and the author of that letter?”

Anthrax Letters NOT In Ivins' Handwriting

The FBI cannot match Ivins and the handwriting in the anthrax letters. As summarized by World Net Daily:

"Casting further doubt on the FBI's anthrax case, accused government scientist Bruce Ivins passed two polygraph tests and a handwriting analysis comparing samples of his handwriting to writing contained in the anthrax letters, U.S. officials familiar with the investigation say.


Officials confirm that FBI handwriting analysts were unable to conclusively match samples of Ivins' handwriting with the writing on the anthrax envelopes and letters".

The WND article points out other problems with the FBI's case:

Investigators also failed to uncover other critical evidence linking Ivins directly to the letters. For instance:

* No textile fibers were found in his office, residence or vehicles matching fibers found on the scotch tape used to seal the envelopes;

* No pens were found matching the ink used to address the envelopes;

Ivins Went Nuts . . . But It Was the FBI Who Drove Him Crazy

One of the FBI's pieces of "evidence" against Dr. Ivins is that he sounded nutty, and thought the FBI was out to get him.

Maybe, he might have been a fruitloop, but:

  • Ivins' colleagues have noted other abuses, and the FBI undoubtedly harassed Ivins in ways which we have not even heard about

As leading reporter Larisa Alexandrovna writes:

Lone Nut Anthrax Killer Theory Debunked

Lone Nut Anthrax Killer Theory Debunked

The FBI says that Dr. Bruce Ivins acted alone in the deadly 2001 anthrax attacks.

But the letters that contained the deadly anthrax are not in the handwriting of Dr. Ivins, according to FBI evidence released yesterday.

So that proves right there that if Dr. Ivins did do it, then he did not act alone.

More importantly, the fact that the letters are in someones else's handwriting, is strong evidence that someone else, NOT Dr. Ivins, is the anthrax killer.

We can also presume that the handwriting of the anthrax letters is not that of any of the other scientists who worked with Dr. Ivins, otherwise they would be suspects.

So George Washington's assertion that the anthrax did not come from Ft. Detrick is confirmed.

The Killer Anthrax Did Not Originate at Fort Detrick

It is clear that scores of people had access to the specific "RMR-1029" batch of anthrax stored at Fort Detrick (where Dr. Ivins worked) and used in the anthrax attacks.

What is less well known is that the anthrax was probably not manufactured by Ivins or Fort Detrick. Instead, it probably came from the Dugway Proving Ground in Utah:

Grab-bag of Anthrax: 8/6/08

The FBI's selective release of documents in the anthrax case by Glenn Greenwald

The Anthrax Case: Solved(?) But Unresolved by Ted Gup, Washington Post

Ross Responds to "Vital Questions" About Anthrax Report

US DOJ release of selected Amerithrax Court Documents

Anthrax Timeline, Two Emptywheel at

Anthrax widow's lawsuit blames US for death by Curt Anderson, Associated Press (This lawsuit was filed in 2003; now that the US government is admitting it’s the source of the Anthrax, will it be held liable for victim’s suffering and death?)

Three More Questions for ABC News: Getting to the bottom of the bentonite sourcing story by Justin Peters, Columbia Journalism Review

FBI's "Selective Release of a Few Documents" in Anthrax Investigation Is Not Sufficient

The FBI gave its big press conference today, announcing why it thinks Dr. Bruce Ivins is the anthrax killer, and the sole guilty party.

Does this put the issue to rest?

Well, Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa called for a congressional investigation of the anthrax probe, saying there should be hearings rather than "the selective release of a few documents."

And as former constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald points out:

FBI Lies About Anthrax . . . Again

The FBI made numerous claims in today's official press conference. They are largely refuted by Dr. Meryl Nass, an expert on anthrax.

I want to focus on the FBI's primary piece of "evidence": That the anthrax suspect, Dr. Bruce Ivins "has been the sole custodian of RMR-1029 [the specific batch of anthrax used in the attacks] since it was first grown in 1997".

In fact, according to the New York Times:

"After four years of painstaking scientific research, the F.B.I. by 2005 had traced the anthrax in the poisoned letters of 2001 to a single flask of the bacteria at the Army biodefense laboratory at Fort Detrick, Md., according to government scientists and bureau officials."

(this is the flask containing RMR-1029 concerning which Dr. Ivins was the "custodian").

Sounds bad for Dr. Ivins, right?

Well, the Times article continues:

Is Google Censoring Anthrax Coverage by Glenn Greenwald?

See original for hyperlinks and referenced graphic. What do you think? Anyone getting different results from the NEWS search engine, not the WEB engine?

Can you believe NONE of Glenn Greenwald's articles in come up in the first 3 pages of a Google NEWS (not WEB) search for "anthrax"??? How can that possibly be, when numerous mainstream pundits have been commenting on and linking to his articles??? Anthrax salon pulls one (1)- along with many articles commenting on and linking to his articles. Anthrax Glenn Greenwald got NONE. I’m not using quotes on anything.

A couple of his articles are top hits in WEB searches:
Google WEB: Glenn Greenwald Anthrax

It’s the NEWS searches where they are strangely absent:
Google NEWS Glenn Greenwald Anthrax

See the graphic at the bottom of the page to get an idea of how this affects how many people will see his articles, when searching for NEWS on the Anthrax case.

Colonel Anderson Refutes False Allegations Against Dr. Ivins

Colonel Arthur Anderson is the chief of human use and ethics at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), the bioweapons facility where Dr. Ivins worked and where the anthrax strains were apparently obtained by the anthrax killer.

In that position, Colonel Anderson's responsibilities include the following jobs:

Anthrax Gone Viral: Roundup 8-5-08

Bloggers and MSM pundits are picking up on Greenwald's call for ABC to come clean, more good stuff from him, as well as Bradblog

There's so much coverage on the blogosphere about ABC and the bogus case being leaked against Ivins, that the coverage itself has become news:
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Posted by Kim E. Pearson 4:34:24 PM
Should ABC News Reveal Anonymous Sources in Anthrax Probe? Bloggers Say Yes

MONDAY AUG. 4, 2008 06:32 EDT
Additional key facts re: the anthrax investigation
(Updated below - Update II - Update III - Update IV - Update V)

TUESDAY AUG. 5, 2008 06:54 EDT
The FBI's emerging, leaking case against Ivins
(updated below - Update II - Update III - Update IV)
From Greenwald's interview w/ Rush Holt: "Having watched how [the FBI] collected evidence, I don't have a lot of confidence, and I think the burden is on them to satisfy me, and other

BLOGGED BY Brad Friedman ON 8/5/2008 7:46PM
Radio Free Anthrax, AP's Sorority Girls and Other Toxic Odds & Ends...