By Courtney Mabeus News-Post Staff
"Scientists who worked with Bruce Ivins said it would have been impossible for him to produce the amount of spores necessary to carry out deadly anthrax attacks given the time frame and equipment available to him at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.
Ivins died five years ago today as the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice prepared to formally charge him with carrying out the 2001 anthrax mailings that killed five and injured 17 others in the wake of the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. He had worked as a top government anthrax researcher at USAMRIID since December 1980.
Ivins died from an apparent suicide as the result of acetaminophen overdose.
A National Research Council committee in 2011 said conclusions reached by the FBI about the 2001 anthrax attacks were not fully supported by science.
The committee said that “it is not possible to reach a definitive conclusion about the origins of the anthrax in letters mailed to New York City and Washington, D.C., based solely on the available scientific evidence.”
The Washinton Post
Published: Jan 27th
By Jerry Markon
Since it began a decade ago, the federal government’s massive investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks has been plagued by missteps and complications.
Investigators initially focused on the wrong man, then had to pay him a nearly $6 million settlement. In 2008, they accused another man, Bruce E. Ivins, who killed himself before he could go to trial.
Now, in the latest twist, the government has argued against itself.
In documents deep in the files of a recently settled Florida lawsuit, Justice Department civil attorneys contradicted their own department’s conclusion that Ivins was unquestionably the anthrax killer. The lawyers said the type of anthrax in Ivins’s lab was “radically different” from the deadly anthrax. They cited several witnesses who said Ivins was innocent, and they suggested that a private laboratory in Ohio could have been involved in the attacks.
The unusual spectacle of one arm of the Justice Department publicly questioning another has the potential to undermine one of the most high-profile investigations in years, according to critics and independent experts who reviewed the court filings.
“I cannot think of another case in which the government has done such an egregious about-face. It destroys confidence in the criminal findings,’’ said Paul Rothstein, a law professor at Georgetown University.
Bruce E. Ivins, the chief suspect in the 2001 anthrax mailings, committed suicide before the FBI could present its case in court. Years later, some suspicions remain over results of the inquiry.
By David Willman, Washington Bureau
October 16, 2011
WASHINGTON — FBI Agent Edward Montooth began worrying the moment he got the call early on the morning of July 27, 2008: The chief suspect in the deadly anthrax letter attacks of 2001 had just been rushed to a hospital.
The leader of the FBI investigation knew that if Army microbiologist Bruce E. Ivins died, the opportunity to present the case against him in a courtroom would be lost. Conspiracy theories and speculation, he feared, could well overshadow the evidence.
"They better save [him]," Montooth snapped to a colleague as he hung up the phone.
In previous weeks, Ivins had been warned by his lawyer that he faced an indictment, and the possibility of the death penalty, in connection with the attacks, which killed five people, injured or hospitalized 17 others and helped spur significant changes in national security policies. Ivins died two days after he arrived at the hospital, minutes from his home, in Frederick, Md.
More than three years after Ivins' suicide, Montooth has retired from the FBI, but his earlier concern — that the lack of a trial could fuel suspicions about the government's case — remains valid. Over the last week alone, media reports have questioned anew the evidence against Ivins, while suggesting that the anthrax attacks may have been committed by unidentified wrongdoers.
One account came from three scientists — long critical of the FBI — whose questions were the subject of a story in the New York Times. Another came from the nonprofit group ProPublica, the PBS documentary unit Frontline and McClatchy Newspapers. The coverage highlighted the lingering antagonism toward the FBI among some of Ivins' colleagues at the Army's biowarfare research center at Ft. Detrick, Md.
Did FBI get wrong man for anthrax killings? Scientists raise possibility that man had help or was innocent
By WILLIAM J. BROAD and SCOTT SHANE
Published: October 9, 2011
A decade after wisps of anthrax sent through the mail killed 5 people, sickened 17 others and terrorized the nation, biologists and chemists still disagree on whether federal investigators got the right man and whether the F.B.I.’s long inquiry brushed aside important clues.
Now, three scientists argue that distinctive chemicals found in the dried anthrax spores — including the unexpected presence of tin — point to a high degree of manufacturing skill, contrary to federal reassurances that the attack germs were unsophisticated. The scientists make their case in a coming issue of the Journal of Bioterrorism & Biodefense.
F.B.I. documents reviewed by The New York Times show that bureau scientists focused on tin early in their eight-year investigation, calling it an “element of interest” and a potentially critical clue to the criminal case. They later dropped their lengthy inquiry, never mentioned tin publicly and never offered any detailed account of how they thought the powder had been made.
The new paper raises the prospect — for the first time in a serious scientific forum — that the Army biodefense expert identified by the F.B.I. as the perpetrator, Bruce E. Ivins, had help in obtaining his germ weapons or conceivably was innocent of the crime.
Both the chairwoman of a National Academy of Science panel that spent a year and a half reviewing the F.B.I.’s scientific work and the director of a new review by the Government Accountability Office said the paper raised important questions that should be addressed.
Alice P. Gast, president of Lehigh University and the head of the academy panel, said that the paper “points out connections that deserve further consideration.”
"A ranking Republican Senator has written to the Justice Department demanding to know why it quickly retracted court papers that called into serious question a key pillar of the criminal case against Bruce Ivins, the FBI’s prime suspect in the 2001 anthrax mail attacks.
Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, who has long questioned the legitimacy of the FBI’s findings in the case, wrote Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller this week, regarding a filing by Justice Department civil lawyers in July that noted that the Army’s biodefense center at Fort Detrick, Md., “did not have the specialized equipment in a containment laboratory that would be required to prepare the dried spore preparations that were used in the letters.”
In other words, the filing noted that Ivins’ lab, often referred to as the “hot suite”, did not contain the equipment needed to turn liquid anthrax into the refined powder that ended up being mailed to members of the Senate and reporters in the fall of 2001".
[Thanks to 7man for the heads up on this]
Bruce Ivins's lawyer, colleague share details FBI left out
by Megan Eckstein @ The Frederick News-Post
Nine years have passed since five people were killed and 17 sickened by anthrax spores mailed to lawmakers and news outlets, and it's been nine months since the FBI closed its investigation into those attacks.
But new information about the anthrax, the investigation and the suspect still continue to emerge.
On Nov. 29, the University of California's Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation hosted a seminar on the Amerithrax investigation. Experts have spent years doubting that Fort Detrick scientist Bruce Ivins committed the crime, as the FBI alleges, but they have never gathered to share their knowledge and theories until Monday's meeting at the university's Washington Center.
Among those in attendance Monday was John Ezzell, a former researcher at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases who hired Ivins.
U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12) succeeded in including language in the 2010 Intelligence Authorization Bill that would require the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community to examine the possibility of a foreign connection to the 2001 anthrax attacks. The amendment was added less than a week after the FBI arbitrarily closed its investigation.
The Anthrax Attacks Remain Unsolved: The FBI disproved its main theory about how the spores were weaponized.
The Wall Street Journal - Jan. 24th, 2010
Wall Street Journal: The Anthrax Attacks Remain Unsolved The FBI disproved its main theory about how the spores were weaponized.
From the Wall Street Journal, no less, comes the following article:
The article makes the case that the scapegoat Ivins could not have made the anthrax used in the attacks since it had relatively high concentrations of silicon, which he could not have created.
I still believe that the anthrax case is one of the best opportunities for the 9/11 truth movement. The facts are relatively straightforward compared to 9/11. If it could be shown that the anthrax attacks originated from the US government or agents thereof, it would produce a massive shift in the public's thinking. People would then be forced to accept the fact that they have been lied to and the country was attacked through an inside job. That would open up, in my opinion, a huge opportunity to expose the truth about 9/11.
hyperlinks at the original:
FRIDAY, NOV 27, 2009 03:28 PST
A key British official reminds us of the forgotten anthrax attack
BY GLENN GREENWALD
Britain is currently engulfed by a probing, controversial investigation into how their Government came to support the invasion of Iraq, replete with evidence that much of what was said at the time by both British and American officials was knowingly false, particularly regarding the unequivocal intention of the Bush administration to attack Iraq for months when they were pretending otherwise. Yesterday, the British Ambassador to the U.S. in 2002 and 2003, Sir Christopher Meyer (who favored the war), testified before the investigative tribunal and said this:
Meyer said attitudes towards Iraq were influenced to an extent not appreciated by him at the time by the anthrax scare in the US soon after 9/11. US senators and others were sent anthrax spores in the post, a crime that led to the death of five people, prompting policymakers to claim links to Saddam Hussein. . . .
Sandia National Laboratories Test Exonerates Ivins ~ We need to be the Media on this story. Spread it to all politically inclined contacts.
While government apologists are still trying to pretend there is a case that Bruce Ivins was the anthrax killer, tests by Sandia National Laboratories have exonerated him.
As the publisher of the prestigious scientific journal Nature writes:
At a biodefence meeting on 24 February, Joseph Michael, a materials scientist at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, presented analyses of three letters sent to the New York Post and to the offices of Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy. Spores from two of those show a distinct chemical signature that includes silicon, oxygen, iron, and tin; the third letter had silicon, oxygen, iron and possibly also tin, says Michael. Bacteria from Ivins' RMR-1029 flask did not contain any of those four elements.
Revealed: Anthrax spore testing undermines FBI claim ~ http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Anthrax_spores_dont_match_dead_researchers_0226.html
Poisonous anthrax that killed five Americans in the weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks doesn't match bacteria from a flask linked to Bruce Ivins, the researcher who committed suicide after being implicated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a scientist said.
Spores used in the deadly mailings ``share a chemical 'fingerprint' that is not found in the flask linked to Bruce Ivins,'' wrote Roberta Kwok citing Joseph Michael, a scientist at the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Michael analyzed letters sent to the New York Post and offices of Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy, and found a distinct "chemical signature" not present in the flask known as RMR-1029, which Ivins could access in his laboratory at Fort Detrick, Maryland.
Scientific impossibility: Did FBI get their man in Bruce Ivins?
By Deborah Rudacille
Examiner Correspondent 11/16/08
Bruce Ivins was a cold-blooded murderer, a deranged psycho-killer, who in the fall of 2001, cooked up a virulent batch of powdered anthrax, drove to Princeton, N.J., and mailed letters loaded with the lethal mix to five news organizations and two U.S. senators.
At least, that’s what the FBI says.
The letters infected 22 people, killing five, including two Maryland postal workers.
The sixth victim of the madness was Ivins himself, a 62-year-old biodefense researcher at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, who committed suicide rather than face charges.
Case closed? Neatly wrapped up? Not so fast.
The FBI (Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity, ha!) was tasked by our shadow government overlords with finding a semi-plausible fall guy for the anthrax attacks of 2001. These overlords engineered both the attacks of 9/11, and the anthrax attacks that followed, to create a pretext for a police state in the USA, as well as a semi-plausible pretext for invading Afghanistan and Iraq.
The FBI has pinned it on the late Dr. Bruce Ivins, but almost nobody believes it. For the past two days FBI director Mueller, looking like the cat that ate the canary, has been appearing before the Senate and House to answer questions.
Glenn Greenwald wrote about both events in Salon. Based on his account, I feel certain that the FBI is going to get away with it.
WASHINGTON — A month after the F.B.I. declared that an Army scientist was the anthrax killer, leading members of Congress are demanding more information about the seven-year investigation, saying they do not think the bureau has proved its case.
In a letter sent Friday to Robert S. Mueller III, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Democratic leaders of the House Judiciary Committee said that “important and lingering questions remain that are crucial for you to address, especially since there will never be a trial to examine the facts of the case.”
The scientist, Bruce E. Ivins, committed suicide in July, and Mr. Mueller is likely to face demands for additional answers about the anthrax case when he appears before the House and Senate Judiciary Committees on Sept. 16 and 17.
Terrific column in the Frederick News-Post today about the flimsiness of the govt case against Ivins. Please email Katherine Heerbrandt thanking her for naming the "elephant on the grassy knoll."
Note that contractor Battelle, who received this contract for $750 million, is a tax-exempt organization. No doubt they willl use the $750 million to heal the sick and bring comfort to the afflicted.
If not Ivins ...
Originally published August 29, 2008
When Norm Covert, a conservative former Fort Detrick public affairs officer, and attorney Barry Kissin, liberal activist opposing Detrick's biolab expansion, agree that Bruce Ivins was not the anthrax killer, either the world's spinning off its axis, or the truth is staring us so hard in the face we'd have to be blind to miss it.
Covert's piece this week in thetentacle.com establishes what many in our community, including scientists and support staff at USAMRIID, past and present, know: Bruce Ivins had nothing to do with preparing or sending the anthrax letters. --