Skip to comments.New book about anthrax mailings
Posted on 09/22/2007 6:16:47 PM PDT by ZacandPook
Our Own Worst Enemy: Asking the Right Questions About Security to Protect You, Your Family, and America
Randall Larsen: ... The press actually missed the real story, as I saw it, with the person of interest, insofar as that Dr. H had spent two years working in a bio-safe level 4 facility working with some of the most dangerous pathogens in the world with a bogus resume! *** [re Atta's roommate had cutaneous anthrax]
Five times a year, I brief top officers of the government and military, and only 1 or 2, if that, ever know! ...
And had one young field agent not faxed that memo about Attas roomate to my colleague Tom Inglesby, we wouldnt have known either! But you add this to the Robb-Silverman Commissions findings, that Al Qaeda was in the early stages of experimentation with these kind of bio-agents and you can see how they could have made at least a small quantity. ... Later on, I brought this to the CIA and while waiting to enter, I made sure the guard (holding the machine gun) saw it as I moved it from one pocket into another. ...
On September 20th, when the Secret Service searched my brief case prior to meeting with the VP, one compartment had an N-95 mask (similar to a surgical mask) and the test tube. The agent asked why I was carrying a mask. He asked the wrong question. He should have asked about the test tube. That story has become the metaphor for the entire book. Too many people are asking the wrong questions.
(Excerpt) Read more at themoderatevoice.com ...
For both the right questions and the answers, see
Has anyone read this new book by Randall Larsen discussing the anthrax mailings at some length?
As for the interview mention of the lesion, here are the details that lesion the hijacker had upon his arrival from Kandahar. One of the hijackers, Ahmed Al-Haznawi, went to the ER on June 25, 2001 with what now appears to have been cutaneous anthrax, according to Dr. Tsonas, the doctor who treated him, and other experts. “No one is dismissing this,” said CIA Director Tenet. Alhaznawi had just arrived in the country on June 8. His exposure perhaps related to a camp he had been in Afghanistan. He said he got the blackened gash-like lesion when he bumped his leg on a suitcase two months earlier. Two months earlier he had been in camp near Kandahar (according to a videotape he later made serving as his last Will and Testament). His last will and testament is mixed in with the footage by the al-Qaeda’s Sahab Institute for Media Production that includes Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and Sulaiman Abu Ghaith. There are some spiders that on rare occasions bite and cause such a blackened eschar (notably the Brown Recluse Spider found in some parts of the United States)
Dr. Tara O’Toole of the Biodefense Center at John Hopkins concluded it was anthrax. The former head of that group, Dr. Henderson, now director of the office of public health preparedness at the Department of Health and Human Services, explained: “The probability of someone this age having such an ulcer, if he’s not an addict and doesn’t have diabetes or something like that, is very low. It certainly makes one awfully suspicious.” The FBI says no anthrax was found where the hijackers were. (The FBI tested the crash sites where the planes came down and found no traces of anthrax). Although no doubt there are some other diseases that lead to similar sores, it is reasonable to credit that it was cutaneous anthrax considering all the circumstances, to include the finding by the 9/11 Commission that “ in 2001, Sufaat would spend several months attempting to cultivate anthrax for al Qaeda in a laboratory he set up near the Kandahar airport.” Now that we know Kandahar is where the extremely virulent anthrax was located, it makes it more likely that the John Hopkins people are correct that the lesion was cutanous anthrax.
At the time, CBS reported that “U.S. troops are said to have found another biological weapons research lab near Kandahar, one that that was eyeing anthrax.” But CBS and FBI spokesman further noted that “Those searches found extensive evidence that al-Qaida wanted to develop biological weapons, but came up with no evidence the terrorist group actually had anthrax or other deadly germs, they said.” Only years later did we learn that there was in fact extremely virulent anthrax at Kandahar. (Though some senior officials at the CIA and FBI knew this in Autumn 2003) Thus, a factual predicate important to assessment of the John Hopkins report on the leg lesion needed to be reevaluated.
I always thought it was the Terrorists. I couldn’t imagine an American doing that sort of thing. Maybe I am too old fashioned in my thinking.
I did too. You had the one hijacker who was on antibiotics for a lesion and the other who had been treated for dermatitis on his hands. The hand dermatitis described read much like latex sensitivity.
More than twenty years ago I was involved in COMINT for the U.S.Navy. So naturally when the anthrax attack occurred I followed what was going on and paid close attention to details that would occasionally appear. I will share what I have found with all of you.
1. The first person to receive an anthrax laced letter (he later died of the anthrax) was a Photo Editor at the National Enguirer’s Florida headquarter’s. (Everyone else was a liberal Democrat in the Washington D.C. area.)
This puzzled me. Then later this came out: his wife was a landlady to two of the 9-11 terrorists.
Any homocide detective would have been all over this connection. I wonder about the FBI, if they ever looked into it.
2. All the envelopes containing anthrax were mailed from Newark, New Jersey, home to many of the attackers of the first terror strike agaisnt the World Trade Towers.
Ramzi Yousef, the bomb maker, was a cousin to Khalid Sheik Muhammed, number three guy in Al Qaeda. Yousef was carrying a forged Kuwaiti passport later identified as having been made by Iraqi intelligence. Saddam Hussein is known to have supplied funds for the first World Trade Towers attack (something most people don’t know).
3. The German government, in its attempts to forge closer ties to Iraq, gave Iraq’s Department of Agriculture a kilo of the Ames type agricultural anthrax. This was to help Iraq control the disease among its cattle herds. (This was revealed publicly about 2 years ago. Whether the gift was the result of a request by Saddam’s government wasn’t revealed.)
When the then Minister of Agriculture was later interviewed by our American military (maybe DIA?) he told the intriguing story of how the anthrax never made it through the front doors of his building. Saddam Hussein’s personal guards intercepted the package on the steps outside.
4. Prague. Everybody has heard the story about Mohammed Atta meeting with the head of Iraqi Intelligence and being handed a package.
What most people don’t know is that the Al Qaeda member who disputes this wasn’t even it Europe when it happened! He was in Afghanistan, where he was captured on a battlefield.
So who would you believe? Czech Intelligence or some Al Qaeda puke!
This is the info I’ve gleaned from the news these past six years. I’ve made up my mind and have a pretty good idea why President Bush mentioned WMD.
Of course, the perp very well may be an American and a supporter the of terrorists. Many supporters of the militants are US citizens. For example, Ali Al-Timimi, sentenced to life plus 70 years for sedition, was a US citizen. He worked with Bin Laden’s sheik al-Hawali. As a microbiologist, he worked just feet away from famed Russian bioweaponeer Ken Alibek and former USAMRIID head Charles Bailey.
For this author to think the FBI doesn’t know what’s its doing overlooks a mountain of evidence to the contrary. I think the CIA and FBI are kicking butt!
Let ‘s consider this intriguing potential lead concerned a report about Atta’s red hands. I had never considered a latex allergy which is as good an explanation as I’ve heard proposed.
Shortly before 9/11, Atta went to a pharmacy with red hands, as if he had been working with bleach or detergent. Delray Beach, Florida pharmacist Greg Chadderton explained:
“There are two fellows, well dressed, and I asked if there was anything I could do to help them. And the one fellow, Otto, turned over to me showed me his hands, and he said “They’re itching and they’re burning, do you have a cream for this?” His hands were red from this area down (indicating from wrist down) on both of his hands, they were red. Not the normal colour you and
I would have from just being like this, but they were red. They weren’t blistering - they were simply red. They were red as if you had taken your hands and dunked them in a bucket of bleach or something. But they weren’t red on this side (backs of hands) where you would think, that’s what puzzled me, it was very perplexing that this side (palms?) was all red, it was almost as if he had touched something like this.”
He was given a cream called acid mantle.
Maybe his red hands related to a gas or spray later used to subdue passengers such as the red pepper spray introduced as an exhibit in the Moussaoui trial. This is the interpretation I favor after seeing the Moussaoui trial exhibit.
There is another disturbing possibility that has been suggested. The late Midhat Mursi aka Abu Khabab, the chemist helping Zawahiri with his Zabadi, or Curdled Milk, project, worked with a chemical additive for his pesticide/nerve agent. It increased absorption into the skin. Saponin, a natural detergent, is used for that purpose in a variety of commercial contexts. In late 2002, a plot was foiled when an attempt to purchase 1100 pounds of saponin was noticed by a chemical company and stopped. Authorities are not talking.
A final alternative for Atta’s red hands concerns the use of chlorine bleach to decontaminate anthrax. (which I doubt because forensic analysis shows the anthrax was grown in the Northeastern United States). Was Atta in Northeast US or Canada shortly before he visited the pharmacist? (I don’t know). I know he was in Toronto in the Spring but would have to check a timeline beyond that.
Under a latex allergy theory — or any theory — why would they only be red on the palm?
I recently used a spray can to paint a bird house and got green on my fingertips where it was in contact with the nozzle. Maybe practicing with pepper spray caused contact and the redness (just on his palm where there was contact). (I don’t know anything about pepper spray to know if it would have this effect).
But it seems the key clue is that the redness was only on his palm. And a key thing to consider would be his whereabouts shortly before he visited the pharmacist.
The interview seems to be on the political side of how to protect the populace from a future attack.
Not necessarily about solving the one in 2001.
If anyone out there has read it.....does he address the destruction at ISU???
bookmarking for later read
I can answer that from my own problems with latex gloves.The first time I got a rash it was the most intense where my hands perspired the most. My own hands get red on palms first then the knuckles and wrists.
1. Note that it was the publisher’s wife, not the photo editor’s wife, who was the realtor for the hijackers. I agree that it very interesting. As for whether the FBI ever considered the connection, absolutely.
2. The letters weren’t mailed from Newark, but were mailed from Trenton... New Brunswick. Which coincidentally was the where Al Qaeda’s website was maintained. Azzam.com was mirrored by a guy 6 miles from the mailbox. He was recently indicted for tax evasion. I know of no basis for the points you make about Iraqi intelligence or Saddam. I would think that Laurie M might have backed off a bit when her theory that KSM was not KSM was shown to be wrong. That was the main predicate of her theory. As for Saddam funding WTC 1993, that sounds dubious and unsupported — heck, the idiot bomber returned to Ryder for his deposit on the truck they were so hard up for cash. Ramzi on this flight home complained of the lack of cash. Saddam had hundreds of millions just in his compound collecting dust.
3. Your suggestion Germany gave Iraq Ames would require a URL. I highly doubt it and have exhaustively researched the narrow issue of access to Ames. ATCC, now at GMU (where Ali-Al Timimi) gave Iraq 5 strains of anthrax, including Vollum, in the mid-1980s. But extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. If you say Germany gave Iraq Ames, do you have a URL or citation? The best you can say is something like “Spertzel says they would have had it given the determined efforts they made to get it, such as after one UK conference.”
4. Prague has been been pretty roundly debunked. The short of the press you mention in the past years is that CIA Director has said it came to appear that it increasingly was unlikely and is not credited. The only thing supporting the suggestion was a waiter’s recollection from quite a while before. Against it were things such as Atta’s phone records. But it is a somewhat complicated matter and I can post what is known separately. The CIA believes that it never happened. Certainly the guy who Atta says he met stridently denies it. :0) In support of your position, Edward Jay Epstein has done good work, and gone to Prague for interviews.
5. There is no evidence Saddam’s regime had anything to do with the anthrax mailings. It is interesting that last year Scheuer says he is 100 percent certain Ansar Al-Islam was experimenting with anthrax in 2002. That is not corroborated by anything else in the public record but he was saying he knows for sure (based on intelligence that included humint and sigint). Now this is interesting because Ali-Al Timimi’s charity and friend gave money each year to the group that was renamed Ansar Al-Islam. That group was formed in December 2002 by several EIJ and IG operatives sent by Ayman Zawahiri who joined together several groups who had splintered. An Albany, NY imam who had worked for Mullah Krekar, the Ansar head, reportedly was contacted with a message from Bin Laden asking about flight schools and how close he could get to an [redacted] aircraft. So while Iraqi connections are interesting, they go to Salafists associated with Iraq and not Saddam.
Admittedly, answers don’t come easy given Ayman’s contacts with Iraqi intelligence over the years.
Yes, I just got back from the book store and was disappointed to see that only 5 pages were about the attacks. But they were bulleted points in favor of an Al Qaeda theory. He said the facts supporting an Al Qaeda theory would fill a book and he would just offer some highlights.
The biggest flaw in his treatment is he assumes he knows what the FBI did as part of its confidential investigation.
Except for one allusion to Suskind’s reference to “extremely virulent” anthrax allegedly being found in fall 2003 in Kandahar, the five pages could have been written in 2002.
I now favor a latex allergy theory, then.
But I think they made home-made pepper spray so perhaps the gloves related to that work.
I read that when realtor Gloria Irish went to see the apartment, they had torn out the toilet. I have no idea why they would do that.
I think we can agree Prague is unconfirmed, but I would be very interested in the very best support for such a connection.
Here is why I think it can be tentatively considered debunked:
According to some reports encouraged by Vice-President Cheney’s aide “Scooter” Libby Atta met in Prague with an Iraqi case handler and obtained the anthrax from Iraq then. The reported transfer of a vial of anthrax, however, is totally unproven. The origin of the story seems to have been based simply on speculation of what might have occurred (at a meeting never established to have occurred). For his part, al-Ani denies meeting with Atta. In a statement submitted for the record to the Armed Services Committee and released in July 2004, the CIA concluded that there was an “absence of any credible evidence” that a meeting occurred in 2001 between Atta and Iraqi intelligence in Prague. A declassified portions of classified June 21, 2002 CIA report, Iraq and al-Qaida: Interpreting a Murky Relationship states: “Reporting is contradictory on hijacker’s Mohammad Atta’s alleged trip to Prague and meeting with an Iraqi intelligence officer, and we have not verified his travels. A declassified portion of “CTC Iraqi Support for Terrorism” dated January 29, 2003 similarly concludes “the most reliable reporting to date casts doubt on this possibility.”
In contrast to what most of the senior Czech officials have said, the Prague Post quoted the director general of the Czech foreign intelligence service UZSI (Office of Foreign Relations and Information), Frantisek Bublan, denying the much-touted meeting. He also now may (or perhaps not) have been joined by the Czech President. But never let it be said the White House has been consistent on the issue either. Apparently the report is based on a waiter’s recollection of customers several months earlier. Even the Czech intelligence officials who support the report only cite a 70 percent probability that it was Atta. The bottom-line is that Al Qaeda did not necessarily need Iraq to commit this crime. It is more prudent to limit the conclusion to Al Qaeda’s involvement absent additional evidence. Even if there was a meeting, maybe it related just to taking action against Radio Free Europe.
Even if there was a meeting, maybe it related just to taking action against Radio Free Europe.
Some hawks advising the Administration, both in the government and in private business (to include Richard Perle and James Woolsey), argued that there was powerful evidence showing Iraq is giving biological and chemical weapons and training to Al Qaeda. Rumsfeld, whose comments of course should not be taken lightly, describes the evidence as “bulletproof.” CIA intelligence assessments such as the declassified portions of classified June 21, 2002 CIA report, Iraq and al-Qaida: Interpreting a Murky Relationship noted the involvement of Iraqi nationals in al-Qa’ida CBRN efforts, but concluded “we cannot determine, which, if any, of these Iraqi national Baghdad directed.” There are, indeed, some reports by defectors concerning Al Qaeda’s coordination with Saddam on biological and chemical weapons but those reports all depend on the reliability and detail of those reports by defectors. And now Scheuer doesn’t even stand behind his comments about Iraq and Sudan and his 2002 book about knowing your enemy. We now know, for example, that the son of a Chalabi aide made up info about mobile biolabs. Similarly, someone else forged documents relating to uranium. Shouldn’t there be criminal prosecutions? Classified CIA and DIA reports to the White House expressly questioned and doubted the reliability of senior Al Qaeda Al-Liby — who Secretary of State Powell would later expressly rely upon in his speech before the UN in which he held up a vial of anthrax.
The briefs made by President Bush and Tony Blair lacked a “smoking gun” in this regard. The information released by Powell similarly contained no “smoking gun” on the question of an Iraq/ Al Qaeda connection. It may turn out that there was merely a tolerance of Al Qaeda and Ansar al-Islam by the Iraqi regime. The nature of any cooperation between Al Qaeda and Iraq is still an open (at least disputed) question though criticism of the Administration’s distortion of intelligence has grown sharply. As in the game Monopoly, sometimes practical alliances can be formed for tactical purposes against a common enemy. A detailed argument relating to the connections between Iraq and Al Qaeda can be found online in the trillion dollar complaint against Iraq filed by the law firm Kreindler & Kreindler in connection with 9/11. There also is a lengthy Spring 2003 article by PhD microbiologist Dany Shoham who had been with the Israeli military intelligence and now is at an Israeli university. More recently, the illustrious Freeper TrebleRebel has written in an intelligence journal that the anthrax was Iraqi though it was AQ operationally.
As United States District Judge Harold Baer noted, and as Director Tenet has acknowledged, some of the early high-level contacts between Al Qaeda and Iraq related to a non-aggression pact. Judge Baer, upon the default of all the opposing parties and their failure to defend the lawsuit brought by the law firm Kreindler & Kreindler, found that CIA Director Woolsey and Laurie Mylroie had not presented any facts supporting their position, but that a jury could find in their favor by crediting their opinion. He described the evidence relied upon as consisting of layers of hearsay and therefore inadmissible.
Mylroie’s theory requires that Khalid Mohammed was an Iraqi intelligence agent — along with his nephew Ramzi Yousef. She even posits that Murad, a participant in the Bojinka operation, is necessarily an Iraqi agent. It is odd, then, that Murad did not disclose the fact in “tactical interrogation” (i.e., torture) by Philippine authorities and that his statement to US officials recount the names and location and details of his many family members. It is odder still that KSM did not disclose the fact in his months of interrogation. Yousef also failed to admit the fact — even in the course of extensive operations by the FBI involving a mafiosa defendant who had a nearby cell. In June 2004, yet another nephew of KSM was captured. No clear evidence emerged even after Iraq was invaded.
When a mid-level of aide of Jordanian poison expert Zarqawi captured in Iraq was a member of Zawahiri’s Egyptian Islamic Jihad, that sort of development points to Al Qaeda’s presence in Iraq — not a connection with the regime.
At most, I’d tend to agree that Wael, a senior Ansar member, was Iraqi intelligence.
Dr. Richard Spertzel, the former UN inspector in Iraq, says that the product here was well within Iraq’s capability. UNSCOM determined that the Iraqi weapons program produced dried anthrax as well as the more primitive wet form. Dr. Spertzel states: “Iraq certainly knows how to produce 100 percent pure spores. That is a technique that they developed .. which is capable of giving them the kind of concentrations that we are seeing in the Daschle letter.”
Given that at the time we knew where Saddam lived, and he was a survivalist, he would have wanted to maintain deniability in the event he had assisted in the anthrax mailing. A terrorist state sponsor would want to use a strain that was not associated with it. Thus, Iraq as a source of the Ames is entirely possible. It’s just not yet indicated by any of the evidence. Two top Iraqi scientists, codenamed Charlie and Alpha, helped the coalition to learn more about Iraqs anthrax program according to Dr. David Kay, head of the Iraq survey group in charge of the hunt for WMD, said. He has said that the Iraqis had made surprising innovations in the milling and drying processes needed to weaponize anthrax.
One source, Ghorbanifar, who dates back to the Iran-contra days — and at times has been stridently discredited by the CIA as unreliable — has said that Iran was the source of the anthrax.
In February 2003, in a much anticipated presentation about Iraq and its weapons, Secretary of State Colin Powell reported that a senior al Qaeda operative in custody has said that a terrorist operative was sent to Iraq several times between 1997 and 2000 for help in acquiring biological and chemical weapons. He was sent after Bin Laden determined that Al Qaeda labs were not sophisticated enough. In a document found on his computer, Zawahiri had indicated that experts would have to be recruited, particularly using universities as a cover, because using unsophisticated talent had not proved successful. Accordingly, based on what Ayman has written, the FBI should be giving priority to connections with researchers at universities and NGOs.
There’s every reason to think Zawahiri succeeded in recruiting the necessary expertise — just no compelling reason to think he obtained the expertise from Iraq. The papers found at headquarters of the Mukhabarat, Iraq’s feared secret police, show that an entourage from Al Qaeda group was sent to the Iraqi capital in March 1998 from Sudan. The talks are thought to have ended badly for Iraq. According to some reports, Bin Laden rejected the suggestion of an alliance — preferring to pursue his own concept of jihad. According to other information, it was Saddam who wanted to distance himself from Al Qaeda. He reportedly never responded to an Al Qaeda request that it be allowed to establish training camps. He viewed Al Qaeda as a threat to his regime.
Ramadan, former Iraqi Vice-President who hosted Ayman in Baghdad in 1998, was arrested by Kurdish forces. Saddam, of course, was also captured.
Some have pointed to reports that a leader, the late Abu Musab Zarqawi, thought to be involved in the planned ricin attacks, was a clear link between Al Qaeda and Iraq. Zarqawi reportedly was at the safe house in Afghanistan where traces of ricin and other poisons were found. According to an article that appeared in the conservative National Review, Iraq’s embassy in Islamabad hosted some Iraqi biochemical scientists, who trained Zarqawi and his lab technicians under the cover of the Taliban embassy. No further details ever emerged or were corroborated and the speculation arose that Al-LIbi had merely misled US interrogators after his capture in December 2001. He recanted his claims in 2004.
There were reports of an Al Qaeda facility in northern Iraq where there was testing of chemical and biological weapons (such as ricin) on barnyard animals and a human. The area, however, was in an area not controlled by Saddam Hussein. Al Qaeda had sent four of its senior leaders, including Abu Yasir (Taha), the former head of the Egyptian Islamic Group, to northern Iraq. Taha, 51, with a degree in commerce from Assiut University, served a five-year sentence for terrorist activities. Following his release, he left the country and settled in Afghanistan. He is credited with planning the massacre of tourists in Luxor in 1997.
Taha and his colleagues formed a fighting group of 600 men — known as Ansar al-Islam — out of an amalgamation of existing groups. ABCNEWS reported that there is evidence the terrorists tested ricin in water, as a powder and as an aerosol. (Some experts dispute that ricin can effectively be used as an aerosol or water contaminant.) The militants used it to kill donkeys and chickens, and at one point, allegedly exposed a man to the toxin in an Iraqi market and followed him home and watched him die several days later. In a television interview in January 2006, Michael Scheuer said he was 100% sure that in 2002, Ansar al-Islam was also experimenting with anthrax.
The senior Al Qaeda leader (and successor to the blind sheik) Abu Yasir, (Taha) before being extradited to Egypt, had lived in a suburb of the capital of Iran. Under the Administration’s logic, does that mean there is also state sponsorship by Iran? (Before anyone bombs Iran, let me hasten to add that the answer is no.)
The “bomb Iraq” crowd relied on only wisps of hearsay evidence and glimmers of ambiguous facts. In other contexts, the evidence was fabricated (such as related to the purchase of enriched uranium from Niger or the mobile bio labs). No hijacker was shown to have trained at Salman Pak, alleged to be a terrorist training facility (where a 747 was located), rather than a counterterrorist training facility.
On the other hand, while Bin Laden has declared Saddam’s party apostate and infidel, he has urged that there is a religious duty to cooperate with a secular ruler if it furthers jihad. The Iraqi intelligence chief Hijazi, who according to the Iraqi National Congress allegedly met with Osama in Afghanistan a few years ago was captured. In August 2003, former Iraqi Vice-President Ramadan, who met Zawahiri in 1998, was also captured. Saddam seemed to enjoy the debate with interrogators and at trial was defiant towards the court.
Polls show that most Americans think that the invasion of Iraq has led to an increase in the likelihood of terrorism rather than a decrease. Richard Clarke’s book, Against All Enemies, presented powerful support for the view, from an insider’s perspective. He was not merely “in the loop” — he as much as anyone was or should have been the loop. The same applies to the threatened use of biological weapons. William Patrick, former UN arms inspector and anthrax expert has said:
“I think they’ve buried this stuff in 10 to 12 feet of sand, and when the heat is off, and we’re no longer looking for weapons of mass destruction, they’ll go in the night, dig it up and give it to their friends in al-Qaeda and elsewhere. My scenario is that all hell’s going to break loose because that material’s going to be in the hands of terrorists who have no qualms about using it. I think it’s quite likely.”
A lawsuit by former FBI counterterrorism official, John O’Neill, filed in August 2003 alleges connections between Al Qaeda and Iraq, based in part on statements by Iraqi defectors, information from Iraq and al-Qaeda prisoners, and documents uncovered in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Complaint alleges that Iraqi intelligence provided al-Qaeda with training in document forgery and chemical and biological weapons in a series of contacts that spiked in 1996, and again after 1998.
For example, the Complaint, In re Estate of John P. O’Neill, Sr. et al. v. Republic of Iraq et al, D.D.C. 8/20/03 ^ alleges that -Zawahiri met with Iraqi intelligence in 1992 and 1998, and that contact between Iraq and al-Qaeda increased in 1998, when Al Qaeda bombed two U.S. embassies in Africa. According to a report by the Department of Defense to the Senate Intelligence committee, in the early 1990s, the main intermediary between Al Qaeda and Iraq was Sudanese strongman Hassan al-Turabi, a leader of the Al Qaeda-affiliated National Islamic Front.
A memo by Undersecretary of Defense Feith is even more dramatic. Not credited by the CIA or Richard Clarke, the memo does not represent an analysis of the relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda, as much as a laundry list of possible data points, many of which are not confirmed.
The 9/11 Commission, in contrast, concluded that Atta did not visit Prague in April 2001. On April 4, 2001, there is a picture of him at a Virginia ATM. On April 6, 9, and 10, 2001, there were calls made to his cell phone from within Florida to Florida. Then on April 11, 2001 he is known to have been in Florida. Moreover, “Newsweek has also learned that Czech investigators and U.S. intelligence have now obtained corroborated evidence which they believe shows that the Iraqi spy who allegedly met Atta was away from Prague on that day.”
In late November 2004, Iraqi troops in Fallujah, Iraq discovered a site with lab manuals on manufacturing explosives and toxins including anthrax — according to Iraq’s national security adviser. When seeking to resolve such issues, people need to put politics aside and pull together to get conclusive objective proof, one way or the other.
It was suggested that the red hands were a result of bleach on his hands.
I’m not sure a latex allergy would be so localized. Anyone with such an allergy, please advise.
For you newbies out there....AQ did it, using the mail to steal a totally unique mutant of genotype 62. No where has this been found except for the envelopes.
Five days after Bob Stevens died, ISU destroyed the historical collection kept in the vet school.
ZacandPook is right that Epstein has done some good work. He also has a suspicious mind.
“No where has this been found except for the envelopes.”
Wasn’t a mixed genotype used by the Navy Medical Research Center, in its mice vaccine challenge studies, as reported in the proceedings of the 4th conference on anthrax (the meeting was in Annapolis in June 2001).
You’ll recall that Dr. Knudson sent the ISU professor the mailing label that I uploaded. It had the NRMC fax number for the lab there.
It involves development of a DNA vaccine involving a mutated plasmid. I describe it in the thread with “Alibek” in the title a day or two ago.
There is no evidence that historical collection had Ames. USDA lab magager’s Thomas Bunn is quoted at the time saying it didn’t.
I have a suspicious mind which is why I called all the professors involved in the destruction and contacted the USDA.
I came away with no citable evidence that any Ames was destroyed. Instead, the historical strains involved 5 or 6 strains from locals cows. Bessie, Angie, Coral, Monroe, and Clarabelle.
Folks talking about the destruction of the ISU inventory routinely fail to distinguish between ISU and the USDA lab.
Question: Did the USDA lab assist the UNMC in the vaccine research I mention? Was Dr. Bunn previously at USAMRIID doing vaccine research at the time Dr. Knudson was at USAMRIID doing vaccine research? Is that why Dr. Knudson routed the request to USDA Iowa? If a mutated strain was used in developing the UNMC strain with the mutated plasmid, and there was an Iowa destruction that was countenanced by USAMRIID (which was advising the FBI), now that would be very notable.
I’m kidding about Clarabelle, of course.
But here is what Tom Bunn said in late January 2002.
Dr. Tom Bunn, Chief of Diagnostic Bacteriology at the U.S. Department of
Agriculture (USDA) lab in Ames, IA, on the same subject Many people were
concerned that someone had stolen this from us. Now we can say that they
couldnt have stolen it from us, because we never had it.
&tOne Anthrax Answer: Ames Strain Not From Iowa
By Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 29, 2002; Page A02
In four months, FBI agents and scientists have unraveled many of the mysteries surrounding the strain of anthrax used in last fall’s deadly attacks. The ;Ames strain” is now known to be highly virulent, resistant to many vaccines and a perennial favorite of military researchers and bioterrorists.
But here’s one thing the lethal bug is decidedly not: originally from Ames, Iowa.
New details emerging from the bacterium’s murky past suggest the Ames strain did not come from the sleepy Iowa college town of the same name, or from anywhere else in Iowa. It was a Texas strain, cultured from a Texas cow, federal officials now say.
How it came to be known internationally as the Ames strain is a story of confused labeling and mistaken identity in the Defense Department’s two-decade-old quest to find the perfect vaccine to protect troops against a near-perfect killer.
“It’s been a puzzle,” said the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Tom Bunn, one of several officials of the agency’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service who have been trying to sort out the strain’s origins since it was linked to the bioterrorism attacks in Florida, New York and Washington.
The Ames strain — one of 89 known genetic varieties of anthrax — was used in each of the attacks on U.S. Senate offices and Florida and New York media companies in September and October. To law enforcement officials, that suggests the attacker had a scientific background and, quite possibly, access to one of a small group of U.S. military research labs and contractors known to possess Ames.
The Army acquired the strain in 1981 as part of a national search for novel types of anthrax to use in testing vaccines. It had no name until 1985, when it was described in a scientific paper by researchers at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Fort Detrick, Md.
It was called “Ames” because the researchers believed the strain came from there: The shipping package bore a return address from the USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories, an Ames lab that diagnoses illnesses in cattle, according to Gregory Knudson, a former USAMRIID scientist and a co-author of the article that identified the strain. The label stuck.
But in the weeks after the anthrax attacks, questions emerged about the strain’s origins. The Washington Post filed a request with the USDA under the Freedom of Information Act asking for details about the strain’s history. After an exhaustive search, USDA officials in Iowa could find nothing: no record of anthrax strains delivered to the Army, and no reports of anthrax outbreaks among Iowa cattle in the early 1980s.
“When we went back and checked, there was no record of a bacterial culture coming from a cow in Iowa in 1980-81,” said Bunn, chief of the USDA’s Diagnostic Bacteriology Laboratory. He added: “If the Army asked for something we would have given it to them.”
A search of long-forgotten Army documents finally resolved the mystery. The strain, it turns out, had come from Texas, which did experience anthrax outbreaks around 1980. The Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostics Laboratory at Texas A&M University isolated the microbe and shipped it to USAMRIID in May 1981.
The germs were mailed in a special container, identical to hundreds of others that the USDA supplies to veterinary labs around the country. The return address on the package: the USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories, Ames, Iowa.
The terrorists going to a Florida clinic with skin anthrax was widely known at the time after 911.
It doesn’t take a Brain Surgeon or a Dermatologist to connect the dots.
I just disagree with the author of the book that the FBI has not always aggressively pursued an AQ theory (simultaneous with a US biodefense insider theory).
Aren’t you correct that the inverted plasmid is important and highly probative evidence in proving Amerithrax? Consider the work done by the fellow who collected Ames on mutagenesis. And the work done by UNMC circa 2000. And then consider Ali Al-Timimi’s high security clearance for work for the Navy. The UNMC’s DNA vaccine research had caused it to expand to require experts in genomics. Ali’s field was genomics. Didn’t SRA International, Ali’s employer, work with the Navy in the Spring of 2001?
Barbara Hatch Rosenberg, who runs the Federation of American Scientists chemical and biological arms control program, announced in December 2001. Im certain its someone connected with a government program, or who works in a laboratory connected with a government program, she said. The grapevine has it that the results of an experiment on genetic variation at certain locations suggest that this material was made in a very small batch, and that suggests that the material was not made in some old weapons program on a large scale, she said, citing sources inside and outside the government. All the available information is consistent with a U.S. government lab as the source, either of the anthrax itself or of the recipe for the U.S. weaponization process, wrote Rosenberg on a webpage.
Wasn’t BHR correct? Just mistaken that it was Dr. Hatfill? And mistaken that the motive was to sound an alarm so as to increase spending?
Elliott TB, Brook I, Harding RA, Bouhaouala SS, Peacock SJ, Knudson GB.
Radiation Medicine Department, Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Interactions and Countermeasures Research Team, Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, 8901 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20889-5603, USA.
[AFFRI is at UNMC]
Bacillus anthracis infection in irradiated mice: susceptibility, protection, and therapy.
Mil Med. 2002 Feb;167(2 Suppl):103-4. No abstract available.
PMID: 11873486 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Infect Immun. 1988 January; 56(1): 176-181
Transposon Tn916 mutagenesis in Bacillus anthracis.
B E Ivins, S L Welkos, G B Knudson and D J Leblanc
Division of Bacteriology, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, Maryland.
Photoreactivation of ultraviolet-irradiated, plasmid-bearing, and plasmid-free strains of Bacillus anthracis.
G B Knudson
The effects of toxin- and capsule-encoding plasmids on the kinetics of UV inactivation of various strains of Bacillus anthracis were investigated. Plasmids pXO1 and pXO2 had no effect on bacterial UV sensitivity or photoreactivation. Vegetative cells were capable of photoreactivation, but photo-induced repair of UV damage was absent in B. anthracis Sterne spores.
Immunization against anthrax with aromatic compound-dependent (Aro-) mutants of Bacillus anthracis
- all 4 versions »
BE Ivins, SL Welkos, GB Knudson, SF Little - Infection and Immunity, 1990 - Am Soc Microbiol
Page 1. Vol. 58, No. 2 INFECTION AND IMMUNITY, Feb. 1990, p. 303-308 0019-9567/90/
020303-06$02.00/0 Immunization against Anthrax with Aromatic Compound-Dependent
(Aro-) Mutants of Bacillus anthracis and with Recombinant Strains ...
Cited by 47 - Related Articles - Web Search
I love the opening of the book.
That’s why I get so annoyed at Mr. Lake when he intentionally omits the 2007 BBC and AP articles about AQ allegedly having weaponized anthrax. (One case involved the Information Minister who had the powder in packets for mailing to government offiicals and another the Gitmo Kabul military commander who allegedly possessed anthrax upon his capture).
People should feel free to advocate whatever position they like but they should not put blinders on and fail to disclose material that, unless debunked, tends to support a contrary view.
My only disagreement with Colonel Larsen is that he assumes that the FBI has had blinders on rather than aggressively pursued all leads in a confidential national security investigation. What Mueller in 2005 said as to motive was:
Remember 911. Remember Oklahoma City.
And what Ashcroft said was that people misunderstand what the DOJ means when they use the word “domestic” — it in no way excludes highly educated supporters (in the US) of the militants.
Fitzgerald, from the FBI behavioral unit, in 2002 was wrong. But that was five years ago.
Our Own Worst Enemy
by Colonel Randall J. Larsen USAF (Ret)
Wrong Questions Produce Wrong Answers
JUST NINE DAYS AFTER THE 9/11 ATTACKS, TWO MEN AND A WOMAN CROSSED Pennsylvania Avenue and approached the northwest entrance to the White House. All three carried briefcases. Security was incredibly tight, and it took them nearly fifteen minutes to clear the metal, explosives, and radiological detectors, and a physical search of their bags. These were not regular times at the White House, and these were not regular guests.
Everything appeared normal, but a uniformed Secret Service agent asked one of the men why he had a surgical mask in his briefcase. The man replied, Just for demonstration. You saw Mayor Rudy Giuliani wear one at Ground Zero, right? The three were permitted to enter. They walked down two corridors and up two flights of stairs. After waiting for several minutes in a small room, Vice President Dick Cheney and several of his senior staff members walked into the room. In the same briefcase that contained the surgical mask, not more than ten feet from where the vice president was seated, was a test tube filled with weaponized Bacillus globigii. None of the security devices had detected it.
During that meeting, Vice President Cheney asked the question: What does a biological weapon look like?
I pulled the test tube from my briefcase and said, Sir, it looks like this, and by the way, I did just carry this into your office. I went on to explain that Bacillus globigii is harmless, but physically and even genetically it is nearly identical to Bacillus anthracisthe bacterium that causes anthrax. If you can make the former, you will have no difficulty making the latter.
Two weeks later, Dr. Tara OToole, the director of the Center for BiosecurityUniversity of Pittsburgh Medical Center and I walked into CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia, to meet with the chief of indications and warning. While going through the security checkpoint, I noted the presence of a guard in full battledress uniform and armed with a machine gun (something not often seen at CIA Headquarters). After making eye contact with him, I took the test tube from one pocket, looked at it for a moment to make sure he could see it, and gently placed it in the other. The guard said nothing. Once again, a test tube of weaponized Bacillus globigii was carried into one of the most secure buildings in America.
Three weeks later, the office of Tom Daschle, the Senate minority leader, received an envelope filled with a far smaller quantity of weaponized and dangerous Bacillus anthracis. The young intern running the automatic letter-opening machine saw a fine mist of powder emerge from the envelope, and the Capitol Police were summoned. Later that day, all members of Congress and their staffs were evacuated from the Capitol Building and the six congressional office buildings. The Senate Hart Office Building, home to Tom Daschle and his staff, would remain closed for ninety days. It was contaminated with anthrax.
It would be easy to place the responsibility for the two earlier security lapses on the men and women entrusted with guarding the White House and CIA Headquarters. After all, if they cant protect their own house, how can we expect them to protect ours? But centering the blame on these individuals is both unjust and inaccurate. The failure was not one of execution, but of education. This lack of education and understanding of homeland security is the root of our problems. The Secret Service agent saw the test tube in my briefcase, but he asked about the surgical mask. He asked the wrong question. He is not alone.
And his next passage by Colonel Larsen underlies why I disagree with my friends Dany Shoham and Stuart Jacobsen who argued in a journal article that it was AQ operationally, but that Iraq supplied the know-how.
“The number one problem of homeland security is that the majority of leaders in the public and private sectors, academics, self-appointed experts, and pundits rush to provide answers before they have properly constructed the questions. This is because they assume the questions have not changed. They are wrong. The questions have changed. The reason for these changes is not al Qaeda or 9/11; the reason is technology. Weapons formerly restricted to the arsenals of large industrialized nation-states are now within reach of small states and some nonstate actors.
In the twenty-first century, biotechnology will change our lives even more than nuclear technology did in the twentieth century. Thirty years ago we didnt have to struggle with the ethical dilemmas of stem cell research and cloning or the threat of genetically engineered bioweapons. But change has not been limited to new types of weapons; it is the entire international environment that has changed.
When I use the term al Qaeda in this book, I am not limiting it to the terrorist group commanded by Osama bin Laden. I use it to describe a loose affiliation of fanatical Islamic terrorists. They go by many names: Jemaah Islamiyah (Indonesia), Islamic Jihad (West Bank and Gaza), Al-Gama al-Islamiyya (Egypt), Harkat-ul-Mujahideen al-Alami (Pakistan), and the Armed Islamic Group (Algeria). The State Department identifies two dozen Islamic terrorist organizations. Some operations are under the strict command and control of bin Laden, such as the attacks on our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the USS Cole, and 9/11. Other operations, such as the attacks in Bali, Spain, and London, were planned and executed by al Qaeda affiliates. These affiliates endorse al Qaeda religious guidance that allows for the killing of innocents during a holy war. Their theory is that true innocents will go directly to heaven when killed in a jihad. (According to bin Laden, Americans can never be true innocents since our tax dollars pay for the war against al Qaeda.) Some of these affiliates receive training and even limited funding from al Qaeda, while others operate independently except for moral support and religious guidance.”
His comments about where AQ would build a bioweapon remind me of a story this week about where Mexican drug lords choose to grow marijuana (in the US):
Colonel Larsen writes:
“I understand many Americans frustration with our porous borders, but we need to spend our limited resources on solutions that will really work. There are ways to significantly reduce illegal immigration, but I guarantee you there is no way to prevent terrorists from smuggling a bioweapon into this country. Furthermore, al Qaeda training manuals available on the Internet state that its better to build weapons inside the country one plans to attack, rather than transport them across international borders. In virtually every al Qaeda attack, this is precisely what the terrorists did, whether in Kenya and Tanzania in August 1998, Bali in October 2002, Morocco in May 2003, Turkey in December 2003, Spain in March 2004, or London in July 2005. That is why biodefense requires different solutions than those required to reduce illegal immigration.”
Who is Randall Larsen, you ask?
Two days after 9-11, when VP Cheney wanted a briefing on the threat of bio terrorism, he called Randy Larsen.
During the anthrax crisis of Oct 2001, Larry King needed an expert; he called Randy Larsen-6 nights in a row.
Americas leading expert on homeland security!, says Congressman Chris Cox, Chairman of House Homeland Security Committee.
In addition to a videotape based on the book “Our Own Worst Enemy,” he has an earlier video program titled “Bioterrorism: Myth or Reality?”
errata - Ansar al Islam was formed in December 2001, not December 2002 as I mistyped. (It was an amalgamation of different groups/splinters and put together by EIJ/IG leaders sent by Ayman Zawahiri — to include the blind sheik’s successor Taha.
But while I will be fascinated by any URL showing that someone in Germany gave Iraq Ames (and they did want it and covert and even over-the-counter acquisition not a hard thing to do), I haven’t see such support in the past.
Here’s what I think we have reason to credit about access to Ames. I’ll be thrilled to add a link re transfer to Iraq if it exists.
“As I worked through the letters, it became apparent that Fort Detrick was the best place for the FBI to begin looking for a suspect,” Dr Paul Keim, an anthrax expert at the University of Northern Arizona, was hired by the FBI to help with the investigation, told the Daily Mail [UK] in 2005. TIGR scientist Timothy Read who headed the project to sequence the anthrax used in the attacks said of the comparison of the anthrax that killed Bob Stevens to theanthrax held at USAMRIID It is basically like looking for differences in identical twins. Ari Fleischer had explained in December 2001, The evidence is increasingly looking like it was a domestic source. But again, this remains something that is not final nor totally conclusive yet.... I cant give you the scientific reasons behind it, but you can assume theyre based on investigative and scientific means.... Theres a big difference between the source of it [the anthrax] and who sent it, because the two do not have to be tied. Dr. Martin Hugh-Jones of Lousiana State University expressed skepticism that the FBI was up to the technical challenges: When you cant even find a refrigerator to keep the bug, that doesnt say much for your chances of ever finding the one who mailed it.
The Ames strain came from a cow in Texas in 1980. Texas veterinarian Mike Vickers sent a sample from a carcass in south Texas to the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Lab (”TVMDL”). A now-retired Dr. Howard Whitford, who isolated it from a carcass, forwarded it. When it arrived at Ft. Detrick, it bore a preprinted label from Agriculture Department’s National Veterinary Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. The mailing label resulted in the name “Ames” and some initial confusion among outside experts as to the history of the strain. It was forwarded pursuant to a request by Dr. Knudson of Ft. Detrick who had sought field strains of anthrax. Dr. Knudson at Ft. Detrick still had the correspondence from the time, to include even the mailing label. Published accounts say that it was just a mistaken use of the lab mailer and was sent from USAMRIID directly from Texas. In reality, based on what United States Postal Inspector, a member of the Amerithrax Task Force has said, perhaps it was first sent to Iowa. In contrast, a USDA spokesman has formally denied to me, after having the answer vetted by counterterrorism officials, having any indication that it was ever at Ames. He had previously noted that they may have had it without knowing it as the “Ames strain.”
A preliminary related question is: Did the Texas lab that first isolated it keep a sample? Dr. Howard Whitford, now retired to Montana, in response to a telephone inquiry, reports he may have sent it elsewhere. But as a general rule, most diagnostic labs have such a high a volume of samples — and they are the same for veterinary purposes — that samples would be routinely destroyed. The isolate likely was chosen to be sent to Ft. Detrick in the first place because the notes by the veterinarian, Dr. Vickers, indicate that it was particularly virulent, killing 30 cattle in a short time. He gave the example of one cow that had been healthy in the morning and then dead a few hours later.
As for the testing of lab isolates where the strain is known to be (and a copy of the strain can be obtained for testing), the genetic analysis of Dr. Keim, from Northern Arizona, had potentially promised to remove all doubt as to the source of the anthrax. Hope has long since faded according to press reports. A spokesman at the Institute for Genetic Research in Rockville, Md. provided the FBI with its first genetic road map for anthrax, has said that the differences identified by his team could not pinpoint the source. The Science article reporting the Keim and Reid genetic analysis does not address the testing done with respect to isolates from the vast majority of labs where Ames was known to be. 15 lab isolates remained to be tested.
The research is reported in Science. The analysis is directed to showing the similarity between various samples of Ames. The institutions known to have fully virulent B. anthracis Ames include USAMRIID, Naval Medical Research Center, Dugway in Utah, CDC, CAMR-Porton [in Great Britain], Battelle in Ohio, University of Northern Arizona (Keim), University of New Mexico, Louisiana State University (Hugh-Jones), and University of Scranton (DelVecchio). Alibek says Russia had Ames. Porton Down reportedly provided it to four unnamed researchers. (That, for example, is where Martin Hugh-Jones at LSU got it in the late 1990s). American Type Culture Collection (”ATCC”) has written me to say that as a matter of policy, they will not address whether their patent repository (as distinguished from their online catalog) had virulent Ames prior to 9/11. They did not take the opportunity to deny it.
Anthrax that was destroyed at Iowa State University in early Fall 2001 had first been isolated as early as 1928. There were 100 or so vials of five or six strains.
By way of further background, there was no requirement to document transfers prior to 1997. One former USAMRIID-sponsored vaccine researcher at UMass, Dr. Curtis Thorne reports that samples used to be sent by ordinary mail. In 2001, his research on virulence of genetically altered anthrax strains was being built upon at the University of Texas (Houston) by Theresa Koehler under a grant from the CIA, the National Institutes of Health and others. The Ames strain, along with other strains, would be distributed not for nefarious purposes, but for veterinary and other research, to include use in challenging vaccines in development. Its critical to use a genetically complete strain of the [anthrax] bacterium in experiments involving virulence, University of Texas (Houston) scientist Koehler has said.
“We just don’t know how many hands it went through before it got to the ultimate user,” explained Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota and once a consultant to the government’s investigation. One expert, Dr. C.J. Peters, summarizes: “Knowing that this strain was originally isolated in the U.S. has absolutely nothing to do with where the weapon may have been prepared because, as I tried to make the point, these strains move around. A post doc in somebody’s laboratory could have taken this strain to another lab and it could have been taken overseas and it could have ended up absolutely anywhere. Tiny quantities of anthrax that you couldn’t see, that you couldn’t detect in an inventory can be used to propagate as much as you want. So that’s just not, in fact, very helpful.”
It’s naive to think that Al Qaeda could not have obtained Ames just because it tended to be in labs associated with the US military. As just one example, US Army Al Qaeda operative Sgt. Ali Mohammed accompanied Zawahiri in his travels in the US. (Ali Mohamed had been a major in the same unit of the Egyptian Army that produced Sadats assassin, Khaled Islambouli). Ali Al-Timimi was working in the building housing the Center for Biodefense funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (”DARPA”) and had access to the facilities at both the Center for Biodefense and the adjacent American Type Culture Collection. Michael Ray Stubbs was an HVAC system technician at Lawrence Livermore Lab with a high-level security clearance permitting access. That was where the effort to combat the perceived Bin Laden anthrax threat was launched in 1998. Aafia Siddiqui, who attended classes at a building with the virulent Vollum strain, later married a 9/11 plotter. The reality is that a lab technician, researcher, or other person similarly situated might simply have walked out of some lab that had it.
Among the documents found in Afghanistan in 2001, were letters and notes written in English by a scientist about his attempts to obtain an anthrax sample. One handwritten letter was on the letterhead of the Society for Applied Microbiology, the UK’s oldest microbiological society. The Society for Applied Microbiology of Bedford, UK, recognizes that “the development and exploitation of Applied Microbiology requires the maintenance and improvement of the microbiological resources in the UK, such as culture collections and other specialized facilities.”
Ft. Detrick sent its Ames strain to places like Porton Down in Great Britain and Suffield in Canada. Martin Hugh-Jones at Lousiana State University was sent the Ames strain in the late 1990s from Peter Turnbull at Porton Down. Jones says he traded anthrax strains like they were baseball cards. USAMRIID sent Ames to the lab at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff in March 2000. USAMRIID sent the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, an Albuquerque research institute, the strain in March 2001. Aberdeen Proving Ground built a Biolevel-3 facility sometime in 2001 and by 2002, according to one newspaper account, had 19 virulent strains of anthrax, including Ames.
Peter Turnbull, then at Porton Down, has said that Porton Down shared Ames with “very few” researchers whom he declined to name. Porton Down scientists previously acknowledged sharing the Ames strain with the agency’s public health branch, the Center for Applied Microbiology and Research (”CAMR”). CAMR officials also acknowledged distributing Ames to a small number of private researchers. Keim’s analysis was able to exclude at least one Porton Down isolate: The Washington Post in the spring of 2002 reported that it is now indisputable the mailed microbes are direct descendants of the germs developed at Fort Detrick. According the Post article, the sequencing has allowed Keim’s lab to rule out three sources of the anthrax, including one isolate from the British biodefense lab at Porton Down.
At Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass. — where Al Qaeda sympathizer Aafia Siddiqui studied — research scientist Daniel Perlman ran into trouble with university administrators after conducting experiments after the anthrax attacks, upon being asked by a company to devise a diagnostic tool to detect anthrax contamination. He and a colleague revived a sample of anthrax from an old strain and created a nutrient on which pretty much only anthrax would thrive.” Upon hearing of the scientists’ study, Brandeis’ administration became alarmed that anthrax had been grown without university approval. It called in authorities, and it shut the biology building for a week to test for spores. Microbiologist Mahler advises me that she and Dr. Perlman used virulent Vollum, the strain used by the US Army before Ames.
In 2005, Dr. Michael V. Callahan, who worked for the Department of Defense at the time of his testimony, told the House Subcommittee on Prevention of Nuclear and Biological Attack of the Committee on Homeland Security: “the choice of the near-ubiquitous Ames strain, combined with the absence of forensic details in either the agent or the letters, indicate that the terrorist is scientifically informed, wary of detection and extremely dangerous.”
The strain referenced in documents on Khalid Mohammed’s computer seized in March 2003 was not Ames and perhaps not even virulent. It is reasonable to assume that the anthrax purchased from the North Korea supplier was not Ames (if that report of an early acquisition is credited). Thus, the question relevant to an Al Qaeda theory is what access to the US Army strain might have been accomplished by someone with 1) an organization supported by funds diverted from charities backing his play, and 2) a lot of educated and technically-trained Salafists who believe in his Islamist cause. Some possible sources include England, Canada, Russia (or former Soviet bloc country), the US Army, or a facility that obtained Ames from the US Army or other researcher who had it. Former UN Inspector Richard Spertzel thought that Iraq would likely have Ames — having first sought it in 1988 (and security being so lax at so many laboratories that had it). The strains Iraq included Sterne, A-3, two Vollum strains, and five other strains from the American Type Culture Collection. Russia reportedly had Ames and a senior Russian scientist was assisting Iraq. Dr. Alibek has explained that Russia had spies at Ft. Detrick, which explains why they tended to copy everything Ft. Detrick had done 6 months later. But it seems more likely that Al Qaeda simply got it directly from a western laboratory — given that Ayman had a trusted scientist attending conferences sponsored by Porton Down scheduling 10-day lab visit as early as 1999 and had the support of other scientists (such as GMU’s Al-Timimi) who did advanced research at US and UK universities. NBC once reported that the 16 labs known to have Ames had been winnowed to 4 that were a match.
Dr. Read, a scientist helping with the Amerithrax investigation in the DNA sequencing, long ago published the news that the anthrax was a 50/50% mixture of genotype 62 (Ames) and genotype 62 with an inversion on the plasmid. This would mean two distinct nucleic acids were detected in the sample. This means that some of the Ames had a segment of DNA that is inverted, or flipped, relative to the remainder of the plasmid. (No properly trained microbiologist would propagate or archive a mixture. Standard microbiological procedure calls for isolation of single colonies - i.e., single, unmixed cells and their clonal, unmixed progeny — at each step.) Inversions are not an uncommon class of mutational events, however. It would only be especially probative if it were a rare inversion and if samples were to be present among samples collected from laboratory archives. It is possible that the anthrax used is highly distinctive (pinpointing a single lab) and the authorities just don’t have that sample collected.
In March 2005, at a bioterrorism conference, French Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin had claimed that al-Qaeda affiliates have produced biological and chemical weapons in Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge, which borders on Chechnya. The militants there had a connection and contact with Arab Chechen fighter Ibn Khattab. De Villepin told members of a bioterrorism conference in Lyons, France, that after the invasion of Afghanistan, al-Qaeda cells moved to the Pankisi Gorge in order to continue their efforts. Russia claimed that the Pankisi Gorge in the former Soviet republic of Georgia was a haven for Chechen militants and international terrorists. Bin Laden’s confidante Ibn Khattab, who was killed by a poison letter in 2002, once said that wounded fighters and some international aid organizations were located there.
Chechnya lies 40 miles to the North. The Georgians say a six-man team of chemists was brewing poisons to be used on Westerners in Central Asia. Until late 2001, the Arab fighters reportedly were protected by high-ranking and corrupt officials and operated with impunity in the dense forests. The FSB has identified Islamic charities operating in Chechnya and elsewhere in the region to include Al-Haramain and Benevolence International Foundation historically associated with Al Qaeda’s aspiration to develop anthrax for use against US targets. The Benevolence International Foundation, a Chicago-based charity, provided financial support to the Chechen Islamists, according to a U.S. government affidavit filed in a Chicago court.
In September 2005, more than 60 deadly bacterial strains that were the legacy of the former Soviet Union’s biological weapons program were brought to the US from Baku, Azerbaijan as part of a joint program to combat bioterrorism. Copies of the strain were shipped aboard a U.S. military plane — on one of those not-so-secret secret missions announced the same week by the Associated Press. Arriving at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware officials, analysis of the strains at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology began immediately. The shipment was pursuant to an agreement under which the US provided money for its security of the pathogens to prevent theft by bioterrorists. AP reported: “In exchange for the aid, Azerbaijan agreed to share copies of its strains with the United States, which could prove helpful in the event of future anthrax attacks similar to the mail contamination nearly four years ago in Washington and New York. Those cases remain unsolved.” Russia, in contrast, AP reported, “has declined to share its biological strains and has urged former Soviet republics not to share their pathogens.” Former Russian bioweaponeer Ken Alibek, however, has always said that Russia had Ames. Moreover, a former KGB spy master says that the Russians had a spy at Ft. Detrick who provided samples of all specimens by diplomatic pouch.
The strains were shipped in what looked like a large camping cooler — and it took a waiver by authorities to avoid going through the X-ray. An Army captain from the Walter Reed Institute of Research was waiting to bring the strains back to the United States. After the analysis by AFIP, the announcements by the FBI relating to Amerithrax, as reported by the press, began pointing to the fact that the Ames strain was more widely distributed than previously believed. In late October 2006, the Washington Post reported: “But the more the FBI investigated, the more ubiquitous the Ames strain seemed, appearing in labs around the world including nations of the former Soviet Union.” But the precise sourcing of the report is unclear. In May 2006, Scheuer also claimed that Ansar-al-Islam in Northern Iraq was experimenting with anthrax based on signals intelligence and human intelligence.
Thus, Zawahiri’s access to the Ames strain is still yet to be proved or disclosed, but there was no shortage of possibilities. Dr. Lorraine Hoffman, Iowa State University veterinary microbiologist, on the clearing up of the Ames strain confusion, summarized the issue of access to Ames nicely: Whoever got it, got it from somewhere.
I just did. I have a sensitivity to latex. I can use deproteinised latex gloves but not cheaper latex. The reaction is localized but I am at risk for a full blown systemic reaction if I do not watch exposure.
Very cool, armymarinemom!
TIB: Potential for Allergy to Natural Rubber Latex Gloves and ...
They can vary from localized redness and rash to nasal, sinus, and eye symptoms .....
While the patient was in medical school, she noted occasional localized hives following use of latex gloves and, despite switching to “hypoallergenic” latex ...
Latex Allergy - Information for Health Professionals
localized skin rash or itching (generally on the hands); ...
It is a result of mechanical disruption of the skin due to the rubbing of gloves and accounts for the majority of latex-induced local skin rashes. ...
Now if you understand genetics, you can say that what was mailed was genotype 62 in a mixture of regular genotype 62 and a mutant with a 929 basepair inversion....(That is the signature) Now where to find this non-selective combination??
So far they have NOT been able to find this.
So the question remains: Did the perps steal the regular kind and then allow it to mutate while it was in their hands, or did they steal an already mutated batch, and the owner of that batch destroy the rest?
What we need to do is go to that place where it was all destroyed and start screening.
"...how many of them were aware that Mohammad Attas roommate had cutaneous anthrax...."
In fact, it's not known that Al Haznawi had anthrax. There has been some speculation to that effect -- educated speculation, by the emergency room doctor who treated him at the time, but after-the-fact speculation nonetheless.
When he overstates his case like this, it makes me doubt his accuracy in general.
Incidentally, around the time of the anthrax mailings, there were other cases of apparent spider bites and lung infections that some have speculated might have been undiagnosed anthrax, but, in the absence of proof, those people have not been placed on any list of victims of the anthrax mailings.
Would you be so kind as to provide some detail for that assertion. What means of qualitative and/or quantitative analysis were used?
Why did Atta look into getting a crop duster, do you think?
There was some funny powder on the pages.
I believe it was based on the qualities that the water used in the media would leave. They know what each signature is.
When I worked in the lab, we used distilled water (ALWAYS!!!) when making the media. That was part of my job: replenish the stock of media. One would never use tap water.
So if it is true that you can trace where it was made by tracing the source of the water....then you have to say that the water used in the media was bottled somewhere in the N.E.
One — that’s a general answer to a different, but related, question. It doesn’t answer what method was used, nor what signature was the key, nor how strong a signature it was.
Two — dried spores, how much water do they have?
I say they did. I was there. I know what I saw. And there are three Postal Inspection Agents who are keenly aware that I exist and are working on this.
I thought it would take time to find the guy in the vet school that mailed it out of there. It took me a year, but I now know where he is.
He is probably reading this right now!!
It has been 13 months since I found him, and I found him on the Internet thanks to a liberal university and another vet with an overgrown ego.
At that time, I said that it would take Special Ops a year to get into place and catch him with the goods.
Now the political situation in that country has deteriorated. Push has come to shove.
Notice that between WTC 93 and 9-11, there were no loud threats...we’re gonna get this done. Other than the one comment from Ranzi Yousef. (Casual remark while sitting on the airplane)
There has been no claim of responsibility....to me this really stands out....they are very happy to have us use vast resources to chase Hatfill. They will do it again, or at least try. The avenue may not be the mail. We sorta plugged that hole.
But there are still intricate political barriers to solving this.
And...am I right? Or did I see a duplicate theft?
Your point seems sound.
By way of some context:
Larsen on Larry King -.
“LARSEN: The reporter was talking to the anchorperson and said the Ames strain of this anthrax is resistant to vaccine, the anthrax vaccine. Well, first of all, that is wrong. The Ames vaccine — or the Ames strain was catalogued about 50 years ago in Ames, Iowa. That is the strain of anthrax we use to test our vaccine. So, obviously, it is not resistant to it. ...
Now, in the rush to get the story on the network news, we must not give up credibility and truth. We’ve got to get the facts right. And I think, if we give the right facts to the American people, we are going to be in a lot better shape. All the exercises we have done have proven it is important for our elected officials, our appointed officials and the media to provide good, solid information. We need to give the American people facts, not fear.”
Now this is ironic, because his factual point is mistaken. The origin of this “Ames strain” is a cow in Texas in 1981 or so.
But the key is that as new information becomes available, positions are adapted.
Your point does not mention or address that “extremely virulent” anthrax was then found in Fall 2003 in Kandahar, where the hijacker had just come from.
So whatever expert opinion Ingleby and O’Toole, the bioterror experts, rendered, was made much more likely (assuming we credit Suskind’s book on this point).
BVW, I have no scientific training and find BRAIN QUEST, Fourth Grade, hard, so take this for what it’s worth.
The FBI scientists have been able to distinguish between water isotopes ratios in the anthrax. Brian Williams reports that investigators have told NBC that the water used to make the spores came from the Northeastern United States. researchers have been able to establish that anthrax grown in water in the Northeastern United States is distinguishable from anthrax grown in water from the Southeast and Pacific Northwest. In one published anthrax study, researchers grew Bacillus subtilis, a harmless bacteria that resembles Bacillus anthracis, using local water from five different U.S. cities. The scientists were able to distinguish those grown in various cities. The method can be used to narrow the number of possible origins of the water based on the number of oxygen and hydrogen isotopes. Similarly, a press release announced in September 2003 that University of Maryland researchers have developed a technique to help the FBI track the origins of deadly anthrax spores by identifying the medium used to grow it. The FBI asked Maryland professor Catherine Fenselau to turn her mass spectrometry lab to the forensic task of sleuthing how bacillus spores, such as anthrax, are prepared.
Interviewer Kestenbaum said: “Ehleringer is now creating a map showing how the isotope ratios of water vary anthrax was grown, it may rule some places out.” As defined by the Census Bureau, the Northeast region of the United States covers nine states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. A scientist explained the research in an NPR interview in 2004.
I infer from the NBC report that from the isotope ratios, authorities believe either that the anthrax was grown in one of the yellow (or perhaps light green) areas, but not one of the dark green, blue or red areas. EdLake would have to upload the map as I don’t know how to add pictures to FreeRepublic. The yellow swath includes much of the Northeastern United States — places like Syracuse, NY but also places like Ann Arbor and Minneapolis. If that is the isotope ratio range, Islamabad and Baghdad can be excluded. Pretty much all foreign locations apparently can be excluded (except for parts of Canada), along with places with comparable oxygen isotope ratios such as Central New Jersey, Maryland and Ohio. Locales with such excludable ratios include Pakistan (Lahore), Iraq (Baghdad), and Singapore. Outside of the United States, pretty much only the adjacent parts of Canada above Northeastern US (e.g., parts of Ontario and Quebec) match the yellow swath that the scientists found distinguishing. The authors of one of the key articles noted that they couldn’t distinguish between North Carolina and Ohio — the dark green. Similarly, they can’t distinguish between Central New Jersey and North Carolina (again, the dark green). The key studies in the peer reviewed literature indicate that they were funded by the Central Intelligence Agency.
Ehleringer and his colleagues published a March 2007 article titled “Stable isotope ratios of tap water in the contiguous United States” in “Water Resources Research.” The study was funded by the “federal government.” The raw data survey results have been embargoed by the federal government.” ( I believe the agency would usually be identified). In other water isotope ratio studies the funding agency was identified as the Central Intelligence Agency or whatever agency it was. (It varied). Perhaps this March 2007 study was funded by the Department of Justice/Federal Bureau of Investigation and was done specifically for the purpose of laying the scientific groundwork of a prosecution in Amerithrax. While Helen W. Kreuzer-Martin, the Maryland scientist in a study published in April 2007 titled “Stable Isotope Ratios and the Forensic Analysis of Microorganisms,” was looking at the nutrients in the culture, the Utah scientist in this study is looking at the tap water. The DOJ/FBI likely hopes to put all the data together with the more familiar reasons to suspect someone (means, motive, modus operandi and opportunity), and put on a case that to a moral certainty proves it was committed by the perp(s). Absent the scientific evidence, there is a lack of a “smoking gun.” Here, based on this new science, there apparently is thought to be a smoking petri dish
By looking at the oxygen, hydrogen and deuterium geospatial distribution, you can more precisely identify the here the water came from. For example, the deuterium map might be relied upon to eliminate an ambiguity left by the range indicated by the oxygen and hydrogen maps.
Yes, I think I read that they mixed two strains together in order to screen for resistance to both.
But it was not like this. This is a small mutation within the genotype. No one mixed two things together and then put them in the envelopes. This looks to me like a mutation, in my mind this was an orchestrated mutation, with something like colchine, a chemical that is known to cause mutations. I may not be spelling that right.
The two boys in my office had been given this to use on fruit flies. They were getting wings coming out of the heads etc. Most, if not almost all, mutations are fatal. This one is very strange.
This was about the same time frame that I saw the two students with the sores.
The short answer is explosives, chemical weapons, or bio weapons. I don’t know. OBL in the summer of 2001, as I recall was threatening to try to kill President Bush at the summit in Italy with a cropduster plane filled with explosives, so maybe that was it. (How, in light of that threat, Condi can say flying planes into buildings hadn’t been imagined is beyond me).
But I think more realistically, the documentary evidence shows they were exploring all those options.
UMinn biosecurity expert and a NYT co-author wrote in December 2000:
“Dozens of Websites offer information on new and used crop-dusting planes and equipment that can be fitted to almost any plane or even trucks. Most of the equipment can be found on those sites produce a highly controlled mist spray, with nozzles that can set the droplet size precisely....
“A quick call to the toll-free number for a state university’s agricultural service (listed, naturally on its Website) revealed that powder dispersal systems, while less popular than wet systems, are still available. One Website even provides a handy guide to the area one would expect to cover using various particle sizes, wet and dry — from thousand micron particles to half-micron particles capable of drifting almost four hundred miles.”
It was no small irony that by the time the paperback version came out in September 2001 just a few miles away Zacarias Moussaoui had in fact downloaded such materials onto his laptop.
Attorney General Ashcroft, on October 1, 2001 explained:
“I think shortly after the September 11 events, we developed information about crop dusters and noted that there had been an interest expressed in the dispersal of chemical agents by some of the individuals who had relationships with the hijackers and were the hijackers, and we asked those who were associated with the agriculture, chemical industry, and crop dusting to begin to be more careful, to lock their airplanes, to be aware of anyone seeking to adjust the kind of way in which the nozzles would be, which would maybe require a different approach.”
President Bush, at a press conference on October 11, 2001 said:
“We received knowledge that perhaps an al-Qaeda operative was prepared to use a crop-duster to spray a biological weapon or a chemical weapon on American people, and so we responded. We contacted every crop dust location, airports from which crop-dusters leave. We notified crop-duster manufacturers to a potential threat. We knew full well that in order for a crop-duster to become a weapon of mass destruction would require a retrofitting, and so we talked to machine shops around where crop-dusters are located.”
Mohammed Atta and Zacarias Moussaoui reportedly made inquiries about cropdusters and a cropdusting manual was found among Moussaoui’s belongings. By an email dated July 31, 2001, after receiving $14,000 from Ramzi Binalshibh, Moussaoui inquired about a 6 month cropdusting course. Ahmad Ressam, an Al Qaeda terrorist caught in the United States, revealed that Bin Laden was personally interested in using low flying aircraft to disperse biological agents. In early June 3, 2003, a CIA report concluded that the reason for Atta’s and Zacarias Moussaoui’s inquiries into cropdusters was in fact for the contemplated use in dispersing biological agents such as anthrax. Moussaoui, however, has confessed only to a plot to fly a 747 into the White House if the United States government refused to free the blind sheikh. On August 13 and 15, 2001, Moussaoui was getting practice on a 747 simulator in Minneapolis and thus the evidence has always remained ambiguous.
In an interview with ABC News, Johnelle Bryant, a USDA employee, provided this very dramatic account of a meeting with Atta in connection with a loan he wanted for $650,000 to start a cropdusting business. Anthrax likely can be delivered using the nozzle setup that some USDA official says Atta imagined (as explained by Secretary Cohen some years ago). Secretary Cohen’s remarks were found in the Kabul home with papers relating to the aerial delivery of anthrax.
Some investigators on the team prosecuting Zacarias Moussaoui thought he wasn’t expected to take part in the 9/11 plan as such or fly into the White House as prosecutors would allege in January 2003, but was expected instead to use a cropduster. In an e-mail dated July 31, 2001, he inquired of a Minnesota school concerning a 6 month or year long cropdusting course. Although French intelligence suggests instead that there was a separate hijacking plot (of an international airline) to occur later, in light of the e-mail, use of a cropdusting plane may have been an alternative plan at least as of the end of July 2001. Khalid Mohammed reportedly has told his interrogators that Moussaoui was to be part of a second wave of attacks. He said that Moussaoui’s interest in cropdusters may have related to Yazid Sufaat’s work on anthrax. Hussein Attas drove Moussaoui there and was detained after 9/11. Another Oklahoma State University student, Ali Mukhram. worshipped at the mosque with Attas and Zacarias.
In a coded communication in the summer of 2001, KSM told Ramzi Binalhibh to send the “skirts” to “Sally”, apparently referring to sending funds to Zacarias Moussaoui. Moussaoui may have been considered as a substitute if one of the pilots, who had developed a strained relationship with Atta, dropped out. They were referred to as the “unhappy couple” and it was said that a divorce would be expensive. Was Moussaoui really slated for a “second wave” of similar attacks on California targets that merely involved the same modus operandi? In an email dated July 31, 2001, he was inquiring about a cropdusting course. Was this just a means of avoiding the need for “muscle hijackers?” (After the first “wave”, it likely would be more difficult for such muscle to get into the country.)
Relatedly, it’s unknown what role Atta’s roommate, pilot Ramzi Binalshibh, would have played if he had succeeded on one of his four attempts to get into the country. Ramzi Binalshibh was Atta’s former roommate in Germany and was captured in Karachi, Pakistan on September 11, 2002. The government deleted the two allegations regarding cropduster inquiries from the indictment of Moussaoui. Although the move was never explained, it was likely because in his defense he was relying on a July 31, 2001 e-mail seeking to sign up for a cropdusting course that would take 6 months to a year. Moussaoui was attempting to use the e-mail to argue that it demonstrated that he was not part of the 9/11 conspiracy. Alternatively, of course, allegations often are deleted where there is insufficient proof.
On September 19, 2001, an FBI agent asked a federal judge in Colorado for permission to search an e-mail account named “firstname.lastname@example.org” that Sufaat had given Moussaoui to use.
Perhaps the cropdusters related to a chemical or nerve agent. Based on the interrogation of Ramzi Binalshibh, it now appears that the 9/11 planners lost confidence in Moussaoui’s discretion, and intended to use him only as a fallback. Whatever the reason for any inquiries, perhaps they ran out of pilots (due to Zacarias Moussaoui’s arrest and Ramzi Binalshibh’s inability to get into the country). The prosecution team in the Moussaoui case at one point, in January 2003, argued there was to be a fifth plane targeting the White House. Bin Laden wanted the White House to be targeted. Atta thought it would be too difficult. Or perhaps cropdusters will be used in the future. The FBI is currently looking for a diminutive Saudi Arabian, Adnan Shukrijumah, who, at least according to some reports, was trained as a pilot and was last known to have been in Miami in late 2001. The Saudi Arabian from Florida is said to be at the level of Atta. Jdey, also hotly sought by the FBI, was one of two other pilots who for unknown reasons were not still candidates for the first wave.
A Somali college student who knew Moussaoui, Mohammed Warsame from Canada, was detained. In recent years, before being detained, he lived in Minneapolis. Initially, he was arrested as a material witness. Like Moussaoui, Warsame attended Khalden Camp at the Darunta complex the same time as Ahmed Ressam. He reportedly roomed with Moussaoui at one point. U.S. Attorney Tom Heffelfinger in Minneapolis declined to comment on the case and said he would seek to prosecute any federal law enforcement officials who provided information to the media. Warsame’s wife said that FBI agents had entered their apartment, given him $100 and had money for her too. The agents wanted her husband’s cooperation, told him to tell his wife not to worry and said they would bring him back in two days. Warsame was indicted in the end. A superseding indictment in June 2005 alleges that Mohammed Warsame provided false statements to the FBI when he claimed that since 1995 he had traveled only to Saudi Arabia and Somalia. The indictment alleges that from 2000 through 2001, Warsame traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan to attend military training camps and participate in combat. Relatedly, the indictment alleges he also made false statements about his frequent contact with associates he met while attending Afghanistan military training camps. Those associates, according to the indictment, have since relocated to Canada, Pakistan and elsewhere throughout the world.
As part of “Operation Tripwire,” the FBI has asked crop-dusting companies to make sure they alert the bureau if they detect suspicious activity. The FBI has reached out to various industries and institutions, such as prisons and crop-dusting companies, to alert the FBI of suspicious activity. “We are not looking at just the obviously dangerous activity but looking at terrorist fund raising, terrorist recruiting efforts, training efforts, maybe logistical support efforts, and .. signatures,” FBI official Larry Mefford said. Might Al Qaeda plan on coming in under the FBI’s radar — under the tripwire — by using ultralights? KSM had Ohio truckdriver Faris researching ultralights at an internet cafe. There was a suggestion that leaders would use them for escape.
Variations of the threat that should be encompassed within the FBI’s “Operation Tripwire” include ultra lights, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (”UAV”) of all types including small planes and helicopters, balloons, and gliders.
What the FBI was being told by other detainees and learning from arrests in the US did nothing to assuage the concern that an attack was being planned to disperse anthrax aerially.
For example, Moazzam Begg, a man from Great Britain arrested in Islamabad in February 2002, allegedly confessed to being involved in a plot to use weaponized anthrax using a remote controlled drone over the London parliament. A Pakistani court had ordered his release. Before the order was executed, however, he had already been transferred to Afghanistan. He was then flown to Guantanamo Bay in February 2003. The 35-year-old father of four from Birmingham had gone to Afghanistan via Iran in the summer of 2001 and then in November or December went to Pakistan. In Afghanistan, he had been outside of Kabul. He told his father that he hoped to open two small schools to promote literacy — one for girls taught by his wife and one for boys he would teach. MI5 and MI6 had known of him. Three years ago in Birmingham there was a raid on his bookshop but no arrests. The Maktabah al Ansar bookshop in Birmingham, England sold al-Hindi’s autobiographical account of fighting in Kashmir.
In addition to books, Begg sold items such prayer beads and clothing. Begg may have come to be of interest to MI5 after Yemen jailed a friend of his in 1999 for plotting terrorism with the son of Abu Hamza, the extremist cleric based at the Finsbury Park mosque. Then authorities raided again in the summer of 2001. In the last raid, a computer, five floppy disks and two CD-roms were taken. Neither raid resulted in any charges. Begg was arrested in 1994 for alleged benefit fraud, but the charges were dropped. Night vision goggles and a flak jacket were found at the time.
The authorities say that his name appeared on documents of the Taliban and on a photocopy of a payment transfer at an Afghanistan camp. The money transfer directed the London branch of Pakistan’s Habib Bank AG Zurich to credit the account of an individual identified as Moazzam Begg in Karachi for an unspecified sum of money. It was found in Abu Khabab’s chemical bunker. His family says it must be a case of mistaken identity.
The British MP’s had joined together to insist that Begg and other British citizens be returned from Guantanamo, where he had been after his first year at Bagram. He reportedly confessed to a plot to use a drone dispersing anthrax to kill those same MPs. He and others apparently were given the choice of choosing between a 20 year sentence in a plea or risk receiving a death penalty in a military tribunal. His lawyer says the confession is not admissible as it was coerced. MI5 officers interviewed him at Camp X-Ray five times. Gareth Peirce, who has acted for Moazzam Begg, said: “Anything that any human being says or admits under threat of brutality is regarded internationally and nationally as worthless. It makes the process an abuse. Moazzam Begg had a year in Bagram airbase and then six months in Guantanamo Bay. If this treatment happened for an hour in a British police station, no evidence gathered would be admissible,” she said.
The interest in ultralights is not new and dates back to the hang glider purchased in 1995 or so when one was purchased and shipped to Afghanistan by a US doctor named Zaki. The doctor was a friend of Bin Laden’s chief of security in Sudan, former US Army sergeant Ali Mohammed. Dr. Ali Zaki (along with his brother, a NYC/NJ pharmacist) travelled with Ayman but claimed not to know the real identity of his fellow alum from Cairo Medical school. Zawahiri would speak at the room established at the Cairo University Medical School for the Egyptian Islamic Group, which had not yet been banned. The group during this time was extremely influential with the student body. Dr. Zaki is a gynecologist and prominent civic leader in San Jose, CA. He disputes the date of Zawahiri’s visit, claiming it was years earlier, when the jihadists were our friends. A used car salesman from Silicon Valley was going to train on the hang glider and train others. The plan was to break imprisoned islamist leaders out of an Egyptian prison, according to the US doctor. Other official intelligence reporting, in contrast, suggests the plan was to assassinate Mubarak at one of his palaces.
What word, beginning with a vowel apparently, might be redacted in this alleged message to an Albany, NY imam shortly before 9/11: “how close the individual could get to an (redacted) aircraft.” When a friend of the respected Dr. Dhafir, the leader of an Albany mosque who had arrived in the states in 1999, was convicted l in 2006 of supporting terrorism, the jury never heard about his 14 phone calls to a Syrian number the FBI linked to Osama bin Laden. An FBI informant claimed that only weeks after the 9/11 attacks, a messenger from al-Qaeda approached him delivering a message: Bin Laden was looking for information about flight schools and “how close the individual could get to an (redacted) aircraft.” The messenger gave the informant two fax numbers in Damascus, Syria, one of which Aref contacted 14 times between November 1999 and October 2001. Prosecutors argued that a senior IMK leader, Mullah Krekar, formed Ansar-al-Islam in 2001. Subsequently, when Aref was convicted, the 30 guilty counts included lying to FBI agents about knowing Krekar. In targeting Aref, the government also had evidence showing that his name, address and telephone number were found in a notebook when U.S. forces raided a suspected Ansar-al-Islam facilities in Iraq in the spring and early summer. An Iraqi Kurd, Aref’s grandfather had been a well-known imam.
In 2002, a man named Singh tried to purchase over the internet a wireless video module and a control module for use in an unmanned aerial vehicle (”UAV”). He chose an airborne video system with a camera and transmitter able to transmit video images from a UAV back to a receiver from as far as 15 miles away. The video camera could be used in military reconnaissance and in helping aim artillery and other weaponry across enemy lines. Singh placed his order from England, but the company was unable to confirm Singh’s overseas credit card. Two young men from Northern Virginia, among the group later known as the “Virginia Paintball Defendants,” assisted him in completing the purchases. In the summer of 2002, Singh visited Virginia, staying first with one of them and then with another.
In December 2003, it was announced that a suburban Chicago woman had been pled guilty to lying about her involvement with an attempt to export remote-controlled aircraft to Pakistan. The shipment of radios, modems and auto pilot systems to a company in Pakistan apparently was confiscated. The relative whom she was doing a favor fled the country. It is not clear when the shipment occurred. Such a plane reportedly cost $12,000 and could carry a 220 lb. payload.
In late May 2004, Great Britain’s Tony Blair got hit by purple powder thrown from the balcony from area where guests sit. The bioshield covered only where members of the public sit. Blair now may be skittish about pigeons flying overhead, particularly given MI5 once considered the feasibility of dropping small anthrax bombs using pigeons during WW II. It was not until August 2004 that we learned about casing of helicopters in the Spring of 2001 by Jafar the Pilot — who had been sent by anthrax plotters KSM and Hambali.
Condoleezza Rice says no one ever imagined (at least she didn’t imagine)that Al Qaeda would fly planes — first into the World Trade Center and then into Pentagon. Let’s hope it is within her imagination that Al Qaeda may be planning to disperse weaponized anthrax aerially — for example, by a remote controlled airplane, a cropduster, or even a hang glider. Or, yes, maybe even by carrier pigeons. Condoleezza should go around with the television theme song “Stop that Pigeon Now!” in her head.
The source on the threat to try to kill the President while at the summit in Italy came from Egyptian intelligence, which apparently had infiltrated AQ. Or at least had come across the info.
This isn't true. First of all, Bob Stevens, who you're referring to, wasn't the first person to be infected from one of the 2001 anthrax letters; his case was just the first to be reported in the media. Johanna Huden was the index case; the onset date for her was 10/22/2001. Bob Stevens' onset date wasn't until 9/30/2001. Stevens was probably the eighth person to contract anthrax in the attack. (Some of the dates are somewhat uncertain, so it's possible he was earlier than eighth, but he certainly wasn't the first.) Of course, we don't know who was the first to receive a letter, but given the onset dates, it seems very unlikely that he was the first to receive a letter. My source is the UCLA Dept. of Epidemiology anthrax outbreak page: http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/Bioter/detect/antdetect_list.html
Secondly, it wasn't his wife who was the real estate agent who rented an apartment to some of the 9/11 hijackers; it was the wife of the editor of the Sun. I'm not sure if this was the wife of Stevens' direct supervisor, but it might have been.
Third, it's not true that all of the other targets were liberal Democrats in Washington, DC. There were also the letters to journalists in New York City.
2. All the envelopes containing anthrax were mailed from Newark, New Jersey...
They were mailed from New Jersey, but not from Newark. They were postmarked in Trenton and (at least some, maybe all) apparently mailed from Princeton.
3. The German government, in its attempts to forge closer ties to Iraq, gave Iraqs Department of Agriculture a kilo of the Ames type agricultural anthrax.
This may be, but the anthrax strain in the mailings was very recently derived from a strain at USAMRIID at Fort Detrick.
4. Prague. Everybody has heard the story about Mohammed Atta meeting with the head of Iraqi Intelligence and being handed a package.
I think we can regard the supposed meeting between Atta and al-Ani in Prague as being debunked. If there were any truth to it, the Bush administration would have trumpeted it. It would have been exactly what they needed to save themselves and their policies.
Yes, this is the one reason that no one has yet been arrested. You have to find the smoking gun that fired that bullet.
Since all the material mailed was the same stuff, they have to find that source and heads will roll.
So far, they have looked in every nook and cranny in USAMRIID and NOT found it. They looked everywhere Hatfill ever was and have NOT found it. Otherwise he would be toast in some cell.
We have the technology to know exactly what it was right down to the inverted basepairs on the plasmid. It is so unique that it will be thrown out of court if it is not that exact thing.
I say what makes this one different is that it was a wet lesion. Dripped a lot, a running sore. All the literature written prior to 9-11 said that anthrax was a dry lesion. This is a different cat! The inversion must code for an extra water somewhere. All the rest of the description fits.
“I say they did. I was there. I know what I saw. And there are three Postal Inspection Agents who are keenly aware that I exist and are working on this.”
Battle Axe. when did they visit? A year and a half ago? Am I right you’ve had no further contact or further confirmation they are “working on it”?
You can’t determine the genetic strain by a drip recalled a decade later.
You never saw a theft.
You have no indication the fellow is islamist.
You have never bothered to contact him.
You never bothered to contact the ISU professors and instead just assumed the ISU inventory had Ames — making the same error that Boyle makes by confusing the ISU with the USDA lab.
So it was stupid to destroy the inventory rather than just courier it over to USDA for safekeeping — and thus their security argument does not make sense as USDA was a secure facility.
But you are engaged in speculation without taking the basic steps relevant to inquiry.
More importantly, an argument that the feds allowed relevant evidence to be destroyed will only undermine a prosecution. For all you know, the guy you think located is a Free Mason.
Always start with a bad guy and motive before looking too hard for access. Otherwise, you end up with a Zack theory.
Correcting a typo, the onset date for Johanna Huden was 9/22/2001, not 10/22/2001. She really was the first case.
They did not provide anyone with the records of exactly what was in there, BECAUSE IT WAS SO LAX THEY DON’T EVEN KNOW!
There should have been logs of who had keys, who had access, who was in and what day and their signature. etc etc. No such records exists.
When ISU destroyed it they:
l. put the 100 vials ...and folks 100 vials will fit into a child’s size shoe box... in an autoclave and ran it for 13 hours. It only takes 56 minutes to run the one we had.
2. Then into an incinerator where it was totally turned into sand, the glass vials included.
What did they do with the records? Why are they so quiet?
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.