Skip to comments.Hatfill v. US - DOJ and FBI Statement of Facts (filed Friday)
Posted on 04/13/2008 8:20:52 AM PDT by ZacandPook
click here to read article
1. FBI Sets October 1 Deadline in Anthrax Case
ABC News - Jul 20, 2004
“The FBI has set a self-imposed Oct. 1 deadline for its agents to build a case that will stand up in court, officials said.”
2. Al-Timimi indicted framed on charges the DOJ thought it could prove.
Muslim lecturer indicted in terror case
Thursday, September 23, 2004
Comment: Ed, where do you think Ken kept his biochemistry notes? On the Dell in his office? Or on his office bookshelf? Or someone else? Don’t you think Al-Timimi had access to materials in his office? If not, why not?
It was in July that an associate of Al-Timimi, George Mason computer security expert, who volunteered for a charity founded by Bin Laden’s relative was deported.
“Law enforcement officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said they had a strong immigration case against Abdullah, a Saudi PhD student at George Mason University. They said he had received checks for thousands of dollars from the World Assembly of Muslim Youth, or WAMY, whose Falls Church office was founded by a relative of bin Laden’s. The group has been under scrutiny for possible terrorism ties, officials say, although there has been no allegation of a crime. The group denies any such link.
Abdullah said that the money was reimbursement for supplies he had bought, and that he was simply a volunteer. He insisted he had no need to work, because he had a scholarship and a $3,000-a-month stipend from the Saudi government.
Immigration prosecutors indicated they would oppose bond for Abdullah, Kiblan said. That meant he could spend months in jail, because even if an immigration judge ordered his release, a post-Sept. 11 regulation allows the government to stay such decisions during an appeal.
Abdullah decided to plead guilty to the immigration charge.
“They scared me. I’m not used to the jail,” Abdullah, 42, said in a telephone interview from Saudi Arabia, where he is a computer science professor. He was deported last July.”
This paper is primarily about how to assay for CFU from surfaces coated with
silica coated (mixed) spores in low numbers, avoiding spores not germinating
and giving false low counts (for cleanup purposes). My consulting military
scientist knows these guys and has worked with them in the past. The method described for making spores is one method for making “weaponized” material (contrary to your oft-stated confusion) BUT it is not the method by which Amerithrax was most likely made. If you want to see a similar study without the distraction of discussion of silica (but using a Dugway simulant), see “Estimating aerosol hazards from an anthrax letter” Journal of Aerosol Science, Volume 36, Issues 5-6, May-June 2005, Pages 701-719
TrebleRebel and I were just trying to set you straight about how silica historically has been used to fluidize (coat) spores and have some of your discussion corrected.
I guess you didn't read it?
Okay. Bad phrasing on my part. I should have written: The "weaponization" process described in the article CERTAINLY has NOTHING to do with the attack anthrax of 2001.
I changed that comment on my web site to read: "The process described appears to result in spores coated with silica". Is that better?
Instead of mindless arguments about words, shouldn't we be discussing science?
There's a lot of scientific information in the article that is very interesting. It says NOTHING about how the attack anthrax of 2001 was made, but it appears to describe in detail how they made anthrax bioweapons back during the Cold War. And there's some interesting science involved.
(I'm not sure how proper it is to discuss making bioweapons on this forum, so I'm going to have to be careful in what I'm writing --- even though I'm writing about something that is now in the "public domain.")
The first question that I'd like to see answered is: What causes the silica to stick to the spore? Is it static electricty, as one would assume?
To most people, "fumed silica" is a feather-like agglomeration of particles, sometimes referred to as "silica smoke." There's an excellent close-up picture of the strands of silica particles in "fumed silica" HERE.
What the Dugway process seems to do is put these tiny feather-like particles into a BALL MILL. In the ball mill, the spores and silica are pounded through increasingly finer mesh screens. That process would evidently break up the fine filaments of fumed silica and create the tiny particles seen clinging to the spores.
According to reports I've seen and discussions I've had with William Patrick III, the actual anthrax bioweapons made during the Cold War did NOT use a BALL MILL. They used a GRINDING MILL. No grinding mill is mentioned in this article.
Does a BALL MILL generate the same amount of static electricity as a GRINDING MILL? Both would theoretically involve a LOT of friction. So, the end result is spores covered with bits of silica clinging to the spores due to static electicity?
And because silica is an insulator, it would prevent static electricity from binding together the tiny silica balls. Where would van der Waals forces be a factor in that?
I realize you'd prefer to just make personal attacks, but shouldn't we discuss the science?
TrebelRebel and ZacandPook seem to consider it to be an article written by "bioweapons experts" at Dugway. In reality, though, it appears to be an article written by scientists working for the CDC in Cincinnati who used information provided by "bioweapons experts" at Dugway who were familiar with the weaponization techniques used more than 40 years ago.
The article lists 7 authors:
Paul A. Baron, Cherie F. Estill, Gregory J. Deye and Misty J. Hein, all from the CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Jeremy K. Beard, Lloyd D. Larsen and Gregory E. Dahlstrom from the Dugway Proving Grounds in Dugway, Utah.
Why would some people from the CDC's office in Cincinatti be "experts" in the attack anthrax of 2001? It was people from the CDC headquarters in Atlanta who were most involved in the Bob Stevens case, as I recall.
A quick search finds almost nothing about the guys from Dugway other than that they attended some meetings and co-authored this paper. Are they new to Dugway or, as is most likely, are they old-timers? But does it matter? All they evidently provided for this report was some 40-year-old material once used at Dugway.
“All they evidently provided for this report was some 40-year-old material once used at Dugway. “
Er, did you actually READ the paper? The Dugway BW veterans made Bacillus Anthracis (Sterne strain) dry spores COATED with silica from scratch for this study. The purpose of this was to simulate the 2001 attack spores.
Let’s return to the “encapsulation” method my consulting military scientist, who worked with the Dugway authors, has discussed.
Let’s start with the first of the GMU patents filed on the subject. Be sure to read the series. A second one, for example, was co-invented by the scientist who inherited Al-Timimi’s telephone number.
On March 14, 2001, former USAMRIID deputy commander Ames researcher Charles L. Bailey and famed Russian bioweaponeer Ken Alibek filed a patent application for a process to treat cell culture with hydrophobic silicon dioxide so as to permit greater concentration upon drying. Dr. Bailey was in Room 156B of GMUs Discovery Hall at the Center for Biodefense. Ali Al-Timimi, an associate of radical Saudi sheik al-Hawali, considered to be Bin Ladens spiritual mentor, was a graduate student who worked in the same building.
The website of the Islamic Assembly of North America (IANA) contained Provision of Suicide Operations, dated June 19, 2001, that stated: The mujahid [or warrior] must kill himself if he knows this will lead to killing a great number of the enemies or demolishing a center vital to the enemy or its military forces. In this new era, this can be accomplished with the modern means of bombing or bringing down an airplane on an important location that will cause the enemy great losses. On August 26, 2001, IANAs website www.islamway.com published a propaganda statement that encouraged individuals to join arms against the West titled An Invitation to Jihad, stating that [t]he mujahid brothers will accept you with open arms and within a period of two weeks you will be given commando training and will be sent to the frontline. Whatever the debate on whether nonconventional weapons were forbidden (haram), some of the sheiks whose fatwas were appearing on the IANA website were likely to take a more permissive view.
In mid-December 2001, the US arrested US-based Al Qaeda biochem operative Ali Al-Marri, who had arrived on September 10, 2001 and was nominally a student living in Macomb, Illinois. Al-Marri had lived in Macomb the previous summer and had traveled to New York City to join with UK operative Dhiren Barot to case NYC helicopters and financial institutions. Authorities had learned of calls he made to KSMs assistant al-Hawsawi from Illinois. The key to the Amerithrax solution possibly hinged on where he had his computer sent after casing NYC locations. He had the imam at the local mosque store the computer in his basement and then ship it to Washington.
In January 2002, an FBI official told the Wall Street Journal, Weve done over 300 interviews at places we consider really critical. I can tell you categorically that weve given a lot of people shakes, [but] there was nothing to it. Beginning that month, Ali Al-Timimi was on GMU staff and paid $70,000 a year. Sometime later that year, officials apparently first learned of communications between Al-Timimi and Bin Ladens spiritual adviser, radical Saudi sheik al-Hawali.
In March 2002, a crude biological weapons site was found in Afghanistan. U.S. forces discovered a site near the southern Afghan city of Kandahar that appeared to be an Al Qaeda biological weapons lab under construction. Zawahiris plan, evidenced in the documents found previous in the Fall, was to move the location of the lab every 3 months.
As he described to ABCNEWS, Dr. Alibek and other scientists in March 2002 took lie detector tests. He had to answer questions including Did you do it? and Do you know who did it? Alibek reports that he passed the test. Although Dr. Alibek offered his services to the FBI Director in a letter, the response was that they already had a large group working on it. In late June 2002, quoting unnamed law enforcement officials, the Associated Press reported that up to 200 polygraph tests had been given to current and former employees of the Battelle Institute and of Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, where scientists have developed a powdered form of anthrax for testing biological defense systems. It was Dugway that provided the simulant used in testing after the 2001 threat letter relating to the detention of the former manager of Bin Ladens farm in Sudan. Dr. Alibek and Dr. Bailey had both worked for Battelle as consultants.
An intense concern over such leaks continued into the Spring in charity investigations involving a March 2002 of the Saar network. Even the US Attorney working on the investigation and his team were under investigation.
In August 2002, Afghan police found a store of chemicals in a house in Kabul formerly occupied by a Saudi non-governmental organization, the WAFA Humanitarian Organization. Local media reports called it a terrorist laboratory. Some containers and documents have been found by the police authorities, a spokesman for international peacekeepers said. One local report said that the discovery included 36 types of chemicals, explosive materials, fuses, laboratory equipment and some terroristic guide books. It said the laboratory was found in a residence in the diplomatic area of Kabul in a building that had been used by an Arab national who headed the group prior to 9/11. WAFA was a militant supporter of the Taliban. Documents found in WAFAs offices in Afghanistan revealed that the charity was intimately involved in assassination plots against U.S. citizens as well as the distribution of how to manuals on chemical and biological warfare. U.S. officials have described WAFA as a key component of Bin Ladens organization.
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 Singhs overseas credit card. Two young men from Northern Virginia, among the group later known as the Virginia Paintball Defendants, Chapman and Khan, assisted him in completing the purchases. As the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals later explained, the pair attended the Dar al Arqam Islamic Center in Falls Church, Virginia where Ali Timimi, a primary lecturer, spoke of the necessity to engage in violent jihad against the enemies of Islam and the end of time battle between Muslims and non-Muslims. In the summer of 2002, Singh visited Virginia, staying first with one of them and then with the other. Ali Timimi was unindicted co-conspirator number 1 in the Virginia Paintball Case, and was only later identified by Prosecutors (and then separately indicted).
After meeting with “9/11 imam” Anwar Aulaqi to discuss the idea, Ali Timimi drafted a letter from dissident Saudi sheik Hawali dated October 6, 2002 and had it hand delivered it to every member of the US Congress just before their vote authorizing the use of force against Iraq. The letter was from al-Hawali (not Timimi), and warned of the disastrous consequences that would follow an invasion of Iraq.
Rm 154A in George Masons Discovery Hall (down from former USAMRIID head Dr. Bailey in Rm 156B) would be Victor Morozovs room number when he first assumed Timimis phone number in 2004 (and before he moved to a newly constructed, adjacent building). Morozov was the co-inventor with Dr. Bailey of the related cell culture process under which the silica was removed from the spore surface. A faculty member who would consult with Ali suggests that it instead was Rm. 154B, in the middle of the office suite.
Later that year, Al-Hakaymah, a long-time colleague of Taha in the Al-Gamaa al-Islamiya (Egyptian Islamic Group), summarized the Amerithrax investigation. Al-Hakaymah aka Abu Jihad was Al Qaedas spymaster. He dedicated the treatise on American intelligence and law enforcement: To the pious and the hidden who are not known when they come and who are not missed when they disappear To those whom their God will answer when they pray to Him. To all the eyes that are vigilant late at night to bring victory to this religion. It was publicized by an EIJ shura member Al-Sibai, who had been detained in London in 1999 and then released, and now was an oft-quoted expert on Zawahiri and his followers. Like Al Zayat, Al Sibai has been openly critical of Al Qaeda and Zawahiri Al Sibai views Zawahiris focus on the Far Enemy as having been disastrous for the Egyptian Islamic groups.
In mid-February 2003, Abdel Rahmans son, who was on the WMD committee with Egyptian Midhat Mursi, was captured in Quetta, Pakistan. Along with Zawahiri, Abdel Rahman and his two sons have had considerable influence over Bin Laden. He reportedly treated them like sons. In jail in the early 1980s, Zawahiri had caused considerable tension by challenging the blind sheiks ability to lead a coalition of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and the Egyptian Islamic Group. Zawahiri and Bin Laden nevertheless are Rahmans friends. The leaders in charge of Al Qaedas anthrax production program thus had a close connection to those imprisoned in connection with the earlier bombing of the World Trade Center. The imprisoned WTC 1993 plotter Ramzi Yousef was KSMs nephew. KSM claims to have been responsible for the planning of WTC 1993. WTC 1993 mastermind Ramzi Yousef had been the mentor of the new husband, Al-Baluchi, of MIT-graduate Aafia Siddiqui.
Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali (aka Ammar al-Baluchi) is a cousin of 9/11 plotter Ramzi Yousef and nephew of KSM. In 2000-2001, along with KSMs assistant Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, Al-Baluchi facilitated the hijackers travel in transiting the UAE from Pakistan. He would send them money transfers after they were in the US. US biochem operative Al-Marri was in contact in August, September and October 2001 with Al-Hawsawi, who in August was in UAE and then after 9/11 was back in Pakistan. In 2002-2003, back in Pakistan, al-Baluchi worked with operative Majid Khan, a Maryland resident. He married Aafia Siddiqui shortly before being captured in Pakistan in the Spring of 2003. An Assistant United States Attorney (”AUSA”) would say in the prosecution related to a plot involving Majid Khan that Aafia Siddiqui was willing to participate in an anthrax attack if asked. By reason of her relationship with 9/11 plotter KSM and KSMs nephew al-Baluchi, Aafia was connected to both al-Hawsawis laptop with the anthrax spraydrying documents and Al-Marri.
In a filing unsealed this month, Dr. Ali Al-Timimi’s lawyer wrote: “Al-Timimi “was considered an anthrax weapons suspect.” Dr. Al-Timimi’s counsel summarizes:
“we know Dr. Al-Timimi:
* was interviewed in 1994 by the FBI and Secret Service regarding his ties to the perpetrators of the first World Trade Center bombing;
* was referenced in the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing (”Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US”) as one of seventy individuals regarding whom the FBI is conducting full field investigations on a national basis;
* was described to his brother by the FBI within days of the 9-11 attacks as an immediate suspect in the Al Qaeda conspiracy;
* was contacted by the FBI only nine days after 9-11 and asked about the attacks and its perpetrators;
* was considered an anthrax weapons suspect;
[redacted - passage presumptively IMO about Amerithrax investigation]
* was described during his trial by FBI agent John Wyman as having “extensive ties” with the “broader al-Qaeda network”;
* was described in the indictment and superseding indictment as being associated with terrorists seeking harm to the United States;
* was a participant in dozens of international overseas calls to individuals known to have been under suspicion of Al-Qaeda ties like Al-Hawali; and
* was associated with the long investigation of the Virginia Jihad Group.
The conversation with Al-Hawali on September 19, 2001 was central to the indictment and raised at trial. Al-Timimi called Dr. Hawali after the dinner with Kwon on September 16, 2001 and just two hours before he met with Kwon and Hassan for the last time on September 19, 2001.
“]911 imam] Anwar Al-Aulaqi goes directly to Dr. Al-Timimi’s state of mind and his role in the alleged conspiracy. The 9-11 Report indicates that Special Agent Ammerman interviewed Al-Aulaqi just before or shortly after his October 2002 visit to Dr. Al-Timimi’s home to discuss the attacks and his efforts to reach out to the U.S. government.”
[IANA head] Bassem Khafagi was questioned about Dr. Al-Timimi before 9-11 in Jordan, purportedly at the behest of American intelligence. [redacted ] He was specifically asked about Dr. Al-Timimi’s connection to Bin Laden prior to Dr. Al-Timimi’s arrest. He was later interviewed by the FBI about Dr. Al-Timimi. Clearly, such early investigations go directly to the allegations of Dr. Al-Timimi’s connections to terrorists and Bin Laden — [redacted]”
The letter by Al-Timimi’s counsel attached as an exhibit is equally meaty. An example of an additional detail is that in March 2002, Dr. Al-Timimi spoke with Dr. Al-Hawali (Bin Laden’s sheik who was the subject of OBL’s “Declaration of War”) about assisting Moussaoui in his defense.
The filing and the letter exhibit each copy the daughter of the lead prosecutor in Amerithrax. That prosecutor has pled the Fifth Amendment concerning all the leaks hyping a “POI” of the other Amerithrax squad, Dr. Steve Hatfill.
In an e-mail obtained by FOX News, scientists at Fort Detrick openly discussed how the anthrax powder they were asked to analyze after the attacks was nearly identical to that made by one of their colleagues.
“Then he said he had to look at a lot of samples that the FBI had prepared ... to duplicate the letter material,” “Then the bombshell. He said that the best duplication of the material was the stuff made by [name redacted]. He said that it was almost exactly the same — his knees got shaky and he sputtered, ‘But I told the General we didn’t make spore powder!’”
FOX News reports:
“The FBI has narrowed its focus to “about four” suspects in the 6 1/2-year investigation of the deadly anthrax attacks of 2001, and at least three of those suspects are linked to the Armys bioweapons research facility at Fort Detrick in Maryland, FOX News has learned.
Among the pool of suspects are three scientists a former deputy commander, a leading anthrax scientist and a microbiologist linked to the research facility, known as USAMRIID.”
It was more than a happy coincidence for Ayman Zawahiri and Mohammed Islambouli that an active supporter of the Taliban and supporter of jihad was a US biodefense insider. Microbiologist Al-Timimi worked in the same building as famed Russian bioweapons scientist Ken Alibek and former USAMRIID Deputy Commander and Acting Commander Charles Bailey, who would come to publish a lot of research with the Ames strain of anthrax. Al-Timimi was a current associate and former student of Bin Ladens spiritual advisor, dissident Saudi Sheik al-Hawali. He would speak along with the blind sheiks son at charity conferences the blind sheiks son served on Al Qaedas WMD committee. Al-Timimis mentor Bilal Philips was known for recruiting members of the military to jihad. The first week after 9/11, FBI agents questioned Ali Al-Timimi, a microbiology graduate student in a program jointly run by George Mason University and the American Type Culture Collection (ATCC). Ali, according to his lawyer, had been questioned by an FBI agent and Secret Service agent in 1994 after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. He had a high security clearance for work for the Navy in he late 1990s and in 1996 for two months had worked for the White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card when he was Secretary of Transportation. As time off from his university studies permitted, Ali was an active speaker with a charity Islamic Assembly of North America.
I admit that I've only had time to quickly read it through once, but I didn't see that. Where does it say that?
I see on page 160 it says,
The spores used in this study, both BG and Bacillus anthracis strain Sterne (BaS), were nominally 1 μm diameter, although agglomerated spore particles were expected from the generation system.
On page 161, it says:
BG was obtained from a commercially manufactured stockpile of dry spores (produced under contract in 1963 by Westco Chemical, Shafter, CO) that had been used in numerous tests and experiments. The manufacturing process paralleled that of the procedure described for BaS [Stern strain] above.
"paralleled" would mean that the Sterne spores were manufactured at the same time (and maybe by the same company) as the BG spores, wouldn't it? Where does it say otherwise?
If they were talking about duplicating a process in today's world, wouldn't they use the word "duplicating?"
I'm only able to look at this thread from time to time because of other chores I have to do.
Van der Waals forces.
Ah! As usual, a declaration without any support. And you clearly expect everyone to just accept it.
Why not static electricity? The milling would indicate that a GREAT DEAL of static electricity was involved here.
If silica would stick to the spores due to van der Walls forces, why does the Gary Matsumoto article say that "polymerized glass" was used to bind the silica to the spores?
If the silica would stick to the spores due to van der Waals forces, why wouldn't the silica particles also stick to each other and result in total clumping of the whole mess due to van der Waals forces?
You need to read the paper I think. Especially since you have already called it “Bizarre”.
That was a little presumptive, having not read it.
Dried BaS spores were produced as follows: Ten liter (L) fermentation vessels were seeded (5% V/V) with overnight nutrient broth cultures of BaS. Spores were grown in G medium that consists of: yeast extract, 2.0 g L-1; NH4SO4, 2.0 g L-1; Dow antifoam 204, 0.3 mL L-1; MgSO4·7H2O, 0.2 g L-1; MnSO4·H2O, 0.038 g L-1; ZnSO4·7H2O, 0.005 g L-1; CuSO4·5H2O, 0.005 g L-1; FeSO4·7H2O, 0.005 g L-1; CaCl2·2H2O, 0.25 g L-1; K2HPO4, 0.500 g L-1; glucose, 1.0 g L-1. The pH was adjusted to 7.0 ± 0.1 and the glucose was added separately as a sterile solution after autoclaving.
The culture was incubated at 30°C in a 10 L fermentation vessel with an agitation rate of 250 RPM and an aeration rate greater than 0.5 volumes min-1. Sporulation was generally complete within 24 h. Spores were collected by simple centrifugation to remove spent media. The pelleted material was dried by a proprietary azeotropic method. Ten percent (by weight) of an amorphous silica-based flow enhancer was added to the dried spores. The dried material was milled using an exclusionary ball mill. In this process the material passed through a series of stages separated by increasingly finer mesh screens. In each stage 0.01 m diameter steel balls forced the product through the screen separators. A pneumatic vibrator actuated the entire mill.
BG was obtained from a commercially manufactured stockpile of dry spores (produced under contract in 1963 by Westco Chemical, Shafter, CO) that had been used in numerous tests and experiments. The manufacturing process paralleled that of the procedure described for BaS above. Twenty percent by weight of amorphous silica was added to enhance the flow characteristics of the BG preparation.
Ed, the GMU experts below (advised by the likes of Alibek and Patrick) have explained the reason for the silica. So you needn’t worry about the finer points or trouble Dr. Rebel for another half-decade explaining them to you.
Before the anthrax mailings, in an interview in September 2000, Dr. Ken Alibek addressed whether Bin Laden could make a Alibek-caliber powdered anthrax. Dr. Alibek was a colleague of microbiologist Ali Al-Timimi who was taught by Bin Ladens sheik and actively communicating with him.
HOMELAND DEFENSE: OK. Lets say Im an Usama bin Laden type individual. I have millions of dollars. Can I produce a high-quality Ken Alibek-caliber dry powdered anthrax?
KEN ALIBEK: In many cases its not likely. Of course, if you get hundreds of thousands of dollars and if you have a person who knows how to do this, you could make a highly effective biological weapon. But if you have a person with millions of dollars but has no idea how to do this, or someone with a bachelors degree in biology even, its not going to help. You need to have somebody with either practical knowledge or somebody with the right type of mind to do this. Unfortunately, this information is available now.
We just dont understand that if your objective is to develop an effective biological weapon and to deploy it with an aerosol, all this information is available. It is a matter of time and effort in gathering this information. In many cases, its not necessarily the information that counts. Its a matter of knowledge in microbiology and aerosol science and knowing how to build a more effective aerosol device. If youve got the money, and youve got the managerial skills to find the right people, the rest is just a matter of time.
HOMELAND DEFENSE: So the information is still in your head if you wanted to do this? If you wanted to go set up an offensive production capability, you could do it?
KEN ALIBEK: I have no such intentions.
HOMELAND DEFENSE: But the point is, you probably have that information. If terrorists get the right technical data, they can reduce their timetable, for example, shrinking it from three years to three months.
KEN ALIBEK: That is correct. But I dont like it when someone says I can do this. I know I can do this, but I know I will never do this.
HOMELAND DEFENSE: Well, were very glad that youre on our side now. On a different subject, is the U.S. government doing the right things now to protect the country?
KEN ALIBEK: For me, this is a most painful topic.
After the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology detected silica, [USAMRIID Major General John] Parker disclosed that the anthrax in question contained silica, a common substance found in sand and quartz. Another department colleague of Bin Ladens sheiks protege Dr. Alibeks co-director of the Center for Biodefense at GMU told a reporter that the presence of silica is significant, but he declined to say why, citing national security concerns.
I dont think I want to give people terrorists any information to help them, said Dr. Charles Bailey, a scientist at Advanced Biosystems Inc. at George Mason University and former commander of the Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID).
The problem was that a microbiologist trained in computer science and actively communicating with Bin Ladens sheik, according to NSA intercepts, was working just feet away from both famed Russian anthrax bioweaponeer Ken Alibek and Dr. Bailey. Bin Ladens supporters already had access to the information.
A key fact is that of the exosporium, which is a loose-fitting protein envelope surrounding about 7-10 spore coats that overlay the cortex, had traces of silica. The exosporium is the spores outermost layer. The silica was not dispersed inside of the B. anthracis spore coats and cortex under the exosporium. Ari Fleischer discusses the silica in the anthrax in his book Taking Heat. He reports that he had argued at length with ABC News over its story that the additive was bentonite (which arguably was characteristic of the Iraq program). He explained that from the start he had told ABC that it was silica, not bentonite, that had been detected. The suggestion that AFIP experts did not know the difference between silica and silcon is not well founded, and the scientist who performed the EDX specifically told the journalist that oxygen was also detected in ratios consistent with silicon dioxide.
A PhD student supervised by Matthias Frank, a big star at Livermore in developing the biosensor, addressed these issues in 2004. Lawrence Livermore lab was tasked with combating the Bin Laden anthrax threat in 1998 and is steeped in biodetection, the subject of the PhD thesis. LLNL researchers have developed advanced technologies to rapidly detect the airborne release of biological threat agents. The student cites Gary Matsumotos Science article and says:
In the case of anthrax, it is known that Van der Waals forces cause unprocessed spores to clump together. Large particles are not deposited efficiently in human lungs and also settle rapidly from the air. Both are undesirable properties if maximal lethality is desired. Silica powers and nanoparticles have long been used to prevent agent particles from coming close enough together for Van der Waals forces to become significant.
*** Military scientists have stated that the weaponized anthrax letters sent to Senator Daschles office contained silica. In the Senate anthrax letter, there is also evidence that the bond between the silica nanoparticles and spores was further enhanced by the use of sol-gel or polymerized glass. Some believe that the spores may have even been electrostatically charged to aid their dispersal. At any rate, the end result of the processing was a powder far more potent than a simple combination of anthrax spores, cells and residual growth medium.
Former Russian bioweaponeer Ken Alibek and Harvard biologist Matthew Meselson, however, have opined that there was no special silica coating observable in the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) images they saw. The presence of any silica, Drs. Meselson and Alibek say, may have come from the environment because of the special tendency of anthrax spore coats to attract silicon. (The lead FBI scientist Dwight Adams relied on the study provided the FBI by Meselson in briefing the Congress in November 2002.) Indeed, the silica may have been in the culture medium and then removed as described by a mid-March 2001 and related patent filed by researchers at Dr. Alibeks Center for Biodefense at GMU. Dr. Alibek reports that, like Dr. William Patrick, he was also given a polygraph.
A scientist from the FBI Laboratory, Dr. Doug Beecher, in a July 2006 issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology provided me a copy of his article that reports that:
a widely circulated misconception is that the spores were produced using additives and sophisticated engineering supposedly akin to military weapon production. The issue is usually the basis for implying that the powders were inordinately dangerous compared to spores alone. The persistent credence given to this impression fosters erroneous preconceptions, which may misguide research and preparedness efforts and generally detract from the magnitude of hazards posed by simple spore preparations.
The vague and ambiguous passage mere confirms Dr. Alibeks point that a sophisticated product can result from a relatively simple method.
Harvard University Matthew Meselson reviewed the language in the FBI scientists article before publication. The statement should have had a reference, editor-in-chief of the microbiology journal told a trade periodical. An unsupported sentence being cited as fact is uncomfortable to me. Any statement in a scientific article should be supported by a reference or by documentation. The two passages, footnoted or not, essentially said what Dr. Alibek had been saying: [J]ust because you have a sophisticated product doesnt mean the technique has to be sophisticated. Silica in the culture medium would not be a sophisticated additive but would serve to concentrate the agent.
In a Letter to the Editor in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Aug. 2007, p. 5074, titled Unsupported Conclusions on the Bacillus anthracis Spores, Kay A. Mereish, at the United Nations, reports:
In a meeting I attended in September 2006, a presentation was made by a scientist who had worked on samples of anthrax collected from letters involved in the [anthrax letters] incident in October 2001; that scientist described the anthrax spore as uncoated but said it contained an additive that affected the spores electrical charges. (D. Small, CBRN Counter-Proliferation and Response, Paris, France, 18-20 September 2006; organized by SMi [www.smi-online.co.uk)
Dr. Mereish tells me that her letter to the editor was not intended to agree or disagree with the FBI scientist. She merely notes that his two sentences that related to this issue of additive were not supported by the scientific experiment and data that he published. She relies on Dr. Small who made her statement based on her scientific research finding in connection with her work on the anthrax samples. Dr. Mereishs letter, however, is another example where the use of electrical charges scientists as Dr. Patrick and Dr. Alibek are failing to distinguish between electrostatic charges and Van der Waals forces, thus resulting in some of the confusion in the press reports.
Kathryn Crockett, Ken Alibeks assistant was just a couple doors down from Ali Al-Timimi addressed these issues in her 2006 thesis, A historical analysis of Bacillus anthracis as a biological weapon and its application to the development of nonproliferation and defense strategies. She expressed her special thanks to Dr. Ken Alibek and Dr. Bill Patrick. Dr. Patrick consulted with the FBI and so the FBI credits his expertise. I dont want to appear arrogant. I dont think anyone knows more about anthrax powder in this country, William Patrick told an interviewer. Dr. Alibeks access to know-how, regarding anthrax weaponization, similarly, seems beyond reasonable dispute. Katie successfully defended the thesis before a panel that included USAMRIID head and Ames strain researcher Charles Bailey, Ali Al-Timimis other Department colleague. She says that scientists who analyzed the powder through viewing micrographs or actual contact are divided over the quality of the powder. She cites Gary Matsumotos Science article in summarizing the debate. She says the FBI has vacillated on silica. Regarding the specific issue of weaponization, Dr. Alibeks assistant concluded in her PhD thesis, according to several scientists at USAMRIID who examined the material, the powder created a significant cloud when agitated meaning that the adhesion of the particles had been reduced. Reducing the adhesion of the particles meant that the powder would fly better. She explains that The most common way to reduce electrostatic charge is to add a substance to the mixture, usually a silica based substance.
On the issue of encapsulation, she reports that many experts who examined the powder stated the spores were encapsulated. Encapsulation involves coating bacteria with a polymer which is usually done to protect fragile bacteria from harsh conditions such as extreme heat and pressure that occurs at the time of detonation (if in a bomb), as well as from moisture and ultraviolet light. The process was not originally developed for biological weapons purposes but rather to improve the delivery of various drugs to target organs or systems before they were destroyed by enzymes in the circulatory system (citing Alibek and Crockett, 2005). The US and Soviet Union, however, she explains, used this technique in their biological weapons programs for pathogens that were not stable in aerosol form Since spores have hardy shells that provide the same protection as encapsulation would, there is no need to cover them with a polymer. She explains that one possible explanation is that the spore was in fact encapsulated but not for protective purpose. Encapsulation also reduces the need for milling when producing a dry formulation. By reducing the need for milling, she means permits greater concentration of the biological agent. If the perpetrator was knowledgeable of the use of encapsulation for this purpose, then he or she may have employed it because sophisticated equipment was not at his disposal.
One military scientist who has made anthrax simulants described the GMU patents as relating to an encapsulation technique which serves to increase the viability of a wide range of pathogens. More broadly, a DIA analyst once commented to me that the internal debate seemed relatively inconsequential given the circumstantial evidence overlooked by so many people that US-based supporters of Al Qaeda are responsible for the mailings.
In a June 2005 interview in a Swiss (German language) weekly news magazine, Neue Zurcher Zeitung, Ken Alibek addresses the anthrax mailings:
A. What if I told you Swiss scientists are paid by Al Qaeda? You could believe it or not. It has become somewhat fashionable to disparage Russian scientists. Americans, Iraqis, or whoever could just as well be involved with Al Qaeda. Why doesnt anyone speculate about that?
Q. But could one of your students build a biological weapon in the garage?
A. Let me reply philosophically: Two hundred years ago, it was unthinkable to believe that people would be using mobile telephones, wasnt it? Everything changes. Our knowledge grows, and technology develops incredibly quickly. These days even high-school kids can breed recombinant microbial strains. I am not saying that a student is in a position to build a biological weapon all by himself. But the knowledge needed to do it is certainly there.
No one who responded to my inquiries ever knew Al-Timimi to ever have been involved in any biodefense project. For example, former Russian bioweaponeer Sergei Popov did not know of any such work by Al-Timimi, and Anna Popova had only seen him in the hall on a very rare occasion. Dr. Alibek thought of him as a numbers guy rather than a hands-on type. Given that the FBI knows what Al-Timimi had for dinner on September 16, 2001 and lunch on September 17, it is very likely that the past years have involved a continued search for the mailer and/or processor. His attorney emphasizes that while they searched for materials related to a planned biological attack when they searched his townhouse in late February 2003, they came up empty.
Peter Leitner at GMU has supervised a 2007 PhD thesis by a graduate student that explores biosecurity issues at GMU. Other students took a red cell approach that have corroborated the findings of the thesis. The thesis points to a pretty big iceberg indeed. Proliferation leads to great risk of infiltration. LSU researcher Martin Hugh-Jones explained: There were no more than ten labs in the nation working with the organism, and now its about 310and they all want virulent strains. In the old days virtually everyone was paid by Department of Defense to do their research because thats the only place where money came from because the organism wasnt thought to be of economic importance. Now that its a bioterrorist threat and moneys available for research, experts have come out of the walls. The whole damn thing is bizarre.
You haven't shown me where it says that the Sterne spores were created recently.
Presumably, the procedure for creating spores that you posted is Dugway's description of how they made spores back in days of yore. It's their contribution to the article.
What are you interpreting to mean that they manufactured the Sterne spores recently? How recently? Can you tell from whatever it is that you see?
While Al-Timimi was recruiting for the Taliban, he was also connected to one of the principals on Al Qaedas WMD Committee, Mohammed Abdel-Rahman. The CIA and FBI apparently have known this for years but have kept it secret as part of their ongoing confidential national security and criminal investigation. Mohammed Abdel-Rahman spoke at the first conference of the Islamic Assembly of North America (IANA) in 1993 and was noted to be from Afghanistan. Mohammed Abdelrahman spoke alongside Ali Al-Timimi again, for example, in 1996 in Toronto and again that December in Chicago at the annual conference. The December conference was held after blind sheik Abdel-Rahman was indicted. Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation was closely involved in the financing and promotion of IANA activities. Al-Buthi of Al-Haramain was in contact with Bin Laden’s sheiks and also his brother-in-law who had funded the KSM-led Bojinka operation. Global Relief Foundation participated in and sponsored a number of annual conferences. GRF sent money to IANA to offset the conferences’ costs. Mohammed Abdel-Rahman was close to bin Laden and was engaged in planning key operations. OBL considered him like a son. Mohammed was on the three member WMD committee with Midhat Mursi. Mohammed Abdel-Rahman ran a training camp that was part of the larger complex of several camps. He was an explosives trainer.
The Superseding Indictment in United States of postal employee Ahmed Abdel Sattar et al., explains that on February 12, 1997, with Mohammed Abdelrahman back in Afghanistan, a statement issued in the name of the Islamic Group threatened, The Islamic Group declares all American interests legitimate targets to its legitimate jihad until the release of all prisoners, on top of whom is Abdel Rahman. Three months later, on May 5, 1997, a statement issued in the name of the Islamic Group threatened, If any harm comes to the [S]heikh [,] al-Gama al-IsIalamiy[y]a will target  all of those Americans who participated in subjecting his life to danger. The statement also said that A1-Gamaa al-Islamiyya considers every American official, starting with the American president to the despicable jailer  partners endangering the Sheikhs life, and that the Islamic Group would do everything in its power to free Abdel Rahman.
The same person who posted notice of the 1996 conference where Al-Timimi, Bilal Philips and Mohammed Abdel-Rahman spoke, then posted notice of a protest titled STOP RAILROADING OF SHEIKH OMAR ABDEL RAHMAN - PROTEST US POLICIES AGAINST ISLAM. The Rally was to take place on June 20, 1997 in front of the US Bureau of Prisons in Washington DC.
An FBI affidavit, drafted in support of a warrant for the search of Post Office employee Sattars Staten Island apartment, explains that Sattar was the communications hub to and from the imprisoned Abdel-Rahman. The 42-year-old postal worker worked as a paralegal during the blind terrorists federal trial for attorneys Lynne Stewart and Stanley Cohen. Sattar was in frequent contact with IG leaders worldwide, including Rifai Taha Musa (Taha) and WMD Committee member Abdel-Rahmans son Mohammed.
Al Qaeda continued to seek religious approval from blind sheik Abdel-Rahman for its attacks. The US indictment of the Post Office worker in contact with Mohammed Abdel-Rahman alleged: On or about June 19, 2000, one of Abdel Rahmans sons, Mohammed Abdel Rahman, spoke by telephone with SATTAR and asked SATTAR to convey to Abdel Rahman the fierceness of the debate within the Islamic Group about the initiative, and said that even if the other side is right, SATTAR should tell Abdel Rahman to calm the situation by supporting the general line of the Group. The indictment of the US Post Office worker Sattar further alleges: On or about June 20, 2000, SATTAR spoke by telephone with Mohammed Abdel Rahman and advised him that a conference call had taken place that morning between Abdel Pahman and some of his attorneys and that Abdel Rahman had issued a new statement containing additional points which made clear, among other things, that Abdel Rahman was not unilaterally ending the initiative, but rather, was withdrawing his support for it and stating that it was up to the brothers in the Islamic Group now to reconsider the issue.
The indictment of the US Post Office employee Sattar further alleges: On or about September 21, 2000, an Arabic television station, Al Jazeera, televised a meeting of Usama Bin Laden (leader of the al Qaeda terrorist organization), Ayman al Zawahiri (former leader of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad organization and one of Bin Ladens top lieutenants), and Taha. Sitting under a banner which read, Convention to Support Honorable Omar Abdel Rahman, the three terrorist leaders pledged to free Abdel Rahman from incarceration in the United States. During the meeting, Mohammed Abdel Rahman, a/k/a Asadallah, who is a son of Abdel Rahman, was heard encouraging others to avenge your Sheikh and go to the spilling of blood.
In December 2001, the blind sheiks lawyer Montasser Al-Zayat the fellow in touch with US Post Office employee Sattar who claimed in March 1999 that Zawahiri was going to use weaponized anthrax against US targets claimed that Mohammed Abdel-Rahman, 29, had died from wounds received during the bombardment of the Tora Bora caves in eastern Afghanistan. He said his information came from an Islamic activist in London. The report was false. Mohammed Abdel-Rahman was arrested in mid-February 2003 and Ali Al-Timimi’s townhouse was searched two week later.
The FBI feels that they are damned if they do, and damned if they dont. They are criticized for making arrests too soon other times they are criticized for not acting sooner. They are criticized when they dont give out any information. They are criticized when they do. All the while, the public is seldom well-positioned to second-guess the issue.
If the silica would stick to the spores due to van der Waals forces, why wouldn't the silica particles also stick to each other and result in total clumping of the whole mess due to van der Waals forces?
I'm about to shut down shop for the day. I'm hoping that you will find the time to answer the above questions before very long. Ignoring them would just show that you have no answers to questions which might challenge your beliefs.
Now that Ed has punched his clock, let’s get down to the relevant science that points to why Al-Timimi is not the processor (that is in addition to the fact that he is a “numbers guy,” not a hands-on guy).
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. 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. We thus apparently know from First Grade geography that Maryland-bound Dr. Steve Hatfill did not weaponize the anthrax.
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 on Ehrlinger’s map. The yellow swath includes much of the Northeastern United States — places like Manhattan, and Syracuse, NY as well as places like Ann Arbor and Minneapolis. 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. 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 specifically 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.” (The agency would usually be identified). In other water isotope ratio studies the funding agency was identified as the CIA 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.
Separately, 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. While the Utah scientist in this study was looking at the tap water, 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 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 perhaps is a lack of a “smoking gun.” Here, based on this new science, hopefully there is a smoking petri dish.
By looking at the oxygen, hydrogen and deuterium geospatial distribution, authorities can more precisely identify where 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.
Let’s consider a DIA document from the late 1990’s first tipping off Defense Threat Reduction Agency off that Bin Laden planned to use charities as cover.
Question: Why did DARPA allow someone close to the Bin Laden sheik referenced in the 1996 Declaration of War work in the building housing the Center for Biodefense? The program had the biggest biodefense award (funding a contract with USAMRIID involving Ames) in history. Charles Bailey was the #1 guy in charge of biological threat assessment and head of the progam at GMU. Why did he allow a sheik talking about the end of times and destruction of Western Civilization to have an office 15 feet away? Did he at least lock his door at night? Who was in charge of biosecurity at the university?
The document stated in part:
SUBJ: SWIFT KNIGHT - USAM BEN LADENS CURRENT AND HISTORICAL ACTIVITIES
WARNING: THIS IS AN INFORMATION REPORT, NOT FINALLY EVALUATED INTELLIGENCE
BEN LADEN STAYED IN KHARTOUM, WHERE 700 AFGHAN ARABS WERE CONCENTRATED. FROM THIS GROUP, HE CREATED THE NUCLEUS OF THE TERRORIST FUNDAMENTALIST POLITICAL ORGANIZATION AL-KAIDA. AMONG THE MEMBERS WAS HIS PERSONAL FRIEND, AMER [(KHATTAB]), A JORDANIAN CHECHEN WHOSE REPUTATION WAS DISTINGUISHED EVEN IN THEIR OWN CIRCLE FOR UNMOTIVATED BRUTALITY. IN 1995, KHATTAB APPEARED IN CHECHNYA TO CARRY OUT A SPECIAL MISSION ASSIGNED TO HIM BY USAM BEN LADEN TO ORGANIZE TRAINING CAMPS FOR INTERNATIONAL TERRORISTS.
THE MEANS BY WHICH THE ABOVE GOALS [AT MINIMUM, TO OVERTHROW FAKHD IN SAUDI ARABIA] ARE TO BE MET ARE VIA TERROR, ETHNIC CLEANSING, LATENT PENETRATION (NFI), AND CONTROL OVER NUCLEAR AND BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS (JIHKHAD). FURTHER, RADICAL ISLAMIC (PREDOMINANTLY SUNNI) REGIMES ARE TO BE ESTABLISHED AND SUPPORTED EVERYWHERE POSSIBLE, INCLUDING BOSNIA, ALBANIA, CHECHNYA, DAGESTAN, [ETC]
VOLUNTEERS FROM WHAT THE DOCUMENT REFERRED TO AS BEN LADENS CHARITY SOCIETIES FROM PAKISTAN AND AFGHANISTAN ***
A DIRECT ROUTE HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED TO CHECHNYA FROM PAKISTAN AND AFGHANISTAN THROUGH TURKEY AND AZERBAIJAN.
THE NEW PROGRAM INCLUDES TOPICS IN DIVERSIONS WITH THE HELP OF WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION, INCLUDING BACTERIOLOGICAL, AND INCENDIARY MIXTURES.
Here is an excerpt from the correspondence between the Pakistani scientist Rauf Ahmad (Abdur Rauf) and Ayman Zawahiri.
Rauf Ahmad was helping Ayman infiltrate UK biodefense establishment just as Ali had done even more spectacularly in the US.
The DIA gave me the correspondence under the Freedom of Information Act along with 100+ pages related to Al Qaeda’s anthrax planning.
Rauf Ahmad gave me his resume by email but years later the email and cell phone number no longer are current.
THEN I WENT TO [REDACTED] TO MEET WITH
DR. [REDACTED] IN CHARGE OF [REDACTED] IN ORDER
TO SEE THE FATE OF OUR DEMAND OF CULTURES. I
VISITED ALONG WITH HIM ALL THE UNITS OF [REDACTED]
INCLUDING THE SPECIAL CONFIDENTIAL ROOM IN WHICH
THOUSANDS OF CULTURES ARE PLACED. HE ALSO
SHOWED ME THE HIGHLY ADVANCED LEVEL-3
PATHOGEN LABORATORY. HE ALSO SHOWED THE
RELAVENT DOCUMENTS FOR THE SUPPL OF OUR CULTURES.
THE [REDACTED] HAVE CONTRACTED THE [REDACTED]
REGARDING THE EXPORT LICENSE AND THEY HAVE
INFORMED THEM THAT THEY ARE GOING THROUGH
Two key articles:
“Suspect and A Setback In Al-Qaeda Anthrax Case,” Washington Post, October 31, 2006, A1
“Hardball Tactics in an Era of Threats,” Washington Post, September 3, 2006, A1
Ely Karmon, Ph.D., Senior Research Scholar and Internet Project Director, of the The International Policy Institute for Counter-terrorism (ICT)
published “The Anthrax Campaign: An Interim Analysis,” dated October 30, 2001. He thoughtfully addressed the various alternatives. What does Dr. Karmon think now?
The full report can be downloaded here.
Here is an excerpt:
“Bin Ladens network the first suspect.
In an article published on October 16, 2001 by the Sunday Mail, British terrorism expert Simon Reeve claimed that al-Qaida agents in Albania had obtained vials of anthrax and botulinum toxin in the Czech Republic. Reeve referred to transcripts of Egyptian interrogations of captured members of al-Qaida. But according to the Czech media, U.S. experts investigating cases of occurrence of anthrax in the United States have not linked the origin of the substance with the Czech Republic. Czech army medical service chief Jan Petras, said upon returning from a visit to the U.S. that according to his evaluation, supported by certain evidence, the anthrax used in the U.S. attacks was made in the U.S.
The San Francisco Chronicle claimed that testimony given during a terrorism trial two years ago in Egypt was rich with details about bin Ladens alleged efforts to acquire various germs. Among the biological agents purchased from countries in Eastern Europe by bin Ladens top aide, Egyptian Islamic Jihad leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, were anthrax and the deadly Ebola virus, the Chronicle said.
Significantly, recent reports in the British press, have claimed that followers of Osama Bin Laden planned to carry out a chemical weapon attack in Europe using a poisonous invisible gas, possibly cyanide. Reportedly, Italian anti-terrorist police recorded conversations taking place in an apartment outside Milan that served as a safe house for an al-Qaida cell. According to the Sunday Times, terrorists in Britain, Germany and Italy plotted to use tins of tomatoes to transport a liquid that suffocates people. The plan was foiled when a Libyan at the center of the plot was arrested in Munich. One theory is that the group planned to spread the poison in an American government building in London or Rome. Convicted Algerian terrorist Ahmed Ressam testified during his trial in the U.S. that experiments using poisonous cyanide gas pumped into an office building ventilation system took place at training camps run by bin Laden in Afghanistan.
It is clear by now that some of the letters bearing anthrax in the United States were sent from Trenton, New Jersey. It should be remembered that Jersey City was the cradle of the plot for the first bombing of the World Trade Center, in 1993, by a cell led by Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman. Likewise, the anthrax infection in Boca Raton, Florida, happened not far from the apartments where some of the hijackers of the September 11 planes lived and trained.
On September 28, U.S. government officials expressed concern about a plant located in Afghanistan that manufactures 34F2 Sterne, a non-virulent strain of anthrax, only suitable for use in the anthrax vaccine. The plant, which was renovated in 1997 with assistance from the International Committee of the Red Cross, manufactures about 10,000 doses of the vaccine per year. Officials are trying to assess whether the facility has the proper equipment and the lethal strains of anthrax necessary to produce biological weapons.
The modus operandi used during the present campaign of anthrax letters is not a mass destruction attack but rather a series of symbolic attacks against individuals representing the media and American power centers. ***
What is clear at this stage of the investigation is that all the tainted letters sent within the United Statesprobably all from New Jerseywere sent to targets in the U.S., beginning a week after the September 11 attacks. As for the cases of anthrax in Florida, they could be the result either of a letter opened by an AMI employee but not reported to the authorities, or of another kind of direct infection which has not been yet proposed by the investigators.
The low level of technology employed, while using a relatively virulent strain of the bacteria, could imply that the perpetrators do not have the sophisticated means to disseminate the anthrax as an aerosol.
From the above it seems that the letters in New Jersey and Florida (if indeed there was a letter sent to Florida) were prepared and sent by a small cell or cells, perhaps even by one individual. And yet, this cell or individual had prepared the necessary technical infrastructure, decided on the targets and taken the necessary security measures (medical and operational) in order to be ready immediately after the attacks of September 11
Bin Ladens network would have no difficulty preparing such an infrastructure, as it prepared the much more complex operation of the pilots training and hijackings in the U.S..
As long as there is no proof that bin Ladens men or American extremist elements have developed the capability to produce advanced forms of anthraxsomething that they have not had up to nowthe Iraqi track is still valid.”
Ed and I both credit Dr. Alibek as highly expert.
Ed reports that when he spoke to Ken Alibek (in December 2004, I think it was), Ken thought supporters of the militant islamists were responsible. Ed purposely avoided transcribing and uploading that portion of the tape (and avoided mentioning the fact at the time).
When I emailed Dr. A once to ask if he knew Ali, he told me that the FBI suspected the GMU bioinformatics student. (Al-Timimi’s lawyer has now confirmed it). Ed has failed to transcribe and upload that portion of the tape even though Dr. A was not much more than 15 feet from the scientist the FBI considered an anthrax weapons suspect. Ken’s view is highly relevant because he has first-hand knowledge of the matter. Yet Ed does not upload it because it challenges his belief. I would ask that he transcribe and upload it as it would be interesting and perhaps informative. Ali was interviewed 7 or 8 times before October 1, 2004 and the indictment.
But let’s consider the broad reasoning of Ed’s key expert on technical issues.
” Alibek cites, among other issues:
The hijackers were looking for crop dusters. He says it’s hard to believe that they wanted to use crop dusters for attacking the World Trade Center.
The first cases of anthrax were in Florida, near where some of these hijackers lived. Also, there were reports about a strange anthrax-type ulcer on the leg of one of the hijackers before 9/11.
The timing of the attack in conjunction with 9/11 was “sort of a simultaneous attempt” to cause a greater fear and anxiety. “Sometimes, it seems to me, that somebody actually used this atmosphere of panic, anxiety for sending anthrax in which it could be a domestic case. There are many issues and questions that we still have unanswered, but you notice I don’t answer this question to say, ‘OK, it was a domestic war’ or ‘... a foreign case.’”
In one of the letters the word “penicillin” was misspelled. Hatfill, a medical doctor, would hardly have not known how to spell the word. “It’s hard for me to believe that somebody with medical background would make such a big mistake, if it’s not done intentionally, of course.”
The FBI failed to conduct an immediate search of the places where the hijackers lived in Florida. Alibek said that “when you do any investigation you shouldn’t get rid of any possible opportunity, any possible lead. If you took a week just to reach your conclusion, saying OK, domestic case or foreign case, you can lose some very important evidence. And specifically, if, for example, you narrow down your investigation, at the earliest stage of investigation and then you follow this path, for example, and just, in about six, eight or nine months or a year, you find out it was the wrong case, of course, it’s too late to go back to seek for some other cause ... because in many cases, people have short memories.”
Alibek said he didn’t buy the claims of FBI profilers who think the anthrax attacks were orchestrated by a patriotic American who wanted to warn Americans about the danger of bioweapons. He said those who concocted the anthrax mail attacks were simply cold-blooded killers.
Noting that the FBI early on devoted most of its energies and resources to tracking a domestic perpetrator, Alibek said: “For example, if you investigate something immediately after it happened, people still have something in mind, what they saw, what they knew, and so on and so forth.”
Oops. I misspoke. Ken said no such thing. I was going from memory instead of actually checking the interview, and I was thinking that because he's supposedly a Right Winger that he'd blame Muslims. He didn't.
Here's the part of the conversation where I asked who he thought sent the anthrax letters:
Lake: This might be out of line, but do you have any idea who you think did it?
Alibek: If I knew I would probably already have the 2.5 million.
Lake: Me, too. (Laughter from both) I have an idea. Ive talked with the FBI about it several times. Nothing has proven me wrong yet, so Im still waiting for my 2.5 million.
Alibek: (laughing) Oh, thats great.
I apologize for my misstatement.
He didn't say it in my interview with him. But, based upon the NewsMax interview, I was evidently right in assuming that, because he's probably a Right Winger, he'd blame Muslims.
Ed, you turned me into the FBI you moron, all because we kicked you out of our email group for discussing private emails and labeling Richard The Follower. Your discussions with the FBI have all been idiotic to include the one based on the ABC report that the FBI said was baloney. Your suggestion that Failey was involved is and was always baseless.
A “bioevangelist” theory was always crock, especially as to October 6, 2001 mailing. There was no need to “sound the alarm”. It had already been sounded. Only someone not informed as to the intelligence about Zawahiri’s anthrax planning would credit a bioevangelist theory.
“Bioterrorism: Next Threat?”, Time Magazine, September 24, 2001
“WHO warns of biowarfare threat,” MSNBC, September 24, 2001
David Siegrist, “The threat from biological terrorism,” CNN, September 20, 2001
“Crop-Dusters Thought to Interest Suspects,” Washington Post, September 24, 2001, A1
As an aside, in arguing that it is not feasible to disperse anthrax from cropdusters, Ed presumes he knows more than cropdusters than Michael Osterholm at UMn, where they have the only course of study on aerosol science. See Michael Osterholm’s 2000 book on subject with co-author NYT correspondent.
“U.S. Response: Washington Authorities Prepare for Biochemical Attacks,” Global Security Newswire, October 1, 2001
“Before Attack, U.S. Expected Different Hit: Chemical, Germ Agents Focus of Preparations,” Washington Post, October 2, 2001
“Over the past few years, elaborate multi-agency planning exercises with flashy names such as “Red Ex” and “Dark Winter” focused overwhelmingly on biological and chemical threats while experts urging preparations for a simpler, more conventional attack found it difficult to be heard.
Of the more than 201 federal planning exercises conducted in the late 1990s, two-thirds were aimed at defending the public against biological and chemical attacks, government records show, even as multiple studies concluded that bombings, hijackings and other low-tech missions were far more likely.”
Ed was entirely wrong about his belief — his assumption (unsupported by anything) — about Failey’s politics. He made the same reckless assumption about politics that proponents of a Zack Theory made about religion.
Zawahri’s intent to use anthrax against US targets was known to the USG but not Ed — and by December 2001 documents had been seized in Afghanistan that since 1999 Zawahiri had been moving toward his goal by infiltrating UK/US biodefense establishment. A female CIA analyst sounded the alarm in December 2001 upon finding the correspondence between Rauf Ahmad and Ayman Zawahir and email correspondence between Ayman and military commander Atef talking about the plan to use NGOs and Universities as cover.
1. “Islamic Jihad ‘Confessions’ Described,” London Al-Sharq al-Awsat, (FBIS translation) March 3, 1999
The first thread in this case came with the arrest of defendant Ahmad
Ibrahim al-Najjar in Albania, where he had fled after being sentenced to
Once al-Najjar was captured, members of the organization began to fall one
after another. He revealed the names of a large number of his partners
and gave detailed information about the support he got from the Islamic
Jihad Organization’s leaders, foremost among them Ayman al-Zawahiri,
‘Adil ‘Abd-al-Majid, and Tharwat Salah Shihatah, who lives in Britain.
Al-Najjar is among the 12 defendants accused of membership in the Jihad
Organization who were extradited from Albania to Egypt last July.
Nonconventional Weapons [subhead]
The most controversial point in the confessions of the defendants from
the Albanian fundamentalist group was the confirmation that pro-Bin-Ladin
elements had obtained germ and biological weapons by post at a cheap
price. Factories in the former Eastern Europe supply viruses that cause
fatal diseases, such as E-Coli and Salmonella, without checking the
identities of the purchasers. The important thing for them is payment of
the invoice in advance. One of the organization’s members secure an offer
to supply samples of anthrax gas [as published] and other toxic gases
from a factory in a Southeast Asian country. The germs were offered at a
price of $3,685, including shipping costs.
2. “Bin-Laden Men Reportedly Possess Biological Weapons,” Al-Sharaq al-Awsat, March 6, 1999 (FBIS/FTS 19990306000273)
[FBIS Translated Text] Confessions by defendants in the “Albanian Arabs”
case, which is being considered by the Egyptian Supreme Military Court at
Hykstap Base, northern Cairo, have revealed that elements loyal to
Bin-Ladin have obtained germ and biological weapons by post in return for
a small sum.
3. “Muslim Calls for Bio-Weapon Holy War.” Sunday Times , September 5, 1999
A MUSLIM cleric is running the risk of being deported after calling for attacks with biological weapons on west-ern targets. Omar Bakri Muhammad, a refugee and father of seven living in north London, has emerged as the extreme voice of international Muslim fanaticism. He is a friend of Abu Hamza, the mullah with metal claws for hands, who was linked to the Britons imprisoned in Yemen on terrorist charges.
In an open letter read out in mosques across Britain and published on the internet, Bakri called on Muslims to rise up in a jihad, or holy war, against America and its allies.
Bakri, who has claimed disability benefit and income support, addressed his call to Osama Bin Laden, the terror-ist suspected of bombing two American embassies and murdering 256 people. Bakri invited Bin Laden to “aim your weapons at occupying forces”.
4. “Cleric Urges Osama to Launch Biological War Against West,” Hindustan Times, September 6, 1999
“The paper also reported that the letter of Omar Bakri to Bin Laden was being studied by the Home Office. One official was quoted saying, ‘We do not discuss individual cases, but the Home Secretary has powers to refuse entry or deport nationals if he is satisfied that a persons presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good.’
Omar Bakris recent utterings have been particularly fanatical. ’sing any biological weapons in self-defence is, in Islam, permissible, and I believe that we are currently operating under a defensive jihad... obviously we regret what happens to people but there are always people who are war casualties...’
5. “Terror alert on anthrax,” The Sunday Age, April 6, 2000
“Confirmation to The Sunday Age from intelligence sources that bin Laden associates recently bought the deadly anthrax and plague viruses from arms dealers in Kazakhstan comes as Australian authorities prepare for the massive task of securing the Olympics from terrorism.”
6. Undated typed correspondence from Pakistan scientist Rauf Ahmad to Ayman Zawahiri (produced under FOIA)
“I SUCCESSFULLY ACHIEVED THE TARGETS DURING MY VISIT TO [REDACTED]”
7. Earlier undated handwritten correspondence from Pakistan scientist Rauf Ahmad to Ayman Zawahiri (and associated notes) (produced under FOIA)
“To expertize our project [redacted] should be involved in the transportation of items and during this period I will make the purchase. We both do not want to involve a third person in this matter.”
The correspondence was discussed in SCIENCE in 2002 but Ed didn’t notice.
An entire Amerithrax investigative squad (there were two investigative squads and one forensic science squad) was devoted to the theory and yet Ed never even read the stories let alone linked them at his website purporting to be about the investigation.
1. “No Return Address: Who Is Mailing Letter Bombs to America?” TIME, January 13, 1997
“Among their top priorities, however, is looking into one of Leavenworth’s 1,867 inmates: Mohammed Salameh, who is serving a life sentence for his involvement in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City that killed six people and injured more than 1,000. Salameh is also linked to Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind Egyptian cleric convicted of conspiring to blow up the United Nations and several other New York landmarks.”
2. “Ex Us soldier admits embassy bombings,” BBC News, October 20, 2000
3. “Bacterial envelope mailed to minister,” Medicine Hat News, February 1, 2001
4. “Risk Assessment of anthrax threat letters,” Defence R&D Canada, September 2001
5. FBI 302 Interview Statetment of Ali Al-Timimi shortly after 9/11 (not yet made public)
6. “Terrorist Investigation Heads To Local Library,” Clickondetroit, October 5, 2001
Was that Canadian detainee Jaballah, the brother-in-law of Shehata, in charge of special operations?
It is a FACT that the terrorists have gone to the local library to research using anthrax as a weapon more often than Ed.
7. “Bin Laden group ‘has bio-weapons,” BBC News, October 9, 2001
8. “J.LoAnthrax Connection?” E! OnLine, October 9, 2001
By not reading Al Qaeda articles, Ed did not appreciate that Ramzi, who Tenet says had a CBRN role, used “Jenny” as code.
9. “British say Bin Laden Probably Has Acquired Bio, Chemical Agents; May Lack Means of Delivery,” Investor’s Business Daily, October 10, 2001
Despite the widespread consensus Bin Laden probably had anthrax, Ed argues AQ merely had an interest in acquiring anthrax.
10. “Cheney: Reasonable to assume anthrax cases linked to terrorists,” CNN, October 12, 2001
Cheney has never changed his view.
11. Safar al-Hawali, “Open Letter of Sheikh Safar Hawali to President Bush, October 15, 2001
Al-Hawali had been on the telephone with Al-Timimi, for example, on September 19, 2001 and September 16, 2001.
12. “Shift, Officials Look Into Possibility Anthrax Cases Have bin Laden Ties,” New York Times, October 16, 2001
13. “Gorbachev: Terrorist using anthrax,” CNN, October 16, 2001
14. “Link Suspected in Anthrax and Hijackings,” New York Times, October 19, 2001
15. “Newsweek Poll: Bin Laden to Blame For Anthrax,” MSNBC, October 20, 2001
16. “Did bin Laden buy bioterror? 1999 testimony says he did,” San Francisco Chronicle, October 21. 2001
17. “Gephardt thinks anthrax, terror attack linked,” CNN, October 23, 2001
If you believed US-based supporters of AQ was responsible, Ed reasoned it was because you were conservative. When it is Ed’s approach that is poiltical. (That’s an Obama bumper sticker on my car).
18. “Osama bought a batch for 10G,” New York Post, October 24, 2001
19. “Bin Laden Bought Anthrax, Coli and Salmonella, Aide Tells Court,” Mirror, October 25, 2001
20. “Al-Qa’ida bought anthrax spores, claims informer: Egyptian Connection,” The Independent, October 25, 2001
21. “Suspected hijacker may have transported anthrax,” AFP, October 25, 2001
22. “Bin Laden’s Biological Threat,” BBC, October 28, 2001
23. “Anthrax preparation indicates homegrown origin,” New Scientist, October 29, 2001
24. “Anthrax is ‘second wave’ of terrorism: Bush’s radio address,” Reuters, November 4, 2001
25. “Al Qaeda Sites Point to Tests of Chemicals,” New York Times, November 11, 2001
26. “Bravado and blood in Taliban territory,” U.S. News & World Report, November 12, 2001
27. “An al Qaeda operative at Fort Bragg,” Raleigh News & Observer, November 14, 2001
Understanding history has nothing to do with politics, Ed, it has to do with history.
28. “Scientists: Taliban took interest in lab that researches anthrax,” Associated Press, November 21, 2001
29. “Bin Laden’s Allies; An Investigation in Egypt Illustrates Al Qaeda’s Web,” New York Times, November 21, 2001
30. Kathy Gannon, “Taliban Showed Interest In Anthrax Research Lab. Scientists Say An Official Paid Frequent Visits,” Boston Globe, November 22, 2001
31. “Chilling evidence in the ruins of Kabul,” Economist, November 22, 2001
32. “Sketches of anthrax bomb found in Pakistani scientist’s office,” Rediff.com, November 28, 2001
33. “2 Pakistanis Linked to Papers on Anthrax Weapons,” New York Times, November 28, 2001
34. “Pakistan: Scientists Questioned About Anthrax Plans,” Global Security News, November 28, 2001
35. “Germ Weapon Plans Found at a Scientist’s House in Kabul,” New York Times, December 1, 2001
36. Press Release, “Terrorist Sleeper Cells: A U.S.-Based Al Qaeda ‘Sleeper Cell’ Was Poised to Launch a Post-Sept. 11 on a Major Washington Target; Would-Be Terrorists Went Underground or Fled U.S. Evidence Indicates Al Qaeda Had Russian Help Developing Anthrax; Al-Zawahir Believed Involved in Bin Laden’s Biological Weapons Program, “ Newsweek, December 9, 2001
This is an especially important one to read.
37. “Al Qaeda: Anthrax Found in Al-Qaeda Home,” Global Security Newswire, December 10, 2001
38. “FBI interviews Iowa State U. international students,” University Wire, December 11, 2001
39. “Al-Qaeda: New Evidence of Chemical and Biological Weapons Pursuit,” Global Security Newswire, January 2, 2002
40. “U.S. Says It Found Qaeda Lab Being Built to Produce Anthrax,” New York Times, March 23, 2002
41. “Al Qaeda-Anthrax Link?,” CBS News, March 23, 2002
42. “Report Linking Anthrax and Hijackers Is Investigated,” New York Times, March 23, 2002
43. “US says al-Qaeda weapons lab found,” BBC News, March 24, 2002
44. “Hijacker’s lesion deepens mystery,” Baltimore Sun, March 24, 2002
45. “Anthrax II: Officials Examine Sept. 11 Hijackers Connection to Disease,” Global Security News, March 25, 2002
46. “Spore Traces Found in Afghan Laboratory,” Myers Says,” Global Security News, March 26, 2002
47. Anthrax: Experts Debate Possible New Sept. 11 Connectionm Global Security, March 29, 2002
48. “Official: Unusual coating in anthrax mailings,” CNN, April 11, 2002
49. “A Sophisticated Strain of Anthrax,” Newsweek, April 15, 2002
50. “Al Qaeda’s Anthrax: Osama bin Laden behind the mail attacks?” Technology Review, April 16, 2002
51. “FBI ‘Amerithrax’ Investigation Focus Misguided, Commentator [David Tell] Says,” Global Security News, April 24, 2002
52. “Remember Anthrax?: Despite the evidence, the FBI won’t let go of its ‘lone American’ theory,” Weekly Standard, April 29, 2002
53. Jonathan Rauch, “Does Al Qaeda Have Anthrax? Better Assume So,” National Journal, June 1, 2002
54. “Anthrax: Look for International Terrorist Sources, Columnist [Rauch[ Says,” National Journal, June 4, 2002
55. Congressman Mike Pence, “Request for Update on FBI Anthrax Investigation,” June 11, 2002
56. “Their Faraway Eyes; In LAX Case, As In Anthax, FBI Averts Its Gaze,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 14, 2002
57. “Who Is Syed Athar Abbas?” Weekly Standard, July 17, 2002
58. “Anthrax: FBI Searches Homes of 15 People,” Global Security News, August 16, 2002
59. “Lab Suggests Qaeda Planned to Build Arms, Officials Say,” New York Times, September 14, 2002
60. “The Man Behind Bin Laden,” The New Yorker, September 16, 2002
61. “F.B.I. to question suspect in Malaysia,” New York Times, September 18, 2002
The FBI should explain why it took them 9 months to interview Yazid Sufaat. That is incredibly lame, Director Mueller.
62. “Alibek Doubts FBI Claims on Hatfill,” NewsMax.com, October 3, 2002
63. “Top Pakistani doctor released,” BBC News, November 19, 2002
“His brother said the doctor had faced allegations that he’d supplied anthrax to al-Qaeda and the Taleban.”
64. Ross E. Getman, “Al Qaeda, Anthrax and Ayman: means, opportunities, motive and modus operandi,” Cryptome.org, November 20, 2002
Because Ed wasn’t even reading the material, he missed the article that named the scientist helping Ayman infiltrate UK biodefense establishment that first appeared in 2002.
“Pakistan Security Authorities Arrest Doctor, Relatives for al-Qa’ida Links,” The News, December 20, 2002
(I believe this is the article I first learned the name of the Pakistani scientist helping Ayman but don’t have a link; the article, I believe, explained that the raid on the Khawaja compound followed from a string that stretched from the orthopedic surgeon Aziz above to PCSIR scientist Abdur Rauf).
Because Ed did not bother to learn the history and the players (like the fact that Khalifa funded KSM’s and Hambali Bojinka, then he had lost the ability to analyze evidence relating to half of the factual investigation between done by the Task Force.
“Former Bin Laden friend [Khalifa] denies terror ties,” Christian Science Monitor, January 21, 2003
OBL’s brother-in-law Khalifa years later was killed when a group of men (apparently looters) raided his home in Madagascar where he had gone on gem business and stole his computer.
John O’ Brien and John Mariani, “Witness Freed - Suspect Held, “Iraqi Charity Probe,” Syracuse Post-Standard, March 4, 2003
This Ph.D. in animal genetics and worked as a food researcher at Washington State University before he moved to Syracuse. Although he mixed with silica, there is no indication he used a siliconizing solution.
“U.S. Raids N.Va. Office Of Saudi-Based Charity,” Washington Post, June 2, 2004; Page B01
GMU computer security expert was volunteer here; he was deported the next month.
“Scholar is Given Life Sentence in ‘Virginia Jihad’ Case, New York Times, July 14, 2005
Director Mueller had announced a deadline of October 1, 2004 for an indictment in Amerithrax; Al-Timimi was indicted in late September 2004 for sedition. It was only later his lawyer explained the DOJ viewed him as an anthrax weapons suspect.
“N.Y. man [Mohammed Junaid Babar] admits he aided al Qaeda set up jihad camp,” CNN, August 11, 2004
There is no shortage of candidates for mailer.
“Man Accused of Aiding Terrorists Called ‘Moderate’, Washington Post, August 12, 2004
Indeed, the fellow mirroring Al Qaeda’s website was in North Brunswick, NJ, 6 miles from the mailbox.
John O’Brien “Virus nearly exposed FBI’s Dhafir probe: Internet corruption called Klez.h sent a bureau e-mail to the Manlius doctor,” Syracuse Post-Standard, November 5, 2004
You mean, everyone didn’t get on of those?
“FBI Says N.Y. Man Had Beltway Blueprints,” Associated Press, November 6, 2004; Page A14
Authored on anthrax in JAMA, from where Kathy Nguyen died, had moved from Falls Church, and represented by Lynne Stewart’s partner.
“U.S. Letter Tries To Establish a Doctor’s Links to Terrorists,” New York Times, dated November 6, 2004
“Views of Va. Muslim Leader Differ as Terror Trial Opens,” Washington Post, April 5, 2005
“Scholar ‘rock star’ to young,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, April 5, 2005
Blogger and Al-Timimi Umar Lee tells me this description is hyped - Royer was the leader of Virginia Paintball group, not Ali. But surely the young men sought Ali’s religious advice on even the most minor matters and he was highly influential.
Suspect and A Setback In Al-Qaeda Anthrax Case, Washington Post, October 31, 2006, A1
Hardball Tactics in an Era of Threats, Washington Post, September 3, 2006, A1
The key “POI” of the other squad was 15 feet from Ed’s key expert and he didn’t even know!
“FBI Focusing on ‘About Four’ Suspects in 2001 Anthrax Attacks,” FoxNews, March 28, 2008
But don’t worry. He’s “comfortable” with the FoxNews report. Heck, one of them may bowl after all.
As the evidence grew that Al Qaeda had weaponized anthrax, Ed had to turn to esoteric meaningless debates like the difference between Vander Waals and electrostatic forces. He took to drawing artful cartoons titled “Suzy The Spore” rather than deal with evidence of anthrax spraydrying documents or “extremely virulent” anthrax found.
“Pentagon: al-Qaeda pursuing bio weapons,” USA Today, May 23, 2003
“U.S. Action Halted Al-Qaeda WMD Effort in Afghanistan, Officials Say,” Global Security News, January 27. 2004
“Interrogation: Al Qaeda and Anthrax,” Newsweek, April 12, 2004
“Al-Qaida made surprising advances in ‘Agent X’ “, Associated Press, March 31, 2005
“Qaeda Letters Are Said to Show Pre9/11 Anthrax Plans,” New York Times, May 21, 2005
The article does not take into account that the handwritten letter preceded the typed correspondence.
“Al-Qaeda Gathered Equipment for Biological Weapons Laboratory Before 9/11, Documents Indicate,” Global Security News, May 23, 2005
Getman, “Anthrax Mystery: Evidence Points to al-Qaida,” Newsmax, June 7, 2007
He would disagree with whatever the DARPA contract expert on understanding the distinct signature of the anthrax posted on FreeRepublic.
“Distinct signature found in 01 anthrax,” Baltimore Sun, July 4, 2004
TrebleRebel took a day explaining the recent Aerosol study before letting me give to Ed so that he could explain the science before it was mangled. What did Ed do without even reading it? He said the authors were NUTS! and the suggestion they had used silica to weaponize anthrax for years at Dugway was BIZARRE!
While I was out doing some chores, I remembered reading something that I should have mentioned. It's on the first page of the report by the people from the CDC and Dugway:
Disclaimer. The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
So, the report is just the conclusions of the authors. Nothing official.
As a matter of logic, they have actually been doing it.
So they know it is floatable when processed with silica because they used silica and watched it float.
So just as we do not need a governmental statement the earth is not flat, we do not need a government statement that Dugway folks have been using silica to make weaponized anthrax.
The Daschle anthrax did not actually look like what was pictured in the recent study. It is a siliconized solution makes anthrax float like a butterfly and sting like a bee (and results in SEMS that look like that).
So it may be that it is only your suggestion that it makes no sense to use silica that is wrong. The EDX shows the silica spike upon use of siliconized solution. Yet it appears to be individual pure spores in the SEMS.
Google “siliconized solution” and you’ll see the “signature.”
I meant “siliconizing solution.”
So, the scientists still agree that silicon plus oxygen still equals silica, huh? That certainly is good to know! :)
Operation Golden Frog was a total success.
Although it was on a strictly need to know basis, there was a parallel
Operation Recycled Frog ongoing at the same time.
I made this video to launch and commemorate it:
What about "polymerized glass?"
According to Gary Mastumoto's article in Science, the attack anthrax contained "polymerized glass." Yet AFIP never mentioned any "polymerized glass" being in the Daschle anthrax.
I've been trying to get TrebelRebel to give us his opinion about who screwed up. Was it AFIP or was it Gary Matsumoto?
You guys seem to be hung up on the word "bizarre." Don't you know what it means?
Bizarre; odd or curious.
Isn't the article even a little bit odd or curious?
1. The entire article is based on the notion that the attack anthrax used a process developed at Dugway over 40 years ago, even though there is an abundance of evidence which says that is total nonsense.
2. The article describes in pretty good detail a process used at Dugway to create "weaponized anthrax" back during the Cold War.
Isn't even a little bit odd or curious?
Since when have government agencies been publishing details about making bioweapons?
Why would a CDC branch in Cincinnati find a need to publish a document that says it is "believed" that some of the material used in the 2001 attacks was in a "fluidized" form, meaning: containing fumed silica?
How come some scientists from Dugway agreed to provide for this paper a description of how they made such anthrax back during the Cold War along with a supply of simulants they made 40 years ago?
How come this information was published in an article about sampling methods and not in an article where KNOWN information (versus believed nonsense) about the powders used in the anthrax attacks of 2001 is also provided?
I appreciate that such information was released, but doesn't anyone else see anything odd or curious in the way it was done?
You are the scientist. Maybe you can explain this to me.
As to what is odd and curious, I understand all the robotics, automatic production, and even the arc reactor in IRON MAN. But how does Obadiah bring a Ray’s pizza from New York City to Malibu and it’s still hot and fresh?
Did they pay for the product display?
Based on the previews, ANDROMEDA STRAIN and THE HAPPENING both have overtones of an aerosolized anthrax attack on New York City and Washington, D.C. An epidemic of measles (such is feared at summer camp in New York), where the virus remains in the doctor’s room for 2 hours, is scarier than anthrax delivered by mail. Yet the voiceover in film coverage typically uses such a serious tone. When you go back to hear Don Foster, BHR, and Assad’s attorney solemnly intone on the subject — leading to the conclusion it is an insider — you realize how much remains intact of much of BHR’s analysis. Even Dr. Assaad’s analysis. It will take a breakthrough article by the NYT, WP or Hartford Courant to put the Al-Timimi filing (where his lawyer has always suspected him as an anthrax weapons suspect) in the context of the FoxNews report.
What happened to the two pictures of spores created by the Dugway process?
Were they removed because copyrights were violated?
Were they removed because they used too much bandwidth?
Were they removed because they showed that the Dugway process had nothing to do with the anthrax attack of 2001?
Were they removed because you could no longer use them to persuade people your beliefs are the only correct beliefs?
Or was there some other reason?
They disappeared because they had been uploaded from my webpage where I had temporarily uploaded them to facilitate their uploading. I don’t understand computers and didn’t realize that when I took the pictures off my webpage it would knock them out here.
Ah. Okay. Thanks. The code for linking in pictures causes the pictures to come from the place where YOU put (or found) them. They're not on FreeRepublic anywhere. If you want, you can restore the pictures to where they were on your webpage and they will reappear in this thread. The code to do it is still in place.
Then there is the issue of the inverted plasmid.
Bioforensics Program BAA08-04
Bacterial Population Genetics in a Forensics Context
The threat of terrorist or criminal use of pathogenic organisms and their toxins remains of great concern in the United States. There are vulnerabilities and needs to perform microbial forensic analyses for attribution purposes in a rigorous scientific manner. As part of the effort to deter biological terrorism and strengthen the law enforcement response to such an
act, Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD) 10, Biodefense for the 21st Century established a dedicated central microbial forensic laboratory known as the National Bioforensics Analysis Center (NBFAC), as part of the Department of Homeland Security to provide bioforensics analysis of evidence associated with the event. The NBFAC operates in partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the lead investigative agency in acts of terrorism. This BAA seeks research in the discipline of bacterial population genetics to support the NBFACs mission for evidentiary analysis and
interpretation of results to support the FBIs criminal investigation. The ultimate goal of this joint mission is to provide sound scientific data and analysis supporting attribution analysis leading to the capture, indictment, and prosecution of the perpetrator(s) of the biocrime or terrorist attack.
The NBFAC has instituted a robust molecular biology program to enhance the genomic analysis of the major biological threat agents. The NBFAC continues to expand its operational capabilities for the identification and characterization of the major CDC category A and B agents. The Bioforensics Research and Development Program continues research investments in next generation technologies to support molecular biology and
genotyping techniques capable of characterizing a biothreat agent at the isolate level to better understand the microorganisms origin and evolutionary history. However, a significant gap exists in the forensics communities understanding of the meaningful interpretation of genotyping/profiling results. Unlike its applications in human DNA analysis, which deals with one species exhibiting diploid sexual reproduction, the bacterial
threat agents pose a more complex problem for the interpretation of genomic data. The bacterial threat agents are haploid organisms propagating asexually and have always been thought to be purely clonal in nature, but population variation does exist even within what have been assumed to be clonal populations, such as a single colony on a Petri-plate. In addition, there are other substantial genetic issues related to interpretation including horizontal gene transfer, recombination, gene duplication and deletion. Hence, there is need for a better understanding of the underlying genomic and population dynamics at both intra and inter-species levels.
The goal of this research program is to develop algorithms and/or analytical tools that will assist biocrime and bioterror investigations by providing precision and statistical power to inferences concerning the degree of relatedness (based upon matching comparisons) of biothreat agents. The focus of this effort will be on research in the areas of microbial
ecology, population dynamics, genetic stability, host-pathogen interaction, statistical inference, and match criteria for the following select agents: Bacillus anthracis, Yersinia pestis, Clostridium botulinum, Francisella tularensis, Brucella spp., Escherichia coli O157:H7, Burkholderia mallei, Burkholderia pseudomallei. The objectives include:
¥ Improving our understanding of the population genetics of these pathogens to include research on genome stability, host preferences and interactions, genetic mobility of virulence factors, identification of polymorphic sites and mutational hot spots, geographical distribution, microbial ecology, pathogen lifecycles, natural reservoirs and effects of host pathogen interaction.
¥ Improving methods for determining rates of mutation and recombination of the pathogen genomes and the identification of adaptive mutations that can have forensic utility
¥ Establishing match criteria for discriminating difference or sameness in
sample comparisons. Define the parameters for inclusion or exclusion in the
context of a known sample and questioned sample. This must be backed by
statistical parameters for acceptance or rejection of the null hypothesis
¥ Developing efficient, economical, and statistically rigorous sampling strategies to acquire spatially referenced genetic information on reservoirs of these pathogens
¥ Developing bioinformatics-based analytical tools for supporting hypotheses
testing regarding pathogen origin that go beyond current phylogeny-based
inferential methods and can meet forensic (legal) admissibility requirements of relevance and reliability.
Background and Motivation
Current forensic analysis of biological threat agents is impeded by lack of knowledge of the underlying population genetics and ecology of the pathogens. In addition, there is a void in the availability of bioinformatics tools necessary to analyze and validate the data that forensics investigators collect from incidence sites. An understanding of pathogen population genetics including ecology, phylogeny, lifecycles, genome stability, mutation rates, recombination rates, epidemiology, host preferences and interactions, geographic distribution and other source information, virulence factors, polymorphic sites and mutation hot spots will be necessary to interpret the results from the application of multiple typing methods (e.g. MLST, VNTR, SNP, InDel, SSRs etc) and use of these techniques to compare likeness of isolates associated with a bioforensic investigation. The population genetics will likely be different for each pathogen; hence the typing strategy is also likely to be different. For example, pathogens with stable genomes might be more amenable to source tracking through SNP analysis than pathogens with unstable genomes. Furthermore, as typing data on the pathogens is generated, it will need to be organized, archived and managed in a form that is functional and accessible for forensic analysis. To further complicate the genotyping challenge is the rapid emergence of Next-Generation
whole genome sequencing technologies, e.g., Roche (GS-20 FLX/454 Pyrosequencing), Illumina (Genome Analyzer System), and ABI (SOLiD) which will provide faster and cheaper whole genome sequences. These platforms will potentially displace many of the traditional genotyping techniques in the near future by providing a much richer body of data associated with a whole genome sequence. This will increase by orders of magnitude the sequence data available for microorganisms. Therefore, development of statistically based methodologies to compare whole genome sequences and sort through the maze of data for match comparisons is critical to adequately make use of these powerful new methods.
In addition to an understanding of the population genetics of the pathogens, bioinformatic tools that can bring statistical power and degrees of confidence to the results will need to be developed in order to make an assessment of match criteria for comparative forensic purposes. In other words, can reliable inferences be made when a biological threat agent
found at a crime scene is compared to a sample found at a suspects home laboratory or place of employment? These tools should have the power to effectively describe the quantitative criteria and provide statistical support as to the likelihood or degree of similarity. These computational tools will need to be developed, standardized and well documented and will be required to produce understandable, explainable and defensible results in a forensic setting.
The program will be separated into two phases. The phase I program goal is to produce a paper study that not only reviews the current level of understanding in terms of population genetics and bioinformatics tools available for each of the eight agents, but also makes recommendations for follow on experiments and research plan that can be performed in
phase II to fill in the knowledge gaps necessary for rigorous forensic data analysis. Phase I awardees have the opportunity to apply for phase II. The phase II program goal is to develop and perform experimental studies that fill in the gaps in current knowledge of the population genetics of the eight select agents as well as to develop new algorithms and
bioinformatics tools to enhance statistical analysis and inference for forensic pathogen analysis. Phase II will consist of two tasks: a computational/bioinformatics task and a laboratory-based experimental task. Proposers may choose to perform one or both tasks or establish a team with other institutions to address both tasks. Teaming is highly encouraged.
For the identification of those responsible for the Fall 2001 mailings, researchers are encouraged to go to “Summons to Conquest.”
“Does it look like I’m negotiating?” — George Clooney, in Michael Clayton
The comment concludes with this analogy:
I feel like I've been arguing for years with people who believed that they knew about a super-sophisticated way to travel across America: by horse and buggy. And I've been arguing that it is absolutely ridiculous to believe that anyone would ever travel across America by horse and buggy. And now we've suddenly both been been informed that there was a time, many many years ago, when lots of people actually did travel across America by horse and buggy.
Live and learn.
Ed, your comment is inconsistent with the fact that the method used to create the Dugway simulant has been used since 1998 in making simulants. For example, it was the method used to make the Dugway simulant used in the Canadian aerosol study done after the threatened use of anthrax in connection with the detention with Vanguards of Conquest #2, Mahmoud Mahjoub.
The study results issued on September 10, 2001. The study found that the simulant leaked from the envelope before opening and that it immediately dispersed to the other side of the room upon opening.
Here is authority for the proposition that your “horse and buggy” comment makes no sense. The same Dugway simulant was currently being used in aerosol tests re the anthrax threat posed by the islamists. See February 2001 PDB. See also Science article describing mixing at the Wisconsin dairy processor. It leaked from the envelope before opening and immediately dispersed throughout the room.
Risk Assessment of anthrax threat letters, Defence R&D Canada, September 2001
If so, then the results of the study don't really relate to the attack anthrax.
Maybe they used the "horse and buggy" method because it would be against the law to develop NEW methods.
The point is: It's an OLD method, and it has NOTHING to do with the way the attack anthrax was created. The attack anthrax was created the way insecticides are created.
People still use horse and buggies, today. Just visit Amish country in Pennsylvania.
You always try to go off into irrelevant areas just to create arguments. What's important here is:
1. The method used by Dugway to make simulants for these studies has NOTHING to do with the anthrax in the letters mailed in 2001.
2. The CDC report said it was "believed" that the anthrax letters used fumed silica. They believed incorrectly.
3. The coating on the spores created by Dugway is NOT put there to nullify van der Waals forces; it's an unfortunate effect and/or requirement resulting from the static electricity put into the spores by the MILLING process.
4. The attack anthrax was NOT MILLED. OTHER methods were used to avoid static electricity buildup, and those methods did NOT require the used of silica.
So, all these side issues from the horse and buggie days have NOTHING to do with the anthrax attacks of 2001.
As to the Daschle product, and what best approximates it, I’ve gotten extensive responses from a senior military scientist who makes anthrax simulant for the government concerning his view of the relevance (or not) of that aerosol study. That’s who it makes sense to consult. It doesn’t make sense to consult a webposter who has no science background, experience in aerosol science, has never made anthrax simulant, and didn’t even realize that was how Dugway was making the simulant commonly used in aerosol experiments. So while I encourage you to consider the true crime aspects and welcome the sharing of published unclassified information about the microbial forensics, I recommend it doesn’t make sense to discuss the science. That role is best served by qualified experts. As for the effectiveness of the Dugway simulant used in the Canadian study, its performance is subjective to objective measurement. As I said, it immediately dispersed across the room. That’s not horse and buggy speed. That’s jet speed. It performed comparably in dispersal to the Daschle product. The relatively uniform 1 micron size of the Daschle product was notable to be sure, but for the purpose of causing infection, it was overkill.