Skip to comments.Congressman Holt Statement on FBI Settlement...in Botched Anthrax Attack Investigation
Posted on 06/28/2008 11:24:55 AM PDT by Shermy
(Washington, D.C.) The following is a statement from Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12) in reaction to todays announcement by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that it had agreed to pay former Army biowarfare expert Dr. Steven Hatfill $5.8 million in a settlement related to the FBIs previously naming Hatfill a person of interest in the investigation of the 2001 anthrax letter attacks on the United States. The attacks originated from a postal box in Holts central New Jersey congressional district, disrupting the lives and livelihoods of many of his constituents:
As todays settlement announcement confirms, this case was botched from the very beginning. The FBI did a poor job of collecting evidence, and then inappropriately focused on one individual as a suspect for too long, developing an erroneous theory of the case that has led to this very expensive dead end. The Bureau has for years stiff-armed the Congress every time it has sought information on the status of this case and the lessons learned from it. That is unacceptable. In the coming days, I will issue a request for Director Mueller to come before the House Committee on Appropriations Select Intelligence Oversight Panel, which I chair, to explain this most recent development and provide the Panel with a status report on the investigation.
Very strong words from the congressman.
It’s Bush’s fault.
The FBI had two different compartmentalized squads pursuing entirely different theories. Hatfill was just one candidate, though he came to be the main one, of one of the two investigative squads. I think the FBI has a far keener understanding of the matter than most any public commenter. Specifically, almost all those commenters who think Al Qaeda or US-based supporters are responsible don’t realize that (and in that way are clueless) that is also what the FBI thinks.
Good luck to Holt in obtaining any new information from Mueller - he’ll just get the usual “we are working tirelessly and are committed to solving th case” BS.
And I’m sure the FBI’s flat refusal to brief congress won’t deter Ed Lake’s belief that, in a completely opposite manner, it was Barbara Hatch Rosenberg and Congress that “forced” the FBI to pursue Hatfill.
Strange how Rush Holt and Grassley can’t get a peep out of the FBI but BHR managed to get a 5 year relentless pursuit of Hatfill.
I was thinking what I would ask for. I think if I were him I would ask for microscope photos of the atx. Wouldn’t that resolve the question whether the atx was “weaponized” with silica or other? How would national security be compromised by merely looking at photos?
More than strong words are needed.
$5.8 mil is a nice payoff— for losing your job, having everyone assume ‘that you really did it,’ character assination in the media, and having to put up with the full weight of federal law enforcement breathing down your neck. Just ask Richard Jewell, oops.
The only thing I resent about the payout is-—I’m paying it.
Those naives who believe every word from law enforcement should be on the hook, as should that disgrace AG AssCrotch.
The FBI is never going to “out” the leftist within its midst who slimed Hatfill...much less admit that the perpetrators of the anthrax attack can’t be named due to current geopolitical considerations (e.g. Pakistan flipped over to our side to fight against Al Qaeda).
He will likely also be suing a number of media outlets, as well.
Every $ he gets from those vultures he deserves.
This is where I support ridiculous jury awards.
“I think if I were him I would ask for microscope photos of the atx.Wouldnt that resolve the question whether the atx was weaponized with silica or other? “
“This is where I support ridiculous jury awards.”
thing is, it wasn’t a jury award, it was an out of court settlement with DOJ/FBI .. which means those Agencies didn’t want to go to trial for any number of reasons. A jury award would likely have been a good deal higher.
The latter three occupation categories contain the core of USPS total systems understanding. In fact, the classification analysts write the regulations that direct the conduct of the public with respect to the use of the mails.
What little public information the FBI has provided concerning how mail moves, etc., has demonstrated only the most primitive of understandings.
Decades back there wasn't an FBI agent who hadn't paid for his college education by working at least part time in a post office. Today student loans have destroyed that category of FBI employee.
Plus, the Postal Inspection Service has a far higher conviction rate than does the FBI, so there might well be some interagency rivalry in this ~ another form of "compartmentalization" I suppose.
It's not too late to restart the investigation, but this time they should not be so quick to "pursue a theory", but instead they should analyze the devil out of the KNOWN FACTS and how those facts correlate with normal postal operations.
The business of digging up 10,000 residential mail boxes and dragging them off to the old GSA warehouse in Springfield VA need not have happened (for just one example).
Hence their interest in diverting the entire investigation into unproductive avenues.
To do that they even gave up a resource at the CIA.
Hey, Dr. Rebel, hasn’t Mr. Lake argued for years that the FBI did not suspect Dr. Hatfill? Doesn’t the story in today’s LA Times warrant that Ed correct his page in this regard?
“Leaks, focus on single suspect undercut anthrax probe,” Los Angeles Times, June 28, 2008
Separately, note the sentence: “Leahy later told Vermont students in an online discussion that some of the briefings he received ‘have been highly classified.’”
They have their own investigative division called the Inspection Service which has a better prosecution and conviction record than the FBI.
What this means is the reporter went only to his FBI sources to put together this story.
He also avoids naming Barbara Hatch Rosenberg as the starting point of accusations and malicious charges. Like so many other Leftwingtards this reporter and his editors continue to fear that one of their "friends" in the violent professional left was involved ~ so they continue to protect those people.
Not surprising Daschle's staffers were less than happy to deal with the FBI.
The first one to make a “bioevangelist” argument in the MSM was Frances Boyle, legal advisor to the PLO and counsel to Bosnia and Herzegovina. BHR was a high profile one. But there were numerous others working email. It is misconceived focus to dwell too long on BHR. Her focus on the strain and weaponization (and the apparent connection to the US program) was sound. On Postal Inspectors, my own view is that we needed more involvement by the CIA, not a greater role for the Postal Inspectors. In another post (perhaps another thread) you mentioned some investigator, formerly CIA, who gave incorrect insights to the Task Force. Who were you thinking of? On the sourcing of the LA Times article, my reaction was that the agents named retired years ago. I think one retired in June 2002 as I recall.
“Not surprising Daschle’s staffers were less than happy to deal with the FBI.”
As Ed points out, it was the input by the political staffers that perhaps put the investigation on tilt. But the staffers did nothing wrong. BHR did nothing wrong. (She was just wrong). The FBI had an investigation to conduct and we are not in a position to judge it or second-guess it except to the extent we can see that the leaks of the bloodhound and pond stories were stupid and improper. The media is not even to blame — who else should they rely on if not the fellow receiving reports from the head of the investigation? The folks to blame are those who are strident in their criticism and yet not do not digest that the infiltration of US biodefense here that occurred is as egregious and obvious as that which occurred with Ali Mohammed, OBL’s former intelligence head who was a US Army Sergeant, FBI informant and once worked for the CIA. See Peter Lance’s XXX. That includes most everyone — Holt, Leahy, Daschle etc.
And this article isn't all just anonymous accusations, it names names and the whole nine yards. It's a devastating article regarding the FBI, and one that appears to me in which they have had some of these facts for a while and were simply waiting for Hatfill to finally be exonerated before printing it.
I am going to post this incredible article with an excerpt in a little bit.
I’m sure this won’t deter Ed in the least. He’ll still insist that the FBI are about to arrest the real suspect - the one they’ve kept hidden from senators, congressmen, judges, FBI agents assigned to the case, DOJ officials who empaneled Amerithrax grand juries and everyone else. Come to think of it, who in the FBI DOES know who Ed’s super-secret suspect is?
Getting serious for a second - it’s interesting that the LA Times piece does not mention the leaked Detrick email produced by Fox News a month or 2 back.
Great points. Even though I think the perps are long gone home — Pakistan and North Africa. And dead, namely M. Atta.
Since when is a LA Times reporter the ultimate and final authority on the anthrax case?
The article just uses old stuff that has been discussed a hundred times before.
The FBI had to investigate Dr. Hatfill. They assigned a team to him. That team checked out every lead provided by the conspiracy theorists, some of which were absolutely ridiculous. The FBI checked out the "lead" that Dr. Hatfill had thrown equipment in that pond in Maryland, even though they didn't expect to find anything.
They checked out Dr. Berry because he seemed to have a link to Dr. Hatfill via Bill Patrick.
To show he extremes the FBI went to to make sure the conspiracy theorists and their followers couldn't claim that the FBI wasn't doing a thorough job in investigating Dr. Hatfill, they even sent an agent to Malaysia to investigate the source of a letter from Malaysia that was ERRONEOUSLY said to have contained anthrax. The conspiracy theorists felt that because Dr. Hatfill's girlfriend was Malaysian, there MUST be a connection.
So, the questions are: Did all these FBI agents investigate Dr. Hatfill KNOWING it was all a waste of time? Or did they investigate Dr. Hatfill to determine if there was anything valid in what the conspiracy theorists were saying?
And if all those scientists and others were pointing at Dr. Hatfill, why would an FBI agent believe that these sources were all NUTS if the agent wasn't aware of evidence pointing to other suspects?
The LA Times story just picks out facts and makes an interpretation. That doesn't mean it's the absolute truth.
Thinking that the FBI is like some Borg Collective where everyone knows what everyone else knows and where everyone believes as everyone else believes is just plain ridiculous!
The guy must have said either said something stupid or is posting with another account though, because he got banned pretty much right away.
Sorry, I don't think I've ever heard of "Bob 'Nailer' Swagger." But I've visited so many blogs and web sites that I can't remember them all.
It doesn't surprise me that he might continue to trash Dr. Hatfill. People get themselves so worked up with hate that they just can't turn it off when the facts show that they are full of crap.
I imagine that all the Neo-Nazis who believed Dr. Philip Zack was the culprit because they thought he was a Jew still believe so, even though it's been shown that Zack is and always has been a Catholic.
Right now, I'm in an argument on a private forum with someone who believes that BHR was right about Dr. Hatfill and that Judge Walton knows nothing about the law and was wrong when The New York Times reported that he said:
Theres not a scintilla of evidence to suggest Dr. Hatfill had anything to do with it, the judge said, yet the public notoriety has destroyed his life.
I've always complained that no one in the media ever seems to mention Barbara Hatch Rosenberg's role in the Hatfill fiasco. I should modify that to say that no one in the U.S. media ever mentions it.
A British newspaper, The Register, mentions her quite a bit.
The media are supposed to be the people's watchdog against the government, but most over the last few decades most media outlets have become the lapdogs of government instead of the watchdogs. The media are supposed to report ALL the facts to the public as they can best be ascertained, but I am convinced that they routinely withhold information all the time for political reasons.
I don't see it that way. Only Fox can be viewed as a lap dog of the government. Maybe The Wall Street Journal, too.
What bothers me is that the media seems to be reporting only what builds a good audience. So they create controversy where there really is no controversy. They twist and distort things to make a good story, instead of just reporting the facts. They listen to conspiracy theorists. They make major news out of local stories because they have good visuals -- like car chases.
There are still some good reporters out there. I've had occasions where I've been interviewed by a reporter, but when he went to his editor, the editor wanted something different -- something that would sell more papers. So, the story was rewritten to become total baloney.
I've also had the opposite situation. The Chicago reporter who interviewed me for Time Magazine seemed to hate my guts. I don't think she believed a word I said. But her editor and people back in New York evidently rewrote her report so it was pretty good (from my point of view).
The other example was just the opposite. The reporter knew all about me, the editor didn't -- and didn't care.
You're confusing the Republican Party with the government. They aren't the same thing at all. Not by a long shot.
Maybe. But "the government" is really a meaningless term if you are not talking about the party of the President, since there are people in "the government" who have every belief imaginable.
The FBI isn't a Borg Collective, and neither is "the government."
"In the intervening seven years, biological weapons have killed zero people and been shown, somewhat empirically, not to be so easy to make after all. In any case, a great deal of the biodefense industry in the United States now works with very little oversight. Think of it as scientific welfare for those who often claim to be defending the country against a clear and present danger."
I can't emphasize enough just how important this is. This kind of anthrax weapon is definitely NOT easy to make. If it were, incidents like the anthrax mailings would be happening a lot more often than they are. But on the contrary, it hasn't happened again in nearly seven years now! That is concrete evidence of the difficulty involved in just one or two individuals trying to make the product.
I don't want to appear argumentative, but not everyone has the same definition of the word "easy."
The average person on the street might feel that if his mother can make anthrax powder in the back of a cab while going from 43rd Street to 54th Street in New York City in the middle of the night, then "It's easy."
An experienced microbiologist, however, might feel that if you have six years schooling in biology and microbiology, a couple years professional experience working with spores, plus the right starter bacteria and unrestricted access to all the right equipment, then "It's easy."
Also, it's "easy" to stab someone in the back with a knife, but fortunately for all of us, most people have better things to do and/or require a good motive.
Mukasey takes heat, but not like Gonzales did
The Hill, DC - 11 hours ago
Yesterday, Leahy inquired about the status of the investigation into the anthrax mailings but Mukasey just said it was active investigation and declined further comment.
Separately, KSM’s assistant al-Hawsawi, the 911 logistics person who had the anthrax spraydrying documents on his laptop, has apparently asked for the attorney who first announced Ayman’s intent to use anthrax against US targets.
At the trial of the Albanian returnees in 1999, at which prominent islamist attorney Montasser Al Zayat was key defense counsel, an Egyptian journalist with the newspaper al-Hayat, Salah, spoke with EIJ military commander Ahmad Mabruk. Mabruk was among 100+ defendants in the 1999 Egyptian terrorism trial and was Zawahiri’s confidante and right-hand man. Mabruk had been imprisoned for 6 months in Russia with Zawahiri shortly before the launch of Zawahiri’s anthrax program. (Mabruk, who was the head of Egyptian Islamic Jihad’s military operations, told Al-Hayat the plan was on a computer disk confiscated from him during his arrest by the CIA in Azerbaijan. The disk later was reportedly handed over to the Egyptian authorities. Mabruk said he assumed that, upon learning of his arrest, Bin Laden and Zawahiri would change the dates and locations for the attacks outlined in the plan. Mabruk revealed that Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri had compiled a list of 100 targets worldwide that were linked to United States or Israel.
According to Road to Al Qaeda, by prominent Islamist lawyer Al-Zayat, the disc contained “the names of group members all over the world. The computer revealed to the authorities the location of group members living overseas, including new members that were not known to the Egyptian authorities, as well as some information about Al-Qaeda members.” Al-Zayat, who represented some of the defendants, said in 1999 that Zawahiri would likely use biological and chemical weapons against the United States in retaliation for the rendering of Egyptian Islamic Jihad leaders.
Al Zayat is Zawahiri’s friend and the lawyer for the blind sheik. In the Spring and Fall of 1999, authorities intercepted telephone conversations he had with the blind sheik’s liaison Sattar. Al Zayat formerly shared a law office with the head of Egyptian Islamic Jihad’s Civilian Branch relating to Special Operations, Shehata, who was Jaballah’s brother-in-law. In 1999, Al-Zayat maintained an e-mail correspondence with the Egyptian Islamic Group leader, Taha (the blind sheik’s successor). Al Zayat’s former law partner, Shehata, traveled with Ayman, to include Yemen, Sudan, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan and Dagestan.
Al Zayat estimated that 20 Al Qaeda members had been extradited up to 1999 due to US pressure. He expected that Al Qaeda would resort to biological and chemical weapons because of this constant extradition pressure: “The United States will intensify its pursuit of Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri in the coming stage to arrest them. It is not an easy task, especially in light of information that Bin Laden’s organization has biological and chemical weapons. I believe that he will resort to these weapons and use them against US targets because of the constant pressure on him.”
The Vanguards of Conquest issued a statement to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty in March 1979. “We declare to the entire world our rejection of any truce with the Egyptian regime. Our battle is essentially with the US and Israel. Any truce with the regime of Hosni will constitute Mubarak will constitute a truce with the US and Israel.” Anthrax later would be sent on the anniversary of the approval of the Camp David Accords