Skip to comments.Leaks, focus on single suspect undercut anthrax probe
Posted on 06/29/2008 8:32:10 AM PDT by jpl
WASHINGTON -- The federal investigation into the deadly anthrax mailings of late 2001 was undermined by leaks and a premature fixation on a single suspect, according to investigators and scientists involved in the case.
More than six years after the mailings, no one has been charged, and the top suspect, former Army scientist Steven J. Hatfill was all but exonerated Friday when the U.S. Justice Department agreed to pay him $5.82 million to settle a lawsuit.
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
I knew within days that it was Saddam, and that it was supplied to the 9-11 bombers. A guy who lived in one of their buildings in FL was one of the first to die. I don’t think the FBI was that stupid to not know it, either. Question is, why the diversion to Hatfill?
Willman does seem to have some god new sources. For example, this is the first time I’ve read the Lambert was being written up by agents for incompetence.
I never did buy Lambert’s story that he took the job in TN to be closer to his wife ;)
The article seems to totally miss discussing the influence Senators Daschle and Leahy might have had on the FBI investigation. I wonder why?
As another poster correctly stated in another thread, this debacle should join the Richard Jewell fiasco as a permanent case study for the FBI and every law enforcement entity as a case study in how NOT to conduct an investigation. It was accurately described by journalist/blogger Nicholas Stix as "wag the dog policing".
Besides....The DEMS might have to say that "GD"...Not only did Saddam have WMD...he used them on us...
Remember....The Gorelick wall was still there when the letters went out.
See Response #4. You wouldn't want to blame Muslims, would you?
According to his lawyer, the FBI suspects an Iraqi Salafist. While his father did work at the Iraqi embassy, the closer connection drawn is that he was mentored by Bin Laden’s sheik al-Hawali (who was the subject of OBL’s Declaration of War). The microbiologist was at the building housing the DARPA-funded Center for Biodefense at GMU University. He spoke to Bin Laden’s sheik, his lawyer says, on September 16 and 19, 2001, coordinated with the “911 imam,” and arranged to hand deliver a message to every menmber of Congress on the first anniversary of the anthrax mailings (in the name of Bin Laden’s sheik). Given the signature was consistent with what had been developed at the DARPA Center, even assuming a cooperation and exchange between Zawahiri and Iraqi intelligence, it seems to add an unnecessary leap to assume the Saddam connection. Like the 911 imam, the microbiologist was preaching the end of times.
The fascinating part of this case is that the mailings stopped.
It would seem likely the terrorist behind them is now dead, or perhaps locked up, otherwise he would surely have continued. It also seems likely this was a very small organization, or someone would have replaced him.
The funniest part is an assumption that OBL ordered his followers to attack “the American media.” The first letters were received by American Media Corp.
I've never believed that that was a pure coincidence either, and I think that first letter to American Media is the key to the entire case.
Good article, but no mention of Barbara Hatch Rosenberg’s influence on the case.
You are speaking, of course, of Robert Smith, a journalist who wasn't even an American (he was British). This was*all* supposedly "random", according to the FBI, but when the *first* victim had a "connection" to the 9-11 terrorists it's difficult to maintain that charade.
Look at the great lengths that the press went through to try and convince the public that Mr. Smith contracted his anthrax infection by "drinking from a rural stream in North Carolina", and other such nonsense.
It was only when it could no longer be denied tat his infection was a deliberate act (the stuff had beeen *mailed* to him, by name, at his workplace, for crying out loud). Then others started falling ill, some of them dying, so they had to change the paradigm, once again.
What was never in the cards, though, for the public, was the truth. Why? Because there were "plans" afoot, and keeping the knowledge of a deliberate bio-attack from a hostile foreign government secret was integral to those plans. Public knowledge of such an attack, with Saddam Hussein's involvement, would derail those plans, thus, the charade.
Perhaps it was truly necessary, at that time, perhaps not, but now is time for the truth to be told...
1. Infowarrior, minor note: you mean Robert Stevens. Robert Smith is my barber.
Dr. Rebel, the public is far more clueless than the FBI. We would want the FBI to leave no stone unturned and are not in a position to judge them so harshly. If we put them in a position of being damned if they do and damned if they don’t, we will undermine their effectiveness.
Not to point out the obvious again, but both mailings occured after the 9-11 hijackers were long dead, the second mailing being long after they were dead.
Also, Bob Stevens never lived in any building with a hijacker.
And actually, the first mailings took place AFTER it had been widely reported in the media that the hijackers lived in Florida (So it's possible the first mailing was an attempt to link the hijackers to the mailings)
A copy of the that letter and envelope doesn't exist, but there's no evidence that it was mailed to him (or anyone else) by name; there was testimony that a letter with powder was opened by a clerk and thrown in the trash. Stevens was contaminated by vacuuming spreading the dust around.
The best discussion of his exposure is by Leonard Coleman, a professor who interviewed the folks at AMI. He says that Stevens looked at a letter re JLo’s upcoming wedding. There was a powder and jewish star. He put it down on his keyboard (where a concentration was found). The contamination through the Post Offices, according to the CDC, suggests there were actually two letters.
Jenny was Atta and Ramzi’s code. Wedding was code for event.
But you are right the hijackers were dead and thus could not have mailed the anthrax. The 911 imam providing counsel to two key hijackers (Hani and Nawaf) was coordinating with the man whose lawyer says the FBI considers an anthrax weapons suspect. He was the main speaker for the only US charity promoted by Al Qaeda’s website (which was hosted in New Brunswick, NJ). He was convicted to life plus 70 years and his sentence has been remanded. He used to work for Andrew Card when he was secretary of transportation. His office was 15 feet from Ken Alibek and the former USAMRIID deputy commander. He had a high security clearance while at SRA at the same time as the former USAMRIID deputy commander.
Bottom line is that the fact that the hijackers were dead is the beginning of analysis, not the end.
The FBI has been doing very well and the fact that they have been able to keep the public in the dark is perhaps to their credit, perhaps not. It is difficult to tell presently. But we will see this year, I believe.
I’m sure this will fall on deaf ears but you need to look at information about the Anthrax investigation from sources other than those that tell you the perpetrators are who you want them to be.
It’s pretty clear the AMI contamination began in the mailroom and there was one letter.
I see a rather amazing amount of inaccurate information about the attacks being spread around.
I link thousands of hyperlinked articles and peer-reviewed articles and original sources provided to me by DIA at
Is there one I missed? I would be glad to add it. The CDC peer-reviewed articles are the most authoritative as to the two routes through the POs. (There were more than one AMI publication.
I was the one who typed and uploaded the many dozens of Hatfill exhibits for example to FreeRepublic so people would have the chance to read the underlying documents. That thread is ongoing.
The Coleman book was published by the National Academy of Sciences, as I recall, and is online.
On the day that Stevens died, Oct. 5th, the YOUNG sniper never showed for school in Florida. Because of the DC Snipers “patterns”, I believe the young one was the person who put the letters in the box....at least He may have written them, too...based on his art work.
The day that Bob Stevens died was a Friday. Did younger of the DC snipers skip school on the previous Friday? How about three weeks prior?
Lots of things appear to be connected but can be eliminated if you know the science.
In order for Bob Stevens to contract anthrax and actually die from it takes almost two weeks. Letters in the mail a few days more.
EXCLUSIVE: How the FBI Botched the Anthrax Case
written by an agent assigned to the case - he seems to blame “inexperienced management” - comforting to know that the FBI didn;t have anyone with experience to assign to the investigation.
No mention of the spore science which is the key to everything.
But I do find his failure to "comment on the guilt or innocence of Hatfill" a bit disturbing. There is a very subtle but definite implication there that they had the right man, but the higher-ups screwed up their ability to nail him. He is smart enough not to say it directly, but now that the settlement has been made, it's time to put an end to these kinds of sly hatchet jobs. You're still innocent until proven guilty in America, and if you don't even have enough evidence to get an indictment, the correct answer is "innocent".
And like almost all the other articles, he fails to make any mention at all of the people who pointed the finger at Hatfill in the first place, which makes the article less than completely honest.
Mukasey takes heat, but not like Gonzales did
The Hill, DC - 11 hours ago
“Leahy also inquired about the status of the investigation into the anthrax scare, which inspired widespread fear across the country and shuttered the Senate ...”
Al-Hawsawi, KSM’s assistant who had the anthrax spraydrying documents on his laptop, has asked concerning the possibility he could be represented by an Egyptian attorney and an attorney from London.
Montasser Al-Zayat, the prominent islamist attorney from Cairo, announced in March 1999 that Ayman intended to use weaponized anthrax against US targets. He was defense counsel in the trial of the “Albanian returnees” — the 107 defendants included the EIJ leaders Mabruk and al-Najjar, both of whom publicly said at the time Ayman was going to use weaponized anthrax. Al-Zayat said Ayman was likely to use anthrax to retaliate against the rendering of EIJ leaders.
Montasser’s former law partner was Shehata, head of EIJ Special Branch/Civilian Operations.
Shehata’s brother-in-law was Canadian detainee Jaballah. The anthrax was threatened to be sent if bail was denied for EIJ / Vanguards of Conquest #2 Mahmoud Mahjoub, OBL’s farm manager in Sudan and then was sent on October 6 after bail was denied on October 5, 2001.
Montasser co-founded a political party in 1999 with a man (Mamdouh Ismail, as I recall the name offhand) who last year was arrested as Ayman’s conduit to jihadis in Egypt, Yemen and Iraq. His intermediary was the AQ spymaster who wrote about Amerithrax.
In 1999, while planning tactics that would result in the release of blind sheik Abdel-Rahman, Montasser Al-Zayat was regularly in touch with Post Office employee Sattar (the blind sheik’s liasion); Islamic Group leader Taha (Abdel-Rahman’s successor); and Islamic Group military commander Hamza. Montasser was arguing in favor of the “cease-fire.” The blind sheik’s son who would lecture alongside Al-Timimi was part of the dialogue.
Attorney Al-Zayat is allowed access to the Egyptian prison housing the Islamic Group shura members who issued the revisions. He was a chief proponent of the “cease-fire” after Luxor. His advocacy and actions have resulted in the release of hundreds, if not thousands, of imprisoned islamists.
He is lawyer to the blind sheik.
While Ayman’s friend, his disagreements over tactics with Ayman are genuine. His loyalty to the blind sheik is absolute.
He has written two books — one translated, one not. The first is called something like “The Ayman Zawahiri I Knew.”
Some would not be allowed clearance to go to Guantanamo.
I hope he does. What would the Scopes trial have been without Clarence Darrow?
But he would not be allowed access to classified information given his regular contact with senior AQ, IG and EIJ leaders.
Cairo-based founders of a different political party in 1999 were the two key writers for Al-Timimi’s charity. Ali was on the advisory board when they wrote for the publication Assirat and then they started writing for the IANA quarterly publication which focused on tactics, democracy, targetting etc.
One of them, Kamal Habib, was the founder of EIJ and leader of one of the cells that joined with Ayman’s cell in the late 1970s.
The anthrax letters were sent on the anniversaries of Sadat’s assassination and approval of the Camp David Accords.