Skip to comments.EXCLUSIVE: How the FBI Botched the Anthrax Case
Posted on 06/30/2008 8:11:23 PM PDT by RDTF
Former Agent Explains What Went Wrong in the Investigation
The anthrax investigation, almost from the beginning, was hampered by top-heavy leadership from high ranking, but inexperienced FBI officials, which led to a close-minded focus on just one suspect and amateurish investigative techniques that robbed agents in the field the ability operate successfully.
I saw it firsthand as one of the FBI agents assigned to the anthrax case and directly involved in the investigation of Dr. Steven Hatfill. While I cannot comment on the guilt or innocence of Hatfill, I think I have a sense of some of the things that went wrong inside the FBI and what lessons can be learned from this embarrassing case.
Last Friday, the U.S. Department of Justice agreed to pay $5,825,000 to Hatfill, whom former Attorney General John Ashcroft once described as "a person of interest" in the investigation into the anthrax murders of seven people in 2001.
(Excerpt) Read more at abcnews.go.com ...
link to print version
Notice that even now, after the big payout, and the near cessation of the investigation, this former FBI puke cannot be brought to even mention the Inspection Service~!
Interesting article that lists four lessons learned from the anthrax investigation. But, I would have thought primary lesson they learned would be to not over look and basically dismiss the incredibly obvious. Somebody should have tipped the FBI that the letters could have been sent by muslim terrorists.
Wasn't the Anthrax proven to be from U.S. stock? Also, I would think that if a muslim terrorist group did this... they would admit it...
Not if it worked and the law was after the wrong guys.
The point of terrorism is to make folks afraid of YOU. If you don’t claim credit, you aren’t a terrorist. Of course not all who claim credit are guilty.
Not necessarily. It was from a US strain, the "Ames" strain, IIRC. But that strain has been shared worldwide. It's only called that because that's where it was isolated and at one time stored.it actually came from cow in Texas.
Actually, a mostly disappointing article that didn’t shed any new light on that unsolved case. Author believes that the wrong personnel with the wrong type experience handled various aspects of the investigation. Maybe so, but more matters of opinion than definite new insight.
But the anthrax case was a major event that might well have been part of the 9/11 attacks, but it seems we’ll never know. Disappointing also that the investigation seemed to revolve around Hatfield alone.
Bad memory, it did come from a Texas bovine, but was isolated at a lab at Texas A&M. It had never been in Ames Iowa, but the packaging it was sent to the Army Lab from A&M said Ames Iowa, because the "standard" shipping container the Aggies used was one supplied by the USDA's Ames Iowa facility. :). Aggies!
Not always true. The point is to make people afraid, but not always of the source of the terrorist action. The terrorists may want to implicate others. Shiites may want to implicate their Sunni enemies for example. Let the Infidels thin out the "other" side.
I am going to respectfully disagree with you here... it seems the Muslim extremists LOVE to take responsibility... many times they will take responsibility for something they didn't do... just for the prestige...
Real dumb huh? There are LOTS of people that shouldn't even be allowed to brush their teeth...
Only for the unsophisticated.
A more skilled terrorist wants to damage his enemy. The anthrax attacks caused great economic harm to the US, and changed the way we operated in many ways. Even now, congressional offices want email or faxes instead of old-fashioned letters.
I still think it is incredibly suggestive that the only large-scale anthrax attack in history occurred on the east coast of the US within weeks of 9/11.
Speculation here of course, but it strongly suggests that one or more persons involved with the 9/11 terrorists was left behind to try to sow panic and confusion and more mass casualties.
If the source was unrelated to 9/11 how would it/they happen to be ready with anthrax at that specific moment in history AND risk the obvious associations with the 9/11 attacks if their motives/agenda went in another direction?
The fact that no one has taken “credit” can mean a number of things, but since the actual anthrax attacks did not turn out to kill huge numbers of people it could be that Al Qaeda did not want to be associated with such a relatively puny attack (let’s remember that they favor big spectacular mass casualty attacks - the anthrax attacks did not turn out to cause the levels of casualties that must have been intended).
The anthrax attacks were horrible enough for those affected but to Al Qaeda (IF they were involved) the anthrax attacks may have appeared to be a failure for not causing nearly enough casualties???? Just trying to imagine the minds of Al Qaeda scum.......
This investigation had the “feel” of the Oklohoma City Bombing investigation - Quickly decide on a suspect and shape all the investigative evidence to fit the suspect.
What are the odds that the 9/11 terrorists and the Anthrax Mailer were totally and completely unrelated to each other. Someody with anthrax laying around just decided to up and start mailing letters days after the 9/11 attacks?
About the same as the probability that 9/11 was completely unrelated to the deadly airliner crash in NYC a couple of months later (i.e. 99.999% prabability).
Bump to find later
My Daddy always told me two things about the FBI that I have never forgotten:
1: You only see the FBI around when they are holding a press conference.
2: The FBI couldn’t catch a cold, let alone a criminal.
In a filing unsealed this Spring, Dr. Ali Al-Timimi’s lawyer explained that his client, a microbiologist who had worked in the building housing the “Center for Biodefense” funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (”DARPA”): Al-Timimi “was considered an anthrax weapons suspect.”
Dr. Al-Timimi’s distinguished 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;
* 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 defense co-counsel, 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 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. Ali 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 Al-Timimi. He was 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 the charity Islamic Assembly of North America.
Folks who assume that Al-Timimi and his colleagues would have claimed responsibility are not taking into account that (1) Bin Laden denied responsibility for 911 initially until it became beyond denying. Zawahiri thinks that war is deception.
(2) Al-Timimi was interviewed 7 or 8 time before indictment (he was indicted a few days before the FBI’s self-imposed deadline of October 1, 2004 for bringing an indictment in Amerithrax passed. (Mueller announced in July 2004).
(3) Al-Timimi is not thought by the DOJ officials as being the processor or mailer, which means it is still a very active investigation and it would be against those who still have their freedom to have the admission out there..
On a minor substantive note, Postal Inspector John Richter has said (to Freeper Battle Axe) that Ames passed through Iowa. Although it is contrary to assumption made in a report by the WSJ, there is nothing on the face of the mailing label (which does not include cancellation stamps) to suggest that it was not routed through Ames. I obtained and have uploaded the mailing label. I got it from an ISU professor Dickinson who got it from Knudsen, who was the former Detrick scientist who had the file (he worked for the Navy) in 2001).
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