Skip to comments.FBI lab reports on anthrax attacks suggest another miscue
Posted on 05/21/2011 12:55:30 PM PDT by Palter
Buried in FBI laboratory reports about the anthrax mail attacks that killed five people in 2001 is data suggesting that a chemical may have been added to try to heighten the powder's potency, a move that some experts say exceeded the expertise of the presumed killer.
The lab data, contained in more than 9,000 pages of files that emerged a year after the Justice Department closed its inquiry and condemned the late Army microbiologist Bruce Ivins as the perpetrator, shows unusual levels of silicon and tin in anthrax powder from two of the five letters.
Those elements are found in compounds that could be used to weaponize the anthrax, enabling the lethal spores to float easily so they could be readily inhaled by the intended victims, scientists say.
The existence of the silicon-tin chemical signature offered investigators the possibility of tracing purchases of the more than 100 such chemical products available before the attacks, which might have produced hard evidence against Ivins or led the agency to the real culprit.
But the FBI lab reports released in late February give no hint that bureau agents tried to find the buyers of additives such as tin-catalyzed silicone polymers.
The apparent failure of the FBI to pursue this avenue of investigation raises the ominous possibility that the killer is still on the loose.
A McClatchy analysis of the records also shows that other key scientific questions were left unresolved and conflicting data wasn't sorted out when the FBI declared Ivins the killer shortly after his July 29, 2008, suicide.
One chemist at a national laboratory told McClatchy that the tin-silicone findings and the contradictory data should prompt a new round of testing on the anthrax powder.
(Excerpt) Read more at mcclatchydc.com ...
Let’s blame the unabomber for this too.
Call me a believer in conspiracy theories, but I still don't think the Iraq and Prague track has been properly investigated.
Or the US Gov't.
Those are two of the commonest, cheapest, and easy-to-find elements in the country. They are non-toxic, purchasable without any questions asked or paperwork to fill out, available in extremely pure form, and have a zillion uses in industry. You might as well try to track down anybody who bought salt and pepper 10 years ago.
(Now if the anthrax contained unusual amounts of osmium and scandium, well that might be a lead worth following up on.)
Umm....now that I think about it, I think the Unabomber...
1. Mailed those bombs
2. Poisoned the Tylenol all those years back
3. Mailed all the anthrax
4. Pulled off the “JB Cooper” caper, parachuting out of that DC-9
5. Stole my newspaper and garden hose
6. Anything else the feds are blamed for not solving
This is now an X-File. Where’s Mulder?
Frankly, I’ve not had confidence in any federal agent since US Marshall Matt Dillon retired.
This is just a re-hash of old theories about "weaponization" that were debunked nearly ten years ago.
It has been shown conclusively that the silicon in the attack spores had nothing to do with "weaponization." The silicon was absorbed into the spore coats when the spores were formed. It was NOT added later as part of some "weaponization" process.
But, there are still some unanswered questions.
1. Investigators don't know exactly what method Bruce Ivins used to create the spores, so they can't reproduce his results exactly.
2. The New York Post powder evidently contained some clumps of material that had a high percentage (10% or so) of silicon. How that high percentage occurred can only be a educated guess.
The educated guess is: The material in the NY Post powder had been centrifuged, and, as a result, loose silicon in the "matrix material" (the slime left behind when the mother germ dissolves and releases the spore) and in the growth media concentrated as a layer in the centrifuge tube. The material was then dried and chopped up or ground up to produce the powder. The silicon layer is the material that tested as being 10% or more silicon.
There's nothing difficult about it. But, since no one can state with certainty that that is the true and only explanation for the silicon concentration, the conspiracy theorists can continue to argue that the silicon concentration is proof of some highly-sophisticated weaponization process that can only be done by some super lab run by some large government.
The conspiracy theories are total nonsense. But how can anyone conclusively prove they're nonsense? And how do you get the conspiracy theorists to accept the proof?
And how do you get reporters to debunk things that are told to them by scientists with perfect credentials?
Reporters need to be able to tell the difference between scientists with beliefs and scientists with facts. The scientist cited in this article had other theories about weaponization that were totally debunked. This is just his latest theory.
“The New York Post powder evidently contained some clumps of material that had a high percentage (10% or so) of silicon. How that high percentage occurred can only be a educated guess.
The educated guess is:”
Whose exactly, ED?
Ivins had no connection to the Florida AMI building attack, so it’s absurd to blame him for the anthrax killings.
The wife of the AMI building management, however, rented an apartment to several of the 9/11 terrorists.
There’s your connection. That’s who coordinated the anthrax attacks.
1. Ivins talked often about the National Enquirer. He envisioned the Enquirer having a headline about him: Crazy Scientist works with deadly bacteria -- and he envisioned the Enquirer having a headline about his vaccine - Army performs experiments on troops with untested vaccine. (The exact quotes are in his emails.)
2. Ivins had a stack of National Enquirers on his desk. Someone else in the lab bought them, and Ivins saved them.
3. The anthrax letter was sent to the National Enquirer at an obsolete address in Lantana, Florida. It was then forwarded to the AMI building. There was a trail of spores through the post offices showing how it was rerouted.
4. In the stack of Enquirers on Ivins' desk were Enquirers with that obsolete address.
5. Stephanie Dailey recalled opening a letter containing a powder. It was her job to open letters addressed to the Enquirer.
6. Stephanie Dailey tested positive for exposure to anthrax.
7. The area around Dailey's desk was the most contaminated area in the building.
8. The area where the so-called "J-Lo letter" was opened and passed around - on the third floor - was the LEAST contaminated floor in the building.
9. The person who opened the so-called "J-Lo letter" did NOT test positive for exposure to anthrax.
10. There's a scientific report in the works which proves beyond any doubt that the J-Lo letter did not contain anthrax.
The fact that someone at AMI rented an apartment to one of the terrorists means absolutely NOTHING. It's just a meaningless connection. There is absolutely NO EVIDENCE showing that the 9/11 terrorists were involved in the anthrax attacks. They were all DEAD at the time of the first mailing, and DEAD FOR THREE WEEKS at the time of the second mailing.
You know what Ivins talked about and "envisioned"?!
Utter rubbish. Show me the emails or fail.
Utter rubbish. Ivans didn't even *buy* the NE. For all that you know some government flunkie left NE copies on Ivan's desk to back their botched investigation.
Show me the letter.
There was no letter.
You are smoking Grade C crack.
From page 40 of the FBI Summary Report:
Through the end of the summer and into the fall of 2001, Dr. Ivins was expressing his increasing frustration with this criticism of the work he had been doing. This frustration was only compounded by demands for more information regarding the anthrax vaccine research program, largely from Matsumoto, who had written a critical article in Vanity Fair magazine in May 1999, and who was working on a follow-up book entitled Vaccine A (which was eventually published in 2004). Within days of reading Matsumotos Vanity Fair article, Dr. Ivins commented in an e-mail to a former colleague: [T]hanks for passing these along to me. I wonder when the National Enquirer will come out with its headlines on Guinea Pig Soldiers Get Killer Vaccine.
From page 72 of the Expert Behavioral Analysis Panel report:
His therapist thought his symptoms may be that of a paranoid personality disorder, he wrote her in July. He also indicated that he would like to serve as a case study for her medical training, and that he did not want to see PARANOID MAN WORKS WITH DEADLY ANTHRAX as a headline in the National Enquirer.