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.
From page 43 of the Expert Behavioral Analysis Panel report:
"Among the recipients of the first set of anthrax letters was the parent company of the National Enquirer, American Media Inc. (AMI), then based in Boca Raton, Fla. The address of the parent company at that time the address to which the letter was sent was the former address of the National Enquirer itself, as listed in the back issues that had piled up in Dr. Ivins' office. One copy of the paper was found in the hot suite."
I can only show you the facts. If you prefer to ignore the facts and just believe what you want to believe, that's up to you.
One comment in only one email over an entire life of emailing does NOT make a man obsessed with the National Enquirer.
If that's all that you've got, then you fail.
You are the one brushing away the fact that someone at AMI rented an apartment to one/some of the 9/11 terrorists.
You call that a "meaningless connection."
I call that having your head in the sand.
There was no anthrax letter at AMI. No such letter can be shown.
None. All that you can do is whine about someone's thoughts about such a letter being mailed.
...but no anthrax letter was ever found there.
Well, you certainly can't show me an anthrax letter at the AMI building.
...and *that* is a fact.
So, your argument is that no amount of testimony, no amount of evidence can convince you that a letter existed at AMI if it cannot be shown to you personally?
The fact that there was a trail of anthrax spores through the various post offices from Trenton to Boca Raton is just some kind of coincidence?
The fact that Stephanie Dailey remembers opening a powder filled letter is just a coincidence?
The fact that she was responsible for opening letters addressed to the National Enquirer is just a coincidence?
The fact that the letter she opened arrived at the right time to have been mailed with the Brokaw and NY Post letters is just a coincidence?
The fact that she tested positive for exposure to anthrax spores is just a coincidence?
The fact that the area around Stephanie Dailey's desk was the most contaminated area in the AMI building is just a coincidence?
Everything is just a coincidence EXCEPT the fact that one of the 9/11 hijackers rented an apartment from the wife of one of the editors at AMI? That is not a coincidence because it supports your belief?
Is that what you are saying?
There was no anthrax letter at the AMI building. There was just cocaine, er, anthrax-contaminated cash from the rent money being paid to the AMI landlord by the 9/11 terrorists who had leased her apartment.
The 9/11 terrorists are a fact. Their lease from the AMI building landlord is a fact. That those terrorists paid their rent money each month in cash is a fact. That anthrax contaminates cash better than does cocaine is a fact.
That there is no AMI building anthrax letter is a fact.
Those are the facts.
Yes, but they are totally irrelevant facts until relevance is proven.
None of your facts shows in any way that the anthrax was on the money. You just believe that to be true.
Your facts relate to the 9/11 terrorists, but they in no way relate to the anthrax attacks except in your imagination.
Example: It's a FACT that Porton Down laboratories in England had the Ames strain. So what? So did other labs. Why is that fact anything more than a meaningless, irrelevant fact?
Example: It's a fact that Texas A&M University had a sample of the Ames strain in 1981. So what? Why is that fact anything more than a meaningless, irrelevant fact?
Facts must be shown to be RELEVANT to the issue before they can be anything but meaningless facts.
Fact: The 9/11 terrorists were all DEAD for a week at the time of the first mailing.
Fact: The 9/11 terrorists were all DEAD for three weeks at the time of the second mailing.
Fact: The timing of the death of Bob Stevens IS consistent with his being exposed to anthrax in a letter from the first mailing.
Fact: The timing of the death of Bob Stevens is NOT consistent with the 9/11 terrorists paying their rent.
Fact: The strain of anthrax that killed Bob Stevens is a strain that was only used by a few labs.
Fact: None of the 9/11 terrorists had access to the "murder weapon" - flask RMR-1029.
Fact: No anthrax was found anywhere the 9/11 terrorists went or stayed.
Fact: Cocaine contaminates cash because people roll up paper money and use it to sniff cocaine.
Fact: No one deliberately sniffs anthrax.
Fact: Stephanie Dailey remembers handling a letter that contained a powder.
Fact: No one remembers handling money that was so contaminated with a powder that it spread all over the building.
Your facts may be facts, but the are not relevant facts. They are meaningless facts.
The 9/11 terrorists paid their rent in cash to their AMI landlord for an apartment within miles of the AMI building.
Thus, the distance from the apartment to the AMI building is relevant. That anthrax easily contaminates cash (such as rent money) is relevant. That 9/11 terrorist rent money had a non-postal route to the AMI building is relevant.
That there was no anthrax letter at the AMI building is relevant. This fact alone means that a non-postal explanation must be pursued, contrary to the blinders placed on the anthrax investigation that traced spores in post offices without considering that the spores could have originated in the mailroom at the AMI building via 9/11 terrorist rent cash instead of a non-existent letter.
Once cash is contaminated with anthrax, the first person to roll up the Dollar bill to later snort coke is going to get inhalation anthrax along with their cocaine high.
But, it didn't happen. And the attacks were nearly ten years ago.
All the money that you believe was so covered with anthrax that it was able to thoroughly contaminate a three story building didn't infect the woman who collected the rent, it didn't infect her husband who presumably took it into the AMI building, it didn't infect anyone who handled the money at the bank, and there was no sudden epidemic of inhalation anthrax among coke sniffers.
Your theory makes no sense. It is totally contrary to all known facts, and it is unsupported by any facts.
HUH? What are you talking about?
But the 9/11 terrorists didn't have any anthrax. They left no trace of anthrax in the apartment they rented. So, the location of the apartment is totally irrelevant.
"That anthrax easily contaminates cash (such as rent money) is relevant."
No, it is NOT relevant. It is a meaningless fact. Anthrax easily contaminates bikini bathing suits, too. So what?
"That 9/11 terrorist rent money had a non-postal route to the AMI building is relevant."
No, it is NOT relevant. Did the money blow in the wind from the apartment to the AMI building? Do you have evidence of that? Did the landlady take the money to the AMI building and spread it around the entire building? Do you have evidence of that? Why didn't she contract anthrax if she did something like that? Did her husband take the anthrax to work and spread it around? Why didn't he contract anthrax? Do you believe they took the money into the AMI building taped to their clothes, and then they danced around the building? Is that how you believe the building became so contaminated?
The facts say that the anthrax arrived by letter. Stephanie Dailey SAW the letter. She testified that she THREW AWAY the letter. She tested positive for exposure to anthrax, confirming what she said. The area around her desk was the most contaminated area in the building, further confirming what she said. There was a letter.
The fact that the letter was thrown away does NOT provide evidence that there was no letter. It provides evidence that your theory about the money is baseless.
There was no anthrax letter ever found at the Florida AMI building.
That's incorrect. You can only claim the above by being intellectually dishonest. Sad.
In reality, I've put forth the only non-postal-route theory (something required considering that no postal anthrax letter was ever found at the Florida AMI building).
But *my* theory isn't important. What are important are facts, and your thoery doesn't explain why no anthrax letter was sent to the Florida AMI building.
That's a shaky foundation, and it makes your theory have to dance around inconvenient facts such as the 9/11 terrorists renting an apartment from their AMI building landlord only miles away from the Florida AMI building.
It means that you have to make wild-eyed claims of denial about the 9/11 terrorists paying their monthly rent in cash to their AMI landlord. It means that you have to misdirect, deny, or even laugh about the fact that anthrax contaminates cash more easily than does cocaine.
But hey, this is the Internet and you are living your life. It's fine with me if you've decided to live your life lying to yourself as well as to others.
...just don't expect rational people to agree with you.
Do any people at all - rational or non-rational - agree with you on your theory?
I've been discussing theories about the anthrax case with hundreds of people over the years, and I've never heard anyone but you claim that the AMI building was contaminated with anthrax on rent money.
Nearly everyone else in the world is divided into two camps: (1) The group that believes the J-Lo letter contained the anthrax. (2) The group that believes a letter to the National Enquirer contained the anthrax.
There is a scientific report in the works that is expected to be published any month now. It will prove conclusively that there was only one source for the anthrax that contaminated the AMI building, and that source was the letter that Stephanie Dailey opened and threw away.
"your thoery doesn't explain why no anthrax letter was sent to the Florida AMI building.
The FACTS say that the anthrax that contaminated the AMI building arrived in a letter that was mailed at the same time as the letters to Brokaw, the NY Post, Dan Rather and Peter Jennings.
The letters to Dan Rather and Peter Jennings were also thrown away. We don't have those letters, either, but like the AMI letter, we know those letters existed because the FACTS say they existed. A child was infected near Peter Jennings' office, and Dan Rather's assistant was infected.
Incorrect. There was no Florida AMI building anthrax letter. It doesn't exist. You've never seen it. The FBI never saw it, and no one has it today even after sniffing and excavating entire landfills.
It is your *mind* that is trapped in a letter explanation, and you won't let it go even though there was no anthrax letter at AMI.
Consider for a moment that you talk about how anthrax spores were "traced" through post offices and routing centers, yet no such "tracing" of trash cans and trash bags exists.
That is because there was no anthrax letter mailed *to* AMI, but rather, the anthrax arrived at AMI via tainted cash which contaminated outgoing mail.
That is because people don't throw away cash.
That is because the entire anthrax investigation was flawed.
You can't traced an AMI anthrax letter into trash cans, garbage bags, and finally into a landfill because there was never an anthrax letter sent to AMI.
Anthrax arrived at AMI via contaminated cash from rent money paid by the 9/11 terrorists who leased from their AMI landlord mere miles from the AMI building.
Then you should be able to explain a few things:
How did the anthrax on the money get to AMI if it was paid to a woman who does NOT work at AMI?
Why wasn't the lady landlord infected?
Why didn't the apartment the 9/11 terrorists rented test positive for anthrax?
If it got to AMI via her husband, how did the money in his wallet contaminate the entire AMI building?
If it got to AMI via her husband, how do you KNOW it got to AMI that way?
Why did the landlady give all the rent money to her husband? Isn't that a lot of money to carry around?
Why wasn't the husband infected?
Why didn't the husband even test positive for exposure to anthrax if he infected the entire building?
Why wasn't the area where the husband worked the most infected area in the building?
How does that much anthrax get transported on a few bills of money?
The amount of anthrax in the building would have required that the bills be coated like frosting on a cake. How come no one noticed or mentioned money that was coated with white powder like frosting on a cake?
How come the landlady didn't notice that she was paid with money that was coated with white powder?
Your beliefs make absolutely no sense and are totally unsupported by any facts.
The anthrax letter WAS seen by the person who opened it. She testified that she threw it away. She tested positive for exposure to anthrax. The area around her desk was the most contaminated area in the building. All the facts say that the anthrax letter arrived by mail and was thrown away.
Why doesn't your theory have supporting facts like those?
The New York Post letter was also thrown away. It was thrown away UNOPENED. They found it in a garbage bag on a freight elevator. Unfortunately, the ABC letter, the CBS letter and the AMI letter were thrown away and could not be recovered. But we know they existed because the evidence says they existed.
Her husband works at AMI.
She didn't roll up the $20's and use them to snort cocaine.
They didn't keep the anthrax in their apartment.
Money changes hands and moves around buildings rapidly.
He didn't roll up the contamined $20's and snort cocaine through them.
He took a bath in the 6 weeks from exposure to FBI field-testing of the AMI building.
Because he wasn't sucking, snorting, or blowing air across his contaminated money.
Surface tension. Static electricity. Spore capture, and general physics.
Incorrect. The contamination could have been entirely invisible to the naked eye, mostly invisible to the naked, or could have resembled cocaine residue to the naked eye.
Incorrect. I'm simply stating facts. It is a **FACT** that there was no AMI anthrax letter. It is a fact that the 9/11 terrorists rented an apartment from an AMI landlord. It is a **FACT** that anthrax contaminates cash easier than does cocaine. It is a fact that the 9/11 terrorists paid their AMI landlord in cash.
In other words, the facts support theories other than your own.
Incorrect. The person who opened a letter that contained powder (two such letters over weeks were delivered) could not identify the powder...and neither letter left an anthrax trail of spores in the waste baskets, garbage bags, refuse bins, or garbage trucks that serviced the AMI building which means that no anthrax letter was ever thrown away.
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