FBI documents released to the public in 2011 contain strong evidence that the anthrax spores used in the letter attacks of 2001 had been prepared previously for U.S. biodefense purposes. We have recently compiled and analyzed the documents, which contain some 10,000 pages of scientific data, in the “Journal of Bioterrorism & Biodefense.”*

Although genetic analysis indicates that anthrax spores in a flask at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases are the likely parental source from which the letter spores were grown, the USAMRIID spores do not contain two extraneous chemical elements and a non-anthrax type of spore found by the FBI in the letter anthrax; nor has evidence been found at USAMRIID for any use of these items.

The two chemical elements, tin and silicon, must have been added to process the letter spores following their growth, for the toxicity of tin would have prevented growth, and the uniquely high silicon content of the spores has never been replicated during growth. The two chemicals are components of a well-known type of protective coating called silicone (a complex substance containing the element silicon). Silicone has been used in the past to encapsulate pharmaceuticals in order to protect them from inactivation by external hazards without impairing their biological action.

Microencapsulation of the attack spores with silicone would explain the presence, locations and amounts of the two extraneous chemical elements, for which no other explanation has ever been offered. Methods are available for determining whether or not silicone is present in the attack spores, but there is no evidence that this has been done.

In the case of biological weapons like anthrax, microencapsulation could be used to prevent their detection as well as to protect them from inactivation. A plan to test the effects of microencapsulation on the detection of pathogens was spelled out in the Department of Defense’s unclassified annual budget justification documents issued in 1999, 2000 and 2001 for the Biological Warfare Defense program, under which DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) was developing a biological weapons detection system. The budget document for 2002 stated that the plan had been accomplished in 2001. Evidently, the DARPA project had been supplied with microencapsulated pathogen(s) in the year of the letter attacks. Dry anthrax spores were one of the pathogens known to be under study by DARPA in 2001. Antibioterrorism training and vulnerability assessment were also underway in the U.S. at the time and may have utilized any anthrax spore preparations that were available.

Only one laboratory, the Army laboratory at Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah, is known to have made active, dry anthrax spores (an arms-control, treaty-sensitive activity) before the attacks. In its Department of Defense budget justification, Dugway also expressed an interest in microencapsulation. FBI data indicate traces of tin in some anthrax spores made there, but not in any spores made elsewhere. Battelle Memorial Institute was operating the Dugway laboratory in 2001. Battelle possessed anthrax spores that have been shown by the FBI to be a genetic match with the letter spores.

Both Dugway and Battelle utilize dry spores of Bacillus subtilis, a related but non-pathogenic bacterial species that is frequently used as a convenient simulant or model for anthrax. The non-anthrax contaminant found in the letter anthrax is a sub-species of Bacillus subtilis that has a unique genetic sequence, making it a potential institutional “fingerprint.” The FBI did not find it at USAMRIID. There is no evidence that they searched Dugway or Battelle.

When viewed together, these facts imply that the attack spores were processed with tin-and silicon-containing materials under government auspices, probably to microencapsulate them for use in detection and other defense studies. The process of spore microencapsulation requires special expertise, specific documented chemicals, and sophisticated facilities. The known clues point to Dugway or Battelle, not USAMRIID, as the site where the attack spores were prepared. Crucial evidence that would prove or disprove these points either has not been pursued or has not been released by the FBI.

*The relevant articles in the "Journal of Bioterrorism and Biodefense" can be viewed at www.omicsonline.org/2157-2526/2157-2526-S3-001.pdf and www.omicsonline.org/2157-2526/2157-2526-S3-008.pdf

Barbara Hatch Rosenberg and Martin Hugh-Jones are biological scientists with a special interest in the control of biological weapons. Barbara Hatch Rosenberg writes from Northampton, Mass. Hugh-Jones writes from Baton Rouge, La.

(54) comments

Comment deleted.
AnthraxMan

Watson4sherlock wrote: "Your insistence on trying him in the court of public opinion is useless."

I'm only rebutting the claims that Ivins couldn't have done it or that the evidence against him was weak. I'm responding to ignorant opinions with solid facts.

Are you suggesting that ignorant opinions should go unchallenged? Isn't this blog here for people to rebut ignorant opinions with solid facts?

AnthraxMan

The facts say beyond a reasonable doubt that Bruce Ivins was the anthrax killer. The arguments from conspiracy theorists merely say that there are other "possibilities," and unless the FBI proves it is TOTALLY IMPOSSIBLE for some other possibility to be the "real" solution to the crime, they're going to believe what they want to believe.

No one has any evidence against anyone else that is even remotely comparable to the mountain of evidence the FBI has against Bruce Ivins.

The "scientific" article from 2011 mentioned in yesterday's Frederick News-Post is a "theory" based upon wild assumptions and a mis-reading of the facts.

The powder in the letters sent to Tom Brokaw and the New York Post consisted of only 10 percent spores and 90 percent "sporulation debris," which consists mostly of dried slime that is produced when a germ has finished creating a spore and then dissolves away. And the debris also included some dead germs which failed to produce spores. And there were traces of agar from the agar plates.

The material had been washed out of the plates and then centrifuged to get rid of the water. Then it was evidently air dried in a biosafety cabinet. Ivins had this equipment in his lab. There were different colored specks in the powder, indicating different layers of material in the centrifuge.

The test which "Watchmaker" says showed "10% silicon in the media sample" was a BULK test of a sample. It appears to have been a BULK test of a sample that just happened to contain a lot of silicon. It may not have contained any spores at all. We don't know.

When individual spores from the media letters were examined by Sandia National Laboratories, about 35 percent of the spores had no silicon at all, and the spores that contained silicon had it distributed within the spore coat, which can ONLY happen when the spore is being formed inside the dying bacterium. That process has NOTHING to do with weaponization.

The idea that anyone is going to "weaponize" a material that is 90 percent dried slime is NUTS.

But the conspiracy theorists will argue their theories regardless of what the facts say. And the media will report their theories because it SELLS NEWSPAPERS.

watson4sherlock

In US Criminal law, means, motive, and opportunity is a popular cultural summation of the three aspects of a crime that must be established before guilt can be determined in a criminal proceeding.

Means: Ivins worked with anthrax. Motive: Some grudge with organizations his wife was affiliated with. Opportunity: He went to some meeting in New Jersey and mailed the letters. Motive and opportunity seem weak to me even given means.

AnthraxMan

watson4sherlock wrote: "Motive: Some grudge with organizations his wife was affiliated with. Opportunity: He went to some meeting in New Jersey and mailed the letters."

You need to study the case more before arguing that the FBI's case is weak.

Ivins motive had NOTHING to do with "organizations his wife was affiliated with." His life's work was in jeopardy. They were going to shut down the anthrax vaccine program he'd been working on for 20 years. The anthrax letters he mailed put a stop to that. Research money started rolling in after the attacks.

Ivins never drove to any meeting in New Jersey. If he had done that, he would have been a suspect right away. He drove to New Jersey in the middle of the night, while his family was asleep. He had a habit of driving hundreds of miles in the middle of the night to play pranks on women he was obsessed with, and he'd mail letters from those distant places so they couldn't be traced back to him. Sometimes he drove those long distances to commit BURGLARIES as part of an obsession he had with the Kappa Kappa Gamma (KKG) sorority. The mailbox he used in Princeton was the closest mailbox to the KKG sorority office in Princeton.

watson4sherlock

Then why did the FBI waste their time with Hatfill?

AnthraxMan

watson4sherlock wrote: "Then why did the FBI waste their time with Hatfill?"

That has been repeatedly explained to you: Conspiracy theorists were pointing at Hatfill. The MEDIA was pointing at Hatfill. Politicians were pointing at Hatfill and asking the FBI why they weren't investigating him or locking him up, since so many scientists and "experts" seemed to think Hatfill did it.

The FBI had NO CHOICE but to keep track of Hatfill and follow him. With so many people pointing at Hatfill, if there had been another anthrax attack and the FBI had NOT been tracking Hatfill, it would have been a disaster for the FBI.

There's a day-by-day "timeline" of the Hatfill case here:
http://www.anthraxinvestigation.com/HatfillTimeline.html

The Timeline shows how the conspiracy theorists and the media made Hatfill a suspect even though the FBI could find no evidence against him. They were pointing at Hatfill for SEVEN MONTHS before the FBI ever mentioned Hatfill by name.

watson4sherlock

The is no conspiracy theory here. We are all know it was incompetence.

watson4sherlock

The FBI worked so hard to prove it was Hatfill then paid a settlement on a civil law suit and had to find another patsy so they picked Ivins. The FBI was so busy finding a scapegoat they didn't investigate the crime? Surely the FBI has handwriting, linguistic, and cryptographic experts. If there was something in the letters they would have arrested Ivins instead of surveiling him at the Frederick County Public Library and in the woods near his home. This is a kitchen sink case where they throw in everything including the kitchen sink trying to make hay. Well a kitchen sink doesn't make very good hay.

AnthraxMan

Watson4sherlock,

Your ignorance of the evidence against Ivins is astounding. And, so is your ignorance of the Hatfill case.

Conspiracy theorist scientists were pointing at Steven Hatfill for SEVEN MONTHS before the FBI ever mentioned his name. The New York Times was writing articles about him, claiming that the FBI was covering up for him. But, the FBI could find NO EVIDENCE that he did it, and THEY KEPT SAYING SO (without mentioning him by name).

Newspapers all over the world were claiming that the FBI knew who did it, because a group of scientists had told them, yet the FBI wouldn't arrest the guy. And, the newspapers were saying that if the FBI didn't arrest him, the entire FBI should be ELIMINATED if there was another attack because they didn't arrest the killer. This was during the SEVEN MONTHS before the FBI first mentioned Hatfill's name.

There's a day-by-day "timeline" of the Hatfill case here:
http://www.anthraxinvestigation.com/HatfillTimeline.html

Ivins was the opposite case. Only one person was pointing at him, a woman he'd harassed many years earlier, and the FBI didn't initially pay any attention to her. But gradually the evidence began to pile up it was clear to EVERYONE that Ivins was their #1 suspect. That was around December 2004. After that, the pieces really started falling into place.

There's a day by day "timeline" of the Ivins case here:
http://www.anthraxinvestigation.com/IvinsTimeline.html

watson4sherlock

Then why wasn't Ivins the first suspect?

AnthraxMan

watson4sherlock asked: "Then why wasn't Ivins the first suspect?"

Why would he be the "first suspect?" The question makes no sense.

There was no reason to believe Ivins did it until the EVIDENCE started accumulating to show that he did it. It took YEARS for the first big clue to surface --- that the attack spores originated in a flask that Ivins controlled. A whole new science had to be developed to find that evidence.

wmpratt2010

So in the absence of a trail the Anthrax case of 2001 remains UNSOLVED

NASCARLOVER

O-Boy!! The scientists are at it big time today.....Ha!

AnthraxMan

The FBI investigation found that Bruce Ivins used anthrax spores he took out of the "garbage" that he allowed to accumulate in his lab for WEEKS, in violation of all known lab protocols. The spores that grew on agar plates inside those biosafety bags piled in a corner were grown at ROOM TEMPERATURE, not in incubators, and the facts say that growing spores under "natural conditions," i.e., at ROOM TEMPERATURE, results in the bacteria absorbing silicon from the agar and nutrients on the growth plates. The iron is also found in naturally grown spores.

There is nothing difficult to understand here. A group of three conspiracy theorists decided that the silicon and iron MUST have come from an illegal U.S. government bioweapons program. However, the FACTS say, there was no silicon COATING as the conspiracy theorists envision, there was just natural silicon INSIDE the spores, that can be easily explained by it coming from NATURAL growth processes. Naturally grown spores ROUTINELY absorb silicon from animal blood and the environment. And, iron is also found in animal blood where anthrax thrives and grows.

For a detailed explanation, complete with illustrations, of how Dr. Bruce Ivins made the attack anthrax powders, check out this link: http://www.anthraxinvestigation.com/HowIvinsMadePowders.html

watson4sherlock

Except it was tin not iron. There goes that theory out the window.

Now, three scientists argue that distinctive chemicals found in the dried anthrax spores — including the unexpected presence of tin — point to a high degree of manufacturing skill, contrary to federal reassurances that the attack germs were unsophisticated.

See http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/10/science/10anthrax.html?pagewanted=all

AnthraxMan

Watson4sherlock wrote: "Except it was tin not iron. There goes that theory out the window."

Good point. But, the tin could have come from any number of sources. The spores were taken from Ivins' biohazard trash. All it would take would be one contaminated plate or some tin in the water to produce the tin signature in the spores. Plus, tin serves no known purpose in weaponization.

It makes far more sense that the tin came from the water or some nutrient than that it was DELIBERATELY added for some inexplicable and unknown weaponization purpose.

Watchmaker

"The spores were taken from Ivins' biohazard trash." A total fantasy fabricated by you and presented as a false factual finding determined by the FBI. If you read the papers at the links you will see that tin was not just present at a minor level - it was almost 0.5% tin for the anthrax powder sent to the media - a massive amount that could only come from deliberate addition AFTER the spores were grown. A concentration of 0.5% tin in the growth media (which would also have to be deliberate) would KILL the spores.
Also there was 10% silicon in the media sample - that means 1 out of every 10 atoms in the entire media powder was a silicon atom. To attempt to argue this was a plausible accident is just insane.
In short, although there were genetic similarities to RMR1029 - which would be identical to samples originally made at Dugway (90% of RMR1029 was MADE at Dugway - not Detrick), the CHEMICAL content of the attack powders was COMPLETELY DIFFERENT than any spores ever made at Detrick - ergo, CASE UNSOLVED.

AnthraxMan

It was NOT "almost 0.5% tin for the anthrax powder." It was that much for ONE SAMPLE taken from a media letter. Other samples found only trace amounts or no tin at all.

The same with the "10% silicon in the media sample."

The spores in the media sample had been CENTRIFUGED. And that material was 90 percent DEBRIS, and only 10 percent spores. That means that there were large concentrations of DEBRIS in the powder, and there could easily be concentrations of silicon and/or tin in some speck of DEBRIS.

The tests that the conspiracy theorists depend upon were too imprecise and general to be of any real value -- except to promote conspiracy theories.

Tests done at Sandia National Laboratories on INDIVIDUAL SPORES showed no such concentrations. The silicon was imbedded within the spore coat INSIDE the spore, which can ONLY happen if it is accumulated there as the spore is being formed INSIDE the mother bacteria.

The conspiracy theorists are using inaccurate readings to create a theory, while ignoring all the accurate testing that came later and showed the "weaponization" theories to be total nonsense.

And you're also wrong about this: "although there were genetic similarities to RMR1029 - which would be identical to samples originally made at Dugway (90% of RMR1029 was MADE at Dugway - not Detrick)"

Dugway shipped over a dozen individual batches of spores to Detrick. There is NO reason to believe that any single batch contained all the mutations. Logic says that it was only when all the batches were COMBINED AT FT. DETRICK that the entire collection of mutations found in flask RMR-1029 would be present.

watson4sherlock

Ed Lake was a retired computer specialist.

watson4sherlock

Mr. Lake's case for the letters being written by a child.

Observations: All cap block letters are used. Later the block letters become larger for upper case and smaller for lowercase. In the first letter some letters are darker indicating a DNA coding. (I see the TTA most clearly.) R is not properly formed; it starts out as a circle with legs. There is punctuation in the October letter but not in the September letter. Writing gets smaller in size. Paper is trimmed differently.

Conclusions: Adults don't change the size of their writing. There are known methods for disguising one's writing but this isn't one of them. Mrs. Ivins ran a daycare and Mr. Ivins was mental ill therefore he used a child to assist him in the crime.

12 FACTS which show that a child wrote the anthrax letters

See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23lJYPbC2g0

watson4sherlock

One observation that blows this whole theory out of the water. R is not a letter in every alphabet in the world. Perhaps the writer was unfamilar with English. This would tend to clear Ivins.

watson4sherlock

Punctuation marks also differ by language. By looking at the letters the writer struggled with and comparing them to other world alphabets we might be able to conclude the author's native language.

watson4sherlock

If DNA coding was used would we only expect to see the letters A, C, T, and G? Since C and G are low frequency letters perhaps O was substituted for either C or G.

The sequence of the artificial DNA was built up letter by letter using existing methods with the string of As, Cs, Ts and Gs coding for the letters of the book.

See http://www.theguardian.com/science/2012/aug/16/book-written-dna-code

watson4sherlock

The report disclosed for the first time the F.B.I.’s theory that Dr. Ivins embedded in the notes mailed with the anthrax a complex coded message, based on DNA biochemistry, alluding to two female former colleagues with whom he was obsessed.

The report described how an F.B.I. surveillance agent watched in 2007 as Dr. Ivins threw out an article and a book, Douglas Hofstadter’s “Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid,” that could betray his interest in codes, coming out of his house in Frederick, Md., at 1 a.m. in long underwear to make certain the garbage truck had taken his trash.

See http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/20/us/20anthrax.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

watson4sherlock

Oh my, guilty. Definitely guilty. The book is evidently written to be very mentally challenging and contains puzzles. Perhaps he threw it out to stop it from keeping him awake at night.

AnthraxMan

Details about the coded message in the media letter and how it relates to the book and magazine Ivins was observed throwing out can be found here: http://www.anthraxinvestigation.com/Coded-Message.html

watson4sherlock

If there is a code then decode it. If there is a message what does it say?

Mr. Lake when you investigate something you have to seperate out your observations from your conclusions because you confuse your conclusions with observations. Do you not see the errors in your logic?

AnthraxMan

watson4sherlock wrote: "If there is a code then decode it. If there is a message what does it say?"

I supplied a link for you where the code is fully explained WITH ILLUSTRATIONS. Here it is again: http://www.anthraxinvestigation.com/Coded-Message.html

The decoded message was the name of one of Ivins' female co-workers that he was obsessed with.

watson4sherlock

Doesn't it make you wonder how any crimes ever get solved?

watson4sherlock

Where are the results of the chemical analysis of each sample?

AnthraxMan

There's a good article about Sandia's analysis here:
https://share.sandia.gov/news/resources/releases/2008/anthrax.html

watson4sherlock

Doesn't prove it didn't come from research on a cure for cancer.

�Initially, scanning electron microscopy [SEM] conducted at another laboratory, showed high silicon and oxygen signals that led them to conclude that the spores were a weaponized form, says Kotula. �The possible misinterpretation of the SEM results arose because microanalysis in the SEM is not a surface-sensitive tool,� says Kotula. �Because a spore body can be 1.5 to 2 microns wide by 1 micron long, a SEM cannot localize the elemental signal from whole spore bodies.�

Using more sensitive transmission electron microscopy (TEM), Kotula and Michael�s research indicated that the silica in the spore samples was not added artificially, but was incorporated as a natural part of the spore formation process. �The spores we examined,� Kotula says, �lacked that fuzzy outer coating that would indicate that they�d been weaponized.

See https://share.sandia.gov/news/resources/releases/2008/anthrax.html

watson4sherlock

In US Criminal law, means, motive, and opportunity is a popular cultural summation of the three aspects of a crime that must be established before guilt can be determined in a criminal proceeding.

Means: Ivins worked with anthrax. Motive: Some grudge with organizations his wife was affiliated with. Opportunity: He went to some meeting in New Jersey and mailed the letters. Motive and opportunity seem weak to me even given means.

The data on the samples is in the linked papers. I'm just not that motivated to making this my life's work.

infrederick

This (the very detailed and exhaustive scientific analysis in the two referenced papers) is strong evidence that Ivan's was not guilty because he could not have prepared the anthrax spores used in the attacks because he did not have the right equipment to perform tin catalyzed silicone encapsulation and the samples from his lab did not contain the B. subtilis contaminant. Furthermore there is evidence that other top secret government labs did fit the anthrax production profile, but were incorrectly cleared by incorrect assumptions by the faulty FBI investigation.

We are left with the conclusion that an unknown person or group with access to top secret US government labs was responsible and the FBI has stopped looking. A very uncomfortable conclusion.

AnthraxMan

Infrederick creates a fantasy about how the spores were made and then claims that Ivins didn't have the equipment to make spores in such a fantastical way.

The spores were available in Ivins lab in garbage bags. The only equipment he needed to purify the spores were a centrifuge and a biosafety cabinet. He had TWO centrifuges in his lab and a biosafety cabinet. And he had decades of experience in purifying spores.

There was NO "silicone encapsulation." That's just a fantasy by the same person who once argued that particles of silica were GLUED to the spores with resin. It's just creating theories to fit a belief. It has nothing to do with reality.

To make the spores for the media letters, the facts say that Ivins took spores from the garbage bags, washed them out of the plates, centrifuged them to get rid of the water and then air dried the results in the biosafety cabinet.

The media powder was about 90 PERCENT DRIED SLIME and only 10 PERCENT SPORES. There's no way that anyone can consider that to be a "weaponized powder." The idea that such a powder would be "silicone encapsulated" is preposterous.

When Ivins made the powders he sent to the two senators, he just did what he normally did. He washed the spores, centrifuged them to get rid of the slime and water, then washed them and centrifuged them again and again until the only thing left after centrifuging was wet spores. Then he air dried the spores in his biosafety cabinet and put the results in the envelopes. NO WEAPONIZATION.

Ivins had all the spores he needed in his garbage. Ivins had all the equipment he needed in his lab. Ivins had been purifying spores for decades, so he had all the expertise he needed. AND HE HAD MOTIVE. They were planning to shut down the vaccine program he had spent most of his career working on. The anthrax attacks put the vaccine program back on track and money flowed in to help develop a better vaccine.

infrederick

Did you even bother to read the published data referenced in the letter? Your preconceived notions factual errors (It was tin not iron and you have the percentages wrong) and your false assumptions and amateurish pseudo analysis mark you as singularly unqualified to hold an opinion. I suggest you refrain from embarrassing yourself in the future.

watson4sherlock

There is some evidence that the Japanese used anthrax as a biological weapon (BW) in China during World War II (Christopher GW, et al. Biological warfare: A historical perspective. JAMA 1997; 278 (Aug 6): 412-17).

Since then, several countries are believed to have incorporated anthrax spores into biological weapons. Intelligence analysts believe that at least seven potential adversaries have an offensive BW capability to deliver anthrax -- twice the number of countries when the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) took effect. The BTWC was designed to prohibit such activity.

Iraq admitted to the United Nations in 1995 that it loaded anthrax spores into warheads during the Gulf War. In the post-cold war era, the former Soviet Union admitted to having enough anthrax on hand to kill every person on the planet several times over. The accidental aerosolized release of anthrax spores from a military microbiology facility in the former Soviet Union city of Sverdlovsk in 1979 resulted in at least 79 cases of anthrax infection and 68 human deaths and demonstrated the lethal potential of anthrax aerosols. Members of Aum Shinrikyo, the group responsible for the 1995 Tokyo sarin attack, reportedly experimented with biological agents in Japan before resorting to chemical agents. A lengthy article in the May 26, 1998, edition of the New York Times reported that members of Aum Shinrikyo released anthrax spores and botulinum toxin in Tokyo, Yokohama, and Yokosuka in 1990, targeting Japanese government and U.S. Navy facilities. Fortunately, no one was injured in these events.

See http://www.anthrax.osd.mil/resource/qna/qaAll.asp?cID=301

watson4sherlock

Scientists have used a version of the anthrax toxin to kill tumours in mice.
The toxin was so effective that after just one treatment, tumours were reduced in size by up to 92%.


See http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/2643223.stm

watson4sherlock

My own internet survey indicates anthryx has been cultivated with tin or silicon for research but typically not both in researching treatments for cancer. This may be a case where two seperate components were combined. Plus there were experiments with weaponizing anthryx in France during World War II.

Anthrax fusion protein therapy of cancer.
See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12370003

president8444

Truths and half truths.Bring it up again,just time on their hands with nothing to do,no change possible he is dead. DONE at last.

wmpratt2010

The FBIs goal is always to have a nice neat package to sell us. Ivin's death has allowed the FBI to do this by saying he's guilty without a trial. In light of this information either the Anthrax was not made at USAMRIID or there are other labs at Fort Detrick that the FBI was not given access to.

It's been rumored (in my opinion known) that the federal govt has been producing weapons grade biotoxic and chemical agents for decades. I'm not one to be a conspiracy nut but in this case I believe there are those within the govt research and military apparatus that knows who did this.

recordhigh

Correction: one among many FBI goals is to find the guilty party when a crime has been committed, and another is to collect evidence so that the guilty party can be tried in a court of law. If they are doing that right, it makes sense that they frequently end up with a nice neat package. It's sort of like Occam's razor in that the simplest answer with the fewest assumptions is usually the correct one.

watson4sherlock

So when the FBI is trying to make a case against someone do they announce their presence like they did with Hatfill then when that law suit is settled publicly follows a new suspect Ivins and try the case by public opinion? Seems like a desperate attempt to put a case to rest that can never be solved because the truth is classified.

AnthraxMan

Conspiracy theorists were pointing at Steven Hatfill for SEVEN MONTHS before the FBI ever mentioned his name. The New York Times was printing articles pointing at Hatfill - without mentioning him by name.

It took YEARS to develop the science that showed that flask RMR-1029 provided the source material for the creation of the anthrax powders. Ivins was in charge of that flask.

Ivins tried many times to mislead the investigation. He didn't became a key suspect until around December of 2004. But it still took a long time to put together solid evidence. The key piece (for me) was when Ivins threw out the code books he'd used to put the hidden message in the media letters. That didn't happen until November 2007. From that point on, it was just a matter of putting together a case to take to a grand jury.

It's too bad that Ivins committed suicide before he could be brought to trial, but facts are still facts. And the facts say beyond any reasonable doubt that Ivins was the anthrax killer.

The conspiracy theorists don't have any better facts. They just don't believe the facts that show that Ivins did it. They're saying they don't care what the facts say, they're going to believe whatever they want to believe.

wmpratt2010

Reasonable doubt is all over this. So why doesn't the FBI go ahead and have a trial?

watson4sherlock

As I recall Ivins volunteered to help solve the case and wasn't accused until they gave up on Hatfill. It is the FBIs methods that make me most suspicious.

Hatfill, a former U.S. Army researcher, has been called a "person of interest" by Attorney General John Ashcroft in the investigation of the anthrax mailings that killed five people in 2001. Hatfill has denied involvement.

CNN obtained a copy of the police report that said Hatfill told officers the driver was recording his movements all day when Hatfill decided to "take a picture back."

Hatfill told officers he walked up to the automobile with the camera to take the picture when the driver drove off and ran over Hatfill's right foot. The report states that Hatfill refused medical treatment at the scene and that after investigation, Hatfill was issued a citation for "walking to create a hazard" and fined $5.

See http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/05/19/hatfill/

wmpratt2010

The FBI done many things wrong.

In my usual style I must say that the FBI is not Constitutional. Show it to me if anyone can.

AnthraxMan

There's a day-by-day "timeline" of the Hatfill case here:
http://www.anthraxinvestigation.com/HatfillTimeline.html

There's a day by day "timeline" of the Ivins case here:
http://www.anthraxinvestigation.com/IvinsTimeline.html

AnthraxMan

Wmpratt2010 wrote: "So why doesn't the FBI go ahead and have a trial?"

You can't have a trial without a defendant. The defendant is dead.

You can't have a trial without someone to put on a defense for Ivins. Who's going to spend the money to do that? The government was going to pay for the defense when Ivins was alive, but they have no procedure for trying a dead man.

The General Accountability Office (GAO) has been doing a review of the case for years. Supposedly, they will complete their review sometime next year. It seems unlikely that they'll challenge the FBI's findings in any way. That's not their job. But, a lot of people are waiting to see what they'll say.

watson4sherlock

As I recall Ivins was working on the anthrax vaccination trying to get rid of side effects. So being in the lab wouldn't be a surprise.

wmpratt2010

Sure you can try a dead man. If they can ticket my truck for running a red light, they can do anything, and my truck is an inanimate object.


So in the absence of a trail the Anthrax case of 2001 remains UNSOLVED.

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