Shorter WaPo: The Anthrax Case Sux

Last week, the FBI selectively leaked the news that Bruce Ivins had taken personal leave on September 17, 2001; they seemed to be arguing that Ivins had taken leave to drive to Princeton, all in time to return for an appointment that evening.

A partial log of Ivins’s work hours shows that he worked late in the lab on the evening of Sunday, Sept. 16, signing out at 9:52 p.m. after two hours and 15 minutes. The next morning, the sources said, he showed up as usual but stayed only briefly before taking leave hours. Authorities assume that he drove to Princeton immediately after that, dropping the letters in a mailbox on a well-traveled street across from the university campus.

But then some DFH bloggers pointed out that that theory was impossible.

It would not be possible for Ivins to have mailed the anthrax. According to my calculations above, the window during which Ivins could have put the letter in the mailbox on September 17 was from 10:25 to 1:35. But here’s what the FBI itself says about the window in which the letter was mailed:

The investigation examined Dr. Ivins’s laboratory activity immediately before and after the window of opportunity for the mailing of the Post and Brokaw letters to New York which began at 5:00 p.m. Monday, September 17,2001 and ended at noon on Tuesday, September 18, 2001. [my emphasis]

In other words, had he mailed the anthrax when they’re arguing he did, the letter would have been picked up at the 5:00 PM pick-up (if not an earlier one–often boxes have a mid-day pick-up as well), and post-marked on September 17, not on September 18.

So, after their operative theory couldn’t even withstand the scrutiny of the DFHs in the world, they revised their theory.

Meanwhile, government sources offered more detail about Ivins’s movements on a critical day in the case: when letters were dropped into the postal box on Princeton’s Nassau Street, across the street from the university campus.

Investigators now believe that Ivins waited until evening to make the drive to Princeton on Sept. 17, 2001. He showed up at work that day and stayed briefly, then took several hours of administrative leave from the lab, according to partial work logs. Based on information from receipts and interviews, authorities say Ivins filled up his car’s gas tank, attended a meeting outside of the office in the late afternoon, and returned to the lab for a few minutes that evening before moving off the radar screen and presumably driving overnight to Princeton. The letters were postmarked Sept. 18.

Notice this time they’re not going to tell us what time Ivins went back to the lab, perhaps because they want their theory to hold up through the weekend. If it was late at night, it would introduce the same problems of timing, as presumably Ivins was back at the office at 7:30 AM the next morning, as per usual. And there’s one more critical detail: Ivins did not enter Suite B3 when he returned to the office that night. As the original search warrant attachment laid out,

The investigation examined Dr. Ivins’s laboratory activity immediately before and after the window of opportunity for the mailing of the Post and Brokaw letters to New York which began at 5:00 p.m. Monday, September 17,200 1 and ended at noon on Tuesday, September 18, 2001. Beginning on Friday, September 14, Dr. Ivins worked the following three consecutive evening shifts prior to the mailings with time spent in Suite B3:

Friday, September 14, 8:54 p.m. to 12:22 a.m., 2 hours 15 minutes

Saturday, September 15, 8:05 p.m. to 11:59 p.m., 2 hours 15 minutes

Sunday, September 16, 6:38 p.m. to 9:52 p.m., 2 hours 15 minutes

After September 16, Dr. Ivins did not enter Suite B3 in the evening again until September 25. [my emphasis]

As I understand it, the attachment considers anything after 4:45 to be evening work, and we know that Ivins was in an appointment at that point, so his brief return to the office must have been an evening visit. This does not, by itself, doom their new theory. After all, Ivins was caught that December cleaning his office space, not B3, so it’s possible he just stored the anthrax outside of B3 after he cultured it, if in fact he did culture it. But that would raise the question of why the anthrax didn’t show up in sampling of his office, and how and where it was stored during the day of September 17 when Ivins was not in his office.

The WaPo also notes that the hair samples in the mailbox don’t match Ivins’ hair.

Federal investigators probing the deadly 2001 anthrax attacks recovered samples of human hair from a mailbox in Princeton, N.J., but the strands did not match the lead suspect in the case, according to sources briefed on the probe.

I actually don’t think that’s a big deal–there’s no reason to believe that the culprit necessarily left hair samples on the envelopes and that no one else did, particularly since it took ten months to actually find and sample the mailbox in question.

I’m most amused by the way they find evidence, claim it’s significant, then discard it entirely once their theory falls apart. Just last week, the fact that Ivins had taken leave for the entire day before the anthrax was mailed was another smoking gun, proof that he had done the deed. But now that we DFHs have proved he couldn’t have been mailing the anthrax at that time, then that piece of evidence is discarded entirely. It seems they don’t want to entertain the possibility he was doing something else–perhaps meeting with someone, but not driving to Princeton. Similarly, lie detector tests were critical, until they discovered their main culprit passed his.

In other words, they’re still making it up as they go along, and they still don’t have a solid case that Ivins was the sole culprit.

  1. RevDeb says:

    Maybe if they hired Monk or Columbo or even Kolchak they might have a better chance at figuring it out.

    Since they could not possibly be as stupid as they seem, then the question is what is it that they are covering up?

  2. lizard says:

    Does anybody else think the timing of Ivin’s “suicide” happend at almost the exact right time for the FBI to present it’s case against him when the government was largely gone and distracted by the august recess and the Olympics?

    What bothers me most about the Anthrax case is that I find myself believing shit about our government and law enforcement that I would have considered tinfoil hat conspiracy stuff just a few years ago.

    I can’t decide whether I think they killed him or he did it for them. I don’t suppose it matters. The last seven years have squandered the benefit of the doubt beyond quick recall.

    • RevDeb says:

      They have given us every reason to believe that the feds are in on this and that Ivin’s “suicide” is suspect. Autopsy anyone? I thought not.

      The whole anthrax case is so bogus it reeks.

  3. JimWhite says:

    Thanks, EW. I’m getting more and more convinced the attack material came from an offensive bioweapons program somewhere in the bowels of the Defense Department and was directed by Cheney.

    Note also that the Bush Administration torpedoed an international agreement on extension of the Biological Weapons Convention that would have allowed verification that countries do not engage in offensive bioweapon work. This happened in July, 2001, only two months before the first anthrax attack:

    In April 2001, after six years of multilateral negotiations, the chairman of the Ad Hoc Group proposed a compromise text of the Protocol that sought to bridge the remaining gaps among national positions. This text contained a number of key elements:

    * mandatory declarations of facilities and activities that could be diverted most easily to develop or produce biological weapons;
    * consultation procedures to clarify questions that might arise from declarations, including the possibility of on-site visits;
    * randomly selected transparency visits to check the accuracy of declarations; and
    * challenge investigations to pursue allegations that a country is developing, producing, or employing biological weapons.

    Nevertheless, the BWC Protocol negotiations collapsed in July 2001 after the United States rejected the compromise text prepared by the Ad Hoc Group chairman on the grounds that the Protocol would be ineffective at preventing cheating yet would impose undue burdens on the U.S. biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries and on U.S. government biodefense programs. Calling the draft Protocol “unfixable,” the United States withdrew from further Ad Hoc Group deliberations.

    Our “negotiator” for that work? John Bolton. Also, the Conference where the inspection protocol would have been approved was scheduled for November 19 through December 7, 2001. That raises the possibility that the anthrax attacks originally were planned to create public hysteria over bioweapons and provide “cover” for the US position at the conference. The intervention of 9/11 and the need to intimidate Congress into passing the Patriot Act became a perfect opportunity for them to refocus on Daschle and Leahy as the targets of the attack.

    • WilliamOckham says:

      I agree that most signs point towards the anthrax coming from a U.S. offensive (in both senses of that word) bioweapons program, but I tend to doubt that the attacks were directed by Cheney, et. al. I think Cheney probably would be willing to do that, but if he had ordered it, the first batch probably would have had bentonite in it. I tend to think that the coverup is in place because they had a loose cannon working in the program who was freelancing.

      • chrisc says:

        Freelancing? I dunno but my tinfoil hat is getting all crinkly.
        It was the followup of the anthrax attacks, so perfectly timed after the 9/11 attacks that had me wondering in the first place if Cheney didn’t have some knowledge of what was going to happen on 9/11. Could some rouge freelancer have the anthrax ready that quickly? Was it Plan B if the terrorists were stopped from getting on the airplanes?

        Cheney had certain goals he wanted to accomplish that would have been impossible without some stupendous event occurring. In fact, I think some neocons said so themselves. The other thing is that attacking Iraq was near the top of the list on Cheney/Rummy’s agenda. They really did not want to do Afghanistan. The anthrax attack meant they could segue smoothly from attacking the terrorists and/or a nation state that harbored them to invading a nation state that might give the terrorists a biological weapon to use on us.

    • acquarius74 says:

      Thanks, Jim. I think you’ve got it. In my opinion, there’s a pretty good chance that Chaney has been CIA since the time when GHW Bush was Director of CIA. In the online info on Dr. Frank Olsen (microbiologist 1943-1953 assigned to Ft Detrick, murdered 1953 by CIA), remember the memos in 1975 back & forth between Chaney & Rumsfeld to the effect that the matter had to be covered up? They convinced Pres. Ford that the circumstances of Dr. Olsen’s death had to be covered up – – widow was paid $750,000. Cheney was concerned at that time that the payment might be construed legally as a cover-up.

      In Dr. Olsen’s case (he also worked on anthrax vaccine) the CIA agents who were his co-workers fed him a LSD “cocktail” and he was defenseless from that point. Then his CIA “Dr” agent threw him out of a 13 story window in NY City. – – -suicide, of course.

      In Ivins’ case he may have been taking “anti-depressants” that actually depressed him to the point of suicide. That info is also found on the website maintained by the son, Eric Olsen.

  4. GeorgeSimian says:

    What’s wrong with the FBI? They screwed up the Atlanta Olympics bombing too. Remember that?

    Also remember that they screwed up before 9/11 by not sharing their information, even within their own bureaus.

    Bush’s fix was to create the DHS and put a bunch of incompetent cronies in charge. They’ve never had more money or power. Why the hell can’t they catch a terrorist?

    • Artep says:

      The best way to gain power is to replace the existing power outright with those loyal to your cause. Bush has already discredited the CIA (WMD), and now the FBI is coming under attack. Since the DHS was set up and staffed by this administration, further weakening of the CIA and FBI could have disastrous results.

  5. klynn says:

    But then some DFH bloggers pointed out that that theory was impossible.

    So, after their operative theory couldn’t even withstand the scrutiny of the DFHs in the world, they revised their theory.

    Oh it is great to be a DFH! Thanks for the chuckle Marcy despite the tragedy of this on going story.

    Looks like we could save $$$$ on the investigation and just release all the evidence and let DFH’s figure out “who done it”.

    The problem with that is, it is probably known “who really done it” and do not want the truth public…

    EW, I still think a crucial piece of evidence is the list of 15 labs that they found had the same strain of anthrax as referenced in the NYT’s. A big point was made initially to state that ONLY Ivins lab (flask) was the only one to have the strain and then it started coming out “a few” then it became 15? That is a bit of a jump from 1 lab flask with 10 possible people to access the flask to 15 labs and perhaps over a 100 people who would have access to the same strain.

    And Jim White nails it @ 4…

    • emptywheel says:

      Agree on that count. Though to be honest, I’m not as comfortable with the scientific argument; once they release more info, I hope the science bloggers covering this will assess that part of the argument.

      Besides, JimWhite is doing a good job on that side.

  6. JimWhite says:

    Is the FBI ever going to offer an explanation of why it took ten months before they found the contaminated mailbox when they already knew almost immediately what routes to check?

    Also, note that this “analysis” only relates to the first mailing, which most likely had lower spore purity and was less likely to leak material into the box (although the letter to Florida was probably more potent than the two that were recovered from this group). I haven’t seen anything from the FBI regarding their theory for how they think he did the later mailing.

  7. Mary says:

    I kinda thought the evening of the 17th would crop up at some point. If the FBI has any decent info, they are not helping themselves with the disclosure plan and format. Either way (good info or not) they are making the reporters look like idiots.

    We get the info that Ivins actually filled up his car that day, as if it has significance, but with no context or follow up. Could he make it there and back on one tank? Any evidence he filled up anywhere along the route? Did he have to fill up again at home the next day? Was he a low mileage driver with a mileage spike? Nothing to indicate that anyone was asking anything to give context to the earthshattering info that he filled up his tank.

    And still nothing that would make proof of some unexplained heavy car use between the 17th and 18th indicate that if he was involved, he was involved alone. What – he’ll drive all night then go to work the next day in a lab dealing with pathogens with no real concern about nodding off face first in the petrie dish teeming with weaponsilli massivasi destructium?

    I’m agnostic on whether Ivins was involved in any way or not, but the FBI is not looking very good.

    • emptywheel says:

      Yeah, I had the same thoughts about the car. He had two at that point, that we know of. An old civic, and a van. Both probably have 400 mile tanks, though the civic just barely. So the question of whether he filled up the next day is critical. Or when he had filled up before or after.

  8. IntelVet says:

    I wonder if a few hours of Doug Feith on the rack might yield bonus points….. if I were a wingnut.

  9. WilliamOckham says:

    This whole operation looks more and more like a cover-up. The DOJ’s story is carefully tailored to the circumscribed set of facts they choose to release. I just wonder if they are covering up the fact that they really don’t have clue as to who did it or the fact that they know who did it, but have to hide some embarrassing details. Ivins suicide must have seemed like a golden opportunity at the time, but now I bet they wished they had kept stonewalling.

  10. Mary says:

    Btw, anyone who ever watched Julia prepare sweetmeats had to suspect she’d killed men with her bare hands.

    • skdadl says:

      Forgive me for extending the drift, and I know that Wikipedia can be updated very quickly, but there is a good deal more detail about Julia’s OSS career at the wiki than there is in that NYT article. I’m sure that every further revelation matters, but at least some of this has been dribbling out for years.

      • klynn says:

        Hey, on that point regarding Wikipedia… EW, I posted in an earlier anthrax post a tech question and I did not see anyone answer, so I will ask again (skdadl, your comment reminded me). I was working on the computer when the Ivins story broke and Googled, Anthrax case. The first link listed was not the LATimes article but Wikipedia. So I went to see what was on Wikipedia to give me background before going to the LATimes story. I was amazed to find that Wiki was updated with all the breaking information on Ivins. Is there not a way to research who did an update on Wikipedia? I wondered when and who did the Wiki update?

        Unfortunately, the page has been updated yet again and I failed to capture the page on August 1.

    • Petrocelli says:

      LOL … her “Memories of Paris” has stayed in my mind more than any horror movie … how can anyone make Crepes Suzette without even a hint of passion ?

  11. klynn says:


    Have I missed something or am I correct in noticing Pat Leahy has been quite quiet on this investigation since it was released after Ivin’s death?

    I cannot find one quote, which seems odd after his display at the hearings?

    Do you have any comment from him? If so, can you post a link?

    • perris says:

      Have I missed something or am I correct in noticing Pat Leahy has been quite quiet on this investigation since it was released after Ivin’s death?

      I cannot find one quote, which seems odd after his display at the hearings?

      that is bizarre isn’t it, I would think pat would have something profound to say and he doesn’t

      makes me think he thinks there is more going on then what we see in public

  12. JimWhite says:

    Another interesting voice I’ve just come across on this issue is Francis Boyle. Here is a lecture he gave in 2002 on the attacks. I’ve just ordered a copy of his book, Biowarfare and Terrorism, it looks like there will be lots of goodies in that. I especially hope he shares his list of suspects from the Reagan era.

  13. perris says:

    they don’t want to entertain the possibility he was doing something else

    repeated and highlighted for impact

  14. yonodeler says:

    Leahy’s reading every critique of FBI Ivins-and-anthrax-related evidence that he and staff can find, and he’s preparing exhaustive questions and questions to follow up evasions of those questions. Maybe.

    • bmaz says:

      But note that Daschle has done a very sudden, almost overnight, about face and now accepts and is comfortable with the FBI conclusion that Ivins is the one. Just a few days ago Daschle was just the opposite. Now, I am starting to wonder what makes the FBI so sure Ivins is the guy; it sure isn’t the evidence we have seen is it? What makes Daschle suddenly do an about face; it sure isn’t the crumbling evidence we have seen is it? Does the FBI have “secret evidence” they are not showing us; but that Daschle is now aware of? Some kind of yet another illegal “program”? Or has the decision been made yet again in the Obama camp to put stuff “behind us”? Because it is just not credible that Daschle suddenly became convinced from the ever changing and degrading evidence set that the FBI has peetered out.

      • Boston1775 says:

        Whatever they are covering up is bigger than their desire to satisfy those of us paying attention.

      • mui1 says:

        What? Dashle is convinced?

        It seems like Ivin’s alcoholism got pretty acute at this time. In one article, a coworker mentioned something like a fifth of vodka a day. Somehow I can’t see Ivins weaving his way through all the heavy traffic of that area waving a fifth of vodka just to get to that Princeton mailbox. I am not making fun of his alcoholism, because it’s not a joking matter and I believe Ivins was under enormous strain mentally, but . . .

        • Minnesotachuck says:

          Somehow I can’t see Ivins weaving his way through all the heavy traffic of that area waving a fifth of vodka just to get to that Princeton mailbox

          I’ve known a couple of alkies over the years who functioned scarily well, considering their condition.

      • JimWhite says:

        Looks to me like they have snowed Daschle completely. Here’s the list of reasons he apparently gave USA Today from the article you linked:

        • the ability to identify the DNA of the anthrax: “It’s like a fingerprint,” Daschle said.
        • the flask used to make the anthrax. “That’s as close to a smoking gun as I think you’re going to get,” Daschle said.
        • the limited number of people who were authorized to enter the laboratory.

        That whole list has been pretty much debunked. It would be interesting to have someone follow up with him again, now that he has had time to reflect on his FBI briefing and follow what us DFH’s have been up to.

        Or, as you suggest, there might be more info they haven’t released but did share with him. Shouldn’t he be able to at least say that is the case without disclosing the nature of that evidence?

      • Peterr says:

        Because it is just not credible that Daschle suddenly became convinced from the ever changing and degrading evidence set that the FBI has peetered out.


        Perhaps you could rephrase this? “ever changing and degrading Bush League evidence released by the FBI.”

        (But at least you didn’t spell it “peterred out”.)

      • emptywheel says:

        Do you have a link for that?

        Also note, Hatfill alluded to cooperating with the FBI. I wonder if someone like him was able to pin it more closely in Ivins.

  15. Boston1775 says:

    Doesn’t the fact that the Ames strain is all over Texas mean that anyone with the microbiological capabilities could culture it?

    Couldn’t those with knowledge of what the strain was mixed with and washed with have mimicked it?…..gewanted=1

  16. cbl2 says:

    mornin’ all,

    saw those Julia Child headlines earlier – don’t get it as her WWII efforts were featured in Brokaw’s The Greatest Generation. And The Man Called Intrepid (Stephenson) outed her in praise as well

  17. NorskeFlamethrower says:


    Citizen emptywheel and the Firepup Freedom Fighters:

    We have a full blown fascist government that has started wars for corporate profit, killed its own citizens, used the federal tax system and the treasury to launder money to the ruling families through their corporations, deliberately emasculated the national military and transferred enough money and equipment to create corporate militias capable of lockin’ down entire cities (see New Orleans) and done all this with the complicity of the leadership of the “opposition” political party.

    The only way the extent of this corruption gets exposed is through impeachment, there is no way that the entirety of this mess can be presented to the people in any intelligible way through mass media because of the breadth of the criminality.

    The anthrax attack and the terror and murder of innocent citizens has convinced me that our government and political system are no longer strong enough to circumscribe the corporate structure…wealth and power have been transferred directly to the ruling oligarchy thru the corporations and nuthin’ we do politically can change it. In short, we’re fucked and the only way we change it is through mass action behind a political organization strong enough to face down the fascists in public… and that ain’t happenin’ any time soon.

    The war is home now and the struggle is all we have left…by any means necessary!!


  18. Peterr says:

    I’m most amused by the way they find evidence, claim it’s significant, then discard it entirely once their theory falls apart. Just last week, the fact that Ivins had taken leave for the entire day before the anthrax was mailed was another smoking gun, proof that he had done the deed. But now that we DFHs have proved he couldn’t have been mailing the anthrax at that time, then that piece of evidence is discarded entirely. It seems they don’t want to entertain the possibility he was doing something else–perhaps meeting with someone, but not driving to Princeton. Similarly, lie detector tests were critical, until they discovered their main culprit passed his.

    In other words, they’re still making it up as they go along . . .

    I smell a new timeline coming . . . History of shifting FBI anthrax theories.

    It’s no sin for any investigation to have theories that change as new evidence is developed — that’s the usual way that inquiries proceed. But when the FBI proclaimed “we got our man, only he’s dead” and then found itself in the position of having to continue to revise its justifications for the first half of that statement . . . it kind of casts doubt on its veracity.

  19. cbl2 says:

    but did everyone see NYT
    this am ? –

    Scheunemann was hired by Greenberg Traurig soon after Abramoff story broke – consulting as to how best to handle Senate investigation – chaired by McQuaint

  20. eCAHNomics says:

    I’m waiting for Suskind or hs ilk to publish the memos from the WH to the FBI ordering them to scapegoat first Hatfill then Ivins.

  21. eCAHNomics says:

    I’m amazed that the FBI is ever allowed to provide evidence in any court, they’re so incompetent. Think judges out to exclude everything they do as unreliable.

  22. mui1 says:

    Can someone tell us what the traffic was like on the day in question (sept 7 2001) from the lab in Maryland to the box in Princeton? Perhaps there was a three hour Delay?

    • mui1 says:

      U.S. Army experts at Fort Detrick, Maryland, concluded the substance was not a biological weapon after completing a series of tests that began Friday morning, sources told CNN. The FBI confirmed Saturday that the confiscated version is a non-lethal type that veterinarians use.

      So according this, US army experts Fort Detrick cleared these guys, and then the FBI turned and started fingering persons in the lab.

      • Boston1775 says:

        If those jamokes were culturing anthrax and possibly vaccinating their friends, my logic tells me that there were plenty of others – local and international – experimenting as well.

        Those with intelligence about our programs might imitate our programs. Logical?

        • mui1 says:


          Mark Potok, a spokesman for the Southern Poverty Law Center, a national watchdog group that monitors extremist groups, told The New York Times that Harris traveled around the country, “meeting with extremist anti-government groups and inoculating them against anthrax.”

          Harris was previously given probation after pleading guilty to illegally obtaining bubonic plague bacteria through the mail in 1995.

          Sure there are some wack folks out there. I just hope some Harris-type try to mess with small-pox “innoculations.”

  23. i4u2bi says:

    O/T Ms Childs was outed in early 90s after USSR fell and Russia opened up spy histories of USSR and US. Why is this (news?) almost 20 years later?

  24. klynn says:

    Thank you WO. That was an interesting list at the link. I do not have any tech knowledge to interpret the updates on the link and the “who” is behind them. Some interesting consistencies.

  25. i4u2bi says:

    Is someone filling a file on McWars campaign agenda for starting armed conflict to help himself politicaly and his connections to people that are helping him do so? Someone could write a book already. This is shaping up to look like 2004 election strategy for Repukes.

  26. spoonful says:

    One issue I have not seen discussed with respect to Ivins’ alleged motivation is whether the anthrax attacks were a response to 9/11, or whether his planning and preparation occurred prior to 9/11. If he started planning before that day, then the events of 9/11 were simply fortuitous, allowing Ivins to magnify the psychological impact of the anthrax attacks like one could never have dreamed possible. I have seen a bar graph of Ivins’ increased number of late nights at the lab commencing in August of 2001, spiking in September. This would imply that Ivins was first preparing the anthrax attack, then 9/11 occurs (to Ivins’ surprise), and then he sends the anthrax letters right after, giving him the perfect opportunity to blame Islamic extremists and perpetuate a state of fear in the country. How convenient . . . and all this from a registered Democrat.

    • plunger says:

      Do you actually believe in the elaborate coincidence theory you just laid out?

      Isn’t it more logical to conclude that the 9/11 attack and the anthrax attack were all part of the same operation, particularly in light of Jerome Hauer’s role in both (insisting the the White House begin taking Cipro ON 9/11)?

      You also imply that Ivins was in some way involved in any of this, a contention that requires evidence.

      • Boston1775 says:

        I listened to your telephone interview with Jerome Hauer. He denied insisting that the White House take Cipro on 9/11.

        Could you give a link?

      • spoonful says:

        My point was that to believe Ivins was solely responsible, the timing of the anthrax attacks and 9/11 would have to be pure coincidence. I do not believe in coincidences. Given the clear (and successful) attempt to link the anthrax attacks to Muslim extremists, it is more likely the two attacks were indeed related, i.e., being perpetrated by the same parties, or a copycat type of attack being developed subsequent to 9/11. Since Ivins was working late nites beginning a month before 9/11, it makes it less likely that these late nites were in any way involved in the anthrax attacks (unless Ivins perpetrated 9/11, as well).

  27. FrankProbst says:

    He put gas in his car? OH MY GOD! Why didn’t anyone call the cops?

    Is this really where we’re at right now? Egads. We were originally told (and as far as I know, no one has retracted this) that the anthrax used in the second round of attacks was a professionally weaponized form of anthrax that had never been seen before. Even the Russians, we were told, could not manufacture anthrax this deadly.

    Now we’re being told that this same anthrax came from a US military lab. And we’re supposed to believe that a sole deranged man, working late at night over the course of a month, was able to do a better job of making lethal anthrax than a team of Russians who were dedicated to the task for decades? And he was able to do so without arousing the suspicion of his peers, who were experts on this sort of thing?

    I’m sorry, but no. The glaringly obvious conclusion is that the anthrax in question was designed by a research team that was specifically working on making bioweapons. I’m just not buying the “lone gunman” theory. Ivins may well have been on the team that made the anthrax, but there’s no way in hell that he did it by himself.

  28. plunger says:

    Shall we all just continue to ignore that Cheney and Rumsfeld were directly involved in covering up the (CIA-induced) “suicide” of another former anthrax researcher?

    Google: Project Artichoke

    Shall we also ignore Rumsfeld’s relationship to Dr. Zack?

  29. R.H. Green says:

    “Based on reciepts and interviews,…Ivins filled up his car’s gas tank.” This selective dribble of convenient “facts” is getting annoying. If you had access to my bank and debit card records, you could readily discern a pattern in my gas purchases, and any unusual consumption. If I took a trip, it would show; even if I used cash on the way, there would be cash withdrawals. I agree with WO; this is getting way beyond a picture of a bumbling Pink Panther type investigation. It looks more and more like a coverup.

    I hope someone here can enlighten me on a point (one of several) that has bothered me all along. It’s been said that the mailing window of opportunity was between 5PM on the 17th to noon on the 18th to get a postmark of the 18th. Why noon? Presumably there is a 5PM and a noon pickup. Letters dropped by 5PM on 17th the get a postmark for that day. Letters dropped later that day sit in the box all night and are picked up at noon, along with any other letters (or hairs) that might get into the box that morning. So far, so good. BUT, any mail dropped in the afternoon, between noon and 5PM get picked up at 5, and also gat a postmark of the 18th. Therefore the window of opportunity should have been extended until 5Pm on the 18th, so why cut things off at noon?

    Speaking of hairs, there was probably leaves, paper trash, chewing gum, and condoms in that box; the only reason I can see for mentioning irrelevant hairs, is to help create the impression (apparantly, much needed) of a thorough investigation.

  30. mui1 says:

    Therefore the window of opportunity should have been extended until 5Pm on the 18th, so why cut things off at noon?

    Good question. Maybe it doesn’t fit with Ivins schedule on the 18th?

  31. PetePierce says:

    This is simply a time worn pattern I’ve seen numerous times with FBI agents and AUSAs. When they have a target, they don’t give a shit if they’re right or wrong. They will make up whatever they can to win their case. They will not only discard evidence, they will claim they’ve LOST IT. The Courts are sympathetic to them, because in the vast majority of cases, the judge no matter where their background (whether from the ranks of DOJ, (or the ranks and there are a fucking lot of them of never having set a toe in a federal court room as a litigator) believes the defendant is guilty if the defendant is indicted.

    So do the vast majority of your “fellow American banana republic inhabitants aka dirty fucking hippies in the bannana republic” who don’t read and don’t give a shit what the government does to them, against them, around them, over them, or under them.

    Try striking up an intelligent conversation about Ivins or Georgia (the average person on the street is going to think you mean all the Bulldogs who aren’t playing because they were arrested in fights in bars the past three weeks).

    And the country is being dumbed down by computers–not made smarter so it’s going to get a lot worse.

    This case by the FBI has been bogus from the getgo, whether it was Hatfill or Ivins. Anthrax and other pathogen research is way out of control in this country with thousands of people given access to the labs, no control over the labs, lax safety in the labs.

    According to Elisa Harris, senior research scholar at the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland, in an op ed in the NYT on last Monday August 11:

    More than $20 billion has been spent on biodefense research since 2001…At the National Institutes of Health, research on bioweapons agents has increased from $53 million in 2001 to more than $1.6 billion in 2008. During the same time, the Department of Defense has more than doubled its investment in biodefense, to more than $1 billion.

    An unprecedented expansion of research facilities is also under way. Once these laboratories are completed, we will have 10 times as much lab space as we had in 2001 for working on the most dangerous agents — Ebola and Marburg viruses, for example — and 13 new regional labs for working on moderate and high-risk agents like tularemia and plague. Thousands of scientists are now working with bioweapons agents, many for the first time. More than 14,000 scientists have been approved to work with so-called select agents like anthrax that usually pose little threat to public health unless they are used as bioweapons.

    Experienced anthrax researchers now speak of a community that has grown so large, so rapidly — more than 7,200 researchers are now approved to work with this deadly agent — they no longer know everyone else in the field.

    Experienced anthrax researchers now speak of a community that has grown so large, so rapidly — more than 7,200 researchers are now approved to work with this deadly agent — they no longer know everyone else in the field.

    What do we have to show for it? Not a fucking thing except exponentially increased risks from the exponential explosion of labs and a feeding frenzy for grant money for medical center labs and university research labs.

    Anthrax still can kill very quickly. We have no medical resources in place to treat it on a large scale. Even on a small scale the people that died had their treatment delayed in 2001. We have no vaccine that is effective that we can use to prevent a pulmonary anthrax attack from being completely successful.

    I’d like to know why we have 60 million vaccines that take 18 months to confer immunity and require yearly boosters that the vast majority of physicians, nurses, and EMT type personnel are scared shitless to take. And they’re for what dirty fucking hippies? Care to tell me what the strategy is there?

  32. mui1 says:

    Correction. I hope that some Harris types don’t try to mess with small pox “innoculations.” That idea horrifies more than the idea of homemade anthrax and bubonic plague “vaccinations” put together.

    • PetePierce says:

      I’m not sure what you mean by a “Harris type.” Maybe I need to read all the comments. I know Thomas Harris wrote the Hannibal Lecter books but I doubt that’s what you mean.

      You said:

      Correction. I hope that some Harris types don’t try to mess with small pox “innoculations.” That idea horrifies more than the idea of homemade anthrax and bubonic plague “vaccinations” put together.

      It shouldn’t and I’ll tell you exactly why.

      We have no defense against an acute anthrax attack if the powder were prepared in a fine enough way to be absorbed by the alveoli in the lungs. I’ve made that point a lot in the last few weeks here. We have 60 million vaccines that have not been proven to work against pulmonary anthrax (they work against cutaneous anthrax which is considerably easier to treat –an NBC worker and her infant contracted that after a mailing to Tom Brokaw’s office in 2001 and after bouncing to a few physicians in NYC the Dx was finally made and successful treatment was done. We have about 305 million and counting people in the US. The current administration has no plan whatsoever to defend against acute pulmonary directed anthrax, and medicine on the planet has no way to do this currently.

      If a pound of finely ground anthrax is dropped on any large city, one hundred thousand or so people will die soon as a result.

      Medical personnel througout the US have been afraid to get the vaccination which in any form requires 18 months to confer immunity because they are ignorant of the side effect profile. I got the vaccine in 2003-2004. Less than 10 MDs, EMTs, nurses when offered agreed to be anthrax vaccinated in my state. Ignorance is fairly pandemic, even in the medical profession. There is much written on law suits by armed services personnel alleging side effects from the vaccine.

      Pulmonary anthrax is a whole different disease requiring intensive care, excellent respiratory care, sooner the better care or you die, and IV Cipro or comparable quinolones, and possibly other antibioitcs like Tetracycline which would not be/should not be used in children under 8-10 age.

      Smallpox is more easily treated. Vaccination within 3 days of exposure will prevent or significantly lessen the severity of smallpox symptoms in the vast majority of people. Vaccination 4 to 7 days after exposure likely offers some protection from disease or may modify the severity of disease.

      The smallpox vaccine is the best protection you can get if you are exposed to the smallpox virus. Anyone directly exposed to smallpox, regardless of health status, would be offered the smallpox vaccine because the risks associated with smallpox disease are far greater than those posed by the vaccine.

      CDC SMALLPOX FACT SHEET:Vaccine Overview

      are excellent lawyers. They have an office right across the alley from the Eleventh Circuit–next to a pizza restaurant called Slice. Morris Dees in Montgomery, Alabama started them.

    • PetePierce says:

      I caught up with your comment and now know what you mean about Harris types. I was glad to explain the risks from Smallpox and Anthrax due to the huge difference in the efficacy of their respective vaccines.

  33. klynn says:

    …the only reason I can see for mentioning irrelevant hairs, is to help create the impression (apparantly, much needed) of a thorough investigation.

    Remember, we the people are CSI fans evidently…So there has to be “hair” evidence to make the newspaper/Hollywood script seem “like” real…and for many, “seems like real” is as good as the truth…

  34. richardCA says:

    One item not mentioned in any of this. Ivins has kids and so they must have a mother. So what/where is Ivin’s wife during this time and what does she have to say???

    • PetePierce says:

      I have appreciated and shared EW and Bmaz’s skepticism at this ridiculous presentation by the idiots at DOJ and FBI from theget go. I’ll say one thing. Main Justice and FBI under Mueller have showcased their ignorance, incompetency and dishonesty and disingenuous MO by changing their stories on so many case so much of the time during this past year.

      There needs to be a real shakeup at Main Justice and OLC.

      And let’s make no mistake: In so many instances, like the Goodling Sampson fiasco, many many career people like Yoda Margolis were right in the center turning their heads and pretending not to notice what was going on. Mukasey is the crown jewel as an incompetent apparichik and loyal Mafioso type soldier. Mukasey has been dispicable on the SDNY bench, but I’ll betcha those NY lawyers swarm to cocktail parties where he is, don’t they–just like the recent one down the street from me at a club that has a history of discriminating against blacks and Jews.

      You asked about Ivins’ wife:

      She was the president of the Frederick County (Md.) Right to Life organization. According to WAPO, In March FBI agents confronted Ivins, his wife and son at a Frederick, Md., shopping mall, the source tells the Post.

      “You killed a bunch of people,” the agents said to Ivins. They asked his wife, “Do you know he killed people?”

      This is rich with irony, since the FBI doesn’t have a clue who killed the people.

    • EFerrari says:

      The FBI has tried to sell Ivins as “loner”. In reality, he was married, had ties to the community, was generally liked by his co-workers and took a weeklong vacation with his brother and nephew every year.

      Ivins was not a loner. But, in order to make that stick, FBI has to suppress references to his family.

  35. timr says:

    I had to deal with FBI persons for 28 years. In almost every case I found them to be bungling, unsuited to investigate crimes, taking credit when it was all the work of local law enforcement. Very bureaucratic. IOW a Fumbling Bunch of Idiots. They have managed to totally screw this investigation totally. Not the first time this has happened BTW. The FBI lab, which used to be outstanding has also fallen hard by rigging evidence to prove the prosecution case rather than just letting the evidence speak for itself. I first had dealings with the CIA in the late 70’s early 80’s. The opinion that I formed, after seeing them in operation, coincides with that of many intel agencies around the world. Whatever the CIA is supposed to do, it does not do very well. Always wanting the quick solution. No patience in developing intel. Willing to give up their own to cover their political masters errors. I can only think of two or three agencies in the US that actually do great work. But because they actually are “black” agencies, I won’t

  36. jjericho says:

    In case you haven’t yet seen it, Marcy, a recent article from ScienceNOW includes details I haven’t seen elsewhere about the genetic identification and testing methodologies used in the Amerithrax case.

    As it’s clear at this point that no source of information about the case should go unquestioned, the potential for political manipulation of the AAAS (which publishes Science) should be noted. Nevertheless, the article might add a few weedy details to be tested by the cross-ref picture you’re building.

    Thank you for your work on this. Coverage has dropped significantly following the Taylor press conference and you’re one of the very few sticking with it.

    • PetePierce says:

      The article you sited again underscores that the FBI has revealed next to nothing as to scientific provenance of the anthrax spores which genetically IDs them specifically and enables them to conclude Ivins is the perp.

      What they hoped to do was yell “science/genetics” and make the average Gossip Girl Joe Six pack Banana Republic American (BPA) yawn and go back to filling his/her gas guzzling SUV while they drive their endless parade of gas guzzling SUVs all over the place.

      They seem to have succeeded in putting out the dumbest most disingenuous selective shit-ridden evidence imaginable that is being eaten by the public like an 8 year old kid with a chocolate fudge sundae.

      • jjericho says:

        Yes, I assumed (without having the specialized knowledge to assess it) that the article included nothing hugely noteworthy per se. The link was offered on the chance that a few heretofore unavailable details might be of use to the aggregation effort Marcy’s leading; and, subsequently, that experts who read and contribute to this community might extrapolate or infer additional possibilities from them.

        • PetePierce says:

          I appreciated the article. Thanks for linking it. It was a decent article. The article did a good job of illustrating how many holes are in the anthrax “evidence” that the moron/crook Jeff Taylor presented. The problem is with the FBI/DOJ who operate in the same delusional destructive sphere as Bush, Cheney, and Addington.

          The way forward for all of them has been killing and imprisoning as many Americans as possible.

          The record of ICE, BOP, and INS officials and their
          contract prisons reads like a night with Jack the Ripper.

          And we still have a federal judiciary replete with judge who have never practiced a nanosecond of federal law in a federal courtroom.

          DOJ makes up its own reality; it’s reenforced by a cowed and compliant judiciary. If you needed any more evidence, read the opinions by the two liahs from North Carolina Sentelle and Karen Lecraft Henderson as they made up their own reality in the D.C. Circuit in kicking Plame and Wison to the curb the other day.

          Wilson, Valerie v. Libby, I. Lewis

          News flash: The Second Circuit has decided Sua Sponte (on their own with no motion by the parties) to take the Maher case enbanc for a rehearing:

          In Extremely Rare Occurence Court Moves to Rehear Case of Canadian Rendition Victim Maher Arar

          Second Circuit En Banc Order in Maher Case

  37. Mary says:

    90 – LOL I think the best part was before they even got to the girl, when Fauxguy was talking about how she and her family were able to escap by fleeing to Russia. He completely broke countenance and even did a convulsive fist clench/shake, like “oh crap” then did a hasty, “uh, fled to The North”

  38. EFerrari says:

    Two ideas this morning.

    1) FBI is not satisfied when Bruce Ivins says he was in the lab because things were not good at home BUT on p. 11, they say they determined via emails that he was under significant stress at home and at work. So, FBI says that he was telling the truth when he said things were not good at home.

    2) Why was there no 3rd attack between 10/9 and 10/2X when the Patriot Act was signed? Of the fake motives FBI gives, this is the only time sensitive one and nothing had changed.

  39. jvass says:

    I don’t know if anyone is reading these posts any more, but I wonder if Ivins had EZ-Pass for his cars. I haven’t read anywhere that he did, so perhaps not, but if he did, we would have rock solid evidence if he made the trip.

  40. emptywheel says:

    I doubt he did. He lived in MD, not PA. ANd, if my extended family is any indication, 2001 was still relatively early for people who weren’t using toll roads on a daily basis.

    • jvass says:

      Ahh, yes, 2001 was a bit early for EZ-Pass. I’m sure the FBI looked into that right away! Thanks for keeping this story going. This case gets curiouser and curiouser…

  41. bmaz says:

    I have seen the statement, maybe by Ivins’ attorney, that the govt. had investigated all possibilities and could find absolutely nothing in the way of turnpike, toll road, etc. information. If they had it, we would know it.

  42. Boston1775 says:

    The more I read about the quality of spores sent to Leahy and Daschle, the more I conclude that the question of nano-coating with polymer causing a slight charge leading to floating out of the envelope and slide
    washed and washed and washed leaving such pure spores that they floated and the silica was present because the spores had consumed silica in the water;
    it’s one or the other or neither.

    Which is it?

    This scientist does not believe that Bruce Ivins had the capability to have produced the stuff:…..11775.html

  43. lysias says:

    One of the charges the German authorities used against Berlin sociologist Andrei Helm when they arrested him for furnishing support to terrorists was that he had not taken his cell phone to meetings. That was regarded as suspicious behavior.

    I wonder when we in this country will be required to use EZ-Pass (as well as to carry cell phones.)