Who First Spread the Iraqi Anthrax Claim?

Glenn’s asking some important questions about the anthrax story–mostly about who started the rumor in October 2001 that the anthrax might be from Iraq?

During the last week of October, 2001, ABC News, led by Brian Ross, continuously trumpeted the claim as their top news story that government tests conducted on the anthrax — tests conducted at Ft. Detrick — revealed that the anthrax sent to Daschele contained the chemical additive known as bentonite.

As Glenn points out, those early ABC stories seem to point back to a Ft. Detrick source–which is where Bruce Ivins worked. In other words, Glenn suggests, the report that Iraq was responsible was probably sourced back to government researchers in the same lab where–news reports allege–the chief suspect for the anthrax terrorism worked. This raises the specter of researchers carrying out the attack to lay the ground-work for the Iraq War.

But the ABC News story Glenn cites was not, apparently, the first allegation that the anthrax came from Iraq. RawStory reports that the story first appeared in the Guardian, followed quickly by a story in the WSJ editorial page, then in a Richard Butler comment on CNN.

RAW STORY has found that, although there had been active online speculation about an Iraqi source for the anthrax by the first week of October, the first suggestion that official investigations were focusing on that nation appears to have come in an article published in the Guardian on October 14.

[snip]

The next day, the Wall Street Journal picked up the story, but without the Guardian’s skepticism, suggesting that the most likely suspect was al Qaeda using supplies obtained from Iraq.

[snip]

On the same day, CNN quoted former UN weapons inspector Richard Butler as saying, "What we’ve got to be certain about above all is whether it came from a country supporting these terrorists as a matter of policy, such as Iraq, which we know has made this stuff. And there’s a credible report, not fully verified, that they may indeed have given anthrax to exactly the group that did the World Trade Center. … It’s possible that many months ago anthrax, a small quantity of it, was handed over in Prague to Mohamed Atta … and the person who handed it over in Prague was an Iraqi."

I am utterly struck by both the content and one of the two authors of the Guardian report. David Rose has done some good and some really crappy reporting over the years, but he is best (worst) known for an article he wrote for Vanity Fair that relied on one of INC’s defectors, Major Harith, who was one of the two or three people who "corroborated" Curveball’s stories about Iraq having mobile bioweapons labs; the NIE actually laundered its reference to Harith through Rose’s article (Harith was anonymous in the article), thereby getting around the fabricator notice placed on Harith several months before the NIE was written. Rose has long had good sources among the Neocons and was definitely getting stories from other INC members in addition to Harith. With that in mind, check out the degree to which his Guardian article reads like a smattering of INC/Neocon lies spewed to foment war with Iraq. First, there’s the Iraq with anthrax claim:

American investigators probing anthrax outbreaks in Florida and New York believe they have all the hallmarks of a terrorist attack – and have named Iraq as prime suspect as the source of the deadly spores. Their inquiries are adding to what US hawks say is a growing mass of evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved, possibly indirectly, with the 11 September hijackers.

[snip]

Leading US intelligence sources, involved with both the CIA and the Defence Department, told The Observer that the ‘giveaway’ which suggests a state sponsor for the anthrax cases is that the victims in Florida were afflicted with the airborne form of the disease.

[snip]

According to sources in the Bush administration, investigators are talking to Egyptian authorities who say members of the al-Qaida network, detained and interrogated in Cairo, had obtained phials of anthrax in the Czech Republic.

From the anthrax claim that is the core of the article, it then goes onto the alleged Atta-in-Prague meeting (note–David Rose realized that story was bunk and pushed back against the NYT’s continued adherence to it in December 2002).

Last autumn Mohamed Atta is said by US intelligence officials to have met in Prague an agent from Iraqi intelligence called Ahmed Samir al-Ahani, a former consul later expelled by the Czechs for activities not compatible with his diplomatic mission.

The Czechs are also examining the possibility that Atta met a former director of Saddam’s external secret services, Farouk Hijazi, at a second meeting in the spring. Hijazi is known to have met Bin Laden.

Then, finally, the article reports on James Woolsey’s trip to London to get the INC to drum up evidence against Iraq.

Contact has already been made with an Iraqi opposition group based in London with a view to installing its members as a future government in Baghdad.

[snip]

It was confirmed yesterday that Jim Woolsey, CIA director from 1993 to 1996, recently visited London on behalf of the hawkish Defence Department to ‘firm up’ other evidence of Iraqi involvement in 11 September.

In other words, though the article drips with skepticism about whether these stories are an attempt to drum up a way against Iraq, it is filled with–and clearly reliant upon as sources–INC and Neocon propaganda. It even names the hawks (and includes a quote from one):

The hawks winning the ear of President Bush is assembled around Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, his deputy Paul Wolfowitz, and a think tank, the Defence Policy Advisory Board, dubbed the ‘Wolfowitz cabal’.

So, Rummy, Wolfowitz, Richard Perle (then head of the Defense Policy Board), and James Woolsey, who in turn brokered a lot of stories with the INC, including that of Major Harith. There must be further sources for this story, since Wolfowitz is too senior to be called a Defense intelligence source, and Woolsey would no longer be considered a CIA source. Nevertheless, this article clearly had the hallmarks of Neocon-INC propaganda that Rose later got stung by.

Which is why I find the second outlet for this story to be so interesting: The WSJ editorial page. Neither the location nor the utter lack of skepticism is any surprise. But I am struck by the fact that when–in July 2003, OVP wanted to defend their case for war, they used Paul Wolfowitz to leak classified documents to the WSJ editorial page.

From there, the story goes to Richard Butler, who was alleged to have collaborated improperly with US intelligence as a weapons inspector in the 1990s. He was, at this point in 2001, one of the hawks about Saddam’s WMD, though to some degree that’s understandable since he had to deal with Saddam directly.

And only then, about ten days later, to Brian Ross, with the "scoop" about the bentonite in the anthrax (as Glenn points out, the Weekly Standard then magnifies ABC’s own reporting on the bentonite). In the interim period, the anthrax attack got much worse on account of the second batch of letters–those with more lethal anthrax–being sent. The highly lethal anthrax sent to Daschle was opened on October 15, the Senate was closed on October 16, and by October 22, 2,200 workers (many of them postal workers) were tested. So the first reports on Iraq and anthrax take place after both batches of letters have been sent, but only the first, less lethal letters have been found; the second reports on Iraq and anthrax take place after things got really bad at the Senate. And just for those keeping track at home, Neocon favorite Judy Miller opened her fake anthrax letter on October 12. Per Jane Mayer, there was a nerve attack scare in the White House situation room on October 18 and on October 22 the Secret Service reported anthrax traces on a letter opening device at the White House. As she writes,

By then [October 22], Cheney had convinced the President to support a $1.6 billion bioterrorism-preparedness program. Cheney argued that every citizen in the country should be vaccinated against smallpox. (4)

Ross’ "scoop" seems to be tracked to four different, more low-level people.

Ross is another interesting recipient of this leak. His greatest hits include receiving the allegation that the FBI was tapping reporters, eventually breaking the Mark Foley story after sitting on it for a very long time, and sitting on the most scandalous names in the DC Madam’s databases. In other words, someone who is very wired in–but also someone who avoids rocking the boat if he can help it (as he seems to be doing here). In 2001, Ross was doing a ton of stories more generally about 9/11–so he presumably had sources within FBI from those earlier stories.

Now, to be sure, these stories may well be unrelated–the first allegations, clearly spread by Neocons, suggesting both an Iraq-Al Qaeda link and pinning the anthrax on Iraq, followed by second allegations ultimately sourced to Ft. Detrick. In other words, the Neocons could have circulated propaganda–because that’s what they do–after which Ivins or whomever used that earlier Neocon propaganda to shift attention away from Ft. Detrick. There’s nothing, yet, that indicates the Neocons were tied to folks at Ft. Detrick.

But it sure does raise some questions, doesn’t it?

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  1. Rayne says:

    I’d like to know what stocks Dick Cheney owned on 22-OCT.

    I’d like to know what stocks Halliburton may have held on that day as well, in any corporate investment accounts.

    Ditto for Rummy, who said he was going to give us the body of OSI but continue whatever propaganda it was doing. Coincidentally, OSI was “born” to the DOD on 30-OCT-01…

  2. SparklestheIguana says:

    Judy’s fake anthrax letter was sent to goose sales of her book “Germs”, I have to think.

    Don’t we also know that Daschle and Leahy received real anthrax letters to persuade them to vote for the Patriot Act, which they had been balking at doing?

    • Teddy Partridge says:

      They had also just balked at including “in the United States” in the spying legislation, if I’m not mistaken.

  3. Hmmm says:

    (EPU’d but I hope not OT:)

    Ivins sounds to have been a devout Catholic, and if so then suicide would have meant choosing damnation. (Pause for emphasis.)

    To take the darkest view, just to test the hypothesis: If they got Ivins to mail the spores for them in 2001 (or else provide the spores for whoever else did the letters and mailing), and then kept him on staff and quiet for all these years, then why was the DoJ/FBI investigation in a compromised DoJ ever allowed to narrow in on him? Either some investigation team was actually somehow doing their job in there — unlikely, we would have to conclude on the basis of all the other stalled investigations — or else it was random (also unlikely), or else some interest was directing this, and something changed after all this time.

    One odd thing I noticed in the CNN online coverage was that Ivins had a restraining order slapped on him last week. The hearing would have been yesterday and Federal grand jury testimony was to have occurred today:

    Court documents show that a judge issued a restraining order against Ivins on July 24, days before his suicide.

    A woman sought the order against “Dr. Bruce Edward Ivins,” whom she accused of making threats of violence, harassment and stalking in the previous 30 days.

    In the order, Ivins is told not to contact the woman — whom CNN is not identifying — by telephone or other means, and to stay away from her place of employment.

    A hearing on the order had been scheduled for Thursday, and according to court documents, she had been subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury in Washington on Friday.

    One can’t help wondering whether Team Dick got nervous either that their boy, always a bit of the eccentric genius type, was going astable on them and in danger of spilling the beans, or else that something would come out in the GJ.

    Then I suppose there’s the even darker view that now that they know they’re losing the Presidency and the DoJ, they won’t be able to use their boy any more, so despite his invaluable service and loyalty it’s time to tie off that particular loose end, lest it unravel after 1/20/09 when the new blood starts flowing into DoJ.

    This would I guess imply that if Hatfill weren’t innocent (and I’m not concluding he’s not, just working out the logic of the scenario), then they at least believe the silence they bought from him looks to them like a more reliable silence than Ivins’ turned out to have been.

    • pinson says:

      The AP has same/similar details:

      Maryland court documents show he recently received psychiatric treatment and was ordered to stay away from a woman he was accused of stalking and threatening to kill.

      Social worker Jean C. Duley filed handwritten court documents last week saying she was preparing to testify before a grand jury. She said Ivins would be charged with five capital murders.

      “Client has a history dating to his graduate days of homicidal threats, plans and actions towards therapist,” Duley said, adding that his psychiatrist had described him as homicidal and sociopathic.

      This is all getting very Don Delillo.

      One other thing that always jumped out at me with this case is that the letters were HAND WRITTEN. First thing you ever hear whenever hand written documents turn up as part of a crime is that they get writing samples from all the suspects and can pretty quickly whittle down the pool. You’d think that the FBI wouldn’t need seven years to get this done. No wonder Leahy is suspicious.

      • MsAnnaNOLA says:

        Homicidal since graduate school? How is a homicidal person put in charge of working with the most dangerous biological agents that are not available to the general public?

        • Slothrop says:

          Simple, he wasn’t put in charge. Now that he’s dead, he’s the designated patsy, closest guy to the evidence.

  4. pinson says:

    Carol Leonig from the Wapo held an online chat a few hours ago, and I submitted a question around Greenwald’s piece and the ABC/Ross leaks. She didn’t bite. I get the impression that mainline DC journalists will emphatically not be interested in revisiting the neocon’s exploitation of the anthrax attacks.

    • freepatriot says:

      Round up all the usual suspects!

      I’m shocked to learn that george was falsely blaming Iraq for the anthrax attack

      (isn’t somebody supposed to give me some money now ???)

      the thing about the anthrax was that I was smart enough to wait until the source was determined to be us, before I made any conclusions

      I was working close to a “mail room” at the time, and it was kinda suspenseful. (they still wear latex gloves)

      short story, I wouldn’t put anything past the repuglitards

      and off topic, I just wanted to know if you were aware of any events planned for sunday …

      here’s some hints:

      Canton Ohio …

      pointy ball …

      things you used to do on sunday …

      anybody ???

      BOOMER SOONERS

  5. TheOtherWA says:

    Ivins’ death is too convenient for the neocons, IMHO. From the CNN link Hmmm provided:

    Three sources familiar with the investigation said the case soon will be closed because a threat no longer exists.

    Way too convenient, if that happens. It appears they’re tying up loose ends.

    It’s possible that many months ago anthrax, a small quantity of it, was handed over in Prague to Mohamed Atta … and the person who handed it over in Prague was an Iraqi.”

    Only the neocons believed, and pushed, the Prague story. People in high office aren’t supposed to be making things up as they go, but that’s exactly what it looks like.

  6. antibanana says:

    As long as we’re talking inconsistencies, consider the following:

    1) the story circulated that Atta was interested in obtaining a goverment loan in order to purchase a cropduster –presumably to spread a chemical or biological agent

    2) the story from Delray beach about the chemically burned hands of two of the hijackers (I find this story most interesting, for reasons I won’t share here.)

    3) the story from Florida about a doctor who thought he had spotted cutaneous anthrax

    Was all of this deliberate misinformation?

    I remain highly skeptical that Ivins was the culprit here. Keep in mind that those who express the most doubts about the anthrax investigation are from the Left. What better way to satisfy them than to provide them with a conservative Catholic nutjob? It’s just all so very, very convenient.

    Someone needs to address why Ivins would target a tabloid, and its employees all the way down in Southern Florida.

    It is interesting how Florida keeps cropping up, isn’t it?

    • sailmaker says:

      The tinfoilers think that Florida was targeted because they had compromising pictures of the then underage Bush twins or some of Bush. I dunno.

      • jackie says:

        Florida is interesting re; 9/11, because there are stories about Jeb being on site, when the offices of the ‘terrorists’ flight school were raided that same day.

  7. bobschacht says:

    I just got through reading Glenzilla’s blog on this subject today, and somehow I detect a strong whiff of eau d’Cheney emanating from this story. Nothing would have suited his interests better. As Glenn notes,

    ABC News already knows the answers to these questions. They know who concocted the false bentonite story and who passed it on to them with the specific intent of having them broadcast those false claims to the world, in order to link Saddam to the anthrax attacks and — as importantly — to conceal the real culprit(s) (apparently within the U.S. government) who were behind the attacks. And yet, unbelievably, they are keeping the story to themselves, refusing to disclose who did all of this. They’re allegedly a news organization, in possession of one of the most significant news stories of the last decade, and they are concealing it from the public, even years later.

    They’re not protecting “sources.” The people who fed them the bentonite story aren’t “sources.” They’re fabricators and liars who purposely used ABC News to disseminate to the American public an extremely consequential and damaging falsehood. But by protecting the wrongdoers, ABC News has made itself complicit in this fraud perpetrated on the public, rather than a news organization uncovering such frauds. That is why this is one of the most extreme journalistic scandals that exists, and it deserves a lot more debate and attention than it has received thus far.

    C’mon, ABC! ‘Fess up! Who did this dirty deed? Same with the earlier sources reported here in the Wheel House by the Wheeler in Chief, Dr. Accountability!

    Bob in HI

  8. antibanana says:

    Rayne,

    Halliburton is surely involved in all sorts of corruption, but if I were you, I would focus my attention elsewhere. Start with Titan Corporation, and be sure to know who were its primary investors.

    • Rayne says:

      A lot can be hidden in a corporation’s spreadsheets.

      A LOT.

      Especially in those days when the size and scale of the Enron/Worldcom/Tyco implosions were still nebulous, pre-Sarbanes-Oxley.

      As for Titan, the amount of money it won in contract(s) from the gov’t was puny when compared to the monies that were let to all PSC’s/PMC’s and to other even shadier companies like Lincoln Group.

      Titan did have one thing in common with HBR, too: the possibility that executives of the company were exposed to FCPA charges. (What happened that DeadEye didn’t get charged by France and the EU for their equivalent of FCPA charges?)

      They’re aspens, that’s all, entities that are tied back to other equally opaque organizations, like JECOR. You can say, “Look at X,” but it’s linked by its roots to Y and Z.

  9. bobschacht says:

    One more shot from Glenzilla’s corner today:

    As I said, it is not possible to overstate the importance of anthrax in putting the country into the state of fear that led to the attack on Iraq and so many of the other abuses of the Bush era. There are few news stories more significant, if there are any, than unveiling who the culprits were behind this deliberate propaganda. The fact that the current GOP presidential nominee claimed back then on national television to have some “indication” linking Saddam to the anthrax attacks makes it a bigger story still.

    Is that Cheney I see over there in the shadows smirking and chuckling to himself?

    Bob in HI

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Curiouser and curiouser. Cheney’s intolerance for any risk — at least when he can spend government tax dollars appearing to fix it — consistently seems to enrich a few. Who came up with the emergency “bio-terrorism preparedness” program and its $1.6 billion cost?

    Who would spend the money and where would it have gone, with what net effects (besides more sales of duct tape and vaccinations of questionable value)? Mr. Rumsfeld, remember, considered himself a successful CEO of a drugs company. (His contribution to apparent profits seems to have come via government lobbying, not improved operations, research or sales.)

    The Ivins story should barely have reached chapter one. The FBI’s claims are unproven. What’s leaking out about Ivins’ claimed mental health and the relatively weak and belatedly put together case against him is not encouraging. As usual, the autopsy report, issued surprisingly quickly, purports to be conclusive – suicide.

    Clearly, no involvement by Ivins or his peers (was he a Lone Mailer?) will give the Bush administration anything but another black eye. Ivins should have been subject to intense and repeated background checks. There should have been intense security governing both the facility at which he worked and the substances he worked on.

    And then there are even bigger issue (besides murder by mail). How did alleged activity by Ivins become linked to Saddam Hussein, 9/11 or al-Qaeda? Why has this “investigation” taken so long and, so far, gotten nowhere?

  11. JohnLopresti says:

    NB: bentonite is a fairly inert Montana or Wyoming clay used in food processing, among other applications, it is adhesive, composed of small particles.

    • Mnemosyne says:

      Bentonite also bonds with bacteria and is thus an ingredient in some kinds of toothpaste. It can be purchased in powder form from health food stores and used as a tooth powder by itself. Harmless that way.

  12. sailmaker says:

    Could James Woolsey’s trip to London have been to plant the Guardian story on Oct. 14th?

    Here is Laura Mylroie talking to PBS on October 18th, 2001 about Woolsey’s trip to London: In my opinion, she was a major supporter of the anti-Clinton group that wanted to war with Iraq, which is evident in the interview, but I think she might have gotten the date of Woolsey’s trip correct. The interview is interesting in how it delineates the Pentagon view vs. the State Department view of Iraq.

      • sailmaker says:

        The Mylroie interview was back in 2001 – seems quaint now.

        My point was that I think Woolsey made either a very long trip or 2 trips to London in the September/October 2001 McClatchy (published October 11, 2001) has him in London in September 2001 after the 11th with DOJ and DOD folks. While they were in England the first anthrax attack happened (9/18). On 9/20 PNAC publishes the anti-Saddam letter in the Washington Times. On 10/8 Woolsey was supposed to meet with Mullah Omar, a meeting that the Taliban hoped would avert war by providing evidence of Al-Qaeda – Iraq conspiracy (or something) but the meeting is called off because we started bombing on 10/7. This is the point where I think Mylroie sort of said Woolsey came back to Washington.

        Here is a piece in the Guardian 10/13 about the divisions between between State and DoD, which may be where Mylroie got her 10/18 ideas. The Guardian on 10/15 talks about how Saddam used to have anthrax. Maybe that was the start of the Iraq is the anthrax bogeyman must go to war meme?? Maybe it was the Taliban juicing the 10/8 meeting that ended up not happening?? By mid-October 2001 Woolsey was interviewed by PBS.

        By October 26th Woolsey had given the London Daily Telegraph the ‘Saddam is a threat because he wanted to assassinate GHB and was disregarding the UN resolutions’ story. By December 20,2001, Woolsey was conflating 9/11/Anthrax/Saddam/Al-Qaeda.

  13. allan says:

    NPR and PBS Newshour both maintaining radio silence
    on connection between anthrax attacks and causus belli for Iraq.

  14. Loo Hoo. says:

    I didn’t think it would be possible for someone to go further into the weeds than Glenn. That comparative literature thing goes into comparing other styles of writing, hey, Doc?

  15. skdadl says:

    EW, I’m still puzzling over this:

    In other words, the Neocons could have circulated propaganda–because that’s what they do–after which Ivins or whomever used that earlier Neocon propaganda to shift attention away from Ft. Detrick. There’s nothing, yet, that indicates the Neocons were tied to folks at Ft. Detrick.

    Does that mean that you think there really was a separation, or just that you are being careful not to leap over tall buildings to conclusions?

    The separation just doesn’t make sense to me. The neo-cons were too well prepared too fast. Plus where would someone like Ivins get the agenda/targets (the real ones) who were hit in either wave, but especially the second?

    On top of which, the whole attack always looked just too screwy, as though it was thought up by people given to outsmarting themselves.

    • emptywheel says:

      I’m trying not to leap to conclusions. I think it quite possible that someone at Ft. Detrick wanted to demonstrate the anthrax threat (remember, there were smaller hits during the summer) and that when he did the real work after 9/11 he conveniently lifeted Neocon narratives.

      That is, I think there are two scenarios:

      1) Neocons go after Iraq, bc that’s what they do. Anthrax terrorist, having done the deed, decides to hide behind the narrative the Neocons alread ordered up (particularly since he was either interviewed by the FBI for his expertise or by journalists for the same reason).

      2) Neocons ordered up the narrative and the attack. This is actually less likely given the timing (that is, the attack was launched before they had gotten very far planting the story), but who knows.

      • Rayne says:

        Seems too pat. If this was a lone American terrorist, what was the motivation for the specific targets?

        I think there are at least one more, possibly other scenarios.

        3) LIHOP — they made use of a pre-identified nutjob, letting him do his thing, because it served them. Note how they didn’t allow other lone American terrorists become a threat, because their narratives didn’t work to their ends (William Krar comes to mind).

      • Hmmm says:

        Reasonable scenarios. But #1 doesn’t explain the advance Cipro warnings to all & sundry. Here’s a different lens to try on.

        Sounds like there were 3 types of anthrax in the mail, right? (1) cutaneous anthrax, (2) weaponized inhalable anthrax, and (3) fake JudyJudyJudy anthrax. Given that, I would not assume the same source sent each type, and I would look for any links unique to each type. For example, which types would cipro protect against (someone, Pete maybe?, says it’s irrelevant for the inhaled form, what about the cutaneous form)? Who was each type addressed to? Do the letters sent with each type match the other types? Are both real types linked back to USAAMRIID, or only one?

        Without knowing those answers yet, I’m wondering whether there may have been an initial plan, perhaps by Team Dick, perhaps as Iraq war pretext — cipro could be the key there — and then, once the initial new reports of the first wave hit, one or two additional anthrax sources (who wanted to apply pressure to get USA PATRIOT pushed through) who jumped into the game as a me-too. Maybe even a third source jumping in to add confusion/cover.

        If Ivins or Hatfill were involved — which I don’t assume or assert — then we should keep in mind that either one of them could have been part of any one, two, or three of the three waves.

        • JimWhite says:

          Speaking of Cipro, Judicial Watch filed a Freedom Of Information Act request with the White House to obtain records related to what they said were press reports that White House personnel started taking Cipro on September 11. According to a 2003 press release by JW, the White House blew off the request entirely.

            • JimWhite says:

              No problem. It took a little digging, but here is one of the stories (dated October 23, 2001) Judicial Watch must have been referring to:

              At least some White House personnel were given Cipro six weeks ago. White House officials won’t discuss who might be receiving the anthrax-treating antibiotic now.

              On the night of the Sept. 11 attacks, the White House Medical Office dispensed Cipro to staff accompanying Vice President Dick Cheney as he was secreted off to the safety of Camp David, and told them it was “a precaution,” according to one person directly involved.

              Now, that makes Cheney’s reported belief that he had been exposed to a lethal dose of anthrax a case of pure theatrics.

      • brendanx says:

        I think there’s support for #1 in the scattershot way neocon press assets accused everyone and anyone of everything after 9-11: you had John Bolton blaming Cuba, other people blaming Iraq for Oklahoma City, etc. With the anthrax attacks it may have been just a tropism to blame Iraq, and a sense of impunity that they could just manufacture a convincing case in the press.

        Meanwhile, the implicit anthrax-Iraq narrative had already been in place in public consciousness (or mine, at least) since 1999, when Nightline did a week-long feature (inspired by “Germs”, I believe) that included scenarios on bioterrorism in the U.S. like an attack on the D.C. Metro. They had already manufactured that casus belli back then, at the same time they manufactured casus belli B, “humanitarian intervention”, with Kosovo as the precedent.

        All of which, in the end, actually makes me believe #2 more.

  16. sailmaker says:

    Here is a time line from History Commons. I think someone ought to put Woolsey (Clinton CIA director) onto some sort of hot seat for questioning.

    February 2001: Former CIA Director Attempts to Link Iraqi Government to 1993 WTC Bombing
    Former CIA director James Woolsey visits Britain to look for evidence tying Saddam Hussein to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center)….

    September 13, 2001: Former CIA Director Suggests Saddam Hussein May Have Been Behind the 9/11 Attacks
    In an op-ed piece published in the New Republic, former CIA director James Woolsey calls on the Bush administration to re-examine evidence that could potentially tie Iraq to the 1993 bombing of the WTC. He cites a theory (see Late July or Early August 2001) that Iraqi intelligence helped bomber Ramzi Yousef steal the identity of a Kuwaiti student studying at a college in Wales. If this theory is correct, he says, “then it was Iraq that went after the World Trade Center last time. Which makes it much more plausible that Iraq has done so again.” …

    Mid-September 2001: Neoconservatives Look to Tie Iraq to 1993 WTC Bombing, but Evidence Contradicts Their Theory
    At the behest of Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, former CIA director James Woolsey and a team of Justice and Defense Department officials fly to London on a US government plane to look for evidence tying Saddam Hussein to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. It is the second such mission undertaken by Woolsey this year, as he made a similar trip in February (see February 2001). Woolsey is looking for evidence to support the theory (see Late July or Early August 2001) that Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind behind the 1993 WTC bombing, was actually an Iraqi agent who had assumed the identity of a Pakistani student named Abdul Basit. Woolsey visits the Swansea Institute, where Basit studied, to see if Basit’s fingerprints match those of Yousef, who is now serving a life sentence in a Colorado prison. Matching fingerprints would discredit the theory….

    Mid-September-October 2001: Neoconservatives Attempt to Link Iraqi Government to 9/11 and Anthrax Attacks
    Former CIA Director James Woolsey makes a secret to Europe to find evidence that could link the Iraqi government to various terrorist attacks. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz funds and supports his trip. He visits Wales in a fruitless search for evidence to link Iraq to the 1993 WTC bombing (see Mid-September 2001). But he also looks for evidence tying Iraq to 9/11 and the anthrax attacks once they become publicly known in early October (see October 2001). The Village Voice will later report, “Woolsey was also asked to make contact with Iraqi exiles and others who might be able to beef up the case that hijacker Mohamed Atta was working with Iraqi intelligence to plan the September 11 attacks, as well as the subsequent anthrax mailings.” [VILLAGE VOICE, 11/21/2001] …. It is unknown exactly what Woolsey does in Europe, but his trip has an apparent effect on the media. In addition to numerous articles about Atta’s alleged Prague visit, some articles appear attempting to tie Atta and the Iraqi government to the anthrax attacks as well. For instance, on October 14, 2001, the Observer will report, “According to sources in the Bush administration, investigators are talking to Egyptian authorities who say members of the al-Qaeda network, detained and interrogated in Cairo, had obtained phials of anthrax in the Czech Republic.” [OBSERVER, 10/14/2001] ….

    I tried to keep within fair use – read the article for a fuller sense of the rogue that is Woolsey.

  17. MsAnnaNOLA says:

    Keith!!! top of the hour McCain talking about Antrax and Iraq in the same sentence.

    Yeah! Sunshine!

  18. LS says:

    “By then [October 22], Cheney had convinced the President to support a $1.6 billion bioterrorism-preparedness program. Cheney argued that every citizen in the country should be vaccinated against smallpox. (4) “

    Well, that is certainly logical…vaccinate against smallpox when you are being attacked by anthrax….or, you could just take Cipro:

    “White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said. House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt echoed him: “I don’t think there’s a way to prove that, but I think we all suspect that.” Iraq was among the suspects. It was thought to have a storehouse of biological weapons.

    I mention anthrax for the simple reason that no one does anymore. It’s a curious silence since, along with the attacks on New York and the Pentagon, it all but dominated the news. Some of us did not get mail deliveries and, when they resumed, we went into secure rooms where we donned latex gloves and face masks before opening letters. On a tip, I asked my doctor early on to prescribe Cipro for me, only to find out that, insider though I thought I was, nearly everyone had been asking him for the same thing. People made anthrax-safe rooms, and one woman I know of had a mask made for her small dog. I still don’t know if that was a touching gesture or just plain madness.

    My point is that we were panicked. Yet that panic never gets mentioned. Last month the New Republic published a “special issue” in which a bevy of very good writers wondered whether they had been wrong to support the war in Iraq. Most of them admitted to having erred about this or that detail or in failing to appreciate how badly George Bush would administer the war and the occupation. But none confessed to being seized by the zeitgeist. I read the magazine cover to cover and unless I somehow missed it, the word anthrax never appeared. Imagine! Not once! Not a single one of these writers admitted to panicking over anthrax.

    Well, I did. I’m not sure if panic is quite the right word, but it is close enough. Anthrax played a role in my decision to support the Bush administration’s desire to take out Saddam Hussein. I linked him to anthrax, which I linked to Sept. 11. I was not going to stand by and simply wait for another attack — more attacks. I was going to go to the source, Hussein, and get him before he could get us. “

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..Jul21.html

  19. LS says:

    KO reporter: The DOJ is rushing to wrap this up.

    BS, BS, BS, BS!!!

    It will be taboo just like 9/11.

    Investigate 9/11!!!

  20. LS says:

    Misinformation……..

    This stinks. It’s not “bungled” it is a cover-up.

    That lying sack of propaganda guy on KO is a liar…a liar.

  21. Neil says:

    There are a lot of unusual circumstances that merit further investigation. Why is the FBI rushing to close the investigation? I swear Olbermann researchers read this blog.

  22. Slothrop says:

    Dead people — victims and the apparently lone-nut perpetrator — resulting in a right-wing shift of the nation.

    Let’s see…where have I heard this one before?

    Marcy, they haven’t even explained how Jack Ruby got into the police basement yet — with a gun. You think we’re getting to the bottom of this one?

    Good luck.

  23. Teddy Partridge says:

    A “suicide” by the “primary suspect” enables the government to close the investigation with no loose ends.

    Grassy knoll, anyone?

  24. numbertwopencil says:

    And then there’s this recent Jane Mayer tale about Cheney and anthrax:

    …In the days after 9/11, when fears of another terrorist strike were at their peak, Vice President Dick Cheney was convinced that he had been subjected to a lethal dose of anthrax…

    …On Oct. 18, 2001, a White House alarm went off indicating that sensors had detected dangerous levels of radioactive, chemical or biological agents…”They thought Cheney was already lethally infected,” said a former administration officer…

    …Despite the unnerving news, Cheney calmly reported the emergency to the National Security Council. It turned out that the detection system had malfunctioned and there was no hazard…eleven days later, Cheney insisted on leaving the White House and retreating to one of his “secure, undisclosed locations,”…Cheney and other Cabinet members took turns hunkering down in one of several cold war era bunkers built to survive a nuclear attack…

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=5368813

  25. JimWhite says:

    A few more dots to connect: I have the links posted in a longer version of this at Achieving Our Country (click my name), but I got curious about the AP story claiming that Ivins’ “motivation” for mailing the anthrax spores was his desire to test his vaccine. I did some digging and found that Project Bioshield was put in place right after the attacks and funded with over $5 billion. Out of that, $887.5 million was awarded to Vaxgen to produce large amounts of a vaccine licensed from Fort Detrick. Ivins is the first named inventor on the patent. So yes, I buy the contention that whoever was behind the anthrax mailing wanted the vaccine tested, but it looks to me like it was the government itself that was anxious to throw large sums of money at Ivins’ vaccine. I haven’t seen anything yet to convince me that Ivins was behind the release, but the speed with which the Fort Detrick vaccine was funded tells me someone in government was quite ready when this “opportunity” hit.

  26. dotsright says:

    I’m glad that Greenwald via Atrios included in his updates the thing that stuck out most for me in his original story. The WaPo reporter who was told shortly after 9/11 to be prepared for anthrax and get himself some Cipro. He apparently wasn’t the only one warned in this fashion and only identified a “high government official”. I wonder if he isn’t just a little suspicious now about how this “gov’t official” would know about anthrax attacks before they occurred especially since the source for them was from inside a government facility.

  27. KayInMaine says:

    I heard on a CNN news radio break today that Ivins’ attorney said no charges were imminent against his client, that the neighbor to Ivins’ said the FBI had been investigating Ivins for quite some time, and that the FBI probably witnessed his death.

    Wow.

    • Hmmm says:

      Well, that’s confusing. From several angles. Got a link by any chance?

      Actually the not-about-to-be-charged part sounds not wholly implausible, I have been wondering whether early reports might have been conflating two different law enforcement actions, the anthrax investigation on one hand vs. on the other hand Ivins’ restraining order + Thursday hearing + Friday GJ testimony. Very very odd to have both parts pending at the same time, don’t you think? However the atty’s story doesn’t square with the earlier USG statements that he was about to be charged, and that that is why the whole investigation will be closing down now.

      The FBI-witnessing-the-death part comports with the early headlines about him passing ‘as FBI closes in’, (since it was pills=poison I guess the ingestion must have happened some time earlier, not in reaction to the FBI knock at the door), but I took that as metaphorical. If literally true, how does that square with the atty saying no charges (I presume he meant anthrax-related charges) were immanent? Were the FBI investigating the stalking/harassment charges instead? Or were they just messing with him? I ask because anonymous sources for the AP story who knew the decedent asked not to be identified for fear of FBI harassment.

      I’m soooooo confused…

  28. oboblomov says:

    Does anyone know why the FBI abruptly decided the anthrax attack was home grown? It seems unlikely that they would have had the scientific expertise at the time to determine that, and everything suggests powerful forces were behind the Iraqi provenance story. Surely those forces could also silence the CDC with its close ties to USAMRIID.

    Perhaps skdadl is correct that the whole scam was just getting too screwy. Woolsey was going around saying “Iraq, Iraq, Iraq…” and people were in disbelief. The Neocons (should be a better more inclusive name) sensing they had over reached, pulled the plug on their own op. Just an hypothesis.

  29. pdaly says:

    Don’t know if it is related but it certainly seems that after 9/11 being an expert in deadly viruses or bacteria is a risk factor for untimely deaths.

    Harvard researcher and structural biologist Dr. Don Wiley studied the immune system’s ability to fend of the attack of potentially deadly viruses–including the ebola virus.

    Wiley’s dead body was found in the Mississippi River in December 2001 in Vidalia, LA –300 miles south of Memphis, TN where he had been attending a biology conference in November 2001. He was last seen alive at the banquet on Nov 15, 2001. His abandoned car was found on a Memphis bridge Nov 16, 2001.

    From the NY Times Jan 15, 2002:
    ”The authorities initially thought Dr. Wiley, a 57-year-old father of four, had committed suicide, but Mr. Smith [Shelby County Mississippi Medical Examiner]said he ruled that out based on the evidence from the car and statements from Dr. Wiley’s family.”

  30. jackie says:

    Re; Impeachment taken off of table. Bush could declare State of Emergency over a ‘constitutional crisis’ if they pushed too hard?
    ‘[I]mprisoning current (and even former) senior presidential advisors and prosecuting them before the House would only exacerbate the acrimony between the two branches and would present a grave risk of precipitating a constitutional crisis. Indeed, one can easily imagine a stand-off between the Sergeant-at-Arms and executive branch law enforcement officials concerning taking Mr. Bolten into custody and detaining him,” Bates wrote.’

    Re,Ivins connection and ’suicide’. Who was the ‘tech’ that Ivins claimed he cleaned-up after?
    And;
    Could that be the same ‘woman’ who brought the restraining order against Ivins?

  31. pdaly says:

    BTW, my Internet Explorer is crashing each time I visit this site tonight. I’m posting with Firefox (an old version that doesn’t let me do links).
    Wondering if the problem is my computer or whether any of you are having similar trouble with Explorer. Interestingly, I can surf other parts of the web without Explorer crashing.

    • MadDog says:

      Folks, the problem was with Sitemeter. I sent an email to some of the FDL folks and they took the advice to remove the Sitemeter tracking code from the blog so that all of us Internet Explorer users could get back on.

      Whew!

      • perris says:

        For links, can’t you just type in the code? That’s what I do.

        you type in links?

        I could never do thatm doesn’t cutting and pasting work?

    • PJEvans says:

      IE6 was complaining loudly about several sites, also including talktoaction and firedoglake. Seems to be okay now.

    • prostratedragon says:

      Been having the same problem since yesterday (when it began midsession) with ThinkProgress, have periodically had it with other sites. I use Firefox, which I have not updated yet. Same thing happens with an obscure linux browser called Epiphany.

      Right now my work around is to use the feed page, since there’s no problem with plain xml. If you have a text-based browser like lynx, it should work as well. I seem able to open individual TP articles from that page, but still get the wipeout when I try going directly to the home page.

    • MsAnnaNOLA says:

      I was having this problem too. Strange error as though a period was at the end of the url but it wasn’t so I downloaded firefox and here I am.

      I went to C&L and a couple of other sites and got the same problem.

  32. pdaly says:

    oops, not sure which state ”Shelby County” refers to in this article (TN? AL?), but definitely not Mississippi. My bad.

      • pdaly says:

        Thanks. That’s what I thought initially, but then wondered if Shelby County Louisiana is near the Mississippi River, too.

        Wiley’s body was found in Louisiana so it seemed odd the medical examiner from Tennessee would be making cause of death pronouncements. Did any medical examiner in Louisiana make a pronouncement?

  33. rosalind says:

    pdaly @46: whew, so it isn’t just me. about an hour ago every time i tried to come here Explorer gave me an error message. has never happened before. i tried other sites, and it was hit and miss, though my paranoia was rising as fdl, digby, balloon juice weren’t available, but drudge was. weird.

    • Nell says:

      There’s been a problem over the last day, still persists with some sites, of viewing with IE blogs that use SiteMeter, particularly blogspot sites. Blog owners who pulled the SM found the problem for IE readers disappeared. Don’t know if SiteMeter has fully resolved the problem or not.

      Appears so, since three blogs I couldn’t visit this morning are still accessible and one has the sitemeter working.

  34. Rayne says:

    Anthrax attacks

    Project Bioshield established and funded for 5.6B

    Vaxgen wins contract for 887M

    Jerome A. Hauer/John V. Hishta/Cesar V. Conda/Ron Christie lobby govt against Vaxgen on behalf of Bioport

    Vaxgen loses contract, stiffed on payments by orders from officials at “the highest levels”

    Bioport (partially owned by Carlyle Group, Admiral Crowe, and the El-Hibri family) had already been supplying some vaccine

    Bioport shuffles internally, becomes Emergent Biosolutions, wins contract for anthrax vaccine, along with other Bioshield contracts

    Very, very tidy if a bit slow.

  35. perris says:

    everyone I’m sure remembers clark telling the president he was batty, and the cia telling the president he was batty to suggest anything came from Iraq, and we ALL remember clarke said the first question from bush was, “could this possibly have come from Iraq”

    and of course we know the president wanted to attack Iraq even before 9/11, I believe that was a wapo story but I can’t find the link

    there is this link too

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories…..2330.shtml which says the same thing;

    “From the very beginning, there was a conviction, that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go,” says O’Neill, who adds that going after Saddam was topic “A” 10 days after the inauguration – eight months before Sept. 11.

    here’s something I am having trouble piecing together though;

    I am certain the administration invited the attack on 9/11, we know as a fact he was given precise intel telling him when the attack would take place, where, the specific targets and how it would be accomplished including the specific weapons

    yet the president wanted to attack Iraq not afghanistan so that doesn’t add up to me in my minds eye unless the pnac was so rediculously uninformed as to think the al qaeda attack would indicate Iraq without some crazy gaming

    • MarkH says:

      we know as a fact he was given precise intel telling him when the attack would take place, where, the specific targets and how it would be accomplished including the specific weapons

      source?

  36. pdaly says:

    Thanks, Maddog @ 54

    (I’m posting this via Explorer now).

    skdadl, I don’t trust my coding ability. Still a buttons click guy.
    Someday.

    • skdadl says:

      Oh, dear. That wasn’t very generous of me, but I wasn’t sure I understood the problem, and I didn’t want to overexplain. Believe me, I am total technodolt, but teh boss has forced me to learn a few things.

      To do a link (and I’m going to separate this by lines so that you can see it):

      then insert your URL, making sure to put double quotes fore and aft

      then close the >

      then type the words you want highlighted

      then close with

      No spaces in there anywhere except in the highlighted text.

      Presto chango, as my dad used to say.

      • skdadl says:

        Gah! The opening got lost.

        To do a link (and I’m going to separate this by lines so that you can see it):

        then insert your URL, making sure to put double quotes fore and aft

        What’s missing is how you start — and I’m going to stick a space in before the = just in case that’s what’s making the code disappear:

        but you close that up when you type it.

        • skdadl says:

          Oh, dear. Well, I told you I am technodolt. I type out the code, and it disappears! Does anyone understand how to write this out so it’s visible?

          • pdaly says:

            thanks. I know just before clicking the ‘Submit Comment’ button I can see the coded link instructions in the white dialog box. I just don’t trust my memory to type the correct forward or backslash slash. I’ll learn soon.

          • TheOtherWA says:

            Don’t worry about code. Just cut and paste the web addy, and anyone who wants to go to that page can cut and paste it themselves.

            http://www.google.com/

            Like that.

            (Um, I’ll be darned. It posted as a link. No code. Go figure.

    • pdaly says:

      Hmmm, I agree. The chicken scrawl and cross outs looks like a first draft–of what I can’t exactly say. For a formal document, I think I would have asked for a fresh form and copied it out more legibly.

      And what’s a “theripist”? /snark (I’m one to talk, my spelling hiere is atrocious, but still as the program director of Comprehensive Counselling Associates, you would expect Jean Duley to spell ‘therapist’ correctly.)

  37. Peterr says:

    So, Rummy, Wolfowitz, Richard Perle (then head of the Defense Policy Board), and James Woolsey, who in turn brokered a lot of stories with the INC, including that of Major Harith. There must be further sources for this story, since Wolfowitz is too senior to be called a Defense intelligence source, and Woolsey would no longer be considered a CIA source. Nevertheless, this article clearly had the hallmarks of Neocon-INC propaganda that Rose later got stung by.

    Who could have anticipated* . . . ?

    (*Besides all the DFHs, of course.)

    • Hmmm says:

      That’d be Timmeh who, those with long memories may recall, is also currently a dead fact witness.

      One can’t help wondering whether we’re now in the cleanup phase of the Bush Years, and if so, whether it’s the FBI doing the cleaning-up?

      • mamayaga says:

        Been expecting to see wholesale destruction of documents, but I guess some witnesses/co-conspirators may need to be offed as well.

        Interesting how we all appear to have concluded that the involvement of certain elements of our government in these heinous crimes is one perfectly logical explanation. This kind of speculation is all over the blogs today. Makes me wonder why left blogistan retains its apparent scorn of so-called Truthers, who are simply making the same kinds of deductions about 9/11. We have to face the fact that people who are comfortable with killing hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq for no good discernible reason really have no limits, and probably wouldn’t wink at killing 5 (or perhaps 3,000) American citizens if it served their purposes.

        • MsAnnaNOLA says:

          to Wit…Symour Hirsh detailing the meeting where Cheney and gang “brainstormed” on how to start war with Iran.

          Mindboggling That we are still not impeaching. Impeachment off the table.

          OMG….

  38. PJEvans says:

    lessee now:
    <a href=”url_goes_here”>visible linky text goes here</a>

    (This is done by putting in the codes for the angle-brackets as characters: left is lt and right is gt)

  39. PJEvans says:

    Sorry, I meant the example is done with the character-codes. What you type is the character – the left angle is shift-comma and the right angle is shift-period on most keyboards.

    Do it much, and you can put a linky in anyplace that will allow HTML codes.

    • skdadl says:

      Thank you — that’s a good lesson. I’ve probably done enough test-flying at EW’s place, though, so I’ll try it out at home.

  40. pdaly says:

    And if the anthrax killer really was this guy, it opens up the $10,000 question mentioned by others above: who were the 4 confidential informants to ABC purveying in unequivocal terms the fact that Saddam was behind the anthrax attacks? And for whom were they working during the this time with US’s rush to war with Saddam?

  41. klynn says:

    Posted this in the original post this AM:

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/n…..labs_x.htm

    Researchers express relief that no one was hurt or killed in the episode, but Stephanie Loranger of the Federation of American Scientists asks, “Fort Detrick is one of the premier biodefense labs, and if they have problems, what does it mean for all the others?”

  42. TheOtherWA says:

    There was another high level suicide this week.

    http://www.adn.com/military/story/478085.html

    The commander of the 3rd Wing at Elmendorf Air Force Base died of what is believed to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound Sunday night, Air Force Col. Richard Walberg said Monday.

    Brig. Gen. Thomas L. Tinsley, 45, appears to have shot himself in the chest with a handgun in his base house, Walberg said. It was unclear whether the shot was an accident or a suicide.

    He also had served in the Directorate for Plans and Policy on the Joint Staff and was executive assistant to the Deputy for Political-Military Affairs for Asia Pacific and the Middle East.

    h/t Al the Spook http://www.althespook.com/ravings/?p=81

    No, I refuse to wear a tinfoil hat. They made my ass look big. I’m just a little concerned that two smart, intelligent, government employees/officers close to two very large problems (loose nukes last year, anthrax in 2001) suddenly died in the same week.

    • TheOtherWA says:

      Let me make clear, I have no idea if Tinsley had any involvement in the loose nukes flight. Just that he was a high level Air Force Brig. General who had a connection to Middle East operations, and had to be involved in the investigation of the incident in some way.

  43. Slothrop says:

    Hmmm…

    ” Scientists familiar with germ warfare said there was no evidence that Dr. Ivins, though a vaccine expert with easy access to the most dangerous forms of anthrax, had the skills to turn the pathogen into an inhalable powder.

    “I don’t think a vaccine specialist could do it,” said Dr. Alan P. Zelicoff, a physician who aided the F.B.I. investigation when he worked at the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque.

    “This is aerosol physics, not biology,” Dr. Zelicoff added. “There are very few people who have their feet in both camps.”

    –NY Times.

    • MarkH says:

      “This is aerosol physics, not biology,” Dr. Zelicoff added. “There are very few people who have their feet in both camps.”

      Then it shouldn’t take long to create a short list of those who do have feet in both camps.

  44. Hmmm says:

    Looks like nobody’s buying the story. Betcha we get a new version of the story from DoJ by Monday. Can’t wait to see what Pat Leahy has to say.

    • gosprey says:

      Did Pat unintentionally “off” Ivins by pushing Mukasey in the “creepy exchange” Marcy spotted? (Talk about “don’t get mad…”) More detail on the unauthorized/unreported Ivins’ clean-ups would also be interesting.

  45. prostratedragon says:

    And of course, there’s the sitemeter note at 54 …

    I will yet learn to read the whole damn blog.

  46. sailmaker says:

    Cheney went on the Sunday talk shows on Oct. 13th to suggest that bin Laden did it. The Observer published their piece “Iraq ‘behind US anthrax outbreaks’ on the 14th. Bush did his two connecting sentences that conflate two issues – anthrax is bad, bin Laden is evil – on October 15th. On October 18th Woolsey wrote in the Wall Street Journal

    KNOW THY ENEMY
    The Iraq Connection
    Attack Saddam? It may be one of the most momentous choices of the 21st century.

    Link. That night McCain was on Letterman saying that the anthrax came from Saddam, maybe.

    Where were these players on Saturday, October 13th? Mr. & Mrs. Cheney went to a townhall meeting in Meadville, PA, when he was not at an undisclosed location. Bush had a radio address which created Homeland Security, and begged for money for ‘America’s fund for Afghan Children’ with no mention of the anthrax attacks. I could not find any print info on McCain. Woolsey was in the UK looking for Iraq evidence according to The Guardian. Note that the byline is in Washington.

    Where were people on October 12th? Cheney voiced a possible link between 9/11 and anthrax on the News hour. Bush was strong arming Israel to negotiate with the Palestinians. McCain voted on the Aviation Security Act. Woolsey – I couldn’t find anything for. Judith Miller was opening her fake anthrax letter.

    The FBI issued a terrorist attack warning on October 11th.

    The Defense Policy Board met on September 19th and 20th, which resulted in the Sept. 20 PNAC letter to Bush to take out Iraq. An article about the meeting was published on October 12th.

    A tight-knit group of Pentagon officials and defense experts outside government is working to mobilize support for a military operation to oust President Saddam Hussein of Iraq as the next phase of the war against terrorism, senior administration officials and defense experts said.

    The group, which some in the State Department and on Capitol Hill refer to as the ”Wolfowitz cabal,” after Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz, is laying the groundwork for a strategy that envisions the use of air support and the occupation of southern Iraq with American ground troops to install a Iraqi opposition group based in London at the helm of a new government, the officials and experts said.

    Under this notion, American troops would also seize the oil fields around Basra, in southeastern Iraq, and sell the oil to finance the Iraqi opposition in the south and the Kurds in the north, one senior official said.

    ”The takeover would not be dissimilar to the area we occupied in the gulf war,” the official said.

    The group is building its case despite President Bush’s declaration that the war against Afghanistan and Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network, Al Qaeda, must be fought first. The idea is to prepare for what its members see as the coming debate over the next phase of the war.

    The group has largely excluded the State Department, where Secretary of State Colin L. Powell has adamantly argued that such an attack would destroy the international coalition that President Bush has assembled. Both Mr. Powell and Vice President Dick Cheney have said there is no evidence linking Iraq to the attacks.
    ç Link.

    The White House sensors falsely detected anthrax on Sept.20, which scared Cheney, intensely.

    By the last week in October when ABC began broadcasting their anthrax from Saddam stories it had been ‘out there’ since at least October 12th when Cheney was on the News Hour.

    My guesses for the ABC story for the “four well placed sources” – Woolsey, McCain, Cheney (or his office), and Wolfowitz or Miller. Just guesses.

  47. al75 says:

    I’m curious about the “tylenol with codeine” as a suicide route. It is VERY hard to kill yourself with codeine, which is a preferred low-potency narcotic precisely because it induces nausea when taken in large quantities.

    Where did the “massive quantity” of drugs come from?

    Why wasn’t Ivin’s re-hospitalized after threatening his therapist?

    A tylenol overdose can be very lethal, but death occurs from liver failure over days or weeks.

    Just wondering.

    • Rayne says:

      Excellent point, had wondered that myself. Do they make Tylenol with codeine in a liquid form, or only pill form? seems like it would be tough to get enough in one’s bloodstream in pill form to do the damage before somebody realized you were OD’d.

      Unless you were incredibly allergic to codeine, would have died of anaphylaxis.

  48. pdaly says:

    Back to anthrax and rereading EW’s post:
    the Neocons were pushing the ‘anthrax is from Saddam’ meme during the first mailings of anthrax. ABC’s sources were pushing the ‘anthrax is from Saddam’ meme after the second mailings.

    Remember we were, according to the White House, on a ‘war footing’ after 9/11–with all the fun unitary executive powers to be invoked.

    Once the investigation identified Fort Detrick as the source of the anthrax, however, there was a benefit to the administration to slow walk the investigation. Why jump the war footing track and redirect the country onto a police investigation and routine prosecution in the courts?

    This tack raises the risk that average Americans would see existing law is adequate to deal with terrorism in a court of law. Who needs an unitary executive if we are already safe with our current laws?

    • Loo Hoo. says:

      Wondered what became on you.

      Here’s my question. Why do we have scientists even making this form of anthrax? Is there some sort of valuable use for it? If it is weapons grade, that means it’s to be used for weapons, right? Wouldn’t that be a biological weapon? Isn’t that why we invaded Iraq…because he had chemical and biological weapons?

      I don’t get it.

      • MarieRoget says:

        Hey, LooHoo. Nice to be back home.
        I don’t get why we’re still doing this either. So very cold war, but then remember the boys & girls in charge right now.

        Was up in the area between Sudbury & Elliot Lake doing hardscrabble camping, including some canoe portage. Who needs weight training after a wk of that? Great fun, so beautiful, mosquits large enought to saddle & ride around. Skeets don’t like me much, but everyone else had to slather on enough ’skeeter off’ to repel an elephant herd.

  49. TomR says:

    What I found fishy back then was why only Democratic leaders in the Senate were targeted with Anthrax. I wondered why terrorists would leave alone Republicans in Congress if they hated all Americans.

    As Glenn Greenwald points out, there’s no question that the Anthrax scare really heightened fear in Americans, making them more pliable toward attacking Iraq.

    It’s surprising how nonchalantly McCain mentions how Iraq is phase II of the war, this only one month after 9/11:

    http://thinkprogress.org/2008/…..hrax-iraq/

    – Tom

  50. JThomason says:

    I am not sure this completely answers your question, but I had thought the Shelby County medical examiner’s comment pertained to the contents and the condition of the car which was in Memphis.

  51. Neil says:

    Fair to say McCain got the word that we were heading to Iraq and I’ll bet he wasn’t the only one. His pal Lieberman did too. How many Senators and Congressmen got the word and how did they get the word.

    The video of McCain telling Letterman that the anthrax was from Iraq ought to work its way into a devastating TV commercial. I don’t think the Obama campaign will do it but it’s not passed BraveNew to put the issue in play by framing the question.

  52. wavpeac says:

    You know as a therapist I have had lots of clients try to kill themselves with pills. Smart clients. However, (knock on wood) not one of my clients has ever successfully completed this with pills. I knew of someone from when I worked as a psych tech years ago at a mental hospital who successfully committed suicide using aspirin. Many of my clients have survived tylenol. Not too say their livers are okay today.

    Also, men tend to use more impulsive violent means to kills themselves. It is not as common for men to do it with pills. Men use cars and guns, most often.

    A scientist would know he was taking a risk of actually completing the act of suicide by pill. It is the least lethal means. Most folks are found before they die or change their minds mid stream, how pills respond in the body can vary significantly from person to person. Now certainly there are limits to this, and sure thing dosages, but tyelenol with codeine is not usually given in large quantities. It would be more successful to buy a bunch of tylenol (which can be purchased in large quantities).

    I don’t know…it just strikes me as odd. Not impossible, not implausible, but not common.

  53. dopeyo says:

    (puts on tin-foil hat) so cheney over-reacted to a false-alarm going off on sept.20 2001? he would have been sitting in one of america’s most secure locations at the time. i see people regularly ignoring fire alarms with the rationale “it’s probably just a drill.” but not cheney.

    what was cheney doing on sept 18-19th? perhaps some of his neocon buddies came in to wargame a few ideas. one neocon reaches into his pocket, pulls out a small glass vial and says “if a little bit of anthrax got out, who knows what the reaction would be?” cheney gets a little alarmed and and screams “WTF are you doing walking around with anthrax for god’s sake?”.

    “not to worry, big guy. it’s just talcum power.”

    a day or two later, the alarm goes off and cheney thinks “that idiot brought real anthrax in here. OMG i’m going to die!” after a few hours, the alarm is proved to be false. cheney is relieved and goes back to his regular duties.

    a year and some months later, cheney and his pals are sitting around his secure location chewing the fat. cheney remembers the phony anthrax vial, and suggests they pass it on to powell for his big speech at the UN. if it worked on cheney, it has to fool the rubes….

    so now the questions are: who made visits to ft. detrick and to cheney in the week after 9-11? who were brian williams’ 4 sources, and were they on familiar terms with cheney? one of those 4 is the link to the bioweapons lab.

    (takes off tinfoil hat, carefully places it on a bookshelf for use in october 2008.)

  54. Nell says:

    My guess is neocon overreach. Note that the White House (not OVP) denied from the beginning, very publicly (as noted in Glenn G.’s call-outs of ABC) that there was bentonite in the letters’ anthrax.

    They were ginning up a war, yes, but this is a case where Bush and Cheney and his neocon buds were on two different tracks.

  55. Leen says:

    Woolsey really gives me the creeps. A real spook. He came to Ohio University to speak during the Baker Peace Conference (can never quite figure out why people like Woolsey or Dennis Ross are asked to be the main speakers at a Peace Conference). I was able to ask Woolsey a polite question about the Office of Special Plans and the creation and dessimination of false pre war intelligence that had come out of that office I also got in a question about his defense connections and “alleged” profits. Woolsey was so pissed by my question he lost it and screamed at me to sit down. I would not and asked him again about the Office of Special Plans Douglas Feith and his association with defense contracts. He would not answer at all.

    Woolsey came to Ohio again to push for sanctions against Iran
    http://www.commondreams.org/ar…..5/11/1116/

    James Woolsey and defense investments
    http://www.commondreams.org/he…..511-07.htm