FBI’s Shrinks-4-Hire: Stalkers Are Likely Bioterrorists

The FBI has linked to a redacted executive summary of the report some shrink contractors did on Bruce Ivins. While it is just the executive summary and even that is partly redacted, the report basically paints Bruce Ivins was a stalker which therefore makes him a possible bioterrorist.

Unfortunately for the shrinks who did the report, they start by endorsing the FBI’s now questionable anthrax theory.

Dr. Ivins acknowledged that he was the sole custodian of the “RMR-1029” flask that held the anthrax used in the attacks, and had unrestricted and unobserved access to the “hot suites” where work with anthrax could be conducted anytime day or night. From his own laboratory writings we know that the quality and spore concentration of the anthrax he produced matched that contained in the letters. In addition, he had the equipment necessary to produce the non-weaponized dried spores found in the letters.

The National Academy of Science had this to say about the source of the anthrax:

The flask designated RMR-1029 was not the immediate, most proximate source of the letter material. If the letter material did in fact derive from RMR-1029, then one or more separate growth steps, using seed material from RMR-1029 followed by purification, would have been necessary. Furthermore, the evidentiary material in the New York letters had physical properties that were distinct from those of the material in the Washington, D.C. letters.

And this to say about whether or not anyone could comment on how the anthrax was prepared.

The committee finds no scientific basis on which to accurately estimate the amount of time or the specific skill set needed to prepare the spore material contained in the letters. The time might vary from as little as 2 to 3 days to as much as several months. Given uncertainty about the methods used for preparation of the spore material, the committee could reach no significant conclusions regarding the skill set of the perpetrator.

In other words, because the shrinks based their entire report on the claim that Ivins had the “means and opportunity” to commit the attack based on the scientific claims about the anthrax, they pretty much undermine their entire argument from the start (and undermine their claim that they had “no predispositions regarding Ivins’ guilt or innocence”).

But what I’m even more intrigued by is their apparently shoddy explanation for one of the FBI’s claims that has been subsequently debunked.

In its report on the investigation, the FBI claimed that Ivins targeted Senators Leahy and Daschle because they were pro-choice Catholics.

In 2001, members of the Catholic pro-life movement were known to be highly critical of Catholic Congressional members who voted pro-choice in opposition to the beliefs of the Catholic Church. Two of the more prominent members of Congress who fell in this category were Senator Tom Daschle, then Senator Majority Leader; and Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, both recipients of the 2001 anthrax mailings.

But the claim was primarily based on his wife’s beliefs (the wife who, we now know, Ivins was trying to cheat on at every opportunity). More importantly, Ivins figured out a way to foil his wife’s beliefs after his death by mandating that if he were not cremated, then $50,000 of his estate would be donated to Planned Parenthood. In other words, the notion that Ivins targeted the two guys standing in the way of unquestioning passage of the PATRIOT Act because they are pro choice Catholics never really added up.

The shrinks, however, boldly assert they have identified the real themes that motivated Ivins.

As the Analysis section of this report explains in greater detail, Dr. Ivins had multiple motives in launching what he later called [redacted] through the mail. The key themes were revenge, a desperate need for personal validation, career preservation and professional redemption, and loss. These themes guided him not only in making the attacks, but in choosing his targets and shaping his methods.

The attacks above all enabled Dr. Ivins to gain retribution against his various perceived enemies. Some of those enemies, like Senators Daschle and Leahy, had directly incurred his wrath; others, like the New York Post, which to him represented the media and New York City, appeared to have been symbolic stand-ins for broader targets.

They explain (sort of) why Ivins might view Daschle as an enemy.

In June 2001, Senator Daschle, the Senate majority leader, sent a letter to the Department of Defense that heightened concerns about the vaccine.

But nowhere does the report provide an explanation for why Leahy would be a target. Nor why Ivins would target the other newspapers. And as all the crappy explanations for this crime do, the report apparently ignores the question of why Judy Miller received a fake version of the anthrax; particularly for conservatives, you’d think the NYT, not the Post, would be the symbol of evil decadent New York.

Now maybe the explanation of why Pat Leahy is such an evil man that Bruce Ivins allegedly tried to kill him appears in the redacted section. But at least in this summary, it appears the shrinks’ report doesn’t answer some of the most basic questions raised about the attack.

Update: Pro choice/life error fixed thanks to WO.

  1. WilliamOckham says:

    A minor correction:

    In other words, the notion that Ivins targeted the two guys standing in the way of unquestioning passage of the PATRIOT Act because they are pro life Catholics never really added up.

    should read

    In other words, the notion that Ivins targeted the two guys standing in the way of unquestioning passage of the PATRIOT Act because they are pro choice Catholics never really added up.

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    (and undermine their claim that they had “no predispositions regarding Ivins’ guilt or innocence”)

    I realize the authors are required to say that in order to remain in good standing with the Academy, but in this case it’s rather like Jessen and Mitchell claiming they had no conflict of interest in advocating torture for exploitation and profit to American intel agencies.

    • emptywheel says:

      Oh boy. As I said elsewhere, Jeff Kaye is working on a profile of the shrinks4hire. There are a goodly number of conflicted shrinks on the panel.

      And did you know that Ed Meese was involved?!?!?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Ed Meese? The Reagan Attorney General with the Hotel California briefcase, where work checked in but never checked out? Oh, boy. That’s like hiring a Peter Peterson acolyte as Social Security administrator.

        • mattcarmody says:

          They try out the new hardware for Cheney on Meese; apparently they’ll both be around for a good long while. Neither one of them has enough shame to die gracefully and I wish neither of them any violence I just send malevolence their way.

      • Jeff Kaye says:

        The post is now up at MyFDL:

        Psychologizing Bruce Ivins: Who are the Amerithrax Behavioral Analysis Experts?

        And, yeah, Meese was in on this.

        … one of the Red Cross personnel is in fact the vice-chair of the Panel, Gerald DeFrancisco, listed as President, Humanitarian Services, American National Red Cross. DeFrancisco is also on the Board of Directors of Research Strategies Network (RSN), the 2008-founded “professional services organization… whose missions support the national security of the United States and its allies.” RSN is the publisher and copyright holder of the Expert Panel’s report. The Panel Chair is Dr. Gregory Saathoff, who is also President of RSN, while the Chairman of RSN is former Reagan-era Attorney General Edward Meese.

        Saathoff specifically cites “guidance” by Meese in the making of the Ivins report, as well as that of another RSN board member, former U.S. senator Chuck Robb. Among other things, Robb is former President Bush, Jr.’s co-chairman to the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction. He is also on the board of Defense Department-DARPA-linked Mitre Corporation. Other RSN members are also linked to the military.

  3. eCAHNomics says:

    redacted executive summary of the report some shrink contractors did on Bruce Ivins.

    Now, some shrinks contracted by FBL who never met Ivins, who wrote a report for profit, the executive summary of which was not even convincing enough to publish without redaction, should convince EVERYONE, no matter what their assumptions.

    • EternalVigilance says:

      Now, some shrinks contracted by FBL

      Whoa…has the FBI acquired FDL? Or is it the other way around?

      • eCAHNomics says:

        FBI, not FBL. Missed that one, even after I read it several times. :-(

        To your point, I’m sure FBI has it’s lurkers constantly on site. ****waving at FBI lurkers****

        After all, we are surely a class A threat to USG.

        • lefty665 says:

          “After all, we are surely a class A threat to USG.”

          That’s what cost Bradley Manning his trou you know. War is Peace, Lies are Truth, Change is Same, it’s ok when THEY do it. But oh no, it’s Mr. Literal with a ‘tude for anything the rest of us say.

  4. bobschacht says:

    I need my tin-foil hat in place for this one. How about this whole op as a JSOC practice run on behalf of the Dickster? Cheney has to have been involved, somehow or other.

    Bob in AZ

  5. dancewater says:

    I want to know WHO the sources were at Ft. Detrick that told ABC news that the anthrax likely came from Saddam.

    But I suspect ABC News will continue to protect those sources, who are likely terrorists on the payroll of the US government.

  6. greenwarrior says:

    Did the executive summary of the shrinks happen to mention why they thought Ivins was predisposed to being suicided?

  7. MadDog says:

    OT – Reading some PDFs released by the ACLU today:

    A Transcript of Status Conference, Al-Qahtani v. Obama, No. 05-cv-1971 (D.D.C. September 17, 2010) (33 page PDF).

    A Declaration of Captain Don A. Martin (September 16, 2010) (8 page PDF) related to the previous Status Conference.

    And then finally, a Transcript of Oral Argument at 29-31, 33-35, Salahi v. Obama, 625 F.3d 745 (D.C. Cir. 2010) (58 page PDF).

    In both cases, the US government has got that “guilty until proven innocent” shuck down pat.

    As in, “The detainee must be guilty or why would we have him locked up in Gitmo?”

  8. gigi3 says:

    The burning question for me has always been why there was never a thorough investigation of Philip Zack. After all, he was caught on surveillance tape in the anthrax storage area after he was no longer employed at Ft. Detrick.

    • EternalVigilance says:

      The burning question for me has always been why there was never a thorough investigation of Philip Zack. After all, he was caught on surveillance tape in the anthrax storage area after he was no longer employed at Ft. Detrick.

      I believe you’ve answered your own question.

    • PierceNichols says:

      Dr Zack left Ft Detrick a decade before the anthrax attacks, and was last in the labs not long after that. Dr Zack also appears to have been living in CO at the time the letters were mailed from NJ. That makes his involvement a bit less likely, don’t you think?

      I also can’t help but notice that many of the top results for his name on Google are sites that are both notably anti-Semitic *AND* make a big deal out of Jew-baiting him.

  9. bluewombat says:

    As soon as I saw the NYT article and read a few grafs, my first thought was “Here goes the establishment circling the wagons again.”

    NYT piece said Ivins perceived Daschle and Leahy as enemies.

    But so did Karl Rove.

    Not that he would ever…

        • emptywheel says:

          Because he was in charge of pushing big expensive fixes to purported bioterrorist threats. Read this whole thing, but here’s just a taste:

          While Libby’s smallpox vaccination pipedream failed in one sense, the administration has succeeded in its much bigger battle–siphoning tremendous resources (and experts) from real public health threats like Avian flu and redirecting them toward “war on terror” marketable programs like anthrax and smallpox biodefense. In 2003, the Bush administration asked Congress for just $100 million to prepare for Avian flu, compared to a whopping $6 billion for its war on terror-friendly “Project Bioshield.” What’s more, Congressional Republicans refused to allocate the money for flu preparations, giving HHS just $49 million–less than half the already ridiculously low request. In early November 2005, Bush finally got around to declaring war on the flu. But many health experts feel it is too little too late. To make matters worse, a powerful group of Republicans, led by Senator/Dr. Bill Frist, is pushing legislation that would strip people injured by vaccines of their right to sue manufacturers and would virtually eliminate pharmaceutical corporate accountability. The legislation would also make the newly created Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Agency the only federal agency exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.

          And it’s always worth remembering that Judy–she of the fake anthrax letter–and Scooter first got together so he could help her on her book on germ warfare.

          You see, if your standards are–as they appear to be for the FBI–motive and means, Libby is as good a candidate as Ivins ever was.

  10. Phoenix Woman says:

    FBI Contractor Psychiatrist: Stalkers Are Likely Anthrax-Toting Bioterrorists

    Wait, what?

    They’re acting like they just walked into an episode of NCIS.

  11. lefty665 says:

    Part of Ivins Exceptional Civilian Service Award was for developing the standard test strain of Anthrax that he, and everyone else, used in developing vaccines and antidotes. It went everywhere. The mysterious, supposedly telltale, vial RMR-1029 held that strain.

    As one of Ivin’s co-workers testified: “Heine said he did not dispute that there was a genetic link between the spores in the letters and the anthrax in Ivins’ flask, which led the FBI to conclude that Ivins had grown the spores from a sample taken from the flask. Heine pointed out that samples from the flask were widely shared. Accusing Ivins of the attacks, he said, was like tracing a murder to the clerk at the sporting goods shop who sold the bullets.”[11]

    In the end, all the astonishing, golly gee wiz, phantazmagorical, never dreamed of before by mere mortals “science” the FBI paid to have developed wasn’t even able to prove what Ivins, Heine and others had already voluntarily told them. “Man that shit’s everywhere. It’s The Gov’t Standard we all use to test against. Bruce got an award for it.”

    Go figure, and weep.

  12. JTMinIA says:

    When you’re done weeping (and you’re not alone in this), return to asking questions about Hatfield. Unless you’re not really interested, of course.

    • PierceNichols says:

      Are you speaking of the same Dr Hatfill who collected $5.6M from the US government for wrecking his reputation? This investigation was bungled from beginning to end; this report simply confirms that impression.

  13. pdaly says:

    Unlucky Hatfill. Steven Hatfill hadn’t even published his novel Emergence and yet its plot was being used by the government in 2002 as a way of fingering Hatfill as the potential anthrax mailer.

    but Scooter Libby publishes his novel The Apprentice (1996, hardcover) about smallpox (today even a single case of smallpox would be considered a “pandemic”), it come out again in 2002 in paperback, and yet Germ Boy scoots off suspicion-free. OT: I wonder if hairy bears can carry smallpox…

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      It seems to be all the rage. Wasn’t there a British scientist who supposedly did something similar? Slashed his wrists, too, a notable and well-known way not to kill yourself in less time that it takes to roast a 20 lb. turkey.

  14. wavpeac says:

    Who appointed this “group” of conflicted experts? What continues to blow my mind is how well organized this “machine” of cover up is. At some point, looking at the scope of this thing…the tentacles that exist in the Obama administration, plus whatever other pressure they can exert, it’s an amazing feat. Is there really any question that can be off the table if we accept the scope of the corruption? Really?