Nadler Wants to Know Why FBI Lied to Him about Anthrax

That’s a very good question, Congressman Nadler:

On September 16, 2008, the House Committee on the Judiciary, on which I sit, conducted an oversight hearing of the FBI at which you testified. At that hearing, I asked you the following: “[W]hat was the percentage of weight of the silicon in the powders that your experts examined?” You testified that you would get back to me. On November 26, 2008, I sent to you this follow-up question in writing: “What was the percentage of weight of the silicon in the powder used in the 2001 anthrax attacks?”

On April 17, 2009, then-Acting Assistant Attorney General M. Faith Burton, of the DOJ Office of Legislative Affairs, responded with the following answer:

FBI Laboratory results indicated that the spore powder on the Leahy letter contained 14,470 ppm of silicon (1.4%). The spore powder on the New York Post letter was found to have silicon present in the sample; however, due to the limited amount of material, a reliable quantitative measurement was not possible. Insufficient quantifies of spore powder on both the Daschle and Brokaw letters precluded analysis of those samples.

A February 15, 2011 report by the National Academy of Sciences (“NAS report”), in which the NAS included its review of the FBI’s data and scientific analysis in the anthrax investigation, raises three questions about this DOJ/FBI response to me. First, with respect to the anthrax on the letter sent to Senator Leahy, the NAS report shows on pages 66 and 67 (Table 4.4) that the silicon content found by the FBI was 1.4% in one sample and 1.8% in a second sample. Why were both figures not provided to me in response to my questions?

Second, the NAS report shows on pages 66 and 67 (Table 4.4) that the FBI found the silicon content in the New York Post letter anthrax to be 10% when the bulk material was measured by mass and 1-2% when individual spore coats were measured by mass per spore. Why was neither piece of data provided to me in response to my questions?

Third and finally, the NAS report raises questions about the appropriateness of the measurements taken of the anthrax on the letter to the New York Post. Specifically, on page 77, the NAS report says:

ICP-OES analysis indicated a silicon content of the bulk New York Post letter material of 10 percent by mass, while SEM-EDX performed by SNL demonstrated silicon in individual spore coats at a level corresponding to 1 percent by mass per spore. At the January 2011 meeting, the FBI attributed this difference to a limited amount of sample available (only one replicate was performed for ICP-OES analysis) and the heterogeneous character of the New York Post letter. An explanation based on the heterogeneous character implies that the specific samples analyzed were not representative of the letter material. In such a case, additional samples should have been analyzed to determine representativeness. If such data exist, they were not provided to the committee. Lacking this information, one cannot rule out the intentional addition of a silicon-based substance to the New York Post letter, in a failed attempt to enhance dispersion. The committee notes that powders with dispersion characteristics similar to the letter material could be produced without the addition of a dispersant.

Were additional samples tested to determine the extent to which the ones examined were representative of the New York Post letter material? If not, why not? And, if the FBI does not have this data, how would you respond to the NAS that, without it, one cannot rule out the possibility that silicon was intentionally added? If the FBI did do these additional tests, please provide the resulting data to me and NAS.

As I noted the other day, the questionable silicon data seems to have come from the same lab that claims to have found proof that the 9/11 hijackers tested positive for anthrax, too.

  1. bobschacht says:

    Sadly, I think the response will be, “Who the heck released that NAS report? That was sensitive classified material! It should never have been released!”

    The USG has decided that Total Information Awareness is not adequate. What they want is Total Information Control.

    Bob in AZ

    • BoxTurtle says:

      Agreed, in spades. The most Nadler can hope for is a private classified briefing that he cannot discuss with anybody under penalty of law.

      And even then, they likely won’t tell him everything and they won’t tell the truth about what they do tell him.

      Boxturtle (Except when they tell him they’ll prosecute him if he says a word)

  2. rugger9 says:

    Maybe so, but the information is out there. It needs to be kept on the front burner so the lowlifes that killed several of our citizens for political purposes are brought to justice, instead of the already failed attempts to finger Contestants #1 and #2. If the crooks are still there and still protected, who is next on the hit list?

    Nadler is hamstrung by the GOP majority to do very much about this now. However, this is the kind of thing (like how Willie Horton did in Dukakis) that can be laid at the feet of every GOP House member that refuses to dig. People died, we don’t know whodunnit, except that the two named didn’t do it, and the GOP needs to be shown blocking the answers. Nadler needs to push for the the answers, and if the committee chair doesn’t want to hold hearings, needs to go vocal about obstruction in a murder case. That ought to play well in Peoria, both in IL and in AZ.

  3. bmaz says:

    I am not certain either way, and my inclination tends to be no, but it is at least possible Ivins was involved to some extent, in some capacity. However, what is pretty clearly not possible is that he was the sole actor.

  4. rugger9 says:

    Lying to Congress is still a crime, perp walk these witnesses. I’m pretty sure Ivins wasn’t a player, where’s the motive to do this, and with all of the other interstate-sized gaps in the theory tying him to this, why trust any connective evidence from the FBI? Let’s also not forget that Ivins as Contestant #2 followed Hatfill, who was equally tarred and won a judgement from the government for the smear campaign. That alone should give anyone pause as far as believing the FBI narrative. IANAL, but doesn’t the fact that money changed hands, and not just an apology, really mean the FBI so indefensibly screwed the pooch so badly that “state secrets(tm)” couldn’t save them? Even IF the FBI tells the truth now (which I doubt, someone very powerful is being protected here) there is no way a prosecution would succeed with the investigative record already out there.

    • Gitcheegumee says:

      The CIA’s History of Bamboozling The Congress | The Public RecordMay 22, 2009 … By Melvin A. Goodman Let me be clear about this, CIA director Leon Panetta told his troops last week, it was not CIA policy or practice to ……/the-cia-and-its-history-of-bamboozling-the-congress/ – Cached

      NOTE: According to Melvin Goodman,the CIA has been bamboozling Congress for years

      • BoxTurtle says:

        Yeah, but now congress is conspiring with them to do it. Before, congress was (generally) tryin to do their job.

        Either that, or we must assume that collectively congress is dumber than a box of rocks.

        Boxturtle (yeah, yeah, I know: They’re not mutually exclusive)

        • Gitcheegumee says:

          “It’s hard to get a man Congress to understand something,when their paycheck depends upon not understanding it.”

          Upton Sinclair

        • bobschacht says:

          I think after serving for two years, they’re only allowed back if they’re gelded. If they’re female senators, they have to have a hysterectomy (no hysteria– or pregnancy– allowed). I’m not sure about female members of the House. /s

          Bob in AZ

      • rugger9 says:

        Exactly, so we arrest the ones who actually went in front of Congress with these lies, throw them in jail since the evidence is incontrovertible. It’s pretty simple. Do it enough times and the lying will cease. You get what you inspect [and enforce] not what you expect.

  5. rugger9 says:

    Rhodes also has the useful suggestion that any speech on the floor of Congress ought to be considered as under oath. That will take a rule change (as well as the suspension of the Constitutional provision of immunity to actually enforce it), but it would be nice to see.

  6. joeblue says:

    I fear the headlines will read ” We regret to inform you that Mr. Nadlers plane went down over Iraq where he was on a fact finding mission sent by Mr. Obama “. Stay safe Mr. Nadler.