DOJ: These Aren’t the BioPort Spores You’re Looking For

DOJ just submitted a filing asserting that a number of claims they made in filings last week were erroneous.They’re claiming that:

1) Their statement of facts supporting their claim asserting that no anthrax disappeared from USAMRIID and therefore Ivins must be the anthrax killer (but an unforeseen one) should have admitted that Ivins did have a lypholizer in his lab, but not in a way he could use.

2) Their statement that a scientist who had been vaccinated against anthrax could walk out of USAMRIID with anthrax injected into his body–as opposed to bloodstream–could get anthrax out of the lab.

3) Their statements quoting army regulations should match those army regulations.

4) The book on lab security was not written until 2007.

In other words, much of the filing is a bid to resubmit their homework. They look like idiots. But whatever.

Except for the central claim to the filing.

Most of their filing tries to reel in their admission that USAMRIID sent anthrax to both Battelle and BioPort labs–the latter is an anthrax vaccine manufacturer that was at risk of losing its contract in 2001. Points 2-7 all try to replace “BioPort and Battelle” with just Battelle.

Now, I’m not sure what their rationale for retracting the admission that they sent anthrax from Bruce Ivins’ anthrax flask to BioPort is. Ivins’ description of what he did with the flask in question appears to clearly show he sent 100 ml to BioPort on December 4, 2000 (indeed, one of Ivins’ colleagues testified that some anthrax was sent to BioPort). And BioPort would have precisely the same motive for sending out anthrax as the FBI attributed to Ivins: an financial interest in ensuring the government kept producing the anthrax vaccine. Update: This report (h/t Jim White) seems to confirm the Rabbit Challenge took place at USAMRIID.

In other words, it appears that USAMRIID actually did send anthrax to BioPort, a lab with a clear motive for creating fear about anthrax. And this filing appears to want to claim that USAMRIID didn’t send that anthrax–even though Bruce Ivins’ records, which the government has relied on to say Ivins had control over the anthrax, says they did.

And this head fake helps the government’s claim that Bruce Ivins was the anthrax killer … how?

Update: A justice department spokesperson explains that BioPort never got any active anthrax spores. “The only RMR-1029 spores which Bioport received were irradiated/dead/non-viable/harmless.  Battelle is the only private research facility which received viable RMR-1029 spores.”

23 replies
  1. emptywheel says:

    Backstage he called it “lame.”

    Of course I was the one screaming about how depraved DOJ has become. bmaz has been arguing that for a while.

  2. P J Evans says:

    ‘everything we said before was a lie, but we’re not lying about this, honest, Judge’

    That kind of work ought to get them thrown out of court, if not censured or disbarred for incompetence.

  3. Gitcheegumee says:

    O/T,but of note.DOJ,listen up!

    News International ‘deliberately’ blocked investigation
    Source: The Guardian

    Rupert Murdoch’s News International has been found by a parliamentary committee to have “deliberately” tried to block a Scotland Yard criminal investigation into phone hacking at the News of the World, the Guardian has learned.

    The report by MPs from the all-party home affairs committee will be released on Wednesday and its publication has been moved forward in time for today’s statement by prime minister David Cameron on the scandal.

    The report’s central finding comes a day after Rupert and James Murdoch testified before the culture, media and sport committee.

    The home affairs committee report marks an official damning judgment on News International’s actions.

    Read more:

  4. phred says:

    HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa… Oh. My. God. Do I owe Katie and apology or what? First, staggering incompetence and a conspiracy are clearly not mutually exclusive in this instance. Second, in making themselves look like morons, they may have tipped their hand to what they are hiding in plain sight (there you go Katie).

    Someone needs to ascertain whether BioPort had a suitable lyophilizer and check on whether the amount of anthrax they had on hand was sufficient for the amount of powder produced.

    DOJ does not appear to have a single competent soul in their employ these days. Holder must be so proud.

  5. bailey says:

    It seems nonsensical that I would value my disgust for Paypal over my appreciation for your efforts. The least I can do is to swallow hard. You’re a tremendous read, THANKS for sharing.

  6. BoxTurtle says:

    Amazing. You’d think the Judges whose time was wasted would get bitchy and maybe sanction someone.

    Boxturtle (I used to be disgusted, now I’m just amused)

  7. emptywheel says:

    OK, updated the post to indicate that the BioPort Rabbit Challenge took place at USAMRIID. Trying to get DOJ to confirm that.

  8. Katie Jensen says:

    Hatfield and Ivins served their country well, as involuntary soldiers in the war against terrorism. Perfect distractions. AAHO (anodized alluminum hat on)

  9. cliff665 says:

    Hatfill is the real mccoy. I malaplopped Hatfield into the blog yesterday, don’t want it to propagate, sorry.

  10. klynn says:

    There is no audit trail of signatures or chain of custody on something like this being sent?

    How does that happen?

  11. rugger9 says:

    klynn – it happens because someone wants it to happen. As I noted before, think of just how much bmaz would enjoy cross examination on these characters when they get around to Suspect #3. All they are doing now is making s%$$& up so they don’t get sanctioned by the courts for a fraudulent case [military courts take a dim view of this when it’s this clear cut, and have sent lawyers to the brig], not that it will help the USG when Ivins’ heirs sue for defamation. As noted elsewhere, there’s really no case left of the stuff the FBI trumpeted as proof in the front page.

    • bmaz says:

      Man, the govt case on Ivins could not have withstood cross-examination back when Ivins was still alive; it has gotten geometrically worse since then. Even the search warrant affidavits were clusterfucks beyond belief.

  12. lysias says:

    Can Ivins’s family, in addition to suing for defamation, also sue for their having driven Ivins to suicide, wrongful death or something along those lines?

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