Effect Measure

I’ve been looking at the documents deposited online by the Department of Justice making their case against Dr.Bruce E. Ivins, the Army scientist they allege is the lone anthrax attack culprit. My perusal of their case leaves a mixed impression. If their portrayal of his mental condition is at all accurate – and it is difficult to judge on the basis of the highly selected quotes from emails and hearsay evidence of unnamed sources — then Ivins certainly is a plausible suspect. Selected leaking of information, not all of it verified could also make him a convenient and plausible patsy. I have no way of judging that part of the case at the moment. But the scientific part of the case, supposedly their strongest argument, looks incredibly weak to me.

As early as 2002 CDC and the government knew that the letter anthrax organisms were all from a specific strain (Ames) that is used in many biodefense laboratories. The problem with obtaining a genetic fingerprint of anthrax is that unlike most other microorganisms, Bacillus anthracis is remarkably stable, i.e., its genetic fingerprint doesn’t change much from one generation to the next. What was needed was some distinguishing characteristic, like the distinctive marks on a bullet, that allow guns that otherwise look almost exactly alike to be distinguished. In 2002 CDC scientists published a paper that did identify the sameness of all the isolates from the attack and distinguished them from other virulent anthrax isolates (interestingly, out of 20 citations in that article, Ivins’s name is on 3 of them). Was this technique sufficient in 2002 to provide the information the FBI says was only possible after scientific breakthroughs that didn’t come until three years later? It’s not clear. I looked at several papers on genotyping anthrax and it is clear that since 2005 techniques have been developed to allow high throughput of thousands of samples, something that might be necessary in a future event (we hope not) but wasn’t needed in 2002. It sounds to me that the “new science” argument is mainly an excuse to explain what took the FBI so long.

But let’s grant the case and even accept the FBI claim that the science allows them to trace all of the anthrax in the four letters (two to news media and two to political figures) back to a flask, designated RMR-1029, produced by Ivins and “in his custody.” That’s what was said at the press conference. Here’s what the documents say:

Of the sixteen domestic government, commercial, and university laboratories that had virulent RMR- 1029 Ames strain Bacillus anthracis material in their inventory prior to the attacks, only one lab was located in Maryland or Virginia, where the relevant federal eagle envelopes were distributed and sold by the U.S. Postal Service: the USAMRID facility at Fort Detrick, MD. (Affidavit of Thomas F. Dellafera in support of request for search warrant)

This says there were sixteen such flasks around the country, not just the one in Ivins’s laboratory. The FBI argument against Ivins requires additional evidence that the envelopes containing the anthrax were only sold in Maryland and Virginia:

Four envelopes used in the attacks were recovered. The four envelopes were all 6.75-inch federal eagle envelopes, about 45 million of which were manufactured between Dec. 6, 2000, and March 2002.

These envelopes were sold solely by the U.S. Postal Service between Jan. 8, 2001, and June 2002.

After the attacks, an effort was made to collect all such envelopes for forensic examination, the documents state.

Envelopes with printing defects identical to those used in the attacks were collected from the Fairfax Main, Cumberland and Elkton post offices.

Given that the printing defects are present on only a small number of the envelopes and that those used in the attacks were recovered from post offices serviced by the Dulles Stamp Distribution Office, investigators said it is reasonable to conclude the envelopes used in the attacks were purchased from a post office in Maryland or Virginia.

Of the 16 government, commercial and university laboratories that have virulent Ames strain anthrax material in their inventory, only one lab was in Maryland or Virginia: USAMRIID. (Fredrick News)

Thus the envelope evidence, as presented in the documents, says the Dulles Stamp Distribution Office (SDO), located in Dulles, Virginia distributed the envelopes in Maryland and Virginia, including post offices near Fredrick, Maryland where Ivins lived, the documents don’t say the envelopes were sold only in Maryland and Virginia, only that the FBI thought it was reasonable to assume that because these envelopes were only a small proportion of all envelopes. The documents also seem to say there were 45 million envelopes manufactured by the same company in the relevant time period. It isn’t clear if all 45 million had the same printing defect but it seems to imply they did. If not, we don’t know the proportion that did have the defect.

Furthermore, the FBI acknowledges the anthrax in the two sets of letters (one set to the media and one set to the Senate) were grown separately. One was contaminated with Bacillus subtilis and the other wasn’t. Both had an unusual silicon treatment, presumably to make them more easily dispersible. This isn’t something you add with conventional laboratory equipment of the kind the FBI says Ivins had access.

The case, as laid out in the FBI documents, has some fairly cogent sounding evidence Ivins had something to hide and tried to hide it, for whatever reasons. But it certainly doesn’t lay out a tight science case. A half way decent defense attorney would have had a field day with the alleged science evidence against Ivins and it is hard to believe prosecutors really thought they had enough to convict “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

I still have plenty of doubt. And I think it’s reasonable doubt.

Comments

  1. #1 M. Randolph Kruger
    August 8, 2008

    I agree Revere, but my doubt is different. If this guy presented such a clear and present danger and that included the envelopes etc. then WTF, why didnt they pick him up? Then the CME of a state rules in a local ME’s jurisdiction…could I get some Tylenol please… To go of course.

    Where is Teddy Kennedy? This guy could explain Chappaquidick.

    It this is the most concise and correctly run investigation in the history of the US or its the JFK assassination…. There is no middle ground here. Oversight by Congress I think is going to lead to someplace we dont want to go. By going there it will affect national security without a doubt. Clear and open here could mean that we find out that we are doing we arent supposed to and thats bad. On th other hand we would only be doing so if someone else wasnt in the kitchen cooking something up. That would be leaked out. We are doing it because so and so is doing something too.

    Kind of like a nuclear proliferation treaty… its written on paper that would be incinerated in a nuclear explosion.

    Not enough time to have an investigation until the new President is in. By then it will be page 15 news if that.

  2. #2 MH
    August 8, 2008

    “Both had an unusual silicon treatment, presumably to make them more easily dispersible. This isn’t something you add with conventional laboratory equipment of the kind the FBI says Ivins had access.”

    If Ivins couldn’t have had access to such equipment, wouldn’t that be the best evidence for his defense?

    Also, in the last six years, has anyone else been suspected of being the anthrax mailer, or is Ivins the first?

  3. #3 revere
    August 8, 2008

    MH: Stephen Hatfill, a colleague of Ivins’s, was named as a “person of interest” and smeared through the media via government leaks just as in the Ivins case for many years as the anthrax mailer. The gov’t took the highly unusual step of settling his suit against them for $5.8 million.

  4. #4 MH
    August 8, 2008

    Oops, I meant seven years. I’ve just had a look at the Wikipedia page, and I have to say that the investigation smells very much like a cock-up/cover-up. What was the “specific information” that was deemed by the FBI to be “too sensitive” to share with Congress? What happened to the investigation into Philip Zack, who seems to have had means, motive, and opportunity?

    From a legal point of view, can a dead man be tried for a crime? If not, will they just assume that Ivins is the guilty party without the case ever going to court?

    He certainly looks to be a convenient scapegoat.

  5. #5 JSinger
    August 8, 2008

    Stephen Hatfill, a colleague of Ivins’s, was named as a “person of interest” and smeared through the media via government leaks …

    On the contrary, it was Barbara Hatch Rosenberg from the Federation of American Scientists who fixated on Hatfill and recruited Nicholas Kristof and the New York Times in her campaign against him. It was they who badgered the FBI into pursuing him.

    I’ve never understood what the Federation of American Scientists does, anyway, but that incident certainly convinced this American scientist to stay the hell away from them.

  6. #6 revere
    August 8, 2008

    JSinger: I don’t blame the media for printing information. I blame the leakers and for Hatfill the leaks came from within.

  7. #7 JP
    August 8, 2008

    “Then the CME of a state rules in a local ME’s jurisdiction…” Maryland only has the state OCME, no locals, so that part (the state ME dealing with the case) makes sense. The rest of it though…

  8. #8 JSinger
    August 8, 2008

    I don’t blame the media for printing information. I blame the leakers…

    I fail to see how that has anything to do with what happened to Hatfill. Barbara Hatch Rosenberg and Kristof weren’t reporting on the government’s pursuit of Hatfill; they launched a witch hunt against him and demanded that the government take it up.

    Kristof, for example:

    One of the first steps we can take to reduce our vulnerability is to light a fire under the F.B.I. in its investigation of the anthrax case. Experts in the bioterror field are already buzzing about a handful of individuals who had the ability, access and motive to send the anthrax.

    I say all this to prod the authorities, for although the F.B.I. has known about this handful of people since October, it has been painstakingly slow in its investigation. Let’s hope it will pick up the pace, for solving the case would reduce our vulnerability to another attack.

    There’s a legitimate, serious criticism to make of the FBI: that they shouldn’t be taking marching orders from the NYT and FAS. But “smeared through the media via government leaks” is completely wrong.

  9. #9 Michele
    August 8, 2008

    Glenn Greenwald over at Salon has been writing some very good pieces about this. He provides a link to Dr. Meryl Nass who has pointed out some of the glaring flaws of the FBI’s reasoning.

    http://anthraxvaccine.blogspot.com/2008/08/beyond-reasonable-doubt.html

  10. #10 revere
    August 8, 2008

    Michele: You are right. I linked to two of his pieces in yesterday’s post and have alerted him to what we have written. I haven’t been touch with Meryl for about a year when she called about biodefense labs. Probably should give her a buzz. She used to know Ivins, I believe.

  11. #11 Hank Roberts
    August 8, 2008

    Memo to self: hire at least one documentably high risk unstable employee for each division; keep on payroll at all costs, to be used as sacrifice when needed to explain some operation that goes wrong.

  12. #12 M. Randolpph Kruger
    August 8, 2008

    Ah the plot thickens a bit…..

    Check out the OCME’s site…. Very interesting when and why autopsies are carried out.

    Revere-smelly as a normal day in Beijing….

    http://www.dhmh.state.md.us/ocme/index.html

  13. #13 revere
    August 8, 2008

    Randy: Yes, I actually looked at this before I wrote the post. Hard to say exactly. The ME usually has the option about whether to do an autopsy or not if he/she feels the cause of death (poisoning) and manner of death (suicide) are sufficiently clear. But it is hard to imagine in this kind of high profile case they wouldn’t do one.

  14. #14 daedalus2u
    August 9, 2008

    I followed the anthrax case pretty carefully when it first happened and it seemed pretty clear to me that Hatfill was deliberately set up by someone, presumably the perpetrators who happened to know his background well enough to use a return address with the name of a school similar to one in his background. Fake anthrax letters were sent from cities on his travel itinerary.

    My guess is that it was a plan to do something so GWB could “look presidential”, the plan got set into motion over the summer, then when 9/11 happened the White House thought that was it and everyone took cipro. In all the excitement of 9/11, no one thought to call off the anthrax so it went forward.

    The plot to fake evidence that it was connected to Iraq is telling. If the perpetrator was unknown, why would you fake evidence that could stop the investigation while leaving the real perpetrator at large? The only reason you would do so, is if you know who the perpetrator is because you are the perpetrator.

    If the perpetrator had wanted to kill people, releasing spores in a crowded subway would kill a gigantic number. If you are taking antibiotics, even a large exposure wouldn’t make you sick. The spores have to germinate and make toxin to do that. If you have enough antibiotics in your system to kill them when they sprout, they can’t make toxin. Why would you sabotage the investigation by faking a connection to Iraq when the real perpetrator is a larger danger than Iraq ever was?

    Why did the lawyers say they had to settle with Hatfill before the case against Ivins could go forward? The only reason I can think of is because Hatfill had standing to depose and question under oath the various FBI agents. Now there is no one with standing to force them to testify under oath.

    A dead person cannot be tried. There will be no trial. The FBI tactics will not be questioned. Offering someone $2.5 million plus a sports car of his choice for “evidence”? Sure sounds like witness tampering and suborning perjury to me. But in the Bush justice department what is “legal” is what ever the political appointees say it is.

  15. #15 pft
    August 9, 2008

    Ivins likely did have something to do with it. The Anthrax attacks like 9/11 attacks were sponsored by the government.

    Ivins is simply the patsy. Like we made Oswald the patsy and then shut him up. So now they can say, case closed.

    As for his psychological issues and suicide. Remember MKULTRA. Mind control has come a long way since the 60′s. Minds can be programmed.

    People will believe it because just like 9/11, believing it is too scary, and if a light bulb in their head gets lit, they quickly shut it off out of fear. This will ensure another attack, blamed on some other group that meets their needs for another war or martial law.

  16. #16 pft
    August 9, 2008

    Sorry

    “People will NOT believe it……”

  17. #17 M. Randolph Kruger
    August 9, 2008

    Deadie-These leaks would prevent the GWB thing from happening I think. It is IMO of course. I think this is far more sinister than an impeachable offense and without an autopsy, this go is going to the ground without the questions that we would have asked about Vince Foster being answered. I dont know whether to raise a stink storm or not.

    There are just too many people out there that could spill the beans and he would have indeed had to have grown it without anyone knowing it. The other thing is that this guy didnt apparently go off his rocker over night. He had seven years. If I were the FBI I would have been asking him questions all through it. How do you get that out of a level 4 security much less a level 4 bio lab? Revere jump in here if you have anything on that. I never have been to Ft. Detrick but I hear its all cipher locks, armed guards and opened briefcases and boxes.

    Now we all got conspiracy theories going. But it is possible that this guy was halfway to his moon base, but that doesnt seem to be the case. That leads me down that road of where this stuff went. Jesus, they went after Tom Brokaw who is an okay lefty but not a Michael Moore by any stretch. Look at the timing too. GWB had the highest ratings ever during that initial stretch…. so whats going on here? The WORST thing that GWB and the machine could have done is to try to kill a media person. Besides, there were much better targets than Brokaw…. If it went down the way you have it, I would have gone for Rather. Just me of course.

    Having spent a bit of time in operations that were off the radar it was always apparent when you were in a dark operation when you couldnt get any answers. You were told to do this job and dont ask any questions. If you had to ask questions you were answered or not.

    just fear that we might see an inquiry that will produce answers that we dont need to know about. Does the overriding need to know, override the need for security here? I dont know. I wonder if this screwball was contaminated?

    As to that OCME thing Revere, apparently these guys are deputized in each county and this friggin thing went straight to that ME. Again, out of ALL channels. Sounding more and more like a Foggy Bottom op. Might just want to leave this alone.

    PFT you have no conclusive proof of a govt sponsored attack by foreign nationals on the WTC’s. If you have something, take it to a prosecutor. No more conjecture… provide clear and concise credible evidence of your allegations. They’ll be all ears. This stuff here is way out there and we got a body that all they have to do is split him open like a fresh fruit and take a few blood and tissue samples and then you’ll have a conspiracy or not. Very strange that the ME didnt in what was tied to an obvious felony. The FBI could have ordered it too because it was a federal investigation lasting some seven years. Thats what blows me away. If he was working for the Alphabet boys then its quashed under current law. If its NSA, then its quashed under the National Security Act even if an obvious crime has been committed. They simply take it to the AG and it gets classified and thats the last you’ll hear of it. The dust will simply settle.

    Anthrax in a subway would have to be blown about in quantity and it wouldnt just be a little almost invisible amount PFT. Then it would have to be inhaled in some quantity too. Someone would have noticed immediately given the time frame. It was also only 17 days after 9/11. Kind of laying it on I think.

    This one is going to smell for some time to come I think. If Waxman sits on this one, then its dark ops and dont bother. They could find some way to play politics with it on it with the Judiciary committee by Leaky Leahy and John Conyers too but if this suddenly just starts to melt into the woodwork you know there is a trail that we have no business being on.

    Of course the guy could have been totally whacked too just as they say. …..?

  18. #18 daedalus2u
    August 9, 2008

    RMK, I think you are right, that it made no sense to do it after 9/11. But the plan to do it happened before 9/11. This was not some fly-by-night operation. There were no human DNA traces on the envelopes. That is very difficult to do.

    I haven’t heard of any stable isotope studies connecting the anthrax to the samples that Ivins had. Probably because the stable isotope results show they were not grown from the same media. Or because stable isotope tests were never done.

    Growing anthrax isn’t difficult, they grow by themselves. Keeping it contained isn’t difficult either. Any impermeable barrier is 100% effective at blocking them. I don’t know with what efficiency anthrax makes spores from media, but assume it is 1% on a weight basis (if you pick the right media is probably is). 100 grams of spores then requires 10 kg of media. That would easily fit in a 5 gallon glass bottle. 10 grams would easily fit in a 1 gallon jug. You could use a plastic jug just as well. Burn everything when you are done and there is no evidence and you have sterilized all the residues.

    The engineering that goes into bioweapons programs isn’t to make one batch of 10 grams, it is to make a continuous process for making tens or hundreds, or thousands of tons at low cost and deliver it in a form where it can be put into weapons.

    I don’t think that GWB knew any of the details. I think it was something put on by papa Bush so his son could look presidential, so he could have greatness “thrust upon him”. 9/11 did that. GWB had the highest ratings of anyone ever. With something real to do (deal with 9/11), they forgot about the plan that had been put in motion and didn’t call it off. With the degree of compartmentalization the operation likely had, communication was likely in one direction only. People got orders and payoffs and had no way to communicate back. My guess is that everyone who could connect this to papa Bush is either 100% loyal, or is now dead.

    Mismanaging an investigation is trivial to do. If you are fed false leads that you follow to the exclusion of all else, the investigation will go nowhere except where it is allowed to go. Looking at the communication to the FBI agents doing the investigation might be able to show that, but that will never be done. Why did they wait a year before checking the few hundred mail boxes they knew it was mailed from? Obviously they had higher priorities, determined by those “leading” the investigation.

    Pre-9/11 the only concerns of the Bush administration were missile defense and how to go to war against Iraq. Al Qaeda wasn’t even on the map. They had just bribed the Taliban with millions in DEA money.

  19. #19 wenchacha
    August 9, 2008

    Randy: with all due respect, I don’t believe there is stuff “we don’t need to know” re: black ops. I don’t need to know secret codes for nukes, fine. I don’t need to know plenty of stuff for national security.

    But ops that kill US citizens that were cooked up somewhere in some dark basement are bullshit. If it was something like that, I think daylight is the best disinfectant. If our govt has some super-duper-secret squirrel team that’s playing with biodeath, then just come on out with it. Admit we have messed up, and get in talks to make every other country do it too.

    I know you’ll have a billion or so reasons why we can’t. Hafta maintain global superiority so we will always be safe. But we aren’t safe as it is.

    I would like the smart people to be in charge for a while, not just the people who believe that miltary superiority trumps all. There’s no reason to imagine it would work, but maybe that’s because nobody has tried it.

    Just sayin.

  20. #20 M. Randolph Kruger
    August 9, 2008

    Wen-If what you say is true I dont think there will be any way for them to hide it. I also dont think that GB1 had anything to do with this. If the people found out and the obvious answer is hanging and it got shoved to the side by some smart attorneys and especially some bought and paid for judges, then the country owould and will revolt.

    Might do it anyway if Obama is elected and starts in with his UHC and other programs. Mass, VA, GA, FL, AR, MS, AL and others all have secession movements right now. If you cant get justice, then you go and make your own?

    No, I doubt seriously that they could hide this one. TWA 800-Kallstrom retired the day before the final finding on the crash happened. Its not a felony to retire. It is when you stand up before the media and tell them that the aircraft wasnt shot down by US Naval assets. The Navy quote, “Our nearest asset was 80 miles away.” Did they shoot it down because there was a bad boy on it? Did they conveniently knock TWA out of business to prevent an investigation? Why did you never ever see the other side of the plane on TV, might it be because there was a hole ripped through the centersection by an obvious missile hit that didnt have a warhead on it?

    Sound familiar?

    Military superiority does trump all when dealing with military situations. You are talking politics and that I dont think anyone ever wins….

  21. #21 anon
    August 10, 2008

    There is another facet of this case that smells like a rat. Apparently there is some reasonable doubt that Ivins traveled to the places from which the anthrax letters were mailed. And there are conservatives who are saying, for their own reasons, that there would have had to be at least one other person involved in the attacks.

    MRK, if you were ever really involved in covert ops, you forgot the division of responsibilities among the agencies. NSA is SIGINT: signals intelligence; and also technology development in allied fields (they invented the large-scale integrated circuit, and gave it away to private industry). NSA has nothing to do with “cloak and dagger” stuff. Covert ops are usually conducted by the Directorate of Operations at CIA (CIA-DO). Covert ops have also been conducted by the FBI at various times in the past; and one can hope that those days are long since gone.

    The fact that CIA contains both DO and DI (Directorate of Intellilgence: the people who analyze what NSA, NRO, and our HUMINT assets bring in) is in the long run a good thing: the two respective corporate cultures balance each other, DI’s more cautious “academic” culture helping keep a check and balance on DO’s tendency to be a bit “wild.”

    If the anthrax attacks were perpetrated by people within our government, I would not suspect CIA of having any involvement. Rather, it would have been one of those off-list entities that the Bush Admin is famous for creating: the people who were spook-wannabees without proper credentials, who operated under a political agenda.

    Let us not forget that the targets of the anthrax attacks were a) a tabloid that had repeatedly published embarrassing photos of Bush’s kids drunk off their asses at wild parties, b) members of the Liberal Media, and c) people in Congress who were standing in the way of the Patriot (sic!) Act and who subsequently knuckled under.

    In any case, this should be investigated relentlessly by Congress. At very minimum we have here a case of domestic terrorism that was used to gin up support for the war in Iraq: that’s either incompetence or deliberate malfeasance. At most, if this was ordered from high up (e.g. Cheney’s office) we have something akin to treason, in that it directly aided the purpose of an enemy of the United States (making Al Qaeda appear to have greater capabilites than they in fact had at the time).

    I don’t need to know that the US has successfully cryptanalyzed Iran (though that fact was leaked by someone in the Admin to one of Ahmed Chalabi’s associates, and thence to the Iranian government). I don’t need to know which classified docs have gone missing in Cheney’s office (since he refused routine document checks). Nor do I need the launch codes for our strategic defenses.

    However, we as citizens in a republic ALL need to know as much as can be known about the first significant biological terrorism incident in the US (there was another, decades ago, keyword search “Rajneesh, salmonella”).

    We need to know it not only to bring any possible guilty higher-ups to stiff justice, but also to counteract the corrosive influence of not-knowing, upon our republic and our institutions.

    The truth will set us free. But nowhere were we promised that the truth will help us get a good night’s sleep.

  22. #22 davidp
    August 10, 2008

    Revere, you say

    It isn’t clear if all 45 million had the same printing defect but it seems to imply they did.

    but your second quoted report says:

    the printing defects are present on only a small number of the envelopes

    so the report claims the defects are only a small subset pf the envelopes.
    They even say “an effort was made to collect all such envelopes for forensic examination” although it doesnt say whether “all such” is 45 million envelopes, and that seems unlikely, although that is what is needed to be sure the defects are truely unusual.

  23. #23 M. Randolph Kruger
    August 10, 2008

    anon-You also were aware that during this same time that the V. Plame bullshit was underway. Already under investigation and that the loose cannons were running about over at the CIA. As best I can tell no one knows how she got sent out of the office. Not covert, overt as hell in fact. No outing otherwise someone would be in jail.

    The two directorates you mention are far outweighed by the NSA that has the chief of staffs ear at all times. In fact the NSA has about 30,000 plus employees and thats the ones we know about. Their mission has increased by three fold in the last 40 years and frankly they are the ones that scare me. The NSA ran Iran-Contra Anon… I can assure you of that. Black ops are just that. You never find out about them unless you get a national party that puts politics and publicity ahead of national security. That sometimes includes a covert offense.

    But, there I go again. Lets just go start a war and see who wants to play. Everyone flips out over Iraq….Wonder how they’d feel if they had gotten a bomb and used it instead of a plane in New York… Conjecture at best but it does make me wonder what Charlie Sheen would have said about that? The color wasnt right on the cloud as it rose so it had to have been one of ours…

    CIA DDI’s and DDO’s can authorize just about anything they want and thats where this whole thing goes south. At the particular time the CIA couldnt investigate Ivins because it was illegal to do so unless he tripped a wire outside of the country. Even if it did that left it to the FBI which I believe was just coming round the bend with Louis Freeh as the head encherito and with Janet “Liberty City” Reno. Or lets go to Reno via Waco Texas. But anyway people were leaving in droves. The ones that didnt Porter Goss fired and many without so much as a discussion of what went wrong. Its actually sounding to me like Bush might have been set up if you follow the information that was provided to him. Was there a concerted effort to put the bait out and see if he took it or not? I know he was briefed in Crawford after the invasion started and two weeks in, they couldnt find any WMD’s. That WMD report was produced by info collected under the Clinton Administration. Scott Ritter was one of the WMD people who chugged later for the Iraqi’s. Sooo many questions that if one started getting answers to them we might not need Waxman.

    The suggestion that the White House had anything to do with anthrax is ludicrous unless you have something much, much better than what you have now. Ivins was working in Ft. Detrick for years prior to Bush. So an assertion is not proof, nor is the suggestion of a conspiracy. Even the FBI said that their case against Ivins was circumstantial to his attorney on the day he died and they wanted to clear up some questions. … I want to know what those questions were before I ump to the conspiracy theory that the White House was involved. Understand though that if it were Clinton, Nixon or Johnson that I would be in there with you all the way. Those guys were pro’s.

    BTW-His attorney upon finding out he was dead still met with the Feds the day he died and they were all a bit flustered that he had “passed.” Its not known whether the attorney will work to clear his name.

    I doubt seriously that the CIA was involved at all unless they had some sort of operation going and it might have been to proactively track the bad guys down outside the country. They are allowed to do that. Either the guy died as a patriot, or he was a murderer/accomplice to murder. He had his attorney ready to go and that would be for what? I wont offer up a snap judgement on this one because there simply isnt enough information to go on.

    As for the other, I totally disagree that there should be a playground police for any Administration as you suggest. That puts the Congress into the position of super-oversight and that unfortunately has gotten us into way too much trouble. It also shuts down the ability of any Administration to function. You have to come up with something better than an assessment of how the DDI and DDO operate in the CIA to convince me, or even a jury that the White House was somehow involved. I am fully aware of how the positions work there and your assessment is informed on the supposed missions. On a good day its a hand to hand combat between the two generally speaking.

    Dont just say that it was hatched before the Republicans went in there… Give me a break and by all means give me some concrete, indictable, impeachable proof. The government is a boat with a buckshot leak problem. No way they could keep that hidden.

    But back to Ivins. Was he a domestic terrorist is what I want to know. A simple autopsy would go a long way towards solving that question. If he was offed then I would tend to lean towards a bigger problem and more to your suggestions. Ms. Nass and her opinions dont really change the outcome without an autopsy. She is just as ill informed as we are on the reasons for no autopsies.

    He had a restraining order against him by his shrink…. Why was he at the shrinks in the first place? The effing media isnt asking the right questions, only putting out the answers before the questions get asked. Nice, neat and with a ribbon on it.

    Still kinda stinks doesnt it Revere? The answers to the questions are only leaving more and more questions. The truth isnt going to set us free unless we know it IS the truth.

  24. #24 Steven Aftergood
    August 10, 2008

    it was Barbara Hatch Rosenberg from the Federation of American Scientists who fixated on Hatfill

    Rosenberg said she never publicly named Hatfill, and as far as I know there is no published record to the contrary. In any case, her speculative work on the anthrax issue was conducted as a private individual, and not as a representative of the Federation of American Scientists. To correct any misimpressions on this point, her views on the subject were publicly disavowed by the FAS leadership in 2002.

  25. #25 M. Randolph Kruger
    August 10, 2008

    Steven…. That too seems to be part of this mess… FAS did disavow her statements because it would seem that by using the affiliation she might have been setting them up for a legal action. Cant disparage the name of anyone without proof.

    For me, without a trial, an autopsy the government has sent themselves down that same path. Only got to convince six people in most states that you and your name were disparaged as the FBI got whacked themselves from naming someone as a “person of interest.” By being here, we are all “persons of interest.”

    Hell, I bet a bunch of us are already on their “shit list”

    Here is something new… couple it up with what we have above and then draw your own conclusions when you read the middle sections of this local story on it.

    http://www.wtopnews.com/?nid=25&sid=1456275

  26. #26 M. Randolph Kruger
    August 11, 2008

    More stuff coming to light about Ivins.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,400941,00.html

  27. #27 don
    August 11, 2008

    the key to the anthrax case is kathy nguyen the questions are how did she come to die of anthrax who were the people she knew. kathy: i know alot of egyptian men. they treat women that way. i like to smell things. my boyfriend is egyptian he wont let me call a cab from his house.

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