Never mind that the White House vehemently denied the report, our fearless lefty flamethrowers are out for blood, basically smelling a secret prison salad with GTMO dressing for these leakers figuring they'll blow the lid on the whole darn thing. Never mind that the Veep used to travel with a bio protection suit (just a unheralded prop in case the cover story might get threatened by someone at his secret location?) and never mind they leaked to Bob Woodward to debunk the story, then later set up Hatfill as a fall guy, no sir, it was inside job! So inside it wasn't even used.
Before they succeed in changing history let's go back and look:
10/21/01 (Guardian Ed Vulliamy)
However, Iraq was able to obtain a virulent form of anthrax, known as the Vollum strain, from the American Type Culture Collection, a laboratory in Virginia, before the Gulf war. That was the strain Iraq used and turned into weapons, according to Unscom.10/26/01 (from Brian Ross through a second party site - ABC has apparently thrown the original in the bit bucket)
But investigators emphasise that a relatively impotent strain does not rule out foreign sponsorship. They say it is conceivable that a foreign government or terrorist organisation picked a domestic strain to throw off federal investigators. 'There's no indication that it came from the Russian or Iraqi programmes, but you can't rule that out,' said a federal scientist familiar with the investigation.
An urgent series of tests conducted on the letter at Ft. Detrick, Md., and elsewhere discovered the anthrax spores were treated with bentonite, a substance that keeps the tiny particles floating in the air by preventing them from sticking together. The easier the particles are to inhale, the more deadly they are.10/30/01 (from Bob Woodward - excerpt only, original article N/A)
As far as is known, only one country, Iraq, has used bentonite to produce biological weapons.
Just minutes before ABCNEWS' World News Tonight aired this report, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer flatly denied bentonite was found on the letters.
[excerpt] Federal officials said that the anthrax spores that infected workers at the New York Post and in the office of Senate Majority Leader Thomas Daschle were not mixed with bentonite, a mineral compound used by the Iraqi biological weapons program to make the spores more infectious. The findings appeared to support recent hints by various U.S. officials that Iraq is not a prime suspect in the recent anthrax attacks, which have killed three and wreaked havoc with the postal system.09/30/03 (by Toni Locy!)
Two years after the nation's deadly anthrax attacks, the FBI still has not been able to re-create the process the killer used to produce the substance sent through the U.S. mail, a top FBI official said Monday.09/25/06 (by Allan Lengel and Joby Warrick)
But Michael Mason, the new assistant director in charge of the FBI's Washington field office, said testing has helped investigators "narrow" some aspects of the investigation and convinced them that the culprit has special expertise.
Five years after the anthrax attacks that killed five people, the FBI is now convinced that the lethal powder sent to the Senate was far less sophisticated than originally believed, widening the pool of possible suspects in a frustratingly slow investigation.Emphasis added. This last column is the most interesting, since it indicates they were changing their tune about the powder being so sophisticated it had to be from Fort Detrick to saying it could have been brewed up by the right person in a basement lab. Now they're saying the substance was sophisticated and traced back to Ivins' lab at the Fort.
The finding, which resulted from countless scientific tests at numerous laboratories, appears to undermine the widely held belief that the attack was carried out by a government scientist or someone with access to a U.S. biodefense lab.
Since this story was issued after the FBI changed horses at the top of Operation Amerithrax--now heralded as the key to solving the crime--it was perhaps disinformation designed to see what kind of reaction they'd get from lab employees under suspicion. Unless they were truly just groping in the dark.
Interestingly, although ABC is making it hard to find Brian Ross's original blockbuster about the bentonite he now has a piece out today saying that Ivins was perhaps in charge of investigating his own crime, since he was given the task of analyzing the spores in the early stages.
This begs the question as to whether Ivins was one of the leakers to ABC, or involved in forwarding the info to a leaker, in an effort to throw the dogs off the chase since the Ross report claimed sources at the lab. The FBI should know now whether this is true, and they should have known then. If true, and coupled with his mishandling of the substance in the lab, he should have become a prime suspect, yet Hatfill remained the public face of suspicion.
That's admittedly still odd, but it's also where the lefty conspiracy theory flies off a cliff. Had Bush been using the story to fearmonger over Saddam they'd have something. But he never did. It was actually Saddam who mentioned the powder in his third open letter to America October 29, 2001:
We have heard in the news, recently, that American officials think that the source of anthrax is probably the US itself. Is this conclusion or information just a tactic to divert the attention of those who were terrorized to hear that Bin Laden is the source of anthrax, and to hear insinuations to other accusations, that many Americans think that they should not persist in harming the people he cares for, because that would push him to a stronger reaction in this way or by other means? Or have they done this to divert attention from the incompetence of American official bodies in the events of September 11, and they find now that they have achieved their goal and consequently, the act and the actors should be buried?!And while we're at it, here's an excerpt from his first open letter, which could have been written by bin Laden, Ramsey Clark, or any other assorted liberal these past few years:
Americans should feel the pain they have inflicted on other peoples of the world, so as when they suffer, they will find the right solution and the right path.Odd where we stand today, eh?
Sounds like a typical eccentric scientist. Maybe that's why the FBI never pegged him. At this point we're left with believing he 1) took a bunch of pills for stress and a headache and the combo killed him, but he was the killer; 2) took a bunch of pills for stress and a headache and the combo killed him, and he wasn't the killer; 3) took a bunch of pills to end his life because he was the killer; 4) took a bunch of pills to end his life because he was messed up with something other than the anthrax stuff, which added to the stress, but he wasn't the killer; 5) something nefarious happened. It'll be interesting to see how much is released over the next few weeks to support the above.
It's an old-fashioned website but there's a whole lot of information stored at Ed Lake's anthrax investigation site. He's suspected a domestic source all along but not necessarily somebody from the Fort. That's why he appears a little taken aback by the news, asking several logical questions.
The main one in my mind is whether Ivins allegedly stole the powder or created it himself? It would appear the latter, since they dragged a lake in the DC area years ago thinking Hatfill had stashed some drying equipment there--meaning the surveillance tapes probably showed nothing and the stash wasn't disturbed. That would suggest he needed a secluded place to brew. Do they have a clue?
Lake also talks about the blossoming field of microbial forensics and how such evidence might go over with juries and judges in court. The worst fear would be to have the killer walk on a technicality, which suggests a reason the FBI was overtly surveiling him to produce circumstantial evidence later to be used to diminish his character to compensate. Like he says, we need a minimum of additional information to satisfy even the most rudimentary curiosity, although admittedly some on both sides (left- Bush inside job; right- AQ or Saddam did it) will never buy any story coming from the authorities, which is kinda sad.