Thursday, August 14, 2008

That was then..

Back in 2006 the WaPo published an update story about the Amerithrax investigation, which included the following:
Moreover, scientists say, the particular strain of anthrax used in the attacks has turned to out to be a less significant clue than first believed. The highly virulent Ames strain was first isolated in the United States and was the basis for the anthrax weapons formerly created by the United States. The use of the Ames strain in the 2001 attack was initially seen as a strong clue linking the terrorist to the U.S. biodefense network.

But the more the FBI investigated, the more ubiquitous the Ames strain seemed, appearing in labs around the world including nations of the former Soviet Union.

"Ames was available in the Soviet Union," said former Soviet bioweapons scientist Sergei Popov, now a biodefense expert at George Mason University. "It could have come from anywhere in the world."
Reading the article again, especially this quote, "there is no significant signature in the powder that points to a domestic source," said one scientist, after knowing what we know now sounds a little startling and suggests a couple of possibilities.

In 2006 the Feds had just changed the guard and the new chief wanted a fresh look at the case. They had to know Ivins was a leading suspect at that point, so perhaps this story was mild disinformation attempting to shake the trees and see if anything would fall out. The converse would make the current story fingering Ivins as disinformation, but read this affidavit before rendering final judgment on the FBI, which is perhaps the most incriminating circumstantial evidence they had and certainly very interesting to a jury.

MORE 8/15/08

Ed Lake's anthraxinvestigation site is an interesting repository, containing many old MSM stories in their entirety that don't appear on the web anymore. One such article is from June 2002, where Barbara Hatch Rosenberg, Hatfill's leading detractor, mentioned that it had been known in 2002 the anthrax was genetically linked to Fort Detrick's stock.

Why is this important? Because the FBI accused Ivins of lying in 2005 and again in 2007 when he claimed to know the RMR-1029 flask was linked with the attacks. They claimed he couldn't have known since the first sample he sent to FBI for testing in 2002--April 2002 to be exact--did not match the evidence anthrax. Apparently they didn't inform him of this until 2005 at which point he adamantly denied it, claiming several scientists in the investigation told him his flask was close to a match only several months after the event (they denied it). Odd that Hatch-Rosenberg also seemed to be getting the same info in 2002, meaning Ivins could have picked up the same gossip. Actually, if he was one of Ms. Rosenberg's sources that would seem to prove he was telling the FBI the truth.

Another interesting potential loose end is the threatening letter sent to former USAMRIID scientist Dr. Ayaad Assaad accusing him of being capable of launching a bio-terror attack. The typed letter was sent on September 21st and displayed insider information about the Detrick workplace. Many suspected former USAMRIID scientist Phillip Zack because he had harrassed Dr. Assaad when they worked together in the late 80s, early 90s. But the FBI determined the substance had been grown within 2 years of the attack, effectively ruling out Zack. Was the letter perhaps written by Ivins to throw off the dogs?

Whomever wrote the letter had no way of knowing the anthrax was in the pipeline unless they mailed it--as the Assaad letter was sent only three days after the initial anthrax to mailings to Florida and Tom Brokaw and before the first victim was publicly identified. Ironically, it was also a day after someone in St. Petersburg, Florida sent a hoax letter to Tom Brokaw, using the term 'unthinkabel'. The second anthrax letter was mailed October 9 with the word penicillin misspelled. Possibly a coincidence, but an odd one at that.

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