Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mueller meets Congress

Robert "three sticks" Mueller faced the Judiciary Committee today and was peppered with questions about Dr. Bruce Ivins and the anthrax case. OK, he was peppered with two. Glenn Greenwald was none too happy. Matter of fact, he was darn near meltdown, lamenting about all the Bush officials who've evaded a frogmarch over the years by not publicly admitting their clear and obvious guilt to these committees.

Funny how someone can so quickly go from a liberal hero to villain in just a few days.

Mueller's two main non-answers were covered by Greenwald and Ed Lake but quickly summarizing, he didn't know the weight of the silicon content of the spores (in their scientific press briefing the FBI background official called it "significant") and he didn't expose the root of all nutroot evil--how they eliminated the CIA contractors at Battelle Memorial institute. For the record, in this instance the CIA is bad but when Valerie Plame worked there they were good.

Their unified theory seems to be that the spores were weaponized and sent out by the Bush machine via contractors to feed the war wagon against Saddam. This despite the fact the administration went out of their way to downplay the bentonite claim when ABC sprang it, then later fingered an American scientist and harassed him for 2 years, even naming the investigation "Ameri" thrax. Oh, and disregard that secret story about Cheney toting around a bio-suit, he clearly wasn't protecting himself from himself.

BTW, Lake mentioned the "Quantico letter", which was finally published. Not sure where the semblance to the anthrax letters exist, though. The person writing claims to be a current co-worker with Assaad, which Ivins was not in 2001, but that could have been designed to finger someone else. And it comports with some of his email diatribes. So it's interesting. But even more interesting is the question not asked--how did the FBI eliminate the possibility some of the RMR-1029 samples sent to outside labs didn't disappear along the way? They would have seemingly also had the four genetic markers and would never have been sent to the repository.

Whatever the case, the nutters were certainly correct about Mueller being vague. He said the National Academy of Science would take an independent look and of course they will, but that takes time and the public's memory is short. The longer these kinds of things drag on, the less likely an adequate resolution will ever be seen, as illuminated by a highly animated Chairman Conyers. If only he would have been that excited about TWA800.

MORE 9/17/08

Mueller met in front of the Senate Judiciary today. No video yet, but the skinny is that Leahy doesn't believe Ivins was the killer (he provided no factual reason why) and Grassley's questions weren't answered. Here's some restrained musings from Greenwald including an interview with Nadler, who hints that he'll be pushing for Congress to investigate the Bush administration after they leave regardless of who wins in November, and will also soon try to introduce a law restricting presidential pardons to only those who've already been prosecuted.

My concerns continue to lay with the possibility some of the RMR-1029 material escaped from a legitimate lab, which if used later for the letters would seemingly also display the 4 mutations present in Ivins' flask yet wouldn't have been sent to the FBI repository for evidence. I'm not an expert so this might be very easily proven an erroneous concern (although someone familiar with Fort Detrick was once quoted as saying material could be easily smuggled out at one time) but I haven't heard or seen it significantly addressed by anyone in power yet.

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