August 6, 2008
By SHELDON RAMPTON
Bruce Edwards Ivins, a top anthrax researcher at the U.S. Government's biological weapons research laboratories, died of an apparent suicide last Tuesday, just as the Justice Department was about to charge him with responsibility for the September 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people in the United States. Glenn Greenwald has written an important piece for Salon.com in which he demonstrates, with copious evidence, that a major government scandal lurks behind the anthrax story.
Ivins may have acted alone in carrying out the anthrax attacks. (I don't want to presume his guilt or anything else about this case until we see further details about the government's evidence against him.) However, Ivins most certainly did not act alone in falsifying information so the attacks could be used as a pretext for war.
"If the now-deceased Ivins really was the culprit behind the attacks," Greenwald writes, "then that means that the anthrax came from a U.S. Government lab, sent by a top U.S. Army scientist at Ft. Detrick. Without resort to any speculation or inferences at all, it is hard to overstate the significance of that fact. From the beginning, there was a clear intent on the part of the anthrax attacker to create a link between the anthrax attacks and both Islamic radicals and the 9/11 attacks."
Greenwald continues: "Much more important than the general attempt to link the anthrax to Islamic terrorists, there was a specific intent -- indispensably aided by ABC News -- to link the anthrax attacks to Iraq and Saddam Hussein." ABC claimed it had been told by "four well-placed and separate sources" that the anthrax used in the September attack contained bentonite, which therefore suggested it was produced in Iraq. As Greenwald points out, "That means that ABC News' 'four well-placed and separate sources' fed them information that was completely false." In all likelihood, "the same Government lab where the anthrax attacks themselves came from was the same place where the false reports originated that blamed those attacks on Iraq. ... Surely the question of who generated those false Iraq-anthrax reports is one of the most significant and explosive stories of the last decade."
Greenwald goes on to provide details about the psychological impact that the anthrax fabrications played in influencing journalists and propagandizing the American public to support the invasion of Iraq. He also notes that John McCain and Joe Lieberman were among the first people to claim publicly, during an appearance on the David Letterman Show, that the anthrax came from Iraq. (Interestingly, the Bush White House repeatedly denied this claim, despite its overall tendency to exaggerate and fabricate evidence linking Iraq to weapons of mass destruction.)
Of course, ABC News knows the identity of the "well-placed sources" who fed this false information to them and, through them, to the American public. I'll leave it to Greenwald to explain the implications:
And yet, unbelievably, they are keeping the story to themselves, refusing to disclose who did all of this. They're allegedly a news organization, in possession of one of the most significant news stories of the last decade, and they are concealing it from the public, even years later.
They're not protecting "sources." The people who fed them the bentonite story aren't "sources." They're fabricators and liars who purposely used ABC News to disseminate to the American public an extremely consequential and damaging falsehood. But by protecting the wrongdoers, ABC News has made itself complicit in this fraud perpetrated on the public, rather than a news organization uncovering such frauds. That is why this is one of the most extreme journalistic scandals that exists, and it deserves a lot more debate and attention than it has received thus far.
If indeed Ivins was the person who carried out the anthrax attack, there is one possible scenario that Greenwald does not seem to have fully considered. Perhaps Ivins himself was the person who fabricated the claim that the anthrax contained bentonite. ABC's sources might have been merely repeating what he told them. If so, however, that is an important story in itself and needs to be reported. Just as the FBI has a responsibility to share publicly its evidence linking Ivins to this crime, ABC has some explaining to do about the disinformation that it helped disseminate to the American people.
The anthrax attack of September 2001 was an act of terrorism that killed five innocent people. At the time, and for years thereafter, many people were led to believe that the perpetrators were Islamic extremists in service to a hostile foreign power. The FBI is now claiming that the perpetrator was a Roman Catholic and an employee of the U.S. army who held a position of trust that gave him access to biological weapons -- even though he was, according to his counselor, "homicidal, sociopathic." This is a major scandal by any measure. The public deserves to know how American institutions -- including the U.S. Department of Defense as well as the news media -- could have failed them this badly.
Sheldon Rampton is a reseracher at the Center for Media and Democracy (where this essay originally appeared) and co-author of two books about the war: Iraq: Weapons of Mass Deception and The Best War Ever.
By Avram Goldstein and James Rowley
Aug. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Scientists challenged the FBI and prosecutors to share more data to back their allegation that an Army bioweapons expert worked alone to kill five people who handled anthrax-laced letters he put in the U.S. mail.
Researchers and legal experts questioned the reliability of novel genetic tests cited by the FBI as ``breakthrough'' evidence that pinned the 2001 crime on scientist Bruce E. Ivins. Because the FBI hasn't offered such tests in criminal cases, experts said it's uncertain the results could have been used in court as evidence against Ivins, who died July 29 of a drug overdose.
``The evidence is compelling but not sufficient,'' Luciana Borio, a senior associate at the University of Pittsburgh Center for Biosecurity in Baltimore, said in an interview yesterday. ``It's a match, but what does that mean? We don't know how many samples were tested and how many weren't tested. Scientists think in terms of statistics.''
Ivins, 62, was a scientist at the U.S. biodefense laboratory at Fort Detrick, Maryland, and helped investigators analyze anthrax samples used in the attacks. Authorities are treating his death as a suicide. He had recently learned he was about to be charged in the attacks.
In declaring two days ago that the crime was solved, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said it consulted a number of scientists to develop a method of identifying a unique genetic signature for the anthrax, allowing them to trace it back to the original batch controlled by Ivins.
One of those scientists was Paul Keim, a senior investigator at the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Phoenix. He said in an e-mail that he can't discuss the research because he signed a non-disclosure agreement with the FBI. He said he will speak before the case is closed about the ``foundational science'' that formed the basis of the results.
Joseph Persichini Jr., assistant FBI director in charge of the Washington field office, told reporters Aug. 6 that the FBI lab will publish its research, though he wouldn't say how soon.
A former federal prosecutor said uncertainty about whether a trial judge would admit the test results into evidence may explain why the FBI didn't arrest Ivins. The scientist had been scheduled to meet last week with prosecutors who planned to lay out their case against him.
``They never arrested him because they wanted him to confess,'' said Joseph diGenova, a former U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia. Prosecutors knew ``there would have been all sorts of problems on the reliability of the scientific analysis.''
Close the Books
It's premature to close the book on the case until investigators share evidence with the scientific community, Borio and other scientists said.
``Microbial forensics is still a nascent field, and, as far as I know, no one has ever been convicted in a U.S. court on the basis of microbial forensic evidence,'' said Peter Hotez, a microbiologist at George Washington University. ``It's untested. In all likelihood he's the guy, but you can't say it's beyond a reasonable doubt.''
The reliability of the evidence would have been ``a major, contested battle'' if the case had gone to court, said Paul Giannelli, who teaches scientific evidence at Case Western Reserve University's law school in Cleveland.
Giannelli said the FBI was slow to share research with other scientists when its laboratory first developed DNA typing as a forensic technique for identifying suspects.
``They had a group of scientists they trusted and they would share the data with them,'' Giannelli said. ``You don't have the independence and openness in forensic science'' that is found in academic science.
``The proof is going to be in an independent scientific analysis of that data,'' said Philip K. Russell, who directed emergency preparedness for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services after the attacks. ``It's pretty complex stuff and will take some experts in bacterial genetics and bacterial molecular epidemiology to opine with confidence on it.''
Ivins's lawyer, Paul F. Kemp, said the government never showed him the lab reports that officials said link the letters to the anthrax handled by his client.
``If they're so proud of these reports, why didn't they release those yesterday?'' Kemp said.
At the Aug. 6 briefing, Jeffrey Taylor, the U.S. attorney in Washington, said the ``breakthrough'' came in 2005 when the FBI developed a test that linked spores used in the attacks to a flask controlled by Ivins.
Investigators ``focused their attention laser-like onto that flask, and the person who had control of that flask,'' Taylor said. He said it took another two years to exclude as suspects others at Fort Detrick who had access to the flask.
DiGenova said it was ``telling'' that Attorney General Michael Mukasey and FBI Director Robert Mueller didn't attend the public announcement.
``I don't think the attorney general or the director wanted to be facially associated with the conclusions reached in the case,'' diGenova said.
Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said Mukasey and Mueller ``fully support'' the investigation's conclusions and it was decided that officials most familiar with the investigation should respond to media questions.
Kenneth M. Berry, left, with his attorney Clifford E. Lazzaro in 2004, for a time was the focus of the FBI investigation into the origin of anthrax-laced letters that killed five people.
After a doctor in New York drew the interest of the FBI, his marriage fell apart and his practice suffered, his attorney says.
And after two Pakistani brothers in Pennsylvania were briefly under scrutiny, they eventually had to leave the country to find work.
The FBI's path to Bruce Ivins, the Army scientist who committed suicide late last month as federal officials moved closer to indicting him for the 2001 anthrax-letter attacks, was long and tortuous.
Before the investigators settled on Ivins -- and his defenders still say the FBI hounded an innocent man to death -- they had focused on Steven Hatfill, another Army researcher, for years.
Eventually, Hatfill, who said his career was ruined, fought back, filing a series of lawsuits, including against The New York Times. In June, long after the government had narrowed its hunt to Ivins, the government agreed to pay Hatfill $4.6 million. On Friday, the Justice Department issued a statement exonerating him.
Along the way, however, scores of others -- terrorists, foreigners, academic researchers, biowarfare specialists and an elite group of Army scientists -- drew investigators' interest. For some, the cost was high: lost jobs, canceled visas, broken marriages, frayed friendships.
At the Army biodefense laboratory in Frederick, Md., where Ivins worked, the inquiry became a murder mystery, the cast composed of top scientists eyeing one another warily over vials of pathogens.
"It was not pleasant," recalled Jeffrey J. Adamovicz, a former official there. "There was a general sense of paranoia that they were going to get somebody no matter what."
Some critics fault the FBI's investigation as ignorant, incompetent or worse.
Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., who was a Princeton University physicist, said the disclosures linking Ivins to the crime notwithstanding, the inquiry was "poorly handled" and "resulted in a trail of embarrassment and personal tragedy."
The bureau's defenders, however, say it did what was necessary to find a killer.
"You do the best you can, and it's not always pretty," said Robert M. Blitzer, a former director of the FBI's section on domestic terrorism. "Here, you have a bunch of people dead and several diminished, and you're charged with solving the crime. You try not to step on people's toes, but sometimes it happens."
Over seven years, the anthrax investigators conducted nearly 100 searches and more than 9,000 interviews in the most complex criminal case in bureau history. They hunted an attacker who, in September and October 2001, had mailed anthrax-laden envelopes that killed five people, sickened 17 others and threw the Lnation into a panic.
Early on, with more zeal than solid information, agents turned on three Pakistani-born city officials in Chester, Pa. One, Irshad Shaikh, was the health commissioner; his brother, Masood Shaikh, ran the lead-abatement program. The third, Asif Kazi, was an accountant in the finance department.
Kazi was sitting in his City Hall office one day in November 2001 when FBI agents burst in and began a barrage of questions.
"It was really scary," Kazi recalled last week. "It was: 'What do you think of 9/11? What do you know about anthrax?' "
Across town, an agent pointed a gun through an open window at Kazi's home while others knocked down the front door as his wife was cooking. At the Shaikh brothers' house, agents in bioprotection suits began hunting for germ-making equipment and carted away computers.
None of the three men had ever worked with anthrax. But for days, they were on national television as footage of the searches ran on a video loop and news announcers wondered aloud whether they were the killers.
The men were cleared after it turned out that a disgruntled employee had sought revenge by calling in a bogus tip. But for all three, trouble followed. The Shaikhs' path to citizenship was disrupted, their visas ran out and both had to find work abroad, Kazi said.
Kazi, already a citizen, was searched and interrogated for as long as two hours every time he traveled back from visiting his brother in Canada. His name was finally removed from a terrorism watch list about a year ago, allowing him to travel freely.
When Kazi heard that Ivins was said to be the culprit in the attacks, he had one request.
"We'd just like our names cleared," Kazi said. "There's no problem for people who know us. But out in the community, someone might still think, 'Maybe these guys were guilty.' "
In late 2001, agents discovered that the germ used in the attacks was not foreign in origin, but a domestic strain. That prompted the FBI to focus mainly on scientists inside the United States. Casting a wide net, the bureau sent a letter to the 30,000 members of the American Society for Microbiology. "It is very likely," the letter said, "that one or more of you know" the attacker.
The bureau began looking at biodefense insiders such as Mikesell, an anthrax specialist who had worked in the 1980s and 1990s with Ivins at the Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, in Frederick. He had then joined Battelle, a private, nonprofit research organization in Columbus that develops technology for industry and governments, which had become deeply involved in secret federal research on biological weapons.
In 2002, Mikesell came under FBI scrutiny, officials familiar with the case said. He began drinking heavily -- a fifth of hard liquor a day toward the end, a family member said.
"It was a shock that all of a sudden he's a raging alcoholic," recalled the relative, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of family sensitivities.
By late October 2002, Mikesell, 54, was dead, his short obituary in The Dispatch making no mention of his work with anthrax or the investigation. "He drank himself to death," the relative said.
Another casualty was Kenneth M. Berry, an emergency-room physician with a strong interest in bioterrorism threats. In August 2004, agents raided his colonial-style home and his former apartment in Wellsville, a village in western New York, as well as his parents' beach house on the New Jersey shore.
"He was devastated," Clifford E. Lazzaro, Berry's attorney at the time, said in an interview. "They destroyed his marriage and destroyed him professionally for a time."
Last month, Ivins told a colleague that his experience of FBI pressure was similar to Mikesell's.
"Perry drank himself to death," the colleague recalled Ivins as saying two weeks before he killed himself.
FBI Director Robert Mueller said Friday that he is proud of the inquiry.
"I do not apologize for any aspect of the investigation," he said. It is erroneous, he added, "to say there were mistakes."
A commenter here on Friday noted what appears to be a rather glaring contradiction in the case against Bruce Ivins. In response to criticisms that the FBI's case contains no evidence placing Ivins in New Jersey, where the anthrax letters were sent, The Washington Post published an article -- headlined "New Details Show Anthrax Suspect Away On Key Day" -- which, based on leaks from "government sources briefed on the case," purported to describe evidence about Bruce Ivins' whereabouts on September 17 -- the day the FBI says the first batch of anthrax letters were mailed from a Princeton, New Jersey mailbox. The Post reported:
A partial log of Ivins's work hours shows that he worked late in the lab on the evening of Sunday, Sept. 16, signing out at 9:52 p.m. after two hours and 15 minutes. The next morning, the sources said, he showed up as usual but stayed only briefly before taking leave hours. Authorities assume that he drove to Princeton immediately after that, dropping the letters in a mailbox on a well-traveled street across from the university campus. Ivins would have had to have left quickly to return for an appointment in the early evening, about 4 or 5 p.m.
In theory (and there is no evidence for this at all), Ivins could have left Fort Detrick that night after work and driven to New Jersey, but then the leaked information reported by the Post about Ivins' September 17 morning "administrative leave" would be completely irrelevant, and according to the Post, that isn't what the FBI believes occurred ("Authorities assume that he drove to Princeton immediately after" he took administrative leave in the morning). The FBI's theory as to how and when Ivins traveled to New Jersey on September 17 and mailed the letters is simply impossible, given the statement in their own Probable Cause Affidavit as to "the window of opportunity" the anthrax attacker had to mail the letters in order to have them bear a September 18 postmark. Marcy Wheeler and Larisa Alexandrovna have now noted the same discrepancy. That is a pretty enormous contradiction in the FBI's case.
* * * * *
The FBI's total failure to point to a shred of evidence placing Ivins in New Jersey on either of the two days the anthrax letters were sent is a very conspicuous deficiency in its case. It's possible that Ivins was able to travel to Princeton on two occasions in three weeks without leaving the slightest trace of having done so (not a credit card purchase, ATM withdrawal, unusual gas purchases, nothing), but that relies on a depiction of Ivins as a cunning and extremely foresightful criminal, an image squarely at odds with most of the FBI's circumstantial evidence that suggests Ivins was actually quite careless, even reckless, in how he perpetrated this crime (spending unusual amounts of time in his lab before the attacks despite knowing that there would be a paper trail; taking an "administrative leave" from work to go mail the anthrax letters rather than just doing it on the weekend when no paper trail of his absence would be created; using his own anthrax strain rather than any of the other strains to which he had access at Fort Detrick; keeping that strain in its same molecular form for years rather than altering it, etc.).
The FBI dumped a large number of uncorroborated conclusions at once on Wednesday, carefully assembled to create the most compelling case they could make, and many people -- as intended -- jumped to proclaim that it was convincing. But the more that case is digested and assessed, the more questions and the more skepticism seem to arise among virtually everyone.
The Washington Post Editorial page -- the ultimate establishment organ -- published its second Editorial yesterday calling for an independent investigation of the FBI's case against Ivins and pointed out just some of the numerous, critical holes in that case:
The case is admittedly circumstantial, and questions have been raised about the reliability of the FBI's scientific evidence, the inability to tie Mr. Ivins to the handwritten notes included with the mailed anthrax, the process by which the FBI excluded as suspects others who had access to the anthrax, and more.
The transcript of my interview with Dr. Gigi Gronvall of the Center for Biosecurity at the University of Pittsburgh's Medical Center -- in which she points out the complete lack of scientific data presented in the FBI's public case and explores the numerous other private and public institutions around the world engaged in high-level anthrax research -- is now available here. A senior epidemiologist who posts at ScienceBlogs has raised several other significant deficiencies in the FBI's scientific case -- here and here -- while a microbiologist and evolutionary biologist at the same site has expressed extreme doubt about one of the FBI's key molecular claims, here. Are there any scientists anywhere who find the FBI's claims impressive or convincing?
For those inclined to place faith in the FBI's professed claims of "confidence" as coming from a trustworthy and admirable institution -- the same way people placed faith in the Honorable Colin Powell's quite similar one-sided, selective disclosure of evidence before the U.N. in 2003 -- this ought to serve as a reminder of the foolishness of doing so, from ABC News' World News Tonight, October 22, 2002:
PETER JENNINGS, ABC NEWS (Off Camera) We have an exclusive report tonight about the anthrax attacks. It has been a year since the anthrax letters were sent to a number of media organizations and politicians. And as you may recall, five people died. (Voice Over)The FBI tells ABC News it is very confident that it has found the person responsible. PETER JENNINGS (CONTINUED) (Off Camera) ABC's Brian Ross is here. Brian? Same case, same individual. BRIAN ROSS, ABC NEWS (Off Camera) That's right, Peter, Steven Hatfill. And while there's no direct evidence, authorities say they are building what they describe as a growing case of circumstantial evidence.
(Off Camera) We have an exclusive report tonight about the anthrax attacks. It has been a year since the anthrax letters were sent to a number of media organizations and politicians. And as you may recall, five people died.
(Voice Over)The FBI tells ABC News it is very confident that it has found the person responsible.
PETER JENNINGS (CONTINUED)
(Off Camera) ABC's Brian Ross is here. Brian? Same case, same individual.
BRIAN ROSS, ABC NEWS
(Off Camera) That's right, Peter, Steven Hatfill. And while there's no direct evidence, authorities say they are building what they describe as a growing case of circumstantial evidence.
Beginning tomorrow, August 11, I'll be on vacation and thus, absent some highly unanticipated event, won't be blogging for the week (until August 18). The Radio Show podcasts, however, will be posted here this week as scheduled -- Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 2:00 p.m. EST [at least one of those segments will entail a discussion of Friday's Accountability Money Bomb, along with the short-term and longer-term plans for Accountability Now. Friday's Money Bomb raised in excess of $150,000 (and counting), bringing the total raised around these civil liberties and Constitutional issues, when combined with the Blue America FISA/telecom immunity funds raised in the last couple months, to more than $500,000].
-- Glenn Greenwald
Scientists are stepping up among those most skeptical of the FBI's evidence implicating military microbiologist Bruce Ivins in the 2001 Anthrax attacks.
In yesterday's New York Times, microbiologist Gerry Andrews wrote an op-ed describing himself as "both disheartened and perplexed by the lack of physical evidence" against Ivins. Andrews worked with Ivins for 16 years and served as the chief of the bacteriology division at the military lab at Ft. Detrick in Maryland.
While the FBI last week released extensive documents with circumstantial evidence against Ivins, they provided almost no details of the scientific testing that underpinned the investigation.
While questions about scientific aspects of the case have been aired, they are often relegated to the bottom of news stories behind other aspects of the investigation, such as Ivins' emails around the time of the attacks or his mental problems.
Today Dr. Meryl Nass, a bioweapons expert, rattled off a long list of concerns about the case on her blog.
Editors at Science Blogs built on their initial skepticism by publishing an additional piece titled "Anthrax Case: Reasonable Doubt on the Science."
The American Society of Microbiologists, the primary professional association for the field, has not issued any public statements on the case, but is prepared to provide experts for testimony on Capitol Hill if asked, spokeswoman Barbara Hyde told TPMmuckraker.
Meanwhile, virtually nobody with a science background in microbiology has stepped forward in support of the FBI's conclusion that Ivins was likely the one and only person involved in the 2001 attacks, said Gigi Gronvall, a senior associate with the Center for Biosecurity at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
"[Federal officials] came out and said they'd made the case, but they didn't actually present that science. So it really can't be evaluated," Gronvall said in an interview. "They talked about the genetic signature but they didn't elaborate on what that was. We want to know how they were able to determine that that one flask contained the parent train of what was sent out."
What the FBI Knows: For Bruce Ivins and For Us
by Elizabeth Ferrari Page 1 of 3 page(s)
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Remember when the FBI told us that military microbiologist Bruce Ivins gave investigators a bogus sample of the anthrax from his lab in 2002 -- suggesting an effort to mislead and cover up his own connection to the 2001 anthrax attacks?
Well, that might not be true, according to the New York Times. Ivins did give investigators a sample of his own anthrax -- which allegedly matched the strain used in the attacks -- but the FBI botched the testing process.
But F.B.I. officials acknowledged at the closed-door briefing, according to people who were there, that the sample Dr. Ivins gave them in 2002 did in fact come from the same strain used in the attacks, but, because of limitations in the bureau's testing methods and Dr. Ivins's failure to provide the sample in the format requested, the F.B.I. did not realize that it was a correct match until three years later.
That closed-door briefing came as the FBI has agreed to begin providing more details about the science underpinning its case against Ivins.
The bureau is coming forward with more information at least partly in response to the experts who have publicly expressed skepticism about the FBI's case, which concluded that Ivins was the one and only person involved in the attacks.
Last week the Department of Justice gave a private briefing to Congress and this week the DOJ plans to make the new details public, the Times reports.
According to those who attended last week's briefing, the FBI appears to be backpeddling on some initial components of its case against Ivins.
In addition to the new version regarding the anthrax sample Ivins provided in 2002, investigators now say the evelopes used in the mail attacks were more widely available than initially suggested.
Investigators said two weeks ago that the envelopes were unique and easily traced back to the Maryland post office near Ivins' home. But reports from the close-door session say that is not the case.
Many scientists are looking forward to hearing details of the investigation, but do not expect the science to persuade all the skeptics.
"I expect people to be dazzled by the science. I am worried that people will confuse solid science (and I expect the science to be very good) with a solid case," Gigi Gonvall, a senior associate at the Center for Biosecurity at the University of Pittsburge Medical Center, told TPMmuckraker this morning.
"The science will only take you so far."
World's Top Anthrax Experts Say The Killer Anthrax was Weaponized
by George Washington Page 1 of 1 page(s)
http://georgewashington2.blogspot.com/2008/09/worlds-top-anthrax-experts-say-killer.html Some of the top anthrax experts in the world say that the killer anthrax was weaponized:
Some of the top anthrax experts in the world say that the killer anthrax was weaponized:
"It’s high-grade. It’s free flowing. It’s electrostatic free. And it’s in high concentration. It appears to have an additive that keeps the spores from clumping."
"Yes, of course it was weaponized anthrax. There's no question."
"Apparently, the spores were coated with a polyglass which tightly bound hydrophilic silica to each particle. That's what was briefed (according to one of my former weapons inspectors at the United Nations Special Commission) by the FBI to the German Foreign Ministry at the time. Another FBI leak indicated that each particle was given a weak electric charge, thereby causing the particles to repel each other at the molecular level. This made it easier for the spores to float in the air, and increased their retention in the lungs. In short, the potential lethality of anthrax in this case far exceeds that of any powdered product found in the now extinct U.S. Biological Warfare Program. In meetings held on the cleanup of the anthrax spores in Washington, the product was described by an official at the Department of Homeland Security as 'according to the Russian recipes' -- apparently referring to the use of the weak electric charge.
Another FBI leak indicated that each particle was given a weak electric charge, thereby causing the particles to repel each other at the molecular level. This made it easier for the spores to float in the air, and increased their retention in the lungs.
In short, the potential lethality of anthrax in this case far exceeds that of any powdered product found in the now extinct U.S. Biological Warfare Program. In meetings held on the cleanup of the anthrax spores in Washington, the product was described by an official at the Department of Homeland Security as 'according to the Russian recipes' -- apparently referring to the use of the weak electric charge.
*** The FBI spent between 12 and 18 months trying 'to reverse engineer' (make a replica of) the anthrax in the letters sent to Messrs. Daschle and Leahy without success, according to FBI news releases. So why should federal investigators or the news media or the American public believe that a lone scientist would be able to do so?”
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