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There was so
confusion and there are so many extraneous details about the anthrax
that killed 5 people and made many more ill, that I decided it was time
to assemble what little actual information that I could find on the
and to analyze it myself.
This was done for my own education, but I'm sharing it for others who might be interested.
(Comments on new developments are in the Updates & Thoughts Section)
(New References are added as they come available - nearly daily)
(Last significant update to the "working hypothesis": December 26, 2004)
IF YOU HAVE ANY ADDITIONAL INFORMATION OR SEE ANY ERRORS ON THIS PAGE, PLEASE CONTACT ME AT: detect (at) newsguy (dot) com
(click on the Section or Page to go to it)
#1 - The Envelopes:
So far, all
anthax cases appear to be the result of 4 existent and at least 3 other
letters mailed from Trenton, New Jersey, to New York, Washington, DC,
Lantana, Florida. The existent envelopes are below (click on the
images to view a larger version):
The letter to the New York Post was located in their mailroom unopened weeks after it had been delivered, but it had apparently gotten damp or wet somehow, and the dampness caused the anthrax inside to clump together like "Purina Dog Chow".
The envelope addressed to Tom Brokaw has a staple through the stamp, placed there by Brokaw's assistant after opening the letter. She stapled the letter to the envelope. The Brokaw letter show the holes caused by the staple.
The wet stain along the bottom of the letter addressed to Senator Daschle was caused by John Ezzell at USAMRIID. He cleaned the surface of a glove box (a.k.a. "safety cabinet") with bleach before trying to take a picture of the envelope propped up against the back of the box, and there was still some liquid bleach in a groove in the surface. The bleach soaked up into the envelope.
The four envelopes that have been photographed were all pre-stamped envelopes most likely bought at a post office and were all postmarked at the mail processing facility in Hamilton Township near Trenton, New Jersey. There's no reason to believe that the missing letters were any different or mailed from anywhere else.
Pre-stamped envelopes can be bought from post office vending machines in packs of 5. It's probably no coincidence that the first mailing appears to have consisted of 5 letters. By using pre-stamped envelopes, the terrorist avoided any possibility of being traced through the envelopes or stamps. He would most likely have no previous history of using such envelopes, and therefore no previous letters he wrote would connect him to the mailing - either through the envelopes or the stamps.
In addition, by using pre-stamped envelopes he wouldn't have to moisten the stamps with saliva, which might contain DNA. Same with sealing the envelopes. He apparently taped them shut and didn't glue them shut.
The envelopes show there were TWO separate anthrax mailings:
Envelope #1 is
Tuesday, September 18, 2001.
Envelope #2 is postmarked Tuesday, September 18, 2001.
Envelope #3 is
Tuesday, October 9, 2001.
Envelope #4 is postmarked Tuesday, October 9, 2001.
Although a letter might be postmarked on a specific date, it could easily have been placed in a mailbox after the last collection on the day before - thus creating some confusion about the actual mailing date and providing the basis for an alibi for the postmark date.
The missing envelopes were most likely also postmarked on September 18, 2001. The anthrax letter sent to American Media had already made several people ill by the time of the second mailing, and the 7-month-old son of an ABC producer had only been in the ABC mailroom on Sept. 28. A 27-year-old assistant to Dan Rather at CBS had contracted cutaneous anthrax by this time, too. Most likely, the ABC and CBS letters were addressed to Peter Jennings and Dan Rather. Unfortunately, the envelopes and letters sent to AMI, ABC and CBS were all destroyed by normal waste disposal procedures before anyone was aware that they had contained anthrax or would be evidence in a crime.
The envelopes for Tom Brokaw and the New York Post had no return addresses. But the envelopes sent to the Senators had return addresses for a nonexistent Grade School. Did the perpetrator want to make the letters to the Senators appear more acceptable and less alarming? A letter from a grade-schooler might even go to the top of the stack to be read personally by the Senator. That could show some understanding of how things work with politicians and how strange mail would be viewed by such recipients.
There are a lot of theories about what the return address means. I've created a separate page evaluating them. It's HERE.
But there are other questions: Why leave the return address on the media letters blank? Why create such a totally scrambled return address on the Senators' letters? Why didn't the culprit just use a valid school address? The most logical answer seems to be: Because, if something went wrong, the culprit didn't want the anthax-laden letters to be returned to a grade school or some other innocent party.
The addresses were probably copied from a computer printout! The fact that "BUILDING" is on a line by itself for the Senators' letters, indicates that some computer format was involved that had 2 address lines with only 25 or 30 characters allowed on a line. This is confirmed by the use of the 9 digit zip code and the absence of a comma between city and state on all the letters. Computer printouts very often do not place a comma there. For example, the addresses on the mailing labels the magazines I get do not have commas between city and state. Could the computer printout be some kind of mailing list or a printout of labels for some newsletter?
In addition to being taped shut, the Daschle and Leahy envelopes apparently also had cellophane tape around the edges. Was it there to prevent any anthrax from getting out of the envelope to contaminate the mail system? Most "experts" think the tape was an attempt to keep the anthrax from getting out before the letter was opened - which it failed to do.
The St. Petersburg Times printed a hoax letter that can be compared to the anthrax letters to show how printed handwriting can differ. I compare the handwriting on the supplemental handwriting page which can be accessed by clicking HERE. The letter was mailed after the first anthrax mailing and shortly before the second anthrax mailing, which by itself is interesting, since it shows how many nut cases there are out there who can be set off by any news event.
It's also interesting that both Senators' letters had problems in the postal system. The address on the letter to Senator Daschle was written too close to the bottom of the envelope, and as a result, a human had to interpret the code and direct it to the proper place. The address on the letter to Senator Leahy was farther from the bottom, but it was misread by a postal machine which interpreted a 1 as a 2 and sent it to zip 20520-4502 instead of 20510-4502, thereby contaminating the State Department's mail center and delaying its delivery to Senator Leahy.
The fact that
person who addressed the letter uses both serifs on his number 1s and
wrote the 1 at a slight angle caused the machine misread. For
who understand how machines read human handwriting, this seems like a
routine error, but for people who like to develop conspiracy theories,
this seems very suspicious, and many of them see a mysterious and
deliberate" delay in delivering the Leahy letter.
#2 - The Letters:
At this time, 4 of the letters that were contained within the envelopes have been released to the Internet by the FBI via their web site.
In addition, much larger copies were made available via The Freedom Of Information Act to www.anthrax-letters.com (now defunct) where we obtained copies for this page.
on the images to view a larger version.
The New York Post letter is apparently a copy of the Brokaw letter but the authorities say the Post letter is also a Xerox-type copy. They say that all the letters are Xerox-type copies.
The odd size of the letters is made more odd by the fact that so little is made of it by the FBI, and the media either doesn't seem to even notice or they provide totally incorrect information about it. The one mention I found about it was totally wrong:
A feature story in The Wall Street Journal reported on the unusual paper sizes: "One clue was contained in the missive to the New York Post: The letter, which read in part, "Death to America," wasn't printed on a paper size normally found in the U.S., says an FBI official familiar with the matter. An FBI spokesman declined to elaborate. Erich Speckin, who runs a private forensic laboratory in Okemos, Mich., says the height-to-width ratio was approximately 1.41 to 1, according to a photo released by the FBI. He says that ratio is common for business letters in Europe and elsewhere but rare in the U.S. That could suggest that the mailer is from another country or has traveled outside the U.S."
analysis was apparently done by using the images from the FBI's web
And we were fooled for a long time, too. But when you look at the
sizes of the letters using the images I obtained from
you see a totally different situation.
#1 measures approximately 225 millimeters in length by 215.9
Letter #2 measures approximately 230 millimeters in length by 165 millimeters in width.
Letter #3 measures approximately 215 millimeters in length by 208 millimeters in width.
copy paper is 8-1/2 inches by 11 inches, or 215.9 mm by 279.4 mm.
The graphic below shows the size of the letters compared to standard 8-1/2 by 11 paper.
A close look at the letters shows that the all appear to have irregular edges. It appears that a pair of scissors was used to create all three of the letter sizes out of standard 8-1/2x11 inch copy paper.
Why would he do that? One guess is that the terrorist was aware that copy machines sometimes leave gripper marks on paper, and some edges may have been trimmed to remove those marks. Another guess is that he wanted to cut away some smudges or other kind of marks that might be traceable - such the signature of the person who actually wrote the letters. Another guess is that the original may have been written lower on the paper, and when copies were made the writing was moved higher, and as a result the copies had to be cropped because they showed identifying marks on the underside of the lid of the copier.
The best guess, however, seems to be that the paper was cropped to make it easier to get into a small envelope after it had been folded with the "pharmaceutical fold". The letters were all folded with the pharmaceutical fold, which is definitely not a normal fold. This has significant implications as to the motives of the "terrorist". It's the way drugs have been safely wrapped for centuries. For more details about the implications of this fold, click HERE.
The anthrax mailer must either have practiced folding the letter and getting it into the small size envelope, or he may have folded enough 8-1/2 by 11 sheets of paper to know that it is difficult to neatly fold that size paper with the pharmaceutical fold and get it into a small envelope. To make things easier for himself, he simply cropped off the lower portion.
It would be interesting to see how the letter to Senator Leahy was cropped, but apparently no equivalent pictures have been taken of the Leahy letter.
The brown stains on the Daschle letter are apparently from an accident at USAMRIID where the edge of the envelope was allowed to get soaked with bleach while being set up for a photograph.
The actual letters are obviously meant to be seen as coming from some Muslim terrorist. But there is nothing in the letters that would be known only to a Muslim. Plus, experts in such things say that these phrases are not common usage. "Allah is great", for example, is not a common expression. It is more common for a Muslim to say "Allahu akbar", which means "God is great". If speaking in English, they would say "God is great". The phrase used in the letter would be viewed by a Muslim as being a mix of two different languages. The use of the name "Allah" in English is more common in Hollywood action movies. While there's nothing conclusive in this, the letters could easily be from some domestic terrorist wishing to put the blame on the same people who caused the WTC catastrophe.
The letter to Tom Brokaw reads as follows:
THIS IS NEXT
TAKE PENACILIN NOW
DEATH TO AMERICA
DEATH TO ISRAEL
ALLAH IS GREAT
Who puts a zero in front of a single-digit month that way? Someone who commonly deals with computers and computer forms?
The date on the letter is in the form used mainly in the United States. Most of the rest of the world would write the date as 11-09-01.
"THIS IS NEXT" almost certainly refers to the anthrax sent with the letter, but it requires the person reading the letter to know that - or to figure it out.
Why misspell penicillin? Was that deliberate or is the perpetrator just a bad speller?
Of all the indicators that the terrorist did not really want to do any harm to anyone, the fact that he instructs the reader of the letter to take penicillin is foremost. Would a bin Laden operative do that? Would anyone wanting to do maximum damage do that? What kind of terrorist sends anthrax and tells the victim to take penicillin because it works very well to cure anthrax?
There are clear indicators that the date on the letter was not written by the same person who wrote the text of the letter. For a detailed explanation of this observation (with graphics) go to the Zeroes and O's section of the Handwriting page, or click HERE.
The letter to Senator Tom Daschle reads as follows:
YOU CAN NOT STOP US.
WE HAVE THIS ANTHRAX.
YOU DIE NOW.
ARE YOU AFRAID?
DEATH TO AMERICA.
DEATH TO ISRAEL.
ALLAH IS GREAT.
The Daschle letter makes it clear that the powder in the letter is anthrax, which the earlier Brokaw letter failed to do. The Brokaw letter instructed the reader to take penicillin, which the Daschle letter fails to do. Both letters provide information to the reader that would allow him to escape death by taking medication!
It's very interesting that the terrorist changed his warning from "TAKE PENACILIN NOW" to "WE HAVE THIS ANTHRAX". Experts say that penicillin is not the best antibiotic to take for anthrax. But what other antibiotic could the terrorist mention without naming a specific brand name and pointing a finger at a drug maker? So, the terrorist changed his warning to just say the powder is anthrax without mentioning any specific antibiotic. In effect, the terrorist made his warning more specific and more effective in the second mailing. From another point of view, the first warning was directed to the person receiving the letter, while the second warning was more like a warning to America. A lot can be made from this, but it's still all speculation.
"YOU DIE NOW" and "ARE YOU AFRAID?" seem like lines from some third-rate Hong Kong kung fu movie.
It doesn't take an expert to see that the handwriting on both letters comes from the same person, even though both are written in block letters. Individual characters and numbers are drawn the same way on both letters. There seems little chance that the person is right handed and wrote with his left hand. When I've attempted that, the letters looked ragged and irregular, like they were written by someone afflicted by palsy. These letters don't show that. They show the writer wrote naturally but still found it difficult to write in a straight line on unlined paper. And he made the first character in many words larger than the rest of the characters, which indicates that he was accustomed to writing in upper and lower case.
The FBI has a web page dedicated to analyzing the letters and profiling the author HERE.
However, I have no restrictions on wild speculations, so I have a supplemental page dedicated to analyzing the handwriting. It's HERE.
Did the writer merely attempt to make his letters look like they were written and sent by a child? That makes sense for the letters to the Senators, since they might enjoy opening a letter from a child. But why do that with the letters to the media? And why write like a child on the letters inside? There the writer wanted to be taken seriously. But he also wanted to disguise his handwriting. There is one perfect way to disguise one's handwriting: Have someone innocent do the actual writing for you.
What child would the anthrax terrorist have available to do the writing? It would have to be someone he could depend upon for all three mailings, and someone he knows would never tell anyone about the letters. The obvious possibility: his own child.
The indications that the date was put on the letters by someone other than the person who wrote the text means that two people must have been involved - and the person who added the date was almost certainly the culprit. (It's a final editing decision.) For details about the indications that two people were involved in writing the letter, click HERE.
One Internet source has pointed out that American children in kindergarten are taught to write in a mode called "modified uncial" which is defined as follows:
Uncial (pronounced un:shel) is a term applied to a particular calligraphic style based on ancient lettering, and is often considered the most expressive calligraphy. Typically an uncial face features a combination of capital and lowercase letterforms without the separate capital set and lowercase set that we're accustomed to.He also points out that a child of 6 who has learned to write that way in kindergarten would have just been starting first grade in September of 2001, when the anthrax letters were written. So, he'd have been a the peak of his ability to write that way. And, since the handwriting in the letters shows this form of writing along with other child-like indicators, he believes the handwriting could very well be the handwriting of a 6-year-old.
realize that people find it hard to accept that a child might have been
used to write the anthrax letters, and I'm not actually stating that is
true. I'm merely analyzing the data and giving my evaluation of
the data indicates. It appears to indicate that a child most
did the writing, but there could be some other unconsidered explanation.
#3 - The Anthrax:
A little bit about Anthrax and its history: Technically, anthrax is a disease. A disease cannot be placed into an envelope. Spores of Bacillus anthracis (an organism that causes the anthrax disease) are what was in the envelopes. But in accordance with common usage, I will generally use "anthrax spores" instead of "spores of the bacterium that cause anthrax" or similarly lengthy scientific verbiage on this site. A chart of all the anthrax cases and key details about the cases can be viewed by clicking on the "thumbnail" below:
History: Anthrax has been around longer than man and is thought by many historians to be the fifth and sixth of the ten plagues of ancient Egypt. It's also the first disease to be determined to be caused by a bacterium. That was accomplished by Robert Koch in 1877, and he also took micrographs of anthrax at that time. Plus, he was able to cause the bacteria to form spores, so creating spores in a lab isn't something that was recently discovered in some government bioweapons lab. Anthrax was allegedly used as a biological weapon in World War One.
Strains: Anthrax has different strains, the best known being Vollum, Stern and Ames. A strain is akin to a race in humans. It's a lineage with slightly different DNA causing slightly different characteristics. Since Bacillus anthracis is asexual and essentially reproduces by cloning itself, it takes a very long time for repeated DNA differences to show up.
Spores: Spores are formed when environmental conditions change and the bacterium finds it cannot continue to survive. A portion of the bacterium goes into a type of hiberation by forming a spore which can survive for decades - if not centuries. The size of a spore is determined by Nature, NOT by milling, and a typical anthrax spore is roughly 1 micron in diameter and weighs roughly one trillionth of a gram (which is naturally a trillion spores per gram).
The Leahy letter contained enough refined anthrax spores to kill over 100,000 people. The Daschle letter probably had an equal amount. According to The New York Times, the anthrax in the Leahy letter officially weighed just 0.871 grams. And the other letters had roughly the same amount. (There are countless articles which incorrectly say there were about 2 grams in each letter.)
All the anthrax found in the letters is now known to be from the "Ames strain", which originated in Texas and was sent to the US Army for research in 1980. The Army later distributed it to various academic institutions for study. Since that time the strain has been further widely distributed to researchers around the world. A DNA analysis shows that the anthrax originated at the USAMRIID facility in Fort Detrick, MD. While other government laboratories obtained Ames anthrax from Ft. Detrick, the number of such labs is not very large.
It is important to note that the FBI has stated "The anthrax utilized in (the Daschle letter) was much more refined, more potent, and more easily disbursed than letters (to the New York Post and NBC)''.
The relatively unrefined anthrax in the media letters proved to have a dramatically difference effect on the victims, depending upon the age of the victim:
Age Location type name
7 mos ABC - New York
23 NBC - New York cutaneous Casey Chamberlain
27 CBS - New York cutaneous Claire Fletcher
30 New York Post cutaneous Joanna Huden
32 NJ Post Office cutaneous Teresa Heller
34 New York Post cutaneous male
38 NBC - New York cutaneous Erin O'Connor
38 New YOrk Post cutaneous Mark Cunningham
39 NJ Post Office cutaneous Richard Morgano
61* New York inhalation Kathy Nguyen
63* AMI - Florida inhalation Bob Stevens
73 AMI - FLorida inhalation Ernesto Blanco
This chart seems to indicate that the type of infection was largely dependent upon age. But the low concentration of spores in the media letters may also have played a role. Older people may be like canaries in a coal mine or on the battlefields of WWI when it comes to anthrax. If there is something hazardous in the air, they may be the first indicators of the problem, because it apparently doesn't take many spores in the air to affect them.
However, people were suffering from cutaneous infections from the September 18 mailing for almost a week before anyone began showing signs of inhalation anthrax. Because it usually takes longer for inhalation anthrax to take effect, and because the cutaneous cases were not as serious and were misdiagnosed, it was the first inhalation case that sounded the alarm bells. One of the effects of a surprise attack is that it takes awhile for everyone to realize what's happening - and people die while facts are being gathered and analyzed.
When you look at the anthrax cases known or believed to have come from the Oct. 9 mailing this is what it looks like when sorted in order by age:
Age Location type name
35 NJ Post
cutaneous Patrick O'Donnell
43 NJ Post Office inhalation female
47* DC Post Office inhalation Joseph Curseen
51 NJ Post Office cutaneous Linda Burch
55* DC Post Office inhalation Thomas Morris
56 NJ Post Office inhalation Norma Wallace
56 DC Post Office inhalation Unk.
57 DC Post Office inhalation Leroy Richmond
59 DC Mail Center inhalation David Hose
94* Connecticutt inhalation Ottilie Lundgren
While not as clear-cut as with the cases where less-refined anthrax was used, here, too, all the cutaneous anthrax cases are at the low end of the age range. And the higher concentration of spores in the air caused younger people to suffer inhalation anthrax.
Scientists may debate the exact meaning of this, but it seems to indicate that the age of the victims was more important than any other facter regarding whether or not they got inhalation anthrax.
Some experts speculated that the anthrax is not of different sizes but of different quantities, and that there was much less in the media letters than in the Senators' letters. Spore size is determined by Nature, not by processing, although you may have clumps of spores or individual spores. (An individual spore is approximately 1 micron in diameter - 1000th of a millimeter.) The evidence seems to indicate that the powder in the Senators' letters was refined to get rid of impurities - dead anthrax germs. Here's a quote from a May 7, 2002, article in The New York Times: "Federal officials said the first wave of well-documented attacks with mailed anthrax — in letters from Trenton postmarked Sept. 18 to NBC News and The New York Post — was relatively crude. The powder was heavily contaminated, they said, with what biologists call vegetative cells — anthrax bacteria before processing in the laboratory turns them into hardened spores. Vegetative cells in dry anthrax powder are generally dead and therefore harmless, experts said."
Later information indicated that the anthrax in the letters to the two Senators was ten times as pure as the anthrax in the letters to the media.
Because the anthrax spores in the mailing to the Senators were much plentiful and thereby more deadly, they did more harm. In all the letters, individual spores could pass through the porous paper (All paper has tiny openings or pores that are too small for the eye to see). Merely handling the unopened letter sent to The New York Post was enough to give three people cutaneous anthrax. But the Senators' letters allowed fine powdered anthrax to escape into the air and cause several deaths.
The fact that the spores were of different purity strongly suggests that an anthrax refining process took place between the mailing of Sept. 18 and the mailing of Oct. 9. And since it seems highly unlikely that anyone could steal from a secure government lab all the anthrax used in the seven letters without leaving behind some trace, it seems clear that only some very small amount was actually stolen. And it didn't even have to be in spore form. It could have been live or frozen Ames anthrax germs. The Ames strain of anthrax is known for its ability to grow very fast. The stolen anthrax could then be cultured in some non-government lab or makeshift facility. Later, it could have been refined into the spores used in the second mailing.
For a further
explanation of the significance of the size of the spores, click HERE.
#4 - Refining anthrax
While I certainly do not want to provide on this web site any kind of formula for producing weaponized anthrax, there are some basic steps in refining anthrax that should be known to anyone familiar with germs that sporulate (produce spores).
After doing some long-overdue research into the subject of sporulation, I found that there appear to be 5 basic steps involved in producing the anthrax powder found in the letters sent to Senators Daschle and Leahy:
Germination - Causing the seed spores to develop into living
2. Vegetation - Growing sufficient anthrax germs to provide what is needed for the mailings.
3. Sporulation - Causing the anthrax germs to create spores.
4. Separation - The process which frees spores from dead "mother germs" and other debris.
5. Weaponization - Drying the spores into a superfine powder.
Each of these "steps" could have 50 sub-steps and might possibly be done in a hundred different ways, so there's nothing secret to this. The secrets are all in the sub-steps and details. But there are some basic factors to consider in the basic steps:
Steps #1 thru #3 create the raw materials and are "creation steps" that must take place before steps #4 & #5. "Refining" is defined as "freeing from impurities". In this case that means separating the spores from the debris.
Steps #1 thru #4 all occur naturally. All that man really does is speed up the process by controlling the environment. Step #4 is done naturally in a process called "lysing".
Steps #1 thru #3 are relatively simple and require almost no specialized equipment, although #3 requires a very delicate touch to avoid killing all the germs instead of causing them to sporulate.
Unless the industrialized output from Step #4 is a wet paste or a solid brick of spores, Step #5 might not be needed to produce what was found in the Senators' letters.
Step #5 has received all the media attention, and it causes all the arguments over whether it can be done in a small lab or requires a massive government facility, but, no matter where it is done, if you already have a quantity of pure spores, it should be a relatively quick process to get dry individual spores when working with a small batch.
Step #5, the weaponization step, was evidently very simple for the attack anthrax. As far as I have been able to determine, the only significant question is about the drying method used to keep the spores from forming clumps. If the spores clump together, the clumps can become too big to be absorbed through the lungs and thereby become worthless as a weapon.
It appears that the anthrax refiner/mailer only went to Step #3 when he prepared the anthrax for the first mailing.
There appears to be good reason why the first mailing apparently contained anthrax that was processed only through Step #3: The next step required special expertise and lots of time.
It appears that the culprit paused at the end of Step #3 and sent out the anthrax he had, rather than to delay action for the time it would take to do the last two steps. If he was worried about a biological attack and wanted to awaken America to the danger, he may have felt America couldn’t wait until he completed the last two steps.
It would be nice to know for certain that the anthrax in the letter sent to The New York Post was from Step #3 and the anthrax in the letter sent to Senator Daschle was from Step #5. I’ve seen nothing in the hundreds of newspaper articles that indicates otherwise. And it seems a logical conclusion. So it will be my working hypothesis from this point - rather than the first batch being an "early experiment" that produced a less-refined product.
In this case, a picture may be worth a million words. Clicking on the "thumbnail" picture below will lead to a larger version which shows a Bacillus anthracis spore (B) still inside a dead "mother germ" and how germs divide to create new germs (A). This is the stuff that was apparently in the media letters! I.e., dead mother germs with spores inside and dead germs which failed to sporulate. It's brown, crunchy stuff that looks like "Purina Dog Chow" when wet. Note how cleanly the spore is separated from the dead "mother germ"! And when run through post office machines or manually handled, the spores get released just as they do in nature, and can be as dangerous and deadly as in nature.
Understanding sporulation is the key to understanding the importance of Step #4. One web site described sporulation this way:
"When conditions become hostile to the anthrax bacillus — if it runs out of food, becomes too cold, too dry, too low in carbon dioxide — it resorts to a defense mechanism. The DNA and other essential cell matter gather together near the middle of the cell, and a hard wall forms around this cluster. This is the spore.
"As if in hibernation, the anthrax spore waits inside the carcass of a now-dead cell, waiting for more hospitable conditions. Sporulation is key for the bacteria’s survival in nature, and also key for its use as a weapon."Was the "debris" that apparently constituted about 90 percent of the "powder" found in the New York Post letter just the natural "debris" left behind from sporulation? I.e., was it just dead "mother cells" and dead anthrax germs that failed to sporulate?
If so, it tells us a lot about the culprit. It tells us he hoped the unrefined anthrax he sent to the media would accomplish his mission. When it accomplished nothing, he then moved ahead to steps #4 and #5. It tells us he hesitated before actually refining the anthrax and demonstrating that he knew more about the refinement process than a routine terrorist. It tells us he's a scientist. It makes it a near certainty that the anthrax was being refined during the 3 week period between mailings - and most likely during the last week and a half or two weeks of that time frame, after he learned that his first mailing had failed to achieve its purpose. It tells us he was probably using specialized equipment and labor intensive procedures during that period. It tells us it is extremely unlikely that the refining was done in another country. Etc.
Clicking on the thumbnails below will show you two larger images of what the Senate anthrax may have looked like. They are concentrations of pure anthrax spores.
As further evidence that the attack anthrax may not have gone through any "weaponization" step, there is this paragraph from an ABC article:
"Bill Patrick, a scientist who used to make anthrax weapons for the United States, patented a secret process that involved freeze-drying the spores, milling the resulting anthrax 'cake' to yield particles of the proper diameter, then coating them with a special mixture to dampen electrostatic charges that cause clumping. Patrick calls this making the particles 'slippery.'"As a result of an analyis by Ken Alibeck and Matthew Meselson in The National Journal, we know the anthrax spores in the letters were NOT milled, were NOT coated and were probably not freeze-dried.
"The material, in fact, is of mediocre quality, [Ken Alibek] told me, and was not produced industrially. It definitely had not been milled, nor did it appear to have any sort of coating to reduce static or otherwise enhance its deadliness. Silica supposedly found in the material, Alibek thinks, may simply be a residue from an unsophisticated drying process. Meselson concurs that the anthrax evinces no sign of special coating or processing. 'There is no evidence that I know of,' he told me, 'that it was treated in any special way.'"So, the culprit may not have done any actual "weaponization". All he may have done was to separate the spores from the debris.
It is also
to know that during the sporulation process the bacterium will absorb
elements from its environment. For example, it needs and absorbs
calcium to help protect the spore from heat and it needs and absorbs
to help protect the spore from radiation. It also absorbs
it does not necessarily need - such as silica. Up to 2.5%
of a spore's total dry weight can be such metal ions. While some
of the ions may be part of the vegetating bacterium, most are
during the sporulation process, and they are released again when the
germinates. Silica found in the Daschle spores is almost certainly
from this process. The new science of "microbial forensic" the
ions and other trace elements could very well help identify the
lab where the spores were made. Every lab could present a
"signature" composed of specific ions and trace elements.
#5 - The Targets:
When tracking down serial killers or terrorists, law enforcement agencies nearly always have to consider the targets: Why did the perpetrator single out these specific people or businesses for attack?
The targets for the first anthrax mailing were all media related:
Brokaw of NBC News.
The New York Post.
American Media (which publishes supermarket tabloids such as "The National Enquirer", "The Globe" and "The Sun").
Probably Dan Rather and Peter Jennings, too, since people at ABC and CBS got anthrax.
Experts in serial killings will tell you that the first killing is key to the killer's mind. The first crime requires the criminal to step beyond the normal and to actually take a terrible action that he knows could lead to imprisonment. So, he spends a lot of time thinking about it. And the choice of target tells investigators more about him than any subsequent killings. If he gets away with the first crime, the rest are easier and require less emotion and less thought. It's the first crime that is critically important. And the first crime in the anthrax case is the letters sent to the media. The first victim was the media. The anthrax terrorist desperately wanted the media to report on his actions! He wanted to generate alarming stories in the media.
Why did he want alarming stories in the media? Mostly likely so that people would force the authorities to take action to round up the terrorists and potential terrorists in our midst. Some of the 9-11 terrorist had lived for awhile in Central New Jersey. There could be lots more just waiting for the opportunity to strike with bioweapons.
The targets for the second anthrax mailing were Democratic politicians:
Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota.
Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont.
The most common reason for a terrorist to attack something is because he hates that thing. But this particular terrorist took a number of careful precautions to make certain that the anthrax didn't do as much harm as it could. That strongly suggests that this particular terrorist isn't motivated entirely by hate of his targets, but more by wanting to make news that will further his cause. And to get people to take action.
The most obvious reason for sending an anthrax letter to Tom Brokaw is: The anthrax terrorist watches Tom Brokaw's news show. If the terrorist's intention was to generate news, then the best target is the news show he watches. He can then just sit back and see what happens. However, the culprit also sent anthrax-laden letters to Dan Rather and Peter Jennings. So, his primary motive was to alarm the media.
Why The New York Post? Again, the most obvious reason is that the anthrax terrorist reads The New York Post. Certainly, the New York Times is more of a "symbol" of America than the Post, and the Times would be seen as a more appropriate target by some foreign terrorist. Who outside of New York really knows much about the Post - or cares about the Post? But a person who is trying to make news would most likely send a letter to a newspaper he reads. It seems likely that he sent the letter to the Post because he reads the Post.
On the other hand, the New York Post offices are located in the same building as the Fox Network - the building at 1211 Avenue of the Americas. If he targeted NBC, ABC and CBS, why not Fox? The answer could be that by sending a letter to the Post he was "killing two birds with one stone", since Fox is in the same building.
Why American Media - a publisher of supermarket tabloids? It's quite possible that he views the tabloids as the print media for the rest of America. An attack on The National Enquirer could put the news where he wants it: on supermarket stands all over America! People would be demanding that some action be taken to prevent further attacks!
But there is another, much more likely reason for picking The National Enquirer: For days prior to the first anthrax mailing, it was in the news everywhere that Mohamed Atta had taken flight training at an airport in Lantana, Florida. If the anthrax mailer wanted to connect 9-11 with the anthrax mailing, sending an anthrax-laced letter to a Lantana newspaper would be a very good way to do it. And an Internet search for a Lantana newspaper could easily have found an obsolete address for The National Enquirer. (Try an Internet search today for Lantana and The National Enquirer and you'll find hundreds of hits.) It seems more clear why the anthrax mailer chose The National Enquirer as a target than some other targets.
Why Senator Tom Daschle? Senator Daschle is Senate Majority Leader, which makes him a "top Democrat" and a likely target for any right-wing American extremist (or foreign terrorist).
Why Senator Leahy? He was a relatively unknown Senator from Vermont, even though he was a high-ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee - which approves spending on government projects. He's also known to be an environmentalist, and environmentalists are seen by some as enemies of bioweapons research. The terrorist's motive for targeting Senator Leahy could be key to this case.
There's a very good reason for targeting Senator Leahy - and Daschle: Early in October, a week prior to the second anthrax mailing, the newspapers and TV news shows were filled with stories about the proposed "Anti-Terror Bill" which would have permitted indefinite jailing of non-Americans suspected of terrorist offenses, would have permitted law enforcement agencies to share wire-tap information without a court order, etc. Senator Leahy was highly visible on this issue as he worked to negotiate acceptable alternatives that wouldn't violate the rights of all Americans. At this same time, Attorney John D. Ashcroft was forcefully declaring that the legislation was vital to preventing another terrorist attack. A person obsessed with stopping bioterrorism would certainly see quibbling over civil rights as being absurd when terrorists could strike with bioweapons at any time. Sending anthrax to Senator Leahy (and Daschle) would be sending the "right" message, showing them very clearly how easy it was for a bioterrorist to create havoc. The intent was apparently to get them to stop hobbling the FBI and to let the FBI go after potential terrorist - particularly those in Central New Jersey - will all possible speed.
The best way
stop an imminent threat of a bioweapons attack is to round up and jail
all the people who would be likely to carry out such an attack.
was most likely his objective for both mailings - to generate public
congressional outrage so that all potential terrorists would be rounded
up. The 9-11 terrorists had moved freely in our midst. That
couldn't be allowed to happen again.
#6 - Cross-contamination:
The chart below was prepared by the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) to show how the mail system was contaminated by the two anthrax mailings (click on the chart for a larger version):
During this process, any tiny spores which worked their way out of a letter could easily attach themselves to the equipment or to other letters in the vicinity - particularly equipment and letters which happen to come in direct contact.
By this method, spores were found to have settled on parts of the machinery in a number of different post offices. While spore size is determined by Nature and the media letters probably also produced some cross-contamination, the letters to Daschle and Leahy were particularly vulnerable to cross-contaminating equipment and other letters because the anthrax within those letters was almost pure spores of the right size to get through the paper of an envelope and a folded letter. The letter to Patrick Leahy, moreover, was accidentally misdirected to the State Department's mail facility in Washington where it was further handled before being put back into the system to be sent to Leahy's office.
As a result, the letter to Leahy apparently contaminated other letters and mailbags that moved out of the Senate's mail facility to places around the world. Mailbags that reached State Department facilities in Russia, Peru and other countries were found to have picked up some of the spores. The amounts are theoretically "harmless", but they vividly illustrate the mechanics and dangers of "cross-contamination".
Enough spores were apparently in Ottilie Lundgren's mail to kill her. It now appears that for every microscopic spore that works its way through the paper fibers of an envelope, there could be hundreds still caught within the paper fibers, and Ottilie had a habit of tearing her junk mail in half before throwing it away. That process of tearing the mail in half would be all that was needed to release the spores inside the paper and kill Ottilie.
envelopes holding the anthrax have been compared to a sieve, but
they were more like sponges. When put into contact with other
the anthrax was transferred into the other mail - it didn't
cling to the surface of the mail.
detailed illustrations of the way the anthrax went through the paper,
#7 - The Timeline
July 26, 2001: At the Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention in Geneva, Switzerland, the United States rejects a draft accord intended to ensure compliance with a United Nations ban on biological weapons. The U.S. position is that the draft accord failed to provide any deterrent to states manufacturing illicit biological weapons.
August 17, 2001: Many American scientists are very angry with the Bush administration for quashing the BTWC accords, and they voice their opinions in the media. Other scientists undoubtedly agree with the U.S. position, but all are also undoubtedly very concerned about the dangers of bioweapons.
August, 2001: Sometime this month, there was apparently a mailing of "threatening letters" to people in the media, including Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity of the Fox News Network. Everyone who has seen these letters says that the handwriting was identical to the anthrax letters.
Sept 4, 2001: The Baltimore Sun prints an article titled "Bush treaty moves put is in danger".
Pre-Sept. 11: Some time prior to September 11, 2001, an unknown number of "threatening letters" (possibly as many as 15) with handwriting very similar to the anthrax letters were mailed from Indianapolis, Indiana, to a number of people in the media. Details of this mailing are very sketchy, mostly what is described HERE.
Sept. 11, 2001: America is attacked by terrorists who flew aircraft into the World Trade Center.
Sept. 18, 2001: The anthrax-laced "media letters" to Tom Brokaw and the New York Post in New York are postmarked in Trenton, NJ. In addition, the anthrax-laced letters to American Media, Dan Rather and Peter Jennings were most likely postmarked on this date - although all the letters may have actually been placed in a mailbox after the last collection on the 17th. The powder in the envelopes is "unrefined", i.e., 10 percent spores and 90 percent harmless "debris".
Sept. 18, 2001: The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that Milwaukee police were called to the home of a highly educated scientist on this date, supposedly because of a domestic dispute about a lawnmower. While at his home, the scientist actually told Milwaukee police that he was building "an anthrax delivery system" in his basement! Ten days later, using a search warrant, the FBI took away his computer and some other objects, but didn't see any "anthrax delivery system". The scientist's specialty is in the areas of radio chemistry, military ordnance and munitions, and decontamination - and he previously worked for a company that handled anthrax. Since he was in Milwaukee on this date, he had a perfect alibi - he couldn't have been in Trenton, New Jersey, mailing the anthrax letters. But what a coincidence that he just happened to have the police pay a visit on this date! And it was certainly handy for a potential suspect to have the FBI specifically verify via a search warrant that he had no anthrax!
Sept. 22, 2001: An editorial page assistant at New York Post first notices blisters on her finger. She later reportedly tests positive for skin form of anthrax.
Sept. 26, 2001: Richard Morgano, 39, a maintenance worker at the Trenton regional post office in Hamilton, NJ, visits a physician to have a lesion on his arm treated. The CDC later confirms that he had the skin form of anthrax. He recovers.
Sometime around this point in time, the anthrax refiner/mailer apparently realized that his first mailing was a failure (because there was nothing in the media about it) and he began preparing for the second mailing.
Sept. 27, 2001: Teresa Heller, 32, a letter carrier at the West Trenton post office, develops a lesion on her arm which the CDC later confirms is the skin form of anthrax. She recovers.
Sept. 28, 2001: Erin O'Connor, 38, assistant to Tom Brokaw, notices a "bad rash" which the CDC later confirms is anthrax. She recovers.
On this same day, the 7-month-old son of an ABC producer develops a rash which is later confirmed to be cutaneous anthrax (the skin form). He recovers.
Sept. 30, 2001: Bob Stevens, 63, a photo editor at "The Sun" in Boca Raton, Florida, starts to feel ill. He is later confirmed to have contracted inhalation anthrax: He dies on October 5th.
Oct. 1, 2001: Ernesto Blanco, 73, an American Media mailroom employee is hospitalized with pneumonia. It turns out to be inhalation anthrax. Nevertheless, he recovers.
Oct. 3, 2001: Bob Stevens is confirmed to have anthrax. This is the first confirmation that anthrax has infected anyone. But, at this time, it is still thought to be an isolated case - and possibly from some natural form of anthrax.
Oct. 3, 2001: The FBI interviews an Egyptian-American scientist formerly employed by The U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Ft. Detrick, MD, because of an anonymous letter sent to the FBI saying the man was responsible for the anthrax breakout. (At this time the "breakout" was still thought to be isolated and probably from natural causes.) The FBI concludes that the letter was a false accusation.
Early Oct., 2001: The "Anti-Terror" Bill is argued in the Senate and Senator Leahy is seen as a key opponent to Attorney General Ashcroft's proposals to stop terrorism.
Oct. 5, 2001: Bob Stevens dies. He's the first known death from inhalation anthrax in the U.S. since 1976.
Oct. 7, 2001: The AMI offices are shut down when spores are found on Steven's keyboard.
Oct. 9, 2001: The post office postmarks the second mailing of anthrax-laced letters addressed to Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy. These letters have refined spores without the debris, making the powder at least ten times as deadly.
Oct. 10, 2001: Stephanie Dailey, 36, an American Media employee tests positive for exposure to anthrax: Takes antibiotics and does not come down with the disease.
Oct. 12, 2001: Post officials believe on this day, the anthrax letter addressed to Sen. Leahy was misrouted and passed through a State Department mail facility in Sterling, Va.
On this day, one of Tom Brokaw's assistants is diagnosed as having cutaneous anthrax. She remembers a letter from St. Petersburg, FL, and Judy Miller at the New York Times gets a hoax letter from St. Petersburg. St. Petersburg is the focus of attention for the moment as numerous hoaxes and incorrect positive readings for anthrax confuse the issue.
Oct. 13, 2001: The media starts reporting that the anthrax could have come from terrorists. The Tom Brokaw letter has been found and is being examined. Brokaw's assistant is the second known case of anthrax - Bob Stevens being the first.
Oct. 14, 2001: The number of known cases of exposure to anthrax has grown to 12, all connected to the "media mailing". Most are cutaneous anthrax (the skin form).
The New York Times reports that the Brokaw letter was mailed from Trenton, NJ, and that it was postmarked Sept. 18. Focus shifts from St. Petersburg to Trenton. All three letters from St. Petersburg are hoaxes with non-lethal powder. The material in the Brokaw letter is described as being brown and granular, or sand-like. 5 more people at AMI are shown to have been exposed to anthrax, but all but 1 will prove to be "false positives".
Oct. 15, 2001: The letter to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle is opened. It tests positive for anthrax.
A 7-month-old son of an ABC freelance producer is diagnosed with cutaneous anthrax. Ernesto Blanco at AMI is confirmed to have inhalation anthrax.
Oct. 16, 2001: U.S. Senate offices close as hundreds line up to be tested for anthrax. 28 are confirmed to have been exposed to anthrax.
Oct. 17, 2001: The anthrax in Florida and in New York are confirmed to be of the same strain.
Oct. 21, 2001: Thomas Morris Jr., 55, a Washington postal worker has inhalation anthrax, although no one initially believes him. He dies on this day.
Oct. 22, 2001: Joseph Curseen, 47, a Washington postal worker, develops inhalation anthrax and goes to the hospital. He dies the same evening.
Two more postal workers are hospitalized; nine others are ill with symptoms. Authorities test 2,200 workers.
Oct. 23, 2001 - The FBI puts photographs of the anthrax letters on its web site.
Oct. 24, 2001, Peter Jahrling is summoned to the White House where he tells the Bush Cabinet, "This anthrax could have come from a hospital lab or from any reasonably equipped college microbiology lab."
Oct. 25, 2001: An employee at the State Department's mail facility is hospitalized with anthrax.
Oct. 29, 2001: Kathy Nguyen, 61, a New York City hospital worker is hospitalized with inhalation anthrax. Shedies on October 31. There seems to be no link to the other anthrax cases.
Nov. 4, 2001: More traces of anthrax are found in New York and Washington, followed later by more and more findings as cross-contamination spreads the anthrax to State Department offices world-wide.
Nov. 20, 2001: A sample taken from the plastic evidence bag containing the still-unopened letter to Sen. Patrick Leahy contains at least 23,000 anthrax spores, enough for more than two lethal doses. The unopened envelope is suspected to contain enough anthrax to kill 100,000 people.
Nov. 21, 2001: Ottilie Lundgren, 94, of Oxford, Conn., is diagnosed as having inhalation anthrax. She dies. On November 30 it is determined that the probable source of the anthrax that killed her is cross-contamination from the letters sent to Senators Daschle and Leahy. Her age may have caused her to be vulnerable to the disease even though the quantity of spores she could have encountered that way was extremely small.
Dec. 12, 2001: Newspapers break the story that the U.S. military has recently developed anthrax in highly lethal powder for, although they claim to have kept track of every bit of it.
Dec. 16, 2001: DNA testing confirms that the anthrax in the letters to Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy probably originated at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease at Fort Detrick, MD.
Dec. 19, 2001: ABC news publishes a report that a scientist who was fired twice from Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio, is the focus of an FBI investigation. That company does bioweapons research with anthrax for the CIA and the military!
Dec. 20, 2001: The FBI states emphatically that the fired scientist is NOT the focus of any investigation.
Jan. 20, 2002: The Hartfort Courant breaks the news that anthrax may be missing from Ft. Detrick, and also shows how some scientists can be petty, vindictive and unstable.
Feb. 27, 2002: The FBI starts sending out subpoenas to every known facility using anthrax to get samples for DNA analysis and comparison to the anthrax from the Leahy letter.
July 29, 2002: The "Scientific Working Group on Microbial Genetics and Forensics" is put together by the FBI.
Aug. 1, 2002: After reporting for months that the FBI is "clueless" in the anthrax case, the media begins reporting that an arrest of Dr. Hatfill is imminent.
29, 2002: The FBI and other agencies returned to the AMI
for a more thorough search, seeking the missing AMI letter and more
about the anthrax spores and how they spread through the building.
#8 - The Geography
According to FBI profilers, the anthrax mailer is almost certainly familiar with Trenton, or lives close enough to drive there. Most criminals, the profilers say, act where they are comfortable. However, it seems to me that "close enough to drive there" includes a lot of territory - including New York City. Here's a map (click on the "thumbnail" for a larger version):
The anthrax mailer must have been in the Trenton area to mail the letters, but that's an easy drive from anywhere in central New Jersey or even New York City. Since spores were found in a mailbox there, the most likely place for the second mailing was across the street from Princeton University in Princeton, NJ.
The deaths in Florida and Washington were the result of mailed letters from the Trenton area and do not require additional travel by the terrorist. The death of Kathy Nguyen seems unconnected to mail deliveries and is more likely connected to other events. Click HERE for details.
that the terrorist lives somewhere else and merely travels to the
area to get to where his equipment and the anthrax is stored.
#9 - A Theory About Who Did It
Developing a theory requires asking and answering questions:
1. Could the anthrax terrorists be Al Qaeda?
That seems extremely unlikely. Al Qaeda terrorists are vicious, dedicated killers who look for maximum damage and maximum impact. They choose their targets carefully, seeking to bring down symbols of America and American institutions. They seek a high death toll.
The anthrax letters seem to be from someone who thinks exactly the opposite. The first letters told the recipients to take penicillin - a good antidote for anthrax. It’s highly unlikely that anyone from Al Qaeda would do that. The second letters actually told the recipients that the powder in the letters was anthrax - a more pointed warning than merely telling them to take penicillin. Clearly, the terrorist was warning the recipients that the powder in the letters was dangerous and to act accordingly. That’s certainly not something the Al Qaeda would be likely to do. In addition, the anthrax was apparently placed inside the letters which were folded in the "pharmaceutical fold" that has been used for centuries to safely dispense drugs. It was an extra precaution. And, the second letters were also taped shut in an apparent (failed) attempt to make certain none of the anthrax escaped before the letters reached their destinations. I cannot think of any reason why Al Qaeda would do that. They would more likely want to contaminate the mail system instead of taking precautions to prevent that from happening.
A November 10, 2001, article in The Seattle Times included his paragraph:
"FBI officials said they doubt the letters were sent by Middle Eastern terrorists because they do not resemble other such letters sent in the past. One official said that such letters typically include some Arabic text, but these do not."The targets do not seem to be targets that Al Qaeda would choose. Why would they pick The New York Post? Why would they pick Senator Patrick Leahy who has almost nothing to do with foreign policy?
The letters seem intended to do minimum harm, but to generate maximum reaction against al Qaeda and other Muslim terrorists.
And why use the Ames strain of anthrax? One of it’s primary properties is that it is easily cured. It’s used for testing antibiotics. Almost any type of antibiotic kills it. A true terrorist would try to find (or develop) a strain of anthrax that has no known cure.
And while penicillin is an antibiotic, it is far from the best antibiotic to use against anthrax. For his second mailing, the terrorist changed his warning from a general one of taking penicillin to a specific one of telling the letter recipients that the powder was anthrax. In other words, between mailings the terrorist decided to use a better and clearer warning to alert the letter recipients of the danger. Would al Qaeda do that?
And, too, there were at least seven letters mailed with anthrax in them, 5 to the media and two to the Senators. That is a lot of anthrax! Plus, the anthrax sent to the media was unrefined, while the anthrax sent to the Senators went through a refining process, which implies that refining took place between the two mailings. It is highly unlikely that some al Qaeda terrorist would be able to do such sophisticated and labor-intensive refining while hiding out somewhere in the U.S. And why would they bring into the country both refined and unrefined anthrax, using the unrefined batch for the meda and the refine anthrax for the Senators?
Lastly, if Al Qaeda had a supply of anthrax sufficient to kill thousands of people, they could have found countless ways to do that, instead of sending it to two Senators and telling them what the powder was. They wouldn't have sent letters designed to do minimum harm while generating a maximum reaction against Muslims and al Qaeda. And they certainly would have used their supply of anthrax in another more deadly attack after America began hunting down al Qaeda leaders all over the world, and, very likely killing their leader - Osama bin Laden.
The evidence almost certainly indicates that the terrorists were not Al Qaeda.
2. Why would the letter writer include such phrases as "Death to America" and "Allah is Great" if the person who sent the letters was not Al Qaeda or someone of a like mind?
The Al Qaeda had just attacked America and destroyed the World Trade Center and parts of the Pentagon. The timing was right for someone to take advantage of that to promote their own cause. Two possible "causes" come to mind: (1) seeking revenge, the person behind the anthrax letters could have wanted to fuel the hatred for Muslims and the people responsible for the WTC disaster, or (2) seeking government action, someone could have wanted to demonstrate to America what other terrible atrocities the Al Qaeda could commit if America was not fully prepared - and if the American authorities didn't take immediate action to round up potential terrorists.
After the anthrax attacks became public knowledge, there were literally thousands of hoax anthrax letters from people attempting to take advantage of the situation for their own goals. Many arrests have been made. The only real difference between those hoaxes promoting their various causes and the real attack is that the sender of the anthrax letters actually possessed a supply of anthrax.
3. Who could have done such a thing?
One October long ago, a concerned scientist from Princeton sent a letter to a high Democratic politician warning that America was in great danger from weapons of mass destruction. The intent was to alert America to such dangers so that precautions could be taken. The letter was from Professor Albert Einstein, it was delivered to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on October 11, 1939, and it advised FDR that America was in possible danger from a program in Nazi Germany that could result in the building of an atomic bomb. The result of that letter was the Manhattan Project and America's nuclear development program.
So, there is a precedent for a scientist using a letter to try to alert America to the dangers of weapons of mass destruction.
The anthrax attacks required considerable knowledge of how to handle a dangerous germ such as anthrax. However, that doesn’t mean the person had to have actually worked with anthrax in some bioweapons laboratory. It’s actually highly unlikely that the person learned how to create the tiny anthrax spores by working with anthrax. It’s too dangerous and it’s too wasteful. The person would have used a similar but non-deadly germ such at Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) and experimented with it to learn how to create the microscopic spores. Once the correct method had been found using Bt, then a limited supply of anthrax could be used to create the highly refined anthrax powder sent to the two Senators.
While this doesn’t require any actual experience with anthrax, it still requires a great deal of knowledge and experience - and access to the right equipment. It’s for that reason the government and most experts believe that the terrorist is a member of the scientific community - or in a related field such as medicine or academia. In other words, it was done by an experienced scientific expert familiar with handing dangerous biological forms - possibly getting assistance from another scientist in another field to develop the unusual refining process.
According to a story in the April 15 issue of Newsweek, the spores in Senator Leahy's letter were "ground to a microscopic fineness not achieved by U.S. biological-weapons experts". Does that mean that it was done in some foreign country? No, absolutely not. It just means exactly what it says - U.S. biological-weapons experts haven't refined anthrax to that degree. Most U.S. biological-weapons experts haven't been working on powdered anthrax for decades - except, apparently in some very small programs. It takes no stretch of the imagination to see that some American scientist could have used up-to-date equipment and techniques to improve upon the processes last used by government labs back in the 1970s. The fact that government scientists don't know how to do it doesn't mean that scientists in private labs and university labs haven't been able to do it. All that is really required is knowledge, time, equipment and the anthrax.
The fact that in the first mailing the terrorist told the letter recipients to take penicillin and in the second mailing told the recipients that the power was anthrax could have some meaning. Penicillin is not the best antibiotic for anthrax. Did the terrorist learn that fact between mailings? If so, it indicates that he isn't a doctor and cures for anthrax aren't something he's studied. It also verifies that the first mailing was hastily prepared.
It's also interesting to examine what the anthrax mailer knew and didn't know at the time of the second mailing on October 8 or 9. He knew that Bob Stevens had died of anthrax, but the authorities were still thinking that the anthrax could have come from natural sources. He knew that all the anthrax letters to the New York media had apparently been ignored. Three weeks had gone by and there had been absolutely nothing about them in the news. And the anthrax letter he sent to the National Enquirer in Lantana, Florida, on September 18 had somehow killed a photo editor at The Sun in Boca Raton, Florida, on October 5. The anthrax mailer might connect those two facts, but would the authorities make any connection? Or would the authorities conclude that Bob Stevens somehow contracted natural anthrax while on vacation? Would the final diagnosis be: death from natural causes?
mailer probably knew he had actually killed someone, that fact clearly
wasn't as important to him as the fact that no one was paying any
to his letters. The anthrax mailer made certain that the next
were not simply tossed away like the first. He did this by
in the letters that the powder was anthrax AND refining the anthrax
to make it much more deadly! That could not be ignored after
Bob Stevens died. And it wasn't.
4. Isn’t anthrax carefully guarded and controlled?
Yes, but apparently not carefully enough. Laboratories are protected mainly against intruders, and there are safeguards that make it virtually impossible for an outsider to get into one. But there are far fewer controls preventing an insider from taking something out of such a lab. Scientists have reportedly taken test tubes filled with anthrax to conventions and meetings. Others take samples home with them to work on in their own basement labs. This has been documented in several news reports - mainly regarding Ft. Detrick and Battelle.
It's important to understand that the anthrax that was taken from the government lab was probably no more than a tiny fraction of what was used in the mailings. The thief didn't have to take enough anthrax for all seven letters. The stuff can be grown. And it grows very fast. And it didn't even have to be in spore form. It could have been anthrax germs in a test tube. The only requirement was that they be of the fast-growing Ames anthrax strain. Because the anthrax in the first mailing was unrefined and the anthrax in the second mailing was refined, that seems to make it a near certainty that the anthrax was being cultured and refined during the period between the mailings.
5. Could the anthrax have been purified in a home laboratory?
There was a lot of debate about this. Some scientists originally said it required only about $2,500 dollars worth of equipment. And the actual equipment is available from many supply houses which sell and resell such equipment. There are so many places where the equipment is sold and so many individual pieces of equipment that could have been used, that it is totally impractical to even attempt to check them all. The equipment is in great abundance; what is in limited supply is the right knowledge and some unrestricted access to the Ames form of anthrax.
As more information was learned about the anthrax, however, it became a near certainty that while the first batch could have been produced in a "home lab" the second batch could not have been refined in a "home lab". But that doesn't mean it required a massive government project. There is a big middle-ground. There are thousands of professional laboratories where the culprit might have used professional equipment that has nothing to do with any government project.
On October 24, 2001, Peter Jahrling, the senior scientist at USAMRIID was summoned to the Roosevelt Room of the White House to talk with John Ashcroft, Cabinet officials, CIA, FBI and national security people about the Daschle anthrax which Jahrling had been studying. At that meeting, Peter Jahrling said,"This anthrax could have come from a hospital lab or from any reasonably equipped college microbiology lab."
An Aug. 20, 2002, article from The Hartford Courant goes into detail about one type of machine that could have been used. There are apparently many labs in Central New Jersey that have the machine. For a glimpse at what such machines look like, click HERE.
"Dozens of academic labs, pharmaceutical companies and firms that specialize in making fine industrial powders are in this part of southern New Jersey. Any could have employees with the knowledge, and the equipment, to produce the refined, easily inhaled anthrax powder sent to Senate and media offices, some scientists and law enforcement officials say."The argument that the refined anthrax used in the second mailing couldn’t have been produced in a home laboratory or a non-government lab seems to come primarily from people who do not know how anthrax can be refined to such a degree. For them, the only known process is "secret" and is patented by Bill Patrick. But that doesn’t mean that someone couldn’t have been told the "secret" or figured it out. In fact, figuring it out is almost a career requirement in a situation like this. And once figured out, the process can be improved upon. There have been many improvements in technology since Bill Patrick's inventions were first patented.
"But one law enforcement official interviewed in Princeton last week, who spoke on the condition that his name not be used, noted that there are at least half a dozen companies within a 40-minute drive of the mailbox whose employees might have the expertise to launch such an attack."
"There are several ways to turn bacteria into such a fine powder. One method involves a process known as non-contact, or non-mechanical, milling. Instead of a grinding wheel, a jet of air is used to reduce the material to a powder.
"Several labs at Princeton University, and countless private companies in the area, work with the $50,000 machines, which can be purchased secondhand for about a third of the original cost, [Prof.] Ebright said.
"Asked whether faculty or students had been contacted by federal agents following the discovery of the mailbox earlier this month, Princeton University spokeswoman Marilyn Marks said: "We don't comment on FBI investigations." She added that nobody on the campus works with anthrax."
If someone can do something previously thought impossible and the process is a "secret", any scientist with the time and inclination will try to figure out how to do it. If you are a respected scientist and someone is doing something you don’t know how to do, you have to figure out how to do it or you are no longer tops in your field. Knowing how to do it could solve many problems and lead to other new discoveries that will generate credentials and rewards. And among those discoveries would be how to keep the spores separated in a way that no one has ever seen before.
Apparently, the "secret" is in what chemicals are used and how they are used. The equipment is standard stuff. "Experts" who don't know how to do it are no judge on what was needed to do it. Plus there is information (at the end of the Refining Section) that indicates that Bill Patrick's patented process was not used.
(Although I had no background in hydraulics, I once invented a simple bi-directional hydraulic flow meter (patent #5458007) and as soon as the "hydraulic experts" learned that it wasn’t the impossible idea as they had thought and that the patent application had actually been made, many of them tried to invent a better one. Some of their attempts were wildly complicated and impractical, but they spent a lot of time and money on it before they all eventually gave up. Much of my life has been fighting with "experts" who felt that things couldn't be done until I did them, or who felt that things could be done but didn't know that they couldn't (and who wouldn't believe me when I told them).)
You have to know how it was done before you can know if it can be done in a makeshift lab or a non-government lab. Chances are good that the idea is really very simple - and the best and most simple ideas require very little equipment. But instead of a "makeshift lab", it's much more likely that the anthrax was made in a sophisticated lab where some scientist had unlimited access and could work without being questioned. Here's what a couple other "experts" were quoted as saying in the National Journal:
"If the U.S. anthrax was very pure but not specially weaponized, could it have been made by amateurs? In small quantities, yes, according to both [Ken] Alibek [a former Soviet bio-weapons official] and [Matthew] Meselson [a Harvard University biologist]. It could be done, Alibek says, with 'a very simple, nonindustrial process -- a very primitive process -- that could let you get a trillion spores in one gram. You can't make hundreds of kilos, but you could make hundreds of grams at this concentration.'
"Meselson concurs. 'It's something that could be done by a fair number of people.' The necessary glassware, culturing media, centrifuges, and so on 'would exist in a large number of places, both hospitals and laboratories -- widespread.'"
6. Who did it?
A Working Theory for who the anthrax terrorists might be:
The person who supplied the anthrax is most likely someone formerly with some U.S. military bioweapons development program. The person who refined and mailed the anthrax may have learned from the supplier, or may merely have obtained the Ames anthrax from him. He has most likely never been with any U.S. military bioweapons program.
The idea that the terrorist worked for the government has apparently been common gossip ever since Barbara Hatch Rosenberg gave a talk at the BTW conference in Geneva in November, 2001. Around November 28, 2001, her talk was the subject of an article in "Greenpeace Germany" a publication of the environmentalist movement. The Greenpeace article apparently quoted Rosenberg as saying, ``It seems the attacker ... wanted to force through an increase in the budget for U.S. research on biological weapons.'' The magazine also reported that Rosenberg speculated that the attacker, who used anthrax-laced mail, had probably wanted to cause panic rather than kill anyone.
After nearly seven years of negotiations, what was intended to be the final session to complete the treaty ended in disarray on Aug. 17, 2001, when the U.S. government decided to block the treaty being negotiated by 143 countries at the Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention (BTWC) in Geneva, Switzerland. To avoid another publicity fiasco like the one that followed its rejection of the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, the U.S. delegation remained in Geneva after rejecting the biological weapons treaty until the negotiating session disbanded in order to prevent other nations from reaching a biological weapons agreement among themselves. Such tactics further angered many American and foreign scientists. For a number of articles describing the scientific community's reaction to this rejection, visit the Federation of American Scientist's web site HERE.
All this discussion of biological weapons was clearly on the minds of many scientists, both those who supported America's position at the BTWC and those that didn't. So, there are a lot of scientists out there with an agenda that fits the terrorist's profile. It seems clear that the anthrax terrorist(s) wanted to use the media to frighten the American people into either (a) funding bioweapons research - which includes antidotes against such weapons - or (b) to make it clear to the American people that a treaty banning biological weapons is critical to our safety.
A common cause may have brought two scientists/terrorists together. One with anthrax and one with available equipment and expertise, both with a need to use the anthrax for a demonstration to support their cause.
However, it's difficult to imagine anyone sending anthrax through the mail in order to generate support for a treaty. And the fact that the terrorist had anthrax in his possession indicates they probably supported the Bush adminstration's point of view: If biological weapons are banned, only criminals will have biological weapons. But the anthrax mailer was very likely acting out of self-preservation - out of fear that millions of Americans could die from a bioweapons attack and he could be one of them! So, he could be from either side of the BTWC issue.
Most likely, there was an original plan that was made unworkable by the Sept. 11 attack. (See "Plan A".) And as part of "Plan A", the person with access to Ames anthrax turned some of the Ames anthrax over to the other person who would process it and use it for some kind of demonstration.
The supplier of the anthrax probably obtained the anthrax well before Sept. 11 - before he was let go from his job with some military bioweapons lab - and he kept it around as evidence of how easily it can be obtained. It proves his case that anthrax can be obtained easily. He did it.
Regardless of whatever happened before September 11, things really began on that date. On that date the anthrax mailer became more alarmed than ever before. America had been attacked by foreign terrorists! Bioweapons attacks could be next, but, in his eyes, no one cared! No one was paying any attention! He had to make them pay attention.
There's nothing more frustrating in this world than to be an expert on a subject and to be ignored.
So, on September 18, 2001, the supplier (with known connections to a source for anthrax) would likely arrange for an alibi for himself - while the refiner/mailer used some of the anthrax he had in his possession to send out REAL anthrax letters to the media - to Tom Brokaw, The New York Post, American Media in Florida and most likely Dan Rather and Peter Jennings.
But again nothing happened! It took weeks before the first case appeared in the news, and then it was initially thought to be anthrax from natural causes! (The letters sent to AMI, CBS and ABC were literally discarded, and even the letters to NBC and the New York Post had to be dug out of the trash or out of junk mail bins!) The anthrax mailer was probably wildly upset. A real bioweapons attack could come at any moment and no one was doing anything to prevent it! He was now refining some more anthrax to create a much more deadly variety that no one was going to interpret as being from "natural sources".
To make matters worse, at this time the "Anti-Terror Bill" proposed by Attorney General Ashcroft was being "watered down" by Senate Democrats concerned with civil rights. This would have infuriated anyone looking for total waragainst bioterrorism and to round up potential terrorist cells in American which might be ready to attack at any moment. And Senator Leahy might have appeared to be a key figure in protecting "the rights of terrorists!"
The location of spores found in various Florida post offices indicates that the letter that killed Bob Stevens, a photo editor at The Sun in Boca Raton, Florida, was originally addressed to the National Enquirer in Lantana, Florida. The National Enquirer had moved its location a year before the attack, and the letter was forwarded to the new location in Boca Raton.
The media was still reporting that the anthrax that killed Bob Stevens could have been from natural causes. Did the anthrax mailer put two and two together and realize that he had actually killed someone? Most likely he did. But it obviously didn't change anything. The anthrax mailer still hadn't awakened America. No alarm had been sounded. Apparently, no one even realized that his letters to the media contained anthrax!
So, at some point in time, the anthrax refiner/mailer began refining the anthrax by separating he spores from the debris to produce a powder that was nearly pure spores - and at least ten times as dangerous. Then, probably late in the evening of October 8, 2001, the anthrax refiner/mailer put enough refined anthrax to kill hundreds of thousands of people into two envelopes, sealed them tight (including some tape around the edges), drove to a mailbox in the Trenton, New Jersey area, most likely the mailbox across the street from Princeton University in Princeton, NJ, where he mailed them to Senators Leahy and Daschle. These two letters would be a wake up call that no one would be able to ignore! Two Senators’ offices doused with deadly, highly refined anthrax?! How could that be ignored? But he did use a variety of anthrax that is very easily killed with most antibiotics, he taped the envelopes around the edges to seal them tightly, and he actually stated in the letter that the powder was anthrax. So, he clearly wasn’t looking to kill anyone else. Certainly, he was not looking for maximum damage as a bin Laden terrorist would.
Profiles of the anthrax terrorists:
The unidentified "anthrax terrorist" is most likely two people: the "supplier" who obtained the Ames anthrax from a government lab and the "refiner/mailer" (plus, perhaps, an uninvolved child).
Profile of the anthrax supplier:
probably took the Ames anthrax from a government facility.
2. The supplier was probably fired from that facility.
3. The supplier is probably considered an unstable personality, perhaps even a "drunk".
4. The supplier is almost certainly unmarried.
5. The supplier is a loner with few friends - if any.
6. The supplier is disgruntled and uncomfortable working with others.
7. The supplier probably uses phrases like "I keep telling them, but they don't listen."
8. The supplier doesn't care much about "rules".
9. The supplier believes that a free exchange of information is key to advancements in science.
10. The supplier may have had knowledge needed by the refiner/mailer.
11. The supplier is probably in his late 40s or early 50s.
12. The supplier probably lost his security clearance as a result of his actions.
Profile of the anthrax refiner/mailer:
is probably in his 40s.
2. The refiner/mailer may currently work in the health industry or in academia.
3. The refiner/mailer has almost unlimited access to scientific equipment and facilities.
4. The refiner/mailer probably lives within commuting distance of NYC.
5. The refiner/mailer was in the Trenton, NJ, area late on Sept. 17 and October 8, 2001.
6. The refiner/mailer probably reads the New York Post.
7. The refiner/mailer probably lives alone.
8. The refiner/mailer is probably an American citizen.
9. The refiner/mailer may have some connection to the publication of a newsletter that expresses his beliefs.
10. The refiner/mailer thinks that voting is a waste of time. If he belonged to a political party, it would be the Fascist Party.
11. The refiner/mailer may be a have mood swings between blatant egotism and deep anger.
12. The refiner/mailer may be divorced.
13. The refiner/mailer may have a small child and visitation rights with the child.
14. The refiner/mailer may have used his child to address the envelopes and to write the letters.
15. The refiner/mailer may already have published his "manifesto".
16. The refiner/mailer probably uses the Internet frequently.
17. The refiner/mailer may have expressed anti-Muslim sentiments during the period before the 9-11 attacks and followed that with a lot of "I told you so" comments after 9-11. He may have expressed concerns about the number of Muslims living in Central New Jersey.
#10 - Microbial Forensics
In the spring of 2002 it appears that the FBI had just about reached a dead end on the anthrax case. While the FBI may have identified one or more persons who they believedwere behind the crime, they were evidently unable to make an arrest because they were unable to find sufficient proof which could be taken into a court of law to get a conviction. The culprit(s) had done a very good job of covering tracks - which seems relatively easy to do when committing a crime via the U.S. Mails.
There were none of the traditional types of evidence which enable prosecuting attorneys to win cases in court. There were no witnesses. There were no fingerprints. There were no DNA traces which could link a person to the crime. The paper, envelopes, inks and other physical evidence were common and could have been obtained by almost anyone. They apparently couldn’t find a solid match on the handwriting. Whatever circumstantial evidence they had, it was far from being enough to be absolutely certain of a conviction. And the anthrax case was not a case the Department Of Justice would be willing to risk losing.
In short, it appears that, while they may have known who committed the crime, they couldn’t proveit, and they were running out of ideas on ways to try to prove it.
So, they started looking around for new ideas. They began asking respected scientists in various fields if they could think of aspects of the crime which had not yet been thoroughly investigated.
It is unknown who first came up with the idea, but their questioning of scientists uncovered a vast area where scientific knowledge had been accumulating but where the information had not been organized and formalized into "an official science". That area was unofficially called "microbial forensics".
According to the article in the September 17, 2003, issue of Science Magazine announcing the creation of the new science, "Microbial forensics can be defined as a scientific discipline dedicated to analyzing evidence from a bioterrorism act, biocrime, or inadvertent microorganism/toxin release for attribution purposes".
It was quickly realized that this new science had to be formalized and recognized or evidence produced by the science would never hold up in court. If that wasn’t done, defense attorneys would question every finding presented in court to make certain that "reasonable doubt" would be clearly present to every juror in the jury box. (Interestingly, many papers on the subject mention the DNA evidence discounted by the jury in the O.J. Simpson case.)
The working group
On June 7-9, 2002, a "working group" of 35 scientists was assembled by the American Academy of Microbiology in Burlington, Vermont. In her highly informative paper "Microbial Forensics" by Abigail A. Salyers, published in December of 2003, Ms Salyers says,
For the first time in the history of these AAM-organized meetings, three scientists from the FBI were included. The FBI scientists, all of whom had had direct involvement in investigation of the anthrax case, helped provide the occasional reality check, as other scientists not familiar with work in the field grappled with the question of how to establish standards for evidence collection and for analysis and interpretation of the plethora of new molecular tests, more of which are being published every month. The anthrax attack was not the only example of the possible use of microbial forensics considered by the group of AAM experts. Other examples included intentional contamination of others by HIV-positive individuals and outbreaks of hospital-acquired or foodborne disease. Understandably, however, the anthrax bioattack dominated the discussion.The mission of this group was not to investigate the anthrax case. It was to formalize the science so that the FBI could use the science in the anthrax case. Ms Saylers explains:
All of us remember the debacle of the O. J. Simpson trial during which lawyers were trying to establish the validity and limitations of a DNA-based analytical method used for identifying the human source of a blood sample, and few would argue that an actual trial is the place to establish whether a scientific test is reliable. Now that years have passed since the Simpson trial and the tests about which there was so much argument at the time have been used in many courts cases, the public and the legal profession have become more comfortable with the use of such tests for identifying murderers and rapists. Reaching the same level of comfort with microbial forensics will not be nearly as easy.There was already a lot of information on file and a lot of work had already been done by scientists investigating outbreaks of various well-known infections. For example, the CDC has a system called PulseNet which tracks outbreaks of Salmonella and other diseases. But the purpose of such work is to figure out where and how a disease began (and to track it until it is fully under control), NOT to convict a killer in a court of law. (This could explain why the CDC seems satisfied that the anthrax which killed Bob Stevens could have been in either or both of two different letters which arrived at different times, while the FBI needs to be certain exactly which letter contained the anthrax.)
This is so because one is not dealing with a single familiar species, Homo sapiens, but with a huge diversity of microbial species with names that are unfamiliar, in some cases even to the average microbiologists. In contrast to DNA-based tests now widely used to identify human suspects, a single set of tests and interpretations will not work for all microbial species. Moreover, although these tests are widely used by scientists, they have not been validated in a way that would give a nonscientist confidence that they are reliable enough to send someone to jail.
Formalizing the new science
Formalizing a science involves such things as Quality Assurance and Quality Control, to make certain that the evidence isn’t contaminated and a chain-of-custody is maintained from the time the evidence was found until it’s presented in court. It involves statistical analysis so that an "expert" can go into court - as in the O.J. Simpson case - and state with authority that the chances of error are 1 in 10 thousand or 1 in 500 million. False positives and false negatives are a fact of life in many testing procedures, and a jury has to understand that "reasonable doubt" isn’t the same as "no doubt whatsoever" in a situation where tests showed that a spore came from a specific lab - with 99.999999999 percent certainty.
These tests - as they relate to the anthrax case - evidently involve just about every aspect of growing and refining anthrax. Variations in the DNA of a bacterium will certainly be part of the investigation, and work is being done to completely sequence at least 10 variations of anthrax stains in order to provide a baseline of data. According to the authors of an article titled "Microbial Forensics - ‘Cross-Examining Pathogens" in Science Magazine from June 14, 2002,
We speculate that the sequencing of additional Ames lab strains and other distantly related strains may yield polymorphisms that lead to identification of the source of the 2001 bioterrorism strain (or strains).This work on DNA could identify from which lab the Ames anthrax originally came (i.e., Ft. Detrick, Battelle, LSU, Northern Arizona U, Dugway, etc.). But that wouldn’t automatically mean that the same lab produced the spores in the anthrax letters. Far from it. In fact, it’s a near certainty that the anthrax spores were made in some other lab not directly associated with the originating lab. So, it is absolutely critical to positively identify the lab where the spores were actually made.
Fortunately, it seems that when a spore is formed it will absorb trace elements and other materials from its surroundings. The existence of traces of a particular isotope of silica, for example, could point to the use of a specific piece of equipment made by a specific company and used in only a few specific labs. As with DNA, the existence of some element could eliminate Lab Z while the existence of another element could point to Lab J. And an accumulation of such evidence could determine that the anthrax could only have been made in Lab J. And decay rates on various isotopes may also help determine when it was made. Then it becomes a matter of identifying which person working in Lab J at the time in question could have done it.
The work of formalizing the new science of microbial forensics was evidently done in relative secrecy (probably to avoid reporting of premature results), since I can find absolutely no mention of it until the group completed its work and announced its existence in an article in the September 17, 2003, issue of Science Magazine. One of the members of the steering committee and the working group, Paul Keim of Northern Arizona University, has written a detailed paper about the project which is titled "Microbial Forensics: A Scientific Assessment", which lists the names of all the participants. This document and the paper by Abigail A. Salyers (who was also on the steering committee and a member of the working group) should be required reading for anyone trying to understand what this new science means to the anthrax case.
Using the New Science
Sometime in the fall of 2003, the FBI evidently began putting the new science to work. Whether or not they could even have gotten search warrants for lab equipment prior to the recognition of the science is unknown, but it’s seems clear that the investigation was re-energized after a long period of treading water while the working group did its function.
And, in early 2004, the FBI asked for delays in the Hatfill and Stevens lawsuits to allow them time to complete their investigation utilizing this new science. Evidently - based upon statements made at a hearing in the Dr. Hatfill lawsuit - findings are expected to be announced in June or July of 2004. There may even be an arrest or arrests.
If there is no arrest, the minimum we should be able to expect is that the specific labs will be identified, i.e., the lab where the Ames anthrax originated and the lab where the spores were made.
If that happens, then all the scientists who have been misled by amateur detectives pointing at Dr. Hatfill and all the scientists and others misled by journalists using speculation instead of facts regarding the need for massive facilities to put coatings on the anthrax, and all the people who somehow became convinced that al Qaeda sent the anthrax, all those people can finally focus on the real situation and who might have done the crimes. It’s very possible that someone misled by all the bad information in the media, or by their own misconceptions, may suddenly realize he has the missing piece of evidence needed to convict the culprit or culprits.
Let’s hope so.
#11 - Updates & Thoughts
Current comments and updates are now on the new "front page". Click HERE.
for year 2006.
Click HERE for year 2005.
Click HERE for year 2004.
Click HERE for years 2001, 2002 and 2003.
# 12 - References:
with copies of envelopes and letters
Linguistic/Behavioral Analysis of Anthrax Letters - from FBI.gov
Richard M. Smith's web site on "The Anthrax Investigation"
UCLA's "Disease Detectives" site about the anthrax outbreak of 2001
University of Wisconsin - Bacillus anthracis and anthrax
The Center for Counterproliferation Research - Nov. 2002 - "Anthrax in America: A Chronology ..."
Lousiana State University - The World Anthrax Data Site
ABC, Australia - Timeline of Atta's and other terrorists' movements
CBC - Oct. 2002 - Background information on Anthrax
South Florida Sun-Sentinel - "Chronology of anthrax events".
Barbara Hatch Rosenberg - "Analysis of the Anthrax Attacks"
Biohazard News - "A civilian initiative addressing the threat of bioterrorism"
CODENAME ZABADI: Zawahiri's Infiltration Of US Biodefense
PBS.org - NOVA - "Interviews with Biowarriors - Bill Patrick"
The CDC - Nov-Dec 2001 - "Research: Bioterrorism-related inhalational anthrax"
Emerging Infectious Diseases - Oct. 2002 - Investigation of Bioterrorism related anthrax"
The General Accounting Office - Dec. 10, 2002 - "Information On U.S. Domestic Anthrax Attacks"
In November 2007, I received Cease & Desist letters from The Washington Post, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal and Reuters demanding that I remove my copies of their articles from this web site. I complied. My copies were removed, which means that some of the links on this site may no longer work.
On February 13, 2010, The Baltimore Sun sent me the same type of letter, so their articles have also been removed.
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2001 - 2007 by Ed Lake
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