Thursday, May 7, 2009

FBI Anthrax Investigation Under Scientific Review/ Science online

Brief article by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee:

A long-awaited review of the scientific evidence relating to the investigation
of the 2001 anthrax letter attacks is finally getting off the ground. The study,
to be conducted by the National Academies, will check the validity of the
scientific techniques used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in solving the
case. What the study will not do, as spelled out in the academies’ official
description of the study, is issue a verdict on whether U.S. Army researcher
Bruce Ivins was indeed guilty of the crime, as concluded by FBI officials. . .


Meryl Nass, M.D. said...

It was pointed out that this blog has posted rude or demeaning comments in the past. I would ask posters to refrain from personal attacks on anyone in future, please.


Old Atlantic Lighthouse said...

Just because they agreed not to opine on Ivins being guilty doesn't mean they can't tag Pakistan with the job. Also, we have had our annual reminder that UAE is a country that bears looking into. UAE biosafety lab as a search picks up UAE hosting the 2007 Biosafety and Biosecurity Conference. Doesn't that make you feel bio safe and secure? Also search Abu Dhabi biosafety level 3. The EAD of Abu Dhabi was set up in 1996 and sponsored the 2007 conference.

"The Conference was held in Abu Dhabi from November 12-14, 2007 under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi (EAD)"

Not to be confused with Sheikh Issa aka Enhanced Interrogation Methods Sheikh, who is probably only a cousin or brother.

"Sheikh Issa bin Zayed Al Nayhan is the son of the late United Arab Emirates President Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan; the brother of the present ruler of Abu Dhabi, the Emir Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan; and the brother of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan."

At a minimum the committee might comment on why there were anthrax events in Pakistan after 9/11, letters sent from Florida and elsewhere, and the other issues in this case that are left unhanging by the lone labman acting alone. The magic flask that can produce 5 grams of anthrax in a single night and then turn it into spores in another used from Sep 14 to Sep 16 according to the FBI's theory also should be discussed.

Old Atlantic Lighthouse said...

Re the subtilis found in the letters. Assume it was found in the second batch of letters. This would be consistent with

a) first batch was disappointing

b) did experiment with subtilis in between and then did second round using that experience and know how.

c) Used same equipment for final anthrax run as did subtilis experiments on.

For Ivins this would mean he used the subtilis the last weekend September 28 to Sep 30. But that isn't time to do a full run from prep to dried spores. That's the same time as the first weekend Sep 14 to Sep 16 if he did it. So he couldn't have had a perfect run from Sep 28 to Sep 30 with subtilis from growth to dried spores.

The subtilis means someone did a practice run that worked perfectly. If the practice run failed, you wouldn't do a real run with anthrax, you would keep experimenting with subtilis. So to get a perfect subtilis run he needed more than a weekend.

So the FBI would have to claim he did subtilis runs in the lab during the week from Sep 17 to Sep 28 and got a perfect run from growth to dried spores.

In this case, he was doing subtilis or anthrax constantly from Sep 14 to Oct 5. In that case, it would have been noticed.

Its not like his lab mates had to remember from now back to 2001. The anthrax was public knowledge shortly after the second mailing and they were involved in the investigation soon after. So if Ivins had done an anthrax run Sep 14 to Sep 16, then subtilis runs during the week from Sep 18 to Sep 28 and then anthrax run from Sep 28 to Oct 5 they would have noticed.

The subtilis only makes sense as a practice run and they used the same equipment. It only makes sense as a practice run if it really worked. So they had to have time, which means they used subtilis from Sep 18 for at least a week to get a good growth and then get nice dried spores in the quantity of grams.

So whoever did it, was working in the lab with anthrax and subtilis from at least several days before Sep 18 to Oct 5. That excludes Ivins doing it in his lab.

Old Atlantic Lighthouse said...

Ed Lake says the subtilis was in the first letter but not the second. In that case, its worse for the Ivins theory. If someone used subtilis in a test they would only try the anthrax if the test worked. If your test fails, you keep experimenting.

The FBI theory is that Ivins did it from Fri Sep 14 to Sun Sep 16 for the first mailing. Ivins didn't have time to do it with subtilis and then with anthrax in those 2 days. So when did Ivins practice with subtilis? And didn't that test run show him it takes more than 2 days to go from flask of spores to dried spores ready for mailing after growth? Which Ivins knew anyhow.

If you search Glendale aviation school Arizona you find one near Phoenix. One hijacker (Hani Hanjour?) stayed in Phoenix for some aviation lessons. Greendale Elementary School was on the letter. Their flight skills were elementary.