Sunday, March 21, 2010

Most Likely Source of Silicon in Anthrax Attack Spores Argues Against Production by Ivins

Writing at FireDogLake, Jim White discusses the role of silicon in the anthrax spores.  Apparently, the mechanism for 2 liter cultures of anthrax available to Bruce Ivins did not require an antifoaming agent, and he did not use one.  OTOH, large volume fermenters with compressed air (or a gaseous mixture) pumped into the culture medium do need the addition of an antifoaming agent.  Silicon-containing agents are popular, although agents are available without silicon.  Simethicone (a possibly effective medicinal treatment for "gas" pains that acts by reducing surface tension on gas bubbles) is one such agent.  Its inclusion in a fermentation might have led to a concentration of silicon compounds similar to what was found in the anthrax letters.  Much good technical information here.


Ross said...

The former Zawahiri associate working alongside Bruce Ivins with virulent Ames and submitting patents about silicone and simethecone and I have a mutual friend who was recruited by Ayman Zawahiri into the Egyptian Islamic Jihad while the two were schoolmates at Cairo Medical with EIJ lethal letters operative Dahab.

Does FBI Director Mueller think that the idea of recruiting people without known terrorist ties, did not occur to Ayman Zawahiri, author of the book COVERT OPERATIONS (which was posted online in Arabic), until recently?

Given the document titled "Cocktail" seized in 1998 by the FBI from the computer of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad intelligence chief Ali Mohammed, isn't the suggestion contradicted by the documentary evidence?

Ali Mohammed, for example, recruited at Cairo Medical School in the early 1980s a medical student named Dahab, son of a prominent Alexandria doctor, to make lethal letters, precisely because of his lack of known terrorist ties.

Ali Mohammed himself was later a US Army sergeant who taught troops about the Salafist-Jihadis and sent Ayman high-resolution maps of Afghanistan from Ft. Bragg. He briefly worked for the CIA and was an FBI informant (though he was actually a triple agent playing the FBI for a fool).

Ali Mohammed and Dahab went to Afghanistan and told Bin Laden and Zawahiri that they had recruited 10 sleepers. Does FBI Director Mueller really think that Ali Mohammed chose to recruit people known to have terrorist ties?

Does the fact that some guy at Ft. Detrick edited Wikipedia and thought the Yankees won too much change the probativeness of the information that the CIA and FBI has had since December 2001?

Has the federal government, by its failure to be able to timely share information (whether between agencies or under FOIA) -- or even install a working FBI computer system over the course of the past decade -- made itself irrelevant to both maintenance of our public parks and intelligence analysis?

Ross said...

Al-Qaeda Still Pursuing WMD, FBI Chief Says

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Al-Qaeda Still Pursuing WMD, FBI Chief Says
Thursday, March 18, 2010

(Mar. 18) -

"Al-Qaeda remains committed to its goal of conducting attacks inside the United States," Mueller warned a House Appropriations subcommittee, according to Newsmax. "Further, al-Qaeda’s continued efforts to access chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear material pose a serious threat to the United States."

"The margin of safety is shrinking, not growing," the FBI director said.

He also pointed to the conclusions of the December 2008 report by the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism that "the risks are growing faster than our multilayered defenses" (see GSN, Jan. 26; Ken Timmerman,Newsmax, March 17).

In order to carry out new strikes in the United States, Mueller said al-Qaeda is endeavoring "to infiltrate overseas operatives who have no known nexus to terrorism into the United States using both legal and illegal methods of entry," Newsmax reported.

Last month, known al-Qaeda agent Sheikh Abdullah al-Nasifi declared that terrorists could best sneak into the country through tunnels that run under the U.S.-Mexico border.

"One person, with the courage to carry 4 pounds of anthrax, will go to the White House lawn, and will spread this 'confetti' all over them," al-Nasifi said on al-Jazeera television. "9/11 will be small change in comparison" (Timmerman, Newsmax).