Sunday, March 7, 2010

My summary of unresolved issues in the anthrax letters case

In terms of the strength of the FBI’s case against Ivins, I would break down an analysis in the following way:

1. To prove that a person committed a crime, they must be shown to have all three of the following: means, motive and opportunity. Has the FBI proven that Ivins had all three?

a) Means: Retired colleagues have said he did not have the equipment to make Daschle-quality anthrax in the amounts required using equipment available to him at Fort Detrick. Anonymous colleagues at Fort Detrick claim he could. FBI has failed to clarify this major issue. FBI has not been able to “reverse engineer” the anthrax and therefore does not know what equipment was needed to produce it. FBI has made a series of changing claims over time about silicon found in the spore preparation. UPDATE: Ezzell and Mohr (not anonymous colleagues) told Scott Shane/NYT that Ivins had the equipment to produce the anthrax powder. LATER UPDATE: After Ezzell was interviewed and allegedly said Ivins had the equipment to make the spores in the anthrax letters, another coworker queried Ezzell on this. Ezzell claimed that his statement had not been conveyed accurately, and that he had referred only to the first set of letter anthrax, which was clumped, not free-flowing and contained extensive debris. This "rough" preparation of anthrax could have been made in the available speed vac.

So there do not appear to be any coworkers who allege that Ivins could have produced the Daschle/Leahy letter anthrax in his Fort Detrick laboratory.

b) FBI has not identified the Bacillus strain contaminant (found in the first letters) in the Fort Detrick lab, suggesting the spore material was made elsewhere.

c) Motive: The FBI has alleged a variety of motives at different times, but none of them seem to make any sense. The latest report has errors of fact in its discussion of motive.

d) Opportunity: Could Ivins have made it to the Trenton/Princeton area to mail letters and returned to Frederick in time to meet his other obligations? The FBI’s first reported (2008) scenario of how this may have occurred was incorrect. I have not read a convincing scenario since.

2. What is the evidence amassed by the FBI for and against Ivins? The documents released in February 2010 were selected to prove his guilt using circumstantial evidence and character assassination. What about other evidence?

3. What evidence did the FBI have against earlier suspects, including Steven Hatfill and Perry Mikesell? Why did FBI wait until after Ivins’ death to exonerate Hatfill, months after he received a several million dollar settlement from the government?

4. Ivins’ death scenario begs many questions. Why wasn’t he given a Tylenol antidote to prevent liver failure? Ivins was allegedly found unconscious on the bathroom floor with an orange liquid next to him. A Tylenol overdose requires several days before you die, and does not cause coma for days. If the benadryl in Tylenol PM led to unconsciousness (according to a later account by Scott Shane in the NY Times) there was still time to treat him successfully for Tylenol toxicity. Ivins was under 24/7 surveillance by FBI, from the house next door. FBI should have identified an overdose before several days had passed, and the window of opportunity for treatment was lost. FBI could have furnished Ivins’ medical providers with information that might have saved his life. The medical records of Ivins’ hospitalization have not been released.

5. The FBI’s account of Ivins using “classic” countermeasures to outsmart a lie detector test is nonsense, according to a former FBI agent (Drew Richardson, PhD) with broad experience in this area, who has provided Congressional testimony on polygraph testing. Initially it was reported that Ivins had passed two polygraph tests. What did the second test show?

6. How were other potential perpetrators ruled out? (Dr. Drew Richardson says that polygraph tests would not be sufficient to rule other suspects out.) How was a crime involving more than one actor ruled out?

7. Why did the FBI "try" Ivins in the media during early August 2008, using a series of leaks, for which FBI later apologized?

8. Why did FBI close the case with no additional hard evidence, apart from a new theory about a DNA code within the anthrax letters, months before the National Academy of Science report on FBI’s forensic science, commissioned by FBI, was released?

There are a number of additional issues, but these should suffice to indicate the FBI’s case is entirely unsatisfactory.

Meryl Nass, MD
March 7, 2010


Ross said...

Cryptome resource -

AMERITHRAX: Infiltration of US Biodefense? March 6, 2010 (1.4MB)

Anonymous said...

On polygraphs, apart from what the physiological response was (polygraphs are not admissible because they are not reliable), what substantive answers did he give to substantive questions? BTW, CIA personnel are polygraphed and the widespread practice is to take aspirin beforehand to avoid false positives.

Why has the FBI not provided any 302 interview statements from 2001 and 2002? (For example, the FBI did not even include his sworn statement from 2002 about leaving Ames on his desk overnight for mailing.)

Most important of all, why did US Attorney Taylor falsely claim it was stored in 1425 rather than both 1425 and 1412? (There were 2 500 ML flasks of RMR 1029)

And why do commentators (like the NYT) persist in adopting Taylor's false claim that 100+ had access when even now the DOJ's Summary and record establishes that 350 had access -- and that's just at Ft. Detrick. The genetics didn't limit things a bit -- the same number would have had access to the variety of strains. The refrigerators were unlocked and it was on an "honor system" -- researchers explained that they would often go to the fridge and find their stuff had been removed. How, pray tell, is that "exclusively control"?

The record establishes that after aerosol challenges in 1412 it was left in garbage bags in the basement for a day or two or until someone autoclaved it. The record shows that scientists agree that anyone could have just stuck the Ames in their pocket and walked out.

Old Atlantic Lighthouse said...

Bruce Ivins et al applied for a patent in 2000 which was granted in 2002. This patent describes in detail the actual growing of anthrax by Bruce Ivins using the New Brunswick Bio-Flo 3000 that the FBI 302 report indicated was the fermentor at Ft. Detrick. The patent also describes use of the speed-vac. The patent gives a table with the yield in mg of anthracis using the 5 Liter fermentor after growth of several days.

“Fermentation conditions: The fermentations described here were carried out using a New Brunswick Bio-Flo 3000 equipped with a 5.0 liter working volume glass vessel and stainless steel headplate and hemispherical bottom cooling dish.”


B. Anthracis ΔSterne-1(pPA102)CR4 was compared with its parent spore-forming strain B. anthracis ΔSterne-1(pPA102). Both organisms were plated onto sheep blood agar (a preferred medium for promoting bacterial spore production) and grown at 37° C. for 1 day, after which the temperature was lowered to 25° C. for 4 days. The two strains were also grown in liquid Leighton-Doi medium, which is designed to promote spore production, for 1 day at 37° C. followed by 4 days growth at 25° C. Growth from both agar and broth cultures were examined under phase contrast microscopy for the presence of spores. Growth from all four cultures were then resuspended in phosphate buffered saline to a concentration of about 10 9 colony-forming units (CFU) per ml. All four cultures were then heat shocked at 64° C. for 60 minutes to kill vegetative cells. Aliquots of 0.1 ml of the heat shocked material was then plated out onto sheep blood agar and incubated at 37° C. for 2 days. ”

Summary of Aerobic ΔSterne-1(pPA102)CR4 Fermentations
Final Final Yield Doubling
Conc. Yield (mg Specific Time
Fermentation (μg PA83/ (mg PA83/g Growth T D
Conditions ml PA83) DCW) Rate (min)
Aerobic, Batch 51 235 8.10 0.0132 min −1 53
Aerobic, Batch 64 301 10.7 0.0136 min −1 51
Aerobic, Batch 45 225 7.40 0.0136 min −1 51
pH constant
Aerobic, 68 360 ND 0.0116 min −1 60
DCW = dry cell weight ”

The final yields ranged from 235mg to 360 mg. This was based on using the actual fermentor at Ft. Detrick in growth runs of 5 days as indicated in detail in the Example 1 quote.

This appears to settle it. Ivins could not produce the anthrax at Ft. Detrick using even the fermentor. It would take 5 days, and produce yields of under 360 mg. The Senate anthrax contained 871mg per letter at least.

This patent was applied for in 2000. Ivins knew from this data that it would be impossible for him to produce the anthrax at his lab and convert it into high quality powder in the amounts in the Senate letters. Ivins knew that. He is the principal person on the patent and is listed first out of alphabetical order. The patent also cites Ivins own papers.

Ivins, Bruce (Frederick, MD)
Worsham, Patricia (Jefferson, MD)
Friedlander, Arthur M. (Gaithersburg, MD)
Farchaus, Joseph W. (Frederick, MD)
Welkos, Susan L. (Frederick, MD) ”

Filing Date:

“Method of making a vaccine for anthrax
United States Patent 6387665″

Anonymous said...

For an entertaining primer on lie detection (polygraphy) check out Penn and Teller's BS treatment of the subject:

This would be funny if it were not sooooo sad...

Anonymous said...

Why are there false and misleading statements in the Amerithrax Investigative Summary?

There are several areas in the Investigative Summary that are misleading; in some cases intentionally false. The evidence strongly suggests the FBI and DOJ sought to mislead the public and Congress.

Here's just one example. The Investigative Report states on page 90 that the the mailbox in Princeton is "in front of KKG". The Summary further states on page 90, "The mailbox... was approximately 175 feet from... an office building which houses, among other things, the offices of the Princeton chapter of the KKG sorority".

The FBI and DOJ knew these statements to be false and misleading. Numerous commentators pointed out, here and elsewhere, after the FBI/DOJ reports in 2008 that there was no KKG Sorority House or Office near the Princeton Mailbox. Instead there were only a few storage lockers rented by KKG.

Now we learn from the FBI's document release that the FBI was well aware of differences between KKG Sorority Houses and Offices as compared to rental and storage facilities even before the 2008 report on Ivins.

Pages 10-17 of BEI Section 5 record an extensive interview with Dr. Ivins conducted 2/13/2008. Page 4 of that interview (pdf p. 13 of BEI Section 5) states:

"Regarding [his] research on KKG locations, IVINS never identified any non-traditional KKG locations such as rental or storage facilities associated with KKG".

The FBI and DOJ clearly have a duty of honesty to the American Public and to Congress. But the FBI and DOJ have repeatedly and knowingly misidentified the KKG storage facilities in Princeton. Only a Congressional Investigation can determine how and why this happened.

Anonymous said...

I would like to bring up something related to 'motive' and the strangely misbegotten psychological analysis of the government's case............I say 'strangely' because the FBI has made quite a splash via its now-decades old 'profiler unit' (it has had a number of monikers down through the years but I don't know the present name), most prominently (in the pop-culture) via the film THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS and the sequels and then a lot of imitations etc.

In addition I thought the ORIGINAL profile of the Anthrax Killer to be plausible.

Yet in the case of Mister Ivins there doesn't seem to be any coherence to the psychological analysis whatsoever:

1) the 2001 profile of the perp describes someone who is meticulous and patient to an extreme degree: ascertaining the correct mailing addresses of his would-be victims, photocopying the original texts of the Brokaw/NY POST and the Daschle/Leahy so that the ink and paper cannot be traced etc.

2)yet when Ivins is described as being in a 'homicidal' state by his group therapist, he makes overt threats against people, explicitly states his intention of going out in a barrage of gunfire etc. In a word: hot anger expressed hotly.

Somehow the behaviour of 2) is presented as being a sort of proof that Ivins was capable of 1). But how do overt threats in anger and paranoia translate into a fiendishly patient attempt to poison people, an attempt which lasted at least a month or so from the outset?
The psychology makes no sense!

Meryl Nass, M.D. said...

Great point. Here is some misleading material in the report. I will have to read the report again to pull out more examples:

1. "Only a very limited number of individuals ever had access to this specific spore preparation."

2. The FBI claimed to focus only on those researchers who had access to RMR1029 and ability to manufacture anthrax between 9/11 and 9/18/01, and later between 10/1 and 10/8/01. Yet as Jeff Adamovicz has pointed out, the anthrax could have been manufactured much earlier. One scientist dated the letters anthrax as being made within the prior two years, which expands the "window of opportunity" for manufacture considerably.

3. The FBI claimed that people would have noticed if small amounts of anthrax spores were missing from various samples. That is nonsense, considering there were likely hundreds of billions of spores per ml. in the RMR1029 flask. Why didn't FBI microbiologists correct this misleading claim?

Anonymous said...


Malcolm Gladwell in his New Yorker article debunked the usefulness of the profiling -- in his compelling argument, he dismisses it as a parlor trick found in a study to have been useful in only 2.8% of cases.

If people read the emails etc. being characterized, they would see that the mischaracterization is extreme. For example, consider the discussion of the email to the correspondent at the CDC.

-- Anonymous

Anonymous said...

Questionable Proof of Dr. Ivins' Ability to Create Anthrax Spores of Extremely High Purity

The Amerithrax Investigative Summary relies of the purity of RMR 1029 for proof that Dr. Ivins had the skills to produce Anthrax spores of a purity corresponding to the anthrax attack letters. See page 37:

[Dr. Ivins] repeatedly and adamantly denied that he could make spores of this quality... However, Dr. Ivins unwittingly contradicted himself in his laboratory notebook, where he described the RMR-1029 that he had created as: “RMR-1029: :99% refractile spores; < 1% vegetative cells; < 1% non-refractile spores; : 1% debris.” (emphasis added)

Earlier on page 26 The Amerithrax Investigative Summary states that Ivins had to "clean up" the spore concentrates he received from Dugway in order to prepare RMR 1029, and that he discarded one of the seven lots as inadequate.

Nevertheless, the FBI's supporting documentation reveals that Ivins did not "create" RMR 1029; he made RMR 1029 by combining six Dugway lots of concentrated spores with a single lot of spores that he created. He didn't merely discard the seventh Dugway lot as inadequate; he tried, but was unable to purify it, and then discarded it. The documentation is self contradictory as to his purification of the other six Dugway batches. At one point the documentation claims that he purified all six batches, but later states he only had to clean one of the six batches. (pp 12-13, BEI Section 2)

No proof is ever given in The Amerithrax Investigative Summary that Dr. Ivins, relying solely on his own efforts created any batch of spores having a purity corresponding to the Amerithrax Letters, much less in the quantity found in the letters.

KRolson2 said...

I note that there is a lot of additional information that is included in the FOIA releases. Some of which I find interesting.

1.) The other organization that had RMR-1029, which was described as a quzi governmental agency, was Covance.
2.) That 100ml of RMR-1029 disappeared, sometime between 5/11/99 and 2/22/00.
3.) The disappearance was recorded, but not reported, on 2/22/00 while Dr. Ivins was shipping 6ml to Covance.
4.) The reason Dr. Ivins checked in latter in the day on September 18th 2001 was because he was at Covance in Denver PA which is very near the Princeton Mail box.

Isn't the person who sued the State of Michigan concerning the system and method used to create the current anthrax vaccine a Vice President of Covance?

The other company in the Town of Dever's pharma park is SAFC who's specialty is manufacturing liquid and Dry Powder cell culture media.

Thank You again for running this blog Dr. Nass

Anonymous said...

On 9/18/2001, reporting to USAMRIID at 7 a.m., Dr. Ivins travelled to Covance in a government car with co-workers. By "very near" -- it is an hour away. His co-workers confirm he did not leave their presence. The trip to Covance (with vaccine, as I recall) is solid alibi evidence for 9/18, the date of the postmark (beginning at 7 a.m.)

Anonymous said...

An August 2008 Washington Field Office memo states:

"the species of the non-anthracis bacillus contaminant was incorrectly identified by multiple laboratories, however, upon thorough characterization and genetic sequencing, the contaminant was identified to be a strain of Bacillus subtilis.
This is a significant factor for the search operations."

Question: Why is that whenever Dr. Ivins made a mistake it was evidence of a cover-up and whenever multiple laboratories consulting with the FBI made a mistake it was just a mistake on an important issue?

I thought FBI Director Mueller said no mistakes were made?

The August 2008 Field Office memo states:

"In November of 2006, upon consent provided by USAMRIID Command, strains of Bacillus subtilis, were collected from Dr. Ivins's stock collection. All of the collected samples compared negatively to the Bacillus subtilis contaminant isolated from the Post and Brokaw envelopes."

As another example of a mistake, US Attorney Jeff Taylor falsely claimed that the federal eagle stamp was uniquely sold at Dr. Ivins post office (the one serving Ft. Detrick) when actually it was sold throughout Maryland and Virginia. That false claim then ran as an AP headline. Yet we correctly understand it as simply a mistaken understanding on the US Attorney's part (which would inform anyone's conclusion).

Anonymous said...

On January 22, 2007, Dr. Ivins wrote an email:

"Now the Postal Service people are all over RIID. ... It's very emotionally draining, (...), to know that people think that I could or would be a killer/terrorist. I didn't mail the spores and didn't bioweaponize them and I hope that nobody took a strain or some spores that led directly or indirectly to the anthrax mailings."

It has taken USAMRIID 1 1/2 years to produce a couple years of emails and it is being equally slow in producing the 7 years of remaining emails. (It is a simple matter to print them and take a magic marker to the proper names).

If USAMRIID is so inefficient in handling such a simple request, why should this country feel confidence that we have a competent biodefense in addressing more difficult challenges presented by a determined adversary that wants to kill us? Why should Congress think that the government law enforcement and intelligence function is capable of sharing information when it takes months, even years, to process a simple stack of paper? USAMRIID/ USAMEDD has dramatically shown that it is NOT capable of sharing information efficiently.

Anonymous said...

In addition to grossly mischaracterizing numerous emails, the DOJ summary simply fails to discuss at all numerous relevant emails that contradict the emails and comments the DOJ attorney mischaracterizes:

For example, in an email dated March 24, 2007, Dr. Ivins wrote a confidante:

"IVINS stated that he didn't have it in him to be a killer or terrorist, and he would never knowingly play any part in anything that dealt with killing or terrorism. He was also bothered by the possibility that something they made or purified or gave to somebody else, either inside or outside of USAMRIID, could have wound up in the wrong hands."

Anonymous said...

11/9/2007 302 interview statement

"It is ____________opinion that most likely the anthrax mailer is an individual who is associated with a foreign country and is not a U.S. citizen or homegrown terrorist. _____ could not think of anyone at USAMRIID who would have been involved in the anthrax mailings. ______ opined that BRUCE IVINS and ___________ both have eccentric personalities but that they are benign and would not intentionally hurt anyone."

Anonymous said...

12/14/2007 302 interview statement:

"___________ indicated that management at USAMRIID has always known IVINS suffers from depression.... ____________ confirmed that IVINS works a lot of hour at USAMRIID, including frequent late night hours."

US Attorney Taylor's argument that Ivins did not continue to work late night hours in the B3 was especially clueless and misleading given that in 2002, a two-person rule was instituted.

After the country was attacked on 9/11, he worked extra hours in Fall 2001 with his colleague as part of "Operation Noble Eagle" (as thousands in the USG did).

Anonymous said...

12/12/2007 302 interview statement

"it was not uncommon for IVINS to be working many late night hours at USAMRIID in the hot suites. __________ indicated that IVINS and others were very busy conducting research which pertained to being able to manage the threat posed to American soldiers not yet vaccinated against certain biological agents, such as anthrax."

Anonymous said...

January 9, 2008 302 interview

"__________noted IVINS was excluded from certain ''projects," meaning USAMRIID research that directly supported the U.S. Intelligence Community."

Question: Dr. Ivins had written his superior in 2006 to express concern that some of his stock might be missing due to uses that did not involve him.

His superior told him to shut up and that everything was under control. Was that the same person who in November 2007 ordered his colleagues not to speak with him?

Anonymous said...

279A-WF-222936-USAMRIID -1783 demonstrates the FBI's/Washington Field Office's incompetence in assessing access to virulent Ames from Flask 1029 and constitutes a major mistake in the investigation.

It states:

"The following investigation was conducted by Special Agent _________ of the Federal Bureau of Investigation on January 17, 2007.

As previously reported ______________________________ was a visiting scientist at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), Fort Detrick, Maryland _________________________ (279A-WF-222936, Serial 1129). In addition, it has been previously reported that the research derived from this visit was published in a reputable scientific journal (279A-WF-222936-USAMRIID, Serial 1101).

It should be noted that examination of that publication indicated the Ames strain Bacillus anthracis stores used by __________ et al were produced via the same method that USAMRIID scientists BRUCE IVINS et al had previously published in a 1995 article....

This would strongly indicate that the Ames strain Bacillus anthracis spores used by _______ were derived from spores produced at USAMRIID and were not RMR 1029 derived spores. It should also be noted that the first draw on RMR 1029 wasn't until September 17, 1998 (279A-WF-USAMRIID, Serial 1716)."

Anonymous said...

January 26, 2008

"____________ indicated that there were a few USAMRIID researchers who were famous for working frequent and long late night hours in the laboratories. ____identified [BRUCE IVINS and two others] as three researchers who fell into that category."

Anonymous said...

2/6/2008 302 interview statement

"______________ was not aware of any significant concerns that IVINS may have had or voiced regarding the notion that anthrax research and/or specifically rPA research was going away prior to the September 11, 2001 time frame. ______ re-iterated that IVIN's funding in the period of time precedig the anthrax-laced letter mailngs of 2001 was stable and IVINS should not have been concerned."

Anonymous said...

2/06/2008 302 interview statement

"______________ recalled the unauthorized environmental sampling incident which IVINS had been involved in. __________ was of the opinion that IVINS simply and innocently believed that some contamination had occurred as a result of USAMRIID's efforts to handle and analyze the anthrax-laced letter powder and therefore IVINS took it upon himself, as a safety precaution, to conduct environmental sampling on his own. ________ opined that the contamination most likely occurred as a result of some of the anthrax powder leaking out of the baggie containing the anthrax-laced letters, subsequently transferring virulent anthrax powder to the outside of the baggie."

Anonymous said...

4/21/2008 Confidential Human Source (CHS) Reporting Document

"After a FOX News internet news story entitled "FBI Focusing on 'About Four' Suspects in 2001 Anthrax Attacks" was posted on 03/08/2008, several employees of the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) began to discuss the article and the ongoing AMERITHRAX investigation. CHS advised that, after reading the article, many USAMRIID employees came to the conclusion that __________ a scientist formerly employed at USAMRIID, was one of the unnamed individuals discussed in the article."

Anonymous said...

04/11/2008 302 interview statement

"__________ reiterated on several occasions throughout the interview that based on ___ understanding and based on ____ having observed the quantity of dry Bacillus anthracis (Ba) powder recovered from the anthrax-laced letters it was not feasible to believe that anyone at USAMRIID could have made dry Ba powder of that quantity and quality without being detected by other USAMRIID employees ______ confirmed that ___ was aware that certain researchers in _____ specifically ______________________ dried/lyophilized small amounts of reagents as a necessary function of their research but emphasized that the amounts were small and not even remotely similar in quantity as that of the anthrax-laced letter powders."

Anonymous said...

4/11/2008 302 interview statement

__________ reiterated again that ____ did not think it was possible for an employee at USAMRIID to have produced the anthrax powder, mainly because laboratory space was extremely crowded and therefore it would be impossible for the perpetrator to maintain anonymity while producing such a large volume of purified Ba spores. _______ described IVINS as just an "odd duck," someone who is very benign."

Anonymous said...

1/30/2007 302 interview statement

Ba spores used by the Aerobiology group were always provided by BRUCE IVINS, who was known as the "star spore grower." The spores would be brought to building 1412 just before challenges and were not stored in building 1412. If a challenge was going to span a few days then the spores were brought to building 1412 before the challenge and stored in the Aerobiology laboratory until needed. If material intended for a challenge went missing it would not be noticed. There were only a few shaker/incubators in building 1412, so if someone were growing large quantities of Ba it would stand out. _____ knew that some Ba Ames was stored in building 1412.

Anonymous said...

1/25/2007 302 interview

"IVINS liked to take showers in the suites on days that he was not working. He did this to get away from his home or use the internet etc. ____________ acknowledged IVINS was quirky with unusual social skills and depression, but didn't believe he did it [anthrax mailing]. IVINS thought of his office and the hot suite as a safe place."

Anonymous said...

9/25/2007 302 interview statement

_________ AND __________ advised that back in 2001 their American Red Cross chapter held its monthly Emergency Services meetings on the third Monday of each month.


the meetings generally began at approximately 6:30 pm and lasted approximately one and a half to two hours in length. As in prior interviews ________ and reiterated that IVINS typically attended these monthly meetings....

NOTE: The third Monday in September 2001 fell on September 17th, the night Dr. Ivins would have had to have been on the road mailing the anthrax laden letters. He reported to work the next morning at 7 a.m.

Anonymous said...

Ivins had group therapy sessions scheduled on both September 17, 2001 and October 8, 2001, the dates he supposedly was mailing the anthrax letters.

Source: October 12, 2007 Washington Field Memo

Anonymous said...

FBI Statement Regarding Ivins' Health Records Appear Misleading and Possibly False

Page 42 of The Amerithrax Investigative Summary makes a highly suspicious statement in footnote 28 as follows:

Recently, pursuant to court order, Task Force agents obtained the mental health treatment records from a number of mental health providers who treated Dr. Ivins over the years, and interviewed a number of those providers. However, as that information remains under seal, nothing in this Investigative Summary is derived from those records.

On the very same page 42, the Investigative Summary reports Jean Duley's in-court testimony, which has always been a centerpiece of the FBI's case against Dr. Ivins:

“Client has a history dating to his graduate days of homicidal threats, actions, plans. . . . [another mental health professional], his psychiatrist[,] called him homicidal, [and] sociopathic with clear intentions.” At a hearing on her motion for a peace order, the therapist provided more detail regarding this assessment by Dr. Ivins’s psychiatrist, mentioning that as far back as 2000, Dr. Ivins had engaged in plots of revenge involving poison.

However, the Investigative Summary's selective quotations suspiciously leave out several important details. Duley testified that she had been actively working with the FBI. She testified that the FBI had encouraged her to seek the Court Hearing in which she publicly revealed the above information about Dr. Ivins. She specifically testified that Ivins "has been forensically diagnosed... as a sociopathic, homicidal killer...".

Where would Duley have learned of Ivins' forensic diagnosis if not from the FBI? Where would Duley have gained access to the other psychiatric reports she cited in her testimony if not from the FBI?

Why did the Investigative Summary fail to quote Duley's testimony regarding Dr. Ivins' forensic diagnosis?

Footnote 28 implies that Duley's testimony was not derived in any way from medical records or medical interviews obtained by the FBI. Only a Congressional Investigation can determine whether the FBI has been fully candid with the public and with Congress in making these assertions.

Anonymous said...

Additional Issues Regarding Jean Duley's Testimony and Footnote 28 Should Be Investigated

Were the forensic diagnoses to which Jean Duley testified, derived from Dr. Ivins' medical records? It seems most unlikely that any reputable Psychiatrist would forensically diagnose an individual as sociopathic or homicidal based on prescription records alone. If any of the forensic diagnoses were derived from Dr. Ivins' medical records, then Duley's testimony was also derived from those records.

Duley filed sworn documents referencing phone calls by Dr. Ivins, specifically stating Dr. Ivins "called left threat 11:25". The Court requested recordings of those phone calls. Duley told the Court that she could not provide the recordings because they were in the possession of the FBI. Later when the FBI released the phone calls, it turned out that there were no threats made in the phone calls. Did the FBI ever inform the Maryland Court that the recordings, which were not furnished to the Court because of the FBI, did not support Duley's allegations of threats?

Duley also filed documents stating that Dr. Ivins had engaged in "Stalking", specifically, "Do you contend that the respondent has engaged in a malicious course of conduct in which the respondent approached or pursued you with intent to place you in reasonable fear of serious bodily injury or death?" Duley checked the box answering "Yes" to this query. At the time, Ivins was under 24 hour surveillance by the FBI. Did the FBI have evidence to support Duley's allegation? If not, did the FBI so inform the Court?

Why doesn't the Investigative Summary reveal that Duley falsely alleged a threatening phone call since the Summary relies heavily on her testimony in the same Court Hearing, implying at the very least that she testified truthfully? If there was no evidence to support her allegation of "Stalking", why is that not revealed in the Investigative Summary? Failure to reveal these problems with Duley's testimony would appear to be misleading in view of the reliance the Investigative Summary places on Duley's testimony.

Do the medical treatment records referenced in footnote 28 contradict in any way, the testimony of Jean Duley? If the records undercut Duley's testimony, it would be at a minimum, misleading to include testimony known to be questionable or incorrect in the Investigative Summary.

Anonymous said...

In court records and audio recordings released to the Frederick News Post, Ms. Duley worked for a different psychiatrist from Dr. David Irwin who she cited in the peace order. Dr. David Irwin, according to his online medical credentials, is a forensic psychiatrist, who may have performed work for the FBI. I doubt that Dr. Irwin was ever Ivins' care giver. But, if he was, it would make sense that Ivins left his practice. Also, the audio tape of the court hearing for this peace order includes sounds in the background that suggest Ms. Duley was being coached by someone familiar with the agency's allegations. Further, Duley was a recent Bachelor of Arts in Social Work graduate who served as a counselor and did not have credentials to diagnose or act independently from oversight by her supervisor. Her recent television appearance was even more scripted than the audio tape. There is absolutely nothing credible about her statements.

Anonymous said...

This gets more bizarre.

Compare pages 8 and 9 of the affidavit for search warrant here:
To pages 123 and 124 of
The first document ominously (almost with drum rolling) states on page 9:

"Beginning on September 28, Dr Ivins worked eight consecutive nights which consisted of the following times in Building 1425 with time spent in Suite B3":
Friday September 28
Saturday September 29
Sunday September 30
Monday October 1
Tuesday October 2
Wednesday October 3
Thursday October 4
Friday October 5
After October 5, Dr Ivins did not enter Suite B3 in the evening again until October 9, for 15 minutes, and then October 14, for 1 hour and 26 minutes.

But then look at his calendar on pages 123 and 124 at !!!
That's precisely what his calendar called on him to do - work these very eight consecutive nights checking on the animals. Good statistics need to be obtained to see exactly when animals died in order to properly analyze the effectiveness of vaccines - hence he did it at the same time every evening. And infected animals were always kept in the Hot Suite B3 - since they are infected.
The affidavit is therefore deliberately misleading and does not mention that his work schedule was followed to the letter.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to point out another discrepancy (at least in my view) about the whereabouts of Dr Ivins in the info given above (which I repost):

Compare pages 8 and 9 of the affidavit for search warrant here:
To pages 123 and 124 of
The first document ominously (almost with drum rolling) states on page 9:

"Beginning on September 28, Dr Ivins worked eight consecutive nights which consisted of the following times in Building 1425 with time spent in Suite B3":
Friday September 28
Saturday September 29
Sunday September 30
Monday October 1
Tuesday October 2
Wednesday October 3
Thursday October 4
Friday October 5
After October 5, Dr Ivins did not enter Suite B3 in the evening again until October 9, for 15 minutes, and then October 14, for 1 hour and 26 minutes.
What this indicates is that Ivins was working on October 4th and 5th.
If one understands the nature of the letters, and where the Petersburg hoax letters were written/posted, this takes Ivins entirely off the hook. That's because:

1) the Brokaw/NY POST letter was written in a pseudo-Hebrew style (this explains, for example, why the CROSSBARS were done heavily/retraced but NONE of the stems of the letter T: in the most usual Hebrew printing style, horizontal strokes are printed thicker than vertical ones)

2)the St Petersburg letter(s) (ie at least one) was printed in a pseudo-Russian style. This according to Don Foster.

3) Since there's little chance that this was a coincidence, it indicates that they were printed by the same person.

4)But the two St Pete letters postmarked OCTOBER 5TH show a knowledge that a terrorist attack was underway, though on Oct 4th Secretary of HHS Tommy Thompson emphasized that Stevens' illness might have been the result of exposure in nature. So the writer of the St Pete letters had inside knowledge of the source of Ivins' infection, knowledge only the perp or an acoomplice would have.

5)Ivins could not have written the St Pete letters of Oct 5th (he was at Fort Detrick), making it close to impossible that Ivins wrote the Brokaw/NY POST text.

Anonymous said...

You're relying on Don Foster? Which opinion? Do you have a citation? He initially opined that it suggested Urdu syntax. Then he suggested that Dr. Hatfill was the culprit. So I think it would be best to rely on the block lettering (see picture) of the St. Petersburg letter speak for itself.

Anonymous said...

Hartford Courant - ProQuest Archiver - Feb 6, 2002

Shakespeare scholar Don Foster has, for the moment, traded sonnets for the twisted ... He has said he recognizes the Urdu language in the stilted syntax. ...

Meryl Nass, M.D. said...

Thanks, Anonymous(plural) for getting down in the weeds on these issues. I would love to know what the hoax letter posted from the UK while Hatfill was there looked like. And the one from Malaysia (Hatfill's girlfriend was Malaysian).

What about other Fort Detrick employees who also were put under intense FBI surveillance? When did their surveillance stop? (In other words, had the FBI actually "narrowed it down" to Ivins before his death; if so, how long before and what information did they have to do so?)

Why would the Fort Detrick commander instruct the staff not to speak to the press, as recently as February 2010?

Were the records of ALL other BL 3 and 4 laboratories with Ames anthrax reviewed by FBI -- to develop a complete list of those with access to high containment labs where the letters anthrax might have been processed between 1999 and 2001?


Anonymous said...

Does the AFIP data, on the verge of being disclosed, show that sand was used to purify the spores? Is the source of the virulent Ames accessed a soil suspension created from Flask 1029?


February 12, 2003 Ivins 302 interview statement

"IVINS was recently at Home Depot and saw the many different grades of sandpaper that they sell which made him think about the use of sand in purifying B.a. A pasty block of spores can be shaken with sand of varying coarseness to achieve very pure or fine spores. "

Anonymous said...

Bruce Ivins opinion of Daschle spores dated October 18, 2001

"Interpretations and conclusions: If this is a preparation of bacterial spores, it is an extremely pure preparation, and an extremely high concentration. These are not 'garage' spores. The nature of the spore preparation suggests very highly that professional manufacturing techniques were used in the production and purification of the spores, as well as in converting the spores into an extremely fine powder."

Anonymous said...

Contemporaneous handwritten notes that the DOJ/FBI/USARMIID has failed to provide:

"Fall of 2001 - Bruce Ivins"

Notebooks 3716 and 4383 _____- Mouse passive immunization studies - 1 SEP through 15 OCT

Notebooks 4240 - Immunization at Covance for antiserum - 18 SEP and 16 OCT

Notebook 4240 (and computer files) - Preparation of vaccine for FDA immunization of mice - September and October

Notebook 4241 - Receipt of 30 vials of rPA from ______________ 30 SEP

Notebook 4241 (and computer files and other papers) ' "New" formaldehyde experiment - September into November

Paper and compauter files - B00-03, part 5 (_________ study: 2 dose efficacy in rabbits) - October through December

Meetings? Teleconferences? Protocol reviews? Other 'non-lab work?"

Anonymous said...

April 17, 2003 302 Ivins interview statement

"After his telephonic conversation with SA ____ on 04/15/2003, IVINS feels sick over the fact that the material used in the anthrax mailings could have come from a stock made from the B.a. aerosol challenge trash."

Anonymous said...

12/12/2003 302 Ivins interview statement refers to emails provided "regarding request to find out of USAMRIID made dried, powdered anthrax Ba spores."

Those emails have not been provided and should have been.

Anonymous said...

My reference to Don Foster was the article in VANITY FAIR (still available) online which has nothing in it about Urdu but does state that the HOAX LETTER(S) (ST PETE) showed pseudoRussian elements

Anonymous said...

Just to repost something from a previous 'anonymous':

On January 22, 2007, Dr. Ivins wrote an email:

"Now the Postal Service people are all over RIID. ... It's very emotionally draining, (...), to know that people think that I could or would be a killer/terrorist. I didn't mail the spores and didn't bioweaponize them and I hope that nobody took a strain or some spores that led directly or indirectly to the anthrax mailings."

Think about that!

Anonymous said...

One thing that is missing here and in the released FBI investigations is the name of the B.a. source used by Dugway in ~ 1997 to make the 7 fermentor runs, 6 of which comprised virtually all of the 1,000 mls of RMR 1029.

When Mr. Mueller was asked about how Battelle and Dugway were excluded as sources of the anthrax letters, only information about use of RMR 1029 at those institutions was mentioned in his response. There is no mention of the stocks of B.a. Ames material that went into creating spore preparations at Dugway for local use since the 1980s and including what went into RMR 1029 in 1997.

If no one looked for the 4 variants in all the Ames stocks held at Dugway or Battelle, then it is possible that the investigation is less than half complete.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Anonymous. I was confusing DF's comment about the anthrax letters and his comment on the St. Pete letter.

Anonymous said...

One of the Anonymi wrote: "One thing that is missing here and in the released FBI investigations is the name of the B.a. source used by Dugway in ~ 1997 to make the 7 fermentor runs, 6 of which comprised virtually all of the 1,000 mls of RMR 1029."

That information is known.

The source for the Bacillus anthracis that Dugway used to make the 7 fermenter runs was Dr. Ivins. He sent them some of the sample Dr. Ivins believed Ft. Detrick had obtained from the USDA in 1981.

In 1997, Dr. Ivins had a need to make a large quantity of Ba spores for his vaccine testing, so he persuaded Dugway to help him. He sent them the starter sample, and he used more of the same sample for his part of what eventually went into flask RMR-1029.


Anonymous said...

Page 23

2 hours one person job to look at the animals and count the dead bodies.

I’m not surprised it took 2 hours (how long would it take to check 500 animals?). Below are the details of the experiments Bruce was planning. Note that his calendar states “night guinea pig and mouse check”. Thus he was slotted to do that night check on these days (the nights he was , unsurprisngly, recorded as entering B3). But there were 3 checks per day planned – presumably someone else was scheduled to do these checks.

The facts now seem to be saying that the months of September and October 2001 were in fact quite unusual in that the Hot Suite B3 was hosting a major animal vaccine test with hundreds of animals.

I think we now know why everyone in Detrick is under a gag order – since no doubt they would quickly show that the FBI’s nefarious assertions (for example stating that it was “unexplained”) for Ivins entering B3 on the very nights he was scheduled to are, in fact, a complete fabrication.

(page 9)

1. What should be done.
a) Passive studies in mice – I would prefer that these studies be contracted out. We can provide
the challenge spores and antiserum.
1) Mice = CBA/J females, 10 per group, about 20 g. Inject intraperitoneally on days -1, 0, 1,
2 and 3 with one of the following: rabbit anti-rPA antiserum; rabbit anti-AVA antiserum; human anti-
AVA IgG; Normal rabbit serum; normal human IgG. On day 0, challenge subcutaneously with 10LD50s
of V1B spores. Check mice 3X daily for deaths and note differences in survival as well as time to death
differences. If protection is seen, repeat experiment with 10 LD50s of Ames spores. If no protection is
seen, drop the challenge dose down to 3-5 LD50s of Vollum 1B spores. Enough animals should be
ordered to repeat experiments. Total number of animals = 400
b) Passive studies in guinea pigs. We can do these studies in the guinea pig animal room in B3.
1) Guinea pigs = Hartley strain, 8 males and 8 females per group, about 350 g at the time
of the experiment. Inject intraperitoneally on days -1, 0, 1, 2 and 3 with one of the following: rabbit
anti-rPA antiserum; rabbit anti-AVA antiserum; human anti-AVA IgG; Normal rabbit serum; normal
human IgG. On day 0, challenge intramuscularly with 50 LD50s (5000) of Ames spores. Check guinea
pigs 3X daily for deaths and note differences in survival as well as time to death differences. If
protection is seen, repeat experiment with 100 LD50s of Ames spores. If no protection is seen, drop the
challenge dose down to 10 LD50s of Vollum 1B spores. Enough animals should be ordered to repeat
experiments. Total number of animals = 500

Anonymous said...

"One of the Anonymi wrote: "One thing that is missing here and in the released FBI investigations is the name of the B.a. source used by Dugway in ~ 1997 to make the 7 fermentor runs, 6 of which comprised virtually all of the 1,000 mls of RMR 1029."

That information is known.

The source for the Bacillus anthracis that Dugway used to make the 7 fermenter runs was Dr. Ivins. He sent them some of the sample Dr. Ivins believed Ft. Detrick had obtained from the USDA in 1981."

I know this. However, Dugway had been making multiple fermenter runs of the B.a. between the time they first received it up until 1997 when they gave virtually all of the B.a. Ames spores that were in the RMR 1029 flask. The small amount of spores Dr. Ivins made to complete the 1,000 mls all lacked the mutations and the original 1981 isolate also lacked the mutations. Logic would clearly dictate that the source of the B.a. Ames with the 4 mutations should be Dugway. Ivins was only the one who received it and put it in the flask. The source of this remained at Dugway and could have been used by someone there to make the material for the letters completely independently of RMR 1029 or Dr. Ivins. Also, the fermentor at Dugway was also used to make B.subtilis spores and if the fermenter was not adequately cleaned could be the source of B.subtilis contamination of B.a. spores. That this possibility was not examined to the same degree that Dr. Ivins material was examined is what I am saying needs further examination.

Anonymous said...

All the Ames strain Anthrax came from an outbreak of Anthrax among Cows in Texas. It was called Ames strain because Dr. Knudson used the label on the box rather than the information reporting the outbreak to name the strain. This was a mistake that was corrected later on. Interestingly, there was another outbreak of Anthrax in Texas in 2007 and Dr. Keim used a genetic typing protocol which indicated that this NEW isolate was also Ames or Ames-like. We don't know if Dr. Keim tested this isolate for the 4 mutations but the fact that Ames can be isolated again without any connection with the 1981 isolate casts a shadow on its uniqueness in nature.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Henry Heine is no longer subject to the gag order and can explain that an "Ivins Theory" is a total crock.

My favorite specious argument that Taylor made concerns the pattern of B3 hours. First, no one should be surprised that it increased after the country was attacked (and he was involved in Operation Noble Eagle, testing the Daschle, Leahy and NY Post product etc). Numerous of his emails that were withheld explained how busy they were with their vaccine research involving the animal studies. Then Taylor expressed surprised there are no more late hours by himself after implementation of the 2-person rule in 2002! Totally contrived argument. People who think otherwise either have not read the record or have no experience doing so. It should take no expertise, though, just a willingness to read, to see that Ken and Rachel have mischaracterized the documentary evidence (much of which was withheld until after issuance of the report or is still being withheld).

Is that the standard at the DOJ - a memo that does not cite to the documents? It is not the standard at large DC law firms. A lawyer should never be heard to characterize documents not made available for checking.

Anonymous said...

As I recall, Dr. Ivins estimated that it would take 2 years for them to make 1,000 ml at USAMRIID.

He estimated that the attack anthrax took 300 ml.

Anonymous said...

The following information is taken from the affidavit filed by postal inspector Thomas F Dellafera here:

From the Dellafera affidavit:

"In the weeks immediately prior to the attacks, Ivins became aware that an investigative journalist who worked for NBC news had submitted a freedom of information act (FOIA) requests on USAMRIID seeking detailed information from Dr. Ivins Laboratory notebooks as they relate to the AVA vaccine and the use of adjuvants. On August 28, 2001 Ivins appeared angry about the request providing the following resonse in an email" "Tell Matsumoto to kiss my ass. We've got better things to do than shine his shoes and pee on command. He's gotten everything from me he will get."

Gary Matsumoto is quoted in Newsweek:

"Information Act requests from Gary Matsumoto, identified as "an investigative journalist who worked for NBC News" who was looking into Ivins's work on an anthrax vaccine. "Tell Matsumoto to kiss my ass," the affidavit says Ivins wrote in an Aug. 28, 2001, e-mail, noting that was "weeks" before the Sept. 18, 2001, anthrax mailing addressed to Brokaw. But Matsumoto told NEWSWEEK the FBI never interviewed him as part of its investigation. If it had, he says, he could have told them he'd actually left NBC News five years earlier. At the time he was bombarding Ivins's lab with FOIA requests, he was employed by ABC. "They're trying to connect dots that don't connect," he said."

Where did the DOJ provide a copy of the email correspondence relating to the Gary Matsumoto FOIA request? Why wasn't it provided along with the other work emails from late August 2001? I often tell Gary the same thing (or words to that effect) and so it seems I would have remembered it. (I am interested in seeing whether the actual FOIA request is part of the exchange showing his employer).

Relatedly, where did Ivins tell investigators that he was under the impression from NBC? I don't recall the statement found in Dr. Ivins' interviews of any of the numerous interview statements. Did I miss it? Can someone point me to where he Dr. Ivins indicated to the investigators Gary worked at the time of the FOIA requests for NBC?

I don't see it in the Ivins interviews conducted on:

5/7/2004 etc.

Anonymous said...

On August 4, 2004, BRUCE IVINS callled up Special Agent and provided him with a scientific article abstract about Bacillus spore suspensions in which the addition of silica to the spore coat was discussed. IVINS offered to send the article abstract via facsimile to SSA ___ and subsequently sent the abstract to the FBI offsite in Frederick, Maryland. The covered sheet and article abstract are maintained in the 1A section of the file.

Why wasn't a copy of this article (a transmittal by Ivins to the FBI provided)? It goes to a key piece of evidence (the Silicon Signature). What was the article?

Ed Lake said...

One of the anonymi wrote: "The small amount of spores Dr. Ivins made to complete the 1,000 mls all lacked the mutations and the original 1981 isolate also lacked the mutations. Logic would clearly dictate that the source of the B.a. Ames with the 4 mutations should be Dugway."

Not so. Mutations occur randomly. Any one of the batches - including Ivins' batches - could have produced one or more of the mutations.

There were "well over a dozen" mutations in the attack anthrax. They only used the four that were the most stable and the easiest to detect to sift through the 1,070 samples of Ames.

It is a virtual certainty that the combining of the batches caused all of those well-over-a-dozen mutations to be assembled in one place.

It is not reasonable to believe that they all must have come from the same batch. Ivins tested every batch for purity. Since he cannot test every spore, he might miss a mutation here and there in various batches, but it's not reasonable that he'd let a single batch go through that had ALL of the well-over-a-dozen mutations.

"Also, the fermentor at Dugway was also used to make B.subtilis spores and if the fermenter was not adequately cleaned could be the source of B.subtilis contamination of B.a. spores."

The facts say otherwise. If the B. subtilis had come from Dugway it would be a contaminant in flask RMR-1029. It wasn't. It wasn't in the Senate letters. It was ONLY a contaminant in the media letters. The B. subtilis MUST have been in the batch that the culprit created and used in the media letters.


Ed Lake said...

One of the anonymi wrote: "The facts now seem to be saying that the months of September and October 2001 were in fact quite unusual in that the Hot Suite B3 was hosting a major animal vaccine test with hundreds of animals."

Page 65 of the FBI's document 847551 says:

"Things slowed down and there wasn't a lot of work in the lab in the latter part of 2001.

"XXXX can think of no reason for Ivins to be working long nighttime hours in the August to October 2001 time-frame. There was not much work going on in Ivins' lab at that time and the only study being conducted was the guinea pig strain study, which may have required entry into the suites to check on animals. However, checking the animals would only have taken approximately 30 minutes."


Anonymous said...

It's amazing that you can be so certain about all of this Mr. Lake. If you read that anonymous post correctly he/she is saying that more study needs to be made and it appears that the part that has not been done is a part that might clear Dr. Ivins. Also, your arguments about the random appearance of mutations is well understood; and, there is the possibility that the famous 4 mutations could appear by chance in a completely unrelated sample of Anthrax harvested from a dead cow in Texas. Of course, if this happens it could mean that the hi-tech science the agency is depending on may actually be scientifically invalid.

Meryl Nass, M.D. said...

From Scott Shane and Eric Lichtblau's Aug. 2, 2008 article:

"In the early days after the letter attacks, in September and October 2001, Dr. Ivins joined about 90 of his colleagues at the Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in a round-the-clock laboratory push to test thousands of samples of suspect powder to see if they were anthrax."

Therefore, it would take an awful lot to convince me he wasn't spending extra time in a hot room in September and October, where those powders would have to be processed.

Ed Lake said...

"Therefore, it would take an awful lot to convince me he wasn't spending extra time in a hot room in September and October, where those powders would have to be processed."


What are you saying? Are you suggesting that Dr. Ivins KNEW that USAMRIID would be spending a lot of time analyzing the anthrax letters, so he began preparing for that event a month before the letters were actually found?

Are you saying that Dr. Ivins hours in the lab in September involved planning for work that would happen after the first anthrax letter was brought to Ft. Detrick on October 15th?

Wouldn't that be solid evidence if Dr. Ivins' guilt?


Anonymous said...

The FBI's Case Boils Down To Unexplained Time in the Lab But Wouldn't a Criminal Have Planned An Alibi?

The FBI case against Bruce Ivins is significantly deficient in many different areas. Major problems include:

** There is no evidence that Ivins prepared, or could have prepared without detection, sufficient quantities of anthrax to account for the anthrax mailings. Ivins would have required 80-100 liters of anthrax broth production. Using normal USAMRIID production methods, this would have required 40-50 2-liter production runs, each requiring between 3/2 and 3 days. Ivins' off duty working hours cannot begin to account for this.

** The FBI's elimination of others with access to RMR-1029 as viable suspects is highly questionable. The FBI evidence eliminates numerous suspects, at USAMRIID and elsewhere, essentially on the basis that the suspects could not reasonably have made the anthrax used in the anthrax mailings in their own labs. The FBI apparently ignored the possibility that the anthrax could have been made outside of known anthrax research facilities, and also ignored substantial evidence that it would have been easy to remove virulent anthrax samples from USAMRIID.

** There is no evidence connecting Ivins to Princeton or to the mailbox in Princeton. Ivins cooperated extensively with the FBI regarding his obsession with the KKG Sorority. In addition the FBI extensively and independently conducted its own investigation. But the FBI found no evidence that Ivins had any knowledge of satellite KKG rental or storage facilities.

** Ivins' eccentricities and mental health issues don't fit the Anthrax mailer. Ivins' problems were internal and self-destructive. Jean Duley alleged Ivins made threats to others, which may or may not be true, but nevertheless Ivins had no actual history of harming anyone or engaging in any activities posing a threat to others. Even his decades old KKG Sorority theft was planned and executed to ensure that no one was present in the Sorority house. Ivins had no history of manipulating others or manipulating external events for his own benefit.


The evidence does establish a spike in Ivins' off-duty access to USAMRIID bio-security labs from mid-August through October 2001 and that Ivins did not account for all of this time to the satisfaction of FBI investigators.

But there remains a major question here that has never been asked. If Ivins was indeed the careful schemer who carefully planned every step of the anthrax attacks and then executed the attacks without a single misstep, leaving no trace of physical evidence, wouldn't he also have planned a reasonable explanation for his off-duty lab hours? During all the time of criminal activity in the lab, and as he repeated swiped his unique ID badge entering and exiting the labs to carry out his criminal activities, wouldn't he have worried about the possible need to explain? Wouldn't he have planned some explanation?

If the FBI is to be believed, Bruce Ivins had no work-related explanation for his time in the lab. Bear in mind this isn't a case of a failed alibi, or even an uncorroborated, undocumented alibi. Ivins offered no work-related alibi for his time at all; nada, zero, zip. And that just doesn't fit the criminal Bruce Ivins portrayed by the FBI.

But it does fit the troubled and imperfect Bruce Ivins friends and colleagues claim to have known, and that Ivins, himself, claimed to be. It does fit a scientist who never dealt well with people facing multiple family crises he couldn't figure out how to fix; a scientist hiding from his unfixable problems in the most successful and only safe place he'd ever known, his lab.

Kenneth J. Dillon said...

FBI might have wished to pin the mailings on Ivins to cover up grievous errors it had made. According to the January 2010 Harvard report on al Qaeda, in summer of 2001 operative Abderraouf Jdey was detained along with intending pilot Zacarias Moussaoui. Jdey was carrying biology textbooks. Other evidence appears to connect Jdey with the anthrax mailings. See . Clearly, finding the real Mailer would go a long way toward exonerating Bruce Ivins.

Anonymous said...

This is absolutely the wrong approach to take on the question of Ivins spent in the lab. You don't rely on the lawyer's characterization based on an interview statement years later. You obtain the 5 days of pages of handwritten notations he made on those days, you find out what the experiment concerned, and you get expert testimony on what the work entailed. There is way too much speculation going on in response to the BS speculation embodied in the Summary. Instead, you need to press for the documents being characterized -- the vast majority of which are being wrongfully withheld under FOIA.

You will find that Rachel Carlson Leiber and Kenneth Kohl have inexcusably mischaracterized the documentary evidence.

Ed Lake said...

If it is so incredibly difficult and time consuming to create anthrax spores like those in the Daschle and Leahy letters, why didn't Dr. Ivins use that argument?

Why did he NEVER say that it was almost impossible to do in secret?

Why, instead, did he try to point the finger at others by claiming that they could easily have done it?


Anonymous said...

I wanted to give a fuller account of the Hebrew letter elements in the Brokaw/NY POST text.

(For high quality contrast see both left and right versions at this site after scrolling a little beyond halfway down screen:

1)the overarching pattern is that the retraced/heavily written strokes are done on HORIZONTAL/NON-VERTICAL strokes only. Essentially on this one point my analysis and that of the FBI agree: the FBI says that 6 instances of the letters T (but only the crossbars) were done heavily/retraced. All 3 intsances of the letter A were done extra-heavy/retraced on ALL strokes because none is completely vertical.

[The letter H, which I see as having been highlighted, is again only highlighted on the horizontal stroke)(the two instances of the letter O, due to the roundness of the letter, are harder to describe, though they appear partially retraced)

2)The non-highlighted instances of the letter T: they appear in the word "DEATH" first in line 3 and then in line 4: they both appear to be either identical (line 4), or nearly so (line 3), to the printed version of the Hebrew letter Daleth. Since darkening the horizontal strokes is a matter of style and personal discretion, the lack of a heaviness in the crossstrokes is of no significance to their being read as daleths.

3)The letters "IC" in "AMERICA" of line 3 are written closer together to each other than to their neighbor letters. This makes them spitting images of the CURSIVE version of the Hebrew letter ALEPH.

In sum, only #3 could be said to be ambiguous in isolation (ie explicable via vagaries of the handprinting process)but when taken with #1 and #2 and connected thematically with the pseudoRussian elements of the ST PETERSBURG hoax letters, it seems highly likely that they are products of the same mind.

Anonymous said...

In my previous post on the (pseudo)Hebrew elements in the Brokaw/NY POST text, I should have posted a link to a source which presents the Hebrew alphabet. It is here:

If you scroll about halfway down you will see the CURSIVE version too!

Anonymous said...

To the Anonymous who wrote:

This is absolutely the wrong approach to take on the question of Ivins spent in the lab...

You may be right. But after repeatedly reviewing the DOJ final report, all of the FBI evidence released to date, and numerous comments on Ivins' working hours here and elsewhere, I thought "Why not take Ivins' reported explanation as the explanation as he best remembered it in 2005? Does it make any sense?" And I ultimately concluded that it could, and that it was indicative of a troubled but innocent scientist lacking a "guilty conscience".

You can see lots more detail on his hours in Document Batch 847,547 (BEI Section 5), pdf pages 43-103.

According to pdf page 43 Ivins said he went to the lab "to escape" and "to sit and think."

In following the possibility that Ivins really was trying to escape, I realized that if the FBI reports were true, then Ivins wasn't even trying to present a work-based alibi. No alibi is unusual for any criminal. They forget many things, but rarely their alibi.

Here's something quite consistent with the escape explanation I've just discovered.

The Amerithrax Investigative Summary states at page 31, "After Sunday night, September 16, 2001, Dr. Ivins did not again enter Suite B3 in the evening hours until September 25, 2001, nine days later."

Then at page 33, the AIS states, " an e-mail to a former colleague, dated September 17, 2001... Dr. Ivins discussed his improving home life. In another e-mail to this former colleague, dated September 19, 2001... Dr. Ivins reported that he had exercised for the first time in months and that he 'felt good.'"

A week of improved home life would certainly explain his absence from the lab if he was indeed going there "to escape" at other times.

And a relapse of home problems after the good week would certainly be within the realm of reasonableness. (People often try to resolve conflicts by just avoiding the issue and focusing on good things. But if the conflict was about something important, it will typically reemerge.)

So, if we take the FBI at its word on what Ivins said, we find a criminal with no alibi, and no attempt at an alibi, which would be unusual. And its particularly hard to square with the efforts and time Ivins spent trying to determine who might be responsible. Surely he would have tried to find an alibi for himself in view of all of these other efforts; unless he was telling the truth about trying to escape his problems.

We also find a reasonable explanation for the September 16-25 gap at the lab.


Anonymous said...

To Ed Lake

Don't know how you could have missed it but Ivins repeatedly told the FBI that it would have taken a massive amount of time to grow the spores at USAMRIID. Indeed, the reason for the Dugway batches in the first place was the enormous amount of time it would have taken to produce the spores at USAMRIID. In view of the time and complexity of producing the spores at USAMRIID, it should be obvious to anyone (including you) that the project, lasting a period of months if it was run every single day, weekends included, could not be hidden, and would have interfered with other researchers' ability to do their own work.

Why would Ivins point to evidence that others could have done it?

Why wouldn't any innocent person, knowing that someone else must be guilty, try to identify the guilty party or parties?


Anonymous said...

Here is some supporting documentation on what would have been required to produce the spores of the anthrax mailings at USAMRIID.

Page 24 of USAMRIID Section 1 (2/2005) – Interviews (document batch 847,443), states:

”IVINS did the following calculation estimates to determine how much of the Dugway spores would have been missing if they had been used in the anthrax mailings. 2.0-2.5 grams of material were present in each letter with a 10(to the 8th power)/mL spore concentration. In order to achieve that spore concentration, 80-100L of runs would have been necessary and approximately 300 mL of the Dugway material would have been required. This amount of missing material would have been noticed. (emphasis added)

For different calculations arriving at essentially the same answer, see Could Ivins Have Produced All of the Anthrax Spores Used in the Attacks? (calculating that 36 two-liter runs would have been required). This article is quite detailed and explains a great deal regarding the methods, including fermentation times, etc. needed to produce the Anthrax culture broths at USAMRIID.

See also page 64 of USAMRIID Section 1 (2/2005) – Interviews(document batch 847,357), explaining that the RMR-1029 spore production was contracted out to Dugway because the amount of spores needed required 260 Liters of spore culture, in turn requiring 130 separate runs at USAMRIID (130 weeks at one run per week; 65 weeks at 2 runs per week).


Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymi, Thanks for providing well documented information and calculations regarding how long it would have taken Dr. Ivins to produce the pure spore material. That this is so well documented in the testamony Dr. Ivins gave and in objective information casts a long shadow on the credibility of the agencies so-called expert Dr. Burans. His statement that it would have taken 3 days appears to be a bald faced attempt to make the evidence fit the allegation rather than anything remotely resembling the truth.

Anonymous said...


Ed Lake once called the FBI and told them I committed a serious terrorist act after we kicked him out of an email group. (True story). When, thrilled by the true crime adventure and the opportunity to poke fun at Ed that he handed me, I went to look to see what I had done 6 months earlier, I figured out I had been in the back seat of a police car being driven back to my car that had run out of gas! I told the beautiful agent "Damn! That's precisely Lake's argument!" Or at least it was for 7 years. He always argued you look for the guy with the perfect alibi because he's the one who couldn't have done it -- except by entering a conspiracy. For example, he accused without basis a guy from Wisconsin who thought anthrax was a virus and entered into to a conspiracy with some guy in New Jersey who didn't know. (If Ed had made inquiry he could have saved himself 7 years). But he was a True Believer and had a Conspiracy Theory that he never sought to test.

But the problem with your argument is that Ivins does have a perfect alibi. He was extremely busy at work, emailing substantive messages that set the context both of what he was doing and what he was learning from the press, he was at group therapy meetings on the relevant dates, he was at Red Cross, he was at church, he was sleeping in a small home with 3 others (taking the long trips to Ithaca only when his wife was out of town). It is only by withholding and mischaracterizing the documentary evidence that they were able to cobble together a theory at all.

Anonymous said...

I would like to again add that there is no need to enter into speculation as to the reason why Dr Ivins entered the hot suite B3 on certain evenings.

He entered into hot suite B3 on these evenings because he was scheduled to. This can be seen on his calendar on pages 123 and 124 at

According to Ivins' old emails the animals had to be checked 3 times a day. Ivins' time to check them are given in his calendar - and they correspond almost exactly to the times the FBI claim were "unexplained".
There must be a least 2 other people at Detrick who also checked the animals in the study - and these people need to come forward. One of these people must have performed the night 8pm check on the days Ivns was not scheduled for it. Obviously the badge records will readily identify them but the FBI don't want that information released since it will show that someone else also entered the hot suite at 8pm for a couple of hours on these other evenings and that would spoil their fabricated narrative about Ivins' "unusual" activities in the hot suite B3.
The reality is - there is no unusual behavior. Just people doing their scheduled tasks.

Old Atlantic Lighthouse said...

The yields stated in the Ivins patent are for the yield of PA not of the anthrax itself. (Jim White pointed this out on his blog.)

"protective antigen (PA) "

"The data presented in Table 1 demonstrated that the PA yield on a unit volume and biomass basis,"

Claim one of the patent states

"1. A method of making a vaccine comprising: incorporating a protective antigen produced by recombinant asporogenic B. anthracis with a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier, wherein said recombinant asporogenic B. anthracis was isolated from a ΔSterne-1(pPA102) strain of bacteria and said recombinant asporogenic B. anthracis does not have the ability to bind a dye when grown on Congo Red Agar.

So the yield of PA understates the yield of the anthrax used to grow it.

The time of 5 days is the same however for the antigen and the anthrax bacillus it is in. If we assume the antigen mass is a fixed ratio to the anthrax cell mass it is in, and that each anthrax cell has the same mass, then production of antigen mass is proportional to the production of anthrax cells.

The number of anthrax cells grown depends on the time period they are grown. The mass of antigen follows the same path in time. So if it takes 5 days to grow the antigens, then it takes 5 days to grow the cells.

(We can relax the assumption of fixed ratios made originally by allowing for fixed over time distributions of the ratios or cell size.)

Old Atlantic Lighthouse said...

We must distinguish the vegetative cell, the antigen and a spore made from a vegetative cell. A spore weighs less than a vegetative cell so there is some offset depending on the weight of antigen in a vegetative cell compared to how it was measured or estimated.

The antigen mass is less than a vegetative cell that contains it. However, the spore weighs less than the vegetative cell. How the antigen mass is determined matters too. Is it converted to a dry powder and what loss of weight does that entail compared to a vegetative cell becoming a spore and then weighed as a dry powder of spores?