Thursday, May 19, 2011

FBI lab reports on anthrax attacks suggest another miscue/ McClatchy

McClatchy's Greg Gordon has written another excellent piece on the anthrax letters. The focus this time is on the silicon and tin added to the spore prep, and how the FBI resolutely failed to investigate them as a means of solving the case:
The existence of the silicon-tin chemical signature offered investigators the possibility of tracing purchases of the more than 100 such chemical products available before the attacks, which might have produced hard evidence against Ivins or led the agency to the real culprit.
But the FBI lab reports released in late February give no hint that bureau agents tried to find the buyers of additives such as tin-catalyzed silicone polymers.
The apparent failure of the FBI to pursue this avenue of investigation raises the ominous possibility that the killer is still on the loose.
A McClatchy analysis of the records also shows that other key scientific questions were left unresolved and conflicting data wasn't sorted out when the FBI declared Ivins the killer shortly after his July 29, 2008, suicide.
And here is a classic example of how the FBI promulgates BS it knows is total BS:  by failing to allow the purveyor of crap to be identified, everyone at the Bureau saves face, and the media will print the excrement FBI provided:
A senior federal law enforcement official, who was made available only on the condition of anonymity, said the FBI had ordered exhaustive tests on the possible sources of silicon in the anthrax and concluded that it wasn't added. Instead, the lab found that it's common for anthrax spores to incorporate environmental silicon and oxygen into their coatings as a "natural phenomenon" that doesn't affect the spores' behavior, the official said.
Gordon printed the unsourced comments, yes--but then he made clear their total lack of veracity:
To arrive at that position, however, the FBI had to discount its own bulk testing results showing that silicon composed an extraordinary 10.8 percent of a sample from a mailing to the New York Post and as much as 1.8 percent of the anthrax from a letter sent to Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, far more than the occasional trace contamination. Tin — not usually seen in anthrax powder at all — was measured at 0.65 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively, in those letters.
An FBI spokesman declined to comment on the presence of tin or to answer other questions about the silicon-tin connection.
...The silicon-tin connection wasn't the only lead left open in one of the biggest investigations in FBI history, an inquiry that took the bureau to the cutting edge of laboratory science. In April, McClatchy reported that after locking in on Ivins in 2007, the bureau stopped searching for a match to a unique genetic bacterial strain scientists had found in the anthrax that was mailed to the Post and to NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, although a senior bureau official had characterized it as the hottest clue to date.

FBI officials say it's all a moot point, because they're positive they got the right man in Ivins. 
Yet,
... the FBI never found hard evidence that Ivins produced the anthrax or that he scrawled threatening letters seemingly meant to resemble those of Islamic terrorists. Or that he secretly took late-night drives to Princeton, N.J., to mail them.
And
In a chapter in a recently updated book, "Microbial Forensics," Velsko wrote that the anthrax "must have indeed been produced under an unusual set of conditions" to create such high silicon counts. That scenario, he cautioned, might not be "consistent with the prosecution narrative in this case."
...As a result of Ivins' death and the unanswered scientific issues, Congress' investigative arm, the Government Accountability Office, is investigating the FBI's handling of the anthrax inquiry.
UPDATE:  Further stirring the pot, Maureen Stevens has amended her lawsuit against the federal government with testimony from 2 of Ivins' supervisors, who say Ivins could not have been a sole perpetrator of the anthrax letters.
... After obtaining these statements, Stevens' lawyers successfully argued to a federal judge that she should be allowed to withdraw from her previous agreement with lawyers for the U.S. that Ivins was solely to blame so her attorneys could use the new evidence at trial. Attorneys for the federal government didn't object and her motion was granted April 14.
The change means Stevens' attorneys are now free to take additional statements and search for other evidence that might conflict with the FBI's conclusion...
Trial is currently scheduled for Dec. 5 before Senior U.S. District Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley in West Palm Beach...
Hurley has refused U.S. government attempts to get the case dismissed, and his rulings were upheld by an appeals court.

28 comments:

Ed Lake said...

The silicon issue was resolved almost ten years ago.

But, one of the scientists who does not believe that the issue has been resolved is Dr. Stuart Jacobsen, who is the "expert" cited in this McClatchy article.

It's another example of scientists with beliefs disagreeing with scientists with facts.

Ed

Washington's Blog said...

Dr. Nass, I would be grateful for any insight/links you could provide about the inaccurate psychological profile of Dr. Ivins. Sure, he was odd, but then so are most people.

I don't mean your personal experience, although that would be interesting. I mean critiques of the profile itself.

P.S. Here's my write up of yesterday's stories:

Anthrax "Conviction" Falls Apart

Anonymous said...

It seems very significant that the National Labs are calling for re-analysis. It sure doesn't sound as if this was solved ten years ago as Ed Lake claims. The facts now seem to show just the opposite.


One chemist at a national laboratory told McClatchy that the tin-silicone findings and the contradictory data should prompt a new round of testing on the anthrax powder.

Peter Weber, Velsko's co-researcher, said the academy panel's focus on the conflicting data "raises a big question," and "it'd be really helpful for closure of this case if that was resolved."

He suggested that further "micro-analysis" with a highly sophisticated electron microscope could "pop the question marks really quickly."



Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/05/19/114467/fbi-lab-reports-on-anthrax-attacks.html#ixzz1MvN8c2e9

Ed Lake said...

Anonymous wrote: "It seems very significant that the National Labs are calling for re-analysis. It sure doesn't sound as if this was solved ten years ago as Ed Lake claims. The facts now seem to show just the opposite."

The facts do NOT show the opposite. The facts show what they've shown for the past ten years: The attack anthrax was NOT weaponized with silicon.

Looking to answer a few remaining unanswered questions is NOT the same as saying the new answers WILL or MUST prove the opposite of what has already been proven.

Determining what kind of process could have caused the attack anthrax to contain measurable silicon in 65% to 75% of the spores doesn't require access to the actual attack anthrax. Any microbiology lab that has the time and money to spare can try doing it.

All that is needed is the funding.

Previous attempts at "reverse engineering" only involved documented processes that were known to have been used at USAMRIID. They didn't involved doing things that would have been forbidden, such as using material that had been growing at room temperature inside unsterilized autoclave bags for weeks.

The question of why initial tests of parts of the NY Post powder resulted in very high readings for Silicon can probably be answered without actually getting access to the last remaining sample of that powder.

John Ezzell said that the powder looked like goop from growth plates had been centrifuged, dried and then chopped up with a razor blade.

The "powder" is known to have consisted of (1) roughly 90% dried "matrix material," i.e., the dried slime that results when the carcasses of Bacillus anthracis bacteria dissolve after sporulation, and (2) roughly 10% spores and undissolved parts of bacteria carcasses.

All you need to do is (1) grow some B anthracis Ames on plates for a few weeks using a growth media that contains SOME natural silicon - sheep blood should work okay, (2)wash the goop out of the plates into centrifuge tubes, (3) centrifuge the goop down to get rid of as much of the water as possible, (4) dry the results, and (5) crush or chop up the dried pellet that is the end product.

In theory, this will result in any Silicon that was in the matrix material and/or in the media to end up and concentrated as a very thin disk of dried material somewhere near the bottom of the centrifuge tube.

Then do all the scientific analysis you need to do on the powder.

If the results show peaks of Silicon, check the source of the peaks. Check to see if the peaks come from pieces of the Silicon disk that should have resulted during the centrifuge process. Check to see what results you get when a piece of the disk is viewed edge-on to the disk and when the piece is viewed at a 90-degree angle to the surface of the disk.

If the results provide a good simulation of what probably happened with the analysis of the NY Post powder, then you have a basis for getting more details about the NY Post powder to check the findings.

If you don't get "a Silicon disk," then you need to try to figure out why you didn't, and try again.

Remember: The NY Post powder was very crude and 90% matrix material. That fact by itself says that it couldn't have come from some sophisticated weaponization process involving the addition of polymers after sporulation.

Ed

Ed Lake said...

Washington's Blog wrote: "Dr. Nass, I would be grateful for any insight/links you could provide about the inaccurate psychological profile of Dr. Ivins. Sure, he was odd, but then so are most people."

I know the question was directed to Dr. Nass, but: What "inaccurate psychological profile" are you talking about?

The report by the Expert Behavioral Analysis Panel (EBAP) can't be considered to be "inaccurate," since it involved the findings from three of Ivins' personal psychiatrists and observations from several of his therapists.

The first of his psychiatrists, upon hearing about the anthrax attacks, immediately felt that Ivins could have been responsible.

Ivins' second psychiatrist diagnosed Ivins as "sociopathic."

Ivins talked about his murder plots with his first psychiatrist and two of his therapists.

What part of that is "inaccurate," or are you referring to something else?

And, do most people go to see psychiatrists for help because of murderous thoughts that go on for decades?

Ed

Anonymous said...

Looks as if the FBI misled Congress by low-balling the silicon concentrations. This appears to be evidence that they are very nervous about this data - basically if they feel comfortable about silicon and tin, why not just answer the question asked in 2008?
Hopefully new tests performed by a competent lab will answer all of this very quickly. Livermore could probably do the job nicely. This crime may actually be solved one day. Unfortunately too late for Dr Ivins:


The FBI guarded its laboratory's finding of 10.8 percent silicon in the Post letter for years. New York Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler asked FBI Director Robert Mueller how much silicon was in the Post and Leahy letters at a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee in September 2008. The Justice Department responded seven months later that silicon made up 1.4 percent of the Leahy powder (without disclosing the 1.8 percent reading) and that "a reliable quantitative measurement was not possible" for the Post letter.

Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/05/19/114467/fbi-lab-reports-on-anthrax-attacks.html#ixzz1N0woSbWW

Anonymous said...

Ed Lake said...
"The silicon issue was resolved almost ten years ago."

WHAT?
>> At best this statement is ludicrous This is a very odd statement to say that all questions in respect to the anthrax used in the letters has been resolved? How was it resolved? The first mailing seems to be from a completely different preparation over the Senate anthrax. Can you supply any reference detailing this?

Congress and the FBI were still questioning each other about just the Silicon % in 2008?
Has a full elemental analysis ever been released. Anthrax has silicon naturally incorporated in it that varies in percentage depending upon specie type, environment factors and growing conditions.
This is natural silicon a big unknown and is still being studied yet you claim everything has been resolved ten years ago?

>Is there perhaps an actual >reproducible published result? >Versus, Ed Lake repeatedly just >saying over and over " Dr. Ivins >did it!"

>If you can you?
>Please supply any >reference >showing the Ames Anthrax
>Si/Tn quantification, the chemical >and elemental makeup as well as >analysis, variations/ comparisons >of natural wild anthrax strains >elemental composition and >percentages?
> This would resolve any questions. >until then anything else is >meaningless speculation..... right >up there with squinting at cloud >pictures.

But, one of the scientists who does not believe that the issue has been resolved is Dr. Stuart Jacobsen, who is the "expert" cited in this McClatchy article.

>These may be very legitimate >questions to ask by a scientists >within this field of study versus >an opinionated member of the lay >public with seemingly their own >agenda?

This is just another example of scientists with beliefs disagreeing with scientists with facts?

>What Facts??
>All this statement above by Mr. >Lake in my opinion is using a >cheap propaganda shot with >absolutely no basis in reality.

Anonymous said...

Ed Lake said...
"The silicon issue was resolved almost ten years ago."

WHAT?
>> At best this statement is ludicrous This is a very odd statement to say that all questions in respect to the anthrax used in the letters has been resolved? How was it resolved? The first mailing seems to be from a completely different preparation over the Senate anthrax. Can you supply any reference detailing this?

Congress and the FBI were still questioning each other about just the Silicon % in 2008?
Has a full elemental analysis ever been released. Anthrax has silicon naturally incorporated in it that varies in percentage depending upon specie type, environment factors and growing conditions.
This is natural silicon a big unknown and is still being studied yet you claim everything has been resolved ten years ago?

>Is there perhaps an actual >reproducible published result? >Versus, Ed Lake repeatedly just >saying over and over " Dr. Ivins >did it!"

>If you can you?
>Please supply any >reference >showing the Ames Anthrax
>Si/Tn quantification, the chemical >and elemental makeup as well as >analysis, variations/ comparisons >of natural wild anthrax strains >elemental composition and >percentages?
> This would resolve any questions. >until then anything else is >meaningless speculation..... right >up there with squinting at cloud >pictures.

But, one of the scientists who does not believe that the issue has been resolved is Dr. Stuart Jacobsen, who is the "expert" cited in this McClatchy article.

>These may be very legitimate >questions to ask by a scientists >within this field of study versus >an opinionated member of the lay >public with seemingly their own >agenda?

This is just another example of scientists with beliefs disagreeing with scientists with facts?

>What Facts??
>All this statement above by Mr. >Lake in my opinion is using a >cheap propaganda shot with >absolutely no basis in reality.

Old Atlantic Lighthouse said...

The 60 Minutes show on Tom Drake being indicted by DOJ shows that those who have no legal obligation to the federal government should pour it on. Those out there asking why bother to spend any effort should look at those on the inside who risk prosecution to get information out.

Those on the outside under no obligation should speak up every way they can. There is enough public information about the government's neglect and complicity for those who can legally to point it out and connect the dots. The greatest fallacy of establishment media is that people outside of government can't make conclusions of fact based on public information. Yes we can.

Ed Lake said...

I repeat: The Silicon issue was resolved almost ten years ago.

In October of 2001, they already knew that there was no external silicon on the attack spores. None could be seen via any kind of electron microscope. External particles of silicon are used for "weaponization."

In February of 2002, Sandia National Laboratories determined that the detectable Silicon was inside the spore coat in only SOME of the spores. That says that it accumulated there during the formation of the spores, it was not added later after the spores were fully formed.

The National Academy of Sciences reviewed the facts and agreed that the Silicon was not added as part of any weaponization process.

This is from their press release:

"Silicon was present in significant amounts in the anthrax used in the letters. But the committee and FBI agree that there is no evidence that the silicon had been added as a dispersant to "weaponize" the anthrax."

Anonymous wrote: "This is a very odd statement to say that all questions in respect to the anthrax used in the letters has been resolved? How was it resolved?"

I said the issue had been resolved. I didn't say that all the conspiracy theorists had stopped arguing and stopped looking for flaws in the FBI's case. That's a totally different subject.

There doesn't appear to be any way to get a conspiracy theorist to accept the facts. If one theory of theirs is shown to be total nonsense, they'll just develop a new theory. If that is shown to be total nonsense, they'll just develop a new theory.

Ed

Savage Henry said...

Here the problem lies..."Ed said: "There doesn't appear to be any way to get a conspiracy theorist to accept the facts"
Aahmmm? OOPS...Geee... Ed there are no facts.
Everything and anything presented as far as physical sound forensic evidence shown so far by the FBI would only be accepted by "THE JOURNAL OF IRREPRODUCIBLE RESULTS."
We have an anthrax starter flask shared by three hundred other researchers.
Then guilty by innuendo that Ivins had the hots for a sorority girl at one time in his past.
Then and his psychological treatment' a free roaming medical malpractice case on the hoof.
FBI profile all gleaned from a mis managed therapy group and this is Ivins and the FBI's only reality contact the sole source of information is a young sociopath, DRUG & ALCOHOL addled brained, ex-biker chick with self esteem issues, who loves all the attention given to her from the FBI?
Plus a timeline that it is impossible for Dr. Ivins to be in Princeton on the day of the mailings.
This did not include any side trips to xerox the leers along Nassau Ave then seal and mail them.
It is obvious that Mr. Lake has never tried to drive between Frederick Maryland and Princeton, NJ.
All time estimates generated by any web map sources neglect this area has the second worse traffic congestion in the country. (L.A area is running first for worst traffic.) Oh joy.
HOWEVER A LOT OF Mr. Lake's PROPOSED TIMELINE / JOURNEY FOR DR. IVINS "Excellent Adventure" ON SEPT 18th WOULD PASS THROUGH RUSH HOUR(S), THROUGH THREE MAJOR METROPOLITAN TRAFFIC GRIDLOCKED AREAS??
The time estimates from the web maps are off by as much as 1 to 2 hours, or more?

Ed Lake said...

Savage Henry wrote: "Aahmmm? OOPS...Geee... Ed there are no facts."

Actually, there are many many facts showing Ivins to be guilty. You just choose to ignore them -- or distort them.

Just click HERE to view a list of 50 facts showing Ivins to be guilty. The list also shows the 50 ways people who think Ivins was innocent ignore and/or dismiss the facts.

I also produced a list of the psychiatrists to whom Ivins told his plans to murder Nancy Haigwood in 1978 and Mara Linscott in 2000, but Dr. Nass hasn't yet allowed that list to appear on her site.

So, you just argue that all the claims of Ivins being a murderous sociopath are the thinking of a therapist he had in 2008, a person who you do not believe is trustworthy.

The evidence says that Ivins left his home to drive to Princeton for the September 18 mailing at around 11:30 at night on the evening of the 17th, and you argue that that is the rush hour? Really?

Fortunately, your ideas of facts and evidence have nothing to do with what is used in court.

Ed

Meryl Nass, M.D. said...

Ed Lake said I censored his "list of the psychiatrists to whom Ivins told his plans to murder Nancy Haigwood in 1978 and Mara Linscott in 2000..."

I have only censored Ed when his language was foul, he defamed others or he wrote unintelligibly. I would be happy to post a list of what the psychiatrists said along with the URL or other verifiable citation that would allow me to confirm psychiatrists did provide the testimony.

Ed, you have not responded to my comment that approximately 1/300 viable spores from the original batch used to grow anthrax had to have been B. subtilis, which makes the idea of bringing it in as a contaminant an impossibility.

Meryl

Anonymous said...

Having fantasies about homicide is very common. Dr Ivins was silly enough to believe that his private thoughts to his shrink would remain private.
I wonder what a group of psychiatrists would make of Ed Lake?


Homicidal ideation is a common medical term for thoughts about homicide. There is a range of homicidal thoughts which spans from vague ideas of revenge to detailed and fully formulated plans without the act itself.[1] Many people who have homicidal ideation do not commit homicide. 50-91% of people surveyed on university grounds in various places in the USA admit to having had a homicidal fantasy.[2] Homicidal ideation is common, accounting for 10-17% of patient presentations to psychiatric facilities in the USA.

Anonymous said...

Can't let the peeps know it was the Russians who were shocked that 9/11 did not change the dumb Americans' minds about Islamism and Chechnya.

What's the connection between New York Post, and the two senators? Look up the Chechen connection.

"Lake" is just one of the old believers who has unshakable faith in the FBI.

AnthraxSleuth said...

I certainly would never agree with Ed Lake But...

There are facts in this case.

Unfortunately, these facts have been withheld from the public. Let me divulge some facts for all of you.
Fact: I personally gave Agent Eric Davis at the Charlotte NC FBI Steven Hatfill's last name in November of 2001 after I caught him snooping around my house in the middle of nowhere NC. That is a full 7 months before his name became public knowledge. How did I know his last name? Funny thing, he was brazen enough to wear his army jacket which had his last name printed on it. I got close enough to him to read it. Maybe this is why Dr. Barbara Rosenberg said the killer was "cock sure he would get away with it."

Fact: Special Agent Jim Page of the Raleigh NC FBI has made sure that none of the evidence, both physical and circumstantial, that relates to me was investigated. This includes actual anthrax powder that was mailed to me; which I still have. It also includes a link between myself, Ottillie Lundgren and Kathy Nguyen. This link may still exist in archives from a particular internet message board. How could I possibly know that Kathy Nguyen had come to this country 32 years before 2001? I know because she posted it.

Yes, there are facts and evidence. Evidence strong enough that would put a certain individual on death row. Don't forget 2 federal workers were killed which is an automatic death sentence. And that would probably be enough for that individual to feel the need to cut a deal and divulge his coconspirators.

I have many more facts. But, maybe, just maybe, one day we will have a real investigation into these 5 murders and I think it wise to keep those facts quiet should that miracle happen.

Ed Lake said...

Dr. Nass wrote: "I have only censored Ed when his language was foul, he defamed others or he wrote unintelligibly."

My language was foul? Why didn't you send me an email telling me what you consider to be "foul" language? Why do I have to guess what you consider to be "foul" language?

Unfortunately, I didn't save copies of what I tried to post. So, I have to assume that you consider stating that Ivins was mentally ill to be "foul language," since that's the about all I said. And that would fit with your statement that I "defamed others," too.

Do you have a rule that it is wrong to say anything bad about Bruce Ivins?

And I "wrote unintelligibly"? Really? I'd like to see what you consider to be unintelligible writing from me.

"I would be happy to post a list of what the psychiatrists said along with the URL or other verifiable citation that would allow me to confirm psychiatrists did provide the testimony."

Some of what the psychiatrists said is in the Expert Behavioral Analysis Panel (EBAP) report. And, as I stated in the comment you wouldn't post, a lot of what was redacted in the EBAP report is provided in David Willman's new book.

If don't have a copy of the EBAP report, just ask someone who has a copy. A person who was on the November 29 panel with you is giving away copies to anyone who wants one.

If you want a copy of David Willman's book, it will be on sale on June 7 everywhere.

Ed

Ed Lake said...

Dr. Nass wrote; "Ed, you have not responded to my comment that approximately 1/300 viable spores from the original batch used to grow anthrax had to have been B. subtilis, which makes the idea of bringing it in as a contaminant an impossibility."

I am unable to respond to something that makes absolutely no sense. Your claim includes an assumption of some kind that you do not provide.

You didn't ask any question. You just agreed with Old Atlantic Lighthouse (OTL). I responded to OTL's question about this, but you "censored" that post, too. However, it didn't address the specific question you're asking now.

B subtilis contamination is VERY COMMON in laboratories. Why did Ivins use the "single colony pick" method of selecting material to use in growing new batches? Could it be because he wanted to avoid B subilis or other contamination when seeding flasks for re-growth?

And what happens to the colony on a plate that was B subtilis contamination? Answer: It and the plate gets thrown into an autoclave bag.

Wouldn't the B subtilis continue to grow inside the autoclave bag as long as it wasn't sterilized?

When creating the attack anthrax, if Ivins was using plates from autoclave bags that had been allowed to fully grow, all that would be needed to get 0.3% B subtilis would be to have one fully grown B subtilis colony for every 299 B anthracis colonies.

Ed

Ed Lake said...

Anonymous wrote: "Having fantasies about homicide is very common."

True, but Ivins was actually making plans, collecting weapons, and telling his psychiatrists and therapists about his plans. Plus, he actually committed vandalism on multiple occasions to punish one of the women he was also planning to kill.

"Dr Ivins was silly enough to believe that his private thoughts to his shrink would remain private."

His talks with his psychiatrists WERE private until after his suicide - except for his final plan to kill his co-workers at USAMRIID in 2008. All the stuff about the KKG sororities and the girl who "spurned" him in college were things he told the FBI. No law enforcement official had any access to Ivins' mental health records during Ivins' lifetime.

Ed

Ed Lake said...

Anonymous wrote: "I wonder what a group of psychiatrists would make of Ed Lake?"

And

"'Lake' is just one of the old believers who has unshakable faith in the FBI."

Note that these are personal attacks, which seem to be okay here when no one can discuss the evidence.

I discuss the evidence. The evidence says Ivins was guilty.

The only counter-arguments here seem to be that (1)people do not believe the evidence or (2) that they do not trust the FBI or (3) that the Expert Behavioral Analysis Panel met in their homes and not in offices or (4) that Ivins' therapist in 2008 had personal problems of her own or (5) personal attacks.

Ed

Meryl Nass, M.D. said...

Ed, you have not been censored by me in 2011, but I wonder if I should create a limit to the posts by one person.

The letters were obviously not grow n from single pick colonies: had they been, the number of mutants and their concentration would have been much less.

Ed, if you are trying to support the FBI timeline of spore growth and preparation in under a week, the perp couldn't have started with small numbers of viable spores: millions or billions were needed.

Is having faith in a federal agency a personal attack? Neither statement accused you of anything. They did border on rude. However, your repetition of assertions in lieu of scientific grappling with facts others provide can also be construed as rude.

Ed Lake said...

Dr. Nass wrote: "I wonder if I should create a limit to the posts by one person."

If you have three or four different people asking me questions, I'm going to be the only one who violates the limit. Is that the objective?

I sometimes answer a single post with two or more responses, each response addressing a specific question. I think it's more clear that way.

Discussion would be a lot simpler if the posts didn't contain a half dozen different questions or subjects at the same time - as yours did. But, I'll respond to them all in this single post.

"The letters were obviously not grow n from single pick colonies: had they been, the number of mutants and their concentration would have been much less."

You are misinterpreting or not understanding what I wrote. The "single pick colonies" are removed by a loop from the plate and used to grow flasks of bacteria for normal laboratory work. It is the rest of the colonies on the plate that Ivins very likely used. Those other colonies got tossed into the autoclave bags, and were left there to grow for weeks and weeks. Each plate could have dozens of colonies, including one or more colonies of B subtilis contamination.

"Ed, if you are trying to support the FBI timeline of spore growth and preparation in under a week,"

I'm not trying to support the FBI's timeline. I leave that to EXPERTS. My hypothesis is that Ivins was probably accumulating spores since mid-August, when he started working all those unexplained overtime hours. He probably stored them in a beaker in the cold room. There's no reason to believe he must have done everything in a week, although there are experts who say it could have been done in a week.

"Neither statement accused you of anything."

I didn't say anything about accusations. My complaint was that the statements were about me, not about the issues.

The first statement was a suggestion that psychiatrists should examine me.

Here's the second statement: "'Lake' is just one of the old believers who has unshakable faith in the FBI."

It's an accusation that I have an "unshakable faith in the FBI," and simply believe everything they say.

I was telling the world that Hatfill was innocent from the first day I heard Hatfill's name mentioned, while the media was claiming that the FBI believed that Hatfill was the killer.

The FBI has no published theory about Ivins having used material from autoclave bags. That's my hypothesis, not theirs.

I disagree that all of the FBI's handwriting experts who say the handwriting on the letters is "inconclusive." I've been saying for years that they just haven't looked at it from the right angle.

The facts about Ivins say he was the anthrax killer. I cannot dispute the FBI's facts. If someone could provide equivalent facts pointing to someone else, I'd be extremely interested. But, all they do is say they don't believe the FBI's facts.

"However, your repetition of assertions in lieu of scientific grappling with facts others provide can also be construed as rude."

And which "assertions in lieu of scientific grappling with facts others provide" would those be?

You stated that bringing in B subtilis as a contaminant is "an impossibility."

I explained how it can be very easy.

You misinterpreted what I wrote and repeat the same argument.

If I explain how you are misinterpreting what I write, is that rude?

I consider it rude to not try to understand what someone else is saying, but to simply dismiss it as not worth listening to.

Ed

BugMaster said...

"Some of what the psychiatrists said is in the Expert Behavioral Analysis Panel (EBAP) report. And, as I stated in the comment you wouldn't post, a lot of what was redacted in the EBAP report is provided in David Willman's new book."

So, the "independent panel" report was released about two months ago. Willman's book had to be complete then as well, since final copies of his still incomplete book have been available for review for a while now.

The EBAP report was actually completed last fall, and they then passed on an unredacted copy to Willman?

What, was Willman on their panel? Or is he now, for some reason, shilling for the FBI!?

Anonymous said...

http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2011/05/25/nadler-wants-to-know-why-fbi-lied-to-him-about-anthrax/

Nadler Wants to Know Why FBI Lied to Him about Anthrax
By: emptywheel Wednesday May 25, 2011 9:47 am

Tweet2
That’s a very good question, Congressman Nadler:

On September 16, 2008, the House Committee on the Judiciary, on which I sit, conducted an oversight hearing of the FBI at which you testified. At that hearing, I asked you the following: “[W]hat was the percentage of weight of the silicon in the powders that your experts examined?” You testified that you would get back to me. On November 26, 2008, I sent to you this follow-up question in writing: “What was the percentage of weight of the silicon in the powder used in the 2001 anthrax attacks?”

On April 17, 2009, then-Acting Assistant Attorney General M. Faith Burton, of the DOJ Office of Legislative Affairs, responded with the following answer:

FBI Laboratory results indicated that the spore powder on the Leahy letter contained 14,470 ppm of silicon (1.4%). The spore powder on the New York Post letter was found to have silicon present in the sample; however, due to the limited amount of material, a reliable quantitative measurement was not possible. Insufficient quantifies of spore powder on both the Daschle and Brokaw letters precluded analysis of those samples.

A February 15, 2011 report by the National Academy of Sciences (“NAS report”), in which the NAS included its review of the FBI’s data and scientific analysis in the anthrax investigation, raises three questions about this DOJ/FBI response to me. First, with respect to the anthrax on the letter sent to Senator Leahy, the NAS report shows on pages 66 and 67 (Table 4.4) that the silicon content found by the FBI was 1.4% in one sample and 1.8% in a second sample. Why were both figures not provided to me in response to my questions?

Second, the NAS report shows on pages 66 and 67 (Table 4.4) that the FBI found the silicon content in the New York Post letter anthrax to be 10% when the bulk material was measured by mass and 1-2% when individual spore coats were measured by mass per spore. Why was neither piece of data provided to me in response to my questions?

Third and finally, the NAS report raises questions about the appropriateness of the measurements taken of the anthrax on the letter to the New York Post. Specifically, on page 77, the NAS report says:

ICP-OES analysis indicated a silicon content of the bulk New York Post letter material of 10 percent by mass, while SEM-EDX performed by SNL demonstrated silicon in individual spore coats at a level corresponding to 1 percent by mass per spore. At the January 2011 meeting, the FBI attributed this difference to a limited amount of sample available (only one replicate was performed for ICP-OES analysis) and the heterogeneous character of the New York Post letter. An explanation based on the heterogeneous character implies that the specific samples analyzed were not representative of the letter material. In such a case, additional samples should have been analyzed to determine representativeness. If such data exist, they were not provided to the committee. Lacking this information, one cannot rule out the intentional addition of a silicon-based substance to the New York Post letter, in a failed attempt to enhance dispersion. The committee notes that powders with dispersion characteristics similar to the letter material could be produced without the addition of a dispersant.

Were additional samples tested to determine the extent to which the ones examined were representative of the New York Post letter material? If not, why not? And, if the FBI does not have this data, how would you respond to the NAS that, without it, one cannot rule out the possibility that silicon was intentionally added? If the FBI did do these additional tests, please provide the resulting data to me and NAS.

Anonymous said...

http://nadler.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1665&Itemid=132

Nadler Seeks Answers from FBI on Anthrax Investigation
WEDNESDAY, 25 MAY 2011
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, sent a letter to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Robert Mueller requesting answers to remaining questions in the investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks. Nadler specifically asked Mueller why the FBI appears to have provided incorrect information on the case to Nadler and the Judiciary Committee subsequent to a September 16, 2008 oversight hearing on the FBI.

Text of the letter follows:

AnthraxSleuth said...

Since Dr. Nass will not post my comment which names names, perhaps she will let this through. If you go to http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/03/ff_anthrax_fbi/
And, use the search feature in your browser to search for the word Raleigh you will find out who at the FBI helped the REAL culprit get away with it.

Ed Lake said...

BugMaster wrote: "The EBAP report was actually completed last fall, and they then passed on an unredacted copy to Willman?

What, was Willman on their panel? Or is he now, for some reason, shilling for the FBI!?"


Yes, it appears that Willman read an unredacted copy of the EBAP report -- or he somehow got his hands on some of the source material the EBAP panel reviewed.

No, he wasn't on the panel.

Why does anyone who agrees with the FBI's findings have to be "shilling" for the FBI?

That kind of reasoning says that, anyone who looks at the facts cannot be believed, since they are promoting the FBI's findings? Only those who do not believe the facts should be believed?

The facts are of no concern in such reasoning. Only whose side you are on is of any importance.

Court proceedings and scientific research shouldn't be about taking "sides." They should be about what the facts say.

The facts say Bruce Edwards Ivins was the anthrax killer. That's true no matter whose "side" you are on.

Ed

Seattle Reader said...

Ed Lake says, "Just click HERE to view a list of 50 facts showing Ivins to be guilty."

Okay, I just clicked there and the first "fact", offered as "evidence", is a clear statement that Ivins did it, presented with no actual evidence whatsoever.

Ed, can you address this? Could you perhaps have worded item one differently? How about the other forty-nine items?

Would you mind giving a link to a page of evidence which does not rely on circular reasoning and other logical fallacies?

I have asked this question in another comment written today, since your page is referenced there as well.

What's up?