Wednesday, February 16, 2011

FBI ducks and dodges NAS anthrax conclusions/ WaPo

From today's Washington Post:

FBI continues to claim Ivins misled them with his original anthrax sample, although NAS pointed out that the instructions for sample collection were ambiguous, and FBI failed to collect needed information about the specific procedures used by those submitting samples.

FBI claims it had to meet a stiffer standard than The National Academy of Science committee, which had the luxury to be "theoretical."
"It's somewhat disingenuous that they can use the word 'theoretical,' " said one investigator involved in the case, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid about the report's findings. "They're talking about hypotheticals. We didn't have that luxury. We were trying to solve a crime, and we didn't know if the mailer would strike again."
Every story I've read, in which FBI spokespeople are questioned, has given the FBI personnel anonymity.  This is the most expensive and likely the most complex case the FBI has ever handled, and it was botched from start to finish.  The lives of at least 3 scientists have been ruined (Hatfill) or lost (Ivins and Mikesell) as a result of the investigation.  Yet FBI continues the pernicious practice of twisting the truth, claiming it solved the case definitively when it has essentially NO hard evidence, and covering its butt via lack of attribution of any of these claims.
[The NAS Report] offered another possible explanation for the apparent link between the letters and the Ivins flask: that some of the mutations identified in the letters could have arisen independently, through a process known as "parallel evolution."
The report said this possibility "was not rigorously explored" by the FBI.
So FBI retorts that "rarely does science alone solve an investigation.''  (No, it doesn't if the science is done poorly.)  Yet back in 2008, when FBI announced it had solved the case, the critical evidence was supposed to have come from the microbial forensics science.

And now?  FBI has created the lie (anonymously, of course) that
... the government was satisfied that its science would have met the standard of proof in federal court, which is to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty. "The standard is not beyond all doubt," the official said.
Luckily for the FBI, with Ivins' death, they dodged federal court.

UPDATE:  And don't forget Ivins passed 2 polygraph tests.  FBI later claimed he used classic countermeasures to defeat them, but the evidence for this is slim to none.  The WaPo comments on this here.


Old Atlantic Lighthouse said...

The FBI has still not taken ownership of the numerical data in the case and the ability to replicate it. This means production time. This means the aerosol and fluid behavior in the Senate buildings and AMI as shown by the distribution of anthrax as measured by swabs or otherwise.

The FBI has to admit that production yields and times are random and to determine the parameters of the distributions for different production methods.

They have to determine which methods produce the bimodal particle size distributions within which statistical parameters and models.

They have to distinguish particle size as an input variable and aerosol, fluid, and building dispersion parameters.

Until they do this, they have not taken ownership of the case. If they don't, then some other organization should be given ownership of this data and tasked with determining its full stochastic nature using appropriate statistical and econometric techniques. This should be done at a Ph.D. level. The FBI has not even done this at an MBA level or even really an undergraduate business student level.

Anonymous said...

I think people in general have no understanding of the court system. First of all the Judicial system does not run on honesty and true facts, as much as it does on alleged facts which can merely be hearsay, and on emotional plays, and psychological manipulations of juries. (Just like the Grand Juries, one of the biggest judicia scams of all times). The FBI is known to perjury, withhold discovery documents, "create evidence" which means to make up false statements, false evidence or the impression that something is true, to achieve their agenda. The FBI agenda varies with each situation as their agenda is only the agenda of those above them, and those above them and so forth.

So the more tales that are spun the more people of the hierarchy in the mix.

Unfortunately for a society that depends on Juries to decide cases, juries are not trained on every aspect of law and interpretation and attorneys and judges don't often get it right either. So basically, if you are accused, you are at the hands of the "mood" anyone is in at the moment, and whatever agenda it will "serve". Welcome to American Justice people.

If you don't believe me about juries just look at the court of public opinion on this case that has been on the Internet all these years. Look at all the wars with Ed Lake of and the wars between him and other at Freerepublic, and then the disagreements with Meryl Nass, and then the opinions of all the other sites. So who would want to go up before a jury with any public persons ? Opinion is not necessarily truth, and jury decisions in many cases are opinions. NAS has given you "opinion". The FBI is operating off of "opinion", the DOJ operates off of "opinion".

So could there every be truth in a case such as this ? There are too many agendas on the line, from the military, vaccine industry, government contractors, etc.