We previously heard that 16 labs possessed the RMR-1029 anthrax used in the 2001 attacks. It appears that we should now add the CIA and its contractors.
A December 2001 Washington Post article states that the CIA had Ames anthrax.
Indeed, the articles states that "The FBI is focusing on a contractor that worked with the CIA".
The contractor could very well have been Battelle Memorial Institute, a long-time CIA contractor which had carried out anthrax experiments for decades. As the BBC noted:
"CIA is in this [anthrax] business too, though presumably only through contractors. But we don't know how many contractors. One contractor is now publicly disclosed, Battelle, that did one of those projects."And as a September 4, 2001 New York Times article notes, the government had hired Battelle to engineer a new, more potent form of anthrax.
In addition, Battelle ran the army lab at Dugway Proving Ground which originally created RMR-1029 (so Battelle undoubtedly had the killer strain. And Battelle has offices throughout the United States, so it easily could have shipped killer anthrax to the appropriate mailing location).
So the CIA contractor under FBI suspicion could have been Battelle. But as the BBC article notes, "We don't know how many contractors [were working on anthrax projects for the CIA], we don't know how many projects."
A classified 1999 report commissioned by the CIA also discussed responses to a hypothetical anthrax attack through the mail very similar to the one which actually occurred (confirmation here).
And "Dr. Barbara Rosenberg - an acknowledged authority on US bio-defence - claimed . . . there could have been a secret CIA field project to test the practicalities of sending anthrax through the mail - whose top scientist went badly off the rails..."
Is it more likely that vaccine scientist Ivins did it? Or that the dirty tricks boys at the CIA or one of its contractors - with experiencing in weaponizing anthrax - did?
As noted by the Washington Post in December 2001, "CIA officials have said they are certain the anthrax used in the mailings did not come from their work, that none of it is missing and that the small amount in their possession was not milled into powder form."
That's good enough, right? If the CIA boys said they didn't do it, then we should believe them, right?
Interestingly, the CIA did not even address whether one of their anthrax contractors did it.