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FBI Admits to Bungling the Anthrax Case Against Dr. Bruce Ivins

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The FBI held a two-hour briefing on Monday August 18th to try and quell concerns and skepticism by scientists and journalists over the FBI's purported case against Dr. Bruce Ivins as the perpetrator of the anthrax attacks shortly after 9/11. The New York Times reported on Monday August 18th that, "Mr. Majidi, who heads the FBI office in charge of investigating weapons of mass destruction, led a panel of government and private-sector scientists who detailed the scientific case against Ivins."

It appears the briefing did little to quell the controversy and may have only added fuel to the fire. For starters FBI officials on Monday admitted that the first anthrax strain given to them by Dr. Bruce Ivins in 2002 was destroyed by the FBI because they claimed the sample would not have been allowed as evidence at trial. Yesterday the FBI admitted in retrospect that this was a misstep.

Calling this a misstep is an understatement of gigantic proportions. A better explanation as to why the FBI would destroy one of the single most important pieces of evidence to the entire case, is owed by the FBI to Dr. Ivins' family and their attorney. This is like removing the bullets from a murder victim and then throwing them away before attempting to do a ballistics match. Even the Sally Struthers school for detective work would fail its online correspondence students for making this blunder.

The holes in the FBI's case continue to get larger, not smaller over the past few weeks. First came the revelations that the FBI's would-be star witness, Jean Duley (a low level mental health worker who counseled Dr. Ivins), had prior arrest convictions, had a drug addiction, and was not even qualified to make any psychological diagnoses. Any competent defense lawyer would have had a field day with this witness.

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Initially the FBI was floating the story that Dr. Bruce Ivins intentionally misled them and sent the wrong anthrax sample to the FBI early in the initial investigation. Now we find from yesterday's FBI briefing that Dr. Ivins may have in fact turned in the right sample but the FBI screwed up the labwork.

Even though the FBI refuses to acccept that anyone else could possibly be involved and continues to stick to the narrative that Dr. Ivins worked absolutely alone, the FBI does not have a shred of evidence that Dr. Ivins could be placed in Florida or in New Jersey, where the anthrax letters were mailed. At one point the FBI suggested that Dr. Ivins drove to Princeton, New Jersey during the afternoon of September 17th to mail the anthrax letters, that was until reporters pointed out that the letters were mailed after 5:00 pm in Princeton, New Jersey and Dr. Ivins had a meeting in Frederick, Maryland at around 4:00 pm. That would be quite a feat even for "speed racer." It is quite disheartening (for the FBI) to see newspaper reporters and journalists shooting down FBI theories almost immediately after the FBI presents them. It makes one wonder how carefully the FBI had thought out their theory and evidence in the first place.

It has also always been troubling that the FBI has no explanation as to how Dr. Ivins managed to place highly dispersible (and possibly weaponized) anthrax into letters, drive them two hundred miles, and mail them and not get any trace at all on his person, in his car or around his residence.

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In yesterday's briefing the FBI also admitted they were unable to determine how Dr. Ivins, with the equipment he had access to, was able to coat the anthrax found in the victims with the fine coating of silica that apparently allowed it to be more easily dispersed and inhaled.

The explanation given by the FBI scientists was that the "silica had been imported naturally by the anthrax spores from their environment and that there was no evidence of weaponization". Without elaborating they attributed this high level of silica to "natural variability". Dr Richcard Spertzel , former head of the biological weapons section of the UN Special Commission and a member of the Iraq Survey Group, said the failure to reproduce or even explain the silica content "raises more questions." Any good scientist would counter the FBI's explanation by asking if there is any evidence that this has EVER occurred in nature? It is unfathomable that perfectly uniform silica of the exact same size and shape would randomly stick to anthrax. Rather, in nature if this were to occur the silica would be of random shapes, sizes, and textures. I would offer that there would be no scientific precedence for something like this to occur naturally. But of course if the FBI is willing to show scientific evidence that has been peer-reviewed and published in scientific journals documenting just this fantastic phenomenon the press and independent scientists would all be willing to review the evidence objectively.

The most easily believed explanation is that the anthrax used in the terror attacks was in fact "weaponized". Original analysis of this silica suggested it was perfectly uniform and of a quality that would suggest that a nanotechnology technique would be needed to accomplish the weaponization of the anthrax. Certainly not a quality or uniformity that would occur naturally in the environment and the likelihood that this would occur in nature and would spontaneously coat the anthrax spores with perfectly uniform molecules of silica seem almost ridiculous to even put forth as an explanation.

Dr. Richard Spertzel when he first analyzed the anthrax contained in the letters to Senators Leahy and Daschle described that the anthrax "far exceeds that of any powdered product found in the now extinct U.S. Biological Warfare Program." These included anthrax spores of 1.5-3.0 microns necessary to make a pure spore mix, a polyglass that tightly bound hydrophilic silica to each particle (to prevent clumping) and a weak electrical charge to optimize dispersion by means of repulsion with no other propellant required.

As Michael Green said in an earlier piece for Opednews on August 12th, "Regrown [anthrax] spores don't weaponize themselves. They do not regrow super-small and covered with state-of-the-art anti-clumping silicon with a weak electrical charge for dispersion." In this article Michael Green also presented Search Warrant Affidavit 07-534-M-01 (available at USDOJ: Amerithrax Court Documents), dated October 31, 2007, states in pertinent part, p.4:

"Microscopic examination of the evidentiary spore powders recovered from all four letters identified an elemental signature of Silicon within the spores. This Silicon signature had not been previously described for Bacillus anthracis organisms."

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Lastly, the FBI has admitted that more than a 100 people could have had similar access to this anthrax, but that using a new scientific test (one that has not yet been published or even peer-reviewed by independent scientists) the FBI was able to pinpoint that the original anthrax samples from the victims came from two institutions: USAMRIID in Frederick Maryland and another that they declined to identify. Wouldn't everyone love to know what the other facility was that the FBI declined to mention?


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Eric Nelson is freelance writer, an editor at OpEdNews, and a spiritual progressive from Minnesota who has become more politically active. The reasons for this should be obvious to most; rising poverty, a broken health care system, and a growing (more...)

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