Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Selected Anthrax Quotes

This is what George Tenet said in his book, At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA:
“The most startling revelation from this intelligence success story was that the anthrax program had been developed in parallel to 9/11 planning. As best as we could determine, al-Zawahiri’s project had been wrapped up in the summer of 2001, when the al-Qaida deputy, along with Hambali, were briefed over a week by Sufaat on the progress he had made to isolate anthrax. The entire operation had been managed at the top of al-Qai’da with strict compartmentalization. Having completed this phase of his work, Sufaat fled Afghanistan in December 2001 and was captured by authorities trying to sneak back into Malaysia. Rauf Ahmad was detained by Pakistani authorities in December 2001. Our hope was that these and our many other actions had neutralized the anthrax threat, at least temporarily.”
This is what former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said:
"The quality anthrax sent to Senator Daschle's office could be produced by a Ph.D. microbiologist and a sophisticated laboratory."
This is what Richard Spertzel said in a Murdoch WSJ article today:
"I believe this is another mistake in the investigation.

Let's start with the anthrax in the letters to Sens. Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy. The spores could not have been produced at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, where Ivins worked, without many other people being aware of it. Furthermore, the equipment to make such a product does not exist at the institute.

Information released by the FBI over the past seven years indicates a product of exceptional quality. The product contained essentially pure spores. ...

The FBI spent between 12 and 18 months trying "to reverse engineer" (make a replica of) the anthrax in the letters sent to Messrs. Daschle and Leahy without success, according to FBI news releases. So why should federal investigators or the news media or the American public believe that a lone scientist would be able to do so?"
But this is from Wikipedia:
Erroneous press reports in 2003 indicated the FBI failed to reverse engineer the type of anthrax found in the letters.[11][12] According to Chemical & Engineering News, December 4, 2006,[10] there was never any attempt to "reverse engineer" the attack anthrax. Instead, the Dugway Proving Grounds "used the Leahy powder as the culture starter to 'produce several different preparations using different media, and different ways of drying and milling the preparation' that the FBI could use for comparison purposes." They "never analyzed the Leahy powder and did no comparative analyses between the preparations made and the Leahy powder."
This is what Rupert Murdoch's media goons said in March 2008:
But in an e-mail obtained by FOX News, scientists at Fort Detrick openly discussed how the anthrax powder they were asked to analyze after the attacks was nearly identical to that made by one of their colleagues.

"Then he said he had to look at a lot of samples that the FBI had prepared ... to duplicate the letter material," the e-mail reads. "Then the bombshell. He said that the best duplication of the material was the stuff made by [name redacted]. He said that it was almost exactly the same … his knees got shaky and he sputtered, 'But I told the General we didn't make spore powder!'"
Did that FOX News article trigger the FBI's interest in Ivins? Will the FBI produce it as evidence? Who wrote it?

I have posted a few comments at Greenwald's blog.

PS: Has anybody else noted that between the town where the first letter incriminating Dr Asaad was sent, and the Princeton Uni campus where the other anthrax letters were sent, there is a little town called WASHINGTON?

UPDATE: I think the guy who made the anthrax used in the 2001 attacks was Richard Spertzel. And of course he was not acting alone. And the FBI is still protecting him.