A top secret Canadian Security Intelligence Service report leaked on August 27, 2004 may provide the missing piece of evidence needed to identify the long elusive Anthrax Mailer of 2001.
While confirmation is still lacking, we now have enough shreds of evidence to piece together a theory of the case that resolves key anomalies. In turn, that theory can point us toward where we might find confirmatory evidence. Continue reading »
On November 29, 2010 the University of California Washington Center hosted a seminar, sponsored by UCLA, on the 2001 anthrax mailings investigation.
At the first session, attended by 45, four panelists discussed the investigation itself, with the consensus emerging that FBI had made a series of errors and that its allegations against U.S. Army scientist Bruce Ivins lacked substance. (The case has never been tried in court because Ivins committed suicide.) The second session, for which 25 remained, analyzed the lessons learned and the broader implications of the case, which was the largest criminal investigation in American history. Continue reading »
The alleged misdeeds and cover-ups of the administration of George W. Bush related to the events of 2001 remain in historical limbo. President Obama has refused to investigate anything that happened under his predecessor, and neither the Congress nor the media have gotten to the bottom of these tragic events. As a result, the American public has not come to closure on the 9/11 attacks or on the anthrax mailings of 2001, nor is there a shared understanding of such a critical question as the real reasons that the US attacked Iraq in 2003.
These failures have left the field open to wild speculations regarding these events, generally termed “conspiracy theories”, though this term obscures the critical distinction between elaborate, prospective conspiracies (silly in the context of an open society) and the retrospective cover-up conspiracies that government officials who have made embarrassing mistakes are all-too-prone to engage in (very realistic and plausible).
Unfinished business in a nation’s history can undermine citizens’ trust in government and sense of participating in a meaningful collective life.
In the case of fatal moments such as assassinations and terrorist attacks, the damage adds to the impact of the attacks and helps the attackers achieve their goals of demoralizing the people and fraying the social fabric. Compounding the problem, government agencies and the media often show reluctance to reveal what they learn because they lack 100% assurance of its validity, because they fear the public reaction, or because they are covering up their own mistakes. As a result, people often believe that certain crimes remain unsolved or are even unsolvable when in fact they have already been solved but the information is being denied to the public. Continue reading »
It is a curious fact that, after extensive investigations accompanied by intensive media coverage, the United States Government has failed to get to the bottom of any of the three major attacks launched against it by al Qaeda in the autumn of 2001.
Yes, and therein lies part of the problem.
When we speak of intelligence failures, we ordinarily refer to the mistakes made by intelligence agencies in the time leading up to an event. But there is another kind of intelligence failure: Retrospective Intelligence Failure (RIF). Continue reading »
[In a 2004 leak of a top secret Canadian Security Intelligence Service report, an al Qaeda detainee said that Abderraouf Jdey, a Canadian citizen of Tunisian origin, used a shoe bomb to cause the November 12, 2001 crash of American Airlines #587 from Kennedy Airport. Circumstantial evidence suggests that Jdey was also the mailer of the anthrax letters. See the analysis at the article Was Abderraouf Jdey The Anthrax Mailer?. The arguments below regarding the use of a Stinger-like missile and a northern New Jersey location of the Mailer are incorrect, but they are not being changed so that readers may follow the logic that led to the identification of Jdey as the likely Mailer. Information from October 2006 that the water used to prepare the anthrax was from the northeastern United States rules out a UK origin, as incorrectly argued below.] Continue reading »
Historian and former State Department intelligence analyst Kenneth J. Dillon devised the concept of “Anomalous Mistake-driven Opportunity Creation” (AMOC). “AMOC”, he says, “occurs when a government official charged with a certain problem commits an extraordinary error—one so inconceivable that no one can imagine that he/she has done it. And therefore the official gets away with it—and receives enhanced powers to combat the much more grievous resulting problem. As skilful politicians, Bush and Cheney were classic inside-the-box thinkers who lacked the insight to take precautionary measures that a reasonable person would have taken in response to the repeated warnings of an impending attack of the sort that occurred on 9/11. Therefore, it was a case of criminal negligence, not a conspiracy. However, after 9/11 Bush and Cheney conspired to cover up the evidence of their negligence, a task for which their skills were better suited. So there was a conspiracy, but it took place after 9/11 and is ongoing.” [This summary was in Wikipedia for several months but then was removed.]
AMOC occurs when a government official charged with a certain problem commits an extraordinary error—one so inconceivable that no one can imagine that he/she has perpetrated it. And therefore the official gets away with it. Continue reading »
On November 12, 2001 American Airlines Flight #587 crashed in Queens, New York shortly after take off, killing 265. Some observers were quick to suggest that terrorists had brought the aircraft down. But the October 26, 2004 official report by the National Transportation Safety Board blamed the crash on the co-pilot, who jerked the rudder back and forth in an effort to correct for turbulence from a preceding jet.
The crash was soon eclipsed by the repercussions of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the anthrax mailings, and the war in Afghanistan. Yet suspicions lingered. Many eyewitness accounts, for instance, seemed consistent with an on-board explosion, yet the report brushed them aside as contradicting each other and generally unreliable. Continue reading »