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 »
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).
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 »
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 »
There’s a gaping hole in the FBI’s argument that U.S. Government scientist Bruce Ivins was the Anthrax Mailer.
In addition to the hundreds of scientists with access to virulent anthrax from Ivins’s flask whom the FBI claims to have ruled out, one unauthorized individual had a special kind of access–the kind you get when you steal something. Hovering in proximity to an unlocked refrigerator with the anthrax at George Mason University was Islamic ideologue Ali al-Timimi, who in early 2001 was studying for a Ph.D in computational biology. Al-Timimi has since been arrested and sentenced for inciting Muslims in Virginia to travel to Pakistan to fight against U.S. forces.
(Note: The GMU researchers used what is known as Delta Ames.) Continue reading »
Amid the twists, turns, and baffling uncertainties of the 2001 anthrax mailings case, many observers have managed to hold fast to one conviction: that the anthrax letters can’t possibly have been the work of al Qaeda. But are they right? One way to find out would be to identify the actual Mailer. That may prove easier than often thought—if one looks in the right place. Another approach would involve analyzing each of the objections to determine its merits. Let’s try that.
Objections, Objections Continue reading »
The FBI investigation of the 2001 anthrax mailings may well have been the most extensive criminal investigation in world history. According to FBI, which closed its investigation on February 19, 2010, the Mailer was U.S. Government scientist Bruce Ivins, who committed suicide in July, 2008. But the evidence FBI has adduced is so weak that skepticism is widespread among scientists, other observers of the case, and the public at large.
Many observers find it impossible to believe that the Bureau could persuasively rule out the other hundreds of scientists who had access to the virulent strain of anthrax from the flask Ivins kept. Few doubt that the anthrax in at least some of the letters came originally from this flask, but critics charge that FBI has no valid reason to claim that Ivins was the one who prepared the anthrax and put it into the envelopes. FBI has also not addressed the possibility that someone stole the anthrax, even though researcher Ross Getman has identified several university labs and a bioscience company where al Qaeda sympathizers had access to anthrax originating in Ivins’s flask. Continue reading »