FBI supplies innocent reasons for Ivins late night hours

February 28, 2010

If you take the statement linked to by Dxer who comments at Case Closed

http://caseclosedbylewweinstein.wordpress.com/2010/02/27/attorney-jonathan-turley-regarding-his-client-al-timini-is-this-the-kind-of-connection-it-is-critical-for-the-house-committee-to-investigate/#comment-4151

which is quoting from the FBI report section D. Motive, you can see why Ivins would spend extra time in the lab in August through early October.

The following link quotes from Section D Motive from the FBI report.  (See end of this post for the Section D excerpt or the link.)
http://www.webcommentary.com/php/ShowArticle.php?id=andersonm&date=100228

Note the anger in the linked statement by the service man forced to take anthrax shots in 1999 and which led to the FOIA requests in 2001.   He feels physically violated.  This is over 10 years after the shots.   This was the anger on Ivins.  These are reasons to go to the office and lab to try to think of a response.

http://www.justice.gov/amerithrax/docs/amx-investigative-summary.pdf

According to the FBI, Ivins was under intense pressure. He was under public criticism. The project was not going well the FBI says. He might have to work on something other than Anthrax. Ivins was an anthrax scientist in his own words.

These are reasons to sit around the lab even if you are just trying to think of strategy.

“1. Dr. Ivins�s life�s work appeared destined for failure, absent an unexpected event.”

What do you do? What would Lombardi tell Ivins to do? Give up. Lombardi would tell Ivins to go to the lab and try to think of something.

“Pressure on the project increased throughout the summer”

So he had more reason to spend time in the lab trying to think of a Hail Mary play.

“In addition, during the summer of 2001, Dr. Ivins was being considered by management at USAMRIID for a move to an entirely new area of research, that of Burkholderia mallei, also known as Glanders. ”

” One of these managers recalled that when Dr. Ivins learned that he might transition to Glanders work, he became upset and said things like: �I am an anthrax researcher! This is what I do.�”

So when Ivins learned he might not work on anthrax again, he went to the anthrax lab and hung out to say goodbye to that part of his life. He didn’t do that before Summer 2001 because he hadn’t been told he would stop working on anthrax. He didn’t do that after October 2001 because anthrax work was secure.

Ivins didn’t know that the anthrax attack was coming when he spent the hours in August and September. Even early October, he was not aware that this dramatic change had come. That became evident after the Senate attacks. So this explains why Ivins had the spike in hours only during the times he did.

“2. Dr. Ivins was being subjected to increasing public criticism for his work.”

So Ivins could just give up and go to the movies or he could go to the lab and try to think of something. He chose to go to the lab.

“Finally, lawyer Mark S. Zaid filed the greatest number of FOIA requests related to the anthrax vaccine. Zaid, Executive Director of The James Madison Project,27 represented military clients who were refusing to take the anthrax vaccine. Zaid began sending e-mails to Dr. Ivins and others at USAMRIID as far back as 1999 requesting information regarding the vaccine.”

So Ivins went to his office when he got an unprecedented number of FOIA requests. The FBI finds that inexplicable. Dxer can attest to that.

“3. Dr. Ivins was feeling abandoned in his personal life. At the same time that his life�s work was falling apart and he was enduring increasing public criticism, Dr. Ivins was also under significant stress and pressure in his personal life.”

The FBI claim is that this stress came during Summer 2001 and early Fall 2001, ie when the hours spiked. So this explains why he went to the office and lab.

So the FBI has fully explained the late night hours of Dr Ivins in August to October 2001. The FBI explains why the hours spiked in August through early October and then went down and never came back up. The FBI has supplied reasons why Ivins would specifically go to the lab during the months of August through October and why those reasons no longer applied after mid October 2001.

If one assumes Ivins didn’t know of the letters coming or was involved, then the reasons cited by the FBI perfectly explain why he spent late night hours. As a schema in logic

A => B

A = Ivins didn’t know of the anthrax attacks and had all the reasons cited by the FBI to go to the office and lab.

B = Ivins went to the office and the lab.

He was under intense pressure to get results in a failing program. Anyone who has ever experienced that knows a logical reaction is to go to the office even if the chances seem hopeless.

He was bombarded with FOIA requests. So he went to the office and lab to think about how to respond to them using those resources. Surely the FBI has spent time figuring out how to deal with heavy FOIA requests. That is an experience they have had. According to the FBI when you get FOIA requests you lash out at someone. That says more about the FBI Than Ivins.

Ivins was told he would shift to other work than anthrax. So this was his chance to say goodbye to what the FBI calls his life’s work. That explains late night hours in the lab if you assume Ivins didn’t know the anthrax attacks were coming. Ivins was saying goodbye to his life’s work.

Ivins was under personal stress so he went to the office. That is an explanation sufficient to explain it.

Once the Senate letters created a crisis, Ivins knew that he would still be working on anthrax and that answering FOIA requests would not be a burden on him, and that criticism of the vaccine would be muted, and even that others would expect him to focus on his work so that personal stress would go down. So assuming Ivins didn’t know of the anthrax attacks together with the FBI list explains the hours and the unique timing of them. Therefore, the late night hours in the lab at that time are not evidence of guilt, because innocence together with the factors cited by the FBI explain the late night hours.

What would distinguish the innocent reasons for Ivins late night hours supplied by the FBI and the guilty one?  Physical evidence tying Ivins to the crime.  That is Evidence 101.

But the physical evidence does the opposite.  It excludes Ivins from the crime because of the foreign subtilis, the production time exceeds the hours in the lab, and the silicon of 1.45 percent in one letter has defeated the efforts of one of our top labs to replicate using equipment available to Ivins.  That would imply undue experimentation at a minimum which Ivins didn’t have time or possibly the lab equipment for making the measurements for.

==

The FBI has produced a laundry list of reasons why Ivins was under intense pressure in the summer of 2001 through early fall 2001.  The FBI has shown that these reasons spiked and were unique in that time period.  This includes FOIA requests spiking from vaccine anger.  This includes the FBI’s claim the vaccine program was failing.  This includes the FBI’s claim that Ivins was told he would not work on anthrax anymore.  This includes personal life stress the FBI claims spiked that summer and early fall.  All of these explain Ivins late night hours spiking uniquely in that time period to the exclusion of other times.  Thus the FBI has explained Ivins late night hours as innocent of the anthrax attacks.

The deciding factor between these reasons causing late night hours and no anthrax attack involvement and them causing Ivins to mail anthrax has to be sought in other evidence, in particular physical evidence tying Ivins to the crime itself.   As mentioned, the evidence says that Ivins lacked the means and opportunity because he didn’t have the time for producing this volume of anthrax, he didn’t have the foreign subtilis strain, he didn’t have the equipment or time to develop a way to get silicon to 1.45 percent and he lacked the knowledge or equipment to get silicon to 1.45 percent by weight and so could not have done it.

==Quotation Section D. Motive from FBI report as prepared by the webpage of Mark Anderson.

http://www.webcommentary.com/php/ShowArticle.php?id=andersonm&date=100228

original:

http://www.justice.gov/amerithrax/docs/amx-investigative-summary.pdf

D. MotiveBased on his e-mails to two former colleagues (hereinafter �Former Colleague #1 and Former Colleague #2), and from his own statements to investigators, it is clear that by the summer of 2001, Dr. Ivins was under an extraordinary amount of stress in his professional life. The anthrax vaccine research program that Dr. Ivins had invested essentially his entire career of more than 20 years was in jeopardy of failure. The anthrax vaccine with which he was assisting was failing to meet potency standards and, absent some major breakthrough, may have been eliminated. Also, the military anthrax vaccine, and Dr. Ivins, in particular, were the subject of increasingly vocal criticism by those who associated the vaccine with �Gulf War Syndrome.� Finally, the rPA, or Next Generation Anthrax Vaccine, on which he was also working, had run its course at USAMRIID, leaving him potentially without anthrax research to do. According to Former Colleague #1 and others, Dr. Ivins not only took great pride in his work, but also he could not stand to be criticized. Under extreme pressure from so many different assaults on his career and life�s work, Dr. Ivins had a motive to commit the crime.

1. Dr. Ivins�s life�s work appeared destined for failure, absent an unexpected event.

Beginning as far back as 2000, Dr. Ivins was sending e-mails to Former Colleague #1 expressing his increasing concern and eventual frustration that a private company tasked with producing the anthrax vaccine, was unable to produce anthrax vaccine that met the required potency standard, even though he and other USAMRIID researchers were spending an increasingly large percentage of their time trying to help that company fix it. As the Office for the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs stated in a news release on June 11, 2001, the Anthrax Vaccine Immunization Program was being slowed due to a shortage of that vaccine. Vaccination would continue for special mission units and research purposes only. �This slowdown provides for a small reserve of FDA-released vaccine in the event of an emergency. Actions are being taken to ensure that personnel deployed to high-threat areas have sufficient antibiotics on hand for post-exposure treatment in case of an attack.�

Pressure on the project increased throughout the summer. By the first week of September 2001, Dr. Ivins was sending Former Colleague #1 e-mails stating that USAMRIID was down to its last approved lot of the vaccine, after which � if the company could not get FDA approval to resume production or make available lots meet current potency standards � the vaccine would be completely depleted. This would have been a major problem, not only because the vaccine was needed for the soldiers out in the field, but also because it was needed for the researchers themselves, including Dr. Ivins, who would not be permitted to enter the hot suites and work with anthrax unless their vaccinations were up-to-date. Unless this company could fix the problem, Dr. Ivins himself in short order would have had a very difficult time continuing his anthrax research because he would have lacked the vaccinations to do so.26

However, within a few months of the anthrax attacks, the FDA fast-tracked the approval process and approved the Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed (�AVA�), even though it didn�t meet the original potency standards. This was a significant development for the anthrax researchers.

26 In addition, during the summer of 2001, Dr. Ivins was being considered by management at USAMRIID for a move to an entirely new area of research, that of Burkholderia mallei, also known as Glanders. There was a general push by the Medical Research Material Command at USAMRIID to get out of the anthrax vaccine research business entirely. In discussions at Bacteriology Division meetings among the management, the thinking was that the anthrax research had matured beyond its mission. They began to consider shifting resources and research emphasis to other priorities. Because the remaining work on the �next generation vaccine,� known as rPA, was viewed as menial in nature and a waste of Dr. Ivins�s considerable talents, there was a suggestion that he should begin work on Glanders research. One of these managers recalled that when Dr. Ivins learned that he might transition to Glanders work, he became upset and said things like: �I am an anthrax researcher! This is what I do.�

Similarly, in September 2001, there also were problems with another vaccine, the next generation anthrax vaccine (rPA), on which Dr. Ivins was working. As he noted in an e-mail to Former Colleague #1:

[The Division Chief] has been having us have biweekly meetings on the rPA vaccine progress, and on August 29, I went to the Pentagon � first time there � to go to a meeting in his place on the vaccine. There�s a real bag of worms with the new lot of rPA produced by [name redacted] a private company, for [another private company], who is under contract to USAMRIID. . . . If we don�t get the rPA, we will have to go somewhere else, which will be a terrible thing; it will postpone all sorts of things.

These statements by Dr. Ivins demonstrate that immediately prior to the anthrax letter attacks, his life�s work was in jeopardy. In contrast, immediately following the attacks, his career seemingly got back on track. He even received the Exceptional Civilian Service Award for his work on anthrax � although he hardly could have expected that to happen.

2. Dr. Ivins was being subjected to increasing public criticism for his work.

Compounding the intense professional pressure on Dr. Ivins was the increasingly vocal chorus of critics against him. Chief among these were journalist Gary Matsumoto, scientist Meryl Nass, and lawyer Mark S. Zaid, who blamed the anthrax vaccine for causing Gulf War Syndrome � ailments suffered by veterans of the first Gulf War in the early 1990s. Through the end of the summer and into the fall of 2001, Dr. Ivins was expressing his increasing frustration with this criticism of the work he had been doing. This frustration was only compounded by demands for more information regarding the anthrax vaccine research program, largely from Matsumoto, who had written a critical article in Vanity Fair magazine in May 1999, and who was working on a follow-up book entitled Vaccine A (which was eventually published in 2004). Within days of reading Matsumoto�s Vanity Fair article, Dr. Ivins commented in an e-mail to a former colleague: �[T]hanks for passing these along to me. I wonder when the National Enquirer will come out with its headlines on �Guinea Pig Soldiers Get Killer Vaccine.��

Dr. Ivins�s offense at these criticisms grew as Matsumoto was making FOIA requests for information regarding the vaccine program for use in the critical Vaccine A. For example, just before the letter attacks, in August and September 2001, Dr. Ivins sent e-mails to a co-worker and a supervisor, a sample of which included, �Tell Matsumoto to kiss my ass. We�ve got better things to do than shine his shoes and pee on command. He�s gotten everything from me he will get.� The prosecution team learned more about the depth of Dr. Ivins�s animosity towards Matsumoto in a February 13, 2008 interview, in which Dr. Ivins stated that had actually gone to a Matsumoto website in recent years under the anonymous name �Guest,� and made sarcastic, provocative postings � one of many examples of Dr. Ivins�s ability to harbor grudges and, in his own words, �stir the pot.�

Similarly, over the years, Dr. Ivins continued to speak disparagingly of Meryl Nass, another prominent critic, in much the same vein. Those who worked for him knew that Nass was one of those topics to avoid discussing around Dr. Ivins. They also noted that Dr. Ivins took criticism, especially of his work, very personally.

Finally, lawyer Mark S. Zaid filed the greatest number of FOIA requests related to the anthrax vaccine. Zaid, Executive Director of The James Madison Project,27 represented military clients who were refusing to take the anthrax vaccine. Zaid began sending e-mails to Dr. Ivins and others at USAMRIID as far back as 1999 requesting information regarding the vaccine. In addition, during the November 1, 2007 search of the Ivins residence, recovered from a black briefcase which Dr. Ivins had labeled �Attorney-Client Privilege� (but was ultimately determined by a filter team not to contain privileged material) was a laminated July 18, 2000 Washington Post article entitled �Anthrax Shots� Effect Challenged (Army Disputes Expert Who Reviewed Vaccine Tests).� The article discussed a report by Dr. Ivins, dated September 23, 1991, in which he noted that �[a]lthough all vaccinated monkeys (C1-C10) survived, they appeared to be sick over the course of two weeks post-challenge.� The Washington Post article drew the conclusion that vaccinated soldiers would have the same symptoms: �Soldiers who are exposed to anthrax may become quite sick and be incapacitated for up to two weeks, even if they have received the full set� of anthrax vaccinations.

3. Dr. Ivins was feeling abandoned in his personal life.

At the same time that his life�s work was falling apart and he was enduring increasing public criticism, Dr. Ivins was also under significant stress and pressure in his personal life. In addition, Former Colleague #1, with whom he would become increasingly obsessed, left the lab in the summer of 1999. Former Colleague #2, on whom he was also quite reliant emotionally, began looking for a job outside USAMRIID in 2000. As time passed, he felt increasingly abandoned and his mental health deteriorated. This sentiment was evident both in statements he made and e-mails he sent at the time Former Colleague #1 left the lab in 1999, and also as late as the spring and summer of 2008.

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2 Responses to “FBI supplies innocent reasons for Ivins late night hours”


  1. Where in the US Constitution does it say that the FBI can declare people guilty of mass murder?

  2. DXer Says:

    Old Atlantic, you need to study the record because you are just repeating the errors in the DOJ’s Summary. For example, you have him thinking about things. When instead the 302 interview statement expressly stated that it would 2 hours to make the animal observations and that one person would be doing it alone. So on the day he spent the 2 1/4 hour, and then again and then again, he was not noodling as you suggest. He was making observations that then were recorded in a Lab Notebook 4010, which is discoverable under FOIA, but has been withheld. In fact, the FBI physically removed it from USAMRIID (rather than making a copy as in all other cases) so that USAMRIID could not provide it.

    Let’s take another example. You mention glanders. But that did not arise until 2002. See Frederick News-Post quoting G. Andrews, Ivins’ boss.

    People need to stop turning to the Investigative Summary which is replete with mischaracterization without any citation to the record and turn to the record itself. The mischaracterization is extreme, for example, in its description of the October 4, 2001 email. Dr. Ivins wrote 5 hours after the press to gently suggest that Tommy Thompson was all wet about his suggestion of drinking from a stream. Relying on a 302 of an interview of someone misremembering the email, the DOJ totally mischaracterizes the email even while relying on the email for an entire separate argument.

    You talk about stress spiking when, to the contrary, he just had specific studies to do and was doing them. The country had just been attacked and NYT and TIME and other major periodicals were speculating based on cropduster inquiries that anthrax would be next. There is nothing in the emails in September and October 2001 (see USAMRIID website) that in any way deal with FOIA requests as you surmise — or increased stress.

    Stop repeating the garbage summary and ask yourself: why have they failed to cite and produce for the record the documents they rely upon — to include the contempoaneous handwritten notes while at the B3 for the 3 key days of 2 1/4 hour for each of the 3 days — exactly the time the scientist estimates it would take.


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