Sunday, January 15, 2012

Jan. 15 - Jan. 21, 2012 Discussions

The main topic of my Sunday comment today was the observation that Ivins committed suicide because his ego had been shattered by learning that he'd made one careless mistake after another in his preparation of the attack anthrax.

1. He thought no one would be harmed, and he killed 5 and injured 17 others.

2. He thought he used a common, totally untraceable strain of anthrax, but the Ames strain was a rare strain used primarily at USAMRIID.

3. He thought his basic lab practices prevented the formation of morphs, but his key creation, flask RMR-1029, was filled with traceable morphs.

He was wrong in all three beliefs. And that was shattering to his ego. He was not the top expert among experts that he believed himself to be. He was a careless scientist who made stupid errors in life-and-death situations. He couldn't live with being viewed that way. That's what led to his suicide.

I also point out that the FBI was wrong in thinking Ivins was giving them false information about flask RMR-1029 in January 2002. The facts say that Ivins believed that the FBI was on the wrong track in thinking that morphs in the attack anthrax would pinpoint the source of the attack powders. Ivins was trying to persuade the FBI to get off the wrong track - the track leading to USAMRIID - and onto the "right" track, the track leading to nowhere.

Ivins wasn't lying. He believed what he was telling the FBI was true. But, he later learned that he was wrong and the FBI was right.

Lastly, my Sunday comment also mentions last week's discussion with "Anonymous" on this blog, where "Anonymous" argues that I am a True Believer because I do not accept his beliefs.

I agree with the facts, and the facts say that Ivins did it. I do not totally agree with the FBI, however. But, our disagreements aren't over the main issue: Ivins' guilt. Our disagreements are over details, like the handwriting, the reason Ivins mailed the letters from New Jersey, the reason Ivins tried to convince the FBI they were wrong about the morphs, etc.

If it were possible to have an intelligent discussion with an Anthrax Truther, it would have to begin with a comparison of evidence: My evidence against Ivins versus their evidence against whoever it is they believe did it.

But, that cannot happen. I'm totally willing to be proved wrong by solid, undeniable evidence. But, all they can do is argue that they do not believe the evidence against Ivins. They believe they are right about whoever they think did it, even though they have no proof to support their beliefs. All they have is an unshakable belief that they are right. And that makes them True Believers.

Ed

87 comments:

  1. Ed,

    There is no factual basis to your theory that it is 99% certain a First Grader wrote the letters and the FBI has expressly concluded that Dr. Ivins acted alone.

    While your intense focus for 10 years on what a young boy can be made to by a bad man is fascinating as a psychological case study, the FBI has expressly concluded that Dr. Ivins acted alone and you need to accept that. You are what, some would call, an Anthrax Truther, who cannot accept the FBI's conclusion. You are a True Believer who insists that there was this accomplice who wrote the letters. Your theory has no factual basis.

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  2. Anonymous wrote: "There is no factual basis to your theory that it is 99% certain a First Grader wrote the letters and the FBI has expressly concluded that Dr. Ivins acted alone."

    The facts about the handwriting are at the link HERE.

    "the FBI has expressly concluded that Dr. Ivins acted alone and you need to accept that."

    I accept that. The fact that Ivins duped a child into writing the letters doesn't mean the child was a party to the crime.

    By your bizarre reasoning, the mailman who delivered the letters would also be an "accomplice" and a party to the crime. Ivins couldn't have done what he did if the mailman hadn't delivered the letters.

    But, in the real world, the child and the mailman are NOT parties to the crime. They were NOT accomplices. They had no idea what Ivins was doing.

    Ivins acted alone when the prepared and mailed the anthrax letters.

    You ignore facts. You distort the facts you do not ignore. And you make false arguments.

    And, you've been doing so for ten years. You've made it abundantly clear that no facts can change your mind. That makes you a true True Believer.

    Ed

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  3. The FBI concluded that Dr. Ivins acted alone. The FBI did not conclude that Dr. Ivins acted with a young boy (even though an innocent and not a party to the crime). Instead, the FBI concluded that Dr. Ivins acted alone.

    You write "The fact that Ivins duped a child..."

    That is not a fact. There is no evidence whatsoever that Ivins duped a child.

    For example, in Solomon Asche's work on conformity and social influence (or related experiments following his legacy), if a child were to agree to something that was clearly wrong due to social influence or the influence of someone in authority, they still would have done it. Similarly, if a prison guard in the Stanford Prison experiment beat an inmate, he still would have done it -- regardless of issues of criminal liability.

    You lack common sense which is why no one agrees with your First Grader Theory. Take a hint, Ed: If your theory were credible and persuasive, a second person would agree with you. You couldn't even persuade a First Grader to agree with you. I double dare you, Ed. Find one other person who agrees with your First Grader theory. I could find 150 million who think the FBI have not proved their case against Dr. Ivins. 150 million vs none. Do the math. You lack self-awareness.

    By the way, you should think more realistically why some agency might be searching for images on your computer given your interests.

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  4. Anonymous wrote: "Ed: If your theory were credible and persuasive, a second person would agree with you."

    You forget: It was Brother Jonathan who first proposed the theory. And you (or some other "Anonymous" who argues the same nonsense) have accused me many times of STEALING the idea from Brother Jonathan.

    You can't have it both ways.

    The Brother Jonathan site is no longer on-line, but in my original web page about the handwriting, I quote some of what he wrote:

    "The lettering style itself would seem most curious, but is quite simply the modified uncial style of lettering taught in American kindergarten and early first grade classes, using only all upper case letters."

    Brother Jonathan went into considerable detail about why children are first taught to write in all capitals, making the first letter of sentences and proper nouns larger than other letters. And then he added:

    "This would show the author of the letters went through kindergarten [in 2000-2001], and in the first weeks of September of [2001] when the letters were written had just started first grade but still had not yet learned the lower case letters."

    Finally, he concluded that the writer of the letters was a boy who was about 6 years old when he wrote the letters.

    I looked at the facts and agreed. And, later I found many more additional facts which further convinced me that a child wrote the letters.

    And, that was all years before I ever heard of Bruce Ivins and the fact that his wife ran a day care center in their home.

    When the facts very clearly say a child wrote the letters, and there are no facts that dispute that conclusion, only someone with a closed mind would disagree with the facts.

    You're just saying that you don't care what the facts say, you're going to believe whatever you want to believe.

    That's your right. And, it's my right to agree with the facts.

    Ed

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  5. Brother Jonathan, unlike you, knows that the FBI concluded that Ivins acted alone -- and has much more in the way of resources that he does. He is not the True Believer, Ed sticking to his suggestion 10 years ago. You are.

    Consider this. You say that the facts establish that a First Grader wrote the letters and yet you can't persuade a second person of your view. What does that say about your ability as an advocate? Every week it is the same thing. You go on with endless speculation about this or that -- speculation about what someone was thinking -- and then you say "Oops." Sorry. I hadn't checked my facts first. I have an idea. Get your facts straight first.

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  6. Anonymous wrote: "Every week it is the same thing. You go on with endless speculation about this or that"

    People enjoy reading what I write as I try to figure things out. At the top of my web site I ask people to tell me if they see I've made a mistake. We learn from our mistakes. I seem to have THOUSANDS of fans. They send me helpful hints and articles all the time. And they tell me about errors -- particularly typos.

    I find it very interesting and educational to try to figure things out while writing things down. And, what better place to write things down is there than a web site where people can tell me if they have additional information or if I've made a mistake?

    It's certainly a more intelligent way of discussing the anthrax attacks of 2001 that was is seen on Lew Weinstein's site, where all they seem to do is ask irrelevant questions without ever expecting anyone to answer. The idea seems to be that all the irrelevant questions mean there's doubt about the case. But, in reality it just means that the people asking the question don't care about the facts, and all they do is show how little they know about everything.

    And, someone just sent me a VERY interesting comment about what I posted his morning on my site. So, I'm going to have to change modes and write a (B) comment for today.

    That's what happens when you are open to discussion and don't just mindlessly argue that the FBI is wrong.

    Ed

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  8. Anonymous #1 and #2,

    It's incredible how much can be achieved when people work together!

    I just LOVE it when people write me to point out things I'd forgotten or mistakes I made. And when they notice things I failed to notice, that is best of all.

    I suspect that Anthrax Truthers are mindlessly competitive, as so many people are. That prevents them from working together to find answers. They can only produce irrelevant questions that no one can or wants to answer. Tsk tsk tsk. What a waste!

    Ed

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  9. Anonymous #2,

    I deleted your post because it was a personal attack. If you do it again, I'll delete all of your posts.

    Ed

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  10. Ed, instead of continuing to urge that a First Grader wrote the anthrax articles -- which everyone who knows you thinks is baseless -- you should read the articles that come down on Amerithrax. For example, what did you think of the article in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists posted on the website of the Council of Foreign Relations? What do you think of the report about Ames at Tora Bora? Am I correct that you don't even know what BL-3 lab that Rauf visited in which reported back to Dr. Ayman that he had achieved the targets? How do you intepret the sentence lead sentence in his letter to Dr. Zawahiri "I achieved the targets." Am I correct that you are not even in a position to discuss whether the BL-3 lab had Ames? Am I correct you don't know what lab equipment that the MI5 seized from Rauf's luggage? If you don't know the lab and strain, am I right you are not in a position to discuss its provenance or its genetic similarity or dissimiarity to the mailed anthrax?

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  11. This is Ed's theory:

    "Everything seems to indicate that the change in the way he writes R's and P's is the result of lessons learned from his teacher and/or lessons learned during the first weeks of first grade. And don't forget: This is just one indication from among MANY that the handwriting is that of a child in the first weeks of first grade. "

    Most people, Ed, would have understood that the fact that no one finds your theory persuasive is solid evidence that it is not persuasive.

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  12. Science writer Laurie Garrett explains in I HEARD THE SIRENS SCREAM (July 18, 2001)

    “The FBI’s mysteriously withheld 641 pages of evidence did little to sway the NRC, which issued its damning and final conclusions on February 15, 2011. But there were two blockbusters revealed in those 641 pages, pointing to a possible al-Qaeda connection with the anthrax mailings.

    First, among the bodies recovered from the United Flight 93 crash site were those of Ziad Jarrah, Ahmad Al Haznawi and the two other al-Qaeda hijackers thwarted by brave passengers in their attempts to crash the jet into the White House. PCR analysis was performed in 2001 on the hijackers’ tissues, testing positive for Bacillus anthracis. The FBI thought the USAMRIID finding was due to lab contamination, and had the tests repeated at an alternative U.S. Army facility, which did not find evidence of anthrax. But the NRC scientists felt it was possible that the negative finding was the result of sampling error (the part of the body that was tested).

    This possible anthrax finding was especially interesting because Ahmad Al Haznawi was the al-Qaeda member that sought medical help in the emergency room of the Ft. Lauderdale Holy Cross Hospital on June 22, 2001. Dr. Christos Tsonas treated Al Haznawi with antibiotics for a black crusty sore on his hand, which was after 9/11 retrospectively diagnosed as a possible case of cutaneous anthrax infection.

    The other revelation in the 641 pages was evidence related to three 2004 searches for anthrax spores carried out by the FBI and “other intelligence partners” in an “overseas location” used in 2001 by al-Qaeda. Though the location is classified, it appears to have been Afghanistan, where U.S. Special Forces found two al-Qaeda related laboratories, one in Kabul and the other in Tora Bora, where Osama bin Laden successfully dodge American capture in December 2001?”

    [Comment: Tora Bora? Not Kandahar? The lab was moved around but where were the tests positive for Ames?]

    The three different rounds of swabbing, soil sampling and testing yielded contradictory results, some positive for anthracis, some negative. Adding to the confusion, another unnamed U.S. intelligence agency scoured the location before the FBI first reached the site, not only finding anthrax, but the Ames strain. The Ames-type Bacillus anthracis is a form of the bacterium never previously found in Asia. Further details of the possible al-Qaeda role in Amerithrax remain classified, and were not provided to the NRC.

    One point stands out: The primary two rounds of testing, first by an unnamed intelligence agency and then by the FBI, came up positive for Ames strain anthrax, while the second two were negative. It cannot be ruled out that the first two rounds of swabbing and sampling were so thorough that little Bacillus anthracis remained to be found in the final pair of investigations.

    Given the passage of time between putative use of the al-Qaeda lab and the four separate rounds of scouring and swabbing, including ultimate removal of entire sinks and plumbing for laboratory testing back in the U.S., the NRC said the FBI findings were, “inconclusive regarding the presence of B. anthracis Ames at the undisclosed site. Several scientific and technical issues should be explored in more detail.” The entire issue of possible al-Qaeda involvement in the 2001 anthrax attacks “deserves a more thorough scientific review,” the NRC said.

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  13. errata - July 18, 2011.

    I understand you haven't read the book, Ed, and so I'll quote it for you.

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  14. What was the unnamed intelligence agency that came up with the positive tests for Ames? Was it the CIA? The CIA was a substantial portion of the Task Force. Thus, it cannot be claimed that there was a lack of communication between agencies.

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  15. Anonymous #2 wrote: "I understand you haven't read the book, Ed, and so I'll quote it for you."

    It says at the top of this blog: "The Purpose of this blog is to allow people to intelligently debate the comments I make on my web site"

    This blog is NOT a place for you to post long quotes from books that you've read. And, it is NOT a place for petty, silly, mindless competitions where you claim you are more knowledgeable than me because you read a book that I haven't read.

    I understand that you cannot comprehend simple rules. But, you better learn to stay on topic, or I'll have no choice but to either delete all of your future posts or ban you entirely.

    "What was the unnamed intelligence agency that came up with the positive tests for Ames? Was it the CIA? The CIA was a substantial portion of the Task Force. Thus, it cannot be claimed that there was a lack of communication between agencies."

    What is the relevance of these questions? They are not anything I wrote about on my blog. Why are you asking them here? Is it because you know they are irrelevant and you just want to be so annoying that I'll ban you from this site, so you can claim I won't let you "tell the truth?"

    Are you incapable of participating in an intelligent discussion?

    You've done this sort of thing on FreeRepublic where you did nothing but annoy the hell out of everyone.

    I'm allowing it here - for awhile - to show everyone who reads this site the kind of tactics you use when you have no real facts to support your claims. But, I won't let it go on forever.

    Ed

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  16. Anonymous #2 wrote: "Most people, Ed, would have understood that the fact that no one finds your theory persuasive is solid evidence that it is not persuasive."

    My hypothesis IS persuasive. It's nearly undeniable. That's why you cannot discuss the facts. You cannot challenge them. You can only argue that because Anthrax Truthers don't believe the facts, the argument is not persuasive. The counter-argument is that it appears that Anthrax Truthers cannot be persuaded by ANY facts. So, no one expects them be be persuaded by facts about the handwriting. It's expected that they'll just ignore those facts the same way the ignore the facts proving Ivins' guilt.

    Ed

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  17. Ed says his hypothesis that Dr. Ivins did not write the letters is undeniable.

    He says that it is undeniable that someone who just learned to write English wrote the letters.

    The FBI 302 interview person examining the handwriting says the same thing.

    I don't believe that Putlizer-winning author Ms. Garrett, who wrote the book and article on Amerithrax, would disagree.

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  18. Anonymous #2 wrote: "He says that it is undeniable that someone who just learned to write English wrote the letters."

    You're taking statements out of context, and you're distorting what I said. Can't you discuss anything without creating distortions?

    How would Ms. Garrett explain the fact that the handwriting on the second letter and the second batch of envelopes is HALF the size of the handwriting on the first letter and envelopes?

    How many ADULTS learned to write smaller between August and October of 2001?

    How would Ms. Garret explain the fact that the writer of the anthrax letters and envelopes seemed to gain hand-eye coordination and writing confidence between August and October 2001?

    How would Ms. Garret explain that the writer learned to draw R's correctly between August and October 2001?

    How would Ms. Garret explain that the writer seems to have learned about punctuation between August and October 2001?

    The "FBI 302 interview person examining the handwriting" you refer to appears to be Douglas Hoftadter. Hofstadter is NOT a handwriting expert. So, his opinion is worth no more than the opinion of someone picked randomly on the street. And he didn't address the key questions I mentioned above.

    Ed

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  19. Anonymous #2 wrote: "I don't believe that Putlizer-winning author Ms. Garrett, who wrote the book and article on Amerithrax, would disagree."

    I don't believe that Pulitzer-winning author David Willman, who wrote a book and many articles on anthrax would agree. Although he doesn't mention it in his book or in his articles, I believe his theory is that Ivins wrote the letters with his "wrong" hand, i.e., if Ivins was right-handed, he wrote the letters with his left hand.

    With which Pulitzer-winning author are we supposed to mindlessly agree, just because they won the Pulitzer?

    Using the OPINIONS of others - regardless of their credentials - says you cannot intelligently discuss the facts.

    Ed

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  20. Ed Lake explains his theory of who wrote the anthrax letters in Fall 2001:

    "13. The new school year was just starting at the time the letters were written.

    The letters were written at a time when children were just starting a new year in school - September and October. The learning process visible in the handwriting agrees with the timing of the letters.

    14. The prime suspect had a lot of contact with children.

    Eulogies for the prime suspect focused on his devotion to children. His wife filed for a license to run a day care center in their home a year after the anthrax attacks. People who start licensed day care centers in their homes typically begin by doing baby sitting work for children in the neighborhood."

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  23. Anonymous #2,

    No one here cares about your opinions about what the GAO should do. It's off topic. It's already all available on Lew's site. There's no need for repetition here. It's not about any subject I've discussed on my web site. And, it didn't appear to be anything to do with the anthrax attacks of 2001. So, I deleted your posts.

    Ed

    Ed

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  24. Anonymous #2 (presumably) wrote: "Eulogies for the prime suspect focused on his devotion to children."

    You constantly neglect to mention that, on September 17, 1993, Bruce Ivins wrote a letter to the editor at the Frederick News-Post declaring that pedophilia was just a matter of “sexual orientation” and expressing concern about “discrimination” against pedophiles.

    Don't try to make anyone believe that Ivins was anything other than a very sick individual who would do terrible things when he thought he could get away with it. He was an admitted burglar. He was an admitted thief. And he acknowledged that he tried to destroy people who wouldn't do things his way.

    Talking a child into writing letters for him was one of the least creepy things he did.

    Ed

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  25. On this question Ed raises as to how many adults were learning English at this time, we would need to focus on which of the operatives who were being taught English by other operatives or in formal courses during this time were thought associated with Al Qaeda's anthrax planning in Kabul, Kandahar or Karachi.

    KSM's courses typically would last up to a few weeks.

    We would also want to compare samples of their handwriting.

    For example, as to the hijacker who had the leg lesion consistent with an anthrax lesion, and whose remains tested positive for Ames anthrax (see NAS report), we would want to obtain the following documents:

    his application form SunTrust bank account opened June 2001

    application or any writing associated with the apartment on Bougainvilla Dr. in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea in June 2001;

    any paperwork he filled out at the Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale where he went for treatment of the leg lesion;

    the form he filled out on July 10 fpr a Florida driver's license;

    and the September 7, 2001 change-of-address form he filled out.

    Hat tip again to Ed for bearing down on this question of how many adults had just learned to write English.

    The language, of course, in the notes is the same as used by the anthrax planners as in the note found in Aghanistan, "You are dead. Bang".

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  26. Anonymous wrote: "We would also want to compare samples of their handwriting."

    Before anyone would want to compare their handwriting, they'd have to have reason to suspect them. The investigation eliminated all reasons to suspect them.

    Some people HAVE done such handwriting comparisons - unofficially. People who want to see a connection can see similarities. But, anyone who knows anything about handwriting analysis can see they are NOT matches to the anthrax letters.

    Besides, the 9/11 hijackers were all DEAD for a week when the first mailing took place, and DEAD for a month when the second mailing took place.

    Ed

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  27. Ed is mistaken in suggesting that the operatives were all dead -- but he is not familiar with the area and has not read the relevant books and articles, including those focused on Amerithrax. For example, Jafar the Pilot and Jdey, for whom the BOLO was issued at the same time as Aafia, were not idead. Aafia says over the course of 6 months she researched biological weapons while in Karachi. She discussed the subject with her husband, Al-Balucchi, who helped the 911 plotters get into the country. Al-Balucchi's partner Al-Hawsawi had the anthrax spraydrying documents on it. When asked by the FBI about her emailing Jafar the Pilot she freaked out and left Boston in June 2002, avoiding a second FBI interview. How could the FBI have eliminated Jdey, for example, when they don't know where he was? He abruptly left Montreal at the time of the anthrax mailings and hasn't been seen since. He had been detained at the same time as Moussaoui with biology textbooks but released. Moussaoui had crop-dusting books. But the first order of business at hand is to obtain the referenced documents by the hijacker who tested positive for Ames and submit it to qualified handwriting experts.

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  28. Anonymous #2 wrote: "Ed is mistaken in suggesting that the operatives were all dead"

    And, you of course are still just distorting what I write. I wrote:

    "the 9/11 hijackers were all DEAD for a week when the first mailing took place, and DEAD for a month when the second mailing took place."

    No one said anything about "operatives." You're just playing games in order to post your irrelevant material on this blog.

    The facts say that Bruce Ivins sent the anthrax letters, not some Muslim "operative."

    Ed

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  29. In collecting the various handwriting exemplars, I see that driver license applications are typed and will not serve -- but that visa applications are available and have lots of the words and letters that one would want for comparison.

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    1. Here is Haznawi's visa application.

      http://www.911myths.com/index.php/Image:Ahmad_al-Haznawi_Visa_Application_Page_1.gif

      Ed, what was the assay method used that detected Ames in the pounds of his flesh that were recovered. If due to lab contamination, where was the test performed? What controls were used by the lab to avoid lab contamination? The GAO should submit an interview statement by the technician who performed the test.

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  30. Ed, when you know that Jdey was part of the 911 operation, but was pulled back in August, why would you misleadingly suggest that he was dead? Especially given his experience in a lab and his detention in the US with biology books. Now in light of the recent revelation that he was detained in August with Moussaoui, we can understand why he was pulled back from the Planes Operation. Same with Adnan El-Shukrijumah, said to be the next Atta. You've never understood things like cell operations. You know First Graders (or so you think) but that's it. You are the one focused on the handwriting. You perceive that it is someone who recently learned English. And so the principled, scientific approach is to submit handwriting exemplars to qualified experts.

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  31. Anonymous #2 wrote: "I see that driver license applications are typed and will not serve"

    Yes, and it was all thoroughly discussed years and years ago. Do you have memory problems? You certainly seem unable to remember things, and you constantly bring up subjects that lost all their interest years ago.

    I've got copies of money transfer forms filled out by Alshehhi and Moussaoui on my web site. They were uploaded on August 1, 2006. And I created a web page about them. Click HERE to view it. It might refresh your memory.

    Ed

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  33. Anonymous #2,

    Please stop posting your irrelevant crap here. I'm getting tired of deleting it.

    Ed

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  35. Anonymous #2,

    Okay. You seem determined to turn this blog into another forum for your irrelevant crap. I won't allow this blog to be turned into a duplicate of Lew Weinstein's blog.

    It only takes two clicks of a mouse to delete your posts. It's explaining why that is tedious.

    So, from now on, without further comment, I'm just going to delete anything you post that is of no interest to me and which seems inappropriate for this forum.

    Ed

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  36. Ed is deleting all the posts about handwriting because he realizes that he just now is realizing that his argument is exculpatory of Dr. Ivins!

    Moreover, on the question of the assay that was positive for Ames w/r/t to the hijacker remains (which btw was done at USAMRIID), he doesn't even know who performed it! Or the lab (Building and room number) where it was performed!

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  37. Ed, with respect to the test of the overseas site, would you agree that only one sample yielded positive results with Ames-specific and non-Ames-specific BA primers for even a subset of independent replicates (sample "E99").

    And that sample yielded positive results with Ames-specific and non-Ames-specific BA primers in only 5 of 24 independent replicates.

    And that the results in the PDF do not support the hypothesis that samples were positive?

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  38. And Ed, did you ever compare the handwriting in the letters to Atta's printing? If you haven't ever made the comparison, I would be glad to make a letter by letter comparison and forward the results. The first step again would be to pull up his visa application from google images.

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  39. Anonymous #2 wrote< "Ed is deleting all the posts about handwriting because he realizes that he just now is realizing that his argument is exculpatory of Dr. Ivins!"

    I'm only deleting posts which are mostly just you preaching your beliefs that Muslims were behind the attacks.

    "Ed, with respect to the test of the overseas site"

    I leave that matter to the experts. As I recall, the experts said that the overseas test which showed the Ames strain was a false positive. It was not supported by any additional tests.

    "And Ed, did you ever compare the handwriting in the letters to Atta's printing? If you haven't ever made the comparison, I would be glad to make a letter by letter comparison and forward the results."

    Letter by letter comparisons are meaningless. Do you think that if you find some block letters that seem to match, that's evidence of something? It's evidence of NOTHING. That's NOT the way handwriting analysis is done.

    Handwriting analysis is typically done by placing samples side by side and looking for GENERAL writing similarities. That includes such things as indicators that the writing was "normal" or "not normal." "Not normal" means the writer was clearly doing something that was not his normal writing style. It's the way they can tell if someone was writing with their "wrong" hand. They also look for even spacing between characters. Uneven spacing typically means the writer was copying someone else's style. They look for fluidity. Was the writer writing fast or slow?

    Everything about the anthrax handwriting samples say the writing was the writer's NORMAL style. He wasn't writing with his wrong hand, nor was he copying someone else's handwriting style. (There is some evidence - particularly on the media envelopes - that he was copying what someone else wrote, however.)

    Another "general" writing oddity on the envelopes is that the writer seemed to be concerned with running out of space. So, the writing on the addresses tends to head downward toward the farthest corner. And the writing of the return addresses on the senate letters tends to bend away from the stamp. That's an indicator of someone who has little experience writing ANYTHING, and cannot automatically judge how much room he has.

    And so on and so on. When all the general things are examined, then experts start looking for similarities and differences in the writing of specific characters.

    And that's where amateurs always seem to go astray. They only look for similarities. In handwriting analysis, differences can often be far more important than similarities -- particularly with block writing. With block writing, it's difficult to NOT get some similarities. But differences can often indicate different writers.

    The handwriting analysis I did doesn't involve any comparison with anyone else's handwriting. It's just about what the handwriting says about the writer.

    Adults typically do not change the SIZE of their writing from one month to the next.

    Adults typically do not have problems judging available space.

    Adults typically do not omit punctuation one month and use punctuation the next month.

    Adults typically do not draw question marks with three strokes. (The question mark comes from Arabic, so that also applies to mid-Eastern adults.)

    Adults typically do not draw M's with 4 strokes.

    Adults typically do not draw small O's by going beyond the point where the O is closed and continuing on for another quarter circle.

    Etc.

    Ed

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  40. You clearly don't understand how handwriting analysis is done, Ed.

    And you clearly haven't done a comparison of the anthrax letters with Atta's.

    And yet you've written on the subject for 10 years.

    Perhaps we can agree that GAO should obtain and publish the FBI's handwriting analyses.

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  41. Anonymous #2 wrote: "Perhaps we can agree that GAO should obtain and publish the FBI's handwriting analyses."

    Why can't you understand? The FBI's analysis of the handwriting is INCONCLUSIVE. That means they have experts who disagree with each other.

    So, all you're doing is looking for some "expert" who seems to agree with YOU, so you can say you are right.

    When experts disagree, taking the side of the "expert" who agrees with your personal opinion is RIDICULOUS. The facts are saying that they can all be wrong!

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
  42. r rowley
    Partial post by Mister Lake:
    ---------
    Anonymous #2 wrote: "Perhaps we can agree that GAO should obtain and publish the FBI's handwriting analyses."

    Why can't you understand? The FBI's analysis of the handwriting is INCONCLUSIVE. That means they have experts who disagree with each other.[...]
    --------------------------------------------------------------
    No. That's your INTERPRETATION of what "inconclusive" means. The writer(s) of the FINAL REPORT are native English speakers, likely highly educated and erudite ones. If they MEANT "the experts we consulted disagreed with each other" they would have said that, either in the text proper or in a footnote (or with the 'experts consulted' named in the footnotes). They knew EXACTLY what they were writing (both the 'true truths', the half-truths, AND the obfuscations. Here we are clearly dealing with obfuscation).

    ReplyDelete
  43. Richard Rowley wrote: "If they MEANT "the experts we consulted disagreed with each other" they would have said that"

    No, they wouldn't. As you illustrate, that would open the door to too many questions and interpretations. They would have to show which expert said what, which is a TOTAL waste of time, since it means NOTHING. Merely saying the handwriting results are "inconclusive" says it all.

    That's what is said in court ALL THE TIME when the evidence doesn't help or hurt the case one way or the other.

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
  44. Partial post by Mister Lake:
    ------
    Richard Rowley wrote: "If they MEANT "the experts we consulted disagreed with each other" they would have said that"

    No, they wouldn't. As you illustrate, that would open the door to too many questions and interpretations.[...]
    ======================================================
    What do you mean, what do you think we have ALREADY but "questions and interpretations"?????

    Again, we have the polygraph tests as an example: Ivins and everyone at USAMRIID took polygraphs in late 2001 and they passed that early one, so that they could ALL keep working there (wouldn't want to have the Amerithrax killer to CONTINUE at USAMRIID!).

    THEN (ie some years later) Ivins individually passed a SECOND polygraph test. Including no doubt the $10,000 question: did you do it? (This inevitably would have been part of the 2001 test too! Duh!)

    It was only after they decided to go after him as the sole suspect that they (quite arbitrarily)POST FACTUM ruled the tests "inconclusive" (because it tended to be exculpatory, because it was incompatible with their hypothesis: "Bruce Ivins, acting alone, yadda yadda yadda")

    So we don't have to SPECULATE what 'inconclusive' means, we have an example of that characterization used for a test in the VERY SAME CASE, against the very same suspect!
    It means "Oops, our bad! That makes you look innocent, so we have to invalidate the test. Presto! It's invalid! Inconclusive!"

    ReplyDelete
  45. Richard Rowley wrote: "What do you mean, what do you think we have ALREADY but "questions and interpretations"?????"

    What I should have said is: In court, you only present expert testimony when experts agree. If you have one expert who believes something that supports your case, and another expert who believes something that contradicts your case, using only the expert who agrees with you is improper, stupid, and probably illegal. The defense must be told about the contrary evidence, and if they show the prosecution ignored contrary evidence, they'll use that in court to shoot down the prosecution -- or even to get the case dismissed by the judge.

    So, if experts disagree about the handwriting, you say the handwriting evidence is inconclusive.

    No judge in the country is going to allow one side of a case to bring into court experts who disagree with each other about the evidence. It's ridiculous. A trial is about evidence, it's not about things that are "inconclusive."

    And, since you bring up lie detector tests, that's another area where things are "inconclusive." You can't even use lie detector results in court because the process is not considered sufficiently reliable, therefore it is "inconclusive."

    What we have in the Amerithrax case are FACTS and EVIDENCE pointing to Bruce Ivins as the anthrax mailer.

    The defense can argue that the FACTS and EVIDENCE are not sufficient to prove Ivins guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, BUT the jury will decide. The JURY would do the interpretations. The JURY would decide if all questions are answered.

    And, it's clear the government had a VERY good case. Rachel Lieber stated that she planned to use the tape of Ivins' non-denial denials as part of her opening statements. The jury would have listened to Ivins equivocate about how he isn't really a killer at heart and how, if he did send the letters, he didn't remember it, and almost any jury in the land would have seen that Ivins DID NOT DENY killing those five people. All the other evidence would have been confirmation that he did it.

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
  46. Ed writes:

    "No judge in the country is going to allow one side of a case to bring into court experts who disagree with each other about the evidence. It's ridiculous."

    Ed, you are a moron with absolute no understanding of the real world or the use of experts in prosecutions.

    ReplyDelete
  47. A federal judge determines whether the subject is something that is susceptible to expert opinion evidence and then determines whether a particular individual is qualified to testify as an expert.

    For example, you would be found to be unqualified.

    Then the jury weighs the evidence and testimony.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Your inexperience in such matters is best demonstrated by your uncritical reliance on assertions in a prosecutor's memo. Heck, the memo did not even link to cited authority. You totally lack critical reasoning ability.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Anonymous #2,

    Thank you for your thoughts. I like to see them appearing in public instead of just in emails. However, I note that, as always, you just provide your opinions without any support.

    "A federal judge determines whether the subject is something that is susceptible to expert opinion evidence and then determines whether a particular individual is qualified to testify as an expert."

    Agreed.

    But, can you name a case where the prosecution had an expert witness take the stand to testify about something about evidence, and then had another expert witness take the stand to testify that the first expert witness was full of crap and that something totally different was indicated by the evidence?

    Wouldn't that make a fool of the judge? Wouldn't that serve no purpose except to confuse the jury?

    I realize it's routine for one "expert" to testify for the prosecution and another "expert" to testify for the defense to undermine the claims by the prosecution. But, that's not what we're talking about here.

    We're talking about a situation where the prosecution considers the evidence to be "inconclusive," and then provides two different expert witnesses to show the court that it's own evidence is inconclusive.

    How often does that happen? Why would it happen? Can you cite an example of where and when it happened?

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
  50. Partial post by Mister Lake:
    -------------
    And, it's clear the government had a VERY good case. Rachel Lieber stated that she planned to use the tape of Ivins' non-denial denials as part of her opening statements.[...]
    =============================================================
    I'm glad you brought that up: though Willman believes Ivins likely did it, his book, because of its granular look at some of the evidence, exposes the "non-denial denial" as a sham (ie as another example of exculpatory evidence that is 'massaged' in such a way as to make it look incriminating). But I'll have to write about that when I have the book in front of me.....
    r. rowley

    ReplyDelete
  51. Okay, I threw in the polygraph test just as an example of a test, administered by FBI (and other law enforcement agencies), likely for eliminative purposes. I did that to show that the label "inconclusive" can be used for a myriad of reasons:

    1)an acquaintance of mine, a very high-strung young woman, had to take a polygraph as part of trying to work for NSA (National Security Agency). Her nervousness kicked in and they advised her to come back in a few months in a calmer mood to retake the test.
    Inconclusive.

    2)Hypothetical: a person takes a polygraph, and seems to give disparate readings for the SAME question (or set of questions). The administrator of the test tries to iron it out but is unable to. Doesn't know whether the person is being deceptive or not.
    Inconclusive.

    3)Hypothetical: a person gives indications of deception even in the baseline questions: "What is your name?" "Where were you born?" etc. ALL the questions seem to (falsely)indicate deception on the testee's part.
    Inconclusive.

    4)Hypothetical: testee seems to be BADLY sedated or strongly under the negative consequences of a mind-altering substance, including alcohol.
    Almost certainly: inconclusive (if the test is administered at all)
    (I'm not claiming that the above list is comprehensive, I'm merely pointing out that "inconclusive" can cover a number of situations).
    But it makes no sense to talk about polygraphs in a trial setting because they are inadmissible.
    r. rowley

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just noticed this post in my SPAM file. Google evidently found something in it that they considered to be SPAM, so it went into that file. I only check it a couple times a week, since I don't think I've ever found anything in it before.

      It doesn't seem to require any response from me. So, no harm done.

      Ed

      Delete
  52. Partial post by Mister Lake:
    ------------
    But, can you name a case where the prosecution had an expert witness take the stand to testify about something about evidence, and then had another expert witness take the stand to testify that the first expert witness was full of crap and that something totally different was indicated by the evidence?

    Wouldn't that make a fool of the judge? Wouldn't that serve no purpose except to confuse the jury?
    ===============================================================
    I don't know about "make a fool of the judge"; it simply wouldn't be in the best interests of the prosecution. Not so much because it would "confuse" the jury, but because at least SOME jurors would say "well, ONE expert said A, the other said not A, so there's reasonable doubt (at least on that particular piece of evidence)" and lots of inconclusive evidence is what can supply the defense with 1)enough reasonable doubt to get an acquittal
    or 2)(fall-back goal)enough ambiguity to get a hung jury(split judgement on the part of the jury that can't be talked out).

    So the prosecutor(s), able to anticipate what the defense would do with such a situation, avoid(s) that by not presenting such expert testimony unless they have one expert and one expert only making claims congenial to the prosecution's case OR they have multiple* experts agreeing with one another on same.

    The FINAL REPORT however is NOT a good picture of what they would have presented in court (because it includes stuff that would either have been inadmissible or would have been detrimental to the prosecution's case). The prosecution's case against Ivins would have been a SUBSET of the Ivins' "evidence" (construed very broadly), jettisoning anything that would set up a 'battle of the expert witnesses' (ie the 'amino acid code' etc.) because in a 'draw' between expert witnesses, the defense wins (reasonable doubt).

    *If the experts ARE multiple, called by the same side, AND ready to say the same thing, the judge can exclude some on the basis of redundancy, another element of inadmissibility as I understand it.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Okay, I'm going to take a pledge: never to use the term "True Believer" again in reference to Amerithrax. Because it's a lot like Catholics and Protestants of centuries ago calling each other 'heretics', "apostates" and the like. Anathematizing each other. To no point.

    In addition, I think we all have been very casual about using the term (I was trying for the longest time to get others to use "Amerithrax sceptic" since that seems very descriptive without being pejorative and is somewhat analogous to "Eurosceptic", ie the label used for Brits (and other Europeans?)): using it in an undefined way, a loose way so as to ensnare our rhetorical opponents.

    In addition, Mister Lake and I share (apparently) an admiration for Eric Hoffer and his book THE TRUE BELIEVER. That book, which I first read over 30 years ago, is concerned with members of MASS movements (ideological, political, religious). Let me emphasize: MASS movements.

    As far as I can tell, no one's take on Amerithrax exactly qualifies as a mass movement, no matter how many adherents share the same opinion. Therefore Hoffer himself, were he still alive, wouldn't have recognized our use of the term.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Richard Rowley wrote: "I'll have to write about that when I have the book in front of me.."

    I have Willman's book in front of me. His quotes are identical to the quotes in the FBI report on the taped conversation. Ivins did NOT deny sending he anthrax letters, he just said that, if he did it, he couldn't remember doing it.

    That's why the FBI called it a "non-denial denial."

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
  55. Richard Rowley wrote: "I don't know about "make a fool of the judge"; it simply wouldn't be in the best interests of the prosecution."

    "Evidence" is a fact or testimony presented in court to support a claim. The prosecution's claim is that Ivins was the anthrax mailer. That means, if they have it and the judge allows it, they can produce testimony from "expert witnesses" that Ivins' handwriting matches the handwriting in the letters. It supports the prosecution's claim that Ivins was the culprit. That makes it "evidence."

    They CANNOT then produce another "expert witness" who says that the handwriting does NOT match Ivins' handwriting. It would NOT be evidence in support of the prosecution's claim. It would NOT get past the judge, since he or she would never allow it. If some prosecutor were dumb enough to do such a thing in court, the judge would almost certainly declare a mistrial.

    So, if the facts about something are "inconclusive," they aren't mentioned in court -- unless the defense asks. Then, all that is said is that the facts are "inconclusive."

    "Inconclusive" means that the "expert testimony" does NOT fully support NOR fully dispute the prosecution's claim.

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
  56. Richard Rowley wrote: "Okay, I'm going to take a pledge: never to use the term "True Believer" again in reference to Amerithrax."

    A "True Believer" isn't just someone who is part of a MASS movement. Eric Hoffer's book was titled "The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements." But, that just means he used the term as part of his thoughts about mass movements.

    There is also the "True Believer Syndrome", which is defined this way:

    "The true-believer syndrome merits study by science. What is it that compels a person, past all reason, to believe the unbelievable. How can an otherwise sane individual become so enamored of a fantasy, an imposture, that even after it's exposed in the bright light of day he still clings to it--indeed, clings to it all the harder? --M. Lamar Keene

    True-believer syndrome is an expression coined by M. Lamar Keene to describe an apparent cognitive disorder characterized by believing in the reality of paranormal or supernatural events after one has been presented overwhelming evidence that the event was fraudulently staged. Keene is a reformed phony psychic who exposed religious racketeering—to little effect, apparently. Phony faith healers, psychics, channelers, televangelist miracle workers, etc., are as abundant as ever."


    In other words, a "True Believer" is someone who believes what he believes regardless of what the facts say, and no amount of facts can change his mind. If you try to change his mind, he just believes all the more intensely.

    I classify the "Anthrax Truthers" as being mostly conspiracy theorists, but there are at least a few True Believers in the bunch. The difference, as stated on my web site, is that conspiracy theorists believe "the government" is working to mislead the public about the case, and a True Believer believes that he or she is the only person who knows the truth, and the world is full of unthinking people who refuse to accept what the True Believer believes.

    If you push a True Believer and tell him that the evidence has PROVED that his beliefs are incorrect, he'll just rationalize it away, and he'll start arguing somewhat like a conspiracy theorist who believes everyone is conspiring to hide the truth. But, he or she is still a True Believer, not a conspiracy theorist.

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
  57. Richard Rowley,

    Another interesting piece of reading is "The Limits of Reason: Why Evolution May Favor Irrationality," by Sharon Begley.

    Here's what I wrote in my October 10, 2010 comment on my web site about the Begley article in Newsweek:

    That article said, "humans are really, really bad at reasoning." Evidently, when they're angry, they are even worse at reasoning. Here's what the new article says,

    “Gut-level feelings of tremendous anxiety quickly turn into rage,” says psychology professor Drew Westen of Emory University and author of the 2007 book The Political Brain. “Men in particular don’t like feeling anxious, so they very quickly convert anxiety to anger at what made them anxious.”

    and

    While anxious voters seek out many sources of information, angry ones “want to rally round their convictions,” says Marcus. “They’re not interested in objective information, but only in the kind that reinforces what they believe.”

    and

    “People have a great capacity to engage in what’s called motivated reasoning,” says political scientist Hank Jenkins-Smith of the University of Oklahoma. “If you have a strongly held belief with an emotional component, the brain defends information that reinforces those ‘priors’ and is skeptical of information that challenges them.”

    and

    Paradoxically, the more that issues are explained in neutral forums such as the news media, the more people’s beliefs are cemented. “People who hold these hard priors filter information to support their perceptions,” says Jenkins-Smith.

    and particularly this:

    When people are angry, they want to see their anger reflected in their leaders. Many voters believe “that getting angry is somehow a ‘good thing’ in a leader, and that the [apparent] absence of anger betokens someone who is out of touch or insensitive to the moral dimensions of the problem,” psychiatrist Ronald Pies of SUNY Upstate Medical Center wrote in Psychiatric Times. “There is a ‘magical’ dimension to intense anger: it transforms the world from one in which the person feels helpless and impotent into one in which the person has the illusion of power and control. It is as if to say, ‘If I get angry enough, the laws of physics won’t apply—I’ll be able to plug that damn oil leak through the power of my righteous indignation!’”


    I have no anger or particularly anxiety about the Anthrax attacks of 2001. The only reason I started discussing it was because so many people were arguing opinions and no one seemed to be looking at the facts. So, I started looking at and collecting the facts.

    And, here we are ten years later, and I'm still arguing facts against opinions (including opinions that the facts aren't really facts).

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
  58. Okay, here's the presentation of the "non-denial denial" on page 70 of the FINAL REPORT (online version):
    ----------------------
    7. June 2008 equivocal denials

    On June 5, 2008, Dr. Ivins had a conversation with a witness, during which he made a series of statements about the anthrax mailings that could best be characterized as “non-denial
    denials”:

    Witness: “I’m trying to be supportive and understanding. But I
    guess a part of what you had said before to me in response to that
    was that, you know, there kind of seems to be another person at
    times. And if you don’t remember doing that, I mean [pause],
    don’t get mad [laugh], are you absolutely . . .?

    Bruce: “You were going to say how do I know that I didn’t have
    anything to do with . . . .”

    Witness: “Yeah.”

    Bruce: “I will tell that, I will tell you that it’s, I can’t pull that up. And a lot of times with e-mails, I don’t know that I sent an e-mail until I see it in the sent box. And it worries me when I wake up in the morning and I’ve got all my clothes and my shoes on,
    and my car keys are right beside there. . . . And I don’t have it
    in my, in my, I, I can tell you I don’t have it in my heart to kill anybody.”

    Bruce: “And I, and I do not have any recollection of ever have
    doing anything like that. As a matter of fact, I don’t have no clue how to, how to make a bio-weapon and I don’t want to know.”

    Bruce: “The only reason I remember some of this stuff, it’s
    because there’s like a clue the next day. Like there’s an e-mail or, or, you know, when you’re, when you’re in bed and you’re like,
    you’re like this, you know, that’s, that’s not real fun. It’s like ‘oh shit, did I drive somewhere last night?’”

    Witness: “Right, yeah, yeah, that must be awfully scary.”

    Bruce: “It really certainly is. Uh, because I can tell you, I am not a killer at heart.”

    ReplyDelete
  59. [The conversation continues on page 71]
    The witness suggested that maybe Dr. Ivins should get hypnotized to help him remember, to which he replied that he would be terrified.

    Bruce: “What happens if I find something that, that is like buried
    deep, deep, deep, and you know, like from, from my past or I mean
    . . . like when I was a kid or stuff like that you know?”

    Bruce: “Oh, but I mean, you know, that would just, that would just
    like, like, like make me want to jump off a bridge. You know, that
    would be . . .”

    Witness: “What’s that? If you found out that . . . .”

    Bruce: “If I found out I was involved in some way, and, and . .
    .”

    Witness: “And you don’t consciously know?”

    Bruce: “Have any, any clue. [pause] [groan] ‘Cause like, I’m, I’m
    not uh, a uh, I don’t think of myself as a vicious, a, a nasty evil person.”

    Witness: “Oh no, no, me either, but I mean, unless there is a whole other side . . .”

    Bruce: “Yeah.”

    Witness: “ . . . that is buried down in there . . .”

    Bruce: “Yeah.”

    Witness: “. . . for whatever reason.”

    Bruce: “Because I, I don’t like to hurt people, accidentally, in, in any way. And [several scientists at USAMRIID] wouldn’t do that.
    And I, in my right mind wouldn’t do it [laughs]. . . . But it’s
    still, but I still feel responsibility because it [RMR-1029] wasn’t locked up at the time . . . .”
    [end of page 71; end of presentation]

    ReplyDelete
  60. So what is being left out, and left out intentionally by the DoJ?
    Well,

    1)that the 'witness' was a stalking horse for the Task Force/FBI.

    2)that the 'witness' was wired surreptitiously.

    3)that the 'witness' was Patricia Fellows.

    4)that Ivins regarded her as a friend and was open to her about his problems (and that's exactly why the feds used her for this).

    But that's just for openers.

    ReplyDelete
  61. So let's look again at the first utterances of Fellows provided by the FINAL REPORT:
    ------------
    Witness: “I’m trying to be supportive and understanding. But I
    guess a part of what you had said before to me in response to that
    was that, you know, there kind of seems to be another person at
    times. And if you don’t remember doing that, I mean [pause],
    don’t get mad [laugh], are you absolutely . . .?
    =============================================================
    Let's focus on this: "[...]a part of what you had said before to me in response to that was that, you know, there kind of seems to be another person at times. And if you don’t remember doing that[...]"

    What's clear is that:

    1)Ivins had ALREADY told her (in prior conversations for sure) and likely in the opening lines* of THIS conversation (the beginning lines by Fellows make no sense otherwise)that he didn't do the Amerithrax crimes. THAT is the starting point. A categorial denial.

    2)It is FELLOWS (and not Ivins) who first raises the possibility that "another person" (inside of Ivins) did the Amerithrax crimes.

    3)It is FELLOWS (and not Ivins)who first suggests that (because it was the 'other person) Ivins himself might have no recollection/consciousness of the crimes of the 'other person'.

    4) DESPITE Fellows' best efforts (likely after extensive coaching by the Feds) to get Ivins to make a non-committal admission, he rejects that possibility: "I don't have it in my heart to kill anybody."

    5)Ivins further explains that when that 'other person' takes over without his knowledge/memory he finds out indirectly:
    "“The only reason I remember some of this stuff, it’s
    because there’s like a clue the next day. Like there’s an e-mail or, or, you know, when you’re, when you’re in bed and you’re like,
    you’re like this, you know, that’s, that’s not real fun. It’s like ‘oh shit, did I drive somewhere last night?’”.
    Implied in this (point 5) is: Ivins reports no such "clues" related to Amerithrax. This would be particularly remarkable because the Amerithrax crimes, if committed by someone like Ivins ACTING ALONE, would have consumed at least a month: from at least a week before the Sept 18th mailings(growing, drying/purifying, letter printing/xeroxing, finding correct addresses, loading up letters, driving up to Princeton)until the 9th of October. During that month he would have had to surreptitiously do all sorts of subtasks, in addition to his regular work. Yet Ivins reports no such clues.
    *Obvious question: what is being left out of the beginning of this transcript? For as it reads in the FINAL REPORT, the beginning has been left out.
    [To be continued?]

    ReplyDelete
  62. When you understand the forgoing, it's inevitable to observe:

    1)Ivins gave CATEGORICAL denials to Fellows.

    2)One such categorical denial is the BASIS of this entire conversation.

    3)Fellows, NOT Ivins, suggests Ivins' memory might be faulty on this point and that his alter ego may have done the crimes without his knowledge/memory of same.

    4)Ivins REJECTS this idea (very politely) and says that
    a)there are clues when his alternate persona takes over and 'does something'
    b)he isn't a killer at heart.
    c)he's so fearful of both anthrax and the dark forces within himself that he has purposely avoided learning how to create a 'bioweapon' (which in this context probably means a weaponized version of anthrax)
    d)Fellows, in the next to last line by her in the transcript tries to circle back: “ . . . that is buried down in there . . .”, followed by her last line: “. . . for whatever reason.”
    e)This prompts Ivins to reiterate that he doesn't like to hurt people and the guilt he expresses is for not locking up RMR-1029.
    Which implies that he thinks that another human being (not another persona)may have stolen some spores from the flask.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Richard Rowley wrote: "So what is being left out, and left out intentionally by the DoJ?

    4)that Ivins regarded her as a friend and was open to her about his problems (and that's exactly why the feds used her for this)."


    So, do you think Ivins would have opened up to a total stranger? That's why investigators ALWAYS use an insider to get confessions or inside information. There's nothing wrong with it. It's solid evidence in court. They have a suspect, and they want to get the suspect talking so that they can find out more about what the suspect did when he committed the crime. They more they know, the more likely they'll find some solid evidence?

    This has probably been done in a MILLION cases. You seem to be saying that, because you have a different theory about this case, it was somehow improper for the FBI to have done it with Ivins. That's absurd.

    There's also an FBI report about the meeting. It's in FBI pdf file #847551, one pages 66 - 69.

    They tried to get Nancy Haigwood to do it, and she agreed for awhile, but when it came close to the time to actually do it, she backed out. A friend convinced her it was too dangerous.

    "2)It is FELLOWS (and not Ivins) who first raises the possibility that "another person" (inside of Ivins) did the Amerithrax crimes."

    That's because Ivins frequently talked with her via emails about how "Bad Bruce" would do things and he seemed to have no control over it. The taped meeting was on June 5, 2008. They'd been talking about the attacks for over six years by that time. And Ivins frequently confessed to her that "Bad Bruce" did terrible things that "Good Bruce" didn't seem to have any control over.

    It was a perfectly natural way to get Ivins to open up.

    Ed

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
  64. Richard Rowley wrote: "Which implies that he thinks that another human being (not another persona)may have stolen some spores from the flask."

    No, it SAYS that Ivins has been telling the FBI for SEVEN years that his fellow workers and/or former fellow workers could have done it. He named Patricia Fellows, Mara Linscott, Henry Heine, John Ezzell, and others.

    Ivins had been pointing the finger at others for seven years. Why wouldn't he continue to do it when talking with Fellows?

    Is it news to you that guilty people tend to try to blame others?

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
  65. Partial post by Mister Lake:
    -----------------
    Richard Rowley wrote: "Which implies that he thinks that another human being (not another persona)may have stolen some spores from the flask."

    No, it SAYS that Ivins has been telling the FBI for SEVEN years that his fellow workers and/or former fellow workers could have done it. He named Patricia Fellows, Mara Linscott, Henry Heine, John Ezzell, and others.
    =============================================================
    Well, NATURALLY if you think that someone stole spores from the flask it HAS to be someone with access to USAMRIID, to the Bacteria Division, to the area where anthrax in general is kept and to the area where that particular flask was kept. In addition it likely would have had to have been someone with good scientific knowledge (ie the animal technicians and other lower level employees would be unlikely suspects). If they didn't want Ivins' guesses as to 'who done it' they shouldn't have asked him!

    (And of course Nancy Haigwood (and others?) pointed the finger at Ivins, so it's not like he was the only one making such conjectures.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Partial post by Mister Lake:
    -----------------
    4)that Ivins regarded her as a friend and was open to her about his problems (and that's exactly why the feds used her for this)."

    So, do you think Ivins would have opened up to a total stranger?[...]
    ==============================================================
    No, I don't THINK so (but you never know). But YOUR assumption is: that there is something (ie a crime) to open up about. And I think it a bad assumption.

    What I was intimating was: Ivins' condition, whether schizophrenia or schizo-affective disorder, contained a strong streak of paranoia, sometimes focussed on the unlikeliest of entities (Kappa Kappa Gamma). In the course of the (last 2 or 3 years of) the investigation the Task Force member FALSELY told Ivins that Henry Heine and others had denounced HIM (Ivins) as the Amerithrax killer. Two results:

    1)social isolation (for sure they were going for this since they told Heine and others to stay away from Ivins)

    2)further activation/stimulation of paranoid element of personality ('People whom I liked and trusted are saying I did Amerithrax!'); this may have played a role in at least SOME of his later statements to the gov't of suspicions about coworkers ('They denounce me? I denounce them!')

    We don't have enough information to know whether Ivins found out that Fellows was carrying water for the FBI/Task Force, but if he did, this would have played into his paranoia. Big time.
    The conversation with Fellows was June 5th, he took his overdose July 27th, dying two days later. About a 7 week gap. Related? It's hard to say.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Richard Rowley wrote: "But YOUR assumption is: that there is something (ie a crime) to open up about. And I think it a bad assumption."

    It wasn't an "assumption." When the FBI arranged for Patricia Fellows to wear a wire and to talk with Ivins, it was June of 2008. The FBI had already determined that Ivins was the most likely person to have sent the anthrax letters. That had started to become clear in 2004 and more clear in 2006. In 2008, they had enough evidence to start grand jury proceedings. But, they also knew that more evidence would help in the trial. So, they asked Fellows to do the taped meeting.

    You may have another theory which you thoroughly believe even though you have no evidence, but the FBI had evidence that Ivins was the anthrax mailer. What they did was a standard criminal investigative procedure. Your beliefs are irrelevant to what the FBI did.

    To argue that the FBI shouldn't have done what they did because YOU have a different theory is absurd.

    Ed

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  68. Washington Post today on Amerithrax:

    "The unusual spectacle of one arm of the Justice Department publicly questioning another has the potential to undermine one of the most high-profile investigations in years, according to critics and independent experts who reviewed the court filings."

    "Justice Dept. takes on itself in probe of 2001 anthrax attacks," Washington Post, January 27, 2012

    ReplyDelete
  69. Partial post by Mister Lake (quoting me):
    ------------
    Richard Rowley wrote: "But YOUR assumption is: that there is something (ie a crime) to open up about. And I think it a bad assumption."

    It wasn't an "assumption." When the FBI arranged for Patricia Fellows to wear a wire and to talk with Ivins, it was June of 2008. The FBI had already determined that Ivins was the most likely person[...].
    -------------------------------------------------------

    Just like years earlier they had "determined" that the most likely person was Hatfill. It was their RUNNING assumption. And post factum (in the Ivins case) it has been your assumption since, oh, December 2008. It warps your ability to evaluate the evidence.

    ReplyDelete
  70. Richard Rowley wrote: "Just like years earlier they had "determined" that the most likely person was Hatfill. It was their RUNNING assumption.

    FALSE. The FBI never determined that the most likely person was Hatfill. Hatfill was identified by numerous TIPSTERS. The FBI checked Hatfill out and found no reason to suspect him, but the tipsters went to the media and got politicians to DEMAND that Hatfill be investigated. Some within the FBI may have believed that Hatfill could be the culprit, because they had no other suspects at the time, but no one ever "determined" it. Tipsters alleged it without any real evidence. And the media and politicians went along.

    Check your facts. This is a subject that was stupid years ago and is still stupid. I argued for SEVEN years that Hatfill had nothing to do with it, that he was just being fingered by a LYNCH MOB, but people like you just refuse to look at the facts.

    Ed

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  71. It is Ed who is ignoring the facts. The lead investigator has made very plain that FBI Director Mueller and his senior advisors were convinced that it was Dr. Hatfill. See Davud Willman's book citing the dates of interviews with the investigators. Ed has no credibility given as illustrated by his claim that the FACTS prove a First Grader wrote the letters.

    ReplyDelete
  72. Parial post by Mister Lake:
    -----------
    Richard Rowley wrote: "Just like years earlier they had "determined" that the most likely person was Hatfill. It was their RUNNING assumption.

    FALSE. The FBI never determined that the most likely person was Hatfill.[...]
    =================================================================
    The "facts",

    1)that he was under 24 hour surveillance so close that his foot was once run over by a G-man vehicle,

    2)that he was asked to voluntarily submit to a search of his house and vehicle,

    3)that he THEN was served with search warrants for FURTHER searches,

    4)that bloodhounds brought in from California reacted to him/his premises in such a way as to pique the interest of the Task Force
    and convinced them to drain a Maryland pond,

    5)that the US Attourney General (Ashcroft) stated on television that Hatfill was a 'person of interest' (see Hatfill's definition for that!)

    6)that he successfully sued the DoJ for their actions toward him in the 2001 to 2006 period

    etc ALL suggest otherwise. Said ANOTHER way, it would be difficult to think of what more they could have done to Hatfill if they HAD (by Mister Lake's lights) thought Hatfill the most likely person.

    They treated Hatfill and Ivins nearly identically, merely in different timeframes. The Full Monty.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Richard Rowley,

    You need to try to understand what is being said. NONE of what you wrote has anything to do with what I wrote.

    I wrote: The FBI never determined that the most likely person was Hatfill"

    You're posting things about methods of surveillance, which DETERMINED NOTHING. All the investigative work SHOWED THAT HATFILL WAS INNOCENT.

    "They treated Hatfill and Ivins nearly identically, merely in different timeframes."

    That is not only FALSE, it is RIDICULOUSLY FALSE.

    The public never heard of Ivins until after his suicide, even though he'd been under investigation for about FOUR YEARS. Not a single word was ever released to the media.

    Furthermore, the FBI began their "investigation" of Hatfill with TIPS from conspiracy theorists. Investigators could find NOTHING that indicated that Hatfill was behind the mailings.

    The FBI's investigation of Ivins began with slowly accumulating evidence that he could be the anthrax mailer. It was a long process of elimination. It took YEARS for them to even start seriously looking at him. Then, during searches and interviews, they found more and more evidence to use in court to prove he was the anthrax mailer.

    That is NOTHING at all like the Hatfill investigation. With Hatfill, it was managers under pressure from higher up who applied pressure downward to either find something to prove Hatfill did it or to find proof that could clear him. Some of the managers apparently believed Hatfill was the anthrax killer because of all the people pointing at him, and because they had no better suspect at the time, but the OPPOSITE was true with Ivins. There was no pressure from managers regarding Ivins, all the pressure came from the investigators in the field who were having a difficult time finding anything that cleared Ivins. All they could find was evidence that pointed to Ivins as being the anthrax mailer.

    Any claim that the "investigation" of Hatfill is identical or even similar to the investigation of Ivins is an IGNORANT ARGUMENT and a RIDICULOUS ARGUMENT.

    Ed

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  74. Since Hatfill has come up again, let's go to the expert on Steve Hatfill: Steve Hatfill: (second half of his statement of Aug 12, 2002)
    http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2002/8/12/180059.shtml
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    And indeed, last week, the FBI executed a search warrant on my residence. This happened one day after my attorneys had left a message on the lead FBI investigator's voice mail confirming my continued readiness to answer questions and otherwise cooperate.

    'Manhandled'

    My girlfriend's home was also searched. She was manhandled by the FBI upon their entry, not immediately shown the search warrant. Her apartment was wrecked, while FBI agents screamed at her that I had killed five people and that her life would never be the same again. She was terrified by their conduct, put into isolation for interrogation for eight hours. I was horrified. The search was another media event.

    The next day I was put on paid leave from my new job at Louisiana State University. This is very painful to me, though once again I understand the circumstances in which my employers find themselves in light of these actions taken against me.

    As a scientist in the field of biological warfare defense, I have never had any reservations whatsoever about helping the anthrax investigation in any way that I could. It's true that my research expertise is in biology, for example, the Ebola virus, the Marburg virus, and monkeypox, and not bacteriology, as in the case of the anthrax organism.

    It's also true that I have never, ever worked with anthrax in my life. It's a separate field from the research I was performing at Fort Detrick.

    But if I could be of assistance, I was happy to help. This is the price, I think, that scientists in this field are happy to pay. And this price is more than offset by the satisfaction I think we all gain in doing work that we believe is important for the security of our country.

    Freedom and Responsibility

    All Americans value the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press, and I believe this is essential for our continued way of life. But with this freedom comes responsibility. That responsibility has been abdicated here by some in the media and some in the government.

    I am appalled at the anthrax terrorist incident, and I wish the authorities Godspeed in catching the culprits or culprit. I do not object to being considered a subject of interest by the authorities because of my knowledge and background in the field of biological warfare defense. But I do object to an investigation characterized, as this one has been, by outrageous official statements, calculated leaks to the media, and causing a feeding frenzy operating to my great prejudice.

    'Character Assassination'

    I especially object to having my character assassinated by reference to events from my past which bear absolutely no relationship to the question of who the anthrax killer is.

    After eight months of one of the most intensive public and private investigations in American history, no one –no one – has come up with a shred of evidence that I had anything to do with the anthrax letters. I have never worked with anthrax. I know nothing about this matter.

    As a substitute, the press and now the public have been offered events from my past going back 20 or more years, as if this were critical to the matter at hand. In fact, it is not.
    (to be continued)

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  75. 'Smoke Screen'

    It is a smoke screen calculated to obscure the fact that there is no evidence that I, the currently designated fall guy, have anything to do with the anthrax letters.

    No more than any of you, I do not claim to have lived a perfect life. Like yourselves, there are things I would probably do or say differently than I did 10 or 20 or more years ago. Modern information-retrieval technology, coupled with sufficient motivation, can lead to anyone's life and work being picked apart for every error, wrinkle, failed memory or inconsistency. Mine can; so can yours.

    Does any of this get us to the anthrax killers? If I am a subject of interest, I'm also a human being. I have a life. I have, or I had, a job. I need to earn a living. I have a family, and until recently, I had a reputation, a career and a bright professional future.

    I acknowledge the right of the authorities and the press to satisfy themselves as to whether I am the anthrax mailer. This does not, however, give them the right to smear me and gratuitously make a wasteland of my life in the process. I will not be railroaded.

    I am a loyal American. I am extremely proud of the work I have done for the United States and for my country and her people. I expect to be treated as such by the representatives of my government and those who report its work.[...]
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Despite this statement of the (outrageous) facts, Hatfill wasn't let off the hook until 4 full years later (2006).

    If FBI agents are "screaming" at your girlfriend during a search of HER place that you killed 5 people, you are the prime suspect (ie 'the most likely person') whether they use that term or some other ('person of interest')

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  76. Anonymous (who could be #1 or #2) but who is most likely #1 (Richard Rowley) quotes a lot of material which just confirms what I wrote in my previous post:

    Any claim that the "investigation" of Hatfill is identical or even similar to the investigation of Ivins is an IGNORANT ARGUMENT and a RIDICULOUS ARGUMENT.

    The so-called "investigation" of Steven Hatfill was DONE IN PUBLIC. The very real investigation of Bruce Ivins was done ENTIRELY out of the public eye.

    Ed

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  77. Richard Rowley,

    What is it that you are arguing? That FBI investigators used some of the same investigative techniques when "investigating" Steven Hatfill as they did when investigating Bruce Ivins? DUH! They're investigators! They use standard techniques. They probably used similar or identical techniques (but to a lesser degree) on dozens of other people. That's how investigations are done!

    You seem to be arguing that they should have left everyone alone and gone ONLY to the person who you think did it.

    Ed

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  78. Mister Lake's partial

    Richard Rowley,

    What is it that you are arguing? That FBI investigators used some of the same investigative techniques when "investigating" Steven Hatfill as they did when investigating Bruce Ivins? DUH! They're investigators!...
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    No. I'm saying that in order to determine whether a person is TRULY a suspect, or even the prime suspect, the truest clues are how that person is treated, and what the investigators say, not in a press release (or at a press conference), but in the very interactions with that suspect, his family, friends etc. (in Steve Hatfill's case the 'Your boyfriend killed 5 people' line is
    a dead giveaway)


    Round the clock surveillance is EXPENSIVE. They don't just use it on any old "person of interest". The total number of persons who received the scrutiny and attention that Hatfill and Ivins received in the Amerithrax investigation appears to be: zero. Sign of who the chief suspects were.

    ReplyDelete
  79. Ed is mistaken.

    Mr. WIllman, who interviewed numerous of the investigators, explains in MIRAGE MAN:

    "In numerous leaks to the news media, officials with access to the investigative details made clear their belief that Hatfill was the anthrax killer. Investigators delivered the same message privately to congressional leaders and to those at the highest levels of Bush administration."


    Ed for 8 years thought that they were investigating his Wisconsin bowler and dismissed their public report in December 2001 that they had closed the file.

    Ed believes what he believes. He is what he calls a True Believer. He does not conduct interviews of investigators like Dave did and has no basis whatsoever to disagree with him on the point. DW is quite meticulous in his documentation given the identity of the person interviewed and the date of the interview. On this issue, he names names.

    ReplyDelete
  80. Richard Rowley wrote: "Round the clock surveillance is EXPENSIVE. They don't just use it on any old "person of interest"."

    Agreed. But, Steven Hatfill wasn't just any old "person of interest." For EIGHT MONTHS conspiracy theorists, the NEW YORK TIMES and politicians had been DEMANDING that Hatfill be investigated. They were accusing the FBI of covering up for Hatfill. They were creating headlines saying that the culprit (Hatfill) could strike again at any time, and thousands could die.

    So, after the FBI was virtually ORDERED by staffers working for Senators Leahy and Daschle to investigate Hatfill, the FBI not only had to do so publicly (since they had already investigated Hatfill privately and no one accepted their findings), they had to keep Hatfill under 24/7 surveillance, since, if they didn't and if there was another anthrax attack, everyone would go NUTS and assume that the FBI let Hatfill do it again.

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
  81. Anonymous #2 wrote: "He does not conduct interviews of investigators like Dave did"

    Right. I'm primarily an analyst, not an investigator. I only ask questions of investigators and scientists when I have questions that I cannot find the answers to by myself.

    It seems pointless to interview investigators when they've already been interviewed and the interviews are in print. I'd have to have a question that no one else has asked and that I was virtually certain they could answer.

    However, I do have got a couple interviews lined up, and I've already done a few over the years. But, they're not the kind of interviews that David Willman did. I don't ask for opinions. I'm only concerned with the facts. I ask questions to resolve inconsistencies between what one source says about the facts versus another source.

    "In numerous leaks to the news media, officials with access to the investigative details made clear their belief that Hatfill was the anthrax killer."

    Yes, and some of them lost their jobs over it: Seikaly and Howard. Mostly they didn't know what the hell they were talking about. It was just their way of getting pressure off themselves and onto the FBI. Did Seikaly and Howard believe that Hatfill did it? Probably, but who cares what they believed? The facts said that Hatfill did NOT do it.

    Willman says that FBI Inspector Richard Lambert believed that Hatfill was the anthrax mailer, but I don't see any mention in Willman's book where he says he actually interviewed Lambert. Willman's opinion seems to be the result of what he got from people who worked under Lambert. So, we don't really know what Lambert believed.

    Ed

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  82. Hmmm. I'm working on Chapter 45 of my book, and I noticed a discrepancy between what an FBI report says and what David Willman said in his book. It's very critical discrepancy, too.

    I could just go with what the FBI report implies. However, I have a source who can resolve the discrepancy. So, I'll be sending out an email to that source in a moment.

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
  83. I sent out the email to my source.

    While waiting, I wrote that part of my book by doing an analysis of all the information I have. I wrote the version that makes the most sense to me, based upon all the facts I have.

    If and when my source contacts me, I'll ask my source to read it over to see if it's correct or if changes need to be made.

    Ed

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  84. Ha! So the FBI -- including the US Attorney, FBI DIrector, and lead prosecutor -- told President Bush and Congress that they thought Hatfill was responsible for the anthrax mailings (see Willman) but they didn't really mean it. No, Ed. You are entitled to your opinion opinion but not to your own facts. The FBI thought Hatfill was responsible. You are not an analyst. You are a guy who posts on the internet that it is nearly certain a First Grader wrote the anthrax letters. Big, big difference.

    ReplyDelete
  85. Anonymous #2 wrote: "So the FBI -- including the US Attorney, FBI DIrector, and lead prosecutor -- told President Bush and Congress that they thought Hatfill was responsible for the anthrax mailings (see Willman) "

    I don't dispute that DOJ lawyers may have "thought" that Hatfill was the killer. I've already made it clear that they didn't know what the hell they were talking about.

    And, John Ashcroft may have said Hatfill was a "person of interest," but that was a stupid attempt to explain that Hatfill was NOT a suspect, only someone worth checking out.

    The argument is about what "the FBI" believed, not about what DOJ lawyers believed. You may not understand it, but DOJ lawyers are NOT part of the FBI.

    Willman makes is VERY clear that there were upper level managers at the FBI pushing to find evidence about Hatfill, but Willman also makes it VERY clear that the lower level agents weren't finding any solid evidence and didn't think Hatfill did it. The lower level agents thought that Ivins was the better suspect.

    Where in Willman's book does it say anything like what you claim about the "FBI Director"?

    Going through every reference in Willman's book under the topic of "high-level government briefings by" FBI Director Mueller, all I see is that he briefed senators on what "the bloodhound evidence" seemed to say about Hatfill.

    It was staffers working for Senators Daschle and Leahy who DEMANDED that Barbara Hatch Rosenberg's claims about Hatfill be investigated.

    The senators wanted to know what new evidence the FBI had in the case, and Mueller gave it to them. There's nothing in the book that says Mueller "thought Hatfill was responsible for the anthrax mailings." Mueller was just talking about what the latest "evidence" indicated. There's a BIG difference between talking about evidence and accepting evidence as proof. Mueller may have "thought" that the evidence was pointing to Hatfill, but he also KNEW that the evidence wasn't conclusive in any way whatsoever.

    Ed

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