Remember the anthrax attacks?
Fox News broke a story last months that seems to have not received much attention in the other mainstream media. From the looks of it it seems that,
at last, a whistleblower scientist from Fort Detrick has leaked an email demonstrating that the FBI likely knew many years ago that the powder sent to
senators was a highly sophisticated material produced at Fort Detrick.
The FBI seem to have conducted a misinformation campaign for years - making misleading statements to senators and even going as far as publishing a
false article in a peer reviewed scientific journal.
A history of the scientific misinformation campaign is given below. Ironically it was Detrick scientists and other army scientists from AFIP all along
who gave accurate information to the media., whilst the FBI labs gave the misleading information or even outright false information.
Controversy over coatings and additives
Early reports suggested the anthrax sent to the Senate had been "weaponized." On October 29, 2001, Major General John Parker at a White House
briefing said that silica had been found in the Daschle anthrax sample. Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge in a White House press conference on
November 7, 2001, told reporters that tests indicated a binding agent had been used in making the anthrax. Later, the FBI claimed a "lone
individual" could have weaponized anthrax spores for as little as $2,500, using a makeshift basement laboratory.
A number of press reports appeared suggesting the Senate anthrax had coatings and additives. Newsweek reported the anthrax sent to Senator
Leahy had been coated with a chemical compound previously unknown to bioweapons experts.
Two experts on the Soviet anthrax program, Kenneth Alibek and Matthew Meselson, were consultants with the Justice Department and were shown electron
micrographs of the anthrax from the Daschle letter. They replied to the Washington Post article "FBI's Theory on Anthrax Is Doubted" (October 28,
2002), reporting that they saw no evidence the anthrax spores had been coated and that more careful investigation of the specimens is
A week after Meselson and Alibek had their letter published in the Washington Post, the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP), one of the
military labs that analyzed the Daschle anthrax, published an official newsletter stating that silica was a key aerosol enabling component of the
Daschle anthrax. The AFIP lab deputy director, Florabel Mullick, said "This [silica] was a key component. Silica prevents the anthrax from
aggregating, making it easier to aerosolize. Significantly, we noted the absence of aluminum with the silica. This combination had previously been
found in anthrax produced by Iraq."
In February 2005, Stephan P. Velsko of Lawrence Livermore National Labs published a paper titled "Physical and Chemical Analytical Analysis: A key
component of Bioforensics". In this paper, Velsko illustrated that different silica coating processes gave rise to weaponized anthrax simulants
that look completely different from one another. He suggested that the difference in the look of products could provide evidence of what method the
lab that manufactured the 2001 anthrax used, and thus provide clues to the ultimate origin of the material.
In May 2005, Academic Press published the volume "Microbial Forensics" edited by Roger Breeze, Bruce Budowle and Steven Schutzer. Bruce Budowle
is with the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Forensic Science Laboratory. Although the volume does not directly discuss the silica coatings
found in the Senate anthrax of 2001, the contributors to the chapters discuss in detail the forensics of silica coated weaponized bacterial spores.
Pictures are shown of silica weaponized bacillus spores that are both mixed with silica and fully coated with silica. Pictures of weaponized
Clostridium spores coated with Colloidal, spherical silica are also shown. Again, the aim of these studies is to define the forensic fingerprints of
silica weaponization processes.
In July 2005, Dr Michael V Callahan (who is presently with DOD's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)) gave a briefing before the
Subcommittee on Prevention of Nuclear and Biological Attack. Dr Callahan stated "First, the attack illustrated that advanced expertise had
readily been exploited by a bioterrorist; the preparation in the Daschle letter contained extraordinarily high concentrations of purified endospores.
Second, the spore preparation was coated with an excipient which helped retard electrostatic attraction, thus increasing aerosolization of the
The August 2006 issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology contained an article written by Dr. Douglas Beecher of the FBI labs in Quantico,
VA. The article, titled "Forensic Application of Microbiological Culture Analysis to Identify Mail Intentionally Contaminated with Bacillus
anthracis spores ," states "Individuals familiar with the compositions of the powders in the letters have indicated that they were comprised simply
of spores purified to different extents." The article also specifically criticizes "a widely circulated misconception" "that the spores were
produced using additives and sophisticated engineering supposedly akin to military weapon production." The harm done by such things is described this
way: "This idea is usually the basis for implying that the powders were inordinately dangerous compared to spores alone. The persistent credence
given to this impression fosters erroneous preconceptions, which may misguide research and preparedness efforts and generally detract from the
magnitude of hazards posed by simple spore preparations." However, after this article had appeared the editor of Applied and Environmental
Microbiology, L. Nicholas Ornston, stated that he was uncomfortable with Beecher's statement in the article since it had no evidence to back it up
and contained no citation.
In April 2007 an analysis of the spore preparation was published in the International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence. This
analysis by Dr. Dany Shoham and Dr. Stuart Jacobsen pointed out that the sophisticated additives and processing used to create the weapon likely could
be used to trace the origin.
In August 2007 Dr. Kay Mereish, UN Chief, Biological Planning and Operations, published a letter in Applied and Environmental Microbiology titled
"Unsupported Conclusions on the Bacillus anthracis Spores". This letter, published in the same journal as FBI scientist Douglas Beecher (see
paragraph above), points out that the statements made by Dr. Beecher in his article on the lack of additives were not backed up with any data. She
suggested that Dr. Beecher publish a paper with analytical data showing the absence of silica or other additives. Such data would include SEM images
of the pure spores as well as EDX spectra and EDX images showing the absence of any foreign additives such as silica or the elements silicon and
oxygen. Dr. Mereish referenced a 2006 CBRN, Counter-Proliferation and Response meeting in Paris where a presenter announced that an additive was
present in the attack anthrax that affected the spore's electrical charges.
Fox News reported in March 2008 that an email written by a scientist at Fort Detrick revealed details of the powder preparation; these details
appear to be consistent with a highly specialized powder. The Fox News report said "But in an e-mail obtained by FOX News, scientists at Fort Detrick
openly discussed how the anthrax powder they were asked to analyze after the attacks was nearly identical to that made by one of their colleagues.
"Then he said he had to look at a lot of samples that the FBI had prepared ... to duplicate the letter material," the e-mail reads. "Then the
bombshell. He said that the best duplication of the material was the stuff made by [name redacted]. He said that it was almost exactly the same …
his knees got shaky and he sputtered, 'But I told the General we didn't make spore powder!'" The Fox News report added that around 4 persons, all
with connections to Fort Detrick, were being looked at as suspects by the FBI.
In late 2002 Senators Daschle and Leahy called in the FBI to explain the Washington Post story "FBI's Theory On Anthrax Is Doubted", Washington
Post, October 28, 2002. This was later on reported in "Anthrax Powder — State of the Art?". The latter article described how Dwight Adams,
chief FBI scientist, told Senators Daschle and Leahy that there were no special additives in the senate anthrax and that the silica was "naturally
occurring". However, Adams admitted that there was scientific information concerning the nature of the anthrax organism that was deemed by his
superiors too sensitive to share with Senators Daschle and Leahy:
Connolly: Earlier you testified that regarding the scientific aspect of the investigation there was information that was simply in your view too
sensitive to share to the public about the particular characteristics of the organism sent in the mail. Is that correct?
Adams: In so many words, yes, sir.
Connolly: I don't want to mischaracterize it. If you think I've mischaracterized it in any way then, please, put your own words on it.
Adams: No, that's fine.
Connolly: Did you feel like you had the same restrictions in informing the senate, congress, or their staff in terms of what it is you would reveal to
them about the particular characteristics of the organism that was sent?
Adams: As I've already stated there was specific information that I did not feel appropriate to share with either the media or to the Hill because it
was too sensitive of the information to do so.
On October 23, 2006 Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa sent a six-page letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales requesting a briefing on the anthrax
investigation. By December 2006, a total of 33 members of Congress have demanded that the Attorney General update them on the investigation. 
The FBI's Assistant Director for Congressional Affairs said, "After sensitive information about the investigation citing congressional sources was
reported in the media, the Department of Justice and the FBI agreed that no additional briefings to Congress would be provided."