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Saturday, June 28, 2008

The forgotten terrorist attack that took place after 9/11
Posted by Jill | 8:38 AM
Funny how we'd all but forgotten about the anthrax envelopes that were received by various politicians and media figures in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. George W. Bush recently made a show of once again having interest in the apprehension of Osama Bin Laden as a means of salvaging his legacy, but frankly, I think that was just cover for the moment at the end of October when Bush lets Bin Laden out of his apartment in the White House basement. But the anthrax attacks are still an unsolved mystery -- or so goes the conventional wisdom.

Yesterday the Justice Department announced that it would pay Dr. Steven J. Hatfill, who at one point was named as a "person of interest" in the case, $4.6 million to settle a lawsuit Hatfill had filed:

Dr. Hatfill, who worked at the Army’s laboratory at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Md., in the late 1990s, was the subject of a flood of news media coverage beginning in mid-2002, after television cameras showed Federal Bureau of Investigation agents in biohazard suits searching his apartment near the Army base. He was later named a “person of interest” in the case by then Attorney General John Ashcroft, speaking on national television.

In a news conference in August 2002, Dr. Hatfill tearfully denied that he had anything to do with the anthrax letters and said irresponsible news media coverage based on government leaks had destroyed his reputation.

Dr. Hatfill’s lawsuit, filed in 2003, accused F.B.I. agents and Justice Department officials involved in the criminal investigation of the anthrax mailings of leaking information about him to the news media in violation of the Privacy Act. In order to prove their case, his lawyers took depositions from key F.B.I. investigators, senior officials and a number of reporters who had covered the investigation.


The settlement called new attention to the fact that nearly seven years after the toxic letters were mailed, killing five people and sickening at least 17 others, the case has not been solved.

A Justice Department spokesman, Brian Roehrkasse, said in a statement that the government admitted no liability but decided settlement was “in the best interest of the United States.”

“The government remains resolute in its investigation into the anthrax attacks, which killed five individuals and sickened others after lethal anthrax powder was sent through the United States mail,” Mr. Roehrkasse said.

An F.B.I. spokesman, Jason Pack, said the anthrax investigation “is one of the largest and most complex investigations ever conducted by law enforcement” and is currently being pursued by more than 20 agents of the F.B.I. and the Postal Inspection Service.

“Solving this case is a top priority for the F.B.I. and for the family members of the victims who were killed,” Mr. Pack said.

But Representative Rush Holt, a New Jersey Democrat whose district was the site of a postal box believed to have been used in the attacks, said he would press Robert S. Mueller III, director of the F.B.I., for more answers about the status of the case.

“As today’s settlement announcement confirms, this case was botched from the very beginning,” Mr. Holt said. “The F.B.I. did a poor job of collecting evidence, and then inappropriately focused on one individual as a suspect for too long, developing an erroneous theory of the case that has led to this very expensive dead end.”

A top priority, eh? After nearly seven years? I don't think so.

You don't have to fashion a fedora out of Reynolds Wrap to believe that this so-called "investigation" stinks to high heaven. Especially when we look back now at seven years of the Bush Administration doing what it can to jettison those who would dare look at what it is doing -- firing U.S. prosecutors, outing CIA non-official cover operatives, putting pressure on news outlets to squelch stories -- it becomes clear that Dr. Hatfill was simply a red herring to draw attention away from something else.

If we look at who received the letters, you'd have to be an idiot to not ask any questions and to still believe that there is some Tim McVeigh-type out there that the government has not yet apprehended. After all, while there have been scares dince then, there have been no further large-scale anthrax mailings since that one episode following 9/11. But once again, here are the recipients of the anthrax letters in 2001:

  1. Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. Daschle's letter was opened by an aide.
  2. Democratic Senator and head of the Senate Judiciary Committee Patrick Leahy. Leahy's letter had been misdirected to the State Department and had been opened by a postal worker.
  3. Robert Stevens, photo editor at the National Enquirer. A mailroom clerk named Ernesto Blanco was also sickened. The anthrax envelope was addressed to "Photo Editor", and was received in October 2001 after the Enquirer had run an article and this photograph of a falling-down-drunk Jenna Bush the previous August..
  4. The offices of The New York Post, which would seem to be an unlikely target, were it not for these headline stories about the Bush twins that had appeared during 2001:

    Deborah Orin; New York Post; Sep 7, 2001; pg. 015

    AP; New York Post; Jun 24, 2001; pg. 012

    MARILYN RAUBER Post Correspondent; New York Post; Jun 9, 2001; pg. 002

    LINDA STASI; New York Post; Jun 3, 2001; pg. 002

    Jordan Smith in Austin, Texas and Deborah Orin in Washington; New York Post; Jun 1, 2001; pg. 005

    Clemente Lisi; New York Post; May 17, 2001; pg. 003

    Post Wire Services; New York Post; May 3, 2001; pg. 026

    Deborah Orin Bureau Chief; New York Post; Jan 19, 2001; pg. 008W.'S
    Abstract: [Bush]'s warning came a day after The Post revealed that Comedy Central is doing a hasty retreat from plans to paint the Bush twins as "hot and sexy" and maybe lesbians in a new sitcom satirizing the first family.

  5. NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw. Brokaw's letter was opened by Erin O'Connor, an assistant to Brokaw. O'Connor developed cutaneous anthrax.
  6. Individuals who were at ABC and CBS headquarters also developed cutaneous anthrax.

The so-called USA PATRIOT Act, which was the first step towards the evisceration of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, was signed into law by George W. Bush on October 26, 2001.

When the many conspiracy theories related to the 9/11 attacks are brought up, someone always invokes Occam's Razor -- that the simplest answer is the best.

In the case of the anthrax attacks, the U.S. government has spent seven years chasing blind alleys and dead ends, trying to find someone who can be said to have access to weapons-grade anthrax and still be an Islamic terrorist. In the case of the anthrax attacks, the simplest answer points to an intimidation job by the Bush Administration. We've seen for seven years how intimidation works. It's silenced the media and everyone else who knows anything about the chicanery of the gang of thugs and thieves who hijacked our government on December 12, 2000. Sending the military-grade equivalent of a dead fish to those who would, or have already, crossed the Bush Administration is perfectly in character.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
Actually, Occam's Razor (a/k/a the Principle of Parsimony) hath it that the simplest answer which considers all the circumstances is the best such.

Not so much the simplest per se.

Now you know.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Maybe they're checking the golf courses to help OJ find the same guy.

Blogger Bob said...
The targets were a peculiar group.

Blogger Jennifer Briney said...
You don't even have to follow news/politics to look at that list of anthrax recipients and know that the Bush administration did it. Anyone that expresses doubts must just not want to admit it.

This entire administration reads like some kind of Star Wars-ish end of the world novel.

Unfortunately, in our novel, the Jedi's are buying tickets for the Death Star