The Anthrax Mystery: Solved
by Robert Pate
ON OCTOBER 4, 2001, reporters in Florida announced the first case in 25 years of a person contracting the deadly bacterium anthrax. The following day, Robert Stevens, the photo editor of the Florida-based tabloid Sun, died. His death was the beginning of the Anthrax Mystery, America’s worst — and most baffling — case of bio-terrorism. Days later, four other persons in the New York City and Washington, DC areas would die from anthrax spores that leaked from tainted letters sent through the mail. Seventeen others would become infected, and hundreds of millions of dollars would be spent on cleaning up contaminated office buildings and postal facilities. All of these events came just a few days after the tragedy of September 11. It appeared the terrorists had struck again, but this time the attack was biological.
Investigators believe seven letters containing anthrax spores were mailed. Four of the seven are thought to have been mailed on the same day and addressed to major media outlets in New York City: ABC News, CBS News, NBC News, and the New York Post. Of these, only the NBC and New York Post letters were recovered. Letters believed to be addressed to ABC News and CBS News offices caused two persons to develop anthrax infections. One was a seven-month-old boy brought in by his mother, a producer at ABC News; the other was an assistant to Dan Rather at CBS. These letters were never found and were likely discarded.
The two recovered letters did not have a return address but were postmarked September 18, 2001 in Trenton, New Jersey. These letters contained identical messages tending to indicate that the perpetrators were Islamic terrorists. The notes read, “09-11-01, THIS IS NEXT, TAKE PENACILIN [sic] NOW, DEATH TO AMERICA, DEATH TO ISRAEL, ALLAH IS GREAT.”
It is also believed an anthrax-laced letter was mailed to the National Enquirer’s old mailing address and forwarded to their new offices at American Media Inc. in Boca Raton, Florida. Anthrax spores were found at the postal facility that held the National Enquirer’s old P.O. Box address. American Media also publishes the tabloid Sun where Mr. Stevens worked. Investigators have never been able to locate the anthrax letter addressed to the National Enquirer.
Interestingly, hoax letters claiming to contain anthrax were mailed days later from St. Petersburg, Florida. However, instead of anthrax spores, these letters contained a harmless substance described by some as looking like talcum powder. One of these hoax letters was again addressed to NBC News in New York City. In addition, Judith Miller, the author of a book on bio-terrorism and a reporter on the Middle East for the New York Times, received an anthrax hoax letter at her office. The St. Petersburg Times and Fox News also received similar hoax letters.
The mailing of hoax letters cannot be considered the work of a copycat. For example, the NBC News hoax letter was mailed on September 20. This would have been two days after the NBC News letter containing anthrax was mailed from Trenton, New Jersey. The remaining hoax letters were mailed between October 5 and 9. News reports naming media outlets that received the original anthrax letters were on October 12 and 13. A copycat mailer could have acted only after October 12, when the public first became aware of the media anthrax letters. The person who sent the hoax letters was aware of the mailings of the original anthrax letters. The apparent purpose of mailing the hoax letters was to foster the anthrax scare and create a media frenzy.
The mailings of anthrax-laced letters from New Jersey and the Florida hoax letters that followed were probably coordinated. It is likely that at least two individuals were involved in the mailings. Experts who have seen the block lettering on the envelopes of the hoax letters and anthrax letters have concluded two different persons were responsible.
The mailing sites of Trenton, New Jersey and St. Petersburg, Florida were chosen, perhaps, to emphasize an Arab or Islamic connection in the minds of Americans. Trenton is the home of a large Arab-American community. Also, several of the September 11 hijackers had lived in both areas. The mailers of the anthrax and hoax letters wanted the public to think that remnants of al-Qaeda were still around and active.
However, the mailing of the anthrax letters shows a degree of media savvy that would be unusual for foreign Islamic terrorists. The persons who sent the letters knew which media outlets would have the greatest influence on the public. Even today, with the advent of cable and satellite television, the three major television broadcast networks remain as the primary source of news for most Americans. The New York Post and the National Enquirer are tabloid papers and were likely chosen for their sensational headlines. Of all the papers in New York City, the New York Post would have screamed the loudest concerning the threat from Islamic terrorists. For Americans who don’t follow the news, the National Enquirer, with its presence at every checkout stand in America, would convey the message. The desired effect in choosing these media outlets was to alarm the public and to remind them these terrorists wanted to destroy both America and Israel.
But only five of the seven anthrax letters were sent to media outlets. The remaining two were addressed to members of the United States Senate. These letters were posted on Tuesday, October 9, exactly three weeks from the first anthrax mailings, and four weeks from September 11. The letters were addressed to two of America’s most liberal Democrat Senators: Tom Daschle of South Dakota and Patrick Leahy of Vermont.
An aide opened the Daschle letter on October 15. A puff of powder quickly flew out of the letter. Capitol police were called and a Hazmat team sealed off the Senator’s office. This letter had a different note that read, “09-11-01, YOU CAN NOT STOP US. WE HAVE THIS ANTHRAX. YOU DIE NOW. ARE YOU AFRAID? DEATH TO AMERICA. DEATH TO ISRAEL. ALLAH IS GREAT.”
Once tests confirmed the Daschle letter actually contained anthrax, all Capitol mail was stopped and impounded for further investigation. The Leahy letter would be found on November 16 in the impounded mail. It also contained anthrax spores and an identical note. It is believed the Leahy letter was delayed and misdirected due to an initial misreading of the letter’s zip code.
The Senate letters had a fictitious return address indicating they came from school children. The return address read, “4th Grade, Greendale School, Franklin Park NJ 08852.” Apparently, it was thought a letter coming from school children would have a better chance of reaching the intended targets without raising suspicions.
The envelopes and notes have yielded few clues leading to the true identities of the persons who were responsible for the anthrax attacks. Obviously, the senders tried to mask who they were and to hide their true motives. Investigators turned to analyzing the anthrax material itself.
Anthrax is a spore-forming germ, Bacillus anthracis, and can be found in livestock such as sheep or cattle. Analysis of the spores from the letters reveled them all to be of the same strain. This particular strain, known as the Ames strain, was first researched at the Army’s Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), Fort Detrick, Maryland. This strain of anthrax bacteria originally came from a single cow that had died in Texas in 1981. Ames has the reputation of being deadlier than other anthrax strains. Some have called Ames the “gold standard” of anthrax.
From Fort Detrick, the Ames strain was sent to researchers in at least fifteen laboratories within the United States and six laboratories abroad. It is not known how many other universities and labs may have had access to the strain, but according to one law-enforcement official “more labs than you think” could have obtained the Ames strain.
In the past, microbiologists attending conferences on infectious diseases would take vials of various strains and simply swap them with each other to aid in their research. Martin Hugh-Jones, a scientist at Louisiana State University, stated that during this period deadly pathogens were traded “like playing cards.” In the real pre-9-11 scenario, any microbiologist in the world might have obtained the Ames strain.
Investigators examining the anthrax spores within the letters found them to be of different grades, with the best among them considered by some to be “weapons grade” material. A modern spray drying technique was used in preparing these spores, instead of the older method of milling. Also, radiocarbon dating found the spores to be relatively newly-created — not more than two years old.
Of the two anthrax letters that were recovered in New York City, the New York Post letter was found unopened and still contained the anthrax material. The NBC News anthrax letter tested positive for anthrax, but only a trace amount remained after it was opened. Major General John Parker, with the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command, said one of his scientists described the New York Post sample as, “looking like Purina Dog Chow.” It had coarse brown granules but was densely packed with anthrax spores and highly concentrated.
In contrast, the anthrax in the Daschle letter was like a fine white powder; General Parker compared it to talcum powder. Under the microscope the Daschle sample was ten times denser in anthrax spores when compared to the New York Post sample. The New York Times described the anthrax from the Daschle letter as consisting of nearly pure spores, with a concentration of a trillion spores per gram. However, the spores tended to cluster together, creating particles of variable size. Some of these particles would have been too large to penetrate human lungs.
A team of scientists at USAMRIID opened the Leahy letter on December 5. This letter also contained a very fine powder which was easily made airborne. The Leahy letter had particles that were smaller and more uniform in size compared to the Daschle letter. This made the anthrax spores in the Leahy letter even deadlier: Smaller spores of a uniform size have a better chance of entering the respiratory system and causing death.
It was reported the quality of the anthrax spores found in the Leahy letter surpassed previously known state-sponsored bio-weapons programs. According to Newsweek, “The Leahy anthrax…was coated with a chemical compound unknown to experts who have worked in the field for years; the coating matches no known anthrax samples ever recovered from biological-weapons producers anywhere in the world, including Iraq and the former Soviet Union.” The anthrax in the Leahy letter has proven to be a superior product. Bio-defense experts assisting the FBI have so far been unable to duplicate the anthrax material through any reverse engineering processes. Investigators are left with the uncertain choice of deciding if this was the work of a lone brilliant scientist — or a state-sponsored bio-weapons program.
So who sent the anthrax? Some, like Barbara Hatch Rosenberg with the leftist Federation of America Scientists (FAS), have a suspect. In her report, “Analysis of the Anthrax At tacks,” Rosenberg presents her profile of the anthrax attacker, accompanied by her own political biases. Rosenberg believes the attacker has connections with the U.S. government. She believes he is being protected by the FBI and has information on secret programs the government does not wish to be disclosed.
In her profile, Rosenberg identified the attacker as a bio-defense insider with a doctoral degree. He is a middle-aged American who is skilled in working with dangerous pathogens. She boldly claims he is also a CIA contractor based in the Washington, DC area. There is no mystery as to the identity of Rosenberg’s suspect. Her suspect is the person around whom she has built her profile: Dr. Steven J. Hatfill.
Barbara Rosenberg began her mission to ‘bring Dr. Hatfill to justice’ by giving a series of lectures and media interviews accusing the FBI of stalling the investigation. Eventually, she was able to arrange a meeting with Senate staffers and FBI agents in attendance. Several of the staffers worked for Senators Daschle and Leahy, the recipients of the anthrax letters. Without revealing his name, Barbara Rosenberg indicated to everyone there that her suspect, Dr. Hatfill, was responsible for the anthrax attacks.
A week later — apparently as a result of Senate pressure — the FBI brought Dr. Hatfill into public view. In an investigation that had previously been out of the spotlight, the media was now alerted to the FBI’s scrutiny of Rosenberg’s suspect. When the FBI searched Dr. Hatfill’s apartment, the media, with helicopters overhead, covered it live on national television. The whole world was now aware of the public pursuit (and some would later say the public persecution) of Dr. Hatfill.
When questioned by reporters concerning the attention Dr. Hatfill was getting, Attorney General John Ashcroft declared Hatfill to be not a suspect but a “person of interest.” A few commentators who follow legal issues have noted this “person of interest” expression is not referenced in any law books and, until recently, has not been a term used in investigations. Jonathan Shapiro, an attorney for Dr. Hatfill, referred to the term and said, “It’s a way for the Justice Department to tiptoe around the fact they’re crushing someone, ruining their lives, and not get sued by it. [sic]”
In response to this attention, Dr. Hatfill was forced to hold two press conferences and declare his innocence. On Aug. 11, 2002, Dr. Hatfill said, “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.”
Whatever their motives, the FBI was certainly having problems connecting Dr. Hatfill to the crimes: They could not place Hatfill in Trenton, New Jersey at the time of the mailings, and no residue of anthrax material could be found anywhere he had lived or visited. There was no physical evidence whatsoever connecting Dr. Hatfill with the anthrax mailings.
Hatfill is said to be one of perhaps 30 scientists who could have carried out this attack. His background as a former researcher at USAMRIID Fort Detrick, Maryland placed him on the list. However, Dr. Hatfill claims to be an expert on viruses such as Ebola and Marburg, and not on anthrax bacteria. Dr. Hatfill has publicly stated that he has never worked with anthrax.
The FBI initially interviewed Dr. Hatfill in January 2002, apparently as part of the investigation’s broader look at scientists with a connection to the bio-defense community. At that time, Dr. Hatfill took a lie-detector test in an effort to clear his name. The agent who gave him the test reportedly said, “I’m satisfied. I believe you had nothing to do with the anthrax.”
Steven Hatfill was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and grew up in Mattoon, Illinois. In the early 1970s he studied biology at Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas. During this period, he left his studies and traveled to Kapanga, Zaire, where he worked with Dr. Glenn Eschtruth as a medical missionary. After graduating from Southwestern in 1975, Hatfill enlisted in the United States Army. In October 1976 he married Caroline Eschtruth, the daughter of his mentor.
It would be only a few months after their marriage when Cuban-led mercenaries based in Angola attacked Dr. Eschtruth’s mission. The mercenaries captured Dr. Eschtruth and later executed him, a tragedy which left a strong impression on Hatfill. He and his wife Caroline were divorced in May 1978. Shortly thereafter, Hatfill returned to Africa and continued his medical education.
Hatfill attended the Godfrey Huggins Medical School in White-ruled Rhodesia, graduating in 1984. While in Rhodesia, Hatfill claims to have served with the Selous Scouts. The Selous Scouts were Rhodesia’s crack counterinsurgency troops used against the terrorists who wanted to overthrow the White government. In 1980, as a result of international pressure, Rhodesia was turned over to the Black Mugabe government, which still rules there today. The country would later have its name changed to Zimbabwe. In 1984, Hatfill moved to the Republic of South Africa to further his medical studies and research.
While in South Africa, Hatfill was in contact with Aquila, the paramilitary wing of the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) or Afrikaner Resistance Movement. The AWB was the largest White resistance group active in preventing the Black takeover of South Africa. Some have labeled the AWB a neo-Nazi organization. One has only to look at their political banner to come to this conclusion: It is very similar to National Socialist Germany’s swastika flag but, instead of a swastika, uses a triskelion — an ancient symbol which resembles three “sevens” arranged in a spinning design.
A colleague of Hatfill’s at Stellenbosch University’s radiobiology laboratory saw a newspaper photo of AWB leader Eugene Terre’Blanche surrounded by Dr. Hatfill and members of the Aquila Brigade. This colleague — in an apparent effort to expose Hatfill — placed the photo on the lab’s notice board. When confronted, Hatfill made no secret of his AWB ties. The colleague claimed, “This photo was put up on the lab notice board — and led to Hatfill boasting that he was the weapons trainer of the Western Cape Branch of Aquila.” Since that time, the photo has not been seen by the public.
Several amazing coincidences have contributed to the intense interest in Hatfill shown by investigators. They also help to explain why some, like Barbara Rosenberg, are so convinced Dr. Hatfill was responsible for the anthrax attacks.
One coincidence concerning Dr. Hatfill and his times in Africa is the “Greendale School” reference that appeared as the return address on the anthrax letters sent to Senators Daschle and Leahy. There was an upscale suburb of Salisbury, Rhodesia, known as Greendale; the neighborhood school was informally known as Greendale School. The school was actually named after White Rhodesian patriot Courtney Selous, after whom the Selous Scouts were named. As mentioned previously, Hatfill claims to have served with this group.
Another coincidence involves Dr. Hatfill’s commissioning William Patrick, an expert on weaponized anthrax, to write a report on the proper procedures to be used if an anthrax letter arrived in the mail. Hatfill’s employer at the time, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), saw a need for emergency responders to know exactly what to do if this were ever to occur.
In the SAIC report, written two years before the anthrax mailings, Patrick describes how a few grams of anthrax spores could be sent in envelopes and details the proper emergency procedures that should be followed if this were to take place. The report was provided to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. They, at the time, were working on a similar report and provided the information they assembled to police and fire departments via the Internet. Dr. Hatfill’s attorney Victor Glasberg denies the Patrick report was any type of “blueprint” for an anthrax mailing. Glasberg said, “There is zero data in the report. It shows you what you do after it happens.”
Perhaps the most suspicious coincidence was the mysterious anthrax hoax letter mailed from London, England, in November 2001, and addressed to Senator Tom Daschle. Within the envelope were a powdery substance and a threatening note. At the time of the mailing, Hatfill was in England training to be a United Nations bio-weapons inspector for a future mission in Iraq. As previously mentioned, several anthrax hoax letters were mailed to media organizations. This hoax letter was the first and only one sent to a Senator. Some within the FBI wonder if the London letter may have been an attempt to frame Dr. Hatfill.
One outfit that has spent a great deal of time and energy in blaming Dr. Hatfill for the anthrax attacks is the Jewish Defense Organization (JDO). This group has labeled Hatfill a “Nazi” because of his ties to the Afrikaner Resistance Movement. In The Weekly Standard article, “The Hunting of Steven J. Hatfill,” David Tell claims the JDO is responsible for spreading many of the damning accusations that now surround Dr. Hatfill. The JDO is an offshoot of the terrorist Jewish Defense League, founded by the late Rabbi Meir Kahane. Today, the JDO spends most of its time feeding reporters and commentators hateful and misleading information concerning Dr. Hatfill. Tell describes the JDO as the “central clearinghouse of Hatfill demonology.” He claims mainstream reporters will use the JDO material on Hatfill but will never acknowledge their source. It is interesting that a small extremist group like the Jewish Defense Organization appears to have been the first to “document” the background and personal history of Dr. Steven Hatfill.
Since the anthrax attacks, Dr. Hatfill’s life has been radically changed. The Justice Department had him fired from a $150,000 a year teaching job at Louisiana State University, and, to date, he has not found other employment. Though a spokesman Hatfill said, “My life has been completely and utterly destroyed by John Ashcroft and the FBI. I don’t have a job and 20 years of training has gone down the drain… My professional reputation is in tatters. All I have left is my savings and that will be exhausted soon because of legal bills.” The evidence is mounting that Dr. Hatfill is an innocent man and had nothing to do with the anthrax attacks. Reporters and investigators will realize this when those responsible for the anthrax mailings are identified.
There are two other bio-defense scientists who have received some attention in the anthrax investigation. But, unlike Hatfill, these scientists have rarely been mentioned in the press. Some believe one of these scientists may be responsible for the anthrax attacks.
On October 3, 2001, Dr. Ayaad Assaad, an Arab-American scientist and a former researcher at USAMRIID Fort Detrick, Maryland, was called into the Washington, DC offices of the FBI and was confronted with an anonymous letter that accused him of being “a potential biological terrorist.” The author of the letter claimed to be a former colleague of Dr. Assaad, and accused him of having a vendetta against the government. The meeting between Assaad and the FBI took place two days before it was known that Robert Stevens, the first victim of the anthrax attacks, had died. The letter was postmarked September 21 and was addressed to “Town of Quantico Police” in Virginia. Quantico is 25 miles south of Washington, DC and is home to both Marine Corps and FBI facilities.
A number of questions have arisen surrounding this letter. The timing of the letter is suspicious, given that it was written before there was public knowledge concerning the anthrax attacks. Dr. Assaad believes the letter was devised to implicate him in the coming attacks and to set him up as the ‘fall guy.’ He believes the person who sent the letter may also be responsible for the anthrax attacks. The FBI determined Dr. Assaad was not involved with terrorism and that the accusatory letter must have been a hoax.
But Dr. Assaad had reason to be concerned. A decade earlier, he, along with two other Arab-American scientists, all of whom were working at USAMRIID, were targeted and harassed by another group of scientists working there. The group that was harassing the Arab-Americans called themselves the “Camel Club.” One of the “Camel Club” members was Dr. Philip M. Zack, Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army. The apparent objective of the “Camel Club” was to drive the Arab-American scientists out of the bio-defense facility.
Shortly after the Persian Gulf War in 1991, Dr. Assaad found an eight-page poem in his mailbox authored by the “club.” The poem contained lewd and obscene remarks and was written in an attempt to harass and mock the Egyptian-born scientist. The authors of the poem referred to a rubber camel supposedly outfitted with various sexual appendages. A portion of the poem read: “In [Assaad’s] honor we created this beast; it represents life lower than yeast.” The letter states that each week the camel will be given “to who did the least.” Dr. Assaad reported these incidents to Fort Detrick’s commander, who at the time did little or nothing to stop the harassment. Dr. Assaad later sued the Army, claiming “discrimination.” Was this a case of “racism” — or of something going on at the lab which the harassers might not want an Arab scientist to see?
The Hartford Courant has been the only paper to have covered this story in detail. They reported that “Zack left Fort Detrick in December 1991, after a controversy over allegations of unprofessional behavior….” The paper later reported Dr. Zack was observed entering the lab after hours on January 23, 1992. A surveillance camera recorded Dr. Marian Rippy, one of the “Camel Club” members, letting Dr. Zack inside the building.
Lab technicians noticed a late-night intruder was tampering with their equipment. A 1992 inquiry found someone was conducting unauthorized research involving anthrax during the evening hours. An audit of the lab showed 27 sets of specimens — including anthrax spores — were unaccounted for or missing. One former commander at the facility said he did not believe any of the missing specimens were ever found.
Dr. Zack is said to be Jewish, and for some this makes him the leading anthrax suspect, particularly among those in Internet discussion groups. They see the harassment of Dr. Assaad, the late night research on anthrax, and the accusatory letter all pointing in Dr. Zack’s direction.
Ed Lake, the leading amateur investigator of the anthrax attacks, has done some important research concerning the letter sent to the authorities naming Dr. Assaad as a potential terrorist. Lake found that, after September 11, a great deal of speculation ensued concerning the possibility of another terrorist attack. The consensus was that the next attack would likely be biological in nature, and anthrax could be the weapon of choice. Lake did an analysis of how many times the word “anthrax” appeared in Internet discussion groups from September 8, 2001 to October 7, 2001. Not surprisingly, discussions concerning anthrax and a possible biological attack increased dramatically after September 11. Lake concluded, given the circumstances, it would not be unusual for someone to warn authorities concerning potential terrorist activity.
This is the most likely explanation for the anonymous letter. A former colleague of Dr. Assaad sent the letter out of genuine concern in preventing a biological attack. This person may or may not have been a participant in the “Camel Club” shenanigans but could have been influenced by them. It is unlikely Dr. Zack sent the accusatory letter, since it would have brought immediate attention upon himself and his suspicious activities a decade earlier. Also, it is equally difficult to believe Dr. Zack was responsible for the anthrax mailings.
So what other suspects remain? Our best-known suspect or “person of interest” is Dr. Steven J. Hatfill. But after an extensive investigation by the FBI, no physical evidence connects Hatfill with the mailings. Other possible suspects can be dismissed as easily as they are mentioned. Iraq and al-Qaeda are not responsible, even though some within the Bush administration and the news media would like to blame them. There have been suggestions the CIA could have sent the anthrax letters, if a hidden bio-weapons program existed within the agency. But what purpose would such an attack serve? It is hard to imagine a motive for the CIA to commit such an act. Were neo-Nazis, anti-abortionists, or right-wing militias the culprits? There are plenty of off-the-wall theories about possible suspects — even one involving a pagan cult in the Midwest — but nothing has panned out. There is, however, another possibility that needs to be considered.
“Who had the means, the motive, and the opportunity to have brought about these attacks?” is a basic question that needs to be asked. An extensive and well-developed biological warfare program exists within Israel today. A motive for the anthrax attacks would be to blame Arab terrorists or a ‘rogue nation’ for this atrocity and to help launch the United States into war against Israel’s enemies. Lastly, Israel had prior knowledge of the planned attacks on September 11.
Israel’s bio-weapons programs dates back to the earliest formation of the Zionist state. Dr. Avner Cohen documents Israel’s program in his paper, “Israel and Chemical/Biological Weapons: History, Deterrence, and Arms Control.” Cohen begins by describing how Zionists during the 1948 war poisoned the wells and water supplies of Arab villagers. According to Israeli military historian Dr. Uri Milstein, the typhoid epidemic that spread throughout the costal town of Acre in May 1948 was the result of Zionist Jews contaminating the Arabs’ water supply. In Gaza the Jews failed in a similar attempt. The Egyptian Army found four Jews disguised as Arabs near the water wells. The four terrorists were caught with a canteen filled with dysentery and typhoid bacteria. All four were tried, convicted, and hanged within a three-month period. Dr. Cohen questions if the two incidents were isolated or part of a larger program of bio-warfare during the 1948 war.
Israel’s bio-weapons facilities are located at the Israel Institute of Biological Research (IIBR) in Ness Ziona (also Nes Ziona, Nes Tona) a few miles southeast of Tel Aviv. In 1952 the IIBR consisted of a single building hidden in an orange grove. Today, the IIBR has grown into a massive 14-acre compound with several hundred employees surrounded by high walls and electronic sensors. What goes on behind those high walls is something Israel would prefer to be kept secret.
Dutch journalist Karel Knip has researched the IIBR and came up with some interesting findings. Knip began by going through medical literature he found on the Internet. Specifically, he focused on the papers of 140 scientists affiliated with IIBR over the last five decades. With the help of experts on chemical and biological weapons, Knip developed an overview of the various programs that exist at IIBR. Knip found IIBR research began in the 1950s involving plague, typhus, and rabies. Dr. Avner Cohen discusses Knip’s findings in his paper and states, “… a significant number of studies at IIBR focused on anti-livestock agents, following the path of other national BW [bio-weapons] programs at the time.” ‘Anti-livestock agents’ is Cohen’s cryptic reference to Israel’s anthrax programs.
A motive for Israel in launching the anthrax attacks would be to bring America into war against Iraq and to remove that country as a potential threat to the Jewish state. When Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, the United States Senate was thrown into a heated debate as to whether or not this country should go to war. Senator Tom Daschle took the lead in being against American involvement. In order for Israel to achieve her war objective, this time Senator Daschle would have to be removed — or turned toward Israel’s position. Either way, Israel would win.
Likewise, Senator Patrick Leahy ran afoul of the Israelis when he introduced his Leahy Amendment to the Foreign Operations Appropriations Act. The Leahy Amendment, also called the Leahy Law, prohibits American arms sales to foreign security or military units that systematically violate human rights. The Israeli military routinely tortures Palestinian prisoners, assassinates Arab political figures, and fires American-made rockets and missiles into civilian crowds and apartment buildings. If an American administration ever decided to enforce the Leahy Law, Israel would find herself under an arms embargo. Eliminating or ‘turning’ her Senatorial adversaries — a gamble she couldn’t lose — would be powerful motives for Israel to target Senators Daschle and Leahy for political assassination by anthrax.
For Israel to have initiated the anthrax attacks, prior knowledge of the al-Qaeda plot was essential. The Mossad, Israel’s external intelligence service, has made it their mission to track Arab terrorists around the world. Indirect evidence of Mossad’s surveillance of the al-Qaeda hijackers prior to September 11 can be found in the Drug Enforcement Agency report, “Suspicious Activities Involving Israeli Art Students at DEA Facilities,” and in an investigative report from Fox News.
In March 2001, an alert was issued by the National Counterintelligence Executive, a branch of the CIA, warning federal employees to be aware of “suspicious visitors to federal facilities.” There had been reports of Middle Eastern persons showing up at government buildings — many of them DEA offices — claiming to be Israeli art students. At first it was thought the Israeli art students might be Arab terrorists planning an attack. However, it later turned out the art students were indeed Israelis.
The Israelis would appear unannounced at various government offices or at the homes of federal officials. They would falsely identify themselves as art students from the University of Jerusalem or Bazala Academy in Israel and attempt to sell their artwork on canvas. Astute government employees soon discovered the Israelis were more interested in obtaining information than in selling artwork. The students, in the course of their conversations, would ask for business cards and inquire about the officials’ work activities and those of their associates. At times, the Israelis were found breaching government entrances through back doors and parking garages. Others appeared at government offices that were hidden or undisclosed to the local community. Some were found with diagrams of government buildings showing entrances and offices of various employees — indicating prior surveillance. Others were found with photographs of government agents. One Israeli had a computer printout with the heading “DEA groups.”
The DEA, with the help of the FBI, began to compile a report on the Israeli art students. The report, prepared in June 2001, listed over one hundred Israelis by name along with their personal identifying information. After the Israelis were arrested, the government, for sensitive political reasons, was reluctant to prosecute any of them for espionage, so they let them go.
One DEA agent, in an apparent attempt to prevent a government cover-up, had the report posted on the Internet in March 2002. The report provides information obtained from the Israelis during their interrogations. In a general assessment of the Israelis, the report states, “Most admit to having served in the Israeli Military. This is not surprising given the mandatory military service require [sic] in Israel, however, a majority of those questioned has [sic] stated they served in military intelligence, electronic signal intercept, or explosive ordnance units.”
Within the various agencies of the U.S. government, there was a debate regarding the entire Israeli art student phenomenon. Most were convinced this was an intelligence operation, but at the time its purpose was unclear. The best clue in understanding the mystery was their main target: the Drug Enforcement Agency. Although the Israelis penetrated other federal facilities, such as military bases, the spies seemed focused on the DEA.
During this period, the DEA was investigating the activities of Israeli organized crime. Israeli mobsters, along with the Russian Mafia, control the distribution of the drug Ecstasy in America. It should be noted there is no real difference between these two criminal organizations. It has been known for a long time that the Russian Mafia is made up of Russian Jews from the former Soviet Union. Questions still remain: Why were Israeli spies posing as art students interested in the activities of the DEA? What connection does the Mossad have with the Russian Mafia? The conclusion that best fits the known facts is that Israeli intelligence launched an operation against the DEA to protect their new intelligence asset, the Russian Mafia, from prosecution.
After September 11, the activities of Israeli art students were seen in a new light. The FBI began to investigate the trail left by the Arab hijackers and found many of them had residences in Florida. Interestingly, one third of the art student spies were also based in Florida. It was discovered that some of the Israeli art students had addresses in the same locations as the hijackers. One commentator said that, at times, they were just yards apart.
Carl Cameron with Fox News was the first major reporter to break this story, in a four-part series that aired in December 2001. In the series, Cameron gives several examples of Israeli espionage activities in America. In his first report, Cameron focuses on the Israeli surveillance of the Arab hijackers. Cameron reported, “There is no indication that the Israelis were involved in the 9/11 attacks, but investigators suspect that the Israelis may have gathered intelligence about the attacks in advance, and not shared it.”
Cameron based his reporting on information he obtained from investigators in the FBI, DEA, and the INS. In his report, one investigator acknowledged there were “tie-ins” between the Israelis and the Arab hijackers. However, it appears Carl Cameron was unable to present on Fox News all that he learned concerning these “tie-ins.”
Alan Simpson, in a short piece that he wrote for his own online publication, Spies Magazine, picked up the story where Fox News left off. In an article entitled, “Art, Espionage and Cover Ups,” Simpson appears to have obtained the unaired portions of Carl Cameron’s report concerning the Israelis’ monitoring of the hijackers. Simpson cites the following as coming from “the original investigative report [Carl Cameron’s] breaking the story.” The following are direct quotes from Alan Simpson’s article.
“According to the FBI list, the Arab terrorist and suspect cells lived in the same neighborhoods as the Israeli cells in Irving, Texas and Hollywood and Miami, Florida from Dec. 2000 to April 2001. In the case of Irving, the Israeli cell used a rental mailbox in a shopping center just one block away from an Arab suspect’s apartment. In Hollywood, the terrorists, including lead hijacker Mohammad Atta, the Egyptian who piloted American Airlines Flight 11 into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, used a rental mailbox drop two blocks from an apartment rented by an Israeli ‘art student’ team leader.
“It is not the only case where the Israelis were found to be in the same location as the Saudi cells. According to the DEA Report, another Israeli team operating out of Hollywood, Florida, led by team leader Hanan Serfaty lived at 4220 Sheridan St., #303, Hollywood, Florida 33021 (Emerald Greens Apartments) while the Saudi hijackers Khalid Al Midhar, Abdulaziz al Omari, Walid Al Shehri, and UAE national Marwan al Shehri, operated from a mail drop at Mailbox Rentals, 3389 Sheridan St. #256, Hollywood, Florida 33021-3608. Another Serfaty residence at 701 S. 21st Ave., Hollywood was located near the homes of Atta and Al Shehri, including a residence on Jackson Street, just a few blocks away, and the Bimini Motel Apartments, Apartment 8, at 1600 North Ocean Drive. On September 7, just days before their terrorist attack, Atta and Al Shehri spent several hours at Shuckums Oyster Bar and Grill at 1814 Harrison St., just blocks away form Serfaty’s 21st Ave. residence. A Miami-based Israeli unit, led by Legum Yochai, operated from 13753 SW 90th Ave., Miami while hijacker Al Shehri lived nearby at Horizons Apartments, 8025 SW 107th Ave.”
Cameron’s reporting appears in part to be based upon a secret FBI document that shows the “tie-ins” between the Israeli spies and the Arab hijackers. The fact that a secret FBI document exists is also evident in the Die Zeit article, “Next Door to Mohammed Atta.” Die Zeit, a German paper, based their article on information obtained from the French intelligence agency. The FBI apparently shared their report on Mossad activity with the French. The following portions of the article “Next Door to Mohammed Atta,’ closely parallels Carl Cameron’s unaired report.
“Not until after the attacks of September 11 did the consequences of the spy ring become clear. Apparently the agents were not interested in military or industrial facilities [sic], but were shadowing a number of suspects, who were later involved in the terrorist attacks against the U.S. According to a report of the French intelligence agency that Die Zeit examined, ‘according to the FBI, Arab terrorists and suspected terror cells lived in Phoenix, Arizona, as well as in Miami and Hollywood, Florida from December 2000 to April 2001 in direct proximity to the Israeli spy cells.’
“According to the report, the Mossad agents were interested in the leader of the terrorists, Mohammed Atta, and his key accomplice, Marwan al-Shehi. Both lived in Hamburg before they settled in Hollywood, Florida in order to plan the attacks. A Mossad team was also operating in the same town. The leader, Hanan Serfati, had rented several dwellings. ‘One of Serfati’s apartments was located on the corner of 701st St. and 21st Ave. [sic] in Hollywood, right near the apartment of Atta and al-Shehi,’ French intelligence reported later. Everything indicates that the terrorists were constantly observed by the Israelis. The chief Israeli agent was staying right near the post office where the terrorists had a mailbox.”
Le Monde, the French paper of record, in the article, “An Enigma: Vast Israeli Spy Network Dismantled in the U.S.,” also appears to have had access to the secret FBI document or at least the French intelligence agency’s version of it. The French paper provided a new detail and reported that six of the Israeli spies had cellular telephones bought by an Israeli ex-vice-consul. Another source reported some of the phones had a special walkie-talkie feature which made them difficult to intercept. This would indicate the spying was not some rogue operation — but was instead directed by Israel.
The evidence is overwhelming that Israel, in the first half of 2001, launched an extensive intelligence-gathering operation within the United States. One part of their assignment was to learn as much as possible concerning the DEA investigations of the Russian Mafia and Israeli organized crime. Their other task was to monitor the al-Qaeda terrorists.
Through electronic surveillance of the hijackers, the Israelis would have been able to learn the time and place for the September 11 attack. If the spies were monitoring the hijackers’ Internet activities, they would have known the date of the flights and airlines involved since the hijacker’s tickets were bought online.
A newspaper article that appeared in Haaretz, an Israeli paper, further indicates prior knowledge of the coming attack. Haaretz reported two Israeli employees of Odigo — an instant messaging company with offices near the World Trade Center and also in Israel — received a warning two hours before the attack. This, roughly, would have been when the hijackers were seen boarding their planes. The Mossad, in order to minimize Jewish losses around the World Trade Center area, could have easily issued the warning via the instant message service. The Washington Post reported, “The Odigo service includes a feature called People Finder that allows users to seek out and contact others based on certain interests or demographics.” Those whose interests relate to Israel or Jewish topics could have received the message — even if the persons were unknown to the sender. On that day, the Odigo warning may have saved many Jewish lives.
Another mystery surrounding September 11 concerns insider trading of “put” options days before the attacks. Put options, a variation on short selling of a stock, are investments that constitute a bet that a stock will decline in the near future. A few Israelis would have been in a position to make a great deal of money before the al-Qaeda attacks. An unknown number of insider traders made millions of dollars by buying puts during the three business days prior to the World Trade Center attack. United and American airline stocks had highly significant numbers of put options placed upon them, while other airline stocks were not affected in a major way. Only United and American planes were hijacked. A number of insurance and investment companies also had unusual put options placed on their shares. The names of the investors who profited from the tragedy of September 11 have never been released.
Obviously Israel’s overarching objective in the anthrax mailings was to terrorize America. Once the people realized they were again under attack, panic and shock spread throughout the land. But Israel had a special reason for this type of bio-terrorism. For Israel the anthrax attacks had an important strategic purpose, namely shifting the new war away from al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and toward Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
Shortly thereafter, the cry went out concerning Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction and her supposed ties to terrorists. With the help of Israel’s neo-conservative allies within the Office of the Vice President, the Pentagon, think tanks (such as the American Enterprise Institute), and some media outlets (like the Wall Street Journal), the campaign for invading Iraq was launched. The campaign, for the most part, was based upon lies. Some of these lies came directly from Israel.
Within the office of Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, a unit was established to prepare “intelligence” reports in English for a new group within the Pentagon known as the Office of Special Plans (OSP). In addition to the Israeli input, some of the OSP’s questionable intelligence came from Iraqi exiles. The Office of Special Plans bypassed the CIA and took the cooked intelligence directly to the Oval Office. The CIA, for the most part, tried to be professional in their analysis, but in the end the neocons and the Israelis got their war against Iraq.
There was no massive intelligence failure that led America to go to war in Iraq. Instead, it was a massive intelligence fraud. Some suspect the forged Niger documents, concerning the allegation that Iraq tried to obtain “yellow cake” uranium oxide from that African country, may have originated with the Israelis. Also, the unconfirmed report on the alleged meeting of Mohammed Atta and an Iraqi agent in Prague was most likely disinformation on the part of Israel. In one bizarre aspect of the story, the London Times reported the Iraqi agent was seen giving Atta a vial of anthrax. The Times reported this as if it actually occurred — and said Israeli security sources observed the transfer.
Israel’s objective was to bring America into a new war against Iraq. When the al-Qaeda plot was discovered, Israel let the terrorists proceed, thereby insuring America would go to war. The anthrax attack that followed was the bio-terror event needed to focus America’s attention upon Iraq and its alleged weapons of mass destruction. However, Israel had planned the anthrax attacks upon America years before the discovery of the al-Qaeda plot. The anthrax hoaxes that preceded the anthrax attacks were an integral part of the conspiracy.
The planning for the anthrax attacks of 2001 goes back to at least 1997. In April of that year, the national headquarters of the Jewish organization B’nai B’rith in Washington, DC received a package that contained a petri dish labeled Anthracis Yersinia, implying the dish contained bacteria that could cause anthrax infections or plague. The dish had been broken and was leaking a red fluid. Tests later determined the petri dish to be relatively harmless, and it did not contain the bacteria Anthracis or Yersinia. However, it did contain Bacillus cereus, which is less dangerous and is sometimes used as an anthrax simulant.
A two-page typed letter accompanied the petri dish. The letter was largely incoherent and contained comments on Jews, Nazis, and the ‘Holocaust.’ The letter was signed, “The Counter Holocaust Lobbyists of Hillel.” Months prior to the B’nai B’rith hoax, a movement was forming on college campuses calling for a debate to question some assertions concerning the ‘Holocaust.’ Those responsible for the mailing chose to blame historical revisionists or so-called “Holocaust deniers.”
The B’nai B’rith hoax received a great deal of media attention. Television outlets like CNN and other networks broadcast the incident live to a national audience. The nearby area was evacuated, and for a period of time office personnel were quarantined. The case has never been solved, and the cost to the government was two million dollars.
Israel’s Mossad most likely was responsible for the mailing. The hoax benefited Israel and the Jews in several ways. First, national publicity was generated in this first major anthrax scare. Second, sympathy was elicited for the Jewish organization that was attacked. Third, the persons supposedly responsible — namely, those who have questions concerning the ‘Holocaust’ — were demonized. However, on another level, something more important was achieved: This would be the first anthrax hoax used to implicate Dr. Steven Hatfill.
Dr. Hatfill was attending a terrorism seminar in Washington, DC the day the B’nai B’rith incident occurred. At the time, Hatfill was employed as a researcher at the National Institutes of Health where he likely had access to petri dishes containing bacteria. This, in all probability, was the reason a petri dish from a bioresearch lab was used this time, instead of a suspicious powder. This anthrax hoax, along with others that followed, would help to make a circumstantial case against Dr. Hatfill if a real anthrax attack ever occurred.
Dr. Hatfill likely came to the attention of the Mossad when he first appeared in a photo with Afrikaner Resistance Movement leader Eugene Terre’Blanche and members of the paramilitary unit Aquila. The Mossad’s front organization, the South African Board of Jewish Deputies, would have taken notice of the newspaper photo. As an organization, they keep track of individuals and groups they consider hostile to Jews and their interests. The Afrikaner Resistance Movement would be the type of organization they would want to monitor. The information they obtained on Dr. Hatfill could very well have been passed onto the Mossad. In America, the sister organization to the South African Board of Jewish Deputies is the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
Don Foster, an English professor at Vassar and at times a forensic linguistic analyst for the FBI, reviewed several of the anthrax hoaxes in an article he wrote for Vanity Fair. Foster believes Hatfill is a good candidate for the anthrax perpetrator, and is impressed by the apparent relationship between Hatfill and the anthrax hoaxes. Foster said, “When I line up Hatfill’s known movements with the postmark locations of reported biothreats, those hoax anthrax attacks appeared to trail him like a vapor cloud.” In his article, Foster implies Hatfill was responsible for the B’nai B’rith hoax and suggests he may have been responsible for others that followed.
Another hoax, that Foster thinks “trails” Hatfill, occurred in August 1998. In this incident, a white powder was dispersed throughout several floors of the Finney State Office Building in Wichita, Kansas. Foster suggests this was a re-enactment of a bio-terror scenario that Hatfill developed as a part of his responsibilities while employed at USAMRIID. Foster also implies Hatfill and his new mentor, anthrax expert William Patrick, were in the area of Wichita the day of the incident and later arrived together in San Diego to attend an anti-terrorism conference.
An anti-government Christian Identity group claimed responsibility for the office building incident in a rambling 11-page letter. Christian Identity is an unusual religious sect that looks upon Jews in less than flattering terms. A basic tenet of Christian Identity is the claim that the “chosen people” of the Old Testament are the peoples of Europe and their descendants, with the Jews of today considered to be the offspring of Satan.
The Wichita incident is similar to the B’nai B’rith anthrax hoax. Both were designed to implicate Dr. Hatfill solely by his presence in the areas where they took place. In both cases the Mossad wanted the public to know that groups thought to be hostile to Jewish interests had claimed responsibility for the terrorist acts. Also, the same type of rambling disjointed letters accompanied the attacks, probably written in an effort to mislead the FBI and other investigators.
Several other anthrax hoaxes were designed to implicate Dr. Hatfill. The most important one was the anthrax hoax letter mailed from London and addressed to Senator Tom Daschle. Hatfill at this time was in England training with the United Nations weapons inspectors. The Mossad used the anthrax hoaxes to misdirect the authorities. By following these false leads the FBI and other law enforcement agencies wasted valuable time and resources investigating and shadowing Dr. Hatfill.
Israel is perhaps the only country in the world that could have succeeded in the anthrax attack upon America. With the help of Jewish scientists from the former Soviet Union, Israel’s bio-weapons research has probably surpassed that of all other nations. The Soviet Union’s bio-weapons program had 32,000 scientists and staff working in 40 different research and production facilities. Two thousand of these scientists worked exclusively on the Soviet anthrax program. A significant number of these scientists may have immigrated to Israel and become employed in her bio-weapons programs.
Anthony Cordesman with the Center for Strategic and International Studies wrote a report, “National Developments of Biological Weapons in the Middle East: An Analytic Overview,” assessing Israel’s bio-weapons programs. Cordesman reports Israel has stockpiled anthrax at her bio-warfare center, and at times provides Israeli intelligence with deadly pathogens to be used for assassinations. Anthony Cordesman unknowingly has given us the “smoking gun” pointing to Israel’s responsibility in the anthrax attacks.
On the day of September 11, 2001 the Mossad was waiting for al-Qaeda to strike. Soon the greatest bio-terror event in history would follow. Different grades of anthrax were prepared at Israel’s bio-warfare center at Ness Ziona. Coarse brown granules that would cause only skin infections were prepared for the New York media letters. The deadlier “weapons grade” anthrax was reserved for Senators Daschle and Leahy.
The envelopes were pre-addressed and waiting for the letters and the anthrax material to be placed in them. The letters were written with only the date at the top to be added later. In his analysis, Ed Lake has suggested the “09-11-01” top portion of the letter seems to have been printed at a different time and perhaps by a different hand. This would be a necessary precaution if the terror flights were changed or delayed by a few days.
On the day of September 11, or perhaps shortly thereafter, copies of the original letter were made at a publicly accessible copier in New Jersey. Through analysis of scratches on the glass, the FBI is certain they have found the copier used to produce the letters. The original letter used to make the copies may have been destroyed. The Mossad officer could have taken the copies to Israel the next day. The anthrax letters were likely prepared, taped, and brought back to America days later via Israeli diplomatic pouch into New York City or Washington, DC. This speculative scenario could have all occurred within the week that followed September 11. The first batch of anthrax letters was mailed in Trenton, New Jersey, exactly one week after the devastating airplane attacks.
Israel took a huge gamble when she attacked America, but this was not the first time. In June 1967, at the height of the Six Day Arab-Israeli War, Israel deliberately attacked an American intelligence ship, the USS Liberty, in an attempt to destroy the vessel and to lay blame on the Arabs. They failed to sink the ship, but 34 navy crewmen were killed and 171 were wounded. A cover-up was ordered at the highest levels by the U.S. government.
Israel must not be allowed to continue in her attacks upon America or in her misdirection of our foreign policy. Israel must be disarmed of all weapons of mass destruction. If not stopped, she may strike again, perhaps this time by exploding a radioactive “dirty bomb” in a major American city. Fake signal intelligence could be generated by Israel to indicate that a country such as Iran was responsible. Jewish neo-conservatives in America could then argue that since we were attacked by Iran with a radioactive weapon, our response against Iran should also be nuclear. If President Bush acceded to this advice, Israel would have destroyed yet another Middle Eastern country and brought us another step closer to global war. Israel is an enemy, not a friend. America and her political leadership must finally realize this important fact.
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