Vanguards of Conquest Al Qaeda, Anthrax, and Ayman Zawahiri Ross I. Getman, Esq.
Al Qaeda, Anthrax and Ayman Copyright 2002 Ross E. Getman, Esq.
Wikipedia: Anthrax Attack
|With Carl Limbacher and NewsMax.com Staff
Friday, Sept. 16, 2005 11:50 a.m. EDT
|For the story behind the story... |
FBI: No Leads in Anthrax Case
Four years after anthrax attacks killed five Americans, one of the most exhaustive investigations in FBI history
has produced no arrests – and is showing signs of growing cold.
In the past year the number of FBI agents working on the case has dropped from 31 to 21, and the number of
postal inspectors has fallen from 13 to 9.
FBI officials say investigators are still working diligently to find who was responsible for the anthrax-laced
mailings, the Washington Post reports.
The anthrax attacks killed five people in Florida, New York, Connecticut and Washington, D.C., sickened 17
and led to the temporary shutdown of the House, Senate and Supreme Court buildings.
Plotters Have Been Captured Or Killed
The December 15, 2004 Washington
Post editorial "Anthrax Killer At Large" is basically sound and certainly well-intentioned. The editorial argues that it is
worrisome that the person or persons responsible for the anthrax mailings has not been caught-- and suggests that it is a
measure of our homeland security effort.
But consider an opposing view. The CIA
and FBI has killed, detained or otherwise neutralized members of a provable Al Qaeda/Egyptian Islamic Jihad anthrax conspiracy
and the press just has not noticed. (For example, not only was key planner Atef killed, but those captured have included KSM,
Hambali, Yazid Sufaat, bacteriologist Abdul Qadus Khan, and the Blind Sheikh's son on the WMD
committee -- as well as various likely US-based supporters. Indeed, one might one instead view Amerithrax as a huge though
yet unheralded success -- unheralded because there is still work left to do.
Might the fact that
there has been no anthrax attack be a silent testament to the effectiveness of the effort? Of course, if someone like Dr.
Hatfill or Dr. Berry were responsible, there is little future threat from the
same perpetrators because there would be no motive. Indeed, I'd say the FBI and CIA and
Postal Inspectors are doing a thorough job notwithstanding the media's obliviousness to their not-so-secret successes related
to an Al Qaeda conspiracy to use weaponized anthrax against the US.
In early June 2003, a Central Intelligence Agency ("CIA") report publicly disclosed that
the reason for Mohammed Atta's and Zacarias Moussaoui's inquiries into cropdusters was for the contemplated use in dispersing
biological agents such as anthrax. An early September 2003 Newsweek article included a rumor by a Taliban source that at a
meeting in April 2003 Bin Laden was planning an "unbelievable" biological attack, the plans for which had suffered a setback
upon the arrest of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed ("KSM"). He had been captured the previous month in Rawalpindi,
Pakistan. In November 2003, a report by a UN Panel of experts concluded
that Al Qaeda is determined to use chemical and biological weapons and is restrained only by technical difficulties.
In a statement issued June 16, 2004, the 9/11 Commission Staff concluded
that "Al Qaeda had an ambitious biological weapons program and was making advances in its ability to produce anthrax prior
to September 11. According to Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet, al Qaeda’s ability to conduct an anthrax
attack is one of the most immediate threats the United States
is likely to face." On August 9, 2004, it was announced
that in the Spring of 2001, a man named El-Shukrijumah, also known as Jafar the Pilot, who was part of a "second wave," had
been casing New York City helicopters. Photographs from a seized computer disc
included the controls and the locks on the door between the passengers and pilot. In a bulletin, the FBI noted that the surveillance
might relate to a plot to disperse chemical or biological weapon.
reportedly has been quietly building a case that the anthrax mailings were an international plot. This is old news. It's just
no longer bureaucratically impolite to openly contest the FBI's (former) theory about a lone, American scientist. Many people
have argued that a US-based Al Qaeda operative is behind the earlier Fall 2001 anthrax mailings in the US, and that the mailings
served as a threat and warning. Princeton islamist scholar Bernard Lewis has explained that while islamists
may disagree about whether killing innocents is sanctioned by the laws of jihad, extremists like Zawahiri agree that notice
must be given before biochemical weapons are used. The anthrax mailings followed the pattern of letters they sent in January
1997 to newspaper branches in Washington, D.C. and New
York City, as well as symbolic targets. The letter bombs were sent in connection with the detention
of the blind sheikh Abdel Rahman and those responsible for the earlier World Trade
Center bombing in 1993.
Handwritten notes and files
on a laptop seized upon the capture of KSM, Al Qaeda's #3, included a feasible anthrax production plan using a spray dryer
and addressed the recruitment of necessary expertise. What your morning paper did not tell you, however, was that the CIA
seized a similar disc from Ayman Zawahiri's right-hand, Ahmed Salama Mabruk, 5 years earlier. The computer disk was confiscated
from him during his arrest by the CIA in Azerbaijan
and handed over to the Egyptian authorities. Mabruk, at the time, was the head of Jihad's military operations. There is a
risk that observers underestimate the time that Al Qaeda has had to make progress in such recruitment and research and development.
Some may still think that even in the final stages of the 9/11 plot, Zacarias Moussaoui was going to fly a 5th plane into
the Capitol or White House. Others argue that he was to be part of a second wave of airliners directed to targets on the West
Coast. There is an e-mail by Moussaoui, however, dated July 31, 2001 indicating that he sought to take a crop dusting course
that was to last up to 6 months. In March 2003, Mohammed reportedly said that Moussaoui was not going to be part of 9/11 but
was to be part of a "second wave." Although Ramzi Binalshibh provided him $14,000 in July, accused September 11 conspirator
Zacarias Moussaoui told his trial judge that he had an al Qaeda mission that would have come after the terrorist attacks.
KSM explained that Moussaoui's inquiries about crop dusters may have been related to the anthrax work being done by US-trained
biochemist and Al Qaeda operative, Malaysian Yazid Sufaat. Zacarias Moussaoui, never the sharpest tool in the shed and thought
by his superiors to be unreliable, has told the judge at his trial in a filing that he wants "anthrax for Jew sympathizer
only." Al Qaeda's regional operative, Hambali, who was at a key January 2000 meeting and supervised Sufaat, has been captured.
Hambali reportedly is cooperating to some degree. KSM and Hambali sent al-Hindi (al-Britani), along with Jafar the Pilot,
to case NYC targets for a second wave. It was as part of that surveillance in early 2001 that Jafar the Pilot studied tourist
helicopters in the NYC area.
Sufaat, according to both
KSM and Hambali, did not have the virulent US Army Ames strain that would be used. That would require someone who had access
to the strain. But if experience is any guide, nothing would stand in the way of Dr. Ayman Zawahiri's decade-long quest to
weaponize and use anthrax against US targets that was described by one confidante to an Egyptian newspaper reporter. The islamist
had been released from Egyptian prison and had known Zawahiri well for many years. Emails from Zawahiri to Atef in the Spring
of 1999 indicate that Ayman was a close student of the USAMRIID anthrax program. He believed that the koran instructed that
a jihadist should use the weapons used by the crusader. "What we know is that he's always said it was a religious obligation
to have the same weapons as their enemies," former CIA OBL unit counterterrorism chief
Michael Scheuer has said. The Wall Street Journal reported that a computer used by Zawahiri contains a June 1999 memo that
"said the program should seek cover and talent in educational institutions, which it said were 'more beneficial to us and
allow easy access to specialists, which will greatly benefit us in the first stage, God willing.''
Zawahiri was associated with a faction of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad known as the Vanguards of Conquest. Zawahiri and the
Vanguards of Conquest were seeking to recreate Mohammed's taking of mecca by a small band through violent attacks on Egyptian
leaders. By 1998, Zawahiri had determined that the Egyptian Islamic Jihad should focus on its struggle against the United
States and hold off on further attacks against the Egyptian regime.
A key question is how they acquired the anthrax strain first isolated by the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Lab in 1980.
According to senior counterterrorism officials, both here and abroad, among the supporters of these militant islamists were
people who blended into society and were available to act when another part of the network requested it.
A few days before Christmas 2003, after a renewed audiotape threat by Zawahiri of attacks, to include in the US
homeland, the threat level was raised to orange or "high." After the alert condition had long since returned to yellow, Zawahiri
in late February issued another audiotape. He urged the President that brigades and brigades would be coming under the banner
of jihad carrying death and seeking paradise. Zawahiri said that the US
should expect another 9/11 on US soil. According to some reports,
Zawahiri is thought by intelligence to be somewhere near the border of Pakistan
and Afghanistan. At one time, some thought he had been spotted
in Iran. Wherever he is, authorities need to focus on the
traceable connection between him and those he or Atef recruited.
2001, did the FBI profilers know of the draft message Khalid Mohammed had on the seized laptop (from 1995) that was signed
"Khalid Sheikh Bojinka"? The letter threatened to use biochemical weapons if the blind sheikh was not released. (Khalid Mohammed's
involvement dates back to Bojinka, as does Hambali's). Use of biochemical weapons as blackmail and threatened retaliation
for such detentions was an alternative scenario in the Bojinka planning.
2004, Patrick Hughes, Lieutenant General (Retired), Assistant Secretary for Information Analysis, Homeland Security Department
testified before the 9/11 Commission. He explained that interrogations and other evidence revealed that Al Qaeda wanted to
strike the US with a nonconventional weapon, most notably
anthrax. The same week, the WTC head testified that while they had not received any briefing on the use of planes, they had
taken steps to prepare for an attack using anthrax based on intelligence that had been received.
Al Qaeda has had anthrax, the raw seed product in its unweaponized form, since at least 1997, when it was purchased
by Bin Laden through the Moro Islamic Liberation Front ("Moro Front" or "MILF"). Zawahiri, Al Qaeda's #2, is head of Al Qaeda's
biochemical program. The CIA has known of Zawahiri's plans to use anthrax for a half decade.
The confidante and right-hand man of Dr. Ayman Zawahiri admitted that Zawahiri succeeded in obtaining anthrax and intended
to use it against US targets. Another senior Al Qaeda member (a shura or policy-making council member no less) was working
for the Egyptian intelligence services and he confirmed the report in a sworn lengthy confession. Even Zawahiri's attorney
in 1999 said that Bin Laden and Zawahiri were likely to resort to the biological and chemical agents they possessed given
the extradition pressure senior Al Qaeda leaders faced. A recently released islamist who had been a close associate of Zawahiri
said that Zawahiri spent a decade and had made 15 separate attempts to recruit the necessary expertise to weaponize anthrax
in Russia and the Middle East. The
US Army recipe was not used, and obtaining the unprocessed Ames strain of anthrax
used does not warrant the weight given it by some press accounts. There was lax control over the distribution of the Ames
strain that was used, especially in light of the fact that transfers were not even required to be recorded prior to 1997.
Significantly, the individual who isolated it nearly a quarter century ago (now retired), upon being contacted, does not even
report that he necessarily sent the only copy of the strain to Ft. Detrick.
Senator Patrick Leahy at a Congressional hearing in the Spring of 2002 noted that the FBI had collected the Ames
strain from 20 sources. In Fall 2004, MSNBC, relying on an unnamed FBI spokesperson, reports that the FBI has narrowed the
pool of labs known to have had Ames that was a match from 16 to 4 but cannot rule out that it was made overseas.
Al Qaeda's anthrax production plans on Khalid Mohammed's computer did not evidence knowledge of advanced techniques
in the most efficient biological weapons. At least according to the public comments by bioweaponeer experts William Patrick
and Kenneth Alibek, under the optimal method, there is no electrostatic charge. In the case of the anthrax used in the mailings,
there was an electrostatic charge. Although there was a dominance of single spores and a trillion spore concentration, there
were clumps as large as 40 - 100 microns. (Spores must be no bigger than 5 microns to be inhalable.) Many point to the trillion
spore concentration as extraordinary. It is far simpler, however, to achieve a trillion spore concentration in the production
of a few grams than in industrial processing typical of a state sponsored lab. The "trillion spore" issue was at the heart
of a lot of mistaken theories of the matter concluding that state sponsorship was necessarily indicated. The reported finding
at Dugway undermines the argument of both the "bomb Iraq"
crowd and the liberals focused on Dr. Steve Hatfill who object to US biodefense research because they view it as being useful
for offensive purposes.
USDA employee Johnelle Bryant first told us, in sensational detail, of
Atta's inquiries about purchasing and retrofitting a cropduster. Khalid Mohammed then told interrogators that Zacarias Moussaoui's
inquiries about crop dusting may have related to Yazid Sufaat's anthrax manufacturing plans. Although the details of the documents
on Mohammed's computer may (or may not) point to possible difficulties in aerial dispersal, they are fully consistent with
the product used in the anthrax mailings. Al Qaeda had both the means and opportunity.
biochemist Yazid Sufaat met with 9/11 plotters and two hijackers in January 2000. Sufaat was a member of Al Qaeda and a member
of Jemaah Islamiah ("JI"). JI has ties with the Moro Front. Sufaat used his company called Green Laboratory Medicine to buy
items useful to Al Qaeda. (Green symbolizes "Islam" and Prophet Mohammed's holy war). Zacarias Moussaoui, who had a crop dusting
manual when he was arrested, stayed at Sufaat's condominium in 2000 when he was trying to arrange for flight lessons in Malaysia.
Yazid Sufaat provided Moussaoui with a letter indicating that he was a marketing representative for Infocus Technologies and
allegedly provided him $35,000. The crop dusters were to be part of a "second wave."
9/11, Yazid Sufaat traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan
to work for the Taliban Medical Brigade and to continue his work with anthrax. As described in US News, a former reporter
from the Kabul Times actually may have met Sufaat, without realizing it, while traveling near Kabul
in October 2001, perceiving him as Filipino. The fellow was carrying papers from Zawahiri and bragging about his ability to
manipulate anthrax. Sufaat was arrested in December 2001 upon his return to Malaysia.
Newsweek reported that a "second wave" involving biological attacks had been thwarted upon the arrest of Al Qaeda members
who had been intended to provide logistical support.
Various doctors, both foreign and American,
are associated with Al Qaeda leaders or operatives, to include the doctors Abdul Qadoos Khan, a bacteriologist from Rawalpindi
and Aafia Siddiqui, PhD, from Karachi. Microbiologist Abdul Qadoos Khan was charged
along with his son, Ahmed, for harboring the fugitives. As of March 28, 2003,
he was in a hospital for a cardiac problem and had been granted "pre-arrest bail." Yet all you read about at the time was
the arrest of the son Ahmed Abdul Qadoos, who receives a stipend from the UN for being officially low-IQ due to lead poisoning.
It was Khalid Mohammed who told authorities about Aafia Siddiqui, who has a PhD from
Brandeis in neurology. The Pakistani press reported that she was nabbed in Karachi
after being spotted at the airport in late March or early April 2003. If mistaken, how did those reports first come about?
Understandably, Amerithrax is a confidential investigation. The Pakistan ISI and CIA rarely
grant press interviews in connection with an ongoing manhunt. The CIA did not even allow
the FBI access to KSM for 10 days after his arrest. As agent Van Harp, then head of the Amerithrax investigation said, the
information coming from Khalid Mohammed is classified with the authorities releasing only certain limited information. While
it's not easy to separate fact from fiction, Attorney General Ashcroft and Director Mueller have publicly confirmed Aafia
is still being sought. They would know.
Her mother Ismat last saw Aafia and her grandchildren
before they left in a minicab at the end of March. Aafia was on her way with her children to visit and uncle and a friend
in Islamabad. According to the Pakistan
reports, Aafia Siddiqui was detained after being spotted at Karachi International airport (after she was followed to a relative's
house). (Karachi is in the south). The reports say she is suspected of having
been a member of Al Qaeda's "Chemical Wire Group." The family's lawyer advises me that Aafia did not have enough money to
pay for airfare tickets for herself and the kids and called Ismat from the train station. That was the last Ismat heard from
her. Aafia never reached the uncle's house. Perhaps something got lost in the translation, but the phrase "Chemical Wire Group"
has appeared in all the english Pakistan and India
papers. The family's attorney advises me that Aafia had no knowledge of chemicals (and that would not appear to be her training).
There still is a very hot pursuit of the "Atta-level" Floridian, Adnan El Shukrijumah, who
Siddiqui is thought to have known and been assisting. His nickname is "Jafar the Pilot." A senior DOJ official reports
that Adnan has experience as a commercial pilot. He is said by one FBI agent to be "very, very, very" dangerous. He allegedly
was at one or more meetings in the Summer of 2001 in Pakistan
at which KSM and Sufaat were present. He may have been seen in Hamilton, Canada
-- along with Egyptian al-Maati, who apparently also has received pilot training. The United
States truly no longer has time for faulty analysis or politically-based preconceptions.
In early June 2003, a CIA report concluded that the reason for Atta's and Zacarias Moussaoui's
inquiries into cropdusters was in fact for the contemplated use in dispersing biological agents such as anthrax. It has long
been known Osama Bin Laden was interested in using cropdusters to disperse biological agents (since the testimony of millennium
bomber Ahmed Ressam).
The hijacker Ahmed Alhaznawi appears to have contracted cutaneous anthrax
in Afghanistan. It is reasonable to credit his statement that
he got the lesion after bumping into a suitcase he was carrying at a camp in Afghanistan.
The lesion is further evidence of Al Qaeda's anthrax production program at Kandahar.
One potential lead concerned a Fort Lee New Jersey $100,000 processor possibly of a type that
could have been used to weaponize the anthrax. The processor was paid for in cash after a check-kiting scheme. The processor
was delivered to a business front in Ft. Lee
at 215 Main St. The address was 1 mile from pilot Nawaf al-Hazmi at 96
Linwood Plaza, one of the two hijackers who had attended the January 2000 meeting with anthrax technician Yazid Sufaat. Nawaf
Al-Hamzi and Khalid Almidhar stayed at Yazid Sufaat's condominium outside Kuala Lumpur.
It eventually was determined that these two were on a level comparable to Atta for planning purposes.
present evidence relating to Atta's alleged travel to Prague does not warrant
a conclusion that Al Qaeda obtained the Ames strain from Iraq.
Iraq, however, remains a possible source of the Ames.
Former Russian bioweaponeer Ken Alibek has said that a key Russian scientist assisted Iraq
and that Russia had the Ames
strain. (His conclusion may have been based on the fake mobile biolab plans foisted upon the US
by the Chalabi associate "Curveball", which Alibek divined to be identical to Russian mobile lab design). Zawahiri did travel
to Baghdad in 1998 with an entourage to attend the birthday party of Saddam's
son. The papers found at headquarters of the Mukhabarat, Iraq's
secret police, show that an entourage from Al Qaeda group was sent to the Iraqi capital in March 1998 from Sudan.
According to at least some reports, Bin Laden rejected the suggestion of a closer alliance -- preferring to pursue his own
concept of jihad. Two top Iraqi scientists, code named Charlie and Alpha, are helping the coalition to learn more about Iraqi's
anthrax program, according to Dr. David Kay, head of the Iraq
survey group in charge of the hunt for WMD. He has said that the Iraqis made surprising
innovations in the milling and drying processes needed to weaponize anthrax.
The media coverage
has been seriously confused on the issue of motive and the reason Senators Daschle and Leahy would have been targeted -- tending
to simplistically view them as "liberals." Zawahiri likely targeted Senators Daschle and Leahy to receive anthrax letters,
in addition to various media outlets, because of the appropriations made pursuant to the "Leahy Law" to military and security
forces. That money has prevented the militant islamists from achieving their goals. Al Qaeda members and sympathizers feel
that the FBI's involvement in countries like Egypt, Saudi
Arabia, Pakistan, Indonesia,
and the Philippines interferes with the sovereignty of those
According to a post she made on the internet, Aafia Siddiqui expressed the same sentiment
in connection with US appropriations sought in exchange for
the extradition of WTC 1993 plotter Ramzi Yousef from Pakistan.
Senator Leahy was Chairman of both the Judiciary Committee overseeing the FBI and Appropriations Subcommittee in charge of
foreign aid to these countries. In late September 2001, it was announced that the President was seeking a blanket waiver that
would lift all restrictions on aid to military and security units in connection with pursuing the militant islamists. This
extradition and imprisonment of Al Qaeda leaders, along with US
support for Israel and the Mubarak government in Egypt,
remains foremost in the mind of Dr. Zawahiri. At the height of the development of his biological weapons program, his brother
was extradited pursuant to a death sentence in the "Albanian returnees" case (now he faces retrial). It's hard to keep up
with the stories about billion dollar appropriations, debt forgiveness, and loan guarantees to countries like Egypt
and Israel and now even Pakistan.
Those appropriations pale in comparison to the many tens of billions in appropriations relating to the invasion of Iraq.
Al Qaeda had a motive in mind.
In his Fall 2001 book titled Knights under the Banner of the
Prophet, Zawahiri argued that the secular press was telling "lies" about the militant islamists -- to include the suggestion
that the militant islamists were somehow the creation of the United States
in connection with expelling the Russians from Afghanistan.
Zawahiri argued instead that they have been active since the assassination of Anwar Sadat in Egypt
because of the Camp David Accord and the resulting peace treaty between Egypt
and Israel. The anthrax letters were sent on the date of the
Camp David Accord and then the date Anwar Sadat was assassinated as if to underscore the point to anyone paying attention.
Most of the "talking heads" on television, however, knew only that Daschle and Leahy were liberal democrats and did not know
anything of Al Qaeda beyond what they read in the US newspapers.
The FBI's profile includes a US-based supporter of the militant islamists. Attorney General Ashcroft explained that an "either-or"
approach is not useful. The media has tended to overlook the fact that when the FBI uses the word "domestic" the word includes
a US-based, highly-educated supporter of the militant islamists.
There is an emerging consensus
that anthrax was contained in a letter to AMI, the publisher of the National Enquirer --
in a goofy love letter to Jennifer Lopez enclosing a Star of David and proposing marriage. A report by the Center for Disease
Control of interviews with AMI employees (as well as detailed interviews by author Leonard
Cole) supports the conclusion that there were not one, but two, such mailings containing anthrax. (The letters were to different
AMI publications -- one to the National Enquirer and another to The Sun). (News assistant
Bobby Bender recalls the letter containing the items to have been addressed to The Sun.)
tactic of letters is not merely the modus operandi of these militant islamists inspired by Zawahiri, it is their signature.
The islamists sent letter bombs in January 1997 to newspaper offices in New York City
and Washington, D.C.. They were sent in connection with
the earlier bombing of the World Trade Center
and the imprisonment of the blind sheik, Sheik Abdel Rahman. The former leader of the Egyptian Al-Gamaa al-Islamiya ("Islamic
Group"), he was also a spiritual leader of Al Qaeda. The letter bombs were sent in connection with the treatment of the Egyptian
islamists imprisoned for the earlier attack on the WTC and a related plot. The purpose of the letter bombs -- which resulted
in minimal casualty -- was to send a message. (There initially was an outstanding $2 million reward -- under the rewards for
justice program, the reward now is up to $5 million.). There was no claim of responsibility. There was no explanation. Once
one had been received, the next ten, mailed on two separate dates, were easily collected. Sound familiar? Two bombs were also
sent to Leavenworth, where a key WTC 1993 defendant was imprisoned, addressed
to "Parole Officer." (The position does not exist).
Abdel Rahman's son was captured
in Quetta, Pakistan in mid-February 2003.
That arrest in turn led to the dramatic capture of Khalid Mohammed, Al Qaeda's #3. Mohammed allegedly was hiding in the home
of the Pakistani bacteriologist Dr. Abdul Qadoos Khan. Along with Zawahiri, Abdel Rahman and his two sons have had considerable
influence over Bin Laden. He reportedly treated them like sons. Although while in jail in the early 1980s, Zawahiri caused
considerable tension by challenging the blind sheik's ability to lead a coalition of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and the Egyptian
Islamic Group, Zawahiri and OBL are Rahman's friends. The imprisoned WTC 1993 plotter Yousef was KSM's nephew. Thus, the leaders
in charge of Al Qaeda's anthrax production program had a close connection to those imprisoned in connection with the earlier
bombing of the World Trade Center.
According to the controversial "Feith memo," which summarized purported intelligence showing an Iraqi/Al Qaeda connection,
Osama Bin Laden had asked Iraqi intelligence for technical assistance in sending letter bombs a half year before the Al Hayat
letters were sent.
Just because Al Qaeda likes its truck bombs and the like to be effective
does not mean they do not see the value in a deadly missive. As Brian Jenkins once said, "terrorism is theater." A sender
purporting to be islamist sent cyanide in both early 2002 and early 2003 in New Zealand
and ingredients of nerve gas in Belgium in 2003. There's even
a chapter titled "Poisonous Letter" in the Al Qaeda manual.
The mailer's use of "Greendale
School" as the return address for the letters to the Senators is revealing. A May
2001 letter that Zawahiri sent to Egyptian Islamic Jihad members abroad establish that Zawahiri used "school" as a code word
for the Egyptian militant islamists in his correspondence. Green symbolizes Islam and was the Prophet Mohammed's color. By
Greendale School, the anthrax perp was
being cute, just as Yazid Sufaat was being cute in naming his lab Green Laboratory Medicine. "Dale" means "river valley."
Greendale likely refers to green river valley -- i.e., Cairo's
Egyptian Islamic Jihad or the Islamic Group. The sender probably is announcing that he is of either Egyptian Islamic Jihad,
Egyptian Islamic Group or Jihad-al Qaeda, which is actually the full name of the group after the merger of the Egyptian Islamic
Jihad and al Qaeda. At the Darunta complex where jihadis trained, recruits would wear green uniforms, except for Friday when
they were washed.
As to opportunity, though seldom reported, there is a wealth of
"open source" information about possible Al Qaeda or Egyptian Islamic Jihad or Egyptian Islamic Group in the United
States and Canada. The public
information mostly relates to those suspected sleepers who have been detained or who are at large and are being sought. Zawahiri's
mission in the United States in 1995 was to do spadework for
terrorism, not fundraising for charitable causes. He traveled under an alias and was accompanied by a former US Army sergeant
named Ali Mohammed. What mosques exactly did they visit and who did they meet?
political persuasion, the FBI and CIA deserve our support. We are, after all, in this together.
First, the nature of such an investigation is that we lack sufficient information to second-guess (or even know) what the
FBI is doing. Media reports are a poor approximation of reality because of the lack of good sources. Second, hindsight is
20/20. Third, with the "new age" Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. in charge of the investigation, it is not likely we could do better
in striking the appropriate balance between due process and national security.
the "Hatfill theory" seems to have been exhausted or at least lost public favor. The "Hatfill theory" accusing Dr. Stephen
Hatfill was always highly dubious. The suspicion was founded on many false premises, and there was no reliable publicly known
evidence indicating his guilt. The FBI's fixation on Hatfill (at least as rumored by some reporters) may have stemmed from
a warning by one Senator that careers hung in the balance. Leahy's chief of staff apparently started with the strong predisposition
that some right-winger was involved because two liberal democrats had been targeted. The Hatfill theory -- to include ongoing
interviews and ongoing 7/24 surveillance by 8 surveillance specialists -- is now the subject of a pending civil rights and
libel claims of uncertain merit. A suit against the New York Times and columnist Nicholas Kristof was dismissed in late November
2004. The judge had agreed to delay the civil rights matter from proceeding until at least October 2004. The judge, now frustrated
by the apparent lack of progress, is now encouraging that the parties reach a negotiated compromise that would permit some
limited discovery to proceed (and the judge has directed that the government to file an Answer to the Complaint). The Hatfill
Theory ironically might best be understood as an Al Qaeda theory, with a coincidental Malaysian connection adding to the other
circumstances. Given the regrettable leaks that he was under suspicion, it is only fair that the FBI leak with equal enthusiasm
the fact that Dr. Hatfill has now been dropped as a suspect if and when that proves to be the case. A seach of Dr. Ken Berry's
residences likely will prove just about the last gasp of a biodefense insider theory. Senior officials have been quoted in
the press as saying that the searches were for the purpose of excluding him as much as including him.