Is anthrax the October surprise?
You can get anthrax from bullshit, and the FBI is now proving you can get bullshit from anthrax. They have announced that the anthrax samples from the 2001 attacks were in fact not weaponized grade from a military biolab, but just garden-variety anthrax which could have been made by any careful expert with the proper equipment. Douglas J. Beecher, a scientist in the FBI laboratory's Hazardous Materials Response Unit, and a man whom the FBI would not allow to be interviewed, wrote:
“A widely circulated misconception is that the spores were produced using additives and sophisticated engineering supposedly akin to military weapons production.”
Of course, it was the FBI itself which widely circulated this ‘misconception’. Just how stupid do they think we are? They could have, and did, determine the quality of anthrax at the time. This 180 degree change of story, coupled with the obviously intentionally bungled investigation of the attacks (mostly centered on their persecution of patsy Steven Hatfill), simply confirms that they are protecting highly-placed interests in the American military.
The timing of this announcement is curious. The anthrax attacks aren’t a live issue in American politics. You have to wonder if they are preparing for another attack, and feel the need to preemptively clear the American military by cleaning up lingering pointers to the real culprit from the last set of attacks.
the timing is curious indeed - although, as I mentioned yesterday, there's a $50m lawsuit that has just been launched (i don't think that's the trigger for the story - at least not in terms of news value).There is one line in the WaPo article that stuck out:
"One prevailing theory among investigators is that the attacks came from within the United States rather than from an overseas terrorist organization."If the article is propaganda, like most assume, then it is kinda interesting that they are still pointing to domestic terrorists - it's also interesting that they mention 'terrorist organizations' - rather than freelancers.
I'll also note that Joby Warrick, one of the journos, has actually done some good work on the mobile labs in iraq.
Then there's this from Slate:
"Perhaps the oddest thing about the play given today's Post story is that it isn't even a scoop. On Sept. 22, the Hartford Courant published a Page One piece about Beecher's anthrax article."FWIW, the subhead in the Courant reads: " FBI Scientist Says Little Expertise Needed" - before going on to say that it was probably "produced in a sophisticated laboratory" and "probably was produced by an expert in handling the dangerous germ."
update: adding that Joby Warrick is a "Washington Post Staff Writer" - and his most recent article "Pakistani Reactor Not as Significant As Was Reported, Administration Says" has this lede:
"Days after it confirmed the existence of a partially completed heavy-water reactor in central Pakistan, the administration took steps this week to play down the significance of the project, saying the new facility will produce far less plutonium than initial reports indicated."I've previously noted the headline to his April piece (mentioned above) debunking the mobile labs nonsense was the indecipherable "Lacking Biolabs, Trailers Carried Case for War" (and yes, i know, the headline isn't his fault)