U.S. Postal Service Spying on Americans Without Oversight

By: Thursday October 30, 2014 8:45 am

he United States Postal Service disclosed it approved nearly 50,000 requests, called “mail covers,” last year alone from law enforcement to secretly monitor the snail mail of Americans.

An audit shows the surveillance program is more extensive than widely known and that oversight protecting Americans is lax: 21 percent of the covers examined were approved without even the minimal required written authorization and 13 percent that did have authorization “were not adequately justified.” The Post Office has no standing review procedures.

 

West Memphis 3 Freed! Johnny Depp, Eddie Vedder, Joe Berlinger Are There

By: Saturday August 20, 2011 6:00 pm

The West Memphis 3– Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley Jr.– were released from prison yesterday in Arkansas after serving 18 years in prison for the stabbing murders of three elementary-aged boys.

Who Is Rehashing the Shrinks-4-Hire Report on Bruce Ivins?

By: Sunday May 29, 2011 1:00 pm

I guess some people tied to the anthrax case believe if you keep repeating the story, “Bruce Ivins stalked women, so he must have tried to kill Patrick Leahy” enough times, people will continue to believe it.

The Circumstantial Case against Bruce Ivins Gets Weaker

By: Wednesday May 25, 2011 5:51 pm

The whole case depends on the FBI’s contention that a flask Ivins had–RMR-1029–was “the murder weapon.” But in fact, the FBI only has proof that Ivins had what might be one of eight or more potential precursors to the murder weapon. Their efforts to equate the two ignore some interim steps about which they seem to have little evidence (and what they have they’re not examining very closely).

Why Didn’t FBI Investigate AF Institute of Pathology’s Role in Starting Iraq-Anthrax Rumors?

By: Monday May 23, 2011 4:35 pm

So let’s see. At some point during the anthrax attacks in 2001, USAMRID and AFIP decided to do anthrax tests on material from Flight 93. They purportedly found the hijackers tested positive for anthrax! But on second thought, FBI tells us, that positive result came from “lab contamination.” And then, presumably just after those tests, USAMRID and AFIP, perhaps working outside the chain of the official FBI investigation of anthrax, discover evidence implicating Iraq in the anthrax attacks. Results that, once again, further testing suggested was inaccurate.

FBI Ignored, Hid Data Potentially Excluding Bruce Ivins as Anthrax Killer

By: Friday May 20, 2011 5:22 pm

A report from McClatchy provides important new evidence and analysis in the FBI’s Amerithrax investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks. The report shows that the FBI ignored as potentially erroneous a measurement of silicon in one anthrax sample and then hid this information from Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). Even more importantly, the high silicon measurements in at least two samples also were coupled with high tin measurements, opening up the possibility that silicon was added to the attack material in a form that is not mentioned in any of the FBI documents.

Significantly, it is virtually impossible that Bruce Ivins, whom the FBI has concluded acted on his own to carry out the attacks, would have been able to perform the necessary chemical manipulations involved in this treatment of the spores. Ivins likely also would not have had access to the necessary laboratory equipment to perform this treatment.

McClatchy Points Out Key FBI Failure in Amerithrax Investigation

By: Thursday April 21, 2011 7:50 am

In an article published Wednesday evening on their website, McClatchy points out yet another failing in the FBI’s Amerithrax investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people. The article focuses on the fact that the FBI was able to get a clear genetic fingerprint of a bacterial contaminant that was found in the attack material mailed to the New York Post and to Tom Brokaw (but not to either Senator Daschle or Senator Leahy). This contaminant, Bacillus subtilis, is used in some cases by weapons laboratories as an anthrax simulant, because its behavior in culture and in drying the spores is very similar to Bacillus anthracis but it is easier to handle because it is not pathogenic. I covered the FBI’s failure to link this B. subtilis contaminant to Ivins in this diary in February of 2010.

Psychologizing Bruce Ivins: Who Are the Amerithrax Behavioral Analysis Experts?

By: Thursday March 24, 2011 1:56 pm

While the lack of evidence makes it difficult to swallow what sounds like character assassination, we do at least have the list of panel members by which to examine the neutral disinterest the forensic psychiatric examination should demand of those who are investigating the background of Dr. Ivins. Instead, what a brief review of the panel’s bona fides reveals is an overwhelming stacking of this “expert” panel by doctors and others who are deeply beholden to government interests, and in particular to security agencies, including those involved in bioterrorism security. For such individuals, it is difficult to see that they would buck the position of the FBI and DOJ that Ivins was guilty.

FBI Contractor Psychiatrist: Stalkers Are Likely Anthrax-Toting Bioterrorists

By: Wednesday March 23, 2011 3:30 pm

The FBI has linked to a redacted executive summary of the report some shrink contractors did on Bruce Ivins. While it is just the executive summary and even that is partly redacted, the report basically paints Bruce Ivins was a stalker which therefore makes him a possible bioterrorist.

Unfortunately for the shrinks who did the report, they start by endorsing the FBI’s now questionable anthrax theory.

Would NAS Anthrax Report Have Led to Reasonable Doubt in Ivins Trial?

By: Tuesday February 15, 2011 3:10 pm

It seems very likely to me that had Bruce Ivins not died, the analysis carried out by a panel from the National Academy of Sciences in assessing the scientific evidence tying Ivins to the 2001 anthrax attacks would have led to reasonable doubt on whether Ivins carried out the attacks. For this post, let us concentrate only on the NAS response to FBI claims on the spores used in the attack, especially with regard to how the spores were prepared.

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