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Anthrax Letters Still Being Sorted 6 Years Later
By Ross Getman, 9/19/2007
On July 4, 1993, United States Postal employee Ahmed Abdel 
Sattar spoke to the press about Abdel Rahman's arrest and said "we 
haven't  decided the time or place, but our Muslim community will 
demonstrate its outrage at the arrest of the Sheik."  In the indictment 
of the Staten Island Post Office employee who worshipped in Brooklyn, 
the United States government alleged  that following his arrest,  Abdel 
Rahman,  in a message to his followers recorded while he was in prison, 
urged: "Oh Muslims!  Oh Muslims!  ...  It is a duty upon all the 
Muslims around the world to free the Sheikh, and to rescue him from his 
jail."  Referring to the United States, he implored,  "Muslims 
everywhere, dismember their nation, tear them apart, ruin their 
economy, provoke their corporations, destroy their embassies, attack 
their interests, sink their ships, and shoot down their planes, kill 
them on land, at sea, and in the air.  Kill  them wherever you find 
them."  His list is a pretty concise  summary of the terrorist actions 
taken over the next decade. 
     The tactic of lethal letters delivered by the US Post Office -- 
although not mentioned in this list by Abdel-Rahman -- was not merely 
the modus operandi of the militant islamists inspired by  Abdel-Rahman, 
it was their signature. The islamists sent letter bombs  in late 
December 1996 from Alexandria, Egypt  to newspaper offices in New York 
City and Washington, D.C. and people in symbolic positions.  Musical 
Christmas cards apparently postmarked in Alexandria, Egypt on December 
21, 1996 contained improvised explosive devices.   The bombs were 
mailed on the Night of Decree or Night of Measures.  The letters 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"), 
Abdel-Rahman 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). 
          The FBI suspected the Vanguards of Conquest, a mysterious 
group led by Egyptian Islamic Jihad head Ayman Zawahiri.  The group can 
be thought of as either the military wing of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad 
or perhaps just EIJ by another name.  It is sometimes known as the New 
Jihad.  Yassir Al-Sirri was the Egyptian Islamic Jihad/ Vanguards of 
Conquest publicist and worked out of his London-based home while on the 
public dole.  Another group under suspicion for  the mailings was the 
Egyptian Islamic Group.   The blind sheik Abdel Rahman simultaneously 
was the spiritual leader of Al Qaeda, Egyptian Islamic Group and 
Egyptian Islamic Jihad/Vanguards of Conquest.  The next month, on 
February 12, 1997, the Islamic Group, for its part,  issued a 
statement:   "The Islamic Group declares all American interests 
legitimate targets to its legitimate "jihad until the release of al 
prisoners, on top of whom is Abdel Rahman." 
           Abdel-Rahman's friend, Ayman Zawahiri, was head  of Al 
Qaeda's biochemical program and the blind sheik's son. Mohammed was on 
Al Qaeda's  three- member WMD committee.  Ayman named his biochem 
program  Zabadi or "Curdled Milk."  The CIA has known of Zawahiri's 
plans to use anthrax  since July 1998, when the CIA seized a disc from 
Ayman Zawahiri's right-hand, Ahmed  Mabruk during his arrest outside a 
restaurant by the CIA in Baku, Azerbaijan.   At the time, Mabruk was 
the head of Jihad's military operations.  Mabruk was handed over to 
Egyptian authorities.  A close associate and  former  cellmate in 
Dagestan in 1996,  Mabruk would be at Ayman's side while Ayman would  
fall to his knees during trial and weep and invoke Allah.  Their 
captors  reportedly did not know the true identity of the prisoners.   
The CIA refused to give the FBI Mabruk's laptop.  FBI's Bin Laden 
expert John O�Neill, head of the FBI�s New York office, tried to get 
around this by sending an agent to Azerbaijan to get copies of the 
computer files from the Azerbaijan government. The FBI finally got the 
files after O'Neill persuaded President Clinton to personally appeal to 
the president of Azerbaijan for the computer files.   FBI Special Agent 
Dan Coleman would  later describe the laptop as the "Rosetta Stone of 
Al Qaeda."  O'Neill died on 9/11 in his role as head of World Trade 
Center security.  He died  with the knowledge that Ayman Zawahiri 
planned  to attack  US targets with anthrax -- and that Zawahiri does 
not make a threat that he does not intend  to try to keep.          
          Mabruk claimed that Zawahiri intended to use anthrax against 
US targets.   At the time, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency  
("DTRA") set up a program at Lawrence Livermore to combat the Bin Laden 
anthrax threat.  The CIA also snatched Egyptian Al-Najjar, another 
senior Al Qaeda member (a shura or policy-making council member no 
less) who had been working for the Egyptian intelligence services.   
Al-Najjar confirmed Ayman's intent to use weaponized anthrax against US 
targets in connection with the detention of militant islamists in a 
sworn lengthy confession.  Even Zawahiri's friend,  Cairo lawyer 
al-Zayat, who was the blind sheik's attorney,  in  March 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.   He was in touch by telephone with US Post Office 
employee Sattar and Islamic Group leaders thoughout that year about the 
group's strategy to free the blind sheik.   An islamist who had been a 
close associate of Zawahiri later would explain 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.       
     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 the late 1990s, 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.    
       The  cause of the Egyptian militants had  suffered a serious 
setback with the murder of tourists at Luxor.   An Assistant US 
Attorney set the scene in Luxor in his opening argument by federal 
prosecutor in the prosecution of United States postal employee Ahmed 
Abdel Sattar, the chief aide to blind sheik Abdel-Rahman. 
"It is November 17, 1997.   It is the morning.  The scene is one of 
Egypt's most popular tourist attractions, the magnificent archeological 
ruins of the City of Luxor.  Tour buses pull in and out of the site.  
Tourists are milling about, snapping photographs and soaking up the 
ancient history.  In a heartbeat the serenity of this moment is 
shattered by the sounds of gun fire and screaming.  Seemingly out of 
nowhere guns have appeared and have begun indiscriminately shooting 
tourists.  Tourists are running everywhere trying to escape the 
carnage, some huddling together near the entrance of the temple, and 
with nowhere to run are massacred.  A guard is shot in the heard, a 
fleeing woman is shot from behind, a pleads with one of the attackers, 
kill me, not my wife. 
In the end, dozens of tourists are dead." 
       After the public relations debacle of Luxor, and after the August 
  1998 US embassy bombings, al-Qaeda actively sought religious and legal 
opinions from Movement scholars around the world who might help 
rationalize the killing of innocents. The following letter is an 
example of such a letter taken from Zawahiri's computer. 
"Folder: Outgoing Mail 
Date: September 26, 1998 
Dear highly respected _______ 
I present this to you as your humble brother concerning the preparation 
of the lawful study that I am doing on the killing of civilians. This 
is a very sensitive case�as you know�especially these days. 
It is very important that you provide your opinion of this matter, 
which has been forced upon us as an essential issue in the course and 
ideology of the Muslim movement. 
  [Our] questions are: 
  1- Since you are the representative of the Islamic Jihad group, what 
is your lawful stand on the killing of civilians, specifically when 
women and children are included? And please explain the legitimate law 
concerning those who are deliberately killed. 
  2- According to your law, how can you justify the killing of innocent 
victims because of a claim of oppression? 
  3- What is your stand concerning a group that supports the killing of 
civilians, including women and children? 
  With our prayers, wishing you success and stability." 
       A February 1999 letter signed by "Army of Suicidals Group 66, 
Bin Laden Militant Wing" threatened anthrax attacks against Westerners 
if they stayed in Yemen beyond a 11-day ultimatum ending February 27, 
1999.     Investigators considered a possible connection to the 
attempted extradition to Yemen of the London-based Egyptian Islamic 
preacher Abu Hamza al-Masri.  Emails in the Spring of 1999 from 
Zawahiri to Egyptian Mohammed Atef, Al Qaeda's military commander, and 
former Cairo police sergeant, 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 Bin Laden unit counter 
terrorism chief Michael Scheuer once explained. 
         Blind sheik spokesman and US Postal employee Ahmed Abdel 
Sattar told PBS' Frontline in 1999 that the US was at war with Islam.  
"Yes, even though that President Clinton would say differently. But who 
believes him? He said he never had sex with Monica, so I mean, you want 
me to believe that he's not at war with Islam?"  Sattar said the 1998 
embassy bombings were part of this war between the US and Islam.  "Yes. 
I look at it, yes, it is a part of a war. A war declared by the 
American government. And some people try to react. And their reaction 
comes out sometimes as acts like this. The World Trade Center, or the 
embassy bombing in Nairobi and [the assassination of] Sadat." 
       Cairo -based writers of the charity Islamic Assembly of North 
America ("IANA") , Kamal Habib and Gamal Sultan, approached the blind 
sheik Abdel Rahman about starting a political party in early 1999.  On 
March 1 and 2, 1999, Lynne Stewart and translator Yousry visited Abdel 
Rahman in prison.  On March 9, following that visit, Abdel Rahman 
issued a statement rejecting a proposal that the Islamic Group form a 
political party in Egypt.  That day, the Islamic Group military 
commander Mustafa Hamza spoke with the blind sheik's liaison, US Post 
Office employee Abdel Sattar.  In March, Cairo attorney Montasser Al 
Zayat told the press that Ayman likely was going to use weaponized 
anthrax against US targets to retaliate against the rendering and 
detention  of the Egyptian militants.  The next month, the Blind 
Sheik's publicist Sattar spoke with Taha, the IG head close to the 
Taliban and Bin Laden, in a three-way call with  Cairo attorney 
Al-Zayat.   Sattar also spoke on the telephone with Vanguards of 
Conquest spokesman Al Sirri (based in London).  From the beginning, the 
weaponization of anthrax for use against US targets was inextricably 
linked to the detention of senior militant Egyptian leaders, including 
the blind sheik. 
       In April, Ayman Zawahiri wrote Taha and asked him about the 
proposal by Sultan and EIJ founder Habib to form a political party:  
"What are the facts regarding report alleging that Salah Hashim (One of 
Islamic Jihad�s founders and imprisoned at the time of the letter) has 
called for the formation of a new political party?"   (Salah Hashim 
sought to co-found the party, along with IANA writers  Habib and 
Sultan).   Ayman specifically noted that Mohammed Islambouli (abu 
Khalid), the brother of Sadat's assassin, had withdrawn from the 
Islamic Group to protest the cease-fire announced by the IG shura 
members imprisoned in Egypt.  Ayman asked Taha what was Montasser 
al-Zayat's opinion on the issue. 
       Then in September 1999, the blind sheik again addressed the 
cease-fire initiative that had been launched two years earlier by 
imprisoned  IG leaders in Egypt.  In a telephone call with Taha on 
September 20, US Postal employee Sattar explained, on the blind sheik's 
behalf, that the initiative should be ignored if necessary to 
accomplish IG's goals.  Abdel-Rahman and Sattar thought the cease-fire 
was not working because it had not secured the release of the IG 
leaders from prison.  Sattar was coming around to Taha's aggressive 
views that there might be a need for another Luxor. 
       It  likely was a happy coincidence for Ayman and IG leaders 
Rifai Taha, Mustafa Hamza and Mohammed Islambouli,  that an active 
supporter of the Taliban -- and associate of Bin Laden's spiritual 
advisor, dissident Saudi Sheik al-Hawali -- was a US biodefense 
insider.   Ali Al-Timimi was  a graduate student in the same building 
where famed Russian bioweapon Ken Alibek and former USAMRIID head 
Charles Bailey worked at George Mason University.  The three worked at 
the secure facility at  Discovery Hall  at the Prince William 2 campus. 
  Dr. Alibek and Dr. Bailey headed a biodefense program funded by 
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency ("DARPA").  Al-Timimi had a 
top security clearance and had previously worked  for SRA International 
doing mathematical support work for the Navy.   In 2000 and 2001, 
Timimi was a graduate student in computational sciences. His field was 
bioinformatics. Al-Timimi tended to travel to give speeches on 
interpretation of the koran only during semester breaks. 
      Al-Timimi spoke in very moderate, measured tones in the UK, 
Canada, and Australia -- once even in China.  He spoke against 
feminism, about the unfavorable treatment of islam in the secular 
media, about signs of the coming day of judgment and the correct 
interpretation of the koran and hadiths, and the destruction of the 
Buddha statutes by the Taliban.   Locally, he spoke regularly at the 
Falls Church center that also housed offices of the charity, the Muslim 
World League. Timimi was associated with the charity Islamic Assembly 
of North America ("IANA"), based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His speeches 
are widely distributed on the internet and tend to focus on religious 
rather than political issues.   Years earlier, the blind sheik's son, 
Mohammed Abdel-Rahman  was scheduled to come from Afghanistan to speak 
at the IANA 1993 conference alongside Ali Al-Timimi and former EIJ 
member Gamal Sultan.  In July and August 2001, Al-Timimi spoke in 
Toronto and London  alongside "911 imam" Awlaki and unindicted WTC 1993 
conspirator Bilal Philips. 
    US-trained Malaysian 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. 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 signed "Yazid Sufaat, Managing 
Director."  Sufaat had given Moussaoui an e-mail that 
was accessed by authorities on September 19, 2001.  The crop dusters 
were to be part of a "second wave."  Al Qaeda's regional operative, 
Hambali, was at the key January 2000 meeting and supervised Sufaat.  
Khalid Mohammed's involvement dates back to Bojinka, as did Hambali's.  
   The money for Bojinka, a plot to simultaneously bomb airliners and to 
assassinate the Pope,  went from Bin Laden's brother-in-law Khalifa to 
the Abu Sayyaf Group, Al Qaeda's primary Philippine affiliate, and then 
on to the cell that included KSM. 
       When 9/11 hijacker  Saeed Al-Ghamdi videotaped his will in 2000, 
he praised  Saudi Sheik Al-Hawali.  Telephone records for Mounir 
el-Mottasedeq, a Moroccan convicted in Germany of helping Mohammed Atta 
and other members of the �Hamburg cell� that planned 9/11 show that, in 
the months prior to the attacks, he made repeated calls to Al-Hawali�s 
Riyadh offices.   
       In late January 2001, the Immigration Minister in Canada and the 
Justice Minister received an anthrax threat in the form of anthrax  
hoax letters. The letters were sent upon the  announcement of bail  
hearing for a detained Egyptian Islamic Jihad leader who had managed 
Bin Laden's farm in Sudan.  Canada announced on January 18, 2001 that 
an Egyptian Islamic Jihad Shura member, Mahmoud Mahjoub, would have a 
January 30 bail hearing.  The court dismissed a motion directed to the 
constitutionality of his detention  on January 23.  Soon after, someone 
sent an anthrax threat  letter  to the Minister of Citizenship and 
Immigration.  Minister Caplan had signed the security certificate 
authorizing Mahjoub's detention.  After arriving in Canada in 1996, 
Mahjoub continued to be in contact with high level militants, including 
his former supervisor, al-Duri, an Iraqi  reputed to be Bin Laden's 
chief procurer or weapons of mass destruction. 
          In February 2001, the CIA briefed the President  in a 
Presidential Daily Brief ("PDB") on "Bin Laden's Interest in Biological 
and Radiological Weapons" in a  still-classified briefing memorandum.   
Like the PDB on Bin Laden's  threat  to use planes  to free  the blind 
sheik, the February 2001 would illustrate the wisdom that most 
intelligence is open source.   There was little about Ayman' s plan to 
use anthrax against US targets in retaliation for rendering of EIJ 
leaders that was not available to anyone paying attention. 
         On March 14, 2001, former  USAMRIID head and Ames researcher 
Charles L. Bailey  and famed Russian bioweaponeer  Ken Alibek filed a  
patent application  for  a  process to treat cell culture with 
hydrophobic silicon dioxide so as to permit greater concentration upon 
drying.   Dr. Bailey was  in Room 156B of GMU's Discovery Hall at the 
Center for Biodefense.   Ali Al-Timimi, an associate of radical Saudi 
sheik al-Hawali, considered to be Bin Laden's spiritual mentor, was a 
graduate student who worked in the same building. 
          The website of the Islamic Assembly of North America ("IANA") 
contained "Provision of Suicide Operations," dated June 19, 2001, that 
stated:   "The mujahid [or warrior] must kill himself if he knows this 
will lead to killing a great number of the enemies ... or demolishing a 
center vital to the enemy or its military forces. ...   In this new 
era, this can be accomplished with the modern means of bombing or 
bringing down an airplane on an important location that will cause the 
enemy great losses."   On August 26, 2001, IANA's website published a propaganda statement that encouraged 
individuals to join arms against the West titled "An Invitation to 
Jihad," stating that "t]he mujahid brothers will accept you with open 
arms and within a period of two weeks you will be given commando 
training and will be sent to the frontline."  Whatever the debate on 
whether nonconventional weapons were forbidden (haram), some of the 
sheiks whose  fatwas were appearing on the IANA website were likely to 
take a more permissive view. 
            Then came September 11.  The FBI first questioned  Al-Timimi 
within the week. 
            On September 18, someone mailed some newspapers letters 
containing anthrax and a message urging the destruction of the US and 
Israel.  Biographer Draper in Dead Certain reports that on October 4, 
2001, Bush teared up during a speech at the State Department thanking 
them for their hard work.  Back at the White House, Bush motioned 
Fleischer into the Oval Office.  "A Boca Raton tabloid editor had 
checked into a Florida hospital yesterday, Bush told Fleischer.  
Anthrax.  The veil of resoluteness fell away from the president.  His 
shoulders were hunched.  Fleischer had never seen him more upset.  
Neither man said a word -- neither had to:  This was it, the second 
            Then, on or about October  6, 2001 (with a postmark after 
the Monday holiday of October 9), someone sent very fine powderized 
anthrax to US Senators Leahy and Daschle with a similar message.  An 
infant visiting ABC was one of the first affected, which should have 
been haram in anyone's book.  Five people died,  including an elderly 
woman and a hospital worker. 
       After a bombing raid at a Qaeda camp in Darunta,  Afghanistan US 
forces found  100+   typed and handwritten pages of documents that shed 
light on Al Qaeda's early anthrax planning and the Defense Intelligence 
Agency eventually gave me.  It was not clear whether or not they had 
yet acquired virulent anthrax  or weaponized it, but it was clear that 
the planning was well along.    When Cheney was briefed on the 
documents in late 2001, he immediately called a meeting of FBI and CIA. 
"I'll be very blunt,"  the Vice President started.  "There is no 
priority of this government more important than finding out if there is 
a link between what's happened here and what we've found over there 
with Qaeda."  At one point, security personnel thought  that the home 
belonging to Elizabeth Cheney, his daughter, had been hit by an anthrax 
attack.  Elizabeth 'had to call her nanny to get her to take the kids 
to be tested for exposure.  A  June 1999 memo from Ayman to military 
commander Atef said that "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.' ''  Thus, in determining whether Al Qaeda 
was responsible for the anthrax mailings in the Fall of 2001, the FBI 
and CIA knew based on the growing documentary evidence available by 
that December, that Al Qaeda operatives were likely associated with 
non-governmental organizations and working under the cover of 
universities.  From early on, the CIA and FBI knew that charity is as 
charity does. 
         At a White House press conference on December 17, 2001, Ari 
Fleischer said: "There is nothing that has been final that has been 
concluded. But the evidence is increasingly looking like it was a 
domestic source. But, again, this remains something that is not final, 
nor totally conclusive yet. ...I can just report to you the information 
that I've heard.  I can't give you the scientific reasons behind it.  
But you can assume that they're based on investigative and scientific 
means."  He emphasized:  "There's a big difference between the source 
of it and who sent it, because the two do not have to be tied." 
       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.   Two letters -- one typed and an earlier 
handwritten one -- written by a scientist named Rauf Ahmad detail his 
efforts  to obtain a pathogenic strain of anthrax.   He attended 
conferences on anthrax and dangerous pathogens such as one in  
September 2000 at the University of Plymouth cosponsored by DERA, the 
UK Defense Evaluation and Research Agency.  A handwritten letter from 
1999 is written  on the letterhead of the oldest microbiology society 
in Great Britain.   The 1999 documents seized in Afghanistan by US 
forces  by Rauf describe the author's visit to the special confidential 
room at the BL-3 facility where 1000s of pathogenic cultures were kept; 
his consultation with other scientists on some of technical problems 
associated with weaponizing anthrax; the bioreactor and laminar flows 
to be used in  Al Qaeda's anthrax  lab; a conference  he attended on 
dangerous pathogens cosponsored by UK's Porton Down and Society for 
Applied Microbiology , and the need for vaccination and containment.   
Rauf had arranged to take a lengthy  post-doc leave from his employer 
and was grousing that what the employer would be paying during that 
12-month period was inadequate.  Malaysian Yazid Sufaat, who told his 
wife he was working for a Taliban medical brigade, got the job instead 
of Rauf. 
      A typed memo reporting on a lab visit, which included tour of  a 
BioLevel 3 facility,  where there were 1000s of pathogenic samples.  
The memo mentioned the pending paperwork relating to export of the 
pathogens.  The documents were provided to me by the Defense 
Intelligence Agency ("DIA") under the Freedom of Information Act.   
Earlier correspondence between Rauf Ahmad and Dr. Zawahiri from before 
the lab visit described in the typed memo.   The handwritten letter was 
reporting on a different, earlier visit, where the anthrax had been 
nonpathogenic.  There are additional handwritten notes  about the plan 
to use non-governmental-organizations (NGOs), technical institutes and 
medical labs as cover for aspects of the work, and training 
requirements for the various personnel  at the lab in Afghanistan. 
         One of the first things FBI Special Agent Jack Cloonan from the 
FBI's New York Office did after  the anthrax mailings was to fly  down 
to Sudan with CIA agents and meet with  al-Duri, Mahjoub's former 
supervisor at Bin Laden's farm in  Sudan.  After 9/11, FBI agents 
questioned Ali Al-Timimi, a microbiology graduate student in a program 
jointly run by George Mason University and the American Type Culture 
Collection ("ATCC").   An undercover operation was run at the Falls  
Church islamic center. 
     By spring of 2002, Ali Al-Timimi  was on GMU staff and paid 
$70,000 a year.   At sometime in 2002, officials learned of 
communications between Al-Timimi and Bin Laden's spiritual adviser,  
radical Saudi sheik al-Hawali. 
     In March 2002, a crude biological weapons site was found.  U.S. 
forces discovered a site near the southern Afghan city of Kandahar that 
appeared to be an Al Qaeda biological weapons lab under construction.  
Zawahiri's plan, evidenced in the documents found previous in the Fall, 
was to move the location of the lab every 3 months. 
     In late June 2002, quoting unnamed law enforcement  officials, the 
Associated Press reported that  up to 200 polygraph tests had been 
given to current and former  employees of the Battelle Institute and of 
Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, where  scientists have developed a 
powdered form of anthrax for testing  biological defense systems.  It 
was Dugway that provided the simulant used in testing after the 2001 
threat letter relating to the detention of the former manager of Bin 
Laden's farm in Sudan. 
        In August  2002,  Afghan police found a store of chemicals in a 
house in Kabul formerly occupied by a Saudi non-governmental 
organization, the WAFA Humanitarian Organization.  Local media reports 
called it a terrorist laboratory. "Some containers and documents have 
been found by the police authorities," a spokesman for international 
peacekeepers said.  One local report said that the discovery included 
36 types of chemicals, explosive materials, fuses, laboratory equipment 
and some "terroristic guide books." It said the laboratory was found in 
a residence in the diplomatic area of Kabul in a building that had been 
used by an Arab national who headed the group prior to 9/11.   WAFA was 
a militant supporter of the Taliban. Documents found in WAFA�s offices 
in Afghanistan revealed that the charity was intimately involved in 
assassination plots against U.S. citizens as well as the distribution 
of �how to� manuals on chemical and biological warfare. U.S. officials 
have described WAFA as a key component of Bin Laden�s organization. 
        In 2002, a man named Singh tried to purchase over the internet a 
wireless video module and a control module for use in an unmanned 
aerial vehicle ("UAV").  He chose an airborne video system with a 
camera and transmitter able to transmit video images from a UAV back to 
a receiver from as far as 15 miles away. The video camera could be used 
in military reconnaissance and in helping aim artillery and other 
weaponry across enemy lines. Singh placed his order from England, but 
the company was unable to confirm Singh's overseas credit card.  Two 
young men from Northern Virginia, among the group later known as the 
"Virginia Paintball Defendants," Chapman and Khan, assisted him in 
completing the purchases.   In the summer of 2002, Singh visited 
Virginia, staying first with one of them and then with the other.  Ali 
Timimi was unindicted co-conspirator number 1 in the Virginia Paintball 
Case, and was only later identified by Prosecutors (and then separately 
indicted).  As the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals later explained, the 
pair "attended the Dar al Arqam Islamic Center in Falls Church, 
Virginia where Ali Timimi,  a primary lecturer, spoke of the necessity 
to engage in violent jihad  against the enemies of Islam and the 'end 
of time' battle between Muslims and non-Muslims." 
        Ali Timimi drafted a letter from dissident Saudi sheik Hawali 
dated October 6, 2002  and had it hand delivered it to every member of 
the US Congress just before their vote authorizing the use of force 
against Iraq.  The letter was from al-Hawali (not Timimi), and warned 
of the disastrous consequences  that would follow an invasion of Iraq. 
     Rm 154A in George Mason's Discovery Hall (down from former 
USAMRIID head Dr. Bailley in Rm 156B) would be Victor Morozov's room 
number when he first assumed Timimi's phone number in  2004 (and before 
he moved to a newly constructed, adjacent building).   Morozov was the 
co-inventor with Dr. Bailey of the related cell culture process under 
which the  silica was removed from the spore surface.  A faculty member 
who would consult with Ali  suggests instead that it instead was Rm. 
154B, in the middle of the office suite. 
        Later that year, Al-Hakaymah,  a long-time colleague of Taha in  
the  Al-Gamaa al-Islamiya  (Egyptian Islamic Group) summarized the 
Amerithrax investigation.  Al-Hakaymah aka Abu Jihad was Al Qaeda's 
spymaster.  He dedicated the treatise on American intelligence and law 
enforcement:  "To the pious and the hidden who are not known when they 
come and who are not missed when they disappear -- To those whom their 
God will answer when they pray to Him.   To all the eyes that are 
vigilant late at night to bring victory to this religion."  It was 
publicized by a EIJ shura member Al-Sibai, who had been detained in 
London in 1999 and then released, and now was an oft-quoted expert on 
Zawahiri and his followers.  Like Al Zayat, Al Sibai has been openly 
critical of Al Qaeda and Zawahiri -- Al Sibai views Zawahiri's focus  
on the "Far Enemy as having been disastrous for the Egyptian Islamic 
        In mid-February 2003, Abdel Rahman's son, who was on the WMD 
committed with Egyptian Midhat Mursi, was captured in Quetta, Pakistan. 
  That month,  a chemistry professor tasked with working on biological 
and chemical weapons met with Uzair Paracha and others  at an ice cream 
parlor.   In the Spring of 2003, Aafia Siddiqui married Amar 
al-Baluchi, who had been a key lieutenant for KSM during the 9/11 
planes operation.  The plan was to smuggle a chemical into New York 
City using a large shipping container controlled by Paracha's father.  
In connection with that prosecution, the Assistant United States 
Attorney would later say that MIT-graduate Aafia Siddiqui was prepared 
to participate in an anthrax attack if asked. 
        In late  February 2003, authorities searched the townhouse of 
Ali Al-Timimi, a graduate student and employee in bioinformatics at 
George Mason University who shared a department fax with famed Russian 
bioweaponeer Ken Alibek and former USAMRIID head and anthrax researcher 
Charles Bailey.  Al-Timimi was a celebrated speaker and religious 
scholar associated with the Islamic Assembly of North America ("IANA"), 
an Ann Arbor-based charity.  The Washington Post later summarized:  
"The agents reached an alarming conclusion: 'Timimi is an Islamist 
supporter of Bin Laden' who was leading a group 'training for jihad,' 
the agent wrote in the affidavit. The FBI even came to speculate that 
Timimi, a doctoral candidate pursuing cancer gene research, might have 
been involved in the anthrax attacks."   The same time they searched  
Ali Al-Timimi's townhouse, in Virginia, on February 26, 2003, the FBI 
searched  the home of two PhD level food production experts.    One in 
Idaho and one in New York.  100 agents came to Syracuse, NY that day as 
part of  "Operation Imminent Horizon" and simultaneously interviewed 
150 people. 
       A walk-in to the CIA then led to the dramatic capture of Khalid 
Mohammed, Al Qaeda's #3, on March 23, 2003. 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.   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 
Bin Laden nevertheless are Rahman's friends.  The leaders in charge of 
Al Qaeda's anthrax production program thus had a close connection to 
those imprisoned in connection with the earlier bombing of the World 
Trade Center.  The imprisoned WTC 1993 plotter Yousef was KSM's nephew. 
  KSM claims to have been responsible for the planning of WTC 1993.  WTC 
1993 mastermind Ramzi Yousef had been the mentor of the new husband of 
MIT-graduate Aafia Siddiqui. 
         In March 2003, 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.  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.    
Mohammed told his interrogators that Moussaoui was not going to be part 
of 9/11 but was to be part of a "second wave."   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 once told the 
judge at his trial in a filing that he wants "anthrax for Jew 
sympathizer only." 
            Bacteriologist 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 
            A man named Muklis Yunos, who reportedly received training 
on use of anthrax as a biological weapon in Afghanistan according to 
Philippine  intelligence reports, was arrested on May 25, 2003, and 
cooperated with authorities over a bucket of spicy Kentucky Fried 
Chicken.   Yunos had been Hambali's right-hand man and was in charge of 
special operations of Moro Islamic Liberation Front ("MILF"). 
            In early June 2003, a Central Intelligence Agency ("CIA") 
report publicly concluded 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.    It 
had long been known Osama Bin Laden was interested in using cropdusters 
to disperse biological agents (since the testimony of millennium bomber 
Ahmed Ressam).  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.  He had 
been captured the previous month in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.   Tenet in 
his May 2007 book wrote:  "And in early 2003, al-Qaida canceled a 
planned cyanide attack on the New York City subway,   Al-Zawahiri 
recalled the operatives in New York because 'we have something better 
in mind.'" Tenet  noted  that the CIA still does not know what 
al-Zawahiri meant but adds that the cyanide attack 'was not 
sufficiently inspiring' for al-Qaida ..." 
        The attorney for White House staffer  Scooter Libby revealed  
that Libby in July 2003 was preoccupied with many national security 
issues, including the possibility al-Qaida had brought anthrax into the 
United States.  He met twice with Germs author Judy Miller in DC. 
Libby's attorney read about these threats from a court-approved summary 
of classified information in arguing that Libby had honestly forgotten 
what he told reporters about Valerie Plame being a CIA operative.  
(When Libby's attorneys announced that  Libby in fact was not going to 
testify, the Judge excluded any testimony about terrorist matters in 
July 2003 that Libby may have addressed.) 
      Anthrax lab coordinator Hambali was arrested in August 2003 in 
the quiet city of Ayuttullah, Thailand, which is about half way between 
Bangkok and Chang Mai.  He was sent to Jordan.    In Autumn 2003, 
extremely virulent anthrax was  found at a house in Kandahar -- after 
regional operative Hambali was harshly interrogated.  Al Qaeda  had the 
extremely virulent anthrax before 9/11.  Sufaat's two principal 
assistants -- and Egyptian and a Sudanese man -- were  also captured in 
2003 and are in custody.  They had been assisting Sufaat prior to 9/11. 
  The FBI dropped the continuous conspicuous surveillance of Dr. Steve 
Hatfill in early Fall 2003, after extremely virulent anthrax that they 
knew could be readily weaponized was  found at the residence pointed 
out by Hambali.  Prior to that, the "Hatfill theory" had been an 
alternative hypothesis  pursued by one of the squads within Amerithrax. 
      In connection with defending a civil rights claim by former 
USAMRIID scientist Steve Hatfill,  the FBI described the anthrax probe 
as "unprecedented in the FBI's 95-year history."   Agents had spent 
231,000  hours up to that date.  The head of the investigation said 
that the investigation was "active and ongoing" and said agents' time 
was divided between checking into individuals who might be connected to 
the attacks and a scientific effort to determine how the spores 
themselves were made using "cutting-edge forensic techniques and 
analysis."   The court papers did not indicate that Dr. Hatfill was 
still among those being investigated.  Hatfill was labeled a "person of 
interest" in the probe in August 2002 by Attorney General John Ashcroft 
in responding to press inquiries for the reason for searches and 
surveillance that Dr. Hatfill had reported.  By late 2003, all 
conspicuous surveillance had ended, according two unnamed federal law 
enforcement officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.  The head of 
the investigation cautioned that Hatfill's lawsuit could force the FBI 
to divulge its "interest in specific individuals," who could flee the 
country, destroy evidence, intimidate witnesses, or concoct alibis. 
       In mid-December 2003, two brothers, Michael Ray and James 
Stubbs, were arrested  in a Manila suburb where they were fundraising 
for a charity that supported the militant islamists and allegedly in 
contact with militant brothers.   Michael Ray, an American, had been a 
HVAC technician at Lawrence Livermore near San Francisco  -- until 
March 2000 -- where the Defense Threat Reduction Agency had launched a 
program to combat the Bin Laden anthrax threat in 1998.  His brother, 
James, Jr., also known as Jamil Daud Mujahid.   James reportedly was 
monitored saying that he had been a classmate of bin Laden and had  
named his son Osama.  James once was a policeman in California and a 
teacher in Missouri. James allegedly met with members of Abu Sayyef and 
Moro Islamic Liberation Front while in the Philippines doing charity 
fundraising.  The brothers had been under surveillance at the time of 
their arrest.  James Stubbs, according to some reports, had recently 
left a job as a teacher in California to study Arabic in Sudan.   Other 
reports suggested that his recent work instead involved training dogs.  
Authorities allege that the brothers in  May  2003 had met with several 
charity groups suspected of being al-Qaida fronts, founded by Osama bin 
Laden's brother-in-law Khalifa. 
      In mid-April 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. 
      In May 2004, Palestinian Marwan Jabour was arrested by 
authorities in Lahore, Pakistan. "He was in touch with top Al Qaeda 
operational figures and was strongly linked to Al Qaeda chemical and 
biological efforts and had provided some funding for an Al Qaeda 
[biological weapons lab," one anonymous counterintelligence official 
was quoted in the press as saying.  After dinner with a Professor at 
Lahore University, some men on the street approached him and asked him 
about his friend, before forcing him into a car.  The men also arrested 
the Professor and another friend who had joined them for dinner.  The 
men took him to the local station of the Pakistan Inter Services 
Intelligence ("ISI")  When finally released two years later, he gave a 
rare glimpse into the conditions in which detainees have been secretly 
held.  He first was held for a month at a secret detention facility 
operated by the U.S. and Pakistan, as described in detail in the report 
"Ghost Prisoner:  Two Years in Secret CIA Detention."   He was flown to 
a CIA secret prison, that he believes was in Afghanistan, before 
finally being flown to Jordan last summer, transferred to Israel and 
eventually released in the Gaza Strip.  He admits having trained in 
Afghanistan in 1998 and then fighting with the Taliban.  He  
acknowledges helping some Al Qaeda figures escape to Pakistan in 2003.  
Jabour denies any ties to terrorism.  He says the mujahideen he helped 
relocate to Pakistan in 2003, because of his familiarity with the area 
and his fluency in Urdu, were "unaffiliated" and had not sworn an oath 
of loyalty to Al Qaeda. 
     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 a chemical or 
biological weapon. 
     MSNBC, relying on an unnamed FBI spokesperson, reported that the 
FBI has narrowed the pool of labs known to have had the US Army anthrax 
strain known as the " Ames strain" that was a match from 16 to 4 but 
could not rule out that it was obtained overseas.    Thus, not only was 
it likely that an Al Qaeda perpetrator was associated with an NGO and 
university, but there had to have been access to a virulent anthrax 
strain that was only in a  score or so of known labs, most of which 
were affiliated in some way with the US  government.  Although 
sometimes reports referred to its "ubiquitous" distribution, the major 
revelation on the subject came in 2005 when pursuant to two treaties, 
samples of anthrax was evaluated from Georgia and Azerbaijan and it was 
claimed that former Republics of Russia also had Ames.  Former 
bioweaponeer Ken Alibek had first claimed in 2001 that Russia had 
obtained Ames years earlier through a spy at Ft. Detrick. (A DIA source 
reports that Azerbaijan did not , in fact, have Ames).   "Ubiquitous" 
might be best understood as 20-30 labs. 
       Authorities had received information, for example, from at least 
one detainee at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, that 
there was an anthrax storage facility in the Kabul area.  Amerithrax 
Agents checked the Kabul area in May 2004 but came up empty.  The 
Washington Post explained that "[b]ecause the deadly letters contained 
the Ames anthrax spores, manufactured in the United States, authorities 
entertained the possibility that they had been removed from a U.S. lab 
and transported overseas."    Then in November 2004, on further 
information, agents had spent several weeks unsuccessfully searching an 
area in the Kandahar mountains, several hundred miles outside of Kabul. 
   In 2005, an internal report was prepared summarizing the status of 
the investigation. 
     On March 31, 2005, the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities 
of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, in its  
"Report to the President of the United States," concluded "al-Qai'da's 
biological program was further along, particularly with regard to Agent 
X [anthrax], than pre-War intelligence indicated. The program was 
extensive, well-organized, and operated for two years before September 
11, but intelligence insights into the program were limited. The 
program involved several sites around Afghanistan. Two of these sites 
contained commercial equipment and were operated by individuals with 
special training."  One technician was named Barq.  Another was named 
      In a court filing dated May 20, 2005, an attorney for the United 
States Department of Justice wrote:  "The investigation into the 
anthrax attacks is one of the largest and most complex investigations 
in law enforcement history.  To bring those responsible to justice, the 
investigation remains  intensely active." 
      In June 2005, President of Pakistan Gen. Pervez Musharraf told CNN 
in a filmed interview:  "These people were involved in the .. 
production of anthrax."     
      After a small plane accidentally entered restricted airspace near 
the White House and Capitol in 2005, the danger passed quickly, but not 
before bringing back frightening memories for Senator Patrick Leahy. 
"Having been one of the two Senators they tried to kill with the 
anthrax letter-- yes, I do react to that. But here I'm far more 
concerned about all of the other people, because whatever the threat 
was they thought it was enough to threaten everybody here. And there 
are thousands of good men and women who work on the hill, plus the 
tourists, the visitors and we want to keep them safe." 
       In late September 2005 letter to the Washington Post, Michael 
Mason, head of Amerithrax investigation (as head of the DC Field 
Office), wrote: "while not well known to the public, the scientific 
advances gained from this investigation are unprecedented and have 
greatly strengthened our government's ability to prepare for -- and 
prevent -- biological attacks. Since the first anthrax mailing, 
investigators have worked with scientists to narrow the focus of this 
investigation."  He continued  "Despite the frustrations that come with 
any complex investigation, the FBI's investigators never stop thinking 
about the innocent victims of these attacks."  In a press conference in 
October 2005, Director Mueller said that the FBI was pursuing all 
domestic and international leads.  He told the public to remember 9/11. 
  Remember Oklahoma City.  He declined to say if they had a suspect.  
That year, FBI agents visited Asia, Africa and Afghanistan in the 
course of the Amerithrax investigation. 
       In the opening argument of the Uzair Paracha trial in November 
2005, the Assistant United States  Attorney claimed that MIT graduate 
Aafia Siddiqui was willing to help with an anthrax attack.   She had 
been associated with the Maktab Khidmat (Bureau of Services) branch in 
Boston, which in 1993 was renamed Care International..  Any  evidence 
supporting the dramatic statement was later excluded from evidence on 
the grounds that it would be unduly prejudicial. 
       That month,  Interpol  head Ronald Noble urged: "Al Qaeda's 
global network, its proven capabilities, its deadly history, its desire 
to do the unthinkable and the evidence collected about its 
bio-terrorist ambitions, ominously portend a clear and present danger 
of the highest order."    Henry Crumpton, the U.S. State Department's 
counterterrorism coordinator agreed: "The threat is real.  But what 
really concerns me is weapons of mass destruction," Crumpton said, 
pointing to this evidence U.S. officials said they found in Afghanistan 
that al-Qaeda was working on anthrax weapons.   From 1999 to 2001, 
Crumpton was  deputy  chief of operations for the CIA's 
Counterterrorist Center. He led the CIA's counterterrorism campaign in 
Afghanistan from 2001 to 2002. 
     The CIA 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  early 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 
Prophet's guidance," says Michael Scheuer, an al-Qaeda analyst retired 
from the CIA who once headed its Bin Laden unit, "was always, Before 
you attack someone, warn them very clearly." 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 sheik Abdel Rahman and those responsible for the 
earlier World Trade Center bombing in 1993. 
      A key question is how they acquired the anthrax strain -- the 
"Ames strain" first isolated by the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic 
Lab in 1980.    The US Army recipe from the 1950s was not used, and 
obtaining the unprocessed Ames strain of anthrax does not warrant the 
weight given it by some press accounts.   Although coveted as the "gold 
standard" in vaccine research, it is known to have been at about a 
score of labs and over the years an estimated 1,000 people may have had 
    Al Qaeda's anthrax production plans on Khalid Mohammed's computer, 
according to an unnamed source relied upon by the Washington Post, 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.   
(According to what the technical representative for Bucchi tells me, a 
static charge is unavoidable with their mini-spraydryer). 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.)  The sophistication 
and effectiveness of the product perhaps lay not in just its 
concentration, but in its crumbliness and how it floated right out of 
the envelope. The "trillion spore" issue was an aspect of the mistaken 
theory that state sponsorship was necessarily indicated.  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 
      An FBI Lab scientist on composition of powders from the Hazardous 
Materials Response Unit published the comment in 2006:  "Individuals 
familiar with the composition of the powders in the letters have 
indicated that they were were comprised simply of spores purified to 
different extents.  However, a widely circulated misconception is that 
the spores were produced using additives and sophisticated engineering 
supposedly akin to military weapon production.  The issue is usually 
the basis for implying that the powders were inordinately dangerous 
compared to spores alone.  The persistent credence given to this 
impression fosters erroneous preconceptions, which may misguide 
research and preparedness efforts and generally detract from the 
magnitude of hazards posed by simple spore preparations." 
         In October 2006, the Al Qaeda spymaster  Al-Hakayma, who had 
written about the Amerithrax investigation, announced that the Egyptian 
Islamic Group had joined Al Qaeda.   In his introduction on the tape, 
Al-Zawahiri said the Egyptian group was led by Mohammed al-Islambouli, 
the younger brother of Khaled al-Islambouli, the militant who 
assassinated Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat in 1981.  Islambouli 
fled Egypt in 1988.  Mohammed al-Islambouli worked for Maktab 
al-Khidmat (Bureau of Services) in Peshawar established by Azzam, Bin 
Laden's mentor, and financed by Bin Laden.   The blind sheik would stay 
with Islambouli and Zawahiri in a large house outside Peshawar when he 
visited from Brooklyn.   Islambouli was deputy leader of the Islamic 
Group.  Islambouli told the press that the group would contiue its holy 
war against the Egyptian government.   In early 1993 he moved 100 west 
to Jalabad,  Afghanstan from Peshawar upon a crackdown on Arab 
fighters.  In 1993, the US and Egypt  was putting pressure on ISI to 
deal wit the same militants everyone had weclmed repelling the Soviets 
from Afghanistan.  He was sentenced to death in absentia in 1993.  In 
the late 1990s, Islambouli participated in planning the attacks on the 
United States, to include those involving aircraft.   The CIA  noted in 
a December 4, 1998 President Daily Briefing to President Clinton that 
Islambouli was involved in planning the attacks on the US involving 
aircraft and other attacks.   According to the PDB, was thought to be 
planning travel to the United States to meet with other Egyptian 
Islamic Group members to discuss options.  In recent years, Islambouli 
is thought to have spent much of his time in Algeria under the assumed 
name Mahmoud Youssef. 
     In January 2007, Muhammad Hanif, a spokesman for the Taliban, 
spoke quietly to the camera.  Taliban leader Mullah Omar, he said, was 
living in Quetta under  the protection of the Pakistan ISI.   In a 
press conference, the governor of the province on the border of 
Afghanistan and Pakistan reported that they had found packets of 
powdered anthrax in his home upon his arrest.  As reported by Afghan 
Islamic Press news agency  and translated by BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 
the Governor said: "A biological substance, anthrax, was also seized 
from those arrested. They planned to send the substance in envelopes 
addressed to government officials...."   The claim has not been 
confirmed or corroborated. 
    In March 2007, Khalid Mohammed confessed before a military tribunal 
that "I was directly in charge, after the death of Sheikh Abu Hafs 
[Atef] of managing and following up on  �the cell for the production of 
biological weapons, such as anthrax and others, and following up on 
dirty-bomb operations on American soil.� 
        In April 2007, authorities announced  the capture of Abdul Hadi 
al-Iraqi, 46, who is  thought to have been connected to the 7/7 London 
subway bombing and other terror attacks in Britain.      Since before 
9/11, Hadi was a member of Al Qaeda's 10-member Shura Council.  Hadi 
was a member of al-Qaeda's Military Committee, which oversaw the 
group's operations and training.  A US intelligence official, speaking 
on condition of anonymity, told the BBC that Mr Hadi had a 
long-standing and deep awareness of al-Qaeda's training activities and 
operational planning.  He was in direct communication with both  OBL 
and Ayman.  Al-Hadi was captured in  2006 while attempting to return to 
his native Iraq through Turkey.   He is being held at Guantanamo Bay.  
Other detainees have reportedly named Abdul Hadi al-Iraqi as Al-Qaeda's 
third most senior figure, after OBL and Zawahiri.  He allegedly once 
served as al-Zawahiri's chief aide.   Abd al-Hadi is also said to have 
worked with Saif al Adel,  who Tenet identifies as involved in Al 
Qaeda's CBRN effort.  Saif al Adel purported to be the spokesman for 
the Vanguards of Conquest in denying responsibility for the  al-Hayat 
letter bombs to newspapers in NYC and DC and people in symbolic 
positions relating to the  detention of the WTC 1993 plotters. 
            In late March 2007, prominent islamist attorney Mamduh 
Ismail was arrested.  Egyptian authorities accuse Mamduh Ismail, a 
prominent defender of islamists and former EIJ member who had been 
imprisoned for 3 years after Sadat's assassination, of working with 
Ayman as a key liaison with Iraqi and Yemeni jihadis.  The prosecution 
claimed that Attorney Ismail linked the Al Qaeda leadership in Pakistan 
and Afghanistan with networks in Algeria, Iraq and Yemen.  Egypt's 
Supreme State Security Prosecution also charged Ismail with leading 
what officials termed al Qaeda's "Egyptian Project," an effort to 
revive al Qaeda in Egypt. Ismail was the attorney for Egyptian 
biochemist al-Nashar, a polymerization expert who owned  keys to the 
bomb flat of the 7/7 London  subway bombers. 
    On the issue of motive and the reason Senators Daschle and Leahy 
would have been targeted -- they are commonly  simplistically viewed 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  undermines their prospects of 
establishing a worldwide Caliphate.  The Fall 2001 letter from Al Qaeda 
spokesman al- Kuwaiti, directed to the American public -- but which was 
not released until 2006 --  claimed that the green light had been given 
for a US bio attack (1) from folks who were US-based,  (2) above 
suspicion, and (3) who had access to US and UK government and 
intelligence information.  He explained:  "There is no animosity 
between us. You involved yourselves in this battle.  The war is between 
us and the Jews. You interfered in our countries and influenced our 
governments to strike against the Moslems." 
          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 and 
men like Islamic Group leaders Mohammed Islambouli and Rafa Taha.  At 
the height of the development of his biological weapons program, 
Zawahiri's brother was extradited pursuant to a death sentence in the 
"Albanian returnees" case.   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. 
    The anthrax that infected the first victim, Bob Stevens, was 
contained in a letter to AMI, the publisher of tabloids -- 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 Rutgers Professor 
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). 
      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 
      The "Federal Eagle" stamp used in the anthrax mailings was a 
blue-green.   It was widely published among the militant islamists that 
martyrs go to paradise "in the hearts of green birds."   In the very 
interview in which they admitted 9/11, and described the codes used for 
the four targets for the planes, the masterminds admitted to the Jenny 
code, the code for representing the date 9/11, and used the symbolism 
of the "Green Birds."   Osama Bin Laden later invoked the symbolism in 
his video "The 19 Martyrs."  A FAQ on the Azzam Publications website 
explained  that "In the Hearts of Green Birds" refers to what is 
    The mailer's use of "Greendale School" as the return address for 
the letters to the Senators  is also 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.  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 mailer probably is announcing that the anthrax is 
from  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.  In a Hadith the Messenger of Allah explains 
that the souls of the martyrs are in the hearts of green birds that fly 
wherever they please in the Paradise.  The "4th grade" in the return 
address "4th Grade, Greendale School, is American slang for "sergeant" 
-- the rank of the head of Al Qaeda's military commander Mohammed Atef, 
who along with Zawahiri had overseen Project Zabadi, Al Qaeda's 
biochemical program. 
     The business-size sheet of stationery containing the anthrax to 
the National Enquirer was decorated with pink and blue clouds around 
the edges.   In admitting that he had taken over supervising the 
development of anthrax for use against the US upon Atef's death (in 
November 2001), KSM separately noted that "I was the Media Operations 
Director for Al-Sahab or 'The Clouds,' under Dr. Ayman Al-Zawahiri." 
     The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act ("FISA") unit in the 
Department of Justice has traditionally been known as the "Dark Side."  
Everything coming from Khalid Mohammed's laptop, for example, as Agent 
Van Harp, the former (now retired) Amerithrax head, once explained, is 
classified.  To understand the matter, journalists would have to have 
the cooperation of someone coming over from the Dark Side -- which 
would be a felony.   The FBI and CIA counterterrorism analysts working 
on the Dark Side in trying to avoid the next 9/11 are not even allowed 
to tell their spouses about their work.  Based, however, only on the 
"open source" material readily available through databases such as 
"google news" and the CIA's "Foreign Broadcast Information Service" 
("FBIS"), it appears that the solution to the Amerithrax case does not 
likely lie at the intersection of Bin Laden and Saddam streets among 
those cubicles at Langley with desktop PCs.  Instead, it lies with the 
Zawahiri Task Force at Langley which  hopefully has an intersection of 
Ayman Avenue and Rahman Road.  If not, we might be looking at a 
different crossroads altogether. 
     Mike McConnell, Director of National Intelligence, told a 
conference in early 2007:  "One of my biggest worries is a terrorist 
group attacking the computer network serving the United States� 
financial services industry and simultaneously mailing anthrax-laced 
letters."  He said: �If someone were to have a sophisticated attack on 
our financial services system, let�s just say cyber network broadly, at 
the same time that they mailed, through the US mail, FedEx and UPS, the 
equivalent of letters sprinkled with anthrax, it would have a 
devastating impact.�            
     Whatever your political persuasion, and whatever disagreements 
about individual issues relating to due process and civil liberties, 
the FBI and CIA deserve our support on this issue.  We are, after all, 
facing this threat  together.   First, the nature of such an 
investigation is that we lack sufficient information to second-guess 
(or even know) what the FBI and Postal Inspectors on the Amerithrax 
Task Force are doing.  Media reports are a poor approximation of 
reality because of the lack of good sources.  Indeed,  there has been 
compartmentalization and divergent views even within the Task Force.  
Second, hindsight is 20/20.  Third,  now that the leaks relating to US 
scientist Dr. Steve Hatfill seem to have long since been plugged, it is 
not likely we could do better in striking the appropriate balance 
between due process and national security.  The FBI's profile  includes 
a US-based supporter of the militant islamists.  Attorney General 
Ashcroft once 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. 
      During the course of a speech marking the sixth anniversary after 
9/11, bin Laden referenced the 62nd anniversary of the atomic bombings 
of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (which occurred on August  6, 1945), as 
occurring only a few days prior to his speech.  It�s another example 
supporting the significance of the mailing dates of the anthrax to the 
senior Egyptian militant, Mohammed Islambouli, who the CIA reports was 
in the cell with KSM planning the attacks on the US.   Islambouli was 
the brother of Sadat's assassin.  The letters were mailed on the 
anniversary of the Sadat assassination and Camp David Accord in 
conveying a message � �we have this anthrax.� 
Ross E. Getman, Esq. is an attorney who maintains the website Vanguards 
of Conquest:  the Sheiks, Bioweaponeers and Anthrax Letters, 

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