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Tag: propublica

News Report Questions FBI Theory That Anthrax Suspect Tried to Deceive Investigators

A U.S. Army scientist stands near the letters used in the 2001 anthrax attacks (Photo courtesy of FBI and ProPublica)

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

An investigative report published by ProPublica points to some flaws in the FBI’s conclusion that Ft. Detrick, Md. scientist Bruce Ivins was the culprit who mailed the deadly anthrax in 2001.

The investigation, conducted by ProPublica, PBS and McClatchy Newspapers, attempts to undercut a key theory that Ivins tried to deceive the FBI. The report points to samples Ivins provided from a flask in 2002 to the FBI. The FBI said tests failed to match the anthrax sent through the mail.

Later, the news report said, the FBI  took its own samples from the flask and found matches to the deadly anthrax letters.

Authorities pointed to that as a key piece of evidence against Ivins, saying he was intentionally being deceptive to hide his guilt. Ivins committed suicide in July 2008, just before he was about to be charged.

Rachel Lieber, the lead prosecutor in a case that will never go to trial, thinks that Ivins manipulated his sample to cover his tracks, the news report said.

“If you send something that is supposed to be from the murder weapon, but you send something that doesn’t match, that’s the ultimate act of deception,” the lead prosecutor Rachel Lieber said in the report. “That’s why it’s so important.”

But the news agencies report that they “turned up new evidence that challenges the FBI’s narrative of Ivins as a man with a guilty conscience who was desperately trying to avoid being discovered.”

“Records recently released under the Freedom of Information Act show that Ivins made available a total of four sets of samples from 2002 to 2004, double the number the FBI has disclosed,” the news report said. “And in subsequent FBI tests, three of the four sets ultimately tested positive for the” anthrax.’

The report suggested that the positive samples turned over to the FBI was proof that Ivins was not trying to deceive the FBI.

Paul Kemp, Ivins’ lawyer, said the existence of Ivins’ additional submissions discredits a key aspect of the FBI case, the report said.

“I wish I’d known that at the time,’’ he said.

The Justice Department has repeatedly dismissed any reports challenging its conclusion that Ivins was the culprit. The agency has said that the conclusion was based on multiple factors.

Read full report.

 

Confessed Terrorist Tried to Help FBI Track Down Other Terrorists; Tells of Plot to Kill CEO of Drone Manufacturer

By Sebastian Rotella
ProPublica

CHICAGO—Confessed terrorist David Coleman Headley was so eager to cooperate after his 2009 arrest that he worked with FBI agents to try to engineer the capture of a suspected mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks and proposed setting up another kingpin for a missile strike, according to testimony in federal court Tuesday.

Headley, a Pakistani-American businessman who has pleaded guilty in the Mumbai case and a plot against Denmark, testified that during two weeks of interrogation in October 2009 he worked with FBI agents to try to lure Sajid Mir, a member of the Lashkar-i-Taiba militant group and a suspected mastermind of the Mumbai attack, out of Pakistan so he could be arrested. The attempt failed, Headley testified, and Mir remains a fugitive.

Headley also offered to travel undercover to the tribal areas of Pakistan and present Ilyas Kashmiri, an al Qaeda-connected leader indicted in the Denmark plot, with an ornate sword that Headley suggested could be outfitted with a homing device to set up a U.S. missile attack, according to his testimony.

Headley revealed Tuesday that Kashmiri wanted to assassinate the chief executive officer of the Lockheed Martin Corp, which manufactures the Predator drone, as retaliation for the missile strikes that have killed scores of militants in Pakistan.

“Kashmiri was working on a plan,” Headley testified. “He said he knew people who had already done surveillance. And he asked if weapons were available in the U.S.”

Headley, who did not further describe the details of the plot, met with Kashmiri twice in Pakistan in 2009, according to his confession. Officials with the FBI and the Justice Department declined to comment on Headley’s mention of a plot targeting Lockheed CEO Robert J. Stevens. Lockheed officials also declined comment, citing a policy of not discussing specific threats against the company.

Read more »

Feds Indict 4 in Mumbai Attacks Including 2 With Links to Pakistan Security

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Sometimes friends aren’t always real friends.

The investigative website ProPublica reports that the feds in Chicago on Monday indicted four suspected masterminds of the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Two of those folks have been linked to Pakistan’s security forces, who supposed to be helping out the U.S. in the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban.

“The indictment filed Monday never mentions the Pakistani security forces or their alleged role in the attacks,” ProPublica wrote. “But it represents a major development in a secretive, diplomatically sensitive prosecution set for trial next month, because Pakistan is considered a close U.S. ally in the fight against terrorism.”

To read full story click here.