Saddam Behind Anthrax Attacks?
In a major development, potentially as significant as the capture of Saddam Hussein, investigative journalist Richard Miniter says there is evidence to indicate Saddam’s anthrax program was capable of producing the kind of anthrax that hit America shortly after 9/11. Miniter, author of Losing bin Laden, told Accuracy in Media that during November he interviewed U.S. weapons inspector Dr. David Kay in Baghdad and that he was "absolutely shocked and astonished" at the sophistication of the Iraqi program.
Miniter said that Kay told him that, "the Iraqis had developed new techniques for drying and milling anthrax—techniques that were superior to anything the United States or the old Soviet Union had. That would make the former regime of Saddam Hussein the most sophisticated manufacturer of anthrax in the world." Miniter said there are "intriguing similarities" between the nature of the anthrax that could be produced by Saddam and what hit America after 9/11. The key similarity is that the anthrax is produced in such a way that "hangs in the air much longer than anthrax normally would" and is therefore more lethal.
Nevertheless, the FBI has been operating on the assumption that it was produced by a disgruntled American scientist, perhaps in a basement. The FBI wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars investigating the possibility that the anthrax letters were packaged underwater in a Maryland pond in a special device of some sort.
In a development that has received little media attention, an article in the November 28th issue of Science magazine focuses on the testimony of experts that the nature of the anthrax used against America constituted a major advance in biological weapons technology. The article notes that analysts in the U.S. Army detected silica coatings on the anthrax sent to the U.S. Senate and that special chemicals were used to enhance its ability to form a lethal aerosol. One of those was a super-specialized binder chemical used to keep the silica particles in place on the surface of the spores.
One of the experts quoted in the article told us that, "In my opinion it would be impossible to manufacture a powder like this without state-sponsorship… These are super-specialized areas—and once it is understood just how difficult it is to process powders with these coatings, it becomes immediately obvious that only a highly disciplined state-sponsored program could have achieved this."
Many reports in the media, including Washington Post reporter Marilyn Thompson’s book on the anthrax attacks, have claimed that the Ames strain of anthrax used in the attacks was a U.S. "military strain" and was therefore probably made in the U.S. But experts say the Ames strain was provided to laboratories around the world. The expert told us that, "Far too much focus has been placed on the genetic and DNA analysis of the senate anthrax" which has identified it as the Ames strain. "The real key to finding out who did it is not the DNA analysis, but the analysis of the coatings that were used." He said David Kay should be looking for scientists in Iraq who have developed this technology.
Cliff Kincaid is the Editor of the AIM Report and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org