The FBI and much of the media have been operating on the assumption that the anthrax letters that killed five people in America shortly after 9/11 were produced by a disgruntled American scientist with access to a U.S. strain of anthrax known as Ames. But the sophisticated nature of the anthrax has led many to conclude that a government had to have manufactured the anthrax. Many suspected Iraq.
But Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough report that Dr. David Kay’s Iraq Survey Group has found no documents or evidence indicating that Iraq might have acquired the Ames strain. U.S. officials say there are no signs of Ames-type anthrax in Iraq, either from samples or documents recovered from the Iraqi intelligence service.
A recent dispatch from the Sunday Express, on Libya arming the al Qaeda terror network with “germ bombs,” suggests that the regime of Moammar Gadhafi could have been the source. The paper reported that, as part of their new friendly relationship, Libyan intelligence chief Musa Kusa told British secret service agency Mi5 that tens of thousands of these germ weapons had been produced at 10 secret sites in the country, and that some were provided to al Qaeda. But Kusa wanted a promise that Gadhafi’s link to Osama Bin Laden would never officially be mentioned. A British official said the terror link was being “air-brushed.”
The paper did not say what it meant by “germ weapons,” but Libya is known to have a sophisticated biological weapons program. Wouter Basson, the former head of the South African bioweapons program who was known as “Doctor Death,” reportedly made several trips to Libya after the fall of the white South African government in 1994. He claimed to have had access to Porton Down, the British chemical-biological warfare establishment which got the Ames strain of anthrax from the U.S. The Washington Post reported that the South African program, known as “Project Coast,” included experiments lacing envelopes with anthrax.
The official line of the U.S. Government and the foreign policy experts has been that Libya has had no ties to al Qaeda. They told us that bin Laden was a fundamentalist and that Gadhafi was a more secular ruler. They said much the same thing about bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, and we have since found out they had connections going back many years. In the case of Libya, we also now know that there was a process underway that accelerated during the last nine months to rehabilitate Gadhafi in exchange for promises that Libya would not engage in any more terrorism or build weapons of mass destruction. Gadhafi himself said in January of 2003 that he was “exchanging intelligence” about al Qaeda with the U.S.
If Gadhafi has truly turned on his former collaborators in al Qaeda, that might explain why Britain and the U.S. are now taking him seriously when he proposes eliminating his WMD programs. But this could be a ruse, and it may mean that Libya’s role in the anthrax attacks on America is being air-brushed as well. It appears that Gadhafi’s role in the bombing of Pan Am 103-and the mass murder of 270 people-is already being forgotten and forgiven.