Team B Issue #2:
The Case that the Anthrax Mailings Were Related to the 9-11 attacks


On September 18th, 2001, one week after the aerial attack, an anonymous party mailed two letters containing dry anthrax bacteria to the New York Post and NBC. Two more letters were mailed 3 weeks later to U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy and Tom Daschle containing more lethal dosages of the same strain of anthrax. All four letters connected themselves to the aerial attack by beginning, in bold print, "09-11-01." The last two letters also stated "We Have This Anthrax."

But who is the "We"? After 16 months of investigation, the FBI has not solved the mystery. It did not find the person(s) who mailed the letters, the photocopier on which the messages were reproduced, the equipment for inserting the powdered anthrax into the envelopes, or the laboratory establishment where the anthrax was grown, dried and processed into a micron-sized weapon that aerosolized into a lethal mist. As of February 8, 2003, Secretary Of Defense Rumsfeld summed up the status of the investigtion: "We still do not know who was responsible for the anthrax attacks in the United States."

A possible explanation for this investigative failure is that the perpetrators and labs were not within the usual jurisdiction of the FBI.

If so, the heading of "09-11-01" on all the letters may be relevant. Like the four 9-11 aerial attacks, the four anthrax letters presumably were aimed at damaging America. They all carried the message "Death To America." If the attacks by separate aircrafts on the World Trade Center and Pentagon were assumed to be part of the same event by the government (and insurers), why exclude the possibility that the anthrax attacks were also part of that event— especially since they were labeled "09-11-01"?

To consider it as a part of the same conspiracy, three issues have to be addressed:

1) Did the parties that organized the aerial attacks have an interest in powdered anthrax?

American intelligence, according to Secretary of State Powell, has established that al-Qaeda had demonstrated an interest in biological weapons over a year before the 9-11 attack. Powell stated in his UN speech that al- Qaeda prisoners revealed that Iraq had offered "chemical or biological weapons training for two al-Qaeda associates beginning in December 2000." Iraq, which had 35,000 liters of dry anthrax, certainly had the ability to provide what it offered.

Even earlier than that offer, Dr. Ayman Zawahiri, who merged his Egyptian Islamic Jihad into al-Qaeda in 1998, had sought anthrax for use against US targets, according to the March 1999 statement of an al-Qaeda member who had been working for the Egyptian intelligence services. And he apparently got it. When Dr. Zawahari's home in Kabul was subsequently examined after the fall of the Taliban, it tested positive for anthrax. So al-Qaeda had the means as well as the intent of using anthrax.

2) Did the hijacking conspirators in America have any contact with anthrax bacteria?

The first encounter with anthrax may have occurred in Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, three months before 9-11. In June 2001, Dr. Christos Tsonas examined an ugly black lesion on the leg of Ahmed Alhaznawi. Dr. Tsonas had not previously seen a black lesion of that type, and, at the time, was unable to identify the cause. Alhaznawi identified himself as a pilot, as did the friend who had brought him to the emergency room with the lesion. Dr. Tsonas prescribed an antibiotic for the infection which was found in Ahmed Alhaznawi's room after he was identified as one of the hijackers of United Airlines Flight 93.

In October 2001, after the first confirmed anthrax case, Dr. Tsonas was shown pictures of black lesions caused by anthrax by experts at the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies. He concluded from these photos and other information about anthrax that the lesion he had examined in June had been caused by handling anthrax. He stated for the record that the lesion "was consistent with cutaneous (skin) anthrax."

If so, Alhaznawi and his associate had lied to Dr. Tsonas to conceal their contact with anthrax bacteria. This would mean that at least two of the hijackers were involved in with anthrax bacteria.

The proximity of these men's residences to the headquarters of American Media, Inc. in Boca Raton, Florida, is also of interest. On October 2, 2001, Robert Stevens, an employee, died of anthrax. Although the anthrax proved to be the same strain as the subsequent letter, it could have been delivered to the building before or after September 11th (since the incubation period prior to symptoms can be up to a month). Because the entire 66,000 square foot office building was contaminated with anthrax spores, its point of origin is unknown. Nor do traces of anthrax found in local post offices solve the mystery since they could have been the result of cross- contamination from American Media's outgoing rather than its incoming mail. So the attacker could have sent it in a letter or package, or he (or they) could have hand-delivered it to the building.

Since the hijackers who went to the emergency room for treatment of the black lesion lived only a few miles away from the attacked building, (and Atta had used the wife of an executive who worked there to locate rooms to lodge the hijackers,) they cannot be excluded as the mailers or delivery men.

3) Did the conspirators all die on 9-11 — or did the 19 hijackers on the planes have collaborators who could have mailed the anthrax letters on September 18th and October 9th?

Conspiracies often involve a division of labor. A conspiracy as well- orchestrated as the September 11th four-plane attack required that the conspirators engage in different tasks . It needed conspirators to gather advance intelligence. It needed conspirators to provide logistical support. It needed conspirators to break into the cockpits and take control. It needed conspirators to commit suicide by flying the planes into their targets. These tasks, which required different competencies and qualifications, necessarily did not have to be performed by the same conspirators.

The FBI determined that 19 conspirators were on the 4 doomed planes on 9-11 from the boarding passes, and assumed that their identities were the same as those on the boarding passes. But some of the conspirators who did the advance preparations could have given their boarding passes to other conspirators who had been trained for a suicide mission.

Since it is not known for certain how many conspirators arrived in America in the spring and summer of 2001, there is no means of excluding the possibility that some conspirators were not aboard the planes. Nor do all the names on the boarding passes match the names of the known conspirators. For example, a person using the identity "Fayed Ahmed" arrived from Jeddah in June 2001 and helped organize the bank accounts, credit cards and other logistics for the 9-11 hijackers. He disappeared after 9-11. His name was not listed on the manifests of any of the flights. There was also a name "Banihammad Fayez,"on flight 175, so the FBI theorized that "Ahmed" had assumed the alias who was on the Flight 175. Or there may have been two individuals: one who did logistics and one who was a suicide hijacker.

Or consider, the case of Abdulaziz Alomari. The day after the hijacking, the FBI identified him in an affidavit as a hijacker who died on Flight 11. After the FBI published his photo, Abdulaziz Alomari then came forward in Saudi Arabia and informed the authorities that his passport had been stolen in 1995 while he studied electrical engineering at the University of Denver (he reported the identity theft at the time.) "I couldn't believe it when the FBI put me on their list. They gave my name and my date of birth, but I am not a suicide bomber. I am here. I am alive. I have no idea how to fly a plane. I had nothing to do with this." In this case, the conspirators had obtained his passport and provided it to an impersonator who resembled him. The impersonator then used the stolen identity to get a visa from the American consulate in Jeddah, obtain a Florida driver's license and, on August 28, book seat 8G on AA Flight 11. He then flew to Boston on September 6th, drove to Portland, Maine on September 10th, and on September 11th he, or someone else, used the driver license photo ID to board and Flight 11.

Since the identity of all the conspirators is not known, nor is it known why they made trips to cites like Portland, the possibility that there were collaborators in the US cannot be excluded. If so, their collaborators would have had the opportunity to post the anthrax letters.

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