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
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.