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News :: Globalization
in 2001 mccain told letterman he thought anthrax was from iraq!
04 Aug 2008
Ivins, anthrax, and the bentonite that wasn't
Ivins, anthrax, and the bentonite that wasn't

Posted August 3rd, 2008 at 8:30 am

The WaPo reports in a front-page piece today that the FBI
investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks, which killed five people,
may be officially closed tomorrow, sending a"strong signal that the
FBI and Justice Department think they got theirman — and that he is
dead, foreclosing the possibility of aprosecution." In other words,
the FBI must be exceedingly confidentthat they had their guy, he was
government scientist Dr. Bruce Ivins,and Ivins' suicide wraps up the
probe of one of the scariest terroristincidents ever to occur on U.S.

But before we move on, I hope readers will take a moment to read Glenn
Greenwald's fascinating synthesisof one of the most important, and
certainly the most politicallysalient, angles to this entire story —
the bogus notion that theweaponized anthrax included traces of
bentonite, which purportedlywould have linked the attack to Saddam
Hussein's non-existentbiological weapons program.

ABC News, Glenn explained in detail, relied on multipleadministration
sources to concoct a story that was patently false.

Glenn argues it's "the single greatest, unresolved media scandal of this decade.


During the last week of October, 2001, ABC News, led by Brian Ross,
continuously trumpeted the claim as their top news story that
government tests conducted on the anthrax — tests conducted at Ft.
Detrick — revealed that the anthrax sent to Daschele contained the
chemical additive known as bentonite.

ABC News, including Peter Jennings, repeatedly claimed that the
presence of bentonite in the anthrax was compelling evidence that Iraq
was responsible for the attacks, since — as ABC variously claimed —
bentonite "is a trademark of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's biological
weapons program" and "only one country, Iraq, has used bentonite to
produce biological weapons.


ABC News' claim — which they said came at first from "three
well-placed but separate sources," followed by "four well-placed and
separate sources" — was completely false from the beginning. There
never was any bentonite detected in the anthrax (a fact ABC News
acknowledged for the first time in 2007 only as a result of my
badgering them about this issue). It's critical to note that it isn't
the case that preliminary tests really did detect bentonite and then
subsequent tests found there was none.

No tests ever found or even suggested the presence of bentonite.

The claim was just concocted from the start. It just never happened.

That means that ABC News' "four well-placed and separate sources" fed
them information that was completely false — false information that
created a very significant link in the public mind between the anthrax
attacks and Saddam Hussein.


Wait, it gets worse.

If the investigation is officially wrapping up, as it appears to
be,and the FBI is confident that the perpetrator is now dead, there's
noreason for ABC News to protect sources that deliberately lied as
partof a larger initiative to con the public into supporting an
unnecessarywar in Iraq.

For that matter, those who helped spread the lie should obviously be
held accountable.

In this instance, that has to include John McCain, who appeared on
"Late Night with David Letterman" on Oct.

18, 2001, before ABC ran with its patently false stories linking the
anthrax attacks to Iraq.


LETTERMAN: How are things going in Afghanistan now?

MCCAIN: I think we're doing fine…. I think we'll do fine. The second
phase — if I could just make one, very quickly — the second phase is
Iraq. There is some indication, and I don't have the conclusions, but
some of this anthrax may — and I emphasize may — have come from Iraq.

LETTERMAN: Oh is that right?

MCCAIN: If that should be the case, that's when some tough decisions
are gonna have to be made.


We now know that McCain's comments and judgment was horrifically wrong.

As Dayo Olopade noted,"[T]aken to its logical conclusion, McCain's
statement should bepolitically devastating. It ties McCain back to the
march for war (evenbefore the bentonite claim began to float),
establishes his lack ofintellectual rigor in asking the right
questions before making the"tough decisions," and, as would only seem
fair these days, confirmshis own status as a vain and irresponsible


Why did ABC News trumpet a false story? Who were the network'ssources?
What led McCain to spread this lie on national television,feeding, in
the most irresponsible way possible, into the fear andhysteria that
was already prevalent nationwide?

We'll see if the media presses for any of these answers.

In the meantime, read Glenn's whole piece.

Daschle criticizes FBI's handling of anthrax probe..
International Herald Tribune, France - 20 hours ago
The case re-emerged in the news this past week as investigators
prepared to charge a government scientist Bruce Ivins in the case.

Ivins died Tuesday in ...

Daschle criticizes FBI's handling of anthrax probe WTTE
News Minute: Anthrax mystery continues... A dozen die in Baghdad ... WIS
Daschle Bashes FBI Over Anthrax Probe Newsroom America
The Hill - Chicago Tribune

Scientists Question FBI Probe On Anthrax
www. washingtonpost. com

Ivins Could Not Have Been Attacker, Some Say

For nearly seven years, scientist Bruce E. Ivins and a small circle
offellow anthrax specialists at Fort Detrick's Army medical lab lived
inacurious limbo: They served as occasional consultants for the FBI in
theinvestigation of the deadly 2001 anthrax attacks, yet they were

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