By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
In discussing the letters reportedly laced with the poison ricin, which followed the Boston bombings, correspondent Andrea Mitchell claimed on the NBC Nightly News on Wednesday night that there was an “eerie coincidence” to the anthrax letters that followed the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and killed five people. However, she quickly added that the anthrax letters were “unrelated” to the 9/11 attacks, a claim that remains completely unsubstantiated. She is covering for FBI incompetence.
It is still not known, officially and by adjudication in a court of law, who sent the post-9/11 anthrax letters because the FBI completely mishandled the case. They ended up paying $6 million in damages to an American scientist, Steven Hatfill, who was falsely termed a “person of interest” and hounded by federal agents. The FBI later argued that another U.S. Government scientist, Bruce Ivins, was the lone culprit, and “closed” the case. But Ivins was also hounded by federal agents, and took his own life. His attorney, Paul Kemp, has strongly argued that the FBI falsely blamed Ivins and never proved its case against him. No charges were filed in what the FBI called the “Amerithrax” case.
In fact, the evidence suggests the letters were linked to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the al-Qaeda operatives behind them.
As we reported at the time, “Al Qaeda was interested in anthrax as a weapon, had labs designed to make it, and reportedly had purchased it. CNN has al-Qaeda videotapes showing their access to chemical and biological agents. CNN also reported that an al-Qaeda terrorism manual includes instructions on how to send a ‘poisonous letter.’”
President Bush later talked publicly about al Qaeda’s interest in anthrax, even referring to an al-Qaeda cell that was “developing anthrax for attacks against the United States.”
In addition to this evidence, the envelopes themselves carrying the anthrax letters said, “Take Penacilin (sic) Now. Death to America. Death to Israel. Allah is great.”
As far back as August 2002, we noted, “The anthrax letters praised Allah, and [lead 9/11 hijacker] Atta was spotted a few days before the assault in a Palm Beach, Florida, pharmacy getting medication for his hands, which had become red and swollen. Another hijacker, Ahmed Alhaznawi, who lived and trained as a pilot in Florida where the anthrax attacks began, went to the Holy Cross hospital in Fort Lauderdale complaining of a nasty leg lesion that could have been caused by anthrax. Yet FBI officials have dismissed this evidence.”
The FBI claimed the writing was a diversion and a distraction, and refused to seriously investigate an al-Qaeda link to the letters. They had figured the perpetrators were domestic right-wing extremists, perhaps with military or scientific backgrounds. Hence, their focus on Hatfill and Ivins.
We wrote over the years of the evidence that another al-Qaeda cell staged the post-9/11 anthrax attacks, but that because the FBI went on a media-generated wild goose chase, the case was never solved. We said, “The real perpetrators either fled the country, were deported for immigration law violations, or are still here.”
All of this is important to remember because of the questions that are now emerging surrounding the FBI’s handling of the Boston bombing case. The FBI has taken charge of the investigation, which opens the door to political pressure from the Obama Administration.
The facts clearly show that an al-Qaeda magazine had recommended the use of the same kind of bomb used in the Boston massacre. Again, CNN had reported this evidence back in 2010, noting that an article, “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom,” recommended, “The pressurized cooker should be placed in crowded areas and left to blow up. More than one of these could be planted to explode at the same time. However, keep in mind that the range of the shrapnel in this operation is short range so the pressurized cooker or pipe should be placed close to the intended targets and should not be concealed from them by barriers such as walls.”
Equally important, terrorism expert Steve Emerson said on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program on Wednesday night that the Saudi national with a student visa apprehended after the bombing is being deported on “national security grounds” in what may be shaping up as a high-level cover-up of Saudi, or other foreign involvement, in the Boston massacre.
“This is the way things are done with Saudi Arabia,” Emerson said. “You don’t arrest their citizens. You deport them. Because they don’t want to be embarrassed…”
Before the bombings, Emerson’s Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) had drawn critical attention in a report to Obama’s recent decision to allow some Saudis to “bypass normal passport controls at major U.S. airports.”
Walid Shoebat reports that the Saudi national who was being detained belongs to a clan that consists of several al Qaeda members and that high-level Saudi government officials have intervened on his behalf.
There are powerful political and foreign interests who do not want such reports to be highlighted or pursued by U.S. authorities. That is why the liberal media will now begin attacking Emerson, Shoebat, and others questioning the official handling of the case.
“The knots in my stomach tightened with preliminary reports from the New York Post that Boston Police had seized a ‘Saudi National,’” wrote Khaled A Beydoun, a UCLA professor on the Al Jazeera website. His piece was titled, “Boston explosions: ‘Please don’t be Arabs or Muslims.’”
CNN seems ready to promote this narrative, as the channel has turned increasingly for comment and analysis to Juliette Kayyem, a CNN contributor, former U.S. assistant secretary for Homeland Security, and lecturer in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. She “cautioned against putting too much stock in the early reports of Arab involvement,” as one CNN story put it.
Demonstrating her own blindness to the nature of the threat, Kayyem had written a 2011 article for the Boston Globe, “Let US see Al Jazeera,” praising the terror television channel linked to al Qaeda and considered a voice of the Muslim Brotherhood as “a news heavyweight in most of the world.”
Writing at the American Thinker, Ed Lasky noted, “…what is of interest is the background of Juliette Kayyem: President Obama appointed her to serve as the Assistant Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. One would think that a key official at the Department of Homeland Security would see the danger of Al Jazeera being broadcast all over America.”
Yet, her official bio describes her as expert on al Qaeda.
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected].