All Roads Lead to Dark Winter

Originally published at The Last American Vagabond

The leaders of two controversial pandemic simulations that took place just months before the Coronavirus crisis – Event 201 and Crimson Contagion – share a common history, the 2001 biowarfare simulation Dark Winter. Dark Winter not only predicted the 2001 anthrax attacks, but some of its participants had clear foreknowledge of those attacks.

During the presidency of George H.W. Bush in the early 1990s, something disturbing unfolded at the U.S.’ top biological warfare research facility at Fort Detrick, Maryland. Specimens of highly contagious and deadly pathogens – anthrax and ebola among them – had disappeared from the lab, at a time when lab workers and rival scientists had been accused of targeted sexual and ethnic harassment and several disgruntled researchers had left as a result.

In addition to missing samples
of anthrax, ebola, hanta virus and a variant of AIDS, two of the
missing specimens had been labeled “unknown” – “an Army
euphemism for classified research whose subject was secret,”
according to reports.
The vast majority of the specimens lost were never found and an Army
spokesperson would later claim that it was “likely some were simply
thrown out with the trash.”

An internal Army inquiry in
1992 would reveal that one employee, Lt. Col. Philip Zack, had been
caught on camera secretly entering the lab to conduct “unauthorized
research, apparently involving anthrax,” the Hartford
would later report. Despite this, Zack would
to do infectious disease research for pharmaceutical
giant Eli Lilly and would collaborate with the U.S. National
Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) throughout the

The Courant had also noted that: “A numerical counter on a piece of lab
equipment had been rolled back to hide work done by the mystery
researcher [later revealed to be Zack], who left the misspelled label
‘antrax’ in the machine’s electronic memory.” The Courant’s
report further detailed the extremely lax security controls and
chaotic disorganization that then characterized the U.S. Army Medical
Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) lab in Fort

same lab would, a decade later, be officially labeled as the source
of the anthrax spores responsible for the 2001 anthrax attacks,
attacks which are
also officially said to have been the work of a
“deranged” USAMRIID researcher, despite initially having been
blamed on Saddam Hussein and Iraq by top government officials and
mainstream media. Those attacks killed 5 Americans and sickened 17.

as the investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks unfolded,
accusations from major U.S. newspapers soon emerged that the FBI was
deliberately sabotaging the probe to protect the Anthrax attacker and
that the CIA and U.S. military intelligence had refused to cooperate
with the investigation. The FBI did not officially close their
investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks, nicknamed “Amerithrax,”
until 2010 and aspects of that investigation still remain classified.

recently, this past July, the same Fort Detrick lab would
be shut down
by the CDC, after it was found
researchers “did not maintain an accurate or current
inventory” for toxins and “failed to safeguard against
unauthorized access to select agents.” The closure of the lab for
its numerous breaches of biosafety protocols would
be hidden from Congress
and the facility would controversially be partially
last November before all of the identified biosafety
issues were resolved.

same day that the lab was controversially allowed to partially
reopen, which was the result of heavy lobbying from the Pentagon,
local news outlets reported that the lab had suffered “two breaches
of containment” last year, though the nature of those breaches and
the pathogens involved were redacted in the inspection findings
report obtained
by the
News Post
Notably, USAMRIID has, since
the 1980s
, worked closely with virologists and virology labs in
Wuhan, China, where the first epicenter of the current novel
Coronavirus (Covid-19) cases emerged. The Chinese government has
since alleged that the virus had been brought to China by members of
the U.S. military, members of which attended the World Military Games
in the country last October.

similarities among these Fort Detrick lab breaches, from the early
1990s to 2001 to the present, may be nothing more than unfortunate
coincidences that are the result of a stubborn federal government and
military that have repeatedly refused to enforce the necessary
stringent safety precautions on the nation’s top biological warfare

upon examining not only these biosafety incidents at Fort Detrick,
but the 2001 Anthrax attacks and the current Covid-19 outbreak,
another odd commonality stands out — high-level war games exercise
took place in June 2001 that eerily predicted not only the Anthrax
attacks, but also the initial government narrative of those attacks
and much, much more.

June 2001 exercise, known as “Dark Winter,” also predicted many
aspects of government pandemic response that would later re-emerge in
last October’s simulation “Event 201,” which predicted a global
pandemic caused by a novel Coronavirus just months before the
Covid-19 outbreak. In addition, the U.S. government would lead its
own multi-part series of pandemic simulations, called “Crimson
Contagion,” that would also predict aspects of the Covid-19
outbreak and government response.

further investigation, key leaders of both Event 201 and Crimson
Contagion, not only have deep and longstanding ties to U.S.
Intelligence and the U.S. Department of Defense, they were all
previously involved in that same June 2001 exercise, Dark Winter.
Some of these same individuals would also play a role in the FBI’s
“sabotaged” investigation into the subsequent Anthrax attacks and
are now handling major aspects of the U.S. government’s response to
the Covid-19 crisis. One of those individuals, Robert Kadlec, was
recently put in charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services (HHS) entire Covid-19 response efforts, despite the fact
that he was recently and directly responsible for actions that
needlessly infected Americans with Covid-19.

major players in Dark Winter are now key drivers behind the
“biodefense” mass surveillance programs currently being promoted
as a technological solution to Covid-19’s spread, despite evidence
that such programs actually
pandemic outbreaks. Others still have close connections to
the insider trading that recently occurred among a select group of
U.S. Senators regarding the economic impact of Covid-19 and are set
to personally profit from lucrative contracts to develop not just
one, but the majority, of experimental Covid-19 treatments and
vaccines currently under development by U.S. companies.

investigative series, entitled “Engineering Contagion: Amerithrax,
Coronavirus and the Rise of the Biotech-Industrial Complex,” will
examine these disturbing parallels between the 2001 anthrax attacks
and the current scandals and “solutions” of the Covid-19 crisis
as well as the simulations that eerily preceded both events. By
tracing key actors in Dark Winter from 2001 to the present, it is
also possible to trace the corruption that has lurked behind U.S.
“biodefense” and pandemic preparedness efforts for decades and
which now is rearing its ugly head as pandemic panic distracts the
American and global public from the fundamentally untrustworthy, and
frankly dangerous, individuals who are in control of the U.S.
government’s and corporate America’s response.

their involvement in Dark Winter and, more recently, Event 201 and
Crimson Contagion, this series seeks to explore the possibility that,
just like the 2001 anthrax attacks, government insiders had
foreknowledge of the Covid-19 crisis on a scale that, thus far, has
gone unreported and that those same insiders are now manipulating the
government’s response and public panic in order to reap record
profits and gain unprecedented power for themselves and control over
people’s lives.

Dark Winter Descends

late June 2001, the U.S. military was preparing for a “Dark
.” At Andrews Air Force Base in Camp Springs, Maryland,
several Congressmen, a former CIA director, a former FBI director,
government insiders and privileged members of the press met to
conduct a biowarfare simulation that would precede both the September
11 attacks and the 2001 Anthrax attacks by a matter of months. It
specifically simulated the deliberate introduction of smallpox to the
American public by a hostile actor.

simulation was a collaborative effort led by the John Hopkins Center
for Civilian Biodefense Strategies (part of the Johns Hopkins Center
for Health Security) in collaboration with the Center for Strategic
and International Studies (CSIS), the Analytic Services (ANSER)
Institute for Homeland Security and the Oklahoma National Memorial
Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism. The concept, design and
script of the simulation were created by Tara O’Toole and Thomas
Inglesby of the Johns Hopkins Center along with Randy Larsen and Mark
DeMier of ANSER. The full script of the exercise can be read here.

name for the exercise derives from a statement made
by Robert Kadlec
, who participated in the script created for the
exercise, when he states that the lack of smallpox vaccines for the
U.S. populace means that “it could be a very dark winter for
America.” Kadlec, a veteran of the George W. Bush administration
and a former lobbyist for military intelligence/intelligence
contractors, is now leading HHS’ Covid-19 response and led the
Trump administration’s 2019 “Crimson Contagion” exercises,
which simulated a crippling pandemic influenza outbreak in the U.S.
that had first originated in China. Kadlec’s professional history,
his decades-old obsession with apocalyptic bioweapon attack scenarios
and the Crimson Contagion exercises themselves are the subject of
Part III of this series.

Dark Winter exercise began with a briefing on the geopolitical
context of the exercise, which included intelligence suggesting that
China had intentionally introduced Foot and Mouth disease in Taiwan
for economic and political advantage; that Al-Qaeda was seeking to
purchase biological pathogens once weaponized by the Soviet Union;
and that Saddam Hussein of Iraq had recruited former biowarfare
specialists from the Soviet Union and was importing materials to
create biological weapons. It further notes that a majority of
Americans had opposed a planned deployment of U.S. soldiers to the
Middle East, which was also opposed by Iraq, China and Russia. The
script also asserts that the soldiers were being deployed to counter
and potentially engage the Iraqi military. Later, as the exercise
unfolds, many of those Americans once skeptical about this troop
deployment soon begin calling for “revenge.”

this backdrop, news suddenly
that smallpox, a disease long eradicated in the U.S. and
globally, appears to have broken out in the state of Oklahoma. The
participants in Dark Winter, representing the National Security
Council, quickly deduce that smallpox has been deliberately
introduced and that this is the result of a “bioterrorist attack on
the United States.” The assumption is made that the attack is
“related to decisions we may make to deploy troops to the

unlike what is unfolding currently with the Covid-19 crisis, in Dark
Winter, there is no means of rapid diagnosis for smallpox, no
treatments available and no surge capacity in the healthcare system.
The outbreak quickly spreads to numerous other U.S. states and
throughout the world. Hospitals in the U.S. soon face “desperate
situations” as “tens of thousands of ill or anxious persons seek
care.” This is compounded by “grossly inadequate supplies” and
“insufficient isolation rooms,” among other complications.

this exercise occurred in June 2001, the heavy hinting that Saddam
Hussein-led Iraq and Al Qaeda are the main suspects is notable.
Indeed, at one point in one of the fictional news reports used in the
exercise, the
reporter states
that “Iraq might have
provided the technology behind the attacks to terrorist groups based
in Afghanistan.” Such claims that Iraq’s government was linked to
Al Qaeda in Afghanistan would re-emerge months later in the aftermath
of the September 11 attacks, and would be heavily promoted by several
Dark Winter participants such as former CIA Director James Woolsey,
who would later swear
under oath
that Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11. It would, of
course, later emerge that Iraq’s connections to Al Qaeda and the
9/11 attacks were nonexistent as well as the fact that Iraq did not
possess biological weapons or other “weapons of mass destruction.”

Notably, this insertion into one of the Dark Winter news clips was
not the only part of the exercise that sought to link Saddam Hussein
and Iraq to biological weapons. For instance, during the exercise,
satellite imaging showed that a “suspected bioresearch facility”
in Iraq appeared to be expanding an “exclusionary zone” in order
to limit civilian activity near the facility as well as a “possible
quarantine” area in the same area as this facility. Previously in
the exercise, Iraq was one of three countries, along with Iran and
North Korea, who were “repeatedly rumored” to have illicitly
obtained Soviet smallpox cultures from defecting scientists and Iraq
was alleged to have offered employment to a leading smallpox
scientist who had worked on the Soviet bioweapons program.

Then, at the end of the exercise, a “prominent Iraqi defector”
emerges who claims Iraq had arranged the bioweapons attack “through
intermediaries,” which is deemed “highly credible” even though
“there is no forensic evidence to support this claim.” Iraq
officially denies the accusation, but vows to target the U.S. in
“highly damaging ways” if the U.S. “takes action against Iraq.”
It is thus unsurprising that, as will be shown later in this report,
key participants in Dark Winter would heavily promote the narrative
that Iraq was to blame for the 2001 Anthrax attacks. Other
participants, including Robert Kadlec, would then become involved in
the FBI’s “sabotaged” investigation once the Bureau began to
focus on a domestic, as opposed to an international source.

addition, as part of Dark Winter, mainstream media outlets, including
the New
York Times
and others, were sent anonymous letters that threatened renewed
attacks on the U.S., including anthrax attacks, if the U.S. did not
withdraw its troops from the Middle East. In this simulation, those
letters contained “a genetic fingerprint of the smallpox strain
matching the fingerprint of the strain causing the current epidemic.”
During the Anthrax attacks that would occur just a few months after
Dark Winter, Judith Miller – who participated in Dark Winter –
and other U.S. reporters would receive threatening letters with a
white powder presumed to be Anthrax. In Miller’s case, the powder
turned out to be harmless.

aspects of Dark Winter appear more notable now than ever,
particularly in light of recent pandemic simulations that were
conducted by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (Event 201)
and the Trump administration (Crimson Contagion) in 2019, as well as
the federal government’s current options for responding to

instance, Dark Winter warns of “dangerous misinformation”
spreading online selling “unverified” cures and making similarly
“unverified” claims, all of which are deemed as posing a threat
to public safety. Such concerns over online
misinformation/disinformation and narrative control have recently
surfaced in connection with the current Covid-19 crisis. Notable,
however, is the fact the “Event 201” simulation held last
October, which simulated a global pandemic caused by a novel
coronavirus, also greatly
concerns about such misinformation/disinformation and
suggested increased social media censorship and “limited internet
shutdowns” to combat the issue. That simulation was co-hosted by
the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, which is currently
by Dark Winter co-author Thomas Inglesby.

Dark Winter further discusses the supression and removal of civil liberties, such as the possibility of the President to invoke “The Insurrection Act”, which would allow the military to act as law enforcement upon request by a State governor, as well as the possibility of “martial rule.” The Dark Winter script also discusses how options for martial rule “include, but are not limited to, prohibition of free assembly, national travel ban, quarantine of certain areas, suspension of the writ of habeas corpus (i.e. arrest without due process), and/or military trials in the event that the court system becomes dysfunctional.”

exercise later includes “credible allegations” that those deemed
“suspicious for smallpox” by authorities were illegally arrested
or detained and that these arrests largely targeted low income
individuals or ethnic minorities. In terms of current events, it is
worth pointing out that U.S. Attorney General William Barr and the
Department of Justice he leads have recently
new “emergency powers” that are allegedly related
to the current Covid-19 outbreak. That request specifically
references the ability to indefinitely detain Americans without right
to a free trial.

a narrative

examining Dark Winter, it then becomes important to examine the
events the exercise seemingly predicted, namely the 2001 anthrax
attacks. This is particularly crucial for two reasons: first, that
the source of the anthrax was later traced to a domestic source,
allegedly the USAMRIID lab in Fort Detrick; and second, the mode of
attack and the initial narrative of those attacks were straight out
of the Dark Winter playbook. Furthermore, key players in the
government response to the anthrax attacks, including those with
apparent foreknowledge of the attacks, as well as those who sought
(falsely) to link those attacks to Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda were
also participants in Dark Winter.

before the first Anthrax case would be discovered, on the evening of
September 11, 2001, then-Vice President Dick Cheney’s staff was
told to start taking injections of the antibiotic Cipro in order to
prevent Anthrax infection. In addition, at least one member of the
press, journalist Richard Cohen – then at the Washington
– had also
been told
to take Cipro soon after September 11 after receiving a
tip “in a roundabout way from a high government official.” Who
exactly in the Bush administration and in the Beltway began taking
Cipro weeks prior to the anthrax attacks and for how long?
Unfortunately, the answer to that question remains unanswered. Yet,
it has since been revealed that the person who had told these
officials to take Cipro was none other than Dark Winter participant
Jerome Hauer, who had previously
for nearly 8 years at the U.S. Army Medical Research and
Development Command (USAMRDC), which oversees the USAMRIID lab at
Fort Detrick.

on September 11, 2001, was the managing director of Kroll Inc., a
private intelligence and security company informally known as the
“CIA of Wall Street,” a company that French intelligence had
of acting as a front for the actual CIA. Kroll Inc., at
the time of the attacks was responsible for security at the World
Trade Center complex, yet Hauer was conveniently not present at his
World Trade Center office on the day of the attacks, instead
appearing on cable news. More on the series of “conveniences”
that have followed Hauer throughout his career, especially over the
course of 2001, and the massive amounts of money he stands to make
off of the current Covid-19 epidemic will be discussed in detail in
Part II of this series.

on September 12, Donald Kagan of the neoconservative think tank the
Project for a New American Century (PNAC), whose members populated
key posts in the Bush administration, made an odd comment (for the
time, anyway) about the September 11 attacks and anthrax. Speaking on
Washington DC radio, Kagan – after suggesting that the U.S. should
invade Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine in retaliation for September
11 – asks “What would have happened if they had anthrax on that plane?”
That same day, James Woolsey, himself a PNAC member and also a Dark
Winter participant, claimed that Iraq was to blame for September 11
during a cable news interview.

week later, another PNAC member and advisor to the Bush White House–
Richard Perle – told CNN that the next terror attack is likely to involve “chemical or
biological weapons.” Soon after, Jerome Hauer re-emerges, claiming
that the government now has a “new sense of urgency” regarding
bioterrorist threats and asserts that “Osama Bin Laden wants to
acquire these [biological] agents and we know he has links to Saddam
and Saddam Hussein has them.” Of course, Saddam Hussein did not
actually possess these biological weapons, although he did during the fictional Dark Winter exercise in which Hauer had actively participated. Just
days after Hauer made these bold claims, ABC
reported that the alleged 9/11 hijackers may have intended to modify
crop dusters to disperse Anthrax.

of this took place several days before the first anthrax victim,
photojournalist Bob Stevens, would even begin to show symptoms and
over a week before doctors would even begin to suspect that his
condition had been caused by anthrax poisoning.

October 2, as Stevens’ health began to rapidly deteriorate, a new
book co-written by journalist Judith Miller of the New
York Times
was released. Entitled “Germs:
Biological Weapons and America’s Secret War
,” the book
asserted that the U.S. faced an unprecedented bioterrorism threat
from terrorist groups like Al Qaeda. It further alleged that such
group may have teamed up with countries such as Iraq and Russia.
Miller, who had participated in Dark Winter months prior, had
conducted numerous interviews with senior White House officials for
the book, particularly Dick Cheney’s chief of staff I. Lewis
“Scooter” Libby.

although he had not personally attended Dark Winter, was greatly
impacted by the exercise when he learned of it, so much so that he
had personally
for Cheney to watch the video of the entire Dark Winter
exercise on September 20, 2001. Cheney took the contents of Dark
Winter to the National Security Council the very next day. It would later be
in New
magazine that, “a few days after 9/11,” the principal authors of
Dark Winter – Randall Larsen, Tara O’Toole and Thomas Inglesby –
would personally meet with Cheney and members of the administration’s
national security staff about the exercise.

who worked
closely with
Robert Kadlec throughout the 1990s, allegedly
smuggled a test tube of weaponized Bacillus
“almost genetically identical to anthrax,” into the meeting,
according to that report. It is unclear when this meeting took place
in relation to when Cheney had watched the video of the Dark Winter

same day that Miller’s “Germs” was released, October 2, another
odd occurrence took place. A former scientist at the USAMRIID lab at
Fort Detrick, Dr. Ayaad Assaad, received a call from the FBI after
someone who intimately knew Assaad’s work history and career in
great detail (and who also claimed to have previously worked with
Assaad) had anonymously accused him of being a “potential
biological terrorist” with a deep-seated hatred of the U.S.
government. At the time the letter was received by the FBI, neither
the public nor the FBI were aware of any anthrax cases. Assaad, who
was then working for the Environmental Protection Agency, told the
FBI that he believed he was being framed by former co-workers. The
FBI deemed this to be credible and never contacted Assaad in
conenction with the case again.

later emerged in the Hartford
that Assaad had been the target of extensive harassment by a clique
of co-workers at the USAMRIID lab in the early 1990s. One of those
co-workers who had harassed Assaad would leave the lab disgruntled as
a result of the controversy over Assaad’s harassment allegations.
He would later return to the lab to conduct unauthorized, late night
research on anthrax and be tied to several missing specimens of
anthrax and other pathogens – Lt. Col. Philip Zack.

in 2001, was working for the U.S. biotechnology company Gilead
Sciences. Though he first began working for Gilead in 1999, he was
in 2001 to lead the establishment of “a new Project Management
Department in conjunction with a complete restructure of R&D
[Research and Development].” Donald Rumsfeld, another member of
PNAC, became the chairman of Gilead Sciences in
and he served as chairman of that company up until he became
George W. Bush’s Secretary of Defense in early 2001.

would later announce on September 10, 2001 that $2.3 trillion had
gone “missing” from the Pentagon’s budget. The Pentagon’s
accounting office, whose staff was attempting to locate these missing
trillions, would be destroyed on September 11, 2001. Though planes
being flown into the Pentagon would later be described by government
officials as “unimaginable” and “unthinkable” after the
attacks, a
of planes being flown into the Pentagon had been
conducted less than a year prior to September 11.


October 4, 2001, Bob Stevens’ anthrax poisoning diagnosis was made
known to the FBI and CDC and the public was then informed via a press
conference. The second anthrax case was declared soon after and was a
co-worker of Stevens’, who had worked for the Florida-based
newspaper, the

day later, White House officials began to immediately pressure
then-FBI Director Robert Mueller to prove that the anthrax attacks
were linked to Al Qaeda, despite there being no evidence to make such
a link. “They really wanted to blame somebody in the Middle East,”
a then-senior FBI official would later tell the New
York Daily News
of the meetings.

the next few weeks, suspicious letters containing fine, white powder
were sent to well-known American journalists, including NBC’s
Tom Brokaw and The
New York Times

Judith Miller, though the powder in the letter addressed to Miller
was found to be harmless. Notably, Miller and other New
York Times
journalists wrote
a total of 27 articles
specifically about anthrax and its
potential use as a bioweapon between September 12, 2001 and the day
before Stevens was diagnosed with anthrax poisoning.

containing anthrax were also received by Senators Tom Daschle, Russ
Feingold and Patrick Leahy, all
of whom were
– at the time – preventing the US Patriot Act
from quickly passing through the Senate and who were resisting
administration attempts to ram the legislation through with little to
no debate. Several of the letters included the date “9-11-01” and
the phrases “Death to America, Death to Israel, Allah is great”
in neatly-printed block letters.

after, a suspicious letter wasfound in the office of then-Congressman
and current Vice President Mike Pence. Media
the following
about Pence’s subsequent press conference in a
2018 podcast that examined the timeline of the 2001 anthrax attacks:

Pence, who once hosted an AM talk show describing himself as ‘Rush
Limbaugh on decaf,’ conducts a
press conference
outside the Capitol proclaiming revenge and
biblical style justice to whoever conducted the anthrax attacks. His
family–with news cameras in tow–gets tested for anthrax at the
hospital after it is allegedly found in his office.

news outlets questioned his grandstanding or odd performance of going
to the hospital with his family, and unlike Senators Daschle and
Leahy in their press appearances, Mike Pence alluded to to the
anthrax letters being connected to the larger ‘war on terror.’

public panic swelled, more letters continued to be found, not just in
the United States but around the world, with anthrax and/or hoax
letters being found in Japan, Kenya, Israel, China and Australia,
among others. Simultaneously, efforts to link the anthrax attacks to
Saddam Hussein and Iraq began to emerge and quickly grew in intensity
and number.

media push to link the attacks to Iraq began first with The
and then was followed by U.S. media outlets like The
Wall Street Journal
Those early reports cited unnamed “American investigators” and
defense officials and largely centered on the
false claim
that alleged 9/11 mastermind Mohammad Atta had met
with an Iraqi diplomat in Prague in late 2000 as well as similarly
false allegations that members of Al Qaeda had recently obtained
vials of anthrax in the Czech Republic.

A key
in disseminating that false Prague story was Dark Winter
participant and PNAC member James Woolsey. It was also
in late October 2001 that Woolsey was serving as the
personal emissary of Paul Wolfowitz, Iraq War “architect” and
then-Deputy Secretary of Defense, in “investigating Iraqi
involvement in the September 11 attacks and anthrax outbreaks.”

the Pentagon, foreign “experts” soon began to assert that there was a link between the anthrax
attacks and Iraq, including former Israeli military intelligence
officer Dany
. Shoham recently resurfaced this
past January
after claiming that Covid-19 was developed by the
Chinese government as a bioweapon.

assertions were soon followed by a report from ABC
Brian Ross, who (again falsely) claimed that some of the anthrax used
in the attacks had contained bentonite. Ross claimed that bentonite
“is a trademark of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s biological weapons
program” and that “only one country, Iraq, has used
bentonite to produce biological weapons.” Ross asserted this
information had come from three “well-placed but separate source,”
which later grew to four. Yet, no tests conducted during the Anthrax
investigation ever found any bentonite at all, meaning the story was
an invention from the very start. ABC and Brian Ross never retracted the story.

Greenwald, then writing
would state the following about Ross’ sources in 2008:

allegedly four separate sources had to have some specific knowledge
of the tests conducted and, if they were really “well-placed,”
one would presume that meant they had some connection to the
laboratory where the tests were conducted — Ft. Detrick. That means
that the
Government lab where the anthrax attacks themselves came from
was the same place where the false reports originated that blamed
those attacks on Iraq.

It’s extremely possible — one could say highly likely — that the
same people responsible for perpetrating the attacks were the ones
who fed the false reports to the public, through ABC News, that
Saddam was behind them.
What we know for certain — as a
result of the letters accompanying the anthrax — is that whoever
perpetrated the attacks
wanted the public to believe they
were sent by foreign Muslims
. Feeding claims to ABC News
designed to link Saddam to those attacks would, for obvious reasons,
promote the goal of the anthrax attacker(s).”

media reports began noting the contradictory messaging of the U.S.
government with regards to the anthrax attacks, messaging which has
striking parallels to the Trump administration’s messaging on
Covid-19. In one such report, written by Matthew
Engel for

in charge have compounded the problems by sending out confused
messages. Was the anthrax weapons-grade or not? Should Americans be
alarmed or relaxed? Has President Bush himself been tested? The
signals keep changing. Mr. Thompson suggested early on that Bob
Stevens, the first anthrax victim, might have drunk from an infected

the 2001 anthrax attacks, there was no shortage of contradictory
actions either, such as the government’s failure to mandate that
postal workers take Cipro or even take the simplest precautions even
though members of the Bush administration had been taking Cipro weeks
before the anthrax attacks were known to the FBI and the public. Even
worse, the Bush administration waited an extremely long time to close
post offices for anthrax testing, waiting until numerous postal
workers had already become infected and some had already died. In
addition, Ernesto Blanco – a Florida mail room worker who later
recovered from Anthrax poisoning – and his family were left
confused about the refusal of the Center for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) to diagnose him with anthrax poisoning while he was
in dire condition. Blanco’s family later
that his diagnosis had been kept a secret for political

for surveillance and control

contradictory response of the Bush administration to the anthrax
attacks and the panic that ensued was also paralleled by an equally
contradictory sensor system, one which had been installed just a few
months before the anthrax attacks in thirty cities throughout the
U.S. despite a dubious record of accuracy.

as the fictional scenarios proposed in Dark Winter were being
written, American scientists were developing a sensor system for the
detection of anthrax and botulinum toxin called BASIS (Biological
Aerosol Sentry and Information Systems). Months before anthrax would
cause extreme panic and target American Senators, scientists from Los
Alamos and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory were testing
the biological sensing device at the Dugway Proving Ground in Utah,
inside the Special Programs Division of what was once the site of the
U.S. biological weapons program and where anthrax samples used at
Fort Detrick are often produced.

is worth noting that Dugway, not unlike Fort Detrick, has a
longstanding issues with biosafety
that have resulted in numerous mishaps, such as their
accidental shipment of live anthrax over
70 times
to 86 different labs throughout the world from
2005-2015. Independent analyses conducted after the FBI closed its
investigation into the attacks have suggested that Dugway may be have
been the source of the anthrax used in the attacks, as opposed to
Fort Detrick.

to BASIS, the results of the tests conducted on this new sensor
system in 2001 showed that it was highly prone to generating false
positives and was, therefore, worthless beyond the ability to “induce
the very panic and social disruption it is intended to thwart”
according to the Livermore Laboratory, which nevertheless marketed
BASIS as a tool to “guard the air we breathe.” Vice President
Cheney, following his September 2001 briefing on Dark Winter, decided
to install the system in the White House.

after Senator Tom Daschle’s press conference that revealed he had
been targeted by the anthrax attacker, President Bush was in Shanghai
attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit when he
received a call from Dick Cheney on Airforce Two. Cheney delivered a
chilling message — the President and Secretaries Condoleezza Rice
and Colin Powell, who were with Bush in China, might have been
exposed to the ultra-lethal botulinum toxin at the White House.

had returned two positive results for the deadly neurotoxin and – if
the tests held true – three of the U.S.’ highest ranking
officials were “toast.” Yet, once again, BASIS had lived up
to its reputation as a great panic-inducing mechanism when the
supposed botulinum toxin hits were determined to have been false
positives. Apparently, this “unintended” feature was a real
selling point, as proven by George W. Bush’s subsequent deployment
of the system in thirty cities
the country under the auspices of the newly-minted Department of
Homeland Security as part of a program called Bio-Watch.

the events described, it is noteworthy that BASIS relies on the CDC’s
Laboratory Response Network (LRN) to identify the biological agents
trapped by its sensors. The 150 state and local laboratories that
make up the LRN use a polymerase chain reaction (PCR-based) analysis,
which is ill-equipped
to detect the aforementioned botulinum toxin
In addition, the Bio-Watch program is plagued by bureaucratic and
logistical problems, which further undermine any potential public
health benefits.

was fully aware of the program’s limitations from the start and
issued requests for proposals (RFPs) for the development of
autonomous sensor technology that would eliminate the need for manual
sample collection. The Bioagent Autonomous Networked Detector (BAND)
program was then initiated by HSARPA (Homeland Security Advanced
Research Projects Agency) in September of 2003 and, in 2008, awarded
a multi-year contract for its development to MicroFluidic
Systems, Inc.
a company founded by Allen Northrup. Northup is also co-founder of
Cepheid, a diagnostic testing company that received
FDA approval
a 45-minute Covid-19 test less than two weeks ago.

tandem with the development of BASIS shortly before 9/11 and the 2001
anthrax attacks, DARPA was sponsoring a surveillance program to
collect data on U.S. citizens without their knowledge or consent by
using their medical records. The ostensible purpose of that program
was to develop algorithms that could detect a bioweapons attack based
on real-time data input. The Bio-Event Advanced Leading Indicator
Recognition Technology, or Bio-ALIRT, is at the heart of what Dark
Winter co-author, Dr. Tara O’Toole, calls the “information supply

need to have a disciplined flow of information during epidemics that
goes to the people who need to know what they need to know,”
O’Toole recently told Ira
an interview. “That’s different from this cosmic surveillance
system, that captures all the possible information all the time and
tells us, in advance when an epidemic is coming. We need a supply
chain of information to manage the epidemic.” O’Toole, who now
works for the CIA’s venture capital arm In-Q-Tel,
and her longstanding promotion of mass surveillance in the name of
“public health” will be discussed in a subsequent installment of
this series.

partners in this Orwellian endeavor were, perhaps unsurprisingly,
recurring actors in the arena of biological attack simulations, from
Johns Hopkins to the University of Pittsburgh – the Biosecurity
centers of which were both
previously run by O’Toole
– and defense industry giants,
General Dynamics and IBM.

over these draconian innovations floats the overarching narrative,
which the 2001 anthrax attacks were supposed to activate in popular
consciousness. Though the attacks would be pinned on USAMRIID
scientist Bruce Ivins, the highly questionable investigative and
prosecutorial methods employed in Ivins’ case, not to mention his
timely pre-trial suicide, may instead offer clues regarding a botched
false flag operation that had originally been designed to bolster the
creation of a new geopolitical chessboard pitting the U.S. against
its same perpetual enemies.

up the real conspiracy

its earliest moments, the FBI’s “Amerithrax” investigation into
the 2001 anthrax attacks was clearly botched, sabotaged and even
farcical. For instance, the letter sent to Dr. Ayaad Assaad would
obviously have been a clear starting point for any honest
investigation, as whoever wrote it had obvious foreknowledge of the
attacks, connections to USAMRIID and was attempting to frame someone
else for a crime that – at the time it was sent – had yet to be
committed. Yet, The
Hartford Courant
noted in late 2001 that “the FBI is not tracking the source of
the anonymous letter, despite its curious timing, coming a matter of
days before the existence of anthrax-laced mail became known.” Why
would the FBI not be interested in who wrote that letter, when it
presents a clear lead on someone who, at the very least, knew a
bioterrorism attack would soon take place and that the attacker’s
profile would fit that of Assaad (i.e. Muslim and a former USAMRIID

addition, in the early days of the investigation on October 12, 2001
– just one week after the attacks had claimed their first victim,
the FBI called the University of Iowa and demanded that they destroy
their entire database on the Ames strain of anthrax, the strain that
would later be revealed to have been the very strain used in the

the FBI and the university officially claimed that the database’s
destruction was ordered in order to prevent its potential use by
terrorists in the future and was thus a “precaution,” despite
greatly hampering the capacity of the investigation to determine the
origins of the anthrax used in the attacks. Dr. Francis Boyle, an
American law professor who drafted the Biological Weapons
Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, later
that the FBI’s decision to order the destruction of
the Ames strain database was an “obstruction of justice, a federal
crime,” adding that “…That collection should have been
preserved and protected as evidence. That’s the DNA, the
fingerprints right there.”

the destruction of the Ames strain database and the decision to not
pursue any leads related to the anonymous letter framing Dr. Assaad
be written off as merely “missteps” made in the earliest and
arguably most crucial days of the investigation? The fact that the
Bush administration, as previously mentioned, was strongly pressuring
then-FBI Director Robert Mueller to find a connection to “someone
in the Middle East” at the same time these decision were made
instead suggests that the investigation was highly politicized and
manipulated by top government officials from the very beginning.

FBI investigation continued to be marred by similarly obstructive
actions. For instance, the anthrax sample that was in the envelope
addressed to Senator Patrick Leahy had been found to contain traces
of human DNA, a
crucial finding
that the FBI laboratory deliberately
from the agency’s own investigators. The FBI lab then declined to
search for a match to this human DNA sample, despite the fact that
doing so would – in all probability – lead to the actual

Due to all the obstruction and deliberate sabotage that took place,
the investigation progressed slowly as crucial clues were ignored or
outright discarded, apparently in order to keep FBI investigators off
of the real trail. After coming under political and media pressure at
least name a suspect, the FBI began to focus on former USAMRIID
researcher Stephen Hatfill.

Despite lacking any good reason to pursue Hatfill, the FBI – accompanied
by TV crews
– raided Hatfill’s apartment in biohazard suits
and then-Attorney General John Ashcroft later publicly named him a
“person of interest” in the case. The FBI pressured Hatfill’s
then-employer to fire him and refused to clear his name years after the Bureau knew full well that he had no connection to the
crime. Hatfill first sued the government in 2003 and the Department
of Justice settled
with Hatfill
five years later, paying him $4.6 million in

Though it was eventually settled, Hatfill’s lawsuit initially
resulted in some odd claims from FBI investigators, with Richard
Lambert – the FBI official in charge of the Amerithrax
investigation, claiming
the lawsuit “could jeopardize the probe and expose
national secrets related to U.S. bioweapons defense measures.” He
also claimed it would “make
public the vulnerabilities and capabilities of U.S. government
installations to bioweapons attacks and expose sensitive intelligence
collection sources and methods.”
Lambert would later file a federal whisteblower lawsuit where he accused the
Bureau’s Washington field office and FBI headquarters of having
“greatly obstructed and impeded the investigation.”

The Department of Justice, which
oversees the FBI, would make a similar argument when Maureen Stevens,
the wife of the first anthrax victim Bob Stevens, sued the federal
government over the lax security measures in place at the USAMRIID
lab where the anthrax used in the attacks was alleged to have
originated. Stevens’ lawyer said the lawsuit was also
due to “the government’s stonewalling tactics,” which
included “taking
months to turn over an autopsy report, denying them access to DNA
tests and even denying them money from the Sept. 11 Victims
Compensation Fund.”
Citing “national security concerns,” federal attorneys sought to
delay Stevens’ lawsuit, arguing
the litigation “would
pose a significant risk of disclosing classified or sensitive
information relating to the acquisition, development and use of
weapons of mass destruction such as anthrax.”

In 2008, soon after Hatfill was cleared and the lawsuit with him
settled, the FBI began to focus on another USAMRIID researcher, Dr.
Bruce E. Ivins. Ivins, who had previously helped the FBI analyze the
anthrax used in the letters sent to politicians, journalists and
others, was aggressively targeted by the FBI through aggressive
surveillance and what can only be described as extreme harassment.

As Glenn Greenwald noted
in Salon
in 2008, “the
FBI investigation was so heavy-handed that it actually entailed
showing gruesome photographs of the anthrax victims to Ivins’ adult
children, telling them that their father is the one who did that,
while trying to entice them to turn on him with promises of a
reward.” It was also revealed that addiction counselor Jean Duley,
whose restraining order against Ivins was used by the media as
“proof” that he was deranged and a likely “lone wolf”
terrorist, had actually
been egged on
by none other than the FBI to seek that very
restraining order.

The FBI, as it ramped up its targeting of Ivins, leaked much of its
evidence to media outlets, which – for the most part –
uncritically reported it. However, it eventually became clear that
the case was shoddy and would never hold up in court as it was built on
circumstantial evidence
and questionable scientific analyses.

It was then announced on July 29, 2008 that Ivins, whose life and
career had been left in ruins by the FBI’s aggressive tactics, had
committed suicide just as the federal government was set to charge
him as the sole culprit behind the Anthrax attacks. Few chose to
question the suicide narrative despite there being legitimate reasons
to do so, such as the lack of a suicide note at the scene and the
fact that no
autopsy was ever performed
on Ivins’ corpse.

Former FBI agent Richard Lambert’s whistleblower lawsuit would
later reveal
that the FBI had intentionally withheld a “wealth”
of evidence that proved Ivins’ innocence and further charged that
the DOJ and FBI
had “crafted
an elaborate perception management campaign to bolster their
assertion of Ivins’ guilt

that included “press conferences and
selective evidentiary presentations which were replete with material

After Ivins’ suicide, questions continued to arise regarding the
FBI’s case against the deceased scientist, with several journalists
and even
Senator Patrick Leahy
– who had been sent an Anthrax letter –
insisting that the FBI’s case against Ivins, particularly the
charge that he had acted alone, was implausible. A former co-worker
of Ivins and one of the country’s top biowarfare experts, Richard
Spertzel, asserted
in The Wall Street Journal
that Ivins couldn’t have been the culprit because Ivins did not
know how to make anthrax of the quality used in the attacks as only
4-5 people in the entire country, Spertzel being one of them, knew
how to do so. Spertzel asserted that one of those 4-5 people would
have needed at least a year as well as a full lab and a staff
dedicate to the task in order to produce the Anthrax used.

In an attempt to mollify mounting criticism, Mueller announced
in September 2008
that a panel from the National Academy of
Sciences (NAS) would independently review the FBI’s “smoking gun”
scientific analyses that had led them to accuse Ivins. However, the
FBI abruptly closed the case in 2010, well before the panel could
conclude its review, and stood by its controversial assertion that
Ivins had acted as a “lone wolf” and that anthrax from a flask in
Ivins’ lab was “conclusively identified as the parent material to
the anthrax powder used in the mailings.”

When the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) did release its review of the FBI’s scientific findings a year later in
2011, it found that the Bureau’s “smoking gun” scientific
evidence against Ivins was actually very inconclusive and they also
identified several still, unresolved issues with the FBI’s analyses
for which the Bureau could not provide an explanation.

However, because Ivins had died before the FBI’s scientific case
could go to trial, the FBI’s claims would never be challenged in
court. David Relman, vice chairman of the National Academy study
committee, later
ProPublica that Ivins’ trial would have been the only way the FBI’s claims
“could have been weighed and challenged by experts.”

The NAS study was not the only
independent report that challenged the FBI’s case against Ivins
after his apparent suicide. In 2014, the Government Accountability
Office (GAO) released its own
is of the FBI investigation and concluded that the FBI’s approach
lacked consistency, adequate standards and precision. The GAO report
ultimately supported the NAS’ conclusion that the scientific
evidence did not definitely prove Ivins to be the culprit.

The conclusions of both the NAS and
GAO reports show that the FBI’s “smoking gun” against Ivins –
its scientific analyses – were hardly a smoking gun as they were
just as circumstantial as the rest of the Bureau’s evidence against
the scientist. This, of course, makes the timing of the FBI’s
decision to close the case, a year before any independent analysis of
its evidence against Ivins could be completed, significant.

familiar cast of characters

players in Dark Winter would also end up playing a role in the FBI
Amerithrax investigation and Bush administration efforts to link them
to a foreign, rather than a domestic, source. For instance, as
increasingly desperate efforts were made to link the anthrax attacks
to Al Qaeda in early 2002, an “independent” team from the Johns
Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies argued
that the anthrax attackers were linked to Al Qaeda, citing a
diagnosis made by a Florida doctor in June 2001
that alleged 9/11 hijacker Ahmed al-Haznawi had a
skin lesion
that was “consistent with cutaneous anthrax.”

this team from Johns Hopkins was – in reality — far from
independent, as it
was led by
Dark Winter co-authors Tara O’Toole and Thomas
Inglesby. However,
their association with Dark Winter and their September 2001 meeting
with Dick Cheney went unmentioned as media outlets ran with O’Toole
and Inglesby’s assertion
that al-Haznawi’s allegedly
anthrax-related lesion “raises the possibility that the hijackers
were handling anthrax and were the perpetrators of the anthrax letter
attacks.” Other
scientists and analysts as well as the FBI challenged
and rejected their claims

Another Dark Winter figure involved
in the Amerithrax case
was current Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR)
at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Robert
Kadlec, who became an adviser on biological warfare to the
Rumsfeld-led Pentagon in the days after 9/11. Kadlec’s official
states that he “contributed to the FBI investigation
of the anthrax letter attacks,” though it’s unclear exactly what
those contributions were, beyond having met
at least once with
scientists at Fort Detrick in November 2001.
Whatever his contributions were, Kadlec has
long been an emphatic
of the official narrative regarding Bruce Ivins, who he
has referred to as a “deranged scientist”
and the
sole culprit behind the attacks. Kadlec has
also used
the official narrative about Ivins to assert that
bioweapons have been “democratized,” which
he argues means
that weaponized pathogens can be wielded by essentially anyone with
“a few thousand dollars” and enough time on their hands.

Kadlec isn’t the only key figure in the current U.S. government
response to Covid-19 to have ties to the botched FBI investigation as
current HHS Secretary Alex Azar was
also involved
in the FBI investigation. In addition, Azar stated
at a White House press briefing in 2018 that he
had been “personally involved in much of
managing the response [to the anthrax attacks]” as
then-General counsel to HHS.

that the FBI investigation into the anthrax attacks and the
government response to them were so disastrous and heavily criticized
by independent and mainstream media alike, it is surprising that Azar
and Kadlec would so proudly tout their involvement in that fiasco,
especially considering that the scientific analyses used in that
investigation were fatally flawed and, by all indications, led to the
death of an innocent man.

While such credentials in a
world would be grounds for
exclusion from public service, they apparently
have the
opposite effect when it comes to post-2001 HHS policy and U.S.
biodefense policy, which – especially
following 2001 – has championed the interests and profits of
corporate pharmaceutical companies and the apocalyptic vision of
bioweapons held by war hawks and perpetual Cold Warriors. This latter
category, of course, includes members of the now-defunct PNAC, who
infamously referred to racially-targeted
bioweapons as a “politically useful tool” in a now
infamous 2001 document
, and their ideological descendants.

As the next installment of this series will show, Dark Winter participant and 2001 anthrax attack insider Jerome Hauer epitomizes this merging of perpetual hawkishness and corporate pharmaceutical interests, as he has long held (and continues to occupy) key board positions of the very pharmaceutical company that not only sold tens of millions of anthrax vaccine doses to HHS following the 2001 anthrax attacks, but is now a partner in the development of the majority of vaccines, drugs and experimental treatments currently under development in the United States for the treatment of Covid-19.


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