Seven Years Later: Electrons Unlocked Post-9/11 Anthrax Mail Mystery

Scientific American today posted an article on the Sandia anthrax investigation performed by materials scientists. I’m not sure how much it adds to the weaponization discussion, and it includes some minor errors, but does expand on the role and timeline of Sandia’s work for the anthrax investigation.

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13 years ago

Compare and contrast.

On the one hand the Scandia scientists explain to Scientific American how they determined that “silica” was formed inside the spore naturally. (“The researchers could find no way that the silica could be placed inside the spore without leaving a residue on the spore’s outermost layer. (They found none.) Instead, the researchers determined that the silica formed inside the spore naturally.”)

Meanwhile exact same scientists state at the FBI Briefing of Aug 18 that one cannot assume that there is “silica” in the spore since elemental analysis only revealed the presence of silicon and oxygen, without revealing whether they were chemically combined in the form of silica. (“DR. MICHAEL: … — I hesitate to call it silica, because we don’t know how it’s bound together, and [EDX] does not tell us how it’s bound together.”)

13 years ago

“By the time the Sandia researchers began their work in February 2002, “we had heard just like everyone else that the spores had been weaponized,” says Michael, who had proposed a study of the elemental composition of any materials found growing outside the spores.”

This must be the first “elemental composition” study in history that didn’t actually include finding the QUANTITIES of the elements present. I guess Sandia “forgot” to report that little detail.

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