*Obtained through a FOIA request by the Washington Post (article Nov 30, 01)
# indicates laboratories in the US that are estimated to be more likely than the others to have weaponization capabilities.
+Indicates recipients of the Ames strain acknowledged by USAMRIID.
V. ANCILARY MATERIALS FROM OTHER SOURCES
Particularly relevant quotations are bold-faced.
1. FBI Letter to Members of the American Society for Microbiology
29 Jan 02
FROM: Van Harp, Assistant Director, Washington Field Office
Federal Bureau of Investigation
On September 18, 2001, two copies of an identical letter were mailed in
separate envelopes from Trenton, NJ, one to "Editor, New York Post" and
the other to "Tom Brokaw, NBC TV." Each letter contained a significant
quantity of the bacterium Bacillus anthracis.
On October 9, 2001, two additional copies of a slightly different
letter were mailed from Trenton, NJ, the first to "Senator (Tom)
Daschle" and the second to "Senator (Patrick) Leahy." Each of these
letters again contained Bacillus anthracis but of a better quality than
the letters mailed to New York.
As a result of these mailings and the resulting bacterial infections,
there are five innocent persons who are dead, including a ninety-four
year old Connecticut Woman. Additional cases of cutaneous anthrax have
infected numerous individuals including a seven month old baby in New
I would like to appeal to the talented men and women of the American
Society for Microbiology to assist the FBI in identifying the person
who mailed these letters. It is very likely that one or more of you
know this individual. A review of the information-to-date in this
matter leads investigators to believe that a single person is most
likely responsible for these mailings. This person is experienced
working in a laboratory. Based on his or her selection of the Ames
strain of Bacillus anthracis one would expect that this individual has
or had legitimate access to select biological agents at some time. This
person has the technical knowledge and/or expertise to produce a highly
refined and deadly product. This person has exhibited a clear, rational
thought process and appears to be very organized in the production and
mailing of these letters. The perpetrator might be described as
"stand-offish" and likely prefers to work in isolation as opposed to a
group/team setting. It is possible this person used off-hours in a
laboratory or may have even established an improvised or concealed
facility comprised of sufficient equipment to produce the anthrax.
It is important to ensure that all relevant information, no matter how
insignificant it may seem, is brought to the attention of the
investigators in this case. If you believe that you have information
that might assist in the identification of this individual, please
contact the FBI via telephone at 1-800-CRIME TV (1-800-274-6388) or via
email at the following website: Amerithrax@FBI.gov
There is also a $2.5 million reward for information leading to the
arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible in this case.
[Note: The ASM cover letter, explaining the FBI request for the mailing, contains the following statement: “The action was criminal and not ideological.”
2. Salon Article, 8 Feb. 02
By Laura Rozen
Feb. 8, 2002 | WASHINGTON -- When Arthur O. Anderson, chief of clinical
pathology at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious
Diseases (USAMRIID), saw the anthrax sent to Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., last
October, he was amazed.
"There was nothing there except spores," he told Salon. "Normally, if you
take a crude preparation of anthrax spores, you see parts of degenerated
bacteria. But this stuff was highly refined."
Another former Army lab scientist characterized the sample as "very, very
Anderson isn't drawing conclusions about where the anthrax came
from -- perhaps in part because the subject is deeply sensitive at the U.S.
Army's own biodefense lab, which could find itself at the center of the
investigation. But conversations with dozens of scientists and experienced
biodefense hands reveal a growing belief that last fall's anthrax letter
culprit is most likely an experienced bioweapons scientist. And while Franz
and others note that there are Iraqi and Russian scientists with the skills
to pull off the complex anthrax-mail attack, many experts now believe the
culprit worked at a U.S. bioweapons facility.
Only a few dozen individuals in the U.S. possess the expertise to produce
the sophisticated anthrax specimen sent to Daschle, Vermont Sen. Patrick
Leahy and at least three media outlets last fall. There may be as many as
200 Russian scientists capable of such work, and perhaps 10 Iraqis. But
certain clues have convinced many -- though not all -- bioweapons experts
who've followed the FBI investigation closely that the anthrax in the
letters most likely came from a U.S. lab. That's chiefly because Ames
strain anthrax, the type used in the letters, has been distributed by
USAMRIID to about 20 U.S labs since 1981. Of those, only four facilities
are believed to have the ability to produce the highly lethal, dry powder
form of the Ames strain anthrax the lethal letters contained.
But despite signs that this should narrow the list of anthrax suspects to a
few dozen people, the FBI appears to be casting a wider net in its
investigation, which seems to have made fairly limited progress since the
first victim, American Media Inc. photo editor Bob Stevens, died of anthrax
inhalation four months ago.
Just two weeks ago, for instance, the FBI blanketed New Jersey, where at
least four of the anthrax letters were mailed from, with fliers asking
anyone who might have any knowledge of the culprit to contact the Bureau.
This week, a University of Illinois law professor said that his university
was one of dozens that recently received FBI subpoenas demanding that they
turn over all documents relating to anthrax. And last week, the American
Society for Microbiology in Washington announced that, at the request of
the FBI, it had e-mailed its 40,000 members asking for possible clues.
A spokesman for the group said that while they happily complied, they found
the FBI request a bit perplexing. "As we understand, it's not just
microbiology needed to create [the anthrax that was in the letters]," said
the microbiology society's spokesman, who asked not to be named. "You need
the microbiology skills to grow it, but to process it, you need a totally
different set of skills," such as advanced chemical engineering training,
The wide net cast by the FBI also baffles many scientists and other weapons
nonproliferation experts familiar with the anthrax investigation, who think
federal authorities could make more progress identifying the anthrax
attacker by focusing on a much narrower group.
"If you want to see the intersection of the two talents -- the
microbiologic ability to obtain and safely grow lots of anthrax, and the
industrial ability to turn it into a dry powder -- then that would suggest
to me that the person did indeed have some experience with the biological
warfare program," says C.J. Peters, who, as a doctor specializing in
hemorrhagic fevers such as Ebola, worked at USAMRIID from 1977 to 1990, and
later at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He now heads a new
center for biodefense at the University of Texas at Galveston.
"Frankly, I find it puzzling," says Elisa D. Harris, who served as director
of nonproliferation issues at the National Security Council from 1993 until
2001, and is currently a resident scholar at the University of Maryland.
"Given what's been reported about the nature and quality of the anthrax
material in the Daschle and Leahy letters, that the material itself almost
certainly originated in the U.S. biological weapons program, they ought to
be able to narrow the investigation to a fairly limited number of
facilities. That number is certainly less than 20. So I find it puzzling
that the FBI has approached all 40,000 members of the American Society of
Microbiologists. I don't understand why they seem to be casting the net so
The FBI says it is pursuing all avenues.
"We are continuing to investigate the source of the anthrax, and who might
be responsible for sending it," an FBI spokesman told Salon. "That
investigation is very thorough and very exhaustive and we have not ruled
anything out. We have pursued thousands of leads."
Perhaps responding to a growing chorus of criticism, on Thursday unnamed
FBI sources were quoted telling the Wall Street Journal that they are in
fact zeroing in on U.S. weapons labs in their anthrax investigation. But
the article also revealed a startling fact: The FBI has not yet subpoenaed
employee records of the labs where Ames strain anthrax is worked with.
Barbara Hatch Rosenberg, a biological arms control expert at the State
University of New York at Purchase and chair of a bioweapons working group
at the independent Federation of American Scientists, believes the FBI has
intentionally dragged its heels on the weapons-lab angle, most likely for
"For more than three months now the FBI has known that the perpetrator of
the anthrax attacks is American," Rosenberg wrote to Salon on Tuesday.
"This conclusion must have been based on the perpetrator's evident
connection to the U.S. biodefense program."
Rosenberg has become convinced that the FBI knows who sent out the anthrax
letters, but isn't arresting him, because he has been involved in secret
biological weapons research that the U.S. does not want revealed.
"This guy knows too much, and knows things the U.S. isn't very anxious to
publicize," Rosenberg said in an interview. "Therefore, they don't want to
get too close."
Other experts aren't ready to make that leap. Some suggest that the FBI may
just be moving slowly and carefully to gather incriminating evidence that
can stand up in court. Some blame simple incompetence.
"Barbara says the FBI's been told to look for things, and they haven't,"
says Milton Leitenberg, a biological arms control expert at the University
of Maryland. "I don't know. I think they [the FBI] are doing a half-assed
job of it myself. But maybe other people would have done as bad a job, who
But Jonathan A. King, a professor of microbiology at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, says he, too, is suspicious of the government's
handling of the investigation.
"The first place one would have looked for the anthrax perpetrator is at
the U.S. facilities where people have grants from the government to do
biological defense research," King said in an interview. "But for months,
there was no statement from any federal authorities naming these
laboratories as under suspicion. It's extraordinary."
Although Rosenberg goes further than most experts in criticizing the FBI's
anthrax investigation, her analysis of the case has become must reading for
scientists and congressional staffers concerned about biodefense issues.
(An FBI spokesman contacted by phone Thursday says the agency, too, is
reading her work, but won't comment on it.) A microbiologist by training,
Rosenberg worked as a cancer researcher at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer
Center, and as a professor of biochemistry at Cornell Medical College. A
decade ago, she founded the Federation of American Scientists' biological
and chemical weapons program, which she now heads.
In her analysis of the details known about the anthrax attacks to date, she
has built a persuasive and disturbing case that the anthrax culprit is a
deep insider to the U.S. government's biological weapons program.
Her conclusion is based on a collection of facts that point to a smaller
and smaller number of individuals who could have met all the criteria for
producing, handling and sending out the anthrax letters. The perpetrator
seemed to have advanced expertise and experience in biological weapons like
anthrax, for instance, and access to the technology to produce and refine
it. He or she (but most think it's a he) probably would have had to have
access to the anthrax vaccine, which is not widely available, in order not
to succumb to the disease himself -- which means records of anthrax
vaccinations, which require a yearly booster shot, would be available to
further help identify the person.
In addition, the perpetrator used a highly sophisticated, lethal powder
form of the Ames strain of anthrax. Although the strain itself came into
the possession of USAMRIID in 1981, and was distributed from there for
research purposes to about 20 labs, only about four facilities in the U.S.
are believed to have the capability for "weaponizing" dry anthrax -- which
basically means refining or cultivating a pure sample whose spores are so
tiny and uniform they can easily be inhaled into the lungs.
Even the FBI seems to acknowledge the anthrax suspect has technical
expertise in biology. In the letter sent to the 40,000 members of the
American Society for Microbiology, Van Harp, assistant director of the
FBI's Washington field office, told recipients: "It is very likely that one
or more of you know this individual. A review of the information to date in
this matter leads investigators to believe that a single person is most
likely responsible for these mailings. This person is experienced working
in a laboratory. Based on his or her selection of the Ames strain of
Bacillus anthracis, one would expect that this individual has or had
legitimate access to select biological agents at some time.
"This person has the technical knowledge and/or expertise to produce a
highly refined and deadly product," the letter continued. "This person has
exhibited a clear, rational thought process and appears to be very
organized in the production and mailing of these letters. The perpetrator
might be described as 'stand-offish' and likely prefers to work in
isolation as opposed to a group/team setting. It is possible this person
used off-hours in a laboratory or may have even established an improvised
or concealed facility comprised of sufficient equipment to produce the
Rosenberg says the perpetrator has dangled plenty of clues in front of
investigators. One of those clues, she says, is a letter sent to the
military police at the Quantico, Va., Marine base (and forwarded to the
FBI) in late September -- well before the public was aware that anthrax was
being sent in the mail -- that tried to frame a former U.S. biowarfare
researcher as a bioterrorist. That anonymous letter stated that the writer
had worked with the man, Dr. Ayaad Assaad, and had details about him that
only an insider would know (although some details in the letter turned out
to be incorrect.) The FBI has cleared Assaad of any possible connection to
the case, but Assaad himself has criticized the agency for not zeroing in
on his accuser as a likely culprit, since that person seemed to have
foreknowledge about the anthrax attacks.
"The perpetrator has left multiple, blatant clues, seemingly on purpose,"
Rosenberg writes. "Second letters, addressed similarly to the anthrax
letters and containing [talc] powder ... The postal addresses and dates of
these letters map out an itinerary of the perpetrator(s) ... which single
out the perpetrator from the other likely suspects."
Rosenberg also says three senior U.S. biodefense officials have given the
same name of a likely suspect to the FBI. She would not reveal that
person's name, but said he is a former USAMRIID scientist, who she
understands is working for a defense or CIA contractor in the Washington
metropolitan area. Rosenberg says that the FBI has questioned the
individual, along with many other former biodefense scientists.
Interestingly, William C. Patrick III, the founder of the U.S. military's
biological weapons program, and the man who taught the folks at the Army's
Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah how to make dry anthrax (using a harmless
anthrax substitute, though), is no longer willing to talk to the press.
Contacted by Salon Thursday, Patrick said that he has been misquoted in the
media, and doesn't wish to comment on the investigation anymore. Rosenberg
believes that the anthrax perpetrator may know Patrick, because the attack
resembles a classified study that Patrick wrote for a CIA contractor a
couple of years ago, which tried to predict how an anthrax attack through
the mail would work.
Based on all the evidence, Rosenberg sums up her conclusions this way: The
perpetrator, she believes, is "angry at some biodefense agency or
component, and he is driven to demonstrate, in a spectacular way, his
capabilities and the government's inability to respond. He is cocksure that
he can get away with it. Does he know something that he believes to be
sufficiently damaging to the United States to make him untouchable by the
But C.J. Peters, the former USAMRIID and CDC doctor, says the FBI's dragnet
to date is just standard operating procedure, and he doubts that it's been
a ploy to hide secret weapons research.
"The FBI throws the net as wide as they possibly can," Peters said. "They
put hundreds of people on this case and turn the crank and look for little
clues and putting A and B together. I could imagine that maybe, just maybe,
there might be someone in the Defense Department who says, I don't want
this to be traced back to Dugway [the Army proving grounds in Utah]. I
could imagine a person thinking that. But I couldn't imagine that the FBI
would care if it were traced back to Dugway. The FBI guy's thinking, 'Hey,
man, I got them. I am going to be famous now. We are going to be heroes, we
found it.' I don't believe it's a grand government-wide conspiracy."
That said, Peters does have concerns about the FBI's ability to use the
scientific information the physical anthrax provides.
"I'm not sure the FBI understands how to use the biological information,"
Peters added. "They think they are going to solve this the way they solve
all other crimes. But it also seems possible to me they may be overlooking
some helpful hints from the biology of the anthrax itself. I wonder if they
are making full use of everything that's known about the biology."
And while few other scientists admit to sharing Rosenberg's dark
conclusions about why the FBI has been slow to solve the anthrax case, some
believe that casting the net widely served multiple political purposes for
the Bush administration.
"From the moment one saw that it was highly concentrated Ames strain
anthrax, the first lead candidate should have been a U.S. laboratory with a
military contract," says MIT's Jonathan King. "Instead, we heard no such
public admission. Immediately they were talking about Iraq and al-Qaida,
when the largest such facilities are in the U.S. That leads me to think two
things: the U.S. government is covering up the fact that the most likely
source of the anthrax was not al-Qaida, was not foreign terrorists, but was
a home-grown individual. And secondly, it was turned into part of the
Indeed, while in the early days of the anthrax letter scare, U.S. political
leaders said they were actively looking to see if there was a connection
between the anthrax and Iraq and al-Qaida, those views are now in the
minority. On Dec. 17, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said that it is
"increasingly looking like it was a domestic source." On Jan. 13, Homeland
Defense Director Thomas Ridge told media, "the primary direction of the
investigation is turned inward." Two weeks ago, at a New Jersey press
conference, an FBI official said the investigation was focusing on a U.S.
It would be easier to dismiss Rosenberg's fears of a high-level U.S.
coverup as cloak-and-dagger paranoia if it weren't for the fact that U.S.
bioweapons programs are so secretive and mysterious. There is growing
evidence that the programs, which are governed by international law and are
supposed to be under congressional oversight, are more widespread and
ambitious than officials have admitted.
Many experts are still angry that the U.S. walked out of the Biological
Weapons Convention conference this past July in Geneva, after the Bush
administration rejected language that would have subjected signatory
nations, including the U.S., to inspections to make sure they're not
engaging in any prohibited offensive bioweapons development.
"They [U.S. government officials] don't want the treaty to be tighter, and
they don't want people coming here and investigating our facilities and
stockpiles," says Meryl Nass, an MIT-trained physician who has long
advocated for stricter arms control. "So it turns out that the U.S. did
have this dry weaponized anthrax after all, and that was a big secret. But
no one has really discussed the implications of this. They completely
avoided the issue. But the rest of the biodefense establishment around the
world knew exactly what it meant. They knew the U.S. had basically
transgressed the weapons convention."
And even if the FBI isn't intentionally trying to protect bioweapons
secrets from being revealed, some experts worry that the proliferation of
bioweapons programs -- some of them still secret -- could be hampering the
FBI's anthrax investigation.
"I think a number of us were surprised by some of the revelations" of
secret bioweapons programs, says Elisa D. Harris, the former Clinton
administration NSC official. Harris thinks it's possible the FBI itself is
not aware of all of the biodefense work being contracted out by the U.S.
government, because it is such a highly secretive and compartmentalized
Harris says she was shocked to read in the New York Times last September
about biodefense research programs that she herself had not known about,
although she had served for eight years in the White House as the point
person for weapons of mass destruction nonproliferation issues.
On Sept. 4, 2001 -- just a week before the Sept. 11 attacks, the Times
reported that from 1997-2000, the CIA conducted a program called Clear
Vision, to build a model of a Soviet germ bomblet. The program was carried
out at the West Jefferson, Ohio, labs of Battelle Memorial Institute, a
defense and CIA contractor. In addition, the Times story reported, the
Defense Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon's intelligence arm, hired
Battelle last year to create a type of genetically enhanced version of
anthrax, a "superbug," to see if the anthrax vaccine currently in use by
the Pentagon was effective against it. A second Pentagon program, called
Bacchus, involved building a germ factory in the Nevada desert from
scratch, but reportedly did not use real germs, but simulants that mimic
"I was only aware of one of those three programs," Harris says. "I was
never told by the Defense Department about the other two. I was also not
aware that since the early 1990s, the U.S. Army has apparently been
producing small quantities of dry, very potent Ames strain anthrax."
hamper the bureau's investigation. But whatever is stalling the
investigation -- the forensic complexity of the case, bureaucratic
resistance to FBI scrutiny, or a darker scenario of the sort Rosenberg
describes -- Harris and others say it's now clear the U.S. biodefense
program lacks proper oversight. And some experts even think it could take a
congressional investigation to get to the bottom of what has stalled the
anthrax investigation -- especially to answer questions about why the FBI
didn't beat a quicker path to U.S. bioweapons labs.
"If it turns out that the anthrax that killed 5 people and injured a dozen
and resulted in tens of thousands of people having to take antibiotics, if
that anthrax came from the U.S. biodefense program, that just underscores
the importance of the Congress looking into this program and getting a
really comprehensive picture about what has been taking place.
"There has been no real serious oversight of the U.S. biological defense
program for a very long time," Harris added. "And I think this is a good
moment, given the impact of the anthrax attacks, for Congress to take
This story has been corrected since it was first published.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
About the writerLaura Rozen writes about U.S. foreign policy and the
Balkans crisis for Salon News. Sound OffSend us a Letter to the Editor
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Corp. to remain the sole U.S. supplier of a crucial weapon against
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By Laura Rozen10/15/01
.... posted jkeel, 2/26/02
FBI Investigating Vaccine-Makers' Motives in Anthrax Mailings
> Sandpoint, ID - More than two months after Harvard-trained public health professional Dr. Leonard Horowitz urged the FBI to investigate drug companies for anthrax related mischief, including frightening the public for profit, the Washington Post has reported the bureau is pursuing the possibility that financial gain was the primary motive behind the deadly anthrax mailings.
Dr. Horowitz, director of a government watch-dog group that published Death in the Air: Globalism, Terrorism and Toxic Warfare months before the September 11 attacks, petitioned the FBI on October 1 to investigate pharmaceutical companies the Washington Post has reported are finally being investigated.
Washington Post writers Susan Schmidt and Joby Warrick reported (on December 21) that the FBI was probing at least two military- industrial contractors that stocked the specific mailed anthrax powder. The first is the Army's Dugway Proving Grounds (DPG), and the second is the intimately related Battelle Memorial Institute (BMI).
BMI is a reputed "nonprofit" CIA and military contractor involved in vaccine acquisitions and development. It also administers and supplies the aerosolized bioweapons "Life Sciences" facilities at DPG. It is believed to be the sole source of the mailed anthrax according to a report sent to 1,500 FBI personnel, 8,700 news producers, and more than 400,000 Americans beginning December 11, 2001, by Dr. Horowitz.
The doctor's FBI communiqués, along with other related articles, are archived at http://www.tetrahedron.org
Much incriminating evidence points to the Ohio-based anthrax vaccine developer, BMI, and collaborators at a Michigan laboratory named Bioport. According to evidence pieced together by Dr. Horowitz, BMI developed the specific Ames strain of powdered anthrax for a top-secret CIA bioweapons program an anonymous Pentagon official called "Project Jefferson." A subsequent article by William Broad in the New York Times (December 13, 2001) referred to the project as "Clear Vision."
Dr. Horowitz first reported on December 11 that BMI, in West Jefferson, Ohio, also directs a consortium of smallpox and anthrax vaccine makers, including Bioport, for the U.S. military's "Joint Vaccine Acquisition Program" (JVAP)-a multi- billion dollar enterprise.
Bioport, widely reported to be the sole supplier of anthrax vaccine in the U.S., is less known for its evolution from England's Porton Down through for-profit subsidiaries. Porton Down is the chief biological weapons research and development organization for the U.K. According to the Washington Post article, the FBI has failed, to date, to investigate Porton Down, allegedly due to evidence suggesting a domestic origin of the anthrax powder.
"I wouldn't underestimate the involvement of multinational military-industrialists in this largely transparent conspiracy," Dr. Horowitz said. "Contrary to the Washington Post report, the field of suspects has been effectively narrowed to principally two-Battelle and Bioport. Dugway's bioweapons program, reported to have placed Battelle under contract, is really administered and supplied by Battelle. BMI is also contracted by the CIA, and the U.S. and U.K. militaries. Bioport is primarily directed by the U.K.'s military bioweapons consortium from Porton Down, and is linked to BMI through the JVAC as well as in the co-development of America's anthrax vaccine." Administrative ties between BMI and Porton Down developers are suspected.
The Washington Post reported that the FBI only learned of a BMI- administered CIA "defensive" biowarfare contract involving the Ames-strain of anthrax in recent weeks. "The CIA program was [allegedly] designed to develop defenses to a vaccine-resistant strain of anthrax reportedly created by the former Soviet Union," officials defended. According to the article, CIA spokespersons expressed certainty that "the anthrax used in the mailings did not come from their work."
Plausible denial-ability has been "a proven ploy for CIA defense propagandists for a half century," Dr. Horowitz rebutted. "Though partly accurate, the powdered anthrax did not 'come from their work,' nor are they 'missing' any. Their contractor-BMI-is another story. Their defense is deceptive for at least two other reasons: 1) the Soviets' most potent anthrax was only half as concentrated as this new CIA/Battelle creation; and 2) it's an American-Ames, Iowa-strain, not a Soviet strain. Obviously, you don't develop a new hyper- weaponized strain of American anthrax powder for military "defense" purposes, or even for preventive vaccinations, against an old Soviet threat, and then commission the top U.S. anthrax expert [William C. Patrick, III] to report on the germ's capability and lethality from mailed delivery, unless that's how you foresee it being used."
Indeed, Dr. Horowitz's analysis appears accurate. Vaccines are developed to help guard against pre-existing threats. This unprecedented anthrax development was illegally prepared, apparently for offensive military applications, sabotage, terrorism, and/or other secret spread to kill potentially large populations. Dr. William C. Patrick's mailed anthrax report, commissioned just months ago, implicates chiefly Battelle, the CIA, and Bioport in a conspiracy to commit military-industrial sabotage, terrorism, and serial homicide if not economic genocide. Dr. Horowitz's full report on this hypothesis, accompanied by a detailed "flow chart," is available for downloading from http://www.tetrahedron.org/articles/anthrax/anthrax_espionage.html
Referring to the unprecedented silica-based, electro-statically charged, dry powdered form of anthrax sent through the mail to members of the media and Senators Daschle and Leahy, Dr. Horowitz concluded, "It was the only form of anthrax that could be effectively spread, as it was, through the U.S. mail with such far reaching effects."