The Quantoco Letter
Is that it, then? We must admit that there are a couple of loose ends here that we have not addressed. According to Don
Foster's new Vanity Fair piece, Dr. Assaad called him up at 10 PM on March 12, 2002 to recount a frightening phone call he
had just received from someone claiming to be a Louisiana FBI agent. This was just after Hatfill's abortive move to Baton
Rouge. The caller demanded to know if Assaad had been told who sent the Quantico letter, and rattled off a bunch of confidential
information from Assaad's personnel file to prove his credentials. Very suspicious. Apparently, the FBI were dismissive when
Assaad subsequently approached them about the call, just as Assaad's boss, Col. Franz, had been ten years earlier over the
Camel Club incident.
The second mystery concerns FBI's refusal to release a copy of the Quantico letter, despite Assaad's persistant entreaties.
According to Assaad, the FBI even gave him a bogus case number for filing an FOIA request to get hold of the letter. This
June, the DOJ refused another request by Assaad, writing him that the letter's release "could reasonably be expected
to disclose the identities of confidential sources and information by such sources."
All of which is very curious. We encourage the Courant and other interested parties to do their utmost to help Dr. Assaad
get to the bottom of this matter. That said, we have a sneaking suspicion that, when all is said and done, it will emerge
that the noble Assaad has led the whole lot of them on a wild goose chase.
# posted by Jef @ 7:45 AM
So what about the Quantico letter? What about the Camel Club? And what of the poor, noble, persecuted Dr. Assaad —
and his tormentor, the sinister Jew, Lt. Col. Dr. Philip Zack, who was once caught sneeking into Ft. Detrick at an hour when
all decent people are at home watching sitcoms or tucked up in bed? What of the Jew Zack's devoted henchwoman, Dr. Marion
Rippy? Is she the unnamed "female officer" fingered by literary sleuth Don Foster in the latest Vanity Fair as the
author of a fiendish attempt to frame the noble Assaad? And what has all this got to do with the anthrax letters and Steven
We're nothing if not humble here at The Hatfill Project. If we don't know the answer to something, we're happy to admit
it. Despite the progress we've made on the Hatfill matter, a whole army of scientists working at THP's heavily-fortified underground
laboratories has yet to come up with a Unified Theory of Zack. We tend to think the Quantico letter is a giant red herring,
and yet there are admittedly some peculiar aspects to the affair. We encourage our friends at the Hartford Courant, who have
been dogged in their inquiries, to pursue this to the bitter end — even if we think it will most likely lead nowhere.
In the mean time, we will offer up a few observations on what has transpired to date.
Dr. Ayaad Assaad is an Egyptian-born scientist who currently works at the EPA as a toxicologist. He was layed off from
the Army's biodefense lab at Ft. Detrick, MD in 1997 during a round of budget cuts. After being fired, Assaad joined a lawsuit
charging racial and age discrimination. The racial discrimination suit was dismissed. The age-discrimination complaint was
ongoing at least as late as December 2001, judging from the Hartford Courant's reporting. Back in 1991, just after the Gulf
War ended, Assaad was the butt of a lewd, 47-stanza poem written by some of his co-workers. The authors of the poem belonged
to the soi-disante "Camel Club." They proposed each week to award an obscene rubber camel made in Assaad's "honor"
to the co-worker "who did the least." Assaad claims his supervisor, Col. David Franz, was dismissive of his complaints
over the harassment, establishing a pattern of racism on Franz's part which culminated in Assaad's sacking six years later.
On September 21, 2001, three days after the first round of anthrax letters were sent but well before any anthrax cases
had become public, someone mailed an unsigned letter to the "Town of Quantico Police" identifying Assaad as a potential
bioterrorist with a grudge against the United States. Assaad was interviewed by the FBI on October 2. The accusatory letter
was read out loud to Assaad and his attornee during the FBI interview, but the government has persistently refused to release
a copy to Assaad or the press, even to this day. The FBI have cleared Assaad of any suspicion in the anthrax mailings.
Some time after the anthrax story broke, the Hartford Courant got a tip from an FBI agent about the "Camel Club"
affair. On December 19, 2001, the Courant ran a story about the letter fingering Assaad as a possible future terrorist. In
the article, Assaad floats the theory that his anonymous accuser is the real anthrax killer, and the letter a transparent
attempt to throw the feds off the trail.
Assaad's theory struck a chord with several observers of the developing anthrax case, including Don Foster, a Vassar professor
and literary sleuth who had consulted for the FBI on several criminal investigations, Dr. Barbara Hatch Rosenberg, a biologist
and prominent proponent of international controls over bioweapons proliferation, and Dr. Meryl Nass, author of a study implicating
the white colonial regime in Rhodesia in the massive anthrax outbreak which occured in that country during the 1980s. Assaad's
theory must have seemed attractive given that the FBI, CIA and White House spokesman Ari Fleischer were all on record promoting
the notion that the anthrax attacks were unrelated to 9/11, but rather the work of "domestic terrorists" cashing
in on the national tragedy. Further, the anthrax used in the letters had been publicly identified as a closely-held US military
strain of the bacillus — a strain maintained at Ft. Detrick.
The Courant continued to investigate, reporting on a variety of apparently disturbing workplace incidents at Ft. Detrick.
It emerged that Dr. Philip Zack, a Camel Club member who quit Ft. Detrick after the hazing incident, was caught by security
cameras re-entering the facility at 9 o'clock one evening back in 1992. The person who let him in was his "friend,"
Dr. Marion Rippy, another member of the Camel Club cabal.
Foster, Rosenberg and Nass, who I dare say all lean to the NPR Left politically, have displayed no great interest in the
Zack connection. They have preferred to keep the focus on Steven Hatfill, although Hatfill's own stint at Ft. Detrick didn't
begin until after Assaad was fired. The same could be said of the FBI. However, Zack — allegedly an "Arab-hating
Jew" — is prime suspect for the anthrax killings in the "paleo-con" circles represented by Liberty
Forum and Antiwar.com. The putative Zionist agent has also been fingered by the Latino separatists at Aztlan — the
folks who want California out of the US. Needless to say, the implication is that Zack is being protected by Bush's neo-con
advisors. After all, 9/11 was really a Zionist plot to instigate US military action against the Arab states, and the anthrax
letters merely the icing on the cake — the Riechstag Fire Part Deux, if you will. But you knew that already, right?
What are we to make of all this? Does Assaad's story really get us any closer to understanding the anthrax affair? We
here at THP seriously doubt it. Analysis to follow...
# posted by Jef @ 7:58 AM