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The Anthrax Attacks and the Patriot Act


Len Colby
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Many “truthers” claim that the anthrax scare made the Patriot Act or provisions of it that would not otherwise have passed possible [1]. The former is absurd because early versions of the law passed before the scare by overwhelming margins in both houses of Congress and several civil liberties advocates in and out of congress said they realized on or shortly after 9/11 that some thing like the Patriot Action was inevitable.

The latter is a more complex question because there were numerous versions of the act before the final one passed in the midst of the scare. However there is little if any evidence in support of such a theory and due to the overwhelming margin the bill was approved in several pre and post scare votes is highly unlikely.

Early Concerns of Civil Liberties Advocates

According to a lengthy article about the passage of the Patriot Act in the Washington Post several civil libertarians realized as early as September 11 and 12 that such changes in US law were unavoidable. Jim Dempsey of the Washington based Center for Democracy and Technology spoke with the Post:

At the same moment [just after the 2nd WTC crash], it dawned on him that his work--and the work of many civil liberties activists over the years to check the increasingly aggressive use of technology by law enforcement officials--was about to be undone. "We all knew well enough what it meant," Dempsey says now.

[…]

Like many attuned to the rhythms of Washington, Dempsey knew Congress would not have the will to resist granting dramatic new powers to law enforcement immediately. It was a classic dynamic. Something terrible happens. Legislators rush to respond. They don't have time to investigate the policy implications thoroughly, so they reach for what's available and push it through.

That was a nightmare for Dempsey. Looking for signs of hope that the legislative process could be slowed, even if it could not be stopped, he made his own calls around town.

He didn't find much support, even among longtime allies. "If you could get their attention," Dempsey says, "some members of the House and Senate were, 'Don't bother me with the details.' " [2]

Morton Halperin, former head of the Washington office of the American Civil Liberties Union [ACLU] was interviewed as well:

Halperin banged out a call to arms on his computer. "There can be no doubt that we will hear calls in the next few days for congress to enact sweeping legislation to deal with terrorism," he wrote in the e-mail to more than two dozen civil libertarians on September 12. "This will include not only the secrecy provision, but also broad authority to conduct electronic and other surveillance and to investigate political groups . . . We should not wait." [3]

On September 14, several days before the anthrax letters were even mailed out, the ACLU and other groups held an emergency meeting. One of the people attending was Laura Murphy, director of the ACLU's national office:

"I had never seen that kind of turnout in 25 years. I mean, people were worried. They just knew this was a recipe for government overreaching."

Murphy and others also had reached out to Congress in an effort to head off any instant legislation. They found that normally privacy-minded lawmakers, including Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), had no intention of questioning efforts to push a bill through quickly. [4]

Senate

At the time the Senate was split 51 - 49 in favor of the Democrats [5], in the case of a tie VP Cheney would cast the deciding vote. It is reasonable to assume that even without the anthrax scare, all or almost all the Republican senators would have voted for it. According to the Post article, key Democratic Senators “Leahy and Daschle knew every Republican would support the bill. They wanted Democrats to do the same ” [6].

But only one Democrat was needed to pass the bill which was introduced by Majority Leader Thomas Daschle October 4 [7], the day BEFORE it was announced on the inner and back pages of some newspapers, that the photo editor of Florida based tabloid the Sun, Robert Stevens, had contracted anthrax. On that day (the 4th) Daschle was joined by 3 other key Democrats: Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Bob Graham chairman of the Intelligence Committee and Paul Sarbanes chairman of the Banking Committee as well as 3 Republicans [8]. Thus presumptively giving the bill at least (even if we assume that contray to Daschle and Leahy’s wishes none of the other 47 Democrats would have voted in favor) 53 votes. In other words the day before anyone in the US (other than a few doctors in Florida) had any inclination anyone had contracted anthrax the bill already had enough votes to pass the Senate.

On October 11, exactly one week after being introduced, the bill passed the Senate 96 - 1 without amendment, even Wellstone and Kennedy voted in favor, only Russ Feingold voted against it. By that time 9 more Republicans and 10 more Democrats has signed on as co-sponsors [9]. This was still the beginning of the “crisis”, it was four days before the Daschle letter was found and the day BEFORE the letter to Tom Brokaw was discovered, at that point the only known victims were 3 employees of the Sun. At the time the FBI and media were down playing the possibility of a connection to terrorism [10]

Though Daschle (who was “annoyed” by “Feingold's stance”) and Leahy opposed some provisions of the Act they feared that as the Majority leader told the maverick senator, "the bill will only get worse if we open it up to debate"[11]. As previously noted Daschle and Leahy, who were the targets of anthrax letters wanted the Patriot Act passed unanimously and opposed amending it before scare. Ignorant of or ignoring these facts truthers claim they were targeted to smooth passage of the bill. [1]

Leahy, who is once again Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, was and is one the most liberal pro-privacy members of the Senate. He was one of several people interviewed for the article in the Post. Apparently from shortly after the Pentagon crash he knew that something like the law was inevitable and he would support it.

As if on cue, a muffled boom echoed through the room. Smoke began rising across the Potomac.

[…]

He knew that conservatives were going to press him relentlessly for more police powers while civil libertarians would look to him as their standard bearer. Everyone would be watching him: party leaders, Senate colleagues, White House officials, editorial writers and cable commentators, his Vermont constituents.

Leahy wanted to strike the right balance. But after watching an F-16 roar over the Mall that afternoon, he also resolved to do whatever he could, as a patriot and a Democrat, to give law enforcement officials more tools to stop future attacks. "I was just thinking how angry I was," he recalls. [ 12]

House

The House version was introduced October 2, and passed the Judiciary committee unanimously (36 - 0) the next day, had 10 Democratic co-sponsors by October 4, was rushed through various other committees and on October 12, the day the Brokaw letter made it to the news passed by a 258 vote margin, 337 - 79 [13] , only 3 Republicans (one of whom was Ron Paul) voted against it [14].

Supporters of the theory the law only passed because of the anthrax attacks could argue the announcement that Brokaw had received a letter helped the bill pass in the House but this is unsupported by the facts. The House at the time was split 220 - 211 in the Republican’s favor and as noted above it passed the Judiciary committee, half of whom were Democrats, 36 - 0 and 11 of the bill’s 26 co-sponsors were Democrats (see appendix 2 below). Even if only some of the Democrats who voted to pass it in the Judiciary committee and/or co-sponsored it voted for it and 15 Republicans voted against it the bill still would have passed.

Laura Murphy from the ACLU called Bob Barr, one of the few Republicans who might have been expected to vote against the bill “after the [9/11] attacks…he confessed there was probably little he could do to temper the anti-terrorism fervor gripping Washington. "You could sort of hear the clutch in his voice: 'I don't know how we're going to do this,' " she recalls.” [15]

Rep. John Conyers, one of the Democrats who voted against the Patriot Act (after initially supporting it), discussed the passage of the Patriot Act in a 2006 interview but made no mention of Anthrax [16] nor did he or two other members of the House Judiciary Committee say anything about in their Fahrenheit 9/11 interviews [17].

Later versions

So the idea the Patriot Act would not have passed but for the anthrax scare is like so many other 9/11 related conspiracy theories without basis in fact. However due to differences between the House and Senate versions the bill had to be reintroduced in both houses. The final version passed the House on October 24, 357 - 66 [18] and Senate 98 - 1 the next day. Feingold once again was the lone dissenting vote [19].

By October 24 - 25 the country was in the middle of the anthrax scare. Perhaps it’s theoretically possible that but for the scare differences between the earlier and later versions would have caused the bill to be rejected. But for that to be true 216 of the congressmen or 49 - 50 of the senators who voted for it in late October (over 90 % of whom voted for it the first time as well) would had to have voted against it. The groups from both houses would had to have included Democrats that had co-sponsored the bill and/or Republicans. If someone wants to push that unlikely theory they need to present evidence that but for the Anthrax scare so many senators or congressmen would have voted against the bill after having voted for it the first time as well and spell out why those difference were so vital to the Bush administration.

There was only one reference to Anthrax in the entire 7200 word+ Washington Post article:

On October 17, the capital was confronting a new threat: anthrax. It was contained in a letter mailed to Daschle, and no one knew how many people might have been exposed. Were there more letters? Were anthrax spores floating through the Capitol's ventilation system? Suddenly, it became more urgent than ever to get the Patriot Act to the president's desk.

Amid the panic, Leahy, Daschle, Flanigan, Dinh and others gathered in House Speaker Dennis Hastert's office to smooth out the differences between the Senate and House versions of the bill. [20]

So while it seems the scare speed up final passage of a bill that passed overwhelmingly and had already passed overwhelmingly, no one but some “truthers” years after fact said it the law would not have been passed otherwise.

Appendix 1 - Senate sponsor and co-sponsors of the Patriot Act

Democrats

Sen Daschle, Tom [sD] - 10/4/2001 Sponsor

Sen Graham, Bob [FL] - 10/4/2001

Sen Sarbanes, Paul S. [MD] - 10/4/2001

Sen Leahy, Patrick J. [VT] - 10/4/2001

Sen Baucus, Max [MT] - 10/11/2001

Sen Bayh, Evan [iN] - 10/11/2001

Sen Biden, Joseph R., Jr. [DE] - 10/11/2001

Sen Breaux, John B. [LA] - 10/11/2001

Sen Cleland, Max [GA] - 10/11/2001

Sen Clinton, Hillary Rodham [NY] - 10/11/2001

Sen Conrad, Kent [ND] - 10/11/2001

Sen Johnson, Tim [sD] - 10/11/2001

Sen Nelson, Bill [FL] - 10/11/2001

Sen Nelson, E. Benjamin [NE] - 10/11/2001

Republicans

Sen Hatch, Orrin G. [uT] - 10/4/2001

Sen Lott, Trent [MS] - 10/4/2001

Sen Shelby, Richard C. [AL] - 10/4/2001

Sen Cochran, Thad [MS] - 10/11/2001

Sen Enzi, Michael B. [WY] - 10/11/2001

Sen Fitzgerald, Peter [iL] - 10/11/2001

Sen Frist, William H. [TN] - 10/11/2001

Sen Helms, Jesse [NC] - 10/11/2001

Sen Kyl, Jon [AZ] - 10/11/2001

Sen McConnell, Mitch [KY] - 10/11/2001

Sen Sessions, Jeff [AL] - 10/11/2001

Sen Thurmond, Strom [sC] - 10/11/2001

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d107:SN01510:@@@P

Appendix 2 - House sponsor and co-sponsors of the Patriot Act

Democrats

Rep Conyers, John, Jr. [MI-14] - 10/2/2001

Rep Jackson-Lee, Sheila [TX-18] - 10/2/2001

Rep Meehan, Martin T. [MA-5] - 10/2/2001

Rep Wexler, Robert [FL-19] - 10/2/2001

Rep Schiff, Adam B. [CA-27] - 10/2/2001

Rep Rangel, Charles B. [NY-15] - 10/2/2001

Rep Berman, Howard L. [CA-26] - 10/2/2001

Rep Lofgren, Zoe [CA-16] - 10/2/2001

Rep Delahunt, William . [MA-10] - 10/4/2001

Rep Weiner, Anthony D. [NY-9] - 10/4/2001

Rep Frank, Barney [MA-4] - 10/9/2001

Republicans

Rep Sensenbrenner, F. James, Jr [WI-9] - Sponsor 10/2/2001

Rep Hyde, Henry J. [iL-6] - 10/2/2001

Rep Coble, Howard [NC-6] - 10/2/2001

Rep Goodlatte, Bob [VA-6] - 10/2/2001

Rep Jenkins, William L. [TN-1] - 10/2/2001

Rep Cannon, Chris [uT-3] - 10/2/2001

Rep Graham, Lindsey [sC-3] - 10/2/2001

Rep Bachus, Spencer [AL-6] - 10/2/2001

Rep Hostettler, John N. [iN-8] - 10/2/2001

Rep Keller, Ric [FL-8] - 10/2/2001

Rep Issa, Darrell E. [CA-48] - 10/2/2001

Rep Hart, Melissa A. [PA-4] - 10/2/2001

Rep Flake, Jeff [AZ-1] - 10/2/2001

Rep Thomas, William M. [CA-21] - 10/2/2001

Rep Goss, Porter J. [FL-14] - 10/2/2001

Rep Smith, Lamar [TX-21] - 10/11/2001

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d107:HR02975:@@@N

Footnotes

1] http://georgewashington.blogspot.com/2007/09/918.html , http://www.democraticunderground.com/discu...ddress=141x1719 , http://www.rense.com/general82/rats.htm , http://www.uruknet.info/?p=46249 , http://www.oilempire.us/anthrax.html

2] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...6050900961.html , pgs 1 & 4

3] ibid, pg 5

4] ibid, pg 5

5] This is a bit of a simplification at the beginning of the year the Senate was split 50 - 50 with VP Cheney breaking the tie and giving the Republicans control. However Jim Jeffords of Vermont who was elected as a Republican became disgusted with the policies of the Bush administration, quit the party and started caucusing with the Democrats giving them 51 - 49 control. Officially he was an independent.

6] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...50900961_5.html

7] http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d107:SN01510:@@@P

8] http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d107:SN01510:@@@P

9] ibid

10] THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE - October 10, 2001

Anthrax was intentional, officials say Florida cases suggest criminal activity -- but not terrorism

As federal bioterrorism experts expanded their investigation into two anthrax cases in Florida yesterday, signs pointed to an intentional, but very limited, release of the deadly bacteria. An employee of American Media, which publishes supermarket tabloids, died Friday of rare inhalational anthrax, and spores of the deadly microbe were found on his computer keyboard and in the nose of another employee. As investigators dressed in biohazard gear tramped through the...

Associated Press Archive - October 11, 2001

Third case of anthrax exposure in Florida; federal authorities open criminal investigation

A third employee of a supermarket tabloid publisher has tested positive for anthrax and the case has become the subject of a criminal investigation, authorities said Wednesday. But FBI agent Hector Pesquera said there was no evidence linking the anthrax to a terrorist group and cautioned that "this is not a time for premature conclusions and inaccurate reporting." The 35-year-old woman was being treated with antibiotics after a swab of her nasal passages found...

http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives

11] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...50900961_5.html

12] ibid, pg2

13] http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d1...mp;summ2=m&

14] http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2001/roll386.xml

15] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...50900961_5.html

16] http://www.guernicamag.com/interviews/171/...s_john_conyers/

17] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYJjlx_NSsM starting 1:45 in.

18] http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2001/roll398.xml

19] http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll...&vote=00313

20] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...50900961_5.html

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Hi Len,

I have a question for you, why do you use the term "truthers" in your statement - "Many “truthers” claim that the anthrax scare made the Patriot Act or provisions of it that would not otherwise have passed possible" - when clearly the word "people" would have surfficed?

The information you posted regarding the act itself was interesting though.

Thanks - Steve

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Hi Len,

I have a question for you, why do you use the term "truthers" in your statement - "Many “truthers” claim that the anthrax scare made the Patriot Act or provisions of it that would not otherwise have passed possible" - when clearly the word "people" would have surfficed?

The information you posted regarding the act itself was interesting though.

Thanks - Steve

Since "many" can be relative it would not have been accurate to say "Many people...." since only an infinitesimally small number of people make such claims,it is a rather common belief in the "truth movement". Some people consider the term offensive but some people in the "movement" such as Alex Jones, Dylan Avery and "truther.com" use it. I didn't mean to use it as a pejorative but rather as the simplest way to refer to "members of the truth movement".

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was able to identify one difference between the original versions of the Patriot Act passed by the Senate and House in early October and the final version passed at the end of the month. Under the final version signed by Bush most provisions of the act were set to “sunset” December 31, 2005, congress voted to make most of those provisions permanent before they expired [1].

There were four versions of the original House bill. In the first introduced October 2 and second which replaced it on the 11th, all but 3 sections were set to expire December 31, 2003 [2].

The 3rd and 4th versions were the ones passed by the House (October 12) and forwarded to the Senate respectively. In them the date was changed to December 31, 2004 or December 31, 2006, a year longer than in the final version, “if the President notifies the Congress…that it is in the national interest that these provisions remain in effect” [3]

The original Senate bill went through three versions. All set the sunset date to “the first day of fiscal year 2005” i.e. October 1, 2004 [ 4] only 15 months before the date finally enacted.

I have not seen any backers of the theory that the anthrax attacks significantly changed the Patriot act cite any other difference. If that’s all there is they have no case. The House version ended up having a later sunset date. At least 48 senators would have had to changed their vote to defeat the measure and it is un reasonable to believe that more than a handful of senators might have changed their vote because of the extra 15 months.

Notes:

1] The fullest account, I found of the various provisions of the act, their sunset dates and which ones were made permanent is from an extensively documented Wikipedia entry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriot_act .

2] “This title and the amendments made by this title (other than sections 106 (relating to technical amendment), 109 (relating to clarification of scope), and 159 (relating to presidential authority)) and the amendments made by those sections shall take effect on the date of enactment of this Act and shall cease to have any effect on December 31, 2003.”

1st - http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/F?c107...7w2h4bZ:e40095:

2nd -

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/F?c107...7w2h4bZ:e63214:

For dates see:

1st http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c107...p/~c107w2h4bZ::

2nd http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c107...p/~c107w2h4bZ::

3] "(a) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in subsection (B), this title and the amendments made by this title (other than sections 203(a), 203©, 205, 208, 211, 213, 219, 221, and 222, and the amendments made by those sections) shall cease to have effect on December 31, 2004.

(B) EXCEPTIONS- (1) If the President notifies the Congress before December 31, 2004 that it is in the national interest that these provisions remain in effect, these provisions shall remain in effect until December 31, 2006 and cease to have effect on that date.

(2) With respect to any investigation that began before the date on which these provisions cease to have effect, these provisions shall continue in effect."

3rd http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/F?c107...7w2h4bZ:e69832:

4th http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/F?c107...7w2h4bZ:e70036:

4] “a) IN GENERAL- Effective on and after the first day of fiscal year 2005, the provisions of this title and the amendments made by this title shall terminate if the Congress enacts a joint resolution, the text after the resolving clause of which is as follows: `That provisions of the International Money Laundering Abatement and Anti-Terrorist Financing Act of 2001, and the amendments made thereby, shall no longer have the force of law.'.”

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/F?c107...7L2iUv3:e21012:

3 versions http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c107:S.1510:

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Hi Len,

I have a question for you, why do you use the term "truthers" in your statement - "Many "truthers" claim that the anthrax scare made the Patriot Act or provisions of it that would not otherwise have passed possible" - when clearly the word "people" would have surfficed?

The information you posted regarding the act itself was interesting though.

Thanks - Steve

Thank you Steve, for asking this question, as Colby is only interested in winning an internet debate with people who he dissagrees with and refers to by the Orwellian term as "Truthers," and tries to corrall them all as "conspiracy theorists."

Like those conservatives who like to debate liberals, and Republicans who like to argue with Democrats, these people fail to realize that their black and white view of the world is no longer valid, but they still like to argue.

Those who like to continue the debate refuse to understand that events like the assassination of President Kennedy, 9/11 and the Anthrax attacks cannot be interperted by liberals and conservatives, Democrats or Republicans, right wing or left wing, Truthers or Colbys, but must be approached from a different perspective that does not lend itself to debate, as these events only happened one way and that truth is not debatable.

The Anthrax attacks, like the events of 9/11, were crimes, not war, and those responsible can and should be brought to justice.

BK

Edited by William Kelly
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Hi Len,

I have a question for you, why do you use the term "truthers" in your statement - "Many "truthers" claim that the anthrax scare made the Patriot Act or provisions of it that would not otherwise have passed possible" - when clearly the word "people" would have surfficed?

The information you posted regarding the act itself was interesting though.

Thanks - Steve

Thank you Steve, for asking this question, as Colby is only interested in winning an internet debate with people who he dissagrees with and refers to by the Orwellian term as "Truthers," and tries to corrall them all as "conspiracy theorists."

Like those conservatives who like to debate liberals, and Republicans who like to argue with Democrats, these people fail to realize that their black and white view of the world is no longer valid, but they still like to argue.

Those who like to continue the debate refuse to understand that events like the assassination of President Kennedy, 9/11 and the Anthrax attacks cannot be interperted by liberals and conservatives, Democrats or Republicans, right wing or left wing, Truthers or Colbys, but must be approached from a different perspective that does not lend itself to debate, as these events only happened one way and that truth is not debatable.

The Anthrax attacks, like the events of 9/11, were crimes, not war, and those responsible can and should be brought to justice.

BK

I guess you missed the part about members of the truth movement referring ro themselves as truthers. So far the only people who I've seen claim that the anthrax scare was necessary to pass the Patriot Act or some of its more draconian provisions are truthers. Unfortunately 9/11 itself was enough to get such legislation passed at first temporarily and now made permanent.

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They still don't get it. The WMD threat isn't from terrorists, but from misshandling our own stockpiles, as experience has clearly shown. - BK

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/us_world/2...pons_of_-2.html

Wall Street Journal:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1220919686...=googlenews_wsj

By SIOBHAN GORMAN and DAVID CRAWFORD

September 9, 2008; Page A4

WASHINGTON -- The next U.S. president should put more emphasis on countering biological threats as part of a rethinking of national security strategy, according to early assessments from the leaders of a commission investigating the threat from weapons of mass destruction.

NA-AS369A_WMD_NS_20080908210858.gif Both biological and nuclear threats are significant in their ability to kill hundreds of thousands, but a biological attack is easier to launch and harder to combat because many biological weapon components are widely available and have benign uses, said the commission's chairman, former Sen. Bob Graham of Florida.

The Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism will hold public hearings during the run-up to the November election. The first, examining the nature of the threat, is to be held Sept. 10 in New York. The commission's final recommendations are due in mid-November.

Multiple assessments of government progress against security threats are planned for release this week, timed to the seventh anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Their findings might pressure the next administration to overhaul the government's national-security operations. A report from the Project on National Security Reform, a separate government-funded initiative analyzing the government's national security apparatus, is due out next month.

The commission, which is scheduling meetings with the Democratic and Republican presidential campaigns and plans to deliver its recommendations to the next president, hasn't yet settled on conclusions. Commissioners will focus much more attention on preventing an attack than on responding to one.

"My own assessment at this point is the more likely form of attack is going to be in a biological weapon," said commission chairman Mr. Graham, a Democrat who presided over the Senate intelligence panel's 9/11 investigation.

Mr. Graham grades the government's response to date to the nuclear threat a "good-plus," but he said the government is "very exposed" to biological attacks.

A German intelligence official says the threat posed by even small amounts of a biological weapon carries a disruptive potential far beyond its ability to kill or injure. "The anthrax attacks in the U.S. shortly after the Sept. 11 [attacks] crippled the flow of mail to government and businesses for months," the official said.

Congress assembled the commission in May and gave it six months to report back. The nine commissioners have traveled to meetings in Europe, and commissioners and staff members paid visits to experts around the U.S., from Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico to the New York Police Department.

Several commissioners are focused on threats from countries that possess or aspire to make nuclear weapons, such as Pakistan, Iran and North Korea. Some urge U.S. counterproliferation efforts to pay stronger attention to Pakistan as the government grows more unstable.

Several commissioners want to prevent others from emulating Abdul Qadeer Khan, who pioneered the development of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal and traded in weapons technology. The international "Khan Network" of nuclear traders poses the greatest nuclear proliferation risk, experts say, because they know how to buy and sell nuclear-weapons technology and might sell to a terrorist group.

"We don't have any indication that the network was ever taken down," Mr. Graham said.

The commission is likely to emphasize the critical role of intelligence in understanding and preventing attacks. "All the controversies about intelligence in Washington, we have to resolve them and be able to move forward with a consensus," said the commission's co-chairman, former Missouri Sen. Jim Talent, a Republican.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Continued from the other thread

Lets see anthrax didn't lead to the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq nor did it get the Patriot Act passed nor was it necessary for people to make the obvious connection between 9/11 and earlier AQD attacks.So how exactly did it help advance the Bushocon agenda?

---

Most people will be able to see that Len's argument on this thread is a lot of absurdity stitched together with links designed to break the flow of reason.

Acts of terror are more important for the panic they cause. It is precisely the absence of clear cause and effect relations that make them so usefull for the state to pass unexamined and dire packages of legislation like the patriot act.

It is the panic and the uncertainty that is the desired poilitical product of these acts of terror, whether it be the Bologna Train Bombing of 1969 or any other.

Yes Len takes us through this comedy as if it were possible to prove in today's political climate-- when there is no check whatsoever on exectutive power-- that the effect of the anthrax letters could be isolated like half a mitosis in a petri dish.

You squim and squirm, but nowhere do you spell let alone produce evidence that the anthrax scared helped more along the Bushocon agenda. It wasn’t responsible for the wars or the Patriot Act, the dates indicate otherwise*, if you disagree with my analysis show that it is wrong. If you think it had some other significant tangible benefit(s) tell us what they were. See if you can resort to reason and evidence rather than glib generalities.

Bill has asked that this thread not be derailed, if you think they helped with Patriot Act I started a thread for that. If you think they helped get us into Afghanistan or Iraq or otherwise helped Bush accomplish some pre-existing goal perhaps you should start a new one.

*Cause has to occur before not after effect.

-------

Len you ooze and ooze ( a measured response to squirm and squirm, sufficiently primordial for Len's low standards I can hope) but in none of your links is there any proof whatsoever that the Anthrax letters did not add to the general sense of panic that enabled the completely uncritical response to the administrations patriot act. You are attempting to cut the connection by typing so much verbiage that one is put to sleep.

Nate, you got the burden of proof backwards, you don’t think the Patriot Act would have passed but for the Anthrax scare? Fine but then you need to provide evidence that this is the case. So far you have completely failed to.

If you don’t think my ‘paper’ stands up to scrutiny then show where it is in error. The following all occurred before the Anthrax story broke:

  • Civil/privacy rights activists in and out of the government knew something like the PA was inevitable.
  • The Act was introduced in both Houses with broad bipartisan support.
  • The House Judiciary Committee passed it unanimously.
  • The Republicans controlled the House and the bill had several Democratic cosponsors. Thus it had enough votes to pass in that chamber.
  • The Act seemed to have the unanimous support of Senate Republicans. Leahy and Daschle were pushing for unanimous approval of the bill without discussion.
  • The bill had enough votes to pass the Senate.

At the very beginning of the scare before the terrorist angle was pushed:

  • The PA was overwhelmingly passed by both houses of congress.

Note that when it passed the Senate the only know Anthrax cases were at the same Florida tabloid office, it passed the House the same day the news broke about the letters to NBC and the NY Post

So sorry the evidence that you are just plain wrong is overwhelming but I imagine you will continue to ignore the facts of the matter and insist that what you believe is obviously so or words to that effect,

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  • 8 months later...

Son of a Bircher, Rep. John G. Schmitz, implicated in Anthrax and CIPRO incidents... via Bayer AG

http://alexconstantine.blogspot.com/2006/0...11-schmitz.html

His sister was Mary Kay "Hot for Teacher" Letourneau....

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