Anthrax And Al Qaeda

On the conservative website The American Thinker, military operations research analyst Ray Robison had an article on the September 2001 anthrax attack. It's based on a recently revealed pre-September 11 letter from a London jihadi named Numan Bin Uthman to al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. Robison's conclusion:

"Now let's put that big picture together."

"Uthman says he tried to talk Mohammad Atef and Usama bin Laden out of using WMD in a terrorist attack to convince the U.S. not to retaliate in Afghanistan because it would ultimately spread to Iraq."

"Why would Uthman expect this? I can think of one salient reason."

"Because he knew that al Qaeda was planning an Anthrax attack with weaponized anthrax provided by Saddam Hussein."

Robison has written previously about the anthrax attacks, and in September I blogged on the subject. It continues to strike me as highly implausible that the anthrax attacks, which occurred just days after September 11, were not an al Qaeda operation. The FBI investigation, focusing on scientists in the United States, has produced nothing, and we are told that the FBI now concludes that the anthrax could have come from anywhere in the world. The good news is that the anthrax attacks did not produce the high casualties and the degree of panic that the attackers intended. The bad news is that we still don't know who attacked us and perhaps never will. We are assured by high-minded folks that we know for a fact that Saddam Hussein and his regime had no connection to al Qaeda. But we don't know that for a fact. We know as the 9/11 Commission reported that we have no direct evidence on ongoing collaboration between Saddam's regime and al Qaeda.

But we don't know for sure that there was none. Robison's post points in the other direction.

By Michael Barone