Recently I was directed to a compelling Buzzfeed article (a first) that outlined the legal predicament of former drone intelligence analyst Matt Dehart, who claims he had been given a set of leaked documents which held very sensitive information. Allegedly, these files contain explosive allegations about the CIA being behind the 2001 anthrax letter attacks in some way. The article also claimed the documents cite the anthrax attacks were committed in order to further fear-monger the public and help sell the Iraq War.
According to Matt, he was sitting at his computer at home in September 2009 when he received an urgent message from a friend. A suspicious unencrypted folder of files had just been uploaded anonymously to the Shell. When Matt opened the folder, he was startled to find documents detailing the CIA’s role in assigning strike targets for drones at the 181st…..
….As Matt read through the file, he says, he discovered even more incendiary material among the 300-odd pages of slides, documents, and handwritten notes. One folder contained what appeared to be internal documents from an agrochemical company expressing culpability for more than 13,000 deaths related to genetically modified organisms. There was also what appeared to be internal documents from the FBI, field notes on the bureau’s investigation into the worst biological attack in U.S. history: the anthrax-laced letters that killed five Americans and sickened 17 others shortly after Sept. 11.
Though the attacks were officially blamed on a government scientist who committed suicide after he was identified as a suspect, Matt says the documents on the Shell tell a far different story…. the report built the case that the CIA was behind the attacks as part of an operation to fuel public terror and build support for the Iraq War.
[Excerpt from Buzzfeed]
Although many had previously written about DeHart’s legal predicament (the Courage Foundation has officially supported him), virtually no one followed up on this new claim that was revealed by DeHart in Buzzfeed, except for Marcy Wheeler.
Soon after reading this, I was approached by people close to Dehart who said American Anthrax ‘got everything right’. After a few months passed with many parties involved, I spoke with Matt directly from jail. Our time was limited to only 15 minutes, so I focused on the one document and asked him to recall as many details as he could. Since I have not personally seen the document, I cannot verify any of the details.
As it turned out, the Buzzfeed article oversimplified the details, which made it hard to discern certain aspects about why Matt thinks the document is real, and why it’s a zip containing many different documents related to Amerithrax. In our conversation he revealed some compelling new details, such as:
– An alleged FBI whistleblower compiled this archive, including a compilation of ‘hundreds of pages’ of files relating to the 2001 anthrax letter attacks, some of them dating from before 9/11. In the text primer, this whistleblower explained that inside the series of documents is evidence of CIA involvement.
– One of the alleged proposed targets was the Port of Newark in New Jersey.
– The alleged contents of a Nuclear Regulatory Commission document was tracing cobalt radiation emissions (cobalt radiation can be used to render weaponized anthrax inert).
– Allegations against the ‘Vice President Himself’ quashing the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s radiation investigation.
The following interview was conducted from the Warren County Regional Jail with inmate Matt Dehart.
He began by reminding me that the contents of our conversation would be recorded and shared with federal investigators.
MATT DEHART: The most helpful thing at the moment would to be to get my thumb drives back, both my Ironkey D100 which i had back in 2010 in Canada, and probably more recently my Kanguru Defender Elite which was handed over to the department of justice following my removal from Canada. That was never the government’s to begin with, that was my personal property. I still don’t know what the legality is of them holding it. They’re not saying they’re using it as evidence, they’re just kind of taunting me with it. The assistant US attorney told my lawyer ‘we have these drives’ and it was an off-handed remark to him almost like yeah we really know what’s going on but we’re not going to come out and say it. I guess to give you a background here, if you know my background and what I did in the guard was with drones. I was an all source intelligence analyst. We had seen some illegal activity involving the ‘signature strikes’. I’m not going to say who ‘we’ are, but uh that’s basically what sparked our interest to basically collect more evidence of wrongdoing by a specific agency, namely the CIA.
By 2009 someone had uploaded a file to the shell, which is a server that I had operated the front-end of. Can’t really tell you the size of it. It had a text intro from an individual claiming to be a special agent for the FBI, he was explaining how the included documents pointed to CIA involvement in the Amerithrax case. It had an index, a file index which i skimmed through, it had PDFs, powerpoint files. The PDFs included scanned hand-written notes. Specifics which stood out to me, i mean I jotted some notes down before were technical nature of stuff like degraded Anthrax VS Brucellosis, degraded Anthrax VS Tularemia. There was nuclear regulatory commission paperwork tracking a radioactive cobalt source. From the handwritten notes, they thought that source was used to degrade or render inert weaponized anthrax. What else stood out to me.. it was the Ames strain of anthrax, and they said it was weaponized ‘electro-statically charged silicon nano particles’. That’s been burned into my memory
ROBBIE MARTIN: Do you remember the date of the document, when it was from?
MD: The specific 7zip that was uploaded, or?
RM: Just the Amerithrax.
MD: That was September of 2009, the document was compressed. This was an archive file with a lot more files inside of it. There were scanned documents predating the official investigation, the scanned documents were back to mid 2001, is the earliest I remember. There is before and after the actual attacks. This file was compiled sometime in 2009.
RM: and you’re talking about the entire archive?
MD: The entire 7zip archive, yes.
RM: The most explosive part of what I read was that the charges being leveled from the FBI at the CIA essentially suggesting involvement of some kind. Was that the general gist of this document or was that just one part of a larger document about Amerithrax?
MD: That was in the introduction that was written as a text file that was the first named file in the document once it was extracted. That was what the claimed special agent was saying that the documents illustrated. That it was CIA involvement in the attacks, not just CIA involvement in the investigation.
RM: So the actual document, it probably had potentially some details in it that would suggest something like that, are you able to talk about anything you saw in that document beyond the text primer of what suggested that?
MD: Yes I skimmed through it, like I said that’s what stood out the actual degraded anthrax VS brucellosis, degraded anthrax vs tularemia. There were maps of Newark, the city of Newark and the port of Newark specifically. And during the txt intro, the alleged special agent said that was a potential target. The port of Newark, that’s what he asserted. This stuff looked like… I’m not going to say whether I’ve seen classified documents but from what I know these were real documents. They were, some of them seemed to be JWICS sourced, JWICS is a classified network that US agencies use. I know for a fact that several people that had been involved with me had access to JWICS. I’m not going to say any names or who I think might have uploaded that or knew someone that had access to that but it all lead me to believe this was all real information. It’s not something you could have faked is what I’m saying.
RM: In this allegation, were there any FBI officials or CIA officials that were named or implicated in any way?
MD: There’s a few names in the document, they look like they had been redacted probably by the person who assembled this file. Yes to an extent. All the NRC, the nuclear regulatory stuff didn’t seem redacted to me at all.
That’s what stuck out to me the most, the tracking of this cobalt source, this radioactive source. That’s a pretty unique avenue of the investigation. They’re basically saying thats how the weaponized anthrax was rendered inert or least less lethal.
RM: That’s very interesting, I don’t know if I’ve actually heard that before, I’ll have to look into that.
Now as far as the idea the allegation was, the CIA was doing this to help sell the Iraq war. Was this person suggesting that the White House was involved in this, or that it was somehow being done independently? I guess what I’m asking is how far up the chain of command was this person suggesting that it went. Was he suggesting some kind of rogue CIA action or something different?
MD: He didn’t make too many assertions in that regard as to how it was called for initially, but he did assert that the FBI investigation which was following this NRC paperwork that it be quashed and that came from the Vice President himself. That’s basically what his assertion was, again I wish I had the full file.
RM: Did you have a chance to read the Buzzfeed article about your story?
MD: No I never did.
RM: I was just curious how you felt about the portrayal of your story in there
Marcy Wheeler, I don’t know if you were aware, she runs a blog called Empty Wheel. She was writing specifically about this one document and speculating that it was some kind of honey trap because a document had been leaked a long time ago suggesting to try to setup Wikileaks, I’m just wondering what your opinion was on that theory.
MD: I mean, that’s a possibility. The specific nature, and I guess the unique angle of some of the things, I don’t see why they would go through that much effort and trying just to set up Wikileaks, and why it was uploaded to the shell and… the timing was off. There weren’t that many people that used our file hosting part of the shell, much less so than use storage, to mention storage which I find fascinating. When the information was recompiled to bring up to Canada the 2nd time, when I sought asylum. That was actually placed in the FBenemy directory on storage and the storage was moved to freedom hosting after we stopped hosting and the individual who hosted freedom hosting was arrested on child-porn or something charges. So that’s gone now, but I do have, we have screenshots of that directory still and that’s what I used in my motions to dismiss. So I’m just saying the effort the government has gone through just to crush this belies something else entirely.
RM: Yeah, no I hear you there.
MD: These are real f-, I mean they’re..
[phone drops out]
..files, there’s handwritten notes, there’s hundreds of pages. I could see maybe like a powerpoint slide a slideshow maybe, that that would be fake, no this took a lot of time.
RM: In this document was the name Bruce Ivins or Stephen Hatfill ever mentioned?
MD: Not that I noticed, no.
RM: I’d really like to get you a copy of American Anthrax, would you be able to watch a DVD if I sent you one?
MD: Unless it was part of discovery in the case, no I don’t really have the ability to..
[ unintelligible message telling us the call is about to end ]
RM: I think they’re about to cut off the call, a weird message just came on.
So is there anything else that you wanted to say just in general, what’s going on with your case right now. Any updates?
MD: — to get these drives back, I would like people to kind of put some more pressure out there to get them back, cause the effort ..
[phone drops out]
..authorities to keep us from getting them for use in the asylum case, it was ridiculous, I mean..
[phone drops out]
..requests that we gave to their government, which is like a FOIA in Canada, they..
[phone drops out]
..other law, they had secret
[call cuts off]
These discussions with Matt Dehart will be part of a continuing series about the 2001 anthrax attacks.
Watch American Anthrax