Tuesday, September 10, 2013

In 1999, ABC Nightline had broadcast a fictitious simulation of an anthrax subway attack; new questions on the 2001 attacks and Ivins surface

In a dinner conversation Sunday night, there was mention of a 1999 ABC Nightline report on a fictitious anthrax attack on the BART system in San Francisco.  The report had aired more than two years before 9/11.  It supposed that terrorists threw glass vials in a subway tunnel.  In two days, cases started showing up in hospitals, and in five days thousands were dead, in the simulation.  But for such an attack to work, the anthrax would have to be skillfully weaponized, something that can be done in only a few labs around the world, including Fort Dietrick in Frederick MD. 
Subway systems in London and Paris often (in many major stations on many lines) have “suicide” panel barriers, transparent plastic guards that open at specific spots for subway doors.  I remember noticing these in the spring of 2001 when I was there. It would be costly, but prudent to install these in the US in NYC, Washington, San Francisco, Atlanta, etc.  
The report had been largely forgotten, but apparently it was inspired by report written by William Patrick III and obtained by ABC News in February 1999, as in this report from ABC News dated in June 2002, (website url)    link
Some people believe that not only was Steve Hatfill wrongfully accused by the FBI, but so also was Bruce Ivins, whose suicide is said to have occurred out of hopelessness.   ProPublica has a series on Ivins and the incident here. There are dangling stories, such as 2002 arrests at a garden apartment complex near Trenton NJ that were never followed up on by the media, and a troubling question as to why American Media was attacked in Florida, when it housed supermarket tabloids.  Was it because the trademarked name of the company was iconic?  All this could generate another documentary film, I think.  

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