Trump-Russia: Not Mueller's First Botched Investigation

Controversy surrounds Robert Mueller and his investigation into the Trump-Russia collusion mirage.  Some maintain that he is the ultimate professional dedicated to following the truth, but others say he is a political hack.

There is no need to wonder about how Mueller operates.  His history has made it quite clear.  One needs only to study his actions as FBI director when he managed the FBI's most important investigation ever.

In September of 2001, an entity began mailing anthrax through the U.S. postal system, hitting such prominent targets as NBC and Senator Tom Daschle's office.  The terrorist attacks killed five and left others hospitalized.  The world panicked.

Under Mueller's management, the FBI launched an investigation lasting ten years.  The bureau now brags about spending "hundreds of thousands of investigator hours on this case."  To fully appreciate the Mueller response – whom his people investigated, targeted, and found guilty – it is appropriate to first build context.

The anthrax letters began just a week after the 9/11 attack.  Simultaneous to planning the airplane hijackings, al-Qaeda had also been weaponizing anthrax.  One of their scientists who ran an anthrax lab in Afghanistan also housed 9/11 hijackers.  In fact, one of the hijackers, Ahmed al Haznawi, went to the emergency room in an American hospital with a skin lesion, which a team of bioterrorism experts from Johns Hopkins confirmed was probably due to anthrax.  Meanwhile, the 9/11 hijackers were also trying to obtain crop-dusting airplanes.

So how did Mueller's investigative team handle the case?

Mueller issued a statement in October of 2001, while anthrax victims were still dying: the FBI had found "no direct link to organized terrorism."  The Johns Hopkins team of experts was mistaken, the FBI continued; Haznawi never had an anthrax infection.  The crop-dusting airplanes they needed were possibly for a separate and unrelated anthrax attack. 

A few weeks later, the FBI released a remarkable profile of the attacker.  FBI experts eschewed analysis of the content of the letters, where it was written in bold block letters, "Death to America, Death to Israel, Allah is Great."  Instead, they focused on a "linguistic analysis," stating that the letter's author was not "comfortable or practiced in writing in lower[]case lettering."  They therefore concluded that the author was likely an American.

The investigators hypothesized that the attacker was a lonely American who had wanted to kill people with anthrax for some undefined time period but then became "mission-oriented" following 9/11 and immediately prepared and mailed the deadly spores while pretending to be Muslim.

Mueller's FBI honed in on Steven Hatfill – a "flag-waving" American who had served in the Army, then dedicated himself to protecting America from bioterrorist threats by working in the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases – as the culprit. 

There was no direct link from Hatfill to the attacks, by the FBI's own admission.  The FBI never even charged Hatfill.

The bureau only spied on, followed, and harassed him, non-stop, for years.  The Department of Justice publicly outed Hatfill as the possible terrorist. 

While America's secret police trampled on Hatfill's dignity and life, Mueller took a stand – but on a different topic.  He made front-page news for threatening President George W. Bush with resignation over NSA policy – all while his own team was destroying the rights of an American in the FBI's largest ever investigation.

Hatfill successfully sued the government for its unlawful actions.  He won almost six million dollars.

After the Hatfill investigation blew up in the FBI's face, the agents moved on to Bruce Ivins, another Army researcher.  Ivins had actually been helping the FBI for years after having gone out of his way to contact the FBI to volunteer his expertise.  It wasn't until five years after the attack that Mueller's men decided that Ivins was a target.

The FBI case against Ivins was, once again, based on circumstantial evidence. 

  • The prosecution stated that Ivins had purposefully given a misleading sample of anthrax spore.  Frontline documented that this was a lie. 
  • Ivins was "familiar" with the area from which the anthrax letters were mailed – even though Pulitzer Prize-winning ProPublica lays out the accepted facts of the case, showing that it was impossible for Ivins to make the trip to mail the letters.
  • The spores used in the attacks were a similar type to the laboratory spores where Ivins worked – which ignores the fact that the anthrax letters had a unique additive, so sophisticated and dangerous that a scientist commented, "This is not your mother's anthrax," that was likely produced by a nation-state or al-Qaeda.

Ivins was never indicted.  He was just given the Hatfill treatment: house raided and threatened with a death sentence, or, as his lawyer put it, put under "relentless pressure of accusation and innuendo."  He committed suicide.

One week later, U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Taylor stated that Ivins was guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt," and law enforcement was "confident that Dr. Ivins was the only person responsible for these attacks." 

Director Mueller ordered an independent audit of the FBI's case by the National Academy of Science but then quietly closed the case before the audit was finished.  Mueller concluded that Ivins alone committed the terror attack.  One year after Mueller closed the case, the NAS released its results and confirmed what many scientists had been repeating for years: the FBI's science and conclusions were wrong.

The handling of the case was so egregious that a former FBI official involved in the investigation sued the FBI, alleging that the FBI had concealed evidence exculpatory to Ivins.

Mueller made his position known – "I do not apologize for any aspect of this investigation" – and stated that the FBI had made no mistakes.

The investigation was an unmitigated disaster for America.  Mueller didn't go after al-Qaeda for the anthrax letters because he denied seeing a direct link.  But then he spent years abusing Americans without showing a direct link.

Mueller enjoyed the second longest tenure of any FBI director and was roundly applauded by nearly everyone (except Louie Gohmert).  For his behavior he was also awarded special counsel status to go after Donald Trump, in a process where, still, no one has any idea what specific crimes are even alleged.  There is every reason to think he will handle his most important investigation the same way he handled his second most important investigation.  We can safely predict that it will be a prolonged, abusive, and politically correct attack.  Actually, that isn't even a prediction of the future.  It has already become a mere explanation of the past nigh year.

If you experience technical problems, please write to