24 August 2002:
Date: Fri, 23 Aug 2002 11:23:56 -0400
Subject: RE: + Rigged Hatfill Scent
I don't know a lot about hounds, but I do know a bit about pathogenic microbes (the subject of my PhD thesis).
I disagree with the notion that anthrax spores would have to be "separated" from the letters for the hounds to be given "scent packs". Two ways immediately spring to mind:
1. In a closed glove box, use an organic solvent to make an extract from part of a letter, filter the solvent through a 0.1 um pore filter to remove spores and debris, and dry the filtrate down. It should contain volatile molecules with the appropriate scent signature. Aqueous extracts could be prepared in the same way.
2. Gamma irradiation is an *extremely* efficient way to kill bacteria without heat or pressure. Does it change scents? Not by much, or it would not be used in food irradiation. A piece of a letter, gamma-irradiated, could have been used.
None of this means that the story about the hounds is true or that it is false. It only means that the arguments raised on your site are a whole lot weaker than they might seem.
21 August 2002. Thanks to Stephen Dresch.
From: "Stephen P. Dresch"
Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2002 13:46:11 -0400
Subject: Fwd: Re: "scent packets," etc. -- Hatfill and FBI bloodhounds (red herring)
In response to reports (initially by Nicholas Kristof) concerning "scent packets" derived from the anthrax letters which led FBI bloodhounds to respond to Hatfill, his and his former girlfriend's apartments and restaurants which he had visited, I queried an associate who is a canine search-and-rescue expert concerning the plausibility of the bloodhound report. Below you will find (in reverse chronological order) our sequence of exchanges.
I was skeptical that "scent packets" could be derived from the anthrax letters after they had been decontaminated. Initially she opined that this could be done. However, in response to my continued skepticism, she consulted a law-enforcement source with greater expertise in this area. The response: "Source says you are probably correct"
Thus, there is strong reason to believe that the story of the FBI bloodhounds' response to Hatfill (as initially reported by Kristof) is an entirely concocted red herring and that the latest (early August) search-warrant entries into the apartments of Hatfill and his former girlfriend were staged solely for purposes of the bloodhound enactment (with the dogs responding to scent packets created from material obtained in the FBI's two previous searches of his apartment).
Stephen P. Dresch, firstname.lastname@example.org on 08/21/2002
the Kauth house, 318 Cooper Avenue, Hancock, Michigan 49930, USA
151 Moore Street SE, Crawfordville, Georgia 30631, USA
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To: Stephen P. Dresch <email@example.com>
Sent: Wed, 21 Aug 2002 10:59:33 -0400
Subject: Re: "scent packets," etc.
Source says you are probably correct -
From: "Stephen P. Dresch"
Sent: Thu, 15 Aug 2002 12:37:16 -0400
Subject: Re: "scent packets," etc.
Do see what you can learn.
Source: Nicholas Kristof, "The Anthrax Files," NYT, August 13, 2002.
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/08/13/opinion/13KRIS.htmlOn Thu, 15 Aug 2002 11:23:51 -0400, Sally wrote:
Although anthrax spores are not easily destroyed, it is still simply a bacterium. This is simply mindlesss suggestion, but it would seem that by handling it inside a sealed hood, it should be possible to physically separate the anthrax spores from the paper. I would seriously doubt that the letters they have in evidence have been 'decontaminated' - even the FBI is not known for always destroying evidence. I will however ask a friend who will know if anyone does - chances are I will only get a 'yes'/'no/ answer. (Oh, by the way for future reference - even if the perp had used rubber gloves to handle the letter - the scent goes through :>) :>) :>) or at least the individuals scent will be on the paper - may be from source other than hands.)
P.S. where did you get the initial info?
At 03:22 PM 8/14/02 -0400, SPD wrote:
>But, Sally, how do you swab an anthrax-laced letter/envelop with
>surgical pad PRIOR TO DECONTAMINATION? Chemical
>decontamination (e.g., bleach) would certainly "degrade" (destroy)
>the scent, as would radiation (which results in discolored/singed paper).
>I still get the scent of something rather unpleasant here.
On Wed, 14 Aug 2002 11:34:42 -0400, Henry Santeford wrote:
Absolutely! And I am thrilled to know that these techniques are finally being used in this country :>) The "scent packets" were made immediately, not after all of the handling, decon, etc. Although I don't train Alex on this sort of thing as often as I probably should - no real need, if you were to take a sterile 4x4 and hold it in your hand or wipe a door handle, steering wheel, etc etc etc and then place that 4x4 in a zip lock bag, you would find that it could be used as a "scent package" for years. The Dutch have done some incredible work with forensic scent work - truly amazing!! Scent is afterall, the one type of evidence that is at *every* crime scene - can't avoid it, and there is no known detector as sensitive as a dog's nose. As to the mail - my dogs always know when a letter comes from J~
Looking forward to coming home in another week or so :>)
From: Stephen P. Dresch <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: "scent packets," etc.
Date: Tue, 13 Aug 2002 21:28:19 -0400
Does the following passage appear even remotely plausible to you?
"So far, the only physical evidence is obscure: smell. Specially trained bloodhounds were given scent packets preserved from the anthrax letters and were introduced to a variety of people and locations. This month, they responded strongly to Dr. Hatfill, to his apartment, to his girlfriend's apartment and even to his former girlfriend's apartment, as well as to restaurants that he had recently entered (he is under constant surveillance). The dogs did not respond to other people, apartments or restaurants."
These are letters mailed ten months earlier, quarantined for a lengthy period, decontaminated, intensively examined, ... Is the term "scent packet" a commonly-used term of art in your fraternity?
My suspicion is that this claim is being fashioned out of whole cloth.