Pentagon admits 24 US labs, 2 foreign states received live anthrax shipments

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The Pentagon has revised the number of instances in which live anthrax samples have “accidentally” been shipped both across US and abroad, and has announced a comprehensive review into the poor handling of the deadly bacteria.

“As of now, 24 laboratories in 11 states and two foreign countries are believed to have received suspect samples,” the Pentagon said in a statement.

Earlier this week it was revealed that US Army’s Dugway Proving Ground in Utah had shipped live anthrax to labs in nine states, and to a US military base in South Korea.

With the new discoveries, the Pentagon is urging all those who received such shipments to stop working with those samples, until further notice from the US authorities. The shipment of supposedly deactivated anthrax specimens reportedly began in March 2014 and continued through April 2015. These samples were mistakenly marked inactive.

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Live anthrax shipped across states, to S. Korea by accident – Pentagon

“We already know that more labs and more lots of inactivation failures with anthrax spores are being identified,” Daniel Sosin, deputy director of CDC’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, wrote in the email to state officials, USA Today quotes. “We have concern that the inactivation procedures, when followed properly, are inadequate to kill all spores, and the US government is developing an approach to securing such possible samples from misuse.”

At the same time the Pentagon announced a “comprehensive review” of the lab procedures, processes, and protocols associated with “inactivating spore-forming anthrax”. The probe by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be led by Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (AT&L), Frank Kendall.

“After the CDC investigation is complete, the department will conduct its own investigation with respect to any apparent lapses in performance and ensure appropriate accountability,” DoD said.

The technicians dealing with anthrax not only failed to “inactivate a sample,” but it was followed by a “failure to confirm inactivation before shipping the sample,” which was then followed by a “failure to confirm inactivation upon receiving the sample,” Richard H Ebright, professor of chemical biology at Rutgers University, told the Guardian in an email.

The professor claimed that such cases occur regularly, referring to similar shipments of live anthrax bacteria in 2006 and 2014. The scientific community has welcomed the review of procedures which would hopefully allow avoiding such chains of failures in future.

At the same time Gigi Kwik Gronvall, a senior associate at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland called for protocol modification, that is easier to follow and “more likely to bring about compliance.”

*(IS ANYONE BUYING THIS?)* Marilyn Mosby Sticks To Twitter Hack Claim, Says She Does Not Endorse Anti-Cop, Anti-White Tweets

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BY CHUCK ROSS

Despite growing skepticism that her personal Twitter account was hacked by someone who randomly “favorited” two controversial tweets, the office of Baltimore City state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby is sticking to its story.

“She said she did not favorite those, so she took the necessary measures to make sure her account is secure,” Mosby spokeswoman Rochelle Ritchie told The Daily Caller on Friday.

On Wednesday, TheDC reported that Mosby seemingly favorited two May 6 tweets from her personal Twitter account. One tweet called the officers charged in the Freddie Gray case “those 6 THUG cops.” The other tweet praised Mosby’s handling of the case and asserted that she “INFURIATES a certain kind of white person.” (RELATED: Marilyn Mosby Says Her Account Was Hacked And That She Did Not Endorse Anti-Cop Tweets)

Favoriting the tweets was seen as another example of Mosby’s bias against the charged cops, her critics argued. Mosby has been slammed by some observers for injecting activist rhetoric into the case.

After TheDC’s report, Fox’s Megyn Kelly reported that Mosby claimed she did not favorite the tweets and instead that her account was hacked.

But the so-called Twittershpere wasn’t buying it.

Users of the social media platform said Mosby was lying about the hack. Many compared the excuse to one offered by Anthony Weiner, the former Democratic congressman from New York who was forced to admit he lied in 2011 about someone hacking his account to send a racy photo to a 21-year-old woman.

Mosby has no solid evidence that her account was hacked, and she has been able to access her account without a hitch. She apparently assumed that a hack occurred because the tweets had been favorited and also because the Baltimore City state’s attorney Twitter account was hacked last week.

“We don’t know exactly when the account was hacked,” Ritchie told TheDC of Mosby’s personal account.

Mosby sent a tweet on May 23 from her personal account stating that the official account had been hacked. No mention was made at the time that her personal account was breached.

Adding to the mystery — the alleged hack of Mosby’s personal account was different than the one carried out against the official account. The hacker of that account was much more active, posting messages in Turkish and altering the design of the account.

Ritchie says that it was “ironic” that the two accounts were hacked at around the same time, but in explaining the delay in realizing that Mosby’s private account was hacked, she said “there was no reason for [Mosby] to go back through and check her favorites.”

“When it was brought to our attention, she said she did not favorite those,” she reiterated.

But as Fox’s Kelly and others wondered, why would a hacker infiltrate a Twitter account to only favorite two tweets that someone may or may not find weeks down the road?

Asked if it was possible that Mosby accidentally favorited the two May 6 tweets, Ritchie insisted that Mosby did not favorite them at all.

“The language that was used that was in used in those tweets … is not something she stands by and supports, and so she did what she needed to do to make sure her account is as secure as possible,” Ritchie said.

She also told TheDC what she told Fox on Wednesday — that the office has been in touch with Twitter about the breaches.

Asked if either Mosby or the state’s attorney’s office had received emails from Twitter alerting them of the hacks — which is something the company does when it detects hacks — Ritchie said that that did not occur.

IRS Hires $1,000-An-Hour Lawyers And It Might Have Violated Federal Law

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BY PATRICK HOWLEY

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is paying a Washington law firm $1,000 an hour in taxpayer money to perform a corporate audit, despite its claim of being severely underfunded.

The IRS’ $2.2 million contract with big-money firm Quinn Emanuel has sparked a Senate Finance Committee investigation, with the committee’s chairman saying that the IRS “appears to violate federal law.”

Senate Finance Committee chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch wrote a letter this month to IRS commissioner John Koskinen stating his concerns relating to the contact, which pays Quinn Emanuel $1,000 an hour to perform an audit of Microsoft.

Hatch said that the contract appears to violate laws against the IRS sharing confidential taxpayer information with third parties.

“Despite these statutory prohibitions against the outsourcing of certain revenue functions or sharing of confidential taxpayer information, in May of last year the IRS hired a litigation law firm to assist in the income tax audit and investigation of a corporate taxpayer, including the conduct of sworn interviews,” Hatch’s letter stated.

“The IRS’s hiring of a private contractor to conduct an examination of a taxpayer raises concerns because the action: 1) appears to violate federal law and the express will of the Congress; 2) removes taxpayer protections by allowing the performance of inherently governmental functions by private contractors; and 3) calls into question the IRS’s use of its limited resources.”

But the Obama administration quickly re-wrote the rules shortly after hiring Quinn Emanuel.

“Only weeks after retaining the law firm, the Treasury Department and IRS issued a temporary regulation, without a notice and comment period, allowing third party contractors to take compulsory, sworn testimony in connection with an IRS investigation,” Hatch wrote. “The new, temporary regulation would allow private contractors — in this case, litigation attorneys billing taxpayers over $1,000 an hour, according to the contract — to question a witness under oath and ask the witness to clarify objections or assertions of privilege. It would also give these attorneys access to confidential taxpayer information while raising questions over how well that information is then protected from further disclosure. The temporary regulation was issued as a ‘clarification,’ despite the fact that it is an unprecedented expansion of the role of outside contractors in the examination process, and one that violates the IRC provisions…”

IRS commissioner John Koskinen, meanwhile, recently said that budget cuts would force the agency to cut its law enforcement capabilities.

Quinn Emanuel Washington partners William Burck and Jon Corey did not return requests for comment for this report.

BREAKING: New Pictures Show What’s Really Happening in Closed WALMARTS

One of our readers just sent us new pictures – Jade Helm in Tennessee:
“Arriving at Wal-Mart in lookout valley Chattanooga Tennessee, please post these pictures to share with the rest of the country.

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Jade Helm is a challenging eight-week joint military and Interagency (IA) Unconventional Warfare (UW) exercise conducted throughout Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah and Colorado,” according to an unclassified military document announcing the training drill, which is set to take place from July to September this summer.

The training exercise will involve troops “wearing civilian clothes and driving civilian vehicles” to blend in with “civilian populations.” The operation lists Utah and Texas as “hostile territory,” likely because these are two of the most conservative states in the country.