Government Uncovered
Freedom of Information Equals Freedom From Corruption

Access to information is vital to Judicial Watch’s efforts to hold politicians accountable for their actions. This is why the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is such an important tool for Judicial Watch. Each issue of The JW Verdict will include an analysis of FOIA documents obtained by Judicial Watch.

Background In this issue, The JW Verdict focuses on the anthrax mailings immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Judicial Watch uncovered shocking evidence that senior officials at the Brentwood post office facility, which processed the anthrax-laden letters to Senator Tom Daschle, placed the health and well-being of post office workers at risk. Judicial Watch filed a number of lawsuits regarding the anthrax attacks and represents hundreds of postal workers from the Brentwood facility, located in Washington, DC. Following is the diary/log of a senior post office official from Brentwood that clearly proves Judicial Watch’s case.

Key Excerpts:

Monday, October 15th
“Jerry Lane and I received a call at the Denver Forum that Senator Daschle’s office had received a letter at the Hart Building that contained Anthrax.”

Thursday, October 18th
“When we left the mee0ting, I pulled Deborah aside and let her know that the mail was leaking and that we were affected. . . . By decoding the ID tag information, we were able to identify the actual machine the mail had been processed on. Since URS only had 30 swabs available, we did this machine and the manual cases for ZIP Code 20501 (The Senate). Again they tested hot.” (Emphasis added.)


In the wake of the anthrax mailings, Capitol Hill workers and other high level government officials received prompt medical care and preventative medications while postal workers were ordered to continue working in a contaminated facility. As this FOIA document clearly shows, senior post office officials at Brentwood knew the facility was contaminated at least by October 18th. Yet the facility was not shut down until October 21, subjecting a number of postal workers to contamination for three whole days. By comparison, on October 15th, the day the letters were received at Senator Daschle’s office, the Hart Senate Office Building was shut down immediately in order to protect Capitol Hill staffers. Two Brentwood workers died soon after from inhalation anthrax while others died later. And, still dozens more suffered from a variety of ailments related to the anthrax attacks. Recently, JW filed a criminal complaint and other legal actions over this matter.


Judicial Watch discovered that White House officials were taking the antibiotic medicine CIPRO to protect against Anthrax infection as many as six weeks before the mailings, proving the Administration knew of the attacks earlier than admitted.

“Mr. Thompson said today that he had been ‘frustrated at times’ in his efforts to obtain and disseminate information on anthrax. He said he could not disclose all the information that might be important to public health because some was classified and some was restricted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.” -- New York Times, “In Anthrax Crisis, Health Secretary Finds Unsteady Going (page B1),” by Robert Pear, October 25, 2001.