The New York Times reported on October 11 that one of America's leading bioweapons experts, William C. Patrick III, had died on October 1. The 10-day delay in the report of his death is in keeping with the secret nature of Patrick's life. The Times reported that Patrick "...made enough germs to kill everyone on Earth many times over."

The frightening and ghoulish nature of Patrick's work is fit for reflection this Halloween season. In 2001, the so-called "Amerithrax" attacks rocked the United States. Initially, an FBI agent in Columbus, Ohio told the Columbus Free Press that Patrick was being investigated as a possible suspect in the anthrax attacks which occurred through the U.S. mail system. In all, five people died and 17 others were infected.

As I reported in the Columbus Alive immediately following the anthrax attacks, Columbus-based Battelle Memorial Institute was involved in developing a new and stronger strain of the weaponized anthrax at its West Jefferson, Ohio labs. Patrick worked as a consultant for Battelle, along with Kanatjan Alibekov, the former number two man in the Soviet chemical and biological warfare division. Alibekov, now going by the name Ken Alibeck, was identified in a 1998 New Yorker article as working jointly with Patrick on an anthrax project.

Alibeck arrived in the U.S. in 1992, and the Washington Post would later report that he was "learning to be a capitalist."

"Hadron Advanced Biosystems, Inc., Alibeck's company, sports an unusual provenance for a biotechnical venture. No other company, doing any kind of work, can claim to be headed by a former No. 2 man in a vast program aimed at turning anthrax, plague, smallpox, tularemia, and many other germs into weapons of war," noted the Post article.

While at Battelle, Patrick was reportedly working on Operation Jefferson. The project involved the military uses of anthrax, according to the New York Times. Battelle contracted Patrick specifically to conduct a risk assessment study concerning the dissemination of anthrax powder through the U.S. postal system. The Times also confirmed that the CIA was also involved with its own top secret anthrax project at the time, called by its code name "Clear Vision."

In February 1999, Patrick issued a 28-page report on the possibility of anthrax attacks through the mail. A few mainstream news accounts mentioned Battelle's dominant role in the production of U.S. military grade anthrax.

Interestingly, Battelle was in partnership with the Michigan-based Bioport during the time of the attacks and the joint operation had a virtual monopoly over all vaccines for military grade anthrax attacks. Both U.S. and British news sources identified one of Bioport's owners as a top secret British biowarfare consortium, Porton Down.

During the first Gulf War, Porton Down reportedly made huge profits off vaccines related to possible anthrax attacks.

On August 1, 2008, Dr. Bruce E. Ivins died from an apparent suicide. Ivins was a U.S. biodefense researcher working at Fort Detrick. The Associated Press identified Ivins as a suspect in the anthrax attacks, who was about to be charged by the FBI. Earlier, the FBI had focused on Dr. Steven J. Hatfill as a person of interest. Why the FBI never followed up on its initial interest in Patrick remains a puzzle.

"He lived in Frederick for decades, his home atop a wooded hill, not far from where he once made anthrax. A single gallon of the concentrated agent contained enough spores to kill every person on the planet," the Times noted in Patrick's obituary. The Times failed to mention his ties to Battelle or his role in assessing the use of anthrax through the mail.


Bob Fitrakis is the author of The Fitrakis Files: Star Wars, Weather Mods and Full Spectrum Dominance, which has more information about the anthrax attacks. Originally published by