Scientific analysis section.
Chem-Bio Sciences Unit personnel develop and maintain the FBI's ability to provide high-quality forensic examinations of hazardous chemical, biological, and nuclear materials and related evidence by:
* Providing analysis to detect traces of chemical, biological, or nuclear materials to support the prevention, investigation, and prosecution of terrorist activities
* Providing forensic examinations of hazardous materials and conventional evidence contaminated with these materials
* Ensuring that forensic analysis of hazardous materials and conventional evidence contaminated with these materials is represented by expert courtroom testimony and defensible scientific analysis
The Unit's mission includes the following challenges:
* Technical personnel with specialized training must process evidence that is extremely dangerous in costly safety facilities.
* Hazardous materials encompass a complex and broad range of science and technology, including chemistry, microbiology, biochemistry, and physics.
* Conventional evidence, such as fingerprints, materials, devices, toolmarks, and trace evidence, that has been contaminated with hazardous materials must be exploited.
* Examinations must be performed under high quality assurance and control standards.
To augment the Laboratory's capabilities, the Unit is coordinating the resources of federal and private laboratories that are capable of handling, processing, and analyzing chemical, biological, and radiological terrorism evidence. Unit personnel are pursuing cooperative laboratory initiatives with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The Unit also has agreements with the following laboratories:
* Edgewood Chemical/Biological Forensic Analytical Center, Edgewood area, Maryland
* U.S. Army Military Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, Maryland
* Savannah River Technical Center, U.S. Department of Energy, Savannah River site, South Carolina
* Naval Medical Research Center, Silver Spring, Maryland
* Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California
Unit personnel are exploiting advances in biotechnology that promise highly specific identification of disease-causing organisms by examining their DNA. Much work remains to be done in this area, and the Unit is building Laboratory resources to develop new "bioforensics" methods. Chem-Bio Sciences Unit personnel will establish standardized, validated procedures and train Laboratory examiners in chemical, biological, and radiological safety. This will allow the Laboratory to employ its well-developed conventional forensics resources to examine hazardous evidence.
The Chemistry Unit is divided into the following program areas:
* General Chemistry--Conducts chemical characterizations of unknown solids or liquids. Chemists identify specific dyes and chemicals used in bank security devices and analyze items such as clothing or currency for the presence of these dyes and chemicals. Personnel compare stains or markings to suspected sources, detect the presence of lubricants and compare to suspected sources, and compare the formulations of known and questioned ink (e.g., pens, typewriters, stamp pads). Chemists determine pharmaceutical identification of constituent composition, active ingredients, quantity, and weight. Unit personnel also analyze controlled substances to determine identity and quantity.
* Toxicology--Conducts toxicological analyses of biological specimens or food products for drugs, drug metabolites, and poisons and investigates claims of product tampering.
* Paints and Polymers--Analyzes paint chips for comparison to suspected sources. Personnel determine automotive make, model, and year from suspected paint samples and maintain the National Automotive Paint File. Scientists compare plastics to suspected sources. Personnel determine tape composition, construction, and color for comparison to suspected sources and determine the manufacturer of suspected adhesive tape, make tape identifications with the torn or cut end of the tape and a roll of suspected tape, and maintain the National Forensic Tape File. Caulks, sealants, and adhesives can be compared by color and composition to suspected sources.
* Metallurgy--Performs examinations on evidence from air, rail, and maritime disasters. Damage and failure analyses, strength-of-materials issues, specifications fraud, fabrication evaluation, corrosion assessment, product tampering, sabotage, and appliance and device functionality examinations are performed in the Unit.
* Elemental--Examinations of bullet lead, arsenic in biological specimens, glass composition, lamp bulbs, speedometers, stabbing instruments, and materials comparisons associated with homicide, arson, and accident investigations are performed.
* Instrumentation Operation and Support--Calibrates and maintains analytical instruments, evaluates new technology, and maintains the Unit instrument database and archived data.
The Unit manages the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). CODIS blends forensic science and computer technology into a tool for linking violent crimes. It enables federal, state, and local forensic laboratories to exchange and compare DNA profiles electronically, thereby linking serial violent crimes to each other and to known offenders.
The highest level in the CODIS hierarchy is the National DNA Index System (NDIS). There are 161 NDIS participating sites consisting of 110 local DNA index systems and 51 state DNA index systems.
Using two indexes, CODIS generates investigative leads in crimes where biological evidence is recovered from the crime scene. The forensic index contains DNA profiles from crime scene evidence, and the convicted offender index contains DNA profiles of individuals convicted of felony sex offenses and other crimes. An index for DNA from missing persons has been added to CODIS, allowing federal, state, and local law enforcement laboratories to identify missing persons and recovered human remains.
DNA Analysis Units
Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is analyzed in body fluids, stains, and other biological tissues recovered from evidence. The results of DNA analysis of questioned biological samples are compared with the results of DNA analysis of known samples. This analysis can associate victim(s) and/or suspect(s) with each other or with a crime scene.
Two sources of DNA are used in forensic analyses. Nuclear DNA (nDNA) is typically analyzed in evidence containing blood, semen, saliva, body tissues, and hair that have tissue at their root ends. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is typically analyzed in evidence containing naturally shed hair, hair fragments, bones, and teeth.
DNA Analysis Unit 1 examiners and biologists analyze body fluids, body fluid stains, clothing, envelopes, and other types of evidence recovered in violent crimes, counterterrorism efforts, and other investigations. Examinations include identifying and characterizing blood and semen using traditional serological techniques, as well as sampling items of evidence where biological material may have been deposited (e.g., envelope flaps, masks, gloves). When a stain is identified or a sample is collected, it is characterized by DNA analysis using short tandem repeats, a polymerase chain reaction-based technique. The results of the analyses are compared to results obtained from known blood and/or saliva samples submitted from the victims and/or suspects.
DNA Analysis Unit 1 personnel manage the Federal Convicted Offender Program. Unit biologists process reference samples to add to NDIS of CODIS for searching and comparison with convicted offender profiles and other crime scene samples. In addition, Unit personnel generate nDNA profiles on unidentified remains, missing persons, and relatives of missing persons to contribute to the National Missing Persons Database.
Scientists in DNA Analysis Unit 2 use mtDNA analysis that is applied to evidence containing small or degraded quantities of DNA from hair, bones, and teeth. The results of the analysis are compared to blood and/or saliva submitted from the victims and/or suspects. The Unit examines evidence that prior to developing this technique may not have been suitable for significant comparison purposes using nDNA analysis. The Unit also manages the National Missing Persons
Explosives Unit personnel examine evidence resulting from an apparent explosion and/or recovery of an explosive device. Examinations are based on the premise that components and accessories used to construct the devices survive the explosion, although disfigured. The examinations can accomplish the following:
* Identify the components used to construct the device, such as switches, batteries, detonators, tapes, wires, and fuzing systems
* Identify the explosive main charge
* Determine the construction characteristics
* Determine how the device functioned or was designed or intended to function
* Determine the specific assembly techniques employed by the builder(s) of the device
* Preserve the trace evidence potentially present in the devices so it is not destroyed or damaged during the examinations
Unit personnel also provide field support and perform bombing crime scene investigations. They search bomb-making factories and safe houses where bombs or bomb components may be encountered. Explosives Unit personnel manage the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center.
Trace Evidence Unit
The Trace Evidence Unit identifies and compares specific types of trace materials that could be transferred during a violent crime. These trace materials include human and animal hair, textile fibers and fabrics, ropes and cords, soil, glass, building materials, feathers, and wood. Physical anthropology (skeletal remains) examinations, coordinated with the Smithsonian Institution, are also performed to help identify human remains and assist in determining possible cause of death.
The physical contact between a suspect and a victim can result in the transfer of trace materials such as hair, fibers, soil, and glass. The identification and comparison of these materials can often link a suspect to a crime scene or to physical contact with another individual. Torn pieces of fabric can be positively associated to a damaged garment, and broken pieces of wood or glass can be positively fitted together.
The Unit maintains reference collections of human and animal hair, natural and man-made textile fibers, fabrics, feathers, soil, and wood.
Accomplishments as of October 2003 Convicted Offender Samples in NDIS 1,566,552 Forensic Samples in NDIS 75,394 Missing Persons 94 Forensic Hits 2,787 Offender Hits 7,630 * Investigations Aided 10,358 Laboratories 175 NDIS Participating Sites 161 Note: * 6,608 at State DNA Index System; 1,022 at NDIS
Mother's Day Poisoning
Hemoutie "Geeta" Raghunauth's last meal was a special lunch prepared and served by her husband, Ganesh, on Mother's Day 2000 in a suburb of Toronto, Canada. Within hours of the meal, Geeta and her unborn child were dead. Initially investigators thought that her death was a suicide because toxicological analyses of autopsy samples performed by the Centre of Forensic Services in Toronto and the FBI Laboratory's Chemistry Unit found large doses of temazepam, a sedative drug, and cyanide. But as the investigation progressed, investigators theorized that Ganesh staged a suicide by sedating Geeta with temazepam-spiked food and then force-feeding her cyanide.
Prior to his wife's death, Mr. Raghunauth collected information from coworkers and the Internet about cyanide and medical procedures. He also asked a friend to get him some cyanide to "get rid of a skunk problem." Furthermore, Mr. Raghunauth was having an affair, and the couple became engaged three weeks prior to Geeta's death.
Chemistry Unit personnel performed many of the toxicological analyses on the evidence from this case. In April 2003 an examiner from the Chemistry Unit provided expert testimony at the trial of Ganesh Raghunauth by explaining the results of the toxicological analyses and offering expert opinion regarding the results.
In June 2003 a jury found Ganesh Raghunauth guilty of first-degree murder. He received a mandatory life sentence and will not be eligible for parole for 25 years.
Anthrax Threat Letters
In November 2003 Clayton Lee Waagner was tried in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for sending threat letters allegedly containing anthrax to abortion clinics across the country.
Two and a half years earlier, Waagner escaped from custody while awaiting sentencing on federal firearms charges. After a series of bank robberies and carjackings, Waagner initiated a campaign of mass mailings to abortion clinics in the fall of 2001. All of the approximately 500 letters sent claimed that the recipient had just been exposed to high levels of anthrax. The alarm generated was severe because the letters followed closely on the mailing of deadly anthrax powders a few weeks earlier in Florida, New York, New Jersey, and Washington, DC.
After Waagner's arrest in December 2001 in Cincinnati, Ohio, the letters, envelopes and the powders in the envelopes, and other items of evidence were submitted to the Laboratory for examination. Fingerprints from Waagner were identified on threat letters that he had left with antiabortion activist Neal Horsley during a visit to Horsley's residence. Comparisons conducted by the Questioned Documents Unit showed that letters sent out during the mass mailings matched one of the letters recovered from Horsley. The powders analyzed in the Chemistry Unit were shown to be consistent with flour or chalk dust. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which had already verified that the powders were negative for anthrax, determined that the chalk dust powders contained a bacillus used as an insecticide.
During Waagner's two-week trial (at which he acted as his own attorney), a Laboratory latent print examiner established a physical connection between Waagner and the threat letters, and a Laboratory chemist testified regarding the chemical and biological analysis of the powders.
The jury found Waagner guilty on 51 of the 53 counts charged in the indictment, including threatening to send a weapon of mass destruction. He faces a maximum possible sentence of life imprisonment.
Four Regional mtDNA Laboratories Selected.
Regional mtDNA laboratories will partner with the Laboratory to augment the Bureau's capacity for no-cost mtDNA analysis in forensic and missing persons cases. As the partner laboratories become operational during the next two years, the Laboratory's capacity to deliver no-cost mtDNA analysis to the criminal justice system will double. Cases will be submitted directly to regional mtDNA laboratories.
In May 2003 the Laboratory notified forensic laboratories participating in CODIS of plans to competitively select partner laboratories. In June 2003 a briefing was held in Arlington, Virginia, and approximately 35 state and local crime laboratories sent representatives or requested materials. Twelve applications were received. Selected laboratories share the following traits: They are statewide, full-service forensic laboratories, and they are accredited in DNA and trace evidence with established nDNA and CODIS programs.
On September 30, 2003, the FBI awarded multiyear, cooperative agreements to the following agencies:
* Arizona Department of Public Safety, Phoenix, Arizona
* Connecticut State Police, Meriden, Connecticut
* Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, St. Paul, Minnesota
* New Jersey State Police, Trenton, New Jersey
The agreements provide for the Laboratory to train and equip regional mtDNA laboratories and authorize casework that meets FBI quality standards. Partner laboratories will be responsible for mtDNA analysis, reporting results, and testifying, if necessary.
The Laboratory is building long-term partnerships with state and local forensic laboratories to provide critical forensic services that it cannot provide by itself. The initial term of agreement is three years but may be renewed indefinitely for two-year periods. All partner laboratories should be fully operational by September 2005, although some capacity may be available sooner.
Sexual Assaults In Houston, Texas
A series of sexual assaults involving juvenile victims occurred in Houston, Texas, during the latter part of 2003. Authorities believed the attacks were serially related, with imminent potential of another assault. The FBI's Houston Office delivered evidence related to these investigations to the Laboratory on the evening of November 6, 2003. DNA Analysis Unit 1 personnel took custody of and inventoried the evidence. They conducted serological examinations throughout the night, identifying semen in two cases. The examination team then worked diligently for 18 hours processing samples for DNA analysis.
By the early morning hours of November 8, 2003, DNA-typing results were obtained. The DNA information unexpectedly demonstrated that the sources of semen in each case were different individuals, ruling out the possibility of a serial attacker. The DNA profiles from each case were searched in NDIS, and two previously convicted offenders were identified as the semen sources of the DNA in each case.
On the basis of this information, local law enforcement, in conjunction with FBI officials, was able to quickly locate and apprehend both subjects.
On August 13, 1998, 11-year-old Angelica Padilla disappeared while delivering newspapers in Willimantic, Connecticut. Seven hours later, her partially clad body was found in the woods behind her apartment building. She had been hit in the head with a blunt object and her throat slit so severely she was nearly decapitated. Jose Torres, who also lived in the apartment building, was accused of killing Angelica.
The Connecticut State Police Forensic Laboratory found a semen stain too small for conventional nDNA testing on the victim's shorts. An extract of the stain was sent to the FBI Laboratory for mtDNA testing. The mtDNA type matched that of Torres.
A DNA Analysis Unit 1 examiner testified in Connecticut Superior Court regarding this evidence in February 2002. On March 11, 2002, Torres was found guilty on capital felony and murder charges and sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.
Skeletal Remains Identified.
Russell Jordan was 16 years old in 1982 when he was last seen alive. In 1995 skeletal remains were discovered by a Los Gatos resident who was walking his dogs along a hiking trail in Novitiate Park in California. The head and hands were missing from the recovered remains. Items found with the body, particularly a belt buckle with a Schlitz beer insignia, led the Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Department to think that the remains were those of Russell Jordan.
A portion of the recovered remains was sent to the FBI Laboratory's National Missing Persons DNA Database program. The bones were processed numerous times without suitable results. Scientists from the Laboratory's Counterterrorism and Forensic Science Research Unit worked with personnel from the National Missing Persons DNA Database program to develop a DNA extraction protocol that would increase the amount of DNA that could be extracted from bones. In late 2002 research on and validation of the improved bone extraction protocol was complete.
The Russell Jordan case was reexamined, and the bones yielded enough DNA for an mtDNA comparison. The mtDNA profile from the recovered remains was compared to the mtDNA profile from Russell Jordan's mother. The profiles were the same.
On December 18, 2003, Sean Clark Viehweg, Russell Jordan's high school classmate, plead no contest to voluntary manslaughter. He will be eligible for release in two years.
Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center
Since September 11, 2001, the FBI's primary mission has been to prevent further acts of terrorism against U.S. citizens and interests, at home and abroad. FBI assets dedicated to investigating terrorism have more than doubled in the past two years. Joint terrorism task forces are now operational in every FBI field office. Dozens of FBI Special Agents and analysts have been deployed overseas to work closely with U.S. military and foreign intelligence to obtain information about terrorists before they strike.
The Laboratory is developing the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center (TEDAC) to forensically exploit and disseminate intelligence on improvised explosive devices used by terrorists. According to a recent U.S. Department of State report, more than 85 percent of all terrorist attacks against U.S. interests and citizens during the past five years involved improvised explosive devices, also known as homemade bombs. Unlike manufactured military ordnance, these bombs often reflect the unique characteristics or signature of the terrorist organizations or individuals making them. It is intelligence of this nature that may help identify terrorists before they strike American targets.
TEDAC is a multiagency effort that serves as the primary center for improvised explosive device-related information and provides joint recommendations for improvised explosive device disposal methods. TEDAC is establishing relationships among agencies to foster the best data collection, maintenance, and database sharing. Current TEDAC partners include the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Central
Intelligence Agency; National Security Agency; Defense Intelligence Agency; Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division; National Ground Intelligence Center; and military commands. In addition, TEDAC includes British military, law enforcement, and intelligence agencies.
TEDAC's primary mission is to exploit the terrorist reliance on improvised explosive devices for offensive and defensive intelligence, technical, and tactical use. This will be accomplished through communication, forensic analysis, and the fusion of resources.
Pipe Bomb In Santa Ana, California.
On June 15, 2003, Hai Duc Le was in his 1990 Toyota Cressida in Santa Ana, California, when a bomb exploded in his car. Le was seriously injured and taken to a hospital. Explosives Unit personnel examined the crime scene and found remnants of a PVC pipe bomb that had split into two pieces, with an apparent low-explosive filler. The endcaps had been attached with double-sided tape. Roofing nails, pipe pieces, and filler were found inside and outside the car. A remotely controlled transmitter and receiver were also recovered. Le's wallet contained receipts for the purchase of pipe, endcaps, and other items.
An interview with Le's brother led to the discovery in the brother's car of three bottles of Pyrodex (a propellant for use in muzzle loading and black powder cartridge arms), a purchase receipt for them, nails, and screws. A search of Hai's residence led to the discovery of other items, including correspondence between Hai and a U.S. Congresswoman about a relative's immigration matter. Although Hai's vehicle was parked in a strip mall where the Congresswoman's satellite office is located when the device functioned, it is not known if she was the intended victim. A nearby Vietnamese cafe could also have been the target.
Hai Duc Le was charged with using a weapon of mass destruction. He was also charged with carrying and using a destructive device, attempted arson, possession of an unregistered firearm (i.e., a pipe bomb), and the illegal making of a destructive device. His brother, Hien Duc Le, was charged as an accessory after the fact and with obstructing justice for allegedly concealing evidence. Hai Duc Le could be sentenced to 35 years to life in prison.