Skip to comments.U.S. to pay $2.8 million to settle anthrax lawsuit [Army scientist Steven Hatfill ......]
Posted on 06/27/2008 3:39:56 PM PDT by Sub-Driver
U.S. to pay $2.8 million to settle anthrax lawsuit Fri Jun 27, 2008 5:36pm EDT
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department said on Friday it would pay former Army scientist Steven Hatfill over $2.8 million to settle his lawsuit accusing officials of violating his privacy rights by talking to the media and unfairly implicating him in anthrax attacks in 2001.
Hatfill, a bioterrorism expert who formerly worked at the Army Medical Institute of Infectious Disease at Fort Detrick in Maryland, has denied any involvement in the mailings of the anthrax-laced letters that killed five people weeks after the September 11 hijacked plane attacks.
In 2002, federal law enforcement officials, including Attorney General John Ashcroft, called Hatfill a "person of interest" in connection with the investigation into the anthrax attacks. Hatfill then sued various Justice Department officials, including Ashcroft.
(Excerpt) Read more at reuters.com ...
Yes, there are LOTS of lessons to be learned from this.
People endlessly blame the FBI, but the facts show that the leaking of information about Dr. Hatill was mostly done by lawyers in the Department of Justice. Attorney General Ashcroft's improper statements that Dr. Hatfill was a "person of interest" didn't come from the FBI. It was a statement from the head of the DOJ.
Hidden withing ZACKandPOOK's endless post is information which shows that the FBI tried to stop the leaks by stopping the leakers. In one case, they caused the "leak" of ridiculously FALSE information that bloodhounds had gotten Dr. Hatfill's scent off the anthrax letters. They told it in confidence to the top lawyer in the Washington Office of the DOJ, and that lawyer promptly leaked it to Newsweek. That lawyer is now out of the DOJ.
But I think it's also important to realize that the Hatfill case almost certainly needed to be resolved before the FBI could arrest the actual culprit. If they didn't, they'd have to stand up in court in the Hatfill lawsuit and explain why they harrassed Dr. Hatfill while they were all but certain that someone else was the culprit.
There are lots of lessons to be learned here, and it isn't yet over. Hatfill's appeal in his lawsuit against the New York Times is still pending.
And, of course, the actual culprit still hasn't been arrested.
The leakers, their accomplices in the press, and a handful of conspiracy theorists deprived Dr. Hatfill of his professional reputation and the employment he could otherwise have expected. As a result of the media circus they created and sustained, Dr. Hatfill must now carry on his scientific work largely independently. This settlement will help him to do so.
There is no basis for Ed’s suggestion that the documentary evidence or my commentary supports his view regarding how the bloodhounds were used. It’s just his theory that is not supported by the expert who testified at deposition regarding use of the dogs — and is contradicted by that testimony. I don’t recall that he link the deposition even though I recall giving it to him.
Mr. Seikaly moved over from the CIA on September 29, 2001. He was born in Haifa (Palestine) in 1948. His sister-in-law, head of an institute on contemporary affairs at Georgetown, told the Washington Post years ago that in her private life (but not her day job) she was a Palestinian activist. To be born in Palestine, she says, is to be political. Her husband, Daniel’s brother, spoke along with her in 2002 about how it was important not to rush to attribute terrorism to Bin Laden. She wrote and published on the subject. Daniel the leaker’s daughter now represents Al-Timimi pro bono. The judge has refused to let pro bono counsel access to the classified material and has restricted it to main counsel, a professor at GWU.
Some excerpts from McClellan’s book -
“Looking back on the post 9-911 period, however, I think that one event with an enormous impact on President Bush’s mind-set has been almost forgotten by many people — the anthrax attacks.
“One of my new duties in the post-911 White House was helping Ari Fleischer to stay on top of this potential bioterrorist threat. I stayed in contact with my counterparts at the Department of Health and Human Services, and began working closely with Lisa Gordon-Haggerty, an exceptionally bright and tireless public servant who worked in the counterterrorism unit of the National Security Council under Richard Clarke. Lisa was running point for the NSC on the anthrax attacks.
[Then he describe nervousness over a possible case of smallpox.]
He says Ari “replied with a joyful shout, “Yes! It’s syphilis! He’s got syphilis.”
On bentonite, he says:
“Ari relentlessly pursued the story and “continued to badger a variety of people at ABC to see if they were going to correct the story” in the days after it aired. On October 31, ABC backtracked from its previous report, saying only that “a further chemical analysis” had ruled out bentonite in the anthrax, although it did contain silica, which is “not a trademark of any country’s weapons program.”
“The influence of the anthrax attacks on policymaking within the Bush White House shouldn’t be underestimated.”
I know President Bush’s thinking was deeply affected by the anthrax attacks. He was determined not to let another terrorist attack happen on his watch and to challenge regimes believed to be seeking weapons of mass destruction.”
There is nothing in Mr. McClellan’s book that supports Ed’s central and mistaken view that silica was not detected. In fact, he quite plainly says the opposite but Ed has not seen fit to mention or quote the excerpt.
The only difference between BHR’s theory and Ed’s theory is that hers had legs because, for example, Hatfill knew the same leading anthrax scientists Ali worked in the same building with. For example, he once gave a talk in San Diego alongside William Patrick and Ken Alibek. Ed and BHR both have substantially the same “bioevangelist” theory.