Skip to comments.Scientist Is Paid Millions by U.S. in Anthrax Suit
Posted on 06/27/2008 7:33:33 PM PDT by neverdem
WASHINGTON The Justice Department announced Friday that it would pay $4.6 million to settle a lawsuit filed by Steven J. Hatfill, a former Army biodefense researcher intensively investigated as a person of interest in the deadly anthrax letters of 2001.
The settlement, consisting of $2.825 million in cash and an annuity paying Dr. Hatfill $150,000 a year for 20 years, brings to an end a five-year legal battle that had recently threatened a reporter with large fines for declining to name sources she said she did not recall.
Dr. Hatfill, who worked at the Armys laboratory at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Md., in the late 1990s, was the subject of a flood of news media coverage beginning in mid-2002, after television cameras showed Federal Bureau of Investigation agents in biohazard suits searching his apartment near the Army base. He was later named a person of interest in the case by then Attorney General John Ashcroft, speaking on national television.
In a news conference in August 2002, Dr. Hatfill tearfully denied that he had anything to do with the anthrax letters and said irresponsible news media coverage based on government leaks had destroyed his reputation.
Dr. Hatfills lawsuit, filed in 2003, accused F.B.I. agents and Justice Department officials involved in the criminal investigation of the anthrax mailings of leaking information about him to the news media in...
Dr. Hatfill, 54, grew up in Illinois but studied medicine in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. After returning to the United States in the early 1990s, he worked at the National Institutes of Health and the United States Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick. In applying for those jobs, he claimed to have had a Ph.D. from a South African university that his lawyers later admitted he had not earned...
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
I wonder if this guy had any kind of doctoral degree?
How do so many get away with falsifying credentials ? Oh yeah , government jobs .
Not good enough. It’s the American taxpayers who are paying for this, not those who are responsible...
Until the government officials who order and implement these kinds of persecutions are held personally accountable and suffer some consequences for their abuses of office, we’ll just keep getting more of these debacles which the taxpayers will have to pay for...
FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.
The FBI had a mindset and it really screwed up this case as a result.
I assume it still saturated with the same type of FBI mindset it had before, that all government agencies are saturated with that mindset, to disprove any thing or prove anything that coincides with how Republicans/conservatives view a situation.
He should get ten times as much for what they put him through. I remember him standing on the steps. He was credible and believable and they tried to pin it on him alone. Who ever is really responsible is still out there, waiting to terrorize us again.
I am not hopeful of any accountability , but I would like to see the contempt sanctions still imposed . I have seen judges punish for contempt even after a case is dismissed , and I do not want any more acceptance of the phony journalist privilege .
I initially felt bad for the guy. He was the scape goat. His life was destroyed.
And it is only the tax payers who can stand up and demand more from our government officials. The man was ruined. If it it was a private company who was liable then it would be different?
The Hatfill case is much worse, however, than some random vendetta being pursued by a few rogue officials.
The FBI had been politicized and corrupted beyond belief by the Clinton administration. Under Clinton, Janet Reno ran the Justice Department as if it were an extension of the Clinton political machine. Every event, even though with National Security implications had to first be turned into an opportunity used to benefit the Clinton’s political fortunes.
In this environment, the FBI became a willfully obtuse agency that refused to “connect the dots” after the first World Trade Center bombing, the TWA flight 800 “crash”, and the bombing of the Murrah Federal building. 9/11 was partially attributable to our “deaf, dumb and blind” FBI.
The FBI’s prime mandate after the anthrax attacks was not to dispassionately seek the truth of the identity of the perpetrator but to quickly fasten on the domestic terrorist theory. This theory was pursued with dogged obsessiveness in spite of the overwhelming evidence that argued against it.
There were multiple available clues and investigative threads that pointed toward involvement of a foreign intelligence service with access to weapons grade anthrax. But these threads went cold as the politicized hacks of the FBI went about persecuting the hapless Dr. Hatfill. This same pattern of using leaks and intimidation was seen in the case of the equally hapless Richard Jewell in Atlanta pipe bomb case.
A politicized and incompetent FBI will produce more Hatfill and Jewell cases and will be singularly unable to ferret out real domestic terror cells.
IIRC, this was the same era which produced falsified/fudged FBI crime lab results as well.
By this time there had been a number of hoax anthrax mailings in the United States. Hatfill and his collaborator, SAIC vice president Joseph Soukup, now commissioned William C Patrick, retired head of the old US bioweapons program (who had also been a mentor of Hatfill) to write a report on the possibilities of terrorist anthrax mailing attacks. Barbara Hatch Rosenberg (director of the Federation of American Scientists' biochem weapons working group in 2002) said that the report was commissioned "under a CIA contract to SAIC". However, SAIC said Hatfill and Soukup commissioned it internally there was no outside client.
The resulting report, dated February 1999, was subsequently seen as a "blueprint" for the 2001 anthrax attacks. Amongst other things, it suggested the maximum amount of anthrax powder - 2.5 grams - that could be put in an envelope without making a suspicious bulge. The quantity in the envelope sent to Senator Tom Daschle in October 2001 was 2 grams. After the attacks, the report drew the attention of the FBI, and led to their investigation of Patrick and Hatfill
Classic Clinton-era 'hang the messenger' tactics, very reminiscent of Richard Jewell and the Olympic Park Bombing (he should have been given a medal instead of had his career destroyed), or the investigators who found PETN on swatches of fabric from Flight 800...
Of course, the Clintons were interested in denial of terrorism, not the prosecution and prevention thereof, so long as it came from someone outside the country. Shifting the blame to alleged domestic sources permitted them to further their agenda of stripping American Freedoms and advancing Socialism, and for agencies like the FBI and BATFE, this translates into job security, advancement, and expansion.
Thanks for the link, text & comment.
Good summary, imho.
(I should have read down the thread! I could have saved a bunch of typing...)
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