Saturday, February 21, 2015

October 12, 2001, Jim Lehrer Interview with Vice President Dick Cheney,

October 7, 2001, New York Times, Flow of Information: New Slogan in Washington: Watch What You Say, by Elisabeth Bumiller,

November 18, 2001, New York Times, OpEd, The Pox and Human Progress, by Elizabeth A. Fenn,

October 12, 2001, at 12:00 AM EST (7:30 p.m. EST?) PBS NewsHour, Jim Lehrer Interview with Vice President Dick CheneyArchived,


JIM LEHRER: Mr. Vice President, welcome.

DICK CHENEY: Thank you.

JIM LEHRER: Have there been any developments today concerning the FBI’s warning – terrorist warning of yesterday?

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: We've got continued reporting that really led us to believe that the threat level had gone up – that is to say it's fairly precise in terms of time, although not location or anything like that. And all of that's obviously of concern. We've had this ongoing disclosure now of anthrax problems, now extending to NBC in New York, and nobody's made a direct link yet but at this stage you have to be concerned about that sort of thing, the possibility. Are they related? We don't know. We don't have enough evidence to be able to pin down that kind of connection. But, on the other hand, these kinds of activities that we saw in Florida, now perhaps in New York, we have to be suspicious.

JIM LEHRER: Do the anthrax things fit the warning that came out yesterday?

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: It's not that precise.

JIM LEHRER: It's not –

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: No. What we do know – we know a number of things. We know that Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaida Organization clearly have already launched an attack that killed thousands of Americans. We know that for years he's been the source of terrorist attacks against the United States overseas, our embassies in East Africa in '98 — the USS Cole last year, probably, in Yemen. We know that he has over the years tried to acquire weapons of mass destruction, both biological and chemical weapons. We know that he's trained people in his camps in Afghanistan, for example; we have copies of the manuals that they've actually used to train people with respect to how to deploy and use these kinds of substances. So, you start to piece it altogether. Again, we have not completed the investigation and maybe it's coincidence, but I must say I'm a skeptic.

JIM LEHRER: A skeptic.

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: I think the only responsible thing for us to do is proceed on the basis that they could be linked. And obviously that means you've got to spend time as well, as we've known now for some time, focusing on other types of attacks besides the one that we experienced on September 11.

JIM LEHRER: These warnings that – the information – the intelligence information that you all got that resulted in this warning – did it — was it of a magnitude that would be comparable to September 11? Is it that kind of thing that you think that we may be facing and other things similar to that in magnitude? I don't mean four airplanes flying into buildings or anything –

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: Sometimes it actually will take that form; it will reference what happened on September 11 to talk about another event. It may not be any more precise than that. But the point is that we've tried to make to everybody – the events of September 11 marked a watershed in American history. It's a time when the U.S. homeland now is open to attack in ways that we've only speculated about before. And we know that there are threats out there. We know that there's is an organization with a lot of well-trained people in it, a lot of financing of cells all over the world. And there's no reason for us to operate on the assumption that that was a one-off event — that's never going to happen again. In fact, we have to assume it will happen again, and that's the only safe way for us to proceed.

JIM LEHRER: Do we know for a fact that there are al-Qaida agents still at large here in the United States?

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: We're doing everything we can to wrap them up as quickly as possible, but I think the only safe assumption is that there may well be others here. There's been speculation, for example, that one of the individuals – one of the crews that they put on the airplanes only had four men on instead of five. We think we may have that individual in custody, but we don't know for sure. It's one of the individuals who were arrested up in Minnesota earlier this year in August. And so it's reasonable to expect – we had some of those hijackers who were involved in the U.S. and been here over a two or three year period of time, traveled back and forth freely. Again, the only safe assumption for us is to proceed on the basis that there are probably other cells here in the U.S. who have planned or trained to carry out various kinds of operations, and we need to do everything we can to wrap them up. That's exactly what we are doing, especially with the FBI and all of the efforts that are underway there now.

JIM LEHRER: Is there any way – I realize that these threats are not specific – but is there any way for you to share with us the range of the possibilities? We know what they've already done. We know now that at least there's a possibility of anthrax. What else is there in-between those two?

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: You know, it varies in terms of locale. Sometimes the threats involve U.S. forces deployed overseas or Americans overseas, or friends and allies of the United States. There had been a pattern of terrorist attacks over the years. Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983 – I mean, there's a long history here to look at. An awful lot of the reporting turns out to be false. Lots of times we disrupt their organizations enough so that we're able to preempt or head off or destroy their ability to move forward on these operations, so a lot of operations have in fact been forestalled. But the scope of it is greater than it's been before, and we know for a fact – especially given the attacks of September 11 – that they have the capacity to inflict great damage on the United States. And so we are in fact at war.

JIM LEHRER: As you know, several of the questions last night for the president at the news conference had to do, okay, we've heard the warning. We've heard about the threats. Now what should the average American do about them now? For instance, in the context of today's news – the new development, the fourth case of confirmed anthrax – there's all kinds of people who say, oh, don't open your mail; be careful when you open your mail. If you see powder somewhere — what would you advise the American people to do specifically about the anthrax threat?

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: If I received a letter that I didn't know where it came from, didn't recognize the sender, it wasn't sort of part of my regular mail flow — bills and those kinds of things – I'd be suspicious of it. I'd want to have it checked.

JIM LEHRER: Everybody should do that?

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: I think anybody who has a reason to be suspicious of a package or a letter that they're receiving ought to contact their local law enforcement officials and it's the responsible thing to do.

JIM LEHRER: What else?

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: Well, I think it's partly a question of – several things that need to happen. We need to improve our – some of our law enforcement procedures, and we've got legislation pending before the Congress, for example; it's important we get that through. Every day that goes by when we don't have all the tools we think we need to find out who these people are and to run them to ground is one more day when we could conceivably suffer the consequences of undue delay. Call your congressman and senator, tell them that's important legislation, you'd like to see it passed.

We need to be more alert just as a society, not take for granted that everything's okay, but when you see something out of the ordinary, you see something unusual, to go ahead and report it to the authorities; let them check it out. We just need to be more sensitive that there are in fact people in our midst who wish us ill and when we see something that doesn't quite fit and doesn't make sense, a candidate at a flight school who only wants to learn how to steer the aircraft, not land it, that's probably something that we ought to be suspicious of.

JIM LEHRER: That's one part of the warning — the alertness, which is to be looking for suspicious activity.

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: And that's of course the warnings especially go to local law enforcement officers and their field officers of the FBI, so that they're on an extra state of alert.

JIM LEHRER: Sure. But much of the questioning last night had to do with what the American should do to protect him- or herself from the possibility of a terrorist attack, which the government of the United States now says is likely in the next several days.

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: We put out as much information as we can. Obviously, if we knew exactly what it was going to be and where it was going to occur and when was going to occur, we'd go forestall that. A lot of what needs to be done needs to be done collectively as a society. As individuals it’s difficult for us to guard against, for example, something like happened in the World Trade Center.

So we need to be cognizant of the fact that we do have to change our way of doing things. We’re probably going to have to be stiffer on immigration and do a better job for example managing the INS. We've got to be more aggressive in terms of how we prepare ourselves to deal with these kinds of contingencies. We've got to be willing to tolerate a procedure that puts a 40-block area around the Capitol Building that we're not going to allow trucks into for the time being. We've got to be able to accommodate Pennsylvania Avenue being closed right here in front of the White House. There's good reason why it's closed. It was closed because of the car bomb threat, and it ought to stay closed. And now we had a big debate in this town about who's going to open up Pennsylvania Avenue. Well, Pennsylvania Avenue ought to stay closed because, as a fact, if somebody were to detonate a truck bomb in front of the White House, it would probably level the White House, and that is unacceptable.

JIM LEHRER: What about the mixed messages problem? We had a couple of days ago the Centers for Disease Control said to the average American don't worry about anthrax and don't stockpile antibiotics, don't go get a gas mask or whatever. Within an hour the State Department issued an order to every embassy, every U.S. embassy in the world, to stockpile antibiotics, and then we find out every member of Congress has a gas mask.

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: Well, I'm not sure I know where the gas mask –

JIM LEHRER: No, no, no. This is not related – not related – but they've been given gas masks in the past. Would you have some sympathy for the guy –


JIM LEHRER: — in – you know — in Wyoming, who's saying what’s going on here?

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: That's right. It's bound to be a confusing time for people. We try to do everything we can to have one coherent message out there. We have different departments and agencies with different responsibilities. The State Department clearly has to worry about embassies overseas. The threat traditionally has been greater for our embassies overseas than it has been here at home. Now that may have changed as of September 11, but an awful lot of the terrorist attacks that have occurred in the past have been aimed at embassies because they're more vulnerable. It's out there. They're a symbol of America in East Africa, for example, and a relatively easy target. So they've got obligations and responsibilities to do that.

By the same token, I think what the CDC has tried to do and needs to do is we need to keep all of this in perspective in terms of the kind of problem we're having to deal with here. And the terrorist wins if they shut down the society, just as much as they would win if they launched another major attack. So we're looking for balance and reasonableness. And I know it's difficult — I've talked to my own family – what should they be worried about, how should they operate? We find ourselves under a much higher level of security now than ever before. It's necessary, and we have to adapt to that but the – again, all I can ask for people is to use their good judgment – their good sense — work together and – but be alert.

JIM LEHRER: There was a mixed message question last night, in fact, to the president about you. The question goes like this: Hey, you tell us to go about our business and yet the Vice President of the United States is in a secure location and out of public sight for four days. Does that bother you?

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: No, I think it's a reasonable precaution. It's something that we have dealt with in the past by, for example, when there was a State of the Union speech – the president, the vice president, the speaker, the president pro-tem of the Senate all in the Capitol — we always had one cabinet member who was in the line of succession absent. But now we've reached the point where, especially with Washington targeted as it was on September 11, with the possibility that the White House or the Capitol or other facilities here could be targeted in a terrorist attack – that generally it's not a good practice for the president and I to spend a lot of time together.

We had already adopted before September 11 a practice that we never flew together; after the campaign we stopped that. I've never been on Air Force One since he was sworn in as president. Now we also now generally avoid large public gatherings here in Washington, the two of us together; that becomes an enticing target, if you will, for the terrorists, and that it's important from the standpoint of our responsibility to maintain the continuity of government to always see to it that nobody – no adversary or enemy would have the capacity of, in effect, decapitating the federal government by taking out the president and the vice president and other senior management, senior leadership. So frequently we will separate. Now, I'm here this afternoon. The president is headed for Camp David. He'll be up there this weekend; I'll be in Washington. That's a fairly easy one to work out. Next week he'll be traveling to the Far East and I'll be in Washington. It doesn't mean that we never get together.


VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: And when I'm gone, I'm very much in touch, as he is. Tomorrow we'll have a National Security Council meeting. I'll be in the Sit. Room with the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense. The president will be out at Camp David. We'll be all tied together with video conferencing. We have that capacity; there's no reason not to use it, but it's just prudence, if you will, at this stage for us, and minimize the extent to which we're out traveling around, attending events, or always in the same building.

JIM LEHRER: Any sympathy for somebody who would say, hey, wait a minute, the government cannot protect the President of the United States and the Vice President of the United States at the same time, and the vice president has to go someplace, to a hiding place somewhere?

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: Well, we have secure facilities that have been developed over the years for good and sufficient reasons; they come in handy now at a time like this. But the reality is, Jim, that we lost more people in the Pentagon on September 11 than we had killed in action in the Gulf War, and it happened right here in Washington D.C., in the Pentagon, and the home, the central command post of our Department of Defense.

We are vulnerable as a society to people who want to commit suicide during the course of trying to launch that kind of terrorist attack, and the prudent thing for us to do is to take note of that and conduct ourselves accordingly, so that means that the president and I don't spend as much time together as we did in the past. We're in touch all the time; we talk all the time. We did have an NSC meeting together this morning where we were together, so it's not an absolute prohibition; it's just – we'll be pretty fluid and flexible and from time to time we find it necessary to separate. And I think that's still a wise thing to do.

JIM LEHRER: Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network. I was struck and others were too that within hours after the attacks on September 11 there were people in the government, officials of the government coming on television programs like ours and saying, oh, yeah, that's Osama bin Laden; he has a network – a terrorist network called al-Qaida – he's got thousands of people all over the world in fifty or sixty countries; they all hate the United States, and are dedicated to our destruction. The question is still hanging out there: Why in the world didn't we do something about it before September 11?

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: Well, I think the Clinton administration tried; they weren't successful obviously. But there had been some efforts previously. To that we saw the cruise missile attack after the bombing of the – the embassies in East Africa a few years ago, but clearly they never were successful in prosecuting this to the point where they eliminated Osama bin Laden and his organization. We're going to change that.

JIM LEHRER: But do you agree it was kind of common knowledge that this guy was there and he had these people all over the world and all that – and nothing was happening to try to get rid – I don't mean just get Osama bin Laden but his whole network all over the world, fifty, sixty countries –

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: Again, it's a question of priorities, I suppose. I can't — I wasn't here during those years in terms of when those decisions were made with respect to Osama bin Laden and how aggressively to go after him. It's also fair to say that up till that time, up till September 11, there had never been attack by Osama bin Laden — as far as we know – that had cost thousands of American lives here at home. So I'm not trying to criticize the prior administration.


VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: The fact that he's been there, that he's been a terrorist engaged in terrorist activities, that he has, in fact, cost us lives overseas — all of that was known for some considerable period of time.

JIM LEHRER: Based on all your experience in government and your knowledge that you have, that you got before when you were in government and you've had since you've been Vice President of the United States, were you personally surprised that something like that could happen on September 11?

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: I was. I think, like everybody, I — when I was first saw – was told that a plane had struck the World Trade Center and turned on the television – sat and watched for a few minutes and saw the second plane hit. And it was when the second plane hit that it really registered this is a terrorist attack; it's got to be – it's not an accident – it's a coordinated attack. But I think everybody was surprised by it. I mean, I don't find that unusual at all.

JIM LEHRER: Was it because we had a kind of sense of invulnerability in our country that we're the most powerful country in the world and nobody would ever attack us on our home ground – did we all kind of collectively think that, Mr. Vice President?

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: I think we did. I think we — we had 150 years of experience. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in World War II, it was a territory then, it wasn't a state. But the fact is I thought, like most Americans, that we were relatively invulnerable. There was thing out here called terrorism, and asymmetric warfare and so forth that I've looked at, spoke about, others had as well, too. But a war was something that took place overseas, across the ocean. We might send 500,000 troops to the Gulf to liberate Kuwait or to defend Europe or Korea or Vietnam or conduct operations in Somalia or elsewhere. But we were behind our oceans, behind the Pacific and the Atlantic, and there wasn't really anybody who threatened us, other than the Cold War, and there we dealt with that through deterrence and arms controls treaties and so forth. War had become so horrific when we thought about it in terms of nuclear terms that it didn't seem like it was a very realistic prospect.
Yet they say the Soviet Union was manufacturing 4,500 tons of anthrax annually. To what end? Even if they got the first lick in, wouldn't the U.S. respond by spending trillions of dollars to avenge the act?
Now we're faced with a very different situation where we have people who don't have anything to defend. I mean you talk about trying to deter Osama bin Laden – how? What is it that he cares about, other than his own life? He doesn't have any territory to defend. So deterrence doesn't work in a traditional sense. He is able to smuggle material, people, weapons into the United States, (then why couldn't we smuggle our people and weapons into Somalia or Afghanistan?) or simply send people in to use our own systems, turn our own systems against us, our airliners against our World Trade Center — and do enormous damage if you can get a few people who are willing to commit suicide during the course of that enterprise. (Make that 19 simultaneous young male suicides.)

So it's a very different kind of conflict in the 21st century than what we got used to dealing with in the 20th century. And we all have to change, adjust and adapt to that. I think we've got to make the U.S. a harder target; it's got to be tougher to come after us and to attack us here at home than it's ever been before. That's Tom Ridge's job; he's up and running — and working very aggressively on that. It means we've got to aggressively go after terrorists overseas, because in the end the best defense is a good offense. And that's exactly what we're doing in Afghanistan going after not only Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida – his network that's headquartered there — but also the country, the government, in effect, in this case the Taliban that hosted and provided the sustenance and support for him.

JIM LEHRER: Thus far, has the military action in Afghanistan against Osama bin Laden's network and the Taliban, has it had a measurable effect, do you think, in terms of their ability to function both as a terrorist network and a supporting of a terrorist network?

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: I think it has. I think the reports we're getting back show that we're clearly having a significant impact on the Taliban. There are reports now of defections, of areas of Afghanistan that are pulling away from the central Taliban government. We've clearly done significant damage to Taliban military capabilities – what aircraft they had — and the airfields have all been shut down, that sort of thing. We have done a lot of damage to training camps that Osama bin Laden operated. They probably were empty or didn't have very many people in them at the time that we hit them, but he won't be able to use them again for the purposes of training terrorists from around the world.

We'll continue aggressively, for example, on the financial front. I think we've had a significant impact there. We've got over $40 million now that we've been able to freeze in terms of assets. I think in the intelligence area our work as well with the – the tribes, the Taliban opposition, if you will, the Northern Alliance and some of the other groups inside Afghanistan all possess great potential, both in terms of the damage they can do to the Taliban but also the damage they can do to Osama bin Laden, because he, in effect, has found a sanctuary with the Taliban in Afghanistan, and has a number of fighters that he's contributed to the Taliban.

In another sense – and a phrase that I thought the other day was very descriptive, what we had in Afghanistan isn't state-supported terrorism – we had a terrorist-supported state, a terrorist who came in – Osama bin Laden – with lots of money, maybe $100 million to the Taliban directly, with training, with weapons, with troops to supplement their own forces with, in effect took over, if you will, a big part of Afghanistan. So everything we do to take down that organization, to reduce their capability to provide him sanctuary, weakens him, makes him more vulnerable, and I think ultimately will lead to his demise.
(When Osama bin Laden came into Afghanistan he wasn't a terrorist, he was a freedom fighter, working against the Russians with the United State's blessing and support.)
JIM LEHRER: Help me on the decision-making process that's going on now within the government. The president made the decision on Friday to launch the air strikes. Was that a decision that went like, all right, Secretary Rumsfeld and the military, you go do air strikes, and then come back and tell us what’s happening every day, or whatever, or is a new decision made every day by the president – okay, let’s continue another day. How is that working?
(Bush announces air strikes on television Saturday October 7)
VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: We had the events of September 11, and we began almost immediately to respond. Diplomatically, you can see the efforts almost immediately – as people began to line up and working through State, they worked through diplomatic strategy – the president spent a lot of time on it himself, calling people, meeting with foreign leaders and so forth, so that piece was up and running.

He had the intelligence piece of it up and running fairly quickly. Afghanistan is a country we know a fair amount about from an intelligence perspective; we’ve got a lot of people who spent time there back in the ’80′s. So there is a residue of capability there as well, too. So that was up and running fairly early on, although we don’t talk about a lot of the details. The financial efforts were cranked up through the Treasury Department, again, the president directing each of these.

The military takes longer because you have got to deploy forces and we didn’t have that many forces immediately on the scene, but we knew military action was likely to be required, so early on the president directed the secretary to begin deploying forces to the region. We got General Franks up, who’s the CINC – the commander in chief who runs that part of the work force, who in and met with the president and myself and a few others and began to develop plans, what kinds of activities — to look at Afghanistan as a target, figure out what you’d want to do and how you’d want to do it. We began to coordinate between the intel people and the military people in terms of selecting targets and that sort of thing.

The actual onset of military actions, the time set by the president – he makes those decisions — he’d signed off on the campaign plan; they’d reviewed their targeting strategy with him and what they were going to go after and when they were going to go after it. All that’s personally signed up to by the president and then they’ll take that campaign and go execute it. But staying in very close. He receives reports at least twice of a day on the status of those activities, and the thing to emphasize is the campaign is all of this. It is not just military. A lot of people said the war didn’t start till you started bombing Afghanistan. No, it started back here on about September 12.

JIM LEHRER: But did he sign off on a master plan, in other words, go, this phase one, the bombing, and there’s another phase, which has been talked about, not in specific terms but there’s going to be — there is probably going to be, if it hasn’t already begun – some stuff on the ground here and there. Was it all of a piece or does he say, here’s phase one, the bombing – and I will tell you when we start phase two, whatever? What’s the process?

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: Well, the capabilities are all pretty much signed up to in advance. I mean, you know you’re going to have an intelligence piece of it; you know you’re going to have a military piece that’s probably going to involve air, maybe some special ops, so-called boots on the ground, et cetera. But the pieces are interrelated in the sense of what you do, for example, with respect to your intelligence collection may inform your targeting. In turn, if you go after targeting and hit your targets, how they move and shift, what the opposition is doing on the ground can generate new targets, so there’s a process — it’s a dynamic process. And it’s not as though you sit down on day one and you know what you’re going to be doing on day thirty-one.


VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: But you know you’re going to work these tracks and they are interrelated and what pops up over here will have an effect here, and you take advantage of your opportunities.

JIM LEHRER: I think what I’m getting at is who’s making those decisions — is the president making decisions every day, every two days on –


JIM LEHRER: Every day. That involve the specifics of what we do?

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: Every day he’s involved in – yeah — I’d say just about every day signing up to various pieces of it, authorizing various activities, sometimes diplomatic, send General Powell out to Pakistan and India, Rumsfeld off to the Gulf states. That’s diplomacy and military overlay. Signs up to a deployment order in terms of the following forces are authorized — the secretary is authorized to deploy those to the region and turn them over to the sync. In terms of the strike packages and so forth he personally has signed off on the overall approach on what the priorities ought to be and they come in and brief and say, you know, this is what we went after, we went after 31 targets; we’re confident we’ve destroyed 17 of those – partial damage to these others, we’ll go back and restrike those. He gets a daily assessment from the secretary as to how those operations are going.

JIM LEHRER: How involved have you been in all of this?

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: I’ve been very involved; I’ve been in virtually all of those meetings, a regular participant in not only NSC meetings but what we call principals meeting – principals is everybody but the president. It’s all your senior NSC decision-makers. Lots of times we’ll have a pre-meeting, if you will, and tee up issues, work issues before we’re ready to take something to him for a decision. Those meetings, we always have an NSC meeting just about every morning and a principals meeting just about every evening at the end of the day to wrap things up, lots of meetings in-between. Participation on my part with the president when he meets with a lot of foreign leaders that come in – other cases I have my own private separate meetings with him. I hosted lunch in this room the other day, for example, with the emir of Qatar, when he was in town. He’s an old friend and involved in this area and we’ve got forces based in Qatar.

JIM LEHRER: One of the questions that came up when you were in your secure location was “Where’s Cheney? Is Cheney involved in this?” When you were in your secure location, how did you involve yourself in this process?

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: A day there was just about a day here in the sense that I’d begin every day with my intelligence briefs, my CIA briefer, sometimes a team would come to that location and give me the same brief I got every day at the residence here before I come in and that he gets every morning in the Oval Office. And then I’d tee up a session with my chief of staff, who was with me at this location, and he’d been working with the deputies’ committees – he’s a member of that – and then we’d go to the videoconference on the NSC sessions.

JIM LEHRER: What's that like?

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: You've got a TV set — a big screen that’s divided up into at least four segments so you've got State, Justice, CIA, Defense tied in over at the Situation Room at the White House and from my secure location, and it’s all real-time video – good, high quality video – where you have a conversation; the only difference is the participants aren't necessarily all around the same table; that’s the way we oftentimes do the evening meeting at 6 o'clock is through these – the secure video conference hookup, and so then a series of meetings like that during the day. The other day George Robertson was in town; the NATO Secretary-General, old friend; I had a session with him; he was in the Sit Room and I was at the secure location; we were hooked up by videoconference. That was right after he sat in the Oval Office and talked to the president. So the communication is working out.

JIM LEHRER: The reason, of course, this is relevant -as you know, Mr. Vice President, during the presidential campaign even then-Governor Bush’s own supporters said, well, the governor does not have that much experience in defense, national security area, but don't worry about it, Cheney is going to be there right by his side the whole time and a lot of people – looked around and you weren't there – should we not be concerned?

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: I was there, but via telephone and video conferencing. But the president doesn't need me. He has got a great team of advisers there; he has old pros like Rumsfeld and Powell; Condi Rice has been around a good deal on the NSC staff and on the Joint staff. I mean it's a skilled crew and lots of times – you know Don may be off in the Gulf or Uzbekistan and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz sits in. If Colin is off traveling to Pakistan and India next week; he’ll be represented at the table by Rich Armitage, his deputy. So it's a good team all the way around. Steve Hadley, for example, the deputy NSC adviser, is a skilled a hand as you're going to find anyplace, and most of these people know more than I do about this stuff anyway, so my role is to function as an adviser, somebody who's been through some of these things before. But I'm just one more voice at the table and whether I am there or not there, he's still very, very ably served by the people around him. But I am there through the wonders of modern telecommunications.

JIM LEHRER: Finally, to return to the alert, is it going to be – is there going to come a time when it will be over, in other words like the air raid warnings in World War II – an all clear will be sounded and this particular alert that’s in effect now as you and I are speaking?

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: It's possible for individual short-term pieces, but I'm reluctant to say to the country or to the American people that a week from now or a month from now you're going to be able to totally relax, no more problems, because I think it's going to take a long time. I think we're going to have to get a lot tougher in terms of how we deal with some of these problems in terms of guaranteeing that we are protected here at home; we're going to have to achieve success overseas, both against the terrorists themselves as well as the states that support terrorists, and I simply can't say to everybody, you know, this is a war like the Gulf War, it'll be over as soon as we run Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, and then they boys come home we'll have a great parade and everything will be hunky dory again. No, this is going to last for a long time. We are vulnerable as a society to these people who wish us ill and are willing to die in the effort, and so we're all going to have to make some changes and possibly accept some limitations we'd rather not accept, but it's necessary unfortunately in the time we live in.

JIM LEHRER: But on this specific alert, it’s very unlikely that on, say, Monday morning, Tuesday morning, a week from Thursday, the FBI will say, the threat, this immediate threat has lessened, or anything – there will be no further communication –

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: It's possible; it's possible that we’ll take that extra step. It’s possible for example that we may be able to — because there are ongoing efforts here at home as well – lots of times to wrap up the people we think are in fact planning these kinds of activities that happened before. We headed off the bombing of LA Airport here a couple of years ago, the so-called millennial attacks. So there are a number of success stories out there, and if we’re successful in dealing with what we believe was the threat, then I think that will become public at the right time.

JIM LEHRER: Mr. Vice President, thank you very much.


F/O Timothy Martins (American Eagle)

August 15, 2010, StevenWarRan Backstage'Mature Beyond His Years', by Jan W. Steenblik, Technical Editor,

Mature Beyond His Years, by Jan W. Steenblik, Technical Editor

F/O Timothy Martins (American Eagle) personifies pilot professionalism and living by the ALPA Code of Ethics

Some men and women grace their world with a maturity uncommon for their age. One such is F/O Timothy Martins (American Eagle), a role model for the ALPA Code of Ethics.

"I met Tim 4 years ago on the Saab in DFW at Eagle," says F/O Ray Nicoll (Delta). "He came to me fresh off IOE at the age of 21. When he came into the cockpit, he looked me straight in the eye and shook my hand as he introduced himself to me."

The ALPA Code of Ethics declares, in part, that "[an airline pilot] will realize that he represents the airline to all who meet him, and will at all times keep his personal appearance and conduct above reproach."

"His shoes were shined and his uniform and personal appearance were sharp," Nicoll continues. "He looked like a real professional pilot. There was something about the way he carried himself that made him stand out from the other pilots.

"Tim is always at work early with a smile on his face," Nicoll adds. "The way he looks through the paperwork and weather, you would think that he has been a pilot his whole life. He is a real treat to work with. Throughout the years that I've known him, he never ceases to amaze me."

Falcons and Eagle(s)

Martins got an early start on his path to the cockpit.

"When I was 6 or 7 years old," he recalls, "my family went on vacation. We flew from Islip to Miami on a B-727. I got to see the cockpit as we boarded, and I thought, 'This looks pretty cool. This is what I want to do when I grow up.'"

At the age of 16, Martins started flying in September 2001—an inauspicious month, to be sure—as a freshman in the Dowling College School of Aviation, located at Brookhaven Airport on Long Island, N.Y. He graduated 3 years later, all of 19 years old, with a commercial certificate and multiengine, instrument, CFII, and single-engine sea ratings.

"I was in one of the last classes at Atlantic Coast Airlines," Martins recalls, "but I was furloughed after 8 months, so I joined the New Jersey Air National Guard." He flies F-16s as a member of the 177th Fighter Wing, which is based in Atlantic City, N.J.; F-15s might be next.

In August 2006, Martins joined EGL, flying as a Saab 340 copilot based at LAX. Since 2007, he's flown Embraer 135/145s from New York's JFK and LGA.

Community service and ALPA volunteerism

The ALPA Code of Ethics asserts that an airline pilot “will be a good citizen of his country, state, and community, taking an active part in their affairs….”

Martins lives up to that part of the Code in multiple ways.

In addition to flying for EGL, Martins, carrying on a family tradition, works as a firefighter and paramedic for New York City. “It’s an easy second job to hold,” he explains, “because I can work a flexible schedule that fits in with my flying.” Martins is a member of Ladder Company Two, located in midtown Manhattan.

"Tim is the type of guy who would give you the shirt off his back if you need it," Nicoll points out. "He is always helping guys at work with things."

In 2007, Martins took the ALPA training, hosted by the ExpressJet Master Executive Council in Houston, to become a volunteer serving in the Association's Critical Incident Response Program (CIRP). He also is cross-trained in safety and accident investigation, having completed the ALPA Basic Safety School and the Accident Investigation Course.

With that background, he was well prepared to provide CIRP support for the ALPA accident investigators who participated in the field investigation of the Colgan Air Flight 3407 crash near Buffalo, N.Y., in February 2009. Martins spent 10 days at the Colgan field investigation.

Martins also provides CIRP support to EGL pilots when they encounter situations that might seem minor when compared to working on the field investigation of a major accident, but are stressful nonetheless—"a rough time at home, going through a divorce, experiencing smoke in the cockpit, stuff like that," Martins explains. "I give 'em a call and ask how they're doing."

As if his days aren't full enough, Martins also volunteers in the food pantry at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Nesconset, N.Y., down the street from where he lives, and has helped build houses through the Habitat for Humanity program.

"I try to give back to my community," he says. "It's the way I was raised."

A few years ago, during EGL's big hiring push, Martins served as a volunteer in the EGL MEC's new-hire mentor program. Some of the new hires he guided through their first year on the airline had as few as 500 hours total flight time, and were understandably overwhelmed by not only flying larger airplanes but also learning the myriad details—such as using the airline's computerized bidding system—that more senior pilots had long since incorporated into their lives on the line.

Cockpit professional

Capt. Dave Michaud (EGL) describes Martins as “lots of fun to fly with—he’s very personable, but that doesn't interfere with his professionalism. He’s not only flying the airplane, he’s having fun doing the job, and I think that takes a special talent. He has a great ability to get along with anyone—flight attendants, dispatchers, maintenance, everyone he comes into contact with.

"His knowledge of the airplane probably exceeds my own," Michaud adds. "Tim does everything above and beyond the requirements of the job.

"He does all the procedures by the book, following SOPS, and always uses the checklists. It makes it easier to do the job right, the way we're supposed to do it.

"It's the little things, like always saying, 'My airplane' or 'your airplane' when we transfer control, so there's no doubt about who's flying the airplane."

"Tim, to me, shows the professionalism that every pilot should show," Nicoll says. "He truly cares about his passengers and crew." And that brings us back to the very first declaration in the ALPA Code of Ethics: "An Air Line Pilot will keep uppermost in his mind that the safety, comfort, and well-being of the passengers who entrust their lives to him are his first and greatest responsibility."

Nicoll sums up Martins thusly: "He is what ALPA stands for. Tim is ALPA."

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Steven Jay Hatfill, 2003

May/June 2003, SEED Magazine, The Lesson of Steven Hatfill, by Simon Cooper,

October 2003 (posted 9/15/03) Vanity Fair, pp. 180-200, The Message in the Anthrax, by Don Foster,

September 14, 2003, Washington Post, The Pursuit of Steven Hatfill, by Marilyn W. Thompson,

September 15, 2003, Washington Post, Reporter Interview on Steven Hatfill Article, by Marilyn W. Thompson,


May/June 2003, SEED Magazine, The Lesson of Steven Hatfill, by Simon Cooper,
Reposted December 29, 2005, Luigi Warren Blogspot, "Just some asshole who has too much to say for himself",
The most lethal forms of life on Earth are contained inside a small, innocuous-looking suite of laboratories at the heart of the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases complex at Fort Detrick, Maryland. On September 18, 1997, microbiologist Steven Jay Hatfill walked through the gates of the facility which is known by the acronym USAMRIID, to begin work in the Virology Division.

USAMRIID grew from the ashes of an aggressive biowarfare research program run by the US until President Nixon shut it down in 1969. Afterward, the base converted to defense work. USAMRIID is home to a vast collection of nightmare pathogens and organisms—Lassa fever, monkey pox, plague, and various strains of anthrax, including the new AMES strain identified by the army in 1980. The facility is also home to the Ebola and Marburg viruses, the most feared and respected of all USAMRIID's microscopic horrors. There are no cures and no vaccines for these viruses, whose victims bleed to death. In fact many microbiologists refuse to work with Ebola and Marburg because they are simply too dangerous. At USAMRIID, Ebola and Marburg are imprisoned in a Level Four biosafety environment, a super-secure suite of laboratories accessed through a series of airlocks, security doors, coded entry panels, and decontamination showers. In Level Four—the heart of USAMRIID—scientists wear spacesuits.

Hatfill was approved to begin work at USAMRIID after a two-year sojourn as a federally funded Fellow with the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). His job was to study filoviruses, the family to which Ebola and Marburg belong. Within a month, he was authorized to access the Level Four pathogens, as well as the Level Three bugs such as anthrax and plague.

Hatfill had not been hired as an official employee of USAMRIID—which would have required a mandatory national agency security check—but as a Special Volunteer, effectively borrowed from the NICHD. His evaluation consisted of an academic review of his research, which prima facie looked both innovative and impressive. On September 2, 1997, after his resume and credentials were reviewed by the National Research Council, Hatfill received a letter from Arthur S. Levine, scientific director of the NICHD, confirming his appointment as a National Institutes of Health adjunct scientist, sponsored and paid for by USAMRIID. Now cleared to begin work at Fort Detrick, Hatfill's resume went into an NICHD filing cabinet along with the resumes of hundreds of other scientists past and present.

It is almost certain that many of the resumes in those cabinets had been polished to present the best possible image of their owners. There's nothing unusual about that. All resumes land on the desks of personnel departments with a bit of top-spin. But there's a world of difference between a lick of polish and what was lurking in Hatfill's resume.

Between 1995 and 1999, Hatfill prepared and submitted around six versions of his resume for various positions and research grants. Each resume was tailored to suit the audience it was intended for, yet together they painted a consistent portrait. Here, said the resumes, is a successful, brave, and daring man. Here is a soldier, a scientist, and a leader—an innovator with a hint of maverick, a dash of the establishment, and a splash of joie de vivre. But the resumes were not as they seemed; they were documents intended to deceive. Though they had been constructed around a skeleton of truth, they were clothed in a carefully woven concoction of lies, half-truths, and exaggerations. Hatfill's resumes, his ticket into the NICHD and later, USAMRIID's Level Four biocontainment labs, were misrepresentations of the man and his achievements. And yet, it appears these lies were not uncovered until Hatfill had already passed through some of America's most sensitive and dangerous military and biological facilities.


The atrocity of September 11, 2001, had barely sunk into the national consciousness when another attack was unleashed. A week after more than 3,000 people died in the three plane attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, three letters were deposited into a mailbox in Trenton, New Jersey. The letters, addressed to The New York Post, NBC, and The National Enquirer all contained powdered anthrax.

On October 2, Robert Stevens, a photo editor at the Enquirer building, died of inhalation anthrax. His was to be the first of five anthrax deaths all linked to a series of letters sent in the wake of 9/11. Two more letters containing anthrax were posted on October 9, addressed to Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy.

The FBI launched a massive investigation out of its Washington, DC headquarters. One of the first tasks was to analyze the anthrax. Genetic tests revealed that all the letters contained the same AMES strain of anthrax and that at least one sample was weaponized, possibly using a process similar to one developed at Fort Detrick. On January 29, 2002, the FBI wrote to the American Society of Microbiology asking for its membership list The FBI had concluded the motivation for the anthrax attacks was criminal and not ideological. Suddenly eyes turned away from Islam terrorists abroad and toward the homefront.

According to the FBI, the perpetrator had "the technical knowledge and/or expertise to produce a highly refined and deadly product." The attacker, the Bureau suggested, had worked at USAMRIID sometime in the past, might have worked as a CIA contractor, and could have a connection to the UN's weapons inspectors. The attacker was probably middle-aged and might be described as stand-offish, likely preferring to "work in isolation as opposed to a group/team setting."

In February White House spokesperson Ad (sic...Ari) Fleischer revealed that the FBI had "several suspects" before re-emphasizing: "All indications are that the source of the anthrax is domestic."

Actually, there were some 30 individuals being scrutinized, but one name was at the top of the list, thanks to a tip about a former USAMRIID researcher. Media and Internet chatter later reported that this researcher had been heard bragging about using anthrax in the former Rhodesia.

There was no arrest, but by March, a name had been leaked. The name belonged to a man who had worked for Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), a DC-based contractor for both the Pentagon and the CIA. Before that, he'd been a researcher at USAMR1ID.

On June 25, Hatfill signed a consent form allowing the FBI to search his apartment without a warrant. Minutes after he signed, television camera crews and reporters began to swarm into the street outside his home, which was close to the gates of Fort Detrick. Hatfill challenged an FBI agent about the remarkably rapid appearance of the press. "How the hell did they know to get here so fast?" "Sorry," the agent told him. "Orders from above."

On July 2, The New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof named a "Mr. Z" as a "biodefense insider who intrigued investigators," and he criticized the FBI for not pursuing "Mr. Z" more aggressively. The details of Kristof's Mr. Z appeared to match the FBI's profiles, as well as what was known of Hatfill.

Indeed, there were remarkable similarities between Hatfill and the suspect described in FBI profiles. Hatfill had worked at USAMRIID researching exotic pathogens; he had later worked for a company that did CIA contract work (including a study on a hypothetical anthrax mail attack); and he had trained as a UN weapons inspector.

In the weeks and months that followed, Hatfill's life was torn apart by both the FBI and the media, yet no charges were laid. Then on August 22, live on national television, Attorney General John Ashcroft named Hatfill as a "person of interest." The pressure on Hatfill became intense. Twice the scientist gave anguished news conferences proclaiming his innocence. Near tears at times, he addressed the television cameras stating: "I want to look my fellow Americans in the eye and declare to them, 'I am not the anthrax killer.' My life is being destroyed by arrogant government bureaucrats who are peddling groundless innuendo and half information." Hatfill lashed out at Ashcroft: "In my view, he has broken the ninth commandment: thou shalt not bear false witness."

Hatfill's choice of commandment was interesting. Thou shalt not bear false witness. Thou shalt not lie.


Hatfill had made it. He had survived being bawled at by drill sergeants, being marched for miles and miles in full combat gear, the endless inspections, drills, and exercises. He'd been pushed out of planes, pulled up through and over every conceivable type of obstacle, man-made and natural. Finally, he'd made it to Fort Bragg, home of US Special Forces. It was the beginning of a grueling year-long training program; those who succeeded would become members of one of the world's finest, toughest fighting units. As Hatfill passed through the gates of Fort Bragg, he must have been feeling a multitude of emotions: excitement, apprehension, pride, and maybe, a small but healthy dash of fear. He was 22 years old.

Hatfill was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on October 4, 1953, and attended Mattoon Senior High School in Illinois. He showed a flair for science, which he carried through to college, studying biology at Southwestern University in Winfield, Kansas. Partway through his degree, Hatfill halted his studies to work as a 'health assistant' with Methodist missionary Glenn Eschtruth at a mission Eschtruth had operated in Zaire since 1960. Through Eschtruth, Hatfill met the woman who was to become his future wife, Eschtruth's daughter, Caroline Ruth.

After spending eight months in Zaire, Hatfill returned to Kansas and completed his degree. On June 20, 1975, at the age of 21, Hatfill enlisted in the US Army with his sights set high; he wanted to join the Special Forces. A few weeks later, Private Hatfill graduated with his BA from Southwestern, but he was already a long way from Kansas, on the road toward his Special Forces goal. Over the next year, Hatfill would complete a series of training courses that took him from Airborne school in Fort Benning, Georgia, to West Germany and back. In the spring of 1976, Hatfill finally made it to Fort Bragg and began the Special Forces Qualification Course, a grueling five-stage selection process that takes at least a year to complete.

But on July 2, 1976, just a few weeks after starting at Fort Bragg, and just over a year after enlisting in the army, Hatfill was discharged from active duty. He spent the rest of his service period languishing, unused by the Army National Guard.

In Hatfill's army records there is little to see; under "Medals and Citations" there is no Good Conduct Medal. There are no Special Forces tabs that he would automatically have been awarded had he completed the Special Forces course. Without completing that course he could never have "served with the US Army Special Forces" as he later would proudly claim on the resume he submitted to USAMRIID in 1997, which includes the following entry:

6/75—6/77 United States Army.
7th Special Forces Group, JFK Center for Special Warfare.

Further down the resume under the heading “Practical Experience” is the entry:

USMC [United States Marine Corps] Officer Candidate Program... served with US Army Special Forces after college graduation where my commanding officer was Col. Charles Beckworth (sic),
who was later to lead the abortive hostage rescue mission into Iraq (sic).

Hatfill would lie about his military experience throughout his entire life, creating ever more elaborate accounts as time progressed. In an interview with Richard Preston, author of the internationally acclaimed The Hot Zone, Hatfill, sitting in his office at USAMRIID, claimed not only an army career spanning two decades, but also to have been a captain in the Special Forces.

Two months after his 1976 separation from Fort Bragg, Hatfill married 19-year-old Caroline Rush Eschtruth at the United Methodist Church in Pinnebog, Michigan. It was not to be a happy or a long union. In April 1977, Caroline's father was killed at his mission during fighting between Zairian and Angolan troops. His death devastated Caroline. Hatfill too was affected deeply and in later years would often bitterly recount his father-in-law's death.

Following his army discharge, Hatfill returned to his interest in science and, in particular, medicine. In August 1977, Hatfill gained qualification as a medical laboratory technician from the American Society of Clinical Pathology but decided he wanted to be a doctor. By this time, his marriage was under strain, and soon after, Hatfill left the United States.


The war was over—unofficially at least. After a decade and a half of fighting and the loss of more than 40,000 lives, Rhodesia's civil war was winding down. A ceasefire had been declared. Shops and restaurants began to reopen. People scattered by the conflict picked their way home; foreigners and foreign money returned to the country, which, within a year, would be renamed Zimbabwe.

March is considered the best month in southern Africa. The rains abate and the baking heat of the African summer is still only a distant threat. Temperatures hover around a delightful 75 degrees. It is pristine weather. Weather fit for new beginnings. In March 1979, at the Godfrey Huggins School of Medicine at the University of Rhodesia, students were preparing to enroll for their first year's study. Their first true year of peace. The university's main hall was crowded with tables, in front of which dozens of students queued to register. As they stood in line chatting, a loud voice caught their ears, a voice that seemed to defy the hubbub of the hall, cutting through the hundreds of other voices with a forceful, unpleasant tone. Turning to see who the voice belonged to, a student in the line for the medical school saw its source was a short, stocky man with dark hair, a moustache, and dark, dark eyes; the man was corralling various groups of students, telling them where to go and what to do. His swagger and confidence struck the student. He must be a senior professor, or at least a lecturer, he thought.

"Who's that shouting the odds?" he asked the student next to him. "He's an American. Don't pay any attention to him," came the reply.

"Is he a professor?"

There was a snort of laughter. "God no. Just some asshole who has too much to say for himself."

Steven Hatfill would often incite this type of reaction at Godfrey Huggins, where he had enrolled a year earlier. Caroline, who had filed for divorce, remained in the US. Two months into his studies, their divorce came through, marking a year that would only get worse; Hatfill failed the first university barrier exam and was forced to repeat a year.

Many of Hatfill's freshman class were conscripted war veterans, released early from the armed forces to start their medical training on the proviso they remained available for call-up. There were still pockets of sporadic violence in Rhodesia and, on weekends and vacations, some class members would rejoin their units and go on active duty. A few months after the start of Hatfill's second try at first-year medical school, a small group of undergraduates were unwinding in a campus bar after a weekend call-up. The beer was cold and cheap, the company good and reassuring. Many were recounting experiences of their last missions—a kind of barroom therapy to smooth out the jitters and fatigue of a conflict that had gone on far too long. As they talked, Hatfill walked into the bar. Immediately, a few in the group grew quiet. Hatfill wandered over to the edge of the conversation. No one acknowledged his presence. Most avoided his gaze. One of the students in the bar recalls what happened next. He, like most of Hatfill's classmates interviewed for this investigation, has asked for his name to be withheld. (Such has been the fallout of Hatfill's "person of interest" status that former classmates have been placed under suspicion by colleagues and employers merely because they happened to go to school with him.) "We were fairly jovial, but then Steve walked into the bar. He butted in with a story of an experience he said he'd had as a pilot in Vietnam. The conversation stopped dead. A few of the guys even walked out. Everybody turned toward him. There was a real sense of animosity— some people were bristling." "I did quick mathematics and said, 'There's no way, Steve. The Vietnam War ended in '74 and the Americans pulled out in '72. There's no way you could have been there, When did you start your training—when you were 16?'" There were a couple of snickers from the group. Hatfill said nothing, turned on his heel, and left.

A classmate of Hatfill's remembers a clever, energetic man hampered by an apparently overwhelming desire to impress at any cost. "That was the thing about Steve. He was an extraordinary guy and very, very bright. But he was also a real Walter Mitty kind of character, and he would tell these enormous, awful lies. He once told me his wife had died in the Congo." "And when he told a lie like that, you were never certain if he was telling a lie to see what he could get out of it, or if he was telling a lie to see how far he could go with it, to see how gullible you were. If I ever caught him in a lie he'd just sort of wink at me and give me a nudge, as if to say 'you caught me on that one.'"

Hatfill's antics divided his class into two camps: those who could tolerate him and those who could not. In one incident, a few classmates were pulling late-night duty in one of Harare's teaching hospitals. "We were sitting, chatting in the lounge when Hatfill walked in. Probably three quarters of the students got up and walked out," says a classmate who was there that night. Hatfill became isolated from the rest of his year. Yet, outwardly, he seemed unaffected by his rejection. Indeed, he would go out of his way to engage, amuse, and entertain his fellow students. "He could be absolutely hilarious," says one classmate. "I've seen him bring large groups of students to their knees with his antics. His speciality was to stick a small flashlight up his nose, turn off the lights in a ward, and then 'fly' around the ward turning the flashlight on and off to simulate an aircraft's landing lights."

Meanwhile, outside of medical school, Hatfill was still chasing after lost military ambitions. Sometime after arriving in Rhodesia, Hatfill turned up at the door of the Rhodesian police's Special Branch— their equivalent of the FBI—and offered his services. At the time, the Special Branch was a part of the Selous Scouts, an elite Rhodesian Special Forces counterinsurgency unit, which spent much of its time behind enemy lines. The Scouts were an amalgam of Army Special Forces soldiers and Special Branch police officers. Intelligence was vital to Scouts operations and the mainly black officers of Special Branch undertook this function. Hatfill was 24 at the time, still an undergraduate, and struggling at medical school. He had little to offer Special Branch, other than a willingness to help. He was referred on to the medics of the Scouts and was dispatched as a volunteer junior medic to a field hospital at a base called Fort Bindura. There, he bandaged wounded guerilla fighters and acted as an assistant of sorts for the true Scouts medics. By the time 1980 arrived, the war was over, the Scouts disbanded, and Hatfill's brief, tangential association with them ended.

Yet, in Hatfill's mind, his Rhodesian military "service" was somewhat more grandiose. He claimed to have been a "badged" member of the Scouts and to have worked behind enemy lines. Those lies were manifested into two certificates seized by the FBI during their anthrax investigation; one purporting to show his graduation from a Scouts tracking course, the other a citation for good conduct. Both bore the forged signatures of genuine Scouts officers. A number of Hatfill's resumes go on to claim that while in Rhodesia he served with the Rhodesian SAS. His 1997 resume elaborates, claiming he had seen "active combat experience with C Squadron Special Air Service (Rhodesia)." The regimental association of the Rhodesian SAS is adamant Hatfill never belonged to the unit. In a terse e-mail, their spokesman states, "Hatfill is not an ex-member of this unit; he was never attached to the unit in any way. If has also made claims that he was a member of an American unit giving 'assistance' to C Squadron. This is also untrue."

Following the "person of interest" furor, Hatfill was accused in a number of media stories of being a protégé of Robert Symington, an anatomy professor at the University of Rhodesia's medical school, rumoured to have been the head of an alleged secret Rhodesian biowarfare program. "Prof," as Symington was known, was a polarizing figure on the university campus, which, despite its heritage, was solidly liberal. Silver-haired with piercing blue eyes, Symington was an unapologetic old-style Rhodesian. A student who considers himself a protégé of Symington's recalled the following incident. "Prof had seen me talking to Steve Hatfill and invited me for a walk," he stated. "told me in no uncertain terms that Steve was a frigging idiot and it wasn't going to do anyone any good, particularly me, if I became a friend of his. It seems very unlikely to me that Steve was involved with Bob Symington—unless Bob had gone out of his way to lie to me, which wasn't his way. He never minced words about anything."

Symington died in 1982 while swimming in the pool at the University of Cape Town. To date, no concrete evidence has been produced proving his involvement in a Rhodesian biowarfare program. Or that a biowarfare program even existed.


Hatfill's class crowded around a locked, glass-fronted wooden cabinet near the main campus halt to see the final exam results of four years of hard work. After seeing their grades, they repaired to the hall to start celebrating or commiserating. Suddenly, amid the celebrations, the sound of violent shouting and breaking glass could be heard from the hail, The students ran out to find Hatfill, his face painted with rage, fuming in front of the cabinet. Behind the shattered glass were the results indicating Hatfill's failure. As the students looked on, a campus security guard arrived and tried to stop Hatfill from leaving the scene, but in a fit of rage, Hatfill resisted, and threw the guard into a plate glass window. The incident nearly got Hatfill arrested and thrown out of university. but he was allowed to stay on for an extra six months to re-sit his exams, and passed in 1984. By then Hatfill's classmates had already moved on to start their careers. For many, the incident was the last they would hear of him until 2002, when, as part of the anthrax coverage, tales of his alleged African of exploits would be reported in newspaper of and television broadcasts worldwide.


Hatfill stepped off the boat that had carried him south from Africa onto the desolate, frozen expanse of Antarctica. The voyage was the beginning of a phase in Hatfill's life in which he would pursue a dream job: a position with NASA. In the autumn of 1986, Hatfill was chosen to participate in the South African National Antarctic Expedition (SANAE). and by December, was destined for a 14-month tour of duty at South Africa's isolated base in Queen Maude Land, one of the most hostile environments on the planet. It was a perfect starting point for a would-be space scientist who, only a year earlier, had completed a 12-month internship at a small rural hospital in South Africa's North-West Province.

In 1985, he'd registered as a medical practitioner with the South African Medical and Dental Council. His certificate to practice cited his Bachelor of Medicine qualification as M ChB (Zimbabwe) 1984. And in July 1986, Hatfill also successfully completed the process of having his medical degree recognized in the US. But mere doctoring was a million miles from Hatfill's mind. He was headed for the stars. When the SANAE post turned up he on his resumes some ten years later, he variously records himself as the expedition's "Research Team Leader," "Assistant Research Team Leader," "Science Leader and Physician," or simply "Team Physician." But Richard Skinner, a director of SANAE, stated Hatfill's position had been as an "expedition doctor only." Hatfill's resume also claims that while at SANAE he conducted "research on pineal hypothalamic dysfunction for NASA's Solar System Exploration Division. At the time, Mike Duke was the chief of the division, headquartered at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Duke, a geologist now retired from NASA, recounts his contact with Hatfill. "From what I remember I got a letter from him telling me about his experiences in the Antarctic. He was interested in applying his experiences in that environment to isolation in space. He then sent me a paper, which as far as I could see was part of a strategy of his for getting a job with NASA. I passed it on to the medical section people at NASA and my recollection is they didn't do anything with it." A year later Duke received another unsolicited paper from Hatfill. Again, Duke sent the paper along to his medical colleagues. According to Duke, "the result was that nobody paid much attention to it."


Professor Lothar Bohm was impressed. His new student—a Dr. Steven Jay Hatfill—was proving to be quite a catch. Hatfill had thawed out from his Antarctic expedition and had completed a microbiology master's degree at the University of Cape Town. While socializing at the UCT campus club, Hatfill met Bohm—then director of the Stellenbosch University's radiobiology laboratory. The two discussed a second master's this time under Bohm's tutelage. A master's in medical biochemistry and radiation biology would be an excellent stepping stone for Hatfill's journey to NASA.

Bohm would later recall Hatfill as an "intellectually quick" researcher who had devised what Bohm describes as "a brilliant, brilliant concept." Hatfill proposed that by metabolizing thalidomide with a special enzymal extract known as S-9, the drug could be used to restore leukemic cells back to normal function; it looked like a significant new treatment for leukemia. Bohm was impressed with Hatfill's theory and requisitioned the S-9, at some expense to his laboratory.

Because of funding shortages, Hatfill's time at Stellenbosch was not fully covered. As a result, he took a job in the university's hematology laboratory as a clinical assistant, and this position paid his way through school.

Hatfill's research results were impressive, Bohm says. "Because of his job, he ended up working not in my lab, but mostly in hematology He was very mature and talked with so much confidence. When he brought you data it looked right and you trusted the guy. He was very convincing and he gave these superb seminars." Hatfill's thesis, "Thalidomide Induction of Differentiation and Potentiation of Radiation Induced Apoptosis in Human K562 Cells," won him his second master's in December 1990. He immediately began a three-year hematological pathology residency at Stellenbosch and in 1992 he began to work on his PhD under the supervision of Professor Ralph Kirby at Rhodes University.

Hatfill's resume records that in 1991, after starting his hematology residence he "established" and then "managed" or was "director" or "laboratory chief" of a "Molecular Haematology Laboratory" at the Tygerberg Hospital, which is part of the Stellenbosch medical campus. In fact, no formal molecular hematology lab was ever established at Tygerberg.

Erna Mansvelt, current director of hematology at Tygerberg, states, "Dr. Hatfill was a registrar (postgraduate student) in this department until the end of 1993. I am not aware that he had a recognized molecular laboratory in our department at that time. He did not have any official administrative duties in the department." Interviews with numerous scientists and officials familiar with Hatfill's work at Tygerberg confirm this statement. One such official adds, "Molecular research was performed as and when a particular individual displayed such an interest and ceased as soon as Hatfill departed in 1993. He could hardly regard himself as a director as there was nothing other than his own research project to direct. There were certainly a number of people in the academic department at the time who would have been more eligible than he for the status of 'director,' but such a designation simply did nor exist.”

During the same period between 1990 and 1993, Hatfill also claims to have performed "clinical rotations" at the hematology-oncology and bone marrow transplantation unit at Groote Schuur Hospital, which also acts as part of the Stellenbosch medical campus. Hospital records show that after registrar posts at Groote Schuur were advertised in October 1992, Hatfill applied for and was awarded one of them. But in January 1993, he wrote on Stellenbosch University letterhead to inform Groote Schuur that he would be unable to take up the post, citing that his research was "at a critical stage." Subsequent checks confirm that Hatfill is not on record as being "on the staff establishment of Groote Schuur Hospital."

Hatfill's resume also has him working as an "Emergency Medical Officer at Conradie General Hospital, RSA." Again, there is no record of him working there. Interviews were conducted with staff who worked there in the early 1990s. "No one remembers Hatfill," reports an employee.

According to his resume, 1993 was an extremely busy year. In addition to completing his hematological pathology board certification, Hatfill also claims to have been chairman of a South African scientific organization, the Experimental Biology Group (EBG) and a member of the Blood Transfusion Utilization Committee at Tygerberg. Checks with current and former members of the ESG have failed to find any record of Hatfill's chairmanship. Moreover, Tygerberg's Blood Transfusion Committee has no records of Hatfill's involvement. Hatfill also claims to have been a member of an AIDS advisory panel organized through the Council for Scientific Industrial Research (CSIR) on AIDS in 1994. CSIR never convened an AIDS advisory panel.

Hatfill's penchant for the military also managed to bleed its way into the sections of his resume dealing with South Africa. Hatfill claims to have been assigned to the "2nd Medical Battalion (TA Reserve)" of the South African Defense Force during his time in South Africa. But Lieutenant Colonel Louis Kirstein, spokesperson for the South African Department for Defense states the following; "We have no records of a Dr. Steven Jay Hatfill on our system."

In most of his resumes Hatfill also describes himself as a "consultant flight surgeon to 32 Squadron [changed in later resumes to 30 Squadron] Air/Sea rescue unit based at Yesterplatt (sic) Air Force Base, Cape Town." Apart from the incorrect spelling of Ysterplaat, the main problem with this entry is that there are no such Squadrons. Ysterplaat is home to two air and sea rescue squadrons: 22 Squadron and 35 Squadron. Ysterplaat's commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Harry Treurnich can remember “no one of that name having served at the base.”

Hatfill attended two medical courses while in South Africa; one at the Institute of Aviation Medicine, the other at the Institute of Maritime Medicine. Both courses were only two-week certification courses, but Hatfill claims they were, respectively, eight and five weeks long, and records them under a section marked "Postgraduate Diplomas." Neither course is considered a postgraduate qualification. While at the Maritime Institute, Hatfill claims to have gained qualification in hyperbaric medicine. Hyperbaric medicine is not part of the course he completed.

On Friday September 17, 1993, Lothar Bohm was fuming. There were major problems with Hatfill's master's thesis experiments. Other researchers could not reproduce the results. Also, other scientists at the laboratory were finding it impossible to extract DNA markers using a special 'melting" technique Hatfill claimed to have used.

Bohm, who had coauthored a research paper with Hatfill based on the thesis work, sat down at his computer and hammered out the following e-mail to Kirby, Hatfill's PhD supervisor and coauthor of another paper based on Hatfill's work that had been published in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet.
Dear Ralph, 2 problems here:
We are rather disappointed if not to say PISSED OFF with so much ignorance, carelessness and indifference. 9 months of time plus 4000 odd Rand wasted. You are both DEEP in our memory.
A Japanese worker has problems in reproducing the Thalidomide work on K 562. After some correspondence relating to buffers and drug metabolism using S-9 fraction he still cannot do it. When I discussed the problem with Steven it became clear that he could not have done the experiment as his handling of the S-9 fraction indicated total confusion.
Taking these observations and the wonderful TGE melt mitochondrial DNA referred to in the Lancet paper it also transpires that the experiment could not have been done by S. because essential parts of the TGE machine accessories were still unopened. It goes to show that S takes great liberties with the truth.
I think you may wish to be on guard when you assess his PhD thesis not to risk a scandal. I can only pray that the Japanese worker is not going to blow the whistle— but with increasing interest in Thalidomide somebody else might. I find it utterly distasteful and unprofessional to practice science in this way and I am reassessing my position regarding S. and asking you again for advice.
Lothar Bohm
According to Bohm, Kirby never replied to this e-mail. Nor did Kirby reply to an e-mail from SEED about his communication from Bohm.

When a technician came to examine the TCE machine, he found the electrodes used to facilitate the DNA extraction wired the wrong way round. "The machine could never have worked," stated a source at Stellenbosch, who witnessed the technician's examination.

Bohm says he now regrets allowing Hatfill to do much of his research in the hematology lab where he was earning a living as a clinical assistant. "He had a job there and he wanted to work there and at the time that was fine by me. But in hindsight it would have been better to have him in [my] lab and see what he was doing. There is no doubt about it—the guy was extremely capable. But time seems to have a different meaning for him than to a normal person. He was always very fast intellectually and always racing ahead. Had he worked in my lab, the whole thing would probably have taken a different course.”


It wasn't quite Cape Canaveral, but Oxford University was still a pretty big feather to have in his cap. Hatfill had left South Africa to take up a new job as a clinical research scientist at the University's Nuffield Department of Pathology and Bacteriology based at the John Radcliffe Hospital. Hatfill worked in the cancer research lab.

In a resume prepared while at Oxford, Hatfill claimed that he was a "licentiate" of the "Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, Edinburgh." Three of his later application forms for NIH grants state Hatfill gained his MD at "Edinburgh, UK" in 1984. There is no such thing as the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, Edinburgh. And Hatfill does not have a UK medical degree. Scotland has three distinct medical colleges: the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh, the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. In the early 80's, medical degrees from Rhodesia, like the one Hatfill was carrying, were not accepted in the UK. The University of Zimbabwe therefore made an arrangement with the Scottish colleges to let its graduates sit what was known as "The Scottish Triple," an exam set by all three colleges. Zimbabwean graduates who passed the Triple were allowed to practice medicine in the UK.

Fiona Sinclair, membership administrator for the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh, states, "A full search of our records has been conducted, both in Edinburgh and in Glasgow and there is no record of Dr. Steven Jay Hatfill having obtained any college qualification. We have no records of Dr. Hatfill at all."

While at Oxford, Hatfill also claimed to have been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine. Society spokesperson Rosamund Snow says that, "as far as we can tell, he has never had any association whatsoever with the society."

In January 1995, Hatfill's PhD was submitted for examination to Rhodes University. Bohm's warning had, apparently gone unheard or unnoticed.

Hatfill was already applying for other jobs by the summer of 1995. He responded to an advertisement for a fellowship position placed by the NICHD in the journal Science.

The NICHD personnel charged with reviewing Hatfill's application called Oxford University, where the NICHD say they received confirmation that Hatfill "had experience qualifying him for the position he was applying for."

The resume accompanying Hatfill's application claimed not only the "licentiate" Edinburgh medical qualification but, crucially, also a PhD apparently awarded by Rhodes University in 1994. Despite the fact that back in South Africa examiners were still three months from giving their decision on the PhD, Hatfill's resume was titled "Dr. Steven Jay Hatfill M.D/Ph.D."

Also submitted was a bundle of certificates including a PhD certificate apparently issued by Rhodes on April 16, 1994. Hatfill's resume details the "PhD Degree in Molecular Cell Biology" but gives a contradictory date of August 1994. In fact, Hatfill's PhD thesis was failed in November 1995. One of Hatfill's thesis examiners—interviewed on condition of anonymity—describes his thesis as "an embarrassment to South African science," adding, "more than once the question was asked of aspects of the thesis whether Hatfill had made a mistake, or whether he was deliberately trying to deceive?"

Hatfill also enclosed a letter of recommendation bearing the signature of his head of department at Oxford, J O'D McGee. The letter was fulsome in its praise for Hatfill. "Steven is a very valuable member of the Cancer Metastasis Laboratory" the letter reads. "He is a good molecular biologist with a good knowledge of most of the technology in this area and even more important, he can apply it to real problems."

The letter stated McGee had gotten to know Hatfill "very well" and concludes, "As a person, he is popular, self-sufficient, and can step into any 'crisis' situation and deal with it effectively without demonstrating anger or any other emotion. He is also a man with a sense of driving the research team forward in a united way. I have the highest regard for Dr Hatfill and unreservedly recommend him to you.”

When shown the letter in question, McGee stated he had no recollection of providing the reference, adding the letter was "not in the style" in which he would write a reference for a member of staff. He added he never had direct contact with Hatfill, other than one meeting where Hatfill asked him to be "a referee for him for a NASA program."

Hatfill also submitted a letter of reference purportedly from a Tygerberg professor repeating the claim that Hatfill had established a molecular hematology laboratory there. Officials at Tygerberg dispute its authenticity.

In addition Hatfill included a certificate proving his graduation from medical school. But the certificate Hatfill presented was issued by the "University of Rhodesia." By the time Hatfill was recorded as graduating in 1984, Rhodesia hadn't existed for four years. The university had changed its name to the University of Zimbabwe, and stopped issuing University of Rhodesia certificates in 1982. Those who graduated in 1983 —Hatfill's intended year of graduation—received certificates issued by the University of Zimbabwe.

Apparently, the NICHD never picked up these discrepancies. On September 18, 1995. Hatfill was granted an Intramural Research Training Award, a fellowship that would mark the start of a four association with the US government.


The most lethal forms of life on earth are contained inside a small, innocuous-looking suite of laboratories at the heart of the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases complex at Fort Detrick. Access to these Level Four labs is severely restricted. Those who are granted entry are exposed not only to the mast dangerous organisms on the planer, but also to classified information. The work USAMRIID researchers undertake could conceivably be perverted for offensive biowarfare use. The knowledge they possess is as dangerous as the pathogens they manipulate. USAMRIID should be one of the most secure locations on the face of the Earth.

After two years at NICHD, Hatfill applied to the NRC for a transfer to USAMRIID's Level Four labs to study Ebola and Marburg viruses. His career was once again subjected to a scientific review and within a month, Hatfill was granted Level Four clearance. He was also granted clearance to access material classified as "secret." He would spend the next two years in Level Four battling microscopic nightmares. He loved it.

In 1999, Hatfill's research funding ended, but he traveled onward and upward to a prestigious job as a biodefense consultant with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), a contractor for both the Pentagon and the CIA. It was a job that gave Hatfill access to all sorts of interesting places—the FBI, CIA, and the Department of Defense.

In December 2000, after being accepted into the UNMOVIC weapons inspections training program—a process that required he submit a resume and sit for an interview—Hatfill was sent to Paris to begin basic training. While there, he boasted of his military experience to bemused fellow attendees and claimed he had access to classified documents.

In late summer 2001, Hatfill applied for a CIA contract requiring a high-level security clearance. He had to undergo a rigorous background check. When investigators questioned him about his time in Africa, the house of cards started to topple. On August 23, the secret clearance he had obtained at USAMRIID was suspended and he was removed from his full-time job at SAIC, sidelined as a "consultant."

Still, he kept up with his UN training and in November 2001 returned to England, this time to Porton Down, home of the UK's former chemical and biological warfare research program. By now, news of the anthrax letters was gripping the biodefense community. Hatfill was quick to insist that Iraq was behind the attacks. What he didn’t know was that at home, the Bureau was closing in on him as a "person of interest."

On March 4, 2002, Hatfill was fired by SAIC. On July 1, just a few days after his name was first publicized in connection with the anthrax investigation, Hatfill was hired as the associate director of Louisiana State University's Center for Biomedical Research and Training. The money for the post, like the majority of the center's funding, came from the federal government. On August 1, the Department of Justice sent an e-mail to the center's director, Stephen I Gulliot, ordering him to "cease and desist" employing Hatfill. Hatfill was put on administrative leave the following day and fired from the $150,000-a-year job on September 3. Gulliot was fired a day later.

Hatfill was a month from his forty-ninth birthday when LSU fired him, and the career he'd manufactured for himself in numerous resumes was finally over. Maybe after so many years of misrepresentation, he was unable to tell what was real in his past and what had been falsified. Or maybe this was the first time his credentials were fully scrutinized.

Here is what a complete investigation uncovers: Hatfill never served with the US Special Forces, or the Rhodesian SAS. He was not a member of the Selous Scouts. The South African Department of Defense has no records of Hatfill serving in the 2nd Medical Battalion (TA Reserve) or with the Air/Sea Rescue Squadron at Ysterplaat. There is no record of Hatfill having been a casualty officer at Conradie Hospital, or working clinical rotations at Groote Schuur's hospital. He could never have established or managed a molecular hematology laboratory at Tygerberg because there was and is no such laboratory. While in Antarctica, Hatfill was not a research team leader or even assistant research team leader. He hadn't been commissioned to do research for NASA; he was not chairman of the Experimental Biology Group; nor was he a member of Tygerberg Blood Utilization Committee; and he couldn't have sat on the Council for Scientific Industrial Research's advisory panel on AIDS, because such a panel was never convened. He wasn't a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine. His Edinburgh "licentiate" medical degree is nonexistent. The "University of Rhodesia" degree certificate he presented had stopped being issued two years before he graduated. His PhD is a false and there are serious questions about his previous master's research at Stellenbosch.

Any or all of these lies and half truths should have been picked up when he was first evaluated for his job at the NICHD and then again when he applied to USAMRIID. Apparently, none of them were.

Ray Gamble is the director of the NRC awards program that vetted Hatfill for his research position at USAMRIID. The NRC is a nonprofit organization that sits between sponsors—usually federal government agencies—and researchers, Gamble admits the system is not foolproof, but says its methods are the norm in most grant review processes. Gamble explains, "We provide advice on the best quality of applicant for the awards. Our contribution is that quality review, so that the sponsors know that they are going to get the best quality people out of this process."

But the process assumes candidates are telling the truth. "You assume that the facts stated by the applicant are in fact correct and without seeing things that seem to indicate otherwise that's the assumption that's made," adds Gamble. He stresses that in addition to resumes and reviews, sealed transcripts are required to be sent directly from the applicant's university. But he admits, "We do not individually call a thousand or so universities every time we receive an application to verify a particular document."

It was this process that apparently failed to flag Hatfill or his falsified resumes and forged documents during the four years he spent inside the federal grants system, moving seamlessly from health to defense. At least four top officials within the federal grants system signed their names to approve grant applications on Hatfill's behalf three times over three consecutive years: Leonid Margolis, head of the NICHD laboratory Hatfill worked at for two years; Joshua Zimmerman, laboratory chief, NICHD; Arthur S. Levine, scientific director of the NICHD and Ruth E Mariano, the grants bid official at the NICHD. Their signatures released tens of thousands of dollars to Hatfill and allowed him access to some of the best research facilities and information in the world. Margolis and Levine also signed off on two further years of grant applications that gave Hatfill access to the USAMRIID facilities.

No one from the NIH or NICHD was prepared to be interviewed for this story. An NICHD spokesman said staff had "declined to be interviewed about Steven Hatfill's employment at NIH." They were, he said, "not interested in commenting about this matter." Likewise, "Dr. Margolis does not want to be interviewed regarding Steven Hatfill."

What about the senior officers and scientists of USAMRIID? One of the most sensitive research establishments on the planet, where Hatfill picked up "secret" level security clearance on his way to the Level Four biocontainment labs? As far as USAMRIID was concerned, the NRC had screened and passed Hatfill, and NRC says security checks are beyond their responsibility: "It's a local issue," says Gamble. "Every federal research institute has their own form of security clearance, and we can't become involved in that because it would become too complex. It's outside our area of responsibility."

USAMRIID refused to respond to questions regarding Hatfill, other than to confirm his position in the Virology Division and to stress that "he did not work with anthrax" there. Hatfill also refused to comment on this investigation. But his spokesman and friend, Pat Clawson, issued a statement on his behalf:
"Dr. Steven Hatfill is not the anthrax mailer. He is a scientist and physician who has devoted his career to preserving life, not destroying it."
The statement later continues;
"Legal considerations prevent Dr. Hatfill from responding to specific issues about his personal background and professional credentials, but the real questions the press and public should be asking are: Who perpetrated the anthrax attacks that terrorized the nation? Why is the government's 18-month, multimillion-dollar investigation at a dead end? Why has the government conducted a public campaign to destroy the life of an innocent American patriot without having any credible evidence against him?"
In 2001, the US government spent $60 million on biodefense projects. In 2003 that figure will grow to $2 billion. Many more labs—both military and civilian—will be working with lethal pathogen, if President Bush fulfills his State of the Union promise to spend an additional $6 billion developing and stockpiling biodefense vaccines.

More scientists will soon have access to anthrax, plague, monkey pox, Ebola, Marburg, and smallpox as the government's biodefense offensive swings into action. Many of those researchers will be vetted by the same government system that vetted Hatfill.

Twice in April 2002, anthrax spores escaped from the Level Three labs of USAMRIID. USAMRIID has refused to release its report into these incidents. On February 12 this year The Los Angeles Times published a story examining USAMRIID's safety record. The facility commander, Colonel Erik Henchal, was interviewed. He said that screening by the NRC for positions at USAMRIID was now "more stringent." The next sentence, however, ran as follows:
But Ray Gamble, director of the council program that sponsored Hatfill, said there had been no substantive changes in how applications are reviewed. "It a scientific review that hasn't changed in hundreds of years. It's based on the technical proposal, the scientific merit. There are always opportunities for people to misrepresent themselves"
To date Steven Jay Hatfill remains unemployed. He now spends most of his time shut inside his girlfriend's apartment. The frenzy of press stories about him has died. The FBI has made no public comment on the progress of the anthrax investigation in months. And no government department or agency involved in the anthrax investigation has offered any evidence of Hatfill's guilt.

Posted by Bob ("Nailer") Swagger at 11:40 PM


Anonymous said...

Any info on the relationship (if any) between Hatfill and Ivins?

Hatfill leaves USAMRIID in August 2001 several weeks before the September 11th attacks. The timing is suspect.
911 occurs.
Investigators tail Hatfill for several years, watching him almost like the Secret Service watches the president. (maybe he knows something and they want to make sure he keeps it a secret??)
Time heals all wounds and the story is relegated to the back pages of the news.
Investigators now focus upon Ivins who, strung out on drugs, makes Cybil look like she's got her shit together.
The investigation eventually focuses upon Ivins's increased overtime/evening use of the lab in September and October of 2001. Why though, do they disregard the significant increase in lab use in August of 2001. Why? Because their theory is that Ivins was retaliating for the 911 attacks, but if this is true, then his August lab activity would indicate he was clairvoyant.

I intertwine Ivins with Hatfill because something stinks.

we've got one Dr. Frankenstein with $6M in cash albeit no mo job, and one dead whacko Dr. Mengle with no chance to exonerate himself.

If I were writing a thriller who-done-it, this story would be at the core. 

Could there have been some collaboration between the TWO of them, (with plenty of help from certain others in high places who benefited), followed by Ivin's being drugged, psychologically screwed with, and finally thrown under the bus?

The heck with anonymity.
You want to comment directly feel free to email me.
Brynmcbain@yahoo.com2:10 AM

Benson said...

If I am to believe your story (I would not call it proper research, or even an article), Hatfill is a Frank Abagnale, man of a thousand faces, phony, fraud, etc...

My response would be- So what? Maybe Leonardo DeCaprio will play him in a film???? Thousands upon thousands have done the same thing. If we put a fine tooth comb to every American professional, we would find 10% of the work force, is probably comprised of such characters. Am I supposed to care that he had to repeat a year of medical school and other meaningless details of his life???

I want to know if he was responsible for the anthrax attacks. Period. not that he cheated on some test in High School and was a "Couch potato" who promoted himself as a Rambo. I'd say our irresponsible dweebs in Govt, having tore this man's life to shreds for no good reason, is sufficient punishment for his "resume padding." What is your vendetta against this person? I smell something very wrong here- This is personal. Either Hatfill has wronged you personally in the past, or your are some FBI gooney, still trying to trash this man's life.12:57 PM


October 2003 (posted 9/15/03) Vanity Fair, pp. 180-200, The Message in the Anthrax, by Don Foster,

After fingering Joe Klein for Primary Colors and helping snare the alleged Atlanta Olympics bomber, the author, a professor of English at Vassar, was asked to analyze the 2001 anthrax letters. Frustrated with the F.B.I."s anthrax task force, he unseals his investigation of a most intriguing -- and disturbing -- suspect.

In the spring of 1998, an officer at the Dugway Proving Ground, in Utah, called the veteran biowarrior William C. Patrick III to ask for his help. The army wanted to convert some of its deadly anthrax into a dry powder, but, in Patrick's words, "didn't have a freeze-dryer, didn't have a spray dryer, no drying capability at all." The Soviets hadn't let the 1972 biological-and-toxin weapons convention stop them from producing 4,500 metric tons of anthrax per year. But when the Americans signed it, they put Bill Patrick out to pasture and then seemingly forgot the art, developed by Patrick in 1959, of weaponizing Bacillus anthracis without milling. Now Patrick had to re-educate the army's top microbiologists, showing them how to freeze-dry a slurry of anthrax simulant; how to purify it to a trillion spores per gram in a centrifuge; and how to remove the electrostatic charge, to prevent clumping. On one visit to Dugway, Patrick said he had employed the less sophisticated method of acetone extraction to produce a pound of dry anthrax in a single day -- enough to kill thousands of people. (Patrick now says that he misspoke when he claimed to have produced the pound of anthrax.)

For nearly two decades -- until Richard Nixon shut down America's offensive bioweapons program in 1969 -- Bill Patrick worked in secret government laboratories, designing and testing germ agents. His skull and- crossbones calling card describes him as a "Biological Warfare Consultant." An old-school warrior, Patrick, 77, looks like a big teddy bear, but he continually slips into talk of mass destruction. When lecturing on biodefense, he speaks of "beautiful bomblets" and of how many people the U.S. could kill in good weather with a dry bioweapons agent "especially in the Middle East."

On February 19, 1999, Patrick briefed two dozen officers at Maxwell Air Force Base, in Montgomery, Alabama, on his recent visits to Dugway: "The principles of biological warfare that we discovered 35 to 40 years ago have not changed." Patrick held up a sealed vial containing eight grams of highly refined powder. "Now you're very fortunate today," he said, "that I've carried in my suitcase here a sample of anthrax. The only requirement I have is that you don't drop it." His audience tittered nervously as the bottle passed from hand to hand.

"I want to bring several things to your attention," said Patrick. "Look how easily that powder flows. It is composed of three to five microns, the particle size that gets down into your lungs and causes the infection." Then he came clean. It was not really anthrax but rather Bacillus globigii, or B.g., the army's anthrax simulant of choice. "Now if you think I'm stupid enough to release anthrax in that powdered form," Patrick said with a grin, "you're giving me too much credit."

Patrick"s B.g. sample was purified to a trillion spores per gram -- near the theoretical limit -- and better than anything ever produced by Iraq, South Africa, or the Soviet Union. An untrained eye could not differentiate it from the anthrax powder that Patrick had produced in 1959. The purpose of the exercise at Dugway, however, was defensive: to prepare our nation for a bioterror attack.

In April 1999, Patrick told Fox News that in two years there will be an attack with a sophisticated agent manufactured overseas. His prediction was not far off the mark.

By October 12, 2001, the press was reporting that Bob Stevens (case 5), the 63-year old tabloid photo editor at American Media Inc. in Boca Raton, Florida, who had mysteriously succumbed to inhalational anthrax on October 5, had been infected at work.(Inhalational anthrax comes from breathing in spores, and is far deadlier than the cutaneous form of the disease, which is usually contracted through cuts and scratches in the skin.) Spores were found throughout the A.M.I. building, with hot spots in the mailroom and on the victim's keyboard.

That day (Oct. 12) I got a call from supervisory special agent James R. Fitzgerald, a top F.B.I. profiler and threat-assessment expert. He said that anthrax had been discovered at NBC, and that he might be sending me some documents.

For my first 10 years as a professor of English literature at Vassar College, I got no closer to real-life tragedy than Titus Andronicus. Today, much of my time off campus is taken up by police detectives, F.B.I. agents, and district attorneys. My home phone number is unlisted, and my unexpected mail must be X-rayed or discarded. On the shelves of my office, the Great Books have been displaced by the writings of hoaxers, terrorists, kidnappers, the D.C. sniper, the anthrax killer.

It all began in January 1996, when Random House published Primary Colors, "by Anonymous." The editors of New York magazine asked me to figure out who had written it by applying the same methods I had always used for assigning authorship to ancient poems and anonymous plays. Relying mostly on old-fashioned linguistic analysis, I concluded that "Anonymous" was the Newsweek columnist Joe Klein" who promptly announced on national TV that I was wrong.

Literary scholars look at punctuation, spelling, word usage, regionalisms, slang, grammar, sentence construction, document formatting, topical allusions, ideology, borrowed source material -- but most of our ascribed attributions are for writers like Shakespeare, Pope, or Wordsworth. A dead poet cannot stand up and say, as Joe Klein did, "It's not me. I didn't do it. This is silly."

Five months later, when Klein finally admitted that he had written Primary Colors after all, lawyers and law-enforcement agencies were quick to see a real-world application for the kind of work that I and other scholars perform. I never dreamed that my correct answer would lead me from fiction to Quantico, or to the Montana cabin where the Unabomber scrawled his manifesto, or to the Boulder Police Department to help with the Jon Benet Ramsey homicide investigation, or to Boston's Irish Mafia, or to Centennial Olympic Park and the so-called Army of God bombings, much less to deadly anthrax at the heart of our own biodefense establishment.

Every day, crimes are committed that involve unsigned or forged documents. When confronted with a "questioned document," most police detectives seek out experts to analyze the physical evidence. It took Primary Colors for law-enforcement agencies to realize how much can be learned from the writing itself. A first-rate special agent in charge, such as Woody Enderson of the Southeast Bomb Task Force, can turn an investigation around by getting expert help with the linguistic evidence. Following the Centennial Olympic Park bombing at the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta, traditional profiling techniques had at first focused investigative attention on Richard Jewell, who was innocent. Enderson's task force gathered the Army of God letters from other bombings, along with envelopes, school papers, a grocery list, even marginal annotations in a Bible -- linguistic evidence that helped direct attention to Eric Robert Rudolph. He was arrested on May 31, 2003, after five years on the lam.

The main obstacle to the investigation of anonymous writing is simply that there is so much of it. Take the epidemic of hoax anthrax letters. Since April 1997 (the first recorded incidence of a major mailed anthrax hoax), law-enforcement agencies have responded to countless chemical and biological hoaxes -- an estimated 10,000 of them in October 2001 alone, following the news of Bob Stevens's infection. Most mailed biothreats contain harmless household powder and an anonymous message from the offender. Police and F.B.I. officials have established a routine for this entire class of documents: Confiscate both the letter and the envelope from the recipient without allowing any copies to be retained. Test the powder to confirm that it is nontoxic. Announce to the press that "the incident will be investigated as a serious crime." Then place the documents in what's known as a zero file and never look at them again.

Unfortunately, when that same strategy is applied to the questioned documents in a case as important as the 2001 anthrax murders, critical evidence may be overlooked. Everyone saw reproductions of the New Jersey anthrax letters calling for "DEATH TO AMERICA DEATH TO ISRAEL." More information has been gleaned from those brief letters than you may suppose. But many of the questioned documents pertinent to the anthrax case have been zero-filed. That is why I have decided finally to speak out.

On the phone that day, S.S.A. Fitzgerald told me that Erin O'Connor (case 2), an NBC aide, had been diagnosed with cutaneous anthrax 17 days after opening a powder-filled letter addressed to NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw. The letter, postmarked on September 20 in St. Petersburg, Florida, began:

(the Ns are reversed as Cyrillic characters in the published Vanity Fair article)


Brief but ominous, the handwritten note threatened bioterror attacks on New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C.

I found the text curious for a number of reasons. First, the quotation marks were done Russian-style, with the opening quotes below the line, and the document's backward N's resembled the letter I in Russia's Cyrillic alphabet. But a bilingual Russian would be unlikely to confuse English and Cyrillic characters. This appeared to be someone's attempt to make his writing look Russian, or at least foreign. The same went for the block letters, which Russian adults don't use.

The Brokaw letter matched two other biothreat letters, also from St. Petersburg, mailed 15 days later -- same writing, same backward N's and Russian quotes, same threats of imminent bioterror. One was sent to New York Times reporter Judith Miller, a co-author of Germs: Biological Weapons and America's Secret War, and the other to Howard Troxler, a columnist for the St. Petersburg Times. Troxler opened his powder-packed letter on Tuesday, October 9. Miller opened hers at her office on Friday, Oct. 12th, the same day the NBC infection was diagnosed.

"THE UNTHINKABEL" looked like a deliberate misspelling, but why had it been placed in quotation marks" Turning to the Internet, I found announcements for a disaster-management conference to be held in Orlando called "It Could Happen to You -- Preparing for the Unthinkable" and featuring talks on bioterror readiness. The St. Petersburg letters, with their arrows and lists and dashes, vaguely resembled a slide from a Power-Point presentation, a common feature at scientific conferences. Then, too, Howard Troxler's surname -- in the letter proper, though not on the envelope -- was spelled "TOXLER." Could the error have been inadvertent, I wondered, a reflexive misspelling by someone used to writing such words as "toxic," "toxicity," "toxins," "toxicology," "toxoid?"

Linking bioterror to 9/11, the Florida letter writer warned of the destruction of Tampa Bay's Sunshine Skyway Bridge and Chicago's Sears Tower. Those threats were not credible -- terrorists do not send advance notice of their targets -- but the powder seemed to be "THE REAL THING," as the sender phrased it. One NBC aide was infected, and a man in Florida was dead.

On balance, the St. Petersburg letters looked to me to be the work of a scientist. The linguistic evidence and choice of targets pointed to an offender interested in biodefense: 9/11, he seemed to be saying, could be the prologue to something worse -- a sweeping epidemic of biological terrorism, for which our nation stood unprepared.

It soon came out, however, that the F.B.I. had recovered the wrong threatening letter. Laboratory analysis indicated that the white substance enclosed in the three St. Petersburg biothreats was nontoxic. Erin O'Connor must have been infected from another source. A fresh search of segregated NBC mail turned up a second letter, one with anthrax traces, likewise addressed to Tom Brokaw but written by someone else and postmarked on September 18 in Trenton. The letter read:







Here, then, were two powder-filled biothreats addressed to the same news anchor, two days and 1,000 miles apart. Neither writer could have known of the other unless they were in cahoots. But the powder in the New Jersey Brokaw letter was indeed the real thing. America, still reeling from September 11, was under attack by biological terrorists. On Monday, October 15, a taped-up envelope ostensibly sent by schoolchildren was delivered to the office of then Senate majority leader Tom Daschle in Washington, D.C. When it was opened, a cloud of powder burst into the air. This letter read:









Powder samples from both the Brokaw and Daschle letters were couriered to Fort Detrick, headquarters of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), in Frederick, Maryland. The USAMRIID scientists were alarmed by what they discovered. It was the same stuff that had killed Bob Stevens, the tabloid photo editor, in Florida: the Ames strain, used in the U.S. biodefense program. The distribution of Ames, regulated by USAMRIID, was limited to about a dozen labs under tight security controls. Moreover, the anthrax had been weaponized, refined to its most lethal particle size of one to three microns. Most astonishing was its purity: the powder had been concentrated to a trillion spores per gram.

Speaking to the press on Tuesday afternoon, October 16, Senator Daschle described the dry anthrax sent to his office as "very potent." Dr. Richard Spertzel, the former chief bio-inspector for the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, went a step further. Describing the powder as "weapons grade," Spertzel told ABC that he knew of fewer than five experts in the United States with the capability to produce such material.

While East Coast postal workers expressed alarm, commanders at Fort Detrick objected to the term "weaponized." The F.B.I. and USAMRIID convened for an emergency interagency conference call. They agreed upon the terms "professionally done" and "energetic." Government spokespersons were instructed to use these words, not "weaponized," to describe the anthrax contained in the New Jersey letters. On Wednesday, a somber Senator Daschle sponsored a news conference. At his side stood Fort Detrick's commander, Major General John Parker, who called the Daschle powder "a garden variety" anthrax "sensitive to all antibiotics."

Two weeks later, appearing before the Senate's Governmental Affairs Committee, Parker testified that the terms "professionally done" and "energetic" were chosen "as more appropriate descriptions in lieu of any real familiarity with weaponized materials." Parker seemed unaware that the army for the past decade has conducted extensive biodefense research on weaponized materials, both at USAMRIID and at the Dugway Proving Ground, and has even pushed to duplicate a hybrid anthrax produced by the old Soviet program. But by the time Parker explained his choice of words to the Senate committee, two Washington postal workers, Joseph Curseen Jr. (case 16) and Thomas Morris Jr. (case 15), who had credited reports that mail handlers were not at risk, had died, and several others were critically ill.

When the F.B.I. first approached me about this case, I was perfectly willing to believe that the anthrax was "garden variety" and that it had been sent by Muslim extremists. In fact, I was puzzled at first that the government was so quick to announce that this was probably a case of domestic, not foreign, terrorism. But as I analyzed the letters from New Jersey, I did see some red "flags" or, rather, red-white-and-blue ones.

The Brokaw and Daschle letters were dated "09-11-01." Most Americans write their dates in that order -- month, day, year -- while most of the rest of the world writes the date in day-month-year sequence. Might the offender be American? Maybe, maybe not. All who come to this country, including terrorists, learn from the moment they fill in their I.N.S. port-of-entry cards that American practice calls for the form MM-DD-YY. But why write the date at all? And why that date?

The New Jersey Brokaw letter was postmarked September 18 and the Daschle letter October 9. Neither letter was stamped on September 11. This offender wanted the authorities to explore a connection between the anthrax attacks and 9/11. But when an offender gives you unnecessary information that tells you what to think, you probably want to think twice.

The return address on the Daschle letter supplied more extraneous information: "FRANKLIN PARK, NJ 08852." From an online search I learned that there is a Franklin Park in New Jersey, 22 miles north of Trenton, where the letters were postmarked. But the Zip Code, 08852, corresponds to another New Jersey town, Monmouth Junction. The three communities run parallel to I-95. Clearly, the offender knew something about New Jersey, and with all of those dropped geographic clues, he surely knew that the authorities would look for him there. I had a hunch he'd turn up somewhere else, though probably within driving distance.

The Daschle letter -- which was identical to a letter sent to Senator Patrick Leahy that remained undiscovered until November 16, 2001 -- had this return address: "4TH GRADE, GREENDALE SCHOOL." The fictional school address was designed to make the envelope look harmless, and fourth graders in this country do indeed write letters to their elected representatives, often as a class project. Is that a piece of cultural information that would be known and referenced by an al-Qaeda cell?

Since there is no such school in New Jersey, I searched for Greendale schools elsewhere and found several, two of which, in Canada, had made headlines the year before, one for an arson fire and the other for a case of child molestation. A third Greendale School, in Maryland, had made news in 1973 in connection with forced desegregation. I made a note of it. It's not uncommon for the writers of criminal threats to draw on their own experience and reading.

On Tuesday, October 23, I appeared on ABC's Good Morning America to offer a few observations. Were we supposed to believe that this "professionally made" anthrax powder was packaged and mailed by someone who thought penicillin would be the antibiotic of choice, and who didn't even know how to spell it? That "penacilin" was the offender's way of saying, "Look, I don't know much about antibiotics. I don't even know how to spell "penicillin." So don't start thinking that I'm an American scientist. I'm just a semi-literate foreign fanatic."

Five days earlier, Johanna Huden (case 1), an assistant for the New York Post editorial page, was diagnosed with cutaneous anthrax. Searching a bag of segregated mail at the Post's editorial office in Manhattan, F.B.I. agents discovered a letter identical to the New Jersey Brokaw letter. The powder tested positive. That same week in New York, a staffer at CBS (case 9) and the infant son of an ABC News producer (case 8) were diagnosed with cutaneous infections, but no contaminated letters were recovered.

A Florida tabloid, ABC, CBS, NBC, the Post, the U.S. Senate. Well-taped envelopes with a note inside warning the recipient to seek medical treatment because Muslim bioterrorists were on the loose. None of this added up to an al- Qaeda operation, but neither did it look like the work of a random serial killer. Somebody was trying to deliver a message -- a message that kept getting lost in the shuffle.

I tried to imagine the culprit's point of view, based on my hypothesis that an American scientist might be responsible: September 11: America is under attack. John Doe, American biowarrior, knows that if the enemy escalates from airplanes to anthrax we're in trouble. There is too little spent on biodefense, and the F.D.A. has halted production of the BioPort anthrax vaccine. It might take a dose of the real thing to put the nation on high alert and straighten out our government's priorities. Taped envelope seals will prevent the powder from escaping before the letters reach their destination. And the enclosed message will ensure that all recipients are given the antibiotic Cipro in time to prevent fatalities. America's leading biowarriors -- including, perhaps, John Doe himself -- will receive the kind of recognition and respect they have long deserved.

Within days of the 9/11 attack, the F.B.I. announces that several of the hijackers had been based in Delray Beach, Florida. Wasting no time, John Doe takes his cue: the nation's first anthrax attack will take place in Palm Beach County. The authorities will associate the anthrax attack with that Delray terror cell. An Internet search supplies John Doe with an apt target: American Media Inc., a publisher of supermarket tabloids. When the letter arrives, the police will be called, and the powder tested. When they discover it is the real thing, biodefense will become the nation's top concern.

Out goes the first Florida letter, to A.M.I. Oddly, nothing happens. To John Doe, it seems as if his anthrax letter has been discarded without being opened. Meanwhile, the F.B.I. has learned that some of the remaining hijackers were based in New Jersey. John Doe prepares a fresh salvo. His targets this time will include NBC and the New York Post, possibly ABC and CBS. On September 18, from New Jersey, John Doe mails a new batch of anthrax letters, this time with a more explicit message:


Surely, one of those letters will be opened. John Doe watches the news from September 18 through October 1. Still nothing. Then, on October 4, comes the grim news that a photo editor at American Media Inc. in Boca Raton has been diagnosed with inhalational anthrax. So the letter was opened after all, and not credited. It's too late now to save the victim. On October 5, Bob Stevens (case 5) dies. John Doe has now killed a man, and the nation has not heard the wake-up call because the authorities think Stevens, an outdoorsman, may have gotten the disease "naturally." John Doe waits a few more days, hoping that one of his September 18 letters will be opened. Not one scores a hit.

The offender is now in the uncomfortable position of having to warn the nation not only about the al-Qaeda threat but also about his own unnoticed handiwork. On October 9, he mails letters to two liberal U.S. senators, adding about a gram of his best material to each envelope, his deadliest payload yet. This time, the whole nation will sit up straight. The two senators will be put on Cipro, and no one else will get hurt.

On October 12, John Doe's NBC letter of September 18 is discovered. Finally, all Americans will understand our vulnerability to biological terrorism. Unfortunately, the post-office sorting machines were a little too rough on the envelopes. A lot more people than John Doe ever intended are about to get sick.

On October 31, 2001, Fort Detrick's commander was on Capitol Hill speaking to a congressional committee about "energetic" anthrax hours after Kathy Nguyen (case 22), 61, a South Bronx hospital worker, died from inhalational anthrax. Swabs were taken from her home, her workplace, and her mailbox, but not a single spore was discovered.

I sent an e-mail to a friend in the F.B.I.'s New York field office. Forensics are not my department, I wrote, but has the Amerithrax Task Force assigned to the investigation taken swabs from garbage dumpsters? If Nguyen dropped her trash into a Dumpster that already contained anthrax discarded by the offender, or, possibly, an anthrax-laced letter discarded by ABC, CBS, NBC, or the Post, then might those spores have spread into the air in sufficient quantity to be inhaled?

My source wrote back to say that "they think Nguyen got a real snout full of anthrax." The task force hoped that this latest fatality would lead them straight to the killer. Perhaps there was a person or location that could account for her exposure to airborne anthrax. "They are still looking for that secret place," my source wrote. In the end, though, Kathy Nguyen's death was written off as an insoluble mystery.

In November, some of the West's top biowarriors converged on Swindon, England, for an advanced training course for the United Nations Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission. One of the big names on hand for the conference was Steven J. Hatfill, a former USAMRIID virologist and a protégé of Bill Patrick's. Those who completed the course and were certified would have a chance to join the search for Saddam's bioweapons in Iraq. While the 12-day course was under way, someone sent another biothreat letter, postmarked in November in London, to Senator Daschle. When the powder proved nontoxic, the letter was filed away and escaped further scrutiny.

Ninety-four-year-old Ottilie Lundgren (case 23) of Oxford, Connecticut, succumbed to anthrax on November 21, making her the fifth fatality. The infection was believed to have come from a cross-contaminated letter. If you have a compromised immune system, it takes only a few spores for B. anthracis to begin its silent work inside your body. Lundgren had simply been unlucky. An estimated 85 million pieces of mail were processed by the Washington, D.C., and New Jersey postal facilities while the Daschle and Leahy letters were in the system; it's surprising how few of us got sick.

By the time the F.B.I. showed up in Connecticut to investigate the Lundgren case, the press was hungry for news, but the Amerithrax Task Force was saying little about its search for the killer. After an F.B.I. agent mentioned something about "the Camel Club," Dave Altimari and Jack Dolan of the Hartford Courant searched online legal archives for the phrase. They found a lawsuit, not yet resolved, involving Dr. Ayaad Assaad, an Arab-American scientist who worked at USAMRIID until he was laid off in 1997. Dolan and Altimari gave Assaad's attorney a call and got an earful.

An American citizen since 1981, the Egyptian-born Assaad, 54, is grateful to his adopted country and proud of the ricin vaccine that he developed during his eight years as a civilian research scientist for the U.S. Army. But after Assaad transferred to USAMRIID, in 1989, he claimed in his lawsuit, several white, American-born pathologists founded "the Camel Club," whose purpose was to harass and humiliate him.

Assaad says he experienced continued harassment until his unexpected layoff in March 1997. Given 60 days to vacate, Assaad packed up on May 9, 1997, said goodbye to his colleagues, and headed for the door. He says he was stopped by USAMRIID guards who, with a superior's help, rummaged through his belongings in a vain search for stolen army property. (The U.S. Army denies that Assaad was discriminated against or wrongfully dismissed. The case is currently in appeals court.)

New USAMRIID hires that year, following Assaad's departure, included Steven J. Hatfill, a recruit from the National Institutes of Health. Hatfill was a concept man with a detailed vision for building mobile germ labs. Assaad, meanwhile, took a job with the Environmental Protection Agency, where he now works as a toxicologist testing pesticides.

Assaad told Dolan and Altimari that he was at home in Frederick, Maryland, on October 2, 2001, when he received a call from Agent Gregory Leylegian of the F.B.I., summoning him to a meeting the next morning. It was the same day American Media's Bob Stevens (case 5) entered J.F.K. Medical Center in Atlantis, Florida.

Assaad and his attorney, Rosemary McDermott, arrived at the Washington, D.C., field office at 10 A.M. They were met by Agents Leylegian and Mark Buie, who explained that an anonymous letter had been mailed to the "Town of Quantico Police," identifying Assaad as a fanatic with the will and means to launch a bioterror attack on the United States. Buie read the one-page, single-spaced, computer-generated 212-word letter aloud. Assaad, who holds a Ph.D. in physiology from Iowa State University in Ames and is married to a Nebraskan, was shocked by the letter's depiction of him as a potential terrorist.

Agent Buie asked what the letter writer might have meant by "further terrorist activity." "Put it this way," McDermott said, "Dr. Assaad is suing the army for discrimination and wrongful dismissal. Some people are pretty upset with him about that." Buie and Leylegian had no reason to think that a bioterror attack was imminent. The Quantico letter was postmarked September 21, a day after the Florida Brokaw letter and three days after the New Jersey Brokaw letter that contained the real thing, but those documents had not yet come to light.

Dr. Assaad wondered what he would do if the government revoked his citizenship or if he could no longer work at the Environmental Protection Agency. When Assaad left USAMRIID in 1997, he thought his ordeal was over. Now, four years later, he stood accused as a traitor to his country, a corrupter of his sons, a dangerous psychopath, a bioterrorist.

It was now December 2001, yet Dolan and Altimari's Hartford Courant story was the first I had heard of the Quantico letter. S.S.A. Fitzgerald had not heard of it, either. In fact, there were quite a few critical documents that Fitzgerald had not yet seen. What, I wondered, has the anthrax task force been doing" Hoping that the Quantico letter might lead, if not to the killer, at least to a suspect, I offered to examine the document. My photocopy arrived by FedEx not from the task force but from F.B.I. headquarters in Washington. Searching through documents by some 40 USAMRIID employees, I found writings by a female officer that looked like a perfect match. I wrote a detailed report on the evidence, but the anthrax task force declined to follow through: the Quantico letter had already been declared a hoax and zero-filed as part of the 9/11 investigation.

When Assaad's attorney sought, under the Freedom of Information Act, to obtain a copy, the Justice Department denied her request: releasing the document "could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of the personal privacy of third parties" and "disclose the identities of confidential sources."

Six months after the first deadly powder-bearing letter was mailed, five months after my initial call from the F.B.I., I still had only the four anthrax letters and envelopes, the three biothreats mailed nearly simultaneously from St. Petersburg, and the Quantico letter. The F.B.I. hadn't identified a suspect and had only the anthrax itself by which to search for the offender. Barring further incidents, we would have to look for other extant writings by the anthrax killer. But where does one even begin looking?

Because the New Jersey and Florida letters seemed related and possibly collaborative, I searched for stories of past so-called hoaxes -- and uncovered a trail of seemingly related biothreat incidents, several of which exhibited language and writing strategies similar to those of the New Jersey and Florida documents. The earliest incident occurred in April 1997. Signing himself "The Counter Holocaust Lobbyists of Hillel" -- phraseology borrowed from the Holocaust denier Ernst Zündel -- someone sent a petri dish to the Washington, D.C., headquarters of the Jewish organization B'nai B'rith. The dish, broken in the mail, contained Bacillus cereus, or B.c., an anthrax simulant used for biodefense research. A hazardous materials team was called in. Whole city blocks were evacuated. But the writing was not examined, the document was zerofiled, and no arrest was made. Net cost to taxpayers: $2 million.

It was while looking for information on the B'nai B'rith incident that I found a Washington Times interview with Steven Hatfill, then a virologist with the N.I.H., who was said to have "thought carefully about bioterrorism." The Times paraphrased Dr. Hatfill"s explanation of the "four levels" of possible biological attack:
  • The first is the B'nai B'rith variety, in which no real organisms are used. ("Hello. This is Abdul. We have put anthrax in the food at Throckmorton Middle School." In fact, Abdul hasn't.) We empty public buildings for bomb threats, how about for anthrax threats" After all, sooner or later, one might be real.
  • The second level consists in the release of real bacteria, but without the intention of infecting many people. Probably only a few people would get it, and perhaps none would die.
  • The third level consists in trying to get a lot of people sick, and maybe dead. Anthrax spores put into the ventilation system of a movie theater would do the trick. The result would be horrendous panic even if only 100 people got sick or died. ...
  • The fourth level consists of a self-sustaining, unstoppable epidemic.
How hard, really, would it be to carry out a bio-attack? Not very, Hatfill said. Culturing bacteria is easy and almost universally understood.

I searched the Internet for a Throckmorton school and found nothing of interest outside Throckmorton, Texas, except for the Throckmorton Plant Sciences Center at Kansas State University, where courses are taught on agricultural pathogens. Could there be a connection, I wondered, between the "Throckmorton Middle School" scenario and the anthrax killer's "Greendale School?"

Searching further, I learned that the B'nai B'rith episode occurred a few months after mysterious gas incidents at Washington National Airport (now Reagan National) and Baltimore- Washington International Airport. On both occasions, passengers were overcome with noxious fumes not publicly identified by investigators. Ten months later, people again fell ill at Washington National and had to be hospitalized after reporting fumes. In January 1998, after the third airport incident in a year, The Washington Times' magazine, Insight, published a second interview with Hatfill, who said, "These types of incidents could be a form of testing for a possible future terrorist attack -- perhaps next time using anthrax."

This ominous commentary was accompanied by a photograph of Hatfill at home, in his kitchen, wearing garbage bags, gloves, and an army-supply gas mask, illustrating how a bioterrorist might cook up bubonic plague in a private laboratory and cause havoc using a homemade spray disseminator such as the one Hatfill had designed himself. All of which seemed, to me, an unusual hobby for a virologist then employed by the National Institutes of Health.

Then I found another interesting news item. Shortly after Insight published its ghoulish photograph of Hatfill in his home laboratory, a white male, wearing a gas mask, deposited a bottle outside the U.S. Treasury Building. An anonymous call was then placed alerting the U.S. Secret Service that it contained "liquid chemical warfare agent." The bottle, though found, was not preserved -- it was, after all, just a "hoax."

In its interview with Hatfill, Insight reported that he had worked in Zimbabwe in the late 1970s when "an epidemic of anthrax from natural causes affected 10,000 people." In fact, Hatfill had been in apartheid Rhodesia from 1978 to 1980 (the year it was renamed Zimbabwe), and witnessed the worst outbreak of anthrax ever recorded -- in a part of Africa where anthrax was rarely encountered. During the civil war to topple the apartheid government, the southern Tribal Trust Lands were ravaged by an epidemic that caused 10,738 recorded human infections in about two years. Today, black Zimbabweans and their livestock are still becoming ill and dying from the biological fallout.

That the outbreak was "natural" is debatable. In 1992, Dr. Meryl Nass, an American physician, and Jeremy Brickhill, a Zimbabwean journalist, published separate reports supporting what was already suspected: that the Rhodesian anthrax epidemic was deliberate, a biowarfare attack on the black townships, probably carried out by Rhodesia's notorious government-backed Selous Scouts militia.

In January 2002, while compiling documents by and about Hatfill, including his unclassified scientific publications, I found a brief autobiography. In it, Hatfill, though American, boasted of having served in the late 1970s with the Selous Scouts in Rhodesia. In that same brief bio, Dr. Hatfill indicated that he had taken his medical degree from the Godfrey Huggins School of Medicine in Harare, Rhodesia, which he attended from 1978 to '84. Next I searched the Internet for a Greendale School somewhere in Africa and discovered the Courteney Selous School, situated in the wealthy, white Harare suburb of Greendale, a mile from the medical school where Hatfill spent six years obtaining his M.D. while serving, by his own unconfirmed account, with the Selous Scouts.

Steven Hatfill was now looking to me like a suspect, or at least, as the F.B.I. would denote him eight months later, "a person of interest." When I lined up Hatfill's known movements with the postmark locations of reported biothreats, those hoax anthrax attacks appeared to trail him like a vapor cloud. But in February 2002, shortly after I advanced his candidacy to my contact at F.B.I. headquarters, I was told that Mr. Hatfill had a good alibi. A month later, when I pressed the issue, I was told, "Look, Don, maybe you're spending too much time on this." Good people in the Department of Defense, C.I.A., and State Department, not to mention Bill Patrick, had vouched for Hatfill. I decided to give it a rest. But first, I faxed a comparative-handwriting sample to F.B.I. headquarters, with examples of Hatfill's printing on the left and printing by the anthrax offender on the right. I am not a handwriting expert, so I supplied the document without comment. A week later, I got a thank-you call.

In 1999, Hatfill was fired by USAMRIID. He was then hired at Science Applications International Corporation (S.A.I.C.), a contractor for the Department of Defense and the C.I.A., but he departed S.A.I.C. in March 2002, a month after he took a polygraph concerning the anthrax matter that he says he passed. Hatfill at the time was building a mobile germ lab out of an old truck chassis, and after S.A.I.C. fired him he continued work on it using his own money. When the F.B.I. wanted to confiscate the mobile lab to test it for anthrax spores, the army resisted, moving the trailer to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where it was used to train Special Forces in preparation for the war on Iraq. The classes were taught by Steve Hatfill and Bill Patrick.

In March 2002, as the F.B.I. continued to investigate, Hatfill moved on to a $150,000- a-year job in Louisiana, funded by a grant from the Department of Justice. That same month, from Louisiana, came a fresh batch of hoax anthrax letters. L.S.U.'s Martin Hugh-Jones, a World Health Organization director, examined the powder they contained and found it to be nontoxic. The letters were then put into a zero file without their language being examined by a trained professional.

On the night of March 12, Ayaad Assaad received a call from a person representing himself as a Louisiana F.B.I. agent. The caller demanded to know if Assaad had been told who wrote the Quantico letter. To prove his credentials, the caller rattled off personal information from as far back as Assaad's Egyptian high school -- the Arabic name of which he pronounced correctly. Assaad believes he recognized the caller's source of information: he was likely reading from Assaad's confidential SF-171, a U.S.-government employment application form that had been on file at USAMRIID.

Frightened, Dr. Assaad hung up, then called me at home at 10 P.M. to tell me of the incident. I assured him the call was fraudulent. The F.B.I. does not conduct its business in that way.

There were, in my opinion, a few people whose recorded voices should be played back to Assaad to see if he recognized one of them as his anonymous caller. Though it is a felony to impersonate an F.B.I. agent, the task force decided not to investigate. According to Assaad, when he finally called the F.B.I., he was told to get caller ID.

In December 2001, Dr. Barbara Hatch Rosenberg, a noted bioweapons expert, delivered a paper contending that the perpetrator of the anthrax crimes was an American microbiologist whose training and possession of Ames-strain powder pointed to a government insider with experience in a U.S. military lab. In March 2002, she told the BBC that the anthrax deaths may have resulted from a secret project to examine the practicability of sending real anthrax through the mail -- an experiment that misfired despite such precautions as taped envelope seals. That surprising hypothesis made Rosenberg a target for knee-jerk criticism, but competent sources within the biowarfare establishment thought she might well be right.

In April, I met Rosenberg for lunch at an Indian restaurant in Brewster, New York, and compared notes. We found that our evidence had led us in the same direction, though by different routes and for different reasons.

The weeks dragged on. Prodded publicly by Rosenberg and privately by myself, the F.B.I.'s anthrax task force nevertheless seemed stubbornly unwilling to consider the evidence pointing toward a military insider or to examine the Quantico letter or those few "hoax" biothreats that I believed, and still believe, may shed light on the anthrax murders. The additional documents that I had been expecting from the F.B.I. never arrived. S.S.A. Fitzgerald, the F.B.I.'s top in-house text analyst, asked to examine the same set of documents and received the same answer: no. I'm not an insider, nor an old hand. I have worked with the F.B.I. for only six years, on no more than 20 investigations. But never have I encountered such reluctance to examine potentially critical documents.

Meanwhile, friends of Fort Detrick were leaking to the press new pieces of disinformation indicating that the mailed anthrax probably came from Iraq. The leaks included false allegations that the Daschle anthrax included additives distinctive to the Iraqi arms program and that it had been dried using an atomizer spray dryer sold by Denmark to Iraq.

Her patience exhausted, Dr. Rosenberg met with the Senate Judiciary Committee staff on June 18, 2002, and laid out the evidence, such as it was, hers and mine. Van Harp, head of the Amerithrax Task Force, sat in on the briefing. The senators were attentive. So, too, evidently, was Harp: exactly one week after Rosenberg's meeting with the Judiciary Committee staff, the F.B.I. searched Hatfill's residence. A bureau spokesman described it to The Washington Times as a "voluntary search" without a warrant, "requested" by Dr. Hatfill to clear his name.

Suddenly I was being flooded with documents from reporters and concerned scientists: letters, e-mails, curricula vitae, handwriting samples, and original .fiction by Steve Hatfill. I learned from one document that Hatfill had audited a Super Terrorism seminar in Washington, D.C., on April 24, 1997, the day of the B'nai B'rith incident. The next day, in a letter to the seminar's organizer, Edgar Brenner, he wrote that he was "tremendously interested in becoming more involved in this area" and noted that the petri-dish scare, so soon after the seminar, showed that "this topic is vital to the security of the United States." Hatfill's original fiction included a cut-and-paste forgery of a diploma for a Ph.D. from Rhodes University, which he used to obtain his jobs at the N.I.H., USAMRIID, and S.A.I.C.

No less interesting to me, as a professor of English literature, was Hatfill's unpublished novel, Emergence, which I examined in Washington at the U.S. Copyright Office. In the book, an Iraqi virologist launches a bioterror attack on behalf of an unnamed sponsor, using an identity acquired from the Irish Republican Army and a homemade sprayer like the one Steven J. Hatfill demonstrated for The Washington Times. A fictional scientist named Steven J. Roberts comes to the rescue, tracing the outbreak to Iraq. The Strangelovean novel ends with America nuking Baghdad. As the warheads fall, the pilot remarks, "Beautiful . . . just beautiful. Welcome to Fuck City, Ragheads! Let"s get the hell out of Dodge."

I was reminded of Bill Patrick's words in his talk at Maxwell Air Force Base: "The beauty of biological warfare, good people, is that you can pick an agent with a short period of incubation, or a moderate period of incubation, or a long period. And this, I think, would be very attractive to terrorists, because they can do their dirty work and get out of Dodge City, and you won't know that you're infected till they're long gone."

Hatfill's novel, however, has a surprise ending. In a three-page epilogue, the narrator, a Russian mobster, reveals that his own organization, not Iraq, is responsible for the bioterror attack:

"The reaction was as great as we had hoped for the entire focus of the American F.B.I. has now shifted towards combating chemical/ biological terrorism and this is allowing us to formulate the unprecedented expansion of our organization."

Biowarfare fiction was no mere lark for Steven Hatfill. It was his specialty. His responsibilities at USAMRIID included the writing of bioterror scenarios, at least one of which actually happened. Hatfill envisioned someone spreading a pathogen throughout several floors of a public office building. It would take only one reported illness, he predicted, "to shut down the entire building, especially if the bug had been sprayed on several .floors. Then the call comes: "Let our man loose, or we'll do a school." In August 1998, in Wichita, Kansas, 40 miles southeast of Southwestern College, Hatfill's alma mater, powder was spread throughout several floors of the Finney State Office Building. Then came "the call," in the form of a letter from a team of Christian Identity extremists and a group calling itself Brothers for Freedom of Americans.

A few days later, Hatfill and Bill Patrick arrived in San Diego for the Worldwide Conference on Antiterrorism, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense. I asked my F.B.I. contact for the Wichita documents. Again, my requests were denied.

The ink was hardly dry on Emergence when the government hired Hatfill, now working for S.A.I.C., to commission a paper from Bill Patrick focusing on how to respond to a biological terror event.

I have read Patrick's 1999 report "Risk Assessment." Though it's a classified document, it contains little that he hasn't said before elsewhere. I did, however, find in it something that surprised me: Patrick describes a hypothetical incident in which an attacker uses the U.S. mail service to deliver a business envelope containing no more than 2.5 grams of aerosolized anthrax, refined to a trillion spores per gram, in particles smaller than five microns. Patrick explains that 2.5 grams is the amount that can be placed into a standard envelope without detection. "More powder makes the envelope bulge and draws attention."

As prophecies go, that one's right on the money. The "DEATH TO AMERICA" letters sent two years later to Senators Daschle and Leahy contained about a gram of aerosolized anthrax, particle size one to three microns, refined to a trillion spores per gram. Bill Patrick plus the Dugway scientists make up Richard Spertzel's short list of four U.S. experts who know how to make such a fine dry powder. The anthrax killer, whoever he may be, represents a fifth expert with Patrick's bench skills. But until the Daschle powder appeared, every quoted expert I had seen except Patrick said it couldn't be done at all.

After rumors broke that Bill Patrick, in a classified paper, had foreseen a bioterror attack using the mail service, a transcript of his paper was leaked to the press. The leaked version represents Patrick's original text for S.A.I.C., typos and all, but with one critical omission: a footnote in which Patrick claims that the U.S. has refined "weaponized" powder to a trillion spores per gram has disappeared.

By midsummer 2002, the F.B.I. and even Attorney General John Ashcroft were obliged to call Steve Hatfill a "person of interest," despite diehard assurances from other government sources that he wasn't. That August, the F.B.I. returned to Hatfill's Maryland apartment. Searching his refrigerator, agents found a canister of Bacillus thuringiensis, or B.t. -- a mostly harmless pesticide widely used on caterpillars -- which USAMRIID adopted for study in 1995, after UNSCOM discovered that B.t. was Iraq's favored anthrax simulant.

On August 25, in a second dramatic press conference, Hatfill, having shaved his mustache of 20 years, protested his persecution. This was the first I had seen of my suspect. He was five feet eleven and 210 pounds, with pale-blue eyes and a downturned mouth. He would not mind being investigated, he said, except that Attorney General Ashcroft "has broken the Ninth Commandment: Thou shalt not bear false witness." With these words, Hatfill's voice cracked and his eyes welled up with tears. His emotional display won over many hearts, even among the usually cynical Washington press corps.

The American press seems to enjoy dumping on the F.B.I. For the first nine months of the investigation, it was said that the F.B.I. was spinning its wheels. Ever since, it's been said that the F.B.I. has ruined a man's life -- that Steve Hatfill is a second Richard Jewell, the long-suffering suspect in the Centennial Olympic Park bombing. In May, one F.B.I. team trailed Hatfill so closely that its S.U.V. ran over his foot. Then the Washington police ticketed him for "walking to create a hazard."

I know something about the Centennial Olympic Park serial bomber, because I helped -- using linguistic evidence gleaned from the Army of God letters -- to direct investigative attention on to Eric Robert Rudolph. And it is my opinion, based on the documents I have examined, that Hatfill is no Richard Jewell. The F.B.I.'s early Centennial Olympic Park bombing suspect was said to fit a behavior profile of domestic bombers, but I found nothing in Jewell's use of language to implicate him as a terrorist. As for Hatfill, it was the F.B.I.'s best team of trained bloodhounds, not an offender profile nor my text analysis, that finally persuaded the Amerithrax Task Force in July 2002 to associate Hatfill with the anthrax letters and put him under 24-hour surveillance. The bureau's description of him as a "person of interest" is neither inaccurate nor unfair. (Through his lawyer, Hatfill maintained his innocence and declined to comment for this article.)

One thing I've learned about the F.B.I. in my years as a civilian consultant is that the bureau is a compartmentalized house of secrets. Each field office and task force guards its information and documents like a treasure trove, and no one office, not even F.B.I. headquarters, has direct access to the whole picture. But the F.B.I. is an open book compared with our biowarfare establishment. The Pentagon has a long history of clandestine experimentation on human guinea pigs that bears looking into. In 1952, for example, the army conducted open-air tests at Fort McClellan, Alabama, with bioweapons simulants that, though bacterial, were supposedly harmless. When local respiratory illness skyrocketed and dozens of civilians died, the army quietly discontinued use of the problem simulant and carried on with another.

Then there's the 1965 simulated attack on the New York City subway. On June 8 of that year, under Bill Patrick's direction, the subway was targeted with the anthrax simulant B.g. Lightbulbs, each containing 87 trillion spores, were dropped onto the tracks. Trains then sucked the clouds of live bacteria into the subway system. C.I.A. and military scientists, bearing fake ID's, were on location to count the spores. More than a million riders were exposed to B.g. that day; many inhaled more than a million spores per minute. Patrick, when telling this story, still chuckles about how "we clobbered the Lexington line with B.g." What he doesn't say is that, during a similar test in San Francisco in 1950, one person died from B.g. complications and many others fell ill. The cause of the fatality was not discovered until 1977, when the U.S. Army, in Senate subcommittee hearings, finally disclosed its mock biological attack on San Francisco. ("We clobbered downtown San Francisco with Bacillus globigii," Bill Patrick told his Maxwell Air Force Base audience in February 1999. "This was very successful.") No one knows how many riders may have become sick from the 1965 New York" subway test. The experiment was kept secret for 20 years. By then, the statute of limitations for lawsuits was long past and contemporary medical records were hard to come by.

It's also a matter of record that in 1965 military scientists gassed Washington National Airport and a Greyhound bus terminal, using B.g. Most Americans would like to think that our government doesn't do that kind of thing anymore. I'd like to report, for example, that our military had nothing to do with those three gas incidents at Baltimore- Washington and Washington National airports in 1997. Though the F.B.I. won't confirm it, I've been told at least one of those three events involved the dissemination not of B.g. but of B.t., the same substance the F.B.I. discovered in Hatfill's refrigerator in August 2002.

It is not my job to indict or to try my own suspect for the anthrax murders. And even if the F.B.I. should find hard evidence linking Hatfill to a crime, he will remain innocent until proved guilty. But all Americans have a right to know more about the system that allowed Steven Hatfill to become one of the nation's leading bioterror experts. Here is a fellow with a fake Ph.D. who posed for The Washington Times as a bioterrorist with a homemade plague disseminator, and who boasted as recently as last year of having served with the apartheid government's notorious Selous Scouts during the Rhodesian anthrax epidemic. I have three different editions of his curriculum vitae, each one a tissue of lies. How did such a rascal come to be instructing the C.I.A., F.B.I., Defense Intelligence Agency, army, navy, Marines, U.S. marshals, and State Department on such matters as the handling of deadly pathogens and of bioterror incidents" How did he happen to acquire, to quote from his résumé, a "working knowledge of the former U.S. and foreign BW [biowarfare] programs, wet and dry BW agents, largescale production of bacterial, rickettsial, and viral BW pathogens and toxins, stabilizers and other additives, former BG simulant production methods, open air testing and vulnerability trials, single and 2 fluid nozzle dissemination, [and] bomblet design?" How did he obtain clearance to operate in top military labs on exotic viral pathogens, such as Ebola, and on Level 3 pathogens such as bubonic plague and anthrax?

In August 2000, Hatfill trained forces at MacDill Air Force Base, in Tampa, using a makeshift bioterror "kitchen" lab that he built himself out of scavenged parts, as well as biosafety cabinets taken from USAMRIID. The borrowed cabinets, suitable for turning germs into weapons, are still missing and are said to have been destroyed. Hatfill, a certified scuba diver, once spoke of how to use a pond in the Frederick Municipal Forest a few miles from his former residence in Maryland" to dispose of toxins. On that information, the F.B.I. searched Whiskey Springs Pond and found a homemade biosafety cabinet. The pond, when later drained, disclosed a rusty bicycle and a street sign but no new evidence.

This summer, The New York Times,The Washington Post, and the Associated Press ran stories on Hatfill's activities as a designer of simulated bioterror labs. None mentioned that Hatfill sprayed his trainees with samples of aerosolized B.g. When questioned about these activities, Hatfill, in apparent contradiction of his 2002 résumé, denied having knowledge of how to refine a dry bacterial powder to the level achieved by army scientists.

The most curious piece of fieldwork noted on Steven Hatfill's most recent C.V. is that of "open air testing and vulnerability trials." In a 2001 paper, "Biological Warfare Scenarios," Bill Patrick called the 1965 simulated attack on the New York subway "one of the most important vulnerability studies" of the 70 he conducted. In 1969, when the army's biowarfare program was officially terminated, Steven Hatfill was still in fifth grade. By 1998, Hatfill was Patrick's sidekick in what one colleague has described as a "Batman and Robin" team. But it is from USAMRIID that Hatfill claims to have acquired his working knowledge of army-sponsored "vulnerability" trials.

Several of America's bioweaponeers have said, for the record, that the anthrax attack has an upside. The killings have forced long-awaited F.D.A. approval of the Bioport anthrax vaccine facility and prompted increased federal spending on biodefense -- by $6 billion in 2003 alone. But the anthrax offender also diverted law-enforcement resources when we needed them most and wreaked havoc on the U.S. Postal Service. He has shown the world how to disrupt the American economy with minimal expense, and how to kill with minimal risk of being caught.

Now that it"s been done once, it seems likely to happen again. Bill Patrick -- whose expertise, in the wrong hands, may be deadly -- even though he is not -- has advised our military to be prepared for something far worse: "People say to me, ‘BW"s not effective.' Ladies and gentlemen, I'm here to tell you, you look at atomic energy, you look at chemical method of infection -- nothing, I mean nothing, produces what biological warfare does when you do your planning, and you have the right agent and the right dissemination-and-delivery system. Any questions?"

September 14, 2003, Washington Post, The Pursuit of Steven Hatfill, by Marilyn W. Thompson,

Questions and comments about the article were fielded by Ms. Thompson on September 15.

He says he's a patriot, and some on the front lines of the war against terror sing his praises. But his provocative life and career have kept him at the center of the FBI's frustrating hunt for the anthrax killer.

It couldn't be Steve Hatfill. No way.

Stan Bedlington had known the guy for several years. They were drinking buddies who'd both been involved in anti-terrorism efforts long before the World Trade Center crumbled. Now, suddenly, people were saying that Hatfill could be responsible for the country's first case of domestic bioterrorism, a release of lethal anthrax through the mail that had left five people dead and 17 others infected in the fall of 2001. The FBI had just searched Hatfill's apartment in Frederick, looking for traces of anthrax spores or anything else that might tie the scientist to the attack.

Bedlington hadn't seen Hatfill for a while, but he still had vivid memories of him. They'd first met at a Baltimore bioterrorism conference. Bedlington, a retired CIA agent, had spent six years as a senior analyst with the CIA Counter-terrorism Center. Hatfill was working as a virology researcher at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, where he'd begun making a name for himself preaching the dangers of a bioterror attack.

Soon they ran into each other again at Charley's Place in McLean, then a favorite hangout for the U.S. intelligence community. Agents and officials from the CIA and Pentagon mingled with private consultants and law enforcement agents. Most were cleared to handle classified information, but after long workdays and a few drinks, the conversation often veered to tales of dark intrigue and, occasionally, into drunken bluster.

Hatfill, who first showed up there with men whom Bedlington recognized as bodyguards for Saudi Arabian Prince Bandar bin Sultan, had plenty of stories to tell.

He bragged about being an ex-Green Beret. He walked with a slight limp and told people it was the result of being shot during combat. In a convincing British accent that he could turn on at will, he described parachute jumps and commando training he did under the direction of the British Special Air Service. He detailed his exploits as a member of the Selous Scouts, an elite counterinsurgency unit of Rhodesia's white supremacist army that became notorious for brutality during that country's civil war. He even recounted a devastating outbreak of anthrax poisoning in the Rhodesian bush in the late 1970s, an event later suspected to be part of an effort by the Selous Scouts to control guerrilla uprisings.

Hatfill was always a little over the top. He once brandished a photo Bedlington considered "a little bit weird" -- an image of Hatfill in a biohazard suit pretending to cook up germs in a saucepan. Hatfill also described how easy it would be for a terrorist to enter the Pentagon in a wheelchair and spray a biological agent. Even so, Bedlington was impressed by Hatfill. He considered him a "superpatriot" committed to improving U.S. preparedness for a biological attack. He mentioned Hatfill to a CIA recruiter as an ideal candidate for a clandestine operations job.

After Hatfill's name surfaced in the anthrax case in the summer of 2002, Bedlington kept wondering: Did he really know this man as well as he thought? Curious, Bedlington finally sat down in the den of his Arlington condominium, typed Hatfill's name into a computer search engine and found a copy of his résumé.

Hatfill, it said, had graduated in 1984 from a medical school in Harare, Zimbabwe, the former Rhodesia. Which had no particular significance to Bedlington, until he did a bit more research and learned the campus bordered a suburb called Greendale. A fairly ordinary name, except for one jaw-dropping coincidence: The fictional return address on two of the anthrax letters read "Greendale School."

From the air, the pond was little more than a splotch on a canvas of verdant green, a fishing hole tucked among thick woods on the edge of the Catoctin Mountains. Situated along a remote country road, it could easily escape notice on a drizzly morning as a helicopter chugged through the hazy clouds blanketing the Frederick horizon. Yet for days this past June, the prospect of what this pond might contain had captivated much of America. At the tiny Frederick municipal airport, news photographers waited their turns to climb to 400 feet and capture images of the secretive law enforcement operation transpiring below.

The pond sat almost completely empty, sucked dry by pumps. Colors flashed from its banks -- yellow police tape, the fiery glow of a welder soldering a black box, and a dozen sour-faced men in orange reflective vests, surveying the pond like disgruntled husbands dispatched to bail out a flooded basement.

"That's it!" the helicopter pilot barked into his mouthpiece, dipping low. A small yellow earthmover sat stuck in the mud, going nowhere. A few trailers dotted a road, including one bearing the initials "FBI."

In a panoramic sweep, the scene below showed the extent to which the agency had gone in search of evidence tying Steven Hatfill to the anonymous anthrax mailings. Such moments of grand theater had punctuated the anthrax investigation -- dramatic raids with agents in hazmat suits carting away sealed plastic bags, reports of bloodhounds sniffing out a likely suspect, images of brave divers plunging into icy ponds to pursue a promising lead.

In a chase that had taken agents to the far corners of the world, more than 5,000 people had been interviewed and 20 laboratories used as consultants, according to U.S. Attorney Roscoe C. Howard Jr., who is overseeing the grand jury investigation of the case. The costs for scientific analysis alone had reached $13 million.

Still, after nearly two years, the criminal investigation seemed more stalled than the yellow earthmover. And as the months had dragged on, critics of the FBI's performance had begun to fear that the anthrax attacks might represent a "perfect crime," unsolvable not so much because of the killer's cunning but because of the FBI's inadequacies.

Although Attorney General John Ashcroft vowed just last month that the case would be solved, and FBI officials say they are still pursuing a short list of suspects, only one man has been subjected to intense public suspicion: Steven Jay Hatfill.

Before he was dubbed "a person of interest" in the case, Hatfill had been part of a tight circle of U.S. government officials and consultants working to counter the global bioterror threat.

He'd trained defense intelligence agents and soldiers in the elite Special Forces. He'd served as an adviser to the State Department's Diplomatic Security Service. He'd worked with the Pentagon, the CIA, even, ironically, with FBI agents, one of whom Hatfill recognized as a former student when his home was being searched.

For more than a year now, the FBI has monitored Hatfill's every move, following him so relentlessly that an agent drove over his right foot in a May incident on Wisconsin Avenue. Holed up in his girlfriend's luxury condominium near the Washington National Cathedral, Hatfill surfs the Internet and watches TV to stave off boredom. He's been unemployed for more than a year. A job interview he had fell apart when the FBI followed him to the restaurant where it was taking place and began videotaping.

His supporters compare him to Richard Jewell, the man falsely accused in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing case, one of the greatest embarrassments in the FBI's modern history.

Hatfill insists he is innocent and, in a lawsuit filed last month, accused Ashcroft and the FBI of engaging in a "patently illegal campaign of harassment" to cover up their own failure to solve the case. The violations of his civil rights and privacy, Hatfill contends in his 40-page lawsuit, "are not honest mistakes. They are the acts of government agents who long ago chose expedience over principle and abandoned any pretense of concern for the constitutional rights of an American citizen."

The FBI, the lawsuit charges, has wiretapped Hatfill's phones, made it impossible for him to work and leaked information about him to the news media "in a highly public campaign to accuse Dr. Hatfill without formally naming him a suspect or charging him with any wrongdoing."

Hatfill's wish is simple, his attorney Thomas G. Connolly said in a press conference announcing the suit. "He wants his life back."

Whether that's possible depends on how the FBI resolves a single question: Who is the real Steven Jay Hatfill? Is he the zealous patriot so expert at preparing U.S. troops and agents for biowarfare that agencies risked security breaches to use his services? Or is he a contemptuous "catch-me-if-you-can" criminal, whose offhand comments to an associate had sent agents in hard hats and knee boots scouring a Frederick mud pit, desperately searching for clues?

The first to die was Robert Stevens (case 5), a South Florida photo editor whose blood was swimming with a bacteria that most doctors had seen only in medical textbooks. Cause of death: inhalation anthrax, the most fatal and rare form of the diseases caused by B. anthracis, the anthrax bacteria.

Within two days of Stevens's death on October 5, 2001, doctors discovered a second inhalation anthrax case at a Miami hospital. The victim, Ernesto Blanco (case 7), turned out to be a mailroom worker and friend of Bob Stevens at the Boca Raton headquarters of American Media Inc., publisher of the National Enquirer.

Although the letter that sickened them both was never found, Stevens's mail slot tested positive for anthrax contamination.

Soon letters laced with anthrax began turning up in other places, first at the offices of the New York Post and NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, then, on October 15, at the Capitol Hill office of Sen. Tom Daschle. The letter to Daschle ended with the message: "Death to America. Death to Israel. Allah is Great." At the time, the nation was still reeling from the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington. Many terrorism experts feared another attack, perhaps the release of a biological agent.

Now the country held its breath as others who had come into contact with the letters began to fall ill. The scope of the contamination was astonishing. The letter to Daschle and another to Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy had rolled through high-speed sorting machines at huge East Coast postal centers, including the Brentwood distribution center in Northeast D.C., where two workers, Joseph P. Curseen (case 16) and Thomas L. Morris Jr. (case 15), died of inhalation anthrax. (Brentwood was shut down on October 21, 2001, and has yet to reopen.) Fine anthrax powder -- weaponized and lethal -- had rained over millions of pieces of mail. Spores surfaced at the U.S. Supreme Court, at Howard University, at the Stamp Fulfillment Services building in Kansas City, Mo., at the U.S. Embassy in Vilnius, Lithuania, at an accounting firm in Mercerville, N.J., at the main post office in West Palm Beach, Fla.

No one felt entirely safe from one of the most deadly germs known to man.

The FBI first began to pursue the obvious, whether al Qaeda operatives were behind the anthrax release. Then investigators received the first DNA analysis of the anthrax spores found inside American Media's offices. The results were startling. The material bore the genetic mark of the Ames strain of anthrax, one of 89 known varieties, and one commonly used in U.S. military research. The evidence, as compelling as a human fingerprint, shifted suspicion away from al Qaeda and suggested another disturbing possibility: that the anthrax attacks were the work of an American bioweapons insider.

By now the case had spiraled beyond South Florida, to New York, New Jersey and Washington. A flurry of hoax letters and packages further complicated the trail. The FBI's field offices struggled to keep up.

With resources already stretched thin by the investigation into September 11, the FBI was slow in contacting scientists who might shed light on the anthrax attacks. Some old-timers in the disbanded U.S. offensive bioweapons program contacted the bureau on their own, only to wait weeks for a return phone call.

James R.E. Smith, an octogenarian who had once worked with weaponized anthrax at Fort Detrick, says he became so upset that the FBI had not contacted him that he wrote to Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge. He offered a description of a potential prime suspect in the case -- his education, background and address. "This individual is me," Smith teased. The letter finally prompted an FBI visit.

The bureau knew it needed a more coordinated strategy. Director Robert Mueller decided that the Washington field office would head the probe, though it was also investigating the September 11 attack on the Pentagon. Thirty-five FBI agents and 15 inspectors from the U.S. Postal Service were assigned to the team. Eight agents boasted PhDs in the sciences, a virtual roundup of anyone in federal law enforcement with expertise advanced enough to match the presumed killer's. The others faced a "steep learning curve," Howard says, with many discussions revolving around obscure terms usually heard only at microbiology symposiums.

The man leading the investigation was Assistant FBI Director Van Harp, who had made his name busting the Mafia in Cleveland. He was decidedly "old school" FBI, a hard-nosed, "take-no-prisoners" interrogator used to squeezing information out of reluctant witnesses and holding clandestine meetings with nervous informers. Even in casual conversation, Harp's easy smile could evaporate and his eyes narrow into a piercing slit if he sensed duplicity.

Harp gave the anthrax investigation the code name "Amerithrax," coordinated the initial sweep of interviews and posted copies of the anthrax letters and envelopes on the Internet. The hope was that someone would recognize the creepy block lettering or offer insight into the letters' ominous texts or the phony return address on two of them: 4th grade, Greendale School, Franklin Park, N.J.

To run the anthrax case day to day, Harp turned to veteran agent Bob Roth, whose straightforward, meticulous style mirrored his own. Roth sometimes referred to himself as a cops-and-robbers kind of guy, best suited to pursuing the mobsters, embezzlers and kidnappers who had always been the FBI's bread and butter.

But this case posed an entirely new set of challenges, and Roth was willing to try almost anything to solve it. At one point, he held a meeting with Mark Smith, a veteran Maryland handwriting analyst, and two associates, who proposed setting up a computer sting operation in an effort to identify the killer. Smith would try to lure the perpetrator to two Web sites, and, by making provocative comments about the killer's handwriting and publicizing the sites in interviews and on TV's "America's Most Wanted."

Roth encouraged the men to try the plan. If it worked, they might be eligible for the FBI reward for information leading to a conviction -- a sum that began at $1 million and eventually ballooned to the current $2.5 million. The sting operation lasted a few months and attracted at least two people on the bureau's watch list, but it apparently produced no breakthroughs.

Smith says the FBI's frustrations with the case were palpable. At one meeting at the Washington field office, agents talked candidly about the toll the long hours were exacting on their families. Roth vented, too, groaning to no one in particular, "Get me out of this!"

From the start, the anthrax case offered two concrete forms of evidence. The first was the anthrax itself, material that through genetic fingerprinting and other analysis might be pinned to a specific laboratory.

The Ames strain identification had focused intense attention on two labs in particular: Fort Detrick and the Dugway Proving Ground in Utah. But much of the scientific analysis was beyond the capabilities of the FBI's own laboratory. Investigators had to rely heavily on 20 outside laboratories, including some in the United States that employed potential suspects and some abroad whose cutting-edge analytical techniques stretched the limits of what might be admissible in U.S. courts. Yet even after studying every conceivable trait of the spores with the help of eight different scientific panels, Howard says, prosecutors still cannot say with absolute certainty where the anthrax used in the letters originated.

The letters and envelopes, which were decontaminated so they could be safely handled, offered other clues. With distinctive printing in all capital letters, designed to mimic that of a schoolchild, they seemed the best hope of tying the case to a specific person.

FBI psychologists, handwriting analysts and forensic experts used the letters to produce an early behavioral profile of the perpetrator. The analysis took into account the words and phrases chosen by the writer, the style of punctuation and the selection of intended targets. The conclusion: The killer was most likely a middle-aged white male with scientific expertise who had some recent beef with the government and chose media and political targets for maximum visibility. It was likely, FBI analyst James Fitzgerald said, that the criminal had timed the letters to take advantage of the 9/11 panic and hoped to use them to draw attention to his special, as yet unknown cause.

Privately, agents shared other theories. The perpetrator might have an interest in an enterprise that could benefit from the hysteria surrounding a bioterror event. And almost certainly, agents hypothesized, the perpetrator had no idea what postal machines would do to a finely ground anthrax powder.

Within weeks of the attacks, Howard says, the team began drawing up a list of "literally thousands of potential suspects, [who] had to be eliminated one by one." At the core was a group of about 50 to 100 people, believed to have either access to anthrax or the scientific expertise to produce the refined material found in the Daschle and Leahy letters.

Agents interviewed dozens of current and former infectious disease researchers at Fort Detrick, some of whom had left on bad terms. The FBI had received an anonymous letter not long before the attacks suggesting that one disgruntled former employee, who'd joined others in filing a discrimination lawsuit against Fort Detrick, might be planning a biological attack. That charge turned out to be bogus.

In Utah, an FBI agent who also was a microbiologist spent weeks questioning more than 100 employees at Dugway Proving Ground. For some time, the Army disclosed, Dugway researchers had been producing small quantities of anthrax powder, similar to the type found in the letters, for use in testing military equipment. This revelation raised the prospect that the powder used in the letters had simply been stolen from Dugway's supply.

As they conducted interviews, sifted through tips and searched homes and laboratories, agents asked one question over and over: Who could have done this? Several people offered up the same name: Steven Jay Hatfill.

As the FBI would learn, Hatfill was not some mild-mannered, white-coated researcher who'd spent his career quietly immersed in scientific minutiae. With his thick black mustache, intense eyes and muscular, stocky build, he looked -- and behaved -- more like a character in a Hollywood action flick. Trained as a medical doctor in Africa, he'd spent two years at Fort Detrick as a virology researcher. After he left in 1999, he kept a modest apartment in Frederick just outside the laboratory's guarded gates.

He took a consulting job with the behemoth government contractor Science Applications International Corp., better known as SAIC. With a sprawling campus in McLean, it did work for a multitude of federal agencies. Many projects were classified, and SAIC's tight relationship with the CIA had led to a standing one-liner: "What is SAIC spelled backwards?"

At SAIC, Hatfill designed and taught bioterror preparedness courses, but his responsibilities also included "black," or classified, biowarfare projects. One of Hatfill's major roles was working with the Joint Special Operations Command, which handled U.S. military counterterrorism operations. At Fort Bragg, N.C., Hatfill led grueling training for Army commandos preparing for covert missions to find and destroy weapons of mass destruction, according to friends and former colleagues. He conducted counter-terrorism training for Defense Intelligence agents and did a "super job," says DIA spokesman Don Black.

Hatfill designed programs and training equipment for Navy SEALs, and SAIC colleagues say he often sat at his desk designing mock bioterror training devices, including a backpack that could be used by enemies to spray germs on the battlefield. He trained CIA agents in counter-proliferation, and shuttled to U.S. embassies abroad to teach bioterrorism preparedness.

In Hatfill, FBI agents found themselves pursuing a man who had government pull and connections.

Smith, the handwriting analyst, remembers sharing his theories about the perpetrator with Roth and other agents. Based on his study of the anthrax letters, he speculated that the likely suspect probably had worked for or had close ties to U.S. military intelligence or the CIA.

From around the table, the dark-suited agents stared at him. Finally, one offered, "We believe he still does."

The call of God brought Lena Eschtruth and her husband, Glenn, to a remote medical clinic in the Belgian Congo in 1960. Methodist missionaries from Michigan, they devoted their lives to ministering to patients who would "die in your arms for lack of medicine," she says.

They'd been living there for 13 years when an "idealistic kid" named Steve Hatfill showed up unannounced on the clinic's doorstep, wanting to help.

Hatfill had grown up in Mattoon, Ill., where his father was the president of an electrical supply company. The family also owned a thoroughbred horse farm in Ocala, Fla., and several Florida waterfront condominiums. At Mattoon High School, Hatfill wrestled, played tennis and belonged to the Latin club. After graduating in 1971, he enrolled at Southwestern College, a small Methodist-affiliated school in Winfield, Kan., and majored in biology, with plans to study medicine.

Lena Eschtruth has no idea what prompted Hatfill, at 19, to leave college for eight months to work as a hospital assistant in a country beset by civil strife. She doesn't remember him being particularly religious. "Nobody sent him," she says. "I don't even know how he knew about us. But you don't kick a kid out. You know how it is: When you're young, you can set the world on fire."

While he worked at the clinic, Hatfill fell in love with the Eschtruths' teenage daughter, Caroline, who was preparing to return to the United States to attend college. She and Hatfill were married in 1976. Six months later, in April 1977, the young couple received devastating news. Caroline's father had been seized by Soviet- and Cuban-backed mercenaries invading what was then called Zaire from Angola. For several tense weeks, no one knew Glenn Eschtruth's fate. Then his body was found in a shallow ditch.

Hatfill's marriage soured quickly after his father-in-law's death. He accompanied Caroline to a funeral service in Michigan, and that was the last time Lena Eschtruth saw him. He and Caroline divorced in 1978. He had no contact with his only child -- a daughter named Kamin, who was born shortly before the divorce -- until several years ago, Caroline Eschtruth says. Through most of Kamin's childhood, Hatfill was living in Africa, where he'd returned after his divorce to become a physician.

After receiving his medical degree, he continued his studies in South Africa, where he earned dual master's degrees in microbial genetics and radiobiology, completed his medical residency in hematology and pursued a PhD in molecular cell biology.

It was serious science, though Hatfill didn't exactly fit the mold of a scholar. He was too flamboyant, too raunchy and too abrasive, according to former classmates, professors and friends, who decline to be quoted by name because they've been threatened with lawsuits by Hatfill or his attorneys. (Others have received the same threats. "By the time my attorneys are through with you, you will not have your position," Hatfill warned a few months ago in a voice-mail message left for a Washington Post reporter.) Many people who'd gone to school or worked with Hatfill in Africa were interviewed by reporters long before they were questioned by the FBI. A Johannesburg newspaper reported that Hatfill had carried a gun into South African medical laboratories and boasted to colleagues that he had trained bodyguards for white separatist Eugene Terre'Blanche. A British newspaper described a hallway tantrum when medical school grades were posted and Hatfill learned he would have to repeat a year.

In a recent interview with The Post, one former classmate recounted how Hatfill punched out a fellow student. "He is not someone I would ever want to cross," another classmate wrote in an e-mail.

Hatfill declined to be interviewed for this article. His friend Pat Clawson, a former CNN investigative reporter who served until last month as his spokesman, acknowledges that he is a larger-than-life character who has a temper, enjoys practical jokes and sometimes rubs people the wrong way. But, Clawson points out, that doesn't make him a bioterrorist. "He had nothing to do with the anthrax crimes," Clawson says. "Period."

An attack was coming. Again and again, Hatfill sounded the alarm about the looming danger of bioterrorism.

In 1997, after a stint at the National Institutes of Health, Hatfill had won a government grant to work with Fort Detrick scientists, who studied Ebola, smallpox and other deadly viruses. He had access to the most restricted Biosafety Level 4 laboratories, where scientists handle viruses in biohazard suits tethered to air supplies, and to the less dangerous Level 3 labs, where experiments with anthrax and other bacteria are conducted inside the protection of safety cabinets.

Hatfill used his time at Fort Detrick to develop a new specialty -- biological warfare. Bioterrorism was becoming an increasingly hot topic. Hoax letters purporting to contain anthrax had begun to show up around the country, and each episode set off a new round of panic.

With public interest on the rise, Hatfill began giving bioterror lectures at think tanks and offering up sound bites to reporters. A photograph published in Insight magazine in 1998 showed Hatfill dressed in mock biohazard regalia, purportedly cooking germs in a kitchen. It may have been the same photo he'd shown to Stan Bedlington. In an accompanying article, Hatfill warned that the hoaxes "could be a form of testing for a future terrorist attack, perhaps next time using anthrax."

Hatfill knew how to get people's attention. At a seminar in New York, he demonstrated one of his favorite bioterrorism scenarios: a terrorist using a wheelchair to sneak past White House security with a biological agent, says Jerome Hauer, then New York City's emergency preparedness director. Hauer was appalled. After the presentation, he says, he called Hatfill aside and told him he "had gone too far. It was too detailed, too specific to go into in a public forum." Hatfill listened, Hauer says, but shrugged it off.

Hatfill's sudden emergence amazed some scientists who had devoted lifetimes to the field of biowarfare and had never heard of him. But he was much in demand, as his lawyer made clear to a Fairfax County district court in 1999 after Hatfill had been arrested for public drunkenness at 4 a.m. in McLean.

Hatfill's attorney, Thomas Carter, wrote the court that Hatfill was a "medical doctor holding an extremely important position in government. He is on a government assignment in Cairo and Bangkok until 12/2/99." After several delays, prosecutors finally dropped the charges.

Hatfill entered the bioterror world's inner circle largely through a single connection: Bill Patrick, one of America's leading bioweaponeers and the holder of five classified patents for the weaponization of anthrax.

Patrick had come to Fort Detrick in 1951 to help create a biological weapons arsenal. The program, authorized by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1942, flourished until President Richard Nixon disbanded it in 1969 in response to humanitarian pressures. As a result, Patrick and a legion of other specialists were sidelined after devoting their lives to a program that they considered vital to national security.

Patrick, who retired in 1986 and became a biowarfare consultant, lives a few miles from Fort Detrick in a sprawling rancher. He ushers a visitor down to his tidy basement office, where he pulls out a notebook labeled "Weaponization" in Magic Marker. Then he tucks it away on a shelf. The information inside is still classified and cannot be shared, he says.

A consultant whose business card bears an ominous illustration of a skull and bones, Patrick landed all sorts of government assignments, teaching jobs and private contracts. He became the man to call on any project requiring historical or technical knowledge of the U.S. bioweapons program or the challenges posed by specific biological agents.

As he entered his seventies, Patrick told associates he wanted a protege to carry on his work. When he met Hatfill, he found an enthusiastic learner. "He was so gung-ho," Patrick, now 76, recalls fondly.

The two struck up a friendship, "like father and son," says one bioterror expert who watched the ties develop. When Patrick's schedule was too full to attend a program or contribute to a study, he recommended Hatfill, who often did the work for free. Hatfill drove Patrick to consulting jobs at SAIC and traveled with him to professional conferences and classified briefings on the weaponization process. Hatfill was often a dinner guest at Patrick's home, where, Patrick says, he keeps the basic lab equipment needed to make bacteria into a finely ground powder. The legendary scientist's support helped Hatfill land his job at SAIC.

Not long after he got there in 1999, Hatfill and SAIC Vice President Joseph Soukup hired Patrick to study the potential dangers of anthrax sent through the mail.

Patrick calculated what would happen if anthrax were to be stuffed into a standard-size envelope. He based his findings on filling an envelope with 2.5 grams of Bacillus globigii, an anthrax simulant.

Patrick, who was polygraphed by the FBI for three hours last year, says he was under the impression the research would be used in preparedness training. But the study received no attention until 2002, when the FBI unearthed it and tried to determine whether it had served as a template for the anthrax mailings.

Among the many intriguing statements on Steven Hatfill's résumé was a striking claim that he had extensive knowledge of U.S. bioweapons production and working knowledge of both "wet and dry" biological agents. This placed him in exclusive company.

Experts have estimated that no more than 50 to 100 Americans could claim such knowledge.

Hatfill's claim was not questioned as he moved into increasingly sensitive roles, but it was generally assumed by his colleagues that he could have gotten such knowledge only through his relationship with Patrick.

In the summer of 2001, Hatfill applied for a heightened "top secret" security clearance to work with the CIA, which required that he pass a polygraph. But his polygraph apparently raised concerns at the CIA. In August 2001, Hatfill received a terse letter from the CIA denying upgraded clearance. The letter, which Hatfill angrily showed a few colleagues, put his sensitive job in jeopardy. Hatfill appealed the ruling, but the CIA held firm. Soon, the Department of Defense suspended his regular security clearance, making it difficult for SAIC to keep him on the job.

Nevertheless, sometime before 9/11, Hatfill began a classified SAIC project to design a mock mobile biological production laboratory. The idea was to train Special Forces troops before deployment to the Middle East, familiarizing them with what a lab might look like and how to safely destroy it. Hatfill hired a Frederick welding firm to construct the lab on an 18-wheel trailer and outfitted it with discarded laboratory equipment. Clawson calls the lab an elaborate and harmless "stage prop." Eventually, agents examined it to see if it could have somehow been geared up to use for anthrax production. They found no evidence of anthrax spores.

In early November 2001, with his job in trouble and the anthrax attacks still dominating the news, Hatfill led two weeks of counterterrorism training for the Defense Intelligence Agency. Its agents were about to head to Afghanistan to look for weapons of mass destruction. Dressed in camouflage, Hatfill used role-playing exercises to teach agents how to negotiate with tribal leaders. At the DIA, Hatfill was regarded as indispensable, a trainer whose war games came as close to the reality of a hostile situation as anyone could fashion. Esteban Rodriguez, a division chief in the DIA's Office of Human Intelligence Management, called him the "ultimate biological weapons expert."

DIA officials thought so highly of Hatfill that they appealed to SAIC in March 2002 to let him train another group of intelligence agents bound for Afghanistan. SAIC had just fired Hatfill, who was coming under increasing scrutiny from the FBI. But the company agreed to let him stay on as a volunteer to run the course, which included a mock bioterror attack staged in an old West Virginia highway tunnel. At night, he camped under the stars.

Investigators were chasing someone who had been careful to leave no tracks. The envelopes used in the mailings were pre-stamped; thus there was no saliva to test for DNA. The letters bore no fingerprints.

Some of the letters, however, were creased in a special manner used by pharmacists to ship medications, with the corners folded inward. All had been photocopied by the sender, obscuring some details and sending agents on a mad scramble to identify and locate the signature patterns of specific copiers. Agents, sometimes disguised as Xerox repairmen, looked at thousands of copiers and finally isolated one that could produce the unique smears seen on the letters, but haven't disclosed its location. They microscopically examined the paper, even the strips of Scotch tape used to reinforce the seal on the backs of all the letters. All of the tape appeared to come from a single roll, according to a source familiar with the study.

On Capitol Hill, weeks after the scare over the initial Daschle letter had abated, a second letter appeared in Daschle's office. This one had passed through irradiation equipment to kill anthrax spores, and the powdery material packed in the envelope tested benign.

The most curious thing was the letter's postmark. It had been mailed in mid-November from London. The FBI knew that Hatfill had been in Swindon, England -- about 70 miles from London -- at that time for specialized training to become a United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq. Agents determined through rental car receipts that he was the only trainee to hire a car, telling others that he planned to visit old friends. The FBI asked British police to help retrace his every move.

It also sought help from police in Kuala Lumpur after a hoax package arrived at a Nevada Microsoft office bearing a Malaysian postmark. For several years, Hatfill had been involved with a Malaysian-born woman who had come to the United States from Kuala Lumpur and worked at a financial consulting firm. Now the FBI began to ponder whether this widowed mother of two had had a role, witting or not, in the anthrax mailings.

Last summer, according to a complaint filed by a Hatfill lawyer, agents showed up at the woman's Northwest condominium with a search warrant and tore the place apart. They told her that Hatfill had "killed five people," the complaint alleges. By the time they were finished, her home "looked like a war zone."

Barbara Hatch Rosenberg was getting impatient.

From her office at the State University of New York at Purchase, where she teaches environmental science, she'd been keeping close tabs on the anthrax investigation. Since 1989, she'd led a volunteer effort within the Federation of American Scientists to strengthen enforcement of an international biological weapons ban.

Rosenberg knew a lot of biological weapons experts, including some at SAIC. Many of them had offered the FBI names of individuals whose work or comments seemed suspicious -- information they shared with her as well. But as months passed with no apparent FBI follow-up, frustration mounted.

At the beginning of 2002, Rosenberg began writing long, detailed analyses of the existing anthrax evidence -- some of it based on her own confidential sources and reporting -- and posting them on the Internet. Her comments infuriated Van Harp, who warned her that she risked compromising the investigation. She ignored him.

The perpetrator, she wrote in February, "must be angry at some biodefense agency . . . and he is driven to demonstrate, in a spectacular way, his capabilities and the government's inability to respond." She had never met Steven Hatfill and insists that she never divulged his name to anyone. But by the spring of 2002, she issued another broadside that did everything but name him.

"Early in the investigation," she wrote, "a number of inside experts (at least five that I know about) gave the FBI the name of one specific person as the most likely suspect. That person fits the FBI profile in most respects." She went on to describe the suspect's background, insider status in the bioweapons community, anger at the government and connection to the United Nations.

Rosenberg's specificity caused a stir at the Senate Judiciary Committee, then chaired by Patrick Leahy, the target of an anthrax letter. Committee staffers invited Rosenberg to a closed meeting to discuss her theories. Harp, Roth and several other FBI officials were invited, too.

The agents glared at Rosenberg as she talked, again declining to name her sources or offer anything more than what the bureau considered circumstantial clues. At one point in the Senate conference room, Harp leaned across the table and demanded of Rosenberg: "Do you know who did this? Do you know?" Rosenberg said she did not.

Afterward, a staffer suggested to Harp that his tough-guy tactics might not be the best way to elicit information from a well-connected scientist. Harp had another, more private conversation with Rosenberg.

Hatfill contends in his lawsuit that until then, the FBI did not consider him a suspect. The next day, June 25, everything changed. Agents went to Hatfill's Frederick apartment, and, with his permission, searched the premises.

Steven Hatfill's life was imploding.

He'd lost his job at SAIC. A $150,000-a-year training post at Louisiana State University was yanked away by the Justice Department, which was funding the bioterrorism position. Hatfill had even gotten pulled over by D.C. police while driving along Wisconsin Avenue on May 9, 2002. Hatfill, who smelled of alcohol and didn't have a driver's license, refused to take a sobriety test, according to the police report, and "responded to all further questioning with 'F- - - you.'" He eventually pleaded guilty to driving while impaired and was sentenced to 11 months of supervised probation.

By then, the FBI was tracking his every move, and his credentials were falling apart under the merciless scrutiny of the press.

Hatfill had frequently described himself as an ex-Green Beret. Military records show he did enlist in the Army in 1975 and entered the rigorous Special Forces Qualification Course at Fort Bragg in 1976. But he didn't last long there. After a few weeks, he was discharged from active duty and wound up in the Army National Guard.
Hatfill's résumé also claimed that he'd served as a Selous Scout, though his time in the Rhodesian military overlapped with his time in the U.S. Army. Rhodesian military records have been hard to find, but Selous Scouts veterans told reporters they'd never heard of Hatfill. The true circumstances of his connection with the unit, if any, remain unclear.

Then there was the question of Hatfill's PhD from Rhodes University. Hatfill had presented a doctoral certificate from the South African school to win federal research grants. But he didn't actually have a PhD. His dissertation on new ways to treat leukemia had run into problems with a Rhodes review committee. After the committee raised questions about his methodology, it declined to award him a doctorate in 1995.

New revelations about Hatfill seemed to trickle out almost every day. Stan Bedlington wasn't the only person to make the Greendale connection. There was growing buzz about it by the time the former CIA agent mentioned it during a CNN interview.

Hatfill, investigators learned, had obtained a prescription for the antibiotic Cipro, which could be used to fight anthrax infection, not long before the attacks. Agents also had gotten a positive identification from bloodhounds sniffing through Hatfill's apartment after smelling the decontaminated anthrax letters, law enforcement sources told reporters.

Finally, a second search of Hatfill's apartment -- this one conducted with a warrant -- turned up a bioterror novel he had written. Titled "Emergence," the unpublished story revolves around a terrorist using a wheelchair to sneak into the White House and release a germ that causes bubonic plague, which later spreads to the U.S. Capitol. In the story, a clueless government manned by incompetent bureaucrats has to rely on a brilliant scientist, Steve Roberts, to solve the case and save the day.

On August 25, 2002, Steven Hatfill stepped out of an attorney's office in Alexandria to plead his innocence in the anthrax case. Dressed in a conservative business suit, his mustache newly shaved, Hatfill squinted into the bright sun and described the life of a man declared a "person of interest."

"A person of interest," he said, "is someone who comes into being when the government is under intense political pressure to solve a crime but can't do so, either because the crime is too difficult to solve or because the authorities are proceeding in what can mildly be called a wrongheaded manner . . . Every misstatement, every minuscule wrong step, every wrinkle I've ever made in my life has become public, and I'm pilloried for it."

It was Hatfill's second press conference in less than a month, part of an aggressive campaign to dispel the growing perception that the FBI had found its man.

The Greendale connection was a myth, Hatfill and one of his attorneys, Victor Glasberg, said. Sure, Hatfill had lived in Harare, but he had never resided in Greendale, and there was, in fact, no Greendale School located there.

The Cipro prescription was for a lingering sinus infection, Hatfill explained. He insisted that he had never worked with anthrax, and that his research at Fort Detrick had focused solely on viruses. The positive identification by the bloodhounds amounted to one dog's friendly reaction when Hatfill reached down to pet him.

The claim of a PhD was due to a simple misunderstanding, Hatfill said. He left Rhodes University thinking his dissertation was about to be approved, put it on his résumé and only learned later that the approval had not come through.

He produced SAIC timecards that, he said, would show he was putting in long hours in McLean on the day the two most lethal letters were mailed from New Jersey. Throughout the FBI's investigation, he noted, he had been completely cooperative. He took a polygraph in early 2002 and said the examiner assured him he had passed it -- a contention that FBI sources later challenged. He let the FBI search his home and was stunned when agents returned weeks later with a search warrant to examine it again. He gave a blood sample to prove he had had no exposure to anthrax, and offered to give the FBI fresh samples of his handwriting, which investigators said they didn't need.

During the press conference, Hatfill spoke for about 20 minutes, surrounded by dozens of microphones and television cameras. When he was finished, he took no questions. Fighting tears, he turned to embrace his friend Pat Clawson.

The FBI investigation was in overdrive. After hundreds of tests of New Jersey postal boxes, agents had determined that the Daschle and Leahy letters had been mailed around October 8 from a street box in Princeton that still showed anthrax contamination. A team fanned out along quaint Nassau Street, showing Princeton shopkeepers Hatfill's photo and asking if they remembered seeing him. (In his lawsuit, Hatfill charges that the agents violated proper investigative procedures by showing only his photograph rather than an array of pictures -- evidence that they were unfairly targeting him. Hatfill claims that, despite the way the search was conducted, no one in Princeton provided the FBI with a credible identification of him.)

Bloodhounds sniffed through Bill Patrick's home; the scientist says he doesn't know what, if anything, they found.

Investigators tracked Hatfill's Cipro prescription back to John Urbanetti, Richard Nixon's former personal physician. (Urbanetti, who knew Hatfill through bioterror courses, declined to be interviewed for this article.) They talked to Stan Bedlington and everyone else they could find who had known Hatfill over the years.

Then, as 2002 came to a close, the FBI learned from a Hatfill business associate that he'd once talked hypothetically about how a smart person might dispose of materials contaminated with anthrax by throwing them in a body of water. The tip was specific enough to lead a team to the Frederick Municipal Forest and a network of ponds, then solidly frozen. Agents sealed off bucolic country roads with crime scene tape. Then, expert divers plunged in.

Over the course of several frigid weeks, divers pulled up a collection of intriguing items. The most promising was a plastic or Plexiglas box that appeared to be fashioned into a crude scientific glove box, with holes cut in the sides to allow for gloved hands to work within it.

Hatfill's defenders said the box could have been thrown into the pond by a fisherman or a drug trafficker, but investigators were left wondering: Could this pond in the middle of nowhere have served as a staging ground for the anthrax attacks, where the criminal might have worked with powdered anthrax without leaving a trail of evidence or risking personal contamination? Could more tools of the crime -- perhaps even a container of anthrax spores -- be buried in the depths of the muck?

A rusted bike. A discarded gun. A street sign.

The $250,000 pond expedition hadn't produced a breakthrough. Soil samples scraped from the bottom of the pond showed no sign of anthrax, though investigators hadn't really expected them to because the pond is part of a spring-fed system with constantly moving water.

Hatfill's attorney questioned how the government could justify such an expense and called on Ashcroft to clear his client. The lawsuit went further, demanding unspecified damages and back pay as well as an end to the FBI's relentless pursuit of Hatfill. Meanwhile, the FBI continues to slog through one of the most complicated, high-profile cases it has ever faced. Members of the anthrax team recently reinterviewed Ernesto Blanco (case 7), who almost died from breathing in anthrax nearly two years ago. With no arrest imminent, they decided it might be wise to go back to the beginning.

September 15, 2003, Washington Post, Reporter Interview on Steven Hatfill Article,

Marilyn Thompson, whose article about Hatfill's case appeared in the September 14 Washington Post Magazine, fielded questions and comments about the article.

Thompson, a Post investigative reporter, is the author of "The Killer Strain: Anthrax and a Government Exposed."

The transcript follows.

Editor's Note: moderators retain editorial control over Live Online discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions.


Galveston, Tex.: Regardless of the guilt or innocence of Hatfill, I'm disturbed by the FBI's narrow-minded methods. What if Hatfill is innocent and they have invested all their time and effort in the wrong guy? I used to debug network software for a living and trying to leap frog to a solution without investigating all the possibilities usually wastes time and causes embarrassment eventually.

Marilyn Thompson: The FBI contends that it has pursued many other avenues, with thousands of interviews all over the country. Many months ago, the FBI made a couple of publicized searches of scientists' homes in Chester, Pa., and Milwaukee. They focused considerable attention on a former USAMRIID anthrax researcher who now lives in New Jersey. Agents say that they continue to put certain interesting people on the investigative "hot seat" from time to time to update their information and theories. The recent re-interviewing of inhalational anthrax victim Ernesto Blanco is a sign of their strategy -- to keep revisiting people and places looking for possible new clues or details missed during the initial hurried sweep.

Yes, of course the bureau faces the prospect of major humiliation if this case remains unsolved, but officials talk confidently of bringing it to closure. They make clear that they operate on their own careful timetable and will not rush the case just to appease the public.


Fredericksburg, Va.: Ms. Thompson,

Thank you for helping keep the anthrax investigation alive. Hypothetical question: What if the anthrax mail was prepared by Hatfield, but delivered by another person?

While many red flags do point to Hatfield, I am convinced he could escape prosecution with the workplace timecard alibi. Being hours away from the New Jersey mailbox where anthrax spores were found, and from where the notorious mail was postmarked, certainly pales the other circumstantial evidence piled against him at this time.

While this defense argument seems to rest on the fact he cannot be placed in the vicinity of the mailings, it does not preclude the notion, however, that he could have prepared the package and an accomplice mailed it.

Do you think more emphasis should be placed on investigating this possibility? Did two (or more) persons working together on some high-scale bioterrorism project, create and commit this "perfect crime"?

Marilyn Thompson: I believe that the FBI has thought for some time that the commission of this crime involved more than one person. It is likely that an accomplice or accomplices helped mail the letters from their scattered locations. If you recall, a few bore a St. Petersburg postmark but the most virulent were stamped in Trenton. Hoax letters from other locations are believed to be involved.


College Park, Md.: There seem to be numerous instances in which Hatfield seems easily connected with the anthrax mailings. So what evidence does the FBI actually need in order to make an arrest?

Marilyn Thompson: Ideally, the FBI needs hard physical evidence - actual spores found in the possession of a suspect. The bureau does not have such evidence. That means that it would have to present a less convincing body of facts to a jury and run a higher risk of losing the case.


Baltimore, Md.: So, how does someone with dim credentials -- no Ph.D. and difficulty in med school -- work his way from studying viruses in 1997 to reportedly having "close ties to U.S. military intelligence or the CIA?" Why did Leahy's committee have to prod the FBI to investigate this guy?

Marilyn Thompson: Good questions. Mr. Hatfill seems to have benefitted from inattentiveness to detail and to some loopholes. The Phd. certificate he submitted to NIH could have easily been tracked back by authorities and exposed as a forgery, but it was overlooked and Hatfill's credentials helped him gain access to sensitive government agencies. USAMRIID allowed him in as a contract researcher because it depended on his funding agency to vet his credentials, and so on and so on. As for the influence of Leahy's committee, I think it is safe to say that this FBI investigation has been more closely watched and prodded than any other -- since two of the intended victims were members of the U.S. Senate.


Chicago, Ill.: Has Dr. Hatfill even been notified that he is a target of the grand jury?

Marilyn Thompson: His attorneys say that he has not.


Washington, D.C.: They dredged and drained a pond. They surveilled him for over two years. They have taken apart every computer the man ever touched.

Please -- remind me -- exactly what further evidence against Hatfill do they purport to have? Is it lawful for them to continue hounding him?

Marilyn Thompson: The FBI contends that it is lawful for the agency to watch anyone that it considers a public threat, and certainly, under the new powers of the Patriot Act, the bureau has authority to pursue anyone suspected of any connection whatsoever to a terrorism act. That being said, I think that the FBI is increasingly aware that it needs to produce a case or back off of this particular individual.


Washington, D.C.: Doesn't it seem a little suspicious that Hatfill threatened The Post reporter's career, a la John Mitchell during Watergate? It seems that an innocent man wouldn't mind the news media -- during their fact-finding stages -- talking to his acquaintances. Any thoughts on this?

Marilyn Thompson: Of course, I have many thoughts on this. Having worked on many stories of this kind over far too many years, threats of this sort are fairly unusual and more than a little unsettling.


Los Angeles, Calif.: Does it seem credible to you that John Ashcroft's handling of the Hatfill affair could have been unaffected by input from his boss, President George W. Bush?

Marilyn Thompson: I certainly believe that this case is being monitored by the highest levels of government. The President, however, has made no public comment on it since the early days of the attacks.


Ilion, N.Y.: Does Attorney Glasberg still represent Dr. Hatfill (in addition to the lawyers at the other firm)? His presentations in the summer of 2002 were very impressive.

Marilyn Thompson: Yes, Dr. Hatfill's press conferences were very well managed, mostly due to the input of his then-spokesman Pat Clawson, a former television investigative reporter with media savvy. Glasberg is a civil lawyer and Hatfill consulted him early on about possible lawsuits against the media and government agencies. His new team specializes in criminal law but also is handling his lawsuit against the Justice Department and FBI.


Los Angeles, Calif.: Have you been able to confirm the story which appeared in SEED magazine and the The Observer newspaper that Hatfill fabricated his MSc research? Do you know who fed that story to researchers, and what their motivation is?

Marilyn Thompson: I do not know who fed that story to SEED magazine or leaked an old email in which Hatfill's Professor Bohm was complaining about the student's research techniques. Dr. Bohm declined to speak with me but did tell me that he understands Hatfill's research has now been successfully duplicated.


Angers, France: Can you tell us anything about the status of the grand jury? Thank you for the story!

Marilyn Thompson: Numerous friends and associates of Dr. Hatfill told me that they have received document subpoenas from a federal grand jury supervised by U.S. Attorney Roscoe Howard. I have found no one who has actually been called to testify.


Virginia: How many lawyers and spokesmen does he have? They seemed to changed all the time. Must be stressful to work for.

Marilyn Thompson: I think there has been some tension in the legal team, resulting recently in Pat Clawson's decision to have nothing more to do with the case. This followed on the heels of a very lively City Paper story in which Hatfill and Clawson allowed a reporter to ride with them while they were purportedly pursued by the FBI. Usually, criminal defense lawyers frown on this kind of antics, which may not sit well with a federal judge.


West Chester, Pa.: Ms. Thompson --

Thanks for your continuing scientific investigation of the anthrax story. Your detailed description of Steven Hatfill's pinpointing by the FBI was the most comprehensive account I've seen. However, equally as plausible is to take the notes in recovered envelopes at face value and assume that the perpetrator(s) is (are) Muslim extremists.

Some points perhaps worthy of note:

1. Each of the postmarks recovered was on a Tuesday (following soon after 9/11, a Tuesday);

2. Bob Stevens, the first anthrax casualty, worked for a tabloid which had recently published a scathing article regarding unsavory habits of the Saudi royal family;

3. Two of the highjackers (Atta and el-Shehhi) had rented an apartment in Ft. Lauderdale from an AMI editor's wife while taking flight lessons; and

4. One of the highjackers had presented himself to a doctor in Ft. Lauderdale with a black-scabbed skin lesion in July 2001, which, in retrospect, the doctor admitted could have been cutaneous anthrax.

I'd like your opinion on this alternative scenario, which, I believe, has as much credence as the trumped up case against Steven Hatfill.


Marilyn Thompson: I appreciate your question. I wrote extensively about the hijacker theory in a book I did on the anthrax attacks. The FBI contends that it pursued a hijacker connection in the early days and became convinced that they were not involved in these mailings -- mainly because the anthrax strain used was a military research strain. Many people in Florida, however, who know about the hijackers' movements in that part of the country in the months before 9/11, do not believe the FBI pursued this with enough vigor.


Easton, Md.: Good article. Thank you. In the current issue of Vanity Fair, literary analyist Don Foster infers that Hatfill was present in a part of Africa that suffered a devastating outbreak of anthrax, where no anthrax had been before. Would you care to comment on Professor Foster's article?

Marilyn Thompson: I have read Mr. Foster's article with great interest. His frustrations with the FBI are shared by other consultants who have worked on the peripheries of this case. I believe you are referring to Mr. Hatfill's years in Rhodesia at the time of a massive outbreak of anthrax poisoning the Tribal Trust Lands, an event that has been extensively analyzed as a possible bioterror event.

Angers, France: Yes, the issue of Pat Clawson is interesting. He was such a passionate supporter of Mr. Hatfill. Is there any info on what caused him to abandon his support (or at least his public support)?

Marilyn Thompson: He has not abandoned his support of Hatfill. He truly believes that Hatfill had nothing to do with these crimes and is being unfairly targeted. But he has differed with the new lawyers on several crucial issues -- including how much Hatfill should be allowed to say publicly in his own defense.

Washington, D.C.: I heard that at the time of Barbara Rosenberg's meeting with Senators Leahy and Daschle, many Senators had publicly made it known that they were displeased with how the FBI had handled domestic terrorism cases and were considering turning those responsibilities over to another government agency. Do you think this had anything to do with why the FBI turned up the heat on Hatfill in the following weeks?

Marilyn Thompson: Yes, there had been much displeasure on the Hill with the FBI's performance on terrorism cases. I do not know about your theory that the responsibilities could have been turned over to others. But it seems very clear that the FBI cannot afford to have a high-ranking Senator, at that time the Judiciary Committee chairman, convinced that it was not aggressively pursuing leads and trying to solve this important case. The pressure from Capitol Hill continues to be intense.


Bethesda, Md.: Great article! Way to present both sides throughout the story. It is hard to tell whether he did it or not, you seem to have created a planned the confusion in your article. It seemed to really represent the confusion of the FBI in the investigation. Being a graduate with a degree in Biology and working in the research field, this was a very interesting article. Everything seems to be pointing to Hatfill, but somehow and someway the FBI can't pin-point him or anyone else for that matter. If I were a betting man, which I am not, I would say it was someone that is close to Hatfill and that new his actions, and by knowing his location, especially in London, the blame and evidence could be traced to Hatfill and not the real perpetrator. Again, great article. Thank you

Marilyn Thompson: Thanks for your feedback. Yes, confusion has been a very real factor in this investigation. Confusion over the science especially. As I reported, lab analysis alone has cost $13 million and it is not yet complete.

McLean, Va.: If Hatfill does not have either an MD or a Ph.D, why do you continue to refer to him as "Dr. Hatfill?"

Marilyn Thompson: Hatfill has a medical degree. The Phd. is the one in question.

Deale, Md.: Greeting, Marilyn:

Sandra here at Bay Weekly. Is this person of interest or someone else indeed likely to get away with a "perfect crime?" It's vastly puzzling -- as curious as the twists and turns of the investigation of the assassination of President Kennedy -- that that organization with the world's most sophisticated investigative array could continue to be outfoxed. Please comment on possible reasons for this.

Marilyn Thompson: The FBI has made it clear that it considers solving this case extremely important, partly because of the message it wants to send to anyone else who would ever contemplate using a deadly agent against American citizens. Let's hope the agency is successful in solving it. Death by anthrax is a ghastly proposition.

Long Beach, Calif.: Two questions:

1. If Mr. Hatfill seemed to often talk hypothetically about how to conduct bio-terror attacks, perhaps someone close to him learned techniques from him. Has this avenue been explored?

2. Isn't it interesting that the letters were sent to news organizations and Democratic politicians. Has anyone investigated Mr. Hatfill's political leanings, or anyone elses, that would lead a would be attacker to target such individuals?

Marilyn Thompson: Yes, the avenue you describe has been explored. As for political leanings, the FBI has said from the start that it believes this person is of a conservative bent, which might explain the intended targets to some degree.