New York Times > Nicholas D, Kristof > Federal Bureau of Investigation > Libel and Slander
Beijing Hints at Crackdown on Students
students to mourn Comrade Hu Yaobang. ''They fabricate various rumors to poison people's minds. They make use of posters to libel and slander and attack the leaders of the Communist Party and the Government. They even undisguisedly
April 26, 1989 - By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF, Special to The New York Times - World; Education - Print Headline: "Beijing Hints at Crackdown on Students"
Beijing Journal; Writer, Scolded, Plays His Ace With a Lawsuit
circular to the Central Committee. In October, Mr. Wang went a step further by launching his lawsuit, charging the newspaper with libel and seeking damages and an apology. So far, no court has been willing to take the case. The
November 20, 1991 - By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF - World - Print Headline: "Beijing Journal; Writer, Scolded, Plays His Ace With a Lawsuit"
Unmasking Horror -- A special report.; Japan Confronting Gruesome War Atrocity
secrets of Japan during and after World War II: a vast project to develop weapons of biological warfare, including plague, anthrax, cholera and a dozen other pathogens. Unit 731 of the Japanese Imperial Army conducted research by
March 17, 1995 - By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF - World; Front Page - Print Headline: "Unmasking Horror -- A special report.; Japan Confronting Gruesome War Atrocity"
Japanese Police Arrest Top Lawyer for Cult Linked to Nerve Gas
arrest the lawyer, Yoshinobu Aoyama, on charges related to the subway attack. Instead, he was arrested on suspicion of criminal libel, an area of the law that is very rarely applied. The police have used a variety of arcane and
May 4, 1995 - By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF - World - Print Headline: "Japanese Police Arrest Top Lawyer for Cult Linked to Nerve Gas"
combat a wide range of diseases, including AIDS, cholera, malaria, tuberculosis, polio, meningitis, measles, rabies, plague, anthrax and influenza, the agency said. (Agence France-Presse) EUROPE TURKEY: OUSTED LEGISLATOR APPEALS --
June 12, 1999 - Compiled by Terence Neilan - World - Print Headline: "World Briefing"
weapons are hard to get right, more so than chemical weapons. The cult devoted millions of dollars and many years to developing anthrax and other biological weapons, and though it released them, apparently no one was infected. None
December 12, 1999 - By Nicholas D. Kristof - Arts; Books - Print Headline: "Apocalypse Now?"
EDITORIAL A30-31 Editorials: John Ashcroft misses the point; striking back at Hamas; Philip M. Boffey on the anthrax crisis. Columns: Nicholas D. Kristof, Paul Krugman. Crossword E25 TV Listings E27 Public Lives D4
December 07, 2001 - - New York and Region - Print Headline: "NEWS SUMMARY"
Profile Of a Killer
I think I know who sent out the anthrax last fall. He is an American insider, a man working in the military bio-weapons field. He's a skilled microbiologist who did not aim to kill anybody or even to disrupt the postal system.
January 04, 2002 - By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF - Opinion - Print Headline: "Profile Of a Killer"
built into civilian criminal trials.'' A13 Wariness on Anthrax Vaccine Fewer than 2 percent of the 10,000 people who may have been exposed to anthrax during recent bioterror attacks have taken the
January 8, 2002 - - New York and Region - Print Headline: "NEWS SUMMARY"
The Greater Danger
If you think Iraq is scary, come here to the bleak and snowy border between the two Koreas and look north. True, North Korea may have the skinniest and coldest soldiers in the world, but it is not only the wackiest country around (a few years ago,...
January 11, 2002 - By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF - Opinion - Print Headline: "The Greater Danger"
the Middle East. A10 Possible Anthrax Infection A 37-year-old postal inspector who cleaned equipment tainted by anthrax spores at a postal center in Washington has been ill for weeks with symptoms resembling
January 11, 2002 - - New York and Region - Print Headline: "NEWS SUMMARY"
to pay its workers and with foreign aid only trickling in. A12 Search for Anthrax Clues Federal agents have examined copying machines at Rutgers for possible links to theanthrax mailer, a scientist at the New
January 15, 2002 - - New York and Region - Print Headline: "NEWS SUMMARY"
January 22, 2002 - NEWS SUMMARY
Tracking the Anthrax Source
January 22, 2002, New York Times, page A1,
Scientists Report Genetic Finding That Could Aid Anthrax Inquiry, by William J. Broad and Nicholas Wade, Archived,
Scientists say they have discovered genetic fingerprints that may help determine which of many laboratories is the likely source of the virulent microbe used in the attacks.
February 1, 2002 - NEWS SUMMARY
Claim Kremlin Faked Attacks
The Russian oligarch Boris A. Berezovsky said he had evidence that Russia's security services were involved in apartment building blasts blamed on Chechen separatists. A8
Bin Laden Talked of Anthrax
Osama bin Laden, in an interview last fall that was brought to light only last night, said the anthrax attacks were ''a punishment from God'' and, in vague language, seemed to hint at having a hand in them. A10
February 12, 2002 - NEWS SUMMARY
F.B.I. Issues Warning On Possible Terror Attack
The F.B.I., citing information from detainees at Guantánamo Bay, issued a security threat alert more specific than any before, warning of the possibility of an attack as early as today in the United States or Yemen. It included information on more than a dozen people thought to be involved. A1
Preparing for Bioterror
A consortium of medical institutions in New York State set up a center to support regional public health agencies in their response to attacks of anthrax, smallpox, plague and other biological weapons. A11
February 22, 2002 - NEWS SUMMARY
C.D.C. Chief Resigns
Dr. Jeffrey P. Koplan, who led the first faltering response to anthrax infections and bioterror threats, said he would step down as director of the federal Centers for Disease Control. A22
February 26, 2002 - NEWS SUMMARY
'Short List' on Anthrax
The F.B.I. has identified 18 to 20 people who had the means, opportunity and possible motive to have sent the anthrax-laden letters that killed five people last fall. A1
Limits on Public Information
The Pataki administration, citing concern about terrorism, has told state agencies to limit information like maps of power grids and reservoirs available online and through Freedom of Information requests. B1
March 1, 2002, NEWS SUMMARY
Anthrax Expert to Be Fined
Michael L. Vickers, the veterinarian who discovered the Ames strain of anthrax, is being fined by Texas for burning carcasses infected with anthrax and other diseases -- the only safe method, he says, to protect against the health danger. A16
March 8, 2002, NEWS SUMMARY
Antibiotics Deterred Anthrax
Widespread use of antibiotics after the October bioterror attacks spared at least nine people from being infected with inhalation anthrax, the deadliest form, a study concluded. A12
'Chicks With Guns'
consequences of 9/11 is a surge in gun sales around the country. So while we don't know whether more Americans will be killed by anthrax, we can be quite confident that plenty of us will be killed by these additional handguns. The
March 8, 2002 - By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF - Opinion - Print Headline: "'Chicks With Guns'"
May 7, 2002, NEWS SUMMARY
Anthrax Got More Potent With Each Letter Sent
Federal investigators have discovered that the anthrax sent through the mail, in general grew more potent from one letter to the next, with the deadliest spores in the final letter, to Senator Patrick J. Leahy. A1
Cuba Accused of Germ Research
The Bush administration accused Cuba of producing small quantities of germs that could be used in biological warfare and said Libya and Syria were also violating treaties by making unconventional weapons. A6
More Pipe Bombs Discovered
Two pipe bombs were found in mailboxes in Nebraska and Colorado, bringing to 17 the total of bombs that have been found since Friday. A22
Dispute Over F.B.I. Turncoat
A feud has erupted among counterintelligence officials over whether the former F.B.I. agent Robert P. Hanssen told the whole truth about his spying for Moscow. A25
The War On Terror Flounders
not making this up) at a Navy base here. This is the brand-new homeland defense center from which America will respond to anthrax, smallpox, nuclear attack, multiple hijackings or other shoes still to drop. Tom Ridge, his chest
May 10, 2002 - By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF - Opinion -
A32 On Trail of Anthrax Source Researchers said they had found subtle differences among samples of the same anthrax strain, increasing hope of identifying the lab that may have been the source of the microbes in
May 10, 2002 - - New York and Region - Print Headline: "NEWS SUMMARY"
Connecting Deadly Dots
Laden's fervent efforts to obtain bio-weapons, reflected in the lab he was building near Kandahar, Afghanistan, to produce anthrax. Another dot is Iraq. Hazem Ali, a senior Iraqi virologist involved in his country's bio-weapons
May 24, 2002 - By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF - Opinion - Print Headline: "Connecting Deadly Dots"
Anthrax? The F.B.I. Yawns
ineptitude in pursuing the anthrax killer continues to threaten America's national security by permitting him to strike again or, more likely, to flee to Iran or North Korea. Almost everyone who has encountered the F.B.I.
July 02, 2002 - By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF - Opinion - Print Headline: "Anthrax? The F.B.I. Yawns"
To the Editor:
Nicholas D. Kristof raises serious questions about the F.B.I.'s investigation of the post-Sept. 11 anthrax attacks (''Anthrax? The F.B.I. Yawns,'' column, July 2). He identifies a likely motivation of the lead suspect as wanting ''to help America by raising preparedness against biological attacks in the future.''
Given that this suspect is a member of our biodefense establishment, what Mr. Kristof considers the F.B.I.'s ''lackadaisical ineptitude'' appears more like the old boys' network protecting itself.
The appearance of a cover-up of one government employee's crimes by the agency charged with investigating those crimes should be investigated. Congress should also pursue legislation that would nurture a citizenry more capable of assuming responsibility as a watchdog against such threats.
New York, July 3, 2002
The writer is director of the New York Coalition for Public Safety.
The Anthrax Files
When someone expert in bio-warfare mailed anthrax last fall, it may not have been the first time he had struck. So while the F.B.I. has been unbelievably lethargic in its investigation so far, any year now it will re-examine the
July 12, 2002 - By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF - Opinion - Print Headline: "The Anthrax Files"
Case of the Missing Anthrax
It's bad enough that we can't find anthrax hidden in the Iraqi desert. But it turns out that we also misplaced anthrax and Ebola kept in a lab outside Washington D.C. Internal Army documents about the U.S.
July 19, 2002 - By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF - Opinion - Print Headline: "Case of the Missing Anthrax"
protects the rights of individuals to own guns. A1 Antiterror Technology Hailed President Bush said new technologies to detect anthrax, sniff biological attacks and help contain panic after an attack would help win ''the defining
July 23, 2002 - - New York and Region - Print Headline: "NEWS SUMMARY"
The Anthrax Files
former U.S. Army scientist who, authorities say privately, has become the overwhelming focus of the investigation into the anthrax attacks last fall. I didn't name him. But over the weekend, Mr. Z named himself: He is Steven J.
August 13, 2002 - By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF - Opinion - Print Headline: "The Anthrax Files"
B.I.'s counterterrorism chief, who has overseen the investigations of the Sept. 11 terror attacks and last year's deadly anthrax mailings, has decided to retire, with no replacement yet chosen. A14 Detainee Names to Stay Secret In a
August 16, 2002 - - New York and Region - Print Headline: "NEWS SUMMARY"
Weapons Expert Attacks F.B.I. And Ashcroft on Anthrax Inquiry
Steven J. Hatfill, a germ weapons expert under scrutiny in the government's investigation into last year's anthrax deaths, bitterly denounced the F.B.I. inquiry today and the reporting on it by the news media. Dr. Hatfill said he
August 26, 2002 - By DIANA JEAN SCHEMO - U.S. - Print Headline: "Weapons Expert Attacks F.B.I. And Ashcroft on Anthrax Inquiry"
A1 New Tools in Anthrax Inquiry The F.B.I. will re-enter a quarantined tabloid newspaper office in Boca Raton, Fla., where last year's anthrax attacks were first discovered, using fresh techniques to search for new
August 27, 2002 - - New York and Region - Print Headline: "NEWS SUMMARY"
Wimps On Iraq
chemical attacks instead of preventing them? It's hard to see why Saddam, if left in power, would risk his future by using anthrax or smallpox for terrorism. But if we invade, he has every incentive to use 'em or lose 'em. In
August 27, 2002 - By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF - Opinion - Print Headline: "Wimps On Iraq"
there's a three-volume set of books, ''Scientific Principles of Improvised Warfare,'' which offers details on where to find anthrax spores and how to cultivate them and turn them into an aerosol. ''If you can make Jell-O,'' the book
September 17, 2002 - By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF - Opinion - Print Headline: "No Headline"
Recipes For Death
there's a three-volume set of books, ''Scientific Principles of Improvised Warfare,'' which offers details on where to find anthrax spores and how to cultivate them and turn them into an aerosol. ''If you can make Jell-O,'' the book
September 17, 2002 - By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF - Opinion - Print Headline: "Recipes For Death"
Revolving- Door Monsters
and mustard gas against Kurds in 1988, the Reagan administration initially tried to blame Iran. We shipped seven strains of anthrax to Iraq between 1978 and 1988. These days, we see Iraq as an imminent threat to our way of life,
October 11, 2002 - By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF - Opinion - Print Headline: "Revolving- Door Monsters"
said that a ''dangerous weakness in our health care system'' made the United States vulnerable to terrorist attacks using anthrax, smallpox and other biological weapons. A20 Executions Cleared in Florida The Florida Supreme Cour
October 25, 2002 - - New York and Region - Print Headline: "NEWS SUMMARY"
'A Sea of Fire,' or Worse?
troops spray machine-gun fire across the DMZ. South Korean and Japanese stock markets fall 7 percent. Aug. 1: A sealed vial of anthrax is found in an Osaka subway car. No one is hurt, but some commentators suggest it is a message
February 04, 2003 - By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF - Opinion - Print Headline: "'A Sea of Fire,' or Worse?"
Flirting With Disaster
nuclear ''bunker busters.'' So suppose we discover that Saddam is cowering in a bunker in Baghdad, or we learn of a cache of anthrax in Tikrit. I asked Richard Garwin, a veteran nuclear scientist who helped design ''Mike,'' the
February 14, 2003 - By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF - Opinion - Print Headline: "Flirting With Disaster"
Mr. Bush's Liberal Problem
go wrong. It seems equally possible that invading Iraq will trigger precisely the scenario we fear -- Saddam handing out anthrax or even smallpox to terrorists -- and that our invasion will lead thousands of young Arabs to join Al
February 18, 2003 - By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF - Opinion - Print Headline: "Mr. Bush's Liberal Problem"
Hitler On the Nile
particularly in the 1980's when Don Rumsfeld was cozying up to him in Baghdad and the U.S. was shipping him seven strains of anthrax. The last 10 years have been the best behaved of Saddam's career (not saying much), and he's now
February 25, 2003 - By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF - Opinion - Print Headline: "Hitler On the Nile"
Secret, Scary Plans
North has 13,000 artillery pieces and could fire some 400,000 shells in the first hour of an attack, many with sarin and anthrax, on the 21 million people in the ''kill box'' -- as some in the U.S. military describe the Seoul
February 28, 2003 - By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF - Opinion - Print Headline: "Secret, Scary Plans"
Losses, Before Bullets Fly
from Iran; Turks and Kurds fighting over the Kirkuk oil wells in northern Iraq; Iraqi military officers trying to peddle anthrax and VX gas; and radical Islamists trying to take control of nuclear-armed Pakistan. As one savvy
March 07, 2003 - By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF - Opinion - Print Headline: "Losses, Before Bullets Fly"
firehouses in the northern part of Brooklyn no longer makes sense. D1 Delays inAnthrax Cleanup The Postal Service announced that the final step in cleaning out the anthrax from a mail-sorting plant in Hamilton,
April 11, 2003 - - New York and Region - Print Headline: "NEWS SUMMARY"
I Said That?
Iraqi weapons program and talked about several mobile labs, 30,000 munitions, 500 tons of chemical weapons, 25,000 liters of anthrax and 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin. These weapons were supposedly deployed in the war and
April 22, 2003 - By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF - Opinion - Print Headline: "I Said That?"
Missing In Action: Truth
fervently hope that tomorrow we find an Iraqi superdome filled with 500 tons of mustard gas and nerve gas, 25,000 liters of anthrax, 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, 29,984 prohibited munitions capable of delivering chemical
May 6, 2003 - By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF - Opinion - Print Headline: "Missing In Action: Truth"
before seen in this part of the world. A20 Anthrax Search Leads to Pond The F.B.I. said the authorities began draining a small pond in a municipal park near Frederick, Md., searching for evidence in the unsolved
June 10, 2003 - - New York and Region - Print Headline: "NEWS SUMMARY"
White House In Denial
every photo of a trailer truck would be a 'mobile bioweapons lab' and every tanker truck would be 'filled with weaponized anthrax,' '' a former military intelligence officer said. ''None of the analysts in military uniform had the
June 13, 2003 - By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF - Opinion - Print Headline: "White House In Denial"
Holding Our Noses
January, when the White House was conjuring enough Iraqi anthrax ''to kill several million people,'' as well as hordes of cheering Iraqis casting flowers on our soldiers. These days, with that anthrax as elusive as
October 15, 2003 - By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF - Opinion - Print Headline: "Holding Our Noses"
tax fraud and lying to authorities to cover up those crimes. A14 Anthrax Vaccinations Halted The Department of Defense announced that it was canceling its program of administering the anthrax vaccine until a legal
December 24, 2003 - - New York and Region - Print Headline: "NEWS SUMMARY"
The postal system remains vulnerable to mailings of ricin and other poisons despite efforts to improve security since the anthrax attacks of 2001, experts and government investigators said. A19 Ohio Bans Same-Sex Unions The Ohio
February 4, 2004 - - New York and Region - Print Headline: "NEWS SUMMARY"
May I See Your ID?
''cookbooks'' to make anthrax, sarin and other chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. Over the last few years, I've collected a horrifying set of booklets, typically sold at gun shows or on the Internet, detailing how to make
March 17, 2004 - By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF - Opinion - Print Headline: "May I See Your ID?"
Anthrax Figure Wins A Round on News Sources
confidential information, Justice Department officials agreed Thursday to distribute to dozens of federal investigators in the 2001 anthrax case a document they can sign to release journalists from pledges of confidentiality.
October 22, 2004 - By SCOTT SHANE - U.S. - Print Headline: "Anthrax Figure Wins A Round on News Sources"
Times Wins Libel-Suit Dismissal
brought by a former Army bioterrorism expert who accused The New York Times and its Op-Ed columnist Nicholas D. Kristof of implicating him in the unsolved anthraxattacks of October 2001. The suit, filed last July
November 30, 2004 - By NAT IVES - U.S. - Print Headline: "Times Wins Libel-Suit Dismissal"
secretary of homeland security late Friday night with little public explanation. A1 Setbacks for Anthrax Program The government's $877 million project to create ananthrax vaccine to protect Americans from germ
December 11, 2004 - - New York and Region - Print Headline: "NEWS SUMMARY"
buildings and a truck bombing of a sports arena. A1 Lab Blamed for Anthrax Scare Health officials believe a mix-up of samples in a Defense Department contractor's laboratory was behind an anthrax scare that rattled
March 16, 2005 - - New York and Region - Print Headline: "NEWS SUMMARY"
Appeal Restores Libel Case Against Times
suit, filed two years ago by the bioterrorism expert, Steven J. Hatfill, accusedNicholas D. Kristof, a Times Op-Ed columnist, of implicating Dr. Hatfill in the unsolved anthrax attacks in October 2001. Dr. Hatfill
July 29, 2005 - By TIMOTHY L. O'BRIEN - U.S. - Print Headline: "Appeal Restores Libel Case Against Times"
In 4-Year Anthrax Hunt, F.B.I. Finds Itself Stymied, and Sued
Richard L. Lambert, the F.B.I. inspector in charge of the investigation of the deadlyanthrax letters of 2001, testified under oath for five hours last month about the case. But Mr. Lambert was not testifying in a criminal trial. He
September 17, 2005 - By SCOTT SHANE; David Johnston contributed reporting for this article - Front Page; U.S. - Print Headline: "In 4-Year Anthrax Hunt, F.B.I. Finds Itself Stymied, and Sued"
Court Rebuffs The Times Co. Over Lawsuit
majority was required. The suit, filed two years ago by Steven J. Hatfill, accusedNicholas D. Kristof, a columnist for The Times, of implicating Dr. Hatfill in theanthrax attacks of October 2001. Dr. Hatfill
October 19, 2005 - By DAVID CAY JOHNSTON - U.S. - Print Headline: "Court Rebuffs The Times Co. Over Lawsuit"
Court Rebuffs Times On Libel Suit Appeal
expert to go forward. The suit, filed in 2003 by Steven J. Hatfill, accused Nicholas D. Kristof, an Op-Ed columnist for The Times, of implicating Dr. Hatfill in the unsolvedanthrax attacks of 2001. The suit was
March 28, 2006 - - U.S. - Print Headline: "Court Rebuffs Times On Libel Suit Appeal"
The Dear Leader’s Boiling Cauldron
send a few spy submarines to torpedo Asian stock markets, or trigger a financial panic by leaving a (sealed) suitcase of anthrax in the Tokyo subway. The only option we have is to negotiate seriously, both in the six-party talks and
July 11, 2006 - By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF - Opinion - Print Headline: "The Dear Leader’s Boiling Cauldron"
Spanish Lessons for Israel
scientists and give them a couple of years and a $300,000 research budget, and the result will be attacks with nerve gas, anthrax, or “dirty bombs” that render areas uninhabitable for years. All this suggests that the only way
July 23, 2006 - By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF - Opinion - Print Headline: "Spanish Lessons For Israel"
for the Department of Homeland Security for next year. A21 Anthrax Not Weapon-Grade Seeking to clear up public confusion, an F.B.I. official has reiterated the bureau's judgment that the anthrax in the letter
September 26, 2006 - - New York and Region - Print Headline: "News Summary"
to disclose the identities of confidential sources used by one of its columnists,Nicholas D. Kristof, for articles he wrote about the investigation of the deadly anthrax mailings of 2001. A21 EDUCATION Loan
October 24, 2006 - - New York and Region - Print Headline: "News Summary"
Setback for Times in Anthrax Suit
magistrate judge that The New York Times must disclose the identities of three sources used by Nicholas D. Kristof for columns he wrote on the deadly anthraxmailings of 2001. The judge, Claude M. Hilton of Federal
November 03, 2006 - By NEIL A. LEWIS - U.S. - Print Headline: "Setback for Times in Anthrax Suit"
Judge’s Ruling Bars The Times From Using Sources’ Information in Defense Against Suit
federal magistrate judge ruled on Friday that The New York Times may not rely in any way on information its columnist, Nicholas D. Kristof, may have received from two Federal Bureau of Investigation officials in its defense of a
November 18, 2006 - By NEIL A. LEWIS - U.S. - Print Headline: "Judge’s Ruling Bars The Times From Using Sources’ Information in Defense Against Suit"
Times Asks End to Suit on Anthrax Inquiry
columns by Nicholas D. Kristof about the deadly anthrax mailings of 2001 defamed him. The scientist, Stephen J. Hatfill, who formerly worked in the Army laboratories at Fort Detrick, Md., has said Mr. Kristof’s
December 2, 2006 - By NEIL A. LEWIS and DAVID JOHNSTON - U.S. - Print Headline: "Times Asks End to Suit on Anthrax Inquiry"
lawsuit filed by a germ-warfare scientist who said that he was defamed by a series of columns written by Nicholas D. Kristof about the deadly anthrax mailings of 2001. A13 Snowstorm Rattles Midwest A massive
December 2, 2006 - - New York and Region - Print Headline: "News Summary"
Editor’s E-Mail May Be Used in Suit Against The Times
for a former government scientist who is suing The New York Times for defamation over a series of columns about the deadly anthrax mailings of 2001 said Friday in court that he was prepared to introduce an internal e-mail message
January 06, 2007 - By NEIL A. LEWIS - U.S. - Print Headline: "Editor’s E-Mail May Be Used In Suit Against The Times"
We Win a Case!
S. District Court has in effect tossed out the libel case against the New York Times for articles that I wrote about the anthrax case. The case was brought by Dr. Steve Hatfill, the person that the Justice Department described as a
January 12, 2007 - By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF - Opinion - Print Headline: "We Win a Case!"
Judge Rejects Defamation Suit Against The Times
against The New York Times by a former government scientist who said he was defamed by a series of columns about the deadly anthrax mailings in 2001. The judge, Claude M. Hilton of Federal District Court in Alexandria, Va., granted
January 13, 2007 - By NEIL A. LEWIS - U.S. - Print Headline: "Judge Rebuffs U.S. Scientist In Lawsuit Against Times"
Judge Explains His Dismissal of Scientist’s Suit Against Times
York Times acted after concluding that the scientist who brought the case, a bioterrorism expert investigated over deadly anthrax mailings in 2001, was a public official and could not show that the newspaper had knowingly published February 02, 2007 - By STEPHEN LABATON - U.S. - Print Headline: "Judge Explains His Dismissal Of Scientist’s Suit Against Times"
Am I Really a Neo-Cossack? both blasts and praise. At one end of the spectrum, The New York Sun published an extraordinary editorial, "The New Blood Libel," which began:"Since at least the Middle Ages, the approach of Easter has been marked by anti- Semites March 20, 2007 - By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF - Opinion - Print Headline: "Am I Really a Neo-Cossack?"
More on the Middle East Since I quoted the New York Sun editorial a couple of weeks ago denouncing me for spreading a new "blood libel" in my column about Israel, I should also note that there are plenty of other commentaries that are much more measured. March 29, 2007 - By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF - Opinion - Print Headline: "More on the Middle East"
5 Reporters Ordered to Testify About Government Sources violated the federal Privacy Act by providing journalists with information about him in the F.B.I.’s investigation of the deadly anthrax mailings in 2001. The reporters — Michael Isikoff and Daniel Klaidman of Newsweek; Allan August 14, 2007 - By ADAM LIPTAK - Washington - Print Headline: "5 Reporters Ordered to Testify About Government Sources"
Reporter Held in Contempt in Anthrax Case Tuesday for refusing to name her confidential sources who had discussed a former Army scientist’s possible role in the 2001 anthrax attacks. The reporter, Toni Locy, now faces fines of up to $5,000 a day for refusing to comply February 20, 2008 - By ERIC LICHTBLAU - U.S. - Print Headline: "Reporter Held in Contempt in Anthrax Case"
China and Darfur sophisticated and subversive attempts to intercept emails and infect computers with malicious programs. During the meeting with FBI officials, the coalition provided technical information and offered a detailed account of the recent March 20, 2008 - By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF - Opinion - Print Headline: "China and Darfur" Squeezed by the Courts or might not — have given her information about Steven J. Hatfill, a “person of interest” in the investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people, injured 17 and terrorized the nation. It is not clear that a April 20, 2008 - By CLARK HOYT - Opinion - Print Headline: "Squeezed by the Courts"
Scientist Is Paid Millions by U.S. in Anthrax Suit by Steven J. Hatfill, a former Army biodefense researcher intensively investigated as a “person of interest” in the deadly anthrax letters of 2001. The settlement, consisting of $2.825 million in cash and an annuity paying Dr. June 28, 2008 - By SCOTT SHANE and ERIC LICHTBLAU - Washington - Print Headline: "Scientist Is Paid Millions by U.S. In Anthrax Suit";
Dismissal of Suit Against Times Is Upheld York Times by a former government scientist who had asserted that he was defamed by a series of columns about the deadly anthrax mailings of 2001. The three-judge panel said that a federal trial court judge had correctly granted The July 15, 2008 - By NEIL A. LEWIS - Business Day - Print Headline: "Dismissal of Suit Against Times Is Upheld"
A Onetime ‘Person of Interest’ Moves a Step Closer to Public Exoneration WASHINGTON — Having been named a “person of interest” in the investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks, the former Army scientist Steven J. Hatfill has tried for six years to clear his name, both inside court and out. Now the August 02, 2008 - By CHARLIE SAVAGE - U.S. - Print Headline: "A Onetime ‘Person of Interest’ Moves a Step Closer to Public Exoneration"
Scientist Officially Exonerated in Anthrax Attacks Steven J. Hatfill a “person of interest” in the anthrax attacks, the Justice Department formally exonerated him on Friday and told his lawyer it had concluded that Dr. Hatfill “was not involved in the anthrax August 09, 2008 - By ERIC LICHTBLAU - Washington - Print Headline: "Letter Officially Exonerates Scientist in Anthrax Case" Headlines and Exonerations Hatfill, acknowledging six years after labeling him a “person of interest” that he was not the man who killed five people with anthrax attacks on Congress and news organizations in 2001. If the intent was to call as little August 17, 2008 - By CLARK HOYT - Opinion - Print Headline: "Headlines and Exonerations"
INSIDE THE TIMES: August 17, 2008 Middle East. Now he can only watch helplessly as Russia marches through a different Georgia. WEEK IN REVIEW, PAGE 11 NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF The Chinese government has set aside protest space during the Olympics, with permits given out August 17, 2008 - - New York and Region - Print Headline: "INSIDE THE TIMES: August 17, 2008"
Your comments on my journalism column My Thursday column looks back at my 2002 columns about the anthrax cases, in which I cited a Mr. Z -- Dr. Steven Hatfill, as he later acknowledged -- as an example of the way the F.B.I. was muffing the investigation. The F.B.I. this August 27, 2008 - By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF - Opinion - Print Headline: "Your comments on my journalism column"
Media’s Balancing Act United States government was muffing the anthrax investigation. Microbiologists interviewed by the F.B.I. reported that the bureau didn’t fully understand the science involved and had allowed the destruction of August 28, 2008 - By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF - Opinion - Print Headline: "Media’s Balancing Act"
Justices Reject Appeal in Anthrax Libel Suit against The New York Times by a former government scientist who contended that he was defamed by a series of columns about the anthrax mailings of 2001. Without comment, the justices refused to accept an appeal by the scientist, December 15, 2008 - By DAVID STOUT - Washington - Print Headline: "Justices Reject Appeal in Anthrax Libel Suit"
End of the libel road against me and The Times that has been kicking around for years. It was brought for columns I wrote back in 2002 about the anthrax cases after 9/11: Dr. Steve Hatfill sued me and the Times for defamation and the case wound its way December 15, 2008 - By NICHOLAS KRISTOF - Opinion - Print Headline: "End of the libel road" dictator. News Analysis. PAGE A5 National
ANTHRAX CASE PERSUASIVE, PSYCHIATRISTS SAY A panel of psychiatrists who studied the medical records of Bruce E. Ivins said the F.B.I.'s case that he mailed the anthrax March 24, 2011 - - New York and Region - Print Headline: "Inside The Times"
Inside The Times
ENOUGH VACCINE TO GO AROUND The specter of a biological attack is difficult for almost anybody to imagine. Ten years after the anthrax attacks, biodefense still has some worrisome realities. Page 26 Book Review CHANGING THE PITCH OF October 30, 2011 - - New York and Region - Print Headline: "Inside The Times"
November 30, 2004, New York Times, Times Wins Libel-Suit Dismissal, by Nat Ives,
A federal judge in Virginia has dismissed a libel suit brought by a former Army bioterrorism expert who accused The New York Times and its Op-Ed columnist Nicholas D. Kristof of implicating him in the unsolved anthrax attacks of October 2001.
The suit, filed last July by Dr. Steven J. Hatfill, contended that some of Mr. Kristof's columns in 2002 implied that Dr. Hatfill was responsible for the anthrax attacks, which killed five people and heightened terrorism worries after Sept. 11. Federal investigators have identified Dr. Hatfill as a ''person of interest'' in the case but have not brought any charges against him.
In an opinion made public yesterday, the judge, Claude M. Hilton of the Federal District Court in Alexandria, Va., ruled that Mr. Kristof had directed his columns primarily at the handling of the investigation by the F.B.I. and had not accused Dr. Hatfill of responsibility for the attacks. Judge Hilton wrote that ''it is evident that the Op-Ed pieces highlighting the perceived shortcomings of the F.B.I. are not reasonably read as accusing Hatfill of actually being the anthrax mailer.''
Some of the columns did not even include Dr. Hatfill's name, instead referring to him as Mr. Z, the judge added. Mr. Kristof did not identify him until Dr. Hatfill, in August 2002, held a news conference related to the case.
The judge wrote that while some columns raised questions about Dr. Hatfill to support the argument that the F.B.I. needed to be more thorough and swift in its investigation, ''none of these accuse him of guilt, and the columns specifically caution that there may be no connection, that his friends consider him a patriot, and that a thorough F.B.I. investigation may well exculpate him of any wrongdoing.''
Victor M. Glasberg, a lawyer for Dr. Hatfill, said it was too early to tell whether there would be an appeal. The decision does not affect a separate suit Dr. Hatfill has filed against the government over release of a variety of information that, the plaintiff says, suggested his guilt.
Responding to the dismissal, Mr. Kristof described himself as ''delighted,'' and added, ''This is a real victory for the rights of journalists aggressively to cover these kinds of investigations.''
January 15, 2005, New York Times, From Grand Jury Leaks Comes a Clash of Rights, by John M. Broder, Archived.
OS ANGELES, Jan. 14 - Twice in the past month, sensitive grand jury material from high-profile investigations has found its way into the hands of the news media, setting off a collision between the rights of the accused and the First Amendment.
In the past week, extensive excerpts from grand jury material in the Michael Jackson child molesting case were posted on thesmokinggun.com Web site and broadcast on ABC News. Mr. Jackson was indicted by a Santa Barbara County grand jury last April on charges of sexually molesting a 13-year-old boy, administering alcohol to a minor and conspiracy.
And in December, The San Francisco Chronicle published parts of federal grand jury testimony that implicated the baseball players Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi in the use of illegal steroids.
Grand jury proceedings are supposed to be secret, and people who divulge material from them are subject to sanctions or prosecution, although witnesses are free to reveal what went on in the closed jury room.
Lawyers and legal scholars say that news organizations are on firm ground in publishing material from a grand jury, as long they obtained it legally. Unless there is a court order already in place barring publication of such information, and there was not in either case here, the press is free to disseminate the material as long as it was not acquired by theft or bribery, scholars said.
But defense lawyers say pre-trial publication of such material violates the rights of their clients and taints potential jurors.
"The witnesses who testified before the grand jury were never subjected to cross-examination or impeachment by the defense," said Thomas A. Mesereau Jr., Mr. Jackson's lead lawyer. "By law, no judge or defense lawyer was allowed to be present in the grand jury room. Furthermore, the defense had no opportunity to call its own witnesses to refute or criticize this one-sided proceeding."
Mr. Mesereau did not question the authenticity of the grand jury transcripts.
Prosecutors, too, say they abhor such leaks and have become much bolder in leaning on journalists to reveal the sources of the grand jury material.
Kevin V. Ryan, the United States attorney in San Francisco overseeing the sports doping case, has asked The Chronicle to reveal its sources and requested a Justice Department investigation of the leak.
Phil Bronstein, The Chronicle's editor, said that the paper had no intention of giving up the source or sources of its information and that this week's announcement of new measures by Major League Baseball to curb steroid use was a vindication of the value of the paper's reporting.
As for helping the government find out who leaked the grand jury transcripts, Mr. Bronstein said: "The press has certain responsibilities in society, but one of them is not to enforce the provisions of the federal grand jury system. Obviously, there are people who disagree with that, including the Justice Department. But that's not the view from here."
Erwin Chemerinsky, a constitutional law scholar at Duke Law School, said that at times the rights of defendants and the media collided, but that courts had almost always sided with the media. All high-profile cases generate extensive pretrial publicity, some true, some false, some potentially harmful to the defendant, Mr. Chemerinsky said.
But there are mechanisms in place to assure the impartiality of the jury, he said, including aggressive questioning during jury selection, strict instructions from the judge to ignore anything jurors might have read or heard and the presentation of a vigorous defense.
"The one thing that's clear is you can't stop the press from publishing because of that concern," Mr. Chemerinsky said. "There are many ways of dealing with potentially prejudicial pretrial publicity, but a gag order on the press isn't one of them."
ABC officials would not disclose how the network obtained transcripts from the Jackson grand jury. They said the testimony ran to 1,900 pages and contained explicit accounts of Mr. Jackson's purported molesting of a young cancer patient in 2003. Much of the same material, but without the verbatim quotations that ABC used, appeared last week on thesmokinggun.com, which is owned by Court TV, the cable channel that follows high-profile criminal cases.
Jury selection in the case is set to begin Jan. 31.
Under California law, grand jury transcripts are generally made public before the start of a trial. But the judge in the Jackson case, Rodney S. Melville of Santa Barbara Superior Court, has kept the transcript sealed as part of a broad blackout because of the intense international scrutiny the case has spawned. Lawyers and investigators on all sides of the case are barred from speaking to the media. Mr. Jackson's lawyer, Mr. Mesereau, did so only with the permission of Judge Melville.
A senior ABC News official said the network carefully vetted the grand jury material before it was broadcast and posted on the network's Web site.
"We reviewed and reported on this testimony because of its inherent news value," Jeffrey W. Schneider, vice president of ABC News, said in an e-mail response to written questions. "Our job is to report the facts, in a balanced manner and in proper context."
The Santa Barbara County prosecutor, Thomas W. Sneddon Jr., did not return a call seeking comment on the latest disclosures.
Although Mr. Ryan, the federal prosecutor in San Francisco, has not followed up on his demand that The Chronicle reveal its sources and Mr. Sneddon and Judge Melville have made no such threat, judges and prosecutors have been increasingly bold in punishing reporters for refusing to divulge sources of sensitive information.
Matt Cooper of Time magazine and Judith Miller of The New York Times have been found in contempt of court for refusing to testify about their sources in the case of the exposure of the identity of Valerie Plame, an undercover C.I.A. officer.
Jim Taricani, a television reporter in Rhode Island, was convicted last fall of contempt of court and sentenced to six months of home confinement for refusing to reveal who gave him an F.B.I. videotape that was evidence in an investigation of government corruption in Providence.
Eve Burton, the general counsel of the Hearst Corporation, which owns The Chronicle, said grand jury leaks had been going on for a long time without serious harm to American justice.
"There is a natural tension," Ms. Burton said. "The government has its job to do, and the press has another job to do."
She added, "What is new about this is that reporters are now being targeted in leak investigations."
Ms. Burton said she knew of 18 cases around the country in which reporters were being asked to reveal where they obtained information about continuing investigations.
David Carr contributed reporting from New York for this article.______________________________________________________________________________
April 10, 2005, New York Times, Goodbye To Privacy, by William Safire, NO PLACE TO HIDE; by Robert O'Harrow Jr., 348 pp. The Free Press. $26. CHATTER; Dispatches From the Secret World of Global Eavesdropping, by Patrick Radden Keefe. 300 pp. Random House. $24.95.
OUR mother's maiden name is not the secret you think it is. That sort of ''personal identifier'' being used by banks, credit agencies, doctors, insurers and retailers -- supposedly to protect you against the theft of your identity -- can be found out in a flash from a member of the new security-industrial complex. There goes the ''personal identifier'' that you presume a stranger would not know, along with your Social Security number and soon your face and DNA.
In the past five years, what most of us only recently thought of as ''nobody's business'' has become the big business of everybody's business. Perhaps you are one of the 30 million Americans who pay for what you think is an unlisted telephone number to protect your privacy. But when you order an item using an 800 number, your own number may become fair game for any retailer who subscribes to one of the booming corporate data-collection services. In turn, those services may be -- and some have been -- penetrated by identity thieves.
The computer's ability to collect an infinity of data about individuals -- tracking every movement and purchase, assembling facts and traits in a personal dossier, forgetting nothing -- was in place before 9/11. But among the unremarked casualties of that day was a value that Americans once treasured: personal privacy.
The first civil-liberty fire wall to fall was the one within government that separated the domestic security powers of the F.B.I. from the more intrusive foreign surveillance powers of the C.I.A. The 9/11 commission successfully mobilized public opinion to put dot-connection first and privacy protection last. But the second fire wall crumbled with far less public notice or approval: that was the separation between law enforcement recordkeeping and commercial market research. Almost overnight, the law's suspect list married the corporations' prospect list.
The hasty, troubling merger of these two increasingly powerful forces capable of encroaching on the personal freedom of American citizens is the subject of two new books.
Robert O'Harrow Jr.'s ''No Place to Hide'' might just do for privacy protection what Rachel Carson's ''Silent Spring'' did for environmental protection nearly a half-century ago. The author, a reporter for The Washington Post, does not write in anger. Sputtering outrage, which characterizes the writing of many of us in the anti-snooping minority, is not O'Harrow's style. His is the work of a careful, thorough, enterprising reporter, possibly the only one assigned to the privacy beat by a major American newspaper. He has interviewed many of the major, and largely unknown, players in the world of surveillance and dossier assembly, and provides extensive source notes in the back of his book. He not only reports their professions of patriotism and plausible arguments about the necessity of screening to security, but explains the profitability to modern business of ''consumer relationship management.''
''No Place to Hide'' -- its title taken from George W. Bush's post-9/11 warning to terrorists -- is all the more damning because of its fair-mindedness. O'Harrow notes that many consumers find it convenient to be in a marketing dossier that knows their personal preferences, habits, income, professional and sexual activity, entertainment and travel interests and foibles. These intimately profiled people are untroubled by the device placed in the car they rent that records their speed and location, the keystroke logger that reads the characters they type, the plastic hotel key that transmits the frequency and time of entries and exits or the hidden camera that takes their picture at a Super Bowl or tourist attraction. They fill out cards revealing personal data to get a warranty, unaware that the warranties are already provided by law. ''Even as people fret about corporate intrusiveness,'' O'Harrow writes about a searching survey of subscribers taken by Conde Nast Publications, ''they often willingly, even eagerly, part with intimate details about their lives.''
Such acquiescence ends -- for a while -- when snoopers get caught spilling their data to thieves or exposing the extent of their operations. The industry took some heat when a young New Hampshire woman was murdered by a stalker who bought her Social Security number and address from an online information service. But its lobbyists managed to extract the teeth from Senator Judd Gregg's proposed legislation, and the intercorporate trading of supposedly confidential Social Security numbers has mushroomed. When an article in The New York Times by John Markoff, followed by another in The Washington Post by O'Harrow, revealed the Pentagon's intensely invasive Total Information Awareness program headed by Vice Admiral John Poindexter of Iran-Contra infamy, a conservative scandalmonger took umbrage. (''Safire's column was like a blowtorch on dry tinder,''
O'Harrow writes in the book's only colorful simile.) The Poindexter program's slogan, ''Knowledge Is Power,'' struck many as Orwellian. Senators Ron Wyden and Russell D. Feingold were able to limit funding for the government-sponsored data mining, and Poindexter soon resigned. A Pentagon group later found that ''T.I.A. was a flawed effort to achieve worthwhile ends'' and called for ''clear rules and policy guidance, adopted through an open and credible political process.'' But O'Harrow reports in ''No Place to Hide'' that a former Poindexter colleague at T.I.A. ''said government interest in the program's research actually broadened after it was apparently killed by Congress.''
The author devotes chapters to the techniques of commercial data gatherers and sellers like Acxiom, Seisint and the British-owned LexisNexis, not household names themselves, but boasting computers stuffed with the names and pictures of each member of the nation's households as well as hundreds of millions of their credit cards. He quotes Ole Poulsen, chief technology officer of Seisint, on its digital identity system: ''We have created a unique identifier on everybody in the United States. Data that belongs together is already linked together.'' Soon after 9/11, having seen the system that was to become the public-private surveillance engine called Matrix (in computer naming, life follows film art), Michael Mullaney, a counterterrorism official at the Justice Department, told O'Harrow: ''I sat down and said, 'These guys have the computer that every American is afraid of.' ''
Of all the companies in the security-industrial complex, none is more dominant or acquisitive than ChoicePoint of Alpharetta, Ga. This data giant collects, stores, analyzes and sells literally billions of demographic, marketing and criminal records to police departments and government agencies that might otherwise be criticized (or de-funded) for building a national identity base to make American citizens prove they are who they say they are. With its employee-screening, shoplifter-blacklisting and credit-reporting arms, ChoicePoint is also, in the author's
From sales brochures that ChoicePoint distributed to its corporate and government customers -- as well as from interviews with its C.E.O., Derek V. Smith, the doyen of dossiers, who claims ''this incredible passion to make a safer world'' -- The Post's privacy reporter has assembled a coherent narrative that provides a profile of a profiler. As if to lend a news peg to the book, ChoicePoint has just thrust itself into the nation's consciousness as a conglomerate hoist by its own petard. The outfit that sells the ability to anticipate suspicious activity; that provides security to the nation's security services; that claims it protects people from identity theft -- has been easily penetrated by a gang that stole its dossiers on at least 145,000 people across the country.
ON top of that revelation, the company had to admit it first became suspicious last September that phony companies were downloading its supposedly confidential electronic records on individual citizens. Not only is the Federal Trade Commission inquiring into the company's compliance with consumer-information security laws, but the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating prearranged sales of ChoicePoint stock by Smith and another top official that netted a profit of $17 million before the penetration was publicly disclosed and the stock price plunged.
''ChoicePoint Data Cache Became a Powder Keg'' was The Washington Post headline, with the subhead ''Identity Thief's Ability to Get Information Puts Heat on Firm.'' This was followed by the account a week later of another breach of faith at a competing data mine: ''ID Thieves Breach LexisNexis, Obtain Information on 32,000.'' Now that a flat rock has been flipped over, much more scurrying about will be observed. This will cause embarrassment to lobbyists for, and advisers to, the major players in the security-industrial complex. ''No Place to Hide'' names famous names, revealing associations with Howard Safir, former New York City police commissioner; Gen. Wesley Clark, former NATO commander; and former Senator Dale Bumpers of Arkansas. (If you hear, ''This is not about the money'' -- it's about the money.)
More of the press has been showing interest, especially since Congressional hearings have begun and data is being disseminated about the data collectors. A second book -- not as eye-opening as O'Harrow's original reporting but a short course in what little we know of international government surveillance -- is ''Chatter: Dispatches from the Secret World of Global Eavesdropping,'' by Patrick Radden Keefe. This third-year student at Yale Law School dares to make his first book an examination of what he calls the liberty-security matrix.
Chatter, he notes, is a once innocuous word meaning ''gossip . . . the babble of a child'' that in the world of electronic intelligence has gained the sinister sense of ''telltale metabolic rhythm: chatter; silence; attack.'' The flurry of ''sigint'' -- signals intelligence, picked up by the secret listening devices of our National Security Agency -- sometimes precedes a terrorist attack, and almost always precedes an elevation of our color-coded security alerts.
Keefe does what a brilliant, persevering law student with no inside sources or a prestigious press pass should do: he surveys much of what has been written about sigint and pores over the public hearing transcripts. He visits worried scientists and some former spooks who have written critical books, and poses questions to which he would like to get answers. He doesn't get them, but his account of unclimbable walls and unanswered calls invites further attempts from media bigfeet to do better. Keefe is a researcher adept at compiling intriguing bits and pieces dug out or leaked in the past; the most useful part of the book is the notes at the end about written, public sources that point to some breaks in the fog.
''Chatter'' focuses on government, not commercial, surveillance, and thereby misses the danger inherent in the sinister synergism of the two. Moreover, the book lacks a point of view: at 28, Keefe has formulated neither a feel for individual privacy nor a zeal for government security. It may be, as Roman solons said, Inter arma silent leges -- in wartime, the laws fall silent -- but the privacy-security debate needs to be both informed and joined. This is no time for agnostics.
For example, what to do about Echelon? That is supposedly an ultrasecret surveillance network, conducted by the United States and four other English-speaking nations, to overhear and oversee signals. ''We don't know whether Echelon exists,'' Keefe writes, ''and, if it does exist, how the shadowy network operates. It all remains an enigma.'' Though he cannot light a candle, he at least calls attention to, without cursing, the darkness.
Keefe's useful research primer on today's surveillance society, and especially O'Harrow's breakthrough reporting on the noxious nexus of government and commercial snooping, open the way for the creation of privacy beats for journalism's coming generation of search engineers. A small furor is growing about the abuse of security that leads to identity theft. We'll see how long the furor lasts before the commercial-public security combine again slams privacy against the wall of secrecy, but at least Poindexter's slogan is being made clear: knowledge is indeed power, and more than a little power in unknowable hands is a dangerous thing.
William Safire writes the On Language column for The Times Magazine.
July 29, 2005, New York Times, Appeal Restores Libel Case Against Times, by Timothy L. O'Brien,
A federal appeals court ruled yesterday that a libel suit filed against The New York Times Company by a former Army bioterrorism expert could proceed, reversing a Federal District Court decision last November that dismissed the case.
The suit, filed two years ago by the bioterrorism expert, Steven J. Hatfill, accused Nicholas D. Kristof, a Times Op-Ed columnist, of implicating Dr. Hatfill in the unsolved anthrax attacks in October 2001.
Dr. Hatfill asserted that a series of Mr. Kristof's columns, which criticized the pace of an F.B.I. investigation into Dr. Hatfill's background and activities and many of which referred to him as an anonymous ''Mr. Z,'' suggested that Dr. Hatfill was responsible for the attacks. The suit charged that the columns defamed Dr. Hatfill and caused him emotional distress.
Five people died in the attacks, which heightened national anxieties after the Sept 11 attacks. Although the federal authorities have identified Dr. Hatfill as a ''person of interest'' in the case they have not charged him with any crimes.
When Claude M. Hilton, a federal district judge in Alexandria, Va., dismissed the case, he ruled that Mr. Kristof's columns were directed primarily at the F.B.I. and did not accuse Dr. Hatfill of being responsible for the attacks.
But a three-member appellate panel in Richmond, Va., overturned that decision yesterday in a 2-to-1 ruling, noting that a ''reasonable reader'' of Mr. Kristof's columns would have concluded that Dr. Hatfill was responsible for the anthrax attacks and that the columns intentionally inflicted emotional distress on him.
The Times has the right to appeal yesterday's decision to the full United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The newspaper said yesterday that it had not decided whether to appeal. If The Times does not appeal, the case will be sent back to Judge Hilton's court, where it will be permitted to proceed.
''We are disappointed in the court's decision, but we remain confident in our case,'' The Times said in a statement. ''Mr. Kristof's columns were fair and accurate, and we continue to believe that newspapers need to be able to comment on how investigations -- especially one as important as this -- are being conducted.''
Mr. Kristof, who was dismissed as a defendant in the case and bears no personal liability in the matter, said he had nothing to add.
Dr. Hatfill's lawyer, Victor M. Glasberg, said he found yesterday's ruling encouraging.
''The Fourth Circuit did the right thing,'' Mr. Glasberg said. ''I'm pleased.''
October 19, 2005, New York Times, Court Rebuffs The Times Co. Over Lawsuit, by David Cay Johnson,
A federal appeals court yesterday declined to reconsider a ruling that allowed a former Army bioterrorism expert to proceed with a defamation suit against The New York Times Company.
Six judges on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, Va., voted to consider the case, and six opposed doing so; one judge did not vote. To grant a rehearing, a majority was required.
The suit, filed two years ago by Steven J. Hatfill, accused Nicholas D. Kristof, a columnist for The Times, of implicating Dr. Hatfill in the anthrax attacks of October 2001.
Dr. Hatfill asserted that a series of Mr. Kristof's columns, which criticized the pace of an F.B.I. investigation into Dr. Hatfill's background and activities, suggested that he was responsible for the attacks.
In July, a three-judge panel of the appeals court ruled that the case could proceed to trial, reversing a lower court decision that had dismissed the suit. The Times then asked the full appeals court to reconsider the panel's ruling.
The order yesterday in which the court declined to do so was issued without comment. But in a lengthy dissent, three of the judges declared that allowing the case to proceed would chill robust public commentary, especially in small newspapers, on matters of vital public concern.
The dissent, written by Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III and joined by Judges M. Blane Michael and Robert Bruce King, said that ''viewed as a whole, the columns do not pin guilt'' on Dr. Hatfill ''but instead urge the investigation of an undeniable public threat.'' It added that the columns were a valuable critique containing ''pointed criticism of the executive branch,'' and in particular the F.B.I., for what Mr. Kristof characterized as ''lackadaisical ineptitude in pursuing the anthrax killer.''
The dissent expressed doubt that Dr. Hatfill would prevail at trial.
David E. McCraw, a lawyer for the Times Company, said that ''we are obviously disappointed,'' but also ''very pleased by Judge Wilkinson's dissent.'' Mr. McCraw said that there would be no further appeals and that the company would proceed to trial.
Thomas G. Connolly, Dr. Hatfill's lawyer, expressed his pleasure at the decision but declined detailed comment.
March 16, 2006, New York Times, 2 Times Reporters Win Prize for Articles on Spying, by Michael Janofsky,
James Risen and Eric Lichtblau of The New York Times have won the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting for their coverage of the Bush administration's domestic eavesdropping program.
The award, worth $25,000, is given annually by the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. The prize was created in 1991 to honor journalism that discloses excessive secrecy, impropriety and mismanagement. The awards were officially presented Tuesday night in Cambridge, Mass. The center also presented a special award to Nicholas D. Kristof, an Op-Ed columnist for The Times, for his reporting on genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan. Mr. Kristof was cited for reporting that led to "saving many thousands of lives."
The Times eavesdropping articles revealed that government agents were secretly monitoring telephone calls and e-mail messages inside the United States without court approval. The articles touched off a national debate focused on the intersection of national security and civil liberties.
"The judges felt that, in a field of hugely important investigations, the revelation of systemic domestic spying by the government was the most important," said Alex S. Jones, director of the Shorenstein Center."They wanted to send a message that this kind of reporting is essential to our democracy."
Bill Keller, executive editor of The Times, said: ''Jim and Eric performed an extraordinary feat of reporting that has provoked an important national debate about the balance between security and liberty. But their work has also set off an intensive leak investigation carrying the threat of legal reprisals. So besides being a gratifying acknowledgment of professional achievement, this award also constitutes a welcome vote of moral support."
The judges considered five other finalists. They included Joshua Boak, James Drew, Steve Eder, Christopher D. Kirkpatrick, Jim Tankersley and Mike Wilkinson of The Blade in Toledo, Ohio, whose articles on the state's investment into rare coins led to convictions of Gov. Bob Taft and others on ethics charges.
Three Washington Post reporters -- Susan Schmidt, James V. Grimaldi and R. Jeffrey Smith -- were nominated for articles that revealed the political activities of Jack Abramoff, the Washington lobbyist. Another Post reporter, Dana Priest, was nominated for articles that revealed a network of secret prisons outside the United States where the American authorities held terror suspects.
Three reporters from The Los Angeles Times -- Evelyn Larrubia, Robin Fields and Jack Leonard -- were nominated for a series that examined guardians of the elderly who preyed on them.
Marcus Stern and Jerry Kammer of Copley News Service were nominated for articles about former Representative Randy Cunningham, Republican of California, who was sentenced to prison for taking bribes.
March 28, 2006, New York Times, Court Rebuffs Times On Libel Suit Appeal, The United States Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from The New York Times on Monday, allowing a libel suit by a former Army bioterrorism expert to go forward The suit, filed in 2003 by Steven J. Hatfill, accused Nicholas D. Kristof, an Op-Ed columnist for The Times, of implicating Dr. Hatfill in the unsolved anthrax attacks of 2001.
The suit was dismissed by a federal judge in Virginia in 2004. A divided three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, Va., reinstated the case in July, and the full court, by a 6-to-6 vote, declined to rehear it in October.
The decisions to date have been preliminary, centering on whether Mr. Kristof's statements could be considered defamatory.
Judge Dennis W. Shedd, writing for the majority in the July decision, said ''a reasonable reader of Kristof's columns likely would conclude that Hatfill was responsible for the anthrax mailings in 2001."
But Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III, dissenting from the October decision, said "the columns do not pin guilt on plaintiff, but instead urge the investigation of an undeniable public threat."
The trial court will now consider whether the statements were false and whether The Times was at fault for publishing them.
October 24, 2006, New York Times, Times Is Ordered to Reveal Columnist's Sources, by Neil A. Lewis, A federal magistrate judge has ordered The New York Times to disclose the identities of three confidential sources used by one of its columnists, Nicholas Kristof, for columns he wrote about the investigation of the deadly anthrax mailings of 2001.
The order, issued Friday by Magistrate Judge Liam O'Grady, requires the newspaper to disclose the identities of the three sources to lawyers for Dr. Steven J. Hatfill, who has brought a defamation suit against The Times. The order was disclosed Monday.
Catherine Mathis, a spokeswoman for The Times, said the newspaper would appeal the ruling.
Dr. Hatfill, a germ warfare specialist who formerly worked in the Army laboratories at Fort Detrick, Md., has asserted that a series of columns by Mr. Kristof about the slow pace of the anthrax investigation defamed him because they suggested he was responsible for the attacks. Five people died in the attacks. Although the federal authorities identified Dr. Hatfill as a "person of interest" in the case, they have not charged him with any crimes.
At a deposition on July 13, Mr. Kristof declined to name five of his sources for the columns, but two have subsequently agreed to release him from his pledge of confidentiality. Judge O'Grady's ruling identifies the remaining unnamed sources as two Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and a former colleague or friend of Dr. Hatfill at Fort Detrick.
The judge ruled that the laws of Virginia applied and that under that state's law, reporters have only a qualified privilege to decline to name their sources that may be outweighed by other factors.
He wrote that for Mr. Hatfill to have a chance of meeting his burden of demonstrating that he was defamed by the columns, he "needs an opportunity to question the confidential sources and determine if Mr. Kristof accurately reported information the sources provided."
Mr. Kristof wrote about a government scientist he initially referred to as Mr. Z, saying he had become the overwhelming focus of the investigation. In August 2002, he wrote that Dr. Hatfill had acknowledged he was Mr. Z. at a news conference in which he said he had been mistreated by the news media.
The lawsuit was originally dismissed by a federal judge in Virginia in 2004. A divided three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond reinstated the case and the full appeals court, by a 6-to-6 vote, declined to overturn that ruling. The Supreme Court declined to intervene last March.
Judge O'Grady wrote: "The court understands the need for a reporter to be able to credibly pledge confidentiality to his sources. Confidential sources have been an important part of journalism, which is presumably why Virginia recognizes a qualified reporter's privilege in the first place." He said Virginia law required the use of a three-part balancing test as to whether there is a compelling need for the information, whether the information is relevant and whether it may not be obtained any other way.
November 3, 2006, New York Times, Setback for Times in Anthrax Suit, by Neil A. Lewis, WASHINGTON, Nov. 2 — A federal judge in Virginia on Thursday upheld a ruling by a magistrate judge that The New York Times must disclose the identities of three sources used by Nicholas D. Kristof for columns he wrote on the deadly anthrax mailings of 2001. The judge, Claude M. Hilton of Federal District Court, ruled that last month’s opinion was “not clearly erroneous or contrary to law.”
The order is part of a case of defamation brought against The Times by Stephen J. Hatfill, who asserts that columns by Mr. Kristof suggested he was responsible for the attacks.
The ruling is likely to make it more difficult for The Times to defend the lawsuit when the case goes to trial because a judge may instruct the jury to give less credibility to assertions that the columns had been based on legitimate and knowledgeable sources. Because it is a civil case rather than a criminal one, there is little chance of anyone from The Times facing the possibility of being jailed over contempt charges.
George Freeman, vice president and assistant general counsel for The Times, said Thursday’s ruling was disappointing, “given that the court recognized that confidential sources play an important role in good journalism, and that the court of appeals came very close to dismissing this case on a preliminary motion on the basis that the columns weren’t defamatory."
"Though it may make defending the case tougher," Mr. Freeman added, "we are confident that in the end, the columns will be vindicated."
Five people died in the attacks. The authorities called Dr. Hatfill, who worked on germ warfare issues, a "person of interest" but have not charged him with any crimes.
November 18, 2006, New York Times, Judge’s Ruling Bars The Times From Using Sources’ Information in Defense Against Suit, by Neil A. Lewis,
WASHINGTON, Nov. 17 — A federal magistrate judge ruled on Friday that The New York Times may not rely in any way on information its columnist, Nicholas D. Kristof, may have received from two Federal Bureau of Investigation officials in its defense of a defamation suit brought by a former government scientist.
The judge, Liam O'Grady, issued the ruling as a sanction against The Times for refusing to disclose or force Mr. Kristof to disclose the identities of the two confidential F.B.I. sources he used in writing a series of columns about the investigation of the deadly anthrax mailings of 2001.
Dr. Stephen J. Hatfill, a germ warfare specialist who once worked in the Army laboratories at Fort Detrick, Md., has asserted in a lawsuit that the columns defamed him because they suggested he was responsible for the attacks. In its filings, The Times has suggested that Mr. Kristof had numerous sources for the columns. Of those, Mr. Kristof initially refused to identify five, saying he had promised them confidentiality. He has since disclosed the identities of three, saying those sources recently released him from his pledge.
In issuing the ruling, Judge O'Grady rejected a series of harsher sanctions sought by Mr. Hatfill's lawyers, including a request that the court impose a $25,000-a-day fine on The Times until it named the two F.B.I. officials.
Judge O'Grady issued his ruling from the bench in Alexandria, Va., where he sits and where the trial is scheduled to begin on Jan. 29. The ruling means that when Mr. Kristof testifies during the trial on behalf of The Times, he may not cite any information he may have received from the two confidential sources as substantiation for the columns.
How much of a setback the ruling is for The Times is unclear and probably depends on how much other substantiation Mr. Kristof and the newspaper may present to counter Dr. Hatfill’s assertions. Five people died in the anthrax attacks. Although federal authorities identified Dr. Hatfill as "a person of interest" in the case, they have not charged him with any crimes.
Mr. Kristof's columns were about a government scientist he initially referred to as Mr. Z, someone he said had become the overwhelming focus of the investigation. In August 2002, he wrote that Dr. Hatfill had acknowledged he was Mr. Z at a news conference in which he said he had been mistreated by the news media.
Because the lawsuit is a civil action, not a criminal one, there was no consideration of anyone being ordered to jail as has happened in some recent criminal investigations. Instead, the judge said he fashioned the remedy to ensure that Dr. Hatfill was not disadvantaged by the use of information obtained by The Times from sources it would not identify and thus subject to examination.
Judge O’Grady had written earlier that for Dr. Hatfill to meet his burden of demonstrating he was defamed, he needed "an opportunity to question the confidential sources and determine if Mr. Kristof accurately reported information the sources provided."
The lawsuit was originally dismissed by a federal judge in Virginia in 2004, who ruled that the columns were not defamatory and only reported on the existence of an investigation. A divided three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, Va., reinstated the case, and the full appeals court, by a 6-to-6 vote, declined to overturn that ruling. The Supreme Court declined to intervene last March.