Accuracy in Media

Dr. Steven Hatfill has announced that lawsuits are planned against those who accused him of involvement in the anthrax letters case. Speaking at an Accuracy in Media conference, Hatfill also said that, with his background in biodefense, he should be helping prepare the American people for terrorist attacks. “What upsets me the worst,” he said, his voice cracking with emotion, is that “my country is getting ready for war, and I’m left on the sidelines.”

Hatfill has the expertise to help prepare America for biowarfare waged by countries such as Iraq or international terrorists. He understands how to save lives. But he has been run out of two jobs because of the campaign against him. Hatfill said, “A year ago at this time I was involved in theoretical studies helping to determine means by which we could protect our ports and harbors from large scale biological events. Several months ago I was involved in designing and implementing a program to train 46,000 first responders in how to handle biological incidents. Now I sit at home and watch CNN.”

Described by Attorney General John Ashcroft as a “person of interest” in the case, Hatfill has been forced to hire a lawyer and hold two news conferences to deny that he is responsible for the anthrax letters in the fall of 2001 that killed five people. He has been tailed by the FBI and his apartment has been searched three times. Yet he is not a suspect, no evidence has been found, and Ashcroft admits the FBI isn’t close to an arrest. In one of the most blatant media distortions in the case, Newsweek claimed that FBI bloodhounds went crazy around Hatfill, thereby linking him to the anthrax letters, but the scientist dismissed that, saying he had merely petted a bloodhound brought into a room where he was sitting. “Dogs like me,” he joked.

Hatfill’s appearance caught the attention of CNN, which noted his comments about lawsuits, and ran a story on its Web site. The CNN story said, “When asked who he believes is responsible for the anthrax attacks, Hatfill said, ‘Throughout this entire year, I have tried to sit on the fence. There are times when I think it could be domestic. There are times when I think it is foreign. I don’t know. I don’t have enough information. I have not seen the powder. I don’t have enough scientific evidence to make any sort of determination.'”

While reserving complete judgment, pending a thorough scientific analysis of the evidence, Hatfill also said, “I believe if it had been domestic after the millions of dollars and thousands of man hours that the FBI has put into this, I think those people would be in jail now. And I think the fact that there is no suspect points us towards perhaps a foreign power or a terrorist group involved ? just simply by the process of elimination.”

Hatfill revealed that the country’s top active expert in dried biological warfare agents ? Bill Patrick ? who had been polygraphed by the FBI and brought into their inner circle ?was now being targeted as well, and that bloodhounds were “out sniffing him the other day.” “I didn’t know it could be like this in the United States,” he said. “We’ve gone nuts. We eat our own here.”

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