FBI Is Unprepared for Biological Terrorism
On the same day that an ex-FBI agent was indicted on charges of negligence in a Chinese espionage case, the CBS Evening News was telling the American people they should have full confidence in the bureau to solve the question of who sent the anthrax letters a year and a half ago that killed five people. CBS Evening News correspondent Jim Stewart gave retiring senior FBI official Van Harp the opportunity to look like he is on top of the case through the pursuit of "person of interest" Dr. Steven Hatfill, a former government scientist.
But while we have hard evidence of Chinese manipulation of the FBI, the FBI has no evidence against Hatfill. The agency has ruined his career, cost him two jobs, and may be reluctant to admit they have another Richard Jewell, who was falsely accused of the Olympic Park bombing.
The FBI was told 12 years ago that one of their key agents providing intelligence on the Chinese leadership was secretly working for the communists. But Chinese-American Katrina Leung, who has now been indicted as a spy for China, was having sexual relations with two veteran FBI counter-intelligence agents who were supposed to be protecting our nation against Chinese espionage.
Nevertheless, on the anthrax case, Jim Stewart of CBS News interviewed Harp and reported that, "they believe they already have their man, even if they never get his indictment…" Stewart said that Hatfill is "the FBI’s number one suspect in the attacks, even though round-the-clock surveillance and extensive searches have failed to develop more than what even Justice Department prosecutors describe as a ‘highly circumstantial’ case."
This was quickly followed by a curious Washington Post story about the FBI allegedly recovering a mysterious piece of lab equipment from a Maryland pond that Hatfill supposedly could have used to handle and package the anthrax letters. Analyst and researcher Ross Getman thinks that it’s probably a plastic minnow trap or a live bait dispenser discarded by a fisherman. His web site, http://mysite.verizon.net/vze43v8m/, is an excellent analysis of the evidence ignored by the FBI linking al Qaeda to the anthrax attacks.
Dr. Dany Shoham, a researcher at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, has written an excellent article in the International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence pointing to Iraq as the source of the anthrax. He believes the FBI’s Hatfill theory is invalid but that the story of the lab equipment being dumped into the pond may provide the proper "solution" to the mystery from the Bureau’s point of view.
The so-called "circumstantial" case against Hatfill seems to be based on reported mistakes on his resumé, his background as an anti-communist in Southern Africa, a questionable "profile" of the anthrax killer, and political pressure from left-wing activists and liberal Senators Patrick Leahy and Tom Daschle, who received two of the anthrax letters. Stewart reported that, "…the government might take the unusual step of bringing charges against Hatfill unrelated to the anthrax attacks at all…"
This was followed by an incident in which an FBI driver tailing Hatfill ran over his foot and injured him. Hatfill was given a ticket by D.C. police for walking over to the FBI car and trying to take a picture of his tormentor. Hatfill spokesman Patrick Clawson says FBI agents follow Hatfill into restaurants and even make obscene gestures at him. He believes the FBI is trying to provoke Hatfill into striking a federal agent so they can arrest him and claim they were right about him all along.
Ignoring the outrageous FBI conduct in the Hatfill case, the cover story in the May 26 U.S. News & World Report is a puff piece about FBI director Robert Mueller "changing the FBI" for the better. Ironically, Harp is quoted by author Chitra Ragavan as saying that FBI agents pursuing critical investigations "can’t take any information or source for granted." Yet the FBI has dismissed solid evidence that some of the 9/11 hijackers were exposed to anthrax and had an interest in dispersing chemical and biological weapons. A new tape from Ayman al-Zawahiri, the top aide to Osama bin Laden and head of al Qaeda’s biological-weapons program, warns of more terrorist attacks.
Instead of following the anthrax leads that point to al Qaeda, the FBI is basking in the glow of flattering stories from the CBS Evening News, the Washington Post and U.S. News. Our "adversary press" looks like a public relations agency for the Bureau. It is a media scandal as troubling as former New York Times reporter Jayson Blair’s fabrications and fakery.
Cliff Kincaid is the Editor of the AIM Report and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org