rejects germ warfare accord
July 26, 2001 Posted: 3:55 AM EDT (0755 GMT)
GENEVA, Switzerland -- The U.S. has rejected a draft accord to ensure compliance with a United Nations ban on biological weapons.
The ban, known as the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention, does not currently have compliance details as none were included when it was formulated during the Cold War, Associated Press reported.
Nations had been negotiating for almost seven years to agree on a way to implement the ban, when the United States announced on Wednesday that it had "long-standing concerns" and could not support the draft.
However, U.S. chief negotiator Donald Mahley told representatives from 56 nations who held talks in Geneva that the U.S. still supports the global ban on biological weapons as outlined in the BWC.
The U.S. will work hard to "improve, not lessen" global efforts to counter the biological weapons threat and its potential impact on civilization, Mahley said.
A senior State Department official said a working text of the protocol poses a "serious risk" to U.S. national interests.
The protocol would open U.S. laboratories to inspections, which the official said would give others the information needed to counter the U.S. biological weapons defense program.
The official said the protocol also would endanger U.S. export controls, which the administration sees as the strongest defense in stopping the proliferation of biological weapons.
Mahley said the U.S. intends to develop other approaches to strengthening the BWC during the next few months to counter the "real and growing" threat posed by biological weapons.
The United States had taken a leading role in pushing for compliance provisions since Iraqi armaments discovered after the 1991 Gulf War showed the BWC had failed to stop countries from developing biological weapons.
The draft would oblige member states to make public sites that could be used for the development of biological weapons.
It also sets out a series of steps for verification, including spot checks.
The U.S. said the checks would not stop cheating by states wanting to develop biological weapons and could open the door to industrial espionage.
"The mechanisms envisioned in the protocol would not achieve their objectives and ... trying to do more would simply raise the risk to legitimate United States activities," Mahley said.
A central concern for the United States, Mahley said, was uncovering "illicit activity" regarding biological weapons.
The draft accord fails to provide any deterrent to states manufacturing illicit biological weapons, Mahley said.
The U.S. rejection threw the future of the talks into doubt.
"Even though I understand some of the rationale, I was rather surprised by the U.S. argument at this stage," Japanese Ambassador Seiichiro Noboru told The Associated Press news agency.
Noboru said the rejection meant that efforts to strengthen the BWC would have to start all over.
"It does close the chapter on 6-1/2 years of negotiation," Indian Ambassador Rakesh Sood said.
"Whether it closes the book or not we don't know."
"I am really disappointed. You really wonder what the United States thinks it has been doing for the past decade," said Professor Graham Pearson of the department of peace studies at Britain's Bradford University, who is observing the talks.
"The protocol brought benefits for all. The message that goes out now is that the world does not care about biological weapons -- the most dangerous kind of all," Pearson, a former head of the British Defence Ministry's Porton Down research establishment told Reuters news agency.
The European Union said earlier this week that while the draft accord did not meet all its concerns, it believed it would strengthen the BWC, Reuters said.
"We regret that the U.S. has decided to reject this protocol. The concern is that germ weapons talks could just sink into the doldrums," said one European diplomat. Scientists and non-governmental organisations in Geneva for the talks urged other states to ignore Washington's withdrawal and press ahead with negotiations on the draft, which had been due to go on until August 17.
New York City Inhalation Anthrax Patient Dies
Aired October 31, 2001 - 09:02 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: We have some breaking news to share with you right now.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, a little bit of sad news. The woman who contracted inhalation anthrax, the hospital worker, the Manhattan Hospital, has apparently died. And we are going to check in right now, as a matter of fact, with CNN's Jason Carroll who is at the hospital -- Jason.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are at Lenox Hill Hospital. We just got a phone call from hospital representatives and they did confirm that Kathy Nguyen, 61 years old, did die early this morning at about 1:16 a.m. -- died from complications due to inhalation anthrax.
This woman worked in the stock room of Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital just a few blocks from here. Worked in the stock room located down in the basement in the same area as a mail room.
Just to give you a little bit of history of what happened here, this woman became sick last Thursday. She complained of having headaches and a fever, but she went to work on Thursday, went to work again on Friday. Over the weekend, her condition became much worse. On Sunday, she checked herself into Lenox Hill Hospital. Doctors immediately put her on a respirator. Tests revealed that she did in fact have a form of inhalation anthrax.
Investigators at this point are trying to retrace her steps, trying to figure out exactly what she may have come into contact with. They have no idea how this woman, at this point, contracted this deadly disease. They've taken environmental samples from Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital. They've taken about 40 samples, 10 of those samples have come back so far, those tests reveal that those samples are negative. They've also taken environmental samples from her apartment in the Bronx. They've taken samples there. We're still waiting for those test results.
But once again to recap here, Kathy Nguyen, 61 years old, has died from complications due to inhalation anthrax -- Miles.
O'BRIEN: Jason, we know that she worked in the supply room in the hospital and we know that that supply room had some mail in it. Do we know much about how much contact she had with the mail? Was she in any way sorting or delivering it because presumably that mail would have gone through that Morgan facility which has some positive anthrax tests there that have come back? What do we know about what she did in her daily work that might have put her in contact with mail?
CARROLL: Well it's definitely been confirmed that mail from the Morgan facility did pass through Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital. But in terms of how much mail this woman actually may have handled, at this point it's difficult to tell. This woman was so sick when she came in to Lenox Hill Hospital on Sunday, she was really too sick to help investigators with that part of their investigation. So all they can do at this point, Miles, is retrace her steps, take environmental samples from wherever she was, run those tests and draw conclusions from there -- Miles.
O'BRIEN: Of course what you just said will probably complicate matters in as much as they never got an interview with her. They'll have to talk to, obviously, friends and family. Are they fairly confident they'll be able to accurately retrace her steps?
CARROLL: Tough to tell. I mean this is a case that is new to the city of New York. All they can do is run those samples, run as many tests as they can, interview as many people as they can and draw conclusions from there.
O'BRIEN: CNN's Jason Carroll, we appreciate that. Live from Manhattan -- Paula.
ZAHN: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) one of the most concerning things about this is the fact that she did go to work on Thursday and Friday. And there are so many people who -- doctors out there, as we head into this flu season, that think that American -- it's easily to confuse the symptoms of anthrax with flu. You know she might have felt like she just had the flu, and...
O'BRIEN: I mean...
ZAHN: ... actually she didn't check herself into the hospital until over the weekend.
O'BRIEN: ... I think the word to the wise is if you get flu symptoms, you might want to get a check.
ZAHN: Yes, absolutely.
We, of course, are going to continue to follow up on this story that has just developed out of New York, this, of course, woman dying at 1:16 this morning from inhalation anthrax.
Hijacker-anthrax link coincidental
October 15, 2001 Posted: 11:42 AM EDT (1542 GMT)
BOCA RATON, Florida (CNN) --In what the FBI calls a strange coincidence, two apartments used by suspected hijackers named in the September 11 terrorist attacks were rented to them by a real estate agent married to the editor of the tabloid newspaper where an employee died from anthrax.
The FBI said there is nothing, however, to link the apartments to the anthrax outbreak.
FBI spokeswoman Judy Orihuela told CNN, "We consider this to be a strange coincidence. We have nothing more to go on. We cannot tie this apartment to the anthrax."
The Miami Herald identified the real estate agent as Gloria Irish, wife of Michael Irish, who is editor of The Sun. Sun photo editor Bob Stevens died from inhalation anthrax. At least two other people in the American Media Inc. headquarters building were exposed to anthrax, and others are being tested.
The Herald said the suspected hijackers who rented the apartments this summer were Marwan al-Shehhi and Hamza Alghamdi, both aboard the second plane to hit the World Trade Center.
The two apartments were in Delray Beach, Florida, about five miles from the newspaper building in Boca Raton. The Herald said Alghamdi rented a unit at the Delray Racquet Club, and Al-Shehhi rented an apartment at the Hamlet Country Club complex.
An FBI suspect list has linked several other hijackers to these and other locations in Delray Beach in the months leading up to the September 11 terrorist attacks.
The anthrax scare began October 4 in Florida when it was confirmed that The Sun photo editor had contracted the inhaled form of the bacteria. His death was the first such death in the United States since 1976.
Ken Alibek: Preparing for the range of bioterrorism possibilities
October 17, 2001 Posted: 12:57 PM EDT (1657 GMT)
Dr. Ken Alibek defected to the United States from the Soviet Union in 1992, after serving in their biological weapons program for more than twenty years. He has since served as a consultant to numerous United States government agencies dealing with medical microbiology, biological weapons defense, and biological weapons nonproliferation. Dr. Alibek is the president of Advanced Biosystems, Inc. He joined CNN.com chat room from Virginia.
CNN: Welcome to CNN.com Ken Alibek. Thank you for being with us today.
ALIBEK: Hello to everyone.
CNN: Many people are now wondering if these anthrax episodes are the work of Osama bin Laden. What are your thoughts regarding his capabilities for carrying out what we are seeing now or even worse?
ALIBEK: You know, this is no more than an assumption, that it was done by bin Laden. In order to find the right answer, we need to do a little work. Of course, I have no idea what the FBI and CDC do in this field, but here is what I would do. As quickly as possible, I would want to find out whether or not it was done by professionals. For example, we can study virulence of these pathogens. Second, a stage of development of spores, particle size, particle form, what additives were used, what was the medium they used to grow this agent. And so on and so forth. This type of information could help us tremendously to understand if this was done professionally or by amateurs. Then we can see, for example, if we find some similarities in these weapons, to see if they're from Iraq, or whatever source.
CHAT PARTICIPANT: Do you feel that if the faction that has been mailing anthrax had the means and the quantity, they would have mass infected us already? Do you believe this is a mass fear tactic?
ALIBEK: First of all, I don't consider this attack as a massive attack. They found an unusual way to infect people. This technique could not result in mass casualties. But at the same time, it could produce some number of casualties and cases of infection. But what worries me in this case could have a possible significance of economic impact, economic damage. Probably in the near future, we will see a significant slow-down in postal service, which is going to affect our economy.
CHAT PARTICIPANT: How many cases of inhalational and cutaneous anthrax have been reported prior to September, 2001?
ALIBEK: Inhalation anthrax is a very rare form of anthrax. It could result only from inhalation of about 10,000 or 20,000 spores. The last case reported was about 25 years ago. One of the biggest cases occurred in the United States in recent history was in 1956 or 1957, when a worker who sorted wool was infected. The cutaneous form is a more frequent form of anthrax. I'm assuming maybe one or two cases a year, sometimes one case in two years, but generally it's not widespread here in the United States.
CNN: What can you tell us about many of your former colleagues in the former Soviet Union who were bio-technology scientists? Where are they now, and do you believe there is a danger that they could be involved in subversive activities?
ALIBEK: The great majority of them are still in the former Soviet Union. Some scientists have left Russia, the former Soviet Union, in the '90s. They went everywhere: the United States, Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany. There was some information about people who left for Iran, and some are in Middle Eastern countries. One of the biggest problems we face now, all those people, even scientist, even those who are in Russia now, they present quite a significant, not threat, but an information source for possible buyers. We need to find a way how to employ them. It's much cheaper just to spend some money now to get them employed and do scientific work and not let them to sell their expertise to somebody else.
CHAT PARTICIPANT: Dr Alibek - we are being repeatedly told that the germination time or time from exposure for inhalational anthrax is 2 to 14 days, yet some of the cases in Russia in the '70s apparently took 60 days. What is the longest recorded time from exposure to symptoms for inhalational anthrax?
ALIBEK: In all my experiments during the '80s, using animal models, we have never seen the incubation be longer than the seven days. Actual cases of anthrax in Russia in 1979 showed that some people contracted this infection even 60 days after exposure. There was significant discussion why. My opinion is that people who got infected, who got diseased in 40, 45, 60 days, were infected by secondary aerosols. When they launched a huge maintenance work, and disinfection work.
CHAT PARTICIPANT: I know bioweapons only are of limited danger because they tend to die out. How effective have bioweapons become?
ALIBEK: You know, what's important to keep in mind is that nobody expects biological weapons to survive for days and for months in the environment and in the air. Biological weapons, when they are deployed, create biological aerosols, which travel downwind. They are capable to cover tens of miles distance while they travel, and are still viable. Usually that's enough to have an effective coverage.
CHAT PARTICIPANT: Dr. Alibek, do you believe that more anthrax cases will be reported? Do you feel as though the vaccine should be made readily available to prevent more contractions of disease?
ALIBEK: Of course it's very difficult to say how many cases of anthrax we will see in the future. It's possible we will see new cases. But at the same time, we need to understand that the biological weapon threat is not just anthrax and smallpox. It's a large number of biological agents, deployment techniques and prevention techniques. What we need to understand that there are groups who understand the power of biological weapons, and I'm afraid that you will see new cases of some other infections. And when we discuss vaccinating people against anthrax, I don't support this idea. It's impossible to vaccinate the entire population of the United States against anthrax. Even if we imagine a fantastic situation, that we vaccinated everybody, they could use something else.
CHAT PARTICIPANT: What is the preferred method for 'cleaning up' after an anthrax contamination so as to keep the spread of it under control?
ALIBEK: First, anthrax is not contagious. But at the same time, it could be transferred from person to person, but not like the regular transmittable infection. For example, if someone is touching a contaminated letter, and then comes in contact with someone bearing a sore on the hand, or something like this, the infectious cutaneous anthrax could be given to the second person. In order to prevent such transmission of the spores, it's important to know how to disinfect your offices. You can, for example, use regular detergents, Lysol, or hydrogen peroxide in low concentration for the infection. But if somebody is afraid of opening letters, I can understand that, of course, but you can use a regular iron, and iron the letters. The probability of the spores surviving is much lower.
CHAT PARTICIPANT: Can a mailroom be equipped to detect it?
ALIBEK: It's difficult to imagine that. The problem is that concentration could be very low. But there are some identification systems to check surfaces, letter surfaces, and these systems could work. But again, for now it's anthrax. How about tomorrow? It could be something different. But what's important, and this idea just came to me now, maybe there is a company somewhere in the United States interested in developing a sort of piece of equipment for checking letters. It could reduce the threat of being infected via mail.
CNN: Do you have any closing comments to share with us today?
ALIBEK: All these recent events show us that bioterrorism is not something fantastic or something we could never see. Now we have seen some unfortunate attempts to use biological weapons to kill and scare people. I'm afraid it's not the end of the story. These people understood how vulnerable we are, and they will try to do something to make us fearful again. In this case, what's important to understand is that our government should reconsider and rectify our understanding of biological weapons. We don't have to think that it's just anthrax and smallpox. There are a huge variety of biological weapons, and many different deployment techniques. As soon as we understand this, we'll understand what kind of problems we have in the field of biodefense. Let's have an understanding of what's not been solved yet, and we'll be finally able to determine what kind of defense we need to develop, and we will finally start developing appropriate and intelligent defense against biological weapons.
CNN: Thank you for joining us today.
Ken Alibek joined CNN.com Newsroom via telephone from Virginia. CNN provided a typist for him. This is an edited transcript of the interview, which took place on Tuesday, October 16, 2001.
Letter in Post mailroom contains anthrax
October 21, 2001
NEW YORK (CNN) -- A letter found by police in the mailroom of the New York Post newspaper has tested positive for anthrax, and has the same postmark as anthrax-laced letters sent to Sen. Tom Daschle and NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, an FBI official said Saturday.
Special Agent Joe Valiquette said the unopened letter was found Friday night in the course of the investigation at the Post, after Johanna Huden (case 1), an editorial page assistant, was diagnosed with cutaneous (skin) anthrax. He said a granular substance was felt by agents through the envelope.
However, Valiquette said, it is not at all clear that the letter that tested positive for anthrax is the one that infected Huden. The agent said the letter, which was postmarked Sept. 18 from Trenton, New Jersey -- the same postmark as the letter to Brokaw -- had no return address. He said the Senate majority leader.
The letter had been addressed to the Post's Editor in Chief Col Allan. Huden regularly opens Allan's mail.
Huden wrote a front-page story in the newspaper Saturday about her ordeal. She is now back at work and nearly healed. Part of her job involves opening mail. In her story, Huden said she first noticed what she thought was a bug bite on her right middle finger about five weeks ago.
In a statement, the Post said Huden had directly handled a suspicious package some weeks ago.
When the spot became infected, she went for treatment. After several visits to several hospitals, it was Huden herself who thought she might have cutaneous anthrax after reading the symptoms on the Internet. She went for more testing and was diagnosed with the disease. She has been taking the antibiotic Cipro.
Anthrax 'almost certainly' from U.S. defense lab
GENEVA, Switzerland (AP) -- The Federation of American Scientists on Wednesday told a 144-nation conference on banning germ warfare that the U.S. anthrax attacks were "almost certainly" derived from a U.S. government laboratory.
"I'm a New Yorker," said Barbara Hatch Rosenberg, chairwoman of the federation's working group on biological weapons. "My city has been attacked, first by foreign terrorists, then by an American using a weaponized biological agent."
Rosenberg was representing one of a number of arms-control groups that urged the conference to tighten restrictions on germ warfare in the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention. The anthrax used in letters sent to addresses in New York City, Washington and Florida "was derived, almost certainly, from a U.S. defense laboratory," said Rosenberg.
She said the anthrax attacks "demonstrated the incredible potency" of using disease as a weapon. "But (it) was only a small taste of what is possible." Five people have died as a result of the toxin.
A number of other groups cautioned against what they saw as a go-it-alone approach favored by the administration of U.S. President Bush.
"The terrorist attacks of September 11 have taught us one thing," said Jean Pascal Zanders of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. "More than ever a state, however powerful, cannot ensure its security by itself." The International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility, based in Germany, said a strong treaty with worldwide inspection powers would be the best deterrent.
U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton reiterated at the meeting Monday that the Bush administration backed out of attempts to create such an inspection system last summer on grounds that it wouldn't work and would expose U.S. defense and commercial secrets.
The U.S. pullout scuttled attempts to adopt a 210-page enforcement protocol because it meant the consensus necessary for adoption was missing.
The International Committee of the Red Cross told the meeting that it was "disturbed that nearly a decade of negotiation to develop" the protocol had failed to bear fruit.
"We urge states parties to resume efforts," said Francois Bugnon, director for international law of the ICRC.
James K. Wyerman, executive director of the Washington-based disarmament group 20/20 Vision, told the meeting that U.S. surveys showed Americans want their government to do more to counter the threat of bioterrorism.
"Much of the U.S. public wants prompt action and a strong verification procedure even if our own delegation apparently does not," said Wyerman, who claimed to be speaking for more than 150,000 individuals in physician, environmental, faith and civic groups.
Last summer, the United States shocked other treaty countries by pulling out of six years of negotiations to create a verification system to strengthen the treaty.
The treaty drafters omitted an enforcement mechanism when they negotiated the accord during the Cold War, in part because no one seriously thought anyone would try to use such weapons.
chief: Anthrax terrorism likely domestic
November 20, 2001 Posted: 12:17 PM EST (1717 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) --The anthrax-tainted letters sent to a Senate office and to the media are probably the work of a domestic terrorist, Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said Monday.
He cautioned that authorities still have not identified a culprit.
"Hopefully we will be able to bring this nightmare to an end, but at this point in time we do not know if it's connected with al Qaeda," Thompson told reporters at an unrelated event on nursing homes.
"It's appearing ... more and more likely that it's an individual in America, or individuals," he said.
A suspicious letter discovered Friday in 280 barrels of unopened Capitol Hill mail and addressed to Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, is being studied at Fort Detrick, Maryland, home to the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.
Initial field tests indicated anthrax contamination
"It's being analyzed and evaluated as for its contents, its potency, and [for] any fingerprints, any hair samples, any other things that may give us some indication of who the individual or individuals are that have perpetrated this terror on America," Thompson said.
On Tuesday, The Associated Press quoted a federal law enforcement official with saying that a sample taken from a plastic evidence bag containing the still-unopened letter to Leahy contains at least 23,000 anthrax spores, enough for more than two lethal doses.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there were three times more anthrax spores in the single sample taken from the plastic bag than in any of the other 600 bags of mail examined by the FBI before it found the Leahy letter, the AP reported.
New positive anthrax test
The FBI Monday said the Leahy envelope had not yet been opened yet so scientists from the FBI and the Army together with a panel of outside experts could develop a "strategy to maximize the forensic value" of it.
In a brief written statement, the FBI did not spell out technical steps or provide further findings on its analysis conducted over the weekend.
The FBI did note the Leahy letter is similar to the one received by Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle on October 15.
Both were postmarked October 9 from Trenton, New Jersey, both have similar handwritten block-lettering, and both have the same phony return address, a non-existent school.
Those characteristics convince investigators the letters were sent by the same person, the FBI statement said. Two similar letters were sent to NBC News and the New York Post.
Investigators told CNN there was enough powder inside both congressional letters to seep through the envelopes.
Sources told CNN the Leahy letter may have been misdirected through the mail system and sent to the State Department by mistake.
The handwritten ZIP code is 20510 -- the correct one for the senator's office. On the bottom of the letter, however, the bar code from a mail machine reads 20520, the ZIP for mail going to the State Department.
That means the letter may have gone to the State Department mail facility in Sterling, Virginia, where a mail employee contracted inhalation anthrax, the sources said. The employee is expected to recover.
Elsewhere, the Justice Department said Monday two areas of a Bureau of Prisons headquarters mailroom in Washington have tested positive for "scant contamination."
"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has characterized the positive results as 'scant contamination' with a minimal risk of inhalation anthrax disease," according to a Justice Department statement.
"We are in the process of consulting with the CDC regarding appropriate medical recommendations for affected BOP personnel, and expect to so advise BOP personnel tomorrow," the statement said.
Barrels of mail
An estimated 635 bags of congressional mail were seized last month after the anthrax-tainted letter was opened in Daschle's office.
Hazardous material experts have finished sorting through the mail, according to an FBI spokesman. The Leahy letter was the only suspicious letter found among 280 barrels of quarantined mail
Authorities are now awaiting word from congressional leaders on what to do with the mail, which has not gone through any decontamination process, the spokesman said.
According to the FBI, the barrel holding the Leahy letter was the only "hot spot" among the congressional mail.
No other letters in the barrel or the others -- held at a facility in Virginia -- have caught the attention of investigators.
The Russell and Dirksen Senate office buildings reopened Monday morning, having been closed over the weekend for anthrax testing after the Leahy letter was discovered.
The Hart building, where the Daschle letter was opened last month, remains closed.
-- CNN correspondents Susan Candiotti and Eileen O'Connor and CNN Justice Department producers Terry Frieden and Bill Mears contributed to this report.
Letter in Daschle's office a hoax
January 3, 2002 Posted: 4:05 PM EST (2105 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- An envelope containing a threatening note and a "powdery substance" found Thursday in the U.S. Capitol office of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle is likely a hoax, according to an FBI spokesman.
Two initial tests showed the powder was not hazardous, Lt. Dan Nichols of the Capitol Police said earlier Thursday.
Postmarked in London and dated in late November, the letter was triple bagged and taken to a U.S. Army lab at Fort Detrick, Maryland, for further analysis, government sources said.
"While we don't know exactly what it is, because it's still in the process of being investigated, we do know it's not hazardous," Nichols said.
Thursday's development came nearly three months after a letter containing a potent form of anthrax was opened October 17 at Daschle's office in the Hart Senate Office Building. Another letter, addressed to Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, was found before it was opened.
Since October, all mail coming into the Capitol complex is irradiated to render any anthrax harmless. A machine then cuts a corner off each letter and shakes it to see if there is a powder inside, congressional sources said.
The letter found Thursday arrived via the U.S. mail and was subject to usual process before being sent to Daschle's office, Nichols said.
A member of Daschle's staff found the letter in the office used by the South Dakota Democrat in his role as Senate leader and called Capitol police at 11:40 a.m.
A hazardous materials team responded and tested the substance. The area was immediately sealed off and the historic building was closed until field tests showed the powder was harmless.
Nichols, who refused to discuss the letter's appearance, said the FBI has launched a criminal investigation.
Despite a recent fumigation completed Monday, the other offices of Daschle and 49 other senators in the Hart building remain closed, as they have been since October.
Even if the latest samples test negative for anthrax, the EPA said it has no timeline for when the building will reopen.
- January 21, 2002 Posted: 11:44 AM EST (1644 GMT)
Breakthrough close in anthrax probe
From Susan Candiotti
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Investigators appear to be on the verge of cracking the genetic sequencing of the anthrax strain that killed five people, a source close to the federal investigation tells CNN.
An announcement on the breakthrough could be made as early as this week. The FBI and the U.S. Postal Service have been investigating the anthrax incident.
Nailing down the genetic sequence, according to sources, could narrow down which lab or labs produced the deadly anthrax sent through the mail.
Solving the sequence can also help determine how old the strain is and when it was produced. That could tell investigators which laboratory would have had the strain within a certain time period.
However, sources say, once a lab is identified, it may not be the end of the road.
Scientists have been known to share the Ames strain.
Also this week, the FBI and U.S. Postal Service are expected to announce the anthrax reward will nearly double to $2.5 million. Authorities also hope to publish a flier with the latest anthrax information. Five people have been killed by inhaling anthrax spores.
The first death -- newspaper tabloid photo editor Robert Stevens -- occurred October 5 in Florida. No letter was ever found, but anthrax spores were found throughout the American Media International building where Stevens worked.
Four other people were killed by inhaling anthrax in New York, the Washington, D.C., area, and Connecticut.
Investigators have been questioning workers at several laboratories in the United States, Canada and Great Britain in hopes of tracking down the source of the anthrax.
Analysis of the potent spores found in a letter sent to Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, is what's leading investigators to believe they'll be able to pin down which lab produced the strain.
That analysis on the Leahy anthrax is going on at the military research lab at Fort Detrick, Maryland.
The amount found in the Leahy letter was the largest amount found among four known letters to Leahy, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, NBC's Tom Brokaw, and the editor of the New York Post.
|CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
FBI, Postal Service Raise Anthrax Reward to $2.5 Million
Aired January 23, 2002 - 13:04 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Let's go now to that press conference just getting underway in West Trenton, New Jersey, where we expect to hear the official word about the reward being doubled in the search for the anthrax letter sender.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
PETER HARVEY, NEW JERSEY ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE: What you see here, housed (ph) in the State Police, is an example of that cooperation. Namely the state -- the anthrax task force which is made up of U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the FBI, the State Police, Division of Criminal Justice for the state of New Jersey, U.S. Attorney's Office, as well as other local law enforcement agencies.
In a moment, you are going to hear from Kevin Burke of the Postal Inspection Service as well as Kevin Donovan of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and they are going to talk to you specifically about the work that the task force has been doing here in connection with the New Jersey State Police.
Let me identify some local officials who have been involved in the process. Skip Woletzki (ph); chief sheriff's officer here in Mercer County, Joe Lech; the Mercer County Sheriff; Deputy Chief Paul Meyer of the Trenton Police Department; first assistant prosecutor in Mercer County, Chuck Waldron.
So, without further delay, let me give you Kevin Burke of the United States Postal Inspection Service.
KEVIN BURKE, POSTAL INSPECTION SERVICE: Good afternoon. The mission of the Postal Inspection Service is to protect the Postal Service, its employees, and its customers from criminal attack.
Protecting the nation's mail system from criminal misuse has never been more challenging. The four confirmed anthrax mailings have continued to require a commitment of investigative resources in New Jersey, New York, Washington, D.C., Florida, and Connecticut.
Responses to anthrax hoaxes, threats, and suspicious mailings have strained law enforcement resources throughout the country. During this period, over 15,000 incidents of suspicious mailings, hoaxes, and threats have been reported to the inspection service. As a result, over 540 postal facilities have been closed for periods of time. Well, we have a message for those who would use this time to contribute to the unrest and terror. If we find you, we are going to arrest you and we are going to prosecute you. So far, 71 individuals have been arrested by Postal Inspectors, FBI agents, and State and Local law enforcement authorities.
Postal Inspectors have a long, proud, and successful tradition of aggressively pursuing these criminals who attempt to use the mails to defraud or endanger the American public. We will continue that tradition until these criminals are caught, and brought to the bar of justice. Our law enforcement and security efforts will continue to ensure the confidence in the mail as a safe and security means of commerce and communication.
To that end, we are announcing today the mailing of an updated reward flier. These fliers will be mailed to approximately 500,000 postal customers in the areas of South -- Central New Jersey, and Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The reward has been increased to $2.5 million. The source of these funds is the Postal Service, the FBI, and ADVO Industries of Hartford, Connecticut.
ADVO, one of the nation's largest direct mail marketing companies has chosen to participate because ADVO believes in helping law enforcement in its efforts, much the way it does with America's looking for its Missing Children program that many of us see every Saturday morning when we receive the mail. Jack Dearing, senior vice president for security and safety, is here to answer questions directly at the conclusion of this briefing.
I bring your attention to the flier, and I'd like to make a few comments on it. As you can see, the reward has been upped to $2.5 million. Specific in -- in the center of the flier, there are the four known mailings, emanating from Trenton -- I want to make the specific point in saying that this is a letter -- embossed letter envelope. This is a business envelope. This may be integral to the public's interest in help they can provide to us. This is the type of envelope that was used for each of the mailings, not the larger business type envelope. It's an embossed Iron Eagle, Blue Eagle 34 cent envelope.
We believe the persons responsible for these acts obviously have a scientific background and work history which may include a specific familiarity with anthrax, and have a level of comfort in and around the Trenton, New Jersey area due to present or prior association.
I'd like to comment and just say that this individual responsible for these acts may well be a neighbor, may be a work associate, or we're very, very comfortable that the people in the public in this part of New Jersey and possibly on the other side of the river in Pennsylvania, can contribute very important information that would help us piece together some of the pieces of this puzzle, and bring this investigation to a successful resolution.
With that, its my pleasure to introduce my counterpart, the special agent in charge, the Newark division of the FBI, Mr. Kevin Donovan (ph). KEVIN DONOVAN, SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE, FBI: Good afternoon.
In an attempt to identify the individual who mailed the anthrax- laced letters from the Trenton area in September and October last year, we are once again reaching out to the American public.
More specifically, we are reaching out to the postal customers of the Trenton area, as well as the adjacent communities in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The fliers will be available at major transportation centers, such as the train station, the bus terminal and the airport and Trenton. As we conduct this investigation, locally and follow leads wherever they may take us throughout the United States and the world, we must remember the unsuspecting victims.
To date, five individuals have lost their lives to anthrax. We keep them in our hearts, and we work hard to make sure that there are no more victims of this tragedy. Robert Stevens, a newspaperman, a grandfather, an avid outdoors-man, Joseph E. Kersen Jr., a postal worker, who was the president of the Neighborhood Community Association. He helped to build playgrounds and a park. He was a loving husband. Thomas L. Morris Jr., a postal worker, who was a loving husband, a father and a son, and two stepchildren. Mr. Morris was the president of the Tuesday Morning Bowling League. Kathy Nguyen, a quiet lady, who won the hearts of her neighbors and coworkers. Ottilie Lundgren, 94 years old, was very active in the Manuel Lutheran Church. She is described as a gracious lady who fancied lobster, and never missed a Saturday hair appointment.
In addition, 13 people have been personality affected by anthrax, including a 7-month-old baby. These people were indiscriminately exposed to anthrax. It invaded our workspace, it invaded our homes, it invaded our lives without warning. We are reaching out to you to make sure that there are no more victims. We want to make sure our children, our families, our homes and businesses are not innocently exposed to anthrax. The standing reward has been increased to $2.5 million for the arrest and conviction of the individual responsible for the mailing of the four anthrax-laced letters from the Trenton, New Jersey area.
In partnership with the United States Postal Service, approximately 1/2 million fliers will be distributed to homes and business in Trenton, New Jersey and the adjoining communities. We ask that you take a moment to read the fliers. Look, again, at the handwriting on the envelope, and if you have any information that could help us identify the individual who mailed these letters, please call us. Pick up the phone and make the call. You may have the one piece of evidence or the one piece of information that helps us resolve this case.
Questions and answers.
QUESTION: Can you tell us basically, is the reason for these fliers the fact that you really at a dead end, that you don't have any leads any more?
DONOVAN: I don't think it's that we don't have any leads. We're looking out for that one person who may be able to give a specific information to help us utilize the investigation that's already been conducted, and the scientific information that the laboratories around the United States are trying to give us so we can focus on that information to identify one particular individual.
QUESTION: Are you saying you do have leads then?
DONOVAN: I would say that our investigation is very aggressive. It's wide-ranging, and we follow every lead that comes to us, and this is just effort to develop additional leads to focus on, maybe an individual did not come to our attention.
QUESTION: Are you saying, short of a golden tip, you don't have anything to put someone in custody, right?
DONOVAN: I would be very happy to say today that we have someone we're ready to arrest. But at this point, we're continue our investigation, focusing on whatever leads are developed as a result the investigation throughout the United States.
QUESTION: And the fact you're looking for, you believe in all honestly. He's a local person?
DONOVAN: I think the assessment of our behavioral science people. I think the investigators here and around the United States that this individual has a familiarity with the Trenton, New Jersey area, that there is something that brings them here, either past association or current association. It's a transportation center, which is why we're putting the fliers out to transportation hubs. We believe that individuals familiar with coming here.
QUESTION: And local? Does he live here, do you believe?
DONOVAN: Will are not saying that he's local here. He could have lived here at one time. He could have relatives here, and Kevin Burke said it very well, that it could be a former neighbor, it could be an individual who was here previously at a job assignment. That's the kind of information that we're really focusing on.
QUESTION: Can you talk about the universities that you visited? Have you yielded anything valuable?
DONOVAN: I won't give you specific answers on those, but I can tell you that we have, as part of our logical investigative leads, focused on some of the universities. I know that you've seen some press reports about our investigation out there.
That's a normal part of our investigation, to try develop information and develop investigative leads.
QUESTION: Story mentioned that you are looking at the photocopy machines at Rutgers University. What is it about the photocopy machines that are connected to the letter. Were some of the letters copied on the photocopy machine?
DONOVAN: I think there are some things I said before when we appeared before you that we wouldn't give out, because it may hinder the investigation. There are indications if I comment on some of those things now, we will not be able to use for investigative purposes at a later date in time.
QUESTION: ... (UNINTELLIGIBLE) still alive somewhere around New Jersey?
DONOVAN: I think we do. The letters were mailed from here. There is a familiarity with this area. I think that we believe that this individual knows this area well enough to mail the letters from here. We're hoping that by putting this poster out, that we're able to focus on some of the unusual parts of the envelope that maybe somebody would be able to say, this is what I saw one of my loved ones mailing one day, the handwriting is similar. That's what our focus is. We're trying to ask the public to give us those unique clues only they know as a result of association with the individual.
QUESTION: You keep saying he. Do you have any type of profile on this person that you can rule as he or she or does or doesn't have?
DONOVAN: I think I just took that as just a general comment. Our investigation, as I said, is wide-ranging. We haven't precluded any possibilities, that it could be male, could be female, could be any other individual. Something I would say I was using liberally.
QUESTION: Why hasn't he tried again? Do you believe he has, and have you caught other letters that should have received -- that should have gone through the system?
DONOVAN: I think you would have heard, as we've done in the past. We would comment on whether we have received the letters and communicate with those people that are involved in receiving the letter. I can't give you a reason why that individual has not surfaced at this point.
QUESTION: How many investigators are actually total, on the whole, been looking at the whole nationwide anthrax thing?
DONOVAN: I don't think I can give you nationwide numbers, but I can tell you that it's just about every FBI field office, postal facility, postal inspection service, participating, the New Jersey State police clearly here. As Peter Harvey mentioned, the division of criminal justice here, full partners, the chiefs and all of the local law enforcement.
QUESTION: Clearly, we are talking about thousands, I would assume, of investigators. What is the difficulty -- I mean, like the Unabomber took 20 years to find him. Can you just talk about, just in general, the difficulty of kind of piecing this together?
DONOVAN: Very briefly. I think part of the issue here is that we're focusing right now on a historical crime that we need to be able to put together, either forensically, or through interviews with individuals, or through handwriting analysis, information that will positively identify that individual. So our focus is to use a wide- range of investigative tools to allow us to focus on that individual, and hopefully charge someone.
QUESTION: What do you mean by historical crime? You mean, if someone commits a murder fairly recent, and you are able to gather evidence pretty quick? Is that what you mean?
DONOVAN: It's a crime over a period of time now that we are trying to focus back on and re-create some of the crime that occurred.
HARRIS: We are going to step out at this particular point away from this press conference in West Trenton, New Jersey, where we have the official word here, the FBI, the Postal Service, is issuing out here some 500,000 new fliers that will have details on them, to help call some more investigative leads they say, and try to find out who mailed the four anthrax-laden letters that came out some months ago. This flier will feature pictures of the four letters themselves, and what they are asking people to do is to look at these envelopes and to see whether or not the handwriting or something else about these letters actually triggers some sort of memory to turn information.
They've actually doubled the amount that's offered as a reward here. The original reward has been some 1.2 million. Now it's up 2.5 million. To anyone that can help them with some investigative leads that might lead to someone being taken in for this particular crime.
Let's go now to our Susan Candiotti who has been covering this for us from our Washington bureau -- Susan.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Leon.
The FBI and the U.S. Postal Service both convinced that obviously someone mailed these four known letters, as they put it, from the Trenton, New Jersey area, and so they are sure they remain confident that someone might have seen these letters being mailed. These are preframed letters, with the stamp already on them, or someone who might recognize the handwriting on those letters. And so that is in part why that are doubling the reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the anthrax killer, or killers, up to $2.5 million. You see a copy now of the flier that will be mailed out.
Authorities are not saying, however, that the anthrax that was sent through the mail was produced in the New Jersey area, or even that the person who made it, produced it, lives in that area. However, they do think, at the very at least, that whoever is responsible is certainly familiar with the Trenton, New Jersey area where the four known letters were mailed. And we do know that investigators have been working in the New Jersey area as well as other areas in particular.
Conducting interviews, at various locations, including at some universities, where at the very least, there are bioengineering departments, and, in fact, where there are xerox machines, because each of the letters sent through the mail is a xeroxed copy. And even though it's a long shot, there is a possibility that authorities would be able to track down the particular copy machine that was used to produce these letters -- Leon.
HARRIS: Susan, I also caught them saying that one thing that's been slowing them down is they had to response to some 15,000 hoaxes and suspicious mailing and all. Put no idea whether or not they've reached a dead end, and that's the reason why they're issuing out this call for public to come in and help them right now?
CANDIOTTI: Well, they're certainly having trouble trying to get to the bottom of it. I think they would take issue with admitting that they're at a dead end, but they certainly do need the public's help. They are looking at all kinds of leads, and certainly in the beginning, they had to, they were stymied by -- or setback by having to investigate those 15,000 hoaxes, which have slowed down, but they haven't stopped.
HARRIS: One more important thing, they say the suspect may have A scientific background. Keep that in mind, folks.
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27, 2002 Posted: 6:23 PM EST (2323 GMT)
Anthrax terror remains a mystery
From Susan Candiotti
WASHINGTON (CNN) --Almost six months after anthrax letters began turning up in the mail, the mystery of who sent those deadly missives and why persists.
There has been some progress. Authorities have narrowed to about two dozen the number of labs believed capable of making the deadly spores.
Scientists also have learned the anthrax spores that filled letters to Sens. Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, and Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, were even purer than investigators thought.
The anthrax's purity and potency makes it highly unlikely the killer could have made and treated the spores in a makeshift setting, according to officials involved in the massive investigation.
"There are only so many people, so many places that this can be done," said Van Harp, the assistant FBI director leading the anthrax investigation.
The culprit, Harp said, knew what he or she was doing.
"Contrary to what was initially out there at the beginning of the investigation, this anthrax, we do not believe, was made up in a garage or a bathtub," Harp said.
Five people died of the inhaled form of anthrax and 13 others suffered anthrax infections.
Four letters were recovered in connection with the incidents, and authorities believe at least one other letter -- never found -- passed through the postal system and led to the October 5, 2001, death of a photo editor in Florida, the first fatality.
In addition to those sent to the two Senate offices, anthrax-laced letters were sent to the New York Post and NBC News.
The anthrax incidents -- which subsided after the November death of an elderly widow in Connecticut -- prompted significant changes in how the U.S. Postal Service handles and treats the mail, including the installation of new cleaning equipment and irradiation of mail sent to Congress.
The Postal Service is also testing high-tech sensors in an effort to detect anthrax and other biohazards. Two of the five fatalities were postal workers.
The anthrax deaths underscored the fact that even the most powerful nation on Earth was not immune to bioterrorism and raised the question of whether the United States has a domestic terrorist within its midst.
Roughly 5,000 interviews have yielded no suspect, but the FBI maintains it will find the person responsible for the fatal letters.
"Quite possibly, we've already interviewed the person once ... but we're going to get back to him if we did," Harp said.
The FBI has said it believes the person responsible for the anthrax mailings has "technical knowledge" and "has or had legitimate access to select biological agents at some time."
One of the labs capable of producing anthrax spores is the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland.
"When you think of where did anthrax possibly come from, you have to think of our laboratory," said Maj. Gen. John Parker, who until his retirement last week oversaw the team of scientists at the lab assigned to the FBI case.
Over the years, Fort Detrick shared its anthrax with others labs for research purposes. In the 1990s, there was a series of security lapses.
It also has a long history of training highly skilled scientists, leading some to suggest the spores or even the anthrax killer might be associated with the lab.
Barbara Rosenberg, a microbiologist with the State University of New York at Purchase, accuses the FBI of stalling to protect government secrets.
"There may be embarrassing information connected with the entire event and there may not be real enthusiasm about bringing this information out to the public," she said.
The FBI hotly rejects such suggestions.
"Those are uninformed ... outsiders," Harp said.
No connection to Sept. 11
When the anthrax letters began turning up in the mail, many observers speculated that they might somehow be connected to international terrorists -- coming so soon after the September 11 attacks.
But after searching evidence left behind by the September 11 hijackers, the FBI says there is absolutely no evidence linking them to the anthrax attacks. The letters contained the message: "Death to America. Death to Israel. Allah is great."
In the end, science may hold the key to the killer.
"Once the science half is done, I think we're going to solve this investigation," said the FBI's Harp.
CNN Congressional Correspondent Kate Snow contributed to this report.
giving polygraph tests in anthrax probe
From Kelli Arena and Carol Cratty
WASHINGTON (CNN) --The FBI is asking key scientists involved in the anthrax investigation to take polygraph tests, federal officials said Friday.
The voluntary exams, which gauge the subject's truthfulness, mark authorities latest attempt to find out who mailed anthrax-laced letters to journalists and politicians last fall.
"We haven't ruled anyone out as a suspect," an FBI official said Friday.
As part of its investigation, the FBI is looking into the possibility that the person behind the anthrax attacks may have ties to a government lab.
Authorities have narrowed the number of facilities believed to be capable of making the deadly spores to about 24 labs. But no charges have been filed against anyone thought to be involved in the anthrax mailings, which killed five people and infected 13 others.
Maj. Gen. John Parker, who retired last month as the commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland, said the polygraph tests are a routine precaution and began six weeks ago.
"[The FBI] wanted to be reasonably sure as possible that the people who deal with evidence are not part of the problem," Parker said.
Parker said the FBI sought polygraphs only from those scientists and lab technicians who deal directly with anthrax samples and results. He said he did not know how many scientists at Fort Detrick have been asked to take a polygraph or if anyone has refused.
"I think this is a good thing," said Parker.
The Maryland lab is one of the labs capable of producing anthrax spores, and it has shared its anthrax with other labs for research purposes over the years.
Dr. John Ezzell, the scientist who opened the anthrax-laced letter addressed to Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, confirmed that he had taken a polygraph test.
"It's a standard procedure for anyone handling evidence," he said.
While polygraphs are often used
in criminal investigations, some scientists have questioned their accuracy
Find this article
Unusual coating in anthrax mailings
From Kelli Arena
WASHINGTON (CNN) --Scientists have found a new chemical in the coating on the anthrax spores mailed to journalists and politicians last fall, a high-ranking government official said Wednesday.
The discovery of the unnamed chemical, something scientists are familiar with, was surprising, the official said.
Previously, officials had reported that the coating on the anthrax included silica, which helped the spores not to clump.
The purity, fineness and potency of the anthrax -- particularly that mailed to Sens. Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, and Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont -- makes it highly unlikely that the sender of the letters made and treated the spores in a makeshift setting, according to officials involved in the massive investigation.
"There are only so many people, so many places that this can be done," Van Harp, the assistant FBI director leading the anthrax investigation, said last month.
Officials cautioned Wednesday that a scientist is not necessarily responsible for the anthrax mailings.
Investigators believe the bacteria came from a domestic source, but have not found direct links or made any arrests in the case.
They are also examining whether the person responsible for the anthrax scare worked in a government lab or contracted with the government. Scientists working with the government on the investigation have taken polygraph tests to ensure they were not involved in the mailings.
Five people died of the inhaled form of anthrax and 13 others suffered anthrax infections.
Four letters were recovered in connection with the incidents, and authorities believe at least one other letter -- never found -- passed through the postal system and led to the October 5, 2001, death of a photo editor in Florida, the first fatality.
In addition to those sent to the two Senate offices, anthrax-laced letters were sent to the New York Post and NBC News.
The anthrax incidents -- which
subsided after the November death of an elderly widow in Connecticut --
prompted significant changes in how the U.S. Postal Service handles and
treats the mail, including the installation of new cleaning equipment and
irradiation of mail sent to Congress.
Find this article
electrician arrested in bomb scare
PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (CNN)
-- A Philadelphia electrician was arrested Wednesday in connection with two packages, one containing a bomb, found in and near mailboxes in the city earlier this week, authorities said.
Authorities detained Preston H. Lit, 53, shortly after he dumped trash in a neighbor's yard.
U.S. Postal Service sources said the handwriting on material found in the yard matched three letters found in Harrisburg, the state capital.
The letters -- two addressed to President Bush and the other to Pennsylvania Gov. Mark Schweiker -- had "Royal al Qaeda Headquarters" as a return address, sources said.
Investigators also have seized at least two postcards addressed to Bush and "possibly a letter or package," a law enforcement source said.
Federal authorities charged Lit with threatening to use explosive devices relating to the mailbox bomb found Monday and a suspicious package -- which turned out to be a box filled with sneakers -- discovered a day later, said FBI Assistant Special Agent Rosanne Russo.
The package Monday detonated as authorities tried to defuse it, although no one was wounded in the blast.
Messages attached to both packages read "Free Palestine" and mentioned al Qaeda, the terrorist network headed by Osama bin Laden, local and federal law enforcement sources said.
At this point, authorities are characterizing the case "more in the category of odd behavior" than a direct threat to Bush and other politicians, a law enforcement source said.
'We knew who the individual was'
A neighbor tipped off authorities after seeing the license plate number of a 1991 four-door Buick Regal near where one of the packages was found. Police issued an all-points bulletin on the vehicle early Wednesday.
The vehicle drove by as police investigated the litter-strewn lawn later in the day.
"We knew who the individual was. We knew the type of vehicle he was driving," said Capt. James Murphy of the Philadelphia Police Department. "He went by the location where we were standing, where he had previously dumped all the trash."
Authorities did not explain why Lit might have dumped trash in his neighbor's yard.
Officers on bike patrol gave chase and took Lit into custody around 5:30 p.m., following a 4-5 block chase. A bomb squad examined Lit's car to ensure there were no explosive devices inside, said Murphy.
Jerri Myers, a neighbor who said she and Lit used to walk their dogs together at night, said he used to sunbathe nude. Lit lived alone and had been away from home off and on in recent months, she said.
"He was a quiet, pleasant man," Myers said.
Suspect stalked local TV personality
The Philadelphia Inquirer quoted authorities as saying the device found Monday was more sophisticated than a pipe bomb of the kind a Wisconsin college student allegedly placed in mailboxes in five states earlier this month.
The bomb "was wrapped in a foam box packed with nails and had a sophisticated switch to allow the bomber to plant the device safely without it exploding prematurely," sources told the newspaper.
The package was not addressed, did not have any postage and "al Qaeda" was misspelled, federal and local investigators said.
Wednesday's arrest marked Lit's latest in a string of run-ins with the law.
Lit was arrested Tuesday night in Olney, Pennsylvania, questioned about an outstanding warrant from Florida on an unspecified incident and released.
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Lit was arrested at least twice, in 1992 and 1993, and charged with a variety of felony and misdemeanor charges stemming from attempts to elude police.
While the ultimate disposition of the charges is unclear, the Florida data showed that several of the charges were dismissed because Lit was mentally unable to stand trial.
He had stalked a Philadelphia TV personality and tried to run over a security guard outside the television station, authorities said.
After another arrest, following a high-speed chase, Lit told a reporter he was "working on a project for a better America."
6:00 PM AUGUST 1, 2002
LOU DOBBS: Almost ten months since America was shocked by the first anthrax victim, five people died, seventeen others were infected, and no arrests in all of that time have been made. Tonight, there may be a break in the case. The Justice Department says a former researcher at the U.S. Armyís bioweapons laboratory in Fort Detrick, Maryland, is considered a potential suspect. Kelli Arena reports.
KELLI ARENA: FBI agents working the anthrax investigation once again descended on these apartments in central Maryland. Itís where Steven Hatfill lives. Heís a researcher who used to work at Fort Detrick, which houses a U.S. Army bioweapons defense lab.
Witnesses to the search say FBI agents confiscated a Camaro, among other items.
JOEY DI LAURA [Witness to search]: I donít know. I just know itís heavy. When you see that many cars rolling in with Washington plates and Virginia plates, I know itís very, very heavy.
ARENA: Itís the second time investigators have searched his home, which happens to be close to Fort Detrick, where workers have experimented with anthrax. The first search was consensual. This time, investigators came armed with a warrant.
Itís not clear what brought investigators back, but Hatfill, who sources say was being called a "person of interest," is now a potential suspect in the anthrax investigation. The FBI would not comment. When asked, Director Robert Mueller had only this to say.
ROBERT MUELLER [FBI Director]: As I said, I canít get into what is being undertaken in the course of the investigation, but I do believe we are making progress.
Sources say Hatfill has previously been interviewed by the FBI and polygraphed. Heís just one of dozens of scientists who have agreed to cooperate with investigators who, from the beginning, have said they were focusing on the scientific community.
VAN HARP [Asst. FBI Director]: Whoever produced that had significant technical ability. We feel they had some experience. And they had access to some pretty sophisticated equipment.
ARENA: Hatfill has drawn the most attention. Heís even been the subject of website gossip among scientists about possible domestic suspects.
One of the reasons for that is a study that Hatfill commissioned in 1999 that described a fictional terrorist attack in which an envelope containing anthrax is opened in an office.
CNN has made repeated efforts to contact Hatfill and his lawyer, but so far, no response. And, Lou, I need to point out, we have not gotten any official comment from the Justice Department or the FBI on this case. We have been quoting sources throughout a variety of law enforcement sources that have dubbed him a potential suspect. As you heard, the FBI director refused to comment. So has the Justice Department. Back to you.
DOBBS: But at least the head of the FBI, Kelli, did use the word "progress," so that is something from the Justice Department. Do we know the whereabouts of Hatfill tonight?
ARENA: We donít, Lou. Heís not under arrest, so heís free to do as he wishes. We tried to contact him at his home with no luck.
DOBBS: Kelli Arena, thank you.
searches apartment in anthrax probe
August 2, 2002 Posted: 12:54 AM EDT (0454 GMT)
From Kelli Arena
FORT DETRICK, Maryland (CNN) --FBI agents searched the apartment of a former researcher at the U.S. Army's biological warfare defense laboratory at Fort Detrick for the second time in two months Thursday.
The researcher, Steven Hatfill, 48, had previously been questioned in the investigation of last fall's anthrax attacks and had his apartment searched in June. No arrests are imminent, sources said.
FBI Director Robert Mueller said only that investigators had made progress in Thursday's search, which included trash bins outside Hatfill's apartment. Sources said authorities also searched the apartment of a Hatfill friend.
Mueller said an FBI profile of the suspected anthrax mailer -- a lone person living within the United States with experience working in labs and smart enough to "produce a highly refined and deadly product" -- had not changed.
A State Department official revealed Thursday that Hatfill, an infectious disease specialist who has worked both in and for the government for nearly two decades, is on the standby roster of experts waiting to go to Iraq with the U.N. weapons inspection team if President Saddam Hussein approves.
Although the U.S. government nominated most of the Americans serving with the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, Hatfill was "one of the very few that applied to UNMOVIC" independently, the official said.
An UNMOVIC spokesman said Hatfill is one of some 230 trainees and since 2000 has attended U.N. training courses -- including a month-long course in France.
The course covered the history of UNSCOM, Security Council resolutions, cultural sensitivity and exercises in occupational safety, sources said.
The spokesman said Hatfill was not with UNSCOM, the former weapons inspections regime that pulled out of Iraq in November 1998. Sources said neither is he on the U.N.'s payroll.
Dick Spertzel, a former UNSCOM bioweapons expert and former Fort Detrick employee who also took the UNMOVIC training, defended Hatfill, saying the biologist "is being crucified."
Spertzel said the course offered no training in anthrax or weapons. He said Hatfill's area of expertise is not anthrax but the ebola virus.
Second search with warrant
Sources said Thursday's search of Hatfill's apartment, situated next to Fort Detrick, was conducted with a search warrant, unlike the previous search of his residence on June 25, which was consensual.
At that time FBI agents also searched a storage locker Hatfill used in Florida. No incriminating evidence was found in the searches, sources said. His residence was one of more than a dozen subjected to consensual searches.
Sources said Hatfill took a polygraph but the results were inconclusive.
Sources said that while the June search was for traces of anthrax, the focus of the latest search was different, although they did not elaborate. The warrant allowed for a broader search, the sources said.
Agents did not wear protective clothing Thursday, indicating they did not expect to find anthrax spores.
U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, or USAMRIID, at Fort Detrick has been a focus of the FBI investigation because workers there had done experiments with anthrax.
Hatfill, who worked at Fort Detrick from 1997 to 1999, never worked directly with anthrax there, sources said, but did have access to a lab containing the Ames strain of anthrax, which has been identified as the one used in last fall's anthrax mailings, which led to the deaths of five people.
The Ames strain is named for the Iowa city where researchers first isolated it.
Hatfill drew attention because in 1999, while working for a defense contractor, he commissioned a study that laid out a fictional scenario about terrorists sending anthrax through the mail, sources have said.
Hatfill was fired from the McLean, Virginia-based defense contractor, Science Applications International Corp., in March 2002. According to published reports, he was dismissed after the Defense Department suspended his security clearance in August 2001.
Hatfill began working last month as the associate director of Louisiana State University's National Center for Biomedical Research and Training, which has federal grants to train emergency workers to deal with bioterrorist attacks. He is due to teach a course this fall.
FBI asked microbiologists for help
Earlier this year, the FBI asked the nation's 30,000 microbiologists for help in identifying who sent the anthrax letters last year.
"A review of the information-to-date in this matter leads investigators to believe that a single person is most likely responsible for these mailings. This person is experienced working in a laboratory," the FBI said in a letter to the members of the American Society of Microbiology.
Anthrax-laced letters were sent last fall to offices of U.S. Sens. Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, and Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, and to television network news offices in New York, prompting fears of mass terrorist mailings coming so soon after the September 11 attacks.
The letters -- leaking what investigators called highly sophisticated weaponized anthrax spores -- contaminated post office buildings in Washington and New Jersey.
Five people, including two postal
employees in Washington, died last fall of inhaled anthrax. At least 13
people developed either skin or respiratory anthrax. They have since recovered.
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with Stan Bedlington
by Paula Zahn
8 August 2002 -
A discussion with a former CIA
counter-terrorism expert about a suspect the FBI is investigating in the
anthrax case. Bedlington talks about the evidence that is mounting against
scientist Steven Hatfill.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: As the government moves forward with its probe into last year's deadly anthrax attacks, lawyers for a former U.S. Army scientist are complaining about how investigators are treating their client. Some new details are emerging today about Steven Hatfill, a former biochemist at Fort Detrick.
CNN learned yesterday that Hatfill's lawyers requested a meeting with someone from the U.S. attorney's office, although we do not know if that meeting has taken place. Hatfill has not been charged with anything, but at least one long time acquaintance believes the evidence against him is mounting.
Stan Bedlington, a former CIA counter-terrorism expert, joins us now from Washington.
Good to have you with us this morning, Stan. Welcome.
FORMER CIA COUNTER-TERRORISM EXPERT: Thank you
ZAHN: So what do you make of these reports that a meeting is being encouraged between Mr. Hatfill's attorneys and government officials?
BEDLINGTON: Well, frankly, I was somewhat surprised that the meeting was held apparently, it if has been held, frankly I thought perhaps they were going to try and cut some sort of a deal with the public prosecutor. But this is not the case. As we understand it, the meeting was held in order to present some complaints about the way Steven Hatfill is being treated by the FBI and the Justice Department.
But I think the evidence is mounting that he does have some questions to answer.
ZAHN: And in your judgment, what is the most significant piece of evidence that would suggest that perhaps that Mr. Hatfill was behind these anthrax attacks?
BEDLINGTON: Well, I think you probably read the article in, I think it was in "Newsweek" on Monday, which talks about the FBI taking some bloodhounds to Hatfill's apartment and other places early last week. And the bloodhounds, as soon as they got into Hatfill's apartment, ran over to him and, you know, starting showing that they'd picked up a scent. They, the bloodhounds had been shown a package coming from the two envelopes addressed to Senator Lahey and Senator Daschle, which still obviously had some scent of anthrax. And they sniffed that and they went straight to Hatfill, not once but on several occasions.
So bloodhound evidence is, in fact, admissible in court. So the evidence is mounting. But I don't think it's by any means a done case yet. Much more evidence is required.
ZAHN: It's also interesting to note that the bloodhounds, according to published reports, also became agitated when they were taken to the apartment building of one of Hatfill's friends and then actually to a restaurant in Louisiana where Mr. Hatfill had eaten the day before.
Let's go on to what you make of the -- or made of the FBI searches of his apartment. Why was nothing yielded, as at least we've been told nothing was yielded, from that search?
BEDLINGTON: Well, of course, we don't know what the FBI has picked up. But there's been no leaks or any suggestion that they've found anything of, appropriate to the prosecution, that would further the prosecution. I mean Steven Hatfill, I mean I've known him for some years. He's an incredibly intelligent man, a very clever man. We cannot say for sure that he was involved in this anthrax case. Far from it.
But if he was, if he was, then I'm certain he's quite capable of covering his tracks.
ZAHN: Are you of the mind, though, that the kind of anthrax that laced the letters to Tom Daschle, among others, were not of the home grown variety but a very sophisticated type of anthrax?
BEDLINGTON: I'm told that. I'm not a scientist. I'm a political scientist, for what it's worth. So I really cannot answer that. But that is certainly the conclusion that the reports in the media have come to.
ZAHN: You have said that Steven Hatfill actually showed you plans that he had drawn up in the case of a biological attack. Can you share a little bit of that with us this morning?
BEDLINGTON: Yes, they were eminently reasonable and rational. He's very proud of two things he said that ought to be done. I should back off a little and say that he was very contemptuous of the plans that the U.S. government had in place to combat a potential biological attack and what to do afterwards. So he drew up his own, he said.
The one, the first one was a set of ambulances which would have special filters to keep out whatever toxic spores were still in the air. And the other was what he called a disaster train, a train that would be standing by in whatever location you need it. The train would have on board laboratories, clinics, first responders, doctors, nurses, etc. In other words, it could do everything to deal with a post-attack situation.
ZAHN: In closing this morning, do you think Mr. -- that the FBI has their suspect in this man?
BEDLINGTON: I honestly don't know, to tell you the truth. All I can say is the evidence seems to be mounting. If you look at the evidence on -- from the addresses on those two letters to Lahey and Daschle, which are similar to a place he studied in Zimbabwe when he was studying for his M.D., and if you look at the bloodhound search, then certainly there are, the evidence is mounting and there is a case to answer.
ZAHN: Well, we appreciate your sharing some of your insights with us this morning.
Stan Bedlington, thank you very much for your time.
BEDLINGTON: Thank you very much.
(c) Copyright eMediaMillWorks, Inc. (f/k/a Federal Document Clearing House, Inc.).
August 12, 2002. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington.
There's new information on the anthrax investigation at this hour.
Investigators think they may have found the site where last year's anthrax letters were mailed. Preliminary tests on a mailbox in Princeton, New Jersey show signs of anthrax. Postal officials stress that the test is preliminary and the mailbox has been removed for further testing.
The man whose name has surfaced repeatedly in the anthrax investigation is outraged saying enough is enough. Steven Hatfill has not even been declared a suspect in the anthrax attacks, which killed five people, but he says officials are leaking his name to the news media.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HATFILL: I acknowledge the right of the authorities and the press to satisfy themselves as to whether I am the anthrax mailer. This does not, however, give them the right to smear me and gratuitously make a wasteland of my life in the process. I will not be railroaded. I am a loyal American. I am extremely proud of the work I have done for the United States and for my country and her people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Joining us now to talk more about this case is a close friend of Steven Hatfill, Pat Clawson. Pat, thanks for joining us.
PAT CLAWSON, FRIEND OF STEVEN HATFILL: Thanks for having me.
BLITZER: You're a former CNN correspondent yourself in the 1980s. Let's get right to the issue at hand. Is the FBI justified in trying to find evidence linking your friend, Steven Hatfill, to the anthrax investigation?
CLAWSON: Absolutely, they're justified. He's a member of the bio weapons defense community in this country. It's a very small fraternity. These are guys with specialized knowledge. Absolutely they should be looking at that group of individuals and looking at my friend as well.
BLITZER: There's a lot of weird coincidences out there as you know pointing toward your good friend Steven Hatfill. Let's get to some of them. For example, he had a book that he was writing about what?
CLAWSON: About bio terrorism and something that hasn't come out in the press about that book is I knew about that book a long time ago. That book actually originated through some dinner table conversations going back over the last couple of years about applying his knowledge about the subject of bio terrorism to doing a Tom Clancy type novel.
BLITZER: This was fiction he was writing?
CLAWSON: Total fiction.
BLITZER: Did it include letters being sent to members of Congress involving anthrax?
CLAWSON: Well that was a scenario that was once discussed over a dinner table and not so long ago, several months ago last year, Steve asked me to help him to try to find a publisher with a book. It was just a total work of fiction.
BLITZER: But did Steven Hatfill in his concern for U.S. preparedness as a patriot, as he says he is and as you say he is, did he as some suggest maybe want to become overly out there in trying to get the country as a whole, including the government, more concerned about it?
CLAWSON: I don't think so. The Steve Hatfill I know is a very dedicated patriot. He's an excellent scientist and he's an excellent medical doctor, and he's been very concerned for a long time that the United States is not doing enough to protect itself against the possibility of biological terrorism and he spoke out about it. He was kind of a whistleblower of sorts in government on the issue.
A lot of people didn't like what he was saying because it was uncomfortable, but he was trying to focus attention on the issue in a positive and constructive way, and as far as I know, that's the only way he's ever focused attention on this.
BLITZER: Because you know that one of the profiles that has been created by law enforcement sources is of a patriotic American involved in this issue trying to get interest out there on bio terrorism preparedness but that the experiment that he was engaged in got out of control and people were killed.
CLAWSON: Yes, and I'm not quite buying it and there's been an awful lot of other erroneous information and theories, erroneous in my opinion, floated about him. One that the New York Times reported was that he had some kind of a secret mountain cabin that was an anthrax laboratory and he was telling people that visited there that they should use Cipro.
As far as we've been able to determine through the FBI investigations and also through interviews agents have done and also other press contacts, it happens to be a three-bedroom modern home in a mountain area where people go skeet shooting. It happens to be owned by a lawyer of mine.
BLITZER: You saw that picture in the magazine of him standing in kitchen in front of the refrigerator dressed in that bio terror outfit out there, pretty suspicious.
CLAWSON: That came about through some contacts that he had with a Washington Times reporter who's a member of our social circle who thought a lot of the stuff that Steve was talking about about bio terrorism would make a darned interesting magazine story. He ended up cooperating with Steve to do a magazine story about it and they persuaded him to take a photograph in that biological garb just to help illustrate the story. It's been blown vastly out of proportion.
BLITZER: Very briefly, does he have a suspect in mind who may have mailed these anthrax letters?
CLAWSON: Not that he has told me, but there's one thing that's clear, Wolf, and that is there is someone out there or some group of people that mailed these letters and they're still at large and the truth of the matter is the government doesn't know who they are. I think they're focusing their attention on the wrong man because the man I know is a very dedicated patriot, good scientist, good doctor, who's done everything he can do to help protect America.
BLITZER: And very briefly, I'll let you go right after you comment on this AP story, Associated Press story, just moving, quoting a law enforcement official unnamed as saying that investigators probing, looking for physical evidence against Steven Hatfill have not come up with any but they are not prepared to clear him.
CLAWSON: Well, the FBI and the Justice Department have said that he's a person of interest. In all the years I covered the Justice Department for this network, I don't have a clue what a person of interest is. It's not an official term. When in this country do we start casting a finger of accusation at people on national media, when does our government start doing this when it has no evidence to back up any kind of criminal charges? It's just outrageous as an American that he is being subjected to this.
BLITZER: All right.
CLAWSON: If the government has some evidence, let them put it up, but they shouldn't single him out and put his name in the national media as a so-called person of interest unless there's something to back it up.
BLITZER: All right, Pat Clawson, thanks for joining us.
CLAWSON: Thank you.
BLITZER: Let's get another perspective on this story. For that, we turn to the "New York Times" correspondent Judith Miller. She's been covering this and other bioterrorism stories for many years. Judith, thanks for joining us. What's your take on Steven Hatfill and this entire investigation?
JUDITH MILLER, "NEW YORK TIMES": I think that Mr. Hatfill is, as the government has said, a person of interest. He is one of 20 or 30 people -- that list keeps changing -- whom the government has focused on. I think it is most unfortunate, as Mr. Clawson said, that he has been so publicly identified as a suspect in normal parlance when the government says he's not and I can't imagine having watched the news conference yesterday what he is going through and I feel that one has to just empathize with him as a human being.
I know that I first met him at a bio preparedness conference years ago and he was very concerned at the time about the need to protect America against the kinds of attacks that we've now seen. So, it must be ironic and very painful for him if he did not do it to have this kind of focus on him. It must be awful.
BLITZER: Judith, as you note from the very beginning, some sources here in Washington have pointed to a domestic anthrax terrorist, but others still continue to look for some sort of foreign connection. Where do you see this investigation heading, in which direction?
MILLER: I really don't know, Wolf. I mean I think that the people that I've spoken to say that nothing has been absolutely ruled out. It's true that the FBI has put out a profile that would suggest that the perpetrator or perpetrators are domestic. They are American. They live here. They are in our world.
The target of the letters, the fact that it went to two liberal Senators on Capitol Hill, that would suggest a domestic rather than a foreign hand, but I don't think at this point that the FBI can rule out anything, and it must be also very frustrating for the FBI to be pursuing this investigation as hard as they are without having more progress to show, and I think that might have resulted to some extent in the spotlight being thrust on Dr. Hatfill at this time.
BLITZER: One curious question to me, Judith, that I've looked at and still don't have a great answer to is the handwriting. The handwriting in those letters to Senator Daschle, Senator Leahy, Tom Brokaw, others, if it was in fact Steven Hatfill, wouldn't the handwriting alone clear him unless he was involved in a conspiracy?
MILLER: You know, Wolf, I'm not a handwriting expert and I really don't know what the government can say about handwriting, whether or not they can even show beyond a shadow of a doubt that that was, in fact, his handwriting.
No one has alleged that to me and I think that if the government had such evidence, at this point, it probably would have leaked or the government is saving that for a case that they would intend to bring against him if, in fact, they become convinced that the perpetrator was Dr. Hatfill, which I have to say at this time I don't think is the case.
BLITZER: Judith Miller, who's been doing outstanding reporting on this and all issues involving bioterror, thanks for joining us from the New York Times.
MILLER: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: And here's your chance to weigh in on this very important story. Our Web question of the day is this: Do you think Steven Hatfill has been treated unfairly by the Justice Department? Go to my web page cnn.com/wolf. That's where you can vote. While you're there, send me your comments. We'll try to read some of them on the air each day at the end of this program. That's also, by the way, where you can read my daily online column, cnn.com/wolf.
-Aaron Brown - Aug. 14, 2002
Also, up next, the situation of scientist Stephen Hatfill, the FBI so-called "person of interest" in the anthrax investigation. More of his side of the story as NEWSNIGHT continues on CNN.
BROWN: Some progress to report tonight on the anthrax investigation, on the scientific side. Investigators are telling us tonight that the anthrax found on a mailbox in Princeton, New Jersey probably came from one of the deadly letters. In other words, this wasn't a case of cross contamination somewhere else along the line. At least that's the way they're leaning tonight. Lots of testing still to be done.
On the human side, the focus remains either on Dr. Steven Hatfill or someone who looks an awful lot like him. Yesterday, federal agents were showing a picture to people in Princeton, New Jersey. They have been reluctant to say that it is, in fact, a picture Dr. Hatfill. Some people though do say it sure looked like him. Others said they didn't know. And a few said it simply looked like a guy they'd seen on TV.
And Dr. Hatfill was on TV on Sunday telling his part of the story. Part of the challenge in all of this also for our next guest, Pat Clawson is a friend and is also as a spokesman for Dr. Hatfill. And Mr. Clawson joins us tonight from Washington.
PAT CLAWSON, SPOKESMAN FOR STEVEN HATFILL: Good evening.
BROWN: Thank you. Good to have you with us.
By the way, wouldn't it be easier if just Dr. Hatfill came and answered these questions and then you could be home doing whatever it is you do and we could go right to the source?
CLAWSON: He wants to.
CLAWSON: He wants to speak out quite loudly, but his attorneys have advised him to stay quiet for the time being because they don't know what the Justice Department is trying to do to him.
BROWN: Well, let me - maybe I'm leaping a little hard here, but since they seem to be showing his picture to people in Princeton, New Jersey, and not showing anyone else's picture to those people, it sounds to me like maybe they think he's the guy?
CLAWSON: Well, I don't think there's any question about it. And I've got to tell you, Aaron, the showing of the Hatfill photograph in New Jersey is very troublesome. Because that's not the way that investigators normally do a photo canvas. Normally when they're doing such a canvas, they have several pictures with them so that they can weed out false positives, erroneous witnesses, that sort of thing. That's not happening here at all. This is actually setting him up for a fall. It's a very unfair investigative tactic. I'm a private investigator and a long-time private investigative reporter for news organization, including CNN, and I've done these spreads myself, and this is simply not how you do it.
BROWN: Well, just briefly, because I want to try and get to some other things here, if he's being set up, why? Why would the government set this guy up when -- there's a whole universe of people and, frankly, in other countries, that for political reasons, they might rather nail on this? CLAWSON: It's a good question why he's become the focus of the spotlight here. Obviously, it's because he's had kind of an interesting background. He's done some interesting things. But there's been no evidence at all tying him into the anthrax attacks. The Justice Department acknowledged that yesterday to the Associated Press. They said that there was no evidence that he was involved, but they wouldn't clear him.
Aaron, we have a very troublesome situation developing here. And it basically boils down to this: Steve Hatfill told me as recently as this afternoon that he has never been in Princeton, New Jersey to the best of his knowledge. Never been there. But we have the United States government coming out now and saying basically, "you know, fellow, you look a little funny. We don't have anything on you. We don't have any evidence that you committed a crime, but you look a little funny."
So, we're going to call you a person of interest. We're going to say that we're interested in what you're doing and we're going to broadcast that to the nation. Do you realize the tremendously chilling effect that's having on the man's civil liberties? And I'll tell you, Aaron, tomorrow it's going to be you, and it's going to be me and it's going to be our next door neighbor if this kind of stuff doesn't stop.
BROWN: OK. Let's -- point made. Let's move on. I'm a little confused about a couple of things. I'm hoping you can answer them. If you can't, let's move on. I have some -- I'm confused about the lie detector test. There have been several. There was one given, I believe, by the CIA, and he failed that. This didn't have to do with anthrax. It had to do about his background. Can you...
CLAWSON: I don't know if that's true or not.
BROWN: OK, fine.
CLAWSON: I don't know if that is true or not. There's been a number of misleading reports that have come out about him. What is clear, as he stated in his news conference on Sunday, he took a polygraph and passed, that he had nothing to do with the anthrax.
BROWN: We'll deal with that in a second. Is it true that he has lost his security clearance based on a polygraph test that was given? Is that true?
CLAWSON: I do not fully know the circumstances of what happened with the polygraph or the loss of his security clearance. And I don't have all that information for you. I don't want to mislead you.
BROWN: All right. Then -- thank you, I appreciate that. Then on the anthrax polygraphs, there have -- just let's walk carefully here -- there's been more than one, is that correct?
CLAWSON: It is my understanding that there was one polygraph test.
BROWN: There haven't been three polygraph tests dealing with anthrax?
CLAWSON: I'm not aware of three polygraph tests. I'm aware of the one.
BROWN: And is it your -- is it Dr. Hatfill's position that he was told by the FBI or by the Justice Department that he passed those polygraphs, because as I'm sure you know, the "New York Times" and other news organizations said something quite different, that he was evasive on the anthrax questions?
CLAWSON: Well, I'm advised by his attorney that the references to the polygraph tests and the "New York Times" articles are bunch of bunk. And I will tell you, Aaron, I have personal knowledge of many of the facts that had been alleged in those "New York Times" articles and they're total fabrications.
BROWN: Well, let's just deal with the polygraph. Let's not go wandering.
BROWN: That is bunked to you, that he failed these tests, correct?
CLAWSON: I'm unaware of him failing any test.
BROWN: OK. Then, the other thing that was in the "Times" yesterday and also been widely reported in the last several days is the bloodhounds or the dogs in the apartments, the restaurants, Dr. Hatfill himself and his girlfriend's apartments, do you have any sense of whether these dogs were also part of a set-up of Dr. Hatfill?
CLAWSON: I don't know if they were part of a set-up. And I'll tell you this much, we don't know anything about these bloodhounds. We don't know what these bloodhounds were trained to find. We don't know who trained. We don't know how they were put into operation.
Bloodhounds are almost like police officers, Aaron. They're special dogs, and they have to have extensive training records. And to the best of my knowledge, I've heard an awful lot about bloodhounds in the media, but I haven't heard anybody in the media asking the FBI what these dogs were actually trained to do, who trained them and what their qualifications actually are. That's a pretty big mystery.
I have a friend who trains police dogs, has done it for over 10 years. They tell me this is baloney what the FBI has put forth and "Newsweek" magazine.
BROWN: Pat, we'd love to talk to Dr. Hatfill if you can help us out there. He's welcome to join us anytime.
CLAWSON: Well, I can tell you that Steve Hatfill wants to tell his story to the American public. I think when his lawyers feel that he's able to make some television appearances, he will do that.
But something very, very terrible is happening in this country, Aaron. And this is just a sign of it. We're losing our liberties in the war against terrorism.
BROWN: Point made. Thank you, and made it well. Pat Clawson, who is a friend and a spokesman in this moment for Dr. Steven Hatfill on the investigation that is certainly uncomfortable for Dr. Hatfill.
No charges yet in anthrax probe
August 22, 2002 Posted: 4:50 PM EDT (2050 GMT)
NEWARK, New Jersey (CNN) --The investigation into last fall's anthrax attacks has yet "to cross a threshold" that would allow prosecutors to bring charges against anyone, Attorney General John Ashcroft said Thursday.
"When we arrive at that threshold, I will make an announcement to that effect," Ashcroft told reporters at a news conference with members of an anti-terrorism task force in Newark.
Ashcroft said the investigation has become more intense in recent weeks, but he refused to call Steven Hatfill -- a former federal scientist whose home has been searched as part of the investigation -- a suspect in the case.
Hatfill, has publicly acknowledged he is being investigated in the case but has maintained his innocence.
"Mr. Hatfill is a person of interest to the Department of Justice, and we continue the investigation. For me to comment further, it would be inappropriate," he said.
Ashcroft also refused to comment about accusations by Hatfill and his attorneys that the FBI has mistreated him. But the attorney general sought to assure the public that prosecutors are investigating the anthrax case diligently.
"The anthrax investigation is one like almost all investigations that involves breakthroughs and plateaus. Progress has been made. There is a sense of intensity in the investigation," he said.
"But frankly, the ultimate plateau that's necessary is for us to cross a threshold which provides a basis for prosecutable facts."
A mailbox in Princeton, New Jersey, has tested positive for anthrax, and authorities say last fall's anthrax-laced letters may have been mailed from that box. The letters, which authorities have said leaked "weaponized" anthrax, were postmarked in nearby Trenton.
Some business owners in Princeton have said FBI agents in recent weeks have been showing a picture to locals of a man who resembles Hatfill. Asked if the photograph being distributed in Princeton is Hatfill, Ashcroft said, "I did not see the photograph, and I'm not able to comment."
The anthrax-laced letters last fall were sent to offices of U.S. Sens. Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, and Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, and to TV network news offices in New York. Five people, including two postal employees in Washington, died of inhalation anthrax.
Other letters may have been sent to other places. Authorities still are unsure how three of those who died -- an elderly woman in Connecticut, a nurse in New York and a Florida employee of a national tabloid newspaper -- became infected.
blasts Ashcroft for anthrax 'innuendo'
August 25, 2002 Posted: 4:27 PM EDT (2027 GMT)
ALEXANDRIA, Virginia (CNN) --Former Army biomedical researcher Steven Hatfill declared Sunday he had nothing to do with last fall's anthrax attacks and accused the FBI of hounding him and his girlfriend in order to give the appearance that it was making progress in the investigation.
"I want to look my fellow Americans directly in the eye and declare to them, 'I am not the anthrax killer; I know nothing about the anthrax attacks; I had nothing to do with this terrible crime,'" he told reporters outside his lawyer's office.
Hatfill's lawyer, Victor Glasberg, said he has filed a complaint against Attorney General John Ashcroft for referring to Hatfill as a "person of interest" in the investigation of anthrax attacks that killed five people.
The 48-year-old doctor said, "My life is being destroyed by arrogant government bureaucrats who are peddling groundless innuendo and half information."
Hatfill said Ashcroft's characterization of the scientist as a "person of interest" was unfair.
"In my view, he has broken the ninth commandment: thou shall not bear false witness," Hatfill added, his voice shaking with emotion.
"This assassination of my character appears to be part of a government effort to show the American people that it is proceeding vigorously and successfully with the anthrax investigation," he said.
Hatfill also lambasted the Justice Department for leaking details of his background to the news media, which has resulted in his life being "picked apart by journalists looking for a hot story."
The move is self-serving, and wrong, he said: "The FBI can be seen to be on the job, the press is hot on the trail and the public is satisfied ... that progress in the anthrax letter attacks is being made."
Hatfill also criticized Nicholas Kristof, a New York Times columnist, who referred to the scientist as "Mr. Z" and criticized the FBI for not pursuing him more aggressively.
Hatfill said he has taken one polygraph since January, and was told he had passed it. In his column, Kristof said Hatfill had taken and failed three of the tests.
"Mr. Kristof, why did you not at least check the facts?" Hatfill asked. "Why did you permit yourself to be used as a vehicle to leak?"
Hatfill said the newspaper refused to publish his response to the column. The New York Times had no comment.
Not only has his life been turned upside down by Ashcroft's reference to him as a "person of interest," but his girlfriend's life and apartment have also been upset, Hatfill said.
"She was screamed at by FBI agents and told that the FBI had firm evidence that I had killed five innocent people," Hatfill said. He displayed pictures of his girlfriend's apartment he said had been taken after it was "ransacked" by the FBI. The pictures showed boxes ripped apart.
"This is the life of a 'person of interest,' Mr. Ashcroft."
The FBI also had no comment.
Hatfill predicted he will eventually face charges, but not for the anthrax killings.
Hatfill predicted the feds will unearth trivial charges: "Well, he spit on a government sidewalk or littered on a government building somewhere."
Despite the problems he has faced from investigators, Hatfill said he has been buoyed by support from family, friends and strangers.
Glasberg filed his complaint with the Department of Justice's Office of Professional Responsibility last week.
In a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, Hatfill's lawyer said the FBI has "violated elementary rules of fairness and decency."
He also objected to the FBI's "in-your-face 'surveillance' that turns into harassment."
Investigators have turned up no physical evidence linking Hatfill to the anthrax attacks, according to federal sources, and say they don't consider him a suspect in the case.
Hatfill is one of at least 20 persons considered "of interest" to investigators, sources have told CNN.
His name came to national prominence when two searches of his home were televised nationally after news media were tipped.
The complaint against Ashcroft escalates Hatfill's public campaign for vindication. He told reporters two weeks ago that he had nothing to do with the attacks, had never worked with anthrax and had been told by the FBI that he had passed a polygraph test and was not a suspect.
August 25, 2003
STEVEN HATFILL, FORMER ARMY SCIENTIST: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.
Two weeks ago, I reluctantly appeared before the TV cameras to defend myself against the bizarre allegations that were appearing about me in the news media dealing with last year's anthrax attacks. These allegations were fueled by ongoing leaks from the Justice Department, and those leaks continue to this day.
Several days ago, the Justice Department representatives confirmed to the Associated Press that there was no evidence linking me to the anthrax attacks. Despite this lack of evidence, I am still hounded by the FBI, victimized in a never-ending torrent of leaks and general innuendo from the United States Attorney General John Ashcroft and unnamed others, all of which is then amplified and embellished by the media.
This assassination of my character appears to be part of a government-run effort to show the American people that it is proceeding vigorously and successfully with the anthrax investigation.
Today, I again appear before the TV cameras. I want to look my fellow Americans directly in the eye and declare to them, I am not the anthrax killer. I know nothing about the anthrax attacks. I had absolutely nothing to do with this terrible crime.
My life is being destroyed by arrogant government bureaucrats who are peddling groundless innuendo and half information about me to gullible reporters who, in turn, repeat this to the press under the guise of news.
I want to give you, the American people, an idea of what it is like to be named a person of interest by the attorney general of the United States. John Ashcroft has now twice publicly told the American people that I am a person of interest in last year's anthrax attacks. Most recently, several days ago at a news conference in Newark, New Jersey, the FBI says I am not a suspect, and then it does not use the term, "person of interest."
Mr. Ashcroft, however, continues to do this publicly, and I am here to complain about this and its consequences. My attorneys have filed an ethics complaint on Mr. Ashcroft's conduct, as well as that of others involved in this matter. And I will be very interested to learn how well the Justice Department will police itself.
Mr. Ashcroft has repeatedly testified to his strong Christian values, and I highly respect him for this. Unlike many others, I was delighted when he was selected for his appointment to this high public office.
In practice, however, by openly, repeatedly naming me as a person of interest, Mr. Ashcroft has not only violated Justice Department regulations and guidelines, which bind him as the nation's top law enforcement official, but in my view, he has broken the 9th commandment: Thou shalt not bear false witness.
I have never met Mr. Ashcroft. I don't know him. I've never spoken with him. And I do not understand his personalized focus on me. My lawyers can find no legal definition for a person of interest.
I, however, have a working definition. A person of interest 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 of the crime is too difficult to solve or because the authorities are proceeding in what can mildly be called a wrong-headed manner.
It then becomes unnecessary for the FBI and other authorities to produce a warm body, but since there's no suspect and the authorities have nothing on which to base a prosecution, they pick a serviceable target. This should preferably be a person about whom mysterious questions can be raised, someone with an interesting or colorful background. Then they give him a prejudicial label, "person of interest." And they leak appropriate rumor and innuendo to the press.
Then they sit back and an watch uncharged and presumptively innocent person be picked apart by journalists looking for hot stories. It soon becomes inconsequential that the stories have no bearing on the crime at issue. What is useful is that the FBI can be seen to be on the job. The press is hot on the trail and the public is satisfied, as Mr. Ashcroft continues to say without any explanation that progress in anthrax letter attacks is being made.
God help us all if the FBI's pursuit of Mr. Ashcroft's person of interest -- me -- represents that progress.
I would like to tell you about how Mr. Ashcroft's progress has played out in my life and that of my loved ones. When you become a person of interest to the Justice Department, they will make small but carefully orchestrated leaks to the press designed to drive news reporters into a frenzy, in an effort to uncover every minuscule, tiny detail of your life. The press will do the majority of work for the FBI, uncovering every item of personal information, no matter how scandalous, ridiculous or insignificant to the crime at issue.
When the New York Times reported that I had access to a secret cabin in the woods, the FBI brought me in and questioned me about it. Then they interrogated my friend, a very prominent Washington, D.C., lawyer, who invites me to dinner occasionally at his modern three- bedroom home -- not a cabin -- in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. Then they demand to search his house.
A photo of the house then becomes featured prominently on the pages of a Northern Virginia daily, under a headline that says, "Linked to Anthrax." Friends and neighbors of the lawyer then stop coming to visit him because they were afraid of catching anthrax or some other disease or simply did not want to be associated with the incident.
I helped bring into being a useful bio-defense training program for first responders, police and fire departments. Because of this label as a person of interest, reporters have -- some reporters have placed a malicious and absurd interpretation on this, and suggested it's not a blueprint for this, but it's a blueprint for the anthrax attacks.
Rising to the occasion, the FBI grilled me about this. Almost a quarter century ago, I lived in a city that had a suburb named Greendale. The FBI and some in media willingly linked this with a nonexistent Greendale school that appeared in the return address on four anthrax letters. ABC News even reported as a fact that I lived next door to that nonexistent school for four years, citing unidentified government gumshoes.
My entire life history has been laid out on the Internet by reporters and conspiracy nuts. My daughter, a policewoman in Detroit, with a child, even found her name and home address published, a reckless and dangerous act that invites retaliation from criminals, as every police officer will tell you.
Every misstatement, every minuscule wrong step, every wrinkle I've ever made in my life has become public, and I'm pillared for it. It is one thing to have your alleged faults and misdeeds publicly aired because you are seeking, as a candidate for a high office, but I am a private citizen, and one who has not sought the limelight.
Remember your own travail, Mr. Ashcroft, when elements of your past were dug up by persons opposed to your selection as attorney general? I could dwell on this at length, but my principles bar me from doing so here. In any event, Mr. Ashcroft, you asked for that. I did not. And I wonder how you would cope, being on the end of a media frenzy that I have been enduring this entire summer.
When you are labeled by the attorney general as a person of interest, presumptively responsible persons seem to lose all inhibitions in referring to you. When I first addressed the press, I pointed out my problems with Barbara Hatch Rosenberg, a woman I do not know, I've never met, I've never spoken to her.
Another person I've never met or spoken to and don't know is Nicholas Kristoff of the New York Times. After transparently implicating me as Mr. Z, over a period of months he berated the FBI for not investigating me aggressively enough to suit him. He has never called me, checked his facts, asked for comment, contacted any of my representatives, anything, before he published.
Following my first press appearance, Mr. Kristoff once again wrote about me. Once again, his column was inaccurate. He said, for example, that I had failed three successive polygraph examinations since January. This is a total lie. I have not taken, let alone failed, three polygraphs on anthrax since January.
I had one polygraph session, which the FBI did administer to me in January, and I was told I passed and the examiner was satisfied that I had told the truth.
In any event, Mr. Kristoff never called me about this allegation, nor did he call my attorney, nor my friend Pat Clawson, who's been helping me with this news media hurricane.
Mr. Kristoff, why do you write such things? Why did you not at least check your facts or ask comment from me or my representatives? What have I done to injure you in this manner?
I have another question, too. Why do you permit yourself to be used as a vehicle to leak irreparably damaging information about me to the public? Such as, for example, your statement that I was under constant surveillance by the FBI. It's bad enough that that statement is true, and I lived with the consequences. But must it be gratuitously broadcast so that others might keep away from me from fear of contamination? Why is it necessary, right or fair, Mr. Kristoff, for you to write these things?
The answer, of course, is that I am a person of interest, as well as to Nicholas Kristoff and the attorney general, John Ashcroft.
We are today distributing copies of my lawyer's communications with the Times and Mr. Kristoff about these matters, and will agree to publish an op-ed reply from me to what they have published about me for months. So far they have not agreed to do this, but keeping silent.
When you are a person of interest, your home is subject to search based on statements in sealed affidavits which your lawyers are not permitted to see. The result is a search-and-seizure of your property, even as you stand with a hand of continuing cooperation extended to the FBI.
Armed with a secretly obtained government search warrant, FBI agents can enter your home with impunity and take virtually anything they want, including your car registration, your tax records, your car keys, the deeds to your house, if you have one, your apartment, rental agreements, cell phone, pagers, unused bank checks, checks made out to you but not yet cashed, clothing. They can keep these items for as long as they want, unless you go out and retain and pay a lawyer and you can convince a judge that you should get your property back.
It is definitely not good to be the girlfriend of a person of interest. My girlfriend was locked inside an FBI car and hauled off to FBI headquarters and interrogated for hours, without once being told she has the right to leave any time she wished. Her requests for a lawyer were delayed and made difficult. Her purse, although not on the search warrant, was taken from her and its contents examined after the interrogation process while she was being driven back to her residence.
She was screamed at by FBI agents and told that the FBI had firm evidence that I had killed five innocent people. This was told to her by FBI agent Jennifer Grant and FBI agent Pamela Lane. Can you imagine that?
The FBI trumpets that I am not a suspect, and the woman I love is told the FBI -- told by the FBI that I am a murderer.
This is the life of a person of interest, Mr. Ashcroft. But that's not all. My girlfriend was told that she better take a polygraph examination and cooperate, or else. Her home checkbooks, computers, private papers and car were seized. As for her home, it was completely trashed, as is appropriate for the home of a girlfriend of a person of interest.
Some of her delicate pottery was smashed. The glass on a $3,000 painting was broken. This painting was wrapped in bubble wrap, by the way. Neatly stacked boxes awaiting shipment to her new home were ripped open, instead of opened with due regard to their contents.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have pictures of how FBI left this apartment, her apartment, which, at the time of the raid, was neatly prepared for a move to Louisiana, with all her belongings packed in nicely stacked boxes. This is one of the pictures.
I refuse to allow my girlfriend -- to this treatment, as the girlfriend of a person of interest. She is not here today. I love you. I will not state her name here. And I ask the news media, please, for common decency, if you know it, please leave her alone. She will not make a statement.
Let me return to my life as a person of interest. I am openly followed by the FBI agents and in cars and on foot, 24 hours a day. Going down to store for a pack of gum yields a parade of FBI cars sometimes following me closely as two to four feet from my rear bumper. And the FBI leaks for use by cooperative journalists the fact I'm being tailed 24 hours seven days a week.
My closest, most personal friend was told by the FBI that they have firm evidence that I mailed the anthrax letters. He was asked by the FBI to confront me and have me confess this act to him in private. He tearfully asked me if the FBI's allegations were true. In complete violation of normal investigative procedures, the FBI have circulated only my photograph at a crime scene -- a photographic one-man lineup -- in an attempt to find someone to testify that they remember seeing me in the area almost a year ago.
As a person of interest, you cannot win. The fact that you love and work for your country will be turned against you by means of the ridiculous suggestion that your patriotism prompted you to murder five innocent persons so that a statement can be made regarding our lack of preparedness against a biological attack.
All this reminds me of Kafka's novel, "The Trial." Perhaps that story is the source of Mr. Kristoff's Mr. Z.
All the above is what it's like living as a person of interest designated by John Ashcroft, the attorney general, and I cannot do anything about it.
I haven't been charged with any crime. Again, the Justice Department has told the press that there is no evidence that I've committed a crime. I have to contend with a moving target of rumor, innuendo, fantasy, half-truths, and now the super-duper bionic bloodhounds that the FBI recently pulled out of a hat.
The Justice Department has repeatedly claimed it's making significant progress in the anthrax investigation. I sure hope so, because I want the anthrax mailer or mailers found and punished to the maximum extent our society will allow.
But what does any of this have to do with me? We know that four anthrax letters were mailed September 17, 18, and October 8 and 9, 2001. On these days, as indeed for many weeks after September 11, I and my colleagues at SAIC were working overtime in our McLean, Virginia, office on national defense issues. My time sheets from the company, which are being distributed here, show that on these days I worked respectively 14 hours, 13 1/2 hours, 13 hours, and 11 1/4 hours at the office.
Yes, I know, it's possible that time cards could have been altered. Well, I'll tell you SAIC goes to extreme lengths to ensure this process can't happen. In addition, the FBI long ago interviewed all of my colleagues at SAIC, and each confirmed that I was, like them, continuously hard at work in the office during this entire period.
All right then, I could have driven or surreptitiously somehow transported myself to Trenton or Princeton or wherever from the D.C. area, mailed the letters and returned unnoticed. With any luck, I would not have been caught speeding on the highway, and maybe I could have made the eight-hour round trip in enough time to return to work unnoticed and exhausted and continued with another 13-hour day.
I have little to say about the nonsense of this sort. If it pleases you to advance and research this theory, then please the more power to you. As for me, I was living and working in the D.C. area the entire time when the anthrax letters were mailed. Mr. Ashcroft knows this -- or he should know this, notwithstanding my status as a person of interest. He should know, in fact, that while the anthrax letters are mailed from New Jersey and the first anthrax incidents occurred in Florida, I did not set foot in either of these states in September or October of 2001. We know, by the way, that some of the 9/11 terrorists did.
The FBI's focus on me seems to have eclipsed the need for appropriate inquiry into elementary, scientific aspects of the anthrax investigation. It took the FBI seven months after the letter attacks before they turned to assistance to Bill Patrick, the top dry-powder biological warfare expert in our country. How sensible is that?
What inquiries have been made into who received the Ames strain of anthrax at any time prior to the fall of 2001? Until the mid '90s, regulation of the traffic in dangerous bacteriological pathogens was very poorly controlled and poorly documented -- in some cases, non- existently documented. Saddam Hussein received his weaponizable strains of anthrax from the United States, from the American-type culture collection formerly in Rockville, Maryland.
In the mid '90s, one Larry Wayne Harris, a self-proclaimed member of the Aryan Nation, made up a phony letterhead on which he requested some bubonic plague bacteria from the American-type culture collection. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the organism that causes the black death. As I recall, he received some of it by mail.
Largely as a result of this incident, policies and procedures governing the availability of forms of transmission of dangerous germs were strengthened. It is generally known that anthrax bacteria can live for decades in the soil or other hospitable environments. I don't think previous samples can be accounted for.
Again, we still have to learn if the powder in question in the anthrax letters was prepared by sophisticated methods known only to select scientists or by more crude methods using information readily available on the Internet.
Speaking of the Internet, the American people should know that the complete top-secret recipe for making smallpox into a sophisticated dry-powder biological weapon was recently posted by the U.S. government on the Internet by mistake for several weeks when a mistake at the U.S. Patent Office resulted in this material becoming open source. Thank God the document in question has finally been removed from the Internet, but not before anyone with an interest, foreign or domestic, would have had time to view it and download it.
To my way of thinking, the lack of proper scientific input into this investigation is best illustrated by the fact that I am the one who had to suggest to the FBI the blood tests that they could perform on me to help rule me out as a suspect in this terrible crime.
The test measures antibody levels, which would mark either my exposure to anthrax recently or a recent anthrax vaccination, not one that I've had two years ago.
At long last, the government has agreed to my proposal, and I'll shortly be providing blood samples as I originally suggested. I hereby openly request the FBI make public the full results of these forthcoming tests, their conclusions based on these tests, and the scientific basis for the tests and the conclusions.
I also proposed to give handwriting samples to the FBI so that they may draw conclusions regarding the likelihood that I wrote the anthrax letters.
Here, too, I openly request the results of this examination, including all work sheets and analyses, be made public when completed. I ask the media to please monitor these tests, and the press, for their release if the government is not forthcoming.
The one certain progress that the FBI has made in this investigation is its inability to find any evidence connecting me with the anthrax letter attacks. This is after an eight-month inquiry, and Lord knows how much taxpayer money has been poured into this effort to uncover my presumed guilt.
I believe that sensible persons involved in the anthrax investigation have concluded that I have nothing to do with the anthrax letter attacks. But they are in a rough place. If the FBI does not have me as a person of interest, then what does it have?
What it has is a stalled investigation, characterized by a lack of proper scientific investigation and expertise, its single-minded dedication to the use of so-called profilers. Remember, these are the folks that described the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, as a well-dressed manual laborer.
It has a lack of the most basic understanding of the relevant biology by many frontline and senior FBI investigators. It has an investigation that is characterized by the apparent avoidance any of any major avenue of inquiry, except the one decided upon by the attorney general.
Most importantly, it is driven by a compelling and overwhelming desire that the FBI look good at any cost, regardless of the price in individual freedom, due process, common decency and civil liberties.
I believe that I may actually get arrested when all this is said and done, and if it occurs, it will have nothing to do with anthrax. It will have everything to do with my being named the national person of interest.
This title will first have caused painstaking inquiry into my past, the peccadillos and all. Second, it will have given the authorities enormous incentive to justify their massive financial expenditure and the thousands of man-hours of effort arising out of their pursuit of me, and their heedless exposure to me and defamation as a murderer.
For these reasons, even as I stand before you proclaiming my innocence of this terrible crime, I believe I shall yet pay a price for having been named a person of interest. If Steve Hatfill isn't the anthrax killer, well, he spit on a government sidewalk or littered in front of a government building somewhere, something he shouldn't have done.
I should imagine that a great many Americans, including a host of our nation's political, social and intellectual leaders will be at serious risk of some sort of prosecution under these circumstances.
This is the fate of a person of interest. In the end, I will be put at risk for things that inherently lack interest, but because I have been falsely smeared as a person of interest. Remember, please, that you heard this from me first.
I fear what time will do, with the FBI's new powers under the 2001 Patriot Act. What will this country be like 10 or 20 years from now? Will it be like the America I love and would unhesitatingly risk my life to defend, or will it evolve into a suspicious society where uncharged persons of interest live in fear of damaging police and media intrusion?
I never thought I would live to recite the slogan of the American Civil Liberties Union, but I must tell you, after what I have been through, I wholeheartedly embrace its motto: "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty."
My story is not all sad and negative. I have been buoyed beyond words by the support of my family, friends, past and current colleagues, and even strangers, who, since my first news conference, have warmly greeted me on the streets or in letters.
I thank my employer, Louisiana State University, for its incredible sensitivity in balancing its obvious institutional needs in light of my status as a person of interest with my own personal needs and circumstances.
As poorly as my own government and much of the press have treated me, those persons who mean the most to me have stood by me unflinchingly. For that, ladies and gentlemen, I am eternally grateful.
Interview With Mark Miller
Aired August 25, 2002 - 18:06 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CATHERINE CALLAWAY, CNN ANCHOR:
A former Army researcher says he is not the anthrax killer. Steven Hatfill
made an emotional appeal in Virginia today, saying that the investigation
by the Justice Department into last year's deadly mailings has ruined his
life. CNN's Brooks Jackson now with more on Hatfill's statement.
BROOKS JACKSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's getting personal. Former Army bioweapons researcher Steven Hatfill says he's being falsely accused by none other than the attorney general, John Ashcroft.
STEVEN HATFILL, FORMER ARMY RESEARCHER: Mr. Ashcroft has not only violated Justice Department regulations and guidelines, which bind him as the nation's top law enforcement official, but in my view he has broken the Ninth Commandment. Thou shalt not bear false witness.
JACKSON: Hatfill's attorney, Victory Glazberg (ph), called Ashcroft's actions "un-American," in a complaint he filed with the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility, requesting an investigation and an apology. A Justice Department spokesman had no comment on that.
Officials won't call Hatfill a suspect in the mailing of anthrax letters that killed five persons last year, but Ashcroft has publicly called Hatfill a, quote, "person of interest." A term Hatfill says has no legal definition.
HATFILL: I, however, have a working definition. A person of interest is someone who comes into being when the government is under intense political pressure to solve a crime but can't do so.
JACKSON: At a Sunday afternoon news conference, he released copies of time sheets he said show he was working 11 to 14-hour days in McLean, Virginia, on the days the anthrax letters were mailed in Princeton, New Jersey, a 3.5- to 4-hour drive away. Hatfill also released photos he said were taken by his girlfriend the day after her apartment was searched by the FBI. He said they broke pottery and the glass on a framed painting.
No comment from the FBI.
And Hatfill said "The New York Times" had defamed him in columns written by Nicholas Christophe (ph), which he said falsely claimed Hatfill had failed polygraph tests three times this year. "The Times" said it had no comment.
Hatfill said he's now openly followed 24 hours a day by FBI agents, though none were apparent to reporters covering the sidewalk news conference outside his lawyer's office.
(on camera): Hatfill says he'll give the FBI a blood sample to show he wasn't exposed to anthrax and handwriting samples to show he wasn't the one who wrote the letters that contain the deadly anthrax spores.
Brooks Jackson, CNN, Alexandra, Virginia.
CALLAWAY: Hatfill says there is no evidence linking him to the anthrax tacks, but investigators have not cleared his name. Will today's complaint make a difference in this investigation? Let's go right to Mark Miller. He's with "Newsweek" magazine. He's joining us to explain some of the things that happened today. He's been working on this story since the very beginning.
What a strange news conference that was today, Mark.
MARK MILLER, "NEWSWEEK": Well, it was very similar to the one that he had a couple of weeks ago. And I think it's part of their strategy of going on the offense to take back, you know, his public image that they believe has been sullied by the last few weeks.
CALLAWAY: Well, was this, Mark, just a P.R. move, or did we learn anything from this? I mean, it was interesting about releasing the time sheets and some of the photographs. What do you make of that?
MILLER: I thought the most interesting thing, actually, was the offer that they've made, and apparently the FBI has agreed to, which was to take the blood samples and the handwriting examples.
Now, whether that will be significant I think actually remains to be seen. As I understand it, the blood samples will show whether or not his blood contains any anti-bodies to the anthrax vaccine.
Now, he has said that he, like many researchers who worked for the government and for the private defense contractor that he was associated with, had been vaccinated a while back for anthrax, any exposure to anthrax. And so you would expect to find anti-bodies to anthrax in his blood.
MILLER: So I'm not quite sure...
CALLAWAY: What would we learn from the blood test if not...
CALLAWAY: You know, so if he doesn't lose anything by offering to give the blood test.
MILLER: I think that's a good question.
CALLAWAY: Yeah, and the other question I have about all this is about the polygraph test. What are the facts in this, Mark? What do we really know about whether or not he passed the test, how many tests?
MILLER: Right. Well, you know, he has said that he was told by the FBI that he had passed the polygraph test that he had taken. Now, his -- at least his criminal defense attorney, who was not there today, knows full well that it is an established and recognized procedure by law enforcement to lie, actually, to the subject of an investigation to solicit information. You can lie and say whatever you want. The FBI can tell them, the subject of an investigation, whatever they feel like telling them, even if it's not the truth.
That may not be pleasant. That may not be, you know, what we'd like to think of our FBI agents, our police departments conducting themselves, but that's the way they do it. So...
CALLAWAY: Now we're running out of time.
MILLER: They may have told him that, but that may not be the truth.
CALLAWAY: Right. Mark, we are running out of time, but quickly, what do you think? Are we going to hear from the attorney general? Is this going to force them to make a move or a statement quickly?
MILLER: I don't think that this will, actually. I think they're going to continue to conduct their investigation, and we'll see where it takes us.
CALLAWAY: All right. Thank you very much for being with us today and sorting all this out. And it will be interesting to see how things develop. Mark Miller with "Newsweek." Thanks, Mark.
FBI to Reenter AMI Building
Aired August 26, 2002 - 10:22 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: We are
now going to go live down to Florida where we are going to hear from the
FBI on the anthrax investigation.
HECTOR PESQUERA, FBI: ... Chief Andrew Scott, Boca Raton Police Department, David Pecker, president and CEO of American Media, Inc., and Dr. Edwin Kilborn (ph) from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This morning, the FBI is reentering the AMI building to put in motion a comprehensive plan to collect additional evidence. The entry is being made in furtherance of the anthrax criminal investigation, and not to address any health issues.
The question I'm sure that is in everyone's mind is why. The reason is simple. The results of the evidence collection that was done last October were generally reported as either positive or negative for anthrax. Since then, we have developed techniques that will allow us to determine the quantity and the distribution of this force. At the FBI's request, the CDC will add their resources to insure that the operation's mission is achieved, and that it's done in a safe and timely manner.
The operation will take approximately two weeks. No one in South Florida has forgotten that Robert Stevens was the first victim of the anthrax attacks. We hope that the evidence collected during the course of this operation will help bring to justice the person or persons who committed this horrific act. I am going to allow my partners -- some of the partners at the table to make a brief presentation, and then I will try to take any and all questions that you all have. Dr. Rob (ph), help me please (ph).
DR. JOHN AGWUNOBI, FLORIDA SECRETARY OF HEALTH: Thank you, Hector. Good morning. My name is John Agwunobi, I am the secretary for the Florida Department of Health and state health officer. It is a pleasure to be here. I speak primarily to the people of Florida, as I say that I have had the good fortune of working very closely with the FBI, with the city of Boca Raton, and of course with the executive leadership of the AMI corporation.
The degree of communication and collaboration that has occurred is extremely gratifying and comforting. I have reviewed the plan, the protocol, and I believe that we can rest assured that this process, this investigation, as it proceeds, places no Floridian at risk. We don't believe that there is a public health threat posed by this ongoing investigation, and we are very pleased with the pains that have been taken to assure us and the people of Florida of that fact. I look forward to working closely with the FBI, with the AMI team, with the city of Boca Raton and of course, with the county, Palm Beach. And I thank you for this opportunity to participate.
STEVEN ABRAMS, MAYOR, BOCA RATON: Good morning everyone. Welcome back to Boca Raton. Thank you, Dr. Agwunobi. The city of Boca Raton appreciates the continued cooperation of the FBI in providing us with briefings and also meeting with the city to coordinate the reentry into the AMI building.
As mayor, let me say that the city welcomes the collection of additional evidence in the case, in the belief that this represents some measure of progress in the criminal investigation.
This episode has had a tremendous impact on AMI, on other businesses in the office park, and on our residents, and we look forward to a prompt conclusion of this entire matter. I have also had the opportunity to meet with the public health officials, and have been assured that the reentry into the building, has been planned so that it will be a safe and secure operation with no risk to the public. And again, I thank them for all of their efforts. The city's police department will be providing security during the operation, and on that point I will now turn the microphone over to our police chief, Andrew Scott.
ANDREW SCOTT, POLICE CHIEF, BOCA RATON: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
I just want to emphasize the fact that this investigation is an ongoing criminal investigation conducted and overseen by the FBI. This particular entry into the building is nothing more than to augment and to enhance the ability to capture the individuals that were involved in this heinous crime. I want to insure the public, particularly the general public of Boca Raton and citizens, that in no way, shape or form is their safety in jeopardy, their health or anything of that nature simply because the reentry is occurring. That will be done proficiently, professionally, and without any further, perhaps, concern for the public.
I would also like to add that I can't thank the FBI special agent in charge Hector Pesquera for his unprecedented support, cooperation, and communication during this entire effort for the last ten months and in particular with the reentry of going into AMI again. We are greatly appreciative of that unprecedented communication and support. And lastly, I have to thank Mr. David Pecker. During the course of the last ten months, this building has been languishing and is pretty much a building that perhaps would be a scene from the twilight zone, and he has provided and cooperated with the Boca Raton Police Department to provide security for last ten months, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and to his cost, unfortunately, and I have to assure the public again that the totality of the building is secure, has been secure, and will continue to be secure for as long as the FBI needs to do its business.
DAVID PECKER, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN MEDIA: Thank you, Chief Scott. My name is David Pecker. I'm president of American Media. It has been a year -- a year of a nightmare for us and our employees, and specifically for the Stevens family. Maureen Stevens, it is almost a year that -- the anniversary of that horrific death and what has happened to us, and I want to thank Hector, all my colleagues here from the FBI. We will greatly cooperate in any matter formed for the criminal investigation to try to find out what has happened here -- thank you.
PESQUERA: OK. All understanding this is an ongoing criminal investigation, and we most certainly will not be able to entertain questions regarding the investigation. Nonetheless, any questions? Yes, sir.
QUESTION: What can you tell us about the new techniques? What do you mean by that? You never found the actual letters (UNINTELLIGIBLE) can you tell us about these new techniques?
PESQUERA: I will defer to Dr. Adams, that's some of his expertise here.
DR. DWIGHT ADAMS, FBI LAB SUPERVISOR: We have four main goals in reentering the AMI building. Number one, we hope to do a very comprehensive, detailed assessment of the spore contamination throughout the entire building. Number two, a very detailed assessment with regard to the mail room in particular. Both of these efforts are to generate new leads in the criminal investigation. Number three, we're looking for a dissemination device, such as a letter or letters. Again, to generate new leads for the investigation.
And finally, we are looking for large quantities of spores in order to chemically characterize those spores and compare them against the spores found in the Senator Leahy and Daschle letters.
The techniques and tools that were developed over the last few weeks have been developed in cooperation with our partners at CDC and the postal inspectors. Those tools and techniques will allow for thousands and thousands of samples to be taken that back in October, would have overwhelmed any public health laboratory in the state or the nation. But these new techniques will allow for not only qualitative sampling, but also quantitative sampling.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) is any of this related to any information that has been gathered in relation to Steven Hatfill?
PESQUERA: This has nothing to do with Mr. Hatfill. This is an ongoing criminal investigation, and this -- the entry is being made in furtherance of that criminal investigation.
QUESTION: Elliot Cohen of Channel 25 (ph) in West Palm. Can you tell us more about the dissemination device. Are looking to see if someone carried a letter through certain areas of the building. I mean, tell us what a dissemination device is.
PESQUERA: Back to the technical. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you will recall back during the letter that was sent to Senator Daschle, the Capitol Hill shut down its mail service, mail delivery, collected all that mail, and took it to an off site location.
We used techniques to allow us to find the letter to Senator Leahy, an intact letter with almost a gram of spores from anthrax. We're going to be utilizing those same techniques and technologies here in this building again to hope we pinpoint high concentrations of spores to lead us to a dissemination device presumed to be a letter or letters.
PESQUERA: You should remember last year when the entry was made, it was made for a different purpose. We had a person who had been exposed to anthrax, and at that point, it could have been potentially a public health issue, and that was addressed at that time, with the urgency that was addressed. So that and fact that that technique that Dr. Adams refers to was not available up this recent week is what prompts this reentry into the AMI building. Ma'am.
QUESTION: Rebecca Sharp with "USA Today." So, is this the only one of the sites where a letter has not been found thus far?
PESQUERA: This is the site where no letter has been found, no delivery vehicle has been found. Yes, ma'am.
QUESTION: And you think there might still be a letter (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
PESQUERA: The possibility is there because at that time where we went in last October, we went under the auspices of what I told you before, and therefore -- although we tried to locate the letter, it was not as comprehensive. Neither did we have the technique that is now available. Now, of course, if we find a letter, the investigation will then kick on inasmuch as it will be compressed (ph), and et cetera. (ph). So far we cannot do. Yes, sir.
QUESTION: Mr. Pesquera, Mark Potter with CNN. Can you tell us what the FBI believes it knows now about how the anthrax got into the AMI building, and also what you might know about the links to the letters in the Northeast. Can you review for us where you stand on those two questions right now?
PESQUERA: I can't go into the investigation, but suffice to say that there was no letter or no anthrax in that building prior to a particular date. All of a sudden, there is anthrax in the building. So there must be a vehicle that introduced the anthrax in that place. Other than that, I cannot comment any more.
QUESTION: Any reason to believe it is anything other than a letter?
PESQUERA: No, no. Yes, sir.
QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE), Miami. What is it like being inside that building? (UNINTELLIGIBLE) ten months (UNINTELLIGIBLE)? PECKER: For the last, I think Chief Scott said it was like a twilight zone. For the last ten months, when everybody left, there is coffee cups all over. The October 4 issues of the magazines are still pasted on the walls. If you go to the computers, on computer screen, you will still see the October 4 date. It is just like frozen in time. And, a matter of fact, a lot of people had their old photos of their families. All of that is still there, because when we all left -- when I left that building on Sunday night, which -- it was quarantined that following day, everything -- everybody thought that they would go back to work on Monday, so everything is still there. As a matter of fact, a few people had fish tanks, which obviously, if you peer through the window, the water is out, fish died, and things like that.
PESQUERA: Yes, ma'am.
QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE). My question is, how many feds (ph) will be actually going inside the building, and how long (UNINTELLIGIBLE)? Or are we talking about hours? How many hours will it take?
PESQUERA: I don't think that there is a set amount of hours. They will be into that building as much time as they have to. It is all a matter of what the scientists on site determine that it is a cutoff day, and that is what it will be, but there is not a set timing to say that at some particular day or some particular time, they will come out of the building. It is a scientifically-driven operation, it is a law enforcement matter, but the scientists are in charge of the in and outs, and the protocol inside the building.
QUESTION: Exactly when will it start?
PESQUERA: It will start sometime this week. We cannot come up with a precise date. I would surmise -- doctor, correct me -- that by Wednesday, we should see some activity in the building. There is -- the protocol calls for a lot of steps to be taken prior to the entry, so that is how it is going to be done -- yes, sir.
QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Miami. Can you tell us if the FBI had ever linked the Boca Raton anthrax attack to the ones in the Capitol, the other ones that happened?
PESQUERA: Going back into an investigation which at this point I cannot comment, sorry -- yes, ma'am.
QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that the level of questioning that he was put through reflected not only an expertise on anthrax, but also a lack of basic knowledge (UNINTELLIGIBLE). By doing this now, it seems, to a certain extent -- backs up what he was saying that perhaps knowledge of anthrax now that you lacked a few months ago, so that can be readily obtained by an expert.
QUESTION: Do you -- do you know more about anthrax now than you knew six months ago? PESQUERA: Oh, definitely we know more of anthrax now than what we knew last month.
QUESTION: Now, I am not going to make any assumption to Mr. Hatfill's comments. This has got nothing to do -- please understand, this has nothing to do with Mr. Hatfill and his case. This is something to do with the criminal investigation, and the entry is being made in furtherance of that. That means that I will not take any more Hatfill questions.
QUESTION: Can you -- OK, let's say you find an envelope -- a letter (UNINTELLIGIBLE) what are you going to do with it? (UNINTELLIGIBLE) fingerprints on the envelope, return address, walk us through -- what value is an envelope?
PESQUERA: I can't walk you through it because it will be walking you through the investigation. But I am confident that if a letter is found and the investigation and the scientists will be able to do what they need to do, and then link it or not link or do whatever they have to do.
QUESTION: But generally speaking -- generally speaking when you have an envelope -- I know there is DNA testing for the saliva. Can you speak generally, not this specific investigation, but what can be done with an envelope?
PESQUERA: It will be obvious that if we find a letter or a delivery mechanism to the building, a package, a letter, whatever it is, that it will be compared to the known sample. That is a no- brainer. Now, how and how will that method be accomplished, I'm not going to go into that -- yes, sir.
LIN: All right. That is the latest from the FBI investigation in Boca Raton, the FBI confirming that agents will reenter the American Media building where anthrax spores were detected last year after the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States and what they are saying is the reason why agents are going back in for about a two week investigation is that they have developed scientific methods that will better enable them to detect spores as well as to analyze their size and their quality. They are looking specifically, though, for what they are calling a delivery mechanism, say a letter sent.
We teased it earlier about the Jennifer Lopez connection. Several media reports were indicating that a letter sent to Jennifer Lopez at the American Media building contained some sort of white powdery substance, and some other toys in the envelope. That is what some employees remembered at American Media. And so that is the J-Lo connection that we were waiting to hear from, but none of the reporters at the scene asked about that. But they are specifically looking for a letter that may have delivered the spores, and they believe they now have the technology to find large clusters of spores, so they feel a little more confident they may be able to find out what was the source of the anthrax spores, and how it dispersed from there. Honoring, obviously, the memory of Robert Stevens, one of the American Media photo editor -- employee at American Media who died from anthrax exposure in that building -- Leon.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And you mentioned that Jennifer Lopez connection -- I have got a copy of that news report from the "Palm Beach Post," and they actually said there were two letters, the letter that they are looking for that had the white powder, and also had a Star of David on it as well.
Go figure. But that is what the newspaper is saying, that is not what the FBI had to say this morning. They would not get into specifics like that, but we do have with us right now, joining us -- rejoining us this morning, former FBI investigator Don Clark standing by in Houston -- what do you think about what you just heard right now?
What does this tell you about the state of the investigation, if they have to go back into the building right now?
DON CLARK, FORMER FBI INVESTIGATOR: Leon, I think what you just witnessed is a real good investigative progress on the part of the FBI and all those people involved. Keep in mind, this is totally unchartered waters for all of us in America and especially for law enforcement to have to deal with this type of an investigation. We viewed just this morning two complete diverse ways of collecting evidence. We've seen highly educated FBI agents out there digging with picks, and now we're going to see them dressed up in other types of gear trying to find little particles. So they obviously have developed some new techniques which has meant progress in the investigation, and now they are going to try to go back in there. The whole bottom line, though, is trying to find some evidence.
HARRIS: Yes, but if they have to use this new technique, does this tell you, then, this investigation pretty much is still at the same square one it was at ten months ago?
CLARK: Well, I suspect that they were not able to look at exactly what they have determined at this point. Whatever they may have collected months ago, having examined that, and again, working with scientists and other people to try and develop new techniques and to see if they can find anything else that can help them identify other types of elements involved in this crime is really what they are going back in there for at this point.
HARRIS: All right. The word is that if there was any J-Lo letter, those letters were incinerated. I mean, is there any way they could possibly be going back to look through that process, or the incineration as well?
CLARK: Leon -- and not being a scientist here, but I really think that they are going to look at every potential aspect, because who knows what takes place if something is incinerated. Maybe there is some residue of something that is left in that, and that is what you are going to see them with a very fine tooth comb trying to develop anything that could have possibly been left.
HARRIS: It just makes me wonder if they have been going through this building, and they have had ten months to do it with a fine tooth comb and all that, if they still haven't found a letter, why they think they can find a letter if they go back in this time?
CLARK: Again, I think it is maybe techniques. I think somebody may have come up with something that can give them an idea that if they look in a particular direction, and use a particular type of technique, that they may be able to bridge that gap to what they haven't come up with.
I always said, and you have heard me say it before, is that when you don't get what are you looking for in terms of evidence, you keep going back to the scene, because you can bet there is something there, it is just a matter of trying to find it.
HARRIS: Well, that is what your colleagues and your buddies are doing right now. We'll have to stand by and wait a few days to see what they find out.
CLARK: You bet.
HARRIS: Don Clark, thanks much. Appreciate it again.
Dept. wanted Hatfill off its LSU programs
But department denies involvement in his firing
From Terry Frieden
WASHINGTON (CNN) --The Justice Department acknowledged Wednesday it sent an e-mail to Louisiana State University's biomedical research and training center to "immediately cease and desist" from employing researcher Steven Hatfill on department-funded programs.
Hatfill is one of several people under FBI scrutiny in the investigation of last fall's deadly anthrax attacks. Five people, including two postal employees, died of anthrax.
Hatfill has not been charged with any crime.
The statement by Assistant Attorney General Deborah Daniels did not explain why the department sent the strongly worded message August 1. LSU placed Hatfill on administrative leave the following day. It fired him this week.
"The department has not been involved in any decisions made by LSU with respect to Mr. Hatfill's status as an employee of that university," Daniels said.
Much of the funding for LSU's National Center for Biomedical Research and Training where Hatfill worked comes from the Justice Department, university officials said.
The center helps prepare emergency personnel for bioterror attacks. Hatfill, an expert on bioterrorism threats, was hired around July 1.
LSU officials said the decision to fire Hatfill was unrelated to the government e-mail, which they said did not reach top university officials until Wednesday.
Earlier this week, LSU Chancellor Mark Emmert told CNN the decision was based "solely" upon the university's long-term interests, citing the need to protect its academic integrity.
Justice Department officials, requesting anonymity, declined to defend sending the e-mail. One official said the decision to send it was made by the Office of Domestic Preparedness, "based on their own criteria."
But the officials had no information on what that criteria were or on whether Daniels was even aware the message had been sent. Daniels oversees the Office of Justice Programs, which includes ODP.
Pat Clawson, who is serving as Hatfill's spokesman, told CNN that Hatfill first heard of the e-mail Wednesday. He complained that the Justice Department had given LSU no reason why it should terminate his employment.
"It would be nice if the Justice Department would give a reason as to why it didn't want Steve Hatfill working on this project," Clawson said. "He's one of this country's top biodefense experts. We need him protecting America. We don't need him on the sidelines right now."
The message was written by Timothy Beres, who is acting director of the ODP and reports to Daniels. It was unclear whether Beres cleared the e-mail before sending it or whether it was prompted by Attorney General John Ashcroft's comments that Hatfill was a "person of interest" to anthrax investigators.
What was clear, the officials said, was that Beres did not consult with the Justice Department or FBI criminal investigators conducting the anthrax probe.
The controversial e-mail "directs that the Louisiana State University Academy of Counter-Terrorist Education immediately cease and desist from utilizing the subject matter expert and course instructor duties of Steven J. Hatfill on all Department of Justice funded programs."
Daniels appeared to offer a partial defense of the message in her statement Wednesday night.
"It is a specific condition of our grant to LSU that we maintain management oversight and control. Steven J. Hatfill served as a subject matter expert on bioterrorism and was one of the primary instructors used in LSU's training program," Daniels said.
Clawson told CNN the actions by LSU and the Justice Department should spur all Americans to ask some questions.
"Where is it that the attorney general gets authority to point an accusatory finger at a citizen without leveling any kind of formal charges? Where does the Justice Department get the power to get a man thrown out of his job?" Clawson asked.
"If the Justice Department has some evidence on Steve Hatfill, then by all means charge him. But quit destroying his life," Clawson said.
Lindh: Al Qaeda planned more attacks
FBI report: 'He swore allegiance to Jihad'
From Henry Schuster (CNN)
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) --John Walker Lindh told military and FBI questioners he believed the September 11 attacks were the first of three waves of terrorist strikes against the United States, according to secret documents obtained by CNN.
Walker Lindh, the first American taken prisoner in Afghanistan as a Taliban fighter -- and scheduled to be sentenced Friday -- also said he turned down an offer to take part in suicide attacks against the United States, and that he believed as many as 50 operatives had been sent on missions against the United States and Israel.
The secret documents are summaries of his first interrogations by U.S. Special Forces troops on December 1, 2001, and of three interrogations conducted by FBI agents in Afghanistan on December 9 and 10.
The FBI's interrogation report says Walker Lindh related that after September 11, one of his former al Qaeda training-camp instructors said "that UBL (Osama bin Laden) said this was the first attack. ... The group speculated that the second attack would involve attacking nuclear facilities, oil/gas pipe lines, or some kind of biological attack."
Walker Lindh's lawyers had sought to suppress these documents as evidence, saying they were made under duress, but that was before they reached a plea bargain with federal prosecutors in July. In that bargain, Walker Lindh agreed to plead guilty to charges that he supplied services to the Taliban and carried an explosive during the commission of a felony.
Walker Lindh is expected to be sentenced to 20 years in prison.
He was among a group of Taliban soldiers who surrendered to the Northern Alliance in late November. They were taken to Mazar-e Sharif and questioned by two CIA employees.
When many of the prisoners staged a revolt, Walker Lindh, who was wounded in the leg, went into hiding and surrendered again a week later .
Walker Lindh was on the front lines, with a Taliban unit, when the September 11 attacks took place. His military questioners write: "Source showed remorse and signs of regret" when he was asked about the attacks.
He told his interrogators that one of his former instructors said that "this was the first attack" and that a second wave would come at the beginning of Ramadan, in mid-November, and "make America forget about the first attack." The instructor also talked of a third wave, in early 2002, but provided no details.
While Walker Lindh told his Special Forces interrogators that the second phase of attacks could involve biological weapons or attacks on nuclear weapons facilities, there is a comment from the questioners saying "source was making assumptions and conjectures based on talk among his colleagues."
Walker Lindh repeated this account to the FBI, when it questioned him.
California to Afghanistan
Walker Lindh told the FBI that his interest in Islam began when he saw the 1992 film "Malcolm X" when he was 12. That interest launched an odyssey that took him from being a teenage Muslim convert in northern California to an Arabic language school in Yemen, and on to Pakistan and Afghanistan.
In the summer of 2001, according to interrogation reports, Walker Lindh was at an al Qaeda-run camp, al Farooq, for a seven-week training course.
He told interrogators that although he wanted to join the Taliban, he was sent to al Farooq because, "The Arab group is Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda's group ... and that was the only way to get to the front lines."
Using the abbreviation "UBL" to refer to bin Laden, the FBI report continues: "Lindh knew UBL's/al Qaeda's purpose was to fight Americans" before he went to the camp.
Walker Lindh outlined a training course at the camp that included:
* Three weeks of familiarization with weapons.
* One week's study of topography and maps.
* One week of battlefield training.
* One week of instruction in explosives.
Walker Lindh told his FBI interrogators that bin Laden visited the camp three to five times while he was there, usually with one of his sons. He said he met bin Laden once, for five minutes, with other recruits and that bin Laden "made small talk and thanked them all for taking part in the jihad."
Walker Lindh also told the FBI that the head of all al Qaeda's training camps personally asked him if he would take part in missions against the United States and Israel.
He said he declined, and he also turned down a chance to swear allegiance to al Qaeda. Instead, says the report, "He swore allegiance to Jihad."
During these initial interrogations Walker Lindh did not mention any other Americans being at al Farooq, although several men from Buffalo, New York, would later be arrested and charged with being at the camp at the same time.
Even before he left al Farooq, Walker Lindh said one of his instructors told him that bin Laden "sent 50 people to carry out 20 ... suicide operations" and that the group believed the attacks were aimed at the United States and Israel.
At the end of his questioning by the military, John Walker Lindh shared a final thought about Osama bin Laden's whereabouts.
Walker Lindh said families of al Qaeda members had been moved from Afghanistan to Yemen during 2001 ... and that he thought "Osama bin Laden may be planning on moving there."
Find this article
says he'll sue over anthrax probe
From Kevin Bohn (CNN)
ARLINGTON, Virginia (CNN) --A former Army bioweapons researcher who has been investigated in connection with last fall's deadly anthrax attacks said he is preparing several lawsuits related to his treatment in the inquiry.
"I have a number of lawsuits in preparation. Rest assured," Dr. Stephen Hatfill said Saturday. "I have a number of lawsuits in litigation, in preparation, extending on many different continents."
Hatfill has not been charged in the investigation and has steadfastly denied having any role in or any knowledge of deadly anthrax mailings.
Anthrax-laced letters were sent to the offices of U.S. Sens. Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, and Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, and to TV network news offices in New York and may have been sent to other places.
Five people, including two postal employees in Washington, died of inhalation anthrax.
Hatfill's spokesman refused comment on who may be the target of any lawsuits or a time frame for filing them. His attorneys previously have said lawsuits were being considered.
Hatfill had his apartment searched three times as part of the investigation into who mailed the anthrax letters in fall 2001.
He has bitterly denounced the treatment he says he has received from the government and the media in relation to the anthrax inquiry, saying he has been the victim of innuendo and gossip.
He and his spokesman have criticized U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft for describing Hatfill as a "person of interest" in the anthrax probe but for not clarifying what that term means. Authorities have not described Hatfill as a suspect in the investigation.
Hatfill spoke Saturday to a conference sponsored by Accuracy in Media, a conservative media watchdog group.
The former government scientist continues to look for a job. He was fired last month from a position at Louisiana State University where he helped train emergency workers to respond to bioterrorism attacks. LSU did not give a reason for the firing.
A Justice Department official sent an e-mail to the program director in August directing him not to use Hatfill on any Justice Department-funded programs. Hatfill was working on one such program.
The e-mail was sent right before Hatfill was put on administrative leave. A LSU spokesman has said that university officials only learned of the e-mail after the university already had decided to terminate Hatfill and that the correspondence had nothing to do with that action.
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."
Find this article
Service tests facility for anthrax
found in Federal Reserve sample
WASHINGTON (CNN) --The U.S. Postal Service began testing for anthrax at one of its Washington facilities after the Federal Reserve said its own testing of mail had indicated the potential presence of the bacteria, a postal official said Tuesday.
Tom Day, vice president for engineering at the Postal Service, emphasized that the tests were being performed "out of an abundance of caution" and said there is no evidence of anthrax contamination or any health risk to postal workers or the public.
Results of the tests are expected early Wednesday, he said.
It is not clear whether the possible anthrax might have come from a letter or any other piece of mail, Day said, though the sample was "generally gathered" from the mail processed at a government-only mail facility in the District of Columbia.
"This is a facility that has the specific purpose of sorting the mail destinating to the 202 through 205 ZIP code range -- the federal government here in the District," he said.
The suspect mail did not enter the Federal Reserve system, Day said. He also said that all suspect government mail is irradiated.
"There's absolutely nothing that indicates we have a contamination problem here," Day said.
Officials decided to announce the tests because technicians performing them will enter the building wearing hazardous material suits, and they feared the sight could fuel a panic.
Day said false positives in preliminary tests are common and that the Federal Reserve has recorded false positives on previous anthrax tests.
"We believe that in the end, we're going to have an event that's really going to become a nonevent," Day said. "But when you get a lab result that gives you a preliminary positive, you got to take that seriously."
While testing is under way Tuesday evening, postal employees will stay out of the V Street postal-processing facility.
Day said a laboratory in North Carolina performed the test that gave a preliminary positive result on the Federal Reserve mail.
"We don't know numbers of spores, strain of anthrax, or even, quite honestly -- it's not a fully confirmed anthrax sample," Day said. "It's a preliminary positive, but we haven't fully categorized exactly what it is, let alone the full amount."
Testing of 30-50 samples from the V Street facility will be conducted at the postal office's laboratory at its Brentwood facility.
One test will involve a polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which allows scientists to identify a bacteria or virus from its DNA. Getting results is a matter of hours.
A second anthrax test will involve collecting wet swabs from sites within the V Street facility where the Federal Reserve mail is handled and sending them to a laboratory, a process that takes days.
Two employees from the Brentwood facility in Northeast Washington died from the inhalation form of anthrax in fall 2001 after that facility processed at least one anthrax-laced letter sent to lawmakers on Capitol Hill. The facility was closed, and the Postal Service set up a PCR lab there as part of the cleanup process.
Cleanup is ahead of schedule, and officials have predicted the facility will reopen this spring.
The federal government and media outlets were targets of anthrax-laced mail in late 2001. Five people, including the two postal employees, died after inhaling anthrax spores.
No one has been arrested. The FBI has said the person who mailed the letters is likely a skilled scientist living in the United States who has access to a lab or sophisticated equipment.
Find this article at: http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/01/14/postal.service.anthrax/index.html
Service finds no anthrax at facility
First sample from Federal Reserve
was false positive
WASHINGTON (CNN) --Further testing has determined no anthrax was found at a postal facility in the nation's capital this week despite a positive test for the infectious disease, according to postal authorities.
The U.S. Postal Service began testing for anthrax at one of its Washington facilities after the Federal Reserve said its own testing of mail had indicated the potential presence of the bacteria.
Tom Day, vice president for engineering at the Postal Service, emphasized before the results of the second test were known that the tests were being performed "out of an abundance of caution."
Day said the sample that first tested as positive was "generally gathered" from the mail processed at a government-only mail facility in the District of Columbia.
"This is a facility that has the specific purpose of sorting the mail destinating to the 202 through 205 ZIP code range -- the federal government here in the District," he said.
Officials decided to announce the tests before conclusive results were known because technicians performing the tests entered the building wearing hazardous material suits, and they feared the sight could fuel a panic.
Day said false positives in preliminary tests are common and that the Federal Reserve has recorded false positives on previous anthrax tests.
Testing of 30-50 samples from the V Street facility were conducted at the postal office's laboratory at its Brentwood facility.
One test involved a polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which allows scientists to identify a bacteria or virus from its DNA.
A second anthrax test involved collecting wet swabs from sites within the V Street facility where the Federal Reserve mail is handled.
Two employees from the Brentwood facility in northeast Washington died from the inhalation form of anthrax in fall 2001 after that facility processed at least one anthrax-laced letter sent to lawmakers on Capitol Hill. The facility was closed, and the Postal Service set up a PCR lab there as part of the cleanup process.
Cleanup is ahead of schedule, and officials have predicted the facility will reopen this spring.
The federal government and media outlets were targets of anthrax-laced mail in late 2001. Five people, including the two postal employees, died after inhaling anthrax spores.
No one has been arrested. The FBI has said the person who mailed the letters is likely a skilled scientist living in the United States who has access to a lab or sophisticated equipment.
Find this article at: http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/01/15/postal.service.anthrax/index.html
who allegedly destroyed plague vials arrested
Thursday, January 16, 2003 Posted: 8:18 AM EST (1318 GMT)
LUBBOCK, Texas (CNN) -- The university scientist who allegedly destroyed vials containing bacteria samples that could cause bubonic plague was arrested Wednesday, a law enforcement source said.
Dr. Thomas Butler, 61, was leading a study aimed at developing antibiotics to fight the plague. He is chief of the Infectious Disease Division at Texas Tech University's Department of Internal Medicine.
Law enforcement sources said that he is charged with making false statements to the FBI. He is expected to make an initial appearance before a federal magistrate Thursday morning in Lubbock, the sources said.
The vials were destroyed sometime before January 11, sources said, and Butler allegedly did not fill out the required documentation.
One law enforcement source said it was Butler who first notified the school that the vials were missing. He repeated this assertion when the FBI questioned him, saying he did not know how or why the vials came to be missing, but he later recanted and admitted destroying them himself, the source said.
A Texas Tech spokeswoman said it is premature to say what action school officials may take and that it is too early to say whether Butler will be suspended pending an investigation.
"I hope we'll be able to continue the research," spokeswoman Cindy Rugeley said.
The vials -- about 30 in all -- were reported missing Tuesday, prompting fears of a potential bioterror threat. Those fears, however, were short-lived, and authorities said all of the vials had been accounted for Wednesday. (More on plague)
Butler's wife said her husband had been interviewed by the FBI and that she knows nothing about the destruction of vials. Mrs. Butler said she believes the situation is being blown out of proportion. "He's a dedicated man and a good person," she said.
The vials contained bacteria samples that could cause bubonic or pneumonic plague. They came from a stock of about 180 vials that are part of a study by Butler, who has more than 25 years' experience with plague research. (Plague treatments)
"This was not weaponized in any way," said Richard Homan, dean of the Texas Tech School of Medicine. "This was material that was obtained through international colleagues of one of our faculty members. It was brought here for further study."
The vials came from the East African nation of Tanzania, law enforcement sources said.
They were all classified as plague, and some were classified as bubonic plague. The college received them in April.
Bacteria and viruses, such as
the plague, are widely available to researchers at universities
CNN National Correspondent Susan Candiotti and Justice Correspondent Kelli Arena contributed to this report
to tighten at research labs
By Bryan Long
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) --Even as a Texas Tech scientist is released from jail on bond awaiting charges of mishandling dozens of vials of bubonic plague, questions about lab security linger.
So far, the scientist, Thomas Butler, has been charged with making a false statement to authorities -- that the vials were missing when he had accidently destroyed them. When he reported they were missing, said authorities, officials feared the vials may have been taken to be used in a terror attack.
Butler's incarceration transcended Texas Tech, prompting attention to focus on hundreds of laboratories around the country that do research on dangerous biological agents.
Several hundred institutions -- from commercial labs to public universities -- work with dangerous biological agents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Universities and commercial research labs police themselves. The CDC says the biological and other toxic agents are secure and that the public is safe.
The federal government has compiled a list of groups that are restricted from handling the agents, but no agency is charged with enforcing the rules. Nor are background checks required for workers who handle such agents. In addition, the federal government has no oversight in place for the hundreds of medical labs that have anthrax and bubonic plague bacteria, Ebola and smallpox viruses, the toxic substance ricin and other deadly agents.
That will change February 13, when new legislation takes effect and the Department of Justice begins providing a security-risk assessment for anyone with access to restricted biological agents. The assessment will require background checks for scientists or anyone else who can unlock a lab containing such agents.
The government bans numerous groups from working with the biological agents, including foreign nationals from a list of embargoed nations; anyone with a dishonorable discharge from the U.S. military; and anyone who has been committed to a mental facility.
Dave Daigle, public relations officer for the CDC, said the center's Select Agent Program has been expanded to take on the extra duties.
The new legislation will increase lab security and add criminal and civil penalties for violations, Daigle said. Anyone convicted of possessing or transporting such agents illegally could be fined up to $250,000 and face up to five years in prison.
In addition, anyone who possesses a biological agent must register with the CDC. Under current law, research labs are required to notify the government only when an agent is transferred to a new facility.
The CDC and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will oversee the new policies and are reviewing the list of agents and filing procedures as the law takes effect.
The government restricted access to many biological agents in 1996 after an Ohio man ordered three vials of bubonic plague from a mail-order laboratory. The FBI was alerted and arrested the man, Larry Harris, a self-avowed white supremacist. He was charged only with mail fraud because possessing the bacteria was legal.
Matt Finucane, the University of Pennsylvania's director of environmental health and radiation safety, said labs in general have done a good job keeping dangerous biological agents out of the wrong hands.
"The faculty and scientists that use them have been using these materials for a great number of years," he said, noting that most institutions have guidelines that are more strict than the government requires.
At Penn, Finucane said, biological agents are locked away, and since September 11, 2001, have been treated with the same care given to radioactive material. Access to the agents is strictly controlled, and the samples are locked in freezers. Finucane said he believes other institutions treat their samples with the same caution.
"They have been safe from theft," he said.
Find this article at: http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/01/20/plague.security
Mobile labs found in Iraq
April 14, 2003
KARBALA, Iraq (CNN) --U.S. troops have found 11 mobile laboratories buried south of Baghdad that are capable of biological and chemical uses, a U.S. general said Monday.
There were no chemical or biological weapons with the containerized labs, which measure 20 feet square. But soldiers recovered "about 1,000 pounds" of documents from inside the labs, and the United States will examine those papers further, said Brig. Gen. Benjamin Freakly of the Army's 101st Airborne Division.
"Initial reports indicate that this is clearly a case of denial and deception on the part of the Iraqi government," Freakly told CNN's Ryan Chilcote. "These chemical labs are present, and now we just have to determine what in fact they were really being used for."
Troops found the mobile laboratories near a weapons plant outside Karbala, about 50 miles south of Baghdad. Though buried, they appeared to contain about $1 million worth of equipment and were "clearly marked so they could be found again," Freakly said.
During the buildup to the war in Iraq, the United States repeatedly accused Iraq of using mobile laboratories to produce banned weapons. A U.S.-led force invaded Iraq March 20 after accusing it of violating U.N. resolutions requiring it to give up chemical and biological weapons, long-range missiles and efforts to develop nuclear weapons.
Iraqi officials repeatedly denied having weapons of mass destruction and have not used them against U.S. or British troops. U.N. weapons inspectors said Iraq used mobile laboratories for food testing but found no evidence of banned weapons work.
Last week, troops from the 101st Airborne found a stash of chemicals, which was investigated as possible nerve agents, but the material turned out to be pesticides, Freakly said. The United States will further examine the latest find, he said.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell in February told the United Nations Security Council that U.S. intelligence indicated Iraq had production facilities for biological weapons "on wheels and on rails."
He insisted the labs existed and called them "most worrisome."
"The trucks and train cars are easily moved and are designed to evade detection by inspectors," Powell said. "In a matter of months, they can produce a quantity of biological poison equal to the entire amount that Iraq claimed to have produced in the years prior to the Gulf War."
Powell said the evidence included firsthand accounts from four sources -- among them, an Iraqi chemical engineer who supervised one of the facilities and an Iraqi civil engineer "in a position to know the details of the program."
rule out suspect bio-labs
Tuesday, April 15, 2003 Posted: 4:26 PM EDT (2026 GMT)
KARBALA, Iraq (CNN) -- The buried labs U.S. troops found last week were not the mobile chemical and biological weapons labs one U.S. Army general suspected, CNN's Ryan Chilcote reported Tuesday.
The 11 cargo containers were filled with new laboratory equipment apparently intended to make conventional weapons, said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Monte Gonzalez, the head of an expert team brought in to examine them.
"Based on what we've seen, the containers are full of millions of dollars worth of high-tech equipment," he said. "It possibly has a dual use. But it does not appear to be weapons of mass destruction."
Members of the 101st Airborne's 2nd Brigade found the site -- about 50 miles south of Baghdad near Karbala -- last week as they were heading north to Baghdad, Chilcote reported.
Some of the containers, used to hold cargo on ships, were partially buried, he said. The troops dug up the containers and Gonzalez's team was brought in to investigate.
The containers held equipment typically found in laboratories, including test tubes, water baths, sand baths, ph transmitters, explosive-proof lights, ethyl alcohol gauges, shakers, test tubes, test tube holders, and temperature and pressure gauges, Chilcote said.
Gonzalez's team finished its investigation Tuesday and will report its findings to the head of the 101st Airborne Wednesday, he said.
They will continue to examine the large number of documents found at the site. He said the containers might have been partially buried to prevent looting.
"It's like a Scooby-Doo mystery," he said. "It's a puzzle. But we don't expect to find a smoking gun."
Brig. Gen. Benjamin Freakley, of the Army's 101st Airborne Division, said Monday soldiers found what they thought were 11 mobile chemical and biological laboratories.
"Initial reports indicate that this is clearly a case of denial and deception on the part of the Iraqi government," Freakley said. "These chemical labs are present, and now we just have to determine what in fact they were really being used for."
During the buildup to the war in Iraq, U.S. officials said Iraq was using mobile laboratories to help conceal its production of banned weapons.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told a U.N. Security Council meeting that Iraq had biological weapons labs on at least 18 flatbed trucks.
Iraq denied having mobile weapons labs. U.N. weapons inspectors said they had found that Iraq used mobile labs to test food but had come across no evidence of banned weapons production.
On a visit February 23, U.N. weapons inspectors found nothing "untoward" at the Karbala Ammunition Filling Plant that is close to the site, a U.N. inspection team spokesman said Monday.
The site was among several that had been visited previously by weapons inspectors.
scientist: Sanctions killed germ war program
Monday, April 28, 2003 Posted: 12:58 PM EDT (1658 GMT)
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) --Iraq's biological weapons program was shut down by economic sanctions in the 1990s and U.S. search teams are unlikely to find evidence of those efforts now, a leading program scientist said Monday.
The scientist, Nassir Hindawi, left Iraq's bio-weapons program in 1989, and one of his students -- Rihab Taha -- eventually became notorious as Iraq's leading biological weapons expert.
But Hindawi told CNN that Taha -- who was nicknamed "Dr. Germ" in the West -- didn't have the practical capability to advance the program.
Hindawi said economic sanctions imposed after the first Persian Gulf War effectively halted the program, and it probably could not have been reconstituted with whatever materials that remained from the previous years.
Before 1989, Iraqi researchers conducted experiments on animals with botulinum toxin, anthrax and gas gangrene, and managed to test weaponized forms of the toxins, Hindawi said.
The anthrax was developed as a liquid form, not a powder. Hindawi said he alone in Iraq had the knowledge to produce a powdered form of anthrax, but he never did it.
He said he did not believe in the program and therefore intentionally worked only at half his full potential. Scientists were coerced into working for the program, Hindawi said. If they refused, they risked harassment, loss of employment, and prison.
Hindawi's team originally tried to import special drying ovens to make powdered anthrax, but were told by manufacturers of the equipment that they would have to change the specific gravity of their material, and the team was apparently unsuccessful at doing that.
Hindawi said he kept another method for making powered anthrax -- one that does not require using dryers -- to himself.
He rejoined the biological weapons program in 1991 as the director of the Al-Hakam plant, which produced single-cell protein, according to the Iraqi government.
He said he was instructed to lie to United Nations weapons inspectors, who were then in Iraq to enforce terms of the 1991 Gulf War cease-fire.
The cease-fire required Iraq to give up its chemical and biological weapons, long-range missiles and efforts to develop a nuclear bomb.
Hindawi said he was told to say the plant was used only for peaceful purposes, when he knew it was a so-called dual-use facility that been used for weapons research.
The inspectors were not fooled, he said. The plant, which Iraqi officials said was built to provide animal feed, was destroyed under inspectors' supervision in 1996.
The advanced development of the Iraqi program was exposed by the defection of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's son-in-law, Hussein Kamal, to Jordan in 1995.
Though Kamal was nominally the director of the program, Hindawi called him an "idiot" who had only a limited understanding of science.
Hindawi was imprisoned in 1997 and 1998 by Saddam after he was accused of attempting to leave Iraq. At the time, he said, he was trying to go to Libya as a "steppingstone" to get to the United States, where he was educated, and where two of his sons live.
But he has surprisingly benign comments regarding Saddam, calling him "simple, generous, polite and respectful."
He said he met with the Iraqi leader after he left the biological weapons program and returned to a university job. He said Saddam held him by the shoulders and asked him if he was willing to be called back, if needed. Hindawi agreed.
looks to pond for anthrax clues
Traces of disease found on object near Fort Detrick, Maryland
From Kevin Bohn and Kelli Arena
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A search into a Maryland pond in December turned up an item with traces of anthrax, a government source told CNN on Sunday.
Investigators are hopeful that the discovery will provide leads in the search for a suspect in several anthrax mail attacks in fall 2001. FBI and other law enforcement agencies have returned to the same pond in Frederick, Maryland, several times, including last week. The mayor of Frederick said she has been told the pond might be drained to search for more evidence.
The source wouldn't describe the item on which the anthrax was found. When agents initially searched the pond, investigators found lab equipment, including what was described as a plastic tub with two holes on the side.
The amount of anthrax found was so small that the source did not know whether it could be compared to the type used in the anthrax mail attacks.
In those attacks, several anthrax-laced letters were sent to the offices of Democratic U.S. Sens. Tom Daschle of South Dakota and Patrick Leahy of Vermont; to TV network news offices in New York; and to a tabloid's newsroom in Florida. Letters might have been sent other places, as well.
Five people, including two postal employees in Washington, died after inhaling anthrax spores.
Jennifer Dougherty, mayor of Frederick, told CNN that she was informed six to eight weeks ago by the FBI that draining the 1-acre pond in the Frederick Municipal Watershed has "been presented to us as possibly a part of the investigation."
The watershed is near Fort Detrick, Maryland, and the findings have once again focused investigators on Steven Hatfill, the former Army scientist who had once worked at the U.S. Army bioweapons laboratory there, and lived near the base and the pond.
Hatfill has not been charged in the investigation and has steadfastly denied having any role in or any knowledge of the anthrax mailings.
Investigators have searched Hatfill's apartment at least three times.
Attorney General John Ashcroft has described Hatfill as a "person of interest" in the investigation, but sources say they have found no evidence conclusively linking him to the attacks. He remains a key focus of the investigation.
Investigators maintained that no arrest was imminent.
Aired May 12, 2003 - 09:11 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Other important story to check in on today, a pond in Maryland is once again at the center of the anthrax investigation. A trace of anthrax found in an item recovered from the pond in Frederick, Maryland. Our Kelli Arena is Kelli Arena is live with more on this from Washington.
Kelli, good morning.
KELLI ARENA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Daryn.
Well, the FBI obviously thinks that it may find answers in its anthrax investigation in that pond. It's in Frederick, Maryland. The mayor of that Washington suburb says that city officials are in talks with the FBI about possibly draining the pond, which the FBI has searched at least four times since December.
The FBI had received a tip back then about someone allegedly dumping laboratory equipment into the pond. Sources say that among the items that were found was a large plastic tub with two openings in the side. They described it as similar to the tubs that are used to limit exposure to avoid exposure while performing scientific tests.
As we all know, the FBI has come up empty so far in its investigation of those anthrax attacks. If you'll remember, they killed five people over a year ago.
The FBI at one time had a list of at least 20 people that it was looking closely at, but Attorney General John Ashcroft publicly named only one as person of interest, and that's former researcher Stephen Hatfill.
Government sources say that interest in him remains very high. Hatfill has repeatedly said quite publicly that he is innocent.
And, Daryn, Just a follow up on what you said leading into me, you said there were traces of anthrax found on an item. Actually in the preliminary testing of this item, they thought that it was anthrax, but subsequent testing of that to proved that be negative.
So while there were people saying that, well, maybe we have an anthrax connection here, our officials have said subsequent to that that testing proved negative, that sometimes early tests come up positive. In this case, it was negative, but they still have high interest in this pond, want to get in there and see what they find.
KAGAN: Thanks for straightening that out, and thanks for the update. Kelli Arena in Washington.
KAGAN: You're welcome. Thank you.
ticketed in altercation with FBI agent
'Person of interest' in anthrax probe hit by car, fined $5
From Kelli Arena
WASHINGTON (CNN) --Steven Hatfill, under FBI surveillance in the anthrax investigation, was issued a ticket after an altercation this weekend with an agent, officials said.
According to a traffic incident report filed by Washington police, Hatfill walked up to a parked car to take a picture of the driver. The driver then drove off, striking Hatfill, the report said.
Officials tell CNN the driver was an FBI employee.
Hatfill, a former U.S. Army researcher, has been called a "person of interest" by Attorney General John Ashcroft in the investigation of the anthrax mailings that killed five people in 2001. Hatfill has denied involvement.
CNN obtained a copy of the police report that said Hatfill told officers the driver was recording his movements all day when Hatfill decided to "take a picture back."
Hatfill told officers he walked up to the automobile with the camera to take the picture when the driver drove off and ran over Hatfill's right foot. The report states that Hatfill refused medical treatment at the scene and that after investigation, Hatfill was issued a citation for "walking to create a hazard" and fined $5.
The driver was not cited.
Pat Clawson, a spokesman for Hatfill, said Hatfill and his girlfriend had been driving in the Georgetown area of Washington while being followed by several vehicles they believed contained FBI agents.
Clawson said one of the vehicles was "being driven in an aggressive manner," tailgating Hatfill.
According to Clawson, after the car was parked, Hatfill took out a still camera and wanted to admonish the driver for reckless driving. The FBI agent started recording the scene with a video camera. The FBI vehicle then hit Hatfill, Clawson said.
Despite what the police said, Clawson said Hatfill was treated at the scene by paramedics for a head abrasion and a severely bruised foot but declined to go to the hospital.
The FBI issued a statement saying: "We are aware of an incident that occurred on Saturday May 17th, 2003 in the 1800 block of Wisconsin Ave. N.W. Washington, D.C. at approximately 4 p.m. between Mr. Steven Hatfill and an FBI employee. During the incident Mr. Hatfill fell to the ground on Wisconsin Ave. Officers of the Washington MPD responded to the incident. Mr. Hatfill refused medical treatment and left the scene after he was issued a notice of infraction of 'walking to create a hazard.'"
"This is harassment, not surveillance," Clawson said. "This is in-your-face harassment."
Earlier this month, officials in Frederick, Maryland, said the FBI might drain a pond where suspicious items were found during previous searches.
When agents initially searched the pond in December, investigators found lab equipment, including what was described as a large plastic tub with two holes on the side, similar to something used to limit exposure while performing scientific tests, government sources said.
The discovery prompted agents from the FBI and other law enforcement bodies to return to the pond at least four times, looking for more evidence possibly linked to the attacks.
Sources said investigators were initially led to the pond after getting a tip that someone had been seen in the park dumping something in the pond.
However, officials say they have no evidence connecting anything found in the park to anthrax or the anthrax attacks. They also say there is no evidence linking any individual to the anthrax-laced letters, which fatally infected five people who inhaled anthrax spores in fall 2001.
Hatfill once worked at the U.S. Army bioweapons laboratory at Fort Detrick, which is near the pond.
Hatfill has steadfastly maintained that he had no involvement in the attacks.
Clawson has repeatedly denounced the FBI for what he called a "campaign of systemic leaks" that has been destroying Hatfill's life.
pond drained in anthrax probe
From Kevin Bohn
WASHINGTON (CNN) --Authorities have finished draining a pond in Frederick, Maryland, and investigators are ready to search the sediment as part of the probe into the deadly 2001 anthrax attacks, city and law enforcement officials told CNN Thursday.
Frederick's police chief was informed the draining was completed late Wednesday, said Nancy Poss, the city's public information officer.
Officials estimate phase two of the operation, examining what may be left on the bottom of the pond, is expected to take several more weeks.
The draining began Monday after the FBI and the Postal Inspection Service decided to do it as part of the anthrax investigation. Investigators last year received a tip that some materials possibly used in the attacks might have been dumped into the pond.
The man-made pond, which is in a city-owned forest, is estimated to be 4 to 5 feet deep with a capacity of about 50,000 gallons. The estimated cost of draining the pond is $250,000.
The contractor hired by the FBI to drain the pond put the water into two other nearby ponds, and some of it could have overflowed into land. As part of the effort, about 100 fish also were moved to other ponds.
City officials said 10 ponds were searched last winter. Government sources told CNN several vials and a plastic box with two holes similar to something used in lab work was found in a search of one pond last December.
Anthrax-laced letters were sent in fall 2001 to the offices of U.S. Sens. Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, and Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, and to television network news offices in New York, and may have been sent to other places.
Five people -- two U.S. Postal Service employees in Washington, an employee at American Media Inc. in Boca Raton, Florida, a 94-year-old woman in Oxford, Connecticut, and a New York hospital supply room worker -- died of exposure to anthrax.
No suspects have been named in the anthrax investigation and no arrests have been made.
Former Army bioterrorism researcher Dr. Stephen Hatfill -- who once worked at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland -- has been named a "person of interest" in the case by U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft.
Sources told CNN last year the strain of anthrax identified in the 2001 incidents was the same as that used in experiments at USAMRIID, the Army's biological warfare defense laboratory.
Hatfill once lived in an apartment next to Fort Detrick, which is eight to 10 miles from the pond being drained. Frederick is about 50 miles northwest of Washington.
Hatfill has steadfastly denied having any role in or any knowledge of the deadly anthrax mailings. A spokesman for Hatfill, Pat Clawson, said Monday that "Steve had nothing to do with this."
"Let them go drain the ponds," Clawson told CNN. "They are not going to find anything because Steve is not involved."
Clawson called on the FBI to either charge Hatfill or clear him. He said of the cost of the draining: "If they want to [throw] away a quarter of a million dollars, be my guest."
would compensate anthrax victims, survivors
From Kevin Bohn
Thursday, October 16, 2003 Posted: 1:46 PM EDT (1746 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Two senators proposed a bill Thursday to allow surviving victims and families of victims who died in the anthrax attacks two years ago to apply for federal compensation.
Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, want the families of the five people who died and the 13 others who contracted anthrax to be allowed to apply under the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund.
The fund enables the survivors and families of victims of the September 11 hijackings to apply for government money in exchange for pledging not to file a lawsuit asking for damages.
"They are the victims of terrorists
just as those who died on September 11," Daschle said
Two of four anthrax-laced letters that were recovered were sent to Daschle and Leahy. But since the lawmakers were not infected, they would not be eligible for any compensation.
The five people who died contracted anthrax through inhalation, the most dangerous type of exposure. Six other people were stricken with inhalation anthrax, while seven people contracted anthrax through skin contact.
Several of the victims have complained about being forgotten, and those who had inhalation anthrax said they still suffer from ailments, including heart and liver trouble, fatigue and other organ damage. Some also have said they are facing severe financial strains since they cannot go back to work.
In introducing the bill, Leahy said that he and Daschle did not know why they were targeted. Several of the victims and survivors have filed lawsuits. The widow of American Media Inc. photo editor Robert Stevens, the first to die in the attacks, sued the government last month. David Hose, who ran a State Department mail annex, has filed a claim against the State and Defense departments.
Both allege the attacks were partly caused by lax security at the Army bioweapons lab at Fort Detrick, Maryland, which they contend did not keep close track of its anthrax samples.
The anthrax found in the attacks was the Ames strain, which is the same produced by the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick.
Investigators are trying to determine
what lab may have produced the anthrax used in the
wary of anthrax probe disclosure
Dec. 2, 2003
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Disclosure of what the FBI knows about the deadly 2001 anthrax attacks in the United States could enable terrorists to engineer biological weapons to escape detection, the FBI says in documents filed in response to a lawsuit by a scientist labeled a "person of interest" in the case.
Citing the criminal investigation and national security concerns, the Justice Department is trying to persuade a federal judge to delay the lawsuit filed by Dr. Stephen J. Hatfill, who contends the government invaded his privacy and ruined his reputation by leaking information to the media implicating him in the attacks.
Hatfill has denied any role in the attacks and his lawsuit seeks to clear his name and recover unspecified monetary damages
Richard L. Lambert, the FBI inspector in charge of what is being called the "Amerithrax" investigation, says in a court document that Hatfill's lawsuit could jeopardize the probe and expose secrets related to U.S. bioweapons defense measures.
"In the hands of those hostile to the U.S., this valuable intelligence could aid state sponsors of terrorism or terrorist organizations in their efforts to genetically engineer or alter their anthrax bioweapons to 'spoof' or escape detection," Lambert said.
Disclosure also would make public the vulnerabilities and capabilities of U.S. government installations to bioweapons attacks and expose sensitive intelligence collection sources and methods, Lambert said.
There is no proven link between terrorist groups and the October 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people and sickened 17 others. The government has, however, repeatedly warned of al Qaeda's interest in using anthrax or other chemical and biological weapons to mount attacks.
In the FBI document, filed November 21 in U.S. District Court in Washington, Lambert calls the anthrax probe "unprecedented in the FBI's 95-year history" because of its scope and complexity. In all, the investigation has consumed some 231,000 agent hours, he said.
Lambert described the investigation as "active and ongoing" and said agents' work is divided between checking into individuals who could be linked to the attacks and an intensive scientific effort to determine how the spores themselves were made using "cutting-edge forensic techniques and analysis."
The court papers stop short of confirming that Hatfill is among those being investigated.
Hatfill was labeled a "person of interest" in the probe in August 2002 by Attorney General John Ashcroft and says in his lawsuit that FBI agents have had him under surveillance around the clock.
quizzed again in anthrax probe
From Kevin Bohn and Kelli Arena
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- FBI agents investigating the 2001 anthrax attacks have re-interviewed a researcher formerly with the Army bioweapons laboratory at Fort Detrick, Maryland, his lawyer and government sources said Monday.
The attorney for Ayaad Assaad, who now works at the Environmental Protection Agency, said FBI agents assured her that her client is not a suspect.
Assaad was questioned last week, mostly about a letter sent to police in Quantico, Virginia, days before the anthrax mailings.
The letter alleged that Assaad was a potential bioterrorist and was going to wage "war" against the American people, according to attorney Rosemary McDermott.
Investigators have not determined whether the person who sent the letter and the anthrax attacks are linked.
Investigators are trying to determine who mailed four anthrax-laced letters in fall 2001 that resulted in five deaths from anthrax exposure.
The government sources said the interest in Assaad centers on the so-called Quantico letter and the theory that whoever mailed it could have also been involved in sending the anthrax letters.
"It is one of several out there," one source said when asked how accepted that theory is. "No one has been ruled out."
Assaad's attorney said the interview, conducted last Tuesday, came after FBI agents told her and Assaad that other EPA employees also had been questioned about the letter and whether they knew who sent it.
McDermott said Assaad was asked about people he had not been asked about previously regarding the anthrax attacks, but she declined to be specific citing the ongoing investigation.
Assaad was first interviewed in October 2001 about the letter mentioning him.
He has said he had no role in the anthrax mailings and last week produced for the agents his 2001 EPA timesheets to prove where he was when the letters were mailed, McDermott said.
The letters were postmarked Hamilton Township, New Jersey, and were postmarked September 18 and October 9, 2001.
Assaad has alleged that some of his former colleagues at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease at Fort Detrick may harbor negative feelings for him.
He claims he was discriminated against because of his age and because he is Egyptian. Assaad is in his mid-50s.
He was fired from USAMRIID in 1997 and has filed a lawsuit against the government.
Among other places, the anthrax-laced letters were sent to the offices of Democratic Sens. Tom Daschle of South Dakota and Patrick Leahy of Vermont and to television network news offices in New York.
Solitary threats harder to hunt
By Henry Schuster
Editor's Note: Henry Schuster, a senior producer in CNN's Investigative Unit, has been covering terrorism for more than a decade. Each week in "Tracking Terror," he reports on the people and organizations driving international and domestic terrorism and efforts to combat those. He is the author of the forthcoming book, "Hunting Eric Rudolph."
(CNN) -- Wolves run in packs. They hunt that way. They live that way. The lone wolf is the exception. When it comes to the world of domestic terrorism that might not be the case.
Who are we referring to when we talk about a lone wolf domestic terrorist? Someone who operates alone or with the help of one or two other people.
Someone like Tim McVeigh, who carried out the Oklahoma City bombing.
Later this spring, the U.S. government will try to prove in court that Eric Rudolph was another such lone wolf, as he faces his first trial in a string of bombings in Birmingham and Atlanta, including the one during the 1996 Olympics.
We in the media have tended to place more attention on international than domestic terrorism since September 11. But the threat hasn't gone away.
The FBI still tracks it. So do the folks at places like the Southern Poverty Law Center, where Mark Potok works as director of the organization's Intelligence Project.
His message is blunt: "It's not only Osama bin Laden out there, it is not only people with turbans who are capable of blowing you and your family up. It's Americans, people who are your neighbors, capable of doing things like this."
Need any convincing? Here are a few items you may have missed since 9/11:
* William Krar
now sits in a federal prison, convicted of possessing sodium cyanide. Investigators
say they discovered evidence of militia ties when they seized his belongings.
Then, of course, there is the anthrax killer, the one who began terrorizing America a month after September 11.
Ask Potok and the folks at the SPLC and they will tell you they believe the anthrax killer is a lone wolf -- and probably not an Islamic terrorist, despite the letters that were sent in late 2001 containing the anthrax, which seemed to signal this was an al Qaeda-style attack. Potok and company base this belief in part on how the killer has gone quiet since the flurry of letters in late 2001 -- and that there have been no claims by international terror groups.
You might be noticing the pattern by now. Lone wolves are typically Americans with an extremist agenda, usually anti-government. They are certainly not the only domestic terrorists (we'll deal with the animal rights and eco-terrorists at a later date), but they are scary nonetheless.
By the way, those on the extremist fringe don't call themselves lone wolves. They like to use the term "leaderless resistance," which was coined by a guy from Texas named Louis Beam, a former Aryan Nation and Ku Klux Klan militia leader who has since advocated a more independent approach.
Beam's idea was that groups could be penetrated by government agents, so it was better and more effective to act for the cause by going it alone or trusting only a couple of your closest friends.
That seems to have been the course of action Tim McVeigh took.
Why might we now be seeing more of this leaderless resistance, these lone wolves?
Some of it, ironically, comes from success. The largest extremist groups, including the National Alliance and the Aryan Nation, have collapsed, according to both the SPLC and FBI, and their members drifted from membership in groups.
This happened as some of their older leaders, including William Pierce (the man who wrote the book that inspired Tim McVeigh) of the National Alliance, died off and a younger generation fought amongst itself.
But when the groups go away, it makes it harder for the FBI and groups like SPLC to track the threats. FBI officials who oversee domestic terrorism investigations say lone wolves are a top priority.
They can point to results -- including the arrests and convictions of Krar and Jordi, for example.
Precisely because they are lone wolves, it is hard to quantify the threat or how it compares to that from al Qaeda.
Still, Mark Potok believes the lone wolf isn't going away.
"Luckily for all us, at least to this point they have not been as sophisticated or as well organized as al Qaeda."
That, of course, excludes Oklahoma City, which showed just how dangerous a lone wolf could be.
And the problem is, in the world of counterterrorism, lone wolves are harder
York man falls ill with anthrax symptoms
Musician reportedly had contact with natural anthrax sources
Wednesday, February 22, 2006; Posted: 4:17 p.m. EST (21:17 GMT)
(CNN) -- A New York musician has been hospitalized with anthrax symptoms that authorities say came from unprocessed animal skins used to make traditional African instruments.
The 44-year-old man, who is hospitalized in northern Pennsylvania, had recently traveled to Africa, sources said.
The case does not pose a health threat, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
The man, who plays native African music, complained of flu-like symptoms before collapsing at the end of a dance company show at Mansfield University in Mansfield, Pennsylvania, sources said.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health said he was taken to Robert Packard Hospital in Sayre, Pennsylvania, about 50 miles northeast of Mansfield.
"At this time, there is no indication that the exposure was from an intentional release of anthrax," a release from the department says. "The patient has a history of contact with unprocessed animal hides and recently traveled to Africa, where he purchased unprocessed hides, which were then transported to New York City."
It adds, "The patient makes drums from the unprocessed animal hides. Unprocessed animal hides can be a source of anthrax spores."
New York City and federal authorities discussed the case at a news conference Wednesday afternoon, where they assured the public that the incident does not pose a health threat.
CNN's Terry Frieden contributed to this report.
Mueller, senators tangle
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- In sometimes testy congressional testimony Wednesday, FBI Director Robert Mueller rejected senators' demands for detailed information on the status of a long-running anthrax investigation and for a full briefing on the controversial warrantless surveillance program.
In a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, three senators unsuccessfully pressed Mueller for a briefing on the status of the five-year-old probe into the mailing of deadly anthrax-laced letters. One of those letters was addressed to Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the incoming chairman of the committee.
"At least two people who touched the envelope that I was supposed to open died," Leahy reminded the FBI director in pushing for an update on progress in the probe.
But Mueller cited long-standing policy against disclosing sensitive criminal and grand jury investigations. "Yes, we could give you an over-arching briefing as to how many people we have at it, but you're asking for something more," Mueller said. --From Justice Producer Terry Frieden (Posted 3:14 p.m.)
August 4, 2008
Anthrax suspect obsessed with sorority, officials say
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The top suspect in the 2001 anthrax attacks was obsessed with a sorority that sat less than 100 yards away from a New Jersey mailbox where the toxin-laced letters were sent, authorities said Monday.
Multiple U.S. officials told The Associated Press that former Army scientist Bruce Ivins was long obsessed with the sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma, going back as far as his own college days at the University of Cincinnati.
The officials all spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case publicly.
The bizarre link to the sorority may indirectly explain one of the biggest mysteries in the case: why the anthrax was mailed from Princeton, N.J., 195 miles from the Army biological weapons lab the anthrax is believed to have been smuggled out of.
An adviser to the Kappa Kappa Gamma chapter at Princeton University confirmed she was interviewed by the FBI in connection with the case.
U.S. officials said e-mails or other documents detail Ivins' long-standing fixation on the sorority. His former therapist has said Ivins plotted revenge against those who have slighted him, particularly women. There is nothing to indicate, however, he was focused on any one sorority member or other Princeton student, the officials said.
Despite the connection between Ivins and the sorority, authorities acknowledge they cannot place the scientist in Princeton the day the anthrax was mailed. That remains a hole in the government's case. Had Ivins not killed himself last week, authorities would have argued he could have made the seven-hour round trip to Princeton after work.
Ivins' attorney, Paul F. Kemp, did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment Monday but has asserted his client's innocence and said he would have been vindicated in court.
Katherine Breckinridge Graham, a Kappa alumna who serves as an adviser to the sorority's Princeton chapter, said Monday she was interviewed by FBI agents "over the last couple of years" about the case. She said she could not provide any details about the interview because she signed an FBI nondisclosure form.
However, Graham said there was nothing to indicate that any of the sorority members had anything to do with Ivins.
"Nothing odd went on," said Graham, an attorney.
Kappa Kappa Gamma executive director Lauren Paitson, reached at the sorority's headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, initially told an AP reporter Monday afternoon she would provide a comment shortly. She did not answer subsequent phone messages or e-mails seeking a response.
Some of the scientist's friends and former co-workers have reacted with skepticism as details about the investigation surfaced. They questioned whether Ivins had the motive to unleash such an attack and whether he could have secretly created the powder form of the deadly toxin without co-workers noticing.
Princeton University referred questions about Ivins to the FBI. The university does not formally recognize sororities and fraternities but chapters operate off campus.
Local police in both Princeton Borough and Princeton Township said Ivins' name did not turn up on any incident reports or restraining orders.
Kappa Kappa Gamma also has chapters at nearby colleges in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Washington. One official said investigators were working off the theory that Ivins chose to mail the letters from the Princeton chapter to confuse investigators if he ever were to emerge as a suspect in the case.
Five people died and 17 others sickened by the anthrax plot, which was launched on the heels of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The following August, investigators announced they'd found anthrax spores inside the mailbox on Nassau Street, the town's main thoroughfare. FBI agents immediately began canvassing the town, showing residents a photograph of Army scientist Steven J. Hatfill, who at the time was a key "person of interest" in the case.
That theory fell flat and this June, the Justice Department exonerated Hatfill and agreed to a $5.8 million settlement with him.
In the past year, the FBI has turned a close eye on Ivins, whom a therapist said had a history of homicidal and sociopathic behavior. Prosecutors had planned to indict Ivins and seek the death penalty but, knowing investigators were closing in, he killed himself with an overdose of acetaminophen, the key ingredient in Tylenol.
With its top suspect now dead, the Justice Department is considering closing the "Amerithrax" investigations. It has been among the FBI's most publicized unsolved cases and, if it is closed, authorities are expected to unseal court documents that outline much of their case against Ivins.
August 21st, 2008
Ivinsí attorney: Donít blame the FBI
Posted: 05:19 PM ET
From CNNís Kevin Bohn
WASHINGTON (CNN) ó In an unusual move, an attorney for anthrax suspect Bruce Ivins, who committed suicide last month, is speaking up for the government, saying it should not be blamed for his death.
ďSome press accounts have contained statements faulting the FBI for Dr. Bruce Ivinsí suicide. We disavow such speculation,Ē attorney Paul Kemp said in a statement Thursday obtained by CNN. He said the statement was issued in reaction to reports on websites and blogs talking about the death. Some of Ivinsí friends have said the FBI harassed him and his family and that could have led to his taking of his own life.
While the defense attorneys have said they believe Ivins is innocent and say the governmentís evidence has many holes, Kemp said, ďBoth (Ivins) and counsel were treated fairly and professionallyĒ by the prosecutors and FBI agents overseeing the case.
'I finally know who mailed the anthrax letters'
From Kevin Bohn and Jeanne Meserve
updated 11:26 p.m. EDT, Wed September 24, 2008
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The man who authorities allege carried out the 2001 anthrax mailings that killed five people sent himself an e-mail saying he knew the attacker's identity, according to court documents released Wednesday.
Bruce Ivins, who authorities say killed himself in July as the Justice Department prepared to charge him in the anthrax case, is alleged to have sent the e-mail to himself last September.
An FBI agent quotes the message in an affidavit accompanying applications for search warrants for Ivins' e-mail accounts.
"Yes! Yes! Yes!!!!!!! I finally know who mailed the anthrax letters in the fall of 2001. I've pieced it together! Now we can finally get this over and done with," the e-mail reads.
In it, the former biodefense researcher says he plans on turning information over to his lawyer and that his lawyer would then give it to authorities. The e-mail does not say who Ivins believed was responsible.
"I'm not looking forward to everybody getting dragged through the mud, but at least it will be over," the e-mail reads. "Finally! I should have it TOTALLY nailed down within the month. I should have been a private eye!!!!"
The documents -- which the Justice Department says are the last Ivins-related search warrants that had yet to be released to the public -- also contain new details about allegations that Ivins wanted to kill his co-workers.
The details are in an account of a July 9 group therapy session during which Ivins allegedly said he was a suspect in the anthrax investigation.
According to an FBI agent's account, Ivins was "angry at the investigators, the government, and the system in general."
"He said he was not going to face the death penalty, but instead had a plan to kill co-workers and other individuals who wronged him," the account reads. "He said he had a bullet-proof vest, and a list of co-workers, and added he was going to obtain a Glock firearm from his son within the next day, because federal agents are watching him and he could not obtain a weapon on his own."
The FBI agent also alleges that Ivins said during the session that he had walked around the "ghetto" areas of Frederick, Maryland, near his home, late at night "hoping that someone would try to hurt him so that he could stab them with a sharp pen."
That description is similar to something Ivins allegedly wrote on YouTube referencing a winner of the television game show "The Mole." Authorities said Ivins' YouTube message read: "The least someone could do would be to take a sharp ballpoint pin or letter opener and put her eyes out, to complete the task of making her a true mole!"
General details of the therapy session have previously been reported. After the meeting, social worker Jean Duley contacted authorities and Ivins was taken into custody. He was released after being evaluated at two hospitals.
Notes allegedly written by Ivins at the time of his hospitalization were found in the trash at his home after his death. According to the FBI, he wrote about the stresses in his life and the possibility of facing prison time.
Ivins' attorney, Paul Kemp, maintains Ivins didn't carry out the attacks and says the new documents prove nothing.
"There is simply nothing new here, nothing that is proof against Dr. Ivins," Kemp said Wednesday.
The anthrax probe continues, Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said.
"We are working to close the investigation soon," Boyd said, adding that "investigative efforts" and "administrative measures" need to be finished.
The anthrax attacks occurred less than a month after the September 11, 2001, suicide attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. Letters filled with bacterial spores were sent to Senate Democratic leaders and news organizations.
Those who died were Washington postal workers, a New York hospital worker, a supermarket tabloid photo editor in Florida and a 94-year-old woman in Connecticut.
Scientists from inside and outside the FBI said they traced a strain of anthrax from the envelopes and victims to a batch of anthrax in Ivins' lab at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute in Fort Detrick, Maryland.
WMD terrorism fears are overblown
By Peter Bergen
Editor's note: Peter Bergen is CNN's national security analyst. His most recent book is "The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of al Qaeda's Leader."
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The congressionally authorized Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism issued a report this week that concluded: "It is more likely than not that a weapon of mass destruction will be used in a terrorist attack somewhere in the world by the end of 2013."
The findings of this report received considerable ink in The New York Times and The Washington Post and plenty of airtime on networks around the world, including on CNN. And the day the report was released Vice President-elect Joseph Biden was briefed on its contents.
So is the sky falling?
Not really. Terrorists have already used weapons of mass destruction in the past decade in attacks around the world, and they have proven to be something of a dud.
In the fall of 2001, the anthrax attacks in the United States that targeted politicians and journalists caused considerable panic but did not lead to many deaths. Five people were killed.
The alleged author of that attack, Bruce E. Ivins, was one of the leading biological weapons researchers in the United States. Even this brilliant scientist could only "weaponize" anthrax to the point that it killed a handful of people. Imagine then how difficult it would be for the average terrorist, or even the above-average terrorist, to replicate such efforts.
Similarly, the bizarre Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo, which recruited leading scientists and had hundreds of millions of dollars in the bank, embarked on a large-scale WMD program in the early 1990s in which cult members experimented with anthrax and invested in land in Australia to mine uranium.
In the end, Aum found biological and nuclear attacks too complex to organize and settled instead on a chemical weapons operation, setting off sarin gas in the Tokyo subway in 1995 that killed 12 commuters. It is hard to imagine a place better suited to killing a lot of people than the jam-packed Tokyo subway, yet the death toll turned out to be small in Aum's chemical weapons assault.
More recently, in 2006 and 2007 al Qaeda's Iraqi affiliate laced several of its bombs with chlorine. Those attacks sickened hundreds of Iraqis, but victims who died in the assaults did so more from the blast of the bombs than because of inhaling chlorine. Al Qaeda stopped using chlorine in its bombs in Iraq more than a year ago.
There is a semantic problem in any discussion of WMDs because the ominous term ''Weapons of Mass Destruction'' is something of a misnomer. In the popular imagination, chemical, biological and nuclear devices are all weapons of mass destruction. In fact, there is only one weapon of mass destruction that can kill tens or hundreds of thousands and that is a nuclear device.
So the real question is: Can terrorists deploy nuclear weapons any time in the next five years or even further in the future? To do so, terrorists would have one of four options: to buy, steal, develop or be given a nuclear weapon.
But none of those scenarios are remotely realistic outside the world of Hollywood.
To understand how complex it is to develop a nuclear weapon, it is worth recalling that Saddam Hussein put tens of millions of dollars into his nuclear program with no success.
Iran, which has had a nuclear program for almost two decades, is still years away from developing a nuclear bomb. Terrorist groups simply don't have the massive resources of states, and so the notion that they could develop their own, even crude, nuclear weapons is fanciful.
Well, what about terrorists being given nukes? Preventing this was one of the underlying rationales of the push to topple Hussein in 2003. This does not pass the laugh test. Brian Michael Jenkins, one of the leading U.S. terrorism experts in a book published this year, "Will Terrorists Go Nuclear?," points out that there are two reasons this is quite unlikely.
First, governments are not about to hand over their crown jewels to organizations that are "not entirely under state control and whose reliability is not certain." Second, "giving them a nuclear weapon almost certainly exposes the state sponsor to retaliation."
For the same reason that states won't give nukes to terrorists, they also won't sell them either, which leaves the option of stealing a nuclear weapon. But that is similarly unlikely because nuclear-armed governments, including Pakistan, are pretty careful about the security measures they place around their most valued weapons.
None of this of course is to suggest that al Qaeda is not interested in deploying nuclear devices. Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders have repeatedly bloviated about the necessity of nuking the West and have even implied that they have the capability to do so.
This is nonsense.
Yes, in the mid-1990s when Al Qaeda was based in Sudan, members of the group tried to buy highly enriched uranium suitable for a nuke, but the deal did not go through. And it is certainly the case that a year or so before 9/11, bin Laden was meeting with veterans of Pakistan's nuclear program to discuss how al Qaeda might get into the nuclear weapons business.
But all of this was aspirational, not operational. There is not a shred of evidence that any of this got beyond the talking stage.
In 2002, former U.N. weapons inspector David Albright undertook a careful study of al Qaeda's nuclear research program and concluded it was virtually impossible for al Qaeda to have acquired any type of nuclear weapon.
However, there is plenty of evidence that the group has experimented with crude chemical and biological weapons, and also attempted to acquire radioactive materials suitable for a "dirty" bomb, a device that marries conventional explosives to radioactive materials.
But even if al Qaeda successfully deployed a crude chemical, biological or radiological weapon these would not be weapons of mass destruction that killed thousands. Instead, these would be weapons of mass disruption, whose principal effect would be panic -- not mass casualties.
So if not WMDs, what will terrorists use in their attacks over the next five years?
Small-bore chemical, biological and radiological attacks are all quite probable, but those attacks would kill scores, not thousands.
What we are likely to see again and again are the tried and tested tactics that terrorists have used for decades:
# The first vehicle bomb blew up on Wall Street in 1920 detonated by an Italian-American anarchist. Since then, the car/truck bomb has been reliably deployed by terrorists thousands of times.
# Assassinations, such as the one that killed Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914, sparking one of the bloodiest wars in history.
# Hijackings, such as those that inaugurated the worst terrorist attack in history on 9/11.
# Guys armed with AK-47s intent on murder and mayhem as we saw in Mumbai, India, brought one of the world's largest countries to a standstill and generated continuous news coverage around the globe for 60 hours.
Why go the deeply uncertain, and enormously complex and expensive WMD route when other methods have proved so successful in getting attention for terrorists in the past?
The Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism makes all sorts of sensible recommendations. Among them is creating a WMD adviser in the White House who would coordinate all the issues of WMD proliferation and terrorism, something the Obama administration would do well to implement. Right now, responsibility for this important job is diffused over numerous agencies, from the Department of Energy to the Pentagon.
But the report's overall conclusion that WMD terrorism is likely to happen "somewhere in the world" in the next five years is simultaneously stating the obvious -- because terrorists already have engaged in crude chemical and biological weapons attacks -- but also highly unlikely because deploying true WMDs remains beyond the capabilities of terrorist groups today and for the foreseeable future.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Peter Bergen.
me sleep,' anthrax suspect wrote before suicide
By Ashley Broughton
(CNN) -- Dr. Bruce Ivins, the former government scientist blamed for a string of deadly 2001 anthrax attacks, behaved oddly and was "sarcastic and nasty" to his wife in the final weeks of his life, police documents said.
Ivins, 62, committed suicide last summer as federal agents were closing in on him, police said.
When Ivins died of an overdose on July 29, federal prosecutors were preparing to present the results of their probe of the anthrax attacks to a grand jury.
The anthrax letters killed five people and sickened more than a dozen just after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The letters, filled with bacterial spores, were sent to Senate Democratic leaders and news organizations. Those who died were two Washington postal workers, a New York hospital worker, a supermarket tabloid photo editor in Florida, and a 94-year-old woman in Connecticut.
Ivins spent more than 30 years as a civilian microbiologist at the Army's biological research laboratory at Fort Detrick, Maryland, where he was trying to develop a better vaccine against anthrax.
He died after overdosing on Tylenol, according to documents released Monday by police in Frederick, Maryland, and posted on the Web site of the Frederick News-Post newspaper.
The drug destroyed his liver, but Ivins' wife declined to put him on the list for a transplant, saying she did not believe her husband would want one, the records said.
Ivins regained consciousness after being taken to the hospital, according to the investigative reports. "When asked, 'Did you intentionally try to commit suicide?' patient nodded yes," said medical records cited in the reports. In addition, the reports said Ivins grew so agitated when his blood pressure improved that nurses had to administer an anesthetic.
It was not known how the Tylenol entered Ivins' body, the report said, although investigators determined he bought Tylenol PM on two occasions at a local supermarket, both on July 24 -- three days before he was found unresponsive at his home. He also refilled prescriptions for psychiatric medicines that day, but none of those pills was missing, authorities said.
A letter from Ivins' wife, Diane, to him was found on his bedside table after he was taken to the hospital July 27, according to the documents. In it, she tells her husband she is "hurt, confused and angry about your actions over the last few weeks. You tell me you love me but you have been rude and sarcastic and nasty many times when you talk to me. You tell me you aren't going to get any more guns then you fill out an online application for a gun license."
She also notes Ivins has been "going into work at odd hours, and walking in the neighborhood late at night," and says she is concerned he is not following medical advice to reduce stress.
On the back of that note, investigators said, Ivins wrote, "I have a terrible headache. I'm going to take some Tylenol and sleep in tomorrow. - Bruce." A portion is scribbled out, and then Ivins wrote, "Please let me sleep. Please."
Diane Ivins told police in an interview that she had also written that she knew her husband had nothing to do with the anthrax attacks and had never doubted his innocence, according to the Frederick News-Post.
Bruce Ivins' attorney, Paul Kemp, and some of Ivins' coworkers have also maintained his innocence, saying that the stress of the investigation -- and not guilt -- drove Ivins to take his own life.
At the hospital, FBI agents told police they knew that Ivins, his wife and "many members of the general public" were aware that he was under investigation and surveillance in connection with the anthrax incidents. The FBI agents did not enter the hospital, but asked that Ivins' condition be reported to them, the documents said.
The investigative reports also detail an earlier incident in March 2007 when Ivins overdosed on alcohol and Valium, citing a report from the medical examiner's office. While authorities call it a previous suicide attempt, the reports note Diane Ivins maintained her husband was not attempting to kill himself, saying he "had new medication and that she believed he took the wrong one by mistake." Ivins was taken to a hospital emergency room, but was not admitted, according to the documents.
At the time Ivins died, he was under a temporary restraining order sought by a social worker who had counseled him in private and group sessions. He also was hospitalized in the weeks leading up for his death for psychiatric examination after he threatened to kill co-workers, investigators "and other individuals who had wronged him," according to documents released in the case.
Federal prosecutors named Ivins the culprit in the anthrax attacks after his death.
Court records released by authorities showed that Ivins was "the custodian of a large flask of highly purified anthrax spores that possess certain genetic mutations identical to the anthrax used in the attacks." The government had taken steps in the weeks leading up to Ivins' death to restrict his access to his lab.
But critics point to the fact that then-Attorney General John Ashcroft publicly declared another Fort Detrick scientist, Steven Hatfill, a "person of interest" in the anthrax attacks. Hatfill was never charged, but sued over the matter, settling with the government for $5.8 million. His case has fueled skepticism about the allegations against Ivins.
Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court threw out Hatfill's libel lawsuit against The New York Times over reports linking him to the anthrax probe. A federal appeals court had concluded Hatfill was a "public figure" and failed to prove the reports were "malicious."
The Frederick Police Department closed the case involving Ivins in November, according to the documents.