Note: I think this is very close to a totally accurate transcription, but there might be some very minor errors. Unfortunately, the 26 minute question-and-answer session with Victor Glasberg began with a very lengthy and detailed description of a minor squabble with the FBI over what caused the issuing of the criminal search warrant for Hatfill's apartment on August 1. The details apparently interested him (and maybe his client) but almost no one else.
After Dr. Hatfill finished reading his prepared statement, his lawyer Victor Glasberg stepped forward and ...
GLASBERG: Good afternoon, my name is Vic Glasberg. Iím Steven Hatfillís lawyer. A couple weeks ago - about three weeks ago - Steve Hatfill came to see me. He was having problems with the press and with things that were being said about him. Iím not a criminal lawyer. Iím a civil litigator. And the issues that he wanted assistance on were not with regard to criminal law.
The program that I suggested to Steve was one which involved his stepping forward voluntarily to make full disclosure of anything and everything that had been put into issue whether by officials of the government, media people. or even in some case lunatics on the Internet. The notion was that stepping forward and handing out the truth, stating what the facts were, and letting it all hang out, would be the best way to counter the misinformation, the half-information, and in some cases correct information but presented in a terrible context, that was in the process of making his life a wasteland.
Before we embarked upon this protocol, I alerted Steve to the fact that the recommendation that I was making to him that was one that would probably cause any criminal lawyer to have a fit. I told him that he would have to be - not merely crazy but stupid - to do what I was suggesting if there was the slightest possibility that he was facing any kind of liability in relation to the anthrax matters. He said, "I want to do it."
Over the course of the next few weeks, Steve drafted a lengthy statement. It went back to when he finished medical school and went up to essentially the present. I made arrangements to begin a process of educating the media through a controlled interview in the first instance, following which the statement was going to be released generally to the press and a copy sent to the Director of the FBI.
This is the process that was underway, and it reflected Steve Hatfillís position on this investigation since he was first requested to cooperate by the government. A day or two before the raid Ė of the service of the warrant on Steveís house last week Ė I received a call from Steve advising me that heíd been called by Agent Bob Roth, one of the lead investigators on the case. It turned out that Agent Roth wanted to see him again to debrief him, to get more information - whatever. Since by that time I was involved in the case, and because of the forthcoming civil implications of some of the things that had been said, I had asked to be kept in the loop, Steve told Agent Roth, "Thatís fine. Please call my lawyer and set it up."
He let me know that. I waited for Rothís call. Didnít get it. Within an hour or two, I called Roth. He wasnít in, so I left a message on his voice mail. This was I think Tuesday or Wednesday before the execution of the warrant - which was on the 1st. I confirmed that Steve Hatfill remained in a mode of complete cooperation, that he was happy to respond to any questions. I confirmed that he was looking forward to leaving to his new job at LSU the following Thursday and suggested that we get together on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. I left my name and number and asked to be called. I didnít get called - until I got called by Steve Hatfill who was informing me that the FBI had just served a criminal warrant for searching his home. I was astounded. I asked to speak to Roth. He wasnít there, but Steve was able to give me his phone number and I called him. This time I reached him. I asked him if he recalled having gotten my voice mail, and he said he did. I asked him if he recalled my having suggested that we get together on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday for whatever he wanted - for whatever debriefing he wanted. And he said he did. I asked him if he did not gather from what I said that Steve Hatfill remained in a mode of total cooperation. "Oh, no, no I didnít understand that." "Okay, well, Agent Roth do you still have that tape?" "Yeah, I have that tape." "Agent would you please hold onto that tape for me?" "Oh, no, I donít know that Iím going to confirm that Iím going to do that. No. Iím not going to say that Iíll necessarily do that." "Agent Roth, what can do or say or ask of you to preserve that tape - to get you to preserve that tape." "Well, weíre not going to talk about that and Iím not making any commitments."
I couldnít get anything out of that, so I got the name of the U.S. Attorney who is handling the case - Ken Cole at the U.S. Attorneyís Office in the District, and I immediately faxed him a letter in which I told him what I told you here. I asked him to get the tape, to listen to the tape, and to make an independent determination of the appropriateness of Agent Rothís assessment of my message.
I will tell you I met with Agent Roth Ö ah no, excuse me, I mean U.S. Attorney Cole the following week, and he had never listened to the tape. I donít think he had obtained the tape. I donít know where the tape is, but there are a lot of investigative reporters here and I hope you all go after that tape. And if you get it, please leak it to me, because there has been a lot of leaking.
The day before the service of the criminal warrant on Steveís house, Steveís father was called, by a reporter, advising him that something big was going to happen the next day.
Both of the media searches Ö (laughs) excuse me Ö both of the FBI searches were major media events. Now I suppose you all have your ways of finding out what the FBI is doing, although frankly as a citizen and as a father of kids, I hope our FBI has some capacity to conduct an investigation in private without media people being immediately on the scene. That didnít happen in this case.
I will also tell you that today I was advised by ABC news that they have obtained a copy of the manuscript of the novel that Steve was working on. He was working on a novel dealing with bioterroism kinds of things Ė his professional concerns. Well, they wonít tell me where they got it, and I understand that you all canít leak your sources, but so far as weíre aware, there is only one place that it could have been obtained: it was on his hard drive that was on his computer that the FBI seized pursuant to the warrant that was obtained with a subpoena Ö with an affidavit filed under seal, so that material seized in what is surely the most important criminal investigation internally in this country in a long while is now being leaked, and Iíll be dealing with the Office of Professional Responsibility at the Department of Justice with regard to that.
Steve Hatfill acknowledges the right of the government to be interested in him. He is not, if you will, offended. He has knowledge regarding certain things that most people donít. Mind you, Iím not sure that too many people who are doing the investigation know the difference between a virus and a bacterium, but letís leave that aside. Steve understands that he is a biological warfare guru and that the officials have a right to be interested in him.
In terms of actual real evidence developed, - substantive stuff - there has been a startling lack. What there has been is a continuing drumbeat of things that were part of his life, ten, twenty, twenty-five years ago. We donít live perfect lives. Iíll tell you this: I wouldnít want people asking me what I was doing twenty five years ago. Some of it was illegal. And I expect anybody my age or older - or maybe even younger - can say the same thing. And maybe not only twenty years ago.
What has happened here is that the press - like the investigation - has gone off - not so much on whether there is any evidence whatsoever that this man - who has spent his professional life trying to protect us from what has happened - has anything to do with the anthrax mailings, but it has been most convenient to broadcast all manner of things about his private life which have no bearing on that subject, and are available because of the power of information retrieval in the twenty-first century.
Um Ö Thatís pretty much what I have to say. I will take some questions, but let me give you some guidelines - and let me beg you, it is too hot to waste time. Iím not going to talk about Steveís history. Donít bother asking. Please donít bother asking. I am prepared to speak of what I know about - which is my initiatives and the investigation to the extent that I have direct knowledge of it. One of the things thatís plagued this investigation is the game of "telephone" in which everybody repeats what he heard from somebody else and by the times it comes around it doesnít bear a very good relationship to what was said at the outset. I want to avoid that. And Iím not going to speak on things that I am not 100 percent confident about. You all can report that the lawyer didnít want to speak about that. Okay. Yep.
REPORTER: Sir, do you have any reason to believe that a team of scientists in the biodefense community might be trying to frame Mr. Hatfill? And is Mrs. Rosenberg involved in that?
GLASBERG: I canít imagine why anyone would want to do that. Iíve discussed these matters with Steve. Steve has always held his colleagues in the highest regard. Steve does not believe that anybody he worked with at Ft. Detrick is implicated in this. It is a total puzzlement to him as to why these things are being vented the way they are. With regard to Dr. Rosenberg, I beg you: Speak to her. Ask her, why is she writing what sheís writing and why is she saying what sheís saying/ You have no better answer for you than that.
REPORTER: Sir, is your statement essentially accusing Dr. Rosenberg of fingering him? Is that what you mean? You seem to imply that, but is that what you are saying?
GLASBERG: The fair answer to that is I am telling back to you the media what the media has told us. It has been reported in the press, and in fact in the original statement that we had prepared --- oh, I didnít mention of course that since last Thursday, that plan has been put on ice, right? The guy is under a criminal microscope, so he has now got criminal counsel. And you know what criminal lawyers do: They tell their clients, "Shut up." I have encouraged him to come forward to a certain extent, and that is why you heard what you did. The original statement quoted from the newspaper article which attributed to Dr. Rosenberg the identification - or the discussion, if you will - of Dr. Hatfill. And the only thing we know is that it happened, it hasnít been denied to my knowledge, that the discussion took place and that several days thereafter the search of the apartment took place. Whereas he had been debriefed months before.
REPORTER: What do you want the government to do?
GLASBERG: A couple things. I think it is appropriate for the government to have a proper, discrete, professional, ethical and appropriate investigation into the anthrax matter. I think they should be concerned to do that. I think that they should not unload smoke screen stuff that sells good because they donít have substance. I think that "no comment" is better than innuendo. And I think they shouldnít scapegoat. I think they shouldnít leak - including, as I say, the information that I have that ABC just received the novel Ė I donít know if it was just received it, I just received the information Ė and I object to that leaking.
REPORTER: Are you going to advise your client to do another series of polygraph tests with the Justice Department now?
REPORTER: Why not?
GLASBERG: Heís been told that he passed the polygraph exam, and Iíve got to tell you, for someone who doesnít do criminal law, I donít have too much experience with polygraphs, I think I join the Congressmen and the Senators who are of the view that polygraphs are not good indicators of reality - particularly where you have a totally loaded emotional situation. This man has been called a "Nazi swine". His daughter, who is a police officer, has had her home address posted on the Internet. His life has been laid bare for the past quarter century. When you say the word "anthrax", his heart jumps in this throat. So, I could not recommend that to him.
REPORTER: [unintelligible] regarding the point that he worked with viruses. Did he have access to or did he have the opportunity to have access to anthrax?
GLASBERG: The short answer is: It all depends upon what you mean by having access. Itís my understanding - and you can check this with Ft. Detrick - is that the labs and the containment Ö decontamination locations are separate and that he did not work in the bacteriological area. Thatís the answer that I can give you.
REPORTER: [unintelligible] legal action?
GLASBERG: The only legal action Iím going to take - if you can call it legal action - is filing a formal complaint regarding leaks from what should be documents held confidentially by the government.
REPORTER: [unintelligible] Dr. Rosenberg [unintelligible] what was said in the media?
REPORTER: You know nothing except what youíve read?
GLASBERG: I know nothing except what Iíve read in the papers. Iíve also read a number of pieces published by Dr. Rosenberg on the Web, which are entirely consistent with what Iíve read in the media.
REPORTER: Could you tell us the premise of Dr. Hatfillís novel, please?
GLASBERG: I havenít read the novel, and Iím afraid I canít. It has something to do with bioterrorism. There is no doubt it has to do with bioterrorism. I canít tell you more than that. Iím sorry.
REPORTER: What does Dr. Hatfill do now?
GLASBERG: Dr. Hatfill right now is an employee of Louisiana State University, and Ö
REPORTER: I mean projecting into the future. What is he going to be doing the month heís on paid administrative leave Ö?
GLASBERG: Heís on paid administrative leave. Itís his hope - and it is certainly mine - that they are going to permit him assume his post and will view this situation for what it is. And there are no plans other than that. Heís moving to Louisiana in the anticipation of beginning his employment.
REPORTER: When is he moving to Louisiana.
REPORTER: Sir, I want to ask you, Dr. Hatfill, in his past, was there any connection between him and the elementary school that is listed as the return address? Or is that just a rumor that got blown up in the press? Did he go there Ö or Ö?
GLASBERG: Okay. Sure. The sum total of the knowledge I have about this is the following: Dr. Hatfill lived in or near Harare, Zimbabwe, for a number of years. There is a subdivision in Harare called "Greendale". He did not live there. We have attempted to determine whether there is a school there called "The Greendale School". I attempted to determine it by communicating with a friend of mine who lived in Harare, who did communicate with a friend of his who lives in Harare, and the information we have is that there is no such "Greendale School". So, that is the total connection that we know. The name Greendale School was used and he lived in a city where there was a section called "Greendale". I think there are several hundred - or thousands - Greendales in the United States.
REPORTER: Is it possible that the FBIís aggression in searching his place, they might be looking for evidence from the people who are trying to frame him? Is that anything you guys have considered at all?
GLASBERG: The short answer is "No", and please check with them about this theory of saving his reputation. I mean, thatís like destroying the village in order to save it.
REPORTER: Could you tell what you know about the circumstances surrounding his losing his security clearance?
REPORTER: These events from ten, twenty, fifteen years ago, do they have any relevance if the FBI is attempting to determine whether the gentleman meets what they regard fitting the profile?
GLASBERG: I guess it would depend upon the profile. If he profile involved things that were at issue ten or twenty years ago, then maybe it would. My understanding of the profile is that the profile depicts the person at the time of the crime, that heís of a certain cast of mind, or social status or intellectual capacity. I canít answer that, and that may reflect my lack of expertise in profiling. Iím a civil lawyer, not a criminal lawyer.
REPORTER: Has he talked to LSU officials about what their intent is?
GLASBERG: I think the matter rests with LSU having advised him of his paid leave. LSU has not taken an aggressive position. It is, unfortunately, an understandable position. So, it isnít that antagonistic a relationship between the parties. I expect that after he goes down there, theyíll discuss, and hopefully things will work out.
REPORTER: You mentioned the full cooperation with the FBI, including a polygraph. What else did that entail? And did it include writing examples that could be compared with the letters that were found?
GLASBERG: I do not know if there were writing samples, although, to the best of my recollection, the letters were written - you know - in this kind of childish script. I cannot answer that question. I do not know. He took the polygraph. He was asked to be debriefed. He was debriefed. He answered every single question. He didnít withhold a question. He was asked if his house could be searched. It was searched without warrant. He was asked if his car could be searched. It was searched. Could his storage facility in Florida be searched? It was searched. So, and the ongoing posture that he has had toward the government has been one of - tell me what you want and Iíll give it to you. Then, as I said with the message on the voice mail of the FBI agent, he gets the raid. He canít Ö
REPORTER: Why do you think they are acting this way?NOTE: At this point, Paula Zahn and CNN cut away from the news conference to an interview with a former FBI official and a discussion about the accusation of leaks. It took me 45 seconds to switch to the Fox News Channel where I rejoined the news conference as Victor Glasberg was answering another question:
GLASBERG: Ö different points in my questioning. I ask all the nice questions first. I get all the information I possibly can through cooperation, and when all that is done I say, "Okay, sir, now how about this". Thatís the way you get more data. If you hit them at the start with the nasty questions, you get resistance and they clam up. I should imagine that a more appropriate way of conducting an investigation is getting what you can without antagonizing the person you are trying to get information from. And, by the way, I should also say that, had they shown up with a warrant, it could have been kept it in their pocket, just knock on the door and say, "Dr. Hatfill, weíre very sorry but we need to search your place again". I know exactly what would have happened. He would have called me up and said, Vic they want to search my place again. I would have said, let them in, go to the movies. That would have been completely consistent with every action he had ever taken. Why they have escalated the matter to their own detriment, so that a completely cooperative Ö um Ö ally is turned into Ö whatever you want to call it now - is something that you have to direct to the FBI.
REPORTER: Do you think that they are trying to show that they are making progress in the investigation?
REPORTER: Do you think there is any comparison between your situation and that of Wen Ho Lee and Richard Jewell?
GLASBERG: (laughs) Yes.
REPORTER: In what way?
GLASBERG: By way of escalated innuendo, accusation and mud-slinging in an entirely premature manner. Whether this man is guilty or innocent should be determined in an appropriate process and in an intelligent process which permits the question to be answered. You donít take some punitive suspect and drag him through the mud and hope youíve got the right guy. It doesnít end up being a good result - criminally - as Wen Ho Lee who was apologized to by a United States District Judge or Richard Jewell - as those cases show.
REPORTER: Could you respond to the reports of the bloodhoundsí positive reaction to Mr. Hatfill and his friends? Could you respond also to reports that he was seen discarding items from his apartment?
GLASBERG: Sure. With regard to the bloodhounds, the only thing I can say is that to the extent that weíve made inquiry - and I would ask every single investigative reporter to get on this - itís bogus. Itís untenable. It doesnít work that way. Youíre talking about scents that were ten months old. Iím not sure I understand exactly how they said it happened at all, since presumably a number of people would have handled the envelope in the course of its receipt, in the course of its handling by the FBI. What I know about bloodhounds is what I know from Ö "The Hound Of The Baskervilles". You put the shoe in the dogís face and say, "Okay, find this guy". I donít understand the technology. I donít understand the theory. According to our dog people itís totally bogus. But I would ask everybody here who is interested in that to pose the questions to the FBI. And Iíd be happy to read what you learn. Ö You asked secondly Ö
REPORTER: About discarding.
GLASBERG: About discarding. Yes. A matter of dramatic moment. The man is moving to Louisiana! He is moving to Louisiana. He was going to be leaving on the 8th. Thatís why I told Roth that we would have to have the interview to get what he needed on the 5th, 6th or 7th - Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. I donít know if youíve ever moved, maíam, but I know when I move Iíve probably had more than 23 bags full of junk that had to be picked up. And thatís what they picked up. And they have found nothing. Or, if they have, they havenít told us.
REPORTER: Did your client help the FBI in terms of profiling?
GLASBERG: Did he?
REPORTER: Yes. Basically, about what were they looking for? And did he offer any names that they might check out?
GLASBERG: Yes. Iím sure he didnít offer any names. And Iím not aware that he helped them in profiling. But Iíve not asked him that question, so you have to accept that as a qualifier.
REPORTER: Sir, does Dr. Hatfill have the skill and knowledge to have carried out the anthrax attack?
GLASBERG: I canít answer that question. Dr. Hatfill does not work with anthrax, has not worked with anthrax, has not cultured anthrax. According to Ö I cannot answer that question. I think the proper answer to that question is "probably not". But thatís going to be for him and scientists to discuss.
REPORTER: Where was Dr. Hatfill at the time when anthrax letters were mailed?
GLASBERG: I donít know, sir. I donít know when all the anthrax letters were mailed. And I have no idea of where he was. Okay, Pat, I think thatís it.
END of Q&A.
(c) Ed Lake
Transcribed Aug. 24, 2002