- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 15, 2002

FBI agents canvassed downtown Princeton, N.J., this week with photographs of an unidentified individual who shop owners said looks like Steven J. Hatfill, a biological-weapons expert under scrutiny in the anthrax attacks.
The trip was prompted by the discovery last week of anthrax spores in a blue curbside postal mailbox on Nassau Street, the main thoroughfare in Princeton, according to Bill Evanina, an FBI agent in Newark, N.J.
Mr. Evanina said the FBI's presence in Princeton was routine. He refused to confirm or deny whether photographs were being shown around. "We do not have any suspects in this case so far," he said.
But Ross N.A. Woolley, an architect with Woolley & Morris in Princeton, told the Associated Press that investigators showed him a picture of Mr. Hatfill wearing a mustache, much like the photo shown widely in newspapers. "I immediately recognized it," Mr. Woolley said.
The anthrax-positive mailbox was the first to have a positive test result out of about 500 mailboxes tested in New Jersey since last fall's anthrax attacks.
After the attacks, the U.S. Postal Service had identified 600 mailboxes in the state that feed a regional mail-processing center in Hamilton, which sorted the anthrax-filled letters sent to media outlets in New York and to two senators in Washington.
On Aug. 8, the mailbox was moved from Princeton to an undisclosed location for additional testing. Investigators hope this will lead to additional clues, including "the origin of the letter or letters and the suspects," Mr. Evanina said.
Law enforcement sources have said the FBI has a list of about 30 "persons of interest" in the anthrax investigation, although Mr. Hatfill is the only one whose name has been made public.
Mr. Hatfill worked at Fort Detrick, the Pentagon's top biological-defense research center in Frederick, Md., until 1998. FBI agents and inspectors with the Postal Service searched his Frederick apartment twice during the last six months, once in February and a second time on Aug. 1 while television news cameras watched from nearby.
On Sunday, Mr. Hatfill publicly proclaimed his innocence, saying he never worked with anthrax and had nothing to do with last fall's mailings, which killed five persons and sickened at least a dozen others. He also chastised the FBI, saying the bureau has ruined his life by leaking information about him to reporters without naming him a suspect.
Legal analysts have compared the FBI's handling of Mr. Hatfill to that of Richard Jewell, the former security guard who in 1996 spent months enduring the media spotlight before authorities cleared his name from an investigation into a bombing at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
"I think [FBI agents] are trying to build the case by putting some public pressure on their person of interest," said Douglas W. Kmiec, a former senior Justice Department official, now serving as dean of Catholic University's Columbus School of Law. "They've done this in the past.
"There are various ways that police conduct investigations, including the FBI. The typical one is when confidentiality is maintained because disclosure would undermine the investigation," Mr. Kmiec said. "But it works the other way, too."
New evidence disclosed through the media, he said, can create "a form of public indictment and it's in that that lies the unfairness, because people don't read newspapers carefully enough sometimes to distinguish between who's a suspect and who's not."

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