- The Washington Times - Monday, August 26, 2002

Biowarfare specialist Steven J. Hatfill, who has said repeatedly he had nothing to do with last fall's anthrax attacks, was critical yesterday of Attorney General John Ashcroft and the FBI for labeling him a "person of interest" in the federal investigation and for telling Mr. Hatfill's girlfriend he was a killer.
Mr. Hatfill, who spoke to reporters outside his lawyer's office in Old Town Alexandria yesterday afternoon, said special agents continue to mistreat and follow him, and that two had berated his girlfriend while raiding her home.
"She was screamed at by FBI agents and told that the FBI had firm evidence that I had killed five innocent people," Mr. Hatfill said.
He accused the government of trying to salvage a bungled investigation and destroying his reputation in the process.
"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," Mr. Hatfill said.
He tearfully described the FBI search and raid on his girlfriend's home and special agents' treatment of her during the search. He said FBI agents ransacked her home and destroyed valuables.
Victor M. Glasberg, Mr. Hatfill's attorney, said yesterday he filed formal ethical complaints with the Offices of Professional Responsibility, the Department of Justice and the FBI.
"I will be interested to learn how well the Justice Department will police itself," Mr. Hatfill said.
Chris Murray, a spokesman for the FBI's Washington field office, which is leading the anthrax investigation, declined to comment to Mr. Hatfill's latest complaint. When reminded that the FBI furnished a prepared statement in response to Mr. Hatfill's Aug. 11 press conference, he simply said, "Not this time."
A Justice Department official did not return repeated phone calls.
Five persons have died as a result of contact with anthrax-tainted postage since last fall, when letters were mailed to media organizations in Florida and New York.
Mr. Hatfill once worked as a researcher at Fort Detrick, Md., where he has allowed the FBI to search his apartment within the past several months.
The FBI returned Aug. 1 with a criminal warrant to search the apartment again.
On Aug. 11, Mr. Hatfill defied the advice of his lawyers and advisers by delivering a 10-minute public statement in which he declared his innocence and railed against the FBI for using innuendo to suggest his involvement in the anthrax mailings.
Yesterday's statement was longer, and he used stronger language.
"I want to look my fellow Americans directly in the eye and declare to them: I am not the anthrax killer," Mr. Hatfill said. "I know nothing about the anthrax attacks. I had absolutely nothing to do with this horrible crime."
Like the Aug. 11 press conference, Mr. Hatfill did not answer questions from the media, referring reporters to his attorney.
Mr. Hatfill yesterday delivered an impassioned "I love you" to his girlfriend. He said she had been locked inside an FBI vehicle and interrogated for hours during the investigation.
He said special agents had also raided her home before Aug. 11, seized her computer and car, destroyed valuable pottery and shattered the frame of a $3,000 painting.
He expressed confusion at how the government has conducted itself after two female FBI agents treated his girlfriend so poorly.
"Can you imagine that? The FBI trumpets that I am not a suspect, and the woman I love is told the FBI has conclusive evidence that I am a murderer," Mr. Hatfill said. "This is the life of a 'person of interest,' Mr. Ashcroft."
He and Mr. Glasberg said he will voluntarily submit to a blood test within a week that will reveal if he has been exposed to or inoculated against anthrax.
He said the blood test was his idea, and that the agency's failure to ask for one indicates the government's unfamiliarity with conducting such a scientific investigation. He said he wants the results widely publicized, and that they would exonerate him.
"The one certain progress that the FBI has made in the case is its inability to find any evidence connecting me with the anthrax letter attacks," he said. "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."
He praised Louisiana State University, from which he is on paid suspension from his job as director of a federally funded biological weaponry program.

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