- The Washington Times - Monday, May 19, 2003

A former Fort Detrick researcher, identified as “a person of interest” in the investigation of the deadly anthrax attacks, was slightly injured in a traffic incident that his spokesman said involved a federal agent who was following him.

Steven J. Hatfill suffered a bruised foot and abrasions after the incident Saturday but wound up getting a ticket for “walking to create hazard” that carries a $5 fine, according to a copy of the citation provided Monday by D.C. police.

Pat Clawson, Mr. Hatfill’s friend and spokesman, blamed the incident on “harassment” by FBI agents and other federal officers who are watching Mr. Hatfill around the clock and openly tail him when he leaves his D.C. home.

FBI officials confirmed Monday that the incident occurred but declined to comment.

Mr. Hatfill, a physician and bioterrorism expert, has been described as “a person of interest” by Attorney General John Ashcroft in the October 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five persons and sickened 13 others. Mr. Hatfill has denied any involvement.

The FBI is considering draining a pond in Frederick, Md., where a plastic box and lab equipment were found that some investigators believe might have been used to pack the anthrax into envelopes.

Mr. Hatfill formerly worked as a researcher at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at nearby Fort Detrick and lived at an apartment complex in Frederick several miles from the pond.

According to Mr. Clawson, Mr. Hatfill and his girlfriend were driving to Georgetown on Saturday while being followed by several vehicles. A green sports utility vehicle was following especially closely, Mr. Clawson said.

Shortly before 4:30 p.m., Mr. Hatfill’s car pulled into a parking spot on the street and Mr. Hatfill got out with a camera to take photos of those in the cars following him. Mr. Hatfill told officers the driver of the green SUV “had been recording his movements all day when he decided to take a picture back,” according to the police report.

The driver of the green SUV then drove off, striking Mr. Hatfill, the reports said.

D.C. police issued the ticket to Mr. Hatfill for walking in the street while attempting to take the photo. Mr. Hatfill did not seek hospital treatment and refused attention from paramedics at the scene.

Mr. Clawson said Mr. Hatfill is growing increasingly upset at the close scrutiny.

“Steve Hatfill has cooperated 100 percent with the FBI from day one,” Mr. Clawson said.

“If they have evidence that Steve Hatfill has broken the law, they should charge him, or they should clear him.”

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