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News :: Human Rights
Anthrax Bloodhounds and Justice Delayed : US Justice Department Attempts To Quash Testamony of Bioweaponeer's Wife
02 Jul 2005
Modified: 10:07:19 AM
The US Justice Department filed a motion Friday to quash testimony by wife of bioweaponeer William Patrick III in the lawsuit: Steven J. Hatfill, M.D. v. Attorney General John Ashcroft, The Department of Justice; The Federal Bureau of Investigation (et al).
Anthrax Bloodhounds & Justice Delayed : US Justice Department Attempts To Quash Testimony of Bioweaponeer's Wife

July 2, 2005
Princeton, NJ-
The US Justice Department filed a motion Friday to quash testimony by wife of bioweaponeer William Patrick III in the lawsuit: Steven J. Hatfill, M.D. v. Attorney General John Ashcroft, The Department of Justice; The Federal Bureau of Investigation (et al).


Headed by former federal prosecutor Tom Connelly, pro bono attorney's for Dr. Steven J. Hatfill, the former “person of interest” in the anthrax letters case, have been quietly doing battle behind the scenes with attorney's for the US Justice Department, in the United States District Court for The District of Columbia.

BACKGROUND

Dr. Steven Hatfill's life was publically dismantled, rendering him Persona non grata when John Ashcroft, the former United States Attorney General, labeled Hatfill “a person of interest” in the still unsolved anthrax case.

Alleged leaks from the FBI to the news media created a macabre media blitz wherein the news hungry press was culpable, if not instrumental, in perpetuating the tortuous ordeal Dr. Hatfill, who has never been charged with a crime, was forced to endure. He became a pariah, lost his job, is unemployable and reportedly destitute.

The FBI shadowed Hatfill to the extent that a state of virtual house arrest existed. At one point, on one of the rare occasions Hatfill left his besieged apartment, one of Hatfill's keepers ran over his foot with an SUV. Ironically, it was Hatfill who received a citation and a fine over the incident.

The FBI leaks, first appearing in Newsweek and amplified by ABC's Brian Ross, appeared to be uniquely designed to draw public interest.

Newsweek's Mark Miller and Daniel Klaidman reported in "The Hunt for the Anthrax Killer", in remarkable detail, how, using bloodhounds that had been given "scent packs" from decontaminated anthrax letters to sniff, "went crazy" upon approaching Hatfill"s apartment:

"The dogs, purebred bloodhounds with noses a thousand times more sensitive than a human’s, were barking and howling and straining at their leashes. Early last week FBI agents on the trail of last year’s anthrax attacker turned to a 16th-century technology to help solve a 21st-century crime.

AGENTS PRESENTED the canines with scent packs lifted from anthrax-tainted letters mailed to Sens. Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy (long since decontaminated), hoping some faint, telltale trace of the perpetrator’s smell still remained months after the fact. The agents quietly brought the dogs to various locations frequented by a dozen people they considered possible suspects -- hoping the hounds would match the scent on the letters. In place after place, the dogs had no reaction. But when the handlers approached the Frederick, Md., apartment building of Dr. Steven J. Hatfill, an eccentric 48-year-old scientist who had worked in one of the Army’s top bioweapons-research laboratories, the dogs immediately became agitated,

NEWSWEEK has learned. "They went crazy," says one law-enforcement source. The agents also brought the bloodhounds to the Washington, D.C., apartment of Hatfill’s girlfriend and to a Denny’s restaurant in Louisiana, where Hatfill had eaten the day before. In both places, the dogs jumped and barked, indicating they’d picked up the scent. (Bloodhounds are the only dogs whose powers of smell are admissible in court.) " Newsweek reported.

No shrinking violet, Hatfill went public pleading his case: "I love my country, I had nothing to do with the anthrax letters and it is terribly wrong for anyone to contend or think otherwise."
In a statement at an Accuracy in Media conference, Hatfill noted "They brought this good-looking dog in. I mean, this was the best-fed dog I have seen in a long time. They brought him in and he walked around the room. By the way, I could have left at anytime but I volunteered while they were raiding my apartment the second time, I volunteered to talk with them. The dog came around and I petted him. And the dog walked out. So animals like me".

As for the overall investigation: "...I didn't know it could be like this in the United States. We've gone nuts. We eat our own here."

Former Federal Prosecutor vs. The US Attorney General

Eventually, Steven Hatfill, assisted by his friend and former investigative reporter, Pat Clawson, obtained the pro bono services of a former federal prosecutor, now practicing with a high powered Washington DC law firm.

To get to the bottom of what was leaked to whom,Tom Conolly threw out a wide net. In October 2004 the New York Times reported that Justice Department officials agreed to distribute to federal investigators a document they could sign to release journalists from pledges of confidentiality.
This was considered a compromise that would advance proceedings in the lawsuit without interfering with the criminal investigation of the anthrax case by requiring depositions from a large number of investigators.The releases were sought as a step toward questioning reporters about their sources in the case.

In addition to suing the F.B.I. and the Justice Department, Hatfill filed a separate defamation lawsuit against The New York Times, for columns about him by Nicholas D. Kristoff. Though the Kristoff lawsuit was dismissed, the news media appears to have taken a collective vow of silence in regards to Steven Hatfill, the antithesis of the barrage of shotgun reporting prior to the lawsuits.

Justice Department obtains delays

Naturally, lawyers for the Justice Department and the FBI have forced delays, citing interference with the alleged on-going anthrax investigation dubbed "Amerithrax". The news media has been virtually mute after legal motions were filed seeking that certain journalists be deposed.

52 questions

In an interesting twist, on June 30, 2005, Hatfill's team submitted its latest motion to US District Judge Reggie B. Walton, consisting of a series of 52 questions, seeking to depose Virginia Patrick, friend of Steven Hatfill and the wife William Patrick III, former chief of product development for the U.S. Army's bioweapons program at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Ft. Detrick, Maryland.

A significant portion of the questions relate to the staged bloodhound affair:

How did you respond to what the FBI agents told you about the "smoking gun" evidence from the dogs?
Did you express some skepticism about the use of the dogs?
How did the FBI agents react to your skepticism?
What did you suggest?
What did the FBI agents do after you suggested that you would like to see the dogs in action?
How quickly did the FBI agents respond?
How many dog handlers and dogs arrived?
How quickly did the dogs and their handlers arrive?
What did this response time lead you to believe?
Were the dog handlers FBI agents?
What did the dog handlers do?
What did the dogs do?
What was the purpose of the demonstration?
Was this the first time the dogs had visited your property?
Why were the dogs at your home and property earlier?
Who told you that the dogs already had visited your property?
Did the FBI tell you why it revealed the information to you?
What did the FBI ask you to do with information regarding Dr. Hatfill?
Did the FBI seek any information from you?
Do you have any idea why the FBI disclosed this information to you?
Did the FBI ask you to keep the information secret?
Did the FBI ask you to sign any sort of non-disclosure agreement? -
Did this experience change your relationship with Dr. Hatfill?
Submitted, By: Thomas G. Connelly, Mark A. Grannis and Patrick O'Donnell

Naturally, the Justice Department immediately filed a motion effectively to quash, and the news media remains collectively mute on the matter.

Specific Objections
Why did the FBI agent approach you?
Objection: Law enforcement privilege
What did the FBI agent say?
Objection: Law enforcement privilege
Did the FBI agent request that you do anything?
Objection: Law enforcement privilege
Did you follow the FBI agent's request?
Objection: Law enforcement privilege
What did the FBI agents tell you?
Objection: Law enforcement privilege
What did the FBI agents say about the evidence?
Objection: Law enforcement privilege
How did the FBI gather the evidence?
Objection: Law enforcement privilege
What was your reaction to the FBI agents' statements?
Objection: Law enforcement privilege
What was the purpose of the demonstration?
Objection: Law enforcement privilege
Did the FBI tell you why it revealed the information to you?
Objection: Law enforcement privilege
What did the FBI ask you to do with information regarding Dr. Hatfill?
Objection: Law enforcement privilege
Did the FBI seek any information from you?
Objection: Law enforcement privilege
Did the FBI ask you for additional evidence?
Objection: Law enforcement privilege
Do you have any idea why the FBI disclosed this information to you?
Objection: Law enforcement privilege
Dated: June 30, 2005
Respectfully Submitted,
KENNETH L. WAINSTEIN
United States Attorney
PETER D. KEISLER
Assistant Attorney General
JEFFREY BUCHOLTZ
Deputy Assistant Attorney General
____________________________


Outside of the courtroom

In an encore performance, the FBI exposed another physician, who just happened to have similarities to Dr. Hatfill.

In August of last year, in a full frontal daylight assault, more than 30 agents, some in biohazard suits, searched residences in New York and New Jersey connected to Dr. Kenneth Berry. Both Berry and Hatfill have foreign medical degrees, are outspoken advocates for bioterror preparedness, and In 1997, both warned of potential bioterror attacks and how to thwart them.

The FBI raid, complete with reporters and photographers on scene, served as a catalyst in the subsequent violent disintegration of Dr. Berry's family. Berry's lawyer, Clifford E. Lazzaro, told reporters, "The great pressure of being scrutinized by the federal government . . . would be enough to destroy the average citizen." William Berry, father of Kenneth Berry, stated, "They have been on him for three years. They have no leads,"
Interestingly, that puts the investigation start date in the vicinity of September 18, 2001, the date of the first anthrax mailing.

On March 18, 2005, Barbara O'Brien of News Southtows Bureau reported "The former Wellsville physician whose homes were searched in connection with the anthrax killings has visited Wellsville recently, and is living on unemployment in New Jersey, according to a friend. "Who's going to hire him?"

Dr. Kenneth M. Berry lost his job as an emergency room doctor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in McKeesport, Pa., last year after his name surfaced in the anthrax investigation.
Earlier this year, in his first interview, the Wellsville Daily Reporter quoted Dr. Berry as saying "(The FBI investigation) totally destroyed my life. I lost my reputation, my wife, my family, my son, my job ... everything,"

Who could fault the FBI for aggressively pursuing the serial killer who mailed deadly anthrax, killing 5 human beings and causing untold social and economic damage? On the other hand, who even attempts to make whole the innocents collaterally damaged in the pursuit? The Attorney General? The Justice Department? We shall closely watch the developments in Hatfill v. Ashcroft, and see.

Jerzy Pollack

© 2005 Investigative Reporter
Reprint permission granted with acknowledgment
See also:
http://anthraxmuseum.tripod.com/theanthraxmysterymuseumtm/index.html

This work is in the public domain