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Hatfill Anthrax Documents Released

POSTED: 05:24 PM ET, 11/25/2008 by Derek Kravitz

A collection of government documents related to the FBI's investigation into scientist Steven J. Hatfill's suspected involvement in the 2001 anthrax attacks has been released.

The hundreds of pages of documents show agents searched Hatfill's Frederick, Md., apartment, his 2000 black Chevrolet Camaro and a storage locker in Ocala, Fla., in July and August 2002, seizing clothing, a tissue sample, a used Band-Aid, pharmaceuticals and biology equipment, financial records, VHS tapes and books, among other items.

Federal agents also described Hatfill's knowledge of anthrax "simulants" and his past laboratory experience at Oxford University and the National Institutes of Health (and his mercenary work with the Rhodesian military in the late 1970s and early 80s).

The FBI noted that Rhodesia experienced the worst outbreak of anthrax in history in 1979 and 1980, with 10,738 human cases and 182 deaths; that Hatfill had requested and filled prescriptions for the anthrax antibiotic Cipro; that Hatfill had said U.S. authorities weren't properly prepared for a potential "Pearl Harbor"-type anthrax attack; that Hatfill maintained a small batch of anthrax "simulant" at his apartment in 2001; and that Hatfill had written a fiction book in 1999 that theorized how a terrorist could release a deadly pathogen in the United States.

Hatfill's girlfriend's apartment in Northwest D.C. and her 1994 Toyota Corolla were also searched.

A federal judge earlier this month ordered that the government's search warrants and supporting documents relating to Hatfill be made public, months after the chief culprit in the case, Bruce E. Ivins, committed suicide.

Hatfill was named a "person of interest" in the anthrax attacks in 2002 but was later cleared of any wrongdoing. In June, he settled a lawsuit against the Justice Department for $5.85 million and, afterwards, prosecutors officially "excluded" him as a suspect in the attacks that killed five and sickened 17 others.

The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times asked U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth to release the documents.

By Derek Kravitz |  November 25, 2008; 5:24 PM ET
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