Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Steven Hatfill

Dr. Steven Jay Hatfill (b. October 24, 1953) is a physician, virologist and bio-weapons expert. The US Department of Justice identified the former government scientist as a "person of interest" in its investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks but has not sought charges. FBI raids on his home were well attended by journalists and consequently, several news outlets have speculated that Hatfill was the likely suspect for the attacks.


Hatfill was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and graduated from Mattoon Senior High School, Mattoon, Illinois (1971) and Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas (1975) where he studied biology. During college he took a year off and worked with a Methodist medical missionary in Kapanga, Zaire. (His mentor was Dr. Glenn Eschtruth, whose daughter Caroline he later married and divorced.)

Hatfill thensettled in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) where his claimed military associations included work with the United States Army's Institute for Military Assistance, the Rhodesian SAS, and the Selous Scouts. He stayed on to study medicine (1978-84) at the Godfrey Huggins Medical School in Salisbury (now Harare). In 1984, he took a board certification in hematological pathology from South Africa. The South African government recruited him to be medical officer on a one-year tour of duty in Antarctica. He claimed a Ph.D. in molecular cellular biology as well as completion of a post-doctoral fellowship at Oxford University in England and three master's degrees (in microbial genetics, medical biochemistry, and experimental pathology). Some of these credentials have been questioned.

The anthrax attacks

Dr Hatfill's postdoctoral appointments included one at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. He subsequently worked as a civilian researcher at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), the US Department of Defense's medical research institute for biological warfare (BW) defense at Fort Detrick, MD. There he studied new drug treatments for the Ebola virus and became a specialist in BW defense.

After leaving USAMRIID, he worked for Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), also on Ft Detrick, and later at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, LA.

Hatfill has maintained that he is innocent of any involvement in the 2001 anthrax letter attacks and is suing the government for compensation for the damage he claims has been inflicted on his professional reputation and employment prospects. His lawyer, Victor M. Glasberg, stated: "Steve's life has been devastated by a drumbeat of innuendo, implication and speculation. We have a frightening public attack on an individual who, guilty or not, should not be exposed to this type of public opprobrium based on speculation."

In an embarrassing incident, FBI agents trailing Hatfill in a motor vehicle ran over his foot when he attempted to approach them in May, 2003.