Steven J. Hatfill

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Dr. Steven Jay Hatfill (b. October 24, 1953) is an American 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 never brought charges. Hatfill successfully sued the Justice Department for violating his privacy rights and received a $5.8 million settlement.


Youth and education

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 served as an enlisted soldier in the U.S. Army in the late 1970s. (In 1999, he would tell a journalist during an interview that he had been a "captain in the U.S. Special Forces", but in a subsequent investigation the Army stated that he had never served with the Special Forces[1].)

Hatfill then settled 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 [2] in Salisbury (now Harare), graduating (after failing in 1983) in 1984. In that year he also took a board certification in hematological pathology from South Africa. The South African government recruited him to be medical officer on a one-year (1986) tour of duty in Antarctica. He then served (1987-1990) as an Emergency Medical Officer at the Conradie General Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa. A medical residency (1991-93) at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, resulted in a Master's Degree in Medicine and board certification in hematopathology.

Hatfill later claimed a Ph.D. in molecular cellular biology from Rhodes University in South Africa, as well as completion of a post-doctoral (sic) fellowship (1994-95) at Oxford University in England and three master's degrees (in microbial genetics, medical biochemistry, and experimental pathology). Some of Hatfill's credentials have been questioned. During a later investigation, officials at Rhodes University insisted that he had never been awarded a Ph.D. from their institution [3]. On March 11, 2007, Hatfill's lawyer Tom Connolly [4] (in his lawsuit against the former Attorney General of the United States (John Ashcroft) and the FBI) admitted that his client had "Puffed on his resume. Absolutely. Forged a diploma. Yes, that's true."[5]

The anthrax attacks

Hatfill's "post-doctoral" appointments included one (1997) at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. He subsequently worked (1997-99) as a civilian researcher at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), the U.S. Department of Defense's medical research institute for biological warfare defense at Fort Detrick, Frederick, Maryland. There he studied, under a National Research Council fellowship, new drug treatments for the Ebola virus and became a specialist in biological warfare defense.

In January 1999 Hatfill transferred to a "consulting job" at Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), which has a "sprawling campus" in nearby McLean.

By this time there had been a number of hoax anthrax mailings in the United States. Hatfill and his collaborator, SAIC vice president Joseph Soukup, now commissioned William C. Patrick, retired head of the old US bioweapons program (who had also been a patron of Hatfill) to write a report on the possibilities of terrorist anthrax mailing attacks. Barbara Hatch Rosenberg (director of the Federation of American Scientists' biochem weapons working group in 2002) said that the report was commissioned "under a CIA contract to SAIC". However, SAIC said Hatfill and Soukup commissioned it internally — there was no outside client.

The resulting report, dated February 1999, was seen by some as a "blueprint" for the 2001 anthrax attacks. Amongst other things, it suggested the maximum amount of anthrax powder - 2.5 grams - that could be put in an envelope without making a suspicious bulge. The quantity in the envelope sent to Senator Tom Daschle in October 2001 was 2 grams. After the attacks, the report drew the attention of the FBI, and led to their investigation of Patrick and Hatfill.[6]

Hatfill later went to work at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, LA. In September 2001 SAIC was commissioned by the Pentagon to create a replica of a mobile WMD "laboratory", alleged to have been used by Saddam. The Pentagon claimed the trailer was to be used as a training aide for teams seeking weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Hatfill had always maintained he was not involved in the 2001 anthrax attacks.

See also

External links


  1. Preston, Richard (2002), The Demon in the Freezer, New York: Random House, pp 206-7.
  2. Zimbabwe Medical Graduates Worldwide. Archived from the original on 2012-07-20.
  3. Preston, Op. cit., pp 207-8.
  4. G. Connolly
  5. Tables Turned In Anthrax Probe
  6. William J Broad, "Terror Anthrax Linked to Type Made by U.S.", New York Times, 3 Dec. 2001; Barbara Hatch Rosenberg (director of the Federation of American Scientists' biochem weapons working group), "Analysis of the Anthrax Attacks" (copy); Guy Gugliotta and Dan Eggen, "Biological Warfare Experts Questioned in Anthrax Probe", Washington Post, June 28, 2002 (UCLA copy); Brian Ross, "Blueprint for Anthrax Attack", ABC News online, 27 June 2002; Marilyn W Thompson, "The Pursuit of Steven Hatfill", Washington Post, 14 Sept. 2003, p.W06.)
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