Sunday, June 29, 2008

Did false accusations in anthrax case lead to failure to find perpetrator?

One of the problems with false accusations is that they tend to stop investigations from going in the right direction.
Washington Post
June 28, 2008

Doctor Who Was Target in U.S. Anthrax Probe, Wins Multimillion Dollar Settlement

The physician and bio-researcher who the U.S. Justice department identified as a "person of interest" in the bizarre series of anthrax incidents that killed 5 people beginning in 2001 has settled his lawsuit against the government.

TheNew York Timesreports that Dr. Steven Hatfill will receive almost $3 million in cash and an additional $150,000 annually for the next 20 years to settle a lawsuit he filed in 2003, charging the FBI and U.S. Justice Department with leaking information to the news media in order to link him to the mailing of letters that contained anthrax spores.

Hatfill has consistently denied having anything to do with the anthrax incidents, in which five people died after inhaling the spore particles and another 17 were hospitalized, in 2001 and 2002.

U.S. Justice Department officials have never explained why Hatfill was such a prominent figure in the investigation, and a government statement said only that the government admitted no liability but decided settlement was "in the best interest of the United States," the newspaper reported.