ELDER PATRIOT – Steven Jay Hatfill stands as a warning to all of us as to the lengths Special Counsel Robert Mueller will go to get a conviction – even without evidence – and then to destroy the person’s life afterwards.
Steven Hatfill was a virologist and biological weapons expert working as a
biodefense researcher for the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick.
Hatfill came into to the public eye after being wrongfully charged in the 2001 anthrax attacks by the F.B.I. – Robert Mueller’s F.B.I.
Left-wing The Atlantic picks up the story from there:
“In the fall of 2001, a nation reeling from the horror of 9/11 was rocked by a series of deadly anthrax attacks. As the pressure to find a culprit mounted, the FBI, abetted by the media, found one. The wrong one. This is the story of how federal authorities blew the biggest anti-terror investigation of the past decade—and nearly destroyed an innocent man.”
Except they didn’t almost destroy Hatfill’s life they did destroy it.
“The pressure on American law enforcement to find the perpetrator or perpetrators was enormous.
Here’s where the story starts to rot.
Barbara Hatch Rosenberg who had once served as a low-level bioweapons adviser to President Clinton disseminated specific details of the “portrait” her own “investigation” had developed that, while never mentioning him by name, made it clear she had a particular suspect in mind: Steven Hatfill.
Rosenberg met with the F.B.I. and they took it from there.
“There was enough circumstantial evidence surrounding Hatfill that zealous investigators could easily elaborate a plausible theory of him as the culprit.”
Director Mueller – he of the “oh so pure” reputation – was criticized by Rosenberg for not being aggressive enough. So Mueller stepped up the witch-hunt against Hatfill. For his part Hatfill, knowing he was innocent, cooperated fully.
“In June, agents asked to “swab” his apartment. Hatfill complied, feeling he had nothing to hide. He came home to find reporters and camera crews swarming. TV helicopters orbited overhead. “There’s obviously been a leak,” one of the agents told him.”
A leak? Really? There was a second search five weeks later (and another media circus), a raid of rented storage locker and the ransacking of his girlfriend’s D.C. townhouse.
Through all of this Hatfill maintained his innocence, and despite the lack of evidence he was fired from SAIC for failing to maintain the necessary security clearance. It didn’t end there.
“He immediately landed the associate directorship of a fledgling Louisiana State University program designed to train firefighters and other emergency personnel to respond to terrorist acts and natural disasters, a job that would have matched the $150,000 annual salary he’d been getting at SAIC. But after Justice Department officials learned of Hatfill’s employment, they told LSU to “immediately cease and desist” from using Hatfill on any federally funded program. He was let go before his first day. Other prospective employment fell through. No one would return his calls. One job vanished after Hatfill emerged from a meeting with prospective employers to find FBI agents videotaping them.”
In spite of the fact that they had failed to make their case, “virtually everywhere Hatfill went, the FBI went too, often right behind him—a deliberately harassing tactic called “bumper locking.” Local law enforcement began stopping him regularly sometimes multiple times during a short drive.
Thomas G. Connolly, “Hatfill’s attorney, offered to have Hatfill surrender his passport and be outfitted with a tracking device, to have FBI agents ride with him everywhere, to show them that they were wasting their time. The offer was rejected. “They were purposely sweating him,” Connolly says, “trying to get him to go over the edge.”
“Much of what authorities discovered, they leaked anonymously to journalists. The result was an unrelenting stream of inflammatory innuendo that dominated front pages and television news. Hatfill found himself trapped, the powerless central player in what Connolly describes as “a story about the two most powerful institutions in the United States, the government and the press, ganging up on an innocent man. It’s Kafka.”
Robert Mueller’s F.B.I. had produced zero witnesses, zero evidence, and nothing to show that Hatfill had ever touched anthrax. The bureau’s case was so poor that an indictment of Hatfill could not be secured. That still didn’t stop the FBI, under the leadership of Robert Mueller from focusing on him to the virtual exclusion of other suspects.
It appears now that the F.B.I. would’ve been happy if Hatfill had committed suicide so they could’ve blamed him and closed the case. Hatfill considered it but decided to fight back.
In 2003 Hatfill filed a lawsuit accusing Mueller, the FBI agents involved, and Justice Department officials who led the criminal investigation of leaking information about him to the press in violation of the federal Privacy Act. In 2008, the government settled Hatfill’s lawsuit for $4.6 million and officially exonerated Hatfill of any involvement in the anthrax attacks.
After his ordeal had ended – an ordeal that had brought him to the brink of suicide – Hatfill commented that: “Every human being has to feel a part of a tribe. It’s programmed into us. And you have to feel that you’re contributing to something. They tried to take all that away from me. No tribe wanted me. I just didn’t feel of value to anything or anyone.
Hatfill’s tribulations at the hands of a corrupted F.B.I. is a cautionary tale for those supporting President Trump’s efforts to clean up Washington D.C.
Ask Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, Donald Trump Jr., Michael Flynn, and Carter Page who are among the most prominent members of Team Trump to undergo relentless scrutiny by the F.B.I. and defamation by the mainstream media, about it.
There’s another side to this coin as well, Mueller proved unwilling to change course when the evidence, or lack of evidence, demanded he do so.
Whether Mueller was guilty of “detective myopia,” a condition where detectives become so obsessed in proving their case that they lose all objectivity, or he simply succumbed to political pressure is irrelevant. He is not the man to be leading the investigation into the president of the United States.