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The Nation | A YEAR AFTER

FBI Searches Apartment in Anthrax Case for 3rd Time

September 12, 2002|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — FBI agents searched the former home of Steven J. Hatfill, a focus of attention in the anthrax case, on Wednesday, according to a source close to the case.

The search, the third of the apartment, was carried out under the authority of a warrant, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Hatfill's spokesman, Pat Clawson, said Hatfill was not informed of the search and has not lived in the apartment in Frederick, Md., since Aug. 12. Of the two previous searches, the second was done under warrant.

Clawson said, "If they are looking for something, how come they didn't find it during the first two searches?"

Chris Murray, spokesman for the FBI's Washington field office, declined to comment.

Five people were killed by anthrax-tainted letters sent through the mail last fall. Anthrax contaminated several buildings, including a Senate office building.

The FBI has identified Hatfill as a "person of interest" in its investigation but says he is no more or less important than about 30 fellow scientists and researchers with the expertise and opportunity to conduct the attacks.

Hatfill, 48, has repeatedly denied any involvement in the attacks and says the Justice Department is ruining his life by linking him to the crimes.

He was fired Sept. 3 from a job at Louisiana State University after the Justice Department sent his supervisor an e-mail ordering that Hatfill be barred from working on department-funded projects.

Hatfill worked until 1999 for Ft. Detrick's Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Maryland. It is the primary custodian of the virulent Ames strain of anthrax found in the anthrax letters.

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