Steven Hatfill, once designated as a "person of interest" by Attorney General John Ashcroft, had his name virtually cleared. The biowarfare scientist was identified as the prime suspect in the 2001 murder of five people, killed when anthrax spores were sent through the mails. The murders received enormous publicity because they occurred immediately after the terrorist attacks of September 11th that year and because the targets included network news operations--fanning fears that germ warfare might follow hijacked jets. "The country was terrified," ABC's Pierre Thomas recalled. Yet Hatfill categorically denied any involvement and was "never arrested, never charged," as CBS' Bob Orr put it. NBC's Pete Williams reminded us that FBI surveillance was so intense that an undercover operative even ran over Hatfill's foot with his car. The Justice Department did not formally exonerate Hatfill but it did pay him $5.8m in compensation for invading his privacy and besmirching his good name--all without admitting any wrongdoing.
You must be logged in to this website to leave a comment. Please click here to log in so you can participate in the discussion.