Steven Jay Hatfill (born October 24, 1953) is an American physician, virologist and biological weapons expert. A former biodefense researcher for the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, Hatfill came to the public eye after being wrongfully suspected in the 2001 anthrax attacks.

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  • Steven Jay Hatfill (born October 24, 1953) is an American physician, virologist and biological weapons expert. A former biodefense researcher for the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, Hatfill came to the public eye after being wrongfully suspected in the 2001 anthrax attacks. Hatfill became "the subject of a flood of news media coverage beginning in mid-2002, after television cameras showed Federal Bureau of Investigation agents in biohazard suits searching his apartment" and then Attorney General John Ashcroft named him "person of interest" in the investigation on national television. Hatfill's home was repeatedly raided by the FBI, his phone was tapped, and he was extensively surveilled for more than two years; he was also fired from his job at Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). "At a news conference in August 2002, Hatfill tearfully denied that he had anything to do with the anthrax letters and said irresponsible news media coverage based on government leaks had destroyed his reputation." Hatfill filed a lawsuit in 2003, accusing the FBI agents 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, and the Justice Department identified another military scientist, Bruce Edward Ivins, as the sole perpetrator of the anthrax attacks. Jeffrey A. Taylor, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, wrote in a letter to Hatfill's lawyer that "we have concluded, based on laboratory access records, witness accounts and other information, that Dr. Hatfill did not have access to the particular anthrax used in the attacks, and that he was not involved in the anthrax mailings." In 2004, Hatfill filed lawsuits against several periodicals and journalists who had identified him as a figure warranting further investigation in the anthrax attacks. Hatfill sued the New York Times Company and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof for defamation, defamation per se, and intentional infliction of emotional distress in connection with five of Kristof's columns in 2002. The courts dismissed this suit, finding that Hatfill was a limited purpose public figure. In 2007, Hatfill settled a similar libel lawsuit against Vanity Fair and Reader's Digest for an undisclosed amount, after both magazines agreed to formally retract any implication that Hatfill was involved in the anthrax mailings. David Freed writes that Hatfill's story "provides a cautionary tale about how federal authorities, fueled by the general panic over terrorism, embraced conjecture and coincidence as evidence, and blindly pursued one suspect while the real anthrax killer roamed free for more than six years. Hatfill's experience is also the wrenching saga of how an American citizen who saw himself as a patriot came to be vilified and presumed guilty, as his country turned against him." Today, Hatfill is an independent researcher and an adjunct assistant professor of emergency medicine at the George Washington University Medical Center. He has criticized the response of health authorities to the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa and suggested that it is possible that ebola could be transmitted by aerosol, a position which other experts have critiqued. (en)
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  • American virologist (en)
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  • Steven Jay Hatfill (born October 24, 1953) is an American physician, virologist and biological weapons expert. A former biodefense researcher for the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, Hatfill came to the public eye after being wrongfully suspected in the 2001 anthrax attacks. (en)
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