"JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) - One of the men under scrutiny by the FBI's anthrax investigation is a former U.S. soldier who bragged about ties to a feared counterinsurgency force that fought for the white minority government of Rhodesia."
"The FBI has identified Dr. Steven J. Hatfill as one of 30 scientists and researchers with the expertise and opportunity to conduct the anthrax attacks."
"Hatfill, 48, worked until 1999 for Fort Detrick's Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, which is the primary custodian of the virulent Ames strain of anthrax found in last fall's deadly letters. "
"Hatfill and another scientist, Joseph Soukup, commissioned a study of a hypothetical anthrax attack in February 1999 as employees of defense contractor Science Applications International Corp., said Ben Haddad, spokesman for the San Diego-based company. "
"Before he worked there, Hatfill spent about 15 years in southern Africa, where he earned a string of academic degrees and disturbed many of his colleagues with his right-wing rhetoric and what appear to be tall tales of a heroic military career."
"After completing his military service, Hatfill went to Rhodesia, where many former U.S. soldiers worked as mercenaries for the Selous Scouts, a military force that fought black rebels in an effort to maintain white rule in the southern African nation. Their efforts failed, and the country became black-led Zimbabwe in 1980."
"Almost everyone who has encountered the F.B.I. anthrax investigation is aghast at the bureau's lethargy. Some in the biodefense community think they know a likely culprit, whom I'll call Mr. Z. Although the bureau has polygraphed Mr. Z, searched his home twice and interviewed him four times, it has not placed him under surveillance or asked its outside handwriting expert to compare his writing to that on the anthrax letters."
"People in the biodefense field first gave Mr. Z's name to the bureau as a suspect in October, and I wrote about him elliptically in a column on May 24."
"If Mr. Z were an Arab national, he would have been imprisoned long ago. But he is a true-blue American with close ties to the U.S. Defense Department, the C.I.A. and the American biodefense program. On the other hand, he was once caught with a girlfriend in a biohazard "hot suite" at Fort Detrick, surrounded only by blushing germs."
So it seems fair to ask the F.B.I. a few questions:
"Have you examined whether Mr. Z has connections to the biggest anthrax outbreak among humans ever recorded, the one that sickened more than 10,000 black farmers in Zimbabwe in 1978-80? There is evidence that the anthrax was released by the white Rhodesian Army fighting against black guerrillas, and Mr. Z has claimed that he participated in the white army's much-feared Selous Scouts. Could rogue elements of the American military have backed the Rhodesian Army in anthrax and cholera attacks against blacks? Mr. Z's résumé also claims involvement in the former South African Defense Force; all else aside, who knew that the U.S. Defense Department would pick an American who had served in the armed forces of two white-racist regimes to work in the American biodefense program with some of the world's deadliest germs?"
Latest info>CNN,10-8-02, http://www.cnn.com/2002/US/08/10/anthrax.hatfill.ap/index.html
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