LSU FIRES SCIENTIST IN ANTHRAX INVESTIGATION



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Last Updated

25 Aug 2003

Source: Washington Post, September 4, 2002.

LSU Fires Scientist In Anthrax Investigation

By Guy Gugliotta, Washington Post Staff Writer

Former government biowarfare researcher Steven J. Hatfill, under investigation in the FBI's probe of last year's anthrax attacks, was fired yesterday by Louisiana State University from his job at the university's National Center for Biomedical Research and Training.

LSU Chancellor Mark Emmert issued a statement saying the decision to "terminate" Hatfill as associate director of the center "was not reached quickly or easily," but he gave no reason for the move.

The center is a Justice Department-funded facility that trains first-responders in biological warfare defense. LSU hired Hatfill earlier this year, then suspended him with pay for 30 days early in August before he started work.

Hatfill, 48, a former bioweapons researcher at the Army's Fort Detrick lab, is one of several "persons of interest" in the FBI investigation of the anthrax attacks that killed five people last fall.

Hatfill issued a statement yesterday repeating earlier assertions that he had nothing to do with the attacks and blaming Attorney General John D. Ashcroft and the FBI for "completely and utterly" destroying his life. Neither the Justice Department nor the FBI would comment on Hatfill's firing.

"I do not understand why they are doing this to me," Hatfill said. "I'm now unemployed; 20 years of training has now gone down the tubes; my professional reputation is in tatters."