“‘Anthrax’ Doctor Failed Lie Test”

Niles Lathem reports for the New York Post. Excerpt:

WASHINGTON – A month before the first anthrax-laced letters were mailed, the bio-warfare expert now at the center of the probe failed a CIA-administered polygraph test over questions surrounding his mysterious past with a secret commando force in Rhodesia, The Post has learned.

Dr. Steven Hatfill, 48, the former Army bio-weapons expert publicly named as a “person of interest” in the federal anthrax probe, told friends and colleagues that flunking the lie-detector test cost him his security clearance and his job.

FBI officials say they have no physical evidence that connects Hatfill to the letters mailed last September and October.

But Hatfill remains one of 12 bio-warfare scientists under investigation, and law-enforcement officials say the loss of his job at the giant defense contractor Science Applications International Corp. remains a focus of the investigation.

Hatfill called a press conference Sunday to deny he was responsible and to blast the government for destroying his career.

He said he lost his job at the McClean, Va.-based firm in March because journalists began calling company officials, “all but accusing me of mailing the anthrax letters.”

But law-enforcement officials and Hatfill’s former colleagues at the company gave a different account.

They claimed that in August 2001, Hatfill had an opportunity to work on a huge CIA-sponsored project for the company and had to “upgrade” his low-level government security clearance for the job.

But when Hatfill failed the polygraph, even his existing clearance was revoked.

Company officials say they gave him six months to get it restored, and fired him in March because he was unable to do so.

The CIA has refused comment on the polygraph.

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