In a press conference on Sunday, 25 August, Dr. Steven J. Hatfill, whom the Federal Bureau of Investigation has designated as a “person of interest” in the ongoing anthrax investigation, described the treatment that his girlfriend (whose name has not been made public) has received from the FBI. The following is an excerpt from Dr. Hatfill’s remarks (emphasis added), which are taken from the transcript of CNN’s Late Edition program which aired on 25 August:
It is definitely not good to be the girlfriend of a person of interest. My girlfriend was locked inside an FBI car and hauled off to FBI headquarters and interrogated for hours, without once being told she has the right to leave any time she wished. Her requests for a lawyer were delayed and made difficult. Her purse, although not on the search warrant, was taken from her and its contents examined after the interrogation process while she was being driven back to her residence.
She was screamed at by FBI agents and told that the FBI had firm evidence that I had killed five innocent people. This was told to her by FBI agent Jennifer Grant and FBI agent Pamela Lane. Can you imagine that?
The FBI trumpets that I am not a suspect, and the woman I love is told the FBI — told by the FBI that I am a murderer.
This is the life of a person of interest, Mr. Ashcroft. But that’s not all. My girlfriend was told that she better take a polygraph examination and cooperate, or else. Her home checkbooks, computers, private papers and car were seized. As for her home, it was completely trashed, as is appropriate for the home of a girlfriend of a person of interest.
Some of her delicate pottery was smashed. The glass on a $3,000 painting was broken. This painting was wrapped in bubble wrap, by the way. Neatly stacked boxes awaiting shipment to her new home were ripped open, instead of opened with due regard to their contents.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have pictures of how FBI left this apartment, her apartment, which, at the time of the raid, was neatly prepared for a move to Louisiana, with all her belongings packed in nicely stacked boxes. This is one of the pictures.
I refuse to allow my girlfriend — to this treatment, as the girlfriend of a person of interest. She is not here today. I love you. I will not state her name here. And I ask the news media, please, for common decency, if you know it, please leave her alone. She will not make a statement.
Dr. Hatfill also addressed New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof’s allegation that Hatfill had failed three polygraph “tests” since January:
Another person I’ve never met or spoken to and don’t know is Nicholas Kristoff of the New York Times. After transparently implicating me as Mr. Z, over a period of months he berated the FBI for not investigating me aggressively enough to suit him. He has never called me, checked his facts, asked for comment, contacted any of my representatives, anything, before he published.
Following my first press appearance, Mr. Kristoff once again wrote about me. Once again, his column was inaccurate. He said, for example, that I had failed three successive polygraph examinations since January. This is a total lie. I have not taken, let alone failed, three polygraphs on anthrax since January.
I had one polygraph session, which the FBI did administer to me in January, and I was told I passed and the examiner was satisfied that I had told the truth.