Bioterrorism expert Dr. Steven J. Hatfill says the government to used him to make up for its failure to find the person responsible for the 2001 anthrax attacks, the Associated Press reports.
Hatfill filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Attorney General John Ashcroft and other government officials saying that by labeling him a “person of interest” in the case, circulating his photo and leaking aspects of the investigation to the media, they have damaged his reputation and made him virtually unemployable.
Hatfill is under 24-hour surveillance, leaving him unable to freely talk to his girlfriend, family or friends, according to the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington.
“He has been a target of a coordinated campaign to publicly implicate him in a crime he did not commit,” Hatfill’s attorney, Thomas Connolly, said at a news conference at the federal courthouse.
Hatfill also said the Justice Department was responsible for his firing last August from a job directing bioterrorism research at Louisiana State University.
The lawsuit says he’s been unemployed since and that other potential employers have been scared off from hiring him because he is followed by a team of five to seven FBI agents.
Connolly said the federal authorities “have trampled Dr. Hatfill’s constitutional rights and they have destroyed his life.”
Hatfill wants his name cleared and seeks unspecified damages from Ashcroft, the Justice Department, the FBI and other current and former FBI and Justice Department officials.