Friday, June 27th, 2008 | Author:

Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy Steven Hatfield got his $5.85 million measure of justice from Justice. Hopefully, he can put his life back together. But I’m not so happy about this whole process, so here’s a simplified chronology.

1) Right after 9/11 when people were crazy anyhow, some kook started mailing anthrax to various targets around the country. Five people died and 17 others got sick. Understandably, the pressure is on the FBI to get the criminal. They didn’t, so …

2) Attorney General John Ashcroft publicly named Hatfield a “person of interest” – never arrested him, never charged him, just destroyed his reputation and invaded his privacy. This, of course, served to take the heat off the FBI.

3) Many years and lawsuits later, Justice makes a deal with Hatfield.

I have two big problems with this.

1) “The United States does not admit to any violation of the Privacy Act and continues to deny all liability in connection with Dr. Hatfill’s claims,” Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said. Well, if you’re not guilty, why did you settle? I fear Justice has not learned anything from this process. They’ll continue to tread over people’s rights whenever they want, because there are no consequences for bad behavior. “What about all that money?” you ask. This leads to my second problem.

2) That $5.85 million doesn’t come out of the Justice budget or their personal salaries – it comes from the taxpayers. You and I are financing a screw-up by Justice, and there’s nothing to stop them from doing it again.

There’s something wrong with this system.

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