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2001-11-30

An Antiabortion Fugitive On the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List Says He Is Responsible Forhundreds of Anthrax Threats Sent to Abortion Clinics Last Month

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Anti-abortion fugitive Clayton Waagner, one of the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted people, is taking credit for a rash of fakeanthrax letters sent to family-planning clinics in October. The FBI seems willing to at least consider his claim.Yesterday, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced that Waagner had been named by the bureau as a top suspect in theanthrax hoax. The FBI said that Waagner, a self-described "anti-abortion warrior", is "extremely dangerous, he hassurvival skills and may be heavily armed"-not unlike the description of suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden. Waagnerwas added to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list ten days after the attacks of September 11th.

Yesterday was the first time the Attorney General had spoken about the anthrax threats received by over 450 abortionclinics and pro-choice organizations in at least 12 states since September 11th. Although all the envelopes testednegative for anthrax, pro-choice advocates say they have been targeted by a case of extreme domestic terrorism. Butabortion clinics have been targeted by snipers, bombs, arson attacks, butyric acid attacks and anthrax threats fordecades.

Pro-choice groups yesterday said they are heartened by Aschroft’s denunciation of those responsible for anthraxthreats against women’s reproductive health clinics but caution that the investigation should also focus on thenetwork of individuals aiding and abetting Waagner, especially the extremist anti-abortion group the Army of God.They also urged that the Army of God be designated a domestic terrorist organization by the Department of Justice.

Guests:

  • Vicki Sapporta, Executive Director, National Abortion Federation.
  • Carol Mason, Professor of American Studies at Hobart William Smith College and author of the forthcomingbook ??Killing For Life: The Apocalyptic Narrative Of Anti-Abortion Politics.
  • Frederick Clarkson, author of ??Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy.

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