FBI Agent Says He Was Suspicious of Butler From Start - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/7/03

FBI Agent Says He Was Suspicious of Butler From Start

An FBI agent says he saw signs of deception before he interviewed a Texas Tech researcher who's accused in a bioterrorism hoax. The testimony came Friday in the Lubbock federal trial of Dr. Thomas Butler.

Butler is facing 69 felony charges related to a January scare sparked by his report of missing plague vials. The FBI says Butler later admitted he accidentally destroyed the vials.

Agent Dale Green arrived in Lubbock the night of January 14th, amid the investigation, but before officers knew the incident was a hoax. Green testified he looked over Butler's lab notebook and noticed changes in the style of entries that the professor had written. Green says the style became more narrative, as if Butler was trying to convince the reader, rather than convey information. Green called it, quote: "A clear flag of deception for me."

Meanwhile, A Centers for Disease Control researcher says she was "surprised" when Butler arrived at a facility with active plague cultures that could be infectious. May Chu works for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chu says Butler invited the CDC to work on a plague study he was doing with the Tanzanian government, but the agency declined. Chu thought Butler would be arriving at the CDC's Fort Collins, Colorado, facility with noninfectious serum samples.

Chu testified she was to arrange for the cultures to be shipped after doing the lengthy paperwork. She was surprised when Butler had the items with him.

Prosecution Attacks Butler's Innocence
Testimony continues at the Federal building in the trial of Tech Researcher Thomas Butler. On Thursday prosecutors attacked Butler's claim that he was unaware of the procedures and policies of transporting hazardous bacteria for research.
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