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Man's Home Searched in Anthrax Probe

The FBI searched the home of a Fort Detrick researcher who may have had access to anthrax while doing work for the Army post, a law enforcement official said yesterday.

The researcher agreed to the search of his house next to the base in hopes of removing himself from any possible suspicion in connection with last fall's deadly anthrax letter attacks, according to the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. It was unclear whether the researcher was a federal worker at Fort Detrick or a worker under contract with the Army base.

No arrests were made after the search.

"This was a consensual search for which the only qualification was potential access to anthrax," the law enforcement official said. The official said the search was not unusual in the FBI's hunt for a suspect in the letter attacks.

Fort Detrick, which also is home to the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, has anthrax samples. The FBI is conducting voluntary polygraph tests at the base.

Polygraph tests and interviews also are being conducted at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, where researchers have been developing a powdered form of anthrax for use in testing biological defense systems, military officials have said.

Five people died in the anthrax attacks, and at least 13 others contracted and recovered from either the skin or respiratory form of the disease.

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