Anti-abortion extremist Clayton Lee Waagner was officially charged as a domestic terrorist last week in a 79-count indictment for sending anthrax hoax letters to hundreds of clinics around the country. Waagner, who was on FBI’s most wanted list when he was arrested in December after escaping from jail early last year, was charged with threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction, violating the Freedom of Access To Clinic Entrances Act, extortion and making and mailing threatening communications. Waagner is currently serving 19 years and seven months in prison for six federal charges of possession of illegal firearms and for stealing a car while on the run from authorities on top of a 30-year sentence for escaping from jail. He could face an additional sentence of life imprisonment if convicted on the weapon of mass destruction charge alone.
Prosecutors disclosed that Waagner posted a message on the “Army of God” Website, run by anti-abortion extremist Donald Spitz, in June 2001, according to the Feminist Majority Foundation’s National Clinic Access Project. In this message, he claimed to have been stalking clinic employees because they would be easier to kill than doctors. “I don’t plan on talking them to death. I’m going to kill as many of them as I can,” the message read. Waagner mailed the hoax letters while on the run from authorities in October and November after escaping from a jail in Illinois where he was awaiting sentencing on federal weapons and stolen vehicle charges.
After several clinics received the letters, the Feminist Majority Foundation, Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation immediately alerted clinics all over the country so that several workers were able to avoid opening the contaminated mail. “Our alerts prevented clinics from opening mail that was then used as evidence against Clayton Lee Wagner,” said Margaret Moore, director of law enforcement relations for the Feminist Majority Foundation. “Our alerts also helped law enforcement with the scope of the investigation. They were immediately able to declare it a national investigation and start the collection of evidence across the nation.” The letters actually contained a harmless substance that looks like anthrax and tends to give false positives in tests for anthrax.