- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 3, 2010

Bolling Air Force Base was briefly quarantined Thursday morning after detectors in a mailroom triggered an alarm indicating anthrax was present in a piece of mail, a Pentagon spokesman said.

Hazardous material teams were sent in and conducted tests, but no anthrax was detected in three subsequent inspections, said Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman.

“It was a false positive,” Mr. Whitman said of the incident, which included a heightened alert status for the base located south of downtown Washington on the Potomac River.

Further testing of a suspect material found in a letter is being carried out, he said.

The threat condition at the base was increased, and Mr. Whitman said it would likely be lowered in the near future.

Washington was among several areas nationwide that were hit with an anthrax attack in 2001, when letters containing deadly spores were to news media outlets and two Democratic senators.

In all, five people died and 17 others were infected.

The FBI has determined the attack was the work of Bruce Edwards Ivins, a biological scientist at the Army’s Fort Detrick laboratory in Frederick, Md.