- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 23, 2001


Tests have confirmed the presence of anthrax at an offsite mail screening facility for the White House, presidential spokesman Ari Fleischer said today. President Bush said the White House was safe.
“We're making sure the West Wing and the White House is safe,'' the president said, though he did not outline the security precautions. “I'm confident when I come to work tomorrow that I'll be safe.''
Asked if he had been tested for anthrax, or whether he was taking antibiotics, Mr. Bush said, “I don't have anthrax.'' He repeated the statement later.
Mr. Fleischer said the mail facility was at a military installation miles from the White House and “has been closed for further testing and decontamination.''
He added that all environmental tests at the White House itself have thus far come back negative.
Mr. Fleischer said that all employees at the mail site were being tested for exposure to the disease, as were mail workers in the White House complex.
The president, after meeting with lawmakers to discuss his recent trip to Asia, said he had authorized $175 million to be spent immediately on improving safety at post office stations. Two Washington postal workers have died from the disease, and an anthrax-laden letter was sent to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle's office.
“There's no question that the evildoers are continuing to try to harm America and Americans,'' Mr. Bush said. “We're working hard to find out who's doing this and bring them to justice.''
“The evil ones continue,'' he said.
He said there was still no hard evidence connecting the multiple anthrax cases to the Sept. 11 suicide-hijacking attacks, but he added, “There is no question the al-Qaida organization is a terrorist organization so it would not surprise me that they're involved in it.''
He urged calm.
“This country is too strong to let terrorists affect the lives of our citizens,'' Bush said. “I understand that people are concerned, and they should be, but they need to know their government is doing everything we possible can to protect the lives of our citizens.''

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