- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 12, 2003


The Washington Post’s downtown building was locked down for about an hour yesterday when white powder fell from an envelope opened by a newspaper employee.

Letters containing a white powder also were delivered to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and two other locations. All tested negative for anthrax or other pathogens, the FBI said.

Debbie Weierman, spokeswoman for the FBI’s Washington field office, said all of the letters appeared to be identical.

“The content of each letter is anti-American and pro-Muslim,” she said. “All initial field tests have turned out to be negative.”

Letters also were delivered to a Long Island, N.Y., cable TV station and a Denver location that Miss Weierman said was believed to be a radio station.

An FBI source said no definitive connection has been established.

The envelope sent to the newspaper was opened about 1:40 p.m. by a female employee.

“We received a threatening letter with Pakistani postage, which was opened in our mailroom,” said Eric Grant, a company spokesman.

“Some white powder came out and got on her desk, got on her hands,” said Alan Etter, a spokesman for the D.C. fire department.

A preliminary test indicated the letter presented no biological threat.

Investigators also were trying to determine whether the letter may be linked to a similar envelope opened at cable television news outlet News 12 Long Island in Woodbury, N.Y., early yesterday, the spokesman said.

The letter sent to the station also had Pakistani postage, contained a white powder that presented no biohazard.

In October 2001, anthrax-tainted letters were sent to several news outlets and journalists, including television anchors Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw and the New York Post. Such letters also were sent to three U.S.senators. No charges have been filed in the cases, which killed five persons including two D.C. postal workers.

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