FBI: Suspicious Letters Mailed to DC Schools

Thursday, 05 May 2011 09:43 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 20 letters that contained a white, powdery substance delivered to District of Columbia schools on Thursday are similar to those mailed to schools elsewhere in the U.S. over the last several weeks, the FBI said.

Preliminary testing by hazardous materials crews found the powder in the letters received in the district was not harmful, two law enforcement officials with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press.

One of the officials said it had the look and consistency of cornstarch. In addition to the powder, the envelopes contained a letter referring to al-Qaida and the FBI, that official said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.

No one was injured by the powder.

The letters were sent from out of state to about 25 schools, but James McJunkin, the head of the FBI's Washington field office, declined to be more specific. WRC-TV in Washington obtained an image of one of the letters that had a Dallas postmark. The stamp appeared to be canceled on May 2, the day after the U.S. announced it had killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

McJunkin said the addresses on the letters were printed, not handwritten. Each letter was addressed to a school and not a specific person.

He would not say where the other schools around the country that had received similar letters were located.

He said the substance likely was not harmful, but after preliminary testing would be sent to the FBI's Quantico facility, where the letters would undergo a full forensic screening. However, the substance found in the similar letters mailed elsewhere turned out to be harmless, he said.

Mayor Vincent Gray condemned the letters.

"I think it's a dastardly act," he said. "It alarms people unnecessarily."

People have been wary of powdery substances in letters since the 2001 anthrax scare. The government eventually determined that Bruce Ivins, a researcher who worked at Fort Detrick in Maryland and later committed suicide, was behind the mailings of powdered spores. In a nation still reeling from the Sept. 11 attacks, five people died in October and November that year from anthrax inhalation or exposure linked to the letters.

District schools started reporting receiving the letters about 1 p.m. Thursday.

Schools will open normally Friday, said Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier.

She said police were working with U.S. postal inspectors to make sure that mail delivered to schools is safe, but she declined to be specific about any plans for screening the mail.

___

Associated Press writer Eric Tucker in Tuscaloosa, Ala., contributed to this story

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Judge Blocks Obamacare Tax Rule for Non-Exchange States

Tuesday, 30 Sep 2014 19:15 PM

An Oklahoma federal judge dealt a blow to President Barack Obama's health-care law, invalidating IRS rules aimed at maki . . .

Comments on Mrs. Obama's Speech Off Limits, Reporters Told

Tuesday, 30 Sep 2014 19:07 PM

A creeped out Wisconsin journalist complains she was told by aides of Democratic Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Mar . . .

Refugee Plan Set up for Central American Minors

Tuesday, 30 Sep 2014 17:13 PM

The Obama administration is initiating a program to give refugee status to some young people from Honduras, Guatemala an . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved