Thread: New anthrax letter found
11-17-2001, 12:43 AM #1
New anthrax letter found
New anthrax letter found
Investigators find deadly germ addressed to Sen. Leahy
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Investigators have found an anthrax-tainted letter addressed to Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, the second bearing the deadly bacteria sent to Capitol Hill, law enforcement officials said Friday.
The contaminated letter was postmarked from Trenton, N.J., as was the one sent to the U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, and contains similar handwriting, the sources said.
Four people, including two Washington postal workers, have died from inhaled anthrax from previously discovered letters. But until Friday, only one letter carrying the germ inside the envelope had been found in Washington.
Investigators have said for weeks that there may be another anthrax-tainted letter. They have been hunting through unopened mail that has been under quarantine since postal workers were diagnosed with inhaled anthrax.
No new cases of anthrax infection have been reported for more than two weeks, though traces of the bacteria have continued to turn up, particularly around Washington. The most recent hot spots were in mailrooms at Howard University in Washington, in several more congressional offices and at the State Department's mail facility in Sterling, Va.
Three other letters with anthrax inside have been found, all of them bearing similarities. Letters to NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw and the New York Post appear to be photocopies. The third letter went to Daschle, (D--S.D.). All had block lettering and used the date style of 09-11-01.
Investigators also believe the anthrax in those three letters is the same Ames strain that is common to the United States. However, the anthrax in the newspaper's letter was in a heavier, grainier state and the material in Daschle's letter was light and buoyant.
The letter to Daschle contained about two grams of anthrax. If that were pure anthrax, one expert said that would amount to about 20 billion spores, or enough to sicken about 2 million people with the most deadly form of the disease.
"FBI and U.S. Postal Service investigators examining sequestered congressional mail have another letter which appears to contain anthrax," the FBI said in a statement Friday night.
The letter was postmarked Oct. 9 in Trenton and "appears in every respect to be similar to the other anthrax-laced letters," the FBI said.
The letter was located in one of more than 250 barrels of unopened mail sent to Capitol Hill and held since the discovery of an anthrax letter to Daschle on Oct. 15, the FBI said.
Hazardous materials experts began the process of sorting the quarantined congressional mail earlier this week at a facility in northern Virginia, the FBI said.
Further testing will be conducted in an effort to confirm the presence of anthrax and examine its contents to compare it with that found in the other letters, the FBI said.
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