Threatening mail sent to U.S. Senate

Letters containing a suspicious powdery substance have been sent to Senate

WASHINGTON | February 23, 2012

" the potential to do harm remains very real"

—Terrance Gainer

Threatening letters containing a suspicious powdery substance have been sent to at least three U.S. Senate offices in Washington, officials said.

Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance Gainer, the Senate's top law enforcement officer, said the powder was tested and found to be harmless, but the person who sent the letters had said some letters could contain actual harmful material, Politico reported.

The letters originated in Oregon.

"While none of the mail received and tested thus far has been found to be harmful, it is clear that the person sending these letters is organized and committed, and the potential to do harm remains very real," Gainer said in an e-mail.

He said suspicious mail with an Oregon return address should not be opened.

The U.S. Capitol enhanced precautions in handling incoming mail in 2001 when letters containing anthrax were sent to several news bureaus and Senate officials.

"This rash of suspicious letters demonstrates once again how important it is for Senate offices to follow recommended mail-handling protocols," Gainer was quoted as saying Thursday.

2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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