Washington DC, May 6: Nearly 30 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 Qaeda and the FBI, the 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 29 schools, according to FBI spokeswoman Katherine Schweit. But James McJunkin, the head of the FBI's Washington field office, declined to be more specific about their origin. WRC-TV in Washington obtained an image of one of the letters that had a Dallas postmark. The stamp appeared to be canceled May 2, the day after the U.S. announced it had killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
McJunkin said the addresses on the letters were printed, not handwritten, and each letter was addressed to a school and not a specific person. AP