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FBI Addresses Unrelated Suspicious Mailings Received This Week

Washington, D.C. December 18, 2008
  • FBI National Press Office (202) 324-3691

There have been two issues covered by the press this week concerning suspicious letters. These matters are not related. The first issue involves letters mailed from Texas to more than 40 different governors’ offices around the country and numerous U.S. Embassies overseas. Each of these envelopes contained a similar typewritten letter and a white powder substance. The powder was field tested at the site and then forwarded to a regional laboratory for further testing. To date, the testing on the powder has proven negative for any harmful substance. It will eventually be sent to the FBI Laboratory as evidence in the case. Even though the substance is harmless, this matter is still a federal crime and is being investigated by the FBI’s Dallas Division and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

In a second, unrelated matter, several U.S. military facilities throughout the country have received envelopes containing a computer disk and other material. There has been no powder substance in these mailings to date. As part of the FBI’s WMD protocol, agents in each field office interact with countless people in their communities to provide training on how to recognize suspicious mail and the proper notification procedures. In several instances involving the letters to the military bases, the FBI responded, examined the envelope, and determined there was no federal crime. The FBI does not investigate individuals who write letters expressing their opinions. As this action is protected under the First Amendment, the FBI is not investigating this matter.

Information on how to recognize suspicious mail or packages can be found on www.fbi.gov or www.uspis.gov.

Special Agent Richard Kolko
Chief, FBI National Press Office