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New Jersey Mailbox Tests Positive for Anthrax
Reuters via Yahoo ^ | Mon Aug 12, 9:27 PM ET | Unknown

Posted on 08/12/2002 7:55:13 PM PDT by B-bone

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. postal inspectors investigating the anthrax mailings linked to five deaths have discovered a mailbox that tested positive for traces of the bacteria, a postal official said on Monday.

The mailbox was found on Thursday night in Princeton, New Jersey, and has been sent to a U.S. Army facility in Aberdeen, Maryland, for forensic analysis, U.S. Postal Service spokesman Dan Mihalko told Reuters.

He said the mailbox was discovered as investigators checked hundreds of boxes from which mail is funneled to a postal sorting center in Trenton, New Jersey, where four anthrax-laced letters were postmarked last year.

"We've been looking at all the mailboxes that feed into the Trenton facility," Mihalko said. "One of them did test positive."

The mailbox was sent to the army laboratory for more conclusive tests, he said, adding, "We've seen in the past, field tests that turn up false positives."

Five people died and 13 were sickened last year as anthrax-tainted letters were sent to government officials and media outlets in Washington, Florida and New York. The letters were mailed in the weeks following the Sept. 11 attacks.

The FBI launched an investigation in October to find the person responsible for the anthrax attacks. Authorities are offering a $2.5 million reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.


TOPICS: Anthrax Scare; Breaking News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: anthrax; anthraxscarelist; pervez; princeton
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1 posted on 08/12/2002 7:55:13 PM PDT by B-bone
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To: B-bone; The Great Satan
bttt
2 posted on 08/12/2002 8:00:01 PM PDT by Travis McGee
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To: B-bone
There is nothing worse than having your mailbox confiscated and sent to the FBI. I hate that.
3 posted on 08/12/2002 8:06:35 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: B-bone
They just found this mailbox NOW? Incredible, just incredible.
4 posted on 08/12/2002 8:07:12 PM PDT by Catspaw
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To: muawiyah
Ping.
5 posted on 08/12/2002 8:07:21 PM PDT by okie01
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To: B-bone; snopercod
This the kind of detail work that was once done very well by the F.B.I.
6 posted on 08/12/2002 8:08:22 PM PDT by First_Salute
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To: Catspaw

7 posted on 08/12/2002 8:09:29 PM PDT by My Favorite Headache
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To: B-bone; Mitchell; aristeides
Why is all this anthrax news coming out 11 months after the initial attack?
8 posted on 08/12/2002 8:10:00 PM PDT by Fred Mertz
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To: B-bone
It is unclear from the article if this is a private home mailbox or a larger PO mailbox.....very strange that it would take so long to find it. Could this be a more recent contamination?
9 posted on 08/12/2002 8:11:26 PM PDT by JulieRNR21
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To: Fred Mertz
I'd like to know why it took them 11 months to find this mailbox, and for personal reasons. At the time, my daughter lived in Princeton and also has rheumatoid arthritis. Because of the many drugs she's on, her immune system is compromised. This could have, quite literally, killed her.
10 posted on 08/12/2002 8:12:21 PM PDT by Catspaw
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To: Catspaw
I suspect that they either just got around to testing this mailbox--I won't want to begin to count the number of mailboxes they would have had to check if the were thorough--or are just getting the results back.

I also presume that this refers to a pick-up box rather than an individuals home mailbox.
11 posted on 08/12/2002 8:12:38 PM PDT by B-bone
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To: bvw; *Anthrax_Scare_List
There was somebody who kept posting here shortly after the anthrax mailings insisting on a Princeton connection. I forget the person's screen name.

I wonder if this mailbox was in or near the Princeton University microbiology department.

12 posted on 08/12/2002 8:16:42 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: B-bone
That it was a regular drop-off mailbox is even more frightening.

FYI, Nassau Street is the main drag in Princeton.

Anthrax Spores Found in Princeton Mailbox

NEWARK, NJ: August 12, 2002Anthrax spores were found inside a Princeton mailbox tested after workers at a regional mail sorting facility contracted the bacteria in October, Gov. James E. McGreevey said.

The mailbox was removed last week and there is no danger to the public, McGreevey said Monday. He spoke at a press conference with the state attorney general, David Samson, and Louie Allen, special agent in charge of the FBI's Newark office.

"No new cases have been detected beyond the original cases in October 2001," McGreevey said. "With the subsequent removal of the mailbox, no further threat exists."

McGreevey said he did not know when the tests were done. Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office, declined to say.

The mailbox is a standard blue public drop-box that was located on Nassau Street near Princeton University.

Its mail was fed through the sorting facility in Hamilton Township, and was among 600 chosen to be swabbed for anthrax spores by the U.S. attorney's office in Newark, McGreevey said. He did not know how or why the mailboxes were chosen.

Thirty-nine of the 600 mailboxes have yet to be tested.

U.S. Attorney Chris Christie issued a statement confirming the governor's announcement. He said the matter was under investigation.

Drewniak declined to say what effect the positive test might have on the investigation.

Dr. Clifton Lacy, commissioner of the state Department of Health and Senior Services, said the test results came back positive Thursday at the department's Public Health and Environmental Laboratory.

"It was not a field test," he said. "It was a sample done in the laboratory."

Lacy said a department survey of 240,000 emergency room visits and 7,100 stays in intensive care units in and around the state following the October infections turned up no new anthrax cases.

Hamilton handles mail for 46 area post offices and has been closed since Oct. 18. The office processed anthrax-tainted letters sent to NBC anchor Tom Brokaw, U.S. Sens. Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy and the New York Post.

Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

Last Updated: Aug 12, 2002

13 posted on 08/12/2002 8:17:43 PM PDT by Catspaw
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To: Dog; Miss Marple; Howlin
ping
14 posted on 08/12/2002 8:18:52 PM PDT by kayak
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To: aristeides
It was right near the college. The "main drag" part of Nassau street is directly across the street from Princeton University.
15 posted on 08/12/2002 8:19:06 PM PDT by Catspaw
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To: aristeides; Nita Nupress
There were lots of discussion about a possible Princeton connection way back when. I don't recall the screen names either.

I wonder how long these mailboxes have been in quarantine? It doesn't sound like a diligent investigation, unless I'm missing something here.
16 posted on 08/12/2002 8:21:06 PM PDT by Fred Mertz
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To: Catspaw; Fred Mertz
You're right. Nassau St. is the main drag in Princeton. I find it hard to believe the public mailboxes on this street were not tested after the news last year. Maybe it's just that we're only being told about this discovery now.
17 posted on 08/12/2002 8:21:59 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: Catspaw
It was right near the college. The "main drag" part of Nassau street is directly across the street from Princeton University.

How well I know! I was a Princeton undergraduate 1964-8, and worked at the Institute for Advanced Study 1982-91. I have been on that part of Nassau St. countless times.

18 posted on 08/12/2002 8:23:59 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: aristeides
The article says the found the mailbox on Thursday night. I can only hope it's a false positive. I do know that when anthrax hit the Trenton Post Office, my daughter's RA doc told her not to even touch the mail, no contact whatsoever. For months, her long-suffering fiance stood outside her window, holding up each piece of mail for her to see. If it was a bill, she wrote a check, gave it to him later and he mailed it for her. I'll allow myself some borderline hysteria, but I do know her RA doc was so so right.

The mailbox was found on Thursday night in Princeton, New Jersey, and has been sent to a U.S. Army facility in Aberdeen, Maryland, for forensic analysis, U.S. Postal Service spokesman Dan Mihalko told Reuters.

19 posted on 08/12/2002 8:27:33 PM PDT by Catspaw
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To: aristeides
The article doesn't say much. Raises more questions than it answers.
20 posted on 08/12/2002 8:27:34 PM PDT by Ciexyz
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To: B-bone
This news does seem to let Steve Hatfill off the hook, doesn't it? I wonder if that explains the timing.
21 posted on 08/12/2002 8:28:05 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: aristeides
I suspect it is not a coincidence.
22 posted on 08/12/2002 8:30:33 PM PDT by B-bone
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To: aristeides
I have been on that part of Nassau St. countless times.

So has my daughter. She lived in Princeton for about 15 years, but she's move out of the "big city" into the countryside where the overly-fecund deer are in their natural habitat and not in her backyard.

Everytime we'd visit her, we'd go down to Nassau street and windowshop. It's so much fun.

I did check the local papers and none have the story yet, and neither did the Trenton Times. They'll have more coverage tomorrow.

23 posted on 08/12/2002 8:33:08 PM PDT by Catspaw
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To: Catspaw
What is even more incredible is that this info surfaces the day after that Dr. Hatfill fellow had the press conference in front of his civil attorney's office. I wonder if the Feds are suddenly trying very hard to avoid a 'Jewel' of a case.

The Tarheel

24 posted on 08/12/2002 8:33:11 PM PDT by Tarheel
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To: Fred Mertz; The Great Satan
I don't imagine the investigators would have been too diligent if they were under orders not to get results.
25 posted on 08/12/2002 8:33:14 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: aristeides
It was a regular Post Office mailbox directly adjacent to the Princeton University campus.
26 posted on 08/12/2002 8:36:57 PM PDT by eno_
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To: aristeides
This news does seem to let Steve Hatfill off the hook, doesn't it? I wonder if that explains the timing.

Why gosh, yes it does....everyone knows that it's IMPOSSIBLE to drive 3 hours from Frederick MD to Princeton NJ, and 3 hours back, to mail anthrax letters. I've never heard of anyone driving that far in my life.

Seriously, Trenton/Princeton NJ is the precise distance of a 6-7 hour day trip from Frederick, MD, if you wanted to drive far enough away from your house to make a mail attack and not attract suspicion to yourself, but still have you gone for a brief enough period of time that it's not noticed.

If I were mailing anthrax letters, I'd drive about 3-4 hours away, mail them, and drive back.

27 posted on 08/12/2002 8:37:27 PM PDT by John H K
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To: aristeides
NYT has an article on another thread. I flagged you. Sounds like we're being played like fiddles.
28 posted on 08/12/2002 8:38:07 PM PDT by Fred Mertz
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To: John H K
You would drive 4 hours away, but still be dumb enough to mail them from a commercial/university main street with dozens of shops that might have surveillance cameras and where parking is tough to find? I've been there many times, and it would not be my first choice for a place not to be noticed.

Any Moslem profs or grad students within walking distance? Or is Hatfill such an Evil Genius he drove to Princeton to frame someone?

29 posted on 08/12/2002 8:48:27 PM PDT by eno_
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To: John H K
Why, if it was Hatfill, would he drive to downtown Princeton, a few miles from the New Jersey Turnpike? Why, if he did that, would he put on the envelope as a return address Franklin Park together with the Zip Code for the adjoining Monmouth Junction (which just happens to be where the main mosque in the area is)? That sounds like the sort of a mistake a local would make, not someone researching for a return address in books or on the Internet.
30 posted on 08/12/2002 8:49:32 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: aristeides
Why are Muslim terrorists sending anthrax letters to two left wing Congressmen, and absolutely no one else in the Congress or Executive branch, including any number of people who played key roles in the Gulf War, policy towards Israel, etc.?

Why are Muslim terrorists who go out of their way to kill as many people as they physically can on 9/11 going out of their way to kill as FEW people as possible with the quantity of quality anthrax they had (letters instead of dispersal in a crowded place, letters TELLING people it was anthrax and recommending antibiotics?

31 posted on 08/12/2002 8:58:34 PM PDT by John H K
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To: John H K; The Great Satan
Why should Moslem terrorists target the left? They hate the left more. It represents what they hate in our society.

Why should Moslem terrorists attack in a way that minimizes casualties? I think the Great Satan has offered a plausible explanation for that: the letters were a warning and a threat, not an actual attack.

32 posted on 08/12/2002 9:01:28 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: eno_
A professor in Princeton University's Department of Molecular Biology is Bana Jabri. Her research is in immune responses.
33 posted on 08/12/2002 9:03:35 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: aristeides
It's deja vu all over again;^) I swear I've seen that link many months ago.
34 posted on 08/12/2002 9:09:52 PM PDT by Fred Mertz
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To: aristeides
There is a loose Princeton connection with the 9/11 hijackers. Ziad al-Jarrah, a college roommate of Atta's from Hamburg, was the leader of the Flight 93 hijackers. Al--Jarrah is the one who took al-Haznawi to the emergency room on 6/22 with an (apparent) cutaneous anthrax infection. He arrived in Newark from Florida on 9/7 and is not known to have stayed in any hotel until the night of 9/10, when he checked into the airport Marriott. In between, after midnight on 9/9, he received a speeding ticket doing 90mph on the New Jersey Turnpike, which is of course the highway between Newark and Princeton. There is no known reason for him to have left Newark, and even less reason for him to have done so in an attention-grabbing hurry.

If one wished, one could suppose that Jarrah delivered the letters to someone in Princeton on 9/9, who held onto them for exactly one month and mailed them on 10/9.

35 posted on 08/12/2002 9:13:40 PM PDT by Fabozz
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To: aristeides
There was somebody who kept posting here shortly after the anthrax mailings insisting on a Princeton connection. I forget the person's screen name.
36 posted on 08/12/2002 9:14:08 PM PDT by Don Joe
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To: aristeides
I suspect we have a pretty good idea who did it, but don't want to complete the case until we are ready to spring the trap. If suspicians that this is coming from a foreign state are correct, than that is a pretty big trap to build and will take time.
37 posted on 08/12/2002 9:42:23 PM PDT by B-bone
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To: Fabozz
"...who held onto them for exactly one month and mailed them on 10/9."

Okay, amend that a bit. I checked with an epidemiology study done by UCLA and got the "definitive" (i.e., best guess) list of letters. There were five letters mailed 9/18, exactly one week after 9/11. All five were sent to the media: American Media, the NY Post, NBC, ABC and CBS. The Daschle and Leahy letters, which contained superior anthrax and a different message, were mailed 10/9.

The aforementioned study, by the way, is very much worth reading. It also contains a link to another excellent site, anthraxinvestigation.com. That site's author is altogether too quick to pooh-pooh the al-Qaeda and Iraq links, but aside from that he's written a lot of thought-provoking material.

38 posted on 08/12/2002 10:14:38 PM PDT by Fabozz
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To: Fabozz
AMI workers and Bob Steven's physicians concur that his exposure was probably from a suspicious package containing an obscene letter and a tobacco tin holding a Star of David buried in powder. The letter was received about one week before 9/11, but was deemed suspicious and Stevens did not examine it until the 19th. Had the letter been opened on arrival, the anthrax cases at AMI would have started on or shortly after 9/11. The timing, combined with the lack of warning or self-identification and the fact that the anthrax aerosolized readily, unlike that in subsequent media letters, suggests this incident may have been intended as a lethality demonstration or "calling card" rather than a warning.

The editor of The Sun, Michael Irish, is a private pilot who flies out of the Lantana airfield where Mohammed Atta practiced for the WTC attacks. His wife, Gloria Irish, is a realtor who found apartments near AMI for several of the hijackers, and had numerous contacts with them in the run-up to their destruction of the World Trade Center.

The FBI chooses not to discuss or explore the AMI incident on the AMERITHRAX web-site. AMI officials believe the FBI has not been frank with AMI's employees about the nature of the attack, and discounts the domestic loner premise which is, for public consumption at least, the focus of the AMERITHRAX investigation.

39 posted on 08/12/2002 10:51:36 PM PDT by The Great Satan
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To: Fred Mertz
Just as DC is often forgotten in the 9/11 attacks, Florida is forgotten in the anthrax attacks. Coincidince just won't cut it and that strike appeared to have happened prior to 9/11.

Moden science is wonderful. When the details don't fit the theory, throw them out.

40 posted on 08/12/2002 11:55:52 PM PDT by weegee
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To: Fabozz
We don't know how the anthrax was delivered to the Globe office in Florida but it was well ahead of the other mailings.
41 posted on 08/13/2002 12:07:23 AM PDT by weegee
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To: The Great Satan
"AMI workers and Bob Steven's physicians concur that his exposure was probably from a suspicious package containing an obscene letter and a tobacco tin holding a Star of David buried in powder."

There had to have been a non-trivial amount of powder outside the tin, too—the CDC followed a trail of contaminated post offices from AMI back to the West Palm Beach main branch. But what they didn't find was any contamination in the chain between West Palm Beach and New Jersey, so you're right, that the AMI letter passed through Trenton is pure speculation on their part.

42 posted on 08/13/2002 12:14:49 AM PDT by Fabozz
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To: Fabozz
But what they didn't find was any contamination in the chain between West Palm Beach and New Jersey, so you're right, that the AMI letter passed through Trenton is pure speculation on their part.

A very interesting point in support of my argument, which I had not thought of or read about. Thanks.

Again, the timing of that "JLo" letter is very interesting. If everything had gone as planned, things would have been far worse than they were, as if that can be imagined. My guess is we were supposed to wake up on 9-11 to witness first the destruction of the WTC, then to see the White House and the Capitol reduced to smoldering rubble shortly aftwerwards and then, while we were still reeling from that, we would have got the news that people were dropping like flies from inhalation anthrax at a company called American Media, right by the main hijacker nest, and that the source of the illness was a tin containing a Star of David buried in a pile of dust.

And, once the dust had settled and the "unimportant people" at the tabloid had been made an example of, the more explicit threats would have rolled in:

THIS IS NEXT
WE HAVE THIS ANTHRAX
YOU CAN NOT STOP US
ARE YOU AFRAID?


43 posted on 08/13/2002 12:27:32 AM PDT by The Great Satan
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To: Fabozz
There had to have been a non-trivial amount of powder outside the tin, too

The powder in that tin was mainly and perhaps entirely soap powder. If the anthrax came in that letter, it might have been mixed in with the soap powder, or it may have been elsewhere in the package.

44 posted on 08/13/2002 12:30:55 AM PDT by The Great Satan
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To: Catspaw
But was the flag up?
45 posted on 08/13/2002 3:28:46 AM PDT by boomop1
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To: First_Salute
This the kind of detail work that was once done very well by many people who learned how to graph sentence syntax, how to write beautifully readable cursive script, how to keep double entry accounting books by hand, knew the names of all the Presidents and the major battles of evry war back to Hastings, didn't have a magical withholding tax deducted each week from their pay, which was neatly piled in small manilla envelopes in hard-metal backed certificates and coin, and didn't expect the government to pay for their every damn expense and their children's every whimsy forevermore.
46 posted on 08/13/2002 4:24:17 AM PDT by bvw
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To: aristeides
On the great Atta's route north to Boston from Florida.
47 posted on 08/13/2002 4:26:37 AM PDT by bvw
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To: aristeides
Why, if he did that, would he put on the envelope as a return address Franklin Park together with the Zip Code for the adjoining Monmouth Junction (which just happens to be where the main mosque in the area is)?

There's a Franklin Avenue in Princeton. It runs parallel to Nassau Street.

48 posted on 08/13/2002 4:56:18 AM PDT by Catspaw
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To: Catspaw; Fred Mertz; kattracks; aristeides
NEWARK, NJ: August 12, 2002 — Anthrax spores were found inside a Princeton mailbox tested after workers at a regional mail sorting facility contracted the bacteria in October, Gov. James E. McGreevey said.

The mailbox was removed last week and there is no danger to the public, McGreevey said Monday. He spoke at a press conference with the state attorney general, David Samson, and Louie Allen, special agent in charge of the FBI's Newark office.

splain me this: if the contaminated mailbox was tested positive for anthrax resulting in postal workers contracting the bacteria in Oct '01...and was "removed last week"...why hasn't other the other mail posted through it over the past 9 months resulted in additional cases of anthrax?

49 posted on 08/13/2002 5:29:39 AM PDT by thinden
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To: All
Think if we go back, this is an old story and someone is trying to put it forth as new information.

I believe there was another mailbox in DC that also tested positive.

Don't forget, the old swab tests are considered garbage.

If I were going to put Anthrax in the mail and wanted to make sure it got there, I'd put in a the box near the post office just before pick up time and watch it get "into the system".

In investigating, I'd look for a pattern..e.g. Tuesday seems to be a favorite day...Who has off on Tuesday??? and can run around doing errands???

Everything was happening on Tuesdays...

Sac

50 posted on 08/13/2002 5:33:00 AM PDT by Sacajaweau
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