A man wearing a gas mask was arrested early Friday after a plastic container labeled “Chemical Warfare Agent” was found a block from the White House, officials said.
The incident prompted officials to shut down the area temporarily, but Susan Lloyd of the FBI’s Washington field office said the jug contained only tap water.
A disheveled-looking man wearing a gas mask was taken into custody by the Secret Service and sent for psychiatric observation to St. Elizabeths Hospital, said Secret Service Agent Jim Mackin.
“He called our Washington field office last night and told our agents of the container,” Mackin said. “That’s why, within 10 minutes, the area was cordoned off and evacuated.”
Mackin said the 34-year-old man, who was not identified, would be charged.
The bottle had been left in a public telephone kiosk in front of the Treasury Department, one block from the Executive Mansion. Hazardous materials specialists removed it about three hours after it was found.