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Envelopes raise eyebrows

Wed., June 16, 2010

The white powder sent in envelopes to eight federal buildings in the Northwest is not hazardous, but a Spokane FBI official said he could not say whether all the substances were the same.

Frank Harrill, supervisory special agent in the Spokane office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said the white powder sent to federal buildings in Washington, Idaho and Utah was “tested negatively” for human toxicity.

“We don’t believe the substance is going to cause human problems,” Harrill said.

Envelopes were found Monday at an FBI office in Spokane, a federal building in Seattle and Internal Revenue Service offices in Bellevue. They were also discovered at the U.S. attorney’s office and an FBI office in Coeur d’Alene; an FBI office in Pocatello, Idaho, and the U.S. attorney’s office in Boise. Another envelope arrived at the FBI office in Salt Lake City. The find in Coeur d’Alene caused a hearing for Edgar Steele to be postponed.

The envelope found in Seattle contained calcium carbonate, which is found in chalk, officials said. Harrill would not say if all the envelopes contained the same substance. Harrill also could not confirm a television report that the envelopes were postmarked in Spokane or Spokane Valley.

Thomas Clouse


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