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Last Updated

20 Nov 2002

Source: Associated Press, CNN, October 21, 2001.

FBI: Letter in Post mailroom contains anthrax

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A letter found by police in the mailroom of the New York Post newspaper has tested positive for anthrax, and has the same postmark as anthrax-laced letters sent to Sen. Tom Daschle and NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, an FBI official said Saturday.

Special Agent Joe Valiquette said the unopened letter was found Friday night in the course of the investigation at the Post, after Johanna Huden (case 1), an editorial page assistant, was diagnosed with cutaneous (skin) anthrax. He said a granular substance was felt by agents through the envelope.

However, Valiquette said, it is not at all clear that the letter that tested positive for anthrax is the one that infected Huden.

The agent said the letter, which was postmarked Sept. 18 from Trenton, New Jersey -- the same postmark as the letter to Brokaw -- had no return address. He said the block-style handwriting was also similar to the letters sent to Brokaw and to the Senate majority leader.

The letter had been addressed to the Post's Editor in Chief Col Allan. Huden regularly opens Allan's mail.

Huden wrote a front-page story in the newspaper Saturday about her ordeal. She is now back at work and nearly healed. Part of her job involves opening mail. In her story, Huden said she first noticed what she thought was a bug bite on her right middle finger about five weeks ago.

In a statement, the Post said Huden had directly handled a suspicious package some weeks ago.

When the spot became infected, she went for treatment. After several visits to several hospitals, it was Huden herself who thought she might have cutaneous anthrax after reading the symptoms on the Internet. She went for more testing and was diagnosed with the disease. She has been taking the antibiotic Cipro.