On Thursday, May 5th, about 25 DC schools received letters containing a white and powdery substance, with the look and consistency of cornstarch. Preliminary testing by hazardous materials crews found the powder in the letters received in the district to be not harmful. There have been no reports of anyone being injured from the substance.
In addition to the powder, the envelopes contained a letter referring to Al-Qaida and the FBI, officials said. The letters were adressed to the schools, not to any specific person. WRC-TV in Washington obtained an image of one of the letters that had a Dallas postmark. The stamp appeared to be canceled on May 2, the day after the U.S. announced it had killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
James McJunkin, the head of the FBI’s Washington field office, would not say which other schools around the country also received similar suspicious letters. However, the substance found in those letters turned out to be harmless as well, he said.
Mayor Vincent Gray condemned the letters.
“I think it’s a dastardly act,” he said. “It alarms people unnecessarily.”