Friday, November 30, 2001

Remember 9-11-01

Hazardous-materials workers suited up at the state Capitol yesterday to investigate a suspicious letter to Gov. Cayetano.

FBI looks into
threatening letter
to gov

A white powder found with the
letter results in some evacuations

By Richard Borreca

The FBI is "aggressively investigating" a threatening letter containing a white powder that was sent to Gov. Ben Cayetano because of the serious nature of the threat, spokeswoman Pam McCullough said.

McCullough said she knows of no other such threats against any other governor in the United States.

Students from Highland Intermediate School, who were on a field trip at the state Capitol yesterday, were evacuated to the Capitol lawn due to the hazardous-materials scare. Tests at the scene and at a state laboratory turned up no traces of anthrax.

Police, the Honolulu Fire Department hazardous-materials squad and the FBI descended on the state Capitol yesterday shortly after 11 a.m., when a state worker opening mail in Cayetano's offices discovered an envelope with a white substance.

Jackie Kido, Cayetano's communications director, said state Health Director Bruce Anderson was called, along with the hazardous-materials unit.

The Capitol's elevators were shut, the air conditioning to the fifth floor was turned off, and the 13 people working in the lieutenant governor's office, which shares the Capitol's fifth floor, were evacuated.

State workers in the governor's office, however, did not leave.

Cayetano was working at Washington Place and was not in his office.

Field tests at the scene showed no traces of anthrax, but the letter was also tested by the state's laboratory in Pearl City, Kido said. Results from that test also showed no signs of anthrax.

Kido said she and the person who opened the letter were questioned yesterday afternoon by the FBI.

The letter was described as "of a threatening nature," said Kido, who added she did not know what the threat was about. The envelope had a return address and a Hawaii postmark.

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