|CID Investigates Anthrax Cases |
CID Investigates Anthrax Cases
By Staff Sgt. Marcia Triggs, Army News Service.
Washington D.C. -- (ANS) November 14, 2001 -- Since the outbreak of anthrax in October, the Army's Criminal Investigation Command has investigated 287 potential anthrax cases Armywide, but only two sites have tested positive for the spores.
Small traces of anthrax were found at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Washington, D.C. It is believed that those spores originated from the Brentwood Postal Facility in Washington, D.C., and were not an attack on the Army, said Marc Raimondi, director of CID public affairs.
A postal worker who died of inhalation anthrax worked at the Brentwood Postal Facility, and an infected letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle was also processed at the facility.
All reports of suspicious white powdery substances and suspicious packages are being investigated both stateside and overseas, said T.L. Williams, a special agent for the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, CID. As it turns out, it's easier to list what installations have not reported suspicious parcels, instead of listing those who have, Williams said.
One reason for the false alarms is that corn starch is used to sort mass mailings to prevent the envelopes from sticking together, Williams said.
Officials are advising persons to remain vigilant, but also use common sense.
"We have the staff and knowledge to investigate any potential anthrax situations, but not all powder is anthrax," Raimondi said. "It takes a lot of resources, time and effort to investigate instances."
Some instances investigated have proven to be hoaxes, Raimondi said.
"This is no joking matter, and if someone thinks it's funny to put white powder in an envelope and mail it, they will be prosecuted," Raimondi said.
CID officials do not charge persons with crimes, but if they find through the investigation that someone maliciously put powder in the mail, CID will title them with the offense, Raimondi said. Then the case will be turned over to lawyers to charge the suspect, he said.
If anyone suspects that they have come into contact with anthrax, they should call the military police, Williams said. The police will then contact CID and teams trained in hazardous materials, she said.