Eleven U.S. Embassies Receive Suspicious White Powder

By Lindsey Ellerson

Dec 17, 2008 9:58am

ABC News’ Kirit Radia Reports: Several U.S. embassies in Europe received envelopes this week containing a suspicious white powder, the State Department said.  At least eight embassies received letters on Tuesday, and others were received today. So far, all tests for dangerous substances have come back negative.

The U.S. embassies in Berlin, Bucharest, Bern, Brussels, Dublin, Copenhagen, Riga, Rome, Oslo, Stockholm, and Madrid each received at least one envelope, causing authorities to take precautionary steps in case the powder was hazardous.

Spanish hazmat and fire crews cordoned off the embassy today in response to a letter that was received, though officials note the building was not evacuated.

The FBI and United States Postal Inspection Service are investigating the hoax letters. In a written statement Tuesday, FBI spokesman Richard Kolko said all the letters have been postmarked from Texas and are similar in nature.

"Since Monday 12/8, letters containing a note and suspicious white powder have been received by the offices of more than 40 governors’ offices across the country. Additional letters have been received at several U.S. Embassies overseas," Kolko said.

"The white powder in each of these letters has been field screened and the tests have met with negative results. The powder has been forwarded to local laboratories for further testing. The FBI has contacted the governors’ offices and State Department to be on the lookout for additional letters," he added.

The embassy in Bucharest said its staff "followed established protocol for handling suspicious articles" after receiving the letter.

"The Embassy was not evacuated but was temporarily closed to the public. It has since reopened," the U.S. embassy in Bucharest said in a statement posted on its website yesterday.

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