Suspicious White Powders Sent to U.S. Embassies in Europe

Dec 16, 2008 2:54pm

ABC News’ Kirit Radia Reports: Several U.S. embassies in Europe received envelopes today containing a suspicious white powder, the State Department said. So far, all tests for dangerous substances have come back negative.

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

According to State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid, initial tests of the powder sent to Bucharest came back negative for hazardous material. Similarly, one of the three envelopes sent to Berlin also tested negative and two others sent there are still undergoing testing, Duguid said.

The FBI and United States Postal Inspection Service are investigating the hoax letters. In a written statement, 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."

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.

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