Brokaw May Have Been Exposed to Anthrax

ByABC News
October 15, 2001, 2:52 PM

October 15 -- NBC television nightly news anchor Tom Brokaw said Monday he might have handled hate mail containing anthrax, which has already afflicted his assistant and possibly another NBC employee. "I actually saw it [the letter], and I think I even picked it up at one point, and so I may have been exposed. I'm not sure, but I'm confident that Cipro is going to get me through this," Brokaw told NBC's Today show Monday morning, shaking a bottle of the now-in-demand antibiotic.Brokaw said his assistant was recovering physically, but that it was an emotional time for her and her family. "There is a lot of emotion in the family and I think, some anger, probably," said Brokaw.The 61-year-old news anchor said a second NBC employee who came into contact with the contaminated letter had shown possible anthrax symptoms, but that she was also recovering well. Letter Not Random, Brokaw ThinksBrokaw was informed Saturday that the letter had tested positive for anthrax. "I will never, ever again take mail casually. I saw this letter, read it, and one of the reasons I noticed it was that there was a misspelled word in it," said the anchorman. "We have been immune to this over the years. That immunity has come to an end." Brokaw declined to say where the letter was postmarked. "It's impossible for me to know where it came from. I don't, in my gut, think it's random. I just don't," he said. 'This is So Unfair and So Outrageous,' Says Brokaw"I don't diminish the fact that there has been both emotional and psychological scarring that has gone on here, and we are going to have to work to heal those," said Brokaw. "Today we find ourselves in the unusual and unhappy position of reporting on our beloved colleague," Brokaw said on his Friday broadcast, which was relocated to the Today show studios.An emotional Brokaw thanked viewers for their concerns and spoke highly of the 38-year-old worker. "She has been as she always is a rock. She's been an inspiration to us all," he said. "But this is so unfair and so outrageous and so maddening, it's beyond my ability to express it in socially acceptable terms. So, we'll just reserve our thoughts and our prayers for our friend and her family."