Anthrax hoax letters sent to Washington D.C. schools

Approximately 30 letters filled with a white powdery substance were delivered to District of Columbia schools on May 5.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has said that letters are similar to those mailed to schools elsewhere in the United States over the past several weeks, according to

Testing by hazardous materials teams has found that the white powder in the letters was not harmful, according to the Associated Press.

One official, under the condition of anonymity, told the AP that the substance had the look and consistency of corn starch. The letters contained references to al-Qaeda and the FBI and were sent from out of state to 29 different schools in the district.

An image of one of the letters obtained by WRC-TV in Washington showed a Dallas postmark. The stamp appeared to be canceled on May 2, the day after the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan by U.S. forces was announced to the nation.

James McJunkin, head of the FBI’s Washington D.C. field office, would not comment on what other schools in the nation received similar letters. He noted that the letters were addressed to the schools themselves and not to individuals.

“I think it’s a dastardly act,” Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray said, according to “It alarms people unnecessarily.”

District schools began receiving the letters around 1 p.m. on Thursday. Some of the district’s schools operated normally throughout the day, but others evacuated to be safe.