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Powder found in letter not anthrax

©Associated Press

© St. Petersburg Times,
published October 29, 2001

PALM BEACH GARDENS -- A letter sent to U.S. Rep. Mark Foley that was seeping white powder and stopped at a post office tested negative for anthrax, officials said Sunday.

"The FBI told the health department late last night that it tested negative for anthrax," said Kirk Fordham, Foley's chief of staff in Washington. A mail carrier at the Palm Beach Gardens post office was sorting mail for his route Saturday when he noticed the letter, said Floyd McDaniel, the West Palm Beach postmaster.

The letter was handwritten in block letters and had no return address, McDaniel said.

The envelope was addressed to Foley's office in Palm Beach Gardens, a suburb north of West Palm Beach.

Foley, a West Palm Beach Republican, said Saturday that the letter could be a hoax. Still, postal authorities took precautions to seal the mailing and sanitize the area where it was found.

The letter was sent to an FBI lab in Miami for testing, where it tested negative, Don Kiselewski, Foley's district manager, said Sunday.

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