Anthrax hoaxes

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The following hoaxes have been perpetrated using anthrax as an implied threat.

  • October 10, 2001: An office building in Montreal is evacuated after Globe International receives an envelope from American Media in Boca Raton. The envelope is not opened, is recovered by firefighters, and is later found to be harmless.
  • October 12, 2001: The New York Times briefly closes its offices after Judith Miller, a reporter who coauthored "Germs: Biological Weapons and America's Secret War", receives an envelope postmarked October 5 from St. Petersburg, Florida containing a white, sweet-smelling powder. The letter was addressed with crude handwritten block letters, with no return address. She opens it at 9:15 a.m. EDT and the powder coats her face and hands. It is later found not to contain anthrax. 32 employees were tested, and none was found to have been exposed to anthrax.
  • October 18, 2001: In Nairobi, Kenya, the Kenyan health minister announces that a letter sent from Atlanta to a Kenyan citizen tested positive for anthrax spores. Two other suspicious envelopes were tested, one of which was sent to a Nairobi United Nations office. These all tested negative.
  • December 2001: Clayton Lee Waagner, 45, was arrested for sending more than 550 anthrax hoax letters to abortion clinics.
  • March 13, 2002: The FBI announces that 10 fake anthrax letters were mailed to various Hispanic organizations in the past two days. These letters all contained a white powder that was not anthrax. Although no one is arrested yet for this crime, at least 35 others have been arrested in the U.S. for similar hoaxes.
  • April 26, 2005: A newspaper in Midland, Michigan was closed and quarantined briefly after a suspicious letter with white powder and the word "ANTHRAX" written on it arrived in the mailbox. It was later determined that the letter did not contain anthrax. The white powder was believed to be from foot powder.
  • November 27, 2006: The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC was closed down temporarily when a suspicious liquid was found near an envelope which had "Do you know what anthrax is?" and "Do you know what a bomb is?" written on it. The items were later found to pose no threat to public health and were not a biological threat.
  • May 25, 2007: A package placed outside of Emmaus High School in Emmaus, PA contained a white substance and has a message saying "ANTHRAX" written on it. No students in the school were evacuated upon finding the package or throughout the event. Lehigh County Hazmat came and determined that the substance was not anthrax but instead a hoax. Throughout the event, there was no threat to any students.

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