More than three dozen letters containing apparently harmless powder that were sent to District of Columbia schools in recent weeks appear to have been mailed from the Dallas area and closely resemble other letters under investigation by authorities there, the FBI said.
James McJunkin, head of the FBI’s Washington field office, said similar letters had been mailed to schools elsewhere in the United States over the past several weeks. A law enforcement official with knowledge of the situation told the Associated Press that the envelopes contained a letter referring to al-Qaida and the FBI and that the white powder had the look and consistency of cornstarch.
People have been wary of powdery substances in letters since a series of anthrax mailings shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The government eventually determined that Bruce Ivins, a researcher who worked at Fort Detrick in Maryland and later committed suicide, was behind those mailings.
A version of this article appeared in the May 18, 2011 edition of Education Week as FBI Investigating Letters to Schools