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Anthrax Scares Stirs Washington

Posted October. 17, 2001 09:19,   


As the fears on the anthrax terror have spread to the U.S. Congress, the shocks and anxieties are staggering across the United States including the Washington political circles. A letter containing anthrax was delivered to the office of Senator Tom Daschle, a floor leader of the Democratic Party. It can be interpreted as a bio-terror attempt aiming at the Congress, which is a symbol of the US democracy.

The Americans have been thrown into consternation by the fact that the Congress was also attacked by the bio-terrorism, following the terrible terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon symbolizing respectively the democracy and the military power of the United States.

President George W. Bush declared on 15th that a letter sent to the office of Senator Tom Daschle contained anthrax. When questioned about the recent anthrax diffusion, President Bush talked about the bio-terror attempt in the Congress in the press conference before the luncheon with the Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi.

The problematic letter was sent to the office of Senator Daschle near the Congress on 12th, and an aide opened the letter around 10:30 am on 15th. As soon as the suspicious powder gushed out of the envelope, the office was put on the emergent alertness.

The quarantine squad confirmed the positive response to anthrax through twice on-site inspections on the suspicious letter, which was sent to the U.S. Army medical-research facility located in Maryland. A few dozens of officials including an aide who opened the anthrax-tainted letter, advisors and other aides were screened for anthrax and were provided with antibiotics `ciprofloxacin` preparing for the worst. It is a matter of course that the office of Senator Daschle was shut down instantly.

Senator Daschle said, ``It is so disappointing and annoying that such a terrible case took place, but the Congress will not stop from carrying out its own mission.``

A package sent to his office was postmarked from Trenton, NJ on 18th. It is the same as the postmark of the anthrax-laced package delivered to New York NBC news anchor Tom Broco. It is plausible that somebody simultaneously sent the anthrax-tainted packages to Anchorman Broco and Senator Daschle.

Han Ki-Heung eligius@donga.com