Mysterious Packages Sent To Congressional Delegation Had Non-Hazardous Powdered Concrete
ANCHORAGE—Federal investigators have ruled that a mysterious white powder sent from Arizona to all three members of Alaska's congressional delegation turned out to be non-hazardous powdered concrete.Congressman Don Young's Anchorage office, located on the fifth floor of the Peterson Tower, and the offices of Senators Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski's in Fairbanks each received a parcel postmarked from Arizona. “The white powder came spilling out and, of course, at that point, she (the staff member) stopped opening the package and called the federal authorities,” said Julie Hasquet, Begich’s spokesperson. “We're hoping that this was just a hoax of some sort but obviously, you get a suspicious package with white powder, it’s alarming.” The senators' offices are located in the federal building in east Fairbanks. The entire building was evacuated. Only one floor of the Peterson Tower was shut down. According to Hasquet, the FBI talked to the sender and determined he had no criminal intent. He was sending a sample of a concrete material to members of the Alaska Congressional delegation. The scare prompted multiple agencies to respond, including the Anchorage Police Department, the FBI, Homeland Security and the Anchorage Fire Department. The subsequent investigation forced one floor of the Peterson building to be closed for several hours. “We brought our Hazmat team down,” said Al Tamagni, a spokesperson for the Anchorage Fire Department. “We did initial assessment, we went in with some basic Hazmat equipment.” In Fairbanks, the U.S. Federal Courthouse was closed while the packages sent to Murkowski and Begich were examined. “It was determined that the powder was not intended as a threat,” said Eric Gonzalez, spokesperson for the Anchorage office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “Working together with APD, the Troopers, Eielson (Air Force Base), the Hazmat team, it was determined that the person that sent that, did not intend it as a threat. It was material that was benign. It was never intended to be a threat.” After looking at the packages, investigators determined they contained cement samples sent from Arizona, and were not hazardous. They declined to identify the sender.