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Initial tests: Powder not anthrax

Authorities suspect hoax

A firefighter dons protective clothing before entering the hotel where Gore's office is located.
A firefighter dons protective clothing before entering the hotel where Gore's office is located.  


NASHVILLE, Tennessee (CNN) -- Initial test results indicate the white powder mailed to former Vice President Al Gore's office is not anthrax, Tennessee officials said Wednesday.

Further tests should definitively rule out the presence of anthrax by Thursday, but tests for other hazardous substances won't be complete until Saturday, Gore aides and Tennessee authorities said.

The substance was taken to the Tennessee state health department for testing after an aide in Gore's Nashville office opened an envelope containing the powder Tuesday afternoon.

Authorities have said they suspect the case is a hoax that originated in a Tennessee prison. The envelope containing the substance was stamped, "This Letter Has Not Been Inspected By The Corrections Department," Gore aides told CNN.

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CNN's Gary Tuchman says a powder mailed to the Nashville, Tennessee, office of former U.S. Vice President Al Gore is not anthrax (August 28)

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Gore's offices in the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel will be closed for at least four days as the tests are conducted, Gore spokesman Jano Cabrera said Tuesday.

Gore's office manager, Mary Patterson, opened the small envelope around noon. Patterson and Robert McLarty, Gore's Tennessee director, immediately turned off the office air conditioning and contacted local authorities, who dispatched a hazardous materials team to the site.

"Everyone here is hoping this is a hoax," Cabrera said. The two Gore aides "are both a little nervous."

Gore, vacationing in California, was immediately notified of the discovery, Cabrera said Tuesday. "He called both Mary and Robert personally talked to them at length, asked if they were OK and is getting updates as they become available," Cabrera said.

Patterson was the only person to come in contact with the suspicious substance and showed no symptoms of illness, Nashville Fire Department Assistant Chief Kim Lawson said.

-- CNN National Correspondent Gary Tuchman, Political Editor John Mercurio and Justice Correspondent Kelli Arena contributed to this report.



 
 
 
 


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