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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Anthrax Traces Confirmed in House Office Building

Aired October 20, 2001 - 11:40   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: And more on the story we've been telling you about that's been breaking just in the past few minutes about evidence of anthrax being found at the House of Representatives Ford Office Building.

Our Kate Snow joins us now live from Washington. Kate, what can you tell us about this?

KATE SNOW, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well Kyra, CNN confirming now from both House Speaker Dennis Hastert's office and from House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt's office that indeed they have found the presence of anthrax spores in one of the House office buildings. I believe we have a map. We can show you which building we're talking about here.

It's on the campus of the United States Capitol, but it's on the House side of the campus. The reason that's somewhat significant is, to date the only anthrax that was known to be found was on the Senate side of the campus.

You see on the left side of your screen there, you see the offices of Senator Tom Daschle and Russ Feingold. That's where originally the anthrax letter was opened, the laced letter was opened on Monday of this week. They had found a presence of anthrax in that office, and also in the mail room next door, which you see labeled on the left side of your screen.

If you look to the right side of your screen, all of those red buildings are House office buildings. The Ford Building is not actually labeled on this map, but it is adjacent to those red buildings that you see on the right.

The important thing about the Ford House Office Building is that's where all of the mail that comes to the U.S. Capitol that goes to members of the U.S. House would pass through. The Senate mail goes one place and the House mail goes to a different mail room.

And so the fact that they've found presence of spores in that Ford Office Building may suggest, although we haven't confirmed this yet, but it may suggest that it was in the mail room or in the mail coming into part of the United States House of Representatives.

Again, the Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert's office confirming this news, also the minority leader's office, Dick Gephardt's office, confirming the news to CNN as well.

We do expect, Kyra, about a half an hour from now, to hear from both leaders there, quickly planning a press conference and availability, where they'll speak to cameras on Capitol Hill in about a half hour -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Kate, until then any evacuations going on at this point?

SNOW: No, Kyra. Very important to note that the House has been out of session since Wednesday night. They left Wednesday evening. They closed down all of the House and Senate office buildings.

All the ones you saw labeled on your screen there, on both sides of the Capitol were closed down Wednesday night about 7:00 p.m. So nobody has been inside any of those buildings except for environmental teams, and I think we even had some video of those environmental teams going in and doing some environmental sweeps over the last few days, wearing protective gear.

So that's very important to note. There is no one inside those buildings now. It's the weekend of course, so there probably wouldn't be anybody inside those buildings anyway, except for the Capitol Hill police officers who, of course, are standing guard around them -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right, Congressional correspondent Kate Snow, thank you so much. We will check in again with you later on in the newscast.

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