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Anthrax Investigation: Capitol Police Hold News Conference

Aired October 22, 2001 - 18:19   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.
JAN HOPKINS, CNN ANCHOR: Let's go to a news conference in Washington -- Lieutenant Dan Nichols, Capitol Police.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

LT. DAN NICHOLS, SPOKESMAN, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: ... environmental sweeps -- or swabs taken from any of the House or Senate office buildings or the United States Capitol. That certainly is encouraging news.

With regard to the nasal swabbing, Dr. Oswald (ph) informs me that after a possible 5,000 nasal swab tests that had been conducted, the number of positives remains at 28.

The important thing to note about the nasal swabbing, at this point, is that we now have some test results back from the House staff. This is the first time we've had these results back and it is certainly encouraging that we have had a sampling now of House staffers who were in the House office buildings come back with negative nasal swabs.

QUESTION: How many?

NICHOLS: I'm sorry, I am not putting out numbers. Dr. Ishold (ph) is continuing to monitor the situation but he informs me that this is encouraging news. With regard to the environmental sampling, we're being guided by the experts in this field with regard to opening these buildings and also health professionals, we're following their advise.

Based on their advice and based on the test results we have received thus far, I am pleased to announce the United States Capitol building will be open tomorrow and the House of Representatives and United States Senate will be meeting in their representative chambers. The United States Senate will convene in their chamber at 9:30 tomorrow morning on Tuesday. And tomorrow on Tuesday, the House of Representatives will convene at 6:00 p.m. in their chamber.

This is an indication that the Capitol has been deemed appropriate to be occupied by the experts' advice we're following. It's also an indication to the nation that the legislative business of the United States continues. However, at this point we're still analyzing the data that has come back with regard to the House and Senate office building environmental sweeps. Because the data is still being analyzed, we have been advised it would be a prudent action to follow, and the House and Senate leaders confer, that the House and Senate buildings will not be open tomorrow. In order to further the business of the Congress alternate arrangements have been made.

The House of Representatives will open office space at the General Accounting Office which is in Northwest D.C. The United States Senate will open office space in the Postal Square Building which is over in northeast D.C. near Union Station. It's important that I emphasize the United States Capitol Police will be providing security for these locations also.

That's the status of the information I have thus far. I'll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

QUESTION: Could you tell us in the LBJ room and whether or not there were positive anthrax...

HOPKINS: Lieutenant Dan Nichols, Capitol police saying the Capitol will be open, but the offices will not tomorrow.

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