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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Traces of Anthrax Found at Pentagon

Aired November 5, 2001 - 08:39   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.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Let's go to straight to the Pentagon. We've got some breaking news to share with you now, traces of anthrax actually found there.

Bob Franken the latest details there for us now.

Good morning, Bob.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Paula.

And the were found on Saturday after testing that had been done last Tuesday. I must point out, this is not the mail room at the Pentagon, not where the official mail is distributed, but this is such a large office building 24,000 people work here, that in concourse, there is a real post office, run by the U.S. Postal Service. They have checked twice since October 15th, and Saturday, which was the 30th. They found two out of 17 samples they took contained anthrax spores. There were actually mailboxes, the kind that the customer can come in and rent from the post office. Those samples were sent to the CDC. There have been subsequent tests after Saturday, and now they are finding no positive results.

Now this is another postal facility that was served by the now infamous Brentwood postal facility, the main processing center in the Washington area, and they are operating on the theory that this was another example of a residual anthrax spotting that came off the famous Daschle letter, which of course has caused such concern on Capitol Hill.

The six postal employees who worked here have been put on a regiment of Cipro. The postal office here is still closed as the investigation continues. I emphasize again, it is a post office. It is a post office branch. It is not the mail room of the Pentagon, and the feeling here, is considering the fact it was fed by Brentwood, it was just a matter of time. To repeat, on Saturday, they found two of 17 samples in this post office did contain the anthrax, the anthrax positive-finding, and they have now closed down that post office and put the six who work there on a regiment of Cipro -- Paula.

ZAHN: You made it clear that that facility was fed by Brentwood facility. Is anybody confirming that this is indeed cross- contamination, or is there any other explanation for the traces of anthrax that were found? FRANKEN: Well, that is the operative explanation. The guess, however, nobody has actually traced it, but they were sent, the mail turned up in somebody's mail office boxes, the boxes that you can rent, as I said, and so there's check going on see if there is something more direct, but the operating theory right now, because of what has all occurred at other post office branches, is that this is residue from the Daschle letter that went through the Brentwood facility.

ZAHN: All right, Bob Franken, thank you so much for that update. Appreciate it.

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