by Charles A. Monagan
May 11, 2012
08:42 AM
On Connecticut

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As reported in the New Haven Register and other places, Connecticut continues to be plagued by incidents involving unidentified white powder being sent to public buildings including schools and government offices. The three latest targets—a government building in Waterbury as well as schools in Newington and Manchester—remain closed today as investigators try to determine the cause of the mailings. These seem to be part of a larger onslaught that has been taking place since this past February, when Sen. Joe Lieberman's Hartford office received an envelope containing white powder, followed by three schools getting the same treatment in March.

Despite causing fear and confusion for the public and myriad issues for law enforcement, the white powder in all these incidents has been physically harmless. Of course, like many other people, my mind immediately goes back to October 2001 and the senseless death of 94-year-old Ottile Lundgren of Oxford, who was one of five people killed by anthrax spores that were sent through the mail. As I noted last October on the 10-year anniversary of the event, although the case has been officially closed by the FBI, many questions remain as to who perpetrated the murders. Last year, three scientists suggested that the man whom the FBI claimed was responsible, Dr. Bruce Ivins, may not have created the deadly spores. If you recall, the FBI has never been able to prove Ivins guilt, a situation that muddled further when the scientist committed suicide in 2008.

Guilty or not, Ivins is gone, and someone else is responsible for the current spate of tainted mailings. The question now is whether it's more than one person and if law enforcement can apprehend everyone involved. Given the difficulties in tracking down whoever was sending weapons-grade anthrax—a substance only made by a few people on the planet—it will be serious challenge to capture those sending more commonly made substances.

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