Long Island Rep. Peter King's Office is Sealed After Letter Scare
Long Island Rep. Peter King's office was sealed off briefly Wednesday after it received an envelope marked with the name of a white powder commonly used in fertilizer and explosives.
But the lawmaker insisted everyone on his staff appeared to be fine and the whole thing might have been a misunderstanding.
A man dropped off an envelope addressed to King's congressional office around 3 p.m. The envelope bore the words "ammonium nitrate," prompting a concerned staffer to don rubber gloves, put it in a trash can and call the Capitol police.
Ammonium nitrate supplies crops with nitrogen, an essential chemical in farming. But ammonium nitrate fertilizer has been used as an ingredient in bombs, including the one that destroyed the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995.
King, however, said the letter scare was "probably nothing."
"The cops are checking it out, but it appears as if it may all be an innocent mistake," said the New York Republican, who has been pushing legislation to require tighter controls on sales of ammonium nitrate. "I think somebody dropped something off by mistake and didn't realize the possible consequences."
Investigators isolated King and his staff in case they had been contaminated but allowed them to leave around 4:15 p.m.
King, who had just come back from a legislative meeting on terrorism insurance, said the envelope was not opened by anyone on his staff and he never touched it.