You no doubt remember the atmosphere of fear and even panic in mid-September 2001 as 22 people contracted anthrax from letters mailed to news outlets and to Congress. People died then -- two postal employees and three other innocent citizens. Those troubling days returned to my mind last week when we learned that the deadly poison ricin had been found in letters mailed to the Senate and to President Obama. Fortunately, no one has died this time.
The manner in which these letters were discovered shows that our nation has, at least, learned one lesson from the anthrax attacks: Both letters were opened and tested in off-site mail facilities set up after the anthrax attacks. Yet I am troubled that other lessons remain unlearned.
How could the FBI have responded more appropriately in the immediate aftermath of the anthrax attacks? Did the FBI truly build a sound scientific and criminal case against Bruce Ivins, the suspect held responsible for the attacks? Is the government's current response to the ricin attacks repeating errors of the past?
I have previously offered legislation that would create a special commission, modeled after the 9/11 Commission, to investigate the anthrax attacks and determine what lessons we can learn still. As last week's poisoned mailings demonstrate, the need for answers remains.
For security reasons, all letters sent to Congress since 2001 undergo intensive screening that can take days or weeks to complete. Should you ever wish to contact me, please feel free to e-mail me at holt.house.gov/contact to ensure your message reaches me without delay.
See Work From 100+ High School Artists on Tuesday
On Tuesday evening, I will showcase more than 100 outstanding artworks entered into the Congressional Art Competition by high school students from all over the four counties of the 12th Congressional District. I invite you to attend to view the artworks and to see the announcement of this year's winners.
Tuesday, April 30, 6 p.m.
Imperia Banquet Center
1714 Easton Avenue
Somerset, New Jersey
As a member of the Congressional Arts Caucus, I will continue to do all I can to maintain strong federal support for the arts and arts education.
Learn About Our Nation's Military Academies
America's military service academies provide a four-year college education, with full scholarship, to young men and women who pledge to serve as the next generation of leaders in the U.S. military services.
On Sunday, May 5, I will host an Academy Day for high school and middle school students and their families to learn more about the U.S. military service academies. Presentations will be offered by the U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, U.S. Military Academy, and U.S. Naval Academy.
Sunday, May 5, 1:00 p.m.
Ewing Township Municipal Building
2 Jake Garzio Drive (off of Upper Ferry Road)
Ewing, New Jersey
Seating is limited, so please RSVP to Scotia.MacRae@mail.house.gov with your name, grade, and school. For more information, please call 1-87-RUSH-HOLT (1-877-874-4658), or visit the Academy Nominations section of my website to see the procedures that applied for the applicants last fall. This year's procedures will be similar.
Member of Congress