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The PJ Tatler

Bridget Johnson


February 22, 2013 - 1:44 pm

A white powdery substance was found in letters opened a short time apart at two Republican congressman’s district offices today.

Rep. Scott Rigell’s (R-Va.) office said the staff at the Virginia Beach office are “fine.” A haz-mat crew was dispatched to the scene, seizing the suspicious letter and leaving many questions unanswered at the office.

“Earlier this afternoon a letter was received and opened in our Virginia Beach office which contained an unidentified substance. The local authorities as well as the United States Capitol Police were alerted and the office was immediately evacuated,” Rigell’s office said in a statement.

“The Virginia Beach fire and police departments responded with great speed and the letter was removed. It will be analyzed to determine if the contents were harmful in nature. Since the staff member who opened the letter immediately put it aside once the substance was noticed, the subject and intent of the letter is not known.”

The fire department initially determined the substance to be harmless, but it will be sent for further testing.

NBC affiliate WAVY reported a white powdery substance was also found at Rep. Randy Forbes’ (R-Va.) office in Chesapeake. The Chesapeake Fire Department said that is also under investigation.

The Virginian-Pilot reported Forbes’ office called 911 at 2:50 p.m. to summon authorities to the office.

A spokeswoman for Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.) told PJM no suspicious letters had been received at their offices.

Forbes, Rigell, and Wittman are holding an event Monday in Virginia Beach to discuss the impact sequestration will have on defense readiness and their local economies. The Pentagon furloughs announced this week are expected to have the greatest fiscal impact on Virginia.

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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