A letter about healthcare reform to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), apparently from former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, triggered a security scare that briefly shut down much of the Senate on Wednesday.
The typed letter, tucked inside a hand-written business envelope, appeared in Reid’s office without postage, in an outgoing mailbox bin. A Senate postal clerk noticed the envelope and alerted a Reid staffer, who in turn notified Capitol Police about 2 p.m.
A small swarm of officers responded, first shutting down the hallway outside Reid’s office and then taking the even rarer step of shutting down the wide Ohio Clock corridor that senators use for press conferences outside the Senate’s main entrance. Mindful of the ricin and anthrax attacks in 2001, teams of hazardous materials technicians were called and tested the envelope before opening it and discovering Koop’s letter.
“The staff in the Capitol in particular and on the Hill in general are very sensitive to mail that ends up in an office and hasn’t been cleared,” said Senate Sergeant at Arms Terry Gainer.
So, to review. When Pakistani citizens watch their friends and neighbors blown up by missile strikes, it is the position of this administration that they should not view it as terrorism. On the other hand, when we receive a letter without a stamp, we shut down a portion of the most powerful government in the world out of a general hysteria over terrorism.
I’m even going to go out on a limb and wager that more Af/Pak citizens have been killed by missiles than Americans have been by unstamped letters.
Also, this is excellent news for conservatives and really puts the health care reform agenda in a bad spot.