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SafetyAlerts
November 10, 2001

Terrorists Send New Anthrax Threats to Planned Parenthood Via Federal Express; Forged Airbills are Newest Threat to Reproductive Rights Group

 

 (SafetyAlerts) - 

At least 132 Federal Express packages containing an unknown powdery substance were received today by Planned Parenthood affiliates across the country. Other pro-choice organizations and reproductive health providers received similar packages. The airbills for the packages sent to Planned Parenthood affiliates were forged to make it appear as if they had been sent from within the organization.

Planned Parenthood officials said they are outraged that overnight delivery appears to be the latest method for domestic terrorists to spread fear. They said that Planned Parenthood remains steadfast in its mission, and that the safety of staff and patients remains paramount.

"We remain committed to providing for the health needs of the thousands of women and other Americans who rely on our services on a daily basis," said Gloria Feldt, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "We will not be deterred from fulfilling our obligation to them.

"We are pleased with the cooperation we have received from the FBI following the first round of letters we received last month. That cooperation is continuing today," Feldt said. "We are hopeful that the perpetrators will be identified, captured, and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

"These letters are designed to terrorize us, and disrupt our work and our lives. That's terrorism, plain and simple, and we take it very seriously," Feldt said. "The fact that they would forge the names of our staff members to terrorize employees is truly evil. Their heinous activities will not succeed."

Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Federation, and the Feminist Majority are jointly asking for a meeting with U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and Director of Homeland Security Thomas Ridge.

Details

* Planned Parenthood officials are working with the FBI and other federal and state authorities on the investigation. Tests are underway to determine the nature of the powdery substance, but no conclusive results have yet been reached.

* Planned Parenthood officials say the packages were mailed from the FedEx World Service Center in Philadelphia. Authorities have confirmed that at least 33 of these packages contained a powdery substance and threatening letters signed by the "Army of God," a domestic terrorist group that has claimed responsibility for previous attacks on reproductive health care providers.

* It appears the packages were sent with forged air bills with a staff person's name and a valid PPFA account number. The FBI is continuing to investigate these documents, along with all other pertinent aspects of the packages. At least several other reproductive health and rights organizations have also reported receiving packages.

* Not all of the mailed packages have arrived at their destinations yet, and FedEx is trying to intercept them. This includes a number of packages that have been sent to undetermined locations on the West Coast.

* Planned Parenthood officials are urging their affiliates to accept the packages, place them directly into a plastic bag, and immediately call their local FBI office.

* This latest round of domestic terrorism comes on the heels of incidents in recent weeks, in which Planned Parenthood affiliates east of St. Louis received 170 hate letters containing an unknown powdery substance. Planned Parenthood officials are still testing the envelopes for traces of anthrax. To date, those tested have been negative for the virus.

* "We are pleased with the cooperation we have received from the FBI following the first round of letters, and that cooperation is continuing today," Feldt said. "We are hopeful that the perpetrators will be identified, captured, and prosecuted to the full extent of the law."

* Some of the earlier letters also were signed by the Army of God. The letters have had a return address of either the U.S. Secret Service or the U.S. Marshals, and in some instances, an embossed message reading
"Time Sensitive -- Urgent Security Notice -- Open Immediately."

Source: PRNewswire.

 
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