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Anthrax Tests Negative at FCC

About one-dozen Federal Communications Commission employees who handle mail
were tested for anthrax last week, and none came back positive for exposure to
the potentially fatal disease, FCC spokesman David Fiske said Tuesday.

Fiske said FCC officials also ordered the agency's Washington, D.C.,
headquarters building swept for anthrax spores in certain mail-processing
centers and two bureaus that receive large volumes of mail. Building
test results were not in yet but were due shortly, he said.

The FCC also had tested a mail facility in Capitol Heights, Md., and a field
office in Gettysburg, Pa., and those results were due shortly, as well, Fiske said.

Andrew Fishel, the FCC's managing director, ordered the personnel testing and
property sweeps with the approval of FCC chairman Michael Powell, Fiske said. A
private contractor swept the headquarters during last weekend while FCC
employees were away from the building.

'I want to stress that this was purely precautionary,' he added.

Fiske said the FCC reacted in response to media reports that several U.S.
government buildings in Washington -- including several House and Senate office
buildings and the mailroom of the U.S. Supreme Court -- had been exposed to
anthrax.

Fiske said the FCC's anthrax probe was not ordered by the White House's
Homeland Security Office, which is headed by former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom
Ridge.

On Oct. 17, the FCC announced that it would no longer accept hand-delivered
or messenger-delivered mail at its headquarters building in southwest
Washington. The agency ordered those parcels to be sent to the Capitol Heights
mail-reception facility. All U.S. Mail destined for the FCC's D.C. headquarters
has been diverted to Capitol Heights.

Since Oct. 5, three people in the United States have died from anthrax, two
of them Washington-based U.S. Postal workers. Seven more have been exposed to
inhalation anthrax and another seven to skin anthrax, according to published
reports.