Three remote Department of Defense mail facilities remained closed this morning as officials continued investigating biological detection alerts that prompted precautionary lockdowns yesterday.
The lockdown came just hours after the mail facility at the Pentagon, about four miles away in Arlington, was evacuated and closed. The Pentagon took that action yesterday morning after tests conducted last week came back positive for anthrax, officials said. Later tests at the Pentagon were negative.
As if that’s not bad enough, more than three years after the last batch of (still unsolved) anthrax attacks our government bungles their response.
Spokesmen for the Pentagon and the Fairfax fire department initially said the events at the Pentagon and in the Baileys Crossroads section of Fairfax were unrelated. But last night, a Virginia official said the events might be linked. In addition, emergency officials responding to the Fairfax incident said they were not aware of the Pentagon evacuation, causing Virginia’s top homeland security official to say that coordination by the Defense Department would have to be reviewed.
“Clearly, the big question that’s got to be answered is when did the DOD make the notification and did they make all appropriate notifications to make sure all federal, state and local players were aware of the problem?” said George W. Foresman, homeland security adviser to Gov. Mark R. Warner (D).
Pentagon employees who may have come in contact with the mail also were being advised to take precautions, including providing nasal swabs for cultures and being provided with a three-day regimen of antibiotics.
A source familiar with the events said officials were concerned with the Pentagon’s decision to distribute antibiotics to its mail workers without the knowledge of local officials dealing with the Fairfax incident.
Damn, didn’t we create like a whole new cabinet-level department to deal with this shit? Hello, Mike Chertoff, what the hell are you doing?