Initial information from Capitol Hill sources suggested the letters were sent only to eight House Democrats from the New York City area, but a senior House aide said many more members than that total could have received the missives. One source desribed the letter as a "20-page rambling rant," and the AP is reporting "the letters included words to the effect of, 'We did it.'"
The letter did not contain any specific threats against the lawmakers or the site, according to law-enforcement officials, but the U.S. Capitol Police and the FBI are now investigating the matter.
It was unclear which lawmakers received the letters or their party affiliation. The letter was postmarked Feb. 28, a week before the explosion in New York, according to several Capitol Hill sources.
The New York Times is reporting that the "improvised explosive device" used in the attack "was 'roughly similar' to the devices used in two earlier bombings at foreign consulates in Manhattan in 2005 and 2007."
Aides to Democratic Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Charles Schumer said they were not aware of any such letters being received by their offices, but under mail-screening procedures put in place for Congress following the October 2001 anthrax attacks, it may take several weeks before such a letter actually gets to a member or senator's office. Five people died in that still unsolved attack.
A message sent to all congressional offices by the Capitol Police on Thursday night said :
"Attention All Members of the Congressional Community
Within the past twenty-four hours, a number of letters have begun arriving at various Congressional Offices on Capitol Hill. The letters contain a reference to the military recruiting office in New York City. At this time, none of the letters received, have contained any threat to the Congressional Community or Members of Congress.
All of the letters have properly passed through Congressional mail security screening procedures before arriving at various Congressional Offices and have been determined to be safe.
These letters can be identified in the following manner:
* All envelopes received have all been manila in color and are approximately five inches by eight inches in size.
* All envelopes have two (one dollar) stamps affixed to them and a white label with a return address.
The United States Capitol Police want to preserve any possible evidence. Therefore, in the event that any envelopes arrive at your Congressional Office, please respond in the following manner:
1. Do not attempt to open the envelope.
2. Immediately contact the USCP Command Center at XXX-XXXX
The Command Center will have an officer dispatched to your office to take possession of the letter. Because this is an ongoing criminal investigation, please do not forward this email or release information outside your immediate office."
Editor's Note: Comments that include inappropriate or offensive langauge will be immediately deleted. Thanks, John Bresnahan