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Man Admits To Mailing Powder

A man who admitted he sent packages of what appears to be gunpowder to two U.S. senators is no stranger to the Secret Service.

The name of the man, who was questioned Tuesday and hasn't been charged, showed up in the Secret Service database of people the agency has encountered while protecting presidents, one agency official said on condition of anonymity.

Black powder was sent in packages containing sweaters to the Columbus, Ohio, office of Sen. John Glenn and the Burlington office of Sen. James Jeffords. It apparently was gunpowder, although it still is being tested, said Charles Tetzlaff, the U.S. attorney in Vermont.

The powder discolored and numbed the hands of three people in Glenn's office Monday. Staffers in Jeffords' office didn't open an interior package containing the powder, said Jeffords spokesman Erik Smulson.

A man who was questioned at his home in Island Pond told agents that he sent both packages, said Doug Ogden, supervisor of the FBI's Columbus office.

Tetzlaff did not identify the man and said it isn't known whether he will be charged with anything. He put a return address on the package mailed to Jeffords' office.

Tetzlaff said the Secret Service took over the investigation because the packages which authorities have said contained long, rambling letters reportedly contained threats toward former President Reagan, although Tetzlaff said he didn't see anything threatening in the letters.

However, it is illegal to send gunpowder through the U.S. mail.
"There were a number of possible federal violations that were being looked at; what I think we are left with is a possible violation of the postal laws," Tetzlaff said.

Written by Anne Wallace Allen
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