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Tests show no anthrax is U.S. Capitol building

By Dana Bash
CNN Capitol Hill Producer

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Final tests show the U.S. Capitol building is free from anthrax contamination and exposure, although officials are still awaiting final results from House and Senate office buildings.

Lt. Dan Nichols, Capitol Police spokesman, issued a statement Tuesday saying "exhaustive environmental tests have been completed in the Capitol, and all results are negative. There is no evidence of anthrax contamination or exposure in the Capitol building."

Following the trail at the Capitol 

House office buildings will remain closed Wednesday, Nichols said, "until the health and safety officials have more time to analyze the data of the tests on these buildings."

The Russell Senate Office Building reopened Wednesday. The Dirksen Senate Office Building, where anthrax was found in the mailroom, will be opened "as soon as we can either seal the mailroom or remediate that area," said Nichols.

Earlier in the day, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, said he hoped most of the Hart building, where the anthrax-laden letter was opened, would open by next week, although his office there may have to remain closed.

Other congressional sources were more skeptical, saying they were told it could take up to three weeks for the Hart building to reopen.

Nichols said the negative tests include the Lyndon Baines Johnson room of the Capitol, near the Senate floor, where several congressional sources told CNN preliminary tests showed three positive "hits."

Last week, FBI officials told staffers who were in Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle's office in the Senate Hart Office building to take the clothes they had been wearing last Monday -- when the anthrax-laced letter to the Senate Majority Leader was opened -- to the LBJ room.

"Public health officials confirmed that there was no health risk from the clothes," said Nichols in his statement. "The FBI subsequently determined that the clothes were of no evidentiary value. They are being returned to their owners. The LBJ room has been exhaustively tested and there is no evidence of anthrax contamination. The room is open and being used."

Senate Democrats held their weekly policy lunch in the LBJ room Tuesday afternoon.


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