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Postal police, inspectors on anthrax case

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The chief postal inspector said he has assigned virtually all of the country's postal investigators to the anthrax mail investigation.

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"I have 1,900 postal inspectors nationwide, and we have 1,400 uniformed postal police officers at our major facilities, and what I have told my people, unless it is an act of violence or something you have to respond to, you have one case you're working on, and that's this one," said Kenneth Weaver, chief postal inspector for the U.S. Postal Service.

Weaver said public confidence in the mail system is essential to the survival of the Postal Service and the economy. Between 8 percent and 9 percent of the U.S. gross national product depends on the mail system, he said.

Weaver did not elaborate on the anthrax investigation but said three people have been arrested in anthrax mailing hoaxes and another six or eight cases are pending. "There's not a United States attorney in the country that won't accept one of these cases for prosecution right now," he said.

Weaver also said Postmaster General John "Jack" E. Potter is committed to buying technology to screen mail. "It's not going to happen tomorrow, but within a period of weeks or a month you're going to see some dramatic changes in the organization to where we can provide added protection and possibly sanitize that mail that is coming into our network," Weaver said.

Weaver spoke at a government-industry training conference.


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