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FBI Officials: Anthrax-Tainted Letters are From Same Author

Aired November 9, 2001 - 15:18   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Good afternoon, I'm Kyra Phillips at the CNN Center in Atlanta.

We have some breaking news to bring to you at the moment. We understand a Justice Department briefing just ended, releasing new information on the anthrax investigation.

Our Susan Candiotti just got out of that briefing. She joins us live from our Washington bureau with more information. What can you tell us, Susan?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: (OFF-MIKE) are giving us a little more details about the kind of analysis and investigation they have been doing into who might be behind the source of the anthrax letters.

For example, let's take a look at the letter that was addressed to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. They are saying, overall, this letter and the other two known letters, they are saying -- quote -- "It is highly probable, bordering on certainty, that all three letters were authored by the same person."

This one particular letter, you will recall, contained anthrax, according to authorities, that was far more potent, more refined and more easily dispersed than in the other two letters. This letter had a somewhat different message than the other two as well, as you will see.

Now compare this to the other letters that were sent to the "New York Post" and to Senator Tom Daschle. Again, they believe that the same author was involved in all of these three letters. However, these letters, one and two, -- you are seeing the letter to Tom Brokaw now -- as well as the letter to the "New York Post", both are identical copies.

And FBI officials are saying that by looking at the envelopes and by looking at the messages, for example, you see the dashes that are used, 09-11-01, that that isn't a style that they are trying to give some meaning to, as opposed to someone who would write slashes between the two numbers. They're not drawing any conclusions at this time about that, but it's something that they point out.

Also, they indicate that because of the addresses -- that, behaviorally speaking, FBI officials say this person who at least authored these letters did not randomly select their victims. Also, from a behavioral standpoint, they assess that the person involved is likely an adult male. If employed, is likely to be in a position requiring little contact with the public or other employees. He may work in a laboratory. He obviously has a source to anthrax.

And FBI officials say they believe this person to be a non- confrontational person, reading from my notes here. He chooses to confront his problems -- quote -- "long distance and not face-to- face." He may hold grudges for a long time, vowing that he might get even with people one day.

And they also indicate, in their view, that this person prefers being by himself more often than not and that if he is involved in a personal relationship, it will likely be, they say, of a self-serving nature.

Some of this information officials are providing at this time because they hope that it will help the public become more acquainted with these letters, take another look at the letters and the envelopes to see if they recognize any of these characteristics in anyone they know. They are also suggesting that you might want to look at someone's altered physical appearance since the September 11 attacks or since these letters were discovered. Do they notice that this person has an unusual interest in the news media? Is this person more withdrawn than usual and someone who might have altered their sleeping and/or eating habits?

All of these clues, they say, that they hope will lead them to the source of the anthrax because, right now, they don't know where it's coming from or who is responsible -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right.

Susan Candiotti, thank you so much for the latest information from the Justice Department briefing. We appreciate that.

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