White Powder Found in AP Newsroom Forces Evacuation

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By: Joe Strupp and AP

A suspicious powder found inside the New York headquarters of the Associated Press today, apparently arriving in package mailed to AP Photos, forced the temporary evacuation of the 14th floor newsroom, according to AP Spokesman Jack Stokes.

At least 200 employees were forced to evacuate the area at about 2 p.m. for about an hour and a half. News employees moved to computer terminals on the 15th floor, and news operations were not disrupted. Employees returned to their desks about an hour later.

City officials conducted an onsite test of the substance and initial reports indicated it was harmless, Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll said. The envelope was taken to a lab for further testing.

“The initial result indicates the substance is not a threatening substance,” said Stokes. He said AP occupies four top floors of the building, which also houses the New York Daily News. But only the 14th floor AP newsroom was affected.

The envelope, which also contained explicit photographs, came to the AP’s mail department on the 15th floor of the building at 450 W. 33rd St. and was delivered to an employee in the newsroom on the 14th floor.

Five people who had contact with the substance or were nearby when the envelope was opened were asked to wash down as a precaution.

The mail scare came four days after a suspicious package leaking white powder was found near CNN’s office at U.N. headquarters. That substance was found to be flour.

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