A "white powdery substance" was found in the mail at Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's district office in New York City on Wednesday, her spokesman told BuzzFeed News.
The powder was discovered inside the senator's office, confirmed a Gillibrand spokesperson, Glen Caplin. The chemical makeup of the "white powdery substance," as Caplin described it, was "ruled out as being dangerous" by local law enforcement officials on Wednesday night.
Gillibrand was not inside the district office when the substance was found.
"All of our staff is safe and the substance has now been ruled out as being dangerous by local law enforcement officials. The office will be back to normal hours tomorrow."
Gillibrand, New York's junior senator and a rising power in the upper chamber, maintains her district office in a 50-story high-rise in Midtown Manhattan.
Caplin declined to discuss details about how and from where the white powder arrived by mail inside Gillibrand's 26th-floor office.
But a source who works inside the building said tenants were alerted that a "suspicious package" had arrived at Gillibrand's office and were asked at one point to "shelter-in-place," or take immediate shelter. Mailings like this one have been a sporadic form of harassment of public figures and others since late a spate of still-unsolved anthrax attacks in 2001, though none since then have been found to carry the toxic substance.
Like other public officials, Gillibrand has procedures in place for receiving and opening her office mail. Other members of Congress, like Speaker John Boehner two years ago, have received suspicious powder by mail at their district offices. A spate of anthrax attacks put all of Congress on alert in 2001, when the lethal powder was sent to two U.S. senators and several news organizations.
This article has been updated with a comment from Caplin confirming the substance had been ruled out as dangerous by local law enforcement officials.
Ruby Cramer is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Ruby Cramer at email@example.com.
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