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FBI: Gore Letter Possibly From Jail

August 30, 2002

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ The FBI is checking whether a letter containing suspicious powder sent to former vice president Al Gore’s office originated from a Tennessee prison.

Preliminary tests indicated the powder was not anthrax or any other dangerous substance. The FBI believes the letter was a hoax.

``Some of our leads are at a prison in Tennessee,″ said Don Riggin, supervisory special agent for the FBI’s anti-terrorism task force in Nashville. He declined to say which one.

The envelope containing the letter was opened at Gore’s Nashville office Tuesday. According to a Gore spokeswoman, it bore a Tennessee postmark and was stamped on the back, ``This has not been inspected by the corrections department.″

Letters sent from Tennessee prisons are inspected only if the inmate is under investigation for something or there is reason to suspect criminal activity, said Correction Department spokesman Steve Hays.

Gore’s office was to remain closed until Tuesday for additional tests of the substance.

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