Knoxville clinics test negative for anthrax

From Staff Reports

   Threatening letters received at three different reproductive health clinics in Knoxville on Monday have tested negative for the anthrax virus, according to R. Joe Clark, Special Agent in Charge of the Knoxville Division of the FBI.
   Doctor Philip Baker of the Eastern Regional Testing Center of the Tennessee Department of Health advised the FBI of the negative results Wednesday morning. Clark advised that a fourth letter, which was received by a clinic in Oak Ridge, is currently being tested in Nashville with results expected within 24 hours.
   Doctor Baker has advised the FBI that the three Tennessee Department of Health Laboratories have tested between 130 and 150 suspicious specimens in recent days, and that all of these samples have tested negative for anthrax.
   Paraphrasing Attorney General John Ashcroft, Clark said, "False threats of anthrax attacks are serious violations of the law and grotesque transgressions of the public trust. False terrorist threats tax the resources of an already overburdened enforcement system and the public health system. They create illegitimate alarm in a time of legitimate concern.
   "Terrorist hoaxes are not victimless crimes, but are the destructive acts of cowards. The FBI will investigate those who issue false anthrax threats or any other form of terrorist threats and bring them to justice," Clark said.