WASHINGTON – The Secret Service is investigating two vials containing salmonella that were sent to former President Clinton's office in Harlem. The agency said there is no connection to the anthrax scares.
"This has nothing to do with the other mailings" that have spread anthrax in Washington, New York, New Jersey and Florida, Secret Service spokesman Jim Mackin said. Salmonella is a common food poisoning bacteria that rarely is deadly.
Mackin said 15 vials containing an unknown substance were in a package received at Clinton's office in early October. Tests showed the bacteria was "not lab-cultured salmonella," he said. Instead, the fermentation process turned the substance into salmonella in two of the vials, Mackin said.
He said "certain writings" were included with the package, but he did not elaborate. Clinton did not handle the package and nobody has gotten sick from it.
No other contamination was found but the Secret Service is continuing to investigate the matter. He would not divulge the postmark but said it had been in the mail "for some time."
"All of our protectees from time to time get letters that can be classified as unusual," he said. "The timing is bad."