NEW YORK – About 150 employees were briefly evacuated from the headquarters newsroom of The Associated Press on Tuesday after a staffer opened an envelope containing an unknown white powder.
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 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.
Around 2 p.m., staffers were asked to leave the 14th floor while the test was conducted. 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.
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.