US embassy cable - 03COLOMBO126

SUSPICIOUS WHITE POWDER AT AMEMBASSY COLOMBO

Identifier: 03COLOMBO126
Wikileaks: View 03COLOMBO126 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Colombo
Created: 2003-01-23 09:24:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Tags: ASEC AMED PTER CE MIssion Security
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS COLOMBO 000126 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
FOR DS/IP/SA, DS/IP/SPC/CCBC, DS/OP/SPC/WMD, M/MED AND 
SA/INS 
New Delhi for RMO 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ASEC, AMED, PTER, CE, MIssion Security 
SUBJECT: SUSPICIOUS WHITE POWDER AT AMEMBASSY COLOMBO 
 
Sensitive but unclassified - protect accordingly. 
 
1. (SBU) During the late afternoon hours on January 21, our 
Protocol FSN employee opened a locally-delivered letter at 
her desk.  Upon looking into the envelope, the employee 
noticed an unidentified white powder substance.  The 
employee contacted RSO.  Upon arrival, RSO turned off the 
office's air vent, inspected the office and determined that 
the substance did not appear to be spilled.  The employee 
was sent to get cleaned-up.  RSO wearing appropriate 
protective gear retrieved the envelope and locked the 
office.  Without removal of the letter, the envelope was 
further inspected by RSO in our off-site mail handling room. 
Inspection revealed that the envelope contained a 
handwritten threat letter and a white powder substance the 
consistency of the flour.  The envelope and letter were 
triple-sealed in zip-lock bags and secured in the off-site 
facility.  The following morning (1/22/03) the package was 
delivered to Sri Lanka Medical Research Institute for 
analysis. 
 
2. (SBU) Also on January 22, a second powder-filled envelope 
was intercepted in our off-site mailroom.  This envelope 
displayed the return address for the Sri Lanka Finance 
Minister.  The envelope was sealed in zip-lock bags and 
released to the Sri Lanka Police for investigation.  We do 
not of course believe the envelope came from the Finance 
Minister, but because it listed the Minister by name and 
address, the matter was referred directly to the police. 
 
3. (SBU) Post treats all white powder incidents seriously, 
but also suspects the testing will determine the white 
powder substance is benign.  RSO is attempting to determine 
how the first letter got past the off-site mail screening 
process, but has in the meantime reissued instructions about 
appropriate mail handling procedures. 
 
AMSELEM 

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