NEWS

US Embassy: No anthrax in letters

The US Embassy announced on Sunday that suspicious letters sent to the embassy and the US naval support facility at Souda Bay, Crete, last week did not contain anthrax. The Greek government, meanwhile, protested to Ambassador Thomas Miller on Saturday over the embassy’s delay in informing the Greek authorities of the receipt of the two letters. Yesterday, government spokesman Christos Protopappas again complained at a joint news conference with Miller after the ambassador visited him. The matter was handled especially badly by the US Embassy in terms of informing us and there was a clear delay in letting the authorities know, he said. The story broke on Friday evening with a report on Athens’s television channel Mega that a letter containing bacteria had arrived in a diplomatic pouch from the State Department and had been opened in the embassy mail room. It turned out the letter had arrived at the embassy two days earlier. A second letter arrived at the Souda Bay base on Friday. Lab tests… confirmed that bacteria from a diplomatic mailbag that arrived at the embassy on October 31 is not anthrax, an embassy statement said on Sunday. It said that the letter to the US base had also turned out to be free of anthrax. In his regular briefing yesterday, Protopappas said that the issue was now closed. Miller, he added, had acknowledged that there was a lag in informing the Greek government and committed himself to cooperating fully with the Greek State in future.