NASHVILLE — A suspicious powder spilled from an envelope opened Tuesday at the Nashville office of former Vice President Al Gore in what one FBI agent referred to as an "anthrax hoax case."
Gore spokesman Jano Cabrera said the envelope was received in the mail Monday. It was opened Tuesday by an office manager and the white powder spilled from it, Cabrera said. He described the piece of mail as "smaller than a usual envelope."
The contents of the envelope were being tested.
"No one has been transported because of medical reasons, and no suspects have been identified," said Jon Stephens, spokesman for the FBI in Nashville. "Right now, we are referring to it as an anthrax hoax case."
Gore was on vacation in California and not in the office Tuesday, but he was informed of the incident, the spokesman said.
The room where the letter was opened was quarantined and a hazardous materials team was investigating, said Cabrera, who is based at Gore's Washington area office.
Assistant Chief Kim Lawson of the Nashville Fire Department said the office would be closed until results from tests on materials taken from the office were known.
Cabrera said the envelope was postmarked from Tennessee and was stamped on the back with, "This letter has not been inspected by the corrections department."
Steve Hayes, Tennessee Department of Correction spokesman, said it is policy to stamp letters that have not been inspected but the wording the department uses is different from the Gore letter.
The office, which opened as Gore's Tennessee base of operations in July 2001, is in the Loew's Vanderbilt Plaza Hotel and office complex west of downtown. The building was not evacuated.
There has been a series of white powder scares--most of them hoaxes--following anthrax mailings after the attacks of Sept. 11. Twenty-three people were believed to have contracted anthrax from the mailings last year, five of whom died, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.