WASHINGTON — Federal authorities are investigating a documentary film crew that allegedly sent letters to Congress mimicking the anthrax mailings weeks after the 9/11 attacks.
An official said the investigation started late last week and the letters were written to look exactly like the ones that were sent to Sen. Patrick Leahy and then-Sen. Tom Daschle in 2001. The official said the copycat letters did not contain any white powder. He spoke on condition of anonymity because the case is still under investigation.
After anthrax-laced letters were sent to lawmakers and media outlets in late 2001, the FBI and the Justice Department spent years searching unsuccessfully for the culprit.
The mailings killed five people and sickened 17 others. Coming shortly after the 2001 terror attacks, the case stoked fears about public safety and raised new questions about the government's ability to protect its citizens from terror attacks.
As a result, officials also made drastic changes in how Congress receives and inspects its mail.
In 2008, Army scientist Bruce Ivins, who had worked for the government on anthrax, killed himself amid intense scrutiny from prosecutors.
Authorities declared they had solved the "Amerithrax" case, but some, including Leahy, remained skeptical.