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Man accused of mail threats to Congress, media due in court

The 39-year-old man accused of mailing a hundred letters containing white powder to U.S. congressmen and members of the news media is set for his first court appearances on terror charges on March 12.

A federal grand jury in Portland, OR, on March 9 indicted Christopher Carlson, who lives in the Portland-Vancouver area, with two criminal offenses. The indictment was the result of an investigation into the mailing of approximately 100 envelopes containing white powder and threatening letters to members of Congress and certain members of the news media, said the FBI. The letters were postmarked in Portland, OR, it said.

Carlson was charged with one count of mailing a threatening communication to a member of Congress  --   House Speaker John Boehner, (R-OH) was named in the indictment. A second count charged him with mailing a letter threatening to use a biological weapon to Sen. Barbara Mikulski, (D-MD). Sen. Patty Murray, D-WA., said she had also received a letter.

Reportedly, letters received by some media organizations said "10 percent chance you have just been exposed to a lethal pathogen."  The New York Times, National Public Radio and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, all received letters. The envelopes’ return address was "The MIB" and bore a Portland postmark.

Over the past few weeks, the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the U.S. Capitol Police, recovered the letters sent to U.S. senators and U.S. representatives. The FBI said on March 9 that, so far, all letters have tested negative for toxic substances.

“Anyone who sends threatening letters to government officials should expect to be found, arrested, and prosecuted,” said U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon Amanda Marshall.

“Threatening letters—whether hoax or real—are serious concerns that federal law enforcement agencies will aggressively pursue,” said Greg Fowler, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. “We want to thank our partners at the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Capitol Police who worked with us day-in and day-out for the past two weeks to bring this case to this resolution.”