The FBI is trying to determine who sent more than 100 suspicious letters containing apparently harmless white powder that have been sent to public officials in at least seven states in recent weeks, some with odd messages and bearing the return addresses of dead transgender people, reports the Wall Street Journal. Intended recipients included Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) and GOP state lawmakers in Montana and Kansas, where authorities have identified scores of such letters. While most letters went to Republicans, a motive remains unknown. The U.S. Postal Service intercepted several letters before they arrived at their target destinations. The white powder doesn’t appear to be dangerous but the discoveries have shaken public officials who have received them. The suspicious letters have been discovered in Kansas, Florida, Georgia, Colorado, Montana, Tennessee and Washington, D.C. Law-enforcement officials have warned of a sharp increase in violent threat against elected officials, judges, election workers and lawmakers. Some of the letters contained a mix of fonts and languages and the phrase, “it is important not to choke on your ambition." Many were signed with the misspelled phrase “Your secret despirer.” “Law-enforcement and public-safety officials are working to determine how many letters were sent, the individual or individuals responsible for the letters, and the motive behind the letters,” the FBI said. The wave of letters was reminiscent of anthrax-laced letters sent through the U.S. mail to government offices and newsrooms after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The anthrax killed five Americans and sickened 17. The FBI blamed those attacks on a scientist at a government biodefense lab. The U.S. Marshals Service logged 3,706 threats and inappropriate communications against judges and other protectees in the year ending Sept. 30, 2022, a nearly 60% increase from the 2,357 reported in 2016.
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