Nation digest 11/5/

Monday, November 5, 2001

Disease unit vaccinates workers for smallpox

ATLANTA -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has vaccinated some of its health workers against smallpox as a precaution in case they need to investigate a terrorist attack involving the deadly virus, a spokesman said Sunday.

While the CDC has no evidence anyone is readying a terrorist attack using smallpox, which was eradicated outside laboratories 21 years ago, officials of the federal agency say the virus is so dangerous it is important they be prepared.

Last week, the CDC vaccinated about 140 members of epidemiological teams that can be sent at a moment's notice to examine suspected cases of smallpox.

Package sent from NBC to City Hall had anthrax

NEW YORK -- Traces of anthrax were found on a package sent from NBC to City Hall, but city officials said Sunday it appeared to be a case of cross-contamination rather than evidence of a new source of the bacteria.

Department of Health spokeswoman Sandra Mullin said the package contained a tape sent from the office of NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw.

Health department officials, according to Mullin, were uncertain which piece of the package was actually contaminated -- the tape, a cardboard container that held the tape, or a letter that was also enclosed in the package.

Mullin said the package could have been contaminated by a letter sent to NBC on Sept. 18 from Trenton, N.J., that later tested positive for anthrax.

CIA station destroyed in Trade Center attacks

NEW YORK -- A secret office operated by the CIA was destroyed in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, disrupting intelligence operations.

The undercover station was in 7 World Trade Center, a smaller office tower that fell several hours after the collapse of the twin towers on Sept. 11, a U.S. government official said.

The official said that immediately after the attack, a special CIA team scoured the rubble in search of secret documents and intelligence reports stored in the station, either on paper or in computers. It was not known whether the efforts were successful.

Firefighters union head faces trespassing charge

NEW YORK -- The city fire officers union president surrendered to police Sunday to face a trespassing charge, the second union leader arrested for a scuffle with police during a firefighters rally last week.

"I'm outraged. I don't think I'm guilty of anything," Capt. Peter Gorman said before turning himself in.

Kevin Gallagher, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, was charged with trespassing late Saturday for trying to cross a police barrier at a rally at the World Trade Center site.

Union officials said the arrests of Gorman and Gallagher came after police detectives reviewed videotape of Friday's rally. Police refused to comment.

Hundreds of firefighters came out to protest a change in city policy that limits the number of Fire Department members helping to recover the remains of World Trade Center attack victims.

-- From wire reports

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