WASHINGTON (AP) — An unstamped letter from former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop turned into a security scare Wednesday as U.S. Capitol Police closed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's office for about 45 minutes.
Police officials declined to provide any specifics about who sent the letter, and Reid's office referred all questions to Capitol Police, but the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call said the letter came from Koop.
Koop confirmed to Roll Call that the letter was legitimate. He told the newspaper the letter asked that health care legislation include a provision to ensure doctors and medical students would not be forced to perform abortions.
"I wasn't aware that sending a hand-delivered letter was an offense," he said.
Sgt. Kimberly Schneider, spokeswoman for the U.S. Capitol Police, said officers were called at about 2 p.m. concerning a suspicious letter.
"The staff did not recognize it and was not aware of how it arrived," she said. "We ran some routine tests and found nothing hazardous."
Koop is one of the nation's best-known former surgeons general, serving from 1982-1989.