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US Capitol Briefly Evacuated Thursday - 2001-09-13


The U.S. Capitol was evacuated Thursday afternoon because of a bomb threat, which turned out to be false. There have been similar scares elsewhere since Tuesday's terrorist attacks.

Officials say the Senate Appropriations Committee received a telephoned threat. Bomb-sniffing dogs were brought in to check a suspicious package outside the committee room.

Based on the dogs' reaction, the Capitol police cleared the building, sending lawmakers, staff and reporters streaming out onto the lawn. But Police Lieutenant Dan Nichols says there was no risk after all. "I'm pleased to say now that we've cleared this, we've sent our hazardous devices unit in," he declared. "They've examined that area thoroughly and have not identified anything of a hazardous nature."

The scare emptied the Senate floor in the middle of a vote. The senators were unanimously approving a measure condemning discrimination against Arab-Americans in the wake of Tuesday's strikes.