U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft says there is no link between anthrax cases in New York and Florida. The nation's top law enforcement official spoke at a Washington news conference Friday after revelations that a woman in New York City who works for NBC television has tested positive for anthrax.
Attorney General Ashcroft says the Justice Department has opened separate investigations into the anthrax scares in Florida and New York. "We have not been able," he said, "to develop information which would allow us to draw a conclusion between a connection between the anthrax cases in Florida, meaning the one setting where three anthrax related situations have existed, either that case in Florida or the case which was mentioned earlier today in New York."
One of the three people contaminated at a Florida media company died from exposure to anthrax. The latest case in New York involves a woman who contracted the bacteria through her skin, a condition that usually can be treated with antibiotics.
There was also a new development Friday on the investigation into the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. Attorney General Ashcroft announced that an Arizona man has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of giving false statements to investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the FBI.
Mr. Ashcroft identified the man as Faisal Michael al Salmi but he would not provide any further details about the case. "This indictment serves as a reminder that the Department of Justice will bring the full weight of the law upon those who attempt to impede or hinder this investigation," he said. "Lying, or attempting to conceal information from federal investigators will not be tolerated."
The attorney general also says Americans will have to strike a delicate balance between going on with their lives in a normal fashion and being on alert for the possibility of further terrorist attacks.
President Bush had a similar message for Americans during a White House celebration marking Hispanic heritage month. "Our government will fight terrorism across the seas and we will fight it here at home," he said. "And the American people will fight terrorism as well by going to work, going to ballgames, getting on airplanes, singing with joy and strength like you did today. They will not take this country down!"
On Thursday, the FBI issued a general warning of more terrorist attacks. Former FBI counter terrorism officials say it is likely the warning was issued as the result of new information picked up by U.S. intelligence agencies.