Incident Summary:

10/09/2001: In one of several anthrax-related incidents, Senator Patrick Leahy's office was the target of an anthrax (bacillus anthracis) attack in Washington D.C., U.S.A. Two people lost their lives and one other was injured in the attack. No group claimed responsibility for the attacks. Concluding an extensive investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation identified microbiologist Dr. Bruce Ivins as the sole perpetrator. However, Ivins committed suicide in 2008, having not been arrested or prosecuted. An independent review of the scientific evidence by the National Academy of Science indicated that it was essentially inconclusive.



United States

North America

region/u.s. state:

District of Columbia


Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Unarmed Assault
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Government (General)
Name of Entity United States Senate
Specific Description U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy
Nationality of Target United States
Additional Information
Hostages No
Ransom No
Property Damage No
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Weapon Details
Anthrax (Bacillus anthracis) laced letters were mailed to the office of Senator Patrick Leahy.
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?Yes
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Doubt Terrorism Proper (more) No
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Unknown (suspected) No
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators Unknown
Number of Captured Perpetrators 0
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 2 Fatalities / 1 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 2
Number of U.S. Fatalities 2
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 0
Total Number of Injured 1
Number of U.S. Injured 1
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
“Two Washington Postal Workers Die in Anthrax Scare,” Reuters, October 22, 2001.
Dale Russakoff and Michael Powell, “N.J. Postal Worker May Have Anthrax,” The Washington Post, October 23, 2001.
Francis X. Clines, “Officials Voice New Worry as Anthrax Taints Off-Site White House Mailroom,” The New York Times, October 24, 2001.