Pandemonium today in Lower Manhattan’s Battery Park City as HAZMAT teams, Fire, and Police swarmed the World Financial Center in search of… white powder?
According to reports heard on 770 WABC while circling the melee, the response by authorities was due to a collection of envelopes containing a white powder turning up at the World Financial Center’s newspaper of record, the Wall Street Journal and their parent company, Dow Jones.
While I hadn’t heard anything on the radio coming in; the problems became apparent as I veered off of the Brooklyn Bridge and could not enter the Battery Park City street that I ordinarily do. I was redirected and had to approach from the south end as Liberty Street that I usually come in from was blocked outside the World Financial Center. There was a solid sea of police lights and emergency presence. Right away I had a sinking feeling as the largely decorated HAZMAT trucks were there as well. You only see HAZMAT in matters of chemical scares and other dangerous occasions.
Doing later research for this article, I found this stub from Reuters online: “Dow Jones & Co headquarters received envelopes containing white powder on Wednesday, and 10 more were discovered in the mailroom, prompting evacuations of two floors of the building.”
New York City and Lower Manhattan in particular has been a prime target for this manner of attack in recent years whether it be from disgruntled losers of money in the market or more highfalutin, political aims. As reminded from the Reuters reporting on the piece, “U.S. authorities have been on alert for mail with white powder in it since 2001 when envelopes laced with anthrax were sent to media outlets and U.S. lawmakers, killing five people.”
While this is nothing all that new for New York City, every precaution was taken in order to avoid harming innocents. It seems as though whoever sent these pieces had done so with a postmark from Tennessee according to 770 WABC radio. There also was direction for these pieces; again , quoting Reuters, these “letters were sent to Wall Street Journal Managing Editor Robert Thomson, Dow Jones Chief Executive Les Hinton and Journal Editorial Page Editor Paul Gigot.” News Corp Chief Executive, Rupert Murdoch also has offices in the same building.
While for this driver, it was just another day in paradise, for the workers at the Wall Street Journal and parent company Dow Jones, it appears as though another potentially deadly disaster was averted.