Several small explosions, ignited when incendiary devices were opened in the mailrooms of state government office buildings, disrupted government services across Maryland Thursday afternoon. Among those caught up in the tumult were Harford County’s representatives to the Maryland General Assembly, some of whom were in Annapolis preparing for the start of session next week.
Incendiary packages exploded Thursday afternoon at the Jeffrey Building in Annapolis and the Maryland Department of Transportation headquarters in Hanover. There were also reports of suspicious packages found at both the Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. Courthouse and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in Baltimore.
The Jeffrey Building is located on Francis Street in Annapolis, on the back side of the State House and not far from where Sen. Barry Glassman was busily working Thursday afternoon.
Glassman, a Republican representing the northern Harford District 35, was in Annapolis on Thursday working on some early legislation in advance of the start of the session next week. The 2011 Maryland General Assembly convenes next Wednesday, Jan. 12 and adjourns April 11.
Glassman said that around 1 p.m. the employees and legislators in his building were told the senate mail room had been secured and warning them not to open any mail.
Just before 1:45 p.m. Thursday Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. sent the following email, titled EMERGENCY NOTICE, to state officials:
The Governor’s Office alerted the Speaker of the House and me to incidents that occurred in State Government mail rooms today.
While the investigation is ongoing, it appears that two incendiary devices were transported through State government mail rooms.
We would encourage you to use reasonable caution in handling any packages that come to your office for the time being, and not open any mail until we have more complete information.
The Department of Legislative Services has shut down mail service for the Legislative Complex, pending more information.
Thank you for your cooperation. We will provide updated information as soon as it is available.
Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr.
By 4 p.m., Glassman said things had started to return to normal in Annapolis, but tensions remained high as the investigation into the incendiary device continued.
“I just see a couple bomb dog teams checking the Capitol complex. Things seemed to have settled down,” Glassman told The Dagger.
“We do have a couple helicopters flying around, but have been told that the Jeffrey Building has been reopened. I’m just getting ready to head back to good ole Darlington,” he added.
By 6:15 p.m., Maryland’s U.S. Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin had weighed in on the situation and thanked the FBI for its rapid reponse to the incident.
From the office of Sen. Barbara Mikulski:
MIKULSKI, CARDIN THANK FBI FOR RAPID RESPONSE; REQUEST ANY APPROPRIATE ADDITIONAL FEDERAL RESOURCES
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Benjamin L. Cardin (both D-MD) today sent a letter to Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert S. Mueller III thanking the FBI for its rapid response to incidents involving incendiary devices at state government buildings in Maryland. Senators Mikulski and Cardin also urged Director Mueller to commit any appropriate additional resources to investigate the crimes.
Senator Mikulski is Chairwoman of the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittee, which funds the FBI.
The full text of the letter follows:
Dear Director Mueller:
We are writing to thank you for your rapid response and assistance to the Maryland State Police in the investigations of incidents today involving the explosions of incendiary packages – one of which was addressed to Governor Martin O’Malley – at the Jeffrey Building in Annapolis and the Maryland Department of Transportation headquarters in Hanover, as well as reports of suspicious packages found in Baltimore at the Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. Courthouse and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. We understand that the Bureau, as the lead Federal law enforcement agency involved in the case, has already set up command posts to assist Maryland authorities in securing the sites and starting an investigation.
We are extremely troubled by this apparent attempt to harm the hardworking men and women who serve the people of Maryland. Marylanders deserve to know that their state government buildings and public officials are safe and free from such attacks. Should the incidents prove to be acts of terrorism, we ask that you commit the appropriate resources and personnel for the FBI to fully investigate these crimes so that the perpetrators are caught and brought swiftly to justice.
Please let us know if we can help in any way so that you can provide the full assistance of the FBI to investigate this despicable crime. Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Barbara A. Mikulski
United States Senator
Benjamin L. Cardin
United States Senator