Agriculture closes offices in 5 states after threats

Andrew Cummings
August 30, 2016

The Agriculture Department said Tuesday it had closed offices in five states after receiving anonymous threats that it considered serious. A federal police vehicle marked as a K-9 Unit was parked outside building B, which houses the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service.

A contractor who works with USDA told the Coloradoan he received an automated phone call and email telling him the facility had been closed because of the threats.

The USDA operations that have been shuttered are in Fort Collins, Colorado; Hamden, Connecticut, Beltsville, Maryland, Raleigh, North Carolina, and in Kearneysville and Leetown, West Virginia. He asked the Coloradoan not to use his name because he does business with the USDA. "As a precaution, USDA has closed offices", USDA spokesman Matthew Herrick said in an emailed statement.

In his memo to employees, Vilsack said employees could telework or take authorized leave.

The USDA says the closures now affect a number of agencies at those offices, including Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), Forest Service (FS), National Agricultural Library (NAL), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Office of the Inspector General, and USDA Departmental Management.

The temporary closures may affect some tourists.

The USDA and U.S. Forest Service offices in the city of Fort Collins are both closed.

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