Capitol Police temporarily shut down Senate Majority Leader Harry Reids (D-Nev.) office Wednesday after staffers alerted them to what they thought was a suspicious letter which in fact came from former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop.
Reached at his home Wednesday, Koop confirmed that he wrote a few beautifully typed pages on his views of the health care legislation. The fact that it caused a Capitol Hill scare is nonsense, he said.
I wasnt aware that sending a hand-delivered letter was an offense, he said, later adding: I did it over a weekend. I dont have a lot of secretarial help and Im 93.
Koop said the letter asked that health care legislation include a provision to ensure doctors and medical students would not be forced to perform abortions. He has not heard from Reids office, he said.
Sources say the letter stampless and with C. Everett Koop written in the upper-left corner appeared in the offices outgoing box. The postal clerk alerted the office to the letter, and staffers reported it as a suspicious package to the Capitol Police. Reids office was closed for about 45 minutes while officers worked to clear the envelope.
Koop declined to say who hand-delivered the envelope, saying it was too complicated.
All you need to know is that I sent it, he said.
John Stanton, Emily Pierce and Byron C. Tau contributed to this report.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.