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Roll Call

Koop Acknowledges Writing Letter to Reid

Capitol Police temporarily shut down Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (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 wasn’t aware that sending a hand-delivered letter was an offense,” he said, later adding: “I did it over a weekend. I don’t have a lot of secretarial help and I’m 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 Reid’s office, he said.

Sources say the letter — stampless and with “C. Everett Koop” written in the upper-left corner — appeared in the office’s outgoing box. The postal clerk alerted the office to the letter, and staffers reported it as a suspicious package to the Capitol Police. Reid’s 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.

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