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Health care supporter Weiner gets mail threat

A threatening letter with a white powder was sent to Rep. Anthony Weiner's local office yesterday, related to his support of national health care legislation.

Police field-tested the substance and determined it was not hazardous.

The letter was discovered at the congressman's office in Kew Gardens and police were immediately notified, Weiner said in a statement. Police evacuated the office and hazmat crews decontaminated nine employees as a precaution.

A more sophisticated lab test at the Department of Environmental Protection would determine exactly what the substance was.

The letter was handwritten in block letters and directly threatened Weiner for his vote in the sweeping federal health care legislation that passed earlier this week, police said. The postmark indicated it was mailed from within New York City, and investigators were looking into who might have sent it.

Democrats around the country who supported the new legislation have had bricks hurled through windows and menacing obscenity-laced phone messages left. Some have received faxes bearing the image of a noose.

In Washington Thursday, Democrats and a few Republicans revealed mounting numbers and unsettling details of threats against them in the emotional aftermath of the passage of the health care overhaul.

Lawmakers condemned the harassment, but that's where the agreement ended.

Democrats said Republicans were slow to condemn the vigilantism, while Republicans said Democrats were playing politics with the threats.

At least 10 Democrats now have reported harassment, including incidents involving at least four of their offices in New York, Arizona and Kansas. More frequent have been obscenity-laced, sometimes-threatening phone messages. An undisclosed number of lawmakers have been given increased police protection.

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