About a month after the attack on Boston, Packages start arriving at national media centers. When mail room personnel open these packages there is a small amount of powder in them and letter stating that America will pay for its involvement in the Middle East. These packages display all of the signs of possible terrorist attacks; they contain no return address, they are not spelled correctly, etc. But the mail room personnel have become complacent (or they have turned over) since the anthrax scare in early 2003 and they are not following their own guidance or lessons learned.
These packages were sent to companies in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Austin, and San Diego. All of the packages were opened and contaminated people in the mail room. Some of the mail room people did not know what they were opening and failed to report it as suspicious packages. For instance in Austin Texas a young mail room clerk opened the package, read the letter and laughed that it was just a hoax.
These packages contained a small amount of anthrax and small pox. The terrorists were able to combine the two in the same packages with the hopes that the Americans would focus on one biological agent; anthrax, while the small pox was able to spread and mutate.
The worker is Austin that did not report the suspicious package died due to his mishandling in a few days after exposure. He was never vaccinated for small pox and the hospital in Austin only recognized it as possible small pox after the media broke the story about the biological packages being sent to other cities. However, this worker was able to contaminated thousands of people in the greater Austin population within a few days of exposure. This was due to him taking a few night courses at a local college in Austin. All of the students and faculty needed to be checked out with about 500 testing positive for small pox exposure, and about 100 died. Those dead were mostly young 20 year old college students that were never vaccinated against small pox.
No terrorist organization claimed responsibility for the biological attacks on America. This is contrary to Stern’s assumption that most terrorist organizations want to gain attention by conducting an attack of this magnitude. Therefore the America government believes with another one of Stern’s assumptions about biological attack: “Politically motivated terrorists who desire to change societies rather than destroy them might avoid killing very large numbers of people because the political costs would exceed the benefits.” These attacks were focused on media outlets and were not disperse over large areas. These packages also contained messages about US involvement in the Middle East and no terrorist groups claimed responsibility. Therefore, these attacks were designed to scare the American public and to sway public mindset towards the terrorist’s ideology.