Sachs targeted with death threats
Hand-written letters say hundreds will die; bank believes threat isn't credible.
By CNN's Katy Byron
July 6 2007: 3:21 PM EDT
NEW YORK (CNN) -- The FBI is investigating letters sent to newspapers nationwide that say "Goldman Sachs. Hundreds will die. We are inside. You cannot stop us," the bureau said Friday, but government and company officials are downplaying the threat.
U.S. Postal Inspection Service said the letters were sent to 20 small to mid-size newspapers, including publications in Indiana, Texas, Idaho, Tennessee and New Jersey.
"We take these things very seriously," said FBI spokesman Bill Carter.
But he added, "We have no specific and credible information about a credible threat to Goldman Sachs other than these letters."
And Goldman spokesman Lucas Van Praag told CNN an FBI analysis has "concluded the threat is extraordinarily incredible," meaning the threat lacks credibility. The investment firm has been in close contact with the FBI on the issue since late June, he said.
The threat is unique in terms of specifically targeting Goldman employees, Van Praag added. A year ago, he said, there were threats against a number of U.S. banks.
"We have a broad range of security measures in place to counter all likely threats and we're monitoring the situation closely," a written statement from the bank reads.
The FBI does not yet know who mailed the letters, which were signed "A.Q.U.S.A.," FBI sources told CNN.
Authorities are working with Goldman Sachs (up $2.46 to $223.78, Charts, Fortune 500) to identify possible suspects, including disgruntled former or current employees or angry investment clients, Postal Inspection Service spokesperson Tom Boyle told CNN.
"Goldman has been very cooperative," he added.
All Goldman Sachs America employees received an e-mail just before 9 a.m. ET Friday from the company's Office of Global Security that said: "The firm is aware that a number of local newspapers in a few places in the U.S. have received anon[ymous] letters threatening the firm. We take any threat to the safety of our people and our business very seriously."
But it added, "We do not view this situation as a cause for concern."
The letters were postmarked on June 27 and mailed from the Queens borough of New York. Each letter was handwritten in red ink on loose-leaf paper, according to Boyle.
"There's potential for a lot of evidence," Boyle told CNN. "There's potential for DNA from the paper itself, the envelopes. They can get a lot of evidence from one piece of paper, you'd be surprised."
Papers that have received the letter include the Fort Wayne (Indiana) Journal Gazette, the New Jersey Star-Ledger, the Idaho Statesman , the Caller-Times of Corpus Christi, Texas, and the Knoxville News Sentinel in Tennessee.
Asked if investigators have an idea on why the letters were mailed to those newspapers, Boyle said, "We're trying to figure it out ourselves. ... Usually you'd think they would send it to the New York Times or L.A. Times."
Calls to New York and New Jersey FBI officials were not returned Friday.
Goldman Sachs, one of the world's top investment banks, had tight security even before 9/11, and hardened its offices even more after the World Trade Center attacks.
The bank has offices in 46 cities around the globe staffed by about 28,000 employees worldwide. About 9,000 work in New York City with another 3,000 in New Jersey.
FBI probes letter threats
Journal Star received note targeting Goldman Sachs
Saturday, July 7, 2007
PEORIA - The Journal Star has been added to the list of newspapers mailed threatening handwritten letters this week targeting a major New York-based investment firm.
"Goldman Sachs. Hundreds will die. We are inside. You cannot stop us," the letter reads.
It was signed "A.Q.U.S.A."
"We take any threat to the safety of our people very seriously," Goldman Sachs spokesman Michael DuVally said Friday. "We are working closely with the law enforcement authorities, who tell us they don't believe the threat to be very credible."
A federal law enforcement official familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press that the FBI "does not assign high credibility to the threat" because of the circumstances surrounding the letters, including their brevity and the nonspecific nature of the threat. The investigator spoke on condition of anonymity.
Goldman Sachs, one of the world's top investment firms, has offices in 46 cities around the globe, including London, Frankfurt, Tokyo and Hong Kong, and employs about 28,000 people worldwide. The firm did not receive any of the threatening letters.
"We have a broad range of security measures in place to counter all likely threats and we're monitoring the situation clearly," DuVally said.
The letter, opened at the Journal Star on Friday morning, was written in red ink on loose-leaf paper. It was mailed in a plain white envelope postmarked June 27 from Queens, New York.
Addressed to the News Department, the letter was immediately turned over to the FBI.
"The Peoria Journal Star is cooperating completely with the FBI and anyone else involved in the investigation," said Journal Star publisher Ken Mauser.
The Journal Star is one of at least 20 newspapers across the country that received such letters, which appear identical. Those publications are located in Indiana, Texas, New Jersey, Idaho, Ohio, Vermont, North Dakota and Tennessee.
"There seems to be no pattern regarding which newspapers are being selected to receive the letters," said Marshall Stone, FBI spokesman for the Springfield division. "We're aware of several newspapers receiving letters containing non-specific threats, and we're working with other agencies, including the U.S. postal inspectors, to determine who is sending the letters."
The Journal Star hired investment bankers from Goldman Sachs in 1996 to broker a sale with The Copley Press Inc. when the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) faced financial trouble. It's unknown if that is the reason the newspaper was mailed the letter.
No threats have been made against the Journal Star or the other publications involved, according to the FBI.
"From the local standpoint, I have not heard of any other threats of this nature in central Illinois," Stone said.
Leslie Fark can be reached at 686-3188 or email@example.com.
Ex-workers eyed as suspects in threats against Goldman
July 10, 2007
NEW YORK (AP) — Investigators are looking at disgruntled former Goldman Sachs workers as possible suspects in their efforts to find the person who mailed dozens of letters threatening the investment firm last month, federal officials said Tuesday.
The letters, handwritten in red ink on lined, loose leaf paper, made a terse threat: "Hundreds will die. We are inside. You cannot stop us," authorities said.
The warning was signed, "A.Q.U.S.A."
Investigators have compiled a list of potential suspects, considered "people of interest," which includes former employees, said Tom Boyle, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
"We are investigating certain individuals either to remove them from the list or to gather more information on them," Boyle said.
He said that no arrest is imminent.
The FBI is not placing high credibility to the threat, a federal law enforcement official told the Associated Press.
"Investigators are working on the theory that the individual was trying to target negative publicity against Goldman Sachs," said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case with the media.
Authorities have pinpointed two postal collection areas where the letters were dropped into sidewalk mailboxes in Queens and Manhattan.
The letters, postmarked late June, were received by 31 newspapers in states nationwide, including Arizona, North Dakota, Texas, Ohio and New Jersey. The newspapers notified the FBI or local law enforcement and several made the incident public by publishing it last week.
The letters are being analyzed at the FBI criminal laboratory in Washington and at the postal service lab in Dulles, Va. Goldman Sachs is continuing to cooperate fully with law enforcement authorities, according to company spokesman Michael DuVally. He declined to comment further on the investigation.
Goldman Sachs, based in New York, has offices in London, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Hong Kong and other cities. The firm has 28,000 employees worldwide, including about 3,000 people who work in its 44-story tower in Jersey City.
|Bayonne Community News
Goldman Sachs threat not considered credible
By Al Sullivan
A threatening letter mailed to the Bayonne Community News and about 20 other newspapers nationwide were not seen as "a credible threat" according to a spokesperson from Goldman Sachs.
The letters, hand-printed in red ink, and signed A.Q.U.S.A. were received by newspapers in Bayonne, Newark, and Long Island as well as papers in Texas, Idaho, Indiana, Vermont, Ohio, North Dakota, and Washington state during the last week in June and claimed "Hundreds will die. We are inside. You cannot stop us."
Representatives from the Federal Bureaus of Investigation - who are investigating the matter - told Goldman Sachs that the threat did not seem credible.
Michael DuVally, a Goldman Sachs spokesman, said the firm would be working with the FBI in the investigation and that the company has increased its security.
The letters were apparently postmarked from various places in New York City, and are currently being studied in the FBI labs in Washington D.C.
While finding fingerprints of the suspects on the envelopes and letters, the FBI may be looking into DNA from the sealed envelops, said one news report.
The Bayonne Community News received a copy of the letter on June 29 and immediately turned it over to the Bayonne Police Department, who in turned forwarded the letter to the FBI.
Dateline : Thursday, July 12, 2007
Register Receives Threat Letter
The Glendale Register, a sister paper of the Queens Ledger, Forest Hills Times, Long Island City/Astoria Journal, Leader Observer, Queens Examiner, Greenpoint Star and Downtown Brooklyn Star was among 20 newspapers around the country who received ominous-sounding letters signed by "A.Q.U.S.A." in recent weeks.
The letters, postmarked June 27, were mailed to 20 small to mid-sized newspapers in New Jersey, Texas, Idaho and several other states. The letter received by the Ledger/Star was confiscated as evidence by the FBI Friday afternoon.
In each instance, the writer promises, "Hundreds will die," and appears to be targeting employees of Goldman Sachs, one of the world's largest investment banking and securities firms.
Currently, the FBI is working with Goldman Sachs and other agencies to identify disgruntled former employees, ex-clients, and anyone else who may hold a grudge. "We're not labeling it of high credibility, but it is a federal violation to mail a threat," said Tom Boyle, spokesperson for U.S. Postal Inspectors, who are among the investigators. - Phil Guie
Threat letter sent to TimesLedger
By Alex Christodoulides
The TimesLedger Newspapers was among more than two dozen tri-state and national news organizations that received an anonymous letter threatening the Manhattan investment banking firm of Goldman Sachs in recent weeks.
The letters were handwritten in red capital letters on loose-leaf paper, consisting of only a few sentences and were signed "A.Q.U.S.A," the Associated Press reported. They mentioned Goldman Sachs, and said "hundreds will die."
The letter sent to the TimesLedger said: "Goldman Sachs. Hundreds will die. We are inside. You cannot stop us."
Goldman Sachs released a statement Friday about the letters, but declined to comment further about internal security or whether they had previously received such threats.
"We take any threat to the safety of our people very seriously. We are working closely with the law enforcement authorities, who tell us they don't believe the threat to be very credible," said Goldman Sachs spokesman Michael DuVally. "We have a broad range of security measures in place to counter all likely threats and we're monitoring the situation closely."
Disgruntled former Goldman Sachs employees are being considered as possible suspects in the case, and as many as 31 letters have been turned in to authorities nationwide, AP reported Tuesday.
The TimesLedger received the letter June 28, postmarked from Manhattan. Others sent to the Newark Star-Ledger and papers in Indiana, Texas, Tennessee and Idaho were postmarked from Queens, according to Newsday. The Queens Ledger confirmed that a letter also arrived at its office in Maspeth.
Upon receiving the letter, TimesLedger Managing Editor Roz Liston alerted the police.
"The letter came in, we looked at it and called the 111th Precinct. They sent an officer to the newsroom immediately. He looked at the letter, contacted the terrorism task force and two other officers came to the newsroom to pick up the letter," Liston said.
The New York Police Department declined to comment on the matter.
The FBI is analyzing the letters in its criminal laboratory in Washington, D.C., and at the postal service lab in Dulles, Va., according to the AP.
Reach reporter Alex Christodoulides by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 155.
‘Hundreds will die,’ note threatens - Newspapers get ‘terror’ note
By Gary Buiso
Courier-Life Publications was among at least 31 media outlets across the country that received a letter threatening an attack on Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the world’s largest securities firm.
The curt handwritten letter, addressed to the News Department at the Bay News, states in red ink: “Goldman Sachs. Hundreds Will Die. We are Inside. You Cannot Stop Us.”
It is signed “A.Q.U.S.A.”
According to reports, investigators have compiled a list of potential suspects that includes former Goldman Sachs employees.
“We are investigating certain individuals either to remove them from the list or to gather more information on them,” U.S. Postal Service spokesperson Tom Boyle told the Associated Press.
The letters are being analyzed for fingerprints or any other clues that could lead investigators, including the FBI, postal inspectors and the Joint Terrorism Task Force, to the culprit.
The threat was not considered highly credible by the FBI, according to reports.
Authorities have said that some of the letters were mailed from Queens, while others were mailed from Manhattan’s West Side. The letter had a late June postmark, and was mailed from Manhattan.
Sending a threatening letter through U.S. mail carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail.
The letters were sent to news outlets in disparate locations, including Vermont, Idaho, Texas, Ohio, New Jersey and North Dakota. New York-based Goldman Sachs did not receive any threatening letters, according to reports.
At press time, Supervisory special agent Neil Donovan of the FBI’s New York press office did not return a call for comment.
“We take any threat to the safety of our people very seriously,” said Michael DuVally, a Goldman Sachs spokesperson, in a published statement.
2007 / News
Paper gets ‘Qaeda’ threat
By The Brooklyn Paper
for The Brooklyn Paper
Cops from the 84th Precinct swarmed through the offices of The Brooklyn Paper last week after this newspaper became one of 20 nationwide that received a letter suggesting a plot against the New Jersey-based investment giant, Goldman Sachs.
“Goldman Sachs. Hundreds will die. We are inside. You can’t stop us,” read the letter, which was written in red ink on lined looseleaf paper.
It was signed “A.Q.U.S.A.,” an apparent reference to al Qaeda.
— addressed to the “News Department” of the Downtown News, one of
our long-running editions — showed up at our DUMBO office on Friday, June
30. It was opened by Editor Gersh Kuntzman, who didn’t think much of the
“threat,” but did ensure that he was the only staffer who touched what
could be a vital piece of evidence in the nation’s war on terror.
“All I know about police work, I learned on ‘Law & Order,’ but I still knew the minute I opened it that there would be cops down here fingerprinting everyone who touched that letter,” Kuntzman said. “So I put it aside before anyone else came in contact with it.
“Basically, I took one for the team,” Kuntzman quipped.
Cops from the 84th Precinct did indeed fingerprint Kuntzman on Sunday — his day off — and slipped the letter into a plastic bag.
The missive was later turned over to the FBI, which is investigating why roughly 20 newspapers around the country, including the Star-Ledger of Newark, received the same letter, all of which were mailed from Queens and The Bronx.
The New York Post — which did not receive the letter — reported that federal law enforcement authorities don’t think the threat is serious because of its “non-specific nature.” But officially, FBI spokesman James Margolin said that “all threats are taken seriously.”
Investigators are looking at fingerprints on the letter and even the saliva on the envelope, which could yield DNA evidence.
“Thankfully, I didn’t put the envelope in my mouth,” Kuntzman said. “Learned that from ‘CSI: New York.’”
“It’s a ridiculous letter,” he said.
Goldman Sachs’ 44-story Jersey City tower is the tallest building in the Garden State and hosts 3,000 employees.
The company itself did not receive the letter.
Sentinel, other papers get threatening letter
FBI investigating, wants to fingerprint some reporters, editors as part of probe
By Matt Lakin (Contact)
The FBI wants to fingerprint some News Sentinel reporters and editors as part of an investigation into a batch of threatening letters sent to newspapers around the country.
The letters, apparently identical and sent around the same time from the same place, make vague threats involving the New York-based investment firm Goldman Sachs. Other papers that received the letters include the Caller-Times in Corpus Christi, Texas, the Idaho Statesman and the Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne, Ind.
The E.W. Scripps Co. owns the News Sentinel and the Caller-Times.
The News Sentinel received its letter July 3. It arrived in an envelope postmarked June 27 from Queens, N.Y.
“Goldman Sachs,” the letter reads. “Hundreds will die. We are inside. You cannot stop us.”
The letter, written in red ink on lined paper, bore the signature, “A.Q.U.S.A.” It’s not clear what the initials stood for.
The other papers have reported receiving similarly worded letters with similar postmarks.
The News Sentinel turned over the original letter and envelope to the FBI.
Now the FBI wants the fingerprints of anyone who touched either document, which will allow authorities to distinguish recipients’ prints from others that might be present on the letter and envelope.
News Sentinel Editor Jack McElroy said the paper will cooperate with authorities but won’t force anyone to be fingerprinted.
“We certainly want to support the investigation, but on the issue of fingerprints, it’s between those individuals and the authorities to decide how that should be handled,” he said. “The newspaper will reimburse any of our employees who retain legal counsel.”
The Caller-Times in Corpus Christi has taken the same position.
Local FBI spokesman Gary Kidder said officials don’t consider the letters to pose any local danger.
He said he couldn’t discuss details of the investigation and didn’t know how many letters the case involves.
Matt Lakin may be reached at 865-342-6306.
York Daily News
Teens behind terror 'hoax,' sez new letter
BY JOHN MARZULLI
A new letter purportedly written by the author of terrorist threats against Goldman Sachs claims the whole thing was a hoax "conceived by three misguided teenagers."
The four-page letter, hand-printed in red ink on lined paper just like the original batch of 40 letters mailed to media outlets around the country in June, was sent to a Daily News reporter last month and immediately turned over to federal investigators.
An FBI spokesman said yesterday that the new letter is still undergoing analysis at the agency's lab in Quantico, Va., but it appeared to contain similarities to the original threats.
"The investigators believe the latest letter may have been written by the same person, but they're not convinced the underlying story in the letter is the truth," said spokesman James Margolin. The story revealed in the latest missive is nearly as bizarre as the warning sent out in the original letters.
Those read: "Goldman Sachs. Hundreds will die. We are inside. You cannot stop us." They were signed "A.Q. U.S.A."
The new letter begins: "This letter is being dictated to and written by our daughter so that you can compare her printing to that on the infamous Goldman Sachs letters."
"These letters were not the work of criminals or worse," it continues. "They were conceived and mailed out by three misguided teenagers, two boys and one girl. ... The girl was chosen to print the letters because her printing style was deemed 'prettier.'"
The new letter says that one teen's parents had a "financial beef" with Goldman and the kids thought it would be "funny and creative" to do the mailing.
Those allegedly responsible for the original batch of letters said they didn't expect that days later there would be terrorist attacks in Britain.
"We are now sitting here, six parents and three kids, scared out of our wits, since this idiotic, childish 'plot' unfortunately seems to have coincided with the horrendous events in England and Scotland and a renewal of fears of similar events in the U.S.," the letter states.
Investigators' interest was piqued by the claim that the letters were wiped with furniture polish to erase forensic evidence, which was confirmed by tests.
"We are extremely confident that it is only a matter of time until the individual responsible for sending the threat letters is apprehended," said Joseph Demarest of the FBI's counterterrorism division in New York.
The new letter says the teens bought supplies from a discount store, Staples and stationery stores in Westchester and Connecticut and on Long Island.
It also states the threats were mailed from random locations in Queens and the Bronx to newspaper addresses obtained at a public library.
Anyone with information is asked
to call the FBI at (212) 384-1500.
Letter to Newsday claims Goldman threat a hoax
BY ROCCO PARASCANDOLA | email@example.com
The probe of the terrorist threats against Goldman Sachs will focus on a potentially new piece of evidence -- a letter mailed to Newsday by a writer who called the incident a hoax by three teens.
FBI investigators will analyze the letter and its envelope for fingerprints and DNA evidence, FBI spokesman James Margolin said.
The letter, which Newsday will hand over Tuesday, will also be studied by a handwriting analyst to see if the writer is the same person who two months ago, in a letter sent to 40 media outlets, warned that Goldman Sachs would soon be targeted by al-Qaida.
"Hundreds will die," that letter warned. "We are inside. You cannot stop us."
The FBI at the time seemed to downplay the threat, citing its non-specific nature.
Nearly two months later, however, authorities still have not figured out who sent the missive.
The new letter, sent to a Newsday reporter who wrote about the threat to Goldman Sachs, appears to be a copy of one sent the New York Daily News.
The FBI already has possession of the letter sent to the Daily News and says that a preliminarily analysis of the handwriting suggests the same person may have penned the Goldman Sachs letter.
"There are some similarities," Margolin said. "But we haven't determined that it is written by the same person."
The letters sent to Newsday and the Daily News claim the writer is a teenage female who wrote the Goldman Sachs letter. Both letters say the female is writing the letter at the behest of her worried parents.
They called the letter to Goldman Sachs an "idiotic, childish plot" conceived as a way for one of the teens to get some satisfaction after learning that the teen's parents had had a problem with the financial giant.
The red-ink, handwritten letter is signed "three frightened kids and six frightened parents."
The letter sent to Newsday was postmarked July 11 in Brooklyn. It was not received until last week, as it went first to the newspaper's Melville office before being sent to the reporter's office at Brooklyn federal court.
Margolin said that until the Daily News handed over its letter, the investigation had not been focusing on three teenagers.
But, Margolin said, there is still no reason to believe the trio sent the initial letter to Goldman Sachs.
"We're not convinced of the underlying story," Margolin said.
Police Seek Source of Suspicious Packages
By CHRISTOPHER FAHERTY
Police are working to trace the source of several suspicious packages sent to financial institutions over the past two days, police officials said.
The packages, which contained ziplock bags that in some cases were filled with flour or cornstarch, were sent to companies in three Midtown buildings, police said.
"None of the material tested so far has tested positive for any dangerous substance," the police department's head spokesman, Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne, said in a statement.
The packages sent to the financial institutions, whose names were not released by police officials, arrived in envelopes postmarked Hartford, Conn. Along with the powder-filled plastic bags, the envelopes contained greeting cards with no threats or messages of any kind, Mr. Browne said.
Investigators are still testing the powder, which the companies handed over to police by the companies, but it appears the threat was a hoax. If so, it would mark the second time in two months that financial institutions have received false terrorist threats.
In June, several newspapers in the New York area received letters threatening the lives of employees at the investment bank Goldman Sachs from an anonymous sender who claimed to have infiltrated the company. The Federal Bureau of Investigation later determined the letters were a hoax.
The suspicious packages began arriving on Monday at 1345 Sixth Ave., 787 Seventh Ave., and 505 Fifth Ave., home to a number of financial companies. Investigators were not informed about the packages until yesterday, police said.
|The New York Post
WALL STREET 'THRAX SCARE
ANTHRAX SCARE IN WALL ST. MAILROOM
By LEONARDO BLAIR and PHILIP MESSING
September 12, 2007 -- An eerily timed anthrax scare hit lower Manhattan yesterday, rekindling fears of terrorism on 9/11.
Eight people were evacuated from the basement of 55 Water St. when a mailroom worker opened an envelope that contained a suspicious white powder, officials said.
The envelope, which had no address, was discovered shortly before noon in the mailroom of bond-rating firm Standard and Poor's.
The worker who noticed the powder tried to smell it. People in the area began to feel nauseated, and Fire Department and hazmat crews were called, officials said.
Eight people were treated at the scene. Officials believe the letter could've been a hoax.