Package by U.S. Capitol Exploded As Precaution

Two men were questioned Friday after one of them told police there was a bomb in their car directly in front of the U.S. Capitol, and several blocks were cordoned off, authorities said. Capitol Police exploded a package in the car as a precaution.

One of the men was taken into custody for making the threat, said a federal law enforcement official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was continuing.

A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said police were dismissing the idea that there actually was a bomb in the car.

"I understand from the police that their claim that they have a bomb is not credible," said Frist spokesman Bob Stevenson.

Police took no chance after examining the gray 2005 Chevy Impala near the corner of First Street in Constitution Avenue. A bomb squad member was seen using a mirror to examine the underside of the car. Later, police detonated a disrupting device, causing a flash and loud noise and blowing open a back door.

"We are characterizing this as a threat," said Jessica Gissubel, a Capitol Police spokeswoman. "The two individuals approached our officers and ... made a statement alluding to the fact that they did have a suspicious package in their vehicle."

Work inside the Capitol and surrounding legislative office buildings went uninterrupted and no one was evacuated. The Senate was in session but the House had recessed Thursday for the weekend.

Gissubel said police hoped to reopen streets around the Capitol soon.


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