Ex-Surgeon General's Healthcare Letter Shuts Down Senate

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    WASHINGTON -- A letter about healthcare reform apparently from former President Ronald Reagan's surgeon general caused a security scare at the Senate Wednesday afternoon.

    The letter mysteriously appeared in an outgoing mail bin in the office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) without postage, The Hill reported. A Senate postal clerk spotted it and reported it to a Reid staffer who in turn told Capitol Police, which shut down much of the Senate at about 2 p.m. because of the letter, which hadn't been cleared.

    A small swarm of officers responded, first shutting down the hallway outside Reid’s office and then taking the even rarer step of shutting down the wide Ohio Clock corridor that senators use for press conferences outside the Senate’s main entrance.

    Some Senate business was not affected by the hour-long scare.

    Signed by C. Everett Koop, a Dartmouth Medical School professor and the surgeon general from 1982 to 1989, the typed letter was in a handwritten business envelope. Koop has not been reached to confirm he sent the letter, The Hill reported.