FBI investigates 'white powder' sent to Speaker Johnson's Louisiana church

 February 21, 2024

A scary situation unfolded at a Louisiana church that House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) calls his religious home.

According to The Hill, a letter containing "white powder" was sent to the Northern Louisiana-based church, which prompted immediate FBI investigation and testing.

The Republican House speaker was made aware on Monday of the "suspicious package" sent to the church, according to a spokesperson from his office.

The church, Cypress Baptist Church, is located in Benton, Louisiana.

The FBI released a statement asking for the public's help in identifying who might have sent the package.

“Anyone with information is asked to contact the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, or local authorities. You can also submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov. As this is an ongoing matter, no further details can be discussed at this time," the statement read.

The federal law enforcement agency added that "sending a hoax letter is a serious crime."

Johnson's office, in a statement, thanked local, state, and federal law enforcement units for responding to and investigating the frightening situation.

"Speaker Johnson and the Johnson family thank U.S. Capitol Police, the FBI, the Louisiana State Police, and the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office for taking swift action and handling the situation professionally. As the investigation is ongoing, we will refer all further questions to law enforcement handling this matter," Johnson's office said.

So far, FBI field tests revealed that the substance came back as negative for anything harmful, but further tests will be conducted at an FBI laboratory.

The suspicious package with the unknown white powder is the latest in an uptick of similar incidents.

The Hill noted:

Threats against lawmakers climbed in 2023, according to data released by Capitol Police last month. The agency said it investigated more than 8,000 threats to members of Congress last year through the mail, via phone and over social media and the wider internet.

PBS noted:

Neal’s statement said the Cypress Baptist is Johnson’s “home church.” KTBS-TV reported that Johnson’s wife, Kelly, who manages a counseling service, has an office at the church.