The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Tuesday it has temporarily closed six offices across five states after receiving threats. The affected offices are located in Fort Collins, Colorado; Hamden, Connecticut; Beltsville, Maryland; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Kearneysville and Leetown in West Virginia.
USDA spokesman Matthew Herrick said in a statement that the department had received “several anonymous messages” Monday night that threatened the safety of USDA personnel and facilities. Herrick said his department is working with the FBI and law enforcement agencies to investigate the threats and determine whether they’re credible.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in an email to USDA employees that the offices would be closing their doors “due to the serious nature of these threats.” He did not go into further detail about the nature of the threats, but asked his employees to report any suspicious activity. USDA employees will either work from home or take authorized leave until their offices are cleared to open again.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the Department of Homeland Security is working with USDA “to ensure the safety of their offices and the personnel that work there.” The affected offices will remain closed until further notice. The closures may also affect tourism, as in Colorado, where the Forest Service’s Canyon Lakes Ranger District information center is closed.