Threats force federal offices to close in Fort Collins, 4 other states

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has temporarily closed six offices in five states, including Colorado, after receiving several anonymous threats, USDA spokesman Matthew Herrick said Tuesday.

Monday’s anonymous messages were about the safety of USDA personnel and facilities. No other details were immediately released.

Several signs on buildings of the Natural Resources Conservation Service at 2150 Centre St. in Fort Collins said offices were closed.

The U.S. Forest Service said its building in Fort Collins, which includes the Canyon Lakes Ranger District Office for the Roosevelt and Arapaho national forests, have also been closed.

In an email to employees, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the USDA is closing the offices “due to the serious nature of these threats.” He did not elaborate on the threats or say how they were received. He asked employees to be aware of their surroundings and report any suspicious activity.

White House Spokesman 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.”

Besides Fort Collins, the affected offices are in Hamden, Conn.; Beltsville, Md.; Raleigh, N.C.; and Kearneysville and Leetown, W.Va.

All will remain closed as a precaution until further notice.

Herrick said the department is working closely with local and federal law enforcement, including the FBI, to determine whether the threats are credible.