The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has decided to open the offices it had closed as a result of anonymous email threats. Through its spokesman Mathew Herrick, the department said that it would reopen its offices in Colorado, West Virginia, Kearneysville and North Carolina before Friday to allow resumption of normal operations. Following the Monday email threats, the offices will now have additional security measures put in place 24/7. However, other offices in Hamden, Connecticut, and Leetown will remain closed until effective security solutions are put into place.
A lot of facilities had been affected by the email threat. Even the USDA agencies such as the Food Safety and Inspection Service and Forest Service were closed. Its sprawling research center in Maryland was also not spared in the process. Employees were told to go home after the threat emails were received on late Monday. Through a memo circulated in the company’s intranet, the employees had been told to wait for security improvements and notification from the officials on when to resume work.
The White House together with the Department of Homeland Security is working on the case to ensure all the USDA offices get adequate security. The White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that the department has already made a significant progress to ensure its facilities and workforce are protected. Officials remain adamant that other facilities will reopen soon.
Apparently, the email came from one source and was sent to several employees from different offices of the department in five states. The department is also working with the FBI to determine the source of the email and gauge whether it is real or not. Various sources reveal that the closure might have affected tourism in Colorado. Tourists usually throng the Canyon Lakes Ranger District, which is controlled by the Forest Service. Many people think that this was just a mild form of bluffing from cyber criminals. Many are hoping everything will be back to normal soon