Have Australia’s “white powder” scares been just that – scares? Far be
it from me to disagree with my colleague Hugo Kelly, let alone a
veteran observer such as Inside Canberra’s Rob Chalmers, but security
sources say there have been hard facts behind the flaps.

Around a dozen cases have been potentially harmful – the most serious
when an envelope containing powder sent to a senior bureaucrat was
opened in a car. The spooks, it appears, prefer to play them down.