How It Really Happened investigates the 2001 anthrax attacks tonight on TV

 How It Really Happened - Anthrax: Terror by Mail episode.
How It Really Happened - Anthrax: Terror by Mail episode.

The post-9/11 period in America was understandably a heightened time, made even more so by the anthrax scare that occurred in the United States in the weeks following the September 11 terrorist attacks, which CNN will delve into in tonight's episode of How It Really Happened with Jesse L. Martin.

In 2001, powdered anthrax spores—a bacteria whose spread and fatality earned it the nickname “the poor man’s nuclear bomb”—were deliberately put into letters that were mailed through the U.S. Postal Service to news media headquarters, the offices of Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy, and more, ultimately infecting 17 people and tragically killing five.

"Both easy to make and easy to weaponize, these biological attacks gripped the nation with fear and launched one of the largest investigations in FBI history," reads a CNN synopsis of the hourlong special. The episode will feature interviews with former National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, former Senate Democratic Majority Leader Tom Daschle, former CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding, Dr. Jean Malecki who identified the case in the anthrax attacks, and U.S. postal workers and members of the media who survived exposure to anthrax. Hear testimony from one such survivor, Casey Chamberlain, below in a sneak-peek clip that CNN posted to its social channels.

The “Anthrax: Terror by Mail” episode of How It Really Happened with Jesse L. Martin will air on CNN on Sunday, May 5 at 9pm ET. The cable news network is available on most traditional cable TV providers, as well as live TV streaming services like Hulu with Live TVSling TV and YouTube TV. The anthrax-focused special will also be available on demand to pay-TV subscribers on and CNN connected TV and mobile apps beginning Monday, May 6. Past episodes of How it Really Happened are available to stream on demand now on Max.

The primetime series, which "delves deeply into some of the most notorious crimes, mysteries, trials, and celebrity tragedies of our time," originally aired on HLN and was previously hosted by actor Hill Harper. The show made its premieres on its new home of CNN with a two-episode Titanic-focused special that aired late last month, which you can catch up on with CNN or Max.