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Hatch CD is zapped by mail inspectors

Tunes mailed to Norton ended up as a melted glob

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WASHINGTON — The first Olympic record has already been obliterated more than a week before the opening ceremonies for the 2002 Winter Games.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, had tried to send Interior Secretary Gale Norton a copy of "Light Up the Land," one of several commemorative compilations of inspirational Olympic-themed music produced in conjunction with the Winter Olympics, which open Feb. 8 in Salt Lake City.

But it appears the disc was swept up in efforts to ensure that mail bound for the department was free of anthrax spores. It got shipped off to be decontaminated.

"The end product was unfortunately that the CD itself looks as if it was zapped in a microwave oven for just under two hours and then thrown on a broiler and put on high heat for just a while longer to finish it up," Interior spokesman Mark Pfeifle said Monday.

At one time, the warped, melted glob featured tunes from Gladys Knight, Donny and Marie Osmond and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Pfeifle said Norton wants to hear the disc and plans to ask the senator for a replacement next time she has an opportunity since it's unlikely the one she has now will be spinning in a CD player anytime soon.

"It's a testament to our mail system that we did receive it, and they did everything possible to make sure it was safe," he said. "This music at one time was hot."

Hatch spokesman Chris Rosche said he expects the senator will send Norton a new copy of the disc soon.