Law enforcement authorities announced on Wednesday they had intercepted a potentially poison-laced letter intended for President Barack Obama, and temporarily locked down some Senate office buildings amid rising concerns of a terrorism-by-mail campaign reminiscent of the anthrax attacks that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, strikes. The missive tested positive for the deadly substance ricin.
The new threats emerged one day after a letter destined for sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi also teated positive for ricin. Officials said there was no evidence of a link to the bombings at the Boston Marathon.
Asked whether the Obama and Wicker incidents were connected, a law enforcement source told Yahoo News “the letters are very similar.”
Obama was never in any real danger. Since the anthrax attacks in 2001, mail addressed to the White House goes through extensive off-site screening. The same goes for that of U.S. lawmakers.
Ricin,for which there is no known antidote, is made from ground castor beans—and ground castor beans lacking the poison’s potency can still trigger a positive test.
One day after the letter to Wicker was intercepted, “a second letter containing a granular substance that preliminarily tested positive for ricin was received at an offsite mail screening facility,” the FbI announced. “The envelope, addressed to the president, was immediately quarantined by U.S. Secret Service personnel, and a coordinated investigation with the FBI was initiated.”
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