Suspect arrested in ricin-mailings to Obama, U.S. senator
BY LYNN SWEET Washington, D.C. Bureau Chief April 17, 2013 6:40PM
Updated: April 17, 2013 7:31PM
WASHINGTON—A Mississippi man was arrested Wednesday in connection with the mailing of letters containing poison to President Barack Obama and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), a law enforcement source told the Chicago Sun-Times.
The two letters were intercepted at screening centers—located away from the White House and Capitol—and tested positive for ricin, a killer toxin.
The letters each had the same message and were postmarked on April 8 from Memphis, Tenn., according to an FBI bulletin reviewed by the Chicago Sun-Times. The letters said “to see a wrong and not expose it is to become a silent partner to its continuance.”
Each letter was signed “I am KC and I approve this message,” according to the FBI bulletin.
Ricin powder poured out of the letter to Wicker when screeners at the remote postal facility—who work wearing biohazard suits—checked the contents. Each letter sent to the Capitol and the White House is slit open and undergoes a series of tests to determine if it contains any hazardous material.
The stepped up security is a legacy of the anthrax and ricin attack that hit the Capitol and other parts of Washington in 2001. The arrest was made by a joint by a joint FBI and Capitol Police Task Force.
The ricin attack is not related to another scare on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, when a man was detained following the delivery of three suspicious packages — described as sealed envelopes — to three Senate offices. Law enforcement authorities were notified after the man dropped off the envelopes. Senate personnel are instructed not to accept sealed packages that have not gone through a screening.
The envelopes were found to contain political material. The man was later released.