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Letter With Ricin Vial Sent To White House: November Discovery Was Kept Quiet
The Washington Post ^ | February 4, 2004 | Dan Eggen

Posted on 02/03/2004 9:25:19 PM PST by John H K

The U.S. Secret Service intercepted a letter addressed to the White House in November that contained a vial of the toxin ricin, but never revealed the incident publicly and delayed telling the FBI and other agencies, law enforcement sources said yesterday.

The letter, signed by "Fallen Angel" and containing complaints about trucking regulations, was nearly identical to one discovered Oct. 15 at a Greenville, S.C., mail-sorting facility. It was accompanied by a metal vial that contained powdered ricin, sources said.

In the South Carolina case, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was called in to test the mail facility and its workers. The FBI also released detailed information about the case and, earlier this month, announced a $100,000 reward for information leading to a conviction.

But the existence of a similar letter sent to the White House was not disclosed until yesterday, and then only by law enforcement officials who asked not to be identified by name.

Six sources in law enforcement and public health said the Secret Service did not immediately inform the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service or other agencies about the White House letter when it was discovered. Three of those sources said the delay lasted "weeks," while a fourth recalled a lag of about nine days. Several said the delay was long enough that anyone exposed to the ricin would have begun to show symptoms.

Excerpted - click for full article ^

TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: District of Columbia
Probably pushing the length of excerpting but I get the feeling that for excerpted articles barely anyone on FR ever actually goes to read the whole article.

Will be interesting to see the FR attempt to spin a plausible story of how Al Queda has lost interest in the grand crusade against Israel and Infidels, and now is concerned with the details of trucking regulations.

1 posted on 02/03/2004 9:25:20 PM PST by John H K

To: John H K; muawiyah
I don't think it has anything to do with the anthrax letters, AQ, or similar.

Plenty of nutty and dangerous stuff is sent through the mail.

I don't think this is "terrorism"...more like a weird extortion.
2 posted on 02/03/2004 9:29:04 PM PST by Shermy

To: John H K
You beat me to it, but here is an article from USAToday. I don't think we have to cut it so short...

WASHINGTON Federal authorities are investigating whether the ricin attack on the U.S. Senate is connected to a letter containing the same deadly poison that was sent to the White House in November, three federal law enforcement sources said Tuesday.

Members of the U.S. Capitol Police HAZMAT Team prepare to search through an SUV used by Sen. Frist.
Getty Images

The White House letter had not been previously disclosed. It was intercepted at an off-site mail processing facility and never reached the White House, one of the sources said. The ricin was low quality and posed no public health risk, a second source said.

Investigators also are trying to determine whether the White House and Senate attacks are related to a case in Greenville, S.C. A vial of low-grade ricin was found in a post office Oct. 15, the sources said. The vial was in a letter addressed to the U.S. Transportation Department that warned of future attacks if rules limiting truckers' driving hours aren't relaxed. The White House letter contained similar threatening language. A reward up to $100,000 is being offered in the Greenville case.

The White House wouldn't comment Tuesday about the letter.

On Tuesday, three Senate office buildings were closed after a large amount of white powder was discovered Monday afternoon in the mailroom of Senate Republican leader Bill Frist of Tennessee. Frist said advanced testing showed the substance was an "active" form of the ricin poison. But analysis was continuing in at least four laboratories to measure its potency and to test swabs taken from the majority leader's mailroom.

"This is an insult, an assault on the Senate side of the United States Capitol," Frist said.

At least 16 people were treated for possible exposure. But the U.S. Capitol physician said there were no signs of illness. Inhalation or ingestion of ricin can lead to death. And there is no antidote.

Federal officials said it was unclear whether the substance was sent through the mail or hand-delivered. There was no evidence to identify the source of the attack or if it was linked to international terrorism, including al-Qaeda.

An intern assigned to open Frist's mail discovered the substance Monday on a letter-opening machine. About 40 letters near the machine were sealed in a barrel that remains in the senator's office suite in the Dirksen Senate Office Building. FBI agents were expected to examine the contents as soon as Tuesday night.

Similar investigative precautions were taken in October 2001, when deadly anthrax was discovered in mail addressed to Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Tom Daschle, D-S.D. The anthrax attack crippled Capitol Hill and scared the nation still reeling from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The anthrax case remains an open criminal investigation.

On Tuesday, Daschle called the ricin threat a "criminal act" and "an act of terrorism."

In a separate incident in Connecticut, U.S. postal inspectors found a letter addressed to the Republican National Committee that contained a suspicious substance at a mail-sorting center in Wallingford. Tests late Tuesday revealed it was not ricin.

Kevin McDonough, Boston's assistant postal inspector-in-charge, said initial field tests Monday night had been inconclusive. The Connecticut facility remained open during Tuesday's testing.

Wallingford also processed an anthrax-laced letter in 2001 traced to the death of a 94-year-old woman. She was one of five people killed and 17 who became ill in the anthrax attacks.

3 posted on 02/03/2004 9:29:05 PM PST by ChipShot

To: Shermy
"I don't think this is "terrorism"...more like a weird extortion."

Extortion of Innocence
Extortion of Naivete
Extortion of Peace of Mind
Extortion of Status Quo
Extortion of Civility
Extortion of Security
Extortion of Arrogance
Extortion of Social Ecology

This is definitely not terrorism.
4 posted on 02/03/2004 10:29:28 PM PST by eXistenZ

To: John H K
(s)one of al queda's sleepers was a trucker who assignemnt was to observe for possible targets. (/s)

The fact this is getting so little bump sends a good message.
5 posted on 02/03/2004 10:46:54 PM PST by longtermmemmory (Vote!)

To: Mitchell
The letter, signed by "Fallen Angel" and containing complaints about trucking regulations,
was nearly identical to one discovered Oct. 15 at a Greenville, S.C., mail-sorting facility.

6 posted on 02/04/2004 9:01:51 AM PST by Allan

To: Allan
GREENVILLE, S.C. - Tests showed no signs of contamination at a post
office where a vial containing the deadly poison ricin was found, federal
officials said Thursday. The post office was shut down Wednesday night and
workers moved to another location after federal health officials
determined material in a vial found inside an envelope a week earlier was
ricin.Health workers took 80 samples from the post office, which postal
officials said would reopen Friday afternoon.A letter in the envelope
contained a warning that large amounts of ricin would be dumped into
drinking reservoirs if the federal government did not change a rule
requiring truckers to rest after 10 hours on the road, said a senior law
enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity. Officials said
it was unlikely the letter's author could carry through on that threat.
Thousands of pounds of ricin would be necessary to contaminate water
supplies, and exposure to chemicals used in water treatment would probably
render the ricin harmless.The envelope with the vial carried the
typewritten message caution-Ricin-poison on the outside, according to a
statement by the Greenville County Sheriff's Office. It arrived at a
facility between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. on Oct. 15, the sheriff's office said.
A postal worker noticed the wording and law enforcement officials were
7 posted on 02/04/2004 9:56:50 AM PST by eXistenZ

To: Shermy defines terrorism this way:

The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.

I would say that sending potentially lethal toxins in the mail to politicians because of some bizarre grudge most likely qualifies as terrorism.

It goes without saying of course that not all terrorists are Arabs or Muslims. McVeigh and the UnaBomber were terrorists. And as much as it pains me to agree with HK on something, I have to agree that a letter describing oneself as "Fallen Angel" and complaining about trucking regulations definitely doesn't sound like an Al Queda type.

Of course HK doesn't think it's a Muslim even when the letter says "Death to America, Death to Israel, Allah is Great". He's really every bit as bad as the people he loves attacks for thinking that a terrorist could only be Muslim and nothing else.

8 posted on 02/04/2004 10:10:07 AM PST by jpl

To: John H K
"In Monday's incident, a pile of powder was found in the office of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and may have come from one of several dozen envelopes that had passed through a mail-opening machine, Frist and other officials said. In the anthrax attacks, letters containing the deadly spores were mailed to, among others, Sens. Thomas Daschle, D-S.D., - then Senate majority leader - and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. "That is obviously one of the main lines of inquiry that we're pursuing," one FBI official said Tuesday.

"There are a lot of similarities that certainly raise the possibility of a connection."

9 posted on 02/04/2004 10:12:32 AM PST by eXistenZ

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