Ricin-laced letters threaten Washington

Yesterday the Senate mail facility discovered a letter addressed to Republican Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi that was laced with a suspicious white powder.  Preliminary tests somewhat inconclusively suggested the powder included ricin, a toxic substance made from castor beans.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, ricin can cause injury or death in very small amounts, through either inhalation, ingestion, or skin contact.  This makes it an attractive chemical-biological warfare option for the evil scumbag on a budget.

There were reports yesterday evening that some tests of the powder in the envelope addressed to Wicker came back negative, but today the scope of the threat has widened.  According to USA Today, a similarly-worded, tainted letter was also sent to President Obama, and the FBI says this letter initially tested positive for ricin.  Suspicious packages were also sent to Senators Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Carl Levin (D-MI), although it is not yet known if they were connected to the letters directed at Wicker and Obama.

Furthermore, “The Capitol Police have closed access to the Hart Senate Office Building due to a suspicious package. People on other floors of the building are being told to go into their offices.”  At the time of this writing, 1:00 PM Eastern, an all-clear was just issued.

Fox News has some details about the tainted letters:

An FBI bulletin obtained by Fox News said the letter sent to Obama is still being screened, though it initially tested positive.

The bulletin said both letters included the phrase: “To see a wrong and not expose it, is to become a silent partner to its continuance.”

Both were signed, “I am KC and I approve this message.”

[…] The envelope had a Tennessee postmark and no return address.

The letter inside included an implied threat to effect of: “You haven’t listen to me before. Now you will, even if people have to die,” Politico also reported.

Sources say officials are familiar with the person believed to have sent the letter as the person has sent other letters before.

CBS News in D.C. says a suspect in the delivery of the packages is being questioned – presumably a reference to the packages received by Senators Shelby and Levin, which were apparently hand-delivered.  It’s not clear if this person is also thought to be the authors of the tainted letters to Wicker and Obama.  Of course, many also wonder if any of this is connected to the Boston Marathon bombings, or perhaps inspired by them.