Washington Scrambles After Letter Addressed to White House Tests Positive for Ricin

Shutterstock.com

Law enforcement authorities said Wednesday morning that they have intercepted a second letter containing a substance testing positive for the poison ricin--this one addressed to the White House.

News of the tainted letter dated April 16 to President Obama comes one day after officials said they had intercepted a letter testing positive for ricin intended for Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and bearing a Memphis, Tenn., postmark.

The FBI says there is no indication of any connection to the letters with the Monday bomb attack in Boston.

But the investigation into these letters remains ongoing, and more letters may still be received. In fact, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said in a statement Wednesday that his Saginaw regional office had received a suspicious-looking letter. It was not opened, he said, and officials are still determining whether it is tainted in some way. And in Arizona, there are reports of suspicious letters sent to the Phoenix offices of Republican Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake.

According to the FBI and the Secret Service, the envelope addressed to the White House was received at a remote White House mail screening facility. This facility routinely identifies letters or parcels that require secondary screening or scientific testing before delivery. As with the similar screening center used for congressional mail, this facility routinely identifies letters or parcels that require secondary screening or scientific testing before delivery. 

The envelope, addressed to the President was immediately quarantined by U.S. Secret Service personnel, and a coordinated investigation with the FBI was initiated. It was then that filters at a second government mail screening facility preliminarily tested positive for ricin this morning. Other mail from that facility is being tested.

Meanwhile, a U.S. Capitol Police spokesman said their officers on Wednesday morning set up two command posts inside the Russell Senate Office Building and in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building -- and that an individual has been detained – after the discovery of two “suspicious” envelopes found in the buildings.

All staff and others were being told to avoid the areas as the investigations continue. Officials were searching Sen. Richard Shelby’s office in Russell, because a suspicious package was delivered there.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.