The ricin letters are now officially bipartisan, with a letter addressed to President Obama testing positive for the toxic substance a day after Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) received a ricin-laced letter.
“A second letter containing a granular substance that preliminarily tested positive for ricin was received at an offsite mail screening facility. 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 is important to note that operations at the White House have not been affected as a result of the investigation,” the FBI said in a statement.
“Additionally, filters at a second government mail screening facility preliminarily tested positive for ricin this morning. Mail from that facility is being tested.”
The Bureau said full lab analysis is being conducted and generally takes 24 to 48 hours.
“The investigation into these letters remains ongoing, and more letters may still be received. There is no indication of a connection to the attack in Boston,” the FBI said.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said at today’s briefing “the president has, of course, been briefed on these letters. He was briefed last night and again this morning.”
“I would underscore that the mail is screened — the mail sent here is screened and that these tests are undertaken at remote sites to mitigate the risk both to those recipients and to the general population,” Carney said.
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Texas) said the good news is that the screening system put in place after 2001’s anthrax letters is working.
“The evidence or information I have is that this is probably totally unrelated to the Boston bombings. Ricin is a very targeted, almost assassin lethal like drug. It is not to inflict mass casualty,” McCaul said on Fox Business Network.
But like many, McCaul couldn’t figure out why Wicker would be targeted.
“One of the nicest guys. Actually, may be too nice to be in this Senate. I don’t know.”