FBI, Hazmat Team Descend on Sen. Susan Collins' House in Bangor After Ricin Letter Threat
A hazmat team was called in to Senator Susan Collins' home in Bangor, Maine, Monday after her husband received a threatening letter that may have been contaminated with poison. A number of other law enforcement groups descended on the Collins house, including the Bangor Criminal Investigation Division, the Bangor Fire Department, and the FBI, Bangor Daily News reported.
Police shut down a road adjacent to her house for several hours Monday afternoon.
“Senator Collins’ husband, Tom Daffron, today received a threatening letter that the writer claimed was contaminated with ricin, a highly hazardous substance which was used in a previous attack against the United States Senate,” Collins' spokeswoman Annie Clark said in a statement Monday night. “Mr. Daffron, their dog, and parts of their home were quarantined while the crime lab undertook an analysis of the premises. The affected areas have now been cleared, and Senator Collins and Mr. Daffron will be able to remain at home tonight.”
Preliminary test results indicated there was no threat to the public.
Collins, a Republican, was not at home Monday afternoon while local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, including a Hazmat team from Orono, investigated her West Broadway residence. Sgt. Wade Betters of the Bangor Police Department referred questions to the U.S. Capitol Police, the primary investigating agency.
Police had no comment on whether they had identified a suspect, who would probably face federal charges.
Clark said Monday night that the threatening letter was “the latest in a series of threats against Senator Collins, her loved ones, and her staff.”
Collins has had to endure vicious attacks from the left both before and after she cast a decisive vote to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, including protests in front of her house.
The senator arrived home from Washington, D.C., in the early evening, after most police had cleared the scene, Bangor Daily News reported.
“We are very grateful for the immediate and professional assistance that we received from the Bangor Police Department, the Maine Crime lab, the Maine State Police Department, the Capitol Police, the FBI, the Orono Hazmat Unit, the Bangor Fire Department, the U.S. Army, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service,” Collins said in a joint statement with her husband on Twitter.
“We are also truly appreciative of the many well wishes that we received today. Our friends and neighbors have been incredibly kind and have even offered to open their homes to us. We feel blessed to live in such a supportive community,” the statement continued.
Kavanaugh was hit with several flimsy, last-minute sexual assault allegations before he was finally confirmed on October 6. He forcefully denied all of the allegations.
It’s not clear if the suspicious envelope delivered Monday was in response to Collins’ vote to confirm the judge — a decision she kept private until the day before the vote, when she revealed her support in a 45-minute-long speech on the senate floor. Seen as one of three key Republican swing votes that could sink Kavanaugh’s nomination, the senator had been the target of sometimes nasty voicemails from members of the public attempting to persuade her against voting for the judge.
Thomas Daffron told "News Center Maine" that Collins has been subjected to many threats of late. "Obviously it's scary," he said.
Daffron noted that although there have been many contentious votes throughout the years, he has never seen anything like this.
"If we don't restore civility to this process, it's going to be very difficult for this country to function," he added.
"Historically, people protest at your office, or at a public forum, they don't come to your house for obvious reasons. It creates security issues," Daffron continued. He pointed out that the Senate computers were recently hacked and many addresses and phone numbers were publicized.
The U.S. Capitol Police arrested ex-Democrat staffer Jackson A. Cosko, 27, earlier this month for posting the private information of senators.
This comes after a Utah man was arrested for allegedly sending letters containing ground castor beans to the White House and the Pentagon. William Clyde Allen III was arrested on October 3 after the suspicious letters, addressed to top military officials and President Donald Trump, were intercepted.
Because castor beans are used to make ricin, the letters tested positive for the deadly poison. Allen told investigators he wanted the letters to “send a message.”
U.S. Attorney for Utah John Huber said the case was serious. “When you’re dealing with suspected ricin, this is nothing to trifle with,” Huber said.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) also received a threatening letter that was tested for ricin but did not test positive.