Ricin is an extraordinarily powerful poison that has no antidote. It is easily manufactured, is highly potent and is extremely popular with anti-government groups and it can cause death within 72 hours. And it was sent to Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker today in a letter!
Senate Majority leader Harry Reid said that the letter was addressed to Sen. Wicker after the letter was tested at a laboratory in Maryland. The FBI joined in and ordered further analysis of the letter.
The letter was intercepted in a mail handling facility and was quarantined immediately after preliminary detection of ricin. According to reports, Sen. Wicker’s security has been increased after the incident.
The episode is being related to the anthrax poisoning through letters which occurred shortly after the September 11 attacks in 2001 that targeted then-Majority Leader Tom Daschle and Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy among others.
Wicker said in a statement, “This matter is part of an ongoing investigation by the United States Capitol Police and FBI. I want to thank our law enforcement officials for their hard work and diligence in keeping those of us who work in the Capitol complex safe.”
The troublesome news has emerged at a time when the U.S. is already aggrieved after the Boston Marathon attacks. The delivery of the ricin-laced letter might not be directly related to the blasts but it is bound to raise the security alarm in the country.
Another ricin scare at the US capital occurred in 2004, when tests identified a letter in a Senate mail room that served the office of Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican who was then the Senate Majority Leader.
According to Reuters, the U.S. Senate's chief security office said it was closing the facility for the next two to three days for investigations.