A suspicious letter was sent to President Obama and received at an off-site location Wednesday.
The letter is being investigated as possibly being linked to one that was sent to Sen. Roger Wicker earlier this week. That letter, which was received at an off-site sorting facility, tested positive for the deadly poison ricin. The one sent to Obama also contained a “suspicious substance,” authorities said.
“A letter addressed to the president was received at a remote screening facility containing a suspicious substance. We are working closely with Capitol Police and the FBI in this investigation,” said a Secret Service spokesman.
The letter sent to Sen. Wicker was intercepted Tuesday, one day after the bombing at the Boston Marathon, and further heightened security concerns at a time when Congress is considering immigration reform and tougher gun laws.
“Monday’s attack in Boston reminded us that terrorism can still strike anywhere at any time,” Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday. “And as yesterday’s news of an attempt to send ricin to the Capitol reminds us, it is as important as ever to take the steps necessary to protect Americans from those who would do us harm.”
A laboratory in Maryland confirmed the presence of ricin in the letter sent to Sen. Wicker after initial field tests found traces of the poison. The FBI said additional testing was required because field and preliminary tests can often produce inconsistent results.
“Only a full analysis performed at an accredited laboratory can determine the presence of a biological agent such as ricin,” the bureau said. “Those tests are in the process of being conducted and generally take from 24 to 48 hours.”
Wicker has since been assigned a protective detail, and senators were told Tuesday that the mail facility would be shut down temporarily in order “to make sure they get everything squared away,” McCaskill said.
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