Ricin attacks and an arrest

Letters laced with the deadly poison ricin were sent to President Obama and a Republican senator.  The letters were intercepted and an arrest has been made (one Kenneth Curtis of Tupelo, Mississippi, someone who doesn’t sound Muslim).   Authorities don’t think these terrorist attacks are related to the one in Boston.

From NBC:

Federal agents on Wednesday arrested a suspect in the mailing of letters to President Barack Obama and a U.S. senator that initially tested positive for the poison ricin.

The suspect was identified as Kenneth Curtis of Tupelo, Miss., federal officials told NBC News.

Both letters carried an identical closing statement, according to an FBI bulletin obtained by NBC News on Wednesday.

According to the FBI bulletin, both letters, postmarked April 8, 2013 out of Memphis, Tenn., included an identical phrase, “to see a wrong and not expose it, is to become a silent partner to its continuance.”

In addition, both letters are signed: “I am KC and I approve this message.”

The letter to Obama was intercepted at an off-site White House mail facility and was being tested further, the FBI said. A federal law enforcement official said that the letter was “very similar” to one addressed to Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss.

Two federal officials said late Wednesday that an initial laboratory test on the material in the letters was inconclusive. The test shows some level of ricin, they said, but the potency is uncertain. They cannot tell whether the material is actually harmful or not. So more tests have been ordered.

The sender of the letters, one official said, “may have stumbled onto something,” but it’s unknown if he actually made full-blown ricin toxin.

Ricin is made from castor beans and can kill within 36 hours. There is no antidote. Some threatening letters simply contain ground castor beans, resulting in a positive field test for ricin without the concentrated poison. Results from full laboratory tests are expected in the next 24 to 48 hours.

Filters at a second government mail screening facility also tested positive for ricin in preliminary screening Wednesday.

An FBI official told NBC News that the agency did not initially believe the letters were related to the attack on the Boston Marathon on Monday.

via Feds arrest suspect in ricin-positive letters sent to Obama, senator – U.S. News.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • tODD

    So that’s the second time an American individual has sent (potentially) deadly envelopes to politicians in the immediate wake of a more deadly terrorist attack. Odd.

  • Julian

    @ Todd, I’ve heard that the letters themselves were postmarked several days before the bombings. Odd indeed, however coincidental.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist

    Hint: if you are planning on poisoning a senator, you might not want to poison your own senator. It sort of might be a really big clue about how to catch you.

  • Jon

    I think he pretty much wanted to get “caught”. He’s one of those types.

  • Joe

    @ 1 It is odd and sad.

    I’m not intending to go all black helicopter here but I think we are naive to ignore the possibility that our home grown nut bags would cooperate and conspire with the foreign nut bags. The old middle eastern maxim – the enemy of my enemy is my friend – is not unknown to Al-Qaeda. Many of those now in Al-Qaeda were happy to fight along side our CIA operatives and Green Berets against the Soviets in Afghanistan.

    One the facets of the Oklahoma City bombing that was never really explored (or at least the full account of the exploration has not made known to the public) is the connection between McVeigh’s mentor and co-conspirator Terry Nicohls and Al-Qaeda. My understanding is that the feds are still actively investigating this inn the context of a possible additional charges against Nichols. But what is known is that Nichols and Ramzi Yousef, Al-Qaeda perpetrator of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and one of the planners of a plot believed to be the precursor to 9-11 (the idea was to place bombs on multiple international flights headed to the US on the same day), were in Philippians at the same time in November 1994 – January 1995.

    It is apparently documented that they simultaneously visited Southwestern University, in Cebu City. (the school is a hot bead of radical Islam). And that Nichols spent time in the offices of a lumber yard where Al-Qaeda operatives worked. Also, Nichols return flight into LA was one of the flights that was originally in Yousef’s bomb plan and his flight was within the time frame Yousef originally planned to execute the plan. Also, the signature of the World Trade Center and Oklahoma City are very similar. Both used bombs made from nitrate fertilizer and diesel fuel and both were delivered via rented Ryder truck. Nichols took his trip to the Philippians in the midst of his Oklahoma City planning and left written instructions for his friends and family for how to handle his estate in the event his life insurance refused to pay out.

    Of course none of this is more than circumstantial evidence. Nichol’s wife is Filipino and that could explain the months long trip. Making a bomb out of fertilizer and diesel fuel is not that unique of an idea. But it is kind of naive of us to ignore the possibility that our homegrown terrorists and the foreign variety don’t collaborate.

  • CarolO

    He sounds nuts in the head and probably a good candidate to buy an arsenal of assault weapons since they are easier to buy than a pack of cigarettes.


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